Critical Feminist Studies Web Paper 3
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).
My first project this year was stepping back and looking at the changing definition of a "woman" at Bryn Mawr College requiring admission policies. I traced the change from the opening of the college to its recent definition of a woman. In my second webevent I played with language and its limitations using the game Taboo. I learned that it is because of the limitations of language we fail to fully express ourselves and it is this failure that leads to curiousity and learning.
What are the limitations of language at Bryn Mawr?
Bryn Mawr has taboo topics.
Topics that are not discussed will not change.
Change is necessary for the existing definition of women at Bryn Mawr.
If we discuss women, will it lead to change?
Is change what we need?
I talked to a few friends to try and figure out what topics are taboo at Bryn Mawr. I had several suggestions and chose some to use as examples:
The Low Representation of Women in the STEM Fields
Phineas and Ferb is a show on the Disney Channel about the summer exploits of a pair of stepbrothers. Phineas and Ferb are boy geniuses who can create literally anything they imagine in the convenient time span of about one episode. Of course, before the episode is over, there is frequently some unexpected consequence that teaches the characters, usually Candace, their older sister, a valuable life lesson. The secondary plot concerning Perry the Platypus, the family pet who is an undercover secret agent and his arch-nemesis the evil Doctor Doofenschmirtz, who can also create nearly any contraption that he can imagine with the intention to enact revenge or to take over the tri-state area. Doctor Doofenschmirtz’s machines nearly always malfunction and helpfully dispose of all evidence of Phineas and Ferb’s inventions.
While compiling together the rest of our semester for a Critical Feminism as a class, we agreed that looking into the intricacies of masculinity would be a good topic to look into further. We spent two days focusing our attention on a graphic novel “Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth” which narrates a seemingly pathetic middle-aged man and his struggles to live up to the fantasy/myth of the Superman image of his childhood; the Superman image was a common figure of masculinity in America during the comic’s peak. I think the reason we wanted to discuss masculinity in a Feminism course was to, first, change the conventional idea that Feminism is about hating men, and, second, understand that oppression and objectification is a two way street. My last two web papers have dealt with the woman’s role historically in Korean history and Korean women’s representation in Korean popular music. This web paper will take a turn and look at masculinity in Korea, where is originated in Korean history, how the masculinity ideals reflect in a the contemporary light of South Korean military and sexual harassment incidents within the army, and where masculinity in general fits into the conversation of Feminism.
When our class watched the film Game Change to further our discussion on Sarah Palin, one of the most striking aspects of her portrayal was the public’s focus on her role as a mother, and further, as an “everyday person” who understands the needs of the average family. I quickly remembered that this depiction was incredibly true to reality, as Palin’s role as a mother and wife was continuously touched on, whether in a negative or positive light. When her daughter, Bristol, was announced pregnant during the race, the construct of Palin’s “family first” outlook was questioned by some and applauded by others. A question that arose for me was how Bristol’s pregnancy affected Palin’s already stereotypical gender roles that were being emphasized throughout the campaign.
Space is being shaped right now!
Looking back on some of the classes we've had I realized that I do not agree with some of the choices that we as a class either made or went along with. For this web paper I have tried to address those issues.
----> CURRENT TIMELINE
In late 2011, the “feminist Ryan Gosling” (FRG) meme became an overnight internet sensation. For those who haven’t heard of him, Ryan Gosling was already a presence in Hollywood, starring in movies such as “The Notebook,” “Half Nelson,” “Lars and the Real Girl” and “Blue Valentine” among others1. A blog2 had already been created which showed images of Gosling with captions meant to appeal to a heterosexual, female audience. These posts always start with “Hey girl…” and go on to show how lovable and sensitive the idealized Gosling is. Some examples are shown below. Feminist Ryan Gosling3 follows the same formula except that the text following “Hey girl…” contains some feminist idea or theory (examples of these are also included below). Given the multitude of content that can be found online, why did “Feminist Ryan Gosling” become so overwhelmingly popular, especially considering the lack of involvement the actual Ryan Gosling had (none of the captions are quotes) and what role does the blog play in the discussion of male feminism? Do we praise male feminists, and even those who are portrayed in some way to be feminist by outside voices, to an unreasonable degree (see rayj's post on another f
While reading “My Gender Workbook,” I came across the following passage that Kate Bornstein had quoted from Mariah Burton Nelson:
"All female athletes are gender outlaws… In the act of lunging for a soccer ball or diving into a swimming pool or engaging in most of the other sports that millions of women now enjoy, the athlete goes beyond gender…She has transcended gender and, even more importantly, sexism. Which explains, in part, why women are so passionate about sports."
Reading this quote inspired all kinds of questions for me. I have known for a while now that athletics is an important part of my life and my identity, but I had never thought about how sports played into questions of gender until now. It does seem to me that in swimming, I can transcend gender; I've trained alongside boys ever since I started, and I've always felt that I was treated as an equal. I grew up in a time when women had equal access to sports, and (at my level, anyway) female athletes seemed to be as visible as their male counterparts. However, this wasn’t always the case. I want to look into women's history in sports to see where we stand today, and see if there are any changes that could still be made to further women's opportunities in sports.