On Britney and feminism

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Dear All,

Just in case anyone still checks the blog from time to time, I wanted to share this blog piece that Zack was recently asked to write. It's a condensed version of his final project:


Time Management Failure -- Blogs 8-10 -- John Sand

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Blog #10

I have one problem with both of the texts used this week, and that problem is AUDIENCE.

Okay, we all know Tyra ain't great. The Gay Kingdom episode is mainly a way for Tyr to shock its straight viewership and (as always) choose herself to be THE voice for any type of minority. It fails in nearly all realms, (except usually when Heda Lettuce chooses herself to be the spokesperson for the queer community (still problematic, but less so than Tyra choosing herself). So, in this text as explanation of queerness, Tyra fails mainly because she chooses to essentialize the queer community into an absurd system of categories (admittedly still used by the queer communities, but this self-identification is VERY different) and then hierarchizes them. Not only are groups so narrowly prescribed, but they are then further categorized based on who has the most societal power. I mean, really? This sounded like a good idea?

Dykes to Watch Out For is pretty wonderful. I mean it just is. It provides vignettes of deep and complex relationships (that sometimes get a little heteronormative, but hey sometimes our lives get a little heteronormative). My problem with using this as a text for educating the masses about queerness also lies with audience. I'm assuming a lot here, mainly that Patricia chose this text as an alternative performance of queerness for a large group of people to "understand." My main point is that this text speaks mostly (if not, solely) to those that already identify with queer culture, thereby "reaching" few people that are not already aware of queerness. I'm glad there is no "how to be queer" or "how to understand queer people" subtext, but i think eliminating any connection to a straight world can undermine the authenticity of the text from time to time and washes out several issues the queer community still faces.

Blog #9

For this post, I'll reflect mainly on the first part of Karen Eng's "The Princess and the Prankster: Two Performers Take on Art, Ethnicity, and Sexuality."

I'll admit I was quite amused by the theory behind Hirano's Asianprincess Ranch. As with many many forms of performance art, I understand where she is coming from, but I always wonder what sort of action she would like her audience to take, if any. I know that most art is set mainly to invoke thought and not action, but it seems like this project was mainly a mild spectacle masquerading as an intelligent process.

As I said in class, I'm concerned that the only people that will hear the message of an Asian woman prancing around in a blonde wig and sexy clothing are those that aren't in need of the message (or those that aren't too far gone). Even while taking her audience into account (at a conference for Asian youth artists), I find it hard to believe that the people who are "getting" her work are not young asian women (though an important group to reach, it lacks the shock-factor that would turn the heads of those who mainly need this rescue from ideology).

As I've tried to make clear, my qualms with the piece are not that I think being overly sexy is a good way to make a point, or that Hirano lacks some sort of innate self-respect or decency (things that I'm not sure exist anyway). Rather, my problem is perhaps that she does not make it big enough. it doesn't sound like the grotesque spectacle that would please me. I would like it to be shocking. I would like the performance to include some ironic interactions with her own body. Excuse my vulgarity when I say that using a plastic gun to stimulate herself while she yells "What's he got that I ain't got" to be a more effective use of everyone's time. I think the most effective performance art turns something sexy into something disgusting.

Blog #8

I'd like to use this post to respond to Rachel's film on women in hip hop, because it was an entrancing, interesting and deep work and even though no one else go to respond to it, I'll use this moment to react fully.

The most interesting character in the film was Medusa. She created these two binaries that I thought were interesting. First, she separated herself from her stage persona (though both had the same name). The alternation between aggression and joviality is stunning.

Her other binary was the difference between women deserving respect and those who were "asking" to be harassed on the street. She briefly gloseed over this point during the beginning of the film, but it struck a chord with me, albeit a dissonant one. I am often torn about the status of "women in hip hop" at the mainstream. Clearly, there is spiral in representations. Video vixens breed this sort of objectification which is enforced by men and women alike. I think that pinning the blame on women is a slippery slope that can rarely end well. Perhaps it would be better to say that dressing like a video vixen might not HELP the objectifiction of women, but this neglects the real problem that women should be able to dress however they want, free from any sort of physical or psychological molestation (that's my own breed of feminism in a simple, visual sense).

The young DJ (whose name I've lost at the moment) was an interesting character as well. The main point she kept coming back to was that she didn't want to be referred to as a female DJ, just a DJ. I always find this stance interesting. For the same reasons that I find the work of Georgia O'Keefe interesting. I always struggle with artists that wish to erase their social position from their work. It isn't that I think that women or people of color should feel the need to stand as exceptions to the rule of upper-class white brooding male artists. Rather, I feel like taking their positionalities out of their work is negative and I can't put my finger on why.

Blog Post 10 - Jaime Antonio-Bravo

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I had really mixed feelings about watching the Tyra episode, the gay kingdom. I don't watch many Tyra episodes outside of class and now I know why. Her social experiment was meant to look at the GLBTQ community. This social experiment was a very good idea to create a very interesting television episode. I didn't like the episode very much because instead of imparting knowledge about the GLBTQ community, the episode just glamorizes their pre-given stereotypes. Obviously for television purposes and entertainment purposes it was rather entertaining to see our stereotypes played out in front of our eyes , because we get to laugh at people that are different from us. Instead of negatively reflecting on incorrect stereotypes we have , the show does a dangerous thing of reinforcing the stereotype , because it is difficult for the GLBTQ to get airtime , so their misrepresentation is puzzling. I enjoyed the Invasion of Dykes to watch out for. I think it did a good job of imparting education that just because the people in the community are different doesn't mean that they are different to the point where they can't stand each other. I think that the Dykes to watch out for was good because she gives a very insightful view , and how they may be different from the non GLBTQ community but that doesn't necessarily make them that much more different than us and they still live in the same world that we live in. I just think that the hierarchal aspect of Tyra's social experiment just creates tension. I think if you asked any community to create a structure like the one she asked them to make would create tension and it will not show the best attributes of any group of people

#10- Kelsey Johnson

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I wasn't incredibly impressed with either the reading or the show. I had high hopes for the comic book to be funny, yet inspiring, but I wasn't feeling the overall vibe. I thought the social issues that were brought up were clever, but I think my main issue was the visual message that was being portrayed, that lesbians equal "butch". And although the Tyra Show definitely had it's faults, it did support a variety. You know the show is looking for over the top, opinionated participants, that will stir up drama. I felt as if all they did was bring in real live stereotypes and kind of make a bigger mess out of it. Leave it to Tyra to take a perfectly engaging issue, and turn it into a joke. I couldn't believe that she made them label themselves, as if all they could be summed up in one word. Even though it was just an exercise, it was not so much dealing with any issues but rather humoring the existing issues and stereotypes. The comic book didn't necessarily classify, but the obvious sense of "butch" was there. I would like to think putting a girly lesbian in the comic as well would have made it better, but then it would just be emphasizing the "male", "female" roles in a lesbian relationship. Together they both make points of how we judge people based on their appearance, and maybe even unknowingly rank or group people because that seems to be natural to us. I look at it like this, you can judge and make cliche observations all you want, but chances are people are playing the same petty game with your body. I think it becomes interesting and maybe even a thrill for people to try and figure out someone before they know them, as if they have super-powers. So even though this comic, and Tyra episode are trying to make people aware of issues, I don't know how much positive information is being absorbed into readers/watchers heads. It could be making an impact, or it could just be familiarizing society with these stereotypes.

Nora Pederson Blog Post #10

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In Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, there is a comic called "Absolute Value". It's about a lesbian republican complaining about John Kerry. She had just come out to her parents before the presidential debate where John Kerry "called Mary Cheney a lesbian." Her friend that she is complaining to is obviously a democrat and argues that Kerry was not actually at fault, but rather the Cheneys for managing to "gay-bash their own daughter and blame it on Kerry." However, this is not what interested me about the comic... What interested me was that this character was a lesbian republican. Maybe me saying this is way out of line, but I just don't understand how that works. Sure she can agree with certain aspects of the republican political ideals, but in many cases, the republican ideals are against her! It just doesn't add up to me.

I did a little research on this specific political event and it seems to me that the Cheneys only accept their daughter's sexual orientation when it is convenient for them. Dick Cheney wants to appeal to those (what I assume to be few) lesbian republicans out there, he can flaunt his gay daughter. But when he is trying to appeal to the religious fundamentalists in the nation, he gets upset that she is even mentioned. Why would this appeal to the lesbian republican in the comic? I think that the whole problem about this event was that Cheney pulled the victim card on Kerry and what the media portrayed was different from what actually happened. Was Kerry trying to provoke a response in Christian fundamentalists by merely mentioning Cheney's lesbian daughter? I think not, but that was what was portrayed by the media- that Kerry pulled a shameful trick in order to gain a political lead. This is why the republican lesbian in "Absolute Value" was outraged, not by what she really should have been outraged by- the fact that Cheney only accepted his daughter when it was convenient to him.

K-anna Loyd_Blog10

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Blog 10

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I was pretty horrified within 60 seconds of watching the first Tyra "Gay Kingdom" youtube clip. First, gay individuals were categorized into six tidy compartments. I would really not expect less of Tyra. I was embarrassed, however, when these six individuals were asked why their lifestyle puts them at the top of the gay community (what exactly this means is not discussed). Furthermore, all six gay "representatives" are asked to discuss who is at the bottom of the gay community (again, what this means is not discussed). This leads to each person criticizing another group of the gay community for their lifestyle which strikes me as so incredibly problematic that it is almost funny (yet not quite). As soon as I heard Tyra Banks say the words "social experiment" I felt a little nervous. I found myself having to watch the episode in 10-20 second clips so that I could stop to breathe and fully absorb how misguided our dear Tyra is. Why are members of the gay community being pitted against one another? Why is it entertaining to watch them bicker? Why is it their first task to establish a hierarchy?! This is so ironic it is not even cute. Yes Tyra, help us to be better understand the gay community by forcing stereotyped characters to establish a rigid, gendered social system between six gays who function to represent an entirely diverse community of individuals. Because that might not drive the point home, we should definitely create a spectacle by dressing them up like buffoons. Go Tyra. This joke of an episode sends out a negative message to all audiences by emphasizing the differences within a community in a manner that does nothing to speak to the beauty of its diversity, but instead imposes values on differing lifestyles. Instead of fostering solidarity between people of all sexual orientation, gay people are isolated and further divided. UPSETTING!

Patience B-Blog 10

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After reading Alison Bechdel's Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For, I could closely link it to the reading "Race and Religion" by the Guerrilla Girls. Even though Bechdel's comic might be misunderstood by many, it addresses pertinent issues in the political world through comics. One of the comics talked about how it is ok for illegal immigrants to get married anywhere in the united states but Gay Marriages are not recognized. Both Bechdel and the Guerrilla Girl's articles portray stereotypes to an extreme in order to get people thinking. Many at times we categorize or judge people based on their appearance or sexual orientation without getting to know them personally. Bechdel's comic is like an expose' to people who doubt the "Normality" of GLTB people.
The Tyra show was quite interesting even though I believe shows like this shouldn't exist because they just enforce a lot of stereotypes out there. Think about it this way, I don't think Tyra has ever had a "straight Kingdom" episode. In as much as she's trying to educate people about the GLBT community, she enforces the stereotypes people have about GLBT's. For instance most if not all of the questions/task they had to deal with were not aimed at being educational; they were aimed at being judgmental. Like when they had to decide who was King/Queen, even though it was surprising that they internalized the role system, the choices made were based on outward appearance not personality. I support the young lady that refused to define herself by any of the labels or not wanting to be part of the Gay Kingdom. She doesn't make a huge deal of being transgendered; she just goes about her day to day life as she's a female. I believe if the GLBT community goes about life this way and without putting a label on themselves then people won't make a huge deal out of nothing.

Blog 10

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I'm going to preface this by saying that it's late and I'm highly irritated; I apologize if I slip and say something that mightbe held against me. As far as the Bechedel comic went, I wasn't really a fan of it, but I do get the point. As a piece of representative literature attempting to prove that lesbians are normal citizens, it was very effective. Now on to Tyra. I am not for a minute surprised by the sniping between the 'representatives' for the GLBT community. Ignoring Tyra's talent for stunt casting, there is honestly a lot of strife inside the GLBT community (in my opnion and experience). And this is only a small subsection of the community. The GLBTQQA is much more diverse than is seen here.

I agree with an earlier post that these categories (GLBT) could be classified as separate communities in some aspects. Yesterday while in a safe space on campus I heard the beginning of a conversation that went something like, "All gays hate bisexuals. Just fact." Not to mention the fact that labeling people like cattle is already a profoundly stupid idea, it is designed to pick at the divisions present in the community. The need to label other people for our own comfort is something that exists in every community. The attack on the 'straight acting' gay man and lesbian honestly annoyed the hell out of me. The whole thing did.

Blog 10

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I thought that Alison Bechdel did a way better job trying to represent the gay community and to have realistic events and characters. I like that she is very blunt in her writing and that she isn't afraid to push boundaries and talk about real social issues. I also liked that she is able to address different social issues in a unique way. She was able to demonstrate different politics and social issues through people's conversations and through their actions as well. I also like the tone that she uses and how she uses humor to get her points across. I personally think that humor attracts a larger audience and can help to address certain issues in away that is "joking" but very serious at the same time.

On the other hand, I didn't think that Tyra's "Gay Kingdom" episode did anything except perpetuate certain stereotypes surrounding the gay community. What I didn't like was that she kept mentioning how GLAD supports her, yet I felt like the whole episode was designed to pin different people against eachother. The people on the show ended up talking bad about eachother and how being bisexual is a sellout and disagreeing with eachother's lifestyles. I think the show should have been more about uniting the community instead of pinning people against eachother. If they are bringing up all these negative things about eachother, how is the audience supposed to take anything good out of the show? Overall, I was just really annoyed with the Tyra show and it just makes me disklike her even more than I already do.

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