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Thursday Thought: Young Feminism November 4, 2010

Posted by Jarrah H in feminism, Thursday Thoughts.
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Here’s an excerpt from the most inspiring blog post I’ve read this week, “The Fire Inside Me” at F-Bomb:

Today, I am in sixth grade. The fire inside of me is burning more intensely than ever and it’s growing and changing everyday. I see things that make me mad and upset me. All the time fellow classmates wow me with their non-existentant opinions on things that I have been thinking strongly about for years. It scares me to think that these are the kind of views that have been constructed. I’m afraid to show people my true colors because of discrimination and stereotypes. I’ve only legitimately told one person about my being a feminist. I just don’t want to and can’t deal with being assumed a lesbian, man-hater, etc. because middle school is hell anyway…

…I don’t want to hear how wrong or weird they think I might be, and that’s why I feel obligated to keep my views to myself. I don’t want to have to be ashamed of being a feminist…I cry and mourn for the rape victims that are blamed and attacked only alone. I only scream at the world for the sexualization of females privately. And I only speak out anonymously. It pains me to see the world encased in the unrealistic belief that women and girls are limited. You can’t sit around and accept it. You’ve got to woman up and change the future by inspiring feminism in younger people. I can see the effects the rules and their exceptions for the men paving roads in the minds of children. Today I’ve decided to refuse to be judged by my body parts and show people who I really am and build the feminism fire. And that is exactly what I plan on doing.

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Thursday Thought: Thanksgiving October 14, 2010

Posted by Jarrah H in Politics, racism, Thursday Thoughts.
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On our Plymouth-bound vacation, my sister Amy, my nephew Owen, and I visit the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, a stone’s throw from Foxwoods…We sit in the museum’s theater and watch a film – a dramatic reenactment of the massacre at the Mystic fort. Owen is seven. His knowledge of seventeenth-century New England derives entirely from what he learned in his school’s Thanksgiving pageant the previous fall and repeated viewings of Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost

When the film shows the Pequot clashing with the Connecticut settlers, Owen whispers, “I don’t get it. Why are they fighting? They eat together on Thanksgiving.”

Cut to the Pequot fort, where we have already seen a little girl around Owen’s’ age playing with a cornhusk doll while being teased by her brother. The reenactor playing Captain Mason yells, “Burn them!” As the wigwams catch fire, Pequot kids are shrieking and holding on to their mothers. The English shoot at the Pequot who flee the flames. Horrified, Owen tugs my sleeve, demanding, “Aunt Sarah! When do they have Thanksgiving?”

“The one with the Pilgrims?” I whisper. “That happened sixteen years earlier.”

Owen closes his eyes and refuses to watch the rest of the movie. When the lights go up, he asks his mother, “Who won?”

“The English,” she replies.

From The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell.

Thursday Thought: Canadian Women’s Hockey History October 7, 2010

Posted by Jarrah H in Can-Con, feminism, Thursday Thoughts.
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In honour of Women’s History Month and the start of hockey season, we’re kicking it old school with an excerpt from “Women’s Hockey: A Proud Past, A Bright Future” (if the IOC doesn’t screw around with it):

Until recently, many Canadians were not aware of Canada’s proud tradition in women’s hockey — a tradition that stretches back over 100 years. Many Canadians are surprised to learn that Lord Stanley’s daughter, Lady Isobel Stanley, was a pioneer in the women’s game. One of the first females to be photographed using puck and stick (around 1890) Lady Isobel wore a long white dress when she played “shinny” with other ladies on the natural ice rink beside Government House in Ottawa…

The long skirts worn by the women led to a clever defensive strategy. The ladies crouched in front of their goaltender, allowing the hem of their long skirts to spread out and thus foil any attempt by an opposing player to shoot the puck beyond them and into the net…

In 1916, Cornwall, Ontario, introduced local sensation Albertine Lapensee, who was billed as “the premier female player in the world.” Thousands of fans turned out to see Lapensee play. But not for long; Lapensee went to New York for a visit and returned several weeks later — as a man. Her new name was Albert Smith.

In 1927, Elizabeth Graham, a young woman from Queen’s University, contributed to hockey history by wearing the first goal mask in the game. Miss Graham wore a fencing mask during collegiate games…

Perhaps a young girl named Abby Hoffman was a catalyst for the revival of interest [in the 1960s]. Playing as “Ab” Hoffman in an all-boys league, she excelled in the sport and her gender was not discovered until she was forced to hand in a birth certificate. Soon, other young women began trying out for boy’s teams, only to be rebuffed.

By 1982, a national championship for women was re-introduced and a female hockey council was established. In 1987, the first Women’s World Hockey Tournament was held in North York, Ontario, a tournament that spawned other major championships in Europe and Asia.

-Jarrah

Thursday Thought: Presidential Masculinity September 30, 2010

Posted by Jarrah H in Can-Con, feminism, Politics, Thursday Thoughts.
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From Manhood in America: A Cultural History by Michael Kimmel:

The tone for the campaign was set, and pundits quickly fell into step. The Louisville Journal reported that when [Martin] Van Buren read this outrageous attack, “he actually burst his corset.” Davy Crockett penned an incendiary faux biography of Van Buren, Damning the President as traveling in “an English coach”…”He is laced up in corsets, such as women in town wear, and, if possible, tighter than the best of them,” wrote Crockett, so that “[i]t woudl be difficult to say from his personal appearance, whether he was man or woman, but for his large red and gray whiskers.”

The strategy paid off handsomely, sending an incumbent to defeat for only the third time in American history…and it set a dubious precedent: Since 1840 the president’s manhood has always been a question, his manly resolve, firmness, courage, and power equated with the capacity for violence, military virtues, and a plain-living style that avoided cultivated refinement and civility.

The campaign of 1840 had a sad, if well-known, coda. Harrison apparently believed his own hype. Taking the oath of office on one of the most bitterly cold days on record in Washington, Harrison refused to wear a topcoat lest he appear weak and unmanly. He caught pneumonia as a result, was immediately bedridden, and died one month later – the shortest term in office of any president in our history.