January 2010 Archives

Thinking about the media


I thought this was interesting because of what we read in bell hook's book about Feminism and reproductive rights. Choosing to use the Super bowl for a platform to spread the word of pro-life activist is troubling. In reality they are 'paying' for this space and should not have their freedom of speech rights violated, but is it in the best interest to disseminate this to the public during a sporting event. Who are they targeting, and how much is CBS taking responsibility for? It is hard because as a journalism/mass comm major newspaper as well as broadcast stations need revenue from ads, but is it really socially responsible to use ads from strip joints, (MN Daily), or advocate for the pro-life movement on CBS?

This is an (eco)feminist issue because... sulfide mining

Throughout the week we have been discussing our own definitions of what feminism is. Reading through the definitions that our groups came up with some parts of them struck me - particularly 'ending exploitation'. Jaggar talks in "Living with Contradictions" about how the issues that are considered to be feminist aren't always exclusively about females. These issues can be about a vast array of "contemporary social concerns".

If our definition of feminism has anything to do with ending exploitation then we need to pay close attention to our own exploitation of this land. If it is our goal to end domination and control, we need to be awake to all that is being dominated and controlled around us.


Sulfide mining has wreaked havoc on ecosystems around the country. Exploitation by large companies have acidified waters, killed plants and animals, and rendered areas uninhabitable by humans. Several proposals have been made for large pit mines to be dug in the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. These mines are of great concern because of the incredible amount of water and watershed in that area. Concerns for the environment, wildlife, and humans have been raised.

Is feminism only about human beings? Can we oppress only minorities and women? We act as is we have a right to do with the earth whatever we choose. Patriarchy has acted for a long time as if it has the right to dominate, exploit and oppress women in the way that it chooses.

Saving the earth is a feminist issue. Sulfide mining is a feminist issue.

Last evening the annual Miss America Pageant aired. This year, Rush Limbaugh joined as a judge. The Miss America Pageant pretends to promote strong women and intelligence, although anyone who watches it can see swimsuits are valued higher. The process and accolades are already meaningless, but by adding Limbaugh as a judge it takes it a whole new level. Miss America is supposed to be about women empowerment, so it is curious that the notorious anti-feminist Limbaugh is added. Here is how Limbaugh feels about feminism, in his own words; "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society". By installing Limbaugh as a judge, the Miss America Pageant furthers the notion that women in this society are valued by their looks more than anything. Without a doubt Limbaugh was added to boost ratings, because for whatever reason he strikes a chord with a large portion of the United States. It is irresponsible for the producers of the show to add a sexist person such as Limbaugh. A man such as Limbaugh has no qualifications for judging young women of America.

This is a Feminist issue for obvious reasons. An anti-abortion activist killing an abortion provider because he doesn't believe abortions are "right." I don't believe that any male has the right to say what a woman can or cannot do with her body, for he will never have the ability to be in that situation. Sure, each individual can believe what he or she wants, but to express this opinion upon others, and to kill a man in a church because he provides the abortion procedure, is a horrible attempt to play God. Roeder claimed that in order to "save" more lives, he had to kill Tiller. Is he really saving lives of the children who will be raised in poverty? Raised in abusive homes? Raised by someone that doesn't want a child? Raised without love? I once saw an anti-abortion poster that read "Abortion stops a beating heart." A friend I was with at the time replied to it, "Abortion also stops a beating." Thoughts?

Group 1 Definition!

Our Definition of feminism is choosing to be consciously vigilant against any form of oppressive sexism, gender inequality, and class patriarchy. Feminism is inclusive, sportive, and promotes equality!

Feminism is pretty sweet!

For those who have not heard of Perez Hilton, he is the king of celebrity gossip, an American blogger, and a television personality. He covers musicians, actors, and celebrities alike and posts his findings on his blog. He is notorious for the tabloid pictures that he features, frequently commenting and doodling on them.

This was a picture of Lisa Kudrow that he recently posted on his blog:

He further elaborates on this picture stating:

"Everyone needs a good foundation in life. Lisa Kudrow needs about a gallon of it on her face.
Though we'll admit she looks much better than some of her former Friends, Lisa walked out in West Hollywood this week looking older than she already is.
And check out her forehead! It looks like a composition notebook - wide ruled!
Can we practice our cursive, please?!"

What do you think about these statements? Would Perez ever criticize a man for having slight wrinkles? Let's think about bell hooks. In Chapter 6 of "Feminism is for Everybody", bell hooks discusses women's beauty within and without. What would she think about Perez's statements? Would you consider this type of media coverage to be a major setback to the overall feminist movement, or just merely celebrity tabloid entertainment?

(For the record, I think Lisa looks great!)

We were assigned the article "The Curious Feminist" by Cynthia Enloe and her example of the phrase "cheap labor" vs. "labor made cheap" really got me thinking about some of the most fundamental norms in our society. Love and its related conventions are abundant in literature, movies, pop culture, and every teenager and teeny-bopper's diary, so it's hardly a surprise that teen popstar Taylor Swift would hop on the train. Now, perhaps I'm overreacting and making a mountain out of a molehill, but almost every aspect of this video seems to be reinforcing the patriarchal norms we have been so fervently castigating. The way the video is structured makes it seem like every sector of "nerd" Taylor's life is somehow filled with pining for this boy who only shows his affection for her once she de-nerds and looks gorgeous. She herself acknowledges the fact that the proper way for her to steal him away from his current girlfriend is to change her appearance. Only at the end of the video does Taylor seem truly happy, so the derived moral of the story is that if you take off your glasses and wear pretty clothes, boys will flock to you and you'll be happy (the same can be found from most Disney movies I think). Anyway, I find this to be a pretty intriguing topic. Is pining for a man (or woman) a biological trait that's inherent in the human species, or is it something that is instilled in our minds from centuries of similar thinking? How does love factor into feminist thinking? Is the animosity between "nerdy" Taylor and "popular" Taylor the same animosity between women that a patriarchal system seems to instill that bell hooks talks about? What kinds of morals and values are songs and pieces of literature like this displaying to the masses of young adolescents? Does this even matter?

Group 3 Definition of Feminism


Feminism is the belief in and struggle for the end of sexism and oppression for every person. Also creating a sisterhood of solidarity and concern for all people regardless of race, social status, sexual orientation, etc.

Term = Lifestyle Feminist:

The feminist movement needs a more clear cut definition. Feminism movement is beginning to lose it's drive due to lack of clarity. What is a feminist? People are changing what a feminist is according to their personal situations. They are considering themselves feminists, without changing their own life for the cause.

Group Members: Mallory Brothen, Abeer Ibrahim, Tamar Kaplan

Police: Criminals in Haiti Raping Quake Survivors



I chose this event because out of all the reasons of the need for feminism, I believe that this is one of the more important issues that should be addressed not only by feminists, but by.....everyone, due to the magnitude of the psychological and physical ramifications to it's victims, and its repercussions on society as a whole.

I think that this is a great example of a feminist issue for two reasons that I would like to discuss. The first is fairly general. Why is there a need for feminism? Even more specifically, how is respect for women (and others in general) not a universal trait in the human gene, or expressed in the phenotype of every individual? Forget cultural ethno-theories, traditions, or rights of "ownership" that some third-world countries may view as men having over women due to their physical dominance or "place in society", what about morals and conscience? This can even relate to all aspects of oppression because if people would treat others as they want to be treated themselves....would there even be a need for feminism? Would sexism even exist? So with this sense of empathy that should exist in each human being, how could any human inflict such pain and anguish, especially concerning exploiting such vulnerability and justify it with an act of such intimate violence? This act of selfishness, along with a general sense of insecurity in my opinion, are the reasons we need feminism and even consequences through the government to address sexism.

This topic of rape I cannot comprehend or fathom as man....trying to make a depressing attempt at what kind of state of mind an individual needs to be in to try and make such a unthinkable attempt at self-gratification. My mind quickly flickers through other reasons that oppression fosters such as pregnancy, homemaking, women in the workplace, equal pay, reproductive rights....but none of those seem to compare to the intimate violation of a women just because a physically stronger man can do it due to his lack of continence. All reasons of oppression are inexcusable, but this is an abomination towards men in my opinion, even if some of them are criminals. Or are they? Could these criminals possibly be used as a scapegoat for the lack of the Haitian governments ability to keep control over their people in such a time of crisis?

The second reason is oppression concerning the lower classes of society. Are these rapes more prevalent because this is a poverty stricken country? Would this have happened in the neighboring Nicaragua? Is it a lack of government control? Especially that it is being in "organized" yet make-shift camps. I don't recall this happening during Katrina, which generally affected a lower class population compared to the rest of the nation in America. How is the feminist agenda to handle this type of sexism? Is it even able to? How does sexism relate to government control? Does sexism change with government enforcement or is it a inner-change in the people that make up the society? These questions give me the reason to think that ending sexism is a personal choice that each person has to make for themselves. It is respect for one another as a person, not influenced by physical ability or gender.

Group 11 Definition of Feminism

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Feminism is the act of promoting and practicing transforming a patriarchal society to one in which gender is equal in value and respect, in all races and classes of society.

Stay tuned for Ava's example of our term: accessibility.

Group 11's members include Ava, Daniela and Justin.

Group 5: Definition of Feminism

Feminism is an empowering movement working to end sexist patriarchy, exploitation, and oppression while promoting equality for all.

We also defined Internalized Sexism as: A learned behavior, engrained over time, where our patriarchal society teaches women to be inferior to men and to compete with other other women for patriarchal approval (p.14 hooks).

Group 5: David Siqueiros, Courtney Erickson, Michelle, Ellen Seltz

Group 2- What is Feminism? + Reformists v. Radicals

Our tentative definition of feminism:

Feminism is both a movement and belief system that seeks to eradicate social inequalities based on gender, class and race.

Our term, reformist vs. radical/revolutionary feminists, is summed up very succinctly by bell hooks on page 4 of Feminism is For Everybody:

"From its earliest inception feminist movement was polarized. Reformist thinkers chose to emphasize gender equality. Revolutionary thinkers did not want simply to alter the existing system so that women would have more rights. We wanted to transform that system, to bring an end to patriarchy and sexism."

Hooks suggests that reformist feminists wanted to operate within the existing system, to make small gains within that very system. Revolutionary feminists sought to deconstruct the system itself in order to truly overturn sexist, classist, and racist power structures.

Group 2 is Anna Olson, Kathryn Holahan, and Mary Anderson

Slightly revised schedule for Issue #1


This is the slightly revised schedule that I announced in class yesterday. If you have any questions, you can post them as comments to this entry.


FEB 2    Feminist Debates discussion and begin Reproductive Rights: Some Background

• Enloe, Cynthia "Curious"
• Jaggar, Alison. "Feminist Contradictions"

FILM: Begin The Pill

Feminist reflection papers are due today.

FEB 4     Fighting for rights, but at what cost?

• Roberts, Dorothy. Excerpt from "The Dark Side of Birth Control" (WebCT)
• Sanger, Margaret. "Birth Control--A Parents' Problem or Woman's? from Women and the New Race" (handout)
• Sanger, Alex. "Eugenics, Race, and Margaret Sanger Revisited: Reproductive Freedom for All" (WebCT)?

FILM: Finish The Pill

FEB 9     Reproductive Rights: What is choice? Who gets to choose? What choices?

• Roberts, Dorothy. Excerpt from "The Meaning of Liberty" (CP)
• Ross, Loretta J. "The Color of Choice" (CP)
• Crews, Allison. "And So I Chose" (CP)
• Sayce, Liz and Rachel Perkins. "They should not breed: Feminism, disability and reproductive rights" (CP)
• "Language: On choice" (handout)

FEB 11    Continue discussing choice and reproductive rights

• Mingus, Mia. "On Claiming my Movement: Disability and Reproductive Justice"
• elle, PhD. "The Limits of Choice"
Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice "A new vision for advancing our movement for reproductive health, reproductive rights, and reproductive justice" (WebCT).

Reproductive Rights position paper due today.

Group 6 - What is feminism?

-Group Members: Caitlin Cardinal, Will Menzel, Zahra Hassan, Rija Caldis

-Feminism: a movement that works towards eliminating sexist systems, rules and mentalities that exist within all sectors of society, be them implicit or explicit.

-Our term (as it relates to feminism):
political solidarity: the formation of an organized union that opposes all forms of sexism, and protects the interest of women
Example: Lobbying to your local representatives as a united front/single entity in support of a specific sexist issue, as opposed to addressing representatives as a collection of individuals.

Group 4's Definitions

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Striving to end sexism, oppression, and sexual exploitation, feminism is a philosophy for the promotion of equality of the sexes and is framed around social justice.

Consciousness-raising refers to spreading awareness to the alternatives sexism, sexual exploitation, and oppression, and recruiting for and dispelling misconceptions pertaining to the feminist movement. Examples of consciousness-raising include: feminist/women's rights groups, such as NOW, AWID, and MADRE; feminist/women's rights: propaganda, ads, literature, blogs, rallies; and women's studies courses.

Group 4 Members: Molly G., Mitchel J., Corey O., & Heather M.

Group 7: What is Feminism?

Members: Sara McCracken, Abby Wulfing, Carlyn Knickelbein, and Yein Kim

Feminism is an all-encompassing movement to end sexism and establish equality.

Term: 'Feminism as mass-based educational movement'

Definition of Term: the emphasis on educating the public about the true definition of feminism and raising awareness about the positive impact feminism has brought to society in order to broaden the accessibility of feminism

Example: Feminism presented in children's books seems to be a priority for the educational movement since it's extremely important for feminist education to be instilled in children early on, while their beliefs and identities are still in the process of being formed.

Group 9-Defining Feminism

1. Group members: Sarah Turgeant, Sarah Mainz, Sammy Labrasca, and Adam Liter

2. Feminism: a political movement that seeks to achieve equality between genders, while erradicating all other forms of in equality within society.

3. Group 9: Racism in feminism: it is a barrier to the ultimate goal of feminism; unacknowleged inequalities within the female gender that impede the abiltiy of feminists to acheive their ultimate goal of equality between sexes.

Our Definitely Definitive Definitions

Feminism is standing up for for the rights of women while working towards equality for all people.

White privilege are the amenities of everyday life that white people often overlook and/or take for granted.
Some examples of white privilege:
-the color of band aids match the skin of white people
-most TV shows, magazine covers, movies and even toys for children (dolls) feature white people.
-in some communities and states, police officers randomly pull over minorities (racial profiling)
-most CEO's and managers of businesses are white

With Love for All,
Matt Deates, Jessica Malone, Ye Zawhtun and Alyssa Smith

What is feminism: Group 10

Our definition of feminism:
*conflicted (within own sex)
*needed communication
*needed to be integrated into everyday life
*exists to promote awareness
*not anti-men
*Equal opportunity

Definition of anti-feminist backlash:
Criticism of feminism which consists of having the belief that traditional, old fashioned views don't need altering. A significant part of the backlash is the bashing and trashing of feminism done by opportunistic, conservative women. One example of this anti-feminist backlash would be the vocalized opinion that women should stay at home to cook clean and raise kids, and that this is their only role and don't accept the idea of other opportunities beside this traditional belief.

group members: Alyx Campbell, Monique Campbell, Zahra Hassan, McKensie Fauksee

Direct Engagement Question 1: 2/2-2/4

If you are in group A, answer the following question in your 200-250 word entry post. If you are in group B or C, choose one entry from group A and post a 100+ word comment. If you are in group D remember to post your "this is a feminist issue because..." example.

NOTE: Because we are shifting the schedule a little this week, you are not required to post your entry by Sunday evening. Instead, make sure that your entry is posted by Wednesday at noon. Comments must be posted by Thursday at noon to receive full credit.

In "The Dark Side of Birth Control," Dorothy Roberts writes:

Sanger's shifting alliances reveal how critical political objectives are to determining the nature of reproductive technologies--whether they will be used for women's emancipation or oppression. As the movement veered from its radical, feminist origins toward a eugenic agenda, birth control became a tool to regulate the poor, immigrants, and Black Americans (58-59).
In "Musings: Eugenics, Race, and Margaret Sanger Revisited: Reproductive Freedom for All?," Alex Sanger, the grandson of Margaret Sanger, writes:

My grandmother's entire career shows that she was motivated by a desire to save the women she took care of as a nurse--the poor, the uneducated, the immigrant. There was no motivation to eliminate them....Her emphasis on childbearing served to reinforce the notion that the fertility of the poor, and by extension that of the black race, was a proper subject of social and governmental control. The dangers inherent in this view are still with us (217).

Answer at least one of the following questions: make sure to draw upon the readings

  • What were the dangerous consequences of linking the promotion of birth control with eugenics?
  • How (and in what specific ways) did birth control became a tool of social control?
  • Finally,what can/should we learn from the case of Margaret Sanger as we think critically about feminist movements and their attempts to develop and implement agendas for reproductive rights/justice?


Some answers to your questions...


1. As promised, here is a link to the Spring 2009 Feminist Debates blog.

2. Also, here are some links to entries that were effective in answering the direct engagement questions and engaging with the material:

First, the question I asked:

Write a (roughly) 200 word response to the following questions:

M. Sanger promoted the cause of birth control, but, in order to get support for it, she linked her cause with eugenicists. Her goal was to work within the system, to challenge and to change the laws in order to provide more control for women. But, in order to change the system, she had to compromise her ideas, downplaying her radically feminist message (as stated in the excerpt that we read for this week) and making birth control more about population control and family planning. Did she sell out too much? Or, was she able to use the system to get what she wanted? What do you think? What does Roberts think? What does Davis think?

A. Response to blog question #1

The author of this post did a great job of engaging with the question and the readings. She demonstrated that she thought carefully about her response and how the readings did/didn't support her own thinking. While she received full credit (20 points), this student could have drawn upon a specific example from the reading--not necessarily by quoting the article, but by talking specifically about how Roberts or Davis suggest that Sanger's thinking was problematic. 

B. I don't hate Margaret Sanger

The author of this post received full credit for her entry because she engaged with the question and connected it to the readings/ideas from the online discussion. Like in example A, this author could have provided a specific example of what/why/how Davis and Roberts discuss the "dark side of birth control."

C. Blog Response #1 2/9

The author of this blog does a great job of offering specific passages from the text and of critically reflecting on the question from a number of different angles.

There you have it--3 different examples of entries that demonstrated serious engagement with the readings/questions and that received all 20 points. Remember, there is not one right answer to this question and there is not one right way to demonstrate a serious enagement. Use these examples only as guidelines for your 3 direct engagement entries.

3. I mentioned in class that you should use MLA citation style in all of your papers. Here is a link to everything you ever wanted to know about using MLA style (books, periodicals, electronic resources, etc).

4. Finally, you wanted to know what I am looking for in your first paper. Here is how we will evaluate your first paper:

  • Following Directions:  5 points Your paper is 3-5 pages, double-spaced, and 11 or 12 point font.  
  • Style:  25 points Your paper is easy to read, your sentences flow nicely, there are few grammatical or spelling errors, there are no run-on sentences. All in all, you communicate your understanding of feminism and why it is important in clear and compelling ways.  
  • Content: 70 points Your paper effectively addresses what feminism is and why you are studying it. You provide your own, well thought out definition of feminism, you offer many examples, and you address many of the questions listed on the handout.

 If you have any questions about what I have written in this blog or even more questions about assignments/class, you can post them as comments to this entry.

The Kim Possible Complex?

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We live in a modern society right?

bell hooks writes about the lack of feminist children's literature, and that got me thinking about the TV shows and movies I used to watch as a child and preteen. As a child in what I guess would be called post-Second Wave feminism, cartoons began to phase out some of the more obvious Cinderella complex-causing themes - you know, the stories in which the weak, helpless woman would be saved by the resourceful, strong Prince Charming.

But what about the Kim Possible complex? I have no beef with the show Kim Possible on the whole, and, as a twenty-something male and social justice activist, I am excited about finally seeing a young woman in a strong, empowered role in mainstream cartoons.

Feminist issue: study of the show's interplay between the protagonist, Kim Possible, and her friend and sidekick, Ron Stoppable, reveal an interesting gender role reversal, namely, that Kim seems to be always stuck in the Princess Charming role, saving her more Stoppable friend from eminent doom on a regular basis. Does Kim's character reflect modern feminist values, or is she still stuck playing the stay-home mother role, picking up after all of Ron's failures, instead of engaging in a genuinely equal, two-way relationship?

Blogging as a form of Consciousness-Raising?

In Feminism is for Everybody, bell hooks argues for the importance of consciousness-raising and the need for more "feminist education for critical consciousness." She suggests that going door to door with pamphlets, wearing T-Shirts with feminist slogans, posting billboards, and writing brief, accessible books like hers could help feminists to make more people aware of systematic institutionalized and internalized sexism. How about blogs? Could we envision blogs as a way to educate others on what feminism is and the issues is stands for? What are the limits and possibilities of blogging about feminism (and/or blogging while feminist)?

For more on this issue, see The Scholar and Feminist Online special issue from 2007, "Blogging Feminism: (Web) Sites of Resistance". For more on the connections between consciousness-raising and blogging, check out this article from the special issue: "The Personal is Political: Feminist Blogging and Virtual Consciousness-Raising".

One more thing: bell hooks repeatedly makes reference to the term, "white supremicist capitalist patriarchy." If you want to know more about what she means, watch this youtube clip (in addition to discussing how racial stereotypes are used in films like Star Wars or how feminist backlash works in Leaving Las Vegas, she discusses "white supremicist capitalist patriachy," 4 minutes and 30 seconds in):

This is a feminist Issue because

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When means subvert an end.mht

I wrote this for the MN Daily after I heard about this website. Thought that I would share with the class!

A great event...

Check out this great event by GWSS student, Katie Ernst:


Who is...bell hooks?

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We are reading bell hooks' Feminism is for Everybody this week. But, who is bell hooks? And no, that isn't a typo--she doesn't capitalize her name. For more on why, read this excerpt from Talking Back. Periodically throughout the semester, I will post these "who is...?" entries about some of the authors that we are reading. I will file them under the category, "who is...?"  bell hooks is an amazingly prolific writer/scholar/activist/cultural critic/teacher. For more information on her, including a bibliography, check out this link from the UofM's Voices from the Gaps. Also, watch this youtube clip, to hear her speak about her own role as a cultural critic:

In class on Tuesday, I mentioned a study I had heard about on MPR. Here is a blurb from the New York Times article about it:

"Men now are increasingly likely to marry wives with more education and income than they have, and the reverse is true for women," said Paul Fucito, spokesman for the Pew Center. "In recent decades, with the rise of well-paid working wives, the economic gains of marriage have been a greater benefit for men."

The analysis examines Americans 30 to 44 years old, the first generation in which more women than men have college degrees. Women's earnings have been increasing faster than men's since the 1970s.

"We've known for some time that men need marriage more than women from the standpoint of physical and mental well-being," said Stephanie Coontz, a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and research director for the Council on Contemporary Families, a research and advocacy group. "Now it is becoming increasingly important to their economic well-being as well."

Why is this a feminist issue? Is it/should it be an important one? What sorts of questions should feminists ask about this study? What important questions did the study fail to ask?

I just happened across this article...

Picture 1.png

How might feminists respond to this headline and article? Here is what Jezebel had to say about it. What do you think? What might bell hooks think?

Web Vista

If you haven't ever used Web Vista, here's how:

1. Click on myU and sign in (with you x500 and password)
2. Once you are on your main page, click on the button that says, "my Courses & Teaching"
3. If you are registered for the class, our course should show up on your page.
4. Click on the link that says, "WebVista C"
5. Then click on "log in"
6. You should now be on your WebVista main site. This site lists all of your courses that have WebVista sites. Click on the one for our class (GWSS 3004).
7. You should now be on the home page for this course. Click on any of the folders to access and download the readings
8. You're done!

Dorothy Roberts Lecture

dorothy_roberts_2010.jpgCheck out this great upcoming event at the U. We are reading two chapters from Roberts' book Killing the Black Body right around the time that she is here!

What's Wrong with Race-Based Medicine?

Prof. Dorothy Roberts, JD
Northwestern University

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
11:30AM - 1:00PM
Location: Theater, Coffman Memorial Union

Professor Dorothy Roberts, JD (Northwestern University), will discuss how the FDA's approval of the first race-specific drug has generated a heated debate about the scientific and political efficacy of race-based medicine. She will place this debate in the context of health disparities and genetic concepts of race and explain why marketing pharmaceuticals on the basis of race is more likely to worsen racial inequities than cure them. Recognizing that race-based medicine raises both medical and political questions, Roberts rejects the dichotomy often claimed by its promoters that we must put aside social justice concerns in order to improve minority health.


Hi everyone. Here is the syllabus for our class.

This is a feminist issue because...Haiti earthquake

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What is a feminist issue? What makes that issue important for feminists? How might analyzing this issue from a feminist perspective enable us to understand it better and to come up with compelling and productive solutions for it? Because these questions are central to the course and our reflection on feminism and why it is or isn't relevant, I wanted to create a category in which we could explore what it means to think about something as a feminist issue.

So, this category is for posting images, news items or anything else that you feel speaks to issues related to feminism. It could also include anything that you believe especially deserves a feminist analysis. And it could include topics, issues, or events that you feel are connected to feminism or deserve a feminist response, but you are not sure how or why. Entries filed under this category should invite us to apply our growing knowledge of feminism/feminist movement/s to popular culture/current events or should inform us about ideas, topics, or images that are important for feminism. When posting an entry/example, you could pose a question to the reader or provide a brief summary on the example and/or why you posted it.

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck at 1653 local time (2153 GMT) on 12 January 15 miles SWS of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. According to the BBC report, officials fear more than 100,000 dead and three million affected. This is a feminist issue because...

Why Blog?

Welcome. This is the blog for GWSS 3004. Hopefully it will play a central role in our discussion of and engagement with the material. While only class members (the instructors and the students enrolled in the course) can post new entries, the blog will be open to the larger public (for reading and commenting).

Having used blogs in my courses for over three years now, I see how valuable they can be for:

  • Developing community between students
  • Enabling students to engage with the material and each other in different ways
  • Encouraging students to really think about and process the ideas
  • Helping all of us to organize our thoughts and ideas
  • Providing a central location for posting information and handouts
  • Allowing for a space outside of the classroom for engaging with the readings and each other

But blogs aren't just useful for creating connections between students (or teacher and students or students and other communities). I spent the past summer writing in my own blog, Trouble, and I discovered that blog writing can make you (the writer) a better writer and thinker. This is especially true if you write in your blog on a regular basis. I wrote every couple of days this summer and I found that by theend of August my critical thinking skills were in much better shape then when I started in May. I also found that my understanding of my chosen term--trouble--had grown deeper and richer over the summer as I creatively explored different ways in which to engage with it.

Writing in a blog alleviated a lot of my anxiety about "serious" writing; somehow posting an entry didn't seem as intimidating as writing a formal manuscript. Writing in a blog also encouraged me to make new connections between ideas in unexpected ways. I found myself applying theoretical/political concepts like Michel Foucault's notion of curiosity or Judith Butler's notion of gender trouble to children's movies (Horton Hears a Who) and television shows (Hannah Montana). Not only did this experience allow me to reflect on these concepts but it also helped me to really understand them as I worked to translate them into more accessible language. For more on how/why I wrote in my blog, check out my about pages here and here.

It is my hope that the experience of writing in our course blog will enable you to develop your critical thinking skills and enhance your understanding of feminism and feminist movement/ movements. It is also my hope that writing in our blog will inspire you to keep writing and thinking and questioning and connecting.

How to Blog, a primer


Step 1: Getting Started or How to Log In and Set up my Alias

1. Go to http://blog.lib.umn.edu/
This is the UThink main site for U of M blogs.
Thumbnail image for image1.png

2. Log in by clicking on the link (login to UThink) located right under About UThink on the right hand side of the page.

3. If you are not already logged into the system, you will be required to submit your x500 and your password. If you are already logged in then clicking on login should take you directly to your Dashboard. Your dashboard will list any blogs for which you are an author (courses, personal blogs).

To access our blog, click on "System Overview" at the top on the left hand side. I have added all of you to our blog as authors, so you should see our course on your list of blogs. Click on it.

4. Now you should be on the author page for our blog. This is where you can create entries, upload files, and edit entries.


5. For those of you who haven't used UThink before: You can set up your own alias for posting. This means that when you post an entry or a make a comment, only your alias will show (not your email address or your name). As the blog administrator, I will be the only person who knows that it is you posting. If you are a little nervous about posting, this is a good way to stay somewhat anonymous. To set up your alias, click on the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, Hi x500 number (in the image above, the link says Hi puot0002). Now you are on the edit profile screen.


Choose your display name. As you can see, mine is Sara. You can pick whatever name you would like.

Step 2: Creating a Basic Entry

6. Now that you are on the author (or, the behind-the-scenes) site for our blog and now that you have signed in and created your posting name/alias for our blog, you can create an entry. Click on create (located on the right hand side right above the course title) and scroll down to entry. Click on it.


7. You should now be on a page titled "Create Entry." You can create a title for your entry by typing in the box, "Title." Then, type your entry in the bigger box below.


8. A note about body vs. extended entry: Above the big box where you type your entry, there are two options: body and extended. If you are writing a particularly long entry, you could post the opening paragraph in the body section and then the rest of the entry in the extended section. When people look at your entry on the blog, they will only see the part you wrote in the body with a link at the bottom that says something like: "continue reading entry x." This can be helpful in making the blog visually more compact, but it not necessary.

9. When you are finished typing your entry, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on save (If you want to preview your entry first, click on preview. This can be helpful in making sure that you formatted everything correctly and that you put in the right address for your links). Once you have saved the entry, click on the view site button which is located at the end of the row that starts with the "create" button.


10. A note about tags: Right after the text box (where you type your entry) is a much smaller box labeled "tags." Tags work like key words and can be used to identify the key topics in your blog. So, if you are writing a blog about Roseanne as a queer character or the Twilight series as reinforcing heterosexual romance, you could tag your entry with the keywords: Roseanne, television shoes, working class, anti-capitalism or Mormonism, heteronormativity, vampires. Type the keywords in and separate them with commas. Put these keywords in before you save your entry. These tags will be reflected in our tag cloud which is located midway down on the right hand side.

Step 3: Creating links, inserting images and embedding youtube clips.*
*These should all be done before you hit save and post your entry.

11. Links: Okay, so now you have typed in your brilliant entry about the representation of feminism in 1970s popular culture, but the whole thing looks kind of...boring. One basic way to make it more interesting (not to mention interactive) is by adding in links to other sources (that you have referenced in your entry or that point to more information on the topic or that offer a different perspective). The way to add a link is to highlight the text that you want to create a link for (like Mimi Marinucci and her great article about third wave feminism and The Brady Bunch).


Then click on the image of the chain (you will find this image in the row of buttons above the text book). Enter the address for the link and then click on OK.


12. Images: But, wait, you say. Links aren't enough. You want more things to add to your entry. You want images.

a. First, find the image you want. Probably the easiest way to do this is by opening up a new tab or window, going on images.google.com, and putting in a key word to search. That's where I have found most of my images...like this one:


Because this is a basic primer, let's stick with google images. So, you have typed in "Brady Bunch" and found a great image of the family that you want to use. Click on the image. Then click on "see full size image". Drag the full-size image onto your desktop. Now you are ready to upload the image into your entry.

b. Switch back to the entry you have been working on. Put your cursor at the place in your text that you want the image to appear (like where you are discussing the Brady Bunch). Then click on the button (which is a few after the link button) that looks like an image and is called "insert image."


Click on the "upload new image" link and then browse on your desktop for the image of the Brady Bunch that you just found on google images. After you have selected the image, click on upload. Now that the new image is uploaded, you will be given a bunch of file options. It is up to you how you want the image to look, but here is what I usually do. I click on "display image in entry," "use thumbnail (with a width of 150 pixels)" and "Link image to full-size version in a popup window." In terms of alignment, pick whichever works best for you.

Finally, click on finish.

13. Youtube clips: Now that you have started adding things, you can't stop. Links and images aren't enough. You want to embed cool youtube clips in your entry. Here's how:

a. First, find the youtube clip that you want. Open up another tab or window and go to youtube.com. You can search for clips. I searched for "feminism" and found this funny video about Ms. Pac Man: A Feminist Hero.

Once you find the clip, you need to embed it. To do this, you need to find the embed box (located on the right hand side in the grey box under the URL), highlight the embed text and copy it.


Note: For a fancier version of the youtube clip you can now customize your embed clips. At the end of the embed box you will find a blue gear image. When you scroll over it it should say "customize." Click on it. Now you can pick a color scheme for the border of your clip (I recommend green to match our site) and a size (I would say 500 X 405). Now copy the embed text and follow the next step.

b. Now go back to your entry and put your cursor on the place that you want to insert the youtube clip. Before pasting it in, make sure that you have changed the format (located above the insert image button) to none (away from rich text or covert line breaks). The embed text will not work in rich text; it will just show up like a bunch of code. Once you have switched the format to none, paste in the embed text. Now you have added a youtube clip.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2010 is the next archive.

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