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September 30, 2008

gender, Power and Everyday Life

There are many examples of how power and gender play themselves out in the movie, "Cusp," usually appearing in the form of males having far more power to dictate their needs and desires above those of women. For instance, the services provided by the school overwhelmingly favored boys over girls; the boys in Alice's math class were able by sheer immature whining to sway the teacher into focusing on their needs instead of the girls'. Men also felt free to single handedly dictate the terms of relationships they had with girls. One little boy took it upon himself to "kung-fu" her everyday, not caring how Alice felt about this arrangment. The young man working at the corner store and the man working at the street jewelry outlet also felt free to either cheat Alice or give her free items depending upon how it benefited their own circumstances. Sam, Lilas short lived romance, also felt free to come and go as he pleased without consulting Lila in any way, and made his control over Lila felt by leaving his things at her apartment as if he could walk in again unabashed. On the other hand, far from dictating, the women in the film were expected to pander to men's dictations. Lilas unhealthy obsession with Sam illustrates this rather well. Also, the way in which the young man running the corner store expected the girl he was with to accept his offer of a relationship if he pressed her hard enough. All these examples are played out in a way that is specific to geographic/historic location, race, class, ethnicity, age, and personalities of the persons involved. Alice herself responds to the limits power imposes on her ability to express herself. Instead of being free to choose what she wears or how she appears, people are constantly telling her what to do, and even take the initiative and doll her up themselves (Lila). Once she wears the acceptable badges of womanhood, she cannot walk freely through the world without fear, discomfort, or humiliation. She quickly learns that everywhere she goes in life, what she can expect is to be harassed, marginalized, bossed around, and judged. She also learns that only so many females can be recognized as valid in any way, and she joins in by judging and competing with other females, mimicking what has been done to her (for example, when Alice tells her mother, "It's not my fault that no one can stand to be around you."). Through the process of becoming a recognizably gendered person, Alice is taught that she can expect a life of menial labor (there are no men to help with the dishes), harassment, of pandering to the whims of not so scrupulous men, and an overwhelming feeling of disappointment bred of the marginilization of her needs and wants by the world around her. The film does, however, end on an empowering note; in a successful display of counter-power, Alice confronts the "kung-fu" boy and wins.

September 29, 2008

Gender, Power, and Everyday Life in Breakfast at Tiffany's

To be completely honest, I did not make it to the West Bank for class last Wednesday. I apologize for missing class, though it is to my own disadvantage; consequently, I did not view the film. Rather, I will make a comparison from the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn. Though her character Holly Golightly is not on the brink of adolescence, her everyday life, like Alice’s, is different compared to that of her childhood. Holly was married at 14, presumably unwillingly, as she ran away from home only to end up living a seemingly lavish lifestyle in New York City.

Because films of the era are less than risqué, Holly’s activities may not be obvious to the viewer. One can infer, however, that she upholds her lifestyle as a prostitute and/or escort for wealthy and established men. Gender is thus portrayed in a negative way. Holly as a young woman at 14 had no say in her marriage, given that she ran away from it. This escape is seemingly an action of a strong woman taking control of her life. Nevertheless, Holly is still fully dependent on many wealthy men for financial stability. Holly represents all women as being dependent on men.

Consequently, men have full power over Holly. For example, she always fantasizes about marrying a rich man. Unlike Alice whose “frustration results from a confrontation with “limits? of power that take away certain possibilities for her self-expression,? Holly does not realize the limits of the power of men. As the title identifies, Holly eats breakfast in front of Tiffany’s every day, dreaming of owning the jewelry inside. She clearly likes sophisticated material goods. Therefore, she does not see male power as a limit to her self-expression but rather as an opportunity to acquire those expensive material items that she wants.

Blog Four

Gender and power are visible in everyday life, as found in the example of Alice in the movie “Cusp?. They did gender in the movie when Alice was told over and over again to dress like a girl (her neighbor) and to always flaunt it. Her mom was always telling her to be strong and fight back. Her friends and her were always acting the part of a “girl?, like having to always apply lip-gloss before class. Power was also evident for Alice in the movie during class. The teacher could not control the boys in the class and was forced to answer their questions first. Alice is always observing couples in life. She is limited in the fact that her family does not have a lot of money, she is limited in the fact that she is a girl in a society that favors men over women and is limited in the fact that she is going through a difficult stage in life as an almost-teenager.

Blog 4

The movie, Cusp, portrayed a middle school experience with problems and hardship possibly quite similar to our own days of junior high. As we all did at her age, Alice is beginning to receive messages regarding gender and its relationship to power through her daily interactions with other characters and her observations of the relationships between the genders around her.
When Alice takes the time to put on lipgloss and is in turn late for her class, she illustrates one of the movie's obvious themes, that beauty is power. The lipgloss incident clearly reads that looking better is vastly more important being punctual. The beauty power equation is engrained into Alice by numerous characters and events. Take Becca, the popular bully. Becca is more developed than the other girls, with flashier clothes, and wears more makeup. She looks older and more polished than other girls, she is therefore deemed more attractive. Coinicidentally, she's the alpha female among these young girls and obtains their respect. Becca later even denies Alice entry into their clique due to the fact she doesn't find her pretty enough. The neighbor also portrays this message to Alice, she verbalizes this to Alice, insisting being gorgeous is everything. The neighbor hints she may have never lost her boyfriend if she'd been more attractive. Alice also seems consumed by thoughts of physical apperarence, given her fascination with the porn magazines in the convienece store and her countless minutes spent in front of a mirror. Remember the chant that Alice and her friend sang, "It doesn't matter what's out here, the beauty is in my tits" or something like that. Already she's been programmed to believe her physical attractiveness is the most important feature about her. Like mentioned by Plumwood, Alice is being geared by society to feel she's bound to her body. She spends so much time concerned by her appearence, it prevents her from gaining confidence to speak in front of the class. Right after she's told she is ugly, she's too ashamed to give a successful presentation.
Another message sent to through society is that women are passive to men. In the classroom setting, the teacher gives preference to the rowdy boys' demands for #19, while the female students sat quietly with their hands raised, ignored. The neighbor insists her passivity regarding her boyfriend was the only option she had to dealing with him, claiming she can't confront him. This causing great frustration with Alice who feels at first she cannot retaliate to Kung Fu Boy, finally she does, but only after submitting to his annoying martial arts for days. Or how Alice is willing to be short changed for the ring.
The third message worth noting is the one that men assign women value. Her neighbor only feels good and successful when with Sam, she feels beautiful when he says so. Without him, she's a neurotic mess! Like when the tall boy approaches Alice and her friend, his attention makes them feel important enough to smart off and saunter away. Or how Alice accuses her mother of being disagreeable because she's a single woman. Another example of this is how wide Alice's smile grows when complimented by the store clerk. She even admits in the beginning of the movie how desperate she is to have a boyfriend. Alice feels confused in such a world. She dressing flashily to gain male approval, yet feels slightly uncomfortable like children do when receiving sexual attention. Or how she blushes especially brightly when the boys taunt her regarding the science project, inhibiting her from doing well on her presentation.

Week 4 Blog

In the movie cusps has a lot of different perspectives on gender. In the movie there were really no characters that seemed to be good, and in discussion one student mentions that they are all flawed in some sense and I strongly believe this is true. Alice was the main character and it seemed like evrything was happening to her but in reality she had some on the same mind sets as the other people in the movie, like where her and her friend chanted "beautys not inside beautys in my tits" or something in that nature. All the men in the movie are portayed as bad in some sense. The neighbors husband left her and that is automatically bad, and then when she seen him with another woman she didnt say anything to them, she just acted as if everything was okay when it really wasnt. She got dressed up very nice after he broke up with her and i think that is a part of gender because when a male breaks up with a female the female may try get all dolled up so she seems more desirable, so the male will believe he needs her back or something in that nature.
The fact that all the kids made it a big deal that Alice didnt have a sleeping bag is ridiclous to me. The other kids wanted to exclude someone and they didnt want to be the one who was excluded so they chose her. She failed to realize there was a genuine person in the class when she complimented her project because her mind was so far in the clouds about the comments the other children were making. The teacher was also out of pocket for not putting the children in their place while one of their classmates was trying to present their work.
Cusps was a good movie to watch because it shows what happens in everyday life and how people react to certain situations.

Blog Entry Four

In Alice’s everyday life, power is often linked to the material possessions you have. For example, Alice’s family can’t afford to buy her a sleeping bag. The girls she is “friends? with at school use this against her to tell her that she isn’t good enough to hang out with them and isn’t worthy of their friendship. Her friends demean her sense of self worth by telling her that because she doesn’t have the things they do, she is inferior. Men are another symbol of power in Alice’s everyday life. The women who don’t have men in their lives don’t have the social advantages of women who do. Alice’s mom is a single mother and because of this, she has to work harder than most mothers do. Her mother’s friend (I forgot her name) is disadvantaged because the man in her life left her. She feels desperately alone and talks about how the next time she sees him with another woman, she’s going to say or do something about it. However, every time she sees him, because of her insecurities she keeps quiet. Another example of how men hold power in “Cusp? is shown when a bunch of elementary schools boys convince the teacher to go over number nine on their homework by chanting while Alice quietly raises her hand and is ignored. Another aspect of Alice’s life that limits her opportunities is the fact that she is still a child. Because adults always know better, her opinions are often laughed at or completely disregarded.

blog four yo

The everyday becomes as changeable as gender as performance, when we think of it as a concept constructed by society. Henry Lefebvre in his article says that we create a norm of “everyday? behavior by being influenced by the gender norms and power norms. These are often confusing and conflicting, as we can see by the characters behavior in Cusp.
Alice, the lead character in the movie, is confronted by expectations from all directions, in all aspects of her life. These expectations are meant to give her a grounding in what it means to be an adult within the world she lives (“You gotta wise up, girl!?). Her mother expects her to be an adult, to do the dishes, to run errands, to generally do what she is told. When Alice fights back she is told to “grow up.? This is solidifying a concept of power with relation to her mother. Her response is, “its not my fault no one can stand to be around you.? This is after speaking with Lila, the neighbor, who suggests to Alice by her actions and words that the only way for a woman to get along is to have a man to take care of her. This experience is giving Alice fledgling ideas of the role of gender. These ideas about gender roles are further underscored by watching couples yelling on the street, her interactions with the bodega counter-boy, and watching her schoolmates interactions. These experiences all come together in the mind of an adolescent girl as information about how to conduct herself in her small society. The scene that most poignantly showed how the societal norms created by these experiences conflict with eachother is when Lila dresses Alice in her clothes, puts makeup on her, and sends her home walking telling her the only way to get anywhere in life is to look gorgeous everyday. As Alice is walking home, she feels increasingly uncomfortable in the role she is performing, and covers herself more and more.
Cusp illustrates well how what might be seen as simple, everyday experiences really inform our behavior more than we think. Because adults have internalized the everyday, it takes the eye of a child to tell us how we learn to act within these conflicting societal restraints imposed upon us by the construct of the “everyday,? as proposed by Lefebvre.-- Britta


I think the film Cusp displays well gender and power and how that’s the “everydayness.? Alice seems to be really confused because she is trying to figure out what the real role of women in society is at a very young age. I think she is put in the situation where she has to decide if she should actually “act? as a woman and take the responsibilities of a woman. I think that’s very smart for a kid of her age to do or even think about, because other young girls like her would just simply embrace the fact that women must dress up or must do certain things. I would call Lila a bad influence on her, because she is ruining Alice’s little world where she believes that women are just pretty and they put on make up, dress up and that’s it. Lila is telling her that they do it for the man, and they have to do it every day, otherwise they won’t get the man and the attention they desire. Alice realizes this when Lila dresses her up and puts make up on her. She walks down the street and the man are looking at her and she tries to cover up.
Power is also something that is portrayed well in the movie. There are two kinds of power that come up in the film: social power and the power between gender. Social power is seen when Alice is ranked as less and not cool in her school from not having a sleeping bag. Not owning this material puts her in the not cool list and she loses her best friend. Power between genders is seen when the boys in Alice’s class are all loud and rude but, and while the Alice who has also raised her hand but in a more polite manner doesn’t get called on. Maybe if she was as loud she would get called on too, but again she can't be loud because society doesn't allow her, that's her gender role. This shows that the boys have more power. Also the man have the power to make Lila sad and desperate.

Week Four

I believe the concept of everyday is interesting to look at. In the eyes of an unobserver, the term can appear trivial and unimportant. However, after viewing the film Cusp, anyone can see that it is in the everyday we see important examples of gender and power. When anyone thinks about it, gender and power would not be such a controversial concept if it appeared outside the everyday life. People would be able to recognize it, digest it, and at least come up with a form of a compromise that would fit everyone's needs and comfort levels. However, it isn't that way and that is because it lays subtly in the everyday actions.

In the film Cusp, Alice is an adolescent that is in the transition of becoming a woman instead of a girl. Any female can relate to this large change in their life. After the film, many from the class commented on certain actions and scenes from the movie that they saw in their own life. I, myself, felt the same way. It was the pressure of Alice to get a boyfriend, it was the pressure of Alice to be pretty, it was the pressure of her trying to fit in that people relate to. This stuff is universal. It happened with we were little and it is still happening now. What if Alice was attracted to women? Society would do as much as it can to change that about her. People would strip her down of anything she deserved, such as friends, a stress free life, a loving home to go home to. This is wrong, but it happens so subtly that it happens before anyone can do anything about it. I mean, not all things the society tells her is bad, it just that some of it IS bad, and she has to go along with it or else she is rejected. Rejection is a sort of limit to her happiness and power over her life. Alice it forced to fit into a box which she has no control over creating. It eliminates her from self-expression.

Although I missed some of the movie (my fault, didn't check e-mail, got lost, ect.) the few scenes I saw showed her limits on self-expression. Take for example the scene where her friend told her to get lost and that she didn't want to be friends anymore. Alice was just being HERSELF, and because she didn't fit into this box of "coolness/acceptance" she is rejected from her best friend. I, myself, remember being in situations like that. I will spare you the pain of me ranting endless stories of my not-so-lovely tween years, but like I said in the before these situations are universal and wrong.

I liked this film. I finally have something to relate to which helps. A lot. All these readings are finally making sense. :)

Also I like how her name was Alice. To me, I interpreted it as being close to 'Alive'. Alice felt a lot of pain, formed relationships, made hard decisions, failed, and succeeded. This is what it means to be a human being. I don't know, just a little side note.

blog four

In the film “Cusp? we see Alice, a young girl on the brink of becoming a woman. I, as well as any other people at Alice’s age, know how difficult it can be to go from being a child to an adult. There is always a grey area where people are unsure of how to treat someone at Alice’s age. With no real positive male role models in Alice’s life she must resort to the female influences, whether positive or not. Alice is told so many contradictory things by her mother and Lila that it is no wonder she struggles from time to time. Examples include when Lila dresses her up and tells her that she has to be pretty to find a man, then in the end tells Alice that she doesn’t need a man to make her happier; all the while struggling finding her own happiness after Sam left her. Even Alice’s mother gives her conflicting advice, telling Alice to wise up (when Alice is shorted change) then yells at the man who gave her incorrect change saying that she is only a kid. Another female authority figure in Alice’s life is her school teacher who ignores the girls and listens to the boys, perhaps giving Alice the idea that the male sex has power over the female sex. From all of these examples, frustration builds up inside of Alice and at the end of the film she finally stands up for herself and her power against her “friends?, boys, and the idea that her power is limited. Overall Alice is still in a learning stage, somewhere in “limbo?, where she is still finding out how to act and figuring out how people should treat her.

Blog Four

In the movie, it was very clear that men generally have more power than women in their everyday lives. Whether it was the man selling jewelry on the streets or the young boys in Alice’s class, the men in the movie had very dominating characteristics. The women in the movie seemed to almost depend on the men’s actions to define them as women. Alice’s mom’s friend was very dependent on her boyfriend for happiness. When he left her, she was very upset and began to be very foul towards men. I think that this lady was a very bad example for Alice’s and was a bad role model. She gave a very distorted look at what being a woman should look like and how women are supposed to act. This is also a form of teaching gender. I think this was a very extreme case of overtly teaching gender.
In the movie, Alice is confronted with many limits of power. A prime example of this is when her mom’s friend decides to dress Alice and do her makeup. Alice is being taught how women should dress, not how she feels comfortable dressing. When she left the house, she was confronted by many men making comments about her looks. She feels uncomfortable by the comments of the men but at the same time, I feel she felt like it was just the way it should be and this was ok behavior for the men. I also don’t think she felt it was ok to defend herself against any of these men. She would have learned that from her mom’s friend as well. When they passed her ex-boyfriend on the street with another girl, the lady didn’t say anything or defend herself, teaching Alice to not confront men.

September 28, 2008

Week 4 Blog

In the film Cusp, Alice is a witness of the role of gender in everyday life. Stereotypically men have power over women in society. This is demonstrated when Alice has a question in the classroom, and politely raises her hand, but the rowdy boys get called on first. It is also demonstrated when her mom’s friends boyfriend leaves her. He has the power in that certain situation, because he leaves her alone and helpless. In the film, an idea that beautiful women are more powerful than less attractive women is displayed as well. Alice’s moms friend tells her that she has to “look gorgeous everyday? in order to be successful and get attention from men. Also the “pretty girls? in Alice’s school treat her as inferior to them because she was not a cute, or because she didn’t have enough money. Also this movie demonstrates how men use their gender to gain power over women. The store clerk, by being sweet to Alice, wins over the girls attention that he is trying to get because she thinks that if he is nice to young girls, he must be a good guy.

Alice is easily frustrated with the limits of power. When kung fu boy does his moves on her she finally fights back, although this is not really acceptable because she is a girl, and therefore should not be doing the same things normal boys do. She also tries to fight against the norms when her best friend ditches her for the “prettier? girl. Most girls would not question or confront their friend, but Alice does. All in all this movie does a great job of displaying examples of gender and power, and the character of Alice demonstrates the limits and frustrations that people in our society encounter everyday.

Blog Assignment Four

The way gender and power is depicted in Cusp, isn't necessarily everyone's "everyday", but shows a great deal of all the different depictions present in society as a whole. Already at Alice's young age, she is learning the concepts and differences gender and power hold in society. To an extent her observations and frustrations might be a little distorted from the norm of society, but at the same time very present in society for certain people.
For Alice, there is really not male figure present in her life, everything she is told makes men seem bad, and there are really no totally good figures in her life at all. What she is told and showed by her mother and Lila is that men are no good and that they always leave. Also, that you must look good in order to get one and that inevitably you need one in your life to make everything okay. This shows Alice that in order to be a woman she must perform her gender in these ways. She must look good and find a man. It also shows her that men have power over women.
Also, showing male dominance is all the events at school that Alice goes through. The teacher specifically gives the boys in the class power over the girls by calling on them, rewarding their bad manners and punishing Alice's good ones, and by allowing them to make noises and laugh at Alice when she is in front of the class. Not only does this show male superiority, but also the fact that it is okay for boys to act certain ways but not girls. It is normal for boys to be rude, loud, and disrespectful.
Alice faces many limits that prevent her from being able to fully be herself and be accepted. First, because of Alice's financial status, having a single mother with low income, she is made fun of for not having a sleeping bag. This causes her to lose her best friend and makes it hard for her to put up with her school life. Having a single mother also prevents Alice from having a normal home life because she is expected to do more and has more responsibilities than some other kids.

Blog 4 Anna Wakefield

In the movie Cusp, Alice’s character lived primarily in a community of women. Alice’s mother, a single parent, worked as well as raising Alice and her brother by herself. Sometimes, Alice would spend time with the neighbor lady, Lila. At school, Alice’s teacher was a woman, and her closest friend just about to become one. The movie focused primarily on the everyday lives of women. Alice learned about the struggles of living as an independent woman like her mother. She observed the way Lila’s boyfriend left her without explanation or apology. It is evident that Alice may have thought abandonment by men is most likely women’s fault. Alice made this clear when she tells her mother she is alone because no one can stand to be around her.
Alice is also given the impression that boys and men cannot control their own conduct, making it acceptable for them to act irresponsibly or misbehave. We see this in the movie in several places. We see it in the way the Alice’s teacher allows the boys to dictate activity in the classroom by being unruly and disruptive. We also see it in the way Lila reacts with eventual complacence after she is insensitively dropped by her boyfriend. Finally we see it in the presence of Alice’s younger brother in the movie. Though he is not seen in most of the movie, when he is, he is climbing around in the background or bugging his older sister.
In short, in the movie men roles were limitless in the sense that they were able to vacate situations unfavorable to them. The relationships of Alice’s mother and Lila account for that. These women did not seem to have the same mobility. Also, in Cusp, there was more of an emphasis on the regulation of the behavior of the female characters than the male. Male characters behaved irresponsibly and were in turn rewarded. These lessons were lessons on the the limits of power for Alice and the women around her.

Week Four

Through Alice's “everyday? life we can see already how, even at such a young age, differences in gender and power can already make a difference. For example, Alice's teacher listens to the rowdy, rude boys in her class, therefore giving more 'power' to the boys due to gender, instead of listening to Alice who was politely raising her hand. Furthermore, the same teacher made sure everyone was quiet when one of the boys was giving his presentation but the moment Alice got up to do her presentation the teacher just ignored all the noise that the boys were making and urged her to just keep talking. The teacher feeds into the 'boys have more power than girls' idea a lot in this movie.

Having varying degrees of power plays a big part in this movie as well, especially through Marx's power theory of materialistic power (ie. having more things gives you more power). For example, Alice lost status and power in the eyes of her friends, and the eyes of the rest of the school, when they all found out that she didn't have a sleeping bag and couldn't afford one. Because she couldn't afford a sleeping bag everyone knew she was financially challenged and then, like Marx explained, she had less money therefore less material things, therefore less power. This limits her power as she quickly realizes when her best friend ditched her for one of the more popular, rich girls once her financial situation was realized. The fact that she is a girl also limits her self-expression which is also shown when she presented her project in class. Nobody, except for the loner girl in her class, appreciated her project even though it was really cool because she was a girl.


While it probably wasn't the director's intention to imply this, but strictly from wathcing Alice's everyday life, it can be surmised that power comes from dominating women. Although Alice's fighting back at the very end of the film defies this conjecture, I have disregarded the event, as it wasn't a part of her 'everyday' life, at least not within the timescale of the film. Apart from that incident, however, there were no displays of power in which women were not the victims. Although, the attackers varied between men and women, it seemed that women were the ones being abused.

Some direct attacks against women include Lila's boyfriend leaving her unexpectedly, and the boys ganging up to dominate the classroom discussion. In both of these, the girls but up an entirely feeble effort, if any, to resist, with Lila's actions epitomizing passivity. However, when women were the attackers, such as when Alice and her mother fought, or the drama taking place between Alice and her friends, there was quite a bit of discourse, arguing, and resistance from those on the defensive.

Witin this paradigm, Alice is incapable of expressing any sort of power in her everyday life. She is unable, initially, to confront the kung-fu boy, based solely on gender, and in her conflicts with other girls, she simply is underhanded. Because of her financial situation and existing social alliances, she is unable to exert power over her friends, and is unable to dominate her mother given a parent's inherent authority. She seems to lose this frustration at the end, when she breaks out of that system of power by fighting back, and winning, against the kung-fu boy.

Week Four Blog

I think this movie really portrays the power men have over women, especially in the scene when the neighbor's boyfriend leaves her and she later sees him but can't confront him. She should have the authority to know why he left without telling her anything, but she feels by ignoring it she's doing the stronger act, when later she'll just cry about it. Alice as a young adult will consume all of the actions of the older women in her life. She also takes in the fact that her dad isn't around, and she thinks it's because her mother doesn't know how to keep him around. The neighbor also tells Alice that being beautiful is really all that matters in order to get a man, and to look for one who's "good in bed." A young adult hearing that is going to have no self-respect for herself when she's older. She should be loved by someone for her personality and intelligence, but she's being told and shown otherwise. On some level she feels comfortable without a boyfriend though, for example when the boy comes up and they tell him to say something otherwise he's wasting their time. Or when she beats up Kung-fu boy and doesn't let the "norm" of men being stronger get to her. I hope she can continue to think this way, but the women in her life don't seem to be the greatest examples which after a while may change her thinking.

In this movie, not only is gender a problem but so is age. When Alice goes to buy the jewelry and the man gives her the wrong change back, whether on purpose or not, she's being taken advantage of. Her mother expects her to grow up and learn this stuff right away instead of being told in a nice manner that she has to be careful in situations like that. Also when her mother tells her to do the dishes and she wants to be a child then, she's trying to use her power as a kid. She knows in certain situations being an adult or a kid will give her more power.

Alice loses some of her self-expression when the neighbor tells her she always needs to be beautiful. What if she is a tomboy? Should that really matter at her age? She also is limited by her social class. The fact that her mom can't buy her a sleeping bag makes all the other girls not like her anymore. She no longer has the option to be friends with whoever she pleases. When she is dressed up and walking down the street and the men are saying things to her, she realizes it feels weird. She can't control what they see or think. And that's a norm in society today. If you don't wear a lot of clothes, you're a slut, if you wear too many, you aren't looking for any attention from men. I think this really confuses her, that she's supposed to look pretty but that it makes her feel awkward. In that sense of awkwardness I think she loses some confidence, thus losing power.

Week 4

Alice's everyday life is fraught with conflicting information about what it means to be a woman, and what that entails. This conflicting information often came from the difference between the ideal (as projected from characters in the film) and the actual. The conflicting information between various characters say and how they act shows us some of the limitations that our reality has imposed.

Consider the basic concept of feminine beauty. After being confronted by her teacher about being late, she was told that beauty isn't on the outside, that beauty comes from within. Such was a speaking of an ideal, that how we physically appear is superficial. However, as Alice experiences in her everyday life, we see that reality does hold the same influences. Beauty as seen on the cover of magazines, and beauty as seen after being dressed up and having makeup applied by the mothers friend. Now beauty is being portrayed simply as how you appear on the outside. Not only does this counter the ideal presented to her, but it also is inherently restrictive. There is only so much we can do to change our physical appearance.

Similarly, the same ideal/real influential conflict arise in the concept of the knowledge. The ideal that intelligence should be considered as a positive thing. Asking questions was encouraged, and an intellectual project was praised, but the question went unanswered in favor of those (the boys) who took the situation less seriously. The praise to Alice's project was far outweighed by the constant snide remarks make by the majority of her class. Should we consider knowledge as power, the classroom setting did very little to encourage Alice's growth and far more to discourage it. Such hindrances show the limiting factors of her reality.

Blog 4

Blog 4
By Naomi Ko

Alice’s encounters with gender and power shows the inequality between the two sexes as well as the inequality of power. In the classroom, the boys dominate, thus has the power. When Alice’s mom’s friend’s boyfriend leaves her, he displays the powerful one out of their relationship. Both of these examples shows on this inequality of sex and power have become a part of this “everyday? life, because it happens so frequently. It is constant and consistent in Alice’s life.

Due to these “boundaries? gender and power place in her life, she becomes frustrated. She doesn’t understand why the boys in class always get what they want, why the boyfriend leaves, etc. The men, however, do not take all the power. Her mother and school friends, in response to the inequality of power from the men, use power against her. Alice feels everyone around her has the power, while she has to essentially suffer for his or her costs.

From Henri Lefebvre’s reading, this reoccurring powerless state for Alice will take away certain possibilities of self-expression. If these boundaries continue, it will become a part of the “everyday,? and she will eventually repeat it herself. She will not be able to tell anyone how she truly feels, because she doesn’t control if they will accept it or not. Thus, Alice doesn’t tell her mother certain things. She lashes out; she rebels in anger, because she bottled everything up. She can never truly be herself, and has to always “do gender? in order for people to accept her. Thus, she repeats the “everyday.? She cannot be herself, she has to “perform,? because that is the only way she will be able to achieve power.

WEEK #4 brittany

While contemplating Alice’s everyday life the observations that I made were how gender in relation to power and in relation to “doing gender? is not something that a person is born with. Doing gender and finding out what power you have in relation to gender is something that you learn from the society you live in. And sometimes knowing where you stand or how you should act in society is very confusing and frustrating to learn.
This relates specifically to Alice in the movie cusp. Alice is a young teenager trying to find out what power she has and who she is in society but is presented with many mixed singles that she has to sift through to understand society in relation to her. Alice’s neighbor lady who helps her mother bring her up is telling Alice to look pretty, wait for a man to come along and do whatever they say. In contrast to her neighbor lady’s suggestions and “life advice? Alice’s mother tells her to stay strong and to stick up for herself when men try to bully her. Specifically, her mother impounds this in her head with the vendor selling the jewelry gives Alice the incorrect amount of change.
According to Marx, power comes to those who have material things and posses a lot of money and objects. If you don’t have the material unfortunately you have less power and therefore have less say and respect in our culture. Alice encounters this in the everyday life and creates a great deal of stress on her. For example, Alice was yelling at her mom because of the stress of school and friends. Her friends decided to exclude her and treat her poorly because she did not have a sleeping bag or “the object? therefore she is less powerful.

Week Four Blog

In Alice’s “everyday? life many of her thoughts and observations about gender and power are influenced by her mother, neighbor and schoolmates/best friend. Her mother teaches her to be a strong, independent woman. This is shown in examples from the film when Alice is given the wrong change. Her mother gets angry at this incident and tells Alice that she needs to be careful. Another incident was when she fought back to the “kung foo? boy at school. Alice was immediately praised for her response. From these occurrences we might make the assumption that women are weaker and are generally treated in these ways yet Alice’s mother is trying to teach Alice to go against these norms. Alice has a single mother which is one reason Alice is being taught this advice seeing how her mother has to be strong and independent due to her situation. Her and her mother’s relationship is where some of Alice’s frustration is built upon. She is confused whether or not she is an adult as shown in their argument over doing the dishes.

Her mother’s friend/neighbor is another character that deeply affects Alice’s thinking. She teaches Alice that beauty is basically everything, and that women tend to need men, without them they are an emotional wreck. This is displayed through the neighbor lady’s actions following her break up. Even Alice’s classmates influence her both showing her that beauty is necessary and that boys are more dominant. In the classroom setting the # 9 boys overpowered the class and got to choose which homework question and Alice’s best friend stopped being her friend due to her status/beauty. Alice has frustration due to her limitation of status. Financially her family cannot afford to buy her a sleeping bag which worsens her classmates and best friend opinions about her. To them money and beauty go hand in hand because once they found out that she did not have a sleeping bag they added the comment “I mean look at you, your ugly?.

Blog 4

Gender and power are very influential in Alice’s, and every person’s, life and are also inextricably linked. One aspect of gender is the power struggle between genders and the power struggle that occurs within genders due to the existence of the opposite gender. At Alice’s age, on the cusp of puberty, she is beginning to be aware of these conflicts resulting from the power given to the importance of gender and gender roles. She is beginning to see men in a new way and interpret their actions differently. She is becoming aware of her sexuality and is caught in an awkward time between childhood and womanhood. Alice sees the differences in power assigned to genders through her neighbor, who is a wreck after her boyfriend leaves her. Her neighbor views men as having all the power and women needing to be beautiful and sexually desirable to men in order to succeed in life. These concepts are confusing to Alice who also sees her mother as a capable single mother but who is obviously struggling.
Alice encounters frustrations about lack of self-expression when power is taken away from her from various people in her life. She is outraged when her mother pointedly treats her like a child because she believes she should have the power to do what she wants and does not need to help out around the house. She doubts her ability to express herself when, after her neighbor dresses her up, she is walking down the street and gets looks from men that she has not encountered before. They make her unsure of what sort of power she wields and unsure of how the world sees her. Power is further taken from Alice when the girls at school are mean to her and her best friend ditches her for “Becca?. All of these frustrations result from a difference in the way others perceive Alice’s power to the way she perceives her own power and ability. The film hits the nail on the head in examining this difficult age, which is highly influential in shaping a person’s view of themselves and the world especially in terms of their gender.

Blog 4

As Alice makes the transition from being a child to being an adult, she encounters many situations that attempt to change the way she expresses herself in everyday life. She receives conflicting information on how to act and who to be from her mother, her neighbor, and her classmates.

Alice’s mother expects a lot from her, in Alice’s opinion. She treats her like an adult by giving her responsibilities around the house and not putting up with her talking back. When Alice bought a ring on the street, her mother tells her she has to look out for herself when she is shortchanged. The message her mother sends her is to be a strong, independent woman.

Her neighbor, on the other hand, teaches Alice the importance of men. She displays her distress very openly when she is left and tells Alice exactly what to do to get and keep a man. This counters the message from her mother by telling her that men are essential to a woman’s happiness and that a woman has to look beautiful to get a man.

Her classmates show her the impact of status on power. In a middle school student’s mind, even something trivial can prove to be the difference between being accepted and being teased. Alice’s best friend stopped being her friend when she found out that she didn’t have a sleeping bag and couldn’t afford to buy one. Also, the boys in the class are treated as superior to the girls by getting away with being obnoxious.

All these pieces put together show Alice when gender and power really mean. She sees the effects of a man’s absence on her mother’s and neighbor’s lives, teaching her that women are dependent on men. Her classmates teach her what it means to be limited by status, both financially and socially. All of these things play into her frustrations and lead to her eventually fighting back.

Blog 4

Lefebvere's concept of passivity is basically an attitude of "That's life, it's not going to change, so what can I do about it?" Passivity is seen more in the lives of women and the poor who may or may not have as much say in the way their everyday lives are carried out due to social norms. Alice's mom and her neighbor are confined to everyday passivity in that Alice's mom is a single mom, and the neighbor is left helpless after her boyfriend abandoned her. The passivity of both women is enforced by men. Alice's passivity can be seen in the beginning when she is passed over by her teacher for the boys in her class when she has a question, when she keeps getting harrassed by the "kung-fu boy", and when she quietly tolerates her friends ditching her and making fun of her. However, at the end of the film she yells at her friends and beats up "kung-fu boy" and steps "out of bounds" as she overcomes some of this everyday passivity.

Alice is continually searching for gender cues throughout the movie but she keeps getting mixed feedback about the way she should act. Her neighbor dresses her up and tells Alice how pretty she is and how much attention she will get from boys. But when she walks out on the street, she gets negative vibes from men and wants to cover herself up. The guy in the store gives her compliments, but he does so in a creepy way, and we are left to wonder if he is doing it just to impress another woman standing nearby. Also, Alice's self-expression is limited not only by conflicting gender cues, but by economic standing. She doesn't always fit in because she can't afford a sleeping bag.

Blog 4

Henry Lefebvre’s thesis on the everyday is very paradoxical. He claims that it is a set of functions which we as a society produce, and it structures the way we live. It is repetitive and cyclical, yet changing. In looking at the life of Alice in “Cusp,? we get a clear example of how her world is routine, yet non-static in the way that she is aging. The women in her life act the same day in and day out, and as Alice becomes a young adult she is expected to act the same.

Alice’s mother is a single parent, trying to maintain a stable living situation for her son and daughter. She deals with a lot of stress trying to balance her work and home life. Alice is old enough to see and understand this, and it no doubt has an effect on her perception of the responsibilities of women (and perhaps the lack thereof for men). The mother also tries to impress this upon her, as it is seen when she demands Alice to help with the dishes. She takes an authoritative tone which says “you will do it because I am your mother and I said so,? yet the reasoning she gives Alice is that she needs to help because she needs to be adult-like. The mother positions her as a child, but at the same time tells her she’s practically an adult. Alice is never allowed to be both at the same time—the people around her are constantly pushing and pulling her in both directions.

Power is taken away from Alice when she is designated as a child, which frustrates her, yet her responsibilities as an (adult) woman also make her uncomfortable. She is told she needs to keep a beautiful appearance (by the family friend and her classmates) and assume more responsibilities in the home and with men. It’s no wonder that the “everyday? of puberty is a frustrating and confusing Henry Lefebvre world.

Week 4 Blog

This week we saw how every day life is similar and relates to gender and power. We don’t control what our everyday life is like, we “do? it and therefore we live it. Different parts of life play into what one’s everyday life might be like.
By looking at Cusp, Alice is a young girl who is not only feeling stuck in between two stages, but is faced dealing with her everyday life in ways she never knew before. By looking at Alice’s everyday life, we can see how both gender and power play a role. She is a young girl, yet she wants to have more responsibility at times she sees right. She therefore wants more power in her life. She wants to be seen as an older girl, someone that the boys want, someone that is “cool? at school, and someone who can do what she wants. She still has to do what her mother says, she still has to do her chores, she still has to do things “little girls? do. She is still tortured by other girls, and she is still bothered by the boys. This in way shows gender and power. It’s because of how she does her gender that is why is treated the way she is.
Alice life isn’t the easiest. She lives with just her mother and brother. They don’t have a lot of money. They have to work for what they have. Alice doesn’t always like that, but it’s the reality of her everyday life. Her everyday life is helping her mother, it’s doing the dishes, it’s helping her brother out, or it’s running on errands. She doesn’t always like it but that is what she has to do.
Alice has limits of power. She is still young so she can’t do whatever she wants to do. When she fights with her mother, she realizes she is still the one that needs to follow rules. She doesn’t have the power yet to tell people what to do. She has trouble with this at first but starts to realize it later. She has trouble understanding how certain kids at school have more power and are “higher? than she is. She finally understands that it is just how the “norms? are and that the people who think they can push others around aren’t actually the people to be. She finally grasps the fact that she should be who she is, she should express herself through what she believes, and that should be good enough for everyone.

Week Four Blog

In the film “Cusp? the main character is 13 year old Alice. Every day she sees how gender can influence power. Alice sees how the boys of her class have more opportunities that the girls. In the film Alice see the boys of her class get picked by the teacher and yet they are more respected than the girls. At home Alice sees how dependent her mother and mothers friend are on men. She is picked on by her brother, and then gets blamed by her mother. In Alice’s environment she is taught that men have more power and women should depend on men. Even on the streets she sees how men are very controlling of the women in the film. I think the biggest factor in Alice’s life is the characters that are part of her life. Each character is never just a child and each adult is never just an adult, they are always acting an age that benefits them. They use age as a power tool which plays a huge part in the film as well as in Alice’s life. Alice not only has to deal with being a female and being taught that it’s a male based world, but she also has to deal with her mother, her mother’s friend, and the girls at school. The only people Alice has to look up to is her mother and her mother’s friend because they are older and they have been the only people in her life. Unfortunately for Alice, they are extremely bad role models and perpetuate the idea that men are more powerful than women and women are to be dependent on men. With all the restraints she is taught, Alice will have a very difficult time in expressing who she really is because it could go against her family and friends. She does not know how to act in a different way, because of the restraints from family, friends, and society.

Week 4 Blog

In viewing Alice's struggle with adolesence, the movie portrays this vision of women needing to be beautiful to fulfill all of the men's needs/wants. She does not get treated well by the boys in her class; she gets picked on instead of them telling her they actually like her (Kung Fu boy). Having Lila in her life shows how women look like they are dependent on men by how desperate Lila is to have her young boyfriend back after he left her for another woman. Once Lila dresses Alice up and puts loads of make up on her, men whistle at her when she is walking down the street, so she almost gets this feeling that in order to have boys notice her in a more "adult" manner, she has to look like this all of the time. Again, this is an example of "performing" gender and proving who she is to society and more specifically, men. I believe this is also an example how Alice is seeing the "limits" she has on her power of expressing herself. She sees being beautiful as a way that men will accept her, and she does not seem like she wants to be apart of that yet. She is still in the middle of being a kid, but also getting the responsibility of growing up and becoming a woman. Alice's mother plays an important role in her life by telling Alice to stick up for herself and do not let anyone tell her that she is anything less than a great, young woman. From this advice, Alice stands up for herself with her friend and the boys at school. She starts to gain some self control in the aspect that she is becoming a young, smart woman, and people cannot keep stomping all over her and taking advantage of her.

From watching Cusp, viewers are able to observe that the males in the movie are sort of favored, if you will, and women have to "prove" their existence to be in men's lives be performing beauty. Alice learns from Lila that in order for her to attract men, she needs to wear all of this make up and dress her best at all times. In other words, women cannot get men without performing beauty 24/7 because this is what men want and expect of them. Another example of gender and power would be when the teacher asks the students what questions they have on their homework, and she chooses to answer all of the obnoxious boys' questions over any of the patient girls that are raising their hands. Along with the examples from above, these are ways that men and women are perceived to Alice. This is where I believe she has a problem with discovering who she is and who she thinks she should be from the influences that surround her.

Blog Four

I didn't see the movie as being as much about gender disparity as it may have been portrayed. Instead, I saw it as a comment on power and class disparity. The movie also seems to be another generic coming-of-age story that have been spewed out of Hollywood pretty often. This one has the added sentimental bonus of a daughter being raised by a single mother. Clichéd.

Nevertheless, the main area that I found that Alice struggled with was related moreso to her age and class rather than her gender. The film did realistically portray how children and teens want be treated as adults, up until they have to burden some responsibility for being an “adult.? This is evident for Alice when she refuses to do the dishes when her mother asks, stating that she has to go to school (as if elementary/middle school is the hard) while her mother works a full time job doing God knows what. It casts the main character as naive child, unprepared to actually be an adult and more importantly, unworthy of my sympathy.

She battles with being lower class, as she is unable to attend the slumber party of some other bratty child because she's poor and no one seems to like that. So better have a sleeping bag or no one will like you.

Lila cries because that guy left her, but it seemed to be not because she was a woman, but because he was a scumbag anyways. And Alice is sad because the teacher didn't pick on her, but I find it hard to believe that it would be sexist if a female teacher didn't call on girl.


The film, Cusp, clearly demonstrated the difficulties young girls face when in the adolescent-to-adult process. We saw numerous examples of gender issues within the film. For instance, the girls in the bathroom were putting lip-gloss/makeup on because that is what they thought they needed to do. Later on, Eliza informed Alice that their best-friendship was over because Alice’s looks didn’t measure up to Eliza’s standards. That must have sent a negative message to Alice regarding the importance of appearances. Also, Leila tells Alice that she needs to look good for men at all times, which sends the message that women need men in their lives and/or that finding a man/looking good for a man is the most important goal in a female’s life. It really places men above women.

There were many examples of power in Cusp. One specific example that I can think of is the sleeping bag situation. Not having a sleeping bag was like the end of the world to these girls. Alice’s financial situation affected her social life, and her young-little- adolescent life is really a reflection of what life would be like for her as an adult (if she remained in a sticky financial situation). Money is power. Interestingly, men make more cents per dollar than women, so to say that money is power is indirectly saying that men is power.

I think Alice’s frustration emerged because she came to the realization that beauty isn’t everything after all; beauty has importance, but it’s not necessarily the best way to focus life off of. Eliza broke off their friendship due to Alice’s appearance, and the guy on the street made a comment to Alice while she was “looking good,? resulting in Alice covering herself up. Alice faced many mixed signals throughout the film, but in the end, I think she was really able to see the relationships between gender and power in everyday life.

A Day in the Life of Alice

Alice's life is complicated to say the least. She must juggle school work, family life, social life and all the while deal with becoming a woman. Her world is full of situations that push her power as a child to its limits. A few times during the movie Alice's age were brought up sometimes explicitly and sometimes it was just implied as a limiting factor. Her mother said that she needed to grow up and wise up when the street vendor tried to take her money, Lila wanted to stay young and look good forever, and Alice herself, wanted to grow up faster and be an adult but only in certain situations. these scenes in the movie show the constant struggle in society where the young want to be older and the old want to be younger. Although this is not an example of how gender plays into her life, I believe that the movie was at least partially about age as a factor in everyday life and what it means in terms of how power is determined. An example of how gender affects Alice is how value is placed on men in society, in the movie the boys of the class dictate what the class accomplishes and the girls effectively have none. This uneven distribution of power prevents Alice from learning because she has just as much right to the teacher's help but because the boys were overwhelming in their demands they are rewarded with attention. Alice's frustrations are a result from her inability to overcome the limits that are placed on women; men take advantage of (Lila), no free passes (teacher treatment), and conditional treatment(store clerk).

week four blog assignment

I think Alice represents what many of us were once like before the ideas of gender and how it defines us and our world were set in a concrete way in our mind. The movie was very realistic, but in the same sense, it was sad that she didn't have many positive role models to solidify what her gender should mean to her, and how it should define her (if at all).

Through her eyes we were able to see that gender and power do define so many things in our everyday life, things that were new to her but would be taken for granted by us. These things have become so common to us that unlike Alice, they are part of what Henry Lefebvre talks about in his article "The Everyday and Everydayness", mundane, but not mean meaningless.

What might be considered as Alice's 'failings' to perform gender seem to prompt the adults around her to impress upon her their ideas of gender and how it should define her. I don't think that Alice's frustrations were specifically due to gender and her learning the correct ways to perform it, but in an indirect way, her troubles with her so-called best friend do reflect gender issues, since these problems are very different for young boys when compared to young girls. However, these tensions between her, her best friend, and her best friend's 'new' friend also had a lot to do with her being raised by a single mother with limited income. I feel that this was also an important factor to her lack of power in day to day situations, as well as her age and gender.

blog 4 (Alice's "everyday" life

According to the movie Cusp and viewing Alice's "everyday" life some observations I made many observations as far as gender and power is concerned. The ones that stuck out most to me was how Alice always had to put on gloss to show that she was a girl as well as popular with her friends in the bathroom. Also how she was told by her mother's friend and neighbor that she had to look gorgeous and dress up and put on make-up everyday in order to get and keep a man. In addition to that, there was no male figure in her household so her mom treated Alice as adult at times and a child at other times as far as parenting . All the boys or men in the movie were stupid and treated women poorly but made women's life miserable when they were without them. These observations are specific to Alice's life because this made her confused growing up. She didn't know whether to act like an adult at times or a child. She also didn't know the definition of a real woman and started to have low self-esteem because she thought a woman has to be gorgeous everyday as far as dressing up and putting on make-up, instead of just excepting herself and realizing that she is beautiful no matter what. Lastly, she was confused about men as far as were they really needed and how they really treated women so did she really want a man in her life or not. Alice's frustrations ultimately resulted in confrontation with "limits" of power because since her mom treated her like an adult sometimes and a child at other times her n her mom got in a confrontation and in the end of the movie she learned how to stand up for herself no matter what by standing up to her friend who was supposedly still popular and fighting back with kung fu boy. She had never saw the people around her stand up for themselves so she was very proud of that.

blog 4 (Alice)

In the movie Cusp, we were introduced to Alice and her usual everyday life. She has being giving ways of how to perform gender through life by, her mother, the neighbor, and her friends at school. Her mother tells her she need to be the second adult to take responsibilities in the house hold chores too, because her mom cannot do it all by herself. Her neighbor and her friend on the other hand tell her she needs to put on makeup and dress up to attract men.

For me I think Alice is confused on how to perform gender the way she would feel comfortable of performing it. Power also performed in Alice life a lot too. When her teacher was taking questions in class, the teacher didn’t even bother to see that the girls’ hands were up; because the boys were shouting out the number they wanted to be answered out loud. When the neighbor and her boyfriend had broken up, Alice see that guys can do what ever they wish to do to a lady. When her friend Eliza didn’t want to be friends with her anymore because she wanted to be cool like the popular girls then being with her who is un-cool.

Alice’s faced many frustrations through the “limits? of doing things in her life which are, chores responsibilities, her confrontation with the kung fu boy and watching men taking advantage of women. For example her dad who had left her mom and her neighbor’s ex-boyfriend.

At the end Alice realize that a way to performed gender is through power.

Blog Week 4

I found the movie, “Cusp, very poignant for several reasons. I found the older women in her life, her mother, her neighbor, and her teacher, demonstrating a wide spectrum of lack of personal power. She didn’t have the best female role models that would demonstrate personal power so it would be hard for her to learn by example.

Although Alice appeared to be interested in school and responsible for her homework, it seems every time she was working on her homework, her mother would tell her to “do something.? Her mother did not take an interest in Alice’s learning. As if, doing her homework was always less important than a chore she should be doing. Her mother verged on abusive with Alice during the scene in the kitchen over the dishes. Alice is limited by her mother’s expectations of her to do something other than her homework, which is important to her. Alice’s frustration is very apparent during that scene.

During Alice’s presentation to the class, the boys in the class were allowed to continue their rude behavior because the teacher took no control of the situation. Alice had worked hard on her project and she was treated with disrespect.

Alice’s relationship with the neighbor is also not conducive to learning to empower oneself. Alice also witnesses the neighbor’s male friend calling the neighbor, a beautiful thing; the neighbor allows herself to be objectified. The neighbor also puts makeup and clothing on Alice, because it is so important to be pretty.

I think the underlying message that Alice was learning was that it was not desirable to be smart, but you get your value only by your appearance. This message was clearly demonstrated by Alice’s neighbor, mother, and her peers and friends at school.

September 27, 2008


The movie Cusp is a portrayal of an adolescent girl who struggles to find the balance between being a child and becoming an adult. Through Alice’s journey, we see how power and gender affect every day life. One of the biggest examples of power we see in the movie can be described by Marx’s theory. Marx states that power is a direct correlation to material possessions; Alice is left out because she has no sleeping bag for her friend’s sleepover. When her friend asks whether or not her mom can just buy her a sleeping bag, Alice knows that her mother can not sway the funds for the sleeping bag and merely brushes it off. Another example of power can be seen in Alice’s life at home. In a traditional family setting, the mother stays at home and tends to the household and the needs of the children. Alice’s mother on the other hand, works outside the home to support her family as a single mother. This upsets Alice because she is forced to dry the dishes. Alice complains that none of her friends have to dry the dishes thus creating a large argument between her and her mother.

Gender’s affects on everyday life can also be seen through the eyes of Alice. Two girls walk in late to class and are written up for detention by the teacher, whereas. Several boys are acting out and yelling problem numbers to the teacher and receive no punishment whatsoever. The teacher seems to let the boys’ behavior go unnoticed; whereas the girls are punished. Another example is seen when it comes to Alice and her homework. It seems as if every time Alice sits down to do her homework, someone finds something “more important? than she needs to be doing. This is kind of a reflection of the past where it was more important for women to learn housekeeping skills than receive an education.

Though somewhat exaggerated in the movie, the struggles Alice faces in life are real and happen to different people every day. Gender and power play into our daily lives in ways that we may not even notice because we have adapted and grown used to them.

Week 4 Blog: Alice

Alice struggles in her pre-teen life to fit in, and to overcome everyday obstacles. She is ditched by her friends, then fights with her mom, and watches those close to her struggle in the name of love. Alice is frustrated because she is constantly held back by limits. She is limited to what she can buy. Because she doesn't have a sleeping bag, she cant go to the sleepover. When she arrives to class late with her friend they each get their name on the board. Later on, when the teacher asks if there are any questions, I noticed a few girls quietly raise their hands, while many boys chanted loudly. Not to my surprise, the teacher chose to go over the number that was being chanted loudly, instead of calling on those sitting quietly. Also, none of the boys were penalized for their actions. They were rewarded. Alice is also frustrated with the fact that she always has to do what people are telling her to. I watched her mom tell her to play with her brother, then tell her to bring something to the neighbors, and then tell her to do the dishes. I think that this really wore on Alice, and added to her frustration with the girls at school.

I also thought it was very interesting that most of the women surrounding Alice were struggling with men. Her mom didn't have a man to help support her. The neighbor was so happy with her boyfriend, and then we he left, everything went downhill. She stopped caring about how she looked and acted. Everywhere Alice looked there was a man with a woman, and when they were together everything was good, but when apart, it was horrible. Society and the people influencing Alice were constantly telling her how to look and act in order to get a man, and be happy.

I feel that Alice isn't being herself, but just being who she thinks she needs to be, and who everyone is telling her to be.

Week Four Blog

The film Cusp was an outtake of the experiences of a pre-teen girl, Alice, in her “everyday.? Alice’s everyday was filled with implications of power and gender. The viewpoint was perfect to explore these implications because she was a pre-teen – unsure of where she fit in and trying to pick up on the social cues that embody the gender experience of adults.

Power was very clearly represented in this movie. One could easily see that men and boys held the power in many situations in Alice’s life. An obvious example is during class when Alice and Eliza are given detention for being late, but the disruptive boys are rewarded for their misbehavior by getting their question answered. Men also hold the power elsewhere in Alice’s everyday, though it may not have affected her directly. For example, Leila’s partner left her, and it had a devastating effect on her. This experience was a message to Alice that men have the power – he could pick up and leave when he wanted, and Leila was supposed to clean up after him. There was nothing she could do about it.

Gender is seen in other ways throughout the film. Alice is told numerous times that she is supposed to always look “gorgeous? for men. The message is also sent that she needs a boyfriend to be happy – even her little brother tells her this. She also needs to be beautiful to be happy, as implied when Eliza and her new friend tell her that she is ugly. Gender is also effected between the mixed messages of whether she is a girl or a young woman.

Alice’s frustrations arise because of this – she does not know where she stands as far as gender. Is she a child or an adult? A girl or a young woman?

Kelsey Hippen :)

In Cusp, although emphasis was obviously placed on the “female-doing? of gender, we can synthesize many ideas about our own everydayness through this film. Throughout the film, the strength that gender and power had was variable and flexible. Sometimes we saw strong representations and other times, we saw weak ones. For example, when Alice’s mother scolded the man on the street for intentionally stiffing Alice, we saw a representation of “strong single mother? taking charge for the good of her daughter. On the other hand, we also saw weak representations of power, like when the mother’s friend nonchalantly walked past her shady ex-boyfriend on the street, saying to Alice, “Sometimes you just can’t fight.?

From these examples, we can observe that the strength of power that we demonstrate is allowed to shift, and as females, both demonstrating power and not demonstrating power are each culturally approved. Alice becomes frustrated when she confronts “limits? of power—but this is only because the women around her impose their interpretation of power on Alice, saying that she should act the way that they find effective in terms of their own everydayness. I believe that the way a woman performs externally should reflect her chemistry internally. Perhaps this means that a woman’s everydayness reflects her wants and needs. Much dissonance resonates within Alice throughout the movie, and understandably so. She does not yet understand the way gender and power work for her.

I noticed that while the women were at home their interactions changed dramatically. They were not vigilantly pursuing the performance of any specific role; in fact, they were genuine, intimately touching each other’s hair and faces while they talked. They looked like a tribe of women, listening to and comforting one another uncritically—with no reference to what they ought to be. It was wonderful to watch, because the essence of each character was 100% present, whereas when they were responding to oppression, they often reacted unnaturally.

Week four

In Alice’s life she is given two points of view of her gender’s status. One is from her mother and another from her neighbor. Her mother is the view of someone being strong and standing up for herself. Her neighbor is all based on beauty and how to attract a man. So she wonders on how she is to act towards society. She wonders how she is to perform her gender correctly. This confuses her and makes her unable to decide who she is. It is the contradiction of the everydayness that was mentioned by Henri Lefebvre. It is the contradiction that confuses Alice and the other girls in her generation. They observe the world and see it in two different ways; one side of a loving couple and one side of a couple fighting. One example of contradiction was the fighting of the couple. They had both accused each other of cheating. The girl was angry with her boyfriend for cheating on her and the boyfriend had accused of her past cheating on him. The contradiction here seems to be that it’s okay that I cheat but it’s not okay for you to cheat. Another contradiction is Alice’s friend who seemed to have had a dislike of the supposedly popular girl in the beginning. In the end though she became the best of friends with that same girl and ended her relationship with Alice. All this seemed to have confused Alice. Making her possibly wondering which the true performance of her gender was. Was it the passive way or the fighter’s way? In the end she choose the fighter’s way and knowing who she really was and not worry about what her gender performance was because it was just too confusing to understand.

September 26, 2008

Week Four

As the movie follows Alice through her “everyday?, it is clear that Alice is just beginning to learn about power and gender, and specifically her power and gender. At school with her friends there are times that it seems they have a lot of power (walking around the school grounds giggling and when Alice and her friend are in the bathroom and ask another girl to leave because they are talking) and other times (especially when Alice becomes distanced from the group, during her presentations or when she becomes the subject of laughing) when Alice seems to have little power at all. Also, as a group, the girls seemed to be out powered by the overwhelming presence the boys in the class had. When the teacher was taking questions, the girls’ hands were overlooked because the boys were chanting the number they wanted answered. Alice also was beginning to see gender and a performance. Her and her friend go out of their way, and are even late for class because they are putting on lip-gloss. In their words “We can’t come to class without lip-gloss.? The clearest example is when the neighbor Lila dresses up Alice in makeup and eye-catching clothing and tells Alice that the most important thing is that she find a man and look like she can attract one. Although some of these situations and most of the feelings are universal amongst young women, Alice’s experiences are individual for the most part. She is growing up with a single parent household and being half raised by a family friend who lives next door. At the end of the film, when Alice reaches that points where she simply can’t take any more she is realizing that power has certain unspoken gender limits within it, that way she “does? gender will reflect her power. Whether that means she has more or less power, I’m not sure. In Lila’s case she was less power.

Week Four Blog

If we contemplate Alice’s “everyday? life we may conclude that gender and power are unequal amongst men and women. We see in the film that the boys are not reprimanded for chanting the homework number they want the teacher to go over; however, the girls who are late to class each receive detentions. This demonstrates the boys getting special treatment from the teacher and ultimately more power. Additionally in Alice’s everyday school life the girls are fighting with each other and not getting along, which we see in our own lives. Boys generally get along but it is the girls who are catty and mean to each other. Alice is expected by her mother and neighbor to be a grown up and a woman which are essentially different things. Grown ups are seen as having valid opinions and being responsible whereas women are supposed to “be gorgeous everyday? to attract men but never have a man because he will only run off with another woman. The women are definitely portrayed as the downside, with men having the power. For example when Lila saw her ex-boyfriend in front of the bathroom with another woman he was able to do that yet she felt unable to walk past them to go to the bathroom. After she did she went home and broke down.
These observations are specific to Alice’s life because she is learning the fine line between being an adult and a woman at her young age where she is “at the cusp?. In the end she finally grows up and stands up to Kung-Fu boy and ultimately the girls who were cruel to her.
Alice’s frustration resulted from a confrontation with “limits? of power that take away certain possibilities for her self-expression. She reached her breaking point with Kung-Fu boy. She was sick of acting passively and watching men around her take advantage of women and get away with it. For example her neighbor’s ex-boyfriend and her father who left her mother. This made her act out for not only her but also all the other people she knew who sat back passively and were taken advantage of.

Blog Assignment Four Instructions

Week Four
Blog Assignment

This week, we capped off our first full unit by beginning a discussion around how gender and power function in everyday life. We became especially interested in understanding the concept of “the everyday.? According to Henry Lefebvre, the everyday constitutes the ordinary, the mundane, or the day-to-day lived reality of people. It is something that we all hold claim to, but which we all experience differently; indeed, “the everyday? is what the unique inner-workings of gender and power produce in our lives. Just as no one experiences gender and power in quite the same way, no way experiences the everyday in the same way. It is for this reason that “the everyday? can become a powerful resource for understanding how/why people perform gender the way they do and in response to certain factors.

In Cusp, we are introduced to Alice, a girl on the brink of adolescence. We watch her in her day-to-day life, as she begins to realize how gender and power function differently in this new, almost adult, age, versus how things were when she was a child. In turn, we get a very interesting depiction of a subject who is responding- often through gender- to powers she’s only encountering for the first time. If we contemplate Alice’s “everyday? life, what observations might we make about gender and power? How are these observations specific to Alice’s life? In what ways is Alice’s frustration resulting from a confrontation with “limits? of power that take away certain possibilities for her self-expression? In a 250-300 word blog, explore these questions, making sure to draw specific references from the film to support your claims.

September 22, 2008

Blog Week 3

Gender Vs Material Power
I believe that they both have a major impact on power. Most people seem to believe that it is a mans job to be in charge or to handle the business. Example, like when men pay all the bills in the household and the woman stays home and watches the children. A lot of people may think the woman has it easy but in reality it is very hard taking care of children all day. As far as material things go, they play a huge role with power, because when someone is well off they can buy their way into damn near anything. Material can get people places and things that the average person or the plus 2 or 3 person can ever dream of. In my perspective I believe that material power is far more powerful then gender. If a woman has a lot of money and there is just a average man then the part will go to the rich woman because she may bring more to the table. If a man and a woman were rich and they had the same amount of knowledge then I believe the man will be chosen for whatever part in life because he is a man. Everyone expects a man to be in charge or be on the top of everyone just like the president. Obama is a maybe a +4 but the other candidate maybe is a +5 so is the other candidate more qualified? Material over Geinder this really is a hard subject but overall from the readings and what I already know i think that Material Power is better then Gender power.

gender as performance

Whereas sex is solely our biological make-up, gender is a social construction that distinguishes women from men. Gender is the way in which we can identify ourselves and others can identify us as male of female. The idea of gender as performance indicates that this distinction is one that we must act out; we must act a male or act a female in order to be identified as such. Most of the time this performance is subconscious; however, we may consciously act our gender in different ways depending on the situation and who we are with.
Judith Butler argues that “while gender is inauthentic, it produces the very real social conditions we live in.? While I do not believe this to be so, Butler believes that gender is unoriginal; it does not really exist. Society has constructed gender. In her statement Butler defends that though gender is not real, it decides males’ and females’ place in society. Men and women are equal, but the gender construction puts women at a disadvantage in society. Men are still very much superior to women in Western culture.
Changing the way that we “do? can affect the way we are viewed by society, yet there are limitations. I feel that no matter how much a woman acts a man, she will always be viewed a woman by society, placing her at a disadvantage. However, a change in our performance of gender can influence our societal status to an extent. For example, an ambitious, hard-working, intelligent woman can be respected as a man would in the workforce. Similarly, a father who chooses to stay at home with his children rather than work may receive less respect from society.

gender vs. material power

Karl Marx theorized that one’s power in society is directly related to the amount of material goods one possesses. In Western culture, this theory proves true. A person with much wealth can possess many goods and almost always (if not always) is more influential than one, say, who produces those goods. Those who produce the goods are those who are laboring; yet do not receive much in return thus limiting their access to the goods. Those laboring hold virtually no power in society. Marx believed that equal goods and equal power would be the source of contentment for all.
Johnson’s +5 model is correlative with Marx’s theory. One’s number of “+1’s? determines their place in society. For example, a white, Christian, heterosexual, middle-class male is at a +5 and reaps the benefits of this ranking. On the other hand, a white, Christian, heterosexual, middle-class female is at a +4. She is therefore at a disadvantage in Western culture due to her gender. It is well known that women have a lower income than men in the same occupations. Based on Marx’s theory, men’s greater income gives them access to more goods and resultantly giving them more power. Men indeed hold more power than women in capitalist society.
Why is it that holding an executive position or a position in office as a woman is so impressive? Historically women have had little mobility in the workforce; women have always been the caretakers and the homemakers. Though women’s opportunity in the workforce has increased tremendously in recent times, women are often still limited solely because of their gender. Consequently, they hold less power in society. As a woman, this is infinitely frustrating. Are we not as smart as men? Are we not authoritative enough? Can we not handle it emotionally? Are we going to cry under stress? No.

Week Three Blog

Plumwood thinks that power stems from social organization, and that power is formed through hierarchies. She also believes that power is formed from a dualistic way of thinking. It's when one subject or group of people is compared to another as being better or worse.

In the case of norms, we try to fit these norms as a society. We work, whether we know it or not, to fit in with what the norms are. By fitting these norms it is then when we compare things and make one better or more important than the other which creates dualistic power. The norms create what each group is like and that leads to "giving" certain groups more power by finding the differences between them and other groups.

This affects how we live, because as we "do" gender we are performing in order to fit the norms. We "do" gender in order to be acknowledged as something in our society. We want to be recognizable. By doing this we are fitting into the groups that are then compared with one another. By doing gender we are just fitting ourselves into groups that may have more power or less power than other groups. This is how we work, this is how our society works. It's natural and it's something everyone does, but by making certain groups have more power than others it creates differences in a dominating and sometimes overpowering way.

Week Three

The Johnson text used the plus five system to show what we consider normal in our culture. If one is not white (+1), male (+1), middle class (+1), heterosexual (+1) and Christian/western/?first world? (+1), that specific person(s) are denied some privileges that those “normal? people have. It is the base-level understanding of power that creates a social hierarchy. It is believed that those people at the top of the social hierarchy triangle have unearned advantages than those who aren’t white, male, middle class, heterosexual and Christian. It’s true in the real world, take the workplace as an example. Let’s say that a woman and man are hired at the same time, for the same job by a company that’s been around for years. It used to be very likely that the man would receive a considerable amount of money higher than the woman hired at the same time with the same, if not more qualifications than the man. This happened at not such a high level to my sister once. She had applied for a life guarding position down in Madison (where she goes to school) at the same time as a lot of others did. She was hired as a head guard because she had life guarded for four years previously. That day, a guy was hired into the same position as my sister (with less experience) and received more money. The only reason my sister knew about it was because she was accidently given his paycheck, not hers. She took the issue to her supervisors, fought for better wages, and received them because she was more qualified that the other. In actuality, the social hierarchy that Johnson describes sets up the culture understanding and almost forbids women, and men, from not acting their gender. Some women are content knowing that where they are working at the time is no the best they can be doing because if they tried, they know that they would have to “put on the pants? and do a man’s job. I think that this idea is very ignorant and that it’s time for everyone to step out of their gender and comfort zone and do what they do best.

Week Three

Plumood believes that power exists in a vast number of dualisms present in society with the overall theme being reason versus nature. Dualism is judgments associated with differences naming one thing as superior and one thing as inferior. The inferior is only seen in relation to the superior and the superior sets the norm. According to Plumwood, equality between reason and nature or men and women is impossible with our society thinking in dualisms.
In western society men are seen as reason and women are seen as nature. Men are the norm and therefore women are defined in terms of men. Dualisms define normality in western culture by pinning one group against another, specifically men against women. In the not so distant past women were prohibited from certain activities due to the fact that they are viewed as moodier and less in control of themselves than men.
This mode of existence completely dominates our lives and is impossible to escape from. It is so internalized in our society’s collective conscious that every action relates to this inequality of power. Women and men do not compete in the same leagues of most sports because the women aren’t seen as competent enough. In the workplace men are consistently chosen over women for promotions because they are more easily able to use they’re reason instead of giving over to they’re bodies whims.

week 3 blog

I have chosen to examine the differences between Marx, Focault, and Deleuxe. Each theorists puts up very interesting ideas, and theories. we serach through Marx's ideas of material power instead of happiness. He also mentions that Power is transferred from the top to the bottom. On the other hand, Foucault and Deleuze argue taht power reaches from the bottom to the top. Each theorists puts up a good point but what we really need to look at is how gender perfromance prohibits us from doing gender the way we want to. Each person is expected to think and act according to the sex they were born with. If society didn't tell us or teach us that we need to act this certain way, would we be acting different. This also brings me to Marx's ideas. If a boss didn't tell a worker to act a certain way, would he be acting different. Power is necesary for many reasons. Foucault says that power is neutral, and that power isn't bad of good. I believe that the power of men surpresses women. Women can do many things but yet we still aren't getting paid the same wages, and the effects on society are endless.
We live and act the way we were taught as children. For women, it was probably when we received our first Barbie, or saw our first Disney movie. A classic example is Snow White. If Prince Charming wasn't there to 'save her' where would she be now?
Norms should define the way we act in terms of gender, but it does.

Blog Three

Instrumentalism is when the superiors needs define the inferior’s purpose. This is when those on the lower side of the dualism put their needs aside for the masters and need to do anything necessary to please the master or centre. They are considered a good citizen or worker based on the needs or interpretation of the master. The inferior’s tasks and goals all depend on the superior’s needs.
This power defines the normative mode of existence in culture because the inferior’s have to live their lives based on the superior’s needs. The superior’s needs are a common task the inferior’s have to fulfill because they fear that they will be judged morally if they do not follow the superior’s standards. They do no get praised for following superiority however they do get judged for not following.
This particular mode of existence interferes with how we act as humans because of the social standards we have to follow. It can definitely limit the way we do gender as power. For example, if a married woman is well-educated and desires to pursue a career in business but her husband works full time and wants her to stay at home as a house wife she will be looked down upon if she chooses to work. Her superior in this case, her husband, needs her to stay at home so she feels obligated to do that because the consequences of her working will be bad whereas if she puts her needs aside to please the master in their house, everything will be okay. Often times, this can be a way to understand gender in the working life, why some women with well-educated backgrounds choose to stay at home rather than work.


Johnson’s model of power as a social hierarchy seems to represent our society the best. Johnson states that power is correlated closely to privilege. Privilege on the other hand is linked to difference. Not everyone can be privileged, because we are all very different and are “valued? or “devalued? differently. He also says that we inherit this power, you are the person you are and that comes with or without a privilege.
This power operates through norms with what Johnson calls the “+5 “ system. In the western world if you are white, man, heterosexual, middleclass and Christian you have all the points you need to be privileged and therefore have more “power? compared to the less privileged ones. I guess this all a result of difference. People have come not to use difference as a positive aspect of our culture instead they are afraid of it. People are “afraid “to approach a homosexual because they are not considered “normal.? People use this deference to reward or punish, value or devalue people.
Johnson’s system of “+5? is a very clear reflection of our society; expect when it comes to gender I seem to disagree a little with him. I guess women do have a harder time since they have to take care of the kids and give birth and all that, but stills that never seemed a barrier to me of reaching my career goals. I never thought that women are devalued and men have more privilege than them. However, I do believe that women have to work harder to take care of the children and have a career. As I remember reading somewhere, men who are lawyers are expected to be aggressive but that’s easy for them because their outside gender role is expected to be aggressive too, unlike women lawyers that are expected to be aggressive, but their gender role is to be soft and affectionate.

Week Three Blog

Johnson’s model of power seemed to stand out the most when looking at the different models of power that we have read during the past week. Johnson explains that there is this “social construction? of reality. This meaning: “unless you live in a culture that recognizes differences as significant and meaningful, they are socially irrelevant and therefore do not exist? (Johnson 21). He goes on to say that these made up thoughts that we have/make, sort of become the way we think about things/people and we start to make these categories placing people in them, based on these absurd thoughts. This is when privilege comes into play “when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to? (Johnson 23).

As Johnson would say, these privileges are what create the +5 system from which power operates through the norms in culture. The +5 system of privileges is basically a system that we operate under, giving “unearned privileges? to the white, males, heterosexuals, people in the middle class and people that are Christian/from the western world. This is how power operates, through this so called +5 system that everyone is compared to. I think that this system is especially relevant when thinking politically. Think of the status of people in power now, they are all/most +5 persons. I do think that politically and looking at the United States as a whole this system applies, but when you look at smaller aspects it might not as much as you would think.

This model of power has many limitations attached to it, and really influences how we act and live as gendered subjects. Because we are constantly being compared to these standards (+5) we seem to be constantly hiding or at least very aware of the – aspects about us, for example a person being homosexual or a different race other than white. This system creates the problem of unearned privileges and power because these 5 categories totally split up the population.

blog 3

I will be discussing Johnson’s theory of power as social hierarchy. Johnson explains that power trough hierarchy does exist and it creates trouble. Basically, power through hierarchy means that the privileged are on top and have the most power while the lower on the scale have less and less power as it goes down. Johnson also points out that this is not a trait or understanding we are born with it is inherited through society and can be negative due to the encouragement of allowing certain groups to tower over the other.
Johnson specifically explains how this system of power as social hierarchy defines the normative mode of existence in culture through his +5 system. The white heterosexual middle class Christian male according to the +5 system is the top and most powerful person according to the Western “norm?. Everyone that is different gets a point taken away and becomes less and less powerful as there points are subtracted. For example on the other end of the spectrum an Asian, homosexual lower class Jewish female would be considered with almost no power in Western society because she doesn’t fit in with the inherited power norm.
Johnson also explains that the reason we create this inherited trait to classify people through power as social hierarchy is because it helps us to understand how to act in society. If we didn’t know that we were a female or male how would we distinguish who is most powerful. Therefore this hierarchy can be linked to performing gender. If a man were classified as a homosexual he would lose some power in the respective +5 norms. Therefore, everyone wants to act like their gender to explain to the world where they fit and how they should be treated.


Johnson discusses the concept of power as a social hierarchy. This theory gives meaning to things (such as race, gender, sexuality, etc) that wouldn't have any meaning otherwise. When certain traits/characteristics are categorized and given meaning, people are able to understand their place in the world.

Johnson's diversity wheel demonstrates the idea that we can label people based on certain characteristics, but that only tells you the "social reality" of a person; it doesn't explain to you what a person's personality is like. People use differences to include/exclude certain people, which is entirely unfair because most of the characteristics are impossible to change. Johnson further explains this notion by describing "unearned entitlements" and "unearned advantages." We know that unearned entitlements are what every person should have, and unearned advantages are the restrictions placed on certain groups.

Johnson talks about the social construction of differences/reality. He explains how most of our "real" experiences are made up. And that unless you live in a culture that recognizes differences as meaningful, they're socially irrelevant and therefore do not exist. I think it's also important to note that history changes who is in and who is out as far as being privileged goes.

September 21, 2008

Blog Three

Karl Marx’s view on power as a material power is very relatable to modern society. Marx’s idea is that capitalism defines the worth or amount of power a person has according to the amount of money is available to them. Material possessions seem to have an effect on our daily lives according to Marx.

In today’s society people get caught up on money, the things that money can buy, and how much money is related to how much power someone has. To most, to be normal is to be “middle class?, but Marx’s idea that power is related to money, so the most powerful people in the world must not be normal. Most people in society want to be normal. So to be normal we have to fit in. To fit in we buy certain products, wear certain clothes, and all try to portray a sense of happiness that is thought to be brought to us by these material possessions.

Marx’s view on labor though is somewhat slighted. His idea of a laborer is mainly male. Marx also does not take into account the “labor? that women do in the home, or what is traditionally seen as taking care of the home, cooking and watching the children. Women used to be, and still sometimes are, seen as commodities and used to trade. The most common example of this is a wedding dowry, when a male’s family would give the woman’s family livestock, money, land, etc. Although Marx believes that most laborers are male, he is addressing all laborers, including women.

Week Three Blog

Dualism is the denied dependency on our differences to separate male and female in our society. Plumwood talks about dualism vs. difference. This is explained as while in society everyone is different, we do not place value on our differences. With dualism, we are dependent on the differences that separate us as male and female, although we deny that we do so. The relation and explanation of domination shapes the identity of the subjects. Dualism is defined by structure and systematic reason.

Dualism is portrayed in some contrasting pairs such as mind over body correlating to men over women. Whether we realize it or not we use these contrasts in society everyday. The side with mind and men is seen to be the more “natural? or “normal? whereas the side with body and women is seen as “less than? or “unnatural? and “irrational?. In our society, Plumwood explains, even though we may not seem conscious of it, we naturally assume men have power over women. She basically goes on to explain five different ways dualism shapes our society. She uses what she calls “Backgrounding? which is where the superior group is dependent on the inferior group, but does not believe this dependence exists. Also, “Radical Exclusion? which is maximizing differences between people while minimizing shared characteristics. “Incorporation? is another way, in which is the inferior defined in terms of the superior. “Instrumentalization? is where the superiors needs define the inferiors purpose. And lastly “homogenisations? which is a stereotype that says that the inferior group are all alike whereas the superior group has individual members.

As gendered subjects these five things influence the way that we act and live. Take for instance, men and women. Men are dependent on women, because they need women to bear children, and stereotypically take care of them, and to do the cooking and cleaning. Although this idea is prominent in our society, many men would deny that this idea exists at all. This is an example of back grounding. Also, insturmentalization exists in our society because the men (the superior) define the women’s (the inferior) purpose. Stereotypically in our society women exist in order to serve men and cater to their needs. It is hard for use to overcome these ideals that have been around for centuries because of the existence of these dualist ideas.

Blog 3

I'm going to take a a further look into power as dualisms (Plumwood). The general concept behind dualistic power, is that we either categorized as the “in-group? or are thought of as being part of the “out-group?. The view of being categorized as the in-group has with it an associated cultural values which in tern make the “in-group? desirable. We can see that these values are assigned culturally by simply examining two different cultures. This value, assigned by the culture, is what gives the “in-group? the notion of superiority over those in the “out-group?.

Using this model of power to examine gender first leads us to very obvious point. We (as a culture) tend to view male/female as a dualism. This is actually a dualism Plumwood specifically mentions. However, following a few other points of the dualistic model, we can find some other interesting relations. Take for example, the dualistic idea of radical separation. Here, we see process of attempting to hyperseparate gender into a partition consisting of only two categories. From a social norms perspective, this explains the awkwardness of not falling into one of the two categories. The dualistic nature of the culture expects us to fall into one of the two, and in addition to encouraging this, actually self perpetuates the dualism. As an act of preforming gender, we should realize that these expectations are founded on the basis of dualistic ideals, which as seen, acts against the idea gender equality. Since these are self perpetuating, in order to decrease/stop the perpetuation, we need to get out of the this dualistic mindset altogether.


Marxism considers power resulting from material possession. To him, power results from the systems created by people; specifically for us, this means capitalism. In this system, happiness comes from the ability to purchase and own luxury items. Those who are able to produce more goods, therefore, are considered more valuable to society, and are rewarded with money. Money not only provides the ability to purchase more, but it also can be accumulated in order to procure the means of production, thus moving that individual into the upper classes and giving them power with their new-found wealth.
Nothing besides the individual's ability to produce is considered of any real worth. It all comes down to how much one can produce. Whether it's a tangible item in a factory, or providing a service for which people will pay well, one's worth is determined by what they can do to produce tangible profit.
As such, women are disadvantaged in this system. Traditionally, women are responsible for the tasks of maintaining the household, something which detracts from the ability to do whatever it is they would normally do to be "valuable" in capitalist society. Even in a capitalist, but otherwise progressive society, women are biologically responsible for pregnancy and childbirth, something absolutely necessary for any society to continue to effectively function, but, similar to maintaining the household, something to which no concrete value can be assigned, and so it goes unrewarded by society. Even if this were not the case , the fact that women earn lesser wages on average than men gives men an inherent power in the capitalist system according to Marx.

blog three chole005

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels state that power in our society is based on a class system, the capitalist class, or bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, and the proletariat, who works within the means of production to create value. Though Marx and Engel’s analysis is more complex, this simple relationship could be viewed in terms of Plumwood’s outline on dualism and difference, being that one group is valued above the other and much effort is poured into exaggerating and maintaining this separation. The main problem with this analogy is that although male and female sexes (though not genders) are required for the continuance of the human race, it is debatable whether or not the bourgeoisie serve any worthwhile purpose to this system other than maintaining the status quo and exploitation of the working class (which doesn’t seem to be a very worthwhile goal).

Although this analysis of Marx and Engels in this assignment was meant just to brush on the ideas of class struggle and how it relates to gender, and was limited in terms of detail in the interest of addressing so many philosophies on gender and power in a short span of time, I felt it was somewhat inaccurate. It states that Marx wrote during “a time when many (poor) women left the home to work? when explaining about how the audience of Marx is mostly male. This is certainly true for some of his work, specifically when he was addressing the working class in his time, which was mostly male, but I feel that Marx made it clear that although women weren’t a huge part of the paid labor force at the time, they were still laborers. That is, they wouldn’t need to leave home to work; they had been working, though unpaid, in the home the whole time. Marx and Engels addressed this issue extensively in Origins of Family, Private Property, and the State, which would have been the best work to reference to gain a Marxist perspective on women and power. Origins mentions that a women’s traditional work has been devalued over time by our prevailing economic system. I’m already over my word limit, so if anyone out there wants to know what Marx said about women, you should read that for sure.

week 3

According to Karl Marx, social power is acquired by your value in the market. Whether you have lots of money or you are able to produce products of high demand, power is associated with wealth and your socioeconomic standing. He also notes that social power is not always earned nor fair, yet it dictates and defines who we are.
Achieving a state of wealth is not necessarily fair for all people. To achieve a state of power it is expected that you get a good education and hold a top position in a major corporation such as a CEO. However, people start at different positions and with different opportunities. For example, a son of a rich man probably goes to a big fancy school and has special tutoring whereas a person living in the Bronx goes to a school where maybe the teachers do not care whether or not the student succeeds. Also, women start out at lower points not because of theyre schooling or the opportunities but because of their gender. Statistics show that there are many fewer women in higher positions in the economy than men. Women are forced to choose between family and their careers. If they choose family, they become housewives. If they choose to follow a career path they are hit with what some may call a “glass ceiling.? The glass ceiling represents women seeing the dream but never attaining it.
As a gendered person, we are expected to act certain ways and perform to societies standards. Going with the example of women in the workforce, women are expected to put their work ahead of their families. One of the most famous examples in recent news is Sarah Palin. Many are wondering whether or not she can balance her five children and hold a place in office. These limits set by gender and material wealth in society are used to classify people into groups of the superior and the inferior.

Blog Assignment Three

Foucault's Power as Productive, was one theory that I had an easier time understanding, agreeing with, and that I think still applies well today. Foucault says that "power is neutral," which means that it isn't inherently good or bad. It can be used for both exploiting and helping. Also, he says that power isn't necessarily top down in every situation and is more bottom up. Power is everywhere and is produced through knowledge, in turn, creating more knowledge. Unlike Marx, power isn't always created from economic or social systems. It is created by the people and generated through the ways we use and understand it. We use "discourses" to determine how we interpret and identify things; using them to understand and label what is good vs. bad, normal vs. abnormal, which in turn is giving certain people power over others. Even though Foucault believes people generate the power, he still thinks that there are certain parameters and norms created by structures and that media, schools, politics, etc. effect the way we act.

In our western society today, we must have things labeled, identified, and documented. This is how Foucault says that we are producing power and reinforcing norms. Like the example in the article we read, we operate by diagnosing everything. If someone is abnormal, they must have some sort of disorder, disease, or disability, in which case we must question, label, and treat them accordingly. This gives the normal power over the abnormal once labeled that way, and the one who labeled the abnormal power over them as well to use in future cases. This is also an example of how knowledge produced more power and knowledge.

This effects the way we live our daily lives. Since power is "contextual," according to Foucault, it is constantly changing depending on the situation, the context around us. We act according to the things we've learned and the situations we put ourselves in, giving certain others power over us or vice versa. For example, in early times, if a girl was in school she may not raise her hand in class because this wasn't something girls should do, therefore giving boys power over her. Now a girl may still give a boy power over her, but probably more likely in a social setting, letting him look more intelligent or witty as to come off more attractive to the boy.

Manifestations of Power

Karl Marx shows us that capitalism assesses the value of people according to their value to the market and the wealth they own. People who are worth more are invested with power and thus dictate many societal terms such as the use of wealth and production. Those who actually produce the materials necessary (and unnecessary) to life are placed in the background of the capitalist, whom it is always assumed has legitimately earned his wealth, and deserves to be in a position of arbitrary power. "Work" is defined as paid labor which is why the unpaid labor of women is often overlooked in Marxist analysis.
Society clearly places unequal value on the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Entrepreneurs are praised as being innovative, progressive, and hard working while people who go looking for existing jobs are seen as lazy and lacking initiative. This attitude is seen in popular rags to riches stories and books like Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Women's work, because it is unpaid, is devalued from its real worth as the central industry of society itself. The roles of worker/capitalist have become categories in which to organize people; it is assumed that everyone fits neatly into one of these categories. Capitalism becomes naturalized. The need for owners at all is not questioned, and a profit over people attitude is a legal, acceptable way of going about things. It is normal for 5% of the population to own 95% of the wealth and it is normal for workers to be exploited. Because of the dualistic nature of the capitalist/worker dichotomy, workers are devalued and feminized.
Capitalism informs our lives as gendered beings in large part through the segregation of labor. What is considered a woman's or a man's job and how people are compensated for their labor is largely dictated by gender. How much things cost us and how much we work are also affected by gender, as is a person's potential for class mobility. The overwhelming majority of capitalists are men, and women workers are concentrated in bottom of the barrel, aptly named "pink collar" jobs in addition to their unpaid labor as wives and mothers. A woman may not be hired for a job because she is "too feminine" or not feminine enough, and she may be fired on the basis of her gender as well. In her book, Feminist Politics, Judith Lorber cites a particularly revealing statistic: women do 2/3rds of the worlds work, earn 10% of its income, and own 1% of its property. Global capitalism has successfully arranged a system where women's labor in particular is exploited.

blog 3 yo.

Foucault’s theory on power I believe to be more universal than both Deleuze and Marx, and Johnson’s and Plumwood’s articles are applications of Foucault’s work. Foucault posits that power is discursive, which means that by referring to our cultural sites of knowledge and learning (school institutions, the media, the arts, etc), we inadvertently create power structures. The way that we talk about things, and the institutions we build surrounding what we know eventually become natural, or the “norm,? which leads to the “abnorm.? This relationship is one governed by power.
Also, the more we learn, the more discourses we make, which is followed by the normalizing of that knowledge, which creates more power structures.
Another important aspect of Foucault’s theory is that the structures of power are contextual, and therefore more fluid that one would think. Because power is tied with the production of knowledge, each time we refer discourses, we also create more. For example, the oversimplified, loose outline I am explaining here on Foucault’s theory of power is creating a discourse in itself. The discourse I am creating, when posted on the blog and read in conjunction with everyone else’s posts, will create a completely different discourse, just because of the context that it is in.
Foucault’s theory is more universal because it is inescapable. We will always try to further understand our world, and therefore always create discourses. I think of this in terms of gender by the way Butler describes we “perform? our gender. In our bodies we are creating sites for the discourse of male or female. We refer to one another in order to describe our gender more thoroughly. It is inescapable, because we are constantly referring to what is around us to define how we are. But all is not lost! While this can perpetuate gender dichotomy, there is also room for change. I truly believe that the norms of our culture are transforming. Foucault says discourse is contextual, which means the more we create discourse that promotes gender equality, the more the power structure will shift.

Blog 3

Karl Marx noticed a disturbing hierarchy in Russian Society. He saw the majority of citizens, the poor working class, suffering under the harsh capitalistic economy and severly oppressed by the wealthy benefactors of this system. Marx, outraged by his observations called for revolution and developed a radical approach to explaining social power. Marx's Material Power Theory argues that social power derives from the economy, society assesses an individual's worth on his fiscal ability to acquire goods. a linear relationship exists between one's social power and one's wealth. The consumers hold the power from the exploitation the producers of such goods, as these producers lack the ability to purchase the very goods they create. The labor and individual behind the goods has no value, only the final product. Material Power installs a deep sense of inequality within society, creating clear socio-economic class divisions.
Material Power often comes with consequences beyond the economic scale with the installation of capitalism. Capitalism enforces gender roles to benefit its system, like the normative standard that men earn money while women run a household, the household is key to capitalistic success as it breeds more workers. Yet due to the assigned role of women, a woman holds little value in capitalistic society as the labor that she contributes to her family does not produce a tangible product. Cooking, cleaning, and child rearing do not have a definite value, therefore her labor is worthless. In the United States, often individuals will belittle or criticize a housewife because they are unable to acknowledge her contribution to society. Its this conception that regards women as stereotypically inferior because their traditional position in the home does not produce a financial gain. They are criticized for not making a concrete product by a system that placed them in such a position, how ironic! This paradox idea carries over even as our nation progresses and more women join the work force. Women continue to be thought of as less powerful individuals, yet belittled for not maintaining a household.

Week Three Blog

The Material Power Model tells us that you need money to get power and in turn you need things to confirm that power. People are considered powerful if they have money and if they are in the right position. The majorities of people in the U.S do not live lavish lives and do not have the money to spend on anything other than the necessities. Therefore those who have power have had the money to begin with; they are usually born into powerful families. Rarely do lower and middle class citizen’s work up to the power position. Society has instilled limits on who can gain power and who cannot. The powerful gain much of their power by exploiting others, especially the lower class, women and minorities who work for very little to make goods that the powerful depend on. Society also tells us that we need to feel good about how much stuff we have. If we have a lot of stuff then we are doing everything right, if we don’t have a lot of stuff then we are not worthy and we should not be happy. Material possessions give us the false sense of completeness, we are ultimately happy if we have stuff. In reality we are lying to our children when we say money cannot make us happy. According to society, money is the key is to happiness, not working hard, not love, not creativity, but money. Not only does material power define that the upper class is the all mighty, but it also defines what sex will ultimately be the most powerful. In society white men are those who are groomed for power, rarely do we see women or minorities as the powerful ones. There are few women and minority CEOs, presidents of companies, or representing the people in congress or the senate. The stereotype of a succefful American is: a white man, in an expensive suite, driving a SUV, living in a mansion with his son who plays football and daughter who is a ballerina and whose wife stays at home and cooks. Children learn at young ages who is the most powerful, because they are shown that white men who are rich will succeed. Most of those white male power players did not get to the position by being creative or unique; they got there because of their money and parents powerful connections at the country clubs. Our society really limits who can have power. We teach our children to be strong, independent, creative, unique, and not dependent on money. Unfortunately our society tells the normal child who has these amazing traits and who dream of one day being a female president or African American male CEO is all well and good but they will never reach that powerful position.

Blog 3

Johnson discusses the relation between privilege and power. He says privilege is having something someone else is denied solely on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Privilege is not something that a certain group works hard for or deserves, it is a part of our culture's fear of difference and how we think we understand it by grouping and naming people. The big problem comes when groups of people use privilege to be superior to others. This brings in the +5 system, where people who are male, heterosexual, white, Christian and middleclass are most privileged (and therefore have the most power) and others fall below them based on how many factors they can match with these five things.

Power and privilege are inherited concepts. The privileged categories of people (white, male, heterosexual, etc) in our society have been in place for a very long time. Though changes have been made as to how these categories are viewed, the norm is that the +5 system exists and we want to be able to fit ourselves into the norm so that we can be recognized and considered "normal" in our society.

Using gender as a part of the + 5 system brings a lot of ambiguity to how being male is considered more powerful/ privileged than being female. Gender is something we alter in our daily lives to fit with certain situations or people. Because of this, there is a huge range of possibilities of what gender we are specifically acting in one particular, split-second moment of our day. So if all people "adjust" their gender constantly (though unconciously) through the day, the concrete "male/female" power hierarchy is limited by this ambiguity.

Week Three Blog!

The concept of material power is power at its simplest and somewhat most barbaric form. Material power revolves around the belief that a person is only as strong and commanding as the amount of money and material objects he or she owns. The magnitude of a person’s power also includes the number of people that ruler has working below him. When material power was introduced by Karl Marx, he spoke of power only in respect to white men. I included women when talking about material power for a more appropriate look to today’s standards, but Marx and his followers thought that men where better and stronger than women.
Material power operates through norms in the sense of the corporate industry in today’s world. Sadly many people buy or cheat their way to the top of corporations with a lot of hard work. Most of the time, men are the presidents or CEO’s of businesses and then their strength is afterwords based on how many workers they have and how much money they rake in. Then the respect they earn from peers is based upon the house(s) they have or the cars they drive.
I think material power is best shown in the corporate world because it’s the most cutthroat part of businesses and usually men are the normal dominators, and they become consumed with materials and dominating. This actually keeps the traditional role of men alive even today because in the sense of doing gender men are strong, intelligent, and aggressive in the work force. Most of the time it is very hard for a women to make it to the top or even near it because right away they are stereotyped as weak and not qualified to be a main operator because they are a woman.

Week 3 Blog

Foucault's version of how power works (power as productive) seems to make a lot of sense in a way. It combines Marx's idea of power, that power is a materialistic thing, and takes it a step further and adds the power of knowledge to that. In essence, knowledge is power. People in general spend a lot of time searching to find that answer to why this thing works or why this thing happened. Once they come up with an answer to the question, whether that answer is right or not, they seem to gain more power. For example, if someone were to suddenly find the answer to why people get cancer or find a cure to it or something, that person will find a sudden increase in the amount of power they have in society. This is linked with Marx's idea of power in the sense that much of the time people will get money for that answering those kinds of questions.

This 'power as productive' that Foucault talks about is seen both very strongly in the past (for example, what are things made of, what are atoms, and all other scientific questions and discourses that were explained and gave those scientists more power along with paving the way for more theories to be discovered, debated, and answered) and in the present (for example, all the debate about global warming). On a more personal scale you can gain power by simply solving a disagreement between friends. Those friends will respect you more and you gain power that way therefore proving Foucault's power theory.

Blog Three

In the Allan Johnson piece, he places an emphasis on difference is responsible for privilege and power. By using differences to separate people into groups, the privileged can keep to their own groups while holding themselves superior over other groups. These differences may be based on physical appearance or entities such as wealth or family. Johnson splits privileges between two types: unearned entitlement and conferred dominance. These types determine who has to do what, such as the mother taking care of a child and the father being the breadwinner.

The piece puts forth the +5 system, where a white middle-class male who is heterosexual and a Christian has the maximum score and confer the most advantage and anything deviating from those types lose points and advantage. From the differences in how people fit into this system, privilege and power are bestowed. It's from this socially-constructed scale that Allan Johnson claims disparity in things such as how most wealthy persons are white males. On the flip side, Johson points out that blacks are more likely to be arrested and convicted, women are less likely to be paid equal to their male counterparts for the same job, and homosexuals are more likely to be harassed or assaulted because of their sexual orientation. It's putting down these groups of people listed that Johnson claims has become the norm.

Thus, as the piece goes into a list of how males have more advantages than females, so too does the performance that woman are given differ from males. For example, as I stated earlier, the woman is expected to rear a child and raise it while the male acts as the source of income. Also, if the woman does start working, she can expect to be paid less for the same job as a male. Also, woman have to put on makeup and dress up for the guys. On the other hand, it's supposed to be the guy's job to ask her out. And if a guy puts on makeup, he'd be cast as a metrosexual or homosexual. Thus, gender performance is not just stuck to one side, but a game that both sides are made to play.

Models of Power

In Plumwood's power system of Dualisms, she separates the hierarchy of power into two separate groups she likes to refer to as the master and the slave. She makes the distinction that a dualism is different from a dichotomy because in a dichotomy there is a difference between two things but there is no valued judgement attached to that difference. In a dualism there is a value judgement that says that one group of people is inherently better than another because of their differences. She breaks the logic of a dualism and how they are constructed into neat little categories that allow us to understand them in a rational way. Denial, exclusion, incorporation, instrumentalism, and homogenisation. Plumwood's model of daulistic power defines the norm as the group who's values and characteristics are imposed upon another group as a way to define them. She says that 'it is the slave who makes the master a master, the colonized who make the colonizer, the periphery which makes the center.' This means that the group is taken and broken very mathematically to create a 'normal' to best describe the group as a whole. This is similar to drawing a circle to represent the continuous distribution of characteristics in a group and then saying that the average value of the group lies at the center of the circle. This means that gender plays into the idea of a duality because men are accorded more power and positions in society than women and the only reason is because that is how it has 'always' been. This fact limits how we perform gender by telling women that they have a certain way that they should act and lumping them all together even though some might be more masculinly inclined than others. The duality also makes it seem as though men and women are different species because of the way that they are separated and objectified. We can't escape Plumwood's notion of dualism because the way that we are brought up to think reinforces the definition of dualism. Men are accorded more power than women who are seen merely as tools or objects to fulfill men's needs.

Week Three Blog

I think Marx had it right with power being based on materials. Basically his theory is that the more you have, the more power you have. It can be in terms of how much the person owns or how much they produce. It doesn't matter how hard you work to make the items. It only matters if you make enough money to purchase those items. They use the exploitation of those underneath them. He states that it is not an honest system. The people at the top in this system are not usually out volunteering a lot of their time or being creative.
If you look at the +5 system, the person at the top is white, male, heterosexual, middle-class, and christian or western culture. Who in America is usually CEO of a company? The +5 system basically defines suburbia, which is often viewed as the norm in America. This system of power is regulated through social hierarchy, where the +5 person is at the top. That person is the norm here. Typically the people at the top are not women or minorities. Take the presidential election for example, this is the first year that a woman and a black man have run for the presidency. One of them for sure won't be in office, and the other one may still not make it. For hundreds of years the white, male, middle-class, heterosexual, christian man has been in charge of the country. There is a lot of power linked to that position.
I think this way of thinking of power has the greatest effect on women. They're seen as being the ones who take care of the children and are mothers and can't be business women at the same time. A lot of women give up having children in order to reach their goals of making it to the top. On the news the other day they were talking about Sarah Palin having five children and whether or not she has the time to be Vice President and take care of her children at the same time. Also business women are expected to dress, act, and look a certain way. It can go both ways in the business world: A woman can give up some of her femininity or be forced to do it more. It also effects men. They have to act professional and dress nicely, but women have more pressure put on them in the work place. I rarely see people of other religions in business settings. The women who cover their heads or the Jewish hats are hardly ever seen. This system of power doesn't solely limit how we do gender, but how we are in our beliefs and looks. A man may hide the fact that he's gay in order to get a better chance of getting the higher paying job. I do think this system is in effect in our country, but power should be based on intelligence, creativity, or kindness in a utopian world.

Blog Three

Blog 3

Naomi Ko

According to Marx’s theory , power is related to economics. Our social wealth depends on how much money and materials we have. From social wealth, we become influential and control others. Power is exploitative¾there is always a clear distinction between those who are rich and those who are poor.

This materialistic power exists in our society because we place one’s value on their “material,? or the quality of the “material? they produce. For example, the top 1% of our nation’s wealth has power. They run our corporations, are politicians, give some of our politicians money, thus they have the power in our society. From their high social status, their decisions affect everyone’s lives. However, those who are in poverty have no power. They are not politicians--their “power? is shown by how much and how well they can produce “materials.? Their “influential decisions? do not affect everyone’s lives. This clear distinction has clearly become a norm. There is the rich who control our society, and there is the poor who live under the control of the rich. Poor people don’t become president of the U.S., and even if they did, the rich essentially holds the power since they would fund their campaign.

Materialistic power doesn’t cover an important factor. Marx’s did not incorporate gender, or the home situation in his theory. Thus, since Marx didn’t incorporate gender into his theory, it proves that materialistic power comes hand-in-hand with gender, and one’s gender determines the amount of power you receive beyond the materialistic power. Most wealthy people are men. Thus women have less power than men. Even though there are wealthy women, they hold less power than wealthy men. It reinforces men are the wealthy powerful ones, they go and make the big bucks, while the trophy wife sits at home sipping tea. In the corporate field, there are more men than women. There are more male presidents, CEOs of companies, and politicians than women. Due to this, women go for “rich? men, and when they snag them, they quit their jobs, stay home with the family, and become the typical nuclear American family.

Blog the 3rd

I agree with Johnson’s +5 method of describing power as social hierarchy. His + 5 methods it’s a very good way to describe power. I loved the fact that he used a white middle class person as an example and not use other classes and ethnicity. Because what we do see in reality that has more power, are a white male, in a middle class, a heterosexual and is Christianity. That’s what we see as a normal thing. This social hierarchy clearly defines power through culture, because if we used a Native American male, who also is in a middle class, and a heterosexual, and also a Christianity, he’ll be a + 4.
We lived in a place where we have to accept the +5 method that Johnson came up with. He came up with a very good method of putting social hierarchy. We act and live through social hierarchy to present our gender. Truly we believed or as some believed that acting a certain way and living a certain ways will put you to a higher spot on the chart. If we don’t act in that certain way then that puts us to a lower spot on the chart. For an example in the Hmong religion as I believed, is not all men that are put onto the top chart. But if we were to compare men to men, the smart toward the dumb oafishly the smart one who is educated is on the top list and the dumb one who is not educated is place on the lower list. Men and women have there on separate list in my point of view.
What might prohibit us from acting our own gender will probably be the classes that we have been placed on without noticing it. Sometimes it’s not based on our religion to be placed in the +5 method. We all came from different families who had been taught to act in a certain way of our gender. The other things that prohibit us from acting our gender are when we are with certain people as we said in class. If you are with someone who talks in a good manner than you would also what to talk like that person. If you are with someone who talks slang than you would what to talk slang like that person. I think that acting a certain way, living a certain way and speech is also a way to put someone on the +5 method. If we don’t reach those certain things we will probably be put in the lower +5 method.

September 20, 2008

Blog Three

The model of power that opened my eyes the most was Johnson’s power as social hierarchy. The amount of power that you have is directly correlated with the amount of privilege that you have. Privilege, according to Johnson, is something that you may or may not be aware of. It is something that you or a group has that is of value and is denied to another group only because they are not a part of the privileged group. Many people deny that they are a part of a privileged group only because they believe that they worked hard for everything that has been granted to them.
“We fear what we do not know? is a myth and only gives a reason for us to look at those that are different as weird or inferior. People are drawn to act in a way that will be perceived as normal. They talked about how males are looked down upon if they are “momma’s boys? or if they are controlled by their wives. This is not a part of the normal “man? behavior. Heterosexuals are likely to act in a way that would not let people question their sexual preference as being homosexual, which is thought to be abnormal.
It has become a growing trend for women to act as dominant individuals that do not need men to define themselves. On the other hand, men are still looked down upon by others if they were to be “Mr. Mom?. People strive to be a better or more superior person, therefore it is ok for women to act more manly but it is not ok for men to act womanly. This is still a growing acceptance, and not all think that this idea of women being dominant is ok.

All five of the powers all seem to each have affected society and genders. The one that I believe affects us the most is the dualism. No matter what, we will always be affected by this power and that it is in all of the other powers. Dualism is like the definition of each side or how we see each side. An example would be the dualism of male versus females. No matter what males would always be seen as the one that has a higher or better advantage than females. Females in work and other things will always be the lesser of men. I realize this when my sister had went to a meeting of these higher roles. She was a lead in this one company that built medical things. When she had went to this meeting the dominant group were men. There were only three or four females out of many. This shows the dominance of males in reality. Not only that, but in personal life male is dominant because of how culture sees it. May be in America both genders are treated more equally, but it's different in my culture. Those that are more Americanized follow more by the American society rule but those that follow the old way or coming freshly from Thailand or Laos still live the old life of where the female must obey the male and if they are injured by the male side they asked for it. That is how some people from my culture see the world. They see the male as the dominant figure and that the only job for a woman is to bare children and stay home to please the male subject. Like I said those that are more Americanized are nothing like this. This is something that I don’t want to believe is true but I realized that there are such world as this. No matter how much we want to get rid of these dualism they’ll exist because the society can never be perfect like some of the people in my culture wants life to be.

A blog to read


^ This is a link to a blog that I sometimes read for fun--it's called Fiesty Femmes and it operates on the same platform as GWSS 1001. Check it out if you feel like it! It has been inactive for awhile but I still think they're interesting perspectives.

Happy Fall!

Week three

In Plumwood’s piece, she discusses the variances between dualisms and dichotomies. She says that it should be possible to live in a world that can accept differences without putting values on them, which is the concept of a dualism. Although the main characteristic of a dualism is that a difference between groups of people makes one party superior to another, there are many other features that come into play. Backgrounding when the superior denies its dependency on the inferior, radical exclusion is when only the differences between the superior and inferior are highlighted, incorporation is when the inferior is defined in terms of the superior, instrumentalism is when the inferior is seen merely as an object that is present to help the superior fulfill its cause, and homogenization is making it seem as though each member of the inferior party is the same, each member of the superior party is the same, and the two parties are very different.

There is a long history of dualism in our country that puts certain characteristics of people higher on the social level than others. Those who are considered superior “naturally? rule over and have their way with the inferior. Almost every relationship has some dualistic aspects to it, whether we realize it or not.

Dualism also plays into the relationship between the two genders. Males have been deemed superior and females inferior because females are more similar to nature than men. Since females have natural bodily functions that they cannot stop, they are seen as more uncontrolled than men. Therefore, men are seen as more reasonable and stable not by their own doing, but because of what females “lack.? It is almost impossible to get away from our dualistic way of life because we have made it so prominent that it is hard to imagine the world without superiority.

Week Three Blog

The model of power I understood best was the one proposed by Johnson in the excerpt entitled “The Trouble We’re In.? This piece talks about power as a form of social hierarchy and was the one I understood best, especially because of the “+5 System? proposes. Johnson states that we inherit different social privileges and limitations which we are often unaware of. We then pass these privileges and limitations on to those we come in contact with. In order to make changes, we need to accept that these differences exist and become aware of what these differences really mean in our everyday lives. However, differences aren’t always a bad thing. Diversity can also be a very productive aspect of society. If we were all the same, we would all do things the same way, have the same experiences, and make the same mistakes. Because people have differing views of situations and problems, often times the most effective and efficient solution can be come up with through the collaborative effort of a diverse group of people.

Power operates through social hierarchies because it gives more social privileges and opportunities to some than others. For example, a man who has been working in some career field will more than likely make much more than a woman who has been in the same field of work for the same amount of time. This is where Johnson’s “+5 System? made everything click for me. She states that certain characteristics a person possesses entitle them to more social privileges. Things like race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion all play a role. A white, heterosexual, middle class, Christian man will have more social advantages than a man who is exactly the same in every way except for something like race.

Because we are all born into a different social status, we all grow up with different things expected of us by society. Men should do well in school, fly through college and then make good money and provide for their families. Women should go to school, maybe go to college and then settle down and raise children. The social privileges given to us and expectations imposed upon us at birth continue with us through our daily lives and have the potential to shape the way we interact with others, what we accomplish in life, and who we turn out to be as a person.

Week 3 Blog

The structure of power i would like to talk about and that i found most interesting was Johnson's model or toughts of power as a social hierarchy where there are people said to be privilaged and among others that are viewed as not as privilaged. Not only do i think this is the most interesting, I also think this is the most truthful explantion or structure of power. Everyone will never be at an equal staus in the world, There has to be privilaged people as well as unprivilaged people in the world to make the world go round. Johnson sets up or has a system of privilage or better known as the +5 system where he views the most privilaged or "normal folks" to be a middle class white heterosexual male who's religion is chrisitianity. Everyone who does not fit this particular description is obviously not as privilaged and also not the "normal" people as decribed by Johnson. This model in a way kind of upsets me being an African-American woman, meaning I already have two strikes against me and I almost feel i have to work even harder to be accepted in the world or better yet society. The mode of existence informs how we act and live as gendered subjects because it society wants you to think that as long as you comply with the created "norms" you are accepted and life is going good when in fact, that is a form of power that society has over you. They try and make it seem like you can be yourself as long as you are male or female but within those categories there are still stipulations they put on you.

Week 2 blog

1.) gender as a performance can best be described as "doing " gender although you are sometimes unconscious of the fact that you are actually doing it. The results from what you do or how you preform gender is also what connects you to the world or shows how the world views or looks upon you. This is why gender is performed specific to different situations and/or moments.
2.) In my opinion, gender preforms your identity or at least how society identifies you and is extremely influenced by your race, class, culture. It is almost as if we have to do this because we have been doing this so long and this is the world we have created for ourselves.
3.) Gender makes life real because this is what the entire world is based upon. You are not accepted if you are different or do not fit into the two cateories either male or female and you may even be looked down upon. We have created a real life situation where difference is not accepted.
4.)As stated before yes gender definetly does show how or sets the standards of how we are treated by others. Personally, I don't think this will ever change. We can say we can "do" gender different and that may help but honestly after doing gender this long the same way I think it is almost impossible for this to change. Yes there will always be differnces but there is no way we as a society can get every single person in this world to accept evrything and every diference in everyone.

Week Three Blog

This week we read a work by Val Plumwood describing power as a dualism. A dualism is not the same as a difference, due to the value placed on one member of the dualism. She states, “A dualism…results from a certain kind of denied dependency on a subordinated other.? She outlines five aspects of a dualism: backgrounding, radical exclusion, incorporation, instrumentalism, and homogenization. Backgrounding is when the superior is dependent on the inferior, but makes it look like he is not. Radical exclusion is making the inferior and superior so very different, so that it is obvious that the superior is definitely not close to the inferior. Incorporation is defining the inferior in terms of the superior. Instrumentalism is similar – the inferior is only needed for the superior’s needs, and essentially does not exist outside of that. Homogenization basically is the aspect where differences among the inferiors do not matter.

A few examples of this power structure can be seen predominantly throughout history. For example, a slave’s relation to his master in early America is filled with dualism. Slaves were not thought of as individuals (homogenization), and their one purpose was to help the master (instrumentalism). Slaves were also defined in relation to their masters – that’s the point of a slave (incorporation). They were said to be uneducated or civilized, unlike the white masters (radical exclusion). At the same time, they were also expected to be grateful to their masters for “taking care? of them and providing a place for them, while really, the master needed his slaves in order for his plantation to function (backgrounding).

Dualisms are also present in the way we act gendered subjects. Although not as predominant today, there still exists a dualism between men and women. This dualism has been present in our culture for centuries, and so it is not so easily erased. For example, masculinity and femininity are still defined as being very different. This is an example of radical exclusion. Not only that, but masculinity is valued more than femininity.

Week 3 Blog

For Deleuze, the goal of power is to control, to name, and to know everything. When a theory attempts to assign value or constraints to an object through the use of its label, the real product is not a better understanding of the object itself, but a false construction of human experience. According to Deleuze, the realm of subjective human experience is too boundless to allow paradigms to dominate our understanding. This means that our everyday experience of power is misrepresented if we subscribe to a narrow, yet perhaps widely-accepted, framework.

To respond, Deleuze describes a type of power he terms “counter-power?, where action can challenge the authority of norms deemed ideal for humans. In relation to gender, perhaps an example of counter-power would be to question the usefulness of sex-correction surgery for babies after birth. If the child is healthy, yet presents both male and female genitalia, how can we justifiably “correct? it simply because it’s abnormal? Perhaps it is statistically abnormal, but the power that our society grants to norms forces the child to grow up as a product of power’s grip—which would be a denial of real human experience.

The grip that power holds over our normative experience is omnipresent in our interactions. As gendered humans, power fuels our desire to contain the essence of something within a name. Interestingly, the fact that some people have begun to attempt counter-power through the construction of terms such as “butch girl? or “femm-y guy? shows that we’re finding ways to add nomenclature to what used to be considered abnormal—and although that movement is an example of counter-power, we’re countering the norm with another heavy dose of names, of power. Perhaps as a culture we must struggle with the transition before achieving the kind of freedom that Deleuze describes.

Week Three

The model of power that Allan Johnson writes about in “The Trouble We’re In: Privilege, Power, and Difference, defines the idea of where we fit in a social structure or hierarchy. The problem lies with the inheritance of societal and historical limitations we have learned to view without question regarding the difference between groups or individuals. This is compounded by the inaccurate belief that difference, itself, is frightening. It is what we have learned and the biases we believe to be true that make us afraid.

These groups are configured within a range from privileged to disadvantaged, the haves and have nots. The more privileged or disadvantaged you are is seen in a tangible way when reflected in everyday life.

We inherited a system that not only judges people by their sexual orientation, the color of their skin, the language they speak, what religion they practice, etc. but also ascribes limits to them by these very categories. These categories are given a value. We have a choice by becoming more informed to either perpetuate a system we no longer believe is fair or change our values, behaviors and a system that truly values differences.

Society defines the limitations; we act within the social borders. In other words, the belief system we have restricts how we do gender. If, for instance, I grew up in a household where education was not important for women that would limit my desire to go to college. If I am told that girls don’t play sports, then most likely I won’t so I can live within these borders. If I discourage my sons from cooking because it is not manly, then I limit how they perform gender. It is harder to become empowered when we have to live within the confines of these societal constrictions.

Week Three

This week we looked at a text by Plumwood about dualism. Plumwood makes it very clear that there is a large difference between dualism and difference. She concludes that difference means looking at two things and saying that they are different. This is can be easily looked at in a political lens. For example, democracy is very different from communism. They have different government and create a different society. But dualism, says that democracy is different, and those facts that make it different make democracy better. Dualism has five main themes. They are: backgrounding radicalexclusion, incorporation, instrumentalization, and homagenization. These themes explain how an inferior can be effected through power by the presence of a superior. Plumwood's case seems readily backed because it not only, accepts the existence of a superior and inferior but explains why there is one. It seems as if a chain of this is why we have a power struggle and why we can't break it, even accepting a negative difference creates an inferior and boots the superior. This happens all over the place in everyday life and the history of the humankind. In gender, we see this all over. Men are better than women, because (list any number of differences here)...Hetersexuals are better suited for the job/task because...by Plumwood's standards it is as if differences are put on a pedestal and become dualism, one is better because it is not the same as the other, making the latter the inferior.

September 19, 2008

Week 2 Blog

Gender is a performance in my eyes. I never thought about how gender and sex are so different before taking this course. Many people "do gender" and they dont even know it, I know that I dont conciously do everything because I am a female. I think that "doing gender" is a unconcious way of life and the people that dont do gender are the people that others get confused about. In the one of the readings there was a section talking about how there should be five different sexes but i do not think that would solve any problems, I actually think that it would cause many more. Gender as a performace makes a lot of sense to me especially after doing the readings. To me gender is the way that you present yourself or how you act and the sex aspect of it is your biological make up, but that can be changed also. So it just depends on the person and their beliefs untimately because people from different places have a different aspect on how someone should act.
Question: The thing that confuses me is if someones sex is male but they "act" or give the vibe of a female is their gender female?

Week 3 Blog

In Johnson's "The Trouble We're In: Privilege, Power, and Difference," she explains that groups are "pitted" against one another by the way that privilege is organized in society. We have this way of granting privleges to some, but not to others for no apparent reason. In this sense, it all comes down to privilege versus power. This is where we, as a society, put people on this pedistal, or hierarchy, and determine who should be able to do what, without really having a solid reason to back it up. When Johnson describes all of this, she explains that there are "unearned entitlements" and "unearned advantage." Unearned entitlements refer to things that people should just automatically have without being questioned. Unearned advantages are things that people say you are allowed to do, but only because of "x, y, and z." Also, she tells the reader about something called "conferred dominance" where one group has power over another. Altogether, Johnson explains that people are classified into these three different categories even if the outcome is not fair or logical.

To be more specific, some believe that whites have more power over colored people because of the way the world used to be so many years ago. In some people's eyes, that should still be the way it is today. When talking about gender, females are put into this hierarchy where men are "higher" than women are. Once again, this is because of how things were in the past. Difference is not the problem, though. People are just naturally afraid of what we know (again, from our past), that it is hard for individuals to step out of their so-called "comfort-zone" and stand up for what should really take place and what privileges should be granted to everyone.

In today's society, I do not believe that these privileges are as stressed as they were in the past. Equality with power is becoming much more common, at least with females and males. For example, women are starting to enter into more jobs in the work force that in the past men were only to partake in due to them having a certain privilege over women. Women's ideas are also being more valued, which plays a huge part in men not having as many privileges over women as there once was. Gender still plays a part in this since we have these so-called "roles" to fulfill whether we are male or female. As stated before, these "roles" are becoming much less common, and men and women are able to stand up for what they want to do as individuals with their own values and ideas.

September 18, 2008

Blog Assignment Three Instructions

Blog Assignment
Week Three

This week, we explored five different models of power: power as social hierarchy (Johnson), power as dualism (Plumwood), material power, power as productive, and counter-power (hand-out). Each author theorizes power a bit differently from the last. Johnson argues that social institutions and public policies ascribe meanings unto identities that aren’t there naturally. Instead, identities become meaningful when they can be placed and understood in a social hierarchy which, in turn, makes sense of identities- and their differences- by granting some “unearned? advantages while denying it to others. Plumwood takes this one step further. While Plumwood would also argue that privilege and power manifest through social organization, she also tries to answer why Western cultures are so drawn to hierarchies in the first place. Dualistic logic, or the understanding that one group is not only different from but better than another group, plagues Western thought, culture, and language and explains why we have a difficult time seeing people outside of a comparative relationship to others.
The theorists we read on Friday similarly examine the function of power in culture. Marx’s materialist theories of power insist that power dynamics are created through capitalist production. Foucault challenges this idea by arguing that while power may operate on a structural level, its authority is something that we, as subjects, perpetuate. Deleuze latches onto Foucault’s ideas that power is something we enact and suggests that we might begin to think how power can work to our benefit.
In each account of power, there is an explanation of how power operates through norms and becomes “normative? (i.e. the +5 in Johnson is the “norm? from which we all falter, while for Plumwood, the “reason/male/culture? side of dualism is the default mode of existence in Western culture). One might even conclude that power and privilege is not only ascribed- or denied- to the identities that we perform but become fundamental to the way that we understand ourselves and others, such that gender and power are inextricably linked. In a 250-300 word blog, pick one of the five models of power we explored and explain how you might use it to understand gender. In your response you’ll want to:

• Briefly summarize the model of power you’re looking at
• Talk about how that power operates through norms/defines the normative mode of existence in culture
• Talk about how that mode of existence informs how we act and live as gendered subjects (tip: if you can think back to last week, we ended by talking about the limits of gender “performance?- i.e. things that prohibit us from doing gender however we want to. Talking through the limits of gender as power might be a useful way of answering this question)

September 15, 2008

Week 2 Blog

I think that gender as a "performance" is a general way of looking at how everything we do is interpreted by others, specifically in comparison to the observer's (whether that be others or ourselves) conceptualizations of sex. While this projection is very subjective, since the implications of such a projection rest in the observer's individual conceptions of sex and social norms, these understandings can fairly obviously effect our lives in various ways insofar as the way other observer's respond.

A result of this is subjective nature is that different people (who will interpret projections differently) will inevitably respond to the "performance" differently. Furthermore, a change in how we project ourselves can also lead to observer's interpreting us differently. This notably only applies to things that we are conscious enough to be both aware of and change. In this regard, I would say that it's actually quite easy to change how we are individually interpreted based on our performance. That doesn't mean to say that we can can make a little change here or there and control how we others interpret our "performance" in a social setting, since that is the subjective nature of the observer. Basically, easy to change, much harder to predict how that change will be interpreted by others.

We can however, examine how performance changes might be interpreted by closely examining differences similar to that change in a social context. Careful observation, and a little experimenting, could very well be used to "guild" other peoples perceptions of you (the performer). I actually highly recommend giving this a try, it can give some very interesting insight into some of the more subtle ways we (and others) view each other.

Week Two

Gender is a performance…I believe that we do act the way we are “supposed? to act in front of others. If we act among others the way we act among our friends, then some might be repelled to how we act. Girls in front of their friends and guys in front of their friends will act way different in front of group of guys and girls, or just one’s close group of friends as opposed to one’s professors and family friends. For example, one of my friends always burps in front of us, but she would never do that in front of her grandparents or other respectable people. According to some people on my floor, women are expected to smell good and be nice whereas it is acceptable for men to be smelly and rude to others. We perform to uphold the standards of society. While gender is inauthentic, it also produces the very real social conditions we live in. It makes life “real? because everyone does it and that’s what we’ve grown up knowing—we know nothing else. It is an understood bias that we act differently in front of others to make good impressions upon others. Gender performance is connected to social actions; I believe that the way we present ourselves to others impacts the way others treat us. If we treat people like dirt, we shouldn’t expect to be treated any nicer. It’s like the golden rule “treat others as we would want to be treated?. If we act like “white trash?, expect to be treated like white trash right back. If you act nice to others and treat them with respect, you should be treated with respect right back. If we change the way we “do? gender, I don’t think it would change the knowledge we have about gender. People act so differently on such a wide spectrum that I don’t think anything knew would “shock? us anymore, we’re just used to it by now.

Week Two Blog

Gender is a performance. I get up in the morning and put on make up and it makes me happy. It makes me feel more like a girl. What makes me wonder though is who is to decide these gender roles that we perform unconsciously everyday? I guess we perform gender to be recognized by others, because humans can’t handle being confused about someone’s gender. We perform gender, because we are expected to perform it and that’s what we expect from others too. So it is like a cycle. We act gender to be categorized and identified.
It’s true that while gender is inauthentic it also produces the very real social conditions we live in, because we have been performing gender for a very long time and it has become real to us. I don’t think people stop and think about gender, they just perform their part and that’s their reality.
The way we present ourselves definitely impacts the way others treat us. The simplest things can impact the way others treat us, such as clothes, house, hair and so many other things. We always judge people and make a decision on how to treat them. When I am talking to guys I always present myself differently and treat them differently based on how they present themselves.
Changing the way we do gender would change our social conditions. If we all performed gender the same, then boys could talk about shoes and maybe play with dolls. There wouldn’t be categories based on gender. I think this will take time though and we have to be patient. I still would want to identified as a female, but maybe not perform gender, because it’s not something that we have to do.


Gender performance is very different than a performance in a play or even going to a themed party. With gender performances you cannot turn on the I’m going to perform this way switch on or off. Gender performance is done unconsciously and once you start gender performance the “gender switch? is permanently super glued into the on position. People do however; perform different gender roles in different situations. Gender performances are used to show the world and yourself that you fit into the categories that culture can identify you with. In our culture our brains cannot handle anything out of the norms and people “performing gender? easily allow others and the performers to place themselves into a category.
Gender is inauthentic because it is completely constructed by the culture that people live in. However, even though gender may be made up and inauthentic we are literally forced to use it in our lives making it a very real way of life. We may not like the gender categories or the fact that we have to choose the male or female box but we run into these REAL situations all the time. Gender is not considered a dream or a subject that we can avoid. If people ignore or try to change their gender they could face real life threatening situations.
The way we perform gender in each situation completely can impact the way a person judges or treats you. If women walk around bars in “sexy? outfits and bat their eyelashes the men are always attracted to them (where if they would do this in menswear they may not get a glance. If we changed the way we “do? gender absolutely there will be a change in how we think about the two gender categories and may change the norms.

blog 2 entry yo

The idea of gender as performance resonates strongly with me. Over the past week I have found myself in situations where I have consciously thought of the way I am acting is particularly “girly? or not so. I just bought myself a new bike; it’s a cruiser with a basket and a little bell, and I find myself riding it, chest out, tossing my hair in the wind, thinking, “I feel very pretty riding this hunk of metal.? It wasn’t until Saturday night, though as I was riding home from work through downtown and a group of guys (who I read very consciously as “guys? through their jeans and button down shirts, slight drunken swagger, and buzz cuts) called out “Hey! Nice curves!? I replied thanks, thinking they were talking about my newly acquired, very curvaceous cruiser. Unfortunately the compliment was followed by another’s catcall, and I felt very “girly? in a different, preyed-upon way. I went straight home before going to meet friends for ice cream, took off my boots and jacket, put on a sweatshirt and switched back to my road bike.
This is a direct example of how Butler says we “do? gender, not just individually but within our social culture, and how through interactions, performing gender is perpetuated. I consciously thought of myself as performing “woman? through the way I was acting, and as soon as another person recognized that, I reacted by changing how I was being read.
One thing to point out is that even though I was aware of myself as “girl,? it wasn’t until the point of interaction with another person, that I was acutely aware of being read as such. In other words, I was aware of my performance because it was different than my personal “norm? of Britta;Female. I just got a new bike, I was getting used to its style, enjoying sitting upright, not going so quickly, and yeah, sticking my chest out and tossing my hair. But I didn’t feel like I was performing for anyone, I was just riding my new bike and enjoying it. When the group of guys started the comments, I was cast under the social condition of female. While I was just constructing a performance, the way I was presenting myself led to a situation that made me feel badly and react. I was changing the way I “do? gender. Im not so sure that I was proactively changing the way I performed in order to improve my overall social condition, but I recognized the relationship between my actions and how others were reading me in a real way.
How this relates to the naturalization of gender I am still grappling with. I think the key to changing the social condition of the genders lies in this process, somehow. But this blog entry is already too long, so maybe we’ll try wrestling with that one next week.

Blog Two Assignment

Gender is something that we "perform" or "do" every day, whether we are conscious of it or not. It is the way we fit in to meet the expectations of others and so that others can recognize what we are. We were not born knowing automatically what was normal for a boy and what was normal for a girl. We were taught by our parents and the men and women in our lives, as well as the media. From the way we stand to the way we interact with others, almost everything we do (or rather, how we do it) can be related back to what gender we relate with. We are acting out we have learned to be the societal norms and views of what a man and what a woman is and how each defined gender should act. The way we perform gender is situational, meaning depending on who are "audience" is, the way we do gender can change.
Although gender can be seen as an un-natural, learned thing that we act out, it is still a very real distinction that affects who we are and how we are treated in everyday life. I think that defining our gender is something we couldn't live without; people need to be able to define themselves in one category or another and need to be able to define others. So it has become very real. And like we were discussing in class, our society doesn't let you NOT define your gender. When applying for jobs, applying for schools, and even on our drivers licenses, you have to define and mark down what you are.
I think by being able to define our and others' gender is also a way that we know how to interact with someone because there are huge characteristic differences between men and women. I think that if someone normally looked at as a woman (has all the biological woman parts) presents herself like a man or performs her gender as male, she would be treated alot differently if she were to perform gender as a woman. In our society, people need straightforward answers about gender for us to feel comfortable with someone. If we can't label what type of gender someone is, I think there is a bit of an uneasy or uncomfortable feeling that anyone can catch onto, because such a huge way of how we communicate (verbal and nonverbal) and interact is based off of gender differences or similarities.

Week Two Blog

-Gender is all about performance if you really think about it. How else would we know walking down the street that “oh, that’s a man, or that’s a woman?. We are constantly “showing off? our gender through performance. The way we dress, how we talk and interact with one another are just a few ways in which displaying our gender is seen on a daily basis.
-To perform is “to carry out an action or pattern of behavior? (Merriam-Webster dictionary). Therefore, when performing gender we illustrate what society has chosen as women’s mannerisms/looks and so forth and men’s. Every day we follow these behaviors and we continue the cycle of performing gender.
-Yes, gender is inauthentic, it seems to be just these ideas and norms that we confide to. However, it does seem to create a system whether good or bad, there is a flow to the concepts and ideas gender creates. By this I mean, that because there are different sexes, society has chosen to sort of divide us, this to me somewhat creates the “flow?. There are women’s and men’s sections in stores, women’s and men’s bathrooms etc. (and yes society does have its flaws when thinking about how there are really “5 sexes? not two). This is part of why gender is so real and we are constantly reminded of it.
-Gender performance definitely connects with social action which is quite interesting actually. The way we look and act has a big impact on what we think about each other, this is where gender plays an important role and why performing our gender seems to be so important.

September 14, 2008

Week 2- Anna Wakefield

Gender performance is something that everyone participates in daily. We act upon preexisting gender constructs and reinforce them by trying to imitate or embody the constructs. When we perform our gender, we are making a definitive statement to the world. We not only make a statement about ourselves, but we make a statement about what we consider to be a proper representation of whatever gender and/or role we have placed ourselves or have been placed in. Through our clothing, body language, and interactions with one another we not only claim to be a certain gender, but we contribute to the discourse that makes up our ideas of gender.

Personal perceptions of gender constructs develop throughout our lives depending upon the people we grew up with and the cultural circumstances in which we were raised. They may not be natural but we hold them dear. We know what boy means and what girl means. At least, we think we know. This is problematic because we are taught and most likely believe that gender roles are natural, while in fact they are learned perceptions. Everyone holds personal biases which means we tend to have very definitive beliefs about gender roles. Because we have had no other choice than to associate with one of the two gender options, we tend to be a bit limited in our capacity to question these existing gender roles. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes we position ourselves in opposition to some people or situations we may not fully understand just because they are new to us or contradictory to what we have been taught.

Richardson suggests “hyper performance of gender? as a means to diminish the power of these preexisting norms. When a woman fails to shave or a man decides he wants to wear women’s clothing, they are challenging the social constructs. Although they may not completely change the way most people think of gender they have raised questions which is important in confronting the current conventions. The more deviations from the norm we can see, the more closely we can examine our own perceptions of gender roles.

Blog Assignment #2

Performance: the manner in which or the efficiency with which something reacts or fulfills its intended purpose. There are many other definitions of performance, but this one fits our gender performance perfectly. Gender, to me, is an extension of one's personality. You are told that you are male or female, so therefore you act masculine or feminine. There are some women that act more masculine than others, but in most cases when it comes down to it they do something in order for us to know they are still female. We perform gender on a daily basis to fulfill our societies need to label and catergorize us. We perform so that we aren't so different from everyone else after all. Another part of performance means that it can be learned and changed, which is exactly how gender is. We learn how to act somewhat like a girl or a boy from the way society sees us, and we change accordingly in certain situations.
As far as gender be inauthentic, I don't completely agree. For some gender might be a complete fake, but for others it might be how they truely feel and what completes them and makes them who they are. Since gender is a "performance" it is constructed, which means that it is quite fake though. Gender, like i said, is how we catergorize and label people though, so it is what makes life "real." Without gender it would be a lot harder to know how to approach and sometimes treat people. It also gives people something to use to identify themselves, and for some its the only way they identify themselves.
The way we present ourselves definitely impacts the way others treat us, our social conditions, and the knowledge we have about gender. Depending on the way a people dress, effects how a guy or girl will think of and treat them. If a girl dresses more provocatively guys may think they are "easy" or "ditzy" and girls might think they same. On the other side of things, if a girl dresses more manly people may think she is a lesbian. Also, if a girl acts really athletic they may think she is a lesbian when she might just be a tom boy, or even just really athletic. Aside from the how we act and dress effecting the way we are treated by society in general, some people change their gender performance daily, depending on the people they are around. This is to make people like them more or to get what they want more easily. If there weren't restrictions, limitations, and judgements on "doing gender," our social structure could be totally different. The way we view men and women in the job market, family life, and power in general could be totally opposite. Lastly, if people weren't so afraid to be different and judged people could have more knowledge about genders in general. Most guys probably don't know a lot about girls because most girls are afraid to be themselves and do certain things that aren't considered feminine or okay for girls, around them, and vice versa.

Blog Two

Gender is a "performance". People choose to act one way or another to fit in with the rest of the world. It is an unconscious performance in everyday life so that we are identified as being feminine or masculine to others because gender is not recognizable or performed at birth. Gender can be an compulsion when for example a girl is with a guy and flirts with him to get him to like her and recognize her feminine qualities.
While gender is inauthentic it also produces the very real social conditions that we live in, even though it is constructed the unconscious behaviors set sort of an unspoken standard that people follow in terms of how to behave, making life "real". Gender being performed eventually becomes habit and if it's something people do everyday then it's real.
The way in which we present ourselves one hundred percent impact the way we are treated by others. For example, if someone has had a sex change and still has obvious male and female qualities others who encounter them feel uncomfortable and do not know how to respond. If you have a friend who is very feminine chances are you will be more likely to talk about shoes etc. when you are around that friend.
Changing the way we "do" gender would change our social conditions considering the way we do gender now leads to fitting in somewhere. If it was done differently groups of people may be more mixed up and diverse and people could be more tolerant of uniqueness and change.

week two blog

- Gender “performance? is what we “do? - from our outer appearances to our actions to even the way we make sense of the world, we are “performing? gender and representing ourselves as either male or female.

- Gender makes life real through things such as social consequences. For instance, on the show “America’s Next Top Model?’s eleventh cycle, the contestant Isis was born a male, but does gender as a female. The social outcome of this is Isis being mocked and generally treated poorly by some of the other contestants. Isis is clearly facing real consequences solely as a result of the way she does gender.

Blog 2

Performing gender is something we do on a day-to-day basis, without deliberately thinking about it. It is unconsciously choosing to behave in certain ways around certain kinds of people. For example, I have many male friends who feel compelled to “act like men? around their male friends, but behave completely differently around myself and other females (it probably should be noted that I am talking about heterosexual males, for it may be a little different for homosexual/transsexual males). The point is that there are expectations that we are supposed to adhere to in order to live successfully in today’s society.

Gender may be inauthentic, but the very real social situations we find ourselves in stem from the ways gender is displayed. If gender didn’t exist, life would be entirely different. There wouldn’t be categories and labels for people. There probably wouldn’t be discrimination against homosexuals, transsexuals, bisexuals, etc. But I think we really need to have categories in place so that everyone has a place in society. The problem is that not everyone does have a place; the “others? of the world are kind of lost.

The ways in which we present ourselves definitely impacts the way we are treated by others. For example, if a person is believed to be a female, people may ask her about her hair/nails/clothes, and if a person is believed to be a male, people may try to converse with him about sports/video games. Changing the way we “do? gender would be a very slow and difficult task, but if it could be done, I think the world would be a better place.

Blog Two

For me, gender is the performance of roles determined by our sex. For example, in our Western society, male and female mate and procreate. After a child is born, the mother stays home and performs the gender tasks given to her involved in being a mother. Meanwhile, the father continues working and being the breadwinner for the family. During this time, the mother ceases to work. Instead, her full time job consists of caring for the child. Obviously a newborn requires a lot of attention, and it's not always a singular effort by the mother to raise a child (baring a single parent family), however, generally it's the mother who takes on full-time child raising.
Though some may consider gender inauthentic, the idea of the nuclear family is so well-entrenched in Western life that it has become the norm. Variation does exist for example, such as the transgendered man who became pregnant before becoming a man. In that case, the man will be caring for the child more likely.
This idea of child-raising becomes one of the way women seem to interact with each other. One must present themselves as an always-caring mother lest others look down upon them. This means reading about housekeeping and children's books. It's not just mothers though; teenage girls are supposed to read magazine such as Seventeen and dress glamorously. Meanwhile, men read Maxim and talk about football and women. All of these perform the gender social functions set forth for male and female.

Blog Assignment #2

Gender is a social construct. With assuming this, we should also assume that every socially active person has knowledge of gender and experience with it. We see it in our everyday life, whether conscience of it or not. It depicts the way we "perform" every day and the way others see us in everyday interactions. When I think of performing, I think of circus acts, theatrical shows, and plays. In these cases, a person is acting as a character to entertain a group of people. So the same can be discussed with gender because gender can be a front, in some cases, that a person acts upon in order to fit into the social constructs of the gender roles.
Although we may not agree with the way gender is socially constructed it is a "real" existence within our lives. Gender is a performance because it depicts how a person is going to act.
When I think of gender roles and performance, I personally tune into how my parents interact within my family household. The gender "norm" for a female parent in the household is to take care of the house, children, and family needs. The gender "norm" for a male parent in the household is to work, be the bread-maker, and protect the family. In my household, my parents don't typically fit these stereotypes. When I was growing up, I would assume that my family was unhealthy since we didn't fulfill the socially constructed gender "norms." Unconsciously I was making an assumption based on the influence of the social construct of gender.

Gender as a performance is the concept that there are no inherent traits to one's gender; we only act a particular gender, subconsciously in our daily lives, in order to be more easily identifiable to society. By wanting to fit in, we see how role models and our peers conduct themselves and act accordingly. Yet even as we do this, our peers are also watching us for the same clues, resulting in a reinforcing cycle that defines what it means to be a particular gender. As such, it is easy to assume certain characteristics of a person, whether accurate or not, based purely on identifying their gender.

An even bigger point of concern occurring from this is that this necessitates that most, if not all, actions/performances are to be are divided between the two sexes. Adding in that these actions have values placed on them, a system where one sex or gender could itself been seen as more valuable to society. Redefining the gender roles within society would be an effective way of remedying this should it be a problem, but given the positive feedback on the system, it would be a daunting task.

Blog two

It is believed in these readings that gender is a performance because, as a part of society we feel we need to belong to one category or another (male/female). We perform gender in everyday life because it gives us a sense of belonging in the world. In the West/Zimmerman piece we discussed that gender as a performance is actually a performance to make certain that sex equals gender which equals sexuality which equals you.

Since sex is "stable" and not easily changed, it tends to shape our gender. If a person is born with female genitalia, they tend to act more feminine and dress in a feminine manner because of the standards of society. If someone is born with male genitalia, then they tend to act more masculine based on society shaping their gender. If either of these is the case, then their sex and gender agree with one another. Gender makes life "real" because it influences the way we interact with one another.

In our modern culture, ambiguity makes people uncomfortable because then that person encountering ambiguity doesn't always know how to act, depending on that person's status as male or female. Traditionally, people tend to interact differently with people based on their gender and when that gender is indistinguishable, it provides a discomfort and unease in the situation. Changing the way we do gender could easily change the way we are treated by others. If everyone's gender was ambiguous then as a society we would all interact the same way and not have to worry about acting a certain way with one person compared to another. But if this was the case then it would be difficult when choosing a partner, because most people are attracted to one sex or another, the ambiguity would make it harder to distinguish between sexes.

word count: 303

Week Two Blog

. The concept of gender as a "performance" is an intriguing idea. In my opinion, if gender is a "performance", then it alterable, something that can be changed. There are many factors that influence how one may perform their gender at a specific time. Society shapes the way we think we should act, and so do our peers and other people around us. We all grow up in different environments where some ideas are accepted and some are not, and that is how we "learn" the gender that we "perform".
That is where the idea comes in that gender performance produces the very real social conditions that we live in. Although gender can be considered a "performance" it is real in our society. We live in a world where generally men are considered to have more power than women. We have a thing called sexism, people being discriminated against because of their sexuality. And most importantly, men and women have specific roles they are expected to play in everyday life. If gender performance was not real, these social conditions would not exist. The most important factor of "performing" gender is that, how you dress, think, talk and act make your own gender real to you. Most of the times your gender is subconscious, and if you are not purposely performing a certain way, then to you, it is not a performance, However, the way you subconsciously change how you act around different people is what makes gender something that you "perform".
The way we "do" gender definitely does affect our social interaction with others. If we do our gender differently, our personal social conditions are apt to change. If we think about gender differently, we may attract different friends or partners. If more people were informed about the ideas of gender not being limited to strictly male or female, the way society as a whole does gender might change, and that could very well affect our social conditions in a positive way.

Week Two Blog

Gender performs who we are really. The type of job you obtain in most cases can be determined by your gender. It rules the way we dress and how we act. Most men aren't going to obsess about which outfit they wear for the day whereas a woman might. We do perform our genders through hairstyles and dress, jobs, and actions. There are certain actions that would be classified as feminine or masculine, and by doing those actions we show others whether we are male or female.

So how does gender make life real if it isn't authentic? It's like a child learning the language of their country. They are born into it and learn it just by hearing the people surrounding them. A young child isn't going to have a desire to be learning a different language. The same type of thing happens with gender. If you're an American, you'll speak English, and if you're born a woman, you'll learn from others how to be a woman. The actions you do may be learned from others but it's what you've done your whole life. As a person becomes older they can decide if they want to learn a different language, and if you don't like something about your gender, you can change that too. Even though most of our actions are learned from previous generations, we always have the right to change according to who we are. If you don't like wearing skirts, you don't have to. I believe the ability to make your own changes and adjustments to the system make your gender real to you.

How we present ourselves definitely affects how others will treat us. A girl who dresses more like a boy isn't going to get the same attention as a girl who wears a mini skirt and feminine shirt. I do think that slowly our culture is learning to accept other styles. If our culture were to turn to a system of five sexes instead of two I do believe people would be much more open to stranger social conditions. Whether we get to that point is the question. Having five sexes would change how America does sports, how many different rooms there are for public bathrooms, and many other things. It would be a very hard transition and it would take a really long time, but it would make people more open to new ways of "performing gender."

Week 2 Blog

Gender is a performance in which we interact differently with others and ourselves during a variety of situations. If I were to watch Sex and the City with my girlfriends, I would “perform? my gender by saying lots of inappropriate comments, and adding snippets like “Mr. Big is stupid.? But if I were to watch TV with my father, I would not even consider watching the show, nor would I say any inappropriate comments. This is gender performance. I choose to act this way in situations I face in life. By performing, I am recognizable, my friends view me as one of their girlfriends, and my father recognizes me as his daughter. My performance shows my identity, which tells people I am a female, and a daughter.

Society shapes gender. It has no original—society and time changes gender roles. However gender makes life real because it’s an expectation. We are expected to live woman, man—it takes up our every essence. We wear clothes to fit our gender, we check our gender in official documents, and we act feminine or masculine to fit our gender roles. Gender makes life real because we make it real. If it wasn’t real, we wouldn’t care about our clothes, identifying sex in documents, or how we act.

The way we present ourselves impact the way others treat us. During high school mock trial, I presented myself as a strong, independent female lawyer, so the others knew I was no ditz or pushover. I would sit up straight, wear my “object me? pumps, and speak with conviction. When I saw the male lawyer, his timid performance allowed me to treat him as if he was the ditz, and the pushover. I believe if we change the way we do gender, it will change our social conditions and our knowledge on gender. History proved from the way Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells, and other woman “did? gender, we would not be able to vote, wear pants, or even attend college. We know women have power; they have a chance to be the president, and have jobs that even fifty years ago was only a dream.

Week 2 Blog

The performing or doing gender is at the core of everyday life. It affects how our society, our culture, our relationships view us as individuals and even more how we interact within these areas. The doing of our gender is ingrained in each of us early on in our lives and by the daily practice our gender becomes who we are as individuals. The categories, man or woman, in our society come with expectations, roles, rights, (or lack of rights) and become part of the hierarchy of a system we are a part of. We manage our conduct and behavior to match a sex category. We mold and are molded by what we perceive these roles to be.

Gender is made real by the “doing.? Our culture has expectations of how we not only present ourselves but also how we function in society. If my approach to life situations and my daily interactions are to be successful, then I must attain my gender. I must learn what a “woman? should do. The more successful I am at accomplishing my gender, the more real it is made to not only myself but to others. The “performing? becomes a genuine part of who I am – internally, as well as being manifested externally to others.

Although I believe how we act effects us in direct relationship to how we are seen and treated by others, our culture has “gender? expectations. I can change how I do my role, but if I challenge cultural expectations too far out of the “norm? of social standards than I would need to be prepared to express and/or modify gender in new ways.

Blog Week Two

-Gender is a performance, as Judith Butler's article is stating. The idea of gender isn't a "given" trait to each person. It's something that the person decides to "do", for many different reasons. Gender performs in either a personality and/or physical sense. It shows people who you are and what you want them to see. It is something that forms the first impression of you. Gender performance is often what clothes you wear, how you cut your hair, if you wear make up, or how you talk. It is what shows to everyone, and it is what you "do" or make of gender which is what those people see.

-Even though gender is inauthentic, it creates authentic living situations. Gender is something that someone acts as, or makes for themselves, but it is also what others see. People judge you depending on what they see and what kind of person they think you are. It's real when someone is friends with you or isn't friends with you because of what you made of your gender. The social groups we find ourselves in and the people we are with are real. For example, the jobs we get are real, even though it's depending what impression you made. It's like Butler says in her article, "It's that we ourselves internalize the risk of not being recognizable." It's the fact that we put on this gender as a role in order to create the real social conditions of being recognized as something in our society.

-Social action depends on gender performance. Like I said before, the way that someone presents themselves is what other people judge them by. Different social groups expect certain things from the people that "fit" into their group. In order for someone to fit in they would have to adjust their gender role. They would have to adjust how they dress, or maybe how they talk. In this society today the sad part is that not everyone excepts people for whatever they wish to be. If someone wants to fit in somewhere they need to create or make a different gender, and that decides how different people will treat you. If ever possible, if we could change the way we do gender, meaning not having to change according the people who surround us or who we want to fit in with, and just do gender according to what's best for each person, it could change our society is great ways.

Week 2

When I wear a skirt, its not a primitive complusion to exclaim my identity as a woman, My ovaries did not send a chemical message to my brain informing me to confirm myself a female by donning traditionally feminine clothing. I am a woman in every anatomical respect, but I was not born with an instinct to act, dress, or be like pre-existing women of my culture. I was born with a sex, but not a gender. Due to the sex I possess I'm expected to act as other women to gain acceptance into my society, yet ironically I lack any horomonal or chemical programming to be a socially recognized female and become 'gendered'. So to learn my predisposed gender, I watched the behaviors of other women and mimicked. I am not expressing myself as woman, rather becoming a woman with every demonstration. But at no point will the need to perform my 'gender' cease, I must continue to prove myself a woman As put by Judith Butler, "Gender is a process of continuous construction that produces the effect of being natural and stale through gender performances that make us 'men' and 'women'". Butler claims beyond our performances there is no gender identity, but does not deny the effects of our supposed gender on society. Since the beginning of time, these expressed genders have shaped a myriad of aspects in society. Gender is responsible for the timeless inequality between the sexes and produced the social hierarchy. Its our traditional gender displays that formed out-dated cliches of today our society is attempting to escape, like women as primary caregivers or women as intellectually inferior to men. On a more individual level; your job, your education, your childhood, your circle of friends, and your sexual relationship have all in some way been twisted by the gender you demonstrate. Your gender performance radically effects your life in uncountable ways. Back to the skirt. Perhaps I wear my little black skirt to the hardware store and when I ask the location of the screwdrivers, I receive this type of response from the elderly man, "Oh sweetheart, let me show you..." when two days earlier I'd been sent off with simple instructions by the same man while wearing baggy sweats. Or think back to high school science during the frog dissection, you refused to do it and cried yet still received a passing grade on the rational, "Girls simply can't handle dissection sometimes, but that's acceptable." In continuing to perform these outdated and conventional actions, the gender will continue to be submitted to the outdated and conventional standards of the past. The simple solution would be to stop doing gender and radically alter such conditions, but is it really that easy? Would our entire society crumble with out these gender performances? We will never know. Since gender must be constantly performed and reaffirmed, no individual will ever meet any enlightenment to end the cycle. Though such social conditions may shift as the gender performances slight change, the system will never be overthrown.

Blog 2

Everyone goes through a performance in a way every single day of their lives by performing their gender. This performance is what everyone else that they interact with sees and is what those people use to determine your gender, your personality, and basically just who you are as a person. This performance is one of the things that allows other people to say, “Oh, she's a girl.? or “He's a boy.?. This performance gives all of us an identity that others can associate with and use to group us into our sex categories. This performance is something that is ingrained into our being from the day we are born. Children learn by watching what those around them are doing and they very quickly learn what is the 'right' thing for their sex to do and what is the 'wrong' thing to do and then continue to perform those right and wrong things to prove that they are in fact a girl or a boy until they don't notice it anymore.

This performance also provides a bit of insight on how a person is treated socially. Everyone is treated differently depending on whether they are a man, woman, child, transsexual, etc. which is a label or grouping that everyone is given pretty much as soon as they are seen by anyone else. This starts to create a social cycle. Other people give us labels or groups and expect us to perform these groups naturally. We therefore conform to these groups without thinking because it is expected of us and in turn, we expect that these other people perform their gender and fit into their group just as much as we fit in ours. If anyone was to perform outside of the norm of their grouping or their gender they would be treated differently. People in general don't seem to know how to deal with a change in something that seemed concrete in the past and therefore will either treat this change with a completely different attitude or try their best to continue to fit this change into its original category.

Changing the way we do gender, therefore, definitely can change our social conditions. For example, a person that has been performing to be a woman their whole life and ends up starting to perform something that would be defined as a man trait would be treated differently, because other people no longer can find that concrete 'woman' group for this person. They went outside of the norm and now have to be reassociated with another group...either the same one or a different one, but either way they will be treated a little differently I think.

Week 2 Blog

The way we perform in life is the way people start to perceive us. The way we act, talk, and express our individuality becomes who we "are." If we decide to act out of these norms, people start to wonder what is going on in our life for us to be acting in a different (maybe sometimes awkward) manner. From the day we are born, we start to "obtain" certain characteristics that is determined by what sex we are. We are told to act certain ways depending if we are male of female. For instance, girls are told to act more "lady-like" by crossing their legs or ankles instead of sitting more comfortably like a man would. In gender being a performance, we are basically required to "show" how we are male or female by the certain actions that we choose to make. Most of the time, this starts right from birth and our parents can have a big influence on how we "start" gender, if you will. It is all about how we are proving to society that we are male or female.

Gender is something that we grow up learning to "do." Therefore, society comes to the conclusion that it is real, and this is the way we are supposed to be. Gender becomes more of an every day task than it is an option. We are proving to everyone around us if we are male, female or otherwise. Thus, it becomes "real" to us because of the way we perceive one another from "doing" what we do as individuals.

I strongly believe that the way we present ourselves has an influence on how people treat one another. For instance, if I started dressing up in all black, dyed my hair black, wore nothing but black make-up, I know some people around me would classify me as "gothic." Not saying that is a bad thing, it is just not who I am, therefore, it is out of my so-called "norm." If people make drastic changes in what they look like or how they act, there is normally a reaction from their families or friends, whether it be in a positive or negative manner. If we were to change the way we "do" gender, I do not necessarily believe that it would completely change our social conditions. It would all be in a matter of how we changed "doing" gender. Society has too many individualists for everyone to come to a single conclusion. I do believe the knowledge we have about gender is and will be forever changing, just as society always is.

Blog #2

The idea that gender is a performance means that gender is not, as we are socialized to believe, necessarily a result of the genitalia with which we are born. The idea that gender is a performance refutes the commonly-held assumption that boys “naturally? act like boys and girls “naturally? act like girls, and that those behaviors and characteristics “naturally? carry on into adulthood.

Instead, the performance of gender is actually a performance to prove to ourselves and to others that our sex reflects our gender—which reflects our sexuality—which reflects us. We do gender and we assume that others do it, too. When one accomplishes gender, that person naturalizes gender within themselves.

I see the construction of gender as a perpetual cycle. Throughout American history, we have created and recreated the “male? ideal and the “female? ideal. We have a new baby boy or girl, determined by ownership of “fitting? genitalia for its sex. We recognize its sex in the choices we make—from the color of its bedroom walls to the types of toys we buy. The child grows up, taking hold of the reigns for its own gender performativity, continuing that which it feels society understands. And the cycle restarts.

However, this path is by no means absolute. Changing the way that we “do? gender can change our social conditions. The way in which we present ourselves impacts the way others see us, so it makes sense that if we changed our performance, others would, in turn, perform to us differently. Perhaps if people allow themselves to perform outside societal constraints, others will perform with lesser grip on traditional “male? or “female? expectations. The result would be a more genuine society of individuals.

The performance of gender, material consequences, and social change

When a baby is born, upon inspection of the genitalia, it is labeled either male or female. The dualistic nature of our culture defines man as everything that woman isn’t and woman as everything man isn’t. The terms describing the attributes of these polar opposites are the masculine and the feminine, and the images of men and women illustrating these attributes are the archetypes from which gender traits are created. These archetypes are located within a heteronormative framework in which genitalia, gender identification, and sexual orientation must match a certain “coherent? or reproductive pattern in order to be considered “normal.? People internalize gender roles and traits during the process of childhood, and learn how to execute a convincing “performance? of their assigned gender that takes place literally every moment of every person’s life. Gender is a self-regulating institution. We expect others to correctly perform gender and in turn they expect us to do the same. There are a wide range of possible social negatives resulting from the failure to perform gender correctly spanning from taunting to murder.

Thus while gender is entirely a creation of culture, and not at all “natural,? gender is important to society because it is a sorting device for the allotment of work, resources, and power. This is why everyday events bare such drastically different consequences for men and women. In this way, performance of gender roles is also performance of economic class. The hierarchical, capitalist nature of our society demands division of the masses in order to concentrate wealth at the top. The myth of class flexibility (the idea that we all have an equal chance to become rich with a little hard work and entrepreneurship) is dangled in front of us to convince us to ignore inequality and poverty. The poverties produced by the social, economic, and political disabilities effected by gender are thus created in an ongoing cycle.

Our display of unambiguous gender traits ensures that we be treated and regarded as either men or women. While individual resistance to gender norms does indeed create a social ripple effect, it is difficult to create material changes in the social, economic, and political realities of men and women in the climate of lethargy and low activism that currently pervades the US. Social resistance and possible violence are also limitations on a person’s ability to use gender performance for social change.

Week Two Blog

Gender performance is an unconscious everyday act. It is living and fitting into a role that society has created. Society has created the idea for how a girl or women should act compared to how a boy or man should act. Those who fit the expected criteria are socially accepted but those who deviate from the norm are social outcasts who are looked down upon. Because we are so blinded by society’s labels or roles that people fit in; it is easy for people to judge others or categorize others because it is socially normal for us to do that without even thinking about that person. We assume that gender is black or white yet most people never realize that there are so many concepts of gender. We think that gender is so constricted because we are taught that, it is hard to think any different when the norm is constricted. If society changed for the good then gender could be seen in a new way. With the cooperation and education of others I believe that society can change. If more and more people acted outside of the norms society might be more willing to see outside gender norms. If society can see that teaching children gender norms is ridiculous maybe more people in society will demonstrate to others that it’s ok to act like a boy if you’re a girl or to act like a girl if you’re a boy. I hope that with time categorization can disappear along with the idea that gender should be constricted I hope that one day those who are not “normal? in societies eye can be able to be who they are without any repercussions.

Week 2 Blog

I think gender as a performance comes from the idea that men and women portray specific and different characteristics. When one takes into consideration people who are transsexual or intersex, it makes it more complicated than to say that these “masculine? and “feminine? characteristics are mutually exclusive. However, when people portray more feminine or masculine traits, it becomes a proclamation to society what gender that person is. Our habits and actions decide our gender for us. The rest of society uses these to make those split-second judgments on how to interact with each other. Like we talked about in lecture and discussion, people act differently toward doctors, teachers, relatives, friends, etc. I think the same can be said about how we act toward men and women.
Society operates and depends on labels. There are too many people in the world for us to not depend on our split-second judgments of others, and thus how to interact with them. We put people in boxes out of necessity. Not only do we label others, but we accept gender labels of ourselves. It becomes our identity and we are not conscious of it. We “act? or “perform? it because it is in our nature.
How we categorize and perform our genders explains (in part) our social interactions, and how certain expectations develop. We have expectations of ourselves and also for other people to perform in certain ways. It would be like working on an assembly line—certain things are expected to come your way, and you know what to do with them when they get there. If it is unusual or unrecognizable, you do not have time analyze it. It is disregarded. Changing the way we “do? gender would definitely change social conditions and our understanding of categorizing gender.

September 13, 2008

Blog Week 2

Gender performance, looking at this phrase might confuse someone who has not taken a gender studies course. Gender performance is the way that humans act in their interactions with one another that help the other person categorize the "actor" into a gender category. The sum total of our interactions is our performance of gender. We might not realize that we are performing or the fact that each of our actions is based upon a category that we decided to place ourselves in. The performance is used to not only let others know which gender category we belong in but also to let others know that they will also be judged by the performance they make. Like many things in life, gender is a social construction that allows us to reason through the natural world. It is one of many things that were arbitrarily assigned a value so that we could use it as a basis to deconstruct nature. By using gender as a 'ruler', we are able to assign values to other social interactions and constructions. I'm not sure that gender alone makes life 'real'. I believe that gender allows for a view of the world that matches well with who humans like to think (binaries). All social interactions are determined by how we perform gender. Women and men are accorded different attitudes of interaction and attitude ultimately affects how we are treated by others. A change in the way we 'do' gender would affect our culture very deeply. One example of this is the way that gays are treated in our culture. The way that they 'perform' gender is threatening and unsettling to some members of society and that in itself is shaking how culture and individuals treat gays.

Week Two Blog

“Gender is a performance.? Everyone “performs? gender because it is an essential part of the identity that we form from birth – the identity that we give to ourselves and others to recognize us. The reason it is only a performance is that it is not a true biological trait – the chromosomes we have do not determine whether or not we act feminine or masculine. They only allude to the norms that society will teach us. We must perform gender, not only to belong, but also to have a sense of being. We, as human beings, cannot be nothing. We must be categorized, even to ourselves.

Although this performance is “inauthentic? in the sense that there is no innate sense of gender from birth, it becomes real to us. We cannot separate gender from identity, no matter how hard we try. Classifying people is how our society is structured, what we have been taught throughout our lives from relatives, friends, and strangers. As mentioned above, gender becomes our sense of self. I am a woman. I am a man. Not, I am something. Even the former statement would be a classification. It is impossible for us to not classify or identity ourselves or others. It determines our place in society and even our expectations.

Women are expected to be a certain way. Men are expected to be a certain way. We act differently in different situations in accordance with how we identify ourselves and others by their gender. The performances of gender interact unintentionally if ever social situation. How we are approached and treated is in response to our gender identification. Without it, we would be outcast and isolated. Perhaps we could move to change these performances, but it would take an effort more powerful than our subconscious. And so, it is not foreseen in the near future.

Blog #2

Simply put, gender performs power relations. The "performance of gender," as a theoretical term, may not denote the complexity of this power relationship, but it is an excellent sort of "light bulb" idea. Of course gender is performed every day; if it wasn't, what would our everyday look like? Existing in a society that is dependent on identifying others and isolating groups means there can be no neutrality in terms of something like gender-- especially because, within a paradigm of sexual dimorphism (i.e., male vs. female), such a concept is easily hit upon as an identifying factor.
This is why gender is inauthentic yet real. Until one interrogates the concept itself, gender remains an unconscious part of one's reality; when the "constructedness" of gender becomes apparent, the only thing that gender loses is its authenticity (it still means something to me and a lot of other people in the world). So critically examining gender as a performance, construction, inauthentic artifact, is a good starting point from which to change the reality of its expression and effects. But it is just a starting point.
From learning about various social change movements, I've realized that individual changes are "great and all," but rarely have the power to confront and effectively challenge systematic and institutional inequality/oppression. Yet I can't see any organized change happening without genuine, authentic, individual embodiments of that change. So drawing on what one has critically examined, for example the idea of gender itself, can lead to individual change, which in turn could lead to more broad-based change. Attempting to "be" oneself outside of, unrelated to, the current gender system, would be liberating for many "genderqueer" folks who do not find full selfhood as a man or woman.

Week Two Blog

I believe that gender performs the stereotypes that have been placed upon men and women in today’s society for ages. Throughout time people have expected men and women to act a certain way in order to fulfill their gender roles so that they may accomplish goals in life such as getting a job, earning an education, or finding a significant other. Within each of these goals are standards that allow people to be respected by others. These standards are basically the stereotypes people expect of men and women and this is what gender helps accomplish. An example would be that a women is supposed to find a man and get married and in order to do so, she has to be attractive, sweet, and especially feminine to attract a man. So when a girl dresses up and possibly pretends to be slightly dim-witted, this is just a moment when gender is a performance of trying to encompass a stereotype.

This also shows how gender produces the social conditions we live. In a way it can be said that society creates ideas for people to follow. Feminists believe that everyone is born with a sex, but they learn gender from norms that are imposed on them by society. The way that some men and women act proves that the feminist theory is partially right. I do not believe that the theory is completely right, but it makes sense in many respects. Mostly I gather that gender is something that is part of everyday life and varies from situation and individual expectations a person comes in contact with. Everyone changes the way they act, or “do gender? each day because how we present ourselves changes for every social condition. Because how we act affects how we will be treated by others.

In a platonic example it is as simple as boys acting tough when they are together in a masculine situation such as a locker room. If a boy wanted to sit there and just tell his teammates about how overwhelmed he is with school or how he feels uncomfortable with his girlfriends pressing attempts to make their relationship more physical, he would be laughed at or ignored by everyone out of bewilderment. How a person acts as a man or women is taken into regard by everyone, and the minute a person steps out of their gender “norm,? their peers think less of them and are appalled by the unknown. Therefore if society would allow men and women to be thought of as individuals and not base their worth or like off of how well they do gender, I think life would be much different and more enjoyable.

Doing Gender

People are not born knowing what gender they are, it is something that is learned through social interaction. When we are young we learn what it means to be a boy or a girl and we grow up trying to constantly fit into whichever category we are told we belong to, and if we do something that stereotypically the other sex does, we are told by our parents that little boys or girls don't do such things. So, in essence, we are constantly acting or performing a role so others as well as ourselves know that we fit into the appropriate boy/girl category.

We are acting out society's norms of what gender is, gender solely as its own entity does not exist, because it is always influenced by the very binary norms of our society (man and women, heterosexual and homosexual, right and wrong, etc.). Though gender does not concretely exist, it is very real. This is because our society has very specific ways in which people can be accepted, and if they do not adhere to these specifications, there is the risk that a person could be ostracized. Being accepted and being ostracized in society are very real effects of gender.

Depending especially on where we are and who we are with, the way we are treated in accordance with our gender changes. For example, if a gay man would go to a very conservative small country town and "do" his gender in a way that shows others he is gay, he could be made fun of, beaten, or even murdered. However, if he does his gender differently, and adheres to more of sociey's norms of "masculine" behavior, he may be accpeted and treated well.

Week 2 blog assignment for chole005

Gender as performance, as described by Candace West in “Doing Gender?; is a façade put up by human beings as a result of societal pressure, rather than what she refers to as our “essential sexual natures?. These acts are used to form our identity, to portray that identity to others and perhaps prove it to others or ourselves.

The reward for satisfying this coercion to conform to an ideal that insists our sexual organs predictably dictate the core of our true self rather than performing biological function as any other organs we possess is the acceptance of our peers. In a society where a male/female dualism is the standard and a country where heterosexuality between these two parties is the only legally recognized demonstration of human sexuality, the either/or gender identity is not truly a choice, but a mandate.

Gender is the construct in which we manifest ourselves and our sexuality to others. Even if it is a performance, the fact that we view the world through the pane of terms like gender allows this construct to deeply impact both our society and how we see ourselves in it.

An objective view of gender would show the flimsiness of this construct as a ‘fact of nature’. Definitions of gender have been just as capricious as any human trend or superstition, being fully dependent if not defined by the popular beliefs of the time.

In my opinion, gender’s most compelling effect on humanity is that of a tool that has been utilized by those in power to exploit humanities’ need to categorize ourselves and others along imaginary lines, frustrating any collective outcry against the status quo.

Week Two

The idea that gender is a performance means gender is optional to a point. Realistically, we don’t really have a choice in performing something, because without that, we would be nothing. It also means we do choose how and to what extreme we perform our gender. For example, there are many girls who are more rough and athletic, but still portray themselves as girls quite easily and would not be mistaken for a boy. There are also overly “girly? girls who won’t let anyone forget they are female. So while everyone performs a gender, there is a wide range of levels of drama in performances.

Although gender isn’t something concrete, our interpretations of it provide the setting for every social situation we encounter. Adopting the mindset that males are different from females makes it impossible to treat each of these groups the same way. Knowing a person’s gender completely shapes how you act toward that person, except possibly in a situation that is strictly polite or professional. When a female converses with a male, for example, she tends to either dumb herself down to her assumed inferior role or be more outgoing and playfully cutting than she would with females. In contrast, when interacting with another female, she wouldn’t try as hard to be something “acceptable? and instead, may let go a little more and be herself. So even though gender isn’t something that is “real,? it creates real impressions, incentives, and interactions in social situations.

The ways in which we present ourselves absolutely affect how we are treated. Something that I’ve noticed is that in media, those who “overperform? their gender are highlighted, and those who are more laid back about it tend to blend in. This in turn translates to real life. People who are overly dramatic about their gender tend to be treated more strongly in accordance with their gender. For example, a guy may be more likely to flirt with a girl who is clearly feminine than one who is less concerned about keeping up extreme feminine appearances.

Week 2 Blog

Gender is a performance because from the day we are born we are expected to act in certain ways and like certain things. Men are to be masculine as females are to be feminine. Girls are expected to wear makeup and do their hair, where as guys are expected not to put much effort into getting ready. We change ourselves to impress different types of people. Whether it be for work, a night with the girls, or a hot date, we put on fronts for different audiences.

The role of gender in society is extremely real. Gender has made us perform for centuries. Society expects us to act and play the role of female and male just as we pass the judgment and expectations onto the people around us. Thus, it is a never ending cycle of expectations. It would take a very extreme movement to change the male female society that we live in today.

People who act outside of the norms of society face discrimination and are subject to hate crimes. Along with that, homosexual couples in the US are denied the right to marry and even if they are married- their marriage may not be valid in all 50 states and their rights as a married couple are still not even close to being equal to the rights of a married heterosexual couple. Changing the way we look at gender would improve conditions for many people. Not only for homosexuals but also for hermaphrodites, people who undergo sexual reassignment surgeries, and for people who just feel like they are trapped in their bodies and afraid to act the way they want.

Blog Two

“Gender is a performance?, to me, elaborates that gender is not the anatomy of the body. It is the way we act, dress, speak, and in the end, how we present ourselves in front of others. Our everyday lives being the stage in which we perform our gender on.
I especially liked the fact that Richardson pointed out how we, as humans, like to classify things. This is so true. We like to know how things fit together and when a piece of this puzzle does not fit in with everything else, many people do not know how to react. We have all, from birth, been living and performing our gender as it has been taught to us. These teachings do not necessarily mean that someone sat us down and said “this is the way you act?, although it could have been part of the learning process. Most people have learned gender performance through watching people and media. I believe that this performance does make gender a real thing, regardless of whether it matches the anatomy.
I do believe that the gender that one performs affects their everyday lives. To this day, women are still looked down upon by many because they are thought to not be as good or as smart as men. Also, transgenders are not treated with the respect that people should give them as human beings just like the rest of us. I have also heard that many people believe that in today’s world, it is a great disadvantage to be a white male, once thought to be the prime race/sex/gender. I think every gender has its disadvantages and advantages. If gender was thought of in a different way or didn’t exist at all, our culture would be a very different place.

September 12, 2008

Week two bloging

Personality is the gender performance because based on how we act; it categorizes us as either female or male. For an example a transgender that we do not know is a man we would categorize him as a woman because of his personality, which is of a woman. These personalities that I talk about are things that this society has stereotyped our whole life and history because gender seems so important to us. We are asked what our gender is when we go to the clinic, taking examines, and online dating. However on examines and online dating we could choose whatever gender we feel best fits us. An example would be a man looking for a woman online and finds the perfect one. However, when they meet he realizes that it’s a man. One thing he'll say is "You're a guy.? So how are we going to tell the difference between the two when we cannot even tell the difference between the two genders?
When we are categorize into two different gender people tend to expect us to act a certain way but when we don't follow those rules then we are considered odd and abnormal to others. It's like society when they first publically realize there were gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. They didn't want to accept this idea. They avoided the people that were different from them because of some stereotype and one of the stereotype that these same people were accuse of all having was AIDS or some kind of disease, which is not true at all and AIDS is something that can be created or given by anyone. Because of some changes that society was not use to; they had tried to avoid it and not accept it.

Blog Two

Gender is a performance in the sense that it is something we do to show others that we are either male or female. A man who wants other men to think he is manly will do the types of things society has told him make a man masculine. For example, a man who aspires to be the kind of man society tells him to be won’t be caught doing the things society expects of a woman. In our culture a decent majority of women will admit that they love to dance. Ask an average man in our society whether or not he enjoys dancing in front of all his guy friends and he’ll probably say something to the effect of “heck no.? In this sense we all act in a way that will identify us as either a man or a woman to the people who surround us.

Although gender is just something we do to fit in, it is also responsible for creating the social conditions that surround us in our everyday lives. By changing ourselves to meet the expectations of society, we begin to have these same expectations for others. As we identify the gender we want people to see in us, we start to want other people to identify themselves to us as well. We are responsible for the social conditions and expectations placed upon us because we perpetuate them in our daily interactions with others. In this way, the expectations placed upon us are a cycle. We conform to meet the expectations and, in turn, come to expect the same things from other people.

The way we present ourselves plays a big role in the treatment we receive from others. If I started to walk around in high heels and wear lipstick, my friends would probably react differently to me than they have in the past. The way we act lets us fit in with different groups of people and once we start to make major changes to our behavior, we change which groups of people we will fit in with. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to change our gender performance. For example, say I hung out with a crowd that others with different social expectations had deemed “nerdy.? Making minor changes to my gender performance could turn me from a geek into a jock in a month or two.

Blog Assignment Two

Blog Assignment:
Week Two

This past week, we took a closer look at some of the approaches to understanding gender that Richardson identified in our first reading. In particular, we read a few excerpts from popular gender studies scholar, Judith Butler. In these, Butler talks about gender being a type of cultural performance with material consequences. This is interesting, for it suggests that while gender is inauthentic, it also produces the very real social conditions we live in. It becomes even more interesting when we think about what this might mean in terms of our ability to act upon/change the realities that surround us- Could the very way we think about ourselves impact the way we think about gender?

In a 250-300 word blog entry, please discuss the following:

• In your own words, elaborate upon the idea that gender is a “performance?- What does gender “perform?;
• Then, talk through the idea that “while gender is inauthentic, it also produces the very real social conditions we live in?- If it’s constructed, how does gender make life “real??
• Then, seriously think about how gender performance connects to social action- Do the ways in which we present ourselves impact the way we are treated by others? Could changing the way we “do? gender change our social conditions and the knowledge we have about gender?

While you do not have to answer each question in the series that follow each bulleted point, please be sure to address each bullet point in your blog entry. This does not have to be a cohesive narrative and can answer each bullet point independently.


My name is Chloe Moriarty and I am a freshman. I am majoring in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies with a possible minor in Social Justice. I took a women's studies class when I did PSEO classes during my senior year in highschool.

Gender is the culturally created masculine and feminine. Everyone is always "doing" gender. I think the meaning of power in patriarchal society is domination; power over something. Inequalities of power function within everday encounters and transactions between classes of people.

September 8, 2008

Week One

Hey everyone, my name is Brittany Koppy, but most people call me BK. I'm a sophomore at the university and my major as of right now is cultural diversity, but that may change depending on what I can do with it. I live in Dinkytown and I love it so far. I work at Potbelly there too, so come visit! Over the past few years I've started to notice a lot about gender and how it affects our lives. I haven't ever taken any gender classes so I'm very excited to learn a lot in this class. There are so many stereotypes that come with genders that it seems very difficult to get past them. Men are expected to do certain things and act certain ways and the same goes for women. I think that power is one of the most abused things in the world today. People use power for their own advantage and don't even take a moment to think about others and helping them. I feel that its important to use one's power to help others and give to those in need. Gender and power and definitely related but i think in many more ways than one. And to say that men have more power than women is just scratching the surface. In everyday life we come in contact with gender and power daily. I think the way we deal with these issues shapes how we live our lives. And in everday life we should take into consideration the different genders and the power each person has.

gender, power, and everyday life: what are they?

My name is Katie Kubes and I am a sofomore. I am a Strategic Communications major in the Journalism School on the advertising track, and I am also minoring in Spanish. Though the term gender is a distinction between male and female, I have always considered gender to have a stereotypical connotation of the two sexes. For example, boys are associated with the color blue just as girls are with the color pink. Likewise, men are thought of as the breadwinners while women are the homemakers.

Power is any domination that one person has over another. In the example above of men as the family breadwinners and women as homemakers, they have power over women in a financial sense.

Traditionally, men have typically had domination over women. This power still holds true in many cultures. However, with the growth of feminism throughout many years, women are gaining power, not only in the workforce, but also in other aspects of everyday life as well.

September 7, 2008

Week One

Hey everyone! My name is Christina Jorgensen and I am a sophomore this year. I just transferred from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, so this will be my first year here in Minneapolis. My hometown is Sioux Falls, SD, though I have also lived in Missoula, MT. I’m majoring in global studies, and I’d like to pursue a minor in Spanish as well. So far I think the U is great, and I am especially excited for this class.

The relationship of gender and power is something I really started to think about in high school. I picked up The Feminine Mystique my senior year, and it gave me a really good perspective on what life was like for women just before the Women’s Liberation Movement versus women’s lives today. By life (or everyday life) I mean women’s roles at home, in society, and what their expectations were within those worlds. My own definition of power is a little more dynamic.

Power is subjective and, I believe, is based more on comparison. For example: Country X has more power than Country Y, or Candidate A’s influence is more powerful than Candidate B’s. I also think power is subject to change—it is fluid. In terms of women, there has been a definite shift in empowerment over the last 50 years in the US. It will be interesting to see how it continues to change within our lifetimes, and what that will mean for our “everyday lives.? I’m excited to see how this class will define and relate gender and power.

Week One

Greetings cyber-world,

My name is Emma Molls I am a second year English major here at the U. Last semester I took Women Write the World with Judith Katz and fell in love with the GWSS department. Within my own major, I am a huge fan of creative non-fiction and the development of the genre. Last semester I was also introduced to non-heteronormative writing/literature, (non-heteronormative being anything out of the realms of society’s “normal?, and in this case writing), and found a great interest in pushing the academic world to think outside of the box.

Gender is something I didn’t really think about much until I came to the U. As a freshman, I was part of numerous clubs where introducing yourself also meant introducing your preferred pronoun. That being said, I realized that gender, in everyday life, is something that has no common ground. Over the past few decades the thought of a gender binary has become more and more obsolete…which it should be. I firmly believe that power is self-given, and that once a person becomes comfortable with their gender (within or outside of the binary) the more power they will have. I'm looking forward to this course and some great discussions.

September 6, 2008

Week One

Hi everybody my name is Aremie Cosey and I am a freshman in CLA and my major is Journalism. I am not form Minnesota I am from Chicago and I really miss it there. My beliefs on gender and power is that of course it occurs in everyday life. My grandmother would call the women of today modern women because of what women are doing now and what they weren't doing back in her day. Back in her day the women used to stay home and raise the kids while the men were out working in the field or the steel mill. Not anymore. The women of today have more of a voice and they are not afraid to use it. Ever since the women burned their bras they decided that it was time for a change. Women are now competing for more male competitive jobs meaning that jobs that males usually do women are now taking over. If that's not power I don't know what is. For example i see more female construction workers than males sometimes. I also see a lot of female truck drivers and executives. Don't get me wrong the males are doing their own thing too. Most males are becoming stay home dads where they take care of the kids, the house, and work from home. Some men look down upon men like that, but I believe it's wonderful that some men are taking a stand and letting it be known that the women don't have to do it all. Sometimes a woman wants to come home from work and dinner would be ready for her. I know I would. So that's my belief on that.

Week One

Hi my name is Bau Nhia Thao, but you can just call me Bau.
My planned major is in Child Psychology but I'm sit not quite sure if I want to go into that anymore but it still interest me. If I do major in Child Psychology I might be a counselor for elementary students or I might just go further into Child Psychology to become a child psychologist and study how the child's mind works. I guess I became interested because of the amount of time I spend with my nieces and nephews and seeing how their mind works.
I guess one fact that will always be interesting and a shock to some is the amount of siblings I have. I have 11 siblings, seven sisters and four brothers. Our family has a pattern of girl, girl, boy, girl, girl, boy, etc. It has not changed ever.
I can't really think of any vague definitions of gender, power, and everyday life. The only definitions I can think of gender, power, and everyday life is the gender of both female and male, power that each of us have, and everyday life is what we deal with in our lives. I guess in all one definition that seems to match all three of these words are that they show us the difference; difference between women and men; differences between lower class men and higher class men. Power can also be the difference between men and women or older and younger people. Everyday life is some what like power because within each power that a person has they lead a different life from the others.

September 5, 2008


Hi! My name is Rebecca Galarowicz. I am a freshman in the pre-Graphic Design program through CDes. With my degree, I hope to work at a large magazine (in a big city of course) and be the art direct or something like that. Honestly at first, I didn't reallty know what this class entailed. I was a orientation and my adviser told me that I would be "double-dipping" and it would help toward my goal of studying abroad in the future. But now, after looking over the syllabus, I am excited to study the effects of gender in life. I've worked at a baseball stadium for the past four years and different treatment between the men and ladies who work there is quite evident. Sure, no one gets "cat calls" because they could be kicked out, but it is noticable in our tip cups at the end of each night. I'm sure that this doesn't sound huge, but every girl that works there gets hit on by the men, especially the drunk, old men. I guess that's my first-hand experience. But I'm excited and am looking forward to the rest of the class because I think it will open my eyes up even more to the world.

Week 1 Blog

Hi, My name is Violet Weston-Rose, I usually go by Violet Rose because it sounds better though. I am undecided about my major right now but I love to be creative so I was leaning towards marketing. I knowthat will be a very challenging major because it is related to business. I am also thinkin about kieneseology but I think i will have to do more research on both before I make my final decision, or if one of these will even be my decision.

What is Gender, Power and Everday Experience to Me?
These words mean a lot to me, one because I am a female and I feel like it is hard to be a female in a World like ours. Women seem to have more emotions and seem to be more sensitive in a sense. Sometimes that could be good and sometimes it can be bad. Power is a very strong word and a word that goes along with power to me is Leadership!! To have leadership then I believe you can have power. Power can be being ahead of someone like being a manager or president or it can just be saying what you mean when you want to and having someone listening to you. Power can have a list full of meaning because it can mean so much to different people at different times in their lives. Everyday Experience...now this can be tricky.. this can mean what I am going through as a young female on a daily basis or it can mean what i am plan on doing on a daily basis. I think that all of these words can mean so many different things and that is why i am taking this course to learn more about everything int his catogory along with new perspetives and meaning for these words and how they affect different people. I am open to all types of thoughts and i am really looking forward to hearing everyones opions on certain topics we discuss in this course.

week one

my name is Britta. i am getting my bachelor of fine arts in ceramics, and finally got my own studio space. very exciting. the terms gender, power, and everyday life i feel are largely informed by the culture in which we as individuals live. using the words male and female to describe someone/-thing automatically places that within a limited space which has been created by the power hierarchy our culture has ascribed "male" and "female."

Week One Blog

My name is Rachel Palmer and I am a freshman here at the U. My intended major is environmental horticulture. I’m not really sure why, I just decided one day that horticulture sounded interesting and that I wanted to work with plants. As of now, I am planning on going into floriculture. Besides growing things, I like dancing, searching iTunes to find music that most people haven‘t heard, and doing crafty things like crocheting.

In my opinion, the terms “gender,? “power,? and “everyday life? are very strongly correlated. Although we aim for complete equality between genders, it is clear that this goal is simply impossible to achieve completely. There will always be natural differences between genders that allow males to be more suitable for certain things than females and vice versa. This gives varying types and amounts of power to each gender, but it is hard to say which gender is overall more powerful. For example, while males may have more authority in a workplace, females may have more influence over the family, as a general rule. These unavoidable discontinuities between genders make all the difference in our everyday lives. For example, personality differences between males and females account for things like male and female public restrooms. The more outgoing, nonchalant manner of males is shown by the fact that, unlike secretive, self-conscious females, they don’t always need to use private stalls. They are also shown in things as simple as children’s toys. There are natural reasons why a boy will be more excited to get a toy truck than a doll for his birthday, and the opposite for a girl. Overall, while we can do our best to equalize the genders, it is inevitable that each will always be powerful in its own way.

Hey everybody, my name's Andy and I'm one of those battery thieving electrical engineers from Baltimore. To me, power and everyday life are simply one's ability to affect change of influence people is ordinary settings; when no legal authority is involved. Obviously, any uniformed police officer, for instance, is going to have power over most other people for no other reason than being in uniform. Outside of such scenarios is everyday life, and your influence is certainly influenced by gender.
However, as to what gender is, I couldn't give a concrete answer. Of course there's the simple biological answer of having either that XX or XY genome, but even this fails to account for "in-between" genders, caused by genetic defects. In such cases, or even at large, could our gender defined by our genitalia and outward appearance, or is it defined more by behavior? Even so, what constitutes a particular gender behaviorly changes based on culture. In a matriarchal society, a woman would have more inherent leadership, while one acting with the same initiative in a more male-dominated society could be seen as more 'male'. Furthermore, what would one consider a well-defined biological man or woman who was convinced they were of the other gender and conformed to the traditional gender roles of the gender they thought they were? Although the connection between gender, power and everyday life is quite visible, it's hard for me, at least at this time, to define exactly how they fit and flow together.

Blog one

Hi my name is Hilary Mays and I am a freshman from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My major is still undecided, yet I am leaning towards something in Mass Communications/Public Relations and also interested in a major in French. I was first interested in this class because the roles of gender/sexuality in everyday life interests me very much. I believe that gender has a very large impact on daily life whether that is seen as positive or negative.

Week One

My name is Corrie and I am a sociology major in my last semester at the U. I also am a GWSS minor. After 4 years at this university and 2 years in Gender Studies classes, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on power, gender and their implications in everday life. Gender, in my opinion, represents a category that we have wrongly assumed to be innate, natural and unchanging throughout history. Gender, in reality, is nothing more than a performance, an act that we do to communicate to others our desired sex and is most definitely connected to sexuality and institutional structures of power. Gender and power are inextricably linked. Becacuse gender is a category, it is often used to create a binary: i.e. male, female which has been used to control social groups for years. Men as strong, logical, breadwinners and women as emotional caretakers. These binaries are enforced in everyday situations such as the clothes we wear, the bathrooms we use, and the division of labor at the workplace and at home. We further enforce or subvert these binaries in our daily interactions with eachother and institutions such as the U in which we can discuss them further. I look forward to doing that with all of you this semester!

Week 1

Hey everyone, my name is Shelby Hegy. I am currently a freshman here at the U and I am majoring in biomedical engineering. One day I hope to either teach doctors how to use new technology or just maybe go into the actual development side? I really haven’t thought about it that much. I’m from the city of La Crescent, Minnesota.
Coming into this class I didn’t really think it applied to me. It was a general class and it fit in my schedule; however, now that I think about it, Gender and power and everyday life is apparent here at the U for me. Being a girl in IT means that for every one of me, there are four guys. That is a big difference. It makes me think that when I graduate I will be working mostly with men- not that I’m complaining- but are employers going to look at my gender as a good thing? A thing of change? Or as less than average?
As for coming up with a definition for gender, women, and every day life it is extremely difficult. I guess to many people it seems that women have had the same rights as men for a long, long time, but are women really to the point of men? I think we are getting closer, and many may argue that women are just as equal as men. If they were just as equal as men, why has it taken so long for a female candidate to be taken seriously on the ballot? I believe that there are issues surrounding gender in everyday life, not just in politics but also in the workplace, in the family, and many other aspects of everyday life. I hope to learn more about the issues women face not only here in the US but all over the world.

Blog One Assignment

My name is Elissa Roessler. I am a junior, majoring in Communication Studies. I also have academic interest in psychology/ sociology, journalism and Spanish.
I think gender can be defined in a couple different ways, but I really don't know what the correct definition is, if there is one. At first, when I thought of gender, the sex of the person came to mind, but is gender really defined by our physical anatomy, our birth- given sex, or does it have more to do with the mental/emotional components of a person? But then, if that is how you define it, consider the following scenario. Society may view someone as a man, because he has the anatomy of a male, but may have a very feminine-type personality and he, himself feels more like a woman (as defined by our culture) than a man. What would you label him? It is hard to think about labeling him as anything but a man (for me at least), because I think it would feel really strange to say or even hear a man say he is of the female gender, when, if defined by physical characteristics, is not.
I think our culture, as well as the type of community we live in and especially the media, defines what should be deemed as appropriate or expected behavior for both sexes, so in turn the media really defines what gender is or at least defines how each gender should act and what is acceptable. What is appropriate for men and women in my or your culture may not be appropriate in a different culture. I think that our different cultures and the societies we live within as well as how we were raised, what type of family we were raised by and during what years we were raised have a great deal to do with how our views of gender and power are shaped.
Whether it is our own culture, or another, I think that gender and the way power is distributed have a strong correlation in every day life, whether we want to admit it or not. Yes, we have had many strives in the right direction for equality amongst both sexes, as well as races, but not in every culture around the world. We still fight against assumptions and stereotypes everyday (both men and women) and I think the media has a lot to do with defining the roles that men and women are supposed to fit into, whether it has to do with family life, careers, hobbies, clothing, etc. I would love to believe that our society can be color- blind and fair to men and women at all times, but I don’t think that is the 100% truth. Whether we admit it or not, I think at one point in time, we all have been or will be guilty of judging someone based off of their sex.

Week One Blog

Hi everyone! My name is Ariel Orcutt and I am a freshman majoring in math and chemistry. I hope to eventually earn at least a masters in both majors if not a PhD and then get a teaching degree and teach either in the high school or in college. I suppose once I decide exactly at what level I want to teach it will be easier for me to decide just how far I go in my major. I am an extremely 'rounded' person I guess as I am interested in pretty much everything and try to learn as much about everything that I possibly can. I am also extremely involved in 4-H which is something I hope to continue throughout my college career.

As far as what I think this course is about, I'm not really sure. I have my opinions of course dealing with gender, power, and everyday life as it is something I have thought a lot about, especially once I decided to be in a technical field which is dominated mostly by men. However I have always been interested in the relationship between gender, the power that is associated with it and the generalizations made because of it which is one of the reasons I thought this class sounded interesting. I also tend to find it extremely irritating how women in general don't seem to be treated as equally as men in society. Its not that I think women are better than men at all, I just wish that all men and women could be treated completely and utterly equally as if everyone could just turn a blind eye to a person's gender and judge a person just based on their personality and skill and such.

Nor do I think this course will just be talking about how being a man or woman can affect how much power he/she gets and what goes on in their everyday life. There is still the different races to consider that can affect how a person is treated and different sexual preferences as well. Either way, I am extremely interested in finding out what this class has to teach me and am hoping that maybe it will help me better understand why there are such differences in power just because of race, gender, etc. and I promise I will keep a very open mind about everything. And you know, the odd thing is, the reason the human race still exists today is equally thanks to both men and women so its kind of odd that a person's gender can affect so much when both are so equally essential to human kinds survival....just a thought.

Week one blog

Hello everybody! My name is Cheryl Richter and I'm from Amery Wisconsin. I'm majoring in architecture and I might possibly do some interior design. We'll see where this college stuff takes me. I am a freshman....
So in my tiny town of 3,000 people the most controversial thing we talk about is politics. I didn't really realize what this class was going to be about, but I think it will be really interesting for me. To me gender always meant you're a boy or you're a girl. I've never really thought about it in a different way. I really know nothing about feminist studies. I know some women fought really hard for the right to vote. Other women did noble deeds but because they were women weren't recognized. I guess I really have a lot to learn about this subject because I really don't know how to go about this question. What else can gender be? It can be by what you think you are mentally or by the reproductive organs you have. Is a woman who is a construction worker any more manly than a hair dresser? Probably not but that's the general assumption. I had a high school teacher who had this little saying that assuming makes an ass out of you and me. ASS-U-ME So I'm excited to learn about this subject and to get to meet some cool people. I even noticed there were some boys in the class. That surprised me, but maybe they're the smart ones who know where all the girls are going to be. I hope they have a genuine interest in the subject though. I know it's not what I was expecting but I think that makes it seem more interesting.

Week 1 Blog

Hello everyone! My Name is Tamika Chaney and I am a second year student here at the U. Born and Raised in Chicago I came to the U trying to go out of state but still be close to home. I am majoring in Pharmaceuticals and I must say that I have many academic inerests, I just dont have them all sorted out yet! There is not really much to know about me besides the fact that I participate alot in class so you guys will probably get tired of hearing me talk LOL. It's just that I learn better that way so I apologize in advance. I took a gender studies class last semester where Katie was actually my TA and i enjoyed it alot so i figured I would take another one. Although these classes are not related to my major at all, I take them because the fulfill my requirements and i actually enjoy them at the same time. I find the things that we learn in these courses very interesting and I thought i would never be interested in something like this but hey I guess that's where the saying "never knock something until you try it" comes in. So im sure i'll enjoy this class this semester and im just ready for all the exciting things we have 2 cover. I don't like having expectations for anything so I wouldn't say I expect this class to be a certain way but to all of you who have never took a gender studies course, especially with Katie, im sure you will enjoy it just as much as I did and will!

Week One Blog

Hi everyone!
My name is Alba Bilani and I am from Albania. Alba from Albania, easy to remember! I am a freshman and I am in College of Biological Scinces. My major at the moment is Biology. I want to be a cardiologist or some type of e surgeon. I hope I won't change my mind though! I also like cooking and eating.

To be honest, I am not very familiarized with gender and and all the issues that come with it. When I think of gender and power, I think of men and women. I really want to know more about gender, and how things are dealt with here in America becasue in my country it is a whole different story. My culture doesn't really allow men and women to be on equal levels. They expect women to cook and do the housework and they are treated differently. In America though, it seems like the releationship between the genders is far ahead, but is it where it should be? I don't think so, and that's what I want to learn more about. Everday life makes me think of all the issues that go on in our lives everyday and we are not aware of them such as body image, racism etc.
I am excited to learn more!

Blog Assigment #1

Hola! My name is Rachel Carmichael. I am a third-year student working on my Individualized Degree with emphasis in Communications, Sociology, and Family Social Sciences. I love the studying of gender and power within the world of gender. It has always interested me since I was a youngen'. Gender is a biological definition/description of a human. Power is the basis on which a person is classified depicted by a certain category.
Power and gender go together greatly. They interact daily and have a great influence on how people interact. I think power and gender are a lot like media and can be subliminal. We are influenced by media without even noticing it, which can be simlarily compared with gender and power. A few questions that I think about when I am comparing gender and power are: Does power create an inequality between genders? Why do genders exist? What categories first come to mind when thinking about power and gender? How many different levels and kinds of power is there?
It's hard to think about gender and power without thinking of personal experience I've had with these. Personally, I think of my parents when I think of power and gender since there is a lot of existence of power and gender within intimant relationships. I know that power and gender influences from media and outside sources have had an impact within my intimate relations. Power and gender is everywhere in everyday life and especially in my everyday life.

You do not to read anything prior to posting your blog entry; in fact, we’d prefer if you think through these terms without the help of the readings. If you’d like to push yourself, try to draw some connections between gender, power, and everyday life- i.e. How do power and gender work together to create everyday life? Do you have any personal examples of gender and power in your own life?

Week One Blog

My name is Carole MacLean. I have not chosen a major and at this point in time my interests are very broad. I am excited, no, thrilled to be back in school again. I have a great love of learning.

I work in the College of Education at the University now and have a great deal of experience working in P-12 education as a school secretary/administrative assistant.

I am sure I am the most “senior? student in the class. I value my experiences but also look forward to learning more, thinking more, stretching myself, listening to others and sharing with my classmates.

I had the pleasure of growing up in the 50s and 60s, where you thought according to the current television show, all women wore dresses and high heels. Girls played “half court? basketball because they didn’t have the stamina to run full court and we could only wear pants on game days in high school. I matured during a time when the women began to defy the status quo. I witnessed firsthand the strides woman made in every aspect of everyday life through their journey to autonomy. Despite the hurdles, so much has been gained and changed for both women and men.

In my journey I also married into a misogynistic system where I saw firsthand how one could lose themselves through the insidiousness of an imbalance of power between genders. I witnessed daily the preference of sons over daughters and the expectations of what one gender “should? do instead of what each “could? do. When one gender is devalued…. all are devalued.

My hope is that women and men will now be afforded opportunities to be themselves without the biases of the past.

So as I process all my thoughts about this class I ask myself this
· How will I change and grow from what I will learn?
· What are my biases?
· How open am I to others ideas?
· How will my past experiences add or distract to new ideas?

Blog One

Hello all! My name is Anna Wakefield. I'm a second year student hear at the University of Minnesota. My major is currently undeclared. My academic interests are varied. I have a history in performance and theatre. I am extremely interested in learning about the way women fit into the world. I took a Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies course last year and I really enjoyed it. From the topics we discussed in that course I would conclude that gender is a term referring to the social constructs surrounding the biological sexes. The idea that one sex should be one way and the other another way. Gender is the way we turn males into men and females into women. Sometimes, the sex we were born with does not necessarily reflect the gender we know we are or aspire to become. Power is still a bit tricky for me, but as it relates to gender I would say that power is represented in relationships. In the relationships we have with members of our sex, the opposite, and everyone in between, the balance of power can vary. We see these different relationships all the time in everyday life. This past year, for example, we have seen women represented in the presidential race more greatly than ever before. For a long time we saw the race dominated by men but now, we are starting to see a shift in the power relationship. If we can even seriously entertain the idea of a woman in the White House other than a First Lady, we have already begun to witness the shift towards a more balanced power relationship between men and women in this country.

Week One Blog

My name is Erin Bodeau. I am from Eau Claire, WI and intend on majoring in Sociology. I graduated from high school last January and attended UW-Eau Claire. There I took my first sociology class and fell in love with the subject although I am not sure what sort of career I would like to pursue.
At UW-Eau Claire I started out the semester in another gender studies class. However, the class didn’t fit into my schedule very nicely and the professor’s attitude bothered me quite a bit. She seemed to be of the feminist strain that believes men’s only use is to fertilize eggs; she was very bitter.
I believe that men and women do differ biologically in more than the obvious ways but that neither sex is better off than the other. I don’t like the negative connotation feminism holds for many people. I would like to find a way to change that if by doing nothing except showing people through my own actions that not all feminists are angry, bitter, and man-haters.
I think that gender plays a tremendous role in our lives, much of which we are so used to it goes unnoticed. Society is so deeply rooted in its beliefs and traditions that true equality will take a long time to achieve; this is no one’s fault. This topic fascinates me.


Hello, my name is Brittany Knoll. I am a sophomore at the University of Minnesota. First semester of my freshman year I was a student at University of Minnesota – Duluth. At Duluth I was a communications major but transferred to the twin cities campus in hopes of becoming and interior design student. I was accepted and am currently a pre-interior design student.
I honestly am very unfamiliar with gender and power. When power is in reference to gender (feminism in particular) I think of someone or group of people who are willing to stand up and express their opinions, beliefs, and rights. Also, when I thought of power with gender studies I thought of discrimination. I believe that people discriminate against different genders because they are in a powerful position and need to push their frustrations and hate on someone they think will not defend themselves.
I specifically do not have personal examples that deal with gender and power but my aunt has dealt with the issue. My aunt is a pharmacist and has been working with her company for many years a higher position to chief pharmacist opened at the pharmacy and a new inexperienced male pharmacist got the position. I know of course that there could be many factors to this promotion that do not involve gender but most likely if the resumes were put side by side without names I believe my aunt would have received the promotion.
I am really excited to learn more about gender, power, and everyday life because I have only noticed the specific instance of my aunt in relation to gender and power. I cannot wait to learn more about the rights that women and men have and the relationship of the two compared to power and everyday life.

Blog 1

My name is Steffanie Bezruki and I'm a freshman. I'm an undecided, but hope to attend medical school or go into public health. "Gender, Power, and Everyday Life": I believe gender has little to no correlation to these other two words.
My gender should not change my ability to gain power or exercise it. The amount of power allotted to one should not reflect their anatomy. Nor should my gender be the reason one in power should ever favor me or treat me more harshly. Having been employed in numerous co-ed working environments, many times have I heard the grumbles, "Of course, he'll (the supervisor) be easier on her because she's a girl." or "She (the supervisor) never makes us work as hard, you know how women are." I've also heard equally negative statements from women about their male coworkers; claiming female bosses favor them, etc.
On the second phrase, Everday Life. Of course, everyday when I wake up, I am a woman. But how much different does that make my daily experiences from a man's? Besides the fact I use a different restroom and differences involving my heterosexual preference. I still stand in line as long as any man at starbucks. I'm charged the same price for a small black coffee (too much!). I am allowed to sit anywhere I choose in a class room, I'm given the same choices as any man on seating. My professors give me the same assignments as every man in the class that I am to complete in an identical time frame. When I graduate, my degree will be, in theory, as meaningful and important as all of my fellow male graduates. My everyday is not too different from any man's. Too bad for many women this is not the case, they are given lesser paychecks or suffer predjudices in the workplace due to their sex. Some use it to any unfair advantage with sex appeal or to throw pity parties for themselves, claiming they lost out on the promotion because of their gender. Even in the classroom this occurs with young women, purposely preventing or not receiving equal treatment.
I see the correlation between the subjects of "Power and Everyday Life" but that sounds more like the title of a political science course. In an ideal world, gender should never need to associate with the other two. But see the words: IN AN IDEAL WORLD.

Week One Blog

Hi! My name is Stephanie Koch, and I am attending the U of M for an Animal Science major with a pre-vet emphasis. I am good at math and science type courses, and also enjoy the performing arts. I am a good listener, and am always willing to have a nice conversation with someone.
The name “Gender, Power, and Everyday Life? gives me the impression that, for the duration of this course, we will be discussing how gender can affect one’s amount of success in the business world, and how one can receive specific treatment in their everyday life just because of their gender. With this being a feminist studies type of class, I believe that most of our focus will be on how the business world is mostly controlled by men, and for a woman, it is much more difficult to obtain power. However, I also believe that due to that misconception, men are also made to feel mediocre just because it is thought to be easy for men.
I would like to think that men and women can be treated as equals, without any special treatment for one or the other, unless it is due to our obvious physical differences, such as men wearing athletic supporters and women needing pregnancy leaves. Such examples would seem to discriminate between sexes, but are only put into effect due to our different needs.
I would like to note that there is no such thing as not being sexist, and everybody is sexist at some level. While not many people are as extreme as believing a woman is only meant to take care of the house and children, some are merely sexist at a subconscious level; such as assuming a lost purse automatically belongs to a girl. That is my opinion.


Hello, my name is Noel and I'm a Chemical Engineer. I haven't calculated or designed anything for three months now... Just kidding;) A little bit about myself; I really am a Chemical Engineering undergrad, I am currently in my sophomore year, and as you can see from my post I like to keep things fairly casual and fun. I've never taken a GWSS class before so I don't have many strong opinions about Gender and life. I think that it is impossible to step outside your door without judging others or being judged yourself because of gender. It may be the unconscious decision to hold a door open a little longer or to give up your seat on the bus to a complete stranger on the bus. Humans constantly use visual clues to categorize and sort through the multitude of information in the world. I believe that gender is one of the key distinctions for humans (and most other animals for that fact), it is how we may refer to ourselves, someone down the street, or a class of students. With the English language it may not be as apparent as in other languages where there are certain words that are gendered. Although many things in the United States have become gender indiscriminate there are still artifacts of gender's effect like chivalry, clothing trends, and accepted ways to conduct oneself that have remained in our culture.

Blog 1

Hi! My name is Melissa. My last name is pronounced “cheetah?, like the cat. My major is Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development (in the College of Biological Sciences) and I am a sophomore here at the University. I am from Nebraska and am a huge Husker fan! I have never taken a gender studies class but I am very open minded to learning new ideas and different opinions.
As I understand, gender is not the sex that one is born, it is more the characteristics that the person portrays. One’s sex could be different than the gender that he or she may associate with themselves or what gender our society may associate with them. Gender incorporates many feelings, behaviors, and the personality of the person rather than just the anatomical structures that one is born with.
Power, to me, is the control one has over something, someone, or a group of people. It is one’s ability to persuade others to conform to their ideas or requests.
Gender and power are a part of our everyday life. Many times, people stereotype about the gender of a person and that may affect the amount of power that one is able to achieve. Although this is not legal, it is something that many do unintentionally every day. Some people even do it intentionally. I feel like everyday life implies something that is going to stay around for a long period of time. With that, I think that the struggle to equalize the power associated with gender is going to last for a long time.

Week One Entry

Hi, my name is Christopher Sixl. My family moved to the United States of America twelve years ago from Frankfurt, Germany. I'm a freshman this year at the Institute of Technology and my intended major is Mechanical Engineering.

My personal belief about gender is that it plays a very important role in how we perceive the world in which we live, the relationships we have with others, how we do things, how we think, what kinds stereotypes are drawn about us, and how we handle situations. From what I have seen and experienced, men and women interpret things differently, and seem to handle things on a more emotional basis. Men try to seem like they are neutral to things in a way that sometimes makes them seem cold and unemotional. It's kind of like how guys don't cry in movies. Women are more in touch with their emotions and are more comfortable handling them than men are. That's why when I have a problem with a friend or something I go to a girl rather than a guy. Guys are problem solvers and this approach usually doesn't work well with situations that require more emotional intelligence.

Gender can also affect power in relationships in families, between employees, and between friends. In some families men dominate their wives because society has taught them that they are dominant simply because they are men. The same thing can happen in the workplace.

I also think that society's view on gender has changed significantly in the recent past. A couple hundred years ago it would have been considered crazy for a woman to leave her family, get an education, and find a job. That was what society expected guys to do. I believe that although it isn't perfect, the opportunities that were once only available for men are open to both men and women. Things could always get better though.

September 4, 2008

Blog One

Hi, my name is Alex Hoss and I'm a sophomore here at the University of Minnesota. My major is Aerospace Engineering. I enjoy playing guitar and working out in my free time. I also like to follow politics through its twists and turns and am looking forward to voting in the election in November. As for how I am involved in the university, I am a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

I took the course to satisfy my humanities requirement, cause even engineers need to know how to interact. I've never taken taken a gender studies class in my life, so this class will be a first for me. Unfortunately this leaves me with little experience in the field of gender, power, and everyday life.

Nevertheless, the gender aspect seems to involve the role differences between male and female in a recently diversified world. As the rights women have achieved in the United States is less than a century old, there is still a lot of activity strife in the movement. This especially applies to areas of the world where women do not have equal rights compared to men. I'm guessing the power aspect relates to the male to female distribution of leadership in the economic and political world and elsewhere. Obviously everyday life refers to how this has an effect daily.

Though I may not know much about gender studies, I will try my best to contribute my views as I see things and learn from others as well.

Week One Blog

I'm Emily Endert and I'm an Ecology, Evolution and Behavior major (in the Department of Biolgical Sciences). I transferred last January after doing a little over two years at Luther College. I think gender is a part of everything that happens to us everyday, whether it is screaming it's prescence or whether it is shown unconcsiously in our thoughts and actions. Someone's gender is a part of their identity and heavily influences the choices they make, and whether they stick to specific gender roles, or choose to go another way. With our society historically being a partiarchal dominated society it's definately been interesting watching politics in the last year, as women (especially Hilary Clinton and Sarah Paulin) are choosing alternate gender roles by running for office to lead the country.
I work in a bar (well, actually it's a British Pub) and it is very interesting to see gender issues at work there. There are usually more men then women that will choose to come to the pub alone, and I think a lot of it is the social stigma that if a woman is seen drinking by herself, she is seen as being out of bounds. It is also a law that one woman cannot close a bar by herself, for safety reasons. I appreciate this rule, but at the same time, you can make the most in tips late at night, but the girls can never stay alone to make all the money at the end of the night, whereas the guys can. It's very interesting to be aware of all these things in my everyday life.

Week One Blog

Hey My Name is Maria Robinson I am a History major with a possible GWSS minor. To me GWSS is studying the "roles" and interactions of women in society and how they have changed over time. I also think that it studies the differences of women across culture, age, races, class, religion and sexuality.

Week One Blog

Greetings, all. My name is Kayla Scheitlin, and I'm a freshman in the University's Institute of Technology. Right now, I’m starting with studying biomedical engineering - I don't really know what it is I want to do. But I’m interested in that, maybe genetics, and I’d like to continue to take Spanish as well. I'm from the suburbs of the Twin Cities. My hobbies include playing violin and soccer, though I’m not doing either of those things at the moment. Currently, I'm living in Centennial with my awesome betta fish named Igor.

This is the first gender studies class that I've ever taken, but I think that gender is related to one's sex and how one defines his or her identity by this and also how society creates an identity for him or her. Power and roles are prescribed according to these shaped identities, and they affect everyone in their everyday lives. Growing up in these identities creates expectations for both one’s gender and the opposite gender, and the cycle continues. These expectations are strong and play a large role in our modern world, even if subtle.

A current personal example of this for me is being in the Institute of Technology. There are lots of jokes concerning women in this college becoming engineers. While to me they are not offensive – I actually think some of them are funny – they are examples of expectations of the female gender. Women, typically, have not held as many positions in science and math as men, and therefore, the jokes point out the surprise of finding women in IT.

These assumptions of mine could easily be wrong. Hopefully, I’ll learn a lot from this course and be able to correct them.

Week One Blog

Elizabeth Goodman
My major is undecided so far, and gender power and everyday life to me means how people are affected by different positions of authority in different situations for example males having a female as a boss.

Week 1 Blog

Hello there! My name is Danielle Kellner, and I am a freshman here at the U! As of right now, I have an interest in majoring in Architecture and minoring in German. In my free time, I love hanging out with my family and friends, traveling the world, and relaxing with a few naps here and there, reading, and watching movies.

When I hear the word "gender," instantly I think of men and women being treated differently, but not necessarily in a negative sense. In today's society, I believe that males and females are becoming more equal in the sense that more education and job opportunities are being offered to us and more individuals seem to care what we have to say about a specific issue. People are starting to realize that just because we are female, does not mean that we cannot create something extraordinary and be comparable to men. That is where I believe power comes in. Women have taken more of a stand for their beliefs and place in society, and I think that is why we have come so far. Men are realizing that women can perform just as good of work, if not better, than they can. I hope to learn the roles that we have taken to come this far with men and women being treated equally and what we have to do in order to stay there.

The expression "everyday life" sends many things running through my brain. What am I going to do today? What classes do I need to go to and what homework needs to be completed? In this case, I would imagine that "everyday life" has to do with men and women. Again, I believe that women have come so far in order to be treated equally and have obtained more education and job opportunities. Most importantly, we have gained respect. This is always changing in our everyday lives. I would not say it is a struggle, but one has to always prove that they can perform to the best of their ability, and I believe this is one of the issues between men and women today. Someone is always "one-up." Is there such a thing as ever being treated equally?

I am not really quite sure what to expect out of this class. Honestly, when I was signing up for my fall classes as being a freshman, for some reason, this sounded very intriguing to me. I hope that I can take as much as possible from this class and apply it to my life. I am excited to jump into this material and see what everyone else has to say about these issues.

See you on Monday!

week one blog

Hi, my name is Abby Jacobson, and I'm from Green Bay Wisconsin. After a couple changes I've decided on being a history major, and decided to take this course since I've always been interested in historical gender study and I thought understanding modern gender study might be helpful.

When I think of gender and power, the first thing that comes to my mind are the inequalities of everyday life, like when a man and a woman do the same job yet the woman is usually paid less, or even just occasionally not being addressed with the same courtesy and respect that my boyfriend is when we’re at a computer store or a restaurant. Things are changing for the better, but while I hope that balance will be reached I also doubt that it will happen anytime soon, if at all.

Blog One

Hi everyone,

My name is Rachel Butenhoff. I am a senior. My major is Family Social Science and my minor is Family Violence Prevention. I am planning on minoring in GWSS as well. In addition to my major and two minors, I plan on going through the Certified Family Life Education program.

Interesting facts: I have a cat named Zeke and a Betta fish named Fire Engine. I moved into StoneArch Apartments(near the StoneArch Bridge) 3 days ago, so I've been busy unpacking.

Definitions/Insights on Gender, Power and Everyday Life:
To me, gender has to do with sex/identities, attitudes, and most importantly roles/expectations. When I think of power, I think of strength (mental, physical, financial), ambition/drive, control, and leadership.

I strongly feel that our roles and expectations about gender and power have the greatest impact on the way everyday life is created. I think that people want to fit in and the only way people can fit in is by following this way of life that has been created through the gender roles and expectations. For example, babies typically wear pink if they're girls and blue if they're boys. I personally know many people who are not okay with their children wearing colors that are not typical of the child's gender. The same is true for toys that children play with or activities that children(or adults) participate in.

Historically, men have been the bread-winners, decision-makers, disciplinarians, political figures and so on. To this day, men make more money than women (doing equal jobs). The male gender has always dominated and been more powerful than the female gender. We have obviously improved upon this since the women's rights movement, but there is still much to be done. I think it is a very slow process and will continue to be.

Week one blog

My name is Nae Ree Yang. I am a freshmen this year at the University of Minnesota. This is my first gender study as you have mention on Wednesday during class. I am excited to start learning in this class. I really do not know what kind of material will be cover in these kind of class. I decided to take this course because I know that in my culture the sons is more important than the daughters and I would like to know more about gendered life in America. To see if I can compare and contrast it with my culture. For me gender mean the difference between male and female. I would usually think about the female for this study because many places and in the past it was always the female that did not recieve equal treatment. When I look at Power, I am also reminded of the status of male and female. Men always seem to have more power over women. Power also remind me of racial issue. The last part of the title Everyday life kind of sum up the meaning of these two idea for me. It is saying this is our everyday life. The issue of power between female and male and race happens everyday around us. This is how we have to learn to live each day.


Hello again to everyone. Like I said, my name is Brittany Stolzmann and I just figured out how this site works!! So I now plan to elaborate a little, and maybe complete the assignment to my full potential! My major is Family Social Science and i want to eventually become a Family Counselor and work with teen pregnancy and domestic violence cases. So, as you can see, this is the perfect class for me to take. I am very passionate about womens rights, and i never back down. for the past year i have been volunteering at the local battered women and children's shelter. this has really opened my eyes to power struggles, and the distance people will go to to maintain power and control.
This is my first gender studies class and i am excited to elaborate on my knowledge and learn more about daily strugglesI

Blog #1


I'm Pat Southorn, just switched from linguistics to a GWSS major this semester. I'm enrolled in GWSS 1001 as a requirement for the major, but I hope to take much more out of class than just the three credits! I'm excited to see what kinds of knowledge and ideas I and others will share throughout the semester. I am still interested in linguistics and language in general, but gender studies appeals so much more to me...

Outside of school I try not to work too much at my retail job and do try to read as much as I can (usually books dealing with feminism, queer things in general, other radical-type literature, maybe Spanish poetry...) & I guess it's an interesting fact that I'm vegan, which incidentally became an important part of my life right around the same time as gender/feminism/sexuality issues!

As much as I have delved into ideas about gender, power, and everyday life, I still have some difficulty organizing my thoughts... (Not very academic of me.) Anyway, coming from where I am-- being a young white male, living in a "nice part" of a "nice" suburb, son of upwardly-mobile parents, and other identifying factors-- I have a considerable amount of power in everyday life, even if I don't acknowledge it or actively use it, solely because of my perceived gender and my skin color and class background, etc. I didn't do anything to "earn" this privilege; nor do I want this kind of power in our society/culture/world because it is unjust and very often oppressive. But that's where I'm at, and I want to find a way to keep working towards a different reality of gender, power, and everyday life.

Week One Blog

Hi everyone, my name is Cortney Colich. I am a freshman this year at the U. I am from Minnetonka, MN, and I went to Hopkins High School. I have danced my whole life and i'm actually on the U of M dance team which I love so far. It's great to be a part of the school in a different way. Other than dancing I love to be with my family, travel, play sports, or hang out with friends. I'm excited for the upcoming year here at the U!

As far as gender, power, and everyday life, I definitely don't know all that these subjects entail, but I have have a little knowledge of what I think they have to do with. Gender in our society has created problems in our world for a long time. Women and men often play different roles in our society that cause men to often have more power. Gender and power are almost always related when you hear about it in everyday life. Men are said to go to work in the day and make money for the family, while the women are known to stay at home with the kids and do housework. What many people don't like to understand is that no matter how a woman or a man wants to live their life, they should be given the opportunity to do whatever they like. In a workplace a man could quite possibly get the job over a woman with having nothing to do with knowledge or experience but just the fact that he is a man. The power issue with gender has improved through history but it is still an issue each day in everyday life. There is much to learn and much to teach about the power each person possesses and i'm sure i'll learn so much more about it in this class.

Week One Blog

Hi! My name is Heather. I plan on majoring in mathematics, and becoming a high school math teacher one day.

I am a freshman this year and I am coming into this class with an open mind. Honestly, I have never really thought about gender, power, and sexuality. However, I believe our society has made significant leaps and even bounds with gender and power today. But there are still those "life-long" traditions with males verses females. It still seems that because you are a man...you automatically seem more powerful and are seen as the "dominant" sex...but why? My idea of gender is simply man or woman. And my idea of power is a leader, someone in control, someone people respect...regardless of gender.

September 3, 2008

Week One Blog!

Hi everyone! My name is Justine, and I am a sophomore this year. I went to the U last year, and I think my major will be specified mass communications. I also want to go to law school someday. I am kind of a TV junkie, but I really like going out with friends and doing activities like dancing or swimming.
When I think of gender, power, and everyday life I firstly think of men and women and how they define themselves and how society defines genders. I personally believe that gender is the first thing most individuals use to judge a person, and then they start looking at other aspects of the person. Although what I think most people focus on is gender and race. When I think of power and everyday life I generally think of race and ethnicities and how they affect people. Sadly I think people are judged mostly upon race and gender. Some individuals will base a person worth or creditability off of unfair stereotypes. For instance a person might think an average white male is more intelligent than a woman from a minority group based solely upon race. People often make decisions based upon general stereotypes rather than finding out the facts of a person. I think this class will teach us how to avoid stereotypes and see the strength in every person no matter what their gender or race may be.
I also think a lot about stereotypes when I hear the terms gender, power, and everyday life because the stereotypes that people and society have accumulated over time are how people define gender or race. I have always wished that people would not stereotype other because it is completely unfair yet I find it hard myself to avoid stereotypes. In my everyday life I find it easy to get mad at someone and blame it on their race or gender, but then I remember how angry I get when I feel like I am being defined by a stereotype. Usually the stereotype I deal with is being over sexualized by my male peers. I don’t like the pressure of being gawked at by men for my body, or when I boy I thought was my friend turns out only to want me for less than innocent reasons. I constantly question whether a boy likes me for me or just for my looks.
I hope to learn a lot from this class about how gender and power affect everyday life. I think gender and power are concepts that have infinite definitions, opinions, and ideas circling around them. There really is no way to put these terms in black and white definitions, but I think learning about their connections and the gray areas around gender and power is the only fair way to use these terms when describing other people.

This class = my favorite so far.

Hi everyone! My name is Kelsey Hippen and I'm a junior at the U, majoring in psychology with a (soon-to-be-declared) minor in Italian. I love interacting with people and balancing that out with quality Kelsey-time. Currently I'm reading a lot of Nietzsche, but lately it's been giving me a headache so I think it needs to warm the bench for awhile.

Gender and power are two cultural constructs to which I’ve never given much thought. I think they each play a large role in my life, but I’m not entirely sure how. Every time I meet a woman who seems strong and secure in herself, I seem to remember the instance for years. Why is that? Why does a “strong woman? – or a “strong man?, for that matter, have such an impact on me—and what is the impact? I’m not sure yet.

I think when we’re presented with individuals who are centered in themselves, we notice their power. I don’t mean “power? as control, but more as energy. Maybe gender is just one facet of our humanity from which we tend to anchor and pivot. Perhaps with certainty of gender comes increased energy, and from that energy is derived an essence that we term “power?. Ultimately, I know that gender can be confusing for some. But is there something more to it than that? Well of course there is!

I’m thrilled to be taking this class, and I hope I will learn just as much from you guys as I will from the coursework (Note: no gender is intended in “you guys?). ;)

Week One Blog

Hi everyone! My name is Kelsey Orr. I am a freshman from Blaine, MN. I attended high school at Spring Lake Park though if any of you know where or what that is. I am currently undecided as to what I will be majoring in. I am thinking something with animals such as Zoology, Animal Science, or Marine Biology, but am also interested in Forensic Science. I am currently in CLA, but will probably transfer next year. Outside of school I love being outdoors, playing sports, and eating!

As for my insights on gender, power, and everyday life, I believe that as much as it has changed throughout history and still is changing, it will always be there in the back of our minds. Being a female, I am extremely happy to see the change in how women are treated in and out of the workplace, but I know that even I use gender as a judging factor. I find myself still saying, "oh, she's just good for being a girl," when talking about sports. I know that people will always use gender as a basis for jobs, sports, and all sorts of activities and that it will probably never be equal. Sometimes now it is even a reverse sexism against males because places are required to have some many women to fill a quota or because it looks better for them to hire more women. I am just interested in all the new information and insights I will recieve in this class. Also, interested in what the future holds for the battle of the sexes.

Week One Blog

Hi everyone! My name is Kelsey Orr. I am a freshman from Blaine, MN. I attended high school at Spring Lake Park though if any of you know where or what that is. I am currently undecided as to what I will be majoring in. I am thinking something with animals such as Zoology, Animal Science, or Marine Biology, but am also interested in Forensic Science. I am currently in CLA, but will probably transfer next year. Outside of school I love being outdoors, playing sports, and eating!

As for my insights on gender, power, and everyday life, I believe that as much as it has changed throughout history and still is changing, it will always be there in the back of our minds. Being a female, I am extremely happy to see the change in how women are treated in and out of the workplace, but I know that even I use gender as a judging factor. I find myself still saying, "oh, she's just good for being a girl," when talking about sports. I know that people will always use gender as a basis for jobs, sports, and all sorts of activities and that it will probably never be equal. Sometimes now it is even a reverse sexism against males because places are required to have some many women to fill a quota or because it looks better for them to hire more women. I am just interested in all the new information and insights I will recieve in this class. Also, interested in what the future holds for the battle of the sexes.

week one blog assignment for chole005

Name: Stephanie
Major: Biochemistry
Year: Junior
Education: Associate of Science

I have been at the university for a few years, since not a lot of my credits ended up transferring from Colorado. I work at the University for the DEHS as well, and I live in the west bank. I didn’t go to high school, which has made college more difficult.

I don’t have much to say about gender, power and everyday life. In fact, I’m not sure exactly what the class is going to be about. I think that judging someone based on gender was wrong, just as it would be to judge them on their color or religion. I befriended the editor of a feminist publication when I spoke with her about women and health care at Wayne State a few years ago. Since then she has asked me to write a few articles for her, and although I have a lot of writing experience, particularly on political issues, I didn’t know and still don’t know all that much about feminism. I hope to gain some understanding of what exactly feminism is and how gender issues apply to our lives on a daily basis.

That’s all I have to say… I could ramble about random things that have a very slight resemblance to this subject in order to fill my 250 word requirement, but I respect your time enough not to. If this is not acceptable please let me know.


Week One Blog

Hello, my name is Brian Berzins. I'm into my fifth year of classes here at UMN pursuing two B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science in addition to a minor in Japanese. I have worked as a computer programmer over that last couple years in order to help pay for school. I consider myself an avid gamer, but also regularly enjoy outdoor activities such as soccer and biking.

I think that gender and power (sociological status) play an interesting role in how people perceive themselves, others, and the world around them. Different perspectives often lead to very different views of the world, whether that perspective be applied to a world changing event or the routine weekday. I suspect that studying these perspectives can better our understanding of the world, and specifically help in regards to communicating across these different perspectives.

Week One Blog

Hello there! My name is Hallie Rathbun and I am a freshman from Big Lake, MN. My intended major is Public Relations, so I plan to apply to the journalism school next semester.

I find the idea of this course to be very intriguing because of the start of a shift of power that we seem to be experiencing currently in our world. When I consider my own insights on "Gender, Power and Everyday Life" I think about the traditional roles of men and women that are stereotypical in this day and age. In a traditional society in the past, a woman typically would not have nearly as much power as a man. However, today's society is switching up these roles. Women are becoming more and more powerful, as they enter into the world of politics, become CEO's, and are important media figures.

I also think that our social, cultural, religious powers are predetermined by our gender. I believe that although the gap in power between sexes is shrinking, it may never reach equilibrium.

One more thing I would consider is sexuality in today's world. The idea of a traditional marriage between and man and a women is being tested with the idea of homosexuality, and bisexuality no longer being looked down upon as much as it was in the past. With these ideals changing it will be interesting to see what becomes of our society in the future.

Week One Blog

Hello! I'm Naomi Ko and I'm from Rosemount, Minnesota. My intended major is a double major in English and History, and a double minor in Journalism and Art History. I love to read and love to watch Grey's Anatomy and Sex in the City.

When I think about gender, power, and everyday life, I think of how men and women are defined in our society today, how they were defined in the past, and how our roles may be defined in the future. I also think of the trends of our roles, for example, since the dawn the time females are typically the caregiver for the family. But the newest trend, thanks to Manny, is men are becoming more of the caregiver, the "mother" of the family.

Also, I believe our sexes, male or female, contributes the amount of power we are to achieve in everyday life. Even though the balance of power is evening out, in today's society, the amount of power one receives is depended upon our sex. Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, all women of extraordinary power, sadly, do not have the same power as men in our government.