(Some Like It) Hot Topics

Cowboys Don’t Cry: Westerns & the Ideal Man

“He ain’t much of a man, is he?”

I remember well the words of Buck Hannassey in Big County. His guttural insults were just one among many to blare through my grandparent’s walnut encased TV. Sitting there, on that avocado armchair, I first learned to distinguish between “real” men and their inferiors–those city slickers who couldn’t handle a gun or their liquor.

Uncategorized

Of Sirens and Scholars: The Making of a Pin-up Feminist

“You look like a victim.”

I pursed my cherry-painted lips and folded my arms. “What do you mean I look like a victim?”

“I would just suggest dying your hair brown. Wear glasses. Invest in some baggier clothes.”

I instinctually pulled at the hem of my pencil skirt.

“But I have perfect eyesight. And my natural hair color is blonde…well, maybe not this particular shade…”

I thought back to the beginning of the semester and the orientation I attended for doctoral student professors.

A seasoned instructor proffered this gem: “The best piece of advice I can give you women is to dress like a man. Students won’t take you seriously otherwise.”

I remember turning to a female colleague and exchanging an incredulous smirk. Dress like a man? What does that even mean?

Years before, a graduate professor had instructed me to speak in a lower register for similar reasons. Determined to be “taken seriously,” I unintentionally delivered my class presentation in a cartoonishly seductive voice. Needless to say, the professor promptly retracted his advice.

Dress like a man. Talk like a man.