Tag Archives: gender

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!

Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black  is a favorite of a lot of people, and is gaining even more attention with the release of Season 2( I loved it).   Like many others,  I was anxiously waiting for the new season to come out, and I binged watched it one weekend, and it was glorious.  For a lot of folks it is a big relief to see  women in more dynamic roles,  but also seeing women from different ethnic backgrounds being portrayed at all, and having personalities is something long awaited.  Which is why I was not sure how to feel about this article from Noah Berlatsky.

He made some good points in the article like,

Men are incarcerated at more than 10 times the rate of women. In 2012, there were 109,000 women in prison. That’s a high number—but it’s dwarfed by a male prison population that in 2012 reached just over 1,462,000. In 2011, men made up about 93 percent of prisoners. 

which is astronomical.  Our prison system is absurd, and the incarceration rates and why they are the way they are is something that needs to  be discussed more. There also needs to be better solutions to rehabilitating prisoners.

He also talks about male victimization,

Male victims of domestic violence are almost entirely ignored, though domestic violence is perpetrated by men and women at about equal rates (though, Jones points out, violence by men is disproportionately more serious because of strength and weight difference.) In Bosnia, human-rights organizations focused on the (horrible, important) suffering of women rape victims and refugees, while largely ignoring the mass, gender-targeted killing of “battle-age” men. Similarly, violent attacks on women receive much more media attention than violent attacks on men, though men are substantially more likely to be attacked.

I agree with him on both accounts and I think that it is tragic that anyone is abused, and that victims deserve sympathy and resources no matter their gender, age, orientation, or any other categorization.  He makes great points, and there needs to be more done to address the issues with male victimization being ignored or mocked.

However compelling and  important his points might be, he is complaining about men not being represented in a show about a women’s prison.   It is bothersome for numerous reasons,  but the main reason is that it is a women’s prison, discussing the lives of female prisoners.  There are shows out there that talk about male prisoners, or  gang / drug lifestyle that land people in prison.   These shows are comprised of men, and I expect that being that it takes place in an institution that is specifically for men.  This reason, is why I am not really sure why he  feels as though men need to be more represented on the show.

One of the most disappointing things about this article is that he is addressing important issues, but it is overshadowed by his ludicrous complaint. If he had taken the time to write an article about male incarceration and or male victimization he could have been far more productive.

We Can Do Better

Violence Against Women

This video has been out for a bit, but I still think it is something that is important to discuss, and will continue to be important to discuss for quite sometime.   Jackson Katz brings up a point that I think a lot of people who are close to domestic, sexual, and relationship violence, have muddled with over and over again: Why is this solely on me? Why is the perpetrator not even mentioned? Why are my actions/history being questioned? Notice where all the focus is not being directed?

He helps present some clarity to why this happens, but also addresses steps to fixing it, which seems to be a rarity as of late. He openly states how pervasive victim blaming is in our society.  I know there are so many critics who hate that term, but I would like to ask, what else would you like to call it when someone is attacked, and then they are asked a plethora of questions to figure out what they were doing to attract this negative (violent)  attention.

Katz made my day by using sentence structure to demonstrate how men are often erased from the discussion, and thus placing the responsibility on the victim.   He writes out five sentences:

“John beat Mary”

“Mary was beaten by John”

“Mary was beaten”

“Mary was battered”

“Mary is a battered woman”

This reminds me of a poetry workshop, where a professor said, when you try to convey your message, make sure you are using the words effectively. If you can make a situation active, do so, by making it passive you take away some of the importance or shift the meaning behind what was intended.  What Katz is writing is not poetry, but the same could be said here.  With both our language, and the way we discuss things, we have changed John into an obsolete figure. By the time we get down to the end of the examples, we could ask, “John who?”

He also discusses the role institutions play in the overarching societal issue of sexual violence. I took a class on this, and the anecdotes were chilling and horrifying, especially when you read about the people who knew what was going on, and the pains that were taken to cover up these awful happenings.  Wouldn’t it be easier and better for society as a whole if we held people accountable and changed the way we talk, examine, and deal with these tragedies?

Katz called the role institutions play, a “leadership problem”, which is quite genius.  I am inclined to agree with him. There is a lack of leadership, of strong people in positions of power saying, “This is wrong.” Instead, we often they see them taking care of one another and trying to hide these horrible things that happen. It is apparent that they KNOW something is wrong, otherwise they would not go to the lengths they do in order to cover it up.

I like that he encourages us to work together to bring about change, and how he points out how our actions do indeed play an important role in the youths that witness these actions.

Overall, I think this was a wonderful piece, and hopefully it will inspire some people to lead.

 

Review of White Women, Black Hairstyle

Someone linked an article on Facebook about this artist named Endia Beal, and I could not control my compulsion to click on the article and see what this talented lady had come up with.

Like the title of this post implies, Beal has taken photos of 40+ white women with what are typically seen as black hairstyles. The name of the project is “Can I Touch It?”  I love the idea of this project, especially at a time when so many black females debate on whether or not to wear their hair naturally. In a lot of professionals settings it is seen as unprofessional to wear your natural hair. Yes, there are ways to make your hair fit into a more mainstream, “acceptable”, but I always wonder why is it necessary for me to alter my natural hair in order to fit someone else’s ideal, however, that is another post.

Beal captures these women with these hairstyles, and is hoping to extend that  project so that these women, or women like them enter the corporate world with these hairstyles. According to David Rosenberg, “Beal is an artist looking to open a dialogue among people of different gender, race, and generations about the ways in which we express ourselves, specifically in a corporate environment.”  I applaud her for using her art to create dialogue; I think she is being both creative and savvy in bringing this discussion about.

Important discussions aside, these are some amazing photos, and it is fascinating to see how the styles looked on the women.

Here is a link to the photos and article: http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/10/15/endia_beal_can_i_touch_it_explores_gender_race_and_generational_gaps_in.html

Also, this is her website that is under construction. I definitely think it is worth checking from time to time so we can see what she is up to:

http://endiabeal.com/