Saturday, August 25, 2018

Many Ways to Be a Woman: Intersectional Traditions of Feminism

"Feminism is worthless without
intersectionality and inclusion"

We All Can Do it!

Course Overview

If you've ever asked, "can a person be a woman *this* way?" then this class is for you! What if she wants to be a housewife? What if she wants to be an engineer? What if she hates dresses? What if she feels powerful in skirts? This class explores the many questions and responses that surround womanhood. This seminar is designed to provide entry into the many intersectional conversations on feminism and femininity, with access points starting from where you are. That means if you do not consider yourself a feminist, you are welcome. If you are not feminine or female, you have a place at the table. If you worry about being called a "bad feminist," then this class is definitely for you. If you find feminism or femininity to be too narrow to define you, this class is excited to have you. If you take issue with feminism focusing too much on white women, cisgender women, able-bodied women, straight women, then this class needs your voice. If you want to know what the role of men in feminism can be, wonders the same thing! Historically, "feminism" as a word has challenged people's political and personal investments in different ways as they encounter issues such as voting and jobs, marriage and divorce, racism and classism, homophobia and transphobia, healthcare and disability, personal liberties and social protections. Alongside these traditions of feminism, "femininity" has been a concept that seems simultaneously ancient while also under constant revision as women of color, post-colonialism, disability, queer, transgender and intersex thinkers introduce underrepresented perspectives. Facing these reactions and reforms, some people feel disinclined to identify with either word, adding to the list of "F-words" that can raise conflict in polite company. Yet however one feels about these F-words, feminism and femininity have regularly proven important movements in public debates around government, the work-force, education, and art. This seminar seeks to connect students with intersectional and sometimes conflicting traditions in politics and gender theory in order to broaden the horizons of who or what gets to be identified with feminism and femininity.



Selections from the Reading List

Red Pills and Pink Pills
Bad Feminists, Non-Feminists, and Non-Females

  • R. Gay, Bad Feminist: Essays (2014) 
  • J. Serano, Whipping Girl, “Putting the Feminine Back Into Feminism” (PDF) (2007) 
  • E. Fletcher and R. Fruchbom, Parks and Rec. 7.9. “Pie Mary” (2015) P1 

Sex, Sexuality, and Submission

  • S. de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949) 
    • J Wootton (dir) My Little Pony 3.13 “Magic Mystery Cure” (2013) 
    • The Girls Next Door 1.8. “Midsummer Night’s Dream” (2005)
  • S.T. Johnson (dir.), 50 Shades of Grey (2015) 
  • J. Foley (dir.), 50 Shades Darker (2016) 
    • Yes Means Yes! “The Fantasy of Acceptable ‘Non-Consent’” (2008) 
    • M. Weiss, Techniques of Pleasure
  • H. Madison, Down the Rabbit Hole (2015) 

Life and Choice
Wives, Mothers, and Disability

  • B. Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963) 
    • J. Lucas and S. Moore (dir.), Bad Moms, 1-33 min. (2016) 
    • P. Bonerz, Home Improvement, “The Feminine Mistake” (1997) E1 
  • B. Condon, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (5-28, 34-50.5 min) (2011) 
    • R. Gay, Bad Feminist, “The Trouble with Prince Charming” 
    • R. Gay, Bad Feminist, “The Alienable Rights of Women” 
  • M. Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Thom Fitzgerald (dir.), Cloudburst (2013) 
    • Kafer, Feminist, Queer, Crip (2013) 

Womens March
Race, Labor, and Post-Colonialism

  • C. Moraga and G.E. Anzaldúa ed., This Bridge Called My Back (1981) 
  • T. Melfi (dir), Hidden Figures (AW) (2016)
    • J.D. Bell, Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement
    • J. Mock, Redefining Realness (2014)
  • A.H. Ali, Infidel (2008) 
  • M. Yousafzai, I am Malala (2013) 

Sisters, Not Just Cisters
Intersex, Transgender, and Queerness

L. Simon, Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite
M. Russo, If I Was Your Girl
J. Babbit (dir.), But I’m A Cheerleader (1999) 
L. Faderman, The Gay Revolution (AW) 



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