Comrades

As far as the gender division within the feminist movement, it is still very apparent. Hooks raises several facts in examining this gap. Women have so far, in a way, made feminism “women’s work.”  It can be easy to believe that only women can understand the gender gap in society, but we cannot gain equality if men remain the powerful group.  Bell hooks is saying that we must unify and acknowledge our diversity rather than exclude men from feminist activism.  Separatism didn’t work in the 80s because women can’t do this on their own.  We did accomplish a lot without male help in the past, but at this point in time we need both genders involved in the feminism movement.  Today, compared to the 80s, feminist women are much more accepting of men in the “ranks” of feminist protest and activism.  I don’t think that we can get much further with gender equality in the future without the help of men.  Even though men do not experience the discrimination women feel in the world, they do have eyes and they can see what is happening.  Research proves the gender gap and the glass ceiling to be true and men can’t ignore it any longer.  Feminists have said that they “don’t need a man” in the past, but we do need them now.  We need them to stand next to us in this fight. We need them to be our “comrades” in this fight.

Iron Jawed Angels Pt. 1

 I personally really enjoyed the first half of Iron Jawed Angels on Tuesday and don’t know how I’ve never seen it before!  I think that high school history classes would really benefit from showing movies that actually interest students rather than boring monotone videos that come with ancient textbooks.  These women are putting their lives and careers on the line for women’s suffrage.  These women, referring to Lucy and Alice, and their rebellious spirits contrast the actions and views of the conservative older women in the film.  The younger women are pushing for a constitutional amendment to gain women’s right to vote, but the older women believe in a slower state-by-state approach.  Obviously the elder women are from a less radical generation than the younger women, but I think if I was in their shoes i would side with the radical approach.  I think that in order to be heard you have to make a big impact and force society to pay attention to you.  Even if most of society, or in their case most of the society with power (men), disagrees with your views and goals, at least they’re talking about you.  Many laws are passed state-by-state and it has proven to be time consuming to get the entire country, or even the majority, on board.  I think that the “iron jawed angels” knew that women had waited long enough for suffrage; they knew that action needed to be made immediately and in a large arena. I definitely agree with this side of suffragist tactics.

American Made

  Finding clothing and other merchandise both made in the USA and made by union supported workers is VERY difficult.  In my internet searching of “american made union clothing”, brands such as UnionMade would pop up. Upon further inspection I discovered that these brands only had a few items made in the USA with union supported employees.  Even after varying my search phrases, I rarely found a website offering what I was searching for.  I read an article about a fashion designer, Nanette Lepore, who is known for clothing made entirely in the US.  She said that JC Penney offered her a fashion line in their stores, which is a store known to have affordable priced clothing.  She said that she could not meet their low price demands if she wanted to produce her clothes within the borders of the US.  This is why so much of our production occurs in sweatshops and it’s truly sad.  These sweatshops and un-unionized markets are unfair to these workers making less than 10 cents an hour in some countries.  I did, however find one really cool website dedicated to people and the planet.  Since 2002, Ethix Merch has been producing/selling merchandise made in America by union workers and never in sweatshops or unfair working environments.  While it is difficult to find these clothing items, it is possible.  If everybody in the US began searching for these companies it would definitely change things around the world, but I’m not sure if this would happen anytime soon.

DON’T pick on somebody your own size

  Reading this article about Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin was very upsetting.  Just the fact that a grown man who has been playing in the NFL for just a few years longer feels that he is in a position where he can harass, bully, and threaten another man is appalling.  The voicemails he left for Martin with sexual and racial slurs and threats to not only kill him but his entire family are way out of line.  I was shocked to read that an estimated 35% of those in the U.S. workforce today are being bullied at work.  I personally don’t understand how bullying is overlooked in school situations, so this bullying of pro-football players is insane to me.  So many players and onlookers are claiming that Martin is “not a little boy” and that he should “defend himself” and so on, but do you really think that a man who made it this far in football doesn’t know how to defend himself?  For Martin to leave the team for “emotional issues” due to Incognito and potentially other “teammates”, this had to be a pretty bad situation.  But regardless of his occupation as a football player nobody should have to deal with this type of bullying in the workplace.  You are grown ups; when will you get over your own insecurities and focus on bettering yourself instead of putting others down?  Hazing has turned into a “pay it forward” ritual on sports teams, in clubs, frats, etc. and I don’t know if it can be stopped.  These members feel that since they were hazed then everyone from then on must be hazed.  But where is the line drawn between hazing and bullying?  Hazing is generally a short-lived process, while Incognito seemed to have “hazed” Martin for quite a long time.  He was not hazing; he was bullying.  Why do these fully grown men think they are so high and mighty?  Just because you make a couple million more than a player doesn’t mean you can leave them voicemails calling them “half-niggers” and saying you’ll slap their mothers.  It’s uncalled for and it needs to be stopped. Incognito should be banned from the NFL for life; he deserves it.

Women in Congress

   It’s not hard to notice that women have always been ridiculously underrepresented in government.  We were close to electing a female vice-president, but have never been anywhere close to having a female president.  While woman governors to exist, they are not abundant.  Women represent over 50% of the U.S. population, so why are there so few in power?

   We have created such a patriarchal society in America over the years that I think its going to be very difficult or impossible to create a perfect 50/50 gendered government.  We have made incredible progress since women gained the right to vote and women entered congress, but I think society fears female power.  We have trusted in male leaders for so long that even women themselves doubt the abilities of women.  I think that female underrepresentation is a very bad thing for our society.  We have already seen issues about women’s rights for birth control and abortion appear, and I believe worse things have the potential to surface in the future.  The majority of congress members voting for birth control rights were male.  Is this really benefitting the female population fairly?  I definitely know we need a lot more female power in government, but the question is how we get to that point.  Not as many females are interested in getting involved in government, and we need to change that.

Title IX

Title IX was passed by Congress in 1972 and guarantees that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.  I remember extensively learning about Title IX in my sociology of sex & gender class freshman year.  I really hadn’t heard about Title IX before last year… which is pretty messed up.  I feel that both girls and boys should learn about Title IX and their rights before entering college.  High schoolers, and even middle schoolers, should know that they can’t be discriminated against by sex when sports, education, clubs, etc. are involved.  There have been way too many cases brought to the courts having to do with violations of Title IX.  We mainly focus on the athletic aspect of Title IX, but a huge percent of the cases brought to the public have actually involved sexual assault cases.

In the article “Why Naked Pictures Aren’t Harmless”, examples of vulgar frats portraying women as objects and exploiting them on posters and social media as sex toys and trophies.  Colleges have been forced to speak up and address these fraternities; they can no longer get away with hiding them from the public.  Victims of rape and assaults have come forward and exposed the disgusting nature of these “frat gods” that rule the majority of college party scenes.  The problem is that when girls come forward and try to label a colleges “star athlete” or “class/frat president” as a rapist, the school blames the girl.  She is in no way given the same rights as a male does in these situations.  Sometimes she is banned from campus or told to “take a year off until her rapist graduates” so she feels safer on campus.  A woman should not have to feel unsafe on her own campus.

As prestigious a school Yale is, they have boys holding posters that read “We love Yale sluts!”.  Rape games and “rape factories” are getting out of hand.  The language being used today to talk about women and their bodies needs to be stopped.   How can women gain respect from men when social media allows this slut shaming and accounts like “MSU boobs” to exist on twitter?  I think that kids need to be taught at a much younger age that this behavior is NOT okay.  We should be encouraging both teachers and parents to teach boys and girls about respect for both your peers and for yourself.  I think that MSU’s required SARV program is an awesome start to educating those already in college about these issues as well.  I think we’re definitely going in the right direction to put a stop to these issues, but we definitely have a long way to go.

 

Dansville School District

 

  Dansville, Michigan is a small town in Ingham county of 500+ residents, approximately 95% of which are white.  There is one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school in the Dansville School District.  All three schools fall into the lower half of schools when it comes to their statewide rankings.  Dansville Elementary is ranked 727th out of 1493 schools and the high school is ranked 471th out of 814 schools statewide.  Schooldigger.com gave them all 2/5 or 3/5 stars.  There are only 16 non-white students at Dansville Elementary and 10 non-whites at Dansville High School.  Gender is not listed on School Digger but I would assume that there isn’t a significant gender gap in this small town.

  If I lived in Dansville, I think I would choose to send my children to another school district.  Okemos High School is within ten miles and is ranked 14th in the state.  It is slightly more diverse with only 70% whites and has much higher ratings in test scores.  Although Dansville is a decent school, when it comes to educating your children I think it is acceptable to switch school districts.  It would be inconvenient to drive to another city for school, but I think it would potentially lead to a more successful future for students and would be worth the extra effort.

Break a Leg

Everyone is an actor/actress.  Plain and simple.  From the second we pop out into this world we are completely surrounded by gender.  You’re either raised hearing that you’re a “little princess” or “momma’s big strong boy”.  Society corners children and throws them into their assigned gender category and gives them no easy way of escaping it.

I learned very early in life that girls wear pink, girls wear dresses, and girls don’t hang upside-down on the monkey-bars when wearing said pink dresses.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t follow these gender roles, and I doubt anyone else can either.  We read gendered books, watch gendered TV shows and gendered movies, watch our babysitters and parents act out gender, play with gendered toys, and theres no surprise that we follow suit.  We act these gender roles out 24/7 whether were trying to or not.  While I would never consider myself a “girly girl”, theres no doubt that I act out the female gender norms on the daily.  My hair is nearly two feet long, I frequently wear dresses and skirts, and I rarely leave my apartment without putting mascara on first.  I speak in a slightly higher pitch when speaking in class or to people i don’t know very well, I walk with a slight bounce in my step, and I cross my legs when seated in public.  There’s really no questioning my gender on a typical day, but without my 19 years of societal pressure I highly doubt this would be the case.

We are given free acting classes every day of our young lives.  Girls do this.  No, that’s for boys.  Good little girls never do that.  No we wanna go to the barbie aisle, honey.  We are all bred to be full time, unpaid actors and actresses.  It’s all a show.  What really justifies males being strong and tough while females play with dolls and look pretty in the background?  The script.  It’s all in the script.  Kids born at this very moment will fall victim to the same gender act depending on which three words are said to their parents. “It’s a girl.” “It’s a boy.”  Break a leg out there, kids.

Response to Taboo: “The Third Sex”

   In my first year at MSU I took both sociology and psychology classes that focused predominantly on sex & gender, so the whole realm of gender identity is not a new concept to me.  However, National Geographic’s “The Third Sex” added an entirely new twist to what I previously knew about sex and gender.  I had no knowledge of the Hijra’s existence in India prior to seeing this Taboo episode in class.  It is very unsettling that some, if not most, of the Hijra had nowhere else to turn when their parents abandoned them due to their sex, or lack there of.  Thankfully they are able to find some sort of comfort and acceptance outside of this Indian society that has rejected them.  It’s extremely unfair that such a negative light must be cast upon this “third sex”.  Gender has become so culturally defined in our world that when someone classifies as neither gender, like the hijras do, society freaks out.  People feel threatened when others begin to mess with the concrete dual gendered society that they live so comfortably in.  Questioning this higher power that “created two sexes and two sexes only” is a sin under almost every branch of religion today.  Western religion has created and continued to support the concept of two strictly defined sexes: male and female. No more. No less. I think that these Hijras are displaying to the entire world that social boundaries can in fact be broken.  In such a strict society in which boys are completely exiled for being feminine or “genderless”, they are going against norms and banding together to worship their own accepting god.  Although they are considered a taboo in their homeland and society looks down upon them, they remain strong; they stand by each other’s sides without backing down.  I enjoyed watching this video because it showed a different interpretation of sex than that of Americans.  This special episode gave the Hijras a chance to show the world what they’re made of; it gave them a chance to share their stories.