Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.
I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM. I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah! But this is an amazing series.
"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.
Here's the link to the first & second segment:
So Anne, and everybody, don't you think something we read or someone reads to us can really change the way we feel, potentially change the way we live our lives, and thus have some impact on a collective consciousness?
I think it is possible that this old Shakespeare sonnet may have changed someone's life just a little bit this evening.
Loving an elderly parent, and learning how to, being willing to love intensely even though it means we may have to then, soon, let go. One of life's most difficult tasks. Sometimes a work of art can articulate a different way of seeing that can offer an insight into something one has previously experienced as impossible.
In this Shakespeare sonnet, the beauty of the sunset's afterglow, is even especially intensely beautiful in the face of imminent dark. Then read that final couplet that suggests a way to be that is not so evident, nor easy to cultivate.
I believe that poetry can change the way we see the world, and the way we relate to and are in it.
Shakespeare Sonnet #73
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
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.
Before I began this class, I would have said that I am not genre-ist. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I read, and have respect for, much-maligned genres such as romance, science-fiction, and comics. And yet, in some ways I do believe that I am genre-ist: not prejudiced against content, but against form.
In Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, Scott McCloud speaks of mistaking the message (content) the messenger (form) (McCloud 6). What I have been doing is similar – not disregarding the message because of the messenger, but rather keeping the messenger locked up in a little cupboard of literary analysis all its own. While I have thought of comics in terms of prose literature, and used non-comics based terms and ideas to think of comics, I have not done the opposite. Comics have remained in their cupboard. I have not used concepts of phrases that specifically come from the world of comics to look at literature in non-comic form. This impulse sprang, I believe, from a deep-seated belief that one format was inherently better – more literary. It was genre-ist.
It was also, of course, wrong.
Links for your perusal that may or may not be relevant to class. Add your own! No seriously, add your own.
The H-Word was a series on Bitch Magazine's blog done by a former sex-worker on a variety of issues. I haven't read all of the articles, but I thought the ones I did read were really interesting and worth reading. I would suggest reading most of their series, actually, so go check it out.
Prism Comics is the comic book company mentioned in class.
-There was a very interesting exhibit at Drexel last fall (fall '11) called Half the Sky: Women in the New Art of China full of Chinese women artist's work. I remember reading interviews/articles quoting the artists themselves and how they interacted with/thought of feminism, but I can't remember where I left it at the moment.
Will be edited later. This computer doesn't have my zillions of bookmarks. Also, why don't we have more conversations here? I understand I'm a broken record, but really I just like talking about things with people and this is a convenient (sort of?) way to do it. I know we have more thoughts in class than what we say.
I have enjoyed the discussions we have had these past couple of weeks. What I think works best for the benefit of the class is using Serendip as a tool to establish discussion topics for upcoming classes. In addition to that, I like the fact that Anne is a part of our discussion and encourages us to come with additional thoughts and questions to the next class. What I would like to format from the course’s structure is the amount of time we spend discussing a text, I think it would be best if we reduce the amount of texts per week to analyze them further. This format would allow us to re-read a text if necessary and give room to multiple interpretations based on class discussions. If I had the opportunity to go back and spend more time discussing texts, I would like to read Margaret Price’s ”Mad at School”(especially after having her in class).
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.
Virginia Woolf calls every woman to join a society that is separate from the society in which men operate – the Outsiders’ Society. She says that we cannot operate within the society of men, because there is “something in the conglomeration of people into societies that releases what is most selfish and violent, least rational and humane in the individuals…” (124). The Outsiders’ Society, Woolf states, is “the kind of society which the daughters of educated men might found and join outside your society but in co-operation with its ends” (126). She indicates that there is power in being outside of the insiders’ society: “the power to change and the power to grow… can only be preserved by obscurity…” (135). Existing and working in this Outsiders’ Society will give women power by obscuring them and separating them from the “limelight which paralyzes the free action of the human faculties and inhibits the human power to change and create…” (135). Virginia Woolf believes that being outside of men’s society will “shroud” women “in darkness.”
Last semester I took a course entitled “Reading Popular Culture: Freaks” with Suzanne Schneider, in which we discussed at length what it means to me marginal and why people in the so-called “Outsiders’ Society” are put there in the first place. The idea of existing outside of society according to what we discussed in Freaks is very different from what Virginia Woolf seems to think about being an “outsider.”