Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Blog Summary: Douglass: Chapters 1-3 Rebecca Walker: “Becoming the Third Wave” Baumgardner and Richards “Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and...
Chapter One: Get The Girls
This chapter focuses a lot on how teenagers started to play a more important role in consumerism and society as a whole during the 90’s. Douglass talks a lot about the show Beverly Hills 90210, which became the most popular show for young women during the 90’s. She goes on to talk about other very popular TV shows, such as Melrose Place and Murphy Brown. The chapter looks at how enlightened sexism was in American society, and especially in these popular TV shows. The women in the show fall into different categories of being either “like a man”, power-hungry, superficial, and always beautiful. Douglass also mentions magazines that became popular, and especially the magazine Sassy. She is a fan of Sassy because the magazine portrayed a stronger woman who was true to herself. The chapter looks at how adolescents are seen by society, “if they behave like true adolescents, they can’t be feminine, and if they adopt the mantle of femininity, they aren’t really adolescents.” (53).
Chapter Two: Castration Anxiety
Chapter two looks at how there was a heightened level of anxiety surrounding gender roles. The worry was of men being emasculated, and females in power were dangerous. Douglass writes that men worried that women were trying to strike back now, and they were coming for the men. She talks about the popular TV shows and books that pictured dangerous women who were going against men. Much of the chapter focuses on Amy Fisher, the young teenager who shot her lover’s wife. Douglass looks at how Fisher was exploited and viewed by the media and society as a whole. It was such a popular case because it made society look at certain taboos, such as the one of teenage girls being violent. Douglass also looks into other popular cases like the treatment of Janet Reno and Anita Hill.
Chapter Three: Warrior Women in Thongs
In chapter three, Douglass explores different popular media devices whose main character was a beautiful woman who could beat up anyone and anything. One such TV show she looks at is Xena. As the youngest of three girls in my house I can personally attest to watching Xena, but normally my mom would tell me it was too old for me. Douglass writes that with the premiere of Xena “we saw the proliferation of a new kind of heroine, a sexy, mouthy, physically violent ass-kicker whose duty it was to save the entire world from really monstrous evildoers.” (77). Also chapter three talks about how the goals of feminists in the 70’s were different than feminist in the 90’s. Douglass thinks these strong women such as Xena were too good to be true, but the fact that they were so accepted by society is a good thing.
Walker describes her personal revelation that leads her to becoming a feminist. The interrogation of Anita Hill sparked Walker’s angry over her treatment and how women are generally treated. She also retells a story of her being on a train and men being very rude to her, and the others in the train car with her. She calls for women to not cooperate at all with men, unless they work for women. She thinks that women should not be in any contact with men until they prioritize women’s rights. At the end she proudly proclaims herself as the Third Wave.
Baumgardner and Richards:
Baumgardner and Richards are both Third Wave feminists and together they wrote a thirteen-point agenda, which lists out thirteen different goals that they want the Third Wave to complete. The goals were really interesting to read, because most of them were not as direct as women wanting the right to vote. One of the goals seemed to be talking about the right to have an abortion, but there were other goals like “to bring down the double standard in sex and sexual health.” (425). The agenda is short, but very difficult to complete, I believe.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Dubois’s Feminism Old Wave and New Wave represents a radical view of feminism. She writes of the injustices done to the women’s movement by men very passionately. I think that she is very angry with the abolitionist movement for abandoning women’s rights. Understandably, Dubois considers the abolitionist movement to be similar to the feminist movement. She considers it a betrayal when the women’s rights movement is left in the dust after black men are giving the right to vote. It is not only the abolitionist movement that she is angry with though, she is mad at all men for allowing women to be treated unfairly. Her solution is to work without any men, and to create a new future for women without any male help.
Stanton and Truth both argue passionately for women’s rights as well, but think that men should be included in that fight. I think it helps that Stanton has a very supportive husband, even though she does think that marriage is not very good women then. She writes, “He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.” (59). I have to wonder what her husband thought of that line… but still she is just representing the reality of marriage for women at that time. Both authors have suffered greatly under the laws of the day, Truth herself was a slave for forty years, and as she says has never enjoyed true freedom because she is always oppressed in some way.
One of the things that I noticed while reading was the mention of religion. I wonder what religion the feminists of the day considered to be right. Truth and Stanton, both mention God (and Truth mentions Jesus) so it would seem when they say religion they are thinking of is Christianity. However, I am not sure if Dubois would agree with Christian teachings because some of them are very patriarchal. Would these feminists mind different religions as long as they supported the women’s movement?
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Molly’s Blog on “The Future That Never Happened” (Levy), “The Re-Emergence of the Woman Question” (Echols), “The Feminine Mystique” (Friedan), and “Th
I thought that the readings were all very interesting. Each made a different point, but often the authors had similar beliefs. One of the articles that really struck me was the excerpt from “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan. She talked about how housewives found themselves unhappy because a lot of them did not feel fulfilled with being a housewife. Despite that, “The ‘woman problem’ in America no longer existed” these women were not happy trying to find the ‘true’ feminine fulfillment (273). One of the parts of this article that really struck me was how suburban housewives were taking tranquilizers “like cough drops.” (277). Instead of admitting that there was a real problem with these women, they were given medical drugs. It is ironical that the suburban housewife was considered the envy of the western world, but suburban housewives were so unhappy. Friedan makes a great point that for some of these women being a housewife was exactly what they wanted, but others wanted something different, and this difference does make one more of a woman than the other.
An issue that I knew little to nothing about before reading Echols’s article on “The Re-Emergence of the Woman Question” was of how women (both white and black) dealt with each other in the SNCC. I think it is really sad that these women were divided against each other. If these women worked together than their goals could have been accomplished so much earlier. This issue reminded me of what de Beauvoir bemoans when she writes, “The reason is that women lack concrete means for organizing themselves into a unit which can stand face to face with the correlative unit.” (257). Echols writes about how black and white women were fighting for the same cause to get voting rights, but were divided by their skin color and not united by the fact they were all female.
The issue of women not uniting with each other has already come up a lot in the readings. I think many feminist writers recognize that if women stop fighting with each other and start to unite more than the feminist cause would be served better. I am not saying that if women stopped fighting that sexism would disappear, but I do think that if women were more united about eradicating sexism than more would be done.
Betty Friedan, Excerpt from The Feminine Mystique
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
“Claiming An Education” by Adrienne Rich
Rich argues for students to not just accept education, but to take it. She is speaking to a group of female students at a women’s college. Rich argues not only to “claim” an education, but to also be responsible. She calls for her audience to be assertive and responsible so that they, together, can change women worldwide.
In “Claiming An Education” there is a focus on education. Rich speaks about how education is dominated by “how men have perceived and organized their experiences, their history, their ideas of social relationships, good and evil, sickness and health, etc.” (2). She wants people to recognize this fact and also to change it. By claiming an education she hopes that women will also make a claim on how education is taught too. She speaks a little about women studies programs at colleges, and stresses their importance, but for the most part she calls for women to take responsibility to take themselves seriously.
Being responsible to yourself means not to just not being afraid of challenges, but to seek them out. Rich tells her audience to become responsible enough to be proud of who they are and what they think and want. By being responsible women, Rich, believes that it will empower other women as well.
In the end Rich calls for her audience to work together to create smart, responsible women who will not allow women’s potentialities to go to waste.
“Fantasies of Power” by Susan J. Douglas
Douglas argues that women have not come as far as we think in today’s society. She (humorously) calls for girls to come together and to recognize that the feminist movement is far from unnecessary.
I found “Fantasies of Power” really interesting. She argues very convincingly for people to recognize that while women have come far, the journey is not finished. For most of the introduction Douglas focuses on the media and how the media effects how we view feminism. At the heart of her argument seems to be a desire to unite women to fight for their rights together.
The media’s role in how women are viewed today is large. Douglas accuses the media of giving women fantasies of power. She points out that the media seems to be sending some mixed signals. On one hand women like Dr. Baily in Grey’s Anatomy, who are powerful and intelligent are shown on the same channel that on the other hand offers viewers the chance to watch twenty-some women fight over one man in The Bachelor. I had never thought that The Bachelor was degrading because I laughed at those women who hit, cry, and scream at each other over a man who, in fact, barely sees them. Yet I agree with Douglas’s argument after reading the introduction that it is hypocritical for the media to portray women so differently. It makes you wonder what message exactly is the media sending? If women are so capable of being brilliant doctors than why should they fight over one man who they do not even know?
Another argument that Douglas makes is that feminism has now become partly about owning your sexual prowess by wearing sexy clothes. Douglas writes, “how much reversion back to the glory days of prefeminism should girls and women accept—even celebrate—given that we new allegedly ‘have it all’” (1). As the introduction continues Douglas shows how women do not “have it all” at all. That women still make less than men I knew, but I did not know that the top jobs for women had not changed from 1999 to 2007. It is definitely thought provoking that women apparently “have it all” when they still do not have as much as men.
Douglas passionately argues for women to recognize the importance of feminism and its need today. She wants women to stop fighting each other and start fighting inequality.