What now?

Apr. 1st, 2011 07:50 pm
athenaltena: (ಠ_ಠ)
I have an FM receiver in my MP3 player, and as I was walking home an ad came up for a weight loss thing. But here's the thing: It was for men, but it was marketed to the guys' women, something to the effect of "get your man back in healthy shape by making this call for him!"

My face was D: the entire time. Just no.

The product is probably snake oil anyway since it claims the guy can lose weight while not changing his habits or diet (hahahahahaha... no) but still. There is just so much wrong with the entire way that was presented. That was offensive to both men and women.

... Huh?

Mar. 29th, 2011 01:32 pm
athenaltena: (adjust glases)
Santorum blames Social Security's troubles on abortion, to fix it we need more people

...

Bwuh?

I'm sorry, Mr. Santorum, but that makes no sense under any sort of logic. Now the population pyramid he's referring to is a real thing in the wake of the 1950s baby boom, but that would not have changed even if every abortion in the last 50 years had never happened. The proof? The countries where it's most extreme are where abortion is not legal or readily available and the stratification is significantly more extreme. And do you know why those countries have such an extreme pyramid? AIDS, which has killed off over half of the adult working population in some of those countries. You supported an increase in funding for AIDS research in those countries, so you should know that.

In short, there are far more things that go into that besides abortions. Furthermore, the birth rate started dropping significantly ten years before Roe v. Wade, and the birth rate did not significantly decine after it (in fact, it went up even when the rate of abortion was at the all time highest in 1980-1983) so there really is not a correlation.*

You fail social science forever. It took me all of five minutes to find enough data to show that you're full of shit.

* In the interest of full disclosure, there is evidence that abortion has affected one thing: the crime rate. Which is to say that about 20 years after Roe v. Wade there was a significant drop and the rate has never recovered, and the evidence points to it being because the number of people who would have been entering the criminal justice system dropped because they were not being born. This is an uncomfortable thing for sociologists to talk about, but the evidence speaks for itself.
athenaltena: (chuckle)
In a paper I did earlier this semester for criminology I was sorely tempted to include this line, but I decided against it at the last minute, even though I have a feeling the professor would have gotten a chuckle out of it:

"The positivist theories of Cesare Lombroso, which relied on Darwinian concepts to explain so-called atavistic characteristics in criminals, were, in short, a crock of shit."

I'm rather proud of that, even if I didn't get to use it. I should also add that the professor in question actually used the word "garbage" to describe the theories in question, so it wasn't exactly a statement he'd disagree with.
athenaltena: (Rider)
I mentioned it in a tweet yesterday, but I not only found out that I got a 98 on my Criminology midterm, but after class the professor asked me if I wanted to be a peer tutor for his class next year!

I was flattered, since that's definitely a vote of confidence in my favor. I also had him last year for his Women and Crime class, and I still find myself referencing what I learned in that class in other areas. For instance, one play we read in English, Trifles, which was written in 1916, contained a textbook example of a battering relationship and I pointed it out as such during our class discussion.

This was also interesting since I've considered asking this professor if I could consult with him about what I'm going to do after I graduate, since to put it simply when I grow up I want to be him. I know he's connected to people in that field, and if you type his name into Google you get thousands of hits about the work he's done with battered women, and he's one of the most respected researchers on it in the country. I've also considered him for someone I'd ask to write a letter of recommendation.

So yeah, that was good in several ways, and I'll make sure to follow up on it.
athenaltena: (Revy)
Oh yeah, and it was extremely hard to keep a straight face today in my sociology class when my professor started talking about -- off all things -- fanfiction. I'm serious! He studies pop culture and apparently fandom is one of his focuses, and so he started talking about CSI Fanfiction and I practically died.

One thing he's dedicated to tearing down the idea of is that if you're a fan of a particular person, work, etc. then you're using them as a role model. According to him this is nonsense since it makes things like women liking slash not make any sense, and I agree with him. I also pointed out that someone like me, a lesbian who likes slash, doesn't make any sense in that view either.

But still, I could not stop giggling about the fact that my college professor was actually talking about fanfiction. I love sociology.
athenaltena: (Yuzuriha)
I was talking to the professor who teaches Popular Culture after class (again) and one thing I realized is that the reason sociology excites me so much is that it is very much about exploring new frontiers, but unlike exploring a continent or an island where you eventually reach the end and there's nothing left to explore, sociology by definition never studies anything static, so there's always something new. That prospect really excites me.

And one area that really interests me is queer studies. Today in class we were talking about how kids' social systems develop, and I realized that my life experience, and likely that of many queer kids, was not represented in the literature and theory. It wasn't because of any malice, it just flat-out hasn't been studied to any great degree. There's an opportunity right there! And many more where it just flat out hasn't been studied, so someone can go out and find it and figure out what happens. Hopefully I can do just that.

Oh Jesus!

Sep. 17th, 2010 10:15 pm
athenaltena: (facepalm)
Watching a documentary about diagnosing kids with mental disorders and how they're medicated, and saying "Jesus!" every other minute. One kid was on 8 different medicines by the time he was 10, and most of those were to treat the side effects of other medicine! And there's been a 4000 percent increase in bipolar diagnoses in just over a decade!

Did no one ever say "Stop, what are we doing here?" Apparently not! And of course there was the fiasco with anti-depressants a few years ago and the fact that kids were, you know, killing themselves because they were on this stuff and nobody waited to see what would happen before they started mass prescribing it! No one studied it, no one said "Stop!" They have doctors who literally admit that they do not know what they are doing, just trying a random combination to see if it works! No!

*repeated headdesk* It's disgraceful. Now I'm not going to rail about how medication is evil because they do a lot of good for people who couldn't function otherwise, but these are kids and they flat out do not know what the long term affects are of piling these onto kids, whose brains are not yet developed! They are not adults, they cannot fully conceptualize what this means, these things are given to them rather than giving them therapy and because it's cheaper, it is irresponsible and it is not good medicine! What is going to happen to these kids in 20 years? They don't know! That's bad medicine! And half of the "symptoms" are just regular kid behavior, seriously, temper tantrums are enough to get these kids on medication with the way they dole out the meds! That's medicalizing behavior that really isn't an issue and framing it as a problem, and the risks are way way too high!

What was especially distressing is how they showed videos of this one kid at different ages, and once they piled the medication onto him the life just drained out of his face. Something is wrong here, and though they haven't said it yet I'm willing to bet that something bad happened to the kid.

Jesus Christ, stop and think, people!
athenaltena: (serene)
Did I just hear a cannon go off? Wouldn't surprise me, it is Boston and we do have the USS Constitution parked nearby.

Today was a loooong day. I had Popular Culture and America and actually ended up being late to Japanese because we were having a spirited discussion about social development in kids 6-12 years old and comparing it to an economic system where some people are more "marketable" than others (sounds weird but it actually makes sense), and how bullying ties into that and whether it should be allowed (my answer: Hell no, see Phoebe Prince and Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover for why) and what makes that different than not wanting to be friends with someone. I argued that it's the difference between shutting the castle gate to a group of people versus shutting the gate and also pouring a vat of boiling water onto them, in the sense of intentionally causing harm versus just keeping someone out (also invoking the idea of intentional harm from criminal justice but that's neither here nor there). Then we essentially started talking about laissez-faire economic strategy versus regulation as applied to which friends kids have, and we probably could have talked for an hour if I hadn't had to go (for the record I'm for regulation within reason in both economics and kids' social systems).

I then had my long Japanese class of the week, and despite Japanese using nothing that even looks like Roman characters (save Romaji) I still find it easier than Russian. Maybe it's just that once you learn a language that has 8 cases everything else is easy as pie.

On my way up to the station I saw a flyer for the State House Cafe, and was surprised by just how cheap stuff was. Since I'm not getting paid until tomorrow and I figured I'd have a look around I headed up there after I said hi to Steve at the station. He was surprised when I said that you could just walk into the State House (well, okay, there is a metal detector) but it is a public building and the public is entitled to sit in on hearings. I also managed to find the office of our friend Stan, but he wasn't there. If I go again I'll call ahead, but going in there was a last minute decision.

While at the State House I looked for the statue of Anne Hutchinson, an uppity feminist ancestor of mine who got kicked out of Massachusetts in the 1600s for having radical views like women being people. Unfortunately the statue was behind a fence because security doesn't want people getting that close to the building, and the photo I took was really crappy, so here's a better one by someone on Wikipedia. She's certainly someone whose genes I'm glad to have, if ever so distantly. Massachusetts can't get rid of us that easily.

I then headed to the MSPCA, and the E line being the E line they decided to take the train I was on out of service so I had to catch another -- and pay again. That also sapped the money I'd had on there for the trip back. I wasn't happy. Luckily at the MSPCA one of the staff members gave me change for the 5 I had. I was glad to hear that the two ferrets at the MSPCA who I love finally got adopted, since they'd been there since I started, and Zone, one of the sweets greyhounds I've ever met, is going home too. I also had a kitten nearly jump down my shirt, but I'm not big enough in there for it to get in. I'm probably going to have scratches from that. I also got subjected to a "Shiba scream" for a shiba inu, who are as loud as a car alarm going off next to your ear. Yikes.
athenaltena: (-_-)
A few days ago I saw some reference to people in college who still own clothes they had in high school that discussed them in a mocking tone, essentially calling them losers. This pissed me off for multiple reasons, and not just because I am in fact wearing a shirt I owned back then.

Look, I got out of high school three years ago, and that's not a very long time. It also assumes that if you're "cool" you've completely overhauled your wardrobe and gotten rid of everything you owned back then. This is ridiculous for three reasons.

First off, it assumes you have the money to completely replace everything every couple of years, which is very classist and consumerist (what sociologists call the culture of spending, where those who don't participate in it to an "acceptable" extent are ridiculed, and the whole "thin heel/skinny heel" thing with shoes that seems to change every single year is part of it). I occasionally get new clothes and maybe buy new shoes one or twice a year because that's how long it takes them to wear out, and because I don't like throwing money down the drain to own 50 pairs of shoes that I won't wear. I'd much rather have two or three that I switch between and actually use.

Second, it's just impractical and wasteful to get rid of stuff just because a certain number of years has passed. I get that people grow in style and taste, but I seem to have physically stopped growing for the most part so stuff from when I was 16 still fits and is still in decent shape, so there's no reason to get rid of it if I still like it. Look, I have stuff that my mom had from before I was born, and hell, stuff that my great grandmother had that is still in good shape.

Third, who honestly judges people about that? Now if something is very ratty, doesn't fit and honestly should be thrown out because it's physically deteriorated that's one thing, but making fun of people for being money smart and practical? Bullshit.

Er... okay

Aug. 7th, 2010 09:24 pm
athenaltena: (-_o)
I dunno, the idea of medically regulating your period to be every 3 months instead of once a month with a pill weirds me out, especially the slogan they're using:

"Who says that time of the month has to be every month?"

Let's see: your body, nature, evolutionary history, biology, your hormones, your age... I could go on.

I'm sorry, but I trust those more than a pharmaceutical company trying to push a drug I don't need, because A.) I'm not having heterosexual sex and B.) there's no medical reason for me to take that pill short of "convenience" which doesn't pass muster in my book.

The sociologist in me also wonders about the medicalization of something that is perfectly normal for a healthy woman to have. It's like how the number of cesarean sections have increased dramatically not because there's any medical need for them, but because it's more convenient for the doctors than having to wait through a natural labor (that's a post of its own). Look, I know periods are a pain and it's unpleasant, but I'm not inclined to mess with it. I once had a straight girl I know try to convince me that it's a wonderful thing and makes you life so much better, but I gave the same reason why I haven't.

Now, I know women who are basically handicapped when their period shows up and I'm not going to fault them for taking a pill to regulate it, but for me it's not something I'd do. Generally speaking I'm inclined to leave well enough alone as far as my body goes.

And the obligatory video from Saturday Night Live that pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter:

athenaltena: (Kurogane)
As should be obvious by my comments on this journal I really hate mainstream fashion. Now I acknowledge that in many cases what they produce looks nice, but I’m continually frustrated by the fact that it seems that what the mainstream produces is not something I would ever willingly wear myself, and that the mainstream idea of how a woman should dress is at odds with my view of how to dress myself. Which is to say that mainstream fashion has a problem with people who aren’t overly feminine (read: butch) and prefer more unisex clothing, i.e. me.

Now some of my friends make fun of me for almost always wearing a collared shirt, but the reason I wear those is that I like them and know they look good on me. I don’t especially like flashing cleavage or showing large portions of skin and they accomplish that. Plus given the job I have they’re dressy enough that I can wear them to work as “business casual” but not look out of place when I go out afterward. The Irish stubbornness really comes out here: I know what I like and I’ll be damned if I compromise on that.

Recently I’ve been particularly enraged by something I’ve been seeing with shoes, which are a particular sore point because I have rather wide feet. Mainly, that all the shoes being produced today seem to have these tiny little areas for the toes that I can tell would cause me excruciating pain if they managed to fit at all. Not to mention that the heels are all so skinny that my ankle, which I am chronically injuring, screams in pain at seeing them. I felt particularly betrayed when I looked at the website for a company that made a pair of boots that I own that are now starting to get worn out, and discovered that they too have succumbed to this insanity. No, you guys used to be one of the good ones! I’ve also heard that some women are getting surgery and removing one of their toes to fit their feet into some kinds of shoes, which succinctly summarizes everything wrong with fashion these days. Make the clothes to fit the woman, not the other way around! If you need surgery to fit into it you are doing it wrong!

There was once a video in one of my sociology classes that talked about the consumer culture and the idea of conformity by using the example of how skinny heels and thick heels seem to go in and out of fashion year by year, and that still wearing one when the other is in shows that you’re not subscribing to the current norm. The metaphor was a stretch, but I just remember thinking to myself “But what if you’re one of those people who doesn’t give a crap about what people say and just buys what you know you like?” which pretty much sums me up.

In short: Fashion? Screw you.
athenaltena: (Sakaki)
In the last few days I managed to hurt my back somehow, and as usual with me I have no idea how I did it except that I think it’s a pulled muscle at about navel level. Considering I had to write a five page paper the other day and it’s uncomfortable to sit down for long periods of time it made things a little awkward, so I basically alternated between lying facedown on my bed with the computer to being at my desk and switching when one became too uncomfortable (and when your circulation is as bad as mine that’s often) but eventually I finished it.

I’ve also been reading that book about the jocks who raped the developmentally disabled girl and the way the community responded, and the urge to hurl it against the wall and scream “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!” has been manifesting frequently. If it weren’t for my very good self control (and love of books) there would probably be a dent in the wall that I’d have to fix before I move out in September. The book itself is very well written, but God what those people did makes me rage. And it’s not like this happened in the distant past, oh no, it happened in 1989, the year I was born. Reading about the school and community where the people involved were from also reminds me a lot of Amherst and reminds me why I hated that place so damn much, since it’s self serving, totally committed to having kids fit a certain mold and if you don’t you either get stepped on or worse or move out. I was lucky enough to find enough people like me to keep me sane until I managed to flee up to GCC and then away from that place for good. I can also see why the professor is having us read it twice and only analyze it the second time since the urge to punch people in the mouth doesn’t exactly gel with the sociological process.

(What’s also kind of creepy is that they have photos of the offenders in the book, and I swear one looks exactly like a kid I went to school with, someone I didn’t know well but who was a jock and who I instinctively stayed away from. They could be twin brothers if not for the age difference.)

I also warned the professor that when we get to discussions of the book I’m very likely to go off, but he actually said that’s a good thing and could be a bit of catharsis. I don’t lose my temper over much, but damn, this book and the things that happen in it honestly set me off.
 

Owie

May. 18th, 2010 08:45 pm
athenaltena: (Juri2)
I have a big square bruise on my butt. How did that happen, you ask? Well, I was in the tub yesterday and turned around to grab my shampoo, and banged into the tap with my backside. The result was a big square bruise. Maybe it's karma for the glass I broke in there over the weekend, but in the words of Bender "Ow my ass!" because that really, really hurt. I'll just add that to the file of "interesting ways Ro has managed to hurt herself" which unfortunately is a decently big file, though I've become less accident prone as I've gotten older.

Had my first summer class today, and my first impression of the professor was the he could PROJECT across the room. Seems like a nice guy, and the course, deviance and social control, looks interesting. It's not so much about the deviant as the way the "normal" people react to it, which is an interesting spin on things, since this sort of course tends to focus on "nuts, sluts and freaks" as he put it, while we're actually going to be looking at how something is classified at deviant and who says it is. It basically highlights my favorite part of sociology, which is never taking "that's just the way it is" as an acceptable answer. He started by asking us to name a universal norm, and unsurprisingly we couldn't come up with one, because they are by definition not universal. They are constructs, or as one professor of mine referred to them, "solid illusions" because while they don't objectively exist they still have a tangible effect. Yeah, I think I'll like this course.

I also determined the the campus is actually kind of creepy with so few people around. It's right in the middle of Beacon Hill, so there are always people coming and going, but going up the elevator by yourself is actually kind of spooky. And it would surprise absolutely no one if that building does turn out to be haunted.
athenaltena: (Anthy)
A little while ago I had a dream about Revolutionary Girl Utena, and a short time later I was thinking while doing the dishes (as I often do) about one of the main relationships in the series, and then applying what I learned in my Women and Crime class last semester I realized that it's a remarkably or perhaps even disturbingly accurate portrayal of what an abusive relationship between a victim and batterer is like.

Bigass spoilers for the series under cut )

Basically, I'm convinced Kunihiko Ikuhara must have studied this sort of thing at some point. It just lines up too well.

I actually have that same professor next semester, so I might just mention the show to see what he'd think of it. I think he'd come to the same conclusion.
athenaltena: (Sweden thoughtful)
And this is why it's a very good thing that the Matthew Shephard Act finally passed, among other things:

Bullies home in on gays, study finds

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital found that gays, bisexuals and heterosexuals who have had a same-sex partner are 1 to two times as likely to experience violence, especially in childhood, and have double the risk of experiencing PTSD as a result.

...

Using data from a nationally representative sample of more than 34,000 adults, the researchers found that 45 percent of sexual minority women and 28 percent of sexual minority men had experienced violence or abuse in childhood, compared to 21 percent of women and 20 percent of men in the general population.


Granted, the Matthew Shephard Act can't stop all of this, but it does provide a powerful tool to combat it and help policy makers figure out new ways to address it using it as a base.

Anyone with any sense could have predicted the results, but the difference between the female and male victimization rates is a bit surprising to me, since the thought is that boys who are sexual minorities go through more of it. I can think of a few reasons why (girls not being adequately punished or discouraged from verbally attacking other girls -- see my childhood for proof) or it could be how they phrased the question, since traditionally this sort of study has only focused on physical violence rather than verbal attacks.

[Edit: Actually, looking at the researcher's own press release, women generally have higher rates of PTSD, but my point still stands about female on female bullying possibly being a factor, among others. And the PTSD rate is still disproportionately doubled if you're a "sexual minority" of either gender.]

There's been a sorely needed focus on "mean girl" culture lately because of things like what happened to Phoebe Prince, and this just backs up the idea that it really is a problem and is not just "part of growing up" or a "boy thing." No, it's a fucking public health issue that disproportionately affects already vulnerable groups.

Either way, very interesting results and hopefully it'll get people to pay attention to this. Even though this was an obvious result having this data is extremely important when it comes to actually doing something, and just glancing at their method it looks pretty solid, so attempts at punching holes in it to discredit it won't be easy.

And yes, this is why I love my major, since we can find out stuff like this and say "See! This is what's really happening! Now do something, damn it!" (not in those exact words, of course)

I'm also really tempted to get a copy of this study once it comes out, since I actually know what most of the terms mean and how they do it thanks to one of my classes this year. I think I'll also send this to that professor.
athenaltena: (*twitch*)
If I hear someone say that sociology is not a "real" science one more time...

Look, it is. Why? Because it uses the scientific method, it can be tested, and the results can be objectively verified. You know why "Intelligent Design" is not science? Because it is none of those!*

Yes, it focuses factors that are hard to measure and quantify and there are quite a few hacks out there who don't do it right, but the field itself is still science. Just because I do not wear a white labcoat does not mean I am not a scientist.

Anyone who claims that I'm not will be introduced to my theory of percussive trauma via a smack to the head. My hypothesis? It will hurt!

* This was the actual judicial rationalize that removed "Intelligent Design" from the school science curriculum in several cases

ROFL!

Nov. 5th, 2009 08:35 pm
athenaltena: (Roy)
I found this video on gender and advertising on a sociology blog I follow:



Sad but true.
athenaltena: (Bored)
I was thinking the other day about words and phrases that make me wince, so I decided to catalog the ones I consciously avoid. I'm not part of the "thought police" and I know can't tell other people what to say and think, but I do have control over what I do and what comes out of my mouth. Most are on here either because the target a disadvantaged group or are just plain mean, and some of the really nasty ones that I don't even want to repeat in print aren't on here. So, without further ado,

Ro's list of words/phrases I will not say:

1. That's so gay
2. [Such and such] is Retarded
3. Lame*
4. Schizo**
5. [Such and such] is sweet enough to cause/give one Diabetes***
6. [So and so] is a whore
7. Gypped

* Been trying to wean myself off of this one, though I keep messing up
** I tend to use "out of their mind" to refer to anything of this nature since it's non specific
*** As the child of a diabetic I know this whole phrase is made of FAIL as far as how diabetes actually works. I generally substitute "Give one cavities" to get the same point across.
athenaltena: (Umbrella)
In less emotionally exhausting news, I once again had the experience of having a very long and insightful talk with one of my professors. I sometimes get the feeling that other students resent me for actually giving a damn about the material I'm learning to the point of wanting to discuss it outside of class and with the professors, but maybe I'm just being cynical.

Anywho, the professor for my Women and Crime class is a very knowledgeable guy and a great professor, and I told him after class that I'd actually brought up a term we used in our class in my Civil War class to describe the Southern women and why it's widely thought that they eventually turned against and in some cases began actively working against the Confederacy (the term in question is learned helplessness for those of you who are wondering).

This started a long conversation about sociology, current events like DADT and the future of the field. He told me that I'm on a good track with a sociology degree since there's a huge amount of things I can do with it, which was one reason I chose the major way back when. I've been playing with the idea of switching from a Crime and Justice concentration to a general sociology track for a while for that reason, and he gave me some pros and cons of that.

So all in all a great conversations, and I don't care what other people think. If being engaged in what you're learning is bad, I'm bad all the way.
athenaltena: (sociology)
One of the sociology blogs I follow mentioned an article in The Wall Street Journal about how "women have a new body part to worry about", mainly their ankles. I saw this same article headline a few days ago and rolled my eyes. I remember snorting when people on the news were criticizing Hilary Clinton for supposedly having this when they could have, y'know, been talking about her political experience and things that actually matter for a presidential candidate.

Women have a new body part to worry about

I'm just glad I can walk on my right ankle considering how many times I've twisted it over the years and had it crushed under the hooves of horses (that last part has happened twice). And we wonder why lots of girls get eating disorders and are otherwise insecure about themselves (including me at times, I admit). And of course that article says only women have to worry about it, men are supposedly immune to this sort of insecurity. Bullshit. Just ask my friend Krys, who Sara has threatened to throw him like a javelin since he's maybe 120 pounds soaking wet and skinny as a rail but complains that he's too fat.

And yes that is my comment in there saying that this is a load of crap. I'll repeat that as many times as I need to! For some reason this sort of thing in particular sets me off.

Though props to one commenter who replied with the following:

I have fat ankles because I have bursitis.

Luckily for me I don’t give a sh*t.

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