Friday, November 30, 2007

Nike "Mask"

Well, this ad is unlike almost all of the other Nike ads I've seen before.

It doesn't show grueling athleticism, it doesn't have sweat, blood, tears, or thrilling victory. Nor does it celebrate the underdog in a typical, glorifying, against-all-odds fashion. Yet, it does features an underdog of sorts, but only after a healthy load of sarcasm and one big depressing reveal.

This seems to be a pretty big change in tone for Nike. It's still celebrating the women's soccer team, but also seems to be shaming the viewer for their lack of knowledge or interest. I agree that no talented sports team should worry more about marketing than their sport, as the ad suggests, but is this sort of advertising more effective than what's been used in the past? And who is the ad appealing to, if the typical apparel consumer doesn't have intimate knowledge of the US Women's Soccer Team? My guess is that we're supposed to care and feel chided since everything else Nike touches has an amount of esteem and importance. They're cashing in on their brand.

Does it work? It caught my eye, for sure. It stands out more in my mind than other recent commercials from Nike or Adidas. Whether it will influence me to buy more, I don't know, but I don't think that's the point. It helps further establish Nike as a leading brand that takes all athletes seriously regardless of their fame or current spotlight. Sure, there's the Nike that has a new NBA shoe out for whatever athlete of the week we're currently worshiping, but this Nike, this semi-jaded and incredulous Nike, is beyond that. It's about pure athleticism.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Camisole Day, every month on the 21st?

WTF? This made me stop and blink...

"In celebration of record sales, Taiwanese lingerie company Audrey Underwear asked its 500 female employees to come to work for a day wearing nothing but their undergarments. Over 90 percent did and the company has now made it a monthly occurrence Work productivity among the company's male employees on those days is expected to drop to zero with productivity of another kind shooting upward all day long." (

Huang Bihui, PR manager of the company, explained: "We introduced eight new camisoles into market and sold more than 20,000 in less than two months so we named the 21st as Camisole Day." (spluch.blogspot)

90% of female employees. That's 450 women, if I trust my math. That makes me think that A) Company loyalty and corporate culture is quite different in Taiwan, and B) Women must not be too self-conscious, or at least, their company loyalty outweighs their reservations.

I'm not sure what to think without knowing more about the company and its employees. On the one hand, it's great that so many women would feel so confident and safe in their workplace to wear so little. On the other hand, what if they didn't feel that way, but felt obligated? And lastly, confident or not, isn't it just objectifying their bodies? The real treat is for the guys, no?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This perfume doesn't smell like roses...

It's late, and I'm still at the office. Whee.

So, as you can expect, this is gonna be a shorter one. Steve Hall over at Adrants wrote a really good post today about tobacco, marketing, and responsibility. Two things I noted in particular about his article: 1) RJ Reynolds will cut all print advertising in 2008. That means no more Joe Camel in newspapers or magazines. 2) Why now? Because they were getting flack about their Camel No. 9 brand, which attracts women smokers through it's likeness to Chanel. It's amazing what they'll do to sell this shit.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Marketing to Women "Don'ts"

Found this on Girlpower's site:

Girlpower Women's Statistics

1. Don’t think of women as a “niche” market.
2. Don’t take a product and “dumb it down” or “paint it pink.”
3. Don’t segment women strictly by age.
4. Don’t ignore the time women spend online and influencing their networks.
5. Don’t underestimate the power of the women’s boomer market.

All of these are good notes to follow no matter who you're marketing to, but I think, for me, numbers 1 & 2 stick out the most. Nothing gets my ire like being treated like some sort of exotic species. Related to both 1 & 2, I'd add another thought: If you're appealing to *just* guys or make a commercial that appeals to men through sexism, you might turn off women buyers. While thinking in terms of niches or market segments can be handy, what appeals to some certainly won't appeal to all, and can potentially limit your market.

Monday, November 26, 2007


A literal vagina dentata.

I squirmed all the way through the trailer, and haven't found much other information on the film other than a short review on IMDB describing it as a "gore-comedy" and claiming "If you appreciate cult, camp, or horror with a feminist edge, this is for you!"

Note the lead character's surname. O'Keefe. Hehe.

Until I see this (if I can bring myself to see it, so creepy! Oh yeah: release date is May '08), I'm not really sure what else I can say. Too little to go on. (Though: I bet that OB/GYN scene wouldn't have been the same if it was a female doctor she was seeing-- can only work w/ a dude.)

On a semi-related note, check out Rapex, an anti-rape female condom moving into production
in South Africa. How does it work? Well, it's like a tampon. Insert it in the vagina, and the plastic hollow tube has detachable barbs that lash onto any offending objects entering. The creator, Sonette Ehlers, calls it a "medieval device for a medieval deed." Yikes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I wish I was a Guerilla Girl.

Wouldn't that be neat? Wearing a mask, running around and attacking the patriarchal art world...


Too bad they're secretive and don't accept recruits. Anyhow- check out this older billboard they sponsored re: the Oscars. Girls after my own heart!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

More great female characters

I posted about female role models in children's/YA literature a few days ago, bemoaning the rather short list of good characters I could think of. Visiting with one of my best friends yesterday, we discussed it some and she suggested Meg from the Wrinkle in Time series. Definitely someone who should be on the list! (By the way, I was quite saddened to read about Madeline L'Engle's death this past fall. Slate and Salon had a number of fitting and moving tributes to her.)

Since I'm re-reading the Arrows of the Queen series by Mercedes Lackey, I should also mention that Talia of that series fits the bill. Lackey's tales are almost like a Benetton commercial: people from all walks of life, sexual preferences, income levels, etc. I don't think I noticed it as much when I first read the books in early high school, but now it seems almost too obvious. I mean, I love the books, I love the characters, but she takes such great pains with equality that it's near comical. Ah well. Lackey's work isn't exactly Pulitzer stuff, but it does keep you warm and entranced on a cold winter's night.

C'mon-- there've got to be more strong female characters! Let's hear them!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Amstel Easy Open

At first glance, this looks exactly like the type of ad I would have complained about. If you don't stop to look and just flip your magazine page, the ad's actual message is lost. However, upon looking closer, the ad is trying to compare dated gender roles to dated beer technology. (The twist-off cap vs. the non-twist.) I like it, but then wonder- if the ad showed the twist-off instead, would the woman still be opening the bottle for the guy? I'd like to think no, based on the copy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Before I write the compulsory "What I'm Thankful for" list or whatever else, does anyone remember the retailer Bradlees? I was looking for something topical to write about tonight, besides yams, pie, and turkey, and came across this gem:

Why am I sharing?

A) I thought the commercialization of holidays was only getting really bad recently. This shows I've just been paying more attention recently.
B) Thanksgiving Sales commercials have definitely gotten a lot more sophisticated, often using graphics, effects, etc. Let's compare.
C) The word "door-buster" has been around longer than I thought. I hate that word.

Seeing all of these frenetic ads, warnings about two and a half minute sales, etc, makes me stressed. I just want to enjoy a normal Thanksgiving, or what passes for Normal (ok, maybe not that odd) over here. In that pursuit, laptop's going off.

Till tomorrow-

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Break time.

I'm on vacation for the next few days, but I guess I won't get any rest from NaBloPoMo. However, seeing how I've already done some community service and helped a neighborhood family out with some much needed firewood, I'm going to go take some Advil and lie down. (Three large pick-up trucks of unsplit oak. Fat unwieldy chunks the size of stools or night tables. With an unhelpful dog running around under foot. I've earned my Advil, thank you very much.)

It's kind of interesting coming home for the holidays or a long weekend. Co-workers and friends from Manhattan always look at pictures of my parent's log cabin in disbelief, while neighbors here upstate can't believe I spent my weekend writing on-air promos for the Lifetime Movie Network. The discrepancy between the girl who balances spreadsheets and makes deadlines to the girl who tools around in a red pick-up seems confusing to many. To them, I say pfffft. After my Advil, I'll maybe chop some firewood for my own woodstove and then bake a pie for tomorrow. Gender stereotypes, eat your heart out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Readergirlz: A Follow-up to "Where's our Harriet Potter?"

So, my mom, being into books and things, passed along this site after hearing about my blog post bemoaning the lack of strong female characters in books. Readergirlz comes as a bit of a disappointment however.

Sure, it's a nifty concept: girls and women sharing books with their friends, and celebrating "strong girls in books who've got the guts to dream" and hopefully "inspiring girls to make history of their own." I guess I was picturing a great blog/forum where readers could weigh in about their favorite characters, discuss notable plots, etc. Instead, the main site seems to speak entirely in teen-girl chatter, what with their *way cool* bookmarks you can download, and their founding "divas" regularly write posts about how awesome things are going on the site. (If you take a look at their author bios and photos, I don't know if they strike me as the diva type.) Overall, it seems like a bunch of smart women had a good idea to start a teen-accessible book blog, but ended up pandering to them with things like MySpace author chats and "Best Books for BFF's."

The end result feels more like a bad attempt at under the radar marketing rather than a genuine effort to reach out to young women readers. I figure if they're as voracious a reader that would visit a site like "readergirlz," then they probably won't be into the whole BFF thing.

That said, how do you create an online community that doesn't feel schlocky? I think that online author chats sound neat, as does some of the sites other features. It's just a question of maturity: teens certainly don't want anything that seems like it's younger skewing (do you have to use so much pink in your design?)

Something tells me that the girls from 3iying could give readergirlz some good advice.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Here it Comes: More from Dove.

Holy crap, I don't think I blinked at all during this one.

Great follow-up to Evolution from Dove. We know we're bombarded with "health and beauty" imagery every day, but I don't think we ever get a true sense of how pervasive it is until seeing a project like this. Just watching "Onslaught" makes me feel tired. Dove's campaign continues to be one of the few I've seen that can successfully combine social responsibility and brand building.

As AdAge points out though, there's something darker here at work when you pull back the curtains of the Unilever family: Dove belongs to the same corporation that brings us the low-end wet dreams of high school boys everywhere: Axe/Lynx. While Dove itself might be a "responsible " brand, what of Axe? How much responsible advertising do you have to create to undo the crap that Axe elevates and celebrates? Is there a quantifiable amount?

Personally, I think it would mean more if Axe found a different approach to its campaign. I'm sure you notice that within "Onslaught," there wasn't any Axe footage being mocked. Hmm. Perhaps that's not a parallel they'd like us to focus on?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yes! I'd love to see two women get married.

So, I remember oggling fine young men in the A&F Quarterly in high school. It was amazing- Erin brought a copy of the fall issue in during French class of my junior year. Strapping naked lads, expensive clothing with natural cotton, and recipes for strudel or some form of baked apples. Skinning dipping seemed to be a regular theme too. Not sure how it was selling clothes per se, as not many models featured were wearing them, but hey. I guess it worked since most of my friends wore it.

The catalog flew fast and loose with objectifying both sexes, but as this ad shows, they were also pretty progressive.

I'd like to think, that in the end, it evens out, and perhaps high schoolers remember not just the gratuitious nudity, but also the broad-minded acceptance of sexuality.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

feeling a tad lazy.

advergirl found some great ads from women's magazines. I've got a headache, so go check them out over there on her site. I dug the ads and her analysis.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Blockbuster's "Christmas Dinner"

Blockbuster does a good job w/ this holiday spot, focusing on family rather than consumerism (except for the message to rent movies at the end).

Find more videos like this on AdGabber

Why am I posting it? Feminist ads don't have to be about in-your-face girl power. You can have a successful ad that captures someone's attention without defaulting to gender stereotypes or sexism.

via Adrants

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Testicles Wanted. Ovaries need not apply?

Oh, where to start?

Well. This is a real ad, fresh from an Indian ad agency, that I found on Adrants today. Steve Hall's write up is dead on: objectifying men for once, all while excluding women. I'm tempted to apply and see what happens.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about the prestigious company that's looking for a few good balls, check out Concept Communication's website. It wasn't what I was expecting from the guys who gave us the recruitment ad above: it's a site heavy with phrases like "quality assurance," "integrated solutions provider," and my favorite, "project-value registration qualification."

UPDATE: Ok- that site I found above was Concept's global site. Here's the India-specific site. Hmm.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sorry Jerry, you shouldn't have a stinger.

Interesting article on the NYT today, discussing the realities of life in the hive. Poor Jerry's bee seems to be a bit confused. Male bees don't have stingers (only female worker bees do). Aside from the fact that Seinfeld couldn't star in a female-driven movie, I wonder why they opted to make such a drastic change. Even then, couldn't it have worked w/ a male drone bee? Aside from fertilizing eggs, it's not like they do much around the hive. They still could have had a slacker bee character yearning for more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Where's our Harriet Potter?

My mother works at a library upstate. We talk frequently about books we've read, books we like, books we want to read. I was talking with her on the phone tonight, and she mentioned a conversation she had w/ a co-worker. When thinking of children's books with strong female characters, especially action-oriented books, it was tough to come up with a list. This is coming from LIBRARIANS, so if they're stumped, I don't know what it says about the state of publishing and the heroine.

Plenty of books had girls as protagonists, but most were set in inward-facing roles, coming of age stories, or humorous stories of day to day life/growing up. Lois Lowry's Anastasia books, Ellen Conford's Jenny Archer series, Megan McDonald's Judy Moody are all great. Believe me, I loved them! But where's the girl's equivlant of Harry Potter? (Hermoine- we love you. But you're a straight-laced goody goody. Who do we turn to when we want to manage some mischief?)

Lyra Silvertongue of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy is definitely our answer there. (Besides her, I can only come up with Harriet the Spy, The Blue Sword's Harry [a girl, thank you], and the indefatigable Sammy Keyes. Please please, add to this list.) She's intelligent, courageous, and incredibly quick-witted. Sure, she doesn't have a He Who Must Not Be Named to take on, but she makes do. Her antagonist? Just Metatron and a bunch of rebel angels.

One of the best additions to literature in the past decade, The Golden Compass, the first in author Phillip Pullman's trilogy, is coming to theatres this winter. If you liked Harry Potter, give Lyra a shot. She won't disappoint.

PS: The book is teaming with religious metaphor and philosophy, questioning the differences between personal spirituality and organized religion. Through the course of the trilogy, Lyra comes to symbolize a lot more than a plucky girl from Oxford. While appropriate for a YA audience, the book has plenty to chew on for adults, in a meatier way than a certain boy wizard. If that's not a ringing endorsement, let me put it this way: I willingly read it on a long car trip, knowing I was setting myself up for nausea and a splitting headache. Just couldn't put it down.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Surprisingly doable? Realty gets into the act.

Well, if you saw yesterday's post discussing alcohol and its use of the female form in advertising, then this ad shouldn't come as a surprise. Realty's decided to get in on this act, and has come up with this winner:

Nothing like using condos to say women are property. (Again, note the facelessness and impersonal touch... just a pair of legs. In heels and what appears to be a nightgown or lingerie. In the frickin' kitchen no less. What year is it again? And why is one of the most recent ads I liked from 30 years ago?)

Via adrants.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!"

And for tonight- a hand picked selection of magazine ads. Not just any ads, mind you, but the finest "We're selling alcohol, not skin, we promise!" ads. Whiskey, vodka, beer... doesn't matter here. We've got scantily clad women.

Is it aspirational? (Ie: Drink this and you'll be as hot as these fine women) or is it... just bull shit?

1. Skyy Vodka- note the dominance/submissive themes at play, and how both models are objectified and faceless. (The viewers are now free to insert themselves into this booze-fueled fantasy.) The man wears a smart navy suit, and the woman wears a bikini as he towers over her, on display. Also note the man's firm grip on the bottle.

2. Chivas- another semi-anonymous woman here. We're free to project our fantasies onto her. Her relation with the product is unknown; she and the alcohol exist in a different physical space: she's confined to black and white monochrome, the liquor meanwhile, in full color. Does this suggest that she's more lifeless than some booze? Also note the bonus copy (right-hand top): "Yes, God is a man." Well, while that may or may not be true, we can tell at least the designer was: a woman sure as heck didn't design this one.

3. Brava Cerveza- Spanish for "The Beer of Summer" or Frat-boy for "Nice Ass"? We may never know. Notice how this woman has been reduced to a single body part. Also, check out the bottles towards the bottom of the page. Great phallus subsitutes, eh? Peicing together the visual messages and cues of this one, I think it's telling us to have anal sex on the beach.

4. Cutty Sark Whiskey. Now we have a full shot of a woman, but where's the product? (That tiny bottle hardly counts!) And if she's sailing, I doubt that she's wearing the most practical outfit.

5. Tabasco Sauce. I know this isn't alcohol, but c'mon, you can tell that it's trying like hell to capitalize on the same type of advertising. Not only is the woman a blank faceless slate for us to project our hot and firey fantasies on, but the product itself is missing from the ad.

Did Tobasco Sauce just beat the beer and liuqor world at their own game? I believe it did! We have a winner.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Time trip! (Or "A few good women")

I stumbled across TV Party, a site featuring vintage TV as well as 1970's commercials aimed at women... I felt like I was in some sort of virtual museum/tourist trap. All of the spots are dated (well, yeah), and some are decidedly hokey.

My favorite? The US Marine Corp- they had a spot that was aimed exclusively at women. Keep in mind that the armed forces had just switched to an all volunteer force and they had to think of new ways to keep enlistment up. I love how simple this spot is- not condescending, not pandering, just a spokesman talking straight to the camera.

You rarely see this type of direct appeal nowadays in ads- especially not in Army/Marines commercials. Flashy graphics, fast cutting, and overwhelming sound effects or a booming voice over are more the norm. And heck, you don't see many women in the newer Army/Marine commercials (if you do, they're wearing make-up, tending to children, ostentatiously as medics. How progressive!). You certainly don't see any spots that reach out solely to them. I wonder why. With the mess in Iraq, you'd think they'd be trying to appeal to as many different able-bodied people as possible.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Be a woman. Be a fan.

I like this new(?) Reebok commercial for women's NFL apparel. As it states, you can be a woman and be a fan- no conflicts. It's great that women are meeting up to watch the game together on their own, no boyfriends, no men-- just as a social girls' activity. Rock on.

My only complaint? The cat fight yowl at the end. C'mon, sorta funny, but ultimately plays to the stereotypes the ad previously was doing a great job to dispel.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

RIT's Women's Film Project

Stumbled across RIT's Women's Film Project today while web surfing. I know a lot of other sites list important contributions to cinema made by women, but this list also allows you to rate the titles and add comments. I was delighted to learn that two of my earliest influences (National Velvet, 1944, and The Black Stallion, 1979) both had scripts written by women.

If you have a few moments, check out the list and rate some films. (In the interests of both disclosure and scholastic pride, I'm happy to note that the site is run by one of my former professors, Naomi Orwin.)

And while searching for a good pic for this post, I found this fascinating essay about Elizabeth Taylor and her character in National Velvet. Watching the movie as young as I was, I probably missed all of the mother/daughter themes mentioned. I definitely noticed and celebrated the challenges it presented to various gender roles-- only my height (and lack of actual horse) killed my burgeoning dream to be a jockey.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Media Circus' "best" sexist ads.

Media Circus' recent post rounds up some of the most sexist ads ever... in their words, " Anyone can make sexist ads but it takes a certain amount of focus, greed and sheer insensitivity to make ads like [these]." Well put.

You'll probably recognize the Dolce & Gabbana ad from a previous post of mine. For those of you who are lazy link clickers, I've posted one of the worst offenders (I'm not surprised by the amount of sexist beer and liquor ads, but a tech company that sells servers?). It's definitely worth a look over on their site. It's one thing to see one sexist ad here or there, but as a body of work, it makes you realize how prevalent this stuff is. More interesting were some of the reader comments on the post- all guys- some of them celebrating the imagery, and others debating whether some of the ads were
sexy or sexist. There's a definite difference, and yeah, you can have a sexy ad.

What I've also noticed is that the majority of the ads that I blog about are over the top in their sexism or use of gender roles. Sure, there are ads where you can debate is it sexy, but much of what's out there clearly crosses the line.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

3iying is back!

The girls of 3iying are back and better/stronger/faster than ever. With almost 200 "flips" on Youtube, they're certainly making a huge splash. AdAge has an article featuring the nascent agency, and they're making waves in the blogosphere as well.

I had the opportunity to meet Heidi Dangelmaier in August as well as some of the awesome women behind 3iying. They've got strong ideas and incredible drive-- there's no doubt that Heidi's assembled a great team of young minds. The question is, will the ad world listen to them? After all, we're talking about an industry that talks all the time about change and challenging the status quo, but we rarely see much of either (instead it's more of the same).

As Alisha (below) notes, we're soooo not into that!

One potential issue with the "flips?" You have one woman acting as the voice of an entire gender. Whether or not that's the chosen intent, it certainly comes across that way. While Alisha's opinion is hard to argue with (who would want to be leered at?), it's a little trickier to make a :30 universal judgment on other ads, especially PSA's. Maria's thoughts on this anti-rape ad represent just one voice. I can see where she's coming from, but it still conveys valuable information for teens/young women. It'll be important to avoid coming off as shrill... Not to mention, are there any positive ads out there? According to all of the "flips," not a one works.

Time will tell if all of the media attention and YouTube "flips" land any clients for the 3iying team. They're adept at pointing out the problems when marketing to women and girls, but until they show they've got the solutions as well, it may be a difficult sell.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tonka Toys: Boys Built Different?

If the Rose Petal Cottage I blogged about had a counterpart, I'll argue that it's the Tonka toys that Hasbro makes. Specifically "built for boys," I'd hate to tell little Ann or Kate that they can't take a turn too.

Trucks, cottages, and other toys that re-imagine an adult's world on a childhood scale are great. Giving kids the message that they're "built" for one thing or another... not so great. Again, Broadsheet said it best, if you want to check out their post.

I remember seeing this commercial on TV and wondering WTF... with a tagline like "Built for Boyhood," it felt vaguely reminiscent of earlier times- say... the 1960's. Before that pesky Women's Lib movement. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I wonder what other toy commercials and websites will catch my eye this season!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I just stumbled upon an older post/article on MarketingProfs by Eric Kintz explaining that post frequency no longer matters as much when trying to maintain a "serious" blog with a community or following. Reading it over, it makes me wonder how NaBloPoMo will affect reader loyalty, visit length or other stats for Toxic Shock. I'll have to compare at the end of the month.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Human Sex Trafficking: "I am Elena"

Emma Thompson plays two very different roles with one shared secret in this PSA for the Helen Bamber Foundation. It's incredibly powerful stuff (I don't recommend watching before breakfast.) but what else would you expect from an Oscar winning performer? It was physically uncomfortable to watch, and really brings the point home: "Woman enslaved by sex-trafficking lose more than just their names."

Besides being shown on the Foundation's website, I hope that it's getting screen time on television somewhere as well. A lot of great PSAs are on the web, but how many people really see them (besides ad geeks passing links back and forth)?

via Adrants

Friday, November 02, 2007

Stepford Training starting young?

Salon's Broadsheet recently called attention to a new playhouse put out by Hasbro, the Rose Petal Cottage. It's cute, it's easy to assemble, and like many first homes, it comes with a stove (what, no fridge?).

However, when you go to their site, you only see girls playing with the house set. Additionally, their zeal for doing laundry and baking muffins is a little disconcerting. To echo Broadsheet's comments, why couldn't there be some less domestic activities?

One way the site *does* bring play into this modern world is the electronic wish list. Children (presumably w/ parental help?) can make and email a wish list of appliances to relatives or friends, checking off which items they already have. It'll be a few decades before these kids have a bridal registry, but I guess you can't start learning the virtues of consumerism too soon.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


So, it's November. In an effort to get back to writing regularly, I'm participating in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), the aim of which is to write at least one blog post a day. A lofty goal, I know, but a worth while one! So- keep checking for better links, more updates, and new content.

For instance: Slate has started a new blog, the "XX Factor," where "Slate women blog about politics, etc." I've been reading semi-regularly, and so far it's pretty good. I've particularly liked some of their posts and news items regarding Hillary's run and some of the gender-based questions it's raised (How are women voters judging her? Is she a polarizing candidate because of who she is, her gender, or both? Can we please stop analyzing her suits, her laugh, and her cleavage? The male candidates, Edwards' haircut aside, aren't subjected to nearly the same amount of superficial criticism.)

One question that came up in XX's reader reactions and comments: Does the net need another feminist or woman oriented blog? By creating a woman-only discussion space, does it foster a more intimate discussion among women writers or is continuing the stereotype that women are different: a sort of self-imposed segregation? Hmm.