This Twitter Rant Might Change How You Think About Female Characters

At this point, the debate over "strong female characters" has gotten a bit stale. Movies and TV keep serving up tough women, but they mostly still don't come across as actually "strong characters" in any meaningful sense. So this Twitter mini-rant by science fiction writer Ada Hoffman is incredibly useful. » 2/17/15 10:37am 2/17/15 10:37am

Why Doesn't English Have A Gender-Neutral Pronoun?

Referring to a single person who may be of any gender in English can be tricky. It can be awkward to use words like "one" or phrases like "he or she," and many a grammarian hates using "they" as to refer to a single person. How has English gotten this far without such a convenient pronoun? Actually, it hasn't. » 2/17/15 9:10am 2/17/15 9:10am

Even 50 Years Ago, Toys Weren't As Gendered As They Are Today

If you look down the bright pink girls' toy aisle and think to yourself that toys weren't always broken down so clearly along gender lines, then you're right. A sociologists has written a fascinating history of how toys have been marketed over the decades and how gender has come into play. » 12/09/14 7:00pm 12/09/14 7:00pm

Iran's parliament has banned vasectomies, saying that more babies will "strengthen national identity" and counter "undesirable aspects of Western lifestyles." Reformists see the law as part of a drive by conservatives to keep Iran's highly educated female population in traditional roles as wives and mothers. » 8/12/14 7:40am 8/12/14 7:40am

When Writers Remake Gender, They Create A Better Mirror On Our World

There's a fascinating interview with Ursula K. Le Guin over at Electric Literature. She talks about the former literary/genre divide, and when to ignore "the rules." And she also explains why creating radically different versions of gender is actually a way to help people see the here and now more clearly. » 8/08/14 1:40pm 8/08/14 1:40pm

Ann Leckie Refused To Change Ancillary Justice's Unusual Pronouns

One of the most notable things about Ann Leckie's Nebula and Clarke-winning novel Ancillary Justice is its unusual pronoun use, which she talked a lot about when she answered your questions. In a new profile, she explains how she was told it would make the book unpublishable. » 6/25/14 4:02pm 6/25/14 4:02pm

Fandom Academia: Gender Influences Filk Far Less Than You'd Think

I love the highly-specific title of this academic paper by Melissa Tatum, Robert Spoo, and Banjamin Pope: "Does Gender Influence Attitudes Toward Copyright in the Filk Community?" It combines three hot-button issues: copyright, gender, and fandom. It's a like a powder keg of things people have very strong opinions on. » 6/21/14 12:30am 6/21/14 12:30am

The Problem with "Nature vs. Nurture" When It Comes to Sexuality

Orphan Black is one of the most intelligent, nuanced, and ambitious shows on television, thanks in no small part to the contributions of science consultant Cosima Herter. Recently, she wrote an essay dealing with the nature vs. nurture debate, and it's fantastic. » 6/12/14 12:04pm 6/12/14 12:04pm

I'm A Man Who Plays As A Woman In Games, And I'm Definitely Not Alone

I self-identify as a straight male-bodied dude, but recently I've taken to playing as a female-bodied character in many games. It's not something the majority of people do, but it's also not uncommon. Oddly, however, men play as women far more than women play as men. Let's break down why people choose the avatars they… » 5/15/14 6:30pm 5/15/14 6:30pm

Star Wars VII Says It Totally Has Another Major Female Character Coming

Hot on the heels of the announcement of the much-anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII cast, and the sudden, dismaying realization that only one new female lead had joined the cast, suddenly sources are saying that Star Wars: Episode VII still has another "substantial" female role to cast. » 4/30/14 10:40am 4/30/14 10:40am

Hey Star Wars -- Where the Hell Are the Women?

This morning we all delighted in the casting announcement for Star Wars VII. And then the reality set in: There is only one new female character being added to what is arguably the world's most beloved mythic series. It's as if 51 percent of the population cried out in pain, and was suddenly silenced. » 4/29/14 11:09am 4/29/14 11:09am

It Makes No Difference Whether This Character Is Male or Female

As anyone who has played Mass Effect knows, some characters can be either gender and still play the same basic role. What other characters in science fiction and fantasy do you think could switch genders and still have the same fundamental story? » 4/03/14 2:00pm 4/03/14 2:00pm

This Year's Most Mind-Expanding Book About Gender

The winner of the 2014 James Tiptree Jr. Award for science fiction and fantasy books that explore and expand notions of gender? It's Rupetta by N.A. Sulway, a novel about a 17th century cyborg. And the "honor list" for the award includes a must-read list of books that will challenge your gender preconceptions. » 2/17/14 8:12pm 2/17/14 8:12pm

A map showing gender inequality around the world

By using data pulled from the United Nations Development Program, Time has compiled a map showing just how far the world has to go to reach gender equality. » 1/29/14 11:40am 1/29/14 11:40am

Watch These People Swap Genders Using Virtual Reality

A lot of the most interesting applications of VR have less to do with gaming, and more to do with perceptions of self. What's it like to see outside of your own subjective experience of body and self? » 1/21/14 2:00pm 1/21/14 2:00pm

Scientific evidence that booth babes don't sell products

There's been a raging debate over "booth babes" in the tech community for years. Should companies hire sexy models to work in their sales booths at events like CES, or is this an outdated, degrading practice? But nobody had ever asked whether booth babes were good for sales. So Frontback head of marketing Spencer Chen… » 1/16/14 10:33am 1/16/14 10:33am

Want to close the gender gap? Give men paternity leave.

One of the biggest problems for young families is dividing up childcare duties. Women still get saddled with the bulk of the work, which can cause stress and undermine their careers. But many countries have found a solution to the problem: paternity leave. More freedom for men has meant more for women too. » 12/30/13 12:40pm 12/30/13 12:40pm

Ask an Expert Your Questions About Genetics and Sex Differences!

Sarah Richardson is a science historian at Harvard who studies how people understand the genetic science of sex difference. She's here to answer your questions today about the development of genomics, ideas about sex difference, and the history behind the two. » 12/05/13 10:01am 12/05/13 10:01am

That time in the 1970s when scientists studied pickup artists

There's nothing like an experiment that can turn everyone, especially creepy pick-up artists, into a citizen scientist. Russell Clark and Elaine Hatfield conducted such an experiment in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There were clear results. » 11/27/13 11:40am 11/27/13 11:40am

This map of gender segregation shows how New Yorkers live and die

In New York City, genders are unevenly mixed. As men and women age, they pour into and out of neighborhoods, pooling, dispersing and redistributing across the five boroughs in a mesmerizing demographic dance that datavisualization expert John Nelson calls "gender flow." In his latest visualization, he charts this… » 10/16/13 12:05pm 10/16/13 12:05pm