12 Days of Gender Studies – The Students of MC

ABOUT THIS BLOG SERIES:

Martha Joy Rose

The holiday season is upon us. You know the song: The Twelve Days of Christmas. This year we’ve got a little twist.

I’ve been teaching “Codes of Gender” at Manhattan College since August and the students have presented a number of ideas, poems, manifestos, and in-class presentations that explain some of their thoughts and interpretations of the work we’ve been engaged with.

This seems like a pretty good opportunity to wrap up the semester and share some of the students’ inspiration. The content is entirely the students’. Some have included their names and some have remained anonymous.

The important thing is that collectively we have been engaged in deep contemplation about the world we live in. Together we’ve explored language, theory, and the media in order to better understand difference as well as to more thoughtfully navigate our families, friendships, workplace, and deeply held belief systems. Sociology teaches us to expand our perspective and to look more honestly at our social and cultural experiences, breaking down privilege, power, and of course the patriarchy. I hope you enJOY reading these as much as I’ve appreciated working with these incredible young minds.

As the song goes:

Day 2: two turtle doves

Day 3: three French hens

Day 4: four calling birds

Day 5: five gold rings

Day 6: six geese a-laying

Day 7: seven swans a-swimming

Day 8: eight maids a-milking

Day 9: nine ladies dancing

Day 10: 10 lords a-leaping

Day 11: 11 pipers piping

Day 12: 12 drummers drumming

And a partridge in a pear tree!

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By Mario Ynfante

A Manifesta for Men Allies of Feminism in 2018

  1. To create a society where women aren’t seen as inferior, and instead are seen as equal. Eliminating derogatory vocabulary and replacing it with positive terms so that instead of bringing down our women, we push them to the forefront.
  2. To disagree with cultural norms and traditions that promote the patriarchy. Fighting against the way media, specifically movies, tv shows, music, and social media depicts women.
  3. To live in solidarity with women of all races, social class, and genders. Men included must help out with the cause.
  4. To act on our analysis and grievances. Only thinking about what’s wrong and analyzing it won’t change anything. A true activist doesn’t only think about what makes them uncomfortable they act on it.
  5. To not be afraid to speak up when women are being disrespected. Eliminating “locker room” talk because once again it promotes the patriarchy we currently live in.
  6. To educate yourself on what is sexual harassment and what is considered rape. Many of the things you say or do are wrong but they are so widely accepted in this androcentric society that they are ignored.
  7. To fight against double standards. Men are seen as “the man” when they have a lot of sexual partners but on the other hand women are seen as “sluts” if they do the same.
  8. Promoting the liberation of women’s bodies. Women can do what they want with their bodies, dress how they want, and most importantly have the right to choose whether they want to reproduce or not.

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By Isabella Bozkent

A Manifesto for a Better Tomorrow :

“In every way, shape, and form, we are at war” and so we must:

  1. Ensure the public is available to proper health care and health education. Regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, or gender.
  2. Make explicit the true nature of what is in the food people eat as well as the true nature of the chemicals in skincare, makeup, and other things absorbed by our bodies.
  3. Liberate those from the social constructs that prohibit them from living prosperous stigma-free lives. In liberating others, we liberate ourselves.
  4. “Pass the Equal Rights Amendment so we can have a constitutional foundation of righteousness and equality upon which future women’s rights conventions will stand.”
  5. Develop a world built off of understanding. To promote and praise curiosity that leads to information consumption. Knowledge is the only way to combat misunderstanding, fear of the “other”, and xenophobia.
  6. Promote the need for better treatment and rights for those who have been oppressed and victimized due to systemic oppression, abusive relationships, or unjust social dynamics. This task must be spearheaded by those with the privilege bestowed upon them from birth. They must recognize their privilege and use it for good as a tool to gain equality.
  7. Emphasize that caring for the environment, is caring for ourselves, and each other. To educate others of the very real issues that surround climate change. How many of these issues will affect the poor and disadvantaged before anyone else. How in many third world countries environmental issues are blamed on women and they are punished and ostracised from communities due to the lack of education and information available to them.
  8. “Work towards a nonviolent art by dedicating ourselves to living nonviolently. In art and life, create flexible and inclusive schemes for living that encompass respect, non-hierarchy, nonviolence, and tolerance. Art making is powerful; and a nonviolent art is a duty. Bodies such as the United Nations can be useful and fair, if: it stops favoring rich nations, it represents Latin America and Africa, not just North America, Europe and Asia, it prohibits the abuse of war in self-defense, veto power is taken away from the most powerful countries, and it enforces labor and environmental laws.” – Manifesto for a Utopian Turn.

Student-made Domestic Violence Awareness Brochure By Alia Flanigan & Mario Ynfante

 Download the PDF: Domestic Violence Brochure

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By Laura O’Neil

My Manifesta

  1. I believe all members of a family who have welcomed a new member of society 
should get paid family leave for six months.
  2. I believe all feminists should be a part of the movement in future years. The voting 
block ideally should be 18- 100, you are never too old to make a difference
  3. I believe boys at a young age should be taught the dangers of toxic masculinity. And 
be encouraged to be emotional, sensitive people.
  4. To put an emphasis on young children in school getting involved in politics. Teach 
kids about different political parties and the foundational beliefs each possesses. 
Change will come from the youth.
  5. To have universal healthcare available for all classes and races, regardless of gender.
  6. To be more vigilant in investigations of sexual assault/ harassment whether it takes 
place, at a university, a workplace, or in the military.
  7. To liberate women of all ages from slut-shaming and bullying. This can be more 
harmful than physical violence to someone’s psyche.
  8. Most importantly, to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

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By Victoria Barreto 

My Manifesta

  1. To stop sluts shaming women for the choices they make when men aren’t slut-shamed for their choices.
  2. To stop blaming the victim in rape cases based on what they might have worn or any other way of blaming.
  3. To stop making excuses for boys’ sexist behaviors during adolescence such as “boys will be boys”. We should be teaching our boys to be more fluid and to respect women and other men.
  4. To make equal pay for women.
  5. To put more women in political office.
  6. To stop telling women what to do with their bodies such as telling women they cannot have an abortion or get access to birth control.
  7. Constitutional equality.
  8. Stereotypes against women and men’s attitudes such as the Kavanaugh case as an example.
  9. Affordable care act and fixing women’s health care.
  10. 4 out of five women are sexually trafficked.
  11. To higher more women in the sciences and technology fields.
  12. Maternity leave in the USA is horrible compared to other countries. Paid family leave and childcare: Behind other countries

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Accept Everybody

By Katie Compton

Over the course of my own childhood, there were various advertisements being made on the daily, whether they be about beauty and dieting, or something so simple as shampoo, the women that were showcased in these commercials were PERFECT. There is no other way to describe it but like as such because there was not a single flaw on their body. So, you can imagine the issues that this caused for me growing up, as I believed that that was how women were meant to look, always. In the video that we were asked to watch, it goes through the “behind the scenes” of the making of the advertisement of a woman who looks beautiful from the beginning, is Photoshopped into something that she is most certainly not.

They tweak her body into making it thinner, making her eyes bigger, her nose narrower, her breasts large, but her butt small; I mean the list just goes on and on. However, in comparison to this video, the Dove campaign did one very similar. They started close up to a woman with her natural face, but then as the video goes on, it shows all of the edits being made to her. By the end of the video, similar to the one we watched for class, the image at the end reflected nothing of the woman from the beginning.

Part of the reason I think I experienced such gender fluidity growing up was that I never thought I could compete with a look such as the one that was so frequently displayed everywhere I looked. The biggest issue with it was not that they were making the woman look like another human, but the fact that we, as a society, were forced to believe that this was how she looked all along. Her appearance was completely fabricated, and the issue that is entailed is how much young girls AND boys look to these advertisements thinking that is the only way they can look to be accepted by society.

Something certainly must change in the very near future if we are going to allow ourselves to start accepting our bodies and appearances for what they are. Because the fact of the matter is, you cannot Photoshop yourself when you are walking down the street. That is when you are completely and utterly, YOU. So, we as a society, are going to have to start making some adjustments in our advertising if we are going to make it a more accepting and body positive environment for ALL.

Works Cited:

“Dove Evolution.” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Oct. 2006,           www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

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By Christian Munoz

The name of this poem is

As time goes by, women do not forget that easy

Or

The name of this poem is

Pain, suffering, harassment can’t be wiped out. Instead, it becomes scars

Or

The name of this poem is

Women had to endure unjust behaviors!

Or

The name of this poem is

Women having to endure patriarchy system

Or

The name of this poem is

Men as the main focus, while women hoping one day be able to work

Or

The name of this poem is

How being a man it is considered a privilege within society

Or

The name of this poem is

The fight against sexism continues

Or

The name of this poem is

Thanks to Sojourner Truth, for evolving women standards and to inspire others on keeping the battle going

Or

The name of this poem is

Making the world a better place to live

Or

The name of this poem is

Asking equality among all gender, race and cultural

OR

The name of this poem is

Enough is enough!!

Anonymous

Growing up in a house full of women has allowed me to really embrace my identity as a woman especially being the daughter of two very liberal, lesbian, feminists. I have realized that I am very privileged to have two very educated mothers who have supported me throughout my education and helped me look at the world with a very open heart. I do have to admit that I grew up in some kind of a bubble and I realized that before but it really made me realize that after the conversation we had in class the other day about the high schools we attended.

Growing up in my town it was very common for kids to openly express their affection for the same sex. In fact, it was actually very normal. I don’t even think I can count on my two hands the number of friends I had growing up that were openly bisexual or gay. I can remember the first time I realized that growing up in a town that was so accepting of others was as common as I thought. It was when we had planned to take a vacation to the Outer Banks. We ended up not going due to the enactment of the bathroom law that discriminated against transgendered people. Not only did we want to support a state with such awful laws, but we also did not feel safe going to a state with such policies that stand against the LGBTQ community. After learning about Judith Butler and her theory on gender, I realize how everything in this world is essentially based on male or female. With that said I like Butlers belief that gender is not something one is, it is something one does (Butler).

Each and every single day I continue to learn how privileged I am to be a heterosexual living in a world that is based on heteronormativity. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a fear of using a public bathroom. Looking at the world through the lens of a symbolic interactionist, I believe that a lot of these stereotypes, inequalities, and injustices are all due to the interactions that people have with society and they are all socially constructed concepts that are easily changeable.

Unlock

By Tiffany Recio 

Who am I?

Can you see me?

Do my curves seduce you?

Does my skin submit me?

Does my bank account show my value?

Does my sexuality make me normal?

Does my faith startle you?

Does my health show my talents?

Does my family intimidate you?

Does my intelligence shock you?

Does my accent alarm you?

Should I like pink?

Should I be silent?

Should I abandon faith?

Should I cover up?

Should I fail math?

Should I lose my accent?

Should I hide my home?

Should I be normal?

No. Nothing is Normal.

You can’t dominate me.

My skin is mine to conquer.

My value isn’t so easy to label.

You can’t shake my faith.

My abilities aren’t my title.

My family is my foundation.

Who cares for your disillusions?

Heteronormativity is archaic.

Sexism is a social disease.

Racism is ignorant.

Genderism is small-minded.

Ableism is cruel. 
Look at yourself, first.

Long Way To Go

By Laura O’Neill

The plight of women has been a long one.

Giving life to men who have no empathy ain’t fun.

The first waves of feminism began in 1820.

But it’s been two hundred years, and we still can’t get equal money.

All women have faced the struggle.

But black women have faced it double.

Sojourner Truth had to plead with her white sisters, to see her as a woman.

Looking back, our history can seem quite inhuman.

The battle is far from won when it comes to binary options
It’s time to throw away all your presumptions.

Radical feminism may seem intense.

But when a man gets paid a $1, Latina women earn just 54 cents.

Heteronormativity can keep people from living their best life.

Most women have big dreams, more than just a wife.

Cis-humans have to make being an ally a priority.

And eventually love and acceptance will be the majority.

What are the consequences of gender norms?

Olivia Warnock writes – Gender norms are perceived behaviors and personality traits surrounding one’s sex. When one acts outside of gender norms within a social setting, others can act out passive aggressiveness or even open hostility. Examples of common gender norms for men are “strong”, “assertive”, and “emotionless”. Common gender norms for women are “sensitive”, “irrational”, and “passive”. People can also assert something called social control which is when one attempts to change the course of the current situation by exerting their own expectations. This includes giving someone a dirty look, replying with a negative remark, earning less money from a job, or losing a promotion. Other discriminatory actions can include excluding individuals or groups from everyday social activities.

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Growing up in a Household Full of Boys

By Melanie Alberto
People always ask me
“What is it like growing up in a household with all boys?”
And I, of course, knew the answer to that.
Growing up in a household full of boys was wild.
We played sports inside the house
Wrestled with each other till we cried
And competed for literally everything
I was the only and youngest girl

But that did not stop me from being one of the boys
I never wore dresses,
Rarely played with dolls and dollhouses
Makeup was nonexistent to me.
I behaved like a boy because I grew up around boys
My father let me dress however I wanted to,
So naturally, I dressed in boy shorts, sneakers, and baggy shirts
It wasn’t until I was in Middle School that I started to see the difference.
Girls my age wore pretty floral dresses,
With flats instead of sneakers and hairpins in their hair
My brothers called them “girly”
And I thought to myself
“Am I not a girl because I’m not girly?”
I felt different because I looked different and acted different
In High School was when I changed
I still played sports and hung around with my brothers
But I dressed differently and
My brothers claimed I acted differently
Which now that I think about it I guess that I did.
It wasn’t that I changed who I was completely
I just welcomed and embraced my “girly” side
I still dressed in baggy clothes whenever I wanted to
Because clothes do not define my gender
Only I can define my gender
No one can.

I Am Black, Black as Night

Victoria Barreto

There, I was black as can be.

Aren’t I a woman too?

Whom should dance and sing,

Like the pale lady’s do?

No, I am black, and have no rights.

I am black, black as night.

I am black I see no light.

Mark of Cain that’s what I have,

My skin gives no privilege.

Instead it takes and takes

For I wish to scream,

“you have no power over me”

But I have to wait for the waves to come.

I have to wait for the first wave,

So, the pale ladies can get the vote,

Then I wait for the second,

So, they can start to work,

My back has scars from the work,

But the pale ladies need equality among pale men.

Then the third wave comes, this is my time.

I only had to wait hundreds of years to catch this wave.

It only took hundreds of years to free my bonds,

It only took blood sweat and tears for them to see,

See my color as good and something to save.

To see my experiences as valid,

To see my children as being worthy of education,

Not immigration.

It only took hundreds of years,

But its because I am black, black as night

And yet still I have no right.

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