man wins presidential election; world is shocked May 10, 2007Posted by sindhub in 2007 french presidential election, careerwomen, class, female politicos, Female Power, female voters, feminism, france, gender, Girl Power, Hillary Clinton, in the news, International, jacques chirac, motherhood, new york times, news stories, nicolas sarkozy, politics, Power, segolene royal.
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As you may know, France’s presidential election took place recently. In a runoff between rightist Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist Segolene Royal, Sarkozy was chosen to replace Jacques Chirac, 53 to 47 percent. What’s relevant to ‘girl power’ is that Royal is a woman. I found this article, “France’s female voters shun Segolene Royal,” which makes the situation sound pretty bad. But the female vote for Royal wasn’t much different from the overall vote, with a 52 to 48 margin in favor of Sarkozy. Although Royal focused part of her campaign on appealing specfically to female voters ‘as a mother’ and promising greater equality (only 12% of French lawmakers are female), apparently female voters thought she focused on it too much. Some of the women interviewed say that they didn’t vote for Royal just because she’s a woman, because they didn’t think she was going to do anything for them or because she didn’t share the same vision for the country that they did.
There are two conflicting ways to look at the situation. On one hand, isn’t this what we want, for women to be seen as individuals (as ‘human’) and not just as women? But, do we really want that when it doesn’t work in their favor? Especially when it might not be working in their favor because the political system is still biased against them? And it seems that while Royal was criticized for showing too much identification with one demographic, that being women, she’s also criticized for (more…)
Bush or Backlash? May 9, 2007Posted by lindamc in 911, Bill Clinton, class, controversy, Dixie Chix, Female Power, feminism, G W. Bush, Girl Power, nationalism, politics, Power, relationships with men, sexual power, sexuality, Shut up and Sing.
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I can’t remember who made the comment about the post 911 reversion into a sort of white-boy southern American pride on Sunday’s class, but watching Shut up and Sing really got me thinking about Bush’s influence on aspects of our popular culture (more…)
Elitism in the Feminist Movement May 4, 2007Posted by Melissa in class, college, competing feminism, controversy, ECCSF, Female Power, female relationships, general considerations, Girl Power, Harvard, Higher Education, in the news, Ivy league, Judith Rodin.
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I just read an article that described the recent gathering of female presidents of the top Ivy League universities and their discussion the changing roles of women in education and the administrative side of college politics. The group, including Judith Rodin- the first woman to lead an Ivy institution, stressed that in spite of the progress, there was still a lack of women represented in the faculty and a lack of gay, black, and Hispanics in leadership roles. While nothing in the article really surprised me, I am struck by the elitism inherent in the gathering. Only Ivy league universities were asked to attend this meeting, leaving female leaders at smaller schools and public universities out of the conversation- ergo feeding back into the problem of the lack of socio-economic diversity they also complained about during their conversation. (more…)
opting out April 29, 2007Posted by sindhub in class, college, feminism, in the news, motherhood, new york times, opting out, stay-at-home moms.
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There was yet another op-ed in the NY Times last week about the recent ‘phenomenon’ of college-educated women with bright career prospects who instead choose to ‘opt out’ and become full-time mothers. What I thought the author was basically saying was that we need to inspect the current socioeconomic system and why it makes it so hard for motherhood to be compatible with many careers as they’re set up now, as well as why women are still expected to be ‘superwomen’ who go above and beyond what their husbands do.
So I was surprised by the Letters to the Editor in response to this article. All of them came from women, many from women who opted out of the workforce and chose to stay at home with their children. I thought some of their letters were just positively dripping with hostility… one of them basically accused the author of being a bad mother because she didn’t stay at home with her kids. I found it really frustrating that none of them questioned why it was them, the wives and mothers, who stayed at home, and not their husbands. One letter tried to legitimize the right to ‘choose.’ But I think the idea of choice brings us back to one of the central questions of cultural studies (and of feminist debate): Can you really choose when your options are limited (e.g. their husbands most likely wouldn’t have chosen to stay at home, and also the recent news about the pay gap), even if you don’t realize it?
Girlfight, A Clockwork Orange, and the fringes of society April 12, 2007Posted by sindhub in A Clockwork Orange, class, Girlfight, imagery, race, the state.
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I just wanted to make some comments about the imagery from the beginning of Girlfight. I was struck by how unabashedly dismal and bleak everything in Diana’s world was presented; the movie made no pretense, from the very beginning, about who Diana is and what her world is like.
In particular, I thought the very opening scene that we looked at in class bore an unusual similarity to what I know Stanley Kubrick used in a lot of his films–the image of the main character looking up at you with determinedly unsympathetic eyes. One example is from the opening scene of A Clockwork Orange (warning: there is some violence towards the end of the clip, and I apologize for the poor quality [it’s a video of the movie being showed on TV] but it was the only one I could find that didn’t remix the scene with different music)
There are some similarities between the characters of Alex (the guy the camera is focusing on at the beginning of the video) and Diana. Namely, (more…)
hood rats April 3, 2007Posted by Melissa in class, Set it off.
I finished watching Set it off a few hours ago, and I am still bothered by the movie. Many things were troubling to me, but the most bothersome were 1) the condemnation of the black race by Keith, 2) the use of the token black female police officer, and 3) the transformation of Frankie from a respectable bank teller to a “ghetto thief.”
First, there is a scene in the film in which Keith states the problem with Stony and her feelings of being “caged” is a result of the lack of planning (more…)
the oppressed working-class woman March 12, 2007Posted by sindhub in bad girls go..., class, race, stereotypes, the color purple, Thelma and Louise, theory, Working Girl.
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So I noticed that most of the movies we’ve been looking at have dealt with the problem of the oppressed working-class woman, e.g. The Color Purple, Working Girl, and now Thelma and Louise. Actually, let me rephrase that–it’s more that the men they’re oppressed by are working-class. From Mick in Working Girl to Mister in The Color Purple to the truck driver (can’t get a more blue collar occupation than that), the men from the ‘masses’ are almost unanimously brutish, abusive, piggish, boorish, and explicitly sexist.
This got me thinking of the Walkerdine article, “Subject to Change without Notice: Psychology, Postmodernity, and the Popular.” She spends a lot of time talking about how ideology about the masses/the working classes has always thought of them as of inferior intelligence, of a more primitive mindset, and how they can only be transformed by ‘upright’ middle class values (Protestantism, hard work, gumption, etc.). So the portrayal of the men of different classes in these movies is truly disturbing to me for this reason. It seems a little bit too easy (more…)