Monday, October 29, 2012

Sex Positive Extended Comments

 Sex Positivve Extended Comments: Noelle's Blog

I want to do an extended comments on Noelle's blog because she actually applied the readings "Sex Positive Feminism" and "8 Ways To Be Positive Your Sex Positive" to her own life and she is the only one so far who opened up like that. I think when she was in high school neither her or her friends were "sex positive" because they both judged sex, sexuality, and even her lack of sexuality. I feel like teenagers don't know enough about sex or being sexual to NOT judge it or each other. When people are uncertain of thing they tend to judge it.

I really enjoyed the clip Noelle added because I had a teacher (surprisingly) in high school who used to rave about all the good health benefits of having sex. He was the only one who ever pointed that out to students and I feel like if administration knew about it he would have gotten into trouble.But like I said, students don't know about sex enough to not judge it, so if they are going to scare students with diseases and being labelled for doing it openly, then why not give them knowledge of the good that comes from it also.

Things we should discuss in class:
-The concept of slut shaming because I feel like this type of negativity towards sex is the most popular and also judging peoples turn-ons which is only not as popular because it is kept more on the down low then "sluttiness".

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Random Post- My Aunt Mia

My grandparents and one out of my fathers three brothers with his wife and son and daughter moved to Florida when I was very young. We only went up to visit them twice before I was even 12 years old, and they have all come to see us maybe three or four times. My Uncle Mike was always well kept.He dyed his hair, got manicures(without color) and all my family has always busted his balls. Last Christmas my Uncle Mike called my other two uncles (not my father) to tell them that they were going to come up for Christmas and to be prepared because at home he dressed as a woman and he wanted to come up as herself.
He never called my dad.
My father and my Uncle Mike NEVER agree on anything. Expecially politics. I think my Uncle was most scared of his opinion because he was always very close minded towards him and it was his way or no way.
My dad was mad when he found out and my uncle didnt tell him and also shocked because how does this happen to an "italian man" with a wife and kids.
My Aunt Mia chickened out of coming to visit.
She has been more and more open to who she is lately, even making a facebook of her new self and adding old friends from high school and Rhode Island.
My father got so many questions about her from his friends and people he sees everyday. Working in the community they grew up in, I even got questions about it. My dad always turned it into a joke though. My dad even got a birthday card from his sister and got very angry about it, thinking that my aunt was just busting his balls.
I didn't think it was funny, but at first I was pretty mad that she did that to her family. My cousin Zack got into fights at school over it, and what must her wife think about it?
Then they all came to visit over the summer. They broke the news that they were looking for a house back in Rhode Island. My Aunt Mitzy kept telling us how "her and I think its best if" and "She wants this, " and I remember thinking why does my cousin Ashley have so much say in this? and it took me fifteen minutes of conversation to realize she meant my new Aunt.
We went out in public with them and my dad was very uncomfortable, both of my Uncles were away in Kawait so they didn't see them but I know one of my Uncles refuses to talk about it with his wife and two young daughters.

I decided to write about this because last night I received a text from my father saying that "Uncle Mike sold his house in Florida" ......which means she is moving here. The second text was "You ladies can all get together and do your nails."

Its hard to tell my father that he is being close minded when he grew up with all brothers and knew one thing his whole life. I know that this whole situation just makes him uncomfortable and making jokes is his way of handling it, but I also now know that it is wrong.
I think being in class we learn the what is right and wrong about dealing with gender issues and such but applying it to your own life and family is harder then a person you did not know prior.

I am accepting it, but I know my father still hasn't. I still struggle with if i am going to correct him or tell him he is being innapropriate. I want to let him deal with it in his own way because I know when they move here he will come around, but at the same time I feel like it is my responsibility to correct him.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Did Cinderella Eat My Daughter?-Reflection

Although I had Disney Princess related toys, and movies, and pink objects I do not think that those factors define me. My girl best friend called me a tom boy when I was younger, and my favorite color was blue. Even though boys and girls didn't play with the same toys that didn't prevent me and they boy who lived upstairs from playing cops and robbers and tag and other ("gender neutral") games. Yet, I played barbies and Bratz with my sister, and my parents loved to watch Disney movies with us.
(I actually hated all of the princess movies because of the vilans, and thoroughly enjoyed the animal based Disney movies, like Fox and the Hound.)

It wasn't Disney or Mattel that brainwashed me into wanting to be girly or feminine or "pretty". It was my dads motivation of "look good, feel good" and also, to "take care of yourself, you don't need a man to take care of you" that pushed me forward into the type of woman I portray myself as. These two goals that my dad set for me were what made me the person I am, not Cinderella.  
I played with princesses and I like to dress up and look pretty, but that doesn't mean that I need a prince to save me and take care of me or that I am better then everyone else because there can only be one princess. I even wore a yellow dress to my junior prom to make myself feel like Belle, but that does not define me.
Since I don't fall into a spell cast by Disney Princess toys, maybe it was Barbie that influenced me so much. Pretty, independent, working. Realistically though, as a kid, I didn't even know of Barbies many jobs, or think that it was or wasn't strange that she worked and wasn't married. She was just a toy that I liked to change outfits on. 

I can see how Peggy translates these toys and phases into being gender specific, how they make girls care about their appearances, and how they portray relationships but I also think that at a young age a toy is a toy and that although it may impact a child, it can be just a phase. If a parent is careful or mindful of it then they will teach their children the important values or morals that may be related to a toy, and the child may not even recognize that they are being targeted to "reproduce" the girls with the babydolls that Peggy mentions, or whatever else that may be read into a product.

As far as the concern over pink toys, I look at it like who cares. Even the auther clarifies that it is a way for companies to double sales by offering boy colors and girl colors. We are never going to convince the world not to see pink as a girl color and blue as a boy color, but that wont prevent girls like me from liking blue, and some boys from liking pink. My little sister currently only wears black and purple. The problem is the parents who are not doing enough to teach their children not to read too much into these things, that if they see a boy riding a pink bicycle it is ok, and that if dressing up makes them feel pretty then do it but dont ever try and alter your appaerances (to lose wieght etc) 

The New York Times wrote this,
"The second wave of feminism deconstructed the Sleeping Beauty narrative and other princess myths as a form of hypnotism, designed to seduce women into marriage and passivity, and structured to teach them that their real lives only began with the kiss of a prince. Even today, I meet right-on feminist moms horrified at the enduring appeal of this story to their egalitarian-raised kindergartners: Why, they ask me, is my daughter obsessed with being a princess?
I would tell them not to worry: Second-wave feminists have it wrong. If you look closely, the princess archetype is not about passivity and decorativeness: It is about power and the recognition of the true self. Little girls are obsessed with princesses for the same reason little boys are obsessed with action heroes What other female role model can issue a sentence and have the world at her feet? What other female figure can command an army, break open a treasury, or even, as in images of Kate Middleton or of Diana Spencer, simply bestow, with her presence, a sense of magic, excitement and healing?What girl would not be drawn to such an archetype, given how few other female role models you can say that about in our popular culture?"

As far as this reading goes...and Class Discussions may go...
- I feel that wanting to be pretty or dress up is not a bad thing.
-While stories and movies may have hidden agendas, the toy industry does not and only wants money.
-Gender specific toys suck, but if kids want to play together they will.
-good parenting=not Disney brainwashed children.

PS. Im the prince and Bobby is the princess in our fairytale =]

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Event 1- The Bro Code: How Contemporary Cutlure Creates Sexist Men

I attended a Gender film for class called The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men. In this blog I will draw connects to Adrienne Rich's Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existance and also Michael Kimmels, What are Little Boys Made of? The experience was pretty interesting, in an Alice in Wonderland walking into a rabbit hole type of way. I blindly searched for the secret film room, and along the way I passed three or four people who only had to see my confused expression to know where I was going, even though I wasn't even aware of where I was going. Eventually I was pointed in the right direction.

The film itself was pretty interesting too; explaining how sexism is a vicious circle drawn between culture that has been passed down through society and family, and culture as seen on TV. The movie called this a feedback loop; saying that the TV copies people, and then people copy the TV. It then uses examples to go into detail about each of these aspects affecting sexism and gender roles in society. The movie states that family plays a large role in creating sexist men; wether it is how the family acts, or lack of proper parenting advice.

Women feel disempowered by sexist men, and in response feel that certain things, like dressing provacative will empower them, which then creates music videos with men being surrounded by women dressed like that, money, and expensive things like cars. This pushes men to think that in order to be successful, powerful, or atractive, they must posess all of these things, including "possessing" women. I feel like this asspect of the film very closely related to Adrienne Rich's paper in which she explains how automatic and unnoticabley people in todays society are heterosexual. In her paper she states that society is male dominated "the New Right's Messages to women have been, precisely, that we are the emotional and sexual property of men, and that autonomy and equality of women threaten family, relgion, and state."

Another class reading that related really well to the movie was Michael Kimmel's peice What are Little Boys Made Of? In which he brings up authors, both feminist and not, men and women who have written about a "war against boys" which claims that "boys are the new victims of a feminist-inspired agenda," but that the real underlying issue is teen violence, which is predominantly recognised as boys commiting the acts.
I like the way that this article connects to the reading, because in it, Kimmel singles out non-feminist men therapists who wrote books justifying innapropriate male behavior, and the feminist counter-perspectives that explain that it is privelege that allows boys to act this way.
I feel that if these nonfeminist therapists, Gurian and Buddalph, had seen this film they would feel it is just another feminist attack on male personalities.  They claim that violence, possession, and lack of emotion is a biological entitlement for men; that feminists and women in general are trying to force boys to ignore. The film also disproves their theory that it is biology, not peer/pop culture, that forces them to act agresively and masculine.
Agressive children= Biological (Not cultural) ???

The film supports everything that Kimmel brings up in his peice of the cultural (not biological) "rules" of being a man...even specifically bringing up a "boy code".
In the film, it is noted that "boys should take whatever they want at any means necessary to give them status and don't snitch tell or ask" and in Kimmels peice he states Kindlon and Thompson write, "culture of cruelty imposes a code of silence on boys, requiring them to suffer without speaking of it and to be silent witnesses to acts of cruelty to others."

The movie was very enlightening, and i was glad that I waited to write about it so that I could connect it to more appropriate readings.

Class topics:
In my notes I cited a few specific facts and statements made through the movie that i feel generate a lot of thought....

Gay guys are most joked about group

Gay teens are three times more likely to commit suicide 
 Two categories of women for men: dumb and sexy 
Smart is unsexy because dumb is not threatening to alpha male dominance
Kesha shows that it's now unisex and rather then change men we compete with them and adopt all their negative traits and make it neutral

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gloria Anzaldua Mestiza Feminist Argument

Gloria Anzaldua wrote a piece called La Conciencia de la mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness. I looked at this title and thought to myself, * oh great...I cant speak spanish. This reading is going to suck. *That is exactly why Anzaldua wrote this. We live in America where, she notes, we call this country a “melting pot”, but it is not.

Anzaldua writes about being of mixed race (spanish, black, or indian) in a white american culture. She said that people of mixed race struggle with cultural and spiritual values, and are in a perpetual state of transition. “Cradled in one culture, sandwiched between two cultures, straddling all three cultures and their value systems.” While she struggles with accepting all her cultures, she also has to worry about how american culture will view her, and what is considered expectable for her to practice and value.

“(As a lesbian I have no race, my own people disclaim me; but I am all races because there is the queer of me in all races.) I am cultures because, as a feminist, I challenge the collective cultural/ religious male derived beliefs of Into-Hispanics and Angeles; yet I am cultured because I am participating in the creation of yet another culture, a new story...” Although this quote makes it sound like yes, we are in a melting pot, that is not what she means. Anzaldua is saying that on top of struggling with cultural diversities, people struggle with gay culture, and how each individual culture will view gay culture. She states that all of this together, does not come together easily, and that no matter what, people of different backgrounds, cultures, values, and beliefs have to struggle in Americas oppressive traditions.

Not only does she acknowledge the challenges that people of different nationalities and sexual orientation have to face, she also brings up the fact that women are still oppressed by men. That in her example of her father, Mexican men, or men of different races, face their own oppression by white men, and succumb to guilt brought on from now being apart of a white american culture and in turn “he suffers from racial amnesia which ignores our common blood, and from guilt because the Spanish part of him took their land and oppressed them...It overlays a deep sense of racial shame.”

...“Though we 'understand' the root cause of male hatred and fear, and the subsequent wounding of woe, we do not excuse, we do not condone and we will not longer put up with it. From the men of our race, we demand the admission/acknowledgement/disclosure/testimony that they wound us, violate us, are afraid of us and our power.” Amzulua's paper leads up to her want for women of mixed background to stand up together for cultural and feminist rights. She argues that in order for women to break free of oppression that “we need a new masculinity and the new man needs a movement".

I have included a link that supports Gloria Anzalua's arguement that women of mixed race need to come together, and are going to play a large role in the third wave of feminism. BrownFeministBlog In her blog, this woman states "Where are all the mixed race feminists?" and talks about her struggle as a black woman trying to show her culture, and also following cultural norms of Americas society.