If you order coffee from the shop I go to the storage, find the articles, put them in a box, print the label and send you the goods.
Can you also put ‘men’ in clearly defined boxes? – No.
Recent years have seen post-structuralists look into many of the norms in our societies and question them often shedding light on dogmas that could be changed to improve our conditions of living.
A lot of progress has been made to empower women by giving access to higher education, something not very common 50 years ago and encouraging a stronger position and role in society beyond the household.
What about men? How much has been done to encourage men to take on household duties, look after children, be more emotionally available, say how they feel, open up? – Not much at all.
Last week was ‘remembrance Sunday’ and people marked the sacrifice of many men who died during wars throughout history. Going to war, fighting and dying in battles they barely understood and sacrificing their lives for the glory of their country – or so they told them. The trauma of war scarred people for life but society forbid them from crying or being visibly affected by the horrors they witnessed in the trenches. A proper man is supposed to have a stiff upper lip.
Sweden is world leading in trying to work on this second, often overlooked, side of gender equality by implementing parental leave for both mothers and fathers.
Today is #internationalmensday and it is worth a thought on how confined the role of a man is within most societies. ‘Man up!’ – ‘Don’t be a pussy!‘ are common things to say or hear even today; is this effectively putting men into a box that limits who they can be and what they can do?
If you want to have coffee in a box check out the web shop.
If instead, you want to try to take men out of ‘the box’ contribute your views on the topic of ‘Men’ and the role they have or should have within our society. All stories and comments welcome on #BackStories
This article is in line with Lost in a Cup‘s ethos and value #EspressøYourself which distinguishes it from your average coffee seller online.
Having given myself the title of ‘Social Media Manager’ in the Swedish language school I was working for this Summer #UISS2017, much to the amusement of the director and many within the school, I have earned myself the reputation of ‘social media man’ which I honestly don’t know what to make of.
I am of the ‘social media generation’ and I witnessed first hand the transition between nothingness and the digital world we live in today and if I stop to think about how much has changed in so little time I find it is almost scary.
There are two ways one can look at this revolution:
on the one side, one’s personal privacy is never going to be like it used to be as everything you have said or published on the net can be discovered using an elementary browser search.
On the other hand, debates have no limits or borders and things written can be picked up shared, commented on and ‘go viral’,capturing thousands of people around the world. Freedom of speech and openness are key in modern digital debates. Those philosophical debates a few intellectuals would once have had sitting around a table in a ‘Cafe d’Art’ in la Bella Epoque or over a millennium earlier in the public toilets in Roman times,now occur in offices, bedrooms, streets, trains, universities and anywhere an internet connection is available, thanks to online publications, blogs and forums.
Becoming a ‘digital intellectual Cafe’ is the new goal for LostinaCup which started as an exchange student’s blog, and then became a personal website with ‘Social Cultural observations and other random stuff’, to then take a step further now in 2017 and undergo a series of changes that are still taking place beginning with the passage from the .org to .com. Improvements in graphics together with the increasing number of sections available and things you will soon be able to do, make this a real ‘Cafe’. To be fair from the very beginning in February 2013 this has never been a ‘moppy woppy’ platform of narratives on ‘how lovely new friends from all over the world are’ or how ‘OMG, it is so nice to see so much snow and have Fika afterwards with all the cute Swedish pastries…’
Four years of work ‘putting myself out there’ via the blog and social media channels connected to it has not really changed things that much from the long dinner table discussions I used to have with my family while I was growing up. Now the debate extends way beyond the four walls of the dining room of my parents’ house in Sardinia and anyone can take part in it. However the reality is that only my 87 year old grandma, who lives in London, has effectively been included in the discussions to which she often contributes with comments which I really appreciate.
This just goes to show how even if you try as much as you want to create a broad debate over many years, you sometimes still lack the readership and interest from the public. It could be down to uninteresting content, bad communication and distribution or the fact I’m not a academic, journalist or politician who is able to say things with a voice of authority. Who knows? Then again, the web is often quite simple minded and this is reflected by the fact that Justin Bieber and cats playing piano are the biggest sensation on Youtube.
But if the # taught me something,it is that one does not need qualifications or electoral mandates anymore to be able to rule a country as long as they are good at Tweeting. Take Trump as an example, even before being elected admin of @POTUS he had been tweeting and hashtagging away attacking people left, right and centre in a very ‘politically incorrect’ manner or another case:- the former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who was democratically elected as mayor of Florence and after internal political decisions within his party became the leader of a State of over 60 milion inhabitants with his charismatic touch and pungent tweets such as #staisereno (don’t worry), but no electoral mandate from the Italian people.
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a hashtag, is a good guy with a hashtag (*).
There is no escaping the fact we live in a digital era and hashtags are changing the way people think and communicate across the world. That little previously unused character on your keyboard has now become a vital connection between my 145 characters to the ones of everybody else who is covering the same topic or has taken pictures of the same location.By connecting people social media gives the user a broader perspective on a topic which is often strongly dictated by able politicians, journalists and mainstream media channels who set the agenda and have the loudest voice.
It is our duty, as students and academics to bring out our nerdy knowledge, observations and thoughts to the table as we are more able than others to connect dots and draw broad cross cultural comparisons so it is our duty not to shy away from controversial debates, but instead tackle them full on. With the use of our previous research, passive and active knowledge and writing skills it is our duty to serve the broader population and, with a respectable voice, put all the people who lie and manipulate the masses via social media back into place. Let us prove them wrong with 145 pungent characters, a little bit of sarcasm every so often and back our tweets with external content such as URL links to longer posts, articles or books without forgetting to also connect to other Tweets with a proficient use of hashtags.
If you too believe it is time to feel in a similar way, share this post and let’s make the hashtags #AnthroTaggers (Anthropological Taggers) and #AcaTag (Academic Taggers) into something viral.
This is my third day of my ten week internship in #AntroUU and I am curious to hear what the professors, admin staff and lecturers think about my call to # within Anthropology and Academia.
(*) The original quote is from the head of the US National Rifle Association, Wayne Lapierre who used used the same catchphrase in 2012 to justify people carrying guns after yet another school shooting.
The first thing that happens in a group situation, with people from different parts of Europe that gather in one place for a training course, is a meet and greet session. In my books, this was also the most entertaining part of the first few days of the course I followed, as you can tell cultural differences a mile away.
As the course was in Spain, the organisers used the Spanish way to greet the participants so a hand shake and two kisses on the cheek. Most entertaining was seeing the reaction on people’s faces, the majority of which could not mask their sense of surprise and slight unease to all this southern affection. Most taken aback were the Palestinian girls who were totally shocked by the forwardness of the spaniards.
Also I had some difficulties: when greeting one of the city councillors I went in for kissing her right cheek first whilst apparently in Spain you start from the left.
Overall very entertaining, I strongly recommend this experience just for the fun of it.
Since the latest airplane crash, in which a Russian airliner went down on the Sinai peninsula killing all 224 people on board new questions on airport security have been raised.
Before the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 suitcases were not scanned for bombs and the rule that if the passenger isn’t on board the suitcase gets offloaded wasn’t in force.
Then following the terror attacks of 9/11 the amount of security has increased considerably. The foiled attempt of bombing the transatlantic planes from London to the U.S. resulted in the prohibition of passengers transporting liquids of a greater quantity than a 100ml in their hand luggage.
The latest bomb that involved the Russian airline from Sharm El Sheik to Saint Petersburg will push for a further tightening of security amongst the airport staff and stricter controls on suitcases.
I for one, believe that current security is already very high and that a further increase could bring a greater invasion of our privacy and peace of mind. Although I am perfectly aware of not being a terrorist, I still feel uneasy about the policemen with their machine guns casually walking around public places. What if one of them goes crazy and starts shooting everybody, it would be a massacre! The intense scrutiny at passport control when entering the UK also makes me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps my old passport photo and the tatty cover are elements that make my experience particularly tricky but I can only imagine what an Asian person must go through.
Overall, on a pessimistic note, there will always be a way of killing people en masse, even in civil aviation. There are measures we can take to make it harder, but there is no guarantee that this will prevent another attack. We need to fight the cause at the root and accept the fact that by living our day to day lives we put ourselves at risk. This risk, however, must not deter us from being human and living our lives to the full. Only this will make us resist the terror that the extremists want to inflict on society.
Italy and Sweden are two very different countries for many reasons.
One of them is the prime cause of mortality for under 25 year olds:
In Italy the first cause of death is road accidents.
In Sweden its suicide.
Many could read this and say it’s typical, Italians are all crazy drivers and Swedes get manic depressed during winter, but there is much more to see then just that.
The religious factor plays its role, as Italy is predominantly Catholic and Sweden Protestant ad secular and because of this people tend to have different understandings on the ‘consequences’ of committing such an act (I would believe fear of ending up in hell for taking your life is stronger in Italy than Sweden).
What is the real cause at the basis of it?
Difference in climate and hours of daylight/darkness? For sure, the impact of atmospheric conditions on the population’s psychological well-being is important but also society in Sweden tends to be, by stereotype and partly by fact. more shy and individualistic then the Italian one. It might be the strong sense of family, love for the mother (that beyond the stereotypes is actually quite true) and ties to the community that somehow prevails and any idea of terminating one’s life would be seen as an act of ‘selfishness’.
No denying that it is a deeply tragic fact in Sweden too, but somehow I get the impression that in Italy it is, if possible, even harder to accept for the religious/cultural factors connected to it.
Whist depression might be strong ‘common sense’ and road safety are also strong in Scandinavia and this is the reason why out of a sample of 100.000 people only 3 a year die in road accidents in Sweden whilst in Italy it’s 7.1.
Strangely enough even the suicide rate difference between the two countries is similar as in Italy has a stable figure of around 5.9 out of 100.000 whilst Sweden has an unstable rate that varies reaching it’s all-time low in recent years that is around 12 but before used to be around 16. These studies were done 10 years ago and due to the current economical and social situation in Italy the rate of suicides has definitely increased by some margin.
Today is the anniversary of the death of a school mate, just one year younger then me at the time. On the 12th of April 2010 Leonardo Secci, 16 years of age, on his way to school just as he reached the gate on his moped, got hit by a car.
The teachers, friends and two ambulances were useless; nothing could be done as he left us the moment he hit the ground.
That day the entire school stopped; no more lessons, no more bells were rang everyone was on the balcony or in the garden on that sunny day. Some were praying, others were cursing, loads were smoking and most were in tears.
The sensation of surrealism that you could breathe in those hours is indescribable.
Leo was a cool guy. Young, clever, funny, popular and everyone knew him or heard of him..
Two weeks prior to the incident I remember my first long conversation with him as he came for a trial session to the gym where me and a common friend of ours used to go.
Once we finished he went out of his way to gave me a lift to the beach once we had finished, he drove fast and had a very light helmet but so did everyone his age and although at the moment I felt a bit scared I never thought it was worth mentioning to him as I was grateful for the lift and was in no real position to be able to do so.
I’ll never forget that day.
The most recurrent song on the radio at that time in Italy was ‘Young Forever’ and for all of us at school it became a tribute song to Leo’s life cut short far too early.
In general, I think if you ask around you will find that in Italy many young people will know at least one person who lost their life on the road, in Sweden instead, I find that many know of people who decided to take their lives.
Two beautiful countries, two ongoing tragedies.
If we encouraged more cultural exchange programmes for school kids in the two countries could we possibly have a positive influence on new generations of Swedish and Italian young adults?
Road Safety project ‘Vivo Sicuro‘ (live safely) that I and a few mates as school reps started one year later in tribute to Leo but to work on trying to prevent other people from dying on the roads: http://www.vivosicuro.it/