Posts Tagged ‘society’

“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.

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.

Art Terrorism: Graffiti

In art|BOOK on November 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm


By Leanne Chapman

Graffiti is to many a lens through which one views the world. It is through ‘art’ that graffiti ‘artists’ show their fundamental disgust with what society sanctions and condemns.

This year, the Bristol Museum allowed Banksy, a well-known graffiti artist to exhibit many of his new works, replacing their regular artifacts. He stated: “This is the first show I’ve ever done where taxpayers’ money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off.”

Banksy shot to fame due to his cutting edge and often controversial art.  His stencils feature striking images which are occasionally combined with slogans; the messages of which are usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment.

Society’s main issue with graffiti art is that it is illegal, though what many don’t reflect on is what is also legal.  It is legal for clothing companies and designers to instill billboards of size 0 models, looking adolescent in either age or appearance; this is despite knowledge that such advertising can encourage bulimia or anorexia. However it is illegal to paint murals in celebration of line, colour and beauty on a dull grey wall.

Public property becomes a contradiction because society is expected to observe advertising, which has proven detrimental effects, but they are forbidden to use it for themselves as a means of expression.

Civil disobedience is one of the ways by which graffiti artists have reacted to the misuse and under-use of public and private property. Graffiti artists have been met with such unreasonable resistance that it is inevitable that graffiti is also an outlet for destructive urges as much as the creative.

Some think that graffiti being sanctioned takes away the meaning of the art itself. As the function of graffiti is purely to react against a system that restricts the artists level of expression, legalising graffiti would somewhat strip it of its worth. Many, if not most artists, will say that they know full well that what they do is illegal and in some cases wrong, but are doing it anyway because it is a good time at the expense of people they dislike; going for theirs in a world with an already skewed set of priorities.

Graffiti artists do not use coercion to affect change. Instead of such action, he wields the power of the vote, the Media, and the Internet as weapons against tyranny. Instead of violence, it is free speech, freedom of assembly, their labor, their sweat and their money that they use as tactics to cause change.

Lad’s Holiday: The Test of Trust

In comment|BOOK on November 2, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Lads Holidays: Test of TrustThe lad’s holiday has always been believed to pose a high threat to relationships.  Destinations such as Magaluf, commonly known as ‘Shagaluf’, regularly play host to these getaways that are the ultimate catalyst to the questioning of trust.

From reading a thread on The Student Room (TSR,, I found a definition of a lad’s holidays to be “sex, drugs and alcohol”.  Although this definition screams stereotype, it does ring true for destinations such as Malia and Magaluf that are without a doubt well known for the consumption of alcohol at clubs and bars around the area.  However, do all lads intend to have sex and get wasted? Of course not.  Like in any case of social interaction, individuals want to feel ‘normal’ and therefore conform to what they believe to be the socially accepted behavior at the time. This idea is extremely applicable to the idea of the lad’s holiday where lads will act erratically to gain social status within their friendship group. Also, they will do this to fit in with the rest of the lads outside of their friendship group, if they feel threatened by them as competition. Considering this, could it be said that lad’s holidays are just pictures of conformity? If five lads go away on holiday together and four are seeking sex, regardless of their relationship commitments at home, this can only make the other lad feel left out and possibly inadequate. The holiday becomes a conquest and those not taking part surely lose.

However, it is all fair and well criticizing men of being unfaithful and unruly, but has anyone ever considered what happens on girly holidays? Although the lad’s holiday is clearly known for cheating and rebellious behaviours, it is extremely sexist to say that girlfriends can be the only ones with worry and concern when their respective others go away.  Because the lad’s holiday is a stereotype, it is convenient to be ignorant of this issue.  Cheating is an act that can happen regardless of sex, age and personality.

Therefore, when gender is taken out of the question, we can take a general perspective on why lad’s or girls holidays pose threats to relationships.  It could be said that holidays create problems because they threaten the possibility of equal footing.  A comment from a woman on TSR claimed that her boyfriend going on a lad’s holiday wouldn’t be as bad due to the fact that she was going on one too with her girlfriends.  Is there some truth in the assumption that a man/woman may feel more insecure because while they are at home living a regular life, their partners are escaping from normal life and potentially having their cake and eating it too? Elements of balance and equality in relationships are clearly distorted by the presence of the holidays in question.

Another assumption which can be debated upon is the idea of temptation being greater in places like ‘Shagaluf’ in comparison to anywhere else. This is clearly wrong. Cheating is an act that happens regardless of location.  If the person in question goes to a club abroad and cheats, he could have previously cheated at home. Although both are different scenarios, the similarity is that you would never be there at the time or know for sure whether he was unfaithful or not.  Whether away in Magaluf or London, if you do not trust your other half there is simply no hope of a long-term commitment and it is lacking this, that creates the image of the lad’s holiday as a scapegoat for failing relationships.

By Natasha Devan