racheloh: October 2011 Archives

Transgender discussion

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I found this topic & Remy's lecture very interesting in that it seems to deflate these bubbles we place masculinity, femininity, gender-roles, sexuality, and even sex in. The point and most important thing I have taken out of the lecture is the same which I think Halberstam was trying to make--that the fluidity of gender/sex/sexuality is often invisible and that society reaffirms through most media, the binary perspectives of man or woman, female or male, and heterosexual or homosexual. I think the production of media making transgender-ism visible is very important in progressing society's perspective on gender, sex and sexuality.
While listening today I kept thinking about a class I took a few years back called Sex and Gender in Society and learning about Kinsey's Continuum of Sexuality and Klein's Sexual Orientation Grid. I remember taking that class and wondering why on earth this information was not given earlier in life--for example in high school. Obvious reasons would be that many people may argue it "inappropriate" or something kids that age shouldn't worry about or shouldn't think about. Kinsey & Klein's grids/scales display the variation and complexity of human sexuality and gender--and I think would help many people to A.) understand their own identity better and B.) be less judgmental and misunderstanding of others' identities.
Because media is so present in our lives and shows us (literally) how to act, be, think of ourselves--we can't help but repetitiously be reminded of "correct" gender roles... and (to reiterate Remy's preferred definition of gender) the privileges, punishments, and rewards of identifying a certain way.
The transgender gaze through media not only allows us to understand what it means to BE transgender, but to relate to aspects of what it is to be transgender--like what Remy & Melody were saying about identifying with one of the characters during Brandon & Lana's sex scene-- one can examine their own sexual/gender identity vicariously. Media like this gives us the ability to accept differences that are typically labeled "taboo" and to create normalcy & inclusion in our thought process.
Another transgender media representation I was thinking of was Elly Jackson, the lead vocalist from the British pop band La Roux. She is quoted saying "I don't have a sexuality. I don't feel like I'm female or male. I don't belong to the gay or straight society, if there is such a thing. I feel like I'm capable of falling in love with other people. I'm not saying I'm bisexual, I'm just sexual!"
I think that's really interesting- her explanation that she does not conform to any particular gender/sexuality... she identifies with pieces of both. Again, this shows the fluidity of sexual identity that a person can have. In her music it is not clear either whether she is singing from a typical male or female perspective/gaze. I am not quite sure if anyone in class has heard their music but a couple of La Roux's songs got pretty big; "Bulletproof" and "In for the Kill". They sort of blew up in Europe a couple years ago and I haven't heard much of anything new about them. After they got big, Elly Jackson was interviewed often and questioned about her sexual orientation and identity. I wonder if her answers have anything to do with La Roux's decline in the spotlight... up for debate.

Feminism and Sex and the City

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I wrote my section two paper on the representations of feminism in the show Sex and The City. I brought up three examples of how the characters' lives and personalities reflect feminist thought. I chose Sex and The City because it is a favorite show of mine because the women in it are strong, sexually uninhibited, and because I think it is very different from a lot of media representations of women (i.e. Desperate Housewives). I re-read the course readings on feminism/antifeminism etc., and mostly used them as a way to frame my thoughts in my paper... I tried to look at my argument from the different authors' point of view. I chose another outside source as a reference to help me frame my thoughts--it was a book on feminism and what third-wave-feminism is. I found it by wiki-ing "third wave feminism" and looking at their works cited. I have found that way of finding outside sources works really well. If I had to change something about the paper it probably would have been to spend more time on it--it is hard to make concrete arguments in 3-4 pages because you I am always looking for ways to make my sentences more concise yet still get the point across. I felt like too as I wrote, that even though I've read quite a bit about the topic of feminism in this class and others--I still cannot grip all of it. It feels like a slippery topic with so many avenues of thought--making it hard to pick just one.
Not that I'm advocating longer papers ;)
My advice for someone writing a paper like this would be to re-read class readings on the subject, watch an episode or two and let it ruminate in the mind for a day, then get to writing. I tend to do papers all in one day and it takes a ton of time because I think as I go. Making an outline is always a good idea too and helps with making stronger arguments because the bones are all there - filling in the details with thoughts and examples is the easy part.

Blog numba 5

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"In Esposito's article about Ugly Betty she talks about affirmative action and how "whites" have termed it "reverse discrimination". She explains that reverse discrimination usually occurs when a white individual feels unjustly treated because of the color of their skin. How has this victimized stance of whites further marginalize minority groups?"

The marginalization of minority groups is most definitely exacerbated by this "victimized stance" of whites. "Merit" alone, even in our world today, is not the sole reason for success. Whites have a privilege still, a leg up--and the failure to recognize that, talk about it, and deal with it-- that is what makes things even harder for minorities. Like Melody was explaining in class--just being a minority starts a person off with "negative points". Whites have the rules of which they must operate in society stacked in their own benefit and this does not allow upward mobility in society for many minorities.

Affirmative action and other vehicles instituted to produce equality are there to close the gap between races. However, there is a strong resistance to these policies--many whites deem them "unfair" (taking victimized stance). They justify their white privilege with thoughts that minority individuals are lazy, unmotivated, etc, and that drives discrimination. The idea of "color-blindness" takes effect here--which is the "belief that race should be ignored and that race-conscious practices and policies only foster more racism" (Race and Ethnicity in Society, 78).

Our reality is not that everyone is equal; everyone does not start out with the same opportunities. The access of education and jobs is still inhibited for minority races--BECAUSE of their race--not because of their culture, or "lack of motivation", which is the common perception of whites. Media portrays a different reality--fostering these beliefs, by showing minorities as successful musicians, or athletes we are led to believe opportunity is not based on race.
For many minorities too, they have to conform the way they dress, speak, and express themselves to fit the mold of whites. I would never want to change things about myself, that make me who I am, because it's the only way I can become "successful"--that would never make me happy. Perhaps that's a simplistic way of looking at all of this.
I believe that until privilege is no longer existent, until everyone is born with the same opportunities regardless of race--affirmative action and things like it are necessary.

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