what to expect when you weren’t expecting the Y chromosome

I’ve been having a hard time wrapping my head around something. I’m going to be having a son.

I joked a while back about the reassurance that an ultrasound would provide that I was not incubating “some sort of tentacled alien spawn.” But, aside from reassuring me that creature had the correct number and arrangement of limbs to be classified as human, it also revealed to us an appendage that I had not anticipated. It seems that I have been, in fact, incubating some sort of testacled alien spawn.

It’s come as quite a surprise to me just how much of a surprise this is to me. I mean, I have known all along that it was a possibility.

And yet somehow, I didn’t really think it would happen.

I left that ultrasound appointment feeling someone stunned. Surprised. In mild shock. And I will admit here, and please don’t attack me for this, even somewhat disappointed.

That seems so harsh. Disappointed? The poor little guy hasn’t even been born yet, and already I’m disappointed in him? That hardly seems fair.

“I guess we won’t be reusing Phoebe’s dresses,” I’ve said. But of course, even though I’d love to hold on to some of those cute girl clothes a bit longer, my feelings aren’t really based on wardrobe.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s going on here. And I’ve realized that there are a lot of things going on.

Ever since I was little, I imagined that someday I’d be a mother. The specific circumstances of this motherhood status were typically murky, especially with respect to the role of a father in these imaginings. But always, I imagined that I would have 2 girls. Just like in my family.

Growing up, and moving around so much as I did, my closest friend was always my sister. We were, and still are, very close. It always seemed the natural order of things.

Somehow, I always imagined I’d reproduce this pattern, when I got around to reproducing.

I realize that even if I were to have a second girl, the individuals wouldn’t necessarily have had the relationship that my sister and I had. I know, of course, that Phoebe is not a new version of my sister, and that a second daughter wouldn’t be a new version of me. And yet I feel like I’m saying goodbye to that person that never existed outside my head.

And then there’s the fact that boys were largely unknown to me growing up. My immediate family consisted of me, my mother, and my sister. The next most involved family member was my grandmother. Obviously, there had been males around at various points. But by and large, we were a family of females. Even the cousins I saw most often were girls.

My father was around for my first 6 years, and then died. Both grandfathers had already died at that point. There were uncles I’d see for a few days every few years. There were boy cousins that I’d met here and there. There were stepfathers and boyfriends of my mother’s. But mostly, these males never felt part of my own life. They were visitors, or passers-by. I knew boys at my various schools, but was never even friends with any till high school. It wasn’t till college that I had any close relationships with men.

I realized, in my various ponderings, that John is the first male to have been in my life in any significant way for more than the 6 years that my life overlapped with my father’s. And John has even passed that number by another 10 years, clocking in now at 16 years.

And I sure am glad that John is here to share this experience with me. Because, among other things, John has some experience with growing up around boys. In fact, he even grew up as a boy.

I find myself continuing to be surprised that we’ll be having a boy, still avoiding using the gendered pronoun even now that it’s weeks since the revelation. And I question whether this leads me to feel a bit more detached from the pregnancy than I was the first time around. Or maybe it’s just that I’m so busy right now, and that I’ve been feeling pretty bad physically.

I am certain that I’ll come to love him fiercely as I love Phoebe. And I expect that there will come a time when I won’t be able to imagine things any other way, and when I can’t imagine my life without him.

big fears and small, hopeful faces

There was a New York Times article I read a couple of weeks ago that has left me thinking. It describes the some of the education situation in Afghanistan, and the attack on schools by Taliban rebels, who have protested the education of girls. Recently, there have been incidents of attacks on the students themselves, including brutal shootings of young girls leaving schoolgrounds.

The article was accompanied by a slideshow, containing beautiful photographs of some Afghan schools, and of the people affected by the attacks on the schools. We see the mourning family of a 13-year-old girl who was shot down and killed outside of her school, and students and teachers at work in tents being used as schoolrooms.

One image in particular gripped me. It shows a classroom, a tent actually, where young girls are standing or sitting among rows of tables, holding textbooks. They wear black and white, and most wear white scarves over their hair. The girl at the center of the image is holding out her book, and looking up eagerly at an adult that is mostly out of frame, a teacher, most likely. The girl’s eyes glint brightly and her mouth curves in a small smile. Another girl’s scarf has fallen to her shoulders, and she looks off to the side, her attention apparently diverted from the book activity. Other faces look down at books, or up at the teacher. Some look confident, some look a bit more uncertain. Some look focused on their books, and some a bit distracted by other things going on in the room. I imagine that they are all a bit exicited to have the photographer in the classroom with them. All of their small beautiful faces look eager, engaged. They look, more than anything, just like children. In spite of the setting. In spite of their formal-looking style of dress. And most amazingly, in spite of the dangers they face.

In their faces I see myself as a girl, and my own eagerness for learning. I see my daughter’s face, and the future that education will bring her. I see my sister’s face, my mother’s face, my friends’ faces, and the faces of all the women I know, who were once young girls, and who have benifitted from an education that we so easily take for granted.

My heart sings for those young girls at the same time as I feel the grip of fear for their very lives. Their world is being expanded, their minds enriched, the possibilities of their future are multiplying.

I am horrified that children are paying such a high price for their education. I’m appalled and deeply saddened. I can barely imagine the choices that these children and their parents must face.

At the same time, the photo gives me some hope. The number of students attending schools, both boys and girls, is increasing in the years since the end of the Taliban’s government. Educators and parents in Afghanistan, and organizations around the world, are fighting to make schooling possible for these children.

For more information on the education crisis in Afghanistan, and the emergency situation for Afghani children in general, see the UNICEF information pages for Afghanistan. There are also many other resources on the web, such as this publication of Human Rights Watch.

crispy flakes of wisdom and crunchy nuggets of knowledge

One of the prize books in my collection is a book by none other than J. H. Kellogg, M.D. Yes, of corn flakes fame. Many have heard of this notable personage from the book The Road to Wellville by T. C. Boyle (and movie based on the same).

I stumbled across this book while browsing in a used book store in East Lansing, Michigan. (I was there for Linguistics Summer Camp.) Having heard of Kellogg, I was intrigued. And with a title like Plain Facts, and a publication date of 1882, I had to see what it was about. I opened the book to a page at random. And laughed out loud. I flipped through more pages, and laughed again. (snort, snicker…) I had to buy the book before I was thrown out.

It turns out that the “plain facts” are all about sex. As written by someone who felt that sex should be avoided whenever possible.

I don’t remember what the first passage I read was. But the beauty of this book is that nearly every page offers some piece of wisdom that I just couldn’t make up. I must share it with the world at large.

For example, we learn from page 87 that young women must not get their feet wet at certain times of the month, or they may do permanent damage:

A young lady who allows herself to get wet or chilled, or gets the feet wet, just prior to or during menstruation, runs the risk of imposing upon herself life-long injury.

Even babies may be in danger from the “stamp of vice,” as we learn from page 183:

Sometimes–rarely we hope–the helpless infant imbibes the essence of libidinous desires with its mother’s milk, and thence receives upon its forming brain the stamp of vice.

And not to leave out the dangers to men, there’s page 366, which offers this dire warning about the perils of auto-eroticism:

Many young men waste away and die of symptoms resembling consumption which are solely the result of the loathsome practice of self-abuse.

So I offer to you a game. Please give me a random (or carefully selected by whatever means you like) number between 1 and 512, and I will attempt to locate some notable nugget of wisdom for you in the vicinity of that page.

[Note: I’ll get back with the nuggets for you next Tuesday, April 10th.]

dude looks like a lady, lady looks like a dude

Or, the clothes make the man (look like a woman or the woman look like a man)

As I promised last night, while reflecting on the cross-dressing tendencies of the females of our household, I’ve put together a list of some cross-dressing instances in theater, film and TV. The entertainment media show us a host of reasons for donning the garb of the opposite gender. Whether it’s a lifestyle choice, or for some pragmatic or work-related reason, we see a variety of possible benefits.

The list below is a bunch of movies, shows and plays that feature some sort of cross-dressing, that have further been tagged and sorted by additional features.

1. We have two main types, as in two main genders. So representatives will be tagged:

  • (m->f): male dressing as female (dude looks like a lady)
  • and

  • (f->m): female dressing as male (lady looks like a dude)
  • 2. (kaw) Also note that a lot of these movies and shows also have been highlighted in lists of my kick-ass women project, so I’ll tag them, too. Especially those involving women dressing in men’s clothes. (Coincidence?)

    Movies, shows and plays that feature cross-dressing

    1. First, we have movies featuring transgendered or transexual folk:

    • Some dramas:
  • Glen or Glenda (1953) (m->f)
    Ed Wood stars, Ed Wood directs. Ed Wood wears fuzzy angora sweaters. Known (as are all of Ed Wood’s films) as a wonderfully bad movie. I need to see this some time.
  • The Crying Game (1992) (m->f)
    Yes, I know I just spoiled the surprise ending.
  • Boys Don’t Cry (1999) (f->m)
    Hilary Swank plays a teenage boy who was born biologically female. (Another one I haven’t seen. I hear it’s very good.)
    • Drag Queens of the stage:
  • Kinky Boots (2005) (m->f)
    Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Lola, a drag queen who needs some new shoes.
  • The Bird Cage (1996) (m->f)
    Nathan Lane plays a stage queen. Also pretends to be a woman off the stage to fool some folks.
  • La Cage aux Folles (1978), La Cage aux Folles II (1980), La Cage aux Folles 3 (1985) (m->f, m->f->m)
    Haven’t actually seen these. “The Bird Cage” was based on the first one. The second involves man pretending to be woman pretending to be man, from what I understand.
    • Road-tripping drag queens:
  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) (m->f)
    A drag queen goes on an Australian road trip.
  • To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995) (m->f)
    Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo as drag queens in an American road trip movie.
  • 2. Often, cross-dressing can be a work-related activity. In many cases, it can be about landing a job:

    • For example, for men who aspire to become a nanny, it may be helpful to pretend to be a woman:
  • Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) (m->f)
    Robin Williams impersonates a woman to land a role as his kids’ nanny.
  • Arrested Development (2003-2006) (m->f)
    Ther was a story arc about Mrs. Featherbottom: Tobias (David Cross) “disguises” himself as a woman to play a nanny in the spirit of Mrs. Doubtfire. His family pretends to be fooled because they got a cleaner house out of the deal.
    • Police and spy jobs often require clever disguises for undercover work. And what could be more cleverly disguising than opposite-gendered apparel?
  • Barney Miller (1975-1982) (m->f)
    Periodically, the men/detectives of the cast/department dress up (unconvincingly) as women in order to entrap potential solicitation offenders, muggers, or others.
  • Charlie’s Angels (2000) (f->m)
    Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore disguise themselves in suits and facial hair to infiltrate a tech company.
  • White Chicks (2004) (m->f)
    Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans play FBI agents. Two (black) dudes masquerade as two (white) chicks. For some reason or another. (Haven’t seen it.)
  • Supercop a.k.a.Police Story 3: Supercop/Jing cha gu shi III: Chao ji jing cha (1992) (m->f, kaw)
    Uncle (Bill Tung) makes an appearance as the mother of Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, who are pretending to be brother and sister for an undercover assignment.
  • Supercop 2/Chao ji ji hua (1993) (m->f, kaw)
    Jackie Chan makes a cameo. In drag. I’m not really sure why.
    • Getting into, or out of, the military by way of getting into transgendered clothing:
  • MASH (1972-1983) (m->f)
    Klinger (Jamie Farr) spends several seasons dressing in women’s clothes to try to get out of the army.
  • Mulan (1998) (f->m, kaw)
    A girl pretends to be a boy in order to join the army.
  • Futurama (1999-????) (f->m, kaw)
    The episode with balls. Bouncing balls. (Called “War is the H-word”) Leela disguises herself as a man to join the army to keep an eye on Fry and Bender (who joined the army to get a discount on gum.)
    • Getting onto the screen or stage:
  • Shakespeare in Love (1998) (f->m)
    Set in Elizabethan England, when/where only men were allowed to act on the stage. Gwynneth Paltrow pretends to be a young man in order to land a role in Shakespeare’s new play.
  • Tootsie (1982) (m->f)
    Dustin Hoffman dons wig and dress to land a soap opera role.
  • Victor/Victoria (1982) (f->m->f)
    Julie Andrews plays a (male) female impersonator.
  • Farewell My Concubine/Ba wang bie ji (1993) (m->f)
    Leslie Chung (a man, by the way…ambiguous name and all) plays an actor in the Peking Opera who plays female roles on the stage.
    • And like for the Peking Opera and the Shakespearean stage, sometimes real-life actors in more recent times play roles of the opposite gender:
  • Peter Pan (f->m)
    The play written by J. M. Barrie. Stage performances of this play written by J. M. Barrie commonly feature women (Maude Adams, Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan) playing the lead role, a boy.
  • Iron Monkey/ Siu nin Wong Fei Hung ji Tit Ma Lau (1993) (f->m)
    The young boy, Wong Fei-Hung, is played by a girl (Sze-Man Tsang).
    • There’s the related sketch comedy tradition:
  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1974) (m->f)
    The chaps (Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Eric Idle) don dresses, and speak in sqeaky voices. (I don’t remember Terry Gilliam ever appearing in a dress.)
  • Kids in the Hall (1988-1994) (m->f)
    The kids (Dave Foley, Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, Bruce McCulloch and Kevin McDonald) wear a lot of dresses, and a lot of wigs. And sometimes make very convincing women.
  • 3. And finally, we have a bunch of miscellaneous reasons for cross-dressing. Prizes! Disguises! Housing! Respect! Modesty!

  • News Radio (1995-1999) (m->f)
    The episode where Dave Foley wins a costume contest by donning a wig and a little black dress. A bit of a tribute to his Kids in the Hall days.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/Wo hu cang long (2000) (f->m, kaw)
    Zhang Ziyi runs off with a stolen sword and disguises herself as a young man. (Leading to that incredible scene where she fights a restaurant-full of men. And trashes the restaurant. Not that I condone the trashing of restaurants. I just love that scene.)
  • Twelfth Night (f->m)
    Play by Shakespeare. Made into bunches of movies, including She’s the Man (2006). Woman Viola pretends to be her brother. (I’m not actually sure on the motivation for this. Shamefully haven’t read or seen the play. Or movies.)
  • Just One of the Guys (1985) (f->m)
    Haven’t seen it. High school gal pretends to be a high school guy in order to be taken seriously.
  • Some Like it Hot (1959) (m->f)
    Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon disguise themselves as women to hide out from the mob. (And get to hang out with Marylin Monroe.)
  • Bosom Buddies (1980-1982) (m->f)
    Peter Scolari and Tom Hanks pretend to be women in order to get a good apartment.
  • Splash (1984) (w->m) (f->m)
    Daryl Hannah plays a mermaid who arrives in New York City without a wardrobe of her own. Staying at the apartment of Tom Hanks (not the one shared with Peter Scolari), she puts on one of his suits before heading out for a shopping expedition in order to avoid further displays of public nudity.
  • My baby is a cross-dresser

    Phoebe has a lot of clothes. Some of them girly. But many of them what I would consider gender-neutral. However, if it’s not girly (pink, purple, princessy and/or with hearts, flowers, butterflies or fairies), it’s apparently considered downright boyish. And we’re not even talking just blue or patterned with footballs or monster trucks. Or even stripes or plaid. We’re talking about animal prints. Teddy bears? Boyish. Doggies? Boyish. (Though kitties seem to be girlish) Hippos? Boyish. Owls? Boyish. (But other birds are girlish.) Frogs, turtles, alligators, lizards? Boyish. Bugs? Boyish. (Except for girly dragonflies, ladybugs and butterflies.) Green, yellow, or orange? Boyish. You’d be amazed at how many people take it as an affront when they discover that Phoebe is a girl when we have her dressed in [gasp] blue or [shudder] hippos.

    For example, yesterday, when I took Phoebe to my old Tae Kwon Do school, I saw a bunch of people I hadn’t seen in ages. Some of whom didn’t know about the whole baby business. Phoebe was wearing jeans with a gray hoodie and gray socks, and had her beige jacket with teddy bear motif, and a pair of mary janes. And in two separate incidents, a couple of women asked, more or less, “who’s this guy?” To which I responded, more or less, “she’s Phoebe.” (n.b. They were like “who’s this guy,” and I was like “she’s a girl.”) One woman responded, with a look of shock: “But you have her in blue! I thought she was a boy.” (The bear jacket has blue details. The jeans are blue.) With the other, the jacket was off, so the reaction was “I saw the gray and black.” Each woman was a bit uncomfortable, apparently embarrassed for having made such a gaff. However, I didn’t mind. You see, Phoebe is a baby. And as far as I’m considered, her sexuality is not really an issue at this point.

    Another time, when Phoebe was even smaller, there was a similar incident. At the Home Despot (a monstrously large hardware store, for those not in the know). A young woman (or perhaps teenager) who was working there stopped to look at Phoebe, who was wearing a yellowish orange outfit with fishies. And she (the employee, not Phoebe) said something like: “What a cute baby. I can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl.” To which I replied, “Yeah, we tend to dress her gender-neutrally.” And then the young woman suggested that we could get Phoebe’s ears pierced so people could tell she was a girl. Hello? If I felt so strongly that people absolutely must never ever mistake my baby for a boy, why would I dress her gender neutrally? I would be capable of, for example, finding some article of pink clothing with which to label her, or slap a bow on her head. Without actually resorting to poking holes in her.

    Anyhow, while Phoebe does have her share of girly clothes (and she does look terribly cute in them), she often dresses a lot like me. (Except for the animal prints. No teddy bears emblazen my coat, or anything else I wear.) I wear a lot of gray. Black. Dark colors. And actually, I like to wear men’s shirts. And men’s sweaters. And fairly recently, I also discovered men’s pants. You see, I can get great deals on clearance pants because my size is not a common size for men. So for instance, I got a couple of pairs of men’s pants at the Gap for $5.00 each from a clearance rack. Which is handy for my transitional pants needs. (When I tried the women’s clearance rack I was displeased both with the size I would need to get, and the styles available. Plus the women’s pants were way more expensive.) I also wear shoes that would not be described as girly. I like to wear Docs, and ones that could be either men’s or womens. So actually, many days, I wear outfits that are basically entirely men’s outfits. (Aside from the undies. Let’s not go there just now.) So, I guess I’m a bit of a cross-dresser myself.

    Cross-dressing has quite a lot of representations in theater, film and TV. We have men dressing as women, and women dressing as men. Sometimes, it’s a case of pretending to be the opposite gender, other times it’s wearing oppositely-gendered clothes as a style choice. Or perhaps lifestyle choice. And sometimes there are other reasons. I’m working on a list, with some attempts to categorize. (And perhaps cross-categorize. Which is appropriate for cross-dressing, I suppose.) But as my list is getting quite long, and as I have work I need to do tonight, I’ll have to save the list for another day. (Those damn lists take a long time…)

    Some kicks

    I stopped by my old Tae Kwon Do school for a bit this morning, with Phoebe in tow. They were having an open house and demo. (I haven’t been training there regularly for at least a couple of years, but I still keep in touch with some folks. In case you’re wondering, I was, and I guess technically still am, a blue belt…And in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t particularly good. Totally not athletic. Also not terribly coordinated. But I enjoyed it.) Anyhow, the demo was very cool, and Phoebe got to see some real-live martial arts action. Several of the instructors demonstrated some impressive breaking techniques. Mostly breaking boards. The chief instructor even broke a stack of 5 or 6 concrete slabs. Very impressive.

    But I have to say that the high point of the demonstration for me was when one of the instructors called up some of the students to show some advanced kicks. He asked for a couple of young red belts to come up (those are students that are a couple of tests away from being black belts). He had them show some jumping and “flying” kicks. So they did a few flying side kicks and jumping crescent kicks, and it looked very cool. And then the instructor called up another red belt to join to the two in the demonstration. And he made the comment: “just so that everyone can see that boys can do these, too.” Because the first two students were girls. I hadn’t even thought about that fact until the instructor’s comment.

    My TKD school is very supportive of women and girls who train in martial arts. In fact, it’s never even particularly been an issue there. And it was nice to be reminded of this. While most of the kids who train there are boys, four out of the maybe eight people who have become blackbelts training at the school are women. I never felt like my gender held me back. (Other things did. See aforementioned lack of athleticism and coordination. Also overcommitment to other things. While I’m not the only woman that’s trained there, I may possibly be the only grad student…) Anyhow, I’m hoping to try to get back into the training there soon. In my copious spare time.


    Phoebe got a cool toy as a gift for Christmas. (Actually, she got lots of cool toys, but I’ll spare you the details. For now, at least.) The toy I’m talking about is actually more of a set of toys: it’s the Fisher-Price airplane with Little People.


    The set came with 3 people: the pilot and 2 passengers. You have no idea how thrilled I was to see that the pilot is a woman. How cool is that? I mean, seriously. The small step of representing a woman as a pilot in a miniature toy represents a giant symbol: a woman is shown matter-of-factly in a prestigious and traditionally male-dominated pilot.jpg job, and this mass-produced representation is being sold as part of a mainstream popular toy. This is huge. (I once wanted to be a pilot, by the way, but that is a story for another day.)

    So there we were, Christmas morning, looking at Phoebe’s new toys (once we finished wrestling to free the toys from their elaborate packaging). And I saw the pilot, and felt my thrill. And when I looked at the other two little people figures, I said to John “hey, the passengers are women, too. They must be a newlywed lesbian couple heading off for a tropical honeymoon.” I was joking when I said it, but honeymoon was what came to mind when I saw the two passengers all decked out in their Polynesian-inspired garb. I live in Massachusetts, one of only a few US states to have legally recognized same-sex unions, and apparently the only US state to recognized such unions as marriage. (By the way, when working on my wedding anniversary post, I discovered that the definition of marriage was under dispute on Wikipedia. That in itself tells quite a story. But I see now that the flags announcing the dispute have been taken down. I’d be curious what the changes made were…I found one older version in Google cache but haven’t had a chance to look.)

    So here’s the thing. I’d like Phoebe to grow up accepting diversity in people: diversity in ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Ideally, she would get to know people of such diverse backgrounds and beliefs in person. And hopefully she will. But the reality is that we live in fairly rural Massachusetts. In a town where there is not a whole lot of diversity. It struck me that toys and playing games offer opportunities to supplement the exposure to diversity she might get through school and the media. We don’t actually particularly know any married same-sex couples. But we can matter-of-factly say that pat.jpgthe two women figures in the play set are married. Just as the set matter-of-factly depicts a pilot who is a woman.

    Of course, John now has me half-convinced that one of the passengers in the set is actually supposed to be male. I still think of her as female. Just possibly a less girly female than the long-haired lei-wearing obviously female passenger. She, who is wearing shorts and purple sandals, and has a moderately short haircut, is at the very least of somewhat ambiguous gender. We have agreed to call her Pat. Just Post Jan 2007

    Rescue me! (…from the princess phenomenon)

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this article in the New York Times Magazine I read last weekend. It’s about the current craze among little girls for all things princess, written by a mother who is struggling with her own daughter’s princess compulsions. The article has some interesting notes on the social construction of gender. For example, there’s a bit about the current designation of pink as the girliest of girly girl colors (and nearly the only color option for girls). It seems that this is actually a fairly recent happening:

    The relentless resegregation of childhood appears to have sneaked up without any further discussion about sex roles, about what it now means to be a boy or to be a girl. Or maybe it has happened in lieu of such discussion because it’s easier this way.

    Easier, that is, unless you want to buy your daughter something that isn’t pink. Girls’ obsession with that color may seem like something they’re born with, like the ability to breathe or talk on the phone for hours on end. But according to Jo Paoletti, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Maryland, it ain’t so. When colors were first introduced to the nursery in the early part of the 20th century, pink was considered the more masculine hue, a pastel version of red. Blue, with its intimations of the Virgin Mary, constancy and faithfulness, was thought to be dainty. Why or when that switched is not clear, but as late as the 1930s a significant percentage of adults in one national survey held to that split. Perhaps that’s why so many early Disney heroines — Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Wendy, Alice-in-Wonderland — are swathed in varying shades of azure.

    The other bit I found particularly thought-provoking was this bit about the attempts to reconcile traditional and contemporary standards for girls’ roles:

    But what to make, then, of the young women in the Girls Inc. survey? It doesn’t seem to be “having it all” that’s getting to them; it’s the pressure to be it all. In telling our girls they can be anything, we have inadvertently demanded that they be everything. To everyone. All the time. No wonder the report was titled “The Supergirl Dilemma.”

    Anyhow, it’s a fun read, as well as an interesting one.