Single Stories

This past week, we’ve been talking a lot about the dangers of telling a single story. Between listening to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discuss the importance of venturing beyond a single story and watching the Half the Sky documentary, it’s been made clear that there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to sharing different perspectives of minorities across the globe.

I think the discussion we’ve been having fits in pretty well with Moonlight’s recent Oscar win. While the film has its Western elements, it managed to break the “boundaries” of what stereotypical Oscar films entail. It was the story of a gay, black experience, and that’s unfortunately not a story that’s often shared. The movie’s Best Picture win was historic, with it being the first LGBT themed film to win in the Best Picture category, and that’s something that’s probably going to mean a lot to anyone that’s able to relate to the film’s content.

Obviously, Moonlight’s Best Picture win doesn’t mean The Academy/film industry at large is perfect when it comes to representation and diversity. However, I think the fact that the film resonated with people shows how important it is to go beyond the “single story” and share the experiences of people that aren’t always represented in mainstream media. Not only does representation offer audiences variety, but it opens room for discussion and brings society closer to embracing people’s differences with rather than ostracizing those that don’t fit unspoken molds.

Progress Report #3: February 19th-February 26th

Midterm week is quickly approaching, and I’ll be honest, I’m not feeling that great going into it! While I’m feeling comfortable in most of my classes, I can feel my workload increasing. The project phase of the semester has begun, and I can tell I have a long road ahead of me during these next two months.

However, I’m excited for what’s to come in this Digital Writing class. We have a board game assignment coming up, and a few different articles that it looks like we’ll be writing over the course of the semester. Normally, I’d start to feel a bit nervous at the fact that a writing class is about to get more writing intensive, but I’m actually pretty excited. From what I can tell, this isn’t your average writing class. The fact that we’re not just writing a bunch of research papers has me feeling motivated, because I genuinely enjoy writing when I’m given a bit of creative freedom. I already have a few ideas in mind in terms of what I’m thinking of writing about, and I’m hoping that I can come up with some quality work over the next few weeks.

Headlines & Titles

Headline #1: Acworth Man Turns Self in After Failed Burglary

Headline #2: Gazebo Park Resident Attempts Burglary Spree

Headline #3: Acworth Man Faces Post-Mugging Guilt: Motel 6 Burglar Turns Self in After Failed Robbery Attempt

ACWORTH, Ga. – An Acworth man turned himself in to police Sunday night after robbing a Motel Six here and later attempting to mug a second victim on North Main Street.

Howard E. Smithton, 54, a resident of the Gazebo Park apartments on Old Cowan Street in Acworth, entered the Motel Six, also on Cowan, at 8:50 p.m. Sunday night and demanded money.

The clerk on duty, who said he knew Smithton, withheld his name for fear of his safety. He said he refused to give Smithton any money. A struggle ensued. Smithton overpowered the clerk, forced him to open the cash register and left with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to the clerk. Smithton then attempted a second burglary approximately one hour later on the 4800 block of North Main.

Smithton demanded that the victim, 59-year-old Bob Wilson, a member of Acworth’s board of aldermen, give Smithton his wallet. Wilson said he refused and began beating Smithton over the head with a walking stick, which chased Smithton away.

Smithton later turned himself in at Acworth police headquarters on Industrial Drive at approximately 10:30 p.m. He is being held on a $10,000 bond at the Acworth City Jail, according to Michael Rose, Acworth’s sheriff.

The money from the Motel 6 has been returned, Rose said.

Progress Report #2: February 12th-February 18th

We’ve officially reached the one month mark of the semester! So far, things are going pretty well. The only issue I’m having right now is that I’m struggling to balance both work and school, but I think I should have a better grasp of that by the end of the month.

When it comes to my Digital Writing class, we just finished up a website analysis assignment. The assignment focused on how to set articles up visually, and I think the information we were given was really helpful. We also had an entire class period that focused on copyright, which felt equally as important. While the concept behind copyright laws (aka not stealing other peoples’ stuff) is pretty easy to understand, there are some specifics that I’ve been a little confused about. It was nice to get some clarification.

Moving forward, it looks like we’re going to be focusing on headlines for a bit. Diving into some journalistic concepts should be interesting.

Parenting & Gender

Last week, we read and discussed Ruth Padawer’s article What’s So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress?, and it had me thinking about how intense parents can get when it comes to enforcing gender norms with their children. The article discussed various cases of gender variant children and how those children’s parents approached their child’s outlook on gender. While parts of the article were heart warming when it came to parental support, others were disheartening. Why is it that so many parents prioritize their own preconceptions over their child’s happiness?

I understand that no one wants their child to be seen as an outcast, but instead of trying to force your child to act or carry themselves in a certain way, wouldn’t it be more productive to function as a support system rather than an entity that shares the same views of potential tormenters?

At one point in the article, Padawer mentions a mother that consulted a psychiatrist because of her son’s gender variant behavior. That psychiatrist told her to encourage her son to be more aggressive, hoping that it would “help” him develop a more masculine personality. I found this frustrating. It’s baffling to me that people would rather teach their children that aggression should be rewarded. In this mother’s case, it led to advocacy, but I can’t help but think about all the children that were taught to be aggressive for the sake of masculinity that eventually grew up and brought harm to others as a result.

I’m a firm believer in teaching children to be the best they can be. Perhaps that’s a bit Hallmark-y, but I think it’s a lot better than trying to mold a child into an identical, gendered copy of myself or others. I care more about passing on skills like compassion and kindness onto my potential children than what kind of clothes they wear, and I hope that someday, other parents will feel the same.

Progress Report: January 27th-February 11th

I’m about three weeks late to this, but I figure it’s about time I give everyone a bit of an update on how I am doing this semester, specifically in my Digital Writing class.

So far, I would say I’m really enjoying the class. I never really thought about how physical publications and online publications could differ, but I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned so far and use that information to think a bit more critically about the media I consume. The length and general structure of online content makes a lot more sense than it did before, mainly because I was never really thinking about the thought that has to go into publishing written content online.

I’m excited for what’s to come. I think a big part of what I enjoy about this class so far is that it’s giving me the opportunity to write about topics that I’m passionate about in a way that’s personal but informative. The two previous writing classes that I took at MTSU focused on personal writing and research based writing separately, and so far, this class seems to be a nice blend of both.

When it comes to what I need to work on as the class progresses, I think updating this blog in general is something worth focusing on. I’ve been fairly inconsistent when it comes to posting here for this class (and others), and I’d like to get in the swing of things. Having a personal website with a wide variety of writing examples will come in handy later, so it’s probably for the best that I put as much effort into this blog as I can.

Hopefully, I’ll figure out a way to accomplish that. 🙂

Masculinity & Femininity

With masculinity and femininity playing such dominant roles in how many people view gender, it is not out of the question to consider how the two concepts might also affect race, class, and sexuality. Views towards masculinity and femininity differ across cultural backgrounds, because what it means to “be” a woman or man is not entirely universal. I am not confident that I know what roles masculinity and femininity play in race or class, but the topic of sexuality is one I am fairly familiar with.

Continue reading “Masculinity & Femininity”

Political or Academic?

After reading Chapter 1 of Threshold Concepts in Women’s and Gender Studies, I couldn’t help but ask myself if the ideas discussed in the chapter should be considered political or academic. Ultimately, I decided that a a Women’s and Gender Studies class is fully capable of being both.

While plenty of people believe that academia and politics should never mix, I’m not somebody that subscribes to that belief. I think the two intertwine a lot more than people might think. While you might not be discussing bipartisan issues in your calculus class, I think you could definitely make the argument that subjects like history, art, sociology, science, and even English have a certain political aspect to them. Humanity is discussed to some extent in each of these classes, and I think that’s a key element of being “political.”

Plus, Women’s and Gender Studies courses are ultimately teaching the history behind groups of individuals fighting for what they believe in.  I don’t see how that’s any more political than your average American history class. Sure, issues like reproductive rights are discussed, but that’s because the discussion surrounding those issues have played a major role in the history of how women are treated across the globe.

I understand that people want to be able to separate politics from different parts of their lives, but at the end of the day, politics has a massive impact on everyday living. It’s understandable that it bleeds into our education, and personally, I don’t have an issue with that.