Monday, April 23, 2007
Taking a break
Me and the blog will probably be taking a little break this week...gots some stuff to do.

However, I leave you with some reading material:

A great NYT article that links violence, misogyny and masculinity to the VA Tech shooting. I've tried to make that argument but this piece is much better.

Inside Higher Ed talks about what instructors can do when they see red flags in a student's creative expression. I've only ever had one student give me that bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was actually last semester. I didn't really do anything about it other than attempt to avoid him. He's been on my mind A LOT lately.

A breakdown of all the 08 candidate's reactions to the partial birth decision last week. Predictably Hillary Clinton is lame. I really enjoy Edwards' response and I am particularly drawn to Obama's ability to frame it as a human/equal right's issue. Considering these types of procedures are done in less than 10% of abortion cases and only when women's lives are threatened, that is exactly what it is.

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17 Comments:

Blogger Privatjokr said...

1) There is nothing like a link to a subscriber-only article.

2) Since I can't read the article, I will make wild generalizations. Why do we have to blame machismo for what happened? Do you really deep down believe that this would not have happened if society were more in line with the feminist movement? Because if that were true, then only extremely isolated tragedies would happen, right? That's not what this was?

Blogger kristen said...

1) Considering you can read that article as part of the free subscriber program AND that you should probably already subscribe to the NYT, I don't feel *that* bad!

2) No, not only isolated incidents. In fact, I argue that there is a trend in society. Maybe even a social crisis. Right now we are being over-run by masculininty and this masculinity is linked to violence, machismo and individualism. Thus, it manifests itself in things LIKE the VA Tech shooting and other violent acts. As evidenced by the violent crime rate going down but violent acts by men against women going UP. Additionally, this "machismo" leads to a culture that teaches men to handle things themselves...be a man...don't get help when you clearly need it. If this person had talked about his experience with bullies. If he had been encouraged to see someone about the stalking rather than having roommates who ignored that behavior, the horrible events of last week could have been prevented.

Sure, there will always be crazy people--both men and women...but in general I think A LOT of our problems are linked to these horrific gender implications we have in society.

Blogger Privatjokr said...

It seems a little convenient that any and all problems plaguing society are the fault of global warming, unfair treatment of women, or some mutant hybrid of the two.

Blogger kristen said...

Well, considering that I don't really beleive in much of anything being "natural" it isn't that much of a stretch for me.

I think we learn behavior. We don't come out of the womb acting male or female...we are disciplined into acting a certain role based on our sex organs. It is not natural for people with penises to be aggressive and/or violent. Rather, they are taught that certain behavior is acceptable and expected.

In terms of global warming, humans most def are to blame for speeding up and ruining a natural cycle. CO2 causes warming. Humans, oil and pollution emit CO2.

Two totally different issues but I have no problem linking the negative consequences of the two to human activity.

What is your excuse..."natural evolution of the human race"? I'll take the evidence that points to my argument anyday.

Blogger Privatjokr said...

I like how you have your suggestion/reason/theory/argument as to why what happened happened and you refer to my side an "excuse." Brilliant debate technique.

I feel that the breakdown is not in gender roles but in familial relationships. I think the institution of the home needs a good deal of remodeling. You can argue from that about gender lines, but things worked just fine for a lot of years without men having to discuss their feelings, but being able to love respect and trust each other. Without being able to have those feelings for the first people you ever know and the people to whom you are (in theory) most exposed to from an early age, how can you develop those feelings towards other people?

Blogger kristen said...

1. Mine isn't an excuse, it is a well documented causal link. Perhaps I should have said what is your explanation but I am most definately implying that your "natural cause" argument that you first advanced is not well documented or able to be supported. It is not natural for people to be misogynyst. The climate change in the past year is not part of the natural cycle.

2. Break down of familial relationships?! As in the high divorce rate? Gay parents being able to adopt children? I have no idea what you're talking about in terms of family life. There is no link to a child of divorce being more violent. Perhaps being unsupervised, yes (due to an economic system that may force a single parent to work two jobs to survive). Perhaps being left in day care more, yes. But violent? Misogynyst? What could possibly be the link to that argument? Further, families who "don't love" is not unique to this era. There have always been distant, abusive, un-loving families. What is unique to this culture, however, is an exacerrbated notion of masculinity and femininity. A higher level of societal gender discipline. And, in turn, a certain degree of verbal and physical violence.

Perhaps one can make the case that a lack of familiar structure also plays a role. But I think, at this time, I am more prepared to argue that increase in violent/unsupportive/etc families are probably a RESULT of this culture.

Anonymous Nicole said...

What is the breakdown in family relationships? (if such thing exists) Im not hip on the family decline narrative and I believe it is only trumpeted by the Right to deny certain rights to certain groups - oh, and it is also used by postfeminists to proclaim that feminism has ruined our lives- but those two places are the only places I hear such stories. Additionally, there is nothing natural about family - esp. the nuclear family... so maybe its not the family unit that should shoulder the burden, but the society that encourages certain actions, beliefs, ideas and discourages others. Are we back to gender relationships, now?

Blogger kristen said...

uh oh...tag team.

Blogger Privatjokr said...

I wasn't calling yours an excuse (though I feel that is what it is), I was simply commenting on your choice of words towards me. I love that you are open to other people's opinions. Do I think that the breakdown in family life is why this kid did what he did? Absolutely not. What is the "causal link" you require? Dude was @#$%ing crazy. Ah, but you need more. Why was he crazy? Apparently because in this country there is an overwhelming feeling that women are inferior. That is why he is crazy. And that is why 33 people are dead.

You are saying that a society in which women are accorded less than men is unique to our culture? That doesn't seem like you would actually make that argument so I will ask you to clarify.

My feeling about familial breakdown is my opinion alone. I have formed it based on absolutely no scientific studies; they bore me. I know you want to see studies as proof and evidence of a point, but I think you give them too much weight.

Have you ever noticed how many studies set out to prove something and....low and behold they were right? Sorry, I guess we can discuss scientific bias some other time.

I am trying to tell someone who believes that the treatment of women is to blame for all of society's problems that one thing that happened might not be related, and her response is that someone did a study that people who feel women are inferior are more likely to go on a murderous rampage on an isolated southern college campus. I would LOVE to see that study. That is one piece of your propaganda that I would read.

Blogger Privatjokr said...

Hi Nicole. Welcome to play time at DD.

I would love for you to elaborate for me on how it is easier/better/more efficient/reasonable to ask society as a whole to change away from its current cruising altitude than to make the change elsewhere? If you only want society to "shoulder the blame," how do you want it to change? What are YOUR thoughts on this? If you must steal them, humor me and don't cite.

Blogger kristen said...

PWS, you can't be serious that I'm not 'open to other's opinions.' I thrive on discussion, I engage and I listen. Just because I don't cave and/or agree doesn't mean that what we are doing isn't productive. On the contrary. Further, I'm granting you some weight of your observations but for me I think that the explination is linked to the growing masculinity problem in society....a fact that you've yet to ever really answer.

Also, I fear that I've given the idea that I'm asking for stats/studies to support your point. I'm def. not. I "study" rhetoric for god's sake. I hate numbers. I mistrust a lot of science and I don't favor "objective" data over other forms...I just look for good support in any sense of the word. So I look for analysis and rationale arguments about a link between a familial breakdown and increased violence. No matter what the support, I engaged. I jsut don't like to argue about generalizations and/or unfounded assertions. BUt god knows,I'm not above it...ha.

Anyway...my analysis and many other's stand...there is a problem in society. You think that it is based on lots of different things...I somewhat agree except I'll never concede that it is "natural" for people to act in a certain way. Moreover, I'll probably be unlikely to backdown from my argument that this violence is linked to the masculinity crisis.

I do have sources to recommend if you are interested...I'd recommend the documentary Tough Guise. It is awesome and really accessible. The guy who does that video (Jackson Katz) also has books but they are probably not the most exciting things you have to do with your time. The documentary is great, however. ANd even if you don't agree at the end of it, I'd still encourage you to see it.

Anonymous drew said...

don't you two have work to do?

Blogger kristen said...

Actually...I was thinking about changing the title of this post to "take a break so i can do nothing but comment on my own blog"

Anonymous Nicole said...

PJ. Hmmm. Yes, you are right - a societal change would be enormous. Yes, indeed. That is not the point, however. These are MY thoughts - What I am trying to argue is that society as a whole is to blame for this tragedy. Its really easy to say "that guy was f-ing nuts" and go about our business knowing that now that he is dead, we are safe again. Or that since such "f-ing nutness" exists out there, there is nothing that we can do to stop it, so we best not worry. Yes, some mental insanity is unavoidable, but A LOT of it comes from our experiences in this world. It comes from experiences one has in life. So... I agree with Kmcc in her view that unrealistic expectations and pressures that are put on men and women alike can contribute to these feelings of desperation. He didnt do it because "women are inferior." That is a crass caricature of a feminist argument.

Anyway, hope you visit soon! The Rhet Twins can take you on in person!!

Blogger kristen said...

yeah. come visit, come visit.

Blogger Cagney Gentry said...

I am getting into this way too late, and at the risk of catching any of you and all of you already fed up with the issue I will nonetheless offer my thoughts.

I hesitate to place the responsibility of this event (and the growing trend of those like it) solely on the shoulders of a said masculinity crisis. I also hesitate to place it on the shoulders of the this guy was disturbed argument. Ultimately, one explanation does not work, it seems to be a conflagration of issues.

Yes, he was crazy, but crazy people have existed for many many years and mass killings have only recently become a trend, why is it now that acting out is now the norm for disturbed people? That's the key question. Crazy people used to act in, you had your run of the mill crazy person wrist slitting, your had your run of the mill drug abusing, you had your run of the mill alcohol abuse. People talked to themselves, they yelled at themselves, and their imaginary friends. Now, the crazies shoot people.

It is usually men, and from the videos we have seen of Cho and from the Columbine duo they are hyper-masculinated men. So, that must be playing a part, why is it that these types are attracted to a distorted sense of masculinity. I don't think masculinity is the enemy here, which might be what some people are taking Kristen's argument to be and why some choose to argue so vehemently with Kristen. The enemy is the violent, outward acting, need for power that these boys have understood to be masculinity.

I also am developing an argument on how our modern media culture is part of the issue. And, I dont mean violence on TV, I mean the mass access to world wide media, and its ability to be a communication tool. If there would have been no National News, no 24hr CNN, no youtube would this event have happened. Cho wanted people to see him and hear him, if he knew they would not have would this have happened? But, we can talk about that after we see if anyone still gives a damn.

(Sorry for typos I am typing in the dark, and I don't use home keys_

Blogger alison claire said...

don't use home keys? what does that mean :) also important to note the easy access to killing machines in this day. there's clearly not one reason, but no one is saying there is. lots of influences. bye bye!

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