There is no reason to delay the use of signage like this.

I understand that not everyone is ready for universal restrooms.

While I may use a restroom at a place like Oberon in Cambridge, MA, which has a large restroom of stalls and urinals used by all genders simultaneously, it's simply too much for some people.

When genitals are privately exposed for the purpose of elimination, they must only be privately exposed amongst their own kind. Strict segregation of penis and vulva at all times in public spaces is a nonnegotiable for many people.  

Note: Vulva is the correct term for the external female sex organ. The vagina is actually the internal genital tract extending from the vulva to the cervix, but for some reason, it is often used  incorrectly in place of the anatomically-correct vulva.

Someday, universal restrooms will be commonplace. People of all genders will enter a single space for the purpose of elimination, and no one will give a damn. Future generations will undoubtedly scoff at our bizarre need for genital segregation in the same way most of us scoff at the idea of segregating the races on a bus, a lunch counter, or a school. 

But some of us aren't ready for genital desegregation yet. I understand. Change is hard. Fear is a powerful force, even when it's unwarranted and misguided. Altering a longstanding norm can take time.  

But in the cases when a public restroom is a single serve space with a lock on the door, why can't we at least dispose of the male and female distinctions and use something more appropriate like this outstanding sign located at RJ Julia Booksellers in Middletown, CT?

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3c0a.jpg

Not only is this sign more respectful and inclusive to all genders, but it makes no sense for three women to be waiting for their single use restroom while the restroom designated for men is empty.

From a perspective of efficiency, this is a change that must be made.

More importantly, signage like this demonstrates the necessary level of respect, inclusivity, and civility that should be afforded to people of all genders, as well as a much needed acknowledgement that gender is not always a binary proposition, and that all people deserve to live their most authentic lives absent of stigma, bias, or fear. 

Gender binary signage should already be a thing of the past, at least in the case of single use restrooms. This is a small but meaningful step that even the most ardent traditionalists and most staunch genital segregation advocates would be hard pressed to oppose.

If you own a business with single-use restrooms equipped with gender binary signage, change it today. Make the world a little more efficient for all human beings and a little more accepting to people of all genders and forms of gender expression.

Where the hell is black?

Forget the gender implication contained in this graph. Where is black?

I've always thought that the concept of a favorite color is kind of strange. My color preferences tend to depend upon context. I might prefer red in some circumstances and green in others. 

But if pressed, I say that black is my favorite color. It is my preferred color in most contexts. 

When it comes to choosing clothing colors, I prefer black. 
When it comes to ink, I prefer black over all others.
My car is black. My golf bag is black. My sneakers are black.  

So where is black on these graphs? 

Am I the only person in the world whose favorite color is black?

Gender reveals: Another example of "Not every thing needs to be a thing"

Gender reveal shenanigans are pretty stupid on a couple levels.

First, they are stupid just because they are stupid.

Your doctor tells you that you're having a girl, so you plan a party. You bake a pink cake with white frosting. You send invitations to friends and relatives who have much better things to do that day. Your guests gather around the cake and watch you slice, revealing the pink interior and therefore the gender of your future child. People pretend to cheer. They shake your hand with false enthusiasm and wonder how long they need to linger at the party before leaving. 

If you need this kind of attention, try stand-up comedy instead. Or ballet. Maybe learn to joust so you can perform in the local Renaissance fair. Do something where the public attention you so desperately crave is part of the deal. Required, even.

Stop turning things like gender reveals and prom proposals into performance art. Every thing doesn't need to be a thing.  

But here's the other reason gender reveals are stupid:

There's no way of knowing what your child's gender is. You can know the sex of your child, but as we now know, gender is much more complex than the genitals that you have been assigned. Cutting into that pink cake is no guarantee that your child will identify as female later in life.

If you're going to engage in this stupidity, you'll at least need to ditch "gender reveal"" and instead call it a "sex reveal."

Or maybe a "Penis or vagina reveal" (though it would probably be more accurate to refer to it as a "Penis and vulva reveal" since the exterior female sex organ is the vulva and not the vagina, as everyone seems to think). 

 Hopefully, you find phrases like "sex reveal" or Penis and vulva reveal"  so disconcerting that you cancel the whole shebang and reveal your child's sex the old fashioned way:

You call your mom. You meet your friend for dinner. You tell your buddy on the golf course. Hang some pink or blue balloons off your mailbox. You post the news to social media. 

Or do what my wife and I did:

Wait until the baby is born. Check for yourself. Then tell everyone.

And if you thought the sex reveal cake was bad - and it is - check out this Mensa candidate revealing the sex of his child via colored chalk and explosives. 

Boy vs. Girl: Episode 25 - Income in Dating, Mansplaining, and Tallywackers

In this week's episode, Rachel and I discuss income as a determining factor in dating, the ridiculousness of mansplaining, and our thoughts on the new restaurant Tallywackers and public nudity.

I tell Rachel that her boobs are not very special. It's great.

You can listen here or - better yet - subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store or wherever you get your podcasts.

And if you like the show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes. It helps readers find the show, and it makes me feel even better about myself.

Firemen became firefighters. Penmanship became handwriting. Great. But there's one gender neutral word I can't support.

Firemen became firefighters.
A serious improvement. I'd rather be a firefighter than a fireman. 

Stewardess became flight attendant.
Also an improvement.  

Policemen became police officer.
A solid choice. I'd rather call a police officer for help than a policeman. 

Mailman became mail carrier. 
Fine. More descriptive, even.

Penmanship became handwriting.
A more modern alternative.  

Waiter and waitress became server. 
I don't love it, but I can live with it. 

Freshmen became first year students.
A little awkward. Not the greatest. But I can live with it if I must.

I appreciate the attempt to create a more gender-neutral language, particularly when so many of these words traditionally skewed male. 

But there's one that I just can't get behind:

Fisherman has become fisher. 

In 2013, Washington state completed a six year process of rewriting their laws so that they were written using gender neutral terminology. Certain words like manhole cover remained because a better alternative could not be found, but fisherman became fisher, and I hate it.

And it's not only Washington who has adopted the new word. Many websites and news organizations acknowledge fisher as an appropriate alternative to fisherman.

I'm not saying that fisherman is the right word. I'm saying that despite it's obvious male slant, fisherman is a hell of a lot better than fisher. 

But I'm open to better options. I asked my students for alternatives, and their suggestions weren't all that appealing, either. 

Fisher person
Fish hunter
Fish catcher

To be honest, they didn't love these ideas, either. They also agreed that fisher was a terrible alternative.

One of them pointed out that a fisher is actually a small mammal that doesn't eat fish.

Another terrible use of the word.

So I'm looking for an alternative to fisher, and until I find one, I think I'm going stick with the admittedly male leaning and possibly sexist word fisherman.

Sometimes a word - even when wrong - just feels right. 

I don't know any professional fishermen - male or female - but I can't help but think that they would agree with me.

Boy vs. Girl: Episode 20A and 20B - Twenty Questions

In this week's episode of Boy vs. Girl, Rachel and I play 20 questions in a special two part episode celebrating our 20th episode. We ask each other about spirit animals and Super Bowls and coed naked podcasting. 

You can listen here or - better yet - subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store or wherever you get your podcasts.

And if you like the show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes. It helps readers find the show, and it makes me feel even better about myself.

Boy vs. Girl: Episode 17 - Sexy voice, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model, and Cuddling

In this week's episode, Rachel and I discuss Rachel's sexy voice, women's clothing sizes, and men's aversion to cuddling. 

You can listen here or - better yet - subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store or wherever you get your podcasts.

And if you like the show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes. It helps readers find the show, and it makes me feel even better about myself.

Boy vs. Girl: Episode 11 - New Year's Resolutions, Driving, and I WAS GROPED ON THE POLAR EXPRESS!

Episode 11 of Boy vs. Girl features a discussion of New Year's Resolutions (and Rachel's ridiculous resolution), the question over whether men or women are better drivers, and the story about how I was groped by a woman as I was disembarking the polar express, about ten feet from Santa Claus. 

You can listen here or subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store or wherever you get your podcasts. 


Boy vs. Girl: Episode 10 - Three Mystery Topics

In honor of our tenth episode, Rachel and I discuss three topics suggested by our listeners, including the language of women's emails, the tragedy of the multiple orgasm, and my brilliant solution to the scourge of dessert sharing.  

You can listen here or subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store or wherever you get your podcasts.

Boy Vs. Girl - Episode #5: The Military Draft, Man Vs. Wild, and Grudges

The latest episode of Boy Vs. Girl, a podcast about gender and gender stereotypes, is available now. Listen here or subscribe at iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

If you'd like to continue the conversation during the week, follow us on Facebook or send us an email to bvgpodcast@gmail.com.

You can also recommend a surprise third segment topic at bvgquestion@gmail.com. 

Also, if you like what you hear, please consider leaving a rating and review in iTunes. It helps listeners find our podcast and makes me feel better about myself.

Boy Vs. Girl

Stop saying that women are beautiful.

I was speaking at a conference recently. There were seven speakers in all - five women and two men. Each of us was introduced prior to our talk by one of the organizers.

During the introductions of three of the five female speakers, the organizer mentioned the woman's physical appearance.

"... the brilliant and beautiful..."

"... not only is she beautiful, but she is a published expert in her field..."  

"... a beautiful woman with a bold vision..."

Pay attention to the way women are introduced at events like this in the future. Their physical appearance is often mentioned as a part of the introduction, and almost always by other women.

Conversely, men's physical appearance is never mentioned. I have been introduced hundreds of times prior to a speech, story, or talk, and my physical appearance has never been included in the list of accolades or accomplishments. 

This needs to stop, for a few reasons:

  1. It's inappropriate. Physical appearance is irrelevant and should not be touted as a means of introducing a speaker. Doing so implies that beauty is just as important as the woman's professional accomplishments or academic pedigree. The last thing anyone should be talking about is what a woman looks like prior to listening to her speak.    
  2. When you mention the beauty of one female speaker but fail to do so for another female speaker (or even a male speaker), you risk hurting the feelings or offending the speakers whose physical appearance was unmentioned. I couldn't help but wonder if the two women whose physical appearance was not mentioned at that recent conference noticed the difference in introductory content. It was also interesting to note that the two women whose beauty was not mentioned were African American, while the other three were white.   
  3. Mentioning a woman's physical appearance during an introduction is sexist. The notion that we would include female appearance but not male appearance in an introduction implies that a woman's appearance is an important and relevant part of her value to society.   

Even if you can't agree with these first three reasons (and I honestly can't imagine any sane person not), here is one based solely on logic:

Unless the audience is comprised of blind people, mentioning that a woman is beautiful before she takes the stage is simply stating the obvious. The audience members are about to see the woman, and her beauty will therefore be apparent. From a logical standpoint, mentioning the physical appearance of a speaker is redundant and meaningless, because that beauty is about to take center stage.

This may seem like a small thing to you, but it is not. The perpetuation of the notion that a woman's physical appearance is an important part of her value and worth to society must be stopped whenever possible. This constant, public acknowledgement of the importance of a woman's appearance seems innocent enough, but it represents and reinforces the sexist, shallow, and stupid notions that we have about what is important in our culture. 

If you're introducing a female speaker, say nothing about her appearance. 

If you're a woman who is about to be introduced, make a point of asking that your physical appearance not be mentioned as a part of your introduction.

End this stupidity today. 

Boy vs. Girl: Episode 3 - Gender-Neutral Bathrooms, Salutations, and Bathing Suit Bottoms

Episode 3 of Boy Vs. Girl, our podcast about gender and gender stereotypes, dropped today. Listen to Rachel and I discuss the problems with gender neutral bathroom, the need to change female salutations, and the real reasons why women wear form-fitting bathing suit bottoms and men do not.

If you've missed any of our previous episodes, you can find them here

You can subscribe to Boy vs. Girl in iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts or listen below in Soundcloud.

If you like what you hear, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes. Reviews help listeners find the podcast, and the more listeners we have, the more likely Rachel and I will become ridiculously wealthy and be able to spend our days lounging on a Tahitian beach. 

Boy vs. Girl: Episode 2 - Insult Culture, Female Sports Fans, and the Need for Snuggies

The topics for this week's episode include: 

  1. The difference in the way men and women insult each other
  2. Female sports fans
  3. Bathing suit bottoms 

Please consider subscribing to Boy vs. Girl in the iTunes music store or on Stitcher, Overcast, or your favorite podcast platform.

If you like the show, please consider posting a review to iTunes. Reviews help listeners find out podcast and increase the chances that my co-host, Rachel, and I will become rich and famous. 


Boy Vs. Girl: Episode 1 of our new podcast launches today!

Two years ago, I began thinking about producing a podcast of my own. The combination of my excessive love for podcast and my fundamental (and possibly narcissistic) belief that I have interesting things to say led to my desire to become a podcast host.

Today, my podcast partner Rachel Leventhal-Weiner and I have finally achieved that goal with Boy vs. Girl: a podcast about gender and gender stereotypes from a self-described expert on gender issues (the boy) who has spent the last two decades immersed in female culture and a sociologist (the girl) who is an actual scholar with actual scholarly credentials. 

Basically I'm a guy who thinks he knows something and Rachel is an sociologist and academic with an actual doctorate or something.

Boy Vs. Girl

 

The origin of the podcast was this:

I have been an elementary school teacher for 17 years, working almost exclusively in the company of women. Prior to that time, I attended an all women's colleges. As a result, I have spent the past two decades immersed in female culture, and as a result, I have a unique and thorough perspective on that culture, in addition to the myriad of differences between men and women. 

My original plan was to write a book on the subject (and that is still in the works), with Rachel - the sociologist, academic, and expert - vetting my claims and ideally declaring me to be a genius. 

It turned out that Rachel not only disagreed with some of my assertions, but oddly enough, she also had strong opinions of her own on gender and gender stereotypes.

Who knew?

Thus Boy Vs. Girl was born.

Each week one of us will bring a gender-based topic to the table for debate, and then we will discuss a mystery topic, provided by the listeners, that we will open while recording.  

Episode #1 topics include the modern day Tupperware party, children's Halloween costumes, and panty hose.

You can listen to Boy Vs. Girl in Soundcloud (and subscribe to the podcast there to listen to on your computer) or click on the link below to listen right here on the blog, but if you're a podcast listener, you can listen (and hopefully subscribe) to our podcast in all of your favorite podcast apps, including iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, and more.   

We hope you'll listen.
We hope that you'll tell your friends and family and random strangers to listen.
We hope that you'll let us know what you think.
You can send us an email at boyvgirlpodcast@gmail.com
You can Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/boyvgirlpodcast
You can follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/boyvgirlpodcast
You can leave us a review in iTunes.

Thanks, and happy listening!