“Statistical data by themselves do not make sociology. They become sociology only when they are sociologically interpreted, put within a theoretical frame of reference that is sociological. Simple counting, or even correlating different items that one counts, is not sociology.”—Invitation to Sociology by Peter L. Berger (via sociolab)
“Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media. The feminism they hear about the most is portrayed by women who are primarily committed to gender equality - equal pay for equal work, and sometimes women and men sharing household chores and parenting. They see that these women are usually white and materially privileged.”—bell hooks (via wretchedoftheearth)
My kid’s school sends a newsletter home each month. This month’s newsletter reminded parents about the Dress Code for students, especially as the warmer weather approaches. Here’s an excerpt:
“Our students are expected to dress in a neat manner - in clothes appropriate to the school setting and conducive to learning. (with them so far, though wondering if holes in the knees of jeans is considered ‘neat’, ‘appropriate’ and ‘conducive to learning’). Attire must be modest, safe and non-provocative in nature. (Ho! Okay, what exactly does ‘safe’ mean? I know my kid can’t wear a plastic bag on her head, that’s not safe but…? And ‘non-provocative’? Are you serious? Am I the only one who is thinking this is aimed specifically at girls? But, hey, I’m willing to give it the benefit of doubt.)A common sense of length can be taken by “standing straight with arms extended along side - with wristband on hip - the bottom of the hem should reach the tip of the longest finger. If the hem doesn’t reach, it’s too short. Shirt straps should be 2 fingers in width.” (Alright, doubts aside, I think this clinches it, unless there’s a new fashion trend among boys these days of wearing long shirts with hems without wearing pants. Cos this guideline sounds a lot like it pertains to skirts and dresses. And shirt straps 2 fingers in width? Should cover a tank top worn by boys but probably not a tank with spaghetti straps favoured and worn by girls. Just saying.)
Greatly disturbed by the messages these guidelines suggest.
“What I’m suggesting is that marriage is not an institution that is available to all of us, and, consequently, is inherently a flawed measure of personal happiness and success. Creating healthy relationships and families without marriage is possible (heterosexual people do it all the time!). Marriage does not equal partnership, marriage is not everyone’s goal, and marriage should not define who we are (or are not).”—Didn’t You Forget Me? A Queer Black Feminist’s Analysis of the Black Marriage Debate (via sociolab)
“‘You could say that black people made progress, but to say black people have made progress would mean that black people deserved to be segregated,’ he said. ‘The reality is that white people have gotten less crazy. My father didn’t suddenly deserve to eat with people because he deserved it. The people who were denying him his rights got less crazy.’”—Chris Rock (via vagabondaesthetics)
Anthropology:I'm going to go out and study this obscure tribe of people in the far reaches of the jungle! I may be killed by unwelcoming natives but, I'll be able to document the languages and customs of these rare, secluded people!
You may have learned by now that Sociology majors don’t make the best movie dates, and odds are we Soc majors have probably annoyed our friends on more than one occasion. Those of us trained to think sociologically simply can’t accept anything at face-value, even when we desperately want to. Furthermore, we possess the annoying habit of explaining this fact to others.
You begin to notice times when your family laughs at a commercial while you’re debating the effects of its use of gay stereotypes. Your friends might be moved to tears during a heart-warming drama, but you’re busy identifying the replication of racial power dynamics. And when you get roped into playing dolls with your little cousin, you interrogate a five-year-old about why boy dolls can cook dinner, too.
Even if we spoil a friend’s favorite Disney movie, those things aren’t necessarily all bad – and thinking in a sociological style is important. No matter the field you ultimately end up in, there is tremendous value in questioning a presented “fact,” in understanding different viewpoints, and in recognizing the social assumptions existing within the seemingly mundane. Learning sociology shouldn’t be about memorizing solutions to social woes, but examining the world from a lens that aggregates each piece of the puzzle, and seeing the big picture when most do not.
So remain critical of the world around you. The beauty of the sociologically-enthused is that we aren’t know-it-alls with every answer, but we do know, before we accept anything, what questions should be asked.”
”—I did this last night while watching the previews before Hunger Games and then during the Hunger Games. My roommate actually turned to me and said, “Stop it. I will choke you with popcorn.” Then my mind began thinking about the consequences of his action and how the movie goers around us would respond; whether they would applaud, be shocked, or be annoyed that their evening of entertainment would be ruined by a violent act right in front of them. This last scenario would have been extremely ironic given the movie we went to see. The last thought made me giggle and he gave me a threatening look. I hid my popcorn. Just to be safe. (via maraglen)
“Plenty of corrections officers might tell you that offenders doing time in solitary don’t deserve the roofs over their heads or the meals shoved through their food slots. To be sure, many of these prisoners have done heinous, unforgivable things for which we lock them up tightly. Just how tightly is no small question. Yet, as a matter of public policy, the question hardly comes up. Compared to how much we as a nation have debated capital punishment, a sentence served by a small fraction of the incarcerated, we barely discuss how severely we’re willing to punish nearly everyone else.”—The Gray Box: An investigative look at solitary confinement – Dart Society Reports (via sociolab)