Feminism | Posted by Erin F on 08/20/2012
The Confines of Masculinity
Gender is a complex social construction that has been developed for centuries. Yet many people still do not understand the differences between sex and gender, or that gender is not as simple as whether you have a penis or a vagina. With the onset of industrialization and capitalism, this problem has gotten even worse, as objects are gendered as well as people.
The way this process works is ideas, clothing, traits, and even personal preferences are characterized as masculine or feminine. These labels themselves are constructed through social norms and societal expectations. This assignment is vital, as it then isolates said idea to its category, where it’s status is then determined. More often than not, masculine traits are valued and feminine traits are devalued. It is through this framework that …
Feminism | Posted by Danielle P on 08/15/2012
I Am More Than Just A Girl. I Am Human.
I was lucky enough to have been raised by open minded women. Never once did the idea that girls are only supposed to be a certain way come up. Early on I learned that girls and boys are equals. I was treated as such up until middle school when all of a sudden it seemed like people had to define their gender. Sexist jokes all of a sudden became funny and I was supposed to laugh at a joke that degraded me. I was required to like make up and dress like the girls in hip-hop videos. I was no longer a person, but rather A Girl and I had to follow a whole new set of rules. Suddenly, I was defined by my gender and I had to wonder …
Feminism | Posted by Alicia L on 07/23/2012
All women want babies eventually, right?
I come from a big family. I mean huge. My second cousins are starting to have children, so now I even have third cousins — third cousins who require lots of family celebrations. Every baby shower or child’s birthday party I go to, I get asked the same question: “So Alicia…when are YOU having kids?”
I always respond the exact same way with, “I’m not.”
And like clock-work, I always get told the same thing: “One of these days, when you’re older, you’ll WANT kids.” or “Every woman wants kids eventually. It’s natural.”
Which leads me to wonder: What is all this B.S. about a biological clock?
Is there really some crazy ticking time bomb in my uterus ready to break out in some crazy baby fever and impregnate me? Am …
Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Claire C on 05/25/2012
The Problem With Fairy Tales
Something has never felt right for me with fairy tales. Even before I knew what feminism was, I knew there were aspects of fairy tales that made me uncomfortable. By fairy tales, I mean stories that originated in oral tradition and were written down by folk collectors such as Charles Perrault. As I have grown older, I have realised what was making me uncomfortable; I felt that fairy tales were sexist. Or as Marina Warner put it in her Daily Telegraph article, fairy tales “aren’t… always on the side of women.” So what are the issues with fairy tales and feminism?
Let’s examine the way fairy tales emphasize feminine physical beauty. Notice how many times the heroine is described as being beautiful, whilst the (usually female) villain’s lack …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Mareike S on 05/7/2012
Why Does Exceptionally Smart = Crazy On TV?
Now, before launching into this, let me make one thing clear: I love the TV show Bones and have for a long time. I also kind of like Rizzoli & Isles, but there’s one thing that’s been irking me about these two series, even though they feature women in the leading roles and (especially in the case of Bones) have diverse casts. My problem is the fact that while both Temperance Brennan of Bones and Maura Isles of Rizzoli & Isles are portrayed as unusually smart and gifted females, they are also portrayed as socially awkward to a point that borders on a psychological disorder.
As anyone who has read The Yellow Wallpaper might know, there’s been a long standing tradition of portraying women as crazy and in need of psychiatric …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Talia on 04/20/2012
The Color Pink
I volunteer at the children’s service at my synagogue on Shabbat (the Sabbath). Every week, the kids walk around with kid-sized Torahs, some of which are stuffed toys. The Torahs are red, yellow, blue, and purple and were bought in the past few years, so they all look new and are in pretty good condition, but there’s one pink one, that is about twice my age. It’s very faded, a little corroded looking, and has been sewed more times than I can remember to keep the stuffing from falling out. Despite the clear quality disparity, all hell breaks loose every Shabbat when the little girls come running to grab the pink Torah before anyone else can catch up. And yes, innumerable tears have been shed and many fights have ensued …
Feminism | Posted by Aimee B on 04/11/2012
Growing Up A Tomboy
I never thought much of gender construction as a child. I just knew what I wanted to wear, how my hair should be cut, and what interested me. Did I want to proudly wear my new matching dragon shirt and short set? Yes. Did I want to play the more physical and male dominated games? Yes. Breaking through the conventions of the female stereotype was never problematic for me until I was around eight years old and moved to a new town.
It was nerve racking. I was suddenly over-aware of my “boyish” appearance, worried about how and if my peers would accept me. My mother accompanied my sister and me to our new classrooms, mine being the first. The teacher met us outside of the classroom, hugged my sister, …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Callie B on 03/19/2012
Why the Jersey Shore is No Longer On My DVR List
When I first saw Miss Representation it stunned me—in the best of ways. I didn’t immediately take the time to reflect on it, but then a few nights ago I was unlucky enough to witness the newest Carl’s Jr. commercial, where a very hungry Kate Upton seductively devours a burger while wearing basically, well, nothing. And after 23 years of demeaning media onslaught, I’m thinking I’ve had enough.
Before watching Miss Representation, I indulged in the occasional “guilty pleasure”—reality TV being my wind-down-at-the-end-of-the-day treat. I saw no harm in it. It’s just mindless entertainment, right? Shows like Jersey Shore and Keeping Up With The Kardashians were among my favorites. But that was before the film, before my eyes were opened to the very (real) poison of this seemingly harmless …