Are Gender Categories Still Relevant in the Modern World?

How important is gender to accessing different rights as a citizen? If gender categories are from a bygone area that restricted women's rights, why shouldn't we eliminate them all together? 

What's the Latest Development?

To address the contemporary transgender dilemma, the Australian government now offers three options on its national passports: male, female, and indeterminate. The government's move was a response to growing social concerns over prescribed gender roles. When Jenna Talackova reached the final round of Canada's Miss Universe pageant, for example, she ignited controversy after being disqualified for not being a 'natural born' female, despite having begun hormone treatment at 14 and having sex reassignment surgery at 19. 

What's the Big Idea?

On our largest social network, the Internet, we constantly interact with individuals whose gender is not disclosed, nor do we consider it important to ask. Might official gender categories be relics of an era that denied women access to basic civil rights, from owning property to voting? "Perhaps eliminating the occasions on which this [gender] question is asked for no good reason would not only make life easier for those who can’t be squeezed into strict categories, but would also help to reduce inequality for women." Is the next advance in civil rights the elimination of official gender categories? 

Photo credit:

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less