I have mentioned and explained once in class and in one of my web events that I am asexual aromantic, which is one reason why I have mixed feelings about My Gender Workbook. The author in many instances assumes that the audience identifies as a sexual being, and her wording often gives the impression that sexuality and gender while not the same thing, are deeply dependent on each other. And while society's impression of your gender is often connected to their impression of your sexuality, as is the language they use, self-identification of gender does not always hinge on sexuality. I still identify overall as cisfemale, even though because of societal expectations and connotations I do not feel I have access to many of the words describing cisfemales. The word woman is deeply connected to being a sexual and/or reproductive being; menstruation and the construct of losing one's virginity and engaging in sexual or romantic relations is a sign of growing up, of a girl becoming a woman. And while I have the reproductive capacities of a woman, I have no intention of using them, and the idea of being sexually or romantically involved with others bothers me to my very core. As such I will retain my "virginity" (I have no time to explain how upsetting I find that word to be), my innocence, my chastity, which keeps me in the position of a girl, which I still cannot belong to because I am an adult (also because girls are expected to grow up into women). Does that make me an adult girl? I'd rather not be.
Merging the Female Movie Star and the Politician
I invited Sarah Palin to the conversation at our “feminist table” because I thought she and most voices like to hers would be excluded otherwise. I have though about her and other very visible public female personas frequently since then. And I have come to understand these women as part of a separate public world, which must be, in terms of feminism, examined it were a “separate geographical location” entirely. This public world requires a specific examination, just as the woman of the global south or the Korean woman might require examination through a specifically feminist lens or gaze. Others have addressed issues of “double standards” arising in very particular circumstances in very different parts of the globe. The public gaze (constantly directed at this public world) creates a unique combination of “double standards” when it turns towards the female body. I would like to explore the very unique position the public woman finds herself in, both in terms of the political and popular worlds and how these once very separate worlds have come to merge.
-Bitch is currently running a series of articles on their blog about fictional women in politics. Here are the first couple of articles. Considering our future discussions of conservative women in politics, I thought some of us might be interested to read them.
-Some more information about Pussy Riot, though admittedly not much more than what was presented in class. Here is their LJ, though it is in Russian so that is of debatable use to the class. This entry, however, is in English, apparently taken from an article when they were interviewed. They have a lot of comments on that entry, including more news clips of them.
-Tigerbeatdown, the site I mentioned in class.
This semester I am taking Intro to Film with Michael Tratner. We recently watched a 1960’s French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless. This movie featured two main characters: Michel and Patricia. Michel steals a car, impulsively shoots a policeman, and spends the rest of the film on the run from the police. He imposes himself on his “girlfriend” Patricia, a young New Yorker who sells newspapers in the streets of Paris. Michel spends most of his time trying to convince Patricia to sleep with him and have her run away with him to Italy, and Patricia spends most of her time blowing him off and pursuing her career as a journalist.
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?
When someone mentioned in class that language was a feminist issue, I was so curious as to how. Beyond perhaps certain words ending in "man," I couldn't think of a way that language could be sexist. "'The english language is sexist in so far as it relegates women to a secondary and inferior lace in society'" (Spender 15). Language is the way that you communicate with others and express yourself, if that is inherently male, then how are women expected to express themselves? As we saw in The Book of Salt, it was difficult for Bìhn to progress further in his community because of the language barrier. He doesn't have the tools to gain social capital. He lacks the ability to speak in a certain way that will gain him a higher position in life.
WHAT IS A FEMINIST LANGUAGE
Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting is a
practice that has been going on for thousands of years based in northern Africa, the
Middle East, and parts of south Asia. Although there are claims that FMG is done for
religious reasons, there are no passages in the Koran, Bible, or Torah supporting FGM.
Because FGM has no health benefits, but instead serious health risks, including death, the
World Health Organization (WHO), Human Rights Watch, and countless other
organizations are trying to put an end to it. Many countries including western nations that
have immigrants from the main countries of FGM , have made FGM illegal. Several
politicians and activists have proposed implementing mandatory gynecological exams in
elementary schools for at risk students, but this has been rejected. The governments of
these countries who have outlawed FGM are working with many organizations like
UNICEF, Amnesty International, and WHO to take preventative measures, which mainly
consist of spreading education on the affects of FGM.
Female genital mutilation is classified into four groups. Type 1 is the excision of
the clitoral hood, usually as well as the clitoris. Type 2 is the excision of the clitoris and
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.
Feminism of SlutWalk
SlutWalk is a protest event that began in April of 2011 in Toronto to express freedom of expression and anger at double standards. It has since expanded to other cities including New York and Chicago. SlutWalk Toronto was originally spurred by a Toronto police officer who suggested that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” This made a lot of people angry.
SlutWalk Toronto’s website explains that this statement is wrong and hurtful for many reasons. Sexual assault is a serious crime and has nothing to do with the clothing a woman wears. No woman is “asking for it” when she wears a blouse that shows cleavage or when she wears sky-high platform pumps. By placing blame on the victim, it makes her less likely to report it to authorities or seek professional help.
Of the many riveting cultural situations that we have only begun to explore in class so far, one of the most striking were those of men and women born in the body of a sex that they do not identify with and how society responds to them as transgendered individuals. As I approach the question of feminism and how it differs geographically, I want to take a look into the transsexual community in America and compare it to that in Iran, specifically after having watched the film “Be Like Others”.
In the United States, transgender issues are rising to the forefront – in films such as “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Transamerica” and in news stories about transgendered children and the increase in support for these individuals and their families. Coming across the color photography project My Right Self was an experience that provided me with a more personal and moving account of what it is like to be transgendered and hopes to do the same for the public.
The website is an informative project while the photographs are intended to be a traveling show and part of advocacy to benefit the healthcare community, those who are transgendered and their loved ones. The website’s eager invitation to use photography as a vehicle to initiate conversation shows that part of America, even if a slim one; is becoming more accepting and actually attempting to understand this point of view on some level.