Sunday, January 22, 2012

Occupy Providence

On Wednesday, January 18th, 2012. Ethan, Kayla, Merylda, Annisia, and I piled into Ethan's car and went down to Burnside Park in Providence, RI. We met some really nice characters, sadly I didn't get names, but we left with a lot of information.

First off it was FREEZING! You could really tell that this must be something really important to these activists to be down there in the cold. One man seemed to really know what he was talking about, I labeled him as the organizer. He told us that he had been there since early October. Going on 100 plus days and nights already. There was another man with a big beard and a hat which looked very warm who has traveled with occupy a lot. He told us that he started in North Carolina, moved to the Boston Occupy, and is now involved with the Providence Occupy. There was another man with blond hair who had very strong views on religion, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi. There were some women, some men, and even a dog who seemed to be enthused with their cause. Many Occupiers however had other obligations so they couldn't stay long.

I was especially impressed the their information booth. They had a dry erase board listing meeting times, brochures, and women in the booth that could answer any questions anyone has. When Professor Bogad talked about the Boston Occupy and how organized it was, this Providence Occupy seemed extremely small and disheveled. However you must understand that it's freezing outside, many people will abandon their post during the winter and return in the spring. Also the organizer man said that many people who are involved with Occupy Providence are people with families and homes and jobs they must get back to, but these people find time to go to meetings and events. The man also told us that they have had meetings in city hall and parades around providence.

The little village was surrounded with about twenty or thirty tents. There was flags waving which i thought were very interesting discussing the LGBTQ's involvement with occupy. There was also various spray painted sayings on the tents and ply wood laid out around the camp. Besides the pigeons, there wasn't many people to be seen. Most were not in camp, or in the tents. There was about five or six people in sight.

So finally we wanted to know what this was about. The man told us that there are jobs that get bought out, instead of working to fix the company that is based in the U.S., and make this project profitable slowly in a couple years time, businesses will buy companies and move them over seas. This makes a huge profit gain for these companies,, and puts millions out of work in the U.S. The man with the beard gave us a story about a factory in North Caroline. A factory went under, got moved over seas, and was replaced with a Walmart. The city is now a ghost town for no one could afford their lives in this small town.

Another main issue is that with wall street and the banks. Tons of tax payer dollars go to save banks from bankruptcy due to foreclosures, rather than helping those who have the mortgages find a way to earn enough money to pay off their mortgages. In this way you would be giving tax payers jobs,and  keeping the banks open, rather then a quick fix and paying out the banks.

We told these men about our class, and what we have learned. They told us that they are fighting for the same things we learned about... Equality. That's all they want. They want everyone to have a fair chance at that American dream, rather then a higher unemployment rate. This experience was eye opening (as was this class). I would have never gone to Occupy if this class didn't make it a requirement. I was nervous, and didn't know what to expect. But everyone was really nice, and I enjoyed getting to chat with everyone and seeing their passion.


I definitely plan to check it out this spring. They informed me about their twitter account, facebook, and some interesting YouTube videos on their cause. I already checked out their page, and wish them the best of luck. I want to be an ally, I may not be able to dedicate all my time, and I definitely will not be camping in the cold, but I'll swing by and do what I can once in a while. This was a great experience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaching the Conflicts

Teaching the Conflicts - By Love & Helmbrecht
Connection Post

Before I even started reading this work I immediately recognized the lyrics so I googled them. Upon doing so, I looked up the youtube video for Pink's "Stupid Girls" video, and was taken back. This whole video was exactly what Orenstein was talking about, with gender roles in children. Throughout the whole video, "good" and "bad" Pink are trying to convice a little girl to be overtly feminine like everyone else or be herself. It's about the Tomboy in a sense vs. the Girly Girl. In the end, she chooses the football over barbie dolls, but that was just the first glance at the paper, then I started reading.

They begin speaking about the different waves of feminism. In this is where I thought I found the "conflict". Each wave was a dofferent set of women, working in different ways. The article also talks about the fact that there are 57% of college students are Women. She also says that women who work full time jobs, are only said to earn 77% of what men in the same position earn.  But then is when she brought up the true "conflict".  "We want students to know the difference between feeling empowered... and being empowered" (47), this quote stood out to me alot. This brought about the thoughts of feminism, and how being a feminist doesn't mean you hate men, you just want equality for all. She continues to talk about how "grandmothers" have mixed views on feminism because they have negative views towards feminist icons. Well if your a feminist, and your family and ancestor is opposed to it, then it's kind of like not knowing how to accept yourself. I learned about my culture from my grandmother, and if she didn't like what I belived in then I feel like my whole culture was against what I believed in. This brings me back to Gloria Anzaldua. Her work was about not knowing who you are, and believing in just being yourself. Anzaldua wanted everyone to just be themselves, and be open minded to all.

Another good point that is brought up in this work had to do with consumerism. Consumerism is a disease that engulfs the nation, and was a major point in Orenstein's work "Cinderella Ate My Daughter". Media and pop culture are teaching not only our childen, but all of us in general that consumerism is a good thing. "Gender Politics have become conflated with consumerism" (Page 52) this quote was exactly the point Orenstein made. Gener roles and consumerism walk hand in hand corrupting the minds of our children to brainwash them into thinking they should be a certain way other than themselves.

Lastly I would like to end this post with the feeling empowered and being empowered note. Popculture can portray empowerment and make women and men feel empowered, but it isn't changing anything to the point of making equality for all. I look at it like a bistander and an ally. An ally might go out and participate in activism. A bistander might buy a feminist magazine once in a while. This work related mostly to Orenstein with the ideas of gender roles and consumerism. However, it also relates to Anzaldua and Ayvazian in the idea that you should just be yourself, be open to all, and be an ally not a bystander who falls into consumerism. I agree with this text, I thought it was very interesting.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Role Of Allys as Agents of Change

Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression : The Role of Allys as Agents of Change
By: Andrea Ayvazian

Ayvazian argues that we as a people become overwhelmed at the idea of oppression. She also argues that we all can become and ally, and that we know just how effective Allys can be. A movement may start out as a small group at first but touches others like a "heartbeat". An ally is someone who is of the dominant group and receives the benefits of the oppression, but fights to change for what she knows is right. This person is of the dominant group, meaning that they can reach out to those like them of the dominant group, and can "be heard".  I agree with this, and of her strongest words comes from that on dominance. Everyone may be dominant at some point in time. Some may be entirely dominant, but it will not last. For example I am a white (dominant), female (targeted). However a white man who seems to be completely dominant may be targeted for his religion, or sexual orientation. I think this was an amazing thought. No one is always perfect.

I also liked how she talked about the reduction of violence. Just like in Anzldua's writings, she believed that if we all accepted one another we could stop "war, violence, and rape". This is an extremely strong thought that has stuck with me since I read Anzaldua's work. If we found equity within ourselves and others, would we really then find peace? Becoming an ally will not only reduce violence, but improve the mind sets of others to become an ally. This idea of a "role model" is in my mind a true one. If you speak to high school students, communities, and the public they will listen and hopefully understand. But to take it a step further, and have them see you doing these acts to help others, is a sure example of how they can in themselves become true Allys if they believe in the cause.

I believe I covered the main points within Ayvazian's work. Tomorrow in class I would like to discuss if the students in our class agree with this? I personally do, but I'm wondering if some people think it's crap. I think that her idea of a role model is a hard one to pursue, but everything else I thought was pretty straight foreword. I don't know tell me what you think?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Umm.. Can we just talk about this??

My Comments to Professor Bogad's Post because it wouldn't let me post to her blog. I kept getting a blank screen.

I personally appreciated the remarks from President Obama. I thought it was a great to hear from the man who broke some social boundaries in himself, speaking about social normality's going on now. I liked how he spoke about Washington having to do what families across America are doing, cutting back.  He also mentions "structural reforms". My father being a construction worker, this part of the speech especially stuck out to me. I'll post it right under this. I hope he makes actions out of his words, and makes a difference.

"It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million. Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness -- explain why somebody who's making $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15 percent on their taxes, when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that -- paying a higher rate. They ought to have to answer for it. And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember, the last time I checked the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we take to uphold the Constitution" - President Obama

One workplace vs Another

My thoughts on the websites (:

I started off on the PBS website. There was an article about " How to Marry Rich" from Beverly Hills, California. I was immediately disgusted. This woman was sick of dating poor men so changed plenty of aspects about HERSELF in order to catch the eyes of a wealthy man. Come on? What ever happened to marrying for love? Social classes are clearly so important to people that they feel the need to change themselves to be "better off". I believe that in this is where the connection to feminism lies. Wealthy and social standings are the criteria for people to be "better off". WHY? If I work hard for every penny I own, then I think as a person I'm doing pretty well for myself. Feminism is about equality for all people. Well I can understand why some people make more money than others, because they may do more work, but sadly that's not how it works. My father has worked in construction his whole life, I see him come home in pain everyday because he works hard, working with his back. "I want the best for you, I want you to work with your mind instead of your back" -My Dad. Why is it that my father works himself to the bone everyday, but only makes half as much as someone with an office job, or someone on wall street? Do they work harder? No it's unequal. So this idea of inequality makes this issue a feminist issue. Also, the look at people not accepting of others because of their social class. I read multiple stories about missed holidays, and awkward first meetings, and reluctant visits home. All because families may not agree with spouses of their loved ones due to social class. The rich are too good for us, or the working class aren't worth our time? It's a nonacceptance of a way of life, which again makes this issue a feminist issue.

Okay lets talk about another nationwide issue. Welfare. I just read a story called "Trouble at Home" on the PBS website. Ginny takes home $158 every two weeks, and refuses to go on welfare. Her electricity and gas for her trailer home will constantly be turned on and off due to her income. She works hard, and takes care of 4 children in this home. I believe people like Ginny deserve to go on welfare as long as she works as hard as she is now. However I do not believe this gives her the right to feel superior over anyone else, just because she refuses assistance. Those people may be just as deserving as she is. The only thing that upsets me, is when people take advantage of the systems in place used to help those who need it. If your not trying to make a life for yourself that supports you, than you shouldn't be on welfare. Not because they're not out there, just because your not trying or working to help yourself at all. There is acceptations and excuses for everyone who is or is not on welfare, but that is the gist of my thoughts on it.

My thought in class are how can we relate this to our trips to the Occupy Camp. How does this relate to wall street? Is it wrong to want to change classes? There are many different ways to take this, but utterly I don't believe the changing classes will assure happiness. Ultimately, all I want in life is happiness, rich or not.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existance

Adrienne Rich
Extended Comments : Belle
After doing some Background research, and reading Belle's blog, I finally think I have a handle on what Adrienne Rich is trying to say. Belle's Blog helped me a lot with my own. I loved her use of a YouTube sexual harassment video to kind of lighten the mood on such a tough subject. But my favorite part to her blog was about the 8 Characteristics Of Male Power in Society section. It really made it easy to see all of the ways men seem to "hold the upper hand" on women, and also showed her readers the frame work that Adrienne Rich uses for her paper. On that note, I'd like to add some of my own comments, and hopefully show you how I used the reading, research, and Belle's blog to get my own understanding of Rich's ideas.

Compulsory Heterosexuality has a lot  of points that go with it. First off, compulsory has to do with the fact that, being heterosexual is the expected and the first idea that children are usually taught today about couples. To children it is compulsory, it isn't a choice but a way of life. Rich challenges that, why is it that even as adults, this idea of having a compulsory or protocol way of life is so accepted? Rich brings into question why more people don't think about their sexual orientation, and question the social norms. She questions the difference between desire and a person's wants, towards their compulsions and need to fit into society. She stated that she is, "condemned to a life of exile", because she devotes herself as a lesbian and will stand up and be proud of it. But why should she be "exiled", when all she has done is thought through her feelings, and decided on what she wants out of life?

Rich also said that women are afraid to be who they truly are because of not only society but because of men. Men are aggressive and stereotypically violent. Rich states that when men are denied compulsion, they take it in the forms of rape, sexual harassment, and other powers over women. She also brings up another valid stereotype. Women turn to other women, due to hatred of men. "Lesbian existance is also represented as mere refuge from male abuses, rather than an electric and empowering charge between women" (Page 94). Must there always be a default as to why someone breaks social normalities. Why must a woman be running from an abusive man, or hate men in general to be a lesbian? THEY DON'T, yet that is the stereotype that Rich brings into the light in her writing.

There are far too many points in this literary piece to state them all, but I believe I have covored the main ones. Everyone a compulsory heterosexual until they take the time to soul search and figure out what truly makes them happy in life. Women seem to be intimidated by men, and stick to compulsionary life in order to stay normal and accepted. And lastly, that lesbianism is so heavily stereotyped, that a lesbian is marked as a man-hater, a survivor of abuse by a man, or is exiled from society in todays culture.

This was a great piece of literature to coincide with this class. However, it was chock full with information, and valid points by Adrienne Rich. Tomorrow in class, I would like to discuss most of these points since it is impossible to touch base on all of them in one blog. I would love to hear everyone opinion on this writing, and if it was a difficult concept to grasp for anyone.

Some Websites that helped me::

Belle's Blog

Compulory Heterosexuality

Adrienne Rich's Wiki Background

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Power Of Pink

Cinderella Ate My Daughter : By Peggy Orenstein


"We can excel in school, play sports, go to college, aspire to- and get-jobs previously reserved for me, be working mothers and so forth. But in exchange we must obsess about our faces, weight, breast- size, clothing brands, decorating, perfectly calibrated child-rearing, about pleasing men and being envied by other women." (page 18)

Caution: Video may be a tad bit revealing for your liking.

*Notice how everything is pink, and flashy. There is tons of  fantasy like music and colors.*

I decided to post up about the Victoria's Secret Pink collection because that is what this article reminded me of. The princesses theme that young girls seem to be so obsessed with, is just like women and this pink collection (in which I am a huge contributor). Peggy Orenstein worries just like all parents about the influences our current culture has on their children. She believes that princesses are a way to keep girls young, and allows little girls to be little girls. Yet it's teaching them about consumerism, and gender stereotypes in the process. Just like Victoria's Secret Pink collection was originally supposed to be for college students. It was supposed to be a practical way to go from lounge, to class, and still look "cute". Yet, these college students who should be saving money to pay off their loans, are spending $30 to $40 dollars on a single pair of spandex yoga pants, that they could get at Walmart for $10. Not to mention the $60 to $80 sweatshirts. There are pro's and con's to these themes, but the idea of the color pink being strictly feminine has not only taken over young girls, but continued into the lives of adults. Victoria's Secret is supposed to amplify beauty,and sexiness. Well in the same way, a consumer can buy from their PINK collection, and fulfill the idea of being pretty just like the princess they always dreamed about being as a child, yet still be looked at as a sexy adult. This markeing tool took the glamorous life of little girls surrounded in pink (stereotype), and infused it with the bold and beautiful name of Victoria's Secret. It was a perfect mix to take any woman's inner princess, and make her an adult queen.

I agree 100% about the influences of princesses on children. Ever since I was little (before I understood divorce rate and income), I wanted to be a stay at home mom, who cooks, cleans, raises the children, and her prince comes home to her after work. The perfect life? Well I had a rude awakening when my mom explained to me that the prince could divorce your ass, and now your a single struggling mother with no income, but hey I still have my apron? Well now what? My mom has always tried to tell me, life isn't always a fairy tale, you won't always get happily ever after. Yet she was the first person to get me into watching the Disney Princess movies. Talk about confusing kids?? This is where I think the problem lies. I think girls can believe in princesses, but they must also understand that the stories are all make believe. And that real life can be very different. Well now I'm in school, aiming towards a career, so I can support myself and my family as I grow older. I can still have my fairy tale ending, but I'm just going to have to be my own royalty I guess.

In class I want to know if anyone else loved Disney Princesses as much as I did? Would you let your kids watch them? When thinking about your childhood, does it include princesses? I'm eager to find out how everyone took to the article. Are princesses innocent or lethal for the little girls in our society? How can we fix these stereotypes and problems involving gender? How can we make the color pink unisex?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gender Specific Toys

This is my first of two blogs for Wednesdays class. It coincides with the article on children's gender specific toys.

It's just as Riley says, if boys want to play with princesses and girls want to play with superheros, then they can. Why should girls have to be tricked into buying pink toys?

I thought this was an interesting video because even though the girls knew they could play with the firetrucks if they wanted to, they still chose the dolls. As babies, most girls are given pink clothes and dresses, and are kept in pink bedrooms with pink curtains ect. Boys however are given blue clothes, and kept in rooms with blue themes. My theory is, that as early as your first days of life, you are programmed to be comfortable and to enjoy the gender specific colors that surround your life, because as a baby they really do surround your life. If a baby grows up surrounded by pink, goes into infancy surrounded by pink, and then goes to pick out a toy at the store, chances are they will be attracted to the pink aisle because it's all they know. That's my guess. That children are exposed to gender specific stereotypes as soon as they are born.