December 20, 2008

Final Blog

This class taught me about concepts of gender that I had never heard before, and it helped deepen my understanding of life. I really enjoyed the readings and opinions of all the other authors because there were so many ideas and new thoughts of gender. All of them provoked me to think further about gender roles.
I got the most out of learning about gender as a performance and learning about how the body functions as an extension of society’s standards and control. I had never thought of gender as a performance before, and this new concept stood out a lot to throughout the semester. I felt like it connected to everything in some way like even when Anzaldua wrote about the borderlands and feeling confused about being torn between her culture and her own self. I thought of how her culture was expecting her to act a certain way and reminded me of how people are forced to act as their gender respectively because it is what society wants.
The fact that gender is a performance demonstrates that people act a certain way to be accepted rather than acting how they truly want. When learned about the body and how people always try to fill very stereotypical molds of it, it proved that it was a part of how gender is a performance. I never understood how much of our actions as men and women represent cultural standards.
I now plan on being more aware of gender as a performance in my life from now on. I think it will help to always be more comfortable with myself, and be proud of who I am even if I do not live up to societies standards. I plan on taking what I have learned to enrich my life and help my friends understand it so they too will not be so hard on themselves when it feels like they are not good enough.

FINAL BLOG!

Please, allow me to say that I loved this class. Most of the information that I have learned has become and will remain part of my consciousness. I have now learned to recognize when I am being oppressed. I have learned to recognize the violence that often comes with oppression. I really admire Ann Jones for saying that women often are abused because they “resist.? This shows me that women are strong. It teaches me to be strong in my everyday life. I am not going to allow man to be in control. This class has taught me that it’s ok if you resist. Men are only considered to be superior because society has given them that role, but it doesn’t mean that it actually is that way. This idea truly fascinates me, because I had never thought of it that way before. I tell people about it. I inform my friends about it. I tell them that men are superior only because we have allowed them to be superior. I tell my friends that men are abusive towards women, because we as society believe that they are superior. It aggravates me when men sometimes say that they batter a woman because they lose control. What a lame excuse! Ann Jones says that they don’t lose control, they are fully aware of what they are doing, because they perform the domestic violence to women, to “their? women, not a random man on the street. This has taught me that there are NO excuses for domestic violence. I have promised myself to never tolerate it, because that is the only way that our society can change its norms of considering men as superior and women inferior. If we allow even the simplest forms of domestic violence we are basically reinforcing the ideas of male dominance.

December 19, 2008

LAST BLOG EVER!

After taking this course I really feel that I am much more attuned to how gender and power are related and relate to our everydaylife. I feel that the readings were very helpful in aiding our studies and giving us some really great discussions during class. Although I feel that yes some of the things we looked into/studied in class were kind of common sense or aspects that we are used to hearing ex. gender roles or thinking about the +5 system or how women are abused, I liked that we still had in depth discussions about them. I think that by going over many of these topics it makes them much more realistic. From our topics about gender as a performance and gender roles that we mostly covered at the beginning of the year but through the class as a whole I really can't help but think of them on a day to day basis now. For example seem to observe people more and how they perform their gender and I feel like I am just more aware of the subjects we covered in class which is a GOOD THING!

One particular reading: "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference, by Audre Lorde was a specific reading that I always seemed to remember. I feel that it was very real and would help us to not only understand different topics but also gave more in depth analysis to how we can change and look at why we do/act the way we do now. She talks about difference and the reasons we "see" difference so much by saying that we are either programmed to fear it, ignore it, or try to become it if is dominant. I thought this was especially interesting because it does seem very true. She continues in saying that "we do not develop tools for using human difference as a springboard for creative change" and " by ignoring the past, we are encouraged to repeat its mistakes" (Lorde 117). I feel that this is the most encouraging and real advice out of any of the readings because it seems so simple but yet it will help so much. I as I hope everyone else will take away from this class is not to ignore or fear difference but yet use it to our advantage and make the most out of it. We each have our own special and unique talents and we need to see that for what it is. If we can stop ignoring things from the past we can make much bigger efforts to change the way our society views gender, power and everyday life.

Thanks Rebecca and Katie for a wonderful semester! :)

Final Blog

I think that this class has left me with a broader perspective on the way that gender plays a role in our daily lives. Although I may be a gwss minor, i think that this class has provided me with a lot of essential materials to really assess the many forms of systemic oppression faced by women today. I particularly enjoyed the readings by Lorde, Fausto-Sterling, Rich, Jones and Plumwood. I think they represent both classic ideas in gender studies and also progressive and radical ways of thinking about gender. I have been joking with my friends lately that gwss has ruined my life. I don't mean it in a bad way, it's just that I will never again be able to think about my interactions with people, the shows I watch on TV, or do the activities I once did the same way. I constantly have to be aware of the ways in which gender affects my daily decisions and I must be more conscious of the ways in which I perform gender. Opening up discussions on gender, sexuality, class and race has become essential to my existence and I wouldn't have it any other way. Instead of being a silent citizen, I hope to critically analyze and deconstruct oppressive systems. I want to be an agent for positive social change and taking classes like this one enables me to have a framework to build off of. I am thankful to have been a part of this class and truly enjoyed the constructive and respectful conversations that we had together. I hope that others from this class feel inspired to continue looking into gwss issues and make it a part of their daily life.

Final Blog

Even before signing up/taking this course, I have been interested in gender/women/sexuality studies. I’ve been a Judith Butler fan before I knew who Judith Butler was. But I hadn’t really thought about the “everyday? in all of it. Luckily, this course helped me to see that aspect and, more importantly, helped me see the everyday of gender and power in my own life.

Since I am a Butler fan, the essays on gender as a performance were especially intriguing to me, especially because they were very much focused on the everyday. The Butler piece, along with a other readings, really got me thinking about 1.) how people do (perform) gender, 2.) what kind of performance society expects, and 3.) how the way gender is performed is tied to power. From all of this, I learned what I believe…that gender is performed in a million different ways, that it becomes something personal, but through all that society creates gender norms. Of course anyone going against social norms is looked at as different, queer, or indecent.

By reading Johnson’s essay on the +5 system, it is clear that there are people in society who are privileged and therefore, powerful, and in turn there are people (lower on the +5) who are oppressed. Oppression, a system within itself, creates more cycles…oppressed people are held down by the privileged that control all the means (government, money, etc.).

It was great to take this class with students who were first being introduced to some of the theories and topics we discussed. It made the course interesting and allowed ideas to be challenged and rethought. As for me, I’ll leave with the understanding that gender and sexuality are not as technical and scientific as they once were understood to be…they are raw and personal and can’t be defined by society.

Katie and Rebecca --Thanks for a great semester; I look forward to working with both of you in courses in the future.

December 18, 2008

Blog Ten

I am quite invested in changing power structures concerning gender, race, class, etc and I've decided to devote my life to working towards this goal. I'm majoring in GWSS studies and hope to be a life long learner of change not only through school and books, but most importantly by meeting other people and helping to build coalitions. I am currently employed by a wonderful non-profit organization and hope to continue in this vein in the future. I feel that community services have the potential to create a valuable space for diverse peoples to gain access to resources and to have their voices heard. They also have the potential to give marginalized people leadership and employment positions and to help them reach above the poverty line. I feel it is important to live a life that is mindful of other people and our environment and that is actively engaged in building and maintaining societal sanity.

Final Blog

All though this class I found it hard to agree with a lot of what was said. I can see where things like patriarchy, oppression, body image, etc are coming from, but I guess in "my world" they don't really exist. Yes, I can see it happening around me at times, but I have never really felt the negative effects of such things, or at least not to the extent where I can't just shake it off. Also, with the way the world has changed so much in the past few decades, all those concepts feel like a thing of the past to me. I have always felt that women and men are pretty much equal in most aspects of everyday life these days and by saying that women are oppressed we are only dwelling in the past and causing it to become our future. I feel like a lot of times people cause themselves to be oppressed. Of course there are concrete systems out there that cause oppression, but many times it seems to be like we make our own oppressing system in our minds. We look at the ads and media and think we're too fat or not pretty enough, which causes low self-esteem. Well if we actually took a moment to realize a few things it wouldn't have to be that way. You could look at these "perfect" people and realize they had to work extremely hard to make their bodies look that way and you could do the same. You could look at them and realize that they turned to surgery to make themselves "beautiful" and that you would never want to do that to yourself. Or you could realize that they aren't so perfect after all and they aren't the people you should be imitating anyway. It works this way for many factors besides body image, like the power of men over women and one race over another. If you didn't let yourself think and act that way, a lot of times, but not all, you would realize that you can change those parts of your life.

I think this and the fact that I'm more privileged in some ways than I realized, is why I can't always agree or don't see this in my life. I have always been "one of the guys" ever since I was little; probably a perk of growing up with two older brothers and all of their friends. I don't let guys overpower or oppress me. I know that sometimes women truly can't help it, but to those that can, stop complaining and start changing!

So I guess with all this I'm trying to say that the biggest things I realized are that in many ways I am privileged and that there are things I think we can do to change how some "unprivileged" people feel. Therefore, there are two things I am going to do to change the relationship between gender and power in my everyday life. One is that I am going to be more optimistic and stop complaining and taking the little things to heart because I realized that I do have it much better than some people and the problems that I stress about are in fact very small in comparison to what I could be dealing with. The other is that I am going to make the best effort I can to make certain people realize that they are the ones oppressing themselves, but not to judge so harshly some women, as I do now, because some truly can’t overcome their oppression like I can.

Gender, Power and Everyday Life

The main point that I will take from this class is that women are oppressed. It sounds so simple and obvious because it’s been said before, but until I took this course, I didn’t actually believe it. I was one of those people who was in denial because I was so used to being oppressed that I didn’t realize I was oppressed. “The word ‘oppression’ is a strong word? (Frye, 6). I still feel that I am much more privileged (less oppressed) than some people, especially those who are not Caucasian. I do not have a career or children yet, so I haven’t had to experience the oppression that Frye writes about around that, but I have realized how large of a role patriarchy is in our society. I’m currently living with two males who assume that I should cook and clean because I’m the female. I see this in many families I know.

In general, I think I’ve become more understanding of others’ perspectives. My classmates have shared personal stories of hardship that have impacted the way I think of oppression and people who are different and/or less fortunate than me. Katie has also made an impact on the way I feel about everyone’s opinions/voices. On multiple occasions, she assured my peers that they knew what they were talking about; that their thoughts/statements were valid. That made the whole vibe of the class very open and accepting.

This class has pushed me to stand up for women and equality.

Final Hurrah

I had a very enjoyable time during this class. I hope that I can remember half of the things that I learned during the course of the semester. The main thing I would like to take from this class is the ability to put myself in the shoes of others. I thought that I could do it before taking this class but really I could only put myself in the shoes of other members of the +5. I would put myself in their shoes but not their frame of mind and upbringing. Before participating in this class I would give my seat up to a woman on the bus or hold open a door for a woman for no other reason than she was female. After reading Frye's essay, Oppression I know that many women would view these acts as oppressive. I admit that since reading the article I stopped doing these things and I have taken a objective look at the reason that I did those things and how others practice these acts. I have come to the conclusion that through my upbringing I was taught to be courteous, especially to women. In the future I will strive to hold doors and give up my seat to people because I am courteous and not because of their gender. Making this change was very hard to do because I had been conditioned to perform these acts without thinking, and when I forced myself not to do them I felt like a jerk, for lack of a better word. There are many more instances that I could remark upon but I would rather not continue to type on and on. So, farewell GWSS, I will never forget this class and the time that we spent together. It feels strange to think that this class is not a mandatory class for graduation because I feel that everyone can benefit in immense ways from completing this course and putting in an earnest effort.

11

The most revealing part of this class for me came in the first section, with the definition of patriarchy and priviledges. As a dude who's thrived in a previous gender studies course and the first couple weeks of this course, it was obvious to me in an empirical way that, at least in a scholarly setting, feminism is not, as one previous blogger claimed, all about hating men; its about hating a system which favors men, among other demographics, without any inherent merit on their part. The first few weeks, however, really put his into focus and gave language to why feminist studies and social action, or racial studies and social action, or sexuality studies and social action are necessary (class issues and consciousness being fairly well addressed already).

People, however, are what systems work through, and myself being at the top of the patriarchy foodchain, I have a relatively strong role in allowing the system to operate as it does. At the same time, I am immensely aware of how little I can change as a whole. Still, I believe its good to at least understand and acknowledge the situation in one's own life. Acknowledge that there is a birdcage around so many people's life and that you cannot simply say that if they were better, they would fly away. The cage needs to be removed first. As mentioned before, I can't lift that cage myself, but I myself can try to loosen some of the wires at least. I can't say how exactly as I don't really aspire to be in a position of any real power to do something concrete, but I'll be sure to if/when the opportunity arises.

Final Blog

In this class what i learned most about was perspectives. You guys did a great job of creating this space where you could really put yourself in someone else's shoes. I think that is completely necessary if we are to understand where they are coming from and why they feel the way they do. For example I was able to think about what it might be like to be transgendered and how that person might feel in our society. It makes everyone that our society dehumanizes seem human again. So I will definitely change the way I look at people in our society.

In relation to gender and power I can now more clearly see how power and gender work in our society. I will definitely change the way I react in certain situations, but more importantly I will not worry so much about "doing gender" or being a girl. Society puts a lot of pressure on us to do our gender roles really well in order to have power. But I feel it's more important to be myself and work on breaking those systems down. What's most important isn't having one sex more powerful than the other, but having true equality and acceptance.

bye bye GWSS1001

This class has been pretty intellectually stimulating for me. I’m sure that it will take awhile for me to become aware of the impact this class has had on my understanding of gender and power everyday life. One thing I know for sure is that I have newfound respect for gender studies scholars. I read the work of so many intriguing authors this semester—authors who challenged what I thought was true and supplanted those thoughts with new ones.

To change the relationship between gender and power in my everyday life, I will hold the perspectives I’ve gained very close to my consciousness, and attempt to live my life in a way that accepts my location in society just the way it is. I’m a white, heterosexual, non-Christian, middle-class woman, and although some of these categories are flexible, this is my exact location in this exact moment.

This means that I will also attempt to live my life in a way that accepts the locations of other people in society, just the way they are. Hopefully this acceptance will continue to inspire new awareness of the dynamics that occur among individuals regardless of whether they struggle with their location in society. I hope to become a therapist one day, and I’m sure such awareness will serve me in ways that I can’t imagine yet. I have all these new questions, like—what emotions does a transsexual person struggle with? What sort of therapy benefits people who have been raped? What can we do for the working poor? I’m excited to see what will have happened in the world by the time I finish school.

Thanks for a great semester.

Final Blog

After taking this class, I have a better understanding of the idea that not just one person can change the whole world. But, there are a few ways in which I could change my world. I’ve never been outgoing, mostly just because I am easily intimidated by people. I hardly ever speak up in a group, especially in a group of guys, and prefer to let other people take the spotlight. For some reason I always think that it would be better in someone else’s hands. Something this class restated in many ways is that everybody deserves the chance to be heard. I try to give this courtesy to other people, but oftentimes forget to apply it to myself. This class reinforced the fact that being noticed isn’t a bad thing, even if you’re noticed for being different. It is only by being noticed that you will make yourself known. Also, I realized that things could be a lot worse for me. There are people out there who have so many struggles with our power system that being shy would be the least of their worries. I live in a society where opportunities for women are increasing all the time, so while not all women are on the same level as men, some of them are- and some are higher. But, it’s not a competition- the important thing to realize is that a lot of the time, the only oppressive forces in our lives are ourselves. And, though somewhat indirectly, this class has helped me to realize that I have no idea what I could really achieve in life. I am constantly making excuses and limiting myself to what I’ve done in the past or to what people expect from me. Are women more limited than men in their opportunities? Yes. But, I’ve learned that using that as an excuse doesn’t really get women anywhere. So overall, I found that while there are a certain number of restricting limits on what we can do with our lives, there are other limits that we put on ourselves. And until we remove these self-inflicted boundaries, the concrete, systematic ones will not go away, either.

MOVING ON....The Final Blog

I guess the best way for me to start out my last blog is to quote my first blog. “My hope is that women and men will now be afforded opportunities to be themselves without the biases of the past.? I would add to that. I would wish that all of us would critically be able to evaluate our biases when it comes to gender in everyday life and in that way be able to change the limitations of accepted behavior for ourselves and within our society. This is what I hope for my children, as well, as all of you in this course, and society as a whole. I believe each one of us can make a difference in our world. Whether, it’s counseling a women at a shelter or nurturing a friend so they can move on to a better life.

My life has afforded me experiences, both positive and negative, which have made me the person I am. There were people and situations, which provided me the insight, which enabled me to move into the light. One clear moment in time, was the day I realized that what my ex-husband thought of me mattered to me no longer. I will continue to grow in the knowledge that I take from this course in my everyday life.

I hope what I have shared was beneficial to my classmates. I believe this course should be a required freshman course. Society, in many ways, has moved forward but in saying that, there are many ways gender bias still permeates our lives. You have been afforded many things because of what women and men have accomplished in the past, and still continue to fight for now. What I can say for sure that in my journey many things have changed. There are opportunities now that are offered to you that never existed 40 years ago. As I sighted in my first blog, girls in high school 40 years ago played half-court basketball because our society believed that full-court was too strenuous an activity for the “weaker sex.?

As I have gained critical knowledge and personal insight from what I have learned and experienced in this course, I feel I have so much to offer others by example. I will continue to encourage women, as well as men, to become what they want to be without confining themselves to someone else’s ideal of how you should “do? your gender. I plan to take training in counseling abused women so that I can help someone envision and then put in place their dream. I will challenge myself with the knowledge that I gained from this course and my life experiences to make sense of my own life so that I can show others that living oppressed is not living.

Thank you, Katie and Rebecca, and classmates for this amazing chapter in my journey.

December 17, 2008

Final Blog!!!!

After having had this class, the one thing that I will do to change the relationship between gender and power in my everyday life is to try to go against gender and power norms every chance I get no matter how hard it is or if I am unaware of the fact that I am doing it sometimes. I will also be more aware and passionate about the fact that we are all in oppressed in our own little birdcages as we were told in Frye's piece so I will try not to judge others just looking from the outside in and not care about how people are looking at me from the outside in because they are not in my "birdcage" and do not know the half of my story. For me this will be my hardest task because I have become so accustomed to norms of gender and power that when I see something not in compliance with it, I automatically start to judge. I do not mean that I judge out loud and talk about people, but I do mean that I make assumptions that should not be made and/or judge them for their actions according to my own definition of norms. Now this is not anything I am proud of but something that I did not even realize until taking this class. I would like to thank Katie, Rebecca, and all my classmates for helping me realize this, so I can change this aspect of myself, and work towards changing the relationship between gender and power in my everyday life.