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?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Midterm Mapping!


I didn't include links because there weren't any that I specifically didn't get, but I can add them if necessary.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Best (probably poor) Attempt at understanding Gloria Anzaldua's: "Towards a New Consciousness"

Towards a New Consciousness
Gloria Anzaldua
I should preface this with the fact that I'm not expecting this blog to be all that great.  I've read the piece twice now, and the constant changing of languages confused me and made it more difficult to understand, but I'll give it my best go.  The general consensus of the article as I saw it was exploring what it's like to be bi-racial and/or bi-cultural and the inner and outer experiences that she (the author) has been through on a personal level.

The way it seems as though the author really begins to break it down is the idea that you face multiple struggles as a bi-racial person because you have to find a way to identify and earn acceptance into every culture.  One of the things she referenced early in the piece (and I can't remember it word for word), but was talking about what it's like to live in America, yet not be "white", and the whole idea that people are "accepting" of her, but not actually accepting.  She's there, but she doesn't feel like she truly belongs, so to speak. 

Another thing I took from it was the struggle of being involved in more than one culture, and the idea of being "sandwiched" between the systems that those cultures employ, and the struggles she faces as a result.  I definitely understood the basic gist of what she was trying to say, but honestly I don't feel as though I'm confidently writing this because there are some things I need cleared up.  The idea of the bi-racial and bi-cultural struggles makes perfect sense and really drives home the struggle that many people all over the world face, and for what reason? It makes no sense to me that a person should be defined by where they come from, but that's the way it is, and for many, they constantly experience an inner-struggle that many of us may never pay attention to.  Personally, I can't imagine what that must be like and I think the author does a good job of painting just a small picture that gets the idea going in your head--why aren't we more accepting of people?

So many problems that are caused socially (violence, war, rape, negligence, suffering), and that's just a broad spectrum, could probably be greatly reduced if people were willing to put themselves in the shoes of others.  I sympathize with the author, and yet I have no idea what she's really been through, or what anyone in her position has been through.  That being said, I still feel as though it's something that is worth discussing. 

I look forward to discussing it in class and trying to explain my own viewpoints on it, but hopefully also learn from the others who read it and really get a strong understanding of the idea as a whole.


I found the above video to be really interesting and recommend watching it if you have the time.  In the video, the woman talks about trying to identify herself and the struggles she's faced being of mixed backgrounds. 

Question: What did others who read this take from it? I know for sure I'm missing some things that I should have picked up on.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Compulsory Heterosexuality

"Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence"
- Adrienne Rich

So personally, I found this article to be all sorts of weird.  In what should be an obviously brief summary to anyone who read it, the author's main focus is on 'compulsory heterosexuality', which is the idea that it's "mandatory/required" to be straight, and "lesbian existence", which, as best I can tell, is the author's idea that rather than a woman seriously being attracted to another woman, is a way to handle their problems better.  Now perhaps I misread it, but let's take a look at this quote in particular:

"Lesbians have historically been deprived of a political existence through "inclusion" as female versions of male homosexuality.  To equate lesbian existence with male homosexuality because each is stigmatized is to erase female reality once again."

While I could be looking at this the wrong way, it feels to me like she's essentially saying women use it as an excuse to handle their problems and gain sympathy, or to in some sort have the same political attention that homosexual males do.  This makes absolutely no sense to me. 

First of all, how is this fair? Why is it that men can be gay by choice and it's accepted but for a woman it's just some kind of "excuse" because she doesn't want to be with a man? I'm obviously not a woman, but even I can see that this is a completely ridiculous way to think about things.  There should be equality on both sides and it's a very ignorant point of view in my opinion.  

The quote I included above is really the way I feel about it--be yourself and screw everybody else (not literally, unless you want to, I mean that's your call).  The idea that standards in society should determine how a woman (or man) lives their life and chooses to identify and express his or herself is absolutely ridiculous.

Question: Did anyone else see and interpret this differently? Maybe I misread it or something but that's exactly what I took from it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

USA, Land of Limitations [Female Inequality]

USA, Land of Limitations
Written by: Nicholas Kristof

Additional references: "People Like Us"/"Youngstown State University"

Personally,  I found the article a lot more interesting than the majority of the things I read on the site.  The author using Rick's story as a background and as a way to really drive home his point.  Breaking this down into three separate categories, I'm going to take a look at how female inequality (particularly from an economic standpoint) is a legitimate issue and how it relates to feminism.

1: Labor
One of the interesting things I noticed in another blog was someone pointing out that women do a large percentage of the "unpaid" labor, a lot of which has to do with raising the children, staying at home, etc.  Now while I'm glad that this has changed to an extent and it's not all just "stay at home moms" and women are allowed to go out and do more, and it's socially acceptable for them to do so.  The thing is, men are paid more to do the same jobs regardless of how well the jobs are done.  It makes no sense to me that there's that significant of a difference (I believe it was 0.79 cents to a dollar in favor of men) of a drop in work when women are fully capable of doing the same thing.

2: Race
It's bad enough that women make significantly less than men to do the same things, but even more-so the fact that women of color make even less.  When you scale that down, it becomes apparent that society's "spotlighting" of the white male is a genuine problem as it creates an unfair social environment for everyone. 

3: Social standards
A big problem (and this relates to the labor more than anything, but I feel it deserves its own point) in the development of inequality is the fact that women are "expected" to do these things because it is what society has deemed appropriate for them.  Why is it that women are expected to do things differently?

I believe that everyone should be equal--ESPECIALLY you and your significant other in a relationship, whether it's a man and a woman or otherwise.  When it comes to growing together and working to better your lives, there's no excuse for the man being treated as better than a women when they are supposed to be on the same level. 

I haven't phrased this greatly and I apologize for that, but I find it absurd that we HAVE to talk about equality, especially in the workplace, in 2015.  Women deserve better and we as a society should be doing more to make things more fair for everyone (both women and men).

Video: The video below is a short video that showcases statistics about gender equality in the workplace, and how it is flawed.
Question: Where do you stand on this? Am I alone in thinking that we can do more to make things more fair for everyone, both men and women?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Generation "M"

"Generation M"
Thomas Keith

I think this movie was really interesting and sort of an "eye-opener" in the sense that you don't really think about how much the media impacts literally everything around you.  Obviously, the focus is more about sexism and the way women are portrayed, but even on a bigger scale, media influences every aspect of life and it's weird how little we actually think about it.  The portrayal of women (in both movies, music, television, and even magazines) is so sexually based, in part because of the fact that it's really what "sells" and gets the attention of most people.  However, I don't necessarily think this is a fair way to go about it.  The thing is, unless people start to realize how the media is really acting and take a stand to change the issues around them, nothing is going to change.

And at the same time, women follow these "guidelines" to try and fit in and allow themselves to become engrossed in the whole social expectations.  I'm not sure what the solution is, but I know more people need to realize how things are.

Video: The above video talks about the way women are portrayed in the media (I believe last year or the year before) and while acknowledging that some things were positives, there are still way too many negatives.

Question: So what do you guys think might be a reasonable solution to this problem? Or at least something to get the conversation started?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Regarding "Oppression"

Oppression - Marilyn Frye


Though it may not be a popular opinion, I do not believe feminism in its current incarnation (as in, regards to how it is currently in our society) is healthy at all.  I am a vocal supporter of equality for both men and women, but I do believe that some (note: some, not all) people have lost sight of what feminism was intended to be, and use it more to victimize themselves than to actual bring about positive change.  More on this in a second.

The author talks about "oppression" quite a bit - it's even in the title - and specifically references how the counter-argument to feminism in and of itself is often that men are oppressed too, while feminism argues that women are oppressed.  My question in response to it, is why are we having this argument at all? What I mean is, both men and women are oppressed, but why do we break it down and "pick sides" by looking at it from a gender perspective? In every race, gender, category, city, you name it, there's people that are going to have it worse off than others.  Rather than working together for a common goal to improve the lives of everyone, we resort to taking sides and creating enemies out of ourselves.

Women are unfairly oppressed in the country - whether it has to do with jobs, the awful sense of rape culture in society, or even just wages and things of the sort.  Men are oppressed too, and one thing the author brings up is the fact that men are looked at as "weak" if they cry, and how women may not want a man that appears weak.  And while I can't dispute that these things do happen and attention should be brought to them, I think the entire idea of picking sides is absolutely silly.  As people, both men and women, we should do whatever we can to make things better for everyone.  If the goal of women is to make things better just for women, then eventually things get worse for men.  And when that happens, men become "more oppressed" and fight to change that, which leads to women doing the same.  In other words, it's a vicious cycle of constant one-ups-manship.

I quite liked the article because at least the author made an effort to portray both sides as having issues, and not trying to shut down one side or the other.  As a people and a society, we have so much more we could be doing to improve and reduce "oppression" for everyone, but instead it feels like sometimes we're taking steps backwards rather than forwards.

Video: The video, while it isn't perfect, sort of shows what I'm talking about, in that it gives the viewer the ability to judge which side was "in the wrong".  I would have liked to have found something that explains it better, but I think it was alright.

The above picture is meant to represent the idea of gender equality, in that both sides are oppressed equally.

Additional questions/comments: I don't think there's much else I have to add, other than perhaps to ask what others think? I understand that the way I worded it may have been confusing, but I hate the idea of generalizing anyone's oppression because everyone can suffer in different ways.