Monthly Archives: October 2013

What would you do?

My neighbor, and a very close friend, told me a story a few days ago and after reading these articles this week, it all came together.  Her father, step mother, and brother had all been living a normal life for many years. Until one day…her father came home and everything was gone. His wife had taken all of her things and they boys. Come to find out, she had left this life she’d been living for years and moved in with another woman. No one knew what to think. The boys were teenagers, 15 and 16. And they struggled very hard with this shocking change. The young boys started to get into intense fights at school until eventually they had to move schools. They were getting in to fights because people were talking very badly about their mother. The mother and her female partner both worked at the school where the boys attended. Their father taught at another school, quite a ways away, and each morning they were taken to this new school.

I think any couple should have the choice to raise a child. Regardless the consequences, someone can’t help how they feel. I see nothing wrong with two men or two women raising a child together. Certain things can be done to prevent less fights and getting in trouble. What would you do if your child’s classmates were “calling you a dyke”?

 

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Marriage and Feminism

Often Feminists are associated with the term “anti-marriage.” Sometimes this is absolutely true and sometimes this is not true. Weather all feminists agree on the subject of marriage or not some of the things they usually do agree on is not changing their last name and not following traditional roles in the home. One can identify as a feminist and stand for what feminism believes in while still having a happy marriage. Anne Theriault discusses her beliefs about marriage in her  article “An Anti-Marriage Feminist Gets (Happily) Married.” When she realizes she is a feminist she quickly makes up her mind about marriage. Throughout her life many things persuaded  her to turn against marriage. As she grew older she met someone whom she fell deeply in love with. Still her ideas of marriage stayed the same. Finally when he proposed she said yes. She realized that with the right person she did want marriage. I think this could be true with most anti-marriage feminists.  Just like Lisa Miya-Jervis who is a well known feminist, identifies as being happily married in her “Who Wants to Marry a Feminist” writing. She kept her last name and held onto her feminists beliefs, but she also found someone who accepted her for who she is and did not try to change the one thing that she firmly believed in. I believe that there is someone out there for everyone.
http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/03/anti-marriage-feminist-gets-happily-married/

Mikaela Gentry Section-005

 

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The institution of marriage

The idea of marriage is appealing to some, but to others it is very unappealing. I think this has something to do with how we have viewed other married couples in our lives and also how we think of marriage as an institution. I can see how someone coming from a broken family would see marriage as a negative thing and how someone who comes from a family with both parents in the same household would see marriage as a positive thing. Marriage as an institution includes the legal aspects that come along with getting married and tying yourself to another person. Emma Goldman discusses how marriage negatively affects a woman in her article Marriage and Love. She thinks that when a woman gets married she becomes completely dependent on her husband and takes on the responsibility of taking care of the household and her husband. This can be better explained using the term “Second Shift”. The second shift refers to a woman’s responsibility to come home and take on the household chores after working her job all day. Not discussed in this article, but relevant to this discussion, would be the concept of the third shift. This refers to a woman’s responsibility to tend to the families emotional needs after already working her job and taking care of the household. While some of this may still be true and relevant in some cases, the idea of marriage is changing and evolving. I found an article online that discusses some aspects of what marriage is and how it has changed over time.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/06/institution-of-marriage-stronger-than-ever/

Some points that this article points out that I think are good things to think about include: 1) Married women in the past were seen as a possession with very limited rights, 2) Many people did not have the choice of who they would marry, 3) Women didn’t have the choice to leave their husband, and 4) There was no notion of marriage based on love or romance.

These are very important things to consider when thinking about how marriage is today. Today women have the same freedoms as do men in regards to jobs, divorce, and the choice of who to marry. Many people today also do not believe that only women should partake in household chores and more men are sharing these duties. Many women today also have jobs and are able to provide for themselves making them perfectly fine to live on their own. With these things being true more marriages today are based on love, romance, and the emotional support you receive from a long term partner. Whether these things are true or not, everyone will still have their own opinions and thoughts about the institution of marriage.

Julie Stanley 007

Vulva Insecurity

Simone Weil Davis’s essay “Designer Vaginas” spoke about a popular insecurity most women have: is my vulva abnormal? In this essay, Davis discusses how media and porn tend to make women insecure about their vulvas. She mentions how porn stars are expected to alter their body to fit the “standard” desirable vulva image; inner labia tucked into outer labia, a perfectly neat and tidy image. Magazines are filled with articles that claim knowledge on how you can make your vagina and vulva perfect, as if there was something not perfect about it to begin with.

*This gets personal*

After I had hit puberty, I encountered this insecurity. I had a rash, and went to mom to see if I needed to go to the doctor. Instead of focusing on the rash, my mom was more concerned about how large my inner labia were. She took me to the doctor, who explained that every woman is different, and that mine were normal. Despite what the doctor said, I felt like something was wrong with me. Soon I began sneaking to look at porn to see if mine really were normal. Thankfully, I found a site that didn’t have the cut perfect figures, and was reassured that there really was nothing wrong with how I was formed. It still bothered me, but not as much.

That changed, however, when I found a steady boyfriend with whom I wanted to have sex. I was terrified that if he saw how my vulva looked he wouldn’t want me anymore. Eventually, my fears caved to desire, and I soon found out he didn’t find anything wrong with me. My insecurity had been for nothing. And when I talked to my girlfriends about what happened and my fears, they shared the same ones. It turns out most of them had larger labia than they thought they should. Once they had had sex they discovered the same thing I did; their guys didn’t give their large inner labia a second glance, they were just grateful they got to see it.

I found this article on the internet, and though I have never encountered a guy who openly admitted to this state of mind, I understand why the girl was so traumatized by what he said.

 http://www.emandlo.com/2011/07/10-reasons-your-ugly-vagina-is-normal-and-gorgeous/

Something needs to change. No girl should feel this kind of shame about themselves. Parents should educate their girls on their body parts, instead of leaving them to figure it out by themselves. They need to let their daughters know that vulva [and all body parts for that matter] come in all shapes and sizes, and that they are beautiful however they are. Yeah, it may be an awkward conversation to start, but it needs to happen. Girls need that reassurance. Porn industries should allow more variety in their workers. Whether we like it or not, pornography has a large influence on youth. Plenty of guys and girls use it to interpret how they are supposed to look and act in a sexual situation. The porn industry needs to admit they play a large role in this and many other insecurities women and men have. They also need to try and change to stop these insecurities from occurring. It won’t lower their income to allow more variety in their employees.

No girl should be insecure about their vulva. It should not be encouraged by society and pushed by media. We are all beautiful just the way we are. 

Casey Kendall 002

Fat Shaming

First off I would like to point out that I have been seeing on many websites that fat shaming is “a new controversial trend” that has gone viral due to Maria Kang facebook post of her and her three children with the caption “What’s your excuse”. Maria Kang is a fitness entrepreneur and motivational speaker for women wanting to become thinner. People have been outraged because of this comment saying she is fat shaming individuals for claiming that if they work hard enough like her they can look just as she does. Because of this media has taken the chance to exploit fat shaming even more Twitter has deemed this week Fat Shaming Week with fat shaming tweets such as these:Image

Image

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 7.13.01 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 7.13.09 PM 2

 

And for this guy above cyber bullying doesn’t exist. It is so tiring watching the media make a spectacle of what our society deems undesirable based on beauty standards that hardly anyone can achieve. The sizesm is socially constructed because in reality the only thing that could possibly be wrong with being overweight is the potential health problems of being overweight. Just because someone is overweight doesn’t change their self worth or how valuable that person is. With all the media being forced down our throats we think to be desirable by others that we must be as thin possible. But thinking this way can be a death sentence to some people. Trying to achieve that ideal body standard we force ourselves to be as small as possible going on dead end diets that don’t do anything but shatter our self image even more than it already was. From Love Your Fat Self Courtney E. Martin states  that 35% of people who go on diets go onto yo-yo dieting (periods of losing major amounts of weight just to gain it all or more back) and out of those 35%, 25% of them will develop partial or full-syndrome eating disorders. And does this really sound like the remedy of obesity, causing these people to feel that they must harm their bodies even more just to fit in because we see them as being the other, being so unattractive, and unwanted?

http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/maria-kang-fit-facebook-mom-accused-of-fat-shaming-with-facebook-picture-1.6284134

Fitch: 2010-002

 

If Men Could Menstruate

In this piece, Gloria Steinem writes about what it would be like if men menstruated rather than women and how it would be looked at differently. I think that the video I chose goes along with what she says about how menstruation would be looked at completely different if a man was to go through it.

http://youtu.be/T93hLledmNM

Steinem states that if men menstruated rather than women, that it would be seen as a manly process, not something nasty or unnatural. Men would go around freely bragging about their cycles or how heavy their flow was. They would even brag about how long their cycle lasted and make it a competition with their buddies to see who’s lasted the longest. However, we all know that if someone were to overhear a woman talking like this, it would be considered disgusting. It is not appropriate for women to talk about their periods publically even though it’s a completely natural process. When I first went through this, I was nervous and wasn’t sure what to do. This was because I never really heard anyone talking about menstruation, other than with talking about it with my mom. I think if people, or women would start (or be allowed) to talk about it more, it wouldn’t be such a big deal to talk about, or be seen as gross. 

Steinem talks about how if men menstruated, sanitary supplies like pads, tampons, and medicine would be free or federally funded. Men would not have to pay for any supplies out of their pockets like women do now. Some men might still pay for “name brand” supplies. In the video, the military men at the end promote a brand of pad that their men use when on their period, called General Patton Pads. This goes along with what Steinem is talking about how some men will, even though their products would be free, go buy “prestige” brand products to use.

Since men menstruating is seen as something to brag about (unlike in a woman’s case) or manly, it would make women different than men; Meaning that women could not be in certain positions. Steinem uses military men, right-wing politicians, and religions as examples saying that only men could handle these positions. In the video, the military figures say that if you want to know the face of courage, the heart of sacrifice, and the eyes of bravery then, like Steinem says, “you have to give blood to take blood”; meaning that since women do not menstruate, they wouldn’t befit to serve in the army. In the beginning of the video there is a sports reporter interviewing and football star that says that his secret to his success all comes down to his flow and that the team does so well because they all follow his cycle. I think this is a very accurate idea of how men would act if they did menstruate, just another way that men would find a way to brag about their periods and compete with one another. We all know that a female athlete definitely couldn’t base her success or lack of on her period.

If men could really menstruate, it would just be another way to oppress women. By telling us that we are equal to men, but different in the fact that since we don’t menstruate, we cannot do this or that. So either way we go, we are different or oppressed, whether we menstruate or not. We are treated differently because it is not appropriate for us to freely discuss our periods, but it would be encouraged for a man to do so. Menstruation is considered nasty by so many people (men) but it would have a completely different look on it, if it was a cycle for men. Menstruation is a completely natural process and should be talked about openly in either case.

To wrap up this post, I would just like for everyone who reads this, to think about these ideas as if the roles were switched. What if we looked at women menstruating in the way Steinem says it would be looked at if men did it? Just think about how different our world would be, men not being able to do certain things because they didn’t menstruate?

Katelyn Stewart– 002

 

Purity Balls

http://thepurityproblem.tumblr.com/post/35205521386/the-problem-with-purity-balls

Originally I viewed a very interesting documentary on this topic, but I could not find it and so this was the next best thing. 

In relevance to the discussion we held in class on Jessica Valenti’s piece, The Cult of Virginity, I thought I would bring a little light to something known as a “purity ball”. The blog post does a pretty good job of describing them, so definitely take a look at it. I personally find these events very troubling and a tad on the abhorrent side. What kind of world do we live in when girls are so judged on their sexuality(or lack thereof), that this kind of function exists? These balls perpetuate the ideal that girls somehow “belong” to their fathers and are property to be given away; they must pledge to be “pure” and “undamaged” for the sake of their fathers, rather than their own personal choice. Most of the girls that attend these balls are certainly not old enough to be making these kinds of decisions, or being coerced into these kinds of decisions, before they even know precisely what sex and sexuality is. I find it most disturbing it’s as if their dads are taking them on some kind of date… the blogger describes it as vaguely incestuous, and I must agree! 

Certainly there are many more problems that are glaringly obvious with these “purity balls”. Forcing it into a young girl’s head that somehow the entirety of her worth hinges on whether she keeps herself “pure” enough for her future husband is bad enough, but I kind of wonder what would happen if one of these girls got older and did have sex before marriage. What would that do to her, emotionally? Would she feel as if she had somehow failed not herself, but her father? A girl’s sexuality is her’s to decide what to do with, yet I feel like these balls are just reinforcing that a girl is somehow something less than the best person she can be if she decides to engage in sexual activities before society deems it okay for her to do so. 

In closing of my post, I just want to say I find the concept of purity (and purity balls) to be so incredibly disconcerting. Is sex really that important? And even though it is okay for people to see sex and saving oneself as an important aspect of their lives, is there not a point in which a line should be drawn? Perhaps the line should be drawn at teaching girls these concepts before they have yet to reach sexual maturity; after all, if they’re not yet old enough to be making other kinds of important decisions on their own, then why should you consider them old enough to make important decisions about their sexuality, when they haven’t even begun to discover it yet? Or rather, should you be forcing a concept that YOU believe to be just and right onto a your little girl before she even knows what it is?

Caelie Furches – 005