Friday, March 11, 2005

You have to read this article!

After taking an introduction sociology course at a previous college, I was introduced this article called "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema."
Many individuals have probably already read the article, but because many others have not read it, I do not want to discuss the article - Just read it! Click on the link below and read the article, you'll enjoy it. .

http://www.digiserve.com/eescape/library/Body-Ritual-Nacirema.html

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Civil Rights Movement

This post is in response to a few comments in class about why African American individuals are still a minority and looked at as different or lesser due to their color of skin.

I cannot tell you why individuals still continue to discriminate against individuals simply because skin color, but I would like to mention the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

Someone mentioned slavery and how it was abolished more than 140 years ago - year 1862, continuing on to say that it has been long enough for African Americans to be of equal opportunity and ability.

Many individuals, when speaking of slavery talk about how African Americans gained independence and equality when slavery was abolished at the turn of this past century, but not many speak about the fact that Segregration of blacks and whites was never truely addressed until the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement - 1954, which was almost 100 years AFTER slavery was abolished!

Many white individuals still treated African Americans as slaves and lesser beings well after slavery was abolished, and this harsh treatment did not even BEGIN to change until the Civil Rights Movement - 1954, which is only 50 years ago!

Individuals create their ideas of race through historical, political, physical, and cultural contributions, which take place over many generations in families. In my opinion, individuals formed unequal evaluations of others over hundreds of years through family traditions. The segregation of individuals served a function in our society and helped our society thrive, meaning that it is going to take more than 50 years to break the inequality routine of prejudice and discrimination. . . . .

Friday, March 04, 2005

Considered to be "Lost"

Our class discussed gender inequality this past Friday, and though I try my best to keep personal inequality opinions to myself, I have a hard time in doing so. My observation of the discussion focused on one particular point - "She missed out".

Female classmates spoke about women choosing the career route instead of the family route. It seems women that choose to stay at home and raise children look sadly on "career women." "Family women" say that "career women" missed out on children or lost the great opportunity to give birth to and raise children.

And not to be one-sided, Women that have chosen a career path tend to look down on "family women" as if the women are degrading themselves and their intelligence by settling for simply staying at home to raise a family, which is no simple thing.

?What if? My first question is, what if career women do not want to have children or family women do not want to have a career? One cannot miss something that one does not want or have, right?

?Why choose? My second question is, why is choosing one path ultimately deciding to lose another path? Relating somewhat to my first question, Loss seems to be such a negative term. SO, why is choosing to further one path automatically deciding on your alternative loss?

Sadly, due to gender inequality and the child-bearing decision burden placed on women exclusively, Most women generally have to make an either/or choice - choose between a high powered career or becoming a stay at home mom.

I think when a woman decides to follow either career path, the alternative not chosen should not be a loss or a missed opportunity, it is simply a choice based on individual wants, values, and feelings. It is a difficult choice, but still a choice.

PLUS, though it may be difficult, a career woman can choose to quit - have a child - and be a mom, while a family woman can choose to go into a career. But, this secondary choice is then about sacrifice - does the woman want to sacrifice what world she has created in order to either have a job or make a family.

So, my final question is, why look down on others' choices simply because you do not agree with or have a life differently than them? Just because you choose a different life does not mean that others' lives are wrong. .

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Social Norms

It seems as though all six of my classes talk about the same concepts. I am in two management classes that just recently discussed social norms and gender roles. Today, my social psychology class spoke of the same social norms and roles.

In Social Psychology, we talked about the various social norms that our society has for individuals. In groups, we named some social norms we tend to observe in our everyday life, such as:
  • hygiene
  • greetings
  • traffic norms
  • college underage drinking

To further explain the college underage drinking norm - When an individual decides to go to college, it is acceptable for those not age 21 to drink alcohol and that drinking be normal. Even when speaking to students' parents, the parents generally accept that their underage children are drinking while away at college. Although underage drinking is illegal, underage drinking is the norm.

Our student presenter also asked what we thought of conformity. Conformity is both good and bad, positive and detrimental. Many individuals see conformity as harmful or wrong. An example of harmful or detrimental conformity would be teenage conformity to peer pressure. A teenager often does not form their own values and ideas when around an influential peer group. Teenagers conform to their peer group norms without wondering about how they think to behave or feel. Depending on the group norms, this conformity can be harmful.

On the other hand, conformity is good in the case of traffic norms. Although most traffic norms are laws, they began as norms in order to keep other drivers safe and keep the flow of traffic efficient. It is against traffic norms to drive perpendicular to traffic lanes, stop in the middle of the interstate in the fast lane, and travel down a one-way street against traffic. If a couple of drivers exhibited these uncomforming traffic behaviors, it not only would create chaotic roads, but also unsafe conditions.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Metrosexuals

I am currently taking a Human Sexuality course in the psychology department. This morning, our discussion was over defining Gender, Gender Identity, Gender Roles, and Gender Orientation.

An example of discussing these various aspects of a person would be to use myself.
ex: I am biologically a female, I identify myself a feeling female, Society sees me and my behavior as feminine, and I have a heterosexual orientation.

The purpose of explaining this is to further discuss gender stereotyping. A metrosexual is an individual, such as biological male, who identifies himself as male, has a heterosexual orientation to females, but acts in sometimes feminine ways. Feminine ways or behavior include being emotionally open and showing an affinity for shopping, clothing, and being well-kept.

Society has expectations of acceptable behavior for all individuals and generally tries to classify acceptable behaviors as either masculine or feminine. Obviously as society defines a behavior as feminine, the behavior is expected to be associated with and acted out by a female.

The metrosexual I mentioned above is seen by society as male biologically, but his sexual orientation is questioned by society simply because of his "feminine" behavior. Society sees shopping and being well-dressed as a feminine trait and when seeing a male exhibit this behavior, society labels the male as homosexual.

Society does not take into account that the male was heterosexually attracted to women in order to determine gender orientation, but determines orientation simply because the man likes to dress well. This is precisely an example of gender stereotyping and how society interprets gender roles and expectations.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Procreation

I want to know why our society is preoccupied with procreation. I understand that individuals want to give the world a part of themselves that lives on past their death, but really, why is it that our society has placed inside females the expectation of having to create life for the future?

When a woman tells those surrounding her that she does not want to have children, why do those surrounding individuals question her decision and look down on her for not having a child. Society has placed the idea into females that they are nothing without a child or the ability to have children.

This concept relates to the women who actually want to have children. Many women feel if she is unable to physically conceive, carry, and produce a child from her own womb, then she does not want children. Why is this? If a woman truly wants a child, then why should it matter if the child is created through invetrofertilization, surrogate mother, or adopted? I think society has put into parents' minds that if a child is not created by the parents, carried by the woman, and of the parents' flesh and blood, then the child is not truly their child.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Adding to the Noise

Adding to the Noise by Switchfoot (visit www.switchfoot.com)

What's it gonna take to slow us down
To let the silence spin us around
What's it gonna take to drop this town
We've been spinnin at the speed of sound
Steppin out of those convenient stores
What could we want but more more more
From the third world to the corporate core
We are the symphony of modern humanity

If we're adding to the noise
Turn off this song
If we're adding to the noise
Turn off your stereo, radio, video, I dunno

What they're gonna think of next
Genetic engineers of the most high tech
A couple new ways to fall into debt
I'm a nervous wreck but I'll bet that that t.v. set
Tells us what we wanted to hear
But none of these sound bites are comin in clear
From the third world to the corporate ear
We are the symphony of modern humanity

If we're adding to the noise
Turn off this song
If we're adding to the noise
Turn off your stereo, radio
If we're adding to the noise
Turn off this song

I really like this song, simply because it is a great song. It not only is sang by an awesome band, but it also deals slightly with society and culture. .
The song details ways in which the people in our society subject themselves to the superficial expectations of success that our society embeds in us to achieve.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Male Gender Role

I found Brannon and Doyle's five aspects of the male gender role very interesting. The five aspects include:

  1. Antifeminine element - no expression of openness or vulnerability
  2. Success element - prove masculinity at work and sports
  3. aggressive element - use force in dealing with others
  4. Sexual element - initiate and control all sexual relations
  5. Self-reliant element - keep cool and unflappable

I agree completely with these aspects in relationship with our United States' culture, but like Margaret Mead and her ideas about cultural conditioning, I wonder about other cultures. I know that our society is a patriarchal society, which to me, means that the male displays all five elements simply in order to remain in control of the patriarchal stratification. So, here are my questions:

  • If the United States were a matriarchal society, would females adopt these elements in order to simply maintain power?
  • If females do not adopt these elements and maintain stereotypically feminine roles, then are these feminine roles appreciated as the masculine elements are appreciated in patriarchal society?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Beauty

Has anyone ever noticed that there are not as many terms to describe an attractive male?

There are all these terms to describe an attractive female, such as:
  • beautiful
  • pretty
  • cute
  • gorgeous
  • fine-looking
  • stunning
  • dazzling
  • lovely
  • elegant
  • alluring
  • glittering

BUT, how many terms are there for male beauty? The only ones I can think of include:

  • hot
  • good-looking
  • attractive
  • sexy
  • handsome

All of these terms, except for handsome, can also be used to describe females too, which lessens the little list of terms I cam up with.

I think this all boils down to the type of society in which we are socialized. Society embeds within us all these ideas of what the masculine gender identity is versus the feminine gender identity. I mean, really, have you ever tried to call a male cute? They will probably laugh at you or find it insulting, and our society has placed this idea to find the "cute man" as insulting.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Affirmative Action

I know that as a minority (a female), I should be all for affirmative action, but I question the intentions of affirmative action. The text defines affirmative action as:
  • "positive efforts to recruit minority members or women for jobs, promotions, and educational opportunities"

I have dealt with companies that define positive efforts as automatically disregarding all white males that apply for positions, promotions, etc. I know that white males experience much more privelege than other individuals, but disregarding them as candidates for a job is discriminating against them. My question is, once or if the white male ever becomes a minority, will the new majority also be subjected to discrimination aka affirmative action.

As a discriminated against female, the stereotype of my attitude would be to enjoy affirmative action and the steps government has taken to eliminate discrimination of minorities, but my true attitude is a dislike of affirmative action simply because it is discrimination. My attitude is not subjective to whom is being discriminated against.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Company Car

Company Car by Switchfoot (visit www.switchfoot.com)

Mike was right
When he said I'd put up a fight to be someone
A fight to be me
But see now, I'm down
Under the pavement
Of Capitol Hills and Lowercase People.
As time rolls by my dreams have become
That which is attainable
Not what I'm looking for.

(Chorus) I've got the Company Car
I'm the one swinging at two-below par
Yeah, I've become one with the ones that I've never believed in
But I've got the Company Car

Hey, I'm the king
Of things I've always despised
I'm the ginger-bread man who got eaten alive.
I'm half-baked
I'm fake
But see I got hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk
And 200 bucks
I pass Go, but oh,
Life's takin' it's toll
Have I won Monopoly to forfeit my soul?
But see,

(Chorus)I've got the Company Car
I'm the one swinging at two-below par
Yeah, I've become one with the ones that I've never believed in
But I've got the Company Car

Yeah, all the king's horses
At the foot of the wall
They're taking pictures
Of the man who's lost all of his
Masks of pretention
He's got two faces left.
-His is the one that he hides on the left
Behind that smile..
Hiding tears and fear
That burns like an engine
It drives him away from the ones that he loves
Mike was right,
Hey Mike!
We're one and the same
We're the faceless combatants
In the lonliest game
Ah but say, I'll wave, As I'm driving by
With that smirk in my eye
Yelling "Hey, I'm something man,
Check me out!"

(Chorus)I've got the Company Car
I'm the one swinging at two-below par
Yeah, I've become one with the ones that I've never believed in
But I've got the Company Car
Yeah, check me out
I got the Company Car (2x)
Yeah, check me out
I've got the Company Car
Yeah


I think this song uses great examples of social stratification. The concept of the company car is something of which is only attainable to the upper class people, Karl Marx's bourgeoisie. The song deals with a person's idea of what is acceptable, what is success, what is the upper-class as only one from a lower class perspective could determine. It touches on the Marx's conflict theory between the two classes by mentioning "I've become on with the ones that I've never believed in." The person despised the bourgeoisie and all they sold out to become wealthy when the person was part of the lower class of people, but he is now realizing by obtaining the company car, he's become that which he used to hate.
The song also mentions the concept of social mobility, leaving a lower class and entering the upper-class with the company car. He has moved from nothing to attaining wealth and status. He simply struggles with what he has left behind in order to become wealthy and upper class, has he sold his soul?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The concept of a line - U.S. vs. France

The culture of the United States, as mentioned in the “Social Control at the DMV” example, is passionate about waiting in lines. Many individuals in the United States feel that once you begin waiting in a line, you are entitled to progressively more forward, wait your turn, and eventually receive your right to a turn before someone that has not been waiting as long. When this “line” rule is broken, individuals around you ridicule you and become angered by your disrespect of their decision to abide by the waiting rules.

In France, I experienced a very different societal value of waiting in lines. The French society still enforces the waiting in line rule onto individuals, but the French people deal with lines a little differently that those in the United States. Many people wait in lines just as Americans do, but the informal social control occurring when the line rule is violated is extremely different. When a French person breaks into a line or skips to the front of a line without waiting his or her turn, the surrounding French people waiting in the same line will cheer for the deviant line breaker. This cheer is the French individuals’ way of collectively deviating from the control of bureaucratic government.

Now, if a United States individual in France were to break in line, the French individuals surrounding you would ridicule you and scream, sometimes physically restraining you from breaking in the line. This is an excellent example of how outsiders are treated in an unfamiliar culture.

This situation also displays the values of France, saying something such as, “we as French, are entitled to rebel against our society, but you as a foreigner are disrespectful if you rebel against the society that is not your own.”

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Social Control at the DMV

If one wants to see social control at work, you must visit a bureaucratic formal organization, such as the United States Post Office, the Tax Assessors, or the Department of Motor Vehicles! Many have encountered the unhappy and machine-like individuals at the DMV. The DMV is characterized by long lines, numbers called over an intercom, questionnaires or paperwork, and the drivers’ license.

The end result of a visit to the DMV is the drivers’ license, which is not something that an individual needs to survive or even wants. When an individual says he or she wants a drivers’ license, he or she actually wants to simply be able to drive a car to various places. The license is society’s way of controlling individuals and determining whom they wish to allow the privilege to drive.

In order to drive, you have to obtain the license, which requires a visit to the DMV, which upholds internal rules of individuals’ behavior. The lines we all dread to stand in at the DMV are a way of prioritizing individuals waiting to obtain something they do not physically have to have in order to drive, but obtain to be obedient to the laws and rules of bureaucracy.

If one does not abide by the rules of standing in lines, then those around you enforce informal and formal social control. When you do not abide by the rule of waiting in line, individuals ridicule you, stare meanly at you, possibly scream at you, or physically restrain you to the back of the line. Formal social control is also taken by DMV employees, including placing you at the end of the line, refusing to issue you a license, refuse to help you, remove you from the DMV, etc.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Labeling Theory - I Agree!

Labeling theory: " society brands some people who engage in a behavior as deviant, but not others, based largely on a person's social class, race, and ethnicity." this is also called societal-reaction approach.

I was the typical "teacher's pet" all throughout my K-12 years. I was labeled this name simply because I was obedient to the teacher's demands of work and quality effort. I was not obedient because I chose to be the teacher's pet, but because obedience was a sign of respect for my teacher. Many students around me were labeled by the teacher as troublemakers, which were called this label due to their lack of constant focus on the teacher and creative, imaginative, "out of the box" point of view. The intelligence of troublemakers vs. teacher's pet was not different, simply the behavior was different.

The interesting point to this story is achieved grades. Even though intelligence did not vary drastically, the students labeled teacher's pets achieved higher grades than troublemakers, which achieved low grades. I believe the reason for this discrepancy is due to the labels placed on students by teachers. The teacher's pets knew teachers expected excellence and high grades, while the troublemakers knew teachers expected them to do badly in grades. The students began to believe the labels given, and the labels turned the students into what they were labeled, which affected their achievement of grades. (self-fulfilling prophecy)

This situations makes me wonder how much my achievement is due to my education and intelligence and how much of my achievement is due to the social expectations surrounding me. I know that educators know and understand the labeling theory and how it affects students, but why do they continue to act in this way?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Continuance of statuses

I wanted to talk a little about role conflict in order to make my statuses post easier to understand. Role conflict "occurs when incompatible expectations arise from two or more social positions held by the same person" (Schaefer 2004). I can completely understand role conflicts. As with the employee promoted to supervisor example in our text, I experienced the same conflict my senior year in high school.

It seems high school was such a long time ago, but yet it really wasn't. Though Kennesaw has changed me a great deal, I will always remember what it was like to deal with the role conflict in high school of being a student, while also being a leader. In high school, as we all know, there is a division of power among the various cliques. There's always the punks(deviants), the popular(socially accepted kids), and the nerds. In my case, I was in the band. At my school, this was a pretty good position of power considering the band was better than the football team. The band include all the three cliques mentioned (punks, popular, and nerds). The band was quite small, which made it a primary group and indeed socialized many individuals within the group and taught us all about roles and statuses.

From my sophomore year up to my senior year, I always held an officer position above my peers, but my senior was the toughest. There were a few other officers with me, 10 officers to 50 band members. I held an administrative position my sophomore year, which was not conflicting at all. I was still considered a peer among the band. My junior year, I became band captain, which even though was a higher position with more leadership responsibilities over the band members, I was still considered a peer among the band. Then with my senior year, came trouble. I was appointed drum major over the entire band. Anyone who doesn't know what a drum major is, it is the student that directs the marching band on the field and takes care of band sessions during concert season when the music director (teacher) is busy.

The day I was announced drum major, I was instantly in conflict with my role as peer and band member. The majority of the band members accepted my position, yet did not want to accept my authority over them. In order to be drum major, I had to lessen my role as band member and become a leader more similar to a teacher than a peer. To increase problems, I was the first female drum major the band had in six years. Many felt this position was best suited for a male because of the commands and endurance the position required. Even though the society around me felt this way, I believe the position required someone with strong leadership regardless of gender.

Needless to say, I had a wonderful senior year even with the role conflict among my peers. I still kept my friends, and even became closer to many people I never thought I would become friends with. I think the best way to deal with this conflict is to further divide in your mind when and where each role should be used. When I was in band, I was drum major, but when I was in school, I was a student and peer. This division helped set boundaries and clear rules for both me and those around me to help better deal with the conflict.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

My Statuses

After reading chapter 3 in our text, I began thinking about my various statuses, including ascribed, achieved, and master. I had never really thought about defining these before, they were just something that was given, never really questioned. Because I had not thought about my statuses, I also didn't truly think about all the statuses I have.

  • ascribed statuses: "assigned" to me by society without regard for my unique talents or characteristics

Female Daughter Only Child 20 years old White-Caucasian

  • achieved statuses: attained through one's own effort

Classmate Girlfriend Friend Senior student Honor society member Christian

  • master status: status that determines my overall position within society

the best master status that I could come up with was Student.

School has dominated my life for the past three years and will no longer be a part of my achieved statuses come this may. I have realized that I am not especially happy about this status, and will change it.

I have found that all my in-groups have been formed from my achieved statuses, with the exception of a couple of from ascribed statuses. All the social roles associated with these statuses are extremely conflicting, which is difficult.

It seems my role as a student often conflicts with my roles as friend, girlfriend, and daughter. This is not fully due to society's expectations, but my interpretation of what society expects of me, which are two very different things.

I know this seems obvious, but I challenge everyone to think about their different statuses. Have you determined what your master status is? Ascribed statuses are stable, and relatively unchangeable, but achieved and master are not. Are you happy with your statuses? How do they relate to forming your social roles and in-groups?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

My Values

After our in-class exercise concerning how individuals have formed values by their social environments during childhood, I began thinking about just how many of the values I hold today are derived from some sort of social experience I had during childhood.
Many of my values surround social institutions, such as:
  1. Marriage. My parents divorced when I was extremely young, which created a value inside me for healthy and supportive relationships. I also value the independence I learned from my mother and the persistence she embedded inside my heart.
  2. Family. Though my family is often very, very frustrating, the large amount of time I spent and continue to spend with my mother, grandmother, etc. have taught me to not take for granted the closeness and supportiveness of family, which others my age may not have or will never have. Trust me, I try to tell myself this everyday when I become frustrated with the closeness of family.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Weatherman(woman)

Just to pose a question of which everyone has pondered at some point or another:

What type of culture and society are we in that we value the opinions of a weatherman(woman) to such a degree that we have determined they can do no wrong. The weatherman(woman) can constantly change their interpretation of the weather, but no one stands up and says "No!, you're fired"

I can understand that the weather changes constantly also, but when the weatherman(woman) says that "Without a doubt in their mind, we are going to have a warm front come in" and then the "warm front" be 32degrees.

I think my question is best summarized in the mercury car commerical on television!
The weatherman consistently gets the weather predictions wrong, but the car protects him from the weather. Yet!, the car cannot protect him from the society that hits him with a snowball in the back of the head to say "No! You need to do better"

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Paris, France

In July 2004, I went on a study abroad trip to Paris, France. If you've read my Impressionists thoughts, Paris is were I was able to take the course. With all the talk about culture in chapter 2 of our text, I wanted to mention some of the situations I experienced while visiting Paris and parts of France for five weeks.

  1. culture shock
  2. language barriers
  3. cultural norms

Overall, I truly learned a great deal about overcoming ethnocentrism and detecting other individuals' ethnocentric thoughts and behavior. I find it so amazing that individuals can go through life without experiencing any culture other than their own. The United States is growing more and more diverse and anyone who hopes to shut out other cultures will find it completely impossible. One should be open to learning about another culture and never feel obliged to agree or adopt that culture. If anything, that person will learn to appreciate their own culture more.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Impressionist Art

Over the past summer, July 2004, I completed an Impressionist art history course. The entire class focused on the Impressionist movement and how it revolutionized concepts of art and art techniques.

After reading about the types of norms, sanctions, dominant ideology, and countercultures, I understood better the struggles of Impressionists artists.
When Impressionist art was created, the art world was consumed with traditional art, classic art which portrayed scientific techniques and religious subject matter. Examples of traditional artwork include Carravagio, Leonardo da Vinci, Rapheal, and Michaelango. The techniques of traditional art, including precision of lines, dark colors, and dimensional qualities were the art society's norms.

Impressionist art was drastically different from this norm. Impressionists attempted to capture the fleeting moment of situations, not recreate paintings of historical meetings and events. Due to the quickness needed to capture the moment, impressionist techniques included swift and obvious brushstrokes with little precision of images and absolutely no lines. Most impressionist work contains vivid bright colors and shows the filtering of light onto various subjects. Examples of Impressionist work include Monet, Renoir, Morisot, and the post-impressionist Van Gogh.

Due to the impressionists' obvious opposition of traditional artwork, in my opinion, Impressionist artists were the counterculture to traditional artwork. The impressionists deliberately disregared traditional art techniques, and society ultimately punished them for it.

Society placed negative sanctions on Impressionist works. The impressionists dealt with society's humuliation of their hard work and very few individuals would purchase impressionist pieces. The traditional art society possessed a dominant ideology over impressionists. Traditional artists maintained much higher social status, greater wealth, and much more political influence than impressionists.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Bridget Jones' Diary

I know many have seen the movie Bridget Jones' Diary. I recently read the book and not only is the book funny and engaging, but is also a commentary on society in England. Bridget, a ditzy and middle-aged British woman keeps a diary on her "adventures" in life, including her interactions with family, friends, aquaintances, and work. After reading chapters 1 and 2 of our sociology text, I realized how much of what we are learning was dealt with within the text of Bridget's Diary.
In analyzing Bridget's community, I would use the interactionist perspective because so much of what Bridget struggles with has to do with the family, friends, and relationships surrounding her.
Such as:
  1. Bridget's obsession with her weight. Bridget is preoccupied with keeping track of her weight. I can not blame Bridget for this, because throughout the book, Bridget's mother makes numerous degrading remarks about Bridget's weight. Not only does Bridget receive these messages from family, but also any guy with whom she becomes romantically involved. Men mention her plumpness and how she is unlike what English society deems as beautiful (a thin woman).
  2. Bridget's constant search a romantic relationship. Bridget's mother and aunt consistently try to "fix up" Bridget with Mark Darcy, a wealthy and handsome man. Her mother and aunt are fixing up Bridget not because they think Bridget and Mark will love each other, but because Bridget has now reached middle-age and what is left of her young beauty is fading. Along with this pressure, Bridget's married couple friends have dinner parties and invite Bridget plus other married couples, leaving Bridget as the preverbial "fifth wheel" and announcing to the world that Bridget does not have a boyfriend. Again, this pressure is not simply due to friends and family wanting Bridget to achieve happiness with a companion, but to become married because marriage is much more acceptable to English society than being single.

Another observation was discussed in chapter 2 of our sociology text.
Bridget Jones' Diary contains a number of symbols of language that I, as an United States' English speaker rather than a British English speaker, did not fully understand.
  • Bridget often used the phrase "1471" in regards to checking her phone. Not until later in the book did I find out what it meant. "1471" is London's equivalent to the United States' "caller-id". Meaning, when Bridget said she called "1471" twenty times in one day, she meant she called to find out what phone numbers or individuals had previously called her home that day.