Not since the days of the Equal Rights Amendment has there been so much to say about gender. The political bids by Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin brought to light a maelstrom of gender politics, made feminist blogs bookmark material and really brought forth a dialogue about how gender defines how we think, what we do and how we vote. Has anything really changed though? Based on a recent sampling of pop culture offerings (which, like it or not, is the obvious go-to for cultural status quo), I'm gonna say no. A recent documentary on TLC named (hilariously) Purity Balls shows fathers taking domain over their daughters' virginity. On CBS, Two and a Half Men exists. On the other hand, you're seeing more and more satirical or critical commentary about gender roles--on the highly evolved Mad Men, for example, and even in the traditionally male-dominated studios of Saturday Night Live. Contemporary artists have also picked up on this cultural tension, seen in a variety of work by feminist artists. In an interesting twist on this theme, Mighty Fine Arts presents an exhibit about gender and related commentary by a group of male artists. Manwich features work by Steve Cruz, Brian Jones and Brian Scott that has something to say about our base instincts and our views of gender, rendered in lurid, animalistic detail. Catch the exhibit at Mighty Fine Arts, 419 N. Tyler St., from noon to 5 p.m Saturday and Sunday. Visit mfagallery.com.
Saturdays, Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Starts: Nov. 22. Continues through Nov. 30, 2008