Class Calendar

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Post 8: Social Class

For this post, we have explored how deviance is relative and how that relativity is related to social class.  We also looked at all of the components of social class that shape an individual's possibilities and problems.  Some things to consider for this post are: Do you see how social class is played out at SHS?  How do you see social class playing a role in your own life?  How are you affected by it? How might someone in poverty be affected by it?   Some sources to consider using are the websites related to social class, the Ted Talk about Monopoly, the reading Nickel and Dimed and the video The Line.

Poverty in the United States


Please take out your packet and open to the Nickel and Dimed reading.
Please answer: 
1. How is she treated by customers and management?

2.  Is she successful at living at minimum wage?

3.  If this was her real life, what limits her ability to move up in class?

-----------------Pause here-------------




Consider this statement:
A lower class person has a higher chance of dying at any age than a wealthy person.
 Brainstorm in your group all of the reasons why this may be true.  Use your reading and the movie to cite examples.

Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed is an experiment with what life is like for someone living at minimun wage (or at least low-wage). Here is an excerpt.

Morgan Spurlock's video 30 days at Minimum Wage is also an experiment at living at minimum wage.

The Line is a documentary about people living at the poverty line.  It highlights the difficulties of different people who share a common struggle: life in poverty.  Here is a link to The Line on Mediacast.  Here it is embeded:

What I want you to see are the effects of poverty on individuals:

Physical Health (Here is a comprehensive list of research on health effects of poverty):
- a lower class person has a higher chance of dying at any age than a wealthy person!  Some other health outcomes for those in poverty:

From the American Journal of Pediatrics; Poverty and lack of nurturing in early life may have a direct effect on a child’s brain development, according to a study that found smaller brain volumes in poor, neglected children.

 Impoverished black children, for example, are twice as likely as poor Hispanic or white children to have levels of lead in their blood that is at least 2.5 micrograms per deciliter. Some researchers have found that even that small amount of lead is enough to cause cognitive impairment in children — especially the kind that impacts their reading ability.

 hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes, heart disease,  

Environment: the poor are more likely to experience asthma and other health issues;
...poor black children are more likely than poor white or Hispanic children to be diagnosed with asthma — another ailment that plagues poor children in Jacksonville and one that is linked to living in older, more industrialized areas.Poor white children, though, are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke, or to be born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy than poor black or Hispanic children.And poor Hispanic children, it found, are twice as likely to have no place to go for health care, as compared to poor white or black children.

Lifestyle = less access to healthy food (i.e. fruits and vegetables); see this link for a TED talk about one man who is arrested for planting a vegetable garden in a poor neighborhood, smoking, Drug use and abuse, exercise less,
One reason may be that violence tracks with poverty, thereby preventing people from being active out-of-doors. Similarly, parks and sports facilities are less available to people living in poor counties (5), and people who live in poverty-dense regions may be less able to afford gym membership, sports clothing, and/or exercise equipment. There are multiple individual and environmental reasons to explain why poverty-dense counties may be more sedentary and bear greater obesity burdens.
 unsafe sex. obesity, cancer, HIV

Medical Care = less access and poorer hospitals, lack of health insurance.

Mental Health = higher stress, children feel effects of stress for life, mental disorders, suicide,

Some people will argue that there is a culture of poverty among those in the lowest income levels. This culture of poverty represents individuals making choices that create or worsen the impoverished situation they are in. But, it is important to understand how these choices come about. A life of deprivation, punctuated by emergencies creates a lack of “deferred gratification." In other words, it is difficult for these people to invest in their own future; many of the poor see the future as more of the same or even worse; enjoy what you can, because tomorrow may be worse; poverty influences attitude & behavior which leads to poverty, etc…

And it is important to note that 20% of the children in the US are growing up in poverty! That's 1 out of every 5 kids in the United States is living at the poverty level! Yes you read that correctly - 1 out of every 5 children in the United States is living in poverty right now!  That's a higher rate than 34 out of 35 Western countries. This is another good reason why the cycle of poverty exists. These children grow up in these conditions and so it makes it easier to see how they become the adults who continue to be stuck in the cycle of poverty.

Growing up in poverty can have serious and long-lasting effects on children’s health, development, and overall well-being. The effects of poverty have a well-documented impact on young children’s developing brains. And children who grow up in poverty are more likely to experience harmful levels of stress, more likely to struggle in school, and more likely to have behavioral, social, and emotional problems than their peers.

Watch Poor Kids on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.



Here is a link to the National Poverty Center which is full of resources and research on poverty.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Monopobility

Yesterday we played monopoly with rules that more closely affect the real rules of the US class system. Players started with different amounts of income and different amounts of property; the upper-upper class started with the most, and the working class the least. They rolled the dice to see what class they were. I told them them not worry about who "wins" the game, instead just try moving up to the next level of class. Playing monopoly according to the rules of the U.S.'s class structure should have some revealing insight about the state of mobility within the U.S.'s class structure.
From the Brookings Institute:

Recent studies suggest that there is less economic mobility in the United States than has long been presumed. The last thirty years has seen a considerable drop-off in median household income growth compared to earlier generations. And, by some measurements, we are actually a less mobile society than many other nations, including Canada, France, Germany and most Scandinavian countries. This challenges the notion of America as the land of opportunity.

Mobility in America tends to be within the middle classes (from working class to uppermiddle class). The wealthy class tends to stay wealthy and the impoverished class tends to stay in poverty, especially in comparison to other most developed nations.

When someone changes social class within their lifetime, this is called intragenerational mobility.

1. Was anyone from your group able to change classes?  If so, who?  What class?  If not, then who was the closest to moving up or down?

2.  Does your groups' mobility reflect the findings above from the Brookings Institute?

Social class mobility might also be  intergenerational mobility or structural mobility.   Intergenerational mobility means that the children of one group will have a different class than their parents.  This is much more common than intragenerational mobility.  My own family's history reflect this as well.  How has your family's mobility been? Are you growing up in the same social class as your parents? How about from your grandparents? Where do you see your future in terms of social class?
 Structural mobility is when the structure of society changes in such a way that a group is moved up or down.  For example, many people in the 1950s and 60s were able to finish high school and go right to work in a factory.  When those jobs moved overseas, many of those people were thrust downward.

3.  Tell the group about your family's intergenerational mobility.  Did they go up or down or stay the same?

4.  Using the monopoly game yesterday, what are some ways that we could exemplify intergenerational mobility and structural mobility as part of the game?


A second way that we can look at this simulation is in how players react.  Below is a TED talk about how people react to playing the game.  Think about how that reaction might show up in everyday life.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Service Ideas for 1 hour

If you need just one more hour for your community service requirement, here are some options:

Donating
You can clean out your closet or help your parents clean out stuff around the house and then drive the donations to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity Restore shop or another charitable organization.  Remember to take pictures of what you donate and where you drop it off at.



Giving Blood
You can stop into a Lifesource and donate blood.  I will count this as one hour.
Feed My Starving Children
They have lots of shifts and some of them are just 1.5 hours.

Northern Illinois Foodbank will take food donations.  You can run a food drive  in your neighborhood.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Components of Social Class in the USA

The common thinking about the American class system is that there are no rules in America and anything is possible. "Only in America" is a common myth. The reality is that there are "rules" to the class system, but few Americans see it (then again, few have a sociological imagination!).

Here are the components of the U.S. social class system that create the distribution of wealth similar to the rules of the coin flipping metaphor:

Income
The highest earning Americans have continued to earn more and more over the last 50 years, while the lower earners have earned closer to about the same. The more money you have, the more you can earn.
What do you think the average household income in the United States is?

Click here to see an answer. Note the percentile for each income bracket and note the median.

Note the actual median household income: _______.

Now look for your community's average income.  Click on the American Factfinder and search by zipcode. Then click on "Income" and look next to median family income.

 What percentile is your community in?  What percentile is your family in?  Is this surprising?

Here is a link to Marketplace where you can input your income and compare it to social class data in the US.

Also, This graph displays the inequality by occupation.

Checkout this post from Slate about income inequality. You can scroll down a bit and enter your zipcode and see where it stands by comparison.


Wealth
Wealth in tricky to understand.  It is everything that a household owns, such as the home, vacation home, cars, 401K, savings, stocks, jewelry, etc...But, you must subtract what the household owes.  So, if my house is $200,000 but I owe $160,000 then my wealth is only $40,000 on the house.   One way to examine wealth is through quintiles (20% increments).  if you lined all the households up in the U.S. by wealth, what percentage would the top 20% own? And then the next 20% and so on...

How much of the wealth in the U.S. do you think each quintile has:

Bottom 20%:______   2nd 20%_______  3rd 20%________  4th 20%_______ 5th 20%_______Top

How much do you think each quintile should have?

Bottom 20%:______   2nd 20%________ 3rd 20%________  4th 20%_______ 5th 20%_______Top

After you have finished answering the questions above, watch this video:



What is the reality?

Bottom 20%:_________   2nd 20%__________  3rd 20%___________  4th 20%__________ 5th 20%__________Top


 The disparity of wealth is greater than that of income (see the pie graph below).  From the Huffington Post, In 2010, "The median household net worth -- the level at which half the households have more and half have less -- was $77,300
How does your family or community compare to the average American?

Average American:  50% own 2 cars,  50% have a 401K, 66% own 1 home, 6% own a second home

This post and video from sociological images shows wealth inequality in the US. 






Education
In the US, here are the percentages of adults over the age of 23 who have attained each degree in 2012:
High school graduate87.65%
Some college57.28%
Associate's and/or Bachelor's degree40.58%
Bachelor's degree30.94%
Master's degree8.05%
Doctorate or professional degree3.07%
For more on education and social class, this Wikipedia entry is thorough.

This link shows that on average, the higher a family's income, the higher the ACT score

And this link shows the higher one's educational level, the more he or she earns.

Here is a post from sociological images that has a lot of info showing the connection between your degree and your income. This graph shows that the less education that parents have, the less education their children obtain.

Location
The price of a home depends on a lot more than the physical structure of the home.
The average home price in the United States in 2012 was $175K.  The average price in BG was $346,000.  And in LG it was $765,000.  Click here to see some houses for sale in Lake County, IL in 2014.  Which do you think are the most expensive?  Which are the least? When you see the actual prices, why do you think that is?

Here you can find data by zipcode about the average home price ( as well as income and other data).



This report from NPR's Planet Money details how where you grow up can affect your income later in life.  And here is a video and stats from CNN Money that show how where you grow up limits or benefits you.


Prestige and power
 People view different occupations with different levels of prestige.  This prestige can translate to real power such as being appointed to boards or committees.  It can also simply give you credibility or respect in social situations.  Here is a chart of prestige ratings.

Power, according to Max Weber, is the ability to impose one's will on others.  Here is an example of powerful leaders coming together to focus their power.


The powerful people are able to keep themselves out of jail, influence politicians and enact laws that are favorable to themselves.  Here is one example from The Daily Show comparing teachers and Wall Street Investors.  Can you guess who has the power?




Here is a link to a Washington Post article explaining that wealthy Americans use their power to create favorable government policies.

And this article from the NY Times shows that an executive at United Airlines accused of corruption charges was forced to resign. Imagine if a teacher was accused of corruption and was forced to resign. That would be it - out of a job and no compensation. But,


United filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday indicating that Mr. Smisek would receive nearly $4.9 million in a separation payment, and 60,000 shares of stock, valued at over $3 million.

Creating a Social Class Ladder in the U.S.
All of these combine to form a rough picture of social class. Here is one representation of how all of those components might work together:


Look over your information for income, wealth, education, location and prestige.  Are they mostly above, average or below? Then try to think where that person falls on this ladder?  Why would you place them there?  Share this your group.

Was it difficult to share with the group?  Why or why not?


After you have thought about your own personal example, classify the four people in this Esquire article and analyze what class they are and why?  Try to use components other than income.  How is each person shaped by their social class?


Here are other resources for examining the components of social class that comprise the "rules" about what is possible in the USA in terms of class:


Here is a link to the Stanford Center on Poverty where you can view slides about inequality in the USA.


Here is a link to 15 statistics about inequality in America.




Service Opportunity: GLASA

I was hoping you would still be able to pass along some opportunities that we need TONS of volunteers for (by tons I mean hundreds)!  If you have any questions about any of these I’d be more than happy to give you more of the deets but here are the basic descriptions and attached are the flyers and forms that give a little more detail for each.  Thanks again!

·         Special Events Flyer- outlines a ton of opportunities we have coming up (clinics and competitions, summer Camps, fundraising events, etc.)
·         Great Lakes Regional Games (GLRG) Flyer- a 5 day, international, adaptive sports competition for track & field (last qualifying event before the Paralympics in Rio), archery, swimming, powerlifting, and boccia.
o   **Definitely the best event to be a part of, I was a volunteer last year and it was such an amazing experience that I now work for the organization!
·         Spring Volunteer Interest Form- outlines the programs we have left for the Spring Season (Goalball, Tennis, Swim, and Track & Field)

If your students are unfamiliar on GLASA, feel free to show them these videos.  Both are good representations of who we are.
https://youtu.be/DNK-Suuxhzk (I showed this one last semester)

Again, any questions at all please let me know.  Because we need so many volunteers for the upcoming months, please pass this onto friends, family, coworkers, or anyone you think wuold be interested!  I appreciate you spreading the word about GLASA! 

Micaela

Micaela Fedyniak
GLASA Volunteer Coordinator
847-293-4152 (cell)


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Coin Flip Metaphor for Social Class

Today we wagered on flipping pennies in class. The exercise was a metaphor for social class.

The exercise resembles real life in a number of ways:

1. Like life in the U.S., the  exercise had the appearance of being fair and equal - everyone had a 50% chance of winning.  The U.S. is an open system - not a caste system or closed system of slavery.

2. However, our system is called a social class which is made up of unwritten rules.  The way the rules are written, the money will flow to the top with just a few having most coins and most people having very little.  (See the graph at the right from here)


3. The more money you have the more opportunities you have.  Donald Trump's corporation filed for bankruptcy at least 4 times, but he had enough wealth and power and prestige to recover from the bankruptcies.

4.  The difficulty of the middle class.  Most Americans claim to be in the middle class.  People making $30K per year to people making $200K per year claim to be in the middle class.  However, defining the middle is difficult because there is so much money skewed to the top and there are so many people at the bottom.






To summarize, most U.S. citizens do not like the idea of social class. They will not acknowledge the rules that create the distribution of wealth that we see in the exercise. But the reality is that our wealth and even our income in the U.S. resembles that of the coin flip metaphor; a few individuals at the top with enormous wealth and income and most people at the bottom making very little (comparatively).

And the "rules" of our society help to create that dynamic. By "rules" I mean the opportunities and obstacles that we face based on our social class.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Resocialization and total institutions: "You must unlearn what you have learned..."

In Empire Strikes Back, when Yoda tells Luke that he must "unlearn what he has learned," he is talking about resocializing him. This means un-learning the old ways he was taught and instead learning a new way of thinking and acting. Alcoholics Anonymous or weight watchers are good examples of groups that help resocialize individuals. Another way individuals are transformed by resocializing is through total institutions, such as a monastery, a prison or bootcamp.

Bootcamp must be especially powerful because, on a basic level, individuals are learning to not run or hide when being shot at and they are learning to shoot at others. Here is a video showing bootcamp and how recruits are re-socialized into Marines.


Another example of this from my own life is training in aikido. The image at the right is my dojo from Japan (I am in the back left...with hair :-) Aikido is a martial art that means the way of harmony of energy. It is a different concept of martial arts. It is not fighting, it is not even competitive. It is not, however, like Tai Chi. Aikido is practical and applicable to the world. But it requires training and a new way of thinking about the world, a resocialization.
Here is a link to a story about aikido in action (non-physically).
Here Steven Seagal talks about how he got started in aikido.  What really strikes me is that Seagal seems so tough but he says that he had to learn discipline, respect, gentleness and kindness.  And he says, "The martial arts taught me to be more understanding and the ability to harmonize with others...we don't want to hurt them."  That seems so opposite of what Americans think masculinity is.

Here is a video of physical aikido:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Post 7: Socialization into Gender

For this post, we have explored how socialization affects males and females and how something like gender can be so taken-for-granted.  In our culture there is a polarization of what it means to be female and male and heterosexual and lesbian or gay.  Our culture pushes individuals to opposite ends of a spectrum.  For this post, use examples from your own experience to show how our society socializes men and women into narrow boxes.  Explain how masculinity and femininity are a social construction.  How do the agents of socialization play a role in your experiences?  To demonstrate literacy, feel free to comment on the myriad sources we looked at for femininity (the research and videoes on my blog)  and the movies Killing Us Softly4, Tough Guise2, the Adolescent Homophobia...reading from Kimmel and Mahler about masculinity or the myriad other sources on my blog posts over the last 2 weeks.


Our society creates very limited ways of being masculine.


1.  Who is likely to commit random acts of school violence?





2.  Why do they do this?






3.  What can males and females do to change this violent masculinity?


In another post I blogged a little more seriously about the violent masculinity that is socially constructed in America. (see Mask You linity). This video is humorous because
A.it's my life, but
B.because it is still so different and uncool to think of stay-at-home dads as being a exciting and meaningful in our society.
video
If you like that video, there are lots more very funny videoes by that artist (Lajoie), but especially related to this post is another video called everyday guy, which is a humorous rap about being a regular guy - the average guy that the media neglects. Why is being a stay-at-home dad or a "regular guy" so funny? Because our notions of what is acceptable to be a "real man" is so messed up. So, what is your definition of a real man? Let me give some examples of what I think a real man should be:
A real man...
is able to wake up in the middle of the night to comfort a crying baby
has opinions but restrains emotions of anger
allows someone else to save face even if it makes him look bad
Is willing to take the lead but is not concerned with who gets the credit
is able to empathize
tries to be respective of others' feelings, but says sorry when he is at fault
is willing to try things that are difficult but can ask for help when he needs it
forgives someone who wrongs him
doesn't whine but is not afraid to say is hurt, vulnerable, or that he cares.

Here is an article from the NY Times called Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest.  It is another example of how to re-define masculinity.

Many males put on a tough guise to pretend that they are a tough guy because that is the only acceptable way to be masculine in our society. Here is a movie from the media education foundation called "Tough Guise". It shows how movies, tv, sports and families all socialize men to believe in the narrow definition of masculinity. Here it is on mediacast

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tough Guise

Today we watched a video about how our society socializes boys in a narrow and limited way. That video is called "Tough Guise". In other words, the disguise to seem tough that guys put on. Watch Tough Guise 2 on mediacast by clicking here.  Please read the article I assigned by Kimmel and Mahler related to this.
The documentary has a few important parts.  First, is the idea that men are at risk because masculinity is a social construction that says violence, anger and toughness are the only okay emotions or reactions for males.  When violence occurs in society, the media and society ignore the masculine element.  They just assume that it is natural.
However, the connection between masculinity and violence  has only been around since society changed from an agricultural patriarchy to a modern more egalitarian society.  As our society changed to be more urban and more equal, men have been taught to fear women and fear the changes.  These changes helped to popularize the Western movies and shows that have only been around the last 75 years or so.
Along with the change of society came changes in acceptance of women as equal and changes in gay rights.  Fear of the changes in society is filtered throughout society via politics and media.  Guns are a symptom of the fear of the changes. There is a siege mentality that promotes rugged individualism and gun ownership as a way of fighting back both literally and figuratively.  Guys today are taught that violence is the only way to be really considered a man and to hold onto their manhood.
This includes denigrating anything that is female or gay.  This creates a dangerous anti-woman attitude.
He ends with the idea that we can all make little changes in how we talk and act and think. We can support movies that show honest portrayals of guys and movies that help broaden the box that guys fit into. 

Below are some of the sources that are referred to in the movie.

Jackson Katz
Jackson Katz, narrator in the video has his own website.  Also, here is his book, The Macho Paradox
Here is Katz speaking at a TED conference:




Real Boys; Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood, book by William Pollock.  Pollock documents how at a very early age boys are taught to accept traditional male gender traits of being tough and repressing their emotions.
Excerpt available here.
Based on William Pollack's groundbreaking research at Harvard Medical School over two decades, Real Boys explores why many boys are sad, lonely, and confused although they may appear tough, cheerful, and confident. Pollack challenges conventional expectations about manhood and masculinity that encourage parents to treat boys as little men, raising them through a toughening process that drives their true emotions underground. Only when we understand what boys are really like, says Pollack, can we help them develop more self-confidence and the emotional savvy they need to deal with issues such as depression, love and sexuality, drugs and alcohol, divorce, and violence.

Guyland; The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, book by Michael Kimmel.  Kimmel's research focuses on kids slightly older than those in Pollack's research.  Here is a review from the NY Times.
In mapping the troubling social world where men are now made, Kimmel offers a view into the minds and times of America's sons, brothers, and boyfriends, and he works toward redefining what it means to be a man today—and tomorrow. Only by understanding this world and this life stage can we enable young men to chart their own paths, stay true to themselves, and emerge safely from Guyland as responsible and fully formed male adults.  Here is a post from Kimmel in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.

 Dude You're A Fag, book by sociologist C.J. Pascoe.  From the amazon summary, "High school and the difficult terrain of sexuality and gender identity are brilliantly explored in this smart, incisive ethnography. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork in a racially diverse working-class high school, Dude, You're a Fag sheds new light on masculinity both as a field of meaning and as a set of social practices. C. J. Pascoe's unorthodox approach analyzes masculinity as not only a gendered process but also a sexual one. She demonstrates how the "specter of the fag" becomes a disciplinary mechanism for regulating heterosexual as well as homosexual boys and how the "fag discourse" is as much tied to gender as it is to sexuality."  Here is a video of the authors discussing their work.


Cool Pose; The Dilemmas of Black Manhood, book by Richard Majors and Janet Mancini Billson.  Here is a review from the NY Times;
While the cool pose is often misread by teachers, principals and police officers as an attitude of defiance, psychologists who have studied it say it is a way for black youths to maintain a sense of integrity and suppress rage at being blocked from usual routes to esteem and success.




Leading Men; Presidential Campaigns and the Politics of Manhood, book by Jackson Katz.
In Leading Men, Jackson Katz puts forth the original and highly provocative thesis that presidential campaigns have become the center stage of an ongoing national debate about manhood, a kind of quadrennial referendum on what type of man—or one day, woman—embodies not only our ideological beliefs, but our very identity as a nation.  Of course this debate has enormous implications for women—both as potential candidates for the presidency and as citizens.


Violence; Reflections on a National Epidemic, book by James Gilligan.  Drawing on firsthand experience as a prison psychiatrist, his own family history, and literature, Gilligan unveils the motives of men who commit horrifying crimes, men who will not only kill others but destroy themselves rather than suffer a loss of self-respect. With devastating clarity, Gilligan traces the role that shame plays in the etiology of murder and explains why our present penal system only exacerbates it. Brilliantly argued, harrowing in its portraits of the walking dead, Violence should be read by anyone concerned with this national epidemic and its widespread consequences.



Gunfighter Nation The Myth of the Frontier in 20th-Century America, a book By Richard Slotkin.  Excerpt from the NY Times;
According to the myth of the frontier, says Mr. Slotkin, "the conquest of the wilderness and the subjugation or displacement of the Native Americans who originally inhabited it have been the means to our achievement of a national identity, a democratic polity, an ever-expanding economy and a phenomenally dynamic and 'progressive' civilization." Central to this myth was the belief that "violence is an essential and necessary part of the process through which American society was established and through which its democratic values are defended and enforced."
 Terrence Real's book I Don't Want To Talk About It; Twenty years of experience treating men and their families has convinced psychotherapist Terrence Real that depression is a silent epidemic in men—that men hide their condition from family, friends, and themselves to avoid the stigma of depression’s “un-manliness.” Problems that we think of as typically male—difficulty with intimacy, workaholism, alcoholism, abusive behavior, and rage—are really attempts to escape depression. And these escape attempts only hurt the people men love and pass their condition on to their children.




Here is Katz's conclusion from the movie:

Too often, we define masculine strength by who can blow away the most people, who can flex the most muscle, who can impose their will and inflict the most damage. But this cheapens the real definition of strength and toughness.
We respect the toughness of firefighters who rush into burning buildings when others are rushing out, police officers and other first responders who put their lives on the line, and our men and women in the armed services who show courage under fire – not because they’re out to prove something, but because they steer themselves in the face of danger and face down their fears in service to others.
For the same reason, we should respect the toughness and strength of men who challenge the myth that being a real man requires putting up a false front, disrespecting others, and engaging in violent and self-destructive behavior.
We should respect all the men out there who aren’t threatened by women’s equality, who have the confidence to listen to women, learn from them, and grow in the process, who refuse to engage in homophobic abuse and bullying to prove they’re one of the guys, who show empathy for others rather than joining in or remaining silent when other guys prop themselves up at the expense of others, and who meet change and difference with a willingness to make change and a difference themselves.
Strength is about adapting to change, not about retreating from it and lashing back with violence out of fear. And it’s high time we had a definition of manhood capable of meeting that challenge.


Here is a poster from Katz that is printable with Ten Things Guys Can Do To Prevent Violence;
ten things men can do to prevent gender violence
  1. Approach gender violence as a MEN'S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers
  2. If  a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner -- or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general -- don't look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don't know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON'T REMAIN SILENT.
  3. Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don't be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.
  4. If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.
  5. If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.
  6. Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women's centers. Attend "Take Back the Night" rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered women's shelters. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.
  7. Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (eg. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do so).
  8. Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence.  Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.
  9. Don't fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.
  10. Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don't involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men's programs. Lead by example

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Boys are socialized to have a very narrow and rigid definition of masculinity.

Mask You (Linity) 

After  examining the social construction of what it means to be feminine, we are now taking a look at the social construction of masculinity.

Question 1 : What are three words that describe what it means to be a man?




Question 2:  What are three words that describe someone who is not a real man?

Now examine some of these statistics:

Boys are 30% more likely to flunk.
Boys are 2.5 times more likely to be suspended.
Boys are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with learning and emotional disabilities

Question 3:  Why do you think this is true?


Sociologists find that the construction of masculinity puts boys at risk in school:
There is a disconnect between school and masculinity; masculinity is constructed as “active” while school is constructed to be passive; sit-down, pay attention, take notes are docile, passive and feminine.

Other disturbing statistics:
40% of teenage girls 14-17yrs say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
1 of 5 college females will experience some form of dating violence from their male partner.
1 in 3 High School students have been or will be in an abusive relationship.
 Zacariah Foundation http://www.zcenter.org/index.htm

Why do you think this is true?


After carefully examining violence in America, I hope you see the larger dynamic of what is going on here.  Masculinity is a mask that many men wear in America. It is a way of masking or hiding who they really are in order to validating their self worth according to how the culture tells them they are supposed to be. Men in America are shaped by a culture that reinforces the idea that toughness, violence and aggression are normal ways of being male. They are also taught to not be vulnerable  or emotional or nurturing.  This creates a culture where overwhelmingly males are violent compared to females. Have you experienced this mask of masculinity? How? What are some other ways our culture should be constructing masculinity to provide validation for guys who are not violent? Are there examples out there that you know about? All of the agents of socialization play a role in this process.  Here is one example of the way the media creates this mask:

video

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Research shows that girls in the United States are socially constructed to think about theirselves in a harmful way.

Do you know Amy?
This video shows Amy not feeling like hanging out. There are numerous studies showing that this is true for significant numbers of young women. Look at the research below and think about whether this has been true in your life. Do you know girls who struggle with self-esteem, body image and eating/dieting disorders? If you don't, can you at least see how the media is constructing a reality for girls?

Thin Ads + Low Body Image = Stress?
Ads Showing Skinny Models Might Hurt Self-Worth In Vulnerable Young Women
Viewing ads of super-skinny models may make young women feel worse about themselves, especially if they have body image problems, according to a new study. Researcher Gayle Bessenoff, Ph.D., reports the findings in Psychology of Women Quarterly. Bessenoff is an assistant professor in the University of Connecticut's psychology department.

What Studies Show: Links Between Media and Self Esteem in Girls Many studies conclude that there is clearly a link between young women’s self esteem and the media. *The Journal of Research on Adolesence, in a study of body image and self esteem (Daniel Clay, Vivian L. Vignoles, Helga Dittmar - 2005), imparts that the the declining self esteem that girls often experience entering into adolescence is in part due to social comparison with media models. In a 2006 study of girls' body satisfaction and self esteem from the American Psychological Association (Hayley Dohnt,, Marika Tiggemann), research also illustrates that media creates a negative influence on girls' body images and self-esteem – particularly in regard to acceptable levels of thinness.

A particularly alarming media trend is the sexualization of women at younger and younger ages. Medical News Today discusses how suggestive images of young women negatively affect girls self-esteem, playing a role in onset of depression, eating disorders, and low-self-esteem.

Sexualization Of Girls Is Linked To Common Mental Health Problems In Girls And WomenScienceDaily (Feb. 20, 2007) — A report of the American Psychological Association (APA) released today found evidence that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls' self-image and healthy development.

Dying to Fit In- Literally! Learning to Love Our Bodies and Ourselves By Christine Hartline, MAIn the United States approximately 10% of girls and women (numbering up to 10 million) are suffering from diagnosed eating disorders. Of these at least 50,000 will die as a direct result! Recent data reported by the American Psychiatric Association suggests that of all psychiatric disorders, the greatest excess of patient mortality due to natural and unnatural causes is associated with eating disorders and substance abuse.

Teen Body ImageMedia images have a strong effect on people's body image, particularly for women, because the ideals the media presents for women are farther from the average woman's body. The Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) reports that in 1972, the ideal woman shown in the media (models, movie stars, etc.) weighed less than the average woman, yes, but only by 8%. By the late 90s, the difference had become 23%....In one study from Harvard University reported by (SIRC), it was found that by age 17, 7 out of 10 teens have been on a diet and as many as 80% of teens may have a negative body image....The onset of eating disorders for 86% of people is before they finish their teens.


Look at this powerful video about how people are made to think about themselves and how different that can be from reality:
video

And one more:
When did "like a girl" become a bad thing?

Friday, April 15, 2016

LGBT Panel

We were fortunate to have a panel of lgbt students who shared their experiences with those of us willing to listen. Thanks to all who listened with a beginner's mind.

I found it really telling how several of the students spoke about how they could not figure out why they felt different or felt that something was not right.  I think it was a poignant example that sexual orientation and gender identity is not a choice.  In a couple of cases the students grew up in homes where being gay was not even discussed.  The student didn't even know what the words "lesbian" or "homosexual" were.  Furthermore, some students were from homes that strongly did not accept homosexuality.  Knowing the power of socialization and nurture, I think it really sheds light on the fact that these students did not choose to be that way.

Another message was to be mindful about other people. Using language like "That's so gay," or "You're a fag" is hurtful to those who are gay. And, by using that language it really limits how those of us who are not gay are allowed to act and  I don't want to be put into a really narrow box.  There is a spectrum for gender and sex and sexuality, but our culture refuses to acknowledge the spectrum or allow anyone to live along the spectrum.  Instead we are pushed into a box at one end of the spectrum.

Also, realize that all people are different and this includes those who are glbt. They might be categorized as gay or lesbian or transgender but be careful that you don't turn that category into a stereotype. Each person is an individual with his/her own preferences about how to act, talk etc... Try to see each person as individuals and do not make assumptions about how they are.  And in doing so, don't make their status a master status.  In other words, if a friend comes out to you, thank them for trusting you but going forward don't make every conversation about being gay.  Realize that they have a multitude of other interests in their lives such as school, sports, movies, etc...

Lastly, I also think it was revealing how strong the agents of socialization were in their development and acceptance (or not) of their selves.  In some cases, their family had them convinced that they were not gay. But in the end, they did not have a choice about their sexuality, it just comes with who they are. If you are interested in resources or how you can help checkout itgetsbetter.org and stopbullying.gov

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Killing Us Softly 4; The agents of socialization, especially the media, shape women to think about femininity a certain way.

Killing Us Softly 4 is a video that highlights the dangerous influence that media has had on our culture - especially how women are socialized to think about themselves, but also men too. (Click here to watch it on mediacast) I think it's shocking, but true. And it is especially dangerous because in everyday life, you don't pay enough attention to these adds to notice their influence. But, I think the video puts it all together and it really highlights how destructive these images are. And research shows that we see about 300 adds per day, everyday! Look for some ways that you are influenced to think about femininity in your life. Maybe the socialization comes from friends, family or ads/commercials. Post about them. Do you see how we are shaped to think about women? Do you see how harmful it can be? Do you know any examples of this personally? Here is a link to Jean Kilbourne's website which includes resources for you to fight these messages. There are a lot of interesting resources there so please check it out.  Here is a preview clip:







This video called "Onslaught" from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty highlights the unbelievable number of negative ads that young girls are shaped by:
video