Olympics!

July 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

I watched a lot of Olympic events over the weekend. A lot of events. Even when I went out, the Olympics were there. (Who knew karaoke and men’s floor exercises went together so well?) And I was going to write a post about all the tiny things that bothered me about the coverage – the different products male and female athletes are used to sell (guess who models shampoo and who test drives sports cars?), or the fact that I know way more about how Kerri Walsh Jennings has been changed by motherhood than I do about the family life of any male USA volleyball player – but I got tired of that just thinking about it.

The thing is, the athletes are beyond awesome, and I don’t want all that other crap to get in the way of constant amazement at their awesomeness. Awesome-osity. Awesome-ing. And they’re not the ones who are making the conversation about a female swimmer’s weight, or what physical appearance has to do with how much the funding a female weightlifter receives. They just want to do their thing and compete.

So here are some heartwarming pictures of athletes! Because in spite of differing social norms for expressing emotion and friendship, these men and women are just as open in supporting each other right now in London. And that’s pretty awesome too.

Photo by Daniel Ochoa De Olza — AP Photo, found at http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/30/2276569/kentuckians-in-the-games-july.html

Photo by Richard Mackson-USA TODAY, found at http://btn.com/2012/07/30/nus-grevers-wins-swimming-gold/

Photo by MARK J. TERRILL / The Associated Press, found at http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2012/07/30/olympic-highlights/

Photo by Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News/MCT, found at http://www.nj.com/olympics/index.ssf/2012/07/london_olympics_misty_may-trea.html

Considering Evolutionary Psychology

July 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

As a female psychology student, I had mixed feelings about evolutionary psychology while in college. It would pop up in lectures every now and then, though always with the caveat that some of the work in the field was fairly controversial and not necessarily embraced by the psychology community at large. Media coverage of evolutionary psychology tends to run with the more sensational aspects of stories (completely unexpected, I know) but ultimately I think there are both useful and harmful interpretations of work in this area so far.

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In Case the Benefits of Patriarchy Were Lost on Some Men…

June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

…Douglas Kenrick has outlined them for you. This comes after his piece on the 7 worst things about being a male, including “people want to hurt you,” “you feel compelled to make money, and then to throw it away in public,” and two points about how much men think about sex and how sad it is that women do not “reciprocate their urgency” in that regard.

He starts his piece on the worst things about being a male with the following:

The cultural stereotype is that it’s great to be a man. Not only do we have shorter lines at the rest room, but we make scads more money and can reach things on higher shelves in the marketplace. We don’t have to deal with double standards or glass ceilings, and we’re raised to have confidence and high self-esteem, so we can all comfortably act like the Sean Connery version of James Bond. Cooly knock off a few bad guys in the afternoon, then drive our Aston Martins to our expensive hotel in Monte Carlo, where beautiful movie actresses are waiting to throw themselves into our arms…But in truth, it ain’t like that down here in Kansas.

This isn’t just a “cultural stereotype.” Men have all kinds of advantages over women in American society (see: the gender pay gap, the Second Shift, advertising and media images of women, etc.). This is not to say that men don’t have problems, but their problems take place within the larger context of patriarchy. Kenrick brushes away that context by setting this up as just a stereotype, and what follows is a blind fumbling through some issues that could otherwise have been taken seriously.

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Reviews: Brave

June 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last night I went to see Pixar’s Brave at my local movie theater. I had been looking forward to its opening for months and was excited to see how the story would be told.

I wasn’t planning to write about the movie – even though it has broken important ground for Pixar and the industry in many ways – but I couldn’t stop thinking about it after watching, so I thought I’d post what I took away from it.

***SPOILER ALERT*** Certain key moments of Brave will be discussed in the rest of this post.

Brave concept art

Concept art of Merida and Elinor (found at Disney Pixar Fandom)

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Starting (to) Shift Matters

June 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Shift Matters is a blog written by Kate Sackett about the current state of American culture, with a particular focus on gender and related topics. I am a recent graduate from a large public university with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and I am interested in social justice issues, psychology, sociology, the media, and how discourse shapes perception.

I plan to discuss current events, intersections and intersectionality, reviews of movies/television/books, and personal experiences and dialogues around gender. The occasional picture of a dog standing on its hind legs while holding a purse may also surface…

Please leave comments/feedback/links whenever the mood strikes, as my purpose is not only to start dialogues with those around me but also with the online community.

This blog is my first concerted effort to publicly air my thoughts on gender and culture to shift popular norms and values as they continue to influence life in America today. Because shift matters.

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