Come on, Man!

Fashion over history has changed drastically from the victorian era where modesty was the highlight of sexuality to our modern day fashion sense which seems to leave nothing to the imagination. The word modesty was used more of a characteristic when purchasing clothes previously in history. What was considered sexy for women in the 1800s is not what we would consider in the present, it would require less fabric.

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I want to share an experience with the fashion of women in their 20s. One of my favorite stores is Charlotte Russe and I was on a mission to find a royal blue shirt. I searched for a “full” shirt for about two months and every time I went to Charlotte Russe the shirts were a maze to get into. Ever have a swim suit with various of strips of fabrics and you couldn’t figure out where the front or back was? That was pretty much every royal blue shirt I found and I couldn’t believe how much these “shirts” cost. I would’ve paid $25 dollars for less shirt if I were desperate for this shirt but I found one in the dark depths of The Burlington Coat Factory.

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 4.49.13 PM.pngNow-a-days the fashion has developed in ways I’m sure no one from these times periods would’ve predicted. There are women wearing clothing from the men section of stores like H&M and vice versa for the men. I definitely shop in the men’s section in H&M and I feel comfortable and fully clothed. And I wouldn’t spend an hour looking in a store looking through all the millions of choices when I could just go to the men’s section and be in and out. But dressing in the opposite clothing of the gender you identify with can cause so discord by confusing people around you as West and Zimmerman would agree.

However, there is a light for our demographic with shopping in other stores known for selling products more for older women for example New York & Company has a demographic of women from 25 to 45. But I feel like this is kind of sad that in order for women from about 16 to 23 to have some modesty in their style they have to either go to the men’s sections or other stores for older women. What do you guys think would you want your daughter who is even from the age of 13 to 21 to be in these kinds of clothes?

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I really just want to be able to go to a store and not look “weird” because the workers there are wondering why I’m shopping in their store. I have also been trying to find dresses that are not body con or just very short and I have to go on Amazon to find dresses from the 1950s for my performances through the semester. I would love to go to a store and not think, Seriously?!, Who would wear this?!, or My mom would kill me if she saw me in this!, once I walk into the store that targets our demographic. Thank you for letting me rant, hope you enjoyed.

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Is Mother’s Day Really for Mothers?

This week, my mother was bombarded with many unexpected events that occupied her attention and time, taking her focus away from preparing for my brother’s college graduation. On the way to his ceremony, we had to stop at Walmart to pick up cards and small items to add to his graduation gift. While in Walmart, she expressed that she had not even had time to get her own mother a card and gift and hurriedly added to our items already displayed on the conveyor belt. Once we got back into the car, I asked my mom what she wanted to do for Mother’s day, and she responded saying, “I don’t know”. This question sparked the incipient of a conversation comparing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. She explained that how on Father’s day my dad seems to take full advantage of the holiday by doing exactly what he wants (playing golf and enjoying my grandma’s good cooking). But, she feels Mother’s Day is still a time where she does not seem to take full advantage of the relaxation that is supposedly available to her. This weekend in particular did not lend her the opportunity to think about her wants because she was so set on making sure every aspect of my brother’s graduation celebration ran smoothly.

My mom is a busy body and always loves to have her hand in some sort of activity. Her idea of relaxation and my father’s do not align which made me think of Hochschild’s point that there is a such thing as a leisure gap. There are many instances where my mom may be off work and instead of reading or sleeping in she will be straightening up the house or folding clothes. So, on Mother’s Day this year I think she made a point to indulge in the holiday. We made her breakfast and had cards, flowers, and gifts waiting for her in the kitchen like we do every Mother’s Day, but the difference this year was her willingness to do nothing. I feel as though mother’s have an innate want to do everything for everyone, so they sometimes do not know how to receive affirmations and tokens that are symbolic of their family’s adoration and appreciation.

But, in our efforts to highlight her on this commercialized holiday how will we really ever know if her wants have been met? Many times when people celebrate others it is for the satisfaction of the one’s celebrating. Do you feel that this occurs on Mother’s Day as well as other holidays?

 

Women and the Music Industry

I, like many others, really enjoy music. It is a really nice way to relax, give you energy, or just to let it play in the background. Although I am into music, the different genres, collectives, the industries, and so on, I can still unfortunately tell you that there are a lot of glaring issues with it. I know you read the title of this post and thought, “Wow, that’s really vague”, however that’s because there are various issues in regards to women and music, between sexual assault, physical assault, and much worse. For the sake of brevity, I wanted to discuss the use of women in rap specifically.

Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly appreciate this genre, however I sometimes get this strange feeling whenever I listen to it, or watch a music video. For one, women are almost never referred to as women in the lyrics. An overwhelming number of rapper still use the terms “hoe”, “trick”, or “bitch” whenever they want to talk about them. Women rappers, such as Young M.A., also hold to this in their lyrics. It is interesting how rapper who believe in being socially and politically progressive still do not utilize any other terms.

One of the other issues is that women are often used in music videos as props more or less. There exist many videos where you have the rapper in the centre in a luxurious setting surrounded by dozens of women wearing barely anything. The message that comes across on this is “I have a lot of money. I can afford expensive drinks. I have a lot of attractive women. All these things come in excess, so these are all expendable”, which is rather discomforting to see women being viewed as a luxury item, rather than an actual person.

I know I didn’t really offer any resolution to the issue, but merely made an observation, but I feel like sometimes addressing the problem is more important than a solution in some cases. A lot of people just accept it for what it is, or are even desensitized to it. I personally don’t see myself cutting off rap in the future, but these are things I keep in mind. That’s just my opinion though.

Women in Sports

Women in sports have been treated unfairly for ages. They get less money, less respect, and fewer fans. For the last 6 years I have been running track and field, starting at a high school level and now on to collegiate. Two questions I am almost always asked when a male finds out that I run track is “Are you fast?” and “Did you get a full scholarship?” When men talk to other men about sports their ability is nearly never questioned. Being a female my level of skill is always attached to my gender.

The unfair treatment spills over into professional sports as well. In an article I read on The State Press it stated that in the WNBA a rookie contract is $34,500 which is less than the average teachers salary while in the NBA their minimum rookie contract is $543,000. The wage gap is ridiculous. Being a female student athlete I know all about the blood, sweat , and tears it takes in order to get through just a week of classes and practice and the gap is unacceptable for the amount of work put in.

Regretfully, gender biases exist on and off the field as following are just a few comments I found related to male opinions regarding female sportscasters:

“Everyone knows women’s place is dancing provocatively on the sidelines”

“If it’s a female sport, I like female announcers”

“I just wanna know why these broads minds are on man sports and not in the kitchen..”

 

One might ask, will the gap ever close? Will females ever be viewed the same as males athletically ? I’m of the opinion that sadly it will not.

There Is No Planet B

Climate Change as a feminist issue:

I was fortunate enough to attend the People’s Climate March that took place in DC this past Saturday, where thousands of protestors spoke out against the current state of the U.S. government, global environment, jobs, fossil fuels, renewable resources, and so on. I have always viewed climate change as an issue that leaned more towards scientific research, ecological preservation, and the overall well-being of Earth; but I had never really thought of it as an intersectional feminist issue until now.

Though everyone on Earth is experiencing the effects of climate change, women in developing nations are heavily impacted. For example, within these developing and growing countries women are traditionally expected to cook and clean, but with freshwater becoming increasingly scarce and contaminated, women must travel further for potentially “cleaner” water that still has no guarantee that it won’t cause health problems. Also, young school girls face the dilemma of leaving school to lend a helping hand in the family’s farm that is suffering due to the land changing as a result of irregular weather and climate. Another example is the maquiladora labor system in Mexico that hire and exploit their workers that are mostly women and single mothers. Not only do these large trans-national corporations underpay their workers, the factories release harmful chemicals and fumes into the adjacent neighborhoods that the workers call home.

Although we haven’t talked about the topic of climate change in our class, I thought it would be important to talk about due to Trump’s first 100 days which included appointing Scott Pruitt as the head of the EPA, proposing to slash EPA funds, and approving the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline. With the United States being such an influential player in the health of the world, do you think that the new administration’s attitudes towards the environment and climate change will detrimentally effect women of developing nations even more than now? Is there a way for the feminist movement to help women of the global south?

Just some food for thought.

Here are some cool things I saw at the march

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Here are some interesting links if you want to read more about some of the things I mentioned above:

http://www.maquilapolis.com/project_eng.htm

https://www.aspeninstitute.org/podcasts/climate-change-feminism/

13 Reasons Why

In my spare time much like many of us I do enjoy a good show on Netflix here and there. just last weekend my roommates and I sat down and watched this new show on Netflix which had 5 stars at the time that was starting to get a buzz on a bunch of our social media outlets. and after binge watch to see what this is about. The series is 13 episodes long and is for those who have not seen it is about a girl who commits suicide and leaves tapes behind for people to listen to in which she explains why she killed herself.

I found this so interesting because of how people responded to the show. Many people were saying the show had gone to far in many respects. Some arguing that the show was insensitive because some of the big talking points in the show were rape suicide, and mental health. While these things are alright to talk about behind closed doors they did not find it appropriate. Others argued the show talked much about these issues without working out a resolution in the end to have people take things away so I served to purpose to teach young people how to react to these situations if they were presented in their lives.

On the contrary I found this to be a phenomenal show and would encourage anyone who has not seen it already to spend the 13 hours of their life and experience this. The shooting of these issues that many young people and young women especially go through in high schools across the world gave a great view point of what these children struggle through many times alone. The show did not even take any short cuts when it came to the difficult scenes of filming the rape and or the suicide. These issues I feel need to be spoken about and I am frustrated that a show that did such a great job to start these conversations was receiving such push back.

I feel as if every time there is one of these shows that get too real that some viewers want them taken down and replaced by more entertainment that will keep everyone happy. but regardless how hard some of these conversations are to have I believe that if one person who sees a show like this and reaches out to get assistance or someone learns how to be a better ally to a struggling friend then the millions of dollars that were spent in production were not a waste.

What Will Make the Change: Conquering Institutionalized Power

In our readings, we’ve come across the phrase, “institutionalized power” in relation to male privilege and patriarchal dominance. The readings by Andrea Dworkin (I Want a 24-hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape) and by Audre Lorde (The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House) express similar views in the continuance of a dominant power that men have over women. Both authors want those who possess this “power” to realize that this leaves room for no change in how society views women. Two quotes from these reading stood out to me. “Only within a patriarchal structure is maternity the only social power open to women” (Lorde) and “Power protected by the unacknowledged legislators of the world is what men have. The Men’s movement suggest that they don’t want that kind of power, but find reasons not to do something about changing the fact that they have that power” (Dworkin).  With these quotes in mind I began to question, how exactly do we handle this patriarchal structure that exist? What tactics are necessary to change this power that men have?

I was having a conversation with some of my friends about male dominance and the affect that it has on women. In the conversation, someone questioned what would you do if you found out that a male friend or someone you know sexually assaulted a female. The men in the group instantly deemed this action as a deal breaker, where they wouldn’t want to associate with the guy who committed the act because it isn’t something that they agree with or would ever condone. From that reaction so many questions arose for me like “Why not make him aware of the seriousness of his actions?”, “Why not report his actions to an authority?” or “How do we make sure that he doesn’t do this to someone else?”. To only disassociate yourself with someone who commits an act like that only leaves room for them to continually do it again and again and again. Although my male friends have never had to deal with a situation such as this, I believe that if you know someone who feels comfortable taking advantage of women, a morality check should take place. It is important to acknowledge the act that person has committed and make it known that what has happen isn’t right in any way, shape or form.

Although this is just one issue, there are so many other issues that arise from men using power over women. This topic gets tough to talk about because it seems that all men are being categorized in this group of “male supremacist” where they use male privilege and patriarchal dominance to oppress women. That isn’t the case, every man doesn’t but some men do and that is where the problem lies. I don’t think that I have a concrete answer to my initial questions, but what do you think needs to be done to make a change in the ways that men use their power or change the power that men have?

Response to Feminism in the mind of a college student

I’m currently taking a First-Year-Seminar class, focused on “discussing classics”. In this class, we read and discuss different reading every class, usually about different philosophies, news, historical events, etc. Tuesday, our readings to discuss were geared towards feminism. Before every class, we must have the texts read and discussion questions ready to discuss. I was disappointed, but not surprised, with what the questions were and how the conversation went. The two readings were “A Woman’s Philosophy of Woman” by Jenny d’Hericourt and “Women and Fiction” by Virginia Woolf. To summarize, the first reading is discussing how men and women have their differences, but how you perceive them is what influence it has in the world. It focuses on how women should be encouraged to take more authoritative roles in science, politics, etc. and have different qualities and skills to offer in those positions. In the second reading, to condense into one sentence, men and women have different values and qualities which produce different works, in this case it is poetry, criticism, and history. In our group of nine, there are seven guys and two girls, so the conversation was going to be a little biased. It was just surprising to see how many people still do not see faults in their ways or the general way of society. One question that stuck out to me was, “why do some women just naturally assume that all men hold some stereotypical viewpoint on women?” This was kind of frustrating to listen to, because the guys in our group were basically saying that it is all in women’s’ heads and women stretch to be more valuable than men. This is not the case, as generally, these stereotypes are strongly rooted in society and affect women in many aspects, such as jobs, sexual violence, physical abilities, family roles, etc. Another area of feminism we discussed was whether the increase of women going into the workforce rather than staying at home with the kids was taking away from the ‘importance of being a mother’. As expected, most of the discussion was sexist and degrading-with a majority of the guys in the group implying that all women are good for is reproducing. You would think with so many women making a difference in the world that the idea that being mothers is all women are good for would change.

Where Should We Draw the Line when Parodying? (April 16th post)

So, this is something that has bothered me for quite some time, and I don’t have an answer for it. I watch a YouTuber called Filthy Frank, a guy who is half-white, half-Japanese. He’s supposed to represent a disgusting, terrible person. If you go to Frank’s YouTube description page, it says that he is “the embodiment of everything a person should not be. He is anti-PC, anti-social, and anti-couth.” Basically, his “character” that he performs is supposed to parody “the social media machine” and essentially reflect how terrible everything in the world is. So then, the actual character behind this persona, Joji, does not actually hold the views or believe in doing the things that are acted out on camera in his show. The reason I’m talking about him is because Frank essentially displays acts of human indecency in terms of ableism, racism, sexism, so on and so forth. The issue I have with this is that from one perspective, the things he is doing on this channel are a parody; they are jokes and are clearly described as such. They don’t actually represent what he thinks is good or right in the world. However, when people make these jokes, regardless of intention, that message is still technically being spread, and there are those who will agree with it regardless of whether or not the person conveying that message means it. This spread technically promotes that mindset. A similar example lies in the YouTuber “Pewdiepie” using a website known as “Fiver” to pay some people five dollars to hold up a sign that said “Hitler did nothing wrong.” News media took this and used it to claim “Pewdiepie is a Nazi”, despite him not truly expressing any actual anti-Semitic or Nazi views, and the fact that the fiver incident was meant as a joke. Pewdiepie also apologized for making the joke and recognized that he had gone too far with said joke. However, again, the idea presented here still potentially finds its way to those that agree with it. I’d personally like to believe that context matters, that intention matters, that every instance of controversy should be dealt with on a case by case basis to ensure that jokes remain jokes, and actual hate-speak and hate crime are prevented. However, I’m unable to think of any practical methods to ensure such a thing happens. I assume that McIntosh (based off of the list of privileges that she made in our text [FF p. 12-14]) would likely say my ability to have this view is due to my white privilege, and honestly I feel like there’s merit in that. My identity as a white male isn’t necessarily threatened by statements like “Hitler did nothing wrong.” Obviously Hitler did everything wrong, there should be no disputing that. But they’re also words that are linked to different intentions based on context and who says them. However, the message of hate is still there.

(Here’s a link to Frank’s Youtube description on his page. I will warn again, the channel does have offensive content.)

https://www.youtube.com/user/TVFilthyFrank/about