In Response to Sonya Lapin’s The Egg and The Sperm

The egg and the sperm are two biological terms, however through the years we have given each characteristic. We associate the egg with stereotypical feminine characteristics and the sperm male characteristics. I agree when Sonya said that “that these illustrations imply typical gender stereotypes and continue to reproduce them through these powerful representations.” We have placed characteristics on things that do not really have personalities or even senses of selves. In today’s society there is a clear image of female and male, you either fit into one or the other. Society places these stereotypes into people, making those that do not make a perfect fit feel like outsiders.

Sonya explains that each gender adapts to occupy their space in different ways. We have been taught even how to sit according to our gender, for example a lady crosses her legs. I really liked how she included the fact that even senses have been given female or male explanations. For example if you have a soft touch it is feminine; it never occurred to me this way. Clearly in today’s society a women is gentler, while a man is rough.

In my opinion the fact that we associate certain touches or sounds to female or male has to do with our society’s view. When we are born we are given a gender, and with that gender society places certain characteristics onto you. I would have to agree with Sonya when she said that we may never be able to “de-naturalize social conventions about gender by becoming aware of their implications. It would be extremely difficult to change decades of this way of thinking. Usually change is regarded as good, but people are especially touchy when it comes to displays of masculinity in females and femininity in males. 

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In response to Charuga’s post: MASCULINITY, FEMININITY, DOES IT MATTER?

I really enjoyed her entry. However, I go to the gym about 5 times and week and yes there aren’t that many women in the weight room, but there are not many women in the gym in general. In my opinion women tend to focus more on ‘loosing weight’ instead of gaining muscle, and most people believe that the way to loose weight is mainly to focus on cardio. On the opposite side, men generally tend to focus more on bulking up, so naturally you would seem most in the weight room.

I agree with Charuga when she said that women are exposed to many images that give us unrealistic views about our bodies. We all have different body types, if you’re 5 feet and have shorter legs you will never get long thin legs most likely no matter how much you work them out. We have to be happy with our body types, however in my opinion being obese is not a body type, and in my opinion some people mistake their lack of physical activity and unhealthiness for the fact that their body just has slow metabolism etc. Chances are if you don’t exercise and eat unhealthily eventually it will show on your body, no matter what type of body you may have.

Charuga also mentioned yoga in her reflection and added that it has been constructed as a female oriented activity. I would agree with this statement, however if you have done any type of yoga you may know that some positions do require great physical strength.

I see this mindset put on activities such as zumba as well. I used to take zumba classes and I made my boyfriend come with me once. He was the only male in the room, and you can tell he felt uncomfortable in it.

Charuga also mentiond the pressure for men to be bulkier, personally I think in our society there are pressures in anything you do. In school pressure to get good grades, in the work place pressure to meet a certain standard (for example I work as a secretary for an alarm company and I have to make certain amounts of reports), etc. Thus naturally there is a pressure to look a certain way. In my opinion both men and women should strive to be healthy not only because it looks good but because it IS good for our bodies (ex leaner people put less strain on their organs). With this being said, there is nothing wrong with people that are extremely dedicated to fitness, if you want to work out more than the usual because you want bigger muscles, why not? If you’re a girl and want abs and leaners thighs and you want to work towards that then why not? There is nothing wrong with trying to make your body look a certain way, if that’s what will make you happy and it’s still healthy who is to say anything about it.

I enjoyed reading Charuga’s entry. 

Kimberly Young Internet Addiction Reflection

 

In today’s world people are constantly searching the Internet, even on the go we have access to it via our cellphones. This reading was shocking and interesting to find out the results of this Internet study.

I definitely believe that there is such a thing as being addicted to the Internet. If you do something repeatedly every day for long extended hours there comes a point where you might just want to do it over and over again for longer hours etc. From personal experience I know how great the Internet is when it comes to distracting from things that I should actually be doing. Though I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m addicted to it, I’ve definitely experienced some of the examples listed in the readings. One of the examples being going on a computer to actually get something done (i.e. studying, research for a paper etc.) and have completely ended up doing something different like watching videos on YouTube.

However in my opinion if you find it hard to get off the internet and actually do thing such as eat, go to the washroom, pick up your kids from school then it is definitely time to seek help. I have found that while using the Internet it’d hard to keep in mind how much time you’ve actually spent on it. I’ve experience this first hard where I mean to go on my laptop quickly to check something and next thing I know it’s 2 am and I should have gotten to sleep hours before.

The part of the reading that explained that people neglected their own lives, family and friends because of their Internet use was shocking but not surprising.  Nowadays people can literally develop relationships and friendships without even have to set foot outside their doors. You can really see this through the thousands of dating websites always being advertised; you can literally find a husband/wife online.

The senses play a huge part of the Internet. Being online means different things for different people.  Gamers may feel excitement as they are playing a game, or people in chartrooms may feel like there are actually meeting new people just like they would if they met their in “real life.”  The Internet creates an environment where you have so much you can access in just a few seconds just by typing something.

The in class discussion gave me an interesting insight to the world of computers and gaming. We discussed the characteristics of Internet cafes as well as casinos and as expected they are not too different. When it comes to casinos I really saw the similarities.  In casinos the clock is not displayed so people do not know exactly how long they have been playing for, similarly to how people that are addicted to the internet loose track of time when they access it.

Overall, I think casinos and the Internet create a space that allows the person to really submerge him or her in it in the sense that they feel that they are in their own world. These characteristics allow addictions to develop because people are looking for an outlet to get away from their everyday lives the Internet and casinos lend themselves easily. 

Reflecting on Beyond Play by Thomas M. Malaby

When I was younger I played computer games on a daily basis. My sister and me would sit by the computer and play Disney games and try to beat each level. As we completed each level the level of excitement increased at the thought of winning the whole game.  However we knew when it was time to put them down and go do something else.

The reading Beyond Play by Thomas M. Malaby discussed the term “playing without frontiers” meaning when people are so consumed with the game itself they do not know when to stop. Some people become so invested in games (especially gambling) that the lines between play and actual life become blurred. This is when in my opinion gaming can become dangerous.

 

Another point the reading mentioned was that depending on the game the risks are different. For example in games such as chess and poker, the thrill is in never knowing what your opponent will do next or what resources he has in order to defeat you. It’s exciting because in games everything has a risk, but failing does not always mean consequences. For example, if you die in a computer game you can just start the level over. “It is not simply the challenge of making the right guesses about others’ points of view that is involved, it is acting on those guesses, and that leads to the third source of contingency, performative contingency (Malaby, 108).” I consider myself a competitive person, since I was younger I was always in sports teams at school and many athletic games constitute the fact that you have to guess what your opponent may do next. Gaming can give someone a sense of achievement that they may not otherwise get in their daily lives.

As the reading states, “In the course of this, we must keep close the “artifactual” nature of games, that they are made by people and are always socially constructed to be separable to some degree from everyday experience (Malaby, 110).” Games are created so people can experience something different and escape their lives. However, this fact exactly is what can make gaming dangerous for vulnerable people. Just like substances that can make people escape their circumstances games can become this type of outlet.

In class we discussed how when people are gaming it is like they are in their own little world. I can relate to this because when I was younger I remember playing computer games and my mother talking to me and I did not hear or understand a word she was saying. Essentially I was so into the game that whatever was outside it did not really matter and was not as important to me at that time. I even remember being a little irritated when someone interrupted my playtime. Today I never really play games, what I have played a few times at a friend’s house is Just Dance on the Wii and that was amazing. The fact that today gaming systems can sense where you are in the room and what movement you are doing has taken gaming to a whole new level. It has incorporated more senses than it did before because now you can actually move your joints and body in order to win the game. It creates a more ‘real life’ experience since more of our senses are now involved, where as before we could only move our thumbs in order to make our character do something.

 

Reflection: A Woman’s Place is in the . . . Cardiovascular Room??
Gender Relations, the Body, and the Gym

Growing up, athletics was always part of my life. My dad from a very young age taught my sister and I that exercise is not just something we do when we feel like doing it, but something we have to incorporate into our daily routines. I did elementary school at a ‘sports school’. I went for synchronized swimming. Everyday I would be at the pool at 7 am practicing with the rest of my team, go to school at 12 and stay there until 5 pm. At times we would even go back after school to the pool to practice some more. As a kid I was extremely fit and healthy and as I grew older I wanted to keep this lifestyle. Today obviously I go to York and no longer go to the school but I still incorporate exercise into my daily routine.  I go to the gym about 5-6 times a week anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours.

I found this reading to be of great insight. Women are definitely stereotyped as having to fit a certain ‘look’. Women need to me ‘feminine’ and over the years for some reason muscles have become the antonym of this word. Since this is the view of society, women have become shy of weight rooms. As the reading states, “All too often, it is common for U.S. society to take what we think we see as women’s “lesser” athletic performance, skill, or muscled bod- ies and use them as evidence of the “fact” of natural male superiority (Lorber 1994).” I think that this is definitely a problem. Women can do just as much as men can if they set their goals that way. Personally I do not want my body to be bulky and have huge muscles because that is not what I want to look like. However, I do not think that women are more masculine if they want to achieve that body type. How much you can lift does not change the fact that you are still a woman, it does not make you a man.

The article also discussed how some women might feel uncomfortable because the ratio of men to women at the gym is not exactly balanced. Personally I could relate to this since I go to the gym and I see men that are less fit than me and more fit than me, and I see woman that are more or less fit. Their presence there does not make me feel anything at all. Many gym’s offer lady only rooms as well which makes this feeling un excusable.

The interviews mentioned in the reading are extremely relatable. “During both formal and informal ethnographic interviews, women discuss feeling emotionally overwhelming pressures to look good, and several say they work out when hungry, sick, or injured, that they “bind” themselves to Stair- masters or bikes, or “force” themselves to go to aerobics classes (Dworkin, 138).” I have definitely felt pressure to look a certain way, what woman hasn’t? When I was in my senior year of high school I was 105 lbs, and when I first started university I noticed I gained weight (unhealthy eating, no exercise). At one point I was so obsessed with being 105 lbs again I literally watched everything I ate and it nearly became a sickness. Thereafter, I realized that I had to stop being so obsessed with the number 105 and started thinking about it in a different way. What society and in my situation myself deem perfect is not always perfect since ones definition of this term may also be unhealthy… far from perfect.

In my opinion a healthy lifestyle is not just about mentally feeling great but also being able to perform physically to the best of your ability. In class we discussed what our definition of healthy is and in my group I found that all that was being discussed is mental health and just feeling good within your own skin. There was no talk of going to the gym and actually being fit. I strongly disagree with this. Personally, I have been at a place where I ate junk food and I didn’t exercise as much as I should have and sure though my body still looked ‘skinny’ I was not happy with myself. I didn’t like my body I didn’t feel good, I wasn’t as motivated etc. In my opinion doing some kind of physical activity on a daily basis challenges our bodies, and also keeps us in great mental health. For example, it’s been proven that working out releases stresses and worries (and who doesn’t need that?).

Odourless living

Of the five traditional senses, given the choice to have to dismiss one, I would pick smell (olfacoception or olfacception) as the sense that is least requisite in day to day life.  I say this in confidence simply because of the more harsh implications of losing the other four.  Although a very important receptor, it is one that if lost would least hurt in a physiological way and mostly universally in terms of psychologically, physically, etc.

With regards to sight or vision, a perception that helps to navigate body movement and open up the values of living is a gift that statistics have proven if lost, causes the most depression and anxiety of the five main senses.  This leaves a blind person emotionally detached from civilization.  That being said, I’m sure most would also agree that it is physically the worst handicap of the five and leaves a person without sight worse off in the normal societal setting.  

Being mostly about vibrations, hearing is mostly effective in knowing and understanding your surroundings.  Many, and I agree with this, could not bare to lose the ability to enjoy music, the sounds of nature, and most importantly, to communicate with the larger part of people that don’t understand sign language. With that, I hope to never lose my hearing.

Although taste and smell are very closely related, as a former heavyweight or person of girth because what the high school bullies used to say could be rather offensive, I would never be able to pretty much say no to enjoying food or know that I have been  poisoned.  It would be difficult to not appreciate one of life’s necessities to survive. 

I would largely agree with people who choose this option due to never afterwards having painful sensations.  I look at it in relation to knowing whether or not I am sick physically or being properly coordinated to function properly. This brings me to the sense I least appreciate to be blunt.

Smell, of all five senses does have the weakest implications on a person.  Losing it won’t ruin your quality of life like the others but does take away from enjoying food or the scent given off your loved one. On the other hand however, we normally like to avoid terrible odours like skunks and faeces.  Aside from that, what we normally smell are senses that we are so adept to that the neurons in our brain tell us that it’s nothing new.      

Overall, listening, seeing, tasting, and touching what is filth to some that isn’t to others, in every ‘sense’ of the word, is vital in understanding life’s meaning and pleasures the most, whereas, smelling an aroma that is good or bad will not impact you personally the most if required to lose one of the senses.

A Taste of Heaven

When I think of a specific style of cuisine that I haven’t had recently, I crave it more than I normally would. In the reading “Food and the Senses” by David E. Sutton, he opens up the sense of taste and illustrates how this sense is contributed along with the five traditional senses and abroad from that as well. When I think of the food network as well as youtube channels that present famous chef’s, what comes to mind is ‘Epic Meal Time’, ‘Man vs Food’, ‘Rachel Ray’, ‘Iron Chef’ and ‘Wolfgang Puck’. Though these channels are more popular than others may be, as a viewer it is notable that no matter what show it is, the sense of hunger and starvation kicks in immediately.  

I am not much of an eater however, I was always told that I have “big eyes”. In Sutton’s article he states that, “Our eyes let us ‘taste’ food at a distance by activating the sense memories of taste and smell” (Sutton, 218). When I see something that triggers my taste buds, I always tend to want it and have it, but never do i really finish it. Betty’s Kitchen, a youtube channel really gets me that feeling of hunger. From my own personal baking experiences I could say that she makes the best desserts. The episode that I watched to connect to this reading entry is Betty’s Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Cake. Even though this is a very classic cake recipe, I seem to crave it each time I watch the video. If I were to choose a favourite cake, Red Velvet would definitely be my top pick. Just talking about it makes my mouth water, hence just thinking about it makes me want it. Even when I’m full from lunch or dinner, desert is always on the menu for me regardless of how much I ate. I always seem to make room for more but in the end I do regret it. 

Dessert is probably my favourite part of every meal. I love to bake, I love sweets and I love going out for dessert as well. “Consuming sweets, they do what they ‘should’ (observe the etiquette of guest host relations) as well as what they ‘want’ (since they are thought ‘naturally’ to desire sweets), a conflation of moral propriety and desire that obscures the coercive aspects of such consumption.” When hosting an event, whether its at home or at a hall, dessert is seen to be decorative as well. Even if the dessert is not big, something as small as truffles could keep one satisfied. In this episode of Betty’s Kitchen, she states that ‘a touch of chocolate to every meal adds richness’. She also says that, ‘a piece of chocolate is a piece of heaven’. I find this true as it satisfies my taste buds every single time.