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Final Web Event: When, Where, and How We Enter

“I have thought that a sufficient measure of civilization is the influence of good women.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“ other words, the position of woman in society determines the vital elements of its regeneration and progress...And this is not because woman is better or stronger or wiser than man, but from the nature of the case, because it is she who must first form the man by directing the earliest impulses of his character.” -- Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South (1892) 

I begin with these two quotes about the importance of a society’s women to highlight the current condition of America as a result of how it has critically fallen short of protecting and caring for all of its women.  America fails to protect its women from an unhealthy rape culture, incarcerates women more than any other country, and fails to protect the country’s mothers by being the country with the highest infant mortality rate in the world. By failing to protect the country’s women and mothers, it fails to protect the country’s children and therefore the country’s future. In the midst of these downfalls, which only represent a few of the ways America fails women, historically, only a select group of women are considered valuable, and women of color, specifically black women, are left marginalized and fending for themselves -- and these are the women who make up a disproportionate amount of those affected by the failures aforementioned. 

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Notes from our Teach-In

When Kelly and I were discussing our presentation, we came up with an array of things that have totally impacted our relationship, or have had an overall greater influence on our lives. So we decided that we couldn’t be the only people that have enjoyed the class, missed an opportunity to give praise/thanks, want to ask a question, or just share your thoughts with each other. 

Also taking notes from our mid-course evaluation, and conversations about silence and speaking we wanted to find a way to hold a conversation that was “accessible”.  We both felt that after the mid-course evaluation not only, allowed for a productive conversation, but also illuminated the different ways and mediums we can use to speak.  

We decided to create FEMANOTES, inspired by the a posse plus retreat exercise, which are in order to continue our conversation, but specifically to celebrate one another.  They are meant to be anonymous, you can specifically address individuals or the entire class with questions, comments, things you appreciated, exercises you liked, things that can be worked on.  PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING. 

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Web Event #3: Unbinding Feminist Intentions

Unbinding Feminist Intentions


As a young black woman in America, I have had my fair share of troubles with accepting feminism. Author bell hooks, in ‘Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics’, defines feminism as an all-encompassing ‘movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression (hooks, p.1).” However, as I have previously understood it, through social discourse and mass media portrayals, feminism arose from a reaction of well-to-do white women to the oppressive patriarchal system that confined them to the household. So, as a result, these women sought and gained equality in the working world of their well-to-do counterparts.

According to hooks, however, feminists initially concerned themselves with women’s liberation from the oppressive, sexist, and violent domination of the patriarchy. However, it became polarized by a division between reformist thinkers, who wanted to alter the existing system to include more rights for women, and revolutionary thinkers, who wanted to overthrow the system and terminate the patriarchy entirely.

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Web Event 2: Cripping High Schools in Inner Cities

I attended a public high school in the heart of Los Angeles’ inner city, a predominately black neighborhood, characterized by poverty, drugs, gang activity, and violence. This environment is similar to that of schools in many cities across the country, and I have felt some of the negative effects of a public school system operating on a normative standard  that does not fully encompass their students’ multifaceted lives as a result of their low socioeconomic status. 

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Rewriting the Script of The Female Entertainer [Updated]

“You will never be as beautiful in your life as you are now, so now is the time to start.”

As a young woman who aspires to do anything related to media and popular culture: modeling, singing, dancing, acting, this view is one that spearheads  a great amount of young careers. The idea that beauty is the quality that supersedes any amount of talent is widely held in the entertainment industry, and follows right behind the exploitation of women in society in general based on their physical appearance. The problem with adapting this philosophy in pursuit of a famous career is that women who participate in their self-exploitation then make it justifiable to be exploited by others. 

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Rewriting the Script of the Female Entertainer

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Love Italian Style

A friend recently showed me this article, and I thought to share it with you all. It is a review of the book "Love Italian Style: The Secrets of my Hot and Happy Marriage" written by Melissa Gorge (cast member of The Real Housewives of New Jersey). This review is featured on Jezebel so it has a strong feminist bias, but once you read it, you'll know why I couldn't find any reviews that were neutral.

Jezebel's main issue with the book is that Gorge advocates for marital rape, saying that a wife should be available for sex with her husband whenever he wants it, whether she wants to or not. Gorge includes other gems like "You can do just about anything for 10 minutes," and that strict gender rolls should apply within a marriage, the wife busy with housework while the husband works. She says, "When gender roles are confused, sexual roles are, too. If he's at the sink and then changing diapers, then who throws down in the bed?"

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We are not innocent

Has anyone ever questioned the existence of the "female gaze" ? By that I mean the look that some women give, one that is full of assumption and judgement, when seeing a woman known to act promiscuously, or a woman who does the opposite. Numerous times in this past week, I have been a witness to the extreme judgment of a women who chooses to express her gender identity in a way that is considered promiscuous or "slutty" in the eyes of society, BY OTHER WOMEN. Guilty of this myself, I think it is important to consider this gaze, because mistreatment by men based on a woman's lifestyle or dress is one thing, but for a woman to judge and mistreat another for these same reasons puts a huge, hypocritical hole in the feminist cause. We saw evidence of this in The Complete Persepolis when Marjane puts down her classmates for their beliefs and lifestyle, and this is why I had a hard time considering her autobiography a femenist text. Because Marjane was having sex, it seemed that she considered herself above her classmates because they were not rebelling against the state in the way that she was, and that made her independent and them frustrated and weak. 

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Who is one or the other?

This question was inspired by the exercise we did in class on Tuesday 09/10. I had difficulties answering the question "Why do we have to be one or the other?" with another question. I began to think of the characteristics that make men "men" and women "women": Do all women have to know how to cook? Do all men have to be emotionally blank? Do both women and men aspire to be great parents? It is interesting to think of my own gender, and how I have seemingly lived according to my sex assigned at birth, not willingly but because my parents understood the implications of what it meant to be giving birth to a baby girl. They brought me up implementing values that made me into the "perfect little lady", and denied me things that were said to belong to little boys. Still, I pursued a number of active/ contact sports, loved to wear sneakers, and liked to be dirty, all of which were said to belong to little boys - so according to society's view of gender I was both male and female. My older brother played Barbies with me, and helped me cook in my Easy-Bake oven (but ate everything we made) - and so he was also both male and female. This stream of consciousness led me to the question that is the title of this post: "Who is one or the other?" 

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New Avatar Post

Hello class! We haven't officially been introduced (and of course I mean on Serendip), but my name is Vaughan and I am a senior Philosophy Major. 

I expected the choosing of my avatar to be an easy task. However, in wanting to connect the avatar with my personal narrative it was a bit more difficult to find one that could encompass what I am going through at the moment. I feel that it is representative of the new journey that I am embarking on in my life, one that shows promise of helping me to understand my gender and racial identity and how it affects my personal, social, and professional life. As someone who has never questioned the implications of what it means to be a young “woman”, through taking this class I hope to gain knowledge of what my gender identity is and means, as well as how to exercise agency over it. There is a compass and a map shown in my avatar, both of which are vital to beginning a new journey and being able to see it out to the end. I am hoping that this class will act as the tools shown to help me along my path.

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