Archives for Media - Page 2
I like to think of myself as a media-savvy person. I don't just buy whatever stories or sentiments the media is selling. I have a critical perspective. Recently, I was reminded that my sense of skepticism isn't always there when it should be. I interviewed people who were adopted for How We Live Now, and even included a whole section on an amazingly innovative community of adoptive families called Hope Meadows. Yet after all that, I still continued to be a sucker for all those tear-jerker stories in the media of people adopted as young children who meet their biological parents for the first time when they are adults. The meetings are always joyful and intensely emotional, as if these are the most positive and most consequential experiences imaginable. So what's wrong with that story?
Thirty years ago, in June of 1986, Newsweek published that infamous article that lit up the media and conversations everywhere, even before social media was there to help. It was about how women who had reached the age of 40 and were still single were more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to ever marry. Twenty years later, Newsweek retracted their scare story. In doing so, they engaged in even more stereotyping and stigmatizing of single women, telling them with one example after another that no matter what they had achieved or how meaningful they thought their life was, it just wasn't as worthy as it would have been if they just got married.
For the first time ever, the President of Taiwan is a woman. The 59-year old Tsai Ing-wen is also single. That did not sit well with a Chinese military official, who believed that her single status rendered her "erratic": "As a single female politician, Tsai Ing-wen does not have the emotional burden of love of 'family' or children, so her political style and strategies are displayed to be more emotional, personal and extreme."
Getting mental illnesses taken as seriously as physical ones has been a long-lasting struggle. Medical insurance hasn't always covered mental health treatments the way it routinely covers treatments for physical problems. And too often, uninformed laypersons assume that seriously depressed people, for example, should be able to just snap out of it. In part because of the assumption that mental health is under our conscious control in a way that physical health is not, people suffering from mental health problems are more likely to be stigmatized. And that stigma, in turn, can stand in the way of seeking the help that is needed.
What's really important to you? What goals have you set for yourself that mean a lot, so that when you achieve them, you might be tempted to gather round you all the important people in your life to celebrate with you?
More and more over the past decades, social scientists have been studying happiness. You've probably seen headlines declaring the happiest countries, or the science-based paths to a happier life. Some of the studies are based on huge numbers of participants. It is possible to do surveys of that many people when you ask simple questions that are easy to code. Often, happiness is measured by people's answer to just one question. They indicate how happy they feel (or how satisfied they are with their life) on a rating scale by choosing one of the numbers. For example, the scale might range from 1 to 9, with 1 indicating the least happiness and 9, the most. But what if happiness means different things to different people?
Sometimes TV, to me, is just low level entertainment in the background while I do other things. Not so with the series finale of The Good Wife. I was watching it intently, and felt invested in where it would end. [Spoiler Alert: you may want to come back to this later if you haven't seen the finale yet.]
The costs of high school proms have escalated over the years as students try to create increasingly elaborate events. Maybe they are trying to stage a teenage version of the over-the-top wedding spectacles they see so often on TV and social media.
Recently, a new...
Recently, a new...
In an episode of Madam Secretary, two characters argued over how best to deal with the possibility that nuclear warheads could end up in the hands of terrorists. One man got in the face of the other for not taking the matter seriously enough, angrily asserting that the fate of his kid was at stake. The other countered that he has kids, too, so his seriousness should not be doubted.
All sorts of life transitions are marked by rituals that memorialize a particular day, or a particular event, as significant. Graduations. Birthday parties. Retirement celebrations. The wedding ritual, marking the day of the official transition into married life. More and more often, there are also divorce events, putting a stamp – sometimes a celebratory one – on the end of a marriage. But what about people who are single and decide to continue on that course? People who perhaps are single at heart – who believe that they lead their best, most authentic, and most meaningful lives by living single. Others, too, whose commitment to single life may not be an unqualified embrace, but who have weighed the options in their life and decided, single it is. Is there a time when they just know that they want to live single?