Critical Readability

My critical readings of the best and worst of online media

Archive for the category “Women and Feminism”

Responding to Malala – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“We in higher education, as incubators of ideas and educators of students, can play a central role in that process. But our mandate is even broader. Fortunately, so are the tools in front of us. We have the possibility of a truly global conversation on women’s empowerment that advances all our thinking.

The internationalization of higher education creates crosscurrents that are reshaping disciplines, bringing more voices to the table, and opening access to more students. We can—and must—use internationalization as a source of interconnectivity that empowers us all. The possibility of a global feminist movement is in front of us. The powerful reaction to Malala’s plight in Pakistan itself is instructive to us all, and a testimony to the importance of developing a women’s movement that acknowledges local differences and includes all voices.” via Responding to Malala – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Duke Graduate Student Unlocks ‘Mystery of the Lost Sonata’ – Percolator – The Chronicle of Higher Education

This is so cool!

“It was an unsolved mystery of classical music. An “Easter” sonata, sometimes attributed to the 19th-century composer Felix Mendelssohn, had largely disappeared from history. Scholars suspected the work was actually by the celebrated composer’s sister, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. But the manuscript seemed lost, so how could they prove it?”

via Duke Graduate Student Unlocks ‘Mystery of the Lost Sonata’ – Percolator – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

‘Cover Your Eyes,’ Iranian Woman Tells Chastising Cleric Before Beating Him Up : The Two-Way : NPR

“Of course, when the same type of incident is reversed — a ‘badly veiled’ women beaten in public by police — it’s simply a necessary enforcement of the dress code.”

via ‘Cover Your Eyes,’ Iranian Woman Tells Chastising Cleric Before Beating Him Up : The Two-Way : NPR.

“Many women are shut out and silenced” – Salon.com

If you’re a woman, take a moment and think about what your life could be like in a few short months. If you’re a man with a woman in your life (which should be all of you), take a moment and think about what your life could be like in a few short month.

“During this campaign, we’ve heard about the two profoundly different futures that could await women—and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past. Warnings of that future are not distractions. They’re not imagined. That future could be real.” via “Many women are shut out and silenced” – Salon.com.

Democratic Convention Diary Day 1: Michelle rocks the conventioneers and the gun show | The Raw Story

“The skies might have opened up over Charlotte before the main speeches started at the Time Warner Cable Center on Tuesday, but the mood in the hall was less grey skies and cold rain and more like lightning and thunder — and that was before First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage, got the crowd on their feet, made them cry and made them stand yet again with her convention speech. Mitt Romney might have gotten a nudge in the polls after three days of celebrating small business people and his own nice-guy Mormon background, but Michelle Obama took the basic format of Ann Romney’s love speech — “My husband is great!” — and showed how it could be used as a political weapon, not a paean. “via Democratic Convention Diary Day 1: Michelle rocks the conventioneers and the gun show | The Raw Story.

Ten-year-old mariachi hopes to make it to America’s Got Talent’s semifinals

Okay, I’m going to “out” myself. I watch America’s Got Talent. Before I started this blog, I would basically critique the performances out loud and annoy my husband. Now that I have this blog, I’ll direct it at you instead of him.

I want to write briefly about Sebastian “el Charro” de la Cruz, a 10 year old Mexican-American mariachi singer. In the article linked below, Sebastian says “I wanna represent my culture and heritage to break the stereotype and show America the beauty of this music(Mariachi),” says De la Cruz.via Ten-year-old mariachi hopes to make it to America’s Got Talent’s semifinals.

Bless his heart (seriously, he’ s adorable). I have no that doubt he wants Read more…

Fears About Shariah Law Take Hold In Tennessee : NPR

I’m going to preface this by saying I am neither Christian nor Muslim. While I was raised within a Christian nation, having no belief in either religion or no formal education in either, I would consider myself more of an outsider than insider on the emic/etic scale.  Perhaps that is why I am baffled by this article, “Fears about Shariah Law Take Hold in Tennessee” and it’s seemingly obvious relation to the Biblical Literalism that is a mainstay of Evangelical Christianity.

Read Excerpt 1 from the previously mentioned article: 

“I don’t want anybody to persecute any religion including Islam, but we have a duty as Americans to understand that they intend to take us over and compel us to become Islamic,” Douglas says. […] The First Amendment may  Read more…

Female Bodies, Dancing Icons: Feministing Blog Competition

As a follow up to my previous post about this great blog post submitted to Feministing.com during their blogging competition, I thought I would also post my reaction to their choose of a competition name and icon: 

The first time I watched So You Think You Can Dance was during a period in my life in which I was conducting ethnographic research with Latin Dance communities in the United States. Like any good cultural critic, I quickly found myself immediately analyzing how troubling the new reality television show really was, particularly with regard to representations of race, gender, and sexuality.

Performances of the tango and salsa on the show, for example, are evocative of over a century worth of highly problematic caricatures of Latin America. Since the early twentieth century, the United States has had a fascination with Latin America in general, and Latin dance more specifically.  From the Latin dance craze of the early 1910s/20s to to the mambo & salsa craze of the 1950s/60s, and from Dirty Dancing to SYTYCD, caricatures of Latin dance emerge from Latin America’s history as a colonized and post-colonial region. It also points to the relationship that we in the U.S. have to formerly colonized regions: we sexualize them, we eroticize them, and we feminize them.

And when we’re talking about Latin dance (as opposed to say, music or art), we’re already dealing with an expressive form that is highly feminized. The primary tool of dance is the human body, and more often than not a queer body or a female body. The creative intellect behind dance (the mind), however, has historically been a male domain. In dance, male choreographers exert their agency on the female body – they exert their control of the female body.  Even into the twenty-first century, dance (and theater) as artistic and academic disciplines  remain highly divided along gender lines. Female and queer dancers = the body. Heterosexual male choreographers = the mind. Read more…

Why I got married (as if it’s any of your beeswax)

This is a great article about social activism, political correctness, straight privilege, the decision to get married anyway. It was written by Alicia Walters for a blogging competition through Feministing.com. You can read my response to their play on So you Think you Can Dance here.

“I do not expect everyone to jump for joy at this milestone in my life (but if you know me, it’d be nice). There are millions of others whose relationships are not adequately recognized, protected, or  celebrated. I am aware of the privilege that comes with my straight marriedness.

And ultimately I’m happy with my decision. I’m in a healthy relationship built on trust. We’re in it for the long haul and plan to raise confident, conscious, self-and-community-loving Black children. We made a radical decision to love ourselves enough to do what made us happy…politically correct or not.”

via Why I got married (as if it’s any of your beeswax).

Why Is Iran Curtailing Female Education? – WorldWise – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Restrictions on women in education and reversal of family planning under Ahmadinejad. What I love about this article is the disparity it paints between how women in Iran since the 1979 revolution are represented by the U.S. media vs. the reality of their lives (especially under the reformist presidency of Khatami). I had no idea that leading up to the 1990s, 60% of university students in Iran were women, and that it was within the top 10 countries with regard to closing the gender gap.

That being said, the changes being enacted by Ahmadinejad are devastating for women in Iran – where, as the anonymous author mentions, the legal age for women to marry is 13 but among women with education, the mean is 23.

I also would like to emphasize some similarities between the move to limit women’s education in Iran and the proposed de-funding of higher education in the United States by Romney, et al.: “Worldwide, levels of education and activism often overlap” Want to limit political dissidence – restrict access to education.

Here is an excerpt from the article and a link to read more:

“What are the politics behind these sweeping new restrictions? Why now? Is it related to the role that women played in the 2009 protests against the disputed presidential election?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government is chauvinist about women generally. Barring women from certain fields of study comes hand-in-hand with the reversal of Iran’s family-planning program—one of the most successful in the world. Iran’s supreme leader recently described the family-planning program as misguided and called on women to have larger families.

But politics may also be a factor in the education restrictions, partly because young educated women were at the forefront of street protests after his contested reelection in 2009. Worldwide, levels of education and activism often overlap. Education can also affect the national social structure. In Iran, for example, the legal age of marriage for girls is 13, but the mean age of marriage is 23. A woman of 23 is likely to have experienced some level of higher education and be less prepared to agree to marry a man less educated than she is.”  Read more here: Why Is Iran Curtailing Female Education? – WorldWise – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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