January 2011 Archives

Women in the Military

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Women now more so than ever make up a substantial portion of our military, but we rarely acknowledge their presence in our society as veterans of war. Media doesn't usually cover the difficulties women encounter in a modern military, but it's something that should be addressed. Especially since, "nearly 250,000 female soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade." In the last few months the Star Tribune decided to actively write stories at least once a week in November about women who serve in the military. The articles are very enlightening but in particular the issue about women veterans serves as a strong example of why this issue is relevant to feminism. You can view the article here:

In particular though I wanted to re-post some of women's comments in the article in terms of how they were treated while in the service and the particular issues that they face after returning

Here are some examples: "Women across Minnesota who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan tell similar stories: Home loan paperwork from the Department of Veterans Affairs made out in the names of their husbands. VA hospital care where women are such an afterthought that examination rooms face out toward crowded hallways... Family-outreach programs blind to the idea that some of the spouses left struggling at home are husbands, not wives."

"Males are afraid to put a female in a position of authority because they assume a male would do a better job ... It's a man's military, and that's what we get for stepping into it." 23-year-old woman who served in Afghanistan with the Minnesota National Guard. Like a number of others, she spoke of her service on the condition of anonymity.

A female vet's response as to why she doesn't have veteran plates: "If we had them, everyone would think that they were my husband's,'' she said.

"Women were given the worst of everything. I had to walk a half mile to shower or use a flushing toilet." 27-year-old woman who just returned from Afghanistan with the Minnesota National Guard.

And finally, "Anger issues, sleeping, irritability. I was sexually harassed." 24-year-old woman who served in Afghanistan with the Minnesota National Guard.

Thoughts, comments?


Changing a Tire

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Growing up, I was never taught how to change a tire, jump-start a car, etc. I'm not sure if this resonates with the majority of women or not, but I've heard from many that while growing up, their brother would be taught skills such as changing a tire, but they themselves would not be taught these same skills. It might be thought, "why would a woman need to know this stuff?" but why wouldn't a woman need to know this stuff? It is interesting how certain life skills are still deemed unnecessary for women to know, and by not giving women these life skills, people are hampering a woman's ability to be independent. Part of the blame can be directed towards women for not seeking out help in learning these life skills, but it must be remembered that there are many men who do not think it is necessary for a woman to learn these things, and so many are unwilling to teach a woman these skills.

Day four: January 31

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The title of today's class is: feminism, mass-based education and social media. We will be discussing some chapters from bell hooks' book: feminism is for everybody and thinking about feminism in relation to education and social media. Before we get into that discussion, here are a few announcements:

See more of my discussion after the jump...

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Who is...bell hooks?

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We are reading parts of 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 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):

 

Direct Engagement #1

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I think that bell hooks is correct in saying that education is key to push the feminist movement forward. In this day and age most people are not interested in reading hard printed material like newspapers or magazines as much as web based material. So to create the full potential of the feminist movement education, other than the ones implemented in universities and schools, they need to make use of widely used social media like Facebook and Twitter. In my group discussion on Wednesdays class, we talked about how feminist are portrayed in the media as "men hating lesbians." This is weird because the video that Mrs. Sara Puotinen posted ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pdbnzFUsXI&feature=player_embedded ) showed people saying the same thing, which is most likely inspired by the media and the false images created by them. Things like Blogs can help slightly in the cause but not as things like twitter. The reason I say slightly is because a lot of blogs are confusing and have a lot of reading involved in them, our generation prefers short reads. Twitter however can be efficiently used for the cause because it is a widely known website. Twitter is used by actors, actresses, and musicians so a lot of people access it to follow the people they like. This has created a big internet community. So if used correctly Twitter can do wonders for the feminist movement. I do believe that feminists are using these social medias to their advantage.

DE #1

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Social media's use is increasing in all aspects of our culture today. Technology is being used in the classroom, work, entertainment, and for everyday use. It seems people are not able to go a day without social media in general. With this holding true, media is very efficient in spreading around all types of information, and in this argument, awareness about feminism. Twitter is an effective social media in the sense that it is a short 140 character entry. In today's world time is a major factor in people's lives and the quickness of "tweeting" is gaining momentum. It is also very easily accessible at all times with the high volume of smart phones. Blogs and social media are already on the rise and I believe the use of smart phones will increase their use and popularity that much more. With just a click of a button you can check your email, weather, facebook, twitter, etc at your convenience with the increase of on the go technology.

Through media, women's sex-crazed images are used as advertisements. This is seen as what sells in this time and society we live in. With "mainstream patriarchal mass media's" feminism is seen in all sources of media. The sex-crazed images are especially popular in television shows/sports that appeal to men. If you sit through a football game and watch the commercials you will see clear examples of this image that they make women into.

Feminism is portrayed as women wanting to have power and speaking out for their rights in media. There is more to feminism that what is shown in the media, as we have discussed in class there is no clear cut definition of feminism.

Direct Engagement- the painful separation

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I agree with bell hooks that feminism and feminists are often portrayed negatively by the media. I think ignorance of what feminism is is partly to blame. Since it has become a blanket term for so many things, and used in so many different ways, people are nervous to commit themselves to being associated with the label of 'feminist'. Sarah Palin, during the 2008 presidential campaign, gave an interview in which she answered "I don't want to label myself anything" to the question "Governor, are you a feminist?" I think that this hesitation to associate with the movement is harmful, perhaps equally as much as negative representations. It creates a separation where there should be none between self-proclaimed feminists and those who may be feminists but are unwilling to become involved with the word's baggage.

I'm including in this post a video of Sarah Palin, who illustrates nicely hooks' point about a person's knowledge of feminism often coming into their lives thirdhand (hooks, vii). It's a subtle example, but Palin repeatedly uses phrases that separate feminists from everyone else, such as "these feminist women", and puts feminists as a whole into a narrow box, in terms of what they can and cannot believe as feminists. It is this kind of misunderstanding that hurts the progress of the feminist movement.

I think that blogs and twitter will certainly prove useful to the furthering of feminism. However, I don't think the potential there lies in blogs specifically dedicated to promoting feminism, because of the negative associations (think of the prevalence of the word "feminazi"). Rather, blogs and twitter will make feminists' actions to improve their lives and the lives of others much more visible. I think this is a big part of how feminism can continue to grow and raise consciousness in America.

Sarah Palin on feminists

I'm posting a link temporarily instead of embedding because my video keeps coming out as the last video Sara posted.

Feminists & Social Media

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I would have to say that I agree with the excerpt from bell hooks. As the youtube clip demonstrated, there are plenty of individuals whose perceptions of feminism and feminists are quite inaccurate. Although there are plenty of lesbians that are feminists, to say that those are the sole individuals that identify as so is unfair. Feminists are a diverse group of individuals, which is part of the reason that it is so amazing, but the fact that there are so many misconceptions about it yet, proves bell hooks' point that there is much need for mass-spread education. I feel as though blogs and Twitter are greater mediums for educating the masses on feminism as a whole, those that make up the movement, and the differing opinions and debates even among those that are feminists. However, I do find it important to point out that although there is huge potential for feminist education via blogs, Twitter, and other social media, there is the fact that unless someone is already interested in the subject, they may not be so inclined to check out a feminist blog or Twitter account. Especially since celebrities are the most followed Twitter accounts, there may not be much in the line of lofty feminist debate and discussion that Internet users will be exposed to.

The ideology of feminism has been a critical controversial issue which needs to be well explained and learned. The understanding of feminism has been crippled by the basic understanding that feminism is an act of lesbianism or a way for women to take control of the society. In fact this issue of feminism has been left aside due to the fact everyone believes they already have enough understanding of the ideology, thereby, leaving the patriarchal mass media to remain the primary place where young feminist learn about feminism.
According to Bells Hook, "our failure to create a mass based educational movement to teach and make everyone understand feminism has allowed mainstream patriarchal mass media to teach folks about feminism most which are negative" (24). It is true that the patriarchal mass media has made us to believe feminism is evil or is a community of angry women and haters of children and life. They have called feminist movement a primary force of moral decay women and a cause of the large percentage of divorce rate estimated today in the US.
However, to stop this negative image of a feminist movement, blog, facebook, twitter was created to educate young feminists of the true ideology of feminism and was also used as a means to connect with other feminist across the world. This was used as a gateway for people not familiar with the movement, its principle, and the understanding of collective struggle of the feminist issue. It has provided us with the ability to see both women and men as capable of individual self-reliance and free will.
Although this has been a great tool of activism, there have been some limitations due to lack of internet access in some places.

DE 1

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Mainstream media is many times viewed as having negative influences and outcomes, and in many cases this rings true. Unfortunately in today's mainly media based society we cannot run or escape this obsession of our times. In my opinion, whether something creates a positive or negative influence or outcome all depends on the reader/viewer/listener, it lies in OUR hands to dissect the information that we receive and to understand that not all information should be taken as 100 percent true. This is why is it crucial for the feminist movement to separate itself from what hooks calls "the mainstream patriarchal mass media" and to make it clear to the readers/viewers/listeners that they need to be weary of everything that runs in mainstream media. After all, mainstream media is not necessarily concerned with truths, lies or biases, but rather ratings and publicly.

This is why the best way to fight this battle is naturally through retaliation with correct feminist education using the same weapon, mass media! Mass media is a genius way to spread information quickly across the entire world, we just have to choose what we spread wisely. Today's fascinations with the internet, blogs, facebook, and twitter can definitely become vital weapons in the fight for the feminist education movement if used correctly. What better and easier way to connect with people all over the world than the internet? It honestly doesn't get much easier than that. I think many successful movements capture the power of today's youth. I would argue that today's youth spends a lot, if not too much time, browsing the internet. What better way than to catch a young person's eye than on the internet. Internet media is more powerful than ever, people read the news online, they even watch tv online, instead of on their television sets. Everything is about accessibility today. The easier the information is to access the faster it will spread. This is why I believe that the best way to spread educational and critical awareness is through the internet using blogs and various social sites.

Hooks addresses a very important point about spreading negative information. It is true, because I see it in myself, that the mainstream media has painted a negative picture of feminism and its theories. I myself, used to think that to be a feminist one had to be very aggressive about women's issues and to look at it as a fight of man vs. woman. This is not the case at all. Feminists are not man-haters and it is not a battle AGAINST anyone, but a battle FOR something. A battle for justice, equality, rights, and a voice.
Here's also a link to a funny little cartoon...

Direct Engagement 1

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We are now living in the age of the internet. Where facebook, twitter and other social networking sites consume the majority of people's time. On their breaks from work they check their Farmville or in the middle of a meeting they tweet. With so much attention to these forms of media some may argue movements, such as the feminist movement, should take advantage to spread the word. Although this is a potential method to spread knowledge and truth, individuals must remember the impact one click can have in addition to the possibility of trivializing a very important argument.


By using these social media outlets to express thoughts and theories people are able to reach a large amount of people coming from diverse backgrounds and situations in life. I believe it is important to remember however, that since so many individuals post obsessively this could take away the significance and power of an argument sent out into cyberspace. I feel the best way to educate people would be by restructuring the way in which the media (movies, news, advertisements, etc.) portray feminist issues. "Mainstream patriarchal mass media," (as bell hooks puts it) emphasizes heteronormativity, which allows for othering of a large number of people who do not fit in these roles developed by institutions that are reiterated through these forms of media. These forms of media, which bombard people every minute of every day, are the means that influence societies socialization and impact how citizens partake and understand gender roles, sexuality and the world.

Direct engagement 1

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Feminism's growth is due to media. For example, books were published, images shared...and as the media became more "mass" via television, and the adherents have multiplied. The "patriarchal" nature of mass media can be debated as long as you breathe, but it isn't irrefutably provable. The state of "Denial" has broad borders and no immigration control preventing people from going there. As more people have connections and interactions that they will pay attention to, ideas will spread and new social realities will emerge. No matter if this is via blogs or social media or a major change in cable network executives, the dynamic remains.

You receive feminist movement over media is not always negative because feminism is people's thought. Therefore, the way you can know negative or positive which is academic. Academic helps people clear and open the thoughts. More than that, people can define which the best and trustful sources on the internet and mass media.

When I lived in Vietnam, internet is the only fast way to connect with my friends in the world through yahoo! Messenger. Therefore, I didn't know the useful of the internet until coming to US. I used internet more than I thought. I searched everything on the internet, but now I need to consider which website or information is trustworthy. For the mass media, I have facebook , but only use to connect, comment with my friends, nothing relates to feminist movement. Here is a small video clip about women in media.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu5zr8tHoNM&feature=related
Finally, I feel the best way to get a message across is through the spoken word. The personal connection and truth of actual voice is the best way to make change happen.

Questioning Mass Media and Social Media

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I agree with hooks about mass media being the primary source of feminist information. And I agree that this is not the ideal route by which to transport ideas. But I also don't think that social media is the best way to raise awareness either.

I loved to read about the Moldova protest or about the Iranian people finding inspiration to seek freedom. I found it astounding that someone would post their abortion to empower women to believe that they have to power to choose. And I found the Incite! blog to be completely enlightening. My question is, who is looking at these cites? Who is reading these blogs? Can I trust what I read on the internet?

The unfortunate truth, in my opinion, is that the people who read these blogs, visit these cites, and follow the Tweets are the people who are already feminists or are at least have an interest. And I was taught at a young age to always question what I read on the internet. I'm not saying that any of these cites are lying, nothing of that sort. But what about other people? My issue with mass media is similar, I don't think that mass media is a trustworthy source of information either.

The problem with mass media is that it is trying to be geared towards a particular audience and information is always going to be slightly biased. Although, I suppose, that's almost completely impossible to avoid.

In the end I think the best way to spread information is through personal connection. There's power behind the spoken word, it's something that I don't think can ever be replaced.

To Us Feminism Is:

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Feminism is bringing awareness to each personal and independent view of the world by incorporating many lenses, not simply one's own gender or one's own sexuality. Feminism is to question the status quo, not as a means toward finding concrete answers or pitting the sexes and sexualities against each other, but to create a process of change moving toward equality for every gender, sexuality, race... etc. Feminism is not a war between lesbians and men, nor is it a war at all. The purpose of feminism is to create empowerment in the hearts of people regardless of who they are or where they come from. The feminist front is in the heart of everyone not just women, not just in the workplace, not just in law. The feminist front is carried individually in ideals, questions, classrooms, workplaces, court rooms, and anywhere people find themselves.

What is Feminism?

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We were able to agree on three main points of feminism:
1. It is to help equality between genders in terms of reproductive and sexual rights as well as social status.
2. It is a general understanding that gender rules can be broken.
3. It is to break women out of an objectification modality.

Reid, Mohamed, Simi, Lindsey.

what is feminism?

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Group: Erin B, Sara H & Thanh thuy N

Feminism is difficult to define due to the diversity of opinions within and about the movement. Group members agree that at its core feminism is a state of mind, a perspective that affects the way we analyze and critique the social world in terms of equality.

Direct Engagement (DE) Question for a. jan 31

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This question is for group A. You must post your response by Saturday, Jan 29th by 11:59 PM. Member of groups B and C will choose one of the response entries from group A to comment on. Comments are due by Monday, Jan 31st at noon. 

In Feminism is for Everybody, bell hooks argues for the importance of a "mass-based educational movement" in enabling a wide range of people to learn about feminist movement and feminist principles. She writes:

Future feminist movement must necessarily think of feminist education as significant in the lives of everyone....By failing to create a mass-based educational movement to teach everyone about feminism we allow mainstream patriarchal mass media to remain the primary place where folks learn about feminism, and most of what they learn is negative. Teaching feminist thought and theory to everyone means that we have to reach beyond the academic and even the written word (24). 

For group A, write a 200-300 word reflection on this passage and its implications for the educational potential of blogs and social media (especially twitter). Can blogs (like the INCITE blog) or twitter (as described in Tweeting Feminists) offer a way/space to spread critical awareness of feminist movement and feminist principles? Why/why not? 

In your response, you could also reflect on hooks' claim that "mainstream patriarchal mass media's" take on feminism is usually negative. What representations of feminism do we receive through media? Can you offer any examples (images, links to articles, youtube clips, etc?). 

Make sure to post your entry under the sub-category: a. jan 31  Members from group A should also tweet a brief summary about their entry on twitter (see assignments for more information). 

Want to know more about popular representations of feminism? Check out the clip from the documentary I was a teenage feminist:

What is Feminism?....

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The movement towards true gender equality. The theory is recognizing the way women have been marginalized in history and in today's society. Also recognizing and removing inherent assumption and biases from the American psyche.

Carly John and Jackson

What is feminism?

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We decided to keep our definition of feminism short and sweet because we found that there are many aspects to feminism. If we make the definition too complex than too many important parts of what makes feminism are left out. Thus what we decided on was: feminism is the radical notion that women are people. Although the definition was inspired by a bumper sticker that one of our group members saw, we collectively decided that this was the best possible definition for what feminism is.

What is feminism......?

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Feminism is:

*having the knowledge/ability to make educated choices
*the ability to use your own body according to how you see fit
*is existent everywhere, in all contexts and cultures; however, certain ideas/issues may take precedence over others
*the ability to ask/want/have/need an ever-changing perspective of personal/local/national/global human issues
*all-encompassing equality
- pay
-sexual expression
-personal expression
-voice/presence
-responsibility within society
-opportunity
-etc., etc.

We think feminism is...

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We believe that feminism means equality among all people, no matter what race/gender/sexuality/religion etc. a person might classify his/herself as.

Feminism is...

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a lens or perspective; there are many different kinds
a movement striving for equality between genders
an understanding of intersections related to labor, class, race, and civil rights

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We think feminism is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of different meanings according to different persons. We think it is important to take into account that feminism tends to take a blind eye to other factors such as race and socioeconomic status.

feminism (some other definitions and thoughts)

1. A woman who expresses an opinion that differs from that of a doormat or prostitute
2. A woman who is looking for equality among all areas concerning sex, race, and socioeconomic injustices. -HD
3. the idea that there are sex, socioeconomic, and racial inequalities in the world and feminism works to improve those inequalities through the belief that all humans are equal....feminism just happens to focus on sex inequality in a realm of inequalities that are all intertwined. -AO
Alexandra Orr, Annslie Rustad, Hana Djihic, Gina Cristian

Day Three: January 26

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Announcements:

  • Readings for next week: scroll down to bottom of syllabus to see reading schedule. 
  • Remember that your "what is feminism" paper is due next Wednesday. 
  • Any questions? Event announcements?
Today in class we will continue our discussion about our blog and twitter. I'll go over your blogging and twitter assignments. I'll also answer questions about how to blog or tweet. Finally, you'll break up into groups (3-4) so you can get to know each other and start critically reflecting on feminism/s. 

Small group activity: WHAT IS FEMINISM? 
 
1. First, spend some time getting to know your other group members by answering (some or all of) the following questions: 

  • Why are you taking this class? 
  • What are your immediate reactions to the term "feminism"? 
  • How is feminism represented in the media/popular culture? 
  • Would you call yourself a feminist? Why/why not? 
  • What kind of impact has the feminist movement/feminist ideas had on your own life or the lives of others? On U.S./transnational culture/politics? 
  • Has the feminist movement been a success? 
  • Is feminism still necessary? Why? 
  • What is a feminist issue? What kinds of issues should feminists be focusing on?
  • What are your experiences with social media? 
 2. Second, now that you have spent some time talking with your other group members about feminism, develop a very brief working definition of feminism. If we have time, we will discuss them in class.  One person should post your group's definition of feminism on our course blog by tomorrow (Thurs, 1/27) evening. You should post it under the category: what is feminism

I encourage you to exchange email addresses with each other. Also make sure to tell everyone your display name/alias and twitter name. 

feminist

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hi

Readings for next week

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Hi everyone! Next week we will be meeting in the Rachel Raimist Feminist Media Center (Ford 468) on Monday, Jan 24th. We will not meet in Ford 151. I will do a workshop on using blogs/twitter in the feminist classroom. In preparation for the workshop, please do the following reading:

1. Review my blog entry for class: How to blog, a primer
2. Browse through our course blog and the course blog for last year's class
3. Twitter tips

In preparation for next Wednesday's class (1/26), please do the following reading:

1. Using blogs in the feminist classroom
2. Puotinen, Sara and Kandace Creel Falcón. "Teaching with Blogs and Blogging While Teaching: Using Blogs to Expand Access to Feminist (Cyber)spaces" (available on our WebVista site)

Note: I have emailed all of this information to class members as well. Make sure to read that email carefully and remember your group + group time. 

Group A: 4:00-4:20

Group B: 4:25-4:45

Group C: 4:50-5:15

Day One: January 19

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Hello and welcome to contemporary feminist debates! In addition to all of the other ways we might be using this blog this semester, I thought I would experiment with using it as a space for organizing our individual class sessions. Here's what we are doing today in class:

INTRODUCTIONS

To the Class:

  • Read over the syllabus (your handout is a condensed version of the longer syllabus, available for download soon on the syllabus page)
  • Overview of course topics

To me: Dr. Sara Puotinen

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Hi, I'm Sara or Dr. Puotinen. My preferred pronoun is she. I was born in Houghton, MI, but I have also lived in North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, California and Georgia. I have a BA in religion (Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN), MA in ethics (Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA) and a PhD in Women's studies (Emory University, Atlanta, GA). My areas of research interest are: troublemaking, feminist and queer ethics, feminist pedagogies, queer theory (especially Judith Butler), feminist and queer social media (especially blogs).

Over break I read the Hunger Games trilogy and loved it. I also just (finally) watched Dr. Horrible last night on instant Netflix. I really enjoy teaching in the GWSS/GLBT department--and I especially love teaching classes on feminisms and debate! In addition to this class, I am teaching a graduate course on queer ethics and an undergraduate class on the politics of sex. 


I have been using blogs in my classroom since Spring 2007 and I have been writing on my own blogs since 2009. I started my first blog, a research/writing blog on making/being in/staying in trouble in May of 2009 and I started two more blogs, both collaborative diablogs, this summer. One is on breaking bad consumption habits and the other is on feminist pedagogy and blogging. The feminist pedagogy diablog, It's Diablogical!, has been particularly helpful and inspiring for me this summer. Since 2009, I have written extensively about the value of blogs and blogging in feminist and queer classrooms. In addition to tweeting as gwssprof, I also tweet as undisciplined.

I am really excited to see how we can use blogs/twitter in this class to explore and experiment with what feminism is and what it can/should do. 

To each other:

Tell us about yourself:

  • Preferred name/pronoun
  • Hometown
  • Major
  • Favorite book or movie
  • Why you're taking this class
  • Experience with social media

How to blog, a primer

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Not sure how to blog? Here's a primer that I put together last year. 

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.

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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).
 

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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.


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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.

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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.



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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.



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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.

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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).



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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.



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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:



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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."



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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.

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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. 


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.