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Feminist Social Media Assessment

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At the beginning of the semester, when I got to know that we were going to be using blogs and twitter for class, I had very mixed feelings. Even though I was familiar with blogs and twitter, I thought that the whole process may be too complicated. I think many others in the class had very similar apprehensions. Over the course of the semester I have become very comfortable using both these mediums for communication. In fact, I found myself enjoying writing on the blog, because it felt much less formal; and as a result I felt I could express better. Though I do not engage with twitter continuously, I find it a great way to share interesting articles, information etc with class.

I find bell hooks' call for spreading feminist awareness through pamphlets, buttons, t-shirts etc very relevant in todays times. I believe that social media is another great means of spreading feminist awareness. I was quite amazed at the amount and intensity of feminist discussions and dialogues happening online through blogs and other forums. Taking in to consideration the amount of time we spend online, many people are more likely to read an online article or petition, rather than a pamphlet (which does not mean we should stop grassroots level awareness spreading activities). So, we have to make the most of this medium in spreading awareness and engaging people.

I think it is good for a class like ours to interact through a blog which is open to the public; We have had some really great conversations in class and online, and other than the fact that it is documented on the class blog, it is an avenue for people (outside the class) to see these discussions. Engaging with the larger groups outside of the university through social media, will also help in changing the general perception that academia is very exclusive. Anyone reading our class blog would be able to see that we as students of feminism engage in different issues of social justice and not just women's issues. Also through twitter and blogs we were able to follow feminist activists, which was a great leaning experience. I see social media, especially blogs as a great feminist resource.

I see 'access' as both the greatest benefit as well as drawback of feminist social media. There is a whole lot feminist social media resources online, which is available at the click of a mouse to anyone who is interested; at the same time there are many who need these resources and are interested in these great debates and discussions that are happening , but do not have access to it due to the fact that it is online. So, it is important to realize that feminist social media is only a part of the new feminist movement and not the whole of it.

Social Media Assessment

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Feminist Debates has embraced and critiqued social media as a feminist education tool. We have used hashtags on Twitter and the course blog itself. We have taken time to think critically about various other websites to figure out the advantages and the limitations of them. During our time in this class we have broken up into small group discussions and held large discussions as well. Each student must present at least twice to the classroom about a feminist reading or feminist website. In addition to presenting websites to the class, students are required to tweet three feminist sources using the proper hashtag.
This class has effectively used social media as a tool for communication and spreading awareness. The Internet is a great and easy way for us college students to stay involved and engaged with feminism. It's effective because all of us have access to it. It's effective because all of us are asked to explore the different mediums (both course blog and Twitter). This was especially helpful when it came to the diablog assignment. From my own experience I like Twitter so much more than I like blogging. The reason why I liked Twitter is because it was fast, short, and easy compared to blogs, which take longer, are longer than 140 characters, and uThink was not the user-friendliest software. Also when it came to diablog presentations GoogleDocs seem to be a BIG help!! Thinking back I wish every group used GoogleDocs and was required to share their document with our professor at puot0002@umn.edu.
Another way in which social media has been effective in our class is the live Twitter-feed on the home page of the course blog. It's taking the two mediums and combining them, creating a mixed media form of communication on the Internet.
However social media tools in the classroom may be ineffective because of lagging Internet speeds and the learning curve it may or may not have on some people depending on how tech-savvy they are. It takes some people longer than others but once everyone is on the same page it's smooth sailing from there.
One of the biggest benefits for social media and feminist education is that it appeals to a broad audience. Thinking within our countries borders, any person can stumble upon it, any bored teenage girl in Iowa, any curious boy in Texas, any old person in Oregon, anyone, anywhere! We've living in a day and age where people ask the Internet questions instead of friends. Having feminist resources online allows anyone who takes some initiative to be able to learn about these issues free at their fingertips on their own time.
One of the biggest obstacles though is that it's lack of visibility. I'm thinking of Harvey Milk when I say this but people aren't going to be as threatened by feminists if they know one personally. Maybe I'm trying to say that feminists need to "come out" like Harvey Milk was so sure that GLBT people needed to come out. Without visibility it is difficult for a movement to be taken seriously. If the feminist presence is only online under aliases like meownins... what does that really mean? What does that offer? It's important to think about online identities versus real life identities and the roles and impact those directly have on people.
I loved the focus on social media in this class. This is the first class I have ever taken that does so. It's better than most classes because I can take away so much more from it. Instead of having a large textbook to sit on my shelf I have blogs, websites, news sites, hashtags, and YouTube videos I can share with my friends. I can keep revisiting these sources because they are constantly being updated. Lets be honest here, I will NEVER go back to look through my geology textbook but I definitely WILL keep reading Colorlines.com.

Reading Ex: #2

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After reading the article/blog Abortion gang it really opened my eyes to the technology we have today. There are all of these websites, blogs, articles to read to keep you informed and able to reach out to others and be heard. From this particular article the line above really cut deep to me. This was from the oct 31 blog post.
I really feel for this family because a similar case was presented and could have happened to me. I am the youngest of seven children in my family and i am very hap to be here today. This article was hard to read because i am very grateful to be here and be healthy. While I was still in the womb my family/parents were told i was possibly going to have downs syndrome and were given all of the information on what to do. Since my mother was older it becomes more likely to happen and abortion was also presented as a different option. To my appreciation I am here today healthy and happy.
It is very bitter sweet to know how lucky I am to be here but it is also very hard to believe and realize that for some people the decision wasn't how i would hope. I just don't believe a health care system could push what isn't there decision. I believe you have to give the families the info and option but should stop there. Once you start telling them what is best or trying to push the decision is where the CHOICE gets pushed aside.
Reading all of these articles and stories has opened up my eyes to what can be done and what needs to be changed. Overall I believe Websites like these are there for an outlet or a way to get your own say i just hope it can move forward now from blogs to organizations that can not only inform but provide help and services.

Current Example

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Tweet:
How often is Jenna Marbles viewed as a feminist? She fits my definition! #femd2011


I admit to being a frequent visitor of the Jenna Marbles youtube site. The link that I am sharing with you is one that states Jenna is not a feminist because she addresses certain issues, such as "what girls do on the internet." Even though some of her videos may be considered outside the "normal" definition of feminism, she does touch on some very important issues. One of her videos discusses how men view women, and that women should have more self-respect and find someone who is willing to treat them decently. She fits into my own definition of feminism as unity, because she brings an awful lot of people together to listen to her. Even though most of it is for entertainment, she does bring up extremely valid and crucial points, and is able to get them across to multiple viewers.

This is one of Marbles' controversial videos:
http://feministmedia.tumblr.com/post/8908715035/jenna-marbles-on-feminism-and-women-she-seems

Her media savvy and entertainment skills have brought numerous people together to listen to what she has to say. She has the potential to influence feminism.

Current Example of my Def. of Feminism!

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There are so many articles and stipulations put on "Feminist" to be a certain type of person. I thought that's what we were fighting against! But anyway, there are several examples a famous one of (bell hooks) the presumably puts Feminists into a little box of what a feminist should look like, and stand for. Um what happen to our voice!?! This was the first's feminist's goal! What happened to agree to disagree or acceptance? Where do we get off telling another "Feminist" what they should believe or not believe? How is one's view and set of beliefs that are (based on perspective) superior to another's? Once again that's getting into the very faint line of using our freedom of speech and/or being oppressive. The current issue that I have is that of women wearing makeup, participating in cosmetic surgery or any other societal norm accepted and imposed on women, by feminist. This thought is a very bad horror story to some feminist and to others it's just their choice. I can see how a group of people who seemingly work so hard to not be oppressed and held to ridiculous societal practices, also seemingly submit to them regularly and openly. This can seem very hypocritical and to some contradictory but the example Quinn Davis gives of her professor in this article sheds some light on the in's and out of what's acceptable/unacceptable to some feminist.

"It's hard enough to feel forced into making a decision without being punished for making it. Believe it or not, a lot of people actually do like whatever thing society is telling them to do. You can't socialize someone into liking something and then ostracize them for liking it. I know the media and beauty industry made me think that I needed mascara. I'm a feminist! But now I love it. I love it for me. I can go without, sure, but I just love the way it looks." (Quinns Prof.)

She also says, "The point of feminism isn't to proclaim how women should be. In fact, that's the opposite of feminism. Feminism is about people choosing for themselves, without societal, familial or any other pressures getting in the way," which is exactly what I've been saying in so many words all along. I think this statement can be used for almost any issue and be true, it's all about our personal choice, views, definitions, values, etc.

Feminism isn't to proclaim how women should be.Feminist should let women choose for themselves and respect them for their CHOICE! #femd2011
Nov 08 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

Current Exmple

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http://jezebel.com/5531138/how-are-teenage-girls-supposed-to-identify-as-feminists-with-these-role-models

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I enjoyed this article and I felt I related to a lot of what was being said. I do think this is a problem within our society because we aren't realizing what really can change something and what is just there because of our media.
Our culture and media today has effected many young people around the world men and women. We should not look up to people that have nothing in common with us. I think that the people to loko up to that matter are those you surround yourself with because then it allows you to surround yourself with people that are like you.
But I wouldn't say you can put a face to a feminist. It is ultimately yourself and what you believe in that makes you who you are. No one is going to make you anything you don't strive to be. That is why it is hard to hear the undertone that being a "feminist" is bad. Truly it is your own choice.
I really enjoyed when she said, "My solution is to be my own role model"- I know people do influence who I am and what I think but ultimately I make my own decisions. I think for myself and I believe that makes who I am.
At this age I don't know if you need to know if you are a feminist or not. I think when you believe in something you will put an effort in when it actually is apparent and meaningful to you, just like with every other aspect of our lives. But I do think there needs to be more opportunities to learn about things outside of our comfort zones. Overall for me taking this class has opened up my eyes and aloud me to grow as a young adult. Each day I find out more and more about who I am and who I want to be.

"Proof the price of revolution is death, then I'm not afraid." Spoken word as my current example. #femd2011
Nov 06 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

I don't know the person who wrote and/or performed this, I don't even know the original title, but it is a powerful piece that speaks to my heart.

Here is the audio: 01 Track 1.wma

I'm choosing to use a spoken word piece to help demonstrate my definition of feminism. Spoken word is political; it is an integration of "political action with personal troubles that works to dismantle hierarchical structures and all forms of power, and situations, in which people can oppress one another" (my definition of feminism). Spoken word is revolutionary; it is powerful and it (speaking broadly) our voices in opposition to hegemonic systems/practices.

It supports my definition of feminism because it calls to question systematic and institutional practices that impacts us all. It unsettles us to think about the possibilities of change because "we didn't start a revolution, but we inherited one." Additionally, it takes into account the historical context of our struggles, something that we should never forget in our ongoing struggles. Thus, I don't want to speak too much on it (read: misrepresent its meaning for my own selfish need of "fitting" it to my definition of feminism) because the piece speaks for itself.

Current Example: The word SLUT

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@femd2011 Current Example "Slut is used solely to shame a woman for expressing herself sexually." http://t.co/peafQ50I
Nov 05 via webFavoriteRetweetReply


This article helped support and expand my definition of feminism. In my original definition I didn't address the issue of street harassment and hurtful words such as slut, I solely focused on equality between men and women. Ever since we have talked about street harassment in class I have wanted to find a way to include it in my definition of feminism and this article has helped me see how I can fit it in.


slutttt.jpg

The word slut is a very familiar word in our vocabulary is is used way too often and normally in my opinion. "You're a woman and you're open about your sexuality? Slut." The word slut is used so freely to classify women these days and is used to shame a woman about their sexuality. Calling a woman a slut for exhibiting normal sexual behaviors can damage a woman's self-perception. This relates to feminism to me because woman are dehumanized when being called dirty words such as slut and whore and these words have been so normalized in our society that they need to be addressed. Just because a woman is open sexually does not necessarily make her a slut it indeed could mean she is just a liberal woman. After reading this article I feel I have a better understanding on how these words and street harassment relate to feminism and how I can include it in my own definition.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/7yUPsh/cupwire.ca/articles/42810

Reading Example 2

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femd20114.jpgAllison Crews article, "And so I Chose" has had the greatest impact on me out of any of the readings so far throughout this class. It seemed to be the most popular article for everyone in my diablog group as well and I think its because of how powerful her message is in such a short writing. I could name 50 different quotes that I like through her article but one of the ones I really like is "Being pro-woman, being pro-choice, means being supportive of any reproductive choice a woman makes for herself." I am always so indecisive on where I stand on so many issues that its always nice to come across someone such as Allison Crews that describes the flexibility of the subject. She changed her mind and it is okay for others to do the same I believe. And whatever that choice in the end shall be we should all support one another. Her personal story made the article so strong and I really do envy women like her that are willing to put those stories out for the public to read and critique to get her point across. Everyone needs to be bold about their opinions as she says so we can all support each other even more and allow more women to not be so afraid to do what their heart tells them at times when it really matters.

Reading Example #2

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Tweet: Feministing also agrees that unity is a necessary component in feminism, no matter what gender #femd2011

I chose the reading from Feministing titled, "Why I won't be talking about abortion as a "women's issue" anymore." My initial definition of feminism talked about the fact that the purpose of feminism is to activate for women's rights, but also for unity. I think this reading does a tremendous job of being inclusive of everyone that could actually be involved in the decision of having an abortion, or the actual procedure itself. I believe that if someone identifies as a specific sex, regardless of body parts, then that is their sex. Their body parts shouldn't "define" who they are. This article brings light to the fact that the "abortion" and "feminist" movement are moving along without taking transgenders into consideration. This applies to my definition of feminism because there is a severe need for unity in feminism, and this article identifies with my feelings.

Reading Example 2

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In "The Color of Choice: White Supremacy and Reproductive Justice" Loretta Ross reveals the disheartening impacts reproductive politics on communities of color. She contends, "...white supremacy constructs different destinies for each ethnic population of the United States through targeted, yet diffuse, policies of population control" (53). Additionally, she goes on demonstrate the injustice inflicted upon communities of color due to racism and "the power of hegemonic power of whiteness" (60). For example, women of color are often demonized and punished (via targeted population control policies) for "creating" the social ills of the world: crime rates, overpopulation, and pollution. Ross rebuttals "[t]he real fear of many in population control movement is that the developing world will become true competitors for the earth's resources and demand local control over their natural wealth of oil and minerals" (58).

How does this connect to my definition of feminism? Ross's critical piece speaks to the integration of political action with personal troubles. It demonstrates how women of color, mobilized for reproductive justice. In doing this these women of color groups were able to challenge the larger system of racism, racist legislation, and the very structure of the pro-choice movement itself. This is a process of dismantling hierarchical structures and power. When approached to endorse and participate in the March for Women's Lives:

[Block quote here] SisterSong pushed back, expressing problems with the march title and the all-white-decision-makers on the steering committee. SisterSong demanded that women of color organizations be added to the highest decision making body, and counteroffered with its own "reproductive justice" framework...The central question was: were pro-choice leader ready and willing to finally respect the leadership and vision of women of color? (P. 64) [Block quote ends]

Thus, this was not only a process of creating space for voices that have been traditionally silenced; it also decentered and unsettled the hegemonic power of whiteness. It called out the troubles of the pro-choice movement. Three examples of this are as follows. First, it called attention to how the movement was led by a majority of middle-class white women. Second, that in doing so, the movement and political rhetoric did not address how women of color face intersecting systems of violence. Lastly, it challenged the idea of framing the movement as "choice", and its historical legacy in communities of color.

This then takes us to the part of my definition of feminism of working to dismantle situations, in which people can oppress one another. SisterSong's move to dismantle the very structure of the mainstream movement, however, did not result in a repackaging of hierarchal organizing. Instead, they were sure to create spaces for engagement that did not seek to oppress folks. They reached out to unit diverse sectors social justice movements to support women's human rights. In the end, it was a way to "....revitalize an admittedly dishearterned pro-choice movement" (64).

Reading Example #2

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"Being pro-woman, being pro-choice, means being supportive of any reproductive choice a woman makes for herself." - Allison Crews #femd2011
Nov 04 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

Allison Crew's essay really helped expand my definition of not only feminism but what the word CHOICE means. After reading her article I now consider myself pro-choice and feel comfortable identifying as a feminist. Allison says that "being pro-woman, being pro-choice, means being supportive of any reproductive choice a woman makes for herself." This definition helped me understand that pro-choice does not mean you are pro-abortion. It simply means that you will not tell another woman that she can not have an abortion but that she has the right to make her own decision. This made me realize that I can be anti-abortion for my own body but still pro-choice for woman. Allison told her story about getting pregnant in high school and feeling denied of making her own decision. In telling her journey of considering abortion to making her own decision to have and keep her baby was very powerful in exploring what Pro-Choice truly means. I really liked that at the end of her article Crew took the word choice into a larger context then just abortion. Having a choice and the right as a woman means more then just reproductive rights but the right to live a life fulfilling a career, the right to be an educated woman at any age, the right to daycare, the right to financial aid, and much more. general because I believe that woman should have the opportunity to choose.

This reading truly helped me expand my definition of feminism to include the word choice as a major part of the definition. Choice is an extremely important part of feminism giving women the right to make their own decisions about not only reproductive rights but also everything else in their lives.

Current example

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My twitter:
Current example- Women can be independent and intimate http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/22/women-intimacy-autonomy

My original definition of feminism is that feminism is a movement that we want to set up an equality society. I think the article has provide enough evidences to support my definition about feminism. Jessie Mack thought that women should be independent so that women should be reply on men, or depend on men. The new generation of women should be like working mothers. They have their rights or equal rights to take care of their kids.

"Despite tremendous progress of the feminists before us, my generation and those even younger still grow up amid cloying expectations. We still strive to be perfect working mothers, we still want to be attractive and smart. We still walk that tightrope between ambitious and demure. On top of that, we shouldn't have to read generalisations of our baseless "hook-up culture" like the ones Bolick makes, or judgments of our short skirts by older feminist role models."

My definition of feminism is that women should work hard to get rights which is belong t o them, and I do think it is a very important sign to show us that new generation of women are depending on themselves which means they are not depend on some else. This is the most important thing what I am trying to show.

Reading example

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My twitter:
Reading example 2-Why anti-men examples are usually anti-feminism: Which brings me to my point. Feminism is about equality, not misandry.

My original definition of feminism is that feminism is a movement that we want to set up an equality society in order to men and women have same rights and equal treatment. I think I have changed a little bit about my opinion, I think the most important thing is not that women should get all same rights. The most important thing is women and men should equal, and it is not valuable that women and men should fight with each other. I think it is a weird thing.

"Stereotyping women or men into particular roles in the home, or into particular ideologies of sexuality is anti-feminist. It doesn't matter whether a woman or a man is the butt of the joke, or the one being made to look stupid."

Jennie has given me a pretty clear article to know that there is no men or women should be or deserve to be a joke. None of us should be look like stupid because everyone should be respect to each other, and I think this is the most important thing that what I have learned. One of the biggest part between men and women is that people should be respect with each other.

"My choices allowed me this. And I refused to let another person deny me this joy ever again"- Allison Crews (And so I choose) #femd2011
Nov 03 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

My definition of feminism was "Feminism aims at equality of opportunity and expression for all, irrespective of their gender or sexuality". Allison Crews concept of "choice" relates perfectly with this definition. Although Crews is talking about choice in the context of reproductive justice, it holds true for a lot of other feminist issues. Sometimes movements become very fixated on their definition of what is 'right', that they stop seeing the other side of the story.

The idea behind my definition of feminism was to be inclusionary of all people who identify as feminists. I believe this is similar to Crews' approach to being 'pro-choice'. Something that you are expected to do because it is 'right' is not a choice. Choice is what you do because it is 'right' for your conscience, circumstances and beliefs.

Also, choice is the one thing that women have been denied forever. Their lives and decisions have been dominated by what the society, family, community, religion considers appropriate. Although there is a general feeling that women now have the ability/power to make their own choices, it continues to be limited by a lot of factors. A perfect example for this is Crews' article itself; She talks about how being pro-choice did not leave a woman the choice of giving birth as opposed to having an abortion. In this sense, 'choice' becomes just another tool to control women's lives and decisions.

I believe every individual has the right to feel the joy that Allison Crews did at giving birth to her child. By this I mean the joy of making the choice that was right to their conscience. No one should have to live with the burden of a choice that was imposed upon them.

Feminism and Anti-Discrimination (Reading example 2)

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  • Allison Crews is pro-women and pro-choice.

  • Loretta Ross brings up the issue of race and its relationship to feminism.


Reading from these two writers has influenced my definition of feminism. The Crews reading was very inspirational to women but failed to consider that men can be pro-choice too. I think feminism should include all genders. It can be more than just "pro-women" it can be "pro-all-genders" really. Feminism is anti-discrimination for everybody, regardless of gender. Even though male dominance is something feminism battles, that doesn't mean feminists aren't concerned for men and the injustices they may face.

Ross on the other hand throws race into play. She reveals the dark history of birth control and how it was possibly a weapon against the black race for population control. Like stated earlier feminism is anti-discrimination for all genders but also it is anti-discrimination for all races.

There is a HUGE intersection in feminism between so many different areas (race, gender, class, sexual orientation, choice). Each article we read focuses on one issue at a time because all of it together is overwhelming, however it is important to realize that feminism is an umbrella term for ALL injustices people face. "And so I Chose" and "Color of Choice" are both exemplify that.

Writing Process Reflection

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I do not feel that my definition of feminism is changing as the course progresses. This class has given me a lot of insight, but because my definition is so broad, I don't see it changing in the near future. My definition of feminism is, "the movement to lift every type of oppression on every woman in the world." I chose to make my definition extremely broad because there are too many topics and concerns dealing with feminism to cover them all. The in-class discussions have solidified my opinion of feminism instead of changing it. The reason for this is that every single class period, I realize how many topics are connected to feminism. I don't think there has been a single class period where I didn't learn something new.

Before this class, I used Twitter for my own personal enjoyment. I chose to use my personal account for my class Twitter as well, and it makes me a little bit uncomfortable. Not that what I'm posting is anything to be embarrassed about, but people probably think I'm a little strange for what I post, but that's okay. Honestly, Twitter and the blog is extremely hard to keep up with. I never know what is due, or when it's actually supposed to be turned in. I also feel like I never get very good feedback. Maybe it is just because I don't have the "best" topic or lack insight, but it truly isn't very helpful.

I was extremely intrigued by our recent class discussion on pro-choice and pro-life. I have always found myself somewhere in the middle, but there were statements made by multiple people that you cannot be both. I think that is completely untrue, but the discussion was dominated by certain people, and nobody could get a word in edgewise. I appreciate what others have to say, but sometimes you have to let others speak too. I don't talk all that much in class, mostly because I feel uncomfortable. It is better when we are in small groups, but that is the time when people dominate conversations. I think that the blog is a more appropriate place for those who have a lot to say to actually say everything they desire, instead of arguing for 10 minutes during the small group discussion.

Writing Process Reflection

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I do not feel that my definition of feminism is changing as the course progresses. This class has given me a lot of insight, but because my definition is so broad, I don't see it changing in the near future. My definition of feminism is, "the movement to lift every type of oppression on every woman in the world." I chose to make my definition extremely broad because there are too many topics and concerns dealing with feminism to cover them all. The in-class discussions have solidified my opinion of feminism instead of changing it. The reason for this is that every single class period, I realize how many topics are connected to feminism. I don't think there has been a single class period where I didn't learn something new.

Before this class, I used Twitter for my own personal enjoyment. I chose to use my personal account for my class Twitter as well, and it makes me a little bit uncomfortable. Not that what I'm posting is anything to be embarrassed about, but people probably think I'm a little strange for what I post, but that's okay. Honestly, Twitter and the blog is extremely hard to keep up with. I never know what is due, or when it's actually supposed to be turned in. I also feel like I never get very good feedback. Maybe it is just because I don't have the "best" topic or lack insight, but it truly isn't very helpful.

I was extremely intrigued by our recent class discussion on pro-choice and pro-life. I have always found myself somewhere in the middle, but there were statements made by multiple people that you cannot be both. I think that is completely untrue, but the discussion was dominated by certain people, and nobody could get a word in edgewise. I appreciate what others have to say, but sometimes you have to let others speak too. I don't talk all that much in class, mostly because I feel uncomfortable. It is better when we are in small groups, but that is the time when people dominate conversations. I think that the blog is a more appropriate place for those who have a lot to say to actually say everything they desire, instead of arguing for 10 minutes during the small group discussion.

Writing Reflection

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Throughout this class I have learned a lot about myself in shaping who I am and the feminist I have become. Before this class I couldn't tell you much about anything within the feminist/ women's world of rights.
I believe my definition from the start of the year hasn't only changed but also has developed. Considering I didn't come into this class with anything but knowing about feminism not having my own definition or what makes up someone's definition of feminism. My definition has grown through reading and understands what I believe is right or equal not only for women's right but for my rights growing up as a young woman in the united states.
By being able to blog about how I feel as well as get my opinions out there to a group of people that don't really know me. Also using the blog has opened my eyes to new article I would have never came upon or known about prior to this class. I truly have enjoyed this class so far. Considering I had never participated in a blog or something so hands on with writing it is a new experience for taking a class.
But on the other hand using twitter has been something incorporated into my daily life before this class. I have enjoyed keeping people updated on my life and opinions but what is different in this class is I have only focused on many aspects of my life I never really touched upon before. My friends outside this class wouldn't ever have read a post about what feminism means to me or read interesting articles I would post about being a feminist. This class has allowed me to really engage myself in the twitter world and appreciate all of the opportunities it gives to learn more about something and to get your voice heard.
Overall I have enjoyed being able to grow and express the process of what being a feminist means to me. I still believe feminism has a lot to do with equality but more now the word I like to use is being equally respectful. Respect is a big part of my life and even if you may not agree with someone having respect to not put them down is a very strong thing. I believe by the end of the year I will have formed a clear understanding of what being a feminist is!

Reflection on Writing Process

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When reflecting on this course so far, the first thing that comes to mind is how much additional appreciation I have towards the feminist movement. I have mentioned in previous posts that I came into this class with very little knowledge of what feminism was, but had hopes to find out and I definitely am! - and I am thoroughly enjoying it!-- Having so much freedom within the course to express your ideas in class or online and read so many articles with so many diverse views and opinions on the many subjects we have already covered is what has helped me grow this appreciation towards the feminism community. I will admit I was quite hesitant to take the class thinking it may be all one-sided arguments with very little room for opinion and I may feel very out of place having no background on the subject but it has been the exact opposite. The articles alone make it quite apparent that not everyone ever agrees on everything and as a class everyone seems so open-minded and respectful of each other's views. I am usually never one to speak out in class much but the small group discussions have helped me become a lot more comfortable to state my opinions and ask questions about each subject too which is something I really enjoy. Other things about this course that are new to me have been tweeting and blogging, but I must say it's an excellent way to get people such as myself involved in discussions without feeling that awful feeling of everyone starring at your in a classroom as you speak :S. I think tweeting is fun and a great way to quickly share a video/article/book/story relevant to the class with everyone quickly but it doesn't seem to spark up debates or as many opinions on the subjects as the blog does which is why I enjoy the blogging side of it. So therefore, putting them both together seems to work really well for me anyways!! As for my definition of feminism... I do not even know where to begin with how I want to change it. There are so many things I have encountered that I wish to incorporate in it that I have no idea how I am going to make it all fit into once sentence again. I still believe in the ideal goal of having true equality for sexes, but being introduces with the MANY concepts that go into that has really got me thinking about the underlying problems and the real goals to reach to have equality. I can't wait to begin reading more and listening to all the opinions and ideas all of my classmates have through the rest of the semester to continue this new journey of mine as a Feminist!

Reflection on Writing Process

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I've been troubling my own engagement with feminism and what feminism means to me for some time. Although I agree with the commonly held assumptions of feminism (combating inequality, promoting freedom/autonomy, examining oppression and challenging power systems through a gender lens), I have also felt very much excluded from some aspects of it. For example, whose voices are being heard within feminist spaces and how are "we" marking those bodies/ voices into being? This ties back into our class discussion of "choice" and reproductive "rights." As mentioned in class whose "choice" are we talking about when it comes to reproductive "rights"? How are/were these "rights" established off the backs of communities that were forcibly sterilized as well as communities that were used as the testing grounds for contraceptives?

Although my definition of feminism has not changed recently, it did take some time to arrive to this space: this definition and acceptance of a position within feminism. However, the process of feeling excluded within feminism itself makes me critical of deconstructing and de-centering dominant feminist assumptions/ideology and the subject-positioning of the "other" in some feminist discussion as well. Thus, I find myself preferring post-colonial and anarcha feminist lenses because power structures within feminism (as a theoretical cannon) exist and need to be contested.

Writing the paper was a way to continue this process of self-reflection, and I feel like this process does not have an end point. Additionally, because I have a tendency to keep all my school work, my feminist reflection paper adds to how my own engagement with feminism has shifted over time. When I refer back to this piece, or even as I compare it to my past writings/reflections, I can see that this is a process in itself. I can see that I have really grown in how I engage in feminism and what it means to me.

Along these lines, the blog/twitter approach is a way for students to document this process. In an end, it is a space for people to have their voices heard. (However, the amount of power you have in creating your voice and how you want to present yourself can be troubled as well.) Something I enjoy about this approach is that it really gives me time to flesh out and think through my thoughts. It is another level of engagement. Additionally, I like that we are reaching out to other feminist social media outlets. It has something to say about the legitimization of writing in academia; it is "outside" of the system and "radical" in this sense.

A shortcoming of this approach, for me, has to do with accessibility--a topic was discussed about the first weeks of class. Even though I have easier access than some folks, I can only access it at times when I am on-campus or go to cafes. So this makes it slightly more difficult for me to engage and follow entries.

Reading Example Feedback

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I really enjoyed checking out your reading example tweets/posts. As you are working on your next one, which is due by November 4th, here are two important things to remember. 

Your tweet should be a succinct summary of your example, not an announcement about it. The purpose of this assignment is to help you to work on summarizing the key elements of that example into one brief tweet. You should not use your tweet just as headline:

sample of incorrect tweet: Loretta Ross' definition of reproductive justice supports my understanding of feminism. 

Instead you should use your tweet to summarize and clearly articulate your example:

samples of correct tweets: 

Ross:repro justice = repro rights in human rts/soc justice frame; challenge white supremacy and achieve well-being for girls/women #femd2011
Oct 25 via Twitter for MacFavoriteRetweetReply

For girls to have econ/social/political power & resources, change must occur on individ, community, institutional, societal levels #femd2011
Oct 25 via Twitter for MacFavoriteRetweetReply


Your blog post should be used to clarify your summary. While your discussion can include how your example fits with your larger argument, you should focus a lot of your post on expanding on your tweet summary. So, if your tweet was the first Ross one from above (Ross:repro justice = repro rights in human rts/soc justice frame; challenge white supremacy and achieve well-being for girls/women #femd2011), your blog post should involve a substantial explanation of human rights/social justice framework + white supremacy + well-being for girls and women. How does Ross define white supremacy? Why does it need to be challenged in repro rights?

Systematic Institutionalized Sexism

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My definition of feminism is supported by bell hooks' Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. In chapter one bell hooks writes about systematic institutionalized sexism.

Here is my definition of feminism:

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My understanding of bell hooks "systematic institutionalized sexism" (pg.1) concerns:

  • sexism in patriarchy
  • sexism in marriage
  • sexism in government
  • sexism in politics

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Feminism objects sexism in all shapes and forms regardless of who is the victim. It is about equitable treatment for all and deconstructing the systems which have been normalized in our society. Patriarchy encourages male dominance, something bell hooks writes about on page 2

"...the vision of domestic life which continues to dominate the nation's imagination is one in which the logic of male domination is intact..."

Marriage can also be included in institutionalized sexism because of its history and the gender roles that are embedded in it. Marriage goes hand in hand with patriarchy and heteronormativity. Although gay marriage is legal in some parts of the world, I do not feel it is enough to negate the heteronormative background and dominance of marriage. The typical and most supported form of marriage is between 1 male and 1 female. The bride will most likely wear a dress to play up her femininity. If she does not she will probably be looked down upon by some people because she is breaking tradition. This situation would relate to gender roles in marriage. Challenging gender roles/heteronormative norms pertains to my definition and feminism as well as relating to the bell hooks quote above (domestic life and its relation to marriage).

Government and all things political are also involved in sexism by male dominance!

Reading Example 1 - Cynthia Enloe

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Cynthia Enloes' article, "The Curious Feminist" significantly inspired my definition of feminism. Things that are "Traditional," or "Natural," and have "always" been a certain way do not necessarily mean that we should dismiss our curiosity to these issues and avoid thinking about if these "natural" actions or views as permanently acceptable. Instead, we need to all use that curiosity to an even greater extent and analyze why certain societal norms or traditions are looked upon to be just something that has "always" been that way... Enloe's article really allowed me to think outside the box to try and understand why or how things become and stay a certain way especially in the context of patriarchy, oppression, and other sexist behaviors. I support her idea of staying curious, it will allow us to reach a deeper understanding of why certain sexist behaviors are inevitably ignored due to this lack of curiosity and idea that it has always and should always just be a certain way and unfortunately acceptable. On page three of her article she states, "Uncuriousity is dangerously comfortable if it can be dressed up in the sophisticated attire of reasonableness and intellectual efficiency..." To me this gives me inspiration to "undress" so to speak these issues. That is why in my definition I include the idea to advocate elimination of patriarchy; we need to keep everyone curious in order to succeed. We need to eliminate patriarchy by digging deep into the issues of so many sexist behaviors that are considered "natural" and "traditional." Although, my definition is lacking the word curiosity it is the backbone of what shaped my idea and understanding of feminism.

"Because none of us are as simple as a list of physical attributes.We have a right to be who we are, not who we are told to be." #femd2011
Oct 15 via webFavoriteRetweetReply


This line is from the 'About' page on the Hollaback website, and supports my definition of feminism. I defined feminism as "Feminism aims at equality of opportunity and expression for all, irrespective of their gender or sexuality". Women are often judged solely on their physical attributes. The media portrays them either as the perfect wife/mother/ employee who fits perfectly in to the social set up or as hyper-sexual, whose very existence is for other's pleasure. These images and expectations try to 'keep women in their place'. The patriarchal society socializes us to accept that as normal.

For many generations, women were just who they were told to be. When women exert their right to be who they are, they challenge long established norms and traditions. This is not an easy task because, there are many forces working to keep women under control. Though women have succeeded to a fair extent, the question of whether we can truly be ourselves remain.

Women and people of sexual minorities do not have complete freedom of expression. There are certain expected modes of behavior; if you do not comply with it, you become an outcast. Also people start assuming things about you. For example, if a girl is out late at night, people make assumptions about her character.

Feminism is a movement to claim our right to be who we are. They should be able to decide what to wear, what to speak, where to be etc, without being judged, assaulted and ostracized.

Defining Feminism

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"Feminism is...a movement toward equality for all and awareness of related issues. #femd2011"

I found this difficult to come up with because I found my definition either too short or too long and too specific or too general. Because of the character limitation with twitter, I had to go with too short and too general. Like we have previously discussed in class, feminism is a little different for every person and every community. Although this definition is a bit broad, it is something that can apply to everyone, everywhere. If I could have added more, I would have included examples of where we would want equality (i.e. workplace, school, community, etc.) and some related issues (i.e. things from the media).

My definition of feminism.

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My original definition of feminism, in my feminist reflection paper, stated "Feminism is the integration of political action with personal troubles that works to dismantle hierarchical structures and all forms of power, and situations, in which people can oppress one another." Shortening it to the 140 character limit was harder than I thought, but close enough!

For my definition, I choose not to use identifiers like race, class and gender because they are social constructions manifested and perpetuated by systems of hierarchy, oppression and power. I am not being color/class/gender blind and I am not dismissing the lasting historical impacts or the importance of such signifiers. Instead, I am saying is the eradication of hierarchy, power and oppression will strip the socially constructed significance of these identifiers in systems of oppression. It does not mean that we should stop talking about such issues.

In fact, my definition does not ignore race/class/gender but rather empowers people to take action based on their unique social location, personal experiences and cultural background. I deliberately linked political action with personal troubles and kept the statement broad because I do not want to exclude folk. My use of personal troubles here allows people to define feminism relative to their lives, yet it is rooted in feminism's tradition of political action and pursuit of liberating people.

Lastly, I wanted to discuss the eradication of hierarchical structures and situations of oppression used in my definition. Both are situational and can exist within any context. Therefore, I feel it is important to constantly refute and challenge hierarchical structures because they directly contribute to oppression. I believe that we all are fighting the same fight; we're all waging our own wars against the larger systems of power, dominance and oppression that work to keep us divided.

Define Feminism

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Words that got left out of my definition included, multidimensional and equal. I wanted to emphasize that feminism is a movement inclusive of many efforts to improve societies around the world. Of course there is always the fact that feminism is at its roots, a movement by and for women however, it has evolved to include all genders. That evolution came from a realization that promoting the human rights of one group of people while ignoring other groups would only weaken the movement. As a famous Minnesotan, Paul Wellstone used to say "We all do better when we all do better." Working to improve the world for women and girls is still working to improve the world as a whole and in the end, everyone benefits for the progress made by feminism.

Definition of Feminism

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I believe that feminism can be interpreted differently from person to person. There is not one solid definition of feminism and it definitely can not be defined completely in just 140 characters. Many people have a preconceived notion of what the word feminism means and view it as a negative term. The definition I gave above was vague enough to be able to include other variations that are true about feminism along with the basic ideas that I believe it incorporates. The two words that stand out to me the most about feminism are gender equality. Equality between men and woman is the large issue within several small issues involving feminism. Feminists fight for equal rights for both genders and do not discriminate against men. I think a large misconception about feminism is that they "hate men". I have come to see that it is actually the opposite and the feminist movement is striving to end sexism and create equal opportunities for both men and woman. Since there does seem to sometimes be a negative connotation with the work feminism I think it is important for people to open their eyes and become more educated with what feminism truly means. Every human deserves to be treated equally no matter his or her race, culture, religion, or sex, and that is what feminism is trying to accomplish.

http://twitter.com/#!/ballison27/status/122145981553852416

It was extremely difficult to encompass feminism into 140 characters, but I feel like I included all of the necessary components. Even thought feminism is an individual definition, I think that there needs to be one working definition that everyone can draw from. Like someone stated in the Slutwalk NYC video, you can't fight the patriarchy when you're too busy fighting each other. Feminism needs to actively promote women's rights, whether they are straight, gay, transgender, old, middle-aged, young, or otherwise. It isn't about using ONLY media to spread the word, or ONLY actively protesting in the street. It is about coming together as FEMINISTS to show the world that women deserve equality.

My definition of Feminism

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According to me, depending on an individual's approach, feminism can be a movement, a process or a way of thinking. It seeks to open up avenues of opportunity/resources and means of expression to all. The relevance of feminism lies in the fact that, historically, opportunities as well as the freedom of expression have been denied to women. The elements of patriarchy and sexism are implicit in the definition. It is the patriarchal society which has vested interests in withholding resources to women and keeping them oppressed and marginalized. The instrument through with this system is perpetrated is 'sexism'.

I chose to include other sexualities or sexual minorities in my definition because the basis on which women and LGBTQ folks are discriminated are very similar. If we do not recognize their struggle as a part of feminism, we end of undermining women's struggle for equality.

For me, feminism is a fight to reclaim people's right to be what they are or want to be; in terms of sexual preferences, gender preferences, profession, clothes, political affliations etc. It should seek to end all practices that take the 'choice' away from the individual; Practices like sexual harassment, human trafficking, child marriage, domestic violence etc.

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(Wo) man, was it hard trying to describe the most important thing in the world to me in less than 140 characters! I struggled at first but I finally just thought about the feminists in my life, the different ways I see feminism being celebrated and what I wanted to do with the feminism mind set I have and came up with my less than 140 characteristic definition. Check it out, like it? I included the equal sign in my definition because after all the debates people can have back and fourth, after all the view points from the diverse population in the feministic world, feminism boils down to these three key words: celebrate, embrace and empower. I say celebrate because I believe linking happiness to womanhood and rights makes the movement what it is. Feminists aren't forced to be feminists, they want to be, they enjoy it and because they enjoy it they celebrate it. This includes fashion, music, blogging, rallies, walks, books, etc not everything about feminism has to be sad and serious. Some ways of communicating feminism can be fun and effective at the same time. I say embrace because if your a feminist then damn it, let it out! Everyone including men, GLBTA community, older and younger women should have the GOD given right to embrace feminism as they please. Nobody has the right to tell another they aren't or cant be feminists. This includes how they embrace it, as long as their( the embracer) mechanisms isn't historically offensive then they should embrace feminism. as they wish how they wish. Don't like how they're doing it? Well I'm sure its still encouraging conversation around this topic so appreciate it. And last but not least I say empower because we can ALLLL agree that empowering women go hand in hand with feminism. I'm not going to explain that one because the word it's self is enough.

You know, I have three feminist related classes and Feminist Debates 2011 is my favorite. I like that I have to think about this word and reflect on my actions and thoughts, its helping. I can talk about feminism forever, and I plan on doing just that.

Informal Writing: Tweet/Blog - Define Feminism

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It was actually quite difficult for me to define feminism in 140 characters of less. I have been exposed to various new views and thoughts on the subject recently resulting in an alteration of my previous definition. I believe feminism is advocating elimination of patriarchy and oppression; seeking equal acceptance and opportunity for all. I say advocating because I do believe the spirit of supporting or speaking out on behalf of this issue is necessary. I think eliminating patriarchy and oppression is the only way to accomplish the goals desired by feminists such as; the aspiration for overall acceptance despite gender in all areas of society.

I had a hard time trying to incorporate in my definition the idea of sustaining some of the advances already made or in the future accomplish. Feminism provides stability to maintain the goals that have already been achieved in our society as well.

Patriarchy I believe is at the bottom of all the current issues surrounding feminism. Although, the idea of men being more powerful than women has slightly dwindled in the last hundred years, it is prevalent everywhere in society. Feminists are trying to cure this problem by eliminating oppression as I previously said to also lead to acceptance and equal opportunity for all, which is why I feel my definition defines feminism properly.

Definition of Feminism

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Feminism is when people disagree with patriarchy, heteronormativity, and all that those two words encompass.


Patriarchy is when gender binaries based on stereotypes are fully supported.
Feminism challenges that belief system due to its sexist nature and the power dynamics against the female gender. In a patriarchal society the male is viewed as masculine and dominate while his female counterpart is feminine and submissive.

Heteronormativity is the mindset where the nuclear family, gender roles, and heterosexuality are all glorified.

The nuclear family features a mom, dad, and some kids.. ideally all with white skin color.

Gender roles are "assigned" in the gender binary (male or female) based on stereotypes. An extreme example of this is the working male and stay at home mom. A modern example of gender roles is the male driving the family on a road trip versus a female driving. Men are expected to drive.

Heterosexuality is also viewed as the only acceptable orientation within heteronormativity. The GLBT community is seen as a major threat to the precious nuclear family.

A feminist would challenge the notion of heteronormativity because of its discriminatory nature towards race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. It's intersectional discrimination.

Informal Writing Assignments

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We briefly discussed these informal writing assignments a couple of weeks ago. Since your first one is due on Friday (posted to the blog by 11PM), I decided to repost the assignment. You can download the worksheet here.

Please keep hard copies of all formal and informal writing assignments in a folder.You are required to hand in the original feminist reflection draft (with my comments) and your informal writing assignments on November 8th and December 1st, along with this completed worksheet. Your November 8th folder should include all assignments due on or before November 8th.Your December 1st folder should include all informal and formal assignments.


Assignment

Type

Date Due

Date Posted

Points

Feminist Reflection Draft

hard copy

9/22

NA

/100

Reflection paper check-in

entry

10/28


/50

Def. of feminism

tweet/entry

10/7


/25

Reading example

tweet/entry

10/17


/25

Reading example

tweet/entry

11/4


/25

Current example

tweet/entry

11/7


/25

Final Feminist Paper

hard copy

12/1

NA

/200


assignment descriptions:

1 Feminism definition posted on twitter/blog 25 points

You are required to tweet your definition of feminism.Your definition should be succinct and fit within the 140 character limit.You are also required to expand on your definition in a blog post.This blog post should include the tweet, embedded into the entry.

2 Reading examples posted on twitter/blog 2@25 = 50 points

You are required to tweet two example from the readings that you support/clarify your definition/ understanding of feminism.You are also required to expand on these examples in two blog posts.Your blog posts should include the tweet, embedded into the entries.

1 Current example posted on twitter/blog 25 points

You are required to tweet one example from popular media or current events that supports/clarifies your definition/understanding of feminism.You are also required to expand on this example in a blog post.Your blog post should include the tweet, embedded in to the entry.

1 Reflection on writing process posted on blog 50 points

You are required to post a blog entry in which you critically and creatively reflect on your writing process for your feminist paper. In this post, you should briefly discuss how your definition of feminism is/isn't changing throughout the semester (based on discussions, in-class activities, readings).You should also discuss your reactions to using twitter and the blog in the writing/revising process.You should also discuss any readings/topics that have shaped your understanding of feminism.