About Cristen Conger

Raised on a steady diet of Technicolor musicals and library books, Cristen Conger always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. While working toward her journalism degree at the University of Georgia, she learned to avoid starry-eyed statements about childhood dreams and stick to hard facts. After graduating, Cristen decided she'd spent enough time chasing down REM band members in Athens and hitched up the road to Atlanta and HowStuffWorks.com. Childhood dream now fulfilled, she writes on a variety of topics each week and co-hosts the "Stuff Mom Never Told You" podcast with Molly Edmonds. Keep up with Cristen on Twitter and Facebook.

Most Recent: Cristen Conger Postings

These days, what I don’t get so much are the endless Disney Princess remixes that Internet-loving adults can’t seem to get enough of. We might like to think we’ve outgrown kids’ stuff like that, but then Buzzfeed Photoshops some beards on the lovely ladies, and they’re viral again, and I can’t help but wonder why.

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Billy Idol had it all wrong about the connotations of brides wearing white at weddings. Although he was trying to insinuate that his “little sister” in “White Wedding” shouldn’t have been wearing white to her nuptials since she had — gasp! — had sex, the tradition of brides wearing white actually has nothing to do […]

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If Instagram had existed during the Victorian era, selfies would probably contain a lot more prune-face than “duckface.” By the mid-19th century, camera technology was still in its infancy, and exposure took several minutes. Beginning in the first British photo studio, as academic Christina Kotchemidova discovered, photographers would request patrons to say “prunes” instead of “cheese” to make them purse their lips together.

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Forensics is a rare area of science that needs no help recruiting more women into its ranks. Although some people seem surprised that young women would be attracted to such a potentially grisly profession that involves analyzing blood ‘n’ guts via forensic toxicology, forensic chemistry, crime scene analysis and so forth, they now comprise an overwhelming majority of those in classrooms and crime labs. And the reasons behind the exponential growth of women in forensics both exemplifies how to attract more girls and women to STEM careers and reflects the challenges of retaining female science talent to top-tier academic programs, labs and leadership positions…

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In September 2013, TIME magazine asked whether murder shows are the “new soap operas for women,” judging by the meteoric rise of Investigation Discovery, a 24-7 cable true crime extravaganza. Launched barely five years ago, Investigation Discovery (ID) has attracted an overwhelmingly female audience rabid for shows about horrific crimes, including lovers-turned-murders, housewives-turned-sociopaths and run-of-the-mill stranger danger. Now, ID claims the 8th-highest cable TV slot among women 25 to 54 years old — but why?

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On June 21, 2013, Britain unveiled a new ‘blue plaque’ historical marker commemorating the block where Doreen Valiente resided before she died in 1999. The ceremony falling on the summer solstice was intentional and significant since Valiente is considered the “mother of modern witchcraft,” and the summer solstice coincides with the Wiccan celebration of Litha. […]

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If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen a social media comment along the lines of “why are Halloween costumes for women so sexy??!” I’d have enough money to march over to my neighborhood Halloween superstore and buy a sexy French fries costume. For young women these days, the process of choosing a Halloween costume usually starts with the question of “to sexy, or not to sexy?” (or in my mind, “to be warm, or not to be warm on a chilly October night?”)…

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In her hilarious and insightful memoir “Bossypants,” Tina Fey shares how people demonstrate a peculiar befuddlement with her professional authority. She writes: “Ever since I became an executive producer of ’30 Rock,’ people have asked me … ‘Is it uncomfortable for you to be the person in charge?’ You know, in the same way they say, ‘Gosh, Mr. Trump, is it awkward for you to be the boss of all these people?”

And of course people might assume that Fey is “uncomfortable” being the boss because that title doesn’t often attract many kindly descriptors if you’re a woman.

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It’s no big surprise then that feverish conversation about how romance plays out on Facebook, with earnest analyses on the significance of poking (just don’t.), friending and relationship status-updating, has started to shift to other hipper social platforms. Over at Elle, for instance, Anna Deutsch proposed that Instagram flirting is the new new, and that hip guys forgo Facebook friending to instead scroll through women’s personal photo collections and “deep like” as a sign of their affection — or at the very least sexual intention…

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Before men started wearing the crotch-covering legging we call trousers, everybody wore skirts in one form or fashion (see also: loincloths, tunics, togas, kilts, etc.). And why not? Skirts are far simpler to construct and facilitate more cooling air flow to the nether regions, which would’ve been a godsend in the pre-air conditioning days. But then, thanks to the rise of horseback infantries, trousers (see also: breeches, codpieces, tights, etc.) became the below-the-belt manly uniform of the masculine masses.

Western women, meanwhile, continued wearing skirts, and not just simple wrap-around numbers. We’re talking multi-layered, heavy, floor-length ensembles often further supported and puffed out with the assistance of cage crinoline, petticoats, bustles, or other clunky foundation garments, depending on the era (see also: corsets).

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