Category Archives: Culture & Socialization

The Girl Next Door


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The Girl Next Door

The image above is a Halloween costume created by two kids reflecting the controversy around the first Indian-American being crowned as Miss America. When Nina Davuluri initially won the crown, several individuals went to twitter to voice their displeasure. These individuals called Davuluri “a terrorist” and they couldn’t believe “a Muslim won” even though Davuluri is of Indian origin, Hindu and was born and raised in America.

The next day, Davuluri responded back to these hateful tweets in an interesting way. She believed that Miss American should be reflective of “The Girl Next Door”. However, in today’s society, the perception of the “Girl Next Door” is different than what is was in the past. She believe that “The Girl Next Door” “is evolving as the diversity in America evolves. She’s not who she was 10 years ago, and she’s not going to be the same person come 10 years down the road.” (http://www.npr.org/2013/09/18/223695339/here-she-comes-the-first-indian-american-miss-america).

In today’s society, the United States embraces a more multicultural disposition and because of this, the Miss America competition should be reflective of a “multicultural soceity that accepts, accommodates and even celebrates differences in language, religion, customs, dress, traditions and belief” (Croteau 75). This minor breakthrough for ethnic minorities is reflective of a progress towards a more utopian, multicultural society.

Submitted by Kalyan Amara

Who Shot First?


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Who Shot First?

The conflict between Israel and Palestinians occupying Gaza isn’t new news– their war has spanned more than 20 years, with the off and on firing of missiles claiming a multitude of civilian lives and spurring on the continuation and escalation of the bombings. Social networking sites are being used by current citizens to publicize how exactly the warring is occuring, using tweets to note the elevation of the combat and the course the Isareli armies are taking through the streets and bodies of water surrounding Gaza. What isn’t being talked about enough is the political implications that have driven this war to be active for so long.

In the video linked, Hillary Clinton speaks of her previous negotiation of a ceasefire in 2012 between the two warring parties & the separation of power between Mahmoud Abbas followers and Hamas members and how exactly that’s split the Palestinian people and further instigated the Israeli drive to war. In the video, Clinton explains that during the ceasefire she helped to negotiate between Palestine & Israel, Abbas was working with the Isreali government to orchestrate a peaceful juncture in which the two could meet and discuss a course of action. Now that Abbas is gone, the Israeli people are met with Hamas, a presumably ‘for the people’ public organization working for the freedom of the Palestinian people. Yet what Isreal sees themselves up against is a militaristic, violently resistant front that continues to resist any cooperation and compromising.

What’s seen in play here is a definitive shift in power where political issues are being held in a public arena, using warfare to force the strength of one side over the other instead of being able to come together and discuss with one another a less violent course of action. Ceasefires have currently been proposed by Isreal and agreed upon by Egypt, only to come to vehement disagreement by Hamas because the cease will not address all of their stipulations. Stewart seems to believe Hamas is disagreeing because those stipulations are important and, as the voice of the people, they will not back down until all are agreed upon.

One thing both Clinton and Stewart can agree on is that the entrapment occurring & being inflicted upon the Palestinian people is disgraceful and unwarranted. The amount of hatred both sides have for their opposition that’s been instilled in their current culture has only come to create destruction, dysfunction, and a driven desire for eradication of their ‘enemies’ that will only continue to grow if the war isn’t properly handled very soon.

Submitted by Promise Hartung

Culture, Power, and Social Structure in Medicine


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Culture, Power, and Social Structure in Medicine

I found this news article fascinating as it expresses a range of sociological themes through one single news article. As an aspiring physician, I am routinely intrigued by news in the medical community, and also hope to travel abroad to provide care internationally.
From looking at the image alone, there are clear differences or examples of inequality that also present themselves as differences in culture, power, and structure. Culturally there is a difference between the healthcare providers who traveled from the USA and other established countries, and then there are the patients, who have been suffering from disease and do not normally have access to healthcare. Additionally, social structures identify between patient and physician, introducing more than cultural norms to the mix in providing treatment. This also goes hand in hand with the role of power, as physicians are given a responsibility to do no harm through their creed as well as provide for the care of the diseased.
This article discusses the Ebola outbreak in Guinea which is a hot topic to discuss, as many lives are being affected through the epidemic and organizations such as Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) are taking on the responsibility to aid the communities affected. Whether focusing on the macro level of healthcare or the micro level of patient-doctor interactions, the bottom line comes down to helping humanity and aiding life, whether in America in a practice, or flying out to across the Atlantic to save a life.
The discussion of the mob involvement struck me as interesting as it introduced a new party into the mix. The traditional power structure was changed, and the status quo was changed in a sense. Additionally, the inclusion o politics changed the scope of the situation and escalated it to a broader problem.
Moreover, by the mob accusing the physicians of bringing the Ebola virus, it was a clearer example of the varying levels of power and social structure. With a lack of scientific education, the mob members did not have the power to challenge the doctors’ science and creed, and the culture of the mob challenged the acceptance of good Samaritans into their community, thus lacking faith in their harmless intentions.
In conclusion, this article and image packs a sociological punch, whether from the political or scientific perspective. On my end, I am happy that I can see these varying connections, and to be able to see how things all appear differently on different levels from a sociological lens.

Submitted by Dhruv Sethi

Colbie Caillat’s new song has so many feminist messages


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Colbie Caillat’s new song has so many feminist messages

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. Women have been oppressed for a very long and there have been so many social movements to make women equal to men. Recently celebrities have been trying to raise awareness for girls and women on being yourself. There is a lot of pressure on girls to be the prefect girl. When watching tv there are so many ads about products that will help women become “prettier”. Cobie Caillat recently came out with the song “Try” this song was inspired because she was tired of thinking she had to look a certain way to impress people. The song ends with ,”Take your make-up off/Let your hair down/Take a breath/Look into the mirror, at yourself/Don’t you like you?/Cause I like you.” This is literally what she means, the message is that be happy with yourself don’t do things because you feel forced to because you are expected to look a certain way. I love this message she has in this song because in our society there is so much pressure on girls to look a certain way. There are so many diets, makeup, hair products etc to “help girls out”. This is putting horrible impression on the younger generations because they are trying to mature so fast and are not happy with themselves because they don’t look like their perfect celebrity etc. The music video is also great because it starts out with people of all ages with makeup and hair done but then as the song goes on they start taking off their make up and undoing their hair and are just happy with themselves. This music video should really open people eyes on how much pressure there are on girls and how it really messes with their self-esteem and that we should teach girls and women to be happy with themselves because that is when they are truly the most beautiful.

Submitted by Sapna Desai

Binge-Watching The New Craze


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Binge-Watching The New Craze

Binge-Watching: “is the practice of watching television for longer time spans than usual, usually of a single television show”
Starting in the 80’s television networks would play a marathon of a particular show. Today, marathons have become more apparent. Every night I can watch four episodes of Seinfeld, 3-4 episodes of Family Guy, and sometimes I can catch 4-5 episodes of The Big Bang Theory (depending on the day). Even though marathons still happen there is a new trend in town, Binge-Watching. This shows us how our culture is ever changing. This is a new bond we have as a society. According to to wikipedia, “Binge-Watching as an observed cultural phenomenon has become popular with the rise of online media services.” With Netflix and other services binge-watching is easier then ever. This article points out many great observations about binge-watching and is a great read. What happens when you finish a show? Are you happy you finished it or are you disappointed and bored? These are some questions that are brought up when talking about binge-watching, some people like the feeling that they finally completed the series others do not. It all depends on you. Like stated in the article, “Ultimately it’s up to you whether you are the Charlie [Bucket] or the Augustus [Gloop] of the new Netflix world we live in.”

Fun Facts: According to time.com, Breaking bad was the most binge-watched show. (I personally did that myself)

According to time.com, 91% of people have said they have binged-watched a show

Works Cited:
http://www.techradar.com/us/news/internet/the-netflix-effect-how-binge-watching-is-changing-television-1215808

http://time.com/2924105/breaking-bad-is-the-most-binge-watched-tv-show-ever-study-finds/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binge-watching

Submitted by Ashley Cobb

Empowerment


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Empowerment

The entire Aerie Real Campaign made a big impact on me when I first heard of it. It seems to be summed up nicely in this little video, though as a disclaimer, can I just say that I was quite anxious to curate this specific piece since it DOES show a scantily clad young lady. However, this hesitancy itself is part of why I think this campaign is valuable and sociologically relevant.

For the most obvious reason, I think that this advertisement is valuable because it redefines beauty, to a large degree. Beauty in the eyes of Aerie is not goddess-gorgeous anymore. But beauty is also not exactly about “loving your body just as it is.” These models are healthy and glowing–they are not re-touched to look impossibly thin and blemish-free, but it DOES look like they are active and healthy. If you know that you are healthy, no matter if you are carrying a few extra pounds or a few too few pounds, then yes, you are beautiful, and I think Aerie is celebrating that. The pressure seems to be off for young girls to always be wishing they looked like models, because suddenly, they do look like models.

For a less obvious reason (and the reason that I decided to use this despite my hesitancy) I think that these sorts of real-life, unapologetic advertisements could help reduce the oversexualization of women’s bodies. When I was in France, I went to a beach where topless sunbathing was allowed. I was struck by how this did not seem super scandalous and sexy, but rather, everyday and ordinary, like watching a guy jog by without a shirt on. Women (most women…) don’t ogle every shirtless jogger because the chest is part of the human body, and the male chest is something we’re used to seeing–it’s not forbidden, and thus not as sexualized. The Aerie ad with it’s total acceptance of and pride in the normalcy of a healthy woman’s body seems like a very empowering step for which Aerie should be commended. As a huge company–being part of American Eagle as well–Aerie was taking a lot of risks in running this campaign, but I think that they knew that it could spark wonderful changes in society as a whole, by changing people’s individual thoughts about women’s bodies.

Submitted by Laura Seabourne

Human Ties Die


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Submitted by Colin Martin

This picture of all these people on cell phones shows you how easy someone can get lost in a world full of wireless technology. It is a shame that these items have went from being an item for emergencies, to our society’s new cultural objects. Culture objects are physical items that are created by and associated with people who share the same culture. I say this because cell phones are now found in most everyone’s daily lives. You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing a ton of people using them.
The first cell phones were massed produced in 1992, this was still back when they were not a common thing to have. Just imagine our world today without cell phones, I bet most of you would cry yourselves to sleep because you wouldn’t know what to do. It is more than impossible to imagine that since literally everywhere you could go in the world has cell phones and mass amounts of people using them at all times. No one ever would have thought that back when they were first invented that someday they would actually be cultural objects to us, and that we would rely on them so heavily.
Now days they are such a common thing to have that they are made to do things people would have never thought possible. People can call, text, check their email, and go on the internet at any moment they want. So with all these capabilities no wonder why we are losing real human bonding time, that actually creates friendships and life long bonds. People these days would rather send you a text than actually sit down and have a real conversation. That is just one of many prime examples of how people can lose themselves to technology without even knowing it.