Monday, December 7, 2015

Pecha Kucha

Social Justice Event #2

For my second Social Justice Event, I saw Encore Repertory Company's production of Mary Poppins the Musical on October 18th. This musical is much different from the movie regarding the character traits of each of them, but the story is almost identical with a few minor differences. I loved seeing this show because I had seen it years and years ago but when I finally saw it again, I realized how wonderfully feminist it is. The protagonist is a young adult woman who is career driven and single. Her character is so ahead of her time period and she has so many wonderful traits. She's sassy without regret, and she stands up for herself. The musical takes place during the women's suffarage movement, and I think that the nod to first wave feminism is really cool. I never would've known what first wave feminism is unless I had read the Rowe-Finkbeiner article.

Mrs. Banks is the complete opposite. She gave up her successful acting career to be a wife and a mother and throughout the show you see how she struggles with that. She feels unfulfilled and unappreciated, but then by the end of the show, she realizes that she doesn't want to go back to the stage, because being a wife and mother makes her happy and that being these roles can fulfill her life.

As I learn about feminism, one huge idea that I stand for is that no matter who you are, you should choose your life path and whatever it is, if you are a feminist, you are a feminist. I hate the idea that housewives are not feminists and that they are always unhappy. Some people love their lives as a wife and mother, and just because they don't have a career does not mean that they can't still stand for feminism. This class helped me to come to that conclusion and to begin supporting feminist housewives AS WELL AS career driven women.

Social Justice Event #1

For my first Social Justice event, I went to NYC to see Spring Awakening on Broadway on September 13th. This musical shows many of the themes that have been discussed in our class. In the story of Spring Awakening, sexual oppression, communication, and education in 1860's Germany are emphasized greatly. The female lead Wendla, asks her mother how her older sister got pregnant, and her mother refuses to tell her. Then, she has sex with the male lead, and becomes pregnant. Because her mother refused to communicate with her and she thought of sex as something taboo, Wendla wasn't educated on how a baby is made and therefore, she becomes a pregnant teenager in a time where that was unheard of. Her mother immediately makes her have an illegal abortion, which ends up killing Wendla along with her unborn child. These themes reminded me of the current sexual oppression that goes on in modern day America. Girls are slut-shamed and while sex is less taboo, it is looked down upon for a woman to have sexual freedom, which was talked about when Deirdre O'Donnell visited our class and presented us with her views on sexual freedom.

A basic historical element of Spring Awakening that I connected gender inequality with was that all of the boys in the show go to school. None of the girls are allowed to receive an education. When looking at the knowledge I have gained in this class, I realize that that isn't just "unfair." It's socially unjust and it sets women up to less than men. It reminded me of the Frye article that discussed how modern America sets people up to be in their economic and social class and that it makes them stay there.

Seeing this musical while taking this class created an entire new outlook on the story and the show for me.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tough Guise 2 and What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In Tough Guise 2, the point is made that feminism is not a female only movement. Men are essential allies in the feminist movement. A huge point made throughout the movie is how masculinity is based on violence. Men shouldn't cry, they should be strong and tough and be able to beat people up. The point is also made that when women act out, its about their gender, but when a man does, it's about their race. I completely agree with this. To relate this to Musical Theatre (like I always do of course), in the hit Broadway musical Chicago the two protagonists are Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart. Two women just convicted of killing their lovers. It is about female convict glorification, and on how they get off by being sexy and suave. A real life example of the "thug" stereotype is Trayvon Martin. He was killed by a neighborhood watch man for "looking mysterious." He had a hoodie on, and was of course, black. Since society makes young black people seem like "thugs" ready to cause violence, this man was paranoid and shot an innocent black man.

"What Are Little Boys Made of" by Michael Kimmel was a good read. "If all the boys are white and middle class, at least they're not all straight" and most therapists make it seem biological and urge "compassion and understanding before returning to the more 'important' stuff." This quote refers to the idea that not all boys are straight, and homosexuality is often touched upon but not stressed as a a natural thing for boys. This idea relates to Rich's views on compulsory heterosexuality. The idea that straightness is assumed in our society. Kimmel also quotes Kindlon and Thompson saying that our culture of "cruelty imposes a code of silence on boys, requiring them to suffer without speaking of it and to be silent witnesses to acts of cruelty of others." I strongly agree with this statement and I speak from personal experience. As a gay child growing up and finding myself, I was always rather feminine (by society's terms). I would turn blankets into dresses for myself and dance around my living room and I would always take on a girl persona when playing "family" or "sisters" with my friends. My father was ruthless in killing this self expression. He would yell at me to stop dancing. take off the dress, and get some friends who are boys. If I fell down and cried, I was told to get up and stop crying. I was told to eat bread because "it puts hair on your chest." Or I was told to "play sports with your brothers" because I was not a manly as them. Most of my childhood was spent upstairs in my bedroom, crying to myself and hoping that one day I could be free and love myself. This summer, I decided to do something for the child that cried in his room (and to give a big F you to my father). I took a drag photo shoot as Ellie Kook, a woman who loves herself, is free and happy. and never feels ashamed of who she is.


Back to Kimmel though, "men and boys are responsible for 85 percent of all violent crimes in this country, and their victims are overwhelmingly male as well." By teaching boys that masculinity is based on strength, athleticism, and violence, it is causing an outbreak of physical altercations and the adolescent "keep your hands to yourself" lesson is fading away. To me, masculinity is about what kind of man you are. Violent, hateful males are cowardly boys. Intelligent and accepting males are men.

Chicago the Musical- We Both Reached for the Gun

Above is a video for a scene in Chicago that shows the way that lawyer Billy Flynn teaches Roxie Hart to lie to the press to be found not guilty.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

In Orenstein's "Cinderella Ate My Daughter," she explains how the princess treatment of little girls and the toys parents give their kids can teach children wrong lessons. She interviews several mothers on their views of Disney princesses and their tales, and most of them say that they like the clothes and the toys related to the princesses, but they don't like the tales themselves. To me, this is incredibly stupid. If you are letting your daughter wear the clothes of this princess and play with toys related to her but not letting her known the context behind them, then what lesson are you teaching her? Don't research before you buy? Don't look into issues before deciding on them?

Now it might sound like I'm over-exaggerating when I ask these questions. But this is the same as asking "what lessons will I teach my daughter (or son) by letting them watch Disney movies?" That she can only be saved by a man? That she should strive to be beautiful and find a relationship?

Kids will grow up, they will become teenagers, and eventually adults. Saying that their insecurities or failed relationships are based on them watching Disney movies is absolutely ridiculous. And by letting them play with the toy and wear her costume, you are still subjecting her to the body image of that princess, and the beautiful dresses and jewelry she wears.

To me, the stories are the most important part of a princess.

For example, Pocahontas. My favorite Disney princess, I'm absolutely obsessed with her. She loves nature and is adventurous. When she meets John Smith, she teaches him to be more open-minded and eventually falls in love with him. He jumps in front of her father to save him, NOT her, and then he is shot with the arrow. This causes major health concerns. When given the choice, she can either keep him with her so she can be with him, or let him go free to receive proper medical care. She gives up a relationship so he can be better off.

No to me, that teaches a way better lesson than letting your daughter wear a short Native American dress and play with Pocahontas and her animal friends.

Feminist Rankings of Disney Princesses

The above link shows the Feminist rankings of Disney princesses and why they show Feminist qualities.

Midterm Mapping