Saturday, March 30, 2013

Foucalt's Notion Of Identity

“Foucault’s notion of identity resides within one’s actions and interactions with others. It is EVER-CHANGING and defined in a historical moment.”
What are you Mr. Foucalt, a behaviorist?  Are you BFFs with B.F. Skinner?  Are our identities based solely on our actions and interactions with others?  What about our motivations, histories, beliefs?  Isn’t this a bit of a third-person point of view, minus the omniscience? 
I would hate for my personality to be based solely off my actions.  I do not want to only be considered a student, or someone who values their schoolwork over people (which is what my life shows I do).  I want outsiders to understand why I go to school--to prepare for a career that will help people! 

And I wouldn’t want someone assume whom I love most in my life based on how often I interact with them.  The people I love most are busy, and sometimes I’m afraid of bothering them too much…I know my parents love me, but I don’t think they want to hear from me every day. 

<---My dad, telling me to stop calling.

According to Foucalt, our identities are ever-changing.  If we base our identities off our actions only, and maybe our words, our identities would obviously change because we would contradict the judgments and assumptions made by an outsider.
For example—a parent smacks their child when the child misbehaves.  We could assume that the parent is an intolerant tyrant.  But then we see the parent cuddling the child, and we think the parent is a loving person.  How could we combine these two different behaviors of the parent without knowing his motivation, and without changing his identity? Maybe this is a shallow example, but my point is that we can’t understand who someone is without knowing what’s inside their head, instead of only looking at what they do and say.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc fought in the Hundred Years War and brought victory to the French over British forces.  She said that God had told her to lead the French troops to their conquest; it was unheard of for a woman to be a warrior, let alone lead men into battle.  She wore the same clothes and armor as men and, after some time, she was burned at the stake for heresy.
But...could it be possible that there were higher powers in government that feared her growing power?  A woman did not lead men in anything in the fourteenth century.  It wouldn't be implausible to consider the possibility that someone wanted nothing more to silence Joan of Arc because of her growing power as a woman

Power and Fluidity

I prefer to think of Power and Fluidity in a combat setting. A true combat setting, and not one bogged down by bureaucratics. In this setting, if the commanding officer is incapable of completing his duty or is dead, a new officer will step up and take his place from the ranks. This transition can occur in a few seconds in a combat situation.

this simple example shows how fast power is capable of transferring when necessary. However, even in business settings, a company should be able to transfer power quickly and effectively, rather than need to wait months and stall during that time.

Remembering the face

Most people think that the idea is more important than the face and mind that thought it up; I enjoyed Foucault’s reading because he disagrees. It actually reminds me of the movie V for Vendetta, in the movie they talk about Guy Fawkes and how he tried to blow up the building of Parliament. But years later only his idea of taking down the government was remembered not the face behind it, except for the main character who thinks of him as a person not just an idea. Foucault’s thinking was that it would help us set our view of a piece of work by allowing us to classify and unify them under the rubric of authorship. I agree with Foucault because I believe that the author should be remembered for his or her work. That and if we understand the author then we have a better chance of understanding and enjoying their work.       

Power and Resistance in the Classroom

     As an aspiring teacher, I was very interested in the concept of Foucault's exercise of power and resistance. The idea makes sense in regards to the natural resistance that arises from a figure of power. I began to think about my educational observation experience this semester and the students I was assisting. When analyzing behaviors and tendencies, I can conclude that there are times of resistance among the students. This idea of power and resistance also made me think of the book/ movie Freedom Writers. In the beginning, the pure nature of having authority was foreign to the students and created strong resistance. Because people have different perspectives and a sense of uniqueness, I agree with Foucault's belief that with an exercise of power there will often be resistance.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Power and Control, I'm gonna make you fall...

The title to this post is from a song by Marina and the Diamonds. If you haven't heard of them, GO... YOUTUBE... RIGHT NOW. I don't know if you can tell, but I'm a fan.

Natasha from Avengers said it best,

"Regimes fall everyday, I'm Russian, I tend not to weep for that."

Power changes. It is no solid foundation, but rather a liquid element that can be transferred from one person to another in the blink of an eye. The reason I quote the song is because it is about the power in a relationship.

The speaker is in a relationship in which she is the submissive personality, but she recognizes her dislike for such. So, she plans to make the other person "fall" as in, she plans to take their power through her femininity. I'm gonna get a little vulgar here and say, I have a vagina, so I'm all about female empowerment. Especially in the world we live in.

A week ago or so, I saw a post on Tumblr and I wish I could find it again.
A survey was done on middle school students in which they were asked what their reactions would be if they woke up to find that they had changed genders overnight.

The girls responded that they would be upset at first, but after a little bit they would be excited about exploring the possibilities of the world as a boy/man.

More than 90% of the boys replied that they would kill themselves.

If you can't figure out that that is screwed up, you should probably leave now.

Males have the power. Not always, but most of the time. In fact, the popular Facebook page titled, "I Fucking Love Science" (which I happen to follow, because the posts are really educational) has recently come into spotlight because the admin for the page is female.

Any sane person says so what? The general public says, "WHAAAT FEMALES CAN BE SCIENTIFIC AND SMART? NOOOOOO!"

I kid you not. The link is below.

Also, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the media shitstorm that surrounded the Steubenville rape case and this years election has raised a response from women everywhere. Below is a link to a post from the twitter hashtag #safetytipsforladies. It parodies the ridiculous advice that is given to women these days in order to avoid rape. Not to get off topic here, but how about instead of focusing on how to avoid rape we focus on teaching our children that rape in any way or fashion IS WRONG.

End Rape Culture.

Okay. I'm done with my soap box for now.

The Disciplining Gaze

           Foucault introduces the interesting concept of the disciplining gaze and the way surveillance causes the body to act in particular ways.  I find this idea fascinating and very true – when we are with certain groups, we tend to do or say certain things that we wouldn’t otherwise.  An example that comes to mind when considering the disciplining gaze is peer pressure.  As a teen, I often succumbed to my friends and what they were doing.  If they behaved a certain way, I followed suit, even if I wouldn’t have done those things in other situations.  The knowledge that someone watched me caused me to act in a way I wouldn’t have when I was alone.

A Man Called Peter

In the movie “A Man called Peter”, Catherine Woods gives the following speech:

Catherine Woods, Speech ("A Man Called Peter" Film)

This is a speech from one of my few, favorite movies on earth... it's SO raw and honest. And true.
And no, it's not chauvinistic.
(Catherine Woods gets up to speak at a rowdy youth rally and is met by claps and cheers from the boys….)
“If that’s because I’m a girl, thank you boys.
“And now, if you’ll let me, I’d like to talk as a girl, to the girls here this afternoon. I know if you boys will listen, they’ll listen too. And I’m just as sure that the reason they’ve been just as rude and silly as you’ve been, is because they had the mistaken idea that you wanted them to be.
“I’d never thought much about being a girl until two years ago, when I learned from a man what a wonderful thing it is to be a woman. Until that Sunday morning, I considered myself lucky to be living in the 19th century. The century of progress and emancipation. The century when, supposedly, we women came into our own. But I’d forgotten that the emancipation of woman really began with Christianity. When a girl, a very young girl, received the greatest honor in history. She was chosen to be the mother of the savior of the world. And when her son grew up and began to teach His way of life, He ushered woman into a new place in human relations. He accorded her a dignity she’d never known before, and crowned her with such glory, that down through the ages, she was revered, protected and loved. Men wanted to think of her as different from themselves. Better… made of finer, more delicate clay.
“It remained for the 20th century, the century of progress, to pull her down from her thrown. She wanted equality. For 1900 years, she had not been equal. She had been superior. To stand equal with men, naturally she had to step down. Now, being equal with men, she has won all their “rights and privileges.” The right to get drunk. The right to swear. The right to smoke. The right to work like a man. To think like a man. To act like a man. We’ve won all this, but how can we feel so triumphant, when men no longer feel as romantic about us, as they did about our grandmothers? When we’ve lost something sweet and mysterious? Something as, as hard to describe as the haunting wistful fragrance of violets?

“Of course, these aren’t my original thoughts. They’re the thoughts I heard that Sunday morning. But from them, some thought of my own were born. And the conclusion reached, that somewhere along the line, we women got off the track.
“Poets have become immortal by remembering on paper a girl’s smile. But I’ve never read a poem rhapsodizing over a girl’s giggles at a smutty joke. Or I’ve never heard a man brag that his sweetheart or his wife could drink just as much as he, and become just as intoxicated. I’ve never heard a man say that a girl’s mouth was prettier with a cigarette hanging out of it, or that her hair smelled divinely of stale tobacco.
I’m afraid that’s all I have to say… I’ve never made a speech before.”
(Catherine Exits; youth rally clapping)

(This isn’t a popular movie, so I could not find a clip. The only source I could find is another blog.)

This speech is an interesting address of gender roles because she says that the equality women achieved was a step-down rather than a step-up for women. I like the way she uses virtue to regard women as superior to men. However, at the same time she seems to be saying that women should fulfill a role of “prim and proper.” 

I enjoyed viewing this movie's depiction of gender roles- especially because it takes place during the 1900s.

Under Surveillance

Foucault gives us the notion of the disciplining gaze, the idea that if we believe someone is always watching us, we will behave differently. As children, we are told that no matter where we are or what we do, God is watching us. He knows everything there is to know about us. For some people, the fact that we cannot see God with our own eyes may be enough to make them not care about His judgement. For others, it may.

In today's society, whether we realize it or not, we are being watched most hours of the day. There is video surveillance in almost every store, elevator, business and other places that we may not even know. The truth of the matter is, we are being watched, but does that really change people's behavior? It comes down to the type of character a person holds and what morality means to them. Simply put, some people don't care if they are being watched.

As You Like It

The character Rosalind from Shakespeare's As You Like It is an example of a female disguising herself as a male. According to Focoult and Showalter, the place women hold in the world has been questioned for centuries. There was a male-dominated society during the time Shakespeare wrote, and women had little power and few rights. Therefore, Rosalind dressing and behaving as a man was a social experiment, changing her interactions with other males and females and her overall significance to the world.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

White Chicks

The movie White Chicks is cross dressing at it's finest.  How much different can you change yourself from not only changing from male to female, but black to white.  People can also be confused on race and not only gender.  Excepting who you are can be difficult if you live in society that expects people to hold up to a general standard.


When looking at the theories of feminism and sexuality it is impossible to see them outside the context of power. According to Faucault power is not something that an individual owns but is rather someone to be wielded or exercised. In the opening chapter of the History of Sexuality Faucault discusses the actions of the Catholic Church to limit the influence of sex and desire by requiring its member to give confession of such intimate detail. However, instead of curtailing desires of the flesh it opened them up to greater discussion. In developing this discussion, power has moved from institutions of authority to individuals. 

Today we can see by the hundreds of examples around us from youtube videos, chick flicks, rom coms, literature, artwork and Disney that the discussion is alive and well. It had exploded across the world to become a major part of our identity in how we reflect with ourselves, with our gender, and with society as a whole. It is no longer something to be hidden away and ashamed of which has fundamentally changed the discourse of sexuality.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

She's the Man

She's the Man, as we know, is a play off of Shakespeare's Twelvth Night. The boy (Channing Tatum) goes for the girl (the character Olivia), who falls for the girl dressed as a boy (Amanda Bynes), who likes the boy.

Both stories, as we know, work out in the end. Really though: why do these stories make such good ones? What is it that people really go for in these stories?

As we talked about in Mulan, the manly man (Tatum) stays the manly man through the whole script. There's no cross-dressing there. (Although we do get a comical scene where he sticks a tampon up his nose to stop a nose bleed because of Bynes' character's advice.)

Maybe we enjoy texts like this because of that line between sexes and the secrets that each group has. Crossing over that line answers the questions that we wonder about--what is the opposite sex actually doing/thinking?

One of the themes in the story is also woman-power. Amanda Bynes' character gets to play soccer on a men's team, proving that she's capable of doing so. We could like these texts because of these reasons as well: looking at the issues of equality and inequality between men and women.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vampiric Classes

Class has a very large imprint upon the structure of the books "House of Night". House of night is a series of Novels and Novellas. The books start with a normal high school class structure that is well known by most people. And then the class becomes even more noticeable. Once Zoey Montgomery was Marked, the author shows us a huge other class system in this world, that humans choose to ignore.

The Vampiric classes of Priestesses and Masters, the Changed, and Consorts. The Priestesses and Masters are the rich, bourgeoisie type of people. They are very influential, have power given to them, and are looked up to and usually respected. The Changed are people who have completed the change to Vampires. They are the middle class, proletariat type of people. They are people who have influence, but not much. They are normal hardworking type of people who show respect to the Priestesses and Masters. The Consorts are what would be thought of as slaves to the Priestesses and Masters. The Changed are disgusted by them. Yet the Priestesses and Masters all have one and use them for many different purposes.