I am fortunate to have taken many classes with Charles, he is a brilliant educator and an excellent teacher. For me, there was nothing new that I learned this semester, instead I believe my knoweledge was broadened and enhanced. I got the explore and understand concepts at another level, this level was more with my peers. For the first time in one of Charle’s classes we used virtual groups to discuss topics covered in class, the most exciting one to me was the topic involving men and women and whether they are opposites. We were able to discuss and listen to lectures from outside the classroom as long as we were logged on. This was very useful as it made multitasking a possibility. This year in Charle’s social justice class I had a lot of perspective on how I was to use the knowledge I gained. Part of my vision in life is to be a lawyer of human rights and international law, and to fight for social justice and a change in the world. Learning the different concepts, hearing the different stories and witnessing peoples perspectives, peoples ignorance to issues, I was able to focus my goals on specific issues and marginalized people. I believe that everyone in the world is placed in the position they are for a reason, my reason is to make a change in the world. The concepts and theories helped me gain perspective to my reason of being placed in this position.
This year, my group raised over $1,200 and it was a rewarding experience. My portion came from hosting a teen dance at the Tong Louie Family YMCA, with a Christmas Theme. The youth I work with hosted this event and they were amazing, decorating the gym and they were very enthusiastic. My group members came and helped in the process and they were outstanding. When explaining to the group that the funds were going to students in Ghana and to helping sustain social justice around the world, the were very eager to help. It was a rewarding spirit and the highlight of the semester came during the fundraiser.
I enjoyed the structure of the course, the midterms were very fair and having them online were a luxury that helped students prepare better and manage their heavy schedules better. Charles did well to prepare his students for success and it showed.
There is a popular debate about men and women and their equality. In class we discussed if men and women were equal within our groups. Our group went back and forth with this discussion, but the idea that men and women are opposite did not make sense to us, because to be opposite you have to be the complete other of something. Black is opposite to white, up is down, left is right, man….and woman. They are not opposite, yes they have their differences, because they are not the same, but men and women still share 95% the same body parts and functions, their minds are similar. People may argue that men are more physical minded and women are more emotional, but with that said we are all created equal in the eyes of god. To say men and women are opposite, is almost an insult to either gender and a social construction.
Currently 5 states in the US allow for same sex marriage. In New Hampshire and New jersey, couples can enter into civil unions however they are not recognized outside of those locations. It appears that the choice of whether or not gay men and lesbians will have marriage equality will be on the state rather than the federal level and regardless of the strides that have been made in the handful of states mentioned, there are several issues surrounding same sex marriage that cause debate.
One of the arguments forwarded by some religious groups and individuals is that the bible defines homosexuality as wrong and therefore attempts at legalizing gay marriage threaten traditional beliefs.
One of the reasons why same sex marriage is not widely accepted in society today is based on the standards of the hetersexist society and heteronormativity, a concept illustrated in queer theory and highlighted through the work of Cameron (2005) in relation to gender and sexuality. It can be argued that legislative efforts to legitimize same sex marriage have been shifted from the federal to state levels, and in doing so two processes emerge. First, the federal government relieves itself of addressing the issue, and second, in doing so, it promotes a form of laissez-faire discrimination through denial of this address. legal legitimization of same sex marriage is therefor constricted within the boundaries of the state and not through other state and federal recognition
Sexuality as it is related to identity is an important topic to review. Coupled with the importance of sexuality, gender is also paramount for the discourse of sexuality in society. It can be argued that gender and sexuality are dichotomous variables that should not be interconnected. However, both sexuality and gender are topics that have traditionally been viewed through a binary lens an individual is either heterosexual or homosexual, and individual men are to be masculine, while individual women are to be feminine. these binaries have been researched and presented a being linear in their approaches.
The social construction of gender is a concept that is not unfamiliar to many sociological scholars, the concept of gender as a social construct and sex a biological factor have been explored for generations; we are born either male or female and from the time of our births, the way in which we act and react in society is fashioned by a set of societal standards based on gender roles, such as the previously mentioned masculinity of men and femininity of women. Women are expected to be more emotional while men expected to be more rational beings. These gender role expectations are in essence, gender role ideals that society both creates, and perpetuates both as a whole and on the individual level. This reciprocal nature is reminiscent of Giddens’ structuration theory that posits that we both feed into the structures in society while those structures in turn, feed into how we act and react in society.
Gender roles are an important component to our identities in society. An example of this could be the wider society’s expectations and perceptions of men through reinforced cultural stereotypes. A male may be expected to be strong both physically and emotionally. Given these expectations of such characteristics, the individual may attempt to represent himself in the way that reinforces the broadly accepted norms. Failure to do so may potentially lead to negative censure from the wider society. For example, demonstrating signs of physical and emotional frailty may be perceived as signs of weakness, and therefore undermine the socially accepted and defined standards of masculinity. Conversely, a female may be expected to be physically weaker and passive in her demeanor and may feel social pressure to conform to these standards. Failing to adhere to social norms may lead to societal rebuke, where her femininity is brought to disrepute. Expectations of men and women have been on of the defining factors in sexuality research of the past, during a time when many people assumed that gay men were men who should have been born women and lesbians are women who should have been born men.
Opposition to homosexuality has been a central tenet of many orthodox wings of established religions. This historical facet has been a force for preserving in-group hegemony within organized religion. Through the identification and condemnation of a majority sexual identity sector, organized religion has set the parameters for acceptable and unacceptable principles and actions. thus, homosexuality could be regarded as a direct assault on the traditions of most faiths and attempts to gain tolerance or acceptance of homosexuality have been met with resistance to forceful opposition.
History has shown that many new religions help temper the transition by amalgamating some of the established tenets of a previous religion with revised principles. This process has benefitted them in two ways. First, they borrow from he predecessor’s legitimacy. In doing so they make it easier to attract adherents who may still identify themselves with the older religion. Second, the minimize the degree of dissent by focusing on ways of building on tenets or principles, rather than completely rejecting them. Where there is an overt and complete rejection of the predecessor, the new religion not only works from a disadvantage but runs the risk of being stigmatized as a radical movement or cult. This compromises their legitimacy and limits their effectiveness in building a new identity
Religions are born within existing political structures of nation-states. Hense, to dismiss or underscore the relationship religions have with the state would ignore the extent to which legitimacy is challenged or attained. Alliances of church and state have been effective measures in the preservation of social order. Examples of such include Islamic Law in the Middle East, Judaism as a central component of Israel and identification of Christianity imposed on natives during colonialism of the Americas and the Philippines In all afore-mentioned regions, religion has been used as an ideological force to attain and maintain state power.
Hegemony is a process of control and domination by the ruling elite through consensus of the controlled/dominated. It is the process of domination, in which one set of ideas subverts or co-opts another. Through hegemony, one group exerts leadership over all others, and its interests are promoted above those of others. Hegemony can occur when events and texts are interpreted in a way that promotes the interests of one group over others. Among other sites, organizations are a place in which hegemony occurs. Hegemony is the perpetuation of social injustices, like classism, racism sexism and heterosexism. Hegemony allows for the powerful elites to retain their power while non-violently controlling the less powerful groups. Hegemony is perpetuated through social consensus social reforms, and social structures including schools, church media,political system and family.
The term Social constructionism is based on the assumption that there is nothing natural or normal about the world we inhabit. Rather, social reality is created by individuals to reflect certain interests in a world not necessarily of their making. Humans make meaning of messages they receive based on the reality of everyday existence. With that being said, as there are different realities of everyday existence, it stands to reason that the same message, like a simple question: what is time? will take on different meanings to people in different societies. Even within the society, different people will read different meanings into the same message. This is because people read and understand messages based on, among other things, their racial/ethnic, gender, religious and class backgrounds. Social reality is thus multidimensional This suggests that reality has multiple meanings.
Another way to look at the social construction of reality is that there is nothing inherently good or bad. People assign moral meanings to social occurrences. ONe way to test this theory might be to investigate the meanings that arise from messages transmitted by the mass Medial. On May 1, 2011 President Obama addressed to the nation the killing of Osama bin Laden. CNN and other news outlets carried the same message, which was received by millions of viewers around the world. Hardly had Obama finished his speech than the floodgates opened for multiple interpretations of the US action. The meanings that the millions of TV viewers made of the Bin Laden’s death stemmed in large measures from the realities of their lived life experiences or their life worlds. These realities are intersubjectivities. there is a dialectical relationship between a person’s meaning and the meanings of others. In other words, each individual’s meanings relate to, and to some extent depend on, the meanings of other individuals. Thus, humans cannot escape the conclusion that their communication environment plays an active and important part in their lives.
However it is not just that everyday reality affects our communication; its that our communication also affects everyday reality. This is what we mean when we speak of social construction of reality; that when we communicate, we participate in the building of the reality that we inhabit.