Bridget Diamond-Welch

Bridget Diamond-Welch

Bridget Diamond-Welch is an assistant professor of Criminal Justice at the University of South Dakota. She has two major areas of research. Her first is social psychological research on emotions and identity. Her second area of research is on interpersonal violence issues such as domestic violence and sexual assault.


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Prehistoric Rape Machines & Protectors (Trigger Warning)

If women are blamed for their own victimization, what happens to men? In this post Bridget Welch explores how the dichotomy of virgin-slut provides a dichotomy for men: rapist-protector.

I recently posted on how the birth control debate reinforces the dichotomy of women as sluts or virgins. If women are responsible for their own virginity, the post explained, and then women who fail in anyway (whether it is having sex or taking birth control) are sluts. But where does this leave men?

Men are the ones attempting to make women fail in purity protection. In other words, its men who are attempting to tear into the wrapping paper of a woman like a little kid on Christmas day. They are licking the proverbial lollipop and making it unsuitable for rewrapping. Because women are responsible for their own purity, men are never responsible for a woman who “falls” — regardless of WHY she falls. In this way, women are blamed for their own victimization — to the extent of being at fault for their own rapes….

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I am a Slut: The Gender Politics of Birth Control

Married for 11 years to one man, I woke to the realization this weekend that I am a slut. In this post, Bridget Welch explores the current birth control controversy and comes to terms with being a prostitute.

“Your body is a wrapped lollipop. When you have sex with a man, he unwraps your lollipop and sucks on it. It may feel great at the time, but, unfortunately, when he’s done with you, all you have left for your next partner is a poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled sucker.” -Darren Washington, an abstinence educator (as quoted in The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti).

Washington is not alone in these inventive descriptions of virginity. Lee Ann Finch, a proponent of school-based sex education, use the idea of a gold wrapped package which kissing and heavy petting tore to such destruction it could never be repaired. “Shaking her head, she said in a voice full of regret, “This is never going to look like it did originally… Is this the gift you want to hand your spouse on your wedding night?” The youth answered with the only response Finch’s presentation allowed – a resounding “no.”

In Risky Lessons, Jessica Fields points out that the educator “invoked a well-established and gendered romantic script in which women and girls, not men and boys, trade their sexual virtue for love. According to this standard narrative, girls remain valuable and desirable as long as their hymens remain intact and their bodies remain virginal.”

Let’s examine this idea a little. A girl is in charge of protecting her sexual purity. Of keeping their proverbial lollipop wrapped. This is an idea that has been around a long time and that is currently is running rampant in today’s political environment. With the change of many state legislatures from democrat to republican in 2010 and the increase in numbers of GOP representatives in Congress, reproductive rights have come under fire. This extends from an attempt to redefine rape (rape has long been justification to allow for abortion coverage from governmental plans like Medicaid) to forcing women to have medically unnecessary and invasive ultrasounds before abortion is allowed.

Republican presidential candidates and their supporters have made waves with comments that highlight the cultural belief that women need to protect their purity. Underlying this argument is that birth control should not be provided by the government because giving women birth control gives them the license to GO WILD!…

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Screaming in the Streets: Causes and Costs of Emotional Deviance

From cursing at the cradle to pulling your hair out in the streets, Bridget Welch explores the consequences and causes of emotional deviance.

Paint yourself a picture in your mind. Late at night she sits clasping her child to her chest, slowly rocking him to sleep with one small lamp lighting the room from the corner. When you paint this picture, what facial expression do you give her? A soft smile and calm visage? I look of pure idolization and delight? Or perchance did you brush in tear tracks and a grimace. Was her mouth open to scream, “WHAT!?! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!? GO TO SLEEP ALREADY!” There is a reason that Samuel L. Jackson narrated the story Go the FU*K to Sleep (not safe for work, as you can probably tell by the title)a book that any parent with a sense of humor has looked at or, like me, now owns.

Or you have this:

Not exactly the picture of the happy bride we all have in our heads. But as we laugh at these scenes or are shocked by the idea that parents may really want to tell their precious little bundles just to “Lay the F down already, you cute little monster!”, a sociological question emerges. What happens when the emotions we feel are quite different then those that society expects of us?…

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Laughing at Death and Other Clichés

Have you ever laughed at a funeral? Or bawled hysterically at a wedding? Ever been so nervous you vomited at a performance… on stage? In this post, Bridget Welch explores social rules for emotions and how they differ based on your placement in the social structure.

“Here. Hide this.”

I stare dumbly at the gum wrapper he’s trying to give me. In my head, my sense of self-control commands me, “Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t you dare say it.”

We are standing in a wood paneled room, the carpet is some deep wine color with a sickening paisley print, the people around us talking in a low murmur. Some place at the front of a room – a place I studiously avoided looking – was the reason we were all there – the reason that I was so fiercely trying to bite my tongue. Up front the young man’s father was presiding over our little tableau from the best seat in the house – his casket.

“Don’t say it. Don’t you do it,” I repeated to myself as the urge to blurt it out nearly overcame me. For those of you like me with a sickly sweet dark humor that at best is misunderstood and at worst gets me in trouble, you may already know. My initial reaction to the bereaved’s request? “Oh sure. I’ll just stick it down the casket. No one will find it there.”

To call that reaction inappropriate may be something of an understatement. To make a joke, to laugh at a funeral, while possibly understandable to some of you as a way to handle tension – is what we sociologists like to call emotionally deviant….

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A Sociologist Watches TV: Glee and the “Asian F”

We all know Asian Americans get A’s and are awesome at science. Or do we? In this post, Bridget Welch explores the model minority myth and the effect it has on Asian Americans and the rest of society.

Mike got an A- on a chemistry exam (which is an “Asian F”) and his dad told him that he had to leave the Glee club… and his girlfriend Tina. Tensions between the football team and the glee club explode, resulting in a whole bunch of dancing zombies. Mercedes and Sam share some “Summer Loving.” Santana sings “I Kissed a Girl” while flirting with Brittany, and that’s what you missed on Glee!

There is so much sociology in that one paragraph I hardly know where to start. So let’s start at the start. With the “Asian F”.

Every semester I ask students to turn in a joke for extra credit (any joke that they want). One that frequently shows is:

The “Asian Grading System”:

  • 99.5-100: A+
  • 99.3-99.4: A
  • 99.0-99.2: A-
  • 98.9: B+
  • 98.5-98.8: B
  • 98.0-98.4: B-
  • <98.0: F

None of this is likely to you surprise you; it may offend you, but it probably won’t surprise. We all know the stereotypes that say “Asians are super smart math whizzes who are great a computers, and possibly Kung Fu”….

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Giving the Finger: Authority, Legitimacy, and Race

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was recently caught on film pointing angrily into Obama’s face. When we look at this incident and the numerous like it we can see a pattern. In this post, Bridget Welch connects the dots between these incidents to show how racism has been utilized to attack President Obama’s authority. 

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Last week a photo of Arizona Govenor Jan Brewer pointing her finger in President Barack Obama’s face made it into the news. Many people who saw the video asked as anchor Martin Bashir did, “Is this how we are supposed to treat the president?”…

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Same as it Ever Was: Institutional Discrimination in Housing

As a result of our current economic downturn, the wealth gap between Whites and African Americans is larger today then any time in the past 25 years. In this post, Bridget Welch explores how historical housing practices and current predatory lending practices combine to reinforce institutional discrimination.

Unless you have been living under a rock, or work on Wall Street, you may have noticed that the economy is not doing so well. Just in case you are unaware of how that statement should win “The Most Understated Statement of the Year” award, please watch this short video that shows the spread of unemployment across the United States. Yet, as hideous as the current unemployment rate is, there is a group of people who live on this razors edge constantly.

You see, African Americans’ unemployment rate is always at the recession rate. In other words, what makes this current economic downturn so notable is that Whites are now at the unemployment rate that African Americans normally are at. And, of course, African Americans are disproportionately hurt by the current downturn – meaning their unemployment rates (particularly men’s)[1] have soared. Don’t believe me? Go play with this fun NYT infographic. The truth is that minorities in our country act as the canary in the coal mine – falling to the poisonous atmosphere before it reaches the rest of us….

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The Maury Phenomenon: The Self-Comparison Processes

Ever had a secret feeling of glee when a friend did worse on an exam than you did? Or secretly cheer when a prima ballerina lands square on her face? In this post, Bridget Welch explores our need to compare ourselves to others and what we will sometimes do to come out on top.

If you watch The Maury Povich Show enough, you’ll uncover a basic pattern.

A woman – so interchangeable we will just refer to her as “she” – comes on the show and insists a particular man – an equally interchangeable “He” – is undoubtly the father of her baby. Maury will question how she can be so sure. She will cite not being with any other man. She points behind her to the very large screen which shows side by side a photo of the alleged father with a shot (usually live) of Junior. “Look, Junior has his nose! It’s the same chin Maury! The same chin!” The audience, of course, cheers at her exuberant display….

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Juiceheads, Meatballs, and Grenades. OH MY!

Tight Clothes, Tanned Skin, and Big Muscles. Millions of hours a week are getting lost to Jersey Shore. In this post, Bridget Welch explores how Jersey Shore can help us understand sociology and makes a plea that us viewing this show is as far as we go.

Two hours of my life I will never get back. I offered them up to the teaching gods in order to better communicate the concepts of culture and subcultures to my students. Yet, as much as I hold sacred the education of my students, nothing was worth what I endured for those two hours. I wanted to claw open my head and scrub the memory of the experience off of my brain. And my eyes… oh, my poor eyes. I found myself momentarily madly jealous of the blind that would never have to witness the utter insanity of …

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The Gays are Evil and Other Mind Tricks

Gays cause cancer, global warming, train crashes, floods, divorce… In this piece, Bridget Welch explores how we change our minds to keep mental balance and how others exploit this tendency to win us to their side.

Did you know that gays caused the terrorist attack on September 11th? It’s true. Reverend Jerry Falwell and Pat Robinson say so. Gays also cause tornados. This claim is backed by no other than Rick Perry’s Florida election co-chair Pam Olsen.

That’s not all. Gays also caused Hurricane Katrina, countless earthquakes, the collapse of the mortgage finance market, a horrific massacre of Muslims, and played a pivotal role in the holocaust. I don’t know how we didn’t see this evilness coming. Gays have been destroying the world for centuries! They even caused the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire!

Okay. If you in any way, shape, or form, thought I was seriously arguing that gays are the root of any and all evil in the United States, please pay extra close attention to what I’m about to explain.

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