Kultur 5

I found the overall theme of gender roles in German society to be very interesting. For my last AMD, I read about how Angela Merkel was a powerful woman who held a doctorate in Physics, and the first article from the New York Times in particular contextualized it further. It emphasizes that while it is a milestone that one of the most powerful people in the world is a woman, there persists a societal standard that still affects how women in Germany can mobilize themselves in ways that men can, such as through work or education. In my last AMD, I briefly touched on how current events in Germany are reminiscent of the US in that Germany faces a multitude of problems, and while reading the articles about womens’ roles in the workplace, I saw many parallels to gender inequality in the US. It is good to hear that there are strides being made towards gender equality in Germany, however, albeit long overdue.

Relating to how flirting in Germany differs from the rest of the world, it was also fascinating to learn about how the increasingly progressive role of women could be implicated in how flirting happens. Comparing it to the US, I definitely think that people are more and more readily abandoning the notion of chivalry, but I believe there’s still some bias against women who are more independent and take initiative.

I found the fact that sex shops in Germany aren’t a big deal to be interesting, as well. Comparing it to the US, I think that there’s a certain variance depending on where you are, but I would say that generally, people are very uncomfortable with talking about sex in the US. This expands to how we perceive sex shops, or any sex paraphernalia, for that matter.


Kultur 5 – Allie

As a woman who intends to be a mother and work at the same time, the first article, “Women Rise”, really struck me as interesting. I didn’t know before that Germany had only half day schools, and it’s hard for me to imagine being a working mother in that situation. If signing your child up for afternoon classes places you in the “bad mother” category, then I’d be there in a heartbeat. It’s so important for women to be in the workforce as well as men, and half-day schooling is limiting the opportunities for women to work and be mothers. I thought it was interesting that the author mentions Angela Merkel, because although she is a great example of a very successful German woman, she also has no children. This is not to say that children get in the way of success, but that there should be ways for women to work and be good mothers at the same time in Germany.

I also found “Rules of the Street” to be interesting. It repeats a theme that we’ve heard before in the Kultur readings, that Germans are a little less polite to strangers than Americans. It didn’t surprise me that Germans don’t typically say Entschuldigung when bumping into someone, because we also read about how bikers would run over someone walking in the bike lane.

I really liked the second Kultur reading in Vorsprung, about “Bekannte oder Freunde?”. Sometimes I think that Americans have too loose a definition of friendship, which I am definitely guilty of as well. I like that Germans have specific ways to distinguish between someone that they know and someone that they are very familiar and share an intimate relationship with. Part of this might have to do with the fact that Americans have only one form of you, whereas German has Sie oder du, which is another way to distinguish between friends and acquaintances.

Kultur Kapitel 5

I was really surprised when I read the first article.  I can’t even imagine that women are supposed to be full-time mothers in one of the well-developed countries – Germany, the country that led by a female Chancellor.  I can understand that women take days off from their work during the first year after delivery to better breastfeed their children, but not through the entire childhood of their kids.  I totally agree with the quote that “working women seek not just a paycheck, but also fulfillment of ambitions, both personal and professional”.  Especially for women with higher education, years of school should not only lead to full-time mothers, unless this is the career that one truly wants to go.

I am wondering if the “Entschuldigung” thing was outdated.  From my experience in Germany, people there were friendly and polite.

The “Toilet” article reminds me my days in Germany.  That was so true!  You have to pay for the restroom.  I thought it was just something common and usual in Germany, but have never thought that those Klofrau were hired by big companies and they might also have a miserable life.

I guess the initial subtle glance or smile would easily be ignored in other countries.  But in Germany, women really need to pay more attention to those little hints.  Honestly, I don’t think it must be the guy who starts the interaction.  But personally, I think I would wait for a guy to start.

Kulture-Texte 5

The first article discusses the changing role of women in German society. It begins with an overview of the traditional half-day school in Germany. For over 250 years, the majority of German day schools end at lunchtime, allowing (or forcing) mothers to spend the rest of the day caring for their children. However, as the role of German women in modern society changes, many schools are changing this policy and adding afternoon classes, which allow mothers to work all day instead of being forced to care for their children for a large part of the day. The German economy has become largely dependent on women in the workforce, as a combination of job-losses and a declining birthrate. The article finishes by commenting on the fact that German women do continue to face discrimination in the workforce, and how an eventual backlash against their growing role is a possibility. I think its very interesting how the article discusses the push and pull between the German birthrate and the role of women in the workforce. The fact is that Germany’s birthrate is unsustainably low- the population is projected to decline over the coming years. But as more German women are needed in the workforce to make up for the population decline, they will have less time to have and raise children. I think that extending class to afternoons may be a necessary way to combat this trend.

The next article discusses the phenomenon of Germans not saying “Entschuldigung” when making physical contact with a stranger. This seems unnecessary to me, as I generally like to be courteous where I can, especially with people I don’t know. But then again, the articles have been a bit overdramatic in the past, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one was a case of that.

The article on sex shops in Germany is also very interesting. I think that the American attitude towards that sort of thing is excessively prudish- people should have the right to be into whatever they want to be, without fear of being judged. America is often seen as a progressive Western country, but its important to realize that we are still much more conservative than many of our European counterparts.

The article on Klofrau was interesting as well. When I visited Germany over the summer, I remember encountering these bathroom-cleaning women, but I had no idea who they were or what their jobs were. After reading the article, it makes more sense. I do wonder if we in the US would be benefitted by having Klofrau- I’ve encountered my fair share of disgusting bathrooms. Then again, they are all free here, which is something I’m sure I take for granted.

The article on flirting in Germany described how in Germany, flirting is generally a more subtle process than in the states. Instead of a guy confidently approaching a girl (as is “normal” here), flirting usually begins with the guy giving a smile or eye contact, and the girl responded by coming to talk to him. That is certainly very different- American guys will not get anywhere using that tactic.

Kapitel 5 Kultur – Pheebe

In the first article, the author talks about the dilemma German mothers face: working while still having to take care of their children. There is an example in the article, which is about how a German mother was accused of being a “bad mother” when she tried to sign up for afternoon classrooms for her child because she has to work. I was a bit upset when I saw that because I personally think that it is a mother’s own freedom to do whatever she thinks is best for herself and her kids. This actually relates to my personal experience. I lived with my grandparents from second grade till eighth grade because my parents work in China and they only come home every one or two months. However, I don’t think they were “bad parents” for leaving me in Taiwan for school because they were working hard and wanted to give me the best I could have.

The next article talks about how Germans do not really say “Entschuldigung” as much as Americans would. This reminds me of an article we read previously regarding German cyclists and how pedestrians just have to watch out for them. However, I feel like this article is a little bit exaggerated , but I do get the meaning! The article about the sex shops is actually pretty interesting and funny. The author mentions that Germans are more “open-minded” and not as conservative as Americans when it comes to sex stores. I think this kind of “free” culture is actually pretty cool. The next article about the toilet lady is also very funny. When I was reading it, I could picture a lady standing in the bathroom waiting for people in my head. However, I personally find that a little bit weird and creepy because I probably would not want someone to be “waiting” when I am in the bathroom. The last short article about German flirting is also fun. I found it surprising that the author, in his own experience, says that the German men are generally more shy than women. But it is cute that men would only smile or make eye contacts with the women then wait to see if the women would go up and talk to them!