College Admissions Officers Police Prospective Students Through Facebook

It turns out that college admissions officers use Facebook to police the language prospective students use on their social networks:

Twelve percent of admissions counselors told Kaplan that what they found on social networks hurt an applicant’s admissions prospects—particularly when it involved vulgarity, evidence of alcohol consumption or essay plagiarism, or proof of illegal activity.

This, of course, is ridiculous. How long do you think it will take students to realize that this is going on and create official “good girl / boy” persona and hide their true selves behind it? Who will benefit except the most hypocritical? People who can’t even relax on their own social network and who use it to present a fake persona of a spotless, “moral” creature whose status update is stuck at “Studying hard and working to succeed in life” will end up attracting the stupid admissions counselors who think that lack of profanity on one’s Facebook page is some kind of evidence that one will be a good student.

State universities explicitly prohibit search committees from doing any online searches on the candidates precisely because a job search process for a new faculty member should not be reduced to an exchange of gossip about who said what on their blog or Facebook page. I think the same courtesy should be extended to students, as well.

A few chance readers of this blog have asked me a very bizarre question. “You just accused me of being a troll,” an irate reader of this kind would say. “Is this how you treat your students? You just call them trolls when they ask you questions?”

I always thought that people who don’t understand a difference between interacting with students and with anonymous online trolls must suffer from grave intellectual limitations. It’s not very encouraging to see that these limitations also characterize a significant percentage of admissions officers who don’t understand that their job is to evaluate admissions packages that have been submitted to them and not to troll other people’s online resources.

P.S. My gratitude goes to blogger Miriam whose insightful post alerted me to this phenomenon.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

Danny continues his fascinating discussion of profiling.

A transwoman is turned away from a women’s shelter after being interrogated about how she pees. This is hugely offensive to everybody, not only the transgender community. Since when is a person considered a threat just because they have a penis (even if they identify as female)? Why should women at the shelter feel traumatized by the presence of a transwoman among them? This is egregious, folks.

A promotional image of a Playboy bunny made out of hundreds of naked models. Trust it to Playboy to drain all eroticism out of naked people. They look like larvae. Bleh. (And I bet this will be the most visited link of all I provide here. 🙂

The insane folks who keep insisting that Sarah Palin faked her last pregnancy are now creating weird rumors about Beyonce’s pregnancy also being faked to prove their theory about Palin. No, I don’t see the logic either.

The natural birth is like anorexia and neither is feminist.”

Is a career at quaint college for you?

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success.

You know what caused the collapse of the British Empire? No, you only think you do. The leading presidential candidate for the Republican party (or as I call him, the Republican flavor of the week) says it was the NHS.

Redefining rape.

2012 will see an American election between Mitt Romney and President Obama, and the winner will be whichever one of them manages to best avoid questions about Social Security.  Unless by November we are finally at war with Iran, Social Security will be the only topic worth discussing, which means we’ll be discussing gay marriage.”

The survey of 195 expectant mothers revealed they believe there is a 56.2 per cent chance of an uncomplicated birth, which means a baby being born without the use of forceps, suction cups, caesarean section or induced labour. The data. . . shows the chance of having a medically uncomplicated birth is 21 per cent. A further 30.7 per cent said they believed women would have uncomplicated births without needing sutures. The actual figure is 8 per cent.”

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide facilitates a sexual assault on an American businesswoman in Finland. I’m recording the name of this hotel chain here to make sure I never travel to one of their facilities. The story is egregious, people.

Myriad prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs reflect a widespread tendency to sweat the small stuff, a failure to recognize time-honored sources of happiness, and a reliance on material acquisitions that provide only temporary pleasure.”

More men worry about their body shape and appearance – beer bellies, “man boobs” or going bald – than women do about how they look, according to research.” I don’t know about “more”, necessarily, but it is undeniable that worrying about one’s appearance has nothing whatsoever to do with gender.

I’m addicted to salads, which is why I’d read any post that has the word “salad” in it. For instance, check out this great post on how to get yourself to eat salads, if you are not a huge fan. The post made me so ravenous that I immediately devoured a huge salad.

An interesting contribution to the debate on whether newspapers should engage in regular fact-checking.

Can Canada hope to become a world leader?

A hilarious post with funny photos of road signs. OK, I know it doesn’t sound hilarious when I describe it but the post is very very good.

A letter to Canada’s Stephen Harper that many of us would love to write in response to his recent efforts to destroy the gay marriage in Canada.

This blogger is spreading nasty lies about Kindle Fire. Yes, you totally can buy anything on Kindle without a credit card. My husband has never had a credit card in his life and he doesn’t have a problem buying anything for the Kindle. And Amazon’s customer service is truly the best in the universe. And you absolutely do not need to purchase the Prime to use the Kindle Fire. You can purchase it if you want (with your debit card, like I did) but the device has a bizillion uses without the Prime. Kindle-haters make my blood boil.

For academics: how to write every day. VERY good, useful, completely realistic advice. Since I started following this blog, my academic productivity skyrocketed.

A priceless parable about the value of politicians’ promises.

According to some folks, seeing women as fully in control of their sexuality is actually offensive to women: “The assumption of woman as an autonomous actor, fully in control of their own agency, sexuality and bodily autonomy is to ignore the structural forces at work.” This is supposed to be a feminist piece, folks. Truly, no patriarchal ogre can be as offensive to women as some pseudo-feminists.

Yet another way Facebook spies on you. What a lovely company, that one.

Let’s all root for Amazon Fresh to succeed and become ubiquitous, people! What a sorely needed service.

And my favorite post of the week: “One of my biggest issues with liberal discourse on societal problems is its proclivity to diminish or erase entirely the concept of human agency. (Some) liberals talk as though society just makes people do things without them actually processing information and deciding how to act on it.” This is exactly how I feel.

A Stupid Question

Folks, I have been trying to figure this out for a while. Maybe one of you can help me. You know this leather that is very very soft, pliable, and very gentle to the touch? The kind that feels almost buttery.  Does it have a name to distinguish it from other types of leather? I’m searching for a product online and I don’t want to end up with this tough cardboard-like kind of leather.

Thank you in advance!

False Feminist Issues Versus Genuinely Feminist Issues, Part III

– Pay equity has not been achieved yet. This is a crucial issue which will not be resolved by promoting the belief that “men conspire to keep women down by paying us less.” We will not achieve pay equity, in my opinion, until the male identification with professional realization and money-making is weakened and the female identification with them is strengthened to a point where they meet somewhere in a healthy intermediate point. (I can go into more detail in another post if people are not sure how this is supposed to work.)

– Gender discrimination in the workplace should stop. And it’s up to all of us to stop it. A man who believes that women should not be doctors, firefighters and soldiers are as much of an idiot as a woman who believes that men should not be massage therapists, secretaries, and daycare workers. There is nothing in anybody’s anatomy that makes one incapable of performing well in any job.

And the most important thing that, I believe, would help us resolve all of the above-mentioned issues:

Let’s stop fixating on genitals so much. As progressive and enlightened as we are, we still allow the biological sex (of others as well as of ourselves) to matter to us way too much. As long as we see the world in terms of men and women, men versus women, female interests against male interests, we will be stuck in this gendered universe that hurts all of us forever. Just imagine the freedom we will all experience when people will read as little into the shape of our genitals as they do into the shape of our ears and the length of our toes.

Last week, in my Spanish 102 class, I handed out an exercises with pictures of people practicing different professions (we are studying the vocabulary of the workplace). Immediately, several students raised their hands.

“There is a mistake in the handout,” they told me. “Here it says that this person is called Carlos and that doesn’t make sense.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Well, he looks like a girl. And besides, this is an elementary school teacher, so it’s got to be a woman.”

I started getting hot behind my ears, especially because the students still don’t possess the kind of command of Spanish that would allow me to explain to them that it’s nobody’s flapping business how Carlos looks and what profession he chooses to practice. And also that we should not be policing anybody’s gender identity in a Spanish class or elsewhere.