Archive for February, 2008

Last summer, I came across this essay on the blog Moondance (now SeaChange) called “Does Blogging Empower Women?”.  Her answer is both yes and no, in that it does empower women through letting them have their say in a published format, easily accessible to the world, even if no one reads it.  However, she worries that perhaps if the blogging world starts to become dominated by blogging, then it will be seen as a “woman’s field” and men will worry that by entering that field, they will seem too feminine, and women might worry that they are fitting too much into the stereotype if they follow the trend to blogging.

I agree with this to a certain extent.  Basically, I think that the world of computers has been dominated by men, and considering blogging is still a comparatively new “technology” it is still dominated by men.  But I think the great thing about blogging is that you can be totally anonymous, to the point where your readers have no idea if you are male or female, and thus there is great potential for blogging to transcend boundaries that the internet was thought to be able to achieve, but (in my opinion) hasn’t necessarily lived up to.  I mean, in most places on the internet, especially with the growing popularity of social networks, you have to fit yourself into a box in order to be accepted.  If you don’t disclose such information about yourself, then people don’t trust you.  In the blogging world, however, I think that it is the only place that you can let your words speak for yourself, show yourself to be an expert on any topic under the sun, and still remain anonymous.  Even if you publish under a name, names can be completely androgynous and thus still retain anonymity and reliability.

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Do you ever feel like you want to talk to someone, a good friend, but they’re just not available. I mean, you have a few other friends that are in much closer proximity and would be perfectly willing to listen and commiserate, but you just don’t want to talk to them; you want to talk to this other friend. But you can’t. Because they’re unavailable. Because they’re on vacation. And you would feel too guilty to call them up and interrupt their vacation. Even though you desperately wish you could. :sigh:

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I just sent the following email to my boyfriend after a very physical night – though we didn’t have sex, we came close. And now I am anxiously awaiting a response:

This has been bothering me for a while now, and I feel it needs to be said. We can’t have any more nights like last night. Every single time we do, something bad happens, usually in the form of [his psychotic ex] making further contact. I have felt like this for a while now and I can’t seem to keep it out of my mind today. Maybe it’s because I’m sick or whatever, but this is not the first time it has crossed my mind, even if it is one of the strongest times. My heart is saying otherwise, but my mind is convincing me that this is how it needs to be. So I guess I won’t be coming over to your room anymore this semester, since that’s where it always happens, where my resolve is weakest. We need to move our relationship away from the physical, since bad things happen when it moves in that direction. I’ve never been one to believe in God punishing me for things, but that’s what it feels like. We talked about making sure our relationship stays like it was last year last semester, and I don’t know what happened, my mind is kinda fuzzy right now, I admit, but I want to go back to that, back to an asexual relationship, if you will. I think it’s for the best, no matter how much I wish otherwise when I’m around you. It’s just how it needs to be for the world to be right.

I don’t really know what will happen as a result of this. I mean, this is totally unchartered territory. I am just so confused, and I have thought of this quite a few times before, when we have come quite close physically, though last night was the furthest we have ever gone. When I am away from him, I feel this way, but then I get close to him and I just want to be as close as possible to him in all ways. So I sent him this letter while he was at work. And I am anxiously awaiting his reading of this, though I’m not sure when that will be. And I don’t know if I’ve done the right thing. Why does life, and love, have to be so confusing?

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Why I Don’t Like Girls

I may be a feminist, but I don’t like girls. Girls can be so petty and cruel and close-minded and stupid and irritating and I could obviously go on, but I’ll stop there. I was talking to my roommate from last year and as always she was talking about her sorority. She transferred from our small university to a huge state university in another stater after a fairly disastrous rush period here last year. Fortunately, at her new school, she got into a sorority. Except the more I hear about it the more happy I am that I have never truly desired to be part of a sorority. I don’t think I have heard of a single convincing reason to join a sorority.

This extends beyond the whole not-wanting-to-pay-for-friends objection into the realm of pure principle.  I mean, the politics that go on behind the scenes, and the petty nature of girls constantly judging each other and talking behind each others’ backs, not to mention being judged purely by association rather than on one’s own merits.   I can’t imagine why one would willingly subject oneself to that sort of society that may welcome you one day and then stab you in the back the next, purely on the basis of an unverifiable rumor.

I can understand, to a certain extent, the benefits of such a society, such as an immediate connection with sisters nationwide and a support system and all that, but at the same time, I feel those benefits are only for the select few that work hard to maintain a certain image in order that they might not be shunned, thus perhaps losing themselves in the process.  And yes, I am simplifying things to a certain extent, but only to a certain extent.

Some of these opinions I held previously, before attending a college with a vibrant Greek life, and I willingly acknowledge that they were based on sensational literature, but imagine my dismay to come to college and discover that most of my opinions, the opinions brought about by sensational literature meant to raise conflict, were true.  I simply do not understand why this continues to happen, why girls continue to subject themselves to such situations, to such people who are constantly judging them on the most ridiculous of criteria.  Why don’t these girls have more pride in themselves, in who they can be?  Why does our society foster a community in which girls are encouraged to stab each other in the back for the most ridiculous of reasons and shun those who dare to stand out and refuse to partake?  Why why why?

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I am currently taking an anthropology class in virtual communities, and we read an article about “Young Adolescents in Television Culture” (JoEllen Fisherkeller, 1997) which profiled three very different middle-schoolers. One of them was a 13-year-old girl who chose the pseudonym “Dezeray.” She has a very strong personality and is extremely opinionated – indeed, “the faculty [at her school] admire and want to encourage Dezeray’s expressiveness. But she challenges their institutional norms and standards for order.” Fisherkeller then notes, “Dezeray is also known to slug the boys and chase them when they tease girls by trying to grab their bottoms and their breasts. Yet despite her female-protective retaliations, many of the girls talk about Dezeray as a ‘bitch.’ She thinks of this behavior on their part as ‘stupid.'” While I’m sure this isn’t the whole situation, I find it interesting that the girls would call Dezeray a bitch for protecting their honor, if you will. It seems to me that most girls call another a bitch if the “bitch” does something to directly affects them, not because of how the girl acts towards boys. Inappropriate action with boys is usually labeled a “slut”. Unless, of course, the girls like 13-year-olds “trying to grab their bottoms and their breasts” which would be so wrong on so many levels.

It’s remarkable that Dezeray is able to continue being so strong despite the negative peer pressure surrounding her, even to the point of recognizing the “bitch” label as “stupid.” As so many others have written, much more eloquently, there is something wrong when our society labels strong women bitches even (especially?) if they are doing something right. I have yet to find an example of a strong woman in our world that has not been labeled a bitch, though if you, dear reader, can point me towards one, I would gladly welcome it! For a good article about this, check out “Embracing the Bitch” on hangPROUD

To continue on the topic of Dezeray, even though she attempts to defend girls’ honor in this way, she dresses as if she’s asking for such persecution: “sometimes she accentuates her mature features, wearing mini-skirts; short, short tight pants; tight-fitting tops; and red lipstick.” Now, Dezeray admits that she dresses this way to garner attention, but I can’t help but think that perhaps she’s perpetuating the stereotypes and attitudes she seems to try to fight so hard against elsewhere in her life. I’m not saying that I think she should dress like a man or something – I’m all for wearing dresses and skirts and accentuating your femininity, but I think there is a limit. As in, don’t dress like a whore. Yes, there is such a thing as showing too much skin. And far, far, too many girls cross that line.

How is our society supposed to move past labeling our girls as “bitches,” “sluts,” and “whores” if we encourage them to dress the part? Rather than supporting a woman’s choice to flaunt as much skin as she wants to the point of disgust, why don’t we support a woman’s choice to cover up and have some self respect? Dress beautifully, not sluttily. Be a woman, not a whore.

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