Every part of our lives is stereotyped and put into boxes – our class, our education, our gender, our sexuality, and our love. This is frustrating and wrong because love should be the most free, open, and genuine part of life. Instead, it is limited by strict normalized gender roles and heteronormativity. These place implied expectations and create assumptions based on one’s role as the man or the woman in the relationship. Because of this, the possibilities of what love can be are limited. Openness, comfort, and self-love on the individual level also create these characteristics in a relationship. However, these traits are stifled by what is considered “normal” and people’s attempts to conform to it. There is potential to expand the possibilities of how people love through looking at the queer community and through a vision of a post-heterosexual world. I acknowledge that this is a very broad topic. I am only going to do a brief survey of how I think queerness could help us move beyond the boundaries and institutions in place today, but I am aware of the infiniteness of this topic.
When we think of the 1950s today, we think of a time of extremely biased gender stereotypes and strict gender roles. This affected every aspect of life, including one’s daily routine, school, politics, culture, movies, and even art. However, there are more nuances to the gender dynamic in the 1950s than simply very masculine men and very feminine women. Within the Abstract Expressionist art movement, women were treated similar to how they were in general society, but the expectations on them were more complex. Being both women and artists allowed the social requirements for women to be placed on them while also having to play the role of the artist. Simultaneously, they were supposed to be mothers and wives because they were women, but at the same time were not supposed to be mothers or wives because they were artists. They were supposed to support their husbands, many of whom were artists, but if they wanted to be taken seriously then they should prioritize their own art. Additionally, because of the subject matter of Abstract Expressionism, women were not only navigating the art world and social world, but they were also featured as negative themes in many paintings by men.
Abstract Expressionist was a prominent avant-garde art movement in New York City during the 1950s in the United States. Even though this movement features primarily male artists, female artists complicated the expectations of their gender. The gender dynamics of the 1950s in America were deeply imbedded within Abstract Expressionism through interactions between the artists and through the art itself. Men, such as William de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko, dominated Abstract Expressionism. All of these artists projected extreme masculinity through their art practice and mannerisms. At the same time, several female artists, such as Elaine de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and Lee Krasner, were aware of this and were trying to find a space for themselves and for success through their own work.
Last week I talked about consent in the context of sex. This week I want to take a closer look at consent and see the environments where consent operates, outside of sex. One of those environments is for individuals that are intersex. According to the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), “‘Intersex’ is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” As ISNA expands their definition, they emphasize that the term “Intersex” is a “socially-constructed” category that comes from our society’s ideas about gender and sex and what it means to be normal. Continue reading “A Child’s Right to Choose: Intersex Dilemmas and Consent”→
A few months ago I explored a topic many women feel uncomfortable talking about, their periods and how important it is to feel empowered, confident and beautiful during that time of the month.
I also shared how a menstrual cup changed my life by making my period no big deal. My menstrual cup saved me money, gave peace of mind, and gave me the opportunity to learn more about my body.
Since that exploration, I have discovered THINX underwear. I have heard of reusable menstrual pads before that work great, but these are underwear designed specifically for your period. THINX said that they see a world where no woman is held back by her body. They claim that they will work proudly and tirelessly until every single girl has an equal opportunity for the brighter future she deserves. This kind of thinking is exactly what I was encouraging back in January. Our time of the month doesn’t have to be miserable, but it can be a small reminder of the beauty of being a woman.
I have not yet tried THINX underwear, but I have done a lot of research for those that may not feel comfortable using a menstrual cup. A reusable pad or THINX underwear is a less invasive way of making our menstrual cycles easier. The THINX underwear is made out of a patented technology that keeps the wearer clean and dry. The underwear is also antibacterial, so you don’t have to worry about feeling dirty. They are super easy to clean and come in many different styles.
After writing about menstrual cups, my friends have came forward and have shared their experiences with alternative feminine products. Since there is a learning curve to using a menstrual cup, I think using THINX in addition to a menstrual cup would be a perfect combination in case of leaking. THINX is a great environmentally-friendly alternative to disposable tampons and pads, and are far safer than the chemicals that are in traditional feminine products.
If you have been experimenting with alternative menstrual products like reusable pads or a menstrual cup, and have found something you love, please share what works for you. You never know whether or not you could help a fellow woman out.
Over the years, I have experienced pain. I have experienced physical pain when I was a waitress and when I had other tedious, labor intensive jobs. I have experienced emotional pain when I lost my grandfather this past January. These times I have confided in my friends, family and my doctor in order to find some relief by talking to someone.
It is a common misconception in this country that women who come into a health facility exaggerate their amount of pain.
This misconception has led to many misdiagnoses and for some it has altered their lives drastically.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian-style tale set in a radically theocratic America. The regime, called Gilead, has classified women into based on fertility and obedience, with different ranks identified by their unique uniform. All women are completely stripped of their rights—everything from reading to purchasing power—and are sorted into classes to divide and control them. Handmaids are fertile women who serve as surrogate wombs for the Commanders and their aging wives. The Wives—women married to the powerful Commanders—are reduced to days of knitting, gardening, and waiting for their Handmaid to give birth to their children. Handmaids are completely powerless, and everywhere they go, there are Eyes—the military division of the Gilead regime—watching and waiting to kill them for any misbehavior.
One reviewer writing for The Verge called it “1984 for feminists… but a lot scarier”. This theocratic society has based its societal revolution on a passage in the book of Genesis about Jacob’s wife, Rachel, allowing her handmaid to conceive Jacob’s child on her behalf. This passage is recited in the book during the monthly ceremony in which the Commander attempts to impregnate the Handmaid under the Wife’s watchful eye. If a Handmaid cannot reproduce, she is sent to a labor internment camp with other Unwomen—old and infertile women who are no longer valuable to the society. Handmaids are only containers for babies, and nothing more. Continue reading “Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”: A not-so-improbable dystopian world”→
I am always on the lookout for new and exciting books to read into the late hours of the night. When I say new and exciting, I mean novels that are not about the same (white) damsel-in-distress waiting for her prince, or another teen angst book complaining about life. These books seem to be so popular, compared to the underrepresented African American, Asian American, or Latin American protagonist, and let’s not even mention the lack of representation of lesbian, gay, or transgendered characters. Go to any bookstore and you can find a multitude of books on elves, vampires, and witches, but trying to find a book on transgendered teens is nearly impossible.