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May 12, 2007

Kiss My Fat Ass!

This video makes me think...
- if a supermodel like Tyra Banks can find a way to still love herself after a million eyes critique her, than so can I
- hmmmm...Tyra is not fat, how is she plus-size?
- what's the deal with Top Model? All those girls are really kind of...perfect. What message is that show sending out to all the young impressionable girls out there?

This video makes me...
- cry
- grateful for strong women, especially women of color who rock
- wish my little sister didn't have to put up with a double standard every where she looks
- annoyed with the media, Hollywood, celebrities, men and women who don't use their resources and influence to make the world a better place. Instead the media creates a model that no one can fit or should be able to fit, while Hollywood is just in it for the money, so many celebrities become as superficial as their characters, and a lot of men and women don't fight the system - they just perpetuate stereotypes, internalize oppression, and continue pass on sexism to our future generations. GRRRrrrrr.....

May 11, 2007

Group Presentations

Overall I thought that the last set of group presentations were rather awesome. I especially enjoyed watching Women in Politics the most. I think that the group went that extra mile to make the presentation not only extremely informative and interactive with the class in a great way, but also the overall look and construction of the actual powerpoint presentation was very impressive. I thought it was a great idea to interview students on campus to learn what their knowledge was of certain issues that are very relevant to this class and day-to-day issues. Great job on the graphics and changing skin tones and faces on slides .. it kept my attention throughout the presentation, and if you can do that and learn as you're having fun, that will stay imprinted on a person for a long time. So great job everyone! ^__^

May 10, 2007

Pornography

While I enjoyed all the presentations in class and thought it was a really nice way to end the semester, I thought the presentation about pornography was quite interesting! All of the group members seemed to be very mature with this topic that could be considered very uncomfortable. The presentation was very well rounded: history, governmental issues, porn videos/magazines, and different sex stores.

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May 4, 2007

Thought I would share...

Of course I would come down with strep throat the weekend before finals.

Anyway, so I went into Boynton to get a strep test and on the information forms that I had to fill out prior to my visit I saw something that I didn't expect to see, but definitely was excited to see. It said:

"Gender: (check one)
Male..........Female..........Transgender..........Other"

I was shocked, but I found myself actually feeling a little bit proud regardless of what I checked. This is the very first place that I've seen this and I had to wonder if it had anything to do with the University of Minnesota being in the top 20 univeristies in the nation with great LGBT communities, which I did read recently in relation to my group's presentation on gender.

Have any of you seen this any other places either around campus or the Twin Cities?

May 2, 2007

Group Presentations

Good job on the group presentations. You've all definitely set the bar of expectations for the rest of us. I wanted to comment on several things from each presentation that I had in response to them or things being said.

Group 1: Sexual Violence
I found it interesting that the rape rates were the highest (was it 88%?) among whites, while women of color were the most involved in prostitution. The reason for it being interesting is because the rapes that tend to occur in the U. S. are most often pursued by white men. Even on television on the program Law & Order: Special Victims Unit their pedophile and most serious rape cases have the white man being the perpetuator. Why is it this way? Is it a societal thing? Do white men have the desire to have more control over their women? Perhaps this could be one possible suggestion, given the fact that white men are the ones that govern our country and are the positions holding the highest power. Or could it be because their self-esteem might be lower of a man of color when it comes to attracting women? Because white women are the leading women in bi-racial relationships and are not as concerned with being with white men, has this caused problems for white men?

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May 1, 2007

Class Presentations

The first group is presenting on sexual violence. Domestic violence - 85% of reports are from women. The spouse still feels love for their partner, hopes for a change, fears for their life, or doesn't even realize abuse is occurring - that is why they stay. Control of a relationship is why most domestic abuse occurs. Among black marital partners, wives were just about as likely to murder their husbands as husbands were to murder their wives: 47% of the victims of a spouse were husbands and 53% were wives. The family court for abused victims has the power to order temporary child support. Criminal court only has the power to send the abuser to jail permanently or issue a temporary restraining order. Family court cannot accept any case because the abuser and the victim must be together, but where is the line? A minor of 16 or older can make an appeal on their own behalf against a spouse or former spouse, or a person with whom the minor has a child with, if the court determines that the minor has enough maturity and judgment and that it is in the best interest of the minor. Rape is defined as vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by the penis or any other object without consent of the other person. This definition can vary based on the person's viewpoint. 22% of all rapes occcur before age 12 and more than half occur before age 18. Accordign to "Fraternities and Rape on Campus" by Martin and Hummer (Feminsit Frontiers, pgs. 417-424), fraternities stratigically use alcohol to "get laid." A person can be raped or assaulted by his or her partner or spouse. 10-14% of married women are raped by their partners during the marriage. In Minnesota State Law there are certain allowances under which men can rape their wives legally or with minimal consequence. Gender role binaries, the construction of power within the society and the patriarchal family structure are potential causes for marital rape and domestic violence. "Prostitution in and of itself is an abuse of a woman's body...that is the essence and the meaning of male dominance" (Andrea Dworkin). The average age of entry into prostitution in the US is 14 years old. Most prostitutes are non white or women of low socio-economic status (or both), experienced incest or other child-sexual abuse before becoming prostitutes, or experience high rates of physical and sexual violence in prostitution and want to find a way out of it. Prostitution is, at least according to feminist theorists: an extreme form of men's control and violence of women, children and sexual minorities & inherently abusive and oppressive, at least in the way it is rune in the last two hundred years or so.

The second group focused on Gender Discrimination in the Workplace: gendered positions (secretaries), equal pay for equal work, glass-ceiling effects (Title VII), effects of women's traditional roles at home (pregnancy discrimination act), and affirmative action. Discrimination in the Twin Cities: Sennewald v. UofM - full time status awarded to men's gymnastics coach but not women's softball coach; ruled in favor of U of M on premise that it was based on budgeting decisions at the time of request for full-time status. Women in engineering and science fields: women are minority in academia; women are minority of engineers in the corporate world; number of women is increasing, but there's still a long way to go. There are few women who are professors or professors of color. Departments at the University of Minnesota - In the Chemical Engineering Department, there are three female professors and 35+ male professors; the office is full of female secretaries. These patters are consistent with "Sex Segregation in the US Labor Force" article by Christin E. Bose and Rachel Bridges Whaley: "Indeed, only a fraction of women work in occupations that are dominated by men (Draut and Luna 1992). Encouragement to Involve Women: national science foundation provides grants that help fund the labs at the U and ask how many women work in the lab; Charfac just aplied for a renewal on their 5 year grant and had to list the amoung of women who use the lab, what lab has done to promote amount of women using the lab. UofM has a Society of Women Engineers chapter. Despite having a womens studies program at the University of Minnesota, we still have other departments that practice male dominance. The institute of Technology is an example because the majority of professors and graduate students are males. Women and Animals: there have always been more men than women involved in the vet school here at the U; lately, the amount of women has increased, and the amount of men has decreased. There is a larger percentage of women in Animal Science classes. The head vet at Research Animal Resources is a woman. Gender equality in sports: the number of sports, coach's pay, scholarship funding, facilities for athletes and fan base. Number of sports: 12 male and female sports at the U; Title IX helps; 3 female pro sports in Minnesota & 13 male pro sports in Minnesota. Coach's Pay for Basketball: Tubby Smith - $1.75 million a year; Pam Borton - $150,000 a year. Scholarship funding: men still get more and specific sports can add to the funding (men do more). Facilities: women share stadiums with men, if they have their own stadium, it is smaller than the men's. Fan Base - attendance at men's games are greater and the media promotes men's sports more. Conclusion: gender and other forms of discrimination are present here in the Twin Cities.

The third group focused on: Socializing the Individual - Deconstructing Sexuality & Gender. Video Clip of Girls vs. Boys - Girls have long hair and Boys have short hair; Girls like barbies, unicorns, makeup, princesses and Boys like video games, star wars, computers; Girls should help animals and Boys should build houses and go to outer space. Transgender Clarified: a broad term used to encompass all manifestations of cross gender barriers; it includes all who cross dress or otherwise transgress gender norms, and all others who wish to belong; the Minnesota Human Rights Act includes transgender people. "Labeling someone a man or a woman is a social decision. We may use scientific knowledge to help us make the decision, but only our beliefs about gender - not science - can define our sex. Furthermore, our beliefs about gender affect what kinds of knowledge scientists produce about sex in the first place" (Ann Fausto-Sterling). Paris is Burning: gender performance and cues, realness and passing, is drag subversive? "Butler claims that gender is disciplined: 'in the interested on the heterosexual construction and regulation of sexuality within the reproductive domain' (500)." Butler questions whether drag questions and reaffirms the normalization of gender. Androgen Insensitivity: Maria Patino, 1988 Olympics; spain's top woman hurdler; required sex testing for the olympics; she had a Y chromosome and no ovaries or uterus, her cells couldn't detect testosterone. 'First we sex the body then we gender it.' Intersexes: preferred term to encompass a variety of syndromes previously classified on basis of gonadel history as true hermaphroditism; on having both male and female sexual characteristics and organs; at birth an unambiguous assignment of male or female cannot be made. Girl or Boy? - physical appearance-phallus length of less than 2 cm; hormonal contributions; nature vs. nurture; societal pressures. Implications for Gender Assignment: reproductive potential, sexual function, minimization of medical procedures, gender-appropriate appearance, stable gender identity, psychosocial well-being. Medicine & Feminist Ties: Concealment-Centered Model: abnormality, nurture, medical problem, "normalize" genitalia; Patient-Centered Model: anatomical variation, nature/nurture, psychosocial support, right to self determination, autonomy, supported by activists, historians, LGBT community and feminists. Long Term Outcomes: Medical outcomes are non-life threatening, Psychosocial aspects: sexual identity, 'niche-searching', and quality of life. Local Activism - Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition, Gender Education Center, and OutFront Minnesota. Sexing the Body by Anne Fausto-Sterling.

If anyone is experiencing what they feel may be domestic violence, be it emotion, verbal, or physical, PLEASE visit the Aurora Center website. Feel free to e-mail me if you have questions, I will be more than happy to try and answer them or refer you to proper resources. My e-mail: englu057@umn.edu

Group Presentations

I was very pleased with the group presentations that I heard tonight! The first group discussed the many forms of violence which are aimed towards women: violence within marriage (I was not aware of marital rape), domestic abuse (within relationships between man and woman, parent and child, etc.), and violence associated with prostitution. I hate to admit it but I never really took the time to consider the violence associated with prostitution. It is a “profession� that I do not particularly agree with but nonetheless, women in these situations still ought to have respect and deserve to feel safe. Many of these prostitutes were previously victims of sexual and physical assault so many fall into these job as a last resort. I also really enjoyed how they presented their information. By making it a game, they incorporated the audience and we were not just sitting there. It was not boring at all!

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bell hooks Book

I remember in class much earlier this semester talking about male feminists and males who are allies to feminists. It seems like a lot of males who are feminist are viewed by other males as just trying to find a way to get girls. I found it interesting that many people think that way, and when I was at work at my job as a parking attendant, I was reading a part about this very topic in the book by bell hooks.

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April 30, 2007

Location Exercise

Organizing all of my paper work for finals and whatnot, I found the worksheet we did at the end of the class on priviledge titled "Location Exercise" I filled out most of it and intended to post my paragraph on here earlier and then realized I never did. Going back to it a few weeks later it is quite interesting to read what I wrote and to now reflect on it.

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April 25, 2007

Globalism

When we had the discussion of globalism yesterday, I don't think I had really thought of what globalism means to me and the rest of us in the classroom. I get so caught up in my own life and forget to think about society in general as a whole. We are very much an individualistic society, but through a common thread we have been able to expand this country's power and morals: capitalism and mass production. The idea of globalism is one that may not seem so bad to a large majority or everyday citizen. There's McDonald's in every corner of every country, making it seem like you (the tourist) can always feel comfortable with what you're familiar with, even in an unfamiliar place.

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March 26, 2007

My American Doll Life

I used to play house with my Barbies, but it wasn’t the kind of house where I wanted to cook or clean and stuff like that, it was house where I made my brother and sister act out the roll of my son and daughter (or pets) and then I would be the mom (or owner). My brother and I would go back and forth on the issue of a doll versus an action figure. To him male figurines were action figures, not dolls and I thought GI Joe and Ken were dolls. I still do. Ken is such a doll! The doll was used as only when I wanted to dress up and put makeup on this perfectly skinny doll. I was never envious of my Barbies long beautiful blond hair, I just wanted her light skin. I used to lie on the ground closing my eyes and daydream on what it would be like to be White and what it would be like if my White friend’s parents were actually my parents and what it would be like if we were in the same family. I wanted to be White so badly and have a name like Samantha (like my American Girl doll) or Rebecca (because that seemed like a nice normal name to me). After the animated movie, Anastasia came out, I got my first non-blond hair, non-American doll. My mom bought me the beautiful Anastasia doll...

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March 24, 2007

" This isn't the Spice Girl doll!!! :( "

So I used to like the Spice Girls. A lot. I really wasn't a huge fan of Barbie. But I liked Baby Spice. A lot. I would get Barbies all the time as gifts and throw them in my closet, never to be played with. I remember one year, I got a really really ugly Barbie. It was hideous. I believe it was like the "workout Barbie" which came complete with a mini pink boombox stereo and some awesome neon sweatbands. Yeah. So anyways.

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February 28, 2007

iron jawed angels

when i went home last weekend, i bought iron jawed angels because i really watched to see all of the movie, so on friday night, my friend and i watched it in its entirety. i think the movie is very powerful and portrays the events with accuracy and i liked it very much but i was pissed about the romantic entanglement that occurs between alice paul and the most likely fictional character ben weissman. we talked about this issue in class and i thought it was silly then that the movie had to be affected by hollywood and the writers felt that they had to make it more likable and sellable to the people that aren't watching it with just a simple interest in the historical value. but after actually watching and witnessing the "relationship," i was just mad.

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Location Exercise

I was looking back on the location exercise we did in class regarding naming and positioning and I was inspired to write the first poem I have written in over two years! I consider this poem my realization of what it means to be able to "pass."

First off, a few basics from the exercise:

My name is Eve. Eve is a Hebrew name. My name means life and original sin. My name was chosen by my parents because my mother saw Eve as a powerful historical female figure. My father is Jewish and, at one time, was an Israeli citizen. He wanted me to have a Hebrew name.

Naming is very important in the Jewish religion. A Jewish person cannot name their child after someone, (a friend or relative) who is still living.

People can place me in the following categories by looking at me: white, female, young, middle-class, able-bodied, and tattooed.
People can rarely tell that I am Jewish, and in this way I am allowed to pass.

Here follows my poem:

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February 21, 2007

Location Exercise

Doing this exercise made me think of a paper that I wrote last semester for an English Composition class. The topic for my paper was Welfare Rights and how the stereotypical thinking that surrounds people on government assistance is detrimental for those people and for society in general. One of the questions in the exercise asked, "When did you first become aware of your race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, etc.?" While this probably wasn't the first time I became aware of such things, it stands out in my mind as being significant. For my paper, I got into contact with the Welfare Rights Committee here in Minneapolis. Even on the drive there, I could tell that this wasn't the type of neighborhood I was used to. The committee was located in an old school that had been turned into a community center. The office was one room with a big long table in the center with papers strewn across it. Listening to the women talk about the unfair treatment of welfare recipients, I could see how my class status probably appeared to them. These women were putting down rich people, and while I certainly am not rich, I'm from a middle class family where money isn't a day to day concern. Before doing this paper, I at least partially believed the stereotypes about welfare recipients. Now I know that most people on welfare are only on it for a short amount of time and are for the most part using it as a second chance, a way of getting back on their feet. As we're learning about white privilege and oppression based on socioeconomic status, I remember that interview, and I can better understand where these authors are coming from.

February 8, 2007

Free to be...You and Me

In class, Tuesday, Free to be...You and Me was brought up and I thought I would post a few YouTube video links to some of the songs. WARNING!!! These songs may be stuck in your head for sometime after watching!! Just be glad I didn't post "William wants a doll."

Sisters and Brothers
Parents Are People
It's Alright to Cry
When We Grow Up

When We Grow Up has the lovely young Michael Jackson!