158 posts categorized "Sex and Gender"

April 29, 2024

From “Fist-Pumps” to Fatherhood: The Evolution of Masculinity on “Jersey Shore” and “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation”

Monica-Radu Professional Headshot-2024By Monica Radu

In the world of reality television, few shows have captured the evolution of masculinity quite like "Jersey Shore" (2009-2012) and its 10-years-later counterpart, "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation" (2018-present). What began as a whirlwind of partying, drama, and stereotypical displays of masculinity has since transformed into a nuanced portrayal of manhood, showcasing growth, maturity, and emotional depth among the male cast members. This transformation also reflects shifts in cultural attitudes towards masculinity, as viewers witness the cast members navigating changing societal expectations and redefining what it means to be a man in contemporary culture.

The original version of "Jersey Shore" was notorious for its portrayal of toxic masculinity, with male cast members engaging in behaviors characterized by aggression, dominance, and hypersexuality. Toxic masculinity refers to a set of socially constructed attitudes, behaviors, and norms associated with traditional masculinity that are harmful to both men and society. These norms often emphasize qualities such as dominance, aggression, and the devaluation of traits traditionally associated with femininity. Toxic masculinity perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes and expectations about how men “should” behave, leading to behaviors that can be harmful to themselves and others, such as violence and the repression of emotions. It also contributes to the marginalization of individuals who do not conform to traditional gendered expectations.

Continue reading "From “Fist-Pumps” to Fatherhood: The Evolution of Masculinity on “Jersey Shore” and “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation”" »

March 25, 2024

How the Moynihan Report Birthed Parental Engagement Policy in Schools

Alyssa Lyons author photoBy Alyssa Lyons

While parental engagement has become a popular buzzword in political circles in recent years, the language of “parental involvement” didn’t appear in U.S. federal educational policy until 1965 with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Not without coincidence, this was the same year that academic and social scientist Daniel Patrick Moynihan published the Moynihan Report: The Negro Family, the Case for National Action. An incendiary racist, classist, homophobic, and sexist document, the Moynihan Report claimed that racial inequalities in wealth and education between Blacks and whites were the result of a broken and fractured Black family structure where Black matriarchs managed the household. Moynihan further suggested that establishing a stable Black family structure was central in alleviating poverty and inequalities.

Continue reading "How the Moynihan Report Birthed Parental Engagement Policy in Schools" »

March 18, 2024

Let’s Talk Parental Engagement in Schools: Parental Engagement as a Social Construct

Alyssa Lyons author photoBy Alyssa Lyons

What does it mean to be an engaged parent in schools?

As both a sociologist and the mother of an eleven-year-old in the New York City public school system, I’ve often wrestled with this question. Whenever I attend school-based events, principals, teachers, and staff tell me, along with other parents, that being engaged in the school and in my child’s education is instrumental to their academic success. 

And it isn’t just educators and social science researchers singing the praises of parental engagement. Politicians and policymakers suggest that parental engagement can function as either a buffer or mitigator in addressing educational inequality on both a state and federal level.  In March 2022, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona implored schools to reconsider their relationship with parents and families, suggesting “parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers.”

Continue reading "Let’s Talk Parental Engagement in Schools: Parental Engagement as a Social Construct" »

February 19, 2024

Professor Period to the Rescue!

Thumbnail_Picture - Lisa SmithBy Lisa Smith, Douglas College, Department of Sociology and Menstrual Cycle Research Group

“Does anyone have a pad? A tampon!? 50 cents?”

I was sitting in the stall of a women’s restroom during the intermission for a concert, when I heard the familiar refrain. As a menstruator (because not all people who have periods are women and not all women have periods), I could relate to the urgency in my fellow menstruators’ voice.

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January 29, 2024

Gender, Sexuality, and Social Exclusion

Karen sternheimer 72523By Karen Sternheimer

Recently politicians have continued attempts to police gender and sexuality through the passage of laws that seek to exclude and punish. It is important to consider why the attention to other people’s gender and sexual practices are part of public and political discourses, and why some people are the target of social exclusion.

For context: while laws attempting to limit transgender rights have dominated the last decade, criminalizing same-sex relationships is not by any means new, although new laws have been passed around the world in the past few years. Human Rights Watch maintains a list of criminal codes outlawing same-sex relations around the world dating back to the nineteenth century. Many laws criminalizing LGBTQ people were passed in the middle of the twentieth century. Why?

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December 22, 2023

Unlearning Oppression

Wayne mellinger author photoBy Wayne Martin Mellinger

Instructor, Antioch University

No child is brought into this world as a racist or sexist or homophobe.  Oppression must be learned through our childhood socialization processes.  While the home environment provided by our parents is crucial to learning both oppressive and anti-oppressive behaviors, cultural institutions such as schools, religious institutions, and mass media also play a central role.

For many years I taught classes at local colleges and universities I called “Unlearning Oppression.”  While the formal titles of these classes were typically “Race, Class and Gender in American Society” I insisted on dealing with ageism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of oppression too.

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September 11, 2023

Co-opting Friends and Feminism on Social Media: Multi-Level Marketing

Karen sternheimer 72523By Karen Sternheimer

While I’m only an occasional user of social media, a few years ago I noticed that an acquaintance began posting much more frequently, often self-helpy posts encouraging people to seize the day, believe in themselves, and generally live their “best lives.”

Nothing wrong with positivity, I thought, but the shift was abrupt. “We’ve got this, ladies!” and TGIM! (Thank God it’s Monday) became regular slogans, along with a lot more personal (over)sharing—multiple times a day—from someone who had previously been only an occasional poster.

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February 06, 2023

Having It All? Motherhood in an Increasingly “Planned" World

Jenny Enos author photoBy Jenny Enos

Whether, when, and even how to have children are increasingly complicated questions facing women today. On the one hand, revived abortion debates and restrictive legislation in many U.S. states may mean forced motherhood for those who become pregnant; on the other, both cultural and financial pressures around motherhood are weakening. For the first time in history there are now more women than men in the college-educated workforce, meaning that fewer women are sticking to stay-at-home parenting, and our culture is increasingly starting to view motherhood as an option rather than as an expectation.

In addition to more financial and cultural freedom, accessible contraception has also made it possible for women to be more intentional about whether and when they want to have children than in the past. In 2018, an estimated 65% of U.S. women of reproductive age (those aged 15 – 49) were using some form of contraceptive method and there were no significant differences based on level of education. Whether they dropped out of high school or have a Ph.D., these women share one thing in common – most of them are taking active steps to control their fertility. These efforts have been successful, too: the rate of unintended pregnancies has seen a significant decline over the past two decades.

Continue reading "Having It All? Motherhood in an Increasingly “Planned" World" »

October 17, 2022

Gender Nonconformity and Culture Wars

Jenny Enos author photoBy Jenny Enos

For the past few years, an unprecedented “culture war” has been brewing in the U.S. While contemporary issues of race, class, sexuality, gender, and abortion (just to name a few) have deep historical roots, our current hyper-polarized climate has amplified each of these debates to the point where each side feels that their very existence is threatened by the other. We have recently seen this sense of threat escalate to violence numerous times: from the insurrection on January 6th 2021, to parents fighting at local school board meetings, to deadly massacres driven by white supremacist ideology.

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April 18, 2022

Work and the Body

Author photoBy Karen Sternheimer

Several years ago, the small company my husband worked for had an employee challenge: get the company’s logo tattooed on a visible part of your body, and the company would donate several hundred dollars to the charity of your choice.

My husband did not take them up on this offer (and his team was soon after acquired by another company anyway), but several of his coworkers did. More than just a charitable impulse, it seemed like a way for these employees to demonstrate their commitment to the small startup. This was a company that expected its workers to be not just good employees, but “heroes” that would be available at any hour to meet its clients’ needs, albeit with little room for growth in terms of career or salary.

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