Story telling is an important part of the human experience, and in this class we have focused very much on the stories that people tell. Feminism is about story telling, and, as MC said long ago, “…listening, particularly to people who are often given no voice or agency, is a solid tenant of feminism.” In order to listen, we must also tell. Throughout our journey in Critical Feminist Studies, we have heard stories about a wide variety of folks – ladies, men, and people above, below, around and in between; queers, straights, and everything else; white people and colored people; people from this world and from other worlds; people who are rich, poor, famous, obscure, enslaved, powerful, intellectual, uneducated, able-bodied, “others,” outsiders, insiders, and every level in between. Hundreds of stories about hundreds of different people. The voices we hear, however, are not always the voices of the people whose story is being told. This is something we have discussed often in class, and the curriculum is carefully constructed to give us a wide selection of voices. Not all of these voices are the ones we’ve been wanting to hear.
Yesterday's discussion about passion encouraged me to share this video with you. I have provided a link to a brief biography of the speaker and the link to the video in case any of you are interested.
I would suggest looking into all of Janelle Monáe's album The ArchAndroid both for musical/cultural value but also for its message and presentation (especially if you plan on reading the Moya Bailey article). It's very readily available from standard music venues, or just ask around for people who have the album.
Mentioned in class:
Double Rainbow was the blog series done by Caroline Narby for Bitch Magazine's blog about the autism spectrum.
Vampires and Cyborgs: Transhuman Abilities and Ableism in the Work of Octavia Butler and Janelle Monáe by Moya Bailey at Social Text Journal.
One awkward person trying to think it through and not even brushing the tip of the iceberg.
(Attempts at embedding lead to two copies of one video, so I'm afraid I only have links.)
Videos of myself attempting to explain why sometimes we have to look past ignorance as an explanation for behavior, and explore and dissect how behaviors are considered acceptable in the first place. What is power? How do we use it? How is it used against us, and how does its use against others affect us? What layers of power do we as individuals move against?
Initially, I thought about feminism across different geographic locations as global feminism, as a feminism rooted in nations, defined and given flavor by the nation as a whole. That is, thinking about American feminism and Indian feminism and Ghanaian feminism and French Feminism. But then, that is SO American-centric of me. When I try to think of a certain American feminism, it’s impossible. Just to think of Bryn Mawr feminism strikes me as impossible. And I’m not trying to suggest that we’re all special feminist snowflakes, or that there is not sense of shared feminist thought or identity. But our shorthand, our labeling of feminisms as rooted in some national identity/location/region can have the possibility of flattening and erasing nuance from how feminists express themselves in a variety of contexts.
I have known two things for a while:
1. I like music, and I have feelings about it
2. I like feminism, and I have feelings about it
I realized in class that even if we don't end up with classes dedicated to music and feminism/other cultural movements, I would really love the opportunity to talk about it incessantly with other people. And then I realized we have Serendip and good ideas just abounded.
A SERENDIP FEMINISTY PLAYLIST, DAY/WEEK/INSTALLMENT 1
PROTOCOL: Anyone can offer up a playlist, preferably with links to where we can actually listen to the music. If there are music videos, please post them! Even if it's not the official video and just someone's project, if you like it share it! This particular part does not have a theme, but if someone is inspired to do that sort of thing that would also be totally sweet. The music you post does not necessarily have to be explicitly feminist, it can talk about issues you think are important, or maybe even just have certain lyrics you really respond to. You can also edit and post multiple times, because music is wonderful and I don't think anyone is going to get angry if you add more. If you feel like adding commentary that would also be really cool, but feel free to just post the links and let us ruminate on our own. Interpret this entire activity as you will, there is no "proper model".
My initial contribution:
How does form inform our reading of texts as successfully feminist? (I am aware of my own biases in the meaning of “success,” but for the purposes of this exercise, I will define success as elliciting a response in those who engage with the material that incites emotion of some kind, in this case an emotional response that leads us to seek to support feminism). Typically feminsts forms have included poetry and literature, but these forms are somewhat tied to conceptions of women as delicate and admirers of that which is flowing, flowering, beautiful. Other options include co-opting the form of the patriarchal institutions which reinforce sexual hierarchies, such as academic work and dense theory couched in even denser language. This kind of feminism is far from accessible and has a specific class (and typically race) bias.
I want to expand on a definition of literacy that I’ve been working on through this class and my Music Education class. @jrbacch tweeted “Music a form of literacy? Music notes themselves, crescendos, learning how to read music, etc? #BMCed250” and I responded “thinking of literacy as access to a way of connecting w/ppl, ex cultural literacy, tech literacy makes music fit” [into a definition of literacy].
I spend a lot of my free time working on music for my a cappella group--I teach songs to the group and arrange music for the group to learn. When I’m deciding who will sing which voice part on any particular song, as well as while I’m leading rehearsal, I think a lot about who can read music. In auditions for my group, we ask if the auditioner can read music, because it’s a valuable skill. Within the context of a cappella, if I ask “can she read?” I’m asking about whether a singer can read music. And it does feel that fundamental to me. It is possible to be in the group and succeed without being able to read music, but it requires that I take a different approach in my teaching. I have to refer to notes’ position within the measure rather than their duration and name (e.g., “the altos need to watch the second-to-last note in measure 85--it should be longer and higher” instead of “altos: in measure 85, you’re jumping up a third, and it’s a half note, so be sure to hold it out”).
Check out this youtube!
This video immediately made me think of Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story.” As a homeschooler, I’ve encountered many of these questions (most of all, the pajama question). Although at times I liked getting attention for being an anomaly, overall, I felt very judged and limited by other people’s perceptions. I remember that, as a self-defense method, I would describe myself as “weird” so as to claim a description for myself rather than having it forced on me.
So this video was great. It didn’t capture my entire experience, but what I liked about it was that this guy – Blimey Cow – questioned certain beliefs merely by repeating them back. Rather than say outright, “homeschoolers are like this,” he repeats statements that might be said about us, as a sort of mirror effect. As if to say, “hmmm, did you really mean that?”
I love this word – debunking. “Let’s unpack that” – Let’s actually question those assumptions that we’ve accepted as realities. Because in order to truly respect other people, we must eliminate finite assumptions and be more open to complexities and details.