Posted in Conference Attendance, Gender, The Ivory Tower, tagged Conference Presentations, Female Science Professor, Gender Roles, Memoirs of a SLACer, Rebecca Rosen, The Atlantic, The Society Pages on January 15, 2013 |
Speaking of gender roles, I recently saw a post at The Society Pages linking to this suggestion by Rebecca Rosen at The Atlantic that men refuse to speak on or moderate all-male panels at technology and science conferences. While I think this is a great idea, I also wonder how the fact that prospective male participants ask male organizers to include women affects the reactions. For example, see the exchange in Rosen’s post:
I cannot speak for the dozens of other Jewish male leaders, scholars and activists who also made the pledge, but in my case, push has never actually come to shove. My convictions have not yet been tested. I never had to refuse participation because, so far, not once have the conveners failed to “find” a woman who can participate. Generally, the conversations have gone something like this:
“Prof. Kelner, will you teach at our all-night Shavuot study session?”
“Sure. I’d be happy to. Who else is on the program?”
“Abe, Isaac and Jake”
“You couldn’t find any women to teach? Look, I’d love to join the program, but I’ve made a pledge not to participate in all-male panels. And anyway, do you really want to send the message that there are no qualified women?”
“Wow! You’re right. Thank you. We’re going to fix this.”
“Do that, and I’ll be happy to participate.”
Because a male is organizing the conference and a male is asking about the inclusion of women, this seems like a reasonable request to the organizer. I can unfortunately imagine all kinds of scenarios, however, where a woman mentions the fact that there are not many female participants and is criticized for suggesting that there may be some sort of bias at play. This also seems to invite tokenism or the claim that there “aren’t any qualified women.”
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Posted in Gender, tagged Chidren's Toys, Christmas Catalogs, Gender Assignments, Gender Stereotypes, Introduction to Sociology, Lisa Wade, Memoirs of a SLACer, Sweden, The Society Pages, Top Toys, Wall Street Journal on December 9, 2012 |
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A staple of Introduction to Sociology courses is the toy assignment, in which students are asked to visit a local store and take note of the gendered nature of the offerings. While boys and girls might not universally agree with the things that are supposed to be for them, the prevalence of these messages in stores, ads, and TV commercials makes them hard to avoid. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, one company in Sweden is challenging these norms in its most recent Christmas catalog.
A comparison of Top-Toy’s Swedish catalogs with their Danish counterparts shows girls have replaced boys in some photos featuring toy guns, and boys have swapped places with girls in photos featuring dolls and stuffed dogs. In one picture in the Swedish catalog, a boy is blow-drying a girl’s hair whereas in the Danish version, a somewhat older girl is blow-drying her own hair.
Top-Toy also is working on adjusting store displays and packaging to reflect the gender-neutral approach, said Jan Nyberg, Top-Toy’s sales director in Sweden. Boys and girls can now be seen playing together on boxes of “Happy House,” Top-Toy’s own kitchen set.
“We can’t decide what the big toy makers’ boxes should look like as their products are made for the global market, but we can make changes on our own boxes and in our stores,” Mr. Nyberg said.
A saleswoman said she hasn’t seen much difference in store displays but noted employees now are trained to avoid stereotypes when talking to customers. “If someone asks for a present for a 5-year-old girl, we don’t automatically take them to the dolls section,” she said. “Instead, we ask them what her interests are.”
Sweden appears to have gender norms that are very different than those in the US, so it seems that the store is reflecting society rather than attempting to change it, but it would be nice to live in a place where kids grow up receiving messages that they could be, and play with, anything that they want.
Via: The Society Pages
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The Society Pages and Jalopnik recently discussed a casting call for the Acura Super Bowl commercial (with Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno). For the role of African American Car Dealer the “role details” stipulated that the actor should be: “Nice looking, friendly. Not too dark. Will work with a MAJOR COMEDIAN.” I think that Jalopnik has the most interesting commentary on this one, stating:
If you’re wondering why this might be outrageous to some, step back for a moment and look at the inverse of a casting request looking for “Nice looking, friendly. Not too dark.” You’d get “Ugly looking, mean. Dark.”
Jalopnik also comments on Acura’s apology, noting that the apology does not actually admit that anybody did anything wrong:
Acura Statement RE: Casting Call
We apologize to anyone offended by the language on the casting sheet used in the selection of actors for one of our commercials.
We sought to cast an African-American in a prominent role in the commercial, and we made our selection based on the fact that he was the most talented actor.
The casting sheet was only now brought to our attention. We are taking appropriate measures to ensure that such language is not used again in association with any work performed on behalf of our brand.
Anyone in there hear an apology for favoring a light-skinned black actor? Not us.
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