Posts tagged with sociology
Gender reality is performative which means, quite simply, that it is real only to the extent that it is performed.
Sociologists have frequently observed that governments use punishment primarily as a tool of social control, and thus the extent or severity of punishment is often unrelated to actual crime patterns.
I’m not concerned that ultra-violent films and video games exist; I’m concerned that, increasingly, that’s almost all there is. For several generations now, the homicidal reflexes that structure these media entertainments have become second-nature, and other narrative paradigms are being phased out. But the larger reality is that these reflexes are present everywhere in our pathology, in our global politics, our sports culture, our criminal justice system, our weapons policy, our right-wing TV cant, our ignorant myths of our own national history, even in our capitalism, which revels in the conquest over the hapless many by the moneyed few.
I’ve said for years that one of the things about unhealthy masculinity, or dominant stories of masculinity, is that men are socialized to push past pain, ignore pain, like it doesn’t harm you in any kind of way, you’re not vulnerable. If you can’t really recognize and experience your own pain, then how can you do it with anybody else?
Cornel West, on Al Jazeera English, reproaches the U.S. vis-à-vis our recent paltry presidential debates (and choices) and national conversations which were noticeably absent of discussion on poverty, TPP, Africa, capitalism, etc. in this election cycle.
Professor West in 5 minutes shreds apart our shallow and paper kingdom.
As described by Tom Watson, a prominent Populist leader, in a speech advocating a union between black and white farmers: “You are kept apart that you may be separately fleeced of your earnings. You are made to hate each other because upon that hatred is rested the keystone of the arch of financial despotism that enslaves you both. You are deceived and blinded that you may not see how this race antagonism perpetuates a monetary system which beggars both.
There is a lot to be learned from Matt Lauer’s sophomoric and intrusive question and remarks in regards to the unfortunate Anne Hathaway incident. As Hathaway exited her car at a New York premiere of her latest movie, Les Miserables, a
photographer gross-voyeur snapped a photo of her which caught her in a position that exposed her in a way that she was not asking for.
On Wednesday, December 12th, Matt Lauer on NBC’s the Today Show immediately opened up the interview mentioning the moment. Here is how Lauer decided to do this: “Good morning, nice to see you - Seen a lot of you lately.” Wow.
Lauer has no idea (or, at least, it sure seems this way) how even bringing this up in such a vile way may have affected Hathaway, how this might affect viewers watching at home, and it also shows incredible ignorance and lack of perspective and empathy. It also highlights how frivolously we treat these invasions of privacy and ourselves, and one another, in general. Oh, no biggie - I’m going to ask this question in the same way I would ask ‘what is your favorite ice cream flavor?’ He could (and should) have known, by the way, how she was feeling if he would have just read how Hathaway felt about it the night it happened. She was ‘devastated’, yet Mauer just had to “get it [the question] out of the way.”
He just HAD to, you know?
“What’s the lesson learned?”, asks Lauer not seconds later. Hmm…Well, I can tell you what I learned from it. I learned that our society continually and unquestionably blames victims and puts the onus of change, and explanation on them. I learned that every question, especially in front of a national audience, is fair game (especially if you are a woman) no matter what may come of it and no matter how you might feel.
What could Anne have done differently?
She should have been a man.
She should have worn something different even though she might not have wanted to. She should wear underwear at all times because you never know when a creepy man might take a photograph of you and then make bank off of it. She should appreciate the publicity and free p.r.. She should change how she functions entirely.
The real questions might be: Why don’t we question perpetrators instead of victims? Why don’t we ask “why do we allow this type of behavior?” Why do we place a monetary value on everything, especially each other?
Most disgustingly, Matt brought up the fact that Hathaway “keeps smiling, which you always do,” and this is, once again, instructive about our society. Women - you must smile even when you have been violated because, if you don’t smile and laugh it off, then we will all feel awkward and guilty for allowing, supporting, and making a living, off as Hathaway so perfectly stated: “a culture that commodifies the sexuality of unwilling participants.” What ever you do - don’t express anything other than joy, happiness, and passivity. Don’t be sad, angry, or disappointed. Just smile.
Lauer’s giddiness and comfortability in acting in such a way is completely disgusting, commonplace, and revealing. You can learn a lot about our culture in a one minute segment.
A couple of final notes: It’s not a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ - what do you think happens when you get up from sitting in a car in a dress? What we really have is a malfunctioning culture. Finally, Hathaway’s response was amazing, courageous, and it was unfortunate that she even had to deal with it in that manner. Hats off to her for remaining civil and accommodating when she had every right not to be.
The romance industry conflates finding love with looking a certain way, and it’s hard even for the strongest of us not to internalize messages about the way we look. And worse, these messages are normalized. Just think of things people say when they are getting ready to date someone: ‘He’s cute,’ ‘He’s short,’ ‘He’s kind of chubby,’ ‘He’s tall and fine.’ Or men: ‘I prefer slender girls,’ ‘I’m not really into fat girls,’ ‘I prefer Asian chicks,’ and on and on. It is completely acceptable to say the most appalling things about the way people look when it comes to dating, and if someone is called out for it, their opinion becomes a matter of ‘preference.’
What gets ignored in calling this level of categorization ‘just preference’ is a history and culture of mainstream advertising that impacts our psychology, causing us to actually want to respond to certain things over others. It’s hardly a coincidence that people are attracted to images of femininity that have been beaten into their psyches….We are taught to prefer certain things over others, and when we repeatedly see the same exaggerated images of femininity and masculinity, we internalize a specific standard of beauty and begin to strive for it unconsciously. Considering the exaggerated nature of these kinds of images, preference is not really a ‘preference’; it is more like a culturally sanctioned fetish.