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:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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?

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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

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.

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.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Media, especially TV is a powerful agent of socialization.


Here is the group activity that we are working on today.  Please read the post below and answer the questions on your discussion sheet as a group.

By watching the documentary Consuming Kids and doing the The Un-TV experiment, I hope you became more aware of how the media impacts you.

Part I. First, discuss the Consuming Kids video.  Hopefully, the Consuming Kids video helped illustrate the socialization messages that TV has for us and the reality that it is more like a two-faced back stabber than a friend. Below is the trailer for Consuming Kids. But you can see the whole video by clicking here and logging into mediacast, or in parts at youtube and find more info on the Media Ed website.

Part II. The Un-TV experiment.  Hopefully you were really able to experience this experiment. If you did, you may have noticed the mindless trance that TV creates. You may also have seen that TV is in its essence quite boring and so it uses technical events as well as tv's own message that you should believe it is entertaining and exciting. Regarding the news on television, it is really one more entertainment program that presents itself as news. Very little of the news is actual news (in the sense that it is information that you need to know). See this post about headlines that you won't see in the news. Furthermore, the news is there to give you a sense that it is important. Here is a video making fun of the typical news magazine story. Isn't that funny? How true is that? Another one that is pretty funny, though politically charged is comedian Lewis Black's critique of Glenn Beck.

Besides the "news" TV is interspersed with a message to you to be a consumer and a conformer.  It is also produced so that as a viewer you don't question what you are doing, certainly not while you are watching the TV.  The TV is in many ways like a good friend of ours waiting for us in our living room. It's there with us giving us the feeling that we are connected and engaged to society, when the reality is exactly the opposite.

Part III.  Quizzes.  And if you are skeptical that you have been socialized by the media, try playing one of the corporate logo games here. See how much you have been influenced.  Or try this quiz of tv show theme songs.Or this quiz from sporcle for commercial jingles.  Or this commercial jingle quiz from business insider.  What is interesting to me is that none of us ever consciously tried to learn the logos or the theme songs and jingles, but we know so many of them.  TV influences us without us realizing it.

Part IV. FIJI.  Even more evidence of the powerful force the TV has on us comes from the small Pacific island of Fiji. Ann Becker studied Fijian norms before the island was able to get satellite TV. After getting satellite TV, in a very short time period, just a few years, the island had reversed its norms and was now experiencing the body dysmorphic disorders of the United States. Here is one summary from Harvard. And Here is one from the NY Times. Here is an excerpt:
'You've gained weight'' is a traditional compliment in Fiji, anthropologists say. In accordance with traditional culture in the South Pacific nation, dinner guests are expected to eat as much as possible. A robust, nicely rounded body is the norm for men and women. ''Skinny legs'' is a major insult. And ''going thin,'' the Fijian term for losing a noticeable amount of weight, is considered a worrisome condition. But all that may be changing, now that Heather Locklear has arrived. Just a few years after the introduction of television to a province of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, eating disorders -- once virtually unheard of there -- are on the rise among girls, according to a study presented yesterday at the American Psychiatric Association meetings in Washington. Young girls dream of looking not like their mothers and aunts, but like the slender stars of ''Melrose Place'' and ''Beverly Hills 90210.'' ''I'm very heavy,'' one Fijian adolescent lamented during an interview with researchers led by Dr. Anne E. Becker, director of research at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center of Harvard Medical School, who investigated shifts in body image and eating practices in Fiji over a three-year period.
Here is a poster called "What are you missing?" from Media Ed.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Unit 1: Connecting Research, ingroups-outgroups, mindfulness and the fear of guns v. terrorism

https://qz.com/898207/the-psychology-of-why-americans-are-more-scared-of-terrorism-than-guns-though-guns-are-3210-times-likelier-to-kill-them/

According to the New America Foundationjihadists killed 94 people inside the United States between 2005 and 2015. During that same time period, 301,797 people in the US were shot dead, Politifact reports.
At first blush, these numbers might seem to indicate that Donald Trump’s temporary ban on immigrants from seven countries—a goal he said was intended to “protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States”—is utterly misguided.
But Trump is right about at least one thing: Americans are more afraid of terrorism than they are of guns, despite the fact that guns are 3,210 times more likely to kill them.
Chapman University has conducted a Survey of American Fears for more than three years. It asks 1,500 adults what they fear most. It organizes the fears into categories that include personal fears, conspiracy theories, terrorism, natural disasters, paranormal fears, and more recently, fear of Muslims.
In 2016, Americans’ number-one fear was “corruption of government officials”—the same top fear as in 2015. Terrorist attacks came second. In fact, of the top five fears, two are terror-related. And number five is not fear of guns but fear of government restrictions on guns. Fear of a loved one dying—whether by gun violence or anything else—came next.
One reason people’s fears don’t line up with actual risks is that our brains are wired by evolution to make fast judgements which are not always backed up by logical reasoning. “Our emotions push us to make snap judgments that once were sensible—but may not be anymore,” Maia Szalavitz, a child psychiatrist, wrote in 2008 in Psychology Today.
Also, fear strengthens memory, she wrote, so that one-off catastrophes like plane crashes or terrorist attacks embed in our memories, while we blank the horrible accidents we see daily on the highway. “As a result, we overestimate the odds of dreadful but infrequent events and underestimate how risky ordinary events are,” Szalavitz explained.
Risk perception (pdf) used to be based on an analytical equation: you multiply the probability of an event by the potential damage of its outcome. But Paul Slovic, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, understood the powerful role of emotions in decision-making and altered that equation, noting that many things affect how we perceive risk:
  • do you trust the person you are dealing with
  • control vs. lack of control (lack of control inflates risk perceptions)
  • is it catastrophic or chronic (catastrophic inflates risk perceptions)
  • does it incite dread or anger (dread inflates risk perceptions)
  • uncertainty (lack of knowledge about something inflates risk perceptions)
“Most people do not distinguish well between a one-in-a-thousand risk and a one-in-a-million risk,” said Mark Egan, an associate advisor at the Behavioral Insights Group in London.
Baruch Fischhoff, a decision scientist at Carnegie Mellon, said that the unpredictability of terrorism can make it scarier than something like a car crash. “Terrorism is not like motor vehicle accidents, where past performance predicts future performance,” he said. “Terrorism could change and it’s not irrational for people to react differently to an uncertain risk.”
That’s exactly what Americans did after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. People began flying less and driving more. The result, estimated Gerd Gigerenzer, a German risk specialist, was that 1,595 more Americans died in road accidents during the 12 months after 9/11 than would have otherwise.
Michael Rothschild, then an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin, calculated some of the risks we face:
  • One in 6 million: Risk of dying in a plane hijacking, assuming you fly four times a month and hijackers destroy one plane every year. (Just to be clear, since 9/11, hijackers have not destroyed any flights in the US.)
  • One in 7,000: the risk of dying in a car accident in any given year
  • One in 600: the risk of dying from cancer in any given year
According to data compiled from the Centers for Disease Control, over 2005-2014, an average of 11,737 Americans a year were shot dead by another American (21 of them by toddlers), 737 were killed by falling out of bed, and nine were killed by Islamic jihadists—who in most cases were US citizens, not immigrants (Nearly twice as many Americans kill themselves with guns as kill each other).
Rothschild blamed politicians for overstating the terrorist risk. Media saturation is also to blame. Having ready access to images of every atrocity known to mankind makes us prone to what behavioral scientists call “availability bias,” the tendency to give weight to what comes to mind most easily. The blanket coverage of the Sept. 11th attacks successfully seared the images of terrorism on our brains; shootings, which happen every day and—with the exception of a few mass shootings—are largely ignored, have less of an effect.
“We over-react to visible threats,” said Max Bazerman, co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and an expert on decision-making. “When there is someone out to get you, it is more visible than when you are silently dying in a hospital.”
After the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, Roxane Cohen Silver and two co-authors looked at what caused more acute stress: being at or near the bombing itself, or being exposed to it in the media. They found “[r]epeated bombing-related media exposure was associated with higher acute stress than was direct exposure.”
President Trump may believe he is responding to people’s outsized fears of terrorism. Unfortunately, his hastily arranged executive order won’t work—not least because, as the Wall Street Journal found (paywall), “of 180 people charged with jihadist terrorism-related crimes or who died before being charged” only 11 came from the seven countries banned in Trump’s order. He didn’t ban people from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, or Egypt—the home countries of the 19 perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.
Some things to consider:
How does this article illustrate that sociology is more than common sense?
What types of research does the article use?
How might ingroup-outgroup mentality play a role in the article's conclusions?
How can we be mindful about our fears?