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Critical Feminist Studies

michelle.lee's picture


Whist ruminating over my web events and the material and discussions of this class, I thought hard about how I have grown as a feminist.  This was my first class that had anything to do about feminism.  I wanted to know what feminism was about, how it was defined and just get a taste of it.  I think I had a naive notion in my mind that I could take one class of feminism and get a fuller understanding of it.  While I feel like I do have a better understanding as to what feminism is, I also think I've become more confused.  But what I've also gained from this class is the acceptance of this confusion.   (which always happens when you take the time to learn more about a subject).  At the beginning of the year, I felt like I didn't know enough to make any statements or say anything.  I felt I was talking more towards the end of the year.    I really appreciate that this class has made me bolder and not afraid to express my opinions.  As a learner, this helps me to explore ideas more since I am not as afraid to venture into different topics and vocalize my opinions.  

sekang's picture

Self evaluation

I decided to take this course, because I think Bryn Mawr College is a nice place to learn about feminism. Also, having never properly and professionally learned about feminism, I did not understand the reason and the purpose of learning feminism. I did not have a full understanding of what part of feminism is so intriguing that some people choose to pursue Ph.D. in this subject. Hence, by taking this course, I not only wanted to get exposed to a subject that I was not familiar with but also wanted to know the purpose and the foundation of feminism.

I enjoyed using serendip a lot. I followed several students’ web events throughout the semester. I loved reading papers on different topics that each student is interested in. Reading the posts and the web events on serendip helped me think about feminism even outside of class. It definitely helped me read more articles about feminism. By posting on serendip, I was able to ask questions that I did not get to ask during class. Also, since there is no time limit for the serendip posts, I was able to put more time thinking before making statements. Though I was not too familiar with the online posts in the beginning of the semester, I learned to take advantage of the benefits of online media, on which I could embed articles and videos. I think one of the best part of the course was serendip.

bluebox's picture

"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.

michelle.lee's picture

Nicki Minaj!

See video
meowwalex's picture

masculinity and religion

Thinking about the conversation we have started concerning the constructs of masculinity in our culture reminds me a lot of the scandals throughout many religious communities...these are ultimately surprising to the public, not only in their hypocritical qualities, but because they are centered around important men within that community -- previously considered as ideal models for what a good religious man is.

It seems a lot of these incidences are centered around the notion that homosexuality is a behavior that is wrong, and that no strong, religious man could identify as gay. (Why is it that being gay makes you less of a man in the eyes of so many? That is a terribly broad question, I know)

(For example, the Ted Haggard scandal a few years ago, well as the various incidences throughout the Catholic church.

It seems to me that especially in the religious world, the construct of masculinity is something that is especially hurtful.

hwink's picture

Palin Mantrafesto

Sorry about lateness of posting! This is the Palin/bell hooks mantrafesto done by myself, mbeale, and sara.gladwin

Feminists are made, not born.
Making feminism is a revolutionary act.

Revolutions of mindset can be violent.
Violence is an upheaval to oppression.


buffalo's picture

Palin mantra

Syeager, meowalex, buffalo


"She cannot be anti-abortion and advocate for feminism"

Sarah Palin is anti-abortion

Anti-abortion takes away the right to a safe body

A safe body gives you agency 

dear.abby's picture

"Ashley Judd, the best person to ever call into Car Talk"

I think Ashley Judd's puffy face! (If you are fortunate enough to not know what this "controversy" is then simply google of "Ashley Judd puffy face".) is nothing if not relevant to our class topic. I think her reaction is novel enough to justify posting not only a link but a direct quote:

"I hope the sharing of my thoughts can generate a new conversation: Why was a puffy face cause for such a conversation in the first place? How, and why, did people participate? If not in the conversation about me, in parallel ones about women in your sphere? What is the gloating about? What is the condemnation about? What is the self-righteous alleged “all knowing” stance of the media about? How does this symbolize constraints on girls and women, and encroach on our right to be simply as we are, at any given moment...

dear.abby's picture

what's wrong with you?

During our brainstorming questioning session about sex work I found myself repeatedly comming back to the same theme: that having "something wrong with you" or "having problems" is an inherent prerequestite of being a sex worker. I think this idea comes up a lot within the media, specifically television or movie portrayals of sex workers, where a character's participation in such "demeaning" work is explained/rationalized via their terrible (read: abusive) childhood or their substance abuse problem. I definitely view Live Girls Unite! as attempting to paint a different/new picture of the sex industry; and while it succeeded in revealing to me a relatively novel image of sex work, it definitely has not erased the more cliche (possibly more realistic) image of sex work as taken up by persons with impaired agency.

hwink's picture


our beginnings of a mantrafesto--
(group: rayj, amophrast, hwink)
Feminist pornography is possible.
If it’s possible, we have a responsibility to strive for it.
Striving for change inspires innovation.
Innovation may or may not be marketable.
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