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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@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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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

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

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

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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Culture

The Influence of Advertising on Magazine Journalism


Please, just call me Ms.

Ms. Magazine was the first U.S. magazine to feature prominent American women demanding the repeal of laws that criminalized abortion, the first to explain and advocate for the ERA, to rate presidential candidates on women’s issues, to put domestic violence and sexual harassment on the cover of a women’s magazine, to feature feminist protest of pornography, to commission and feature a national study on date rape, and to blow the whistle on the undue influence of advertising on magazine journalism. Continue reading

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Culture

Gender, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation and Class in Popular Television

Sex and the City‘ has been known for pushing the edge of ‘real’ on television. You might imagine with this greater breath of freedom that they would use that position to promote positive images of women, people of color, gay and lesbians and those of different classes. However, that is just not the case. Women are portrayed as being absolutely consumed with the pursuit of men, love, clothes and shoes. Little do we know of their jobs, and even less time is spent discussing them. The main cast is white American’s, with few ethnic characters appearing in a single episode. Carrie and Charlotte have ‘best’ gay friends who serve as fashion accessories. Stanford is the prominent gay character, and together with Anthony, these men serve up flamboyant gay as if it’s going out of style. Finally, issues of class aren’t approached at all… everyone is well-to-do with an amazing apartment with only one financial concern – how many of the new season’s shoes you will be able to purchase.
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Culture

Ethnicity, Gender and Communication: Privilege

Privilege is an advantage, right or perk that is not available to everyone, but only an elite group. For example, my boyfriend and I work for the same company, his group reimburses a portion of his cell phone expenses, while mine does not. He was complaining when they took that benefit away. I explained to him how he cannot complain because it was a privilege, not a right. He should be happy for the benefit while he had it, because others just as deserving did not get the same perk. Continue reading

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Culture

Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness

A Guide for ESL Tutors

As a tutor, you will be working with students from other cultures. You will gain an appreciation for different cultures by providing the student with an atmosphere of trust and acceptance. Encourage the student to talk about his/her family and country. If you are asked about American customs, be sensitive to the tutee’s viewpoints. What is socially acceptable in the U.S. might be unthinkable in the student’s culture. Most foreign students are eager to talk about their country and traditions. This interaction might be a valuable learning experience for you. Continue reading

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Psychology

A Beginners Cheat Sheet to Psychology

Psychology

  • The scientific study of mind and behavior
  • Social/Behavioral sciences
  • Principles are based on research
  • Psychology has its foundations in philosophy and biology
  • For tips on how to study and other information about the field of psychology, visit http://www.psychwww.com
  • Psychology is a behavioral science
  • Because it is a science, all of the principles of psychology are supported by someone’s (or several people’s) research. Continue reading
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Psychology

Laws of Lasting Love: Written by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D.*

During my 25 years as a therapist, I have seen hundreds of people disappointed
over unfulfilling relationships. I have seen passion turn to poison. I
have grieved with patients for the love they lost or never found.
"We seemed to love so much, but now it’s gone," one woman lamented
to me. "Why do I feel so lonely every night even when he is right there
beside me? Why can’t a relationship be more than this?"
It can. I was once invited to the 60th anniversary celebration of a remarkable
couple. I asked the husband, Peter, if he ever felt lonely and wondered where
the love between him and Lita had gone. Peter laughed and said, "If you
wonder where your love went, you forgot that you are the one who makes it.
Love is not out there; it’s in there between Lita and me."
I know we can love deeply, tenderly and lastingly. I have seen such love,
and I have felt such love myself. Here are the laws I have discovered for such
lasting and loving relationships:

Put time where love is. A fulfilling relationship begins when two people make
time together their No. 1 priority. If we hope to find love, we must first
find time for loving.
Unfortunately, current psychology rests on the model of the independent
ego. To make a lasting relationship we have to overcome self-centeredness.
We must
go beyond what psychologist Abraham Maslow called "self-actualization" to "us-actualization." We
have to learn to put time where love is. Many couples have experienced
a tragic moment that taught them to value their time together.
In crisis, become as one. Just after a couple left my office
one evening, I heard what sounded like a gun-shot. I looked out the window
and saw the couple
backing toward their car, and the shadow of a large figure near a street
light. Clinging together, they couple kept backing away. The figure quickened
his
pace toward them. The couple joined hands and ran to their car. As I dialed
security, the figure came closer, and I saw it was one of our guards. I later
discovered that the "shot" was a noise that had nothing
to do with my couple, but they didn’t know that. Like herd animals, they had
reacted to danger by coming together, in a "couple caution circle." Threatened,
they had become one.
Take a loving look. How we see our partners often depends more on how we
are than how they are. The loved-ones in a relationship are not audience,
but participant
observers in each other’s lives. Author Judith Viorat once wrote, "Infatuation
is when you think he’s as gorgeous as Robert Redford, as pure as Solzhenitsyn,
as funny as Woody Allen, as athletic as Jimmy Connors, and as smart as Albert
Einstein. Love is when you realize he’s as gorgeous as Woody Allen, as smart
as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Solzhenitsyn, as athletic as Albert Einstein,
and nothing like Robert Redford in any category–but you’ll take him
anyway." This law of lasting love instructs us to look with instead
of for love.
Try another perspective. This law illustrates how some people spend their
relationships struggling to change a partner’s mind. People in lasting-love
relationships begin with the premise that there are many realities. They
learn to accept different points of view. When a couple breaks free of
their one-reality
trap, their problems are solved. The lasting relationship is never sure
of the seperate "selves" that
make it up. But it has complete confidence that the relationship will grow
in a never-ending process of learning.
Look out for No. 2. There is a power healing energy that emanates from loving.
Lasting love can learn to sense it, send it and make it grow. We are energized
by love if we put our energy into loving. Bad energy springs from conflicts
that arise when two egos collide. When I watch couples argue with each other,
I want to shout: "Grow up, stop fighting, start loving!" It is better
to learn how to love than how to fight. Don’t try to win in your relationship,
win for your relationship.

Relationship is designed primarily for giving rather than taking. It is meant
to be a permanent union of two unselfish people. As one person told me, "The
old saying was look out for No. 1. But we’ve learned to look out for No. 2.
If you fight for yourself, only you can win. When you fight for your relationship,
you both win."
* Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Wayne State University School of Medicine
and former Director of Professional Education at The Kinsey Institute for Research
in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.

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