Defining Gender: The new music video by Beyoncé and Jay-Z broadens the scope of masculine and feminine roles in the couple’s work. The YouTube star Miles McKenna, a young transgender man, has guided many teen fans through the process of coming out by documenting his own experience of navigating a trans identity. And in tonight’s Reader Response (below), Robyn Kanner describes how she needed to explore gender as a teen and young adult before transitioning from a male to a female body.
Marina Koren on the study participants who, for the past five years, have spent months at a time living in a small white dome on the rocky northern slope of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano:
Their job is to pretend that they really are on Mars ... The goal, for the researchers who send them there, is to figure out how human beings would do on a mission to the real thing.
In February of this year, the latest batch of pioneers, a crew of four, made the journey up the mountain. They settled in for an eight-month stay. Four days later, one of them was taken away on a stretcher and hospitalized.
The remaining crew members were evacuated by mission support. All four eventually returned to the habitat, not to continue their mission, but to pack up their stuff. Their simulation was over for good.
In politics, public image matters—and visual images do too. This became apparent as photos of children being detained at the U.S.–Mexico border circulated online, provoking empathy in some viewers and denial in others. The scenes, along with the administration’s use of the Bible to defend its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, have parallels with the TV show The Handmaid’s Tale, in which the ruling regime of the Republic of Gilead quotes scripture to justify separating children from their parents. But when First Lady Melania Trump traveled to visit children at the border on Thursday, her controversial choice of outerwear became the news of the day, drawing attention away from the larger immigration story.
Can you remember the other key facts from this week’s culture coverage? Test your knowledge below:
1. The Linkin Park frontman Mike Shinoda debuted the song “____________” at the memorial concert for his late bandmate Chester Bennington.
Singal’s feature relies on the fraught situation of a teen making a decision about their identity. But he fails to consider other fraught situations happening around the same time in a child’s life, situations that we accept as normal. The exploration of a teen’s gender identity happens around the same time that students are making decisions about college. Even though studies have shown that 75 percent of college students end up completely changing their major, we still ask young people to decide if they’re going to go into thousands of dollars in student-loan debt in order to go to college. Young people all across the country are making difficult decisions about whether they should have sex, drink at a party, or leave their home and rent an apartment. Exploration and experience is precisely the thing that brings about change to our identities—this is, and always has been, normal.