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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Featured Post from Lena Sakonhinhom from GENDERS A56

In a world where there is more than just black and white, where there is a third side to every story, and where there is a lie beneath each truth. Specifically, when it comes to gender there are more than just what it means to be male or female. Looking back many decades ago, such topic about gender did not raise any awareness because men and women knew their roles and what was expected of them. However, in this generation it has become a concept that we cannot neglect. Since early 19th century until now women’s roles began to gradually change like being able to vote, get a job, and go to school. These changes are what the society is not yet used to because it is against the norm. In other words, the roles of women today is not strictly being housewives or submissive. Similarly, men do not always have to be the provider or dominant. Nonetheless, in today’s generation there is more than just simply being categorized as male or female. There are bisexual, lesbian, homosexual, and transgender. So what roles do we expect from people that fall under these categories? With that being said, my questions were answered in the class GENDERS. Not only did I discover that many people like my classmates are sensitive and respectful to the gender issue but I can also relate my own experience to another female regarding expectation of a woman.

            To hear my classmates’ opinion about different sexualities in our first GENDERS activity gives me faith in a more accepting and open minded society. For one, everyone was participating in the activity. This shows that they were willing to learn and share their views on such a sensitive topic. Two, we all seem to be in sync on how we feel about the complexity of sexuality today. Despite the norm or how socially constructed we are, we have a generation that is open to change, a generation that does not see only black or white, but also seeks to explore the existence of the grey area. According to the drawing from each group indicate that we all are well aware of the different categories of sexuality. Even though as individuals we might have different ways of measuring or categorizing sexuality, what is important is that we are mindful of our actions and what is happening around us. This is the kind of attitude we all have as future of the society. For example, if we see a guy dress or act feminine, we do not look down on him for being different because he does not conform to how a man is supposed to act. Instead, we try to recognize his intelligence and friendliness.  However we cannot say that the socially constructed roles of male and female will switch today or tomorrow. Since these norms have been long accepted, it will take a lifetime for such dramatic change. This is a concept that will change over time as long as we learn to accept it and analyse with an open mind.

            To further explore the gender issue, I chose to interview my mother about her role as a daughter and sister when she was younger. As a result, her answers seem to match what we all know as the socially constructed society. Born and raised in an Asian family is tough especially for the previous generations. The fact that my mother’s family were considered middle class did not deprive her of her duties and restrictions as a woman. “My main focus was to study,” she says proudly. Receiving education was the only one liberating aspect of her teenage life because she gets to experience the world outside of home, where her only goal is to study. It was also her only opportunity to hang out with friends. During that time, women’s roles were already improving except for their duties at home. I told her that back in the days, women were expected to stay home and do chores. I asked if she was supposed to do any of those. She answered, “yes, after I came home from school I had to cook and clean and help take care of my siblings, it was something I did without questioning.” What caught my attention was when she mentioned that she conformed to her role as a female without questioning. This suggests that her role as a daughter and sister was something normal, natural, almost like second nature. She knew what she had to do and she knew how to meet those expectations. Then, I asked if she was given the same opportunity to go out and play like her younger brothers. She replied, “no, I barely get to go out because if something bad happens or if I come home pregnant, it gives a bad reputation to the family.” I continued to ask what happens if her brothers go out and happen to get into fights or steal things, wouldn’t that also give the family a bad reputation. All she did was shrug her shoulders as a response, and then later answered, “but back then no one in her family did such bad things.” So, I could kind of sense that she herself was not quite sure how to answer my second question since it was something that men and women were expected to conform to without questioning. Knowing that she did not get to freely enjoy playing outside with her friends like her brothers and instead had to stay home and do chores. I asked her if she ever thought about rebelling against her parents, she denied, “even if I couldn’t go out all the time but I made sure I make my parents proud of my good grades in school so they would be more lenient when I ask to hang out with friends.” I can see that her parents were strict and had expectations in her like doing well in school and also practice to become a housewife like doing chores and taking care of her siblings. So there were limits to what she could do like hang out with friends only on weekends whereas her brothers can play outside anytime. However what was important was that she did not rebel even if she feels sad and confused sometimes. It was the familiarity of the idea that as a female she has certain things she must do without questioning.

            When it finally came to me, my parents are more lenient because they understand the circumstance of today’s generation where we must interact and socialize. One similar experience I have with my mom as a child is that I can’t always go out all the time. My parents also hold the belief that if something bad happens to me it will bring a bad reputation to the family. I am also expected to be able to do house chores without questioning. These are the things that they instil in me so I have become used to it and don’t even question anymore. At times I feel like rebelling but deep down I know that this is something that will always go hand in hand with being a woman. That is why I mentioned earlier that it would take a life time to change such roles, but it will gradually change if people are open minded to it.

SAKONHNINHOM Sourignahak

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Featured Post from Kathreena Pedrealba for GENDERS

Excellent work!

Gender, Sex and the 21st Century

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Gender, what exactly does that mean and entail? For most of us gender is only known by the biological differences of a man and a woman particularly their sexual organs. What we have to see is that it is so much more than that; it’s the socially constructed idea of what it means to be a man and a woman, it refers to one’s perception and feelings regarding masculinity, femininity, and everywhere in between (and outside). This distinction is generally used to highlight the existence of disparities in how power is distributed in societies. Men are known to be those who work and interact more in the world, while women are usually those who care for the children and the household. Although now in the growing liberal world we are faced by new opportunities and ideas. A lot of men and women in the 21st century are gender non-conformist, which means, according to About.com, they do not adhere to society’s rules about dress and activities for people that are based on their sex. They are people who may choose to present as neither clearly male, nor clearly female, but rather as a gender-free individual. In my class’ activity I learned more about how people (my peers and classmates) perceives the different “gender-free” individuals rather then what it really means to be one, though that was also explained by them and my professor.
 
Many people use the terms ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ interchangeably; it’s a little-known fact that they aren’t synonymous, I mean their meanings might as well be identical to most people. I think we can relate this to how people like uniformity and similarity and fitting in too much that when they see different and uniqueness, it is a strange idea for them to grasp on and understand. I think that it’s really unfair how people who are “gender-free” have to conform to this “straight world”. I mean we are all human beings with equal rights, one of them being the freedom of expression. I began to comprehend that a lot of people stereotype those that have a “different” gender identity from their sex and this can be very bad for the person involved. Complications can take place with the stereotyping, or gender typing of behavior for individuals with behavior related to a specific sex, when they clearly identify as a different gender based on their biological forms. This can cause people with that to have gender identity crisis and it can affect them greatly even cause them to end up doing irrational things. We have to think that they are human too and just because they do not conform to the societies need and mindset about the “proper” and “right” doesn’t mean that we do not acknowledge their existence and even interact with them. Most of us even lessen their rights and that is basically unjust and totally against the teachings of our parents and even religion. Im sure that if we just give them a chance things will just work out fine and nothing about the society will really be changed, they can even teach us new things and new perspectives about certain topics.

 
 
 
I have this found illustration that perfectly portrays a certain point I’d like to discuss: The difference among the words ‘woman’ and ‘man’ from ‘female’ and ‘male’. ‘Male’ and ‘female’ are vocabulary that describes one’s biological sex. However, ‘man’ and ‘woman’ describes a person’s gender identity. I think the gender of one person is actually a lateral byproduct of the sex because behavior is always an interaction of nature and nurture, socialization can really modify, sometimes very significantly, the decisions on sex differences—if we so choose. The more supplementary knowledge you get about the understanding of biological sex, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, the more you may understand yourself and even how you relate to other people with different gender identities. Since sex and gender are very multifaceted, you may have numerous questions. You may even doubt your own personal sexual orientation or gender identity, even begin to wonder, figure out or understand things about someone you know. You may have different inquiries and opinions about how society views sex and gender and how they actually accept the different identities and orientations that are presented to them.
 
 
I interviewed someone older than me to see how different the societal roles and perception on women then and before were. She said that women at that time were expected to be very religious, respectful, puts very high regards on their dignity, morality and self-honor. They said women before give importance to celibacy. They wanted to keep themselves for their husbands and that was very important back then. Family always came first and nothing can ever replace family, it was the most important part of their lives. For wives, they have to be very responsible at home and make good meals; most of the women at her time were good cooks. Education was also very important, to land a good job and ensure a good future family woman had to work too, they didn’t just rely on the men in the house.
 
 She said that right after she finished college she wanted to go to Cebu (she lived in Davao) but her parents wouldn’t allow her probably scared she will just be toyed with there and harm might cross her way but she still pursued on going there. So one day she just left with little money and clothes, when she got to Cebu everything were ok at first but then she lost her irregular jobs and she finished all her money. She called up her parents but they would help her get back to her feet wanting her to go back to Davao, but she still tried harder until she stumbled on an opportunity and then she realized that in order to help her family she should work and strive to make them have a better lifestyle. This woman I am talking about conformed to the societies needs and wants but in a kind of non conforming way, she still had her individuality and opposite opinions.
 
These days, we see more girls conforming to society’s wants but not its principles. More girls now-a-days conform to societies norms and definitions of beauty and desires. Women now have more voice and are now more equally seen with men. I think though that in this liberal world women’s dignity and morals are kind of (for some) thrown off the window. We see that women have come a long way from just being housewives to being a lot more than that, we are now competing in the “real” world with men and sometimes we can say that maybe we can be better than them. We now accept more liberal ideas and I think these both come with its ups and downs. More women have the “voice” and can express themselves better than before; they have more self- value and worth. Though in this generation I don’t really see that, women are kind of over-valuing themselves (some) that they actually kind of degrade other women. “Less is more” this line really represent one particular change in the society, more and more women get attention and not in a very good manner. I mean, if we acted like this back then some of us would be killed or hurt. Although now, women are more socially accepted to do manly chores and they have more freedom of choice and are given more opportunities and rights. That’s really good to hear because now we can speak up and defend ourselves without it being socially unaccepted or wrong. I think though some women abuse the right of being treated equally with men like for example they want to be treated equally but they still expect men to still treat them royally and take god care of them and pay for their dues and food, etc.
 
Men these days give less value to women with the thought that there are plenty out there, more and more men treat women as though they are replaceable objects. Unlike before, family was very important to both men and women, now it’s more of the fulfillment of need and desires that is valued more. Comparing these two different periods, we can say that they both have their advantages and disadvantages. I think we just have to think back and see what really is the most important things that we need and have to have, we can still change our corrupt ways.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Why Tumblr Rocks!

Why Tumblr Rocks!

http://rachlovesthehungergames.tumblr.com/

The Only Exception: Does Love Exist in Cyberspace?

“Falling” in love is a sort of a rite of passage in adolescence so almost always every adolescent in the world has experienced “love.” However, love seems complicated in cyberspace owing to the latter’s virtual nature.
What better song to capture this experience than The Only Exception by Paramore? The song talks about pining for someone who is not real or for someone whose existence is only “real” in cyberspace. But what happens to love if it is mediated by the impersonal internet or computer? Is love any less real in this situation?

Malala Yousafzai: How to be Fearless

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2012 has been an incredible year for Malala, a 15-year old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban group while she was aboard a school bus.  Because she was and still is a fighter, she survived the assault.  But what is even more remarkable is her story and why she was targeted by the Pakistani Taliban.  This story earned her a nomination spot in the 2012 Time Magazine Person of the Year and just recently, a prize from Simone de Beauvoir Foundation.

In their introductory piece, Time writes: “At first, the Pakistani girl blogged anonymously about her desire to go to school without fear in a part of the country where the Taliban had once imposed strict Shari’a law. Then, with the surprising encouragement of her devout Muslim father, Malala Yousafzai wrote in her own name and revealed her face to the world, a symbol of young women around the world seeking empowerment. She became the subject of a documentary and a celebrity of sorts in the world of nonprofit organizations. Who knew that such prominence would put her life at risk? On Oct. 9, 2012, Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus, sought her out and shot her in the head. Eventually airlifted to a hospital in Britain, she survived her severe wounds. In the meantime, Malala, now 15, has become an inspiration not only in her native Pakistan — where the culture wars over women’s rights and religious diversity have taken many violent turns — but all around the globe. Malala is now a first name that hundreds of thousands of people know. But in a way, hers is an even more moving story, because the saga is not just of a brave young girl but also of a father willing to risk local opprobrium to raise his daughter — not a son — as a proud example for the world. It is among the tenderest of stories in the world of conservative Islam.”

Congratulations, Malala!  As my former INTFILO student and now the editor-in-chief of the Lasallian, Patrick Ong, says, “People have always frowned on activism. thank you Malala for showing that activism is more than just teenage angst. I hope Lasallians could learn from her.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2128881_2128882_2129199,0.html #ixzz2Hp1iJ4Oj

photo credit: Time Magazine, accessed January 13, 2012.

Why Feminism is for Men, too!

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Have you ever felt:

  • Insecure because your body wasn’t big enough, strong enough, or slim enough?
  • Pressured to be tough, aggressive and competitive beyond your comfort zone?
  • Ashamed of your interest in cooking, fashion, dance, or some other activity because you were told it made you “gay” or “a girl”?
  • Offended by media representations of helpless adult men who cannot feed, clothe, or bathe themselves without the help of a woman?
  • Burdened by expectations to objectify women, have sex with many women and be sexually aggressive?
  • Helpless when dealing with feelings of sadness, hurt, and shame because you were taught to believe that emotions show weakness and that “real men help themselves”?
  • Confused at how to be sensitive and kind but still be sexually desirable?
  • Alone when you suffered an injury but had to “handle it”?
  • Afraid of being called a “sissy,” “wimp,” “f*g,” “p*ssy,” or “b**ch,”?
  • Ambivalent about what it means to be a “real man”?

For more, head over to everydayfeminism,com!

Welcome to a Brand-New Term!

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One of the most exciting things in teaching right now is undoubtedly the use of multimedia.  I found out about this happily because I have been using blogging for sometime now and schoolwork has never been fun!  My students took to blogging like ducks to water.  No surprise there!  This generation is especially hard-wired to multimedia, music, youtube, and similar.  So folks, here you are!  Some of you are in this blogging thing a long time so this intro would be a bore but to those who are doing this for the very first time, I dare say, congratulations and welcome to the endless fun of being cyber-citizens!

Of course there are many rules to blogging.  Hey, this is not a ranting, expletive-spewing exercise  which to my book, is a waste of precious cyber-space and it does not make you look cool at all(more like pathetic)!  Instead, this is an uber-intellectual, creative exercise of putting down your deep thoughts and musings which you unabashedly publish ha ha for all the world to see.  Add to the fun is the fact that you save precious trees by not printing them down on paper.

This site is brand-new after years of using multiply.com for my academic platform.  Multiply had been my reliable virtual assistant so it was with a heavy heart that I let  it go.  However, I am also very excited to explore wordpress.com and it seems really promising!  I’ve already posted stuff in every page; I hope you’ll take time to explore them because some are required readings, syllabus  skeds, and announcements necessary for a stress-free (almost happy), class under me.
All the best, everyone

Paper Presentation in International Workshop on Gender, Religion and Postcoloniality at the School of Oriental and African Studies

IMG_0736[1]I presented a paper on “Indecent Theology:  Asian Catholic Women Speak Out on Sexuality and Eroticism”  in the the International Workshop on “Gender, Religion and Postcoloniality” at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London on December 17-19, 2012.  It was my first time to present an academic paper in London, so you can imagine how thrilled I was just to be there and be with the wonderful and amazing participants from Europe and America.