Thursday, March 01, 2007


there all these things that i want to share with you! interesting stuff abounds! check it:

1) amanda's recent post, Smile: It's easier than bowing, made me want to clap wildly in my cubicle yesterday. she was responding to an article "about how smiling indicates more than pleasure, but is actually linked with social status, and that the lower down the ladder you are, the more you tend to smile." she connects these researched findings to gender as well, in particular to that maddening habit that random men on the street have - you know, where they tell women they've never before seen in their life to "smile, honey!" the original article bears out her conclusion:

research show[s] that women smile more than men...this gender difference has been attributed to the perceived lower social status of women, and [a professor involved in the research] notes that this gender gap shrinks when you control for social status: high-status women apparently don’t feel the need to smile as much.

overall, some fascinating stuff, and satisfying to so many women who already knew, instinctively and from experience, that this was the case. amanda says at the end of the post,

In recent years, I’ve discovered that if I stifle the urge to smile all the time at people, I get more respect...over time, I’ve sort of fallen out of the habit [of smiling often] because the need to be taken seriously overrules the need to have people like me so much of the time.

amen! yes! women everywhere: smile less, demand more.

2) a post that got me thinking today was a recent musing from hugo about marriage, money, joint accounts and feminism. obviously, given my marriage ramblings of last month, the topic caught my attention. in this one, hugo responds to a few other posts involving money and marriage, and uses personal anecdote (as he does so often, and so well!) to examine the issue of the role of finances in a marriage. in his marriage (and his three previous ones - hugo's an interesting guy), finances are completely blended, and he ultimately argues for the value in that. his comment thread has some good contrasting viewpoints, as well as some relevant identifications of how class-based privilege could be factoring into his argument.

i don't have much else to say about it now, other than that for me, the discussion also raised (or re-framed) some serious questions about what marriage is about, and the different ways in which one could (should? would? how now brown cow!) conceptualize the institution.

3) my AdRants Daily email alerted me to this new campaign, Buy Less Crap, which is in response to the Bono and Oprah endorsed (RED) consumer-friendly charity campaign. my first unmitigated response was "thank you, thank you, thank you." as someone who toils away raising money for causes as a professional livelihood, the recent boom in cause marketing and consumer-driven (and consumer-connected) philanthropy makes me uneasy. i mean, no more than 17% of they money you spend on your (RED) motorola phone actually goes to charity - 83% goes in motorola's pocket. so Buy Less Crap cuts out the middle corporate man, and provides direct links to donate to the charities (RED) supports. brilliant!

the only thing that tempered my happiness with this initiative is the reason it was in AdRants in the first place - its ad campaign. the print ad featured in the AdRants email was a naked woman (sigh), cleverly concealing herself with her own arms (double sigh), with the word "(RED)ICU(LESS)" stamped over her. i thought, god damn it, you nice liberal causes with good progressive intentions! can you please try to achieve your aims without exploiting a woman's body, just once??

but then again, when you go to their site, two of the three posted print ads are naked guys. so while overall, i am certainly tired of the "naked people, ooooh, shocking!" marketing motif that many liberal/left-ish companies and organizations continue to buy into, at least it seems like Buy Less Crap is being somewhat egalitarian about their attempts at mass market titillation.

4) there is no number four. i kinda can't believe how long it took me to just write those three. when the portion of your brain that houses things like "thesaurus" and "sentence structure" starts shutting down by 8:30 pm, you know you're getting old.


educand said...

Interestingly, I smile so little that I think of it as symptomatic of gender variance, and I demand a fair amount, especially because of the nature of my job... and I keep hearing that the 22-year-old girls I work with are terrified of me. People really don't know how to handle it.

Interesting site, that Buy (LESS) Crap link.

Kate said...

Re #1 -- you know, I've heard this a bit before, and have changed over the last few years how I behave towards men and people with higher status than me (like tenured profs, etc). I find I get a lot more respect when I don't smile as eagerly at them as I used to.

That said, I smile a LOT to my students, in large part to REDUCE the authority gap between us. So I guess it can go both ways...

Toast said...

I don't expect women to smile at me in order to reinforce their subordinate position in society. I expect them to smile because it makes them even prettier and that makes me happy.

Toast said...

(People who are not kate: That was supposed to be a funny.)