Masculinity-An Advantage or Disadvantage?

By now everyone has heard something about the “hot felon” that has been offered contracts for modeling and been given more news press than most prisoners. In the article “Buff and Busted: Criminalizing Men” by Lindsey Feldman, talks about how men can use their masculinity as a way to help get themselves out of poor situations, yet there is a side to “bad boy” masculinity that can be harmful and permanently categorize men so they cannot escape the social brand.

The article touches on a lot of different parts of masculinity that were talked about in class and other works, but the part that stood out best to me was this quote “For male inmates, the potential for escape can potentially come in the form of blue eyes and bone structure, in the power of masculinist ideals.” This quote brings up many of the ideas from Byron Hurt Beyond Beats and Rymes. In the movie it was said that the American mindset that a violent man with a gun is exactly what a man should be. It was also mentioned that there are two sides to a man, the “you” and the “thug,” each of which can be a prison of sorts. Masculinity is both empowering and damaging to men and this article shows both sides.

Unless social stigmas about men and masculinity change, there will always be categorizing of males into certain groups. The individual in a masculine standpoint is not as valued as the idea of what a real man is envisioned as. This is a huge anthropological problem because to change the mindset of society, it will take a great deal of effort-much of which no one wants to bother with. Hot felon or not, men will only be able to rely on their masculine features so much before they become more of a curse than a blessing.


Me, Myself, and my Ego

Me, Myself, and my Ego

The article “Dealing with Inflated Egos” by Ty Matejowsky and Beatriz Reyes-Foster, discusses the problems that can arise when people think too much of themselves and get into trouble with others. While I thought this article would focus more on the ego, it took it one step further to what I can interpret as everyday and structural violence within the power relations of students and professors.

The article talks about how field schools can become places of bad memories because teachers take their power and use it badly. Their inflated egos allow them to believe they have a right to do things like “demanding lead authorship on original work you have done without actually having written anything.” This reminds me of structural violence that we have discussed many times in class. It is a chronic problem that can arise when people of higher power misuse and abuse their influence on others. This is most prevalent in the Democratic Insecurities book where the government and men force women to do their bidding and be subservient to them. I can also see some of the instances in the article to be everyday violence because many people ignore it and allow the mistreatment to go unchecked as it is something that happens too often to really care about.

In the future these egotistical people will be responsible for their actions, but this article brings up an interesting anthropological view. People misuse power and get too carried away when they think themselves above others. While it will be nearly impossible to control these issues fully, having more democratic schools where all people have stronger voices could help to start combating the great and mighty ego we all encounter at some point in our lives.


Voodo, Magic, and Witchcraft

In the article, “Unmaking spirits? A case of witchcraft in Cuba,” by Diana Espirito, the article discusses how witchcraft in Cuba is a large part of their culture and is prevalent in the lives of those who live there as well as visit. Diana talks about her experience with a spirit that was sent to attach itself to her and give a message of love from the sender.

This entire article reminds me of the excerpt we discussed in class called “The Secrets of Hati’s Living Dead.” We talked about how voodoo and witchcraft were a way to control people as well as uphold laws. Once one was a zombie and taken control of by witchcraft, they would have to be freed in order to escape the hold of their master. In the Unmaking Spirits article, Diana states “selves or souls (or souls as selves) are located in the recesses of bodies or minds, subject to ascension (or liberation) after death, or recovery through therapy.” This brings up the cultural idea that souls can be freed even after they are trapped with voodoo or witchcraft. This idea and kind of ritual is found in many other cultures.

The idea of witchcraft being used to contain souls and use them to do the bidding of a master is a strong part of cultural anthropology. It is important in the future to make sure these unique cultures are preserved and won’t be destroyed like many thanks to the modern world.


Isolation of Mankind

Antisocial to Survive

In  the article, “Alone in the city: How we create personal space in the madding crowd,” by Erin B Taylor, it discusses the way humans behave when surrounded by others in a city and how they do their best to avoid interaction despite the idea that human beings are social creatures.

Erin states that the reason humans are intent on going their own way in the city is due to sensory overload and social rules. If people were to try to focus on all the hustle and bustle of a city street, our minds wouldn’t be able to handle the huge amount of sensory input. As for social rules, it is a general idea that people want to be left alone. Erin states that “Talking with strangers increases our urban workloads, giving us more obstacles to navigate, and distracts us from what we are trying to achieve.” This rule prevents others from getting in the way of a main goal and causes people to be more aggressive or rude when their “workload” is added onto by someone who doesn’t respect or know the social rule.

This idea of being antisocial and independent is something often discussed in class. We talked about how American mothers often leave their babies to cry it out and don’t sleep with them in the same room. From the very beginning of life for many, isolation and independence become a favored trait. While this may be a good quality at times, being too self reliant can cause trouble in workplaces where teamwork is required. If we continue to keep up an antisocial facade and teach our children how to ignore others in many situations, in the future we might not be able to interact with other humans well at all. Social media will likely gain even more popularity as face to face interactions dwindle.


Medical Apps-How Long Will We Need Doctors?

Medical apps are on the rise in our smart phone and tablet oriented society, with hundreds of thousands of apps available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. The most downloaded medical apps consist of exercise, diet, and weight monitors. Not only is the general public using these medical apps, but so are healthcare practitioners. These apps are now being prescribed in some circumstances to patients.

Deborah Lupton, the author of the article, states that “Apps are new digital technology tools but they are also active participants that shape human bodies and selves as part of heterogeneous networks, creating new practices.” This demonstrates how we are moving into an age where health information is more accessable to us than it was a decade ago. Not only that, but in class we talked about sports causing humans to modify their bodies, but it turns out apps might be responsible as well.

What this could mean for the future is that nutritionalists and weight councelors might find themselves without jobs. After all, if people can download and create apps for free or little money, why would people continue to leave the comfort of their homes to get check ups when their smart phones can tell them how much exercise, food, and weight they need to gain or lose? While apps are convenient, they might become a hinderance if people rely on digital advice more heavily than advice of fellow humans.


A World of Online Identities

Anti-racism movements on tumblr are under debate. Are they actually helpful in abolishing racism or do they only have the appearance to do so? James Jang brings up the idea of “tumblr identities,”  in his article, which are written personas that people make online and use as their other self.

In lab, we discussed how online profiles or personas that people use on facebook can be deceiving when it comes to courtship or friendship. One reads a profile or looks at pictures and finds out a superficial facade of a person. Some may make their online world as close to their real life existence, but others make up a new side of themselves when they are on a computer. In my perspective making contact online isn’t nearly as good as meeting someone face to face and interacting with them. Computers and the online world act like a shield, so people can be as fake or as different as they like because it is not truly their real self and their facial and body gestures cannot be seen. Even if you are honest in making a tumblr identity, for example, how much of yourself can really be translated into a profile page on a website? Much like a book cover, I think only the superficial side of a person can be written out, leaving the real information hidden under a pretty picture they create for themselves.

This is an important concept because our world is morphing into a very technological age. We rely on technology for medicine, communication, and interaction. This idea of having anti-racism and other activist groups focusing their efforts online using tumblr identities is an important topic because it signals that we as a human race have moved even further into the relative safety of the online realm and are starting to believe online identities hold more power in our lives.