War on Women

Here’s a recent article that was published over at the Washington Post called, “Rape, street harassment and trolls. This punk band has a song for that” about the hardcore band War On Women and Feminism. It’s both an interesting and discouraging article about what female musicians face in the punk, hardcore and metal music scenes and goes on to speak about the band’s origin and experiences performing. In particular, like the article’s title suggests, band lyricist and vocalist Shawna Potter talks about fans’ reaction to her as a woman performing and her experiences of harassment.


It’s sad to say, but Potter’s experiences are really no different than what many of the women I interviewed here in NYC spoke about. Even though a majority of metal news sites, commenters, and bloggers in the blog-o-sphere might argue differently, these moments of violence, mistreatment and racism still occur. It’s very much a “still happened, even if it didn’t happen to you” kind of thing.

I am glad to see articles like the Washington Post one being published because these issues of rape, racism, and sexism still are and should be ongoing discussions, lest we forget– see what I did there? –But seriously… the discussions shouldn’t stop at just media highlighting white women of more noticeable bands – there needs to be a focus on the intersectionalities occurring – women of color, of ethnicity, of varying gender identities etc.

And before folks get all uppity about there not being enough bands with women of the intersectionalities I just mentioned, you can just look to bands like NY’s Castrator or the site Female Vocalists of Extreme Music– the name implies only vocalists but it really includes a very in-depth listing of bands worldwide with women as musicians & vocalists.

Objects – Things – Stuff

Over at NYU’s Material World blog, I couldn’t help falling in love with a recent post that excerpts a letter from Sigmund Freud to his fiancee about objects, meaning, and emotion. He writes:

“Tables and chairs, beds, mirrors, a clock to remind the happy couple of the passage of time, an armchair for an hour’s pleasant daydreaming, carpets to help the housewife keep the floors clean, linen tied with pretty ribbons in the cupboard and dresses of the latest fashion and hats with artificial flowers, pictures on the wall, glasses for everyday and others for wine and festive occasions, plates and dishes, a small larder in case we are suddenly attacked by hunger or a guest, and an enormous bunch of keys–which must make a rattling noise. And there will be so much to enjoy, the books and the sewing table and the cosy lamp, and everything must be kept in good order or else the housewife, who has divided her heart into little bits, one for each piece of furniture, will begin to fret. And this object must bear witness to the serious work that holds the household together, that object to a feeling for beauty, to dear friends one likes to remember, to cities one has visited, to hours one wants to recall. And all this, a small world of happiness, of silent friends and proofs of lofty human values, is as yet only in the future; not even the foundation of the house has been laid, there is nothing but two poor human creatures who love one another to distraction. Are we to hang our hearts on such little things? Yes, and without hesitation.”

It was enlightening for me to see how much material culture fits into our daily lives and how we attribute meaning in a variety of ways to objects. I won’t lie and say that I read this letter and thought of it in completely anthropological terms;  Freud’s letter to his fiancee struck a romanticized chord with me. I think in our daily lives it’s far too easy to forget how objects can embody meaning. In an age where love letters (the old handwritten ones) have been converted to an email here and there, it’s easy to lose the expression of emotions through technology, as much as we use technology to enhance such emotions.
I suppose if I learned anything from this little insightful post, it was that “things, objects, and stuff” can and will evoke memories and ideas that so often one glosses over.

Study habit(us)

In both my anthropology classes, I’ve been getting a great introduction to classic and modern anthropological theory. Just recently we had a couple of readings that had to do with embodiment. In many of these readings, the anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu and his concept of ‘habitus‘ were referenced. Habitus as defined by Bourdieu (1990) is a principle that consists of objects of knowledge,  a system of structured and structuring dispositions; it is a system of interacting elements or as Smith (2003) calls it, an attribute of individuals.

It’s this idea of habitus that Bourdieu places great importance on the body and action. Central to his concept is that habitus occurs through embodiment. When I read  Mindhack’s article on Study Habits that discussed inherent studying habits that have been occurring since education and teaching have existed,  I was intrigued with the possible notion of how we embody learning habits and how we can embody better study habits that move us (as students) from a passive role to active role. So instead of simply ingesting a lecture, we are now creating a dialogue with it; transforming the objective into subjective (from spectator to participant). It’s interesting to see that by thinking ‘deeply’, we can purposely affect our memory and what our minds are correlating.

Stressed? Who isn’t?

Feeling very exhausted this morning. I didn’t get to bed until 5am. It’s interesting how sleep and stress are directly related. I’d like to think that stress is some alien emotion that has nothing to do with the realm of sleep, but there it goes, intruding with creeping thoughts and sticky fingers. Yikes!

Last week was the culmination of a variety of stressors; it was tax week, graduate application  deadlines week, not to mention the annual performance-review-at-work week. All these events in one week doesn’t bode well for a luxurious sleep.

So it was with great timing that I stumbled upon a related blog post at NeuroAnthropology discussing just this problem: Worry and Stress.

The writer along with his colleagues hope to explore the different facets of “insecurity, stress, and mental and behavioral health in their long-term fieldsite in Costa Rica.”

They’ve listed a great bibliography that makes a librarian like me happy and well less stressed. The bibliography links out to various abstracts and studies occurring in the realm of stress and psychology. Some highlights from their list:

Boutain, D.M
2001 Managing worry, stress and high blood pressure: African-American women holding it together through ‘family’. Ethnicity & Disease 11(4):773.

Nolen-Hoeksema, S., B. E. Wisco, and S. Lyubomirsky
2008 Rethinking rumination. Perspectives on Psychological Science 3(5):400-424.

Schoenberg, N. E., et al.
2005 Situating stress: Lessons from lay discourses on diabetes. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 19(2):171-193.

Wells, A., and C. Papageorgiou
1995 Worry and the incubation of intrusive images following stress. Behaviour Research and Therapy 33(5):579-583.

For the entire blog post over at NeuroAnthropology, click here.

If Only….

 Just read this blog post over at Mindhacks and found myself both laughing and crying at the same time. And that’s because it’s a study all about Regrets, specifically a study titled, “Regrets of a Typical American”.

 I’m laughing because my husband is often pointing out how much I dwell too long over actions that I’ve already committed. At the same time all this dwelling makes me sad cos, that’s right….it’s depressing.

 And although I can’t access the full study from the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, the review remains intriguing, so I’ll just have to see if I can get access from my office.

 Not surprisingly, like the author points, Love tops the charts with Family and Education right after. Continue reading