@debbieblox Disrupting the Pink Aisle
Culture, Technology

Toys R’ Us and the Power of Pink—or Purple—“when I feel like it”.

In 2006 I wrote a paper about gender in toys, “Toys R Us—Engendering Children Are Us” for my UW Sociology of Family course.

Now it’s 2014 and we’re demolishing gender stereotypes and disrupting the pink aisle…

Sterling realized she was one of the only female engineering majors at Stanford University.

The Story of GoldieBlox | Cassie Jaye from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

“When Debbie Sterling set out to create GoldieBlox engineering toys for girls, she was hoping to sell much more than a product. She was hoping to inspire a movement that could eventually change the gender ratio in the engineering industry,” reports  from the Dallas Business Journal. Continue reading

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Culture, Documentation, Ethics, Neuroscience, Psychology, Technology

Gender Violence Issues—and a Few Good Men [TED Talk]

Domestic violence and sexual abuse are often called “women’s issues.” But in this bold, blunt talk, Jackson Katz points out that these are intrinsically men’s issues — and shows how these violent behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood. A clarion call for us all — women and men — to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change.

Jackson Katz asks a very important question that gets at the root of why sexual abuse, rape and domestic abuse remain a problem: What’s going on with men? Continue reading

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Culture, Technology

Bill Gates on Creative Capitalism a Compilation

“I’m an optimist, but I’m an impatient optimist,” Bill Gates said during his speech. “The world is not getting better fast enough, and it’s not getting better for everyone.”

“There are billions of people who need the great inventions of the computer age, and many more basic needs as well, but they have no way of expressing their needs in ways that matter to the market, so they go without,” said Gates. “If we are going to have a chance of changing their lives, we need another level of innovation. Not just technology innovation, we need system innovation, and that’s what I want to discuss with you here in Davos today.”

“The challenge here is to design a system where market incentives, including profits and recognition, drive those principles to do more for the poor,” said Gates. “I like to call this idea creative capitalism, an approach where governments, businesses, and nonprofits work together to stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or gain recognition, doing work that eases the world’s inequities.”

bill-gates-creative-capitalism-spunkygidget

Bill Gates at Harvard

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL565C8D8983B40E57

Related News

Bill Gates Goes to School with Napoleon Dynamite

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he6ykRsGPqI

photo credit: Domain Barnyard via photopin cc

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Culture

A California Teenager Goes Undercover to Investigate Life Among the Moonies

By 1977, with a fledgling community of committed and dedicated people, and with a sound teaching that inspired us to live our ideals, the Unification movement in California had grown rapidly. Our first challenge was to become ourselves a model of what we wanted the world to become. The love-ethic presented in the Divine Principle demanded a life of prayer, study, and service to others. We sought within our community to be caring, creative, and loving people, and upon this foundation to work actively for the sake of God and humanity.

We called ourselves “The Creative Community Project” and used a former fraternity house on Hearst Street as a place to teach the Divine Principle at luncheon and dinner programs. We were inspired by an ideal and wanted above all to communicate that ideal to those around us who, so it seemed, had very little commitment to anything other than self-interest.

Most people we encountered had only the foggiest sense of ethics, so we felt great meaning in sharing with them, through our dinner discussions and lectures, the significance of our own ethical ideals. Those who were serious and wanted to pursue those ideals further were invited to workshops at Boonville and, later, to other country retreats. — To Bigotry, No Sanction: Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church by Dr. Mose Durst

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, Scott Keeler, 18, knew what every other teenager knew. As one of his classmates put it, “There’s this place you can go if you’re fighting with your parents. They’ll take care of you.”

But unlike most of the others, Keeler also knew that the “place,” Creative Community Project, was owned and run by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon‘s Unification Church. As student body president at Alameda, Calif. High School and reporter for his school paper, Oak Leaf, Keeler decided last spring to go underground and investigate the Moonies.

Using the alias Dirk Schwerte, he quickly discovered that Moonie recruiters were on the lookout for unattached teenagers.

“All anyone has to do,” he says, “is put on his backpack and walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf.” Though no mention was made of Reverend Moon or his church, Keeler was invited to the Moonies’ San Francisco headquarters. Here is his account of his bizarre experiences:

Creative Community Project is a large white Victorian house on Washington Street. I felt my stomach in my throat as I jabbed the doorbell. Before I could ring again, the door swung open. “Come on and join our circle,” said a young man with a fixed smile. He offered his hand. I cautiously took it and sat down. He squeezed my hand, smiling and staring at me.

Later a low-protein, vegetarian dinner of rice and broccoli was served. I noticed that all the first-time visitors had acquired a new Moonie friend hanging close by their side. “Come on, let’s go over and pull up some rug,” said a young man, putting his arm around me and beaming. His name was Bob. I noticed he didn’t have any food.

“Aren’t you eating?” I asked.

“No, I’m fasting this week. It’s spiritual fasting. Some of the people in our community do it.”

An hour and a half later Bob was still sitting beside me and holding my hand. We were being lectured by a Moonie leader named Sherri Sagar when there was a loud crash at the front door. A man was shouting “Jeannie!” and trying to force his way in. Suddenly at least 25 Moonie reinforcements flooded the entry, trying to push him back out. “Where is Jeannie?” he shouted. “Jeannie! Jeannie!”

“There’s no Jeannie here,” insisted one of the Moonies. “You’ll have to leave.”

“What do you mean?” shouted the man, clinging to the door molding. “She came here last week, you bastards! What have you done with her?”

The Moonies kept pushing, peeling his fingers from the door, and finally shoved him outside. We could hear him shouting after the door was closed and locked.

“What was that about?” I asked Bob.

“Just somebody being negative,” he said. “People attack us because they don’t understand what we’re doing.”

At the end of the evening everyone clasped hands and formed a circle. “Okay!” said Sherri Sagar. “I hope you all liked what you saw tonight and will come up to our farm. We have cars leaving tonight. But before everybody goes, we’re going to do a mass Choo-Choo!” The newcomers shrugged and exchanged glances. “Got it?” she shouted. “It’s easy! Just shake your partner’s hand until we’re through. Ready? One, two, three—Choo-choo-choo! Choo-choo-choo! Choo-choo-choo! Yea, yea, pow!” We newcomers began to laugh, but the Moonies just smiled. “What’s the matter?” they asked.

The Dodge van was packed with 15 people heading north to the Moonies’ farm at Boonville, Calif. The lecture about the farm had sounded appealing—being out in the country, by a cool creek, with people you liked. Sitting beside me was a Moonie named Joanna. She was 20, already married and divorced. “I’m so inspired now that I’m in the Family, I never want to leave,” she said. “There’s so much meaning here.”

No one had mentioned Moon or the Unification Church yet. I decided to take a chance. “How long have you been in the church?” I asked. Joanna’s eyes became distant. For a moment I thought she wasn’t going to answer. “How did you know about the church?” she asked finally. “Most people don’t know this early.”

I told her my cover story, and she seemed satisfied. “Well,” she said, smiling again in the darkness, “it’s good that you’re so open. Most people don’t understand and say bad things about us and the Principle.”

“What’s the Principle?” I asked.

“Well, it’s…” Then she stopped. A man on the other side of the van was looking at her with intense disapproval. “You’ll get that in the lectures,” she said finally. The stranger smiled and nodded. I nodded back.

“How are you feeling, Family?” shouted David, our leader, the next morning. “Great!” everyone yelled.

“Is everyone ready to have the best weekend of your life?”

“Yes!”

Dr. Jack was our exercise leader. “Now let’s do 25 regular jumping-jacks and 10 free-style.” We began bobbing up and down in count with Dr. Jack. I started wondering whether I was 8 or 18. After exercises we were separated into new groups, each recruit accompanied by a Moonie. Eight of us sat on the grass in a tight little circle with blankets and songbooks.

“Okay,” said Dr. John, our group leader, supposedly an M.D. from New Zealand. “Let’s start off this fantastic day by giving your name and sharing a little bit about you.”

When my turn came I talked about Dirk Schwerte, but emotionally I was telling about Scott Keeler (“My mom and dad are divorced. I keep mostly to myself. A lot of people call me a sissy because I don’t play sports…”). “That was really fantastic,” said Dr. John at the end of the sharing. “It shows how open you can be up here in the fresh air.” He laughed as we all clasped hands, and we laughed too. I was beginning to feel so warm and comfortable I wondered why I had ever suspected there was anything wrong with these people. I felt intensely guilty about deceiving them.

The first lecture was a 70-minute presentation of ambiguous references to God, cosmic principles and spirituality. Oriental symbols were put on a blackboard but never explained. After the lecture broke up, we went back to our groups. “Does anyone have any questions?” asked Dr. John. I raised my hand. The other recruits still did not know these people were connected with Reverend Moon and his church. I wondered what would happen if I mentioned it. “You know in the lecture when you talked about God being everywhere?” I began. “Well, is that what the church believes?”

Dr. John dropped his smile. The other Moonies stared at me. A fellow recruit named Paul looked bewildered. “What church?” he asked. No one answered. My eyes locked with Dr. John’s for what seemed a long, uneasy time. “That’s a good question, Dirk,” he said slowly. “Who can answer that?” His eyes never left mine.

“Ah, yeah,” Bob began uncertainly. He talked and talked and didn’t tell us anything.

It was time for volleyball. “Everybody hug in close,” commanded Dr. John. “We’ve got to be positive and chant so loud every second that we’ll love-bomb ’em right out of the game!”

“Yeah, yeah! Great! Yeah!” Every Moonie in our huddle was screaming. I forced a smile and chanted along with everyone else: “Win with love! Win with love!”

“Follow the game!” shouted Dr. John. “Keep your eyes on the ball!” It got easier and easier to chant as I followed the ball with my eyes. I began to lose track of the words I was repeating over and over. I felt I could do anything. A smile spread across my face as I heard our voices echoing off the surrounding hills. Suddenly I fell, and it took me several moments to realize I was on the ground. A Moonie was standing over me. My breath had been knocked out, but I went on chanting “Win with love” in a whisper. I couldn’t stop and it scared me. “Are you okay?” he asked. I picked myself up and checked my watch. We had been playing for more than an hour and had finished two games I couldn’t even remember.

The next evening I walked to the van to return to San Francisco. I said I was sorry I had to go, and I was. “Where am I ever going to get love like this on the outside?” I thought to myself. I was almost crying, and I went up and hugged Dr. John.

“Look, Dirk,” he began slowly, “can’t you just call your mom and tell her you’ll be home in a couple of days? You can call her right now.”

“Sure, just call her now,” said Bob. “You like it up here, don’t you?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“Good,” said Dr. John, “because you can go up to Camp K with us tonight. I’ll drive you myself. Why don’t you tell your mom now?” Stepping forward, they closed in on me in a way I didn’t like, and I took a step backward.

“Hey,” I said finally. “I told you, I have to go. I’ll be back when everything’s straightened out, okay?”

A few days later I did go to Camp K, a converted Girl Scout camp in the Napa Valley where the Moonies continue their indoctrination. Before I went there, I spoke with several authorities on the Unification Church. They warned me that the Moonies were trying to isolate me from the outside world and to keep me from critically examining what they were saying. “If you’re good,” one of them warned me, “they smile and love-bomb you. But if you argue, then they descend on you.” Later one of the Moonies told me the church teaches that you don’t have any responsibility to your friends or family; your only duty is to Moon.

Unification Church members are smiling all of the time, even at four in the morning. The man who is full of love must live that way. When you go out witnessing you can caress the wall and say that it can expect you to witness well and be smiling when you return. What face could better represent love than a smiling face? This is why we talk about love bomb; Moonies have that kind of happy problem.

By the time I got to Camp K, I was beginning to understand some of the things I guess I hadn’t wanted to see before. At Boonville I had become close with a girl named Maureen. At Camp K they deliberately split us up. That’s when I realized they were playing with people’s lives. Any one-to-one sexual activity is absolutely forbidden. Couples are selected for marriage by church officials, often before they get to know each other. After I left, I seriously thought about kidnapping Maureen and having her deprogrammed. It took me about two months to reach her. I told her who I really was, and she got very defensive. She said, “I’m not leaving here. I’m better off here than on the road.” I knew I had to let her go.

In all, I spent three days at Camp K. Then I went back to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco to continue researching my article and to photograph Moonie recruiters. While I was there I ran into Dr. Jack and another recruiter who knew me. They demanded to know who I was and what I was doing. I told them.

“Give me your film,” Dr. Jack demanded quietly, moving close.

I told him I wouldn’t.

“Give me the film,” he insisted.

“No,” I said, trying to hold my ground.

“Give it to me,” he droned. “Give me the film.”

I grabbed my camera, wrapping the strap around my arm and gripping the lens barrel. I almost gave in from fear, but then I exploded.

“No!” I yelled. “Forget it! I’m not going to give you the film!” People in the park turned and looked at me.

“Scott Keeler?” asked Dr. Jack. “Alameda?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“We’ll be in touch.”

My Daddy escaped the Moonies camp with a new friend in tow. They met again at the NIblick’s Hessen Cassel.

Works Cited

A California Teenager Goes Undercover to Investigate Life Among the Moonies.” : People.com. N.p., 24 July 1978. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

Heartbreak and Rage: Ten Years Under Sun Myung Moon: a Cult Survivor’s Memoir” Neufeld, K G. College Station, TX: Virtualbookworm.com, 2002. Print.

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Culture

Legal Brief: Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503

Facts of the Case

The school heard that the kids were going to wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War and passed a policy banning the armbands. The kids were suspended until the New Year. The parents filed suit in U.S. District Court which agreed with the school board, U.S. Court of Appeals were tied meaning the ruling stood forcing the parents to take it to Supreme Court.

Continue reading

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Culture

Cultural Industries: Culture in a Cup

What are cultural industries? According to Hesmondhalgh’s texts cultural industries are defined as those which have “leisure, information, entertainment, media, and creativity” as their primary outputs. Others might refer to the cultural industries as simply “entertainment and the arts”.

What is missing in referring to the cultural industries is the required awareness of the impact such industries have people. Members of The Frankfurt School (Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse) warned about the difference between true needs and false needs. But of what concern are these to us? Continue reading

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Culture, Technology

The Internet, Mass Media Pervasiveness

The Internet is a pervasive medium that enhances personal communication, access to information, and freedom of speech, while making obsolete borders, reversing isolation even as it reduces tactile and direct experiences with real people, which retrieves a sense of tribalism a global village.

By means of the Internet, the ways in which we can communicate have been forever enhanced. The Internet is here to stay and it will ever continue to grow in popularity. Continue reading

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Culture, Religion

Feminism: Accessible and Actionable

“Feminism is anti-sexism.” — bell hooks

Feminism is a dirty word, or at least that’s what you’d believe from the reactions you get from people if you mention it. It conjures up images of radical women or lesbians with unshaved legs and armpits rallying outside abortion clinics, fighting domestic violence and rape, or gender equality. It is an image of a woman who you can’t relate to, she is one that you don’t know what to do with, and she is one whom you shy away from. Continue reading

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Culture

Seductive Habits: Building Reality

“White privilege is best understood as a constellation of psychical and somatic habits formed through transaction with a racist world. As such, it often functions as unconscious: seemingly invisible, even nonexistent, and actively resisting conscious efforts to know this.” In Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege, Sullivan is trying to get us to think about and understand how white privilege can be unconscious when it is transactional because of the means by which that unconsciousness is formed through seduction by transference of enigmatic (meaning unknown to or hidden from both sender and receiver) messages from parent to child. Continue reading

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Culture

Negotiation: The Dean and the Frat Boys

  1. Terms
    • Go on record speaking against the violence, and denouncing all relationship to the pledge.
    • Form committee of all fraternity leaders to campaign against key safety issues on campus, namely Rape, and Drugs and Alcohol Abuse, and Violence to ensure campus safety.
    • Mandatory orientation for all incoming freshmen that is organized and run by the fraternity.
    • Fraternity’s run their own mini-PR campaign to improve their image on campus, and to promote more responsible members and behaviors.
    • Meet with Dante every two weeks to review the campus crime reports with hope to be able to better address issues. Continue reading
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Culture

Rape: Victims of Pity

Razack argues that “we need a theory that can account for the structure of violent relationships in women’s lives and expose the social conditions that limit what can be said in the rape script [and that] the stories of women with disabilities must be told, not as stories of vulnerability, but as stories of injustice.”

In changing the rape scripts and incorporating the stories of violence into our evaluation of justice, we effectively “move beyond consent [as the salient factor in rape cases] to responsibility [of men as respects to women] and beyond pity to respect.” Continue reading

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Culture

Gender Persecution Cases

Razack presents her thesis as “how gender persecution, as it is deployed in refugee discourse, can function as a deeply racialized concept in that it requires that Third World women speak of their realities of sexual violence outside of, and at the expense of, their realities as colonized peoples… therefore further[ing] First World interests by obscuring Western hegemony and its destructive impact on the Third World.” Continue reading

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Culture

Negotiation: The TA vs. Students

Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)

The TA could stand firm, lose rapport with all students but they don’t act on it, and he goes unscathed.

Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (WATNA)

Students are pissed, will go to his supervisor and post about him on RateMyProfessor.com. The will give him a bad end-of-course evaluation. Continue reading

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Culture

Negotiation: The Simpsons

There is bad blood between the voice actors and the Fox Network because in the beginning they were paid low salaries and these were not fairly reevaluated based on the success of the show. Fox instead haggled over contracts, let them expire and therefore the actors feel as though they have been treated unjustly, without respect and as if they were expendable (though the character of the Simpsons directly is attributed to them). Continue reading

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Culture

World-Traveling: Shirking off the Arrogant Perception

Lugones asks us, in Playfulness, “World”-Traveling, and Loving Perception, to open our eyes to arrogant perception as the barrier complicating issues in trying to love and understand women (and men) across cultural and racial divisions. She offer’s “world-traveling” as a solution to breaking down these barriers, as long as one might travel with playfulness and are open to exploration of what makes one at ease in the worlds that they visit. She asserts that to failing to love (or lovingly perceive) another is to fail to identify with them. This failure, therefore, can be overcome by “world-travelling”, the epitome of putting oneself in another’s shoes. Finally, she believes that seeing oneself as a world-traveler means understanding a pluralist self, that there is no one underlying “I”. (Incidentally, Lugones’ essay reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s statement in the passage of 1 Corinthians 9:19-22: “To win as many as possible… I have become all things to all people”. Was his premise the precursor to Lugones’ concept of world-traveling?) Continue reading

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Culture

Different Voices—Women’s Self and Morality

Gilligan is arguing against the common perception that women are morally inferior. Instead she proposes two trajectories for moral development, the typical ‘justice’ track and the ‘care’ track which many women identify with. She presents us with a process of development that has three levels and two stages in each. She argues that you must give equal voice recognition to the “different” voice, the voice of care.

First Gilligan assumes that it is a moral (involving right and wrong) decision of whether or not to abort a child. Second, she makes the assumption that children have a stage of life characterized by innocence, being carefree and selfish. This concept of a childhood of innocence is actually only in recent years and predominantly in the United States.

My first main critique is that while Gilligan explores morality in decision making that the study seemed heavily skewed to religious women. I personally understand a religious woman’s perspective in making such a decision (as to whether or not she should have an abortion) but I do not understand as much the perspective of one who has not been raised with religious beliefs that condemn this action as a sin. I wonder how this would, as a variable, alter the findings of the study. It would have been nice to have a control group and to have singled out religion as a variable in the participants.

Next, I feel like this study was odd because, as discussed in class, it was female only and inherent to its design cannot be reproduced using male subjects. This means that we have no valid means by which to compare the male’s decision making process against the voice of care. In her book “Moral Orientation and Moral Development” she notes that one third of the men studied switched back and forth between the justice and care tracks, but the study she specifically devised and of which we read will never allow us to measure relativity. So, while I agree with the concept of the care track, and that many women gravitate to this track over that of justice, I cannot help but miss the opportunity to ‘globalize’ the findings in the context of both men and women. I believe it would also be interesting to add gay men to the study as well.

Finally, I would have been interested to see how she evaluated women in situation involving justice versus care. We discussed in class the social problem presented to the young boy and girl, of the woman who required medicine for her illness that her and her husband could not afford and whether or not he should steal it. I imagine my critique is a bit unfair because I’m certain she does explore this in her book.

In summary, I have to say I enjoyed reading her essay because it was an accessible reading style, she interspersed anecdotal evidence in the form of quotes from participants in the study. I also agree with her concept that there is a different track other than just that of the ‘justice’ as defined by Kohlberg (which is framed in the male perspective). I just wish that there was a way that the ‘women’s track’ didn’t appear less evolved merely by the means of having fewer stages in the development process (Kohlberg has six, Gilligan has three).

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Culture

Negotiation: June Bug Graphics

I learned that I went in setting my sites too low for what I could get in monetary compensation. I realized after we started talking about money that he had no problems with what I had thought was the best I could get – that made me suspicious and I got more. However, I didn’t realize just how much more that I could have gotten still. Overall I think that it was a good end result as he could really commit that money right then (no funky wait-and-see deals) and I got to work from home – but I was floored to find out that he could have paid me up to $160k. Continue reading

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My Face, on Gizmodo. Whoa.
Culture

Negotiation: Interviewing

“However, assuming so and acting preemptively to prevent a ‘false conclusion’ does end the story.”

In conversations I’m a over active talker. I like to express myself and talk often and much. I feel driven to make sure that the other person understands my perspective before I can accept that they will have anything valuable to offer me in terms of advice or options.

When trying to listen, I often find myself interrupting to refute a perspective – specifically to correct someone’s perspective of how they view me or the situation that we share… to correct their view of my intentions or motivation. Again, I am caught in the trap of believing that it is more important that the person, first and foremost, properly understand the situation or my perspective. I believe this happens to me because I feel that if I were to allow them to continue talking, with their words being based on misconceptions or incorrect data, then any conclusions they may come to could or would be ‘wrong’. Continue reading

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Culture

Cyborg Madness: Information, Power and Dehumanization

Haraway, in her Cyborg Manifesto, is trying to get us to think about, from a social feminism perspective with a slant of postmodernism, a future with gender free feminism through the use of a “cyborg” that is all things while at the same time being none of them. Through this perspective she asserts that the control and flow of information define power and this power is used to turn everything into production, reproduction and communication as she terms “the informatics of domination”. Haraway is trying to get us to think about how hardship brings kinship, and that this can span across race, gender and class. There is room even in the foretold dark hour for reformation through “discourses of subversion and transformation”. Continue reading

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Culture

No Offense Barney!

Dear little sister Erin,

I worry about you and your children when it comes to the dangers of television. You see when I was young I watched Sesame Street on PBS. Then several years later you came along and watched Barney, the big purple dinosaur who sang the incessant “You love me” song. I never owned a Big Bird nor Ernie doll. But Barney’s marketing and merchandising was seen in your life as you towed around the plush toy and wore clothes with his branding. Continue reading

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I love my books.
Culture

Democratic Power and the Printing Press

Someone, who I am certain was probably pretty important, once said “Knowledge is power.” Before the fifteenth century however the distribution of knowledge was inhibited by the process of oral and scribal transmission. Enter the printing press which allowed reproduction of information for easier access and a broader reach. Hence we see the ‘democratization of knowledge’ which brought on a revolution in power; knowledge is power. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Immigration and Diversity in the Latino Family

“The immigration debate is usually framed as though there were a clear demarcation between legal residents and illegal aliens who live “in the shadows.” But reality is far messier. Palacios’s clan—six siblings and their spouses and kids—includes Americans by birth, naturalized citizens, permanent residents and undocumented immigrants.”

Regarding family and diversity, I reviewed the article “America’s Divide” which appeared in the April 10th, 2006 issue of Newsweek Magazine: Illegal’s Under Fire. This article was written by Arian Campo-Flores. This article tells the story of immigrant families and the diversity of the immigrant experience inside the family, or ‘clan’. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Balancing Work and Family

With more than 50% of married women working outside of the home the ongoing discussion of balancing work and family continues to rage on. The need for work-life balance has turned to consider fathers as well as we recognize the value of a father’s active participation in a child’s upbringing. In this paper we’ll consider the challenges are for families in managing work and family, how those challenges differ for women and men and what solutions are available for managing work and family. Lastly, we’ll look to real life examples to illustrate these difficulties families face in managing work and family and the potential solutions. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: New Era. New Bra. New Rules.

The article I am reviewing was called “The Secret Lives of Wives: Why They Stray” that appeared in the July 12th, 2006 issue of Newsweek Magazine. The article was written by Lorraine Ali and Lisa Miller of Newsweek with assistance from Vanessa Juarez, Holly Peterson, Karen Springen, Claire Sulmers, William Lee Adams and Raina Kelley. The articles description states “with the work place and the Internet, overscheduled lives and inattentive husbands—it’s no wonder more American women are looking for comfort in the arms of another man”. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Toys R Us—Engendering Children Are Us.

When you walk into a Toys R Us store you can quickly see how toy stores teach gender through messages sent as an agent of socialization for children. The boy’s section of toys is separate and distinctive from that of the girl’s toys. Model cars, trucks, trains, building blocks, sporting goods and action figures stock the rows of boy’s toys and are brilliant and bold in their highly saturated colors of blue, red, and green. Meanwhile, Barbie’s, dress up dolls, house play sets, hair salon setups, stuffed animals and art & crafts supplies are flirty in pink, purple and passive pastel hues that cleanly segregate out the girl’s section. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Theory Overview

Symbolic interaction looks at how people interact with one another and communicate with symbols and gestures. Families are seen as a unity of interacting personalities, with each member having a social role. Over time, our interactions and relationships define the nature of our family and our identities emerge from the interplay between our unique selves and our social roles.

Social exchange theory examines actions and relationships in terms of costs and benefits.We undertake exchanges—many of them unconscious—to maximize rewards and minimize costs; in interpersonal relationships, resources, rewards, and costs are likely to be things like love, companionship, status, and power rather than tangibles like money. Participants have to see exchanges as fair and equitable in order for the relationship to endure. These exchanges can be cooperative or competitive, and they take on a long-term character in marriage and family relationships. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Applying Theories of Family

I will apply three theories of family to my family experiences for analysis. The three I’ve chosen are symbolic interaction, social exchange and structural functionalism. My immediate (nuclear) family is made up of six people. First there is my mother, Arlene. Next my stepfather, Melvin, who my mom married when I was seven (four years after my father passed away in an accident). Then there are four children—I am the oldest, followed by Heather and Matthew. Erin is the youngest and is also our half-sister. My immediate family members all live in North Carolina; therefore for the purposes of this essay I will also consider my boyfriend Brian as part of my family and our relationship and interactions as a part of this analysis. Continue reading

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