Category: Sociology of Culture

Intimacy, Play, and Identity

(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:BDSM_equipment#/media/File:Salon-erotik_Besançon_001.JPG) Sexuality is, still, something seen as taboo, and deemed not appropriate for everyday conversation. Society assumes men and women will marry, procreate, and in time, create their own family: where their children will repeat the process. However, people do not always adhere to the model: some will live within the “deviant” parts of society. There are people who identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, Queer), SM (Sadomasochism), and many more. One identity, out of the plethora, that...

Sexual Harassment, Culture, and Gender Norms

(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Sexual_harassment#/media/File:Army_stock_photograph,_reenactment_shot_by_Pfc._Elizabeth_Fournier_140403-A-IY594-001.jpg) In patriarchal societies, men tend to take advantage of their power, and privilege. This privilege comes so easily because it is invisible to them, which makes men blind to their control over society. Besides, the concept of privilege is based on its omnipresent invisibility. The affordances of privilege cost many people, more so women, relegation to the outliers of society, and nearly incapable of controlling power. At times, certain men have an inclination to enforce, and monopolize, on their...

The Conception of the Closet

  (Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Coming_out_of_the_closet.jpg) The concept of the “closet,” linguistically, served as the foundation, and means, to identify as a homosexual, or LGBTQ. Within her text, The Epistemology of the Closet, Kosofsky Sedgwick offers numerous ways to define the “closet.” However, there are two definitions pertinent to our understanding of the “closet.” The first definition of the “closet” is described as, “a room for privacy or retirement” (Kosofsky Sedgwick, 2008d: 65) and the second, more appealing, definition of the “closet” has an...

One History for All?: Pride

I will never forget my first Pride. I was living in New York City for the summer working as an intern at the Human Rights Watch. The office, last minute, decided to join the parade with people from the office and their families marching with signs regarding LGBT human rights issues. I got to carry the HRW banner (pictured above, I’m on the right) that read clearly “Tyranny has a Witness.” How many people can actually say their first Pride...

The Division of Society into Two Classes Transforms into the Sexual Differentiation of Space

(Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Marxism#/media/File:Flickr_-_NewsPhoto!_-_Marxisme_festival_Amsterdam.jpg) The economist Karl Marx believed for society to change, there was a need for an uprising, and an overthrowing of the ruling class; the bourgeoisie. To Marx, no person would truly be free unless this rebellion would occur. Marx is known for his theories about the economy, workers, and social life. One concept, of his, that appeals to my attention is the division of society into two classes. However, what Marx failed to realize, was by this division, he,...

Homosexuality and Anti-Colonialism: How Homosexual Frenchmen Are Actually Colonialists

(Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:LGBT_history_in_France#/media/File:Miklos_Vadasz_-_L%27Assiettte_au_Beurre_-_Les_p%27tits_jeun%27_hommes_02.jpg)   Before the conquest of the colonies many non-Western, indigenous, societies did not believe in a heterosexual/homosexual binary. In lieu of this binary, many indigenous societies had some notion of a third category for a person’s sex: a man, or woman, who would dress as the opposite sex but sustained same-sex relationships. The indigenous populations viewed these same-sex relationships as something natural, not perverse. Conversely in Europe, the production of the homosexual was well underway with the coinage of...

Kissing Strangers

  Last summer, I was sent a message from a complete stranger through OkCupid, asking if I would like to meet him for a no-strings attached snog*. The message went like this: You know when you’re sitting on the tube, on a bus, or even at your desk at work and someone walks past and you think: god damn, I wish I could just snog them right now. I mean, it happens on the screen all the time doesn’t it?...

Considering Big Data Analysis as a Social Science

In early April, 2015, a self-driving car completed a 9 day cross country tour from San Francisco to New York City.  During the 9 day adventure, the car was fully automated for 99% of the trip – relying on its humans only to enter and exit the interstates.  The Audi car supported technology made by Delphi which uses a combination of advanced features already on the market including collision mitigation, integrated radar and camera systems, forward collision and lane departure warning. ...

The Art of Consent: Sexualities on the Periphery

(Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Handcuffs_in_BDSM#/media/File:Love_Hurts.jpg) For the past few months, I heard much criticism, and trepidation, about the Fifty Shades of Grey series, and its first movie. The novel’s graphic scenes, the descriptive language, and the overtness of sexuality, or a specific sexuality, laden in the text have appalled many people. Why is that? I know the majority of my academic friends, as well as personal friends, will give me much flak about my attempts to theorize, and parse out the intricacies of “such”...

How to Not Lose Your Sense of Self in a Graduate Program

(Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Colonial_Students_in_Great_Britain-_Students_at_the_City_of_London_College,_London,_England,_UK,_1946_D29304.jpg) So, you’re interested in pursuing a graduate program? Great! Before you start applying you have to; research which schools have the best department to fit your specialties, you apply to as many schools as you can to ensure at least one acceptance, and then you wait, and wait, and wait. The days turn into weeks, which turn into months, and then, you finally get an acceptance! You jump for joy; you cannot hold in your excitement. You want everyone...

Difference and Support: To be a (Queer) Scholar of Color

(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AStudenti_ULBS.jpg)   For many (Queer) scholars of color (Queer is in parentheses because not all scholars of color identify somewhere on the Queer spectrum), including myself, attending graduate school is an enormous milestone. In my family, I am the first to attend college, let alone a graduate program. It was weird growing up, and to know that no one in your family could help you with your homework. When I was in 8th grade, I helped my cousin with...

The Perils of Dating a PhD Student (or: an Honest Academic’s Dating Profile… )

Graduate Student Advice Month Last year at a conference I was talking to one of my mentors about how it felt to be in the final year of a PhD. She asked me if I was in a relationship with anyone, and I said I wasn’t. Her reply summed it up: “That’s probably for the best.”

Generational Changes in a Time of Evolving LGBTQ Rights

(Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Demonstrations_and_protests_in_support_of_LGBT#/media/File:Russian_Embassy_in_Helsinki,_LGBT_pavement.jpg) In an age where millennials are starting to take primacy in the visibility of political change and its climate, especially in regards to LGBTQ advancements, the older LGBTQ generations are realizing that soon enough the millennials will need to take command of their political positions. Many of the older LGBTQ generations have been trailblazers from the start of an era known as the long 1960’s: having been there at the Stonewall riots, to now holding office positions in politics...

He, Him, His, She, Her, Hers, They, Their, Theirs, Zi, Zir, Hir…: Pronoun Use and Gender Policing

Have you read the recent New York Times article about Bruce Jenner and about their transition? While their gender identity is not yet confirmed, media has picked up this story and gone wild with the concept of olympian turned family millionaire turned media star is now “turning” into a woman. Every time, however, that I read a new headline about this story, I get shivers up and down my spine, not to mention the amount of pure rage and disappointment...

Closing Gender Stereotypes

  Sweet Briar College’s Board of directors announced last week that the college will close its doors at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.  Sweet Briar is a liberal art’s women’s college located outside of Lynchburg, Virginia.  Current enrollment is estimated at around 700 students.  300 faculty serve those students and the faculty to student ratio is listed as 8:1.  Rising tuition rates and declining enrollments were the reasons cited for the demise of the prominent women’s college.  As...

Love and Homonormativity: One in the Same?

(Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gay_wedding_a_by_Stefano_Bolognini.JPG) What is love? Does everyone understand love as how Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines it? Starting from birth, everyone is taught to love: whether it is a family member, the family pet or a close friend. However, we are never socialized how to love an individual not related by kinship. Amorous love between two individuals is more like a trail and error process. Yet, American society would have one think falling in love is as easy as one, two, three: one...