You’re Spunky!

Throughout the course of mankind women and girls have been subject to the pressure of social messages instructing and reinforcing them as to how to “do” their gender, and as to how to be real, or true women. These ideals are then repeated or reproduced through their enactments and learned by successive generations with slight modifications accommodating for changes in the times, or namely the economy and politics. Simply put—the ideals of true womanhood are formed, reinforced, and passed down through generations of women.

Society’s expectations of women in regard to feeding, infertility, childbearing, particularly as social attitudes and technologies have changed.

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Psychology, Religion

Wifely Subjection—Mental Health Issues in Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower Women

Wifely Subjection: Mental Health Issues in Jehovah’s Witness Women

Kaynor J. Weishaupt, M.S., M.F.C.C.
San Rafael, California
Michael D. Stensland
Athens, Ohio

Abstract

The Watchtower Society, commonly referred to as Jehovah’s Witnesses, exerts a great deal of control over the everyday life of its members. Women, in particular, suffer from psychological stresses in this high-control environment, as it is also a culture where patriarchal attitudes limit women’s personal power and predominate in their relationships with men. A group of women responded to a questionnaire about their experiences during membership in the Watchtower Society and after leaving. The results indicate that while in the Watchtower Society, women experience a higher degree of mental health problems than they do after they leave the group. They also report experiencing more egalitarian attitudes in their relationships with men after exiting the group.

Little research has been done focusing on the experience of women in “high-control” or cultic groups, despite the fact that women make up a large proportion of the membership of such groups. The type of group referred to here as high-control is defined by the degree of control and restriction the group exercises over the everyday life of its membership. Such a group can be focused on religion, politics, militarism, psychotherapy, meditation, commercialism, or simply a “special” leader (Tobias & Lalich, 1994). A high-control group differs from other groups in that individual behavior is excessively limited by rules and regulations, access to information is restricted or managed (especially information critical of the group), pressure is high to conform in thought and behavior to group norms, and members must put the group’s interests before their own. The leadership in this type of group is absolute and considered infallible; outsiders are generally viewed as dangerous or evil; and members leaving the group are generally punished or shunned. While all members of such groups pay a psychological price (as well as reap certain psychological dividends, such as a sense of belonging and purpose), women often face particular difficulties in groups that are patriarchally based.

This article explores the relationship between women and the high-control social climate of the Watchtower Society (WTS), commonly referred to as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The article reviews literature bearing on the Watchtower Society’s control practices and patriarchal organizational structure, analyzes psychological implications of WTS’s social climate, and reports on the results of a survey of 20 female former members of the Watchtower Society. The survey explored three areas: (1) the degree of patriarchal versus egalitarian attitudes subjects felt existed while they were members of WTS compared to what they experienced after having left the group, (2) subjects’ perceived psychological distress while in the group and after exiting, and (3) subjects’ perceptions of the degree to which the group controlled everyday life and isolated members from outsiders. The latter area included a comparison group of women from other religious backgrounds.

The Watchtower Society as a High-Control Group
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@debbieblox Disrupting the Pink Aisle
Culture, Technology

Toys R’ Us and the Power of Pink—or Purple—“when I feel like it”.

In 2006 I wrote a paper about gender in toys, “Toys R Us—Engendering Children Are Us” for my UW Sociology of Family course.

Now it’s 2014 and we’re demolishing gender stereotypes and disrupting the pink aisle…

Sterling realized she was one of the only female engineering majors at Stanford University.

The Story of GoldieBlox | Cassie Jaye from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

“When Debbie Sterling set out to create GoldieBlox engineering toys for girls, she was hoping to sell much more than a product. She was hoping to inspire a movement that could eventually change the gender ratio in the engineering industry,” reports  from the Dallas Business Journal. Continue reading

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Documentation, Ethics, Technology

Microsoft: On Karma and Protecting the Innocent

“Knowing and having faith that the system … that might be one of the additional super powers, that quite frankly, that women who don’t ask for raises have… because that’s good karma. It will come back.”—Nadella, at the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference

Publishing today in response to Microsoft’s CEO Nadella’s perspective of the super hero powers of women like me who don’t ask for raises.

Bad Karma Coming Out of the Closet

I treated this situation as confidentially as I could, to the extent possible, as asked, for as long as I possibly could. I think I did pretty well, no?

Photo credit @DotBen “SpunkyGidget at Mix ’06

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Documentation, Ethics, Technology

I never asked for a raise, but I did get sexually harassed at Microsoft.

“Knowing and having faith that the system … that might be one of the additional super powers, that quite frankly, that women who don’t ask for raises have… because that’s good karma. It will come back.”—Nadella, at the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference

“I’m absolutely reeling,” said Rachel Sklar, who in 2010 founded Change the Ratio, a group focused on increasing visibility for women in tech. “He put to words the massive fear women have in asking for raises and told them to trust in a system that is proven to be broken.”

Nadella also said he would “not fall for the crutch of the supply-side excuse” of women in tech, and that Microsoft was attempting to improve, despite recently released Microsoft diversity numbers that were similarly dismal to most tech companies. He advised women to be persistent in breaking into the industry.

I wonder what the percentage was when I was at Microsoft?

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Satya Nadella at Anita Borg Institute 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing
Technology

Nadella at 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along…That, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to. And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up.” — Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

I don’t believe in karma—”good karma” has never caught up with me.

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Culture, Documentation, Ethics, Neuroscience, Psychology, Technology

Gender Violence Issues—and a Few Good Men [TED Talk]

Domestic violence and sexual abuse are often called “women’s issues.” But in this bold, blunt talk, Jackson Katz points out that these are intrinsically men’s issues — and shows how these violent behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood. A clarion call for us all — women and men — to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change.

Jackson Katz asks a very important question that gets at the root of why sexual abuse, rape and domestic abuse remain a problem: What’s going on with men? Continue reading

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Culture, Technology

Bill Gates on Creative Capitalism a Compilation

“I’m an optimist, but I’m an impatient optimist,” Bill Gates said during his speech. “The world is not getting better fast enough, and it’s not getting better for everyone.”

“There are billions of people who need the great inventions of the computer age, and many more basic needs as well, but they have no way of expressing their needs in ways that matter to the market, so they go without,” said Gates. “If we are going to have a chance of changing their lives, we need another level of innovation. Not just technology innovation, we need system innovation, and that’s what I want to discuss with you here in Davos today.”

“The challenge here is to design a system where market incentives, including profits and recognition, drive those principles to do more for the poor,” said Gates. “I like to call this idea creative capitalism, an approach where governments, businesses, and nonprofits work together to stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or gain recognition, doing work that eases the world’s inequities.”

bill-gates-creative-capitalism-spunkygidget

Bill Gates at Harvard

Related News

Bill Gates Goes to School with Napoleon Dynamite

photo credit: Domain Barnyard via photopin cc

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget

To Thy Own Self, Do Not Be Truest

It’s incredibly exhausting to be happy all the time.

People just don’t get it, and that means you end up in a state of performance for a good portion of your life.

“All the world’s a stage, and we are merely players.”

Showing off my Team in Training practice jerseyI get that.

I look back and recall Brian being upset because he didn’t get the same spunky Angie that others did. We shared the private intimate space of a couple, and thus he really knew me.

 

Why did I leave Microsoft?*

Because my manager was found guilty of sexual harassment on multiple accounts: one of which was harassing me, another was of harassing a girl who worked on our team after I had (in the end with the help of another female co-worker/manager on the team) shut him down.

* Edited to stop protecting the not so innocent. I’m sorry Mackenzie. I should have realized it wouldn’t have been just me.

Wayne Smith, Microsoft 2008

How did it happen?

Gump asked me to report to “The Brit” in the “new org”. Professionally, I found The Brit brilliant. But I told Gump I wouldn’t be comfortable, and kept my mouth shut about why. I don’t know why he waited so long to push for why, but for weeks the “new org” was held up apparently by me.

Eventually Gump pushes and I explain how he made me feel uncomfortable, which was tolerable as a peer, but I couldn’t report to him since it was already a problem. I recall mentioning how my mother would look at the situation, and then feeling embarrassed for raising my mother’s perspective in defense of my own.

That’s where Gump then explains to me about European culture set against our American (puritan) cultural backdrop. I was insulted. I had traveled to Europe, and I had already run from European rapists.

Gump said he’d send The Brit to “sensitivity” and “management” training classes, to make him U.S. Corporate Office ready, and let me work from Rome with UW over the summer.

You’ll find it ironic then that the man who then reported that The Brit was harassing me was also from the U.K.

My friend walked into my office and caught something on my screen in an email from The Brit.

Microsoft found The Brit guilty, but also, on the same report, found that his harassment did not affect my performance. How is that even possible?!—I’m not Super Woman.

That was that—just keep working and ignore the guy on the other side of your office wall.

I never asked for a raise at Microsoft.

“Angela left and went to Yahoo!”

My new manager told me it was SxSW or my job.

Bam. That was my first year at SxSW.

So I got a job, a raise, and left Microsoft and Seattle—Yahoo!

SXSWi08

And now you know the rest of the story.

Brian would have been the only person to see me slip from Angela, the “Spunky Gidget”, to one given to hypomanic states induced by psychoactive drugs, namely Clonazepam.

Unfortunately, he had a perspective of the unfairness. Like life was playing a cruel joke on him. They got the girl, and he got what was left over.

I left Microsoft, Seattle, and the great Pacific Northwest that I love for San Francisco.* More sunshine, more freedom, and a future. Unfortunately the bottle of Clonazepam and the few pills it held went with me.

10-10-10 photo booth

In San Francisco I enjoyed my new found freedom and lit up like a firefly to the light. I joined the nightly happy hours and brought my wardrobe up to snuff, relishing in eclectic pieces which finally did some justice to the style that was suffused in my cells but not on my palette. Oh, remember the white sailor girl dress, black boots (I coupled it with various pairs, the short retro looking bootie boots, the classic riding black boots, the pointy skin tight witches boots…) and white hat?

Digg Meetup SF

Oh how I loved to dress!

Jeez, do you guys know how you kill me day to day as I try to fit into this boring life you lead and love? The fantastic stories my clothes could tell you, era-by-era, multiple stories I could tell per day?

I’m a creative person, and I’m happy. Can you just get used to that idea?

Then I met Fabien. On our first date we met at a Luna Park, it was loud and his English wasn’t nearly as good as his French, and that did neither of us any good. I had left friends (some guy friend who I’d been having a blast with, but just a friend… was that Bill?) and was measuring the date against the moments I had left just before. Completely unfair, but a reality given the circumstances. I mean, I had been having tons of fun, and left it for what?… a date?! But I’d made plans, and I stuck to the plans. I don’t really recall what we talked about, or if there was even really any talk… between the loud music and his charming heavy accent, that is.

We stepped outside to the corner to part ways. We went to hug goodbye.

It was an embrace.

Wow. What was that?!

In that moment he won the second date.

Alas, while we shared a romantic convertible ride to wine country, a day written in someone else’s daydream between sparkling Chandon, strawberries, dinner at Angele, and a moonlight drive with music on the way home… it was a short lived romance in the pages of our overstuffed technology dayplanners. He was a CEO, and I had no interest in being the CEO’s wife.

giving up

We parted ways to remain friends. I later took him to New York for his birthday—tons of fun and drama between the serendipitous Fuerza Bruta: Look Up show, wine, cheese, dinner and dessert, with Rachel, at Pastis, dancing until we fell asleep at Cielo, the passionate fight wound through the sidewalks of a brisk and cold walk in Central Park, back to the Waldorf Astoria, into the cab, and onto the plane home to the cool grey city of Love.

In the end I found San Francisco to be the leftovers of what once was. It’s the mecca for artists and lovers and dreamers, to be sure. But it’s overrun with abundance, confusion and people. It’s not Kerouac’s city, and it wasn’t to remain mine. There’s something of an arrogance to just being there. As if residence is validation in and of itself of having arrived, of not just being alive but living. I found it to be a surface level dream with no depth. I was lost and lonely and couldn’t have had more friends if I tried.

Abuse of Power

Every holiday was an excuse for an escape.

My first July 4th took me on a road trip to L.A. to spend the weekend with my friend who makes dreams come true by making tools for Spielberg. He proudly peacocked the city of Angels knowing good and well I both enjoyed it and found it profoundly lacking. I’ll never forget our debate via Twitter regarding women’s rights and who’d get to drive. He knew all along that I long for an era back in the day where men loved to drive women, and women loved to look out the window to day dreams of ways to make more love.

Furry Critters make everything better

Halloween was a race to Los Angeles which was marked by my descent down the wrong escalator into the San Francisco Virgin America gates back when they were in the International Terminal… I turned to race up the escalator, was reminded of my silliness, and ended up on my knees, jeans shredded against the ridges of steel, my flesh fairing not much better. Stickel and I made it, but not on that flight, but we made it ultimately. You see I was the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding, Tara Brown to her Sean Bonner.

2008-10-31-12-11-48_2

Words are flowing out in endless… pools of sorrow, waves of joy, possessing and caressing me… nothing’s gonna change my world. Nothing’s gonna change my world.

2008-10-31-12-25-26

At the top of the Runyon Canyon I witnessed Tara and Sean exchange vows, officiated by none other than Optimus Prime. Just a little while later, I feel a tinge of guilt when I learn she’s pregnant. I know it wasn’t in their plan, though Tara had long held dreams of being a mother. She absolved me from my guilt, and I attended a baby shower in LA that confused every bit of my sense of reality.

2008-10-31-11-33-23

Tara had left, she’d found her love, her life. I’d left Microsoft, and Seattle for San Francisco, and she’d soon followed. I found Cindy in San Francisco, but now they’d both gone.

The city no longer seemed amusing, but cold and grey, dingy and dirty.

Oh, wait, but did I tell you about Memorial Day yet?

No, we save the best for last, and I’m perpetually amused at how America’s major holiday’s serve merely as markers for memories in my life.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

101010kcc

Jeez, what do I do when I know the matrix exists? The connections, the lack of coincidence? Divine, meddlesome, controlled, variables left tied up in neat little bows on packages that don’t seem to be the right presents. You made it right this time? Only if my mustang shows up, and heavy is limited to a state of mind and not a reference to my brother. He strolls in, and I wonder where are my hemp sandals? Black toe nail polish, blue on his fingers. A look as if death has washed over him, but he may yet be clean? I’m sorry what you see as my being stubborn is nothing but the exalted standards by which I deem myself deserving. Or maybe you could say I find myself divinely so. Oh, is it ironic or merely coincidence that the sun warms my keyboard for those few strokes, only to hide again at thought’s completion?

I’m beginning to love all the hidden tracks. Reel Big Fish, Gorillaz.

It’s enough to tempt a girl.

Art Show @ GRSF

In my play I’m happy and creative.

I want to day dream, write, sing, dance, make movies, and music. I want to fall in love and live forever in paradise.

In my play I get to write the ending.

Now, whether it’s God or Natasha Bedingfield, well, that’d be a debate I’d take up over a fine deep red wine and a beautiful bleu cheese and pears.

Spunky

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“he was only friends with me…”

A few weeks ago a girlfriend said to me, “i think he was only friends with me because he wanted to date with me”. The thought has sat on my mind for a while, and it made me uncomfortable as I realized that there just seemed to be so much truth in this statement.

Even worse, it seems like I could extend the sentiment to say that the proverbial “he” is only friends with you because he wants to sleep with you. Being new to San Francisco, I experienced this surge in attention from guys upon arrival. And while I would be careful not to imply a direct cause-and-effect relationship, as I established my intentions, the new (guy) friends attention went away.

As a result, I’ve gone about meeting people on my own terms. Introducing myself to the guy in line in front of me at UPS. Meeting up with the guy who bought my stereo (on Craigslist) and his friends for happy hour. Chatting with fellow coffee shop regulars with cool accents, and accepting their happy hour invite. Maybe this way I’ll find people interested in mind, and not just my body or the sex that it implies.

Meanwhile, speaking of that guy from Craigslist, here’s his perspective:

I think that quote (“i think he was only friends with me because he wanted to date [or sleep] with me”) is generally true about us fellas. My girlfriend, if we ever have kids, definitely wants a little girl. Me? I’d be terrified if we had a girl. I know too much about what goes on in our ugly male skulls to be comfortable ever letting my daughter run around, alone and minimally protected, in a world full of men.

A friend of mine has developed a “ladder” theory of male/female friendships. I hope I don’t butcher it… I think it goes something like this:

Women have two ladders for the men they meet. One ladder is the “potential friend” ladder. The other is the “attracted to” (or potential date/relationship/lover/sex whatever term you want to use) ladder. When women meet a new man, the man is, as quickly as possible, put on one ladder or the other. This can be (and usually is) an instant categorization. Once set, this categorization is immutable. Wanna be kings had an easier time trying to pull Excalibur outta the stone.

Men, on the other hand, have only one ladder. If they meet a woman and become friends with that woman, then sex is on the brain. It’s not exactly intentional — we’re just dumb animals.

Now, let me be clear (and this is my own personal addendum to my friend’s theory). Once men and women are in a long term relationship, things change. Women have evolved over time to fight for monogamous relationships. Over the history of our species it’s been beneficial for women to find a male with whom to reproduce, and then to lock him down as her property.

Men, on the other hand, have no interest in monogamy. Men are driven to Know, Biblically-speaking, as many women as possible. It is against our nature to be single-minded and monogamous.

It’s the difference between having, on the one hand, a complicated reproductive system whereby eggs expire over time and have only a couple of days per month (if that) during which they can be fertilized and, on the other hand, having billions of sperm that are ready to go on a few minutes notice (if that) and that can be produced over the vast majority of the male’s life.

My addendum isn’t absolute, and doesn’t apply to all men and women. The male impulse can be successfully fought by the trained, disciplined mind. I, for example, have been with my girlfriend for almost 11 years, and I’ve never been tempted to stray, even though I know with certainty that, were I not in a relationship, I’d be a dog — a slave to my impulses and a revolutionary against the shackles of the long-term relationship. Quite a contrast, I know, but the truth be how it be.

Just because this is our nature does not mean that our environment, that circumstances, that nurture doesn’t play a huge role. I know some men who would never be tempted to cheat, and I know many women in long term relationships who are constantly tempted to fool around. But still, this is more a result of the world in which they live than of the genes within.

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Culture, Documentation, Ethics

Ku Klux Klan

Ku Klux Klan

“You Have Been Paid a Social Visit By The Knights of The KU KLUX KLAN Don’t Make the Next Visit a Business Call”

A KKK business card… No. I’m not kidding.

 

Tara Tiger Brown faved this

Tara Tiger Brown PRO 8y

STFU. Where the hell did you get this?

Angela Glass PRO 8y

Somebody stopped by my brother-in-law’s work.

My biology partner in middle school was a card carrying member. Our school was shut down for a day when it was vandalized with racial slurs on weekend.

They still have rally’s all the time in Mt. Holly, a little town just outside Charlotte.

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The Dream Mile

I ran a 10k on Sunday with my friend Cap Watkins. It was a charity event called the Dream Mile benefiting Vibha supported projects in India.

I completed the 10k in 0:57:35 minutes. That’s finishing 20th in my division (Women’s 18-35) and 28th over all. This also was a much better pace than my half-marathon at about 9.29 minutes per mile. Hooray for sub-10’s! Check out my NikePlus stats.

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Team Sugar… all women come in one shape and size?

Somehow I ended up on a mailing list for TeamSugar.

“TeamSugar is the place for you to meet friends, discuss the latest gossip, share online shopping finds, dish on fashion, learn beauty secrets, swap delicious recipes, blog about your day and much, much more. There are currently 45,727 people online.”

I went to their website to check it out while unsubscribing. I’m shocked. First, what a shallow list of things that present to me as a woman… gossip, online shopping, fashion, beauty, cooking…! Then it gets worse. Check out the “every woman” illustration on the home page. Apparently, women, or at least TeamSugar women only com in one shape and size. There is more diversity in the clothes than in the women illustrated.

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Piazza Prati Strozzi 33

Piazza Prati Strozzi 33

Walls of burnt caramel with bookcases holding treasured and worn volumes of poetry, Dorothy Parker, textbooks of youth and scholar, biology and war, movies in black and white, and dust covered CD jewel cases. A desk faces the window—a tall and double width window—out of which a pale sheer flutters through as the wind inhales causing it to move about as a woman’s dress tangled about the knees giving hint to life’s source.

The desk has space for one to sit and spans nearly as wide as the room, much longer than a bed might be. Papers and books, and documentations of authenticity are strewn, but neatly, across. All are centered about the chair which faces the window of flirting blue reminiscent of clouds.

Piazza Prati Strozzi 33

Against the only other wall with space not adorned by books—volumes and volumes of books in mixed language and genre—is a red couch. The couch is of modern style and pulls out into a bed in a way which seems unique, though this is really nothing altogether new.

Old jazz music plays—a pianist who played with Miles Davis.

Piazza Prati Strozzi 33

It smells of rosemary and fennel and of roasting aubergines.

Piazza Prati Strozzi 33

Against the back wall, opposite the window, is one framed photograph. Black and white, matted against creamy white, in a thin wooden frame. A table of elegant men and women are frozen in a moment. The woman in the right corner stares out with clearest eyes of glass, just as la Fornarina. She wears a hat. To the other end sits a mother, though not yet realized. She looks out of the photo from the slight turn of her face. In between, men are locked in various states of unaware being, one looking at the camera, the others simply arranged in a Caravaggio construction of the Last Supper. The photo is placed high on the wall—positioned for the tall, dark and handsome Italian man who lives here. Or is he Spanish?

Sometimes, even he’s not certain.

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Culture, Religion

Feminism: Accessible and Actionable

“Feminism is anti-sexism.” — bell hooks

Feminism is a dirty word, or at least that’s what you’d believe from the reactions you get from people if you mention it. It conjures up images of radical women or lesbians with unshaved legs and armpits rallying outside abortion clinics, fighting domestic violence and rape, or gender equality. It is an image of a woman who you can’t relate to, she is one that you don’t know what to do with, and she is one whom you shy away from. Continue reading

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Culture

Seductive Habits: Building Reality

“White privilege is best understood as a constellation of psychical and somatic habits formed through transaction with a racist world. As such, it often functions as unconscious: seemingly invisible, even nonexistent, and actively resisting conscious efforts to know this.” In Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege, Sullivan is trying to get us to think about and understand how white privilege can be unconscious when it is transactional because of the means by which that unconsciousness is formed through seduction by transference of enigmatic (meaning unknown to or hidden from both sender and receiver) messages from parent to child. Continue reading

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Culture

Rape: Victims of Pity

Razack argues that “we need a theory that can account for the structure of violent relationships in women’s lives and expose the social conditions that limit what can be said in the rape script… [and that] the stories of women with disabilities must be told, not as stories of vulnerability, but as stories of injustice.”

In changing the rape scripts and incorporating the stories of violence into our evaluation of justice, we effectively “move beyond consent [as the salient factor in rape cases] to responsibility [of men as respects to women] and beyond pity to respect.” Continue reading

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Culture

Gender Persecution Cases

Razack presents her thesis as “how gender persecution, as it is deployed in refugee discourse, can function as a deeply racialized concept in that it requires that Third World women speak of their realities of sexual violence outside of, and at the expense of, their realities as colonized peoples… therefore further[ing] First World interests by obscuring Western hegemony and its destructive impact on the Third World.” Continue reading

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Culture

World-Traveling: Shirking off the Arrogant Perception

Lugones asks us, in Playfulness, “World”-Traveling, and Loving Perception, to open our eyes to arrogant perception as the barrier complicating issues in trying to love and understand women (and men) across cultural and racial divisions. She offer’s “world-traveling” as a solution to breaking down these barriers, as long as one might travel with playfulness and are open to exploration of what makes one at ease in the worlds that they visit. She asserts that to failing to love (or lovingly perceive) another is to fail to identify with them. This failure, therefore, can be overcome by “world-travelling”, the epitome of putting oneself in another’s shoes. Finally, she believes that seeing oneself as a world-traveler means understanding a pluralist self, that there is no one underlying “I”. (Incidentally, Lugones’ essay reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s statement in the passage of 1 Corinthians 9:19-22: “To win as many as possible… I have become all things to all people”. Was his premise the precursor to Lugones’ concept of world-traveling?) Continue reading

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Culture

Different Voices—Women’s Self and Morality

Gilligan is arguing against the common perception that women are morally inferior. Instead she proposes two trajectories for moral development, the typical ‘justice’ track and the ‘care’ track which many women identify with. She presents us with a process of development that has three levels and two stages in each. She argues that you must give equal voice recognition to the “different” voice, the voice of care.

First Gilligan assumes that it is a moral (involving right and wrong) decision of whether or not to abort a child. Second, she makes the assumption that children have a stage of life characterized by innocence, being carefree and selfish. This concept of a childhood of innocence is actually only in recent years and predominantly in the United States.

My first main critique is that while Gilligan explores morality in decision making that the study seemed heavily skewed to religious women. I personally understand a religious woman’s perspective in making such a decision (as to whether or not she should have an abortion) but I do not understand as much the perspective of one who has not been raised with religious beliefs that condemn this action as a sin. I wonder how this would, as a variable, alter the findings of the study. It would have been nice to have a control group and to have singled out religion as a variable in the participants.

Next, I feel like this study was odd because, as discussed in class, it was female only and inherent to its design cannot be reproduced using male subjects. This means that we have no valid means by which to compare the male’s decision making process against the voice of care. In her book “Moral Orientation and Moral Development” she notes that one third of the men studied switched back and forth between the justice and care tracks, but the study she specifically devised and of which we read will never allow us to measure relativity. So, while I agree with the concept of the care track, and that many women gravitate to this track over that of justice, I cannot help but miss the opportunity to ‘globalize’ the findings in the context of both men and women. I believe it would also be interesting to add gay men to the study as well.

Finally, I would have been interested to see how she evaluated women in situation involving justice versus care. We discussed in class the social problem presented to the young boy and girl, of the woman who required medicine for her illness that her and her husband could not afford and whether or not he should steal it. I imagine my critique is a bit unfair because I’m certain she does explore this in her book.

In summary, I have to say I enjoyed reading her essay because it was an accessible reading style, she interspersed anecdotal evidence in the form of quotes from participants in the study. I also agree with her concept that there is a different track other than just that of the ‘justice’ as defined by Kohlberg (which is framed in the male perspective). I just wish that there was a way that the ‘women’s track’ didn’t appear less evolved merely by the means of having fewer stages in the development process (Kohlberg has six, Gilligan has three).

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Culture

Cyborg Madness: Information, Power and Dehumanization

Haraway, in her Cyborg Manifesto, is trying to get us to think about, from a social feminism perspective with a slant of postmodernism, a future with gender free feminism through the use of a “cyborg” that is all things while at the same time being none of them. Through this perspective she asserts that the control and flow of information define power and this power is used to turn everything into production, reproduction and communication as she terms “the informatics of domination”. Haraway is trying to get us to think about how hardship brings kinship, and that this can span across race, gender and class. There is room even in the foretold dark hour for reformation through “discourses of subversion and transformation”. Continue reading

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Culture

Democratic Power and the Printing Press

Someone, who I am certain was probably pretty important, once said “Knowledge is power.” Before the fifteenth century however the distribution of knowledge was inhibited by the process of oral and scribal transmission. Enter the printing press which allowed reproduction of information for easier access and a broader reach. Hence we see the ‘democratization of knowledge’ which brought on a revolution in power; knowledge is power. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Immigration and Diversity in the Latino Family

“The immigration debate is usually framed as though there were a clear demarcation between legal residents and illegal aliens who live “in the shadows.” But reality is far messier. Palacios’s clan—six siblings and their spouses and kids—includes Americans by birth, naturalized citizens, permanent residents and undocumented immigrants.”

Regarding family and diversity, I reviewed the article “America’s Divide” which appeared in the April 10th, 2006 issue of Newsweek Magazine: Illegal’s Under Fire. This article was written by Arian Campo-Flores. This article tells the story of immigrant families and the diversity of the immigrant experience inside the family, or ‘clan’. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Balancing Work and Family

With more than 50% of married women working outside of the home the ongoing discussion of balancing work and family continues to rage on. The need for work-life balance has turned to consider fathers as well as we recognize the value of a father’s active participation in a child’s upbringing. In this paper we’ll consider the challenges are for families in managing work and family, how those challenges differ for women and men and what solutions are available for managing work and family. Lastly, we’ll look to real life examples to illustrate these difficulties families face in managing work and family and the potential solutions. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: New Era. New Bra. New Rules.

The article I am reviewing was called “The Secret Lives of Wives: Why They Stray” that appeared in the July 12th, 2006 issue of Newsweek Magazine. The article was written by Lorraine Ali and Lisa Miller of Newsweek with assistance from Vanessa Juarez, Holly Peterson, Karen Springen, Claire Sulmers, William Lee Adams and Raina Kelley. The articles description states “with the work place and the Internet, overscheduled lives and inattentive husbands—it’s no wonder more American women are looking for comfort in the arms of another man”. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Toys R Us—Engendering Children Are Us.

When you walk into a Toys R Us store you can quickly see how toy stores teach gender through messages sent as an agent of socialization for children. The boy’s section of toys is separate and distinctive from that of the girl’s toys. Model cars, trucks, trains, building blocks, sporting goods and action figures stock the rows of boy’s toys and are brilliant and bold in their highly saturated colors of blue, red, and green. Meanwhile, Barbie’s, dress up dolls, house play sets, hair salon setups, stuffed animals and art & crafts supplies are flirty in pink, purple and passive pastel hues that cleanly segregate out the girl’s section. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Theory Overview

Symbolic interaction looks at how people interact with one another and communicate with symbols and gestures. Families are seen as a unity of interacting personalities, with each member having a social role. Over time, our interactions and relationships define the nature of our family and our identities emerge from the interplay between our unique selves and our social roles.

Social exchange theory examines actions and relationships in terms of costs and benefits.We undertake exchanges—many of them unconscious—to maximize rewards and minimize costs; in interpersonal relationships, resources, rewards, and costs are likely to be things like love, companionship, status, and power rather than tangibles like money. Participants have to see exchanges as fair and equitable in order for the relationship to endure. These exchanges can be cooperative or competitive, and they take on a long-term character in marriage and family relationships. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Applying Theories of Family

I will apply three theories of family to my family experiences for analysis. The three I’ve chosen are symbolic interaction, social exchange and structural functionalism. My immediate (nuclear) family is made up of six people. First there is my mother, Arlene. Next my stepfather, Melvin, who my mom married when I was seven (four years after my father passed away in an accident). Then there are four children—I am the oldest, followed by Heather and Matthew. Erin is the youngest and is also our half-sister. My immediate family members all live in North Carolina; therefore for the purposes of this essay I will also consider my boyfriend Brian as part of my family and our relationship and interactions as a part of this analysis. Continue reading

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: Jesus’ Death—Two Perspectives

In comparing Matthew and John’s account of Jesus announcing his approaching death it is interesting to see the stark differences in their perspectives. John’s account is of a loving shepherd with his sheep easing them into the thought of what is to come and the reasoning for why these things must come to pass. He is painted as “Jesus the way, the truth and the light”. In contrast, the Jesus of Matthew’s account is much more a martyr. Let’s look a little closer at Matthew’s account so we can analyze the additional meaning written into John. Continue reading

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Culture

The Bible as Literature: Job—Afflicted and Relationship Challenged

Job was an upstanding man in his community, a good guy who didn’t seem to do wrong or harm anyone. “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil.” (Job 1:1) People came to him for advice and he was well liked by all, from children to the leaders of the community. He had it all. “This man was the greatest of all the people of the east.” (Job 1:3) You might say he lived a charmed life, or at least this is what Satan thought as he gazed upon the earth. Like Greek gods sitting above the expanse of the earth playing chess with humans as pawns, Satan challenged Yahweh saying that if Job didn’t have it so good he wouldn’t continue to serve him loyally. In effect, that Job was only loyal because he had it easy and was spoiled by God. Yahweh agreed to remove his favor from his servant so his loyalty could be tested. Satan pulls out all the stops, taking away his riches, and even his sons and daughters in an effort to get him to curse God or turn away from him. Continue reading

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Culture

A Brief Ethnographic Commentary: Waterlily

Waterlily is a captivating story of a young Dakota girl growing up in the Sioux culture of beliefs, social conventions and ceremonies. We learn, alongside Waterlily, the concept of kinship: “achieving civility, good manners, and a sense of responsibility toward every individual dealt with.” These kinship rules are the crux of the Sioux culture, as they “held the people together, impelling them to sacrifice for one another”. Within the tiyospaye, Waterlily learned to navigate the relative obligations that are at the core of kinship rules. In doing so, she was to become a child beloved and an exemplary woman, all by means of that careful observation of kinship rules and her joyful and selfless execution of gift-giving rituals. Continue reading

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Culture

Social Drama Reveals Cultural Codes in Communication

Social dramas are a handy means of revealing cultural codes of communication because they usually distill arguments down to cultural perspectives through emotional arguments. What I mean is, people are stripped of their generic beings and the cultural values and beliefs at their core shine through while their emotions play into the drama. For instance in Daley’s speech he immediately turns to the revered symbol of a mother, and artfully twists the professor’s challenge into an accusation of Mrs. Keane and of how well she raised her son. This happened because gender and place are key themes of the Teamsterville spoken life, and this argument was suddenly about an offense both to her in her female role, and his station as a mother raising a son fit for office.

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