Sunday, September 30, 2012

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

The phrases “compulsory heterosexuality” and “lesbian existence” spiked up a lot of questions when I read “Compulsory heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” by Adrienne Rich. First things first, what does “compulsory heterosexuality” mean? Well, compulsory means required by rule or being obligated. So what Rich was talking about being obligated to be heterosexual. When Rich says “Lesbian existence,” she’s not talking about “where did all the lesbians go?”, she’s talking about why it seems like lesbian, and even gays, are being forced to disappear.

In the reading, Rich says “the lesbian, unless in disguise, faces discrimination in hiring and harassment and violence in the street. Even within feminist-inspired institutions such as battered-women’s shelters and Women’s Studies programs, open lesbians are fired and others are warned to stay in the closet.” I know being feminist does not only mean fighting for women’s rights. Being feminist means fighting for social justice. So wouldn’t being feminist and casting out women because they are lesbians contradicting themselves?  

While I was reading this article, another thought had popped into my head.  Rich says “any theory of cultural/political creation that treats lesbians existence as a marginal or less “natural” phenomenon, as mere “sexual preference,” or as the mirror image of either heterosexual or male homosexual relations is profoundly weakened thereby, whatever its other contributions.”  No one ever goes around telling women that they must be heterosexual and only be attracted to men, but actions are louder than words. People just say about lesbians or gays, “that’s just their sexual preference” (including me), trying to justify something that doesn’t need to be justified.  Rich kind of makes it seems the requirement to be straight was part of male dominance (when she says “the New Right’s messages to women have been, precisely, that we are the emotional and sexual property of men and that the autonomy  and equality of women threaten family, religion, and state.”

The fact of the matter is that lesbianism does exist. Women who are lesbian are no less than women who are straight. When people say that they want to be a feminist and fight social injustice and issues, they have to face the fact that inequality to lesbians, AND GAYS, is a feminist issue. They are people, with emotions, feelings, rights, opinions, and thought. We should treat them like we treat every other human being.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Economic Inequality

Exended Comments..

How is economic inequality a feminist issue?

This question caught me completely off guard. I never really thought of economic inequality a feminist issue. I knew it existed, but I never thought about its impact. From where I can see, it was human nature to look at someone and assume you know what they are going through, when in fact, we have no clue. You can feel like you can guess their background, current situation and maybe if they had finance problems just by the way they appear. Everyone does it. However, if we all do it, and then told “not to judge a book by its cover”, what are we left to do?

When I went on the PBS website, I was fascinated. And yes, I did go right to the games. By the way I decided to “decorate my living room” I was labeled “middle middle class”. What does that even mean? Well, personally I was glad not to be labeled in the snobby rich class or trailer park. Why, may you ask? Because of how those social classes are labeled. When I finished playing all three games, I decided to read the stories. I was conflicted. In one story, an African American woman and the love of her life where being ridiculed and mocked by their own family because of the person they choose to love. In another, a man decided not to follow the paths of his siblings to become a doctor (what his father wanted). He wanted to do something else, and so he did. His parents never come to visit him.

Back to the question, I think my fellow classmate Jen is right. She says “feminism encompasses those factors which can sometimes determine or limit the accessibility of class for individuals. An eclectic approach must be taken when considering economic equality.”  Feminism is kind of a way of finding equality to all people, not just women. Economic inequality is defined in more than one way; it contains racial, sexist, gender, and obviously, social class concerns. That’s the way its always been , and i doubt it will change.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Romney: "Just Ignore What I Said Before"

Today, I read an article that talked about Mitt Romney and Women’s right issues. According to this article, Romney “wants you to forget all that stuff he said he’d do to advance his anti-choice agenda” (Blog for Choice). But here’s something to think about: Romney was the guy who supported the “personhood” initiative that would ban abortion with no exception for rape or incest. This blogger, Blog For Choice, explained that Romney should be nervous about the 75% of people who oppose banning abortion in the case of both rape and incest. BFC (Blog For Choice) says that Romney CLEARLY wants to hide the fact that the president has a big, HUGE impact on women and their reproductive rights.

This article talks about Romney’s contradictorystatements about his getting rid of Planned Parenthood and his support of getting rid of Roe vs. Wade. The stance this article is taking is clearly and obviously for Obama by the ending comment on the blog “On November 6, we’ll show Romney that we have not forgotten what kind of president he’s threated to be.”
Here is a video of Romney changing his views on abortion:
You can read this blog by Blog For Chioce HERE


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Defying Oppression.. Connections!

Ok... So I read Oppression by Frye and realized some things. Oppression means to be molded, shaped, stuck, “reduced” or “immobilized”. Women AND MEN are oppressed every day. In the text, Frye says that a requirement put on oppressed people is to smile and act cheerful so that we could be made invisible. If they do not do that, they may be labeled as “mean, bitter, angry, or dangerous” (Frye).  Another example of public oppression is whether a woman is or is not sexually active. If she is, she may face punishment of being called a whore or loose, with a chance of becoming unexpectedly pregnant. She may hide the facts from the people she cares for most because she does not want to face such torment, criticism, snide and embarrassing remarks.  On the other hand, if a women is NOT sexually active, she may be harassed by men who tell her (pressure her) to “relax and let her hair down”, while a being called names like “frigid, uptight, man-hater, bitch, and cocktease” (Frye). But let’s return to the meaning of oppression, shall we…

Oppression means “the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety” ( or facing “cruel and unjust treatment” (Merriam-Webster). Do you know who else faced oppression?  The women of the 1920s, who fought for their right to vote, faced this problem. When these women marched the streets and picketed the white house for their rights, they were jailed and beaten terribly, where the officers were hoping they would quit from fear of being hurt and jailed again. However, these women did not stay oppressed and cage in. They broke out and fought for what they wanted. This is what you call defying Oppression.

Whats the Difference.. Do You Know? Hyperlinks!

In Privilege, Power, and Difference, Johnson speaks a lot about certain dangerous words. Words people tend to feel a need to defend themselves. Words like white, male, heterosexual, homosexual, and racist. In the book, Johnson says that we, as in ALL of us, are part of the problem concerning difference.  We could also be a part of the solution. However, for the solution to occur, we need to change our state of mind. It’s obvious that some people still believe racism only concerns black people, sexism only concerns women (of all races), poverty are those people’s own fault. Thinking like this is what Johnson explains as “[pretending] we can talk about “up” without “down” or “you” and “them” without “me” or “us””. Johnson uses a Diversity Wheel that “doesn’t say a lot about the individual you know yourself to be, your personal history, the content of your character, what you dress or feel. It does, however, say a lot about the social reality that shapes everyone’s life in powerful ways. Why don’t you try the wheel for yourself here? An example: I am a soon to be 18 year old heterosexual female African American born in the US who is physically able. I have minimal work experience. I’ve never been in the military. I am still continuing my education and my parents are still married. Then, Johnson asks us in his book, to imagine what would if you go to bed one night yourself and wake difference in some way. Whether your gender or sexual orientation changes, you are able or unable to walk or run. How would you feel about yourself? The point was that we are all connected one way or the other. We can be part of the solution to change society’s perception of society. It starts with you.
What would you do if you woke up the opposite sex? Heres what others said!
Heres in interesing video from my classmate Jessica, that talks about homosexuality and society (media).. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quotes: A Tsunami in History from "The F-Word: Feminism in Jeopardy

Here are some quotes that stood out to me:
1. "It's fair to say that at the end of the first wave of feminism there was still much work to be done for women's equality. Getting the right to vote was the first step, and for many, securing access to a career outside of the house, and pursuing economic independence, was the second" (A Tsunami in History, pg 25)

I found this quote toward the end of the "First Wave: Getting the Right to Vote". This quote means that even though women did get the right to vote, life between men and women still were not equal. The sound of women getting a job outside the house, that did not involve taking care of the children and being a house wife, was still unthought of. However, women were determined to join the workforce and become independent in more ways than one.

2. "We want to express to all women -especially to white middle-class women- the experiences which divide us as feminists; we want to examine incidents of intolerance, prejudice and denial of differences within the feminist movement" (A Tsunami in History, pg 29). 

I found this quote in the middle of the "Second Wave: Our Mothers' Fight". This quote was said to explain to the upper and middle class white women that not every women faces the same kind of inequality. African american women faced inequality with their race and poor women faced inequality with lowre income. they all could be feminist but they are all facing different problems. This quote pertains to the text because two women, Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua wanted to "help broaden the dialogue about women of color and feminism" (A Tsunami in History, pg 28). 

3. "It's been suggested that America today lacks a broad-based women's movement because we are in a time of "postfeminism," with the fight for equality and respectful treatment over and done. Yet women still face social and economic inequalities each day..." (A Tsunami in History, pg 32)

I found this quote  in the middle of the "Third Wave: Women Today". In today's time, people think that everything has become equal between men and women because women have come so far (ex: getting any job they want, having the choice to be finacially independent, etc). However, you can still see and hear about stereotypical and sexist remarks and actions. Some people, today, still take advantage of women, which personally, I believe is sad and slighty disappointing. There is no denying that women have made a major contribution to American history but everything is not black and white. Not everything is equal but that may, one day, change.

Argument: Fear of Feminism by Lisa Maria Hogeland

In the beginning of this article, the author, Hogeland, argues that women are afriad of feminism, and they have many reasons to. The question is: WHY? Why do women have a fear of feminism? To understand why women have this fear, we need to know that feminism is. Generally, feminism is "the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men" ( Hogeland states that women are afriad of feminism because of how others may see them. Some believe that if they were to take on the " feminist identity" (Hogeland),  they would be confronted with subjects some would rather avoid (ex: homophobia, rape/ incest, etc) or they  may be "put out of the pool for many men, limits the options of who they might become with a partner" (Hogeland). The authors main point here is that women are afriad of feminism; becoming a feminist, and they have every right to be (See what I did there?). Feminism " requires  an expansion of self-expansion of empathy, interest, intelligence, and responsibilites across differences, histories, cultures, ethnicities, sexual identities, otherness" (Hogeland). Becoming a feminist is not a bad thing. It can be "transformative, exhilarating, [and] empowering" (Hogeland). So. maybe the real question to ask yourself is: Can YOU be a feminist?
Here is the article if you would like to read it yourself!