Critical Feminist Studies

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Anne Dalke's picture

Welcome to Critical Feminist Studies, an English and Gender-and-Sexuality-Studies course offered in Spring 2012 @ Bryn Mawr College. This is an interestingly different kind of place for writing, and may take some getting used to. The first thing to keep in mind is that it's not a site for "formal writing" or "finished thoughts." It's a place for thoughts-in-progress, for what you're thinking (whether you know it or not) on your way to what you think next. Imagine that you're just talking to some people you've met. This is a "conversation" place, a place to find out what you're thinking yourself, and what other people are thinking. The idea here is that your "thoughts in progress" can help others with their thinking, and theirs can help you with yours.

Who are you writing for? Primarily for yourself, and for others in our course. But also for the world. This is a "public" forum, so people anywhere on the web might look in. That's the second thing to keep in mind here. You're writing for yourself, for others in the class, AND for others you might or might not know. So, your thoughts in progress can contribute to the thoughts in progress of LOTS of people. The web is giving increasing reality to the idea that there can actually evolve a world community, and you're part of helping to bring that about. We're glad to have you along, and hope you come to both enjoy and value our shared explorations.  Feel free to comment on any post below, or to POST YOUR THOUGHTS HERE.

meowwalex's picture

masculinity and religion

Thinking about the conversation we have started concerning the constructs of masculinity in our culture reminds me a lot of the scandals throughout many religious communities...these are ultimately surprising to the public, not only in their hypocritical qualities, but because they are centered around important men within that community -- previously considered as ideal models for what a good religious man is.

It seems a lot of these incidences are centered around the notion that homosexuality is a behavior that is wrong, and that no strong, religious man could identify as gay. (Why is it that being gay makes you less of a man in the eyes of so many? That is a terribly broad question, I know)

(For example, the Ted Haggard scandal a few years ago, well as the various incidences throughout the Catholic church.

It seems to me that especially in the religious world, the construct of masculinity is something that is especially hurtful.

FrigginSushi's picture

More on Palin

So I watched The Undefeated and The Game Change, which I thought were veryopposite of each other, almost like two extremes.

In The Undefeated, there was very much of that traditional "documentary film" feel to it. It felt too clean and organized, maybe a bit unsincere to what truely happened. When it got the the part where the narrators discussed the downfall of Palin in US opinions, the reasoned that it was because she was conservative. She got so much flack because she's conservative.

The Game Change, on the other hand, was a bit to gritty and far fetched. Not to say that I don't believe Palin had a easy time during campain, but The Game Change really made her out to be completly--dare I say-- hysteric. In this movie, one of the characters (maybe it was the Woody Harrelson) addresses Palin's antagonists as throwing out "totally sexist attacks", pointing to Palin's gender as the "problem" than people are seeing with her.

Honestly, I can't say that I disagree with The Game Change in pointing out that Gender was part of the reason she got a lot of hate from the Americans. I do think it was a factor, but I think The Game Change addressed it to an extreme. I sort of doubt that the campaign manager was surfing youtube to find a hot female politician to run with McCain to win. Both stories, though, seem very unrealistic to me.

hwink's picture

Palin Mantrafesto

Sorry about lateness of posting! This is the Palin/bell hooks mantrafesto done by myself, mbeale, and sara.gladwin

Feminists are made, not born.
Making feminism is a revolutionary act.

Revolutions of mindset can be violent.
Violence is an upheaval to oppression.


rayj's picture

Setting the Stage: Congratulations, you're a male feminist

Tumblr discussion about congratulating men for being feminist, and the problems/possibilities in that. 

Original post HERE

Some Responses HERE

Irony of reblogging HERE

rayj's picture

Girls Watch Porn

I think this demands some critical attention, and it's not perfect, I mean, it's a CollegeHumor video so, it's not going to pe perfect, but I also think it gets at our discussion of women and the shame of watching porn, that women would be more reluctant to discuss their porn watching habits with others, and kind of capitalizes on the shock value situation. Why shoudl it be so shocking to have a hegemonically pretty girl yelling about how much she likes anal fisting or POV? 

College Humor video about girls...who watch porn
buffalo's picture

Palin mantra

Syeager, meowalex, buffalo


"She cannot be anti-abortion and advocate for feminism"

Sarah Palin is anti-abortion

Anti-abortion takes away the right to a safe body

A safe body gives you agency 

pejordan's picture

More Thoughts on Women in Politics

I found this article on called "The Politics of Motherhood" that I found relevant to our discussions of Sarah Palin: (The whole thread of columns in "Advancing Women's Leadership is pretty interesting)

Marie Wilson makes a good point about "female impersonators," something I think we discussed in relation to Sarah Palin, and I think she brings in some good points about the need for a kind of mother-like care for others in politics. I wonder if politics could be an exception to bell hooks' adversity to power feminism. If women are in positions where they can actually make policy, is that any more helpful than women who reach high levels in other areas? Is it even relevant to think about because women who run on a platform of motherhood wouldn't get elected?

sekang's picture

A Girl Worth Fighting For

See video
colleenaryanne's picture

bell hooks and Sara Palin Matrafesto

dchin, sekang, and I wrote this Mantrafesto from bell hooks's statement and with Sara Palin in mind.


The voices of “power feminism” tend to be highlighted in mass media. (42)

Media rewards those who reinforce structures that are already in place.

Structures in place put Sara Palin in the McCain campaign.

The campaign exists within a structure that bell hooks wants to break free from.

Break free from reform, engage in revolution.

Revolution and presidential campaigns do not coincide (?) cannot coexist (?) one does not lend itself to the other (?). 

pejordan's picture

Mantrafesto via bell hooks

From pejordan, michelle.lee and MC

aybala50's picture

Mantrafesto round 2

feminist Politics is necessarily radical 
feminists Are made not born
Language is limiting 
statements are oppressIve 
just say No

dear.abby, rayj and aybala50

Amophrast's picture

Mantrafesto from bell hooks on Palin

From FrigginSushi, jdsisco, and amophrast:

Working-class women already knew that the wages they received would not liberate them.
Liberation is difficult.
The fact that it's difficult means it's worth fighting for.
Palin was not fighting for liberation for working-class women.
Working-class people supported Palin because they found her relatable.
By relating to the average person, Palin earned hollow support.
If you knock on a hollow tree, it's very loud, but ultimately dead inside.

MC's picture

Politics of Work

During our question-writing session in class last week most of my questions focused on the politics of a career choice. 

"What are the politics of selecting a job?

Of starting a career or learning a trade?

What are the differences between learning a trade and having a career in our social dictionary? What are the consequences of these differences?

Is anything "just" a job?"

A lot of my feminist reading as of late has been on the debate of the political vs private, and how the private more often than not, and whether we want it to be or not, is political. It's rather overwhelming to think that every decision I make is impacted by the political environment I move through, but it makes sense. It makes me hyper-aware of what and how I consume and speak, as well as the consumption of others. As a feminist (specifically aware that I am a white, upper-middle class, female-identifying, non-religious feminist) is there any decision I make that could be considered free of political thought? 

sekang's picture

A song about lesbians?

A friend of mine told me that Drops of Jupiter by Train is about lesbians or lesbianism (I don't know the difference between the two terms). He said that it's still being debated. I try to listely closely but I couldn't make any connection. Does anyone see it? 

See video
dear.abby's picture

"Ashley Judd, the best person to ever call into Car Talk"

I think Ashley Judd's puffy face! (If you are fortunate enough to not know what this "controversy" is then simply google of "Ashley Judd puffy face".) is nothing if not relevant to our class topic. I think her reaction is novel enough to justify posting not only a link but a direct quote:

"I hope the sharing of my thoughts can generate a new conversation: Why was a puffy face cause for such a conversation in the first place? How, and why, did people participate? If not in the conversation about me, in parallel ones about women in your sphere? What is the gloating about? What is the condemnation about? What is the self-righteous alleged “all knowing” stance of the media about? How does this symbolize constraints on girls and women, and encroach on our right to be simply as we are, at any given moment...