Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

ari_hall's blog

ari_hall's picture

Sarah Bartman and stares at the black female body

Sarah Bartman was an African women taken from Cape Town and brought to London to be put on display for her "freakish" body image. Bartman had a large buttox, genitals and breast, as compared to European women. This made her a spectacle of scientific research which distinguished her and all black women as racially inferior and hyper-sexualized. Even after her death her brain and genitals were put on display. Today, the black female body is still put on display, in music videos, in the political arena, in health care and in daily life. Stared at, pocked and prodded. From our hair to our thighs to our buttox, to skin complexion the black woman is often made a spectale of. The black female body is still devalued.

ari_hall's picture

"Choice is a function of expanded awareness"

The more you know, or are informed about things, the better equipted you are to make better choices for yourself. But sometimes knowing more also confuses you. As I have been learning more about gender, I am more aware and conscious of my own identity, and being cautious of not labeling other's identities. However, the more information I recieve, the more I also become confused. Even in Persepolis, I see Marjane Satrapi adjusting and reconfiguring the choices she makes when given more knowledge about the social revolution happening right outside her doorsteps, yet she too is sometimes confused by the different (sometimes contrasting) information she recieves.

The more I know also seems to place a burden on me. I feel like having information many others may not, puts me outside the sphere where the majority live, and creates a barrier. Knowing and understanding the oppresive institutions that operate against marginalized groups and not feeling able to help because the mainstream accepts, perpetuates and encourages them is defeating. The question activity in class really got me thinking, why doesn't society question more, and push boundaries instead of accepting them blindlly? Is it becuase its more comfortable to live in blissful naivete? Do they also feel defeated or afraid to fight for a cause that may seem impossible? Or is it because they benefit from institutionalized racism, sexism, genderism, etc. that they choose to do nothing? 

knowledge is a gift and a burden

ari_hall's picture

Group Statements and Questions Activity


Is gender meant to serve a purpose?

Who made gender?

What is gender?

Why do people like to put things in boxes/categories?

Should we try to break out of those categories, make new ones, or keep them?


We are all human

Humanity is allowed within people in accordance with their identities

Identitiy is a complex component of a person

Person-hood is defined by identity

Identity can change

EmmaBE, EP, Taylor 11, Elizabeth 

ari_hall's picture

Just Do You: a reflection on Fine. A Comic about Gender

Only having been a part of this class for a day i have already learned so much. Talking about my gender was never a problem for me because i am cisgender, but for my younger sister it is different. Not knowing about the gender spectrum, I labeled my sister; who has always loved Spiderman, always played the boy when we used to played dolls, and loves basketball shorts, as a tomboy, and when she got older and still dressed like a "boy" I thought: welp, shes gay, but im okay with that. Being so young, she herself may not know her sexuality, but for me I realized that just because she dresses and acts a certain way, reflects nothing about her sexuality. Maybe she's just a girl who likes to dress in "guy" clothes, maybe she will perfer the personal pronoun he, maybe she wants to wear makeup and baggy jeans and Jordans and a dress on occasion. I never looked at gender as something that could be fluid, but I am so glad I now know, not only for my own understanding, but to help my sister love herself for who she is, and know that I love her for whoever she wants to be.

ari_hall's picture

New avatar

Hello, my name is Ariana and I just recently switched into this course, so I guess I'll introduce myself here first. I am excited to meet you all and start learning. I thinks this class speaks to me specifically as i like to call myself a black feminist, and by this i mean that i value justice and equality for the black community (as well as other communities of color) and the justice and equality for women, not putting one above the other. The avatar I chose, or was hoping to choose (technologically challenged here) was of a vulture that I found in my yard one day when I came home. This turkey vulture, came into my life at a point where i was struggling with loving myself. That same day my father had found an article on these vultures and how although they have an ugly apperance, they are gentle creatures who clean up the mess what has been killed, and are graceful in flight. I was like the turkey vulture at that time, feeling ugly and unwanted, unaware of my ability to soar and cleanse the world. 

Syndicate content