Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Social Justice Event #2: Unslut

Social Justice Event #2: Unslut

Interestingly enough, I was able to go to this event and see the movie "Unslut" as part of a project that my brother's school was presenting.  I took the opportunity to go simply because I wasn't able to make the one that was presented on campus, and I wanted to fulfill the requirements.  However, I wasn't expecting to be as intrigued and interested by the movie, as I feel like it was a genuinely eye-opening experience.  I didn't realize slut-shaming was as significant as it is, and the movie is really eye-opening to what girls in particular have to go through.

As a guy, our culture has always told me that it's "cool" to be a guy that is able to get a bunch of girls.  While I'm not someone that's always adopted that mentality, I've never been criticized for my sexual activity or choices.  To see the way it was presented in this movie as a huge, significant double standard is quite bizarre.  Why is it that we do this?  The movie (for a brief summary, as I know some of you have already seen it) is essentially focused around a girl named Emily who after having sex begins to experience slut shaming, and so she creates an online movement to reach out to others who have gone through something similar and also get some comfort herself.  

It's interesting too, not just the Unslut movie, but people like Amber Rose who have taken steps to try and bring about change.  Girls don't deserve to be shamed for being comfortable with their own bodies and making decisions.  I don't understand why we're so into double standards as a society, and I feel as though if we could be more fair, things would be way different in a good way.

Connections to text/course: I think more than anything else, this connects to Ferguson's writing and the Sex Positivity and the things we did in class with the woman who came in and talked to us about Sex Positivity.  The entire Unslut project is about women having control over their own bodies and being able to make their own decisions.  I think it's one of the more important things that we learned because it has to do with freedom of choice, and gender shouldn't matter.

Video: I think the video is interesting just because it gives a perspective on how men feel about slut shaming.  If you're interested, there are a few other links in the description of that video that include women's responses to the subject as well.  It's a good video that I think is worth the watch.

Questions/Points: Does anyone else have a different opinion on this? It seems like such a simple solution to a big problem that shouldn't be a problem at all.  Let's just be better as people and stop with the double standards...

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pecha Kucha


Monday, November 30, 2015

Social Justice Event #1: Struggles With Racism in Schools

Social Justice Event
Struggles with Racism in Schools

Throughout the course of the semester, one of our required assignments was to attend 2 Social Justice events outside of class.  While inititally I planned to just attend one of the film seminars in the library, I had the opportunity to go and participate in an event hosted by my brother's school called "Racism: Bring About Change".  One of the things they focused on during their studies was what it's like for children and young adults in schools to have to suffer from racism.  African American students in Southern schools, for example, like the video I included in my blog post #12 are often subject to ignorance and bigoted views from people who refuse to acknowledge these people as equals.  The woman in that video is a principal at a school, a figure that students are told to listen to and look up to, and yet she is spewing racist comments openly.  I referenced that video simply because I think it ties into some of the things I learned at this event.

There were a few guest speakers, and honestly I can't remember their names, but there was one girl who is of Muslim descent who talked about transferring to a new high school and being treated like an outcast.  She said people acted like they were afraid of her and treated her like a thing instead of a person, and she talked about the difficulties she had just trying to get herself to go to school.  Something like that is such a disheartening thing to hear because no one deserves to be subjected to that just because of their backgrounds or beliefs.  

Another guy talked about what it was like for him growing up as an African American student in Alabama, and said he was often subject to racism being one of only a couple of African American students in his class (like Junior Class).  He said he was often bullied and made to feel less significant.  Of course, even though these stories were moving and definitely hard to hear, it was amazing to see these people open up and spread their message in an attempt to inspire confidence in others.  The girl who talked is now in college and about to graduate with a degree in accounting, and already has a couple of jobs lined up.  At the same time, the man said that he works with a lot of youth groups and helps to get people actively involved in the community and helps them to make better decisions and gain confidence.  To see what they went through only to be able to pull themselves back up and really get their lives on track despite hardships was inspiring, and something I think others can learn from.

Connections to text: I chose to reference this event now because it actually goes hand-in-hand with the texts we read from Blanchard and Ayvazian.  Writing these two posts similar to one another allowed me to really reflect on the text and it's interesting because of the fact that these people who talked at the presentation have the same goal of inspiring confidence and being "allies", as was talked about in both texts.  More than anything else, I think the presentation they put on is something really cool for younger children to see, at it gives them an idea into what racism is and what it's like for people at a younger age--the sooner they get the knowledge to make the best decisions they can and be good, moral people rather than be forced to think in a certain way because of ignorant parents or authority figures, the better off they will be.

This was a really informative event and one I enjoyed quite a bit.  Being able to sit there and just listen to these brave people share their stories was inspiring and it made me want to make more of an effort to help bring about that same change.

Video: If you can, I'd watch this video.  It's a little long, but I think the message was a good one and it really speaks to what some of these people have to experience.

Blanchard and Ayvazian


Ayvazian, “Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression;” Blanchard, “Combatting Intentional Bigotry and Inadvertently Racist Acts”

 Basis: I found the final reading of the semester to be one that I think is arguably the most powerful.  Both authors, which I will talk about in detail in just a moment, talk about the "cycle of oppression" and how to work together to combat racism.  It's a very prevalant issue in our society right now, with things like #BlackLivesMatter, the shootings in places like Ferguson and others, and the constant struggle that people of minorities face.  It's something that has been constantly manipulated and modified by the media to fit personal agendas as well, so it's hard to really look at it from a completely objective point of view.  I think racism at its core is a terrible, terrible thing that no one should have to endure, and the key to helping to eradicate that issue begins with people standing up and voicing their own opinions.

There were two authors we had to read today, the first being Ayvazian.  Her article focused mainly on the idea of "allies".  What I can best understand as a starting point is people who may not be subjected to racism (mainly white people in our country, unfortunate as that is to say), need to realize why racism is a problem and take a stand to fight against it.  The first thing she really talks about is the idea of people who are grown up not knowing that racism is a real issue and as a result, they have no reason to be "against it".  If a child is raised in a house where they are taught to believe (through actions or otherwise) that African American people are "lesser", they are naturally going to follow that same mindset.  They need to learn that racism is bad and what they can do in order to take a stand against it.  It's about being educated.  Having "allies", as she called them, can empower the victims as well and give them the confidence to stand up and fight for their own beliefs knowing that others are on their side.  People would rather just sit quietly and not draw attention to themselves, and they just sit by idly while others suffer.  It's no different than if you see someone getting bullied in school and decide to just sit there and do nothing about it because you're afraid of how you'll look.

 The other author, Blanchard, focused a lot more on the idea of educating yourself and others as a means of inspiring people to stand up for what is right and for what they believe in.  To explain that a little bit better, as I saw it, he argued that people are likely to follow "trends" whether they are positive or negative, and as a result, the community as a whole may be hesitant to take a stand against racism (or vice versa) based on the opinions of others around them.  In order for people to stand up and fight for what's right and to help others, they need to know WHAT they are fighting for and WHY they are fighting for it.  Racism is inexcuseable and it personally upsets me that there are still so many people who refuse to just be accepting of others.  I'm not saying you have to like anyone, but you should at least be accepting and respectful of their beliefs.

 I found that this resonates a lot with me after going to the Social Justice Event about racism and tolerance in schools, which I have to blog about in the next day or so, where I listened to stories from people who have been bullied or oppressed because of the color of their skin or religious beliefs, and it just makes me sick to think that as a society we can't be better than that.  We SHOULD be.  I just don't know why we aren't.

Video: This video is an example of exactly the kind of issues we face here.  This woman in the video is the Principal at the local high school in Georgia, and her racist comments are not only disgusting, but others are going to see someone in a position of power and get the sense that it's okay to think this way and as a result, they join in (some applaud in the video, too).  This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing to make change.

 Question: What do you guys think? How can we work together to better combat racism through knowledge?


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ferguson's Sex Positive

"Sex Positivity"
Ann Ferguson

First of all, I should apologize for the delay in getting this posted--I spent the whole weekend with an awful sickness and actually ended up having to go the emergency room, so I'm just getting back into shape with things now.  

For this week, we had to read Ferguson's "Sex Wars" and that, along with the "Sex Positivity" attachment that came with it, had a very interesting central argument that I'd really like to take a look at in detail. 

Essentially, Ferguson paints two sides of a story, radical feminists, and libertarian feminists.  If I'm understanding it correctly, the idea here is that radical feminists are basically "extremists" or by the book.  They believe that women should not partake in any type of sexual activity (whether its to their liking or not) that puts the man in any display of power, simulated or not.  In simpler terms, the idea is that men are dominant and men use sex as a means of power, and radical feminists want to remove that power.  Now do I agree with the premise?  Sure.  

Women should not be viewed as any less than men when it comes to sex or anything else.  However, the idea that a woman not be allowed or able to partake in a sexual act or activity that she may enjoy and consent to seems completely counterproductive to what the goal is.

This is where libertarian feminists come into play.  Libertarian feminists have the belief that women should be able to do what they want and whatever they find pleasurable, as long as it's not something illegal, obviously.  I find it a bit difficult to draw a fair line here because one side seems quite rational while the other seems way out of left field.  However, I can respect that others may have a differing opinion on the matter.

I think the main idea here, and it's a good one, is that sex should be an equal thing that both parties consent to, and really focuses on the emotional connection between the two.  Both men and women should not have to feel as though they can't freely express themselves however they see fit, as long as their respective partner is okay with it.  There are definitely valid points to both sides of this, but as I noticed Matt point out in his blog and Kyle mentioned it as well, it's a bit confusing.

I'm not sure what I was supposed to feel after reading this.  I gained some information, but there's nothing that explicitly swayed me to feel one way or another, or to agree with one side over the other, aside from thinking that both men and women should be free to choose what makes them happy as long as it isn't harming anyone else.


Had a bit of trouble coming up with a picture that related to the way I feel about this, so I suppose this one will do.  It does make sense that it should be about choice above all else.

Video: I actually found this video to be quite interesting.  Though it's not 100% related to the article, hearing the perspective about sex positivity from someone who identifies as asexual is actually interesting.  Let me know what you guys think!

Question: So, after reading the article, and this I guess, do you find yourself agreeing more with one side or another? Personally, I'm indifferent, and I believe people should be able to make their own choices, but I'd like to hear what others think about it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Having a Bit of Trouble Accessing the Tough Guise Movie...Can anyone help?

I'm a bit late with the blog, but I haven't actually been able to watch the movie yet.  When I try accessing it through the link in the syllabus, it asks me for a code of some kind, which I have no idea of.  I'm thinking it might be like a library card or something, but I have no idea.  Did anyone else have a similar problem?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cinderella Ate My Daughter! (Wait, I don't have a daughter!) - Gender Clarity

"Cinderella Ate My Daughter" - Orenstein

Call me assumptive, but I feel as though it's safe to assume that everyone has at least heard of Disney in some form or fashion.  And speaking of fashion, I can only imagine that at some point in your lives, you've come across some kind of Disney princess, whether it be through movies, games, TV, or just walking through one of the many aisles at your local retailer.  Disney princesses are huge, some might say "goals" even, as much as using that word makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little.  Every young girl aspires to be a princess, in the fashion of famous characters like Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, just to name a few.

These characters are all referenced in Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daughter.  Now, while she's not suggesting that Cinderella physically ate her daughter, because I think that would be another genre entirely, but more-so that the culture created by these "princesses" and the huge line of marketing that appeals to young girls (but in fairness, girls of all ages really), and it is an unrealistic culture that leads to defined gender roles for girls that shouldn't exist.

At least that's what I took from it.  The princesses are reliant on a man to help them define who they are, and they need a man to be happy, and many of them (Snow White, Cinderella) are seen cleaning, cooking, doing chores etc., things which have often been stereotyped as "a woman's job".  Now of course at such a young age, girls are just into the fantasy and pizzazz of it all, but it's setting a bad example from their initial interest and may formulate unrealistic expectations as they grow up, almost subconsciously.  

You don't see boys wearing princess gear and collecting those things, because we've been taught that it's mainly for girls.  I'm not saying I agree with this, I'm just saying that's the way it is and it's entirely wrong.  Stores like Target and Toys R Us have recently made efforts to try and change things in their stores so that toys and such aren't separated by gender, but rather grouped all together.  I think it's an interesting idea and something that sends a positive message at the very least.

More needs to be done--gender equality is important, but it's not being helped by the idea of separate genders from a very young age in the sense that there are pre-set standards for boys and girls to live by.  People should be free to make their own choices and not be judged by it.

Apologies if I rambled a bit, but I found this article particularly intriguing.

That picture is a bit laughable, but it's actually quite accurate.  And I think the simplicity really helps drive home the point that we as a society do way too much to try and influence the way a person develops based solely on gender, and it's wrong.

Video: Do I need to say more?


Question: So what do you guys think? Did you take something different from this than I did? Where do you stand on the idea?