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.