For once, a casting announcement for an iconic film has been met with little objection. Late Wednesday afternoon, Hollywood trade publications reported that Adam Driver would likely play a key role as the villain in the new Star Wars trilogy. If Driver ends up with the part, this is good news for all. Driver is a terrific actor, and it bodes well for the upcoming trilogy that the producers have chosen someone whose strength lies in his abilities, not in conventional good looks.
Obviously, it is also a big deal for Driver himself, as it marks a huge leap forward in his career. Two years ago, nobody knew his name, but after breaking out in Girls and securing small but memorable roles in prestigious fare like Lincoln and Inside Llewyn Davis, he is now on a more secure path to movie stardom.
But one question remains: Why is it that the first actor from Girls to break through to success in the movies is a man?
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While researching a fictional trilogy about the Civil War, Kim Murphy kept coming across the assertion that it was a “low-rape” war. At first she didn’t question the idea, she says, but after finding official records that mentioned rape in the same sentence as pillaging and burning—crimes generally accepted to have happened—she started to suspect there was a hole in the history that needed filling. She did more digging, and what she uncovered became her new, nonfiction book, I Had Rather Die: Rape in the Civil War.Historians, Murphy says, largely had the idea that the Victorian era was characterized by restraint, and therefore there was little rape.
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Most Americans don’t care about the gender of their coworkers, but those who do prefer men by a wide margin.
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When Chris Renshaw told his co-workers that he was planning to take six weeks of paternity leave, they responded with overwhelming support. “It’s definitely looked at in a good light,” says Renshaw, 28, who lives in Northern California and was taking infant-care classes to hone his diapering and baby-bathing skills. “People have said, ‘That’s a great idea—take as much as you can. It’s time that you can be with your child.’ ”
This would hardly be surprising if Renshaw worked for one of the legions of progressive tech companies in the Bay Area, but he’s a firefighter. His decision to take paternity leave, and his fellow firefighters’ enthusiastic reaction, is a sign of a new phase in our never-ending quest for work-life harmony.
As usual, California is at the vanguard of this shift. While the federal Family and Medical Leave Act has long granted up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to mothers and fathers in large and medium-size workplaces, in 2002 California became the first U.S. state to guarantee six weeks of paid leave for mothers and fathers alike, financed by a small payroll-tax contribution from eligible workers. Since then, New Jersey and Rhode Island have followed suit with 12 and 13 paid weeks, respectively, while other states are taking steps toward similar policies. In Silicon Valley, many tech giants have gone above and beyond the government mandate: Google offers men seven weeks of paid leave; Yahoo, eight; and Reddit and Facebook, a generous 17.
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Recently, a date said to me, “You haven’t given me any compliments yet. I’ve complimented you plenty of times.”
It made me think about how rare it is for a man to openly express a desire to be praised for his looks and question why I didn’t compliment men on their looks more often. When I Googled, “men given compliments on appearance,” Google suggested I try, “Men give compliments on appearance.”
The concept of women complimenting men on their appearance can still seem foreign. Men are often portrayed as using compliments as a social tool, but do they themselves want to be applauded for their physical attributes?
In wanting to be praised for his looks, it would appear my date falls into a minority, according to one 1990 study by researchers at SUNY Binghamton and the University of the Witwatersrand, which concluded that compliments from men were generally accepted, especially by female recipients, but “compliments from women are met with a response type other than acceptance”: as a threat.
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Some of the biggest stories and debates in the media in 2013 had to do with gender relations—LGBT rights, women in the workplace, parenting styles, and more. Same-sex marriage gained more approval and legitimacy than ever this year, both in public opinion polling and as a matter of federal law. Sheryl Sandberg told women to “lean in” at the office, while the military told women they were now permitted to “lean in” on the battlefield. Bradley Manning became Chelsea Manning. And researchers offered up interesting new studies for individuals seeking a happy home life.
Here are our picks for the most interesting narratives about sex and gender in 2013.
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A new poll finds that Millennial men are least likely to see the need for further progress.
Women engage in indirect aggression and slut-shaming, even in clinical research studies. Why?
“Hypersexual Disorder” came very close to being added to the DSM-V, the controversial fifth edition of the standard psychiatric diagnostic manual, released earlier this year. That is the official term for what’s sometimes referred to as “sex addiction.”
Though it may not be officially recognized as a disorder, hypersexuality or sex addiction—call it what you will—is typically portrayed in the realm of men. The disparity is striking and important. Fictional sex addicts, like those seen on the show Desperate Housewives, and in the recent films Shame and Thanks for Sharing, are almost always men. So it is perhaps not surprising that research about sex addiction among women is scarce.
One of the only studies focusing specifically on female sex addicts was published just last year, and it has some surprising findings: For one, exposure to pornography as a child was a stronger predictor of hypersexual behavior than sexual abuse as a child. Prior to that, the one study that did include women (from 2003, which compared rates of sex addiction among males and females on a college campus) actually found that nearly twice as many women as men fell into the “needing further evaluation” and “at-risk” categories. But you won’t have any trouble finding research on female hypoactive sexual desire, also known as “low sex drive,” which is neatly consistent with societal norms about sex: that men want it all the time and women never do.
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It was just moments after I finished an IPA tour at the Great American Beer Festival with Julia Herz, the Craft Beer Program director for the Brewers Association. “Women drinking beer!” one guys said, pointing up to the “womenenjoyingbeer.com” booth. Two of his male friends gave a laughing grunt, and one took out his phone to capture the moment for re-telling.
The idea of women in the beer world is often parodied and, occasionally, openly mocked. But why?
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