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Hummingbird's picture

The Eroticization and Objectification of Female Inmates

I’ve been searching for Halloween costumes over the past two weeks. When I started searching I was hopeful I could find something clever and fun to dress up as, but I very quickly became frustrated by the number of hyper-sexual costumes taking up the marketplace for women. Of these were a number of “sexy prisoner” costumes. Not only are these costumes problematic for their misrepresentations, but they also show a larger problem of cultural eroticization of female inmates.

I was first struck by the eroticization of female inmates when I was researching images of female offenders for Barb’s vision class, but it wasn’t until I saw the “sexy prisoner” costumes that I thought more carefully about the subject. A Google search of “women in prison” turns up a number of movie posters for pornographic or erotic films set in prison. That such a serious and life altering experience could be reduced to a sexual spectacle made me cringe.

Sarah's picture

Voice Paper #2

“The uniforms are just like the ones we had to wear in elementary school. Same white shirts and blue pants.  When I look at these, I can’t help but thinking, what were they preparing us for?”- quote from a student from Percy Julian High School from Meiners’ book “Right to Be Hostile”

Sharaai's picture


After writing my paper, I looked up some images of 2Pac with his quotes and I found this. I really like and wanted to share.

Sharaai's picture

2pac, prisons and schools

2Pac - Trapped

"There should be a class on drugs. There should be a class on sex education, a real sex education class. Not just pictures and diaphrams and unlogical terms and things like that. There should be a drug class, there should be sex education, there should be a class on scams, there should be a class on religious cult, there should be a class on police brutality, there should be a class on aparthy, there should be on racism in america, there should be a class on why people are hungry, but there not, there’s class on gym, you know, physical education, let’s learn volleyball. because one day…you know…there’s classes like algebra where I’ve yet to go to a store and gone xy+2 and give me my change back thank you. I think you can let me out, I’ve lived alone by myself. And the things that helped me were the things I learned from my mother, from the streets." --Tupac (Age 17).

HSBurke's picture

Paper 2

Teaching through Experience: Painting a Positive Picture of the Relationship between Prisons and Schools

Before beginning, I would like to note that this is the photo that I posted for our Vision memo, rather than the Voice class assignment. Additionally, while this is not the picture I originally chose (which had to be taken down to due copyright issues) this royalty-free photo is very similar, and evokes the same feeling of hopefulness for me. I developed the deeper understanding that I now have of the relationship between schools and prisons by witnessing how my classmates (and myself, initially) associated the two institutions through images on Serendip. This illuminates why I have chosen the picture I posted at a later time, for a separate Vision assignment, by reflecting my being able to take time to synthesize our collection of visual representations as a whole and understand them as a genre in addition to on an individual basis. This deeper understanding then came to inform the claim that I will make about our widely negative interpretation of the relationship between schools and prisons.

Chandrea's picture

Voice Paper #2

What continually catches my eye is the picture that Jo posted of meals provided by schools and jails. We briefly talked about it in class but I thought we could have discussed it some more. I think I have always had this defeatist attitude towards public school lunches. I was on free/reduced lunch so I didn’t think I had any right to complain – at least I was being fed. I remember being so hungry after three or four hours of class and rushing down to the cafeteria. But what was I rushing for? The only food items sitting on my tray were poor excuses for school lunch. Because of these unsavory experiences I had in school, I’d like to further explore how tightly scheduled activities that are more commonly overlooked, such as mealtimes, serves as a way to oppress people both in schools and jails.

sara.gladwin's picture

prison imagery

I know this is a late post about a voice visualization but I wanted to post regardless.

Hummingbird's picture

Some Thoughts...

Throughout high school and college, I've used writing as a form of personal expression. Personal essays have been my way of coming to moments of self discovery and reflection. I don't often think of my creative writing pieces, at least, as for some purpose other than the personal. On the other hand, when reading the work of others I find myself consciously and subconsciously making connections back to the text. I expect the texts to help me improve or learn in some way and I often expect that growth or understanding to come immediately. 

It's hypocritical of me to expect to have to do something after I read these trauma novels, or Wideman's memoir about his brother. Perhaps, in regards to my own writing, I'm simply being selfish because I don't expect others to need to understand my work in some significant way – the writing process has always been about just that: the process. However, it's also selfish of me to assume that other writing is for my benefit – and not the work of someone who thinks in much the same way I do about the process. I've been struggling with the idea that perhaps what we need to do after reading these heavy works is to step back and let them sit with us when what I want to do is take some kind of action. 

When I finished Brothers and Keepers, I wanted to start a petition or take some kind of action for Wideman's brother. I think, though, that his intention may have been more personal – to serve as a reflection on his relationship with his brother as opposed to a call to action.
HSBurke's picture


Today, I sat in on an interview in Admissions and I think I may just have solidified a prospective transfer student's choice of Bryn Mawr by gushing about our 360 and how awesome it is. She told me after that our 360 sounded exactly like what she was looking for. Just thought I'd share. Wheee!

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