Category: Sociology of Culture

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...

Why are we obsessed with what teens are doing on social media?

‘They’, we are told, are prime movers we can observe to spot future trends; like rejecting Facebook. ‘They’ have too much agency because they are doing something problematic or exotic: different to ‘us’. For example, sexting or hacking. Or ‘they’ have too little agency because they are addicted, being brainwashed or radicalised by the Internet. ‘They’ are teenagers. We are not similarly fixated by other social groups in this way. What lies behind our obsession with teenagers online?

"Today we honor the best and whitest"

This article is making its way through my news feed again, despite the fact that it is more than 2 years old.  Fresh comments, fresh outrage from the community.  Students experiencing race-based standards give interviews on NPR about how these standards make them feel and think while they are inside the classroom.  To date my favorite casual observational comment about having different standards for different sets of students based on their race is, “based upon their race?  The only race...

Ubiquity and Privilege Checking

(Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Unity#mediaviewer/File:3D_Full_Spectrum_Unity_Holding_Hands_Concept.jpg)   In my last post I discussed the problems with juridical changes and practice in real life, problematized ubiquity amongst communities that are at odds with solidarity and posed questions about challenging privilege. Today’s post continues that conversation by asking how does one create change around ideologies? Those who work in the health and human services, who are educators and the like, know that change does not come just from juridical amendments. Change is only created through education and...

Knit Happens: Doing Masculinity in a Female Knitting Space

In college, I double majored in both women and gender studies as well as sociology, It was not until the spring of my sophomore year, however, that I was introduced to the sociological theory of doing gender, by West and Zimmerman. Since then, I have utilized their theory, along with concepts of “undoing,” “redoing,” and most recently, Kristen Schilt’s concept of “doing heteronormativity.” When I was considering what I should write for my post this week, I was inspired by...

Ingroup Privilege and the New Digital Divide

This weekend, a House oversight committee announced plans to investigate the Presidential influence over the Federal Communications Commission’s new proposal governing how broadband providers treat traffic on their networks.  This investigation is a response to the FCC Chairman’s proposal to subject broadband providers like Verizon, AT&T, Clearwire, and Comcast to regulations similar to those of other utility service companies.  According to an op-ed written by Tome Wheeler, the FCC Chairman, the regulations include “the strongest open internet protections ever proposed...

Into the Woods to Grandmother’s House: Justifying Plot Twists through Heteronormativity

On Christmas, my family decided to spend some time at the movies watching the newly released movie Into the Woods, a movie rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s infamous operetta/musical by the same name.  The musical begins with an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, though cursed by a witch for stealing magic beans from her garden. The show intertwines the plots of several fairy tales by Brothers Grimm  such as Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, and...

CONAIE Headquarters to be Shut Down: Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador Request International Support

Yesterday, in Quito, Ecuador, hundreds of Indigenous people from around the country, including those from the Amazon, the Sierra and the Coast, gathered outside the offices of CONAIE (the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador), in the north of the city, to continue the fight against a government plan to close the organisation’s headquarters. CONAIE is among the largest and longest standing Indigenous organisations in Ecuador, and its work focuses on defending the rights, territories, culture and lives of millions of...

Most "Insert List Here" of 2014: Ratings and hierarchies

Happy new year! I hope that this year finds you with accepted publications, good grades, and time for sleep. Each year, starting mid-December, begins the season for “ratings” and lists of the “best” and the”worst” moments, outfits, songs, movies, actors, or whatever you can put in a list of the previous year. As my Facebook feed quickly turns from photos and status updates to comical BuzzFeed lists, I came across one interesting list this year that I had not seen...

Festivus for the rest of us

For the second year, Florida hosts a variety of religious displays in the rotunda of the state capitol.  This year, for the first time, the Satanic Temple erected their seasonal exhibition of an angel falling from Heaven into a fiery pit.  The Sataic Temple presentation complements a Christian nativity scene as well as other anti-religion and atheist displays with seasonal depictions including a “Festivus” pole constructed from Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans and a Flying Spaghetti Monster with the sign that says, “A...

Cancer is Not a Pink Ribbon (part 1)

As a belated nod to ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ (October, in the USA), and the plethora of pink, breast-cancer-sponsored items now on sale,  I want to talk about the rise of the pink ribbon campaign and the concept of ‘pinkwashing’. Breast cancer and the pink ribbon campaign is probably one of the biggest success stories, in terms of its ability to raise awareness and ultimately, save lives. Breast cancer activism started in the 1980’s, in part as a reaction to...

How RAD is Cultural Appropriation?: Color Run Capitalizing Indian Culture

Recently, I ran a 5k called “Color Me Rad” with a group of friends from my department as a chance to just enjoy the southwest Virginia fall and not work for once. I was excited to participate in this race especially because unlike other races that I’ve run, this seemed like I would enjoy myself in a cultural event that I’ve always wanted to experience. As I got to the race, however, I couldn’t help but think sociologically about the...

"Nice Bag!" Discussing Race, Class, and Sexuality in Examining Street Harassment

Over the last two weeks two videos have repeated shown up on my social media pages: “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” and “3 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Homosexual.”  Both videos aim to illuminate the often unnoticed topic of street harassment.   And both videos clearly illustrate what day to day life is like for some women and gay men.  However, it is important to frame both videos within the context of location, race, class,...

The Unachievable Body Ideal Revisited: Fitspiration and “Everyone is Beautiful” Campaigns and the Regulation of Women’s Bodies

When I really want to procrastinate doing my work, I like to visit some of my favorite websites and catch up on the latest trends and news. Recently, on one my favorite sites, I have noticed an increase in “Fitspiration Porn” right next to messages of pro-fat, pro- everybody type of images saying “Everyone is beautiful in their own way.” These also speak to the increase in celebrities with curvier bodies (e.g. Beyoncé, Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Lawrence, Nikki Minaj, and...