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Sunday, April 21st, 2013 10:22 pm
Quite a while ago, I mentioned the "#WowGood2Know" facts that I'd started including with the homework assignments in my intro physics classes; folks seem to like them. Well, this semester I mostly ran out of my existing list of those, and I decided to do something a little different: I shared a slightly longer discussion inspired by a (linked) blog post. That went over pretty well: according to my anonymous midterm course feedback survey, most people were at least a little interested and read what I'd written (even if they didn't usually follow the links), so I kept it up sporadically throughout the semester as I found more relevant links to share. I've now collected all of those discussions onto a web page: "Important Stuff Nobody Thought to Tell You (probably).

If you have a look at that list, you'll find that I wound up focusing on a specific theme: broadly on our social attitudes toward women, and more specifically on sexual violence. I might go further and say that the topic was fundamentally "rape culture", except that I made a point of not using that bit of jargon anywhere (though of course some of the articles I linked to do). I think that every single week that I included one of these discussions on the homework, I had at least one student stop by either after class or at some other time to thank me for drawing attention to these issues and for sharing such thought provoking reading. (A few became downright enthusiastic about what I was doing.) That made me feel awfully glad that I was doing it... and kinda cruddy that the bar was so low.

Not surprisingly (but disappointingly), every single person who gave me that sort of feedback was a woman.
Monday, April 22nd, 2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
Some good stuff there. Wanted to let you know the link to the Capt Awkward comment about The Question is broken, at least in my browser - there's a backslash-pound that's not escaping correctly I think. I can still find the comment by going to the main CA post linked above and searching.
Monday, April 22nd, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks! The backslash was left over from including this in a LaTeX file (for the homework set that it accompanied); I fixed most of the LaTeX syntax, but buried in a URL this one flew under my radar. Should be all set now!
Thursday, April 25th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
That is a very nice round up of sites.

Don't be too bummed that the feedback was mostly from women. I bet that half the feedback was gratitude or relief in knowing that you (an older man in a position of authority) are an ally--even if it isn't thought of in exactly those terms. I'm sure you reached the young men in your class as well, but having your consciousness raised doesn't necessarily engineer the same warm feelings.
Friday, April 26th, 2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
Comments on this topic in facebook have got me thinking about good articles on how our culture treats (and mistreats) masculinity and men. I'd rather avoid facebook drama, but could send you links along these lines if you would be interested. so far I haven't found anything quite as good as the other articles in your list. I've been trying to google up some of my favorites, but keep running into cracked articles, which aren't really of the same caliber.
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 11:24 am (UTC)
I'd very much like to have some good links along those lines, so share away! I agree that it's tough to find high quality writing with that focus, but anything decent (that's not MRA BS) would be a starting place.
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
MRA? Do I want to know?

Here's one about a study that debunks the myth that men constantly think about sex. http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/sexthoughts.htm

I also ran across one recently that was an interesting look at how it used to be thought that woman were the sex crazed maniacs and that men could just ignore those urges (which is why women were unfit to hold public office or vote) which I thought gave some nice perspective to our current stereotypes. I'm not having any luck finding it again though....

Also, this is a little different, more about the effects of culture in general, but is something I wish I'd heard/thought about before. It is amazing to me just how much we are influenced by the culture we grow up in. http://www.psmag.com/magazines/pacific-standard-cover-story/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135/

My interest in the subject is mostly as a mom with boys, so a lot of what catches my eye are things about raising boys to actually be themselves, rather than hyper-masculine stereotypes. Parenting type articles probably aren't much use to your students, but I might toss gems your way to see if they can lead somewhere? This seems like a really cool project. I'm glad you are using your influence as a prof for good ;)