thesocietypages

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Out of the Next and into the Red

The Dynamics of Debt in Young Adulthood

In any newspaper or blog these days, you’re bound to find human interest stories of fresh-faced young adults, newly independent from their parents, and saddled by a mountain of debt they can’t even dream of repaying. The media narrative–think the white college student plagued by $120,000 of student loan and credit card debt—often borders on hyperbole. It skews the reality of how much debt the typical young adult owes.

And while youth indebtedness has received rampant media coverage, there’s been very little solid research tackling this emerging social problem. Evidence from a small group of researchers examining how youth debt has changed over time, how youth indebtedness is linked to social stratification and inequality, and the consequences of debt for young people as they advance through their adult lives can give us a glimpse. The research in this area is nascent, and some of it is contradictory, in large part because access to credit and debt carries an array of costs and benefits, and is influenced by social and structural factors, such as race, class, and education. Debt can surely open doors and create access, but it can also close doors by imposing a long-term burden for debtors and their families.

Three Genderations of Debt

Over the past fifty years, the period known as the “transition to adulthood” has changed dramatically. In the 1960s and ‘70s, young people left the parental home, completed education, got married, and had children, in a relatively quick and orderly fashion. Today’s transition to adulthood is much more complex. Young people are extending their education, delaying marriage and childbearing, and some return to live with relatives. They enter and exit college, cohabitate rather than marry, and take longer periods for “self-discovery” if they are able. While youth must now navigate this increasingly complex transition, they also take on unprecedented financial risk. Whether in the pursuit of a college degree, getting married, buying a home, or simply paying bills and making ends meet, young adults often assume great deal of debt as they leave the nest and set out on their own.

The rise of debt in young adulthood has been driven by a potent mix of policy changes, rising costs, and stagnating incomes. On the supply side, young adults have come of age in an era of easy access to credit. Financial deregulation in the 1970s and ‘80s increased the supply of credit and made debt an extremely profitable business for banks. It was aggressively marketed toward consumers—particularly young adults—which led to a massive increase in household debt and problems with repayment. On the demand side, rising costs—such as the skyrocketing price of college—make credit an appealing option. Since their parents already have debt, young people must take on debt of their own.

In a recent study for Social Problems, I used data from the National Longitudinal Surveys to show how debt has changed across three generations (what we demographers refer to as “cohorts”) of young adults. I focused on people in their mid-twenties—The Early Baby Boomers, who were young adults in the late 1970s; The Late Baby Boomers, who were young adults in the late 1980s; and Generation Y, who are currently in their twenties.

The [graphs] confirm what most laypersons and media reports have suggested—debt has risen. I show mean and median total debt across three cohorts of young adults, adjusted for inflation and basic sociodemographic factors such as socioeconomic status, race, and age. Total debt is the sum of everything from home mortgages, credit cards, and student loans to automobiles and personal loans. Comparing mean and median debt across cohorts, we notice the mean has increased much faster than the median. While the median gives us a good sense of debt in the middle of the distribution, the mean is far more sensitive to extremely high and extremely low debt loads. What this reveals is that much of the growth in debt across cohorts is being driven by an increase in the number of severely indebted young adults. In some ways, it seems the media imagery of the young person beleaguered by extremely high levels of debt is more commonplace today than it was thirty years ago.

To finish reading this special feature, see more graphics on generational debt, and view some suggestions to compliment this piece by Jason Houle, Click Here!

Reproduzindo o gênero binário ativo/passivo

"Reproduzindo o gênero binário ativo/passivo na Target"
(título do post original, retirado do The Society Pages, que foi traduzido e adaptado)


Eric mandou um exemplo que ele viu na seção infantil da Target.

A loja em que ele esteve tinha cinco corredores: cada corredor tinha grandes cartazes na parte superior. Três dos cinco eram focados em meninos e todos eles enfatizavam atividades:


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“Quando comer com as mãos vale um grande aplauso.”


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“As mãozinhas dele fazem grandes descobertas.”


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“Seus joguinhos são imperdíveis.”


Então, garotos fazem coisas (brincam, aprendem a se alimentar sozinhos, descobrem coisas) que merecem a atenção e admiranção dos adultos. E as garotas?

Oh, elas dormem.


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“Sua canção de ninar preferida é aquela que seu coração canta.”


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“Coloque-a para dormir e seja a estrela de seus sonhos.”


Nota do MachismoChato: Quando exposto dessa forma, fica bem fácil entender a dinâmica que cria a passividade ou a atividade atribuída aos gêneros. Não é natural, é aprendido.
International Christmas of Mystery

The Society Pages (nee Contexts.org/socimages) is a feminist/social justice blog that does a lot of articles (guest-written or non-) on economic justice, racism, sexism, rape culture, lots of other stuff. Incredibly edifying material for anyone looking to be more… aware of the contexts in society (get it now?).

Anyway, this week they had a post on Christmases around the world. Multiculturalism!

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Oh blessed Father, for Christmas this year I would like peace on earth, and for my mother to become healthy once more, and for father to have a good year, and maybe because I think I’ve been a very good girl this year can you maybe see it in your heart to let the pastor untie my hands, because it’s been like two years and the beads are starting to chafe.

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Yo dude I just can’t get over how Govind’s eyes don’t close when he passes out, this is creeping me right up a wall. Oh oh write “Maneesh rules” next, and then maybe draw a penis.

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"We wish you a merry Christ-mus, we wish you a merry Christ-mus, we wish we had elec-tri-city, and a happy new year!"

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Okay, Gush’narl the Ravenous, just use this joystick here to guide the claw-lamps over the humans you want, and when you press this big red button the claw will drop and pick up hopefully the one beneath it. But you have to be careful bringing the claw back to the slot because sometimes they slip out.

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HO HO HO YES BRING YOUR TRIBUTES TO ME, FATHER WINTER, KING OF CHRISTMAS, OFFER UP THE PRECIOUS TITHE OF YOUR YEAR’S TIDINGS. IF YOU CAN’T REACH MY HAND, GIVE THE SACRIFICES TO MY CHILD SLAVES HERE, THEY WILL BE PASSING AROUND WITH BASKETS.

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Femininity: Feared and Reviled

The paradox: masculinity is strength, power, and dominance… but femininity is terrifying. Gender rules insist that men must avoid association with the feminine at all costs because, if they do not, they are weak. They are pussies, bitches, women, girls. Femininity is weakness and yet, oddly, it has the power to strip men of their manliness. It is as if, as sociologist Gwen Sharp once put it, “masculinity is so fragile that apparently even the slightest brush with the feminine destroys it.”

Let’s be clear. The reason he’s afraid of femininity is because it’s reviled. It makes you a woman, which makes you worthless. Which is fine for the ladies, but dudes are advised to avoid personal denigration if at all possible.

Thanks Summer’s Eve, you make my job easy.

Vendendo flores com sexismo

Em alguns casos, além do produto, a propaganda vende uma ideia de como os relacionamentos “normais” devem ser.

Esse anúncio sugere que a chateação de uma mulher poderia ser resolvida com flores. Esse tipo de ideia desencoraja outra: que exista um real motivo para essa chateação.


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Exatamente quão brava ela está?


As mulheres têm sido consideradas criaturas irracionais (foi uma das justificativas para negar-lhes o voto - que não tinham razão suficiente para fazer boas escolhas no governo), assim como as crianças. A chateação de uma criança é facilmente rotulada de imaturidade, como se não tivesse razão de ser, não precisasse ser discutida e nem fosse causada por qualquer atitude.

Este anúncio encoraja a tratar as mulheres da mesma maneira, como se tivessem acabado de ter seus sentimentos feridos e um pouco de consideração melhorasse tudo.

Isso prejudica o status das mulheres em uma variedade de contextos, comunicando que as queixas das mulheres não precisam ser levadas a sério. Este tipo de atitude torna as mulheres menos capazes de estruturar seus ambientes sociais para atender suas necessidades.

Além disso, essa ideia sugere que não importa os interesses de uma mulher, ela vai abandonar essas posições e princípios se você gastar bastante dinheiro. Isso coloca a mulheres como corruptíveis - outra construção para justificar a falta de mulheres em posições de autoridade. Afinal de contas, você gostaria de alguém que é irracional, materialista e corruptível dirigisse a sua empresa? Ou seu governo?


Traduzido e adaptado deste post do The Society Pages

"One of Gerson’s interviewees, Matthew, exemplifies the egalitarian willing to fallback on a neotraditional family form:

If I could have the ideal world, I’d like to have a partner who’s making as much as I am—someone who’s ambitious and likes to achieve.  [But] if it can’t be equal, I would be the breadwinner and be there for helping with homework at night.

And this is what women think of that:

My mother’s such a leftover from the fifties and did everything for my father. I’m not planning to fall into that trap. I’m really not willing to take that from any guy at all.

Alas, what appears to be a happy convergence between men’s and women’s ideals — both are egalitarians — can turn into an intractable situation: a man who won’t give up his role as the breadwinner and a woman who would rather do anything than be a housewife.”

—————-

So, I lol’ed. Comments in the post do acknowledge that this post is problematic in its dismissal of housework (implicitly by the author and explicitly by some of the interviewees). With that said, I hardly think the interviewee can be faulted for giving an honest answer about how she feels about the traditional gender norms of married life.

I still haven’t decided what kind of life or relationships I want. I do know that traditional gender norms make it difficult for me to even stand straight cis men sometimes. I may or may not decide that my career isn’t as satisfying as staying at home with my children (because I LOVE BABIES!).

On the other hand, I know I would resent the shit out any dude who tried to convince me to stay home so he wouldn’t have to change the way he sees his role in a marriage. This pisses me off when I see it in my parents, in their friends, every where. I couldn’t stay with someone who disrespected my life choices that way, ESPECIALLY when they benefit directly from them. 

Re-Touching the Consequences of Extreme Thinness

When thinking about the photoshopping process for celebrities, models, and media icons, we’re generally certain that re-touching is used to make models look thinner.
We assume (often correctly) that celebrities really don’t look like they do on the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine. That they’ve been slimmed down in order to live up to conceptions of beauty.

However, an article written by Lisa Wade, professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles, inverts the re-touching dialogue.

What happens when a celebrity or model is truly and extremely thin? When they’ve ‘succeeded’ in living up to body image standards?


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They have to be digitally perfected. Bulkier thighs, hidden rib cages, fuller cheeks…

Read more here.

The Walking Dead’s producers go to great lengths to portray what a zombie apocalypse might be like. They are especially keen to show us the nasty bits: what it really looks like when dead people don’t die — remember the one in the water tank? — what it looks like to kill the undead, and the evil it spawns in those left alive. It’s gruesome. The show is a gore orgy. But armpit hair on women? Now that’s just gross.
Identity and the Digital

I do not believe that the ubiquitous digital changed something fundamental about who we are or how we relate to our bodies and selves. That is not to say that there have been no changes, but rather to say that the change has been incremental. Of course, incremental change adds up over time. The reading from Cyborgology (http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2013/04/11/your-feels-as-free-labor-emoticons-emotional-cultures-and-facebook/), describes, among other things, gender issues on Facebook, a social platform not known for its sensitivity to gender issues. Its only real gender concern is how to monetize gender differences. Facebook is trying to get males to be more expressive about their feelings but, as the article notes, it is because men generally make more money than women and are less experienced in managing their feelings so they are likely to be easier targets to emotional appeal in merchandising. It is not gender sensitivity, it is profit sensitivity.

Reading about Facebook brought to my mind a news piece that recently went viral. The world of gaming is not female-friendly, to put it very mildly. Female gamers, particularly ones that blog about game issues, are often targets of the most vicious forms of cyber-trolling with threats of rape being the basic standard. This item went viral because the target used Facebook to fight back in a novel, yet very old-fashioned manner: she told on the boys (http://www.theguardian.com/culture/australia-culture-blog/2014/nov/28/alanah-pearce-tells-on-her-internet-trolls-to-their-mothers). The young boys who told her to shut up and prepare to be raped were foolish enough to post their trolling on Facebook. She used Facebook to locate their mothers and sent the mothers copies of their sons’ postings.

Some may say that this vicious trolling of women is produced by the relatively anonymous nature of social media, but the trolling is nothing new.  Here is a link to a letter written by Albert Einstein to Marie Curie referring to the way people “hated” on her (http://io9.com/in-1911-albert-einstein-told-marie-curie-to-ignore-the-1668014759?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow). This goes back to the point of the first paragraph. The digital world did not create the trolling of women; it allowed the existing trolling to move to a digital platform.

Ascension (TV Show)

White males rule the show. Show runner, white male. 4 leading cast members, white male (playing straight people).

3 reported females, all white.

1 named black man. Military. Zero Asians. Zero Native American tribe people. Zero Latinx. (There are black people in the background, but really? How do you get a black man with that unending sea of white?)

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This is the range of the cast. And notice the portion of white to black. And Uhh… lack of other kinds of PoC. But notice actual history…

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/files/2012/11/117.jpg

http://history.nasa.gov/flats.html
http://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/unsungHeroes.html

Sad fact, the “Intro episode” says this, “It’s different from other sci-fi shows in that it’s grounded in the humanity of it all.” who did they get to say that line. Yup. The singular named black man cast member. This is so sad, since this is a piss poor representation of humanity.

Also says, “It’s true Old school Sci-fi”

You mean mostly white? Is that your excuse for skirting around history?

Also lines like, “You’ve never seen a show like this before.”
You mean Battlestar Galactica? When Worlds Collide? Or do you mean the other shows and books on the subgenre called “Generational spaceships”


What humanity? You barely have any diversity, even for the 1960’s… and considering the president you chose. Gay rights? Also I doubt that the culture stayed frozen for that amount of time.. our culture didn’t stay frozen, so I doubt their culture would either.

This is not new for Syfy. The majority of the shows are white and male. They can’t imagine a world in which PoCs might actually go to space? They can’t actually look up history at all and see the instrumental role PoC women played? I doubt they’ll put in any other diversity either—the cast is able bodied, mostly not a single bit old and reported to be heterosexually married. On a generational space ship from the 1960’s when there was the civil rights movement? I doubt it.

What exactly is your excuse for making the diversity so piss poor on this ship? Did you do your research, or are you uncomfortable as a white man writing diversity? Are you using the 1960’s to say that’s when diversity was “invented” and that’s your excuse?

Do better, Syfy. Stop inserting lines about how it represents humanity so well and getting someone who is playing a diversity character to say it when you can’t even get basic diversity beyond one character. Remember, Eureka, Syfy? That had some good diversity. It lasted a long time. Your shows without representation of diversity are dying quickly. Try to take your own advice, “Imagine greater.” ‘cause right now this is piss poor imagination you have and all you are demonstrating is, “Imagine smaller—white straight able-bodied, mentally healthy thin, attractive, young, birth-righted, on a generational space ship from the 1960’s men are the only ones on space ships.”

Ha! 50 years and no murder. And look—Earth is populated in the now by white straight men…

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How these white straight men were born is so mysterious. But they hold all the agency in the show. Update your imagination, SyFy by say, 50 years. Stop erasing the past. You don’t even need a time machine or a space ship to do so. Do, “Imagine Greater.”

"Normative" Marriage in the Fourth Grade Classroom
From Sociology Lens

When I picked my friend’s nine year old daughter up from school last week the first thing she said to me was, “We had to do something really weird in class today. The teacher paired all the girls with a boy and we had to be a married couple.” It turns out the teacher was having her students work on writing dialogue and since it was right before Valentine’s Day she thought it would be cute for them to write dialogue about love and marriage.

“Not all girls want to marry a boy. It was so lame,” my friend’s daughter told me. ‘Lame’ was not really the word that came to my mind; I was more thinking about heteronormativity and how it is reproduced through our social institutions.


My friend’s daughter might not understand the term ‘heteronormativity’ but she is quite aware that not all marriages take place between a man and a woman and there was something short-sighted in only pairing up boys and girls to represent married couples. We live in New York, where gay marriage is legal. She attends a progressive school in a liberal area. One of her best friends has two moms and she has been exposed to a diversity of family arrangement. Therefore, it is not surprising to me that she found the assignment odd. In addition, she’s nine and romance in general is gross.

Within the academy it seems so easy to spot how heteronormativity, racism, classism, and other forms of inequality continue to be produced and reproduced in society. We have read Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (1989). Many of us have had our undergraduate students do the Power Shuffle exercise. And we have heard countless students share painful and difficult experiences of their personal attempts to challenge the status quo. Inside the ivory towers, especially in disciplines like sociology and gender studies, there is often a safe space to highlight, discuss, and question how institutions reproduce normative behaviors even if they are discriminatory.

Like many individuals living in academia, my social circle is not representative of the larger world. Even so, my mother thought the dialogue exercise was endearing. My sister, an elementary school teacher, told me about dozens of similar exercises where young children were taught math, grammar, spelling, and science while also being socialized to see heterosexual romantic pairs as normative. And my friend, the girl’s mother, agreed that there was something limiting about the exercise but told me she would not have been completely comfortable if the teacher had paired girls with girls and boys with boys and told them to write out romantic dialogue.

At first I felt defeated. How can we ever create an egalitarian society when inequality is so deeply embedded in our cultural institutions? Then I felt motivated. I would focus more on exposing spot how heteronormativity, racism, classism, and other forms of inequality continue to be produced and reproduced in my work, my teaching, and my interaction with other people. Finally, I felt hopeful. My friend’s daughter told me the dialogue exercise was ‘weird.’ She did not say it was ‘gross’ or ‘embarrassing.’ It was weird. And it was weird because she knew that heterosexual marriage was not the only kind of marriage. She knew that family was not necessarily a nuclear family. The world is changing. I could never have imagined an alternative to heterosexual marriage as a fourth grade student but today there are nine year olds who do and that inspires me.

For further reading, click here!

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-Originally saw here: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2014/12/07/the-teaching-evaluation-experience/

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But yeah, this sort of thing can hit me really bad. Like, “it’s almost end of the semester and I still get worried interacting with my cohorts sometimes because of one comment that happened at the start of the semester” kind of bad. Of course that comment had also hit one of my sore spots in terms of social interactions in that I’m always afraid of coming off a bit too arrogant or egotistical when it comes to academics or intellectual stuff…