Hope for the world

Happy New Year!

It’s quite refreshing to start of this year with an article like this one. Among all the news about missing planes, mass genocide, Ebola, abusive athletes, etc. ( you get the point), it’s pretty easy to start looking at the state of the world as being in shambles. But as this articles says, to really judge the state of the world you need to look at the trend lines, not the headlines. I like how this piece broke it down and went into each reason why we believe the world to be in a sorry state. It talks about the trends of each of these topics, such as mass killings, violence against women and children, the inevitable fall of democracy, etc. and how while we may perceive these things to be at an all time high due to the way they are portrayed by the media, in reality most of these calamities have been steadily declining over the last few decades.So really then the things that have been on the rise are the ubiquity of news (thanks to social media) and the dramatic way in which news is portrayed.

>> The world is not falling apart <<


Young Women… Linguistic Pioneers?

Young women are known to gravitate towards several things: clothes, shoes, gossip, frivolity in general… One lesser known – but arguably more groundbreaking – penchant is, believe it or not, determining new linguistic patterns!

From end-of-sentence vocal inflections to “creaky voice”, college-aged women have been and are changing the way the rest of society talks!

>> Young Women Often Trendsetters in Vocal Patterns <<

>> Vocal Fry or Creaky Voice <<


– Sandra

What’s in a name? Political leanings?

>> Most Popular Baby Names By State <<

Check out this map of the US and the most popular baby names by state!  Apparently Mason is the new John.  And for girls, the states are pretty evenly split between Emma and Sophia… and the divide curiously mirrors the political leanings of said states.  Coincidence?

– Sandra

Post-feminism, 2013

In the 19th century, feminism was fairly easily defined.  Put broadly, it was the movement away from corsets and other restricting clothing and towards voting rights.  In the 20th century, feminists rallied against prescribed gender roles and lobbied for gender equality in the home and workplace.  The constant and overriding theme, however, was the promotion of blurred gender roles.

Today, feminism has a much more fragmented definition.  While some feminists still assert that women should be treated the same as men (often citing salary differences), others insist that society should be more conscious of the differences between men and women and allow women to pursue their feminine inclinations (such as housewivery and motherhood) without disdain.  I’m going to call this fragmented feminism post-feminism.  So take a look at the articles below and ask yourself: what do you think is post-feminism?

>> The Feminist Housewife <<

“Feminists who say they’re having it all—by choosing to stay home.”

>> Why Women Still Can’t Have It All <<

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton professor and first woman director of policy planning in the State Department, explains her decision to give up her post for her children.

>> Susan Patton’s ‘Daily Princetonian’ Article Urges Female Students To Find Husbands Before Graduating <<

Susan Patton, Princeton alumnus, encourages current students to find their husbands before it’s too late, citing her own failed marriage as evidence.  Internet backlash ensues.

>> Susan Patton Told the Truth <<

A male journalist at the Wall St. Journal affirms that it is necessary for women to find their husbands as soon as possible.

– Sandra

This Is Water

>> David Foster Wallace, In His Own Words <<

Among the usual crowd of soaring commencement speeches, David Foster Wallace’s address to the Kenyon College class of 2005 stands out in its grim insistence in examining reality as it is.  It’s a somewhat dense read – as much of his work tends to be – but, ultimately, rewarding.

This address reminds me a lot of the NY Times article I posted a month or so ago about the secret to success (awareness).  Foster Wallace similarly says that the key to living triumphantly is constantly being aware of the world outside the context of you.  He draws on a cute allegory where two young fish are swimming down a river.  An older fish – going in the opposite direction – nods at them and says, “Morning, boys.  How’s the water?”  The two parties pass.  Down the river, the young fish look at themselves and ask, “What the hell is water?”

So much of what we do and where we are has been determined for us.  The point of Foster Wallace’s address is not to encourage grads to anarchy and to oppose convention, just because it seems like an imposition.  He argues that the world does not – as we sometimes like to think – exist just to hinder us.  It is just the state we’re in by default, just as fish exist in water.  The point is not to escape the water, but to realize that it exists and to reconfigure your understanding of your life around this necessary constraint.  Awareness is the stepping stone to living decisively!

– Sandra