Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cesarean (C-section) Informational Video from YouTube

U.N. calls out the United States Federal Government in relation to the Occupy Movement

The following is an excerpt from an article from The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund's website:
From Huffington Post:

U.N. Envoy: U.S. Isn't Protecting Occupy Protesters' Rights

WASHINGTON -- The United Nations envoy for freedom of expression is drafting an official communication to the U.S. government demanding to know why federal officials are not protecting the rights of Occupy demonstrators whose protests are being disbanded -- sometimes violently -- by local authorities.

The link to the peice is, < >

The link to The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund's home page is, >

Monday, December 5, 2011

Talking Points - CONNECTIONS and Legal Struggles for Justice: Reproductive Rights - Women Refuses C-Section and Child Taken Away

The issue I wish to discuss in this blog deals with the reproductive and medical rights of a woman in New Jersey.  In general, a pregnant woman had her newborn baby removed from her as a result from her refusal to sign a preapproval document for a C-Section procedure.  The incident took place in 2006 at St. Barnabas hospital in New Jersey.  The child is still away from its mother and the parents are still trying to get their child back. 
The woman in question, known as V.M. was initially accused of child abuse and medical neglect by not signing a pre-consent form for a cesarean surgery.  As a result her baby was taken away from her right after birth.  From what I have read, the doctors were pushing for V.M. to sign a consent form for a cesarean surgery.  It was the medical opinion of the doctors that V.M. should get a cesarean surgery.  V.M. declined to sign the consent form and told the doctors that if there were complications during the birthing that she would then consent to a cesarean surgery.  In response to V.M.’s refusal to sign the form, the doctors asked for a physiological evaluation of V.M.  After finding the patient to be competent and able to make the decision, the medical staff requested a second opinion.  Before the second evaluation could take place, V.M. gave birth to a healthy baby without complication.  Even though the patient was right about not needed a cesarean surgery, they medical staff contacted the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services who then removed the child from the custody of the parents at birth.  The initial reason for taking the baby was that V.M. and her husband had endangered the baby by not signing the consent form and thus they were said to have committed medical neglect and abuse.  To make it clear, this is the initial reason why the child was removed from the custody of the parents.  Using the new reasoning that V.M. has had a past history of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the child has still been kept from the mother. 
My belief is that the initial termination of custody was morally and legally wrong and that it clearly violated the mother’s reproductive rights.  It should be the right of the mother to have a cesarean surgery or not if the health of the fetus is not in clear imminent danger, especially in a hospital (and country) with a known history of over using the procedure. The C-Section rate at St. Barnabas is 49.3% (in 2006) and the national average is about 32%.  The World Health Organization recommends that the rate should not be above 10% to 15%.  We must remember that this is also a serious and dangerous procedure that comes with its own risks.  I also believe that the use of the mother’s psychological past is insufficient reasoning to keep her from her child for so many years.   The first psychological evaluation found the mother competent enough to make informed medical decisions about her body and baby.  If she was found to be competent enough then, then what has changed?  It is unfair, immoral and unethical to use past medical records to take a child away from a mother at birth before conducting a new psychological work-up.  They should have left the child in the mother’s care until it could be confirmed that the mother was psychologically unable  to care for her child.
 I think that Marilyn Frye would argue that the rights of V.M. are being violated and that V.M. was being actively oppressed based on what was discusses in her article, “Oppression”.  One claim by the medical staff was that V.M. was being combative and resistant (among other things).  Frye discusses that oppressed people usually have to act in ways that signals docility.  If they do not then they are seen as being difficult or unpleasant.  I wonder if this is what happened in V.M.’s case.  I wonder if by refusing the doctors’ demand for her to sign the consent forms that V.M. was viewed in a negative manner.  V.M. wasn’t being sensitive or complaint like “a good mother would” and so she was turned into an enemy.  I also wonder if economic/class issues (disused in “People like Us”) or issues of privilege and power difference discusses by Allan Johnson played a role in the actions of the medical staff and the New Jersey DYFS.  In a legal document (which a link will be placed in this blog) it is mentioned that V.M. claims that she received poor treatment and that there were inappropriate comments made by several members of the medical staff related to the color of the skin of her husband (B.G.) and of her baby (J.M.G).  I don’t know what the color of the skin was or what was the color of the skin of the individuals who allegedly made inappropriate comments were, but I cannot help to wonder if there was issues of racial bias or other biases based on social or economic class (that we are not clearly seeing) could have played a role in the decisions of the medical staff and thus the DYFS and courts. 

Hyperlinks – Sexy from the Start: Anticipatory Elements of Second Wave Feminism by Jennifer Scanlon

One of the main issues discussed in Scanlon’s article is the issue of fashion related to second and third wave feminists.  This issue is also related to issues of self-identity and issues of labeling people.  In her piece she talks about third wave attitudes towards reclaiming the idea of feminine as a new and powerful identify for women that is strong, resistant, sexual, raucous, and more.  It is also about reclaiming the word girl so that it is not used as a way to look down at females as weak and passive.  The idea is that women can where almost anything they want and still be able to be looked as feminist, powerful and as individuals to be respected. 
While reading Scanlon’s article I was greatly reminded of one contemporary feminist movement known as the SlutWalk movement.  SlutWalk is a movement dedicated to tackling issues such as rape culture where blaming the victim and finding excuses for attackers is common place.   The catalyst for the movement was when Toronto Police Officer Constable Michael Sanguinetti advised women that they should avoid dressing as sluts in order to help protect them from being targeted for rape and sexual assault.  A related instance of blaming the victim took place recently in Brooklyn, New York when after a string of sexual attacks and attempted rapes police officers were telling women that they should not wear provocative clothes.  According to an article by John Noel from NBC New York, one woman was approached by a police officer and was told, “Don’t you think your shorts are a little short?”  This should not be the case.  Women SHOULD be able to wear whatever they feel like and then feel safe and not subjugated.  One more interesting recent development related to fashion and feminist issues is the current interest in looking at women who wear Hijabs.  Naomi Wolf discusses the issue of westerners presuming that wearing a Hijab translates into oppression.  She describes that in fact, many women who wear them choose to do so and find them empowering.  She mentions one women who describes wearing a head scarf or more modest clothing as making her feel more free; freer of objectification, freer of sexual harassment and freer of having to worry all the time about how she looked compared to fashion models.
Honestly, I would like to see a world where NO ONE, was picked on, harassed or subjugated for what they wear or for any reason.  On top of that, no matter what someone is wearing, doing or saying, it is never okay to force, coheres and/or manipulate someone into doing something against their will. 

Hyperlinks (just click):
SlutWalk:  One, Two, Three, Four

Social Justice Event: The Occupy Movement (Occupy Providence and Occupy RIC)

For my Social Justice Event I choose to attend two separate Occupy movement events.  One event was the general assembly for the Rhode Island College Occupy.  I also spent several hours at the Occupy Providence encampment during their Occupy the Night event (Saturday, December 3, 2011). 
The RIC Occupy General assembly lasted roughly two hours and the emphasis of the meeting was to determine the possible future of the movement.  Discussed were several issues pertaining to the occupy movement as it relates to RIC Students.  One of the issues brought up was the question of why certain departments seemed to be getting favoritism in relation to the allocation of funds.  Why do certain building/departments get so much more funding than others?  Why is there so much red tape when trying to figure out where the money is going and why?  Another issue that was raised is that (in other Occupy movements) the voices of women and some other groups where not being heard nearly as loudly as they should.  For this reason there was a concern about the voices of all the attending individuals.  It seemed that everyone wanted to do more of a community movement rather than a small individual movement that did not adhere to the concerns of others.  In general, one of the largest concerns was about if Occupy RIC was going to go anywhere.  People brainstormed possible future actions such as private individual shows of support and actions as a group
Occupy Providence was a much larger and somewhat more organized movement than Occupy RIC.  Occupy Providence centered on Burnside Park in Providence next to the Kennedy Plaza.  This is an actual encampment where people are sleeping overnight consistently whereas Occupy RIC is more or less in the drafting stage.  During my visit I was fortunate enough to attend a feminist event called Occupy the Night that dealt with female and queer individuals as related to the Occupy Providence movement as well as in the society as a whole.  This event was to bring to attention the concerns and plight of the women and queer populations of Occupy and society as a whole.  It was felt by Occupy that these voices were not really heard as loudly and that their concerns were not brought to the table as much as should and could have been in the past.  The event included music, free food, public speaking and a march.  The main part (from the time that I was at Occupy Prov.) of the event that I attended was the public speakers.  People where allowed to come up and speak for several minutes at a time.  Several social justice organizations came up and spoke to the audience.  These included people for reproductive rights, actions against rape culture (especially related to college campuses) and domestic violence.  Domestic violence issues seemed to be the issue that was brought up the most in regard to speakers.  It seemed that this, like the other issues, were very important contemporary concerns with women, children and men all over the board. 
            One important thing that I observed is that feminist issues are no doubt an absolutely real concern with so many people today.  It was obvious that there were a number of people who have been hurt by these issues that have not really been fully addressed.  One such person is a very good friend of mine who is still currently living under the roof of an abusive parent.  It was also made obvious that not only physical, but verbal abuse also has a major impact on individuals.  A second interesting observation is that at both events feminist issues seemed to be a real concern of the attending individuals.  It seemed that in both instances it was a concern that certain issues were not being addressed as much as other issues and that there was a desire to change this.  Another important fact that I learned and that was mentioned during one of the speeches was the these issues of violence, rape culture, economic issues and women/human right issues are not individual issues that can just simply be tackled one by one, but they are intertwined issues that must be looked at holistically.  Situations such as economic concerns and rights of women can be interlocked with issues of domestic violence.  For example, if someone doesn’t have the ability to leave an abusive relationship due to an economic disadvantage then they can continue to suffer.  To use an analogy from class, we must not look at only one of the bars of the bird cage, but look at the cage in its entirety.  If all the bars support one another than it is not sufficient to only take one down, but to take down several at once in order to make any real progress forward in social justice.  Like in Contemporary Anthropology, we must try to look at things much more holistically.  We have to tackle not only the symptoms (violence, inequality), but we much try to fight the problem at the source so we do not just mask the problem, but we try to stop what is causing it. 

Link for Occupy the Night:

I will attempt to upload photos/videos from Occupy the Night to compliment this blog.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Extended Comment – Extension of Heather’s Thoughts blog (TP#8 Blanchard)

Heather had chosen to focus her blog on Fletcher A. Blanchard’s piece “Combatting Intentional Bigotry and Inadvertently Racists Acts”.  The bulk of her blog concerns Blanchard’s mention of the possible use of several social codes in order to reduce racial harassment.  I feel that two more very important points could have been emphasized a little more in Heather’s blog.  One is the phenomena of how easily the perception of race and racism and be affected by what ideas they are exposed to.  Blanchard states that he suspects one of the reasons why opinions about racism are so easily influences is from the high levels of racial segregation in the United States today.  It seems to be more of a segregation of ethnic identity, the creation of “the other”.  The majority of the people don’t live in very ethnically mixed communities and so they do not really get a strong reinforcement of equality and unity.  I believe that this is what Blanchard is eluding to when he mentions that America’s campuses constitute the first multiracial social setting encountered by youth.  He then goes on to say that, “[t]hus the elasticity of reactions to racism appears to reflect the uncertainty that the inexperience, but well intentioned, bring to their first interracial setting”.  In short, many people (especially the majority group) are inexperienced in dealing with issues of race and racism and so they latch onto what people say around them in an attempt to conform to their surroundings.  It is also this inexperience that can lead to unintentional insensitivity to racial issues (even though that the individual may have the best intentions at heart). 
            The second point that I believe needs to be emphasized is the idea that people can work together and take a stand against the mainstream ideologies that create social stratification made in Blanchard’s article.  This also ties into and is reinforced by the ideas mentioned in Andrea Ayvazian’s article, “Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression:  The Role of Allies as Agents of Change”.  In Ayvazian’s article, she calls these people who work together to bring change allies.  She defines an ally as 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.  Ayvazian believes that one of the largest impacts on our society is when allies come together to speak out against inequality.  Being members of the majority group, their words may have the largest impacts among other members of the majority.  When enough people say that, “no, this is not okay” you force the rest of the people to look at their behavior as inappropriate.  By doing this, she also claims that allies create good role models for the youth in order to perpetuate ally behavior.  We have too many examples in mainstream society of the current popular ideology being expressed and so when people participate in ally behavior they demonstrate alternative modes of thinking and behaving. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reflection: Michael Kimmel’s “What Are Little Boys Made Of?”

I personally really love this piece by Michael Kimmel, as a male and as a human being.  Kimmel pretty much reconfirms many of my personally held beliefs about masculinity and the male condition.  Kimmel says, “When they say boys will be boys, they mean boys will be uncivilized animals.  In their view, males are biologically propelled to be savage, predatory, sexually omnivorous creatures, hard-wired for violence.  As a man, I find his view insulting.”  Before reading this article I have constantly stated a very similar opinion.  When I am told that I have to be or compared to this type of aggressive and obnoxious male model (or when people assume that I already am) I become offended.  Being a male of fairly large stature, I have actually been told that since I do not like typically masculine sports like American Football that I am “big for nothing.”  What the hell does that have to do with anything?  Why am I told that since I’m a larger male that I should be more aggressive and use my stature in a certain way that conforms to what others want me to do? 
Something else that this article has reminded me of is how (at least from what I have observed) Feminism is not really solving the problem yet.  So far, from the small amount of Feminist literature and movements that I have been exposed to, Feminism is not yet really getting to the heart of the problem.  I am not saying that Feminism has not done some important work thus far, but it has only treated the symptoms, and not the source.  It has dealt with issues such as voting, inequality in the workplace and other important issues through mainly legislative activities and bringing awareness to adults.  What I would like to see is action to change the mindsets of all sexes at the youngest of ages in order to change the current ideology.  We need to attack this current ideology where it starts, when we are all young. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

The AAA (American Anthropological Association) Statment on "Race"

Above is a video about race that was sponsered by the AAA that can be found on

The link below is the the AAA's Statement on Race that can be found on thier website.  I blieve that this statment was made on May 17, 1998.  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quotes: Gloria Anzaldua's article, "La conciencia de la mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness"

Just what did she inherit from her ancestors? This weight on her back – which is the baggage from the Indian mother, which the baggage from the Spanish father, which the baggage from the Anglo (Anzaldua, 381).

I think that this quote highlights one of the main points that Anzaldua makes in the article which is the inherent cultural struggle and frustration of the mestiza. Being of mixed ethnic origins, the mestiza is stuck in between cultural boundaries where it is difficult to gain acceptance. This is especially challenging when the separate cultural origins conflict one another such as an oppressive majority versus an oppressed minority group. To whom does one relate to? It must be difficult to find acceptance when substituted to all these different cultural and societal pressures.

“Indigenous like corn, like corn, the mestiza is a product of crossbreeding, designed for preservation under a variety of condition. Like an ear of corn---a female seed-bearing organ---the mestiza is tenacious, tightly wrapped in the husk of her culture” (Anzaldua, 380).

Anzaldua uses simple example of corn as a metaphor for the life of a mestiza woman. Like the crossbreeding of corn, the cross cultural ancestry of a mestiza can help her survive. While it comes with its down sides, being born of multiple backgrounds can have an advantage. The mestiza has a foot and hand in separate worlds. Not being entirely accepted by one group, you must grab hold onto the pieces of culture that you do have access to in order to create a self-identity. With this you can create your own sub-culture that doesn’t reject, but accepts others. When your cultural identity is rooted from several diverse places, I would assume that you would be more malleable and willing to accept people of dissimilar origins. This creates a social niche from which the mestiza can find strength in and ultimately survive.

While goods on the U.S. side have become 10, 100, 1000 times more expensive for Mexican buyers, goods on the Mexican side have become 10, 100, 1000 times cheaper for Americans (Anzaldua, 388).

Here, Anzaldua describes the economic dichotomy of the United States and Mexico. This shines light on one of the factors that can create a difficult situation for a people to survive in culturally and economically. Earlier, Anzaldua describes the negative effect that the devaluating of the Mexican Peso had on a particular area in Mexico on the people. Anzaldua describes that she still sees this particular area to be still struggling under the economic conditions. Raw materials and other resources have become increasingly expensive for Mexican residents to buy while it has become cheaper for the Americans to buy goods. This leads to the creation of further pressures against a society that can be reflected in the way that the society treats certain individuals such as the mestiza.

For men like my father, being “macho” meant being strong enough to protect and support my mother and us, yet being able to show love (Anzaldua, 382).

I find this quote to be personally interesting. I understand that in this section of the text Anzaldua is explaining the creation of the more modern concept of machismo by the Anglo population and comparing it to previous forms, but I am unsure if she is accepting of the older form or not. From the words she uses, it can be inferred that there is at least a small level of acceptance of the older ideas of machismo. Even though the man was encouraged to show more emotional affections, he was still viewed as the leader. It is HIS job to support and protect the women and children. This form is not all too helpful to the independence of the female. Perhaps Anzaldua is conveying a preference of the older version to the new one that may create even more oppressive forces. What do you, my classmates, think?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Defining Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Experience through the view of Adrienne Rich

I believe that Rich was trying to define the concept of Compulsory Heterosexuality through descriptions of some of the social forces that enforce it.  It would seem that Compulsory Heterosexuality is created by social forces that make many women feel as if they have to engage in the male view of heterosexuality in order to gain acceptance and survival in society.  These forces create a situation in which women feel a compulsion to be heterosexual.  One of the impacting forces is the idea that heterosexuality is an innate and fundamentally biological characteristic of women.  Only heterosexual women are normal.  This idea also creates a separation between lesbian women and heterosexual women.  This idea of what is normal means that lesbian women are not treated as normal; they are tolerated, but not truly accepted.  This separation of normal and other compels women to play the role of heterosexuality in order to be accepted.  Rich uses the example of the workplace.  Women are required to play the role of being feminine and heterosexual in order to maintain ownership of a job.  Compulsive heterosexuality also implies a separation of power between males and females.  The way in which our patriarchal society defines heterosexual behavior places men about women.  Women are the object of the lust of men and fulfill a need.  Women are also taught that they must pair with a male in marriage in order fulfill their societal roles. 

Rich also talks about the lesbian experience.  The experience of most lesbians is of being made invisible in mainstream history.  Rich talks about how lesbians are mostly neglected from film, mainstream text, and also by feminist literature.  They are usually cast of as separate from normal women and mostly made invisible through the media. 

 I am not sure if I completely understood what Rich was trying to say.  I found that in her writing it was difficult to extract her exact meaning and that she need to be more clear and straight forward.  I look forward to discussing the topic in class.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Occupy Wall Streat Movment Continues to Gain Momentum

Just to let you know, there are multiple videos and each tells a little bit more about the story (each has a commercial)

Second Video--- Appears that they may be some controversy; some claim that the police lured protesters into a trap from which they could be arrested. 

Also the videos also show exessive force by the police and similar imprisonment and treatment of protesters that we saw in the Feminist movement films.
For anyone who has not yet seen my first post about this subject, you should check this out.  It is especially important since we are discussing socioeconomic problems in class!

Response to Lawrence Mead's Quote

The sociologist Lawrence Mead states that, "If poor people behave rationally, they would seldom be poor for long in the first place." I don't know what evidence Mead is using, but I fully believe this to be nonsense. I don't understand how a sociologist could possibly make such a claim if they are supposed to understand the notion of social class and economic stratification. In general, being poor does not have its roots in irrational behavior, but more often depends on what socioeconomic group you fortunate or unfortunate to be born into. Whether people want to believe it or not we pretty much have a caste system in the United States.  It is my belief that, for the most part,  individuals who are born very low on the socioeconomic scale stay low and those who are born high, stay high. There is some room for movement in the middle, but this is usually much more difficult than we would like to believe and actual social acceptance by another class is also rare.

            The system is designed in such a way that it usually keeps low people down and high people at the top. For example, during the Wasp Lesson section of the film, People Like Us, the high socioeconomic group of the Wasps is discussed.  A Wasp member discusses how people have to be born into the Wasp class. To paraphrase the speaker, it is not something that someone can just become, but that someone just is. The speaker talks about how the process of becoming a Wasp starts as soon as someone is born. The schools, the kinds of people and kids they will interact with and their social paths are all picked out for them from birth. From the very beginning, the children are groomed and shaped into what is desired and what is required for acceptance into their social class. Another example is the part in the film that discusses social structures in high school. In the section, the advantage that higher socioeconomic classes have over lower classes is mentioned. In response to these examples, Mead might claim that the lower class’s lack of privilege may be overcome through rational behaviors and social maneuvering.  In truth, the opportunity to move through social ranks is rare and seldom easy to do. This idea is exemplified by the story of Tammy as seen through the film People Like US. Tammy is born in the lowest of the low working class in the United States. She has had little to no opportunity (or funds) for higher education and for a higher paying job. She must walk over 10 miles to her work place (in a fast food chain). She can barely make enough money to support her small family, so how can she climb the social ladder? She has no means of paying for a higher education for herself or her sons (which is now a requirement for economic and social climbing). She wasn't given (to my knowledge) the type of education from which she could receive scholarships. She is pretty much stuck from my point of view. The best she can do is hope that she can support her children and that they might be able to inch their way up to the next class level. 

In reality, one of the few ways someone could make a jump in the social class system is to obtain an identity or tittle that brings a level of prestige with it such as becoming a doctor. Even this has its challenges. First, you need to have the right educational background and financial funding in order to even try and become something like a medical doctor. The way the field is designed also makes it very difficult for anyone to become a doctor. This is done intentionally in order for membership into this field to be rarer. This exclusivity allows for the field to hold onto a higher level of prestige. In reality though, even if someone does achieve this tittle, they still might not obtain social acceptance among the other members of the class they join. If you really think about it, social class is just a bunch of clubs or groups that stand on one another in a multi-story building. Each club is more exclusive than the next (this allows it to claim a higher level of prestige and superiority over other clubs). It is in best interest of the higher levels to keep members of the lower levels in their place (or at least lower then themselves). This allows the higher levels to maintain their prestige, advantage, and dominance. When it comes right down to it, it is just a game of maintaining deep rooted power and privilege.

In addition, there is an interesting chart provided by The New York Times that displays thier view of econmic class and what characterists label each class.  The link to the chart is, <>

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Interesting article form CNN about gay marriage

The tittle of the article is, "Number of Americans in same-sex marriage states more than doubles"

Two excerpts from the article to peak your interest:

"The number of Americans living in states covered by same-sex marriage laws has more than doubled after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that gave gay and lesbian couples the right to marry."
2)  A quote in the article from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
"I think it was politically more dangerous for a Republican," Cuomo told reporters late Friday. "The conservative party was threatening them with consequences ... and they did it anyway."

Link to Article

An interesting movement called Occupy Wall Street

Excerpt from the web page:

"Cornel West, Philosopher and Activist, to Speak at Occupy Wall Street Tonight
Occupy Wall Street is pleased to announce that noted philosopher and social justice advocate Cornell West, author of the book “Race Matters” among many others, will be speaking at tonight’s General Assembly, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Liberty Square at the intersection of Broadway and Liberty Street. He will be speaking about the circumstances that ultimately led thousands activists to occupy Wall Street, as well as the importance of people power in addressing them."

The link to this site is, <>

Economic Inequality as a Feminist Issue

          When thinking about inequality it is very important to talk about socioeconomic class.  The very existence of a class system represents stratification in the power structures of a society.  When looking at feminism and gender equality we must include the topic of class inequality.  This is important for several reasons, one of which is that women of different socioeconomic classes can face very different problems.  Lower class women may require issues like labor politics/policies and domestic violence to be addressed more readily than someone of a higher class.  If a woman is in an abusive relationship where both members are financially bound to one another it can create a difficult situation to escape from.  Even if they leave, they might not have anywhere to go.  I find this scenario personally disturbing.  It is also important to realize that there is stratification in political power and political voice when dealing with class issues.  Middle and Upper class women may have more power in shifting political issues.  This can be due to greater access to resources, higher levels of education, more time to be involved and lesser financial restriction.  It is important to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard especially since according to the Center forWorking-Class Studies states that some economists estimate that the working class makes up to 62 percent of the American population.  In my opinion one of the main goals of feminists is to fight against larger power structures that create inequality and that is exactly what a socioeconomic class system does.  To use a metaphor from my Gender and Societyclass, our class system is one of the bars in a much larger cage that surrounds and restricts people.  This is one of the many reasons why I really liked the two websites we were to explore for class; the People Like Us site and the site for the Center for Working-Class Studies.  I particularly found the CWCS website helpful in identifying the existence of a class system that many people don’t usually think about on a daily basis.  The People Like Us site was also interesting in the way in which it used clever mediums such as flash games to show people socioeconomic stratification.

This wikibook page looks interesting and seems to relate to this topic. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A view of Lilith from one historical lens.

I saw a similar iteration of the legend of Lilith on the show "The Naked Archaeologist"
When I looked for a clip of the story on You Tube, I found this... Enjoy :)

Quotes: The F-word by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

“One criticism of the first wave is that women’s suffrage movement didn’t pay enough attention to social hierarchies other than gender, like race and class (Rowe-Finkbeiner, 22).”
I found it interesting that the mainstream suffrage movement would so easily brush aside the issue of race and class, especially since some of its earliest beginnings were in the abolitionist movement.  Why was it that not all able bodied people were being actively recruited for the cause?  I understand that it is from a different cultural point of view that I look at these women through, but it still confuses me.  Since the beginnings (as I understand them to be) of the suffrage movement came from an abolitionist origin then how could women of color be so easily cast aside.  I think it is important to have a realization of the societal views of the time and choose to not forget this reality of white privilage.  I also found it interesting that class differences would be over looked.  I find it interesting that the voices of the lower class were not heard nearly as loudly as the middle and upper class.  I wonder if this was due to factors such as not having the free time, monetary demands or if they were just actively ignored.  I do understand that these other groups  (such as lower income women and women of color) had active roles in the overall suffrage movement, but why were they not adequately represented by the mainstream group of feminists?  I also wonder if this is still going on in the feminist movement today.
“In addition to the racial tension that marked the second wave, generational tension is now a factor.  Many leaders form the second wave of feminism are still active in contemporary politics, (Rowe-Finkbeiner, 29),”
            I believe that the generational difference between waves of feminism is important to recognize.  It is important to realize that the needs and demands of women change over time as their social and temporal environments change.  Previous generation of feminists that are still active should take into account these new needs of their heirs and not just focus on the issues of previous generations.  If both generations come together, then they become a much more powerful influence of change.  I also understand that this is much more easily said than done in reality, but people still need to try and understand one another.
“The sad fact is that many modern women face the challenges of gender inequality alone, as individuals.  The feeling that individual concerns add up to societal issues in need of electoral (legislative, voting, and candidate) action has been lost, along with flower power and rainbow suspenders, as the second wave fades (Rowe-Finkbeiner, 32).
I have myself experienced people who feel like they do not count on a large scale.  It is almost as if they give up before they even attempt to try.  I constantly hear people complain about various issues in our society today, but they usually come up with the conclusion that,” it sucks, but what can I do about it?”  I agree that there isn’t a very large and powerful movement in general for younger people (including women) to come together and collectively try to address their needs as a whole (at least none that I have witnessed).  Many times I have seen people assume that another entity will make the difference for them.  I don’t really know why this is.  I wonder what leads to this feeling; could it be a lack of a feeling of “togetherness” among the youth or could it be a lack of available conduits of political change.  I just don’t know, and the reality of it seriously frustrates me.

Argument - Opresssion by Marilyn Frye

I believe that Marilyn Frye was trying to make two main points clear in her article; one of which is that men, in our society, cannot be oppressed as men and that our society is built in such a way that it allows for the active oppression of women.  Frye describes oppression as a system of forces that act together in order to mold, immobilize, and/or reduce in order to restrict or prevent mobility.   She makes it clear that just being exposed to misfortune, pain and suffering does not add up to active oppression.  People who are oppressed are usually placed in a position in which no matter what they do, they can’t “win”.  What I mean by this is that no matter what you do, you are always put into a negative light.  Frye uses the example of women being put into positions where options are made few and all choices come with some level of penalty; this is called a double bind.  One specific example used in the article is the sexuality of women and how it is perceived by the male majority.  If a woman is sexually active then she is looked down upon as a sexual deviant, “loose”, and a whore.  If said woman restrains from being sexually active than she is labeled as a tease or uptight and then pressured into becoming more sexual.  Our society can also instill these ideas into the minds of some women in order to allow them to perceive other women as teases or sluts based on what behaviors the society appoints with these labels.  This is due to ideologies put into place by our society that we are exposed to even before birth.  No matter what the woman does, she will be labeled and associated with some sort of perceived negative trait.  No matter what option is taken she is put down by someone and it is our social and societal structure that allows for this to occur. 
The media, the common social structure, and main stream culture don’t allow for any option the woman may have to be seen as a positive one.  Men do not really have such a limitation in our main stream culture as a male.  Continuing to use sexuality as an example, males are not usually scorned for being overtly sexually active.  They are usually given praise to being either active or being non-active sexually.  The structure of our society allows for the existence of a double standard.  It teaches us to praise males when they perform a certain action and then scorn or punish women for conducting similar behaviors.  Our society is stratified in a way that always puts males above females and for this reason men are not oppressed as men.  The man must be transformed into something else in our society before he can be oppressed.  This would include classifying him as being a person of color, a homosexual, being deformed or overtly feminine.  In these cases the man is oppressed not as a man, but as someone with these other traits.  He may feel misfortune or suffer as a man, but he cannot be actively oppressed as a man in our society; the societal structure does not allow for it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Introduction

Hello, my name is David Budzyna.  I am currently in my senior year at Rhode Island College.  My major is Anthropology with an interest in Archaeology.  So far, I like how this semester is going, but I am worried about figuring out what I want to do with my life after I graduate.  I still have not been able to find a specific time period/region to focus my studies on.  I guess part of this semester will spent trying to find my self so-to-speak.  Outside of school I like to hang out with my close friends, go on walks and day hikes, read an occasional book and play the occasional video game.  I also love a good movie or television show (especially if it is Sci-Fi). 
I have wanted to take this specific class since my sophmore year.  Through my Intro to Cultural Anthropology course I learned that various factors such as sex, race, economical class, social class and gender have a large impact on our society.  I hope that through this class that I will be able to further my knowledge about how gender and gender roles are constructed and how they influence society.