Friday, July 23, 2010
I started becoming more aware of feminism earlier this summer when I was taking my Women's Studies class for my school. The way this class has affected me has been positive. I have become more aware of sexism and such that I was never aware of before I started taking my class. I am proud of say that I am supportive of the feminist movement and any opinion I have now is positive. What do you all think of when you hear the word "feminist" or "feminism"? Do you all see a lesbian woman who is fighting for rights, or do you see an angry woman who shouldn't get her way? Well I don't and I think that stereotyping a feminist is ridiculous. Actually, many of you many not even know that Women's Studies is even a class, let alone the schools are allowed to even have a class based on studying the histories and struggles of women. Well, it certainly is a class, as the times have changed. I bet not many people are shocked at the fact that there are African American Studies, and that is a whole semester's worth of (you guessed it) a class based on the histories and struggles of Africans and African Americans in America. The most important aspect of being a feminist is having integrity, or a moral positioning about the distinction between right and wrong. If someone says "do as I say not as I do" chances are that person is not holding integrity, as integrity means that if you say something you have to practice that, so if you say "you shouldn't eat fast foods," then you can't eat fast foods. Feminists do their best to hold integrity, because there are a lot of stereotypes out there that are waiting to jump at the first sign of a woman not practicing or doing what they are fighting for. The times I have been blogging and such have opened my eyes to the world of feminism and the feminist movements, and I don't regret this one bit even if I am a guy. I've always believed in hearing what the other side has to say in an argument, so learning more about the feminist movements have been a whole new experience for me, something that I will never forget. So while I may not be a full-fledged feminist, I can say that I am happy to fight for feminist ideas as long as it is constructive. So no matter what you do with your life, always remember that there are two sides to an argument. Let's give both sides a chance to speak their mind, and let's try to come to an agreement. And above all, try to have a sense of humor when you are doing it.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Abortion. What does that word mean to you? Does it make you a person of pro-choice, or pro-life? Being pro-choice means that you believe that abortion should be left to the woman to decide, meaning that women should not be forced to have children. Being pro-life means that you believe that abortion is wrong, and that the fertilized ovum or fetus has as much right as a person, thus doing abortion would judge it as killing a person; those who believe in God like Christians or Muslims believe that abortion is a sin, especially Christians for one of the Ten Commandments states "You shall not murder." What does abortion mean to me? Well I remember back in my senior year of high school, I was doing a paper on abortion in my AP US Government class. I still believe in my belief that I had back in high school, and that is that I believe the women should be left with the decision. However, I do also believe that if that woman is married or with her boyfriend when she is pregnant, then the male should at least have his say in the matter. There are reasons women would want an abortion. In my opinion, women get an abortion if the baby was not planned, or the woman is in high school or college, the woman may have cheated on her boyfriend or husband and would want the abortion so that the baby will not be born. The list goes on. Men feel the same way, as maybe they are not in the economic or mental state to deal with a child. Whatever the case may be, I leave it up to a woman to decide, because the woman must bear with the child in her body, and if she knows what she is doing and is well aware of the consequences that may bring by having the abortion, then that is her decision. But as a believer in God and in Christ, I don't think I would be able to go through with having an abortion if I was a woman. But I am not a woman, thus I think my opinion is a little different than it is from a woman's opinion. Thus, the debate on abortion will probably never end, at least not during my lifetime.
On Tuesday night after playing some FIFA 10 on my PS3, I was locked in on something on ESPN. E:60, a show on ESPN, had a segment on corrective rape. I did not watch the entire video on corrective rape as I have heard about it during the winter of this past year. But this sort of thing came to mind, and I just had to write this down. For those of you who do not know what corrective rape is, here is the Wikipedia version of corrective rape: a criminal practice in South African culture, whereby men rape lesbian women, purportedly as a means of "curing" the woman of their sexual orientation. If you read my blog post from Sunday, you will see an article from BBC News about rape in South Africa. If you don't already know now, South Africa is one of the leading statistics of the practice of rape in the world, as women are more likely to be raped than it is to probably get a job in the United States (a bit of an over-exaggeration, but I think you all get the point). Rape is a horrible and frightening experience, something that I hope none of you (and myself) ever experience in our lifetime. But it does happen, and it does happen very often, more often than you actually think. There are many organizations that deal or talk about rape of both men and women, but the sad part is that authorities don't always know that rape could or have happened to a person, because either that person is traumatized by it and does not want to report it, or because of many other reasons such as the fear of being threatened, or because the person who raped you is a family member or spouse or boyfriend. Whatever the case may be, rape has been on the down-low (in other words, it is all hush-hush) and the authorities need to know. But if watching the video down below is not enough for you to do something about the fact that rape is happening more often than you think, then you should seriously start thinking now.
The video of E:60's segment on corrective rape can be seen here: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?categoryid=3060647&id=5181871
The video of E:60's segment on corrective rape can be seen here: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?categoryid=3060647&id=5181871
Sunday, July 18, 2010
There was talk sometime ago about how America can decrease the poverty rate by increasing marriage. Today, successful marriages are hard to come by, as statistics show that marriage ends in divorce more so than it does with marriage lasting for life. So the question I must ask you, fellow readers, is this: should poverty and marriage even be in the same sentence? Before answering that, start with this question: should we marry someone just so we can get out of poverty, or will that lead to more poverty? To me, it doesn't really matter if the marriage can make someone get out of debt or not, because isn't the whole point in marrying someone is because you love that person and that you don't want to be with anyone else? At least that's why my parents got married. It wasn't to rid one another of debt (they never told me they were poor) so why would the topic of getting married to decrease the poverty rate be brought up. Poverty could increase in marriage if it isn't handled correctly and responsibly. Poverty often starts with how much money the parents had when they were growing up. Poverty also befalls on someone who doesn't use their money wisely, doesn't have a job, or gets robbed and all their money is gone. Okay so the last thing is a little much, but the first two are prime examples as to why we have poverty. Thus if a person is to marry someone, they shouldn't act as a, according to Kayne West, "gold digger" but because they love that person more than a fat kid loves cake. So back to my first question: should poverty and marriage even be in the same question? To me, it is a big, fat NO! Poverty and marriage should be dealt separately, although poverty could befall a family if they are not careful.
Think for a moment about who does the most work in your home? If you remember your childhood, who did the most house work, your mom or your dad? Or maybe it was you? Regardless, it is estimated that women do two-thirds of the world's work, yet they receive only 5% of the world's income. If you think about it, women mostly do the housework, like doing the laundry, or cleaning the house, or doing gardening. In my house, my parents split the amount of work, although my mom tends to clean when she believes something is dirty because that is just who she is. But when I was younger, my dad and my mom cleaned the house, while I sat on my backside and did nothing (of course, now I am helping around the house and doing my part to help clean). But that's just it: people have this tendency to "help" with the labor in the house. My mom would ask me when I was younger, "Can you clean your room for me?" Of course I would huff and puff and walk my way upstairs to do it, but I am only doing, probably, 5-6% of the house cleaning. There's the hallways, bathrooms, kitchen, family room, living room, basement if you have one, and the yard work. In reality, we don't know just how much our moms (or our dads because they could be doing more too) work to maintain the house, and we sit here and take things for granted. Now the point in what I am trying to say is that we shouldn't feel obligated to help the women with the cleaning, we should do it because we want to and before the women even think about doing it. Sure that may sound like helping, but it would be better than other "helping" which is assuming that it is someone else's responsibility. So let's give our moms and dads a hand, and not just for clapping our patting their backs saying "good job" but use those hands to get a duster, or a sponge, a mop, vacuum, lawn mower, gardening gloves, and so on, and do our part in the unpaid labor that goes on in our own household.
In Stephen D. Levitt's book Freakonomics, there was a survey taken by women in Africa on the subject of wife beating. According to the survey taken in 13 African countries, between the years 1999 and 2004, 52% of women said that they think wife-beating is justified if she neglects the children; around 45% think it is justified if she goes out without telling the husband or argues with him; 36% if she refuses sex, and 30% if she burns the food. Remember, the key part of this survey is that the women took the survey. Think to yourself as a United States citizen about the talk about domestic violence. In this country, is it not clear that if you beat your husband or, in this case, you beat your wife, chances are things will NOT go well for you if you are taken to court? Yeah try to get out of that one alive. But here, women, yes WOMEN, say that it is all good to be beaten for this and that. I mean, really, if she burns the food it is okay to be beaten? Look I have no idea what is going on in these countries, but if a woman burns the food, that means she will get kicked around? I look at this in disgust, but I also remember that some African countries may not have a strong government as other countries do. They may also be ruled by men, and whatever the men say is what will happen; any back talk and, you guessed it, the women will be beaten. This fear that is displayed in Africa can be seen almost anywhere. Here is another example I will share with you that will better help my argument on women living in fear and the men having absolute control: In a 2009 BBC News report, one of four South African men were surveyed, and they reported that they have raped someone, and more than half of them have done it more than once. That's not where the horror ends: The study also found that three our of four who admitted raping someone said that their first rape was in their teens. It is already clear that the upbringings of a child in African countries is frightening. Although that doesn't exclude countries such as our own, it is evident that African countries have promoted this fear that is instilled into the hearts and minds of any child growing up in these countries.
For more on the BBC News report, here is the link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8107039.stm
For more on the BBC News report, here is the link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8107039.stm
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Homophobia, or an aversion or hatred of homosexuals and their lifestyles, along with behavior based on such aversion, is something that many people, both men and women, deal with during their lives. It is this hatred that lead homosexuals to become outcasts of society, being forced to be seen as a threat, or something that is tarnished or tainted. Of course, that is all just in a person's head, but it is something that is part of the every day culture in which this country (and this world) is going through. Personally, I see nothing wrong with someone being gay, because it is their choice, and I am all good with that. I don't freak out if someone is gay, because not all homosexuals will hit on you if they know you are straight. Of course, some homosexuals don't always look or act gay, for they may be look to be as straight as you (if you are straight of course). The problem I have is that, like the race struggle, is something that I just can't understand. I am not like everyone, and everyone is not like me, so not everyone can be as open to another person's lifestyle (I have a large mixture of friends, with many being black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern, and I also have a friend who is gay). When I look at homophobia, I think about the song "Why Can't We Be Friends" by the band War. Why can't we all be friends? That is the question I would like someone to answer. The problem with homophobia, in my opinion, is that the people who have this fear or hatred towards homosexuals is because they don't want to take the time to get to know them, or at least try to understand their lifestyles or who they are. Just because someone isn't like you doesn't mean that you should just hate them, that would be ridiculous. Plus whose right do you have to hate someone just because they aren't the same as you. Everyone is unique, that is a given. Homophobia will probably be around for a long time, just like the race struggle, the culture struggle, you name it. In the meantime, I will continue to accept people for who they are while humming "Why Can't We Be Friends?"
When you think of the word "disability," what do you normally think about? Maybe you think about a person who is suffering physical disorder, like a person who must use crutches, a wheelchair, maybe a walking-stick. Maybe you think about a person who suffers from a mental disorder, such as mental retardation. Maybe you thought about someone who may have health issues, like Asthma, or some sort of allergy. However, do you ever think about someone who just can't do a task that someone of the same or other sex can perform? For example, when you see a boy throw a ball, and it seems to be different in the eyes of someone looking at a regular boy who can actually throw a ball, and you label that boy "oh he throws like a girl" (think about the movie The Sandlot, where Ham Porter challenges an older group of boys in a baseball game by saying to them "well you play baseball like a girl!" Obviously many people may look at this and laugh. This is the type of stuff that I can admit I said when I was growing up, just to entice someone to play a little stronger, a little better, or just to light a fire under them. Of course, this may be classified as a disability from a gender perspective, by comparing femininity to disabilities. This may be hard to believe, because everyday there seems to be some sort of comparison between men where someone would say, "You play like a sissy" or "quit acting like a girl" and so on. While I am not trying to change anyone's thought process when thinking about disabilities, it is important to take with you the fact that classifying someone's inability to perform at a sport or perform at a task that is more natural for them to perform in does not require anyone, a player, a coach, or a parent to tell them that they are playing like a girl. Just a thought.
Google, for a moment, the word "white privilege" and see what you come up with. If you look at Wikipedia (yes maybe the least trustworthy site, I know, I know) and you will come up with something like this: white privilege is a way of conceptualizing race inequalities that focuses as much on the advantages that white people accrue from society as on the disadvantages that people of color experience. In other words, white privilege deals with the advantages white people have over those of color in society, whether it is in the workplace, crime, school, you name it. This of course made me sit back and think for a moment of the things I was taught as a child growing up in a country that Eminem put it best in a song: White America (although not as controversial as the song is, of course). I am a white male, and over the past 21 years of my life, it would be very disappointing to me to believe that I have been given the advantages because of the color of my skin, or because of the color of my parent's skin, all because they may be white. Of course, the topic of "White Privilege" is not directed to every white person living in America, but a theory that is more drawn up from the minorities' viewpoint because of the disadvantages that have come about for them while growing up in America. My parents have always taught me to never take for granted anything in life, and that I am to always work my socks off to be successful, because nothing is ever given to you; you must take it yourself, and the only way to do that is to always try your best. Thus I have been doing that ever since I learned how to talk, to walk, to write, to think critically, to play sports; everything I did in life, I did with hard work, determination, and the drive to succeed. However, after reading some information on the idea of "White Privilege" I know think about the non-white person who may have gone through all the steps that I did in life, only to come away empty-handed to some white person who didn't do anything to get the job, but only received it because of the color of their skin. I find it disheartening, and obviously something must be done. But now the year is 2010, and while there have been many advances in the hiring of colored people in the work place, "White Privilege" may seem to be decreasing. But we cannot take things for granted, because while I may be typing this post, someone may be going through the harsh realities of "White Privilege"; such the cold realities of this country, of this world, and of this concept.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
On the discussion board, I discussed about the slide on the lecture for my class about the Pseudo-generic "Man" and the examples of phrases that use male nouns as "generic." Such an example is "All men are created equal." As we celebrate today our patriotism towards America of our freedom and the Declaration of Independence, it is interesting to look at that sentence from a feminist point of view. While we associate the sentence with feelings of liberty and freedom, the thought that only men appear to be entitled to be equal is an assumption of what that sentence means. I can't speak for Thomas Jefferson and explain what he was thinking at that time when he was writing our great Declaration of Independence, but I am sure that women are just as entitled to their right to be equal as men are. Sure, Jefferson could have done what the people who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, in which it read "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights..." but, unfortunately, he didn't. Of course, the purpose of the activity the slide was presenting wasn't to bash the most famous line in any American document, but it was to show that "man" or "men" seem to be thrown in to many sentences, such as "mankind," "manpower," "man's best friend," and the list goes on. What the slide wanted to show was that instead of saying "man" (or even "woman" or "women") try to use something that can combine not only men and women, but also people of color, race, ethnicity, and so on and so forth. My final example is something that I was taught in my freshman year of high school. Conflicts are one of the most important functions of a fictional literature that is to be thought up before writing any story. What I found on Wikipedia is a list of all the concepts one can think of when writing a story. What I was taught in high school were "Man vs. Man," "Man vs. Nature," "Man vs. Self," etc., but when you look at the Wikipedia page, you will notice that it has "Character vs. Character," "Character vs. Nature," "Individual vs. Self," and so on. Thus I was taught a Pseudo-generic "Man" phrase without even realizing.
If any man and woman have been in a relationship for an extended period of time, it is plainly obvious that how a man communicates and how a woman communicates is very different, almost to the point that they are at polar opposites. While it is clear that women communicate in a more polite when talking, that does not mean to say that men are people who are always angry or that they always want to be right. There are many reasons behind why communication between men and women are different. For starters, a man and a woman may not have any communication differences at all, at that it is more likely for that couple to be very similar (not always do opposites attract). But when the couple are different, then one must look at the person's history. A person's upbringing plays a large part in the reason why that person is who he or she is today. Another reason that goes along with this theory is a person's genetic background. Sometimes a person's communication skills are friends, social groups, society, peers, etc. These are just a few reasons as to why men and women may be different in the communication aspect in a relationship. Through the discussion boards for my class, I have seen many posts about why men seem to be so different and why they have to act tough and why they don't seem to have any feelings at all. This could be many reasons, and many of those reasons are explained above. But here is what I know: a man who claims they have "no feelings" are liars, because I sure do have feelings. In my current relationship with my girlfriend, it took me some time to open up and share my feelings. In my opinion, men will open up to their girlfriend or lover only when they feel comfortable and when they don't feel that they are pressured to do so. The comfort level is probably the key reason, because if a man has been spending a lot of time with their guy friends, and if they are saying "we don't have feelings because we are too tough or too cool for that," chances are that the men who hangs out with that crowd will take some time to open up because they always believed that they are "too tough" or "too cool" for feelings. Men do have feelings, and their communication skills are different from a woman's, but that doesn't mean that they can change. For women though, they just need to not try so hard to make a man open up to them, because a man will come around in time. That's just my two cents though.
When I was watching and taking notes in my class, there was a slide that talked about how pornography is an example of vulnerability. This vulnerability is directed at men, especially the penis. From what I could gather, pornography is an attempt for men to escape this vulnerability, because us men are seen as something that lacks and emotions or we intend to suppress these emotions so we can be seen as more tough. But the penis of a man is a vulnerability because it is the one part of our body that is very sensitive and can make a man fall to his knees in pain (my apologies for any men who are reading this and cringing at the image of that happening, and my apologies to any women who probably did not want to know any of that). Moving on, pornography blinds men into believing that their penis is stronger than they actually seem to be, because it can make any women weak to the knees and would throw themselves to the men because of either the size of the sheer pleasure that the penis could bring. But this isn't the way the world works, and it could explain why men seem to act violent or get angry when pleasure doesn't come to them when they think that it should. Pornography is like any movie, it isn't suppose to be like what it is in real life, thus it is a movie. Men should take note that they are best to accept that their penis isn't a weapon or a powerful device that can make women flock to them. Pornography not only makes a man or a man's penis weak, but it also makes a man's belief of reality weak because they believe that what they see in a porno is what they expect it to be in real life. Moral of the story: stay away from porn movies guys, and try to accept the world as it is.