We as an American society can all work together to help change some of our ways. To help decrease the discrimination and oppression on many different socio-cultural groups. We are a country of one and need to remember that when we’re talking about others. I was really inspired by the video posted about the Women Before Us. I thought that was a very powerful piece and I am proud of the way the woman in the video expressed herself. She talked about how she was taught by her mother to use her voice and express her choice. I thought that was wonderful. After being a part of this class and learning about the different types of discrimination and oppression, advantages and privileges, I myself will make sure that my voice will be used to help stop this trend. I feel that by using my voice and providing good examples for the younger individuals in my life, I will be able to affect these people and influence them in a positive way. I can explain what I’ve learned through this class and try to open their eyes. I may even show them some of the videos presented or even lend them the textbooks used. I think it’s very important that we spread the word and use our voices as a powerful way of doing that along with our actions. I will use what I’ve learned in my life to help me survive and know that I’m helping make the world a better place. When I leave this world I will feel like I’ve achieved something by helping those in hard times and experiencing these types of pain. I will be able to rest easy knowing that someone who used to experience oppression that doesn’t anymore will be able to rest easy as well.
Friday, January 21, 2011
1. In my social sphere I am definitely comprised of people of diverse ages. I regularly encounter young people and elders. I currently am a Licensed Nurse Assistant at an Assisted Living Facility in Dover, NH. I spend most of my days working with the elderly and taking care of them. We help them with almost all their daily activities. There are times I love my job and there are times I hate it but I definitely care a lot about the elderly and everything they’ve accomplished in their lives. I also encounter a few younger people in my social sphere. My youngest brother is eleven and he always has friends over. It’s interesting to see the way they interact with each other because I’m sure I did the same things with my friends when we were that age.
2. I definitely think in some ways our society is segregated on the basis of age. I think this is because of how we look at different age categories and what is expected of each of them. Young children are expected to go to school, play sports, play an instrument, have a lot of friends, and basically have fun while learning basic survival strategies and so on. I guess young adults and middle-age adults who are either finishing college or trying to find a job to support them throughout their lives do have a little more time to do things. For example, I am able to go to a four year college, work part time, and be able to have social interactions with my friends a good amount of the time. I’ve even been able to fit in other activities such as concerts, movies, and so on. My parents on the other hand are raising my younger brother and working full time. They don’t have as much time as I do to be involved in outside activities from their daily lives. So I guess in a way I am privileged at this time in my life.
3. Working with the elderly every day I personally have gained a large amount of respect for them. I learned about the hardships some of them have experienced and how much they accomplished in their lives. Obviously they grew up in a different generation and didn’t have as much technology as we did. I think today a lot of people take advantage of that and forget what our elders really had to go through, and with that they lose some respect for them. These are our elders, our family, and one day that will be us. I think it’s very important to respect them and maybe people should begin to integrate some form of the elderly into their everyday lives. I also think it’s time that all ages receive respect for each other too. We all have gone through these ages and have experienced them at one time. So let’s give the respect that we were or wished we were give at those ages.
I watched the video on the dead porn stars memorial. I thought it was very sad that most of these individuals died from suicide, drug overdose, alcoholism, or even murder. Most of these individuals were also very young and still had their whole life ahead of them. I thought the song choice was very interesting as well, with lines such as, "Nobody wants to die." That is very powerful and I thought it was a good choice to go along with the video. At the end of the video they stated that this video was to help those living with a porn addiction and those who have friends or family that are porn stars. It was a very powerful message sent. Help those that are experiencing porn addictions before they become a part of this memorial. I think it's good that this foundation was created to help those struggling. I do personally believe that pornography in a way is contributing to the way men see women sexually. I know not all men see women as a piece of meat, but a large amount of them do. It's sad that some women are judged on their hot appearance before who they really are. Along with some men though, there have been women who consider men as a piece of meat as well, and that is not right either. Even in the video they showed some male porn stars that had died. I'm not sure if pornography furthers the problems of sexism and misogyny but it definitely doesn't help. It just gives more reason for men and women to become sexist. Pornography presents women in a degrading manner because it usually involves them naked being shown to the world. There is no discretion involved in a porn video. Men who view a lot of pornography will always picture women in the manner that he saw them in the video and not all women are like that. It doesn't send a good message to younger men. It impacts them greatly because it helps them establish the idea that it's okay to picture women as a sexual figure. I believe I agree with a feminist critique of pornography. However, in the video that I watched did have some male porn stars in the end.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
To be considered an activist I feel you need to have a good liberalized background. After reading some of the articles it seems to have a good liberalized outlook, you need to be someone that treats everyone as a valued whole person, not as someone to be used or controlled. You need to maintain civility in your relationships and be accountable for your behavior as well as your individual actions. You also need to see cultural differences as life-enchancing, and as expanding possibilities. Some strong strengths associated with an effective and positive change agent would be someone who can see the good in everything and hope that change will bring all good. They look at change as being a step forward to something greater for everyone involved. Barbara Love spoke in her article about developing a liberatory consciousness. This I feel by far is the first step to help creating a better community. She explains that as an effective liberation worker, you need to be committed to changing systems and institutions characterized by oppression to create greater equity and social justice. I couldn't agree with her more. I guess that activists that I would admire the most would be those involved with classism. I feel this is one of the most forgotten "isms" in America today and with the direction the economy is moving in, it seems that those experiencing oppression involving their class could really use some help from strong activists. Those helping to make their lives better are people that I truly admire. Lastly, I also admire all activists for other areas experiencing discrimination and oppression as well, not just this one.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
After reading some of these articles and watching the videos, I guess I would say ageism comes from the main root of this perfect employee figure that the American society has created. This person should be around the ages of 25-55, be able to work long hours, Monday through Friday with some overtime, not call out too much, experienced and intelligent, and etc... I personally do not feel that you have to fall under these circumstances to be considered an employee for any job. Yes I do believe that children should not start working until the age of may fourteen, but that is because of liability issues. Growing up my parents taught me what it was like to earn your own money. I was given little jobs such as babysitting, cleaning, mowing the lawn, and etc. When my parents thought I completed my job to their expectations I was rewarded with a little bit of money. I think this taught me what it was like to earn a dollar by using my knowledge and hard work. Eventually I got my first job at the age of seventeen and was able to use what I learned to prepare myself for that. On the other end of the age spectrum I think that elderly people should be able to work. I don't think it's fair to use such excuses as, "you may not feel culturally comfortable," "you'll get too bored," "you're too qualified and experienced." These types of reasons as to why three elders could not get a job was shown in one of the videos. When interviewed for the job these were the answers the employers gave to them because they were not going to give them the job. Too qualified? How is someone too qualified for a job? If anything that should be more of the reason to higher them because they have the knowledge needed and may be able to pass it onto others. This particular "ism" seems to not be talked about much in society because I'm not sure many people really know that it goes on. Mostly the employers and the persons applying for the job I would say are the only ones really involved. Sadly I know this is an "ism" that I tend to forget about. However, I don't feel that I am an ageist myself. I feel that children should not have to experience the hardships of the working field until they and their parents feel they are mature enough. I do think though that maybe they should experience the teaching I did at a younger age, until they are at the suitable age to get a real job. I don't think the elderly should be discriminated against if they want to get a job. Nowadays people are having to work longer in life to save more money for retirement. So to deprive them of trying to make money to survive the last years of their life is wrong. My neighbor across the street is 88 years old and that man seems to have more energy than I do on most days. He is always outside mowing, cleaning the yard, shoveling the driveway, bringing in wood, fixing this fixing that, and so on. He does that because he wants to and he still has the energy to. Also because he is a stubborn old man and won't stop even when we try to help, but that's beside the point. They want to feel wanted and helpful. So why aren't we letting them?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Personally I found this video very inspirational. The performance they put together was wonderful and using dancing to portray their message was very artistic and creative. I thought it was really magical to see the way they used their bodies to express how they felt. I think this piece addresses issues of ableism because it might have been something outside of what is usually shown with dancing. Several dancing programs require their dancers to be thin, flexible, and almost perfect. These dancers in this video proved that you can do it with all body styles and feel confident while doing it. I feel performances such as these should be shown more. They’re addressing the issues of disability in a positive progressive manner showing that you don’t have to be “perfect” to express yourself and feel noticed. I think if there are more performances such as these available (not sure how available they are this is the first I’ve seen) it could possibly give everyone a different look on who these people really are. I’m proud of them for showing their true colors and being able to express themselves in such a beautiful and motivational manner. It’s sad that these individuals are discriminated on for being humans. Just because they may not have a leg, or an arm, or maybe a few fingers, does not mean they’re that much different from the rest of us. They are still human beings and do in fact have feelings.
Susan Wendell brought up a good point in her article on The Social Construction of Disability. She explained that some of these individuals may have gotten their disability from being involved in invasions, wars, and terrorism. This is an area I guess I never really thought of. How do people discriminate against someone that may have fought at one time for this country and lost an arm for it? I think that is just horrible. What a way to say thank you for all that they’ve done for the country. Another example that she provided was in regards to the architectural setup of many organizations and institutions in society. Many places don’t have adequate ramps for wheelchair access, or they have lack of handicap parking spaces. I’ve also witnessed times where someone with no disability at all, took a handicap parking space for themselves because they wanted to run inside to the store real quick. You have two legs, walk from a parking space further away. What kind of message is that showing? Obviously those individuals who partake in actions such as that take advantage of what they are given. I think this is another “ism” that may be forgotten about and needs to be brought up more in education. This video and article definitely opened my eyes and I support all those with disabilities and hope that they realize there are good people out there that do care.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Not knowing much about transgender identity I feel I learned a lot from the article and film. In the article Julia Serano explains that a trans woman is defined as any person who was assigned a male sex at birth, but who identifies as and/or lives as a woman. I can't even imagine what it would be like to try and defend your identity in America where we live with so much discrimination. I think transgender oppression may be a topic that is almost forgotten at times and this article brought it into light for me. Understanding that they may be born as a male and eventually consider themselves a woman goes a long with the idea that people should be accepted for who they are. Not who they were, not who they can be or should be, but who they are. I feel bad that these women are looked at as being fake. I feel that no person in this country is fake, no matter what type of background you have. Julia brought up the idea that America has become a male-centered gender hierarchy, where it is assumed that men are better than women and that masculinity is superior to femininity, supports the overall idea that there in fact is male privilege present today. I feel sorry that these individuals have to fight everyday and defend who they are. In one of the opening lines of the film Beautiful Daughters one of them stated, "I now live in the female zone, but you know how they feel about immigrants." That line just broke my heart. How can these individuals who are American citizens, not immigrants, be spoken about like that. It's very sad. Cisgender people can help and become allies to give these individuals the freedom that they deserve, the freedom that we all live in. I'm not saying that cisgender people have to agree with the decisions transgenders make, but don't partake in the discrimination that shoots them down for the person they've become.