Several things inspired the idea for MC and my teach-in for this class. The thought of engaging all of our senses in Feminism is fascinating. Recalling the "This is What A Feminist Looks Like" movement that went around recently, we thought that perhaps we could go further than just looks. We got the idea to do something similar to the "This is What A Feminist Looks Like" movement, and ask people what they thought about the other senses. We chose to ask them what FEMINISM looks/tastes/smells/sounds/feels/emotionally feels like, as opposed to what A FEMINIST etc. This was because A) it would be more useful to explore feminsm as an ideal as opposed to the people who perscribe to it, and B) we were probably going to get a lot of flesh-related responses that were not going to be useful. In class we dealt a lot with taste and feminism, and for the Book of Salt we even did a small taste workshop; Anne even talked brieftly about how she had once started the class with a "sensory smorgasboard," an idea that caught us and brought us to the final project we presented. We decided to take the responses people gave us and bring them into class so that the class could experience feminism the way their peers were experiencing it.
To Begin. . .
As an avid TV junkie, I have stayed up many a night to watch re-runs of the shows “Teen Mom” and “16 & Pregnant.” I know you are probably rolling your eyes if you're not a fan of the “reality” TV phenomenon, but these shows have affected me in a way that other “reality” based shows never could. (...So understandable when thinking about their consistent lack of depth: there are not a multitude of thought-provoking conversations that follow the documentation of rainbow Jello shots and women pulling out other’s hair extensions). These shows have affected me partly because I am the product of unplanned pregnancy to a fifteen-year-old girl myself, and a subsequent adoption. I find the show to be a way to help me begin to understand what I meant to my birth mother at age fifteen, the prime time for being a devoted Frito Lay consumer and wearing exactly what the mannequin wears.
For our final web event, sekang, dchin and I reflected on the process of our class presentation and asked ourselves the questions we had asked others for the interviews we conducted.
*Both videos are long, so please allow time for loading before watching.
In the first video we reflect on our motivation for our class presentation, the process of interviewing strangers at Philadelphia train stations, the process of editing those interviews and how the product we created related back to the discussions we have had in Critical Feminist Studies this spring.
In the second video, we interview each other in the same style that we conducted the interviews for our class presentation. We then reflect on being asked these questions and our new perspectives on documentary filmmaking.
The Editing Process
[just speak nearby the borders of our minds] <-- link
This is a piece about borders. About communities. About movement and restrictions and ideologies. I wanted to interrogate how feminism is at times bounded by qualifiers, that is, to differentiate between French feminism and Third-World Feminism, and the ways in which those are both appropriate and constructed such that the result is constructed identities viewed as essential.
Among artists in the 20th and 21st century, explicit reference to prior works has become a mode of producing pieces. This may be in the form of collage or pastiche of some kind, and in video art, it is typically through found footage that these references can be made. Video Artists like Dara Birnbaum have spoken on the power of reappropriating footage, specifically, in her case, from popular media sources, but some of the logic remains in what I have done. Birnbaum wanted the agency to engage with the images being presented to her, to take ownership and subvert their meanings to create new meaning, asserting that she wanted to “talk back” to the media. Further, she asserts:
Alexandra Jane and Rebecca's video from the beginning of class of 4/24
I’m working to develop and create a storyboard for the video piece I want to produce for my final project, but I am wondering if the directive and narrative-reflective form of the storyboard. That is, this happens, then this, then this. And that is not the kind of video I want to make, nor does it reflect the way I do my work, so I’m not sure if I should try to conform to the process, that it might make my work better, or if I should just do as I typically do, which is to be a bit more organic in my process, although perhaps less deliberate?
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.
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.
About a week ago I came across a recent article titled “Uzbekistan’s policy of secretly sterilizing women” (1) and other than the holocaust, I had never heard about governments running forced sterilization programs. After looking at the Wikipedia page (2) I learned that it’s been happening since the early 1900’s in many countries, mainly for the purpose of eugenics. Forced systematic sterilization is now considered a crime against humanity by the International Criminal Court, but it is still happening in Uzbekistan. Many human rights organizations are outraged, and there is pressure on United States, in particular Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton to place sanctions and cut aid to Uzbekistan because of these human rights violations. If you want to sign a petition asking Clinton to ‘end Islam Karimov’s (Uzbekistan’s president) reign and stop the brutal attack on women’ go to (3).