Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21, 2011: Question O

Throughout the past three weeks, we have learned about many different forms of prejudice and how it is influenced and even perpetuated by power and privilege. In a fight for socio-cultural equality for everybody, it takes more than just talking about it and educating yourself and others about the many different issues of discrimination. After learning more about many of the different ‘isms’ we face today, I always found myself responding in my blogs saying, ‘I think this needs to be discussed more so people are more aware of it.’ Although I did find myself talking about it with friends, their responses weren’t out of the ordinary. Usually among the lines of, ‘yeah, I know, that is so unfair.’ But what does that do? Nothing. So what then? What can we do?

Any type of change takes time and the efforts of all. Even though I can’t force a change of attitude among a person, I can use my own life to reason to him or her why the world should be a better place, free of prejudice, discrimination, and power and privilege too. I think by changing your own attitude, its easy to have an influence on the attitudes of others, isn’t that how trends are started to begin with? I think we should all make the effort to start a new trend, a trend free of discrimination and constructed of equality among all people. In her video, ‘How Does Change Happen?’, Angela Davis talks about how the pattern of racism was altered as more and more people discussed how it shouldn’t be that way. The more you talk abou how the pattern should be changed, the more people start to notice and think about it. I think we should all work towards setting a new trend of equality and privilege for all members of an ever-changing socio-cultural world.

Quick Blog #6

1.) My social sphere sort of lacks elderly people. All four of my grandparents have passed away already. My mom’s parents both live in Sweden, never learned English, and although we did communicate through some broken English and Swedish, both died before I was 10 and since they lived in Sweden, I only met them four times. My dad’s parents were a much bigger part of my life, we saw them from time to time because they lived in Minnesota, but not as much as I would have liked. Throughout high school I volunteered at the nursing home that was next door to our high school. I have to admit, I did it for my college applications, but I can’t say I didn’t learn valuable lessons throughout my experiences. I also played piano for a nursing town in my home town growing up three times a year for many years.
2.) I think that young people and old people are marginalized because we grew up so differently. They grew up in very different households, in comparison to our internet-television-crazed generation. They think we are disrespectful and we think they are ‘old’ and ‘boring’. It gives middle aged people the privilege because people assume its their generation that we are living in, they are the doctors working in hospitals, the lawyers, construction workers, engineers, businessmen etc… Old people are sort of kicked out of the bigger view as they participate less and less, but that doesn’t mean that they do not deserve their own privilege and place in our society.
3.) I think the only way to promote generation integration is to talk about it. People are often comepletely unaware this form of discrimination even exists, as I knew almost nothing about it before giving it deeper thought. We have to challenge the normative stereotypes people place upon different generations, for our generation, our parents, and the elderly. We should all feel like have a place in OUR world.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20, 2011: Question N

I think a good activist must be determined, motivated, selfless, fearless, but also relentless; a good activist takes many different qualities. However, I believe it takes more than just a list of qualities to define a good activist. A strong and influential activist must have many different attributes that personify their passion for change and revolution, going beyond a mere desire for change through protest and speaking out. An effective activist must convey a deeper passion towards bettering our world’s prejudices and fighting for equality, as fighting for change takes persistence and uncompromised pursuit.

There are many admirable activists, the first that always comes to mind for me is bell hooks. After learning more about her beliefs and notions, I think she is so commendable and has conveyed so many meaningful and powerful messages. Standing up for the power of a woman, she is. After learning more about activism in itself and the many other activists there are out there, Howard Zinn stood out to me in particular. Giving proof to his very own notion that ‘activism is more than just a word’, he has fought for equality and change in our world for decades, in so many different ways. He stood up for what be believed in, and despite the consequences, refused to give up. I think that it was makes a powerful activist; someone who is proactively working towards standing up for what they believe in, no matter what, and overcome all rebuttals with fearlessness.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 19, 2011: Question M

I think that ageism exists because it is such a inconsistent form of discrimination. I think the roots of ageism exist in a sense that people experience age different as they grow old are indifferent to its harsh reality. While other forms of discrimination, race, or gender, are all constant for the ones being discriminated against as they fight to overcome it, ageism changes. As people get older as they suddenly start to experience that their age is beginning to transform into some type of burden and all of a sudden, they experience the prejudices of an ageist society. Ageism is easy to overlook because you experience it in such different forms throughout your life. Suddenly, you’re old and depend upon others for things you never thought you would need help with, like taking a shower or making yourself a meal. I feel like people don’t realize just how unfortunate it is that we do life in an ageist society, until it’s too late.

I’m torn between whether or not I would call myself an ageist. From the time I was in second grade through graduating high school I took piano lessons. We had six recitals each year. Three were for our families, and three were for the elderly at a nursing home. Each recital, the same elderly people would come and watch us and appreciated it so much. I even got to know a few of them once our faces became more and more familiar. I guess because of my experience with the elderly and my grandparents I have sort of always had a soft spot for the elderly. When I was in ninth and tenth grade I volunteered at two different elderly homes. I admit, my parents sort of made me, but in the end I really appreciated the valuable lessons I gained throughout my experiences. I feel like people often forget about this ism because people don’t realize how discrimination effects the elderly. We are all aware that sexism and racism exists, but no one ever really considers ageism until it is affecting them directly. I think people need to think more carefully about the small prejudices that they often don’t even realize. For example, how everyone complains about the elderly driving so slow. Just the other day, my sister and I were driving and saw this elderly woman going 60 mph in a 40, cranking a cig, and blasting music. We both looked at each other and said, “did you just see that?” Thinking back on that moment now makes me realize how people always portray elderly people the same, when that really isn’t so. I’m glad I got to learn a little bit more about ageism, because I think it’s important that people realize it’s impact, as it too often goes unnoticed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 12, 2011 Question L: The Social Construction of Disability

This video was very empowering as it artistically stood up for moving beyond the notions of the human body in its cultural existence of ‘perfection’, proving that people with disabilities can exist within societal ‘perfection’, as they too exists within our cultural environment and perfection is simply inexistent. In Susan Wendell’s article, The Social Construction of Disability, she explains how subtle cultural factors that determine a ‘standard of normality’ and exclude those who do not meet these standards. (pg. 477) This video creates the image that people with disabilities can move beyond these notions and overcome these standards, as the physical conditions of our society foolishly repudiate the worth of an individual’s own idea of perfection and power. As people personify what the ‘perfect’ dancer is, we cannot forget that our world is so multifaceted, and perfection is indefinable. Our society cannot overcome the obsession with ‘perfection’, and it seemingly enables a cycle of progressive prejudice. The issues of disability lie stagnant as the notion of perfection overpowers our culture. Wendell goes on to explain how our society cyclically perpetuates these notions, as disability becomes more and more socially constructed through the failure and willingness to create ability between everybody, even those who do not fit the physical or mental profile of what’s physically ‘paradign’, leaving the issues of disability unaddressed and selfishly unattended for. (pg 179)

quick blog 5

The message that I got from the “Dead Porn Stars Memorial” video was how tragically exposed individuals in the porn business are to deaths involving drugs, alcohol, murder, and suicide. My personal knowledge has led me to believe how pornography represents sex and violence in such a cohesive way that they practically go hand in hand. Even the media portrays sex and violence in this way whether it’s through advertising, television shows, or music. Typically, women are shown as vulnerable objects that are aiming to please while the men are the dominant figure—possessing an innate power over the female. This consistent presentation of women as a defenseless subjection to men generates the idea that men are inherently more powerful than women in every way. The degrading nature of pornography plays a huge part in the manifestation of this idea, and the more we are presented with this concept, the more it will affect our mindset.

January 17, 2011: Transgender women

I learned a lot about transgender women and their fight in combating transphobia in this video. Although I was aware that it exists, I haven’t thought more deeply upon the ways it has negatively impacted the life’s of these powerful women. As they too, deserve respect and compassion, I think it important that we all challenge the misconceived notions people have in unfairly portraying transgender women.

In Serano’s ‘Trans Women Manifesto” she explains how cigender people have been made the victims of violence through the ridicules of the media, the establishments of medicine and psychology, being made the victims of violence and prejudice, stating her notion that no sexual minority is more maligned or misunderstood than trans women. (pg. 441) At first, I wasn’t sure if I agreed with this, as homo-sexuals also face similar undeserved prejudices. However, after watching Beautiful Daughters, I realized how much compassion these women deserve, as they have taken outstanding lengths to stand up for what they believe in, for the way they feel, and should be portrayed as powerful for their perseverance and determination. I never realized just how powerful these women are, as not many of us can say we have gone through what they have. Yet they deny these discriminations and continue to stand up for who they are, as a people within our people, fighting to overcome the pitiable denial of these women as being a REAL woman, and a powerful, respectable woman. I think it is important that cisgender people act as allies with the transgender society, as it is important for everyone to work together to overcome discrimination. I think cigender people can have a significant impact in combating transphobia in acting as allies with the transgender community because they can speak to other cigender people in standing up for the rights and power of a real and beautifully feminine, transgender women