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Pussy Riot has been censored!

On the front page of the New York Times today, Pussy Riot has been sentenced to 2 years in jail.  We started a class talking about them so I thought I'd share this.

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"Diffracting" short essay

At the beginning of this class, I did not know what I was expecting. I figured I would show up and see what happens, because I was bound to learn something. And I certainly did. I had no idea how to define feminism but I assumed it was a good thing, and now I have a concrete definition. Well, as concrete as it can be in these circumstances.  Feminism is about equal treatment of men and women, but in order to do that we have to equalize treatment of races, classes, appearances, abilities, etc.  Feminism is really about equality for everybody, and that is something worth fighting for.

I feel like a very different person from the one I was at the beginning of the semester, but I know that is only because I’ve lived longer and experienced more.  My first serendip posts more or less had a distinct point to them—I knew what I thought, whether it was right or not.  They gradually got less and less certain, which reflects my experiences as a person over the last few months.  I questioned everything in the last few months, partially because of this course. Before this semester, I simply accepted that I knew what I knew and that there were always going to be things that I didn’t know.  That never stopped me from trying to find answers, but it was more acceptable to me if I never found them.  After this class, I question everything and I need to have a definite result of my questioning, and be able to defend it.  It is a very defeating kind of feeling.

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The Gender Picturebook

My final project is a picture book for adults to inform them on gender and sexuality--what they are, why they are important, and how they work together.  I made this because I have friends and family who don't really understand much of this, and I want to give them a concrete way to get informed. It is an overview of basic concepts to create a vocabulary to help readers communicate their ideas with other people who without having to define every term.

I chose to make this in book form because reading a book is a different experience from surfing websites.  Reading a book is a more personal experience because you can hold it in your hands and turn the pages yourself. On the internet, you can click hyperlinks as much as you want, but you depend on the hardware to obey you. You can change the website, delete your history, and distract yourself with a funny cat video in all of 20 seconds.  A book is different because you make a decision to sit down and read it, understand it, and absorb it.  The stories stay with you.

That being said, I chose to include several resources for readers that go more in-depth than the book because, like I said, this book is just an overview.  I included websites, a film, and a GLBT National Help line.  I chose four websites for information, and seven websites by religion because sometimes people forget that sexuality and religion are not mutually exclusive and a higher power can be tremendously helpful when dealing with issues such as these.

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Gender picturebook

Hi everybody, for my project I'm making a sort of non-challenging picturebook for adults that defines gender and sexuality related terms. If you can think of any more words or topics I should include, please let me know.

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Phineas and Ferb: A feminist children's show?


            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. 

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Being Gendered + Comedy or Tragedy?

I started looking into my memories when Anne asked us when we first felt gendered. My mother tells me that I had a “girly” phase when I was three, where I’d wear lots of pink dresses and lacy gloves and a white hat with a pink ribbon.  Instead of sleeping with a particular stuffed animal, I’d bring my favorite object of the day into bed. Once it was the frying pan from my kitchen set, and once my new pair of shoes.  But I grew out of that, and my mom bought me overalls and other clothes that didn’t have a particular brand or princess on it, and let me grow out my Dorothy Hamill.

Now I wonder if my gendered phases in my childhood caused how I’m gendered now—well, I’m certain they affected it somehow, but is it directly because of my inconsistent display of femininity? Or was I just born to be ambiguous?

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Feminism in SlutWalk


Feminism of SlutWalk


SlutWalk is a protest event that began in April of 2011 in Toronto to express freedom of expression and anger at double standards.  It has since expanded to other cities including New York and Chicago.  SlutWalk Toronto was originally spurred by a Toronto police officer who suggested that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”  This made a lot of people angry.

SlutWalk Toronto’s website explains that this statement is wrong and hurtful for many reasons.  Sexual assault is a serious crime and has nothing to do with the clothing a woman wears.  No woman is “asking for it” when she wears a blouse that shows cleavage or when she wears sky-high platform pumps.  By placing blame on the victim, it makes her less likely to report it to authorities or seek professional help.

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Lesbians lifting bellies?

I did not understand Lifting Belly when I attempted to read it for class. I didn't remember (or particularly care) who the author was because usually authors give you context to start with, because they generally want you to understand where they're coming from. My only hint was that Anne said it was erotic stuff, but I figured she just meant Canzone because of the tongues.

So, it didn't occur to me that either of these poems were about lesbian sex. Now that I loo at Canzone, I can definitely see it there. But I'm still not convinced for Lifting Belly. I'll believe you if you tell me it's about sex, because that seems to work, it just doesn't make sense to me any way I look at it.

At first, I thought that Lifting Belly was dialogue between two people, maybe three. Taking the hint into account, I could see that it would be a love story, maybe even a polyamorous relationship? I let that one go pretty quickly.  For the definition of Lifting Belly, I noticed a note in the margins pointing to those words saying -Person? So I took that as an idea as well. Two people and a person named Lifting Belly?

I made it to the part about giving birth (Lifting belly. Cry. Lifting belly. Lifting belly splendid. Jack Johnson Henry.  Henry is his name sir.) and a few pages after that small success in deciphering the only thing in the poem I was certain about, I skimmed the rest for important words and gave up.

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Girl Scouts and Feminism

February 3rd, 2012

Girl Scouts and Feminism


            When I was seven, I joined the Girl Scouts. I wanted to be a part of the seemingly exclusive group that my friends bragged about, and do fun things like play games and go camping.  When my parents signed me up and I went to my first Brownie meeting, I was excited.  Unfortunately, the troop leader—one of my friends’ moms—only had a few arts and crafts and a boring activity.  After the activity, she usually sent us out to the playground, which is where I learned the “exclusive” Girl Scout traditions of jump rope songs and hand games like “Miss Susie Had A Steamboat,” just like my mom had learned when she was a girl scout. 

The Girl Scouts of America is a youth organization for girls in the United States and abroad that was formed in 1912 by Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia.  She assembled the first 18 scouts because “she believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually.” Their activities included hiking, basketball, camping trips, first aid and learning to tell time by the stars.  Daisy Gordon Low wanted to enable girls to leave their restrictive home environments to perform community service and play games.

Bobby Montoya on "liking girl stuff" and the Girl Scouts
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The Goblin Market: Meet Singles Now!

I went to this class just to see what it would be like, because it fit in my schedule and I thought it might be interesting, but by the end of class I loved it and I'm so excited to learn what comes next.

My thoughts on Goblin Market seemed much different from everyone else's, but I was surprised that many people had pretty solid opinions on what it was about. Although I could just be seeing what I find familiar, I felt like it was telling a story of a woman who had an unhealthy relationship, and then regaining what she had lost.  It reminded me of the Twilight series (which is, in my opinion, a prime example of an unhealthy relationship) when Edward breaks up with Bella and she launches into a months-long bout of depression. Of course, Bella doesn't have a lesbian best friend to help her learn that she doesn't need a vampire (literal or literary) to use and abuse her in order to feel happy and satisfied in life.

It seemed to me like she was giving in to temptation, simply because you're not supposed to and you want to satisfy your curiosity. The concept of the "bad boy" has been sexy since at least 1865 and has evolved from goblins to the Fonz to Edward Cullen.

She needs to sort out her priorities.

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