Tuesday, July 27, 2010

See It Split, See It Change

The title of this post precisely describes my sister and I. You see people split, you see people change. My twin sister and I have split on an emotional/personal plane when we were 16 years old and physically split since we were 19 years old. A mere 5-8 years of our lives and yet we are completely different people. I have been reading Abigail Pogrebin's One And The Same, a book about twins and how they are alike, how they're different, how they react to one other's presence, etc.

Throughout reading the book, I kept thinking to myself about how interesting it is to read about how much of a bond these twins have that were interviewed for the book... how they finish each other's sentences, get in similar lines of work and cannot stand living too far apart from one another. Some of them even LIVE together into their later years. I started to question why my own twin sister and I didn't have a similar bond to the ones I read about.

The author looked into some twins studies results and these particularly interested me:

Aggression: mostly genetic
moderately inheritable

Bipolar disorder: identical twins more concordant
identical twins who stay more in touch live longer than identical twins who don't

strongly genetic component

strong genetic link

50 percent genetic

identical twins are more similar to each other than fraternal twins and become more alike in intelligence as they age. Dr. Nancy Segal cites the finding that "identical twins are nearly as alike in IQ as the same person tested twice."

Job choice: identical twins choose more similar careers than fraternal twins
Left-handedness: more frequent among identical twins
Loneliness: 50 percent of identical twins and 25 percent of fraternal twins shared similar characteristics
mostly genetic

Sleep patterns:
identical twins are more similar than fraternal

Social life:
the identical twin who has a tight-knit social circle is in better overall physical health than the one who doesn't

I found the job choice similarity particularly interesting. Mostly because Lisa and I are on completely two different planes with our jobs/social lives/lifestyles. I know that not ALL twins choose similar careers, but that's where the question for me of nature vs. nurture comes to me because it seems so obvious that career paths are not inherent but they are made. My sister went to Boston University and majored in International Relations, Economics and Spanish. She now works for a notable senator in Washington DC and lives what I would like to think as my 23 year old self, a very grown up lifestyle. I on the other hand, transferred from Boston University to Emerson College and majored in Film Production with a minor in Photography. I currently work for Newbury Comics as a fashion buyer and continue to have similar lifestyle patterns from college. This just goes to show much environment matters to people as they are growing older.

When I was 16 years old, I was taking the SATs the first weekend of May in my junior year of high school. I made the conscious decision that day that I wanted to smoke pot for the first time. I believe this choice is what really divided us physically for the first time. I think I just got sick of the pressure of perfection that I felt from my family. I also stopped having the need to compete with my sister so instead I choose to rebel in the most extreme way I knew how. I started hanging out with a crowd my twin sister didn't understand nor conversed with. It was the first time I had my own set of friends and did things separately from Lisa and it was invigorating to have people know me for who I am as an individual rather than as a set. My values changed pretty quickly and severely. Suddenly getting all A's didn't matter so much. The tension at home got worse because my family didn't understand what was happening to me or what I was doing.

As kids we were the best of friends. We would play with our Barbies and if someone as so much entered the room we would promptly yell at them and kick them out (them being my grandmother, mother or father). They were not hurt by our reaction. They in fact enjoyed it. They loved seeing how much we loved and cared for one another, because back then there was nothing to compare each other about. There was no competition. Our competitive nature came out more in middle school when my mom put us both in rhythmic gymnastics and there was a clear division between the two of us. That division was then more apparent in our grades, our attitudes, our appearances... we were compared to the other about everything and it drove me crazy. I just needed to cut out my own little piece of this world for myself.

Lisa simply decided to choose a more socially-acceptable path (a path that is well understood by my parents and peers) and I diverted to art/film. I still feel the judgement from my family for making this choice just because they simply don't understand it and do not make the effort to understand it. So basically I found it interesting how much our environments changed us. My mom both raised us the same, threw us in the same activities etc, but it was the people I surrounded myself with that changed me, which I suppose one can say is an innate decision I made. I just chose a lifestyle that is a bit more of a risk which I think I may be the one who has taken the greatest risks in my family. My sister certainly would not have chosen this lifestyle because of the risk of not being able to pay bills on time etc.

I'm happy to say I wouldn't change any of it. Every experience I have had greatly benefited me and made me understand more about what I want out of life. I originally thought we would be more similar (and frankly we are still EXTREMELY similar in our mannerisms, stubborn nature, etc), but our values are polar opposites and that is what ultimately separates us now.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jewish-Palestinian sent to jail for deceiving an Israeli woman....


This article baffles me. A man is being sent to 18 months in jail for misleading an Israeli woman about his true race... yes he misled her into thinking that he too is Israeli rather than Palestinian but I cannot see how this can be rape? If this is considered rape then there certainly are a lot more rapists out there... men deceive women constantly to participate in sexual encounters... as do women for that matter. So where is the line drawn? It states in the article:

"The question is whether the state should punish somebody in that situation. It puts the law in the position of what could loosely be described as discrimination. I would feel intuitively uncomfortable about prosecuting someone for something like that."

This case comes down to the Israeli versus Palestinian conflict rather than deception. If there was not such a large rivalry between the two ethnic backgrounds I'm sure that this case would've been dropped from the start. So really this is about prejudice. Israeli-Palestinians live in constant fear of being harassed simply for being Palestinian so they live in disguise. So this supposed rapist is now being persecuted to a high degree simply for trying to survive in a highly prejudiced society.

This is the part of the article that really gets me...

"If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have co-operated," Mrs Segal said as she delivered her verdict.

WHO has sex with a RANDOM STRANGER if she was interested in a serious romantic relationship?

I realize that this entry isn't entirely about feminism... but it interests me that a woman is sending a man to jail for deceiving her when she is probably just angry with herself for having sex with a stranger and did not know his ethnic background. These are the type of women that give our gender a bad reputation... for crying wolf when you should have been a bit smarter about the situation you were getting yourself into. Yes this man lied to her, but she should have had the common sense that involving herself in a sexual encounter with this man could lead her into something she didn't ultimately want to get herself involved with. Have more self-respect for yourself.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Interesting article on how appearance matters in the workforce

Link: http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/19/the-beauty-advantage.html

This article intrigued me... women inherently care about their appearance (as do men) but now there is more evidence that women who are more attractive/care about their appearance are more likely to be hired over a less attractive but possibly more qualified woman... it really irks me that even in what is called today's progressive society, such characteristics from the 50's still exist in our present. A woman still seems like she is not held as an important asset for her brain rather than her features. In the article it was stated that "When it comes to women, apparently, flaunting our assets works: 61 percent of managers (the majority of them men) said it would be an advantage for a woman to wear clothing showing off her figure at work." The same goes for men in the workforce, however, I cannot image them feeling the pressure nearly as much as women do simply because men already have the upperhand of being male.

I have definitely felt the pressures of looking attractive versus unattractive at work as well. I noticed that when I wore a dress or wore makeup I got more done/more out of my supervisors/peers rather than if I were to come in wearing a t-shirt and jeans. It seems strange to me because either way I would be doing the same kind of work and it is not like I try harder when I look more attractive one day... I do the same work day in and day out, but my appearance changes how fast I get that stuff done, especially when working with a male in a supervisory role. It is not always an entirely apparent thing... just when I look back I notice it.

But there is also the reality that however hard men have it—and, from an economic perspective, their “beauty premium” is higher, say economists—women will always face a double bind, expected to conform to the beauty standards of the day, yet simultaneously condemned for doing so.

This statement is what really irks me. Women are supposed to uphold these unattainable beauty standards, but then can also be condemned for being beautiful and be labeled as bimbos. It seems so easy to slip in either direction that it is almost impossible for woman to be taken seriously. WHEN will women be praised for their minds rather than their bodies?

EDIT: I will be conducting an experiment this week where I will try harder to care about my appearance and see what kind of a response I receive. This means I will actually have to wear makeup, which I haaaaaaaaaaate doing during the summer months because honestly it's just too uncomfortable, but for the sake of the experiment I will make this sacrifice... today is day 1. Let's see how this plays out.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The project is going well.

I met a fantastic woman this past weekend, Toni Saunders who has become my new hero. She is an activist that strives to improve education for those who are mentally handicapped, something that not many people do nor think about. Photos will come with the next update... I will also be going to visit her on the Cape later this summer to spend more time with her and getting to know her more on a personal level... part of what I really love about this project is that I'm getting to know all these women and am forming friendships with them. There is a lot that I'm taking from each woman because they are all so powerful, independent and inspiring even though they are all so very different.

I'm off to DC to spend some time with my twin sister, Lisa and to also continue photographing her. She seems to be ultra aware of the camera being present so hopefully my coming to DC and photographing her for a whole weekend will make her forget that the camera is there and she will let her guard down. This is a technique I learned from reading Annie Leibovitz's At Work book. When she was on tour with the Rolling Stones, at first they were ultra aware of the camera but as time passed, they grew to be more comfortable with Annie being there as well as the camera snapping photos.

I will also have a photo shoot with my friend Kelly the week after. She is a regular participant in the Rocky Horror Picture Show in Harvard Square as well as a producer. That photo shoot will be interesting as well. We're photographing her as the before and after Janet.

That is all for now... I'm DC bound!