Women's colleges were born out of institutionalized sexism. So, do we still need women's colleges?
In mid-December the Huffington Post published a guest editorial by Elizabeth Pfeiffer titled, "Don't Like the Gender Gap? Women's Colleges Might Just Be the Answer." In her post, Pfeiffer defends the all-female Scripps College. She argues that a school should be defined by "the richness of the community…and the possibilities this kind of environment offers."
I agree: Schools should be defined by the richness of their community. But that goes beyond a gender binary. How about those whose identity does not fit within this heteronormative binary of man or woman?
Pfeiffer asks, "Why is Scripps, or any women's college, still relevant?" Pfeiffer believes one reason is because of the leadership roles she was able to take on, as well as the idea that women's colleges instill a sense of leadership. She cites the fact that women's college graduates make up "more than 20 percent of women in Congress and 30 percent of a Businessweek list of rising women in corporate America."
The Republican presidential candidates deservedly get a good amount of critical coverage due to the homophobic, racist, and misogynistic rhetoric that they seem to spout at every campaign stop. This election, though, is one of the first times in my memory that the candidates' classism and profound oblivion regarding their own privilege have really taken center stage. While I'm sure there will be more gaffes to come, I'm wrapping up this series this week, and I thought a roundup of the more classist political soundbites might be a good parting gift.
Alright, so, we are now halfway through my stint blogging here at Bitch, which, by and large, has been wonderful. But there is an important aspect to writing about live theater, one I mentioned briefly in my opening post, that I think I need to expand upon.
If you read popular anti-street harassment blogs and media coverage of the topic, a pattern of perpetrator name-calling rapidly emerges, and some of the most prevalent terms you'll hear to describe the guys who "holla" at women and girls in public spaces are "pervert," "asshole," and "creep." I've always felt uneasy at this type of dehumanizing, knee-jerk response, and at this defining stage of street harassment, it would be wise to interrogate its purpose and meaning in shaping a new narrative regarding violence against women.
It's a problem faced by most straight couples—you haven't even tied the knot yet, and everyone is wondering whether you'll have children. Or in this case, whether your eldest child will inherit the crown if it's a girl. Like the nursery rhyme says: first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a debate about primogeniture that would overhaul the entire line of succession.
You know the fury that comes over you when you're affected by other people's prejudice? The coldness, shock, or devastation when they put you or your loved ones down over race, sexual orientation, age, gender, size, class or ability? Maybe you felt it when your folks wouldn't let you bring your partner to a family celebration, when a white woman crashed your MLK event to announce that she deals with racism too, or when a classmate blocked your path to stare at your walking aid. Despite what a lot of defensive apologists might try to tell you, these incidents do matter: They're called microaggressions.
Read more about this amazing website after the jump!
Weeds in its first three seasons was an excellent show—it was well-written, clever satire with multifaceted and funny characters. Its send-up of the rhetoric and culture of suburbia was funny and pointed and coherent. Celia was a hilarious and capable antagonist, and I loved that the older het white men on the show—Doug, Andy, and Dean—were strongly characterized as inept and lazy. In contrast to the class and race privileged characters in Agrestic, Heylia James and her nephew Conrad Shepherd, the pot dealers who gave Nancy her start in the business, were funny, sympathetic, and competent. They were easy to root for, while Nancy made irresponsible decisions by the dozens. Heylia and Conrad took themselves and their ambitions as individuals seriously, and handled themselves and their business adroitly.
I'm not alone in thinking that Weeds has fallen hard in recent years. The basic thesis of the show in its fourth and fifth season seems to be "everything falls to shit, and Mexico and Mexican folks are every awful stereotype you've ever heard." All but the most clearly and slowly spelled out motivations of the characters are completely unintelligible. It's not very funny, and doesn't put sexism or racism or classism in any kind of critical context. The greatest indicator of this steep drop in quality is the complete and total erasure of Heylia and Conrad. Much to the show's detriment, these two fine characters have been abandoned, literally never mentioned at all after the end of the third season.
One swift glance at the People of WalMart blog and I've got all the fodder I need to write this post. It's almost too easy to critique it. This site is an example of what happens when people fail to have class consciousness, folks.
"Rave On" is the Page Turner series that asks feminist writers, artists, musicians, activists, leaders, and scholars to talk about a book that completely rocked their world. Today we feature musician and singer-songwriter Joan Wasser, of Joan as Police Woman, on Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, by bell hooks.
Outlaw Culture taught me to change the way I thought about everything. I first read it when it was released in 1994 because it had a chapter about Madonna and how she turned her back on her original, daring woman image and ultimately gave into the little-girl, sex-kitten status quo.
I had written essays on Madonna when I was in high school, horrified because my ideas of empowered women were Siouxsie Sioux and Exene Cervenka. I was already a massive music fan and felt confused by Madonna's brazenly sexual image (and unshaven underarms) in combination with her music, which I considered, at the time, totally useless fluff. I was thrilled to find someone else who shared my distaste for her, like hooks did, albeit in a completely different way.