RKO Publicity Photo, "King Kong" 1933 Source: Public Domain Wikimedia Commons In previous blog posts, I have identified and described the public’s curious fascination with diabolical characters, particularly serial killers, in both fact and fiction. I have explained that as a society we have a tendency to transform real-life ghouls such as the infamous serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy into what I call “celebrity monsters.” Furthermore, I have explained that these socially constructed, real-life celebrity monsters have much in common with fictional monsters such as the iconic vampire Count Dracula or the Wolf Man. To a great extent, they are all a source of curiosity and entertainment for the public. However, this begs the question: Why exactly are we drawn to monsters and serial killers? I contend that, strangely enough, a big part of the curious appeal of monsters and serial killers (in both fact and fiction) has to do with our own empathy. Stated differently, I … [Read more...] about Why We Are Drawn to Monsters and Serial Killers
What are the first words that come to mind when trying to describe femininity? Chances are that many of the words that surface hold negative connotations: fragile, weak, delicate, frivolous, superficial, emotional, passive, indecisive. Indeed, some second-wave feminists saw femininity as a patriarchal tool intended to keep women in a permanent status of subordination to men. Anything done to accentuate or celebrate femininity, either through fashion or makeup, was (and in some cases still is) seen as evidence of women being ‘duped’ into making themselves sex objects for men. But is that the whole story of femininity, or could there be more? Femininity is often associated with weakness, even within the realm of physical fitness. Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels A new series of articles published in a special issue of Psychology & Sexuality explores the field of Critical Femininities, an area of scholarly inquiry that seeks to expand upon our existing … [Read more...] about Does Femininity Need a Makeover?
This month, I attended a narrative medicine workshop with people from Finland, Portugal, Canada, and the U.S. As we analyzed work from artists, authors, poets, and movie directors, we embraced vulnerability, took risks, and processed emotions and viewpoints of strangers we had just met. We differed in age, gender , race, ethnicity , geographic location, occupation, marital status, and level of education ; yet, the empathy invoked in our small group sessions connected us in unpredictable ways. The dictionary definition of empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Psychologists consider empathy to have cognitive, emotional, and compassionate components. Nearly 30 years ago, mirror neurons were first described in macaque monkeys. Italian researchers showed that when an object was grasped, neuronal activation occurred not only during the direct experience of grasping but also during observation of another’s experience. This mirroring has been … [Read more...] about 3 Tips to Help You Engage in Empathy
My chicks in their first week. Watching them grow to the point where they started laying eggs has felt fulfilling. Experiencing their youthful energy and affection also "fills my resilience cup" after a long day. Source: Brad Waters “[Fulfillment] can never be exchanged or redeemed, because everything has been exchanged or redeemed to make its purchase possible.” — Emily Fox Gordon As I was preparing to write this essay yesterday morning, a client called me asking for help weighing a difficult career decision: To accept an offer to attend an MBA program at an Ivy League school or to remain at a highly regarded company in a well-paying position. So I’ll pose the conundrum to my readers: You have a bachelor’s degree and a secure position in a good company. You’re generously compensated and will likely receive a promotion in the next two years. But in that same span of time, you could be finishing up your Masters from one of the most prestigious institutions on the … [Read more...] about My Job Sucks and I Don’t Know What Makes Me Happy