Kim K's blog

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un-conventional learning

 

 

I originally went into this paper with the intent to write about the discrepancies between our sex saturated culture, and the lack of in-depth sex education in schools. I initially believed that our country was lacking in the area of sexual education. I had based this belief upon (among other things) the fact that many, if not all, schools seem hesitant to push the boundaries and actually educate children on sex and sexuality. The lack of a formal unified sexual education curriculum in our country seemed (to me) like a major failure, especially in light of the serious problems that sexual ignorance can cause.

However, after doing some initial research on the topic, I realized that there is much more to a sexual education than what a child learns in school. Which led me to eventually realize that we are all getting a massive amount of sexual education in unexpected places (whether we want to or not). And sexual education can (and does) take place at any age. It is through the media, in all its various forms, that Americans are getting the bulk of their sexual education from.

 

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Chain of Alliance

            I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about how I would go about this project/paper. I was concerned that I would not be able to properly project my thoughts regarding alliances, and “right relationships” and activism. I know many of us, including myself, were moved and motivated by Eve Ensler’s “Over It,” but I was concerned about trying to tackle the issue of rape for several reasons. I was also considering doing some sort of anti-bullying campaign or video, but there are already so many existing alliances out there (www.itgetsbetter.org/, www.thetrevorproject.org/), and they are wonderful resources that offer support and encouragement for queer, questioning, and LGBT youth.

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Soda: NOT for women?

Apparently soda is gendered now. Or at least the marketing team for Dr. Pepper thinks so. "Dr. Pepper 10" is a new diet soda for men "with just 10 manly calories." It's "not for women." They should have stuck with their old slogan, because this does not make me want to be a pepper too. 

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Thoughts on Butler and Barad

I have, admittedly, been putting this post off, because I'm not really sure what to say regarding the two very different lectures. Between the darkness in Goodheart during Butler's lecture that prevented me from being able to take readable notes, and my struggle to try understand and make sense of Barad's lecture, I'm left with a bunch of, well, entangled thoughts on gender, space, and time. I was apprehensive about Butler's lecture, because of the way her writing is, however, I found her lecture to be very accessible and easy to understand. I wish I could say the same for Barad. I'm still trying to process Barad's thoughts, and I'm re-reading my notes from her lecture, and the article. In the meantime, please enjoy some of my dis-jionted, entangled notes from Butler and Barad...

-diffraction

-the right to appear

-bodily enactment of gender norms

-trans/formation

-quantum leap (I love that show!)

-queer

-identity politics 

-quantum dis-continuity 

-matter

-gender not only received but enacted

-intra-action

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Reel Queer: A Movie Lover's Look into Films Dealing with LGBT Issues

 

           

*Please note: There is a vast range of films in this category. This is just a sampling of a few films that I felt pertain to certain aspects of our class discussions of gender and sexuality.

 

 

Chasing Amy (1997).

Kevin Smith’s late 90’s movie deals comically with issues of bi-sexuality, lesbianism, and sexual experimentation. Ben Affleck plays a comic book artist who falls in love with Alyssa (played by Joey Lauren Adams), who decides to leave her lesbian orientation for a heterosexual relationship with Affleck’s character.

Biological Probability: This movie deals with issues of multiple sexual feelings – from the relationship between Affleck’s character Holden and his best friend Banky (played by Jason Lee), to Alyssa’s bi-sexual past, which makes Holden think twice about his love for her. While Holden and Banky’s friendship focuses on a strong suggestion of homosexual feelings between longtime friends, Alyssa’s fluid sexuality rings true with many.

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born this way?

Rebecca Jordan-Young's article (and some posts on here) discuss David Reimer's case in relation to "proving" that gender is inborn in people, and cannot be nurtured or influenced by society. For me, this has been an interesting topic to debate, since I read the book (As Nature Made Him) a few years ago for my gender studies class in community college. Many of my fellow classmates and even my teacher confessed that before reading about Reimer's case, they considered gender to be more influenced by nurture than nature. I am reminded of my two nieces, who are two and five years old - they are obsessed with all things (forgive me for using this word) - girly. And no one in the family has outwardly encouraged this female-centric behavior. It's an interesting perspective to see such young children who are so aware of their femininity. Of course, both my nieces "fit" into their genders. I am also reminded of an article I read (in People magazine I think) about a little boy who was diagnosed with gender dismorphic disorder. He wears dresses, and goes by a girl's name, instead of his birth-given boy name. His parents are raising him/her as a girl, and trying to help him/her deal with his/her gender as best they can. Both these examples are a strong argument towards the nature aspect that, when it comes to gender, maybe we are (as Lady Gaga would say) just born this way. 

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Out of the Closet: Fashion's Influence on Gender and Sexuality


            Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man, naked people have little or no influence on society.” If this is true, and clothes really do make the man, then what happens when clothes make the man a woman, or vice versa? If the main function of clothing is to literally cover up or hide our sex, then the main focus of fashion is to exploit our gender. The clothes we wear let the outside world know who we are, and there is a lot of room to play. Men can become queens, women can be kings, and with androgyny, it can all be left a mystery.

            The way we dress gives an immediate impression of who we are to the world. Throughout history, from fairy tales to historical figures, fashion has undoubtedly played a major role in defining and exemplifying our gender roles in society. From the Hippies of the past to the Hipsters of today, our culture is built on individuals using fashion as a means to explain and exhibit personal beliefs to society.

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Disability and representaion

In Margaret Price's Mad At School, Price brings up some interesting points regarding labeling and boxing people - especially students in academic settings- with mental disabilities. She talks about wanting to fix or cure these problems rather than working with them or embracing the idea of mental difference. I think that she makes some good points, and I started thinking further about the portrayal of this kind of different (yet brilliant) mind in movies and on TV. Temple Grandin is a recent example that Price also talked about, but I could't help relating this back to Eli Clare's "super crip" category. The movie about Temple Grandin touched millions of people and suddenly autism and aspergers became the disability du jour. Temple Grandin was celebrated (and rightfully so) for being an extraordinary person with autism. This also relates back to the ideas of visibility in media and society. In these movies about disabled minds, very well-known, attractive Hollywood stars represent these afflicted people. (Russell Crow in A Beautiful Mind and Clare Danes in Temple Grandin). It is an interesting way to look at mainstream acceptance of disabilities and their portrayal. 

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Cultural visibility or exploitation?

 After reading "Culture as Disability" and last week's viewing of Josh Blue on Last Comic Standing, I couldn't help questioning whether cultural visibility is always the best way to further understand disability and difference better. When does visibility become exploitation? Eli Clare talked about the freak show and subsequent decline of it today.  Was Josh Blue exploiting himself when he went on national TV and made fun of his disability and the stereotypes surrounding people with CP? Did he inadvertently box everyone with CP into a category they might not want to be a part of? What would Eli Clare think about Josh Blue? I guess I'm trying to sort through the question of whether or not it is helpful to make disability and queerness and other "differences" visible in society or if, possibly, it's just another less obvious form of exploitation for profit. When I read that  the recently trans gendered Chaz Bono was going to be on this season of Dancing with Stars, I thought it was an amazing advancement for the trans community to get mainstream recognition. Then recently there has been a lot of ridiculous press on the apparent controversy of having a transgendered contestant on a "family" show. People have even gone as far as to warn parents not to let their children watch the show in fear that it would confuse the child's own formation of gender identity. These news articles are perpetuating the exploitation (not visibility) of a transgendered person.

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Complicated identities

Last week in class we discussed the article "Living the Good Lie" about homosexual men living outwardly as straight men, with wives and children. One of the driving forces behind their decisions to do this was that while they recognized their inward identity as being gay, their greater identity emphasis was on being religious. These men were willing to compromise their homosexual identity in favor of their (stronger) religious identity.

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