Category Archives: Gender

Mad Max Love

Charlize Theron - photo from Vanity Fair

The other week I went to see Mad Max; if I am being honest, I went opening night and squeezed into the very packed theater, and left feeling as though this was one of the better movies I have seen in a very long time (sorry Lego Movie; I still love you though).

I was excited to the see the movie, and had been eagerly waiting to see it since what I will call early April. I was not surprised to see it, but there were/are some grumpy men claiming that the movie is feminist propaganda. To that I say, too bad! But if you are curious, you can read their complaints here.

Charlize Theron was phenomenal, and I was thoroughly in love with her as Furiosa. In fact I just loved the women in this film. They felt real to me, and I became invested in them. These felt like women I could know, not the typical flat characters that I find in other films and books. They were more than glorified eye candy. I won’t give away too much for those who have not seen it, but like my beloved comic Rat Queens, (check that out, if you haven’t) there is something very refreshing about seeing women being portrayed as women. Despite that these women who were slaves and represented these idealized versions of women, there is a fight against this. I think this is why I am so amused by the complaints about this movie being feminist propaganda, or how there are too many women in this film. Their attitudes and the way women are represented in media, is exactly why this film is being celebrated. The women in this film dare to defy being decoration or set pieces within this post apocalyptic world and the film. I would argue that if the women were just sex slaves in the background, there would not be an uproar about how there are too many women in the movie. As a friend of mine jokingly said in response to the complaints, “How dare you ladies go around having thoughts and opinions and things?” He jokes, but it certainly rings true, at least whenever women cross that line into “the man realm.” Gamergate anyone?

More from Vanity Fair

Also, there were some pretty sweet, real explosions that occur in the movie. So go see it!

Hello Giggles also pointed out Tom Hardy, and the amazing faces he makes when people ask him ignorant questions:
Tom Hardy

That face is priceless, and can people please stop asking about why there are women here and there, in supposedly “male” things. Just no.

(images from Vanity Fair)

The Women’s Center

It is Women’s History month, and frankly there are not enough days to cover all of the awesome that women have achieved and are achieving, from the likes of Marie Curie to our grandmothers who made things work, even when they appeared to be impossible (my grandmother stayed home with eight kids and they all lived to tell about it and everyone came out mostly unscathed), or a random woman we run into doing something we love that inspires us. Ladies do a lot!

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I was thinking about highlighting different women who are doing cool things now, but then I thought about the women I interact with on this campus, and the women that they interact, and that struck more of chord with me. We have some truly gifted women on this campus, who breathe life into everything they do.

Since the beginning of the semester, we have had both the “Women Helping Women” and “Elect Her” on this campus, both of which were wildly successful. Not only did some amazing Faculty and Staff help coordinate the events, but our students came out and made the events memorable. The beginning of this year has been exciting, and is setting a great foundation for more great things to come throughout the year.

Continuing on the momentum, we have a display that near AA 252 for Women’s History Month, which is a collection of books and pieces of art work, that come from the Faculty, Staff, and Students here on the Alexandria Campus.

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The books in the in display, have been written by women who have inspired us to participate in groups like the Women’s Center, and share the invaluable knowledge and insight from that these authors have imparted upon us. In turn this has led to classes and projects that have inspired students, and their works of art in the display, inspire us.

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We have some powerful, and creative women on this campus, and I look forward to seeing the things they do in the future. I would also like to thank Prof. Martin for putting this together!

Food for Thought

Each week there is at the very least one story that highlights a person that has been sexually violated in some way. Whether it is in another country, or in our own backyard. This week we had the story of two ex football players from Vanderbilt, who were actually tried and convicted. Let’s hope they get a deserving sentence! For more on that check out the story here.

This story and similar ones that I stumble upon each week were echoed on Tumblr (also known as a black hole for me.)

SchoolSexual Assault

It seems like Vanderbilt was fairly proactive, which is great, but that is more of a gem in a sea of crap. The way schools handle sexual assaults has been a big point of contention for me, but seeing this photo just drove it home. If someone cheats on exam or paper, there is usually little leniency for the perpetrator, but if someone is sexually assaulted, the administrations conjure up excuses, move heaven and earth, hell too? in order to justify the actions that took place. Just let this sink in for a bit.

This little gem popped up on my feed too:

Source

There is so much truth here.

Good News!

There has been a  lot of debate across the country about women’s bodies, and what everyone else thinks women should or should not be doing with them. In some cases this has resulted in states implementing laws that have limited the access to clinics that provide abortions. This is particularly a struggle for women with low-income, who have not been cut off from affordable female health care.

This is why it is good to see that one clinic is up in running again. According to an article on usnews.com , a Texas judge ruled against a piece of a  legislature that would make access to abortion clinics nearly impossible for women in southern Texas.

I realize there is a lot of focus on the fact that this a clinic that does abortion procedures, which is a hot button issue, but I think what people are missing at the heart of this, is that women have more access to  female healthcare.  Yes, women get abortions, but women also get pelvic exams, pap smears, birth control, and various other things on a more frequent basis. These things are rather important, and can be crucial in preventing serious problems later down the road.  It is also an important way that women can be aware of their bodies, and how different things function.

Ultimately, women should have the right to make the choice to do what they will with their bodies, but with laws like these popping up, that is becoming even more of an issue, and it is threatening basic women’s health as a result.  This is a step in the right direction, hopefully these women continue to have access to this clinic.

Week 3 of Summer Reading: Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Ready Player by Ernest Cline has become one of my favorite books this summer. It has deeply indulged my nerdy side, and brought up some of my favorite 80’s movies. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and had such a hard time putting it down.   Nerdy things are great, but they often suffer from being male-centered with flat female characters, whether it is in video games, comics, or fantasy or science-fiction.  In this novel,  Ernest Cline managed to make some great social commentary about the way our society could be heading (some of the issues we are facing now),  gender, and poverty.

Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly nerdy or geeky, I highly recommend this book!

Victimhood: A Coveted Status

Recently George Will wrote about the stance that Washington has decided to take when it comes colleges/universities in regard to sexual assaults and rapes on campuses.   The proposed changes will hopefully educate colleges on how to handle  sexual violence, and how to better provide prevent and provide support within their institutions. It is also an attempt to keep these institutions from overlooking them, sweeping them under the rug, or outright dissuading victims from reporting to police.  That is quite a general explanation, and this post provides more information and links to what is going on.

To many these changes sound great and long overdue, but Mr. Will feels quite differently. He writes, “They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. ”   If he sat down and talked with victims, I highly doubt that they feel privileged or as though they are in a coveted status. It is not as though there are unreasonable requests being made, most people who have been victims of sexual of violence would benefit from having safe places, and environment where they are not being shamed for being a victim. 

This kind of mentality just reinforces #yesallwomen, and how it is normalized in our society.  He calls them “micro-aggressions”, and I call them those moments where I would feel the need to say something or just leave because it is not worth it for me to stay in an environment where I feel uncomfortable or potentially unsafe. He can call the whatever he likes,  but that does not make them any less valid, nor does it minimize how it ties into the overarching issue of sexual violence.

Week 2 of Summer Reading

Sula by Toni Morrison

As promised, here is another book to add to your summer reading, if you have never had a chance to sit down and read this great piece. Toni Morrison presents some memorable characters in this novel.  Morrison’s works are deeply layered, and one of the most fascinating layers is the examination of the relationships between women, whether it is a mother and her daughter, or two friends.   This is definitely a must read, and we would love to hear your thoughts on the novel.

#YesAllWomen

The shootings over the weekend have really struck a note, and all over you see commentary on how this violence is not out of the norm, or an isolated incident, rather it speaks to a larger norm that is so pervasive.

The statements made by Elliot Rodger are not uncommon, all anyone needs to do is read the comments section on an article dealing with men and women.  It was disturbing to  once again read, see, hear this young man blame is his issues on women, as if he is owed something by women, or that there is this sense that women are supposed to want to sleep with guys, that it is a given.  If she does not reciprocate a man’s advances it is her fault for not being enlightened enough or smart enough to know that she should be falling down at this man’s feet.

I have heard too many guys say, ” I am a nice guy. I did this or that and when I asked her out she said, ‘no’.”  Statements such as that cancel out being a nice guy; the expectation that you are owed something, furthermore that you have a right or claim to a woman because you did something decent is deplorable. It just speaks to the larger issue of women not being seen as whole or independent people.  Women are often seen as an addition to the man that they are seemingly attached to, and that is where their worth is, not as people with independent thought feelings, and paths of their own. This gets even more complicated when you factor is sexuality, because lesbians are often either categorized as masculine or just needing the “right man” to show her the way.  Transgender women are often punished for not being normal.

So when people claim that this is an isolated incident, no, it is another violent incident that follows a long tradition of violence against women, whether it is physical, emotional, or creating atmosphere that is threatening.