Tag Archives: sociology

Jack Skellington and Cultural Misappropriation

Explaining culture misappropriation with The Nightmare Before Christmas:

When I explain cultural misappropriation to children, I use the example of The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s effective because especially for children, who don’t have enough historical context to understand much of the concept, you can still fully grasp the idea.

There was nothing wrong with Jack seeing the beauty and differences in Christmas town, it’s when he tried to take what is unique about Christmas town away from those it originally belonged to without understanding the full context of Christmas things is when everything went wrong.

When Jack tries to get the folk of Halloween town to make Christmas gifts for children, etc., children understand that the Halloween town folk do not have the full context for the objects they are making, and they are able to see that the direct repercussions and consequences are very harmful.

Full post.

How Girls Learn Emotional Reciprocity (and Why Boys Don’t)

From that same Metafilter discussion:

“Adolescent female friendships are LEGENDARILY difficult and drama-prone. And they are! Being an adolescent girl and navigating the emotional landscape of female friendship is hella hard! It’s not just media hype to sell Mean Girls narratives! But I think the narrative the media wants to attach to it is “girls are so over-emotional and mean to each other” when actually I think the deeper narrative here is, “Girls make intense emotional demands on their friendships in ways that boys don’t, and girls have hyperdramatic adolescent friendship landscapes because they are learning to engage in reciprocal emotional relationships without an adult to mediate them. Adolescent girl friend drama is children learning to manage reciprocal emotional relationships like adults. Boys friendships are not, culturally, allowed to be so intense, dramatic, or emotionally-involving, so I think boys do not get the opportunity to learn and practice adult interpersonal relationships in the same way, and boys friendships simply do not place the same emotional demands on them. Girls MUST learn to function with emotional reciprocity in their friendships or get shut out of them; emotionality is so proscribed in male friendships that they simply never face that demand.

“So you have a lot of girls arriving in their late teens and early 20s with a decade of watching adult women manage other people’s emotions and considering it a skill to emulate, and then a decade of struggling through the whirlpools of adolescent female friendships and learning to do the work themselves. They’ve served their apprenticeships. They face demands of reciprocity from other women they’re friends with, and they’re accustomed to the idea that relationships involve giving as well as taking.

“Some boys, however, arrive in their late teens and early 20s without having ever had a peer make emotional demands on them, and without having ever had to function in a peer relationship where they have to both give and take. Their closest emotional relationships are with parents, and parent-to-child is give-give-give so the child is take-take-take. I think a lot of these young men, it has literally never occurred to them that someone they are emotionally close to would make any emotional demands on them, because that has literally never happened, because their early childhood years were full of nothing but women, and their adolescent years featured culturally-limited friendships that were emotionally superficial. So some of these guys? Yeah, they finish college and start dating seriously and they’re perfectly nice guys who have literally no idea how to function as emotional adults because they’re only just now starting to practice. They have the emotional literacy of 11-year-old girls. And, yeah, basically someone’s going to end up having to raise them from 11-year-old-ness in interpersonal relationships to adulthood, because it’s not really a task you can accomplish in the absence of other people with whom to be interpersonally related. …

“And Because Patriarchy we’re going to act like that’s just how 23-year-old men act and all roll our eyes instead of recognizing that, no, they’re actually behaving like 11-year-old girls, but it’s pretty embarrassing for them because it’s one thing when you’re 11 but when you’re 23 you really ought to know better. And at 11 you’re just making everyone around you miserable but at 23 you have the full power to ruin lives with your bullshit.

Full discussion in context.

Dating an Emotional Charlatan

From a Metafilter discussion about modern dating and emotional labor:

“A few years ago, one of my friends began dating an accomplished lawyer who made good money. He was charming and generous. He 100% seemed like he had his shit together and could keep up with her. He cooked for her occasionally and his home was clean and comfortable.

“When they moved in together, his mother emailed her a list of links to Brooks Brothers and his measurements. He had never bought work clothes for himself. During the year they lived together, she had to put him on an allowance because he ran out of money most months. He wanted takeout every night and would pout if she offered to cook instead. His idea of helping out around the house was to unload the dishwasher once a week and demand enthusiastic praise for it. At the end of that year he put extreme pressure on her to re-sign their lease. She ended up paying hundreds of dollars to break the lease two months later, when she broke up with him “out of nowhere.”

“I assure you, the men who are good at fooling women into believing they are competent adults and quality partners are good at fooling you into believing the same. This kind of emotional charlatan isn’t someone a few unlucky women meet in their 20s–these men are everywhere, across professions and classes. I’m definitely skeptical of your confidence in determining which men are good partners from the outside. If women–who have a much larger stake in not dating man-size toddlers–are so often wrong, how do you know that your assessments of other men are correct?”

Full discussion.

Critical Thinkers vs List People

From a Reddit discussion about parents realizing their kids aren’t that bright:

“One group is like your first two kids, critical thinkers, self empowered types. Show them the concept, talk about the goal and they’ll pick up the pieces and run with it. … Group 2 I call the list people. The didn’t want to hear about concepts. They didn’t want to have too many choices. Too many choices frustrates and confuses them. They will actually tell you that YOU are the stupid one because you made it too complicated by having too many ways to do the same thing or you are drowning people in too many choices. These people you would have to approach training as a list. … The List People outnumbered the Critical Thinkers by about 10 to 1 at the “I at least have a high school diploma or GED” level. When you get out numbered like that. They gang up and call everyone else stupid. If a List Person is in charge and you are a Critical Thinker, beware and be careful how you phrase things.”

Full discussion: jaeldi comments on Parents of reddit, when did you realize your kid was stupid? Not just simple-minded but downright stupid; and how did you feel about that?.

Chinese Seniors and Life After Deng Xiaoping

From a Reddit thread about collect psychology of older Chinese people:

“Imagine you were born in 1955, so now you’re 59 years old. Your youth was quite possibly affected by the GLF famine, where you either witnessed or at least heard about people fighting almost literally like animals for survival, often having to compete with their neighbors and “do whatever it takes” to ensure food for their family. These experiences will never really leave you, and their effects will linger with you subconsciously.

You also grew up hearing lots of stories about the wars with Japan and the civil war from your parents, and your education was full of hardline leftist theory. Around the age of high school or university, the WHGM hits and you either become a Guard, a potential target, or try to just hide until the madness is over. The educational system itself melts down for nearly a decade when you were essentially going through your transition to adulthood. Meanwhile, your country essentially commits cultural suicide, leaving a massive hole in your values system, heritage, and sense of identity that still hasn’t even been fully realized.

Then it’s just…over. Deng takes over, and all of a sudden basically pulls a total 180 degree turn from the whole hardline leftist thing. You just go straight from wearing red scarves in your teenage years to becoming a super-competitive business tycoon (or lackey) in what will soon become the fastest-growing economy ever, anywhere, at any time. All the Marxist stuff basically gets gently bumped out of the picture as GGKF evolves, and suddenly you go from being trained to avoid foreign spies and celebrate the proletariat to buying Japanese TVs and working for HSBC, or at a factory making Happy Meal toys for obese American children.

Now you’re flooded with foreign images of wealth you’d never imagined, and money seems to be pouring in. In two decades you go from being excited about your first Panasonic radio to cynically comparing the benefits of an Audi vs. a BMW. In your youth, the government provided the fangzi and nobody needed a che, but now you’re expected to have both to get a serious date.

So how could you, when it’s now your turn to lead society, not create a confusing mishmash? Your life has been a confusing mishmash, and the only constant thing you’ve been able to rely on is having enough resources and guanxi to pull yourself through whatever comes.
Ideology? What does that mean anymore? Cultural identity? Didn’t you spend a decade getting rid of that? As a kid you learned that sometimes you had to be a little ruthless to survive, and the hyper-competitive 80s and 90s rewarded that ruthlessness with piles of cash and the status symbols that came with it.

True, you still have an empty hole in the center of your being, but since you don’t have anything to fill it with you just throw consumption and hedonism (under the guise of “Western culture”) into it, hoping that eventually it’ll be filled up, or that at least it’ll distract you until you no longer care.

Anyway, that’s my best stab at it.”

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/China/comments/21b5pk/native_chinaman_rant_over_chinese_mindfckedness/cgbibvd

Image is Deng Xiopeng featured as Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 1979 http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,916563,00.html

Good Groups, Bad Groups and Gender Representation in Entertainment

Commenter on a Reddit thread about Wolf of Wall Street:

“If you continually see, over and over and over again, men doing these great things, and women not even present for it, your stupid human programming is going to kick in and those are going to be the set rules. Good Group, Bad Group. Or – in my case, COOL Group, Bad Group. The need to see someone who looks like you doing the things you want to do is SO huge. It’s SO necessary to have positive self worth.

Imagine only seeing you as a sidekick or a hot reward. Maybe you would be like me – I was like, “That’s NOT me. I’m more like [the White Guy]!”

Like, it was possible for me to identify with male characters, but in order to do that, every single day I enjoyed that media, I would have to set aside the female part of myself. I honestly didn’t realize how damaging it was until recently. Or how easy it had become for me to dislike it, to think less of being female. I wanted to be cool, and cool was completely synonymous with being male. This is what I was taught, so it’s what I learned, and I would do my best to be that, by golly by gosh.

In order to pretend to be someone I wanted to be – fun and kind and goofy – I had to pretend to be a guy. In order to be the kind of hero I wanted to be, I was Flash or I was Robin – Wonder Woman wasn’t fun, she wasn’t goofy. Batgirl was never really part of the adventures, Crystal Kane just sat up in Sky Vault and ran a computer, I wanted to be part of the adventure! I was Ace McCloud! I was Michelangelo, not boring April! Stupid, stick in the mud girls aren’t part of the adventures! Or if they are – imagine a child pretending to be one of those super sexual heroines? Just…? Why is that what they’re limited to.”

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/cringe/comments/1zd1cs/female_version_of_the_wolf_of_wall_street/cft05e8

Image from Etsy http://www.etsy.com/listing/89972756/spiderman-spidergirl-tutu-perfect-for

When Men’s Rights Advocates Misread Feminism

“The men’s rights movement misunderstands feminism. The claim of feminists is not that men have all the privileges and women have none. Only the most banal, liberalized, and co-opted forms of feminism even bother making the claim that women are more oppressed “on average” than men. While certainly true, it really misses the point. You see, modern feminist theories state that patriarchy isn’t just man dominating woman but a very specific kind of man dominating society. That specific kind of man is the warrior, provider man that defines the traditional male gender role. This stands in contrast to the traditional female role of nurturing care-taker. When the prevailing paradigm is that men should go to war and provide for their families while the women stay home to raise the children, you are living in a patriarchy. On feminist theories, then, we should see a society where not only are the major institutions for political and economic decision-making controlled predominantly by men, but also where men and women are both required (either by social convention or by law) to conform to their respective gender roles. Here’s where the men’s rights movement starts to look strange. Most forms of discrimination cited by MRA’s as evidence of the need for a men’s rights movement comes from men being required to fulfill their gender role in a society dominated by men, exactly as feminist theory predicts.”

TravellingJourneyman comments on a sexism thread on Reddit