* The Chronicle of Higher Education on how pop culture figures can inspire “people of working-class backgrounds to pursue academic careers”:

Among the interview subjects, whose names Ms. Wright kept confidential, were a man who was inspired by the Rolling Stones and other British Invasion bands to envision being in Europe, as well as a woman who was inspired to think independently by Wonder Woman and Batgirlcomics. Another man came to think of academic research as “a cool thing to do” based on his devotion to the comic series The Atom, the hero of which was a college professor by day and a miniature crime fighter by night. . . . A woman who entered a community college to learn a trade following a divorce credits her decision to continue on to earn a doctorate partly to an obsession with Dana Scully, Gillian Anderson‘s character on the X-Files television series. Watching the combination medical doctor-FBI agent at work inspired the subject to think of women in the role of professionals with advanced degrees.

The pop-culture icons who taught me that women can be kick-ass, brilliant, and successful: Dana Scully. Clarice Starling. Lisa Simpson.

* Just how skinny do your skinny jeans have to be for a defense attorney to argue that they were so tight that you could never have been raped? Apparently, size-6-skinny-jeans-on-a-42-kilogram-frame is a sufficient degree of tightness for rape to be deemed physically impossible. I’m eager to hear the science behind this.

* Commenter: “Do you have any women on your staff?”

You guys have a column called “the sexist”? And with such stupid content? But who even cares about the content. Just calling it that is really sexist. Do you have any women on your staff? And would you ever consider having a blog called “the racist”? Or “the xenophobe”? This is so disappointing. I occasionally come to your site. Perhaps I hadn’t seen it before. Now that I have, I won’t be coming back. How ugly and irresponsible.

* Chloe Angyal at Feministing takes on penazzling, compares Jessica Simpson to Werner Herzog. Finally:

Which brings us to penazzling. As both Simpson and Herzog demonstrate, sometimes you have to turn things upside down to realize just how ridiculous they look right side up. Sometimes you have to look at the practice of gluing crystals onto a dude’s junk region to realize just how absurd it is that Jennifer Love Hewitt devoted an entire chapter of her new book to encouraging women to gluing crystals onto theirs. It’s worth asking ourselves, next time we’re giggling at penazzling or makeup for men or man Spanx why we find these products so amusing or absurd. Chances are, it’s not because of what they are, but because of who they’re aimed at. It’s not the practice of bedazzling one’s private parts that makes us realize that, come on, this is ridiculous, it’s the fact that the practice is now being marketed to men.

* Why is the media so obsessed with singledom among black women? The Loop 21 floats a theory: The media is white:

I would like to note that there are so many more issues of dire importance affecting Black women and men, that it’s frustrating when such a powerful platform is devoted to a topic that while not entirely a media creation, has certainly been overblown by them. A Google search of “Why are successful Black women single?” yields over 3 million results, while a search for “why are Black men jobless?” yields just 120,000 results. (Anyone else see a problem with that? Because I do.)