Friday, February 22, 2008

"I'm already pregnant so what other kind of shenanigans can I get into?"

Image Via

I finally saw Juno. I think I am the last feminist alive to see it but I am not a big movie goer. Not really in the mood to go into an analysis of it but I enjoyed it a whole lot. If not for the atrocious indie-gross sound track I'd even go so far as to say I love it. By the end I felt like I was going to puke if I heard one more f-ing mopey guitar riff.

Maybe I'll write more later but for now I'll just say that I LOVE any movie about teenage pregnancy that does not make the young woman look like a victim. Yay!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"You're Fat and You Need to Ride Your Bike"

Somebody sent me a link to this video at my HollaBack Chicago site. WTF?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Is Feminism Colonialism?

When I would discuss feminist issues, my ex would occasionally argue that feminism is no different than colonialism. He would compare me to a missionary going into another country to spread Christianity. The same comparison works for other types of colonialism as well. Though I quite fervently disagreed with him, my globalization, transnationalism and gender course has caused me to rethink my position.

The authors that we discussed in class tonight argued that liberal and radical feminisms (or, arguably, 'first wave' and 'second wave' feminisms) were exclusive and dogmatic. They often represented 'women' as a homogenous category in order to lobby for change either within the system or outside of it. The post-structural and post-colonial/third world feminist critique of these feminisms is that they really only benefit middle to upper class white women in the United States and parts of Europe. Making feminism into an exclusive club limits the voices that we hear and the progressive change that we can affect. And of course, it made feminism irrelevant for so many women!

I have long considered myself to be a post-structural/post-modern/quasi-socialist feminist with Marxist leanings (take that!!). But I am starting to wonder whether all feminisms by their very nature as political movements aren't just additional forms of colonialism. If we give feminism a certain set definition and we hold on to some utopian vision, whatever that might be, then we must believe that our ideology is superior to others and our goal must be to sway all people to our position. Why spend so much time reading, writing and re-writing theory if this were not true?

When I write for this blog I am trying to convince anyone who will listen that there is something wrong with American media; that portrayals of gender in media are hurting people and that feminist analysis can help. And I do firmly believe that. Of course, as a post-structuralist I believe that there are many layers of meaning embedded in every image and that interpretations of images and their effects are wide and varied. Still I wonder if my strong ideological stance as a feminist does not mirror the ideologies of the Christian missionaries or the European colonists. In fact, I think that the argument could be made that feminism isn't all that different from some religion only it is less centralized and much less organized.

This thought is really frightening to me because I have been recovering from Catholicism since I was sixteen and I certainly don't want to utilize similar techniques for disseminating knowledge that I believe to be enlightening. But I wouldn't be a feminist if I didn't think that feminism could or would improve the lives of anyone who embraced it.

One of my classmates suggested that we just need to remember to check ourselves. That if we never settle into a comfortable ideological position and constantly challenge our own beliefs we can avert some of those tendencies. She also suggested that we need to remember to see ourselves as part of the system for better or for worse. Imagining ourselves as transcendent is the epitome of modernity.

I am not sure I have any answers to offer here. Tonight my feminism experienced a major challenge. I guess that is a good thing.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

How Privileged Am I?

Got this survey from Racialicious. They do a pretty good analysis of the problems with this survey but I found it interesting anyway. Anything in green is a true statement for me.

If your father went to college

If your father finished college

If your mother went to college
If your mother finished college

If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor (All of the above actually)
If you were the same or higher class than your high school teachers (Exact same)
If you had a computer at home
If you had your own computer at home (When I was in college)
If you had more than 50 books at home

If you had more than 500 books at home (I probably do now... or will by the time I get my degree)
If were read children’s books by a parent
If you ever had lessons of any kind

If you had more than two kinds of lessons
If the people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
If you had a credit card with your name on it

If you have less than $5000 in student loans (way, way, way, way more)

If you have no student loans (HA!)
If you went to a private high school (elementary school)
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
If you have been to Europe
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels
If all of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall (My mom was thrifty)
If your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (HA!)
If there was original art in your house
If you had a phone in your room (Do cell phones count?)
If you lived in a single family house
If your parents own their own house
or apartment
If you had your own room (I have been very lucky to always have my own room)
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course (Probably should have)
If you had your own cell phone in High School (Just senior year)
If you had your own TV in your room in High School
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline (Never! Really!)
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family