May 6, 2009

Reponse to Abby.

It is probably too late to add my two cents, but I thought I would reply to Abby's comment about having experienced GWSS people in the class and say that for my part, I was grateful to have people new to GWSS. It was interesting to watch people who had never thought about the nuances of the debates over prostitution or stay-at-home moms realize the repercussions of these subjects. I remember encountering these ideas in my first GWSS class and how it changed my outlook. I went on to be a GWSS major and I think it would be awesome if someone went on to take more GWSS classes because of this semester. I thought we had a good balance of debate. Someone was always ready to add a comment from another side of a debate or help the class move past a commonly held assumption to look deeper. I thought the variety of readings was especially helpful because we had chances to encounter the densest of writers (Butler and Dworkin) and authors who were able to reach out of academia and draw everyone in. I think the films were also helpful to tie many topics together. Although there was no official media review part of this course I found the times the class spontaneously brought the discussion around to media treatment of women, commercial and ad analysis and television show commentary were some of our most interesting discussions. Maybe that would be a fun component to add to the blog next semester. It is fun to analyze the way media interacts with feminist debates.

Works Cited Policy

GWSS 3004
Works Cited Policy

This policy applies to the following papers:
a. Position paper on Family Values
b. Position paper on Sex Wars
c. Revised Feminism Paper

Note: I prefer* that you use MLA documentation in your papers. For more information on how to use MLA, check out these links:

http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/DocMLA.html
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01/

*If you are more familiar with another documentation style, you may use that style instead of MLA. Be sure to identify your alternate style at the top of your works cited page.

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May 5, 2009

11

Hmmm. Reflections.

Well, this was my first and only GWSS course so I’m glad it was a good one. I appreciated a lot of the conversation we had in class; I thought the course was organized well— the topics were diverse and very applicable. Some of the readings really shook me up in a good way (Butler, Williams, and Henry to name a few). It was pretty rad to have experienced GWSS folks in class, and just thoughtful people in general. Mostly it was just a joy to take a class purely out of curiosity and have it turn out to be a good time. That is kind of rare.

Advice to future classes: Read. Blog. And get into a good group because that makes things a blast.

Last Blog

I had originally signed up for this class just because it would fulfill an upper level writing intensive course that I needed. I did not know what I was getting into. The topics in the course description seemed interesting enough and I knew that there would probably be people in this course that were more opinionated than I was. I found myself broadening my horizons big time. I was introduced into controversial topics/readings/videos that sparked my curiousity towards the topics discussed in class. I became more well rounded in my opinions and comfortable in sharing them.

Some of my favorite readings came from the last couple weeks features. Dworkin, Chapkis, and Lorde to name a few. I especially liked reading such strong opinionated work and discussing what the sex industry was like some 30 years ago to today. I also enjoyed learning more indepth exactly what women had to go through when trying to access birth control and the effects it had on women's bodies.

Last Blog

Upon signing up for this class, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This was my first feminism class and I must say that, although some of the readings were tricky and difficult for a first time feminist to understand, I learned a hell of a lot. I've brought talks from class to dinner table discussions and other classes. I especially liked the online readings, I felt it was helpful to have it wherever I was with my computer so I didn't have to lug around a huge binder full of paper. In addition, I really liked when we broke the readings down in class. It was helpful to my understanding of the material and very good for my papers. I loved the movies - they were the perfect factor for an exciting class that really sparked an interest. It helped to see the people and hear the people rather than read the people.

For next year's students, I'd say to use your blogs to help write your papers. You have to write both any ways, so why not make a paragraph your blog entry. It'd be a smart option and help with your paper later. I wish I had done that.

Last Blog

Upon entering this class, I had no clue who or what made a person a feminist. The views and desires expressed from the movement didn’t connect with the image I had in my mind of what a feminist was. Through the course of the class, I have increased my understanding of not only the type of thinking that is produced from a feminist form of thought, but also that feminism itself has no simple definition. I had never realized how difficult it was to narrow this viewpoint (in reality many viewpoints) into one, concise definition. Through the course I saw how many components people can take sides on and the issues that can arise as well as the benefits that arise from multiple sides. The readings that I personally enjoyed the most would be the Dorothy Roberts Killing the Black Body chapters and the Joan Williams Unbending Gender. I think that these readings, specifically those from Killing the Black Body, made me think further about how a different sub-group can have a completely different desire of change based on how society has treated them differently. Obviously no experience is universal for every single person. The readings made me rethink how each situation doesn’t always have a concrete, correct fix. There are intricacies from different viewpoints that must be analyzed.

Check out this article by Naomi Wolf on the current state of feminism. What do you think about the following passage in relation to what we have discussed this semester:

The fact is, we know the answers to Western women's problems: The way is mapped out, the time for theory is pretty much over. We know the laws and the policies we need to achieve full equality. What we lack is a grass-roots movement that will drive the political will.

Is the way mapped out? Has feminism given us all the answers? Should we stop having feminist debates?

last blog

I came to this class to fill electives, thinking that it would be easy. Then, the first class hit and I realized the flood of knowledge that I had just unleashed upon myself and I was scared. I had never taken a class like this and was unaware of the widespread issues that influence feminists today, but the more I learned about it, the more interested I became. After reading “the Dark Side of Birth Control” and “Race, Birth Control, and Reproduction” my opinion of feminism totally changed, although I still felt awkward speaking up in discussion. (Participation points defiantly influenced the amount of times I had something, anything, to say) I think that the most important things for next year’s students to remember are that during this class, you will have to think long and hard about the way that you live your life and how it effects other people, and don’t forget to do the blogs, because I know that was probably the toughest part for me. Blogging was an important part of the class, because it forced me to think and form an opinion before class time, but it was always hard to fit them into my schedule, and more often than not, I would be sitting down to dinner, or getting ready for bed and I would think “OH MY GOD, I DIDN’T DO MY BLOG!!!!”

Last Blog of Class

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Reflection

There I was, one of two males in the class. It felt like there were 40 females versus the two guys. I had no idea as of what to think. I quickly read the introduction to the bell hooks book before class was starting and was greatly pleased. It took me a few weeks to get my feet wet into the discussion, but soon enough my debate and talkative personality came out. I think that this would be my lesson to anyone else taking this class... don't feel rushed to share. Take some times to reflect and separate the knowledge you have about what you have been taught, what else you have heard, and what we are reading/discussing about.

Throughout this semester I have learned that feminism is much more political and that I have many more opinions about it then I have ever thought. Feminists are not all one cohesive group, but they do have similar goals. An example to this can be what we discussed about last class. Feminists believe that women in the adult sex industry have the rite/choice to hold those occupations, however at the same time some may believe that all of the sex industry in degrading to women and should be abolished. This type of differences make these issues worth talking about and discussing in this class.

Overall, I am very pleased that I was asked to join this class by a friend and have learn a lot from all of the intelligent people in this class.

We are not all the same, but we all need to be treated equally.
We do not have the same abilities, but we all need to be given the opportunity.
We are not all accepted for our choice, but we all need the choice to make.
We do not hold the same positions, but we all need to be treated with respect.
We are not all treated fairly, but we all are standing with you in your fight.
We are sometimes just one, but we all need to work together.

blog 11

When I entered this class, I came in with a very narrow view of what it meant to be a feminist. Feminism was to me, a matter limited to the issue of choice. Through the different units, my views did not necessarily change, but the breadth of my knowledge as to why I felt a certain way expanded. My favorite unit was the one that we just recently finished, the issue of sex wars. Unlike some of the other issues (in my opinion), the different waves of feminism have starkly different views on the subject. Though I understand the views of the 2nd wave of feminists and their view that sex work is a form of patriarchal dominance, I tend to differ from this view. In reading Barton's study of sex workers, specifically exotic dancers, I became convinced of her version of what it means to be a sex worker. I consider myself a student of the third wave, and Barton's study opened my eyes to the downfall of third wave feminism.

As for others wishing to take this class, I would advise them to understand the readings and participate in discussions. Sometime I felt intimidated by some of the people who participated in discussion, thus adequately preparing for class would help lessen this feeling. Also, this was my first GWSS class. I came into this class believing that the arguments would be between feminists and anti-feminists. Because this class featured different points of view in the feminist world, the class had a much larger breadth. I would advise any student interested in learning from a larger perspective to take this class.

May 4, 2009

blog 11

This course was a really great scope of feminist issues for all levels of understanding or experience. There were definitely some sections that I felt well-versed in, yet learned entirely new perspectives. At the same time, there were issues that I've had no experience in, but still felt comfortable learning. All of the readings provided really great support and comprehension, and generally the discussion brought things to an interesting level. I think, more than anything, I felt exposed to the many, many issues that make up feminism. It became clear that things like labor and racial justice are apart of feminism, and should not be separated. Just the same, while this sounds a little ridiculous, I had to break down my belief that some feminist issues are pretty one-sided ("either you believe this and you are a feminist, or you don't believe this and you are not"). Some of our readings and discussions brought entirely new depths of complications to feminist issues. The structure of the class was incredibly conducive to feeling comfortable in your own learning space. I also really loved the exposure to so many different writers/activists, and that there were constantly recommendations for further reading.
As far as advice for other students, I would say that this class is a really great opportunity to learn with other people but at the same time develop your own understanding of the many contentious issues in feminism. Obviously doing the readings and taking advantage of discussion is really key to this!

Response to belde024

Like belde024, I also had a skewed vision of feminism from the negative ways the media often portrays feminists. I felt feminism was all about only oriented towards women and in this class; I learned that feminism wasn’t only about equality for women, but for all people. One of my favorite parts about the class was broad range of topics that introduced me to many aspects of feminism, particularly since this was my first feminism class. I particularly liked the readings by Gloria Steinem because of her writing style and approach of different topics, but I still appreciated and enjoyed the other readings as well.

The in-class discussions were my favorite part about the class because they incorporated everyone’s diverse perspectives on an issue and allowed me to see how different people (and different feminists) felt and addressed an issue, as well as different means in solving problems and implementing feminist goals. It was an open, nonjudgmental environment and a unique group of people that critically analyzed the readings and made the discussions well-rounded; everyone played the devil’s advocate at times and nothing was left unquestioned.

Additional advice to future students…understand and prepare for disagreement, constructive argument, and questioning of personal beliefs. As usual, controversial topics stir up opposing viewpoints but this is a beneficial step in truly identifying your personal beliefs and opinions. Argument will cause personal reflection and the revisiting of past ideas will cement or modify them accordingly.

May 3, 2009

Blog #11

I went into this semester having taken no other GWSS class before and only knowing what the media has taught me about feminism. I learned that the media gives a very skewed vision of what feminism actually is. It is not a movement of man-hating like I was taught to believe. The feminist movement is about acceptance and freedom of choice; about ending sexism, racism, classism, and any other -ism that brings people down; about not judging people for the way they choose to live their lives. The class was a very good place to learn about feminism because of the atmosphere that was promoted. I felt like anyone could speak their mind and give their twist on what we were talking about, without having to worry about what other people would think. The debating was also influential because it helped you to really think about the issue and delve into it instead of just skimming the surface. I don't think that any particular reading stuck out as my favorite, but they all contributed to the class and I don't remember any that I did not like. The advice that I would give anyone taking this class in the future is to be open to other ways of thinking.

April 30, 2009

Blog #11

In this final blog, I would like you to reflect on the class and what you learned this semester. You could write about one of your favorite readings or how your understanding of feminism has been influenced by our discussions/readings/papers or whatever else you want to write about in relation to the class.

Also, I will be teaching this class again next spring. What advice would you give students who will be taking it then?