Masculinities and Deconstructing the Masculine Mystique

Who is this guy?

handsomemasculinemen.com/very-masculine/masculine-confidence, April 2012

You know him.  I know him.  He is the every man, or rather what Euro-American mass media will have you believe every man aught to emulate.  But if you take a Masculinity Studies course at Hunter College, then you will learn that the proper terminology for one such image is that of hegemonic masculinity.

Hegemonic masculinity reins supreme in our sociopolitical context.  He is born biologically male, his gender is then culturally assigned to him as boy – he grows up to be a man; moreover he is white, middle to upper-middle class, heterosexual, able bodied and more than likely identifies as Christian.  Normative masculinity such as this has been constructed and reconstructed over time and throughout national spaces, namely in the United States.  There is a shameful history of gendering races in America, that is to say that non-white masculinity has almost always been depicted as problematic.  The myth of the hyper-masculine African American was used as justification for nineteenth and twentieth century lynchings here in the United States.  Asian American men are often depicted in movies and television as asexual or uniformly effeminate.  Latino, Chicano and Hispanic men have also historically been constructed as inferior.  Take for example the writings of T.J. Farnham, an American patriot of the Mexican-American War.

“They Wait For Us.”

THE Spanish maid, with eye of fire, At balmy evening turns her lyre And, looking to the Eastern sky, Awaits our Yankee chivalry Whose purer blood and valiant arms, Are fit to clasp her budding charms. The man, her mate, is sunk in sloth— To love, his senseless heart is loth: The pipe and glass and tinkling lute; A sofa, and a dish of fruit; A nap, some dozen times by day; Sombre and sad, and never gay, He seems accursed for deeds of yore, When Mexico once smoked with gore: The blood of many a patriot band, Shed by invaders of their land, Who now, by quick avenging time, Are vanquished by the subtile clime, Which steals upon the manly mind As comes “miasma” on the wind. An army of reformers, we— March on to glorious victory; And on the highest peak of Ande, Unfurl our banners to the wind, Whose stars shall light the land anew, And shed rich blessings like the dew (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401804742.html)

Racism is American as Apple Pie, from Google Images

>__^

But we aren’t simply talking about historical examples here. Many contemporary deployments of raced hegemony are made popular under the guise of… patriotism and [hegemonic] masculinity. An example of this might be that of burqa burning, which is not even spelled correctly in the link provided. One Women’s and Gender Studies Professor at Hunter described the idea behind both examples as white men saving brown women from brown men. Once it was articulated to me in this way, I began to see the American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan a bit differently back in 2010 (i.e. bringing democracy and so-called-universal standards of human and women’s rights; as if the two are somehow different).

However, this gender axis by which men are typically blames is a false [or faulty] analysis for critique and discussion. It is necessary that we incorporate a theoretical framework that is simultaneously critical of racial constructions so that we may gauge a more accurate understanding. Because many Euro-American feminists aim to likewise ‘burn’ or eradicate the burqa, with limited understanding of its plural transnational contexts. Therefore, a Transnational Feminisms course at Hunter might further teach that white women aim to save brown women from brown men under that same guise of so-called-universal human rights [that are outlined by Euro-American voices within the international debates surrounding rights]. Before I get too off topic, let me suggest that the politics of saving women of the global south, or women of non-white racial ethnic groups is all around problematic to say the least. A saving complex reifies culturally constructed social hierarchies that are racially based as well as gendered.

We learn in Hons 201 that men suffer from patriarchal violence just as women do, only in different ways. Lived experiences vary according to complex intersections of social identity markers. Very few individuals fit that hegemonic mold of masculinity. Therefore a relatively young new branch of feminism (i.e. Masculinity Studies) is taking it’s rightful root in academia now, challenging previous conceptions of gender faced by self-identified men.

from Google Images

A great book to read [more on this topic] is titled, Men Speak Out, by Shira Tarrant: a collection of essays by self-identified men challenging and resisting social norms placed upon them as well as contemplating new meanings and [re]constructions of a pro-feminist masculinity.

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Understanding “Compulsory Heterosexuality”

In her famous piece titled, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” Adrienne Rich argues, “A feminist critique of compulsory heterosexual orientation for women is long overdue.”  Rich wrote and published these words in the summer of 1980; that was more than thirty years ago.  I think it’s important to understand “compulsory heterosexuality,” as defined by Rich so as to trace its implications in the past and present discourses surrounding violence against women.

Our course on Feminism, Health and New Media teaches that Rich argues, “violence against women is one of the primary mechanisms men use to control women and ‘enforce’ heterosexuality.”  How might deploying violence be used as an effective tool by which to enforce one such hetero-normative social order?  I think Rich’s argument details the social construction of heterosexuality as a sexuality not based in biological origins but rather along the lines of cultural acceptability (i.e. hegemonic norms and the like).

Rich’s scholarly journal article was significant then as it is reflective now of a time and place in which lesbian discourse was not granted its fair share of authentic representation in the feminist movement and larger social arenas.  On the contrary, lesbian existence was viewed as deviant or alternative to a so-called-normal or normative feminist lifestyle.  Rich presents lesbian existence as one that is not only legitimate, but also one which can provide women with a, “source of knowledge and power.”  It is the heterosexual relationship that Rich views as problematic or, “disabling,” for women.

Rich aims to place [compulsory] heterosexuality under the microscope for critique and analysis as an institution by which women’s drive toward heterosexual relationships is rather externally influenced than internally desired by some fixed nature of sorts.  This theory of sexuality rings quite different to contemporary Lady Gaga standards of biological predispositions (i.e. born this way).  How are we to resolve this theoretical duality surrounding sexual orientation as predetermined by nature or post-determined by culture?

Nature Versus Nurture, from Google Images

At initial glance, it might appear that one theory is dated while the other is current – based in cold, hard, scientific facts (i.e. the gay gene) and so one.  Theories of sexuality range from the very narrow to the very broad.  I tend to air on the side of Freud, actually, whom Sociology has reclaimed after [American] Psychology spit him out like an old piece of chewing gum with no more minty flavor, and in many ways was the original queer theorist.  That is, Freud referred to what Donna Haraway has coined as natureculture, all one word, meaning that reality of no clear division between the two.  Babies don’t sexualize other beings in an adult context so much as they follow drives that are influenced by external environments while simultaneously developing according to one’s own personal nature.  This is not to say that I believe sexuality is a choice so much as I am not entirely sure that it is a rigid, biological construct (rooted in our DNA, so to say).  I tend to believe that it is a much more fluid concept which we as humans experience and desire indiscriminately – UNLESS there are such things at hegemony.  Oh yeah, then the idea of choice becomes complicated.

Rich was referring to that heterosexual matrix – which is a term coined by Queer theorist, Judith Butler, meaning the socially acceptable order of: biological sex, socially constructed gender and sexuality all in so-called-harmony with one another – in her work on, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.”  So if one is born male, it is expected that this individual will perform the gender role of boy, then man later on in life, and desire women, and only women, sexually.  Rich found this matrix to be disabling for women because it granted more autonomy and agency to the male gender role and took away or subtracted from female empowerment via Heterosexual integration and Homosexual segregation.

Can we observe contemporary examples of this unequal gender axis in media images?  Yes, oh yes we most certainly can.  Where does one begin?  Just pick up ANY magazine and observe the purposeful postures of men (as dignified) and women (as subordinate and/or silly, childlike).  Below is a link to an amazing docu lecture given by Jean Kilbourne on advertising’s images of women and the trivialization of violence against women.

Our Hons 201 class states that in our readings, “Caputi argues that the U.S. is a society and culture obsessed with sexualized images of the murder of women.”  I would have to agree with that statement – cultural images of partner and domestic violence normalize and eroticize such abuses – and I believe one of the reasons for our culture’s trivialization of violence against women stems from comupulsory heterosexuality and the gender roles imposed unto us.  One of my WGS Professors put it plainly when she said that gender is not only a source of pain, but it is also a source of simultaneous and conflicting pleasure.  Why else would the following song be so popular to young people?

And the Internet’s role?  It provides a means by which to popularize such media, as well as a space in which such overt and covert messages can be discussed, critiqued, analyzed and supported.  I don’t believe the Internet is to blame so much as it enhances communication.  Whether that communication takes the form of support or resistance is subjective.

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The Lorde-Rivera Clinic

Please watch our group vlog project for Hons 201!  We detail the particularities of a feminist health clinic which would ideally follow in the traditions of feminist leaders and activists, Audre Lorde and Sylvia Rivera.  I had a great time collaborating with my group members, Kerishma and Ethan!

This vlog assignment fulfills the following requirements:

1. Target Community Members (Low-income, families, etc)

2. Clinic Goals/Mission Statement

3. Services Provided

4. How you will handle payments for patients, (is it a sliding scale, set free, etc)

5. Staff/Volunteer Organizational Structure (is there a board? Do you have a licensed physician? Who has a say in the decisions? Are the decisions made by board members or consensus based?, etc).

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Cyberfeminism: Engaging or Escaping the Body?

So this thing we call the internet

from Google Images

amazing, no?

It connects us in ways people never dreamed possible.  Some of us (80s and 90s and millennium babies) have grown up alongside internet development like it was a natural tool to gain and obtain in elementary school, like reading and writing and memorizing our times tables.

from TradeTang.com

Many other babies of decades’ past, like my dad who once typed up his college term papers on a type writer, have experienced these advancements in the world wide web like spectacles in the sky, igniting change and wonder and awe….

from Google Images

Wowzahs!  That’s cool.

Only it’s more than cool: it’s revolutionary, it’s transformative.  The internet bridges those large, spacial gaps imposed by earth, wind and fire – well, you know, geography, national-state politics and all that jazz.  Furthermore, limitations of time have become less and less problematic as technology improves its speed.  I remember having to limit myself to only 20 minutes on the family computer back in 2000, because otherwise the phone line was being occupied and no one could get through if they needed to call our land line.  The dial-up bar would…take…for…ever…to…finally…load…only…to…spazz…out….AND THEN IT’S LIKE, FORGET IT!

But now many (if not most) of us engage with the internet in order to engage with each other (i.e. facebook, twitter, wordpress (hey!)), or sources of knowledge (i.e. academic journals, magazine articles, the score of the Yankee game, the possibilities to know who was that actor in that movie with the giant octopus?)  Well now, thanks to Brother Google, you can know exactly who your friend meant when he was referring to Lorenzo Lamas in Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, which just happens to be one of the greatest B-movies of all time.  But that’s besides the point.

There’s also this widely known thing we call feminism.  And it’s interesting to trace feminist’s engagement with and/or against the internet as a tool for spreading ideas about gender equity, as well as where that gender axis intersects such social identity markers as race, ethnicity, disability, religion, education, sexuality, sex, income, and so on…and also as a [safe] space in which authentic voices can speak and be heard digitally.

We occupy different social locations, which are heavily influenced by both our historical and physical locations, meaning where we live and what historical factors influence our lived socioeconomic and political conditions.  Many scholars refer to such spaces as the global north and the global south, which have previously fallen under the false dichotomies of the First and Third Worlds or also as the West and the rest, or East, or non-West.  These terms tend to denote certain ethnocentricities that aught to be avoided by feminist sociologists, anthropologists, and the like.  So feminist blogs and feminist forums derive from both these spheres which academia has divided according to social, political and economic factors.  And the result?  Girls and self identified women engaging with and/or escaping from the body – which was eloquently articulated by Professor Daniels in her article on, “Rethinking Cyberfeminism(s): Race, Gender and Embodiment,” as well as in class last Thursday.

Some examples of engagement with the body include those who aim to somehow control or transform the body, like the public forum on [so-called-western] genital modification, discussing the options of self-chosen labiaplasty, and/or the highly controversial pro-ana (i.e. pro-anorexic) blogs.  These websites function as ‘safe space‘ in which ideas could be exchanged anonymously without the social condemnation of physical stares and/or restraint [in the material world].  Contrarily, websites functioning as tools by which girls and self identified women (and feminists of all genders) effectively escape their bodies – which might otherwise serve as traps [in some areas of the global south] – include such internet publications as those written by Fereshteh Nouraie-Simone; the internet is conceived of as a revolutionary space for transhumanism (i.e. using technology to surpass human limitations), granting the opportunity to congregate freely from embodiment.

My goal is not to postulate yet another [false] dichotomy of those occupying the global north aim to engage the body – that body being one which they can autonomously [re]configure to so-called-Western expectations of the ideal form – whereas those occupying the global south aim to escape the body – that body acting as a trap in which women lack political freedom to engage in [physical] public debate [of the material world].  But, without conveying contradictory notions of the politically incorrect, could those cyborg dis/engagements really be that consistent with social, physical and historical location?

I suspect the answer to such complicated questions lie somewhere in that imbricated reality of 2012, which Prof. Daniels defined last week as that digital-material overlap of the internet age.  Let us also never forget the producing end of internet parts, in which many wo/men do not share in the consumption of internet technology so much as they occupy an assembly line – further complicating that picture with which we theorize the costs and gains of the internet.

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The Business of [Westernized] Healing

Me (center) with my two older sisters, Angela (right) and G (left) Galotti

I am the proud little sister of two brilliant future doctors: Angela and G. Galotti, my sisters and closest friends.  Angela is a third year medical student here in New York City at NYU and G. is a second year medical student at Stony Brook, on Long Island – where we three grew up.  Their experiences of working at two different teaching hospitals has educated me on the various cultures of medical schools and of hospitals.  Last week’s class discussion about health care in America and women’s relationships to the health care system prompted me to write this blog post, as I felt that certain important points of discussion were otherwise occluded.

Some of the students in class on Thursday expressed a sentiment of grief with doctors, or rather doctors’ tendencies to pathologize what could potentially be viewed as natural.  It would be unfair of me to assume what other people meant by their reinstating frustrations with doctors, but – from what I gathered – there was a particular sense of resentment towards the medicalization of bodies in the diagnostic/treatment process.  This speaks to the precious relationship of doctor-patient that is all about healing.  I agree with most of those who feel that there is, more often than not, a disconnect between the healer (i.e. physician) and the healing (i.e. patient).

from Google Images

But where might that disconnect stem from?  And is it fair to place sole blame and responsibility on the part of the physician, or rather can we locate the source of such frustrations in the overlapping system of health care in America itself?  Okay, so these questions are obviously leading, to say the least.  But I want to make clear that we cannot discuss physicians as a monolithic group – just as we cannot discuss women as a monolith, sharing in like experiences, when we know that simply is not true.  Analyses, or rather respectable ones, always include context; it is imperative to understand an individual’s physical, social and historical location.  Just ask any Transnational Feminist.

Those physicians who decide to go into primary care (i.e. the doctor you visit annually for a check-up, or your ‘family doctor’) most likely value that doctor-patient relationship.  How is this a safe assumption?  1.)  Primary care physicians adopt further responsibilities/burdens of owning and running their own business as opposed to working for a hospital & 2.) Primary care physicians, on the whole, earn considerably less than those who choose to go into surgery or other specialized fields.  This is why so many mid-level practitioner positions are becoming more and more popular (i.e. nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants (PA’s).

I have been told by my sisters and by other medical students alike that it is less and less enticing for a medical student to pursue primary care, as the overwhelming costs reap underwhelming benefits.  If time is equal to money and patients are a source of money, then more money is obtained by and through seeing more patients in one working day as opposed to seeing less patients per day with whom more time and attention was spent.  So one’s ideals of nurturing that precious doctor-patient-healing-relation tend to diminish by virtue of the cold hard facts that running a [health service] business will inevitably yield.

The problem with the health care industry in America is just that: it is an industry by which to obtain profit.  Health care is viewed as a responsibility of the welfaristic State in many communistic or socialized national states, and not as a business – as it is often viewed here in this country by insurance companies and citizens alike.  This is not to reify yet another false dichotomy of the capitalistic United States versus the socialist Europe and elsewhere, but rather it is to draw attention to this money making business we call healing.  And frankly, many people have [more than] the right to be fed up.  But in crafting one’s argument around the issue of doctors, it is necessary to understand the various factors which contribute to the lack of resources faced by both patients and, believe it or not, primary care physicians on the whole as well.

Me (center) again with my sisters, Angela (right) and G (left) Galotti with our beautiful, late dog, Sandy (yellow dog with the cute face).

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Fem Food For Thought: “The Right NOT To Have Children”

Image

**The symbol of Madrid en la Puerta del Sol: El Oso y El Madroño

A little less than one month ago, I was lying atop a stiff (and probably dirty) mattress, waiting for my sister to finish getting ready in our Madrid hostel.  I was starving and in order to pass the time, I picked up the August 2012 issue of Vogue I had bought two weeks prior, waiting for our flight to take off into the skies for eight hours, at JFK international airport.  To my surprise and delight, I stumbled upon a feminist critique on the gendered practices currently [re]occurring throughout the field of reproductive medicine in the Beauty & Health section of the magazine.  The title of the article to which I am referring read as follows:

“Q: Just how hard can it be to avoid getting pregnant?  A: Much harder than you’d think.  PAMELA PAUL CONSIDERS A BREWING UNDER-THE-RADAR ISSUE: THE RIGHT NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN.”

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The article itself follows the biographical tale of 27-year-old Erin Iwamoto-Galusha in her search for, “the right birth control,” (Paul, 122).  Iwamoto-Galusha had decided pretty early on in her [young] adult life that she did not [ever] want to conceive children.  Looking for a low-maintenance and permanent solution to the potential problem of [accidentally] getting pregnant, Iwamoto-Galusha sought to undergo the surgical procedure known as tubal ligation – or more commonly called, getting one’s tubes tied.  Much to her dismay, Iwamoto-Galusha encountered a series of obstacles put forward by more than five physicians who refused to perform the surgical procedure upon her request.

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Tubal ligation is one of the most common forms of female sterilization, or the act of making an organism unable to reproduce.  It is, however, a more invasive procedure than its so-called-male counterpart: the vasectomy; this is largely due to the anatomical differences in fe/male sexual organs.  Regardless, tubal ligation is an easier alternative to using condoms, the Pill, intrauterine devices or the diaphragm if one is so inclined as to never entertaining the idea of bearing children.  Erin Iwamoto-Galusha was one of these decisive women.

Image

The medical community, however, was less than decisive when it came to respecting Iwamoto-Galusha’s wishes.  Among the many obstacles presented to her was, perhaps the most paternalistic in nature, when Erin’s physician required she ‘bring her husband [of five years] into the office’ so as to affirm her conviction.  Could you imagine a man being asked the same question upon requesting a vasectomy?  And the issue does not simply fall upon the axis of gender, as several of Erin’s physicians were female and equally, if not more, hesitant to say yes.  In an equally condescending maternalistic fashion, her female doctors tried to [re]assure Erin that they, too, had once desired the very same childless freedom but eventually found a partner later in life with whom they wished to conceive children with.

There is something to be said about the permanent ramifications of surgical intervention and, albeit, the necessary application of thought and [re]consideration that ought to go into making one such decision.  However, it is also imperative to remain critical of Erin’s [non]treatment by the medical community for several years.  Her doctors’ hesitations speak to a much larger discourse surrounding the ideology of women.  That is to say that women are assumed to be less than capable of autonomously deciding on their lives, bodies and destinies.  That is also to say that women, particularly young women such as Erin, are [subconsciously] expected to physically embody the meaning of the word fruitful.  After all, what purpose do women have – through which to connect with one another – if not [re]producing life?

Of course that last question was [intended to be read as] ironic, but hopefully most of y’all got that part.  The point of this article, I think, is to reinforce the significance of constantly questioning, resisting and challenging those dominant norms set in place by hegemonic institutions like Western medicine.  Erin Iwamoto-Galusha ultimately practiced her autonomy and successfully received the birth control option of her childless dreams.  Congratulations, Erin!  We’re (well, at least I am) sorry you had to endure so many hiccups along the way toward achieving your own personal uterine liberation…but your story serves as a warning to all women who, in the spirit of Sandra Morgen, aim to place reproductive rights back into their own hands.

For another blogger’s feminist perspective on this story, check out BlogHer.

…Besos, kittens!

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Bordering Bodies

War on Women March & Rally in New York City, April 2012

Towards the end of April 2012, I attended a New York City march and rally aiming to Unite Against the War on Women! At this protest, I saw mothers and daughters, grandmothers and old friends, fathers and husbands and sisters and brothers coming together for a common cause, or rather a common concern for the reproductive rights of women in the United States.  Around that very same time, The Washington Post published an article titled, “The Real War on Women,” which was to say that our focus should not be concentrated here (within our national borders of the United States) but in fact, ‘out there,’ where women are facing so-called-real oppression.

The [so-called] ‘Real War on Women,’ according to The Washington Post

This is not to say that citizens and non-citizens of national states all around the world do not suffer from racial, ethnic, gendered, sexual or religious oppression, nor is it to claim that there is absolutely nothing we (as American citizens) can do about it in order to assist local organizations in their mobilization of efforts.  My tying The Washington Post article into this blog post is simply to highlight the national mentality one such title reflects, as well as the kinds of problems it produces for women residing within the national borders of the United States, governed by such conservative laws and policies which aim to limit reproductive rights and liberties.

War on Women March & Rally, New York

“I’m Marching For My Daughter” – advocating for reproductive rights for all women

In short, diverting one’s attention from ‘the here’ to ‘the there’ becomes problematic for obvious reasons in that it distracts a national consciousness from the policies being implemented, state by state, the so-called-good old fashioned way: legally.  But on April 28, 2012, a lot of people began to stand up and refuse to passively allow the State to control women’s bodies, as it intended on doing via laws such as those in Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania, insisting that women undergo ‘mandatory vaginal ultrasounds’ if they so choose to have an abortion.  For more facts on the ‘republican war on women,’ you can check our this policymic article, titled, “A Republican War on Women?“…

Me and Prof. Cartei

Hunter’s very own Professor Carmelina Cartei and me marching for reproductive and worker’s rights on April 28, 2012

Now, as many Sex/Gender Studies classes will teach, the body has served as an arch-typical locus of social, economic and political control throughout histories.  In other words, certain authorities (such as the State, Western science and medicine, the family and law) have actively policed bodies so that hegemonic discourses can (and have been able to) maintain their dominance.  Examples of such hegemonies can be identified in this week’s readings: “Exorcising the Midwives,” by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deidre English as well as Sandra Morgen’s, Into Our Own Hands: The Women’s Health Movement in the United States, 1969-1990.

Ehrenreich and English detail the development of, “the most ‘advanced'” medical schools in the United States as having, for lack of a better word, experimented on the “raw material” that were human beings.  But it is significant to note the particular groups of people whose bodies were used as a means of learning – without much or any regard for the person’s dignity – and those groups of people tended to be poor, non-white and (in the case of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine,) women.  They were seen as having rendered the greatest, “service to humanity,” by one such doctor on the staff of Cornell Medical College at the beginning of the turn of the twentieth century.  One might ask, what kind of humanity are these “medical heroes) servicing?  It appears that those who benefit, in particular, occupy a certain social location that is white, middle to upper-middle class, and heterosexual.  The practice totally lent its hand to the elimination of midwifery in the United States, with a growing field of Western science and medicine.  Experienced and skilled midwives were being replaced by inexperienced doctors.  White, male doctors and medical students benefited from their ‘hands on’ learning, while white, middle-to-upper-middle class women benefited from the medical experience gained by their new doctors…or did they?

Sandra Morgen’s chapters one and two of Part I: In the Beginning, trace a history of women’s struggles and triumphs under and over the patriarchal oppression of hegemonic authorities (i.e. laws prohibiting the legalization of abortion, the limited concentration of medical knowledge over women’s anatomy).  The medicalization of birth, over the course of the twentieth century and in the context of the United States, privatized women’s knowledge of their bodies, which was once a more fluid network of sharing knowledge and experiences of birth as something that was natural rather than pathological.  In many ways, the women’s health movement served as a reclamation of said knowledge and experience, particularly within the context of self-cervical check up’s and safe abortions performed at women’s clinics.  Women felt empowered by the practicing notion of bodily autonomy.  These progressive shifts in power relations did not extend, however, to all women of all social locations during this time.

But that was the 60’s, the 70’s…was it not?  I’m sure many people, like me, wondered where decisions like Roe V. Wade (1973) had lead this nation, and more morbidly how far we had strayed from that course of action on the day of New York’s War on Women March & Rally.  All social struggles occupy their own space and time that need be specified when theorizing resistance.  A common thread that lingers, between the stories we read about and the ones we watch on TV today, is that hegemonic policing of bodies – operating top down as well as from the bottom up, through social forces of influence as we regulate one another in this hetero-patriarchal [social] system.

I saw resistance on that day, April 28, 2012 from hundreds of advocates for reproductive rights, similar to the kinds of resistance mobilized during the women’s health movement of 1969-90.  Therefore, I am cautiously optimistic about the future meaning of personhood – as we strip away power inequalities according to race, gender, sex(uality) – as people refuse to accept those inequalities and continue to fight the good fight.

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Ciao belli e belle…

Hello everyone! I’m Christine…

Greetings to Hons 201 and to anyone else who stumbles upon this blog!  My name is Christine Elyse Galotti – you can follow me on Twitter!  I am an animal LOVER and an undergraduate student at CUNY Hunter in New York City…
When I first entered Hunter College as a freshman in the Fall of 2010, I had dreams of pursuing a double major in English Literature and Spanish – as those two subjects were my forte in high school, having been voted Best Writer by my graduating class!  But as life would have it, my education at Hunter inspired different passions within me, ones which I never would have considered exploring prior to taking my first Women’s and Gender Studies class, with Professor DeLorenzo.  Suddenly, I became enchanted by the social sciences.  A career in Academia would enable one such lucky student of the world to explore the very questions she or he feels like asking, with research and funding and the opportunity to teach at the University level.  Since then, I have been focused on working towards one day earning my Ph.D., hopefully at the CUNY Graduate Centre here in Manhattan.  Currently I am working on an independent study supervised by Professor Chito-Childs, researching the projection on negative female stereotypes in reality television.

Often depicting women as angry, irrational beings with little to no control over their emotions.

I grew up the youngest of three girls in Suffolk County, New York on Long Island in a town called Lake Ronkonkoma – which also happens to be the very last stop on the Long Island Rail Road.  This time last year, I was commuting on that line – two hours there, two hours back – three days a week while balancing my restaurant job on the island.  Then one day, the universe magically clicked and I got a dorm at Hunter’s Brookdale campus on East 25th Street!  Actually, it required a bit more begging, letters, emails and phone calls than that…but it mostly boiled down to pure luck: the right time in the right place kind of thing.  Since then, I have not taken for granted the blessing it is to be able to live in Manhattan for such an affordable price – which, thankfully, has been significantly reduced by the generous assistance provided by the JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholars Program.  It was through this incredible program that I was able to receive the opportunity to intern at New York City Council Member Letitia James‘s District Office in Council District 35 of Brooklyn this past summer 2012.  The experience of working in the field of public policy was an unforgettable one, to say the least.  I had fun, but learned that the office environment isn’t necessarily for me in the long run, if I can help it.

Great show…not my ideal reality, however.

Now I am working on my three majors, which are Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies and Literature (through the Thomas Hunter Honors Program).  While it is my goal to graduate within four years (i.e. eight semesters), the more important thing is what I get out of my education, which hopefully will be something like [the ability to thoroughly grasp] knowledge and to somehow articulate that knowledge well, respectfully and accurately to the world.  And I am not so proud as to possibly believe that the world will one day ever be reading my writing as a basis for anything and/or if at all!   What I mean is that to be published leaves some kind of impression somewhere on someone, and that difference is significant.  It has transformative potentials for critics and advocates alike, which I have experienced first hand as the student and hope to one day reinforce as a voice of [some kind of] knowledge…
Paz y amor,
Christine

PS: On a personal note, I just got back from a two week adventure in Spain with my sister, Geri!  When I got home, I turned 20 years old and got my [first, but not last] tattoo!  It is a strawberry on my hip – because not only do I love The Beatles (i.e. “Strawberry Fields Forever”) but also I enjoy the fruit more so than the average human being.

“Living is easy with eyes closed…” ~John Lennon

Categories: Creative Blog Posts | Tags: , | 5 Comments

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