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.