Posts Tagged 'Women'



Women in Agriculture

nicole-793187-300x201

Click to read

Advertisements

Back to School, and Spreading The Links

I’ve left the South, the humid home of my heart (too much alliteration?). I got in the car wearing shorts and a tank top, and when I stepped out of the car in north-ish Ohio, the temperature had dropped a good twenty degrees.

So here are a few things that keep me grounded in the topics I care about, no matter what state I’m in.

Delicious Food and Strong Women

I’ve been meaning to give some publicity about a super post, “Feminism through Cooking,” over at RMJ’s blog.

Kenyon’s psychology department contains several of the national leading experts on eating disorders, especially media images and eating disorders. Although these are serious issues that require confrontation, I found that I was disappointed with the effect that the department seemed to have on the women students around me. It seemed like every girl I met had bad self esteem, a history with eating disorders, and–here is what really struck me– they seemed to take it as an essential part of their identity. Furthermore, these girls complained about their relationships with men, and yet continued to act in unhealthy ways that deprived them of their own autonomy.

Women for Women Int'l: a group of graduates who have formed a farm collective in Kyonza, rwanda

Women for Women Int'l: a group of graduates who have formed a farm collective in Kyonza, rwanda - ggInTheField on Flickr

What seemed to be lacking was a pro-active approach, something that would change their own relationship to food (and perhaps to men) in a positive way. Instead of critiquing the same commercials and magazine ads over and over, they could have read Francis Moore Lappe‘s studies of women’s communities in Central America who are remodeling their food system in order to better ensure that their children all get regular meals, or communities of women in India who are fighting for (and winning) food and water rights.

They could have studied also the effects on young urban/suburban women who work or intern on farms. In a scene from The Real Dirt on Farmer John, a young woman intern talks about her self-consciousness regarding her voluptuous body– until working on a farm, where adjectives like “full” “plump” and “juicy” are words that signify health, not ugliness. In fact, the strongest and most peaceful women that I meet are not the ones that I meet in WGS classes; they’re the ones that I meet on farms.

For further reading:

When my generation of women walked away from the kitchen we were escorted down that path by a profiteering industry that knew a tired, vulnerable marketing target when they saw it.“Hey, ladies,” it said to us, “go ahead, get liberated. We’ll take care of dinner.”

The Art Dump Continues

“Residuum”

Residuum - dig.

“Pearl”
(This one I did for my sister)

Pearls

Inspiration: Androgyny

Androgyny inspires me– in my writing, in my art, and in my own appearance. I’m partly working on a YA novel, inspired by my sister, in which the gender of the narrator is never revealed. For myself, I’m partial to suspenders, skinny ties, bed hair, and heavy boots. I don’t wear these things to imitate another gender, but I’m aware that they have that effect, that people view me differently. 

I learned yesterday about a study in which hundreds of photos of men and women’s faces were stripped of all identifying characteristics (like hair, jewelry, makeup, etc). The photos were then shown to individuals who were told to guess whether the face in the photo was male or female. The participants in the study were (somehow) attached to a machine that tracked their eye movement with a laser so that the researchers could track exactly what they were looking at in the photos. Participants guessed correctly 99.9% of the time. As it turns out, in order to identify people’s gender, we look at–surprise!–their noses

 

3275287499_472fe82fe2

andr2

andr

Postscript to a Monologue

I attended Kenyon College’s production of The Vagina Monologues on Friday, and had an excellent time. When I came home, I wrote the following:

I can’t praise Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, enough. She has written one of the most culturally necessary performances in our society today. She renewed a sense of activism for a generation that is, on the whole, apathetic to the point of atrophy. And, she has a great haircut.

On the whole, I think Eve got it right. Feminism is still very relevant in the United States, not because women are treated as inferior citizens (though it would be unwise to believe that those issues have been resolved), but because we’ve largely abandoned the dialogue regarding the ways that gender plays out on a daily basis. In other words: It’s not that the United States hates vaginas; it’s that the we don’t want to talk about them. A friend of mine left the performance halfway through because he was bored– he had “expected it to be more outrageous.” It is precisely because female sexuality is so suppressed and controlled that the idea of merely talking about it seems “outrageous” to us. Referencing one’s cock, on the other hand, is fairly acceptable in the media and in most casual conversation.

So, in general, I’m pleased to support the cause by attending The Vagina Monologues. I get to spend two hours watching women in little black dresses confess, declare, rant, and have multiple orgasms on stage. I get to watch women talk about things that don’t get talked about. Hell, that’s worth two dollars.

I’ve seen The Vagina Monologues three times now, twice at Kenyon and once at Hollins University. And yet every time, I can’t help feeling that something is off when the latter half of the performance begins to turn primarily to issues of global violence against women. Performers throw out random facts and statistics about “female genital mutilation” (FGM)* and systematic rape in various parts of the world– areas that we often label “third world,” “undeveloped” or “developing” (as though these nations are awkwardly trying on their training bra for the first time).  It is precisely the practices and events that the Vagina Monologues denounces that we “first world” activists often use as evidence for the inferiority of those nations. Ensler’s script calls for action, yes, but it feels awfully like a white woman’s burden to me.

________________________________________

* I prefer the term Female Genital Cutting (FGC) because labeling this practice “mutilation” assigns a judgment without acknowledging any cultural autonomy. I do believe that FGC is an issue that needs to be addressed, and I do believe that it is representative of systemized practices worldwide designed to control the female body (both in sub-Saharan Africa and the United States). If the script had only used the term “cutting” instead of “mutilation,” or if it had made note of the complexities involved in judging another cultural practice, I would have felt more comfortable.

Continue reading ‘Postscript to a Monologue’


Art adventures, literary hangovers, rural politics and other songs worth sharing.

Flickr Photos

Recent Tweets