Category Archives: Power

From The Archives: Labels and logos? Looks like you’re powerless.

Ed. Note: This is a post from the archives; it was originally blogged at IonPsych on 2/10/2011.

You can see the original post here.

Imagine a woman who wanders into your local coffee shop with this bag thrown over her shoulder. What would you think of her? Well, you might think a lot of things — but more specifically, what would you think about her level of status or power relative to others?

How about a man who walks in wearing this belt? The brand is pretty prominently displayed; even if you don’t know much about the name, you can tell it’s probably expensive. He clearly wants you to know what brand it is. How powerful do you think he is?

If you’re like most others – or if you’re drawing the obvious conclusions that these hypothetical people are aiming for you to draw – you probably think they’re pretty powerful. But you probably aren’t right. Continue reading

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If I were a well-off White man… I might not understand other people very well.

“I thought this was The Onion at first, too. Nope.”

“This is a joke, right?”

“Speaking of ignorance…”

This is just a sampling of comments that I saw on Facebook as people linked to an article that appeared in Forbes on Monday, titled (in a rather inflammatory manner, if I do say so myself), “If I Were A Poor Black Kid.

My immediate reaction was to hate the article. I found it insulting, ignorant, and just plain short-sighted. As I commented in my own link on Facebook, “[To summarize], ‘This is what I would do if I were born into a completely different set of circumstances, a completely different family, a completely different social support system, a completely different school district, a completely different body with a completely different skin tone and a completely different way that people in public respond to me, yet I somehow still retained all of the benefits, knowledge, and access to resources as a middle-aged, middle-class white man.'”

However, upon re-reading the article and giving it a little more thought, I’ve come to realize that the real issue with the article isn’t that the author, Gene Marks, is necessarily racist, or even really ignorant. After all, he acknowledges right off the bat that the system is unfair, and that children from other areas of town have it much harder than his own, privileged children do. Marks clearly has some knowledge of the unfairness of “the system.” So the real question is, how could he then go on to write such a short-sighted article, completely missing any sort of perspective on what it means to actually be a member of the community to which he is proselytizing?1

Continue reading

Sex, lies, and power = lies about power and sex.

Can we please stop sounding the depressing alarm claiming that all powerful men are destined to be cheating husbands?

Yes, in recent history we’ve had Anthony Weiner and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But we’ve also had Barack Obama and Mark Wahlberg. However you choose to feel about the debt ceiling or The Fighter, these are recently-newsworthy examples of powerful men who have stayed happily married without getting caught up in a sex scandal. And they’re far from being the only ones.1

The problem with proclaiming that there’s an inextricable link between power, maleness, and cheating is that it implicates both power and masculinity as unavoidable evils. Fact is, that’s not really fair – or accurate.

Continue reading

Who runs the world? Not girls.

This week, pop superstar Beyonce launched the music video for her newest single: Run The World (Girls).


The song itself practically screams Female Empowerment Anthem with its repeating chorus of “Who runs the world? Girls!

Empowering? Absolutely! Fun song to add to your workout playlist? Definitely!

But the message isn’t exactly accurate – and this poses a problem.

Continue reading