Gaga Feminism

When thinking about celebrities and how they need to do their role in the fight for equality for all peoples, I typically think of new fresh faced celebrities, ones who are still in pop culture and people who the younger generation would call relevant. Not until reading Halberstam’s “Gaga Manifesto” did i start to think about it differently.

Halberstam called fro not going along with the present day way of going with things but rather called for a total upheaval, anarchy in a sense, a complete overturn of the way things are done, and brought up examples of celebrities who have not stood silent while injustices have occurred. First calling out Lady Gaga and her “Monster Manifesto” calling for change, Halberstam then lists numerous other names, from Gwen Stefani, to Yoko Ono.

By having such a vast array of pop celebrities in the argument, Halberstam proves that this is just not a current issue, that the call for an anarchist form of feminism has been on the table for many years and does not seem to be leaving anytime soon. Though it is disheartening in the sense that the fight has been a uphill battle for such a long period of time, it also instills hope in the sense that people have yet to give up on the fight.


Prompt for Group 2 post due Friday, March 17

For the blog post due this week, use this space to think about the readings we have done so far– all the readings in this class from day 1 to now. Use your blog post to think about which reading connected most with you and why. Draw from class conversations, recent current events, personal events, etc. to discuss which reading either made you think about something differently, connected with you personally, or helped you think through a concept. Be sure to only pick one, even if you have several in mind, and define why it is that the one you chose stands out to you.

In the comments, groups 1 and 3 should find either posts that talk about a reading they also connected with, or posts that talk about a reading that they didn’t find as useful. For the former, draw connections between the post’s author’s experiences and your own, and for the latter, try to think through the differences between the author’s interpretation and your own.

Does academia = expertise?

For this week’s blog post I’d like to focus of the Forbes reading, “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Dumb?” It detailed an account of a transsexual woman who also is a scientist and an acclaimed academic. In her account, she discussed the hurdles and curiosities presented when speaking of gender. However, the curiosity did not stem from lack of knowledge but rather, acquiring the title of speaking of it at an expert level. Since she was not “professionally” taught on the subject, there’s some speculation on whether or not she’s considered an expert. I chose this reading because I felt that this situation can be universal and portrayed in so many other scenarios. For example, I, as a African-American, consider myself well-read when it comes to my race (part of my identity) however, I’ve got the feeling that I may not comment on the subject due to my lack of academic training on the subject. Perhaps, though, since I’ve grown and lived within the race and am the ultimate ethnographer for my own life, I have the merit to speak on the subject at non-expert but equal level that academics do. I may not use the same language as they do but I’ve been immersed in the culture and race my whole life and I believe that there is essential understanding that’s coupled with that upbringing that need not require an academic training to speak at an expert level. Regarding the reading, I readily believe that Forbes is probably eligible to speak on gender as an academic expert. That being said, it may be more direct to say that she’d be able to identify and elaborate on maybe a cohort of gender and not the theory itself. I’m not sure. However, I ultimately believe that having an academic background is not required for one to speak as an expert on any topic. Learning takes place everywhere, everyday, and even when we don’t realize. Thoughts?

Reenfleshing Young Boys

One of the first main points of the reading “Reenfleshing Young Boys”, which we’ve been discussing in class, is that the idea of Masculinity Studies raises some eyebrows because it implies that men are equally as gendered as women, and that men and women are equally installed into “symmetrically gendered” positions.  This would mean that men face equivalent sorts of objectification and expectations, that are equally as disadvantageous and oppressive as they are for women.  That being said, Milo Yiannopoulos, a very right wing anti-feminist political journalist, has been in the news lately, and I wanted to see what he was all about so I watched a few videos about him on YouTube. I believe some of the arguments he is making about gender go right alongside with this point from the reading.

Many of his arguments center around the fact that “some men suffer from X,Y, or Z just like women do, therefore women are no more oppressed/gendered/objectified/victimized than men.”  He is doing exactly what is addressed in that first part of the reading, which is the potential problem mentioned with Masculinity Studies.  I believe what his argument fails to address is the fact that a lot of the things that men go through are not a result of a system that equally advantages/disadvantages all genders, but they are examples of a patriarchal system that genders and objectifies femininity.  Sometimes these toxic masculine gender roles can effect other men as well.  When people exist in a system that benefits aggression, assertiveness and violence, there are going to be victims from all genders.  I think we as a society need to think outside the box more when arguments are made like this, because it eliminates the idea of a tangible thing to overcome, and makes it seem like there’s no one behind the wheel, and there’s no point to strive for change.

Beyoncé’s gift

I read two articles, both speaking about Beyoncé’s recent pregnancy announcement. The first was “White Women: This Is Why Your Critiques Of Beyoncé Are Racist” by Lara Witt on The Establishment. Witt is a Desi-Kenyan feminist who expressed her frustration with white women critiquing the way Beyoncé announced her pregnancy, the fact that she made an announcement, and for slaying in the photoshoot. The other article was “Black Venus Rising: The Symbolism of Beyoncé’s Pregnancy Photos” by Catherine Young. Both authors are fans of Beyoncé, and women of color.

Both authors touched on the timing of the announcement and how Beyoncé announced her pregnancy close to the election of Donald Trump and on the first day of Black History Month, neither of which are believed to be coincidence. According to the authors, the announcement was timed this way to give hope to people of color in these times of turmoil and uncertainty.

Both pieces speak about how positive these images of Beyoncé are for addressing the stereotypes that surround black motherhood, and the negative connotations it often carries. They also both touched on how difficult black motherhood is, and the positive impact of a powerful, strong black mother such as Beyoncé has in breaking this stereotypes down.

In her article, Young looked at the announcement’s meaning and symbolism and saw the photoshoot as Beyoncé representing a black virgin Mary of sorts. With the colors of her bra and underwear matching the colors worn by Mary, the pregnant belly, and the flowers she is made into this black Madonna which Young says is a role that has, “been long inaccessible to black women due to the historical violence of stereotypes”.

Witt focused on how white women seem to be negative towards the announcement and how racist these comments were. Witt felt that the women’s racial privilege and their lack of awareness caused them to misunderstand the importance and cultural references within the photoshoot.

Young’s piece was well thought-out and a great analysis of the images and announcement and their impact people of color and her community of followers. Witt’s was a quicker and more causal read, but think both has a similar audience in that they were most likely targeted at women of color around 20-30 years of age. I enjoyed both and agreed with both perspectives, but overall I thought Young’s analysis was more thought provoking.

Political Climate

Being from Washington DC, I have never experienced a time without politics being shoved down my throat from everyone and everywhere. That being said, I never actively took a part in anything remotely political on my own free will and rather would let things go on around me, despite having more own views and options on them. This all changed a few weeks ago, January 20, when Donald Trump took office as president of the United States.

In just a few short weeks, the amount of divisiveness in American society has exponentially increased, to a point in which no matter where an individual turns, he, she, or they will find it. This is shown exceptionally well in two different articles, one entitled “I’m A Refugee from a Banned Country— This Is My American Story,” by Ari Honarvar, a writer for The Establishment, and the other entitled “Trump Says He Won’t Overturn LGBT Protections, But His Administration Will Still Discriminate Against Us” written by Yvonne, a writer for Autostraddle.

In Ari Honarvar’s article, she tells of her story, from moving to America twenty full years ago, escaping from Iran during a time in which almost any form of divergent actions and thinking. Simple things such as playing cards to simply thinking about the other sex in any fashion were against the law. People younger than myself were being arrested on the norm. When she finally was able to move to America, she felt calm, an ease went over her, but a part of her, and understandably so, still belonged to where she came from.

In her article, a memoir more of the sorts, she writes a powerful line “I had all but forgotten  what freedom was like even though deep in my  belly I knew this wasn’t right.” This simple statement a scary fact that may be frequently said in the not so distant future, if people continue to be attacked due to the way they think, look, act and feel.

The other article, by Yvonne tells of how though Donald Trump has come out and said that he will not directly overturn any form of legislation that President Obama created regarding the protections barring the discrimination based on the sexual orientation or gender of any given individual. However, this does not mean that they will not use religious exemptions in order to still discriminate, something that Mike Pence and other GOP members have been very vocal about. If anything, as the article brings up, and I strongly agree with, this is not the step in the right direction but simply a way to calm the dissenters from attacking Trump and his policies any more so than we already do. Other orders have even designated what it means to be a man or be a woman, which indirectly attacks non straight CIS individuals.

As the article ends, a striking comment is made, though Trump may not actively be trying to attack members of the LGBTQ community, he has openly not been an ally towards them. By doing so, I firmly believe that by not being apart of the solution, he is being apart of the problem. And with him having so much power now, he is adding more fuel to the fire than anyone could have ever expected.

First Blog Posting Assignment Prompt

For the first blog post due Friday, February 10th at 11pm, Group 1 writers will compose a post that compares and contrasts two articles from two separate sites that make up the homework due Friday (links in the previous post).

Pick two websites (for example, Autostraddle and The Establishment) and choose a post/ essay/ article published on each. It can be any article you find and want to talk about. After reading the two articles, spend some time writing about these articles and how they represent the information/ ideas they include and the site as a whole. What similarities are there in content, style, author background, formatting, or anything else that looks relevant? Where do they differ? Why do you think they differ? Which do you like better? Why? Who do you think is the best audience for each post, and do they overlap at all? Spend some time thinking about these questions and write your answers in 250-400 words. Keep in mind that your post can be informal, but make sure you address two specific articles and discuss both.

Groups 2 and 3 will then comment on 2 posts written by Group 1 members. Use their analysis as a jumping off point to discuss your ideas about these websites, or bring up another article published by a site, or (respectfully, of course) disagree with your classmate’s conclusions and offer another take. Comments are due Monday, February 13th at 5pm.