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Betwixt and Be Tween: Gender Contradictions among Middle Schoolers

11 Dec

This week I chose to read about how young people in middle school are expected to fit into a specific gender mold that has been predesigned for them. Girls are to be nurturing and sensitive, while boys are to be tough and aggressive. If either sway from what society has deemed the correct gender role, then that child is different, and different is bad.

1. http://gas.sagepub.com/content/23/1/81.full.pdf+html

This article talked specifically about this reading. The author stated that no male should have to identify themselves as a male, in order to be dominant and strong, and vice versa. 

2. http://www.amazon.com/Boys-Should-Be-Secrets-Raising/dp/1596980575

This a a book I found that if for parents to raise their boys right. In the summary of the book, it says that boys will ALWAYS be rambunctious, climbing trees, and playing tackle football. I found that super interesting, because it puts pressure on young boys to fit into a specific role that has been assigned for them.

3. http://voices.yahoo.com/women-if-want-respect-men-then-act-like-you-7916.html

The title of this article caught my attention rather quickly. “Women if you want respect from men then act like you deserve it.” I was just in awe. “LIKE you deserve it”? Of course women deserve respect. I get that women are to have confidence, but to say that guys who get drunk and have sex with girls are just being guys and women have to deal with it is not okay. I found it super surprising that this article was written by as a woman as well. 

4.http://www.parents.com/kids/development/social/boys-or-girls/

This was an interesting article. It talked about how both girls and both can be difficult to raise, because they each come with their set of challenges. Not only that, but sometimes boys and girls don’t meet the stereotypes of their gender, and that is okay. 

American Childhood As a Social and Cultural Construct

20 Nov

This week I chose to read about how our society is taking the playfulness and naivety out of childhood. According to the reading, over the past four centuries every aspect of a child’s life has changed significantly. The way a child is raised, plays, is educated are just a few of the ways in which children’s lives have shifted. Nowadays, many children are treated more like adults, and are expected to be more independent then they ever have. Another point that the article stresses, is the idea that the concept of childhood really is a social and cultural construct that varies by region, class, and historical era. Even the relationships that children have with their parents and peers is so different than relationships  have been in the past. Things are similar to the past in some ways though. In colonial America, the parents main goal was to hurry and raise their child to adult status. Parents were to get their child to read, write, speak, reason, and contribute to the family economically as quickly as possible. I feel that this is not too different from how parents are raising their children in today’s society.

kids-growing-up-too-fast

1. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-11-14/local/35283261_1_mobile-phone-cholesterol-levels-middle-school-dance

This was a really interesting article. This article talked about how maybe parents are pushing their children towards adulthood too quickly. How signing them up for intense athletic training camps, violin lessons, tutors, and more all before the age of 6! Kids are hitting puberty much sooner than before. The woman who wrote this article, began by writing about how she heard a young boy (about 10 years old) in her after-school carpool, talking to his mother on the phone about it was nearly time for him to get his HPV shot. When she spoke with her friends about this issue, one of her friends said that her children are getting it at 16 and 13, but they will not be engaging in any sexual relationships, because she is in charge of how they grow up. I just thought that was very interesting.

2. http://www.parents.com/kids/development/puberty/how-to-keep-your-kids-from-growing-up-to-fast/

This article talked about how in today’s society, there are sort of blurred lines when it comes to childhood and tweenhood. How little girls are into both playing with American Girl dolls, and following the latest celebrity trends. Being grown up is appealing to children, but because they are in fact still children, they still have desires to just run and play tag. A way to help slow down the process of children growing up too fast, is to monitor their exposure to the media. Children in today’s society are watching too much television (and I agree). Children are also beginning puberty quite early, and are becoming more aware of their body at an early age.

3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21670962

This article was about how today’s society is “snatching away the precious years of childhood”. Young girls and young boys are beginning to worry a lot about body image. Not only that, children don’t want to be seen as children anymore. Childhood is ending at age 12, for some even at age 10. What I found interesting was that the article stated that boys and girls are pressured to take an interest in sex at an early age, which is a terrible result of our oversexualized culture.

4. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/what-happened-kindergarten

Children in kindergarten are not seen as children anymore. They are expected, before even entering school, to know quite a lot of information. Children are essentially doing work that is above for their level, in most schools and most grades. To push children to excel academically is great, but children are being kept from developing creatively and socially (among other areas). Children need to engage in imaginative play, so that they can develop self-esteem, physically, emotionally, morally, and socially.

 

Not Just Provide and Reside: Engaged Fathers in Low-Income Families

15 Nov

This week I chose to read about how positive father involvement in a child’s life, allows for much greater cognitive, physical, and socioemotional development. Even if fathers do not live with their children, they still have the potential to positively impact their children’s lives. Despite popular belief, fathers are just as sensitive and emotional as mothers during their child’s developmental periods. Research shows that low-income children with involved fathers actually acted out less and had fewer problems socially. There is no doubt that children growing up and living in poverty are at a much higher risk for harsh, negative parenting, but this doesn’t have to be the norm. Children in low-income families benefit from their caring mothers, but will benefit much more if they have supportive fathers.

Mixed race father and son

1. http://thefatherhoodproject.org/2013/10/30/educational-tool-he-treasures-being-a-dad/

This video was about four different dads, and the current situtations they are in with their children. It was very interesting to watch. It showed how they all struggle and do their best to be part of their children’s lives. I think it is great that despite their struggling, they are taking the time to part of their children’s lives, rather than completely absent.

2. http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/family/center/fatherengagement

This is one of the many programs that is available to help encourage fathers to be more involved. There are videos and articles and different ways for men to understand just how to be engaged with their children. I think programs like this are super great, because often times fathers don’t exactly know how to remain part of their child’s life, especially if they are not with/married to the mother.

3. https://www.childwelfare.gov/famcentered/engaging/fathers.cfm

Child welfare has a list of resources for fathers, and father figures, to discover ways to be engaged; much like my previous example. I like that they make it clear that having a father figure is extremely beneficial to the child, so fathers should not allow themselves to be selfish in not wanting to be prt of their child’s life.

4. http://news.yahoo.com/science-dad-engaged-fathers-help-kids-flourish-140859321.html

I really enjoyed reading this article. It focused more on married dads, and having this “bumbling dad” image, but it stated that fathers are just as important as mothers. Dads teach their kids to control their bodies by roughhousing, nurturing and playing with children increases IQ, and so on. I don’t think children, though it is not wrong or corrupting for a child, were meant to be raised solely by one parent. I think it is important for children to have a  mom and dad figure in their lives.

Briefing Paper: Women’s Money Matters

8 Nov

This week I chose to read about earnings and housework in dual-earner families. According to research, women who work are more likely to have more bargaining power in marriage. Men and women, though still not a large amount, are beginning to divide up chores and child care. Research also states that even women who earn as much (or more) than their husbands, actually do more homework then their husbands. Why I found this interesting, is because the article claims that this is because of “gender display”. Women, though they are trying to create an identity for themselves outside the home, still feel somewhat inclined to engage in traditional gender roles.

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1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/sabrinaparsons/2013/10/25/weve-come-a-long-way-women-in-the-workplace/

This was an article about all the progress we have made as a nation to allow women more equality in the workplace. The woman who wrote the article was proud of all the progress. She has the ability to take her children to work sometimes, and thus still has the opportunity to fulfill her motherly duties. She feels that moms, and parents in general, need to be okay with involving their children into their careers; sort of blend them together in a slight way. Being a woman, and being a mom, and being a successful woman can all go hand it hand. 

2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lindsey-trimble-oconnor/todays-employees-no-longe_b_4214099.html

This article talked about how many people are remaining single, or waiting later in life to have children. Those that are waiting later in life to have children are usually also having to take care of older relatives, as well as their own children. The amount of women in the workforce has increased a lot. So now, both men and women are involved in their career and family. Parents in the 50’s were not as involved with their children, not even mothers. Today, both men and women are working, as well as contributing to the raising of their children. 

3. https://vimeo.com/71431162

This video talks about how there was a survey conducted in Germany, where people were asked if they would promote a woman who was always cheerful. There was a huge majority that said they would not. These people wanted a female boss (IF they had to have a female boss), who was assertive. They even preferred someone who didn’t really show any emotion at all. I am really baffled by this. I just don’t understand why women need to prove their power or authority.

4. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/business/readers-advice-for-young-women-in-the-workplace.html?_r=0

This was an interesting article. It is an article made up of advice for young women in the workplace, given by readers who submitted their thoughts. All of the advice was great! Be confident, don’t focus on the fact that you are a woman, ask questions, be engaged, be brave, have an open mind. All good stuff. It was good to read advice given by some successful women, and to see what they have learned in working in man-dominant careers. 

Domestic Violence in Heterosexual Relationships

1 Nov

This week I chose to read domestic violence. This reading provided new information about domestic violence, as well as feminist social-justice theory perspective. The purpose of this is so that families that have experienced abuse can become healthy and functioning. Of course, domestic violence is usually thought of in terms of the male being the dominating one (the abuser). Domestic violence is not only just physical abuse, it is also emotional, sexual, and economic abuse. Not only that, but as well as threats, intimidation, isolation, and control just to name a few. What I found interesting was how the book described domestic violence, which was: “gender norms taken to their extreme”. There is also always justification in the abuse. Men and women alike, who abuse others, tend to argue they have a just reason, or are doing the act in a calm way to teach respect. Image

1. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/269279/chris-brown-charged-with-assault-on-rihanna

Now this was a highly publicized altercation between singers Chris Brown and Rihanna that happened a while back, but it is still spoken of. Chris Brown caused some great bodily harm to Rihanna, and is said to even have threatened her. For a brief time, after the incident, Rihanna and Chris Brown were seen vacationing together. I still don’t know how this is possible. I find it very shocking that someone who was physically abused, I would assume more than once, would run back to the person who abused them. I get that there is perhaps fear and forgiveness involved in these kinds of situations, but this is once case I had a difficult time understanding. 

2. http://www.ted.com/talks/leslie_morgan_steiner_why_domestic_violence_victims_don_t_leave.html

Leslie Morgan Steiner gave a pretty powerful talk about how she was living a really great life, but at the time, the person she thought loved her was threatening to kill her over and over. He had a gun that he would point to her head, and she cannot even count the number of times he threatened her. She says that domestic abuse happens to EVERYONE. It is not just a women’s issue. Abuse also only happens in interdependent, intimate, long-term relationships; which is usually families. In the United States, women ages 16-24 are 3x’s as likely to be domestic violence victims as women of any other age. There was just so much information in this video, it was a bit overwhelming; especially coming from someone who was abused. 

3. http://www.psychiatry.org/domestic-violence

This article just defined domestic violence, and gave some warning signs about those that might be in abusive relationships. The article says that women who have fewer resources, are perceived to have be a lot more vulnerable to abuse than others. It even spoke about the mental health effects of domestic abuse. Abuse tends to cause trauma, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and even homelessness. People are likely to be more at risk to attempt/commit suicide. There are just so many factors that come into play when one is experiencing abuse (any kind). It really does show you that anyone, at any given time, can be experiencing abuse. 

4. http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.html

Jackson Katz argues that calling gender violence a “women’s issue” is a problem. One of the problems with this is that men tune out after they here “women’s issue”. He says men have been erased from a subject that is essentially about men. Our cognitive structure is set up to ask the victims questions, to ask women questions. This talk was so good, and so informative. It is important for men and women to realize that this is wrong, and address this issue, so that everyone is informed about domestic violence. 

Briefing Paper: Unmarried Couples with Children

25 Oct

This week I chose to read about couples that are unmarried, but have children together. According to this article, about 1/3 of babies born in the US today are born to unmarried parents. What I found interesting was that most births that occur outside of marriage are common among low-income women. Although about 80 percent of these couples are romantically involved at the time of their child’s birth, most of them never marry. This article states that only about 7 percent of the couples were married to each other five years later. That is a pretty small number. But just because these couples are not married, does not mean that they don’t want to be married. Sometimes there are other factors that come in to play that affect them being able to marry.  Economic status is of course one of the more important factors that comes into play when marrying. Unmarried couples with children have said that they wish to marry once they reach more stable financial state. These couples don’t expect too much, simply to have a decent job and the ability to pay their own bills without depending on family, friends, or the government.  Image 

1. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/living-together-book/chapter10-9.html

This article was about how an unmarried mom and dad should go about things after they separate. It talks about visitation rights, custody, and child support. Things that, regardless of being married or not, are something that need to be dealt with. One of the problems with this is that because the couple is not legally married, there sometimes isn’t a whole lot a judge can do about child-raising issues. It is kind of up to the parents to decide on the three issues I previously mentioned. Although, is the well being of the child/children is at risk physically or financially, the courts may order certain obligations be carried out.

2. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/children-born-unwed-couples-rise/story?id=16125007

This article talked about people, having been previously married, who get together and just decide that marriage isn’t something they want to rush into. Because this couple was slightly older (mid-30s), the idea of planning a marriage just didn’t seem like the appropriate thing to do, since the woman’s biological clock was ticking. So they decided to try to have a child together, and if they could not, they would get married and adopt. After being with her boyfriend for eight months, they became pregnant. This article stated that more people are cohabiting, and many of those cohabiting couples are having children.

3. http://www.contemporaryfamilies.org/children-parenting/unmarried.html

This was a really interesting article. It was about Ted and Joanne, an unmarried couple, living together, and agreeing to support the stay-at-home-partner. Ted has children from a previous marriage, and Joanne has a child as well. What they have decided to do, is Ted is to continue to work as a physician, and he is going to pay Joanne for raising the children and keeping things around the house in order. They are in a committed long-term relationship, and are going to be loving and nurturing to each other and their children. They agree on a set of conditions that are suitable for each other. I don’t think this was a real scenario, but it was interesting to read about, as I’m sure there are families out there that are in similar situations. 

4. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/04/cohabitation-families-pregnancy/2050073/

Now more than ever, unmarried couples with children are staying together longer than before. According to a study, half of women ages 15-44 (such a young age group to begin with I think), say that their first union was cohabitation not marriage. Cohabitation is more of a step towards marriage, more than it is an alternative to marriage. It is becoming more common, and very normal for people in today’s society. What I found interesting was that this article too stated that unmarried couples don’t feel completely ready to meet the high standards they have for marriage, but do feel ready to have children. 

Interracial Families in Post-Civil Rights America

18 Oct

This week I chose to read about how we are still living in a society that is not “color-blind”, and how interracial couples are still facing many issues. In 1967, the US Supreme Court invalidated the laws that prohibited interracial marriage. That was less than fifty years ago; that wasn’t very long ago! Today, over 92% of marriages are between people of the same race. This article focused mainly on marriage between blacks and whites, which I found very interesting. The reason this is though, is because marriages between blacks and whites are the least likely combination of interracial marriage. What I also found interesting was that blacks often times disapprove of interracial marriage, but are willing to make exceptions for family and friends. Whites are accepting of interracial marriages, but they tend to disapprove if their family or friends are the ones who are marrying interracially. A huge concern for interracial couples is children. The good thing is, children of interracial marriages are figuring things out for themselves, and creating their own identities, much like normal adolescents and young-adults. 

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1. http://wearethe15percent.com

This is a really cool website. People from all around send in their own personal photos of their families that just happen to be interracial. There are all kinds of combinations of races that are married with other races, and that is totally normal for them. I think it’s great that there is a website devoted to showing just how real interracial marriage is, and how those families are no different than a same-race marriage. This website was actually inspired to by my next link.

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYofm5d5Xdw

This is Cheerios commercial that was quite controversial when it first aired. It is of a little girl, who appears to be black/biracial, and she is asking her white mother if Cheerios are healthy. At the end of the commercial, we see her dad, who is black, laying on the couch covered in Cheerios. There were loads and loads of people who hated this commercial. They were very disapproving of it, and I was really shocked to hear about that. Cheerios said that they were just trying to depict families are they really are in our current society, which they are correct about. I just wonder why a commercial with a biracial family was so shocking to so many people, especially in today’s society.

3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/21/virginia-parents-walmart-biracial-daughters_n_3313143.html

Perhaps I am just naive, but I was SO shocked reading and watching this story. I didn’t think that things like this still happened! Back in May a white man took his three daughters, who are black, to Walmart. When he arrived home, there was a police officer at his door, telling him that someone from Walmart thought that he had kidnapped the three little girls. His wife is black, and obviously they were both shocked. My dad is white, and my mom is Hispanic. My youngest brother is very white, and my mom is very dark. When he was a baby, she would always get stares everywhere she went. I’m sure people wondered if she was the nanny, or perhaps even kidnapped my brother. I am unaware of these physical differences, until they get pointed out by others. It’s just so crazy to think that it is still so much of an issue that police are even getting involved in certain situations.

4. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/08/08/nyc-mayoral-candidate-features-interracial-family/

This was a commercial released back in August of mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. There is a young, black boy narrating the commercial, who we come to find is Bill’s son. He is married to a black woman, and has two children. When the Cheerios commercial came out, and there was so much controversy around it, Bill’s wife said she and her family were happy that there was finally a family on television that looked like hers. It’s so great that there are people who are trying to push past the barriers that those in interracial marriages are facing, but it is still unfortunate that they have to deal with those things today.