Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gender Relations and Vanilla Ice

Last week, my fiance (D.t.U.) and I (P.I.) were discussing how men and women sometimes communicate quite differently. Here is the scene:

P.I.: So, my friend Tess just wanted her boyfriend to listen to her feelings, and he kept wanting to fix things. I think that happened a lot in the beginning of our relationship, but you really worked hard to just listen to me sometimes, and I worked hard to express that I just needed you to listen sometimes.
D.t.U: I think that's true. I also make sure to ask if I can offer advice before I do.
P.I.: Yeah, you're awesome.
D.t.U.: "If you have a problem, yo' I'll solve it. Check out the groove while the d.j. revolves it." (He then proceeded to pull out his best early-90s dance moves.)

I guess Vanilla Ice* was socialized to have traditional gender roles after all...who'd figure? You can check it out for yourself below.

*For the record, I have no idea why I used to think this guy was cool. Ah, high school.

Ice Ice Baby

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The First Sign of Fall

Fall is my favorite season,* and summer my least favorite. Thus, when fall comes around, I'm pretty excited.

It snuck up on me today while eating an ordinary gala apple.** Throughout the summer, I usually stay far away from apples; they're not in season, and have no flavor. But, I decided to risk buying apples this morning at the store, and my choice turned out to be a good one. With the first bite, the taste of fall awakened my taste buds.

Now we just need global warming to call it quits throughout the country and allow fall to gently nudge summer back under the rug for awhile.

*This is true for a variety of wonderful reasons: I love the scent of smoke in the air, and the coolness that invites you to curl up in a warm sweater; fall always signalled the beginning of school, and thus brought anticipation of new things to come, in the form of new friends and new knowledge; my birthday is in the fall, and birthdays are the one day in the year that belong just to you; the fall colors in certain parts of the country can rival any beautiful, fresh spring day (although spring is my second favorite season); I like the clarity and crispness of fall - haze seems to melt away with the cooling temperatures, and clear blue erupts above us; lastly, I like feeling the knawing feeling of nostalgia in the fall, like something wonderful is always right around the corner, but that you've already found it long ago and can't remember exactly what it was.
**I have to admit that I'm somewhat of an apple snob. When I was little, my family lived on an acre of land with a small apple orchard in the front, in an idyllic little town, and I got spoiled on the most amazing apple I've ever tasted: the Gravenstein. Unfortunately, Gravenstein's don't stay crisp for a long time, and thus can't be shipped to many places without becoming mushy, so most people have never tasted one, and I don't get to eat them nearly as often as I would like. (For the record, I know that sentence is a run-on, but I'm feeling daring today.) Check out the link, though...Gravenstein's rock!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Status, or I Am a Social Psychologist After All

A couple weeks ago I lamented the lack of status markers on the invitations my fiance and I sent out for our wedding. Basically, I forgot to include "Dr." in the appropriate places, beginning with my father and mother's invitation.

As a response to my post, Jeremy commented:

I can't imagine anyone would be bothered by a missing "Dr." from their wedding invitation. My druthers is not to ever use "Dr." Besides, if people are really into the prestige of honorifics, "Professor" is more prestigious for non-medical doctors than "Dr."

I actually quite agree with him, and I'm pretty sure none of the doctors (or professors) cared that I slighted them (although my soon-to-be mother-in-law was horrified that some people would get the "rejects" response cards - ha, HA! we didn't have extras, and had to send them to my family and our friends, who don't seem to care too much about etiquette).

Anyway, this whole etiquette name thing started me thinking. In our new world, where many more women are earning advanced degrees, what happens? Think about the following scenarios:

  1. A businessman is married to a doctor. Then, do we address the letter "Mr. and Dr. Balthazar Smith?"
  2. What if a doctor is married to a doctor? "Dr. and Dr. Balthazar Smith?"
  3. And, my personal favorite, will people have to address us as "Professor and Professor Balthazar Smith?"

I find myself drawn to having my status proclaimed in formal address (especially after putting in the time to earn my Ph.D.). And I'm wondering if other highly-educated women feel the same way. Perhaps it's not as important to male Ph.D.s, because they already have high status based on their sex (they have the high value of this diffuse status characteristic). So, males don't necessarily need others to recognize their high educational achievement, since they're already on top.

I don't know. I'm not making a feminist argument for changing archaic etiquette rules. But as a social psychologist who understands status processes, this is starting to bug me.