Psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey found that when presented with descriptions of women taken from lads’ mags [FHM, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo], and comments about women made by convicted rapists, most people who took part in the study could not distinguish the source of the quotes.
The research due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology also revealed that most men who took part in the study identified themselves more with the language expressed by the convicted rapists.
Psychologists presented men between the ages of 18 and 46 with a range of statements taken from magazines and from convicted rapists in the study, and gave the men different information about the source of the quotes. Men identified more with the comments made by rapists more than the quotes made in lads’ mags, but men identified more with quotes said to have been drawn from lads’ mags more than those said to have been comments by convicted rapists. (“Read the full press release from University of Surrey”: 69535_are_sex_offenders_and_lads_mags_using_the_same_language)
Sadly, the results of this study are not too surprising to me. They fit pretty closely with the way I see teenage boys and young men talking and behaving at the community centre where I volunteer and at the college where I study.
If you are a parent or work with children or young people, I would love to have your thoughts. Do you see what this study has highlighted as a real problem? Is it widespread or relatively limited? Are you doing anything with your children to combat predatory and misogynistic attitudes in our culture? Do you have any examples of people who are teaching boys a better way?
17 December 2011
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I’ve been thinking about what it is that makes Christianity unique, because everybody wants to be special. I came up with a lot of things that aren’t unique to Christianity: community, a strong moral code, monotheism, heaven, hell, our own music, a linear understanding of history, instant healings, ecstatic experiences, prophecy, a historic human founder, a resurrection story, a proselytising impulse, a paradigm for understanding all of life, nonviolence, scripture (Plus fundamentalism, being Right, tribalism and killing for your god.) Etc. All this stuff is quite common in and out of Christianity.
Note: Could this be why denominations, religions, organisations and tribes are so intent on focussing on their differences? If you start noticing how much isn’t unique, you may become aware that you fear a loss of your identity. And your audience. And your income.
But there is something that I think is unique, or at least exceptionally rare: living and dying for the sake of, not just your friends, but also (especially!) your enemies. This is what Jesus did. This is what he invites us to do.
Lots of people will kill for what they believe.
Many people will die for what they hold dear.
Very few people are willing to die for someone who stands for the opposite of what they love.
Please tell me if I’m wrong. Tell me that there are a lot of things unique about Christianity. Tell me that there are other religions/philosophies/tribes for which suffering (with abandonment, with no guarantee of success) to save the life of an enemy is a core value.
25 March 2011
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It is possible to give students an examination on any subject by just asking them to list all of the questions that they have about a subject, including all questions generated by their first list of questions. That we do not test students by asking them to list questions and explain their significance is again evidence of the privileged status we give to answers isolated from questions. That is, we ask questions only to get thought-stopping answers, not to generate further questions.
24 March 2011
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- Once a shooting war starts, the greatest number of casualties can always be found among civilians. So us dropping bombs on Libya is helping ordinary people how?
- I’m reading stuff in the mainstream press about Cameron working on his foreign policy chops, Sarkosy rebuilding his image after backing the losers in Tunisia, and Obama showing off his backbone. That’s not why we’re doing this, is it?
- If Britain is so broke that the government is cutting around 20% from nearly everything, why is David Cameron leading the charge and not saying ‘Sorry guys, we’re broke, but be sure to give us a call next war’?
- Why aren’t we also bombing Yemen and Bahrain and asking Saudi Arabia some really probing questions about why people with awkward ideas are going missing?
- What is a good nonviolent response to Gaddafi’s regime? I’m new to this. Sitting around clucking about being nice doesn’t seem to be any use, but I don’t actually have any good ideas.
- Operation Odyssey Dawn? As in, ‘Operation Tor Shezada was pretty hot, but you Odyssey Dawn!’?
20 March 2011
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Do you think it is possible to have a healthy sense of self worth without the involvement of other people? e.g. If everyone around you is negative about your value, can you, through a relationship with God, positive thinking or some other means, develop a positive sense of self worth? Can you give any concrete examples?