Thursday, February 24, 2005

2/21/05 movie:trembling before G-d

trembling before g-d was a movie primarily about when your sexuality conflicts with your religion, specifically focusing on the jewish community of orthodox jews.

something that surprised/i didnt understand about this film was that if these people were so conflicted between there sexuality and there religion, why couldnt they just walk away from one. which i understand is completely ridiuclous and unfair. i am not a religious person, and if i was i would probably understand this problem more. its just their religion directly conflicted with their sexual practice (except for the case of one orthodox jew where he was able to read the torah and other religious reading differently). its something that almost angered me. especially in the case of the one man that traveled back to israel to meet with someone about his sexuality. he wanted to be told it was ok to go against what his religion said and this other man told him he couldnt tell him what he wanted to hear. i think that it is incrediably unfair that he had to chose one or the other, but i think he refused to make this choice and he just lived in pain trying to accept both.

the man named israel stopped practicing orthodox judaism because he was gay. this was his way of dealing with his conflicting religion and sexuality. i think this is what i mean by walking away from one. but im sure he was still a religious man. and it is unfair that he had to choose, but he was able to find love and he can still have religion, unfortunalty its not among the orthodox people.

it makes me really sad to think that people need to make such a decision.

service learning project (non)update and porn debate

im getting a bit nervous about my service learning project. i havent talked to heather from pride since i handed in my contract sheet. i am going to be working on the photography exhibit with them. the thing is, i dont think theres anything to do until the show gets here in march. im going to email heather...

last semester i took a womyn in politics class. pornography became a huge discussion in many classes. i actually was allowed to lead a discussion on whether or not feminist pornography could exist. i bring this up because a group im in, the progressive student coalition, is putting on a debate on this issue on tuesday, march 1st. im really excited about it because im debating on the pro(?) side.

2/14/05 movie: beautiful thing reading: reconceptualizing the gay teen

i just realized that i forgot to write out my response in here so im doing it now.

the movie beautiful thing was really interesting, though hard to understand sometimes with its british slang. it was your average coming of age story with the twist that its also about two teen boys falling in love.

i liked the way the characters related to each other. all three of the teenage characters came from a lower income, single parent setting. jamie came from the loving family, which was probably why he was able to come to grips with his sexuality with a bit more ease than his crush, steve (?). steve came from an abusive household, which made him quieter and a bit more apprehensive about coming to terms with his sexuality. it was fairly obvious that he would have a very negative, physical response if he came out to his brother and father. leah was the wild next door neighbor. her mother had no control over what she did. i believe her main purpose in the movie was to show that being a straight teenager coming of age was just as difficult as being gay like steve and jamie. so all three of the teenagers were coming from the same background, and finding out who they were. and it seem just as difficult for each one of them.

i really enjoyed sandras character, who was jamies mother. she was just like any other mother. im am not quite sure what happened with her relationship with tony, whether he needed to go back to his own socio-economic class or if she just needed to be a mother. i dont think it really matters though because she was able to make the decision to be alone and move to the better neighborhood, to the better job for her and her son. maybe jamies coming out was her own awakening in that she needs to take another look at the world and make some changes to better her own life.

the reading for this week was about a study of homosexual teens. i dont know how i feel about such articles because studies are so subjective, especially when is it on an issue you can see, like homosexuality. the section on labels really turned me off to this article. sw seemed really surprised that the young womyn he interviewed often refused to label themselves as lesbian or bisexual. he explanation for this was that it limited them in there sexual activity adn because they thought by rejecting this form of self identity they are protecting them selves from those that would disagree with those labels. both of these assumtions are correct, but this "anti-labeling" phenomenon isn't soley limited to those adolesents that are homosexual. i believe it is something common in our society today because we are realizing that labeling ourselves places us in categories that create stereotypes about us. i feel like i just went off on a tangent that doesnt make much of a case, i just realize how significant labels in our society are and how problematic they are.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"What's the big whoop?!" ~a 4th grader on homosexuality

it's elementary!

i really enjoyed this movie. i thought it was wonderful how the younger students were so open and ready to listen and understand the issues surrounding homosexuality in our society. it wasn't that surprising, however, to see that when they began talking to the eighth graders that prejudice was already present in these students. perhaps this is because they have been in the world longer and are able to take in more the ideas of their own friends and families.

i think it is a really good idea to bring in sexuality education into younger classrooms. as the movie showed, younger children are developing and so willing to embrace everybody. teaching tolerance at a young age will result in a more educated, tolerant mature adult. also, through out history, 0ther issues have been brought into classrooms meant to have a similar effect. black history month was one example of minority education celebrated at my school. women's suffrage history was also celebrated at my school. both of these examples show that tolerance is already being taught at young ages, why not add sexuality to this?

something that bothered me during discussion was the concept that if all gay people came "out of the closet" then the gay community would be better off. no doubt that if there were more vocally gay people, there would be a stronger force behind the struggle, however, this isn't necessary. the gay community that exists shouldn't be concerned with numbers, but educating the intolerant masses in our society. women and african americans gained rights without having every single women and african american behind the movement. i think that asking people to come out of the closet just to support a movement is wrong. "coming out" is about self identity and realization.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Ballot Measure 9 and Lecture 1/31

Ballot Measure 9 was a very thought provoking film. If the ballot passed in Oregon, it would have prohibited and revoked laws that practiced homosexuals from discrimination. That was only twelve years ago. Such a law would be taking basic civil rights away from people just because they are of a certain minority. This is democracy regressing. How could such a ballot be considered where a persons right would be unequal and unfair if it is passed? This is quite upsetting.

Several things from the film surprised me. First, the use of rhetoric by the Oregon's Citizens Alliance (OCA) in trying to gain support for ballot 9. This proved a significant tactic when average citizens that were interviewed reiterated the same words and phrases the OCA was campainging with. "Special rights" seemed to catch on quickly. One man continued to use the term "war" repeatedly. Sexual terms and descriptions were also thrown around in their "Yes on 9" campaign. People just so easily bought into everything the OCA was saying that I was dumbfounded. This happens so often though in many things, included politics in the last four years. People need to be educated so they can think for themselves.

The "special rights" aspect of the movie is what disturbed me the most. It makes no sense. How could equality ever be a special right? And this seemed to be the OCA's strongest argument. It made me quite angry.

I think the readings this week were really interesting. Rupp explored female relationships in the 2oth century, after there was a public lesbian identity. The women in the relationships she studied did not call themselves lesbians though. This is significant because they chose to not take part in the new lesbian subculture. Because they are not labeling themselves as lesbians, despite how we would label their relationship, they can not be categorized as such. I agree with Rupp's argument.

Smith-Rosenberg's article was about earlier female relationship (in 19th century). She talks more about the strong bonds that women develop. Women at that time were together until they became married. During that time they grew to love each other and sometimes those relationships developed further but it was based on love and friendship. She focused on the emotional bonds that women make and not on the physical. Rupp had an issue with this, saying that SR's research was "misused to deny the sexual aspects of relationships".

Why should we care whether or not prominent women in the past were lesbians or not? We shouldn't. Several people mentioned in lecture that it would be good for today's lesbian culture to have a strong ally from the past. However, if these women rejected the label themselves, then who are we to place it on them? Presently, our society is obsessed with labels. This makes for a very confining atmosphere that allows discrimination to exist more easily.