Good-bye for now

Of Foxes and Hedgehogs is signing off, for now at least, as I concentrate my efforts on other things. Thanks to everyone out there in Internet-land who read and commented on my students’ blog posts. Hopefully the fox will return somewhere down the line!

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Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is arguably becoming more and more prevalent in today’s work industries. Over a course of many years, men and women have began to work together in various types of labor. Often, we see men being the dominant sex in a business related to things of a more masculine nature, whereas women are seen in a more feministic environment (sewing, baking, cleaning, etc.). With the collision of men and women sharing divisions of labor, there leads the opportunity to be harassed from either gender, but is more commonly seen upon women.

In order to understand the importance of sexual harassment, one must have a thorough understanding of what it is. Sexual harassment can be defined as any unwanted or unwarranted sexual advancements made on another individual, often of the opposite sex. Why is sexual harassment important you ask? Well let’s take a more in-depth view of its prevalence seen in today’s society.

The deviant acts of sexual harassment have become more of a social problem seen in workforces. The division of labor between men and women is clearly present within society, and leads for an opportunity to commit such a deviant act, whether it be intentional or incidental. Women are often most susceptible to being sexually harassed, but it not limited to only their gender. Men are just as vulnerable to being sexual harassed within the workforce.

How can corporations and business weed out the deviant behavior and make the work environment more “cleansed”? That is a question left in the hands of individual businesses. Most firms or companies have strict regulations and rules CLEARLY defining what sexual harassment is, and how it will not be tolerated in any aspect. This requires more capable guardians to be alert and visual surveillance to be installed in order to catch such acts.

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Home Economies in Time

There are many different types of households or home economies from all different types of cultures.  I am going to focus on three ages and try to stay to a similar culture and explain how I perceive the home economics.  I have always been fascinated with “cave men”, so this will be one of the groups I focus on.  The Ancient Roman Empire and the present day will be the other two because they are both advanced civilizations.

Stone Age:

The ancient cave people were nomadic food foragers and hunters.  They were people of little possessions and no need for ownership of land.  I would say it was a much harder but simpler time.  The men would hunt and forage for food to feed their families and share with the rest of the clan/band.  Women would also forage for food, along with take care of the households needs such as cooking.  There is not much evidence of single parent families in these times, and it was very apparent that the man brought home most off the “bacon” and provided for the family and dominated the home economics.

Caveman with woman

Ancient Rome:

In this time period the Romans were considered to be an advance civilization with aqueducts, businesses, and complex political systems.  This is a society of elaborate households and extravagant items (for the wealthy families).  It had a large market for art, masonry, performances, and growing/raising food.  Most households would consist of a few generations under a single roof, with the head of the house would being the oldest male. Women in this society had little to no power, and were only thought to take care of the house and have children.  This meant that men controlled all aspects of this civilization and were the sole providers for their families.

roman family

Modern Families:

In most modern cultures the households have changed drastically.  First, the family structure has changed to normally only include a singular nuclear family.  Then, material possessions have become a necessity for most people and there has to be a way to make and get these items.  Money is a very strong driving force in the society and has made wage labor the main way of sustaining a family.  Wage labor has greatly changed the roles of men and women in the household.  While women tend to make less money than a man doing the same job, women have become very important to the economics for a lot of households.  Both men and women work to provide for the house, clean, cook, and even take care of children.  The head of the house is still the person whom brings home the “bacon”, but this can be either the man or woman.

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Overall the family dynamics have changed and the roles of men and women have become rather equal throughout the years.  Single parent families have become more prevalent over the years.  This is probably because the women have gained more rights and no longer need a man to own property, hunt, or even have a child.  The professional family is very different from a family in the past.

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Battle of Genders – Men vs. Women

Which gender has the upper-hand? I’ve always been proud to be a man; to know I dont have to deal with pregnancy, periods, and everything else that comes along with being a woman just feels like I won out. But what woman doesn’t say the same? They love being women just like I love being a man. It seems to me that we all embrace our gender, and what comes with it, but when I tried to find out the real answer of which gender was better I was stunned at what I found…

It only took Google .43 seconds to produce me 3,710,000,000 results when I searched “what can men do that women can’t.” **Ahem,** again, that was… three billion, seven hundred ten million results in the same time it takes for a 100mph baseball thrown from a pitchers mound to reach the catchers glove.

At first I was overwhelmed, and didn’t think it could be worth looking into or blogging about but then… I read the first two results Google provided and knew it was going to be worth my while.

First was a link to AskMen.com’s article on the “Top 10 Things Only Men Can Do” and right under that was Cosmopolitan.com’s rebuttal article naming “21 Things Women Can Do That Women Can’t.”

 I knew this was going to be entertaining…

I decided to begin by reading the men’s list since Google made it my destiny by putting it first, and I found that most it was true and relatable. Among the notable things that only men can do that women cant were number 10 – go topless, number 3 – pee standing up, and number 1 – get sexier with age. The list was obviously somewhat biased and opinionated because it was written by one of AskMen’s male entertainment correspondents but nonetheless, it succeeded in its mission to make being a man look awesome.

But wait… I almost forgot, there is apparently 21 things women can do that men cant! So upon reading Cosmo’s article by an anonymous writer, I started to think… S**t, maybe they do have it better! They started off with number 21 (a low blow IMO) – that women can make a longer list of their “talents.” They call the men’s list “pretty short” and then claim they already win just because they came up with more than two times as many points, I think not, its gonna take more to impress me. The good ones on the list were number 15 – women can blame it on the PMS, number 10 – get out of a speeding ticket, number 1 – get pregnant, and my personal favorite number 11 – become a cougar, and not a dirty old man.

What I found was funny. There’s no real right answer, rather just a argument that deals with too much bias to determine a real victor. Although both articles were related in topic, their stances on the topic could not be further apart. The many conflicting opinons of which gender is better supports my earlier notion that most people by default embrace their gender and think its the bomb. This can be seen in the articles because women think they become cougars when they get old, and call men dirty when they age and on the other hand men believe they get sexier with age and women turn into Joan Rivers. All in all, men seem to believe that being a man is the best, and women seem to think being a woman is the best; basically, embracing our features, traits, and abilities both good and bad is all we can really do to be the best man or woman we can be.

 

Posted in Evolution, Masculinities, Motherhood, Sexuality, Stereotypes | 6 Comments

Media and Society

Media and Society

Magazines exhibiting the latest models, television ads telling you what products to buy to make yourself look better, young girls making actresses their role models. Media plays a central role in depicting how one should look to conform to society. These portrayed images are often unattainable in real life. Yet, young girls strive to look like these models that are actually being photo shopped on the cover of these magazines. It is incredible what lengths people will go to in order to obtain this inaccessible goal.

bahttp://www.audrinapatridge.com

            The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates that seven million women have an eating disorder. One in 200 women suffer from anorexia, and two to three out of 100 women suffer from bulimia. These eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. Even more astounding are the statistics for adolescents. 95% of those with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. Half of girls between 11 and 13 years old consider themselves overweight. 80% of 13 year olds have tried to lose weight.*

adhttp://www.dailytitbits.com

However, what is further overlooked is the effect of media on boys and men. Approximately one million men suffer from an eating disorder. An estimated 10-15% of people suffering from anorexia or bulimia are males.*

shttp://www.tumblr.com

            Just like young girls, boys are susceptible to the idea of the “perfect” man portrayed through the media. They strive to have the fit body of Channing Tatum or the muscles of John Cena, though these figures only represent about 1% of the entire American population.

Hot-Channing-TATUM-89796504131 www.sodahead.com

For many years, commercials were aimed at women. Telling them what lotions to use or what hair color products, with companies L’Oreal coining the phrase “because you’re worth it” to entice the audience to buy products that will make them look better in the eyes of society. However, there has been a recent wave of new commercials. This time the intended audience is men. Now, there are products for coloring men’s hair. Also, commercials such as for Axe show a male how using their product will make them so attractive they will have to fight to keep girls away.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=I9tWZB7OUSU

It seems to be a crucial point to re-examine the immediate effects media has on society. However, some critical points have to be considered: what came first, media portrayals of people or societal views of people? Should the blame fall on the media or on the parents?

The first of these questions is very hard to decipher. It is much like the common question, which came first the chicken or the egg?  Does the media determine societal views or is it societal views that determine what is shown in the media? Also, is it fair the lay the blame solely on the media? Shouldn’t parents be actively teaching their children the difference between ideologies and reality? This way, children will realize that there is no such thing as “perfect” and that everyone is an individual who should not have to conform to society. Whatever the case, a change of societal ideals of what one should look like needs to occur in order to protect America’s youth.

*All statistics found at http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics.htm

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The Gay Marriage War

gay-marriage

Recently I noticed an abundance of = marks as my friends profile pictures on Facebook.  These were in response to the US Supreme Court Hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, and Proposition 8.  No matter what your opinion on the issue one thing is sure… this is quite the heated debate, and someone is bound to get upset about the outcome.  Everyone is aware of the gay marriage issue in the United States, but many are unaware of the scale of the issue in the entire world.

On April 23 France legalized same sex marriage or marriage pour tous as the French call it.  The French President of the Socialist Party Francois Hollande supports same sex marriage just as our President Obama does.  We can see the result of legalizing same sex marriage in France from the recent outbreak of violence in France.

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France which produced many of the prominent Enlightenment Thinkers invented the idea of “laicité” or French Secularism.  Created in the late 19 century this concept specifically separated the Catholic Church and State.  Now France goes by the 1905 Law of Separation of Church and State.  The whole issue of allowing same sex marriage has erupted France into a conflict between supporters and opposition of same sex marriage.

There were two issues focused on in the legalization of same sex marriage in France.  The first issue is extending all the legal benefits of marriage that heterosexual couples enjoy to same sex couples.  The second issue is allowing same sex couples to adopt.  The second issue has raised the largest debate.  Many protesters have voiced their opinions that allowing same sex couples adopt will be an “injustice for children.”  All of this opposition has stemmed from deep heated conservatism in France.

Same sex marriage has caused an explosion of debate in politics and lifestyle recently.  Many people debate the issue.  The one thing that is certain is that it is not right to discriminate against a specific group of people, and lessen their legal rights in a situation just because they are different.  Gay and Lesbian couples should have the same legal rights if they choose to be together.  Much of the debate stems from the use of the word marriage.  This is a term that carries much meaning to devout religious people throughout the world.  The term civil union has been coined in Vermont and other states, and is meant to get around the sensitivity of using the word marriage.  However, couples that are brought together in Civil Unions versus Marriages have all the legal advantages gained on the state level, but the Federal Government doesn’t allow couples brought together in civil unions to share any of the benefits they allow couples brought together in marriage.

A couple that is married has 1,138 federal rights, protections, and responsibilities these range from:

  • Social Security benefits upon death, disability or retirement of spouse, as well as benefits for minor children.
  • Family and Medical Leave protections to care for a new child or a sick or injured family member
  • Workers’ Compensation protections for the family of a worker injured on the job
  • Access to COBRA insurance benefits so the family doesn’t lose health insurance when one spouse is laid off
  • ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) protections such as the ability to leave a pension, other than Social Security, to your spouse
  • Exemptions from penalties on IRA and pension rollovers
  • Exemptions from estate taxes when a spouse dies
  • Exemptions from federal income taxes on spouse’s health insurance
  • The right to visit a sick or injured loved one, have a say in life and death matters

(Source: http://www.now.org/issues/marriage/marriage_unions.html)

Couples brought together in civil unions share none of these Federal rights, protections, or responsibilities.

One thing is certain that the country needs to find a middle ground that doesn’t oppress a group of people for their sexual orientation, and doesn’t disrespect the sanctity of marriage that generations of Americans have valued.

Possible Resolution?

(I am not responsible for the views or opinions expressed in the above clip which is broadcasted on basic cable television nationwide*)

Posted in Marriage, Sexuality | 2 Comments

Inequality in the Workforce: WNBA vs NBA

Recently owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks went on to say that given the opportunity he would draft in the upcoming NBA Draft Britney Griner. During the draft, athletes who played in college can enter with a chance to play in the NBA. Only the select few will get selected based on achievements during their playing career and potential to be a great player. Britney Griner could arguably be one of the best female college basketball athletes ever. She has set records at her school Baylor University and has won national championships. She was undoubtedly the best player in college basketball the past 4 years. The problem with this is the Dallas Mavericks are a part of the NBA featuring males only.  Marc Cuban said he would draft her and this is one step in the right direction. Maybe one day, everyone will stand up for a great female basketball player and put them in the league. Griner is definitely better than some of the lower level NBA players. Cuban says he would treat her like any other basketball player and if she was the best one then he would select her. Gender should not be a choosing point for whether the player is good or not.

Another issue is pay. The highest paid athlete in the WNBA is Tamika Catchings making $105,500 per season while many players in the NBA make upwards of $20 Million per year such as Kevin Garnett. This is outrageous and a prime example of inequality, but who can we blame? No one but us is the one and only answer. The reason these athletes from the NBA, NFL, and MLB make so much money is the popularity and the endorsements they receive. Also the attendance factors in greatly and helps pay the athletes. These franchises in the WNBA do not cost nearly as much as the NBA. We are the ones who buy tickets to NBA games even though they are expensive instead of a cheaper WNBA game. ESPN and all athletic television programs play NBA games because we want them to. Yes there a few supporters of WNBA but compared them to the NBA, and it is no contest. I completely think it is unfair that they get paid much lower than the NBA but it’s our fault. Maybe that is why women should start playing in the NBA if they are as good as the NBA players. Griner would pose a real threat to some NBA players. Some critics would say is she tall enough, athletic enough and so on, many would respond she can flat out play. She may be extremely skinny but many players fit that mold: Reggie Miller, Anthony Davis, Teyshaun Prince, and perhaps best player in the NBA, Kevin Durant. One can be successful without being strong. It has been proven. Also to say she is not tall enough, she is towering in at 6’8. Brittney Griner could pose real threat to players in the NBA, she may not be a star but she can show all of us that women can play in the NBA and begin to stop inequality in sports.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/story/2012-05-19/nba-wnba-basketball-salary-disparity/55079608/1

http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/9127664/mark-cuban-give-brittney-griner-opportunity-dallas-mavericks

http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/griner_brittney00.html

Posted in Sports, Work | 7 Comments