Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Women in Kinesiology

Amanda Ladanyi

English 313 HON. M-W 12:30-1:45

Professor Wexler

9 December 2009

Women and Kinesiology

            Kinesiology is defined as, “the sum of what is known regarding human motion; the study of motion of the human body; a system of diagnosis based on the theory that muscle dysfunction is secondary to sub clinical structural, chemical, or mental dysfunction in other parts of the body; using manual muscle testing to help identify the primary dysfunction and treating by attempting to correct the underlying state.” (Online Medical Dictionary) George J. Goodheart is given the credit for being the founder of Kinesiology in 1964. There are many debatable topics in the field of kinesiology and one of them is women and kinesiology.

            I think a good place to start is by asking what contributes to a healthy woman? Dr. Goodheart’s approach is what is studied in the discipline of kinesiology. Dr Goodheart states that, “a good approach to health care involves three components: the structural, the chemical, and the psychological” (Parker 111) what he called the Triad of Health.

            Today when our society thinks of what contributes to a healthy woman structurally, they will see something like this image in their head.

Women all desire the perfect size breasts and the toned, flat stomach, the little legs that don’t rub against each other every step that you take, and the glowing tan. I think that every woman is looking to have a figure as beautiful as this. I believe that many woman look to have this kind of body because of social identities, “the expectations and opinions that others have on us.” (Barker 215) In the discipline of kinesiology there are so many different perceptions of women. When a kinesiologist thinks of a woman, anatomically they picture something along these lines… 

Another perception of women in kinesiology is women in sport. Women are supposed to have a thick body and something that is indestructible. Women in sports are perceived to have smaller breasts, a very muscular and toned body, and are seen as more masculine.

These few images show a variety of perceptions that women feel like they need to fulfill in the world of kinesiology and sport. In the Triad of Health structure is the foundation of the human body and of the Triad. “It includes the bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and nerves.” (Parker 92) A good example of this that most people can relate to is that we, human beings, stand on two feet and improper movements of the bones in the foot and ankle or the muscles and ligaments which support them can cause symptoms in more distal joints. This is due to our ability to adapt to a problem unconsciously and excessively stress other regions in compensation. This is only one third of the Triad of Health.

            The next component of the Triad is the chemical aspect. Chemistry relates to the chemical make-up and balance of the body. This includes diet, vitamin, and mineral intake, as well as the function of organs and organ systems. Often, what looks and feels like a structural or emotional problem is actually rooted in the body’s response to a chemical imbalance.

            The last part of the Triad of Health is the psychological or the emotional. This aspect of health is crucial. You don’t have to want to be healthy to get healthier. And you don’t have to believe something will work for it to work, but it helps! There are many psychiatric problems that have a physiological cause. The power of positive thinking can improve health and the power of negative thinking can trigger illness and disease; it’s a two way street. But, in either case, the mind holds sway over the body. Structural, chemical, and psychological components all affect and interrelate with one another, and when balanced properly combine to form a holistic person.

            In all branches of kinesiology women are stereotyped. A stereotype is, “a conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image. One that is regarded as embodying or conforming to a set image or type.” (Online Dictionary) The majority of gender related studies focused their attention on women. Very few studies involve male stereotypes. (SDSU) Everyday stereotypes that women have to deal with are being seen as passive, being dominated by men, governed by emotion, overly emotional or dependent. 

Women are also depict as less intelligent then men and generally weak. The roles which women are assigned tend to be marital and family oriented. In addition, women are rarely shown to be able to successfully combine marriage and employment. Women are typically younger then men on television and usually disappear between the ages of thirty-five and fifty.

In Kinesiology women are stereotyped in similar ways as listed above but there are also some differences. Women are portrayed as being more fragile than men, which leads to them being seen as being weak and not able to do the work that men can do. Women are also seen as being more passive. Some examples of these are when you go to a physical therapy session. Women are treated like they are very fragile and if they complain of any pain then the therapist is very lenient in proceeding to a different exercise and trying that one another time. When men feel pain the therapist will say it is ok and tell them to keep trying because men are supposed to be indestructible. When women can’t lift the weight of a leg press in physical therapy then the therapist immediately will take the weight off and put less on for the women. For men they sit there and push them to try to lift it and encourage them by saying you only have to do ten, come on! Women are also very passive and let therapists tell them what to do and they will listen to them. A lot of men that you see in therapy session they try to tell the therapist what they want to do. This shows that stereotypes of women in our every day life roll over into kinesiology and can be found as true. Of course, there are always the women, like myself, that don’t fit the mold. From my personal experience in physical therapy I was being stereotyped and came out surprising everyone because I didn’t fit the everyday mold. I wanted to do as many exercises as I could fit into my hour session and most of the time I would end up staying two or three hours because the therapists loved my motivation. I didn’t show any of my weaknesses because I feel like when you walk into a therapy session the expectation is that you are weak because you are hurt. When you exceed that expectation and show that you are strong it gives the therapist a totally different impression of you. I have talked with my therapist and he says, “When people walk in the door for the first time the expectation is always for them to complain about the pain and tell you how much they don’t want to be there. It is so great to have a client like you walk in the door who is motivated to get better and get back to doing what they love to do. It reminds me why I love my job.” (Personal Interview) I think that this closely relates to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I think that Maggie goes against the general stereotypes of women and that is why she is seen as radical, but I also think that because she goes against the stereotypes of women that she draws women close to her. When I was reading I couldn’t help but to love Maggie’s character. From talking to people in the class, many of the women in the class liked Maggie but couldn’t explain why and I think that this is because she didn’t fit the every day mold that we are supposed to fit.

In Sex and the City the women discuss their sexual desires and fantasies, and their travels in life and love. The show often depicts frank discussions about romance and sexuality, particularly in the context of being a single woman in her mid-thirties, which is a stereotype that most women fear. Carrie Bradshaw is one of the main characters in Sex and the City and most of the episodes are surrounded around her train of thought while writing for the weekly column. Carrie is not house-proud, her oven is used for storage; her one-room, rent-controlled apartment is in an Upper East Side brownstone, which is not part of the high class society. Carrie is a simple, open-minded girl looking for love, but also having fun in the process. She experiences moments of happiness in her independence and loneliness, and is probably the most relative to normal everyday females. Most women can relate to her, which we saw when the group resented on Sex and the City. Despite several long-term boyfriends, Carrie is entangled with Mr. Big in a complicated, multifaceted, on-and-off-again kind of relationship. This shows that Carries fits the image that women are supposed to have in their mid-thirties. When I interviewed my physical therapist he stated, “that Carrie Bradshaw would be the woman that he would want to be his client. Not just because she is beautiful but because she seems like a fighter and would break the stereotype of women in therapy settings.” (Personal Interview)

Carrie Bradshaw

Miranda Hobbes, another Sex and the City main character, is a career-minded lawyer with extremely cynical views on relationships and men. A Harvard Law School graduate from Philadelphia with two siblings, she is Carrie's best friend, confidante, and voice of reason. In the show, Sex and the City, she is portrayed as masculine and borderline misandric, “hatred of men and boys,” (Online Dictionary) but this image softens over the years, particularly after she becomes pregnant by her boyfriend, Steve Brady, whom she eventually marries. The birth of her son, Brady Hobbes, brings up new issues for her Type A, workaholic personality, but she soon finds a way to balance career, being single and motherhood. Of the four women, she is the first to purchase her own apartment and later a home in Brooklyn. Media is the biggest problem to stereotypes of women. When movies and shows like, Sex and the City come out on television people love them and watch them and this is how stereotypes come about! In Sex and the City Miranda breaks all the stereotypes of women. She is seen as masculine because she is career minded and women are stereotyped to stay at home and take acre of the kids and prepare meals. This is shown when her image of being masculine softens because she becomes pregnant and finally marries a man, which shatters the idea of her being borderline misandric. Miranda is also stereotyped as being masculine because she is the first to buy an apartment and a home on her own. This is because men are the ones who are supposed to be in the work field and therefore bring home the money to pay for everything. When a woman has enough money to buy a home, which is seen as a man’s job, then she is viewed as being masculine. Women are stereotyped, as not being able to balance career and motherhood and this is a problem that Miranda has. She eventually breaks this stereotype by being able to find the right balance between her job and her son.

Miranda Hobbes

I think that women in the field of kinesiology could play a huge role. Women can bring awareness to men that not all women fit the normal everyday female stereotypes. They can help men understand women better. I also believe that women, who are strong, fight for what they are, and who break that mold that people have about women are great people to bring into the field of kinesiology. These women can help motivate other women to break the stereotypes and be their own person. This could bring about a huge change in stereotypes on women in the field of kinesiology. Women who don’t fit the stereotype can share their morals, “How you ought to live, about preferred values and behavior” (Kretchmar 186) and values, “Certain motives and personality traits” (Kretchmar 207) with other women and help to change their character in a more positive way. If women were not scared to come out of their shells and speak their opinions and break the image that society has put on us, I think there could be a big change.

Equality for Women in Sports and Society we call America “land of the free”, a place where dreams come true and discrimination is only found in history books. Would you agree with this? For years people everywhere fled their homes in search of freedom and more opportunities, but only a select few benefited; white men. We have come a long way since the nineteenth century but anyone can see the huge gender gap in occupations, society, and especially sports. Women unlike men have only had the option of playing sports for a few decades. Though they were frowned upon, women were permitted to play in their back yards and on playgrounds but it was not too long ago when they were finally allowed to join organized sports. Bills and acts were passed and amendments were added to improve the inequality of women, but we are still far from equality in job opportunities and even further in sports. “Almost sixty percent of female athletes featured on or in magazines were photographed in posed shots rather than shots revealing their athletic participation” (Whiting 163). I would like to think of America as the land of the free and without discrimination but the fact that I am a female athlete makes that notion nearly impossible. The fear that sport participation causes females to become lesbians is a primary reason that some parents tend to lead their daughters away from sports, and that others choose not to acknowledge women’s sports at all. Female athletes challenge America’s ‘patriarchal’ society, and because social constructions harbor patriarchal values and beliefs, when women challenge those beliefs they are viewed negatively.

It is not only in sport that women are discriminated against in the field of kinesiology. “In the US, more than four hundred thousand people get their knees replaced each year, and nearly two thirds are women. These numbers keep growing every year.” (Gender Knee) With more women undergoing knee replacement surgery, orthopedic surgeons began to notice the distinct anatomical differences between women and men’s knees. They found that they often had to make adjustments during surgery in order to make a traditional knee implant fit a woman. This shows that even in the surgical field of kinesiology there is discrimination between male and female. It was not until very recently that surgeons paid attention to women and realized that we are structured very differently from men. Surgeons are very recently making knee replacements structured only for women. Throughout history there has always been stereotypes, discrimination, and racism and it will continue to happen. It is all part of living in the society that we have lived in, are living in, and will continue to live in. This paper just shows one discipline that is affected everyday by stereotypes, discrimination, and racism but there are many more to consider.


Works Cited

1. Barker, Chris. Cultural Studies, Theory and Practice. Third Edition. 2008

2. Kretchmar, Scott R. Practical Philosophy of Sport and Physical Activity. Second Edition. 2005

3. Parker, Steve. Robert Winston. The Human Body Book. Peter Bull Art Studio and Kevin Jones Associates. 2007

4. Personal Interview with Robert Maccasset, December 1, 2009.

5. Whiting, William C. Stuart Rugg. Dynatomy, Dynamic Human Anatomy. 2006

6. last accessed December 11, 2009

7. last accessed December 12, 2009

8. last accessed December 10, 2009

9. last accessed December 13, 2009

Rules of Attraction Group

Amanda Ladanyi

English 313 HON. M-W 12:30-1:45

Professor Wexler

11 November 2009

The Rules of Attraction

            Bret Easton Ellis', The Rules of Attraction is a controversial novel about the sexual, emotional, and chemical interactions of a group of wealthy and amoral college students. Sean Bateman is a student at Camden College, a well-respected private school on the East Coast. Sean is attracted to Lauren Hynde, a high-minded and seemingly unapproachable coed, while Lauren is infatuated with Victor, a handsome but self-centered ladies' man. Lauren's empty-headed roommate, Lara, is also attracted to Victor, while he has no qualms about being involved with both. Lauren used to date affected snob Paul Denton, but Paul, a bisexual, currently lusts after Sean. Meanwhile, friendly campus drug dealer Rupert finds a ready market for cocaine among his classmates; Sean, a steady customer, finds himself financially embarrassed and begins dealing drugs to help pay off his debts, while leading Paul on for his ready supply of marijuana.

            In our group presentation we decided to assign everyone a category and to write ten questions that would fit into your category. I then took on the job of compiling the whole power point presentation together. I kept in touch with my classmates and made sure that they all were completing their questions in a timely manner. We all met two times out of class to discuss what our approach was going to be. After the last meeting we decided on a date for everyone to e-mail their questions to me and I received all of them within the time slot. I read through all of the questions and picked out which questions I thought would engage the class and make some deep conversations. I looked up pictures to go along with our power point so it would keep the class interested. I also bought candy to try to motivate the class to answer questions. I think that overall our group had a good presentation and we were all happy at the end of the day on how well it went. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sex and the City

 Amanda Ladanyi

4 November 2009

Sex and the City Analyzed

            In Barker’s text he explains and defines the concept of space as a place where, “Human interaction is situated in particular spaces that have a variety of social meanings. For example, a ‘home’ is divided into different living spaces – front rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and bedrooms” (Barker 374). Barker goes on further to state that there is such thing as front space and back space. “Front space is constituted by those places in which we put on a public ‘on-stage’ performance…Back regions are those spaces where we are ‘behind the scenes’” (Barker 374). A space that constitutes as a back region is the bedroom, which is seen as a place where “behind the scenes” stuff is supposed to go; stuff we, the audience, is not supposed to see. It can be seen as a place to hind from the outside, or front space.


This clip shows that back regions of space are for relaxing and are really meant to be behind the scenes. When we watch this scene we feel comfortable with the talk that is going on in the bedroom because it is deep talk that would normally happen in the back region, in this case the bedroom. When the guy walks into the bedroom it immediately turns uncomfortable for the characters, which reflects on to how the audience feels, and the discussion between characters turns cold, which is shown by the lights being turned out. This clip shows that back regions are places where people can hide and discuss problems “behind the scenes” without anyone else hearing and when it is invaded it is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable.


This clip shows that sex and sex related topics are more comfortable as a back region. This clip shows that the norm. is too feel uncomfortable when watching something like orgasm in public. When you watch this clip you feel a little awkward and it makes you laugh, but the laugh is one to cover the discomfort the scene brings about. Barker is correct when he says that there are certain spaces and in these spaces there are normal activities that are done. The bedroom is a space where it is normal to perform sexual activities, such as orgasm, and this is shown by the discomfort that we feel that’s covered up by laughter when we watch a man orgasm in public and then cum on one of the ladies.


This last clip shows again that sexual talk should be used in a different space than out in public. When inappropriate talk start one of the women immediately walks out of the space and this reflects that it is inappropriate. It is even stated in the clip by one of the characters that it is an inappropriate place to be talking about a mate’s ejaculation. I find it interesting though that the writer shows this scene about tasting a man ejaculation and describing it as food when they are in a restaurant. I think the space that the writer picks brings out the discussion because they are in a place to eat and talking about eating, but not in the terms of food. I would call this clip a radical scene because when you are eating out in public with a group of friends you would normally have small talk about how good food is and how everyone is doing. You don’t normally talk about your experiences that happen in the back region with your friends in a front space and this is what makes this scene radical.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Amanda Ladanyi

Professor Wexler

English 313 Honors

14 October 2009

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams, is a story about two brothers and their families competing for the inheritance of their dying father, Big Daddy. In the middle of this is the whirlwind of sexuality un-tethered in Maggie, the cat, and the burden of love repressed in Brick, Maggie’s husband. One of the main themes in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the father and the son.

The father and son, Brick and Bid Daddy, have a narcissistic relationship. Narcissistic relationships are often defined by an “excessive self-love and grandiosity.” (xi Lerner) Big Daddy’s narcissistic love for Brick is made clear because Brick bears the charmingly masculine indifference Bid Daddy must have in his youth. At the end of the play Big Daddy’s narcissistic personality is shown through Maggie and Big Momma when “Maggie: Announcement of life beginning! A child is coming, sired by Brick, and out of Maggie the Cat! I have Brick’s child in my body, an’ that’s my birthday present to Big Daddy on this birthday!” (167 Williams) “Big Momma: BIG DADDY’S DREAM COME TRUE!” (168 Williams) This shows that Bid Daddy wants above anything else for Brick to provide him with a grandson who is as much like his son, Brick, who is much, like him. This further shows that Brick is Bid Daddy’s rightful heir and his means of immortality. In act 2 of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Big Daddy shares with us his observation about life, which is, “The human animal is a beast that dies but the fact that he’s dying don’t give him pity for others, no sir.” (90 Williams) This shows Big Daddy’s narcissistic personality because even though he is dying he still will show no pity or love to anyone else. If Big Daddy shows pity and love to anyone else then to him, it is seen as him loving them more than he loves himself, which doesn’t stand by the definition of a narcissist stated earlier by Lerner.

Chris Barker writes that, “Identity is best understood not as a fixed entity but as an emotionally charged discursive description of ourselves that is subject to change.” (216 Barker) We see this in the relationship between Big Daddy and Brick when they have a show down over their respective secrets, which leads to both of them changing their identity to tell the truth; Big Daddy’s “death country” and Brick’s “almost not alive” in his drunkenness. In this fashion, unlike the other characters, they both present themselves as the only ones who have never lied to each other. Big Daddy’s final struggle marks the reverse side of the narcissistic love between him and Brick, which is the aggressive logic of either you go or I go between both of them who mirror each other so closely.

Another theme that is seen through the play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is that of manliness and homosexuality. Barker states that, “Sexual Identity is held to be not a universal biological essence but a matter of how femininity and masculinity are spoken about.” (314 Barker) The category of sex is from the start of life normative or what Foucault has called a “regulatory ideal.” (Foucault) Judith Butler argues that, “In other words, ‘sex’ is an ideal construct which is forcibly materialized through time.” (298 Barker)

In many of William’s works cat concerns itself with the elaboration of a certain fantasy of broken manliness. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Brick is a manliness that is left crippled by the homosexual desire he must keep in abeyance. Brick, a “brick” of a man, embodies an almost archetypal masculinity. Brick’s enviable coolness is the coolness of repression, a repression that keeps his desires at bay. Brick is an alcoholic who cannot acknowledge the desire in his relationship with his dead friend Skipper. Turning from his desire for Skipper, he has depressively distanced himself from the world with a screen of liquor, which creates a click of peace for him. Brick mourns his love for Skipper and for Brick it is the only true and good thing in his life. His mourning is made more difficult by the desire that he cannot confess or admit. As Maggie notes, “theirs is a love that dare not speak its name, a love that could not be satisfied or discussed.” (Act 3 Williams) Thus Daddy, assuming the position of judge, will force Brick to confront this love. Brick's attempts at dodging him are crucial to the way the play imagines manliness. As Daddy approaches what has been tenuously repressed, Brick empties his words of all significance. As he tells Daddy, their talks never "materialize" and nothing is really said. When Daddy presses him, Brick reveals why he yearns for "solid quiet." Ultimately the revelation of the desire in his friendship with Skipper cracks Brick's cool.








Works Cited

Barker, Chris. Cultural Studies ed.3. SAGE Publications. 2008.

Foucault, Michel. “The History of Sexuality.”

Lerner, Rokelle. The Object of My Affection is in My Reflection, Coping with Narcissists. Health Communications, Inc. 2009.

Williams, Tennessee. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. New Directions Publishing Corporation. 2004.



Tuesday, September 22, 2009


This weekend on Friday night I went to the 65th annual fair in Santa Clarita at OLPH Church. I observed many different ages, genders, races, and the way they all reacted with one another and with the people surrounding them. The first thing I observed was young boys and girls. It was interesting to me to see how each gender reacts different. The boys were crazy and couldn’t stand still because they were so excited to get onto the ride. The parents had to keep a close eye if not a hand on their kid so he wouldn’t walk away. The little girl wouldn’t let go of her dad’s leg. She seemed intimidated and shy in such an outgoing atmosphere. When I walked to the swings there were two boys that were trying to kick each other and kick the kids in front of them while the girls sit and enjoy the ride. As I was standing in line with my little sister, 5 years old, for the ferris wheel I watched a dad talk his son into going onto the ferris wheel and his son was crying because he didn’t want to go. The peer pressure coming from his dad was so harsh on the little boy. I concluded that the norm is for girls to be more intimidated and boys to be more outgoing. When this is not the case the parent feels like something is not right and peer pressures their kid into doing the norm.

I also watched pre-teens and teenagers walk around the fair and interact with each other. I watched how one couple, ages 16 or 17, ran out onto the dance floor and danced in a way that I would call not the norm, but didn’t seem to care about the impression they were leaving. Another couple that was with them stood off the dance floor and watched. The couple that stood off the dance floor was also really reserved and didn’t show much affection toward each other. The couple that was on the dance floor walked off the dance floor and gave each other a big kiss and the guy slapped the girls butt. There was a group of girls that all danced together and there was one girl who sort of led the pack. Whatever dance move she was doing is what everyone else did and when one person left the floor the rest followed. They danced standing up and not any big movements were made. Then three guys came running onto the floor and slid on their knees and sizzled like bacon, tried to get people from the crowd to come and dance with them, and clapped to the beat with their hands over their heads.

Lastly I watched adults react with one another and it was interesting to see that most men were standing in a group with other men with a beer in their hand trailing behind the women. The Caucasian couples stayed together and showed a lot of affection, while the Latin men were sitting by themselves and their significant others would randomly walk up and then walk away. They seemed very distant from one another. The Asians were always together but not affectionate toward each other. Unfortunately, there were no African American couples to observe.

I think that it is interesting to observe people and see how everyone reacts the same but different. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof we talk about the relationships everyone has and how they are not defined and kind of leave us to interpret what we think heir relationships are about. I found the book interesting because their relationships are outside the norms of today’s society. I think today it is normal when you see kids acting crazy and more specifically boys. I think this was observed through the parent peer pressuring his son to go on a ride and stop crying because every other boy was. The parent immediately feels like something is wrong with their kid if they don’t want to do what little boys are supposed to do. These norms that we expect everyone to fit into are constantly changing because culture is always changing. Barker states that we see “culture as being ordinary and encapsulating ‘a whole way of life’.” This shows that culture shapes who we are and how we act and what we do.

I think that in middle school, ages 12-15, we are trying to fit in with culture and figure what we want our image to be like. I think this shows through my observation of the couple that would not dance because they seemed too concerned in what everyone was going to think of them. Our culture cares so much about what other people think that it holds us back from doing the things we really love to do. It seems like boys don’t care as much as girls about their image. The girls who were dancing in a group would not do anything radical. They swayed their hips and giggled and pointed fingers at other people dancing. Guys would run onto the dance floor and make a scene of it and they seemed to enjoy the attention. I think that this age group is really conscious about their social identity, which Barker defines as, “the expectations and opinions that others have of us.”

I think it is interesting how people say that men have more power and that’s why men get to make decisions in relationships and they say, “the men wear the pants in the relationship.” When I was observing it was interesting to see that Caucasian men were following their significant others around. The women lead the men to where they wanted to go and when the women were talking they would hand their kids to the men to take care of. Traditionally it is always the men that do the talking and the women that follow behind with the kids. Latin men sit around in a huddle and talk while the women take care of the kids and in this case take the kids on all the rides. A lot of Latin people I know seem very distant from their significant others. I know one couple personally who seem like they have a relationship like Brick and Maggie do in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The woman loves her husband but he is not interested in her and when they go out he is always eyeing other women. She stays with him because she feels like there is no better way out. If she is one her own she will not have money and will have a kid to take care of on her own.