Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Social class and your possessions

In the movie People Like Us, they show many different things that people buy that represent their social class such as a Tuscan style kitchen, a 4 foot Mitsubishi TV, a Volvo. What possessions do you or your family own that represent your social class? Do you think that class is related to the things we own? Think about a possession that you own that could be much cheaper or much more expensive - why do you have the one that you have and not a cheaper/ more expensive one? You can go to the following website and take a quiz about how the things you prefer represent your class:
Chintz or shag

We also see a guy who goes into Williams & Sonoma and says that the store represents upper middle class because of the things it sells. Then we see Karen Hess (bread expert) who says the bread we eat reflects our class. We develop tastes that reflect our class. What stores do you shop at and what types of bread do you eat? How do your possessions reflect your own social class? You can visit the following website and take the quiz "Identify this" or "Name that class" and see if your values represent a class:
Identify this

Here's a quick example from W & S:
It is a set of wooden utensils - but not just any wooden utensils, "Canadian inventor and designer Tom Littledeer is known for his beautifully carved kitchen tools with fluid shapes inspired by canoe paddles. Each of the tools in this set is handcrafted from a single piece of North American maple..." $99.99 for a set of 5.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Barbie - one example of a toy that socializes girls into an unrealistic image of themselves.

Below is an image from a rehab center for eating disorders. Here is a link

Also, here is an image of how an average woman would have to be altered to fit the Barbie ideal: Here is a caption from the Huffington Post:
The woman in the photograph is model Katie Halchishick, co-founder of Healthy Is The New Skinny, an organization dedicated to "revolutionizing how we think about, talk about, live in and love our bodies." This is hardly the first time that someone has pointed out how unrealistic a Barbie doll's proportions are, but it's still interesting to see the proportions drawn out onto an actual body. Some initial observations: -- Oddly pointy chin. -- A chest about half the width of her chest. -- Giant eyes! -- A neck that seems unlikely to be able to support her head.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gender, Sexual Orientation and Socialization

We are learning about how we are influenced to act from a young age.  The influence from society is called socialization and in terms of gender, we are socialized to think very narrowly about what is acceptable: either heterosexual male who is tough or heterosexual female who is pretty and delicate.  But really these two boxes are very limiting and do not reflect the range of human diversity.  We had a panel that helped to show the range of sexual orientation and gender.  Although each student is unique and should be viewed as his/her own individual self, I think there are a few conclusions that we can draw.  One is that students have an awfully hard time accepting themselves because our culture socializes them to not accept who they are.   This is in the media, in their families, in schools.  This lack of acceptance puts students at risk for self harm and for bullying and abuse. If you are interested in resources or how you can help checkout and The rest of us can become more mindful of these students and their difficulties.  We can be strive to be understanding and accepting by being honest but not hurtful, and watching our language.  Furthermore, I think hearing their stories helps us to explore gender more thoroughly and that can help us to be more comfortable with our own gender - and even if you are heterosexual, hopefully you can feel less boxed in by the culture.

Here are some hopeful signs of change:

Germany recently passed a law allowing parents to choose gender undetermined for their children.

And from ABC news:
Already, Australia and Nepal allow adults to mark male, female or a "third gender" on their official documents. In June, a 52-year-old Australian, Norrie May-Welby, became the world's first recognized "genderless" person after winning a legal appeal to keep an "unspecified" gender status for life.
German passports will have a third designation other than M or F -- X, for intersex, according to the Interior Ministry.
Here is a website called Interface.
The Interface Project's mission is to gather and share personal stories of people living with an intersex condition or difference of sex development (DSD) to spread the message: No Body Is Shameful
And the American Sociological Association has recognized that gender is not a binary category has as well.  People who join or renew their membership in the ASA can select from the following categories:
Transgender – female
Transgender – male
Prefer not to answer