September 2009 Archives

Course Packet and Thursday's Readings

The course packet IS available at Paradigm. Due to the delay, I will post Thursday's readings on the course website. In the Cohen, please read pp.437-52. 

Blog 4

While Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy did both study the groups the wrote about, they had very different methods of study. Ostrander used interviews to show the subjects' perspectives on their own lives. I found this to be very interesting, mostly because they did not say the things I expected them to say. For what she was studying, I think this method was effective. However, I did have a problem with the way she sometimes summarized the responses. She often said things like 'Mrs. so-and-so then implied...'. I guess I'd like to know what Mrs. so-and-so actually said. The reader really has to trust the author's generalizations, and I don't know if that's the best way to present this type of data.


Oullette was successful with her media approach. She was looking at one magazine's influence on a much larger group of women. For this the media data is relevant. But the article I found most successful was the Patillo-McCoy. This used both statistics and interviews as well as discussing the mainstream coverage of poorer African-Americans. I felt like this gave us the most varied sources to support the author's conclusions.

Blog 4

All three approaches seem to be fairly effective, yet all three could be improved upon.


Patillio-McCoy conducted her own research because she was displeased with the lack of research and media attention given to middle-class African Americans. In conducting her own research, she created a slight bias, leaving the reader wondering how much to believe. She also lacked statistical data. Patillio-McCoy brought up some good points, but her arguments could have been made stronger had she analyzed multiple different black communities.


Similar to Patillio-McCoy, Ostrander lacked concrete data to back up her findings, but performed her own research, which I think is necessary when focusing on such under-researched populations because the misconceptions/stereotypes produced by the media may leave very little factual information regarding those populations. I think first-hand accounts are very valuable to the early stages of research.

Ouellette research was great because she used a wide range of sources. We have all been taught that the best research stems from a variety of resources.  It gives perspective and helps solidify facts. However, she focused most of her research on one person; Helen Gurley Brown. This limits her findings in the same way that Patillio-McCoy and Ostrander's findings are limited.


All three researchers focused most of their attention on one person or population of people. Further research is necessary in all three cases.

Blog 4

I think the opinions expressed of both Ostrander, Patillo and are very similar in that they both are concerned of the welfare of women after the supossed impressions are made at a young age. By studying a specific group we have a clearer understanding of thoose particular  factors however, they do not apply to all especially female. I agree about the cosmo girl comments however, her comments reinforce the Feminist/anti-man steroeotype. The overall case in gender, race and class equality is the decsioin to deciede and be who you want to be. If I want to be a cosmo girl shouldnt I be allowed my privllige to deciede?

Blog Post 4

Of the three studies of class identity, I felt Patill-McCoys methodological approach to be the most successful. Her argument that class identity is more than just economically derived is backed up by her own comprehensive research within a black middle class community. The experiences that she shares with the reader highlight socially created restraints of class, in addition to income levels.


While Ostranda's piece surprised me a bit, in that the women she interviewed attained their class more to their lineages than their nuclear family's income levels, we can't be sure that the small group of upper class women that she interviewed is representative of all women in the upper crust. Still, her interviews seem to be a good starting point for building ideas for further and more detailed research into upper class women.


The methodology of Oulette's article seemed to me the least methodological approach in that she used just one source to explore the attitudes towards class identity of the "pink collar" workers of the 60s and 70s. Because the  "Cosmopolitan" magazine has been so successful, there is an implied agreement of its statements among its readers, but by Outlette's own admission she did not explore the true feelings of the readers, or other young women non-readers for that matter.

A Spectrum of Classes

Given the two methodological approaches, I think that Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy's approach was more successful. Each of their articles was easier to read and understand. Ostrander gave specific quotes and interactions that she witnessed from her interviews with the people that lived the lives. For example, on page 33 Ostrander writes about what some of the women were telling her about Mrs. Appleton, that she "was not very serious about her volunteer work." In Patillo- McCoy's article, she also follows a specific group of people to analyze their various experiences. She writes that at the end of her research, she has seen students graduate from high school and go on to college or live with a drug dealer who would eventually be killed. These authors' arguments are strengthened by the reality of the lives they studied.

The gaps in their arguments come from the specificity of their studies. Their strength is a weakness at the same time. By interviewing only one group of women or one neighborhood in Chicago, one cannot get a full picture of class nationally or globally. It even varies greatly within Ostrander's article about the upper-class women. The reason I disliked Oullette's article is that it focuses mostly on the viewpoint of the one woman, Helen Gurley Brown. We hear little from the women who read Cosmopolitan or from those who think it is a waste of time and live happy or successful lives without it. It is also somewhat outdated as it only focuses on the Cosmo of the 1960s and '70s.

Blog 4

When reading these articles, I get the impression that both Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy are documenting in an unbiased way,  the view from the classes they are discussing. However, Oullette has a more obvious agenda in her article, and though I agree with the argument she puts forth, its also very colored with her opinion, even as she uses documents as support. For this reason, I find "The Meaning of Upper Class" and "Black Picket Fences" more reliable, for their scientific methodology. However, having said that, I think writing either "The Meaning of Upper Class" or "Black Picket Fences" requires a more methodological approach in its dissection of these two wildly different classes, because they are rooted in volatile, touchy subjects to begin with. Discussing why women of the upper class feel moral superiority is infuriating on its own, and doesn't need to be embellished. Pattillo-McCoy's study on the ways in which the black middle class is not equal to the white middle class using Groveland as an example encourages questioning of our "integrated" communities by itself. I think Oullette's argument that the Cosmo Girl is meant to encourage the middle class working girl to assimilate to the bourgeoisie is not hugely anger-inducing, but certainly something that should be questioned.  

Week 4 Blog

All three authors take different approaches to evaluating women of different classes. I think Ostrander's approach of interviewing women of the upper class was an effective approach. So often we only get to see the viewpoint of the party, which we believe to be the most oppressed. Getting a viewpoint from the "privileged" party, is the first step to understanding why people are or aren't oppressed. " As evidenced from these responses, upper-class women see themselves and their class as 'outstanding leaders' in the community, and deserving of the special regard in which they are held and of the rewards that follow." (25). These women feel that by being of a higher class, they deserve to be seen as better than others.

Ouellette used Cosmopolitan magazine to explore women and class. What she uncovered is basically that the way society define femininity was by how much a woman had. The more make-up, dresses, and fine cuisine a girl acquired, the more feminine and desirable she would be to men of the upper class.  The idea of Cosmopolitan was to teach girls of lower classes how to fake being a part of the upper crust. While I think that this article was conducive to the idea of women and class identity (media has a major impact on people in our society), it still leaves out how race is tied in.

I think a more effective article would include both the perspectives of Ostrander and Ouellette, along with a credible source that evaluates the whole spectrum of women of different, races and classes. 

Week 4 blog


I believe Susan Ostrander, Laurie Ouellette and Mary Pattillo-McCoy all had strong arguments through their methodologies on how to define "class." Ostrander and Pattillo-McCoy's arguments are legitimate, mostly because of their use of actual people in their interviews. I believe they both chose to use research and real examples in interviews because it's a first hand "response." It gives the reader a very clear picture on what the subjects actually feel about the topic.

Ostrander claims that "upper class and upper-class women, in particular, to be the most class-conscious segment of the American population" (21). Although she claims studies have proven this to be true, it's really not a clear picture of all the views of class through people in the United States. She interviewed ignorant women who even claimed they've never had to work for anything.

Pattillo-McCoy had a convincing argument about Black middle class, but I feel the argument was narrow because she only focuses on one specific group to define class. She talks about the inequality of the housing markets and describes how "African Americans have long attempted to translate socioeconomic success into residential mobility, making them similar to other ethnic groups" (141). I feel this can be applied to many, if not all, ethnic groups that are non-native to an area: they want to be associated with the community. This is not just specific to the black population.

I found Ouellette's approach to define class through pop. culture and media to be the most convincing. Although a lot of the focus is on "changing identity," it captures the reader's attention because it's specific to today's issues and beliefs on women's identity and association to class. Another reason I feel her argument is the most compelling because the media is very specific to what's relevant today. Ouellette says "identity [is] something that could always be reworked improved upon and even dramatically changed" (366). I agree with the fact that one's identity is always be changing, because the world is always changing.

Blog Assignment #4

In the readings for this week authors Pattillo-McCoy in "Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class" and Ostrander's "The Meaning of Upper Class" base their papers on first hand experience with the subjects to which they are writing about.  In Oullette's "Inventing the Cosmo Girl: class identity and girl-style Amercian dreams" the author is deriving her observations on analysis of the text, i.e., Cosmopolitan magazine and direct quotes from the editor and "enlightened male intellectuals" (p. 370).  There is a variety of methods a researcher can use to support their thesis, however in a good research paper it is important that you have validity with your readers and that the research can stand up to criticism.  Some of the ways in which the authors collected their raw data was through interviews.  The problem with interviews, albeit interesting to hear the stories and first hand experiences of the people being interviewed is that the answers are somewhat filtered through the lens of the author to support their thesis whether intended or not.  Not all of the material collected during the interview process will be published of course.  There is a certain amount of interpretation and framing involved in the question and answer phase.  In some cases objectivity may be at risk in how the author perceives the intent of their subjects.  Authors have more credibility in my opinion if they've actually come from the sub-culture to which they are writing about.  In "Black Picket Fences" Pattillo-McCoy bases her article on direct experiences with the Groveland neighborhood and it's residents for at least, as she puts it, "By the end of my research tenure in Groveland, I had seen three groups of eighth-graders graduate to high school, high school kids go on to college, and college graduates start their careers." (p. 138)  Having a practical and more longitudinal study carries much more weight for me.  It is however interesting to read a compare and contrast piece like Ouellette's in "Inventing the Cosmo Girl" to get an historical perspective on how we developed, through the media, the cultural construct and discourse surrounding class and gender in this country.

I'm not defending or criticizing any one method.  I enjoyed all the articles in their own right.  I also believe that it is the responsibility of the reader to be diserning and question any assumptions made.

blog #4

All these three articles examine class identity, and each uses a different research methodology to do so.  There is no such thing as a perfect research design and so each article has it's flaws as well as strengths.  The Patillo-Mccoy article used alot of statistics which I find to be more useful in painting the picture of the advantages and disadvantages for the black middle class.  She also had first had accounts and interviews in her article.  The combination of these two research designs (statistics and first hand accounts) came off to me as the best way to study class identity.  You get a more uniformed and well rounded information on the subject.  I thought that Oustander's one on one interviews with upper class white women also did a good job of getting a more in depth and qualitative look at class from within it's subjects.  Although the point of this study was to get the advantages and disadvantages of being a upper class female from their own personal viewpoint, I thought that this methodology lacks any objectiveness which the Patillo-Mccoy gained through the use of statistics in her research. 
The Oulette article I feel had the poorest research design in that it was simply a critique of past literature.  She did a good job on gathering information and quotes from the 60's and 70's, and used specific evidence to back up her claim that brown's discourse legitimized sexism and capital expoiltation of women's labor, I feel that her lack of actualy interviews or any first hand accounts weaken her research as she is only getting her information through hers and previous reviews of literature.  I think that in order to understand a problem research is looking at, multiple designs of research should be used and I feel the Patillo-Mccoy did the best job of utulizing this.

blog 4

Each of the three articles we read for this week use different research techniques and styles to display the different ways people view identity. Susan Orstrander conducted a study where she interviewed a number of wealthy upper class women to get their perception on what it means to be upper class. Her technique provided the reader with a true feel for the attitudes of these women, " My family was never hard up. We have more fun because we don't have to spend time worrying about things, and spend time doing things like cleaning the stove."(Pg. 27). These direct quotes show the superiority these women feel simply because of their "family names".

            Laurie Outlette took a different approach in her Cosmo girl article, by supporting her arguments with quotes from previous publications like Guardian Weekly and Cosmopolitan. These quotes support Browns goal of attempting to change the economic and sexual roles of women, while still emphasizing the importance of forming your own identity as a "working girl".

            The final technique used was as study where Mary Pattillo-McCoy spent a significant amount of time living in Groveland, observing the residence and surrounding communities. She gathered statistics that supported her argument of the problems facing middle-class African Americans.

            Over all I thought the most useful technique was the interviewing technique. I liked seeing first hand how the "other half" views themselves and others around them, and reading direct quotes from the women she interviewed provided me with that insight. 

Week 4

I believe the Patill-McCoy article is the most successful engaging clearly with class identity and problems.  Oullette offers historical identifiers of class through media which is problematic because all people have a personal relationship with media. They may retain  preconceived notions or rationalize while viewing through a lens that they relate to.  Susan Ostrander allowed her subjects to speak for themselves about their identities within their class; this breeds a certain distrust in me, we cannot see ourselves objectively.  While I think studying statistics and charts provides the least convoluted study by Patill-McCoy, it brings up the question 'who has the privilege to speak for whom?'  I wonder if I accept this mode because I will allow people of a different class to be studied and reported back to me by someone of my own.  While not the most political, I think Ostrander allowing facts to be drawn from within a class rather than observing them is the most "representationally" sound mode of study.   

Blog #4

My understanding of the articles for this week was that the three author's main argument was to specify what people were actually dealing with in their everyday life. The methods such as the interviews and studies of the population made Ostrander's and Patillo-McCoy's argument strong which was to look at both the advantages and disadvantages of the women's everyday life. One of the women that Ostrander interviewed was Mrs. Ames and she said "Perhaps the most difficult thing I had to deal with was whether I could have made it if I hadn't had anything." Oullette based her argument on the magazines and the media which focuses more on what people want to see or what they assume or expect is going to happen.

These arguments from the readings had their own way of portraying the ideal life or ideal person that people wanted to live or become and the methods the authors used were all successful. Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy, and Oullette were all getting information that was either possible or impossible to achieve from the societies expectations, which is challenging both ways and you have to look at it from all perspectives.

Blog 4

When reading Susan's Ostrander article, Women of the Upper Class, the upper- class women define their class position by their ancestry, heritage, and breeding- of "being from an old line family." (p.23) This article interviewed women who believed they were born into the upper class. The article was based on interviews and conversations with the author that provided insights into the concepts and experiences of everyday life for those in the upper- class. Using names like Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Cooper, Do not seem to be a reliable or creditable because this study picked women at random who explained the advantages and disadvantages of the Upper class. I feel like this study was the least effective because they spoke with women from the same area all falling in the upper class category. Mary Pattillo- McCoy had a similar method as Ostrander of how they used a study as a way to help readers empathize with the issues of class status. It was hard to have a good observation because we can only observe from the outsider appearance on these issues.

            Media, Culture and Society by Laurie Ouellette used quotes and facts from magazines and books to analyze female identity.  By using specific examples from Cosmopolitan and the history of magazines gives more credibility to support Ouellette. On page 336 "Brown's credo required an understanding of identity as something that could always be reworked, improved upon and even dramatically changed."

All three approaches are different methods and ways to get you thinking about identity. Each article was unique in the ways they posed their arguments to persuade you that their opinion/ theory was correct. I found Laurie Oullettes article the most effective method of research.





Blog 4

Each articles for this week reading gave different methodological approaches. However, Ostrander and  Pattillo-MacCoy's article was effective because they uses resources that comes from real people base upon their different views and perspective of dealing their own situations and how it's like to be in the situation. For Ostrander, she interviewed upper class women about their advantage and disadvantages. As for Pattilot-MacCoy, she wrote about the privilege and threat Black Middle class faces. Both author included the good and the bad of the different classes. If other viewers read the articles and didn't have an ideal idea of what it is like to really be in their position, then they don't know how to relate or understand their point of view.

As for Oullette's article, her resources came from a magazine, about Helen Gurley Brown and what she thinks every girl should do or have to change them as if she knew who they were. It doesn't indicate whether or not when girls do try her tips out, would it work or not work. Thus Brown only assumes that girls or women who read her "Sex and the Single Girl" articles would transform themselves into someone new.

Midterm Paper Writing Tips

If you are looking for guidance on writing an argumentative paper, I suggest that you check out the resources at "The OWL at Purdue." If you are still unclear on how to write an argumentative paper, consider scheduling an appointment with Student Writing Support.

Blog Assignment 4

Susan A. Ostrander wrote the article Women of the Upper Class. She wrote about the lives of upper class women, including their advantages as well as disadvantages. She gathered her information by conducting studies of the people they were researching. She used interviews to support her claims, which is convincing. The quotes she uses give us an inside look at what the upper class women really think. However, she does do a lot of interviewing, she does not ask anyone but the upper class women think about the upper class. I think it would have been more successful if she put in what middle class people think of the advantages and disadvantages of being in the upper class. Just having the upper class women answering questions doesn't mean they know what it's like to not be as privileged as they are.
    Laurie Ouellette wrote the article Inventing the Cosmo Girl: class identity and girl-style American Dreams. This article was done entirely with written sources, some from the Cosmo Girl magazine itself, and some of its critics. This method of research was successful in the way that it had many people's perspectives on the subject. She was able to gather more opinions than her own to make an argument against Helen Gurley Brown, writer of Cosmo Girl. Although she was successful in gathering more than one opinion on the subject, she only used perspectives in one direction. All of the other sources are attacking her magazine. This makes it hard to really agree with Ouellette because we don't know anything about the opposing side, we cannot compare and contrast the different opinions and decide whether we agree with her or not.
    The first two articles mentioned had problems with supplying information for the reader from many aspects. Mary Pattillo-McCoy's article, Black Picket Fences, differs from the first two because she gives more statistical information, as well as her personal research. She used her in field research to support her claim that the black middle class is not equal to the white middle class. I believe that Pattillo-McCoy was the most successful article we read this week. I liked that Ostrander used so many quotes, but she didn't seem to cite them well, and Ouellette uses many outside sources, but doesn't present both sides. Pattillo-McCoy uses both personal and textbook information, and cites them well.

WSAC movie screening, this wednesday!

The Women Student Activist Collective is presenting it's second film from it's Global Women Series, LA BODA which tells the timeless story of a young woman's coming of age, while also confronting negative stereotypes of the migrant community with the real life biography of a Mexican-American family bridging the gap between countries and culture.

this Wednesday, September 30th @ 6pm
Coffman Union - Room 202

the next dates are October 14th & 28th.

week four

I prefer the methodological approach by both Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy because things become more concrete when you use the experiences of others. While Oullette's study was very informative and factual, it lacked the everyday perspective given by the other two articles. These two ways are also how anthropologists study, either by doing fieldwork or by doing studies based off other people's writings. As an anthropology major, I've always been more inclined to the fieldwork based studies than what is called "arm chair philosophizing". By actually getting involved in everyday experiences I feel you learn a lot more and it becomes more personal.  By hearing how Mrs. Haines felt about her privilege is a whole lot different than hearing how Ostrander or another outsider perceives it. Or for example, how Helen Gurley Brown  sees the Cosmo girl, she doesn't necessarily know what they're lives are like, but she presents her assumptions and then every Cosmo girl is a wide-eyed go-getter.

Week 4 blog

Ostrander's research approach was to speak to upper class women in a city and interview them about "the meaning of upper-class".  The women spoke of how being upper-class shaped their lives.  "When the spontaneously spoke of themselves or others as members of the upper class and in relation to the community, they rarely spoke of income, education, or their husbands' occupations" (page 22).  Laurie Ouellette's research article touches on how Cosmopolitan and the editor Helen Gurley Brown's "role in party subverting patriarchal sexual ideologies..."  Patillo-McCoy's "Black Picket Fences" provides a description of her study on a predominantly African American neighborhood (Groveland) and how it compares to other predominantly white neighborhoods in the Chicago area.  The research was conducted for three years.   Also the article speaks of the "middle-class African American". 

I find that all the articles are touching on different aspects of identity.  For example, women identity, upper-class women identity, and middle class African American's identity.  But Patillo-McCoy is the more successful research article because it has a more in depth approach in discovering the differences among the classes.  "The fact that a neighborhood's racial makeup is frequently a proxy for the things that really count-quality of schools, security, appreciation of property values, political clout, and availability of desirable amenities-attests to the ways in which larger processes of discrimination penalize blacks at the neighborhood level."   Patillo-McCoy also conducted her study over a three period.  Her results seem to be more conclusive on the ideology of class identity and how it affects certain groups.   The gaps in the arguments come from the different research methodologies.  Also they are each covering similar but mostly different topics.    

Week 4 Blog

Initially, I would gravitate toward believing that Ostrander and McCoy used a stronger methodological approach to their research, however, I think I experience this initial reaction mostly because I found their writing more enjoyable to read. The point of these articles should not be based on entertainment for the reader though, rather, it is about creating a solid research piece regarding the aspects of female identities. Because of this, I believe Oullette's exploration is most successful. Oullette provides factual information including quotes from multiple sources of media to support her argument. Ostrander on the other hand focuses completely on the biased ideas of the upper-class women through interviews and McCoy focuses the majority of her research on the observation of only one community. Oullette uses historical facts and survey to clearly support her research, showing the idea of shaping the female identity which leaves the least amount of room for gaps.

Week 4 Blog

I feel like all three articles have more or less the same angle, each has its advantages and disadvantages.  I like the Ostrander article because people are very good at defining themselves as they see themselves and how others seem them, but it basically ends there.  What about how other people see the upper class? Or what do middle class and lower class women think about their own class? I feel like there is a gap because only one side of the information is presented in this article.

I was very interested by Oullette's article as she simply gathered knowledge surrounding Brown's "legacy"...but this also contains a gap concerning exactly what other women retrieved from Brown's other words were the middle class women of that time period honestly changing everything about themselves, or was it simply a select audience doing so? Was there a select audience within middle class women viewing Brown's advice?? If there were women not following her advice, what did they think of her? Did they think it was as hurtful to women as Oullette believes?

I liked that Patillo-McCoy actually followed multiple groups of kids but where do middle class blacks fit with lower class whites? Are middle class blacks "better off" than lower class whites? Why didn't she compare how whites treat other classes of whites with how blacks treat their classes and also how they view each other?  And is she speaking on behalf of the entire middle class black population? Sometimes drawing inferences from one's own study can be useful, and other times it can be very detrimental (in my experience)...also can information from middle class black people provide a useful insight?

Week 4 Blog Post

In Qullette's article she has an advantage in the fact that she focuses on the media and popularized part of class identity.  There is a wide variety and range of sources and examples along with history to back up the idea that class identity "could always be reworked, improved, improved upon, and even dramatically changed" (366).  The major disadvantage in Qullette's approach is the fact that there are no personal first hand opinions, interviews or comments from women that are interactive in this issue. Without that personal aspect the whole analysis is strictly text based.

Ostrtander uses opinions directly from upper class women, the results are interesting along with being typical. They normality of the results comes as an disadvantage to Ostrtander . She states "Mrs. Hall , had recently recognized her own "class snobbery" and was determined to rid her of moral superiority that she had been taught since birth" (26). "if we want something we get it" (27). The comments they make are genuine and real but create a closer look at the mentality that these upper class women have, but there  too obvious as well. Of course they think there more superior than lower class people, and of course they know they have a perfect life with everything they want handed to them. So When Ostrander tries to use this as a way for these women to gives themselves an identity, they might as well consider their identity handed to them. If everything these women use to identify themselves with was handed to them and just because of their birthright, then there identity was just an added factor to the package.

Week 4

After reading this week's articles, I found that Ouellette's article is more successful and convincing. She has done the best analyses and research about the women identity. The article provides a broader view of how people see female identity as she has a wider range of evidence as she uses books, magazines and media. Although she is not doing a firsthand research, the research she has done is valid and more comprehensive in terms of the data she got and gathered. She used strong evidences to show how Cosmo has been an influential factor of shaping women identity. She said that ,"[I] wish to show how Brown's advice spoke to major changes in women's economic and sexual roles, while also suggested social identity for her "working girl" readers" (360). Her argument is convincingly strong and objective as she doesn't limit her evident to only one type.


To me, Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy's articles are more objective and limited. In Ostrander's article about upper class women, she provides numerous in-person evidences to show how the upper class women define "themselves". I feel that the first person interview is a good method of studying her object because she could get the most accurate and personal views. However, I would argue that Ostrander's methodology is not strong enough when comparing to Ouellette's. Ostrander's article is a little bit narrow and objective because she conducts interviews in one city and has already limited her target group. She even points out, "The Women's comments also begin to weave a picture of the upper-class way of life" (35). The answers and responses from the people are predictable. We can only see how upper class women see themselves but not the others. She missed a comprehensive view of women identity when she only focuses her interview on one group of people. Moreover, Patillo-McCoy's research is based on the black middle class. She interviews and observe the black middle class women in a limited area. Although she combines her data with statistical data; again, it still lacks a big picture of the subject that she is looking at.


I think there are gaps in the articles. The methodologies that the writers used vary because their goals and the types of article are different. Ostranders and Patillo-McCoy conduct first hand interview to get real life examples, targets. Ouellette use second hand data because she wants to have more precise views and analyses to shun subjectivity.

Week 4 Blog

I find that studying the population via interviews or in an ethnographic manner a la Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy is more effective than Oullette's primary support of media research.  That isn't to say of course, that media research, and therefore, secondhand research should be ignored. Rather, first-hand research such as observing or interviewing the studied population can provide a more in-depth and personal study on which to base one's argument.


The reasons that the authors varied on their research methods is quite simple.  The subjects studied by Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy were more established social groups, i.e. in case there was established social class and the other race, which is biologically established, respectively.  Thus, interviews and ethnographical observation was more appropriate.  Oullette's subject, "The Cosmo Girl" is based on a media creation, the persona created by Gurley-Brown and her media vehicle Cosmopolitan.  Considering the media source, it makes perfect sense that research was done primarily through various media.


I feel that that the biggest gap came from Oullette's article.  While the titles from past Cosmos were both interesting to ponder and wonder what the effects were on the American population.  But we were left in the dark as to how effective (or not) "Why I Wear My False Eyelashes to Bed" had on the American female population during the Cosmo Girl era.  It would have been nice to have some interviews from former Cosmo girls or something.  I also feel that some quotations from the citizens of Groveland would have enhanced the piece, "Black Picket Fences." This may be because I enjoyed the candor of the first article and because I feel that quotations better personify a study of an identified group. 

blog 4

            Ostrander focused on upper-class women, relying on first person interviews.  I feel she used this method because it would provide her with personal knowledge and understanding of these women's lives.  I found this methodological approach limited.       First, I think first person interviews are helpful, I think they can sometimes lack objectivity.  Secondly, while interviews are good for description, for me, they often fail to address an important question for me - which is why this study matters, or what is it really trying to accomplish.  What is Ostrander's point in this study, what is she seeking to change?  Although I know not all research has to have a big social justice style impact, I like the kinds that do much better.  Third, I guess to be blunt and perhaps crude (or ignorant) - I just can't relate to a study of upper-class women.  After reading Ostrander's piece I was left thinking 'why did I just read that... I could have just turned on MTV and watched something much more entertaining that carried the same basic points'.

            The biggest problem I had with her approach was that she only focuses on women in a certain geographical area.  This is limiting because, for example, the women discuss the differences between those who are old and new money.  This might not be the same in other geographical regions (especially with different histories and a higher population).

            Patillo-McCoy also used interviews, but spent many more years gathering her research.  I think Patillo-McCoy used a more in-depth and longer research process because it carries more weight than simple interviews.  I liked Patillo-McCoy's research more than Ostrander's because it seemed more concrete.  She spent more time and seemed to really take into account more facts than Ostrander did.  For example, she had statistical information about income, which is important for her subject of study.  While sometimes she did fail to fully explain or justify her arguments, I personally felt her research was more compelling and had a point.

            Ouellette's methods differed much more from Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy.  She analyzed magazines, books and other media.  She chose this method because she was focusing on a specific point: Brown and Cosmo magazine and how they shaped discourse.  This method seemed pretty appropriate to the aim of the research.  Ouellette presented facts and a sort of historical survey that presented clear support of what she was trying to research: the shaping of female identity. 

Week 4 Blog

All of the articles this week were on different subjects and some were researched differently.  The articles by Ostrander and Pattillo-McCoy used research from studies of different groups, while the Ouellette uses magazines and books as her references.  I think the most successful methodological approach is the study of different groups or populations because it gives examples of everyday life and their effects, instead of just facts.  For instance, the Ostrander article has interviews from conversations the author had with people that are part of the populations.  Pattillo-McCoy observed an entire community for three years, keeping track of the people who live there and gathered information on how people lived.  I think they used this method because it gives real life examples and makes few assumptions.  The article by Ouellette which only gives us the titles of articles, but doesn't give us results of what happened in the article, like when she mentions "Sex and the Single Girl" which says how women should be, but we don't know if anyone took the advice seriously.

Blog Assignment 4

Mary Pattillo McCoy's approach to her methodological studies was based on the black middle class. Although she did have some statistics, it was really just based on one neighborhood, the "Groveland Neighborhood", because of this, it lacked support in representing all middle class neighborhoods, and it was not convincing enough. If she had between 5 to 6 neighborhoods that came up with the same statistics, and it showed a frequent pattern, it would have made for a stronger argument. It would have also been a more successful argument had she provided more examples of the facts that she was talking about. For example when she talks about the "discrimination practices of banks, insurance companies" (14). The questions of what discrimination practices, when and where are unanswered because she failed to provide evidentiary support.            

Susan A. Ostrander writes about the upper class in America. Her research is clearly based on interviews and she gets a very personal perspective to the upper middle class life. This approach is very interesting, and it sheds a light on who these people are. But, with interviews alone, it fails to provide factual data. These are more based on opinions and thoughts, verses direct factual questions like "How much does your trips to Europe cost?" to "What is the average income of these old families?"

As for Laurie Oullette, I found her article to be the most convincing and successful. Oullette uses several sources from other media to help support her argument about Helen Gurdy Brown. She provides facts from Cosmo magazines to exact quotes and information that Brown stated in these magazines. Oullette correlates her arguments with the "hows" and "whys" Cosmo has directed its "changes in women roles" (360). From exploitation to sexism, Brown is targeted and criticized. I find Oullette's argument strong because there are clear facts from Cosmo and other sources as well that helps supports her argument.

These different ways of presenting their arguments could have been because of individual goals and perspectives that they were trying to achieve, in the end, I have found that Laurie Oullette has provided the best arguments because she brings in different angles and clear factual evidence to support it. 

Blog 4 Assignment

I found Ostrander's approach to be the most successful because she got her information straight from the mouths of the women whose lifestyle she was analyzing.  As she even said at the beginning of her article, the way these women "...defined and described their class were quite different from the way social scientists typically study class in American society," which means their input gave us, as a reader, insights into the way the upper-class live their everyday lives that we may not have known had it not been directly from the upper-class women she interviewed.  Yes, the information is fairly biased because it is individual accounts of people's personal lives in relation to their class, but I think that that aspect of her approach adds to Ostrander's research, not detracts from it.  It was a useful approach for what she was studying because it did give us an actual look into the lives of these women and the way that they think, which is not something that can necessarily be researched objectively since she wanted to know how these women viewed and felt about their status.  I also felt that her article was the most easily accessible in terms of readability based off of her article's flow and structure.


I found Pattillo-McCoy's approach successful as well, but I sensed a little more author bias in this article than I did in Ostrander's approach.  A bias coming from the people being interviewed, since it is in regards to their personal lives, seems more justifiable than the bias of the person doing the research.  For example I found the sentence, "...we need not wait for the whites to accept blacks in their neighborhoods, and think of integration as the panacea for current problems," to be a tad bit loaded.  Yes, it is an issue in some areas, but I think that there was a lot of stereotyping done in regards to putting all whites in one category and all blacks in a separate, unequal, category, when that is not always the case.


I think that the authors used different research methods based off of the material and people they were studying.  Ostrander and Pattillo-McCoy both used personal interviews of the people being studied, as well as some historical backgrounds to the people and neighborhoods (more heavily in Pattillo-McCoy's) and Oulette's argument being based off of books, magazines, and other media makes sense because her subject matter, Helen Gurley Brown and her magazine Cosmopolitan, are heavily engrained in the media. 


All in all, I do not think there is always a black and white "right" or "wrong" methodological approach to research; it is just dependent on the specific materiel that you are attempting to study.  Sometimes interviews, surveys, and historical data are more relevant than arguments based off books, magazines and other media sources and visa versa depending on the specific study.





Blog 4 Assignment

After reading the articles for Tuesday I found Susan Ostrander's article "Women of the Upper Class" to be the most successful.  I think the structure of Ostrander's article made it easier and a lot more interesting to read.  The interviews she conducted with the various women exceptionally showed how women in the upper class view themselves because she used direct quotes, which gave the reader a word for word account instead of a summary.  For example Ostrander states that people are born into the upper class.  She confirms this statement by using the quote "'being born like we are'" in her article.  This shows the reader that she did not just come up with this on her own but that an interviewee actually said it.  

I think there were gaps in the Laurie Oullette's article "Inventing the Cosmo Girl."  Since she did base her argument off of different medias, it was difficult for me to relate to the article because it was at a more scholarly level.  It was easier for me to associate with the Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy articles because they conducted studies of populations.  Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy articles consisted of quotes and studies of either upper class women or the black middle class, whereas Oullette summarized many things and used few quotes.  Therefore, this made it less "real" to the reader because she had filtered her answers rather then give direct ones as the others authors did.  

Blog 4 Entry

I think that Ostranders and Oullettes methodological approaches worked the best by far, even though they were different. Ostrander used the 'study' method as a way of showing us the lives of upper-class women by getting quotes like: "I was brought up in a home where I saw nothing but the best. It gives you a certain standard. You know what perfection is" (p27). These quotes enabled her to get the in-depth evidence that she was looking for in order to get the point across about how these upper-class women within society truly think and feel about their status. I don't think that she would have been able to do this by using the other, more analytical approach because it wouldn't have given her argument the strength it needed. On the other hand, I think that her study lacks some depth because she just focuses on the women of this upper-class division, where as I think that she should have expanded her studies to include the men of these same sectors in order to get the "other side" view of what life is really like in this social class.

Oullette is another author that I think does a very good job of putting forth her argument, even though she uses a different approach. She analyzes and critiques the work done in the media with a very critical eye that most people don't have and as a result, are passively influenced and fed messages that they are unaware of. She gives quotes from Cosmopolitan about how "some girls have it...some don't. But that elusive little quality separating the haves from the nots is within everyone's grasp" (p368), which highlights her main point about how influential media can be on a person's individuality through such oppressive tactics, mainly on women. Another strength to her study was that she used various sources within the media sector in order to reinforce her argument; she didn't just focus on one more than the other.

I think that Patillo-McCoy's article was the least successful out of all of them due to the fact that there were many instances where the ideas that were put forth appeared to be very bias and lacking statistical proof. Throughout the whole article, she uses 'white' instead of 'Anglo-Saxon', but does not refrain from using 'African American' instead of 'black' when putting forth a point in favor of her argument. She also lacks statistical proof in numbers when including statements such as "African Americans are more segregated from whites than any other racial or ethnic group" (p137). I made all of these observations while reading only the first few introductory pages of her article, which made me uneasy at the fact that she set her more factual-based information up with less than credible inferences.


Overall, I think that for any study to be soundly valid, or close to it, I think that you have to use a 'hybrid' of these two ideas; use facts, but also on observational data in order to make your own personal view clear, but trustworthy.    




Blog #4: identity and research methodology

Ostrander's case study of upper-class women, based primarily on interviews and somewhat on personal observation, provides an excellent example of what informs self-identity within this specific group. Although I am compelled to believe this case study is applicable to upper-class women in other geographic locations, no proof is offered that such extrapolations can be made. This is one weakness in Ostrander's article. Additionally, I find the lack of citations to other pieces of literature about what informs identity for upper-class women another weakness in Ostrander's piece. It does, however, appear to legitimize Collin's argument in Learning from the Outsider Within that women of one class often do not recognize their role in oppressing women of another class.


Ouellette's research provides a good example of how popular media can both inform and uphold discourse on identity. Ouellette's method is based entirely on archival research, which provides us with an excellent example of the fluid nature of identity. However, because Ouellette uses only Brown's publications, and those of her critics, to support her argument, there are limitations to her methods; most notably the single interpretation of Brown's writings.


I believe Pattillo-McCoy's research methods are most effective because she uses all the methods mentioned thus far (interviews, observation, and archival research). Pattillo-McCoy's use of a number of research methods provides layers to her argument not available in Ostrander's or Ouellette's pieces, and her argument demonstrates why it is important to look at the intersection of race and class, instead of examining them separately. Pattillo-McCoy effectively combines historical elements with current social statistics and observations.

Blog 4 Assignment

I believe Ostrander's and Patillo-McCoy's use of studying subject matter behavior by using interviews and conducting population studies enabled them to immerse themselves in the social context they were studying thereby engaging not only their subjects but also the reader. Their research approaches allowed them to write their articles in a way that engaged the reader and therefore affect their emotions. Both authors, Ostrander's use of personal interviews and accounts and Patillo-McCoy's use of in-depth historical accounts and the portrayal of "Groveland", used a research approach that helped readers to empathize with the issues faced by their subjects. These techniques were a powerful way of engaging the reader to become more aware of the issues the upper-class women deal with when striving to retain their status and thus defining their class status, "The women I interviewed spoke easily and articulately about the upper-class and how if frames their lives" (Ostrander, 21), and the continual equality struggle - economic and race - of the middle-class blacks, "To resolve the quandary it is essential to continuously refer back to the ways in which the black middle class is not equal to the white middle class..." (Patillo-McCoy, 137).

In contrast, Ouellette utilized a less personal approach to explain the cause-and-effect glamour magazines, such as Helen Gurley Brown's Cosmopolitan magazine, have on people's perception of their class identity and how one can affect their own class identity through continual improvement. Ouellette, through her article and research approach, was not as successful in conveying her message as the other two writers because her article focused more on Brown and the feminist confrontation the Cosmopolitan magazine created in the 1960's and 70's than on the influence magazines have on women and their ability to affect class identity than on personal conflicts. "What I am proposing is that the cultural discourse Brown articulated legitimated sexism and the capitalist exploitation of women's labor, while simultaneously expressing hardships and desires in a voice that spoke with credibility to an expanding class of pink-collar women" (Ouellette, 360).

Ouellette's article, I believe, failed to appeal to the reader and to show the cause-and-effect she had intended to identify in the article. The personal interaction used by Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy was far more successful than Ouellette's approach. However, Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy's research approach resulted in a more subjective argument leaving room for arguments regarding objective and factual cause-and-effect.

Blog Post #4

I found the use of population studies to be more useful than magazine and book studies. I think that to properly understand anything about a group of people, there needs to be firsthand account of some kind, which prizes multiple individual's experiences over massification. So often when using books, magazines and other such media things can be construed and twisted to be more sensational, or promote an agenda. After all, the media exists for consumption or to form a particular way of thought, and accordingly has to be presented in a way that will promote sales. As a result, I find most of printed media to be suspect. The use of documentable media is also hailed as a more "legitimate" type of research, partially I think because it plays on the idea that because something was published, or that it was made out to be the majority viewpoint, that it is true.


However, when there are no longer any means or way to do direct study (for example, unless you have a time machine, you can't go and talk to someone dead, or get a feel of a lost generation by being there) then media becomes one of the few ways to study a certain time or people no longer available. Additionally, when performing a study, I think it is important to take into all factors, including the mass media, to support or provide counterpoint to your research.


Oullette uses the media to support her argument partly because her agreement is based in media, and is appropriate and also because it captured the attitude of the early Cosmo era. It is interesting to note that Ostrander seemed to take into account books and papers on class, but disregarded them in favor of her own interviews. In Ostrander's case, it would have been more beneficial to have more interviews, because she shows a somewhat narrow view of how women of high class view themselves, so while that might have been fine for a specific area study, i.e. one city, it wasn't suited to a larger study like she seemed to be aiming for. Patillo-McCoy was perhaps the most successful of the three, but she could have utilized more statistics, interviews and like books/papers to support her research. Overall, I found all methods of research legitimate for what they were researching, although all could have been improved upon.

Blog 4

There were differences between Patillo-Mcoy's, Oullete, and Ostrander's research methods. Oullette used media, books, and magazines. I believe that the authors used different research methods because it pertained to their articles and the information they were trying to find. For example, Patillo-Mcoy could not have used media, books, or magazines because part of her argument was that the media only focuses on the black poor. She wanted to shed light to the black middle class which wasn't included in material found in a book or the media. Ostrander wanted to know specific questions, so an interview would fit her article the best. Oullete chose to use research based on a magazine because she needed precise information that was in the Cosmopoltian magazine to support her argument. She could not have interviewed people about what the magazine said, because it would be easier to look at the magazine itself instead of asking people about the articles. She would then risk the chance of people obscuring what the articles said to fit their view.

Out of the three methological approaches taken by Oullete, Patillo-Mccoy, and Ostrander; Oullete's was the most successful. She used research that depended on the media, books and magazines. Her findings were valid because she used specific evidence to support her argument. Patillo-Mccoy's argument was not the most successful, but it was legitimate because the information that she wanted to present could not be found in books, magazines, or the media. For example, 136 she said "much of the research and media attention on African Americans is on the black poor......rarely do we hear the stories of the other three-fourths..." Ostrander's argument was flawed, however. I think that because she only chose to interview a few women, she missed out on the big picture. Her research was conducted in one city and with one exclusive group of women. I don't think that the way they portray identities can account for every single woman in the upper-class.

Blog 4 Assignment

The methodological approaches used by Ostrander, Mc-Coy, and Oullette are all valid but in my opinion, the best method was used by Oullette because she presented different mediums to support her argument.  Ostrander and Mc-Coy's studies were successful, however, basing their arguments specifically on interviews is not the best method in conducting research. 

I believe all of the authors used the different research methods to try and gain the most knowledge about what they were presenting.  In the case of Ostrander, she focused on an elite group of upper class women and interviewing them with specific questions allowed her to gather the information she needed to write her passage.  However, I think Ostrander's argument as well as McCoy's could have been stronger with factual data.  For example, instead of just interviewing upper class women Ostrander could have given specific research on how much the "elites" were donating, spending, etc.  Neither of the authors used hard facts.

On the other hand, Oullette discussed the career of Helen Gurley Brown and used quotes and ideas from books and magazines to show what was happening in the media at that point in history.  Without quoting other sources, Oullette would have had a difficult time explaining the ridicule Brown was faced with.  On page 369, Inventing the Cosmo Girl, I quote, "Upscale magazines from Esquire to the New Yorker satirized Brown and her magazine, as did political journals from the left-leaning Ramparts to the conservative National Review."  Many other media soures were tearing Brown apart for her new image of a Cosmopolitan girl.  Quoting the other magazines made Oullette's argument stronger.

In conclusion, the best method of research is using numerous sources, gathering as much information as possible, and clearly supporting your argument.

Blog #4

Of the three approaches, Ostrander's approach I think is the least effective.It is very hard to take seriously the opinion of the women she interviews in her article because they have always lived the lives they are being interviewed about so therefore it can be deduced that their opinions are biased.  In most cases, when being asked about one's own life, the answers are not objective as they could be. I found the comments of the women interviewed in Ostrander's article to be shallow.  To me they did not seem in depth or or very insightful.  Maybe I'm biased since I don't come from a privledged family, but I felt no sympathy for the "problems" of the rich upper class. I guess that when compared with the problems of the poor such as being able to feed their families, the problem with having to participate in too many fundraisers seems trivial and shallow. Patill-McCoy's article used the same sort of method.  While I found her article to be slightly more identifiable and reliable, it is still lacking to a complete picture because her observations may not have been as insightful, as one can only observe so much from outside appearances. 

Oullette's article about the "Cosmo Girl" did the best job of analyzing an aspect of female identities.  Of course when you interview women who believe and follow the lifestyle of the Cosmo Girl, it's hard to get a clear picture of both sides. I also felt an author bias in Oullette's article that I didn't feel in Ostrander's and that made me question some of her information, but the facts and studies she presented ring a bit more reliable than personal opinion.  I realize that every situation is different and you shouldn't categorize women into one category, but she cited specific examples of Cosmopolitan articles that directly affected the formation of female identity, and the history of the magazine itself gives credibility to Oullette's analzsis. 

Week 4 Blog Assignment

Note: This week's readings were handed out in class, but copies are also available in the GWSS office, Ford 425, and on the course website. If you get the readings off of the website, please note that you only need to read pages 359-60 and 364-70 of the Oullette. If you got the handout in class and want to read the entire Oullette article, you can find it on the course website.

The three articles that we will discuss on Tuesday address class from three perspectives. Susan Ostrander tells us how upper-class women define their own upper-class identity. Laurie Oullette explores how Helen Gurley Brown's "Cosmo Girl" discourse suggests that class identity "could always be reworked, improved upon, and even dramatically changed" (366). And Mary Patill-McCoy argues that understanding class requires attention to more than just economic status.
Ostrander and Patillo-McCoy both conducted studies of the populations that they write about, whereas Oullette bases her argument on books, magazines, and other media. In your blog entry, I'd like you to explore the differences between these methodological approaches. Do you find one to be more successful than the other? Why? Why do you think the authors used these different research methods? Are there gaps in their arguments that result from their choice of method?  Be specific; use examples from the articles to support your answer. Feel free to draw on other readings from the class that offer other methodologies as well.

Length: approx. 150 words

Midterm Paper

The handout that I distributed on 9/24 explaining the midterm paper and introducing the final project is now on the course website. I have also created a new category, "group project," in which you can post ideas for topics that you would like to address in your final projects and start putting together your project groups.

Bisexuality and the Identity Struggle

People who do not identify as either straight nor gay face a dichotomy because they cannot be categorized into a single sexual orientation. Although heterosexuality is the most accepted sexual orientation, our society is slowly accepting homosexuality, or at least understanding it. But when it comes to bisexuality, there really isn't a place for it. A bisexual person must struggle to find their identity amongst both the heterosexual and homosexual world. 


As a whole, our society doesn't know what to think of bisexuals. I have taken a handful of classes pertaining to the GLBT community, yet I have heard very little about the bisexual population.  I remember one of my female peers admitting that she considered herself to be bisexual, and when asked to share some of her thoughts, she responded by saying that to her, being bisexual simply meant that she has the capacity to love anyone of any gender. The person that she finds herself in a relationship with could be either a man or a woman; however it happens to turn out.


So how does a bisexual "come out" to their family? Would coming out have the same kind of effect on both the bisexual and their family as would a gay/lesbian coming out? Would the conservative, heterosexual family try to convince their bisexual loved one to choose a [seemingly] hetero relationship since they do, in fact, mingle with the opposite sex? How does bisexuality shape the identity of a bisexual person? How do bisexuals present themselves to the world and to potential partners? Does this depend upon how a particular bisexual is raised and what race(s) and class they belong to? So many questions...

Blog #3 - my experience as an outsider within.

Alcoff says that "[i]dentities are best understood as ways in which we and others around us represent our material ties to historical events and social structures."  Patricia Hill Collins addresses how Black feminists in particular "possess a unique standpoint... or perspective" due to the "historical and material conditions shaping [their] lives."  We are beginning to look at identities and how they are constituted, operate and how identity and oppression interact. 

            These two articles made me think of my own experience and how my identity has been (and is being) shaped by my experience.  Particularly, I thought of my experience in Catholic school when I was young.  My mother was sixteen when she had me, and I lived with my grandmother for many years.  Although we were Lutheran, I went to Catholic school because my grandmother had been a school teacher and knew administrators at the school who gave my family a huge discount on tuition. 

            The first identity that I remember that I was sort of assigned was that of Lutheran (I was 'othered' because I was not Catholic - I did not fit into the dominant religious/culture of the school).  Although that was not a huge thing that caused me strain with my classmates, it still made me aware that I was different and a minority in terms of religion.  The next thing that I realized was the class and family structure differences between me and my peer's families.  My mother and aunt were both adopted, and my grandmother was a single mother by the 1970s.  My mother was single, sixteen and poor when I was born.  This was much different from the two parent, three child, upper middle class family structures that almost all of my peers had.  Again, my family was poor, and the rest of my classmates came from families with plenty of money (I was 'othered' because of my social class or material conditions).

            When I got to about 5th grade, the differences between myself and my peers at Catholic school were becoming painfully apparent to me.  While the other kids got mountain bikes, the latest sneakers and what seemed to me anything they wanted, I didn't.  I started to stand out with my hand me down clothes - my family was poor.  I felt uncomfortable and more and more alienated at school.  These were not people I really could relate to.  At the beginning of fifth grade I talked my mother into letting me attend public school because I was so unhappy because I didn't fit in at private school.  When I started at public school my identity as a student from a poor family changed, because I was introduced to people that were most likely poorer than myself.  I felt like I was more accepted and I did not stand out because of my family's economic situation.

     In conclusion, I believe identities can change and are relative to different contexts or situations.  My experience as standing out for being poor at a rich school is something that shaped how I thought about my peers at the time and the world.  When that changed, I had to rethink my identity, and it now that experience has shaped me into a more socially aware person.

Blog 3

After reading both articles, Visible Identities by Linda Alcoff and Learning from the outsiders with in by Patrica Hill Collins we start to see how identities are constituted and how they operate. As Linda Alcoff defines on page 285 "struggles of social identity have been fought against the subtle social contracts by which whole identity groups are denied equality and basic human rights."

This got me thinking of a lady Elena Gonzales, she happens to be a grandmother of my good friend.  Elena moved from Mexico to California in her early thirties. She had a well-established identity living in a reputable neighborhood, working as a doctor and supporting three children. As soon as she moved, people stereotyped her because of her skin color, body shape, and language, which was struggle for Elena to fit in this society.  Historically Hispanics did labor work, at low wages. Elena got a job picking tomatoes in a field working long hours and making barley enough to get by. Her children also went down the wrong path falling into the stereotypical roles Mexican adolescents played in suburban cities of California. Collins says, " enduring the frequent assaults of controlling images requires considerable inner strength", something her children fell victim to. As African American experience sexual exploitation, Elena experienced exploitation by being forced to work for minimal wages despite her real identity as an educated professional. People need to acknowledge the inadequacies of the social structures to end identity- based oppression.

Week 3 Blog Entry

This weeks readings on the relationship between historical and material conditions and social structures made me think of the movie "District 9". In the movie, there is a clear dichotomy between humans and non-humans, or "prawns". The human power is defined in many ways; humans oppress the non-human identity though the inability of the prawn to rise in their social status, the military power of the human social class to evict and relocate the prawns out of the District 9 slum, and the oppression of the non-human social identity through the denial of basic rights such as safety or right to life (defiant prawns are immediately shot at, and their eggs are destroyed).


Wikus, an agent with the private military contractor in charge of the relocation of the prawns out of the District 9 slum, has the unique experience of transforming his visible identity. At first, his social identity is that of a human who wields a considerable about of power over the non-prawns in his eviction rights and weaponry. However, when he becomes sprayed by a liquid belonging to the aliens, he begins to transform physically into a prawn. His duel identity as human in a non-human body cannot be accepted by the strict, socially determined human and non-human identities. As a consequence, Wikus is treated like a prawn and hunted down by the military. Thus, his superficial non-prawn identity oppresses and constrains him because of how others, the humans, see it as a cue for oppressive treatment, regardless of how it inaccurately represents Wikus's nature.

Week 3 Blog - Identities

While reading Alcoff and Collins articles, I began thinking about people I knew who encountered the "stranger" phenomenon of which Simmel speaks. It reminds me of a close family friend, Lily, who moved to my largely white, upper-middle class suburban town when I was in elementary school. She had been born in Chile, but went to high school in America, and married a white man from Texas. She quickly became friends with my mother, who had not grown up in such an affluent town, and had a more diverse experience of the world. Lily often spoke about the different hierarchies that seemed to form, even within our neighborhood. The importance of things like Bunco and children's playgroups were taken for granted in my town. 

Lily was immediately marginalized because of the color of her skin, and her accent, even though it was not thick. While she found it difficult to become close with most of the mothers in our neighborhood, she was still friendly and invited to everything. But, as Collins speaks about, she had the unique perspective of being triply oppressed - as a non-white, female of a poor background. It made it easier for her to identify the social structures that largely were invisible to the rest of us.  Lily was an extremely strong female - and I thought of her as Collins discussed the meaning of self-definition and self-valuation, and its importance for African American women. She didn't depend on the images that were stereotypically portrayed for women of color, and she seemed to be constantly aware of herself as a person, and not as the token non-white. She used her background, her multiple social identities and material conditions to shape who she was, and how she presented herself to the world. 

week 3 blog

After reading the Collins and Alcoff articles and the blog 3 assignment I immediately thought of my boyfriend.  Last year he was a college student, but really struggling with what he wanted to do and how to pay for school.  So, in response to his material conditions he enlisted in the army.  In joining the army he gained a rigid identity defined by the uniform.  Everybody there is the same, where they came from, their race, their class, none of this no longer mattered because they're all the same and share the identity of a soldier.  There is extreme dichotomous categories in the military your either a soldier or a civillian, your very occupation is defined by a hierachal ranking system, and your very identity in this system is openly displayed on your uniform for everyone to see.  The U.S. military mantains this completley homogenous group by unifying them and treating them not as an individual.  I know that my boyfriends experience in the army has changed him greatly, before he was an individual in our society that didn't come from alot of money now his identity is a soldier in the u.s. army and is just another member of a much larger group.

blog #3

After reading both articles about identity, and how identities affect oppression, I found that Collins most strongly provided an example that I could relate to.  Collins talks about this "outsider within" status that provides individuals with their own standpoint on self, family, and society. Collins also talks about images that are used to dehumanize women, making it easy for men to justify their poor treatment of women.  Collins references an interview with Nancy White who says, men treat black women as if they are mules and white women as if they are dogs, although the white women is closer to the master, he isn't going to treat either one as if they are human. This example is something that I have had personal experience with last year. There was an incident where I was at a party and woke up the next morning in a random apartment with no recollection of what had happened the night before. I went to the hospital to have tests done, and they told me I had been drugged. In this case I was the "other", the dominated group lacking full human subjectivity, as Collins would state. Women must not let these images and stereotypes define who they are, but they must embrace their status as an "outsider within" to help move towards humane treatment and equality for all women.

Week 3 Blog

In ancient Rome, women and slaves were not citizens, as they hadn't been in ancient Greece.  There was a dichotomy of identity between citizen and not, mostly understood by an understanding of inferior minds and the submissive positions in sex occupied by both women and male slaves.  In the play "The Menaechmi" there is allowed to be a slave protagonist and "brain" of the situation, while women remain the submissive and flat action-less characters. It was an unrealistic portrayal of a slaves possible actions, but fitting with the roles of women.  I believe women would have had a very different reaction to it than men.  As their dichotomy was broken for one "other" in the group, they remained static characters in life and in politics for the entire life of the empire. As women viewed representations of themselves and their roles I believe they would have had a unique point of view shaped by personal pasts within their system (historically as explained in the readings) but with an intelligent understanding of the fracturing of the dichotomized identity to which they also belonged but were not yet free to escape, even in storytelling. (denying the space they fit into).  

Blog 3: Identity

Alcoff article discusses the struggles of todays period on social status, social class, and social identity. One particular struggle that I have dealing with is the social identity of other people not know about Hmong people. As I was growing up, I had friends and peers who thought I was Chinese just because me and the rest of my Hmong friends were speaking similar to the Chinese language. The way we look is similar to Chinese, yet our culture and languages is different from Chinese. As other people ask me what is my ethnicity is, I would tell them that I'm Hmong. However, many of then would not know who I was. I knew who I was, but at that time, I didn't have the amount of knowledge to tell them who the Hmong people were.

Alcoff quoted that "Identities are best understood as ways in which we and others around us represent our material ties to historical events and social structures." To let others know about who the Hmong people were and who I was representing Hmong, I would tell them about the past of Hmong people's life and how we came about to the United States. However, since history taught in school has not mentioned about Hmong and their history, many people are unaware of who we are.

I once wrote a research paper about the history of the Hmong's involvement in the Vietnam War and why it's important to know about Hmong because history itself left us out of what students should really learn in school. And as I gave my paper for my peers to edit, they were very surprise to learn about the Hmong people because the information that I've given and the history of the Hmong involving with Vietnam never accure to what they learned in school. So overall, if teaching and telling others about my people's history, whether it's in school or outside of school, it would help them know who I am and who the Hmong people were. Then my identity wouldn't be unknown to them, and that I wouldn't have to question myself why others don't know about Hmong and the history of the Hmong is left out.

Blog 3


The Star Wars example with a good side and a Dark Side made me think of Harry Potter, which also has a good people and Death Eaters dichotomy. But the character whose identity I would like to discuss, Hermione Granger, is unambiguously good, and affected more by the Witch / Muggle dichotomy than good versus evil.

            Hermione is Muggle-born, which means that she spent the first eleven years of her life living as a Muggle. Then she is completely immersed in the magical world when she goes to school. She therefore has both magical and muggle aspects to her identity. This causes her to reject the wizard-centric view of the world, in which magical people not only dominate non-magical people but also non human creatures. (Even 'muggle loving' wizards view muggles as amusing and somewhat dumb - voyeurism?) Hermione's standpoint can be seen in her compassion for house elves and squibs, who are normally treated as second class by witches and wizards. This standpoint was then shaped by the historical conditions of classism against muggles and muggle-borns and the social structure with wizards at the top of the hierarchy.

to identity and beyond!

For my example, I'd like to use Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story as having outsiders within status. Buzz Lightyear is adopted into Andy's collection when he is given as a gift. All the other toys are astonished by him; he's so flashy in comparison to Woody. However, Woody is not impressed and his secure spot as Andy's favorite toy becomes threatened.

Woody tries to belittle Buzz by pointing out that he is a toy, but that is not how Buzz sees himself. He is not a toy, but a space ranger sent to seek out and destroy Emperor Zurg. His confidence and somewhat delusional manner takes over Andy's bedroom and a change starts to occur. Buzz and the other toys fix up his space ship, and he returns by helping the other toys with their problems. Rex develops a meaner roar and Sketch starts drawing buzz instead of having an old fashion duel with Woody. Had Buzz not entered the scene, everything would've changed stayed the same. Later in the movie when Buzz lets Woody's definition of him as a toy settle in, he no longer is Buzz Lightyear. He becomes helpless and downright pitiful.

Buzz lightyear confidence in his role as a space ranger (not a toy) challenged the status quo of the bedroom. By not accepting that he was in fact a toy, he instilled confidence in the other toys to try new things and improve upon their lives.

Identities Blog 3

Reading these articles and then attempting to relate the ideas to situations in my life was not at all difficult. I considered an example of what I explored with a part of my identity a few years ago. When I graduated high school, I headed off to the University of St. Thomas. I had hear about all the stereotypes about the "rich" people that go to St. Thomas but I just brushed all those comments off. I figured since I came from a family that has always lived not in the extreme, but very comfortably, I would fit in just fine. When I got there, I began to realize that in a sense, these comments that people had made were true. I had never even heard of the designer names that girls were dressed in or designer names of the bags that girls were carrying their books in. I began to feel like I didn't fit in. I wanted to stay true to my own identity but also felt jealous and wanted the material things they had. I battled this for awhile but realized that just because all these girls had expensive materials, that didn't mean they were good, kind, friendly people. We had simply been raised in different social institutions. Everyone from their home towns owned those material things because that's what was built into the society that they lived in. I happened to come from a society which these things were not built in. I simply accepted it and made a lot of really great friends because of who they were, rather than worrying about the things they owned.

Blog 3

I remember when I went to stay with my in-laws in Mexico City of this year.  The entire time I was there the family spoke to me (In Spanish) and made me feel as if I was a complete if I completely belonged to their family.  But as soon as we left the home, it was a completely different story.  Even if I wandered off for more than a minute from the family I literally was swarmed with people asking me for money, people saying rude things they had learned in English, and gave me awful looks.  I feel like Mexican culture is a part of my life...half of my family is Mexican...I eat Mexican food, I celebrate Mexican holidays, everything about it engulfs my life...but out there it was as if no one could get past the color of my skin.  My mother in-law admitted even though she would love for me to move down there that I would always be seen as a dollar sign.  I wanted to fit in as a fluent Spanish speaker-surrounded by the language and culture I am in love with-but it was not like that.  I was the white "gringa" seen as a dollar sign to hit up for money on the streets, and inside the home I was spoken Spanish to and treated like a part of the culture and family. I struggled with my own identity at that time, even if it was only for a short period of time. 

Blog Post #3

The two articles for this week's reading were of particular interest to me as I feel they intimately pertain to my social situation. As a Korean adopted by a white family I could be classified simultaneously an insider and an outsider. I ostensibly live a middle class, white lifestyle (or at least I have intimate knowledge of this lifestyle) but am denied all the finer benefits of such a lifestyle due to my Korean heritage. So what does this mean? If I ignore my race and its social implications to continue my comfortable but deceptive lifestyle, I support racial ideologies by choosing not to address racial inequalities and therefore remain willfully blind; a privilege reserved only for those with the ability of choice. What is this choice? Though I have been raised within a the cultural dominant and therefore taught that I do have the choice of ignorance (i.e. ignore something that is socially, culturally and historically detrimental (like racism) because it does not affect me), because I am not the cultural dominant, only intimately nurtured and raised into it, I only want to believe I have that choice when I do not. What has this resulted in? I know of a lifestyle I cannot have inner access to because society has made me aware that I am "other". However, I do have access to that life, however limited. As an other, I have an "in". It means that too all appearances I live on the fringes, working between two socially perceived dichotomies; a part of the dominant culture and also apart from it. (I say socially perceived dichotomies because a Korean raised by a white family would seemingly result in a fractured identity, between two separate things, a Korean and an American. This is not the case, as I am a unified identity operating within a fractured society, or a society that support fractures. To paraphrase Alcoff, it is not identity that needs to be transformed, but the structures that identity works within.)

Week 3 Blog

I grew up in a very small rural town with a population of around 200 people.  My entire school (k-12) had less than 100 students.  This is Drake, North Dakota.  In school everybody was accepted, we didn't have certain groups or "clicks" you belonged to.  But I guess that could have stemmed from the fact that we were all middle class white students and didn't really have a choice of who to pick for our friends.  From that you could guess that we had no diversity in our school.  With this kind of social structured environment, your standpoint about others that are "different" from you is probably skewed negatively.  I'm not saying I was racist.  I was just consumed with ignorance as were my fellow students.

In this town there was a way of dichotomous thinking, because either you worked on your family farm after high school or you went to college.  I chose to go to college.  I wanted my new identity to alter my ignorance into understanding others and other cultures.  I wanted diversity.  Patricia Collins article mentioned the "outsider within status".  She says Bell Hooks captured it best when she stated "living as we did-on the edge-we developed a particular way of seeing reality.  We looked both from the outside in and from the inside out...we understood both."     My standpoint has changed over the last few years, and I think that comes from changing my material conditions.  My status has changed.  The historical conditions I was raised in were telling me not to have an open mind.  Now I chose to have an open mind, and the curiosity of learning about others.   

Blog #3

One of the things Alcot discusses in her article is the relation between race and class and how the possession of material things places one in a higher class, thus giving the illusion that that class must some how be better than the others.  In America this has meant white people, and for generations women of color have fallen into ruts of domestic work and other such jobs while simultaneously losing their sense of personal identity as they struggle to become the essential "rich white woman".

My grandmother experienced this struggle first hand. She was Japanese, and when she was 25 she met and married my grandpa when he was stationed in Japan during the Korean War.  Coming to South Dakota was an extreme culture shock for my grandma.  Things were so different to her that she would tell stories years later about how much of an adjustment it has always been. They moved to my grandpa's hometown of Gregory, a town that boasted only just under a thousand people.  Those inhabitants were anything but welcoming to my grandmother.  She was the only Asian woman in the town, and even though she shouldn't have had to, she was forced to conform to the standards and ideals of a white American woman.  For example, her name was Hisaka. However, no one in Gregory called her that.  Instead they gave her the name "Wanda" and referred to her by that. The only job in Gregory she could find was as a seamstress, so she became the one who everyone in town took their clothes to in order to have them fixed or altered. As Alcot states, my grandmother had a whole different set of "personal history, experience, political values, beliefs, and community commitments" that made her an outsider in Gregory.  As Alcot stated, "raced identity permeates multiple aspects of lived experience.  It does not simply involve social status but also involves one's affective, genealogical, and familial relationship to historical events and traumas."  This rings very true for my grandma and the people of Gregory.  For example, my grandma viewed the attack on Pearl Harbor very differently then the rest of the town.  She saw it as only part of the war, they, however, saw my grandma as a member of an evil race that dared to attack America. The difference is history became a dividing factor in the subject of race.  

Blog 3- Historical, Material, and Social Structures

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Historical and material conditions influenced by social structures shape who a person becomes for many reasons, according to Alcoff and Collins. For some people, identity is based more upon the material conditions and social structures, such as in the case of Harry Potter. Historical conditions come into greater play when we look at Collins's work as she discusses Afro-American women and the "outsider within," which also affects Harry as his surrogate family knows that he comes from the "unnatural" wizarding world.


This theme of Star Wars as an example has immediately put Harry Potter into my mind and I can think of nothing else, so I will see what I can come up with for the famous wizard. Harry grew up living in a cupboard under the stairs with muggles (non-wizards), the Dursleys, without knowledge of his true past. This upbringing helped Harry to grow up to be humble, not knowing how famous he was in the wizarding world. The Dursleys knew of Harry's connection to the wizarding world, which led to some of the negative treatment he endured. The Dursleys did not approve of the existance of this "other" lifestyle. When Harry was faced with the reality of his past and how it changed the history of the wizarding world, it greatly affected his sense of wonderment, curiosity, and destiny. Harry was given a way out of the muggle world, into the wizarding world, to accept his true identity and eventually fulfill his destiny. Once Harry discovered that he belonged in the wizarding world, he never wanted to return to the muggle world, but was told he has no choice. Due to the material conditions of how Harry grew up, he knows nothing of the muggle world beyond how the Dursleys have treated him. This experience shaped how he views the muggle world and explains his unhappiness with having to live in the world he grew up in after discovering the world to which he belongs.

Blog #3- Identities

Identity can mean so many things to different people and they might not view it the same way as another person, but it's their history and today's social structure that contribute to their identity. Patricia Collins gives an example from Bell Hooks saying "Living as we did on the edge we developed a particular way of seeing reality. We looked both from the outside in and from inside out....we understand both."


An example from me would be as I was growing up in America having the Hmong American identity, I face struggles in middle school that made me feel confused about who I was, either having a Hmong or American identity. My parents were telling me to not become like Americans, I had to be a traditional Hmong girl. I wanted to blend in with both identities because I felt like that made me feel more comfortable and since I grew up in America, it was different for me then my parents who grew up in Laos. Reaching high school years made me realize that my parents were just scared for us to lose our identity as Hmong and I do see that I was becoming more Americanized.


Linda Alcoff argues "that what identities really are (as opposed to what they are sometimes said to be) is nothing to be politically afraid of." The social structure in America was different from Laos and my parents had to realize that they have to see it from my point of view. My parent's history is important to me and I want to keep it as a part of my identity. Growing up in America makes me feel that my life is going to go a different path then my parents. I want to have the Hmong American identity and not just one or the other.

Week 3 Blog

I found this week's reading really interesting and meaningful to myself because as an "outsider" of the foreign country, I experienced the confusion and struggle about "identity" in a foreign country. Alcoff and Collins both discuss on the issue of social identities. Alcoff points out that ,"Identities are best understood as ways in which we and others around us represent our material ties to historical events and social structure"(287). I found it is very true as I experienced it in my life. When I first arrived in the US as an International student, I was so excited about the new foreign life. Due to the large international students population, what I noticed is that most student of the same ethnic group went together and I found international students and local white students tended to have two different community groups. Their self identifications have driven them to stay with people who they are more familiar with. This is because they had their own identities labeled or marked since they were young. This identification of self affects how we see ourselves in the new environment. The standpoint from which I viewed my identity was strongly influenced my culture (historical and material condition) and the traditional Chinese environment (social structure) that I grew up in. Sometimes, I would prefer to stay in the Asian community and Chinese tradition because it makes me feel "home" when I am staying with Chinese people. Sometimes, I would like to stay with "white" people because I think this is the better way for me to explore the world and this is the reason why I am here in the US.



Also, I lived with a white host family and that made me to think about my identity in this new country. I thought about having two identities but it seems to be too ridiculous as my identity has oppressed me from taking another identity. I can say that I had a special standpoint of being the only Chinese girl in an all white family for 2 years. My host parents were so kind and tried to bring me into their white community. I tried to fit into the social structure of the white family and this made me confused. This is because I felt like I was their "Asian" daughter but I knew I am a Chinese. Finally, because of my "material tie to historical events and structure", I tried to incorporate my own Chinese tradition to my new American life instead of forcing myself to fit into the white community.


Blog 3- Identities

This weeks' readings by Alcott and Collins explain how identities shaped through historical and material ties "make" a person, whether they actually portray that mold or not. An example for me is when I moved from Northern California to Minnesota. I moved in January of my 6th grade year, and as soon as people found out I was from California, I was asked the same question repeatedly "Are you a surfer?" Of course I have only surfed 2 times in my life, but was embarrassed to admit this because I wanted to keep my "Californian identity." I felt that if I admitted to my new Minnesotan friends that I've only surfed twice (and one of those times was not in California), I would have already started to lose my identity as a California girl. I kept my image by wearing my favorite surf attire brand, Roxy. I held on to my material Californian appearance as long as I could.

As Alcott states, "our identities can be reshaped, and they absolutely require interpretation" (p. 288).  When I started to embody my new Minnesotan traits, I still felt I could be "Californian" by continuing to remember my history and association to California- memories of going to the beach, mountains, Disneyland, etc.

Another part of moving from California to a traditional conservative Midwestern town was the automatic assumption I was a liberal. I definitely identify myself as a liberal, but as soon as I moved to Minnesota and had conversations with new people, it seemed as if they already knew which side of the argument I would side with. Alcott explains about identities: "[identities]... can be inaccurately represented and mistakenly characterized. And they can in some cases be created as a strategy for oppression" (p. 287).  Of course I didn't think this to be very fair since I gave other people the chance to let them selves speak before judging them, but they seemed to already place me in a "Californian liberal hippie surfer chick" category.

Blog Post #3

After reading Alcoff and Collins article I was reminded of my high school. When I look back at the years I Was in high school there was a lot of proving who we were as students that took place.  In high school the main goal is to fit in, and there these underlying requirements that no one spoke of but everyone abided by. These requirements were similar if not the same as when Alcoff states "identities are best understood as ways in which we and others around us represent our material ties to historical events and social structures".Identity in this example would be the students social status in school. First your appearance (material ties) are key in determining the hierarchy that your placed in. The nicer and more expensive clothes you wore the more you were recognized and the easier it was fit in. The before the students even speak their status is predetermined just by their appearance.  This is only because of the fact that there's this standard that more "expensive" or name brand clothing is better that has been passes on for generations. This becomes a problem because a lot of students grow up without even option to buy name brand clothes. So without choice students are pushed into categories and labeled.  What really makes this bad is that students who do this don't even realize it, it's just a way of life and a normality. This in turns means that there needs to be a change in the way historical things are viewed and implemented rather there implemented consciously or unconsciously.

Blog 3-Identities

According to my interpretation of the readings by Alcoff and Collins, identity can be defined as either: a representation of our relationships to material items, society, and events or a reference or perspective resulting from the conditions listed above.


Since both readings referred to specific social groups, I am choosing to relate the principles of the readings to the identity of the hippies, a group that occurred in revolt of the mainstream middle class culture in 1960s America.  Because of the ideals that they championed such as sexual liberation, drug use, environmental friendliness, freedom, free love, and peace, their identity was one that was unorthodox and liberal. 


However, the hippie counterculture can be explained and analyzed using the principles of both authors' works.  For example, Alcoff says that social identities are "deep features of the self." This is true of the social identity of the hippies, who were dedicated to applying the ideals of their culture to their personal lives through the freedom of dress, eco-friendly commune living, and using art forms to express their beliefs.  This also strongly relates to Alcoff's belief that within identities, a "material tie operates through out our very physical and visible embodiment."


Ideas from Collins' three ideals can also be applied in explaining the hippie identity.  Like the feminists, hippies challenged the "political knowledge validation process."  They saw how oppression was interlocked between race, gender, and class and thus, revolted against mainstream middle-class America.  And finally, they took effort to validate make their culture important.  This was done by promoting themselves through art, protest, and completely devoting themselves to their unorthodox persona.    

Week #3 Blog Entry--Identity

The Alcoff writing was shorter in length but for myself more dificult to read.  I actually had to re-read it acouple times to make sure I understood where she was coming from.  One point throughout this article that stuck out was on p. 287 where she states, "It should be clear, then, that identities are not analogous to scripts that we are consigned to play out.  Nor are we boxed in by them, constrained, restricted, or held captive--unless, that is, one thinks that it makes sense to say that we are boxed in by the fact that we have bodies....." 

One other statement, also on p. 287 was, " To say that we have identities, histories, social locations, experiences, cultures, and so on is simply to say that we exist." 

Our own indentities are shaped by what is going on both internally and externally.  Our perception of what our own identity is will most likely be different from another persons when they see or interact with us. 

The Collins article I latched onto much faster. I can see the conflicts that come into play for Black/African American females within society and with the males of their own community.  The statement on p.159 that talks about "the black female being the white man's mule and the white female being his dog" caught my attention. It is the truth, sad to say, even in 2009.   Being a white man in society, there isn't too much more one needs to have power over others.  It shows the oppressive nature of our society.  One's skin color and gender  automatically puts them in a place where they will have to struggle more than a white man does(if he really has to at all) for his position in society. It's my own opinion when I say, it's not right. 

Trying to come up with something as to how I relate the articles to my own life, other readings, films etc. was difficult only because I could think of quite a few examples.  A conversation I had with my father-in-law over the weekend helped me to decide. Very current to say at least.

He asked me about school and how things were going & I was telling him about my classes and the accomodations that I am grateful to have. He told me that he just found out(he's 60 years old) that his grandfather became deaf due to illness as a child and lived within both the deaf community & hearing community. He married a woman(his grandmother) who was deaf from birth & raised 100% in the deaf community.  My father in law recalls seeing them using sign language when he was young.  He said that unlike his grandfather, who could speak and also used sign language to communicate, she used only sign language.  Therefore people, not him personally, often referred to her as being"Deaf and Dumb".  

To say the least, I was shocked to hear this, but then again not really.  I have had my own experiences where, even though I can speak, people tend to think that I am not as intellegent or educated as a "hearing person" may be.  Questions I have been asked(not recently)has also shown me that there are some who doubt the extent of my hearing loss.  I give credit to having really strong lip reading skills which is a good thing and "bluffing" which is not a good thing.  I can relate very well to the Collins writing due to being an "outsider".  I'm stuck in between two cultures. There are pros and cons to each.  Some days I wish I could just be in one or the other.  Most days I am glad to be stuck. 

Blog Assignment 3

As indicated by Linda Alcoff "social identities are understood to be the crux of the oppression and the nodal point of the imperialist project" (285). Taking this into consideration, Alcoff and Collins focus on the social construction of identities, and talks about how there is always a struggle with ones identity, due to either material, social, or historical conditions.

 Growing up as a first generation Asian American, I recall having a very low self-esteem as a child due to the idealistic images of the perfect woman, Barbie. She had bright blue eyes to perfect bleach blonde hair, and that was what I thought a woman should be. She had features that I did not. Looking at the social construction of this, I found Asians to be inferior at that time because I did not see Asian dolls being mass-produced, and when there was one, she had extremely chinky eyes, which I do not associate with. As Collins said, "stereotypes represent externally-defined, controlling images" (158)

I also encountered a confusion of identity as a child. I had to speak English, but at home I had to speak Hmong. So being at home, I was never Hmong enough for my parents because I did not fit into the traditional obedient daughter who cooked and clean, and at school I had felt that I was never "American" enough. So as Alcoff would say I had struggle with my identity due to my race, because and identity "is an oppressive from of coercion constraint" (287). 

Blog Assingment #3

Blog Assignment #3

    When I was reading this week's reading assignment, we were asked to provide and example of how dichotomous thinking can influence a person's life in many ways. I thought of an example that is not from my own life, but still relates to identity.
    I would like to offer the example of a child who is adopted overseas. Because some children are adopted at a very young age, they do not develop a strong identity, so in this example I am going to use a 6 year-old girl who lost her family in Korea and now live with an adopted family in the United States.
    The child was born in Korea, and has lived a long enough life so far to develop some sort of identity that relates to the way that she lived. She already possessed an identity with different social structures and traditions of their own. When this girl was forced to move and live with another family (in the United States) she had to adapt to their way of life. When she grew up, she could not consider dichotomous thinking when trying to define her identity because she felt as though she was Korean, as well as an American. She had lived long enough in both countries to feel as though she belonged in both. The social institutions here would be that of the United States as well as Korea; they both have their own way of operating and thinking. When this girl grew up, she was being assimilated into the American culture (going to baseball games, American political ideology, etc.) but she held on to her Korean identity by remembering what it was like to live in Korea, and try to incorporate some things she used to do, into the things she does now. The United States incorporated their institutions into her life, for example schools and social groups. However, because she lived in Korea for a substantial amount of time, this led her to try and incorporate some Korean traditions and thinking into her American life. Because she has lived in more than one social institution, she was able to not conform completely to the American way of life by holding on to her past experiences and thoughts; she had to develop her own, personal identity.

Blog Assignment 3

After reading Alcoff and Collins' articles on what Collins calls the Outsider Within perspective it is interesting to note their use of historical and material conditions to talk about and explain the social structures imbedded in self-identity and self-determination.  Alcoff suggests that, "Identities are best understood as ways in which we and others around us represent our material ties to historical events . . . "  although if we are not careful, "Identities can be used as the alibis for oppressive treatment . . ." (p.287).  Alcoff explains that material ties are at the essence of who we are and shaped by our history and position.  She states too that for women, particularly women of color, to have agency we need to reconceptualize and reconstruct our language.  She warns us that to ignore identity, history and standpoint thus pushing for a more humanistic approach is simply a smokescreen for continued oppression. (p.290)  From Collins' more sociological perspective she focuses more on the intersectionality of how black women are marginalized.  She talks optomistically about the progress black women are making in, "challenging the political knowledge-validation process that has resulted in externally defined, stereotypical images of Afro-American womanhood" (p.157).  And in, " . . . resisting the dehumanization essential to system of domination" (p.159).
Collins warns of the dangers inherent in dichotomies because there is a natural tendency to pit one thing against another thereby creating a hierarchy of what is superior over what is inferior (p.162).  And finally Collins agrees with Alcoff that there is still work that needs to be done if we are ever going to reach a place where we view ourselves and others from a humanistic perspective but that black women have had a consciousness and continue to embrace their strong self-identity and self-determination within the Western paradigm. 

Week 3 Blog

There are many things that are put into consideration when looking at what shapes a persons' identity. There have been numerous situations in which I, personally, have had to look back at my historical and material conditions and social structures in order to figure out a situation or look at how they contribute to the formation of my identity and standpoint. One of the biggest decisions that I had to work through, based off of what my parents and I had discussed, was when I was figuring out whether or not I wanted to jump into the workforce or go to college. Looking at my material conditions, I really could not afford to go to college without having to take out loans, so it really came down to a dichotomous thought process to figure out my solution (pay to do something to better yourself and be broke, or go into the workforce and not have to pay to do so). Also, my financial standing within society was something that did not and does not help me when it comes to financial aid. This is because I make too much, but yet again not enough to pay the loans off in full before each semester (oppressive part of society). Another aspect that I had to look at was that neither one of my parents or their parents had gone to college (personal historical condition/piece of their identity), so I had no real support system to go off of at home, other than from my friends and counselors (social condition). The solution that I came up with was to go to school full time and work part-time. This would enable me to go to college, while paying parts of the loans off as I go. Instead of choosing to either go to college or to go into the workforce, I ended up choosing both; therefore, claiming my own independent identity by doing something different than that of my family's past. This also made me go against the dichotomous thought process that my parents were set in, due to their historical and material conditions they were raised in.


Week 3 Blog

After finishing up the articles for this week about social identities, the example I thought of came from the TV series GRΣΣK.  On the show, there is a character named Evan Chambers, who is the president of one of the elite fraternities, Omega Chi, at Cyprus Rhodes University. Evan was born into a very elite family, which gave him a considerable amount of leeway in terms of university rules as well as made him the hot shot on campus because he literally had enough money and power to do anything he wanted.  Though being a member of the Chambers family came with money and power, it was only at your fingertips if you played by the Chambers family rules, which Evan did up until his senior year at Cyprus. The dichotomous thinking in Evan's situation had to do with whether he should abide by his parents' rules and continue to live the lavish lifestyle that he grew up with or give up the trust fund his parents gave him and become his own, broke mind you, man. In Evan's case, his family (his parents specifically), was the institution that he had to decide either to join or rebel against. Evan viewed the trust fund as a hindrance to him becoming the man he wanted to be.  He didn't know if he necessarily wanted to continue the family legacy and only be known as a "Chambers" and nothing else. The hegemony of his family's ideology about money and power being all there is to life ended up not being enough to sacrifice his freedom for, so he finally stood up to his parents and they completely cut him off, which means he went from being unimaginably rich, to flat broke.  The standpoint from which Evan viewed his family trust fund, which in turn gave him endless money and power was shaped, in a sort of backwards way, by his materiel conditions and his family social structure because he realized these things were not enough to make him happy and he valued his individuality and freedom more.


The reason that I chose the example that I did, is because Evan's story was about giving up his social status and his identity as a Chambers, which is what he had been defined as, because he valued his individuality more, which would have been lost had he kept his trust fund and high social status.  In our society, most people would think he was insane to give up the money and life his parent's were offering him, but that is only because our cultural in general values money and power rather than individuality.  As Alcoff said, "...we need a different understanding of the relationship between identity and oppression."  Evan was oppressed by his identity because it was based off of his high social status and nothing else.  People only viewed him in terms of his money and social status, which I think is just as oppressive as viewing someone only based off of their skin color, gender, clothes, etc.  I just thought it may be interesting from the point of view of someone who gave up their high social status which so many people are fighting to attain.


Week 3 blog

Reading the articles by Patricia Collins and Linda Alcoff, I very much understood what they meant by talking about social identity.  The example I thought of was in my high school.  I went to a small inner-city private high school where about fifty percent of the student body was considered "ethnic minorities".  The school always encouraged diversity and we often had events where we could present our culture to the school.  However, most kids of the same ethnic group were friends.  It made it especially difficult for kids of mixed races to find a social group because they were only allowed to have one identity.  Collins talks about "self-definition" which was hard at this institution, because right when you got there you were automatically labeled with an identity such as black, white, Mexican, Latino, and Asian.  A friend of mine was put down because he was half black and half white, but he often participated in events campaigning for Civil Rights.  People of both social groups found this confusing and were not sure what identity to give him.  He was unable to self-define his own identity which happened to many kids at the school.  Now that we are all in larger communities in college, I think it is easier to look past identity labels, but still realize that we cannot pretend they are there.

Blog 3 Entry

After reading Patricia Collins and Linda Alcoffs' articles, I immediately thought of my hometown.  I'm from a small town in northwestern Minnesota and historical, material, and social structures have definitely made my town and the surrounding area very sheltered from the outside world.  It is not uncommon to hear the terms "redneck" or "housewife" to describe the average male and female.  For example, it is considered the social norm of my town to date a white, opposite sex person and you are almost expected to get married at a young age and have babies right away.  The man will work while the women will either work at the local Digi-Key or Arctic Cat or stay at home with the kids.  I believe in doing what makes you happy but it should not be expected of you to have a family and put it before your education and that is how a majority of people thinks in my town.  Also, if a person were to bring home a girlfriend or boyfriend of the same sex or of a different race then they would be the talk of the town.  I actually remember a time I was sitting in a local restaurant and the waitress asked my friend if her niece was dating a "black man." I couldn't believe my ears because I know if he had been white she would have not asked a question at all or would have gushed about how awesome he was.  However, that's the social structure that the people in my town have been raised on and that's how their relatives in the past have thought.  It is a vicious cycle and I hope one day it can change.  

Week 3 Blog Assignment (Identity)

After reading the articles from this week focusing on social identities, I immediately thought about my sister, Amy.  My sister was adopted from Korea as an infant. Although Amy and I grew up in the same family our childhood experiences greatly shaped our individual identities. My sister had many struggles growing up in an all white family and a primarily white community. Amy did not have historical ties to a Korean culture, (language, tradition, or food) however Amy's primary material condition was her physical appearance. Regardless of her upbringing, my sister's ethnicity is Asian and she has always had a different perspective of identity than myself.

After attending a majority white high school, Amy had a unique social standpoint being non white. Because of this factor her formation of identity was confusing and at times difficult. As Alcoff states in the article, Visible Identities, "the principal social struggles of the modern era can be characterized as, first, struggles of social status, then, of social class, and only then of social identity. In Amy's world, dichotomous thinking meant she was Korean and therefore different than the majority of white people in her social circle. Her struggles were not only looking different but also being adopted into an all white family (a material condition). The hegemony of the community we grew up in left Amy feeling dissimilar and not sure who to identify with. Her standpoint is different than mine because of her own experiences with material conditions and social structures. However, as my sister has gotten older, attended college, lived in a more diverse environment, and expanded her "in group" she has established her own social identity and become more comfortable in her own skin.

Week 3 Blog

As mentioned in Collins' article, within race, class, and gender there are people who are considered as insiders and outsiders. As I think of examples of what Collins' is referring to, I think about how throughout history, there has been society views and perceptions of rural versus urban life. These views have long influenced behavior and attitudes towards each other. I can't help but think about the perception people have when they hear the terms "city slicker" and "redneck". While unfortunate, these views and attitudes continue yet today.

For example, City slickers are those individuals who have lived in a city their entire life. Their exposure to rural life is what they see on television and in the movies. City slickers are viewed as being conceited, modern, and stylish. They are always in a hurry. They value possessions and compete with others to gain their status recognition. Belonging to the "right" group or club is important to them. Rednecks are perceived to be more laid back; more rudimentary. As a result, Rednecks are viewed to be backwards in their thinking; out-dated, almost ignorant, and crude in their lifestyle. Rednecks value their family and community.  Social status is not of importance.

Blog #3: Identities

The Hip Hop culture that emerged in the South Bronx in the 1970s is an excellent example of how the convergence of historical and material conditions and social structure contributed greatly to this (originally) urban identity. Historical practices, including redlining and blockbusting, created racially segregated housing, and deindustrialization and suburbanization exacerbated segregation and created other conditions for the emergence of Hip Hop culture in urban centers.  In the post-WWII era, middle-class whites began moving to the suburbs, and the economy moved from a primarily industrial sector to a primarily service-centered sector. By the 1960s, the South Bronx had lost 600,000 manufacturing jobs; nearly 40% of this sector had entirely disappeared. In the early 1950s, construction on the Cross-Bronx Expressway began, displacing 60,000 mostly non-white, lower-middle class or poor people [1]. Neighborhoods were further destroyed as slumlords hired thugs to commit arson, usually on empty buildings, to collect insurance money. Building abandonment was worsened as politicians began to use the arson and abandonment as justification for not investing in these poor, minority neighborhoods. In addition to these conditions of displacement and dereliction, the rise of the civil rights movement during this time was further fodder for the development of a Hip Hop culture. This worked in two parallel ways. First, the emergence of "racial radicals" such as The Black Panthers and The Young Lords, further allowed politicians the justification for disinvestment, or "benign neglect," as President Nixon famously wrote. Secondly, minority groups began looking for expressions of their racially identities. These surfaced partially through the political organizations mentioned above as well as street gangs, and eventually through music, dance, and art that became known as Hip Hop. All of these conditions have lead one author to call Hip Hop a "post-industrial/post-modern/poly vocal expression of oppression."[2]

[1] Chang, Jeff. Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. Picador Reading Group, New York, NY: 2005.

[2] Rose, Tricia. Black Noise: RapMusic and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Wesleyan University, Connecticut: 1999.

Blog Week 3

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Through my own life experiences, I encountered dichotomous thinking when I met my best friend. She moved from the Philippines in eighth grade and struggled to fit in. She felt marginalized because she did not know which group to identify with. My middle school was primarily Anglo-Saxon and she encountered dichotomous thinking when trying to find which group to fit in with. The categories were either "white" or "not white." It seemed impossible to fit into both. At first she identified with her Filipino heritage. I noticed this because she would bring her native foods to lunch. After a while she started bringing food like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese to lunch because she didn't want to feel different from the primarily Anglo-Saxon population of our middle school. She was stuck in the middle of two identities. She didn't know whether or not to embrace her Filipino heritage or to assimilate into the "white" category. Her parents took pride in the Filipino heritage, it was part of their family's history. She felt like she needed to adopt the "white" way of doing things, or else she wouldn't fit in. The social structure of our middle school was built upon Anglo-Saxon ideologies , and sadly, did not seem to embrace other cultures. I think that America is a lot like this. They expect us all to speak English, and not identify with our own cultures. Instead we are expected to assimilate into the "average American". Most of the times when you see the "average American" depicted through the media, they are almost always Anglo-Saxon. I do not believe that there is such a thing as the "average American" because the United States is made up of countless different cultures. My friend felt this way for a long time. Because of the social structure and ideologies of our middle school, she felt like she needed to identify more with the "white" category, or be left out. Her standpoint of "fitting in" was based on the social structure of our middle school. She felt torn between two identities because of the material conditions that she was brought up with (such as her native food and cultural customs that her family embraced).

Week 2

This week's readings give us different angle of looking at intersectional analyses, and I found that Tesse Liu's article, "Teaching the Differences among Women" is better than the others. Her analyses are more comprehensive in explaining and elaborating the intersectional thinking between race, gender, and class. Her discussion about her struggle of race and gender and her teaching experience is worth to think about. She is not white and she is a woman. These factors have been her limitation of accepting the world. As she said, this happen to most students as most of them think that their own race is a "norm" to others. This is really true because this thinking somehow become the fence of exploring the other side of the world. Also, I learned that people of different race gender are treated differently. her intersectional thinking drives me to think about how racially differed women will be treated.


I am econ major and I notice one interesting fact. There is more female in BA econ major than BS econ major. I think this is part of the gender problem. In the society, we always think that males are better in Math and females are always better in literature. It is like the different of male and female have already stereotyped.

In my major, intersectional thinking definitely applies. Economics study needs a whole picture of the worldWe need to consider people in different region and their behavior in relation to their economic classes. Just as Collins said you can't look at things in isolation.

Week 3 Blog Assignment

This week we start to look at identity: how identities are constituted, how they operate, and how identity and oppression interact. Linda Alcoff says that "[i]dentities are best understood as ways in which we and others around us represent our material ties to historical events and social structures."  Patricia Hill Collins addresses how Black feminists in particular "possess a unique standpoint... or perspective" due to the "historical and material conditions shaping [their] lives." 

In this week's blog post, I would like you to explore what Alcoff and Collins mean by historical and material conditions and social structures by providing an illustrative example of how these factors contribute to the formation of identity and standpoint. The examples can be from your own life, from literature or film, or drawn from your studies.  

For example, in Star Wars, dichotomous thinking meant that one must either be a Jedi, unambiguously loyal to the "good' side of the force, or go over to the "Dark Side,' like the Sith. The Jedi had considerable power, as demonstrated by the institutions that they created- a governing Council, a training academy, and an organized military force. Anakin sought to escape from the slavery and poverty in which he was raised (material conditions), and the hegemony of Jedi ideology attempted to shape him into a Jedi. However, the inability of dichotomous either/or thinking to account for the multiple identity categories in which Anakin found himself (Jedi, child of a slave, etc) led Anakin to resist the totalizing Jedi identity by searching for his mother and  falling in love. The standpoint from which he viewed the Jedi identity was thus shaped by his experiences with material conditions and social structures.

It may be helpful to refer to some of the definitions that we went over during the first week of class, particularly the definitions of ideology, institution, and system, when thinking of an example.Your example may address either an individual's identity or a larger group identity.

Suggested Length: 200 words


Hi there, my name is Madeline and I'm a 4th year student with a major in Journalism (I'm studying PR) and a minor in Political Science (focusing on American Government), and maybe GWSS in the future. I'm originally from Mahtomedi, MN and I transferred to the U from SCSU. I'd love to one day to work in political campaign management, specifically for women running for office, or in political crisis management. 

blog 2 assignment

I am still learning about intersectional analysis, and obviously still confused about the exact meaning. But what I got from discussion in class and the readings is that women experience discrimination and oppression differently.  It can be based on their race, class, and age, etc. I believe Tessie Liu discusses intersectional analysis the best, or least it was the easiest for me to understand.  "We are all products of societies that have taught us to hate others or, worse, to be indifferent to their suffering and blind to our own privileges and to those who labor to provide them." The environment and your life experience really ties into the way you view others. 

My major is Psychology and I was thinking the other day I've never came upon intersectional analysis, but then it dawned on me that in the past women were discriminated just based on their gender in psychology.  Women were rarely treated for mental illnesses, and if they were it was because they all had "hysteria" according to men.  Psychologists in that day assumed that men are superior, as did the rest of the general public.  Today in modern psychology I haven't really encountered intersectional analysis, because I've noticed that studies are represented to all races.  Now, people are curious about the differences and similarities among races and their environments.   

Blog Assignment #2 - Tessie Liu

Beyond simply the readability of Tessie Liu's, "Teaching the Differences Among Women from a Historical Perspective", this paper also effectively communicates an intersectional analysis on how to incorporate race and gender within the confines of school curriculums. She points out that in most Western Civilization classes, her primary concern, the occasional lecture on a different culture, or focus on women "merely sprinkles color on a white background." Her goal is to restructure curriculums in order to abolish this "either/or" cross-cultural analysis. In order to do so, the courses must be organized such that race and gender are wholly integrated into the material and not side notes.  

This analysis is more successful in that it starts at the beginning - Western Civilization courses, and has the potential to build on to the bigger picture, nationally and internationally. It identifies the problem, makes suggestions for its reconstruction and eventual solution, and identifies the people involved in such a movement. Liu also incorporates both gender and race, understanding that they intersect, they are not always two separate entities and that the additive analysis taught in current courses is a destructive approach.

As a psychology major I am realizing that topics are not approached with intersectional thinking as much as you would think. However, it seems that this area of study would demand such a thought process. The only reason I can think of for its absence is that psychology is to a large extent science and research based. Such systems operate using ranking systems and are hugely institution-oriented, and very likely function using additive analyses and reasoning.

Week 2

The article I found most successful in explaining intersectionality was the Liu article.  She describes intersectionality in a historical perspective.  She discusses that class and race have been linked together for a long time; her example is European colonists who created a hierarchy based on skin color.  Women were also important in the hierarchy, because a woman's child would have the same status as her, no matter what the status of the child's father.  Not only does the article show this and other examples of intersectionality, it also is a call to action with actual ideas on how to act.  She recommends we change what is taught in Western history courses so it is more inclusive of women and people of color, referring to the institution we talked about on Thursday.  She also recommends that we communicate with one another about our differences, even though she states that "we can only strive for empathy and mutual understanding" (38).

I currently do not have a major, but have taken several political science courses.  The reason I believe I enjoyed Liu's article was because her take on Western history courses are similar to how my political science courses have been like.  There is always one day where we discuss race, class, and gender all together; however they are not spoken about intersectionally throughout the course.  I don't think that they are taught that way because Western history is built on patriarchal societies.



I would say that Liu's article was most successful. I appreciated how she pondered whether students and instructors were looking for some kind of underlying sameness behind all the variations of women's experiences. She believes that the problem is that we cannot simply look for our similarities. We must deeply consider the differences and then find the connections to one another.


Liu also pointed out that we should really be looking at the basic structure of Western Civilization. She made it clear that many (white, middle class) students think of themselves as the norm, and every other race and class as the deviant. That particular part is so important because it is so true. I remember back in grade school when we would talk about diversity and how we need to "tolerate" people of all backgrounds, and my (white) teachers would talk about cultural diversity in a way that made it seem like Caucasians were superior to all other groups. We were the dominant group, but it was not in good taste for my teachers to refer to other races in relation to whites. Liu mentions that we need to examine ourselves, as painful and difficult as it is.  We cannot lump very different groups of people into one group just because it is easier. That is being naïve and ignorant. As Liu states, "we can only view the world from where we stand" (31).


Surprisingly, in my Family Social Science major, I have encountered very little intersectional thinking. My major is all about relationships and Family Systems Theory, yet I can only think of one or two courses that offer deep intersectional thinking. Perhaps I am just overlooking it, but I am stunned for now.

Blog Entry 2

While this week's readings together gave me an understanding of intersectional analysis as the recognition that women experience discrimination for many different reasons, I found the Sacks reading to offer the most comprehensive explanation in that it conceptualized the interactions of three distinct and central social dimensions: race, gender, and class.


While I agree with Pascoe's argument that the modernist racial ideology is a racial ideology of its own, and that it is appropriate/necessary to acknowledge and study the existence of a socially constructed racial concept, her analysis does not extend into any broader explanation into the relationship between race and gender or class in the way that the Liu and Sacks do .However, Sacks is the only of the three to go into an explanation of why scholars have the tendency to think in dichotomist terms, which was helpful in understanding the phenomenon and how we can transition into educational strategies that include intersectional thinking.


In one of my major fields of study, Political Science, there is very little intersectional thinking. As Liu suggests from her experience in the social sciences field, any integration into the curriculum is thematic. This could not be more true for my studies in Political Science and American Government, in which my classes have yet to learn about minorities in office, and from which I've received just one reading about women in politics, all who were white and upper-class. (It's still worth worth reading, it's called "Handmaid's Tales of Washington Power").

Week 2 blog

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All of these articles give us a different perspective on intersectionalism. This term means that there are ways in which corporations have specific acts and policies that create subordination that cannot be avoided. It is hard because it deals with dichotomous thinking that means that a woman can be white and female, not just white, and being a female is how the company can subordinate them. Institutions use race, class and gender in ways that hinder how far they can go in the specific institution. Pascoe writes about how miscegenation laws demean race and gender. In all the cases presented, it was the man who wanted out of the marriage, and used race as the reason for the annulment. In the first case presented, the woman does not even get to speak on her own behalf during the hearing. This is an example for how the male judge did not even think it was necessary for her to define her race herself. Although this is a very solid argument, I think they Liu gave the most dynamic writing of intersectionalism. She speaks about how she has been through the struggle of accepting ones own limitations because or race and gender. She is from Taiwan and struggles with the dichotomous image that she is subordinated because of her race, as well as being a woman. She also argues that race is inherited and you have to be born with it, it doesn't change, and the individual must fight against the system to move up to "higher class". She gives an example of how in her classes, the people with privilege understand and sympathize with the oppression stories, but still they see it as "other peoples problems."    
In my kinesiology major, it is surprising to me how many women are in the field. There are many women teachers in my classes, as well as many female practitioners. Although this is a step forward for women, there is still the problem of race and class. I have not noticed many women or men of different races in the kinesiology field. Now that I know about intersectionalism, I believe that it is the cause of this gap in the amount of diversity in the kinesiology field.

Week 2 blog

Blog 2

After reading the three articles on the intersectional relationship between race, gender, and class, I found Karen Brodkin Sacks article "Toward a unified theory of class, race, and gender" the most successful in unifying these three concepts in stead of looking at them as separate systems. Sacks focus is on debates over domestic labor and its relationship to class oppression. She uses strong examples that both capitalism and patriarchy share responsibility in women's oppression. Sacks also related race to gender and class by showing how both colored and white women were doing domestic labor both waged and unwaged labor yet still being oppressed by the white male. The working- class men benefit from the women's domestic subordination.  It is also clear that capitalism has recruited workers on the basis of race, and gender and family relations within an ethnic community.  We need to realize that women's gender identities are not analytically separable from their racial and class identities and class emerges as a relation to the means of production that is collective rather than individual. 

Liu, intersectional analysis

     I found that Liu did a wonderful job of representing intersectional analysis.  First off, I enjoyed the statement she gave about integrating a simple lecture on African Americans or Native Americans into a Western Civ class as opposed to integrating them into every lecture as part of the society as a whole and not a separate entity. Liu stated that "this attempt to introduce diversity merely sprinkles color on a white background." This quote is reminiscent of our last class because it is an attempt to modify the system and not  a complete over-hall. Therefore, it is not really fixing the problem but covering it up.  She then talks about how the students she teaches are the universal "norm" meaning they are white, middle-class students and how people who did not fit into this group are deviations. Liu says that we must understand race as  a "gendered social category" and by doing so we may understand how women's experiences can radically differ. Because if we simply look at women as a whole, society will look at a white woman's oppression and failing to see how a woman of another race can be doubly- oppressed. For example, if a woman is African-American she not only will be oppressed because of her gender but also because of her skin-tone.
    I don't think intersectonal analysis has been utilized in any of my classes except for possibly history. In history, we tend to look at the major factors of certain peoples/groups lives and fail to look properly at other people/groups in that area. For example, when studying the colonization of America we look at the white people's struggle with "savages" and the wilderness. Yet, we fail to look at properly how it is for Native Americans to have their homeland overrun and Europenized. 

Blog 2- Intersectional Analysis

Of the readings for Tuesday's class, I think that Liu has a more successful analysis. Her piece is more focused and to the point concerning race, class, and gender in view of Western civilization courses. Liu's argument for the need to recreate the curriculum of Western civilization courses is easy to follow and I agree that without it, the privileged white male, and sometimes female, is the center of the story. When Liu brings up the subject of race and its definition, it brought a new perspective to the term for me. It is also important that Liu makes connections between the racial and biological metaphors, not creating and additive or "double" oppression discussed in our readings from last week. In one of the other articles by Sacks, her argument became repetitive and difficult to follow for me. I understood some of her main points about the working-class and shop-floor issues and battles, but as her paper went, I had a difficult time finding her main argument. I found too much detail in her specific descriptions of the varying primary reasons for the oppression of women.

            I am double majoring in History and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies with a minor in Political Science. In almost every course that I have taken, the idea of intersectionality has cropped up. For example, in one of my history courses last semester we discussed the position of white and black women and men alike during the Teamsters' Strike in Minnesota. In a political science class I took, we discussed how race, class and gender are viewed in Brazil and its comparison with the United States. We also discussed the notion of passing after reading Larsen's novel Passing. I enjoy being able to bring in the knowledge I have learned in my GWSS classes into my other courses.

Blog Assignment 2

Blog Assignment 2

Based on my understanding of intersectional analysis, I find that authors who write in this way are more successful just because it provides a more coherent argument. For example, Patricia Collins talks about the dichotomies and how it is irrelevant because Collins says that you can never really divide things from one another. By looking at the intersections, it provides a stronger base. She uses herself as an example. Being a black women, she can't separate from being a women or being black. It is a matter of looking at both, and dealing with how it affects her. Categories build upon each other, so with intersectional analysis, it provides a 360 degree view. If my understading of Intersectional analysis is correct, then I have encountered this in many of my cultural studies courses. Looking at "The Culture Industry" by Adorno, he focuses on how culture is built, but he brings into play other aspects that shape culture as well. From its history of industrialization, to focusing on the individual that works in these industries, to class, and to race. I believe that with intersectional analysis, it does provide for a better argument and case. 

Blog #2

I think Liu was very successful in her connecting of race, gender, and class.  She connected each pair separately with a point of origin and a followable development over time.  

Race and Gender- Before Europeans encountered other races, superiority was determined by lineage.  So lineage became an important part of continuing those hierarchies by regulation of which races could reproduce and what it meant when they did. 
Gender and Class- Women working as prostitutes were a threatening group and were alienated and separated from their racial and gendered counterparts.  Controlling this group's ability to reproduce was very important.  

While I think theatre is one of the best ways to bring feminist theory into practice it is also one of the most complicated because of the many identities brought forward in the actors, the characters, and the ways actors portray characters.  Theatre is beginning to explore these ideas in many new works, but often completely ignores the dichotamies of identity, and the complexities of representation.  ("Black plays" are only allowed to deal with the race of the characters, not the intersection with class or gender)  Theatre for social change is constantly trying to combat and bring oppression into the public eye, but I think it has a hard time intentionally dealing with the intersecting identities we have been talking about so far in class.  In my theatre courses I am constantly trying to question more than one issue at a time, though that doesn't normally lend itself well to the critical and focused study of a play or movement.  

Week 2 Blog

I find Liu's description of intersectional analysis to be the most informative and elaborate of the three articles.  She describes the dichotomous thinking we discussed in class, the constant battle she has lived, being an immigrant born in Taiwan yet her learning has been completely encompassed by Western civilization.  She has lived as an insider and an outsider her entire life.  Because of the classes she has taught and the knowledge she has gained, she describes that in order to move forward we must understand difference in "social structural terms," meaning we must understand the experiences of women through power relationships.  To fully study women's connections we must all understand why some of us are privileged and why some of us are not.  Liu describes race as tying to gender discussions as it began from European descent. She demonstrates that race is defined as something inherited, either you were born the "right" race or you were not. From there we can see that women may have been the right race, but were neither treated with ultimate respect, nor ultimate disrespect, they simply lied somewhere in the middle as long as the white men had control and could use women as they so chose.  She provided the history of racism and sexism as a way to interpret for us that we must see all categories as not merely one versus the other but that they are all underlying and can be consequential of one another.

I am a psych major and I have noticed that the white-upper class male dominates the vast majority of professors, scholars, the basis of where and when psychology began, the books we read and study, the list goes on and on. Women's viewpoints in the world of psychology were not recorded or studied until recent history, and are still being studied today for lack of information.

Blog Assignment 1-Introduction

Hi everyone, my name is Sin Cheng, Annie.  I post this assignment so late because I registered for this class late. I am an internation student from Hong Kong. I was born in Hong Kong and decided to go to college in the US after my high school graduation. This is my thrid year in the US! I went to college in San Fransico and then transfer here! I just arrived one month ago and I am really excited about the big campus and the new environment in Minnesota. My major is Economics and I have never taken other Women's Studies courses. So I am really excited about this class and hope to share a great time with you!

Blog 2 Assignment

               Like most other students, I found the analysis by Liu to be the most successful for me.  I feel Liu lays down an easy to understand argument for integrating race, class, and gender.  Liu stresses the intersectional nature of race, class, and gender and also stresses the importance of history.

               I am a GWSS major, and have encountered intersectional thinking in most of my GWSS classes.  I took a class about Hip Hop Feminism, and for me, the intersectionality of race, class and gender were made very clear.

               However, I did take a class titled "The History of Western Feminism," which I felt totally trivialized and neglected feminism that were not white.  That class was problematic for many reasons, but what stood out to me was the total lack of acknowledgement or appreciation for women of color outside of the academic realm.  I liked Liu's point, when she calls for understandings of race, class, and gender to be grounded in history.


intersectional analysis

I think that Karen Sack's analysis is the most successful in trying to find a way towards a unified theory of class, race, and gender. In her analysis she carefully explains many theories and where they fall short in terms of intersectionality. I like how she wants to maintain the Marxist view of class, but to modify it to be a "gendered and racially specific concept" because "racial, class, and gender oppression are part of a single, specifiable, and historically created system" like capitalism and patriarchy.  By defining different theories of class, race, and gender and pointing out their weaknesses, we can go forth and find the commonalities between them to make a stronger unifying theory. She starts to do that by redefining the working class "in which membership is not determinable on an individual basis, but rather as membership in a community that is dependent upon waged labor, but that is unable to subsist or reproduce by such labor alone." By taking on this definition of the working class, one starts to broaden the struggle finally taking into account such things as unwaged domestic labor and involvement in the community which in turns will bring in broader layers of the oppressed because it does not alienate as much as a stricter definition.


I am currently a cultural anthropology major and while we have yet to talk about intersectionality in the few courses I have taken, I am currently in a class called Cultural Diversity and the World System, a course based in and around Capitalism and the rise of Globalization. I look forward to seeing if intersectional analysis is applied and applying it myself to the coursework.  

Blog Post #2

I have several differing on the three articles. I found Pascoe's analysis the most interesting out of the three. Her use of miscegenation court cases clearly showed examples of intersectional oppression, particularly how Intersectionality is woven into the political system. Additionally, her analysis was the most engaging to read and I found her description of racial definition the most comprehensive. However, her piece did not address class or gender, nor did it provide insight outside of America. Pascoe's analysis is very focused on America and the 20th Century and therefore does not cover Intersectionality to the fullest extent.

            Sacks' analysis is perhaps the most comprehensive of the three. She covers class, gender, race, as well as contextualizes them. It provides a good basis for intersectionality and the interrelationship between oppression. Her focus on labor as a unifying element and point of oppression is a good, but I'm hesitant to apply it to everyone, as Sacks seems to do. Her article was also only briefly touches upon sexuality, and for an article that seems to cover a lot, this seems like an obvious and strange omission. Sacks also assumes a knowledge of Marxist theory, which not everyone has.

            The Liu piece provided an excellent description of intersectional oppression, however I found her labeling essentially flawed. To me, Intersectionality is a systematic form of oppression that does not value one over the other and instead sees all isms as oppression. Liu's gendering of racism and classism to make racism and classism more relatable seems bizarre to me and unnecessary to me. If you want to show that all the isms are essentially the same, why the need to contextualize them by gender? However, I did  like that Liu stated that the first step to undoing oppression is to look inside oneself and identify how you support or promote oppression. That, I think, is one of the most important things a person can do the begin undoing oppression and I am glad that Liu addressed that.

blog # 2

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In this week's readings I found Sacks article on a unified theory of class, race, and gender to provide the most successful analysis of the three articles. Sacks provides valuable insight into how gender,  race and class oppression are related in the discussion of unwaged work amongst white women ( such as childbearing and rearing)  and waged work amongst blacks, Latinas, and Asians.  She argues that women's subordination in society is rooted in the unwaged white women and the waged blacks, Latinas and Asians.  Sacks also mentions "patriarchy," a term we discussed last week when explaining that women's subordination lay in the interaction of the "duel systems theory".  The fact that women had to support a family and refused to work for low wages made women less reliable, and more exploitable, causing them to become dependent on men and subordinate in the family according to Sacks.  At the beginning of her article she asks "Does race and gender 'reduce' to class?" After reading Sacks analysis,   I would say she provides detailed evidence supporting the argument that race, gender and class are all intersectional.

blog assignment #2

After reading this week and last week's articles, I found that the Collins' article to be the most successful in intersectional analysis.  Collins rejects the idea of dichotomous thinking.  Explaining that this thinking creates only opposites and or ranking.  She goes on to say that in order to move past this historical way of thinking we need to look at how race, class, and gender functions as a parallel and interlocking system.  Like she says all these ideas of oppression are based together and we cannot begin to deconstruct this notion until we look at these issues together and their underpinnings which lie in institutions, symbols, and individual ideologies.  If people can come together for a cause on common ground rather than their differences the power is so much greater and change is more easily brought about than focusing on the differences that lie within us.  Collins has a great point that our differences in gender, class, and race offer us only a biased biographical view of the issue.  We must view change through coalitions devoted to a common cause and building empathy for others and to the larger and ultimate purpose.  I think that Collins' view aligns well with the article by Liu who says that we must restructure western civilization to incorporate race, class, and gender in order to teach cultural diversity.  She explains that in teaching culture diversity we typically lay it out as the "us" and "them"  this exactly relates to the dichotomous thinking that Collins refers to.  By saying that their is a difference and creating this two-party relationship you're creating and underlying relationship based on ranking and opposities.  If we're to come together on common ground how can we still refer to one another as oposing or unequal?  Both these articles suggest that now change can be received until they can come together and turn away from what society has taught us and unify on a single social problem.  

Blog #2 GWSS 3002-01

Of the three articles, I would say that I agree with Tessie Liu's analysis the most.  On page 30, Liu speaks of her students, who are primarily white and middle class showing an ability to have sympathy while maintaining their distance and acceptance of how they may be affected by racism, sexism, poverty etc. 

Reading of the several definitions of race was interesting.  There were some that I would not have thought of and I honestly have not looked up the definition on my own.  As the dictionary has several ways of defining race so do we as individual people, which was shown in the Pacsoe article right from the beginning.  While we as individuals have our own reasons and/or beliefs in why we identify ourselves as we do, others have thier own reasons or methods which they use. 

I had a long struggle choosing my major until I took a Intro to GLBT Studies class at Century College while I was completing my liberal arts requirements before transferring here to the University of MN.  Although this class covered more material relating to the GLBT movement, it was not difficult to see how GWSS fit in right along with the class, which contained quite a bit of intersectional analyzing.  This class is what helped me to decide on GWSS being my major.  I have also taken InterCultural  Communications, which I feel also requires one to learn how to accept that we are different in some ways but also the same in others.  Our differences are not to be seen as a negative as our similarities may not always be a positive aspect of things either. 


Michele Hauwiller

Blog #2 GWSS 3002-01

Blog Assignment #2

I found Liu's article very successful in expanding upon intersectional thinking. Liu focuses primarily on women in history and it was interesting to me how she examined the difference in referring to white women as "women" and anyone else as "women of color".  Clearly society has placed certain distinctions between women of difference races while appearing to appear politically correct. Liu focuses on how history tends to place the role of women as either insignificant, as a threat to society (prostitutes, etc.), or as all the same.  According to Liu, by assuming that all women's struggles to be considered equals in society as the same, the plight of feminism is hindered.  She feels that the diversity of every woman's experience is critical in better understanding feminism. Liu takes a look back in history to show that race was linked to class, and from these class distinctions gender acquired certain traits that were considered socially acceptable and desirable.


As a Journalism major, intersectional thinking is something I personally feel the industry tries to stay away from. Instead, to me it seems like writers and the media are constantly trying to find a certain focus group or an audience to appeal to instead of making messages appealing to people of every race or gender.  Target audiences are a constant topic in many of the Journalism classes I have taken.  We are constantly being taught how to make our writing or reporting appealing to women only or to a certain race of people. Clearly the field's stance on equality is that it would be too hard to communicate with everyone, so instead we are taught that we should continue to keep up the barriers of race and gender by stereotyping our audience. 

Week 2 blog- Tesse Liu

            I believe Tesse Liu's "Teaching the Differences Among Women" essay to be the most successful in explaining intersectional analysis. She makes it clear that "we can view the world only from where we stand" (p. 31), meaning that in order to understand women's oppression around the globe, we must take on an empathetic role. I agree with Liu in the fact that we must ask ourselves "who is doing the comparing?" (p. 31). It matters which viewpoint is being used in area of intersectional analyses, mostly because oppression takes on different meanings depending on who you are, where you are, who you talk to, etc. We must understand that although oppression takes a different meaning everywhere, the only way to progress with "getting out of institutionalized thinking" is to make connections on why women are oppressed in these ways in the first place, and work together to make a change. Liu directly states: "difference is not opposed to sameness. Rather, recognizing the differences among women should lead us to ask how our different lives and experiences are connected" (p. 32). I feel that using Liu's example of realizing how we are connected rather than oppressed in different ways is a good start to getting out of oppressed, institutionalized thinking.

            Last semester I took a globalization class that really opened my eyes towards thoughts of race/racism, gender/sex, etc. It's amazing how much I didn't know about the world and the history of women's past. I also realized that by knowing this history, I can piece together why I am the way I am today.

Blog #2: intersectional analysis

Each of the three articles provides a useful way to examine gender, race, and class and their relationships to each other. However, they also each highlight the difficulty in finding a "unified theory" and the ways in which intersectionality may convolute and further fragment theories of gender, class, and race relations. In many ways, the piece by Pascoe creates the kind of dichotomy that Collins warns against by emphasizing the shift from the biological to the cultural. Pascoe examines shifts in racial thinking through historical judicial cases and, in creating a biological-cultural dichotomy, the economic and political shifts occurring in the United States during that time are almost entirely absent from her analysis (most notably, the lack of a mention of the civil rights movement). Sacks demonstrates how the political and economic conditions created under capitalism, which are largely absent from Pascoe's argument, can and do create and perpetuate gender, race, and class identity. Through her explanation of how second-wave socialist feminists root their theories in a gendered division of waged and unwaged labor, she more effectively speaks to the notion of culturally based theories of social stratification than Pascoe. Although I find Sacks' article extremely appealing academically, Liu's article, for me, is a more holistic approach to gender, race and class analysis than either Sacks or Pascoe. Liu asks us not to just understand conditions and discourses that created subjugation, or even, as Collins suggests, to empathize with others, but to understand how our personal experiences inform our own beliefs about ourselves and (those elusive) "others."Like Sacks', Liu's article is extremely strong academically, but the personal narrative approach invites all of us to contribute to the discussion of gender, race, and class relations. In her discussion of personal conflict with some of these issues, Liu makes a short but profound statement which informs the notion of rectifying the personal and the academic ("public") for a holistic vision of gender, race, and class studies: "I have lived with the contradictions of being simultaneously and insider and an outsider all of my life." The different emphasis each of these authors takes are all valid ways of examining gender, race, and class identities, which is why I feel the pursuit of a unified theory is not only a nearly impossible task, but an individual exercise.

By the nature of geography, my area of study, intersectionality is a necessity, since almost any subject matter can (and is) studied spatially. Everything from economics to biology is studied geographically. However, as with many fields which use humans as their "subject matter" (so, basically any social science), the personal is often left behind, which is why I think we see such compartmentalized studies without the kind of unity the authors we've read thus far are trying to establish. It is something that has frustrated me over the years and something that may reflect exactly some of the issues we will cover in this course (the dichotomy of the "rational" and the "emotional" and their masculine/feminine associations, as well as the fact that academia has largely been developed through patriarchal institutions, etc.).  

Blog Assignment 2

After taking an in depth look at the readings assigned for this week, I found Grant and Sleeter's writings to be most successful. As a Human Resource Development Major, the topics of Women's Studies, feminism, etc. are all fairly new to me consisting of a great deal of vocabulary that I am a bit of a stranger to. This article felt like a breath of fresh air for me as I worked through these articles trying to switch gears to this type of literature. The argument stated in the article "Race, Class, and Gender in Education Research: An Argument for Integrative Analysis" was very clear. They explained that "all people are members of not just one status group, but of all three, and these simultaneous memberships influence perception and actions (196)." I absolutely agree that these items are inextricably related. The article explained that most of the literature in the sample treated race, social class, and gender separately which in turn oversimplifies equity issues and further may perpetuate biases by failing to integrate them.

Blog 2

I find that Sacks has a successful analysis in her ability to effectively and interestingly combine the elements of race, class, and gender in her three arguments.  These arguments regard women's domestic and community experiences linked with class struggle as well as her views on the ways that women have experienced the "idea" of class differently than their male counterparts. Then of course, she examines how working class women's experiences and issues vary (and likewise, how they are similar) between class. 

I have never read anything like this article before.  Thus, it stuck out among the other race/gender/class themed readings we had for this week. I was also intrigued by the ways that she took different aspects of jobs over the course history (top of p. 542).


As far as my own education experiences as a History minor go, I have read many documents regarding race, gender, and class.  This was particularly true in my classes: Women in Early America and U.S. History 1900-1945.  For example, in one of the readings we discussed last Thursday, Collins addressed the four African American female stereotypes (the mammy, the matriarch, the mule, and the whore).  This was something that was extremely prevalent and within these courses we discussed and addressed how important it is to think beyond outside of just the stereotypes, because just as we uncovered on Thursday's discussion, one cannot be labeled by merely their race, class, or gender. One's experiences vary on the combination of their race, class, and gender, and cannot be counted upon to be the same. Collins' comparison of the college peer with the sweaters and the Appalachian family is a prime example of this. 

Week 2 Blog Assignment

After completing the readings for this week, I found Tessie Liu's article, "Teaching Differences among Women from a   Historical Perspective: Rethinking Race and Gender as Social Categories" to be the most successful analysis out of the three articles that we read.  Her article focused on the way that women are studied, especially in Western civilization courses, and how we can gain a better understanding of all women, especially in regards to race and class, if we acknowledge the differences between them rather than looking for a "universal sameness" amongst all women.  As Liu directly wrote, "...there is no true international or cross-cultural perspective.  We can view the world only from where we stand."  This concept was also shown in Collin's article from last week when she wrote about viewing the world as an African American woman, not just as a woman or just as an African American.  The reason that I think this idea is so successful in regards to analyzing intersectional inequalities is because it forces us to consider our own biases and realize that we cannot think solely based off our gender, class, race, age, etc, because that is only one part what makes us who we are and we cannot separate one category from the next since they are all relevant.  She also wrote about the direct benefits of viewing inequalities as intersecting such as by viewing race as a gendered social category, so we can in turn "systematically address the structural underpinnings of why women's experiences differ so radically and how these differences are relationally constituted."  Liu's writing style is very similar to Bell Hook's writing because it is a very straight forward, easily accessible and understandable reading unlike that of both Pascoe and Sacks, which are both fairly dense readings in my opinion.  I have encountered intersectional thinking in both Sociology (my major) and Gender and Women's Sexuality Studies (my minor) mainly because both disciplines are people based and cover a variety of social issues in which categories such as race, class, and gender, overlap.

Week 2 Blog Assignment

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Recent class discussions and readings have resulted in a new awareness for me. "Feminism" was a word I have heard many times without really understanding the meaning. "Feminism" held a negative connotation - that is until I read Hooks' analysis on Feminism. While the readings by Collins, McIntosh and Glenn all provided insight into their views on Feminism, I found Hooks' article a more descriptive view on Feminism. It outlined the misconceptions of Feminism and described the differing views held by others. Likewise, the word "racism" can result in varying interpretations and views. Again, for me, the word "racism" holds a negative connotation. Pascoe's easy-to-understand analysis and interpretation of the miscegenation law provided a deeper understanding of the meaning of racism. It brought the trials and difficulties of racism in the justice system alive in the reading. The Engineering profession is a "mans profession" or so it's believed. Our society portrays males as the stronger leaders, "deeper thinkers," and engineers. Women are viewed as passive, "the listeners," and the caregivers. Males are the majority of new admissions into Engineering programs at Universities, even though females are being recruited and attracted into the programs. The Biomedical Engineering (BME) profession is one such profession experiencing a shift to female professionals while the Mechanical, Electrical and Aerospace Engineering disciplines continue to be perceived a "male" profession.  

Week 2 Blog Assignment.

After reading the three articles for Tuesday, I found the Karen Sacks article "toward a unified theory of class, race, and gender to be the most successful. In the beginning of the article Sacks asks the question, "Do race and gender "reduce" to class?"  I thought this was an intriguing question because intersectional analysis involves all three.  She answers this question using Marxism and Marxist-feminists theories, however she modifies these ideas.  I think why Sacks article is more successful is because she looks at the social content of feminism and uses the example of shop floor workers and how this system was gender and race biased.  She examines how race, class, and gender oppression are related, and the parallels and racial diversity of the working class women struggles.  I am a Journalism major and I have not encountered intersectional thinking in this area.  I think this approach is not utilized because it goes outside hegemony.   Before last weeks reading I had never heard of the term intersectional analysis and to be honest it is hard for me to grasp.  It is difficult for me to apply it to real life.   I think many people may have this problem because as a society we have become so used to this dominant system of thinking.  In my hometown, Voyeurism is very common, many people are intrigued by how the "different" live, yet they are passive about it and cannot relate to what they see as the less powerful in their minds at all.  

Week 2 Blog Assignment

I think that Hooks and Collins have the most success at putting forth the best intersectional analysis. Collins mentions that she is not a fan of dichotomies (the either/or concept) and that as a whole we should move past this in order to start "new patterns of thought and action". She also points out that by looking at the effects of race, class, and gender on all of us, not just by one 'group' to the next, that we will be able to make more concrete and effective ways of change. Through this connectional thought of ideas from institutions and oppression, she displays a well in-depth intersectional analysis. Hooks is also able to give a good overall view and analysis. She defines and applies the broad term feminism to various disciplines that affect and shape the everyday lives of people. Her main focus is on oppression, sexism, and patriarchy and how they intertwine and play off of each other in institutional settings. Like Collins, she calls for people to come together as a means to end these forms of oppression, rather than just through individual acts. Within my own major, I have defiantly encountered intersectional analysis and thinking, in fact, it is almost required. I am majoring in psychology and the basis of its existence relies on the systematic melding of theories from past and present psychologists. My main area of interest is within the field of personality psychology, which takes into account all of the internal vs. external factors and how they interact to make or break the person.

Clarification to Week 2 Blog Assignment

I've received feedback from a couple of students, so I want to clarify this week's blog assignment:
    Please discuss which of this week's intersectional analyses you found to be most successful. Use last week's readings and discussion as background for your consideration, but focus your blog post on this week's readings.

Week 2 Blog Assignment

Although I found each article interesting and applicable, I found Collins and Hooks analyses the most successful.  I had not heard of intersectional analysis before and after reading how to interpret it and utilize it I think it makes a lot of sense.  I agree with Collins and the idea that looking at systems and institutions as well as how we fit into those ideas affect us greatly.  I am also not a fan of dichotomies because you cannot classify a person because of their gender, race, or class.  Each of those things equally affects every individual as a whole.  I also agree with Collin's focus on 3 dimensions of oppression: institutional, symbolic, and individual.  It is important to focus on what is already built in to our brains and how the majority of people have one dominant system of thought.  I also strongly agree with Hooks and her ideas of oppression and patriarchy.  I believe sexism is institutionalized and until we recognize that fact it will be hard to end it.  I am a Communication major and definitely can apply intersectional thinking into the areas I study.  I enjoy studying human nature, cultural interactions, and most of all why our cultural differences create misinterpretations of one another.  Intersectional thinking can easily be applied to these ideas and help explain why our differences in gender, class, race, sexual orientation, etc. sometimes create misunderstandings and/or conflict.

Week 2 blog assignment

After reading the articles for Thursday, I believe that Collins' analysis was the most successful. I agree that dichotomies call for a hierarchy in classifications, and it is almost impossible to achieve anything when people are classified, mostly subconsciously, into different groups. I agree with the fact that dichotomies allow for one group to be labeled oppressed, and the other "non oppressed". With Collins being both black and a woman, a dichotomy would make her fit into two different categories (black and female), and therefore making her feel doubly oppressed. I agree that we need to look at race, class, and gender as a whole and how they concurrently fit together. My major is Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance. After taking a few classes, I believe that I have encountered intersectional thinking pertaining to the field that I want to get into. Most of the courses I took analyzed things such as crime and incarceration rates in the United States. Of course it was broken into categories of "race, gender, and income." There were also statistics that showed race, gender, and income combined. I believe that this is a new approach in the field of law. The incarceration rates in the United States surpass that of any other country, and I think that scholars are starting to look into the reasons why so many people are incapacitated and how race, gender, and income as a whole influence who is sanctioned and who is not.

Introduction-Blog 1

Hello Everyone, my name is Erica Yang and I am a Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature major, and I am also currently looking into a GWSS minor. I hope to graduate this spring, but I do plan on going back to school to get my generals done for Optometry since it is my new passion!  Yes, it is a completely different field of work from what I have been studying, but I feel that it is the right direction for me.

Week 2 Blog Assignment

This week's readings show us what intersectional analysis looks like in different disciplines: history, education, anthropology, law, and biology. In light of Thursday's discussion and keeping in mind the terminology that we defined in class, do you find some authors' analyses more successful than others? Why (or why not)?  Think about your own major and/or minor field(s) (or if you are undeclared, an area in which you  have taken several courses). Have you encountered intersectional thinking in this area? If so, describe; if not, why do you think this approach is not utilized?

Please post your response by 2:30 Tuesday, but feel free to add comments after you finish the readings for Thursday's class. Your response should be 175-225 words.


My name is Kenna McCarey and I am currently begining my Senior and final year at the U. I began my undergraduate studies at the University of St. Thomas but after one year there decided to transfer in order to save money. I came here and ended up truly loveing the U of M. I am a Human Resource Development major and Human Resource Industrial Relations minor. I am interning for a small engineering consulting firm in HR downtown and enjoying living with five other girls off campus. I am really looking forward to the next couple years of life as this is such a time of the unkown and change. It will be exciting to see where we all end up!

blog #1 Introduction

hello everybody.  My name is Stephanie Sarberg, I'm 21 years old and have finally made it to my senior year here at the U.  I'm a psychology major and plan on hopefully attending grad school after this year if all goes according to plan.  After that I would like to become a counseling psychologist.  I grew up in Minnesota, in a small town called Alexandria about 2 hours west of Minneapolis.  Ummm yea thats pretty much it for me!

Blog Post 1

Hello everyone, my name is Sara Gomoll. I am (finally) a senior at the U, and plan to graduate with my psychology degree in the spring. I am a Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies minor, and I'm really excited that most of my classes this semester are requirements for GWSS. My freshman year I went to Boston University, and transferred here my sophomore year. I hope to live in Boston or Chicago after I graduate, but first have to figure out what kind of real world job I want. I was born in Denver, Colorado but lived in Pewaukee, Wisconsin from the time I was 4 until I left for college. This year marks the first year that I am excited to live where I am living. I reside in a house in the Como neighborhood with my boyfriend, my best friend, and a Norwegian foreign exchange student named Thomas. In my free time you will usually find me loitering at Espresso Royale or working downtown as a server at The Local. I am hopelessly addicted to Lost and Arrested Development (if it is possible to be addicted to a show that ended years ago and only has 2.5 seasons worth of episodes). In the future I would like to get my Ph.D. in clinical psychology, but I would like to take a few years off to travel and work before I sell my soul to five years of graduate school.

Blog Post 1

My name is Rachel Butenhoff and I am from Hastings, MN. My major is Family Social Science, and my minors are GWSS and Family Violence Prevention. If everything goes right, I should be graduating this fall. Yippee! Prior to this class, I have taken Gender, Power & Everyday Life, Feminist Film Studies, and Feminist Perspectives on Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence; all of which were interesting and unique. I look forward to seeing what this class is all about.

Blog #1-Introduction

Hello! My name is Carly Sletten and I am a junior Journalism major. I am from Rapid City, South Dakota so I am pretty far from home. I have a younger brother who is a freshman at the U this fall. I currently live in St. Paul and as of right now am trying to find a job. I enjoy playing the piano and the saxophone as well as writing, cooking, and knitting in my spare time. I am very excited about this course and hope to have a fun time during the semester!

Blog Post #1

Hello my name is Vanessa Gill, I'm a Sophomore in the Carlson School of Management. My intended major is Entrepreneur management with a minor possible in leadership. I was born and raised here in St. Paul Mn, where I currently live now with my older brother and two younger sisters. I'm excited about classes and getting involved in campus activities and engaging in the community here at the University. Some hobby's I enjoy include writing poetry, dancing, singing, and spending time with my family.


Hello, my name is desarae (dezee) walker and I'm currently starting my third year here at the university. I am a cultural anthropology major with a minor in art. I live in uptown, but will be moving to midtown here within a month. I moved to Minneapolis two years ago and grew up in Cambridge, Minnesota - which is exactly an hour north. I've been working at the Wedge Community Co-op for a year now and love every second of it. In my free time I like to read books by Marx, Meridel le Sueur, and so forth. Marxist theory is a big hobby of mine. I'm looking forward to class discussion in the future, see you tomorrow.

Blog Assignment 1-Introduction

Hi everyone, my name is Emily Brunner.  I am a senior and will be graduating in December with a major in Strategic Communication and a minor in History.  I was born in New York, but moved to Minnesota as a very young girl, so I consider Burnsville, MN my hometown.  In addition to studying and taking this class, I work part-time at Campus Pizza and intern a couple of days a week at the Ramsey County Bar Association, where I am an Event Planning/Communications intern. I enjoy reading, shopping, and hanging out with friends. 

I am excited to meet you all and equally excited to see how this class overlaps with and relates to the Gender/Race/Class courses I am taking/have taken in the Sociology, History, and Journalism departments.

See you all tomorrow!   

Blog #1: Introduction

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Hello! My name is Maleenia, and I have lived my entire life in the Twin Cities metro area and I love it more and more with each passing year. I am in my final year as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota working on B.S. in Geography and I am applying to graduate school in December. I have completed many courses that have covered the issues we will be discussing in this class and I never get tired of the subject. And, may I add I am so happy that Freud, Foucault, or Lecan are not on the course list. All of them have contributed greatly to my understanding of this subject matter, but I am so ready for some new material. Outside of school, I am a mother to two wonderful, beautiful children (Lucy and Noah) who never cease to amaze me and who have taught me more than a formal education ever could.

I look forward to getting to know everyone as the semester progresses!

Blog Post #1

Hello all, my name is Mara Kapp. I was born in Seoul, Korea, but came to America as an infant. I have lived most of my life in St Paul, but I have spent time living in Brooklyn, New York. I transferred from MCAD to the UoMN 2 years ago. I am now a senior double majoring in Art and Art History. I haven't taken a women's studies course before this, so I am interested in how this will go. Well, I hope!

Blog Assignment 1

Hello, my name is Elizabeth Salm.  This is my first blog post, here or elsewhere!  I'm a junior at the U, majoring Biochemistry and Neuroscience.  I grew up in Chippewa Falls, WI with my parents, older sister, and younger brother.  Currently I work at a lab on campus and also at the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company as a tour guide.  I live off-campus in a house with five friends, slowly discovering how annoying late the 16 is most of the time.  Although I can be shy at times, I'm looking forward to expressing myself in the group discussions.

Introduction to me and blog number 1

Hi, my name is Caitlin McDonald. I am 21 year old female, a long time vegetarian, and a full time student here at the U. It is my senior year and I am majoring in Sociology and minoring in Gender and Women's Sexuality Studies. Along with school, I also work full time at a hotel and part time at Lifetime Fitness in their child care center. I commute to the U from Eagan, which sometimes sucks, but I get some time to get some reading and people watching in on the light rail, so it could be worse.  I would like to some day work in the field of women's advocacy or do social work of some type, which is why I continually take GWSS and SOC courses. When I was younger I wanted to grow up to be a rock star, but wasn't born with any sort of musical talent, so I live vicariously through other musicians by frequently attending concerts (mainly classic rock...Eagles, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, just to name a few...I also like to dabble in the local alternative/hip hop scene). Aside from school and work, I enjoy doing Bikram yoga, drinking wine, and hanging out with my friends, family, and boyfriend.  Here's to a fantastic semester with all of you!

Blog Assignment 1

My name is Melissa Stucki and I am very excited about this class. I am from St. Paul, Minnesota and have lived here my entire life. I am currently a junior here at the University of Minnesota and my major is Kinesiology. I plan to go to graduate school here and become an occupational therapist. I am taking this class to fulfill some requirements, but as well to educate myself more on issues concerning women in society. I have never taken a class like this and am excited to learn something new and hopefully learn something I can use for the rest of my life. I am living near campus in Dinky Town and am loving it. I am always up for meeting outside of class to study, or just hang out. If you have any interest in this just ask me!
Melissa Stucki

Blog 1: Introduction

Hello my fellow peers! My name is Drue Lee and I am a sophomore, with an undecided major. However, I am interested in majoring in Family Social Science, along with Youth Studies. But as of right now, I'm still undecided. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with five brothers and five sisters. As a total, there are 11 of us, including me being the fourth oldest. I am a commuter, living with both my parents. I love to sing just for fun and do my nails. So if you guys see an Asian girl with crazy looking nails, then it's me!  I don't know what to add, so I'll end it like this. Lastly, I hope this semester class would be fun and interesting, and that I can get something useful from it and from you guys as well.


Hi everybody! I'm Tricia Karges and I'm a sophomore this year. I started at the U last semester after a semester at UMD. I don't have a major yet, so I'm just taking some electives right now. I was born and raised here in Minneapolis and it's great to be starting my second semester at the U!


Hi.  I'm Jackie Kellett.  I am almost done obtaining a double major in Gender, Women, and Sexualities Studies and the Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance.

Blog #1 Introduction

Hello all in GWSS3002,

My name is Michele Hauwiller and I am a Sophomore transfer from Century College in White Bear Lake, MN.  Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies is my major.  I have lived in Minnesota my whole life and have decided that the older I get the less I like the long cold winters here.  I am a mom of four wonderful people, ages 20, 14, 4 & 3.  Three girls and 1 boy.  I was raised by my father, who was a single parent in the 1980's. This of course influenced my view of the world to be different from what others had.
I took a Intro to GLBT Studies class while I was at Century, learned more about GWSS and became hooked on it.  I love learning and passing on what I have learned to others, especially my own children & especially those topics that many are uncomfortable talking about as I am very open minded and love to challenge other's ways of thinking.  I  also have a 85% hearing loss, which explains the wearing of the headset during class.  It's an FM system which allows me to hear Rebecca talk without the background noise interference.  Don't let this keep you from talking to me though, I love to talk to people and learn about their own life experiences.  I communicate best by being able to see the person who is talking as I do not  know ASL but am a very strong lip reader and have some residual hearing. 


Hi. I'm Max Schmetterer. I'm an English major and CSCL minor 4th year. I'm taking this class because gender studies is something that my major comes back to again and again, and I think understanding current theories on gender will help my creative writing.

I'm in the marching band. I like zombies and sushi and large dogs and thunderstorms and ice cream and hedgehogs and Norton anthologies and dark shades of blue and post-rock and Ray Bradbury. And other stuff. I spent May and June in London, studying pop culture and government. London's pretty cool. I wish we had the tube.

Hi Everyone!

My name is Carissa Miller and this is my junior year at the University of Minnesota. I am a Family Social Science major. Hopefully, after graduation I will attend the two-year masters program for Occupational Therapy. I'm excited that most of the class is women because I think it allows us more freedom (subconsciously) to be ourselves and, fosters independence and strength in females. In any case, looking forward to meeting all of you. 


Hello, my name is Nicole and I am going to be a sophomore this year. I am from burnsville minnesota and play lacrosse for the U. I am planning to major in biology and attend med school. This is my first GWSS class but I am looking forward to learning something new this semester!


Hey Everyone,

My name is Ka Blia Lor, but I usually go by Kabs since it's shorter and easier to remember. I'm a third year transferred student from the University of Minnesota Duluth. It's been quite a change already and it's only been two days! So far I've realized a couple things that differ from both campuses. At the Twin Cities you get to see the sun and experience the weather. I know it probably doesn't sound like much of big deal but the buildings in Duluth are all connected so there's no need to go outside to get to one building. The only time that a person is outside is when they're waiting for the bus or going somewhere. So you can only imagine how many people are wearing shorts and skirts during the winter when it's below zero. Another thing that I noticed is that everyone at the Twin Cities Campus walks so fast! I feel extremely awkward and embarrassed about my walking pace because in Duluth everyone lazily walks to class. However, I'm learning to like the Twin Cities campus and I'm excited to meet new people.


Hi. My name is Pamela Myhre and I'm in my sixth year at the University of Minnesota.  I just recently finished my Psych major and in the process of doing so decided I wanted a Spanish major as here I am! This past spring I visited Mexico City where the family of my boyfriend live and I hope to one day move down there and teach English--it was a truly lifechanging experience! I also visited Argentina and Uruguay in the Study Abroad program--it was amazing (even though I couldn't understand anything because the Spanish was so incredibly different!) I've taken a Women's Lit course before and discovered I have a passion for women's studies...I also took a Sexuality and Culture class, a Chicano Studies class and all this led me to understand that I have a wierd passion for learning :) and gender studies is my next area to study and learn about. This semester is going to be rough but after I had some difficulty being able to afford school and finally working through it, I've learned (EVEN MORE SO) to appreciate school and what education does for individuals...hence I've been here for 6 years and besides for getting loans paid off with a real job, I would LOVE to stay in school for a lot longer...pretty sure I'm the lone soul out there who loves school :)

blog 1

Hi everyone!
My names Emily Daves and I'm from New Ulm, Minnesota- a very German town, west of Mankato. I am currently undecided about my major although I'm leaning towards history with a possible minor in German.  This is my first women's studies course and Im very excited!

Feminist Media Center Hours

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The Rachel Raimist Feminist Media Center is located in 468 Ford Hall.  We are open:

Monday -       12:30- 6:00
Tuesday -      12:15- 2:30
Wednesday -  10:00- 6:00
Thursday -     12:15- 2:30
Friday -          10:00- 12:00

We have 20 macs with iMovie, Final Cut, Garageband, Microsoft office, internet browsers, audio recording equipment, cables to upload video and pictures from your video/still cameras, and can help you use U blogs and other webvista tools.  

Unfortunately we cannot offer free printing to undergrads.  You may print fewer than 10 pages in our lab at a time.  

Thanks!  -Courtney


Hello!  I'm Courtney, I'm a senior this year.  I'm a theatre major and a GWSS minor.  I spend almost all of my time at some theatre or another, I just finished a show that ran for four months.  I watch a lot of bad TV and eat a lot of bad Chinese food.  

I am really interested in exploring how language barriers effect those who come to this country, or to a new part of this country.  

If I could have any job in the world I would be an independent documentary film maker so I could travel and spend a few years on a topic and then move on to something totally different that interests me.  I would also be content to be a theatrical lighting designer, it is the perfect mix of science and art.  

Hello Everyone

My name is Xee Nyia Vue and I am a sophomore this year at the U of M. I am undecided about my major, but I am thinking about family social science as one of my choices. I am really excited to start class and hopefully get to know a few of you, if not everyone.


Hi, My Name is Heidi and i am a Sophomore  from Farmington, MN. This is my first gender and  women studies class at the University.I am very excited and looking forward to a great semester. 


 Hi, I'm Thanh Le, I'm 2nd semester sophomore majoring in computer science and Genetics + Cell development. I am really excited about getting to know the class and also all of you. To be honest, I didn't expect to be one of the only two guys in class :D but I hope this class would be a nice experience for all of us.

Introduction to GWSS 3002

Hello my name is Amanda Martin.  I grew up mostly in Drake, ND.  I'm a junior.  My major is Psychology, but unfortunately I am not quite sure what area I want to focus on.  I am really excited for this class! I transfered to the U of M from the College of St. Catherine's in St. Paul and I have taken similar classes and loved them.  I can't wait to meet all of you and I wish you a great semester.



Hi, my name is Rebekah. I am a  second semester sophomore majoring in Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance. My ultimate goal is to work with the DEA and become a narcotics officer. I am a transfer student to the U of M. It is a big change! I am from a very rural community in Wisconsin.  I am not definitely not used to riding the bus and the big city atmosphere. I have only been here a week, but I am loving it so far. Although it is hard being a transfer student and not knowing anyone, I hope it will start feeling like home. I have not taken any Women's Studies courses, but I am hoping to learn a lot in this class!


Hello, my name is Anna. I come from Fargo, ND. I'm a senior majoring in Linguistics and German. The U of M is my third school, and I'm looking forward to actually getting a degree from this one. This is my first Women's Studies course, and I'm very excited about it.

About me.

Hey! My name is Chelsey and I'm a sophomore. My major at the moment is Journalism with a possibility of a double minor in French and Management. My hometown is Thief River Falls, which is in Northwest Minnesota about six hours from Minneapolis. I have never taken any Gender/Women studies course before, however, I am very excited to learn more in the area. I'm often fascinated about the inequality between men and women in our society. It is especially obvious in my hometown. If you would like to know anything else just ask! Thanks. 
                                                                                                  Chelsey Knutson

Blog Numero Uno GWSS 3002

Hi! My name is Sam Kam. Yes, it rhymes and no, my parents did NOT plan it that way. I was born and raised in Blaine, MN. My major is Psychology with a focus on Forensic Psychology and I'm thinking about minoring in Sociology. I have taken two other Women's Studies Courses: Politics of Sex and an Intro to Women's Studies (up at UMD). Other than that, I love to just hang out on my free time (which is few and rare) up on my 40 acres or cuddled up with some good tea, a great movie, and even better company...

About me

Hi! My name is Kelly Dahlman and I am a senior studying Communications.  I was born and raised in Minneapolis and spent my freshman and sophomore years at Arizona State University.  I transferred to the University of Minnesota for school reasons and absolutely love being home and close to my friends and family.  I studied in Barcelona last spring semester and spent 6 months traveling around Europe.  I enjoy traveling, good food, good conversation, and spending time with my friends and family.  I am interested in this class because I have not taken any gender studies courses and I find them very interesting.  I am interested in the history of this topic but also the future and current social movements.  I look forward to this course and getting to know you all! Thanks!

About me

Hello! My name is Annie and I am originally from Pleasant Hill, California, but currently am a resident of Edina, Minnesota. I'm a junior (possibly) majoring in English. I have not taken any Women's Studies classes before, but my interest in this course stems from a class that briefly brushed up on feminist theory and thought. I'm very excited to learn a lot from Rebecca and my peers.  

What to Know about Me

Hey! I'm Cari, a sophomore, and majoring in Biomedical Engineering. I grew up in rural Nebraska and graduated with a class of 38 people. So you could say that it has been an adjustment for me by moving to the U of M. I chose UMN because it offers one of the best Biomedical Engineering programs in the Midwest. And I also like the cold. Hopefully the winters won't get too bad while I'm in school up here. J I'm looking forward to this class. It will definitely break up all the science and math that I am taking through my IT classes.

A Little Something about Myself

My name is Katy and I grew up in Minnesota. For the first 8 years of my life I lived in a small town called Rockford, MN, but moved to Minneapolis and have lived here ever since. I am double majoring in History and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies with a minor in Poli Sci. I have taken many other GWSS courses, probably somewhere around 8 or 9. I am looking forward to this class; it will take me one step closer to completing my GWSS major.


Welcome to GWSS 3002 Gender, Race and Class: Women's Lives in the United States. Please introduce yourself to the class: where are you from, what's your major, have you taken other Women's Studies courses? Is there anything else that you would like to tell us?

Please select the category "Blog Assignment 1" for this post.
See you Thursday!