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Category Archive: sociology/culture

I realize that this category is entirely too broad, so if you're interested in this sort of stuff, you should probably use the tags at the right side of the screen to look for specific topics.

Mar 18 2014

Surprise Weddings are Nonconsensual and Icky

Okay, I promise I’ll actually write something for this blog soon, but for now I have another Daily Dot piece, this time about “surprise weddings.” (It’s as icky as it sounds.) Here’s an excerpt: It’s incredibly ironic that an event meant to celebrate the joining of two people in marriage would be so one-sided, and …

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Dec 25 2013

Against Role Models

Whenever a famous person does something of which the general public disapproves, much is often made of that person’s status as a “role model” and how it influences the public’s judgment of their behavior, and whether or not it is time to revoke that status. It seems that celebrities cannot escape being seen as “role …

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Aug 03 2013

Strawmanning Rape Culture (Part One)

[Content note: sexual assault] Rape culture is a very difficult concept for many people to understand, perhaps because, like many sociological constructs, it works in such a way as to make itself invisible. Understanding rape culture, especially if you are someone who isn’t affected by it very much, requires a keen attention to detail and …

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Jun 11 2013

[guest post] Dictionary Arguments, and Why They Suck

CaitieCat, a frequent and awesome commenter around here, has a guest postI It’s not news to any activist for any cause that people just love to whip out dictionary definitions as ostensibly authoritative guides to what words mean. Even so august a person as a fellow whose name may or may not rhyme with Shmichard …

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May 24 2013

On Useful and Not-So-Useful Definitions of Racism

[Update 10/22/13: If you've found this post through a racist hate forum, don't bother commenting. Your comment's going straight to the trash and nobody will ever read it. :)] Richard Dawkins, whose Twitter feed never fails to amuse, has lately been discussing racism–specifically, against white people: [Here's the link in case you can't see this] …

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May 12 2013

Richwine and the Inherent Goodness of Intelligence

[Content note: racism] In news that should surprise absolutely no one, conservatives have once again embarrassed themselves by attempting to “prove” with “science” that people of color are stupider than white people. Yup, again. You’ve probably read this story elsewhere so I’ll make my recap brief: It has come to light that Jason Richwine (I’m …

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May 05 2013

[blogathon] Restorative Justice for Sexual Assault

This is the eighth and last post in my SSA blogathon. It was requested by a reader. Don’t forget to donate! [Content note: sexual assault] Restorative justice is a word you sometimes hear in discussions about how to reform our criminal justice system. It refers to “an approach to justice that focuses on the needs …

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Apr 14 2013

Viewing History Skeptically, Part 2: Beauty

Joan Jacobs Brumberg's "The Body Project"

One of the first things one learns in a college-level history or sociology course is that the ways we define and think about various human attributes and qualities—sexual orientation, mental illness, gender, race, virginity—are never static. They vary geographically and temporally, and even though it may seem that the way we currently conceptualize a particular …

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Mar 23 2013

Viewing History Skeptically: On Shifting Cultural Assumptions and Attitudes

I’ve been reading Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, Lillian Faderman’s sweeping social history of lesbians in 20th century America (this is the sort of thing I do for fun). At the beginning of the chapter on World War II, Faderman makes this insight: If there is one major point to be made in a social history …

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Mar 09 2013

Blaming Everything On Mental Illness

The Associated Press has revised their AP Stylebook, the guide that most journalists use to standardize their writing, to include an entry on mental illness. Among many other important things that the entry includes, which you should read here, it says: Do not describe an individual as mentally ill unless it is clearly pertinent to …

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