All posts by perezsl

About perezsl

College senior at James Madison University, the happiest place on earth. Communication Studies Major with Advocacy Studies Concentration. Feminism is kewl. Policy debate is fun. TDLR: I like to make arguments and look at how people talk about things, specifically feminist issues.

Speak Out! Objection to Norms: Advocacy Project Video

Hi everyone! Here is the finished project of my event. I hope you all enjoy and learn some stuff and if you participated I want to thank you for helping me!

Enjoy!

Sam

 

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Why people just seem to miss the boat on Slut Shaming and Body Policing

This semester I’ve become very passionate about a small subset of feminism. I’ve been taking my Intro to Research Methods course, in which you are supposed to write a research proposal. My proposal is about examining slut shaming rhetoric on the blogs Total Frat Move and Total Sorority Move. If the term slut shaming is new to you, don’t worry. It’s a coined term of art that has only appeared in the past 5-10 years but the concept it describes is one as old as time (probably, anyways). Soraya Chemaly, a writer for the Huffington Post, defines slut shaming as the “embarrassing, insulting or otherwise denigrating a girl or woman for her real or extrapolated sexual behavior, including for dressing in a sexual way, having sexual feelings and/or exploring and exhibiting them.” It’s a growing epidemic according to Leora Tanenbaum, author of the book “Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, who states that by the time a female graduates college, she will have experienced slut shaming at some point in her life. Body policing falls into the categorization of slut shaming. In effect, body policing is the shaming of what a girl wears or looks like because it doesn’t suit her body, whether it shows too much of her “womanly figure” or whether someone thinks she’s too skinny or overweight to wear whatever she’s wearing.

So I’m guessing your wonder what brought me to talk about this subject today. Well while on a study break I came across this post on my Facebook:

body policing

I agree with the the original post, the picture. The reason we police women’s bodies and tell them what/what not to wear is to “protect them” from the boys who will automatically degrade them or be distracted by their attire. This is treating the symptom to the problem. The reason that men do this sort of behavior is because of how we social men to associate to women. Men are taught that they should dominate others to have power, especially women (a reason why their is a sexual assault epidemic in our society). Men are told that women are yours for the taking whether she wants you or not (which is reinforced by certain types of pornography and other types of media). These and other small behaviors teach men and women that its the WOMAN’S fault for the MAN’S behavior.

Here’s the problem I have with the comment:

1. This woman assumes that women and girls dress in “provocative” or “racy” clothing because their trying to get males attention. While yes, some people do, some women do it because they like a certain outfit, it could be hot outside, or she just wants to feel good about herself and dressing like that gives her confidence. REGARDLESS, a woman should be about to wear whatever she wants because it is her body and most of the people making the policies (ie school boards) are predominately male.

2. She says that women to respect themselves. However she links that if you wear A TANK TOP you don’t have self respect. I can respect myself and wear whatever I god damn please. This specific type of logic tells women that you only dress a certain way so you can have a man, when I wear whatever I want because I feel like it. I can wear a body con dress out because I look hot in it and I gives me confidence, not because I’m trying to get a man.

3. She says dressing in a certain way is detrimental to your health. The reason it’s detrimental to our health is because we’ve created a society where women are blamed for men’s actions. The reason women can’t dress in a provocative fashion is because we teach men that women are for their taking and they should be violent to anyone (but especially women) if they want to dominate anyone. If you want to STOP the problem with violence against women, treating the symptoms haven’t solved anything. Teaching women self defense, having women go out in groups, etc has been a strategy going on for a while. While sure it may have helped, slut shaming, rape and other forms of violence against women are a thing that women have to protect themselves against on a daily basis. If you really want to end this epidemic, we need to teach the young males of society that power does NOT come from violence and domination. We need to teach young males that women are AUTONOMOUS and have the right to dress how they want without any reactionary action taken from the. We need to teach young males how to RESPECT women, regardless of what she wears, how she acts sexually, or what she denies you. These solve the root of the problem and until these underlying causes are addressed, we will continue to have these violence acts verses women.

What do you think?

Sam

 

The Representation Project

I found an interesting video confronting gender norms. This video is an advertisement for a larger movement called the Representation Project. Lead by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a up and coming documentary film maker who has filmed Miss Representation (a documentary about misrepresentations of women in the media) and The Invisible War (a documentary on rape in the military), this project aims to bring awareness to the problematic norms that shape society and cause problems to the youth and members of our community. The video includes speaker Jackson Katz, who has his own documentary Tough Guise, about how hypermasculinity in the media teaches young men to rape and is a cause of the school shooting epidemic.

I think projects like this are really important. While individuals like myself can do small projects to affect our local community and promote education where we are located, individuals have limited resources and time. When big time stars such as Rosario Dawson and these well known documentary film makers take on an advocacy like this, they draw more attention on a larger scale. They have the resources to help make a grassroots movement across the country and hopefully make political and societal changes if enough people get involved. I hope you enjoy the video– it pretty much sums up what my advocacy project was this semester.

What do you think?

Sam

Advocacy Project Update

Thanks so everyone who came out last week to the Quad and helped me out. The project went well. We got lots of looks from the tours for the incoming freshman but we talked to over 30 people which is great! We had lots of people who already knew about gender norms and we had some people stop by who hadn’t heard about gender norms. I think the biggest success of my project was hearing everyone’s different perspective and educating many people, even people who didn’t stop to get an interview because they were still listening as they were walking by. Stay tuned: in the next week I will post the video of my finished project here– it’s going to be awesome!

Thanks,

Sam

Young Adult Novel Heroines: Conforming to Body Norms?

retrieved from www.telephonewallpaper.com
retrieved from http://www.telephonewallpaper.com

I found this interesting article about how most of the new young adult novels being adapted to movie (such as the Hunger Games or Divergent) have heroines that are very petite. Now while many people wouldn’t give this coincidence a second thought, I think it’s something that isn’t just limited to these movie adaptations but speaks to Hollywood as a whole.  Women who are plus sized main role stars are usually in roles where they are meant to be mocked (usually by skinnier actresses), or they are put in smaller roles.

 

retrieved from joyreactor.com
retrieved from joyreactor.com

I think that as a culture we shame anyone who isn’t a size two. Women as a whole (i’m guilty of this) shame ourselves if we think we are an inch outside what we think is acceptable for our bodies. I think as a society we should be more tolerant of difference and I think body size is one way that we especially shame women. Men aren’t exempt from this shaming- Men who are not buff like the terminator or lack any muscle definition are also shamed for not fitting into what society sees as the “correct male figure”.

I think in order to overcome this problem we should teach children from a young age acceptance of difference and acceptance of things tat are outside the norm.

What do you think?

Sam

Advocacy Event: JMU Quad tomorrow 12-3!

If anyone is free tomorrow from 12-3: come be a part of my advocacy project.

I will be interviewing people about what they think about gender norms and how they defy them. You can either have a video interview or a picture taken with a statement on a whiteboard. I would love to hear what all of you have to say about gender norms and how they affect your daily life! All videos and pictures will be included into a final compilations video that will be posted on youtube and submitted in my portfolio.

Hope to see you all there!

Sam

Beyoncé: Modern Day Feminist Spokesperson

In a recent interview with Out Magazine, Beyoncé spoke out about the double standard that women face when expressing their sexuality.

She was quoted saying

“There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy.”

As well as:

“You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

In December, Beyonce released a new album, which she had hoped would open up a conversation to address this double standard and start sparking a feminist response. Well, she was right. Women can learn 5 things from Beyonce’s album.

1. Her song Pretty Hurts questions the beauty standards that women are held to; many of which are self destructive.

2. Blow tells women that getting sexual pleasure should be a two way street.

3. Partition- Women should enjoy sex just like men– that includes feminists.

4. Mine teaches girls that motherhood and relationships can be tough for everyone.

5. Flawless teaches girls to be your own independent women (and do more than just be a housewife).

I think Beyonce is an great spokesperson for feminism because she is a popular figure who can incorporate the feminist message into a way that will be openly accepted. Plus she’s pretty much flawless.

retrieved from: http://ryanseacrest.tumblr.com/
retrieved from: http://ryanseacrest.tumblr.com/

What do you think?

Sam

25 survivors of Rape Speak Out

I found this awesome post about 25 Male Survivors of Rape speaking out about their abuse. I think this is a really important post to be going around social media. We tend to classify sexual assault as a women’s issue. While women are predominately the victims of sexual assault and rape, men are also a common victim in this problem. Rape and sexual assault are crimes of control and power not crimes about getting sex. These crimes are usually committed by people they know. Until we question the reasons why males (and sometimes females) feel a need to dominate and control over people through physical domination, we will not solve the problem of sexual assault for any gender.

What do you think?

Sam

Extra! Extra! More on the Wage Gap!

I earlier briefly discussed what the wage gap is. To contextualize it, i found a few political cartoons that help you understand it.

retrieved from http://leftycartoons.com/
retrieved from http://leftycartoons.com/

This first cartoon I enjoyed specifically because the problem of assertive women being considered a bitch isn’t just a problem in the work place. I find a huge problem with this double standard of men being expected to be assertive and sometimes argumentative. If women do they’re a bitch. The tradition idea of women is that they are submissive and don’t object to their male counterparts. It’s very unfortunate that because if you, as a woman, break out of that mold, if you are independent and stand up for yourself, it’s considered a bad thing.

retrieved from: http://leftycartoons.com/
retrieved from: http://leftycartoons.com/

This cartoon really sold it for me because it refers to the double edged sword women face when entering the workforce while having a family. Women are usually expected to care for the children when they’re sick (Not true in all cases, there are many dads who leave work to care for their children– kudos to them), women are expected to care for older relatives when they get old and need being cared for, and women give birth to little ones. Sadly the US is really behind on provided family and maternity leave to both men and women who are in the work force. And while men too are the victims to the lack of enforcement of the Family and Medical Leave Act, a lot of the burden falls on women to take the unpaid leave due to the expectation to follow gender role norms. So women who choose to have a career are forced to choose: be a career woman, leaving someone else to care for kids and relatives (and be perceived as a bad mother) or sacrifice your career to take care of those you love.

Recently today, in honor of Equal Pay Day, Obama signed an executive order that prohibited the pay discrimination of female federal contractor employees. While this is a good first step it does not go far enough– in order to have equal pay, we need enforcement of all government employees (state and federal) as well as all private sector employees to paid equally regardless of their gender.

What do you think?

Sam