Reshaping Sex: Casey Beyer (SUNY New Paltz ’17)

“We don’t have to imitate straightness because by definition, we exist to oppose and critique it.”

http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/04/whos-the-man/

What is sex? Is it something we can define, or is it too personal and variable depending on who you ask? As I was beginning to conduct research for this paper, I asked some of the people around me if they could define sex, and got a wide array of answers from “stimulating another person” to “achieving orgasm” to “the giving or receiving of pleasure between one or more people”.  What this made immediately clear to me was that sex is very abstract and variable, definitely not something that we can define absolutely, yet I began to realize upon further questioning that people were much quicker to determine what they didn’t consider to be sex: For many people I spoke with, masturbation was not considered sex but the same act with another partner was, or manual stimulation with another partner was considered sex in some cases and foreplay in others depending on the genders of the parties involved. This idea that gender determines what kind of sex ‘counts’ and what doesn’t led me to this research — I want to examine the ways that lesbians and queer women have been invalidated sexually in heteronormative society and how they find ways to expand the boundaries of sexual pleasure through subcultures. In this paper, I will begin by analyzing the dominant narrative surrounding “legitimate sex” by looking at virginity and the ways that it invalidates non-heterosexual, non-reproductive sex, and then move forward to examine the way that lesbian and queer sex is considered more valuable the closer resembles it heterosexual sex and what that means for the lesbian and queer communities and their presumed gender performativity. Using this knowledge and understanding of mainstream society in the United States, I will move into an examination of the ways that lesbians and queer women have found subculture communities in which the backbone of sex does not rely on the gender binary but rather on sexual preference (i.e. top/bottom, dom/sub etc), and how these subcultures have allowed them to push the boundaries of what normative society considers to be sex, resist heteronormative partner standards and generate pleasure in alternative ways.

Continue reading “Reshaping Sex: Casey Beyer (SUNY New Paltz ’17)”

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Pepsi In All the Wrong Ways

A few weeks ago a commercial came out with Kendall Jenner leading a march of people through the streets of NYC and being confronted by a police barricade.  She then hands one of the police officers a Pepsi as if to be an olive branch, and the crowd erupts in triumph.

This commercial was not well received and quickly taken down.  Pepsi’s commercial underplays and overwrites issues like Black Lives Matter protests and other protest marches especially in a time of turmoil in the US.  SNL took it upon themselves, as the satirical comedians they are.  Through their comedic act they abruptly confront the major issues with the commercial as well as play on the ‘out of touc’h way society tries to use these political movement as marketing tactics for their products.  SNL did a similar skit earlier this year regarding super bowl commercials as well.  At least one form of media understands that these political movements should not be understated and used as marketing strategy.

 SNL Pepsi Commercial

 SNL Super Bowl Commercial Pitch

 

 

Radical Self Love means Radical Self Critique

Schulman writes that we must “face ourselves, to achieve recognition and understanding in order to avoid escalation towards unnecessary pain.” An article published by Bitch Media last month detailed the appropriation of Audre Lorde’s concept of self-love. The author argued that the proliferation of her work on radical self-love promoted an ignorance of her other central component which is radical self-critique. The author urged us not to forget that along with self-love we must also hold up the mirror to our actions and our activism and constantly critique. This will help us not remain complacent and help us avoid a stagnation in change making. Schulman’s perspective acknowledges that some kinds of pain are necessary but I would add that there is a line that we cross with perpetuating unnecessary amounts of pain onto ourselves and each other when we cannot open ourselves up to self-critique. I ask my community of William Smith, how often do our personal and academic spaces of dialogue facilitate a space where this level of vulnerability can be shared?

To read more here is a link to the Bitch Media article:

https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/appropriating-audre/need-locate-oppressor-within-us

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Imagining Knowledge Production in the Academy

From Eloise Peabbles at Wheaton College:

Women’s Autonomy

Autonomy: freedom from external control or influence

400 level, Seminar/discussion based

This course addresses women’s experience in patriarchal societies and how this subjugated placement influences women’s sense of self (identity). Introductory knowledge will be used to strengthen student’s understanding of “the woman” as a social construct, the hegemony within patriarchal institutions, paradoxes in advocating for rights, and spiritual autonomy. We will look at women’s experiences through historiographic, analytical and sociological lens’ to understand intersectional identities and the process of gaining autonomy, whether it be political or intrapersonal. We will address power as a relational force that is withheld from women in society through a critical lens and study women’s wisdom as a platform for autonomy.

 

“Blogosphere”

Colgate University coined the term “Feminist Blogosphere,” and I thought it was fitting for this area of our WS blog. Below you will find various feminist blog sites that aim to highlight different aspects of the news and provide important information regarding women’s bodies.

Feminisms in Action: http://colgatefeminism.blogspot.com/

Started by a Colgate Student, “Feminisms in Action” provides weekly posts about feminist issues in news. As it is written by a Women’s Studies major, the posts are relevant and speak to an audience via an intersectional approach.

Our Bodies, Our Blog: http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/blog/

Centered around Our Bodies, Ourselves, the authors aim to distill the most accurate scientific information regarding women’s health, reproduction, and sexuality.

Rewire: https://rewire.news/

This online publication takes up issues within the news that cover sexuality, reproductive health, and justice. The blog covers a range of topics, and provides access to the ways in which we think through our daily lives.

Code Pink: http://www.codepink.org/splash?splash=1

An organization that promotes peaceful activism and nonviolence, Code Pink provides toolkits for activism and ways to become more involved in promoting peace. The organization is worldwide so as to promote global peace as well.

 

BLACK AND FEMALE AT WORK: A VIDEO ESSAY by Amber Williams

BLACK AND FEMALE AT WORK: A VIDEO ESSAY

Amber Williams

Using the knowledge that I have gained over the past four years as a Media and Society major and a Women’s studies minor and my current BIDS 287 course “The Video Essay, ” I will be creating a video essay that will document and examine aspects of the experience of black women in the workplace. This is an independent project that arose out of my passions for both broadcast and other media and for analyzing the black female experience, particularly in the context of the need to tell black women’s stories–something that my experience in a predominantly white institution puts front and center for me.

I will be interviewing a selection of black women in the workplace to gather in-depth information about their experiences. I also will use the BET television series, “Being Mary Jane”, as the basis of my work, using the show’s depiction as a way to formulate the thematic categories of questions that I would ask my subjects that I interview. I will then use my personal experiences with past jobs and internships in order to personalize my video essay.