Posted by: gingflyer | May 4, 2012

A Semester in Reflection

Again, I have to deeply apologize for the delay on a few of my last posts. Finding any free time has been a struggle and this blog has been a project I’ve worked to maintain a consistent effort in.

Needless to say, I was a a fan of this class in all its entirety. I loved discussing/debating with my classmates, sharing experiences and learning through discussion, maintaining my own blog online, and exploring several different facets of the blogosphere I may have honestly overlooked without this course. That last point I’d like to re-enforce just a bit. My previous course in the WMST curriculum (WMST 201) did an excellent job introducing me to concepts related to feminism and gender equality but unlike WMST 491 I do not believe I was pushed to think outside of my typical realm of thought and reason. A perfect example of which was the week we had spent covering body image. Although I had certain reservations in addressing body acceptance compared to overall health, I believe that the detail in which we delved into this topic really forced me to re-examine many of my own prejudices.

As for the conduct of 491, I would not have had it any other way. The casual nature (and relative size) of our in-class interactions really facilitated honest discussions and extremely open conversation; aiding in bringing both passion and perspective to each individual topic that I do not believe a class of 30 running through an extremely structured syllabus could have accomplished.

The online element of the class (both blog and then our “online meetings”) really aided in shaping my experience in the class. Granted, it was still a similar open discussion but now both my classmates and I (and kate) could add relevant articles, posters, websites, etc to the discussion that would not only speak for each individual but often make the topic at hand that much more “real”. And although this class was somewhat off the norm compared to the other courses of my final semester here it is one I thoroughly enjoyed. It was an excellent opportunity to interact on a more personal basis with others who were not in my major and area of study (since the aviation major typically attracts limited types of people). I am also thankful for the connections made in 491 over my semester.

And Kate, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you as an instructor for two classes here at SIU. Thank you for the positive and memorable experiences and the very best of luck to you in all your future endeavors in KC (and beyond)!

Posted by: gingflyer | April 19, 2012

So What is a Mom Worth?

This week has been rather busy, I must admit. With the new flight instructing job I have not been able to surf my selected blogs with near as much frequency as before, but regardless of how little “me” time I have anymore I seem to keep finding myself returning to my childfree blogs (yes /childfree is the bane of my motivation). It’s (childfree blogs) obviously important to my upcoming presentation but even more so a source of endless fascination. Whether it is someone discussing their recent choice of sterilization, interesting pulls from the national media, or my least favorite bashing and ridiculing children but there is always something relevant to my interests. Recently, I stumbled across this article…

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-57415603/why-i-hate-salary.coms-whats-a-mom-worth-survey/

tl;dr A mother’s response to the Salary.com survey regarding a mom’s worth.

Even more than that is how interesting I personally found Salary.com’s summation of each individual role of a mother and the associated monetary role. And it wasn’t simply things like maid, baby-sitter, etc but they patronized mom’s with titles such as CEO and Psychologist while throwing in laundry machine operator. I was also pleasantly surprised to read the author’s response (a mother herself) was on par with how I felt… I mean, I had doubts… it is /childfree and often enough they exercise their prime talent of ridiculing parents with high self-worth. Still, it is upsetting to put bloated worth on things women (and men!) do in order to not only take care of their families but themselves; in many cases jobs/tasks that are not necessarily dependent on being a parent… yes, I’m referring to janitor.

In short, it’s not only demeaning to parents, and in some respects non-parents, but it is extremely condescending to moms. As if all their saying is, “oh you’re a stay at home mom? Well look at all these important jobs you do! You little psychologist you”. What’s worse is that their are people out there who will use salary.com as a source for their “being a mom is the most important job you can do” arguments. Simply annoying.

Posted by: gingflyer | April 12, 2012

An Interesting Start to the General Election

Well, while stumbling across the several blogs I have been following this afternoon I came across this gem:

http://feministing.com/2012/04/12/hilary-rosen-ann-romney-and-what-the-stay-at-home-mom-conversation-overlooks/#more-46943

Two awesome topics are addressed in this back and forth between the Romneys and… well, Americans. The first being, how out of touch this family with most other families, specifically in this case working mothers. Unfortunately many mothers must also face being a secondary (or in many cases) the primary provider for the family. In short, Ann Romney was called out for not having to “work a day in her life” and naturally, like most level headed people do, she took to twitter to retaliate. To be fair, her response is warranted but even though she had four sons (wow) and that is in itself a massive challenge… I would think, she has not had the financial worry. She has received help and support from countless others, and with her comment regarding her “struggles” I feel like she is incapable of understanding what struggling means to the national average.

The author of this blog post also references the Obamas for being closer to this average parent model, they are. Perhaps not the worst case scenario (unemployment, struggling bill to bill) but they and specifically Michelle has worked to support a family. This is an admirable model to Americans and a family I think we shouldn’t necessarily mold ourselves to, but at least have an appreciation for how real they are. A little off the feminist spectrum and a shift towards political, but seriously this family could lead our country and I seriously suspect they have never had an experience that remotely resembled what the vast majority of American families go through.

… four kids though, guess it’s not as bad as the Duggars.

Posted by: gingflyer | March 29, 2012

Blog Post: Week Nine

So this week, in the spirit of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), I was able to find several relevant news articles. However, one in the LA Times specifically addressed the current issues facing women in advanced careers on a large and general basis.

Said Article: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-women-status-20120329,0,2099450.story

There were a few areas addressed but one of the most interesting and, perhaps prevalent issues from women in STEM, is the lack of encouragement of young girls to pursue these fields. However, it seemed a lot of issues doesn’t necessarily stem (ha) from a lack of encouragement (i.e. “you can’t do that) but more so an inability for young girls to realize that they in fact can. Much of this inability is supported on a foundation of stereotypes and assumptions. We imagine the scientist, who comes to mind? Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, and even Bill Nye the science guy. There are few cultural references for women in science based fields, not to mention the fact that scientific and technological based fields are being downplayed in lieu of an “economical crisis”. Kids don’t dream of growing up and going to the moon like they did some forty or fifty years ago; our youngest generation is too immersed in pop culture and not grounded in a world where the unknown can still be awe inspiring… but this is become a borderline rant out of my own frustrations.

We need a culture shift, a new found movement where the idea of the world of tomorrow ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw1XJbV2HK0 ) still exists. Women, of course, need role models that they can relate to and be inspired by. But, I suppose this is the ultimate catch 22… There are fewer women in STEM (or represented in STEM) so fewer women will be driven to pursue a STEM based career. Seriously though, these women ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_female_astronauts ) should be far more popular than Kim Kardashian or the real housewives of wherever. Seriously, we idolize a show about housewives… The problem seems evident to me.

For the sake of putting off another rant I am going to end it here. Seriously though, society get your act together.

Posted by: gingflyer | March 22, 2012

Alright, slightly dated (But not too much!). This video/story was the first thing that came to mind when I read the theme for this upcoming week. I picked the video from somewhat obvious reasons (the whole flying thing) but found it both interesting and symbolic. However, what comes off as most interesting is the fact that these women, especially the two pilots, were never deterred. From the several interviews that I have watched it sounds like a flying career was never something that initially came to mind when these two women were growing up.

It raises an interesting question regarding female perspective in advanced fields. Is it that they are not necessarily discouraged so much as they are never truly encouraged? I have trouble believing that the “you can’t do that cause you’re a woman” argument is still prevalent in our somewhat forward thinking society; though I am not being completely dismissive that there is potential for young girls to be discouraged by their parents or authority figures from “non-traditional” careers. At least regarding aviation I am proud to be part of organizations that have a reach towards children of all ages and sexes by participating in airport open houses, giving tours, and visiting local schools (elementary through high school and junior college). It seems that once you tell a child that they can do or be whatever they want (as cliche’ as it comes off from time to time) and encourage them throughout the process they may actually go on to accomplish truly great things.

Posted by: gingflyer | March 10, 2012

Random (Late) Blog Post

FunnyOrDie.com/m/6lts

“God wouldn’t have given women tummy pockets if he didn’t want babies swimming around in them” … and then I died.

Just some pretty funny commentary that is alarmingly relevant. Granted, I doubt the politicians shaping women’s reproductive rights laugh at the word “vagina” (that much) I am alarmed in what exactly does qualify them as an expert.

Sexual health shouldn’t be this one sided nor should it be this close minded…. Or if it is, what have we accomplished over the last 50-75 years?

Posted by: gingflyer | March 1, 2012

Blog Post: Week 7

It has been one of those weeks. My brain is fried as I get ready for my up and coming checkride; so first off, apologies for being slightly less than active on account of all the written testing and oral quizzing I’ve been through this week. But, onto more relevant topics, that being issues and news relevant/current events to the transgender culture. First off, the music!

Ocean Blue, the transgender Montreal-based indie/electro group… that being a little long winded for a snappy description but is, all the same, quite fitting. Works as trendy background music as well.

Secondly, onto the article I read addressing transgendered African American individuals throughout history (a fairly abbreviated version): http://www.ebony.com/news-views/trans-trailblazers . Overall, I was fairly impressed and surprised by several elements revealed by this article. I was most interested by Lucy Hick Anderson’s story… For one, I did not expect the doctor’s recommendation to her parents being to raise their biological son as a girl especially during what I can guess was near the turn of the century. This surprise was even more fueled by the fact that she was born and raised in Kentucky which has, for as long as I’ve known it, been a traditional/fundamentalist community. However, it was only later in her life she experienced discrimination… specifically towards her marriage to a United States soldier which led her to charges of perjury and a dissolvement of their marriage; and a close encounter with jail time for her (and this was in 1944!). It is interesting how truly ongoing the marriage debate has been occurring and how long it has taken for even the slight leeway in acceptance we have initiated in only this past decade.

It never ceases to amaze me what I learn both in and out of our class…

Posted by: gingflyer | February 23, 2012

Blog Post: Week 6

Well, unfortunately the four blogs I regularly reference were surprisingly bear regarding this topic (at least over the past week or two)… So, out of frustration I opted to get out from behind my desk and visit one of my professors; whom I work for…

I naturally probed him on the subject of body image, seeing as he is someone I have the utmost intellectual respect for; he having a PhD, two masters, and I want to say three bachelors and all of these are in different fields. The conversation went back and forth discussing the plight of classism related to available food choices, fast food addiction, and body acceptance. At some point during the discussion where we addressed body image/acceptance I think I made a claim along the lines of “well, who is happy with their body? I’m not happy with mine”. He chucked a bit, and that I am a man and shouldn’t worry about body image (that being said I must also state that he is extremely open-minded so I am not sure his angle on this one…). I argued with him for a little bit more and opted to come back here… where I sit now.

Doing a little research of my own, I found a few interesting articles on male body image (DON’T GOOGLE “MALE BODY IMAGE” IN AN IMAGE SEARCH AT WORK)… One of my favorites: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/male-body-image?before=1299531056

I wish I found some resolution to the discussion. For the past week I feel like I have stood on the “If you’re out of shape consider working and eating healthier” argument over straight out acceptance of every form. When I look at myself in the mirror, am I upset by what I see? Not really, but I know what I feel like I could be with out. When I’m at the gym do I feel like I’m chasing some impossible standard? I wouldn’t say so. Jogging a few miles a night is an unbelievable way to clear one’s head while simultaneously improve cardiovascular health AND lower body fat. However, I’ve been pushed from the otherside too, saying that I should gain more muscle and get far more toned… to which I say I am happy at healthy. I suppose that’s really what we were trying to get across all week…

I’ll leave you with a few inspiring words from Tyler Durden…

Posted by: gingflyer | February 16, 2012

Blog Post: Week 5

The one thing that is admittingly annoying about my Thursdays is rolling out of our online discussion right into work then having no time/ability to multi-task and complete this blog till closing time at 430… often finding myself posting at 5:59pm. So kate, I am not as much of a procrastinator as my blog would like to have you believe I just suck at getting this done soon after our online discussion is complete.

First tidbit, while browsing /childfree I found a blog I become a quick fan of titled New Black Woman (newblackwoman.com) which has a spectacular balance of social political, sexual, racial, and pop-culture related postings. I’d like this to be my unofficial fourth blog to follow and create a broader spectrum of topics to follow and post about (as I seem to often hit roadblocks in regards to relatable material). And, seeing what we have discussed this week I will more likely than not reference this blog tonight… exciting.

The first topic addressed, and on New Black Woman, is a series of billboard campaigns that go by the title The Unfair Campaign (unfaircampaign.org). The picture references shows part of is obviously a white man’s face with the an etched in sentence saying “It’s hard to see racism when you’re white” (newblackwoman.com/2012/02/13/anti-racist-billboards-sparks-outrage/#comments). This particular post parallels a great deal of what we discussed over this past week including (and emphasizing) white privilege, and how the white community is often viewed as the “savior”, so to speak, of all other minorities. The campaign which is focused in Duluth Minnesota has taken a lot of heat from the local community (one that vast majority caucasian). Those defending the campaign suggest there is a substantial amount of truth to the white privilege billboards seeing as only 18% of those who identify as white live under the poverty line while a striking 67% of blacks and 56% of American Indians live in the same demographic. Though this campaign has made many uneasy it only helps to illustrate the unseen injustice occurring in Duluth.

The second, still somewhat fitting, post is also from New Black Woman and addresses a ridiculous attempt to create a holiday to celebrate white history/accomplishments by some Arizona lawmakers (newblackwoman.com/2012/02/08/arizona-state-lawmaker-suggests-holiday-to-celebrate-white-people/#respond). Sure, it is in the spirit of fairness… I guess? No, it’s not. Really any day/week/month that promotes or emphasizes a specific race is belittling in itself. This mere attempt is an added slap to the face on top of that. Because I lack the articulation and soothing voice, I am going to let Morgan Freeman explain how I feel on Black (any race for that matter) History Month (www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeixtYS-P3s). History, regardless of which race accomplished what, is a component of American/World history… and it is this historical segregation that further aids in the promotion (or awareness) of racism. It is by acknowledging and emphasizing our differences do we perpetuate the fact that we are different… and I believe it is one of the somewhat major elements that feeds into modern day racism. But, I feel like I’m beating this point into the ground… Just my thoughts.

And that concludes this posting (with 18 minutes to spare, a personal best!)

Posted by: gingflyer | February 9, 2012

Blog Post: Week 4

It’s been a long and pretty eventful week (don’t know if it’s the best kind of eventful, but hey…) and it’s that time to update.

For starts, I am adding a blog of interest to my following list (http://www.bilerico.com) … I’ve been procrastinating that but it’s a marriage of need: a more neutral tempered blog than I Blame The Patriarchy and one that exclusively represents the LGBT community.

Discussion time! We, as of late, have been discussing LGBT rights (specifically pertaining to “coming out”). An issue that I have unfortunately struggled to find in any of the newer posts of any of the current blogs I’m reading. The however, was quite enlightening. And since I encountered massive technical difficulties I figured it wouldn’t be inappropriate to post my thoughts of his coming out experience (and all that entailed) on here. For starts, it was an extremely unique experience to actually “witness” this coming out process as I have not actually been witness to someone telling me their gay (for the first time) before. I was surprised by his attitude towards being labeled as either gay or homosexual but found his argument against putting a name (and association) on homosexuality to be quite understandable. Todd’s perception on how homosexual/queer relations is perceived by the hetero community was also quite enlightening. Like ya’ll mentioned in the discussion earlier, perception doesn’t warrant misunderstanding/ignorance. This is a view that I happen to completely agree on. I was also somewhat touched during his re-telling of seeing a younger gay couple and how he was unable to have that during his teenage years because, outside of almost being unheard of, was viewed as completely unacceptable. The way he described it (although having accepted it) was still quite depressing…

However, drifting back to LGBT rights we have the California ruling on Prop 8 being unconstitutional . It seems the more we have friction and strong opposition to this movement the more and more it reminds me of the civil rights movement of decades ago… It also makes me wonder how many states will have to approve same-sex marriage before the federal government makes considerations to make a national approval… much like the civil rights movement. Guess all we can do is wait for the time being…

I wish I had more to add but that is unfortunately it… Time to let Johannes Brahms take me away.

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