Thursday, July 22, 2010

Theorizing Activism

My experiences in this virtual feminist classroom have had an impact on me because I never knew that these types of problems still exist today. It has really made me see how our society still looks down on women just because of who they are. I envision a just future by hopefully, one day; all women will be treated fairly in and outside of the workforce. We can possibly get there by speaking out more. People need to be more aware of what is going on in our society and why it does not have to be. My “feminist priority” is to get women treated fairly in the workforce because I believe this is one of the most important issues we still deal with today. To me, integrity means having good morals and sticking with them. I also believe that in order to have integrity you must be honest. Integrity affects my work for justice because, although you want to be honest and stick to your morals, sometimes you have to go above and beyond to get justice done. If I were to advise a student about the value of taking a Women’s Studies class I would say it is a great way of truthfully learning what you “thought” you already knew. The class leaves you very open-minded and more conscious of your surroundings. I know that when I walk into a health care system, I will be more aware of what is going on around me. Yes, I believe that feminist education in itself can be a form of activism because you are taking an action or involvement to achieve a goal.

Policy Issue: Reproduction and Reproductive Rights

Patriarchal norms constitute a threat to women’s health because women are not looked at in the same way that men are. Men’s bodies are the norm, and medical research has mostly focused on white men. Androcentrism has supported sexism and encouraged systems where men have more positions of power and influence in the health care system. Racism has an impact on the gendered experiences of women of color in the health care system because they are not given the same treatment. Racism still exists in many aspects, for example, delivery, financing, and research. Women of color stop getting treatment if they feel that it is a waste of their time. Reproductive choice is important for women because every woman should have safe and affordable birthing and parenting options. No matter what your circumstances are every woman should have reliable, safe, and affordable birth control technologies. They should also have freedom from forced sterilization and the availability of an abortion. By not giving a woman the safe and affordable birthing and parenting options she needs, you are harming the child. It is important for feminists to try and broaden discussions of reproductive choice beyond the issue of abortion because there are many families that cannot have children that would love to be parents. By getting abortions you are killing a baby who did not ask to be born. Every woman should be able to make their own reproductive choices but I do not believe that abortion is the best way to solve the problem. Although, there are extenuating circumstances to abortions, for example, a woman who is raped would probably not want to have their attacker’s baby.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Policy Issue: Gendered Violence

Women are more likely to avoid violence and the threat of violence more than a man. If a woman is scared they tend to be less sociable, therefore, it has a huge impact on a woman’s social control. Feminists suggest the acts of violence against women are actually hate crimes because if someone hurts a woman then they must hate them. A majority of men harm women because they have done something wrong to them. For example, if a woman was to cheat on her husband and they get a divorce, he will probably be more likely to abuse his next wife because he “hates” women for what she did to him. Violence against women is so prevalent in society because most women do not turn their attackers in because they are scared. Women tend to be much more vulnerable than men. Violence against women is primarily perpetuated by men because men tend to be much stronger than women. If a woman was to attack another woman then probably not much would happen because most women tend to be as strong as the next. Men like to feel they are in control, unlike a woman. Women like to believe they are in control at certain times but men like to feeling of control all the time. Myths about violence against women silence women and perpetuate sexist systems of oppression because when women feel they have done something wrong they will not turn their attacker in. one myth is that women tend to make up their attacks to receive attention, which is not true. When women feel they are to blame or they feel they could have prevented the violence they tend to remain quiet because they do not want to be looked down upon, or they are frightened that their attacker will kill them. Steps I believe should be taken to address the problem of violence against women is more security and more places for women to go to when they need help. Elements I find effective at JMU is the poles with blue lights around campus. I never used them but when I had night classes I would always make sure I was parked near one. I feel that even though we have the blue lights, we should have security throughout campus more, especially in the evening.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Policy Issue: Social Welfare

Welfare reform should be considered a feminist issue because a majority of people who need welfare are single mothers. I agree partially with the 1996 welfare reform. I agree that you should have to work to receive help, but I do not agree that it should be temporary. I also do not agree that women could not afford to go to school to advance themselves because isn’t that what we all want, is to get a better education so that we can make more money and provide for our families? The appropriate role of family-formation in the anti-poverty policy is that you should have to work, but it does not matter how much you make. I believe that all families should be protected, not just the poor. I believe that encouraging marriage will help poor women’s economic status slightly. You can encourage marriage but they are going to marry who they want to marry. Depending on who the person marries depends on their economic status. I agree completely with the paternity establishment in the TANF policy because establishing parentage is very important. Children who have both parents in their lives are usually the ones who succeed more in life. For example, finishing school, going to college, working, and having a family. Another reason I agree with the policy is because if there is a single parent, the other parent should have to help out financially and should want to be in their lives to establish a bond with their children. I believe that poor women should be compelled to discuss the intimate facts of their personal lives with representatives of the state to a certain extent. They should have to explain why they are poor. For example, not being able to find a job or is there anyone else in their lives that help financially. But overall, I do not believe that intimate details of their lives are necessarily important on why they are poor. The relationship between privacy rights and poverty is many of people’s personal information do not need to be revealed because it is there right of privacy. That being said, a lot of a person’s personal information is the reason why they are poor. Personal information is definitely necessary but I do not believe that intimate details need to be revealed.

Socio-economic Status

Systems of inequality are evident in women’s work inside the home because women are always the ones suspected of cleaning, doing the laundry, and taking care of the children. If a man was to do these things he would probably be considered to be feminine. Women experience sexism in the paid labor force because, most of the time, women only get certain jobs because of the way they look. They also get discriminated against with pay because they are not considered to be as strong as man. Therefore, they believe that women do not deserve the amount of pay that a man receives. Racism shapes the way women experience sexism in the paid labor force because certain places will pay an African American less than a Caucasian. To this today, a lot of people are racist, but, most of the time, if you do not have an African American at your business, or any other place for that matter, then you could get in trouble with the law for discriminating. So therefore, a lot of places hire African Americans because they have to and pay them less, even if they are more educated and work harder than a Caucasian, which is the case for most instances. Personally, I have never been discriminated against in the workforce but I know a couple people who have. The perception of certain work as feminine has affected women’s work, both inside and outside the home because women, a majority of the time, are considered to be stay-at-home moms and take their care of all the housework that needs to be done. If a man was to stay home and the woman was to work, the man would be considered to be feminine and he would probably be looked down upon because he cannot provide for his family. I was watching A Baby Story and the woman was the one who went to work and the husband stayed at home with the children. Although he worked from home, if she said that it was “reversed”. Women are more likely to experience poverty in their lives because they cannot go out and get any job, a lot of places will not hire a woman to do a man’s job. Some women believe that they are to stay home with the children and the men are to provide for the family. But statistics show that single mothers are more likely to be poor than women who stay at home with their children. Changes that I believe are needed to create more equitable distribution and opportunity of access for economic resources is for more jobs to be made for both men and women. Women should also not be getting paid less because they cannot do everything that a man can.


Transnational feminists inquire in to the social, political and economic conditions comprising imperialism; their connections to colonialism and nationalism; the role of gender, the state, race, class, and sexuality in the organization of resistance to hegemonies in the making and unmaking of nation and nation-state. Global feminism concerns itself primarily with the forward movement of women’s rights on a global scale. Using different historical lenses from the legacy of colonialism, Global Feminists adopt global causes and start movements which seek to dismantle what they argue are the currently predominant structures of global patriarchy. Global Feminism is also known as Transnational Feminism, World Feminism, and International Feminism. Feminism can get past the identity problem when it comes to the identity category of “woman” because many things have changed today. Women still, usually, take their husband’s last names, but they do not have to. Women are strong, capable, and do not want feminists speaking for them to make them into victims. One thing that I believe to be a critical part of gender justice framework is the workforce. Gender justice is defined as bringing about more equitable relations between men and women with the implication that women become defined as equal citizens. That being said, women should not be discriminated against because they are not considered to be strong enough. “Third Women” might be resentful of Western feminists because they are working women. They do not need someone speaking for them. I believe the feminist theories discussed earlier in this course to be hegemonic because there is always a group of higher power over another.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Disability is not being capable of performing normal tasks without some sort of help. I do not believe that it is possible to define “disability” without implicitly referencing the idea of “normal” activity because whether you’re severely disabled or slightly disabled, you still have to receive help to perform a task. Disability and stigma are related because disability is both biological and social. Stigma is also both biological and social. Stigma is a mental or physical mark that is characterized by a defect or disease. I do not agree with evaluating fatness through the lens of disability because some people cannot help that they are larger than another person. Heavier people are always going to be looked differently at as if they have a disability, even if they do not. Or they might just be considered as lazy. Institutions are created with regard to conceptions of “normal” ability by not discriminating towards someone by how they are mentally or physically. We also have handicapped restrooms and elevators for people who cannot go up stairs. I do believe that it is possible to “deconstruct” socially constructed notions of disability because attitudes, family problems, and personal things can change. Disability theory and gender are related because disability is distinguished by which gender you are. Descriptions of feminine characteristics as weak, feeble, or frail reinforce dominant ideas of ability and masculinity because the elderly and women are considered to be characterized by these three characteristics. However, men are considered to be strong and muscular, not frail and weak.


Personal political occurs in my relationships. Politics implies issues associated with the distribution of power in sexual relationships; therefore, it’s in my relationships because the man is typically the higher power in a relationship, whether it being work or your own personal lives. Some men believe that they can do no wrong, but if a woman was to do the same thing they would be considered as a horrible wife or girlfriend. Men also seem to think that they can go out with their friends but they try to prevent you from going out with yours. Some girls lose their friends because of the way their husband or boyfriends are. I see my relationships as compulsory heterosexuality, meaning heterosexuality is the expected and desirable sexual identity. Socialization into gender affects intimacy in relationships because we are socially constructed into our gender by society at an early age. You cannot help who you are attracted to but society tries to choose for you based on their own beliefs. Growing up I played with dolls, barbies, and many other feminine toys. Therefore, it has made me a feminine woman attracted to men. Intimacy may be changed drastically if a woman is attracted to another woman. Homophobia discourages intimacy because homophobia is hatred towards homosexuals. People who are homosexuals may feel that they should not have intimacy because they might be afraid of harassment, which is common along LGB students. To this today, there has not yet been an instance in my life when homophobia has prevented me from developing intimacy with someone.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

White Privilege

White enters into usage as a legal term in laws, statutes, and court decisions in the United States all the time. Whether it’s in school or at work. Most of the time it’s whites that are considered to be discriminating against other people but that’s not always true. “White” was first used as a racial category many years ago, around the time slavery began. Everyone started to believe that African Americans were meant to be the white’s slaves. I don’t believe that there is any such thing called “white” culture but some people do. Some people believe that certain places are for whites only. Especially years ago, there were many places that had signs outside their door that said, “whites only” or on trains. African Americans were made to sit at the separate spot on the train that whites. Some whites believe that they are of higher standing that African Americans. I believe whites can be used as a group name without invoking connotations of white supremacy because not all whites have the same beliefs. Some whites may not believe that they are more superior to other racial groups. That being said, there is always going to be a racial thought that goes through your mind. For example, if a murder is committed and it’s by a different racial group you are going to think, most of the time, that that happened because of their race. I also believe that in some ways whiteness and white supremacy are fundamentally linked. Since there is such a large number of people that believe that they are superior, then it would be safe to say they whiteness and white supremacy are linked fundamentally.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Theorizing Privilege

Different forms of prejudice affect our lives because we are always prejudging someone for multiple reasons, even if sometimes we do not agree with them. We are a society in which we agree with other people to fit in. Ideologies are sets of beliefs. They show up in the institutions that affect our lives the most because at home when are taught different beliefs by our parents. When going to school you are taught something, sometimes, completely different. Work places also affect our beliefs. I’ve experienced gender inequality at work. The men are always asked to do the more difficult work because they are considered to be stronger than a woman. We are automatically considered “weaker” than a man, although, there are women stronger than a lot of men. Hate crimes maintain systems of inequality because most serious crimes are committed by men, so we think. When a woman commits a crime it is not considered as serious as if a man were to commit the exact same crime. For example, murder. If a woman is to kill her husband it is usually considered self-defense. If a man is to kill his wife he is considered to be a dangerous and extremely violent person. These images have major effects on me as well as the majority of our society. These images cause us to be cautious of men than women, when in reality; we need to be cautious about both. Women are just as capable of committing a crime as man.

Romance and Relationships

My family reflects the normative U.S. family because my mother and father both work, yet my father is expected to provide financially more to the family. Social institutions reinforce power relations in the family because typically, the man is to provide for the family. If the mother provides more for the family then it is looked at in a different way. People do not see it as being normal. Dating and romance scripts I believe are taught through people. People usually do what others do. They look for the same relationship that someone else has if it looks to be successful. Scripts teach us about the normative U.S. family because they reflect our social norms, practices, and workings of power. Scripts provide us with frameworks and guidelines for sexual feelings and behaviors. Dating scripts uphold gender norms because typically, a man and a woman date. It isn’t “normal” for two women or two men to date. When I was younger my mother was a stay at home mom and my father worked fulltime and supported the family. My mother would clean, do laundry, and cook sometimes. My father would cook a majority of the time because he enjoyed it, but typically he was the breadwinner. Once my sister and I got into grade school my mother went back to work. She did not make as much as my father but she enjoyed working. As of today, both my parents work, while my father is the main household support. These tasks reflect typical social norms because it is typical for the man to provide more for the family, while the mother, either a stay at home mom or working herself, will not provide as much to the family, financially. Women and men communicate very differently. Women typically talk in a softer, more proper speech, while men are typically loud and curse much more. Usually, if a woman was to curse she would be looked down upon. Women and men’s different ways of communicating affect relationships because is it normal for the woman to have a quiet, polite voice and for the man to have a much deeper, stern voice. If a man was to have a soft voice he would probably be considered gay. Women tend to lean towards more of a man with a deep, stern voice, rather than a man with a soft, quiet voice.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gender on the Body

Power relations are reflected and reinforced in beauty norms because the men are still considered to be the more “powerful” between them and women. Women will always have a higher standard than a man to look good. Beauty norms affect women and men differently because women have more of an acceptance to be beautiful than men. Some men like to be “fit” but most women feel that they to extremely thin and beautiful and have no faults. Men tend to be more attractive to thin, pretty women with clear skin, especially if the men are fit themselves. Women typically judge men by their looks, not on what their body looks like. If women were to wear baggy clothes they would be stared at, but men wearing baggy clothes is normal. Beauty norms have affected me because I’ve never been able to get the “hottest” guy in school because there are definitely prettier and skinnier women in the world than me. I’ve always had the bigger thighs out of all of my friends, whom seem to be more “popular” because they wear a size zero. The media plays an extremely important role because everyone on television is pretty, thin, and clear skin. Beauty norms start at a young age. There is a huge amount of teen role models who are beautiful and thin and seem to be perfect, which makes teenagers today want to be just like them. Women can resist the beauty ideal by having more confidence in themselves. Phallocentrism works to control men’s bodies because everything about them is considered central and normal.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Second Wave Feminism

I believe that consciousness raising groups is a great thing. Everyone should be aware women oppression and know the effects it has on the entire society, not just one individual. If consciousness raising groups became popular again today, I believe they would be extremely effective in addressing social inequality. Social inequality is primary based towards women and although many people realize that there is social inequality, they might not understand how in depth it is and how much it is still going on today. If there was a consciousness raising group I believe most people would be shocked to realize how much is actually going on. Radical feminists in the Second Wave were unable to sustain their momentum because the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 and in 1973 the decision for Roe v. Wade was decided. Although these were passed and decided, many people still did not want to accept the fact that it was put into action. If I were to write a gender-based manifesto, it would be about how women are classified as not being “strong” enough because they are more feminine than a man. Essentialism is only based on a single-axis identity. They also focus on generalizations about a group. Identity Politics signifies a wide range of political activity and theorizing founded in shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups. These issues should not be based on one specific identity. Diversity issues may be lost due to identity-based approaches because there are many different types of social groups in our society. Homosexuals are discriminated against just like many women.

First Wave

In 1863, Stanton and Anthony organize the Women’s Loyal National League and gather 300,000 signatures on a petition demanding that the Senate abolish slavery by the constitutional amendment. I do not believe that such a strategy would be very effective for feminist activists today because it takes more than 300,000 signatures on a petition to change or abolish a law. And it is primarily thought and changed by the higher-level people. However, I do believe that racism and classism still divide feminist movements today. Feminist movements are primarily based on the race or class of the person or group. The First Wave was about letting black people have the same freedom as the white. Suffragists may have dealt with the issue of Black suffrage by understanding it more and being more patient for a change. To be a good activist you needed many decent personal characteristics. You needed to be confident, well-educated, and make sure you got your point across in a strong and positive way. You must agree with everything you say and every decision you make. Suffrage is not “on the radar” by many young people today for many reasons. There is a mixed-race in schools, you can not vote until you are eighteen years old, and certain sports are commonly known to be masculine or feminine with no questions asked. There is also a larger percentage of race for one sport rather than another. For example, more African Americans play basketball and football, while more whites play tennis and soccer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Public Policy

States maintain inequality by working with other institutions. They assign roles and distribute resources. States also regulate other institutions and provide guidelines for expected behaviors or roles and channel resources and power. They stay involved in international policy-making. For example, they regulate family, education, economic systems, and religion. As of today, fortunately, I have never experienced discrimination by the state first hand. Years ago white men were the only people allowed to vote, own land, and could have slaves, whom were Native American. Women were also not allowed to vote and were made to stay home and do the housework. Today, women still constitute a small number of candidates for local, state, and national offices. I don’t believe that there will ever be equality in our democracy because there is a tremendously small amount of women in Congress. Congress, today, still illustrates white men domination. I believe there is always going to be a small amount of women involved in any type of government. In order to have a more just state I believe that there needs to be more of an acceptance towards women. There obviously needs to be more women in the government but in order to do that we just realize that women are just as capable as men in many things. Today, I believe, that women are just as or if not more capable than men. Women are definitely more recognized than years ago but there is still a long way to go for there to be full equality.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Feminist Theory

When first beginning to read some things seemed fairly familiar, but I couldn’t believe how many different kinds of feminism there really were. While reading, the thing that caught my eye the most was the fact that universities would want to have single-sex classrooms because if there were men they would dominate the discussion. With having multiple types of feminism, it makes people wonder what really feminism is. We believe feminism to be equality, everyone being treated fairly, regardless of your sex and gender. When women’s studies first came about in universities they were made to write their own textbooks, compile readings lists, develop new curricula, and establish new journals. These classes were made to establish women into the campus communities. Some theories are stereotyped as lesbians and some focus on heterosexual issues. With all these different perceptions on feminism, no one is going to understand the true meaning behind feminism. We under the concept, everyone being treated fairly, but we won’t understand the concept behind lesbians, heterosexuals, and transgender. I was shocked to read that some feminists believe that transgender is wrong. Some view this group as traitors to womanhood. In other words, they are referred to as “fake women”. But some feminists see them as males although they are truly women. I truly don’t believe there is such a thing as a feminist method because each feminist looks at things differently and their methods can be used in multiple ways. The feminist method may give feminists an idea of what and how to study but it’s not something that everyone follows step by step.

Sex and Gender

We define sex as being the biological and physiological characteristics of a person. There are many sex characteristics. Women menstruate, men don’t, and men have testicles, while women don’t. Gender is referred to as the socially constructed roles, activities, and attributes that a given society believes to be appropriate for a man or woman. There are also many gender characteristics. Women typically earn less money than a man in a particular work setting, in Viet Nam, more men typically smoke than women, men are the only ones allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and women are typically distinguished with more housework. I believe masculinity to be aggressive, rational, strong, and dominant. Femininity is more the passive, loving, and intuitive of a person. People “do gender” mostly by the way they are brought up. For example, the type of clothes they dress you in and the way they decorate your room or nursery. I learned to do gender by my parents. They made my room into a girly, pink room and dressed me in girly clothes and bought me many dolls, Barbies, and any other feminine toy. Gender ranking reinforces sexism because you are ranked by your sex and gender. For example, men play football and women play field hockey. Sexism is primarily based on gender. Women are made fun of or laughed at when wanting to try out for a masculine sport. While, when men tryout for a feminine sport they are laughed at in a joking manner, typically not in a manner of being made fun of.


I consider myself a feminist. I think of a feminist being the kind of person that believes

every woman deserves just as much respect as any other man and that women are not always the

weaker sex, regardless of race, class, and or sexual preference it should not matter. I chose

women’s studies because I am a woman, and I do enjoy learning about where we were at one

point and how we have evolved into where we are now. I hope to learn in this class, the

importance of women past and present and the impacts that they had on their society and where

it has led ours now in this current society. I expect to learn more about feminism and famous

women in this course. I hope that I have a better appreciation for what women in past generations

have done to achieve where we are now. Some negative stereotypes of feminism, I think, are

when people here the word “feminist” they automatically assume that it’s something bad. They

think the person is going to be over the top about any and everything that pertains to women. I

believe that some aspects of equality between the sexes has been achieved but there are always

going to be those few people that don’t believe that women should be doing what men do and as

many men that don’t want to admit it, a majority think that whatever women do, men will always

do it better. Especially in a male dominated work force.