>>>TheZ<<< Blog about Gender Studies

"Men aren't more plaintive than women" headline of an article in the BNN

A few days before I found an interesting article about gender and health in the daily newspaper. It was about a congress of natural health professionals in Baden-Baden in April in which the topic "typical man - typical woman" is placed in the focus. It claims that being man and living like one would be unhealthy and risky. After D. Falkenberg, president of the natural health professional state association, could the male life expectancy (2010: 77,3 years) approach to the female one (2010: 82,5 years), if the men would more often visit a medicin. Therefore, alternative practitioners had already long ago an eye on men and their specifical problems contrary to the mainstream medicin.

Two-thirds of patients coming to a natural health professional or an orthodox medical practitioner would be women. But the latter medicin wouldn't ask for familiar or work-related problems of men which would be necessary to find out the kind of their trouble. So men would also have a worse nutrition than women and would not deal with their physicalness that openly.

Additionally, men wouldn't be registered rightly as sick people in public. This is strongly supported because of the aspect that men would be "symptopms - concealers", which means that they would keep their problems for themselves due to the sight that being sick and not powerful anymore is something horrible for them.

In fact, the healthy problems of men would be thematized far to little. Stress and mental overload would be the factors which result in concentration weakness, sleep disorder as well as gastrointestinal disorder. These symptoms wouldn't become better just with time, it would be neccessary to help affected people with for instance certain medicaments especially for men.

Still the problem stays: men wouldn't go public with their health issues. So until today there wouldn't exist a governmental bill of health of men, whereas women bills of health are already standart for years. The men's siucide rate would be three times higher than the women's one, besides men would significantly die more often of cancer. "And nonetheless nobody writes about it", critizises Falkenberg. After the important and neccessary emancipation of the women it would be the time to ensure the equality of both sexes. It would be the aim to get the men taking their health seriously and talk about it. That wouldn't mean that men are plaintive, they would indeed like to complain, but it is proofed that men are able to suffer more pain .

So in conlusion, to take the health problems in public and to talk about them instead of trying to ride them out is not a sign for weakness but for a better life quality.

1 Kommentar 20.4.11 14:53, kommentieren

Areas Of Masculinity

In the last lesson we talked about the "Seven Areas Of Masculinity" by the sociologist and author Janet Saltzman Chafetz.

So there would be a division between the physical, functional, sexual as well as emotional, intellectual and interpersonal aspects of being male. Additionally, there are some further personal male characteristics.

As typically physical aspects appertain of course a well trained and muscular body together with a tall stature plus a handsome appearance in general. The typical man should be athletic and brave and show all his virility.

The second area, functional, is traditionally the one of the breadwinner and protector of the family. The male role is usually connected with hard physical work and roles like a military/fighter, viking, pirat, cowboy, mechanic, worker, hero, king/president, footballer and so on. So every activity which has to do with masculinity: with protection, hard work or leading roles, thus with typical male attributes.

Furthermore, there is the sexual area. For men, it would be acceptable living as a single, the single status would be, other than by women, acceptable. But the man should be experienced and sexually aggressive. Besides, he should be adaptable because he had also to regard the demands of every single woman.

The emotional part deals with the male character, which should be stoic and unemotional, after the maxim "boy's don't cry". But in our class many girls wrote that a men could sometimes also be a bit more sensitive and romantic.

Intellectual should a man be intelligent and well educated. His way of thinking would be logical and objective and straight to the point.

Another area of masculinity is the interpersonal domain. So the "real" man would be the leader, independant, individualistic, disciplinarian and dominating.

Finally, there are some further personal "male" characteristics mentioned.

Parts of these are: succes-orientation, ambition and the always existing competition between the men, doesn't matter if in business, sports or simply about the size of the car. Then the aggressive and often egoistical way of thinking, the uninhibitedness against others, the quest for adventures and the proud of every man. But they were also trustworthy, decisive and moral.

So all in all it's an typical image which shows, in my opinion, many stereotypes concerning masculinity and being a real man. I don't say it is a completly different picture of what men are, but I think it is not possible to sum up the attributes and characteristics of all men on earth and create a standard model of what it means to be male.

1 Kommentar 13.4.11 10:28, kommentieren

Trip to the university library in Heidelberg

Today our course made a trip to Heidelberg to visit the university library there. After the rail journey we went by bus to the library placed in the old quarter of Heidelberg. The library was a huge and very nice historic building with a really grand amount of books! So after a little research in the computer area we looked for books which would help us to write our term papers about a topic dealing with gender. Then we searched in the chosen books for parts and chapters concerning our individual topic and scanned them on an USB-stick. SO we have the opportunity to work at home with the material of the university library.

Of course we had also a little bit time for us to eat something in a kind of refectory and to promenade quickly through the city.

So all in all it was an interesting and hopefully helpful day for us.

1 Kommentar 7.4.11 18:46, kommentieren

The Quest for the perfect body - Depending on Gender?

The last presentation so far was hold a few lessons before. It's topic was the quest for the perfect body and how it is connected with gender.

The introduction were two pictures, one of slim and one of really fat women. We should choose the foto we like the best - and of course everybody took the one with the slim ladies. Then the lecturer told us about the social demands for women and men and that both of them would usually have the need to have a perfect body. The men want to be either also very thin like the women or excessive muscular. But this beauty ideals in television, magazines and so on would be unrealistic and even unhealthy. Health would stand in contrast to the beauty imaginations lots of people have. The perfection in beauty of the own body could lead to eating disorders like Bulimia nervosa, Binge eating or Anorexia nervosa. The first eating disorder, the Bulimia nervosa, is eating very often and very much at once so that the food has to be puked up afterwards. The second one is also an eating disorder with obsessive eating but without vomiting. So as a consequence the person gaines lots of weight instead of getting a perfect body. The last one, the Anorexia nervosa, is especially caused by psychological and social factors. The reasons for these disorders would usually be the dissatisfaction with the own body and the low self-esteem, perhaps caused by the family or social factors. For a woman, the biological aspect would be the most important one contrary to the man, for whom the sociological aspects has more weight.

Solutions to solve these problemes could be therapies to normalize the eating behaviour or campaigns against skinny models in the fashion world. Current issues were for instance tv-shows as "America's next topmodel" by Tyra Banks and generally the fashion of today.

In the end we had, as usually, a short discussion about the presented topic where everybody could understand the problem concerning the perfect body and agreed with the partial utopian beauty ideals in tv and fashion.

1 Kommentar 22.2.11 20:22, kommentieren

Do men and women speak the same language?

A few weeks before, there was a presentation about Gender and language in our seminarcourse.

The presentation started with a short discussion if we would know any examples of difficulties between men and women concerning the language respectively the conversation. Of course, many stereotypes as for instance that men never listen or that women would talk too much and so on were spoken to. After these first impressions about the topic the lecturer told us the way men would generally use to speak:

So they would primaly talk about information and not about feelings and their emotions. Besides, men would talk loudly and dominant to show their power towards the conversational partner. Moreover, men would talk in a sexistic way, joking about breasts and thinks like that (But is this really only typically for men to speak about the personal advantages of the other sex?).

However that be, women would talk generally in a more weaker and emotional way. They would work with exaggerations and repetitions and use less vulgar expressions. Moreover, they wouldn't show their power to anybody but rather they would use minimisations to hurt nobody and to seem lovely. And of course they would talk more often.

Then, we were told about the problems if men and women talk to each other. Women would like to talk about experiences which aren't things men would like to talk about. Another difficulty is that women often make suggestions in a partnership with for example using sentences beginning with "Shall we..." or "Let's...". This would be the reason why men would feel restricted in their freedom and independance. So if they talk, they would sometimes do it in a way like they would give commands, which in turn is a restriction for the women. 

Furthermore, the presentation showed as one of the lasts points the differences between the sexes concerning the differently evolved brains. So female brains would be better adapted in verbal task whereas male brains would better handle with visual-spatial and mathematical tasks.

So personally, I think it is true that there are important and clear differences between the "language" of men and women. And I think a lot of these sterotypes are true. But in my opinion every person is an own individual, and I am very sure that there are also some men speaking very much and some women who talk primaly about information instead of feelings.

1 Kommentar 20.2.11 12:24, kommentieren

Gender in erveryday life

In this blog entry I want to write about an Gender "incident" which happend not just in theory but in my personal life.

A few days before christmas our washing machine went out of order - a catastrophy for my mother . So my father began to search for a quick way to get a, this time better, machine because my mother was completly in Christmas stress. Besides, my father is technically adept and consequently able to proof quality and so on of the different washing machines. Finally he found one and signed the sales contract with his name.

But later we got a bill addressed to my mother although she had nothing to do with the purchase. Furthermore, the day the washing machine was delivered my mother wasn't at home, but my father was because he had a free day. So he showed the men where to place the washer and so on. After this, one guy asked for the housewife. As a reason he took the instruction for the handling of the device. My father told him that my mother was at work. The man thought about one second and then said to my father: "Then I have to show it you!"

This is another example of gender studies as there are lots of others in our daily life. So nowadays it's still difficult for men to buy things for the household, typical women stuff, as for instance washing machines.

1 Kommentar 6.1.11 13:43, kommentieren

Presentation - Gender in TV/film

A week ago, a fellow pupil told us about the representation of women and men in movies and in TV in general.

In the past, the role of the woman was the one as a co-actress in the background. They had no important roles, they just had to look good. Nowadays, the change of this situation conveys for instance in the Tarantino movie "Kill Bill" (2003/2004) with Uma Thurman who wrote the script together with Quentin Tarantino. Thurman is the highlight of the movie, she is the leading actor. Her role character is equal to male roles, which sterotypically are aggressiv, have to do a lot with action and in this case also with revenge. Today there is the new concept of combining action and women to have especially greater succes by the men. But it is clear to see that the role of the woman has changed. Of course there are still other movies which constitute the picture of the advantage of the female body, the manipulation of the sexual figure and so on. This repesents a stereotypical and sexist comedy which gains erotic aspects and is produced out of the males view which is an example for the often different prefers of men's and women's stuff like action, violence and women on the one side and romantic, love and relationship crises on the other side.

The role of the man in the past was also a different one than it is today. Previously, the male role was the hero, the strong and hard savior, the bad guy or the genius respectively buffon. But today, the role as a father figure, a family member who has other problems with e.g. his children etc. instead of killing somebody or whatever, comes up and gaines attention. In former times male roles hardly never had a family or were even married. This thing changed, too.

Another point of the presentation was the influence of TV's gender images. So tv shows such as Scrubs would be so successful because people could identify with the characters and get entertained in the same way. Moreover through TV the gender roles can get shaped and it can be learnt what it means to be female respectively male (--> clichées). Besides, the media makes it natural for example to be thin or very strong etc. This again could let to depressions etc. because the children want to be like the stars on tv.

Children in the age between seven and twelve slowly begin to think about gender stereotypes. They understand the differentation between the people, but the tv is not the main influence at this time, it is more the influence of the parents and of their families and friends. In the age under seven children usually don't care about the other sex simply because they are too young. Teenager in an age between twelve and eightteen receive the greatest influence by tv. In this time the problems as anorexia which is the fact that mainly girls don't eat anymore because they think they would be too fat, rises up. 

In conclusion you can say that there is a wide range in role models. People have to decide themselves if they accept what the tv and film world shows us, if they simply disregard it or if they interpret it in their own way. I would say many people get influenced by tv but I would also say that it is usually not the main influence in our life, in some cases surley but I don't think in general.

1 Kommentar 19.12.10 14:27, kommentieren