Latest Articles

MFNW: Big Freedia, The Queen Diva

It's MusicFest NW week here in Portland, and though it takes a lot for a shorty like me to brave the crowds of unbelievably tall dudes who magically appear out of thin air during music festivals, tonight I am heading out for one reason and one reason only: Big Freedia. It's Bounce time, y'all!

Push(back) at the Intersections: Sick of This: Mental Illness in Pop Culture

One area of pop culture where really problematic and questionable depictions of people come up is that of mental illness. The way that mental illness is depicted, whether it is within the context of a celebrity scandal; the characterization of a person in a film, comic, or television show; a book; or music, can be extremely dubious. For those of us with mental illness(es), pop culture can be a...

sm{art}: Mierle Ukeles

How, exactly, does one become an artist-in-residence at a sanitation department? If you want to do it the way Mierle Ukeles did it, first you get expelled from Pratt for making "pornographic" abstract art. Then you have a baby. Then you write a rad manifesto that redefines everyday maintenance work as fine art. Then you make landfills into beautiful public parks! Easy peasy.

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Push(back) at the Intersections: 'I Just Don't Like That Many Female Characters'

As I read discussions about pop culture and see responses to female characters, I see a lot of hate for female characters, but not a lot of basis for that hate. Take Tara on True Blood. People say she's 'whiny' and 'boring.' These aren't really criticisms that add in a meaningful way to discussions about Tara; what exactly does it mean to be 'whiny'? What makes Tara 'boring'? Are...

Tube Tied: Sometimes the Real Housewives are a Little Too Real

I'm not one to guilt anyone for caring for lowbrow culture, not least because for so many years my bookish university friends made fun of me for watching television at all. (I've felt no small degree of satisfaction that The Sopranos, The Wire, and now Mad Men have had them eating their words more recently.) But every time I've tuned into any version of Bravo's Real Housewives franchise this...

Use your imagination: an interview with the women of Sociological Images

From PBR to Pampers, Lisa Wade and Gwen Sharp of the blog Sociological Images look at the cultural significance of the graphs, cartoons, and advertisements we usually take for granted. I spoke with Lisa and Gwen for our Mad World podcast about how the blog got started, how to "pull back the curtain" on advertisers, and why exactly the "mediocre male" is such a prevalent trope found today....

Have we come a long way? An interview with Jean Kilbourne

Jean Kilbourne made the first Killing Us Softly film in 1979. Now with several books under her belt and Killing Us Softly 4 out this spring, Kilbourne obviously hasn't stopped her activism in media criticism--whether it's following the increased sexualization of children in ads or calling out the alcohol and tobacco industry. Kelsey Wallace spoke to Kilbourne, a member of Bitch Media's...

Mad World: The Podcast

If you like reading our Mad World series on gender, identity, and advertising, you're going to *love* listening to the podcast! Click on the player below to hear interviews with the folks from Sociological Images, Jean Kilbourne, and much much more. You can also download the podcast from our iTunes channel or our archive page.

Transcript available here. (.doc) (Thanks JR and...

Size Matters: The Carrot and the Stick

Size discrimination is an unfortunate fact of life for many fat people working in a corporate environment. Fat workers are often passed over for promotions, denied raises, and told outright to their faces that they are undesirable to clients. Not only that, fat employees on average earn 1 to 6 percent less than employees whose weight is considered "normal." Fat people are also often the...

B-Sides: The Thermals Get Personal on Personal Life

Do you know what today is? It's Personal Life release day! If you're a Thermals fan (and you know I am), you've been excited for this day for a while now. And you won't be disappointed, because Personal Life delivers all of the energy, catchy hooks, and sing-along lyrics you've come to expect from these cuties. Check out their latest video if you need proof:

Pssst... You can also...

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