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.