When we went to the university in 1959, people majoring in English still had the choice to enter editorial jobs in publishing, newspaper work, or teaching community college and/or high school English. But when we entered university degree programs college then only cost $94 per semester for full-time course programs or were free, if our high school averages were high enough. This year, media news articles tout a PhD. program in physical therapy can lead to a growing trend of available jobs for physical therapists trained at the doctoral level, one way of making a difference in people's lives other than being the distant observer the liberal arts seemed to present to those who wanted to write or edit news of what work or research became public information.
Check out this author's personal experience on finding a job and taking a college major focusing on learning skills for working in the media during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with an English major, creative writing emphasis. The audio MP3 file is on Internet Archive. Or check out this audio at: Careers in the late 1950s and early 1960s-1970s for English majors, what it was like, hour-long talk.
And back then we knew people with tenured full-time jobs in quiet college libraries with graduate educational technology degrees. They retired with pensions and spent summers traveling in Europe. Today it's different than it was in the late 1950s as far as finding a media-related job. Today, there are more liberal arts graduates than there are jobs available in the media or even in teaching people how to write the news. You have business degree graduates today working in retail as clerks hoping for a promotion to fashion buyer or manager of a mall store.
As more stores closed in the Sacramento area, you have liberal arts graduates who enjoyed working in book stores looking for jobs in public and university libraries, but there aren't enough jobs available, and those jobs offered to students usually don't pay enough for financial independence.
Is it wise to major in liberal arts when even many science and business majors can't find work locally? Who does find work in the media in Sacramento? You have a shortage of nurses, for example, but it becomes too difficult to get into a program locally in nursing at a four-year college. You have a need for physical therapists, but the waiting list is long and qualifications are tight to qualify.
So do you search for media jobs in other countries or stay in Sacramento and work the retail clerk or temporary office worker route? Or are you overqualified to work as an administrative assistant with a degree in journalism or English, but are not hired because you don't have enough full charge bookkeeping/accounting skills?
Changes have created a need for colleges to have better job training. For those with the interest in liberal arts, there's that plan B alternative, the interdisciplinary major, where job skill training is a reality if you choose the right courses, such as medical journalism and technical writing for English majors with educational technology minors.
Or journalism majors taking courses in forensic DNA informatics so they can work with computer databases while reporting on medical conventions.
The publications have merged, and fewer jobs are available. So you have to go tech, but still be a generalist with specialist skills that don't go out of style because they can be easily upgraded through professional associations' seminars.
Higher education is supposed to be about creating self-sufficiency through job training so a person won't end up homeless, dependent upon relatives, or victimized for being in poverty
The public library's and bookstore's purpose is to increase one's knowledge, ethics, and intellect. If four years or more of an expensive public or private university education is spent on only increasing intellect and morality with no job training, the money's wasted.
Make sure your college education is spent finding out how to raise, earn, and save money to prevent becoming a burden in a future relationship.
You go to college to become financially independent. Otherwise you risk remaining in abusive relationships for the free food and rent. You create intellect through books read outside of college.
Don't think for a moment that college isn't a job-training hub. It better be. You've only to look at thousands of college-educated persons out of work long before their retirement years or dependent upon others with incomes.
You're going to college to learn how to have enough money so that social security can never reduce your total income to three figures a month for the remainder of your lifetime with the power to reduce it further when the government decides you've earned a hundred bucks from a freelance article and reduces your spousal social security retirement benefits because you've earned a three figure income one month out of a year in citizen journalism, for example.
Just think of this scenario in your old age. If only you had majored in a subject where they was a great job opening in a relatively secure field, well, a more secure field.
Then you wouldn't be competing with the crowd at the bottom of the pyramid for the scarce monies available as an income. What if you had taken job training in college instead of reading those novels?
Yes, college may be your last opportunity for job training. Don't let the money and years slip by because you'll be spending your golden years in public libraries or bookstores reading everything you thought you needed to learn in college that's intellectual rather than in the job training category. Get the transferable job skills first.
Right now, healthcare training is in. In five years, it may be something else. The key word is transferable--the generalist with the specialist skills that can be transferred from one field to another, where experience is never going to be obsolete and retraining is life-long and without age discrimination when you reach fifty or seventy and still need to work.
Are the days gone when after high-school graduation, you can sit in a public or university library for four years and read all the books you can read like Ray Bradbury did? Or travel like Hemingway did with a fourth-grade education and still write best-sellers? People with some college often are left out of the type of job security needed to become financially independent, pull your own weight, or head a household.
Can you still open a business and become a millionaire entrepreneur with no formal schooling like so many immigrants have done? And is it true that majoring in liberal arts for a four-year degree (and going no further) is a waste of time? Back in the seventies, even PhDs in the liberal arts were driving cabs because there were too many graduates and too few jobs related to their studies.
When I started university studies in 1959, getting a master's degree in English with emphasis in creative writing did lead to a job for many. First you started in publishing as a typist as long as you could afford to live in New York City (as I did then). Then you work your way up to editor. But the job was never secure.
You could try to get a teaching job once writer's cramp ended your secretarial work. If you were male, you could skip the typing pool and walk right into teaching if you were lucky enough to land a job in the late 1950s, but teaching might wear you out because the new teachers were put into the inner urban schools. The lucky males walked into technical editing work in a secure government job. Today, the competition is keener than it was in the 1950s or 1960s. By the mid to late1970s, jobs were opening in technical illustration with computer corporations.
For females, in the 1950s, with a liberal arts degree, you were last hired, first fired as a typist. To make your job secure in addition to your graduate degree, you had to learn shorthand, Speedwriting, or Notehand and pass typing and dictation tests. But something happened as the years passed. Publishers merged. Jobs went away. You could audition for a job in public relations, but those jobs went to the journalism graduates majoring in public relations who also took a master's degree in public relations. Yet communications jobs were opening as technical writers. But it's not 1959 any more.
Why do you want to major in liberal arts when you can get the same education at any age in the public libraries? The college majors preparing you for the jobs most in demand usually are overcrowded, impacted, and have a long waiting list to get into. And they can pick and choose who to let in. Don't waste your money on a liberal arts major unless you have a very good reason to take that major, and possibly know where you'll work in what field and how you'll apply what you learned in your courses to transfer to a job in the real world.
Many people select a college major because they like the subject studied, not because employers can't find enough graduates to fill jobs requiring that major. The exception would be teachers of math and science with math and science majors and teaching credentials and persons with degrees in various healthcare occupations, including various technologies, along with state licenses to practice.
Examples would be nursing, occupational, respiratory, radiology, ultrasound, dental hygiene, physical therapies, certain types of social work, especially social work doctorates and social workers with master's degrees as well as law degrees, and allied health care professions. Even paralegals have experienced age discrimination if they've gone back to school to retrain in their forties and fifties.
Pick an occupation that is least likely to fire you if you are past the age that they usually hire. That includes most teaching professions, engineering, software design, animation, certain types of web design jobs, graphic arts, and video game design. Interestingly medical doctors are usually not laid off when they reach their forties, fifties, and sixties, unless they have health issues.
University tuition isn't under $100 a semester any more like it was 50 years ago when I attended college. With private colleges costing around $25,000 annually and state college tuition costs rising so frequently, don't bother going to college if all you're going to do is major in one of the liberal arts courses, unless you're pretty sure of landing a job when you finish that will lead to enough financial security for you to be independent and self-supporting. Here's why.
One example could be Cal State Fullerton. The university in 2009 had been forced to cancel up to 150 class sections for the 2009 fall semester to help the state balance its budget. The cancellations were made in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the largest of the university’s eight schools.
The college hosts most of the university’s traditional liberal arts programs, including sociology, literature, religion, history and philosophy. Campus officials in 2009 said the cuts would affect up to 3,200 students back then when the article was written. And it is possible that deeper cuts could be made in the spring semester, that story noted in 2009. (Other public colleges and universities also have made cuts.)
Let's say you're pretty sure you're going to be a high school teacher of one of the liberal arts subjects. Then major in a practical, but generalist major and minor in the subject you want to teach in the field of liberal arts. For example, if you want to teach English, you'll be competing with thousands of other university graduates and re-entry students for the few jobs available teaching English in most high schools.
The schools can be picky, choosing young students over those homemakers in their late forties returning to college for a teaching credential after the children are back in college and the nest is empty. Think twice if you assume you're going to be hired over the 25-year old completing a graduate degree and credential.
If you're a young student, pick a major that's transferable to other fields. You can be a generalist with transferable skills to other types of work. For example, instead of majoring in English if you like to write, pick a major in technical and science writing. Then take several courses in the type of science you want to emphasize in your writing, for example a minor.
Some people major in one of the liberal arts because they are not doing well in courses that require math skills in practical applications of the math, for example, accounting, informatics, genetics, statistics, neuroscience, or biochemistry. Look at some of the newer majors that have a great outlook for jobs opening and increasing in the next decade. Instead of majoring in fine art, choose graphic design with animation and 3-D modeling using animation software, video editing, or digital media. Take a major in educational technology and minor in technical and science writing.
If you don't do well in math, there are technical jobs waiting that aren't being contracted out overseas. Find out what they are, such as informatics and DNA testing as a minor and technical/science or medical writing as a major.
If you want to pick some of the most practical majors, they're in the healthcare industry--teaching nursing online if you have the appropriate graduate degree and experience, or teaching at a community college level the various healthcare technologies. Another route is to get a four-year degree in vocational education, doing what you like to do, such as technical illustration with computer software, and go on to a graduate degree in vocational education administration.
You can focus on any subject from auto mechanics and repair (now computerized to a large extent) to electronics technology in vocational education, getting a four-year degree and finally a masters with a teaching credential. But with the costs of college so high, don't waste your money on a liberal arts education. You won't have job skills.
If you think a liberal arts degree gives you transferable job skills, you're wrong. What you'll end up with is a last-hired, first-fired job as an administrative assistant, formerly a secretary or clerk. You won't be promoted, not as fast as you'd like, unless your family owns the business.
Many people think a liberal arts major gives them an education in ethnics. No. Sitting in the library during summer vacations and reading books on ethics and moral teachings is just as good to get a liberal arts education in morals, ethics, or philosophy.
You can take courses as electives in foreign languages or even minor in area studies and languages, but for your major, get a job skill that isn't going to become obsolete in five years. Web designers are needed now, but what about in the future when software will do the programming and designing? Where are the jobs not related to opening your own small business at home and competing with a thousand others doing the same work with the same skills?
Find an area that needs your energy. Right now it's in healthcare. If you want to become a lawyer, become a CPA accountant first. At least you'll be able to find a job quicker as an accountant than you'd find a job with no experience as a recent law school graduate clerking for 80 hours a week with the dream of becoming a partner.
If you want a career in publishing, right now it's in digital entertainment and online journalism if you have other skills in a subject. If you want to teach, should you get a PhD in psychology or social work and teach at the university level? The problem really emphasizes the fact that there are too many college graduates with the same or similar skills. There's a mismatch between what people major it, the most popular majors, and what jobs are open.
Not everyone can pass courses in electrical engineering, and if they do, when they reach age 35, they could very well be passed over for the 25-year old just coming out of graduate school with two years of experience already from internships.
You'll see that the jobs with the most openings don't require a college education and don't pay very much either. At present there are too many college graduates and not enough job openings that require a college degree, at least in the field or major in which most graduates have degrees.
That's why being a generalist is as important as being a specialist. You need skills in both areas. Maybe you want a degree in sports medicine management, but how many others will be competing against you with similar degrees for the few job openings?
You could become a registered nurse, for example, and then take a graduate degree in either teaching graduate nursing courses online or in person or add on more skills, such as a specialized field within nursing or an allied field such as respiratory therapy, social work, or even go to law school and become an expert witness. But can you depend on those degrees for a secure, steady job with health insurance, pension plans, and perks, let alone long-term care insurance?
Most jobs opening don't require four years of training and pay little. Few are secure. That's why majoring in liberal arts, for example history or English or fine art (unless you're a talented, gifted illustrator) may be a waste of time for you when jobs are going unfilled because employers can't find anyone with a degree and/or experience in what is really needed. That's your task. Find out what's really needed now and for the next decade.
What's needed right now are nurses and experts in forensic DNA testing, including informatics. Pick a major where you could also apply for a secure job, maybe with the government or a large industry or institution that may not cut jobs so fast. And find a major that insures you against being laid off by an employer. Don't learn one skill that will never be transferable to another job in a different industry.
For example, if you're in medical sales, you can work in sales or healthcare if your degree is in a healthcare profession, for example, nursing or social work, or even law, if you can travel. But if you are not able to work as a nurse, say if older or have disabilities, but can place nurses in home health care environments or screen other nurses for temporary employment, if you have a registered nurse license and a degree, even if you're sitting all day in front of a computer or phone.
Registered nurses in the USA earned a median annual salary of $57,280 in 2006. This is one of the highest paying occupations on this US Bureau of Labor Statistic's list, and also requires more training than all but one other occupation. Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much registered nurses currently earn in your city. Browse the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Handbook gives you job search tips, links to information about the job market in each State, and more.
The dictation machine typists of the 1950s and 1960s complained of hearing loss from listening to voices all day wearing headphones and typing the words they heard
Who looks out for the hearing loss in middle age or older of all those word processors (formerly called typists) who wear earphones all day typing dictation from various recording machines for professionals who don't do their own keyboarding? Some seniors spent a lifetime career, often 45 years or more typing with ear phones on using a Dictaphone machine or the more modern transcribing equipment. Most of the women who wore headphones all day for decades may have had a hearing loss after retirement if they were listening to those earphones all day long typing transcribed dictation from physicians, lawyers, and various executives.
Those who took fast shorthand and were able to still transcribe notes that became 'cold' after a day, were less inclined to lose their hearing from wearing head phones all day. But the stenographers often complained about writer's cramp from writing those 120 minute shorthand notes with a pencil and steno pad for hours, particularly if they were in the steno pool. The choice was been the steno pad or the dictation machine head phones transcribing from voice recordings.
The accounts receivable clerks also wrote all day by hand, signing in checks with a pen or pencil into a huge log book, which also led to writer's cramp for the bookkeeping clerks. Those were the years before computers.
Sometimes blind and/or seeing transcribers spend each day full time transcribing various voice recordings of dictation. Is anyone looking out for their hearing? Without eyesight, their most prized possession is their focused hearing. But who cares for the hearing of anyone wearing headphones all day at work as they translate what they hear into printed word?
Shouldn't for health sake, a robot or a computer software program turn voice into text for professionals--doctors and attorneys or anyone else transcribing speech into text? By the time some of these transcribers retired, they already had begun to need hearing aids.
Nowadays, many people listen to MP3 music devices for hours on end turning up the volume to listen to lectures or music
You shouldn't be listening more than two hours daily with earphones. You also shouldn't fall asleep with earphones playing. And the music or speech volume should not be too loud. Your hearing is precious.
Wearing earphones all day at work year after year is not good for your health, especially your hearing by the time you reach the usual retirement age. The hearing loss may not hit you at 62, but by your mid-seventies to eighties, the hearing loss may progress.
Did you wear head phones/ear phones and listen to dictation as you typed all day long in various doctor's or lawyer's offices? Notice that few doctors warned their transcribers wearing headphones all day that the dictation might affect their hearing if they didn't take breaks or listen fewer than two hours daily of medium to loud volume dictation (to catch the doctor's accent or pronunciation).
Many of these women (and a few men) wearing head phones and typing all day worked throughout the 1950s through the 1980s, some in medical offices or for colleges
What happened to their hearing? And some of these women had college degrees in subjects such as English or history and didn't want to teach or couldn't find jobs in publishing as editors or journalists.
Some seniors with graduate degrees and/or four-year degrees in various liberal arts subjects who didn't pass take the C-Best national exam for teachers or who wanted a job other than teaching may have earned their life time careers using mostly their typing skills, often learned in the 7th grade.
Let's take one example of the perpetual temporary typist with the masters degree in English who used the typing dictation job skill to earn a living for decades to supplement income as a homemaker. In spite of a liberal arts-humanities master's degree in English, only the typing course that she enrolled in during the 7th grade at age 11 1/2 supported her all her working life as far as earning enough money to live on. Every other skill learned in the university actually never paid enough to propel her above the poverty line.
What's the use of being anti-capitalist when all you have in the world is a tiny social security retirement income that you have no idea when it will be taken away at the government's whim?
When you live below the poverty line, like so many of us seniors do, and are well over age 70, all you have to look forward to is playing being the capitalist and fantasizing what life would be like if you had to depend on capitalism as compared to the monthly 'net' three-figure social security check.
As a capitalist, you get to be an independent contractor living below the poverty line for one. That means if you write for various citizen journalism sites, you may or may not get paid. No pay is guaranteed for your labor. And yet, you're a capitalist, a business person, and independent contractor. Independent is the word, but can you live as a capitalist?
Now you take a look at your classmates, for example that kid in middle school who sat in front of you has just sold her home for five million dollars and bought another for 1.5 million dollars. She's the same age as you
What did you do to turn out living below the poverty line in old age? And what did she do to own a Manhattan apartment listed for three quarters of a million dollars for sale last year as well as her parent's house for five million which she sold?
You wonder. She didn't go to college. You have a master's degree in a liberal arts subject. Did it do you any good? Not really. That's my story. Everything in life she earned is based on the typing course she took in the 7th grade. This typical senior survived for 45 years of work life on being able to type more than 60 words per minute, which she learned at age 11 1/2 in the 7th grade in that typing class.
Meanwhile the rich kid who live five blocks away graduated high school and went into her family's business. She never went to college. But she did go to real estate school for a few months and got her real estate license. Then she started selling homes to rich people. But she had an inheritance from her family, who had a business, who were capitalists.
She sold houses to millionaires and billionaires. The other woman (of the two classmates) sold writing for one sixty-three hundreds of a penny per click on any of her 2,000 or so articles. Maybe she should have skipped college and took the exam for that real estate license. Or perhaps she should have gone to medical or law school when tuition was cheap in the 1950s.
Did one senior lady have the wrong major--English? Did she think that teaching jobs would be open after the 1950s? Not when there were more college graduates in English seeking community college teaching jobs than there were jobs open.
What about health care and senior health? One lady does not have enough income for health insurance. She relies on her elderly, blue-collar spouse's insurance.
Office workers could have sold real estate if they could drive
In the 1950s, a fortune could have been made selling Florida or California real estate to retirees. But it never occurred to her to sell real estate. Back then all she heard was "get a good liberal arts education and go into book publishing." You've got to be kidding.
One senior lady has male siblings who are lawyers and successful businessmen. The other senior lady has no siblings or any living relatives with money.
When it comes to senior health and integrity after retirement, why are so many health care oriented movements anti-capitalist when the poorest of the two women is a capitalist...a rich woman without money not a poor girl.
Was it based on the poor lady from the poor family marrying a poor guy without a college degree? The girl with the 5 million dollar house never married anyone. It has been more than 50 years since both these ladies' high school graduations.
Whatever turns out, it's possible to live below the poverty line and still be a capitalist as an independent contractor earning less than $6,000 a year from your capitalism. But you'll have to wait your turn if you need a safety net regarding healthcare.
And as far as help from the government, thank the government so far that as a person over age 70 I still get that tiny three-figure social security retirement check that the poor woman worked for since 1959....because that's what the poor woman has to live on in her years of deep decline.
Do you admire the capitalists who made it since 1959 when all of us were in high school? Somebody had success in youth and middle age that led to comfortable, healthy retirement years. It's all about planning and choice. But who gives you the choices--you or the outside world? Is success luck or decision-making?
At the last 50-year reunion so many of the public high school graduates made it also--successful doctors, lawyers, dentists, business persons who aren't living below the poverty line in old age. They did make it even though we all lived a short walking distance from one another from kindergarten through high school and knew one another's parents, for the most part.
The alternative in health care for many women (and men) is living below the poverty line. Nowadays many people can't afford to retire and they keep on working even when they don't have a job--but as independent contractors. The moral of who can afford healthcare often depends on choosing job skills that are marketable through the decades as times and technology change.
Sometimes poverty forces you to become a capitalist. In the old days, before 1900 it would have been immigration or loss of farm land that motivated people to plan ahead. Just look out for your hearing because wearing headphones all day typing what people are saying is not conducive to sharp hearing as you age, decades after retirement. In the new days, you can talk to your computer and it types text, saving your hearing and your fingers from writer's cramp. But the dream job for some in the media is still to move from the word processing pool to the editor's desk and beyond to editorial freelancing or copywriting. Then comes the outsourced journalism trend of this decade.
Outsourced journalism labor
Newswriting may be outsourced overseas, but what about really quality copywriting? You may wish to check out the site, "Journatic worker takes 'This American Life' inside outsourced journalism." You need pretty good verbal and writing skills for copywriting. That's what makes it a great independent home-based online career for English majors or communications graduates and others who enjoy working at home on their computers working creatively with words.
It has been said that copywriters are the introverted mirror images of sales and marketing people who prefer to work alone behind the scenes, most often at home to focus and concentrate on creative details that help make more quality sales. Sometimes you're called a point-of-sale writer turning out quality content, not automated material. Can somebody soon come along and produce a software program that robot-like, turns out better copy than you can write? The decision may be based on which creates more sales, your work or something automated or outsourced? You may wish to take a look at the article, "Why Good People Can't Find Jobs The Fiscal Times."
Where the future of outsourced journalism is heading
As citizen journalism slowly declines, what's picking up quickly is the state of outsourced journalism. Freelance/independent writers/journalists might enjoy checking out the July 3, 2012 article, "Journatic worker takes ‘This American Life’ inside outsourced journalism," by by Anna Tarkov. What put the damper on a variety of citizen journalism outlets included making the journalists feel more like second class citizens when the field divided into the haves and have-nots.
For example, in many citizen journalism blogs, writers weren't paid or were paid a token honorarium, a fraction of the pay for new articles similar in quality or word length to what those writers had received from print magazines a decade before.
Robot journalists never take a nap just when you need them
Oh, yes...There's the robot journalists. You may wish to check out some articles online such as these: "Why Robot Journalism Is Great for Journalists," NYMag, "Should We Be Afraid Or Excited About Robot Journalism?"
Or take a look at who may be writing in newsrooms: "Who's Afraid of Robot Journalists? - Yahoo." And check out, "Quakebot: Los Angeles Times' robot journalist writes article on LA Earthquake." See: "Earthquake Was Written by a Robot." or view, "The Anatomy of a Robot Journalist" | Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
Public space and posture
You also may wish to check out this New York times article, "A Scourge Is Spreading. M.T.A.’s Cure? Dude, Close Your Legs." On another note, have you noticed the difference between spatial expansion and spatial reduction depending on gender in public spaces? And is it more related to wearing loose trousers, jeans, dungarees, pants, and leggings, long dresses or tunics, or simply a gender difference where one gender tends to spread out the legs in an inverted 'A' or 'V' shape to take up a space so wide in public transportation or other public seating arrangement?
One result is leaving less room for the other gender to draw back, cross legs, or otherwise reduced space to the minimum possible to preserve any personal space for privacy in public, such as while riding public transportation or in other seating arrangements such as in theaters, eateries, or even park benches or camping arrangements? Does it all go back to the spatial reduction of corsets and control versus backbone, support, confidence, having a public voice, and resiliency?
Or see my book, How to Start, Teach, & Franchise a Creative Genealogy Writing Class or Club: The Craft of Producing Salable Living Legacies, Celebrations of Life, (Paperback) published in 2008.
© 2007 Anne Hart. All Rights Reserved.
Corsets create connectedness with control, reduction, and spatial privacy
They shorten breath and reduce the amount of space a woman occupies in a public place. Centuries ago, corsets invented by men to hold women back during the ages of various reformations and revolutions that shouted “liberty, quality, and fraternity” or scientific enlightenment. Back then, corsets represented a different type of renewal or rebirth.
You may wish to check out my audio talk online at the Internet Archive site on corsets and control, "Anne Hart's Lecture on the Psychology and Sociology of Corsets and Control."
The rope that bound the wrists upon union or marriage later evolved into corsets worn by men to straighten male backs or support hernias and belly fat. Symbolically, the male corset lended backbone as a full-metal jacket. A corset is circular, like the wedding ring and the rope that bound the ancient woman's wrists. A male corset is a weapon used against competition in war, whether in the boardroom or on the battlefield.
A knight in shining armor is really a man in a backbone-supporting corset. For the man, a corset is a brace. For the woman, it's a concealed equalizer. Corsets are used as braces and buttresses against the heavy weight of competition.
After all, it has been said that the male breaks his back and takes it in the gut to care for, protect, and support his family. The male corset takes a load off his back and a burden off his shoulders while protecting his organs (and his family) from the ravages of that hernia which has torn down his wall of defense. The corset is his fort, wall, and castle. The male corset offers support in face of pitfalls to avoid. It becomes his hindsight.
A corset holds up and supports a man’s back. It gave him backbone. Everything in the world is attached to a spine, from wireless Internet servers and defense systems to electrical power grids. The corset supported society’s psychological backbone.
How a Male Corset Gave Him Backbone
The corset serves the man who seeks power in numbers or exemption from a duty. It’s a reward, a payoff, and part of his decision-making team. The corset becomes a system. Every man needs a system to run his world. The corset became his administrative support, his assistant because it straightened his backbone.
The garment evolved into a sports support. You have the male shoulder corset designed to straighten shoulders squarely into military posture so he can stand up straight while facing the competition. The male posture corset forces a man’s neck to keep his head up high. It helps to position the man first so he can lead with his chin while his shoulders are kept back.
The male had three corsets: a shoulder corset for posture straightening, a belly-fat corset usually worn for hernia support, and his 18th-century male protective codpiece, later used in sports. These three corsets worked together to keep his self-consciousness at bay. Here’s how the corset pushed up his self esteem.
When a man no longer worried about his public posture, his vision could be focused on posturing, that is positioning himself first. With a voice of confidence and resilience, he could then look forward to change or refer back to tradition. With a supportive belly and shoulder corset, like a bullet’s full metal jacket, he couldn’t be blindsided by overlooking important information that could derail his career early on and take away his family.
A man could design the present to partially control the future. The corsets kept his shoulders squarely positioned instead of rounded and hunched over a desk as he saw in his long-laboring tailor. The shoulder corset kept a man from walking as if he were depressed, defeated,and intimidated by industry.
It swept him above the industrial revolution’s dust. With his shoulders back, he could walk into his future leading chin first. The male version of a corset is a wall of support, a fort, a defense against letting it all hang out, against the proverbial hernia: free speech. A male corset sets a man free to stand up straighter and deliver his insight. A corset gives a man an amplified voice of self confidence and resilience.
Spatial Reach: How a Woman’s Corset Holds Her Back and a Man's Corset Supports His Backbone
Corsets modulate the scope of a woman’s voice. In contrast, a female corset is designed by males to hold back a woman’s spatial reach. The style of the varieties of late 19th century female corsets along with the hobble skirts kept the women’s legs back. She could not take wide steps or deep breaths. With such shallow breaths, how could she speak loud enough to be heard in public and ask for the vote?
Opera singers didn’t lace their corsets tightly to belt out their lyrics. That’s where the loose-fitting bodices gave the impression of a corset (to the impressionists). Making a speech publicly requires deep breaths. The corset silenced woman by lacing her in. It reduced her personalized space.
A female corset holds back a woman because un-corseted and unbridled as a neo-classic, or old West pioneer, she might deliver too much foresight. By limiting her spatial reach, she is reined in within a mobile corral. Wise women oracles had been revered for their foresight, then later burnt as witches. Told to be silent in public, only a corset could tighten her breath.
Even in the mid-19th century era of hoop skirts or the 16th - to -18th century ages of farthingales, tiny waists, and hidden hips, or the bustles of the 1880s, corsets, holding women back, became fashionable metaphors and semaphores. From the 18th century on, bodices and dirndls of Europe served another purpose.
On top of the laced-up corset, the outer bodice acted as a crude brassiere. It pushed up the woman’s cleavage into public view while tucking in her waist over the corset undergarment. The corset pulled in her waist to the point where breathing became difficult while lifting her bust line into public view sold food and beer.
Waist-to-Hip Ratio: Attractive World-Wide and Healthier
The corset gave women the illusion of an hourglass figure. Popular culture reveals European beer-hall poetry presenting odes to the “goddess with the bodice” and portraits of tavern waitresses in cleavage-revealing bodices, corseted waists, and hoop skirts or dirndls.
A female corset that enhanced the hourglass figure (also found worldwide to measure attractiveness along with the symmetrical face) fulfilled the universal waist-to-hip ratio ‘proverb’ that “the woman with a small waist and larger hips, a specific numerical waist-to-hip ratio, meant she would remain healthier, be more fertile, and live longer than the woman with a wide waist that matched the size of her hips.”
Modern science recently revealed studies showing that a specific genetic waist-to-hip ratio issue is a predictor of many degenerative, arterial, and age-related ailments. You may wish to see some articles online on waist-to-hip ratio and health research such as "Body Shape Index as New Predictor of Mortality," "Large Waist Linked to Poor Health, Even Among Those in Healthy Body Mass Index Ranges," and "Epidemiologist Uncovers New Genes Linked to Abdominal Fat." So the health values of the hourglass waist-to-hip ratio became proper hindsight in some research.
How Female Corsets Lassoed Power Then Became Bustled Buttresses
In past centuries, corsets originally designed for women weren’t for support as much as for curtailing voting power outside the home and maintaining public silence. Many support garments today are sewn as medical ‘aides’ as in “diabetic socks” that are designed to support your circulation by not being too tight and cutting it off. Today’s garments are more about acting as buttresses. (Picture those flying buttresses in medieval cathedrals that held up the walls or ceilings.) Support garments evolved into sportswear for women that run in several directions.
Corset as Lasso and Buttress
Years ago corsets reined you in by lassoing your power. There were symbolic corsets—such as the corset of the 1950's secretarial pool as in the New York subways advertisement, "I have a college degree, but 120 wpm shorthand (or 80 wpm note hand) got me my first permanent job."
Now that shorthand has been replaced by digital recorders, transcribing machines, and finally, voice recognition software with dictation traveling on flash drives, another kind of corset has welled up: ageism: the corset of front-office appearance. The secretarial-pool corset has been replaced by the administrative assistant label. The racism corset has moved to the ageism and disability circumlocution.
Circular corsets found in nature are prehistoric spirals. The rope that bound the ancient bridal wrists became the wedding ring of circular hope celebrating the return of spring each year. What goes around comes around. Reincarnation and recycling are circular and binding. Energy becomes matter, becomes energy.
The purpose of a corset is to reduce space and bring the corset wearer full-circle. From starting out on a journey of life, a mission and a purpose, the corset wearer is brought back to the same starting point and to the same conclusion. It's that we come from and return to the same place.
The corset curves and curbs its wearers. It's like saddle-shaped outer space. And it's a torus of tameness that is supposed to create a well-rounded wearer, bringing us closer to the desired symmetry.
Corsets reduce the space available in which women freely can move up and out in the world. A corset is a cloak of privacy, an inner burka, abeya, or djellaba worn by western women to create protection, dignity, and beauty. The corset unlike the great equalizer, the burka, reigns a woman in, but supports a man's backbone of resilience and confidence.
Corsets support that need to show hourglass figures to the world. Corsets make the figure less invisible. Burkas make the figure more invisible. Yet both become the great equalizers. Burkas extend personal space. Corsets take condign revenge on personal space.
Ironically, like opaque veils, corsets eventually become the great equalizers of woman-to-woman competition based on healthy appearance rather than inventive achievement. A woman’s purse also is her corset and sometimes her only cavern of privacy other than her womb. Women’s clothing frequently contains no pockets. Who sews money belts and pockets in corsets? Yet that's where money belts need to be zippered in, on the corset or undergarments, invisible publicly.
The Longitude and Latitude of Corsets
When one confident woman wins, her competing friends lose resilience. But the sales pitch is that the corset, like labor, makes a woman equal and free, at least in some historical slogans or advertisements. Think of a corset as a gate of grief, a silencer that supports a person from falling apart in three ways:
Emotionally, the corset is a payoff for vying for power through visibility. A corset solves problems and gets measurable results. It offers a system. The corset curtails a feminine vertical desire to reach beyond the glass ceiling. So the corset provides you with its horizontal solution by reducing your lateral space.
Physically, the corset is a reliquary, python-like vaso-constrictor, inhibiting a woman from taking a refreshing deep breath. Spatially, the female corset keeps you from expanding and taking up space in public. A total-control corset forces your thighs and knees to stay together as you ride in public transportation because if you try to sit with your knees apart, even with an ankle-length skirt, the lower part of the corset becomes painful to your lower back and thighs.
What can a corset do besides pull in a protruding abdomen? It can diminish the dimensions of privacy; lessen the amount of space a woman has to call her personal space. A corset is a horizontal solution to woman's vertical aspiration. If a man wears a corset it's for a medical reason, to help a bad back or hold in a hernia until surgery is performed.
When a woman dons a corset, it's to reign her in, all of her, body, soul, and ambitions. A corset creates spatial feminism and masculinism. It's supposed to lend support to your confidence, resilience, and personal voice. You can't climb the corporate ladder in a silver-plated corset but you can do almost anything in your “18 hour bra” as the advertisement suggests.
Without pockets, your purse becomes your private world. But does a corset protect women from pick pockets and purse snatchers? No. Did you ever see a purse or pocket built into a corset unless you sewed one in yourself?
Woman's space or a pocket of privacy is irony. The more private space changes change, the more purse space stays the same. Women are still squeezed into tight corsets. Some women's only private and personal space is the inside of their purses, since no girdles have money belts built in and few dresses, blouses, or skirts have pockets. You’re lucky if you can find a jacket with pockets that can be snapped, Velcroed, or zipped shut to discourage pickpockets.
Women are relegated to carrying heavy tote bags or purses that easily can be snatched. You'd have to wear a money belt to feel a cavern of privacy. Take off your corset, leave the purse home, sew pockets in your clothing, and suddenly you feel you have a cavern of deep thinking. Did mankind remove the pockets from women’s clothing because they can’t remove a woman’s womb as a cavern of privacy? Why are women denied space?
Corsets, purses, bonnets, and the ribbon-tied, ankle-length crotchless panties of 1907 all became containers of personal space without constraints of time. In 1880, women contracted their bodies into hard-wired corsets like full metal jackets, whereas men spread their knees when taking up an entire seat in trains and busses, to make a spatial power point.
The aging creative woman—writer, scientist, or artist--whose vocation is prepaid self-expression is squeezed into the corset of loss-of-self when faced with younger competition. The whole problem of being squeezed into modern corsets of the mind centers around the problem of being denied woman-space. Corsets trade the wisdom of age for the energy of youth.
Space in Public Transit
In a bus, plane, or train seat women squeeze their knees together or cross their legs to crawl into the smallest space possible. In movie theaters, men tend to hog the armrests and let their knees flap wide apart to take up as much space as possible. Men’s arms flail across backs of bus seats or across the front of the empty seat in front of them. In a theatre, often men’s feet get propped up on the neck rest of the seat in front of them. A man’s elbow (and some women’s) juts across the seat in front, butting into the back of the head of the next female passenger, but rarely if a man is seated in front seat.
Men in public transit, theaters, and at dinner tables spread their thighs so far apart; comediennes comment that their knees are practically in different time zones. Another famous TV joke heard a decade ago ran something like: "he spreads his knees so far apart, a Mack truck could drive through it." It's not because an individual is wearing long pants. Watch how uncomfortable this makes the women sitting next to men hogging a bus seat, squeezed into a metallic corset between the men's flapping knees and the metal wall.
The men’s shoulders move so far to invade the woman’s personal space area so that it becomes difficult to take a deep breath. As men spread their arms across the top of a bus, train, or plane seat, the woman’s shoulders are nearly crushed in a vise-like grip between the men’s shoulders and the metal wall of the vehicle.
Men are unaware of how they take up so much space and allow so little to women. Even in the home, a woman's only personal space lies inside her purse or pockets. It's the only place her mate doesn't sometimes order her to arrange items to his thinking, sensing order. Even her emails or Web sites are never private. There is no privacy in cyberspace let alone in personal space.
A woman often loses her own bedroom upon marriage, unless her husband’s loud snoring becomes the drive to separate rooms for sleep. She shares the bed with her husband. The blankets, sheets, and even the amount of oxygen in the air is measured and counted by his consumption, his hogging of space. Two people sleeping in the same bed share each other’s viruses, vapors, cold sores, morning breath, and sweat creating too much carbon dioxide in a closed-door, close-windowed room. And there’s the dog at the foot of the bed.
Square Footage Allowed Per Person is a Spatial Corset
The number of square feet allowed a woman in her home is about two-thirds less allowed to the man. At home he hogs space, assuming the home is his, particularly if he has paid the greater share of down payment or mortgage payment on it. There are spatial corsets of resistance confined to homes, bedrooms, private bathrooms, and office cubicles. Until recently, most private homes affordable to average income people had one bathroom and two tiny bedrooms.
They are called starter homes today, but more often are retirement dwellings. In a one-bathroom home, the bathroom belongs to the man and his possessions. The woman cleans his toilet. He'll knock on the door and complain if she stays too long, but she'll never knock on the bathroom door and complain loudly if he stays in too long.
It's the woman in the tight corset who complains when her husband, father, or brother uses anger and loud banging on metal with a hammer to get power. The woman with pain stays in the bathroom longer (pain of hemorrhoids, pain of healing after childbirth, pain of arthritis inflamed more by repressed anger than joint wear and tear, pain of migraine from estrogen fluctuations before each period, pain of ovulation, pain of menopause and reactions to medications taken to "keep her quiet, and the breathing-related pain of a tight corset." The man or family assumes she's reading in the john.
Houses with Less Space
Today homes and apartments are being built with less space to be more affordable. The less space a woman has in her home, work, or private life, the larger her purse or tote bag. A bag lady is a bag lady in order to get private space. Inside a woman's purse is a private and personal world, like a fishbowl universe. The insides of a purse can take on the essence of a science fiction universe.
A man's space reveals the need for a small wallet and a thick roll of cash or cards or a thinner cell phone. Woman-space reveals large tote bags and lots of private space inside the bag, but tiny wallets with less money and more family photos in plastic sleeves.
The woman who wears a money belt under her blouse instead of carrying a purse has felt more personal space than the woman who carries a large canvas purse or tote bag covered by home-sewn brocade fabric.
Bag Lady Corsets
The bag lady’s corset is carted on the outside, not worn under her clothes. It is her only semblance of privacy and personal space. Bag lady woman-space contracts into a corset that varies from a shopping cart to a walker or power chair.
Perhaps it's time to seek out new world, new personal spaces, multi-universes, wombs that are great caverns of deep physical thinking and talking tombs that pay homage to the ticking clock. Corsets snare women on the barbed wire of time. Too tight, too much time, too little money.
Tightening Waistlines in Reaction to Expanding Brain Lines
Our world is full of silver-plated and whale-bone corsets, no matter how tough the woman is, no matter how much she questions all authority and thinks for herself. And the world is awash in purses of all sizes, into which she must squeeze that last bastion of personal and private space.
The more things change, the more they stay constricted to a tiny cell of space. The world is growing smaller, and cannot support all the people in the world unless new resources are found that won’t be depleted in the next generation. The solution is another corset such as Internet Three or Four or Five and beyond the next means of fast connections.
The Internet is a corset--a grid of connection that gives the illusion that the world is shrinking. We try to share meaning and define it as communication with connection.
Corsets are about retention, tradition, and regulation. They are successful giants of the past that people seek to imitate. The enemy of corsets is not the stress of rapid change or visions of the future. It’s irony.
That's the irony in woman-space. Every woman's corset or stretch purse is her private womb. The more space a woman takes up, whether it be with her arms or knees, the more she’ll be able to assess a semblance of privacy at home or at work.
The world can’t corset a pregnant creator. It has been said that life will not be contained here or in outer space.
As pregnancy expands a woman’s private space, men take up more public space in order to get equal space. A pregnant woman shares her womb with her baby. It isn’t privacy at all, but it’s a built-in corset of creation. It’s a pocket, a money belt, and an inner way of getting the space she needs. It’s an inner-programmed drive toward expansion to understand and control nature.
What women need is a corset of courage that also encourages expansion in an infinite multiverse. Atoms are moving apart in space. Minds also need to expand and grow. Was the tightening of the female waistline in reaction to the expansion of the female brain line? By whom? By the same males that destroyed the worship of pregnant goddesses that fed the milk of humanity to the prehistoric world before societies became too complex? Perhaps they realized.
Corsets tell the evolving woman, "I'm scared to make a change." In contrast, the neo-classic Empire waist dress of 1803 told women, "I'm free to speak with a voice of confidence and resilence." The loose-folds of the high-waisted, flowing garment allowed women to breathe as deeply as they needed to relax as they spoke out. It resembled the dresses of ancient Greece and Rome, without the inheritance restrictions on women.
Most free and uncorseted were the big-bellied, perhaps worshipped for their ability to create life, stone-age “venuses” sculptured 26,000 years ago were simply human.
Perhaps the corset issue really is about privacy and equal space in latitude? What if the answer lies… as it has been said in “the horizontal expression of a vertical desire?”
As mankind reaches with his knees in a plié and outstretched arms across the seat of a bus for more space laterally, women reach vertically for the new glass ceiling and eventually become astronauts. What kinds of out-of-sight corsets provide hindsight, insight, and foresight? Or do we need the opposite of a corset—an expansion gadget?
About my audio lecture online:
Anne Hart's audio lecture on the psycho-social symbolism of corsets and control: corsets for men and women symbolize two different networks of control: the two different psycho-social symbols of corsets supporting and enhancing backbone, network, and spine of courage seen in men's "shoulder," posture, hernia brace,or protective sports corsets and codpieces versus the spatial reduction and breath-restricting history of women's corsets as reduction of private and public vertical and horizontal space.
Do corsets create competition? What about psychological and sociological corsets as a state of mind or limit of occupation? If corsets of the mind aren't the great equalizer, what is the great equalizer--flowing garments or loosely-fitting, flexible ceilings? How can psychological corsets as archetypes be more fitting. Is it a war against spread versus backbone, networks, and other pillars of support that straighten the growth pathway? Or it is all a vertical expression (no glass ceiling please) of a horizontal desire to move laterally up the ladder of success?
The symbol of corset as a membrane of inhibition and silence versus protection. Corsets for women that become platforms and stages to show lateral waist-to-hip ratios, cleavage, control, competition, and "spatial spread" reduction...versus corsets for men that show networking, vertical support, and act as a grid, backbone, or spine of connectedness with all types of networks of convergence. The Internet and money belt as an accessory to a male corset.
One of the only caverns of safety and privacy outside the womb: the totebag, fanny pack, or purse as an extension of and accessory to a female corset. Freedom from the corset of control with clothing versus the male full metal jacket corset expressed as a martial accessory. Corsets and their historical psychological and sociological symbols and archetypes.