Monday, April 28, 2008
Dangerously Reading v. 4
I'm trucking right along on my dangerously reading challenge. Because I don't get down with poetry, I chose to substitute a feminist classic that I've yet to read. The Color Purple and I set off on a journey to celebrate the month of April. And it was glorious.

I'm embarrassed to say but I've never read any Alice Walker. I'm not sure why. I teach her in my women's studies classes. I admire her. And, based on this book, she is a fantastic writer. This book is so heartbreaking. There were quite a few times I thought about stopping. Many times I thought I couldn't take any more sadness and violence. But that's kinda the point of the book.

An explicitly feminist story, I enjoyed the main character, Celie. She suffered much at the hands of patriarchy and misogyny. Her story is an explicit critique of these systems.

My favorite part of the story was one that is overlooked by most reviews that I've seen and that is the familial bond in Celie's family. To me, all families should be as free and accepting. All family members should work together to raise the children. All the women should be supportive of one another. And that is a huge component of the book that I adored.

I recommend this book for anyone. It is fantastic. I'm thinking about adding it to my reading list for all students.

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Friday, April 25, 2008
Feminists Unite!
Since I teach my WMST class about the power of the Internet for resistance and feminist activity, I had them post their assignments this semester on a class blog. Today their media analysis projects are due and you can view them at the sites listed below. The students could either create a feminist text OR do a mini rhetorical criticism of a cultural text. I'm really proud of how much work went into the project.

If you'd like to check them out:

I love a lot of the projects, but in particular I thought these videos were pretty powerful. I encouraged them to put their activism on Youtube as well. I hope you're as inspired as I am!

Barbie Culture:

Tension between sex positive feminism and sexual exploitation:

Taking on the Beauty Myth:


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Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Counting Down The Days
Since I've started teaching for the Institute of Women's Studies, I've found myself a lot more involved in the politics of the University of Georgia. There is a ton of activism on and around campus which is awesome. What isn't so awesome is the need for activism. UGA is embarrassingly behind on things like family leave, child care and living wage for staff members. We don't have a women's center. And we don't have an Ombuds office to report sexual harassment. Keep in mind we are the state's flagship university and have over 30,000 students. Inexcusable if you ask me.

The sexual harassment issue has been a biggie this semester. It has been a big issue ALWAYS, but the university's inability to deal with the variety of cases is just making news this year. To give you a recap.....

* We've had a professor receive tenure and be promoted all while receiving over 15 years of complaints of sexual harassment
*Upon reports of that case, documents surfaced of four other professors accused and kept on staff. And one professor who UGA help get ANOTHER JOB AT ANOTHER UNIVERSITY (from which he has since been fired)
* Our women's golf coach resigned and admitted to sexual wrong doing with his team (including making them watch Paris Hilton's sex tape and inappropriately touching his team members) but was kept on staff while being paid over 90,000 dollars

Obviously to say we've had a wee problem with sexual harassment is an understatement. And to say that our administration needs to do a better job articulating that they take sexual harassment seriously is a HUGE understatement.

So imagine everyone's surprise when it was announced last week that our administration has selected Clarence Thomas as our May commencement speaker. I know! I was shocked as well. Surely the administration wouldn't deliberately choose someone with a less than stellar record on sexual harassment?! Surely the administration wouldn't want to give a big slap in the face to all the faculty members who have worked hard to raise awareness about sexual harassment?! But, oh yes, they would.

Chaos has ensued. And the thing that bothers me most about this whole decision is the way people who articulate any dissent are being treated. WMST faculty are not saying Thomas can't speak. They do say they prefer he doesn't. But they support his right to free speech. However, they are also calling for an open discussion about Thomas' past. They are looking to the administration to DO MORE TO COMMUNICATE THAT WOMEN MATTER.

If you have a moment, please take a look at the comments. Look at how students and community members communicate with faculty members speaking out against Thomas. It is shameful.

These are my favorites:
I'm very surprised he was invited given the super bed wetting liberals that run this university and town. I'm sure you would all whine if Bill Clinton was coming too???

It would be nice if some college professors would "grow up". Better yet, try to get a job in the private sector instead of playing "school" for your entire life. Some of you need a taste of the real world. For those who object to Judge Thomas, I bet you wouldn't have a problem with Bill Clinton.

I also love how all the commenters call the professors "Mrs." Not DOCTOR. Not Ms. Not by their names. But "Mrs."

Classy. The WMST building is also getting harassing phone calls. But it is starting to make national news. I can't wait to see how the rest of the country feels about the hate and ignorance that runs abound here.

So, yes, I'm counting down the days. Counting down the days until I leave this university. To be sure, I'm getting a good education here. I love my department, my colleagues and Athens. But the decision making on this campus infuriates me. And I think the discussions that take place on this campus reflects the administration. There is a lack of respect for faculty--especially female faculty. The students are learning it from somewhere.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I-Tues v. 11 Concert Edition
Some of the regulars got together Thursday night.

We got a little crazy in the ATH. But we had a special guest with us all night....


Yes, folks. The big day finally arrived and we attended:

And it was awesome. My dear feminist friend, Neko, had a broken leg. And we totally lucked out and saw her last show before she left the tour. I'm pretty sure she performed in the ATH just for me. Just a feeling I have... She was so incredible. It is hard to say she was the highlight as the whole band is so fantastic. But, um, she was the highlight.

The show was amazing. Almost 2 hours of a straight set. There was no talking. No introductions. No warm and fuzzy stuff. There was just singing. It was glorious. They didn't even leave the stage for an encore. Nope. They just kept on singing and told us they just assumed we would want one. And we would have. But they saved us the time.

One of the best shows I've seen in Athens. I love the GA Theater. I love the New Pornographers. I love Neko Case.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008
A Little Sunday Reading v. 11
Haven't had a lot of time for reading. But I did finish Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. One of Time's best books of 2007 and it is a well written book. A very interesting story told by a reflective and melancholy narrator. However, the story wasn't really for me. I was disappointed by the ending and, while I could appreciate all the little details, I found myself wishing Petterson was focusing on other things. Because I could not identify with Trond's relationship with nature and his complicated feelings for his father, I missed out on much of the beauty of the book.

However, I would still recommend it for other readers as the simplicity and beauty of the writing is commendable. Also, as an aside, I loved the size of the book and the font of the story.

Some notable passages:

(5) In less than two months' time this millennium will be finished. There will be festivities and fireworks in the parish I am a part of. I shall not go near any of that. I will stay at home with Lyra, perhaps go for a walk down to the lake to see if the ice will carry my weight...I will stroke the fire, put a record on the old gamophone with Billie Holiday's voice almost like a whisper..and then fittingly get drunk on a bottle I have standing by in a cupboard. When the record ends I will go to bed and sleep as heavily as it is possible to sleep without being dead, and awake to a new millennium and not let it mean a thing. I am looking forward to that.

(73) People like it when you tell them things, in suitable portions, in a modest, intimate tone, and they think they know you, but they do not, they know about you, for what they are let in on are facts, not feelings, not what your option is about anything at all, not how what has happened to you and how all the decisions you have made have turned you into what you are. What they do is they fill in with their own feelings and opinions and assumptions, and they compost a new life which has precious little to do with yours, and that lets you off the hook.

(215) Untidiness does not suit me and never has. I am actually a meticulous person; I want everything in its place and ready for use. Dust and mess make me nervous. If I once get slack over cleaning, it is easy to let everything slide, especially in this old house. One of my many horrors is to become the man with the frayed jacket and unfastened flies standing at the Co-op counter with egg on his shirt and more too because the mirror in the hall has given up the ghost. A shipwrecked man without an anchor in the world except in his own liquid thoughts where time has list its sequence.

Even though I was lukewarm on the book, I'd still recommend it to others. I have a feeling most people would like it more than I did.

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