This really angers me. A woman being fired because her married employer couldn’t possibly exercise self-restraint towards her? Because his employer’s wife felt insecure about her own relationship with her husband? Really? This assumes that the employer is in no way to blame for his own actions, that the woman in question is at fault for being at work. What’s worse is that the Iowa state Supreme Court, which is fully-male, actually ruled in the employer’s favor on the termination. 

In his opinion, Justice Edward M. Mansfield wrote: "The question we must answer is … whether an employee who has not engaged in flirtatious conduct may be lawfully terminated simply because the boss views the employee as an irresistible attraction."

..except for the teensie-tiny fact that they flat-out proved the relationship between the two wasn’t flirtatious at all. 
Ugh. Just ugh.  

Another excellent review of how our society assigns gender performance. I believe the three arguments here are:

1.Physicality- Your argument is invalid because you’re places a physical trait on all women. It’s fair to say that the average women might be smaller in stature than the average man, but as we all know:size is a spectrum, you can’t argue that all women are smaller than all men because I know of some olympians that would disagree. As Jon Stewart points out, the solution is not to recruit soldiers unfit for combat.

2.Sex/Eros- Have you been watching too many Rom com’s, Heather MacDonald? Because I think hollywood might be to blame for this one. Your argument is invalid because contrary to popular belief, we’re not completely helpless to our sexuality and besides, why would it be so terrible if two soldiers hook up?(god forbid two gay soldiers) Wasn’t that the argument to keep gays out of the military, would they be too distracted by all the hot male soldiers? As far as I’m concerned, what soldiers do on their downtime is up to them, people are trying to kill them for god’s sake, let them let off a little steam.

3.Sensibilities-“Oh my, you’re upsetting my delicate sensibilities!” said a women in a Jane Austin novel. First off, I agree with Jon Stewart—this solves argument number 2, but secondly-come on, you’re arguing that being in that environment is too traumatic for women-that’s a socially assigned trait that “women are sensitive.” that we should all get over, I’m going to use the argument that women have been using for centuries: we single handedly expel human beings out of our bodies(and have been for millions of years), I think we can handle a little blood and dirt. Intro to Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies



After the epiphany I had about the lack of involvement the writer’s of Glee had in building the beautiful and talented, Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones in class yesterday, I knew I had to check out the world wide web to see if anyone else had noticed what I did.

Check what I found:

"Out of the 12 main characters, 10 are white. The 4 biggest characters on the show are Sue, Mr. Schuester, Rachel, and Finn.  All of them are white and straight. The minorities are just filler. Glee has won a Diversity Award from the Multicultural Motion Picture Association.”

- Mission Statement from

Portion of a comment made in reference to Season 2’s Born This Way episode where the students wore shirts that spoke to their personal identities/ “flaws”

 Mercedes, the sole regular black character on the show, wore a shirt that said “No weave.” I’m not sure exactly what her insecurity is. Does she hate that she wears a weave? Does she not wear a weave, but thinks she should? In this (customary) ignoring of Mercedes’ character development, Glee missed a chance to provide a window into what it’s like to be one of a very few students of color (particularly a black girl) at a majority white school.

- "When will Glee stop ignoring race?" by Tamara Winfrey Harris

Glee’s Mercedes Jones is played by Amber Riley, the sassy black girl who makes sure each episode is filled with its share of neck rolls and finger snaps.  She is hardly a nerdy heroine- she is by no means gawky or socially handicap.  A few weeks back, Shonda Rhimes peaked my interest with a flashback episode of Grey’s Anatomy that showed us a peek of Miranda Bailey (played by Chandra Wilson) in her first days a brainy, self-doubting intern at Seattle Grace.   However, this nuanced look into the less than put together black woman is still a rarity in television and film.
Hollywood has churned out many negative views of the black woman, but the archetype most audiences embrace the most has been of the self aware, assertive, HBIC.  However, in a marketplace that has been filled with Tyler Perry-esque female characters, where are the black Ugly Betties?
The strong black character is one that most black women can identify with.  She is the educated, stiletto rocking, cultured, smart woman with a disposable income.   She is the Joan from Girlfriends, Syd from Brown Sugar or the Shaunte from Two Can Play That Game.While Joan fought to handle her neurotic tendencies and Syd couldn’t see the love that was right in front of her, they were all women with a certain amount of success and even more enviable, swag (albeit neither Syd nor Joan had it like sashay Shaunte).  These characters have all been women we could all identify with because we wanted to emulate their positives. Back in the day, I could only dream about inserting myself into one of those scenes and being that girl.  Standing on my tippy toes, I would imagine being an accomplished writer like Syd, driving with the top down like Vivica or clicking into court with Manolos on my feet a la Joan.

- "A Different Type of Brown Girl: Where’s Our Liz Lemon?" by Leslie Pitterson of Clutch Magazine

This article connected to me most, considering it’s latter discussion of Sidney Shaw from the film, Brown Sugar has been my hero since I was 13 years old… I’m so glad I found her! Though she was flawed, I felt like I could be just like her in so many ways. 


As I reflect on these articles, I wish I could see what I saw in Sidney all those years ago, in Mercedes Jones. I love her confidence, her strength, and her unmatched talent but Mr. Murphy, she’s gotta be so much more than that. There was a reason she was cast to sit among a cast of students who looked NOTHING like her. Where is her substance? Her back story? What’s her family like? Hell if you need a black girl to base her story off of… I’m here for you! I would like to think I’m a rather complex individual.

With nothing but images of overtly sexual, violent, hostile, attitudinal, fiesty black women on television… who is my niece supposed to look up to? I can do all I can to be a positive influence in her life but when we’re not together and she’s looking to television to provide some hope… who is she to admire? The 90s gave me Laura Winslow, Penny Proud, Raven Baxter, Tia and Tamara Mowry in Sister,Sister, even Keenan and Kel… What does today’s media have to offer the forth coming generation? 

I would LOVE to say Mercedes Jones but it looks like that maybe to late. Thanks television for disappointing me again!  :( 


Sarah Kay | If I Should Have A Daughter

Brilliance. Sheer brilliance. 

I really liked the discussion we had in class yesterday about our families. I never really took the time to think about my family is structured and how I was raised. For the most part my parents are equal heads of the household. My dad goes to work to make money for us and my mom pays the bills. Sometimes my mom cooks and my dad does the dishes, while other times my dad cooks and my mom does the dishes. Since my dad is in the Navy and goes away for long periods of time when he’s on the boat, my mom has to step up and be both parents. But when he gets home, they work as a team and I have always grown up thinking of them as equals. This made me realize that that’s exactly how I want my family to be when I’m older. My parents are still married and when I get married I want it to be forever with that one person and I want us to be equal partners is raising our children.

Pro-People: Abortion from a Male Ally's Perspective

Before you shoot me down for having an opinion, let me get this off my chest. 

I’m pro-choice, and I always have been. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been supportive of a person’s ability to pick. Favorite colors. Preferred movie theater and screening times. The foods you ate. The bands you clung to. The reality shows you screamed at when you should have been studying instead. The ideals inscribed on your bones and in your mind. Across the board, being able to make a choice has always been essential. I’ve wandered through hallways and airports and department stores with ill-lighting filled with all sorts of people. Always, these strangers have acted one of two ways; either the “THIS IS MY OPINION AND YOU CAN’T CHANGE MY MIND BECAUSE THE BLUE ONE IS FAR SUPERIOR CHECK OUT THIS MAJESTIC TASTE I HAVE”-type impresario or the “I don’t know, you choose”-inclined decision maker. What these personalities have in common, and probably always will, is their ability to understand their preferences, even if it is having absolutely no idea what to pick up for dinner and deferring to whoever has more of a manifested craving than they. 

Whether their choice flows in one direction or the other should not matter as long as the ability to choose itself remains intact. 

This is why I’m pro-choice, and always have been. 

bell hooks mentions how a woman’s role in society went challenged when the fight for reproductive freedom gained momentum. The second women were suggested to be capable, liberated human beings with a sex-drive rather than mere fundamentalist-mandated, child-bearing machines, society was all HOLD UP WHAT I DON’T THINK SO. Shaming women for wanting to make healthy decisions for themselves? For having the ability to say “Yes, an abortion is the best fit for my lifestyle/situation/pursuit of happiness and I should be able to access one”? Such decisions do not come easy. Likewise, she points out how upper-class women, with access to more financial resources, will never have to question their ability to receive such a procedure in this age. Access to free/reduced clinics will never be an issue for them. Both of these perspectives anger me greatly. Shutting down potentially life-saving options JUST because they don’t necessarily pertain to you? As hooks bluntly puts it,

"Losing ground on the issue of legal, safe, inexpensive abortion means that women lose ground on all reproductive issues. The anti-choice movement is fundamentally anti-feminist." bell hooks, Chapter 5 of Feminism Is For Everybody 

I can’t change the past, and I won’t rehash what’s been said of the present, but I will say this. One person cannot possibly fathom every single financial, health-related, socio-economic, personal, religious, moral, mental, factors a woman contemplating an abortion might be juggling in making her decision. Why should a law, a religious mandate, or even a social preconception have the final say? If we as people are expected to cultivate good judgement, how would taking away someone’s ability to choose better their life whatsoever? 

That being said, though I may not agree with you, and you may not change my mind, I will hear you out in earnest. Regardless whether you’re pro-life, pro-choice, or pro-zombie apolcalypse, I want to hear your opinion because, in the end, my voice should not weigh in on this issue. Though my opinion may be informed, the voice of a caucasian male should not stand out over the voices of women in the why is this still even a debate over reproductive rights. As a male, I should not even have a say, be it as an ally, an opponent, or as a passive bystander, because no vagina belongs to me, and because I will never have to make such a choice.

From where I’m sitting, some things we should all agree on:

  • The right for women to choose does not imply that every woman will choose abortion every time, or vice-versa. 
  • The right for women to choose should not be up for negotiation. 
  • The right for women to choose must be protected no matter the cost. 

Any questions?

I never posted about Miss Representation

First of all, I really liked watching Miss Representation.  I would highly recommend it to anyone.  
I honestly did not write much in my notes (point being I just wanted to listen to every word and not miss any by writing notes)  but as I was watching the movie I came to this realization about norms and peoples experiences.  It is that everyone has developed these contexts that they wear (imagine them like glasses).  They put everything into a certain focus.  Like a bad pair of glasses, a “bad” context (bad in quotes because its being used subjectively) might not show the world as it actually is.  Maybe the world will look slightly skewed, somethings missing, etc.   

I realized that everyone processes everything they encounter every day through these contexts.  Often times these contexts are shaped so we can quickly make a judgement.  What frustrates me is how many people see feminism, womens rights and the overall idea of equality through such lenses that allow some of the oppression and injustice that we see today.  And the fact that so many of these modern day oppressors don’t even know they’re doing it.  Many of them honestly are just trying to look out for others or give advice. 

So while watching the documentary I quickly scribbled down on my piece of paper “How do you get them to see differently?”

What's the best way to stop women from being about stop raping them?

According to this article, women get raped for a lot of reasons, but basically it’s because we allow it to happen by our poor choices. Here’s the problem with that–I should be allowed to drink however much alcohol I want because it’s my body, and no one has permission to do anything to my body without my permission. No matter how drunk I am at a party, that still shouldn’t make it okay for someone to rape me! I realize that alcohol does impair judgement, and in reality it’s probably not a good idea to get super wasted in a party full of people you don’t know or trust, but let’s stop the victim blaming here, if a girl gets raped it’s not because she was drunk or she wasn’t wearing enough clothing, it’s always because another human being made the decision to forgo permission and rape her. We’re fighting this on the wrong side, don’t teach girls not to drink, teach men the importance of permission and respect.

The past couple of weeks we’ve been talking a lot about media and this weeks reading talked a little about the impact of the internet and texting on our generation. One thing that I’ve noticed is that my friend’s from high school who have babies make facebook page’s for their baby. Like what purpose does this serve? A baby can’t use the internet. You can upload cute baby pictures in an album on your own page, your newborn child does not need his/her own social networking profile. Doing things like that literally teaches children to grow up online. Obviously when that kid is older they’ll get to use the site themselves. But when will that be? Age 6? 7?

I didn’t have a myspace/facebook page until I was in high school and I received my first cell phone right before I entered high school. However, my sister, who is 6 years younger than me, got a facebook page and received a cell phone in the 7th grade. That is too young! There are 3rd graders with facebook pages and walking around with iPhones. I didn’t get an iPhone until college. What is happening with our generation that thinks this is okay?? 

on wages and anger.

I feel like a common theme with me and this class is the amount of anger I can feel towards just about every topic that comes up. Whenever an injustice or fast fact about women’s oppression is shared, I get angry. Whenever I witness these ridiculous bouts of sexist conditioning in my day-to-day, I get angry. I can’t explain it or vouch for it necessarily, but it’s there. An inner fire of "REALLY? FUCKING REALLY? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?" that I try to separate from our conversation on feminism at large. Though valuable, I don’t think every insight I could make on the topic needs to be colored with an aura of an angsty demand for answers (and I try my best at making sure I’m more insightful than that). Even so, it’s this anger that reaffirms my decision to take this class, to believe in this movement, to stand for what’s right. 

When numerical figures on the actual living wage of women, particularly  of WOC, in comparison to men are dropped as they were in class last week, I shudder. When a over-the-top, obnoxiously-sexualized commercial appears on Hulu, my metaphorical fists clench. These microaggressions, experienced by many every day, are nothing to joke about. The realities behind them even less so. I can understand why people misinterpret feminists the way they do. When you delve deep into this stuff, the rage builds up. It’s no wonder why women get angry over this, and why men and everyone else of every identification should to. 

I guess what I’m saying here is that, if I was a woman, I would probably be written off as just another angry, militant feminist with an anti-male agenda. This little realization of privilege on a Sunday evening makes me sad. My sisters, my mother, my girlfriend, my colleagues, the strangers I will never meet all deserve better than this. They all deserve to be paid for their services and qualifications. They all deserve a better world than the shit hole they’ve been handed, and if my anger has anything to say about it, then one day, they’re going to get a world worthy of their brilliance. 

On Contemporary Sexuality, The Deep End, and Libido Liberation

Sexuality has always been an open discussion in my life. I’ve never questioned my openness on the topic, yet was slow to recognize the oppression that comes along with traditional notions of sex. Even the ‘nuclear family’ has its roots in sexual domination of the patriarchy to an extent. Personally, I’ve never been one to subscribe to the whole “you must please me” mantra that males stereotypically embody, but I enjoy sex a great deal. I aim to explore preferences, discover turn-offs, and open myself to the spectrum of sexual possibility one step at a time. I prefer erotica to macho-subjugation porn. I’m no fan of vanilla most days. I know these things about myself, and as personally enlightened as that might make me, my gender is what makes this acceptable at large. Why does my masculinity speak for valid approval of my tastes, where an alternative identification might not? Why does my perceived (and performed) gender speak louder than my sincerity, my responsibility, my monogamy or my knowledge on the subject? I make no claim to be an expert on the topic, but pleasure is a serious business, and who are we to dictate the means of such achievement for anyone?

One constant source of information pushes me to consider my horizons and sexuality. Each week, I find myself enthralled by The Deep End podcast by author/sex columnist Christopher Gutierrez, not for the candid (listener-written!) questions or the frank answers that accompany them, but for the progressivism behind his little operation. Gutierrez unleashes an approach that embraces fluidity across the board, something rarely seen today by mainstream pundits. Maybe it’s because his personal style really speaks to me. Maybe the fact that I know he’ll give an uncensored, unprepared response is what keeps me coming back every Sunday. Maybe it’s that I’m so challenged by the idea that more dialogue this should be occurring that I re-up every week for validation that it can. A service, so to speak, where sexuality becomes the homily. Feminist sex advice + 50% off sex toys at Adam& What’s not to love?

When I look at contemporary sexuality, through perception, media socializing and everything after, I’m confused. If sex sells, then why aren’t we talking about it more often, more positively? For such a sex-crazed society, we really are lacking the progression that needs to occur for us to live up to our projected expectation. As a man, I recognize that I can not speak for the sexual liberation of women, or for their stake in this argument. My voice has no weight there, nor should it. My personal preferences and my privilege must be checked in silence at that door. I also recognize that it can be so easy to fall to idealism rather than recognize the gravity of a stigma. Roger that.

These things holding true, people are not objects. People are not servants. Basic human dignity tells us this in abundance. None of this is new information. So, shouldn’t we be past sexual oppression already?

I loved watching the reaction to Miss Representation in our class this week. I had similar responses when I first saw it a year ago. It was truly eye-opening to watch it with a renewed perspective, to pick up on the subtle nuances of the speakers and the implications of their words. I feel like I got a lot from it during this rewatch. 

Overall, there’s a lot to be said about the ridiculous portrayal of women in the media. One side of it that can be quite overlooked is how women themselves help perpetuate this shameful model that betrays them in the long-run. I’ve always contended that reality TV is essentially the worst in entertainment ideals thrown in a blender with expired cheese and laxatives. As edgy as it might appear, those shows are, for the most part, a waste of time and brain-cells. Granted, I’m a sucker for Storage Wars, Say Yes To The Dress and a handful of other TLC shows, and I can admit my own hypocrisy in that regard. But there are FAR better methods of wasting time than watching the chronicles of D-list 20-somethings bickering over feelings they’ve probably had for less than twenty minutes, only to end in a lackluster explanation and drawn-out elimination ceremony of some sort. 

Hopefully the film will help others recognize how detrimental many forms of media can be, as it did for me. Likewise, I hope our class discussion this week is geared towards our personal repertoires of media consumption so that we can look deeper at how these subtle messages creep their way into our lives. 

Can Religion & Feminism Coexist?

Talking about religion today during class got me thinking about how often the best parts of a particular belief or group get overshadowed by the worst. For example, there are plenty of Christians who accept gay, lesbian, transgender and other individuals amongst their ranks, yet Westboro Baptist Church makes headlines across major networks whenever they travel to a new city. Sikhs are often portrayed as gold-mongering, turbaned villains in film, yet inhabit nearly every aspect of society, both with and sans turban. Oftentimes, the worst cliches and ridiculous connotations of what we THINK a belief system stands for speak louder than those who embrace feminist ideals under the banner of religion, and that’s a huge problem. 

Personally, I’m all for having a dedication to both religion and feminism. I can see how others might have an issue with allowing the two concepts to exist, but at the core of both lies a fundamental desire to coexist in peace. If we can’t agree on that, then what CAN we agree on?

Feminism & Religion: The fall of the goddess

We broached the subject of religion today in women’s studies and I was immediately transported back to my Human Spirituality class junior year with Juliana Rasnic(I love her). We were learning about the Divine and the idea of the Goddess in 20,000 BCE. Venus of Willendorf statues are these small hand-carved statuettes of female figurines found all over Europe and Asia. The figures are fat, and voluptuous, which implies they’re nourished and healthy as well as fertile. We can’t really know for sure what their purpose was, but critically analyzing these figures I think there’s a strong sense of purpose that comes into view. The figures are fat meaning she’s healthy, has access to food, and is nourished which means she can nourish you leading the the idea of women as caretakers. The figures might be pregnant>women as life givers. They don’t have feet or legs so they could be wedged between two rocks to guard the mouth of caves and sometimes people are buried with them>which means they served a religious function. The genitals(and mouths of caves) were sometimes painted red, symbolizing the menstrual cycle. Professor Rasnic made a really interesting point at this point in the lecture. She told us, “women can bleed for a week without dying, and that’s amazing.” Women at this time period, living in close quarters would have their cycles synced up with each other, as well as with the cycles of the moon. The moon is one symbol of the goddess tradition- it has 4 stages: growing/waxing, full, waning, and new moon(rebirth). We talked about other symbols of the goddess tradition like fruit(grows and give new life, also nourishes us), snakes(shed their skin, rebirth), water(symbol of birth), spiral(dynamic growth spiral, fibanachi sequence which is also found everywhere in nature). Then Professor Rasnic blew my mind again when she pointed out that Genesis 3 turns these positive symbols into negative symbols. How do you change the image of the divine-by using its own images against it. This was the beginning of a monumental shift from feminine to masculine images. So why did the shift occur? A few things:

1. The development of agriculture and domestication of animals means humanity has increased its power over nature, a symbol associated with the goddess.

2. Increase of war. Women were not the warriors in society, originally due to their value as creaters of new life. Over time this began to translate into a weakness.

3. Natural disasters wipe out goddess cultures

Is this the beginning of women becoming secondary figures in religion and society? Today we discussed how crazy it is that some things from the past seem to stick while others are completely forgotten. I think there have to be specific reasons for aspects to have changed over time, but it’s not always easy to look back and figure out why.


Pay Equity

Thursday’s class really left a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Pay equity is really something I never considered having to deal with, but after seeing the latest statistics on the percentage minorities make compared to white males on average, I just felt like throwing up. How is that possible? The statistics were across all professions. I didn’t write them all down, but the one that sticks out in my head(probably because it is the wage statistic that effects me) is that white females earn 80 cents to every dollar white males earn. I believe the next statistic was that black males earned 76 cents for ever dollar white males make and black females earn 70 cents for every dollar white males make, etc.

The statistic only included male/female and white, black, and other minority which got me thinking about a friend of mine. She’s a white, lesbian female working at a bar. However, she keeps the fact that she’s not straight a secret because of the potential negative effects it could have- for example, if regulars at the bar knew she’s a lesbian they may not tip as much. That’s a legitimate concern, but it’s also terrible. Her being a lesbian isn’t something she should have to hide, but I understand why she does. It’s just disgusting that we live in a world where your sexual preferences effect your pay-those things literally have nothing to do with each other!


This states pretty clearly that gender really is a social construct-just because someone is very assertive and okay with casual sex doesn’t mean that we’re talking about a man necessarily. This reminds me of this riddle I heard once (I think it was from the Cosby Show actually) that is a pretty surefire way to see through someone’s unconscious gender biases. It goes like this:

A father and son are in an accident and the father dies instantly. The son is taken to the hospital, the doctor takes one look at him and says “I cant operate on him! He’s my son!”

The explanation is that obviously, the surgeon is the boy’s mother, but I’ll admit, the first time I ever heard this I didn’t know the answer. It really emphasizes the effect that society has on our unconscious.


Panderings on Sitcom Stereotypes Over Cheerios at 2AM.

Sitting through my usual round-up of shows,  Little nuances and side comments started to add up. I felt myself pulled from the 20-something minute escape and into a larger conversation. 

Basically, I have some mad feels. For example:

-In this week’s Modern Family, Haley (in reference to getting paid to move someone’s car on street-cleaning days) utters the line “I would have just parked it in her driveway, but there’s already a camper and a cord of wood there. Pretty sure she’s a lesbian.” She goes on to outline the hobbies of this individual(ie: botany, playing in two softball leagues, etc). Despite being one of my favorite shows, how does filth like this get perpetuated? It’s easy to rant and chastise from behind the safety of a computer screen, but COME ON. MF usually goes for the joke, but does so in an intelligent way. This crosses the line all over the place. Yet, we’ll all (myself included) continue to watch and laugh, hardly considering a boycott over such a quick remark on gender, which shouldn’t matter in the first place, let alone stand for comedic effect.. 

-Lily in HIMYM pulls similar stuff all the time, especially on the most recent episode. On one hand, she’s a strong, independent woman who’s vocal about her own empowerment. Then, she’ll completely revert ala Nicki Minaj and stomp on her own assertions. It’s a frustrating back & forth that constantly leaves me in a fit of blargh each week. 

-On the flip-side, Parks and Recreation typically offers positivity and hope on the feminism front. Leslie is constantly affirming progress for women in enormous ways overall, even if her attempts remain unrecognized by many of the other characters. She conquers the typically male-dominated sphere unapologetically. Few shows emphasize equality, women’s rights and sheer badassery like Parks & Rec. 

Why does the television I watch (and, consequently, the shows I know my friends watch) anger me this much? Honestly, the logical thing would be to turn it off, but in some cases, I just can’t. I’m too invested. To stand by a moral, to truly stand for this cause, we should be able to reject sexist and unprogressive media whenever and wherever we see it. We should be able to turn off the switch, change the channel, speak out about these films, write letters about these shows, and demand better of everyone. So why don’t we? Why aren’t we?

I know I’m not the first to say this, but this really sucks. 

I want more feminist writers. I want more thought-provoking dialogue and progressive subplots. I want better punchlines, stimulating character arcs and one, just ONE acknowledgement of something other than physique or willingness in context of sexual turn-ons for EVERYONE. 

I want things that should exist, and do, but not nearly enough. 

I want things that make more sense than letting ignorance slide for the sake of entertainment.