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Androgynous, Ash Chambers

Androgyny refers to a quality of mixed feminine and masculine (traditionally speaking) traits in a single person.

A good example of andgrogyny is my boyfriend and I. We both have quite a few masculine and feminine traits. For example, I love to do extreme sports. I get filthy, risk my limbs, and don’t bother with ‘dressing up’ when I go do these sports. I also love to play video games and often ‘hang with the boys’ playing call of duty. I also have feminine traits of enjoying hair and make up when I go out with friends, reading romance, and talking about my feelings. My boyfriend is a great communicator and often asks me to be more forthcoming with my emotions. He also hasn’t cried himself in years and enjoys every sport you can think of.

We make good examples of androgyny because we illustrate a mixture of gender traits. While these traits are more gender typed because of culture than sex, they are still considered gender traits. And we exhibit a good mix of both.

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Retelling, Ash Chambers

Retelling is when a person relates a previous experience, often adding embellishments or other changes to enhance the story. 

My personal experience with this is when I accidentally broke my boyfriend’s nose. It was a complete accident. He tickled me, I slipped, and I elbowed him in the face. I play ice hockey, as does he, but this means I have strong elbows. So, when I hit it, blood gushed out and it’s been crooked ever since. However, when he retells this story with the added changes such as how I ‘abuse him’ or ‘was mad’ or some other way to make me look bad. He usually tells the truth after having a laugh about it, but it drives me nuts that he always does this. 

This is a good example of retelling because my boyfriend clearly is making changes to an event that he remembers clearly. He knows it’s not true, but he does it anyway. This is different than misinformation. 

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Social Norm Violation, Ash Chambers

One of the interesting norms of our society is how people should dress in given situations. Factors such as modesty, weather, flamboyancy, gender, and many others, all contribute towards what is ‘appropriate’ attire. So, for my social norm violation, I decided to disobey the rules of dress.

When me and my friends went out for dinner, I donned a Greek toga instead of ‘normal clothes’. I wore an over the shoulder greek toga with gladiator sandals. I also had a leaf crown, though I did not wear it the entire time (it was uncomfortable). This outfit was slightly immodest, too breezy for how cold it was, and incredibly flamboyant/out of place in the restaurant. In other words, it was a clear violation of the norms of dress.

A lot of people stared. Okay, everyone stared. Everyone who saw me shot me a questioning glance. This sometimes was followed by a chuckle, sometimes a high-five or congratulations on my clothing, or a look of disgust. Some people seemed so perplexed that they just couldn’t stop staring, with no visible reaction at all. Most of all, I was surprised by the amount of complements I got. Many people said they liked my outfit. It was not exactly the ‘violation’ I expected–I expected it to be a little more controversial.

Despite the majority of positive feedback I received, I still felt a bit uncomfortable. I have never been a big fan of many eyes on me at once. So I felt a bit hot and out of sorts throughout the evening. Every so often I would let out a nervous laugh when given a compliment. However, I eventually enjoyed it. I may not be an attention seeker, but I definitely enjoy going against the norm. It was hard to think up what to do for this project because I so often go out of my way to be ‘different’ (in a good way, I hope). I am a low social monitor, so I probably violate norms quite often. But this was such a big, intentional, and odd display, that it helped me feel that discomfort I used to feel when I was younger. When violating norms meant more to me. It got me thinking that we all have our comfort zones, and unless we push past them, violating a norm won’t bother you much. But this did push past my comfort zone, and I could not help but feel a little embarrassed.

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My Stressors, Ash Chambers

There are many different theories behind what exactly stress is. It’s a dynamic and intangible construct that has been defined thousands of times, with varying and diverse definitions. However, some general theories have arose from this clutter of descriptions. The stimulus theory of stress defines stress as significant, arousal inducing life events that give rise the the stress responses that can damage mental/physical health.

I’ve always been attracted to the stimulus theory of stress because I have personally experienced the legitimacy of this theory. For two years, non-stop, I experienced one significant event after the other. I was scoring impossibly high numbers on ‘stress scales’ that evaluated the number of significant events in my life. If I wasn’t prepping for surgery, I was dropping out of school, or losing friends because I was so ill. To be honest, I don’t want to disclose too much personal information over a blog. But, suffice it to say, I was not only severely ill, but experiencing new, emerging complications almost weekly. Every good news/bad news event was so significant and life altering at that stage of my life, that any kind of news left me tired, weak, frustrated, and defeated. I was so stressed out that I could barely function. 

You can look at stress as a response. You can try and give it fancy terms and descriptions. But for me, after experiencing what I described, I have a personal example of how heavily stress is defined by the events that trigger the unpleasant sensations associated with stress. It didn’t matter really how I was ‘looking at life’. I had buffers that could maybe help me deal with the stress. But I was completely at the mercy of those events. Dealing with the stress was an after defense–the stress itself was those events. And I could not stop them from happening. 

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Matching Up, Ash Chambers

There are many unspoken understandings about attraction in our culture. Reasons for couples getting together are guessed at by almost everyone, and many people claim to have understandings of coupling. One prominent theory that is seen in both social psychology and the general public is the Matching Hypothesis, where couples are presumed to pair up based on an equivocal physical attractiveness. When a couple is not equally physically attractive, we assume (often rightly) that the less attractive individual has other compensating qualities. 

A good illustration of this principle is the general reaction BYU students have to wedding announcements. As a wedding announcement is a single photographic depiction of the couple, the primary thing we see is the physical attractiveness of the two. When our friend in the engagement is the more attractive one, we often initially think things such as “she must have a great personality” or “he must have an amazing sense of humor”. And when our friend is the less attractive of the couple, we will think things such as “Good for him, he’s marrying up!” or “She really scored a good one!”. And when they are roughly equally attractive, we think that they are a good couple. Superficially speaking, we are very tuned into the slight attraction differences between couples. We base our assessment of the couple compatibility on physical attraction, and, if we sense a imbalance, we assume there must be other qualities that person has to ‘make up’ for their lack of attractiveness. 

This example illustrates our basic understanding of the matching hypothesis. When evaluate couple compatibility, we assume that person should/should not be in a relationship with another based on their relative physical attraction. We are all familiar with this ‘matching phenomenon’, whether or not we are consciously aware of it. Receiving a wedding announcement, we judge if that couple is appropriately matched. And we are surprised when they ‘are not’. 

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Fainting Fancies, Ash Chambers

When people are confronted with situations where others need help, our behaviors are not always in line with what we would like. A startling example of this is the bystander effect, which is essentially that we are less likely to help those who need it if there are other people around us. 

I have low blood sugar–sometimes going a couple hours without food can have me near fainting. Before I figured out the basics of how to manage this (because I’m special, so I obviously couldn’t have just normal hypoglycemia), before I figured it out, I would faint a lot. I have had a few concussions from unexpected falls. Those were pretty rare though. More common was my vision was black out and I would get very dizzy and I would try to steady myself before a fainting spell happened. It was scary stuff-especially at school or other places with very hard floors. The odd thing was, when around many people, no one acknowledged my sudden drops/leans/or half tumbles. I would be hanging onto consciousness on a stair rail and people would push past me. But if there was only a couple people around, almost always someone would try and get me to a seat (as I had pretty obvious signs of ‘about to pass out’). 

This example demonstrates the bystander effect. When many people were around, I was completely ignored. I had actually fainted in class (luckily fell into a chair) and not a single person acknowledged it. But even slight tremors in the presence of few elicited unsolicited help. People were kind, helpful–what we would hope to receive. But when more ‘potential helpers’ were near by, I was out of luck–I was on my own.

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Hostile Aggression, Ash Chambers

Aggression may be the intentional physical/verbal harm of another person, but that is a pretty shallow definition. It doesn’t cover the many different types of aggression and doesn’t address why the aggression is committed. One of the more interesting aggression types is hostile aggressionwhich is aggression with the soul intent of the aggression itself. It’s aggression for aggression’s sake. 

I gave a presentation today on aggression, and I’m going to use the comic I drew for it.

 

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This story (Stan likes Stacey, tries to impress, gets frustrated by Steve, so he attacks him, then leaves into the sunset) is a good illustration of hostile aggression because it is a clean cut example of the steps. Essentially, a goal is frustrated. Rather than using aggression to attain that goal (in this case, Stacy), Stan behaves violently and aggressively against Steve, and is satisfied by that act alone. There was no other purpose for the aggression aside from the violence. This is what defines hostile aggression: aggression for aggression’s sake. 

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