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Jun 13

That’s just the way he is…

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 in Gender Blogs

When speaking about intimate partner violence (also known as domestic violence), all that many people can think about is a woman being beaten by a man. They focus on the woman and why she stays in the relationship and puts up with the violence or assault, this is a good topic that needs discussion, but for this blog I am going to focus on the man. I have a friend who is in a violent relationship with her partner and her excuse whenever I talk to her about it is, that’s just the way he is. Which is not true; however, what is true is that there are many factors that influence and make an impression on males as they are growing up that can lead to them committing violence against their partners. Next I want to state that this doesn’t give males in heterosexual relationships an excuse to be violent because intimate partner violence is a social construct and can be changed. I just want to focus on some of the factors that can influence some males into thinking and believe that violence against their partners is okay. I will do this by discussing parental modeling, growing up masculine by being aggressive, the portrayal of men stereotypically in mass media, and what you can do to help stop this.

First, why is intimate partner violence an important issue?

Many do not realize when they are in a violent relationship with their partners; this can be because intimate partner violence can take on different behaviors other than physical abuse. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are four behaviors: physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse. Since there are many ways that intimate partner violence can be induce,, it is important to be aware and to also inform others who may not know. Also according to this source, in 2011, “on average, 24 people per minute” were victims to one of the four behaviors (physical, sexual, threats, and emotional) committed by an intimate partner. This is a serious problem which is why I want to discuss some factors that may influence some men into committing these acts against their partners.

How does parental modeling influence?

Once children have an idea about their gender whether it be masculine or feminine, they start looking for role models that show them how their gender should act. Since parents are around children the most, it is common for them to look to them as models of how they should act and behave. According to the textbook, Gendered Lives by Julia T. Wood, this is called parental modeling. For those that grow up in a heterosexual family, kids often learn stereotypical traditional sex roles; that men are the ones who make the decisions and are in control while women are the ones emotionally unstable and adhere to what the husband wants.

parental modeling does influence

This can be a problem when the father shows control by beating the wife because she is weak or emotional; this can influence some male children to model after their father and believe that they too need to control women through violence. For example, a son who watches his father beat his mother everyday and tell her it is because she is weak and needs to be taught a lesson may be influenced to do the same later on in life to his partner. An article about domestic violence talks about how devastating the consequences can be for those that experience and witness intimate partner violence, particularly children. “As they develop, children and teens who grow up with domestic violence in the household are more likely to become abusers in later life”. Modeling after parents may be one of the factors that influence some males into believing that intimate partner violence is okay.

 What does growing up and being aggressive have to do with it?

Well according to Julia T. Wood, encouraging boys to be aggressive may be linked to violence against women. Since many boys are encouraged and accepted by others only if they believe and act act aggressively can sometimes lead them to act on that aggression towards others, especially women.

A man dominating a woman while other men watch on with acceptance.

According to a study about college men’s intimate partner violence attitudes, suggests that gender role strain may be a cause to why some men are aggressively violent towards women. Gender role strain occurs when men adhere to traditional role norms for masculinity so harshly that it can cause distress. This distress causes them to look for acceptance from other males for what they’re doing; such as relieving themselves by being aggressive towards others, usually females. For example, let’s say a male college student is so stressed from having to adhere to the masculine role of being successful in his field of study. So he takes his stress out on his partner through violence, he then looks to his male counterparts for acceptance in what he did. The findings in this study actually illustrated that traditional gender role norms such as being aggressive towards women showed an acceptance of men who committed the act. Growing up with the acceptance of aggression towards females may influence some men into believing that being violent towards their life-long partner is okay without them even realizing it.

How can mass media have that much impact of intimate partner violence?

Mass media is everywhere. We are constantly in contact with it even when we don’t realize it. In the textbook Gender Lives, Julia T. Wood talks a lot about how mass media portrays men stereotypically. Men in the media are usually white, heterosexual, powerful, sexually aggressive and violent. They are also talked about as being the macho man and degrading women in unimaginable ways. Some examples were from the TV show Joe Millionaire who made his date shovel poop while wearing an extremely well-dressed outfit. Another man on Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire made his date take off his shoes then kicked her in the butt. These portrayals of men being powerful, dominant, violent, and how they act of TV shows can influence some men into thinking that this is how women should be treated which lead them to committing intimate partner violence.

Intimate partner violence approved? I think so.

In a study performed by Julia T. Wood, she interviews male felons’ accounts of violence towards their female partners. I felt one of the themes showed in the results justified how mass media influences men who commit intimate partner violence. This theme is called justifications, which “are accounts that accept responsibility, but explain why an action was appropriate, reasonable, necessary, within the actors’ right, or that the action was not as bad as perceived”. One of the justifications was that a man has a right to control/discipline his woman. Some of the men interviewed said they came to this conclusion from watching other men who disciplined their partners through violence. Being influenced by other men can also include how they are portrayed through mass media. For example, if a man were to see the episode of the  TV show Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire when the man kicked his date after having her take off his boots to show control, this may also influence other men into thinking that violence is the way to go when controlling partners.

How does this all connect?

These four constructs all show how some men can be influenced to believe that being violent towards women is okay, that it is just the way they are. However, every single one of these constructs is learned, which means it’s a choice not a genetic trait. We are not born to be violent towards others which means that men that commit intimate partner violence chose to do so. Even if someone doesn’t experience all of these constructs they still will experience at least one throughout their life which can influence their behavior towards women later on. Since intimate partner violence is a social construct formed through influences like the ones I have provided such as parents, peers, and media; males that participant can change their choice of doing so.

How can they and you change intimate partner violence?

SPEAK UP

There are many ways to help end violence against others. One way discussed in the textbook, Gendered Lives, is not being a silent bystander. Wood says that if you were to speak out against those that inflict violence on others you may be able to prevent violence from happening in the future. One organization that works to educate communities on sexual assault and domestic violence is Joyful Heart Foundation. They work to build a community that is strong enough to push the reality away of domestic violence and rape away. This foundation was founded by Mariska Hargitay who plays Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU. According to an article on the Washington Post, Mariska visited Washington to launch her “No More” campaign related to the Joyful Heart Foundation. This campaign is to stop bystanders from being silent about domestic abuse and sexual assault. She argued “an end to the silence that feeds shame” about intimate partner violence. We all need to stop being bystanders to violence and try our hardest to speak out when we see something that isn’t right. Yes intimate partner violence is a choice and can be stopped, but it can only do so if we all agree to do something about it. So go do something!

Jun 4

Why did you do that?

Posted on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Gender Blogs

a man working on his partner’s car

I have been in a committed relationship with my fiancé for three and a half years but it took me up to two years to realize how he showed affection towards me. I use to get so upset because he never wanted to talk about our relationship, I didn’t believe we would make it very far. However, one day I decided to back off and stop trying to make him show affection and to watch what he did for me. Whenever my light in my car would come on for an oil change, he would change it by hand. When I didn’t have enough money to buy groceries for my apartment he took me shopping. When my father passed away a year and a half ago instead of letting me be sad we went on little trips to places to get my mind off of it. When I stopped forcing him to show affection in the way I knew how it opened up my ability to see that he had been showing affection all along, I just had never noticed.

Does this mean anything important?

I believe it does mean something very important. Trying to change your partner to fit into the way you believe affection should be showed is going to limit you. You’ll never be able to enjoy the way they are actually showing you affection because you are closed to idea that emotional disclosure is the only way to show affection. Also where many believe that it is the female in a heterosexual relationship that brings couples together, a study shows otherwise. According to an article I read on Medical Daily,  says that it is the man’s way of showing affection that allows for “an environment in which the couple does a variety of things together, be it leisure or household chores”. Now think about what would happen if women never saw how their partners show affection. They could be losing out on a more enjoyable life together where they are both able to see each other’s affection and be able to relish in it instead of bringing the other partner down when they aren’t showing affection in the way some women want.

Does this have a name?

It does. According to Julia T. Wood, author of Gendered Lives, these different patterns of showing love is known as Gendered Modes of Expressing Affection. Women believe that showing affection is when you talk and engage in intimate self-disclosure which may be why many women in heterosexual relationships miss out when their partners show affection. Men like to show their love by doing things for their partners and sharing activities. A journal by Dr. Simon Forrest, says men may show their affection by doing things because even though they are capable to talk about their emotions they may be “deterred by insecurities about the implications of doing so”. Therefore, doing things for their partners allows most men to be more comfortable in showing affection than by talking about their emotions. However, this doesn’t mean that these are the absolute ways in which couples show affection. Many find a balance between the different styles and are able to both engage in intimate self-disclosure and activities, this is a more androgynous way of sharing.

How does this portray to real life?

a couple self-disclosing to each other

Well Aaron and I have come to a compromise when it comes to how we show each other love and affection. He still does things for me and I know sometimes I probably miss them but he knows that I appreciate what he does. I still listen to him whenever he has a problem or just needs someone to talk too. When I do this for him it allows for him to open up and talk to me about more personal details. We have also found our balance in how we share and show affection. For example, he loves to shoot bow and guns so when he goes to the shooting range I go along because I want him to know I also enjoy doing these things together. And when I need to talk or I am upset about something he takes the time to listen and talk it out with me.

I believe that it is all about finding common ground and being open minded. It is easy for us to get stuck in our ways and to think that every person acts the way we do. I hope those that read this blog learn that there are different ways to show affection and that there is no one right way. I hope that women in heterosexual relationships learn to look at what their partners do for them and realize that it is just as fulfilling as the way they show affection. Also I hope that when your partner does something for you, you won’t have to ask why did you do that, because now you’ll know. He did it out of his love and affection for you and he should be appreciated just as much as you are when you do something for him.

May 30

be discouraged? party? or just study?

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2013 in Gender Blogs

A female college student is sitting on her bed studying for a big test she has the next day. She has been struggling in this class due to her professor’s lack of help in the course. She needs to make a good grade on this test to help keep her grade in the class. However,  in her suitemate’s room she can hear her friends laughing and waiting for the guys to come over to go out. Her roommate comes over to get her wallet and tells her that she should come out with them; that she can study when she gets back later that night. So she gives in, gets

the feeling of not passing a test

dressed, and heads out to the bar with her friends. At the bar, her friends push her to relax, have a few drinks, and go hang out with the guy that has been flirting with her all night. Next thing she knows her alarm is going off. She jumps out of bed, hurries to get ready and heads out to take the big test that she didn’t get a chance to study for.

Why does this happen?

According to Julia T. Wood, author of Gendered Lives, this is called Culture of Romance. Many women go to college with the expectation of making good grades and getting prepared for the job they have dreamed of for years. However, one factor that can push women into a culture of romance is the lack of interest at some colleges and universities in women’s study and progress can cause women to become discouraged. A study I read on the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) websitesaid that because “faculty exhibit a bias against female students that could contribute to the gender disparity in academic” majors could also be connected to the smaller amount of support that women received.

Another factor of the culture of romance is the pressure to fit in and have friends can cause many to get swept up into the party scene by friends and peers. The pressure from friends make women feel that it’s more important to attract guys and “hook up” with them then to focus on studying and grades. An article from U.S.News talks about how “alcohol/energy drink mixes may play a role in the “hook-up culture” that exists on many college campuses”.  The push from friends to drink while studying at college may be one of the main causes in the importance in attracting males and casually hooking up with them.

In the example above, the female college student  is feeling discouraged because she is having a hard time in her class due to the professor’s lack of interest. It doesn’t help that her friends are pushing for her to go out with them and drink and meet guys. She is being tugged from both sides, the lack of interest from her teacher and the pressure from her friends to go out and drink, that she is becoming more disheartened with the idea of spending her time studying and focusing on making good grades.

Should we care?

friends that let you be yourself

I absolutely think we should care about this. As a female, I cannot imagine how hard it must be to go through that intense pressure. I am lucky that I have professors that care about my wellbeing in class and are willing to help me through any problems I may have. I also have a good group of friends that understand that studying and grades are important to me. Not all women have these positive reinforcements in their lives and I think we should care and want to change this because according to an article in the New York Times, having good friendships “has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships”. So having friends is important but it’s the inability some have in choosing good friends that can be their downfall.

I hope that after this blog if you’re ever in this situation from one side or the other. That you either put yourself first and say no to going out to stay in and study for that big test or don’t pressure one of your friends to go out if you know they have something to prepare for the next day. I believe that if we were to become more aware of the factors of the culture of romance that we could help to counteract them. I know that I will focus more on how I influence my friends and try not to push them to hang out if they have to study or prepare for a class

May 23

Homemaker or Career Woman?

Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013 in Gender Blogs

When I was little I spent a lot of time with my Aunt Mary and her family because my mom traveled with her job to support us. I became a part of their family and watched how my aunt and uncle ran the household. They seemed like the perfect family. I didn’t get a chance to live with my dad and mom long before they divorced; so staying with my aunt and uncle was a treat. I loved that my aunt spent her day at home looking after me and my younger cousin Kendall, cleaning, and making sure that dinner was on the table when my uncle got home. She was completely happy and content with her role in their relationship. I remember when I was staying at their house I would help her clean, cook, do laundry, and look after my cousin. She would always tell me what a good girl I was and that my mom would be proud. I believe that since I spent so much time with my aunt when I was little and hearing her say those words influenced me into knowing how I can be a “good  girl” and that was by helping to do the activities of a homemaker.

a good little helper

 There’s nothing wrong with being a homemaker. Now that I am newly engaged and about to get married I feel a pull to want to make sure that I will be a good homemaker for my future family. Interestingly, an article on The Washington Post, says that if the job of a homemaker “were salaried, it would draw, on average, close to six figures: $96,261”. I find that hilarious because many believe that it doesn’t take much to be a homemaker but there is a lot of work that goes into “keeping house”. Even if my aunt didn’t mean to influence my gender identity it happens all the time when children interact with others.

According to our textbook, Gendered Lives by Julia Wood she says this called Symbolic Interactionism which “claims that through communication with others we learn who we are and how our culture views our identity” (Wood, 55). When children interact with others, they are constantly told who they are whether it is a description of how they look or act such as pretty, calm, or rough. These descriptions are then internalized by children that can influence how they act or look externally. Through the views of others they are able to assign what behaviors go with their gender.

I have learned from this theory that even though I have an active role in defining what gender I identify with. That the views and communication of others also play a big role in influencing how we think of ourselves and what we would consider good behaviors for our gender. I hope that this blog shows that there are different paths even if they are part of our cultural norm. An Oxford Journal article I read through the Longwood database stated that “homemakers are slightly happier than wives who work full time…many women do, in fact, report personal gratification and meaning in the activities of caring for home and family”. I am not saying that if someone were to choose a career that they won’t happy because I plan to have a career myself. I’m just trying to show that there many different paths to happiness. There are so many more options for women today but I do not believe that any option is better than the other and that it is our own choice to decide where our path will take us.

happy family

May 19

Hello, I’m Lindsay!

Posted on Sunday, May 19, 2013 in About Us, Uncategorized

my fiance and I before the Ambassador Ball

Hi everyone! My name is Lindsay Statler and I am a senior studying Communication Studies with a concentration in Organizational Communication and Public Relations at Longwood University. I am originally from Clifton Forge, a small town in southwest Virginia but I currently reside in Farmville. As for my dream career, I want to be an Event Planner for a company or organization.

Longwood has given me countless opportunities to help me in pursuing a career. I am currently a Student Assistant for Conferences & Scheduling, a Supervisor for Lancer Line, Pin Rec Chair for the Longwood Ambassadors, and Co-Chair of Events for the Student Philanthropy Council. All of these opportunities have given me the ability to not only use my communication skills but to improve them. These organizations have allowed me to communicate in different kinds of situations whether it is communicating with potential guests for Conferences & Scheduling, with the callers under my supervision when they have questions or problems, or with Longwood students themselves to inform them about the importance of giving back to the university after graduation. These experiences gave me the opportunity to use what I have learned in my classes and put them to use in real world situations and prepare me for pursuing a career after graduation.

I am an only child and was raised by just my mom. When I was younger my mom always wanted to dress me up in these frilly outfits and I fought against it like it was the plague. I never cared about make up or clothes because I wore what was comfortable. It wasn’t until I was in high school when I had my first boyfriend that I started to take notice of my appearance and what I wore. What is it about relationships that can change how a girl thinks about herself? I am interested to see what I can learn from this class that can answer why gender plays such a role in relationships and how we think of ourselves.

Dec 6

ooVoo anyone?

Posted on Thursday, December 6, 2012 in Dr. Tracy, FINALBLOG, Uncategorized

Everyone says college is where you will meet some of your best friends. This is true; however, the easiest part is making them the hardest part is staying in touch. Students use technology everyday to communicate with friends but what if that friend lives far away. Is texting enough to keep the friendship going or would using another form of electronic communication be better? My best friend Kristina moved to Colorado after freshmen year at Longwood and it is through electronic video chatting that we continue to sustain our friendship.

OoVoo is a free online video chat service and according to this press release gives consumers “meaningful and fun communication experience, an easy-to-use and free tool that can be shared with friends and family around the globe, and a high-quality technology for seeing, talking, IMing, sharing files, or sending video messages” (ooVoo, 2007). Many students and those who have long distance friendships use ooVoo to keep in contact and can even connect to friends through Facebook.

Even though I do not see Kristina in person often we are still able to have interpersonal communication through video chatting. It doesn’t matter what we communicate through, because we still use nonverbal communication, self-disclose, manage conflict, have emotional closeness through dialogue, deal with external pressures, and communicate honestly just as if with a friendship that is face-to-face.

[Image by Lindsay Statler]

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication is a form of communicating without using words. This can include gestures and body language, how we speak words using tone, pauses, and volume, and lastly facial expressions. We use nonverbal communication even when we do not realize it by the way we sit, act, or interact with others. Nonverbal communication can be used through video chat just the same as a face-to-face interaction. According to a blog article I found, “video provides an uninterrupted stream of communication; even when nothing is spoken, the video is still relaying images captured by the camera. Therefore, body-language and other visual cues may be relayed, provided the subject is in view”(Mr. Abdi, 2011). Kristina and I do not have to be in touching distance for me to see her nonverbal communication because I can see her through video chat. I can tell when she’s upset, not paying attention, or just being goofy. For example one afternoon when we were on ooVoo her mom walked in and started telling her that she should be working on school work. Kristina turned and looked at me, with that single look I knew exactly what she was thinking and communicating to me about her mom.

Self-Disclosure

Self-disclosure is the sharing of personal information about ourselves to other people that they would normally not find out from anywhere else. This information that is being disclosed can range from anything such as beliefs, dreams, fears, and personal problems. The only time I really get to see Kristina is when we use ooVoo and being on video chat does not stop me from self-disclosing to her, sometimes it makes it easier knowing that I’m telling her stuff over video chat instead of face-to-face. “Dangers of face-to-face self-disclosure, such as being ridiculed or rejected and fears of disapproval, are much less prevalent in online interaction” (Peter, 425). An example would be if I were to tell Kristina a personal problem that was important, this would be disclosing in her; however, the nice part is that I would be doing it over video chat so after I tell her I know I can log off and won’t see her around campus or in classes so it would be less embarrassing for me if she laughs at my problem.

Conflict

[Image by flickr user ben hanbury/CC Licensed]

Just like any other face-to-face friendship we face conflict. One evening when we were on ooVoo I could tell Kristina was upset about something and was giving me the silent treatment because of it. So instead of taking a destructive response to the conflict such as the exit response which is when you physically or psychologically remove yourself; which I could have done by just ending the video chat. I decided to go with the voice response which is the most constructive way of responding to conflict. I told Kristina that I could see she was upset about something and even if she didn’t want to talk about it now that I believed we could work through whatever was upsetting her. We did eventually talk and solve the conflict because we want our friendship to continue and not give up on it just because of a skirmish. This is reinforced in an article I read called Conflict Management in Online Relationships, Dr. Ishii talks about how when friends have the intention of continuing a relationship and wanting it to last they will show a more higher degree of concern when they experience conflict. “In short, individuals try to solve conflict constructively in close relationships” (Ishii, 266).

Emotional Closeness

Emotional closeness is the need to feel close and connected to another.  We get this through talking, experiences, and investing time in becoming comfortable with each other. Kristina and I get this closeness through dialogue. This is a closeness which is emphasized through talking and listening. This type of closeness is more associated with women since it deals more with inner feelings and listening. Every time Kristina and I video chat on ooVoo we invest the time to learn about what we have missed in each other’s lives between the times that we talk. We want to continue the closeness we have in knowing and understanding each other. We video chat about every other week and talk for over an hour just because we enjoy each other’s company and want to hear of the experiences we have gone through during the weeks. We have definitely generated closeness through dialogue that I treasure every day.

External Pressures

External pressures come from outside sources and one of the main pressures is geographical distance. Many friends who stay connected online face the challenge of long-distance friendships. This defines my relationship with Kristina, we deal with the pressures of being far apart while still staying close in our friendship. With her living in Colorado and me being stuck in Virginia it’s hard to be that far away because we can’t even drive a few hours but would have to drive days to see each other. Wood states that women tend to be more willing to make time for friends and willing to tolerate the unfortunate circumstances that come in between being friends (Wood, 2010). Those who choose to remain friends through rough circumstances and distances are known as friends of the heart. I believe that through the dedication, investment, and willingness Kristina and I will stay friends’ years from now.

[Image by Flickr user Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL's photostream/ CC Licensed][Image by Flickr user Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL’s Photostream/ CC Licensed]

 

Communicate Honestly

Communicating honestly is a huge part in maintaining friendships. If you can’t trust your friends to be honest with you then who can you trust? Wood talks in our text book about how honesty is the best thing you can give your friends and that honesty is what really sets true friends apart from others (Wood, 2010). It is also a guideline for communicating with friends because real friendships include honest feedback and sincere conversation. An article by Samantha Brick talks about how honesty really is the best policy. She decided to start an ‘honesty policy’ where she was honest with everyone she had contact with. And it was founded that “those who spoke the truth not only felt more relaxed, they also formed better relationships with those they were being straightforward with” (Brick, 2012). Kristina has always been honest with me even when it hurts me but I know she does it out of keeping our friendship true and real. I appreciate the honesty because there really are few who will be that truthful with you.

So what?

Having taken this class and learned about all the different factors that go into friendships really broadened the way I look at friendships now. I wanted this blog to show that even friendships that are only connected through online communication can still have interpersonal relationships. I have had this friendship with Kristina through ooVoo for 2 years now and I consider her a closer than most of the friends I see face-to-face. Thanks to the advancement of video technology, friends “are able to condense long distances and communicate using” different video software on the Internet (Espina, 2009).  So if there is a friend that you have lost contact with because of long distances I would recommend video chatting them. Don’t let the chance of a real and true friendship slip away just because you think you can’t have an actual connection with them because you’re not living in the same place. So go reconnect.

 

Works Cited

Brick, S. (2012, August 13). Samantha Brick: Scientists say honesty really IS the best policy | Mail Online. Home | Mail Online. Retrieved December 5, 2012, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2187984/Samantha-Brick-Scientists-say-honesty-really-IS-best-policy.html

Espina, S. (2009, April 6). Video Chat: The Key for Long-Distance Relationships? | The River Reporter. The River Reporter. Retrieved December 6, 2012, from http://theriverreporter.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/going-the-distancewithout-really-having-to-maintaining-long-distance-relationships/

Ishii, K. (2010). Conflict management in online relationships. Cyberpsychology, Behavior And Social Networking, 13(4), 365-370.

My Experience With: Non-verbal communication during computer mediated communication. (2011, February 21). My Experience With. Retrieved December 5, 2012, from http://idriseschool.blogspot.com/2011/02/ow-non-verbal-communication-is-or-is.html

ooVoo Humanizes Internet Communication with Free High-Quality Face-to-Face Video . (2007, June 11). ooVoo Video chat and Instant Messaging. Retrieved December 5, 2012, from http://www.oovoo.com/SelectedPressReleases/6_11_07-ooVooLaunch.htm

Peter, J., Valkenburg, P. M., & Schouten, A. P. (2005). Developing a model of adolescent friendship formation on the internet. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 8(5), 423-430. doi:10.1089/cpb.2005.8.423

Wood, J. T. (2010). Interpersonal communication: everyday encounters (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Oct 19

If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted on Friday, October 19, 2012 in Dr. Tracy, ICOMM2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erB2mBocdgM

**you only have to watch to 4:00**

As seen in the clip Cory’s and Eric’s mom and dad lied to them to sneak off and have a night away dancing. They catch their mom in the act and tell their father when he gets home. Amy then has to explain that to keep their spark of adventure and love they need time away from their lives at home. Have you ever known your parents or a friend’s parents to go off and spend time together alone somewhere? Many couples do this to make their everyday routine lives more spontaneous and to bring them closer together.

Many couples around the world deal with the tug and pull of wanting an everyday routine and wanting impulsive adventures. This may cause friction between couples when one partner may want more spontaneity or excitement in the relationship than the other. This friction doesn’t mean something is wrong with the relationship these “contradictions play a pivotal role in relationship development and maintenance” (Graham 194-195). These feelings are normal and couples can get through them by doing something out of routine. Couples need to realize this because if not they may give up on the relationship when all that needs to happen is communication about novelty and predictability in their relationship.

Within a relationship novelty attends to change and uncertainty whereas predictability attends to certainty and stability. Novelty and predictability are part of relational dialectics that deal with “opposing forces, or tensions, that are normal in relationships” (Wood 200).  This can sometimes become a problem in relationships because yes every couple likes having a familiar routine; however, to much routine can become boring and can allow for that spark between couples to burn out. Having just a little bit of novelty in a relationship can keep a couple happy and connected. This is exactly what Cory’s parents from Boy Meets World, Alan and Amy, are doing. They have their familiar routine at home taking care of the boys, going to work, and taking care of the house. This routine can become monotonous and dull. So, to make things more interesting they plan little trips out on the town to keep the excitement in their relationship. It just takes communication between the couple and action that keeps predictability from becoming a problem within a relationship.

Even though relational dialectics are normal in a relationship, if a couple doesn’t know that then it can cause problems. However, as long as a couple communicates these tensions of wanting more novelty in the relationship then it shouldn’t cause a problem between them. One of the main ways to resolve a conflict is communication; therefore, I believe to be comfortable with relational dialectics a couple has to have strong communication between one another. Otherwise, these opposing forces may eventually force a couple apart.

Sources:

Graham, E. E. (2003). Dialectic contradictions in postmarital relationships. Journal Of Family Communication, 3(4), 193.

Wood, J. T. (2010). Interpersonal communication: everyday encounters (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Sep 24

Who are you to judge?

Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012 in Dr. Tracy, ICOMM1, Uncategorized

This is a clip from the movie Pretty Woman. Vivian has entered a store to do some shopping with money that Edward has given her to spend on clothes. Upon walking into the store, the saleswoman assumes from Vivian’s looks that she not in the right store and asks her to leave. Vivian leaves hurt from being addressed so wrongly from the way she looks. Being judged by other people happens all the time and not just by looks; men, women, different races, gender, professions, you, and me are put into boxes of who we are, how we should act, and how we should look by our own personal constructs we apply.

People face being stereotyped every day and this happens not only in the United States but all over the world.  According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County hate crimes rise 14%, Orange County which has grown increasingly more diverse has had a 14% increase in reported hate crimes due to stereotypes. Jewish children have had money thrown at them to see if they would pick it up, playing off a stereotype. Rusty Kennedy, who heads the commission and who began recording the statistics 21 years earlier said, “I would hope there would be a day when you wouldn’t see 64 documented hate crimes in our community. But I fear they’re happening much more frequently than we’re aware”.  It is hard to think that children are having money thrown at them just because they have a different religion; however, it happens all the time.

How many times have you seen or heard someone being mistreated because of race, clubs, friends, or gender? I know I have witnessed it and I can say that I am ashamed that sometimes I do not stop it. In a world and society that is becoming more diverse it still seems that this is a huge problem. It is something that students, adults, and children need to know how to break away from; how to be bigger and not judge someone based on the constructs we apply to race, sports, gender, disabilities, and much more.

According to Interpersonal Communication Everyday Encounters, a stereotype is a predictive generalization applied to a person or situations. Based on the category in which we place someone or something and how that person or thing measures up against the personal constructs we apply… (Wood, 2010). To me stereotyping is having a perception of someone else based on similarities of people who are in the same group. For example, in the clip of Pretty Woman, the saleswoman saw this woman of bad repute walk into her store trying to buy something that she could not see any woman of bad repute owning and acted accordingly; she stereotyped Vivian because of the similarities she had to a prostitute. The Jewish children in the article in the Los Angeles Times were also being stereotyped as good with money and cheap because they were having money thrown at them to see if they would pick it up. Stereotypes happen everywhere and to everyone. It could be a sport, race, club, gender, military group, or age that you are grouped into and made different by.

Stereotyping is a huge part of everyday life. Some might think it’s no big deal to stereotype someone; however, you lose so much by keeping a closed mind. There is so much to learn from people who are different than you are. Our assumptions of people aren’t always correct and we really should get to know people before stereotyping them into a group. It can have a lasting effect on those who are mistreated because of being different and I know I wouldn’t want to be treated differently. So at the end of it all really who are you to judge.

Sources:

Wood, J. T. (2010). Interpersonal communication: everyday encounters (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Aug 22

All About Me(:

Posted on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 in ABOUTUS, Dr. Tracy

Hello, my name is Lindsay Statler. I live in Clifton Forge, Virginia. I am a Communication Studies major with a concentration in Public Relations. I am an Ambassador, Supervisor at Lancer Line, and Student Assistant for Conferences and Scheduling here at Longwood. My career choice is to be an Event Planner once I graduate. This summer I worked as a Summer Associate for Conferences and Scheduling at Longwood.

Working on campus for these different jobs I had to use communication skills to justify needs and provide customer service for those that I worked for. I have acquired these skills through my comm classes which have helped me to communicate not only as an individual but also as a team member. Through Ambassadors I get to communicate about Longwood to Alumni, prospective students and their families. I love the different individuals I get to meet and the stories I get to tell and hear about. All of these experiences help me to become a better communicator every day.

Jun 14

Taking Back Control

Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 in finblog, Uncategorized

Throughout advertising it is noticed that male dominance is a common factor. This isn’t just a recent thing it has been going on throughout the history of advertising. Women are constantly put down whether it be from violence, sexual intentions, or body image. This advertising is seen in but not limited to clothing, alcohol, and perfume.

The ad above is a recent picture portraying the male dominance theme in advertising. The woman in the ad is blonde, thin, with an unrealistic chest. The main visual point of the ad is a triangle that is made up of the man’s legs with a base being the woman’s chest. This is sexual because the eye is immediately drawn to either the woman’s chest or the point of the triangle being the man’s private area. The second visual point is the man’s private area with a long Skyy Vodka bottle and two martini glasses.

Since this ad is mysterious in the sense that the man’s face is not seen; it portrays many different ideas, beliefs, and values.

What is an idea?

An idea according to dictionary.com is defined as an impression. There can be many impressions made by this ad depending on the person who is viewing it. The first idea that came to my mind when looking at the ad was the woman’s body image. This woman resembles many other women in media today. In advertising women have to fit a certain body type this in turn creates a bad self-image for women who do not portray this look. This is even proclaimed in the article: Idealism: Factors Affecting the Body Image of College Students by Alyssa Pictura, “the mass media has been argued to be the most powerful and influential sociocultural factor contributing to body dissatisfaction in Western society by being the strongest proponent of the thin standard of beauty”.

What is a belief?

According to dictionary.com a belief is defined as an opinion. My first opinion of this ad was how unrealistic it was. In my personal experience I have never seen a man walking on the beach in a business suit; let along carrying Skyy Vodka and two martini glasses looking for a perfect woman to straddle over. The advertisement company was so worried about making the ad look high class that they did not think to worry about making it realistic.

What is a value?

A value is defined by dictionary.com as something that is important to a person. Due to people living different life styles can view this ad in many ways. Someone who is conservative may view this ad in a negative way because the fact that there is a man straddling a woman who chest is hanging out. While someone who is more open of their sexuality may fine this ad appealing.

So what does this have to do with Communication Theory?

Semiotics is “the study of the social production of meaning from sign systems, the analysis of anything that can stand for something else” (Griffin, 2009). We can break down the Skyy Vodka bottle two different ways: the denotative sign system and the connotative sign system the denotative sign system. The denotative sign system is defined as “a descriptive sign without ideological content” and the connotative sign system which is defined as “a mythic sign that has lost its historical referent form without substance” (Griffin, 2009). These two work off of each other to represent how a sign can start off meaning one thing and in the end means something completely different. We can see the change that has taken place over time and what the Skyy Vodka bottle now stands for. The denotative sign system has 3 components: the sign, the signifier, and the signified. The sign is the combination of both the signifier and the signified. Next is the signifier which is “the physical form of the sign as we perceive it through our senses” (Griffin, 2009). And last is the signified which is “the meaning we associate with the sign” (Griffin, 2009). First in the denotative sign system is the signifier which in this case is the Skyy Vodka bottle. Next is the signified; that is the meaning we take away from the signifier, in this case Skyy Vodka is alcohol. Third is the sign, the combination of both the signifier and the signified; alcohol makes a person more relaxed and so they are more acceptable to social interaction. These components combined equal Skyy Vodka causes social interaction. Then starts the connotative sign system and similar to the denotative sign system it starts with the signifier. However, the sign is now the signifier is Skyy Vodka causes social interaction. The signified then changes to social and sexual interactions and successfulness. The new combination of the signifier and signified is Skyy Vodka equals success which is the sign we now portray whenever we see Skyy Vodka.

The picture above is a parody to the Skyy Vodka ad. I wanted this parody to challenge the ideology that not all men are dominant; women are allowed to have power too. Along with this I wanted to show that not all women in advertising need to have super model bodies. The woman in this picture is 5 foot 5 inches tall with a smaller sized chest. The man in this picture is shown in the place of where the woman was in the original ad. This is to show the woman’s dominance and that not all men are in control or in power.

Standpoint Theory deals with “the social groups within which we are located powerfully shape what we experience and know as well as how we understand and communicate with ourselves, others, and the world” (Griffin, 2008). We find in today’s world that many women have body image issues because of the way women are portrayed in the media. As a woman my standpoint on the Skyy Vodka ad is that it is demeaning to women; in the sense that it has to be a man in control and not the woman. It is as if the man straddling the women just expects her to do as he wants and what I see that he wants is to have a sexual interaction while drinking Skyy Vodka. With the parody above, I wanted to show a different interaction between male and female. In this picture the woman is in control and in position of power (on top). I wanted this parody to allow women to “draw on discourses that provide…models that help women make sense of their situation in ways that empower them to increase their control over their lives” said in article The Standpoint of Art/Criticism: Cindy Sherman as Feminist Artist? by Jessica Sprague-Jones and Joey Sprague. Media has portrayed women for so long as something to use and just be seen that I want women to know that they have control and power they just need to realize they too can have dominance over others.

There are so many ways to view advertisements through symbols, viewpoints, beliefs, values, and ideas. All of these allow for individuals to form their own opinion of every advertisement they see. No opinion is right or wrong but what if we tried to view the ads through someone else’s standpoint and see the symbols through their eyes and what it means to them. Then maybe we can change the way the media portrays men and women. William Bernbach once said, “all of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher lever” (William).

Works Cited

Griffin, E. (2009). A first look at communication theory. (Seventh ed., Vol. 7). New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.

Pitura, A. (2010). Idealism: Factors affecting the body image of college students. Journal Of The Communication, Speech & Theatre Association Of North Dakota, 2362-68.

Sprague-Jones, J., & Sprague, J. (2011). The standpoint of art/criticism: cindy sherman as feminist artist?. Sociological Inquiry, 81(4), 404-430. doi:10.1111/j.1475-682X.2011.00385.x

William Bernbach quotes. (n.d.). Find the famous quotes you need, ThinkExist.com Quotations.. Retrieved June 14, 2012, from http://thinkexist.com/quotation/all_of_us_who_professionally_use_the_mass_media/226984.html