Tags: children/youth, class, culture, inequality, marriage/family, annette lareau, child-rearing, concerted cultivation, free range parenting, slow parenting, 11 to 20 mins
Summary: In her book, Unequal Childhoods, Annette Lareau describes two child-rearing strategies. Concerted cultivation (where parents actively foster and assess the child’s talents, opinions, and skills) is more commonly practiced by middle-class families and the accomplishment of natural growth (where parents care for their children and allow them to grow naturally) is more typical of working class and poor families (the differences are illustrated in our previous post). While concerted cultivation is the child-rearing strategy that is more likely to instil skills and dispositions in children that enable them to succeed in the professional workplace, Lareau argues that both strategies have their advantages and disadvantages. This news clip illustrates the style of concerted cultivation, emphasizes its drawbacks, and describes a movement reacting against it. Concerted cultivation is demonstrated by children in the video who discuss strenuous daily schedules, which is motivated by parents who want their children to compete for their place in the world and excel at everything. It emphasizes the disadvantages of this child-rearing strategy with the children experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, noting that this form of "parenting becomes a cross between a competitive sport and product development." The majority of the clip discusses Slow Parenting (also called free range parenting), a movement of parenting that reacts against these pressures. It features commentary from Carl Honoré, whose books Under Pressure and In Praise of Slow, encourage parents to slow down. He describes the strategy and its merits this way: "Slow parenting is about bringing the balance back; it's about giving children the time and space to explore the world on their own terms, at their own pace, to make mistakes and learn from them--to get bored even so that they can learn how to create ... and work out who they are rather than who we want them to be." The clip goes on to interview parents who have practiced an extreme form of this (e.g. allowing their 8-year old to travel alone on the subway) and have been criticized by people for being irresponsible. A second function of the clip is to show a cultural practice that could lessen inequality between middle-class and working-class parents. If slow parenting (which more closely resembles the accomplishment of natural growth strategy) were encouraged among middle-class families, it might help to diminish the privileges conferred upon middle-class children while improving their quality of life.
Submitted By: Paul Dean
Tags: children/youth, culture, discourse/language, gender, intersectionality, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, colorism, racism, self-esteem, 61+ mins
Summary: As stated on the film's website, "Dark Girls is a fascinating and controversial documentary film that goes underneath the surface to explore the prejudices that dark-skinned women face throughout the world. It explores the roots of classism, racism and the lack of self-esteem within a segment of cultures that span from America to the most remote corners of the globe. Women share their personal stories, touching on deeply ingrained beliefs and attitudes of society, while allowing generations to heal as they learn to love themselves for who they are." Filmmakers D. Channsin Berry and Bill Duke spoke about their own motivations for making the film, citing their own experiences with colorism or, discrimination based on skin color. Specifically, Duke cites a famous social psychological study design in which young black children are presented with two dolls--one black and one white--and are asked to point to the doll that is not pretty, not smart, bad, etc (this study is explored in more detail in the short film A Girl Like Me). Repeatedly, the children selected the black doll. Duke points to CNN's reproduction of this test decades later, which had similar results. This film would be useful to screen in any course that examines race, the intersection of race with gender and class, racism, and various dimensions of the self. Similar themes about discrimination and skin color are explored in the short film Shadeism.
Submitted By: Denae Johnson and Valerie Chepp
Tags: children/youth, culture, emotion/desire, gender, sex/sexuality, violence, masculinity, rape, sexual assault, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: [Trigger warning for frank talk about rape] In this clip, Andrew Bailey performs a character who awkwardly explains his view that rape is hilarious when it happens to men. The monologue plays as the character's thinly veiled attempt to convince himself that the rape he experienced at the hands of his teacher was something other than a traumatic instance of physical and sexual abuse. At first, he seems to breathlessly struggle to convince viewers that rape is hilarious, then as his face reddens and his defenses appear to be eroding, he attempts to reframe his rape as an experience he actually wanted. After all, in his words he "was a horny 13-year-old boy, and [he] totally wanted to have sex, and now [he] totally had had sex with an adult he trusted." By the end of monologue the character's defenses have fallen away, and the audience is left with his raw testimony. He reveals a more thoughtful side to the character, who explains that he self-consciously chooses to see rape as funny because it is one of the few defenses he has for dealing with the experience. The video works well to underscore a number of ideas about patriarchy. For instance, in contrast to the premises behind many of the arguments posed by so-called men's rights activists, patriarchy very often does not operate as a zero-sum game. In other words, the idea that there is a war between the sexes, where a "loss" for women is simultaneously a "gain" for men is not always a useful idiom, and in fact, as feminists have long noted, patriarchy hurts men too (see for example, these posts featuring Michael Kimmel, Tony Porter, and check out this paper from R. W. Connell, who argues that under patriarchy men orient themselves to a hegemonic masculinity). Bailey's monologue can be used to remind viewers that men and boys are also victims of rape, but because patriarchy constructs the aspirational ideal of a man as someone who cannot be raped and always desires sex, men very often have trouble admitting their experiences, even to themselves.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: children/youth, discourse/language, education, immigration/citizenship, multiculturalism, race/ethnicity, hidden curriculum, identity, language politics, mexican-americans, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This video is one of several animated short videos that make up the larger StoryCorps oral history project, an archive of over 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants from across America telling their stories. The story recounted in this video is told by Ramón "Chunky" Sanchez. As described here, Chunky "was raised in a small farming community in southern California in the 1950s. As was common practice at that time, teachers at his local elementary school Anglicized the Mexican American students' names." The anglicisation of personal names is the practice by which non-English-language personal names are either changed so that their spellings are closer to English sounds or English personal names are substituted for non-English names. This practice can be a personal choice or it can be imposed upon people by (more powerful) others, such as immigration officials or, in the case of Chunky's story, school administrators. While sociologists and others have documented the ways in which immigrant groups have strategically chosen to adopt or reject "American-sounding names," Chunky's story is one in which he and his classmates were subject to this practice without choice. Children with "Mexican-sounding" names had their names anglicized. For example, as Chunky explains, Maria became Mary and Juanita became Jane. Chunky's own name, Ramón, was changed to Raymond. Yet, Chunky recounts a time in second grade when his teachers had a difficulty renaming the new kid in class, Facundo. After watching the video, viewers might consider some of the following questions: (1) Why did teachers anglicize the names of students in Chunky's class? What messages did this renaming send to the students? (2) In Chunky's story, why is Facundo celebrated as a hero, and his non-renaming a victory? Each StoryCorps conversation is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and weekly StoryCorps segments are broadcasted on NPR’s Morning Edition. For more on Chunky Sanchez and the making of this short animation, click here.
Submitted By: Anonymous
Tags: children/youth, inequality, violence, war/military, empathy, sociological imagination, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This powerful PSA uses the second-a-day video format to promote empathy for people in war-torn regions. Created by Save the Children UK, the video targets UK viewers who might feel removed from the traumas of war and conflict. It begins by showing a young (white) girl blowing out the birthday candles on her birthday cake, then moves through a variety of 1-second clips of the same girl in everyday situations. While the first shots are mundane and (presumably) familiar examples, the clips increasingly reflect situations of unrest, trauma, and war—illustrating brief but emotionally-charged effects on her family, health, and psychological well-being. The final clip ends with her in a (refugee) tent staring blankly at a single candle on a more modest birthday cake. The subsequent text reads: "Just because it isn't happening here...doesn't mean it isn't happening"; and viewers are encouraged to #SaveSyriasChildren. In addition to suggesting some of the disastrous effects of war on children, it is an excellent way to introduce topics like the sociological imagination and empathy. Viewers might consider how social structures in the various contexts shape these individual outcomes. In other words, how is this individual child's biography shaped by the external social and historical forces beyond her control? How do the clips reflect the very different political structures, social conflicts, and economic opportunities that will likely shape the girl's life in very different ways? In doing so, viewers are likely to recognize the importance of empathy in understanding the experiences of groups that are different from our own. For a similar video connecting the sociological imagination to empathy, see sociologist Sam Richards' Ted Talk. Thanks to Michael Miller for suggesting this clip!
Submitted By: Paul Dean
Tags: capitalism, children/youth, consumption/consumerism, gender, inequality, marketing/brands, gender roles, gender socialization, market economy, market segmentation, toys, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: In this episode from the Australian television series The Checkout, gendered marketing is analyzed and, specifically, the theory of market segmentation is explored. This theory posits that dividing consumers up into smaller groups is good for business; as the video demonstrates, gender is a common criteria upon which companies segment the market and increase the sales of their products. Product elements such as "shape, texture, packaging, logos, verbiage, graphics, sounds, and names [are all used] to define the gender of a brand." For example, Lego company tripled the sales of the same product and boosted their annual global revenue by as much as 25% when they created Lego Friends for girls and building sets and action figures for boys. Similar to children’s toys, companies segment the market by gender when advertising products for adults as well. Among the many examples cited in the video, Dove Company created “For Men” soaps, which have more squared edges than its regular, ellipse-shaped soap bars, packed in grey boxes in order to give a more “macho mystique” to the product. This video can be used in classrooms for explaining the connections between capitalist market economy and gender socialization, and its implications for gender inequalities. The video highlights how gender inequality manifests in the different prices of these products, with "women's products" often costing much more than those marketed toward men. However, viewers can also consider other ways that gendered marketing contributes to gender inequality. For other examples and critiques of gendered marketing on The Sociological Cinema, click here, here, and here. For a collection of pics on gendered marketing, click here.
Submitted By: Nihal Çelik
Tags: children/youth, crime/law/deviance, discourse/language, gender, immigration/citizenship, inequality, intersectionality, media, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, sex/sexuality, stereotypes, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: Star Jones briefly hosted a live talk show from August 2007 until February 2008, and in one of the show's segments she covered the story of Kelsey Peterson, a 25-year-old teacher who sexually assaulted her 13-year-old student, who happened to be an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. The above video features a telephone interview, where Jones asks Peterson's attorney, James Martin Davis, whether he believes it is possible for a 13-year-old child to give consent. Martin responds, "I resent the word 'child.' You're baby-fying this kid. This kid is a Latino machismo teenager...Is there anyone in the world who has a higher sex drive than a teenage boy." Jones admonishes Martin for his casual racism and ends the interview. In a follow-up segment, she invites the attorney for the victim, Amy Peck, and scholar Marc Lamont Hill to discuss the racist exchange, as well as the impact of racial thinking on the case. Although Star Jones and her guests largely frame the interview in terms of race, this video offers a nice foray into a larger discussion about how multiple dimensions of inequality intersect to shape the way people experience the criminal justice system and whether victims of crime become the recipients of public sympathy. Jones suggests a useful thought experiment by asking people to imagine that the race and gender of the participants are reversed. The question can be usefully posed: How would the story be discussed and reported by the media and interested parties if the victim was a young white girl and the perpetrator an older Latino man? Also, what difference does it make that the teenager was an undocumented Mexican immigrant, and how might the current discourse surrounding Mexican immigrants shape sympathy for the victim?
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: children/youth, gender, marketing/brands, organizations/occupations/work, science/technology, occupational sex segregation, socialization, stem fields, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins
Access: Slate; YouTube
Summary: This new commercial from the GoldieBlox toy company has been enthusiastically shared among feminists and those who are generally frustrated by the dearth of creative toys for girls. The ad features three bored little girls watching a generic television ad of other girls dressed in princess costumes. The three girls throw on a record of a reworked Beastie Boys tune, they grab their tools, and in the next shot, we see that they have constructed an elaborate Rube Goldberg apparatus. Swinging levers beget cascading dominoes and rolling bowling balls, until at last a makeshift hammer swings toward the television and appears to change the channel. The ad is in keeping with GoldieBlox's overall mission, which is to "show the world that girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses [and that] femininity is strong and girls will build the future." The company's concern is well placed too. In the United States, between 2000 and 2009, the percentage of women in the field of engineering has been in decline, and currently, only about 18% of all engineering degree holders are women (According to GoldieBlox, only 11% of total engineers worldwide are women). Obviously the commercial seeks to sell toys, but it might work well as a means to draw attention to this gendered imbalance in the field of engineering (i.e., occupational sex segregation), and how this imbalance is connected to the different ways boys and girls are socialized. But one can take the analysis even further. Notice that even in this fairly progressive ad, gender proves itself as a resilient basis upon which to socialize boys and girls differently. For all GoldieBlox's talk on their website about "disrupting the pink aisle," it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the company's marketing approach actually reinforces the gender binary just as well as any other company's. GoldieBlox might be disrupting pink as an innately feminine color, but it leaves unscathed the core idea that girls and women are somehow fundamentally different than boys and men.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: aging/life course, children/youth, crime/law/deviance, discourse/language, health/medicine, inequality, media, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, crack, cocaine, drugs, moral panic, war on drugs, 06 to 10 mins
Access: New York Times
Summary: In their book, Policing the Crisis, Stuart Hall and his coauthors investigate what was reported to be a sharp increase in muggings that occurred in Britain at the start of the 1970s. In fact, despite much public concern, a rash of criminality could not be verified, leading the authors to consider a far more likely scenario, that British society was gripped by something called a moral panic. "When the official reaction to a person, groups of persons or series of events is out of all proportion to the actual threat offered, when 'experts', in the form of police chiefs, the judiciary, politicians and editors perceive the threat in all but identical terms, and appear to talk 'with one voice' of rates, diagnoses, prognoses and solutions, when the media representations universally stress 'sudden and dramatic' increases (in numbers involved or events) and 'novelty', above and beyond that which a sober, realistic appraisal could sustain, then we believe it is appropriate to speak of the beginnings of a moral panic." The public fear about widespread muggings in Britain can be likened to the sudden swell of concern in the U.S. regarding the spread of crack cocaine in the 1980s. Unlike muggings, cocaine use was truly on the rise, but in many ways the dilemma was similarly blown "all out of proportion." The above video chronicles the role played by the media in exaggerating the scale of the cocaine problem and the dire health consequences predicted for the children of women who used the drug. As expressed by one politician, there was a belief that crack babies would "overwhelm every social service delivery system that they come into contact with throughout the rest of their lives." As the video explains, many people born to mothers who were addicted to crack have been able to lead lives free of the health complications foretold by newscasters. So if the actual threat posed by the growing use of cocaine was something different than the one portrayed in the media, why did the moral panic about "crack babies" take hold in the public consciousness? One explanation is that the preliminary research, which first raised the issue of potential health consequences for these children, coincided with President Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs. As the legal scholar Michelle Alexander notes, in an effort to secure funding for the new war, Reagan actually hired staff in 1985 to publicize the emergence of crack cocaine, and a national tragedy involving "crack babies" was just the kind of story they sought to promote. A second explanation for why the moral panic took hold ties in the fact that the War on Drugs has been a racist war from the very start, and the idea of a scourge of crack-addicted pregnant mothers aligned well with long held, racist stereotypes of black welfare queens who raise children in crime-infested neighborhoods.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
This scene emphasizes the importance of consent.
Tags: children/youth, foucault, gender, sex/sexuality, theory, violence, rape, sexual consent, sexual violence, subtitles/CC, 11 to 20 mins
Access: Fáðu já (English subtitles available)
Summary: [Trigger Warning: This film includes scenes depicting and discussing rape and sexual violence.] Fáðu Já! (“Get a Yes!”) is an educational film from Iceland on sexual consent. The film functions on two levels: 1) it analyzes, and is a good way to initiate discussions on, sexual relationships and violence; and 2) it offers an illustration about cultural differences in the public discourse about sex education and sexual violence. First, sometimes with humor and sometimes with sobering seriousness, the film addresses a number of issues about sexual relationships and is aimed at teenagers. Topics include: the dangers of learning about sex from porn or music videos; the fundamental importance of getting consent from one's sexual partner; acknowledgement of the positive dimensions and frequent awkwardness of sexual activity; knowing sexual boundaries; the definition of rape; and the prevalence and dangers of sexual violence. Second, the film is an interesting illustration of cultural differences around public discourses of sex. Many viewers (especially American viewers) may be surprised to know that this film was shown to teenagers in all schools across Iceland on January 30th, 2013. As noted in this review, the film "is part of a government-sponsored awareness initiative that is focused on violent crimes of a sexual nature against children." It had the support of Iceland's Ministry of Education, Ministry of Welfare, and the Ministry Internal Affairs, with the purpose of developing "preventative material regarding sexual violence." According to an interview with one of the film's creators, "The response was overwhelming. The project got a whole lot of media attention and was featured on pretty much every talk show in the country. The reporters and journalists ... all interviewed us, more or less. The reviews were extremely positive and I barely heard any negative feedback. Some of the older, ‘cooler’ teenagers said that it was obviously made for the younger kids – but we think the film is for everyone who has ever reached puberty." Finally, the video is theoretically interesting from the perspective of Foucault, who in The History of Sexuality (1978), links discourses of sexuality to power. On the one hand, the video was shaped by official ministries and is tied to expert knowledge, and it clearly links positive sexual activity to relationships of love. On the other hand, and contrary to discourses that shame adolescent sexuality or characterize it as unnatural (Foucault 1978: 104), the video acknowledges its positive dimensions. The video also does not explicitly define acceptable forms of sexuality (at least not beyond consensual sex associated with love), thereby partially decentering this conversation by encouraging viewers to know and create their own boundaries. Furthermore, from a feminist perspective, the film can be seen as empowering victims of sexual assault. (Note: when showing this video in the US, instructors may want to provide the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE)
Submitted By: Anonymous
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