WBEZ | relationships http://www.wbez.org/tags/relationships Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The 30-Day Man Fast http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-14/30-day-man-fast-114484 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/man fast-nikki carpenter website_0.png" alt="" /><p><p>Tired of the dating scene and have tried all the different approaches you could think of to having lasting a relationship that results in marriage?</p><p>Well, maybe you can do what one Chicago woman did. She went on a 30-day man fast and wrote a devotional book about the experience.</p><p>The result?</p><p>Two months later she met her husband. Author and blogger Nikki Carpenter shares her spiritual journey to finding her soul mate.</p></p> Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-14/30-day-man-fast-114484 Loneliness May Warp Our Genes, And Our Immune Systems http://www.wbez.org/news/science/loneliness-may-warp-our-genes-and-our-immune-systems-113997 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/lonely-2a_custom-e36fe83370f8d7afd90472b6b9abb3d518b4e6d6-s600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Meredith Rizzo/NPR" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/25/lonely-2a_custom-e36fe83370f8d7afd90472b6b9abb3d518b4e6d6-s600-c85.jpg" title="(Meredith Rizzo/NPR)" /></p><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div>Loneliness has been linked to everything from heart disease to Alzheimer&#39;s disease. Depression is common among the lonely. Cancers tear through their bodies more rapidly, and viruses hit them harder and more frequently. In the short term, it feels like the loneliness will kill you. A study suggests that&#39;s because the pain of loneliness activates the immune pattern of a primordial response commonly known as fight or flight.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For decades, researchers have been seeing signs that the immune systems of lonely people are working differently. Lonely people&#39;s white blood cells seem to be more active in a way that increases inflammation, a natural immune response to wounding and bacterial infection. On top of that, they seem to have lower levels of antiviral compounds known as interferons.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That seemed to provide a link to a lot of the poor health outcomes associated with loneliness, since chronic&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14802304">inflammation</a>&nbsp;has been linked to everything from cancer to depression. The human body isn&#39;t built to hold a high level of inflammation for years. &quot;That explains very clearly why lonely people fall at increased risk for cancer, neurodegenerative disease and viral infections as well,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://people.healthsciences.ucla.edu/institution/personnel?personnel_id=45359">Steve Cole</a>, a genomics researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, and lead author on the study published in the&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/11/18/1514249112.abstract">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences&nbsp;</a>o</em>n Monday.</div><p>But it still doesn&#39;t explain how or why loneliness could change our bodies. To find that out, Cole and his collaborators tracked 141 people over five years. Every year, the researchers measured how lonely the participants felt and took blood samples to track the activity of genes involved with immunity and inflammation. They also tracked concentrations of the hormone norepinephrine, one of the two main signals during the flight-or-fight response.</p><p>Cole noticed that when people felt lonesome, they had significantly higher levels of norepinephrine coursing through their blood. That could explain all the other immune changes that happen when people suffer from social isolation.</p><p>In a life-threatening situation, norepinephrine cascades through the body and starts shutting down immune functions like viral defense, while ramping up the production of white blood cells called monocytes. &quot;It&#39;s this surge in these pro-inflammatory white blood cells that are highly adapted to defend against wounds, but at the expense of our defenses against viral diseases that come from close social contact with other people,&quot; Cole says.</p><p>At the same time, lonely people seem to be shutting down genes that would make their bodies sensitive to cortisol, which lowers inflammation. That ramps up the defensive inflammation response, Cole says.</p><div id="res457410637"><div><div><img alt="Loneliness gif" src="http://www.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/25/Loneliness1.gif" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="(Meredith Rizzo/NPR)" /></div><div><p>Loneliness would hit the switch on a defense plan our bodies initiate in the face of mortal danger, Cole thinks, if isolation is somehow truly lethal. &quot;At this point, my best guess was that loneliness really is one of the most threatening experiences we can have,&quot; he says. &quot;Though I didn&#39;t think of loneliness as being that awful. It&#39;s not pleasant, but not something my body should be getting all up in arms about.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>In the world of cubicles and studio apartments, loneliness is everywhere. We find it in both crowds and empty rooms. We change cities and lose friends. Even in marriage, people can be strangers to one another. But things were very different for our ancestors. When humans were evolving in a prehistoric environment, they banded together for food and for protection.</p><p>To be ostracized from your tribe was a death sentence, says&nbsp;<a href="https://sohe.wisc.edu/staff/charles-l-raison-md">Charles Raison</a>, a psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison who did not work on the study. &quot;Literally they would die. There was no human way to live in isolation,&quot; he says.</p><p>Being alone in the wild meant you could be mauled by animals or even other human beings. Then your body would need extra defenses against wounds and infection, but less protection against viruses you get from other people, like the flu. In that case, the stressful response to loneliness would simply be the body&#39;s way of trying to survive exile.</p><p>But this fight-or-flight immune response is really nonspecific, says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/psychology/faculty/faculty_bio_pages/tcanli.html">Turhan Canli</a>, a neuroscientist at Stony Brook University in New York who was not involved with the study. Loneliness might not necessarily have to do with ancient survival, he says. Our bodies basically have one panic button, and any kind of adverse condition can trigger this response. &quot;I think loneliness is a kind of psychological stress,&quot; he says. &quot;The change in the immune response is part of biological changes that come with a stress condition.&quot;</p><p>What Canli finds really interesting about Cole&#39;s results is that people who felt lonely one year had increased gene activity around inflammation and norepinephrine later on. And people who had increased inflammation felt lonelier the next year. &quot;It&#39;s a two-way street,&quot; he said. &quot;Loneliness predicted biological changes, and biological changes predicted changes in loneliness.&quot;</p><p>So the shock of social isolation could fuel inflammation in the body. And the immune system may affect a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22079507">region of the brain processing fear</a>&nbsp;and anxiety. &quot;Inflammation can change people&#39;s experiences of the social world and what they&#39;re thinking,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://sanlab.psych.ucla.edu/">Naomi Eisenberger</a>, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved with the study. That could make us more apprehensive about social interaction and lead to more isolation.</p><p>If the cycle continues, that could explain chronic isolation and the subsequent depression and illnesses plaguing the lonely. &quot;There are things we can do to get out of a depressed or lonely state, but they&#39;re not easy,&quot; Cole says. &quot;Part of the reason is because these negative psychological states develop some kind of molecular momentum.&quot;</p><p>But that doesn&#39;t mean the loop is permanent. &quot;Inflammatory biology is one thing, but it&#39;s not the only thing,&quot; he says. All it does is push our proclivity for social activity one way or another. But loneliness is deep. It&#39;s encoded in our genetics, and it&#39;s not easy to shake.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/29/457255876/loneliness-may-warp-our-genes-and-our-immune-systems?ft=nprml&amp;f=457255876" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 15:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/science/loneliness-may-warp-our-genes-and-our-immune-systems-113997 The Importance Of Friends And The Difficulty Keeping Them http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-27/importance-friends-and-difficulty-keeping-them-113966 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/pinky-swear-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96731"><img alt="Pinky swear (Pixabay)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/pinky-swear-624x416.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Friendships have a tendency to change in adulthood – largely because we have less time for them. (Pixabay)" /><p>Friendship is unlike any other relationship in a person&rsquo;s life. It can be difficult to define and may carry different meanings for different people. Two friends may describe the degree of their relationship in totally different ways.</p></div><p>While family bonds are typically considered unconditional, friendships are voluntary and thus subject to being set aside when people enter adulthood&nbsp;and &ldquo;more important&rdquo; events arise.</p><p>Researcher&nbsp;Emily Langan&nbsp;studies friendship. She speaks with&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/26/friendship-research-langan" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s </em></a>Meghna Chakrabarti about its importance in human development and how it changes over time.</p></p> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-27/importance-friends-and-difficulty-keeping-them-113966 Your Adult Siblings May Hold The Secret To A Long, Happy Life http://www.wbez.org/news/your-adult-siblings-may-hold-secret-long-happy-life-113964 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/siblings_wide-91ba8d87a9691152e237c2768643daf9e16521e9-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457238814" previewtitle="Katherine Streeter for NPR"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Katherine Streeter for NPR" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/siblings_wide-91ba8d87a9691152e237c2768643daf9e16521e9-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="(Katherine Streeter for NPR)" /></div><div>Somehow we&#39;re squeezing 16 people into our apartment for Thanksgiving this year, with relatives ranging in age from my 30-year-old nephew to my 90-year-old mother. I love them all, but in a way the one I know best is the middle-aged man across the table whose blue eyes look just like mine: my younger brother Paul.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Paul and I kind of irritated each other when we were kids; I would take bites out of his precisely made sandwiches in just the spot I knew he didn&#39;t want me to, and he would hang around the living room telling jokes when he knew I wanted to be alone with the boy on the couch.</div></div><p>But as adults, we&#39;ve always had each other&#39;s backs, especially when it comes to dealing with our mother&#39;s health crises, which have become more frequent in the past few years. Paul is the first person I want to talk to when there&#39;s something that worries me about Mom; I know he&#39;ll be worried, too.</p><p>There&#39;s probably a biological explanation for the intensity of the sibling bond. Siblings share half their genes, which evolutionary biologists say should be motivation enough for mutual devotion. (&quot;I would lay down my life,&quot; British biologist J.B.S. Haldane once said, applying the arithmetic of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.itsokaytobesmart.com/post/73549615294/i-would-lay-down-my-life-for-two-brothers-or">kin selection</a>, &quot;for two brothers or eight cousins.&quot;) Siblings are a crucial part of a child&#39;s development, too, teaching one another socialization skills and the rules of dominance and hierarchy, all part of the eternal struggle for parental resources.</p><p>When psychologists study siblings, they usually study children, emphasizing sibling rivalry and the fact that brothers and sisters refine their social maneuvering skills on one another. The adult sibling relationship has only sporadically been the subject of attention. Yet we&#39;re tethered to our brothers and sisters as adults far longer than we are as children; our sibling relationships, in fact, are the longest-lasting family ties we have.</p><p>Most such relationships are close &mdash; two-thirds of people in one large&nbsp;<a href="http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/71/1/85.short">study</a>&nbsp;said a brother or sister was one of their best friends. One thing that can scuttle closeness in adulthood is a parent who played favorites in childhood; this sense of resentment can last a lifetime.</p><p>Jill Suitor, a sociologist at Purdue University, and her colleagues polled 274 families with 708 adult children (ages 23 to 68) in 2009 and&nbsp;<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00650.x/">found</a>&nbsp;that the majority had good feelings toward their siblings. Most didn&#39;t remember much favoritism when they were kids, but those who did reported feeling less loved and cared for by their siblings. It didn&#39;t matter whether they felt themselves to be the favored or the unfavored child. The simple perception of parental favoritism was enough to undermine their relationship.</p><p>That&#39;s one thing Paul and I have going for us: We&#39;re pretty sure our parents treated us the same when we were growing up. Yet we&#39;re very different people. Paul is gregarious while I&#39;m shy, funny while I&#39;m not, a terrific amateur saxophonist while I can&#39;t read music or carry a tune. This isn&#39;t unusual. In families with more than one child, every sibling seems to get a label in contrast to every other sibling.</p><p>So if your kid sister is the queen bee in any social gathering, you might get labeled &quot;the quiet one&quot; even if you&#39;re not especially quiet, just quiet in comparison. And if you&#39;re a bright child who always gets good grades, you might not get much credit for that if your big brother is a brilliant child with straight As. There&#39;s only room for one &quot;smart one&quot; per family &mdash; you&#39;ll have to come up with something else. (I was smart, but Paul was smarter; I ended up being the &quot;good one.&quot;)</p><p>The very presence of siblings in the household can be an education. When a new baby is born, writes psychologist Victor Cicirelli in the 1995 book&nbsp;<a href="http://www.springer.com/psychology/child+%26+school+psychology/book/978-0-306-45025-9">Sibling Relationships Across the Life Span</a>, &quot;the older sibling gains in social skills in interacting with the younger&quot; and &quot;the younger sibling gains cognitively by imitating the older.&quot;</p><p>They learn from the friction between them, too, as they fight for their parents&#39; attention. Mild conflict between brothers and sisters teaches them how to interact with peers, co-workers and friends for the rest of their lives.</p><p>The benefits can carry into old age. The literature on sibling relationships shows that during middle age and old age, indicators of well-being &mdash; mood, health, morale, stress, depression, loneliness, life satisfaction &mdash; are tied to how you feel about your brothers and sisters.</p><p>In one Swedish&nbsp;<a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=search.displayrecord&amp;uid=1999-11443-004">study</a>, satisfaction with sibling contact in one&#39;s 80s was closely correlated with health and positive mood &mdash; more so than was satisfaction with friendships or relationships with adult children. And loneliness was eased for older people in a supportive relationship with their siblings, no matter whether they gave or got support.</p><p>That&#39;s why it&#39;s so sad when things between siblings fall apart. This often happens when aging parents need care or die &mdash; old feelings of rivalry, jealousy and grief erupt all over again, masked as petty fights ostensibly over who takes Mom to the doctor or who calls the nursing home about Dad.</p><p>Many<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/11/27/366789136/your-adult-siblings-may-be-the-secret-to-a-long-happy-life#_msocom_1" name="_msoanchor_1" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(71, 116, 204); -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; text-decoration: none;"></a>&nbsp;families get through their parents&#39; illnesses just fine, establishing networks where the workload is divided pretty much equally. So far, Paul and I have done fine, too. But about 40 percent of the time, according to one&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1800250">study</a>, there is a single primary caregiver who feels like she (and it&#39;s almost always a she) is not getting any help from her brothers and sisters, which can lead to serious conflict.</p><p>And because of the particular intensity of sibling relationships, such conflict cuts to the bone. People grieve for the frayed ties to their siblings as though they&#39;ve lost a piece of themselves.</p><p>Throughout adulthood, the sibling relationship &quot;is powerful and never static,&quot; said Jane Mersky Leder, author of the new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Sibling-Connection-Siblings-Shape-Lives-ebook/dp/B017E04JBO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1447443135&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=the%20sibling%20connection">e-book</a>&nbsp;The Sibling Connection. Whether we are close to our siblings or distant, she writes, they remain our brothers and sisters &mdash; for better or for worse.</p><p>So let this all percolate as you sit down to turkey with your sometimes-complicated family. And remember the immortal words of folksinger Loudon Wainwright III, in a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJYchZuWTvQ">song</a>&nbsp;called&nbsp;Thanksgiving.&nbsp;It&#39;s about spending the holiday with a brother and a sister he rarely sees but still has intense feelings about:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;On this auspicious occasion, this special family dinner/If I argue with a loved one, Lord, please make me the winner.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>Science writer&nbsp;<a href="http://www.robinhenig.com/">Robin Marantz Henig</a>&nbsp;is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and the author of nine books. A&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/11/27/366789136/your-adult-siblings-may-be-the-secret-to-a-long-happy-life">version</a>&nbsp;of this article was published on Nov. 27, 2014.</p></p> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 09:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/your-adult-siblings-may-hold-secret-long-happy-life-113964 StoryCorps Chicago: High school friends help navigate family relationships http://www.wbez.org/sections/special-series/storycorps-chicago-high-school-friends-help-navigate-family-relationships <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150320 Brittany Imani bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Imani and Brittany are seniors at the same suburban Chicago high school. The two girls shared a class together freshman year, but didn&#39;t become close until earlier this school year.</p><p>They&rsquo;re on track to graduate soon: Brittany plans to go into the military, while Imani plans to study nursing. In this week&#39;s StoryCorps, they trade stories about their rocky relationships with their parents and how their friendship has helped them navigate life thus far.</p><p>&ldquo;When my mom had me, she didn&rsquo;t know she was pregnant with me,&rdquo; Brittany said, &ldquo;She was in jail because she got busted with a lot of drugs and they took us away from her.&rdquo;</p><p>Brittany doesn&rsquo;t remember her dad, even though she has photographs with him. When asked by Imani how she feels about that, Brittany responds by saying it would be nice to find out more about him. &ldquo;But then I kind of really don&rsquo;t care,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Imani grew up with her mom but her dad wasn&rsquo;t always present. When she was four or five years old, her dad said he would take her to a movie. She sat on the porch and waited, but he never came. Eventually Imani&rsquo;s mom brought her inside, kicking and screaming. She cried herself to sleep that night, and she says it was the first time her dad ever let her down.</p><p>The two girls have learned to protect themselves from the emotional pain caused by others. They show signs of emotional maturity far beyond their years. And they look to each other for comfort: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just nice to know that somebody has your back,&rdquo; Imani says. Brittany agrees, saying, &ldquo;It feels good to hear the truth from somebody.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 09:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/special-series/storycorps-chicago-high-school-friends-help-navigate-family-relationships How growing up Disney shapes gender roles http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/how-growing-disney-shapes-gender-roles-107575 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4396784185_47dfa5c433.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 400px; float: right; " title="&quot;Once Upon a Wedding&quot; dolls of Ariel and Prince Eric. (Flickr/MadamBrightSide)" />If you are currently between the ages of 18-29, then you were raised during the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_Renaissance" target="_blank">Disney Renaissance</a>. This golden era of musical films&mdash;beginning in the late 1980s and ending around 2000&mdash;not only saved Disney from creative and financial ruin, but also renewed interest in the Disney brand as a critical and commerical goldmine.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">And if you were a pre-adolescent girl during this time, chances are good that you had a <a href="http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/what-your-favorite-disney-princess-says-about-you/" target="_blank">favorite Disney princess</a>&nbsp;(mine was Ariel, the plucky and impossibly beautiful heroine of <em>The Little Mermaid</em>) whose love affair with a handsome prince may have been your first model of what a grownup boyfriend/girlfriend relationship should be.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Unfortunately, the fairytale romances in films like <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097757/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>The Little Mermaid </em></a>(1989) and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101414/?ref_=sr_2" target="_blank"><em>Beauty and the Beast&nbsp;</em></a>(1991)&nbsp;actually set very poor examples for young girls to follow. Ariel and Belle are smart and refreshingly independent female protagonists; that is, until they enter into relationships with their male lovers, fall head-over-heels into stereotypically submissive gender roles and lose themselves along the way.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">While Ariel does have some feminist qualities (she wants to explore, rebel and experience a life beyond the confines of her underwater world), she ultimately succumbs to a subservient role by giving up everything for her man.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Ariel trades her means of communicating and expressing personality&mdash;her voice&mdash; for the eroticism of human legs, turning her into a purely visual object of desire. Think about it: she literally gives up her voice to be with Prince Eric, even though she&#39;s only known him for about five minutes, to become the perfect mute for the&nbsp;<a href="http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/faq-what-is-the-“male-gaze”/" target="_blank">male gaze</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Furthermore, the idea of Eric growing some gills and becoming a merman himself is never even mentioned. Because he is the dominant male, Ariel is expected to change her life for <em>him</em>&mdash;not the other way around. She transitions from being directly under the control of her father to being Eric&#39;s wife; so, despite longing for freedom throughout the course of the film, she is never truly independent.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The female protaganist of&nbsp;<em>Beauty and the Beast&nbsp;</em>also ends up conforming to patriarchal gender strereotypes in her &quot;happily ever after,&quot; although she does not begin her story that way. At first glance, Belle&nbsp;is the ideal feminist. She has a passion for books, longs to escape the confines of her provincial town and makes it clear to the lecherous lothario Gaston that she has zero interest in marrying him.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">However, Belle still represents the sexist role of submissive female in relation to her dominant male counterpart. A pretty girl with no money falls for a rich, abusive monster. Belle submits herself to the Beast as the self-sacrifyicing daughter, and then yields to his every command without even trying to escape. This portrayal suggests that women are repsonsible for controlling male anger and violence, even if that means completely disregarding their own sense of safety and well-being.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Belle&#39;s character further presents a damaging role model for young girls in showing that a woman is obligated to stay loyal to the abusive male in her life. She learns how to tame his outbursts and &quot;fix&quot; him to become sweet again: a dangerous error that many women make when struggling to leave a home of domestic violence.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Also, the overly-sexualized, <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2011/0924/Little-girls-or-little-women-The-Disney-princess-effect" target="_blank">anorexic Barbie doll image</a> of Disney princesses like Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and even Tiana from <em>The Princess and the Frog</em> is another problem of gender conformity (the most beautiful and desirable women have perfectly delicate features, tiny waists, huge busoms, etc.) that Disney continues to perpetuate today.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">For example, while Pixar made great progress in writing the female protagonist of <em>Brave </em>as a courageous and self-actualized heroine whose journey doesn&#39;t revolve around a man (how refreshing!), the controversial decision to <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/may/16/disney-princess-merida-makeover">&quot;glamorize&quot; Merida&#39;s body type</a> for promotional purposes still proves that sexist ideology is alive and well at the Disney corporation.&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">What kind of role models should children be looking up to in Disney movies and beyond?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank"> Tumblr</a>.</em></div></p> Fri, 07 Jun 2013 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/how-growing-disney-shapes-gender-roles-107575 List: Questions that get all women horny http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/list-questions-get-all-women-horny-107278 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-611c1eea-c3bc-5f17-fc77-121e36ca0b59"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2651951457_6b082c73b6.jpg" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Flickr/Rob Gallop" /><em>This list was inspired by a spam email I keep getting titled &quot;Three questions that make every women horny,&quot; so in case you&rsquo;re my dad or someone like him, I don&rsquo;t even know what the word &quot;horny&quot; means, OK?</em></p><p>I put all the dishes away, is that OK?</p><p>You mean to tell me that you are actually 13 years older than you appear? Is it possible that I could even be more attracted to you than I was initially?</p><p>Do you mind if I just take care of the laundry? There is a certain way that I like to do it.</p><p>Will it bother you if I scratch your head for a while? &nbsp;</p><p>Don&rsquo;t you think you need a new pair of boots to really pull that outfit together?</p><p>That dinner was so delicious, will you please make it for me again? Scratch that. Will you share the recipe with me and I&rsquo;ll just make it myself in the near future, with possible riffs and improvements?</p><p>How can it be that you&rsquo;ve said something so insightful when you just said something even more witty before that and are likely to blow my mind again momentarily?</p><p>Do all female celebrities know how inferior they are to you?</p><p>Did you recently lose weight and/or gain muscle?</p><p><em>Follow Claire Zulkey&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a></em></p></p> Tue, 21 May 2013 08:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/list-questions-get-all-women-horny-107278 Philosophy and Sex http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2013-02/philosophy-and-sex-105392 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/love-images-wallpaper.jpg" style="height: 388px; width: 620px;" title="Philosophy and Sex (dailyscreens.com)" /></div><p>Arguably, Alain De Botton is the most widely read English language philosopher in the world. In fact, if you take into account how many languages his books have been translated into, he is perhaps the single most popularly read philosopher in the world today.</p><p>A big part of his popularity is that he has published on topics that are part of everyone&rsquo;s lives: anxiety, travel, architecture, religion and work. And now he has turned his attention to a topic that has been a &ldquo;source of needless neurotic frustration for most of human history&rdquo; &ndash; sex!</p><p>De Botton&rsquo;s new book, <em>How To Think More About Sex</em>, is not a sex manual that offers (philosophical?) insights on how to have more intense and better sex. Rather, it is a series of reflections on the general complexity of life and how all of us, to some degree or another, are unhappy with or unfulfilled in our sex lives. The goal of the book is to help us feel &ldquo;a little less painfully strange about the sex we are either longing to have or struggling to avoid.&rdquo;</p><p>Frankly, this is not a book I would give my wife, partner or lover on Valentine&rsquo;s Day. De Botton&rsquo;s thesis &ndash; though thoughtful and more than a little correct &ndash; is a downer.</p><p>Although De Botton recognizes that sex can be satisfying, sensational, and even transcendent, most of the time, he claims, it is pedestrian, purely functional or disappointing. To be fair, De Botton&rsquo;s argues that the problem isn&rsquo;t sex per se. Rather, he maintains that the demands and complexities of life make &ldquo;great sex&rdquo; hard to achieve &ndash; because we are all too busy, too engaged, too overwhelmed by too many other things in life.</p><p>Normal life, suggests De Botton, is the enemy of &ldquo;cupidity&rdquo; (eager desire). Work, children, responsibilities, stress, anxiety, drugs, alcohol, and the unavoidable loss of intimacy that is part of all long-term relationships equals the &ldquo;death of lust&rdquo; and the end of desire.</p><p>Sadly, De Botton seems to be in agreement with Goethe when he said: &ldquo;Love is an ideal thing, marriage is a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.&rdquo; However, I choose to take away a different lesson from this book.</p><p>Rather than just offer us a comical and negative interpretation of sex and love, I think De Botton is offering us a cautionary tale. To wit: The most difficult task in life is getting like, love and lust all in one relationship.</p></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2013-02/philosophy-and-sex-105392 Are Mommy and me meant to be...BFF? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/are-mommy-and-me-meant-bebff-99057 <p><p>A recent <em>New York </em>magazine <a href="http://nymag.com/news/features/mother-daughter-best-friends-2012-4/" target="_blank">article</a> sparked an interesting conversation about the often complicated relationship between mothers and their daughters. The piece, titled, “My Mom Is My BFF,” profiled a mother and daughter so close that mom stays in touch with her daughter’s exes. Their story, experts say, is not unique—but it left many wondering: Should mothers and daughters be best buds?</p><p>I consider my mother a dear, albeit deeply disturbed, friend. She didn’t appeal to me—friend wise—until I was through those awkward tween years. But she was very quick—too quick, really—to say, “I’m not your friend, I’m your mother.</p><p>Harsh? Sure. Cruel? I’m still working through that. But after reading the <em>New York</em> magazine article, I wondered whether our relationship had become friendlier, me being a grown-a$# woman and all.&nbsp; So I thought I’d begin a dialog with my mother that mirrored one I might have with a friend—inappropriate and via text.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Mother%20Dearest_0_0.png" style="width: 300px; height: 682px; float: left;" title="">I think we can all agree that this experiment backfired—touché Mommy Dearest, touché.</div></div></div><p>My mother, after all, is a Baby Boomer. And she was certainly more lenient, warm and friendly than her own mother. Boomers, social psychologist <a href="http://www.susannewmanphd.com/wordpress/" target="_blank">Dr. Susan Newman</a> says, rejected their parents domineering, authoritative style and vowed to give their children space—they weren’t going to be so strict and cold; they were much more permissive.</p><p>“After that,” Newman told me, “we got into what I call, ‘everyone wanting to raise star children.”</p><p>Meet the Momager. More broadly referred to as helicopter parents—young, new parents who aim to control and design every aspect of their child’s life: She’ll play the violin, and speak Mandarin between tennis matches and pageants and her androgynous name will throw off future employers—and agents of course.</p><p>Despite its current popularity in our culture—and on reality television—Newman does think this trend will ebb; and that like most relationships, the mother-daughter connection evolves throughout its lifetime. And that it’s healthy and rewarding for parents to become their child’s friend—once they are independent, mature adults. So perhaps I’ve got some room to grow on that last bit.</p><p>But enough about me—what do you think? As we prepare to celebrate mothers this weekend, <em>Afternoon Shift </em>explores our evolving roles and relationships we have with mothers—mother and daughter, mother and son, mother and husband, all of it!</p><p>MJ Tam, lead blogger for <a href="http://thechicagomoms.com/" target="_blank">thechicagomoms.com</a>, and Dr. Newman join Steve Edwards for this conversation—join them! Call <strong>312-923-9239</strong> or find us on Twitter at #AfternoonShift.</p><p>Oh, and Mom—pick up some singles at the bank: you can never have too many friends. Happy Mother’s Day to all the cool moms out there!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qde83d7-urM" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 11 May 2012 13:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/are-mommy-and-me-meant-bebff-99057 Why are so few Japanese seeking relationships and sexual partners? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-18/why-are-so-few-japanese-seeking-relationships-and-sexual-partners-95622 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-18/japan3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. Thus, every five years, the Japanese government conducts a study on attitudes toward sex and marriage.</p><p>Recent findings suggest that the birth rate will probably continue to plummet. The reason? Compared to societies around the world, the Japanese aren’t having sex -- as much as a quarter of all unmarried men and women have never even had sex. What's more, many Japanese say they do not want a partner. According to one report&nbsp; 90 percent of young Japanese women said they preferred to stay single.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.cla.purdue.edu/asian-studies/directory/index.cfm?p=Daniel_Aldrich" target="_blank">Daniel Aldrich</a> is a professor of political science at Purdue University who focuses on Japan. He tells <em>Worldview</em> what the government survey reveals about society, and sexuality, in Japan.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 16:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-18/why-are-so-few-japanese-seeking-relationships-and-sexual-partners-95622