Social commentary

Pink Scare

Pink Scare
Article by Avital Norman Nathman, Illustrated by JooHee Yoon, appeared in issue Red; published in 2011; filed under Social commentary.
What's behind the media panic about "princess boys"?
Red

Ever since the age of 2, when his hair first started growing in, my son Elijah has been mistaken for a girl. As he grew, so did his curls; they now frame his face and inch toward his shoulders, with every offer to trim them rebuffed. Elijah was 3 when he started painting his toenails; he had been watching me give myself pedicures, and decided that his toes needed some color as well. Now, at 4, he parades around his best friend’s house wearing her frilliest purple dress while they play detailed and intense games of “Princess.”

The Unbelievers

The Unbelievers
Article by Victoria Bekiempis, Illustrated by Ryan Brown, appeared in issue Reverb; published in 2011; filed under Social commentary.
New Atheism and the Old Boys' Club

Women are God-fearing and don’t challenge institutions. Men, on the other hand, are skeptical and rational, and go out of their way to publicly call bullshit on faith and religion—which is why today’s well-known secular thinkers, especially in the ranks of the New Atheism movement, are all male.

House Proud

House Proud
Article by Gina McGalliard, Illustrated by Lorraine Nam, appeared in issue Confidential; published in 2010; filed under Social commentary.
The troubling rise of stay-at-home daughters

“Daughters aren’t to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope 
of their father. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out 
independently and say, ‘I’m going to marry whoever I want.’ No. The father has 
the ability to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.’”

Remote Control

 Remote Control
An interview with Jennifer Pozner by Shira Tarrant, appeared in issue Confidential; published in 2010; filed under Social commentary.
Media activist Jennifer L. Pozner talks back to TV

I'm meeting up with journalist, media critic, and activist Jennifer L. Pozner at a chic West Village doughnut café. As Pozner strolls in on a pair of Marc Jacobs platform slingbacks, she casually tosses her Kooba tote over the back of the patio chair. Her floppy- brimmed Prada hat catches a late-summer Manhattan breeze and, fresh from an appointment with celebrity stylist Garren, her perfectly highlighted tresses are smoothed into a simple ponytail.

Guy Trouble

These days, most men's movie roles feature hard-talking, heavy-hitting leads. Or self-conscious, awkward types bumbling through social relations. Or there are the sweet-hearted slacker dudes glued to the couch--and maybe their bongs--allergic to steady jobs but true to their friends. Sometimes the men are a combination of two of these types, as in the new bromance comedy I Love You, Man.

Making Geek Chic

Making Geek Chic
Article by Tammy Oler, Illustrated by Jing Wei, appeared in issue Make-Believe; published in 2010; filed under Social commentary.
Can tech crafting outfit more girls for technology?

Wearable technology may feel like science fiction, but it’s actually becoming a reality right before our eyes. Law enforcement, the military, and the medical industry have long sought ways to integrate technology with clothing to augment health and personal safety. More recently, high fashion has started swooning over the possibilities of techy dressing: The artsy Rodarte label debuted LED-embedded glowing heels at Fashion Week earlier this year.

Lavender Menaced

Lavender Menaced
Article by R. F. McCann, appeared in issue Action; published in 2010; filed under Social commentary; tagged gay is the new black, lesbian, LGBT.
After the National Equality March wended its way through the nation's capital this past October, the New York Times ran coverage of the event under the headline "Gay Rights Marchers Press Cause in Washington." A year earlier, in the midst of California's Prop 8 battle, American Apparel debuted its "Legalize Gay" t-shirts, which were scooped up by supporters of gay rights, gay marriage, gay adoption, and gays in the military. After Prop 8 passed, comedienne Wanda Sykes came out. She was very proud, she said, to be "gay." At the risk of seeming pedantic or quibbling, one might pause to wonder what ever happened to the word that once seemed to march so firmly hand-in-hand with "gay." Whither "lesbian"?

Hitting the Small Time

Hitting the Small Time
Article by Mindy Hung, Illustrated by Tanya Lam, appeared in issue Old; published in 2010; filed under Social commentary; tagged Alec Greven, children, hype, media, Tavi Gevinson, wunderkind.
Perhaps you've heard of 10-year-old Alec Greven, the author of a series of self-help tomes like How to Talk to Dads and How to Talk to Santa. The wee guru has appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Today show, CNN, The Tonight Show, and Good Morning America. In December 2008, Twentieth Century Fox announced that it had optioned How to Talk to Girls, Greven's first book and the one that launched his brand. It's easy to see why the media has glommed on to Greven: He's adorable, nonthreatening, and he doesn't yet have any frown lines to show up in HD. He's bright, but he stumbles charmingly over his words. He's not going to freak out Meredith Vieira by talking about string theory, or intimidate viewers by solving complex math equations on air. And he's hardly the only boy wonder out there.

Control Womb

Control Womb
Article by Bree Kessler, Illustrated by Dani Crosby, appeared in issue Old; published in 2010; filed under Social commentary; tagged apps, fertility, fertility industry, iPhone, pregnancy, technology.
Want to get pregnant? There's an app for that. Want to not get pregnant? There's an app for that, too (and no, it's not condoms). Want to know why you're so damn moody? There's—yep—an app for that. They could be considered the Our Bodies, Ourselves for the tech-savvy women of the 21st century: iPhone applications that inform women about the workings of their bodies without actually engaging with flesh and blood.

Is Meghan McCain the new heartbeat of the GOP or the new headache?

Is Meghan McCain the new heartbeat of the GOP or the new headache?
You may know her as John McCain's cute, blonde, 24-year-old daughter, whose site, McCain Blogette, may have been the first campaign-trail travelogue to dish about its author's favorite cosmetics and love of Tupac. You may have seen her appearances on The Rachel Maddow Show or Politically Incorrect. And you may have heard about her kerfuffle with conservative columnist Laura Ingraham, who made fat jokes about the young McCain, to which she responded in a Daily Beast column titled "Quit Talking About My Weight, Laura Ingraham." What you may not know is that Meghan McCain is currently being shined up as the new face of Republican politics in a time when that party is grasping wildly at relevance. She's pro-God, pro-gun, pro-life, and pro-military—but, as she's constantly pointing out, pro-sex and pro-gay as well. Two writers ponder the polarizing upstart.
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