Whelp, it’s that time of year again the libraries are filled to capacity where noise of any kind is met with evil stares and death threats, everyone is offering to use their dining dollars for you, and every student seems on the verge of hysterical laughter, or crying, or fits of rage and most likely a combination of all three. It can only mean one thing! The end of the semester is finally here! And it has been quite a journey. As most of the bloggers have done I would like to take this time to reflect on my experiences this year, especially as they concern my time with ShoutOut!
Unless you’ve been living in a cave or the Midwest, you’ve noticed spring (weather) is finally here! Yes, the beautiful time of year when the birds are back, flowers are blooming, and the thaw of winter is behind us. With the return of the sun comes the return of outdoor recreational reading. There’s nothing I love more about my outdoor porch than curling up in my favoring chair, and with a glass of lemonade beside me flipping the pages of a wonderful book between my hands. One such book I had the pleasure of reading was The Guy’s Guide to Feminism. It’s a brief but well written read that’s sure to fit into anyone’s schedule and personal feminist level.
Fire is contradicting in almost every sense. While it brings warmth and comfort, it can also be destructive and deadly. Historically, fire was a sign for life and sustenance. Being so difficult to capture in its early discovery, fire was often sacred and used in ceremonies to appease Gods of all religions. Today fire is dangerous, often associated with wrath and pain. Fire is also figuratively seen as power, strength and will. A more befitting word couldn’t have been used to entitle Steig Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire; a novel that’s deadly to the core, but oh so delightful to behold.
Like its predecessor, the plot focuses on the two progressing storylines of its heroes, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Without any spoilers, the duo’s unrelated lives are interwoven beautifully, to finally unite in the Everest-proportioned climax and explosive cliffhanger. In this novel we find Lisbeth scornful of Blomkvist’s indiscretion, and hell-bent in shutting him out of her life for good. For Blomkvist, having restored his place in Millennium magazine, he is keenly interested in the mud raking potential a new story brought in by an aspiring journalist Dag Svensson. Dag presents several years of investigation into human trafficking and sexual violence that links many high ranking officials in government and the police force. It’s a scandal of monumental proportions that could not only set Dag on the map, but also bring Millennium up from the brink of bankruptcy. Continue reading
Great Oden’s Raven! This week, I’ve decided to write my Feminist Lens Movie Review about the 2004 comedy, Anchorman.
But why Anchorman, you might ask? The answer is two-fold. First, I have a bunch of choices, many of which fall under the horror/action/thriller genres. Anchorman is very different in that regard. Second, despite presenting a shiny veneer of feminism and equality, the movie still contains a number of problematic elements. So grab your popcorn and bust out that Sex Panther cologne from your private stash—it’s time for another edition of the Feminist Lens.
Warning: This blog contains images of non-sexualized nudity, nevertheless, they may be considered graphic and/or disturbing to some.
A few months ago I was struck with an undeniable, insatiable obsession with Africa. Don’t start thinking about the continent unless you are truly prepared – it sucks you in and doesn’t let go. The first day of classes this semester I made the rash decision to drop Advanced Composition in favor of an eight week crash course on the Modern History of Africa. The experience has been awesome thus far and I have learned a lot, but if there is one thing that stand out above all else, it is that it is impossible to study Africa’s modern social, economic, and political problems without recognizing that these current issues are rooted in a long history of colonialism and exploitation.
I include this because as I realized that it was impossible to disentangle the past from the present in Africa, I noticed that the theory also applied to the current status of women. Often, what is taken for granted as cultural and societal “norms” are actually reflections of public policy and imposed national attitudes of the past, some of which are incredibly damaging to women, both mentally and physically. Therefore, today I am introducing a new series called “Imposed Cultures,” and exploring here in the first installment a subject that has long been of interest to me – the erasure of natural childbirth in America. Continue reading
Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions, right? But what if these opinions are actually not always politically correct? This is what happened to me recently last weekend. I was meeting up with some of the fellow bloggers of Shout Out and we were going to chat about feminism over dinner and some wine. One of us made a post on Facebook that we were going to meet later that night to talk about feminism. And it being social media and all of course this news ran like wild fire and offended a person to whom we knew.
So this person on their Twitter account made a comment on what they thought about feminism. They had said, and I am paraphrasing because you technically should not copy tweets, that they decided they had a huge hatred toward feminists. They compared feminists to being racist and being a feminist gives women a bad name. After I read that I didn’t feel too happy about that comment since it was geared toward my fellow bloggers and me. But after talking about feminism to other people for a while I know I am going to run into those people who don’t understand what feminism is exactly.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been beyond stressed out lately. Maybe it’s because I haven’t slept much in the last week. Maybe it’s because I’m struggling to juggle a full-time job, a full course load, and still maintain some kind of social life.
Whatever the reason is, I am sick and tired of being a feminist. I’m tired of constantly defending myself, of trying to explain things. Like all of this:
I am tired of female politicians getting asked silly, vapid questions. As if who your favorite designer is has ANY impact on your ability to lead.
I am tired of having to walk down the quad after class and listen to a group of fraternity brothers refer to people as “fags,” as if being LGBTQ is an insult.
I am tired of hearing my male friends complain about being “friendzoned.” I am tired of the idea that just because you are nice to a girl and give her a shoulder to lean on, she should automatically fall in love with you and/or enter into a sexual relationship with you.
I’m sick and tired of listening to male politicians trying to make decisions about MY body. I’m tired of people like Paul Ryan, the VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE of the Republican Party, trying to argue that RAPE is a form of conception.
I’m tired of not being able to have a conversation about poverty in America without someone bringing up “welfare queens.” Just like Melissa Harris-Perry, I am sick of hearing that poor people are lazy, that they don’t work hard, that single mothers struggling to make ends meet just want to suck on the government tit.
I’m tired of telling people that I write and edit for a feminist blog and getting looks of disdain and dismissal. I’m tired of people assuming anything about me or my sexuality because I’m a feminist. I’m tired of being told that I make a big deal out of “stupid” things. I’m tired of being told to learn to take a joke. I’m tired of my very righteous anger being dismissed as the rantings of a silly young person who will calm down once she’s out of school.
Here at ShoutOut!, we’re always thinking of new and exciting ways that we can discuss feminism in the blogosphere. As with any website, we realize how important it is to keep things fresh and exciting. So this year, we’ve decided to scrap our old features, Mythbustin’ Monday and The Bitchin’ Table, and start a new one, Feminist Roots.
Every Monday, we’ll be discussing the feminist beginnings and beliefs of ourselves, faculty members, or members of the Harrisonburg community. Not only will this be a great way to share our stories, but it will also be a way for our readers to make connections to fellow feminists, find out about exciting classes, and meet some of the amazing professors we have in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. So, without further ado, I’m so pleased to introduce you to the Chair of our program, Dr. Jessica Davidson!
I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Davidson, or Jessie, as I call her outside the classroom, my very first semester at JMU in Fall 2008. She was the instructor of my Intro to Women’s Studies course, AND a history professor at JMU (in case you hadn’t figured out from my blogger name, I’m a history major). Her course had a MAJOR impact on my feminism, and introduced me to great books like Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I stayed in touch with Dr. Davidson throughout my first years at JMU, and my junior year she asked me to intern with her to assist with all of the planning for Women’s History Month 2011. That same year I took her FANTASTIC course titled Women and Fascism, and started babysitting her amazing boys. I guess what I’m getting at is that Dr. Davidson has been my biggest mentor in life, especially in college. But more on that later.