To My Professor…

7 Dec

Hello Nidzara!

I am definitely not new to the blogging world. I’ve maintained a Tumblr in the past! But as I mentioned before, I really don’t have the attention span and determination to keep up a blog (or any type of writing besides poetry), so my Tumblr wasn’t very successful. Here’s the link if you’re interested in seeing it! Caution: it’s definitely more immature and vulgar (but no explicit images!).

I’m actually no stranger to starting a blog for a class. The past spring semester, I took a Composing Self class, and we also had to regularly maintain a blog. Of course, I also made it about social activism whenever I could 🙂

I think the idea of maintaining a blog for an English class is definitely an interesting one.  Although your writing is publicized to the world, there’s a level of informality to blogging that makes it seem less intimidating as a student. I did struggle from time to time, because there were often weeks when I had absolutely no idea what to write about, but I eventually pulled it off.

Honestly, I don’t plan on continuing this blog, and I think it’s just because maintaining one in a school environment just seems unnaturally to me. When I blog for my own pleasure, there’s no specific structure I have to abide to. I don’t feel the need to keep up a level of formality and sophistication, which can be quite draining at times. I don’t have to follow a specific instruction from a professor that will shape my post differently than I may have intended, no matter how loose that instruction is. I’m sure you can see what I mean when you look at my Tumblr blog.

However, I definitely did learn a lot from this course that could help me out. I realize now how important it is to have a specific purpose and to have a consistent intended audience in order for your blog to be successful. In order for your voice to be heard, it needs to be strong, stable, and consistent. I think those are lessons that I will carry out throughout the rest of my life when it comes to writing.

Coincidentally, I was just thinking this morning that I should continue my Tumblr blog. I think I’m going to do that. But I don’t think I’ll focus on a specific purpose or intended audience. I’m really not interested in gaining a massive audience, but just to have a form to express myself and have it publicized. I did pop music album reviews in the past for this blog, and I think I’m going to continue that. 🙂

Thanks for being an awesome teacher!

Michael

Aside

Feminism and Social Media and…Willow Smith?

29 Nov

I wouldn’t say that my interest for feminism stemmed from social media, but I definitely think that social media helped support my views and introduce me to new ideas and theories. I think the two types of social media that really helped me engage in this topic were Facebook and blogs.

Facebook is nifty because it allows you to create specific interest groups where many different people can discuss and share their ideas about a particular topic. When I first became interested in feminism, I joined the feminist student organization on my campus. While the club was great, it only met once a week, with an occasional event every month or so. It was difficult to connect with other feminists and share ideas. However, I soon realized that the organization had a Facebook group, and so I joined it. Note that this was towards the end of my Freshman year. To this day, as a Senior, I still frequent this group, and new posts are being made every day. It seriously is my main outlet for finding out current news that can be analyzed through a feminist perspective. For example, I would have never known that Willow Smith’s mother is a feminist!

Speaking of that article on her mother, it’s actually part of one of the most successful feminist blogs on the internet, and one that I really admire. Blogs are the other social media outlet that really helped me find new ideas and perspectives. Sometimes, I get this silly thought that all of this feminist theories and jargon I’m learning is only known at my university. But blogs reassure me that this is the lingo used all around the nation!

Feministing.com (awkward name, I know) is a fantastic feminist blog founded by Jessica Valenti. Her book, Full Frontal Feminism, is a book that I recommend anyone, male or female, to read if they’re new to the concept of feminism.

The blog itself is composed by a team of feminist writers who post on various popular topics. It’s essentially a current news website through a feminist perspective! And of course the writers include a touch of attitude to keep you entertained. I’d recommend you take a look and find an article you’re interested in!

Masculinity is Self-Inflicting

15 Nov

If we look at traits that are tied with masculinity, – power, toughness, courage – at first glance, it seems that men are associated with positive descriptions. However, when we examine how masculinity is used to govern how men behave, then we begin to see how it can harm men too. Boys, through many institutions such as media, education, and even the family, are socialized to achieve an ideal masculinity. This is taught by rules such as “real men don’t cry,” or “men should be independent.” Men are governed by words like “pussy,” “wuss,” “gay,” and many others so that they can retain their masculinity.

These institutions dictate how a man should look like and act like; however, this ideal masculine man is essentially impossible to attain, yet all men aspire to this image. As a result, this ideal masculinity creates a rigid box of what men are allowed to do.

I was really intrigued by this, and several months ago, I actually conducted a survey in which I asked men questions regarding their masculinity and whether they felt a pressure to be more masculine. I surveyed 61 men, the majority currently studying in a university. I posted the results to those questions in the link below:

http://michaelboone13.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/research-assignment-effects-of-masculinity/

To sum up my results: my inclination was right.

When asked if they felt a pressure to be masculine:

45.9% said DEFINITELY

24.6% said YES

27.9% said KIND OF

and only 1.6% said NO

So it’s no secret that this pressure exists.

I also asked if they thought they would feel happier without this pressure:

30.0% said MUCH HAPPIER

41.7% said HAPPIER

11.7% said NOT MUCH

16.7% said NO EFFECT

So if the majority of men feel like they would be happier without this self-surveillance system, why do we uphold it?!

Want to know what’s even more striking? There’s been research done that shows that men who have tested higher on masculinity seem to be more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease than men who tested lower.

But if you really think about it, it’s not that striking. By trying to fit men into a narrow box of what’s acceptable, it’s quite possible that it’s done some kind of damage to our psychological health, which in turn affects our physiological health.

Debunking Myths

2 Nov

MYTH: Feminism is about women being superior to men.

FACT: Feminism is about striving for equal opportunities for both men and women.  The reason feminism mainly focuses on women is because women are the ones with far less opportunities due to their gender, which is represented in issues such as unequal pay and less females working in the government.

 

MYTH: All feminists are man haters.

FACT: Most feminists do not hate men at all. Instead of hating men, they hate the system – a patriarchy – that creates and maintains a society in which men have more privileges and opportunities than women. No single person established this system, so feminists simply hate the system and try to bring it down.

 

MYTH: All feminists are hairy, masculine lesbians.

FACT: Feminists come in all kinds of shapes in sizes. Some of the most feminine women I know are self-proclaimed feminists and have done a lot to contribute to the movement. Men who also believe in the equity of all genders can be feminists, too.

 

MYTH: A true feminist should not wear make-up.

FACT: Yes, while daily application of make-up does suggest that women are emphasized more for their beauty than their skills and wit, this does not mean that a woman is not a feminist in doing so. A true feminist can still put on make-up, but is cognitively aware that she feels compelled to do so because of patriarchy’s emphasis on women’s beauty.

 

MYTH: Feminists can only achieve their goals at the expense of men. Men have nothing to gain from feminism.

FACT: Women and men both have a lot to gain from this movement. As shown in my previous blog posts, feminism can also liberate men from restricting and rigid roles of society. Feminism supports that men should not be considered weak if they’re emotional or dependent.

 

MYTH: Women have already gained everything they need from the feminist movement. They can vote, go to college, and live independently.

FACT: This ideology is common of the feminist backlash that persists in our current generation. Although core human rights such as voting have been achieved, there are still many facets of life in which women are disadvantaged. Women still take care of most of the house work in a given family. Working women not only tend to receive less pay than their male counterparts, but businesses are also not very accommodating to pregnant women or mothers. Society focuses far more on women’s beauty than their skillsets, giving them less opportunities overall. And these are just a few examples.

The Real Reason Guys Should Hate Twilight

26 Oct

So for my English midterm project, I was examining the conjoined blog and web series called Feminist Frequency. It’s a fantastic series made by Anita Sarkeesian that looks at current pop culture through a feminist perspective. I recommend you all check it out! She brings some interesting points and really backs them up with examples.

I stumbled upon this video while analyzing her series, and I thought it was fitting for the blog:

Pretty funny, right? But she also brings up some great points!

It’s a shame that most guys think Edward from Twilight is terrible because he’s too sensitive or too “gay” (he’s madly in love with a woman, how is that gay?!). As Anita already pointed out, Edward is already emotionally abusive, but the rest of the male population thinks that isn’t even good enough! No, they want him to be physically abusive too! Isn’t anyone seeing how twisted that is of our culture?

Now, that isn’t to say that Edward can’t be a bad ass vampire that fights and drinks blood – after all, there were some scenes that he’s done that. The issue here is that guys who saw this movie are looking at the wrong places to justify why Edward is a terrible character, and this issue is because of how men are brought up to be tough and violent.

Now say it with Anita: I hate Twilight because Edward is a creepy, manipulative, overprotective stalker.

Don’t Just Hear. Listen.

5 Oct

WARNING: Videos and poems may be triggering.

 

 

Too Early

by Tara Hardy from “Bring Down the Chandeliers”

 

The ones who’ve been fucked too early
are beautiful. The way their hinges hang

from their hips, frames without doors. Doors
lost long ago, knobs and all. Breezes

breathe through them in places that whistle
conversely, tissue twisted so tightly

ribbons of scars trail behind. The way we lean
like we’re gonna fall

over, but don’t. The way our love
is like an earthquake-

nothing that lives beyond
is ever the same. I love that we’re open-

eyed, not afraid of anything because we’ve already
been sucked up by the storm and spit

out. To live beyond being beached
by a tornado is bound to produce a freak

child with too much light
in her eyes, not enough cotton in her

ears. We hear everything. Can accommodate
all of you, but only if we want to. There’s not another

like the one who’s been done too early. Not another
YES as open as the heartland sky, or a mouth mid-

scream. Our hearts are mouths mid-scream, swim
inside our ribs at your own, and only, risk.

Just Another Love Spell

by me

One look at his face and I was enticed.

The thought of his presence made me insane.

Don’t make me beg, I’ll pay any price

To seize me from the world of mundane.

I’ll be the fish, and you’ll be the hook,

As I take my first steps into ecstasy.

Another foot forward, I didn’t even look,

And before I knew it, you grasped me.

Take me for a spin, pull my strings.

You are my master, I am your slave.

I danced in a trance, while he sings,

“I am the one that you’ll always crave.”

He got me encased from my head to my feet,

And I was helplessly blinded by the painful truth.

I fell victim to his dangerously sweet deceit

As he took advantage of my innocent youth.

I was trapped inside this wicked art.

It’s just too late, I can’t escape

For he has touched my naïve heart

And convinced me this was fate.

Life Story

By Tara Hardy from “Bring Down the Chandeliers”

My life story in 24 words:
Green shoot, raze rape,
strawberry wound,
vodka, vodka, vodka,
pussy. Steeple, oh
steeple, corner me
with my mouth tilted up
to syllable gone chimes.

My life story in 12 words
taken from the original 24:
Oh, vodka, rape
strawberry with tilted
syllables. Shoot steeple,
shoot mouth. Up.

My life story in 6 words:
Steeple. Mouth.
Rape strawberry vodka.
Tilted.

3 words:
rape
strawberry
mouth

My life story in 1 word:
Faced with choosing
between rape and mouth,
I choose strawberry.

What Is Masculinity?

28 Sep

This image shows the cute and adorable GenderBread! This guy…I mean delicious cookie, is often used in LGBT studies to show that gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation are all mutually exclusive, and each one can have a spectrum of identities.

Now, I’m not going to go into this; another blog can take care of that 😛

But I do want to point out that the purpose of this diagram is to show that being on one end of the spectrum for one category should NOT imply where you lie on the other spectrums. However, in our culture, men are taught to be masculine, although realistically, they can be anywhere on the spectrum. In a society that favors masculinity, associating it with traits like strength, power, assertiveness, control, and independence, you could wonder why a guy would support feminism, which combats this societal connection of men and masculinity.

Well here’s the problem: it’s constraining.

Masculinity is used a force to govern us men. Whenever a guy does something that is even remotely feminine, something as ridiculous as watching a “chick flick” or dyeing their hair, we are called names like “wuss,” “sissy,” “gay,” or other feminine words that connote weak. We let this drive for masculinity control us. We can’t cry. We can’t show weakness. We can’t cross our legs. And this force becomes so controlling that we believe that it’s natural for us to be like this!  Here’s a quick 7 minute video summing up what I said and explaining the ramifications of it. He’s a cool guy named Jackson Katz.