Way to go President Obama!
Originally posted on GOOD BLACK NEWS:
WASHINGTON (AP) — A program designed to foster a new generation of young African leaders will be renamed after former South African President Nelson Mandela.
President Barack Obama, who has said he was one of the untold millions of people around the world who were inspired by Mandela’s life, is set to announce the name change at a town hall-style event Monday in Washington with several hundred young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa.
The youngsters are participating in the inaugural Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, part of the broader Young African Leaders Initiative that Obama launched in 2010 to support a new generation of leadership there. The fellowship is being renamed as a tribute to Mandela, who died last December at age 95.
Obama announced the fellowship during a stop in South Africa last summer. It connects young African leaders to leadership training opportunities at top…
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Many times I’ve written about my likes & dislikes at the gym. A lot of the things I see at the gym are either very distracting or just plain ridiculous. Now, I’d like to share with you some of the annoying things I see from people at the gym:
• Not workout – Why bother coming if you know you don’t really plan to get in a good sweat? Watching yourself in the mirror does not count as exercise.
• Asking me if you can go in between my reps – Leave me alone! You can use it when I’m done. Forgive me for not allowing you to use the machine that I’m working on. Just come back when the machine is empty because I’m not moving. I’ve already wiped down someone else’s sweat & I’m not about to wipe yours.
• Not putting their weights away – I don’t lift 200lbs on the leg press so why should I have to put it away just so I could use it? People need to just put their weights back before they walk away. What’s even worse is when people leave their plates leaning up against the places where people walk and either trip or crush their toes. Someone could be seriously injured causing them to miss out for several weeks on their exercise just because you were lazy & negligent.
• Spitting in the water fountain – That’s just gross!
• Too much hairspray or perfume – I shouldn’t have to stay away from an entire area just because you overdosed on beauty products. The only overwhelming stench I should smell is sweat & B.O.
• Not wiping their sweat off of the equipment when they’re done using it – Oh my goodness this drives me insane! I wipe down equipment before and after I use, so why shouldn’t everyone else?! Your sweat is no better than anyone else’s, buddy!
• People who try to chat me up – Don’t you see I have headphones on? I am usually very focused on my workout so I don’t have time to discuss last night’s TV episode or my weekend plans. And don’t think just because I’m taking a break you can have an extended conversation with me either. If I didn’t start talking to you first, keep it moving.
• Play on the phone – Your music playlist should already be programmed into your phone. Other than hitting play & occasionally pressing pause, why are you pressing any other buttons on your phone when you should be pressing the buttons on the treadmill instead?!
• Women who are stronger and/or better looking than me – How dare they come to the gym when they are already looking fit & trim? Those people shouldn’t be allowed in. The nerve of some people, I tell ya!
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
– Psalm 1:1-6
“It is an honor for a man to cease from strife and keep aloof from it, but every fool will quarrel.”
(Proverbs 20:3, AMP)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Did you know that when you allow someone else’s words or actions to upset you, you’re allowing them to control you? When you say, “You make me so mad,” you’re really just admitting that their actions have power over you. As long as that person knows they can push your buttons, as long as you keep responding the same way, you are giving them exactly what they want. Sure, people have a right to say and do things that are upsetting, but we also have a right to not get offended. We have a right to overlook their actions. In fact, the Bible says that it’s an honor for a man to keep “aloof” from strife. In other words, we have to remove ourselves, either physically or emotionally, from strife and offense. It’s not easy, but we can choose to let it roll off of us like water off a duck’s back!
Remember, you don’t need everyone to agree with you all the time. You don’t have to have the approval of others in order to be approved by God. Your job is to be the person God made you to be. Overlook offenses and let go of strife so you can live in peace and victory all the days of your life!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank You for loving, accepting and approving me just as I am. I know You are doing a work in my life, and I ask for the strength and confidence to overlook offense so that I can honor You in everything I do in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen
In one illustrious study of love (“human sexual selection”) in 1986, psychologists David Buss and Michael Barnes asked people to rank 76 characteristics: What do you value most in a potential mate?
The winner wasn’t beauty, and it wasn’t wealth. Number one was “kind and understanding,” followed by “exciting personality” and then “intelligent.” Men did say they valued appearances more highly than women did, and women said they valued “good earning capacity” more highly than men did—but neither ranked measures of physical attractiveness or socioeconomic status among their top considerations.
People, though, are liars. Experiments that don’t rely on self-reporting regularly show that physical attractiveness is exquisitely, at times incomparably, important to both men and women. Status (however you want to measure it: income, formal education, et cetera) is often not far behind. In real-life dating studies, which get closer to genuine intentions, physical attractiveness and earning potential strongly predict romantic attraction.
While people tend to prefer people similar to themselves in terms of traits like religiousness or thriftiness, when it comes to beauty and income, more is almost always seen as better. On these “consensually-ranked” traits, people seem to aspire to partners who rank more highly than themselves. They don’t want a match so much as a jackpot.
The stereotypical example of that is known in sociology as a “beauty-status exchange”—an attractive person marries a wealthy or otherwise powerful person, and both win. It’s the classic story of an elderly polymath-billionaire who has sustained damning burns to the face who marries a swimsuit model who can’t find Paris on a map but really wants to go there, because it’s romantic.
All you need is money or power, the notion goes, and beautiful lovers present themselves to you for the taking.
When Homer Simpson once came into a 500-pound surfeit of sugar, his id instinct was to turn it into fortune and sexual prosperity. “In America,” he said—half dreaming after a night spent guarding the mound in his backyard—”First you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women.” That’s an homage to Scarface (in the movie the quote was “money” instead of “sugar”), and it’s where both Simpson and Tony Montana went emphatically astray.
University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock has done exhaustive research on the idea of people exchanging traits. Her work waspublished last month in American Sociological Review, looking at data from 1,507 couples in various stages of relationships, including dating, cohabiting, and married. “Beauty-status exchange accords with the popular conception of romantic partner selection as a competitive market process,” McClintock wrote, “a conception widely accepted in both popular culture and academia.” She referred specifically to the gendered version, “in which an economically successful man partners with a beautiful ‘trophy wife,'” as commonplace.
But McClintock found that outside of ailing tycoons and Donald Trump, in the practical world it basically doesn’t exist. Where it does, it doesn’t last. The dominant force in mating is matching.
What appears to be an exchange of beauty for socioeconomic status is often actually not an exchange, McClintock wrote, but a series of matched virtues. Economically successful women partner with economically successful men, and physically attractive women partner with physically attractive men.
“Sometimes you hear that really nice guys get hot girls,” McClintock told me, “[but] I found that really nice guys get really nice girls. [Being nice] is not really buying you any currency in the attractiveness realm. If the guys are hot, too, then sure, they can get a hot girl.”
Because people of high socioeconomic status are, on average, rated as more physically attractive than people of lower status, many correlations between one partner’s appearance and the other partner’s status are spurious and misconstrued.
“Women spend a lot more time trying to look good than men do,” McClintock said. “That creates a lot of mess in this data. If you don’t take that into account then you actually see there’s a lot of these guys who are partnered with women who are better looking than them, which is just because, on average, women are better looking. Men are partnering ‘up’ in attractiveness. And men earn more than women—we’ve got that 70-percentwage gap—so women marry ‘up’ in income. You’ve got to take these things into account before concluding that women are trading beauty for money.”
The study concludes that women aren’t really out for men with more wealth than themselves, nor are men looking for women who outshine them in beauty. Rather, hearteningly, people really are looking for … compatibility and companionship. Finding those things is driven by matching one’s strengths with a partner who’s similarly endowed, rather than trying to barter kindness for hotness, humor for conscientiousness, cultural savvy for handyman-ship, or graduate degrees for marketable skills.
At least partly because physically attractive individuals are treated preferentially by the world at large, they enjoy improved school performance, greater occupational success, and higher earnings. So these variables can be hard to isolate.
“It would be very hard to separate out class and attractiveness,” McClintock said, “because they’re just so fundamentally linked. I can’t control for that—but I don’t see how anybody could.”
Past research has found that both physical attractiveness and education “help a woman achieve upward mobility through marriage (defined as marrying a man of higher occupational status than her father),” McClintock noted in the journal article, “and help her marry a man of high occupational status, in absolute terms.” But these studies regularly excluded any evaluation of the men’s physical attractiveness, and so didn’t address the simple fact that it might just be two attractive people being attracted to one another, probably in attractive clothes in an attractive place, both perpetually well slept. Any “exchange” was an illusion.
McClintock has also found that the pervasive tendency toward rating higher-status people as more attractive seems to perpetuate itself . “Because of that,” she said, “there’s a bias toward seeing women who are married to high-status men—who are themselves high-status—as being more attractive. It creates this self-affirming circle where we never even stop to ask if we perceive the man as good-looking. We just say she’s good-looking, he’s high status—and she’s good-looking in part because the couple is high-status.”
“Assuming that the importance of beauty and status is gendered may cause researchers to overlook men’s attractiveness and women’s socioeconomic resources,” Eli Finkel, a psychologist at Northwestern University, told New York magazine, praising McClintock’s work. In so doing, scientists misidentify matching as exchange.
“Scientists are humans, too,” Finkel claimed, “and we can be inadvertently blinded by beliefs about how the world works. The studies that only looked at men’s (but not women’s) income and only looked at women’s (but not men’s) attractiveness were problematic in that way, as was the peer review process that allowed flawed papers like that to be published.”
“Controlling for both partners’ physical attractiveness may not eliminate the relationship between female beauty and male status,” McClintock wrote, “but it should at least reduce this relationship substantially.”
Even as its pervasiveness in popular culture is waning, the gendered beauty-status exchange model is harmful in several insidious ways, McClintock said. “It trivializes the importance of women’s careers in a social sense: It’s telling women that what matters is your looks, and your other accomplishments and qualities don’t matter on the partner market. The truth is, people are evaluating women for their looks, and they’re evaluating men for their looks. Women are as shallow as men when it comes to appearance, and they should focus on their own accomplishments. If women want an accomplished guy, that’s going to come with being accomplished.”
So this is just one more place where upward mobility is, it seems, a myth. But in this case, no love is lost. Within the gendered beauty-status exchange model, physical attractiveness “might enable class mobility for women,” yes, McClintock wrote, but not without ensuring the women’s economic dependency on her husband and anachronistically ignoring her valuation of his physical attractiveness.
“It also sets up this idea of marriage being mercenary,” McClintock said, “which doesn’t fit with our usual conception that we kind of like our spouse and we want someone that we get along with. It’s not just this trade of his money for her beauty, and he’s going to dump her as soon as she starts to get some wrinkles around her eyes.”
*Article originally published on The Atlantic.