Culture can be defined as the language belief, values, norms, behaviors and even material objects that characterize a group and are passed from one generation to the next generation. The cultures in which we live in do have an effect on our lives. Rather we choose to believe it or not we are a part of culture in one form or another. I can recall reading several articles from my sociology 100 course while in community college. It covered several of the issues in which we have been talking about in our WGST 303 course. Example like look pass the skin and see the real me. A psychologist conducted a study among a small group of men at college. The men were given two photographs one of a pretty young lady and the other was of a homely looking woman. Then the question was asked of the men what they believed the women were like. They men were told that they would have the opportunity to meet the women after they spoke with them on the phone. What the men were unaware of is that these were not the women which they had seen in the photos of the women that they would speak with on the phone. The young college men were under the impression that the attractive woman was self-confident, funny and outgoing. While the men felt the homely woman was awkward, serious, and unsociable. These men has experienced and reacted to the way in which our culture places individuals into different stereotypes. Stereotype means to make an assumption of what people are like whether this opinion is true of false. By the men placing the women in to a stereotype this affected the way in which the men spoke to the women. The women had no knowledge that they were part of this study and being evaluated. This is true concerning our society the only way that we feel that we can deal with individuals is to place them into a category. We miss judge people when using stereotypes. Television, magazines, and society send the message can’t be thin enough that influences some individuals that their bodies are not good enough. They must make some changes in their appearance in order to be accepted by others. I am often awakened from my sleep at night by the infomercials and the other forms of advertising that try to persuade me to purchase certain products. One example is diet programs, food which are delivered right to your front door. You do not have to worry about cooking or portions. Another one is the exercise video called Insanity. The men used in this commercial already have a muscular build gives the viewer the illusion that with just a few minutes a day men and women will magically produce the six-pack abs and the big biceps. Female models go through a workout without breaking a sweat. These messages that are used in magazines, commercials such as work on individuals’ feelings, thinking, and influence and shape the ideas of what people physical bodies should look like. The message that is sent is that women can’t be thin enough and men must have muscular physics. But the truth to the matter is to achieve the ripped and cut body one must exercise and this takes time and is painful. Weight Watches uses Jennifer Hudson who has a child and lost weight. She is proclaiming to the world that she is thinner now than when she was in high school. The message is being sent that if one is not satisfied with how he or she looks Weight Watches can help you with this problem. The truth is that she is being paid millions to spread this message that you can look like this too if you join Weight Watchers.
The fact that some women’s prisons are offering a nursery program is pretty cool. I mean, the child never did anything to deserve being separated from their mother, and Schwartzapfel was right; kids don’t know that they’re in prison, they just know that they’re treated with love and warmth from their mother. I like that the prisons are selective with who they let into the programs however. I can see how it might be ideal for a ‘criminal’ who maybe didn’t have access to proper care and hospitalization for labor and delivery would want in to the program, but because they are so selective, I can also see it deterring women from going to jail.
I believe it can also help as another type of therapy as well. The inmates can learn so much more about caring for someone else, and really develop themselves with the nursery better than they can with mandatory classes (I think?). This makes me wonder though, of male prisons. I wonder, if a man had kids, and was presented with the opportunity to witness the birth and be with them, waking up at night, feedings, changing diapers…. I wonder if it would have the same effect? Would the men want the nurseries? Would they want to be woken up every night with their child, playing peek-a-boo and kissing boo boo’s? Would it be the same kind of therapy for them? I feel like in most cases it would. I’d be very curious about really seeing what a difference it could make on male inmates as well.
Okay, now that I’m really evaluating our world, I’m continuously disgusted with EVERYTHING. The environmentalist in me is riddled with anxiety, the pasty white not-so-fit nerd girl that I am keeps wanting to feel inferior, but above all else, I’m just getting downright angry. I feel that not only are we destroying ourselves with sickening trends, we are destroying the planet and we seem to think that it’s okay. WAKE UP PEOPLE, it isn’t.
The fact that chronic disease effects more than a third of the population has developed some sort of developmental disease/illness. We’ve got to open our eyes and realize that we’re doing something wrong. I guess this will in turn go with our drive to fit in and excel in technology. With all these food trends, and technological trends, it’s amazing we’re not becoming anorexic robots.
Drugs, tanning, dieting, and smoking are all toxic trends that seem to only make you more desirable and popular. When in essence, you are destroying your lungs, skin, and body in the long run. Another trend, although not a fashion trend, is not looking ahead and acknowledging what we are doing to our surroundings and ourselves. With over-farming, over-fishing, over hunting, use of pesticides, machinery, fossil fuels, antibiotics, growth hormones, destruction of natural habitat, medical waste as well as trash (just to name a few), we are submerging ourselves in a toxic trap. Just because they are some advances of our time and we can use them, does not necessarily mean that we should. There has to be a correlation between all the unnatural elements we are putting into our environment and the illnesses effecting humans. We should stop to consider a simpler approach, and not try to hop on any useless trendy bandwagon.
In a world where women tend to be portrayed as sex objects, it is really nice to see some intelligent, strong and influential women for people to look up to. Samia Wahab, an Afghan woman shares her inspirational story in her book In my Father’s Country. While watching her interview on The Daily Show with John Stewart, I was truly captivated. I think people should know about her, and be inspired by her; both men and women alike. She is breaking barriers and has so much potential to make a positive impact in people’s lives, especially women in the Middle East. It is nice to see her loyalty to, and respect for her culture, but her intelligence and perseverance as well. She seems to have such a light-hearted method of delivery. I find it interesting, that in normal television watching and mindless magazine flipping, I haven’t really ever stumbled upon a woman that I can actually look up to. I hate the media. Then, all of a sudden, on Comedy Central, of all places, I find myself captivated by her charm, charisma and optimism. Too many people are so quick to see the bad things in life, to pity or rush to not being pleased. She really puts into perspective the importance of a positive outlook during hard times. If she can do it, we can do it.
The Body Image Quiz, on page 226 of the text really resonated with me. I think that as women, we tend to see the flaws in ourselves before we can recognize the good; but why wouldn’t we? If we consider the media, the competition, and what we consider to be the “Norm” of body image and adaptation we’re destined for body dimorphic disorder.
When the survey asked 200 women what they would change about themselves, nobody answered that they wouldn’t change a thing. This is alarming, because we should be quick to jump to the fact that we are awesome, we are fine the way that we are, and that we should not try to fit ourselves into the mold of someone else’s outlandish standard of beauty. Now, I am not exempt, because there are things that I would change about myself as well, but it just all really shows how we are taught to look at ourselves and each other. Would you change anything about yourself?
The fact that 95 percent of American Women overestimate their body size is astonishing. Nearly all of us seem to have it in our heads that we are much bigger than we actually are. I understand, sometimes it feels like the only mirrors that exist in the world are those from “fun” houses that stretch us wide, but if that is what we see in ourselves, other people will see the same. We should change the way we see, not the way we look. Let’s gaze into a standard mirror, or better yet, no mirror at all.
The fact that psychologists call sports teams, dance troupes, high schools, colleges, and commercial weight loss programs “Eating disorder breeding grounds” is rather terrifying. Sports can get competitive, but they should always carry a message of leadership and oneness. If everyone is respected equally and more attention is devoted to the comradely of the team rather than performance and appearance, then there would be healthier body images for people… even if the sports suffer a bit. Dance troupes are a given for eating disorders. I was not safe from that while I was dancing, and not many of the girls that I danced with were either. That’s not to say that all dance is bad and distorts a girl’s appearance of herself though. My dancing years were the best times of my life, and it really can be a healthy sport. I do feel like now, many more choreographers are concerned and aware of what may happen to a girl’s sense of self while training and performing. Many studios encourage a healthy routine and maintenance of your body, rather than an examined and judged piece of art. Aren’t commercial weight loss programs supposed to be encouraging healthy eating and exercise routines? A diet should not be a trend, it should be an important part of life that one puts effort into. It doesn’t have to be diet as in deprivation and discipline, but rather that of nurturing your one and only body in this life; taking care of it from the inside out by honoring it with nutritious foods that your body needs.
5 million women in the United States suffer from some form of an eating disorder. What can we do to reduce that number? What steps could we take in the different institutions, to achieve a more positive self-image?
The article If Men Could Menstruate, by Gloria
Steinem, was not at all what I anticipated it to be when I first read the
title. My initial thought on the subject, was something similar to “Oh, I’ll
enjoy this piece because it’ll most likely talk about how men would be grumpy,
crampy, moody, and emotional once a month, and would finally see what women go
through” I thought it would be just a quick lesson, something comical, and
something to level the playing field; perhaps make them understand what it is like,
and maybe see that they are not the only ones who suffer when we are on our
periods. Instead, the article was rather boring [in my opinion] and didn’t
really reflect any type of equality. I understand the need for exaggeration
when it comes to talking about the male population menstruating, but women
already menstruate, and we don’t expect men to inflict harm onto them in order
to be our equals. Instead, they look at us as lesser beings or less capable
individuals for particular tasks because we do menstruate. I understand that
the author intended for it to seem a bit ridiculous and comical, but I think
she was a bit off in her delivery. I do
not necessarily believe that “Street guys” would brag about being a “three-pad
man” or complimenting one another about being on the rag. Women seem to suffer
through that time of the month, and from what I’ve experienced at least, they
don’t receive a multitude of compliments. My girlfriends and I don’t high-five
each other each time one of us gets a period, we eat ice cream and Pamprin like
it’s our last meal, while crying over some stupid reality show. I just don’t
see the correlation that Steinem makes between man and woman periods. It would
have resonated more with me, and I would have perhaps made a better connection
(or enjoyed the piece more) if she did make it a bit more realistic and less
outlandish… because the topic itself is rather outlandish. Writing about such
things that are mere thoughts and ideas can be difficult, because not all
people can relate or necessarily understand right off the bat. I think she had
a good idea going, but presented it in a bland and eccentric sort of way.