Best of the Week
of May 18, 2003
 

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of May 18, 2003, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s database using the search form , or, in the case of posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the database as well). In the Original Archives, as well as in the database, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. You are encouraged to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.   

 First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.  

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When They Come Out Of The Rain?"


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Question:

I always thought reaching the mid-40s was the kiss of death for women as far as dating. But I am noticing much younger men flirting with me. Do younger men really like older women? Is it purely sexual? What's up?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Valerie, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, United States, 45, Female, Mormon, White/Caucasian, Straight, Sales, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 513200310550

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Question:

Why do people automatically think that a guy is gay if he looks great and has a certain sense of style, or only wears certain clothes? I mean, some women do this, so why can't men?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Jen, Flint, MI, United States, Mesg ID 5142003104234

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Question:

Why do so many Hollywood films seem to feature villains played by British (more specifically English) actors? For example, in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, heroic Robin and his men are played by American actors (even though it's set in Medieval England), while the Sheriff of Nottingham, the evil guy, is played by a very English actor, Alan Rickman. There are many other examples. Is it acceptable for some reason for the English accent to represent evil, when other accents would be unacceptable?
POSTED 5/11/2003
Kathy B., London, NA, United Kingdom, 40s, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Middle class, Mesg ID 59200342753


Responses:
If you think only British accents are used to represent villains, you aren't paying much attention to movies. How about all the Arab terrorists, Latino drug dealers and black 'ghetto-sounding' gang members that make up a far larger portion of film villains? How about all the Russian villains or Italian mafiosos? British accents in the American mind represent the upper class, old money or other privileged elites, which only by coincidence also makes them good villains. Think about the Star Wars series, for example. Frankly, we get all too many movies that assume a British accent equals sophistication and the height of culture. Think James Bond or all those boring Ivory Merchant films.

POSTED 5/20/2003

A.C.C., Phoenix, AZ, United States, Male, Mexican and American Indian, Mesg ID 513200364332


Don't you think maybe you put too much thought into that? Why does everyone want to be a victim? Did you ever stop to think maybe he was just the best actor for the part and it had nothing to do with accents?

POSTED 5/20/2003

Natasha, Kansas City, KS, United States, Female, Mesg ID 514200322704


My guess is that it's just a quick and dirty way to show 'otherness,' especially if you are not a very good actor or the director doesn't think the audience is smart enough to deal with villains that don't 'talk funny.' It's not just English accents: German, French, etc. are also used.

POSTED 5/20/2003

Ramonna, Pensacola, FL, United States, Female, Episcopalian, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 515200391620


I'm from England and I've noticed this, too - almost every movie I've ever seen has had a British-accented bad guy. And they are always rational, exceptionally intelligent bad guys - never slash-and-grab types. I've also noticed that Eastern European accents are sometimes used for intelligent, calculating criminals. I think the PC crowd would not be so accepting of other accents used for the same types of roles. Recently, groups have boycotted various movies because of the use of Middle-Eastern accents for the villains. I guess because the British are a Western, Caucasion people, it is considered OK to stereotype them. At least we are portrayed as intelligent and elegant people, and even though that's a stereotype, it's better than some of the other stereotypes.

POSTED 5/20/2003

Jay, New York, NY, United States, Male, Mesg ID 516200394829


I have two theories why so many Hollywood baddies are British. First, an English accent, especially the to-the-manor-born type an Alan Rickman can achieve, tends to symbolize breeding (authority) in this country. Mainstream American movies are built on the idea of the 'little guy' defying authority. Second, because most British-accented actors are white, they make a perfect image for villains, as a bad guy of any other ethnic background would bring accusations of racism.

POSTED 5/20/2003

S.B., Detroit, MI, United States, Female, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 517200394933


I don't think Brits are portrayed as evil. However, in many historical movies in which the language of the country was not English (i.e. The Gladiator), all the characters have British accents. Americans think that by sounding 'Britishy,' you sound regal, educated and formal, sometimes to the point of being uptight.

POSTED 5/20/2003

John, New York, NY, United States, Male, Mesg ID 519200331655


If the film is an American production, I will venture to say that the villain or antagonist is going to be represented as a foreigner 99 percent of the time, even though some people here are convinced that anyone who speaks proper English can't be a foreigner. Hollywood offers a very distorted reality. To attempt to answer your question, I can only reason that in the context of a film that takes place in England, made almost exclusively for a U.S. audience, you can be certain that anything American (accent or actor) will never be used to portray 'the bad guy.' Conversely, have you ever noticed how in British films, television shows and novels, continental Europeans and other foreigners and their accents are the epitome of evil? Nearly every James Bond movie has a foreigner as the villain; even Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's novel is meant to represent everything that wasn't English and Victorian. Look at most historical films about the Romans, Biblical stories, World War II films, etc: the protagonists all use British accents. I suppose it depends on who is directing the film and in which country, which brings up another fact that most movies are not even filmed in the country where they are supposedly taking place. By the way, Alan Rickman played the best villain in Die Hard as Hans Gruber. Remember?

POSTED 5/20/2003

Christian, Boston, MA, United States, Mesg ID 520200390428

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Question:

Why do black people think it's OK to be loud and disruptive at the movie theater?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Natasha, Kansas City, KS, United States, 22, Female, White/Caucasian, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 514200324050

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Question:

I am going through the process of coming out, and because I am in my late 20s it is probably easier for me than many others who are forced to in their adolescent years. I am comfortable with my sexuality and wear a small pride necklace every day to my job in community teen programming. I'm worried about how to respond to a parent who may have a problem with me being gay and 'exposing their child to immorality.' While I do not discuss or promote my sexuality with teens, much less anybody at work, it is part of who I am, and I feel an obligation as a very feminine gay woman to show that we do not all 'look gay.' How should I defend myself against a homophobic parent?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Shannon, Glendale, CA, United States, 29, Female, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Community Services Specialist- Teen Programs, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 514200334431

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Question:

Why is it that black men frequently wear the most ridiculous-looking suits? Bright colors like pink, white and red, with matching hats? Just curious.

POSTED 5/22/2003

F., Baltimore, MD, United States, Mesg ID 514200373833

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Question:

As a gay man, it seems to me that our society is obsessed with 'lesbianisnm' (just check out the "Girls Gone Wild" videos). So why is it so dangerous for two guys to do the same thing? What is it about two guys that you straight people find so offensive?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Bill, Ft. Dodge, IA, United States, 30, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Gay, waiter, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 5162003115022

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Question:

I am a social worker and want to know what people think of people in the profession. I am a conservative white female. However, because I am a social worker, people tend to think I must be a 'bleeding heart liberal' because I work with people who are less fortunate or have mental health problems. Also, is there a stereotype of women in this profession as being 'dowdy' as compared to women in other professions, for example, in the business field? I am asking because I recently retired and am seeking a career change, and I do not know whether the employers I've sent resumes to are not considering me because of stereotypes about me or because of my qualifications.
POSTED 5/11/2003
Linda C., Ann Arbor, MI, United States, 55, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Social worker, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 59200315120


Responses:
Hmmm. Interesting question. I would never have thought of social workers as being dowdy any moreso than anyone else, and don't attribute it to any profession. I would think that most people don't really realize when they have come into contact with a social worker. The connotation is that they are all beleagured, overworked, underpaid government workers steeped in bureaucracy and protocols per TV and movies. The truth is social workers exist in some fashion in about all fields. There are the social workers who work with the school system, designing programs to help children learn. In the business world, EAP counselors assist workers with all sorts of issues. There is even a bit of social work in practically every facet of our everyday lives. Aren't some of the the most prevailing assets and talents of a social worker empathy and reaching out to people, providing insight? I could see a social worker in almost any field; they would be very useful in, say, human resources, matching the 'right' skill set and 'emotional' skills with the 'right' job. Or in marketing, banking, medical etc.

POSTED 5/22/2003

Serene, Chandler, AZ, United States, 44, Female, Black/African American, Self-Contractor, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 513200334355


I used to work in a department of social services in Virginia, and found all the social workers who I worked with to be wonderful people - basically compassionate and caring. None of them were dowdy. Most were quite attractive and interesting. I think the reason you are not getting too many responses to your applications is your age. I'm sure you are not listing your DOB, but a prospective employer will be able to tell you are older because of the graduation dates you list, or just due to the length of experience. It's tough to switch careers at this age. I changed my career in my 40s, and it took me a long time to land a decent job. Hang in there. Persistence will pay off.

POSTED 5/22/2003

Annie, Lawrenceville, GA, United States, 51, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, copy editor, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5132003125028

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Question:

Why do a large number of Asians of non-Indian and non-Arabic origins have minimal body hair? Also, do Asian women of these origins shave their legs?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, 22, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Transciber, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 516200341144

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Question:

Why is it that so many whites love black comedians like Eddie Murphy and Dave Chapelle, despite the fact that much of their stand-up routines addresse how racist whites are to blacks?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Jarrett, Chicago, IL, United States, 21, Male, Black/African American, Straight, Student, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 5192003120954

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Question:

Why is it that men seem to hate asking for directions even if it is very clear they are lost?
POSTED 5/11/2003
Krista H., Lapeer, MI, United States, 28, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 510200330409


Responses:
I believe the reason men don't ask for directions is pride. Men feel like they have to lead, have everything under control and show no display of any incompetencies. So they feel as though asking for help is a blow to their egos. All it is is their male egos.

POSTED 5/19/2003

Moni, Ft. Myers, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 514200355743


I may be the gayest man ever, but I'll tell you one thing: I don't like to ask for directions. For one, it makes me look like I don't know where I'm going (in my mind, stupid). Also, men like being in charge of situations, and to ask someone for help is a sign of weakness. That's why whenever I go to a city that is unfamiliar to me, I always make sure I have the most detailed map possible. Always have a current map with you!

POSTED 5/19/2003

Bill, Ft. Dodge, IA, United States, 30, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Gay, waiter, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 5162003112701


I believe that by asking directions a man is admitting he is not in control. I know that for many men, not being in control is the same as saying 'victimize me.' I know that many men are taught by society that because they are men, they need to be in control. I think this is the same reason many men resist calling a repair person to fix a problem that they can't fix. They don't want to admit they can't fix it.

POSTED 5/19/2003

David, Tokyo, NA, Japan, Male, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5182003114011


Long story short: if you have enough time, fuel and a cell phone, don't be averse to a little exploring. If you are in a developed country, the likelihood of becoming permanently lost and eaten by wolves is very low. Here are a few reasons why exploring is a good idea:

1) Being 'lost' is part of the experience of learning your way around a new area. If you don't take advantage of the learning opportunity then you will just get lost the next time you come to the same place. It is an investment in the future to learn about a new place. Who knows, you might find something cool.

2) Women seem to assume that any random person at a gas station will know the area and be able to give good directions. In reality, many gas station attendants give lousy directions because they never go anywhere besides the gas station. Pumping gas doesn't make somebody a cartographer.

3) The more you try to coerce us, the more we will refuse. The issue of resisting asking for directions may be part of a pattern in which the man feels that the woman belittles his abilities or opinions.

POSTED 5/22/2003

Edward, Nashville, TN, United States, 36, Male, Mesg ID 5192003125248

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Question:

What are some common stereotypes about women?
POSTED 5/11/2003
Jennifer, New York, NY, United States, Female, Mesg ID 511200372219


Responses:
The only comments I hear consistently about women are those about their driving skills (and women who put on makeup while driving don't help). One of my buddies jokes that whenever he's on the road and encounters a female with poor driving skills: 'Women drivers...no survivors.' Personally, I see no difference overall in the way men and women drive.

POSTED 5/19/2003

T.C., Phoenix, AZ, United States, 35, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, Web Developer, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5192003113210


Generally, or specifically? Here are several: Women are, in essence, 'the weaker sex,' and for most of these stereotypes, the opposite applies to men, and is a 'positive' stereotype. Woman is always the virgin, the slut or succubus. Women who love sex are 'sluts,' men who love sex are normal (although I think this double standard has gotten less prevalent since the '60s). Girls aren't as good at math or science, and don't have analytical brains. Women are weak and ineffective leaders. Women get hysterical. Women are not career-oriented. All (normal) women must want children, and women who aren't motherly are ostracized and seen as deviant. (Example: the birth mother of Michael Jackson's children is always asked why she's abandoned her children, when in reality, she repeatedly says she was just the surrogate for him.) Women are dependent, controlling and demanding of their partners. Women are fickle. All women are obsessed with their weight. Women talk too much. Women don't speak their mind (or 'don't have a thought in their heads.') Women lose their minds when they get their period. Women lie about their age. Women love to shop. I could go on and on. Some stereotypes have their basis in fact, but to generalize all women as being such is harmful and limiting.

POSTED 5/22/2003

Stephanie, Norman, OK, United States, <steph@asteph.com>, 23, Female, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5222003123255

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