North America and Europe

Gender Inequality in ‘Whoville’

In this radio clip from NPR, correspondant Peter Sagal gives an incredibly passionate attack on the new movie “Horton Hears a Who” and reveals that an underlying current of gender inequality still exists in our society.

Sagal is chiefly concerned with a decision the producers of “Horton Hears a Who” to change the plot of the movie. Like many children’s stories the movie is about a hero who saves the town of Whoville. However, the hero is one of the Mayor of Whoville’s 97 children, and, you guessed it, he’s the only boy. The mayor has 96 daughters and one son, and out of all these capable children, the son saves Whoville while the daughters sit back and pat him on the back. The simple fact that this movie did not create a public uproar just goes to show you how much inequality we have yet to eradicate.

“Gender Inequality in Whoville”. All Things Considered. NPR. KPBS, San Diego. 2 Apr. 2008. Retrieved July, from: (accessed 6, 2008).


Germany Abuzz At Racy Novel of Sex and Hygiene

Recently, a scandalous new novel is causing a buzz in Germany. “Wetlands” by television personality Charlotte Roche is causing Germans to question their understanding of feminism. Recently in the United States and Europe the picture of an attractive woman has become more and more picture perfect, seemingly because modern-day culture places so much importance on hygiene as a part of beauty and female sexuality. “Wetlands” has opened up a lot of debate in Germany as to whether or not this emphasis on female hygiene is correct or fair. Certainly, there is no societal requirement that men adhere to such strict standards of hygiene. Supporters of the novel say that women shouldn’t feel confined to the image of beauty which is portrayed by television shows like “Germany’s Next Top Model”. They say that Roche is giving women the chance to express themselves freely, a right which has been denied them in recent decades.

While the novel does have many critics who say its graphicness is unnecessary, it seems that it goes where many in today’s society are afraid to: it questions whether or not the western world has truly achieved as much gender equality as most believe.

“Wetlands” will be published next year in the United States.

Nicholas, Kulish. “Germany Abuzz At Racy Novel of Sex and Hygiene.” New York Times. (accessed July 16, 2008).


Sworn to Virginity and Living as Men in Albania

One of the most interesting social experiments ever created is dying out in the rural areas of Albania. The Kanun is a tradition by which Albanian women pledge themselves to a lifetime of virginity and, in essence, transform themselves into men and assimilate into the male community. Pasha Keqi, the example in the article, has been a sworn virgin for nearly sixty years. The tradition of young women dedicating their lives to manhood is dying, caused by the increased tolerance and acceptance of the female community.

Bilefsky, Dan. “Sworn to Virginity and Living as Men in Albania.” International Herald Tribune. (accessed June 23, 2008).