Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Feminist Fatale

Gender. That's what we studied today.

Our guest speaker, Dr. Paxton, (who is amazing) taught about feminism and gender roles. It was a fantastic class. Definitely one of my favorite days. In the morning we discussed how gender roles are ingrained in society and we analyzed baby clothes and Hallmark cards. It turns out (spoiler,) society enforces gender roles quite aggressively from a very young age. 

During lunch we watched a documentary "Miss Representation," about women and the media. I really liked the documentary, but I also had some problems with it. I didn't think the documentary was radical enough; in many respects it was ideologically grounded in the values of second wave feminism or before. For instance it placed special emphasis on the institution of motherhood, which I felt was unnecessary in the context of the film. I felt that framing the conversation with traditional values of femininity, like venerating motherhood the way the film did, is ultimately unproductive.

After the documentary, Dr. Paxton showed us examples of another form of activism, called Culture Jamming. I love, love, LOVE Culture Jamming. I think it is the best thing ever. 

When class was over, Shebek and I, along with some of our peers, had pizza for dinner with our professor Andy. We discussed income inequality in the US, the minimum wage, labor versus capital, and various taxation models. One of Andy's old students, who just got back from 3 years in Paraguay with the Peace Corps, happened to be there and she told us all about her experiences. (Paraguay is a country with an incredible history. I am fairly sure that the War of the Triple Alliance is the most underrated war ever.) It was also great to hear more about the Peace Corps and compare it to my own experience of working in a Latin American country. (I've finally started to stop staring all of my sentences with "In Nicaragua....")

After dinner, Andy, Julia, and I all went to visit a local bookstore. Because local bookstore. It was amazing. I love this bookstore so much. And I ended up with five new books, all of which I cherish. Andy is the best professor ever. I aspire to be as awesome as he is some day. In the meantime, I'll be reading my books.

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