Tag Archives: James Lindsay

The Color of Gender

Many toy stores and manufacturers divide their merchandise by color and gender. Typically, toys for girls are associated with the color pink, and toys for boys with the color blue. However, some stores this holiday season have announced they are doing away with gender segregation when it comes to toys. And Mattel has released a Barbie doll commercial featuring a boy playing with the doll.

The traditional separation of toys and colors according to gender is not a natural phenomenon, according to CSUN Sociology Professor Dr. Amy Denissen.

“Something like wanting to play with a particular toy — we have really good research that demonstrates that that is something that is socially learned,” she said. “It is not an innate trait or interest that we’re born with, but it’s something that children learn.”

Communications Professor Dr. John Kephart III said these toys, and the expectations that go with them, can affect people into adulthood. Kephart said boys are expected to play competitive sports or games like ‘cops and robbers’, which condition their mind to accomplish set goals. On the other hand, girls play games such as ‘tea party’ or ‘house’, which encourage communication and nurturing. Kephart said this might be one reason why about 50 percent of women who enter into the male-dominated field of technology tend to leave, citing a hostile work environment as the reason. “And so women are tracked into [technology fields] less often in their education; they’re hired less for it structurally; and they feel less comfortable and able to communicate with coworkers once they are there,” Kephart said.

Women who exhibit the so-called masculine behaviors valued in the workplace are stigmatized and sanctioned as being ‘bossy’, rather than becoming the leaders men do when they exhibit the same behavior, Denissen said.

“It’s equally concerning that young boys aren’t encouraged to be emotional,” Kephart said, “or encouraged to show a softer side, or think that they have to compete, or be assertive and to dominate other men and women in order to succeed.”

“I think it would be good for boys to be encouraged to play with dolls,” Gender and Women Studies Professor Dr. Kristyan Kouri said. “It would develop their nurturing skills. When they grow up to be fathers, they will take a more active role in nurturing their children. And girls need to develop those visual spatial skills that things like Legos, Lincoln Logs, and Bionicals teach them as they are building them, and that will maybe be a small step in helping them move into fields like engineering, which is still a male dominated occupation.”

“It’s not that we will be able to get rid of gender,” Kephart said. “But instead [we should] stop saying ‘this gender is better than this gender’, or ‘this sex has to perform this gendered behavior or this gendered role’.”

“Difference isn’t the problem,” Denissen said. “It’s when difference is transformed into distinction, which is when we use difference to create hierarchies, when we use difference to say that one group is superior to or better than another group [that’s the problem]. And I think gender is one of these differences that we’ve created, that is used to create distinctions to say that one group is better than the other.”

“We need to make gender roles more flexible,” Kouri said. “You can be male or female by not conforming to these rigid notions of what a male and female should be, or also maybe creating other genders.”


Moderator: Stephanie Lopez

Anchor: Sara Vong

Producer: Teresa Barrientos

Reporters: Teresa Barrientos, James Lindsay, Stephanie Lopez, Veronica Perez, Sara Vong

Social Media Editors: Veronica Perez and Sara Vong

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The Sound of Music

Streaming music services like Spotify and Pandora are rapidly changing the music industry. Physical formats like CDs are becoming obsolete, and radio is becoming digital.

Listeners use platforms like iTunes, Pandora and Spotify to listen to music more than ever, but they get a different form of interaction with the music as a result.

“We’re in a new age now,” DASH radio DJ Dean Perez said, “where streaming is more accessible, it’s easier, and you no longer have to depend on traditional AM [radio], where people are providing a playlist for you. [Before streaming], you had no choice but to turn on the radio and listen to whatever they gave you…Now everyone is starting to become their own DJ.”

“The idea that music can always be available — any song we want, whenever we want it — [that] kind of changes the equation,” CSUN Journalism Professor Scott Brown said. “You used to wait for a physical CD to come out, and [you knew] that would be your only opportunity to partake of an artist.”

The ready availability of music provided by streaming services changes consumers’ relationship with music.

“Now everything is available all the time,” Brown said. “And it makes us perhaps a little more passive. Back then you had to search it out, and when you found it, it became so much more important to you, whereas now everything is available. It makes our relationship with the songs in our lives really different.”

“I remember being eight years old and listening to Power 106,” Perez said. “And they’d drop a new song and the only time they’d drop it would be at 4 pm, and after the song was over the only way to hear it again was to tune in tomorrow, so you had to wait. And that made it exciting. It made you appreciate the song a lot more, whereas now everything is [available] on demand.”

The new streaming services also have an impact on music artists.

“It’s so difficult for artists now, “Perez said,  “and that’s why most of their income is coming from touring. There are so many independent artists who are making it nowadays without being attached to a label, which amazes me… All you need is good marketing and streaming services, and you can get discovered.”

The three ways artists used to make money were through record sales, live performances and merchandising. Now it’s through live performances, third-party sponsorships, merchandising, publishing, and then through record sales, which are the smallest revenue source, Brown said.

Perez said radio stations have had to make adjustments to give their audience more diverse music, but some listeners still want to hear the personal choices of a radio personality. “There is a certain feeling that you get from radio, because you can put a playlist on [with a streaming service], but just the action, the timing, the emotion you feel when someone is energetic, and delivering something for you …. that experience affects you.”

As CD sales drop, Brown said consumers are looking at purchasing CDs differently. “Instead of saying, ‘I am buying music’, it ought to be, ‘I am supporting the artist’.”

Furthermore, old-fashioned vinyl records are making a bit of a comeback among collectors.

“So much of streamed music is intangible,” Brown said. “When you buy a physical object, there is a tangibility, and also sound and quality.”


Moderator: James Lindsay

Anchor: Teresa Barrientos

Producers: Stephanie Lopez and Sara Vong

Reporters: Teresa Barrientos, James Lindsay, Stephanie Lopez, Veronica Perez and Sara Vong

Social Media Editors: Stephanie Lopez and Sara Vong


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Yes Means Yes

The Association of American Universities’ new Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct reports that approximately 23 percent of college students have reported instances of sexual assault.  It should be noted that this percentage does not include students who didn’t report instances of sexual assault.

Susan Hua is the Title IX Coordinator in the CSUN Equity & Diversity Office. Title IX is a federal statute stating that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Because CSUN receives Federal financial assistance, this statute applies to the whole university.

A recent incident of sexual assault during CSUN’s Big Show on October 3rd, has led to growing concerns over the safety of students on and off campus, as well as what should be done to prevent future attacks.

“I think these last couple of years we’ve felt that we really need to take a collective stance and position that these types of behaviors are not tolerated and not acceptable,” Hua said.

Measures are being taken to ensure that CSUN employees and students are informed of the issue at hand.

“CSUN employees are also required, just as our students, to take a training course,” Hua said.  “[The course includes] sexual assault prevention, what consent means, what the laws are that apply, how to speak about rape culture, and recognizing that [students and employees] play an integral part in sustaining a safer campus community.”

As far as dealing with sexual assault when it does happen, there are also resources available on campus to students who need assistance.

“I think our role in that is to help find ways to process that and [allow survivors of sexual assault to] heal on their own timeline,” Hua said. “We have hired, in the university, a campus care advocate, who is housed in our student health center.  She functions and acts as an advocate and confidential resource for survivors who need advice and want to talk to someone who can keep what they talk about confidential.”

Melissa Realegeno is a former member of Project D.A.T.E. and the current coordinator of the Peer Education programs in the University Counseling Services.

Realegeno advised students to “download safety apps, be aware of your surroundings, know your limits of alcohol, walk with confidence, know where you’re going, have your keys ready to go, and walk with someone you know.”

“[Sexual assault] can happen to anyone,” Relegeno said. “People assume that it’s just a women problem, but no, it’s everyone’s issue.  It’s about educating people and trying to understand the situation more, instead of assuming what happened or assuming it’s what they’re thinking, when sometimes it’s really hard to understand the psychological point of it all.”

Hua and Relegeno recommended that discussions of sexual assault should begin within families, before students head off to college, where many experience independence for the first time and struggle to figure out their own identity.

“It would be great to have pipelines in between high schools and higher institutions to have that kind of dialogue,” Hua said, “and those kind of efforts be comprehensive, instead of reactive if something happens.”

Moderator: Sara Vong

Anchor: Stephanie Lopez
Producer: Teresa Barrientos
Reporter: James Lindsay
Social Media Editor: Veronica Perez
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The Adventures of Jack Kirby

Comic book writer and artist, Jack Kirby, is the subject of an art exhibition at the California State University, Northridge Art Galleries.

Jack Kirby is the creator of comic book superheroes such as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Hulk , Thor, and Captain America.

The exhibition, titled “Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby”, is one of the largest exhibits of Kirby’s work ever, and the first to be held at a university. It documents his entire career, but focuses on the second half.

“You just couldn’t keep up with Kirby,” said CSUN English Professor Charles Hatfield, curator of the exhibition, and author of Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby. “He was always two steps ahead of everybody.”

“Jack Kirby was amazingly prolific,” said comic book illustrator and collector Scott Fresina. “You could fill the studio with pages of his art work, and still have enough for more, so what we have right there in the galleries is some really great stuff, but really it is the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg.”

“We know he did 20,000 pages,” Hatfield said, “ of which we have 100 pages of art on the wall.”

The art pieces came from about 16 collectors. Earth 2 Comics bookstore owner Carr D’Angelo is one who loaned some of the comic books from his collection.

Hatfield said one of the goals of the exhibition is for the public to see the production process.

“We built a part of the exhibition where you can compare the kind of before-and-after,” he said, “where you could see a copy of the page before it was inked, and then see what was done afterwards.”

“Jack would start at the middle or the corner, and he would draw the whole thing out as if he was tracing it,” Fresina said.

Hatfield said three pieces in the show were drawn and inked by Kirby.

“Jack can ink and he can finish it,” Hatfield said, “but he usually doesn’t, either because of his own choice, or because the people he was working for wanted him to generate more stories. So most of the things you’ll see in the exhibition are inked by other hands.”

One new large audience for comic book super heroes is women.

“It’s one of the fastest growing audiences, and partially it’s because it isn’t just the male power fantasies any more,” D’Angelo said. “There are a lot of other companies, like Image Comics, and even Marvel with Ms. Marvel, and DC Comics like Bat Girl.”

Besides being known for his superhero creations, Jack Kirby is also known for being the creator, with Joe Simon, of many romance comics, which were always popular with female audiences.

“Jack Kirby drew more pages of romance between about 1947 and 1957 than he did of any other genre he worked in combined,” Hatfield said.

“The career of Kirby is basically the history of comics,” Fresina said.


Moderator: Teresa Barrientos

Anchor: James Lindsay

Producers: Stephanie Lopez and Sara Vong

Social Media Editors: Stephanie Lopez and Sara Vong

Reporters: James Lindsay and Veronica Perez


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