Saturday, September 19, 2015

Privilege: Gender, Race, Etc.

Throughout this short book, Allan G. Johnson specifically tackles the issue of privilege and the connection between race and gender. When he first mentions the differences between how white people and black people are treated, it became more and more real for me. I'm white. My best friend Mark is black. One time Mark and I were at my grandmother's house. My grandmother is by no definition a racist, but she does have very old fashioned views that make her feel better than African American people, man or woman. We were sitting at lunch and she started to ask him questions about himself. At first they were normal. Then he explained that he has all half siblings, because his mother had fallen in love with many different men throughout her life. My grandmother asked "Did she pregnant as a teenager?" and "So she isn't married?"

I was appalled.

If Mark was white and he had said that he had all half siblings, I don't think she would've jumped to conclusions, trying to make his mother's life seem inappropriate. She would've assumed his mom was married a few times, or his father had gotten remarried as well. She would've never thought that Mark's family was any less than her family. That's when racism became really relevant to my life, and every time I'm with Mark, I see the way that people treat me better than him. And it disgusts me. Equality means everybody. Black, white, woman, man, straight, gay, transgender, ANYONE. Anyone and everyone deserves equality.

"I felt how hard it was for me to talk about race and gender in that moment- about how the legacy of racism and sexism shapes our lives in such different ways, how my whiteness and maleness are sources of privilege..." (Johnson, 7)

Kim Kardashian Racism Experience

1.)Do you think that racism and gender privilege will ever become a thing of the past?
2,) How do you think sexual orientation ties into the topic of privilege?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Modern Women: The Fear of Feminism

Ms. Lisa Marie Hogeland has many valid points throughout her extremely well written article, "Fear of Feminsim." In today's modern society, it is extremely valid that young women are afraid of the word "feminist." They are afraid to be judged and to be belittled just for believing in gender equality and feminine pride. When Hogeland mentions that young women are being "profoundly affected by the demonization of feminism," I definitely agreed. There are so many pictures and posts on social media making feminism seem like a bad thing, when in reality, it is just simply the fight for something that every human deserves- equality. There is a Twitter account called "meninist" where it idolizes men, and the belief that men are better than women. It is supposed to be mocking feminism, when in reality, it is just simply an unfair demonstration of masculine fear of feminism. 

I was very compelled when Ms. Hogeland brought up the social connection between feminism and lesbianism. This is such a relevant ppint to make especially in today's society. So many young women are probably afraid of feminism because of the stereotype that all feminists are lesbians. Which is NOT true. That statement as like saying that all men are gay because we are proud of our gender. It is ridiculous but an extremely popular stereotype in today's society. It's as if people are afraid that feminists think that they are better than men. Which is not true. Feminists think that they are equal to men.

It is sad that so many of these young women are being forced into society norms saying that feminism is a bad thing. It is not. Is is a scary thing and it takes courage to stand up for what you believe in. But it is also a great thing to challenge society and say "I am who I am. And I am equal to you.

The Waves of Feminism

While reading and familiarizing myself with Ms. Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner's "A Tsunami in History" I found myself becoming more and more interested with the history on the Women's Movement that she was providing. I found it especially interesting that Abigail Adams encouraged her husband John Adams "'remember the ladies' while drafting the Declaration of Independence." This shows that even before the first wave of the movement, there were still women hoping for the chance of gender equality. When Rowe-Finkbeiner brought up the names of Harriet Tubman and Sorjourner Truth, I was pleasantly surprised because I had never thought of those women as feminists or advocates of the women's movement, but more as abolitionists and supporters in slavery escape. Later in the article when she brings up the excluding of African American women from the first and second waves, I couldn't help but think to myself that some of the first feminists were black women, how could they not have seen that? But of course, as Rowe-Finkbeiner states, women of color "were often (understandably) rebuffed because there was still the sentiment that black women should be working with black men on civil rights issues- they were torn." With the Civil Rights movement still going on or still very fresh in society during the second wave of the movement, it was hard to include colored women because they didn't know if they should be involved in such a white dominated movement.

I also found her personal connection to the movement extremely interesting as well. The fact that her great-grandmother had helped to run Planned Parenthood and help other women was very inspiring and captivating. The fact that her grandmother had been a volunteer nurse at the organizaton was also very cool because it showed that feminism is in fact a generational way of living. Women are not "just feminists." They are living a feminist lifestyle. By the time her mother had become apart of the movement, women were going to college and beginning to work their way into the work force. The generational gap between the women in her family was quite compelling, seeing how each women's actions had affected the life of the next.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Moment That Defined Me


My name is Brooks Andre Shatraw. I am a seventeen year old gay man who is absolutely in love with Broadway and Musical Theatre. I am here at RIC majoring in Musical Theatre and hoping to one day actually star on Broadway. When I was nine years old, I decided to leave my life of athletics, filled with Hockey and Baseball, for a new life filled with dance, music, and acting. By starting Hip Hop, Jazz, and Tap dance, I gained a love of performing. I can remember singing since I could talk and acting out imaginary situations with my brothers at such young ages. Once I left my athletic life, my mom introduced the concept of theater to me. I had always loved seeing shows, but I had never imagined myself on stage until my cousin Dylan played a Lost Boy in Peter Pan. Once seeing a kid my age do something like that, I wanted to do it too. This led me to audition for Alice In Wonderland Jr. I was horrified. My mom drove me and I clung to her leg the entire time before I had to go on stage to audition. Once my number was called, I walked onto the stage with the lyrics page in my hand, my whole body shaking from nervousness. I introduced myself, and then sang my song. They liked me, I hadn't blown it, I was okay! So then they had me do cold readings from the script. This was my strength. I was very outgoing and flamboyant, so I read confidently with expression, and they thanked me for coming and let me go.

A couple days later, I was being babysat and the phone rang. We all rushed to the phone and she answered it.

"Hello? Is this Brooks Shatraw?"

"No, this is his babysitter!"

"Oh. Okay, well we're just calling to tell him that he was casted as Tweedle Dum in Encore Kids' production of Alice In Wonderland Jr.!"

"Oh my God, thank you so much! I will let him know right now!"

And we jumped up and down, I hugged her and my twin brother Bradley and we all celebrated my huge accomplishment.

That was the day that I knew this new activity was going to be really special.

As rehearsals went by, I was making friends, learning music, lines, and blocking. Before I knew it, Opening Night was upon us. I was so nervous, yet so so so excited. The show started and I took a deep breathe as the curtain opened next to us. As the lights shined on my face, the pit played the music, and we started to create the story onstage in front of this amazing audience. As we hit the last note of the opening number, something inside of me just switched on. It was like as if a fire was just being lit, or a refurbished cart was just being started after weeks of repairs. I knew right inside of me at that very moment that this activity that had become so special to me was, in fact, my new life. I was an actor. I was a theatre kid. I was, officially, a part of the amazing world that is "Musical Theatre."