Thursday, December 6, 2012

Social Justive Event: The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo

               I had seen the movie Hotel Rwanda, and known about the war that was going on; that was ten years ago. The documentary, The greatest silence: Rape in the Congo showed a deeper, more cringe worthy side than the movie ever could. This is the biggest civil war that the people in the Congo have ever seen, and sadly it just keeps getting worse. The fight over gold, diamonds, and coltan (used to make our batteries for our phones) has lead to villages being burned, houses being raided, and families torn apart; most by rape.
                 One of the most dehumanizing thing in this world is for a woman to be raped. Not only by a males genitalia but by objects such as branches, guns, and handles of swords. The militia goes into homes of these families and either sends the father running for his life or kills him, then they have their way with the women in the house. Often their children and made to watch, and sadly sometimes they are a victim of rape as well. There is no one type of women who is raped, all ages, women who are pregnant, and especially those who are married.   When a married woman is raped, she is no longer desirable, this can lead to a life filled with turmoil. Many of these women are raped so viciously that hospital care is required, some need surgery, and other lose their genitalia all together. The men of the militia are out to ruin the villages, and stop them from gaining more power, by sterilization.
       Of the women who are raped, over 30% will contract HIV from their perpetrator. The terrible things that these women go through is often enough to ruin their lives. Sanctuary's have been set up in some of the larger cities, and out in the jungle where women can receive medical support, and protection from the militia. These sanctuaries also provide mental support, by giving classes (so the women have a trade to go out into the world with) and also all of the other women there have been affected by the same thing. These women use each other as a support system. These women's children are allowed in the sanctuary, but sadly they are stigmatized by the outside world as bastards, their fathers have left them, because their mother is no longer clean. Some of these children are even products of the rape that their mother endured.
            The militia has been asked multiple times "why do you rape these women?" the response is "It will bring us to victory!" Many of these militia men started out by being a product of rape or someone who had lost their entire family, and was adopted into the military for the leaders use. The poor children have been brainwashed by what they have known for most of their lives. The leaders know that if you run out the men of the country, who will fight? they are weakening the defense system by ruining families. Men are afraid to come back, and many of them don't come back for their wives.
          Eve Ensler, creator of the vagina monologues has been raising money for the women in the Congo to help them stay safe and get the medical attention that they will need.  The city of joy is what she created.

Election Night: REFLECTION



At around 6 o'clock the bar started to fill up, by seven everyone had a beer in their hand and were faced towards the one TV that we have at the bar that I work at. Everyone was dead silent, and the TV was turned up loud. The predictions of who was going to win the elections just kept pouring in. When the electoral votes were cast, and states started being declared there was a strong anticipation in the room. Somehow, maybe because were in Rhode Island, just about everyone in the room was there in support of Obama. If Romney had taken control of a state, there was booing, profanities being said, and then the Obama chants started. When Obama has attained a state the entire bar erupted in applause. Although I was slinging beers, it was interesting to see how into this election people were. I remember four years ago for the 2008 election I watched it in the living room with my parents rooting our favored candidate on. I wasn't sure if going to a bar for elections was normal. When the timer started for the next state to be declared red or blue, there was a count down going, just like if a spaceship was getting ready to launch. It was quite an experience, especially towards the end when there was no way that Romney could win, it turned into shots (drinks) and massive cheering. Many people attempted to wait around for the speech that Romney was supposed to have prepared but at that time it had already hit one o'clock. Many people were speculating that he had to write his speech on the spot because he was so gung ho on winning. I don't know where I will be at the next election, but a bar doesn't seem like such a bad choice.     

Voting for Justice: EXTENDED COMMENTS

            This week I took a look at Ally's blog, she hit upon one of the things that many people were worrying about before the election; taxes and what the upcoming President was going to do about them. Ally pointed out that yes, Obama has broken some promises, tweaked others, but he has kept many of them. Romney who was the new candidate was spewing out his ideas left and right about how he was going to get the country out of debt, and whose taxes were going to go up and why. He was throwing out numbers so fast that he couldn't keep them or his lies straight. The question that so many Americans fell to was "how are we supposed to trust Romney as our president if he cant even elaborate on the tax plan that he has mapped out?" Looking back at this after the election I can definitely see that this may have been a huge reason why he lost the election. You can't sell people lies.

Intterupting the cycle of oppression/ combatting bigotry :Connections

              In Blanchard's article, he explains that there are three different types of racism, those who go out of their way to be racist, those who are naive about the situation and then there are the people who have absolutely no idea that they are being racist. With or without the perpetrators knowledge, they are oppressing someone. Blanchard focuses on race while Ayvazian focuses on everyone as a whole. She explains that everyone at some point in time in their life will become oppressed. "Even a white, christian, heterosexual male will be targeted at old age". She explains that there are targets and there are dominants of every group. For Blanchard the targets are the races except for whites and the dominant can be anyone. Both authors have found a solution that they seem fit for the problem at hand, and they both seem to revolve around education.
              Ayvazian explains that beliefs and behaviors are congruent with each other, so if you believe that someone is below you, you will treat them that way. The group that is being oppressed needs to have an ally in the dominant group. the author explains that the oppressed group will never be heard; there might be small snippets in the media here and there but they will never have the power to have anything actually changed. "Allied behavior is  clear action aimed at dismantling the oppression of others in areas where you yourself benefit". (pg2) Lorde, The Masters Tools will Never Dismantle the Master's House, explains exactly this; oppression wont help someone get out of oppression. You will need help from others, you will need someone to take a stand for you; someone who isn't being oppressed.
              Frye is very connected to Blanchard's work because being oppressed because of your race is putting your in a double blind- no way out situation. If you don't fight for your race then you can be classified as being snooty, or using it as an excuse to be a bum in society, or that your you have no ambition to stop being oppressed (there are plenty more excuses/ reasons) but; if you want equality for your race compared to others, then you can be seen as ungrateful for what you have, not proud of where your from. Often times African American people who aren't living up to their stereotype of clothing are made fun of by people asking "why are you dressed so white?" I saw it all the time in my high school, but what if the person doesn't want to walk around with their jeans half way down their butt, or chains around their neck (I understand I just stereotyped there), they are ridiculed for trying to better themselves, and often its people in their own circle of oppression that are oppressing them further.

Oppression: Frye ARGUMENT

              When I think of oppression, I think of women, African Americans, the poor; anyone who is being held back in life because of a quality that they don't posses that would be beneficial to them if attained. This author Frye  argues that "Oppression is the experience of being caged in: all avenues, in every direction, are blocked or booby trapped." (pg5) She believes that there are certain standards and criteria that need to be met to actually be oppressed. Frye believes that we need to secure an absolute definite definition for the word because it is being thrown around too easy, it needs to be sharp and sure. To place a representation in your mind for what oppressed actually looks like, Frye uses the image of a bird cage (just like Maya Angelou did), imagine being so close to one of the wires that you can't see any of the others, you have a glimmer of hope that your not stuck, you keep going around and looking at the wires so closely as individuals that you don't see how close the others are. The wires are so close that you cannot get out, you are trapped by your surroundings, everything that holds your cage together is actually holding you in. It will always be a lose lose situation.
              I understand the ideas that Frye presents but I don't think that you have to be in such sever situations to be oppressed, I you were a woman in the corporate world and you have reached that glass ceiling, you keep trying, someone will see your work, and there is the hope that you can move up. Frye is telling us that you have to have no hope, and no way out. I believe that everyone is oppressed in some way or another, we all have something that is held against us no matter what.    

Here is a different look at who is actually oppressed, something that many of us westerners would never have questioned  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fear of Feminism/ Tsunami QUOTES

      Both articles base themselves off of the idea of feminism. A Tsunami in History goes through the stages of feminism an how it came to be from day one; Abigail Adams reminding her Husband President John Adams to "remember the ladies". The article reminds us of the hardship in each wave (1,2, and the present 3rd) and what each wave is fighting for. The fear of feminism takes place in what was present day (1994) and expands on how feminism is doing today, and how the women of the third wave are reacting to it. There were three quotes that really stood out to me in these articles.
             In the Fear of Feminism article by Lisa Hogeland she says that "Feminism politicizes gender consciousness, inserts it into a systematic analysis of histories and structures of domination and privilege." (18) Feminism takes the awareness of women's vulnerability and the celebration of women's difference and makes it political. As much as feminism is there for a woman's support, it is also bringing to light the things that we know but we choose not to face. In the article it says that women know that walking alone at night is not the safest thing to do, and we know the dangers, but we don't want to admit the fact that in our society we are not safe by ourselves. We know the facts but bringing it to light for us again after being educated on it makes it seem unfair. We want to have the privilege and the right to feel safe walking across campus, but the fact is that we cant, we are too vulnerable. As women and as feminists, we believe that we are strong and capable of anything but we are being held back by the pressures and ideas of society; and sadly this is the idea of the society that we live in, men are known as the dominant figure, and have been through history.
                  On page 25 of the Tsunami article there is a quote that caught my attention the moment I read it. "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" Irina Dunn. This explains both articles in one sentence. You take two things that don't work and you find out that they don't need each other. As a women in society, we are always told  "oh well don't worry you will find someone soon", or "there's a nice young man waiting out there for you". The only thing that women need men for are as follows...   .....    ....   .... their sperm. We can find support from family and friends, we can find love with those people as well. Some people don't even find love from men, nor do they want it. Our sexual needs can be taken care of and it doesn't have to be from a man. just as many men womanize females for the sole purpose of "planting as many seeds as possible", I believe that we can use them as they use us. Only when they want something, and in our case it would be a baby. I completely understand that there were not the same medical measure that we can take now a days if we would like a child without having to directly come in contact with a man. This is what the second wave is about, being able to go out on our own and get things accomplished and support ourselves. To this day we are still out fighting for those rights.
                 When talking about why women are afraid of the word feminism, Hogeland explains that "Feminism requires an expansion of the self- an expansion of empathy, interest, intelligence,and responsibility across differences, histories, cultures, ethnicities, sexual identities, otherness" (21). Women in today's age are only educated to an extent on all of these topics; its like seeing the tip of the iceberg an the expansion is underneath, its the real education. Because of religion, personal reasons, and many more some women will go under the surface of some of the topics but not all. We pick and choose what pertains to us.

I found this article giving us the reasons why people say they aren't feminists, these are people who our children watch and know, and also who we are familiar with. I find that they are feminists but are denying it.   click here!!

Sex as a Femmisnt Practice: HYPERLINKS

          When I first saw titles of the ideas that we were going to be reading on, I tried to figure out what they meant. Sex positive... was I sex positive? is it a good thing? bad thing? was it talking about if I was positive about my sexuality? Come to find out its about being positive on your own sexual preferences. Google defines it as "is an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality with few limits..". It is not biased against preference on sexual partners, or lack there of. As women, we are heavily scrutinized by our choice of sexual partners, and choices that go with them. As a sex positive person, there is no judgement of how many people you sleep with or how you sleep with them; "it's about ethics and self- development rather than simple pleasure-seeking" (Rachel Rabbit White)
     To self- develop you need to find what your comfortable with and what your willing to try. There is no pressure because not everyone right off the bat say I love bondage!, or I can't wait to go home and watch porn with my partner! things take time and trust; trust with the other person your with. If you aren't comfortable with something and you still allow someone to take sexual advances with you, then you are not sex positive; you need to stand up for yourself. Something that Rachel Rabbit wrote that I absolutely love and would love to see people using was the way to respond to someone who turns you down sexually; you say "Thanks for taking care of yourself " I believe it would lessen the blow to someone and not make them go around saying that the other person is a B**** or a slut because they wouldn't sleep with you.
         If you are lucky enough to find someone that you want to share your experience with and your willing to try out some bondage there are plenty of at home objects hanging around or you can even go online to find some! there are plenty of site and stores just like this one  bondage gear where you can order whatever your heart desires. If your not into practicing it yourself and prefer to watch it, there are plenty of movies out there that can help you out with that as well.
          Sadly as many sex positive people there are out there, there are also sex positive feminists. These feminists believe that porn and bondage are the roots of rape and shaming women. this website says that porn goes against the thoughts that women should be safe and respected. The women and men who choose to get into the porn industry sign agreements, and know what they are getting into. They are being safe as well because everyone in the industry has to be tested on a regular basis, at least once a month as reported in this article by CNN. The porn industry became main stream in the 1980's and this is when sex positive feminists freaked. Robin Morgan ( a radical) said that " Pornography is the theory; rape is the practice" this came after she was quoted saying that  "pornography was a central underpinning of patriarchy and a direct cause of violence against women".
              There are plenty of studies that confirm that porn leads men to believe that they have a higher sexual power over women, and there are also studies that disagree. It is all up to you and how you see it. Whether your a sex positive or a sex positive feminist be something!     here are a few things that I found that are interesting and or may give you a good laugh.

10 ridiculous anti- porn commercials

and I know you've heard of it, but did you know they hold one in Providence every year?
slut walk Providence