Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Solution to Confusion

Sexual assault cases in schools today are unfortunately becoming more and more prominent. Teachers and students are confused about the proper and appropriate kind of relationship they can have. These issues can be mostly blamed on the confusion of space and touch in teacher-student relationships.

In these nonverbal relationships, there is are two extremes in space. If a teacher were to rarely come out from behind their desk and keep objects as barriers between them and the students, it is difficult for the students to feel any sort of comfortability with their teacher and therefore, are less likely to speak up in class or feel comfortable asking questions. On the other hand, a teacher that invades the personal space of the student can make them feel uncomfortable having the teacher hover over their personal bubble. When an in-between is found, I feel like the best and most effective learning takes place.

Touch in the classroom has become the most controversial topic in the classroom. Not too long ago, teachers were allowed to punish students with a paddle as a consequence for bad behavior. Today, if a teacher were to do this, there would be many upset parents and lawsuits. Just recently in the Waco school district, a kindergarten teacher was arrested for sexual assault on one of his students. More about this awful story can be found here.

While situations like this one are happening all over the country, I have to wonder what these teachers are thinking? Most of the time inappropriate relations take place between a younger teacher and an older student in which case a student could communicate unnecessary nonverbal messages to a teacher or professor. But in the case mentioned above, a 5-year-old was assaulted by a much older man. There is no way for this young student to display inappropriate nonverbal messages to her teacher.

The school systems today insist on every student learning history, math, english, and science and usually taking the same course twice throughout twelve years of schooling. After researching the misunderstandings of teacher-student relationships I strongly believe that a class over nonverbal communication and how to maintain appropriate relationships between teachers and students should be incorporated into the curriculum of our students. That being said, I also strongly believe that teachers should be required to take a class over the same material. Hopefully this would clear up some of the confusion going on in our school systems today.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'll Be There for You

FRIENDS, the hit TV series is completely centered around relationships and the complications that come along with them. Each character possesses their own unique personalities and I believe that's what makes the show so humorous! My roommate watches at least one episode a day, and I have started to pick up on these personality traits and anticipate how each character will react in certain situations. I'd like to evaluate each character and discuss the features of males and females as mentioned in the text.

Monica: This character performs many of the actions that are primarily performed by the male. She talks very loud, has a tendency to point, has very erect posture, and when in the presence of her friends, sits with her legs apart.

Chandler: It seems that Chandler is the most masculine character in the group as far as movements and gestures are concerned. When in the coffee shop he enjoys putting his arm around Monica, taking up a lot of space and moving into hers. His smiles are mostly after a sarcastic comment and there are many scenes Chandler is caught staring at either an awkward event or a pretty woman.

Phoebe: She is very hard to understand since she has a reputation of being weird and random. Along with her thoughts, Phoebe's actions are also fairly random. I noticed there were times she decided to perform the gestures of a female, yet there were many times she performed those of a male. For example, she spoke very softly when holding a conversation, but when something exciting happened or when trying to get a point across, Phoebe was the loudest one in the group!

Joey: Being an actor, Joey is expected to have overdramatic gestures and speak loudly. He is usually seen standing with his hands on his hips and takes up a lot of space. On top of these masculine actions, Joey also possesses many female attributes. Since he is not the brightest one in the bunch, Joey uses his smile to get by with his ridiculous comments and tilts his head when "thinking."

Rachel: She is probably the most "normal" female figure in this group of friends. She performs most of the actions females are expected to do such as accepting touch, smiling often, sitting and standing with her legs together, and doesn't take up much space.

Ross: This character is viewed as the most feminine of the male characters. Ross smiles, places his hands at his sides on in his lap, enjoys cuddling, usually speaks softly and has more positive gestures.

There are many correlations between the characteristics of these friends and the relationships they have. Let's take Rachel and Ross for instance; as mentioned above, both are feminine in their movements and gestures yet, in the end, they end up together because they are so in love. On the other side of the spectrum, Monica and Chandler, the more masculine characters, have been married for many seasons of friends and get along great.

FRIENDS could be studied for hours upon hours because of the many examples dealing with friendships, marriages, divorce, friends-with-benefits, sibling relationships and many more. Yet, I still believe that after watching 10 full seasons of the classic TV show, relationships still could not be fully understood and never will be.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dude Looks Like a Lady

Relationships and gender roles have always been a confusing concept and difficult to study because of the variety of people, ideas and opinions involved. In today's society, it is even more complicated since we are striving for equal opportunities for all. Fifty years ago, women and men had "cookie cutter" lives with "cookie cutter" roles. Women were expected to cook, clean and care for the children. Men were expected to work hard, pay the bills, and be the head of their household. Today, it is sometimes hard to distinguish between men and women, especially in populated, urban areas such as New York and Los Angeles where the arts thrive. It is so fascinating to consider gender roles in relationships and in society. Below is a clip of one of my favorite movies that has many aspects of gender roles involved throughout the plot.

In most relationships the woman is shorter and more petite than her husband because of the actions that are expected of each. The first couple catches us off guard because of the reversed gender roles present. The woman has an endomorph body type and looks as though she could protect her ectomorph husband better than he could protect her.

The second is odd because of their androgynous appearance. It is hard to distinguish between the male and female in this relationship.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


... To me it is a word without sense because I do not know where its meaning comes from nor where it leads to. ~Pablo Picasso

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. ~Kahlil Gibran

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. ~Confucius

This may be how I believe beauty should be and how others should feel about themselves, but I can't deny that I am somewhat self-conscious about the way I look at times. In the American culture, so much stress is put on the physical appearance of people; the way we dress and what we wear, how our hair is cut, colored and worn, and the size and shape of our body, just to name a few. While Americans spend a considerable amount of time thinking about or looking at their physical appearance and concentrating on ways to improve their image, it is evident that what is "in" now will change next season.

I find it very interesting the way other cultures view beauty. Apparently, so does Jessica Simpson. Below is a link to a clip of her brand new TV show, "The Price of Beauty," where she explores and researchers how different cultures describe beauty. Who better than to take on this show than someone who has been listed as one of the most beautiful women in America and then criticized and humiliated by the media because she has gained weight (a natural occurrence for women, especially as they age). Watch critically and look in the background at the various cultures described in this small promo.

As I mentioned in class last week, I am planning to study abroad this summer in Maastricht for 3 months. During this time I will have the opportunity to travel to dozens of countries and experience the different traditions and cultures of each. I am not only ecstatic about this once in a lifetime chance, but I am also very nervous and anxious. Of course I expect things to be very, very different and because of my "all-American" look, I am expecting to stick out like a sore thumb. I have heard many times that the French are ethnocentric people with an arrogant attitude. Nonetheless, I can't wait to dive into learning as much as possible about the European lifestyle and emerse myself in their culture; even if it means not showering for a couple of days. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

As this bible verse suggests, there is a time for everything! This includes timing as it relates to nonverbal communication. As we have learned from the text, the way we each utilize our time communicates how we feel towards a certain person or how seriously we take a certain job, class or event.

video: I'm late!

With all the hype over the new Alice in Wonderland movie, I started to analyze Disney's take on the rushed rabbit. The rabbit is the first thing Alice sees in her dream and the curiosity of where he is headed causes her to fall into the tunnel and begin her journey through Wonderland. In today's society, children that are 8 years old can't be told apart from teenagers with their highlights and fake nails along with their skimpy clothing. I believe that the rabbit in Alice's dream can be connected to how her anxiety about growing up and feeling rushed to do so. Time is a very valuable thing and can't be taken lightly. The more immediate we respond to people, the more immediacy exists between the two; in this case, a sense of urgency is beneficial to life. On the other hand, trying to rush through life and finish each phase as quickly as possible cheats you out of enjoying life to its' fullest. In conclusion, I challenge you all to balance the two: urgency and peacefulness. Be quick to respond to those in need and the ones you truly care about while living each day with a sense of peace that keeps you from missing out on life.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is he that into you?

It seems like everywhere I turn there's magazine headlines reading, "Find out if he's really that into you," or a newspaper article hinting at the same subject. Today, it was an online article on the homepage of Yahoo! that read, "Dating Tips: 10 Signs He's Smitten." Attached is the article I curiously read:

While Yahoo! may have done there best to inform its' audience about these obvious signs, I am confident that our class could put together a much more informational article to help others find out how their new crush is feeling. We understand that there are quicker and more reliable ways to figure out how he(or she) is feeling towards you, or their level of immediacy. The way one person touches another, the positioning and posture of each others bodies when conversing, the amount of eye contact made along with the way one person uses their voice to speak to the other are all ways to determine ones feelings for the other.

When holding hands, are their fingers intertwined? When at the movies is the armrest raised and are they making physical contact in some way? Just touching is not enough to say that a couple has a high level of immediacy. It's the little things that determine if they are truly in love. Most of the time, I feel like it is the smallest things such as these (usually only the two involved in the relationship know and understand) that make for the best and most intimate relationships.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Each of us has a different way of not only expressing our love for others, but feeling loved in return. Gary Chapman, a prestigious marriage counselor and writer of the best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages, believes that there are five categories of love. These consist of words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. A list of each of these can be found at the link below, but the language I would like to concentrate on is physical touch:

"This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive."

To find out your love language, take the quiz:

Most people have more than one love language, usually one being more dominant. No matter what it may be, each of us has the need to feel wanted. When that love is nonexistent in our lives, we find substitutes to fulfill our need, according to studies done by Rosenfeld and Civikly.

One thing I have found interesting is pets as a substitute for comfort. Abused and at-risk children find their need to feel loved with animal therapy. By learning how to treat animals right, children can break away from the chain of abuse and learn how to touch and love the accepted way. On the other hand, when animals are abused, people are at risk. For more statistics on this study, you can follow this link: