Boy Vs. Girl: Episode 1 of our new podcast launches today!

Two years ago, I began thinking about producing a podcast of my own. The combination of my excessive love for podcast and my fundamental (and possibly narcissistic) belief that I have interesting things to say led to my desire to become a podcast host.

Today, my podcast partner Rachel Leventhal-Weiner and I have finally achieved that goal with Boy vs. Girl: a podcast about gender and gender stereotypes from a self-described expert on gender issues (the boy) who has spent the last two decades immersed in female culture and a sociologist (the girl) who is an actual scholar with actual scholarly credentials. 

Basically I'm a guy who thinks he knows something and Rachel is an sociologist and academic with an actual doctorate or something.

Boy Vs. Girl


The origin of the podcast was this:

I have been an elementary school teacher for 17 years, working almost exclusively in the company of women. Prior to that time, I attended an all women's colleges. As a result, I have spent the past two decades immersed in female culture, and as a result, I have a unique and thorough perspective on that culture, in addition to the myriad of differences between men and women. 

My original plan was to write a book on the subject (and that is still in the works), with Rachel - the sociologist, academic, and expert - vetting my claims and ideally declaring me to be a genius. 

It turned out that Rachel not only disagreed with some of my assertions, but oddly enough, she also had strong opinions of her own on gender and gender stereotypes.

Who knew?

Thus Boy Vs. Girl was born.

Each week one of us will bring a gender-based topic to the table for debate, and then we will discuss a mystery topic, provided by the listeners, that we will open while recording.  

Episode #1 topics include the modern day Tupperware party, children's Halloween costumes, and panty hose.

You can listen to Boy Vs. Girl in Soundcloud (and subscribe to the podcast there to listen to on your computer) or click on the link below to listen right here on the blog, but if you're a podcast listener, you can listen (and hopefully subscribe) to our podcast in all of your favorite podcast apps, including iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, and more.   

We hope you'll listen.
We hope that you'll tell your friends and family and random strangers to listen.
We hope that you'll let us know what you think.
You can send us an email at
You can Like us on Facebook at
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You can leave us a review in iTunes.

Thanks, and happy listening!

Wigs for bald, baby girls are a thing now. Stupid parents have been around forever.

There are wigs for babies now.

Designed for parents (mothers) who are tired of listening to strangers refer to their bald, baby girls with masculine pronouns, Baby Bangs seeks to make baby girls look more like baby girls.


… the website reads, undoubtedly capturing the frustration and outrage of bald baby girls everywhere. 


Even as a novelist who tends to write character-driven stories, it’s difficult for me to imagine the level of self-centeredness, image obsession and lack of self worth required to strap a wig onto your baby girl so people on the street would no longer mistake her for a boy.

I ask myself:

What kind of mother or father would be feel hurt, threatened, disappointed, upset or even outraged by some wobbly old lady or store clerk mistaking their baby girl for a baby boy?

The horrifying kind. The wretched kind. The disgusting kind.

The kind that only dresses their child in designer clothing. The kind that believes that their child's outward appearance has some bearing on how others perceive them. The kind that thinks of their baby daughter as an accessory akin to a handbag.

I’m sure that the purchasers of Baby Bangs would argue that this is not the case and to mount a strong defense on their behalf, but this defense would be coming from someone who just strapped a wig to their baby’s head, so any credibility they may have enjoyed has already been destroyed.

As Baby Bang should be as well.

The Wizard of Oz versus Star Wars

Late last week I “stirred up a hornet’s nest” by writing a piece arguing that the reason Hasbro markets Easy Bake Ovens solely to girls is because the vast majority of children who want an Easy Bake Oven are girls, and the company has no obligation to the minority of boys who might want one.

This was not a chicken-or-egg debate over why more girls prefer the Easy Bake Oven than boys (though some wanted to make it one). I was simply arguing the logic behind Hasbro’s decision from a business perspective.  

But the chicken-or-egg debate is an interesting one as well, and one worth discussing. In terms of why more girls than boys prefer this toy, I thought this TED Talk was the perfect place to begin thinking about the issue:

Sorry, kid. Easy Bake Ovens are pink for good reason.

Around Christmas, a little girl became a momentary Internet sensation after appealing to Hasbro to make an Easy Bake Oven in a color other than pink or purple. Her brother had expressed a desire for an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas but discovered that this product only comes in pink and purple and is therefore only marketed to girls (though one could debate the gender-specificity of the color purple).

Enter video caption here

The problem is not the color of the toy.

The real problem is that this little boy is one of only three or four boys in the entire country who wants an Easy Bake Oven.

While this may be an exaggeration, I am not far from the truth. Easy Bake Ovens are geared towards little girls because the vast majority of the children wanting an Easy Bake Oven are girls. While the choice of color and advertising may represent gender inequality, it is also reflection of the gender inequality that is inherently present in boys and girls when it comes to this toy.

For the vast majority of children, girls want Easy Bake Ovens and boys do not. While it is unfortunate that the tiny percentage of boys who want an Easy Bake Oven are forced into choosing from pink or purple, Hasbro knows full well that red or brown or blue Easy Bake Ovens would sit on store shelves gathering dust, regardless of their marketing.

It also costs considerably more to expand a product into multiple colors, and the management of production and stock levels would become much more complex. In this case, Hasbro knows that the vast majority of its Easy Bake Oven customers prefer the colors pink and purple, so they are simply maximizing profits by accommodating their primary consumer.

I made a similar argument in regards to an advertising campaign by Carter’s clothing that targets mothers, and I was right then as well. Companies must market to their primary consumer, and try as they might, some products simply skew along gender lines.

Mothers are the primary purchasers of baby clothing. Moreover, they want to be the primary purchasers of baby clothing. 

Similarly, little girls want Easy Bake Ovens.

Some might argue that if Hasbro began marketing products like this to boys, they might broaden their consumer base, but I don’t believe this for a second, and I suspect that Hasbro has done enough research already to know this as well. After all, if it were possible to convince boys that the Easy Bake Oven is a great toy for them as well, why wouldn’t Hasbro attempt to capture that market as well?

It amounts to a chicken-and-egg argument:

Do girls like Easy Bake Ovens because they are pink and purple, or are Easy Bake Ovens pink and purple because girls like them?

Before you answer, ask yourself this:

If Easy Bake Ovens were originally produced in black or brown or gray, would boys be their primary market today? Would the pretend-to-cook market have skewed male by this change in color?

Of course not. Like it or not, girls are more likely to enjoy baking and pretending to bake than boys.

Hasbro is merely acting responsibly to its shareholders by maximizing advertising revenue. The company has no responsibility to promote gender equality, especially when the gender equality would be impossible to achieve and yield no greater profit for the company.

If you truly believe that boys would love an Easy Bake Oven if marketed properly, give it a try. Launch your own toy company. Make your fortune.

If you find a way to make a profit, I will admit that I am wrong and work in your factory for a week for free.

If I’m right, I’ll merely say I told you so.

It’s often reward enough for me.

My little girl playing football?

Have you heard about Erin DiMeglio, the first girl to play quarterback in a Florida high school football game? DeMeglio is the third string quarterback on a roster is filled with college prospects. “The star running back has committed to Miami, and its starting quarterback has offers from Navy and Air Force.”

She apparently has a cannon for an arm and has earned the respect of her teammates because of her skill and poise on the field .

DiMeglio had proved herself to the other players during spring and summer workouts, so when she officially joined the team, it was met with a respectful shrug. She has her own changing area in the girls’ locker room, and at the seven-on-seven camp last summer, she shared a room with the cheerleading coach. Otherwise, she is one of the guys, and they are protective of her.

As a father of a three year old girl, I read this story and had two divergent thoughts:

  1. Based upon the way I played tackle football and my frequent attempts to inflict bodily harm on my opponents, I would not want my little girl playing the game with a bunch of boys who are larger and stronger than she.
  2. I can’t imagine the pride that a father must feel upon learning that his little girl possesses the courage and inner fortitude required to play a game normally reserved for boys and men.

As the two opposing thoughts waged battle in my mind, I tried to imagine what I might say if Clara ever came to me and expressed a desire to play high school football.

Presuming she had the skills to play, it would be a tough call.

While I might attempt to steer her in the direction of a sport where her competition would consist of  fellow females, I can’t imagine stopping her from trying something that few people have ever attempted before.

That’s the thing about courage:  It cannot exist without risk.

If we protect our children from danger at every turn, we deny them the opportunity to be brave.

So no, I would not want my little girl to play on a boy’s football team, and yes, I would be bursting with pride if she did so.