Purposive Rambling

the journey is the reward.

Posts Tagged ‘gender

Really wishing I could change the world this week…

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On Monday I showed my class Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women. By the end of it I was feeling pretty unglued. We talked about whether or not advertisements that objectify and dehumanize women contribute to a culture that is accepting of violence against women. I am a big believer in the power of media. My students weren’t as convinced. They didn’t seem nearly as disturbed by the images as I was. I wonder if it’s because I tend to shelter myself from that as much as possible.

On my way home from campus on Monday I saw a girl who couldn’t have been a day over 13 standing on the side of the road holding a sign asking for help for her family. I wanted to call the police. It was dark and cold out. It seemed dangerous. And it seemed wrong for parents to put their child out there like that. But I don’t think it’s criminal. So I did nothing. I still feel torn about it.

On the same drive home I heard a song by Florence + the Machine called “Kiss with a Fist.” Here are some lyrics:

i broke your jaw once before spilt your blood upon the floor
you broke my leg with your touch
sit back and watch the bed burn
well love sticks sweat drips
break the lock if it don’t fit
a kick in the teeth is good for some
a kiss with a fist is better than none
a-woah a kiss with a fist is better than none

Apparently, it’s not supposed to be about domestic violence. Coulda fooled me. I find it appalling. It sounds to me like it’s okay to lash out at a partner as long as it’s mutual.

Last night I sat in on a domestic violence support group. Hearing the women’s stories made my heart hurt. I just could never imagine treating another human being that way.

On top of all this I’m taking the Food Stamp Challenge this week in honor of Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. Which means that I am eating on only $21 for the entire week. It is rough. I am really seeing how incredibly privileged I am when it comes to food. I really appreciate that we can afford to spend a little extra for hearty, whole-grain bread and pasta, brown rice, fresh fruits and vegetables, organic lean meats, and yogurt! Oh, yogurt, how I miss thee. The grits are getting old fast. Of course, we splurged and spent part of our allotment on Starbucks coffee. Probably should have gone with the cheap stuff. Then maybe I could have gotten something other than “Valu-Time” peanut butter and jelly. I feel like I’m eating sugar sandwiches. And the $.99 Marsh bread tastes like fluffy cardboard. It’s only Wednesday and I am soooo over this. But enough complaining. That’s not the point of the challenge. It’s for a week. And then I get to go back to my spoiled life. I really can’t complain. But really, nobody should have to eat this way. $21 is nothing.


Written by Lisa

November 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Effects of the Economy on Childbearing

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According to a survey discussed in this MSNBC article, American women are delaying pregnancy and planning to have fewer children because of economic concerns. Makes sense. Kids are expensive. But apparently, some women are also changing their contraceptive habits because of financial constraints. Some reported just going without. I suppose that’s a great way to save money if you’re not sexually active, but I wonder what the net effect of these two trends will be. Will there be any noticeable rise in unplanned pregnancies? Or will there be any noticeable decline in the number of births? And, of course, where are the men in this story? The decision to have a child often involves men in addition to women. And men do play a role in birth control use – even if women do shoulder most of the burden here.

Written by Lisa

September 29, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Sociology rocks!

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I am so excited to see that the most emailed article from nytimes.com today is Maureen Dowd’s “Blue Is the New Black.” Although I suppose there is a chance that all the sociologists of the world are responsible for this emailing frenzy, I am going to conclude instead that everyone loves sociology. Everyone, of course, being the people who are reading the NYT, which may be somewhat limited, but is certainly not limited to only sociologists. Anyway, there seems to be this ongoing debate in the discipline about how much sociologists should be engaging the public with their work, and I take this as a sign that the answer to this debate is that sociologists should be putting it out there as much as possible because people are really interested in hearing about it. How can people not be interested in other people? There’s a reason we continue to see reality tv show after reality tv show after reality tv show popping up. We are voyeurs, and we like to compare our experiences to others’, and we like to understand why our life is what it is.

Okay, you get my point. So, in this op-ed, Dowd discusses data from the General Social Survey that show that since the 1970’s women have been reporting lower levels of happiness, while men have been reporting higher levels of happiness. She goes on to mention some of the possible reasons for this trend. And she does not limit her discussion to considerations of change over time, but also talks about changes across the life course. It’s a complex issue, and she treats it that way. In my most humble opinion, I think it is very well done.

Written by Lisa

September 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Working Hard

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Teaching starts next week, so I am busy busy busy with planning classes and writing lectures and blah blah blah. It’s all coming along slowly but surely. Baby steps to the finish line. I love that I have such a nice office setup at home so I can work comfortably. And by comfortably, I mean without any concern for how I look, as evidenced by this photo I snapped yesterday when I realized how silly I looked:


I did take some time out last night to get in touch with my domestic side, though. We had a banana that looked like it was about to disintegrate, so I decided to whip up some banana bread. I was feeling adventurous (or maybe just too lazy to look up a recipe), so I just threw some stuff in a bowl and stirred. It was some combination of mashed banana, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, an egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and water. To make the cleanup easier, I used silicone muffin cups. As I was filling them, I realized that I don’t really know what the difference is between bread and muffins and for that matter, pancakes! Here I was thinking that I was making bread in muffin cups, but maybe I was making muffins! And couldn’t I just pour a bit in a pan and have pancakes? So I saved some batter and made a few little pancakes. They were great! And so was my bread/muffins! They were a little bland, but they seemed like the right consistency and tasted like banana. Good enough for me!



While I was playing in the kitchen, Jon put together our new DVD tower. As we were working on our respective tasks he said, “We’re really fulfilling some stereotypical gender roles tonight, huh?” Indeed.


Written by Lisa

June 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm


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National Man Day was yesterday, and I missed it. I guess I’ll go give the hubby some happy belated wishes, a beer, and a footrub. Right after I go rent him some great man movies to watch, of course.

And yes, you are sensing a dash of sarcasm.

Seriously? A man day? And why, pray tell, do we need one of those?

Well, apparently, men have been too bogged down with their responsibilities lately to be able to enjoy doing “manly stuff.” So some Hoosier brothers decided to designate a day for men to shirk those responsibilities and reinforce some stereotypes about what it means to have a penis.

So what is being manly all about? Well, the brothers suggest some ways to celebrate: “drink a beer, eat an 18-ounce steak and watch all the Rambo movies back-to-back from a new recliner where you can scratch yourself in manly places.”

And here’s their description of the “holiday” from their Facebook group’s page:

This day is the day for all men to stand up and say, “Yes, I am a Man.” And “Yes, I will step up and do manly things and whatever I want to do on this glorious day!”
Come, make history! Be a part of National Man day. Take the world by the throat and tell them it’s ok to watch Rocky movies all day. Tell them it’s fine if you sit in your favorite chair and scratch yourself. Tell them it’s normal to go shoot stuff or blow something up. Why? Because YOU ARE A MAN!!!
You aren’t some nancy that likes to frolic in the fields, unless it’s a field of mines and you have an AK47 and a hand full of grenades… Then you really are a man!
Yes on this day, men across the nation will be saying, “Screw you salad bar, with your salad and light dressings!” Men will step up and say, “I’ll take that 20 oz steak, and yes, I’ll eat it all. Because I’m a man!”
I’m not asking you to throw some sissy party, or to go buy a new power tie because you’re a man. All I’m asking you to do is step up live this day like a man would. Blow something up, shoot some animal, punch your buddy in the face for no reason, be a good father, play football and literally knock someone’s head off… Do something manly. Be a man like God intended you to be…
Take this day and celebrate your manhood!

The folks in their Facebook group shared their own ways of celebrating. Here are some:

  • my breakfast this morning was beef jerky and hotsauce.
  • i just had 3 steaks and 2 baked potatoes. now i’m going to hit the free weights. thanks man day.
  • i drank beer, fucked bitches and blew shit up.. good job men!
  • I rolled off and fell asleep
  • I just chopped down a tree with an axe when I could have used a chainsaw and caught a live boar. No bullshit.
  • I chased down and ate a wild boar. I then admired my guns and poked fun at women.

Here’s my favorite:

  • I cooked and cleaned. I’m redefining what makes a man a man!


Written by Lisa

June 17, 2009 at 1:57 am