Friday, May 30, 2014


     If you have been on Twitter, or any form of social media, in the past week, you have seen something about the trending hash tag, #YesAllWomen. This new trend was largely a reaction to the recent shooting in Isla Vista, California. Elliot Roger, the shooter, was targeting a sorority house, but began to open fire in the surrounding area when no one answered the door of the house; he killed six students, and then himself, also severely injuring seven others.
      Roger made his motives for this killing spree very clear through a 140-page manifesto, which described his strong hatred and resentment towards women, specifically those who have rejected his sexual advances. Roger continues his misogynist rantings in his final video of many he posted to YouTube before the shooting (now available through the blog Gawker), where he expresses his jealousy and hatred of women and also sexually active men. Roger believed that he was always rejected by women even though he was a self-proclaimed "perfect guy", and said in his video, " I do not know why you girls aren't attracted to me but I will punish you all for it". His plan, according to the video, was to "slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blond slut I see". Roger's misogynistic ideology, an obvious cause of this tragedy, was shocking to some, however, this attitude towards women is really not that out of the ordinary; people were not as alarmed as they should have been by his sexist manifesto and series of YouTube videos preceding the shooting, because women-hating is not an uncommon idea.
       #YesAllWomen began trending after the shooting as a way for women to express their experiences with misogyny as a way to demonstrate that this mistreatment of women exists without many realizing it. Jessica Valenti of The Guardian explained that "the reason women mobilized so quickly after the shooting is because we recognized immediately the language and ideology in Rodger's videos and manifesto: the over-the-top sexual entitlement; the rage against women who "dared" to reject him; the antiquated, but nonetheless terrifying, belief that women should not be in control of their own sexual choices." A key word in this quote is "control"; Roger did not like it when he could not control a woman's response to his advances, and cannot handle the rejection because the decision was out of his control. This thinking behind loss of control is evident in creation of the well-known term "Friend-zone", which is simply a comfort for men who are rejected and cannot handle a woman's right to say no to a relationship. This shooting was an extreme way for Roger to gain back his control over women. Will this tragedy, and the response to it, finally prove that sexism is still a huge issue in America? Will this event bring any change? 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"The Order of Never Hide"

         Ray Ban, a sunglass and eyeglass company, just recently launched a new contest titled "The Order of Never Hide", which they described as a "non secret secret society" on their website. This new way of advertising was particularly interesting when you compare it to the presence of secret societies that can be found in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

         The Order of Never Hide is a giveaway contest in which a participant must complete five tasks in order to enter the competition. One must "climb the Hierarchy Ladder" through these five requirements, as described by the Terms and Conditions of the contest. "The Hierarchy Ladder" directly relates to social class, and for the same analogy of the rungs of the ladder to the upper class is used.
       I looked further to see if there were any indicators of exclusivity in this society, just as societies of different classes often are exclusive. All of the five requirements for the contest require creating or watching videos, which calls for access to a computer with a webcam. The need for a computer already eliminates people without access to a computer from this contest. 
        I think the fact that this company thought that this approach to advertisement was revealing about American culture and class. I believe that this is seen as effective because people desire, conscious or subconsciously, to be part of a secret society. Membership to something exclusive results in a somewhat elevated status. People naturally look for approval in others, and having something that others don't have can create a feeling of superiority. Because of these social behaviors, advertising a product through a promise of membership into a secret society can be very effective. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Connection Between Wealth and Exercise

       With our recent discussion of obsession with health in affluent areas like the North Shore, I have begun to think more about the cause of this specific interest of health and fitness. Other than the exposure to and ability to purchase healthy foods, I believe that the frequency of exercising is also contributing to the health obsession. This theory has been proven by statics released in a NewYork Times article.

A chart that illustrates the finding of the survey, by the NewYork Times.
 "In 2009, just 46.6 percent of Americans earning less than $36,000 a year exercised at least three days a week. That compared with 54.3 percent of Americans earning more than $80,000 a year."

  So what is causing this gap of 10%? I believe that a contributing factor is the increased amount of leisure time that the more wealthy have. This extra time can then be used to exercise, instead of working or being consumes with other responsibilities. Another connection this this distinction could be a result of different types of jobs.
        Lower class jobs, which provide less income, are sometimes more physically demanding, and could be physical labor. Therefore, after work, these people would be too tired to exercise additionally, or they may feel as though they have already exercised enough for the day, although it is a different type of physical activity that they are preforming then say jogging or biking or weightlifting. On the other hand, more upper class jobs are less physically demanding, such as jobs in an office that leading to a somewhat sedentary day, which then require additional exercise after work.

This is just a rough idea as to why there is a difference in exercise between people of higher and lower income. What do you think can explain this gap?