Wednesday, December 9, 2015

For December 9th

Very interesting articles.
I found this oddly clarifying. It's oversimplified, but it says a lot:
"In 1992, he and his colleagues created the Male Role Norms Inventory, which measures adherence to seven norms of the Western masculinity ideology: Avoidance of Femininity, Fear and Hatred of Homosexuals, Self-Reliance, Aggression, Achievement/Status, Non-Relational Attitudes Toward Sex, and Restrictive Emotionality. Research influenced by Levant's inventory has since revealed that men who embrace more traditional Western masculine ideology are reluctant to discuss condom use with their partners, have less satisfactory relationships, and harbor attitudes that often lead to the sexual harassment of women."
My favorite quote is from the Atlantic article:
"I think that we can motivate people to act," he said over Skype from his home in Minnesota, "but it so often comes from a place of charity, you know? We're trying to motivate men to change masculinity for women, but then it's this paternalistic sort of charity versus trying to get men to change masculinity because of their personal investment in it and their relationships."

I think this is a really important quote because it says that for this to be successful both the external and internal need to be addressed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

For December 8th

Letters (Tess')

Letters can be soooo therapeutic and productive. I use letter writing to get thoughts off of my chest. I don't them. I've also thought about writing a collection of poems that are to people. Many poems are directed to someone who isn't the reader, now that I think of it. I have also used letters to convey my feelings to someone--like I actually deliver them. It's been very helpful because for me, on the page I can take my time. 
I think there is a romantic aspect to letters. To sum up everything in a couple paragraphs or pages is, in a way, a grand gesture. I hope letters are always used because e-mails, in a way, invite a too-rapid response. The response, many times, does not have to be rapid because the letter-writing has given the release. 
The card, also, is a shorter form of the letter. The card is not as grand, however, is noted for its understated nature.

Cathartic (Aimee's)

There's no doubt writing can help heal, especially when people's voices are silenced, like veterans. I really liked how the vets said they write so the guy next to them understands. This takes the form of writing not just as a solo cathartic thing, but also as a venue for others to feel as well. I really admire that intention. 
In the second article, I liked how the author laid out options for what to do with a very emotional piece, and my favorite is the one that says to wait. So what if in today's world communication is fast-- some things deserve time. I've found that I write about the same thing (we briefly talked about this with the alumna who skyped with us) several times-- and in different forms-- until I get it right. And when I do feel like I hit the nail, I feel very relieved. It's, funny, too, because I try to date everything, and sometimes I'll find a scrap of paper that talks about this "thing," but it was years before I finished the "final" piece. Even though that scrap of paper has a one-dimensional or fuzzy take on the "thing," it's still a look in time of my mind at that time. It's still a part of the story.

Monday, December 7, 2015

For December 3rd

Karen's article on choice was super interesting. It was sort of random, with just a look at three cultures, however, it was insightful. I think our American need to decide definitely has its effects. I'm already tired of deciding everything! However, by having such an emphasis on choice, we are giving voice to more. Voice, for many, demands responsibility. Our idea of "everyone can choose" also impedes on potential progression. Not only are decisions made slower, but with this dogma, we tend to value when someone takes personal responsibility instead of identifying systematic causes. This destroys the idea that we all have choice, and maybe that is a part why when any social change happens in America it is met with a lot of denial.

The man in Lauren's post was crazy. I think it's not up to the writer, but the publishing company and the readers. That's why the readers should be open to reading a lot. Writers should always keep writing as long as they have an honest agenda. I think the idea of reading authors and characterize them as "the default" objectifies writing because good writing should just resonate and be it-- no matter who's it from. Good writing should hit not on just a culturally level, but on multiple emotional and intellectual levels.I do also think it's important for readers to read stories about people from around the world. I was very lucky that my school district promoted reading stories from perspectives of minorities in America and people living in Asia and the Middle East. It was always made clear that the Middle East wasn't as harsh as it's been.

I've noticed, from reading the Psychology Today article Charlotte posted, that in college a lot of people respond to "hey, how are you?" with "okay." Many of us are not in the business of hiding our surface feelings. I think this is a sign of progress and a telling aspect of my generation's emotional intelligence. However, when I think about "hiding" our emotions, I think hiding them is human and sometimes necessary. They are bigger things than your feelings a lot of the time. I think it's important for kids to understand when to share and when it's best to focus on others.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Mr. Clean Ads are Gross

"I have an older sister and brother."
"Who's the middle child?"
"My brother, technically, but he was really 'the boy.'"
That's how I explain my siblings. Then I say how it's not as old-school Italian as one might think-- it's just that no one ever referred to Bobby as the middle child. He got jealous that I got a Jansport backpack in the first grade and an L.L. Bean backpack in sixth. That is about how middle child he got. One reason was because my siblings and I are so different -- the expectation for each of us were only the same for driving, schoolwork, and housework (Well, sort of on that last one. Bobby is a ninja when it comes to that). Another reason, no doubt, is people's needs to separate us by gender. While Bobby is like Ashley (my sister) as well as me personality-wise, Ashley and I are so different that our only acknowledged union by anyone is that we are "the girls."

On the research end, I always am taken back when surveys only have "gender" or "sex" available with only two options. It's such a limited scope-- how can one understand the issues with just two options?
I really enjoyed the Buzzfeed fragile masculinity article. Such a waste of money. And why do people think men want to feel like cars? On another note, lately logos have turned to sans-seriff (round) and lowercased logos (Walmart, Sears, Aramark) to give a friendlier, conversational feel. The softer logos also make me think they are becoming more feminized. I wonder how this plays at or am I being hyper-aware.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Growing up as a fat kid, I was like Emily V. Gordon because I saw myself as out of the competition. I also befriended boys and was a tomboy. However, that was when I was in elementary and sixth grade. Once middle school really started, the boys became too separate from the girls. I had to find a girl group.  I switched around quite a bit, but never because someone felt threatened by me. Even when I lost my baby weight, I always was going to be bigger and, in my mind. therefore never able to compete. So I didn’t-- and even more now do not-- for the most part. A little gossip here or there, but even I get annoyed at myself when I occasionally justify an ill-picked outfit or unfavorable tone of a girl my friends were talking about: “maybe she just had a bad day."

I’ve spent many years trying to be under the radar. I felt so out of the competition I feared it. Now that I think about it, this lack of experience with competition makes me feel a little ill-equipped. What if I really want something over someone else? How will I claim what I want?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Chapter 7

In Trauma to Writing, MacCurdy makes two arguments: trauma lasts with us and good writing is a sign of healing. First she gives information on studies about how people remember trauma vividly and how that reflects in students writing about it often in personal essay class, instead of analyzes a seemingly mundane detail or routine of life. She backs it up with experts' take on trauma: "traumatic memories can be distinguished from normal ones because 'they are not encoded like the ordinary memories of adults in a verbal, linear narrative that is assimilated into an on-going life story'" (165). Because it is not part of the linear narrative, many people remember trauma in snippets. These snippets provide need to write about them but also a challenge. Many early writers have trouble describing the event itself and instead rely on identifying feeling: "In order to cope with trauma and its aftermath, survivors often bury these images because they can get in the way of daily functioning. In those cases, the narratives of the experiences, when offered, often rely on clich├ęs and the "story of the story," that is, the remembered tale which avoids the depth of feeling that clear images generate" (166). Good writing, and good healing, she argues, is when the writer can pass the "story of the story" and find clarity in delving into the traumatic event.

After reading, I looked to Humans of New York to find posts that explained instead of visualized. The most popular posts visualized. Even if there were some explanation in between, it was the conversational tone squeezed into the vivid story that mostly used descriptive, or cold, language. They seemed to have let it "spill out" like on page 176-177.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Setting a Time

Every summer, my mom, my sister, and I watch Beaches. It’s a classic tear-jerker starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey as two best friends from opposite coasts and opposite lives. Midler’s C. C. Bloom is a dynamic Jewish singer-actress from the Bronx and Hershey’s Whitney is a WASP whose family has been attending Stanford for four generations. At the end, Hilary dies of a long-running sickness. The shot right after—the best shot—is of a black car moving to reveal the funeral with C.C. standing in dark sunglasses as Whitney’s young daughter cries on a nearby chair. And without fail at this shot, every year, my mom says, half-sarcastically, “get the tissues!” and my sister and I reach to the nearby box and distribute. For ten whole minutes it’s perfectly fine to let the tears run down your face. No one can see you cry because everyone is watching the screen. Some could say this is artificial because the moment is made by a movie. But that’s the accessible thing about it, too. It’s a time carved out to let yourself somewhat go, and in front of other people.

Over the years, the family has been more open about emotions that spawn beyond tear-jerkers. Recently, I had special on my weekly radio show called Frank in Philly in honor of the Pope’s visit. The first hour consisting of Frank Sinatra and the second songs of the Philadelphia sound (a sub-genre of R&B and the beginning of disco). I was too proud of my concept to be shy of playing Sinatra. Not that Sinatra is controversial, but because my grandmother, Connie, died in February. Whenever I was playing golden oldies I called the genre “Your Grandmother’s Music” and she would request Sinatra’s “My Way.” I knew I had to play it. So I did. While it was playing, my sister texted in the family group text: "Connie." It was simple, and that was all that was needed.

This was a set time to be sad, and it wasn’t for a general sadness, but instead for something very recent. The healing of this is part of a project, in a way, of how to deal with my grandmother’s departure.