Passing is about performance. Passing is about presentation. Passing is about appearance and external markers of identity. Because most of the world only knows each of us through how we look, and we never get to explain our inner nuances to them, then they only see us for what we are the outside. They make assumptions for what our outward selves signify for our inner selves. Our identity and beliefs are assumed from a quick glance. Usually people think of gender or race with the topic of passing, but passing can involve a huge range of personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, religion, disability or ability, job occupation, level of education, intelligence, economic class, and social status. Passing can signify any personal characteristic of identity.
Easter has almost come and gone and I am once again reminded that I walk a thin line between my religion and my feminism. For the last month, I have been doing a lot more thinking about how sometimes my religion and my feminist beliefs conflict. I find it hard to believe that my God loves me but also doesn’t believe that I am a second-class citizen. Feminism and Religion have long been on separate paths but it time to see that the two can and should work together.
I would like to note that I don’t have many experiences with other religions besides the one I was raised in, which is Catholicism. I will try my best to bring in other religions and if I get something wrong please let me know.
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler, published in 1999, is a key text for feminist theory, queer theory, and continental philosophy. She wrote several other books on gender and has a position as a professor at the University of California Berkeley. Her books are regarded as difficult to read due to their long, unstructured sentences and many references to other philosophers that it is assumed the reader knows. Regardless, I still think her work is valuable because of its contributions to the larger field of gender theory and how we think about gender today. I will give a summary of Gender Trouble, explaining the concepts she covers.
I was recently sitting in one of my Journalism and Mass Media courses “interviewing” one of the female faculty here on campus who is a professor in the JAMM major, and something struck me as she spoke. During the “interview,” she spoke about the fact that female journalists find it hard to get ahead in the industry not only because of sexism within it, but also because being successful as a journalist while also having a family is extremely difficult. She said that because it’s incredibly difficult to be a journalist and report on breaking news if you have children that need to be taken care of and can’t travel freely. Now, since I want to be a successful journalist while also having a family, this concerned me. It made me think that there is the possibility that I will have to give up one for the other. Continue reading “Love or Livelihood: Women’s Choice?”→
This is a story about crying and feeling. When I was a little, little girl, I would cry so often and so hard that I was gasping for air, and then I would pass out. Later, as a child, and especially as an adolescent, I was ashamed of crying. I saw it as a manifestation of my own weaknesses, exposed for the whole watching world to witness. I tried to convince myself that I should not feel or care about anything because then I would never be hurt enough to cry. I held my tears in for months at a time, only for them burst out violently when least expected, when they had been held in for too long. I had developed an elaborate metaphor to justify this, involving stuffing a suitcase so full of emotions that I had to sit on it just to keep it closed. When I did cry, the suitcase exploded, and all the things I had been holding in for the past six months would have to be unpacked, in the same way that one unpacks a suitcase when they are at their destination. Typically, this occurred while laughing because, for me, laughing and crying are fundamentally connected. Laughing is a way of crying that is more socially acceptable. Both are a feeling of bodily release of emotions. I would laugh so hard that I could not breath, then the laughing would come too close to the feeling of crying, and I would start sobbing. When this happened, it was very confusing for my companions and me because my laughing and crying noise sound scarily similar. Honestly, this still happens sometimes, and my laughing and crying still sound remarkable similar. However, this year, I understand the flaws in all of this logic. I know that crying is good. I know that expressing emotion is healthy. I know that feeling and caring is better than the alternative. I know that being vulnerable is valuable. I revel in my emotion.
Relationships seem to be dominated by men. Whether this is because of the social/cultural expectation that men are supposed to be powerful, or because they are always assumed to be the dominate gender, I’m not sure. I think that it is a mixture of both. Men are seen as in control; they make the first move, pay for dates, buy gifts, etc. This idea that a man should be the head of the relationship has been around since the dawn of patriarchy, but the American expectations in relationship related behavior seems to be heavily based on the traditional 1950’s “American Dream” ideal. Continue reading “Romance and the Hidden Woman”→
If you flip through any book about art, from any time, on any movement, the artists that will be featured are primarily men. Historically, women’s relationship with art has not been a good one. Women have been involved in art in one of two ways. The first is when women were subjects of paintings and objects of male desire. Nude portraits, which have been prominent since the Renaissance, are predominantly of women. In addition, the women in these portraits are presented as shy, demure, and pleasing to men. They do not look at the viewer, but instead look off to the side, which shows weakness. They are lounged in a way that displays their sexuality for the pleasure of the viewer, but they in no way own their own sexuality.