Author: Zahra E. Morgan (page 1 of 2)

Male Entitlement: Will We Ever Catch a Break?

I saw many similarities in Roxane Gay’s piece about Robin Thicke and Aziz Ansari’s alleged behavior outlined in the Vox article. Both men think it’s okay to dictate what a woman wants. It is odd that men think they can discern whether a woman is okay with their advances. This probably rooted in their inherent misogyny and entitlement, but when I was finished reading both pieces, my main takeaway was that we’re in too deep and nothing we do will solve our problems because they’re ingrained so deeply in everyone’s psyches that even if we did work to change the way we speak about consent and what not, we wouldn’t be able to see the tangible results of our work in our lifetime. I could be wrong though. As I was reading the Vox article, I asked myself questions like (though many of them were answered later on in the article) : Is it worse in Aziz’s case because he touts himself as a liberal feminist ally while not practicing what he preaches? Why does he do this? Entitlement? Fame? Is he really making a difference if he is preaching to people who probably already agree with the sentiments he’s expressed?

 

Black Women and Dehumanization

I had a difficult time getting through “The Wolfpack”, I felt could actually feel the pain and fear that each narrator felt. The author did a great job of showing the humanity in these women, which everyone else seemed to overlook. This story reminds me of a study done at University of Virginia which asserted that people in the medical field think that black people have a higher pain threshold than white people, which can result in misdiagnoses and inadequate treatment of people’s conditions. I made the connection because I feel like in this story, and in general, black women are constantly having their humanity called into question. They are constantly dealt the harshest punishments, and unfortunately this treatment extends into all aspects of their life. This dehumanization is only amplified by the women in this story’s sexual orientation. I read a few articles about the case after reading the story, and I saw that newspapers used their sexual orientation to justify their harsh sentences. I’m not new to knowing how unjust our system is, especially in regard to marginalized people, but this story just reminded me again. I also like that the author chose to omit any details about the assailant. Many of the articles talked about him and his career, as if what he did should be overlooked because he’s a creative. They also tried to paint him, an assailant, as a victim. The author did correctly reversed the roles and showed who the real victims are, the four women and their families as well.

Zahra, Trevor, and Mika

Yesterday we created an outline for our presentation and found articles that discussed the topic that we plan to focus on. We decided to focus on longterm relationships in Sex and the City. At the end of our meeting, we planned to meet up again today to finish our powerpoint and find more evidence to prove our argument.

Bechdel’s Confusing Tone

I enjoyed the second half of “Fun Home” much more than the first half. I think the tone of Bechdel’s writing became more vulnerable which is what I was looking for in the first half. I’m not sure if it’s unfair of me to demand vulnerability from her when writing the entire book was probably a very courageous act that required vulnerability. I felt like her writing matured as the story progressed. Despite the book’s achronological order, it seems to me that she spent the first half of the book fleshing out her childhood and her relationship with her father during that period of her life. In the latter half of the book, she focuses more on her adolescent and young adult life. I liked that Bechdel used her diary entries to describe what was happening during that one very important summer. It was interesting to see how she was able to draw so much information out of them despite how vague the entries were.

Throughout reading this book, I’ve struggled with drawing  conclusions from it. I’m still not really sure how i feel about it. I think that this is because I’m not used to reading stories with tragic themes in the format of a graphic novel. However I do think that the graphic novel format perfectly illustrated the way Bechdel views her family, her upbringing, and her father’s death. So unfortunate and painful that the only way you can cope with it is to reduce it to triviality and humor.

Not Understanding Bechdel’s Creative Decisions

I really enjoyed the way Bechdel used her grandmother’s story of her father getting stuck in the mud to reference at the end of chapter 2. For me, that connection evoked sadness which I hadn’t felt at all while reading the book so far.

I know that visual expression is supposed to help the reader properly contextualize and understand a text, but I felt like Bechdel’s use of art made the grave situation seem very trivial. Her delivery is very dry and it makes it hard for me to empathize with her and understand the way she thinks about things. Despite feeling really disconnected form her writing, I still enjoyed reading “Fun Home”. I feel like she kind of glazes over very important aspects of her father’s life which confused me. Instead of saying that her father was a flawed man because of his illicit relationships with his students, she focused on how much he paid attention to the renovation of his house rather than his children in his family was interesting.  For example, at one point she casually mentions that her father slept with teenagers and doesn’t return to that until well into the book. That bothered me and made it hard for me to focus on what she was speaking about in the present, especially when most of the things she mentioned seemed trivial in comparison to her father’s other glaring flaws. Although maybe these two things are connected, and I’m just not paying close enough attention. I’m interested in seeing how the story progresses as Bechdel learns more and thinks more about her father and his death.

The Beauty in Complicated Relationships

In Blue Talk and Love, the fictional short story is told from he point of view of a girl named Ernestine who is going through the process of figuring out her sexuality as well as just figuring out herself and her place in the world.

While reading, I felt that Earnesteine and Xiomara’s relationship replicated the relationship between Earnesteine’s mother and father. Earnesteine’s dad is almost blissfully ignorant. Life is easy for him and he doesn’t concern himself with household affairs to the same extent that her mother does. Despite all of this, he still isn’t content with his life and often copes with it by isolating himself. Earnesteine’s mother seems to be burnt out by all of the responsibilities that she has to take on due to the passive role her husband has assumed in the household. Xiomara is the same as Ernesto, she seems to float through life happy and is really well received by her peers. It is for these reasons that Earnesteine resents Xiomara. Earnesteine is the opposite of Xiomara, she’s insecure and unsatisfied with pretty much every aspect of her life.

Despite the flawed nature of both of these relationships, at the root of the two is the love that each person has for the other. If not love, then they all care a lot about the other person. If this wasn’t the case, Earnesteine wouldn’t be so consumed with Xiomara and Earnesteine’s parents wouldn’t be together anymore. What I like about this short story is the way the author depicted the complicated nature of romantic relationships and how it plays out in the way the two people in that relationship interact with each other.

In “A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories” Roxane Gay posits that, in terms of sexual orientation, access to privacy is a privilege that only heterosexual are afforded. She says that heterosexual people “can date, marry, and love whom they choose without needing to disclose much of anything. If they do choose to disclose, they are rarely negative consequences” (163).  Their life choices are rarely scrutinized in the public eye because they fit into what is deemed as the social norm. The backlash that homosexual people face when they come out makes it all the more difficult (hate crimes, loss of rights and privileges from the government, and alienation from the public). Although the common norm among members of society dictate that homosexuals are subjected to these shortcomings, Gay elucidates the more ethically favorable option to allow equal rights despite peoples’ sexual orientations.

By Zahra Morgan and Yooseob  Jung

Complacency Will Be Our Pitfall

In “A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories”, Roxane Gay speaks about privacy and the privileges that public figures are not afforded in terms of their privacy. Humans often view the right to privacy as an unalienable human right. However this is all thrown out of the window once someone ascends to fame. This dismissal of people’s right to privacy is made especially clear when public figures who identify as lgbtq+ are expected to come out and publicly declare how they identify.

I agree with the sentiment expressed in this piece. However I walked away from reading this with a sense of hopelessness. If I understood her correctly, Gay expressed that the burden of sacrificing one’s privacy for the greater good of society shouldn’t be placed on public figures, it should be placed on all of us. We should all be willing to sacrifice our privacy for the greater good too. We should speak up when small offenses are made against marginalized people. But why would it be okay in situations like congressmen Edward Schrock’s where he sabotaged his own self interest and worked against the greater good of the people? Is it justified because he’s protecting his unalienable right while simultaneously barring millions of people from being able to exercise their unalienable rights? Isn’t he one of “us”? He didn’t need to sacrifice his privacy in order to do the right thing, so why are his actions justified? Although I don’t agree with him being publicly outed, why should we sympathize with him when he is failing to hold himself accountable for his actions as one of “us”?

My greatest take away from this piece is how much complacency can be a detriment to the cause we are advocating for. When we relinquish our responsibility of advocacy and let public figures (sometimes involuntarily) assume that role, we are being complacent. While we should praise them for their courage to come out and be “counted”, we should also make sure to “ask ourselves what sacrifices we will make for the greater good”(169).

The Triviality of Marriage

In his article, “The Supreme Court’s Lonely Hearts Club”, Michael Cobb criticizes the language used in the Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges. Cobb takes issue with comments made by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family” he says. That statement shows the flawed way in which he, and many others, decide the value of someone’s character. If someone has made the decision to live their lives in solitude, they are miserable and should be pitied. Everything else that person has accomplished in their life becomes invalidated simply because they don’t have a partner. This way of thought is harmful for people because it pushes people to strive for something that is trivial. It distracts people from  Behavior like this further proves that the institution of marriage means nothing but trouble for everyone involved and not involved.

All in all, I agree with the sentiment expressed in this article. There is no reason to valorize the relationship between spouses, it’s oftentimes short lived and sometimes lacks the stability that familial and platonic relationships have. Rather than being a testament to how great of a person you are, to me, marriage is also a testament to how well one can remain stationary in a unsatisfying situation for a long period of time. I think it shows that people are scared of change, and if their marriage doesn’t pose a threat to the way they live, they will stay in it. I also think that people apply what they’ve learned in their relationships to their everyday life as well. If people are okay with remaining static in relationships that aren’t necessarily the most satisfying for years just to protect the stability of their lives, they probably will be okay with not challenging the dominant parties that dictate other aspects of their lives and oppress them in ways that they don’t even realize.

Sexual Repression and Class Disparity

In his longwinded first chapter, Michel Foucault discusses society’s repression of sexuality in the 18th century compared to the 20th century. Not much has changed. Despite the lack of progress, It is nice to see the ways in which society has evolved since Foucault wrote “The History of Sexuality”. After reading this piece, I’m not really sure that I have anything of substance to say in response to it. I found his writing to be verbose and overwrought which made it hard for me to actually grasp what he was saying, thus making it even more difficult to form thoughts in response to the piece. The repressive hypothesis makes sense especially when one thinks about the institution of marriage and how much those ideals are forced upon us. The bourgeoisie profits from marriage because married people feel motivated to earn money in order to provide for their family, so they make up the bourgeoisie’s workforce. They then use the money that they have earned to buy things to provide for their families because that is what is expected of you when you get married which puts the money they earned right back into the bourgeoisie’s pockets.  I don’t think I have ever considered the ways in which discourse on sexuality (or lack thereof) is used as a means to create class disparity, but I think that it’s a productive way to think about it. Although Foucault does not seem to like the revolutionary nature of speaking about sex, I think that it’s okay that it’s seen  as revolutionary because I think it creates progress and I think it pushes more people to be speak openly about sex.

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