Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Feminine Mystique

The Feminine Mystique, written by Betty Friedan, was a book that is more commonly associated with discussing the "problem that has no name." This "problem" as explained by my professor in my lecture, is that women are increasingly taught to believe that their existence and happiness is limited to being a housewife or doing things only a housewife would do. The message Friedan was trying to make was that women during that time period in which she wrote the book was a time when women felt dissatisfied with the way things were going at home and they wanted to do something to change it. The problem was not a sexual one, but more of a personal one. Women during this time period wanted to have careers, to have goals in the work force and not always be a housewife. World War II granted women this chance to work because women were needed while the men were off at war. The time the war was going on and until it ended allowed women to put their education to the test and do something that wasn't dealing with making dinner or changing a diaper on a baby. The sort of jobs were working in factories or working in businesses. While this was short-lived due to the return of the men fighting in the war and the necessity for the men to get back to work, it allowed women to feel that they don't always have to be a housewife, which I think is really powerful. In a way, this reminded me of the movie and book Revolutionary Road, where the wife wanted to get away from her boring life and get back to her dream of being an actress. While the movie and her (and her husband's for a short time) ambition to go to Paris is different with the whole "New Woman" movement, it is a similar aspect that women grew tired and bored of the same-old routine that women did before they started to work real jobs.

Video of End Woman's Suffrage

I watched the disturbing video from Module 6 about a man who went around a high school campus asking the women of the campus to sign a petition regarding ending woman's suffrage. As i finished watching the horrific 3 minute video, I was left shocked by the amount of women shown in the video who signed the petition. There was only one woman to my knowledge who refused to sign it, showing that at least one woman in the video at least knew something about woman's suffrage. Whether or not the other women in the video did not know woman's suffrage, or confused "suffrage" with "suffering" can be debated, but it is important to know that the man doing the video was not so much wanting to end woman's suffrage, but to show that woman's suffrage is probably not explained enough in secondary schools, as explained by my professor. Whatever the case may be, from my point of view at least, women need to know the history of their long fight for some sort of equality in a world where men are, more often than not, dominating. Although I was taught about woman's suffrage in my middle and high school, my parents lived in Seneca Falls, NY for a few years before moving to my birth town, Ithaca, NY, so I was at least exposed to some of the history of Seneca Falls through my parents. So to see the women in the video sign a petition that they probably have no idea what it is about is what shocks me the most, especially a school that is a National School of Excellence given by the U.S. Department of Education. Maybe showing that sign at the beginning of the video was to show some irony before the interviews began.

The Minneapolis Pornography Ordinance

After reading the Minneapolis Pornography Ordinance, I found that religion and holding true to the Constitution contributes to the never-ending fight against pornography in America. For me, I don't think that pornography is a good thing because I tend to stay true to my religious feelings rather than follow any sort of political act. However, I do follow the amendments in the Constitution, so pornography tends to have a double-edge sword. One thing is that religion can blind a person in following political rules, in this case the First Amendment. Because of the First Amendment, pornography distribution is somewhat protected, and I don't really have a problem with it being sold or distributed through the web. I do, however, feel that porn is shameful and disturbing, especially with the use of violence in porn where the male is overpowering the female and there is, essentially, nothing the female can do about it. I saw in a discussion board post about what a woman must feel when doing porn; for example does the woman not care that she is exposing herself and throwing her body to be used in embarrassing or inappropriate ways. To porn stars, pornography is a business where it is a good way to make money; the same can be said for gentleman's clubs or any of the such. I for one feel that a woman, or any person in general, should cherish their body and their self-worth because you only live once, and you certainly won't be able to try and redo anything. With that being said, I believe that women should think long and hard before going into the pornography business, because once you become famous in that, there is no turning back.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Feminist Theories

When I watched and took notes on the lecture module for the Feminist Theories, I had no idea there were even more than one. To be honest, I had no idea about any of the theories. I thought that Liberal and the Marxist Feminist theories were the most interesting, while the Radical Feminist Theory was also a very interesting theory. I was really intrigued to the Liberal Feminist Theory because of how women were abused in the working places. I knew all about the sexual harassment cases and such because that appears to be the most reported case, but when I learned about the root of all the problems are from the laws that bar women or don’t protect women from the abuses that come their way; an example of an abuse is a position in the working place that is given to a male who doesn’t have the abilities as such as the female who SHOULD get the role but doesn’t. I had no idea that Marxist Feminism Theory even existed. While I knew who Karl Marx was and what theories he came up with, I didn’t know about the ones that women were able to use. I can remember back when I was in high school, and I was talking about a potential grade level that I wanted to teach when I graduate. Someone (I forgot who but he/she was a teacher) told me that elementary school teachers (K-5 teachers) tend to get paid more than female teachers because of the high demand for male teachers in a grade level that is dominated by women. Just because a male wants to teach at a grade level dominated by women should not automatically grant that person to be paid more. I thought it was rather odd; I decided a few days later that I wanted to teach high school instead.

Radical Feminist Theory caught my eye the most, because when I see the word “radical” I knew that it meant that there will be demands for a dramatic change. This movement dealt with the oppression women faced in a patriarch society, where a male is the dominant figure in almost like a “ruler” or a “king.” Women in this theory want to overthrow this patriarchy and demand equality. The oppression starts with the fact that male and females are biologically different and because of these differences, females are oppressed due to gender or sexuality. An example of this is pornography, where the female is ordered by the male to pleasure the male sexually without denying him. Radical Feminist Theory wants to end this oppression and fight for equality in that aspect. This I think is one of the most powerful theories because it deals with personal equality, where Liberal and Marxist Feminist theories dealt with the working environment. Although there were many more, I felt that these three were the ones that are really important in society.

Sports and Women = misconceptions

Too many times have I heard "softball" and "dykes" come together in the same sentence. For one thing, although both men and women, especially women in the sport, will tell you that there are lesbians, or dykes in this case, play softball, it is ridiculous to get the idea that dykes dominate the sport. This misconception is based off of gender socialization, the idea that we are taught and we are to learn the appropriate behaviors and thinking that are associated with being a girl or a boy. Let's look at hockey for a example. When the word "hockey" is said, normally one would think of a player on skates with pads, stick, gloves, helmet, missing a few teeth, but the main thing is that when one puts the pieces together, it is normally a male player. There are women hockey players in the world, but they are normally not as popular because of the male dominance when it comes to sports. But there are great women hockey players that are yet to be seen (some of them can even beat the professional players in the NHL). But the stereotype that because it is a male sport, women athletes who play hockey can be seen as lesbians. A sad and pathetic misconception that unfortunately falls on women, and it needs to stop.

What is Women's Studies?

As explained in the lecture by my professor, Women's Studies really doesn't have its own definition. For one thing, Women's Studies is the examination of women’s experiences that recognizes women’s achievements and addresses women’s status in society, as shown in the lecture. If one understands what Feminism is, then one can see some of the comparisons between Women's Studies and Feminism. However, I was surprised to see some of the myths about Feminism from my lecture. One of the myths that I found disturbing was that "all feminists are lesbians." For one thing, I don't know why men (or women) would even classify feminists as lesbians in the first place, or even place myths on feminists. For one thing, placing a myth on an individual or an organization, a nation, a race, a gender, or anything else, shows that those people who placed the myths lack the ability to want to understand one another. I was brought up to never judge others or categorize others. When I saw the myths, especially the idea that feminists are lesbians really shows that those who placed the myths don't know that men are also feminists. I always hate when people judge others, and not just when people judge feminists, but judging people in general.