Of Penises and Planets: On Labels in Science and Culture

Just what counts as a penis? A debate over what to call the genitals of an unusual group of cave insects has broader implications, because it gets right at the heart of science and science communication: what's the relationship between the labels we use in science and the way those labels are understood by our culture? » 4/20/14 4:01pm Sunday 4:01pm

Mad Men: The Ads Don Wasn't Supposed To Tear Out Of Megan's Magazine

On the season premiere of Mad Men last night Megan implores Don to not tear the ads out of her magazine. We just happened to notice from the cover that it was the February 1969 issue of Playboy that she was rightly safeguarding. We dipped into our archives to find out which ads appeared in that issue and gathered the… » 4/15/14 4:51pm 4/15/14 4:51pm

Should Jared Leto's Dallas Buyer's Club Performance Be Lauded or Loathed?

Jared Leto's performance in Dallas Buyers Club annoyed me from the first moment his character, Rayon, a transgender woman, appeared on screen. She peeked around a curtain in the hospital like a stalking cat, looking to snatch a glimpse of the half-naked man in the bed next to her. Her action sent a message that carried … » 2/27/14 5:43pm 2/27/14 5:43pm

What It's Like To Get an Abortion in a Country Where It's Illegal

The focus of this week's episode of the U.K.'s Secrets of South America was Argentina (last week's, featuring the clip of the beauty queen with mesh sewn to her tongue, was Venezuela). The show, a sort of modern imagining of the Prosperi/Jacopetti Mondo movies as hosted by a perky cross between Alexa Chung and Fiona… » 2/13/14 5:19pm 2/13/14 5:19pm

Is the Black Community Homophobic?: A Discussion With Yoruba Richen

Yoruba Richen's documentary The New Black (opening today at New York's Film Forum) achieves what seemed impossible before it: It examines the generalized notion that the black community is homophobic with specificity and subtlety. Using the backdrop of the fight for marriage equality in Maryland in 2012 (where it was… » 2/12/14 3:59pm 2/12/14 3:59pm

Forget Tiger Mom. Success Is About Skechers and the Ethnic Food Aisle.

We the American people can finally rejoice. As you may have heard, Amy Chua (aka Tiger Mom)'s new book The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America is officially available. Finally, the lowly unsuccessful (by cultural upbringing) people can finally unlock the… » 2/10/14 5:15pm 2/10/14 5:15pm

Venezuelan Beauty Queen Has Mesh Sewn to Tongue So She Can't Eat

In the clip above, 2013 Miss Venezuela First Runner-Up Wi May Nava describes the plastic surgery she underwent to compete in pageants (boob and nose jobs). She also talks about the piece of mesh that she has sewn to her tongue so that she can't eat solid foods (this description, btw, took place before she won her… » 2/06/14 8:55pm 2/06/14 8:55pm

Why 2013 Was Hip-Hop’s “Faggot” Spring

"I'll be honest, I really wanted to win the Best Rap Video, but this Moonman right here stands for a lot more," the rapper Macklemore said earlier this year, holding the MTV Video Music Awards "Best Video With a Social Message" trophy. The honor was for the video accompanying his gay-equality anthem "Same Love," a song that… » 12/27/13 12:20pm 12/27/13 12:20pm

Patti LaBelle Does Not Give a Fuck

Patti LaBelle was the guest on last night's episode of Oprah's Next Chapter. She regularly furrowed her brow at Oprah's questions, often answering them with a side-eye and a "What!" It was, in short, everything you'd want it to be. Moreover, it was everything, period. » 11/04/13 3:16pm 11/04/13 3:16pm

A Gay Man and Woman Discuss "the Best Sex I've Ever Seen on Screen"

Since its debut earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, Abdellatif Kechiche's eventual Palm d'or-winning Blue Is the Warmest Color has been one of the most discussed movies of the year. The three-hour French-language film features about 10 minutes of explicit lesbian sex over three scenes (including one that… » 10/27/13 12:02pm 10/27/13 12:02pm

Paula Deen's E! True Hollywood Story Was Revisionist Propaganda

If you've been hungry for a retelling of the racism controversy that chewed through Paula Deen's career this summer and rendered her a blubbering train wreck, check out the above clip from her E! True Hollywood Story, which aired last night. Though Deen did not sit down with E! for an exclusive interview, her sons… » 10/15/13 7:15pm 10/15/13 7:15pm

Here Are Druggy Highlights of Gina Gershon's Donatella Versace Biopic

Lifetime's House of Versace aired last night, and it was excellent to see Gina Gershon in her old thematic stomping ground of playing a coked-up lady boss set on making everyone's lives miserable. Though critically savaged, I'd wager that Gershon's alternately groggy and raving portrayal of Donatella Versace (complete… » 10/06/13 1:56pm 10/06/13 1:56pm

Here's a Supercut of People Saying "Twerk" on the News

Miley Cyrus' jaw-dropping twerk-a-thon at this year's MTV Video Music A-twerks was a twerktacular twerkfest that set off a 24/7 twerk cycle. The news loves twerking, the news is confused by twerking, some people on the news won't twerk, some people say they will but don't. » 8/27/13 4:15pm 8/27/13 4:15pm

“I'm Good with Myself”: A Conversation with Laverne Cox

It's hard to say which is rarer: meaty, star-making roles for trans actors or careers that cross over from reality TV to acting. Laverne Cox has both. She competed on VH1's I Want to Work for Diddy, developed/starred in that network's makeover show TRANSform Me, and now she steals scenes as Sophia on Netflix's… » 7/30/13 1:02pm 7/30/13 1:02pm

Venezuelan Women Are Getting Nose Jobs To Look More Caucasian

In a quest for la nariz perfilada, the perfectly-formed (read: Anglo-looking) nose, there is an epidemic of rhinoplasties among black and multi-racial women in Venezuela, according to a study out of Dartmouth by assistant anthropology professor Lauren Gulbas. In examining the racial tensions and beauty regimes of women … » 7/06/13 3:30pm 7/06/13 3:30pm

The Problem With White Dolls

I met my first Cabbage Patch Kid at show-and-tell in Kindergarten. Julie Jones brought in the cherubic April Lynn and passed her around. There must've been something slightly creepy about the way I fondled the doll's shiny plastic head and crunchy blond ringlets because before my time was up, Julie snatched her out of… » 3/27/13 11:40am 3/27/13 11:40am