I found it very interesting to see how monogamy led to a healthier lifestyle. Mostly this is because "studs" or guys who sleep around a lot are held in such high regard. Being in a relationship where we refrain from sex until marriage, I can say that It is such a great opportunity to get to truly know the other person on such a deeper level. It is also a great test, in my opinion, to see just how much the other person cares about you. If at the start of a relationship you tell your partner that you wish to refrain from sex and they cannot handle that decision, then it sure makes you wonder why they wanted to be with you in the first place.
October 2011 Archives
Generation Y can oftentimes be painted to be out of control and throwing away the values of previous generations, so reading that the number of virgins ages 15 to 24 has been growing was rather surprising! I think this is a good thing because personally, I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that promiscuity and depression could be linked. First off there is the fact that being promiscuous can bring about many health issues like STD's and unwanted pregnancy which honestly would take a toll on mental health and along with that is self respect. I believe that people who value and are confident in themselves and are more likely to be happy and less likely to be flippant in their sex lives.
I feel it is very important that instead of preaching sex as a bad thing that should be avoided at all costs, educators emphasize that sex is great if it is looked at as special and done safely. In high school I did a persuasive research speech on abstinence education versus a comprehensive curriculum that reflected how important this is. People are more likely to make safe choices if they are taught about them and having information does not mean that a person will have sex. I feel it would also be very valuable if the emotional parts of sex were discussed as well as the physical consequences.
As always, I found this weeks articles to be very attention grabbing. As soon as I was reading these articles I found myself relating it to my life and thinking about my friends and their relationships, as well as my own, and found the article discussing people practicing monogamy to be extremely happier than those who are not. When being monogamous it is easier to get comfortable with that one person, and share things with them that you couldn't share with random people. Which is why I think that the articles talking about the health benefits of sex relate mostly to people in monogamous relationships. Whether the sex tips do or do not work better for people practicing monogamy I found the facts to be extremely interesting! All the benefits of having sex more often really shocked me because people never really traditionally think of sex as being a "cure" for the things mentioned in the articles. However after reading all the research and the stories such as Sadie Nardini and her husband's of using sex as a reason to kick their bad habits I found the articles and their research to be pretty logical.
In the first article, the part that struck me most was the idea that female happiness overall has gone down since the sexual revolution. In the 60s and 70s, the sexual revolution was supposed to be this liberating, freeing change in the way everything worked with love and relationships and I think it is extremely interesting that in reality, it is a stresser in women's lives. The strong correlation between women's happiness and sexual stability makes sense, especially if you take into consideration attachment. Thinking about attachment and the insecure ways people can be attached to sexual or romantic partners, it is easy to see how having more could make people unhappy.
Also, after reading both articles I was curious what the norm was for how long to wait (in the adult world) before sex. So naturally, I googled it. I found the majority of answers on the question type sites like yahoo answers. Most guys seemed to say three dates or as few as possible where women said closer to ten. I also noticed women were more likely to suggest waiting until marriage as well as counting in weeks, months or years instead of dates.
I thought that the majority of the information given by the articles seemed pretty logical just based on what I've seen in relationships of people I know. Specifically the part where they talked about women who have multiple partners seemed to be more depressed. Most of the girls that I know regret hook ups the next day especially if alcohol was involved. I think that girls, in general, have more of an emotional connection with their partner than guys. As we mentioned in our Gender differences discussion women tend to be more open with their emotions and I think that ties significantly with the depression portion of the multiple partners. I think that sex is completely different for males than it is for females. There's a reason sayings like "Guys only want one thing." or "Guys don't only think with the head on their shoulders." Based on stereotypes, men tend to see sex as a short term, primarily physical connection and it is not necessarily important who they are with. I think women see it more as a long term, primarily emotional connection. That's why I wasn't too surprised to read that depression tends to increase as the number of partners increase for women because they continue to lose these emotional ties and begin new ones with the same results.
I don't know how well this information depicts depression in males though. Just from what I've heard from most guys, they praise the guy who "gets around". I feel like being the guy that the rest of the guys look up to would make them happier. I would be interested in hearing more about that. I would also be interested to hear information about same sex relationships and if they differ in any way.
As for the portion on planned parenthood, I think that informing young adults on how to practice safe sex is extremely important. Planned Parenthood does not only perform abortions, they provide screening for certain cancers and STDs and provide preventative information to avoid getting pregnant in the first place (therefore decreasing the demand for abortions) I'm attaching an article that I've read that goes more into detail about the benefits of Planned Parenthood that opposers like to ignore. Link
I found this article to be slightly difficult to interpret, as there is no true way to determine if these findings are conclusive or not. I can personally understand the thought process behind the conclusion that having multiple sexual partners in a short period of time leads to a more depressed mental state. I have known girls from high school that, in an effort to either hold on to or enhance a relationship, engage in sexual activity with their partners. While this doesn't exactly pertain to the articles involving multiple partners, it does give a bit of a logical explanation to why the mentality becomes the way it does. When these girls would give out that one thing that they can't replace (and the relationship doesn't stay intact), losing that...power isn't quite the right word for it, but that's all I'm coming up with right now...makes them feel vulnerable and lost, as they no longer have that support. I also think that the feeling of "I don't have anything else to offer, and it wasn't good enough" is present.
I thought that the point that "this correlation [of monogamy and happiness] is much stronger for women than for men" directly related to what we had discussed in class regarding the fact that (evolutionally) women look for life partners whereas men attempt to spread genes to as many people as possible. With this thinking in mind, it would make sense that women would have more affects from the sexual encounters, as they are more invested in the act itself in regards to potentially carrying the child after the fact.
I feel like I related to the follow-up article more than the first - the fact that they mention that there isn't any proven causation between the two made it more relateable for me. I was having a hard time buying into the first article, especially since it seems like a very common-sense thought process? I liked the point that was made: "Until I find Ms. Right, it is quite rational to have plenty of sexual partners, and as a bonus it's fun along the way." It makes sense that people are more likely to be happy and mentally satisfied when they are in a committed and stable relationship than when they are looking to find that one person for them. That search, in and of itself, can be downright depressing.
This article was really refreshing to read. In an age where many older people believe teenagers to be on the verge of a sexual pandemic, it was interesting to read a study that says that the amount of virgins aged 15 to 24 has actually increased 6% in just 6 years. It seems that in our culture, there is a large amount of pressure to engage in sex at a young age and to have more sexual partners. In my experience, between groups of men, having a larger number of sexual partners is looked at as a bragging point or something to aspire towards. There just seems to be a lot of pressure from the media and pop culture to make sex a more casual act and less of an important step in a couple's relationship. It is incredibly refreshing to see a study that suggests that many people are still waiting for their ideal partner before having sex and having a smaller number of partners, between 2 and 3.
One thing that surprised me was that at least from the writer's point of view, no one expects a perfect ideal of chastity. While it is most likely true that many groups, the church included, would prefer waiting for marriage, it was interesting to read that most only argue for having fewer partners and treating sex as something more important than to just give away. It was also interesting to read that most people didn't save themselves for marriage in the past because many people always look at the past as a golden age of idealism. I agree with the idea that people should be less promiscuous and it was nice to see data that correlated this with an increased happiness. In a nutshell, the article said that majority of very happy people had only had one sexual partner in the last year. As always, it is important to not to confuse correlation with causation. The point was made that once someone finds the person that makes them happy, they no longer seek further sexual partners. This makes equal sense so the findings cannot be completely stated as fact but they are uplifting to hear regardless.
Some of what these articles said came as a surprise to me. I think that it makes sense that being promiscuous would lead to depression, but the article makes a good point that correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. When the article talked about this, I thought that seemed logical though. It seems to me like the people I know who have sex and then end up breaking up right away or just sleep around aren't as happy with themselves, which leads them to be more depressed. Those that I know who wait and have sex with someone that they are in a committed relationship with seem to be happier. When the article said that teenagers now are having more monogamous relationships and more teens are virgins than there used to be. It seems to me like adolescents are more promiscuous today. In my high school, we had to write persuasive a speech, and one of the guys in my class wrote his on having sex education in schools. He did a nice job with his speech, and the teacher gave him a perfect score, but once the principal found out what he did his speech on, he made the teacher give him a lower score. This seemed completely ridiculous to everyone because it wasn't that he was encouraging sex, he was just encouraging sex education instead of abstinence as the only option. I think it's good for schools to talk about other options rather than only focusing on abstinence because it's not that realistic to think that teenagers won't have sex at all. It's not bad to talk about abstinence, and that should be something they stress, but they need to tell them other options.
I think that this study that links promiscuity is interesting, and from looking at people I know, it seems to be true. Most of my friends who seem the happiest are in monogamous relationships, and they wait to have sex until they are secure in the relationship, usually after a few months. People I know who have a lot of sexual partners and don't wait until their relationship is secure to have sex do seem more depressed, and their relationships never last long. But I want to know if promiscuity leads to depression or if depression leads to promiscuity. It seems like someone who is already depressed will try to makes themself feel better by having sex, because in that moment you feel good. Afterwards when the guy doesn't talk to you again it makes you feel more depressed, so it kind of seems like a cycle.
This is also kind of confusing, because I have always thought that a good sex drive is healthy. It seems like people who are uninterested in sex aren't very happy either. So if you are a girl with a high sex drive then are you doomed to depression until you find a good mate? And if you have a lot of sexual partners does that mean your future monogamous relationship is less likely to be successful?
I think that Planned Parenthood's philosophy on sex is the right one, and what should be taught. Sexual education programs should recognize that teenagers are going to have sex no matter what. Abstinence programs make those who are sexually active feel bad about themselves, and group anyone who is sexually active with people who engage in dangerous sex.Education programs should take sex seriously, and educate teens about the dangers of sex, and how to prevent them. I also think they should emphasize that it is good to wait for somebody, like the article said the successful abstinence based education programs did.
I found it interesting how the different articles took different perspectives of sex. Some of the information in Slate was extremely shocking to me. A specific thing that really shocked me was that the government had spent $1 billion on programs that promotes abstinence being the only healthy choice. As the article stated kids learning to be abstinent isn't going to change whether they are or not. I think programs such that only teach about being abstinent are very unrealistic. I think the money would be much better spent in teaching kids how to be safe and the risks that come along when one is not. Also I think the kids need to learn about the emotional ties that come along with having sex.
I was surprised to learn that the number of people between ages 15 and 24 that were still virgins increased by 6% in just 6 years. I think this is a good thing because it shows that people are not rushing into having sex and realize it is something that should be valued. A reason this statistic surprises me though is because being on a college campus there are many advertisements for free pregnancy tests and condoms that one can easily get. Though I think it is good that the school is promoting safe sex I think at times this results in people thinking of sex as a more casual thing then it should be. Coming here I have met many people with different values. Many of my friends that I have made here have been in relationships with the same person for a very long time. I feel extremely fortunate that I have found a group of friends like this because it would be hard to accept it if all my friends slept around.
Six Reasons to Have Sex Every Week took a completely different spin on sex then the other articles. I definitely did not know the benefits of having sex at least once a week. One of the reasons i found especially funny was that it is a beauty treatment. In a study those who looked 7 to 12 years younger were having sex on average 4 times a week. Before reading this article I would never guess that there is a correlation with how young one looks to their sexual life.
These articles were very interesting, but also conflicting. It was nice to read about different studies and views this time, instead of articles that all agreed. I thought it was very surprising that teens are now waiting longer to have sex. I went to a small catholic high school, so obviously the only message they had for us was abstinence. Since most of the kids at my school were religious in the first place, this probably didn't have much of an effect on anyone or change anyone's views on whether or not they would have sex before marriage. I can definitely see the point of the article saying that the $1 billion spent on promoting abstinence has no effect.
The articles talking about how sex is better for your health were also very interesting. The aspect about promiscuity causing depression is different than this because it relates more to monogamous couples having sex more often. There were many different and interesting benefits to having sex multiple times a week. I can also see how promiscuity could cause depression. The article says most people with fewer sexual partners in their lives are happier. This makes sense, because you would think that once they have found the right person, they would stop having other sexual partners and their number would no longer in crease. In order for that to happen, they have to be happy with their significant other. People searching for "the one" are probably going to have more partners until the find said person. All of these articles were very informative and interesting.
I found the articles very interesting. Especially where they discuss how american teens and people in their twenties are waiting longer to have sex. I would have never believe that. It's still kind of hard to believe it but in a way it makes sense. I remember reading an article by Erica Jong titled Is Sex Passe? In the article she talks about how women these days are leaning more towards the motherhood and monogamy of the 50s. This relates to the article we read this week when they also discuss this idea. I think it's just hard to believe that teens and young adults are waiting longer because younger generations seem so much more "open" to everything. The way they act and dress(especially for girls) are just atrocious which for me I just connected to them being so much more promiscuous.
The fact that high promiscuity can lead to depression was also interesting. I'd never heard of that before. Although there isn't a lot of evidence backing this up, seeing as how they can't really do experiments, there could still be different reasons for this occurring. They say that as the number of partners rose depression rose but it was also paired with the stability of their sex life and how it was diminishing. The last bit makes this more of a plausible correlation. I think the depression is more correlated to the lack of stability there is then the number of partners there are. Especially for women, they want the feeling of being protected. And in a biological sense they want a man to raise their children and provide safety for her and her children. Without stability in this area of a woman's life it's easy to see how she might not be as happy as a woman with a single partner.
Coming from a Catholic school background my entire life, I could relate to the article talking about the ineffective nature of abstinence only sex education. Just as many of my friends that, like myself, had received only messages such as "the only safe sex is no sex" were having sex as my friends who had gone through the public school system and had actually had a real "sex ed" class. Simply telling teenagers "don't do it" isn't going to deter anyone. I was, however, surprised to read that more and more teenagers are waiting to loose their virginity. We live in a society where it seems as if the promiscuity is just the norm; sex seems to be viewed as just a casual thing rather than something that deals with strong emotional attachments. Learning that this stereotype for our generation isn't as true as I thought it was a good thing.
Moving on to the articles pertaining to the health benefits of sexual activity, I had always heard random bits of these facts but never really thought of them to be true. I found it interesting that there have actually been studies showing correlations between sexual activity and skin/hair health, the likelihood of catching a cold or the flu, and the reduction of migraines. Though the articles pointed out that these are correlations and not necessary causations, I am curious to know the science behind why and how this is. It's obvious that sex burns calories and is, in a way, a form of exercise which we all need to have in our life, but these other correlations I find less obvious.
While reading this weeks two articles, I was a little surprised but also glad to know that our generation really is not as promiscuous as I had thought. I was somewhat under the impression that sex is more of a casual thing for our generation, not that I agree with that. To find out that this really isn't the case was relieving. After hearing so many wild stories about college life, I came in under the assumption that no one around me would be virgins. While condoms are being handed to us left and right, this only further confirmed my biases. It was actually really refreshing to find out how many people actually are virgins. I personally do not believe in "casual" sex and I really think that it would be much more meaningful if it is with someone you truly love. I have talked to many of my girlfriends about this and we all have different views. Some use sex as a way to feel close with a guy, if only for a little while. This leads me to believe that girls will turn to sex because of their personal insecurities. Another one of my friends simply doesn't think that it is that big of a deal to have many sexual partners. She believes it's just a part of life. On the opposite end of the spectrum is one of my good friends who thinks that sex is only for committed relationships.
I definitely believe that woman who have had many sexual partners would be more likely to have depression/feel depressed. For various reasons, women become more emotionally attached and they could be feeling a sense of regret after having sex with many people but never really gaining anything, such as a commitment or connection, from it. My opinion is that many women seek sex to be close to someone, and if you're able to be in a committed relationship with a person, you will be much happier.
After reading the articles, I was shocked to see that teens are waiting longer to have sex for the first time. It seems to me that our generation is more promiscuous than previous generations, and everything has been pushed younger and younger. My sister is a sophomore in high school and she does not have a serious boyfriend. If she did, I would talk to her and warn her of the emotional attachment that many sex and health classes forget to mention. I dated someone for 1 and a half years freshman year of high school, and I remember the pressure to be intimate just because we had been together for so long. Now that I'm older I'm able to look back and realize although I loved him at the time, I wasn't truly in love. I feel like sex is such a special way to bring two people together, and should be shared with few people. I believe it's true when they mention that promiscuous women tend to be more depressed. Many women who don't love themselves seek love from other people. Also, if you give yourself to many different people, it begins to lose its specialty. I think sex is something that should be saved for a select few.
I agree that having few sex partners will make you a happier person in life. In my opinion it's because you share more moments with your partner and make more memories. While having intercourse, the couple would have more feelings than just a couple that met the other day and hooked up for a few days. It is just more intimate when it is meaningful.
I really like that America now has gone from twenty two to twenty eight percent in being abstinence till marriage and only having marriage sex. To me it is really admirable. But on the other hand, to at least have only one special other to have intercourse with is also admirable. Sex is special with your special other. This is going to be weird to talk about but my friend only had intercourse with one special other. She doesn't know if she is ever going to marry him but he treats her with respect and really cares about what she thinks. She has been in other relationships before but when it comes down to intercourse with all of her past relationships, she never did it. I asked her why she chose to have it with this guy and she says it is because there is more of a connection with him mentally and physically from when they first went on a date together. I was like, oh...ok that's cool as long as you are happy. I had another friend who is terrified of having sex at all and would rather wait till marriage. She is scared of the consequences if anything were to go wrong.
My mom told me that I should wait till after marriage to have sex because it will be better that way. I guess that's means I'll be happier? My sister says that it is better that way too because that way I won't have to deal with being pregnant whe. I am not ready at all.
I was slightly surprised by the fact that more teens are waiting to have sex. Not that I take polls, or am in tune to everyone's sex life, but I haven't noticed this trend. Our CA's basically throw condoms at us and make sure to let us know that free pregnancy tests are available. If there wasn't a demand I figure there wouldn't be a supply. I think it makes total sense that female emotional well-being is highly correlated with sexual stability. Girls often times feel pressured to have sex so the guy knows she "loves" him, doesn't think she is a prude, etc. Girls often fall into this pressure even when they really don't want to. Falling into temptation never feels good, which would hinder emotional well-being. I feel like these pressures are less intense for males and that more often than not they want to engage in sexual activity more than they want to resist it. This would explain why the correlation is more intense for females than for males. This research goes against what is often the current norm of thinking that the more you are able to get around the cooler and happier you will be (especially for guys), yet follows the more traditional way of thinking, in that one partner for life is the way it should be.
I find it very interesting how the "Why Monogamy Matters" article spoke as if the research showing happiness and sexual activity being related as complete truth, while the "Does Promiscuity Cause Depression?" article was very skeptical. It just goes to show how you should never immediately take what you read as fact and to make sure you get both sides of the story.
While each article was interesting in its own right, the article that really grabbed my attention was the one concerning abstinence. I went to a small Lutheran high school where "Health Class" consisted of watching various awkward movies from the 70s on puberty and filling out a booklet on how abstinence is the only way to go. The majority of individuals did not agree with that statement. It's not that they were promiscuous; rather, they realized that society is now quite different than what it was. I was also astounded at the amount spent. One billion dollars to no avail? That isn't exactly chump change in my book.
Incidentally, in Psych 1001H we're coving a chapter that touches on sex. The article "New Year's resolution: Have more sex" mentions how increased sexual activity relieves migraines. My textbook also mentioned that. Basically, hight levels of serotonin are associated with lowered sexual desire. Since people with migraines have low levels of serotonin, their levels of sexual desire are 20 percent higher than those who do not suffer tension headaches.
Personally, it makes sense to me how an individual who is promiscuous is more depressed. Most people would agree that instability in one's life brings added stress and is a generally unpleasant feeling. Therefore, if you lack the stability and comfort of that one special person and seek to compensate for this aspect by seeking out multiple partners, it makes sense that this would cause a negative fluctuation in your psyche. However, it is a completely valid point that correlation does not equal causation, and because of that people should not assume that all promiscuous people are or will be depressed.
Great class today! I hope you enjoyed teaming up with the other class as much as I did. It was interesting to step back and include the other class's perspectives. What did you think?
Here are the readings for this week:
1) These are 2 short/easy reads about the health benefits of sex:
2) Here is an article about abstinence education and whether or not it works to prevent pregnancy and STDs. schaffer.nomorevirginal.pdf
3) Finally, you don't have to read this whole site by any means, but the Kinsey Institute has a great set of resources on how common certain sexual behaviors are and what they're associated with. Some more openly discussed, like condom use by age, and others are more taboo behaviors (like BDSM). Explore this site a little and see if you come across anything interesting or surprising. Don't feel like you have explore beyond your comfort zone, but see if you can learn something. We understand that these are sensitive topics.
John will be emailing one more short article soon.
Thanks again for a great day!
Coming from a family that almost always ate together, I cannot say I have much experience with people eating in different rooms. I, however, am not surprised because it is during this time that we are really all together as a family. I have heard before of this theory that eating together is beneficial. I have also seen many of the ad campaigns that promote such behaviors. I also noted how they believed that today's culture pampers children and caters to their every need. However, perhaps they do need direction and the dinner table is the best place to start.
Although I may have not grown up in a normal family, having dinner together has always been a very important time for us when it comes to keeping us together as a cohesive group. With 4 kids in a family, there's plenty of extracurricular activities and we're often running around a lot and may not even see each other. Sitting down for a dinner is one of the few times we can all figure out what's going on with everyone and figure out things as a family. It's also easy to see how a scheduled family dinner can help keep everyone healthy. When a meal is planned, you can always make sure that it's healthy and well balanced, whereas when people are running around making their own things it's likely they'll just grab whatever is easiest at the moment. That's why I think it's very important to keep up a regular family dinner. On the topic of married couples gaining weight, I think a lot of that may be contributed to the fact that they're no longer trying to compete on the dating scene or impress each other. Also, when raising a family, it's east to forget to go to the gym or go for a run or things like that that keep you in shape.,
For our little assignment this week, we were supposed to do something unusual in terms of eating. For mine, I ordered a double down sandwich at KFC. This is a sandwich with bacon, cheese and sauce in the middle that uses fried chicken as buns. Once I ordered this, everyone I was with started telling me how I was going to die of a heart attack on the spot and that it was the most unhealthy thing they'd ever seen. There seemed to be an overwhelming feeling that I was being very dumb for ordering this. On an odd side note, when I observed what my friends had ordered, their's wasn't really that much better. One friend had actually ordered 2 pieces of friend chicken and a biscuit, which was essentially my meal without bacon. So overall, my choice wasn't that much worse. It was just perceived as a horrible act against my body.
In one article it says that parents who don't have a high degree in education, actually have a better chance eating dinner with their kids. I cannot confirm this because my parents did finish high school and got their diploma but I do not think it would affect on my choices to eat with my parents or not. I think it is more along the lines of culture than education. The article states that it is more likely a Hispanic family will eat meals together than a black or white family. The way I see it, it has to do with culture. If I left the table when i was younger to go eat by myself in my room, it would be considered disrespectful. Because my mother cooked the meal for the family, it is more respectful to sit down and eat together to show that we appreciate for what she made for us. The only reason kids stay out of mischief is because, well actually I do not know myself, I've been a good kid like how the article states kids behave better when they eat family meals. Maybe it is a physiological thing.
My family honestly likes to have the TV on during dinner or lunch. I don't see TV as a problem as long as the family talk to each other right? I mean, my family would watch something like the Bachelor or some other television show and discuss and relate to it between commercials or after the show. I think it is fine as long as we can share our opinions and interact with each other during the meals. The food being eaten during the meals, well that is the family's job to produce healthy meals. Another article says that putting food on the table will cause kids to eat healthier which is true! I would be very lazy to make food for myself so I would want something fast, easy, and microwavable. But if mom already has food on the table, then why not venture to the dinner table and even chat with my family members?
The article entitled "Could your partner be bad for your health?" spoke of the fact that individuals, both married and cohabitating, affected each other's eating habits. This made a lot of sense to me, especially after listening to the research done regarding roommates and their affect on each others' eating habits. Being in a similar living situation, of course this would make sense; also, as the couples would have more attachment than one would have to their roommate, it seemed rational that the couples would have more influence. When two people are living together, there is a compromise on what they are buying for food, therefore affecting what each person is eating.
I enjoyed the portion of the initial article that showed the changes of eating habits before marriage, right after marriage began, and a bit into the marriage. It was very interesting to me when the article stated that men made more changes than women. It said that initially what the husband preferred was very influential, but that influence decreased the longer the marriage went on. This makes sense, as when the marriage was first starting, the women (who were more than likely the ones in charge of making the meals) were attempting to accommodate their husband's desires, but as the relationship went along they were less concerned about the impression and began to go back to other meals and cooking styles. With the fact that women were doing a lot of the cooking, it made sense to me that they had more affect on their spouses' eating habits than vice versa - they are, after all, in control of the food coming in.
"Moving into marriage was associated with weight gain in women but not
men, while moving out of marriage was associated with weight loss in men but not women." I found this quote very interesting, as it hit upon some concepts that we had covered in discussion. We've discussed how women need to be physically attractive to attract men; after they are in a relationship, they do not need to worry about that as much as they did before. I found the second part of the quote surprising...why would men be the ones loosing weight? It would make sense that once a man got out of a relationship, he would spend more time with his male friends, engaging in the 'male approved' activities of sports and working out more than he had previously.
I liked the articles that dealt with the family meal. I have always felt that eating as a family is important, and I can personally attest to the fact that once I started coming home later and missing dinner with my family, my eating habits worsened. It was a lot easier to eat junk food or skip meals when there wasn't the rest of my family there to hold me accountable and set a good example. It made sense to me that the kids that weren't eating with their families were at higher risk of smoking and other things like that - no matter if your family is close or not, having them all together and there is a constant reminder that they are there for you and support you, which would make it harder to make poor choices.
Like many of the other blog entries mentioned, I grew up in a family where family dinners were stressed. Up until I was a freshmen in high school my mom was a "stay-at-home mom" where she would cook us up a dinner almost every night and we would eat as soon as my dad got home from work. Our conversations were similar to some of the conversations talked about in the article.. there was a little bickering amongst the siblings but mostly we talked about our days, how school is going, and joked about crazy things our other family members have done. Since my mom began working the number of family meals per week has decreased but we still make an effort for 3 to 4 times a week. A tradition that my dad's side of the family has is every Sunday we have a Sunday dinner where my whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) gets together to have an Italian meal that my grandma would prepare. I think that I have gotten so used to eating together that I try to stress getting together to eat with friends from my floor.
This week for our assignment I decided to get dessert before I got actual food to see everyone's reaction. A lot of the comments that I got were along the lines of "Oh, Jen's a little eager for dessert today". Most people didn't really notice or they just laughed about it. I think that we get so involved in the norm that any tiny change, like getting dessert first, can draw so much attention. I think that's why it was really difficult to get used to the fact that I wouldn't be eating family dinners 4 times a week and getting used to missing out on Sunday dinners. I'm really glad that my family has that tradition because I feel like I'm a lot closer with my extended family than most people because of our Sunday dinners.
One of the articles went into detail about how the male spouse tends to have a smaller influence on eating habits than the female spouse. This reminds me a lot about discussions that we've had in previous classes. But I'm already a terrible eater when it comes to being healthy so hopefully my future husband will be a health freak and influence me and go against the stereotypes!
This clip is from the show Jerseylicious and it gives a little example of what an Italian Sunday dinner consists of (well at least their interpretation of it). Sunday Dinner
I thought these articles were interesting, but not surprising. My family stopped eating together probably ten years ago. I remember we always ate together when I was little, but soon after we moved to our new house we stopped. I think we stopped eating together because my mom started working later, not getting home until around five. I at least got the experience of eating together as a family when I was younger, but my younger brothers never really got that experience. When my mom does cook dinner she has to drag them away from the XBox to get them to come eat it, and then they usually bring it downstairs with them. My mom does make dinner for us probably four nights a week, but she usually just leaves it hot on the stove and we all eat it when we get the chance. My family is really laid back, my parents don't really discipline us at all, which is the reason my older brother and I would probably fit into at least half of the bad side effects that are from not eating together as a family. Our dining room table is filled with mail and bills, so even if we wanted to use it we'd have to take an hour to sort all of that stuff out.
Another thing I thought was interesting was how one researcher said not to blame the teenagers, that parents think teenagers don't need their families and are too obsessed with their friends to eat together. I think that's true, I wouldn't mind eating together as a family. Most teenagers are just happy to see food, and would prefer a home cooked meal over pizza rolls. I know I just eat junk food because I am too lazy to cook real food, but I would much prefer real food. Sometimes when I am willing to cook real food I find that I don't know how to cook it, so I eat a frozen pizza instead. I always joke that I'm going to make a really bad wife, because I don't know how to cook anything. I am going to try to have my family eat together when I'm older, at least a few times a week. If our schedules don't permit us to eat together then I will try to spend time with my family in other ways.
Something else I think is interesting is that if you think about it, in almost all shows that have a family in them, it always shows them eating together, even dysfunctional families. Here are some examples: The Simpsons, South Park, Everybody Loves Raymond, That 70's Show, Malcolm in the Middle, etc
These articles were right up my alley. The hardest thing about living in the dorms for me is dinner time. Growing up in a family where, like in many of the article's examples, my parents made an effort to eat together almost every night, I miss that sense of togetherness. My mom made cooking dinner into cooking lessons for me and we always talked about our lives. Living on campus, I still talk about my life with the people I eat with but there is no preparation of the food beforehand. That portion of one of the articles impacted me. They connected fast food to our under appreciation of what we eat and called the fast food lifestyle one where people eat quickly, often alone and 'shovel food down'. Apart from the marketed fast food, this is dining hall eating. You walk along, pile food that has already been prepared for you onto a plate you will not have to wash and eat often quickly in order to rush on to your next activity. The article put a good amount of emphasis on the importance of realizing how and where your food comes from and I have felt for the last two months a lack of this that directly correlates to my lack of family dinners.
I decided to put this theory to a test in a way. I decided at lunch this weekend to put together my meal at the table instead of while in line. I gathered the toppings for my sandwich from the different places in the dining hall and then when all my friends sat down next to me at the table, I started to compile my food. I went back up to use the toaster and saw them giving me strange looks for taking so long to begin eating. Also, it did not seem to make sense to them why I would not have just taken the sandwich already prepared. It did however, give me more of a sense of seeing where my food came from.
Reading these articles made me think a lot about my own family's dinner habits. When I was younger it was just my mom and I so we always ate dinner together. As I got older and my younger siblings were born, however, the number of times we all ate together started to decrease. For most of my high school career I was in activities after school and wouldn't be getting home until around 7pm so my mom would eat with my younger siblings and I'd just eat when I got home. On weekends though, my mom made sure we all ate together and the rule was no cell phones and no TV on.
In reading the articles, I was surprised to see that having the TV on during dinner didn't cause a decrease in the benefits of the family dinner. I would have thought that the TV would prove to be a distraction and lead to a very disconnected family dinner. I did agree with the facts about having family dinner more frequently leads to less risky behavior in teens. Additionally, I agreed completely with the articles saying that it is at the family dinner table that young children learn etiquette, the values of the family, sentence structure, and gain insight into the lives of other family members. Its sometimes harder to see yourself learning these things, but I have been able to see my younger siblings learn their meal prayers, how to behave at the table, and the importance of eating healthy.
Personally, when I have my own family, I know I will be enforcing that everyone sits down for a family meal.
These articles made a lot of sense to me. When I was younger, we always tried to have family meals whenever possible. When I was little, we mostly had to work around my dad's work schedule, but as I got older we had to work around my extra-curriculars and school events. Now, whenever I come home from college we make sure to have at least one home cooked meal together while I am home. My friends and I now try to have a night at least once a week where we all get together and go to a dining hall together. It's nice to have a sense of family here at college, even though I'm eating with my friends instead of my family.
Whenever we had family meals, we normally had the tv off. The only thing we ever watched was the news, and that was rarely. I was surprised in that the article said it didn't make much of a difference if the tv was on or off. I thought that having it on would make conversation much more scare, although it would probably depend on what was on.
It definitely makes sense that husbands would have a more negative effect on their wives eating habits. Women typically eat healthier because they are more into watching their weight and their nutrition. Because of this, women have more of a positive influence on men's diets after they get married. Women are usually the ones cooking, so they want to cook things that their husband likes. Therefore, they would probably end up cooking more unhealthily than they did before they got married.
For the homework assignment, I decided to drink soda instead of my usual milk or juice. My friends know that I rarely drink soda, so they immediately asked me why I decided to drink soda instead. I just shrugged it off, but I could tell they thought it was weird.
I really enjoyed these articles. I have always believed that family dinners are important, but I didn't realize just how much of an impact they have. It was fascinating to me that family dinners could have an impact on someone's grades, and I also thought it was interesting that girls who eat alone consume unhealthier foods.
The article concerning television during dinnertime was surprising. At home, my mother would always harp about having the TV on during dinnertime. She thought that it was really distracting and took away from the experience of eating together.
My family ate dinner together 5-7 times a week, and I miss eating dinner with them. Most of the time we would have the TV turned on in order to watch national and local news, and that would spark some interesting conversation. When the TV wasn't on, we'd make small chat about various activities that had taken place throughout the day. My mom always made sure that dinner was a healthy balance of fruit, veggies, carbs, and protein. I can't wait to go home for Thanksgiving and sit down for a home-cooked meal.
The cohabitation article made perfect sense to me. It came as no surprise that partners adapted their eating habits in order to have a more cohesive dietary lifestyle. I remember my dad talking about how his food choices as a bachelor were limited to canned and boxed foods, spaghetti, grilled cheese, and salmon. To this day whenever he cooks for the family, he will make either spaghetti or salmon.
For the homework assignment, I decided to eat soup without a spoon. Usually, I don't even eat soup, so that caught people's eyes. After the soup had cooled a bit, I picked it up with both hands and sipped it out of the cup. My friends looked at me a little funny, and one asked if I forgot a spoon. Nonchalantly, I said no, and continued eating my soup.
The articles on the family are very interesting. Growing up as a little kid we had family dinners often but as I got older they stopped and I just ate on my own, or in my room. I've heard quite often about the benefits of eating together as a family. How kids do better in school and all that. I guess it kind of makes sense but it'd be nice if they could better explain why. It was interesting that families with the least educated parents ate together the most. Maybe they're compensating for something? Or maybe more educated parents just don't have the time. I also found it interesting that foreign kids ate more with the family. My boyfriend is Greek and his parents moved here in there twenties and they always have family meals together. When I went to Greece with them this summer, dinners were really big family events where everyone got together to eat.
I think the TV thing has a lot still to be discussed about. It seems almost a random thing they just threw in there and it has no direct effect really on the dinners. I've had quite a few family dinners with the TV on but we still always talk. It's more just like background noise. When I have kids I do really want to have family dinners often. I guess it's helpful to take the TV information into account.
The relationship article and information on that was interesting too. It makes sense that women eat more meat and men less meat as they're trying to reach a good median between the two. I didn't know though that women drank high fat milk and men low fat milk. I really don't like high fat milk at all. It made a lot of sense that men had to change their diets more than women. But it makes sense because women do most of the cooking so they have a whole lot of say in what's going to be eaten if they're making it.
This is a video of a proper family dinner which I don't think anyone these days really does anymore.
The other video is a clip from the Nutty Professor, which shows the total opposite of the previous video. It's a funny contrast.
I found the articles about eating to be very interesting. My mom loves to cook so family dinners were a big part of my childhood. It was a time that we came together to discuss our days and enjoy each others company. Through high school a common argument between my dad and when I would be texting at the dinner table. It always bothered me how annoyed he got because i never understood why it was such a big deal to him, seeing that my friends always had their phone with them during dinner. After reading the articles i now understand why he got annoyed. Because I would be at school all day or sitting in my room, this was the main time that we all got to sit together as a family. I definitely took dinner time with my family for granted until coming here. My brother constantly would tell me that i'm going to appreciate our mom's cooking so much when I leave for college. He could not have been more right! When I got to go home a few weeks ago sitting down and eating a home cooked meal with my family was without a doubt one of the highlights of my weekend home.
A statistic that I found surprising in The Magic of the Family Meal was that kids who eat dinner more often with their parents are 40% more likely to get mainly A's and B's. Before reading this article I had no idea that a family dinner can have an effect on so many other things besides just how one eats. I also found it surprising that kids who sat down regularly with their parents are at a lower risk for behaviors such as smoking, drugs, and alcohol use. I'm sure some of that is because kids learn important values while at dinner but I would be interested to find out more about the correlation between the two.
I grew up in a home where family meal time was a very important event in our night. My mom would make a meal and after it was prepared we would all take the time out of our busy days to sit down, pray, talk to each other, and eat. My mom always stressed that their be no televisions on, no cell phones at the table, no getting up to answer phone calls, and not even music on so that we would be forced to enjoy each others company, and it worked. My friends would always poke fun at the fact that I couldn't watch my dinner in the living room, or in my room, and while in high school it actually upset me that I couldn't. But now I couldn't be happier that my parents had us do that because I realize that sitting down and sharing a meal together was a time out of our day to sit down, relax, and have a real conversation with one another. I also realize that sitting down and eating a home cooked meal forced me to eat healthier because my mom was giving me the correct amount and types of foods rather than grabbing something quick and eating on my own. These articles were interesting to me because now that i'm at college I miss dinners with my family, and I realize how great they always really were and how I was actually benefitting from them and it is an activity I will have my family do to keep us close and connected with one another.
While out eating with my roommate this week I decided to put our homework assignment in motion. At every meal since we have came to school, I have drank ice water with my meal. As I went to get my cup of ice water I decided to get Mr. Pibb instead. While I sat eating my meal my roommate said "Did you get a soda craving?" She instantly noticed the small change in my diet for that day and mentioned it to me. It's crazy how eating with someone everyday gets so routine to the point that we notice a change in beverage.
Reading the New York Times article and the Time Magazine articles really hit home. More than being a tradition, it is a norm that my family eats dinner together every night. For as long as I can remember, my family has always had dinner together. At the dinner table it would be my mom, my dad, my two sisters, and I. We have our specific seats that we always sit in at the table, and we would all share a meal and talk about our days and anything interesting that happened. This really isn't a forced effort; we're a very tight knit family so we love coming together for meals. These articles were kind of funny to me because my friends would always make fun of me for eating meals with my family. During the summer, if we were all hanging out, I would leave in the middle to go have dinner with my family and then I'd come back later and we would all continue doing whatever we were doing. I've always loved having dinner as a family and I have heard before that coming together for meals helps with weight and many other mental aspects. I think that feeling a strong connection and bond with your family, which meals together can help with, lead to a more stable and happy life. In return, this can help you feel better as a person and regulate weight, social aspects, and help in school.
In high school, a few of my friends weren't close with their families at all. They would rarely eat meals at home, and their families would never eat together. These were the girls who also suffered from eating disorders. It was sad for me to watch them because coming from such a loving family; I know how having that support system can help so much during these tough transition times of life. Even the little time we have together during dinner makes me feel more loved and connected to my family. I think that when you feel more secure you are less likely to suffer from eating disorders.
It was a little hard for me to think of something out of the norm to do while having dinner with my friends, but since I always cut my pizza when I'm eating it, I figured I would substitute a spoon for a fork. It was pretty funny to see how my friends reacted when I started scooping up my pieces of pizza. They seemed really distraught and they couldn't figure out why I was using a spoon. A couple of my friends insisted that I could use their fork, but I told them that the spoon made it much easier. Although they didn't end up trying out my method, I could tell that I had definitely thrown them off.
The article about marriage and your partner being good for you health is similar to what we have already talked about. We have discussed how men benefit more health wise than women when getting married and how each partner gives a little and gets a little when considering eating habits. What I found very surprising was that women gain weight going into marriage. I would think it would be the other way around since most brides probably want to lose weight to fit into their wedding dress or look slim on their wedding day. I wonder what causes this pre-wedding weight gain. Maybe it has to do with the high levels of stress that come hand in hand with preparing for and planning a wedding. I also found it odd that only women tend to gain weight after leaving a marriage. We have talked about how women tend to eat healthier while men have higher fat and sugar intake. When married, the man affects the woman's eating habits, usually causing them to eat more unhealthy food. Because of this I would think that a woman would lose weight when they are no longer affected by their male partner's less healthy eating habits and they can go back to their own preferences. These two ideas seem contradictory.
Family meals in my house have always been very important and a nearly daily ritual. Therefore, I definitely understand the importance of this time spent together. All of my family members are very busy, so the meals were often the only time we would all be together. I enjoyed the conversation and home cooked meals (by my mother) and miss those times now. The research showing that kids who eat meals with family are less likely to drink or do drugs makes sense to me. If a family eats together often it probably means they value family time, which means they probably respect each other and their views, as well as yearn for respect from each other. This would in turn mean the teenager wouldn't want to disappoint their parents by engaging in these activities. The more family time spent together also means more time to talk which would give the children a better understanding of expectations and right and wrong.
I agree that family meals together pull the family closer. It can be a crazy day, but at around 6:30, everyone takes a break and enjoys the warm meal my mom's prepared, and the company of each other. Growing up, we always had family meals together, but our TV was not allowed to be on. I was surprised to see that the TV didn't make a difference in the closeness of the family. I thought this would make it hard for everyone to communicate. Also, as we got older our eating habits changed. My brother in always on a new eating routine to build muscle, while I became very health conscious and a vegetarian as well. This made it hard for my mom to prepare meals and when to prepare them. Now that I'm in college, I would die for any of her home cooked meals! Since my dad doesn't cook, as it states in the readings, my mom was the one who decided what we would be eating that night. If it were up to my dad, we would be eating poorly or going out to dinner every night. The article said that males have a higher fat, sugar, and salt intake. That doesn't surprise me. When we were little, our favorite game at the dinner table used to be "the question game." He would go around and ask us questions from movies, around the world, or anything he could think of. My parents have grown together to have a favorite restaurant, Rocky's. I can't wait until I have a family of my own and we create our own family traditions together. The most unnerving thing I read in this article was that you typically gain wait 3 months pre and 3 months post your marriage. That is 6 months of weight gain..yikes! Not to mention if you have children! Overall, I liked this article and I think it had a lot of interesting information.
These articles all seemed to make a lot of sense to me. When I think about growing up, my family didn't have that many meals together. Most of the time I was working or at some school activity, and when I did eat with my mom, we usually sat in different rooms, doing our own things. The only time we had real "family meals" was on holidays or when we went out to eat. On the other hand, when I eat with my dad and brothers, we sit together and eat together as a family. I'm not ashamed of the way that my mom and I did our family dinners, but I know that when I raise a family, I would like us to join in mealtimes. It's just a great way for everyone to hear about what's going on in the other people in your family's life. It can be tough, especially with teenagers in sports and other activities, but the article makes a good point about finding a different meal during the day to spend together. You don't need to eat every single meal together by any means, but having as many as you can would be beneficial.
The article that talked about marriage was interesting as well. I thought that it made sense that when a couple gets married, the man is benefited more with new eating habits than the wife. Couples take a little and give a little. The woman can help her husband to eat healthier foods, but that doesn't mean that he'll completely give up his other foods, he'll just alter his habits. In addition, the husband will get his wife to eat some of his not so healthy foods, but she'll still eat some of her healthy foods. It's just compromising. At the beginning they are more influenced by the other, but as time goes on and when they start to have children, it makes sense for her to go back into her old healthy eating habits. The last article made me think of the movie Sweet Home Alabama. There's a part when Melanie buys new food and decorates the house while Jake isn't home. He refers to what she buys as "chick food", and she says she was just trying to be a good wife by "looking out for her husband".
So, there are 3 readings for next week:
Also, please remember that the point of the activity is to be SUBTLE. Don't tell your friends or the people you're eating with that you're trying to do something weird for a class. (You could tell them later of course, but we're interested in others' natural reactions to strange eating behavior). It should be fun, or funny!
This article brought to light subjects that I had never really thought in-depth about. The opening statistics and scenario about Rockdale County was quite concerning. The fact that so many individuals of the teenage population were not only engaging in unprotected sex but also managing to catch syphilis - at such high percentages - was shocking. It made sense when they mentioned concepts such as the more partners one had, the more at risk they were for catching an STD; additionally, it wasn't surprising that the spread was more concentrated in the center of the circle. But what I found really interesting about this section was the concept of the ties and how they affect the spread of STDs. When the article discussed the fact that if Person A and Person B were both three jumps away from the person infected, if Person A removed a tie they would still run the risk of getting it, whereas if Person B did they would not be at risk.
The second portion of the article, dealing with weight, somewhat surprised me. In class, we have discussed how if one's partner is healthy, the individual tends to be healthy as well. But I wouldn't have thought that other people (whom the individual wasn't attached to in any way) would also have an effect on their eating habits. I found it really interesting when the section talked about Farmington and the study they had done there. I never would have thought about the fact that researchers could construct a social network on paper and have that be accurate - it just seems out of the norm as far as my research knowledge goes. The fact that they then looked at if people were mutual friends or not and then gauged weight gain based on that was very interesting. After thinking of it in that perspective, the fact that individuals influence each other's' weight makes sense - hanging out with my more athletic and health-conscious friends causes me to worry more about what I am eating than if we are all hanging out eating a pizza. Possibly the most interesting part of the section was when it explained the concept of behavioral imitation and contagious yawning and laughter. Why yawning is "contagious" has always been something I was interested in knowing, so it was interesting to note that it was due to social standards.
The next section discussed drinking and smoking, and here I was a bit more skeptical in their claim that this was affected by your friends. While weight gain is something I can see as being an unconscious behavior (simply eating more/unhealthily without realizing it), smoking or drinking isn't something you just do unconsciously. I personally feel that, although there certainly is a correlation between who you hang out with and the likelihood of you doing these activities, I believe that this is more of a situation that after you've begun, it's easier to associate yourself with people who do the same activities as you do.
I found the portion regarding suicide really sad. I was extremely surprised when the article said that hearing the more emotionally charged television report made people more inclined to attempt suicide - I would think that suicide would be a non-socially impacted occurrence.
I found the final section of the reading to be a very impactful way to end the section. "Particularly in the United States, we are accustomed to seeing our destinies as largely in our own hands: we "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps" and believe that "anyone can strike it rich." We see our society as a meritocracy that rewards sound choices and creates opportunities for the well prepared." This thought process is very much so true in the United States...and this article was an interesting read as it disputed these common American ideals in all ways.
As the chapter says, "In real life, we measure ourselves against our friends." This is the overall theme I saw in the chapter throughout the many topics it covered. The one that most interested me (besides the disturbing and shocking STD statistics) were the eating habits. I thought it was interesting the examples they gave of people who never have seen each other in real life but somehow through mutual people can affect weight gain. The indirect perceptions people take in and give off is something I never considered before. Obviously, the other factors in the changing weight norms are huge but they are more publicized. I had never thought about the idea that how I see someone's weight changing could affect the way I treat a different friend about her health and diet without the two ever coming into contact with each other.
The more well known way of spreading eating habits is imitation and this has never been so present in my life as it is now in dining halls. I hate many things about dining halls. There is always the pressure to take similar foods and portion sizes to whoever you are with, on either side of the extreme spectrum. Desserts are easier to take if people around you take one. Also, there tends to be the "I'm so fat" talk. Girls love to either bash how much food they did take or complain about how little food they took. Either way it adds up to asking for reassurance that they are not fat or sending a message to someone else at the table. Unhealthy patterns thrive in this environment, eating too little and eating too much. It is imitation at its most obvious state.
The beginning of this article seemed rather unreal to me at first. I couldn't believe that so many teenagers were affected by syphilis because of such high sexual activity. I was pretty shocked when it said some 14 year olds had 50 sexual partners. The way they connected everyone through the network was very cool. It showed the way that something like this could happen.
The section on how "your friend's friends can make you fat" was particularly interesting to me. This especially made me think about the transition to college and how living with some one else can affect you. Having a roommate can really change how you take care of yourself, and you will probably not even notice the differences because they are so subtle. If your roommate likes to exercise and eat healthily, you will probably make some changes similar to that, and vice versa. This article made me think about the fact that people I do not live with or even know at all can affect me too. People often look to others and copy them if they don't know what they're supposed to be doing. Other people can have a profound affect on you, even if you never speak to them. It makes a lot of sense that your friends and family can affect your weight, while people you don't know will have less of an influence.
Others can affect all aspects of your heath, and this article shows how everyone is connected and can influence someone they don't even know. The idea of contagious suicide is frightening, but people can also have a positive affect on your health, like getting you to exercise or stop smoking; and these can be conscious or subconscious. It is very strange to think that someone I don't know has an impact on my life by knowing someone I know. The different degrees of separation show how your overall well-being is not just affected by your best friends and family.
I found the beginning of the chapter regarding the epidemic of STDs to be very shocking. As I read on and thought about it though, its unfortunately very true. The chapter talked about the "norms" that are formed within a social network that make those within the network believe acting a certain way is acceptable. I think this could also be applied to the increase in teenage pregnancies. At the high school in a town I used to live in it became expected that at least one person in each grade that graduated from my middle school would get pregnant sometime during their high school career. This was a smaller town and the middle school I attended was private making the social network even smaller and more interconnected. People were used to seeing girls getting pregnant in high school and it became almost socially acceptable. As far as the topic of obesity and how our friends and friends' friends affect our weight, I also found this to make a lot of sense. When I see my friends gaining weight or that they're eating a huge meal I feel much more comfortable about the couple of "winter pounds" I might put on or the fact that I just ate something really unhealthy.
The good side of this research on how we are influenced by our social networks is that it shows the importance of surrounding one's self with good positive influences. Though you can't control who your friends are friends with, you can at least choose who you are going to directly connect yourself with.
I've heard the expression that you are who you hang out with, but I didn't realize how accurate this statement was until I read this article. I read this article this morning when I woke up and took mental notes throughout the day that related to this topic. It became most prevalent while in the dining hall. This may only be true for my friend group but the closer the friends the more similar they ate. I never noticed it before but in the article they mentioned how if you have a friend who is obese you are three times as likely to become obese as well. A lot of this makes perfect sense to me. Your friend may go out to eat all the time and if you want to hang out, a restaurant may be a place to meet. What I found shocking was that your spouse is less likely to influence some of your habits than your friends of the same gender. This made me think of what we talked about in previous discussions about attachment, marriage, and gender differences. Initially I assumed that a lot of the influence would come from your spouse, especially considering that men generally become a lot healthier after marriage. But the more I thought about gender differences it made a lot more sense. The article went into detail about alcohol and tobacco consumption and how women are more likely to take up the same habits if one of their female friends does. My theory is that women will talk with each other and justify why they're starting to increase their consumption.. then their friends will start to become okay with that and potentially make the same decisions. Men don't usually talk about their problems and if a guy starts to drink more than usual, his guy friends are less likely to ask what the main issue is behind it and therefore may just see his binge drinking differently.
I was surprised that the article didn't really go into detail about how the technological advances have impacted social networking. When I hear the term 'social networking' the first thing I think of is Facebook. I'm curious to know how reading friends statuses affect people's behavior. Do we see these things how we see celebrities (an imaginary relationship)? I would be really interested to learn about some of those studies if there are any.
I thought the study about the obesity epidemic was interesting, but also kind of common sense. You can easily see it demonstrated at the university how your weight is impacted by other people. I said I would start working out once I started school, and the only times I have is when other people asked me to go with them. Depending on who you are with determines where you eat, a healthier place like a sub shop or somewhere that has burgers and greasy fries. It seems like there aren't as many fat people at this school as there are other places, which shows how us students spending time together may influence each other to be healthier like the article says. However, people influencing you can only go so far. I think that your genes probably have a larger effect than other people do.
I think the part about smoking was really interesting, and I can say it's true in regard to my life. I started smoking a little over a year ago, when I was dating a guy who smoked a lot. Before him I smoked occasionally, but I became a "smoker" probably a month into our relationship. He never pressured me to smoke, never made me feel bad if I didn't smoke, but when I was with him I always found myself smoking, just because he was. I wasn't trying to impress him, but seeing someone have a cigarette makes me want one. I passed my smoking habit to my best friend. This summer, her and I tried quitting together. We were both doing good until we were at her birthday party and some of her other friends were smoking. She caved first and I followed her. Being at this university has had an effect on my smoking, I see many less people smoking here than I would at my high school or workplace, and I smoke way less.
I have always heard the theories that personal habits as well as genetics determine one's weight. However, I have never considered one's networking to have such an effect. You can look back in time and see weight, for example, as a trend of fashion. In older times it was natural that you wanted to be fat because it was a symbol that you had enough to eat and pale because you didn't have to work in the fields and could afford to lounge around your house. But to say that the basic habits of one person could possibly effect a great deal of others in this way is very interesting. Now that I think of it it seems completely natural. how many times does one pick a single item of food from the buffet after giving it much thought and then feel silly when a friend comes back with everything. Or how sometimes one would never wear a hat until seeing a friend doing so. Being around people we admire can in this way greatly effect our own habits. If our best friend is overweight we may feel less apprehensive about our own weight. Yet in the same way, this "trendsetting" could hold negative consequences. An example would be the STD epidemic at the one high school. Because of certain sexually active individuals, considerably young girls and boys were engaging in dangerous sexual activities because they learned that it was normal. Unfortunately for some, this trendsetting had very negative consequences. We should therefore give our habits a second thought before we risk letting them become others habits as well.
A lot of what this chapter said made sense. Whenever my friends and I go to the dining hall, we're all affected by what the rest of us eat. Sometimes I'll go with the intention of eating a more healthy meal, like a salad, but after I see my friends getting a piece of pizza or going back for seconds, I'm pressured into doing it myself. In addition to that, the other day I was sitting in my room with a couple friends and we were just hanging out and snacking on some food. My friend reached for more snacks when I told her to stop because she kept making me want to do the same. This isn't something that happens to me subconsciously. I know what I'm doing when it happens, but it doesn't necessarily stop me. As I read the chapter, it kept making me think of "The Pregnancy Pact" that hit the media a couple years back. For those of you who don't know, it was a situation in which a bunch of girls decided to get pregnant together after a seeing another girl at their school get pregnant and the attention that went along with it. It doesn't follow all of the parts that the article discussed, but the social ties we have can completely change our outlook on things. Not every one of those girls had considered getting pregnant. It must've started as one who then convinced another and so on and so forth. The chapter says that people's views on obesity change, and that what we once thought was obese may alter our view based on those around us. The same is true with the pregnancy pact. After they see one girl where it didn't seem so bad, the rest thought it would be okay and that it would even be fun. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1816486,00.html
In the passage it says that there are many ways to "network" with people. But because of these networks it can cause many negative affects that can spread to other people. Many of the ways is through sex, obesity, smoking, drinking, and suicide. It says that these can be contagious and spread to other people even indirectly. From my point of view I find that obesity can be contagious. It says you can get fat from your friend's friend without ever meeting them. The passage about suicide being contagious because of the "idea" of it makes sense though. From my experience, I attended my friend funeral because he took his own life. It never made sense because he was all set to go to college but not long after we all graduated from High school, he gave up. At the funeral everyone was very sad and the idea of our friend taking his life can be contagious. But if we just think of all of the good times ands how glad we were to have him in our lives then maybe we can just appreciate our life a little more. I think that group suicides is the stupidest thing ever. Why would anyone be sucked into that because of an idea?
I don't have a "network" as far as I know but at least I try consciously to not let other people influence me on what they do. Sure if they have good habits like my friends love eating vegetables, it makes me want to eat more vegetables too. I will only copy good habits not the bad habits. Even though there could be a new "norm" that could affect me, it will just happen because teenagers are young and are just trying to find themselves and wanting to fit in with people to make friends. That's what I think about the sex network one. Like the little 6th graders just had sex with older guys because they thought it was "cool" or "norm" at the time. Like maybe they were competing how many sex partners they can get. The "network" is interesting because it can affect us indirectly at any time.
While the idea that behaviors can be transmitted through social groups like a disease may seem a bit bizarre at first, once you think about it, You can see how this can easily be true. People generally tend to follow each other and no one likes to be left out of their friends' activities. An example that I see almost every day is people eating together at late night at the dining hall. This usually occurs at around 9 or 10, long after everyone has eaten their fill at this point. However, once a small group of people suggest going back to eat more or grab some ice cream, more people tend to follow them. Left to their own, these followers(including myself) would probably have not gone back to eat, but if all of their friends decide to go, they follow so as to avoid being left alone. Peer pressure alone can probably account for most of the spreading of social behaviors, especially drinking and smoking. Almost no one I know started these behaviors of their own accord. When you're around people who do these sort of things, it just becomes normal.
The spreading of suicide however, was particularly frightening and defies my earlier explanations of peer pressure. Obviously, suicide can't become a normal activity and there can't really be pressure to join from the people who participate. There must be something more fundamental about this behavior ingrained into our social psyche. For those close to the affected, it could be that the stress of losing a loved one in such a tragic way can lead to the sort of thinking that promotes suicide. However, the increase in suicide after the publication of a newspaper article defied all logic to me and was legitimately frightening.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery... But what happens when we imitate poor habits? Throughout this article I was unsure whether to feel hopeful for a more healthy future or resigned to a dismal continuation of our country's decline in health. The idea that people imitate those around them is not new in any sense, but the application of the idea in the areas like sex, weight and suicide was fascinating. For quite a while I have noticed how the decisions of those around me would influence others as well as myself. For example, when I was thirteen I decided to adopt a vegetarian diet. My parents were mortified at first, but now they and one of my sisters are vegans. However, my other sister has actually increased the amount of animal products in her diet, perhaps in rebellious response to our changes.
On a much darker note, the section discussing suicide hit close to home for me. Two years ago at my high school, we lost two students to suicide. The first was a young man whose death shocked everyone. No one could have ever foreseen the act. The school was devastated and although I understood that people needed space to mourn I feel that the way that it was almost romanticized on networks such as facebook may have driven the following suicide. Within the week the young man's ex girlfriend also took her life.
The idea that others' actions can also have such a positive impact is uplifting. The section about the rapid decline of smoking was a ray of hope in the somewhat dreary article. When enough people make a positive change the enormous spread of others making positive changes is remarkable. Especially with our media and extreme social networking through technology making our world so small, I believe that incredible leaps and bounds can be made in regards to health. If having a good time without binge drinking, drugs and unsafe sex is popularized in the media we would probably have far less problems with the prior. If we were to popularize healthy lifestyles, perhaps many people would end up following suit!
While reading the first part of this chapter I was absolutely in shock about the STD epidemic in Rockdale. The information given about how many partners some of the teens had been involved with, and the young ages at which they had been, made my stomach turn. After reading the sentence "there were fourteen-year-olds who had had up to fifty sex partners, and sixth-graders competing for the sexual attention of high school students..." I couldn't help but to think of my sixth grade brother, and newly fifteen-year-old sister and how I would react to hearing that they had been involved in this risky behavior. Also while reading about the different networks it was crazy to think how quickly sexually transmitted diseases truly can spread, and how many people it can affect. A few of my high-school friends currently attend Minnesota State University Mankato, which is otherwise known as the "STD capital of Minnesota." The college has the highest STD rate out of all colleges in Minnesota, which we often joke about with my close friends who are attending there.
After reading this article I realize how serious STD's really are and how careful we need to be.
The part of this chapter that actually caught my attention the most was the part where the author explains that this epidemic took place because the children "lacked anything else to do." Coming from a town of two thousand people, that statement really hit home for me. Growing up in such a small town I realized, it is easy for teens to get caught up in drinking, smoking, and other risky behaviors because of the lack of anything else to entertain themselves which often ends up with negative outcomes such as trouble with the law, school, and putting their health at high risk such as this article shows.
As I read this article, the importance of human interaction once again impressed me. It is truly astounding that an individual can be so heavily influenced by other to change extremely personal habits such as sexual activity and eating pattern that have such an impact on one's health. I am not implying that we should completely disregard other individual's behavior. As mentioned in the chapter, people can have a positive influence on spheres such as exercise and eating habits. Personally, I have noticed such changes in my diet: Previously, I wasn't much of a salad eater. However, since frequenting the dining halls with people who eat more salads, I have begun to do so as well. It's safe to say that this change in behavior isn't going to have a negative impact on my health, but one cannot assume that people are consistently and accurately able to distinguish which behaviors may have an unfavorable impact on their physical and or mental health.
In the section "Changing What We Do, or Changing What We Think?" there was a quote from Ellen Goodman that read, "But in real life we measure ourselves against our friends. Inch by inch," and another section that mentioned how "social networks also play an important role." Recently, I read an article that confirms these statements. A study was done that showed social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook have a greater impact on how girls perceive their body image as opposed to television shows or magazines. Here is a link that for the full article (it should be free to download in PDF format):
Finally, I found the part about suicide especially disturbing. The fact that girls with a friend who had killed themself were two-and-a-half times more likely to contemplate killing themselves and twice as likely to do it is upsetting in the extreme, and someone close to me is proof that this statistic is real. A friend of this individual attempted suicide, and months later, the individual in question also attempted suicide. While it cannot be said that the individual I know attempted suicide solely because her friend also attempted suicide, it is safe to say that the friend's suicide attempt did have an impact on the individual's decision to attempt suicide.
All in all, human company is a powerful thing, and people should be aware of that. I'm not advocating living like a hermit in the middle of the forest in order to avoid any influence at all. Rather, one should keep a critical eye on how the behaviors of others are affecting their own habits.
I was extremely shocked at the beginning of this chapter. I have never really heard of such a "small, perfectly normal" town be overcome by such a terrible thing such as syphillis. Once I read deeper into it though, it does make a lot of sense that most everybody is connected to each other by their social relationships. Whether it be sexual, health-related, or event related, we all know someone or a friend of a friend who has "gone through a tough time" or "slept with that guy." The obesity epidemic as they call it was quite interesting to me, because I have never thought that just being in the presence of a big eater could have an effect on you, even if you didn't really notice them eating. I mean, when I'm around my brother(who practically eats his body weight everyday), I feel like I eat more because I see him still eating and I feel like I can keep going. That always turns out to be a horrible idea. The thing about this chapter that surprised me the most was the graphs they used to show the connections between people. There were so many connections in the Jefferson High graph and the Colorado Springs graph that I couldn't even believe that it was possible for that many people to be connected. It completely baffles me that we are interconnected to so many people in our lives.
I found the beginning of this article to be extremely shocking. A town that seems like a great place for one to raise their family had such a terrible epidemic happen. I find it sickening that there were 14 year old girls who had up to 50 sex partners. No one should have that many sex partners, but even worse by just the age of 14. It's scary to think that so many of these young teenagers put themselves in those situations because it was the norm of their age group. This was a great example of how much we are affected by our peers around us. I'm sure many of those teenagers were in fact good kids,but they let what was considered cool at the time to sway their judgement and ruin their lives.
It was interesting to read about how one's friends can play a large role in one's weight gain. Without realization people are affected by their surroundings. If their friends are constantly eating unhealthy without working out most likely the person will begin to have similar habits. I find this to be very relevant to my life. When my best friend started caring about being healthy and working out, it made me more aware of my unhealthy habits. Seeing her being motivated to become healthier was a huge motivation for me to do the same.
Another topic that the reading discussed was smoking. It talked about how people are more likely to quit smoking if their friends do.I found this to be pretty obvious. This is similar to the topic of one's weight gain.If someone changes their behaviors for the better it gives us an incentive and desire to do the same.
This article had many points about several different topics, but all including how we are connected to many more people than we may think. Our family, friends, coworkers, and people we don't even know affect our health. One of these ways is STDs. It is a complete turn off that having sex with just one person can connect you to so many others. I think it is interesting that sitting next to a stranger who eats a lot usually makes you eat more without even realizing it. It makes sense that friends and people you are around a lot can affect eating habits, but I would not have thought about a stranger doing the same thing. I also would have never guessed that someone might be the weight they are due to a person they don't even know. It is obvious with the STD study and how that spreads, but this is more obscure, however once explained it makes sense. For example your best friend's boyfriend's brother is in shape and it affects the boyfriend, then your friend and then yourself. The article talks about many things that make total sense, they are just things I haven't thought about before.
The article talked about how smokers got pushed to the periphery of their network and began to hang out with people in a similar situation. I definitely agree with this. I notice that people who smoke generally hang out with others who smoke. I don't see smokers and nonsmokers as best friends very often, not to say it doesn't happen. I think it makes complete sense that women affect drinking habits more than men. If a woman starts to drink more, then her male friends will probably feel as if they have to "man up" and drink more as well. No guy wants to be out-drunk by a girl. I find it very odd that a syndrome can be confined in just one cultural area, or prevalent in just one. It seems to me like a case of hypochondria. The power of suggestion really shows its power in these statistics. The contagious suicide part also really shows the power of suggestion. It is good that these interconnections work the way they do in the case of quitting smoking or becoming healthier. In other cases it is bad, like gaining weight or suicide. But either way it shows that one person can really make a difference and affect several other people's decisions. It sounds cheesy, but I think this research is proof of that.
This chapter was really interesting to read. The beginning paragraphs were incredibly shocking. Fourteen year olds had fifty or more sex partners? That's ridiculous. It's weird how norms can change so drastically. Especially that of sex, because I feel like it can be a big deal. But I don't think parents like to talk about it a lot, which could be a cause for the changing norms. I find it kind of hard that the kids had this big of a change just because they suffered from not having much structure, supervision, or anything else to do. I feel like drugs and other things would have come up besides sex.
It's scary thinking that my risk of illness isn't just based on my behavior and what I do but what other people do and their behaviors. I also found it interesting how they found that STD's spread differently among different races. I wouldn't have thought that would have been so easy to see and notice.
The obesity thing is kind of worrying. Since in college there's the whole "freshman 15" and I really don't want that to happen to me. But I hang out with a lot of guys who eat like that and my female friends aren't completely the healthiest either. But it's reassuring that we're more susceptible to peers who are the same sex as us, otherwise I couldn't handle eating like a teenage guy. It was really interesting how norms can spread even if they don't affect a person's behavior, but it can affect their friends behavior instead. It's so weird to think how we're all affected by things and we're not even aware of it!
The smoking thing wasn't too shocking, it made a lot of sense. However to me I always saw smokers as having a lot of friends and not being unpopular. But that could be due to just how there's always the cliche of smoking making you look cool. To me it was kind of humorous about the sudden binge drinking in the UK. The binge drinking reminded me of just a typical weekend in college in the US.
Initially reading this article, I was absolutely shocked to hear what had happened in Rockdale County, Georgia. The fact that such young kids were engaging in such promiscuous activity was really surprising. Yes, they were all influencing the actions of one another, but these kids should be old enough to understand the basics of what's right and what's wrong.
As a college student, I completely understand how the people you hang out with influence ones eating patterns and weight gain. When I go out with my friends, we all get similar things to eat. If it is late at night and one person is hungry, it is pretty likely that we'll all decide that we want a snack, and we'll all snack together. On weekends, if we are walking around Dinkytown and one person really wants Mesa Pizza, the likelihood that we will all cave in and get pizza is pretty great. Behavior like this can be bad because it is much easier to give in to things you normally wouldn't give in to if you're with a network of friends. What is crazy to think is how if you have a mutual friend who is obese; you are three times more likely to become obese. They backed this statement up by saying that if people are overweight but you knew them previously, you may subconsciously think about it and think, "They don't look so bad; it wouldn't be bad if I look like that." This stat really freaked me out, because obviously as a college student I am trying to maintain my weight and it seems that there are so many factors fighting against me.
Another thing that interested me about this article was that women drinking patters have a greater influence on both men and women than men's drinking patterns do. In most things I have read, it seems that women are permissive and just follow the man, so it was interesting to find out that in this case, the women are the ones affecting the situation.
I totally believe this article. Girls are definitely at an advantage when it comes to general health; not only because we are more cautious, but because we are given the genetic advantage too. At first, I thought that this article was going to be about women, because we are always thought of to be the weaker sex. Surprisingly, as I read, I found out how males are much "weaker" when it comes to health. Not only do women have a chromosomal advantage, but they also take more precaution when it comes to injuries and sickness. If a male gets sick with something, they are much less likely to go in and get it checked out. Females, on the other hand, will make a call, research the symptoms, or go into the doctor. I think thats why females are considered the "stronger sex".
After class today I began to read the chapter. I wasn't expecting to read the whole 22 pages, but it was very interesting! I'd like to think that as we grow and mature into the person we've always hoped to be we can make our own decisions, so it's disturbing to find out this isn't exactly the case. This just proves how important it is to surround yourself with good friends. As they say, "your friends say a lot about you."
I have many comments in response to the reading.The first thing that caught my eye is when they mentioned that fourteen year olds had up to 50 sex partners! This is shocking to me, because I think this number is extremely high even for adults. Also, when it's mentioned that our eating habits are influenced by those around us, I can see a direct correlation to myself. When I eat with my guy friends I tend to eat more than I normally would with my girl friends. I think this is because girls take their time with their meals and have a conversation while eating, as guys scarf down their food and go back for seconds. Another thing I found interesting was that many people quit smoking when others around them do. The majority of this article talks about contagious behaviors that negatively affect our health, but this is a definite positive! It's also mentioned that people of the same sex influence each other more. I think this is because we can relate and compare ourselves easier. My roommate is a perfect example of adapting to our people's lifestyles. When she came back from her weekend at home, she had bought all of the healthy foods that I like to eat, and she said she was going to begin running everyday. I'm glad she's adapting to my lifestyle rather than the other way around. And lastly, there's one thing I don't agree within this article. It states that more people are more likely to commit suicide if someone they know does. I have been to a funeral of my friend's cousin's and if anything I could never imagine committing suicide, granted I never have before. When looking around, and seeing how it affected everyone around me, I don't think I could bear to hurt them so deeply. In short, I thought this was a great chapter and I'm curious to know what's in the rest of the book!
This article really caught my attention. Stereotypically women have been labeled as the "weaker sex" however, this article basically proves that to be false by all their research on the male sex. While reading this article I was thinking about all the elder couples I know and realized that I do not know of a single couple that the female has passed before the male and I found that very interesting as it completely correlates to the articles research results. Although I found a lot of the research in the article to seem relatively accurate I disagree with the result that more women have depression than males. I believe that males are less likely to express that they have a problem and be particularly diagnosed with and treated for depression like most women are making it seem like less of them obtain the emotional disease. I do believe that the stereotype that women are the weaker sex should be changed. Although women are less likely to partake in some of the risky and hazardous behaviors men do, this article has shown that it does not make women the weaker sex, it prevents them from dying sooner, proving them to be the stronger sex.
This article really surprised me. I would've never guessed that men were unhealthier than women. When I think of women, it's stereotypical, but I think that they seem to have more health related problems, probably because they are more emotional. When I actually start thinking about it though this article made sense. My parents are divorced, so my brothers and my dad live together. It's basically their own little bachelor pad plus me sometimes. My mom and I go to the doctor a lot more often than they do. Is it because we get sick more often? Maybe, but I don't think that's it. I think that it's just because we feel the need to get every little thing checked out with us. When my dad or either of my brothers gets ill, they hardly ever take a visit to the doctor. I'll be the one to tell them that they need to, but because of their "macho-manly" egos, they don't want to go in. My dad completely smashed his finger, which in turn led him to break it. It took him a few hours before he finally realized he needed to go in. However, if that would've happened to my mom or me, we would've rushed to the hospital right away. While guys tend to take more risks, I think the main factor to all of this is that they just try to suck it up and deal. Women try to take more preventative steps to maintain healthier lifestyles, while men don't. I would say that women aren't necessarily healthier than men, especially from birth, but they take more actions to try to stay healthy which leads them live longer and know when something is truly wrong. Studies need to be done to collect information on both sexes. Not one more than the other. Without doing this, accurate information cannot be gained. This being said, I wouldn't say that males are a "weaker sex". I don't think that there is such a thing. Both have their flaws, and while one may be a flaw for one sex, it can be a strength in the other. Many times, men and women can complement each other with the sense of "opposites attract."
When I read this I feel it is true that women would live longer than men because we recycle blood once every month which is good for the body. When I read that girls learn faster than boys than that is totally true because it shows throughout school that girls mature faster in their adolescent years than boys do. In my opinion the reason men are more prone to getting coronary heart disease because most men are smoking or eating more than women. Because women care about their looks more than men so they do not want to get fat. Which is the cause of coronary heart disease. But I don't see how the number of miscarriages is due to gender. It might just be a coincidence because all embryos start out as a girl first
It does bring up many other stereotypes about men vs women.
Men is the breed winner
Women are home care takers
Men are more risk takers
Women are more of a daffodil
Men are treated tougher
Women are treated with more care
Ever since I was little there was always a separation of boys and girls in gym class where boys had to do more push ups than girls. For guys there we're high expectations than for girls. I guess this brings back to the article where they are trying to take care of the male gender so they can survive for the future.
I liked this article because it showed how gender stereotypes can be just that: purely stereotypes. Men are always portrayed as people who should be invincible, but like every living creature they are afflicted by natural traits that hinder them. Perhaps the notion that men should be invincible is non-constructive as it does nothing to help any issues they may be facing, or could cause them to ignore such issues causing them to grow into bigger ones.
I believe that the idea of men being unable to talk about their feelings is quickly becoming nothing more than an outdated stereotype and borderline sexist. It is possible that I travel in more open social circles but the majority of my friends are very open with their feelings and discuss issues with each other often. The idea of the "bro"mance has made it much more socially acceptable for men to be close to each other in the way that women are traditionally perceived to be. Plus, the fact that more males result in miscarriages than females and that they are more likely to have autism and dyslexia seems to disprove the idea that social circles have much to do with it. If anything, after talking to women about girl friendships as compared to guy friendships, most women seem to consider men's to be more stress free. Many women I talked to agreed that they are more likely to experience gossip and drama in their friendships, both of which lead to more stress. So if stereotypes are being held in account, it would seem that men have the upper hand. I believe that there must be something fundamentally more dangerous about testosterone than estrogen. It could also be a result of the fact that since women have two X chromosomes, the frequency of genetic diseases related to this chromosome go down since they have a backup so to speak. The second can act as a check in case the first goes wrong. So I believe that this health issue is more fundamental than situational.
The article was a demonstration of how the inequalities experienced by groups based on outdated stereotypes. Although we seem to believe we have moved past gender discrimination it is apparent within the health system that we have not. However, to blame the unbalanced health system on the overemphasis of women's health is detrimental to both genders' health care systems. The fact that women's health has progressed is not what is making men's health so poor. Instead of suggesting to focus more on one gender or the other, it would make much more sense and reach many more people if we focused on improving both systems.
The archaic idea that men do not express their feelings and ideas is valid, but flawed. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that can only be broken if men and women alike are educated and vocal about their health needs. Educators, health care providers and parents need to emphasize to young men that their feelings are just as important and rational as their female counterparts.
This article triggered me to think of the many stereotypes among genders. But most of all it reminded me that stereotypes don't just appear out of nowhere without some type of pattern. Men are stereotyped to be tough and not show their emotions or stress when they have them. I find this to be somewhat true. In the article, they mentioned that teenage boys are more likely to commit suicide than teenage girls. This makes sense to me because, stereotypically, girls are more open about their problems and when they hang out with each other a majority of their time is spent venting (something that would be seen as strange among boys hanging out together). Boys are taught to hold their emotions in (suck it up, you're acting like a girl). Boys are left to hold everything in. We learned in our last discussion that the more you concentrate on holding something in the harder it is for you to stay focused on everyday things. This can lead to a high level of stress which has many bad side affects. It was also mentioned in the article that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression over men but I agree with the author, perhaps this is do to women being more open with how they are feeling.
Something that really shocked me was that men are less likely to survive than women even as early as in the womb. I have no theories as to why this would be and am interested in hearing more about that hopefully in a future article. I agree with the author once again when she says that medical professionals may need to focus more on the condition of men rather than allocating funds for solely female medical research.
I think that this article was very interesting in the sense that it went after the difference among genders on the medical level rather than the social level which is what most people thing of. When I think of differences between genders I immediately think "tough guys" and "emotional women". Again this refers back to the cultural norm for how men and women are 'supposed' to act. Whether this norm is right, wrong, necessary, or simplistic is an argument all on its own. But what I found interesting was that in early years, men are weaker than women. Maybe, socially, we have the roles reversed or biologically, men have to work harder to make their health equivalent to that of women.
This article has a very different perspective on gender roles. The stereotype has always been that women are weaker than men. Being compared to a woman is considered insulting for a man, for example, they don't want to "throw like a girl". This article shows that being a woman is actually a benefit. Women's health was neglected in studies for so long that now it has become a priority in order to show that that is not the case anymore. This means that now men's health is not being studied as frequently as it once was. It has been known for a while that women live longer than men now. This article shows how medical studies and neglecting men's health may be a contributing factor to this.
Boys are known to mature more slowly than girls. I never really thought about the fact of women live longer relating to the fact that they mature faster. This article points out how men maturing more slowly, take more risks, and learn more slowly all attribute about to men dying sooner. I have always noticed how my guy friends have a different idea of fun than my girlfriends and I do. Boys like to play violent video games, play rough sports, and do more dangerous things to occupy themselves. Girls tend to enjoy more relaxed activities rather than roughing it up. Obviously this is a general idea, and I don't mean to say that all boys are risk takers and all girls are not.
This article also brings up the fact that men are told to suppress their emotions from an early age. This also contributes to their health problems because they are less likely to bring up a problem than women are. In my experience, most of the men I know are not as likely to ask for help as the women I know. Men are also more likely to get a serious disease or an infection than women. As a whole, I found this article to be very interesting. There were many key contributors mentioned to the fact that men have more undiagnosed health problems and that they live for less time than women.
I found this article to be very interesting. When I hear "gender differences," my first thoughts are of the personality differences, the differences in how we approach things...not health differences. While I knew that men tend to live shorter lives than women, I didn't realize there were the issues of declining male births and increasing miscarriages.
I did find it interesting that there were so many statistics of men being at a disadvantage. The fact that after boys are born, they have an extremely high ratio of developmental disorders compared to girls. The facts that the article provided did seem a bit unconnected I felt - the facts were provided, but the author never found a way to link them together or link them as a male trait. The statement that "girls demonstrate insight and judgment earlier in adolescence than boys..." reminded me of something I had heard of before - doesn't that have something to do with brain development? I wish the article would've provided more of the whys and hows behind those statements, as I felt like that would've made things easier to rationalize.
I agree with the comments about males being more of risk takers than females. I think in basically every social group that I have been in, that has proven to be true. The girls are a bit more reserved and not wanting to do anything dangerous, whereas for the guys that is what makes it enjoyable.
Even with the neglect of research on male health, I did find the proposed research involving additional estrogen to be a bit out there. I find it hard to believe that too many men would be willing to take an estrogen supplement...if they even made it to the doctor at all.
I found this article to be very interesting. I knew there were obvious differences in the genetics of males and females, and thus it makes sense that there would be differences in their immune systems and chemical balances in the brain. However, I never knew that males had a higher rate of miscarriages than females, or that males in their teens are more likely than females in their teens to commit suicide. After reading, I fully agree that these differences in health dangers of males and females must be brought to the forefront. Also, I think that part of the issue at hand is, as mentioned in the article, the fact that it if part of the social norm for males to suppress pain and emotions and "be a man." This suppression of natural reactions to stressors in our day to day lives is not healthy, especially since as we discussed previously, their stress levels are likely to be heightened, taking a toll on their mind and immune system.
As far as developmental differences, in watching my younger siblings grow up, two boys and one girl, I have been able to witness first hand the tendency for girls to develop faster. My little sister, who has a twin brother, learned to crawl, walk, and talk before her twin, even though they were raised in the same environment; thus ruling out the "nurture" portion of the nature versus nurture debate that may be brought up in this argument.
Although the majority of this article deals with scientific research, I found myself most interested in what men had to say for themselves on the subject of depression. There is the overall consensus right now that women are more depressed than men and certainly, more women are diagnosed and treated for depression than men but this article points out the differences in gender behavior that could distort this statistic. Men and boys are generally expected to be tougher as all of us have seen in friends and family members but in this last weekend I have seen this firsthand.
A very close friend's parents passed away this last week and having been staying with the family for several days and now doing this reading, I can see how the gender differences are in effect. The family has four children: two boys and two girls. There is a girl and a boy over the age of 20 and in college and a boy and a girl still in high school. From what I have seen, the boys have been looked to as the ones to stay strong and not cry. The girls have cried openly and reached out for support, mostly support from their brothers, boyfriends or close male friends. I think this directly ties into the idea that men have as many or possibly more emotional problems but they are not expected or encouraged to show them, as the article states. Women are more able to express their need for help when in distress than men, however when the men are experiencing the same distress they are more likely to close off and handle it on their own.
I was really surprised by the contents of this article. Prior to reading this, I had no clue that male fetuses are the bigger percentage of miscarriages, that boys have a greater chance of having a learning disability, or that teenage boys are more likely to commit suicide than girls.
In my opinion, the subject of depression in males should be brought to the forefront. The stigma attached to male depression is a dangerous one. Gender should not matter when dealing with depression; if someone is sad enough to take their own life, they need attention. People close to me have suffered from depression, both male and female, and the article is completely correct in stating that guys tend to hide their feelings. When my brother was really upset and wanted to talk to me about it, he would approach me almost shamefully, as if it was grievous personal weakness that he felt sad or insecure about something. If at fourteen someone feels pressured by influences to feel bad about feeling bad, what are the potential consequences of that compartmentalization and inability to effectively communicate and cope with serious emotions? Society should take more steps to treat males with depression because ultimately, it's not a question of gender--it's a matter of giving a human being adequate medical treatment.
I thought this article was very interesting, but it left me wondering about a lot of things, like why males are miscarried more, why they have developmental disorders more, and why you would be less likely to have a male as you get older. I like to know the scientific reasons behind things. The article said there are more male than female embryos, which also leaves me wondering why more males are conceived, do sperm with the y chromosome have an advantage? I think it's interesting that more males are miscarried, because my grandma, my mom's mom had 11 children, but all girls. She had at least one miscarriage I know, and my mom said that the doctors thought that she couldn't have a boy for some reason. It seems like out of that many kids you would have at least one boy. On the other side, my dad's mom had four boys, and no girls. And on my dad's side, I have only two biological female cousins compared to eight male cousins, and my three brothers. I know that technically the chance of having a boy is 50%, I know how meiosis and fertilization works, but it leaves me wondering if your chance of having a boy or a girl is somehow genetic, like some males produce better x chromosome sperms, some produce better y chromosome sperm, some females are more likely to carry a male to birth. Just a thought.
I know that one reason males are more likely to get diseases is because they only have one x chromosome. This only accounts for sex-linked diseases, but there are a lot of those. It seems like with their active ,adventurous, risk-taking lifestyle they would be more susceptible to causing their bodies stress, and becoming more susceptible to disease and injury. Women are more likely to seek medical or psychological attention for their problems than men, and with our emotional mind set we are more able to handle our stress by using our relationships (with other women) to help ourselves cope.
Males may be the stronger sex physically, but females are more hardy and just as, if not more intelligent. And in many species of animals, it is the female who is stronger, bigger, and superior. I think it's funny when males act superior than women, when my guy friends make "get back in the kitchen jokes" to us girls, because in some species of animals, there are no males at all. And these animals aren't microscopic animals you wouldn't ever take notice of. There is an all-female species of lizard. There is a shark that gave birth to a baby without ever having sex, when this species of shark was known to be sexually reproducing. This could potentially happen in humans, a female could develop a mutation that allows her to have clones of herself as babies, like in the case of the shark and the species of lizards. Males, you are great and all, but we could get along without you.
Men and women are so different in many ways. One major way in which I see a difference between the two sexes is our social roles. Men are always supposed to seem big and strong. In many ways, they must appear unstoppable. Emotional issues are not supposed to effect men, unless it's anger. Women, on the other hand, are seen as submissive. They are definitely not in control and they outwardly express their motions, which vary frequently. Although I don't necessarily think that gender roles are how we should act, I do believe that as a society we primarily stick to these roles. How I interact with my girlfriends is so much different than my relationship with my boy friends. With girls, we discuss our day to day issues and we communicate on a much deeper level. With the boys, we talk about things that are happening in the moment. Everything is much lighter and they really don't take things seriously.
I'm not too surprised that more young boys die of violent deaths than girls do. Young boys are generally more reckless. Whether they are trying to prove their masculinity or they truly have fun doing dangerous things, as a generalization I think that boys do much more extreme things than girls. What did surprise me was that young boys are more likely to commit suicide than young girls. If depression is more common among women, how could this be true? One idea I have about this is that women are more vocal about their issues and seek medicine and other ways to better themselves. Maybe men feel like they can't express how they're really feeling and they have to seek drastic measures to cope with life.
I really agreed with this article and found it interesting! There are definitely clear differences among the genders.
When talking with my mom, who has been happily married to my dad for 31 years, I discovered many reasons why married couples would be healthier than people who have been divorced or experienced a traumatic event in their relationship. For one thing, my mom said that she thinks that a happily married couple may be healthier because in each other they have a best friend. It is someone who they feel is always there for them. They can talk to each other about anything; good or bad. A married couple is happier and more content with life. They often will have a more positive outlook on life. When you have a positive attitude, you're more likely to make healthy life choices.
My mom told me that because she is happy with life, it leads her to want to eat healthy and exercise. Her happiness contributes to her healthy lifestyle and in return, her health in general. My mom and dad both exercise to stay fit, and they encourage each other to go to the gym and stay active. They motivate each other. This information seems to match with the Divorce, It Seems, Can Make You Ill, article. Being happily married leads to better health for multiple reasons, but I think that at the core of it is having a support system and being happy with life.
I believe that if you are extremely unhappy in a relationship, you should not torture one another. Ending the relationship is sometimes what needs to happen. I don't think that the health effects of a divorce are life-long. I believe that they may appear for a few years after the event, but I think that anyone can find peace in their life if they try hard enough.
I found The Weaker Sex to be very interesting. I found it funny because growing up you always hear genders fighting about which one is smarter when in reality there is actual scientific data proving that girls are smarter then boys. I was surprised to learn that girls learn language earlier and have better hearing then boys. Something else that I found surprising was that women are more likely to have a miscarriage with boys. This relates to my life because I was never aware that the chances having a boy is less likely then having a girl. It was interesting to read that the chances of having a boy decreases as the parents get older, especially the father. My parents had me at an older age then many parents do and I wonder if this played a large role in why I am a girl.
I agree with the author about the diagnosis of depression is made more frequently in women then men even though men may have it just as much if not more. Our culture has made it so it is OK for women to discuss their feelings and to be vulnerable. This is not the case for men, men have to be tough and be the ones taking care of women. Because of this culture has made it so men should not be discussing their feelings, resulting in them not being diagnosed for depression though they may have it.
Women have always been portrayed as the "weaker sex." This article goes against that stereotype and shows how in many cases men actually seem to be the weaker sex. A main reason women are known for it is because men have been raised to believe they need to act tough and not show emotions or pain. Women on the other hand, are very open with emotions and not looked down upon if they show their weaker side. The article shows how men are more likely to die than women in all stages of life, from conception to adulthood, and that many common sickness are more likely to become serious health issues in men than in women. The irony is clear. Despite stereotypes, when it comes to health, men seem to be weaker.
While reading this article I realized how engrained these stereotypes are in our society. The way the author was talking about men being so fragile and vulnerable almost seemed to mock them. But she was being very serious, it is just that as a culture, we are so used to hearing the opposite we can't possibly believe someone would be seriously saying that. I do however believe that this stereotype should change. It is not healthy (as made clear by this article) for men to feel the need to keep emotional and physical pains inside. Studies should not be focused more on one sex than the other. Obviously health for both sexes is equally important, as we need both to continue to reproduce.
I read this article after I had just gotten back from a run with my friend Kyle. I found it very interesting that our talk on the run corresponded perfectly to this article. Kyle asked me, "What do girls do for fun?" after sharing his story about how his friends water boarded each other one night for fun. His story proves when in the article it's mentioned that men take on greater risks and pursue more hazardous vocations than women. For example, I am scared to go off a high dive, but Kyle would like to go jump off the Olympic size diving board.
I found it very interesting that miscarriages are more frequent among male fetuses. I am curious to know if the people that had miscarriages, if they knew the sex of the fetus. Also, it's interesting that industrial countries are seeing a decline in male births as well. This makes me wonder, because I always thought the world was 50% male and 50% female. It has always seemed crazy to me how that seemed to work out. When it's mentioned that the probability of a male child declines as parents, especially fathers, is seen within my family. My parents' oldest child is male, I'm in the middle and female, and my younger sister is female as well.
With the statistics provided in the reading, I'm surprised the world has any males left! They are more prone to miscarriages, developmental disorders, suicide, common infections, cancer, and coronary artery disease. I think we should try to balance our studies and research on both men and women's health. They are both equally important!
I found the article, Stress and Your Brain, to be very interesting because I could relate to it. My great uncle fought in Vietnam and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which this article goes into great detail about. I only experienced one of my uncle's flash backs in person but I read about many of them in my great aunt's book. The one that I experienced in person was when we were at my cousin's birthday party and my little brother slammed the door to the bathroom really hard as he was running away from my other little brother and my uncle fell to the floor and covered his head and started yelling. I was a lot younger at the time and it wasn't explained to me what he was doing and it wasn't until I actually read my aunt's book that I fully understood what he was doing. Her book is called Shock Waves: A Practical Guide to Living with a Loved One's PTSD. She goes into depth with stories about my great uncle and how to cope with the disorder as well as how to determine whether or not your loved one actually has the disorder. This article helped to give a little more insight on why this happens at the anatomical level. I was surprised at how common it was!
I am looking forward to the new research on this topic to see what else they can figure out because it seemed like they were really unsure in the article. I'm also curious as to how stress for an exam or running late while in traffic affects the brain if it does at all because they didn't really go into too much detail about minor stress. School work is what stresses me out the most and I would like to know if that has any affect on my health and what I can do to relieve that stress. Usually I complain to someone around me but that causes me more stress because I'm wasting time complaining and less time on the actual work that I have to do.
I plan on keeping up with this research so I can understand how to cope with minor stress more effectively.
This link will take you to a brief summary of what my great aunt's book is about if you're interested. Site
I found the reading about stress to be relatively relatable, and it contained a few surprising things in it as well. In the article, the author mentioned many times how stress affects your health, and I thought the comparison drawn to pulling an all-nighter before a significant exam. Studying for important tests can be very stressful, especially when it is difficult subject matter. I've done this a few times, and I can agree with the fact that it does mess with one's memory and ability to recall information. I've always been led to believe that this was more from lack of sleep than anything else, but the fact that it's due to stress makes sense as well.
The entire concept of stress being such a huge factor in your health and memory was a bit surprising to me. I guess it led back to previous thoughts of psychology being a 'soft science'. It isn't as though you are ingesting chemicals or doing something else physically damaging to your brain - it seems very odd that stress, which is something completely out of one's control, can have such an impact on your memory and brain.
I can personally relate to the PTSD stories and how they affect people. My grandpa fought in the Vietnam War, and in it he saw some extremely horrific things. He was awarded a bronze star (I believe that was what he was awarded - it's never brought up, so I'm not sure) for his bravery during the war. His group was under fire, and he solely ran to where the ammunition had been dropped, dodged the enemy, and brought all he could carry back to his friends as they were being attacked. He has never talked about the experience, not once, in his life that anyone can remember. My dad has told me stories of when he was younger, and my grandpa would be sleeping on the couch. My dad told me he would never go to wake my grandpa up, because he would sit straight up from a dead sleep and occasionally act out aggressively, before he realized what was going on. He had nightmares for a very long time, and the effects of the war never really left him. He still refuses to talk about it, to this day. Stress and memories can have a huge effect on a person and their life.
What does parents age have to do with determining sex of a child? I know it can increase in genetic disorders but sex of the child I haven't heard of.
It's really obvious to me that females have richer vocabularies than men by the guys I hang out with and what I hear just walking on the street. It's also kinda funny that girls can hear better then boys because boys are known as never listening. I've never though of why women are more depressed than men. The fact that the article brings up how women are more willing to discuss it get help which leads to more disagnosing in women makes a whole lot of sense.
I've never really known that men were more "fragile" than women. It's just never really discussed. I thought women were always sicker and had more health problems. The focus never seems to be on men.
The article was good but it raised to many questions of why and how. There was no evidence really in the article, so it'd be nice to read more on the numbers and experiments involved in men's health versus women's.
My male friends always swear and say dude so incredibly much. I feel like their conversations, when around guys are so shallow. But if it's just me and a guy friend they can actually get really serious and open up a lot. Girls on the other hand pretty much at any time can have a serious conversation which is why I'm kind of glad I'm a girl or I would have so much stuff bottled up.
This video shows how focus is always on women in almost all aspects. Men rarely get the notice they need and are often over shadowed by women and women's health.
The brain truly is an awe-inspiring thing, like the article by Robert Sapolsky said. It does so much for us, the obvious and conscious things like moving and thinking your way through a math problem and the endless amount of things we do not usually think about. Like how the brain tells our body to breathe when we are asleep or releases hormones when we are scared. It is an awesome creation, but like the article shows, it can be someone's enemy too. I cannot imagine how it would feel to be in combat, much less have to relive it over and over, once back home and safe. This article reminds me of a video I watched about PTSD. It showed a man who had been in a car accident, and though he ended up surviving without much physical damage, he got PTSD. When he heard loud noises or saw bright lights, his heart rate would skyrocket and he would start sweating. It was crazy watching the physical reaction his brain said was necessary to keep him safe, when really there was no danger.
I find it very interesting that the hippocampus may actually shrink due to PTSD and also that they have just recently noticed this connection. Another interesting point is the fact that they do not know whether the hippocampus atrophies after the traumatic experience, or if the patient already had a small hippocampus. Whatever the findings on this end up being could help a lot of people and prevent many from getting PTSD. The article brought up the idea that if a small hippocampus actually does coincide with PTSD that it should be included in the testing before shipping someone off to battle. Is that a legitimate reason to not allow someone to fight for his or her country? Would it be an automatic no, or up to the individual's discretion? Another point that the article mentioned was the fact that stress can help or hinder memory, depending on when the stress sets in. This information can definitely be useful for exam time.
I thought that the study performed for this article made clear things we probably could have already guessed. While it is interesting to hear it confirmed by science, it is fairly simple to guess that people going through the stress of a divorce or the death of a spouse will suffer significantly more stress related health problems than those in healthy, functioning marriages. Besides the obvious stress related issues involved, it was interesting to note the ideas that married couples are healthier because of the symbiotic nature of a relationship. Partners share health benefits, spouses schedule appointments for each other, and spouses just look out for each other's general health. It's easy to see why people who have the sort of support supplied by a significant other are generally healthier. For this reason, I thought it would be perfect to interview my dad and my stepmother, Lisa.
When my dad married Lisa, a significant portion of his health lifestyle changed. Lisa is a bit of a health nut and subtlety influenced the health and dietary habits of the rest of the family. My dad is by no means a horrible cook but when he was single, less of his meals were home cooked and more were take-out or frozen. When Lisa moved in, nearly all of his meals were now home cooked. She also incorporated more healthy alternatives, such as using turkey instead of beef or low fat margarine instead of butter. They have both also taken to putting flax into their food to increase fiber and have both dramatically improved their diets. Also, most nights after dinner they will both go for a walk together as it's one of the rare moments they share when all of us kids can't interrupt them or annoy them and they can just go over their days in peace. These little things they share over time have had a big impact on their overall health and are a perfect example of how a marriage can affect your health on both a mental and physical level.
Here is the reading for next week! Great class today.
This week think about some of the ways in which men and women might typically behave in different ways that would impact their health. And when we say behaviors, we don't JUST mean eating and drinking (although those are important)--also think about how women and men might think differently which might have an impact on their health.
See you next week!
"The study does not prove that the loss of a marriage causes health problems, only that the two are associated," when I read this then yes I agree that it could probably causes a health problem such as Depression but nothing more than that. It isn't like they can get cancer or some other health problem from being divorced. It is said that they will suffer from the lack of eating sleeping, socializing and exercising, but these are also simple symptoms of depression. There is one part that confuses me that they never fully explained. "While remarrying led to some improvement in health, the study showed that most married people who became single never fully recovered from the physical declines associated with marital loss." Where it says 'physical declines,' it doesn't give examples. What physical health problem could there be that was caused from divorce.
The paragraph where they actually experimented the stress level between married couples is quite interesting. If the stress levels are high then the wound from the suction device will take two days instead of one day for couples who are not stressed. If a marriage is going to a dead end then of course they should divorce since getting a divorce isn't always going to cause some sort of health issue. For some it can cause relief or even less stress by leaving their partner.
I hope this picture is actually of my dad.
For future reference (even though I emailed this to you) here is the reading for our marriage topic.
Also, I believe that our blog issues have been resolved. From here on out you should be able to post your entries here, and comment on each others' entries. Keep your fingers crossed for no more issues!
Thanks for your patience.