Archive for the ‘society|BOOK’ Category

“Because I’m a Man…”: Sexism in the 21st Century

In comment|BOOK, society|BOOK on January 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Sexism is a trait of our ever-changing society, affecting the modern day lifestyle in more ways than you could imagine.

In both heterosexual and gay relationships today, there appears to be a consistent need to search for the ‘man of the relationship’ and to determine which sex, ‘wears the trousers’.  These concepts are suggestive of a dominant ‘male’ figure and possibly a lesser ‘female’ figure. This is clearly an extremely dated view as most of us are well aware that women are more than able to make decisions, do D.I.Y and take on the role of the breadwinner. Further to this, the evolution of today’s families has seen an increasing number of ‘stay at home dads’, leaving the mother to provide for her family. Since 1993, there has been an 83% increase of ‘stay at home dads’ in the UK and popular films such as Daddy Day Care (2003) are a creative display of these changes.

Also, in popular culture, it is often thought more socially acceptable for men to sleep around, as it seems that when women have a lot of sexual contact, they are automatically depicted as village bikes. “Why are women different?”, you ask.  It appears that when it comes to sexual expression, women become objects of controversy.  Through the porn industry, women are seen to be performing for the satisfaction of men, demoting them to spectacles and arguably promoting sexism.

It could be perceived that a lot of men are intimidated by women who are confident and have high self-esteem.  Those who love their bodies and work hard to take on society’s prestigious roles become a threat. There seems to be a fascination with powerful women, such as Oprah, who have pushed the boundaries of modern sexism, throwing tradition out  in the most sophisticated of ways.

Regardless, there is still a struggle for women to break through the ‘glass ceiling’ and achieve their potential.  Does it pay to be sexist? The relationship between modern sexism and career outcomes (Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 69) found that modern sexism is positively related to promotions.  When relying on men for advice, communication workers received more promotions than their colleagues who were less sexist.

Sexual harassment has also been a significant problem for women at work. However, it is a costly mistake to assume that men are not exposed to the same abusive treatment.  Many individuals seem to overlook male rape, and some even refuse to believe it can happen, when in fact a man can be as much a victim of rape as a woman can.

The same can be said for male victims of domestic violence.  As males are deemed the stronger sex, the image of a violent woman is not easily accessible.  However, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and the American Psychiatric Association found that 50.3%, of women were the instigators of domestic violence 70.7% of the time. Where sexism has always been linked to women, it seems sexism towards men is alive in these cases, turning the idea of the victimization of women completely on its head.

Although modern sexism is a hard pill to swallow for both genders, it seems to be that in general, women are still fighting issues such as the ‘glass ceiling’ and will be struggling with these problems for years to come.  However, on reflection, today’s society provides a vast array of opportunities for women; allowing them to be confident and ambitious, giving modern sexism the kick in the balls it deserves.

A Little Less Conversation: The Effect of Busy Parents on a Child’s Ability to Talk

In society|BOOK on January 4, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Results published today from a YouGov survey suggest that playing digital games and watching television could decrease children’s ability to speak and understand language clearly.

Jean Gross, who has been coined the “communication champion” for children, claims that the less time children spend with their parents, the more likely they are to have difficulty in learning to talk.  The educational psychologist also expressed concern with study findings that communicate a risk of an increase in developmental disorders and crime, if children are not helped.

Furthermore, the results state that boys are twice as likely to struggle than girls. According to the survey, a quarter of all boys have language difficulties, whereas only 13% of girls share these problems. This is highlighted in relation to the first word spoken, as 34% of girls spoke their first word before reaching the age of 9 months, compared to 27% of boys. And considering that most first words were a reference to a parent i.e. “dada, daddy”, it is clear that parenting styles have high impact on language development.

Gross believes that children, “exposed to screens of all kinds” are suffering from a lack of face-to-face interaction with their parents, and that this could be significantly due to financial issues. Parents who provide their children with high-priced game consoles are automatically increasing the likelihood of spending more time away from their children.  Financial pressure has proved to be a notable factor in this investigation, as children from richer families were shown to enjoy story telling by parents more than children from less affluent families.

Following the study, only 54% of the children who had problems received help from a speech and language therapist but 23% of children received no help.

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In society|BOOK on December 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm

At BOOKlet, you are promised the best from arts and society, so get the best online links from my twitter page:


Natasha Devan


Drink Young, Drink Less?

In society|BOOK on December 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Research findings from Liverpool John Moores University state that allowing children to drink occassionally may reduce binge drinking. Almost 10, 000 15-16 year old participants completed the survey which found that drinking at home may protect children from alcohol damage and violence.

Clearly, drinking at home is the safer option.  According to study results, over a third of drinkers in the above age group admitted to buying their own alcohol.  Obviously, when children buy their own alcohol, there is more free reign as parents are unaware of their drinking behaviours.  The child wants to escape from the environment where underage drinking is not acceptable.  Parents rules can drive children away, resulting in harmful alcohol-related behaviours.  These ideas are confirmed within the research findings, as children buying alcohol were much more likely to binge drink and drink in public places.

Although abstinence within the family removes the risk of drinking alcohol, this benefit is restricted to the home environment.  When parents do not allow their children to drink, they are increasing the likelihood of excessive drinking and dangerous environments. Drinking can sometimes be a result of peer pressure and therefore drinking a small amount at home can show the child that there is nothing that special about the consumption of alcohol.  It would result in the prevention of rebellious behaviours related to alcohol and provide the child with a safe environment to learn the effects and consequences of drinking.

Alternatively, you could argue that children learn from their mistakes and experiences.  Thus drinking outside of the home may in some cases prevent future cases.  However, this is a high risk to take, as some children have no concept of limits to their drinking habits and will do anything to feel popular and part of a social group. If parents give their children an occassional drink, they are taking the responsibility of teaching them how to control their alcohol intake in social situations, increasing their safety.

The Removal of Minimum Payment = Pay More?

In society|BOOK on December 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm

An ongoing programme of research has found that removing the minimum payment can increase the amount that credit card holders pay monthly. Dr. William Matthews, a Lecturer from the Department of Psychology (University of Essex) is currently in collaboration with Dr. Neil Stewart (University of Warwick), investigating these findings further.

Dr. Matthews states that “small changes in a credit card bill can produce large and unexpected changes in amount people choose to pay”.  By removing the minimum payment, individuals are biased into paying less than they otherwise would.  Although a small minority are protected, in the long term people are getting into more debt. These are the main findings in Dr. Stewart’s experiment which was published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology earlier this year.

The most recent experiment, which follows from previous findings, began in April 2009 and has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.  The study has analysed real statements from 11 credit card providers, as well as providing online participants from market research company websites with pretend credit card bill scenarios.

As a result of these findings, both Dr. Matthews and Dr. Stewart have been involved in conversation with the Government Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.  There has been discussion of a new white paper detailing changes to the minimum payment.  However, the changes could come with a risk.  Dr. Matthews explains that, “if you make arbitrary changes, you may have effects that you are not expecting”.  People could ultimately be worse off, paying more interest.

The consultation period ends in January 2010.

There Is No Such Phenomenon As “Girl Gangs”

In comment|BOOK, society|BOOK on December 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm

A hearing of two court cases involving violent crimes committed by teenage girls has raised the question – is there a growing trend of violence among young women throughout Great Britain? Two 17-year-olds involved in one of the noted cases are stubborn in the face of these concerns, stating that there is no such concept of “girl gangs”. 
Apparently, these crimes arise because of nothing but friendship.  Mates have to look out for each other.  If somebody is talking about you behind your back and making threats – this will not pass without action.  “You can’t just go around being bullied”  Tish, one of the girls involved in the hearing, argued that the violence involved in this incident was “not violence, that’s self defence”.

But is it? Inconsideration of the Rosimeiri Boxall case, the 19-year old girl who was tortured and bullied into her death, it is clear that self defence claims prove pitiful. In fact, Hatice Can, 15 and Kemi Ajose, 17 were participating in an example of brutal bullying and torture.  These girls try to blame their actions on their childhood and the character of their parents, but it comes down to an individual conscious choice.  In the previously mentioned case, Tish stated that she feels she has no chance because of her mother.  However, this point is soon brought to a close with the blunt realisation, “I’ve just got a temper on me” 

We can speculate about the ins and outs of violent incidents involving young women, but the statistics speak for themselves.  Even though women from the age of 16-24 have the highest risk of becoming victims of hostile crime in the UK, recent data has shown an increase in individuals turning to crime themselves.  Further to this, women’s rights group Engender have found that within a group of 14- to 21-year-olds, one in three girls and one in two boys thought there were circumstances in which it could be acceptable to hit a woman or force her to have sex.Youth Justice Board figures for last year further show that girls can now be blamed for approx. 21% of criminal offences that reach the courts due to the 50% rise in violent crime committed by young women.

The concern of rising female violence is not just restricted to the UK. Other western European nations report similar trends in female crime.  Over the past 10 years the rate for violent offences involving adolescent girls in Canada has increased at twice the rate for boys.

Dr Val Besag (Kidscape) claims alcohol and socialisation are to blame.  Girls have always been socialised into being kind and ladylike.  In the face of confrontation, girls would have to ‘go away and be friends’.  However, boys would be told to ‘fight back’.  There is obviously a cultural bias and a stereotype that men are more violent than women.  US psychologist Richard Felson states that motives for violence are identical for both genders – to gain retribution and to protect self-image

Evolutionary science has provided evidence that girls are just as violent as men but they take longer to become angry.  Women have a procrastinating nature.  However, abuse of alcohol and drugs shortens this time. Some terrible cases of bullying and murder have arisen from the use of these harmful substances.  All that has to be seen is a crowd of drunken girls on a Friday or Saturday night to get a vivid idea of these claims. 

It is clear that the concept of a “girl gang” is very prominent in our society.  Whether young females decide to cover up their actions by a vow of friendship or blaming their parents, these young girls are simply making the choice to create conflict as a group activity.

For the love of fashion…

In society|BOOK on October 15, 2009 at 10:38 pm


Fashion is defined as a ‘prevailing style or custom, as in dress or behaviour’.  To some people, fashion is simply aesthetic. To others, it is a lifestyle. But exactly how important is fashion within a relationship?

What we wear is most definitely a huge factor in first impressions between us and those we are attracted to. However, it also proves as a method to maintain and spice up relationships.  Through certain clothing, couples can dress up as fantasy characters to enhance their sex lives. Partners can even dress as complete strangers as an act of role-play to add a new edge which essentially equates to escapism.  Through ‘statements’ of fashion, an individual can express self qualities that are otherwise hidden. A woman could wear a flirty dress or a man could wear a standout suit.

So, is fashion “sexy”? Does fashion give individuals an outlet to remain attractive to their other halves? Clothing certainly gives you a stamp of individuality and sets you apart from the rest.  However it could be said that “sexy” clothes do not always make women completely happy. When women wear sexy clothes, they certainly get attention, but are they loved and respected by their male spouses? It may be that “sexy” clothing is a way for women to conform to an ideal image that they feel men want.  However, after reading an article online from The Mirror, I discovered that the natural approach can sometimes be far more fitting to the perfect girlfriend image. Men find it sexy when women wear baggy t-shirts and tracksuit bottoms to bed. From casual attire men assume that a woman is confident within a relationship. Mismatching underwear can also be a huge turn on as it brings spontaneity into play. Paula Hall, a relationship psychotherapist suggests that it makes a man feel as though sex wasn’t planned and is therefore more exciting.

It could be argued that fashion is important in a relationships as individuals are viewed to some extent as the styles they choose. Whether hiding or expressing qualities of the self, fashion tends to work in significant ways to enhance or change a relationship between two individuals.

By Natasha Devan

Discovering Cult-Orexia

In doc|BOOK, society|BOOK on October 9, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Discovering Cult-OrexiaThe Truth About Online Anorexia outlines the issues surrounding anorexia and its “pro-ana” online community.  The ITV documentary bluntly raises the point that anorexia is rapidly becoming more than a disease.  It is almost becoming a religion – a cult by “commandments”, followed by those participating in websites online.

“Pro-ana” websites function as a place for sufferers to come together in order to “support” each other.  Participants are actually encouraged to post their own blogs, sharing knowledge of their thoughts and their very own extreme dieting tips.  And the reward? To become more like their own ‘thinspirations’.  In fact, Fearne Cotton, the presenter of the documentary, was shocked to find herself as an actual member of a ‘thinspiration’ list among many other famous women.

It seems that we have reached an age where we are so dependent on technology that we can even rely on it to practically promote diseases such as eating disorders.  All a person really has to do is type in Google “pro-anorexia” and the result is swarms of links which share exactly that view. People who were once sufferers almost become competitors in this web-based environment.  The “pro-ana” community is driven by comparison and jealousy that is portrayed as anything but harmful.  But, by criticism, we are only strengthening the “pro-ana” cause.  Online communities continue to strive on values that are deeply threaded into society, regardless of individual opinions.

But with the recent size zero debate and constant displays of ‘beautiful people’; is the uprising of the “pro-ana” revolution really that shocking? The anorexic figure shown online is no longer ugly, but an example of pure beauty.  It seems that as members of the youth generation in the 21st century, we are slowly becoming desensitized to images of thin men and women.  The more we look at them, the more we expect them to be thin. The more we look at them, the more we expect them to be beautiful.  People are not people, but spectacles.

After hearing “ordinary 10 year old children” in this documentary discussing “big thighs” and sharing their knowledge of 109 calorie Kit-Kats, it is clear that eating disorders are emerging in our youth more than ever.   With one girl in particular claiming that she had learnt how to diet through “magazines and websites”, it is obvious that the media is having some sort of impact on the core values of people today.  And as a result of sites such as those that welcome “pro-ana” communities, the concept of individuality is becoming fragile and becoming a ‘thinspiration’ is perceived as a key to happiness and success.

By Natasha Devan

If you suffer from an eating disorder or if you would like any more information, please make use of the following websites or telephone numbers: 0845 634 1414