25 November is the International Day to End Violence against Women and marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. From 25 November to 10 December, people around the world come together to SayNO - UNiTE to End Violence Against Women and girls.
Teach your sins to respect women.
- Reblogged from united-nations
This Australian documentary “Change My Race” explores how Western beauty ideals are influencing a rising pressure amongst Asian women to get cosmetic surgery. The documentary maker Anna Choy is an Asian-Australian woman who has struggled with her looks in the face of racism growing up. She speaks to women from various backgrounds who have a desire to look more White as a direct result of the racism they have endured.
The most heart-breaking story for me is the 17 year old schoolgirl whose parents pressure her into getting surgery, which they think will help her be more successful.
The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reports that South Korea leads the number of cosmetic procedures. The most common surgeries overall include lipoplasty and breast augmentation.
Next time a white person accuses you of #reverseracism, ask them if they have two and a half minutes to watch this
It’s great to see this video going around: Aamer Rahman is a brilliant comedian. This video humorously captures why “reverse racism” makes no sense.
Every culture holds positive and negative stereotypes of their own group as well as other groups. A stereotype is a mental attitude or belief. This is not racism. Racism is a concept that describes institutional processes that are linked to historical social relations. A racist statement by a member of a privileged or majority group carries power and the threat of violence because institutional processes ensure minorities are marginalised. Racism is locked to a system of discrimination at school, work, in the media, in politics and through other social institutions. The false concept of reverse racism ignores these institutional experiences of oppression.
Research by sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and colleagues shows that the idea of “reverse racism” is prevalent amongst White people who hold two paradoxical beliefs: 1) Society hasn’t really got a problem with racism, 2) Minorities get special privileges because of their heritage. White people today mostly understand that saying negative things about minorities is not acceptable. So in interviews, they will talk about their racist relatives, without thinking of themselves as racist. They will share one off examples where they’ve had a positive encounter with a Person of Colour. Yet their negative experiences with minorities take on a different meaning. The positive is an example of a “good” individual. The negative example is an indictment of the entire minority group. So, white people will say things say things like:
I have, I just have a problem with the discrimination, you’re gonna discriminate against a group and what happened in the past is horrible and it should never happen again, but I also think that to move forward you have to let go of the past and let go of what happened um, you know?
Reverse racism is an attempt to be ahistorical. White people will evoke this concept when they say they don’t understand why some minorities (People of Colour who experienced colonialism) still talk about racism when other White groups aren’t “allowed” to talk about “racism.”
those that say we should pay them because they were slaves back in the past and yet, how often do you hear about the people who were whites that were slaves and the white that were, ah? Boy, we should get reparations, the Irish should get reparations from the English…
A common idea underlying the “reverse racism” discourse is that White people today shouldn’t have to pay for the oppression that happened in the past. (As if social relations today aren’t correlated with history and as if oppression is not longer happening.):
Me, as [a] white person, I had nothing to do with slavery. You, as a black person, you never experienced it. It was so long ago I just don’t see how that pertains to what’s happening to the race today, so that’s one thing that I’m just like “God, shut up!”
White people feel disconnected to historical processes because these relations don’t affect their present-day life outcomes. Conversely, whenever they see minorities getting ahead in life, they presume it’s due to “reverse racism” rather than individual merit:
No, other than I have applied at jobs and been turned down because I was white. Now, I have nothing against the black person [if he] was qualified better than I was. But when the guy comes into the interview, and I’m off on the side and I can hear them talking, and he can’t even speak English, he doesn’t know how to read a map, and they’re gonna make him a bus driver and hire him over me… I know why he got the job, and I don’t think that’s fair.
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and colleagues argue that the “reverse racism” narrative is a safe way for White people to air out racist ideals without thinking of themselves as racist. This is also known as “colour blind racism.”
Sociologists have a difficult time teaching White students about social privilege because the social benefits of Whiteness are difficult for people to “see” when they are part of the majority. See my previous post which also has some excellent resources to better understand this phenomena in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.
Check out more of Rahman’s stand up via Fear of a Brown Planet, a comedy duo also featuring Nazeem Hussain. I’ve seen Fear live a couple of times. Their comedy deals with political themes (for example Australia’s refugee policies, the Cronulla Riots), but they also have incredibly funny observations about life, family, and my favourite ever reminiscence on Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Watch Fear of a Brown Planet on Australian Story below. It’s a great insight into their comedy and the barriers they face as Australian-Muslims. Speaking of “reverse racism” when I tweeted my love for the episode below, I had a random person write to me on Twitter telling me it was the Australian Story ever because - presumably - reverse racism. Hmmm…
When the white man first seen us, when they first said, “Well, there’s something wrong with these people here. They don’t have no religion. They have no judicial system. We have to do something for these people.” I guess that must have been what they thought because they totally screwed up what we already had.
They introduced new religion and there was nothing wrong with our old religion. They just didn’t understand it. We had our own ways of teaching our children, like the Elders and everything. There was nothing wrong with that way of teaching children. They just didn’t understand it.
The same thing with our judicial system. We had that judicial system and the white people, when they came here, they didn’t see that. They said, “These guys have nothing. We have to introduce all these different things to them so they can be one of us.” That’s exactly the problem that we have.
Chief Philip Michel, Brochet.
I was appalled to learn that a man had been hired [as an interpreter] who does not speak any native Aboriginal language at all and it still exists. And again, I ask these questions; how has this man been able to interpret for an Aboriginal person who cannot speak or understand English? How many Aboriginal people have been denied the right to defend themselves because this man is not capable of understanding and interpreting their testimony? How many Aboriginal people have been convicted because this man was unable to translate a Crown attorney’s questions accurately so that they understand what they were being asked; therefore, unknowingly, and perhaps falsely, incriminating themselves? And how many Aboriginal people have pleaded guilty out the sheer futility of what seems to be a hopeless situation?
Aboriginal community member, Barbara Whitford, of Portage la Prairie, tells The Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission that Aboriginal People “have a right to understand what is happening to them” in the justice system. Read the Commission’s website to learn more about the differences and functions of the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal justice systems in Canada and North America.
- Source: zeezeescorner
Fudan University’s student members of the Chinese Communist Party stand in formation to create the party’s emblem, a hammer and sickle, to mark the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Shanghai November 6, 2012. REUTER/Aly Song
Workers watch a screen showing Chinese President Hu Jintao delivering a speech during the opening ceremony of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Huangshan, Anhui province, November 8, 2012.
Delegates sit at the stage before the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 8, 2012.
Members of the Xinjiang provincial delegation listen to representatives from the National People’s Congress (NPC) during their meeting in the Xinjiang Room inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 9, 2012.
People watch a TV showing of a huge screen shows a news broadcast of China’s Vice President Xi Jinping at the 18th Communist Party Congress at a crossroads in Shanghai November 8, 2012. REUTER/Aly Song
- Source: zeezeescorner
We’re a pack not a cult
This New Yorker cartoon by Charles Barsotti is a good illustration of the social construction of group deviance in public spaces. This cartoon points out how some social groupings can be given negative labels, such as a “cult.” Such negative labels refer to the beliefs or the practices of particular socio-economic groups that are treated with suspicion by a dominant group. Non-conformity to society’s norms, through values, behaviour or appearance, can lead some groups to be negatively stereotyped. In most circumstances crowds that “blend in” and meet society’s standards of “acceptability” escape the stigma of deviance. Cases where “ordinary” groups might be negatively labelled by authorities might occur during times of civil unrest, such as during political protests.
Studies show that when young people gather in public spaces like shopping centres in large cities such as Sydney, they are likely to encounter negative attention from security guards and police. Retailers also make groups of young people feel generally unwelcome. Mandy Thomas finds that young non-white Australian youth experience routine harassment by authorities when they hang out together in the working class suburbs of Sydney (see Chapter 6 of Ingenious). Young crowds are likely to be read negatively, as if by their mere collective presence, they pose a threat to the moral order, even when they are simply having a good time. Negative stereotyping forces young people to change their preferred behaviour and this has negative effects on their leisure and safety. This is ironical, as it actually increases social problems. Studies show that shopping centres are the one public space where young people generally feel safe. So - by treating young groups with suspicion, young people are forced out of the spaces where they feel safe, generating other forms of conflict for young people as they are pushed into other places.
This cycle of stigma, labelling and deviance is studied in sociology under labelling theory, which is made famous by Howard Becker in his book Outsiders. Becker studied how drug users, artists and people on the “fringes” of society come to be labelled as social deviants. Social rules about who belongs to the “norm” are not automatically accepted: what’s the difference between a religious group versus a cult? Who is a member of a club versus a gang? Who is accepted as a law abiding citizen versus a criminal? Such labels require lobbying by interest groups who seek to protect their elite interests. Becker’s research is useful in demonstrating how the people who enforce society’s norms and rules benefit from policing morality. Making laws and taxes to identify and punish certain groups gives people power.
- Source: zeezeescorner
The OECD’s Better Life Index attempts to compare well-being amongst OECD nations using education, housing, environment measures. The Economist has reproduced this graphic, which ranks Australia first, the USA second and Norway third.
On the one hand these types of surveys are useful because they measure social conditions rather than simply material wealth. On the other hand, this particular graphic neglects other socio-economic measures that give a different picture of national well-being.
For example, the Index makes a sweeping statement about gender: “Taking all 11 topics of the BLI into account, the differences between women and men’s well-being are small. However, there are topics where men do much better than women, such as for instance jobs and earnings. Conversely, women fare better than men in health, education, community and life satisfaction.”
This does not really reflect social science data, which show how men and women’s mental health differs according to marital status, life stage, social network support. The 2012 World Development Report compares low, median and high income nations, noting that men in Australia and the USA are over-represented in violent crimes and incarceration. Moreover, domestic inequalities and social welfare distribution mean that these countries are ranked lower than Scandinavian nations.
- Source: zeezeescorner
#Sociology of #Work: #Research by Australian Sociologist Barbara Pocock shows how #management can improve work/life balance. This includes being flexible with hours and the structure of #work, the type of work different employees do, and the ways that employees can deliver work outputs. With new #technology, there are a range of cloud based solutions for collaboration and submission of work. Another important way of managing work/life balance is to foster an environment of #trust where employees can let you know about their out-of-hours responsibilities and preferences should they wish to have you better accommodate their needs. Managers should also seek to support working #parents and #workers who provide care for dependants who are sick, elderly or disabled. This includes access to affordable childcare, good parental and care leave arrangements that won’t impact on career progression, and giving employees the capacity to take holidays and other time off to manage family and health appointments. Society talks about work/ life balance as an issue that individuals and families should negotiate on their own. Pocock puts emphasis on “Supportive workplace cultures, practices and #leadership” as the means to improve work. Making work/ life balance a responsibility of workplaces as well as employees is a pivotal way that managers & CEOs can ensure that work is fulfilling, meaningful and energising, rather than a drain on the #creativity and #productivity of their #company. Pocock’s latest research is found in “Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today.” #socialscience #worklifebalance #business #management #humanresources #corporate #training #life #career #visualsociology
Earlier today I spoke on a careers panel at the #postgraduate day for The Australian Sociological Association. I’ll do a full post on this later but for now I wanted to share a couple of the questions we were asked. These ranged from specifics like how to set up a business to broader questions about how to manage #ethics and how to maintain a professional identity. One of the key themes from the panellists was learning to translate #theory into practice and networking. I spoke about writing for your future clients via a specialist blog and using #SocialMedia. #sociology #visualsociology #career #work #students #monashuniversity
Researchers, take note.
It is incredibly disappointing (not to mention invalidating and possibly dysphoria-inducing) for a trans* or intersex person to voluntarily begin a survey being advertised to the LGBT or LGBTQI+ community only to have their identity/identities not represented. And this happens ALL the time.
Fortunately, there are actually really easy ways that people constructing and promoting these surveys can avoid this! And if you don’t do LGBTQI+-specific research, most of these rules, specifically those tackling demographic questionnaires, will still be relevant to you!
- Use the term “sex assigned at birth” instead of sex. Asking someone their sex, even with “biological” as a qualifier, is pretty loaded and unclear for someone whose biological sex characteristics have changed (due to hormone replacement therapy, for example) or for intersex individuals whose biological traits don’t fall into our limited sex categories. Asking for sex assigned at birth is a way to be affirming of people’s gender and sex identities while still gathering the data we use to categorize people (which is worth of a post of its own). (If your study only includes people from the US, your options can be male or female only, as these are the only sexes legally allowed on birth certificates -if your study is international, however, you will need to include at least a third option.)
- Include gender as a separate question. Not only is this going to be affirming because it acknowledges that it is possible and not abnormal to have a gender that is different from your sex assigned at birth, it’s going to give you better data. Studies often say “males were more likely to blah blah than females,” and I always wonder if that finding holds for people who were assigned male at birth vs. people who were assigned female at birth or if the finding actually represents differences between people living as men and people living as women. And of course, that leads to a question of where people who do not identify as men or women fit or intersex individuals whose assigned sex means nada about their biological traits. (Again, that will be another post.)
- State how you are defining gender and sex (assigned at birth if you follow rule #1). Be clear. And when you are defining these, use language that is inclusive and validating. I think a good way to set this up is something like the following: “Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of being a woman, a man, both, or neither. This often corresponds with their public role (e.g., living as a woman), and may or may not match their sex assigned at birth, which is the sex label given to an infant and listed on their birth certificate.” It can be helpful to provide examples, but if you decide to do this always provide inclusive examples, so: “If you are a transgender woman, you may have a gender identity of female and a sex assigned at birth of male. If you are a non-transgender woman, you may have a gender identity of female and a sex assigned at birth of female.”
- Give people options beyond male and female. There should never be a drop down menu for gender that only includes two categories. Never ever. It’s inaccurate, will result in misrepresenting your sample (read: is BAD SCIENCE), will be invalidating to a whole host of individuals, and will likely cause trans* people to stop participating in your study and probably turn them off future research studies - which is a major loss for the whole research community! A good way to be inclusive is to allow for a write-in for gender/gender identity. You can either code these into predetermined categories (not just two, though!) or you can also ask participants to select a listed identity that is closest to their own. I have included non-binary as my third option - I think it is more normalizing than “other.”
- Make sure you actually want to study trans* and/or intersex people! (Note that these are not necessarily mutually exclusive categories but also not necessarily mutually inclusive, either.) If you are studying sexual minority-related issues, chances are that the T and/or I that you’re including in your acronym (e.g., “LGBT study”) is out of place. You should still make sure your demographics questions are inclusive because trans* and intersex people can belong to sexual minority groups, too, but don’t include trans* or intersex in your titling or advertising of the study if you aren’t specifically studying issues of trans* people or intersex, mmkay?
- If you are only studying binary-identified participants, say so! I get it, y’all. I do research. We need categories. Is this a downside to quantitative research? Absolutely. But it’s somewhat of a reality, especially if you want to get published. Sexuality research is tough because so much of it rests on labels that depend on binary gender categories. For example, “same-sex,” which usually means same-gender, is tricky when you have someone who is non-binary-identified. But rather than just not including options that reflect these sexualities or identities, state in your inclusion criteria that you are interested in people with binary gender identities. Nothing is more invalidating than having your identity unacknowledged as an option.
If anyone reading this thinks I’m leaving something off, please reply/repost or message me and I’ll update it. I’m thinking this will be a living document kind of blog post.
- Reblogged from xxboy
In December 2011, The Australian Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, created a media controversy when he swore during a live address on the national public broadcaster, the ABC. This live gaff had me thinking about swearing, the power of ‘bad words’ and the regulatory bodies that set and enforce the standards for television programming. It’s popped back into my mind as I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about power dynamics and the changes in linguistic practices.
Speaking to the National Press Club about the proposed tax for the National Broadband Network, Conroy said:
If a tax goes up, God, that is sovereign risk, but if a tax goes down, its fucking fantastic. Excuse me – that is fantastic.
This comment went to air during 12:30 and 1:30 pm. As Aidan Wilson points out on Crikey, Conroy’s offence was not simply using a ‘vulgar’ word, but also that his address was followed by the ABC’s afternoon children’s shows.
The language guidelines for TV shows can be confusing. Why are some words allowed in some contexts and not in others? It’s not simply a timing issue - some swear words are only allowed to escape the mouths of Thespians late at night but not during the day. This makes sense if you’re trying to protect children from being exposed to certain swear words.
The again, some words are generally considered to be more offensive than others - but the social norms on this are not clearly articulated by law. Some words are only allowed to be said a certain number of times per TV episode. Writing for Life’s Little Mysteries, Natalie Wolchover argues that the USA’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines are difficult for the average viewer to fathom as the FCC does not make a list of banned swear words publicly available. These murky laws also affect audiences in Australia (where I live), since a great deal of our TV programming comes from America. Wolchover argues that the FCC ‘leaves it up to programmers to tread carefully through the murky waters of its regulations’.
Wolchover contacted FCC media relations spokesperson Janice Wise for clarification about the swearing guidelines and she felt none the wiser for it. Wise told Wolchover:
No one is going to tell you what you can and cannot do, because it changes on a case-by-case basis… What you would do if you were a TV programmer is look through all the case law and see what the FCC has acted on in the past.
So: in some cases the same swear words are more or less offensive than others? This makes sense when we think about the sociology of social interaction, which illustrates that the verbal signs and visual symbols used in communication take on different meaning in particular contexts. Yet when it comes to particular swear words being said on television, why do regulatory bodies censor on a case by case basis and why can they not be clear about which swear words are especially offensive and why?
Australia has its own regulation agencies, of course. The Press Council has long been referred to as a ‘toothless tiger’ by media analysts and the media itself. For example, see the September announcement of the Labor Goverment’s media inquiry in the The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald, and the coverage of November hearings of NEWS Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan in The Australian. In fact, the media enquiry seems to show that journalists watch the TV show Media Watch ‘with trepidation’, fearing its critique more than a rebuke by the Press council.
Polite use of language is shaped through context. It can be determined by culture, such as in the difference between language use in Japan and Australia, as well as particular situations. Generally, research has found that men swear more than women, but this also depends on context. Swear words are used to add emphasis to masculinity, but younger people of different genders tend to swear just as much as one another. At public schools, swearing is sometimes conceived as an act of resistance but not necessarily meant to be offensive or malicious.
Melanie Burns argues that swearing serves two social functions. First, it is a physiological release of energy - in this sense, swearing is a socially-sanctioned way to express aggression. Second, swearing is a sociolinguistic marker. It helps people to express their belonging to special cultures and subcultures. Some words are taboo at certain points in time, though the shock value can be diluted through repeated use. Burns notes that the word fuck is taboo because it refers to sexual intercourse, but it is is also an adjective and an “intensifier” intended to add emphasis and emotion. It is more commonly accepted in everyday speech in working class areas, and in some Indigenous communities. Burns concludes:
Many people disapprove of swearing, seeing it as
representing a decline in moral standards or as a sign of limited education. Despite unfavourable perceptions of swearing, it clearly is an important facet of individual and group functioning, and it provides an insight into social interaction.
Here is where one verbal slip during a press conference draws critique. The media revelled in the controversy of a politician using a swear word - a verbal release of emotional intensity. Politicians are supposed to uphold higher morals - fair enough, but the media furore over one word seemed imbalanced when at that same time slot, movies and TV shows allude not only to sex, but also depict graphic violence.
It’s reminiscent of George Carlin’s The Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV. He made this same point in the 1970s: killing and rape don’t bat an eye lid, but obscene words draw heavy censorship. Polite spoken language, it seems, matters more than visual violence.
- Source: zeezeescorner
The humanities — history, literature, languages, art, philosophy — and the social sciences focus on the lasting challenges relevant to all of us: creating lives of purpose and meaning, appreciating diversity and complexity, communicating effectively with others and overcoming adversity. Ultimately, our ability to work meaningfully with others will determine the success of our enterprises, and that ability is honed through the humanities and social sciences.
That is why the humanities and social sciences are an essential part of undergraduate education. Most successful careers, including in technology and engineering, do not result simply from technical knowledge. They require leadership skills, social and emotional intelligence, cultural understanding, a capacity for strategic decision-making and a global perspective.
Put another way, success in life requires a sensibility about the world and one’s place in it that the humanities seek to cultivate, as well as an understanding of economic and societal context that the social sciences provide.
- Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, and John Hennessy president of Stanford University.
Source of text: Washington Post.
Anthropologists complain about politics and the media, but they rarely engage with either. Then they wonder why their voices are not being heard. The most obvious way anthropologists can increase their influence is by writing online. I don’t mean writing in places like Anthropology News — where you have to pay an exorbitant membership fee to leave a comment – but on real blogs, on Twitter, on mainstream media sites, and in open access journals. Publishing reprints of paywalled articles is also a good idea, and is usually legal after a period of time. I did an interview about the benefits of reprinting journal articles online with Academia.edu, which you can read here.
Anthropologists tend to forget that tenets basic to our discipline – for example, that race is a social construct and not a biological determinant of behavior – come as revelations to a lot of people. Issues of racial and religious discrimination are among the many areas where anthropologists can have a powerful voice.