Women Soldiers

April 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

I was quite unaware of the things that women soldiers go through when fighting for our freedoms. This whole idea of being there like a piece of meat for the men, makes me sick. The one woman stated she carried a knife, but it was for protection from her own people. How can we do this to our own? And why has nothing been done? Women’s right, again, being looked over or forgotten about. I still can’t get over the amount of rape that goes on in the services. And it is never spoke of, maybe the reason that I have never heard of this issue. Something must be done. There needs to be more knowledge and awareness of this issue. We should be supporting and helping those who are fighting for our freedoms. I’m sure it is very hard to monitor, especially when we are in different countries. But to think that our soldiers cannot have the respect for another human being is extremely sad.


Who Are They Really Fighting For?

April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

Essay 60,  “How Safe Is America?,” got me thinking about our armed services. There is a section in the essay that discusses that one’s safety depends on money. I can definitely see this. If someone has more money they can afford to buy themselves a more stable home with a basement, rather than a home without a basement or a trailer. By having more money they are safer. Having more money also allows someone to purchase better quality of items, in all aspects, this could make someone safer with a better quality item. Someone with more money is able to hire a better attorney to protect themselves from the law. Having more money gives you more power and in return this makes you safer. Some will argue an example being 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The 9/11 attack was downtown New York, where many successful business men and women were. The help was almost instant and it was top priority. Hurricane Katrina hit in a very low economic level area. Many were of poverty and African American minority. The issue wasn’t completely over looked, but help was not instant and the amount of help was slim. Here is a case where having money and class rank gives you more safety in a disaster.

The article then mentions the armed services. I found it quite interesting to think about who is actually fighting in our country. The majority of the men and women that make up our armed services are of lower or middle class. Many of them felt that they had no other choice but to join, for financial reasons. When there are no jobs or money to survive on, many turn to the armed services as another route. How many upper class have you heard of having a child in the army? There are some cases where it is a family tradition and many will follow in their parents footsteps. But most upperclassmen are not worrying about their child and if they will ever come home. Our lower class is out fighting for our country’s freedoms, while the upper-class have nothing to worry about. They do not have to worry about their children coming back from war. They don’t have to worry about the post-effects of war. They don’t have to worry about having a job or income when getting back from war. It’s something that I never really thought about. I find the whole system and how some can have no other option, quite sad. To be fighting for a county, that will help the upper class sooner than the your own, I’m sure is quite motivational.

The Private War of Women Soldiers

April 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

I have personally spoken to an Iraq war veteran about women soldiers. They made it a point to bring up how these women are allowed to get by with so much physical work because of their sex. Another interesting point was how the men in the military looked at the women as easy, like they came into the military to have more interaction and contact with men. What was never mentioned were all the things Helen Benedict writes about. Most women in the military are fighting their own private war with their own ‘team-members.’ They live in fear of being sexually violated and some even dehydrated themselves to death in order to avoid these situations.

        She says that all of the women she talked with had held a dangerous job in Iraq, but as we saw in the video, they are not being recognized or treated equally. A study in 2004 showed that 71% of women in war, since Vietnam, were victims of sexual assault or rape while in the military.

        At the time I did not know how to respond to this guy telling me about women in the military. I didn’t want to believe the things he was saying but I had no further knowledge to deny his stories. After reading this article, I hope another guy approaches me with the similar stories.. I will definitely have something to say this time.

Athletes and masculinity

March 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

I had an idea about the comments athletes make about women in the locker room, however, Don Sabo’s essay was somewhat surprising to me.  I figured that men talked this way about women in the locker room after they had sex with women.  I was not prepared for his discussion of the ways sexual activity was rewarded and celebrated when it was violent, abusive, or exploitative.  I was really surprised to read the part about the players who got drunk and did some very wrong things to women.  I do remember, though, as a freshman at Purdue, I had a friend who was pledging at a campus fraternity.  He said that there was a board that had every brother’s name and how many women they had had sex with.  Each new pledge was also looked upon to provide that information.  He said he felt uncomfortable because that was disrespectful to women, but he said that he did not feel comfortable telling the other guys that he felt that way.  I also wonder how many of these encounters are exaggerated or completely fabricated by men in the locker room.

I had not really considered the idea of sex as a sport.  This analogy is logical in the way Sabo explains it.  Men often use the same language to talk about sex as they would when playing a sport.  That can take the personal or intimate aspects away from sex, and make it simply a power struggle, wherein the masculine man can prove his masculinity by continuing to “score” with many women.  Back to my friend and the fraternity set up, he said that there was no reward or celebration for a brother who had sex with the same girl many times, only points for having sex with many different girls.  This plays into Sabo’s idea that men are disregarding their needs in order to prove themselves masculine to other men.  Like the “Men and women are from Earth” essay points out, men do have a need for intimacy.  They are also capable of being sympathetic and having emotions.  However, since these characteristics are often attributed to women, men in these locker room talks do not acknowledge that those are traits they posses or even want to posses.

Kimmel’s Homophobia

March 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

I found this essay interesting, because it changed my views on what exactly homophobia is.  Previously I thought it was only a fear directed at homosexual persons.  In feminist theory, scholars talk about the male gaze on women, and how that causes women to present themselves in certain ways.  They do this because they are aware that everywhere they go they may be looked upon by men.  I did not think about this applying to other men much until I read this essay.  It seems to me that men are also subject to male gaze, but often for different reasons than women.  Men perform their masculine characteristics for other men so that they are not perceived as feminine men or gay men.  The male gaze involves a power component as well.  Men feel compelled to perform masculinities in the presence of other men who may be perceived as more powerful or masculine than themselves.

One of the most striking things I read in this essay was Kimmel’s remarks about men’s and women’s fears.  He writes, “In one survey, women and men were asked what they were most afraid of.  Women responded that they were most afraid of being raped and murdered.  Men responded that they were most afraid of being laughed at.”  This seems ironic to me, because men are more likely to be victims and perpetrators of violence.  Therefore it would make sense that men should be more afraid of being victims of violence.  I found it shocking that a man is more afraid of being humiliated than he is of being physically violated.  This fear of humiliation can be dangerous to men’s health especially.  As I mentioned in another post, men are more likely to be involved in violence and suicide, and their life expectancy is shorter than women’s.  This shows the detrimental effects of homophobia for men.

Masculinity As Homophobia

March 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

This essay by Michael Kimmel made me think about homophobia in a different way. He talked about how homophobia is more than a fear of gay men or the fear of being perceived as gay. Kimmel suggests that homophobia is more a fear that men will be exposed by other men as not “measuring up” or not being “real men”. Essentially, Kimmel said that men are afraid of other men and the humiliation that follows if they are crowned a sissy.

I thought the Karl Marx quote to be interesting and quite true. The idea of the “traditional male”, even female for that matter, being a nightmare to the brains of the living is true in that people think they have to measure up to the standards that have been laid out by previous generations. People in general have a constant fear of being viewed as inadequate or being viewed as different. This forces us to do and say things we may not want to do in order to fit certain stereotypes and avoid others so that we won’t be judged as being different or inadequate. Even though this is something everyone struggles with, I like how the essay makes it a point to concentrate on how this impacts men. Typically I think we concentrate more on women’s self-esteem rather than men’s so it was interesting to see this from a man’s perspective.

I think this all goes back to the idea of wanting approval from others and thinking we have to live up to a certain standard. It’s a shame that we live in a world where people are afraid to be themselves. But alas, it remains a reality that as long as these standards exist, so will the fear of being inadequate and the desire to become someone else’s idea of perfect.

evaluating those locker room talks

March 5, 2012 § 2 Comments

When reading “The Myth of the Sexual Athlete” by Don Sabo, I first tried to remember what guys in my high school were like. Growing up I was a bit of a tom-boy, so I tended to be a part of many “locker room talks”. Most of my guy friends considered me one of the guys, and I often got the brunt of their (usually quite disgusting) sex talks. I remember feeling pretty horrified when they would talk about their exploits. Being a freshman-sophomore in high school, these boys were new at being sexually active. They would describe smells and clothes and noises, and well… the personal stuff. I never really thought about how most guys talk like this about girls and their sexual experiences.

I decided to get a different experience from someone that I was close to, my boyfriend. He went to a different, much smaller high school than I did. I wanted to see if a smaller town had similar “locker room talks”. Sure enough, he had the same story for me. As we talked about it, it was interesting when he said “we talked about stuff usually in a disrespectful way, until we really liked the girl, then we didn’t discuss sex anymore.” It’s funny that he responded this way, without even knowing what I was reading. Sabo says in his essay, “when sexual relationships were ‘serious’, that is, tempered by love and commitment, the unspoken rule was silence.” It’s funny how shocking it was to me that this manner seemed to be pretty universal within young guys.

Next I thought about when my friends and I started becoming sexually active. I realized that girls felt the exact opposite that guys did. I’m not sure if it’s the social stigma that younger girls (sometimes all girls) having sex automatically makes them a whore, or if we just didn’t talk about it. Either way, girls were much more secretive than guys were about their sexual conquests. I also thought about myself now. Not to be too overly honest, but I do feel like now that my friends and I are older, we talk about guys and sex in a much more open manner than we ever would when we were younger. In a way, the gendered sex talks are completely reversed with age.

I found it interesting when Sabo describes the debate between wanting just eroticism or just wanting an emotional connection. He is right when he says that some guys do experience relationships that are just sexual. I think what isn’t exactly talked about it the fact that girls are/can be a part of this only sexual relationship. It is common in both homo and hetero relationships.

I think it is extremely important for people to reevaluate, redefine, and explore their sexuality. It is something that is without a doubt ever changing. From first sexual experience to adulthood, sex is changing constantly. I enjoyed this article because it allowed me to think about myself, and where I stand in these opinions and situations as a woman.

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