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December 12, 2008

last blog post gwss 1001 for chole005 =(

One of the most important things I took from this class was how issues such as race and income affect gender, and I certainly look at this now in a new light. Something that has also stuck with me is the idea of how gender is something that we perform (Candice West, Judith Butler). I think this has changed how I look at people everyday, and hopefully has not only allowed me to understand some of the strange things they do, but also hint at the reasons they may do them and to accept how their perspective is much different than mine.

A few other things in this class changed the way I looked at gender and every day life simply because they were things that I thought I knew about, but really didn't. The readings and statistics behind gender and how it relates to violence (Ann Jones, Barrie Levy/Denise Gamache)were very shocking and even disturbing. I think issues like rape and domestic violence are things that all of us want to think of as 'out there', when really we have to face the fact scary fact that it could happen to us, it likely will happen to us in one way or another sometime in our lives, and what we might do if and when we end up in such a situation.

Overall this class really did give me many tools to understand gender and how it relates to us and to society every day of our lives. Before I took this class I liked to think that gender was something other people were really concerned about, and not something I was controlled by. The truth is that it is something that is inescapable, but doesn't have to be something entirely limiting or bad. Thank you for teaching this class.

September 21, 2008

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.

September 13, 2008

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.