Tag Archives: violence

In Defense of Trigger Warnings (… as a Practice, not a Policy)

By Iconshock [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Over the past few months, numerous publications have discussed – and mostly: dismissed – the trend to incorporate so-called trigger warnings into the college classroom and syllabus. Trigger warnings have become a standard practice for articles in feminist blogs and other online media that discuss incidences of violence, sexual assault and that may contain other potentially ‘triggering’ material, with the purpose of giving readers a way to opt-out of exposing themselves to said material. As some college professors have started to incorporate this practice into their classrooms in order to warn students of potentially ‘triggering’ material – and some colleges have even discussed adopting trigger warning policies – the public reaction has been mostly negative. However, it is my position that most of these commentators have it backward and misunderstand what trigger warnings are about and can do – granted, there are examples of very poorly-done trigger warnings out there that can easily be taken as evidence for some of the critics’ fears – and I believe they can and should have a place in the sociology classroom and that they can actually play a positive and productive pedagogical role.

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Pick-Up Artists and Anti-Pick-Up Artists: Promises of Sexist Gender Ideologies Denied

["White Ribbon". Source: MesserWoland [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

In response to the horrific murders at UC Santa Barbara two weeks ago, many commentators have pointed out the perpetrator’s connection to so-called Anti-Pickup Artist online communities and to the misogynist and racist motivations of the shooting. Whereas the Pick-Up Artist fad has received some media attention and academic study in the past, the so-called Anti-Pick-Up artist scene has received much less attention – with notable exceptions well worth reading – and has probably been completely off the radar even for those of us studying gender. Even though the name suggests an oppositional stance on the idea of PickUp artistry, in reality, these Anti-Pick-Up Artists share in the very same gender ideology as those being drawn to Pick-Up Artist message boards and websites. Add in the frustration with the ineffectiveness of the Pick-Up Artists’ tips and strategies, and the Anti-Pick-Up Artist scene reveals itself as promoting an equally – if note more – toxic gender ideology.

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The Praxis of Sexual Violence Prevention: Lessons from the White House

The White House.  Source: Wikimedia Commons

The White House. Source: Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday the White House launched its new campaign to address and prevent the epidemic of sexual violence against women on college campuses in the US.  The campaign, 1 is 2 Many, includes a blog, an informational website with a major report, Not Alone, and a PSA aimed at men and boys.  The launch of the campaign has been largely celebrated among the numerous sexual and domestic violence agencies across the country as a much needed step toward creating real change on college campuses.  For those of us in the social sciences, the campaign, and the report in particular, reveals just how much we don’t yet know about sexual violence on college campuses. (more…)

Do Guns Make Women’s Lives Safer?

By Francois Polito (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

One of our readers responded to my previous article on the construction of rapists vs normal men in the media and the related issue of how to best respond to popular assertion that guns could play an effective role in women’s self-defense against rape. While agreeing with my overall analysis, she is looking for argumentative tools of how to counter ‘pro gun for self-defense against rape’ style arguments. Her question comes down to this: “The ‘change the society’ rhetoric makes the very concrete threats against women on a daily basis too abstract. Arguments [that advocate guns for self-defense against rape] keep the rhetoric concrete and practical and very present for very real women. And I haven’t yet found a gun regulation… argument that adequately challenges [the] point that in today’s society as it is, a woman can defend herself with a gun better than by any other means.” This is a valid question: Could it be the case that a society without firearms would be preferable from a moral standpoint, yet firearms might allow women to protect themselves in the here and now? This article is an attempt to argue why guns do not in fact make the lives of women safer.

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“Jock Culture” or Sex-Segregated Socialization?

US_Navy_051008-N-9693M-022_Members_of_the_U.S._Naval_Academy_football_team_run_across_the_field_toward_the_home_team_stands_in_celebration_of_their_victory_over_Air_Force_27-24_at_Navy-Marine_Corps_stadium

Source: Wikimedia Commons

High-profile cases of rape and sexual assault perpetrated by athletes in the US have become far too common.  In a recent column for The Nation, Dave Zirin illustrated the ever more obvious connection between “jock culture” and the perpetration of sexual violence.  Jock culture and rape culture, Zirin argues, are intrinsically linked.  Young women are seen as “the spoils of being a jock” according to Zirin. In many ways Zirin could not be more right.  Clearly young male athletes are learning terrible lessons regarding what their status means about their relationships to women but is “jock culture” the right way to frame this issue?

[ This article was originally published at Masculinities 101 ]

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Man Up: NFL Hazing and Jonathan Martin’s “Man Card”

Richie Incognito.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Richie Incognito. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

On October 28th, Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin left the National Football League citing emotional distress as a result of abuse at the hands of his teammate Richie Incognito.  Incognito admits to having sent Martin racist, homophobic, and threatening text messages and voicemails but argues that rather than hazing or bullying, this was merely an instance of miscommunication between the two men.  While a great deal of media attention has questioned the behavior of Richie Incognito, a disproportionate amount of attention has also been given to Martin’s choice to report the abuse.  Why has Martin’s choice to report the abuse received so much attention?  What has been the main theme of those critiquing Martin’s choice?  And, what does this discussion mean for our national discourse on bullying and hazing?  The answers to these questions, I argue, are all linked to masculinity. (more…)

Fear: What is it good for?

Spooky House

Source: Wikimedia Commons

November is here, which means the season of ghosts and goblins has come to pass. As an enthusiast of all-things-haunted, I filled the month of October with scary movie nights, Halloween costume parties, visits to a haunted house and Phantom Fright Nights at my local amusement park, and even an outing that involved shooting paintballs at zombies. As any good graduate student in the social sciences might do, I pondered the sociological aspects of these activities throughout the month. What makes this campy season of fear so popular in U.S. culture? Does it serve any purposes beyond providing consumers with themed entertainment, as the producers of frightening fun reap massive profits each fall?

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Gendering the Prevention of Bullying

450px-Bully_Free_Zone

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bully_Free_Zone.jpg

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month?  As such, the month of October is full of bullying prevention and awareness events.  The National Bullying Prevention Center advertises many of these events and hosts a great deal of information about bullying.  But, a major piece of the bullying puzzle is missing, both from their website and much of the national (and international) discourse on bullying.  That missing piece is gender.

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“We Can Prevent Rape by Telling Men Not to Commit It”: Men and Rape Prevention

One Man Can, a UN sponsored program of Sonke Gender Justice Network, works to engage men in South African in HIV and gendered violence prevention. (Source: Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development)

One Man Can, a UN sponsored program of Sonke Gender Justice Network, works to engage men in South Africa in HIV and gendered violence prevention. (Source: Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development)

 

Last Spring, during a Colorado State Senate hearing on gun control, a rape survivor testified that she believed she could have prevented her victimization if she had been allowed by the state of Colorado to carry a concealed firearm.  A female state senator then rebuked her claims by citing statistics regarding defensive firearm use.  In response to the exchange in the Colorado State Senate, Fox News brought together Zerlina Maxwell, a writer and political analyst, and Gayle Trotter, senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, on The Sean Hannity Show to “debate” the issue.  In the course of the discussion, Zerlina Maxwell made the bold claim that “we can prevent rape by telling men not to commit it”.  For the remainder of the segment Sean Hannity and Gayle Trotter belittled Maxwell’s argument and scoffed at the very idea that reeducating men is an effective method for preventing sexual violence.  Indeed, her comments clearly struck a nerve.  In the aftermath of her appearance on the show, Maxwell received a slew of racially and sexually charged threats of violence.

But the reality is that there is a lot of truth to Zerlina’s claim whether we as a society are ready to hear it or not.  Organizations ranging from the local (i.e. Oregon Men Against Violence and the Mobilizing Men Task Force) to the global (i.e. Promundo and MenEngage) have invested considerable time and money into violence prevention work with men and boys.  Not only do these organizations, and many others, work to change the beliefs and behaviors of men and boys, but they do so with a strong theoretical and empirical foundation thanks to decades of work in social and behavioral science.  A continuously growing body of research indicates that the perpetration of sexual violence is far more common among men whose beliefs about masculinity and femininity are rigid (see Gallagher and Parrot 2011 and Reed et al. 2011).  When men believe that it is their role, as men, to be dominant in interpersonal relationships or that they are entitled to access to women’s bodies they are more likely to perpetrate coercive and/or violent sexual activity. (more…)

Children’s Exposure to Violence: The Need to Acknowledge Their Plight

Source: Fotolia

Every day, children in the United States are exposed to violence. Whether they are personally victimized or bystanders to the victimization of others, youths across the U.S. are frequently subject to traumatic crimes. From headline-grabbing school shootings to often unreported acts of domestic violence, adolescents are not immune to the violent acts of others. While it may be easy to say that children are resilient and are better able than adults to overcome the consequences of being exposed to violence, recent research suggests that this may be very untrue. From infants to adolescents, violence in a child’s life can result in a variety of negative outcomes. As a result, it is becoming increasingly clear that children who have been exposed to violence need and deserve to receive services that are designed to help them cope with their experiences. (more…)