Thursday, October 21, 2010

Creating allies...

Sometimes when I discuss the implications from socialization into gender, there is a feeling among some students like we should be able to live amongst all of these socialization messages and just not let them affect us. Others might say this is simple humor, and what's the big deal? Well, if you think it's not a big deal and that we shouldn't let it affect us then you haven't been paying attention! Or maybe you have forgotten to use your sociological imagination and sociological mindfulness. What we have been learning is that humans ARE affected by their surroundings. We saw this last unit in terms of culture and we see it now in terms of socialization. We are affected by our environment. Our surroundings make us who we are. And so, when you stop and realize who we we are (see all the research in the posts below), you realize this is a huge problem in our culture. And since it is a huge problem, I am asking you to use sociological mindfulness to determine what to do about it. Well, what do you do about it?

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  1. Monkey Experiment
    Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result, and all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon the monkeys will try to prevent it.

    Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

    Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.

    Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that’s the way it’s always been done around here.

  2. Unfortunately, there is no way to not be influenced by the media and all of it's advertisements. On average, a person will see 3,000 ads a day! The only thing to do is accept that fact that you are being influenced and try not to just idly flip pages of a magazine and glance at the ads. Instead, try to analyze them more and see what it's hidden messages about what is socially acceptable are. When you are more actively thinking about the message, you can decide for yourself if it is a good thing or a bad thing instead of being subconciously swayed.

  3. real life support for how the media affects even movie stars!