Realism v. gender ideology: Women in apocalyptic fiction shaving their armpits.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

This is what gender ideology looks like. That’s The Walking Dead’s Rosita Espinosa and a total absence of armpit hair. 

This is also gender ideology at work: the privileging of an idea of gender over real life or, in this case, realism.

The Walking Dead’s producers go to great lengths to portray what a zombie apocalypse might be like. They are especially keen to show us the nasty bits: what it really looks like when dead people don’t die, what it looks like to kill the undead, and the evil it spawns in those left alive. It’s gruesome. The show is a gore orgy. But armpit hair on women? Apparently that’s just gross.

Gender ideology lost this battle with realism, we’d see armpit hair on the women in Gilligan’s IslandPlanet of the Apes,The Blue LagoonBeauty and the BeastWaterworld,  Lost and, yes, The Hunger Games – but we don’t. (Thanks to Ariane Lange at Buzzfeed for the whole collection and to @uheartdanny for the link.)

At least Rosita could conceivably have a razor. How do women supposedly shave their armpits on deserted islands? Did the Beast slip Belle a razor, you know, just as part of his controlling personality? And maybe some persnickety women would continue to shave even if they were lost in purgatory, but Riley in Alien? Come on.

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Our interest in realism only goes so far. Armpit hair on women is apparently one of its limits.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


Binary gendered language is one of those things that often goes unnoticed even at churches that are trying to be LGBTQ inclusive. Breaking the binary is a simple change that can make a difference.

How might you incorporate this language into your prayers, sermons, and church activities? 

(Source: Look Different via Latina Rebel)

 the makeup a person wears does not indicate their gender (◡‿◡✿) 

 a person’s hair length/style does not indicate their gender (◕‿◕✿)

fashion expression and style do not indicate a person's gender (⊙‿⊙✿)

just because someone is wearing clothing or styles normally associated with one binary gender  by society does not mean they are that gender

  • Stop excluding trans men from your feminism posts 
  • Stop excluding trans women from your feminism posts 
  • Stop excluding non-binary people from your feminism posts 
  • Stop assuming someone’s gender by their appearance when you reblog something
  • Stop erasing the trans community, period
Why We Say Latinx: Trans & Gender Non-Conforming People Explain

Has the word “Latinx” ever come across your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? The letter “x,” instead of say an “o” or an “a,” is not a typo. In fact, that final alphabet is very intentional.

The “x” makes Latino, a masculine identifier, gender-neutral. It also moves beyond Latin@ – which has been used in the past to include both masculine and feminine identities – to encompass genders outside of that limiting man-woman binary.

Latinx, pronounced “La-teen-ex,” includes the numerous people of Latin American descent whose gender identities fluctuate along different points of the spectrum, from agender or nonbinary to gender non-conforming, genderqueer and genderfluid.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s why people who identify as Latinx resonate with the term.


Fallen London is somewhat famous for offering a non-binary character creation option. 

We sent half a dozen non-binary Fallen London players a parcel of merchandise from our store, including our new Individual of Mysterious and Indistinct Gender shirts, and asked them to send pictures back to us. We received photos from England, Scotland, Ireland, the US, Canada and Australia. 

We’re delighted to share their efforts with you!

Ali (top) is modeling the Mysterious and Indistinct shirt in grey, and is known as the Branden Rose in Fallen London.

Kirsten (bottom) is modeling the Mysterious and Indistinct shirt in charcoal, and she plays as Var Sheridan in Fallen London.