Tag Archives: history

Drinks, Masculinity, and Sexuality

Jesus Christ, who knew that sodas were now being segregated by sex and gender?  I mean, I’ve always heard about alcoholic drinks being divided by gender (and sexuality for men) and have always hated the assumption that drinks were weaker and therefore more feminine based on sugar content and color.

On this thread, men not only argue that appletinis are for girls and Guinness is for boys, but go even further by arguing what shots are considered “girly” and what mixed drinks “manly,” regardless of the drink’s effect on your blood alcohol level.

This gender and sexuality binary is perpetuated in pop culture.  Case in point – Scrubs:

But now things are reverting back to the Stone Age, i.e. the 1970s and before.

Here’s the new commercial for Dr. Pepper 10, with the tagline, “Not for Women”:

As long as I’ve been keeping track, Dos Equis ads have always been marketed towards men, but here’s a new one comparing women to wild animals and men to hunters, with commentary from Jezebel:

And here’s an ad for Imperial whiskey from 1975, with the slogan, “Every man should have his own.”  Obviously talking about more than just liquor…

I don’t really know what to make of this.  At what age do drinks become gendered?  Are grape juice boxes more masculine than apple ones?  And is Dr. Pepper’s new tagline working, for a drink that I’ve always considered gender-neutral?

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Here Comes Everybody: America’s Most Inclusive and Confusing Museum Is Proposed for D.C.

From ArtInfo.com

The National Mall in Washington, D.C. is host to more than a dozen museums, which showcase art and scientific ephemera from a profusion of cultures and eras. Plans for a new National Museum of African American History and Culture are underway and the possibility of a Latino museum looms on the horizon.

[I’m going to add that advocates are vying for funding to build a National Women’s History Museum as well in DC, yet their proposals have been continuously rejected.]

And now it seems that another institution celebrating an aspect of our national heritage is looking to move into the neighborhood. According to the Washington Post, the New York-based Coalition for the National Museum of the American People, under the leadership of retired federal employee Sam Eskenazi, is campaigning for the establishment of an institution that would tell the tale of immigration to the Americas — from travelers arriving 20,000 years ago to people landing on American soil today. Yes, a museum of everybody.

The coalition — which claims on its Web site to have garnered the support of some 130 ethnic and minority organizations and 50 notable scholars — is calling for Congress to appoint a bipartisan commission to investigate the possibility of establishing a museum to tell the history of how 200 centuries of migration formed a nation. This commission would look to gauge whether the proposed museum would fall under the governance of the Smithsonian or not, which would dictate its location and funding. Eskanazi, however, is confidant the museum could be funded by private donors and not taxpayer dollars. After all, it would have a lot of constituents.

According to Eskanazi’s site, “the Museum’s mission would be to advance and disseminate knowledge about the story of the making of the American people and to challenge visitors to reflect upon moral questions that are raised by that story as well as to take pride in it.” The museum would do this by introducing individual immigrants, telling the story of where they came from, why they left their home country, how they got to America, where and among whom they settled, how they became American, and how they left their mark on the nation. The “four chapters” that would frame these stories would be: “the first peoples come” (20,000 years ago-1607), “the nation takes form” (1607-1820), “the great in-gathering” (1820-1924), and “still they come” (1924-present).

A former public affairs director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Eskenazi began working on a proposal for the National Museum of the American People in 2007, but a bill put to Congress in 2008 to create a study commission did not advance, leading Eskenazi to form the coalition in 2009. The coalition claims that the institution could open in 2018 if approved.

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Female desire and the princess culture (via ReelGirl)

Some factoids from Peggy Orenstein’s book Cinderella Ate My Daughter, summarized by ReelGirl:

Pink – Children were not color-coded until early twentieth century. Before that, babies wore all white, because to get clothing clean, it had to be boiled. Boys and girls also used to all wear dresses. When nursery colors were introduced, pink was more masculine, a pastel version of the red, which was associated with strength. Blue was like the Virgin Mary and symbolized innocence, thus the girl color. When the color switched is vague. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Alice in Wonderland all wear blue. Sleeping Beauty’s gown was switched to pink to differentiate her from Cinderella.

Baby doll – In an 1898 survey, less than 25% of girls said dolls were their favorite toy. “President Theodore Roosevelt… obsessed with declining birth rates among white, Anglo-Saxon women, began waging a campaign against ‘race-suicide.’ When women ‘feared motherhood,” he warned, our nation trembled on the ‘brink of doom.’ Baby dolls were seen as a way to revive the flagging maternal instinct of girls, to remind them of their patriotic duty to conceive; within a few years, dolls were ubiquitous, synonymous with girlhood itself. Miniature brooms, dustpans, and stoves tutored these same young ladies in the skills of homemaking…”

“It’s not that pink is intrinsically bad, it is such a tiny slice of the rainbow,” Orenstein writes. To grow brains, kids need more, varied experiences, not fewer.

Female desire and the princess culture Thank you Peggy Orenstein for writing the brilliant book Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Every parent should read this new, excellent analysis of the ubiquitous princess kid-culture and its various mutations in the world of grown-up women.   Orenstein, a NY Times journalist, mom, and writer takes on and deconstructs two (so annoying!) messages every parent hears if she dares to challenge the monarchy of these frothy creatures. Myth number one: w … Read More

via ReelGirl

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Lost in Translation – The Power of Language in Pop Culture

I read this ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE article on the power of language.  As a historian in training you learn that history is, in fact, subjective – not objective – simply due to the power of words.  Events can be described any number of ways and the words chosen to describe these events have connotations.  Which is why many of us abhor textbooks.

Lera Boroditsky, professor of psychology at Stanford and editor in chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology, argues that language is crucial in determining causality:

“In addition to space and time, languages also shape how we understand causality. For example, English likes to describe events in terms of agents doing things. English speakers tend to say things like “John broke the vase” even for accidents. Speakers of Spanish or Japanese would be more likely to say “the vase broke itself.” Such differences between languages have profound consequences for how their speakers understand events, construct notions of causality and agency, what they remember as eyewitnesses and how much they blame and punish others.”

Here’s a segment from Boroditsky’s essay in the Wall Street Journal on the cultural influence of language.  Although most of the essay is on the use of language by different cultures, here Boroditsky explains the pop cultural significance of language using the example of Janet Jackson’s and Justin Timberlake’s controversial Superbowl performance in 2004.

In another study, English speakers watched the video of Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” (a wonderful nonagentive coinage introduced into the English language by Justin Timberlake), accompanied by one of two written reports. The reports were identical except in the last sentence where one used the agentive phrase “ripped the costume” while the other said “the costume ripped.” Even though everyone watched the same video and witnessed the ripping with their own eyes, language mattered. Not only did people who read “ripped the costume” blame Justin Timberlake more, they also levied a whopping 53% more in fines.

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