Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Although I’ve never quite gotten on board with the fanaticism surrounding the Twilight saga, I don’t deny that the combination of werewolves and vampires, in theory, remains appealing to me. As a feminist, sociologist, agnostic, and hard-headed critical thinker, I am oh-too-familiar with the critiques of the Twilight saga, ranging from accusations of sexism, racism, and usage of Mormon-fueled anti-sex, anti-choice, and anti-female agency rhetoric and undertones. When a friend offered me the chance to borrow her DVD copy of New Moon, I figured a bit of research might prove valuable in shedding a bit more insight into the cult phenomenon of Twilight. There were a few things about New Moon that initially struck me: overall demanding language towards Bella (i.e. Edward: Marry me, Bella. Jacob: Stay away from me, Bella. Charlie: Go to sleep, Bella), the construction of relationships (i.e. obsessive “I can’t life without you” mentality), that women must always be “protected,” and the horrible dialogue (if it is any reflection of the books, I am in no way inspired to become a dedicated Stephanie Meyers fan).
I find reassurance and comfort in knowing that a film and book series written by a woman with a female protagonist has obtained mainstream success due to hoards of mostly dedicated female fans , but do take issue with the potential messages it might be sending younger generations (and older for that matter). After conducting a bit more research on other’s perceptions of New Moon, it appears my critiques are rather kind. Concerns from a group of women writers include the following:
“My problem with it is that Bella’s life is given over to pregnancy, marriage and being a vampire all before she hits 20. I would hope girls aspire to bigger and better things.”
“It’s escapist entertainment for girls, so that part of it is okay, as long as girls don’t have aspirations to be her. “
“The idea of someone watching you while you sleep, following you to ‘protect’ you — these are signs of abusive, controlling relationships.”
Additionally, it’s also a bit sad to find out that the female director for the first Twilight film, Catherine Hardwicke, was replaced by male director Chris Weitz for the second installment.
An article in from Bitch Magazine discusses issues of repressed, controlled, and potentially limiting sexuality portrayed in New Moon (and consistently throughout the saga). Author Kelly Wallace asserts that “though I am not denying that many teenagers feel pressured to engage in sex before they're ready, I am also not willing to deny that many young people just want to get laid, and they have the agency to make their own choices” in regards to the arguably anti-sex, wait-until-marriage mentality of Twilight. Responding to an article reflecting on Twilight’s success by author Jonathan Zimmerman of the Chicago Tribune which states that “women want love, not just sex,” Wallace argues that the popularity of Twilight actually indicates girls DO want sex (think ripped and topless “wolf-pack”). Werewolves aside, the sex-as-taboo message, especially for Bella isn’t hard to locate nor is it necessarily difficult to understand its roots or intended implications. To think, all along I thought Sarah Haskins “vampires” sketch about people waiting until marriage to get bitten was a joke until I saw the end of New Moon when Edward stated the only way he would bite Bella (to turn her into a vampire) is if she married him. Guess you really should wait until marriage to have sex….I mean, get bitten.
There is much that could be said and has been said regarding Stephanie Meyers’ messages, the directing of the Twilight films, and if Edward really is bad for Bella. However, it could also be argued that perhaps Twilight is exactly like so many other predictable and limiting love stories of its time, just re-imagined with supernatural “monsters” that might just scratch your face up or suck your blood if you make them angry.
Monday, March 29, 2010
My New Pink Button is yet another product out there to “beautify” your vagina. My New Pink Button is a powder dye that you apply to your labia. The dye comes in four shades: Marilyn, Bettie, Ginger, and Audry.
Besides the dye being totally and completely offensive to women’s vaginas everywhere, it just appears to be a sketchy product. The website makes it difficult to find out the details about My New Pink Button. Once you find the desired information, the kit makes the product look totally unappealing
Here is the description of how the product was thought up and its features.
My New Pink Button (tm) is a temporary dye to restore the youthful pink color back to your labia. There is no other product like it. This patent pending formula was designed by a female certified Paramedical Esthetician after she discovered her own genital color loss. While looking online for a solution she discovered thousands of other women asking the same questions regarding their color loss. After countless searches revealing no solution available and a discussion with her own gynecologist she decided to create her own. Now there is a solution!
• Bettie - Think of that favorite lipstick you wear for those dressy black tie affairs and think "Bettie". This shade blends with a woman's own skin tones to bring out that "sexy hot pink, I am fired up, look". Go dancing this weekend and remember to bring "Bettie" along!
• Dye System Kit includes 20 disposable applicators, mixing dish, labia colorant dye and instructional guide.
• Our Products are Never Tested on Animals, but it will bring out the Animal in You!
• Easy to use - applies in just one minute - and your pink is back!
• 20 applications per bottle
Unfortunately, there are no safety guarantees. Also, although it is nice for the animals that they are not tested on, one must wonder where and how it’s been tested. Below is the profile of the creator provided on the website.
Friday, March 26, 2010
This Wednesday, March 31 the WRC, in collaboration with the Asian American Center, will be screening the film Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority, in the Illinois room of the Holmes Student Center.
Every woman with aspirations of higher education should know Patsy Mink. In 1965 Mink was the first woman of color elected to the United States Congress. Her liberal independence and outspoken nature often attracted open opposition, even from her own party. Nevertheless, she spoke out against the Vietnam War and fought for the passage of Title IX. Title IX was the groundbreaking legislation that transformed women’s opportunities in higher education and athletics. Mink’s political and social views were ahead of the majority in that she pushed and defied the limits of political thought while adhering to her principles.
Please join the WRC and the AAC as we screen this historical film. Afterwards, Professor Sandra Dawson will lead a discussion about Mink’s efforts to promote equality and persevere through political criticism.
Monday, March 22, 2010
What you should know: A lot of doctors don't even bring up the FC when birth control methods are being discussed. Further, they might remember the older sandwich-bag version of the female condom, so they may not look kindly on the new, improved version.
How it works: It's a plastic ring that you put inside your vagina (as far up as you can manually manage) that releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. You replace it once every three weeks, and go one week without. After that last week, you put a new ring in.
How it works: First some background: when women have periods on the Pill (and other forms of synthetic hormone-based birth control methods), they're not actually periods, they're withdrawal bleeds. So with continuous birth control you're skipping the placebo period that would usually create the bleeding. You can achieve continuous birth control either by skipping the placebo week with regular birth control methods such as the Pill, or you can use pills expressly designed for continuous use and period suppression, which may give you a period only four times or even just once a year.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Of the 15,000 varsity head coaches in the country Randolph is the only female. But this significant fact does not seem to be of great importance to Randolph. In an interview with NPR Randolph states "[w]hile I'm proud to be part of what this all means . . . being female has nothing to do with it. I love football. I love football, I love teaching, I love these kids. My being female has nothing to do with my support and respect for my players on the field and in the classroom."
The Washington Post reports that the last female head coach appointment was in 1985. However, after only one day on the job, Wanda Oates was removed after the school received pressure from other coaches who did not want to coach against her. Fortunately, this time around Randolph seems to have the support of her district and her team.
I am incredibly excited that Randolph will be joining the sports leaders of the country, and I hope her performance will encourage other women to do the same. I am also impressed with her focus on the sport and her team in the face of the media frenzy calling her a “pioneer” and her appointment “historic”. While those observations certainly seem true, the point is that she is qualified and capable of doing this job, and that’s why she is the varsity head coach.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Rethinking Sexualization with Julia Serano
As a feminist, biologist and femme-identified trans-woman, Julia Serano has a unique perspective on feminine gender expression. Sexualization occurs when sexuality is non-consensually imposed upon a person, or when a person is reduced to their sexual body or behaviors. Julia moves beyond an examination of the ways in which women are often sexualized by men in our culture and explores less familiar forms of sexualization. Join the WRC and Julia Serano to learn why sexualization is such an effective tactic to intimidate and invalidate people and what we can do, as individuals, to confront and challenge sexualization.
DATE: Monday, March 22
TIME: 7-9 p.m.
LOCATION: Capitol Room, Holmes Student Center
Co-Sponsors: Psychology Department, Unity in Diversity, Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Campus Activities Board, Women’s Studies Program, and LGBT Studies.
Please attend and invite friends! Also, check out previous WRC blogs for more information related to Julia’s area of specialization:
Monday, March 15, 2010
One example of this was the Archdiocese of Denver decision to kick the two students out of school because their parents were in a same-sex relationship. The choice to kick out these young children, one a preschool student and the other in kindergarten, was supported by the Archbishop Charles Chaput. Chaput’s rational was, as change.org put it, “since the Catholic Church believed gay marriage was sinful, then they had every right to view the children of gay parents as unworthy of a Catholic school education”
Fortunately, many Catholics are not behind this outrageous decision. A Colorado Catholic group has developed an ad (see below) and campaign against the Denver Archdiocese’s decision.
This story hits close to home for me because I was raised on the Southside of Chicago in an Irish Catholic neighborhood and I am a member of the LGBT community. Although I am not a practicing Catholic, I know many people who had many personal qualms with how the Catholic Church dealt with LGBT issues. Many of my gay friends would try to ignore the Church’s views on sexuality, wanting to follow Catholicism. This most recent action taken by the Catholic Church alienates those trying to follow the religion even further even causing an uproar that crosses divisions of sexual orientation.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
While this app may give some women more control over their health and sexual lives, some are skeptical about the app’s capabilities. Bitch magazine comments on how in order for the application to be most accurate, a woman must know how long her menstrual cycle and luteal phases are. Since the luteal phase is not easily ascertainable, the app uses the average length of 14 days which lessens the accuracy of the apps predictions. But on the other hand, this technology could facilitate more meaningful conversations with significant others and doctors by providing an easy way to compile and track information about a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Of course this isn’t the only app out there like this. Similar applications include, iMensies, iPregnancy, Menstrometer, PMS Buddy, and FemDays. I guess it’s a good thing that there is such an interest in gathering information about women’s body’s, but absent a trained professionals interpretation, the accuracy of these apps conclusions should be taken with a grain of salt.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
"The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,"
Furthermore, Marshall went on to state:
"Looking at it from a cultural, historical perspective, this organization should be called 'Planned Barrenhood' because they have nothing to do with families; they have nothing to do with responsibility,"
There are so many factual inaccuracies in these statements, but I will focus on the two things that are blatantly wrong with this occurrence.
First, does anyone remember that little legal decree where the United States adopted a stance of Separation of Church and state? As a political science major, I respect the importance of differing views on contentious issues, such as abortion. I could not imagine ever forcing my religious or personal beliefs onto the general public. Part of a democracy is having the freedom and ability to disagree, but when you start forcing your views onto people it becomes a dictatorship (or in this case a theocracy)
Next, it appears that Marshall is not aware of what Planned Parenthood really does. Planned Parenthood offers more than just abortion services, they offer things like:
· Gynecological exams
· STI diagnosis and treatment
· Breast exams
· Male reproductive heal services
· Pregnancy testing and options counseling
· Birth control
· AND educational programming
Perhaps Marshall should think about his role as a public representative and do a little fact checking before he makes unfounded claims.