Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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:


Friday, February 24, 2017

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

LGBT Panel

Today we were fortunate to have a group of students share their experiences in dealing with LGBT issues. Interviews are one way that sociologists conduct qualitative research and I think this is always a valuable way of learning from the LGBT community.  I think there are a few themes that come out of the panel.
First, students explain the way they not only could not choose their sexuality or gender identity but in some cases they worked actively to try to deny it and fight against it.  I find it hard to imagine how difficult it must be to mentally try to be something you are not.  This is an example of the difference between nature and nurture.  It is very hard for them to deny their nature even if they are nurtured against it.
Second, I think that the students show a similar pattern of how difficult their relationships are in their agents of socialization.  Students show how difficult it is with their families, schools, religions and even peers/friends.  Being gay, bisexual or transgender creates a role conflict with all of these groups that operate under traditional gendered traits.
Finally, the panel shows the individuality of each person.  Sex, gender, sexuality and gender identity all exist on a spectrum (as opposed to the narrowly defined boxes that our culture uses).  The individuals on the panel exhibit their own unique identity in these categories and they have their own unique coming out process. We should be mindful of that individuality.  Don't stereotype them, instead respect each person's self identity.  This includes the pronouns that they use, as well as other things like their interests, hobbies, haircut and clothes.
In conclusion, I think it was incredibly courageous for these students to share their experiences.  I hope you found it moving and enlightening.

Here are more LGBT stories online.

Here is a link to the Reconciling Churches network within the Methodist Christianity.

Here is a link to the Reconciling Lutheran Christian churches.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kimmel and Mahler

Based on the article by Kimmel and Mahler, please answer the following questions:

1.  Without discussing or looking at your neighbors, please list three words that describe what it means to be a real man:

Now list the first three words that come to mind when describing someone who is not a real man:

Next, please take out the article by Kimmel and Mahler titled, Adolescent Masculinity, homophobia, and violence:  Random school shootings, 1982-2001. 

As a group, please answer the following questions:

2.  What is the most significant variable that correlates with random mass shootings?  What evidence does Kimmel and Mahler cite to show this?

3.  What are some of the ways in which researchers have tried to explain random mass shootings but have missed the variable (from #2 above) in their explanations?

4.  What was the geography of the shootings?  Where were the random school shootings more likely to occur?  Why?

5.  Explain how Kimmel and Mahler studied the phenomenon of random school shootings.

6.  What findings did the authors have about homosexuality and random school shootings?

7.  What were the school cultures like where the shootings occurred?

8. Why does the author say that boys are more likely to commit random school shootings?

9.  What race are the random school shooters more likely to be?  Why?

10.  What factors might help prevent random school shootings?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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:

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

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author, spoke about gender at a TedXeuston Talk.

Service Step 2: Recording your hours

Within one week of serving hours, I'd like you to post about it.

For Step 2 of the Community Service Experience you should record on your blog what you experienced: Before, during and after you have a service experience, try to be mindful of these questions: Things to record: How did you feel about the service before going? What were your expectations? Were there aspects that you were apprehensive about? Where did you have to go for the service? Had you been there before? If not, what was it like going to this place? Who were the people you came into contact with? What were they like? What was the interaction like? What was the actual job you did? What was it like? Was there anything that surprised you? What were you thinking as you did it? How long did your tasks last? What did you think as you went home? Also you MUST include: Name of organization you volunteered? Where was your experience (address)? Date(s) and time(s) of experience? Supervisor or person in charge and phone/email address? And include a picture of you doing the service or you at the site.

After each service experience, you should write your observations down. These observations will be posted to your blog (in addition to your usual weekly posts). This should help you to remember the details about your experiences so that later in the semester you will be able to write a sociological reflection about your experiences. This also provides evidence of your participation in the service experience. Please fill out the information below or you may type and print it out, but be sure to include the information requested below. Please post about your experience within 1 WEEK after you do the service.

One of the ways that girls are socialized is by seeing unrealistic ads.

The Average Girl...

"I'm not the average girl from your video
and I ain't built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I'm not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be the india arie
- India Arie


The average girl in your video, on your magazine cover, or in your advertisement, is far from average. We live in a media age and are bombarded with information. Much of this information is about how we are supposed to view ourselves. For females, the difficulty is especially tricky. Females are under siege with advertisements, movies, toys and magazine ads that all create an unrealistic, unnatural and unhealthy body image. This can lead to self-esteem problems, unhappiness, eating disorders and a desire to seek self-worth in material possessions. Here are some websites worth exploring:

These pictures show the digital enhancement of models like Britney Spears. The picture you see in the magazine is not of a real person.

Love your body from the NOW foundation
Includes offensive ads, positive ads, a presentation of sex and stereotypes

Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty
Includes some short films and articles and online workshops for girls and their families.

Here are examples of offensive ads from the NOW Foundation. These ads generally objectify women as sex objects.

Commonsense Media
a compilation of the latest articles on self image and resources to combat it.

Negative effects that media has had on teens, especially young girls and their body image.

Excellent article on our assumptions about our bodies is shaped by the media and even doctors and is not always correct, for example these women all are "average" weight but have vastly different sizes because of their body type:


"I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations (no)
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am the soul that lives within
- India Arie

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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!  Here is the discussion guide for the documentary.  Pages 5-7 provide a summary of key ideas in the movie.  The main topics are:
Advertising Environment 
Cult of Thinness
Sexual Pathology
The Results of Advertising:  Consumerism and Violence

As you reflect on the film, 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:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Socialization into gender - day 2

As students enter the room, please fill out the qualitative survey about what your favorite toy was as a child.  If you didn't bring a toy, search for a picture of it on your ipad.  Use that picture to answer the questions on the qualitative survey.

---------Pause  Here--------

Each person in your group should find an ad in these categories:

Men's jeans
Men's fragrance/cologne
A movie targeting men

 Each person in your group should find an ad in these categories:

Women's jeans
Women's fragrance/cologne
A movie targeting women

After searching for the ads, discuss these questions below:

--> 1. What are the similarities and differences between what is required for men and what is required for women?
2. How do you explain these differences and similarities?

3. Besides gender, how do other factors such as race, class, age, sexuality, and sexual orientation seem to affect the rules of beauty in these magazines? Be specific and detailed.

Here are two wordles hat I created using my students' research and two samples of ads we found:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day?

My daughter on Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day?

What is this day really about? We like to talk about it being a day to celebrate love, but it is really a day to celebrate romance. So often, I think Americans (and Westerners in general) equate the word "love" with romance and passion. However, many cultures view love and marriage differently. They view it more as being a good team member. It is more of a partnership between two people who care about each other. There is a recent article in the Atlantic called "Marry Him" about how too many women are looking for the perfect man who looks perfect, acts perfect shares the right interests and has that spark that makes their heart flutter. This is creating unrealistic expectations. Here is an interview with the author of the article. How do you feel about this? Do you think that our vision of love is too romantic and not practical enough?

When I was in high school my school brought in this speaker/author to talk about the difference between love and infatuation. Here is his book. He explained that biologically, we have a rush of emotions when we "fall in love". This is romantic love and infatuation. But it isn't real love. It wears off. Biologically he said it will last for 6 months or so and then it wears off. After that, you see the other person more realistically and that means you have to make a conscious choice about being with this person. That is what real love is - it is a conscious choice to care about someone. Even when we are upset or angry with the other person we still choose to care about them and thus we still love them. The author of the book includes a list of a dozen or so key aspects of a relationship to examine. I found this blogpost that lists the key criteria to distinguish between real love and infatuation. The book was really a good source for me to sort through all of these emotions when I was going through high school and college. You can get it used from amazon for like $4.

For more sociological insight into Valentine's Day checkout this link.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Gender; A Taken-for-granted example of socialization

As you enter, answer this question in as many ways as you can (brainstorm):

How would your life be different if you were born a different sex?

     Gender is one of the social constructs we learn from an early age and we often take it for granted. Nearly everyone is born biologically with a sex (that is male or female) and a sexuality (that is a sexual attraction such as heterosexual or homosexual). Most researchers who study people such as doctors, biologists, psychologists, sociologists will say that all of the research shows that people are born with their sex and sexuality. These are part of our biological makeup, our nature.

      However, gender is learned. Gender is how you react to your sex and sexuality. Think about how you answered that question at the top of this post.  Most of the ways your life would have been different are examples of treating people different based on their sex (and sexuality).  This constructs a certain way of being.  So, for example, if I am a heterosexual male, how should I act? What colors should I like?  What clothes should I wear?  How should I talk?   What sports should I play?  Is it okay for me to cry?  To be rough?  To like violence?   To be sensitive? And so on...These are all our gender and they are all learned reactions. 

Sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity is all fluid on a continuum:
                                                                                    1       2      3       4       5      6      7      8      9          
Sex (biological; physical body, chemical makeup) Male                      intersex                        Female
Sexual Orientation (attraction)                              Hetero                   Bisexual               Lesbian or Gay
Gender (expectations about how to act)              Masculine          Neutral/Queer/Fluid         Feminine 
Gender Identity
Here is a terrific program about gender from National Geographic.


However, our culture boxes people in to two very narrow ways of being.  It doesn't allow for any expression of sex, sexuality, or gender along the continuum.

Look at the handout called "Socialization of Gender Roles."

Take a moment to think about where you have heard the various phrases on your handout.

Traditional Masculine Traits                                                  Traditional Feminine traits
Independent                                                                               Dependent
Intelligent                                                                                  Unintelligent/spacey
Capable                                                                                     Needy
Assertive                                                                                   Passive
Rational                                                                                    Emotional
Competititve                                                                             Cooperative
Insensitive                                                                                 Perceptive
Ambitious                                                                                 Weak
Brave                                                                                         Timid
Attractive from achievement                                                     Attractive from appearance

Gender notions have changed over time which also highlights the social construct of gender. Checkout this post, called "The Manly Origins of Cheerleading" that shows how gender is a construct and because of that, our perception of gender changes over time.

All of the agents of socialization help to construct gender:

            -begin treating the infant differently from birth, inc. pink and blue.
            - 6 month-olds treated differently; boys=independent & active, girls=dependent & passive
            - by 13 months, each gender acts differently.

peers: see the book from Patricia and Peter Adler on preadolescent peer pressure.
            Girls and boys learn what it means to be a man or woman from friends.
            - Ex. Patricia and Peter Adler; values for popularity as early as 4th grade
                      - in boys; athletics, coolness and toughness, grades=lower popularity.
                      - in girls; family background, physical appearance (esp. clothing and makeup) and ability to attract popular boys, grades=higher popularity.          

school  See this postHere is a post from sociological images that shows Barbie helps to  reinforce lessons learned from teachers.

This post from the Freakonomics blog shows research that high school teachers attitudes about girls and math affects how they grde and teach them.

  -differences in toys; boys=action figures & weapons, girls=jewelry & dolls
           See this essay
See this post from the Society Pages, or this page from the feministgal blog, and this redundant post from the Society Pages And see this post about other products that are pointlessly gendered thus reifying the idea of traditonal gender traits.  And, this post about Barbie shows how the doll creates unrealistic expectations for the female body.

And here is Ellen making fun of Bic pens for women.


For further interest, here is an older test that will rate you on the traditional continuum.  The test is outdated as a useful tool now but it was called The Bem Sex Role Inventory when it was developed in 1971 by Dr. Sandra Lipsitz Bem.  It characterizes your personality as masculine, feminine, androgynous, or undifferentiated. The BSRI is based on gender stereotypes, so what it's actually measuring is how well you fit into your traditional sex role. Thus, your score may say as much about how our cultural expectations have changed over the last 35 years as it does about your personality. What I like about it is that it reveals that gender is a spectrum.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Post 4: Socialization

We have been learning about the socialization process.  This includes the distinction between nature and nurture and the importance of nurture.  We also saw that certain agents of socialization (family, school, media) play a strong role in the nurture process. Sometimes they nurture you purposefully (manifest lessons)  and sometimes they nurture you unintentionally (latent lessons).  Explain the nature-nurture dynamic and how agents play a role in it.  Give examples of socialization from your own life.

Please remember to

1.  write properly and post on time.

2. explain at least one source such as a reading (What is human nature? or Agents of Socialization), or a video (Danielle, Consuming Kids).  Also, your textbook is always available to you as a source.

3. explain two or more topics we have learned (such as those above in bold) and give unique examples of how they might apply to your own life, or something unique from your perspective.