Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sexism: What’s the point?

I found an article on The Washington Post that explains how people who are sexist have more psychological problems compared to people who aren’t sexist – oh, the irony. Researchers found 11 norms considered to be “traditionally masculine” which were the desire to win, need for emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, sexual promiscuity or playboy behavior, self-reliance, primacy of work, power over women, disdain for homosexuality and pursuit of status — and looked to see whether they were associated with particular mental health outcomes  (Kaplan, 2016). They found that men who stuck more strongly to these norms were more likely to experience problems such as depression, stress, body image issues, substance abuse and negative social functioning. They were also less likely to "[T]urn to counseling to help deal with those problems. The effect was particularly strong for men who emphasized playboy behavior, power over women and self-reliance" (Kaplan, 2016). If sexism harms both the perpetrator and the victim, then what’s the point? Understanding the sloth-like speed at which social change occurs, we can’t expect people that hold sexist views to change over night. We can, on the other hand, raise kids so that they don’t display this kind of behavior and try to warn people of the potentially psychological impairment that these views can have on both parties.

Female Rappers on the Come Up

How many female rappers can you name? A decade ago you may have only been able to name a hand full – if that. The most common responses would most likely have been Missy Elliot and Lil’ Kim. Now, you would probably hear Nicki Minaj, Dej Loaf, and Young M.A., Iggy Azalea, and Honey Cocaine just to name a few. Female rappers are not only becoming more prevalent, but also more accepted within the hip-hop/rap culture. To me, it is extremely interesting that the number of female rappers is in on the rise, not because I doubt their ability, but because hip-hop/rap is seen as an outlet in which black men can express their masculinity. From our class discussions, everyone knows that hip-hop and rap is dominated by black men expressing hypermasculinity, sexism, and violence. Oddly enough, one of the most profound topics are women and the use and disposal of them by men. This field is so dominated by men that one has to wonder why a women would want to be a part of a culture that degrades their own sex. I would reason that rap isn’t just about men proving themselves and exploiting women, but it’s a form of expression; it allows a person to tell a story – their story. Rap allows a person to speak on things that has greatly impacted their life and contributed to the person they have become. Obviously, women find pleasure in this form of expression even if they don’t talk about the same things as men.

The influx of female rappers in and of itself says something about the transition that is taking place within the hip-hop and rap culture. Because women are being permitted more access to this historically male-dominated field, it goes to show that talent supersedes a person’s sex. Not only that, but this says that the attitude that rappers once held about allowing female rappers into their faction so to speak has changed. For females to be granted access to this field is a huge accomplishment and I hope to see even more female rappers in the next few years.


Overt Sexist Commercials

How many of you have ever drank Folgers coffee? Ate Skittles? Drank Coke? Some of these most notorious food and drank brands have not only produced food/drinks that we know and love, but also overtly sexist commercials and/or ads. I included a commercial that Folgers released in the 1960’s. Watch it. Do you think they would still release something like that today? Of course not! In fact, I just saw a Folgers commercial and it was completely different from the one they released in the 1960’s. This just goes to show how society influences corporations and how corporations influence society. In other words, if it wasn’t socially acceptable to advertise a product in such a way, corporations wouldn’t advertise it (or at least I like to think they wouldn’t). With that being said, commercials like this further reinforced traditional stereotypical social norms and prototypes that of men and women. At the end of the day, these monopolized corporations may have just been trying to appeal to the then dominant view of American culture, but it still illuminates the mentality that existed in America at that point in time.

I know plenty of older women and women that are not so old, (40’s) that explained how when they were my age all they wanted to do was finish high school so they could get a job, a husband, and have kids. My grandma, for instance, and my best friend’s mom and grandma held this view. They will tell you that that’s what every girl wanted and that that’s what was expected of them. Now, women have a lot more autonomy and freedom to decide first, if they want to have children, and second, when they want them – without all of the scrutiny and stigma that would have accompanied a women in the 1900’s. 



I feel like a lot of social norms are changing, and in some cases have even been reversed in regards to gender roles of males and females. I came to this conclusion from the countless amount of memes that I see every day on Instagram and Facebook. These memes are exploiting the flaws of men and accrediting women with the roles that men are “supposed” to do. Having said that, yes, it is socially constructed that men are supposed to be the breadwinners while the women take care of the children. However, there are men, and all of us could easily name several right of the back, that truly believe they are superior to women, that women are there to fulfill their sexual desires, and to bear their “seed.” With that being said, there are men who are.. ready for it? Here it is… HYPOCRITES! There are men who believe they are superior to women, and I mean like total misogynists, yet they rely on women – whether it be there girlfriend/wife, mother, sister, grandma or what have you, for support – which is fine! The problem lies where they down talk and disrespect women when clearly if it weren’t for women they wouldn’t be where they are. Hence, a lot of memes are being created off of this phenomenon. Memes become popular when people are able to relate to them, when they are funny, and/or when they normalize situations that may feel as if they only apply to you. Needless to say, memes convey a whole lot of truth. I think girls are tired of men taking all of the credit for things they are “supposed” to do but don’t. And if you say “Well, we don’t live in those times anymore” or “You can’t expect a man to be on their A-game 100% of time” that’s cool, in fact you’re right! Just give women the credit they deserve, that’s all we’re asking for!

Male Ballet Dancers

A lot of people see male ballot dancers as being effeminate and find the art emasculating, but you must know that dance is a wonderful form of expression. Dancers narrate stories from a variety of different orientations including anything from happiness to darkness and death. Ballet originated in France and structure and techniques alone are more complex than most dance genres. Not only that, ballet teaches you the fundamentals of all dances. Even football players take ballet classes. So, even though football is seen as the most masculine sport, they use an art that is viewed as feminine to help them be better and their “masculine” sport. The Benefits of taking ballet as a football player helps them with their flexibility, strength and stamina. Just imagine the immense amount of hours practicing grande jeté, pliés, and lifts or land on your feet gracefully without losing balance. Even hip-hop dancers need to work on their plies. Male hip-hop dancers should not be the only dancers that are considered masculine, when clearly it is highly intertwined with ballet. We should really move away from this idea that male ballot dancers are gay or feminine simply because of the genre of dance they perform. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Take it Like a Man: Hegemonic Masculinity

            This paper focuses on the “effects of humour studied within one organization where physical, misogynistic and homophobic humour is highly emphasized and encouraged.”  The author, Barbara Plaster, uses the concept of hegemonic masculinity to argue that men use workplace humor is used to form a “hyper-masculine” identity within this organization. The definition of humor an interesting area from the paper as well, because it is not often something we need to define.  Plaster notes the various manifestations that humor can take, “a stimulus that causes laughter; a response to a stimulus; or a disposition towards viewing things in a humorous light.” 
            Through observation, Plaster got the following results:


This chapter on masculinity by Judith Kegan Gardiner, examines, from a historical and theoretical perspective, masculinity and feminism and how they interact.  Gardiner goes all the way back to ancient Greece and Aristotle.  “The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle portrayed women as naturally men’s inferiors in terms of reason.” 

Of the proponents of women at that time, Gardiner said they “repeatedly asked if God and nature had made women so clearly inferior to men, why were such strong social inducements necessary to retain their subjugation?”  In the chapter, she also touches on white feminism and its implications, as well as “multidimensional feminist theories,” or intersectionality.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Crisis of Masculinity: Men Are Struggling to Cope with Life

This article summarizes a study done by the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which sought to address the reasons why the male suicide rates in England are at a fifteen-year high.  The study surveyed 1000 men and women, and out of all of them, roughly half confessed some degree of depression; however, the women were much far more likely to ask for help or to seek confidence with a friend.
Men also felt additional pressure to remain strong during times of crisis. Around 42% of male respondents said they believe a man is ‘mostly responsible’ for being emotionally strong and taking charge in a crisis, compared to around 17% of women.”

Jane Powell, chief executive of CALM, said of the results, “Outmoded, incorrect and misplaced male self-beliefs are proving lethal and the traditional strong, silent response to adversity is increasingly failing to protect men from themselves.”

Mental Health & Gender (feat. Hannah Hart)

Mental Health and Gender (feat. Hannah Hart)

YouTubers, Kati Morton and Hannah Hart talk about gender and mental health. Hart specifically brings up a problem that men often have with mental illness; and that is that they are afraid to ask for help or seek any treatment because that is thought of as “feminine weakness.” Morton brings up a good point as well.  Women are usually the only ones who are thought of as hormonal, but men also experience hormonal fluctuations throughout the day as well; testosterone rises during the evening, and begins to decline in the morning, making the lowest testosterone time around two to three in the afternoon. That is a very common time for naps. My father, for example, takes a nap every day at that time and is totally useless without it.