So for the readings this week, we decided on the song “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. We picked this song because it relates almost directly to Berger Chapter 1 in the way that words can affect the way that we see things such as a person who is anything outside the norm or perfection, that when they are called a certain word or put into a negative stereotype that makes a connection in their mind about how society tends to think about them. In the song, she shows us that not everyone needs to be a certain way in order to feel beautiful. She talks about all kinds of different extremes and how everyone is beautiful no matter what anyone else says. It also is the opposite of the ads were presented to us in the video Killing Me Softly.
For the article, we decided on one that discussed the issue of birth control that is currently being debated in government and some of the backlash from that. In it we see how there is a way that society would prefer that women behave versus allowing them something that they have had access to in a more reasonable way that has expanded from its original purpose. Also we can see how certain people are taking what is going on and forcing stereotypes onto people and how they think others should be treated. You can also see what the other side is saying about how the statements made are a direct attack on women and not just the issue of birth control like everyone originally thought. This relates to the readings by showing women in a certain light from how they really are because we begin to associate negative connotations about procreation and birth control together, when in reality it has expanded into a more health wide issue.
March 9 -12th here on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus.
The University of Colorado Boulder’s TRANSforming Gender Symposium is celebrating its sixth year! The Symposium hosts national and local transgender and genderqueer activists to address issues surrounding transgender, genderqueer and related identities. Previous presenters and participants have included academics, health professionals, community organizers, performance and visual artists, students, faculty, staff, youth, family members, community members and other interested folks.
While all of the talks look very compelling Jack (formerly Judith) Halberstam in particular has written a number of fantastic works that address issues of gender and sexuality. In particular, her book Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (1995), was instrumental in my thinking about gender and sexuality in horror books and films. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the horror genre.
Jack Halberstam (Judith Halberstam), is currently Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at University of Southern California. She will be speaking Friday March 9th from 4 to 5:30pm in the Abrams Room, 3rd floor of Center for Community. Her talk is titled, “Gaga Feminism: Pregnant Men, Heteroflexible Women, and the End of Normal”
And consider the impact of this on the child. Regular kids do regular things like playing outside could end up breaking a bone that would in turn break the family budget. Any college fund could quickly be consumed just to pay those medical fees. These things matter.
A Valentine’s Day discussion from someone who engages in polyamorous relationships.
Welcome to the psychologically complex and wacky world of polyamory, where people have romantic relationships with more than one person at a time. While there are many kinds of people in open relationships – swingers, polygamists (hello, Utah!), and orgy enthusiasts just to name a few – polyamorists identify themselves as people who can love more than one person at once. We aren’t poly just because we want sex with multiple partners, though admittedly that part is great. Ultimately, we’re in it for the love.
With all the extra amour going on among the polyamorously inclined, you’d think Valentine’s Day would be our holiday, kind of like Pride for the nonmonogamous. But for some weird reason Hallmark hasn’t made any cards you can send to your husband’s boyfriend; and there are no candy hearts that say “Be ours.” And so on V-Day all of us who are in nonproprietary relationships with our sweeties have to improvise.
Join the CU-Boulder campus and community in celebrating National Coming Out Week, Oct. 10-15! Support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender life by learning some history, hearing people’s stories and simply celebrating queer identities. Open mics, forums and panels, interactive workshops, a day-long conference, a film screening and more! For a complete list of events and sponsors, please visit the GLBTQ Resource Center’s website:
The way women are seen in society is changing and women are being given more social and sexual freedoms and take full advantage of these. As a result, boundaries or “… an imaginary line between good and bad sex” (Rubin 1984:14) are being crossed more frequently. Good sex is a thin category where bad sex encompasses a wide range of deviant sex acts. According to Rubin the contemporary girl would more often than not fall under the category of having bad sex. Traditionally it was more normal and almost expected that the women wait till marriage to have sex, and once married it was her sole job to raise a family and watch over the house. Continue reading →
This is a picture of my cousin Alex. The whole family was hanging out and Alex was bored of sitting around listening to the adults talk so he took out some of his toys, all of which were trucks and cars, swords and toy guns. When I was taking this picture of him, his dad told him to ‘look tough’. Alex immediately ran over and grabbed one of his favorite swords and attempted to make his face ‘look tough’.
From the time a child is born, based on their gender, they are told or shown how to dress, act and feel. This picture is a great representation of the gender roles that are instilled into society. Boys are dressed in blue and green and are given cars and swords to play with. An emphasis is put on sports and being athletic. Also, boys have to act tough and not show emotion. Girls are dressed in pink and purple and given Barbie’s and Easy Bake Oven’s to play with. They are told to be sensitive to other’s feelings and are allowed to show a range of emotions. In this picture, Alex is holding a sword because his dad told him to look tough. He immediately associated this with a weapon. Society has instilled these values into boys because they want to appear masculine and don’t want anyone questioning their manhood. “The fear—sometimes conscious, sometimes not—that others might perceive us as homosexual propels men to enact all manners of exaggerated masculine behaviors and attitudes to make sure that no one could possibly get the wrong idea about us” (Kimmel 2009:66). Most men never want to be seen as homosexual because that would imply that they were not masculine. If they don’t act masculine, in given social situations their masculinity will be, “challenged or reinforced,” (Pascoe 2005:331). With swords and toy guns being given to boys at a young age to emphasize the fact that they are boys make them more susceptible to violence. Sapolsky discusses how men have more testosterone running throughout their systems which has shown to increase aggressive tendencies, but what about the ideas we are forcing onto the male race even as children? (Sapolsky 1997).
In our society, much of what we consider to be normal is in fact highly constructed behavior influenced by many aspects of daily life that often times go unnoticed to the untrained eye. Sexuality, gender identities, and behavior in social situations are socially constructed, rather than biologically prescribed as many people might assume. People adhere to socially constructed scripts when exploring their own sexuality. A departure from societal norms is often met with criticism, alienation, and even hostility. It is important to remember that text can add context to a photo, and exemplify how norms and scripts construct sexuality and social behavior. It is equally important to keep in mind perspective when viewing these photos, as perspective adds detail to the actions being depicted. In the case of this essay, these photos were taken by a college age student in a college environment, so the socialization depicted in these photos may be different in some ways from the population as a whole. Continue reading →
This is a picture of my nephew and my sister, my sister is 21 and my nephew has barely turned 4. My nephew was born when my sister was 18. In our society it against the norm to have a child at such a young age, however long ago in our society it would be looked at much differently according to early Victorian true love. Where love was based on procreation and acceptable childbearing ages were much lower (Katz 1996:51). Continue reading →
This is a picture of me and a bunch of boys playing dodge ball in the intramural league. The world of sports is one of the most influential institutions on a male’s life. Sports and competition are where men learn about ultimate masculinity and other related things. Dodge ball is an extremely competitive sport that involves a lot of socialization through trash talking or encouragement. It’s quite often that you hear “fag” or “gay” thrown around at a boy who isn’t playing up to par. This teasing is so common that we don’t normally even notice its purpose, “homophobic teasing often characterizes masculinity,” (Pascoe :330). When the boys make fun of each other out on the court, they are really keeping each other’s masculinity in check. Each boy tries to ensure his masculinity by proving it on the court while at the same time, they try to demean the other boys. This system of checks and balances is so common among the boys that you would think it’s actually part of the game. Messner states, “masculinity was not something we “were,” but something we were doing,” (1999:392). Through sports such as dodge ball, men are able to “do” masculinity. They are able to show off their masculine qualities to all while also reassuring themselves of their own masculinity.
Another interesting thing about this picture is that I am the only girl. Competitive sports are overrun by males and a lot of times women are made to feel as though they don’t really belong. The way the team is set up ensures male dominance in the game, having 5 males on the court and 2 girls. This sport, like many others is structured to show off masculinity and the male ability. Unknowingly, society continually structures institutions to favor male dominance.
Our lives today are full of pictures. Everyone takes pictures, especially females, and most likely will post them to Facebook. You can’t leave a social setting without being in a picture. My essay will deconstruct the elements of the social construction of norms through our society.
This first picture is of two of my friends getting ready to go out that night. This picture shows us the beauty myth. “…from the time they could first consciously think, that the ideal was someone tall, thin, white, and blond” (Wolf 1). Both of these girls fit this perfect ideal, yet they are doing their hair and spending so much time putting on make up to try and impress the male opposite in hopes of getting a date. There is such then created a double standard, much like the sexually opposite one of hooking up, but then one as females are judged based on their appearance much more often and critical than their male counterparts are (Wolf: 1991). At the same time society enforces these rules upon women and putting the control in the man’s hands because they are the ones “we” are trying to woo. “Playboy, like all forms of pornography, attempts to control women through the power of definition. (Sheffield 411)” From all of the media produced in society, but especially pornography because this is where we see most of the woman’s body exposed, and the norm is then such established. This pornography is what turns men on, these pictures of my favorite celebrities are “pretty” so I want to be like them. “I watch MTV and want to be like them. (Absolutely Safe)” Women and men are exposed to advertisements which increase the awareness of this myth. Like Johnson talked about in “Myth #5: “To Attract and Keep a Man, a Woman should look like a model or a centerfold. (Johnson 360)” There we go, seeing this beauty ‘myth’ transform, and in a way, brain wash the females of society to thinking if we don’t look amazing every time we go out of the house, we will never or aren’t fit to finding a husband. Continue reading →
During the early 18th and 19th centuries, men began accumulating wealth and power in the marketplace in an “increasingly homosocial environment” (Kimmel 2006: 10). It pitted man against man, the victor to have the most tangible assets, to be more aggressive, competitive, capable, and successful. This environment led to some of the practices we see in our society, still to this very day (as seen above). To lose this match of masculinity, even in the common wrestling arena of a fraternity house, could have potentially devastating consequences. The loser would most certainly hear from his fellow compatriots for losing the match, being called a “pussy” or “fag”. Pascoe defines fag as “failing at the masculine tasks of competence, heterosexual prowess and strength, or in any way revealing weakness or femininity” (Pascoe 1974: 330). Continue reading →
This is a picture from a costume party here at CU. A girl is “grinding” with a boy as others around them dance and look on. Grinding is something that is extremely prevalent in college, as is other dancing, partying, drinking, and “girl hunts.” As college students, we are exposed to this kind of behavior all the time, so we don’t really realize the meaning or extent of its sexual symbolism. Almost all college parties have some sort of dance floor where people gather to get wild and dance. This dancing isn’t like the dancing of the 1980’s and 1990’s, the dancing of today leaves “no room for Jesus.” As Ronen explains, “whether face to face or not-grinding involved miming, alluding to, and representing intercourse,” (2010:356).
Dancing has now become an extremely sexualized act, an interaction that many times is intended to lead to something further. College socializes men into believing the socially constructed ideas of partying and hooking up. Guys learn to go into parties on a mission, looking for potential girls to hook up with. Men believe that this is how they are “supposed” to act. The underlying force that causes men to think this is actually rooted in the primary goal of the girl hunt. As Granzian states, “the primary goal of the girl hunt-the performance of normative masculinity,” (2007:237) is actually what men are trying to achieve. Society has been structured so that men find this to be an appropriate way to demonstrate their masculinity.
This made me realize how much grinding and girl hunts really work hand in hand. Many times part of the girl hunt involves grinding, which in turn makes it a way to demonstrate masculinity. At the same time, the double standard also comes very much into play. While men are thought of as masculine for going on girl hunts and grinding with many girls, while if girls do the same things they are thought of as sluts. In these types of situations “boys were generally allowed more freedom and were assumed to be more sexually active than girls,” (Tanenbam 1999:405). So as the couple in the picture are grinding, the boys looking on are judging both the girl and the boy in completely different ways. The double standard is something that we have come to live with and accept just because it is so deeply engrained in our college lives.
This is a photo of my cousin on her wedding day. Weddings are a very important social performance in our society. Weddings show that two people are committing to each other for the rest of their lives. In our society, marriage is considered the ideal achievement in one’s life. Marriage between a man and a woman is considered normal and appropriate. It becomes more acceptable to do things, like have sex, when you are married, as opposed to doing it when you are just dating someone. ” Weddings work as a form of ideological control…as well as to signify that the couple are normal, moral, productive, family-centered…and most importantly, appropriately gendered” (Ingraham 2006: 240). Weddings are just another form of social control that show people the “right” way to live in order to live a moral and respectable life.
Once a couple gets married, they are then considered to be at the top of the “hiearchial system of sexual value” (Rubin 1984: 11). Out of Rubin’s ideological formations, one is the hiearchy of sex acts. Certain sexual acts are more appropriate and “right” than others. “Individuals whose behavior stands high in this hierarchy are rewarded with certified mental health, respectability, legality…institutional support and material benefits” (Rubin 1984: 12) A heterosexual married couple who have sex in the privacy of their own home and for procreative reasons only are at the center of the charmed circle. What they are doing is natural and normal, so they are then respected in society. Anyone engaging in sexual activities outside the charmed circle, like pornography, having homosexual sex or engaging in sexual acts out in public are considered to be deviant and are going against the societal norms (Rubin 1984: 13). Being able to engage in certain sexual activities and having it be socially acceptable is not the only benefit to getting married. “A…major reward centers around securing a husband who can provide access to economic security and social status” (Manatu 2003: 56). Being married gives people, more so women, more opportunities to have a higher quality of life. It is a form of social control. Society ulitmately rewards people who get married since what they are doing is morally and socially acceptable. The man can act as the provider for his wife and children, while the woman can act as caretaker to her husband and children.
Since my cousin and her husband are now married, they are now correctly following society’s norms and values. By getting married, they have gained the respect of society and, according to society, are going to be able to live a good, normal and moral life together.
This is a photo of two people dancing at a bar. This is a good example for Ronen’s article and how dancing has become more sexualized and can lead to sexual encounters. This picture also clearly shows the different roles men and women portray. The man is behind the woman, which signals that he is in more control and is the more active partner. And if he was following his gender role, then he most likely initiated the dancing. The woman is then responding to his actions and is also alluding to sex through her body language. “Grinding..generally involved a woman rubbing her buttocks into a man’s groin and her back against his torso in a repetitive motions to the beat of the music” (Ronen 2010: 361). The couple in this photo are doing exactly that. Although we don’t know what happened to these two after they left the dance floor, at the time the couple were alluding to sexual behaviors.
This can also be related to the sexual scripts that we had discussed in class. “Grinding dyads appeared more likely interested in hooking up, which suggests grinding behaviors were significant means of sexual signaling” (Ronen 2010: 362). I think its interesting how in today’s society, that doing something as simple as dancing, can so easily lead to the possibility of sex. It is like sex has become a more casual thing and so it is going against the dominant cultural script for an ideal sexual encounter. In class we discussed all the things that a man and woman do in order to make sure that they have an ideal sexual encounter. Everything from what one wears, to what they eat and where they go, all effect and lead up to that particular moment later in the night (Smith 2010). Just doing something like grinding on a dance floor with someone eliminates all of those factors, which isn’t necessarily good or bad, it just all depends on what they want for that night. However, it would seem that less people are looking for ideal encounters and would rather just hook up at any chance they get, especially in college. The ideas of sex are becoming less conservative. Both men and women are not taking sex as seriously as people have in the past. Sexual acts are also not just an intimate thing between two people in a bedroom. People today are becoming more open about it, especially in public places, like on a dance floor.
This is a picture of two people at a college party where they ended up “hooking up.” I think this picture is the perfect example for England’s article and how the majority of college relationships either start off as or are only about hooking up. The couple in the picture had only met once before this and this was the only time that they hooked up; it never turned into a serious relationship. In today’s society, sex has become a much more casual and open thing, especially in college. People no longer feel that it’s necessary to wait to have sex until married or in certain cases to even be in a serious relationship at all. The idea of hooking up “among college students shows a change to norms that permit some amount of sexual behavior as casual” (England 2007: 534). Of course there is still that double standard where ” women are still held to a stricter standard than men when it comes to sex” (England 2007: 538). Although it is becoming more acceptable for women to be having casual hook ups, if they have too many then they are deemed as slutty. Men on the other hand are free to be with as many women as they want and they won’t be judged by society, in fact, they will be seen as even more masculine.
The idea of accepting sex as a more casual behavior is actually going against one of Rubin’s ideological formations: sex negativity. ” Western cultures generally consider sex to be a dangerous, destructive, negative force” (Rubin1984: 11). However, on college campuses, students are going against that norm. Before, sex was only okay if done after marriage, and anything else is considered bad, but now society is actually changing their view. Sex is no longer considered as bad or as negative anymore, especially in younger generations.
However, along with the acceptance of casual sex and casual hook ups, there comes the increased panic about sexually transmitted diseases. People are longer just having sex with their husband or wife or just having sex when in a committed relationship and because of that society has become more concerned with STD’s. “Moral panics are inevitably linked to, and thus consquential for, formal systems of social control” (Schneider and Jenness 1995: 389). Society is trying to control these sexual behaviors and when society does that they trigger a panic that is not necessary. Society just tries to hide the truth and pretend that certain activities, like what’s happening on college campuses, are not actually happening. However, what really needs to happen is for everyone to just be aware of the risks and aware of what they are doing and with who. There is no need for a panic, but society creates that by trying to control the situation.
Hook ups are becoming more prevalent in society, especially in college. The couple in the picture is just one example of a casual hook up, there are many more happening all over. Casual sex and relationships are just becoming more acceptable in today’s society.