The Codes of Gender

Communication scholar Sut Jhally applies the late sociologist Erving Goffman's groundbreaking analysis of advertising to the contemporary commercial landscape in this film about gender as a ritualized cultural performance. Jhally explores Goffman's central claim that the way the body is displayed in advertising communicates normative ideas about masculinity and femininity and is certain to inspire discussion and debate across a range of disciplines.


Food for Thought: Stuff No One Told Me

"Porn movies and Disney are responsible for the most frustrated human beings I know." - Alex Noriega

Also, if you get the chance, check out Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. I just finished it, it's rather interesting.


I Wish You Enough

I read this poem a while back and it kind of stuck with me. I tried my best to find its original author but things just have a way of getting lost on the internet. Oh well, courtesy of [whoever wrote this]:

I Wish You Enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

Food for Thought: Stuff No One Told Me

"Someday you will miss today." - Alex Noriega
Check out Putain de Temps (Time's a %^%#!)


CNN's "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door"

A few hours ago, I caught CNN's "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door." The hour-long Soledad O'Brien documentary was about the opposition to a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, TN. It saddened me to see how much bigotry, hatred, and xenophobia exist in the heart of some Americans. All these right-wing religious zealots were speaking vehemently about the mosque, claiming if it's allowed to be built, it will cause Sharia Law to be implemented in their town [really folks?], women will be oppressed, it will cause an increase in traffic etc. When those reasons failed, they went as far as claiming Islam wasn't a religion [See how much the American education system has failed?]. They went as far as writing hate messages on the sign announcing the upcoming mosque, burning the construction equipment at the site, and firing shots to scare the away the Muslim people. They also claimed all Muslims are terrorists. Seems to be the only one doing the terrorizing are the white-americans in this story. But after all, this is Small-Town, Tennessee, what else can we expect? The whole thing reminded me of the hatred, prejudice, and bigotry black people in the United States (especially in the south) experienced during the Civil Rights era. The saddest part of it all, was the black man who filed a lawsuit to prevent the building of the mosque. Really sir? I guess he must have a short memory or maybe he was asleep during the history lessons when he was in school. Or maybe what they say is true: the bullied today will be the bully tomorrow? Either way, shame on you people of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Shame on you!

Books that might enlighten you:
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Baghdad Burning by Riverbend

The Vagina Monologues: A Review

I have finally had the chance to attend a presentation of The Vagina Monologues. This showing has been going on at the University of Florida for the last four years and truthfully, I have no good reason why I've never attended. But better late than never, right? Along with V-Day, this year's beneficiary was Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network. A member of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the organization provides services like emergency shelter and batterer's intervention programming, while serving domestic abuse victims in Alachua, Bradford, and Union counties of Florida. The Vagina Monologues is an episodic play written by playwright and feminist Eve Ensler in 1996. The play is based on interviews Ensler conducted with 200 women.  The women were of a wide age range, various multicultural background, sexual preferences, etc. The interviews covered topics like rape, masturbation, mutilation, orgasm, birth, etc.

The Introduction: Three women discussed how the play came to life as well as the different reactions of the women interviewed. The introduction of the many different names given to the vagina was both funny and interesting. I reminded me of growing up in Haiti and thinking "vagin" was a bad word or at least a word reserved only for grown women.

Hair: When I read this title in the program I thought to myself "What exactly does hair have to do with vaginas?" Well... It's actually a conversation I've had with many of my girl friends. Oh the many things society (well, mostly the porn industry actually) imposes upon us women and our vaginas. It reminded me of the scene in the first Sex and the City movie, in which Samantha is horrified by Miranda's hairy bikini line, and Samantha suggests to Miranda that this might have been one of the reasons why her husband cheated on her.

The Flood: This was based on the interview with a 72-year-old woman. This scene was both charming and extremely sad. Hearing how unaware, embarrassed, frightened, and ashamed this poor old woman was of her vagina was quite sad.  Also, the actress who portrayed this woman's story, Kim Mead, was absolutely brilliant.

The Vagina Workshop: I liked hearing how this woman was liberated and she was taught to please herself. Much like the woman in The Flood, this woman was previously unaware of the existence of her vagina as well as her clitoris. To hear that she was waiting for someone [a man] to one day come and discover her vagina and please her clitoris proved to me just how successfully women have been taught to shy away from sexual pleasure.

My Angry Vagina: This was possibly my favorite scene of the bunch. This monologue basically gave a voice to vaginas everywhere. Here's video of the monologue:

The Vagina Monologues has been criticized for its negative portrayals of male-female sexual relationships. I found that Because He Liked to Look At It did a good job of including a man in the vagina conversation. It has also been criticized because of the representation of brutal sexual encounters. I thought these representations (My Vagina Was My Village and Crooked Braid) were necessary due to the very high statistics of violence against women worldwide. I thought it was a fair representation. In my opinion, it was not making the case that all men are violent and hate women, but rather that there are many women who have suffered violence from the hands of males. On the other hand, I agree with the criticism that The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could represents a bias. The inclusion of a monologue, which describes an instance of female-female statutory rape, in a play that speaks out so loudly against violence against women, makes no sense to me.

Overall, I enjoyed the play. I appreciated what it was meant to achieve and the fact that so many people have benefited from it. It is definitely something I will see again and next time I am definitely bringing a few friends along.


"Your child's future was the first to go with budget cuts..."

Highlights of House GOP Budget Cuts:
--Cut around $60 billion from domestic programs, including education, environmental protection, and community services.
--Block money to implement President Obama's health care overhaul law.
--Bar federal funds for Planned Parenthood.
--Block federal aid to overseas groups that provide abortions or counsel women about them.
--Cut the Social Security Administration, which might force the agency to furlough workers.
--Prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing regulations curbing emissions of gases that cause global warming.
--Cut $747 million in food aid for poor pregnant women and women with children up to age 5, education.
                                                                        -- from The Associated Press

Music: Adele's "First Love"

You know when you're in a relationship and you feel like you're suffocating, like the only way to maintain your sanity is to get the hell outta dodge? And if not a romantic relationship, maybe a friendship or even a job, etc. I know this is a familiar feeling for me. Well, Adele beautifully put this feeling to music in "First Love" from her first album "19."

 Adele - First Love .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

So little to say but so much time,
Despite my empty mouth the words are in my mind.
Please wear the face, the one where you smile,
Because you lighten up my heart when I start to cry.

Forgive me first love, but I'm tired.
I need to get away to feel again.
Try to understand why, don't get so close to change my mind.
Please wipe that look out of your eyes, it's bribing me to doubt myself;
Simply, it's tiring.

This love has dried up and stayed behind,
And if I stay I'll be alive,
Then choke on words I'd always hide.
Excuse me first love, but we're through.
I need to taste the kiss from someone knew.

Forgive me first love, but I'm too tired.
I'm bored to say the least and I, I lack desire.
Forgive me first love,
Forgive me first love,
Forgive me first love,
Forgive me first love,
Forgive me,
Forgive me first love,
Forgive me first love

Food for Thought: Marilyn Sewell

"Women have gone within themselves to find their own sources of spiritual truth. We didn't have much of an alternative, really. Where were we to go for meaning, for identity? To books written with the assumption that the male perspective is also the human perspective? To the arts, where woman is pictured as Madonna, vigin, or whore? To the mass media where she is seen as an object for consumption?" Marilyn Sewell


Food for Thought: Audre Lorde

"Wherever the bird with no feet flew, she found trees with no limbs." - Audre Lorde


Food for Thought: Rita Mae Brown

"I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it." - Rita Mae Brown