Recently in a. jan 31 Category

Direct Engagement #1

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

DE #1

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

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

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

Direct Engagement- the painful separation

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

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

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

Sarah Palin on feminists

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

Feminists & Social Media

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

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

DE 1

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

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

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

Direct Engagement 1

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


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

Direct engagement 1

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

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

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

Questioning Mass Media and Social Media

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

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

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

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

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

Direct Engagement (DE) Question for a. jan 31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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