Quickies: The Prevalence of Gendered Toys, an Interview with Syed Family (from Serial Podcast), and Mexican Farm Workers

  • Product of Mexico – “Farm exports to the U.S. from Mexico have tripled to $7.6 billion in the last decade, enriching agribusinesses, distributors and retailers. American consumers get all the salsa, squash and melons they can eat at affordable prices. And top U.S. brands — Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Subway and Safeway, among many others — profit from produce they have come to depend on. These corporations say their Mexican suppliers have committed to decent treatment and living conditions for workers. But a Los Angeles Times investigation found that for thousands of farm laborers south of the border, the export boom is a story of exploitation and extreme hardship.”
  • Bitch in a Box: Gift Guides for Feminists – Gift guides are probably my favorite thing about the holiday season. Check out all of these guides from Bitch Magazine!
  • Toys Are More Divided by Gender Now Than They Were 50 Years Ago – “When it comes to buying gifts for children, everything is color-coded: Rigid boundaries segregate brawny blue action figures from pretty pink princesses, and most assume that this is how it’s always been. But in fact, the princess role that’s ubiquitous in girls’ toys today was exceedingly rare prior to the 1990s—and the marketing of toys is more gendered now than even 50 years ago, when gender discrimination and sexism were the norm.”
  • Mistaken Identities Plague Lab Work With Human Cells – “There’s a major flaw in many medical research studies that seems so basic that you’d think scientists would be smart enough to avoid it. It turns out that cells studied in the laboratory often get mixed up. A researcher who thinks she is studying breast cancer cells might in fact be using melanoma cells. It’s a surprisingly common problem — even in some of the top scientific labs.”
  • Serial: The Syed family on their pain and the ‘five million detectives trying to work out if Adnan is a psychopath’ – “The podcast exploring the case of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, has become a global phenomenon. In an exclusive interview, Adnan’s family talk to Jon Ronson about listening to Serial, toxic Reddit threads and how his imprisonment has destroyed their lives”
  • You Can Vote For Lego To Make More Female Scientists – Head over to the Lego site to vote for this new set of female scientists! (Maybe they will actually make enough so that people can buy them instead of waiting for them to be sold at ridiculous prices by ebay poachers.)
  • What If Atheists Were Defined By Their Actions? – “These different ways of defining categories of people — and in particular the category “atheist” — form the backdrop to an interesting episode of the Rationally Speaking podcast in which co-hosts Julia Galef and Massimo Pigliucci query astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on his resistance to identifying (or being identified) as an atheist.”

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Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. I remember that back in the 1980’s there were toys for kids. They don’t exist anymore. Nowadays there are toys for boys and toys for girls (and never the twain shall meet). But good marketing, because no family would let their little boy use their sister’s pink stuff, let’s go and buy it a second time!

  2. When I was managing a store for a relatively large baby retailer, we were visited by a carseat vendor who told us that market research shows that companies can charge up to 50% more than they would normally, simply because people will pay more for gendered options.

    I have no idea how accurate that statistic is, but the implication that we are actually willing to pay more for things that reinforce traditional stereotypes is simply mind-boggling to me.

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