Category: Society

Post-feminism, 2013

In the 19th century, feminism was fairly easily defined.  Put broadly, it was the movement away from corsets and other restricting clothing and towards voting rights.  In the 20th century, feminists rallied against prescribed gender roles and lobbied for gender equality in the home and workplace.  The constant and overriding theme, however, was the promotion of blurred gender roles.

Today, feminism has a much more fragmented definition.  While some feminists still assert that women should be treated the same as men (often citing salary differences), others insist that society should be more conscious of the differences between men and women and allow women to pursue their feminine inclinations (such as housewivery and motherhood) without disdain.  I’m going to call this fragmented feminism post-feminism.  So take a look at the articles below and ask yourself: what do you think is post-feminism?

>> The Feminist Housewife <<

“Feminists who say they’re having it all—by choosing to stay home.”

>> Why Women Still Can’t Have It All <<

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton professor and first woman director of policy planning in the State Department, explains her decision to give up her post for her children.

>> Susan Patton’s ‘Daily Princetonian’ Article Urges Female Students To Find Husbands Before Graduating <<

Susan Patton, Princeton alumnus, encourages current students to find their husbands before it’s too late, citing her own failed marriage as evidence.  Internet backlash ensues.

>> Susan Patton Told the Truth <<

A male journalist at the Wall St. Journal affirms that it is necessary for women to find their husbands as soon as possible.

– Sandra

The Naming Game

>> Why Girls Make Up Names for the Guys They Date <<

The author poses that girls nickname guys in order to distance themselves to curtail future emotional trauma when said guys (inevitably) transition out of their lives.  It’s a conveniently philosophical argument, but I’m not really buying it.  I know that I’ve employed nicknames, because names like “John” and “Matt”  are so generic that it’s easy to confuse them with the 10 other Johns and Matts we collectively know.

This brings us to the next article, which argues why nicknames given to girls by guys tend to be more offensive.  Guys nickname to dispel confusion.  No one’s going to forget “Puke Girl” and the accompanying story he invariably included in her description.  The author also mentions the fact that guys nickname to make funny stories funnier.

>> Why ‘Hot Gym Girl’ Is a Grosser Nickname Than ‘Hot Gym Guy’ <<

But I have another proposition: guys’ nicknames for girls are more offensive, because they overwhelmingly reference appearance.  And “Duckbilled Platypus” (a girl who resembles said animal) is definitely meaner than “Laundry Boy” (guy you first met at dry cleaners).  It’s just a fact of life that men place more stock in a female’s appearance than do women in a male’s appearance.  But at the same time, women care a lot about their own appearance, too.  It’s just this cycle of women feeling insecure about how they look and men being brutal/unforgiving about that same thing.  Men’s nicknames for women are more hurtful, because they target insecurities women probably already have!  In fact, a woman might have the same nickname among men in different social circles, just because of her distinct appearance – i.e. Horse Face.  Don’t lie.  You know one.

– Sandra

Political Attraction

>> I Love Your Ballot, Baby: Members of Your Own Political Party Are More Beautiful <<

We’ve all been there – we’re hanging out in an otherwise innocuous group, and, suddenly, someone drops the politics card.  And then it all goes INSANE.  Tensions run high, thinly veiled insults are thrown like gang signs in south central LA, friendships are dissolved, etc.  Well, apparently political leanings don’t just influence your views; it can even make potential love interests more or less attractive!  A study conducted by a political economist at Stanford Business School showed that subjects’ attractions to online dating profiles were influenced – in this order – by the following: religion (50%), ethnicity (16.6%%), education (10.6%) and political partisanship (9.5%).  Basically, political affiliation has almost the same weight in determining someone’s appeal as his/her education levels.

– Sandra

Alexander Wang, Balenciaga and racism

>> Alexander Wang, Balenciaga’s New Designer, Is an American in Paris <<

Since December, there has been substantial controversy over the selection of 29 year-old designer Alexander Wang as the new creative director of luxury brand Balenciaga.  As Pham notes in the article above, the announcement of his appointment spawned a huge speculative discussion on whether he was chosen for his ethnic connections to China.   This discussion appeared everywhere from the New York Times to Forbes Magazine and ignored, for the most part, the facts that he was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and is ethnically TAIWANESE American.  And the fact that he’s talented.

– Sandra

The Lingering Effects of Adolescence

I feel like we’re constantly posting all these articles about (not) growing up, but here’s another one from New York Magazine that a friend sent to me.  It’s kind of a long piece, but it could actually be read as a series of mini articles.

>> Why You Never Truly Leave High School <<

I highly recommend reading through the whole thing, so I’ve included some highlights to whet your appetite:

Pg. 1 – The “reminiscence bump” suggests that memories made between the ages of 15 and 25 are the most vividly retained.

Pg. 2 – Your height, weight and attractiveness at the age of 16 are correlated with your adult success and earning power.

Pg. 3 – This part has two interesting proponents.  The first is that when they incited fear in adolescent mice, this fear was vividly recalled in the mice even after reaching adulthood.  The analogous experiment in adults and children did not have the same result; these mice forgot.  Second, high school and other teenage social environments are a fairly modern idea.  Just a couple of generations ago, many teens didn’t graduate from high school and instead worked alongside adults.  Maybe sequestering teens amongst themselves isn’t the most successful idea…

Pg. 5 – In studies where teens were asked who their best friends were, only 37% of them were reciprocated. When asked by high school students to categorize their classmates into groups (Popular, Smart, Jocks, Outcasts…) only 27% and 37% (in two separate iterations of the study) of the thought-to-be-Popular kids thought of themselves as Popular.

Pg. 6 – In 2000, 10th graders were asked to align themselves with a character from The Breakfast Club.  When evaluated 8 years later, these earlier characterizations proved predictive… EXCEPT for the ones who had identified themselves as princesses at 16.  These women – now 24 – had lower self-esteem than the women who had identified themselves as brainy.

What do you guys think?

– Sandra

Egotism on the Rise

For those in college or recently out, this should not come as such a surprise: Today’s college students think they’re very special.  In a poll that has been administered to American college freshman since 1966, students are asked to rate their academic ability, drive to succeed, mathematical ability and self confidence as compared to their peers.  This year’s freshmen apparently have reported the most egotistical self-evaluations in 46 years.  This is also in spite of the fact that they are reporting less hours spent studying and reduced demonstrated competence in reading/writing as evidenced by test scores.

>> College Students Think They Are More Special Than Ever <<

– Sandra

On Scientology

I knew next to nothing on Scientology, aside from the fact that it is widely regarded as a cult of celebrity crazies.  I came across an article in the New York Times about the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, who is about to release an expose novel about Scientology.

>> A Careful Writer Stalks the Truth About Scientology <<

I then read this New Yorker profile about a Scientology defector written by the writer referenced above.  It’s pretty long, so I recommend utilizing the 1-page option, as it might get tedious clicking through 26 separate pages.  But for those who have very little understanding of the religion, it’s a worthwhile read and engaging throughout.

>> Paul Haggis vs. The Church of Scientology <<

Quick overview: Paul Haggis, Hollywood screenwriter and 34-year Scientologist, defected from the church due to blatant duplicity among the church spokespeople, as well as the church’s stance on homosexuality.  This account basically details the arc of his involvement in the church, as well as his admission that the church teachings seemed – for the most part – ineffective and/or fraudulent.  He stresses how the church specifically sought out members in Hollywood so as to gain celebrity acclaim.  This is probably one of the most bizarre religions I have ever read about.  Check it out.

– Sandra