What else we're reading

Bitter women to reign over male subjects on Fox. Also, do lad mags offer up a "pantomime of sexism"?

By Tracy Clark-Flory
Published January 18, 2007 12:40AM (EST)

Slate: Anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker makes an argument that's likely of interest to all parents-to-be; he believes that the dramatic growth in reported rates of autism -- which has been called an epidemic by some -- is the result of a rise in diagnoses, rather than actual occurrences. "I am not sure why people are so resistant to the idea that true autism rates may have remained stable," he says. "Perhaps they don't want to give up on the hope that, if only we could find the cause of the 'epidemic' we could help these children. We could eliminate the toxins, hold big corporations accountable, do something to reverse the trend. If there is no real epidemic, we might just have to admit that no one is to blame."

Newswise: In a sexual funk? It most likely isn't your birth control pill, according to a recent study by Jonathan Schaffir. Perhaps contrary to what anecdotal evidence may tell you (in my case, complaints from nearly every woman I know), Schaffir examined more than 25 years' worth of relevant studies and found that birth control is rarely the culprit of a low libido. "The available literature illustrated that decreased libido is an idiosyncratic, unpredictable reaction in a small minority of women."

The Mail on Sunday (via Bust): The BBC has reportedly thrown down nearly $260,000 for a TV documentary titled "I Love the C-Word," which will examine why the four-letter word for female genitalia has become so popularized. Of course, by the Mail on Sunday's count, the BBC has also been a very enthusiastic promoter of the word in its own right.

Reality TV Magazine: Here comes another classy series from the folks at Fox: "When Women Rule the World." The network's press release queries: "What if women made ALL the decisions? If men were their subjects? These questions and more will be explored when a group of strong, educated and independent women, tired of living in a man's world and each with a personal axe to grind, rule over a group of unsuspecting men used to calling the shots on WHEN WOMEN RULE THE WORLD." While the show supposedly sets out to turn "traditional gender roles upside-down," something tells me it'll still be rich with awesomely bad caricatures on either side of the gender divide.

Eat the Press: This month in the Atlantic, Jon Zobenica laments the rise of "lad mags" like FHM (which recently folded), Maxim and Stuff and argues that they present a "pantomime of sexism." Only part of the article is available online for nonsubscribers, but the Huffington Post's Melissa Lafsky sums it up for us: "Zobenica observes that Hefner's world of hot tubbing by snow-capped mountains with a Montecristo in one hand and an intoxicating (and presumably monogamous) brunette in the other has dissolved into a testosterone-fused playground where video games, beer chugging contests and headlines like 'Stooge Luge! Now people can ride something dumber than your sis!' reign supreme."

Tracy Clark-Flory

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