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How Trump Seduced the White Working Class By Preying on Their Physical Pain

3 Feb
Larry, a worker at Superior Coal Breaker, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Photo by Joel Anderson

Larry, a worker at Superior Coal Breaker, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Photo by Joel Anderson

and originally published on Narratively on December 21, 2016

I once took a drive on the back roads from Brooklyn, New York to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cruising 55mph from small town to small town, I couldn’t help but notice all the billboards advertising treatments for illnesses and ailments: back pain, fibromyalgia, asbestos exposure, cancer. This wasn’t the America I was used to. Bombed-out Main Streets, sad sack bars, Wal-Mart, and lots of pain pills. It was depressing.

I grew up privileged: private grade school, high school and college. I got a master’s degree from Columbia University. I have a trust fund. But I wasn’t totally unfamiliar with this other America. Somewhere deep inside, coal runs through my blood. When I think about where I come from, I don’t think of the suburbs of Washington, D.C. I think about my grandfather Angelo Rotondaro, an immigrant coalminer from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Masculinity, Inequality, and the 2016 Presidential Election

13 Jan

By Tristan Bridges, The College of Brockport-SUNY, and C.J. Pascoe, University of Oregon

Shock, surprise, handwringing, sadness, recrimination, and analysis by social commentators, academics, activists, and politicians themselves followed the 2016 presidential election. Certainly there have been no shortage of explanations as to how a rich white man with no political experience, multiple failed businesses and marriages, who is on trial for sexual assault, whose recent claim to fame involves starring on a reality television series, and whose supporters feature bumper stickers reading things like “Trump that Bitch” will become the 45th president of the United States. As many of these commentaries have pointed out, this election is the perfect storm of intersecting inequalities: inequalities of class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nation among others. Indeed, the anger that fueled this election reflects the conservative and populist movements across the globe in recent years.

Sociological research and theory on masculinity and gender inequality explain, in part, the success of a man who uses “locker room talk,” regularly objectifies women, calls them “nasty,” and looms over them in a way that is recognized as dangerous by survivors of violent relationships or sexual harassment. The easy answer is that men are voting for the continuation of an unequal gender system that privileges them.

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Man of the House – a study of masculinity in the mid-20th century home

18 May

By Kevin Guyan, PhD Candidate University College London

 

‘The living room in a family house looking through into the dining room’ by Frank Austin and Neville Ward for the 1949 Ideal Home Exhibition, Design Council Archive, University of Brighton.

‘The living room in a family house looking through into the dining room’ by Frank Austin and Neville Ward for the 1949 Ideal Home Exhibition, Design Council Archive, University of Brighton.

I study housing in the middle decades of twentieth century Britain with an interest in the effects of masculinities on men’s domestic practices. My research focuses on two major influences: the effects of planners’ masculine identities on the housing designs produced; and the types of masculinities encouraged through these designs.

After the environmental devastation of German bombing campaigns, a wave of technical, paternalist and omniscient planners took control of Britain’s postwar urban reconstruction. At the same time, as the war ended, planners worried that men would struggle to readjust to domestic life and face relationship difficulties with wives and children. As a result, the interior activities of the nation’s homes became symptomatic of the country’s recovery, and model housing estates, most notably Lansbury in East London, understood as templates for the country’s future. Using easy-to-read publications and housing exhibitions as platforms to disseminate their ideas, planners encouraged new expressions of family-orientated masculinities for both working and middle class men.

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CRUSH

31 Oct

By Lyndol Descant

For me, crushes have turned out to be like a mind-trap or the ultimate carrot-and-stick scenario, ever dangling just out of reach but there to see; to entice.

Let me explain.

In the past my crushes have gotten me out of bed in the morning; the excitement, the thrill, the belief, or maybe it was hope, that he would eventually realize how wonderful I am and see that I deserve his love. And when he does, I will know for sure too. I will know with certainty that I too deserve good things.

But that never happened. It couldn’t. It can’t.

Romantic relationships are never as clean and easy as they are in our imaginations which, incidentally, don’t tend to indulge the realities of life; the complicated, messy, fleshed-out-by-difference-of-opinion and diversity-of-interest, realities of life.

Once I had a year-long crush on a peer who, one day, approached me, suggesting that we get coffee. What did I do? I ran in the opposite direction (literally and figuratively), yelling “thanks anyway”… over my shoulder.

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A History of Divestment in Black Men

27 Oct

The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. Today’s re-post features a video on the history of divestment in Black men, and an article that explains how black men have been cut out of economic opportunity initiatives for more than a century. They were first published at Colorlines on October 22nd 2014 by Imara Jones.

6 Ways the White House Can Help Truly Keep Our Brothers

After nearly six years of de facto silence on race, the White House this year swung into the harsh world that men of color inhabit with the unveiling of its “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

When compared to their white peers, black men are nearly half as likely to graduate from high school; earn $6 an hour less in the labor market; are three times as likely to live in poverty and 10 times as likely to have been a victim of homicide—not to mention off-the-charts incarceration rates. This depressing data has been well documented for over a generation and is not in dispute. To describe the totality of what’s going on, Marian Wright-Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund drops the world “school” and simply dubs it “the cradle-to-prison pipeline.”

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NUDIES

17 Oct

DESCRIPTION: Nudies is a compilation of found footage that represents one’s intuitive relationship to gender over time. By looking at what we were looking at, we start to define our relationships to larger systems as reactive and changing. Through this metamorphosis, the subconscious mind reflects most honestly the inner struggles and accomplishments that can’t be defined or pinpointed by waves.

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BIO: Meredith Degyansky, often under the alias of The Work Intern, is an artist/administrative aide that creates systems for paying off our debt, systems for redefining and valuing our labor, and systems that connect us to one another usually through food and conversations about sadness. www.theworkintern.org

Why Young, Black Men Can’t Work

13 Aug

Photo byKai Wright.

The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. While Monday’s re-post discussed the challenges faced by African American students in schools, today’s article focuses on the labor market. By Kai Wright, first published at Colorlines.com, June 25 2014.

The first thing you notice about Dorian Moody is how easily he laughs. He punctuates conversation on just about any topic with a shy smile and a disarming chuckle. It comes out as a self-mocking accent when he describes his initial boredom with high school. “My mother was like, you can’t fail,” he says with a smirk. “Alright, so I’m gonna give you Ds!” It takes the edge off of his raw pride when he describes his later academic revival, which began after his whole family sat him down and warned he’d be “a nobody” if he kept screwing around. And it softens his chiding response when I comment on the peaceful, spring vibe of his Irvington, N.J., neighborhood, on the western edge of Newark. “Well, go up to that corner and see what the Bloods think of that.”

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Disabling women or grasping at straw men?

27 Jul
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The cheap shots just keep coming and a popular target these days is Hillary Clinton. All the talk of a possible 2016 presidential campaign is sending her opponents into a frenzy. As if being called too unattractive to be in the public wasn’t enough now she’s accused of being incapable of holding a conversation let alone office because of a tumble she took some years ago. Republican father-figure Karl Rove and America’s angriest rich guy Rush Limbaugh have been spinning tales about the state of Clinton’s health amidst demanding that she address rumors of a sustained brain injury. To add insult to ‘alleged’ injury, Clinton’s recent People magazine cover has become fodder for media speculation about her aging body and apparent need for a walker. Oh, and there’s more. Thanks to Drudge Report there was some pretty unforgiving online images of Clinton’s head photoshopped onto the body of a visibly old, half naked woman à la 16th century oil painting style. The lady-berating doesn’t end there.

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Video

Handyman Competency Part II: “Fruity Bodies” in Film and Television

4 Jan

Building supplies

The other day I was struck by an amusing scene in Mad Men, which prompted a part two to my previous blog post. It was the episode where Don gives his boy-faced brother-in-law William a terse life lesson about taking responsibility for William and Betty’s father. But before that scene something happens that captures the problem in a nutshell. Don comes home from work and sees William with the sleeves of his blazer rolled up to his elbows, trying to unclog the kitchen sink with a plunger. “Don, don’t worry about this. It’s under control!” Don characteristically says nothing, and leaves the room. Handyman (in)competency is densely symbolic and little else functions as economically to comment upon a character’s masculinity. Continue reading

Meat and Masculinity

20 Dec
An LG Electronics advertisement for a microwave.

An LG Electronics advertisement for a microwave.

The following is a guest post by Ashley Maier.  Ashley has been involved in the movement to end gendered violence for over 15 years and currently serves as a Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator for the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.  You can also check out her personal blog here.

Food is just one of those things – if it tastes good, we generally want it.  Thinking beyond that palate pleasure can be challenging and uncomfortable.  Can’t this be the one area of our lives that doesn’t have meaningful consequences, that doesn’t require yet more analysis?  As desirable as that situation is, when we realize all that lies behind the production and sale of the items we eat multiple times a day, our food choices take on much more meaning.  Food is, after all, an industry.  As groups like Food Empowerment Project point out, our daily food choices have direct links to issues like child slavery (chocolate), migrant farm worker abuse (produce), environmental racism (factory farms), and more.  Indeed, one food choice has particular links to masculinity: meat. Continue reading

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