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Critical Feminist Studies Web Paper 2

dear.abby's picture

Are We Eliminating or Redefining Limitations?

There are a number of questions that I have worked up which over time have effectively constrained my understanding of the feminist project.  I want to connect my concern regarding access to feminism (or limited access and the factors that create this lack) to my understanding of feminism as a minority project—a project that remains beneath the concern of most women both in the US and across the world. I have been thinking about this “majority” since our class conversation about “trolling” comments on Serendip and the consensus that these are not worth a response—that any response would be not productive. So though there are clearly quite a lot of people—including many female-bodied individuals—who would have unconstructive things to say about our work in Critical Feminist Studies. I would even go so far as so say that (as I have encountered them) there are plenty voices of dissent contained within the Bryn Mawr student body.

This conflict between feminism and the “majority” parallels a general lack of consensus and hence momentum within the body of self defined feminists. This lack of commonality really endangers the notion of feminism as a project constantly working towards action/praxis. With so many differing feminisms each accompanied by various agendas, and each a smaller minority of the minority of people that are self identified feminists in the first place, I sincerely start to doubt the potential contained within the feminist project as it is organized today.

dchin's picture

Feminism and Female Suicide Bombers

Feminism for Female Suicide Bombers and The Imagined Community

            Recent American engagements in the Middle East have renewed the spotlight on the role of women in radical Islam, in particular—the seemingly contradictory nature of female suicide bombers. Alissa Ruben’s article, “Despair Drives Suicide Attacks by Iraqi Women,” exemplifies the tendency to portray female suicide bombers as victims, coerced by fathers, husbands, relatives, or other community members. On the other hand, M. Bloom argues that many of these women were just as willing and politically motivated as their male counterparts. As she writes in “Bombshells: Women and Terror,” “violence is an altruistic act, and one of the key ways in which [women] can contribute to the good of the nation” (Bloom, 8).

aybala50's picture

The Game of Unspeakable Language

           Describe salt to someone who has never tasted it before. How does it feel on your tongue? How does it feel going down your throat? What does it make you feel? What does it taste like? I can’t do it…no matter what words I use or how I choose to describe it, someone who has never tasted salt will not fully understand what it tastes like. This concept, this shortcoming of language felt really disappointing. I thought that language was supposed to be empowering; having a voice, having words, using them to tell people what I think, what I feel…it’s supposed to make me stronger.

            In class I argued that language is limiting. I felt disappointment in this argument, not because I didn’t believe it, but because I felt powerless within a second of trying the describe salt. Language truly is not enough of a form of description, yet it is the most commonly used method of communication amongst people. Why is this? Why do we use language if it limits us in our communication?

            Have you ever heard of the game Taboo? It’s a card game that uses words. One person is given a word that they are meant to describe to a group of people without using that word, or words that are closely associated that word. So, if we were trying to describe salt to a group of people, we wouldn’t be able to say the word salt, or pepper, or white, or sea etc. This game truly shows the limitations placed on us by words.

Amophrast's picture

Feminist Typography: Typefaces of Feminists

When I was in NYC for my externship, at the public library I saw a talk on this book: Typography Sketchbooks. It contains (amazing) sketches, discarded works, and preliminary ideas by typography artists, who design typeface.

After going over "Lifting Belly" in class (February 16th), I was thinking about language, feminism, font, words... I was thinking (which I tried to convey in class with the help of French feminists) that there's something about the form which makes some things feminist; content is indeed important, but I do not know if I often see anti-feminist (which I recognize as different than non-feminist) sentiments expressed in the same forms I see feminist sentiments  expressed in. Maybe there is something more effective about communicating in these forms rather than trying to speak the language of the patriarchy, or using phallocentric language...rigid formats and rules. I think that feminist thoughts and ideas are most effectively communicated and received when they are in certain forms.

melal's picture

What is Tiger Mother Really About

    There is no doubt that “mother” is one of the most valuable and influential figures in our society. She plays a vital role within the traditional family structure, which is part of our social fabric and is at the core of our culture. However, many of us do not expect that being a mother would make me more of a feminist. In fact, we fear quite the opposite, worrying that feminist convictions would wane under the weight of overfilled diaper bags and the expansive responsibilities of caring for children. I therefore wondered the correlation between motherhood and feminism: Are they compatible? What is the effect of a feminist parenting? Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, though may not give me answer to the questions, at least provides me with some interesting hints.

hwink's picture

Your Tongue is a Feminist

  [edited 3/3/12 for formatting]

The feminism of the tongue is an inescapable idea of the trajectory of our course this semester. The tongue serves as a tripartite motif, representing three distinct but tightly interwoven branches. Food, language, and sex, especially sex that occurs between women, are all captured in the motif of the tongue. All three have been heavily represented in the feminist exploration through literature that is the project of our course, and the reasons for their consistent recurrence is the feminist nature of the tongue itself, with licking as a uniquely feminist mode of inquiry and understanding. I take as my primary example the text of Licking Belly by Gertrude Stein, but it is not the only example we have studied.

colleenaryanne's picture

Breathless and French Feminism

This semester I am taking Intro to Film with Michael Tratner.  We recently watched a 1960’s French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless.   This movie featured two main characters: Michel and Patricia.  Michel steals a car, impulsively shoots a policeman, and spends the rest of the film on the run from the police.  He imposes himself on his “girlfriend” Patricia, a young New Yorker who sells newspapers in the streets of Paris.  Michel spends most of his time trying to convince Patricia to sleep with him and have her run away with him to Italy, and Patricia spends most of her time blowing him off and pursuing her career as a journalist. 

MC's picture


One awkward person trying to think it through and not even brushing the tip of the iceberg. 


Part 1

Part 2

(Attempts at embedding lead to two copies of one video, so I'm afraid I only have links.)

Videos of myself attempting to explain why sometimes we have to look past ignorance as an explanation for behavior, and explore and dissect how behaviors are considered acceptable in the first place. What is power? How do we use it? How is it used against us, and how does its use against others affect us? What layers of power do we as individuals move against? 

FrigginSushi's picture

Korean Music Industry Double Standard

            In my last web paper, I gave a brief history of Korea and the dynamic religious background that has followed Korea’s development in its fundamental ideas of woman’s relationship to man and vice-versa. Essentially, the stemming of modern discrimination against women, or the dichotomy of the two sexes, could be said to come from Korea’s groundings in Confucianism during the 14th century.

sara.gladwin's picture

The 99: A More Inclusive World

“Who are the 99?

An ever-growing team of specially powered young people. The 99 prevent disasters, help people in need, and perform good deeds under the banner of the 99 Steps Foundation.

What are the Noor Stones?

Each member of the 99 bears a Noor Stone- an ancient gem of power. Forged out of the destruction of ancient Baghdad, the Noor Stones were created to preserve the wisdom of the ages. When bonded with a specific young person, each gem grants him or her a different gift of power”

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