Q Forum Mark 2: CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
In tandem with Amophrast, Colleen Ryanne, aybala05, and S. Yaeger
Continuing conversations for the year
-After the revamped Q-Forum during Customs Week we will have continuing conversations periodically through the year. These conversations will be open to the entire school, not just first years. There will be three larger conversations, one in the fall and two in the spring.
Working title not yet here: what it means to be queer here and not there
How do we translate a queer space into spaces that we are less comfortable in/feel less safe in/etc.?
The first post-Customs Week Q Forum discussion, it will cover issues such as coming out, the idea of being out and all that entails, and talking with people from home/family about queer life at Bryn Mawr. This conversation will take place the week before Fall Break by hall, and will be open to anyone. There will most likely be follow up events hosted by Rainbow Alliance during Out Week (week we get back from Fall Break).
Theoretical Hosts: HA's and CDAs
There should be food. Face it, everybody likes free food, and if it takes place past 8 PM (which, because of everyone's schedules, is most likely) people will be hungry again. The best set up would be for everyone to be in a circle in a comfortable place: common room or nook on the hall, depending on the dorm. Maybe there should be paper and markers. For some people busy hands are a distraction, but I think it could be relaxing and also convenient for writing information down if the need arises. Introductions of name, class year, and preferred pronoun. First a refresher for everyone on what is “out”, and then a little bit of discussion on what it means to be out. Just because someone is out to you does not mean they are out to others, any personal thoughts on reactions to being out?, what about the process of coming out? Emphasize the importance of not outing people who do not want to be outed. Next ask the group if they have any questions about people's reactions to their status as Mawrters, or how to deal with people they would rather not divulge information to, etc. Talk a little bit about how everyone's communities outside of Bryn Mawr react to queer spaces/entities/people/ideas. What seems to be the trend for dealing with family is that as long as the student is comfortable with it, family doesn't seem to care. Share resources!
A SMATTERING OF RESOURCES (please leave suggestions!)
-Mazzoni Center (specifically goes to their resources page)
-Translate Gender (resource page)
CONSENT IS SEXY: No, seriously. Trust us.
The second conversation, and the first conversation of second semester, will take place either the week before or two weeks before Hell Week. The topics for this discussion are consent, sexual assault, and peer pressure. Hopefully this conversation will tie in to changes with Public Safety's Custom Week talks on sexual assault and safety.
Theoretical Hosts: Traditions or SGA? Rainbow Alliance could do it, too? Public Safety?
THERE WILL BE POSTERS PLASTERING CAMPUS BEFORE AND AFTER THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT CONSENT. HA's and Customspeople should be mirroring the larger campus discussions on their halls.
For hall-wide discussions:
Food. More coloring, or maybe something else suitably crafty but not too attention-consuming. Define consent, and remind the group that consent goes beyond sexual situations. Define sexual assault and sexual harassment; sexual assault is not just something that an unknown man perpetrates against a woman, it is not just rape, it is any unwanted sexual contact and can be perpetrated by anyone and happen to anyone, and sexual harassment includes street harassment. I have a feeling there will either be dead silence or a decent number of questions after this. I haven't yet figured out what the appropriate response to dead silence would be. List on-campus and off-campus resources, pamphlets might be handy-dandy for this. On the subject of the right to say no, be sure to remind everyone that Hell Week is entirely optional and you do not have to do anything you do not feel comfortable doing. Non-participation is allowed and respected, and when something you re uncomfortable with is happening you should speak out. ---> Maybe a post-Hell Week talk continuing discussion about peer pressure on a campus like Bryn Mawr's? I remember seeing an e-mail go out from the CDAs that a similar event happened this year (I don't remember it happening last year).
For the larger, campus-open discussion: I am still trying to think of ways this could work. The Public SafeTeas I have been to have mostly been lectures, and when there is a larger crowd this makes slightly more sense. I think that ideally we would have a workshop of some sort here, but I have yet to figure out the specifics.
A QUICK RESOURCE LIST (that I would love to get suggestions on! Especially suggestions for genderqueer-friendly resources, as well as resources for men)
-"What To Do In the Event of Sexual Assault" (Bryn Mawr)
Relationships: An interactive exhibit, discussion, and space
Our third conversation of Mobius Q-Forum, this event will take place in the week or two weeks proceeding Spring Break. While it is feasible for this event to have linked-in smaller-scale teas (by hall or dorm, for instance), this will be a campus-wide event. While it will be set up on a larger scale than many of the other conversations, it will be spread over a few days and theoretically by its very nature feel somewhat intimate. It will be an extravaganza of celebrating identity and relationships, whatever those identities and relationships may be- to people, to sub/cultures, to manifestos, to institutions, to space/s, to media, to whatever you feel connected to.
Ideal location: Campus Center
-A large space where people frequently visit, protected from inclement weather
-Con: Also an always functional space, so if this were to take place over a period of time greater than a day it would become problematic
Theoretical Hosts: Rainbow Alliance
This event will not be a traditional conversation. It is a participatory experience. The main event, so to speak, will be a “web” created from yarn (or anything really- yarn might easier to come by) taking up the middle of the Campus Center. There will be stations set up along the perimeter of the web with supplies with which to create nodes of thought for the web. The web's theme will be relationships and identities, with both terms being entirely up to the participant for interpretation. “Supplies” for the nodes is a loose term- they will be anything and everything, most likely. Clay, paper, markers, crayons, paint, fabric, wire, CDs; people will, of course, be free to bring their own supplies if they so choose. The only rules are to map out, show, display, share your relationships and identities on the web. Participants are invited to look at other people's nodes and respond, and possibly map out their nodes in relation to theirs. The idea is to physically represent two often-spectrumed topics in ways that more accurately reflect what they are. A spectrum often implies that extremes are preferred to anything in the middle, and even then restrict thoughts to having “extremes” and “middles”. The idea is to celebrate and study all of our interactions, and also to understand other community members'. Unless explicitly stated in the node, none of the relationships or identities expressed on the web would have hierarchical priority over any of the others. Equal validity will be given to whatever is shared. This will not be about policing emotions. Feel free to express and revel in the expression. “Opening Day”, so to speak, would have snacks and spaces to sit around and talk about the exhibit, ask questions, or share some feelings. >
Some examples of nodes of thought:
-A mix CD of songs that make you think of your family
-Plastic bat rings you found in a Free Box and gave to all of your friends because bats are great and so are they
-A poem about a childhood friend
-A blog post by that one person who talks about their feelings about that TV show you like so much
-Etc. I certainly reject what you want to post (except I guess keep sexually and violently explicit media to a minimum?)
[Note: I would love to set up spaces for performances, but I'm not sure how to negotiate that sort of space. The best I could say would have people record performances and hang up their recordings.]
We would meticulously document the web, and ideally post about it online so that more community members can see it- Facebook, perhaps, or a blog somewhere? Room for online as well as physical discussion would be preferred
A big part of this endeavor, and indeed all of my projects through out this class, has been the visualization and presentation of concepts. I have been experimenting with non-text based media (especially other visual media) all semester, and I have been trying to rethink how we communicate and what our set patterns of "acceptable" communication are. Non-traditional (ie not academic and/or textual) media seems especially important when discussing feminism, as utilizing multiple platforms for communication offers the greatest accessibility and also an opportunity to look more closely at differences in media interpretation that we might not notice as clearly when dissecting text (an in-class example being the bowls of quinces). I have been thinking of visuals for all three conversations, but the third conversation definitely turned out the most visual, in part because re-invisioning the representations of sexuality, gender, gender representation, and other methods of identity are very important to me. I feel like although it is "easy" for us to slough off the idea of a gender binary, we continue to represent it using scales, spectra, and other 2D forms of representation when it is clearly so much more complicated than that. Also by using scales or spectra these visualizations lend to perceived hierarchies, as well as erasure of many identities and the relationships that create them. There are a lot of visual representations out there that I think are interesting, but I hardly find any of them perfect (and I don't think my vision for the third conversation is perfect, either, but it's a start and it's something that I am very excited about). Here is a visualization of sexual attraction by Nelde on deviantArt, but it does not take romanticism into consideration at all. Here is a previous versions of their visualization efforts. This is a different visualization by the same artist, but primarily on gender and sex. This is cute but the scale and lack of asexuality is clearly problematic to me. However, this is the revamped version, which is significantly improved though still lacking romanticism and not quite as 3D as I would like it. I've honestly considered just taking Mathematica and running wild with it to attempt to create my ideal visualization, but I have realized that while I have a large number of prototypes, I still don't know if any shape is really ideal to represent identity. At this point I just want the universe to be our working model.