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Archived Since:February 15, 2009

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From Our Archives: Thanksgiving

Have a Sexy Thanksgiving! The Happiest Day of the Year! Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Up in 2011 Thanksgiving Mythology Red Bull’s Historically Stupid Thanksgiving Fantasy U.S. Schools Teach Children that Native Americans are History Theorizing...Show More Summary

23 Thanksgiving Food Facts

Five minutes for fun facts on this Thanksgiving. Some of my favorites: Stuffing goes back to at least the 4th century CE. Potatoes are truly an American tuber; it’s grown in every 50 states. Corn is a flower. Meat pies preceded desert pies and they were called “coffins.” In case you need a 15th century […]

Women and the making of holidays

I don’t know for sure what holidays are like at your house, but if they resemble holidays at my house, and most houses in the US, women do almost all of the holiday preparation: decorating, gift buying and wrapping, invitations, neighborhood and church activities, cooking, cooking, more cooking, and cleaning. Holidays are moments in the […]

Thanksgiving, the first TV dinner

Pre-prepared frozen meals pre-dated the Swanson “TV dinner,” but it was Swanson who brought the aluminum tray — previously only seen in taverns and airplanes — into the home. They were motivated by opportunity and necessity. The necessity went something like this, or so the story goes: After the 1953 Thanksgiving holiday, Swanson found themselves up […]

What explains differences in color preference by sex?

Flashback Friday. A study published in 2001, to which I was alerted by Family Inequality, asked undergraduate college students their favorite color and presented the results by sex.  Men’s favorites are on the left, women’s on the right: The article is a great example of the difference between research findings and the interpretation of those […]

The global sanitation crisis on #WorldToiletDay

One of the first things other academics ask me is “why are you interested in toilets?” For the vast majority of people, the biological function of waste excretion is an after thought, an activity that nobody wants to talk about, and often times, the mere thought of talking about shit grosses them out. I, however, […]

Is Beiber’s What Do You Mean? just as bad as Thicke’s Blurred Lines?

Robin Thicke’s song, “Blurred Lines,” achieved international recognition in 2013. But the lyrics were also heavily criticized as promoting sexual violence by celebrating “blurred lines” around sexual consent. Indeed, the song and video prompted an online photo essay in which women and men are depicted holding up signs with words they heard from their own […]

Covergirl’s Star Wars collection: They never had a chance, really

So, Star Wars is out with a new movie and instead of pretending female fans don’t exist, Disney has decided to license the Star Wars brand to Covergirl. A reader named David, intrigued, sent in a two-page ad from Cosmopolitan for analysis. What I find interesting about this ad campaign — or, more accurately — boring, is its invitation to women […]

Anorexia Mirabilis: Fasting in Victorian England and modern India

Flashback Friday. Joan Jacob Brumberg’s fantastic book, Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa, is an excellent example of the benefits of sociologically-inspired history.  Brumberg begins by explaining that girls who starved themselves have been recorded in many historical epochs, but the way in which societies have made sense of that starvation has varied. Today […]

Where do we learn whom we should perceive negatively?

We often think that as long as a white person doesn’t fly the Confederate flag, use the n-word, or show up to a white supremacist rally that they aren’t racist. However, researchers at Harvard and the Ohio State University, among others, have shown that even whites who don’t endorse racist beliefs tend to be biased against non-whites. This bias, though, is implicit: […]

A deep dive into the experience of homophobia

It can be quite difficult to describe what it feels like to be a member of a group that is widely disparaged or hated. I mean really describe it in a way that other people who are not part of that group can understand. It is powerful when it can be done and even more powerful when […]

Protecting (white) women in the bathroom: A history

With interest, I have been watching the resistance to the right of trans people to choose public restrooms based on their identity instead of their biology at birth. Though there is no evidence that allowing trans people to use the bathroom of their choice will put anyone in danger, one of the arguments against doing so is that women […]

What the 1% wants from our politicians

The 1% in America have an out-sized influence on the political process. What policies do they support? And do their priorities differ from those of less wealthy Americans? Political scientist Benjamin Page and two colleagues wanted to find out, so they started trying to set up interviews with the richest of the rich. This, they noted, was really quite […]

Labiaplasty rates linked to censorship of “untidy” labia

Flashback Friday. Labiaplasty, a plastic surgery in which the labia is reshaped, is on the rise in many Western countries. Usually this means trimming the labia so that it is less “obtrusive” and social pressure, especially from increased exposure to pornography, is blamed for the rise. For reference, see our post on the natural range […]

Disobedience or civil disobedience: Who decides when breaking rules is good?

When it comes to rule-breakers and rule enforcers, which side you are on seens to depend on the rule-breaker and the rule. National Review had a predictable response to the video of a school officer throwing a seated girl to the floor. [Editor’s note: Video added to original. Watch with caution; disturbing imagery] Most of the […]

Is Barbie a feminist now?

Barbie has never exactly been a feminist icon, but last week Mattel was celebrated for a new advertising campaign that some say empowers young girls. In the “Imagine the Possibilities” commercial, the viewer sees young girls in professional settings — a science museum, a veterinary office, a soccer field — where they lead adults as if they are the ones […]

Man buns as cultural appropriation

Singer-songwriter Hozier played “guess the man buns” on VH1, and Buzzfeed facetiously claimed they had “Scientific Proof That All Celebrity Men are Hotter with Man Buns.” Brad Pitt, Chris Hemsworth, and David Beckham have all sported the man bun. And no, I’m not talking about their glutes. Men are pulling their hair back behind their […]

The trouble with American views of female genital cutting

In 1994, a US immigration judge lifted an order to deport a woman named Lydia Oluloro. Deportation would have forced her to either leave her five- and six-year-old children in America with an abusive father or take them with her to Nigeria. There, they would have been at risk of a genital cutting practice called […]

This Month in SocImages (October 2015)

SocImages News: I’m so happy to announce a new partnership with Mental Floss! They will be featuring select posts from SocImages and bringing the sociological imagination to an even wider audience! Fabulous! Our first post is here. You like!  Here are our most appreciated posts this month: 114 years young: Lightbulbs before planned obsolescence (1,700+ likes) […]

“Man” vs. “girl,” Halloween edition

The practice of pairing the word “men” (which refers to adults) with “girls” (which does not) reinforces a gender hierarchy by mapping it onto age.  Jason S. discovered an example of this tendency at Halloween Adventure (East Village, NYC) and snapped a picture to send in: Sara P. found another example, this time from iparty.  The […]

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