Girls have always worn pink, right?

According to a piece in the Sminthsonian magazine, “pink and blue arrived as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I. ” It’s great to read about photos of a young FDR in a dress with long hair. According to social convention in 1884, when FDR was photographed at age 2 1/2, boys wore dresses until age 6 or 7, also the time of their first haircut.

Was the shutdown threat really about abortion?

Katha Polllitt gives an emphatic “No.”  That’s merely the Republican spin, which the media has bought, she holds;

Planned Parenthood gets no federal money for abortion, a procedure which constitutes some 3 percent of their work. None! (Neither, by the way, does the United Nations Population Fund, which Republicans also want to defund. In fact, it has been banned from funding abortions since its founding in the 1970s, and by several bouts of US legislation since.)

The real message should go like this:

Next time, so-called liberal media, try these handy phrases: “Birth control blocks budget agreement.” “Government shut down looms over Pap smears” “Republicans to women: can’t afford cancer screening? Tough luck.”

Salon sort of  agrees, but thinks that even more general references to women’s health care suit both sides:

Planned Parenthood is not really going to be responsible for a government shutdown. But it suits both sides to make it seem like Planned Parenthood is a big deal, because then Democrats can claim to have saved it, while Republicans get what they really want, which is the biggest spending cuts possible.

It is profoundly distressing to think the Republicans feel confident that they will not suffer from being presented as against women’s health care.  And it could well be right.  Voters vote values, many analysts say, and I fear that health care for women is not  high on enough people’s list. 

“Archaeologists find gay caveman!!”

Ummm, no. Headline should be more like “Archaeologists find male skeleton buried with some stuff that they take to be typically female, if they’ve correctly identified the stuff, and if they’ve correctly identified the sex of the skeleton.” (Conversations with archaeologists reveal doubt on both scores, based on the evidence cited in the article.) So, at best, “Archaeologists find male skeleton buried in gender-atypical way”. And possibly “Archaeologists pretty sloppy about sexual orientation and gender identity”.

(A little disappointing really: I was wondering what could possibly have told them about sexual orientation. Seems I was right.)

(Thanks, E!)