In order to change the oppression in this country and in the world, we need to work together. We can fight oppression, racism, sexism, classism, ageism and all of the other isms as a team because I think that more prejudice people can be fought and resisted when there are more people backing the argument up. I feel that I can make a difference in this world as well. As long as I feel strongly enough about the issue at hand, I feel that I can change it- but slowly. Realistically speaking, I know that I cannot change every issue and turn any of the isms completely around. But I do know that I could help one person at a time even if it takes a small act like defending a stranger in a situation where they are facing ridicule or oppression. I truly hate to see someone in that situation, especially when it is a result of something they cannot help. I think that I am part of the “privileged” group, being in the middle class and Caucasian and maybe I can use that to my advantage. For example, if a white woman is making fun of a black woman and I defended the black woman, the white woman may take my advice more seriously than if it was coming from a black woman. I feel that I can help educate others in my sphere of influence by talking to them about oppression and the isms while helping them work through the critical thinking process. I absolutely want to leave the world a better place than when I entered it. I want people to feel equal to one another, and being a mother, this is especially important to me. I want to educate my daughter on life and how to treat people with respect. I want to help her critically think about issues such as this from a young age, and let her know that in some cases like religion, we don’t really know who is “right”.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I think there are many attributes that make a great activist. I think that persistence is key. A good activist may try and work towards a better world and a cause, but a great activist does that and refuses to give up when the going gets tough. A certain level of commitment to the cause is also very important and the issue needs to be important to the person, they need to have some sort of emotional tie to the issue. A great activist also needs to be educated on the subject so that they can be prepared when questions are asked. Finally, a great activist needs to be a critical thinker. When the other end of the issue is brought up, it is fine to defend their case in point, but it is vital to listen to the other end as well. I really enjoyed viewing bell hook’s videos. I love her as an activist and a feminist because she fights for what she believes in in a different way than other activists. I think other activists really push their ideas on you, and bell hooks presents her ideas in a helpful and non threatening way. I love her outlook on feminism. For example, she dissected Madonna in a healthy, realistic way also looking at the positive aspects about her rather than tearing her to shreds.
I would say that my social sphere is absolutely comprised of people of all different ages. The age range is anywhere from 3 weeks old to 85 years old. I engage in conversation and interaction pretty regularly with younger people, as my friends have very young babies and I myself have a 7 month old daughter. I also have a 10 year old sister and 13 and 19 year old brothers. I interact mainly with people in their twenties, which is my age range where my fiancé, myself, friends and family members are comprised in this group. My grandparents make up most of the elderly age group, but I do feel that I come in contact with elderly people often when running errands because they approach my baby.
I agree that our society is segregated due to age. I am not exactly sure why that is, but I wonder if it may have to do with a lack of understanding other generations. An older person may have different values and ideas about what is socially acceptable for example, than a younger person. I think younger people also don’t really have a lot of respect for our elders unfortunately. In general, I think that older people and younger people have different ideas of a “good time”. Some college kids may like to do other activities than an elderly person. Young and middle age adults are advantaged due to their age because they are seen by our society as “ideal” citizens, they are the least draining of the social security system, the most “able” bodied, most attractive and contribute most to the economy.
I think that we need to eliminate age segregation because we can all learn something from one another in different age groups. I think we need to stop putting age requirements on activities such as bingo, or basketball at the YMCA for example. We need to incorporate other groups of people to intermingle together. I think the key is compassion for others and understanding of other people as well as respect. As a culture, I think that we can work on promoting respect for others by emphasizing the good qualities and traits of each age group. We need to promote interaction between these age groups so that stigmas are not placed unknowingly on each group.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Getting older in western society is not the equivalent of getting old in other areas of the world. In other cultures, getting older is a privilege where one moves up the totum pole of wisdom and comes to enjoy family and have a greater appreciation of life. In the US, it is not so. We are absolutely terrified of aging. Everywhere you look there are anti aging products being advertised, and saying “yikes she’s getting older..” is an insult. When my fiancé and I had found out we were expecting, we got a rather interesting attitude about becoming a grandparent from all of our parents. Our baby girl Noelle’s grandparents are of appropriate age, mid to late 50’s, and refuse to be called “papa, nana, grandpa, grandma” etc. They think that automatically enters them into the realm of becoming “old”.
I think that the root cause of ageism is the stigma that our society places around it. Our society does not look at the process of aging with positivity. In the eyes of our western culture, once you are old, you can no longer take care of yourself, you are no longer attractive, can no longer get a new job and are nearing death. I do not think that I am ageist. I think that I actually enjoy ageing and embrace the abundance of new information learned and the new experiences. I respect my elders, and appreciate what they have to say on their own personal experiences and knowledge. This particular “ism” I feel is seldom discussed, but I do believe that it is absolutely everywhere: in every TV show, movie and advertisement. I think many Americans actually avoid the conversation themselves because it is an uncomfortable subject. Many people do not want to face the facts that life is short, and that they are getting older whether the issue is discussed or not.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I found Dianna Russel’s article particularly intriguing. This quote hit me the most- “The relationship between particularly sexually violent images in the media and subsequent aggression...is much stronger statistically than the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.” — Edward Donnerstein, 1983.I do believe that pornography does lead to how men see women. I think the media does more so, but I think that men do follow what they see and like. If misogyny is widely advertised, they are going to think that this idea is perfectly acceptable especially if they do not have a home environment that educates them appropriately on the subject. I think pornography facilitates mistreatment of women and disrespect at the bare minimum and I think it is going to create more problems for us in the future. I think about porn, and I wonder how many women actually would like to participate in these acts. I sometimes wonder if that woman was involved in sex trafficking, was kidnapped or this is the only way that she can support herself. This is so unfortunate and I believe that unless pornography is submitted by both willing partners for whatever reason they choose, it should be abolished. It just trudges too many issues up and makes our society even more violence and power driven. I also think that, what if a young man likes the violent sex he sees in a video online and wants to experience it in real life, so he rapes someone? That young man as well as pornography and the media are all responsible.
The first time that I watched this video was in my RMP 502 course. I am again simply amazed at these people. I think about people that are fully capable of doing these things with half of the amount of effort of the people in this video and they choose not to. The person in this video that struck me the most was the girl with no legs, her upper body strength was impeccable! It’s amazing how often I hear the words “I can’t” from various human beings. Don’t you think that this woman in this video could use this excuse and have it be some what valid? But she did not. She worked hard and made it happen. This video is more than inspirational to me. This dance expands notions of the human body, but I think it is more of an example of the notions of the mind. You can truly do anything you set your mind to. I believe that it took a lot of will power, courage and motivation for the people in this video more so than body strength.
This video can help address the issues surrounding disability by bringing forth the issues that “able bodied” people avoid. It also focused on what these people were able to do instead of what they were not. This can help bring about awareness about the strengths and differences that both people with and without disabilities have. When people without disabilities see that people with a disability can do the same activities or share something in common with them, they may relate to them and become an advocate. Ableism structures our culture heavily. If you have a disability, sometimes you are left in the dust. Not everything is handicapped accessible, and children that have disabilities whether physical or intellectual are segregated. Disability from social security is not enough to live off of, so it’s really difficult to get a job and create a decent living when physically disabled. Society also advertises beautiful, “normal” people and does not feature anyone outside of their model norm. Unless Americans personally know someone who is disabled, it is unlikely that advocating for people with disabilities is a priority to them.
Monday, January 17, 2011
I learned a lot through watching Beautiful Daughters and reading “Trans Woman Manifesto”. I think people in this country have a difficult time putting themselves in other people’s places. Cisgender individuals have freedom in making changes in their life. For example, being a heterosexual female, it is going to be openly accepted if I feel that being a “girly girl” isn’t right for me anymore and shifting into an athletic sporty type… I think that I would be openly accepted in the eyes of many either way. However, transgender individuals do not just wake up one day deciding they want to become someone else. This is a long and thought out process that I can only imagine would be extremely difficult for one to endure. This video and reading really gave me insight into what it would be like and what these people go through on a daily basis. When I try to relate to them, and think of what their reasoning process must be like, it saddens me. I imagine that they would at first go through a bit of denial and try to possibly be what is “accepted” thinking that they might be able to change themselves. I also might think that when that doesn’t work, they may question their sanity or if something is wrong with them that they feel like they are experiencing an “out of body” experience. But the thing is, they are. Imagine feeling like you are not really who you are supposed to be. That must be a terrifying feeling. I could be totally wrong, but these are some feelings I would assume that I personally would feel if this happened to me. It must also be a troubling experience telling the ones that you love, and having the courage to take a stand for what you want out of life and who you think that you’d like to be… no matter if no one stands behind you.
The article also made me think of how “unequal” our American, western society and culture is. We are so unaccepting and so afraid of anyone that is slightly different than us. I don’t believe that there are just two sexes… I believe that there are varying degrees of gender and sex and you can be closer to one than the other, but you can also be in the middle as well. I think transgender people possess many great qualities that many cisgender people do not. The courage to change your identity because you feel that it is right for you, no matter what other people think of you. They also possess wisdom and intuition to know themselves well enough to make that decision. And most of all they possess honesty, to be true to themselves and others as well while revealing and fighting for who they are. Cisgender people need to somehow form an alliance for the transgender group and protect them from other cisgender people that may ridicule the transgender group; I say this mainly because some cisgender people may discredit transgenders so if someone that is more familiar to them says something, they may listen.