melal's blog

melal's picture

Mulan in Real Life: Chinese Women Soldiers and Feminism

   The military has been traditionally defined as a masculine institution; actually it may be the most prototypically masculine one of all social institutions. Therefore, whenever women soldiers appear in public, they seem to be standout since people tend to think that for women to participate, either the military has to be perceived as transform to make it more compatible with how women are, or women have to be perceived as changing in ways that make them more suited for military service. Many changes have occurred in the past several decades. This period has witnessed a mushrooming of attention to women’s contribution to the army. More and more women soldiers are allowed to actually fight on the frontline or engage in violent and dangerous tasks. It seems that society started to recognize female’s ability as protectors of their countries, giving them space to choose whatever they want, including stepping on battlefields. Many people perceive this phenomenon as a huge progress of feminism, while others cast doubts on it. Interested in this issue, I would like to focus on female soldiers, especially Chinese women soldiers, in my webevent.

melal's picture

Fatherhood and Feminism

  After reading The Smartest Kid on Earth, I began to think about the relationship between kinds and their fathers and what effect it has on children’s’ lives. The book shifts back and forth in time, showing how generations of Corrigans' selfish, stunted behavior has affected Jimmy, whose only happiness occurs in his dreams, where he's “the smartest kid on earth.” The relationship between four generations of careless fathers and dysfunctional sons make it not an easy story to read because all of the adults are flawed and you can see how the way they treat each other and the children around them is only going to create more of the same. This is also portrayed in the artwork – the Corrigan clan look similar throughout the generations and you can see exactly how the bloodline has ended up the way it has.

  Bring this into our feminist context--I was wondering how the relationship between fathers and their kids contribute to feminism? What kinds of men are more likely to have ‘feminist daughters’? Weak? Unhappy? Heartless? I find that a lot of the focus in the feminist mothering movement is on ensuring the rights of mothers and furthering the position of mothers in society. But what is the role for the men in that equation? I think we need a society that values parenthood, not just motherhood. Otherwise it will always be about making concessions for women.

melal's picture

Exploring Women in Violence

Exploring Women in Violence

   For a long time, the focus of domestic violenceand crime commitment has been put on men, who are believed as conductors of a vast majority of violence. bell hooks in her book Feminism is for Everybody (2000), yet suggests that women’s involvement in violent crime has increased over the past decade. I therefore want to explore women’s role in conducting violent crimes. What makes them commit violence? Is there a link exists between violence against women and women’s involvement in violence? Does it undermine the importance of feminism because women violence-perpetrators show the masculinity in their behaviors? This paper begins with a snapshot of violent women offenders in the US. The theories that have been proposed to explain women’s violent behaviors, as well as the factors that have been found to place women at-risk for violence, are subsequently reviewed. Finally, a discussion of women in violence and its connection with feminism and programs targeting violent behaviors among women offenders are highlighted.

melal's picture

Same destination, different routes

Sex work is always a hot topic in feminist studies. Some women insist that exotic dancing and other sex work is inherently degrading. Others find it a liberating expression of free choice and sexual independence. Julia Query, the narrator and one of the main characters in the documentary, after a while, just found it boring.  In other words, it was a job. Live Nude Girls Unite displays, its share of exposed flesh, but at heart it's a movie about work for me. I guess that’s why I really couldn’t tell I like it or not, because it is a ‘real’ documentary for me. It made me believe that whatever you wear or don't wear when you're doing it, is still work. Without excessive political posturing, the film dismantles stereotypes about women who work in the sex industry and makes its powerful feminist argument in an unpretentious way.

melal's picture

Stay in the middle?

After reading Middlesex, I started to think about what it means to be in the middle. The facts in this case, as Cal tells us on the very first page, are that he was born and raised as a girl but was revealed as a teenager to be a boy, at least in genetic and chromosomal terms. If seen the world from a traditional binary way, Cal doesn’t belong to any side completely (or maybe none of us does?). Such in-the-middle position brings him confusions and struggles, but also enables him to become strong and to explore himself deeply since he has nobody similar to him. People often describe the birth of their new self in this way - we are reborn after facing an obstacle and overcoming it. Here, there is no rebirth, because Cal isn't Calliope born anew. He's just brand new, with a completely new identity, a whole new birth. His distance from Calliope is because he can't face who he is and was. Even as an adult, he's only on the cusp of accepting his body, his gender (both his current one and the former one), and his self for what they are. It's a second birth, almost because he has to grow up one more time and learn how to be a man.

melal's picture

What is Tiger Mother Really About

    There is no doubt that “mother” is one of the most valuable and influential figures in our society. She plays a vital role within the traditional family structure, which is part of our social fabric and is at the core of our culture. However, many of us do not expect that being a mother would make me more of a feminist. In fact, we fear quite the opposite, worrying that feminist convictions would wane under the weight of overfilled diaper bags and the expansive responsibilities of caring for children. I therefore wondered the correlation between motherhood and feminism: Are they compatible? What is the effect of a feminist parenting? Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, though may not give me answer to the questions, at least provides me with some interesting hints.

melal's picture

What do I care about?

At the end of our class on last Thursday, Anne asked if we cared about the characters in the book. Acutually this is also my question. I felt that we put our focus mainly on the language during our class discussion, reading this book as a ‘textbook’ for an English course, trying to get something out of the writing style. Did we really ‘taste’ its taste? Or we just ‘analyzed’ its taste? To tell the truth, reading by only paying attention to the language itself seems a ‘cold’ way of reading for me. Analyzing the writing style of a book is definitely an important part of reading experience, but language, no matter how beautiful it is, is used to express people’s emotions.

Binh, not fluent in French, not upper class, not well educated, is a Vietnamese exile. He is the colonized in the land of the colonizer–an outsider in a way that Stein and Toklas can never quite understand. In Paris, Binh’s identity is reduced to his skin:

melal's picture

If she is an insider, what about me?

   

    The feeling of reading Three Guineas seems a little bit awkward for me. Virginia Woolf asked many questions and answered them herself in the book, trying to make her writing more conversational and interactive. However I had a feeling of being excluded by the conversation. As a white woman from higher class, Virginia Woolf sent her invitations to the “outsiders”, yet I feel the ‘outside’ she defined is still the “inside” for most of us who read the book. With priorities of the rich, she could say that poverty,
chastity,
derision,
and freedom from unreal loyalties are “four great teachers of the daughters of educated men”. However, does she really understand what the “outsiders” need and want?

melal's picture

Dating Game Shows and Feminism in China

     If you watch Chinese TV these days, you must be familiar with If You Are the One (Fei Cheng Wu Rao), the most successful TV show in China. Accompanied by fancy lighting and popular music, twenty-four single attractive women line up on a stage and are presented to a male candidate. The candidate introduces himself, including his occupation, interests, and love history with a few video clips, and answers questions from the ladies onstage. During his introduction, the ladies press a button to turn off the light in front of them (followed by a sound cue) if they find the gentleman not “date-worthy”. After three rounds of interaction, if there are girls keeping the light on for the candidate, and if he likes one of them, he succeeds in the match. But if all twenty-four lights go off, the male loses

melal's picture

Final Performance

For our final performance, Sam and I organized two games that inspired by two articles that we felt impressed:  Pedagody of the Opressed by Paulo Freire and The Achivement of Desire by Richard Rodriquez. We hope it would make our performance more interactive and try to cover some of the main themes we talked about in class, including: social mobility and education, interactive education and generally, the affects on class on people's behaviors in and approaches to their education. Here I attached our script used for the performance:

21 QUESTIONS

Occupations will be posted on the backs of each participant. 

Have sections of the room help people guess who they are by answering their questions. 

Rule is that you can only ask yes or no questions.

    1.  First Round: Basic (doctor, lawyer, Michael Jordan)
    2. Second (more difficult) Round Use money to signify the amount of questions that can be allotted to each participant (a quarter for 25 questions, dime for 10 questions, a nickel for 5 questions)

ROUND 1 EXPLANATION:

Syndicate content
randomness