Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eye candy

Sometimes when I'm bored, I surf the internet for photography. The fruits of today's wandering are featured on my favorite things page.

Sneak peek:


Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's a girl to do? The issue of the sexual double standard


Over this past winter break, I read He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know by Jessica Valenti and it got me thinking about the advances the women’s rights movement has made over the past century and how far it still has to go. As the book’s title suggests, the sexual double standard is one of the most pervasive issues faced by women in today’s society. And if there's one place we’d look first to find it, we’d look at none other than the college campus.

We all know how it goes – a guy sleeps with a girl and everyone thinks he’s the man. The girl he sleeps with, on the other hand, is a slut, a whore, a tramp, a floozy, a loose woman…you get the picture. (Notice how there’s a variety of derogatory terms for women who have sex and virtually none for men.) That’s the basic premise of the sexual double standard – men can sleep with whomever (or however many whomevers) they want, when they want, but women can’t do so as freely without getting some/a lot of flack for it.

How did the double standard arise and what’s kept it going for so long? The notion of men as sexual beings and women as asexual, I mean virginal, beings stems back to the early 19th century when middle-aged white men with wigs and wooden teeth were running the show. As for why the double standard is still so prevalent today, despite all of the strides society has since made to reverse the disparity, my guess is as good as yours. All I can say is that it exists and I need look no farther than my own backyard to observe it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was hanging out with a group of friends on the porch, playing beer pong when a group of 6 or 7 girls walked by wearing dresses and heels, obviously headed to a bar or house party. My pong partner (who was a guy) glanced at them and shook his head, saying, “sluts,” as he proceeded to shoot for the middle cup. Boobs weren’t spilling over the tops of their dresses, asses weren’t hanging out of the bottom of their skirts. These girls were called sluts simply for walking down the street wearing dresses and high-heeled shoes! I was appalled. And insulted. Because apparently just dressing nicely (and not revealingly) will get you called a slut.

I didn’t say anything to my friend about his comment at the time, but I definitely should have. That’s the kind of behavior that further perpetuates the sexual double standard, and we (both guys and girls) need to do/say something when we see it being endorsed because by keeping quiet, we send the message that’s OK to hold such beliefs. Of course, I realize that not all guys think/act the way my friend did, but the more attention we pay and respond in kind to the comments of our friends and family (both male and female, because I even have girl friends who call their fellow girls sluts and whores), the better off we’ll all be.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

OMG I'm graduating from college! Yay?!


Graduating from college is no doubt a milestone in a young person’s life. After 4 (or 3 or 5 nowadays) years of tireless studying and partying (tee-hee), college students across the country leave the safety of their campuses by the tens of thousands each year to finally enter the “real world.”

Diploma in hand, graduates are ready to take the bull by the horns and plunge forward head-on into the unexplored and highly unfamiliar territory that is today’s job market. But is the market ready for them? A recent article by the Huffington Post suggests otherwise. Instead of jump-starting their careers, graduates are increasingly moving back home to live with their parents. Why? The job market may not have recovered to the extent that experts would have us believe. And the longer graduates go without finding full-time employment, the worse off they may be.

As a soon-to-be college graduate with no set post-graduation plans, I find this news slightly alarming. While many of my friends will be headed off to graduate school (law school, to be exact) this fall, I could be doing one of any number of things come September. I could be working full-time in my college town and living with my best friend (which, according to the afore mentioned article, may be more difficult than it seems), I could be serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer halfway across the country, or I could be living at home with my parents, like Ashley Moore (dear God, help me! I can’t go back to suburbia at 21!). The possibilities are endless. But lucky for me, I don’t plan on staying in the job market for very long. I’ll be studying for and taking the GRE this summer in preparation for the 2012-2013 graduate school admission cycle, after which I’ll be in school for another 6 years before entering the job market for real. So in actuality, I only have to figure out what I’ll be doing for the next year.

Going to graduate school seems to be the general trend these days for a variety of reasons. Obtaining an advanced degree not only increase’s one’s chances of securing full-time employment, but it also delays one’s entry into the unforgiving and highly competitive job market. This trend holds true not only for recent college graduates, but also for individuals in the workforce. The average age of graduate cohorts across the country has risen over the past couple of years as a result. Seasoned professionals and those who have been laid off are going back to school in increasing numbers in order to gain a competitive edge.

What does this mean for today’s college students? We need to be on top of our game now more than ever. Not only is it more difficult to find a job these days because of the economy, but it’s also more difficult to get into graduate school because of increased competition. We need to take a more active role in preparing ourselves for life after college by completing more internships, taking on leadership roles in student organizations, and planning ahead. In doing so, we ensure ourselves the best possible chance at success.

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