Evaluation

I went into this class thinking, oh this is just a gen ed, easy class to get out of the way. And taking this class has really changed my views on a lot of things. I really enjoyed the class and the readings. All of the readings were broken down in manageable loads so you didn’t feel overwhelmed. The way the readings were wrote were interesting and informative and made you want to read more. As a professor I really liked the way she arranged the class, I love blogging anyways so it fit right into my daily life.

My views of a feminist changed greatly, my views on being a white female changed drastically. I learned a lot of stats that changed my idea of healthcare and the business world. I actually talk about many of the readings with my parents and my friends. My favorite piece of the class was the portion on gender sexuality and racism. I already had a strong position on these situations but being able to read articles about it and voice my opinion was something that I really enjoyed. After the course I consider myself to be a feminist, which before the class I didn’t really believe that.

I would definitely recommend this class to my friends, boys and girls alike. I enjoyed it being in an online setting because the way it is set up it works really well. Having said that I would have also enjoyed to take it in the classroom because I would like to interact with other students and their opinions in a classroom environment. The grading was fair and the professor was great. She sets the class up really well, and the work load is very manageable.

From this class I learned that it’s everyday women like me that change the world. I can make a change just by standing up for myself as a women. I take more pride in being a women, and asserting myself just like a man would. I have learned so many things from this class and I think in the future it will actually make me a stronger woman.

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Eco Feminism/ The Future

Eco Feminism

Women have come in strong with the idea of eating local and seasonal food. About eating healthier and fresher foods. To bring families and communities together with the idea of being framers that give food straight to tables. Women have been the groundbreaking idealists behind the movement, but again somehow get overlooked.  Ideas like urban gardens, edible schoolyards, buy fresh buy local, and food literacy initiative were all started by women. It seems to me that it is always the women starting the movements and then the men getting the press for it. Women tend to focus on the common need for the idea and filling that need, and men focus on getting the attention for it.

“The total number of women operating farms increased 19 percent, far surpassing the overall 7 percent increase in farmers,” ( Cognard-Black. pg 641). Women are becoming more and more present in agriculture so that they can sustainably live without the help of men.  The work these women are doing has created a small revolution. It changes the way people think about food production and food preparation.  Women normally manage small diverse farms that cut out the middle man.  They have created the Green Roofs for cities like New York that don’t have the room for full blown gardens.

This issue has been developing rapidly and women are at the head of the revolution. Healthier lifestyles and fresher foods are really important for our economy and our population. These small farms and ideals are important to keep a closer watch on what we are consuming and the way it is being grown and packaged. It is also a great way to cut out the awful way migrant workers are treated.

This article explains the idea of eco feminism and how the oppression of women and the oppression of our environment are connected. Women master the control of nature by developing healthier ways to grow food and prepare food.

This picture is a representation of a green roof in New York City. It utilizes the roof tops to promote healthier food and local growing.

The Future

Think about this, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton took a standard, in her time feminists were fighting for the right to own their land. Simply to be able to take simple action without the authority of a man looming over them. Now in 2012 look how far we have come. Women can own their own homes, have jobs just like a man. Don’t have to look for approval from a man. Although women are still not treated as equals, feminism has made great strides.

“Activism is one of the most confused concepts we know,” (Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards. pg 608). To press forward we need women to step up and what to make a foot step. These women are women just like me and you. A woman living her life and deciding that what she is offered just isn’t enough anymore. It’s as simple as not laughing at an inappropriate joke or as complicated as rallying for the right for abortions for women. ” What all feminists have in common is this: they saw an injustice and used their rage to become everyday activists,” (Baumgardner and Richards. pg 608).  Women have the power and strength to change the world.

In 50 years I hope to look back and remember the days were women didn’t receive the same benefits as men, where women were pressured to marry and have children, and were women couldn’t receive the same pay as men. I want the world to develop into something that gives women the same options as men. Where gay and lesbians can adopt and marry and not be criticized. Do I think that we will ever make it there? I do, but it won’t be achieved without everyday women standing up. Did Mrs. Cady Stanton ever think she would be able to vote or own property? She didn’t know, but she knew that the risk was well worth taking.

This article is about a women who went to a conference where a woman first spoke. She explains her thoughts on where women have been and how far we have come.

Sex Trafficking: Sex Slaves Across America.

I recently watched an MSNBC episode about sex trafficking. The documentary covered many women who testified that they had been offered higher paying jobs, and these women accepted them because they had children to take care of, or just wanted the opportunity. When they arrived they were beat and raped and forced to stay there because of the fear. The traffickers kept them there against there will be telling the women that if they left their family would be murdered or that they would be hurt themselves. The women were so struck by fear that they couldn’t leave. This industry is a multi billion dollar a year industry, even though there are measures being taken, the industry continues to grow. This happens right in your backyard. Cities such as San Francisco, Detroit, and Texas have many establishments that harbor trafficked women.

Everyone wonders how these women just stay there for years and do what their owners demand. The women are so stricken by fear, and often not speaking the language feel like they have nowhere to turn. They feel like they have this debt to pay back to their traffickers. Many of the women live in apartments that are locked and heavily wired. The front and back doors have cameras, and there are high tech listening devices in the apartments so the traffickers know everything the women do. This isn’t something the women choose to do, its thrust upon them. This issue is very real and is something that people don’t realize is going on.

This documentary for me was very informative. I chose to watch it because I have heard bits and pieces of the issue but I didn’t realize the magnitude of the situation. I often watch MSNBC documentaries and they are always interesting and informative so I decided to watch this particular one. It really opened my mind to the idea of prostitution, it isn’t always the women who is strung out choosing to work the streets. The majority of it is women who are forced into it by being bought into the sex trafficking ring.

This documentary connects to our readings about sexual abuse of women and rape. The sexual abuse of women seems to be out of control. The women are controlled by the fear, and this thought that men have this power over them. The worst part about this is that men readily participate in this illegal act. Some of the women are as young as 14 years old, and the men don’t even stop to think maybe she is here against her will. Most of the men are married and could have a young daughter at home, and they still choose to go through with the act. What is even worse is that some of the establishments were owned and run  by women, they are so in fear they are putting their own gender through hell.

I was watching the documentary my brother said, hey you know something like that happened here in Richmond. Well I googled it, and sure enough found an article about two parents who trafficked there own 2 daughters who were 13 and 14. This issue is very real, and happens right in your back yard. In San Francisco the establishments that harbor these women are just blocks from the most expensive boutiques. This documentary opened my eyes to a very real and scary issue.

Gender and Sexuality/ Racism

Gender and Sexuality.

What defines a man and a woman? Who decides that these traits are in fact the correct ones to assign to each gender? The answer in my opinion is culture. In the article “Night to His Day” an interesting point was made that I completely agree with, ” not biology, but culture, becomes destiny”(Judith Lorber. 69). When a baby is born it is such a big deal to the new parents to brand the baby as a gender. The traits that define man and woman are so strongly imbedded in our minds that it wouldn’t matter what biology we had, if we were told we were to be a “man” then we would be assigned those traits. “The moral imperatives of religion and cultural representations guard the boundary lines among genders and ensure that what is demanded, what is permitted, and what is tabooed for the people in each gender is well known and followed by most,”(Lorber. pg 70). What that quote says to me is that culture defines us, even if you are not born as a male you can conform to become a male by engulfing yourself in the cultural norms that a biological man would conform to.

“Heterosexism creates the climate for homophobia with its assumption that the world is and must be heterosexual and its display of power and privilege as the norm,” (Suzanne Pharr. pg 422). Sexuality in my opinion can’t be defined. Who is to say what is normal? What causes our urges and sexual desires? Isn’t that all biological, or interpreted by the individual? Who do heterosexuals think they are judging others for not feeling or acting the same way that they do? Everyone is so focused on preserving the nuclear family and the sanctity of marriage. Just because two women get married it doesn’t mean that their commitment means any less. Now I don’t want someone to take this in offense and think that I am bashing the nuclear family or a man and a woman’s marriage. I grew up in the perfect family, one boy, one girl, two parents. My parents are still together so I guess you would consider my family the norm. But I have always grown up hearing my dad say that gay couples cannot adopt children, that there are plenty of “normal” couples who can adopt them. What does that even mean, homosexual couples can provide the same love and care for a child that a heterosexual couple can. In fact don’t some homosexual people come from a family that has a father and a mother? If you believe that homosexuality is wrong, then that is your opinion, I just don’t believe it is your place to tell someone else that they are living their life wrong. No one knows what makes a person homosexual, as if its some deformity. A homosexual person is just a person. Another quote that really caught my eye was this, “women are called lesbians because we resist male dominance and control. And it has little or nothing to do with one’s sexual identity,” (Pharr. pg 423). What defines a lesbian, or a gay guy? I consider myself a free thinking woman that doesn’t depend on a man, does that mean I don’t enjoy the company of a man? No it doesn’t. It means I don’t define my life around a man, nor do I need a man to define my life. But this does not make me sexually attracted to women, even though I enjoy the company of women. In the end I think that sexuality identity is something that people will always start fires over, there were always be things in sexuality that people can’t define and so it will always be a war. People can always have their own opinions, but its a whole other situation to start imparting those opinions on other people.

This article is about a little boy who was shot to death because he openly admitted he was gay. The kids in his school bullied him and harassed him everyday, until one day they just decided to kill him. What on earth were they thinking. It blows my mind that society can’t accept this.

Racism

My mom always told me in high school, Camille I swear you are going to marry a black guy one day. Honestly her comments have shaped the way I behave today. In high school I always had tons of African American guy friends, I have no clue why, they were just good guys. My best friend for 4 years was mixed. He was one of the best guys I had ever known, he told me one day that he loved me and wanted to be with me and I said no. I didn’t say no because I didn’t want to be with him, I said no because I didn’t know how my mother would react if I brought him home. I always tell myself that I want to be more open minded than my parents, to accept people for who they are and not what they look like. Even now I face it, being a senior in college. My best friend is from St. Louis, she told me that her family had to move out of their neighborhood because there were too many black people. And sometimes I get text messages from her saying that the black people in her dorm are being too loud. As if white people aren’t just as loud. Hearing people say this kind of stuff just tears me up, I think about high school and the great guy and can only imagine how he would feel if he heard that. Although I block from my mind that he has probably dealt with it his whole life. Stereotypes are everywhere you look, our society is engulfed in them. I don’t understand why its so hard for people to judge based on character instead of color, although this thought may make me naive. Obviously I was afraid of this feeling when I told Jordan I couldn’t be with him because I didn’t like him, which was a lie, I was worried about his color. The stereotype of African Americans is that they are lazy, more prone to crime, or loud. But what is interesting is that white women actually receive the highest percentage of welfare, white people commit crimes too, and some of my white friends are just as loud as anybody. The stereotypes that are assigned to people of color often are true for everyone else, people must put people in categories because it makes them feel more comfortable.

When I moved out of my house and went to college I had my first relationship with an African American guy, I never told my mom, but it was something I wanted to do and I did it. I must admit that to some extent I must be racist if I am so afraid to tell my mother that I was in love with a guy that was African American. And the other part of me doesn’t want to deal with the criticism that comes from other white people from dating a black guy. It just tears me up inside that I sometimes feel that way, but I can’t change those stereotypes on my own. I look back at my life and friendships and realize that some of the best friends I had were African American. “Stereotypes, omissions, and distortions all contribute to the development of prejudice,” (Beverly Daniel Tatum. pg 387). My mother has never been exposed to diversity of race. She grew up in a small country town, and my grandfather still makes racist jokes to this day. I don’t judge my mom for this, I just choose to understand that the omission of color from her childhood has made her think that way. It was something she was born into and now that she is older is something that she can’t change.

Do I think I’m racist? The answer to that question is no. I don’t judge people on their color, if I say something about someone it is because they have done something to me that has lead me to that assumption. Everyone can say that I’m just a middle class white girl, that I don’t have to deal with the issue of race, and that’s true. If you want to label me as a racist because I was born white, then that is your choice. But I think that everyday I stand up for other races when people say things about them for no reason. I definitely think that I am privileged because I’m white. I don’t think that I will ever be able to understand what its like because I don’t have to deal with it. If you define being racist as “a system of advantage based on race” (Tatum. pg 390), then I guess I would be racist. But I define racism as falling into stereotypes and judging others based on color instead of character, and in that essence I believe that I try very hard to treat everyone equally.  As a society I definitely believe we are racist, I think some areas are more racist than others, but overall I think people are more judgmental on color than they should be. It is something that will probably never change, you will always find one person that just thinks Hispanics are illegal, even though they are some of the hardest working, most welcoming people I have ever met. It’s almost like you can have 100 good traits of a person of color, and the one “bad” or different trait can define an entire stereotype. I don’t know how to change that.

This article is actually pretty recent. My family is really into soccer so at my house we have been watching the eurocup. There was this huge incident were fans were making monkey noises at a couple of black players. Its amazing that people are that rude, for no apparent reason. The article explains that Europeans had a scrimmage that united them together against racism. That it didn’t matter what race, they come together to show pride for their country and just play a great soccer game.

Work/School/Poverty and Law/Violence

Work/School

I honestly believe that there will always be a separation of gender, class, and ethnicity in the work place and in school. In high school the sports teams are treated completely differently, and the same for college. It isn’t always women’s sports either, at WKU 3 years ago, the men’s soccer team was cut due to lack of funds. There always is an emphasis on one gender in every sport. In most sports it tends to be males. There is always that joke, watching women’s sports is like watching paint dry, and I will admit that as a women I tend to enjoy watching men’s sports more than women’s.

In this article it is explained that in the classroom girls and boys are treated differently. Men are often praised more and receive special attention than girls. It is expected that girls are more talented in school because the emphasis for boys is sports. Therefore the teachers focus on the boys. It is also suggested that curricula should be re evaluated and should be cleansed of gender bias. Even though the problem has greatly been diminished, the problem is not gone.

As far as the enrollment in science and math classes, I believe that the reason for the different interests in this is because of what girls see everyday, what they hear. When I visit the doctor, more often than not its a male. Each time I have had surgery, it has been a male who has performed the surgery. I don’t think it is necessarily that women don’t have the interest in these fields, I would say that it is just something that they pick up from society. In the article “Gender Inequity in School: Not a Thing of the Past”, it reads “They(women) perceive these subjects as cold, impersonal, and with little clear application to their lives or society,” (Karen Zittleman and David Sadker. pg 78). This quote just represents that women have in their minds that perhaps these fields aren’t for them based on how they feel, or maybe how they have been forced to feel. Even in their textbooks the experiences and photos depict white males as doctors, and white females as nurses. So in their learning journey they are quickly taught what they should pursue as a career.

The topic of pay equity, and women not making the same salary as a male for the same position with the same qualifications, really gets my fire burning. Not just women but for people who aren’t a white male. A women or a person of color can graduate from say Yale and apply for the same job right out of college and make nearly 61-26 percent of what a white male will make in the same position. There are laws against the difference in pay, but they are poorly enforced. But another national law prohibits any pay cuts to remedy discrimination, hey what about enforcing the law in the first place and not having the gap. According to the article “Questions and Answers on Pay Equity” it will take until 2057 to close the wage gap(National Committee for Pay Equity. pg 183), that is 45 years from now. There is no excuse for this now that women are single mothers, or are taking off work to raise their children, women are sometimes the main breadwinner for their family. It just doesn’t make any sense anymore. Companies should definitely have a set salary for each position and no employee can make any more or any less. The salary should be based on what is required for the position and not the person in the position. After reading the article my impression on welfare has changed. I worked at a gas station for a summer so I saw people everyday paying for tons of candy and junk food with their food stamps, and then in the same breath ordering cigarettes and paying cash for them. This is the stereotype and I was witnessing it first hand so I tend to have a bad outlook on the recipients of welfare. After reading the article I realized that there are women who need this help, they have escaped from an abusive relationship and suddenly have children to take care of and they have no way to do so. Welfare should be used as an aide to get back on your feet, as this woman used it as. She was strong, escaped an abusive relationship, graduated from college, and is not educating people on the correct use of welfare, and extinguishing the stereotypes.

Law/Violence

For my discussion I chose to focus on the idea of rape and sexual harassment, the articles that I will focus on are “Catcalls, Groping, Stalking in Public Places” and “Rape the All American Crime”. What stands out to me is that women are constantly living in fear of men. The fact that they can’t walk at night by themselves, or even walk down the street without a comment being made. Sexual harassment is hard to pinpoint because there are so many things that can fall into that category. It can be something like a comment that makes a women feel uncomfortable ranging all the way to being raped. I can admit that I have had guys yell at me out of cars or whistle at me or make uncalled for comments, and I just brush it off my shoulder and continue. Women should not blame themselves or their lifestyles for these actions. Women should be able to walk down the street at night and not be worried about being attacked by a male.In reading the article ” Rape: the All American Crime” it points out that rapists are ordinary people, they don’t tend to have any unique characteristics as a group, which makes it even scarier. Rape is something that is brushed off in our culture, almost encouraged. In a relationship men are seen as the dominant, more sexual being. Certain men take this into account and think that by raping a woman they are exerting their male tendencies of dominance over the woman, and that she typically enjoys this act. What is still more shocking is that fact that in some other cultures there aren’t even laws against rape, in fact it is part of their normal lives. In most middle eastern countries women are raped daily because the men have complete control. It is just unnerving that sexual harassment has become such a part of life that comments and actions that should fall into that category are often ignored. Women should feel comfortable in their own surroundings, the public place shouldn’t be dominated by men. Women should be respected, not objectified.

This article talks more about sexual harassment in the work place. It talks about how women feel threatened by men and fear that if they speak out about the abuse that they will lose their jobs. The abuse can often mentally affect the woman, including depression. The abuse can also demoralize her and make her feel less important and take away her authority as a working woman. It matches my discussion because it shows the effects of sexual harassment on women, and how most women think there is no way out, and ignore the abuse because of fear.

 

Relationships/Marriage/Family and Reproductive Rights

Relationships/Marriage/Family

It is such a shame, that one of the hardest jobs in the world is one of the most undervalued jobs in the world. My mom always tells me, think long and hard before you have children, because raising babies is the hardest thing you will ever do. It is so unfortunate that after women have accomplished so much that we are still undervalued. In the article it even explains that a distinguished economist said he believed that raising children was one of the most important jobs in the world. If children aren’t tended to at home and raised to be an upstanding human being, then who will run our country? Be our future leaders? Women are penalized for giving up their careers and staying home to make sure their children have the interaction they need, and yet there is no wealth attached to that. In fact “Social Security confirmed that her decision to be the responsible, primary parent had reduced the government pension by hundreds of dollars a month in retirement income,” (The Price of Motherhood. Ann Crittenden. Page 189). The common misconception is that these caretakers or mothers are undereducated and couldn’t hold any other positions, when in fact it is the exact opposite. Most stay at home moms have college degrees and before their pregnancies often held high paying jobs. It is incredible that the value of the work these stay at home moms do is so undervalued.  For my outside source I choose a poem, it is different than an article but it really shows how highly mothers are held in the eyes of her child. The importance of motherhood cannot be replaced, and it’s a shame that society can’t give credit where credit is due. Perfect Mother

On the other hand is the fact that society pressures women into getting married and having children. Which is something I completely disagree with; motherhood should be a choice not a social demand. Women that choose to be unmarried and childless are not less of a woman because of their choices. Maybe they simply decided they could not care for children, or did not want to take on such a huge task. Women should be able to make that choice. My mom always tells me that motherhood takes understanding, compassion, and a sense of selflessness. Once a woman has children her life generally revolves around them, some women aren’t made with these qualities and maybe wouldn’t turn out to be such great mothers. Society shouldn’t pressure women into getting married and having babies, what if the women is a horrible mother and emotionally or physically hurts a child. Women that want babies should have them, but those that don’t shouldn’t. I don’t think anyone should force someone to do so. Men aren’t expected to be married off with kids, so why should women have to? A woman shouldn’t be measure by her husband and children, she should be measure by her accomplishments whether she has a conventional family or not.

The idea of a housewife and housework is one of my biggest pet peeves. Just because I am a woman does not mean I enjoy to cook or clean. In fact I hate cleaning, and I am not good at it. All my life my guy friends have made jokes about the kitchen and how messy my room is. But if I was a male my room being a mess wouldn’t be such a huge issue. Just because women have been expected to cook and clean and care for the home doesn’t mean that’s how it should be. In my household my parents split everything; actually my dad normally does the laundry and the cleaning. My mom does cook, but my dad always cleans everything up afterwards because he respects the fact that my mom worked all day and came home and cooked for the family. Household responsibilities should be split if both the man and the women have a job. The house is owned by the couple, so why should it not be cared for by the couple? I hate to clean just as much as the next person, so as a woman I should be expected to do it? I don’t think so.

 

Reproductive Justice

I feel like this issue is something that is constantly addressed. No one can ever decide what is the right or wrong answer. In my opinion I don’t know if there is a correct answer to the abortion question. Is terminating an unwanted pregnancy murder? Part of me thinks about the little baby growing inside the belly so innocent and unknowing of the circumstances on the outside, but then other side of me thinks of the cruel world that poor baby will be born into if is unwanted, or not taken care of. Looking at the bigger picture I want to make abortion legal, but I also want to stress the importance of birth control. It kills me every day when people talk about how they have 4 kids at home and how they have to feed them all this and I am sitting here thinking “If you couldn’t afford to have 4 babies, then you shouldn’t have.” Condoms are not expensive, if you can’t afford the pill or some other contraceptive then condoms look to be your best choice, so make that choice. It blows my mind all the time when people are like well we just were in the heat of the moment and didn’t have time, then that brings a baby into a family that doesn’t have the means to care for it.

There are so many issues that come with providing birth control under health insurance, that I don’t want to pay for that girl being easy, or whatever else. But would you rather pay for that girl to prevent a pregnancy, or pay for her child for the next 18 years of its life because she cannot afford it. With this issue there is always a give and take, you have to weigh both sides. Most people want to say, well if you can’t handle the responsibility of a child then don’t have sex, and we all know that isn’t realistic, as much as we would like for it to be so. There are so many variables in making abortion legal. For some people religion plays a factor, for others it’s the legality of the whole issues, for others the moral aspect of it. In the end you have to think about the fetus and the circumstances of the pregnancy, this quote really spoke to me “the concern for fetal life, which allegedly motivates the regulation of pregnant women’s behavior, appears hypocritical when little is being done to improve the social and economic conditions of poverty that endanger so many babies,” (Health and Reproductive Justice. Ruth Hubbard. Pg320). This quote really explains that maybe we should focus on the environment the babies are brought into, versus what happens to the baby in the womb. If that pregnancy is terminated, maybe it could enrich the life of another child that has already been brought into this world.

I found this interesting article, most people don’t believe in abortion because of their religious beliefs. In this post I am trying to be as impartial as I can, but sometimes you have to see both sides to understand the full issue. This article is interesting because it touches some ideas that explain what really defines a baby and life, what defines a fully functioning baby. I think you can believe in pro choice and still be against abortion. If abortion isn’t legalized then women are going to find ways to do it themselves, which could result in the loss of two lives. I think there will always be that difficult circumstance that could warrant an abortion. You can disagree with me if you like, I know we all have different opinions, but here is the article that I based some of my opinion on. Anti-Abortion and Pro Choice