Tag Archives: stereotype

Being a Good Girl Is Bad?

gender role2Bing a good girl is bad? If you think that a good girl should be dependent, quiet, obedient, and shy, then Rachel Simmons, the author of the best sellers Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl, might tell you:  No! Simmons talked with TIME that girls were taught early on to suppress their emotions and not live as loudly as they might be inclined to, and her new book aims to show how to raise girls who aren’t afraid to be assertive and even a little less than perfect.

The good-girl identity is associated with traditional femininity gender role which refers to the attitudes and behaviors that class a woman’s stereotypical identity. Girls internalized their gender role during the process of socialization. In western culture, femininity has been associated with traits such as dependence, intuition, submissiveness, and emotionality whereas masculinity has been associated with traits such as independence, rationality, competitiveness, and objectivity. Thus,  a good girl used to be expected to act elegantly and restrainedly, and repress their strong emotions and feelings.

However, the content of socially accepted gender roles changes over time, and roles that may have not been acceptable at an earlier point in one’s life may become socially desirable at a later point. A recent meta-analysis of changes in masculine and feminine traits among college student found that since 1973 women have increasingly reported stereotyped masculine personality traits for themselves (Twenge, 1997). At the same time, some researches shows that women who were gender role typed as stereotypically masculine or androgynous would exhibit significantly greater levels of psychological well-being than women who were typed as stereotypically feminine or undifferentiated. It seems likely that being “good” is no longer the only or preferred option for girls.

square-eyeWhen Being a Good Girl Is Bad (TIME)

 

square-eyeKendra J. Saunders, K.J., & Kashubeck-West, S. (2006). The relations among feminist identity development, gender-role orientation, and psychological well-being in women.

 

square-eyeTang, T.N., & Tang, C. (2003). Gender role internalization, multiple roles, and Chinese women’s mental health.

‘Thinking outside the Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung’

Ich bin Brüno!Brüno, the latest work by British comedian Sacha Baron-Cohen, has just achieved the highest-grossing opening weekend for an 18-certificate (i.e. adult-rated) film in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

This ‘mockumentary’ revolves around the reactions of various celebrities and members of the public to Baron-Cohen’s portrayal of the eponymous flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista. Since those involved believed they were dealing with a genuine rather than fictional character, their responses to his outrageously exaggerated portrayal of stereotypical homosexuality provide a satirical comment on the prejudice and hypocrisy present within a supposedly enlightened modern society.

Extreme reactions provoked by the filming led to Baron-Cohen being both threatened with assault and arrested multiple times, as well as facing subsequent legal action. This mirrors the response to his previous controversial film of the same format, in which he played ‘Kazhakhstani’ Borat. Not only did this similarly result in legal action, but the ensuing furore culminated in an international diplomatic incident.

Whilst such films may claim to provide a revealing insight into homophobia, anti-semitism, and the like, they also raise uncomfortable questions for the audience themselves. For example, it is debatable as to whether they are truly viewed by all cinema-goers as a sophisticated piece of social commentary, or whether they simply allow the ‘politically correct’ an opportunity to laugh at otherwise unacceptable stereotypes.

In terms of their technical approach, many of the humorous scenarios featured within these films echo the ‘breach studies’ of ethnomethodologist Garfinkel, which examined the responses of unsuspecting participants to deliberate violations of social norms.

In a further psychological link, Sacha Baron-Cohen is the cousin of Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge.

(And in case you were wondering, ‘Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung’ is German for ‘speed-limit’!)

Square-eyeBrüno’s official MySpace page

Square-eyeFilm review from the Guardian

Square-eye£1.99 - smallSmith, J. R. & Louis, W. R. (2009). Group Norms and the Attitude–Behaviour Relationship

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Why Harry Potter?

harry-potter-and-the-half-blood-princeThe sixth installment of the Harry Potter series will hit theaters with no shortage of fanfare. It’s not surprising that Harry has suddenly soared to the peaks of popularity in schools across the world. Not just pleasures, Harry Potters series provide important fantasy and illusions to our children.

Clinicians and theoreticians have demonstrated that children often use fantasy play to express and cope with realistic concerns and worries. Additionally, the thematic content of fantasy may also be a significant predictor of children’s adaption. As an example, Harry Potters’ books, movies, games and television all involve the imagination which directs and facilitates child’s feeling, cognitive process and creative thinking ability. Children don’t read Harry Potter merely to reach the conclusion and resolve the suspense, and they also delight in identifying with “good” wizards in this mystical world.

“Good stories capture the heart, mind, and imagination and are an important way to transmit values”( Louise Derman-Sparks, 1989) . On the other hand, some people worry that the discernibly polarized depiction of good and evil in this popular story could cultivate a perception in children that the real world is similarly organized. They question whether the dichotomized view of good and evil presented in such fantasy story are in fact stereotypes that far from enlarging children’s construction of individuals, groups and movements within broader human society.

square-eye Harry Potter hits theaters (The New York Times)

square-eye Laurie Kramer (2006).What’s Real in Children’s Fantasy Play?

square-eye Neil Robinson (2008).Good and Evil in Popular Children’s Fantasy Fiction.