Category: Cordelia Fine

Random Anniversary 4: My Brain

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Almost two years to the day since my brain last celebrated the end of a journal, a sign that me and my brain need to work on spending more time with our journal and less time on Twitter. But the gratification from Twitter is instant, while the journal is more of a slow burn, and present me always needs cookies right now, all too often to the detriment of future me.

What happened in these two years documented in a little purple notebook that I got in Singapore? Who knows?? The notebook in question is tucked away in my Toronto apartment, while my brain and I are here in Tokyo. Recent happenings that are most certainly included in the journal include interpreting at TIFF in September and for author Hideo Furukawa last month (reasons why posting here has been especially light), but further back than that, and my poor memory grows hazy. I was in Japan a lot last year? Maybe? I lectured a bunch of hapless university students in America about gender in translation? I had some birthdays and my body continued its relentless march towards our inevitable decline? (more…)

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Testosterone Rex: Cordelia Fine

testoWith TCAF being this very weekend (come check it out! I will be at the Queer Mixer along with new footage from the Queer Japan film that we will show you! </shameless self promotion>), you’d think my brain would be one hundred percent comics all the time these days. And it mostly is! The other day, I devoured So Pretty/Very Rotten by Jane Mai and An Nguyen, a satisfyingly thick volume of comics and essays on Lolita fashion that I very much enjoyed. But An is a friend of mine, so I would feel weird about going on here about how great her book is. (But it is, though! You should read it. Also, if you’re in town for the big comics party, there’s a related art show at the Japan Foundation, and Jane and An will be talking about the book on Sunday moderated by yours truly. You should come! </shameless self + friend promotion>) I also read Canis the Speaker, and I have many thoughts, but my brain is still processing them. We work slowly.

But when I saw a new Cordelia Fine book on the shelf on my local bookseller, I couldn’t not pick it up. I loved her snarky takedown of gender constructions in Delusions of Gender, and Testosterone Rex with its subtitle of Myths of Sex, Science, and Society promised to deliver more of the same. And it does! This time, rather than straight up gender constructs, Fine tackles the myths surrounding testosterone and the idea that this hormone runs rampant in the male half of the species, creating this uncrossable divide between men and women. Unsurprisingly—and spoiler alert—she finds that all of this is pretty much garbage in a bunch of different ways. (more…)

Delusions of Gender: Cordelia Fine

I am reading all the depressing news for ladies these days. First, I find out that no one wants me, and now I learn that society is working hard to keep my math-loving brain down. What is a science nerd to do?

Oh, right, ignore all that bullshit and keep loving math. (Here’s a fun math-y treat!) But what if my math potential has been hindered by my very own math-loving brain?!

That’s basically what Cordelia Fine discusses in the first and third sections of Delusions of Gender. She takes a look at all the ways our society constructs gender, how gender-neutral parenting is a lot harder than refusing to buy your daughter a Barbie, and how the environment in which you are raised is inextricably intertwined with the genetics that code your physical self. Obvious culprits are brought to the forefront, like stereotype threat, but what was really fascinating to me was the myriad of ways these factors are subtly affecting you each and every day. Like, the simple fact of checking a box “male” or “female” is enough to trigger stereotype threat effects on your subsequent behaviour. And how many forms start with that simple checkbox? (A frustrated aside: So binary! What if you are neither?)  (more…)