DE April 27: Group B


While this course has been my first official foray into the GWSS department, feminism and gender politics have always been a pet project of mine. This class provided a much-needed platform from which to articulate new ideas and refine existing ones. The readings and class discussions helped me to bring my already-formed viewpoints into dialogue with new perspectives, and to approach familiar issues from different angles. For me, this course has emphasized that there is no finality to an issue, but a multiplicity of discourses that interact and sometimes oppose one another.

The class blog has been a mostly useful way to exchange ideas and promote discussion, both online and in class. Often, posts people have made on the blog sparked interesting conversations in class, and vice versa. Also, posting one's thoughts in written form can provide the illusion of a safe distance, perhaps making it more comfortable for people to express their opinions without the terror and pressure of public speaking. However, the relative anonymity provided by an online medium, where some of us choose to be identified by an alias or x500, also provides an easy out, excusing one from taking responsibility for one's thoughts and writings. While this has not been a problem in our class, and the exchanges here have been entirely civil, I think there is value in publicly declaring oneself, and allowing one's body as well as one's name to be associated with one's attitudes. This is not so much a critique of the class, but of our generation and of cyberculture as a whole. How is the internet changing how we communicate with each other? How does it change how we form and per-form our identities?

I also question the format of obligatory participation that frames our engagement with this medium and with each other. Because the blog is assigned, not optional, something feels inherently forced and, in a way, false about interacting with each other because we have been told to. Ideally, these conversations would be self-motivated, self-directed and would happen organically. However, I understand that this is problematic because we are all students and, thus, are unfathomably busy all the time; doubtlessly, without some compulsory mechanism in place to keep us on track, the blog would sit empty most of the time. I don't have any good suggestions to improve this.

ALSO. For the record, I hate Twitter. I don't understand how it is useful. The structure of a blog enables and encourages commenting and constructive conversation, which is awesome. Twitter, however, has a character limit that makes any kind of detailed critique or complex analysis impossible. It might be a useful exercise in brevity, but ultimately its limitations are too constrictive. Furthermore, it doesn't allow for comments. If someone posts a tweet that you like or want to respond to, you can do the little "@such-and-so" hashtag thing, but those tweets are uploaded independently and are not attached to the original tweet they are attempting to reply to. The result is a cess pool of random, isolated virtual sound bites that are ejaculated into the ether, encouraging everyone to participate in a self-indulgent and masturbatory barrage of discourse. Fuck that.

DE March 30: Group B


La Colectiva has a few conflicting messages. While their Bill of Rights demands improved conditions to empower workers and "level the playing field," their advertising is still steeped in the language of bourgeois capitalism. Despite labeling themselves as a progressive, labor-oriented organization, the first slogan that appears on their web site is: "you can call us your Fairy Godmothers." Invoking this fairy tale image doesn't do them any favors. A fairy godmother is a mythical creature endowed with special cleaning powers, whose sole purpose is to benevolently take care of people's chores. A fairy godmother doesn't have a family of her own to support, nor a personal life outside of her job - her entire identity is encompassed by her function. This completely negates La Colectiva's mission, which claims to be worker-driven.

Also, the idea of fairy godmother implies the presence of magic, which perpetuates the marginalization and invisibility of domestic labor. It promotes the notion that domestic work is not 'real' work, and erases the difficulty and toil endured by domestic workers every day. If a fairy godmother can solve all your household problems with a smile, a wave of her wand and a snap of her delicate fingers, she obviously can't be working very hard. So why should she be recognized or compensated for her labor?

Despite certain questionable instances of rhetoric, La Colectiva mostly has an effective grasp of internet media. The web site's layout is clean, attractive and easy to navigate. Its "About Us" section is clear and informative, but brief and to the point. It provides a quick and focused understanding of the organization's purpose and activities, and also has a number of links to related labor organizations that encourage visitors to learn more about workers' rights. The numerous videos and photographs in the gallery are compelling and provide a window into domestic workers' lives. While La Colectiva's image provides the stability and reliability of a large organization, it always emphasizes the humanity and individuality of the women who comprise it.

"Vulva"...A Feminist Issue?



Since our classmates' informative and compelling blog about the perfume industry has made fragrances something of a hot-ticket item, you all might find this new development amusing - or disturbing. (Or both!) A German company recently came out with a fragrance that claims to smell like a woman's genitalia. Its name? Vulva.

I found a few different articles with some compelling and pithy commentaries:
The Smoking Jacket
Some Dude On A Message Board
A video from Jezebel, comparing Vulva with Britney Spears' latest perfume

I especially recommend visiting Vulva's official web site, which boasts a video ad that is nothing short of jaw-dropping. The url alone is hilarious: . But be warned! It's not work-safe!

Used Car Ads....Totally A Feminist Issue


I found a really brazen ad for used cars. There is so much going on in this single image that it boggles the mind. The model's sexualized gaze, the implication of her role as the slut or temptress, the underlying assumption that a woman's value is determined by her virginity/chastity, the reduction of women's bodies to products and property to be possessed like one would own a car...Yowza!


Men In Heels...A Feminist Issue?



Last month, a group of men in Anchorage walked in high heels for "Walk A Mile In Her Shoes", an event to raise money and awareness for sexual assault. Is this an effective strategy for raising awareness? While the element of crossdressing certainly adds humor and playfulness that could potentially be transformative, what kind of laughter is it encouraging? What does it mean to link tropes of gender identity with sexual violence?

whose u?


I got to the Whose University event after the play was performed. The audience got a chance to interact with the actors by stepping on stage and saying how they felt about the performance. One girl said that the message of the play touched her because her parents were going through a divorce, another said she appreciated the messages about body image that "you never hear about in school," and another audience member shared how her best friend committed suicide because of how people harassed him for being gay. I missed the play, but the play director summed up her message by saying, "I hope it leaves you always looking for ways to improve things for yourselves and others. [...] You should know that students just like you created the safe space for us to address these issues today." That is what I felt that the Whose University event was about. I stayed for an informational presentation about the campaign, addressing 3 questions:

Who has access to the University?
Who is supported?
Whose knowledge is valued?

It became clear after listening to students, faculty, and people who had not gotten into the U that these answers could not be found in the types of promotional pamphlets usually handed out to prospective students. The students started the presentation by talking about the 7 black students who took over Morill Hall in 1969 and demanded a campus that not only tolerated them, but provided a supportive and empowering environment for people of color. They welcomed a speaker from the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, who had national and state statistics showing age and racial disparities in test scores and academic progress. She said it was worthwhile to note that regardless of race, aspirations for higher education remained high for all groups and that is why we need to ask ourselves what we can do to increase access to higher education. Then, continuing to put the problem of access in historical context, students talked about the general college that was discontinued in 2005 and noted that some departments (mostly cultural studies) had budgets smaller than the refreshments stand at TFC, and smaller than some other departments' office supply budgets! That really surprised me.
"We offer a wide variety of programs," one Asian American student explained, "and when we talk about how we have classes on the Civil War, maybe we should start including slave experiences from the point of black people. Maybe when we talk about Vietnam, we could focus less on the Kennedy policies everyone knows about, and more on the Asian-American protests happening around the country." I looked at everyone nodding their head. We are obviously missing a very crucial voice by eliminating these points of view in our curriculums.
A graduating student of Chicano studies talked about why La Raza cultural center was so important to her. Nontraditional students have unique problems and experiences, and safe spaces are not just built into the plan, they are fought for and never permanently established in Coffman. She noted how the University liked to pay lip service to diversity by saying there's a place for everyone here, but the reality is that they are literally trying to push the programs that support diversity out of the common space, saying that they are trying to allocate the space fairly. "This is not just another club or student union," she pointed out. "We have always, always been marginalized and underrepresented." And that underrepresentation would continue if the cultural center closed.
The vice president of the black student union had a great way of putting it.
"The black student union completely transformed my experience here. Without these spaces, students of color will have a very hard time remaining on this campus and feeling like they can and should belong here."
The rhetoric the school is using does not align with the reality of the admissions process, which excludes a wide variety of talent. As the Vice President of the Black Student Union put it, "We cannot outsource our commitment to diversity to community colleges by blocking our point of entry."
The increasingly narrow criterion for admissions has a tendency to reflect an economic and social resemblance to whiteness. "Applying for admissions made me feel like a soldier in a battlefield," said one student who didn't initially get in. She talked about how her school was poor, did not encourage her to apply to colleges, and she had to go above and beyond what most high school seniors do in order to get into the U.
I'm glad I went to this event because it made me realize how important it is to speak up when an institution you pay for and attend is deliberately trying to remove cultural safe spaces from a student center. I knew they were debating space but wasn't very informed until I came to the event. I feel like I have a better understanding of what sorts of power operates in making these decisions and maybe I should get more involved in trying to help this campaign in its commitment to change.



Prompt 2
I think gender neutral child rearing is about being conscious of gender roles that other people deliberately put your child in. Maybe it means encouraging your children to do unconventional activities like nail painting for boys and playing trucks for girls. Maybe it means not picking out pink or blue clothes, and allowing the children to choose what they feel comfortable wearing. Or maybe, it means reading parenting books critically and asking why and how a child's gender influences the kind of advice the book is giving. What I got from Martin's reading is that she believes that second wave feminist thinking has made its way into some of the parenting advice books, in their push for gender-neutral child rearing. She believes that social issues are culturally understood, and gender has multiple locations in "identity, interaction, social structure and discourse" (457). She mentions that there is this heteronormative presumption, that children are inherently straight, and that limits the discourse and advocacy of gender-neutral parenting. I totally agree with that. Even the most liberal books she wrote about mentioned how there is "no harm" in having a gay child but there is absolutely no mention of the benefit of being gay either. Homosexuality is tolerated if you can't find any other explanation for nonconformative behavior, but the emphasis on finding alternate reasons for children not performing traditional gender roles is part of the reason it's still so hard to grow up being gay. She notes that "in many ways, this feminist push for gender-neutral parenting has been successful but we need a revolution that will take away the stigma of homosexuality. One of the biggest challenges is to change the institutional tendency to deliberately prevent development of gay people. How do we do that? Martin suggests that we stop seeing nonconformity as problematic. From what I understand of this reading, I completely agree.



Question 2

I think it's extremely important to ask oneself "what kind of moral education does one learn from being in a household in which one adult is so clearly subordinate to others?" When families make the decision to hire a nanny, it's easy to come up with reasons why having a nanny might make life easier for all family members or why they can't fulfill the responsibilities that they are hiring the nanny to perform. Feminists would see this as a critical issue because it is central to parenting, labor, and equality issues. In popular discourse, maids are supposed to fill a "wife" role without being a wife. In your blog, you compared it to the way in which the Brady household had Alice, and she was central to the family but never got the same rights or recognition as other household members. What came to mind for me was the 1940s version of Mary Poppins, where the cook and the nanny clean up and make sure Jane and Michael are behaving, while the father goes to work at the bank and the mother socializes with the Suffragettes (definitely an interesting feminist dynamic). I imagine it must be confusing for children growing up with a nanny or maid, seeing an adult who is supposed to care for them but who also is subordinate to the parents. Especially when the nanny is (insert ethnicity here), it creates the problem of people of color serving white people, and even if the parents are not racist, the implication is probably not discussed openly between the employer and their children. The moral education they should be receiving would expose them to concepts of justice and fairness in a professional environment, and to make work visible again. To show the children that work is necessary and not just reserved for second-class citizens is to instill a work ethic that will ensure that they value equal treatment as well. The issues of equal treatment, divided labor, visible work, and family dynamics are all things that can have a feminist spin.

As I was reading letters to the editor(Dr. Date type column) I noticed a brief paragraph explaining this new "Don't Say Gay Bill" being proposed in Tennessee by Senator Stacey Campfield. The bill would prohibit educators from "the teaching or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8. I then decided to do some googling and found an article here summarizing the issue. I then read on another website that Senator Campfield doesn't believe that schools should be advocating for or against homosexuality. To me, this definitely sounds against homosexuality.

What do you think of this bill?

If this bill passes, how will it be detrimental to the well-being of the children in our school systems?

Shouldn't LGBT youth have a place within the school system to have open discussion concerning their own personal thoughts and/or issues?

What if there is a hate crime towards an LGBT youth, would this prohibit the teacher from discussing it with the child?

DE: Bernstein

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This reading makes me curious about how I will be as a father.

Will I allow my child to cross dress at a young age?

Will I choose to play catch if my child is a boy?

How will I interact about my daughter?

Why does Jackson refer to the deviance as "gender failure?"

I will be totally honest and answer any and all questions for my child, if it is through their own curiosity that they so discover things, I will ask them. I feel it is essential for child development.

DE: Tronto


I believe that feminists are responsible for "the nanny problem" but there is a large difference between attributing it to feminists and saying they are to blame for the problem.

Tronto questions to what extent a social movement can be to blame for the societal ills that are a byproduct of it. Because women were able to join the workforce along with their parnters they needed someone to take care of their children, so they brought domestic workers (or nannies) into their home.

An easy alternative to this would be sending them to childcare. This eliminates the ills of domestic labor and the strange congext of working in someone else's home for that person.

In the 3rd contention of "I want a wife" it outlines the creation of the dilema that tronto writes about. That the desire for economic independence, and joining the middle class have necessitated some form of child care.

Concluding Sexy Humorous Feminisms


Check out our blog here!

Part of the assignment was familiarizing ourselves with social media, blogs, and specifically word press. Now that we are relatively proficient making posts on wordpress, we can now explore more advanced user functions such as how people reach our blog and how many times a person views it. We are also interested in exploring ways to get others to engage with us. A constructive way to do this would be to introduce ourselves as the blog writers so readers can get more acquainted with us and our perceptions. By doing this it will allow viewers to see where these thoughts are coming from. Another way to increase awareness of our site is to create relationships with other feminist sites and blogs so we can get more traffic. Another idea we have is to develop a page of links to other feminist blogs and other sites related to feminism. We are going to find sites in which we can "broadcast" our site. We would like to make a facebook fan page for our site as well as add links on our own personal facebooks. We would also utilize other popular sites such as twitter and stumbleupon.




Whose Univerity?


The event called "Whose University? A Day of Education", Wednesday, April 20th, was hosted by a group of University of Minnesota student who are dedicated to making the University more welcoming for students of diversity and to make the voices of those who do not usually get the attention that they deserve heard once again and to make it known that these students demand equality on campus. On April 20th, they had many different events going on that teach people from within as well as out of the University about things such as diversity and its importance, and about standing up for yourself, making your voice heard and demanding equality. The event that I was assigned to attend was about things like safe spaces and interacting with others. So, the first thing we did was play a simple game where everybody in the room walks around to find a spot the he/she feels most comfortable; whether it was by a door, by a computer or near an electrical outlet. I chose my "safe spot" to be on the couch because it made me feel at home. The main purpose of this activity was to demonstrate how people of diversity (ethnic, religious, sexual, etc.) feel when they first attend the University of Minnesota; that they need to find a place or person that they feel the most comfortable being around or at. Then, we moved on to doing many other activities which were meant to demonstrate how people at the University need to connect with each other and learn to work together and help each other out. After all the activities, the event hosted a rapper, whose name I cannot recall, to come to the University and rap about standing up making your voice heard, I found this to be very effective and entertaining. It was a very interesting overall event, with a very positive message.

Marketing, in general... a feminist issue?


In this course we have talked about how marketers tailor their ads to the demographic that shops the most. For example, the Kelly Ripa washer ad that shows her as a multi-taking mom, but is there some truth to that for marketers? Being in a marketing class as well as this course has made it clear that they do so. many. statistics. These stats show the actual percentages that influence their advertisements. See this article:,-study-finds/2100-1017_3-241160.html. In it, Lance Rosenzweig, the CEO of PeopleSupport is quoted saying: "'Women have traditionally been responsible for 80 percent of household purchases," (,-study-finds/2100-1017_3-241160.html). In addition, the article states that still women shop a lot: "60 percent of those who shop online are women,". My professor would say that this is obviously where we see commercials that are specific to women, because they do most of the shopping. Are these statistics drawing for the wrong examples? Should marketers be able to make their advertisements specific to women? Is this a feminist issue??

Organic food as a Feminist Issue?


Within the past few years, there has been a steady increase in the push towards eating organic due to the supposed health benefits and environmental factors associated with organic food. Stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have popped up all over the place (even all across Minnesota) and it really causes me to question this whole organic food thing, even as a feminist issue. First of all, because feminism is usually about taking measures to protect and champion for marginalized individuals, and I would argue that the earth has been quite victimized. As a result, are organic foods really helpful towards decreasing one's negative impacts on the environment? Does it really mean eating healthier? And is it available for everyone?

Well... statistics say no. Organic food has not been proven to provide drastic health benefits, eating food produced locally, as opposed to organic food that potentially had a several thousand mile journey to your grocery store, is what will most effectively reduce one's carbon footprint, and that eating organic is mainly a trend among middle/upper class white people.

So, I question whether or not eating organic really is helpful for the consumer, the producer, and to the environment itself. Also, through organic food consumption, we can see a distinct pattern of socioeconomic statuses and races that do the consuming. So! Is this a feminist issue or do I just think too hard...?

Mother's Day..... A feminist Issue??

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As mother's day is quickly approaching this Sunday I ponder back to how we celebrated mother's day as children. My mother had always been the one doing the cooking and cleaning at dinner time. On Mother's Day my dad would contribute a lot more. He would typically be in charge of the grill as we always grilled out for her and help us take care of the cleaning so my mom did not have to do anything. This day was a very happy and loving day for mother's and where they truly see appreciation for all they do. This is one day of celebration though, I feel mother's deserve more praise. It is always an enjoyable and well deserving family day. Out of the 365 days a year should mothers deserve more than just one day devoted to their praise?? What are your thoughts on this?


Customer in Training


While I was at Cub Foods this weekend, I noticed by all of the grocery carts in the entrance, there were a bunch of little grocery cart for kids to push around too. This, I have seen many times and was unalarmed by but what did strike me was the enormous flags sticking out of the carts stating "Customer in Training." I would have normally found this slightly unnecessary anyway but it definitely me of a discussion we had in class a few weeks ago about the connections between family values and capitalism. It makes sense to me that our society in essence raises a bunch of little capitalists to perpetuate our economic system and in turn our heteronormative family agenda. But it really did surprise me to see the "Customer in Training" cart at the local grocery store. To me, it seems like one of those things in our society that we all really know is there (our consumerism and materialism) but never something we want to acknowledge or discuss. Therefore, it took me aback to see that Cub Foods was blatant about their intentions of encouraging consumption among even the youngest of members of our capitalist society. And I know that it is obvious that we all need food, therefore children will probably walk around grocery stores pushing around a big grocery cart some day whether they pushed around the miniature one as a child or not. And I still feel conflicted over whether or not it's good to be blatant about our society's desires to continue cranking out consuming capitalists or whether it should be confronted, but not at our grocery stores...

customer in training cart.jpg
The picture I took on my phone unfortunately did not save, but I luckily found a picture of the cart (in use even) on Google.

Is Seventeen Magazine a Feminist Issue?

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Perhaps like many young women, I grew up with a subscription to Seventeen Magazine. When I was younger, I could not wait for my magazine to come every month so I could look at the cute clothes and get ideas for what I needed to have for school the next year, just like I had seen my older sisters do when they were teenagers too. However, as I am now older (haven't been a teenager for a little over a month now!) and have not had a Seventeen subscription for many years, I begin to see how truly messed up of a publication it really is. I know that the media is general, however Seventeen has really begun to bother me. I remember from when I used to be a regular reader, and I'm guessing the format has not changed much, is that the magazine consists of a fashion section, a make-up section, a fitness/health section, information about college life, a dating/sex/boys section, a celebrity interview/photo spread, and there was always some horror story about a girl who thought she was dating a boy and it turned out to be a girl, or a young woman who had a stocker and how she handled the situation. Pretty much the rundown of every issue.

Boost your confidence! But feel pressured to dress like a celebrity and make your crush want you!:

I however have become troubled by the magazine as it claims to be about empowerment for young girls but simultaneously reminds them that they are not good enough, and that there is always room for improvement. Similarly, I now see that the magazine is certainly formulated for a particular kind of girl. First of all, heterosexuality is assumed, most of the women featured on the cover and in the pages are Caucasian, and a particular assumption about class is underlying as the whole magazine promotes consumption.

Dress for your body but don't forget to get amazing abs!:

Of the most disturbing of Seventeen's endeavors is perhaps The Seventeen Magazine Project in which girls are encouraged to "spend one month living according to the gospel of Seventeen Magazine."

Look pretty! And get your best butt:

What are your thoughts on the magazine itself, its message to girls, and the Seventeen Magazine Project?

Sex and the City... a Feminist Issue?


Admittedly, I am a fan of the popular and iconic television series/movie franchise Sex and the City. I find the show to be funny, witty, oftentimes mindless entertainment, but that it does touch on important and current issues that women face. There are however many issues that I have with the show that I think could make it a feminist issue. Some include, but are not limited to:

+All of the women are white
+All live lavish lifestyles that most women could never afford
+For the most part, the men they date are white
+Two continuing gay male characters are immensely stereotypical
+Samantha, the most sexually active (for lack of a better term) never faces consequences for her frequent sexual encounters with many, many different men.
+Charlotte's greatest desires in life are to be a wife and mother, even declaring that all women just want to be saved
+All relationship story lines among the women (except for one brief plot line with Samantha) revolve around heterosexual relationships

This is a very brief list of issues that I see with Sex and the City, and if you've seen the second movie you know that the entire thing is flawed and filled with the above issues and some weird form of imperial feminism. (This article highlights imperial feminism more and is essentially the same situation that happens in the film).
As mentioned, I find Sex and the City valuable as demonstrated an open space for women to discuss issues that are normally discouraged conversation points in our society. However, the show/movies remain problematic. Thoughts?!

Charlotte, Carrie, Miranda, and Samantha-- the main cast of SatC

Body Hair: This is a feminist issue because...

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So, while I realize the issue for body hair for women is often taboo and somewhat of an uncomfortable subject but then I heard about a product line Nair is running called Nair Pretty. The product is aimed at girls starting at age 10. You can read more about it here:!299867/bring-on-the-smooth-young-girls

I also thought this quote was particularly troubling: "When a girl removes hair for the first time, it's a life-changing moment," said Stacey Feldman, vice president for marketing at the women's health and personal care division of the Church & Dwight Company, which purchased Nair in 2001.

Call me ignorant but I never realized body hair removal has somehow become a right of passage for young ladies. If anything it's a chore that most women adhere to out of personal preference, hygienic reasons, or due to the social stigma that a woman would experience if she weren't to shave. I'm not against hair removal in general but I am troubled by these particular products aimed at girls staring when they're still children. Do ten year olds need to be concerned with their looks at such a young age that they'd be pushed into using a product like this?

Even more disturbing is the issue of the bikini wax. There has recently been laws passed to either ban girls under the age of 18 from being allowed to get one or if they're under such an age they must be accompanied by an adult. Is it just me or is anyone else disturbed at the thought of girls who are still minors going through such a procedure to remove hair from that area. It particularly doesn't help and seems even a more disturbing reality when socialite celebrities like Kim Kardashian reveal how, "Literally, at 12 years old I had a bikini wax. I had an appointment once a month on a specific day, like every Friday we'd go and get the inside of our brows waxed and a bikini wax,"

Does anyone else find this disturbing or am I just that out of touch here? Also, here's a video by Amanda Palmer that stands in solidarity for all the ladies out there that don't want to look like hairless plastic barbie dolls:

Red Bull.. a Feminist Issue?!?



I found this while studying at Walter Library. I guess when Red Bull workers decided to handout free Red Bulls, they decided to hand out a message.
Yes, Red Bull apparently decided to throw itself in a feminist war. "If you see a woman doing a lot of work all at once, continuously, and tirelessly, you should give her a red bull so that she can do more work." I know that doesnt just sound wrong to me. Not, "you should help her to lessen the workload on her" or "find someone to help her" or "where is her husband?" rather "find a way she can do more work."
Feminist issue?

Stage 3: Women in Hip Hop Reflection


Our group decided to make a tumblr as our means of social media for Women in Hip Hop. Tumblr is a blogging website that is a bit different from others (e.g. wordpress or blogspot). It encourages interaction between blogs through following other blogs, reblogging posts, sending asks, and submitting content to other blogs. It has all of the benefit of the accessibility of other blog sites but with the addition of more interaction than just comments. However, tumblr does have some drawbacks as a platform. It is a relatively young website that often has server crashes and periods of inaccessibility, as well as some features that don't necessarily work all of the time. Also, because of the nature of the site as primarily a photoblogging website, it is not necessarily the place for wordy, in-depth analyses of things, as many people will skip over long text when it shows up on their dashboard. However, if you can pare your blog content down to a consumable length, it can really be a great way to engage people.
Social media is a very important and popular avenue for spreading information. People can not only learn but also engage with topics and other scholars on topics when they explore blogs, websites, tumblrs, etc. We plan on following other blogs and re-blogging information so that there can be one cohesive space where people can explore women in hip hop. We can also post the link to our facebook/twitter/myspace pages to attract more attention. Hip hop is such a popular aspect of pop culture today that by using tags relating to it, more people will stumble upon the page and information will get to more people. Spreading information on the web takes effort because people have to weed out all of the information that comes at them when they type one word into google or other search bars, but using social media is vital for feminism (any issue/movement for that matter).
Our tumblr can be found here. We have a lot of posts up so far, and more in tumblr's queue feature, which updates automatically, so there's even more content to come!

Maid in America

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Maid in America was a very eye opening film. I had never thought about domestic workers in the U.S. as a feminist issue, but it really is. After seeing how painful it was for Judith to be away from her daughters, while taking care of someone else, and also being pregnant, it became clear how unique this situation is to a woman. It really reminded me of apartheid South Africa when black women would travel long distances to be nannies to white families, sometimes having to live near the house instead of their own home, and they were more mothers to someone else's children than their own. It is so frustrating to see that, but at the same time, the three women in the video were so hopeful. Eva is determined to be an accountant, what she studied, Judith wants to return to the U.S. with her daughters and Thelma is thankful for the family she is working for because she says they do treat her like family (she is basically the mother).
I feel compelled to really look more into this after seeing this movie. I didn't think I would be this interested in feminism in labor, but this topic really makes me want to do something.

* I don't know why this wasn't showing up on the blog, I had it saved as a word doc so I really did write it back in March

World's Richest Moms... a feminist issue?

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One of the main focuses of feminism is to secure women (and all genders) a safe place in the workplace as far as sufficient wages and a harassment-free environment/gender neutral environment. But what about self-made women that have been mothers throughout their entrepreneurial success? In the blog about "The World's Richest Moms," they mention Diane Hendricks, a self-made billionaire who started the company ABC supply (one of the most popular roofing/siding wholesaler companies in the U.S.) with her husband. She was running the business when her children were growing up and she was a widow. In the article, she is quoted saying, "'Women may get tired before the men...'because that responsibility of raising a family still falls heavily on the female,'" (Says Hendricks on ForbesWoman by Jenna Goudreau: ). Later in the article it states that Hendricks would not have been able to do it without a nanny, but she also believed that, "Pursuing college or a career was never proposed or encouraged, and she believed a woman's role was at home with the family," ( ). Is a full-time mother and career woman an impossible feat? Do mothers have an advantage in the workplace because they know what it takes to juggle everything including family, or is it a hindrance? Are the world's richest mothers a feminist issue? Does the workplace provide available resources to full-time mothers (daycare/etc)? What I would want to ask these women is the advice they would give when they look back to raising their family. Do you think this is a feminist issue? What provokes your thoughts?

Sexting and/or technology a feminist issue?


My interest in the "sexting" epidemic was sparked when I heard of young girls in the neighborhood getting in trouble for it. My reaction to "sexting?" What the hell! The stuff that goes on with kids these days makes me scared to ever have a child. What is driving these girls to do this? Is it just their insecurities or is there an underlying issue here? For those of you who don't know exactly what "sexting" is... it's short for "sexy texting." This can be done either by risky pictures or sending promiscuous text messages. I have heard of 11 or 12 year old girls getting grounded and having their phones taken away because of sending inappropriate messages...that is WAY too young in my opinion. Is it the standards that us girls have to deal with that's driving people to "sext" or is it the readily available access to technology that is the issue? Would these girls or boys act as promiscuous when face to face?


History is a feminist issue because...


I know we've all heard the quote, "history is her story too," and when we look up the origin of the word, history, its greek root really has nothing to do with being male dominated, however; when looking back at what many would deem the history they learned in High School, how much of it is feminine history? How much documentation has been focused on historical events revolving around men and patriarchy? I understand that years ago, women were not equal and were socially stigmatized into certain roles attributed to motherhood and marriage, but I've read so much history about men and very little archived about women. How as the "herstory" movement changed people's view of history itself? And how could it be better applied in feminist pedagogy in education to raise more positive awareness about feminist ideals?



With all the breaking news about the war in Iraq, and the finding, and ultimately the killing, of Osama Bin Laden I've started to wonder how these things apply to my own beliefs as a world citizen and a feminist. I'll be the first to admit, that like many people (young and old) I haven't done very much research into the war after the first few years passed by. I don't have any family or close friends over seas, however; I'm very grateful to those men and women who've gone and are gone.

Anyway, until last night when I read that Bin Laden had been killed, I hadn't given the war much thought recently. I certainly thought that since we hadn't caught Bin Laden yet, we probably never would. Overall my interest in the "War on Terror" hasn't spread much past analyzing the Patriot Act, and researching the infringements on American citizen's constitutional rights that have happened since September 11th, 2001. Overall the "War on Terror," has been the center of many controversies within the government to budget cuts and body counts and issues of America's safety. I myself feel like a bit of a government conspiracy nut with my research into the Church Committee, and the far reaching lessons its findings have to teach American's today.

I know this may not really count as....This is a feminist issue because...
But I hope it does because I have these and many more questions in need of discussion, and I hope it gets some before class ends.

Was the killing of Osama Bin Laden justified? Does his numerous terrorist acts constitute a contract out on his life?

From a global feminist perspective, is war ever okay?

From a curious citizen perspective, the government has stated so many reasons for this war, over and over again they've made it into issues of national security on all the main media news networks/speeches by its officials, but is it really just that? What other variables are a part of it? And who's job is it to suss out the truth, when reporters and main news stations are in the pocket of governmental bodies?

What about the people of Iraq? How does American treatment of prisoners of war in the past and possibly the present affect the world?

Dating....a feminist issue still?


So, I went on a date the other night with a guy..that I turned out not to be that into. But, as I was explaining what happened to friends of mine, I started thinking. At the end of the conversation, they asked "well did he pay for the drinks?" I told them yes and they were like, well you should go out on one more date with him then.

A few thoughts came to mind after this...first, would it have been so bad if I had paid for my own drinks? Is this still something that needs to happen? Maybe I'm too upset about this, but I think that a girl buying her own drinks does not scream "oh what a jerk." We're all poor college students right?

The other thought that came to mind was, why did him buying my drinks make him a gentleman? So he bought me a beer, what did that really say? Dating in general is an exciting yet frustrating time and to say because a guy bought you alcohol is a good sign is slightly skewed if you ask me.

The story and the way my friends reacted just made me think about dating as a feminist issue in general, but because of stigmas on all sides of the gender web.

PROM... a feminist issue?


My baby sister just ended the Ayres prom sequence over this past weekend and it brought a feminist issue to my attention: is prom a feminist issue? I'm going to play 21 questions in this entry, but there truly are millions of ways to think about it. A few issues that I could think of were in the following groups:

--The Prom Dress. Why a dress? I think sometimes this is where the Disney Princess and Barbie fallacy comes in... and (stay tuned on Wed for our presentation on Feminism and Toys) can this be tied to body image issues? purple-and-black-prom-dresses-6.jpg
I came across a blog titled,, that goes into detail about prom and these issues. The posts date back to 2010, but I believe these issues still occur. Laura H. posts on 4/28/2010 in a post, "Prom, Dresses, and Body Image." Her personal prom story reminds me of the issues that erupt around prom time: "Most of the time I manage to push all of this negative stuff aside and the things I know in my head win through. I'll eat what I like, thank you very much; and I'll have you know, little voice, that I'm happy with my body the way it is. So there. I think most girls feel like this sometimes. That little niggling voice is a universal problem. It's to do with social expectations and cultural aesthetic norms, and it plays on the insecurity of all girls going through a very difficult stage in their life. It doesn't matter how feminist or body-confident you are, it's still there... This, I suppose, comes back to my loathing of the concept of prom." (Laura H., )

--The Prom Date. Who can go with who? Who is going stag and why isn't it more common? I remember back last year when a senior girl, Constance McMillen, received a massive surge of press when she was going to bring her girlfriend to prom in Mississippi and the school board claimed to shut the entire dance down .

--The Amount of Money for Prom. Who buys the ticket? Is a limo necessary, and who pays for it? My sister just lucked out for her dress, she did her own hair/makeup/nails... (why is this even necessary to some people in the first place) but I remember when I was in high school many girls dropped around $200 for a dress, $60 for hair, $30 for nails, and $30 for makeup. Is this a feminist issue? For some girls they feel it is something they need to do.

My last question, who Goes to Prom? There are obvious costs involved... is Prom a socioeconomic privilege?


Dressing a certain way or covering up as a feminist issue......

I was at a restaurant the other day and heard someone tell their friend or possibly significant other that they were dressed like a whore. It made me think about this class and how dressing a certain way can either be perceived either negatively or positively. I thought about how a girl wearing to little is asked to cover up or called names because of their lack of clothing, and how a woman completely covered up could be perceived as a prude or uptight. It made me curious about who decides what is appropriate dress and why are these boundaries of dress defined and how they marginalize certain women.

Some thoughts......
Who decides what's appropriate clothing for a woman to wear?
What is sexy and what is slutty?
Who makes up these rules that control the way women dress?
What are some assumptions that people reach about others, specifically based on clothing?
What are some mixed messages given to women in relation to their dress?

Our groups decided to do a website on where we could put up information about how toys and other popular products for children can be gendered and the possible affects these products may have on children.

We decided to focus mainly on toys, but also looked at comic books, and different aspects of the media and the different gendered messages that are being sent out to children via these products. There are many products that are specifically geared toward girls and other products specifically geared toward boys, and we were curious about how these products and the way they are advertised can create different gender identities and negative stereotypes. Toys and other children's products are available in many different spaces in advertisements, stores commercials, etc. and we wanted to create a website that would take a critical glance into what exactly these product advertisements and products themselves are saying to the youth in our society. We wanted a space where people could see specific gendered toys and products and offer an explanation of what affects these products could possibly have. We also added a contact page so that people viewing the website can offer suggestions, opinions, and other examples of products perpetuating negative gender roles and children.

Social media like our website offers any person with Internet access the opportunity to become curious and take a critical eye into the children's product industry. By raising questions and offering research on our website we can start a discussion about these products and learn even more from other people who have access to our website. We could get the word out about our website by linking it with information on facebook or twitter and leading people to our website. By linking our website with other popular social media we could have a better chance at getting people curious and starting critical discussions and insights into the issue we are looking into.

Carly, Kim, Jen, Serena, Hannah

Final Project Reflection


Within all of the movements addressed within a 'Feminist Critique of Priorities in Academia', social media often played a larger role in publicity and mobilization of the projects. As was made evident within the Put This On The Map project, the Whose University project, and the Campaign for Non-Violent Schools these movements have made use of video footage, blogging, Facebook, texting and Twitter. All of these social media outlets have been used to spread awareness about issues concerning who's knowledge is valued, who is supported within academia and the ways in which funding reflects who/what is prioritized. Not only were these organizations creating their own social media projects by creating Facebook, Twitter and You Tube accounts, but their movements also were further publicized by the media through such means.
While these social media outlets are very beneficial to these movements, when looking at accessibility it's important to remember that these movements were focused around academia. Because of the location of these movements within university and high school systems the populations mobilizing within these movements were all likely to have equal access to the necessary technology. Given the priority of internet access within academia as a whole, we must remember that social media is accessible to these specific populations but still remains limited to the larger world.
In this sense we can understand social media as being beneficial within academic circles as it allows for a spread of consciousness and exchange of ideas surrounding feminist issues. Ideally when individuals develop awareness around issues, they and are provided with a critical exchange of feminist ideas which have the potential to spark feminist curiosity.

Whose U Empowers the Voice of all


I was quite impressed with the Whose University program. I was able to attend from about 1:00 to the end. The initial, "Because Knowledge is Power" program was quite powerful, if not moving. I walked in about a half hour after the program had started, so the atmosphere had already started to set in. There were college and high school students, faculty, and interestingly some outside people all packed into the Great Hall of Coffman Union for the Day of Education.
Students shared their stories about their experiences in higher education. One of our classmates spoke about his activism for immigrant students, and greater immigration reform. He cited the Dream Act as a feasible option for granting decreased tuition for immigrant students if they had lived in the United States for 5 years or more, and chose to serve in the military. Another one of our classmates also shared her experience with General College in her first year at the University of Minnesota. We had talked about this before in class, but it was still a sad reminder of the systematic elimination of opportunities for less privileged individuals.
The most striking testimony though, came from an individual who was denied from the University of Minnesota. He spoke to how he could not get into the U of M, despite having average grades and the minimum ACT score. He isolated his feeling of disenfranchisement because he felt only like a number in such a large school. Getting denied form the U didn't end his academic pursuits though; he met with a recruiter from Hamline, who offered him a full ride scholarship and he is now a top student majoring in mathematics.
Another surprise happened when I went to the Faculty Panel on Ethnic Studies, and my African Studies Professor, Dr. Rose Marie Brewer was actually the moderator of the forum. She gave a great overview of the situation with ethnic studies within the liberal education experience, and each department was able to field her questions, and questions from students.
Initially, I was surprised to learn that the College of Liberal Arts offered an Asian American Studies degree. Despite it making a lot of sense to have one, I didn't really think of it as something you could major in before... and I still don't because with funding getting cut for the university, one of the first places that cuts are being dolled down in is CLA, and that prevents the Asian American Studies minor to not be able to grow to become anything larger than it already is. Also our Chicano Studies department only has two professors, and they have both a major and a minor (though Graduate Classes have since been cut).
To end the Day of Education, Whose University brought in a few groups of artists to display their talents. My favorite, hands down, was Poetry Assassins. It was way more powerful than any rap, and despite not having a beat, I felt the flow was still there, but the words were more meaningful and easier to listen to because there was no beat and no hook to distract you from the song's meaning. I also enjoyed the Chicano dancers that were at the very end as well.

-I saw the vlogger we featured in class on April 4th. He was filming some of the event, though he was fitting the normative constraints of wearing a shirt.

Victoria's Secret...feminist issue?


I was in Victoria's Secret recently and to my surprise saw two very young girls around the ages of 11 or 12 browsing through the underwear and bra collection. I found myself a little taken aback because I know that I did not wear thongs or padded bras at such a young age, much less shop at a store that has such a sexual image/message. What do you guys think about young teens shopping at places like Victoria's Secret? What age do you guys think is appropriate for such transitions?

Here's a picture of one of their recent ads.

Jersey Shore... A feminist Issue?


One of the most talked about shows on television is Jersey Shore. This show portrays eight east coast "drunks" living under one roof. The males in this show are all about getting girls to come back to their place after a night of clubbing is over, which is just about every night. Does this whole idea seem degrading towards women? I know I watch this show every week along with millions of other people for its entertainment but they really do not show any respect for women. The guys act as if these girls are property when they take them home at the end of the night. What are your thoughts on this show.> Is it a feminist issue?


Part III Gender and Perfume


We decided to create our own blog where we could post any and all questions or observations we've had about perfume and cologne ads:

Gender Scents Blog

We focused on the different marketing strategies that are meant to appeal to men, women, or both by using the widely popular "sex sells" formula as well as others. We had many curiosities about the gender division of scents and the way in which advertisements perpetuate traditional gender identities. There was also the question about why it is specifically fragrance products that so often use sex and gender as marketing strategies.

While perfume and cologne advertisements are found in many public spaces: billboards, magazines, television, etc. these spaces do not allow for comparing and discussion. Taking these images and putting them all together on a blog on the internet provides a forum of discussion for literally anyone with access to the internet. Finding them all in one place presented in such a way that invokes curiosity (like the way we have, posing questions and our own curiosities) opens up discussion. Social media such as this is a way to share information because it allows individuals to come across perspectives and insights that they may not have otherwise. This accessibility that the internet provides is what we had in mind for our project as a feminist issue. The more accessible information is made, the more knowledge people can gain. Our blog can be even more accessible through linking to popular social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

Courtney, Thanh, Meghan, Madeleine, Jordan

Part III Group Project


Our media project consisted of creating a PSA spoof advertisement about the issues concerning unwed mothers. In particular our video was looking to debunk specific myths, rhetoric, and ideologies that are popularized and used to stereotype and demean a specific group of women without any concrete facts or basis for their criticisms. We used as a host/program for creating our video and from that we're able to host and share it via YouTube, facebook, twitter, etc... What's nice about these social media platforms is that they can be utilized to spread various sites, videos, and information with friends and family. Through social networking videos like ours are easily spread throughout cyberspace just through linking it. The idea to do create a video via this platform has been popularized through adverts like Gieco and other YouTube videos spoofing popular PSA's and political commercials like NOM's "The Gathering Storm." Many times these videos are picked up by television hosts like John Stuart and others that highlight them in their shows and use it as a means of informative entertainment.

In particular though, curiosity and issues concerning feminism can be raised via social media by spreading the word through as many different sites as possible. This method is somewhat limited due to needing to shore up interest and sensationalism to get people to view these different resources, but I think it's arguable to say that any issue that is made relevant via news and media will be sought after and spread as a means of raising awareness. What we can do is continue to make these issues relevant and spread them as much as possible through social network sharing; the internet as a broad system is an excellent platform for advancing issues and questions surrounding us. While there is an understanding that not everyone has access to a resource like the internet it still remains one of the primary if not the number one method of spreading news and information. By creating YouTube videos, blogs, and different websites the information will at least become available and accessible to a wide ranging audience that connects to the web every day.

Trailer for " A woman in Berlin"

This is the movie that is based on the book that I talked about.

How do we document mass rape? Feminist issue?

I just finished reading the book "A woman in Berlin" and realized that history has the strangers ways of recording mass rape of women. When talking about WWII one can definitely see that history is constructed through a male perspective. His-tory vs Her-story? "A woman in Berlin" holds a unique place in the canon of World War II literature. History is written by the victors, as the saying goes - who are usually male. How many readers have given a thought to what it felt like to be a German woman made to pay the price for her country's belligerence in 1945? Though the precise statistics will never be known, existing estimates are breathtaking: 2 million women were raped in Germany, many of them more than once. In Berlin alone, hospital statistics indicate between 95,000 and 130,000 rape victims. After reading this book, it is impossible for any human being to see these numbers as pure statistic, because one is brought face to face with the reality of the situation through three hundred pages with the gashes upon the soul inflicted by repeated rape and gang rape, not to mention prostitution, makes one turn back to all the evil atrocities of the period and suddenly realize they weren't numbers on a scorecard of infamy, but souls tortured, and in many cases murdered. The writer of this book makes the reader realize that each person had their own separate individuality and each one suffered in ways we cannot even imagine, to perceive one person's suffering gives us an immense insight into what that kind of life these women lead. Even though Anonymous wants to give individuals that suffered at that time a name, the essence of this book is really the emphasis of the complete collapse of a moral, social, and human code and system of values. German women such as the heroin in this book had a protected and comfortable space in the Nazi regime, where their identity was confined to Kinder, Kirche, Kueche in society. This role came with the privilege of security, which was annihilated during the Limbo stage of the Russian take over of Berlin. In the candlelit basement of her apartment building, a 34-year-old journalist leads us into a world of mass rape and unimaginable violence by simple scribbling her impressions of the collapsing society around her into a school book. Early on women in Berlin begin to realize that nobody will be able to secure their bodies ones the Russians take over. This sense of disparity and helplessness makes them understand that they have to move forward and begin to play a new role in society. Her equanimity is severely tested, however, when the Russians show up and she is raped repeatedly, along with thousands of other female Berliners. Far from wallowing in despair, however, she conceives a plan to protect herself. Using her few words of Russian to lure well-placed Russian officers, she trades her body for food and protection. "No question about it: I have to find a single wolf to keep away the pack," she writes. "An officer, as high-ranking as possible, a commandant, a general, whatever I can manage. After all, what are my brains for ..." After the narrator makes this testimony, the reader leaves the simple notion of rape behind and has to redefine the heroin's role in the power struggle between her oppressor (rapist) and herself. The author herself comments in wonder on the picture of a highly educated middle-class girl turned whore for a handful of potatoes. I believe that this statement is something that many German readers weren't able to handle or forgive in 1960. This book brought a whole different level of analysis to that particular time. The diary shows a transformation that had taken place that many historians, anthropologist, or sociologist neglected for a long period of time. As a rape victim, Anonymous didn't remain silent in shame, like many rape victims are expected to. Instead she started an honest discussion about her pain, anguish, and disbelief of her situation. This allowed for many women to find a discourse and agency to identify with her, and analyze their own tragedies at that time. Throughout the book I found myself cheering her on for her resourcefulness, buoyancy, and fierce will to survive. Despite the grim subject matter, she is often a delightfully witty and intelligent commentator on the times. Perhaps, in truth, what 20th century readers couldn't stomach was the shameful picture of German men standing helplessly by while their women were degraded. As Anonymous tells her diary, "Among the many defeats at the end of this war is the defeat of the male sex." There are many diary entries in which she clearly discusses the specific failures of the other gender. Many of these disappointments had nothing to do with the subject of rape, which I found very interesting. Early on the author begins to explain her disapproval of the incredibly young soldiers. She looks at the Volksturm units and only sees boys, children, innocent infants that shouldn't have to deal with the issues of war let alone the actual act of war. She emphasizes this critic by saying: "Up to now being a soldier meant being a man. And being a man means being able to father a child. Wasting these boys before reaching maturity obviously runs against some fundamental laws of nature, against our instincts, against every drive to preserve the species." As a woman she finds it criminal to take away the innocence of a child in order to advance in a war. "People aren't supposed to do that", she declares. I believe that this shows the complete change of norms in that war. It was the place of the man to take on nature's call of protecting both child and woman, which he failed to do at the time. This failure resulted in the young boy having to take on the identity of the man. One nineteen year old girl was raped by three different soldiers one after the other, then she had marmalade smeared into her hair and coffee grains scattered over her face. If this would have been a single rape, in any community it would have been considered an atrocity. However what takes place when this becomes and everyday reality for a woman? The right of the women to see their catastrophic incident as singular, distinctive and exclusive was stripped from them. Instead of understanding the specific details of their own horrors and elucidating their status as a victim, women had to take on a mass identity as rape victims. I believe this is one of the reasons why this book doesn't have a specific author. Anonymous decided that it wasn't solely her story that she was telling but rather a communal one. It gives them a kind of collective identity as women and a collective despair with men. As they queue up once stability is restored to collect ration books and get jobs, the chat amongst the women is of how many times they've been raped and how they will deal with their husbands about it. Fears of sexual disease and pregnancy also proliferate in the women's mind. Many women build a sense of solidarity and trust through this common dominator. Some victims of the Russians found comfort in knowing that they had a better chance to stay alive in Berlin than in Air-raided Dresden or Potsdam. This mentality was often portrayed by the grim humored jokes: "Better a Russki on top than a Yank overhead!" As a reader one is saddened that a woman had to accept rape as a daily reality that she couldn't escape from. What makes the book an essential document is its frank and unself-conscious record of the physical and moral devastation that accompanied this particular time. This book gave the world the understanding of the drastic alteration in identity for many people during World War II. The experience she went through, completely changed her and other women's reactions to men. The fear created lasted long after authority was restored- she notes that when she goes out in the evening, she never sees women. Also in her eyes, men become diminished, parasites or rapists. The most intriguing question this book brought up is: Why go back and conform to the old role of a woman in the patriarchal society, when that system had failed in such a disastrous manner. Both the book and the movie make me wonder how we look at mass rape of women in the past. This is definitely an important feminist issue, since history many time leaves out individually experienced atrocities.

Why I Love GWSS


The reason that I love GWSS discussion based classes, as most are, is because I've learned more in these classes than most others that I've taken. The assigned readings are merely a base of the class. A beginning place for learning. The class, however, is where I've learned the most. There have been so many articles and writings in the past that I have read and understood very little. There are always people who have read it previously and others who have taken away different things from the readings. Another reason is there are no real 'right' or 'wrong' answers. Unlike most other subjects and more like real life, there are so many shades of gray and the black and white are deceiving. Those who have taken a variety of GWSS classes, and those that haven't taken any, bring to the table different perspectives on theories and events. For me, the material in the class is fascinating but hearing other people's take on it, as well as personal experience that applies, is what adds so much depth that not only is enriching but also applicable in life. It makes you think, really think, about the world around you. Why are things the way they are? What is the normal and who decides what that is? I've also noticed that GWSS classes, including this one, have vastly improved my writing. It's not the amount of writing that matters but what you're writing about. Writing about things that aren't just based on facts but on digging and looking and weighing one thing against another has left me using the same frame of thought while writing for other classes. This class not just encourages, but requires you to ask questions and look for answers. What's so great about that is there are other people who along the way are offering even more questions and more answers. As a result, the class material you've started with has become material with often even more questions. While this can sometimes be confusing, the more questions that we are left with, the more answers we search for. This search is continued with the class but also outside of it. This class is about the material, absolutely. However, something even greater is the way you learn to think; not outside of the box, but rather that there is no box.

Lingerie Football League..... Is this a Feminist Issue?

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The Lingerie Football League is gaining popularity throughout the country especially since there is a potential lockout with the NFL. This is hitting closer to home too since Minnesota is on the verge of hosting a team. Is this sport degrading towards women? Is it really necessary that they play in lingerie? Why can't they wear uniforms like NFL players?

Here is a site to read more about if you want more information.


DE April 27


The most memorable reading and biggest take away for the class came from Summer Wood's On Language. It came at a point in my life when I was open to different ideas of what a particular abstract notion meant. I was considering many new ideas, and Summer Wood's description of what choice really meant hit home for me. I was able to see how the term had become politicized, and instead of pro-choice being associated with only abortion; I recognized that it meant much more. It is best put in her words,

"For many young feminists, 'choice' has become the very definition of feminism itself--illustrated by the standard-bearing right to choose abortion and supported by the ever-advertised notion that they have choice in everything else in life as well."

It was at this point in the course that I was happy to call myself a feminist, a term I wouldn't have used to describe myself prior to taking the course; or even doing this reading. I was able to understand that feminism really was for everyone, and for me that meant I could choose to emanate values that may seem contrary to those of my peers. I could truly value other people, and respect their individual choices if I wanted them to respect mine.

The Beauty Myth-- Developed Social Media Project


Our Beauty Myth Blog

We chose to develop a blog on the Beauty Myth. We chose because it is an accessible blog site, largely due to the fact that it allows public access. This is not so for other blog sites, which discourages a great portion of the population from participating because many people do not want to have to make a blog account of their own. In addition to posting and updating our blog, we added our blog to the and databases. This allows a wider audience to come across the information posted without specifically searching for it. People are currently sharing information through a number of websites on the Internet. These sites include Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. People are able to communicate, discuss, and share information with others near or far from them. With public access to a number of these sites other individuals can gain access to this information even if it was not originally intended for them to view or read. We can use social media to spread awareness and curiosity about feminism by bombarding the Internet with posts, blogs, and discussions. With more information on the topic of feminism it gains more public exposure and likelihood for awareness. Although more information about the topic out in cyberspace increases the likelihood of people coming across the information there are still limitations to social media sites--especially blogs. Limitations of blogs include the fact that they are not as widespread as other social network websites. This is due to the fact that one needs to have knowledge of how to navigate, gain access, and initiate dialogues on blog websites. If one is not familiar with this form of social media, and has never had exposure to it before, the fact the information is out there in this form will not necessarily reach them or encourage a dialogue between them and others on the issues posted.

Undie Run a Feminist Issue?


The Undie Run at the U of MN to raise awareness about homelessness and to get clothing donations is sparking some controversy among students. They claim this event is degrading towards women. The group admin. recently changed the event photo from a bra, to a heart due to complaints. What do you think? Is running "nearly naked" degrading towards women? Should we discourage this kind of event, or does it show just how far women have come: to be able to run ALMOST NAKED, instead of fully clothed and appropriate?

Bringing an end to frats as a feminist issue....


Check this out!

Caitlin Flanagan wants to end fraternities due to violence against women. What affect will this have on women? On men? Will it shine a positive or negative angry light on the issue? What about sororities?


DE Apr 25

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I took this class for couple of reasons; it fulfilled certain requirements that I had and the subject matter seemed interesting and relevant. The world of feminism wasn't a complete unknown but I was not by any means well versed in the terms and most of the feminist rhetoric that we used in this class. After four months of class discussions and after reading many different articles and essays on the subject I feel that my opinions of feminism haven't changed but my understanding of it certainly has. If anything this class gave me a stronger ability to delve further into these issues, some which I did not think we relevant to the world of feminism. I ask a lot more questions in my everyday life about a variety of things and their relationship to feminism. This is due I'm sure to the much deeper understanding of it.
When it comes to the social networking aspect of this class, I was completely at a loss in January. Before this class I had never even read a blog yet alone written on one. I didn't and still really don't understand the point to twitter. After the first couple weeks, when I finally figured out how to comment on a blog post and figured out all the different sections we had set up, I really started to enjoy it. It was such a different way to address class topics because it allowed us to have a conversation via the blog about whatever. The blog turned out to be great because it was a distinct way of doing homework. This class certainly opened my eyes to a new perspective on many feminist issues.

DE for April 27


Blogging for this class has been a very new experience for me, as I've never had to do anything like this for school before. I've actually enjoyed writing the entries and engaging with the readings in this way, but the commenting system has felt a little weird. I didn't like that we had assigned weeks to comment because some weeks I just didn't feel that there was much to comment on that was really engaging, while other weeks I wanted to comment on everything and have discussions with people. I think that assigning comments limited that discussion in a way and also made us write pointless commentary that didn't say much sometimes. I think that maybe having an overall comment quota to meet would have been better, as it would have left us to engage with things that we thought were truly interesting.

As for advice for people who take the class in the future: Don't just limit yourself to the readings that you're given. If you're curious about a topic or don't understand some of the vocabulary, ask a classmate or go find other resources. There are tons of places online with social justice information that are just a google search away that can really help you understand the class better. I would also recommend having some kind of background in feminism, even if it's just a personal interest, because even a little bit of background goes a long way in a class like this.

As I was watching sports with a few boys the other day, they commented instantly on the sportscaster on the television. It was of course a female. 20 years ago you would have never seen a female sportscaster or one respected by males. But, do males really have respect? Or do they just like to look and think girls really have no clue what they are talking about when it comes to sports?


I came across this on To me this is encouraging ignorance and promoting inequalities and discrimination. What are your thoughts?

Skinny Products as a feminist issue....


Skinny Products like "Skinny Girl Margarita" as a feminist issue....

What are these new "skinny" products saying to the image of women in our society?
The Skinny girl margarita is a popular drink created by Bethany Frankel a reality star on Bravo.... are products like Bethany's potentially harmful or harmless?
Are messages about getting skinny, and staying skinny promoting an impossible image for women to reach?
What will reaching these farfetched images of beauty result in?

Skinny girl.png

DE April 25

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I have never taken a class in relation to feminism so this class really aided in my understanding of what feminism means to me and what it means to others as well. My favorite section was the section about family values because I thought the discussions were exciting in that everyone has different family values and the definition isn't as clear cut as one may think. I also really like the day we watched "Free to be you and me" because it showed a lot of issues within family values and it helped me look at family values from a feminist perspective. I found some of the papers to be rather difficult because there were so many different reading and perspective to take into account and it was somewhat overwhelming. I think that the papers helped me organize my thoughts and understanding of what was going on with the feminist issues being presented. For me, this class was difficult because I felt as though I needed the basics before I could critically analyze all of the specific issues presented in class. I would have been a lot more comfortable with the material if I had a class prior to this class to offer me a platform of knowledge of feminism to work with. I thought the blogging experience was very helpful because it helped me look at other people's opinions and insights, which helped me understand reading and certain issues. I think the blog allowed me to get a lot of different information, so if I didn't understand one person's comments or opinions I could read someone else's. The blog was a very good learning tool for me personally. Twitter was very difficult for me to follow, I think because I had never used it and really didn't get engaged as much as I did with the blog. I do think that twitter is a useful tool for educating large amounts of people about feminist issues. I would tell students thinking about entering this class to have a groundwork of feminist theory before entering, otherwise they may feel lost at times like I did. Also I would advice future students to read the reading critically and bring the reading to class as pages are referenced very often during conversation. All and all I really enjoyed this class and the insight it gave me in relation to feminism and feminist theory.

Day Twenty-three: April 25


Today in class we are discussing your final projects and feminist revision papers.
Also, one announcement: It's Gender Freedom Week

The GLBTA Programs Office is sponsoring a screening of "Put This On the Map" (I linked to a vimeo of the trailer last week) during class time on Wednesday. It's a great opportunity to see and discuss this movie. So, here are your options for Wednesday. 

  • Use Wednesday's class time to work with group members on your final project/presentation
  • Meet with me to discuss the class + project + final paper, etc
  • Attend the screening (with free pizza!)
If you want to meet with me, I will be in my office during class time. I can also meet with you and your group in the media center if you have any technical questions. 

DE April 27


When I started this class, I wasn't sure what to expect because I've never taken a GWSS class before. I thought that the social media parts of this class would be overwhelming, but I've been surprised on how much I've come to enjoy using Twitter. It's probably something that I'll continue to use once this class is over. One of my favorite things we've done in this class is watching the movie "The Pill." I did not know the history of birth control and was surprised to learn about all of the opposition to it. Another one of my favorite things we've done in this class is the small group work. I feel that the small groups were a good way to spark in depth conversations about the topics. One thing I wish I would have done is take a lower level GWSS class before I started because some of the class discussions went over my head, and some of the terminology was new to me. If I could change one thing about the class, it would be to have less handouts. My binder is full of paper handouts, and it makes it hard to find the things that I need. Perhaps more of the paper handouts could be posted to the blog instead? Overall though, I've had a good experience in this class, and I have learned a lot.

Why animal rights are (still) a feminist issue

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An egalitarian society will never come about while sections of it are oppressed, whether on the basis of their sex/gender, race, ability, sexual orientation - or species, writes Katrina Fox.

Recently I attended 'F', the first feminist conference in Sydney, Australia for 15 years. During the course of the weekend, a jam-packed program featured a diverse range of panel discussions and workshops.

An attempt had been made to include at least one person of colour on the panels, the majority of speakers acknowledged and discussed white privilege, and some workshops were held by men, sex workers and trans people. The conference had a policy of inclusion and was open to all.

So far so good. But while progress had been made on some fronts, there was one area that had fallen off the agenda and indeed, it seems, feminist consciousness, and that is speciesism: the assigning of different values or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership.

Nowhere was this more obvious than the catering, which included a stall selling meat pies, including veal, an abundance of dairy milk for tea and coffee and a conference dinner that was held at a non-vegetarian restaurant. All in all, it added up to an epic F for Fail.

Failure, that is, to see the intersectionality between various forms of oppression - in this case, between female humans and non-humans.

How do feminism and animal rights issues intersect?

While all animals suffer under the system of intensive or factory farming, the females of the species usually experience the most heinous and prolonged abuses:

* Battery hens are imprisoned in tiny cages with several other hens. Their beaks are cut off with a hot wire guillotine, an extremely painful process and many have great difficulty eating properly for the rest of their short lives. They are forced to lay egg after egg and after a year, their bodies 'spent', they are dragged from the cages, stuffed into crates, trucked to the abattoir and shackled upside down on a conveyor belt to await slaughter. Many suffer multiple fractures during this process.
* Dairy is an industry built on the control of the reproductive systems of female non-humans (surely a feminist issue given the movement's emphasis on fighting for women's rights to control their own bodies and reproductive systems). Cows are kept perpetually pregnant, so that their babies (whom they carry for nine months, much like human mothers) and their babies' milk can be stolen from them. Cows bellow with grief at the loss of their young. Female calves' horns and extra teats are cut off with no anaesthetic and in some areas the same happens to their tails. Milking machines attached to the cow's body result in painful infections of the teats such as mastitis. The cycle of forced pregnancy, birth, theft and grief continues until the cow's body can give no more and she is shipped off to be slaughtered.
* Female pigs are forcibly impregnated and kept in 'sow stalls' - tiny spaces not big enough for them to turn around, where they often go insane with boredom as they are social creatures. They are kept like this for life, constantly impregnated. After giving birth, they are forced to nurse their babies from the confines of gestation crates where they can barely reach them.
* Animal rights groups have obtained video footage from undercover activists showing abbatoir workers sexually abusing female animals.

That's not to say that male animals don't suffer, of course, including a non-human mother's male babies who are considered 'byproducts' with little monetary value:

* Male calves in Australia are slaughtered for veal and in other countries are destined for the veal crate, designed to be so small that they can't turn around so their muscles atrophy. They are deprived of essential nutrients to ensure they are pale and 'tender'.
* Male chicks born in battery operations are simply disposed of - usually by being shredded alive in a macerator.

So it's disappointing, not to mention sadly ironic, that a feminist conference invited a keynote speaker (Greens MP Lee Rhiannon, a vegan) to talk about abortion rights at the official dinner. The irony being that 'dinner' involved attendees putting someone else's body (probably female) and secretions (definitely female) into their mouths while talking about their own oppression and fight for reproductive autonomy.

Why has animal rights fallen off the modern feminist agenda?

Back in the '70s and '80s there was a much stronger link between feminism and animal rights and an acknowledgement of the links between the two. So what happened?

What does the term 'ecofeminism' and its association with animals and the environment conjure up in the minds of today's feminists?

Well, some will associate it with essentialist ideas of women being connected to the earth or the anti-porn, anti-sex-work and transphobic rhetoric of some ecofeminists. It's fair to say that blanket generalisations that all porn is bad, all sex workers are victims whether they know it or not, and undergoing surgical and hormonal treatment to transform your sex or gender is unnatural have alienated many feminists, especially queer and younger feminists.

That's not to say, however, that the discourses within ecofeminism have not moved on - indeed much ecofeminist theory has pointed out how problematic and regressive concepts of essentialism are.

But while feminists writing in mainstream media and indeed much of the feminist blogosphere focus on raunch culture, body image and analysing pop culture - the 'hip' and 'trendy' topics - ecofeminist theory gets left by the wayside, relegated unfairly to the 'old-school' or 'uncool' box when in fact it's more relevant than ever.

Of course it could be argued too that animal rights groups such as PETA have had a part to play in the disengagement of feminism and animal rights due to their adverts that are viewed by many to be sexist and in some cases, racist.

Race issues

The issue of race of course ties in with the intersectionality of oppressions.

In her new book Sistah Vegan, in which black female vegans talk about how they perceive nutrition, food, ecological sustainability, health and healing, animal rights, parenting, social justice, spirituality, hair care, race, sexuality, womanism, freedom, and identity, author Breeze Harper quite rightly points out the white racialised consciousness and white privilege of the mainstream animal rights movement and the stereotype of vegan = white, skinny body.

Interestingly, these reflections in Sistah Vegan, which are from a diverse North American community of black-identified women of the African diaspora reveal that they have not necessarily come to veganism through animal rights. Instead many consider that they are actively decolonising their bodies by embracing a healthy whole foods or raw food veganism way of eating.

However, when promoting the message to go vegan - which I do and wholeheartedly believe it is the way forward to minimise harm to ourselves in terms of health, the environment and of course animals - it's important for the white-dominated animal rights movement to consider issues of race and class, as well as gender: it may be cheaper to buy a McDonald's so-called 'Happy Meal' than organic, fair-trade, cruelty-free foods. And as we know, the majority of people living in poverty are likely to be people of colour due to the institutionalised racism of western societies.

Building alliances and coalitions

This is why it's important to build coalitions and raise awareness of the intersectionalities of oppression: to realise that our fight for justice as women, as feminists, is inextricably linked to racism, homo/transphobia, class and speciesism as well as the devastating destruction of the planet and the damage to our health through unethical corporations' promotion of products that they deceitfully label 'food'.

That's not to say it's an easy thing to do. Building alliances often means acknowledging our privileges and making major changes to our behaviour, actions and lifestyles. As Breeze Harper in her video Would You Harbor Me? points out: Transformation is not comfortable. It's hard because much of how we build our identities is through processes that perpetuate privileges of gender, race and species membership.

Two things tend to happen, Harper says, when one person goes to another and says, "Your actions (whether they be sexist, racist, homo/transphobic or speciesist) are hurting me, I find them problematic - can we talk about it?"

The first is the person challenged goes on the defensive and refuses to acknowledge that what they are doing is impacting negatively on others. The second is that person may have an epiphany and then be consumed with shame or guilt at their lack of awareness and for having contributed to the suffering of others.

We all come to realisations at different points in our lives as our knowledge and awareness increases. So while as feminists we may be (finally) open to acknowledging that it's not acceptable for us to be racist or homo/transphobic, this consciousness needs also to extend to us not being speciesist.

The multi-billion-dollar animal agriculture industries have done an outstanding job of promoting images of 'happy cows' willingly giving up their milk and concealing the torturous practices in all forms of animal farming, including those outlined earlier in this article.

Farmed animals feel pain, fear, loss, grief. By consuming their bodies and excretions we give our approval to them being tortured and abused. As feminists we must hold ourselves to ethical standards that align with and are considerate of the struggles of others, including non-humans, otherwise we are no better than the patriarchy that seeks to dominate and oppress us as women.

It's not a case of fighting for EITHER human OR animal rights, for being involved in feminist causes OR animal causes. You don't need to attend an anti-vivisection demonstration instead of starting up a rape crisis centre, but we can choose not to support the exploitation of non-humans in our day-to-day consumption - and especially at feminist conferences.

Image courtesy of Jenny Downing issued under Creative Commons Licence

DE April 27


What I learned in GWSS 3004W?
Coming into a feminism class I thought that the class was going to be a lot different than it turned out. As a misinformed male, I thought that it was going to be bashing and blaming men for what has happened with inequality amongst the genders. I realized that it was nothing of that sorts and that was the farthest thing from the truth. I learned more about how education and having others open their minds is the key to equality. The only thing to blame for the inequality is the system of miseducation and arrogance by both men and women that perpetuate the cycle.

What can be changed for next semester?
THe most challenging part of this class that I had and it seemed as if others had was the amount of prior experience one needs to start this class. Maybe their should be prerequisites? It seemed like a lot of the vocabulary and topics were a bit academic and went over my head. In my opinion it may be better to bring it down to a more real life situation based course.

Ben Franklin.jpg

Above is a link to an article I read in the New York Times recently. It's a fascinating piece of history, and speaks volumes to family values, choices, opportunity, and gendered circumstances.

Two family members, two futures, two worlds.

How does the demolishing of her house contribute to the lack of concern we give in education for "her" history ?

How does Jane's life situation speak to opportunity and equality, more specifically the importance of opportunity and equality in the 21st century?

What other stories about other women are out there that are undocumented and unappreciated and learned from today?

DE for april 27


In this final blog direct engagement for Group B, I would like you to reflect on the class and what you learned this semester. You could write about:

  • one of your favorite readings
  • how your understanding of feminism has been influenced by our discussions/readings/papers 
  • your thoughts about our blog and the blogging experience
  • whatever else you want to write about in relation to the class.
Also, I will be teaching this class again next fall. What advice would you give students who will be taking it then?

Group B should post your entries by Monday evening. Groups C and D should post your comments by Wednesday at noon. 

Are "Family Oriented" Magazines a Feminist Issue...


I was looking through my mom's magazines and came across Family Circle. The images were all flowers and laced in pink. The magazine claimed to have, "quick-fixing, delicious recipes ... do-it-yourself decorating ideas ... fashion and beauty secrets ... plus advice for raising a healthy, happy family - and more!" The pages were covered with predominately white mothers and their smiling fathers, gay couples, different races, trans couples, etc. What do magazines like this say about "family values?" I looked further on their website and there's a "Momster" blog. What does this say to fathers/trans/gay couples who are interested in bettering their families? Why aren't other genders and races included?

Panel Discussion


In the Panel Discussion on April 18th, Chavez talked about the coalition movement. She spoke about a re-imagining of belonging, where queer politics and immigration policy meet. Much of her discussion was on the Dream Act. The Dream Act has many parallels to queer LGBT movements with the idea of "coming out". The concept was that the knowledge of coming out will compel change. The primary goal of the Dream Act, however, was singular, focusing only on the passing of the act. This ignored the intersectionality and layers of power/categories that are related to the issues the act addresses. Although word about the act was vast, media was manipulated and much discussion was on this topic, in the end the Dream Act failed to pass.

During the Q&A time Chavez explained her perspective of coalitions. She stated that if one is not shaken to the bone then they are not participating fully in a coalition. She spoke about how coalitions are about pushing boundaries. One thing that really resided with me while listening to Chavez and the other panel members was when someone asked how to create a coalition that expanded to a larger culture and how is it possible to create possibilities for social change. What Morris discussed ignited thoughts to flame in my mind. He responded by saying how the education curriculum needs to be manipulated for change; how this change can also be achieved through legislation. That the seed bed of interest that was planted in the past must be attended to and we must "trouble the notion of socialization". What are ways we can trouble the idea of socialization when so many systems are institutionalized and influential? Do you trouble socialization? Have you ever?

News from our Families


Chavez's talk about "News from our Families: at the Borders Talk" featured Dr. Daniel Brauer, Dr. Charles Morris. This talk addressed the LGBT adoption, sexual orientation, military service; hate crime law, call for immigration equality, a change in anti-discrimination laws against LGBT people and also a call for coalition. These speakers were able to discuss the pain and oppression faced by gay, lesbians, and undocumented workers by presenting stories regarding HIV positive born child with two gay parents, military services against homosexuality, and so on. For instance, Dr. Morris was able to discuss this hardship in details sharing with us a news story that featured a boy born with HIV with two gay men as parents. With this story, he was able to discuss the rejections faced by these two gay men to serve as a parent and how it eventually became a positive influence on the community after the child died. These speakers were also able to discuss how homosexuality is viewed as a degrading act among military men and women. Also how they viewed homosexuality as an act that would create an acceptable risk to the high standard of moral and discipline that are the essence of military capability.
At the end of their talks, they were able to call for a need for belonging that "calls us to reckon with the ways in which we are oppressed so that we may place ourselves where we can have an impact and where we can share experience". They discussed a need for a "change for legalization not acceptance". They also encouraged the audience to share their stories because "our lives and stories serve as a tool for political change".

EC Who's University


I went to the panel discussion for the Who's University and was struck by the many issues and steps forward the university needs to take to make our institution open and assessable to more people. The panel members spoke patiently about how they feel about their departments access to funding, staff, and also the student's within there said spaces. This relates to feminism because the women's study department is also one that has had problems with funding and other issues of accessibility to different groups of people in different spaces. In a time of economic trouble some of the ethnic study departments are being faced with a chances of being eliminated and the panel spoke avidly about how we as a university need to work together and challenge this possibility. The Chicano Studies panel member said that this day isn't about 1 group; its about a history we all share, and who's knowledge is address and heard. Basically he is posing the question of who is learning from the texts the university provides, what group is being represented, and what skills are being transferred and who will those skills benefit. This day was meant to raise awareness about who is being represented and who needs to be represented. The panel members want to produce citizen members that can produce and transform the U.S. and the University especially into an institution welcoming to all groups and welcoming all people into those said spaces. I think this day was very important because they are asking us to think about the future and anticipate what it will look like and how the U will accommodate the needs of the population in the future. These questions are important and students, staff, and community member need to be aware. We need to set high expectations for the U and we all need to work together to make those goals possibilities.

Whose University- E.C.


After working a bit with the Whose U campaign, and attending the teach-in and final performance yesterday I am struck by the ways in which the campaign itself poses questions present in much of feminist discourse. Whose University puts into question the priorities that the U of M claims to have and contrasts those with which programs are funded, which populations of people, and which types of knowledge are supported within the institution. Whose U poses the questions of, "who has access" "whose knowledge is valued" and "who is supported". The Day Of Education presented us with tangible evidence regarding the answers to those questions. Students from the U of M's cultural centers created consciousness around the importance of spaces in which minorities groups can find support, and with the presence of hundreds high school students I was continually reminded of why it's important to challenge any movement towards elimination of these spaces.
While Whose U focused specifically on the priorities and accessibility of the U of M, questions concerning support, access, and the value of certain kinds of knowledge over others are questions that are continuously posed within feminist discourse.



Dr. Daniel Brower, Dr. Charles Morris, and Dr. Chavez were the featured panelists at the seminar featured at Humphrey Hall. All three gave great insight regarding the queer movement. My particular interest was sparked when Dr. Charles Morris, Boston College, gave his insight. Dr. Morris began his speech discussing a New York Times Article titled, "Against All Odds, a Beautiful Life." This news story discusses a little boy with two gay men as parents. Their son Maurice, that they adopted, was born in 1990 with AIDS as he was born to a crack-addicted mother. His sister, Michelle was not as fortunate and lived only 20 months. Maurice got lucky I would say with the two gay men as they were looking to take in a child with serious medical needs. After being told he would only live 6 months he began to thrive. In 1996, Tim and Tim adopted him becoming the first gay couple in Washington to adopt a child. Christmas 2002, Maurice's parents bought him a horse. This was not standard for the town they lived in and they became the talk of town with it. His life seemed to be going great until he caught pneumonia, sepsis, and had acute renal failure. "It's time" was his famous phrase as his time was approaching. His funeral drew 500 people as he died at the young age of 20 on January 14, 2011. This family, although unique, was talk of the town. Although this couple exemplifies anything but the norm, we see the positive effect throughout the community. This story was really great to hear and really inspiring to advocates fighting for this cause. It was truly inspiring to me and a really incredible story Dr. Charles Morris shared.

Whose University?


From my understanding the Whose University event is about promoting equal access and opportunities for underrepresented groups at the University of Minnesota. This issue has arose because the space designated for certain cultural centers in second floor Coffman Union are being threatened. This event was designed to bring visibility to these issues and put pressure on the administration to listen to the students, the people whose lives are affected by these changes.

I attended the 3:00 presentation featuring various dance and step groups. There was a live DJ and a light party mood throughout the room. The event starts with two men from a fraternity doing some sort of step dance and chant. Each of the speakers had an uplifting message that "our" [student] voices matter; it seemed basically like a rally for change. For example, one of the rapper's rapped,"we need choices, we need justice, we need action." At one point leaders of certain groups spoke about the need for student voices to be heard, and even more importantly the voice of the underrepresented. I thought this event was a breath of fresh air because it showed students doing something to get their voices heard. The men up on top may think they have all the power but the students that go to this school and study here should have a say. I think the students who organized Whose University showed just that.

Check out this video on "Science on Sexual Orentiation":

What do you think?

This talk featured three scholars (Dr. Daniel Brauer, Dr. Charles Morris, and Dr. Karma Chavez) with concentrations ranging from queer rhetoric, communication, queer/feminist/race theory, and the queer migration research network. The speakers addressed several different parallels that included true stories between soldier funerals and sexuality, HIV positive-born news headlines, re-imagining belonging, and between coming out in undocumented workers and with sexuality. Specifically, Chavez spoke about coalition moments and re-imagining belonging. She addressed how queer and immigration politics united. One of the examples she gave was an image of Coming Out of the Closet Day (sexuality) 88comingout.gif and the image of undocumented workers using the phrase "coming out" to campaign that they were coming out as "undocumented and unafraid" as Chavez described it (Dream Act). 2011comingout.jpg Chavez's correlation described "coming out" as something that you would tell people about your "status" (so say sexual orientation or as an undocumented worker) that you normally wouldn't. The undocumented were different in the message she stated, because they did not want to stop at acceptance, they wanted change. I enjoyed the talk, but wished Chavez would have spoke more.

DE April 20th Family Unvalues


In this class we frequently address the language or rhetoric that is correlated to feminism and feminist discourse. For example, it was brought up that "family values" is a concept that is in the cloud shared with the nuclear family, Christian heterosexual privileges, and the American Dream. We discussed that "family values" can be simply just words that mean different things to different race, class, genders, religions, etc. When reading Family Unvalued, I took close notice to the Glossary. I found myself wanting to make flashcards of these terms (one of my ways I can guarantee I will remember vocabulary). Many of the words in the Glossary were not familiar to me; unless I'm just an unacknowledged U.S. 21 year-old girl, which completely could be the case, I would expect that these words are unfamiliar to many people in the United States. For example, I can guarantee that out of my three roommates, no one could describe the different types of visa or maybe even the difference between several gender identities; to be honest I would guess that they would never know how to use these terms because they wouldn't want to offend someone - I guess I just don't know or I don't trust certain websites to give me a direct yes or no answer. But is that just ignorance? Should everyone know these words and how to use them in the correct context? It could be, and I believe that it is in some situations. I wish I could have said I knew these terms before I took BIO 1003 the Biology of Sex or even this class, but I willingly put myself in those classes to learn more about the topics that I truly didn't cross paths with in my daily life.

I digress, but I feel that the play on words is what is discussed many times in "Family Unvalued." The same-sex couples that wrote about expiring visas for their loved ones had to state, "'I am very proud to be an AMERICAN...'" (Family Unvalued, 8) or bring up "'I am also a veteran of the United States Navy and have done my time and service to my country,'" in attempt to sway the judge's opinion on keeping her partner from New Zealand in the U.S. (Family Unvalued, 9).

I don't know how to sum up my confusion, but the power of words is used for people to defend the "marriage is between a man and a woman," or it can be used to promote the famous statement that Harvey Milk said in one of his speeches, "All men are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words."

DE April 20


Chavez discusses the use of normalizing rhetoric used by immigrant and LGBT communities. We saw examples of this in Maid in America when the domestic worker's union talked about how they obeyed laws and paid their taxes.

According to Chavez, these communities imitate heteronormativity in order to gain legitimacy. Chavez talks about this with a sort of contempt, putting "family values" and similar terms in quotes.

Yet Chavez also recognizes that to act differently is very difficult, and highlights the class aspect of behaving differently.

I'm still kind of confused about the central argument of the piece. Chavez doesn't seem to be making suggestions about whether or not to adopt heteronormative family values; there seems to be a more subtle point about legislation and coalitions.

In "Families, Unvalued" and "Border (In)Securities" both focused on the more conservative family values as well as the more "radical" ones. The Human Rights Watch piece was working within the system of immigration in the U.S. with portraying homosexual couples as having that "norm" sense of family values. The people whose stories were featured usually had children, were white middle class, were successful and had access to lawyers etc. This picture seems more relatable for those conservative individuals/lawmakers who are having a hard time getting past the homosexual aspect of it. Chavez questions this approach, basically saying it is too exclusive of other family values/ways of life/"non-normal" families. "Families, Unvalued" holds the institution of marriage as the standard for families. Chavez questions this in her piece saying that working within this system, using marriage as a standard, is ignoring the other "sub culture" because they are too different. I feel like these two pieces boil down to this very point: working within the system vs. working outside it. My question is how do you work outside it and still make concrete (new laws/reform) progress? A student said today in class that it seemed like the Human Rights Watch piece was a liberal way of fighting for progress, while Chavez is more radical. I feel like there should be a point when the two merge, but I am unable to identify what that would look like, ha.

Direct Engagement April 20th


Reading Family Unvalued the family setting/dynamic that is being primarily discussed is that of a same-sex relationship in which one of the partners is of immigrant status. Border (In) Securities highlighted problems within the Family Unvalued of classism, homonormativity, and privilege. Prevailing themes discussed in the articles regarding family values were:

*rights/ acknowledgment
*good/bad citizen
*civil marriage/gay marriage

The articles both touch on a lack of recognition of entire family units and individuals within the families. Specifically addressed were same sex family units that were dealing with immigration. Chavez mentions a conforming of same sex couples to "traditional" family values rather than challenging the various systems of oppression. Both articles address problems of marginalization and belonging, which both effect immigrants and individuals who "deviate" from societal norms. The "deviation" of these people is what causes "threat" to the nation via a number of things including race, class, gender, sexuality, citizenship, families, etc.

Is media like this a feminist issue?


Do videos like this one, by Jenna Marbles, pose a "threat" to our society? Do they tell us that being beautiful/maintaining status is more important than an education and career? Of course this is a little bit ridiculous and sarcastic, but does it hold a deeper meaning for what our society really values? (It does have over 15 million hits.)

D.E. April 20


As I was reading the pieces for this week, I first started by reading Family, Unvalued, after I got through a couple pages I turned to Border (In)Securities where I became aware of the ulterior motive behind Family, Unvalued. Chavez explains that Family, Unvalued uses a strategic homonormative discourse of middle class family values to accomplish a number of objectives that foremost include: introducing the reader to the serious harm that bi national same-sex families endure as a result of current immigration laws; and making recommendations for different bodies of the US gov't on how to remedy the aforementioned problems.(140) More specifically, it's main goal was to pass the Uniting American Families Act, which would change the word "spouse" to "permanent partner." This is problematic because it only allows those reading this piece to view LGBT people through a homonormative lens. As Jackson brought up in class today, I also find the line on pg. 141 interesting..."Although this story involves some queer slippage, as the two scribbled numbers with a drag queen's eyeliner, the transition to their lives in the US quickly reiterates normative narrative as they struggle to provide for their child and do whatever they can to keep their family together." It implies that the slippage was somewhat of an accident. That it would need to be an accident for a man to disclose how him and his partner met if it includes any LGBT reference. Even the mention of the word drag queen, and one might scare off the heteronormative legislatures. Chavez goes onto explain that each bi national LGBT story used in Family, Unvalued is described along traditional notions of the American family. The same questions keep passing through my head, what is normal? Who defines it? Why is it defined? Why are certain people excluded? Chavez goes on to explain how Family, Unvalued fails to address certain groups, those that are underprivileged or not in position to have their voices heard. Unfortunately, Family, Unvalued, had a calculated motive so the issues it presented were exclusionary. Although it touches upon a variety of abstruse issues, it doesn't fully disclose the range of issues at hand.

DE for 4/20

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Both authors discuss a sense of belonging and the norm. However, not all groups are considered "good" or normal. Classifying someone as law abiding is somewhat unrelated to the issue of belonging. Many legal immigrants/citizens of the United States are still not law abiding even if they fit into the model of acceptable. I believe this goes for being lazy, stupid, being responsible, doing things the "right" way, etc. And what about "threats" to typical family values? How is different still such a threat to our society? Obviously the way we're doing things is oppressive and unsuccessful. Isn't no change more threatening than acceptance?

Another question I have lies within the determination that same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state. Being a straight, middle class, white Americans is what's acceptable. This debate has always had a simple answer, in my eyes: church and state are separate. How can the government decide this matter? Isn't it unconstitutional? Why are all political leaders hesitant to change it? Sexual orientation is not easily seen as color, for example, so how can a movement like the Civil Rights Movement even be relevant? It's not so blatantly obvious, or in lawmakers faces, so is this the reason they continue to deprive these citizens' (or non-citizens') of a simple right? How can our government say fall in love with this person, of this color, within our own country, as discussed in "Families, Unvalued?" And if they can say this, is it because we're fearful of the threat that people of other nationalities/from other countries pose a "threat" to the way our society functions now?

There are several terms that still raise questions for me, personally. In particular, homo- and heter- normativity. (What exactly classifies as normal within both contexts? Who gets to decide normal? Is it possible to question this normativity if we're outside that realm, and if so, do we have to define our own normal? The word queer within the LGBT community,and widespread also raises questions for me. Queer, to me, seems to be a mostly derogatory term socially, overall. (At least from my perspective and understanding.) To me it seems like referring to oneself, when gay/lesbian/trans, is comparable to an African American person calling themselves the "N" word. I'm not trying to offend anyone, by any means, but from my experience this seems to be the case and I'd like clarification from someone who has a personal opinion/experience more relevant than my own.

Stage 2: Analyzing Resources/ Carly Schomaker


Source*: Youtube video Tropes vs. Women: #2 Women in Refrigerators

Part One: This source is relevant to the topic our group choose because it discusses the negative aspects of some popular comic books that children read and how these perceptions of women super heroes can affect the children reading them. The image portrayed of the women super heroes is more often than not very harsh. This video displays the many ways women super heroes are perpetuating defensive stereotypes. When these comic books portray women loosing super powers, being thrown off towers by male super heroes, having children kidnapped, women being cheated on, tortured, and highly sexualized visions, etc children are gaining a negative portrayal of the women characters. This information given in the video is valuable because it shows how different portrayals of women in popular reading material among children can further defend stereotypes affecting women. These stereotypes are being shown to children at very young ages and this can be a concern for many parents.

Part Two: This source and other youtube videos are readily available to people that have internet access. People that are curious about issues with comic books and common negative portrayals of women in the media can be found easily by doing a quick search in youtube. I think that youtube can be helpful to a lot of people because it can touch a population that may not be able to read well or may only read in a different language. A lot of the time people who speak a different language can still understand English when it is spoken to them. Also, sometimes people don't want to read a long article expressing ideas like the ones portrayed in this youtube video and these kinds of videos are a great alternative. People can simply listen to the ideas expressed and watch visual examples as ideas are being expressed verbally, which may be a much more favorable alternative for some people.

Day Twenty-two: April 18


Check out the bonus extra credit possibility on the DE for this week.

Some thoughts about your papers:

The different feminist perspectives that you discuss should be taken directly from our readings and films. One other goal of this paper is to demonstrate that you have read and can engage with our course readings, so make sure that your articulation of the different perspectives is based on articles/authors that we read. 

This is a feminist issue nail polish (from Annslie and mcfad0067) and more on Transparent and gender policing

Here are some of my notes for our discussion of Chávez today.

Stage 2: Assessing Resources/Kim Ayres


Stage 2: Assessing Resources

One: I am assessing the relevance for the TIME magazine resource named, "Not So Pretty in Pink: Are Girls' Toys Too Girly?" I liked this article as a resources for analyzing feminism in the media, how it is created, and how young girls are affected by the objects that are advertised to their gender and age-group. TIME magazine is known for addressing the issues for the people so possibly unlike other resources used in our project, the article is not written by a feminist and the audience is not necessarily only feminists. This article introduces the advocacy group, Pinkstinks, that is mentioned in another article for our group, but the fact that TIME is publishing the  article means it is not necessarily just for feminist viewers, but to introduce the idea to the public. One of the main ideas for feminism is to get people to understand and listen to the issues that should be addressed, this article is coming from a magazine with a broad range of people's issues.

Two: This resource is very accessible to the community and the public. TIME is known as one of the largest weekly news magazine, if not the largest with a wide range of domestic U.S. viewers, but a large global audience. One of the barriers of this resource is that TIME is in a partnership by CNN. CNN claims to emphasize its strictly factual news, but its ratings have been falling in the past year whereas news stations like Fox News that are criticized for having a right-winged sway on the stories portrayed are experienced increases in viewers: "CNN continued what has become a precipitous decline in ratings for its prime-time programs in the first quarter of 2010, with its main hosts losing almost half their viewers in a year." ( ) The barrier that this TIME article may have is the decline in viewers with its partner news distributer. It seems as though all news media have a magnifying glass over them in the current state. This article seems to provide a solid story about where the specific feminist issue of girls and media advertisements are a sign of the Western projection of gender roles. This resource seems to be very accessible; when I first found the resource, it was used as a link from a feminist blog.

DE- April 20th


Within "Border (In)Securities" as well as "Families, Unvalued", the authors spend a great deal of time reconstructing the breadth of family values, and in the case of the Chavez reading critically analyzing the ways in which those values are framed and problematized. "Families, Unvalued" seeks to revolutionize the ways in which marriage has become an exclusively heterosexual privilege in spite of the fact that historically the institution was fought for as a right for all people. This piece further seeks to expand our understanding of family values by uprooting the nuclear family construct and providing examples of "non-normative" family structures (particularly gay and lesbian, and bi-national couples), and spaces such as South Africa in which these family structures are supported in their own right.
While ultimately both of these readings seek to critically engage with the idea of family values and the restrictions placed upon individuals due to the enforcement of these "values", the Chavez takes a more radical stance at doing so. "Border (In)Securities" looks at the ways in which the systems seeking change oftentimes create exclusions by attempting to work within the system they are trying to uproot. Chavez continually reminds us of the push and pull between assimilation and revolution, particularly as it is framed within works such as "Families, Unvalued." Within this framework, we are forced to examine who is left out of the picture when "Families, Unvalued" constructs narratives around seemingly "non-normative" family values and family structures. Chavez highlights the ways in which organizations frequently attempt to assimilate non-conforming individuals and couples into normative frameworks in working towards equality for these individuals. "Border (In)Securities" was eye opening in that it forces us to grapple with the was in which we create further exclusions as we try to create inclusive spaces within a system already fraught with oppression.



Jennifer Hejna
Part one: This source is very relevant to the topic our group will be focusing on. It discusses the effects of toys (such as dolls) and their effect on children's image. The source seems reliable; it appears to be more of a forum of where authors can post their ideas about children. It is not a scholarly source that would make it more trustworthy. The information is valuable in that it discusses issues that concerns parents about their children. They present and discuss the issue and offer recommendations for parents when raising their own children. Many of these concerns brought up are concerns many parents have.

Part Two: These sources are very accessible to those who have access to computers and the internet. If parents or just curious parties are searching for this type of information when choosing toys for their children, this site if very simple to find. I simply "google" searched children and toys and this was one of my first options. It was not an article I had to really dig around for and it gave very relevant information. If people do not have access to these sources then it is not as easily accessible. Those who maybe cannot afford to have the internet or computers do not have the easy access to read this article. There are also parents who did not grow up with the internet and do not know it in quite the way the younger generation does. For those individuals without a computer, many local public libraries offer the use of their computers. They could also contact friends to use their computers. The older generation that does not know computers as well could attend classes or ask those who are educated with this technology to assist them. There are many ways in which people can access this information without a computer if they have the desire to use this type of media.

Stage Two- The Beauty Myth

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Part One: I found this source to be very relevant to the topic, as it directly discusses the issues surrounding conceptions of female beauty within feminism, and offers multiple feminist views concerning 'ideal' beauty and the implications of society's emphasis on female beauty. I also found the source to be moderately reliable, as it was posted on an "opinion" web forum and not in a peer-reviewed journal, which would have required that scholars within the field critique the article. However, it is still moderately reliable, because the author draws from outside sources within the field of feminism. The information presented within the article is incredibly valuable, as Phelan not only brings to light the common beauty rituals that we as a society take for granted (waxing, makeup, shaving, etc.), but also what purpose these rituals might serve, and how these rituals might be oppressive.

Part Two:This resource is accessible to anyone with access to the Internet, which, in some communities, might be very limited, or even nonexistent. Also, while the article is itself geared toward a more general audience, it requires that the audience be somewhat familiar with feminism and the issues that some feminists might have with society's conception of female beauty. Therefore, I would say that the source is only widely accessible to people of middle- to upper class with high school or college education.

Part One: This blog is relevant to our topic The Beauty Myth in that it has several posts that discuss this phenomenon. They discuss this in regards to gaming, to one's personal perception of their body, and to society's expectations, pressures and perception of bodies in the binary gender context. Although the bloggers are not well known they seem to care about the topics they discuss and promote discussion on these issues. The reader must keep in mind, however, these are the points of view of individuals and they can be engaged with and challenged. With this understanding I believe the information is valuable in that it can arouse curiosity in order to dig in deeper and challenge one's own beliefs on the topic in conjuncture with the blog's stance.

Part Two: This resource is quite accessible to those with Internet access. However, like many blog and websites one must be looking for the topics/issues it pertains to specifically in order to engage with the website. In order to get a wider audience publicity is needed. This can come from those who follow the blog telling those close to them about it (word by mouth) or through other ads and websites (one that comes to mind in With trusting followers to perk up interest and curiosity in their acquaintances and loved ones, and by using sources that a large diverse population uses for many means, they may be able to have more conversations and more of an impact with a even more diverse group of people.


Stage 2: Women in Hip Hop Source Analysis


Assessing resources - Sex, Politics and Hip Hop
by Amy Peterson
is going to be a great one for us because it has so many diverse opinions,
links, conversations, and readings. It is very relevant since it is being
updated currently and is exactly pin-pointed to the topic. The
"trustworthiness" of it depends on what information you take. If you
look at the readings you can be sure that they are from feminist sources
but if you look at the blogs you must realize that they are reactions to
the material and may include the bloggers opinion.
Accessiblity really depends on what you mean by it if you are talking
physically accessible then this is accessible to most people since it is
easily searchable in Google. The only real barrier being if you do not own
a computer and/or are not familiar with blogs. I can see how the lay-out of
something like this can be confusing to someone who is not familiar with
it. Another issue would be the terminology used in some of the postings. If
you are not a gender studies major or have no background in suck it may be
difficult to understand the analysis being done on the information.

Prof Isoke's statement that: "This is the place to blog about all
things hip hop: women and hip hop, gender and hip hop, politics and hip
hop, hip hop and social justice, hip hop homos, hip hop moms, ... the list
goes on. Be heard!" is helpful in making the reader understand that this
is a safe place to express yourself regarding these subjects.

*Gender Across Borders (GAB)*
by Katelynn Monson
Gender Across Boarders is a blog created to grapple with Feminist issues
using the resources of a global Feminist community. Any individual can
connect with GAB through their blog, Facebook page, or twitter account; they
even provide an email list for those individuals that prefer to be
individually reached. Gender Across Boarders is an open blog willing to
accept new writers from all over the world (with little, some, or a lot of
previous blogging experience) leaving their blog open to Feminists
everywhere with a variety of opinions on numerous issues within Feminism
(gender, race, sexuality, patriarchy). Many issues are organized into
series making them more accessible for readers interested in a specific
aspect of Feminism. Since GAB encourages a variety of writers to submit
their work, they admit that they are not an academic journal, and while they
will post academic pieces, they will not be exclusive to that. They say
this is because GAB is organized to be easily accessible for every kind of
reader, and must include a plethora of styles so anyone can find something
to read, engage with, and enjoy. Primarily GAB is an English language blog,
but they do accept articles written in any other language (as long as they
are accompanied by a good English translation to be read and edited before
okayed for publishing). The information GAB provides, although not always
being "academic" is highly eclectic and affective towards to the goal of a
Feminist aware world. It is open to anyone and is a site for everybody to
read, while also requiring source material and fostering researched
opinions, not merely un-objective points of view that encourage discussion
and dissection.

On issues of accessibility all mediums that require computers have a barrier
to the poor, who are ironically often focused on in Feminist debates
concerning equality. They lack the resources many times to afford
computers, smart phones, or electronic readers leaving Feminism at a
disadvantage using social media when raising awareness in these populations.
People living too far outside of the city limits may live in "dead spots"
where internet or cell phone service may not be available. Certain
communities don't believe in technology or the modern world like the Amish,
and many others are still wary of the use of computer technology because of
privacy issues. In addition, elderly populations who haven't grown up with
computer technology may want to engage with these debates but not know how
to operate computers or navigate the internet, and they may have no idea how
to find classes or people to help them.

Queen Latifah "Ladies First"
by Sara Huebschen
The information presented in this song is very relevant because it is a first hand example of women in hip hop, specifically as artists (in contrast to being subjects of the music, rather than the creators). It is trustworthy because it is not an opinion or an article, but an actual example of the topic, and it presents very valuable information because of that very reason. It is a source that can be examined and discussed in itself.

This video is found on Youtube, which is a very popular site and well known and accessible among internet users. However, it is a site where you primarily have to search for something specific to access information or be watching something similar for it to show up as a recommendation. This limits the people who would likely be viewing it not only to people with the class privilege to be accessing the internet on a system that can watch videos and on Youtube, but also people who are specifically seeking it out or music that is similar to it.
Additionally, there is the fact that it is only accessible (and understandable) to English-speaking people, as a translating program would not work since there is no transcript provided for the song and it is in video form.

Prepare Yourself
by Ashley Probst
1.This source, I feel, is quite relevant. It highlights music that is popularized right now and talks about issues that are facing hip artists of today, as well as a few decades ago. They also feature music from many female hip hop artists.
2.The blog/archive is created by Marcyliena Morgan, who is a professor in the department of African and African American Studies at Harvard. The archive recognizes how influential hip hop has been and still is among youth and young adults. "The Hiphop Archive organizes and develops collections, initiates and participates in research activities, sponsors events and acquires material culture associated with Hiphop in the U.S. and throughout the world" (Hip Hop Archive). The people who work on the site do a lot of research for what goes into you. You can view all of the scholars who work on it and view all of their citation information. I feel the site is very trustworthy.
3.The feminist part, or the women in hip hop section, of the site gives valuable resources for those who are interested in women artists. It also gives different opinions and interviews on how women are portrayed in hip hop/music videos etc. I think there could be more but the information is definitely valuable.

The accessibility to this site is limited. In my opinion, only those who know Professor Morgan, attend Harvard or are in the artistic/music scene would even stumble upon this site. I didn't see it until I typed in a very specific phrase when searching for sources. Although, the issue of women in hip hop may seem only relatable to those making music or being involved with that type of scene, the images we see of women in music videos, or the lyrics we hear about women on the radio affects us all. Some people even try and relate to those songs/videos too much. This site would be more beneficial if more people were able to access the information.
I think there should be facebook options/pages for this site and possibly a twitter with a common tag so that people could find it easily. I think many women and men would have things to say about the issue of women in hip hop and their portrayal, and more female artists would be able to get their names out there. However, I really don't know how you get people to notice pages/sites that have information they don't really think they are interested in. When you get to the hip hop archive, you have to click on the tab that says women in hip hop, so even people getting to the site can avoid seeing all that information. This is another barrier. Perhaps a separate page for women in hip hop would be the most beneficial.

Is Hip Hop Feminism Alive in 2011?
by Katherine King
My source was Akoto Ofori-Atta's article, "Is Hip Hop Feminism Alive in 2011?" I found it on and thought it was really valuable to our group's examination of women in hip-hop. Just like other different forms of feminism, hip-hop feminists look at women's rights in a genre and culture that have many conflicting messages about what a hip-hop generation woman should look like, how she should participate in the music, and the value of her contribution.
Near the end of the article the author uses Nicki Minaj as an example of a highly visible hip hop artist who has publicly "challenged" sexual norms by openly addressing her bi curiousity and sexualized performances. Her image is constantly changing and heavily shaped by appearance and identity factors. What the author wanted to know is what this says for "the next" Nicki Minaj. How will Nicki's performances and contributions to hip hop set the stage (no pun intended) for future generations of women who love hip hop but don't know how to engage in a male-dominated genre? The author talks about different definitions of feminism and the needs of the hip hop community, and whereas I think she could have gone more into how the music translates to real life relationships, she did a good job highlighting the importance of studying hip hop feminism in 2011.
This article is relevant to men and women of the hip hop generation because the Nicki Minaj's of America are there to influence the way young women feel about themselves and their partners. Everyone is affected by it, even if they are not a hip hop generationer (born 18965-1985). That generation is so large and ubiquitous, the problems afflicting the group affect the larger population as well.
I think the link is trustworthy. When I looked up sources for hip hop feminism, I wanted something more credible than a blog and something more reader-friendly than one of FEW scholarly peer reviewed journals online.
The Root is a daily online magazine that engages contemporary issues with "a variety of black perspectives". It is aimed at anyone interested in black culture around the world.
The editor-in-chief, Henry Lousi Gates Jr. is a distinguished professor who holds degrees and Ph.Ds in black and cultural studies from various Ivy League universities. He was even named one of the "100 Most Influential Black Americans" by Ebony magazine in 2005.
The author, Akoto Ofori-Atta, earned a masters' from Georgetown and works for The Root as a freelance writer. I think they are qualified to address feminist issues and I trust that even if I don't agree with an editorial, the people hired to write for The Root are well-informed and know how to present information.
The website is accessible for anyone who has the internet and is aware of the website's existence. It is also available on other social media outlets, like Twitter, Facebook, RSS Feed, ipod/iPhone apps, and even podcasts. It's also easy to find a phone number and street address, which makes me think that The Root values communication with readers and encourages feedback of any kind.
The only barrier to access I could find was just limited to internet accessibility. They have The Root in so many different forms, that with the ubiquity of public computers today, I believe that the only way they could make it more accessible would be to print it on paper.
The Root seems to support discussion from all angles, so provided the readers can access the material, I don't believe that they are trying to restrict their reader demographic in any way. The content ranges from global politics to pop culture but is not written informally or over the heads of a casual reader. Because of this variety, I think that they are consciously working on extending accessibility to anyone who wants to learn more about black culture.

This is a feminist Issue....J Crew Ad


There seems to be a huge controversy over an ad published by J.Crew. I received the ad myself via email and thought nothing of it. However all the major networks felt differently as they all reported on this. Specialists were brought in to comment on apparent "gender bending" that occurred in this ad. Some claimed that the ad was promoting the feminizing little boys. It seemed a little crazy to make such a big deal about about a mother and child having a little fun. Is this gender bending? If it is why is that an issue? Why is it ok to make girls act more like boy but not the other way around? Was this ad meant to promote so called "gender bending" or was it just designed to promote J.Crew?

This link is just one of many about this topic.

Stage 2- Body Product Ads and Gender


Thanh, Meghan, Jordan, Madeleine, Courtney.

1. (Thanh)
We're surrounded by advertisements that desperately compete for our attention. Everywhere we look, we find ourselves inevitably drawn to images of scantily clad attractive men and women that are supposed to somehow inspire us to purchase products they endorse. Sure, this attention-getting strategy is popular. But, is it effective?

Sex appeal can increase the effectiveness of an ad or commercial because it attracts the customer's attention. It's human nature to be curious about sex. A pair of long legs on a billboard is more likely to catch (and hold) a guy's attention than a puppy, regardless of how cute it may be. Even women are drawn to them, perhaps with the desire of having goddess-like legs.

The purpose of advertising is to convince people that products are of use to them in one way or another. If people agree, they will buy them. However abusing your audience's attention is a dangerous thing. Many campaigns deemed offensive have started brand boycotts that affect sales and damage brand reputation.

The website below is example of sex ads from big business:
15 Ads That Prove Sex Sells...Best?

2. (Courtney)

Bitch Media: Mad World

Part 1) The Mad World blog is from Bitch Media, the website for *Bitch*magazine. The website and blog's mission, as stated on the website, is "to provide and encourage an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and culture". We are studying advertisements which is a part of mainstream media, so this website has the information we need. *Bitch*magazine and its affiliated website and blogs are a part of a non-profit organization. The magazine and other *Bitch* media has been critically
acclaimed by legitimate sources, so I believe this source to be reliable.

Part 2) *Bitch* magazine is available through many different outlets. The magazine has 11,000 subscribers worldwide, the website was one of the first resources I stumbled upon while researching so I believe it gets a lot of internet traffic, 21,000 people are registered on the website. They have a facebook, a twitter, retail locations for the magazine, and downloadable
audio podcasts. This amount of media outlets and prevalence makes this a very accessible source.

3. (Meghan)
Project Muse: Advertising and Society Review

1 - This website was found using Google and helped me with some preliminary research for this particular project. After reading it through I discovered it was relevant in terms of sexual advertising in general. In focused on a variety of products, including fragrances. It asked and slightly explained the question "does sex sell?" It more asked the questions then gave a good solid response. The Muse Project sponsors the site, which is a collection of journals from non-profit publishers. The fact that they are not seeking a profit makes them a little trustworthy. This article is more explanatory and in my opinion does not really push a specific feminist agenda but simply asked the question. The same question my group is examining.

2 - These resources like many of the other resources we have used are not extremely easy for the public to access. Most people who read these articles, blogs, or other works written in or from the feminist perspective have to be looking for them. They usually don't pop-up on the front page of the New York Times or the Huffington Post and most of the time people who come across these resources are looking for a specific thing or share similar views with the writer. This particular source was found by using Google. I was looking for a specific blog or article or something relevant to our group's topic and even with a specific goal finding this source was not easy. The access to this website is not impossible but a person has to be looking for something specific.

This information could of course become more available but several things would have to happen. The information, which is readily available, is the information, which interests the most people, and sadly to say that is most often superficial information. This is why the most Googled people tend to be celebrities and not politicians or key world figures. However, this information was on the Internet and therefore anyone in the world with access to the Internet could access this computer. By making feminist issues more prevalent in peoples lives and by making the worldwide web easier to access across the globe more people will read and understand these issues better.

4. (Madeleine)
Feminine Things.

This website is very relevant to the question of the way fragrances are sold in our culture. It is written by a "perfumista" who devotes her blog to examining every imaginable aspect of perfume, its appeal, and its marketing. Because this is a woman who has set out to become an expert on her subject area, and who posts intelligent and thoughtful entries frequently, she can be considered a worthwhile voice on this topic. If we accept the premise that one does not need to be published in a scholarly journal and/or have a doctorate to be taken seriously in a subject area, then this source is certainly reliable. The entries that she writes often do not mention feminism explicitly, which in my eyes almost adds credibility because she is not relentlessly "on a mission" to prove a specific point she's already decided must be true. When she writes about feminism, it's because something has made itself clear to her even though she's been looking at the wider picture.

She does have a section of her website devoted to feminist entries she's written:

Perfume and Feminist Aesthetics

This information is valuable because it presents us with specific examples of the ideas behind the kinds of campaigns we're focusing on in our project. It also allows us to begin our thinking with an expert's musings on the subject.

This website is fairly accessible. Even though it can only be accessed via the internet, it does not require a super-fast internet connection to be read easily, the way some websites do. Any internet speed would do in viewing this site. It was also quite easy to find after a quick internet search...two of our group members found this resource, using different search terms but the same concept. It would be difficult to make this information more accessible than it is now. Anyone around the world can access it with an internet connection, including those without computers who have access to a public library. The blog is also simple to navigate, unlike, say, Twitter. Even though Twitter is also available to everyone with an internet connection, the "newness" and intricacies of Twitter can make it seem inaccessible to those who have never used or heard of it before.

5. (Jordan)
Bad Reputation

The previous website is a website targeted towards feminist bloggers that is relevant in our topic of gender roles and "sex sells." It's trustworthy/reliable because any information that is talked about, the bloggers try to supply the readers with further links or directions to go if they wanted to further look into what is discussed. The information on this blog is valuable because it is open to subscribers to express their opinions about what's going on in the media and what feminist issues they come across. It's an open space for people to bring awareness to others

and for them to speak their minds.

Some of the barriers associated with this website is that it's mainly in the U.K. I think that a big part of a website not being able to be as accessible is that it's not advertised or promoted. I found it through google and don't think that I would have come across it had I not found it through the search engine. Social media is accessible if you are searching for it. The reader must seek out these blogs and websites in order to find the information they are looking for.

Stage 2


Whose University Project Facebook Page Ana

The "Whose University" project (and web resources that the project has utilized) are hugely relevant to contemporary questions concerning who and what is privileged in academia and the University system itself. As this project is focusing on the demographic and ideological make up of the university's values, this project is dependent upon having information relevant to the ways in which certain systems and individuals are supported more than others within academia. For this reason, the information provided must be trustworthy- success of the movement depends on the accuracy of the information that is being problematized. The "Whose U" project works towards principles of feminist consciousness because it puts into question the privileging of certain bodies of knowledge over others, and certain populations over others. In looking at who is supported, and who's knowledge is valued, and who has access to the University system, "Whose U" solicits a feminist curiosity by causing us to critique the present values of the university system and the ways in which they will define the future generation of university students.
When looking at the ways in which these various movements have utilized social media as a tool for publicity and movement building, it is important to recognize the ways in which social media is limited as a means for activism. Social media must be understood as a tool for mobilization of specific communities with access to technology, but cannot be relied on for the generation of knowledge and movement mobilization by itself. It is important to remember that one must take into account the scale of the population that is being reached through social media, with recognition of the ways in which access to technology can be not only location dependent but also class dependent. When social media is used as tool for outreach, it is important to acknowledge the fact that often times the communities most in need of outreach may not have access to social media due to factors such as socioeconomic status and location. Accessibility can be maximized by critically examining which populations are important to reach within different movements. Realistically, social media can be seen as tool for publicity in support of movements that will ultimately reach people in the streets and engage with people on an interpersonal level.

Media Mobilizing Project / Youth and Education

The "Media Mobilizing Project" looks at several different sections of activism and the ways in which blogs can mobilize communities. They divide the blog into specific sub-categories such as Youth and Education, Media Mobilizing, and Labor Blog. This is extremely helpful when it comes to finding current news in social justice work relating to education and literacy since they have a special section for this topic. I believe this blog is quiet relevant to the struggle for access to higher education since they continuously dedicate space to information including videos and images of the protests that have sprung up in most states surrounding education reform. The Philly Education Justice Union submitted several posts that talked about the campaign for Non-Violent schools asking for "More classmates and less inmates". Several marches were facilitated through this social media space. This blog is all about community journalism. At the heart of their mission statement one can find key mottos such as: "Movements begin with the telling of untold stories." I think this is very telling, since the emphasis definitely is put on trying to bring the voices of the underrepresented people into virtual spaces. The blog does a wonderful job starting to recognize that many people don't have access to naturalized spaces such as the Internet. While this blog doesn't have an exclusively feminist agenda, I would argue that their work is inherently feminist since it dedicates the space to communities to spread different strategies of community activism and how to take social actions against oppressive structures such as shortage in school funding. There are several posts that talk about mothers taking actions in order to create a better future for the students/children.

ABC's and PhD's: Gender Equity in Academic Science Colter

Despite being published in late 2008, I feel that this article carries heavy relevance within academia. It argues that Title IX should be extended further than the realm of sports and opportunity, and into the world of academia and brings in to focus the question of whether programs are getting funded equally or not. The article concludes that they are not, and in the past two years the funding crisis has only gotten worse, with budget cuts come tough decisions that have left liberal arts departments strapped for funding in comparison to other sciences. I feel that this article is fairly trustworthy, in that she cites a good deal of external sources, and her factual basis exists for her opinion and arguments. I feel that the information is both very provocative and valuable for spreading feminist ideas. The idea that Title IX should be spread to academia is a novel, and should be explored to a further level.

Saying that this resource is to everyone would be an ignorant statement, because it relies on the assumption that everyone has access to a computer, and that if they do they also have access to the internet, but granted those assumptions this article is exceptionally accessible. All sorts of individuals have access to this resource, feminists in academia including both teachers and students both would have access to this. Beyond that though, everyone else has access to it because there is no pay wall to grant access for the site, so financial resources bears no constraint if someone has a computer and a wi-fi signal to pick up. Barriers include:
Owning a computer
Having the Internet

I am rather short on ideas as to making it more accessible, but one possible solution could be a laptop guarantee as a part of our social welfare policy, this would guarantee a basic equal access to technology, while admittedly not granting an equal access to all technologies. Also, if more people were to share this sort of link on their facebooks and twitter, not only would accessibility increase, but so would awareness. The same affect would probably be had if this article was featured on the front page of Inside Higher Ed, or a new news story was published on Google News similar to this story.

One Dimensional Woman

I feel that this article is incredibly relevant (and not just because it was published 2 months ago) in the world of today's news media, filled with political punditry and theater where words are thrown out for the sake of scoring points and losing meaning day by day. Sian Norris argues that the word "feminism" and the identification of being a "feminist" may risk losing it's meaning. She worries that malleability of the word "feminism" brings the possibility of it being bent and shifted to fit nearly anyone that wants to tote the name, and that a somewhat universal definition must emerge in order for it to retain any real meaning. I feel that this information is quite trustworthy, because the author, Sian Norris is quite credible and writes frequently on the subject of feminism. I actually do think that this issue is incredibly relevant for the realm of academia, because their entire field is transversely under attack. In order for feminism to exist, let alone stay relevant in academia, there needs to be some sort of agreement on some principals within feminism in order to prevent it from being hijacked by the right.

This resource is readily available to anyone with a computer and the internet, but to say that these were the only ways in which one could measure access would be far short of examining the whole situation in the realms of accessibility. This article is most accessible to followers of The F-Word blog, it will show up in their RSS feeds and when they check up on the website, these followers are probably avid feminists, who enjoy keeping up on issues and understanding new perspectives. They themselves may be in academia already. Your causal feminist also has access to this, it is written, as not to be intimidatingly academic in nature, and the language in which they use in the blog post is mostly comprehendible by all. People with no interest in feminism whatsoever more than likely will never find this article, for it is buried away at the F-Word, so to increase accessibility, the article could first fall under a more specific category than "Reviews," also they could share a link to it on the front page of the website. This would also gain strong traction if it were to be hosted on another news site that would link people to the blog/post. All of these solutions, however, are contingent on people having a computer and access to the internet, a problem more prevalent than most may think. While a readily alternative in the status quo would be access at public libraries, even they have their limits, like "who can be a member" "who much does it cost to get a card" and other blocks that would keep disadvantaged individuals and populations from getting access to this blog. A solution may be to provide laptops as a part of one of the Federal Government's social services programs.

"When 'feminist' and 'gender' become embarrassing dirty words in acedamia" Hana

This article is very relevant today because most people in general society still have the wrong idea of what the word feminism means or encompasses. In academia one would expect people to have a higher understanding and knowledge, but feminism seems to be just as misunderstood. In academia, according to this article, it seems to mainly be mocked, the reason for this being a twisted misconception of what the media and folk discourse have created and falsely represented feminism and gender to be. This blog source is very reliable; it is a well-known feminist blog from the UK. This article definitely touches on some very prevalent problems that have always been present in feminism, mainly that people have misconstrued ideas of what it really is. This is coming from a feminist blog, meaning that only readers of such interest would stumble upon this. It is a very accessible article though, that language is not hard to understand and it brings up some interesting points.

My Late April 13th, DE.

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Martin says, "One might argue that it is through socialization (and the management, negotiation, and resistance of it) that children learn how to operate in gendered structures, learn the repetitive stylized performances that constitute gender, or how to do gender in interaction and how to avoid sanctions for doing wrong (457)."

Gender-neutral child rearing means offering the same opportunities to all your children, regardless of gender. While reading I became curious as to the way one, as a parent, "offers" opportunities. It seems to me that by participating in "offering" any kind of activity whether that activity is most associated with the male or female gender is participating in some kind of socialization of that child. In Free To Be You and Me, William wants a doll, and everyone seems to be against that because having a doll is a female thing. In the end it became okay for William to have said doll because his grandmother who fits into the "older and wiser" socialized stereotype justifies his wish because he will be a father someday, therefore implying that he shouldn't have a doll otherwise. His mother was largely absent in this short clip of his upbringing, which shows a hierarchy in the home because of age and gender between the father, mother, and grandmother. I'm curious as to the effects patriarchy and domestic hierarchy have on raising children in a "gender" neutral state? For instance, how are children supposed to be raised outside their "normal societal" roles if their family looks and acts like the "normal" nuclear family? And if said family tries to interest their male child in Barbies for instance, isn't that it's own kind of socializing? How can Feminists step outside this system and create a new family, instead of perpetuating the old problems?

To kind of tie this up and bring it back to Martin, I noticed that there are so many references to parenting research and advice books, and I've known many a new parent that finds out their first born is on they way and they rush out to the book store to buy a new parenting book. Who writes these? Who approves them for publishing? How could feminists use this area of book sales to spread gender-neutral parenting ideas, and feminist concepts? How might feminist principles be polluted by these books? How might the (mistakenly) interchanged definitions of sex and gender be perpetuated?

I'm sorry this is so late, I've been having major computer problems the last couple of weeks and that's really thrown a wrench in participating in a class that relies on blogging, commenting, and tweeting. Computer problems could be an accessibility issue in terms of using technology to participate in feminist debates.

Domestic Workers Rights in NY


As a followup to our unit on labor and talking about domestic workers in CA trying to get laws protecting them passed, I found this article about the state of domestic labor in NY after they passed a Domestic Workers' Bill Of Rights which grants overtime pay, days off, and other benefits. It seems that while they have rights, domestic workers either do not know that they are entitled to benefits, or that they are too afraid to stand up for their rights.

Stage 2


Part One Simi, Jon, Annslie, Abbie & Reid

1.Beyond black & White (Abbie)
Christelyn Karazin, 2011


The thesis of this blog post is that the independent Strong Black Woman attitude of the 1990's made other people, including feminists, less sympathetic to their continuing plight. Empowerment was codified as independence, which was interpreted as isolation.

Whether this argument has any truth or not, it brings in an interesting perspective. It draws attention to two things:

1. Culture and media have an integral role in shaping political and personal events.

2. Representations can come from any direction, not only those in power.

The post does not provide any facts or figures; it is merely the perspective of one black woman who provides anecdotes of trends that she has personally observed. Like most blog posts, it doesn't provide any citations.

The comments are almost more relevant than the post itself. Women tell stories of their unwed friends and interpersonal relationships that have been affected by race. One person comments on the origins of the idea of the Strong Black Woman.

This post is like a Wikipedia entry. We cannot rely on its validity, but it gives us more ideas of what to

2. Marriage Among Unwed Mothers (Jon)

This article is really relevant to the difference in treatment of different races in respect to unwed mothers. The article provides many various facts and figures relating to this subject. The information is also very trust worthy as it comes from a nationally recognized organization, The National Institute of Child Development and Human Development. However, there is going to be a bit of skew with the statistics since they will want favorable data. It will be good information for this project though because the organization tends to have more feminist ideals.

3. Abortion Gang (Simi)

A site becomes trustworthy and reliable when it ends with "org" "gov" and "edu". This site
named "ABORTION GANG" describes a good example of a good and trustworthy site due to the fact that it ends with "org". It also shows the characteristics of a good source due to the fact that it gives room for opinions and comments. The name of the blog "ABORTION GANG" also shows a great awareness of feminist issue and reproductive rights. It discusses the reproductive health as feminist issue and gives "blog rolls" for easy accessibility for some other feminist issues. I belief the information are relevant and genuine due to the fact that it is able to recreate sources from which the information were originally from.

4. Bluemilk (Reid)

The strength of this post from Bluemilk is in the authors interpretation of the political and social arguments regarding single mothers. The author is herself a single mother, so what she is saying is not theoretical -- it is a result of her practical experiences. In that sense, the information in this blog posting is completely reliable, and embodies what feminism is supposed to be. A voice that previously could have been marginalized now has a forum for posting her own ideas, which are legitimately presented.



1. I will be assessing the website "Girls, Women + Media Project" which is a website that focuses on how women are portrayed in the media. This website is relevant in that it directly focuses on the influences of the media, and provides resources for ways to change the media. However, while the focus of the website could be considered a feminist issue, the website does not specifically identify as feminist. While most of the website is opinion based, where there are verifiable facts the website does provide many sources to back up their claims.
2. Accessibility is always an issue when it comes to websites. Obviously those that do not have access to the internet, or those that do not speak English will not be able to access the contents of this site. While some people will be able to use public computers in libraries, there is always an issue of website censorship on public computers. Also, in regards to access to public libraries, those who live in more rural areas may not have easy access to a library. It could also be a concern that those in other countries may not have publically funded libraries through which they could use the internet. Luckily this website does not seem to have many graphics or java-supported features which would make this website harder to load for those with slower internet connections. To make this site more accessible, the articles could be translated to different languages, so that those who do not speak English could also benefit from the information. Also, I noticed that this site does not utilize other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, nor does it have any sort of comment section so that guests could exchange information and ideas with each other. I believe that the Girls, Women + Media Project could benefit from a Twitter and/or Facebook presence so that they can address a wider audience, and to increase interaction between those that maintain the site and others interested in this topic.

Part Two: Assessing Resources


The resource I'm evaluating is the blog post, Debunking the Myth of the "Welfare Queen": Who Actually Receives TANF Benefits? From the Women's Law Project Blog

Part One:

This blog post was made Nov 2nd 2010 and it's especially relevant given how the specter of the welfare queen is still prevalent in society/politics, despite being a term coined in the 1980's by Ronald Reagan the image has been an enduring one. Given the economic recession and hostilities towards government spending and the metaphorical "belt buckling" that government and citizens are expected to adhere to, programs like welfare have especially come under attack. The idea of poor minority women living off of handouts provided by taxpayers is one that is continually used and the statistics skewed to present a justification to punish our most vulnerable citizens. The website and information within the blog post is a good source given the statistics they present in their argument are backed up by the websites (sources) indicated within their post and any other assertions via numbers and ideologies like women not profiting from welfare are linked to other articles and blog posts. The site consistently backs up its sources as well as cites them as a means of accountability and strength for their argument as well as not blatantly plagiarizing someone else's works.

I think the information it presents is valuable because it takes an issue that's been around for a while and presents information that is relevant to the debate now as well as framing it in a way that could be understood and deemed relevant now. For example, the author opens the post by relating a story from another blogger on the site about, "their experience observing an 11th grade classroom. The post discusses a student performing a poem that mocks a poor woman who encourages her seven children to steal food. When the character confronts police officers and runs into the drug-addict father of her children, she delivers the punch line - 'You can have my welfare check!' According to the post's author, when asked who the poem was referring to, the student said 'Minorities, because they're the main ones on welfare.' That post was just made in February and its value is derived from debunking the idea that poor black women have overcome the negative stereotypes meant to punish and demean them and reassert how important this issue still is today because of the radical misconceptions still being reproduced and even interpreted in these particular ways in a high school. It's a reminder for feminists that there is still work to be done on this issue as well as making relevant an issue that often gets forgotten now given a surge in conservative politics and more restrictive access to abortion, healthcare, and Planned Parenthood. The information is also valuable because of the statistics and studies used to back up their points as a means of showing how the issue intersects with a number of issues facing a wide range of women that feminism has an interest in addressing, confronting, and problematizing.

Part Two:

The Women's Law Project Blog is fairly accessible if given the persons in question have access to a computer and internet sources. That being said the blog itself is fairly easy to find and search for using a general search engine like Google. It's not a personal blog but rather one that's a publicly supported domain via donations. A person using a library computer with a limited amount of time could find it fairly easily. The blog itself is also linked/has links to a numerous amounts of other women's issues/feminists blogs that creates a wealth of resources. They also have a Twitter feed and Facebook page featured on their site. It makes good use of using many forms of social media as well as featuring email subscription (I suspect for those who don't particularly like Twitter/Facebook). The barriers to this wealth of information and access of course is dependent on a person's access to the internet. That is the biggest and most unfortunate flaw when using blogs and social media to distribute ideas and information. A person is able to go to a library and use public computers but there's limits to the amount of time such access is granted as well as some censorship used by libraries to limit certain searches. It's hard to remember at times but obviously not everyone owns a computer or has internet access at their fingertips so to make this information more accessible it would perhaps be helpful if a blog like this one had some sort of journal that could be produced monthly that contains different blog posts and information concerning other resources that could be used for persons who don't have internet access; it could only act as a sample size of all the information and linking resources but in that way the information could at least be distributed via another medium as well as provide information about centers and organizations that can be located/contacted outside of the internet.

In general though this idea would be time consuming as well as fairly expensive--one of the reasons I believe social media and blogging has dominated a wealth of the information and discussion occurring within society around issues that you wouldn't see every day on the news or in the paper. Social media in a lot of ways is demonstrative of the power that privilege provides to certain sects of society while leaving out others. The "others" more often than not are persons that are particularly vulnerable and could use more resources but are not able to access them. Hopefully more will be done with free wifi programs in larger cities as well as a greater presence of public computers/affordable laptops and desktops to be made available for people that simply can't afford spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on such tools.

Phase 2: Humorous, Feminist Sex-Positivity

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Group members: Allie, Gina, Jackson, Ariel, Briana


WandaSykes.jpg1) Wanda Sykes
I believe that the site and video for Wanda Sykes is relevant. Often through comedy one can say things that otherwise may go unsaid. She is a very well known comedian that reaches a wide audience. Through comedy people of differing background can come together, laugh and learn. Sykes is willing to push the boundaries, questioning sexual normativity. Comedy opens up a space for discussion and evaluation of dominant discourse. This form of spreading awareness is valuable because female comedian do become very noticeable and credible voices for change. This format allows the audience to engage on a personal level. This format can be seen as a technique for conscious rising and improve understanding of gender concepts and inequalities.

Erotic-Revolutionaries.jpg2) Erotic Revolutionaries (Shayne Lee)
Erotic Revolutionaries by Shayne Lee was recently published in 2010. The book discusses current injustices faced by black women including sex, sexuality, and bodily representation within the media and their own communities. The chapter Lee has deemed "Erotic Queens of Comedy" discusses the importance of black women in comedy and their use of humor to address social injustices including sex, sexuality, race, age, and body representation. Lee has received his PhD is sociology from Northwestern University and is currently the associate professor of sociology and African Diaspora studies at Tulane University. Lee's critique of black comediennes helps to shed light on an arena (comedic performance) that has been and is yet today over shadowed by men. Lee mentions comedy scholar Nancy Walker and her explanation, "...that feminist humor mocks gender inequality in an attempt to render it absurd and powerless" (110). The entrance and exposure of black comediennes has given sexual agency to all women by addressing issues such as inadequate sexual performance, hygiene, oral sex, penis size/function, etc.

Porn-for-Women.jpg3) Liza Donnelly
This source is highly relevant to feminist humor because Liza Donnelly is a female, feminist, comedic cartoonist! I believe our topic, feminist/humorous perspectives on sex, fits cohesively with Liza Donnelly's message of using humor as a tool for social change. Even more specifically, Donnelly draws upon her own cartoons to spread feminist messages pertaining to topics such as marriage and sex. Because this is a more opinionated-based source I don't think that reliability is a concern, but I believe her achievements verify her qualifications. She has been a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker Magazine, a writer and public speaker, spoken at TED, The United Nations, and much more. I think this is valuable information for spreading feminism because it communicates a message using humor and feminism in an unconventional way. It grabs peoples' attention and that is effective in getting any message across.

Wikipedia-logo.png4) Sex-positive Feminism Wikipedia Page This entry is relevant to our project and to feminism in general in its capacity as comprehensive explanation of the history and manifestations of sex-positivity with in the feminist movement. While it doesn't explicitly address humor or humorous perspectives, it is important to have an understanding of where much of first-hand sources we are addressing are coming from. Wikipedia's trustworthiness has been openly debated in many circles. I present it here, however, as a reliable source. I have found no lapses in its content and I genuinely (if perhaps naively) trust Wikipedia's contributors. The entry is cited as being US-centric, which is not a concern for our particular project. I would like to assess the value of this source by looking at the main 'Feminism' entry, which this source is an off-shoot of, based on the fact that this is probably what most people would run into if they were interested in exploring the various meanings of feminism. Wikipedia is invaluable in its wide-spread use and accessibility. It is arguably the first source someone might use to get basic information about feminism (and then explore more in depths for its nuances). The potential is boundless.

PullingOurOwnStrings.jpg5) Pulling Our Own Strings is a collection of feminist humor that covers the gamut of second-wave feminist issues: labor, menstruation, motherhood, sexual violence, female objectification, and more. As a compilation of women's humor, which is undeniably rare, it deserves acknowledgement and value. However, it is rather dated. Its content and style are very seventies. Moreover, the feminism that is represented is a characteristically white, middle-class one, which reveals a great deal about the feminist movement at the time of its publication. The book is useful to a point; many of the issues it addresses are still pressing today, and as a historical artifact it helps to track the progress and transformation of the movement. However, the gaps in its scope should not be excused.
Wanda is very accessible for multiple communities. She is an artist that is seen in multiple forms of media. She is a well known African-American lesbian activist comedian and actor. For this artist, I believe there are few barriers to accessibility. Through her site there are links to other organization that Sykes is involved in. I think that sites for celebrity access can provide sources to other sites that one may not have found on their own. Social media sites can begin to change the discourse around feminist issues by opening up the dialogue and including those who might otherwise be heard.
I believe that Erotic Revolutionaries may be best accessed by those who are knowledgeable in/seeking feminist thought and theory. Because this book is a scholarly piece it will most likely be accessed by educated persons interested in reading feminist theory, particularly a black feminist's perspective on black women's sex positivity. Although this topic is relevant to anybody seeking a sex positive, feminist perspective Lee's work cannot be easily found on the internet or in a magazine. In order for this book to reach a larger audience I think it should be promoted through social media sights, television, classrooms, magazines, and community gatherings. On that note, if the academic language is not relatable/comprehendible for certain individuals the use of community meetings to share the important information from the book can be verbalized and shown through examples mentioned in the book (Beyoncé, Mo'Nique, Sheryl Underwood, etc.) to spread this wealth of knowledge.
For anyone with computer access, Donnelly's cartoons are easily accessed; a google search will result in her website. Unfortunately some people may not think to type "feminist, humor, sex" into google. I had never heard of Donnelly before researching for this topic so I wouldn't know if she well-known. I believe social media is very constructive when it comes to westernized feminism because we all have computers and it is relevant considering many of our issues are not urgent or pertaining to a life or death concern. For feminist issues pertaining to third world countries I believe social media is somewhat irrelevant. Although it spreads awareness, awareness doesn't necessarily rectify all situations.
As I previously mentioned, Wikipedia is widely known as a forerunner among internet databases. Therefore, the Sex-positive Feminism entry is widely accessible by anyone who might search for related terms on Google or Wikipedia. It's translatable into most widely spoken languages, making it even more accessible to those who's first language is not English. Because it is compiled by numerous contributors, the information is varied and boundless. Of course, internet access is necessary, as with most of our sources. It may also be moderately difficult to find, as it is somewhat buried within the main entry on Feminism. With just a little digging, it's more than available and readily readable, discernible, and educational.
Pulling Our Own Strings is fairly accessible for its medium and its age. It is mostly available on Google Books, which is free and easy to find (assuming you have internet access and enough online literacy to know how to use Google Books, which assumes a certain degree of privilege and education which accompanies a certain social class). I also obtained it easily at the university library, and there are two more copies in the public library system. However, it is an old book and probably fairly obscure; although copies are accessible in theory, most people probably don't have the awareness of its existence or interest to seek it out. As far as I know, there is not a book-on-tape version, which there probably should be - many of the essays and stand-up comedy transcripts would be more effective with an auditory component.

Stage 2: Assessing Resources/Hannah Gustison

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1. The source I will be looking at closer is the blog entitled PinkStinks. This source is certainly applicable to our topic as there are several entries addressing media influences the choices of girls. Specifically there is a post taking a close look at some skinny jean ads by the Gap and looking at a toy catalog. Their main focus is on the media effects on enforcing gender roles and the self awareness of girls. As for its trustworthiness, it's like any another blog where anyone can put one together. Although the site is well organized and professional in its appearance and they take a clearly feminist approach. In some ways, I wonder if it may be too black and white however, the information is present which can be extracted without having to adhere to their interpretations.

2. The accessibility of this site raises the same concerns as any other blog. This is a site that you likely wouldn't find unless you specifically searched for it or someone told you to check it out. It is very specific! It also must be taken into account that it is centered out of the UK and while there is no problem with that, it is important to remember that companies actually create different ads for different countries because of the different demographic. So, when looking at the Gap ad that they refer to, that is an ad that the Gap created with a European demographic in mind. Thus, we have to look at not only the American feminist prospective but also the European feminist prospective. It's a matter of open-mindedness that has to be considered when addressing this site. The fact that it is European also creates an American accessibility barrier in the sense that it is even less likely that it would find an American audience.

As with any blog the matter of accessibility is always a challenge. The point of a blog is to be opinionated and thus will always shut someone out. The only way to make something like this more accessible to incorporate other views to the point where it becomes more of a conversation rather than a statement of opinions from a group of people who share relatively the same ideas. This site however, has a goal of raising awareness so I doubt that having conflicting views would help much. They do advertise though to get their name out. It's unfortunate but advertising and networking really seems the best/easiest way to make these types of blogs more accessible.

DE for april 20


Group C should post their DE entries by Monday evening and Groups A and D should post their comments by Wednesday at noon.

This week (4/18 and 4/20), we are reading Chávez's essay, "Border (In)Securities" and parts of Families, Unvalued (note: Read 7-18, 135-144 and closely skim 46-91). For this DE, reflect on the following questions:

  1. How do the authors discuss family values in these readings?
  2. Any terms/concepts/ideas that are confusing for you?
BONUS EXTRA CREDIT: Earn 15 extra points for your total grade by attending one of the following events and posting a 200-300 entry about it by April 22. File your post under the category, "extra credit":

J Crew Gender Controversy


So ironically enough after our discussion Wednesday about children and gender roles I ran into several articles discussing this advertisement by J Crew:


A boy who likes pink nail polish is apparently newsworthy. Here are two different takes on the issue from the opposite end of the spectrum.

Fox new's response: Here are some of the more savory quotes from the article.

"These folks [J Crew] are hostile to the gender distinctions that actually are part of the magnificent synergy that creates and sustains the human race."

"This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity--homogenizing males and females when the outcome of such "psychological sterilization" [my word choice] is not known."

The blog Afterellen picked up the story and offered it's own "doomsday scenario" of what might happen if the gender lines are no longer firmly entrenched.

Choice quote: "I don't know why conservatives always fly off the handle about stuff like this. One trip to a toy story proves that the gender binary is still firmly in place. Heck, at you can even sort your search results by "boy" toys and "girl" toys (helpfully color-coded pink or blue). Also, actual science AND Lady Gaga are here to tell you that dolls and Halloween costumes don't make a person queer." Here's their own spoof on the issue:


Thoughts, comments? I particularly like the notion of "psychological sterilization" friggen hilarious.

Gendering children


During class today, I was struck by the ways in which gendering children is so pervasive in our society, even in messages that attempt to critique our strict gender binary. First of all, I was thinking about "William Wants a Doll" and how problematic I found it, despite the fact that William does eventually get his doll in the end. As brought up in class, I find it disturbing that preparing him for fatherhood is the justification for being able to have a doll. To me, that is such a ridiculous excuse, as he is not permitted to just have one because he wants one, and I hardly feel the taunting of his peers will die down if he informs them, "Don't worry guys, I'm practicing for fatherhood." If anything, I feel that reason will be further reason to mock the poor kid. I also must argue that, as a female who grew up with her fair share of dolls in a family of all daughters, dolls taught me nothing about parenting. To me, dolls were just more toys. I lost them, cut their hair, drew on them with markers, they received no delicate treatment from me simply because they were babies. I could simply lack motherly instincts, or it could also be attributed to the fact that I always just had dolls. As the youngest of three girls, they were just there. I never had to ask for one, with the intention of playing with it with extreme care in the way that William did.

But I digress; the actual intention of this post was to discuss a comment that came up towards the end of class. I was intrigued with the idea of baby showers and the ways in which children are gendered while still in the womb. I immediately thought of the old myth (that many people still swear by) that pregnant women carry boys differently than girls, most commonly the idea that boys are carried lower in the stomach than girls. So, I find it ridiculous that we are a culture so obsessed with pointing out differences in males and females that we've concocted up how they supposedly inhabit their mothers' stomachs. This also made me think of a recent Kohl's commercial where a new mother is thankful that she purchased her baby items Kohl's because their return policy made it easy to return the blue items she purchased in anticipation of a "Daniel" instead of the "Danielle" she ended up with. It just seems crazy to me the ways in which a child's surroundings must be tailored differently depending upon their sex. I just fail to wrap my head around how almost institutionalized this system of gendering has become, despite our claims of valuing individuality.

The Kohl's commercial, for your viewing (dis)pleasure:

Talk next Monday at 7


Karma Chávez (we are reading her for next week) is speaking next Monday: 

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Uniting American Families Act- A Feminist Issue

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"Don't let our families be torn apart"

A bill being reintroduced to Congress soon. Do you see this as a feminist issue? Do you think it will likely be passed any time soon? Why or why not?

Day Twenty-one: April 13


We wil be watching this video in class today:

Tomboy from Barb Taylor on Vimeo.

Here are some questions to consider from kjfalcon's discussion of the movie:

  • What are some of the main messages from the cartoon?
  • Why is gender something that has to be policed?
  • In the cartoon how do you interpret the representation of the intersections of gender and race? If you don't see the explicit connection between gender and race/ethnicity does it matter that this Alex - the tomboy - is a Latina character?
  • What do you think of the representation of the mother character?
  • This is meant to be a tool for teachers learning how to teach - is this affective in this sense? What value do you see in encouraging dialogues around these issues to occur through this movie?
Is it possible to raise children in a gender-neutral environment? How do toy advertisements discourage this and encourage rigid gender divisions?

We are also watching some clips from free to and me.

So...I lost cable and internet last week due to an extremely high bill so I strolled down to the Southeast public library and picked up season 2 of HBO's series "Big Love" and had a marathon all weekend. As I was watching, my feminist curiosity took off... the show depicts a modern day polygamist family off the compound...think TLC's sister wives.


Despite their high level of normalcy, I can't help but become frustrated with and at the same type sympathize with these "sister wives" and the religion in which they have chosen to live by. Because the main character, the husband, has three wives, each wife only gets two nights a week with their husband. Although the women try to harness their jealousies on a daily basis, there is still a sense of competitiveness between them. The dynamics of a usual marriage is thrown into a whirlwind as the relationship becomes more of a group dynamic where they literally vote on issues. One episode shows Margie, the youngest wife, absolutely delighted just to learn she wasn't the last one to find out about the husband's business venture.
To add to the mix, each wife has children with the husband. The episode I watched last night showed the toll this patriarchal religion has taken on the oldest son. The oldest son decides to become in engaged to his girlfriend at sixteen so as to not live in sin any longer because they engage in sexual activity. One of the sister wives, his mother, explains that this is no reason to get engaged and that he is still young. The boy replies by saying something to the effect of, "If our love is not eternal, I can always find my second wife." To me, this type of thinking implies that women are somewhat disposable. After this remark, the audience can tell the sister wife is very troubled by her son's perception.

Is this a feminist issue?

Can feminists, those who I believe strive to respect others' choices and beliefs no matter how socially unacceptable or stigmatized, recognize this religion as legitimate belief system?

What does this religion communicate, when it not only allows, but mandates one sex to have multiple partners to gain access to the "divine path" to heaven?

To me, this question is ridiculous but relevant to our unit; could a Mormon, polygamist family hold feminist values? What would it look like? Is it healthy for children to grow up in this environment?

DE Option 1


Bernstein's reading stirred up many thoughts for me. It made me question parenting and the advice that parents take, which Martin helped me zoom in on. Bernstein's daughter, Nora, made me curious about what it would be like if all parents parented the way Bernstein does. The reading made me question the psychological effects on children from opening them up to the idea of exploring genders. Society is so heavily influenced by gender roles and vice versa. I wondered what Nora's gender curiosity did psychologically to her. I wondered how hard it would be to be a young child exploring genders when all of the other kids were fitting the gender normatives. I also wondered how Bernstein held up all that time since she claims "adult tolerance for transchildren is low." How sensitive the issue is altogether made me curious. The issue that both Bernstein and Martin raise, though, is that gender is tied to assumptions about sexuality which is problematic and may be associated with homophobia. This especially made me think deeper into gender identity and the difficulties that go along with it. Gender identity and sexuality have been assumed by many for a long time. With sexuality, it is now known that there are shades of gray. I feel that gender identity on the other hand has been generally black and white to many people. This is also problematic because it ties us down to gender roles without their being shades of gray. I like that Bernstein allowed her daughter to explore and although I find it to be a bit risky, I feel that she has successfully done gender neutral child rearing. I also had some curiosity about socialization being a part of children defining their gender. If there were to be more gender neutral child rearing, what , other than gender norms, could gender neutral children identify with? Something outside of male roles and female roles? Almost everything is linked to a gender, whether it be a job, a color, a type of house, a shoe design...masculine and feminine. What would it be like without those labels and stereotypes and gender normative rules and roles?

DE group D


For the direct engagement for this week I will address question one of option two: What does it mean to engage in gender-neutral child rearing? Martin writes "advocating...means ...parents should not only permit but encourage children to move beyond gender stereo-types" (Martin, Pl 468). I'm not sure that one even if they tried could fully raise a child gender-neutral. A child is not solely raised by their parents; society also has a large role in gender socialization. One would need to get rid of every bit of the outside world. Bernstein writes of Nora seeking out her identity, with support from her mother. I believe this should be the goal of the parents. I don't think that it is helpful to encourage any gender role. Bernstein allowed her daughter to find her own place with in society. As a parent myself I am not so concerned with the biology of my child, I am aware that physical gender does little to inform his interest. The focus may need to be on the parents and not so much on the child. A child can't fail at gender expectations if there are no expectations. I feel that it is more important allow children to explore all aspects of identity if THEY so choose.