Thursday, October 27, 2011

Talking points #8- Growing up in a Girl Culture: Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Orenstein: REFLECTION

This piece is actually my favorite one we've read so far. This article sums it up perfectly.

"In her new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Orenstein documents her struggle to do just that: raise a daughter who is happy and self-confident amid a world that encourages little girls to engulf their rooms in pink chiffon and rhinestone tiaras. Yes, she’s talking about the princess complex—the little-girl love affair that starts with Cinderella and ends with sheets and toothbrushes and cups and tiaras and home d├ęcor and pint-size wedding gowns and myriad other products. And the ultrafeminine messages that come along with it."

This quote from the article, "Studies show young girls today face more pressure than ever to be “perfect” (like a princess?)—not only to get straight A’s and excel academically, but to be beautiful, fashionable, and kind. And the more mainstream media girls consume, the more they worry about being pretty and sexy. One study, from the University of Minnesota, found that just seeing advertisements from one to three minutes can have a negative impact on girls’ self-esteem." That really shows you how much pressure is put on girls, especially young girls, to be perfect. Girls think they have to be smart, they have to be successful, but they have to be pretty and perfect and if they are not the most beautiful person according the standard of boys, or their "prince charming," then their is something "wrong" with them!
The toys that girls play with.... Barbies who have the "perfect" body, which is actually IMPOSSIBLE to have measurements like that, perfect hair, and the perfect Ken to be matched with... Or Bratz dolls like Orenstein mentioned who are wearing very provactive outfits... Its teaching girls that we are only valued for our appearance! I admire Orenstein's approach to give her own daughter different standards to live up to.
This piece reminds me a lot of different things I've heard about on TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras. There are so many young girls who are dressed like "princesses," but they are dressed so provactively. They even wear flippers because their baby teeth are found too "unattractive," and how can you possibly sexualize a little girl if she has baby teeth that are visible to the audience? There was one instance where a little girl was actually dressed in a prostitute costume, the one that Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman. I posted in my blog here. 
Overall, I agree with Orenstein's view on how princesses affect little girls image of themselves. And I agree that the idea of princesses, like in TLC's show, is teaching girls how to be more provactive and overlysexualized when they are too young to even understand it yet.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Guy code" and "Girl Code"

After last class I was thinking a lot about the "codes" by which men and women live. I came across this article called 50 ways to be the perfect man. Some of it is funny and some of it is true, based on conversations I've had in the past with men. Another site explains what the "guy code guidelines" are... and some of them are similar to what we talked about in class or saw in Tough Guise.

More myths about the "guy code," can be found here.

I also found this article about the "girl code." It's pretty recent, from 2010, and it compares answers from guys and girls about certain situations. The article ends with:
Geoffrey Greif, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and author of Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships, explains the male support system: “Essentially guys want friends to have their back, to be able to stand up for them whether they’re in the room with them or not. The system of honor is that a guy will not let other people talk negatively about you when you’re not present.” Women, on the other hand, value more face-to-face support. Greif says, “women tend to feel more comfortable interacting face-to-face and being more emotionally and physically expressive with their female friends, and the way that that’s carried out is often in face-to-face communications.”
So, essentially, women value supportive conversations more, and men value supportive actions—not that this is true of all men and all women by any means; every friendship is different. Also, keep in mind that these are not the only important tenets of friendship—good friends should be there for each other in every way they can, whether or not that falls within their respective “codes”. A rulebook can’t give you all the answers, but it can help you remember how to be a good friend in a tough situation and learn a little bit about the behavior of the opposite sex!

Misc. #7

I found this article. It relates to some of the things we talked about last class.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Social Justice Event: Occupy Providence

Occupy Providence took place at Burnside Park in Providence, RI on October 15, 2011 at 5pm, and I honestly had no idea what to expect.

One article I found describes Occupy Providence as, "a collection of teachers, lawyers, businessmen, activists and unemployed fed up with the status quo, so much so they are willing to camp indefinitely in the downtown park in solidarity with protests springing up worldwide. Their ranks include toddlers lugged by parents and adults seasoned enough to have protested the Vietnam War. They are public defenders, shop owners, artists, veterans." Occupy Providence is getting a lot of support and the people are going to be allowed to camp out there for a few days by the city, even without a permit.

All of the people who are coming together have one thing in common: they want change. "Many lament that 1 percent of the population is prospering while 99 percent face joblessness, foreclosure and the disintegration of the American dream."

I was really impressed on how the people who came together at Burnside Park came together, no drugs, alcohol, etc. Also, many people took part in cleaning up the park before the event started. Even people who are not unemployed and who are not struggling as much are still taking part.

I was also impressed that there was a specific stand where people could tell their own individual stories.

So many people are showing a lot of dedication to this by camping out, by holding out signs and who are planning to stay indefinitely, even though nobody knows how long it will take before any type of change will happen.

Another website states, "Although we are all victims of the current system, some of us are more victimized than others. As a popular movement, we seek to be accountable to those most directly affected by the system that we oppose: people of color, poor and working-class people, women, queer and gender-queer folk, the disabled, immigrants, youth and the elderly, and others.”

Overall, I think this was a really good event. It is really encouraging that so many people are so dedicated in bringing forth change. I am hopeful that this will make an impact on the system of which we live in.

Here are some pictures I took.

And here is a video I found on Youtube.

Misc post #6- Barbie

I came across this very interesting article.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Misc post #5- Homosexual men can't donate blood Youtube video

"What are little boys made of?" by Michael Kimmel: Talking points #7- Connections

I found Michael Kimmel's piece called, "What are little boys made of?" very interesting. This piece can be connected to many other pieces we have read in class. This piece has views of different psychologist who are involved in studying the behavior patterns of boys. Michael Kimmel is discussing the virtual war on boys, and there are theories from a few different psychologists who have different views and perspectives on why this is happening. I found a really helpful website while looking on google that definitely helps explain it. Psychologists feel that boys are feeling depressed or emotionally shut down but it is being overlooked.

Michael Gurian who is a therapist with antifemist views who is suggesting that the behavior of boys are getting worse only because America is so focused on girls because of all the accomplishments women have made thanks to feminism. Another theory, which is defended by Steve Biggulph and Gurian, is that boys behavior and violence is due to biology. Boys have testosterone and they feel testosterone is the excuse to why "boys are four to five times more likely to kill themselves than girls, four times more likely to be diagnosed as emotionally disturbed, three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADD, and fifteen times more likely to be victims of violent crime." Other therapists, Kindlon, Thompson, and Pollack, according to the website I previously listed, "eschew testosterone-tinged testimonials and treat masculinity as an ideology to be challenged, and however they all use examples drawn from their clinical practices but then generalize casually from their clinical practices but then generalize casually from their clients to all boys."
Salisbury and Jackson, however, write, "We believe that masculine violence is intentional, deliberate, and purposeful."

I feel as though this is once again boys and men are taking the attention away from girls by the claim that the reason for the emotional problems that boys are having is due to feminism.

I think this piece can be connected to two other pieces we have done titled "Compulsory Heterosexuality" written by Adrienne Rich, and also "The Master's Tools will never Dismantle the Master's House" written by Audre Lorde.

This piece can be connected to Adrienne Rich's piece because some of the psychologists are claiming the reason that the boys are having some emotional problems and problems with engaging in violent behavior. Adrienne Rich was a strong believer that men are the ones who are forcing women to be heterosexual. And the "typical" behavior that boys look up to, for some reason, is that "men" are tough, and in order to be a man you must fight, whether that means you start a fight in school or if you just engage in a fight that somebody starts with you, just because by saying that you do not have any interest in fighting makes you look like less of a "man." In Kimmels piece it is stated, "Gurian adroitly points out the nearly unbearable pressure on young boys to conform to resort to violence to solve problems to disrupt classroom decorum. But he thinks its entirely due to biology- not peer culture, media, violence, or parental influence." In Adrienne Rich's piece heterosexism is discussed and I feel as though Kimmel's piece can be related to that because it is discussed that it is expected of boys to be tough, or violent, etc.

The other piece I feel can be related to Michael Kimmel's piece is the most recent one I read which is "The Master's Tools will never dismantle the Master's House," by Audre Lorde. A quote from Michael Kimmel's piece that stuck out to me a lot and reminded me a lot of Audre Lorde's piece was, "If all boys are white and middle class, at least they're not all straight. Most therapists treat homosexuality casually, dropping in a brief reference, 'explaining' it as biological and urging compassion and understanding before returning to the more 'important' stuff." In Audre Lorde's piece she talks about how you can't ever fight oppression WITH oppression. She talked about how you can't say you want to fight for women's rights, but EXCLUDE lesbians, or EXCLUDE people of a different race. If you are going to fight for women's rights you need to INCLUDE all women. This quote from Kimmel's piece reminds me of that because they are focusing more on white, middle class boys, and homosexual boys, and boys of a different race are usually just overlooked. Of all the psychologists and therapists whose perspectives are talked about, only Pollack is the one who actually talks about homosexuality. Another quote from Kimmel's piece that supports this is when they are talking about the books where this information is portrayed: "Cute blonde boys stare at us from the books' covers, while inside the authors ignore large numbers of boys whose pain and low self esteem may have to do with insecurities and anxieties that are more economically and politically rooted." This too goes with what I was talking about; in Audre Lorde's piece she felt as though she was being overlooked because in the conference she was only one of two black women, and she felt that even though all the women were fighting for women's rights, all women's opinions and all women need to included. Just as like this quote states, the books usually have cute, white, blonde boys on the covers and black or homosexual boys are overlooked and usually excluded. In Audre Lorde's piece she states that you can't dismantle the masters house with the master's tools. You can't fight oppression with oppression. You can't fight for women's rights and use the tools of racism and homophobia, just like you can't express your concerns for the continuous problems of boys but only be concerned about white and straight boys.

Here is an interview with Michael Kimmel. Reading this will help to further understand his ideas.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy Providence

Occupy Providence Facebook Page

Misc post #4

I found this article on KY lube. "The company said they decided to go with the  girl-on-girl action because: Since 1998, K-Y has sponsored dozens of LBGT and HIV/AIDS organizations and has participated in numerous 'Gay Pride' celebrations and events. Since 2008, Gay Male couples have been featured in print advertising promoting the 'Intense' lubricant." The commericial is posted below.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Audre Lorde Youtube video...

"The Master's Tools will never dismantle the Master's House," Argument: Talking Points # 6

While reading "The Master's Tools will never dismantle the Master's House," by Audre Lorde, I found it easier to follow than the readings by Adrienne Rich, however, it was still a lot of information, and still kind of hard to follow. Since I wasn't positive, I googled Audre Lorde and this essay and found a site that explained it in more basic terms. "Lorde argues that it is crucial not only to acknowledge difference between women but to see it as a basis for women's empowerment. Women's interdependence can generate creative power that will lead to freedom and a new way of being women. Lorde further argues that academic feminist fail to recognize difference as a crucial strength for women and that their failure to consider other women--black, lesbian, or Third World--in making feminist theory perpetuates patriarchy in that they continue to use the tools of the oppressor, "the master's tools." In order to dismantle the patriarchy, women need to eradicate racism and homophobia among themselves; the starting point must be seeing difference as a source of strength."

Since Audre Lorde is arguing that we need to recognize the differences between women. An important quote from the essay that supports that is, "Difference must not be merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which of our creativity can spark like a dialectic. Only then does the necessity for interdependency become unthreatening. Only within that interdependency of different strengths, acknowledged and equal can the power to seek new ways of being the world generate as well as the courage and sustenance to act where there are no charters."

Also, while doing my google search, I came across another blog that really helped the essay make more sense to me. The author of that blog stated, "Instead of using the same fundamental system of patriarchy to criticize patriarchy, feminists must use a different system. 'Divide and conquer, in our world, must become define and empower.' She means that instead of being divided, as patriarchy has taught us, we must unite and become a community, a community that comes together because of its differences rather than in spite of them. In addition, she addresses the fact that just as women are expected to reach out to men and educate them about women's needs, black and third world women are expected to reach out to white women and educate them about their needs. But this is 'an old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with the master's concerns...This is a diversion of energies and a tragic repetition of racist patriarchal thought.' Instead, she argues that we must reach down inside of us, face our difference and make the personal political."

After reading the essay and doing some research on google and coming across another blog about this article, it became clear that Audre Lorde's argument was that women need to acknowledge that we are all different, and we need to acknowledge our individual strengths and weaknesses, and we need to somehow manage to make our weaknesses strengths so we can move forward in our goal for empowerment. Another quote from the essay that supports this, "As women, we have been taught either to ignore our differences or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change."

Another thing I want to touch upon in this post is the mention of society. In all of the readings so far, they have all had that in common that they have talked about how society wants us to act, and behave. Since society's influence on human behavior and women's behavior, this passage in the essay, though long, is very important and made a lot of sense to me so I want to be sure to share it to support the rest of my thoughts. Audre Lorde states, "Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference- those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are black, who are older- know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning to stand along, unpopular, and sometimes reviled and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strenghts. For the Master's tools will never dismantle the Master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game but they will never enable us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is threatening only to those women who still define the Master's house as their only source of support." This quote is so important because not only does it touch upon how the outsiders feel when they do not fit into society's view of what is considered "normal," but it also talks about the longing to bring about "genuine change," by acknowledging all of the differences, strengths, weaknesses, by different women who have made and who will make different contributions to feminism.

Adrienne Rich, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence"- Talking points #5: HYPERLINKS

First, I want to say that I had a lot of trouble following along with this reading. I found it really long and complicated. However, after reading what Rich had to say, and the discussion in class. I definitely feel as though I understand it a little better. Two blogs I read in particular helped me out a lot, which were Sydney's blog and Heather's blog.

According to what I found online while looking on Google, "homophobia" is described as, "Society's rethinking of sexual orientation was crystallized in the term homophobia, which heterosexual psychologist George Weinberg coined in the late 1960s. Weinberg used homophobia to label heterosexuals' dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals as well as homosexuals' self loathing." And "heterosexism" is described as, "heterosexism began to be used as a term analogous to sexism and racism, describing an ideological system that denies, denigrates, and stigmatizes any nonheterosexual form of behavior, identity, relationship, or community. Using the term heterosexism highlights the parallels between antigay sentiment and other forms of prejudice, such as racism, antisemitism, and sexism." An example of heterosexism is assuming that ALL men want to be with women, and ALL women want to be with men.

Compulsory Heterosexuality

Rich believes that men are the ones who are pushing women to be heterosexual. One example of that, is that women who are lesbians are supposedly unfit to be parents, which is just another example of how this further benefits the men in the world.  While looking on Wikipedia, it became even more clear that Rich's idea of the Lesbian continum is that, "Rich thinks of the word lesbian as meaning more than a sexual attraction and physical act, but an emotional and strong bond that women can share as they go through the same experiences."

A quote that really stuck out to me in the text was, "But along with this message comes another, not always recognized: that enforced submission and the use of cruelty, if played out in a heterosexual pairing is sexually 'normal' while sensuality between women including erotic mutality and respect 'queer,' 'sick,' and either pornographic in itself or not very exciting compared with the sexuality of whips and bondage." What I got out of this quote in particular was that the lesbian existence will not be very great if people are too afraid to come out as being lesbian because people think of it as "sick" or "gross." Women are oppressed, whether we want to believe it or not, but lesbian women are even more oppressed due to their gender and due to their sexuality.

I found this GREAT video on Youtube, I will embed it below. And just in case the embedded file doesn't work, here is the link to the video. An important quote in the beginning of the video stands out, of what society leads us to believe "...In order to be a 'healthy' and 'normal' human being you also need to have a healthy sex life which erases women who are asexual, who have a low sex drive, or women who just don't make sex a number one priority in their relationships."

Another thing these women are talking about is how acts of sexual violence are talked about as having "sex" and not "rape." The woman asks, "Who are we protecting here?"

Society makes us believe that it's not okay to be against the norm. Men are taught from the beginning that they need to be the dominant one in a relationship. One of the speakers talks about how when a man is the on the receptive end of the being penetrated that the whole relationship can be altered, even though there is no reason women can't be in that role as well.

I really enjoyed this video and it ties into a lot of what we have been talking about in class! Its kind of long but its really interesting!

Another video I found on Youtube, is about lesbians and homosexuality.

And again, if that video doesn't show up the link to the video is here. This is another helpful video, this one is way shorter. And even though the main speaker is a frog... it is still a helpful video! This video, as well as the other one, talks about how society teaches us how to act, that way we are accepted into society. This video brushes upon how people use the word "gay" to describe something they don't like. Also, it talks about how in the bible, it is considered "unnatural" however, it is talked about how in nature, there are many animals that actually do take part in homosexual behavior. number 2...

A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

"Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defends and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I'd rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn't enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: "How amazing am I ?! "

(The girl on the picture is model Tara Lynn)

I came across this on Facebook, and I really liked it! And I also think this relates to things we talk about in class. One of the last lines sticks out to me, which is, "At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends." I think this relates to what we talk about in class because it has a lot to do with what society makes us believe, and it also has to do with oppression because women are oppressed because we are women and also oppressed if we are not the ideal body type, body image, etc. I love this... I am so glad somebody had the guts to make a response like that. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

People Like Us Film- Reflection Assignment

I disagree with the quote from Sociologist Lawrence Mead, which is, "If poor people behaved rationally, they would seldom be poor for long in the first place." In fact, I feel like that quote is pretty ignorant. A lot of people work so hard just to make ends meet, and they have absolutely no money to put aside to get a nicer house, or a nicer car. Some people can't afford a car, PERIOD, and if you don't have transportation to get to a job, that definitely limits your career opportunities.

I enjoyed the film. A lot of it was kind of ridiculous how ignorant some people can be. For example, in the beginning when people were shown pictures of certain people and they were asked what social class they were in. They were just judged on APPEARANCE.

Another thing that was kind of annoying to me, was the group of "privileged" teenage girls. They all have nice things and hang out with other people who have nice things and they all have cars that their parents bought for them. And not only that but they had attitudes about a lot of things, like talking about the different cliques in their school. It drives me nuts that so many people think they are so much better than everybody else just because their PARENTS have money...

I thought that the woman who walked ten miles to get to her job at Burger king was admirable... I thought it was pretty ridiculous that her children were embarrassed of her. I think they should be proud of her that she is trying to make her own money, get off of welfare, and look at her dedication?! She walked TEN MILES in the RAIN to clean bathrooms at Burger King. Her children should be happy for her.