Category Archives: Pop Culture

When Women are Leaders

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Women are not typically found in leadership roles, especially in the workplace. In fact, only a quarter of chief executives are women and most of that is because of women who own their own businesses. This is because of two main reasons: men tend to be favored for management positions and are given the experience that leads to them, while women get stuck in a cycle of bias. Because women are unable to prove their ability in management positions, they are not given management positions, causing them to not be able to prove their ability.

In this study from the American Psychological Association, men and women in leadership positions were observed. While women tend to use mentor style leading and men tend to use commander style leading, it was found that they are in fact equally effective in leadership positions. Actually, Alice Eagly, PhD noted that in some ways, women are actually more effective in leader ships positions.

There is no reason for women not to have leadership positions. They are equally effective as men, if not more, but because they have not had a chance to prove themselves, they are not given the chance. One organization working to give them a change is the Institute for Women’s Leadership. They provide training programs for businesses that help them get more women into leadership positions. It is important for women to demand and strive for leadership positions in the workplace, because they can and will do great things. You can do this by starting to apply for higher positions in any organization you are involved in, like clubs or teams at school. So, girls, get out there and show the world who’s boss.

The Freedom of Decision: Marriage and Child-Raising are a Choice, Not a Requirement

By: Jillian James

Sociologists are noticing a trend among modern women: they are getting married and having children at lower rates than ever before. Why? Why are women choosing to delay or forgo the experiences of marriage and childbirth, the two things that used to be so commonplace that it seemed like a requirement for women?

Part of it stems from the fact that marriage used to be something that was tied to economics and, for most women, was the only way that they could provide for themselves. Up until very recently in history women haven’t had very many opportunities to attend college, make their own incomes, and forge their own futures. They had to depend on marriage and their spouse to provide for them. The patriarchal structure of society meant that women had to get married at a young age or risk falling into financial despair or becoming dependent on their parents.

Now in modern society, women are finally being given choices. Marriage and child rearing are absolutely wonderful life paths, but they are no longer their only life paths.

Both men and women are now focused on carving lives for themselves and finding their own personal fulfillment before marrying. The emphasis is now on cultivating a relationship with a person and searching for a partner that you truly connect with. Taking the time to grow with your partner before marriage could potentially lead to less divorce and stronger relationships.

Women are also choosing to forgo marriage entirely, focusing on other facets of their lives. They may focus on careers or their own personal well being and fulfillment, or enter domestic partnerships. Many women who don’t marry are still in satisfying and enriching relationships with their partners.

Many women are also choosing not to have children or to delay childbirth until later in life. This could be because women are taking the time to pursue their own personal passions, like traveling, or are waiting until they are sure that they are financially stable and have achieved their own personal goals before having children.

In the end, choosing whether or not to get married or have a child is a personal choice, a choice that every individual woman should make for herself. A woman should always be the one who makes the choice to marry and have children, because then she will be happy and fulfilled with her life and relationships. In modern society, women have the freedom and the power to create their own lives, and that is a remarkable thing.

 

 

Feminism is for Everyone: How the Patriarchy Hurts Men Too

By: Jillian James

 

Recently millions of women gathered all across the world to advocate for feminism and their rights. The faces of women of all races and backgrounds were on TV screens all across the country as they raised their voices and spoke out, sending a message to the nation.

However, it is important to remember that women’s rights are human rights. While women are the face of feminism, a patriarchal, hyper-masculine society actually hurts both women and men for multiple reasons.

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BREAKING NEWS: PEOPLE CONTAIN MULTITUDES

Every single human being, regardless of sex or gender, feels a wide variety of emotions. Societies that perceive men as being weak or devalued because of their expressions of emotion are creating unhealthy environments and are actually emotionally stunting. Sayings like “boys don’t cry” and “be a man” are toxic. In order to have emotional well-being, every person should feel safe and secure in expressing their emotions, and societies and cultures should applaud and encourage emotional expression instead of making it be perceived as a sign of weakness.

RELATIONSHIPS 101: COMMUNICATION IS KEY

In order to be in a healthy and happy relationship, partners must be willing to communicate and be emotionally honest. This can be a struggle in heterosexual relationships because hyper-masculinity can put up emotional walls. If a society puts little to no value on a man’s ability to be emotionally honest and vulnerable then he will struggle to feel comfortable communicating in an intimate relationship.

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WOMEN’S HEALTH: MEN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT TOO

Men in heterosexual relationships should feel comfortable asking women questions about their health, and women should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it with their partner. Being able to have open discussions about periods, birth control, and other topics in a relationship is incredibly important. Having both partners be well-educated and informed on women’s health can make you both feel more comfortable and confident in a relationship.

Living in a patriarchal society is limiting for both genders. There are actions that can be taken in order to actively fight the patriarchy in society. Don’t be afraid to call out anti-feminist or hyper-masculine behavior. Try to educate the men in your life about women’s issues and women’s health and encourage them to express their emotions. Taking steps to de-normalize toxic masculinity will help create a healthier society as a whole. A society that has gender equality is an overall happier place because the boundaries of gender expectations and ideals are gone, and instead people can live their lives freely and become their truest selves.

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Laughing through it all

two children laughing on green grass - one with short red hair and blue pants, the other with longer light brown hair in a flowery dress

Photo by BMiz

There’s been a lot of things going on in the world lately that have been far from funny. But humor’s always been one of my favorite kinds of stress relief, and that’s definitely been something that a lot of us have needed.

I was talking with my mom recently, and she brought out an idea that I’ve heard a fair bit: that humor is always about making fun of someone. We’d been talking about political correctness, and she was saying how frustrating she finds it when it comes to humor, because “safe isn’t funny.”

Now, much as I love my mother, I’ve come to loathe the term political correctness whenever it comes up in our conversations. (It’s one of the few generational gaps we have that feels like a chasm.) She uses the same tone when she says ‘political correctness’ that I’d use for ‘sentient, flesh eating fungus,’ and she often casts it as being the antithesis of everything that’s spontaneous and fun.

Thankfully, she’s wrong. I’ve been a fan of absurdist humor for a long while, and although it doesn’t lend itself to straight up jokes a lot of the time, I still find it to be awesome. (And a lot of jokes can end up being absurd, especially when told by little kids. This collection has been entertaining my partner and me for the past week.)

There’s also a really rich history of humor being used subversively to push back against injustice and inequality. (Granted, sometimes that does involve poking fun at people in power, but that’s a kind of offensive that I’m totally comfortable with,)

So, this week, I’m going to keep being thankful for the people who can help us laugh, even when it can be especially hard. (And Tig Notaro’s always good for knowing how to do that.)

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Come Out of the Quiet

This speech by DeRay Mckesson caught my attention the other week, and I’ve been thinking a lot about his ideas since then.


(It’s really worth watching, but in case you’re just skipping ahead, here’s the part of it that I’m going to be talking about: even when a lot of us are ‘out’ about who we are, it can be easy for some of the less convenient parts of ourselves to get overlooked and/or pushed aside when we don’t prioritize talking about them.)

I really like thinking about this, because I feel like it fills in a gap in how we talk about marginalized identities. We’ve had the metaphor of in the closet for ages, but it describes a pretty all-or-nothing situation. My last big ‘coming out’ moment was almost 20 years ago when talking with my grandfather – ever since then, it’s something that comes up as I meet new people, but there’s no big reveal. And that metaphor has always broken down when it comes to talking about identities that are a lot easier to pick up on visually (many racial and ethnic minorities, a number of physical disabilities, etc.)

But regardless of how apparent these identities are, it can still be really easy for them to get overlooked. (The whole “I don’t see race” thing.) It’s not something that happens out of malice, but just a consequence of the fact that human beings are pretty self-centered – it’s easy for us to forget about perspectives that are different from our own unless we’re making a conscious effort to include them.

Which is why the idea of coming out of the quiet is so compelling. It captures the fact that we’re already here, and we’re already a part of things. We’re just told – in various ways – to keep it down when it comes to talking about things that challenge the status quo.

It’s becoming more and more apparent that all of our efforts are stronger when we include this breadth of voices, and that the costs of exclusion are far too high. So here’s to coming out of the quiet, in all of the various ways that we’re called to do so. May we end up making a glorious noise.

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Finding Your People

Recently, I was talking with some other folks at Planned Parenthood about how isolated some people who support PP and reproductive justice can feel. It made a lot of sense, but I realized that I hadn’t thought all that much about what kind of a toll that can have on people.

Part of that is definitely due to circumstance – I’ve lived and worked in various different ‘liberal bubbles’ for a while, and so even though my political opinions haven’t been universally shared, it’s always been somewhat easy for me to find moderately like-minded folks. (Given that meeting new people in the US often involves ‘what do you do’ as an opening question, I often let people identify themselves as kindred spirits early on. And there are also some abrupt changes of subject, too.)

So if in-person conversations aren’t necessarily going to be places where you find shared viewpoints, where do you look? When it comes to something like supporting women who have abortions or opposing the efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, people can easily find the statistics showing that that’s an opinion that the majority of folks in the US share. But abstract numbers can only do so much.

And this made me see a lot of the recent social media campaigns around PP in a totally new way. For most people, it was primarily about showing support for Planned Parenthood in the face of the ongoing attacks. But a side benefit of it is that you can be reminded of who the people are in your life who support this work. For people who feel isolated, that can be a real boon, and that feeling of camaraderie can translate into more in-person connections too.

Not everyone feels the same kind of need to cultivate community around these issues, but for those of us who do, I’m really glad that the internet is making is easier in a lot of ways. If we have to weather the kinds of political attacks that have been coming down lately, at least we can do it together.

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Fun Friday: It Gets Better (and Better)

Remember when Target announced that they’d no longer stock/advertise their toys in a gender-specific way? And remember the guy who posed as Target on Facebook and trolled the haters of the idea? Well, he’s back at it again, this time as Frito-Lay, the maker of Doritos.

Doritos partnered with the It Gets Better Project and recently introduced rainbow chips. As expected, people had a problem with that. So, experienced troller that he is, Mike Melgaard, took to defending the crispy rainbow delights.

Read more on Huffpost or on Mike’s Facebook page.

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Fun Friday: An Introvert on the Weekend

If you’re like me, an introvert, weekends are best served up with a cup of tea and a good book. If you get invited out somewhere this weekend, feel free to use these excuses, or just wear one of these shirts from LookHuman.com so you don’t have to talk to anyone. Happy Friday, y’all!

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Dad Blogs Worth Following

Bloggers are now an integral part of our collective conscious. Anyone can blog, about anything, anytime, anywhere. Bloggers range from experts in their fields to “Joe Schmo” types. The wildly popular bloggers are great at capturing simple human moments that instantly connect readers. Blog posts often “go viral,” and can change lives for the better, do harm, or disappear into the great “interwebs” abyss. In recent years, dads have carved a space out of the blogosphere to share their heartfelt, funny, and uniquely dad stories. Here’s a few dad blogs we like:

Mr. Dad – What a wealth of information! This blog takes a Q&A approach to fatherhood. Within seconds of cruising around this blog, I found posts like Good Touch Bad Touch, which addresses a dad’s concern about answering tough sexuality questions from his 5 year old daughter. Read all about Armin Brott, the expert dad behind it all.

Daddy Doin’ Work – I first discovered this daddy doin’ work on Instagram. Doyin Richards, the man behind the blog, is a stay-at-home father of two girls. His social media channels are filled with the day-to-day grit that you typically hear about from moms. Check out #daddydoinwork on Instagram and you’ll see how he, and dads everywhere, are celebrating the adventure that is fatherhood.

Mommy Man: Adventures of a Gay Superdad – Jerry Mahoney is a gay stay-at-home dad of two. His kids were born via surrogate so as you can imagine, he has some different perspectives that need to read and shared. I especially love his writings about surrogates. Take a peek at his blog, we guarantee you a laugh and you’ll learn something too. Here’s his book:

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We hope you like these suggestions. Who are your favorite dad bloggers?

P.S. Thank goodness dad blogging didn’t exist when my stay-at-home dad was raising me and my siblings in the 80’s and 90’s! That permanent record of my outfits alone would be enough embarrassment to last a lifetime! Although, it would be cool to have that record of the man who taught me what feminism is.

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Mean girls? Or just mean headlines?

Recently, I was catching up with an old friend when the topic of workplace culture came up. I made some offhand remark about the fact that I’ve only had one job with a male boss, and that the vast majority of my coworkers have all been women, and was really surprised by her response. She immediately expressed sympathy, and said that she could only imagine ‘all the drama’ that goes along with that.

I told her that I never really experienced any of that, our conversation moved on, and I probably wouldn’t have thought of it again except for Facebook. That weekend, another friend posted a meme about the Icelandic Women’s Strike of 1975, with a caption of “What power women have when they unite – instead of tear ourselves apart through gossip, demeaning behavior and ridicule.”

Image via Planting Peace

Image via Planting Peace

Now, it’s always amazing to see what can happen when a large group acts collectively, and it’s a hard and therefore pretty rare thing to see. But is the idea of women’s cattiness so deeply ingrained that it’s always the default expectation for a lot of people? I’ve heard the tropes about this before, but I thought that most of it was like the idea that all lesbians always wear flannel, or that all pregnant women only eat fried pickles: a stereotype that’s an easy sitcom punchline, but one that (almost) no one takes seriously.

Looking into it a bit, though, I found that a *lot* of people take this seriously, and I found myself shocked by the fact that I hadn’t run up against this more often.

We’re only now starting to get more objective data on these kinds of behaviors, though, so assumptions have had a long time to go unchecked. Psychologists call this kind of behavior indirect aggression, and past research tended to focus much more closely on direct aggression. It’s easier to see and categorize shoves and punches, and it’s a lot harder to ask questions about when people have been snide or exclusionary.

The research so far is pretty interesting, especially in the differences between men and women: there aren’t many. Men “gossip” more than women, but if often doesn’t get that label. And men and women express indirect aggression at the same rates, even though a lot of the mainstream press articles about new papers won’t mention that fact.

When I first started looking into this, I was wondering if I’d just been unfathomably lucky in my life and friendships. I’m glad to see that my friends, coworkers and I aren’t anomalies, but I’d be even happier if we could put the tired stereotypes to rest.

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