Author Archives: lizethmejia

Woman Vs Men

It’s quite amazing how gender inequality can be shown in something so unexpected such as language! I had no idea about this until I took a Spanish heritage course. Language is not only a phonetic form of communication between humans beings, but as well as a form of symbolic interaction on the bases of customs and beliefs. In one of our lessons in my Spanish class we were learning about the history of the Spanish linguistics, and we came across a very unique word “misogino” , which translated on to the English language as “misogynist” ( woman hater) and out of curiosity I asked the professor if there was such word for (men haters) and of course she said “no it doesn’t exist” . Not only was I in utter shock but extremely disappointed! How can my native language be so sexist! This situation put many things into perspective for me and helped me realize how many of the times we fall victims to these bias ideologies of sexism (including woman); and how can we not fall victims to such when even our language show gender inequalities . As Gilman mentions, we can see gender disparities in our economy; woman get paid 77 cents for every dollar men get paid. A woman’s income many of the times come from her husband and this dependency affects these woman financially and personally. Being dependent on your husband can deteriorate your confidence and sense of self efficiency. After, a while men feel the right to treat woman like property , a doll that’s capable of accomplishing any desire and task as her husband mandates ; a trophy that shows of their social economic standing. Also, too much importance on sex distinction can lead to these gender barriers. We are biologically built differently; but that doesn’t necessary make one gender better than the other. Nevertheless woman are seen as weak for being able to produce the miracle of life and for being affectionate or emotion. The yellow wall paper (Gilman’s semibiographical book /movie) is a great example on how woman are undermined and have no voice in their household. They are limited by the patriarchs of the family and are embedded with the idea that they know best for them. I came across a very remarkable video. It’s a Pantene commercial for the Philippines and it emphases on labels and how many times successful hard working woman are seen as bossy, selfish, pushy, vain and show offs. When in the other hand successful men are seen as persuasive, neat, dedicated and smooth individuals.

The Asch Experiment

As social beings we enjoy being part of groups .It gives us a sense of commitment and support that ultimately enables us to create strong emotional bonds with one another. It’s vital to our mental health to become part of a group; it has been proven that individuals who are marry are less likely of committing anomic suicide than those who aren’t , states Durkheim. Groups affect individual’s perceptions a great deal to the point that they might discard their own opinions. Would you go along with the crowds’ opinion or would you stick to your guns? Believe it or not most of us would conform to the majority’s opinion. This phenomenon is visible in our contemporary society. We are able to identify this ideology in groups such as, political groups, family, friends, and relationships and even fashion trends. The reasons why we conformed to our group’s opinions are to feel accepted and liked. Another reason is because we believe that they posses more intelligence than us. Also, it’s difficult to see something that no one else does. Opposing to the groups opinion can cause tension and isolation from other group members. Isolation can lead to anomic suicide due to the lack of social integration. The groups expressed opinions can pressure us into agreeing with them and consequently distorting our true perception. Ash’s experiment of perception is based a line test that is conducted on a group of individuals, but only one is the real subject and the rest are just actors. The subject was told that he was going to be participating in a visual perception test. Social psychologist Solomon Asch experiment studies the level to which pressure from other members of a group could influence one’s perceptions. Checkout the results of this remarkable experiment in the video below!

Advertisement and Contemporary Fetishism

We have all been guilty of unnecessary purchases one time or another, but what if I was to tell you that all you’re shopping was mostly impulsive and involuntary? It may sound bizarre that what seems like a voluntary action is influenced by mass media. We shop the image value of things and not necessarily the use value of them. These objects are represented in real or imagery settings. Ultimately, this takes the essential use away from the material nature of the commodity or activity that we purchased the item for and lets us fantasize about ourselves. In the circumstances that the commodity is represented it gives us the illusion that they acquired some sort of super natural quality and that we will be worthy of possessing that quality once we purchase it. We want to believe that the commodity has the power of transforming our lives. The power of the commodity lies not in the social relation of the legitimate possession, but in the use value of it.

How do we fall victims of this strategic advertising scheme? Advertisements main goal is to make us forget what commodities are all about, which are mainly for our daily survival such as eating, clothing, sheltering and work. Instead they convince us that they’re a way of expressing things and gaining skills and qualities that we don’t posses. The commodities that were once man made over power us. Marketers use our daily necessities to force ably without regards makes us fetishes about them. They study us psychologically by identifying what colors, music, lighting and even temperature affect our consumption of commodities. In North American mainstream culture the color silver is associated with prestige, and black with sophistication, elegance and mystery. As a result various high-end companies utilize these colors in clothing and even cars such as the jaguar to make us desire them and their factious “qualities”. The second step to making us desire these items is “pricing” given that it affects the way we view things. The more expensive the more valuable, we been socialized into thinking that items that are pricier are of superior value. Realistically thinking we are aware it’s false, but marketers have done such a good job in using the focusing affect method that they displace our rational feelings into our desires and fantasies. Marketers use the focusing effect on consumers by convincing us of the necessary features of the product by ignoring the rest; as a result we develop “tunnel vision”.

“Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do”, stated Steve jobs. This sounds kind of odd, how do you invest so much money and time into creating something that might flop. I use to believe that a Steve job’s was either a mind reader or a great risk taker. None of my hypothesis were actually hundred percent correct, he might of been somewhat of a risk taker; but most importantly he was a very smart marketer. He believed in the power of great marketing. One of the many ways marketers convince us to acquired their products is by reminding us that we have tried their products before and how much we enjoyed them and this is exactly what mister Job’s executed. How can we possibly have memories of a product we haven’t even tried? Or even exist yet? There have been various studies that printed ads with bright colors and vivid descriptions of products unconsciously give us the impression that we have previously tried the fictional product. It has been demonstrated by marketing surveys that if we think we have tried a product previously we are more likely to like it even more and they’re higher chances of the consumer purchasing it again. Most of the businesses if not all have done such tactic; the first step towards achieving the “ hypothesis” like state of the consumers is by launching a trial advertisement to a targeted audience. Depending on the results from the trial they intensified their marketing strategies.

The attributions that we project on to the commodities create a distorted relationship between us individuals and the commodity itself. We lose sight of the fact that we are responsible for the creation of the commodity and we are the ones who hold valuable skills and qualities not the item. Therefore we fall victims of alienation and become dehumanize as Karl Marx mentions. We feel powerless and unworthy and fall into a paradox of misconceptions. That’s causes us to try to fill in the emptiness that we hold by purchasing the items that put us in this situation in the first place. This unhealthy relationship with commodities is created by big companies “capitalist” and there meticulous marketing schemes that are already destroying humanity. So before making your next purchase I suggest you ask yourself, “Do I really need it”?

The power of domination and authority

 

How was Hitler able to convince so many Germans to kill so many people? This is a question I been asking myself  for many years now.  What makes him so superior that people do as he say’s?  Obedience ranges from many motives, but in this particular situation is based on legitimacy. They Killed for the sake of science. He engraved the idea of a superior race in the Germans minds. He gave them a sense of power by insuring them that they carried “the best blood”, which ultimately will provide them with leadership. Hitler was fortune enough to be born with the skill of oratory; this made it easier for him to allure his way on to the top. He avoided strict, programmatic definitions of National Socialism, which would have destabilized the charismatic nature of his legitimacy. His speeches enchanted people to the point that they treated him as if he was superhuman and believed he was endowed with godly like powers or qualities. Another, reason why Hitler’s rise to power wasn’t all that challenging was due to the problems Germany was already facing during the great depression, such as mass unemployment, economic threats, fear and social dissolution. Hitler leached on Germany’s weakness and feeling’s of national despair, revolt and the urgency for a strong leader to present himself as a messianic rescuer.  Charismatic authority often is unstable and fades away unless routinized and as seen in Hitler’s dominion it faded.

Although, we might think that the Germans were easily convinced due to their lack of knowledge or weakness, we aren’t immune to falling into the same trap of persuasion. We are persuaded by mass media and authority figures all the time. Below I have attached a video of a replication of Milligram’s experiment on obedience to authority figures to help people better understand how domination can be conducted on ordinary people. This series of experiments began in July 1961, during the start of the trial of German Nazi criminal Hitler. Many questions arose concerning the implications of regular individuals in the mass murders of  the holocaust ; were they just following orders ? Or are they all accomplices? Three subjects were involved in the experiment the person in charge of running the experiment, the subject of the experiment the volunteer, and a one pretending to be a volunteer. These three people filled three separate roles: the Experimenter filled the authoritative role, the Teacher the role anticipated to obey the orders of the experimenter, and the Learner the recipient of the punishment. The subject of the experiment the teacher is told that the experiment is a memory test. The teacher is required to emit painful electric shocks to the learner, who is the  actor .The subject(teacher)  believes that for each wrong answer, the learner is receiving high voltage of electric shocks. If at any time the teacher desires to stop the experiment the authoritative figure most repeat these words, “Please continue, the experiment requires that you continue, It is absolutely essential that you continue, You have no other choice, you must go on”. If the teacher asked whether the learner is being caused any permanent physical harm the experimenter most say,   “Although the shocks may be painful, there is no permanent tissue damage, so please go on.” Watch the video and witness the astonishing final results of the experiment, you’ll be surprised by how authority figures that we respect and sometimes praise have so much power upon our actions. Watching this video help me realized how easily Hitler controlled so many people and i came to the conclusion that his followers were just victims of his evilness and not accomplice.

Durkheim And Latina Suicide Attempts

Last class discussion sparked very important issues concerning suicide. The influences of suicide depend on geographical, biological, and social causes; but Durkheim focuses more on the social side of this occurrence. In the studies conducted by Durkheim it was clear that people went through with suicide when they felt detached, didn’t have a sense of commitment nor face-to-face interaction with other people. People that were married have large families and in times of war have less chances of committing suicide. Being involved in groups gives them a sense of commitment and a shared purpose; acting as the glue that tie them together. As a result they start developing solidarity and moral values. Modern society has shifted from primary groups (family) to secondary groups (work &school); as a result most of our time is spent in secondary groups detaching us and making us more individualistic. Although being independent from our primary groups can have its benefits it’s still important to maintain emotional ties with individuals and interact with them regularly. We are social beings so it’s vital to our mental and physical health to maintain close relationships that give us a sense of purpose

I was dumbfounded during our class discussion about Latinas having the highest suicide attempts, since it contradicted Durkheim’s theory. He stated that emotional tides to family and that economic deprivation don’t transcend into increasing suicide attempts; in the contrary when these things are missing suicide rates increase. To further understand this ongoing epidemic, I decided to listen to one of the radio clip that was provided in the slides during class, Lynn Neary, “Why Are Young Latinas at Risk?” August 29, 2006. The leading cause of suicide attempts among Latinas is due to the fact there parents are very religious and have been socialized since birth into deeply rooted Christian religions that maintain strict traditional values. They ignore the social changes that come with immigrating to other countries; which is a result of the limited education they have received in their native countries due to poverty, which influences their Childs development and education. These families were extremely conservative when it came to sex education, they believe that if they didn’t speak about it, it simply didn’t exist; but ironically Latinas have the highest rates of Teen pregnancy. Most Latino families don’t educate their Children about sex because they are afraid that it would enable them to become promiscuous. Growing up in a contemporary world that’s changing constantly is difficult and as a result we must change at the same pace. Latinas are not motivated to educate themselves, instead to just care for their families and their children. They are encouraged to drop out of school to fulfill their mother’s duties. Something from the radio clip that stood out to me was that one of the callers that worked at a high school mentioned that the Latina girls that attended the school formed a pregnancy club. This shows the lack of support they might face at home and so these girls come together for the wrong reasons, to feel some type of acceptances. A Latina woman also called revealing the fact that she was once called not Latina enough for pursuing a college degree and then she went on to say that all of her Latina friends ended up becoming teen moms. It’s very sad that in the 21th century we are still dealing with such cultural barriers. Most of the Latina suicide attempts are due to sexuality and boyfriends. Latino families haveCultural resistances to therapy. They are very close-minded, they believe that if you seek any professional help either your crazy or weak. This problem has been evident for the past 10 years and what’s worse is that the national institute of health has ignored it. This growing issue needs to be tackled before it’s too late, since by 2050 one in every four woman in the U.S will be of Latino decent. It’s really scary that being a Latina myself I never heard about this within my community! Not only does the national institute of health need to find a way to solve this problem; they also need to promote awareness among the Latino community, because maybe instead of these young girls creating pregnancy clubs they would actually create suicide awareness clubs that focuses on the underlying issues that are causing all these suicide attempts.