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In response to Charuga’s Masculinity, Feminity, does it matter?

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I agree with you to a certain extent. However, being a ‘get fit’ advocate myself, I believe that the world of the gym sphere is changing. As you stated that more females stick to cardio workouts, that is mostly correct, as the author points out at well. I have been a member to two different gyms and honestly, the people that work in the gyms make all the difference. I had a membership at GoodLife and hated it. I felt alone and uncomfortable to ask for help when I needed it. I then changed to a gym called Habitual Fitness and Lifestyle. The trainers there are always willing to lend a hand or let you know when you`re doing an exercise incorrectly. The amount of knowledge that I have gained in 2 and half months there, have far surpassed the year that I was part of GoodLife Fitness. I very much agree with you that females have been brainwashed to believe skinny is pretty. I`ve been a victim of this notion as well.

However, while you were a fan of Maria’s presentation, I was not. Yes, I appreciated her perspectives of beautiful, but she only showed one side of beautiful. What I got was that to her the only form of beautiful was to be bodybuilder size, and that is not in the cards for everyone. I felt she could’ve touched upon the variations of beauty, not just amongst women but men as well. I enjoyed reading your post, though!


Controlling the Impulses

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The internet has definitely taken over periods of my life. However, it has not come close to the severity in which the dependents in the study Internet Addiction: The Emergence of a New Clinical Disorder, are portrayed as. Kimberly Young identifies commonalities amongst individuals that are classified as addicted to the internet. Many of the characteristics of the internet addicts displayed a decline in real life relationships but a significant increase in online relationships. Family members of the addicts expressed their strained relationships with the addict. It was interesting to see all sides to an addiction, more specifically to the internet in this case. It was not surprising to find out that Chat Rooms were the most popular amongst the dependents in the study. I know a lot of people personally that go on chat rooms, whether it’s for fun or they truly enjoy going on them and talking to people that they don’t know in person. How you were classified as an addict or not was deciphered by answering questions on a quiz and the more ‘yes’ answers, the more you were considered addicted. If it was five or more, you were deemed addicted to the internet. However, it almost seems unfair to judge individuals solely on the premise of an addiction quiz.

Professor Barnick gave us (the class) an internet addiction quiz. At first, honestly, I thought it was completely ridiculous. But then, I saw why these might be important questions. On the other hand though, personally I spend a significant amount more of time online during the school year than I do during the summer break. I ended up scoring in the 20-49 point range which indicates that I am “an average on-line user. You may surf the Web a bit too long at times, but you have control over your usage”. It actually provided me with some relief. I was able to feel confident in my control over my internet usage.

This article makes me really think about my time on the internet and how it affects my life. I don’t think I’m aware of how it actually impacts me. From personal experience, I know I use the internet as an aid in my procrastination with school work that I know I have to do. This is one way I have noticed it has affected me and my work habits. It has occasionally affected my sleep. Sometimes I notice myself spending more time on the internet than needed in the late hours of the night. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to miss out on something, so I keep myself from falling into the sleepy abyss. Once I’m able to recognize this though, I remind myself how important sleep is for the human body and mind and am able to shut off my computer and go to sleep. I feel as though that internet addicts do not have the same capabilities and that’s why it is considered a problem for them in the eyes of others. I would not classify myself as having an internet addiction.

What is feminitiy?

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The chapter entitled A Woman’s Place is in the… Cardiovascular Room??, brings to the surface many points that I feel are clearly evident in our society today. Shari Dworkin expresses the social norms associated with sections of a fitness center and how they have constructed perceptions of femininity and masculinity that are very different from each other. Being an active individual myself, I agree with many of the statistics that she has pointed out that refer to the wide gaps in gender ratios in weight rooms compared to cardiovascular oriented workout rooms. These arguments have only re-established the confounding debates I have with myself when I enter fitness facilities. The author explains how she’s been active for most of her life and is definitely not a stranger to the gym. She then begins to delve into her research of women on the topic of how they feel when they enter the gym. Shari explains with her previous experience with the fitness lifestyle, she feels rather comfortable in the gym setting. Further into the article, it is apparent that many females are scared to become muscular. Shari presented “a continuum of bodies with very thin, non-muscular bodies on the left and large, muscular bodybuilders on the right” (Dworkin: 139), and when asked which they would like to look more like, most women kept to the left-end of the spectrum. It appears as though women are fearful of looking muscular because it means they would look less ‘feminine’. This makes me wonder if it all comes back to knowledge.

When I first began working out a gym opposed to playing sports or running outside, I felt very insecure even though I’ve been an active person my entire life. However, once I began understanding more and more about the equipment at the gym and how it can be used to benefit me, I became more confident in using them even when there was an abundance of men present. For me, it was more about learning the different types of exercises to do to make me feel more comfortable lifting weights. Now, I’m able to walk into my gym and do both my cardio and my weight training without feeling nervous or scared.

Most of the women Dworkin interviewed had issues that centered around “images/construct of…fit women” (Dworkin: 137). Many women are more focused on working towards the image that media portrays that is deemed acceptable for a feminine stature as opposed to working towards being a strong and balanced individual. The guest speakers that came in to talk to our class on February 28, also made it clear that this was a current problem as well. I understood from the presentation that Women bodybuilders are not necessarily seen as feminine to the general public. It constantly makes me question, what does being feminine even mean? Being a woman makes it hard for me to understand my place in the world today. I believe it all comes down to understanding understanding the science behind being fit and perceptions of femininity and masculinity.

Critical Play

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While reading this chapter, I thought about the influences that play has had on me. I also found it fascinating how play can be transformed in our lives. For example, video games, playing house, board games and playing jokes on people. All forms of playing involve Critical Play which “looks to the commonalities among play activities, game genres and important historical contexts to discover thematic ways in which play can continue to manifest critical thinking” (pg. 3). Play has been a firm source of understanding social processes of humans. It was interesting to see what people think of when they hear the term ‘play’. Last week, the professor asked the class what comes to mind when they think of when play. Things like consequence free, role playing, competitiveness, video games, alternate reality, etc. Many of the things listed were relatively true, however one in particular that I had associated play with was that it was consequence free. The professor actually later dismissed this, because while the consequences are short-term, they’re still present. When a game involves losing, you experience a sense of failure, which is a form of consequence. This guilt from failing actually affects the mood of the participant. In last class, we participated in a Mimesis activity where we were instructed to walk around the room and adopt the emotions some individuals were evoking. I thought of it like a game, and while I was trying to take on the emotions I was noticing, I started to feel a part of a group. I felt included. This is a powerful element evoked by ‘playing’ with others. In the article this was evident when the notion of ‘play as power’ is involved in a form of play. Power play works to “prioritize competition and traditionally aggressive play styles; as the act of bonding and belonging; as a practice of real-life functions; and as ‘fun,’ being with friends, and choosing freely” (pg. 4).

I was intrigued to find out the many different kinds of games the article describes within the realm of critical play. These different kinds of games go far beyond what I associate play with at first glance or thought. Such forms of play include: adult play (which shape culture through ritual and social custom) and meaningful play [“a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome” (pg. 7)].  However, play has been transformed in the realm of technology as well. Play was used to construct the changing labour division amongst genders during the industrial revolution. This was interesting to become aware of. The emphasis on playing house as a child definitely worked to construct gender roles. When I read this, I thought back to a moment when I was volunteering in a junior/senior kindergarten class and one boy was made fun of when he wanted to play house using the kitchen set-up. The other children were conditioned to understand that playing house was not for a boy oriented play scenario. There are many games out there now that allow you to make a new life for yourself; virtually that is. Games like the Sims allow for individuals to create their own alternate reality, living in a virtual world in which they completely control.

This reading, written by Flanagan, was definitely an eye-opener into the wide array of effects that play has on the social aspects of human interaction.

Importance of Sound

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               The article on Noise and Silence written by Hillel Schwartz, really made me think about how much we focus on making things more and more silent just as much as we become a noisier planet, so some may think. There have been “endless advertisements promoting quiet cars, quiet planes, quiet toilets, quiet dishwashers”(Schwartz, 1995), etc. It’s as if the world is becoming more paranoid of noise and what it could mean, but at the same time, we have so many new forms of technology that make a whole range of new noises. Schwartz makes a good point by insinuating that there are more noises after dark, and that is why more activity is seen to take place after sundown. As we’ve progressed through time, so have the noises that occur. For example: “If there were no car alarms, beepers, or cordless telephones in the premodern world, there were tower-bell alarms rung for the many devastating fires and, as ever, raucous neighbours shouting and children bawling through the thinnest walls and windows (cloth or, later, paper or glass)” (1995: pg. 2). He’s saying that if there’s not a sound that exists in this time, it would be a sound that existed from a different era. Sound has evolved just as much as human beings and that is exactly what this article is trying to portray.

                The lawsuit against church bells was very surprising to me. The arguments that Schwartz posed were hard to disagree with. The four arguments he made were (1) that due to the church bells different octaves, it became a nuisance (1995),  (2) worried that the church bells would interrupt everyday routines and occurrences, (3) with recent technology, people are able to hear better and therefore the church bells were harmful to their eardrums, and lastly (4) it was argued that the church bell was becoming insignificant with the rising amounts of watches; people did not need to reminder of the church bell to know what time of day it was. I never realized the effect of a sound that seemed so insignificant pose such a serious problem to society. Sound is ever changing, if anything is an example of this it is the evolution of music over the years.

                Religiosity was also a classified in terms of sound. “To be ‘spiritual’ around 1900 was, in the most nondenominational of sense, to be receptive, contemplative, inwardly quiet” (1995: pg. 9). This is exemplary of how they give sound attributes to religious orientation. It appears that sound can be applied to almost anything that exists. It is also a contributor to the social construction of society. We associate sounds with many things and as sounds change, so do our beliefs surrounding norms.

Pieced Together

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A feeling is a knowing, desire or understanding that comes from within a person, and may not be attributed to a sense, or a single sense

Is it possible that when we feel a shock in our body that it can trigger other senses and emotions without us being conscious of it happening?

She also touches on the differentiation of ‘feeling’ versus ‘sensation’… how they are experienced with varying reliability and medium

As to smell good (and be clean) is godly, but to smell bad (and be dirty) is closer to the devil and hell…

Perhaps smell was privileged during this highly religious period in Western history because, as Classens article explains, it was tied to God

I squeezed the camel’s torso noticing that the fibers it is comprised of have a degree of retention…

I tried to understand in my own terms what this could mean; my own prime example: the feeling of butterflies in the stomach when one gets nervous

The account of everything smelling sweet, spiced and perfumed, especially her vomiting her internal organs and wormy open sores was rather hard to take.

I believe the odor of sanctity allows one to take a leap of faith to the non-rational where things cannot be explained in rational logical terms but rather metaphorical depictions that are understood through our sense of sight- what is one without the other?

What is taste without smell? What is smell without vision? What is taste without smell?

To ignore your sense of smell is to ignore a part of the world around you.

…individuals tend to take themselves out of the mindset that there could be more than the five that we are constantly exposed to

Seselelame then is not one of the five senses but it branches off from the five senses.

Seselelame is the ability to feel through the body…

They don’t simply dismiss an experience that they have (driving over a rock) and see it as nothing, they would tell you to listen to your body, and recognize what your body does.

In effect, they ask us to be sensual rather than rational, to be ‘primitive’ rather than ‘civilized.’

I have never thought about the idea of how deprived we are of our sense of touch when we visit museums

Touching and feeling these objects were not allowed and frowned upon

Sight itself is a powerful sensorium and allows us to bring upon memories and imagine what life or the existence of the artefact back in the time period it belonged in – our ability to touch each sensorium and use it to its full potential has simply lost its purpose in a western context.

Natives prized the sense of touch more than sight and as a result were seen as ‘living in the dark’.

As a result of this occularcentric ideology, Natives were seen as lesser beings and ‘unlightened’…

By not allowing ourselves to touch these things we are limiting our sensory experience greatly.

What if our ways of knowing the world are not as obvious, superior and natural as we may think?

Bird Fountain Experience

Last week, my professor insisted that we all explore something in ways in which we’ve probably have never explored them before. I, with the unfortunate luck, was given the task of walking around York University’s water fountain. My first thought was: great… I get to spend half an hour with a bunch of pigeons that are doing their business (sarcasm). When I actually began exploring it, I was a little more intrigued. How many times do you touch water and actually think about what its purpose of being there was? No one was frolicking in this little body of water or drinking it. It was just there. As I continued to watch no one even came into contact with this fountain. Everyone within close proximity avoided this fountain, including me in my minimal years here at York. I had thoughts of what were to happen if I jumped in but all I could think of was what would people think of me? Then I thought, maybe it was placed here to deter people from walking in certain direction, as ridiculous as that may sound. Maybe, due to the abundance of pigeons surrounding this fountain and its shallow depth, it was meant to be a bird bath.

Other than the individuals close by, there was no noise surrounding the fountain. Just faint sounds of conversations. Not many people gathered around it either. It could possibly have to do with the current cool temperatures we’ve been experiencing. Then it began to rain. As it rained, the rain drops created dimples in the water making weak sounds of slapping. That’s when I noticed everyone (although not many) beginning to head for cover. Why does the presence of water make people uncomfortable? When I touched the water in the fountain, it just rolled off my finger and some of it absorbed into my sweater. There was no permanent damage; albeit it did give me a little chill. But, it didn’t harm me or really do anything that would put my life in jeopardy either.  To me, this fountain was merely just something to look at. However, it could mean something else to someone else, not only humans but animals too. More specifically, the pigeons definitely had great use for it. What that was, I don’t exactly know. But, one could assume it was where they cleaned themselves or socialized with their other pigeon friends.

After being shown my partners’ experiences, I realized our experiences were very different. I suppose that’s the case with everything that people experience. I don’t believe it’s possible to have two of the same experiences, even if you are exposed to the same thing. Both of my partners had more tangible things to experience in comparison to me.

One partner had, what I’ve experienced to be is, a ball in which you play with. However, when she took me through her experience with it, she not only experienced its obvious purpose but she also experienced nostalgia. She associated it with different things, such as her dad because the images on the ball depicted photos from star wars which is one of her Dad’s favourite movies.

My other partner, he had a different object in nature as well. His took in the form of a liquid. He wasn’t told what it was but when he took me on his experience he told me he was able to figure out what the liquid was by tasting and smelling it. This demonstrated to me that through his previous experiences of life, he had previous knowledge that helped him associate the characteristics that he saw in his object with the characteristics he knows to be in the substance of vinegar.  

All three of us definitely had different experiences and came about our conclusions in different manners.