Pressures of society

Haris Kuljancic

What a variety of emotions I have experienced during the readings this week!

The most recent reading I read “Gentleman or Beast” by Bordo, discussed the nature of men’s taught aggression in sports compared to a gentleman that would turn the other cheek if somebody insulted his girlfriend. I personally believe that I would never be with a girl that would have any reason to be insulted by slurs such as slut or whore, so I would never have to be in a situation where I would have to debate punching someone or not. However, I understand that people are put in these positions, solely to test their manliness. If they turn the other cheek then they are considered a gentleman by a very small portion of society possibly including the girlfriend and the person instigating the verbal attack. In this society, what other option does a man have except to physically hurt the other person? Maybe talk trash back and hope the other person would swing first so you have an excuse of self-defense? Either way, a physical encounter would have to occur in order for the man to not be called a sissy.

On another note, Bordo talks about boxing and other sports in relation to rape. She includes the example of Mike Tyson being accused of rape, which I don’t like as a main argument, not because I don’t believe that Tyson did or did not participate in the infraction, but because, to me, there is a sense of inaccuracy and illegitimacy in terms of famous cases such as these. People would do anything for 15 minutes of fame. Look at Kim Kardashian. The only reason she is famous is because of her sex scandal. Then the whole thing with Kris Humphries. Again, I don’t mean to say that I believe this happened or did not happen. I just prefer the examples that happened in schools, universities, and regular places where there are normal society pressures instead of extreme ones.

“Disney and Heternormativity” by Karin Martin brought up many concerns for me. As I read these articles I always think about the future and how I can be better in terms of handling my children well and helping them cope through tough societal pressures. Martin mentions that there are certain things instilled in kids before they reach elementary school in terms of expectations of marriages and weddings, and other themes brought up in many Disney films. I loved the fact that only 1% out of 600 people didn’t see one of the films mentioned.

I read all of this worrying about how I will be able to raise a son or daughter with or without Disney movies, other tv. shows, a tv. in their bedroom, etc. At the same time, I just watched a film in my Drugs and society class called, “The Lost Children of Rockdale County”. This film was full of interviews from kids recalling their time in Rockdale at the ages of 13-16. They discussed drug use, sneaking out of homes, sex, and even a syphilis outbreak! The majority of these kids lived in well-off middle-class families and were predominately white. The interviews with parents talked about how a close nit of a family they were and how they took vacations every year and spent a lot of time together. My question was: how did this happen if families were so close and loving? One of the fathers put it best by saying something along the lines of, “the pressures we could have put on the kids wouldn’t come even close to the pressures put on them by societies and their peer groups”. This stuck with me and worried me because it made me think that no matter what you do as a parent other pressures that are greater will take over and be in charge of what you child does or who they hang out with. 


4 thoughts on “Pressures of society

  1. Sophie Furman

    You brought up a really interesting idea when talking about the close nit families and how just because their families are close nit, it doesn’t mean their kids are saved from facing the struggles of peer pressure, and stereotypes. No matter how well kids are raised or the closeness of their family it’s still a struggle to guide them in the right direction, because parents aren’t with their kids 24/7 and can’t monitor every single thing they see, say, or do. I knew a lot of kids growing up that would use words around their friends that they would never repeat in front of their parents, and if there parents knew they were saying it would be very disappointed. My mom knows that when my sisters and I leave the house she can’t watch our every move or decision so she’ll text us right after we leave saying, “make smart choices” and it rings over and over in your head wherever you are.

  2. Zoe Halpert

    I understand your concern about raising children. I often wonder whether I would want my children watching Disney movies. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with Disney. I love the movies and the music, but I find it deeply problematic. For example, I’ve always been bothered by the romantic plotline in The Little Mermaid; Prince Eric falls in love with Ariel despite the fact that she literally does not say a word. What message does this send to young girls? Keep your mouth shut and guys will fall in love with you?

  3. Jihmmy N. Sanchez

    Harris, I think every new parent has the same frustrations that you have about raising children. I feel the same way, i don’t really want my children watching Disney and Pixar movies, but at the same time I do not want to be the parent that prohibits their children from the outside world and the oppressive views of society but I don’t want them to be targeted for being different. I also would not like my children to miss out on movies like the Toy Story series, which is one of my favorite disney movies to this day.

  4. Brittany Juliano

    Like others have commented, I agree that Disney movies for children of the next generation are a questionable genre. I love Disney movies, and, like many, consider them to be a big part of my childhood. So, on the one hand I feel responsible to educate the future generation properly, I also feel the urge to share my childhood with that new generation. It is difficult not to pass on happy childhood memories, or past-times. I hope that my kids will read some of my childhood books and watch some of my childhood movies, but is this responsible? I think Prof. Jafar mentioned that her daughter did not know what Disney princesses were when she went to school, and remember wondering if she had purposefully not allowed her to watch them, or if she had left the choice up to her daughter. Either way, it is interesting to think that the hetero-normative culture of Disney movies has clearly not influenced her as much as her young peers, as is evident by her confusion of having to marry a prince.

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