Would You Help Someone In Need?

In show on ABC titled What Would You Do? They test many scenarios to see how people would react and, in some cases, if they would intervene. In the episode, Man Lures Drunken Girl they stage an all to common scene, a drunk woman is at a bar and there is a man trying to take advantage of her and the situation. It is obvious that the girl does not want to leave, not is she in the best frame of mind.

What would you do? Would you stand by and let her be taken away by this stranger or would you try and step in and help her?

Luckily for the girl in this video, the bystanders stepped in to help her because they realized that there was a problem. One man who stopped her from being taken away said he had a 25 year old daughter and that he hoped someone would intervene if his daughter was stuck in a similar situation.  A group of women acted like they knew her to prevent the man from being able to take her out of the bar. Can you say that you would do the same?

I think this is a very hard circumstance to be in. If I were in this position I would hope I would step in, but sometimes this can be a daunting task because you do not know their situation. The girls might not be opposing the man as strongly as she was in this video or the man may act as if they are friends and make it seem as if she wants his help. An even worse scenario, is one that I would imagine to be even more common than the one demonstrated in this video, what would happen if this was taking place in a dark nightclub rather than at a restaurant bar in broad daylight? I think if this were the case, there would not be nearly as many people intervening than there were in this example. Because of the load noise, dark lighting, and large number of people, you may not even know that there is a problem going on with the two people. It is really something to think about.

I think this video really reinforces the ideas that we need to pay attention to our surroundings and to stick together, because you never know when you could be saving a life.

ABC. (2010). What would you do? [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.hulu.com/watch/147916

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Field Trip to Virtual Ability

For my first field trip I decided to go to the Virtual Ability Island. I thought this was a great way to familiarize myself with Second Life. The purpose of this space was to educate those using it and it did a great job with this. The first thing I did when I got there was to go through the orientation which showed me all the basic and important things I needed to know to navigate my way through Second Life. I learned to fly, sit, open boxes, buy items, change my avatar’s outfit, etc. This site told me immediately when I entered what the purpose of it was and it communicated it throughout with the signs that guided me along.
 
On this island I hear many natural sounds that you would expect to hear on an island. I hear lots of birds, whooshing when I fly, typing when I am chatting with Bob the Monkey, among other things. The sounds fit very well and enhanced the environment the Virtual Ability Island was trying to create.
 
There was a lot for my avatar to do on this trip. There were many experiences that my avatar could partake in to learn more about the virtual world as a whole. My avatar danced, she learned how to fly and land in a specific location, she chatted with a monkey, she bought scarves at the freebie store, and learned how to open boxes and take pictures.
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This trip made Second Life seem more accessible to me. I learned a lot of things 

that I need to use each time I enter the virtual world, and without them I would most likely be pretty immobile. I think overall the site was very well set up, easy to use, and I think everyone should visit it when they first join Second Life to help them become better acquainted.
 
In the field trip, I came across a pond with butterflies and when I clicked on them they lit up  and it send me a confirmation saying I found the butterflies. I also found a dance floor and my favorite dance my avatar did was the YMCA. Then, I came to the flight cage and when I successfully landed my avatar on the bull’s eye stars fell from the top of the screen. Next came the chatting monkey. I said hello and asked what kind of monkey he was and Bob replied, “I’m a virtual monkey, what kind are you?” Then, I got a box and when I opened it, I got a camera and a straw hat. The final destination of my trip was the freebie store and I bought some scarves for free.

Racism: Virtual and Real

As a blogger for my Women’s study class, I do not have as much experience with Second Life as those who attend the virtual classroom weekly. Even though it is not as much of a ‘second life’ for me as for some of my classmates, I can imagine that there is still some traces of racism. I personally do not think this really should be an issue as each avatar could be completely different; gender, age, race, from the person in the real world and we are all on a level playing field, so who is there to judge? I think that we all have no place to judge because we all have our own strengths and weaknesses and none of us are perfect, but it is a reality that our world is filled with judgment and, for the focus of this blog, racism.

To get back to the original question, I think it would be impossible to say that race does not play a factor in Second Life. In today’s day and age, I think it is safe to say that most people have experience with the virtual world, whether that is Second Life, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, or any other source. While using these sites, most of us have experienced racism at one point or another whether it is done consciously or not.

Since I don’t have as much experience in Second Life, I did a little research and found in a study done by Northwestern that racism is indeed a factor in this virtual world:

“The research team asked avatars for a ridiculous favor (a two-hour photo shoot), followed by a more modest request (one photo), to judge how willing avatars were to help.

Then comes the spin: Researchers asked these favors as both black and white avatars. The results were shocking:

The effect of the DITF technique was significantly reduced when the requesting avatar was dark-toned. The white avatars in the DITF experiment received about a 20 percent increase in compliance with the moderate request; the increase for the dark-toned avatars was 8 percent.”

The results seemed to show that the avatars were more willing to help the white avatars when compared to black avatars. Surprisingly enough to me, it seems that this Second Life is more similar to the real world than I ever would have guessed.

Now think about this, does race even exist?

This may sound like a crazy question, I thought so at first, but after looking a little bit I found some information that makes me believe it is something that we have just created. On the PBS website I found that “race is a modern idea.” The website also stated that “we are among the most similar of all species.” Traits we have are not help to one race, but span throughout. The major difference, and the one most people seem to pay attention to, is the color of our skin. You would think something as trivial as skin would not have that big of an impact on us when we have so many other things in common that are much bigger and more important.

So is race just an illusion? I would now have to say yes.

Pixels and Policy. (2009, October 26). The curious case of racism in second life. Retrieved from http://www.pixelsandpolicy.com/pixels_and_policy/2009/10/race-case.html

Spent

As part of this weeks class discussion, we had to participate in an online game called SPENT. The game begins with me being a single parent who has no job, lost my house, and is down to $1,000. I begin by searching for a job and take one as s server making $262 a week. Next I have to pick a place to live and to lower costs, I settle on a place about 30 miles away from work to lower the cost of rent to $700/ month, but leaving me with transportation totaling $100 a month.

Now begins my journey. I am supposed to move into my apartment, but I have way to much stuff so to make a bit more money I decide to hold a yard sale. I get rid of a lot, but only bring in $150. Now with only $350 left, I begin to run into problems. My landlord decides to raise my rent by $150, I decide to pay it. Then I get sick, but decide to go to work anyways, my sink leaks, I have to fix it myself, my electric and gas bills are due, I pay them, but now I only have $43. Because I don’t have much money, I can’t send my kid to a birthday party, to get ice cream from the ice cream truck, or on a class field trip. Now its time to buy groceries, but I can’t get nearly enough.

Luckily, for me, a friend of mine offers $200 to stay at my place and since I am in desperate need of money, I gladly say yes. But only a few days later I have to pay $250 in student loans. So I am back down to only $86 and my pet has gotten extremely sick and needs either $400 in treatments or $50 to be put to sleep. I have always had family pets and even though this is not real life for me, it is a really hard decision for me. I have made it to day 25, only 5 more to go, do I do what I’m sure lots of people in this situation do and put the dog to sleep, or do I decide to give up when I’ve gotten this far? Knowing that I could never do that to my puppy, I decide that it is the end of my ’30 day’ journey.

Although, for me, this activity was just a game  to see if I could get through a mere 30 days, it is a reality for many people. My family has had its fair share of struggles, but luckily my parents have been able to overcome even our worst times to maintain a steady lifestyle for my siblings and I. After this experience, I learned just how blessed I am. At any moment there is the possibility that my parents could lose their jobs, which could lead to the loss of our house, car, etc. I am not sure how my future will play out, but I do believe that it is part of my social responsibility to pay it forward and try to make a difference by sparing a few dollars or hours at a local food pantry or homeless shelter to help out those in need. Not only will it help them, but it will also enhance my life.

The Choice

For my Women’s Studies class, we had to explore the website Intersex Society of North America. The exploration of this website and topic, made me wonder, is it necessary for intersex people to assume a gender identity? To me the answer is a simple yes.

Before I get into the why, I think it is important for me to explain what intersex is, as I have never heard the term prior to this assignment. According to ISNA, “Intersex is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Now that you have a basic understanding like I do, I want to explain to you my reasoning backed by the information I read on the ISNA website. I think it is important for these intersex people to assume a gender identity because a lot of stigma and distress can come from not knowing which gender they are a part of, and they (meaning parents, doctors, psychologists, and anyone else involved in the person’s life) need to try and “make the world a safe place for intersex kids.”

So, how do you pick a gender if the person doesn’t really fit one? According to ISNA, many tests are done including hormonal, genetic, and radiological tests to help determine the best fit. Another main aspect of the process is speculating “which gender the child is most likely to fell as she or he grows up.”

But, why don’t we just create a third gender for the intersex people, wouldn’t that just solve all the problems? One of the problems that would arise is, who would the gender apply too? Second, and more important, is the fact that the third gender just does not exist. The problem would not be solved by just creating an escape.

One important aspect I thought the website seemed to ignore, involved one of the main points of the agenda. The agenda stated, “Parents’ distress must not be treated by surgery on the child.” The main focus should be on the child and how do you think the child is feeling with all of this going on? I am pretty sure I would be very distressed if I did not know whether I was a male or female. Not having medical surgery could really be the most traumatizing of all.

Whatever is decided it is important to put the main focus on their well-being.

* Intersex Society of North America. (2008). What is intersex?. Retrieved from http://www.isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex

The Role Gender Plays On Finances

 

Does gender effect finances? I think there are a lot of basic financial aspects that males and females share, but there is a whole other side that separates the two genders.

As a female, I could go on and on listing all the things that I buy that I imagine most males don’t have any interest in or even know about. Some of these items include makeup products, feminine products, and we cannot forget the shoes and handbags! It is amazing when you think about all the added expenses we incur over the year after we take into account the necessities including food, water, and shelter, which we all know isn’t cheap either.

However, females are not the only ones whose expenses span greater than the necessities. Stereo typically speaking or not, we all know males to have their specific needs and enjoy their own luxury items. The first few items that come to mind are cars and electronics.

In some cases the male gender can have far greater expenses than females, but there are also a lot of cases where the female spends more to fulfill her lifestyle. Either way, I think it is very important to be aware of gender when it comes to finances.

I know from experience that I have to be aware of my finances because there are certain items I deem necessary for myself. As a female, I like to try and look my best, because it makes me feel better and more confident. So every so often I have to replace old makeup and beauty products. Every few months, I go to my salon of choice and get my haircut and styled and get my eyebrows waxed. I also like to update my wardrobe every now and then. Although I think of myself as very frugal, I do like to treat myself occasionally and all of these expenses add up. I have to make sure I have enough money to do what I would like to do, while trying to save for the future and help pay for college.

Having brothers I know that a lot of the things I just listed do not even come up on their radar. For example, my trip to the salon usually ends up costing round $70, while theirs usually is about $5 at Great Clips. Their typical morning regimen includes a 2-in-1 shampoo and body wash, a face wash, and toothpaste and toothbrush. My morning regimen includes separate shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, toothbrush and toothpaste, face wash, lotion, perfume, hair products, and various makeup products. This is just a single example of the differences, but it really goes to show how much of a role the difference in gender plays on finances.

Science and Intuition

Can the hard sciences be influenced by intuition? When I think of the hard sciences, my first though is facts. Mainly I see science as separate from intuition or an individual’s motivation and beliefs and a focus on the cold hard facts, but after reading about Barbara McClintock, I would have to agree that intuition plays an important role in the hard sciences.

Barbra McClintock is a scientist who won the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her work in plant genetics. In Evelyn Fox Keller’s book, A Feeling for the Organism (1983), Keller describes McClintock’s view on intuition and science:

“In short, McClintock shares with all other natural scientists the credo that nature is lawful, and the dedication to the task of articulating those laws. And she shares, with at least some, the additional awareness that reason and experiment, generally claimed to be the principal means of this pursuit, do not suffice. To quote Einstein again, “…only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding, can lead to these laws; …the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.”

The facts can only take you so far; you need to a little something extra, and that is where intuition comes into play. If you only look at the facts there is a whole world of information, thoughts, and ideas that is being completely overlooked. However, this goes both ways, science can benefit from intuition and intuition can benefit from the hard sciences, and the facts. If you rely only on reason you are ignoring the facts and missing out on important information that can really make a difference.

A holistic understanding of a subject is extremely important too. Take a puzzle for example. If you only look at one little piece, or even a section of the pieces, you won’t get the whole picture. You need to know more than just a portion to get anywhere. If you have a complete, or as close to one as us humans can get, then advancements can be made or previous thoughts can be questioned. Having a holistic view is essential for development.

A balance between the facts and intuition is extremely important in the hard sciences and many other areas of life. You need that dedication and passion to make great strides like McClintock. Sometimes you need that extra edge to achieve what you are after.

*Quote from Evelyn Fox Keller, “A Feeling for the Organism”

Iron Jawed Angels

Iron Jawed Angels (2004) Poster

*Image from IMBD.com

Iron Jawed Angels is an HBO film starting Hilary Swank, Margo Martindale, and Anjelica Huston. Hilary Swank plays the main character Alice Paul who leads women’s right activists in an attempt to change the Constitution and get women the right to vote. The movie takes place during the 1917 Suffrage movement.

Alice Paul’s work made huge strides for American women. It is amazing what Alice Paul was able to pull together during war time and when it seemed as though everyone was against her. She coordinated rallies, picketed the White House, and never took no for an answer. Alice Paul stood by what she believed in no matter what the consequences. She truly believed in her cause and her dedication and passion got others to believe in it too.

I think that one of the contributors to the movement happening during this time in history was that there were so many changes going on in our country. The 14th and 15th Amendments had recently been passed and women realized that it was their turn.

What Alice Paul did was very brave and courageous; she took charge of her own freedom. Today there are many groups pushing for change, such as the groups who want to become more environmentally friendly and those who want changes concerning gun laws. These groups could learn a lot from Alice Paul, by sticking by what they stand for, through thick and thin, they could see some of their ideas translated to reality. I think the most important thing today is standing together. People need to make their major issues a priority and not let them just be pushed aside. If a group can hold strong then they will have a much louder voice and a bigger political presence.

In different segments of the film there was a big change in dynamic. In some parts it was only females and together they held strong in their fight, but then there were other times when they would switch to a scene where it wasn’t as formal and women realized that they didn’t want to be alone or they wanted to protect their family life. I can only imagine how much of an inner struggle that would have caused. It would make it very hard to choose what you were going to do, because those women wanted to protect their kids and husbands, but they also wanted that equality for their daughters.  I think this conflict made the movement that much stronger because the women realized that this needed to be taken care of now, instead of leaving it for the future generations and their children to fight.

This movie showed the real struggles these activists went through to make changes that many of us take for granted today. Their arguments for equality still hold true today. Even though these women brought huge changes and have made the lives of women better today, there are still changes that need to be addressed to give women complete equality.

It goes to show that when you really put your mind to something anything is possible.

*Friedes, J. (2004, February 15). imbd.com. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338139/

100 years later, has anything changed?

Separated by 100 years, two sweatshop fires took a combined 270 lives. The first fire occurred in 1911 at the Triangle Waste Company’s factory in Manhattan. The second was in Bangladesh last November.  You would think 100 years would be enough time to set in place some basic safety laws to prevent these horrendous working conditions that have taken hundreds of lives and see that they are carried out, but has anything really changed?

The Triangle Waste Company fire occurred on March 25, 1911. The fire killed 146 people, mostly women and some as young as 14 years old. Many of the workers were immigrants who had recently come to the United States in search of a better life. That night when the flames broke out, many of the workers chose to jump out the windows rather than burn in the fires. The owners of the building tried to defend themselves by declaring that the building was fireproof, but the workers fought back saying that when the fire broke out the exit doors were locked, therefore leaving them with no way to escape. In court, it was decided that the two owners, Harris and Blanck, were unaware of the locked exits. The victims chose to not give up and a few years later, after numerous civil suits, the owners settled out of court by paying $75 for each life that was lost.

The Tazreen Fashions fire in Bangladesh occurred on November 24-25, 2012. The fire took the lives of at least 124 individuals. Similar to the fire in Manhattan, many of the workers were forced to jump from the windows because the lower levels were already engulfed in flames. One of the causes of deaths was the lack of exits for the workers to escape from once the fire broke out. The owner of this sweatshop also denied the notion of unsafe working conditions, but the company website clearly stated the conditions to be high-risk. The company offered compensation of $1,200 to each of the deceased worker’s families.

These are not the only tragic fires that have occurred in unsafe working conditions and unfortunately they probably won’t be the last we hear of either. The similarities between these two fires are scary; both owners claimed to have safe working conditions, both incidents had cited causes related to exits, and both had small monetary compensation for their great losses, among other things.

There are so many ways in which our world has grown, from technological advances to societal advances, yet basic precautions to ensure the safety and lives of individuals are being neglected. The importance of freedom of speech, as many involved in the Manhattan Fire learned, is undeniable. It is important for anyone who is a situation like these to make sure their voice is heard so that these innocent lives will not be lost.

Davis and Reynolds: Treatment of Slaves

Although our country is still making strides to better ourselves, we have made huge progress when it comes to slavery. Not too long ago, a huge population of our country was greatly mistreated, but did you ever think about how much their lives could differ? Lucinda Davis and Mary Reynolds were both slaves, but their stories differ greatly.

First, I will introduce you to Lucinda Davis. Lucinda Davis belonged to Tuskaya-hiniha, a full-blood Indian Creek. During the Civil War she was just a child and the only language she knew was Creek. Tuskaya-hiniha bought Lucinda to care for his daughter Luwina’s baby boy. Lucinda was not his only slave; according to her there were, “as many slaves as I got fingers.” In the Creek slaves were not treated as bad as others were. All Lucinda had to do was “stay at de house and mind de baby.” Whenever Tuskaya-hiniha’s slaves were hungry they were allowed to eat and he would trade corn to get them clothes. Whenever someone was sick they would make a fire and keep it going until they got well or died. For funerals they wore nice clothes any many times were fed afterwards. After the war, she was freed, but she decided to stay with her master because she didn’t know where to go. Finally, her master got her back to her parents and later married and had children.

Mary Reynolds story is quite different from Lucinda’s. Dr. Kilpatrick was the master of Mary and her family, until he sold Mary to another man who had no family. She was sold cheap because “he didn’t want Miss Sara to play with no nigger young’un.” Mary was scared all the time. She was bought back by Dr. Kilpatrick to save his daughter Sara’s life. Dr. Kilpatrick had hundreds of slaves and whenever one would get to old to work in the fields he would sell them to buy a younger one.
Mary said that “slavery was the worst days was ever seed in the world. They was things past tellin’, but I got the scars on my old body to show to this day. I seed worse than what happened to me.” There was constant hunger and violence all around her.

Although both were born into awful times, Mary’s life as a slave was much harsher than Lucinda’s. Lucinda’s master at least acknowledged that she was human, she was fed and given clothes. Mary’s master, however, just treated her as one of many, each day leaving her hungry and scared. Neither master, treated these people in a way I would consider acceptable, but even under these horrendous circumstances it is amazing how big of a difference each persons life was.

Even though slavery is not a part of our society in the exact way it was during this time, it is important to realize that groups and individuals are still being taking advantage of in a similar way. We have made great strides, but there is still a long way to go.

 

*You can read their full stories by clicking on their names.