Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stop Trying to "Save Second Base"

We just talked about this in one of my classes yesterday and then this morning I walked past a table in Kirkhof (main/center building on my campus) raising money for breast cancer by selling shirts that say "save the hooters" so now I just feel like I need to post about it because otherwise I'm just going to stay frustrated and angry and what good does that do anyone?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fun Facts From Your Local Future Historian

Every week I learn all sorts of fun facts in my history classes and I thought I would share some of my favorites with you! So, in no particular order, here are some fun facts from you local future historian!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Take Back the Night with Katie Hnida!

I am a member of a sexual assault awareness organization on my campus called Eyes Wide Open. One of our annual events is Take Back The Night where we bring a speaker to share their experience with sexual assault and to educate students on issues pertaining to sexual violence. After the speaker's presentation we all march through campus, first silently to remember and support anyone who has been a victim of sexual violence, and then yelling and blowing whistles for all of campus to hear to "shatter the silence; stop the violence." The march is meant to bring attention to society's tendency to remain silent on matters of sexual violence and of how difficult it too often is for victims to speak up. It is a really powerful night, especially for survivors, and it is just such an empowering thing to be a part of, for me anyway. 

Last year's Take Back The Night, my first time going, was the first time I stopped and acknowledged that a previous experience of mine (from many years before...seriously) was not okay, was not "normal" and, more importantly, was not my fault. So Take Back The Night is a pretty important event for me and I love getting to be a part of the organization that puts it on every year.

Our speaker this year was Katie Hnida, the first woman to ever dress and score points in a Division 1 collegiate football game. She spoke about the sexual harassment and eventually sexual violence that she was subjected to by her own teammates during her time playing to Colorado University.

I think Katie's story is particularly powerful because it speaks to not only issues of sexual violence on college campuses and the added issues that arise when athletes are involved, but also to the still all to present belief that there are certain spaces that women do not belong in. More than once when Katie tried to speak out about the harassment she was told it was something she would have to deal with if she wanted to be a woman in football, asked what did she expect; people still believe that there are certain spaces in which women should stay away from if they don't want to be harassed, and that if we try to break down those barriers we were asking to be assaulted. I think this is an aspect of rape culture that is often overlooked, so I was really excited to have a speaker who highlighted this still very present issue in our culture.

Basically Take Back The Night was awesome and Katie Hnida was awesome and also she spells her name like I do so she gets bonus points there. But seriously she was super great and I'm really glad I got the opportunity to meet her. I hope one day I can make the same kind of difference that she is making now.

(I normally make a point to look like...presentable when I know I'm going to be taking pictures but it didn't happen this enjoy my "I totes just got out of class" look)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Whites Cosplaying Characters of Color: Yea or Nay?

I'm taking a Gender and Pop Culture class this semester and this past week we were discussing the racist undertones that can often be found in Halloween costumes because people construct their costumes- both in appearance and action- using commonly perpetuated stereotypes, and because they often appropriate meaningful cultural symbols for the purpose of amusement.

You get the idea.

Anyway this conversation was aptly timed; while wandering around Grand Rapids for Art Prize last weekend I came across a dress in a shop window that would have been absolutely perfect for a  Missandei cosplay. If you don't watch Game of Thrones:
A. what are you doing with your life?
B. this is Missandei:

And I started thinking about race bending cosplays and whether or not it would even be appropriate for a white girl to cosplay a character that is a woman of color. On one hand you have the want to allow for open appreciation and enjoyment of characters and to encourage that expression, but on the other hand you have a longstanding history (and present) of people of color being dramatically underrepresented- and represented poorly when they are included- in popular culture. So, with that history in mind, does a white person cosplaying a minority character contribute to this history of whitewashing colored narratives?

To be clear, I firmly recognize that people of color race-bending characters is a different beast. For starters, to put that limitation on race-bending severely limits cosplay options for people of color because, as I mentioned, they are very seldom represented in pop culture. But even besides that, there is no racist exclusionary history of whites in popular culture for such race-bending to contribute to. Whites are not and cannot be harmed by white characters being race-bent because it will in no way whatsoever contribute to or reinforce any form of political/social oppression because whites do not and have not experienced political/social oppression. Make sense?

I should also probably mention that I don't actually have any intention of cosplaying as Missandei partly because of this question and also because I cannot afford to shop in the store I saw the dress in anyway.

But still. This question interests me. I'm looking for a bit of a discussion here, so tell me: what are your thoughts on whites race-bending colored characters? Is there an acceptable way to do it, or should it just be avoided as a whole?

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