Monday, January 23, 2012

Assignment #8- Occupy Providence

Occupy Providence

When I walked into Burnside Park in Providence, I was shocked to see it looked like a ghost town.  There were tents spread all around, but hardly anyone around.  I walked to the “information booth” and was greeted by a few people there.  They said that there were only about 20 people left, when there were over 300 before the weather got cold.  Many people left their tents though, making it look like a pretty run down area.  The first guy I spoke to was named Steve, and he mentioned that even though there was only about 20 people camping out there, some people still come during the weekends and when they don’t have work, and many more go to the rallies they have.  Steve mentioned that there are over 1500 occupy sites in the U.S.  He said everyone is there for their own reason, but many of the reasons over lap and most of them all agree with each other, some just feel more strongly about certain issues.  Steve told me to look up the video I posted below of Keith Olberman explaining the reasons why they occupy.  He didn’t have much to say other then to watch that video, but I was quickly approached by a man name Fred.  Fred agreed that almost everyone they have talked to at Occupy Providence agrees with what Keith Olberman mentions.

Fred mentioned just like it is stated in the video that no true democracy is obtainable when the process is determined by economic power.  He mentioned how the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.  He said the main reason he is there is because he is outraged by the fact that farming is being monopolized by a company named Monsanto.  This monopoly is explained here.  According to that website Monsanto already controls over 41% of the commercial corn seed and 25% of global soybean seed.  Another point Fred talked about was how the government gives tax breaks to the wealthiest and the middle class and poor people have to pay more in taxes.  This was briefly mentioned in the video above, but talked about in more detail in Michael Moore’s video below.

Moore mentioned that the 1% that many occupy people are talking about mean people who make more than $343,000.  These 1% have had their income triple from 1979-2007, when middle class people have only had a 40% increase and poor people haven’t really had any increase, making the gap between rich and poor, bigger then its been in over 70 years.

Another point that Fred mentioned which was also talked about by Olberman is how the government continues to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.  I saw an absolutely shocking documentary about this last year called “ Who Killed the Electric Car.  I highly suggest watching this movie.  It is on netflix and there is also a link to buy the movie on the website I put in the last sentence.  It is about an electric car that came out in 1996, and was loved by everyone who had it, the car was amazing and the government took all the cars back from everyone who had them and smashed all of them because they are tied into the oil companies and both the government and oil companies would have lost a lot of money if they didn’t.  Even though electric cars just started coming out again last year, they would have been out for good in 1996 if the government didn’t stop them.

The Occupy Providence activists reminded me about how Love and Helmbrecht talked about how feminism should be more than just an identity label and must signify action, even when action calls to make difficult choices.  These occupy activists are definitely making difficult choices, and sleeping in the cold, even the nights when it was around 5 degrees outside last week. I was also reminded of the ‘People like us” website, and the stories about people like Ginnie with her kids who constantly had their electricity and heat turned off since they were so poor and didn’t want to get welfare.  One thing Fred mentioned was that he believed the welfare system needs to be changed to make it harder for people to abuse it, so people like Ginnie who need it don’t feel ashamed to get it.  Overall I enjoyed the Occupy Providence experience and was able to learn more after researching points they had made.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Assignment #7:Love and Helmbrecht-Argument

Teaching the Conflicts; (Re) Engaging Students with Feminism in a Postfemist World
By: Meredith A. Love and Brenda M. Helmbrecht

Love and Helmbrecht argue that many students and young adults in this generation don’t know the real facts about feminism and how important it still is, because they are often mislead by things like the media, ads and consumerism. They mentioned that a student preparing to graduate with a women’s studies minor didn’t know who Gloria Steinem was.  They then said that after hearing that from the student they felt something had to be done to make it easier for students and young adults to find the analytical tools to support them to help find their place with the feminist movement.  The authors mention that the work of feminists has benefited the daily lives, financial statues and health of many American women.  They then go on to mention “ Some women’s lives have been so improved that today’s younger generation of women may not even know that “ we’ve come a long way, baby” and, perhaps even more importantly, that we still have a long way to go.”  The authors felt that many women are more concerned with what they need to buy and how they need to look good, instead of how they can become more powerful.

They used Judith Butler’s definition of feminism which is “ about the social transformation of gender relations” They added that feminism should be more than just a identity label and it must signify action, even when action calls to make difficult choices.  I feel it’s hard for young women to see the right actions and choices to make when so many people and companies mislead them.  The authors mentioned how Pink is hypercritic and makes fun of girls like Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson for acting stupid and not contributing anything to the world, when she herself does many of the same things the other girls do.  This bothers feminist educators because many students define feminism from how they see it through people like Pink and not through actual activists.

Questions/Comments for class:
How can there be 57% women in college with more bachelors and masters degrees then men, when men make 23% more then women!?  There needs to be something we can do to make the media display the real facts about things like this more often instead of just saying that 57% of students in college are women, and then leaving out the part about how women have less powerful positions and still make significantly less then men.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Assignment #6: Ayvazian reading-Quotes

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

I really liked the Ally reading, and feel that Ayvazian did a great way of showing examples and relating to her personal life, making it easier to understand.  Right in the third sentence she already gives advice on what we can do to help, and she states, “ One way to overcome this sense of immobilization is to assume the role of an ally.”  In a couple paragraphs later she goes on to state the definition of an ally.  “An ally is a member of a dominant group in our society who works to dismantle any form of oppression from which she or he receives the benefit.”  I always knew ally meant friend, or supporter, but I never really thought of it in the sense of someone in a dominant group.  Then she goes on mentioning that many times instead of sticking up for someone who needs an ally, many people just ignore the fact, and feel that its someone else’s responsibility, which I think all of us have been guilty of sometime in our lives.

I found it very interesting that she said even though some people can be entirely dominant at some point in there life, they wont be forever.  She used the example of a white, able-bodied, heterosexual, Christian male, and said even he will grow out of his dominance when he reaches old age.  I wish everyone could realize this fact, because I feel that some people shy away from being an ally, thinking they will never need one, but someday they might be a senior citizen needing help to cross a busy street. 

Another quote explaining the definition of an ally is when she states “ Allied behavior is clear action aimed at dismantling the oppression of others in areas where you yourself benefit, it is proactive, intentional, and often involves taking a risk.”  I believe the risk is what scares most people away of being an ally, but I think they should at least start off helping in small ways, to see that they will probably feel very good when they do help.

For some ways you can be an ally, visit the website mentioned by the video above, which is here.

Comments/Questions for class:
In the article Ayvazian wrote that an example of a small step she made to be an ally was that she has held off marrying her partner (a male) until gay and lesbian couples can be married and receive the same benefits and legal protection that heterosexual couples already have. In what other ways can we help some targeted group, like how Ayvazian has done?  I consider her step to actually be a big step, but I’m sure there are some smaller steps to being an ally we can talk about in class that can help targeted groups.


I found the missing 2 pages, (602 and 603) on a website off of google and figured I would put it on here to help everyone from being confused by the reading.

who does. (where it ends on pg 601)

And there are many remarkable role models whom we can claim with pride, and model ourselves after. People like Laura Haviland, who was a conductor on the Underground Railroad and performed unbelievably brave acts while the slave-catchers were right on her trail; Virginia Foster Durr, a southern belle raised with great wealth and privilege who, as an adult, tirelessly drove black workers to and from their jobs during the Montgomery bus boycott; the Rev. James Reeb, who went south during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964 to organize and march; Hodding Carter, Jr., editor and publisher of a newspaper in the Mississippi Delta who used his paper to battle for racial equity and who took considerable heat for his actions. And more: the Grimke sisters, Lucretia Mott, William Lloyd Garrison, John Brown, Viola Liuzzo.
There are also many contemporary anti-racists like Morris Dees, who gave up a lucrative law practice to start the Southern Poverty Law Center and Klan Watch in Alabama and bring white supremacists to trial; Anne Braden, active for decades in the civil rights struggle in Kentucky; Rev. Joseph Barndt, working within the religious community to make individual churches and entire denominations proclaim themselves as anti-racist institutions. And Peggy McIntosh, Judith Katz, and Myles Horton. And so many others. Why don't our young people know these names? If young people knew more about these dedicated allies, perhaps they would be inspired to engage in more anti-racist activities themselves.
Choosing Our Own Roles
We also need to consider our role as allies. In our own communities, would young people, if asked the same questions, call out our names as anti-racists? In areas where we are dominant, is our struggle for equity and justice evident? When we think about our potential role as allies, we need to recall a Quaker expression: "Let your life be your teaching." The Quakers understand that our words carry only so much weight, that it is our actions, our daily behaviors that tell the true story.
In my own life I struggle with what actions to take, how to make my beliefs and my behaviors congruent. One small step that has had interesting repercussions over the last decade is the fact that my partner (who is male) and I have chosen not to be legally married until gay and lesbian couples can be married and receive the same benefits and legal protection that married heterosexual couples enjoy. A small step, but it has allowed us to talk with folks at the YMCA about their definition of "family" when deciding who qualifies for their "family plan"; to challenge people at Amtrak about why some "family units" receive discounts when traveling together and others do not; and to raise questions in the religious community about who can receive formal sanction for their loving unions and who cannot. These are not earth-shattering steps in the larger picture, but we believe that small steps taken by thousands of people will eventually change the character of our communities. 5
When we stop colluding and speak out about the unearned privileges we enjoy as members of a dominant group -privileges we have been taught for so long to deny or ignore-we have the potential to undergo and inspire stunning transformation. Consider the words of Gandhi: "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves."
In my own community, I have been impressed by the efforts of three middle-aged males who have remade themselves into staunch allies for women. Steven Botkin established the Men's Resource Center in Amherst, Massachusetts twelve years ago and put a commitment to eliminating sexism in its very first mission statement. Another Amherst resident, Michael Burkart, travels nationwide and works with top executives in Fortune 500 companies on the issue of gender equity in their corporations. And Geoff Lobenstine, a social worker who identifies as an anti-sexist male, brings these issues to his work in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Charlie Parker once said this about music: "Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." I think the same is true about us in our role as allies -it is our own experience, our thoughts, our wisdom. If we don't live it, it won't come out of our horn.
Preparing for the Long Haul
Now I would be the first to admit that personally and professionally the role of ally is often exhausting. I know that it involves challenges -being an ally is difficult work, and it can often be lonely. We must remember to take care of ourselves along this journey, to sustain our energy and our zest for those ongoing challenges.
We must also remember that it is hard to go it alone: allies need allies. As with any other struggle in our lives, we need supportive people around us to help us to persevere. Other allies will help us take the small, daily steps that will, in time alter the character of our communities. We know that allied behavior usually consists of small steps and unglamorous work. As Mother Teresa once said: "I don't do any great things. I do small things with great love."
Finally two additional points about us in our role as allies: First, we don’t always see the results of our efforts. Sometimes we do, but often we touch and change lives without ever knowing it. Consequently, we cannot measure our success in quantitative terms. Like waves upon the shore, we are altering the landscape - but exactly how, may be hard to discern.
Doubts inevitably creep up about our effectiveness, about our approach, and the positions we assume or the actions we take. But we move forward, ignoring the doubts, the uncertainty, and often the lack of visible results. In our office we have a famous William James quote on the wall to sustain us: "I will act as if what I do makes a difference." And, speaking personally, although I may sometimes be rattled, I try to act as though what I do does make a difference.
Second, there is no such thing as a perfect ally. Perfection is not our goal. When I asked my colleague Kenneth Jones what stood out for him as the most important characteristic of a strong ally, he said simply: "being consistently conscious." He didn't say, “Never stumbling," or “Never making mistakes." He said,

“being consistently conscious” (where it picks back up on pg.604)

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Economic inequity is a feminist issue because it is easier for women to become lower class then men.  Men and women still tend to hold stereotypical jobs a lot of the time and overall men usually make more then women and can often advance easier in careers then women can.

There are many different classes in the world today, and many people like to believe that class doesn’t exist or isn’t that important.  The CWCS website states “And sadly, our belief that class doesn't exist keeps us from understanding how much it matters."  I learned that the CWCS website helps the working class gain respect by showing the world how important they are and how they help people in all classes. 

I watched all the videos on the ‘People like us” website and was amazed at what some people had to say.  The trailer showed how easy it is for people to guess what class someone is from just by the way they are dressed.  The trailer starts off by people guessing a mans class, and calling him lower class right away, just by the way he was dressed. One lady even called him pitiful.  It was mentioned that its against American principle to belong to a class and a lot of times people have a hard time talking about class because they don't want to admit it exists.  The WASP video was interesting to, showing how snobby some people can be, and one lady saying that the words evening gown, lingerie and drapes, bothered her so much, because they were the incorrect way of saying those words.  Thinking about snobby people reminded me of this clip from family guy below.

I also read the stories on the “People like us” website, and the one that bothered me the most was the story about Ginny.  Ginny lives in a run down trailer with 4 adolescent children and refuses to receive welfare and only makes $158 every 2 weeks.  This makes her feel superior to her friends who receive welfare but her daughter makes fun of her for being trashy.  I understand that she doesn’t feel comfortable taking welfare, but that’s not fair for her kids to be in a situation like that where their electricity and gas is constantly being turned off.  I feel that Ginny probably doesn’t want to take the welfare because many people look down on people for taking welfare, which I believe is because so many people abuse it and ruin it for the people who actually need it like Ginny.  My step dad is a Physicians assistant in town that has a lot of people on welfare, and he feels that about half of them are capable of working but are just too lazy, and they even admit it sometimes.  I think there should be stricter rules for people on welfare to exclude it from people who abuse it, so families like Ginnys aren't stuck with no heat or electricity because they are embarrassed by all the negative talk on welfare.

Questions/Comments for class:
In some ways is it better to be in a middle class or working class family compared to upper class?  The reason I ask this is because I had a couple friends growing up in rich families and I just recently talked to them lately and heard they both have gone down hill, and I feel that being in upper class actually made it worse for them. I heard in the past 4 years since I have seen them one of them, who lives in a 2 million dollar house got addicted to hard drugs, since his mom spoiled him like crazy and constantly gave him more and more money and didn’t care what he was blowing it on.  Both of them are not working or going to school and do nothing with there lives and I honestly think its because their parents gave them whatever they wanted and they never learned the value of a dollar, and that you need to actually work to get things in life.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Cumpolsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence
By: Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich believes that heterosexuality is pushed to hard in society and makes it much harder for lesbians to live a normal life.  She mentions that many lesbians have to disguise themselves to prevent from being harassed and mistreated.  Many lesbians tend to be ignored and not acknowledged enough in today’s society.  This first link I found describes how there has only been one TV show that had a main character as a lesbian, and that was Ellen DeGeneres.  I don’t think its fair to lesbians that there aren’t more shows with them as lead characters, because people like to watch shows they can relate to, and that’s much harder when you don’t live in the typical nuclear family that most shows portray.

I believe this video below has to do with a portion of #3 on the list of characteristics of male power:  Rich mentioned that men have a lot of control over contraception and childbirth.  This video shows that some insurance companies will pay for men’s Viagra but not women’s birth control, which I don’t feel is fair.

On that list of characteristics of male power, #2 talked about men raping and beating women, which reminded me a lot about the video we saw today in class.  The video mentioned that 99.8% of people in jail for rape are men!  It also said that men account for 90% of the violence in the world. 

A crack in the glass would be that some states have legalized same sex marriage, but I fell like that is'nt enough and and all states should allow lesbians to be able to marry another women if they want.

Comments/Questions for class:
For class tomorrow I want to discuss ways that lesbians can be revealed more in society that would help them feel more comfortable and give them more experiences to relate to.  Some examples I could think of would be more lead characters in shows, and maybe some things like advertisements that have lesbians also, instead of everything just being straight couples.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Assignment #3: Orenstein-Hyperlinks

Cinderella Ate My Daughter
By: Peggy Orenstein

Orenstein makes very good points about the things children are surrounded by at a young age.  She starts by mentioning how even though she tried hard for her daughter not to act like a princess like most young girls do, it happened anyway.  She first realized this when she caught her daughter playing Snow White.  Disney first released princess items in 2000 and by 2009 sales were at $4 billion!  This is shocking just how much young girls are obsessed with princesses.  At a very young age girls realize that they are suppose to play with things like dolls, and boys are suppose to play with toys like trucks, and if they play with the opposite thing, they could get frowned upon.  This video below is a great example of just how young some kids understand this concept.

This very young girl states that “The companies who make these (princess’s) try to trick the girls into buying the pink stuff instead of things boys want to buy” I think its amazing that a girl this young already realizes this marketing strategy.  She mentions that it’s the pink that helps draw the girls to the princess’s and not the superheroes, which relates to how Orenstein talks about how most young girls love the color pink, and it was everywhere when she was at the Toy Fair.

This picture shows just how obsessed some girls get with pink.

Another example of the pink epidemic is found in this article here.

This quote below explains the main point of the article, which agrees with Orenstein that there is just too much pink surrounding young girls.
They are complaining about what they are calling the "Pink Plague" that's struck their High Streets hard, with stores almost exclusively stocking pink products for little girls. They say the color puts undue pressure on girls to conform to traditional roles, making them grow up a bit too quickly. Some experts also claim that it creates gender stereotypes and widens the gap between the sexes.”
As the video below states, by the age 3 or 4 most children know the stereotypical activities of boys and girls.

I agree with that article, because just like the girl said in the video, what if girls want to play with superheroes and boys want pink dolls.  It’s very hard for boys and girls to have choices when the gap between the sexes at the age is so wide.

This last video I feel explains a big reason why these kids know these stereotypes at such a young age.  This is a video of gender stereotypes in Disney movies.

Questions Comments:
For class tomorrow I want to talk about this last video and why such stereotypical things are in movies designed to be watched by young children.  Some examples would be how the girls are almost always thin, especially princesses and how the men are normally muscular, especially main characters.  There are many stereotypical activities of men and women that are also portrayed like women cleaning and men doing the hard work, that I feel is one of the reasons that the kids in the 2nd video I put up, and most kids at age 3 or 4 know so many stereotypes of men and women.