The author of this report will be addressing four high-level topics during the course of this report. In order, those topics will be narcissism, self-esteem/self-worth, a definition and discussion of the self-efficacy theory of Albert Bendura and the inferring of traits as defined by the wider paradigm of the Fundamental Attribution Theory. The body of work on these topics is fairly large but there will be an analysis and reaction to specific articles or, in the case of self-esteem and self-worth, an image. These terms get thrown around a lot and this ends up resulting in a lot of hyperbole and other unsupported (or unsupportable) assertions, there is a lot of credence and veracity to these terms and any informed person can see real-world examples without looking too hard.
When it comes to narcissism, there is an article that the author of this report has been asked to assess and react to. The crux of the article is that many therapists and professionals believe that Donald Trump has what is known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. One thing that was noted right at the top of the article was that the author, Ms. Kreger, had already blogged about the matter before and she had her hand slapped, so to speak, by the mental health community for diagnosing a public figure. The author of this report would echo that because only a person with direct and personal contact with a patient would have the ability to completely and accurately assess whether a person is truly in another world when it comes to their self-perception or if there is something else going on. The author of this report holds that it is entirely possible that Trump’s speeches, braggadocio and so forth is just pandering and calculated in advance rather than being the symptom of some mental disease. Trump surely and obviously thinks very highly of himself but such a status and situation is necessary for someone to be in the public eye and be in big business such as Trump is. Kreger further confirms the wisdom in keeping all of this in mind as she notes she is not a therapist (Kreger, 2015).
Another statement in the article that is an eyebrow-raiser is the assertion that narcissists are not comfortable with the truth. The author of this report would beg to differ with that as this is a calling card for many a politician. For example, Hillary Clinton was recently quoted as saying she “believes” she tells the truth. Having to offer that qualifying word is extremely damning to anyone that pays attention to the way people phrase thing. Rather than clearly and bluntly saying “yes I do” or something else simple and to the point, she had to throw the word “believe” in there. To be sure, Hillary and her party do not monopolize this practice as Donald is doing the same precise thing in his own way. The point is that people in positions like politicians are trying to votes and every single syllable is typically very calculated and controlled. What a politician says and what is really going through their mind can be (and often is) two entirely different things (Kreger. 2015).
One could liken this to sociopathy or Machiavellianism. The latter is simply the idea that everything is a means to an end. If something can be done to improve one’s position and power, it is typically worth doing. One may put limits on that or they may not but that is a rather precarious position to take from an ethical standpoint because it can very easily lead to deception and softening of what is really going on. Politicians also do the inverse all the time and that is engaging in demagoguery about something a politician said. They will take a statement out of context or will represent that it is a coded message. A common example would be the use of the word “thug.” Many assert that thug is a “code word” against black people and the people saying it may as well be saying the n-word. However, thug literally means “violent criminal” and that is the way it should be interpreted unless there is proof positive that something else is afoot. The point is that some people are legitimately deranged to the point of being narcissistic or in possession of other or different mental defects. However, to assume that Trump is not control of his faculties might be selling him short. What he is doing is certainly not right but that is not to say that it is not entirely pre-mediated, thoughtful and borne of a lucid mind (Kreger. 2015).
Self-Esteem & Self-Worth
The image presented for this part of the report is rather heart-wrenching and saddening. The picture is of a shirtless young girl who is quite literally taking a pair of scissors to her stomach. The inferred motive behind this action is made clear when the magazine and other pictures of skinny women are seen strewn about her on the floor. The picture is a statement about the societal trend for people to pimp and forward the idea that fat people and those without flat stomachs, women in particular, are less worthy and less valuable when it comes to their being as people. This is further advanced and the system perverted by the fact that the most famous and powerful people in many spheres of society are rather or very skinny. Just a few examples that could be pointed to are Taylor Swift, Britney Spears (during her initial fame), Christina Aguilera (ditto) and so forth. This is not to say that those women are evil or part of the evil machine, but they are certainly being used by it.
Part of the problem, although it would seem to be easing, is the fact that traditional gender roles dictate that women are subservient to men and one of their main functions in life is to be attractive, be popular and thus more easily find a man that will view her as a “trophy wife” or a “catch.” Men have not been all that helpful in that they objectify women in many ways and they often focus more on how a potential mate looks rather than looking at other factors such as how they act (or do not act), whether they have their life together, whether they are enjoyable to be around and so forth. As noted above, this is starting to fade and both women and men are starting to speak out and decry these patterns and how the younger girls of America are being indoctrinated into this sad system and being held to ridiculous standards rather than being told to ignore it. There is nothing wrong with teaching girls and women how to eat right, be fit and so forth. However, it has to drilled into those same girls and women that their self-worth is not connected to their weight or overall looks. They should further be told that men who assess and treat them in this manner should be eschewed in favor of men that will actually respect and love them for who they are rather than how good they look in a dress.
However, what is going on in entertainment and advertising has got to stop. When people like the Kardashians, Chris Brown, Kanye West and others are the face of products and social movements, that is a very bad sign. Kim Kardashian got her initial fame over a sex video and the fact that her father, now deceased, was one of the men who helped get OJ Simpson off when he was charged with the deaths of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. Chris Brown is a noted woman-beater as he provably smacked Rihanna around and was convicted for it. Kanye West, contrary to what was said about Trump, is definitely off his rocker as some of the things he is saying indicate that he is LIKELY (not provably) to have mental illness, drug problems or both. Adrian Peterson beat his child with a switch to a level that a normally be a felony and he was immediately rehired by his NFL team when he was eligible to do so. The point is that people that engage in such behavior should not rewarded just because they can run a football or help sell cell phones. No matter how intriguing it might be to push the image of sexiness and slimness, advertising and marketing groups need to stay away from that. Ad firms and companies like Geico and others have proven that it is not that hard to gets sales without perpetuating such stereotypes and images that are not realistic. It started with Barbie and it has gotten cataclysmically worse. Companies need to stand up and quit allowing these images and stnadards to continue.
The article reviewed for this part of the report was written by Monica Frank. She makes the case that women being taught like men can go entirely south because the self-efficacy of women can be less than optimal and/or they cannot otherwise make the translation in their mind between what men think and what women thing. Ms. Frank states the obvious when she says that men and women think differently, at least in general. To be sure, there are some men who think in a more woman-like manner and the same is surely true in reverse. However, the stereotypical patterns usually hold true and there is nothing verboten or shocking about saying that. It is indeed true that men are more disposed and acclimated to sports and martial arts, both those being examples that Ms. Frank uses, because they are centered on ego and competition. Ms. Frank rightfully points out that neither men’s approaches or women’s are a bad thing … just that women and men are different most of the time. Frank is also wise to point out that when a player is coached, a man’s response is more often oriented around redemption and proving that they do have ability while the women is much more prone to self-doubt and they will take a coach’s criticism as a personal attack rather than constructive criticism (Frank, 2016).
However, the words about women not competing is a little hard to swallow because the author of this report simply does not believe that. While it may not be as true in sports or other similar endeavors, to believe that women do not compare themselves to others is laughable at best. The picture analyzed for the last section of this report proves that by itself. Women may focus on different things than men in the grand scheme of things but to suggest that they don’t sometimes pit themselves against each other or against societal norms is ludicrous on its face. Not all women do that but many certainly do. Further, the assertion that women do not compete is also a bit hard to believe. The author of this report would not want to paint with too broad a brush but there is plenty of competition when it comes to the quality and nameplates of clothes, how women compete over certain men, how women might sometimes vie for the affections of a rich or popular man as compared to one that is only one or neither and so forth (Frank, 2016).
As far as martial arts go, this is an interesting topic to focus on because there is a very good reason why women should consider taking martial arts classes, or at least a class in packing a concealed weapon like a gun. In a straight fistfight, a woman is going to lose a vast majority of the time because men, on the whole, are larger, more muscular and are otherwise superior. However, there are weaknesses as well and women need to understand that coaching in martial arts or gun classes is about composure and poise when survival mode kicks in. Indeed, if a man is trying to rape a woman, having martial arts skills, a stun gun or a real gun can be a huge asset. Based on brute strength alone, the woman will almost certainly lose. Just as teachers should acclimate their methods to their audience, the student should acclimate their learning to the teacher. If a martial arts teacher is a man and the student is a woman, the man could theoretically try to change their style to meet the woman’s needs but the woman should probably focus more on the fact that men know their bodies and vulnerabilities better than women do (and the same is true in reverse) and thus the woman should not take things so personally and thus try to learn what is important so that they can be protected in their daily lives. At the end of the day, the bigger issue is probably the immense pressure, both societal and cultural, that is placed on women. It is unfortunate that teaching situations have to be built around that. Instead, women and girls need to be built up so this tendency to recoil and feel vulnerable is replaced with a feeling that the situation is about learning and improvement rather than a loss of self-esteem. In this way, women should be more like male athletes and view a setback as a motivation to do better rather than taking it personally and regressing from a development standpoint. At the same time, men could and should learn a lot from women and understand their tendencies so as to remain sensitive and empathetic (Frank, 2016).
Fundamental Attribution Theory — Inferring Traits
The presumption and attribution of traits when it comes to certain groups is at a fever pitch when it comes to several groups. For example, some people have very ignorant and wildly assuming feelings about black people and this even applies to people that are not know to the person or people making the assumptions. A common example would be an old white woman clutching her handbag against her when a black man walks by even though the black man is not engaging in any sort of threatening stares or actions. Much the same thing happens with people that follow Islam. While it was not great for Muslims before the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred, it got even worse after that point in the United States. Indeed, three thousand dead Americans at the hands of nineteen Arabs can do that. However, those events have led many to presume and assert that many to most Muslims are like the Islamic extremists typified by groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda (Safdar, 2016).
While there are certainly some geopolitical reasons that Muslims are not always positive about the United States, this is grossly unfair and ignorant. Whether it be the actions of the Israelis against the Palestinians, the spate of wars that the United States and other Western countries have fought in the Middle East and Northern Africa and other events, there are some reasons for Muslims to be wary and suspicious about the motives of the United States and its people. At the same time, there should be a separation between the actions of terrorist groups (who are the vast minority) and governments and the people that are in the countries in question. For example, some of the refugees fleeing Syria and other war-torn countries are engaging in depiscable acts but the vast majority of them are simply fleeing war and bloodshed. Further, there might be some Muslims in the United States that quietly voice the opinion that the United States had 9/11 coming to them, they are surely in the stark minority and there are many non-Muslim Americans that say things just as bad, if not worse. The Westboro Baptist Church comes to mind (Safdar, 2016).
However, this has not stopped a rampant amount of inferred traits being foisted on Muslims who have done no wrong and have no ill will towards the American people. Even with the fact noted by Safdar that Muslims make up a small fraction of countries like Great Britain, the amount of distrust and anger is extremely palpable and obvious. The “open houses” that mosques in Great Britain are doing will certainly help but the more entrenched and ill-mannered people will not participate in such events and, even if they did, will probably not be swayed. The author of this report holds and believes that the tarring and labeling of Muslims as bad people due to the way that terrorists bastardize their faith is just another manifestation of the same problem. So much of what people think they know and perceive is really just their opinion or an assumption. As a result, so much of those assumptions are partially or wholly wrong. There are surely bad people but filling in the blanks about someone without knowing them is obtuse to say the least (Safdar, 2016).
If people would simply be more diligent and introspective about what they think, say and do as it pertains to themselves and others, this country and the wider world could be so much better off. There are entirely too many people that are ill-informed or not informed at all that are defaming others and otherwise inciting stupidity and hatred and it really needs to stop.
Frank, M. (2016). Giving Women Feedback to Increase Self-Efficacy by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.. Excel At Life. Retrieved 23 February 2016, from http://www.excelatlife.com/articles/teaching_women.htm
Kreger, R. (2016). Therapists Confirm Trump’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Psychology Today. Retrieved 23 February 2016, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201511/therapists-confirm-trumps-narcissistic-personality-disorder
Safdar, A. (2016). ‘Visit my mosque’ day in UK bids to tackle Islamophobia. Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 23 February 2016, from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/01/mosque-day-uk-bids-tackle-islamophobia-160130172406868.html
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