Grinnell Fun Facts

August 23, 2009 § 2 Comments

Since I haven’t been doing anything remotely intellectual for orientation, this is going to be a baby post. Here are some funny facts I learned about Grinnell campus:

  1. Formerly the section of campus where only women lived, South campus has some pretty hysterical architectural differences from all of the other sections. For example, the loggias (covered walkways) are not open air like the all the others on campus. They have beautiful glass windows. Know why? Because women should never have to walk in the cold Iowa winters. Haha, guess what. No one should have to do that. Ever.
  2. All of the kitchens on South campus come equipped with ironing boards. For us womenfolk to do the ironing.
  3. Just learned this one, it may be my favorite so far: the Loose dorm (holla!) was notoriously the hall for “loose women” because the window locks are the easiest to break for late night collegiate trysts.

I found those details pretty amusing when I first heard them, I really hope you enjoyed!

Packing Delirium

August 6, 2009 § 9 Comments

Right now I am undergoing the laborious (and ridiculously exciting!!!) task of packing up my belongings to take to my first year of college. I’ve noticed that, like many young women my age, I have a lot of fucking clothing. Not just clothing. I just have a lot of stuff. When comparing packing notes with my future classmate who happens to be a guy, I learned that he is packing way less stuff than me.

While this opening could go in many directions, I’ll probably choose the least rational, least evocative and least coherent one because I am that tired of packing. Here goes:

I’m sure many of you feminists are familiar with the theory about the implications of female and male standards of beauty- females are encouraged to be thin, to disappear, while males are encouraged to take up as much space as possible. This is how society wants us. In my packing, I cannot help but wonder- is the reverse true for material goods? Are women supposed to take up as much space as possible with our belongings? Are we making up for society’s pull for us to be nothing by having as much stuff as possible?

My packing delirium leads me to believe that a lot of the reason women tend to have more clothes, accessories, etc. is a tie to domesticity. Perhaps society wants us to take up a lot of room, not with our bodies, but with our stuff at home. Maybe we are bound with more strength to our homes because of all of these belongings. Do our clothes mark our territory? Do men often ‘travel light’ because, according to our culture, they should not be tied down to one town, and certainly not to one household?

Obviously it would be a stretch to draw very many conclusions like these without researching properly, and even then it probably wouldn’t make much sense. I just thought I’d let you in to see my packing-induced crazy talk.

So You Think You Can Dance With Whomever You Want?

August 3, 2009 § 1 Comment

WRONG!

Miranda kindly sent me this Bust article via Facebook, which reminded me of something I was thinking about posting a while back.

Like the Bust blogger, I must explain my opinions of the show before I post. I LOVE SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. The show is pure entertainment. I love being exposed to great dances every week (albeit usually choreographed to less great music). I particularly love how the show doesn’t encourage unhealthy competition. The dancers all genuinely seem to enjoy being around each other, and are not manipulated in to saying nasty things about each other. With that being said, I had a BIG problem with one of the audition episodes earlier this season.

During the auditions back in June, So You Think You Can Dance saw its first ever male ballroom dancing partnership. Here is what happened, according to “TV Squad”:

Misha and Mitch are same-sex ballroom dancers. Mitch had a female partner, but it didn’t work out. Mitch is straight and Misha is gay. It’s like the odd couple, except with sequence. It’s funny because the two have strong lines and good legwork. Nigel just had this look on his face (we know how he feels about gays). In one move they messed up a lift and land on the floor. Nigel has no clue what to say and compares it to Blades of Glory. He thinks that they alienate audiences. He thought that they were strong. Mary was confused because they were both male and female in dances. The lead/follow was strong, but the technique needed help. Sonya sees a lot of female qualities but is confused with classical form. The two are sent off to choreography.

For a show that is supposedly all about embracing new ideas in the dance world, breaking down barriers and accepting people of all backgrounds, these judges were very narrow-minded when it came to gender roles. They managed to throw in some remarks about the dancers’ lines and general technique, but on the whole, could NOT get passed the guy on guy dance action. They all claimed to be thoroughly “confused” by it all, and felt that they could not judge the dancers properly because they strayed so much from conventional ballroom dancing. What a¬†FUCKING STUPID¬†excuse!!!! Alienating America? Like the media doesn’t alienate all the Americans who don’t fit into their cookie cutter gender roles every damn day.

I never really cared for Mary Murphy and her ridiculous pitch and volume, but I have certainly lost a huge amount of respect for the three judges that day, who could just not get over a man ballroom dancing with another man. As far as I’m concerned, dancing is about art. Art doesn’t have to abide by conventional gender roles, in fact, great art is often created by challenging those roles!

I still love SYTYCD, and I do approve of the kick ass lady routines created by Sonya (also, Nigel did mention the ridiculous treatment women get in most dances), but it broke my heart a little to hear these two poor men get shut down immediately because of who they chose to dance with!

No, No, Netflix

August 2, 2009 § 7 Comments

This summer I have been a tiny bit addicted to watching Netflix instantly from my computer. Their eccentric collection has, um, forced me to watch some pretty weird TV. Kindly, Netflix automatically organizes my viewing options into some categories to help me navigate their website. The categories include stuff like “TV sitcoms,” “romance,” “thriller,” “TV show with a strong female lead.”

Wait, what was that last one?

Am I the only one who finds that just a little bit weird? Don’t get me wrong, I love that they suggested shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Dead Like Me. Those shows are pretty great, and I think they are great precisely because they have strong, quirky, entertaining females at the center of them. But it seems to me that making an entire Netflix category out of them is just highlighting how odd it is in the movie/TV industries to have such shows. I didn’t see any “TV shows with a strong white male lead.”

Perhaps Netflix is simply reflecting a larger issue, but I can’t help but think that their method of categorization, in some small way, is helping to perpetuate that issue. Then again, perhaps I’m overreacting. Still, it struck me as a little weird, slightly more disconcerting, and entirely blog-worthy.

History of Infant Feeding in the US

July 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

Hi AGAIN! I’m on a roll.

This is a paper I wrote last semester for my US Women’s History class. It’s a little stiff (because I was dying to graduate) but I find the subject matter extremely interesting. Also, I cite my mommy, lactation consultant Bev Solow!

Enjoy!

(Hello Again) and Infinite Props to NY Presbyterian

July 31, 2009 § 2 Comments

Hi everyone!

First of all, let me just say that I’m thrilled to be returning to Women’s Glib after my embarrassingly long vacation. I’ll be better from now on, I swear!

I recently attended a health and sexual education class provided by NY Presbyterian hospital. The class was mandatory for all Summer Youth Employment Program employees, and, needless to say, I was dreading it like no other. I’ve been to so many sex ed classes that skirt around issues, don’t delve into anything that isn’t strictly fact, and seem like their goal is to make people less comfortable, not more informed. Why should this one be any different?

To my surprise, this one was totally different, and here’s why:

The class was taught by a mix of people, some teenagers and some professionals. While, yes, there were some cringe worthy one-liners such as, “um… does anyone um… know what um… the scrotum is?” there were some really great benefits to having this class taught by teens. It was pretty clear that my whole class felt at ease because the environment was less like a class, and more like a conversation. My favorite quote from one of our peer educators was, “You gotta tie of the condom and throw it in the trash, not out the window, would you want a nasty condom falling on your head?” When things got confusing, or some of the facts weren’t straight, there were trained professionals to step in and clear everything up.

Which brings me to my second point… we were taught by people who hadn’t just taking a week long crash course in health education. These people actually worked in the NY Presbyterian clinic. They had, quite literally, seen it all. Nothing that they told us sounded like a text book recitation. This resulted in a much more engaging class, because no one was trying to separate these issues from real life. Since the conversation had that tone, we had surprisingly open debates about ethical issues as well as the symptoms of gonorrhea and how to put on a condom.

My classmates totally opened up. They asked great questions, and others provided great answers. Some told deeply personal stories, and were not afraid to express their views, no matter how controversial they were. At first I was a little nervous when one of my classmates expressed his feelings on abortion. He believed that the decision for a woman to have an abortion should be a “fifty-fifty thing,” and a woman should not have one if her partner is willing to take care of the child himself. I ended up being glad he said it though, because we had a lively debate which would have otherwise never occurred! Young women were exclaiming, “But do you have to carry it for 9 months?” One young man (and this is possibly the highlight of my day) said, “Nah, it’s gotta be ninety-ten.”

We all left the class feeling satisfied, and, most importantly, knowing much more. I am so shocked by this experience that I just wanted to share it with all of you!

There will be more where this came from.

Sneaky Street Harassment… what would you do?

February 28, 2009 § 9 Comments

As a seventeen year old living in New York City, I’ve certainly experienced my fair share of street harassment. Men have said obscene things to me, made gestures, whistled, the works. Though I am by no means happy to be treated this way, I’ve perfected my “death glare,” which is pretty satisfying. What I find worse than the blatantly obscene comments, however, are the faux polite compliments.

I used to frequent an awesome little cafe in my neighborhood called Carrot Top. The coffee was wonderful, the management was super friendly and it was right outside my door. The only problem was that a man who happened to get his coffee at the same time as me every morning felt entitled to assess my appearance, ask me my age, command me to “keep smiling” and, my personal favorite, propose that we run away together.

I’m sure many of you have been in a similar situation. When this man talks to me, he doesn’t say gross enough things for me to call him out on his behavior. He sees everything he does as perfectly chivalrous. Mostly, he puts me in a position where it would be considered rude of me not to thank him for making me feel uncomfortable. I probably should call him out on it one day. Mostly, I just wish I didn’t have to!

No form of street harassment is OK in any situation, but I personally hate the type that makes the object of the harassment feel bad about reacting honestly to the “compliments” he or she receives. I’m writing this post because I really don’t know what to do about the situation. Today I went to Carrot Top and saw him across the street, and that familiar sense of dread came over me for the first time in a long time. It’s really not OK that a stranger can have that affect on me. I go to Carrot Top much less frequently than I used to (in part because of this guy), but next time I’d like a badass plan of action. Any suggestions?

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