Thursday, December 6, 2012

Media Matters

The article Media and Ideology was really interesting and there is a lot to be said about how much media impacts us as a society. I like the quote "Given that these kinds of media criticism are often well received, there is good reason to believe that large numbers of the public also perceive the media as purveyors of ideology—even if they don’t use the term. Media sell both products and ideas, both personalities and worldviews; the notion that mass media products and cultural values are fundamentally intertwined has gained broad public acceptance." As a whole we take what the media shows us and believe it instead of  stepping back and thinking for ourselves. Even though we know the media can twist things and make them not what they really are. We need to make them accountable for their actions as we would anyone who was lying or slandering someone or something. 

In other words, different ideological perspectives, representing different interests with unequal power, engage in a kind of struggle within media texts" this happens all the time! Just like we were talking about how Fox News was reporting different election night news than CNN or any other news channel. The people in control contort news so it benefits them, not us. This other quote from the text goes along with what I just said "The morality of abortion, homosexuality, or capital punishment is debated, often in very polarized terms, in the mass media, as cultural conservatives and cultural progressives alike use various media technologies to promote their positions." Each media group has their own hidden agenda and many people can't see that. They are all fighting for what they want not what benefits society as a whole. 

I found this article really interesting its about the media and politics and how certain media outlets are controlled by certain wealthy people who have their own political agenda. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Race and Womens studies updated*

I wanted to update this so I could speak more about the text since I already talked about my personal experience. I read Racism and Women's Studies by Barbara Smith. We had found out after the group read the article the woman who wrote it had written this after she was at a seminar on feminism and nobody had spoke about racism. Feminism is about speaking about all women being treated fairly so she was justifiably mad when it wasn't brought up. I think that the article we read called Oppression by Marilyn Frye she says "Economic necessity; confinement to racial and/or sexual job ghettos; sexual harassment; sex discrimination; pressures of competing expectations and judgements about women, wives and mothers (in the society at large, in racial and ethnic or other "minority" groups; the demands of self-respect and responsibilities to others. Each of these factors exists in complex tension with every other, penalizing or prohibiting all of the apparently available options." Frye means that these groups people are confined to one being by race is necessary in this society because it's how we operate there's no change because people are oppressed and don't believe it's possible for change and so we just let it keep happening. Oppression speaks so strongly to race and gender even stronger when both are combined.
The other text that connects to this is A Tsunami In History by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. While speaking about the first wave of feminism she states "One criticism of the first wave is that the women's suffrage movement didn't pay enough attention to social hierarchies other than gender, like race and class. Although women of all races were legally granted the right to vote, many areas instituted Jim Crow requirements, like poll taxes and literacy tests, specifically intended to keep poor African Americans from the voting booth". Racism has been a feminist issue since the first wave was started it seems race has been overlooked many times when fighting for women's rights and their needs to be more attention paid to it and how much the two issues intertwine.

This link is about racism seen in Disney since we've talked so much about Disney and girl culture it seemed fitting and also intrigued me. We already saw that Disney movies like to teach girls that they should be more focused on finding true love than finding a career path with a hint of sexism in there. They bring up a few movies such as Aladdin, Lady and the tramp and Peter Pan among others.

Social Justice Event #1 When Inequality Keeps You Safe

I thought that I'd use one day I worked at the liquor store as a social justice event. The class we had on economic justice we spoke about women being treated differently than men in certain work situations. What got brought up was girls having to either walk together late at night or having a co worker walk them to their car. As much as I'd love to say "I can take care of myself" I know I couldn't if I was up against a guy. When I was younger I said that probably 100 times because my mom wouldn't like me being somewhere. When that invincibility finally wears off, around 20 for me at least. I realized she was doing it for my safety and not to get under my skin because lets face it, everything your mother does is to annoy you or so you think. My mom did not like the fact I took a job at a liquor store but after explaining its a safe area and they've never had a problem she felt a little more at ease. There was one night that I was working with my manager and he had to run some stuff down stairs. I was just doing the usual ringing people out and filling shelves. I had a gentlemen come up to me and couldn't find something that was in the cooler without a second thought I walked in with him and pointed it out. As I'm walking out he starts to say you really shouldn't walk in the cooler with someone instead just direct them to it. He also explains he's a police officer and has seen a lot of things and that as much as you look at someone and think that they look like a nice person you could be completely wrong. It doesn't matter what someone looks like anyone's capable of hurting you. If that had been one of the guys I work with he would not have said anything and probably because they could defend themselves better and wouldn't be as easily targeted. I brushed off what he had said because I felt like people become a little too cautious but after talking about this stuff in class realized he was justified in warning me. And as much as we wanna get mad and say that we're being treated differently as women its not to do us harm but rather, keep us safe. I feel that the inequality we see at least in the situation is okay because people are capable of evil and if they see an easy target such as a young girl by herself they will take advantage of the opportunity.

Reflection after medical marijuana presentation

I've always felt strongly about legalizing marijuana it does a lot more harm being illegal. Funding drug cartels, putting away people who have charges related to marijuana sitting in jail on the tax payers dollar instead of worrying about the real criminals. Medical marijuana in particular has always been something I've spoken up and argued for. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia two years ago but have had it for almost 4 years. In those four years I've struggled on a lot of levels I've been on more drugs than I can name and had a lot of adverse side effects because of it. I could apply for a medical marijuana card but I choose not to because its just not for me but I think everyone has the right to make their own decisions. My friends father had multiple sclerosis and was using marijuana to help with the pain, it didn't get rid of his pain but it definitely helped it become on a tolerable level. I hate to see people suffer in such a way because I, myself, have to be on pain medication every day just to have a semi normal day I cant imagine how others who have it worse than me feel and if something makes it easier for them why should the government have a say? On top of all that there have been numerous studies done showing cannabis oil can cure cancer. This article is one of many that speak about it these two quotes show just how beneficial the plant can be.

"The study concluded that via the same biochemical process THC could terminate multiple types of cancers, affecting various cells in the body. Other studies have shown that cannabinoids may work by various mechanisms, including inhibiting cell growth, inducing cell death, and inhibiting tumor metastasis."

"What is amazing is that while cannabinoids effectively target and kill cancerous cells, they do not affect healthy, normal cells and may actually protect them against cellular death. Moreover, cannabinoids are also researched for their pain-modulation and anti-inflammatory abilities as they bind to special receptors in the brain, much like opioid derivatives that are commonly prescribed today."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Feminism and Sex

In the article 8 Ways to be Positive you're Sex Positive Rachel White talks about "slut shaming". Slut shaming is  making someone feel guilty or inferior for engaging in certain sexual behaviors that are not the "norm". Which is a huge problem in this society. The Washington Times article hits it right on the nose with the quote "Values are as individual as a fingerprint. What is taboo for one culture is norm for another." How can you shame one person for something you don't approve of, we are all different and we should embrace it not draw negative attention towards it. When you do something like that you are making it okay and also giving others permission to do the same thing to you. The other quote I like from the article is "Everything is a lifestyle, and the sexual activity of a woman is not to be questioned by anyone" it is direct in the point it is making and I completely agree with the statement. 

I think her seventh point "just because it doesn't turn you on doesn't mean its wrong" goes with the point she made above. Theres too much judgement in this society we all think our opinions are the right opinions but we need to step back and accept that we all have our own likes and dislikes. If someone has differing likes and dislikes as you doesn't mean that they're the weird or unusual. I never read the book 50 Shades of Grey but I've heard plenty about it I have felt like since this book has come out woman now think it is more accepted to engage in bdsm and other things that they may not have had the guts to talk about before which is a positive thing. At the same time I have to think why does a fictional book now make something more accepted? Why should it take a book to make more women outspoken on sexual desires? In this post he speaks about 50 Shades of Grey and how feminism ties into it. Thomas Patrick says "As discussion has raged about the merits and flaws of the book, some women have found a new way to express what might have been a previously awkward subject of sex and sexual desire.." I also feel the media dictates what women are supposed to like and dislike. We feed the monster that is the media by going along with it and not sticking up for individuality. 

Talking Point #2 Oppression

I decided after reading this excerpt that I had a lot of personal connections to this text. There were a few parts that seemed to fit into past experiences and things I deal with to this day.

When Marilyn Frye talks about "....neither sexual activity nor sexual inactivity is all right. If she is heterosexually active, a woman is open to censure and punishment for being loose, unprincipled or a whore......On the other hand, if she refrains from heterosexual activity, she is fairly constantly harassed by men who try to persuade her into it.." I'm usually a very private person but for the benefit of connecting to the text I will be open when I was young I had very little interest in being sexually active so I was called a prude, bitch and uptight among other things. For the most part these were things coming out of boys mouths and like many girls I felt pressured into things I didn't feel comfortable with. I was 18 when I had sex for the first time and shortly after was being called a slut and a whore how does someone go from being called a prude to being called a slut it doesn't make sense. Sexually inactive or sexually active I never felt comfortable either way and its because of all the stigma you cant win either way. I feel like its something women just have to deal with or ignore it and not let it bother you.

She also talks about how the parents who would be disapproving of sexual activity may be worried by inactivity. I think there are ALOT of girls who feel the way I do in that when you're young you're terrified to bring a boyfriend around so I just hid it for the most part. I wouldn't bring around someone I was dating or I just acted like they were a friend. But because I did that my parents thought I was a lesbian. Once I finally brought a boyfriend around my mom constantly gave these sex talks. Once again you can't win!

Frye also states "If one dresses one way, one is subject to the assumption that one is advertising one's sexual availability; if one dresses another way, one appears to "not care about oneself" or to be unfeminine." It seems that if a girl dresses one way she's looked at as "high maintenance" and if they dress the opposite they're a slob. When I was in high school I really didn't place much importance on the way I dressed but over time I felt the pressure to dress better. It was actually after I got my job at Nordstrom if you didn't have the latest fashion or top name brands on not only would the people you worked with judge you but even the customers would as well. Customers will not trust you to dress them if you yourself don't look well dressed. Even after I stopped working there I felt the pressure to dress well and still do to this day and every once and a while I catch myself criticizing the things people wear I know its not okay but yet I still do it.

There's all these things we get criticized for but no happy medium. There's this helplessness that comes along with oppression that you just let it go on because you don't feel you can change things.

This article speaks about the same things that I covered. Dr. Marty Klein writes "Today's woman is supposed to be sexy, but not too sexy. She's supposed to be responsive enough to validate her partner, but not too aggressive or hard to please. Sexual, but not lusty. Not frigid, but not quite red hot. Her sexuality should express love, not lust." 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Compulsory heterosexuality link*

I found this funny since I used to watch this show all the time and recently watched a few episodes never once picked up on how much this speaks to compulsory heterosexuality.

Economic Inequity link*

I felt this article was interesting and helps delve into how much inequality for females there are across the world. He talks about Ireland and the UK. One interesting point I read was that in 1968 women provided 11 percent of household income while men provided 70 percent and that in 2009 women provided 24 percent of household income and men provided 40 percent. I actually thought the percentage would be higher for women when you think about how many women work now that in itself should show just how much inequality there is.

What are little boys made of link*

This article was actually written by the author of What are Little Boys Made of  a few months after she wrote it. She had written a summer reading list and made a "boys" and "girls" list and the feedback she received was that she was sexist because she grouped certain books for each gender. She also talks about how she doesn't believe its a bad thing because boys and girls ARE different. I found her perspective very interesting.

Cinderella ate my daughter video*

These two dads talk about princesses in the media and culture and just how much they buy into it as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thoughts after reading/discussion of "Fear of Feminism"

 I honestly at the beginning of this class was very uncomfortable, I guess, with feminism in general. The media casts feminism in a bad light the majority of the time which made me think that feminists were these crazy people who hate and criticize everything. Seems a little crazy but when no one is their to shed light on what feminism really means and stands for you don't question what the media is feeding you. I didn't even realize some of the very things I don't agree with are feminist issues such as job employment discrimination against women and sexual reproduction rights. I just never thought of it like that because feminism isn't brought up. I've dealt with job discrimination many times as I'm sure many others have too I've always just let it roll off my shoulders and go on with my life. Instead of saying something and standing up for myself. When you finally open your eyes you realize just how screwed up some things really are and at the same time you now feel so helpless and hopeless. When feminism is kept hush hush you never fully understand what it is which I think is the biggest problem. How can you be for or against feminism when you don't know what it's about?

The "F-word"

For this blog on "Fear of Feminism; why young women get the willies" and "A Tsunami in History" from the book The F Word. I decided to take three quotes from the text and analyze them.

In Fear of Feminism Hogeland says so little but so much at the same time when she said "Our public culture in the U.S. presents myriad opportunities for women to take pleasure in being women--most often, however, that pleasure is used as an advertising or marketing strategy". The things that deem us "women" that distinctly make us different from men are the things being exploited. I think Dove maybe one of the biggest contenders in that arena but in a different way they put out ads such as this one
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why? Not because they truly care, I believe, about the issues at hand such as body image but because women will see these ads and believe Dove cares about them which in turn boosts their sales! The people that put these ads out know exactly what they're doing and what will garner the highest sales possible. 

The second quote is again from Fear of Feminism "Our culture allows women so little scope for development, for exploration, for testing the boundaries of what they can do and who they can be, that romantic and sexual relationships become the primary, too often the only, arena for selfhood" this makes me think about what was talked about in Cinderella Ate My Daughter how these Disney movies we watch as children shape our beliefs and ideas. The movies all have the same underlying ideas the "princess" has some type of conflict arise meets a man who they fall in love with and for the most part the man solves all the problems. We grow up thinking the most important goal is to fall in love with someone, get married, and have children I know when I was young that was the center of my attention more than what I was going to pursue as a career. It wasn't until about two years ago I had this realization I was genuinely happy as an independent person I didn't need to rely on anyone else to be happy. That was the same time I started taking my studies seriously and really buckling down because I wanted to make sure I would never need another person to get through life. 

The last quote comes from A Tsunami in History "What makes defining the third wave challenging is that not only is the shared label (feminism) missing, also missing is a shared movement that connects the factions of modern feminism and moves shared issues into the broad arena of popular concern." The first wave and second wave had a very united front they knew exactly what they were fighting for and why. The third wave is very divided there isn't a collective group that is fighting for something specific. There are many women who fight for many things until I read this I really didn't even know there was a third wave fighting for something. As much as we want to be independent we cant be just that until we band together and fight for what is right, whether it be equal pay, sexual reproduction, or any other issue but there has to be unity for this to be achieved. Until that happens we won't see the change we need and want. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Cinderella ate my daughter"

As soon as I started reading this excerpt from Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein I was having flashbacks to when I was young thinking about the toys I grew up with, the way they were marketed and how it effected my peers. The constant barrage of gender segregated toys had me choosing the barbies and baby dolls yet when I was home I would steal all of my brothers cars and trucks but I felt I wasn't supposed to play with them because "those are for boys" the lines are even more clear today thanks to the toy companies. In this article written by Emanuella Grinberg she talks about a toy store who changed the store completely and got rid of the gender segregated aisles and floors. She states "when stores separate toys into aisles for girls and boys, however, they learn that anyone who deviates from their designated shelves deserves to be ridiculed" this is all too true. Anytime I bring my nephew to the toy store and he grabs for toys that are geared toward girls I feel compelled to tell him thats a girls toy not because I don't want him playing with it but the fear that he will be judged because of it. Now, this may be a step in the right direction and I would love to see all toy stores do this but, it will not, by any means cure this issue. Even if marketing and packaging was changed to be gender neutral we already have these deeply imbedded beliefs that will not go away all that easily. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"What are little boys made of"

The author Michael Kimmel argues that boys are becoming more depressed, suicidal and emotionally shut down and that there needs to be a change. Feminism hasn't caused boys to grow up more violent by focusing on girls and making girls and boys follow girl standards but rather feminism helps boys to become more emotionally open and able to express themselves in a better manner. As he writes "Feminism encourages men-and their sons-to be more emotionally open and expressive, to develop empathic skills, and to channel emotional outbursts away from violence". Our society has made boys more aggressive by making them conform to what they believe all boys should be like such as keeping emotions bottled up, solving problems violently, and being obedient at home as well as in school he says "we must contend with the "culture of cruelty" that forces boys to deny emotional neediness, "routinely disguise his feelings" and end up emotionally isolated". Instead boys should be acknowledged as just that, boys, by allowing them to embrace the changes testosterone naturally creates and feel free to express themselves. Kimmel also talks about how all of the therapists that talk about this issue neglect the fact that boys are not all the same instead generalize and focus mainly on middle-class suburban white boys, "...the authors ignore large numbers of boys whose pain and low self-esteem may have to do with insecurities and anxieties that are more economically and politically rooted". To solve the issue at hand he believes "feminism offers the possibility of a new boyhood and a new masculinity based on a passion for justice, a love of equality, and the expression of a full range of feelings".

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Racism and Women's Studies

I'm glad I got this piece to write about because it is something I'm very much passionate about. A lot of people think feminism and constrain it to just white women. In reality feminism belongs to all women no exclusions but many of us turn our back on women of other cultures just because of the way we were brought up. I worked at a bakery when I was 16 and there were these two guatemalan sisters at first unconsciously I judged them in many ways but as I began to get to know and become extremely close with them I opened my eyes to my preconceived feelings I had. I partly blame this on the fact that the schools I went to there might have been only a handful of people who weren't white I never had the exposure to other cultures before that. One day we were all working and two police officers came in and started calling them some pretty racist things and asking for their green cards, why? Because they didn't like that these girls had accents and at times it can be hard to understand them and because they could I still to this day kick myself and feel horrible that I didn't stand up for them instead I stood there unsure of what to do. In feminism we're called to stand up for other females regardless of any differences we may have.

This article talks about african american women fighting workplace discrimination which is a huge feminist issue not only just being a woman you get discriminated against in jobs but to be a black woman it is even more difficult. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence"

     When I first started reading "Cumpolsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existance" I was overwhelmed with information, breaking down and understanding what was being said. About two pages in everything started to sink in and make sense. There are a few things Rich meant by "compulsory heterosexuality" it is best summed up by a few passages taken from the text. Such as page 84 fourth paragraph last sentence "that heterosexuality, like motherhood, needs to be recognized and studied as a political institution", meaning that heterosexuality should not be taken as just a natural way of life and should be treated as preference, a preference not everyone makes. It should be treated as a choice just like people choose to make decisions whether it be religion, politics, or anything that affects your way of life. Rich talks about the thesis of the book For her own good: 150 years of the Experts' Advice to Women that women are given advice by male health professionals that is not in the best interest of them instead there to benefit the male dominated society Rich says " None of the "experts" advice has been either particularly scientific or women-oriented; it has reflected male needs, male fantasies about women, and male interest in controlling women-particularly in the realms of sexuality and motherhood- fused with the requirements of industrial capitalism"

      Adrienne Rich also talks about "lesbian existence" meaning that the presence of lesbians in history up until today has always been around. Many people are limited in their thinking and believe that lesbianism has been a somewhat more recent thing but only because people have tried to silence it in many pieces of history. Ignoring it didn't make it go away but instead helped silence women who were seeking a relationship with other women because the ideologies are based on having a relationship with a male and carrying that way of life on.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Talking Point #4

Economic inequity is a feminist issue because there is still a large gap between males and females in the work place. Such as certain jobs that are perceived as jobs only men work from the obvious construction and labor intensive job roles. But it seems that there are other jobs overlooked that can have a large impact on economic inequity for women. When you look at the majority of movies the "businessmen", lawyers, and people in a high job position seem to be men. Even in todays society I see this a lot. There could be many reasons for this I believe one of them is that woman are so used to being told thats not a job for you whether its from family members or the less unspoken words in society. Ive seen it first hand my mother was told by her father she didn't need an education and that becoming an accountant is a mans job. Although it didn't stop her I still notice the lack of women in her profession and many other professions like hers. The other reason maybe that men are favored and hired much more than women that go for the same job. The other issue women face is the rather large difference between what men and women are paid for the same job. Often swept under the rug and ignored it is about time that this changes. Whether you are male or female you get the same education/degree and are just as capable as each other so why the difference? Until society changes a view as a whole and relinquishes old ideology that has no place in this day and age there will always be this struggle for women when it comes to economic inequity.

I scrolled through "people like us" and realized I had seen this movie in my writing class it was certainly a movie that caught my attention. We analyzed every part of the movie but what caught my attention and remember to this day was the woman who lived with her children in a trailer barely making ends meet. One of her  children was embarrassed of the way they lived and was pretty critical of his mother. I felt for this woman because she didn't want to accept government assistance and just wanted to be self sufficient walking many miles a day just to get to and from work for a measly paycheck. Everyone plays a certain role in society and the documentary depicted these generalized roles.

Going through the site for The Center for Working Class Studies I actually had a better understanding of what the working class is and means. Many of the statistics did not surprise me the working class is growing larger while the middle class is shrinking.