Entries Tagged as 'Sex and Relationships'

What Me Too Founder Tarana Burke Taught Me About Healing

11.01.2018

Me Too founder Tarana Burke speaking at the KU Memorial Union. Photo by Nicole Mitchell

By Nicole Mitchell

On October 23, 2018, I had the great privilege of seeing Me Too creator and activist Tarana Burke give a presentation at KU.

Burke was funny, relatable and, most of all, heartbreaking. That was the mixture of emotions that I felt while listening to everything she had to say, as she recalled her history of activism and how the Me Too movement began.

After graduating from Auburn University, Burke worked as a counselor for middle school girls. She recalled a tragic moment when a young girl described her story of experiencing sexual assault. Burke stopped the girl in the middle of her story and sent her to another counselor. After that, the young girl stopped coming to camp and Burke never saw her again.

Years later, after the many ups and downs of working with middle school girls and hearing all of their experiences with sexual assault at such a young age, Burke came up with the idea to start a new organization: Me Too.

Hearing Tarana Burke talk was more than learning the history of Me Too. It was learning how to listen to and care for others; learning how to feel joy, and it was learning how to heal.

Burke helped me realize that healing from a traumatic event is difficult and it isn’t pretty. Healing can be anything from waking up early and doing yoga to crying myself to sleep because that’s all I can do. One thing that helps Burke go through difficult experiences is to keep a “Joy Journal,” which is exactly what it sounds like. You write down all the things that make you happy, whether it be something small or something large, and it will help you realize that the pain doesn’t last forever.

If you are going through the healing process right now, know that you are not alone, and that you will be okay. I hear you and I believe you.

National sexual assault hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Social Media’s Comparison Effect Causes Feelings of Depression

4.12.2018

Words and photos by Ashley Hocking

During the 83 days between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, I opt not to log on Facebook.

Why?

This stretch of time is also known as Engagement Season.

It’s nearly impossible for me to scroll through the feeds of my social media accounts during Engagement Season without seeing twentysomethings posting about their significant others popping the question, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and weddings.

Forty percent of engagements occur during Engagement Season, according to the Associated Press.

I’m not the only one who elects to avoid social media at certain times of the year. University of Kansas senior Megan Doolittle decided to avoid social media on Valentine’s Day after a recent breakup.

“I’m pretty sure he or his new girlfriend would have posted something, and I would have seen it,” Doolittle said. “It’s really hard when you’re in the midst of a break-up or even just feeling negative about your love life.”

5 tips for avoiding social media depression

1.     Aim to not judge others based on their social media presence.

2.     Try taking a break from social media or reducing your social media usage.

3.     Be authentic on social media.

4.     Embrace your imperfections. Every photo on your Instagram feed doesn’t need to be FaceTuned.

5.     If you are feeling depressed, seek counseling or professional help.

Social media is a modern day tool that enables individuals to connect with friends, but also impacts the wellbeing of those using it.

Social media may help us connect with friends, but it also can depress the hell out of us.

Social media depression is the act of comparing yourself with others based on their on social media accounts.

Research by David Baker and Dr. Guillermo Perez Algorta from Lancaster University in Lancashire, England found that there is a significant association between feelings of depression and negatively comparing oneself with others when using Facebook.

Doolittle agrees with the findings of this research.

“Seeing how other people portray themselves on social media can affect you in a negative way,” Doolittle said. “It can cause a huge comparison effect and make you feel bad about yourself.”

Doolittle’s mom advised her to take a break from social media after seeing the negative effects it had on her daughter. Doolittle deactivated her Facebook account and deleted the Instagram app off of her phone.

“Social media is very toxic,” Doolittle said. “You’re almost all the time better off without it.”

Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing, according to a 2017 survey by Time Magazine of 1,500 teens and young adults. This survey found that Instagram was associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and fear of missing out.

Social media depression and negative feelings associated with comparisons were some of the key factors that made Doolittle decide to scale back on her social media usage.

“When you look at someone’s social media, it seems like they have everything. They have a good job, a happy significant other, good grades, money and fun vacations,” Doolittle said. “Seeing other people are in a really cool location and you’re not there sucks. They’re going to this fun place, and I’m here just lying on my couch.”

Jeffrey Hall, an associate professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas, said that social media posts tend to focus on the positive moments in a person’s life. Hall is the author of over 40 articles and book chapters on flirting, relationships, social networking and Facebook.

“It’s not as normative to post negative things on social media,” Hall said. “You’re less likely to use social media to gain social support if you feel lonely or blue, than to advertise positive things.”

According to Hall, there are many people who consider curtailing their social media usage.

“Interestingly, a lot more people say that they would be interested in taking a break from social media than people who actually do,” Hall said.

Despite its negative connotations, people can use as a tool to combat feelings of social media depression. Researchers stress that social media can help people with depression if it is used as a mental health resource or a way to enhance social support.

“It’s very possible that you might turn to social media because you might feel like it might help to lift depression,” Hall said.

Let’s Get Ready To Bumble

9.27.2017

Words and photos by Sam Blaufuss

Created in 2012 and exploding onto the media scene in 2015, the app known as Tinder revolutionized online dating by simplifying things down to a swipe of the finger. Its massive success (a tad greater than my personal success with it, but we’ll get to that) led to a multitude of copycat apps, including Bumble.

The details of Bumble’s creation set itself apart from its online dating competition. Its founder Whitney Wolfe was a co-founder of Tinder that left the company in 2012 following sexual assault charges she filed against other Tinder co-founders. Bumble is unique in that it fully shifts its controls over to the woman after a match — if both parties swipe right, the woman has 24 hours to initiate a conversation, or else the match disappears forever (in the event you match with someone of the same sex, this rule doesn’t apply.)

“In every situation, women are making the first move,” said Briauna Jurgensmeyer, KU’s Bumble Campus Ambassador.

Bumble is also not just limited to being an online dating app. Since its creation, the app has introduced a friend-finding feature, and an in-app professional networking platform is in the works. Riley Messina, another campus representative for Bumble, said that “Bumble is the Facebook for people you don’t know yet.”

These unconventional features may sound enticing to women considering the app, but for men like myself, Bumble may as well just be called Yellow Tinder.

I was initially excited as I read through about the way Bumble works. As a guy, so much is dependent on your opening message on Tinder. To have the pressure of that potential sweetheart not digging your carefully crafted name-related pun lifted off your shoulders sounded like a pretty great reason to download the app. As it turned out, doing less work doesn’t always pay.

In my experience, the problem with Bumble isn’t at all that women are afraid to message first; it’s that you hardly get any matches in the first place. Dating apps are all based on first impressions, and usually the first impression I get with women on Bumble is that they’re more than one year into college, have actual jobs, and might be seeking out a healthy relationship with someone that has their life together. Since this description does not fit me whatsoever, I feel like it may contribute to the desert that is my match queue. I’m sure there are other reasons for why my matches aren’t popping (upon completing this article I actually noticed that my profile stated that I’m still in high school, so there’s that.) Those are a few of the problems I noticed that are not nearly as common on Tinder, where I generally do okay.

Bumble’s purpose from what I can tell is to act as a version of Tinder where ladies don’t have to worry about their matches immediately sliding in unsettling and overtly sexual comments, and I fully respect that ideal. However, it has definitely led to much less interaction for me (maybe for the best). My only advice for any guys planning on putting their Bumble profiles together are this: Bumble is not the same playground as Tinder; you’ll have to behave a bit differently. Basically, if you make an overtly unsettling sexual comment, make sure it’s really solid.

Bumble Improves Women’s Self-Esteem

By Rebekah Swank

Although I am a little afraid of being judged, I’ll say it: I love Bumble.

I used to be an on-again-off-again Tinder user for several years. While studying abroad in Germany, I downloaded Tinder to learn more German slang. It worked pretty well, and I continued to use it every now and then when I came back to the U.S., but mostly for just for a good laugh. It was extremely entertaining; looking at all the kooks, weirdos and d-bags who put their best photos on an app to be seen by hundreds was a great way to make myself feel a little bit better about my own life. I matched with a few guys, chatted with a couple of them, but nothing ever came of it.

Tinder quickly became boring by the beginning of this school year. A friend told me about Bumble. “Oh yeah, the dudes are way hotter on Bumble,” she said. So I created an account and started swiping.

As much as I feel like an asshole for saying this, my friend was right. I didn’t run into nearly as many “I’m a practicing magician” bios, or photos of jabronis in flip flops and fedoras. Most of the men on Bumble seemed like real people I would run into on campus or around Lawrence.

However, the chatting aspect of Bumble still intimidated me. I am definitely not someone who initiates conversations with men whom I find attractive—not while I’m sober, anyway. The thought of typing out a flirty message and sending it off for another human to see was terrifying, but I did it. And I began doing it over and over again with each new connection I made. Eventually the sting of an ignored message faded, and I was able to simply have fun talking to new people.

Friends of mine who have used the app agree that women initiating contact is a nice change of pace.

“I think it’s interesting that the girls are the ones who have to message first because it forces you to put yourself out there and be confident,” my roommate said.

Since using Bumble, I have become much better at approaching others—men and women. I don’t have as much fear of rejection, and I have gotten more comfortable with being myself around people I don’t know. I’ve met several really nice guys through Bumble. I encourage women to try it out, even if they aren’t looking for a relationship or a hook up.

A Man’s Rights

7.27.2017

By Logan Gossett

 

After losing a house, two jobs and $16,000 in court expenses, Phil – whose name has been changed to protect his anonymity – humbly received his ambitious reward: his son, for five hours, once a month.

        Five days ago he paid a monthly fee of $600 still owed from the home’s mortgage, a fee he will continue to pay until 2027 when his son will be 15 years old. Phil now pays more in child support than he earns from unemployment checks.

“My son was about four inches taller when I finally got to see him,” Phil said. “His mom told him not to tell me what his favorite color is, but I think it’s green. She also told him not to tell me his favorite superhero, but he let that one slip: Batman,” he said. He just hopes to be a close second one day.

Men’s rights advocacy was partly catalyzed by stories like Phil’s. Through forums like MensActivism, A Voice for Men and Reddit’s Men’s Rights board, men’s rights advocacy attempts to provide support and resources for fathers with similar struggles. However, their outreach is inhibited by their designation as misogynist hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC describes the men’s rights movement as “savaging feminists,” and cites the website manboobz.com as a useful watchdog of the men’s rights movement.

Male mortality rates paint the grisly picture that illustrates the story behind the men’s rights movement.

Advocates see that men are five times more likely to commit suicide than women; that men are twenty times more likely to die in the workplace; that men are four times more likely to be the victims of homicide. Men’s rights advocates see disproportionate workplace deaths and question the existence of disproportionate privilege.

Annie McBride, Assistant Director for the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, suggests that male privilege is not an easily measurable commodity.

“Privileges are things that [men] were born into, not that they’ve had to earn,” she said. “The ability to, as a white person, walk around department stores and not feel people’s eyes on you and be followed. I didn’t do anything to earn that privilege. It was just something I was born into.”

McBride agreed that male mortality and men’s mental well-being is concerning. She argued that toxic masculinity stigmatizes the male pursuit of mental health treatment, something feminism seeks to rectify.

Many scholars believe that the men’s rights movement is simply a backlash to feminism and the progress it has attained for women. Megan Williams, Program Coordinator for the Emily Taylor Center, agreed.

“[Men’s rights advocates] use the language of civil rights to undercut actual inequity,” she said. “It’s really just a reflection of men who are seeing their privilege challenged; seeing the entitlement that they’ve had challenged and thinking that that is oppression or discrimination.”

Men and indebted fathers struggle to reconcile their alarmingly higher rates of experiencing homelessness and being victims of homicide as challenged privileges. Men posting on MensActivism and A Voice for Men often resist the implication that the right to a home and life are privileges to be challenged.

Like McBride, Williams viewed feminism as a solution for the issues central to men’s rights advocates.

“If we’re talking about liberation of men, then that is a feminist project. If we’re talking about a real men’s rights movement, it’s feminism,” Williams said. 

The most urgent men’s rights topic for fathers, however, is the low likelihood of fathers being granted primary guardian custody of their child after a divorce. Custody is six times more likely to be obtained by the mother.

Phil doesn’t identify as an advocate for men’s rights or women’s rights: just a father, if only for five hours a month.

Phil was deployed to work on oil rigs for nine months per year. After four months of working rigs in Saudi Arabian waters, he returned to his home in the deep south to find it empty.

“Everything was gone. Furniture, TVs, kitchen stuff — you name it, it was gone,” Phil said. But, while furniture is replaceable, family is not.

“My heart sank when I knew what she did. All I thought of for months was seeing my wife and kid; maybe watching a movie or something,” Nease said. “Now I don’t even have a TV.”

Phil was the sole working parent while married. While he was on oil rigs, his wife was at home serving as their son’s primary caregiver. According to KU Law Associate Professor Melanie DeRousse, parental roles like those held by Phil and his ex-wife while married limit the outcomes of custody battles.

“Most of the time moms are doing that primary caregiving. The judge wants to maintain that stability for the kids so the kid has access to that attached parent. They’re going to maintain some of that gender disparity that was existing in the relationship into their orders. They’re looking at what will not disrupt the kid’s lives, not some parent’s rights,” DeRousse said.

If the mother serves as the child’s primary caregiver while the father is only parenting during the weekends, the judge will grant joint custody with the father having the kid for the weekend, while the mother maintains the child during the week. Extended periods away from his son while working hurt Phil’s chances of attaining equal joint custody.

Melanie DeRousse said that, while some judges may assume that the kid is better off with his/her mother, “more often than not you have the parties trying to figure out what form of joint custody is going to work for the kid.” DeRousse added that, “Most psychologists would agree with the legislature: joint custody is preferred for the kid.”

As traditional gender roles continue to undergo egalitarian permutations, fathers will begin to attain equal joint custody more frequently. Male mortality rates and mental health still present an issue, however, and men’s rights advocates and feminists view their respective movements as the optimal solution.

A Voice for Men founder Paul Elam argues that feminists preach equality while pursuing favoritism. Annie McBride, Megan Williams and most self-identified feminists disagree, instead viewing feminism as a potential solution for men’s rights issues and equity for all genders.

Both men’s rights advocates and feminists will continue to pursue their ideal of gender equity. Both men’s rights advocates and feminists will continue to provide assistance to men or women suffering through mental illnesses or unforgiving workplaces.

Meanwhile, Phil will be eagerly anticipating his next visitation with his son.

“[My son] likes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I bought him some action figures and Ninja Turtle shirts — stuff like that. Hopefully he likes them; I just wanna see him happy.”

 

Dating on A Dime

3.31.2016

By Cale Johnson

It’s Friday afternoon and Dustin Patterson has had a long week. He’s spent the last five days working on his capstone geography project, but his week of thinking isn’t over yet. Now he has to figure out where he’s going to take his girlfriend, Tati out this weekend.

Dustin and Tati are both students at the University of Kansas and both cry a little on the inside whenever they look at their bank accounts. They do, however, love each other and commit to going out for a date at least every couple weeks.

Whether it’s a first date with somebody you’re getting to know or a date with a partner you’ve been with for years, having quality together time is essential in a relationship. For college students who generally lack money and resources, that can certainly be a challenge.

“I think there’s a perspective that in order to have a good time you have to be willing to spend a lot of money,” says Elizabeth McWhorter, a relationship therapist in Olathe, Kansas.

Kids that have grown up through the digital age have probably learned a lot about dating from things like reality tv, which aren’t realistic, especially financially, she added.

If you’re willing to be creative there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dating inexpensively. In reality, efforts made this way will be more charming, genuine and likely to go a lot further on the thoughtfulness scale than throwing down a large amount of dough.

Creativity doesn’t come easy to everyone, so here is a list of date ideas at different price levels from KU students.

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Double date with dogsFree – Alexa Barton  
On this date you and your partner simply head down to the local humane society and spend some time together playing with dogs that could use some love too. All you need to do is ask to volunteer and the staff will let you take the dogs out to walk or play fetch.

“Whenever my boyfriend and I do this together it’s good one-on-one time and we’re always in a good mood because of the dogs,” Barton says.

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Spin the compass$30 – Adam Long  
You and your date hop in the car and start driving, when you get to an intersection or exit you spin a needle and depending on where it points that’s where you have to go. To limit gas money, four to five spins is usually enough to get you somewhere interesting. Once you get to your random location go to dinner at the nearest place you see.

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Baking/cooking contest$30-40 – Ben Larmer  
Go out and buy ingredients for something you’ve never made before. Thenboth you and your partner make the same dish. When you each get done making it, mark the bottom of the plates and then mix them up so you don’t know whose is whose and decide which was better, then check afterward and eat them together.

dating on a dime

Arcade Olympics$40-50 – Marc DeJesus  
Head down to the nearest arcade and choose 10-15 different games. You and your date then compete against each other and come up with a prize for whoever wins the majority of them. The prize can be anything, like who gets to decide what movie to go to that night. If there isn’t an arcade nearby, you can do that date by playing various board games.

“It’s a good time if you’re a competitive couple,” says DeJesus.

Photography by Cale Johnson

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