Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's not what you think....

This post went viral on my Facebook newsfeed a while back, and while there are some things I disagree with, I think she does a really good job of sending the message that Chassidic Jewish women LIKE their lifestyle. She provides reasons behind what they do aside from, "Because God told us to". It's an important read to better understand the lives of Chassidic women, and the reasoning behind why they do things. Good read. She's funny too.

Media Moment: Gender Neutral Daycare

After the discussion we had in class on gender and the emphasis our society puts on distinguishing boys from girls, I was talking to my mom about the topic. I grew up in Sweden and society there tries to enforce more gender equality. My mom mentioned that now Sweden’s government has made an effort to implement some daycare's that are gender neutral. I thought this was an interesting concept, so after doing a little research I came across this article:

This daycare is trying to be gender neutral in the sense of not calling children "boys" or "girls" instead they use the term “friends”.  Do you think that having gender neutral daycare's is the first step to becoming a more gender equal society? 

Media Moment: Battle of the Sexes

I saw this commercial on TV a while back and I remember thinking, "Wow. That looks bad." There really isn't much explanation to do. Viewing it tells all. It's called "Battle of the Sexes" and guys answer questions about haircuts while girls answer questions about cars. The motto of the game is: "You'll never understand them, so you might as well defeat them."

Does a game like this bother anyone? Should it bother anyone? Is it a horrible concept/sexist game to begin with?

Media Moment: 30 Rock

Hey guys, so I wrote my research paper on female comedians, but I figured I'd post about it on the blog too. I recently saw a 30 Rock episode that sparked my curiousity in the topic. The episode was titled "Stride of Pride" and it was about Liz Lemon trying to convince the male colleaques around her that women are funny. This has been a debate recently, that I just don't understand. We have some of the funniest female comedians ever right now! Tina Fey, Kristin Wiig, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, I could go on and on. Not to mention, women have always been funny (Lucille Ball, Phyllis Diller, come on!). Are men just threatened by funny women? Even if female comedians are given the "seal of approval" by male audiences for being funny, they are criticized or their appearance, their weight, they are too loud, they are "too feminist." The 30 Rock episode also comments on the hardships of women working within the media, with Liz Lemon writing comedy surrounded by male writers. This also reflected Tina Fey's experience in writing 30 Rock.

What do you guys think: Why do a lot of men not consider women funny? Is it just different taste and experiences? Or, is it rooted in masochism and dominated of men in comedy?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Do YOU hate feminism?

I definitely fell in the category of women who think they hate feminism, but really don't. I always said, "I'm an old school feminist, someone who fights for their equal rights, but I'm NOT fighting for more rights, or the right to burn my bra, or the right to walk around topless". It was interesting to read this article after taking this class, because I felt like I truly understood a lot more that the piece had to offer. My favorite part was when she wrote, "yes, there ARE valid reasons to think that feminism causes some problems. It does. Of course it does. So does religion -- and the lack of religion. So do emocrats and republicans. So does EVERYTHING. Every movement comes with benefits and costs. Do you guys think that the benefits of feminism have outweighed the costs?

Media Moment: "Meteorologist Fired After Defending her 'Ethnic Hair' "

Maybe I'm veering off into more of a race representation topic, but I think this issue is relevant to our broader discussions on how women, specifically their appearances, are more scrutinized than their male counterparts. This moment deals with female news reporters - in this case, a meteorologist who was fired for having short "ethnic" hair that didn't bode well with some viewers. I think the meteorologist's response hits on everything that's right: that it's her natural hair and that it projects a strong, self-embracing message to viewers; that she is actually perfectly healthy and not suffering from cancer; that she doesn't have to conform to one standard of how a woman should appear. But as sensibly and effectively as she does, why should she even have to explain why she keeps her hair in a certain style? It's offensive that she needs to explain, more like, "justify" why she keeps her hair a certain way.

And why do people care so much, why does it perturb them enough to mount a backlash? Of course, one answer would be that many people have become brainwashed to the hegemonically-portrayed woman, as adhering to the fhalt-p model, as one that has long, "feminine" hair. On a side note, I'm surprised - really, more upset - that MSNBC, traditionally a bastion of the democratic base and a more liberal, open-minded type of ethos, did not defend one of its workers. That it caved into firing her instead of standing up for her. I'll put it like this - had this happened at Fox News, or maybe even CNN, I wouldn't have been surprised.

It's also surprising because it called to mind the article we read on Rachel Maddow and how a lot of conservative pundits disparaged her appearance as "unfeminine" and unattractive. Just so happens that Maddow, who also has short hair, works for the same company that this meteorologist was fired from.Yet MSNBC didn't take similar actions against Maddow.

All I can say is that I hope this media event triggers an uproar and that she is redeemed in some way. I'll close with this question: why do you think Rhonda Lee, a black female meteorologist, was fired for having short hair, yet Maddow hasn't come under the same pressures? Are the ethnic, and racist undertones, the difference - that people aren't as accepting to short hair on a black woman as much as on a white woman?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Media Moment: Cosmo makes me blush

I was again looking for a topic in which to post this blog, and I found myself typing into google seemingly endless combinations of words with women next to it.  Women + Rights, Women + Issues, Women + News.  So I just went to  We had talked about it for class, about its origins and its creator, so I guess it seemed an appropriate place to go.  What I saw kind of frightened me. I really did blush.  I immediately looked over my shoulder to see if anyone could see what I had just seen. The last time I had seen an issue of Cosmo in the "wild", I had visited an old girlfriend at her dorm in Boston, which she occupied with about four other women.  Loose copies of the magazine were scattered around the suite and when I picked one up and began to leaf through it, she dismissively waived her hand and told me it was "ridiculous" and it was kind of like reading the Weekly World News to keep up with current events.  She did mention that it was fun. Going through the website I imagined the "fun" aspect of it was an acquired taste, kind of like smoking your first cigarette or drinking hard liquor for the first time.  The first experience is an intense and revolting burning sensation that leaves you breathless and choking for air, but with repeated attempts becomes normal and eventually enjoyable. I mean, if you're into that kind of thing.

I normally feel that I'm keyed into modern culture or at least desensitized to it to the degree that I don't have a puritanical reaction to anything anymore.  I guess that's a naive way to approach the internet.  I just didn't expect such a calculated and intense approach to sexuality. Which I can only really describe as the cool methodical way a lion, or stalker, approaches its prey.  I wonder if I am just purely ignorant of this publication, and it's a matter of "just not getting it." I do find the inverse, say Maxim for example, to be equally gross.  As man I was ready for that kind of grossness, I guess. Am I being chauvinistic?  I'd like to know what you think of Cosmo?

Media Moment: “Should toy marketing be gender-neutral?"

I was watching NBC in the morning on Saturday morning, December 8th, and saw this clip.  It’s about how boy toys are marketed towards boys and girls are marketed towards girls.  Companies are catching flack for stereotypical marketing and advertising.  There is a little girl who is interviewed, and she is “appalled” by the stereotypical marketing.  It fascinates me that one so young would be so concerned about this topic at such an early age. 

I played with Barbies as a child, and mostly “girl” toys.  Even whenever the boys were around on the playground, we would play GI Joe though none of us girls were ever allowed to be the boy characters.  I was (and still am) a pretty girly-girl, and maybe this is because I played Barbies and staged beauty pageants with my girlfriends as a child.  J  What toys did you play with as a child, and what kind of affect did it have on your upbringing?  

Media Moment: American Horror Story

I was unable to find a clip because the season is currently on television, but in Season 2, Episode 4 of American Horror Story: Asylum, there is a scene where Dr. Thredson (played by Zachary Quinto), a psychiatrist at Briarcliff Manor Mental Hospital, puts a lesbian patient (Lana Winters, played by Sarah Paulson) through aversion therapy because she is a lesbian.

The scene was very odd because Dr. Thredson was very gentle and almost nurturing toward his patient during this scene.  Lana Winters is forced to look at photos of nude men while putting her hands down her pants in order to trigger some kind of sexual reaction.  They bring in a male subject, where Lana is asked to touch him.  She can’t do it, and in between all of these activities she is literally vomiting her guts out in a metal garbage pail. 

What struck me about this is that I never knew this actually existed in medicine at one point in time.  To watch this scene alone was a very difficult thing to do because it was so awkward and intense, but actually realizing that at one point homosexuality was considered at one point to be like a disease that one can be cured from, was mind-blowing. 

The following are articles from both Quinto and Paulson about what it was like shooting that scene. 

I also found this blog where people were talking about the episode.

What I also found shocking was that, in some research I did, aversion therapy to treat homosexuality wasn’t declared a dangerous practice (that didn’t even work) until 1994.  That wasn’t very long ago.  Does this fact surprise any of you?  

Reflection on Class Discussion 12/5/12

I had a difficult time with this portion of the class, even with the clarifications.  Not because I have a problem with transgender people (I don’t, at all), but maybe because I have had extremely little exposure to this way of life.  I had never heard of all of the terms that were discussed in class, and the readings were also very difficult for me to try to get my mind around.  It was so interesting though, and I think it was just a lot for me to take in.  It also made me realize that, as much as I try to stay open-minded and as much as I’ve grown, I think there are still many parts of my mind that can expand and experience and be open to new things and people.

I found this particular class very enlightening and educational because it was virtually all new material for me to swallow and digest.  At the end of the class when I said that I “didn’t really give a shit”, I did not mean that I literally don’t care about transgender people.  I meant that it should not matter what one chooses to do with their life.  Everyone should feel freedom to live however they desire, and be happy.  It doesn’t matter the sexual orientation.  Life should be about peace and love, plain and simple.  I think my statement in class came off differently than what I actually meant.  My sincerest apologies for that!  

It's the woman's fault, obviously!

This extremely disturbing article explains the issues women face in India (specifically, rapes on buses). It reminds me of the message I hear every morning "A crowded subway is no excuse for unlawful conduct". In India, a slight smile or glance is apparently every excuse for rape. It makes me think of may religious groups who require women to dress modestly, so as not to attract male attention. What the hell? Is it the responsibility of the woman to protect men or, is it the responsibility of the man to control himself? I mean, come on.
Media Moment
The story above was extracted from an independent source as one would expect from this type of report. Like the readings, it points out to the lack of coverage on the killing of transgender women, especially if they are African American. With so little being reported by the mainstream media, how will it be possible for the stereotypes about transgender communities change and hate crimes come to a halt. Check it out.
Media Moment: I found this piece that went on air in the beginning of this month on Tell Me More, from NPR. It's an interview with host Michel Martin and the transgender woman Andy Marra. This last one talks about her adoption from Korea by an American Lutheran family, her discovery as a transgender woman, the reunion with her Korean mother, and the acceptance by both families. There is the written part and the audio clip. Check it out:
Class Reflection 12/ 05: the class in which we discussed about transgender communities was very important to me. I liked the slides with the definitions, the discussion etc. The example Abby gave about her friend who used to be George and became Katie was very clarifying. Before that class, I had a slight idea about transgender communities. As I said, I thought transgender women were just an extension of gay men, I didn't know there were transgender men and they didn't get along with gay communities. The readings also reflected the role media performs on perpetuating stereotypes about transgender communities. It's a shame that it took me a diversity class to learn about these things. I wonder how can the general public know about transgender people's reality.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Media Moment: "Feminism is Going Out of Style"

            In prowling the ever-expanding realm that is the blogosphere, and all its discontents, I found this post that picked up some attention and is definitely relevant to our discussions. The author takes charge with the term “feminist” and sort of tries to expose it as an outdated misnomer. The crux of her argument is that the word feminist is one bogged down by semantics; that it’s an exclusive term that alienates people who might otherwise agree with its beliefs and purposes. She underlines her argument with five points highlighting the inconsistencies and/or problems with the modern feminist strain of thought. It was interesting, as it is in much of the blogosphere phenomena, to see the ensuing discourse that spilled forth in the comment section.
            To inject a bit of my own opinion, while I thought this article raised some valid, thought provoking points, I did have a few issues with it. Firstly, the title alone put me off. I understand that maybe the author wants to employ a bit of a trendy-style, relavent/hip tone (like how many of the blog’s articles are written), but it adds fuel to the erroneous idea that feminism is a fad or some sort of trend, bringing to mind the recent readings that disproved a similar idea that being gay is a lifestyle choice. There’s no doubt that the constant belittling of feminism as a fad or lifestyle does tremendous harm to it and has effectively diluted its meaning. The author’s second point –where she tries to equate male discrimination and violence with that of their female counterparts – is a false equivalency if I’ve ever seen one. To suggest that the number of males who endure discriminatory practices or are maligned as sexual predators is on par with females who are victims of violence or unequal treatment is an absurd analogy, and I think many would see it as such. We know that, traditionally, this country and many others operate through a male-centric, patriarchal set of hegemonic values. I wish I had some substantive numbers or facts to insert here to back up my claims, but I don’t.
            In the end, the article got me thinking about the term itself “feminist” and the many (mostly negative) connotations and iterations it’s withstood.  And then I thought about how many of those are misled, erroneous ideas that bring the movement down – how so many are deterred or put off from the term, and more importantly, the meaning, prior to even learning its significance. I’m interested in this disconnect between the misconception of feminism and its actual significance: how a lot of people are resistant towards identifying with it – prior to even learning about it first-hand – because of its many maligned connotations. One is the deeply ingrained idea that you can’t be a male feminist, or if you are, it challenges your virility.
            Pardon all the wordy redundancies. I just realized this post's way too long and will put off any potential readers. Nevertheless, here’s some food for thought for the few that might be reading.

Before taking this course, what were your preconceived ideas of “feminism” and now, as we close out the semester, has that understanding shifted at all? Or what was (most) surprising about the myths we debunked in what feminism means? And lastly, if the term “feminist” were dispensed for something more inclusive such as “gender equitist,” as the author suggests, would that benefit the movement and give it more steam?

Media Moment: Westboro Baptist Church to picket Sandy Hook Elementary School victims vigil

While it is already difficult to fathom the events that took place in Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday, the fact that people are planning to protest a memorial for the victims may be just as hard to swallow.  The Westboro Baptist Church has been known to protest U.S. soldier's funerals, as well as the legalization of gay marriage in various states.  As they continue to justify horrible actions taking place in the United States as punishment from God, connecting the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to Connecticut's "acceptance" of the gay and lesbian community just doesn't seem to make sense.  Whether or not you believe in a higher power or support gay marriage, it's hard to deny that these actions are unjust and blatantly offensive.  Although the freedom of speech and right to protest is something sacred in the United States, do you think the line should be drawn here?  For one, I hope this spread of hate is prevented and the Westboro Baptist Church is kept away from the vigil, for the sake of those who are related to or knew the victims, and everyone else.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reflection on 12.5 Class Discussion

I enjoyed this class a lot because of the presentation Sam created de-bunking myths about transgender people. I'm glad that images were not included in the slideshow of information and concepts because I feel as though even if our professor had shown different people and images, they could still have the potential of becoming stock images. I think if something, like the media, is not diverse in its representation of transgender people, then one or two ideas become the stereotype. There is no one image that could represent someone. No one story that could encompass one's whole life and existence. I applaud the idea of clearing the air of myths and opening it up to questions. That was something that professors rarely do. I appreciated the acknowledgement that it is a college setting and we are all here to learn.

As cliche as it sounds, I believe it to be true that "with knowledge comes great responsibility." (I don't know who said that or if that quote is word for word, but I really think the idea fits here) I think that truth, such as those related in the powerpoint, has the power to alleviate someone's cruelty and assumptions. This class discussion got me thinking a lot about the nature of knowledge. Once you know something, you can't un-know it. I then carry it with me and think about what I can do with it. Prejudice is defined as being a pre-conceived idea not based on fact that someone makes about someone or something. I hope that learning the facts can help change a person's opinion, but sadly, I think sometimes that is not the case at all.

I thought about the film Transamerica (2005) in connection to this. I think the image becomes dangerous when it becomes the only one being showed across the country. The class discussion reminded me of a clip from the video shown a few classes ago. The person on the screen spoke about wanting to see some kind of representation on the screen rather than nothing.

What does everyone think about this idea?
Is any portrayal better than a complete absence? Which is more dangerous?

Lia M.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Media Moment: Huffington Post Women

I had some trouble picking something to write about for this blog.  So I've been scouring the net to find something to talk about...and I've sucked at it. So as the semester winds down, I've hit the bottom of the barrel and decided to discuss the Huffington Post women's site. I like the Huffington Post, I read it now and then when I get directed to it by Reddit. I assumed when I found out that they had a women's section, there'd be a ton of scathing attacks on the abuse and stereotyping of women, completely ripe for a media moment on this blog. I could go on and on about how messed up "this" and "that" was, and basically riff (rip off) on whatever the journalist had written. Instead it was a Cosmo clone.  It's like picking up a issue of The Nation and leafing through it to find articles about low cal cupcakes and blow-job tips. Barring a couple of articles, here's a run down of the "top" stories.

Huffington Post: Women

"LOOK: Amelia Earhart's Amazingly Modern Prenup"

"I Got 'Ma'am'ed"

So, I'm wondering if the class is as disappointed as I am.  Doesn't this make you cringe just a bit? I expected more.  Also I'd like to know what classifies as a "women's" site these days.  Is it diet tips or is it news and information that relates to women.  As a man I'd like something more from a news site directed to my gender. Videos of large explosions and fart jokes are great, but that's a whole different kind of website. 

Media moment,15240,252831,00.html

For those who can't see it here's the article

The article basically talks about how married gay and lesbians who are in the service are considered single and therefore can not receive the same benefits as people who are heterosexual and married.

- Knowing these issues, what are your thoughts regarding these issues?
- What as civilians who are no affiliated with the military would you do to help these people who are in the military?
- Do you think that the military has the right to deny gays and lesbians of married benefits just because they do not recognize the sanctity of homosexual marriage ?
DoD Has Yet to Recognize Same Sex Marriages
Tom Philpott | November 29, 2012
Married Gays, Lesbians Still Viewed as ‘Single' By Military
With repeal last year of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law, many military people, including senior leaders, assumed that married gay and lesbian couples had gained not only job security but also equality in allowances, benefits and access to family support programs. That assumption is wrong.
Since the law took effect 14 months ago, the Department of Defense has kept in place policies that bar spouses of same-gender couples from having military identification cards, shopping on base, living in base housing or participating in certain family support programs.
Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, says Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack, 39, "simply just prevented me from losing my job. It didn't do anything else."
Mack's spouse, Ashley Broadway, also 39, can shop in stores on nearby Fort Bragg, N.C., only in the status of "caregiver" for their son, Carson. Lacking a military dependent ID card, Ashley has been challenged by checkout clerks when her shopping cart includes items such as deodorant that clearly aren't needed by their two-year old.
If Mack is reassigned, the couple will have to pay Ashley's travel and transportation costs out of pocket. Mack draws housing allowance at the higher "with dependents" rate only because of their child. Marriage alone for same-sex couples, though recognized as legal by 11 states and the District of Columbia, doesn't qualify a military sponsor for married allowances or civilian spouses for entry onto bases.
 If Mack were killed during her next deployment, Ashley would not qualify for full "spousal" survivor benefits, even though, by paying higher premiums, she could be covered as an "insurable interest."  And as a surviving widow, Ashley would not qualify for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation from the Department of Veterans or be eligible to receive the folded flag off the coffin in the graveside ceremony, Mack says, because to the military and the VA, Ashley would not be next of kin despite spending a career together.
A heterosexual soldier "who meets someone on a Friday night and Saturday gets married would have full benefits," Mack says. "But you have partners who have been together 15 years or more and they can't even go on base and shop…That's a quality of life issue."
Some disparities of treatment for same sex couples won't end unless Congress repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as solely between a man and woman, or unless the U.S. Supreme Court rules that DOMA is unconstitutional. The high court was expected to announce soon if it will review and rule on conflicting opinions on the constitutionality of DOMA by appellate courts in recent years.
The Obama administration views the law unconstitutional and won't allow Justice Department attorneys to defend it in court. By default, the government's defense of DOMA is being led by the general counsel for the Republican-led House of Representatives.
While the law remains in effect, it prohibits extension of many federal benefits, including military allowances, travel reimbursements and health coverage to same-sex spouses. But Stephen L. Peters II, president of the gay and lesbian advocacy group American Military Partner Association, says the Department of Defense has authority to do much more than it has to date to support service members and spouses of same-sex marriages.
It could give gay and lesbian spouses access to base housing, commissaries and exchanges, base recreation facilities and legal services. It could direct the services to open more family support programs to them and to offer relocation and sponsorship at many overseas duty stations. The services could also extend dual-service couple programs to same-sex marriages thus ensuring these couples too get co-located on reassignments.
No DoD official would be interviewed on this issue. The department instead issue a statement explaining that a work group continues to conduct "a deliberative and comprehensive review of the possibility of extending eligibility for benefits, when legally permitted, to same-sex domestic partners."  Benefits are being examined "from a policy, fiscal, legal and feasibility perspective" and "laws and policies surrounding benefits are complex and interconnected."  The work group, it says, has been striving "to fully understand the scope and interconnectivity."
Life in service is better for gays and lesbians since repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. But the department's unresponsiveness to qualify-of-life concerns raised by same-sex married members for the past year, unrelated to DOMA, continue to impact not only families but readiness, Peters argues.
"It's not like the Pentagon doesn't know which benefits it can extend…These have been repeatedly pointed out," he says. "Not only has the Pentagon failed to take action but its silence on the issue is deafening."
Mack, assistant chief of staff for the 1st Theater Sustainment Command at Bragg, is pregnant and due to deliver their second child in January. This time Ashley won't have to pose as her sister to be present at the birth in the post hospital. After maternity leave, Mack expects to deploy again.
She believes commanders would be pressuring policymakers on quality-of-life challenges for same-sex couples if they knew more about them. Mack own boss was surprised before Mack's promotion in October to be told the Army treats married lesbians like her as if they aren't married.
"He said, ‘That's not true. With repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, you get all the benefits.'  I said, ‘No. Any gay or lesbian soldier, regardless of their marital status, is considered a single soldier.'  He had no clue," Mack says.
As a lieutenant colonel, Mack knows she is better able to afford $500 a month in extra health insurance for Ashley, and to cover her travel costs when the family is reassigned. Enlisted members can't afford to handle these disparities, and that's something leaders can't ignore, she says.
If these spouses could at least be issued ID cards, and gain access to base amenities, she says, it would go a long way to improving quality of life.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Class Discussion 12/5

Honestly we are surrounded by dominant ideologies and we dont even realize it.  The last class had our brain cells stimulated about what defines gender and gender roles.  Some if not most of us were exposed to a world that we rarely hear about.  We've spent the entire semester asking questions like who has created the hegemonic ideals that we continue to perpetuate on a daily basis.  The above image is one small way that we accept and understand gender as it is presented to us.  I saw this image and thought it was a nice way to wrap up our conversation last week about gender roles. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Media Moment: Network/The Effort

In our class we have viewed films regarding how various people are represented in the media. While I do not recall the title of the film pertaining to Asians in the media, I do recall hearing the line showcased in the movie Network.

The infamous line "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" has been referenced and pop culture many times, as this is used in the movie to criticize TV news.  The line has also been criticized in the film, when it is used against Vietnam.  The expression is also very broad, as it can be applied to many things, such as how The Effort has utilized it.

I originally heard this line sampled in the song above.  It's interesting how something can receive criticism, but also be altered for a creative purpose as a cry for social change.  Although this can be seen as a more positive purpose, was it wrong for The Effort to change the context of the original quote, considering its use in Network?

Media Moment: James Bond never dies if he has his girls

I’m huge fan of James Bond, I grew up with watching many Hollywood movies, among them, 007 series is my favorite action movie. But without knowing what we have learned from this class (hegemony and patriarchy), we will keep see this unrealistic movies that reinforcing hegemonic images of women and portraying colored women in negative filter that white world created.
You don’t even need to think about any specific episode of 007 series, entire 007 series; picked the bond girl who meets with hegemonic beauty of women: blonde, glamor, skinny, and seductive to man. But the bond girls are submissive and often depicted as supporter of the male protagonist.
And ethnicity is also matters – women with colored-skin or non-west nationality often depicted as one-night stand (sleep) partner for James Bond, and mostly these colored-women depicted as “uglier” than white women, by taking antagonist role: helping villains, or, betrayer character.
I was somewhat happy with seeing Asian woman from one of the 007 series; Michelle Yeoh’s taking big role in the Tomorrow Never Dies. But she is the one of two characters that Asian women in Hollywood film, the Dragon Lady. Well, indeed, Yeoh is famous for her natural born martial art actions but her role strictly follows the characteristics of Dragon Lady.
And prior to the Yeoh’s Dragon Lady character, I can vividly remember the most demonic character May Day (Grace Johns) which roles a sidekick of her master Max Zorin (Christopher Walken). She kills people without hesitation, lifting up man easily, and wears high-leg tights that look scary to audiences. And May Day dies eventually by her own decision – which was to me to ask about why all black people die in Hollywood films.
I just want to ask about what is your opinion about this longest running film in film franchise. Do we need to see another 50 or 100 year of women with blonde hair lying on the bed with 007 and colored women killing men?
Roger Moore said in an interview (after premiere of Skyfall) “I saw a screening of it a couple of weeks ago. It not only guarantees another 50 years of Bond but probably 100. It's quite extraordinary

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A little research...

I don't remember who in class said they might want to write about female directors,
but heres a little article courtesy of (ahem) Cosmopolitan Magazine. Bret Easton Ellis on female director Kathryn Bigelow.

- Alya Fetyani

Friday, December 7, 2012

Reflection Class Discussion 12/5

Like other people have mentioned, I found this week's discussion to be enlightening and eyeopening, both on issues surrounding the transgender community but also on how much farther feminism still has to go. It seems that the transgender community is seen as a threat even by those one would expect to be allies - gays/lesbians aka other marginalized groups- partially because it completely shakes up our understanding of gender. I think all of us have parts that don't fit neatly into the two preset boxes of gender, and these parts actually take a lot of time hiding and putting away and cleaning up.

When confronted with the possibility of simply accepting those parts in yourself but in doing so, visibly splitting yourself from the binary and all that is normal/accepted, most of us cannot find the courage. As mentioned in class, the boy/girl binary is forced upon us from birth and is a much greater part of our lives than we may realize.

On that note, I'll leave this Brief History of Trans Men which I came upon today, relating to the question raised in class about how long trans people have been around. 

Class Reflection 12-5-12

This week's class discussion was probably my favorite class discussion all semester. I love learning new things and this was definitely all new to me. After reading the transgender articles and doing the responses, I really respect the transgender community. Not to say I didn't respect them before. I was just so ignorant about the subject and I never wanted to give my opinion because of my lack of education.

My initial thought of transgender people were people dressed in drag only. I had no idea there were so many groups and sub groups of transgender and I had no idea that some groups of lesbians and gays had issues with transgender people.

As I am writing this reflection, something interesting kept occurring that I thought was worth discussing. Below is a screen shot of my computer. When I misspelled transgender, the first and only suggestion in the spell check box is transponder. Transgender is not even listed and the only mistake I made is that I switched the s and n by accident. What does this say about dominant ideologies?

Reflection 12-5-12

I thought that this week’s class discussion was very interesting an informative. There were a lot of facts and information that I did not know about the transgender community, so having an open discussion with the possibility to ask a lot of questions was very helpful.  There seemed to be some confusion with in the class and a lot of different opinions. To me I think it is important to learn about the transgender community since they are a group that is often discriminated against. I believe this is due to the lack of education and the feeling of not understanding.
                Initially when I thought about how transgender women are represented in the media the image of a drag queen popped up. The fact that this was the first thing that I could think of shows how I am falsely grouping people together. It also shows that transgender women do not have an accurate representation, and they often get portrayed based on stereotypes people have about this group, one being the idea that all transgender women are drag queens striving to be “hyper feminine”.  The different clips that were shown during class really showed a different view than the one that first popped up in my head, but they still have many stereotypes embedded within the images. Some of the common themes that we saw in all the clips was the idea that “all” transgender women want to have reassignment surgery, they all want to be feminine, that us as an audience should feel pity and sad for them, and lastly that most of these roles are never played by a transgender women instead they are played by a woman. This last point made me look back at all the different groups of women we have discussed throughout the semester. Looking back at many of these groups history in the media, many times they are never played by a woman from that particular minority group, instead they are played by a white woman or in this case a woman not a trans woman.
                Overall I think for things to change people need to become more educated and aware that transgender women are not “abnormal” or “freaks”. They are humans just like me and you. Here is a video that I came across on YouTube. It is a discussion between the first transgender American top Model contestant Isis King and transgender advocate Janet Mock, where they talk about some of the issues we discussed in class. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Media Moment: Kathryn Bigelow

Last class, Kathryn Bigelow was mentioned. This afternoon, I noticed this article. Bret Easton Ellis, who wrote "American Psycho", always tweets some crazy stuff and today he tweeted that Kathryn Bigelow is highly overrated and only well-received as a director because she's "a very hot woman."

First and foremost, do you think that Bigelow is as well-regarded as she is due to the fact that she's a woman? I'm not asking if you think she's talented or not. That's a different question. Finally to me, the statement re-made me think about the fact that there aren't a lot of Hollywood women directors. Why is that? Will that change soon?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Clitoris vs. Penis

Hi Everyone, 

I found an article that speaks more in depth about Abby's question on if the clitoris and penis are related. There are many different pages/ books you could check out, but this one just explained it in the simplest form without any of the medical terminology. 

"Male development requires hormones to suppress female development and further hormones to enhance male development. This makes female anatomy the platform for male development and so technically the penis is an enlarged clitoris."

- Alya Fetyani

Reflection- 11/28 Discussion

During the last class, we discussed the experiences of lesbian women and their representation in the media over time. I found myself thinking about something I've often wondered - which is how the gay rights movement is led (and encompassed) by gay - white, young- men. I've thought about this in terms of language, as words interest me a lot. The fact that the word "gay" has come to define both gays and lesbians (but would lesbian ever work the opposite way?) was always striking to me-- in the same way that people often referred to a mixed group of men/women as "guys" but never as "girls" collectively. Because men are the universal, and the "center," their pronouns and descriptors can be used to define others but never the reverse. (First Question: am I just being really nit-picky or do you guys see something to this? Has this use of terminology bothered anyone?)

Secondly, when thinking about media representations, I realize that most heart-wrenching "coming out" stories generally involve men's experiences, not women's (and let's not even go farther into race/class analysis). A quick google search of gay characters reveals "AE's Top 50 Gay Characters" (all men) but when I search for "AE's Top 50 Lesbian Characters," I am directed to a corrected forum page for "Top 50 Female Characters" and...not much else. If only learning from American media, we don't really know much about homosexuality as experienced by women- any women (besides Ellen DeGeneres).

What do you make of this? 

Media Moment: Transgender on Primetime

A few years back, NCIS, a CBS prime-time hit, aired an episode which ended with the team discovering that the suspect they were looking for made changes to his appearance. He went from a man to a woman, and was scheduled to complete his plastic surgery in his lower regions.

This episode ended with Tony, one of the agents serving under Agent Leroy Gethro Gibbs, was at a bar with Amanda (the transformed Lieutenant Commander Voss), and actually kissed her. When the rest of the agents figured out who Amanda was, Gibbs notified Tony and asked where she was, Tony said she was in the ladies room and Gibbs jokingly said, "Good. We can add that to the misdemeanor charges". Basically implying that she is a man and shouldn't be in the ladies restroom.

If you watch the video, there are many phrases that the agents say that show how they are confused if she is actually a man or woman.

After reading all of the articles this week for today's class, I was reminded how ignorant the media is and how people with dominant ideologies do not take transgender very serious.

Even on later episodes, they continue to refer back to this episode by saying "Tony tonged a guy".

here is the link to the episode: NCIS Transgender protrayal

Class Discussion, 11/28

Ellen DeGeneres as we know is gay and has been under tremendous amounts of scrutiny coming out.

The other video that  I didn't get to show the class, since we were press for time.
Watch from 5:50 to 7:09

In the  we read "What is Gay and Not Gay" we  learned that there is a scientific, biological explanation for the sexuality of individuals.

In the article "Compulsory Heterosexuality..." Adrienne Rich, she argues that "lesbian choice is simply an acting-out of bitterness toward men."  We started the conversation in class, however it was cut short.

Keeping all of this in mind, do you think that one's sexuality is a choice or is it biologically classified?

Do you guys agree with Rich when she says that women who are homosexual are because they have had bad experiences with men?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Class Discussion, Nov. 28, 2012

In class today we had discussed why the term lifestyle is so offensive when referring to gay individuals and their sexuality.  For so long, I too had often found myself labeling homosexuality as a lifestyle than what it really was—a natural sexual preference—not a choice, but preference that one is born with.  I think part of the reason why this is so is because, like in both the Christian and the Indian community, there is a strong draw to believe that homosexuality is some sort of “fad” that because popular culture is condoning it more people are exploring these possibilities.  I recall the numerous times that my homophobic father would get frustrated with the media, accusing them of the exponential growth in homosexuality, or so he claims.  But he, and other who share his views, fail to understand and accept is the fact that homosexuality is neither a choice nor influenced by any formal outlet.  If anything, the media simply gave permission to be more open and truthful to one’s self, the media simply encouraged individuals to become expressive of their identities.  This logic explains too why we are seeing a “growth in homosexuality” because as permission has been given to become more expressive of one’s self, we are seeing more people wanting to show who they are to the world and not be shy to hide it.  My question becomes, however, when did society begin to permit the media to be the authoritarian of what is acceptable and what is not?  Should sexuality or any other definitions of an individual be defined or made permissible by the media?  Who then dictates what is proper?  Religion?  Politicians?  Who?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Woman selling her virginity to highest bidder

Maybe some of you guys have heard of the story or maybe not, the woman in this article Catarina Migliorini sells her virginity for $780,000, but after saying so she pledged to donate the money to a charity.

So the question in mind is, do you guys thin that this woman's actions set women back or do you guys think that she's actually doing women a favor by not putting the topic of virginity in a pedestal? Also take notice in the article how there was also a male selling his virginity, but his virginity was only sold for a few thousand. My second question is why do you think that women's virginity is held more at value than guys virginity?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Media Moment: Gay "Conversion Therapy" Faces Test In Court

This piece was published at The New York Times. It fits perfectly the topic we were discussing today about the option vs. biological predisposition to homosexuality. It talks about gay men who went on a "life coaching" to reverse their homosexuality. Since this treatment did not work, some victims are suing the "therapists" across the country. Check it out: