Wednesday, June 30, 2010
In American culture today, we are obsessed with fat. We like to cook with it, we try to loose it, and some of us try to gain it. Radio stations like PBS warn us about the raising obesity rates, especially among American children. TV is filled with ideas about fat. There are tons of TV shows that surround the idea of being fat. There's shows like The Biggest Looser, and Dace Your Ass Off that show case large people and their struggle to lose weight. ABC Family just launched their new summer sires Huge staring Nikki Blonsky, from Hairspray. Huge takes place at Camp Victory, a camp designed to help overweight teens get healthy. The catch comes when the star of the show, Willamina (Nikki Blonsky) declares that she doesn't want to lose weight but gain it. Why should she have to change herself when she likes who she is?
This show offers a very different perspective on body perception and what makes a person beautiful. I watched the season premiere of this show last Tuesday, and was really impressed. TV has never addressed fat like this. We get a look into the lives and feelings of very overweight teens, and start to understand "fat" a little better. One female camper post pictures of fashion models and titles them as "Thinspriation." We are always encouraged to be thin. The media, and fashion magazine use models that tend to be stick thin as their spokes person or representative. We idolize thinness, and look down upon fat. I think this show will be an extremely good look into America's perception of beauty, and how people perceive themselves.
Before the second wave movement, women were had become isolated. There was not a lot of discussion happening about women’s oppression and position in society, but that soon changed. Radical Feminists in particular adopted the practice of hosting Consciousness Raising Groups, or as the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (CWLU) refers them, CR Groups. CR Groups consist of a group of women and a topic. Women come together and discuss things like their role in the family or workplace, or even about political issues like abortion. The idea behind CR groups is to get women talking to each other, and break away from isolation.
CWLU hopes to inspire discussions about “the ideas and actions that helped women liberate each other from oppressive beliefs and old social habits.” CWLU encourages women everywhere to start talking. They eve have a FQA section for college students, and a list of colleges that have already started chapters of their own. I think it would be great if JMU started their own form of CR Groups. Our school is mostly made up of female students, and I think we could come up with some really great topics to discuss. JMU is a great school, and I love coming here, but even in some of my classes I feel that I’m being treated differently because I am a woman.
I think starting CR Groups at college campus would benefit a lot of women. As educated women discussing topics like Career vs. Family Responsibilities would be extremely beneficial.
Friday, June 25, 2010
One reason why I chose to write about Anthony was her versatility and dedication. Anthony was not just a suffragette. She was a school teacher, an abolitionist, and writer. She used all of her talents to gian equal rights for all, not just women. While doing some reading on her, I found this quote, and I think it describes the whole attitude of the First Wave. She said, "Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences." To me this quote means a lot, and I found it quite reliant to some of today's issues like Gay marriage.
A recent Supreme Court case questioned the public's ability to have access to the names of the people who signed a petition against gay marriage. People who signed this petition were afraid of "intimidation" and did not want their names released. However, the court ruled against keeping the names privet. They signed a public petition and the rest of the nation has a right see that petition names and all.
Like Anthony said, if you believe in something you have to fight for it regardless of social discrimination, and I have to agree. If you want to make a change you have to be willing to stand for it publicly, and that is exactly what Anthony, and other suffragettes did.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Today women in the army still face many obstacles. Monica Lin Brown an 18-year-old army medic was awarded the Silver Star in 2008. Brown was awarded this honor because she used her own body to shield wounded men while they were under fire. However, there was a lot controversy surrounding this award. Many people believed that the only reason she received this medal was because she was a woman. Including members of her own unit. Some people believed that if she had been a man and done the same thing then she would not have been given the medal. She would simply have been doing her duty. She is only the second woman to receive this honor.
I believe that Brown deserved this reward regardless of the fact that she was a women. At the time of the incident Brown only had 4 months of training and was the only medic on scene, and she was only 18. I think these three factors add to Brown's heroic deed. However in this video one of the men she saved was quoted to say that "women have no business being on the front line." Clearly there is still some animosity in the army related to women soldiers.
Here is the link that will show you an interview with Brown and some of the men who believe Brown received the medal because she was a woman.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
After some soul searching I realized that I was the one monitoring my own behavior. After years of watching Disney, I subconsciously acted passively and never challenge his thoughts. I realized that I was the one repressing myself. I acctually believed that I had to be passive in order to be liked. This was a big eye opener to me, and I realized the long term effect of my Disney and Chick-flick addiction. I don't blame the media for my lack of self-confidence, but that was the image I had in my head. I just forgot that those movies aren't real. I still feel embarrassed about how juvenile my beliefs were, but at the same time it made me realize how important Feminism is.
Being a Feminist doesn't mean you have to be marching up the steps of the capital screaming for equal pay, (although if you do that's great!), it means standing up for yourself.
Friday, June 18, 2010
I still smile when I look at this picture, and at the three beeming faces, but I wonder how happy our parents would be if we had been just a few years older. What if my neighbors were 13 and 14 year old boys who were trying on their neighbors dress? Would they have been so quick to pull out the camera?
Gender roles in America are pretty straight forward. Young boys are tough, mischievous, and active. While young girls are cute, charming, and little. Grils have tea parties while boys play monster trucks. But what about the little boys that play with Easy Bake Ovens, or the girls that want Hot Wheels for Christmas instead of Malibu Barbie? Does that make them any less of a boy or a girl?
No. The little girl is still a girl, but we might call her a tom boy, and the little boy is still a boy we might call him confused, yet what happens when they grow up? Suddenly the girl is butch, and the boy is effeminate.
Our society says that boys should be this way and girls should be that way. This is the way Americans have constructed our gender identity. Gender is not a concrete idea, in fact every culture has its own ideas about what is masculine and feminine. In Japan the famous tea ceremonies were only conducted by men until the late 1800's before the country began to welcome western influence. It was considered a very masculine job, and only male members of the higher class could enjoy. Nothing is inherently masculine or feminine, it is societies influences that tend to push aspects of life like work, looks, dress, and costumes to be associated with gender.