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Critical Feminist Studies

hwink's picture

Setting the Scene 4/3

This is the music video that Colleen Ryanne and I are planning to use to set the stage for class tomorrow! For future reference (or pre-class viewing if you're proactive like that). 

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michelle.lee's picture


Half the Sky has really gotten me to think about what the standard protocol and ettiquite for international humanitarianism is.

I remember asking my dean at the beginning of my freshman year, what classes can I take that can help me look more deeply into non-profit activism.  And she had told me that there really aren't any classes that focus just on that; You can essentially major in anything and go into non-profit activism.  When I think back, I thought that was very fair.  Anyone can go into the world and try and help.  However, my thoughts have shifted a bit.  While I still think it's great that the opportunity to help in ways such as the Half the Sky movement, I often wonder how organizations would be percieved if there were classes that were specifically offered about the organization of non-profit groups or international humanitarianism in general.  Perhaps I just haven't done enough research to find classes, but even as I look into classes for next semester, I do not see many classes that are offered that are about how to operate an organization that works in international humanitarianism.  Why can't it be like teacher certification?  You'd have to be certified to start a non-profit organization.  Is that too crazy of an idea?  If there is someone who is well-versed in this area, they could comment on how it works.   

dear.abby's picture

reading the comments section

This article and the many many subsequent comments has made me think about a part of feminism, or at least my understanding of feminism, that hasn't come up in class so much--the "feminine" body image. This particular article (I never found the original, but only articles about it) concerns the personal response of a mother whose female 7 year old child is considered morbidly obese. Also this article was featured in the annual "shape issue" of Vogue, which may be why it attracted so much attention, and could be tagged easily as "Vogue article about fat seven year old girl" et cetera.

It appears that the overwhelming response to this particular mother's reaction is negative. Most comments cite her as narcissistic and effectively preparing her second grader for a plethora of eating disorders, and passing on her own personal psychosis.

meowwalex's picture

setting the scene (cont)-your revolution

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meowwalex's picture

setting the scene-if i were a boy

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meowwalex's picture

hello, cruel world

I wanted to learn more about the outreach that Kate Bornstein does today, and her website "Hello Cruel World" is something that I feel is really great.


I think that most people who disregard conversations about gender and sexuality as something that doesn't pertain to them if their lives fit in the expected gender binary don't realize the amount such ignorance can further pain those who are struggling with their identities in such a way. Kate says "I think that the world needs more kind people in it, no matter who or what they are, or do"

I think that in some ways I am also guilty of not trying to learn as much about issues of gender and sexuality, because I have never struggled with my own sexual orientation or felt that I am wrongly gendered. Even so, the gender workbook helped me realize that the "ideal" woman and man are pretend ideas that no one can ever really fulfill no matter how hard that they try. Even if one considers themselves able to fit neatly inside society's accepted gender binary, the binary's ideals pose a problem for everyone. . . regardless of whether you 'appear' to be fitting well within it.

dear.abby's picture

gender terms

So most of the terms that came to mind are associated with gender but arose as points of confusion during a theory class, where everyone used these terms liberally and I felt like I had no idea what they were talking about.

hegemonic : I think I know what this means, it comes up frequently in another gender and sex related class I am in currently.

Focault : now I know who he is and understand his theory, but during a prior feminist class he was intensely alluded to, and I was left very confused.

*queering (as a verb) does this have meaning outside the realm of academia or gender studies. I would like to be able to understand this term enough to use it myself.

*gender vs. sex : the difference between these two terms is still slightly unclear to me, I have definitely used them incorrectly before.

*cisfemale : this term was brought up much earlier this semester by a student, and was briefly explained by professor dalke but I still don't understand why it is used, or what it clarifies that is not clarified by other terms.

michelle.lee's picture

Definitely an emotional read and other related topics to Middlesex

On the topic of Middlesex, I came across a film called Tomboy.  It's a French film from 2011 and it tells the story of a 10 year old girl, named Laure, who decides to introduce herself as a boy to other children when she moves towns.  She interacts with her new friends as a boy while she acts like a girl at home.  It reminded me of Middlesex since it touches on the idea of transgender/transsexualism at a young age.  It also has the same idea of "rebirth" since both main characters experience a point in life where they are "reborn."  Although Cal's case is slightly different since he is intersex while Laure is biologically female.  Both the film and novel exude this kind of subversive sadness.  I felt almost helpless at some points of the movie and novel because there wasn't anything I could do.  I am still trying to process formally what my emotions and my thoughts are for these books...

Trailer for the film Tomboy
rayj's picture

My Gender Workbook: Gender Quiz

Anne brought in Kate Bornstein's My Gender Workbook, and there is an awesome quiz in there that is adapted HERE if you're interested, to see your Gender Aptitude. 

dear.abby's picture

article I read online

I have been thinking about this article frequently ever since I found it online about a month ago. What most struck me initially was not the content of the article, but rather the vehement response/comments below the article (if you follow the link and scroll down you'll see these). Most people's reactions fell somewhere along the line of equating the parent's actions with some form of child abuse, or generally "screwing their child up". I did not identify with this reaction until more recently when a follow up article was published:

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