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Chapter 13 Reflection

I am so impressed with the accomplishments women have made over the past several years. We deserve every right and privilege that men have. I thought it was a shame that black women have to struggle even harder to achieve the same rights as a white woman. Women are women regardless of race. Whatever it is a woman fights for should be the same all across the board. We all want the same out of life. I believe there would be less male dominance and violence against women if we all banned together and tried to break the mold. Women have so much to offer. We are much more than a man’s property. We are mothers, daughters, educators, etc. I must say, I am so very proud of whom I am. This class has made me feel great about being a woman. The everyday struggle alone keeps me grounded and allows me to appreciate me. I complained a whole lot more before I took this class. I felt I needed help and I was getting the short end of the stick. But, simply for the fact that I can do anything independently makes me feel wonderful. Chapter 13 didn’t have a lot of information to discuss; however, the entire book really put a lot in perspective for me and what all women have achieved.  My eyes and ears are wide open, and I don’t feel as if I have to keep quiet as much as I used to. Just seeing on paper what I thought was only my real world made me much more confident. It’s not just me. I am not ashamed to say that I am a typical woman. I am only ashamed of how I represented the typical woman.

I will not put down or criticize every man as a whole. As in Reading 103 (Real Men Join the Movement), I feel the title speaks for itself. Men feel that they are not real men in various situations. This feeling encourages their dominant behavior. Only if they realized that men can agree with the women’s movement and what they want to accomplish. In my opinion this does make them REAL. Not dominance, not violence, not degrading women.

Chapter 10 Reflection

This chapter happened to be the shortest but the most informative of all the chapters thus far. I did not realize how profound of an effect violence had on women. I did know it was an extremely important subject. But, to the extent of what Chapter 10 taught me has me stunned. It was stated that women were more prone to be victims of violence by men. Also, the reason given was dominance. I do agree with that; however, I also believe it has to do with a man’s self-esteem. I do not feel that the men who violate women or children for that matter are very confident individuals. They seem to get a boost of confidence targeting someone who is weaker than themselves. The whole idea of stalking is terrifying to me. I cannot fathom the idea of someone involving themselves with any intimate part of my life, and I never really thought that stalking had so much of an impact on the victims. It is such a shame that over half of the women stalked have reported their stalkers to the police and were still victims of “Femicide”. This is a term that was new to me, but so appropriate. I recall a classmate of mine that I went all through high school with. He was such a great guy, handsome and quiet. I don’t remember him having a girlfriend in school, but a year after we graduated; he became involved with a girl that was a few years younger. They dated for a couple of years, and on the day she decided to break up with him, he killed her. Her brother told me that she called it quits with him because he was suffocating her. She could not be with friends without him getting jealous. The evening of the incident, the victim was riding around town with another girl and guy. The previous boyfriend was upset about the split and thought she wanted to date the guy in the car with her. He asked them to pull over in a grocery store parking lot so they could talk. When they did, he pulled out a gun and shot her in the head. He jumped in his car, went home, locked himself in the bathroom and shot himself. Everyone in the community was shocked. They could not understand how such a nice guy could do something so horrible to a beautiful girl and to himself. This goes to show that all perpetrators do not fit identical physical images or personalities. In my eyes, everyone is at risk to be a victim, and everyone has the potential to be a perpetrator.

A few months ago, my fiancé received a catalog of pornographic movies in the mail. He asked if I would pick something out to watch with him. To me, all porno movies are the same and don’t hold my attention. I told him to just pick something out that was a real movie with a plot. The movie was called Serbian Film, and I was in tears throughout. That would happen to be the one movie I would not advise anyone to see. It was terrifying, but for some reason I made myself watch it. Since reading Chapter 10, I learned I was actually watching a snuff film. I never knew anything so sick and twisted existed. Now it is clear to me why the movie had been banned in so many countries. It was the worst film I have ever watched; however, the most informative of what is disgustingly real. My fiancé and I decided we would never tell anyone about this disturbing movie, and destroyed it.

Reading 82 (Textual Harassment) was very interesting to me due to the fact that as I look back to past relationships, I could recall some texts that I received being considered harassment. At a time, I thought it was cute for my ex-husband to text me and say, “I miss you. I giving you 5 minutes to get home or I’m coming to look for you.” As harmless as I thought it was at first, he ended up being a jealous, controlling, abusive man that I could not stay with. I got him out of the house and got a restraining order. We went through a divorce, but he still continued to try to intimidate me through other sources. After 2 years, I got with the man I’m with now and got pregnant with my son. I got one last message from my ex when he found out I was pregnant by the guy I considered my best friend the last 16 years that said; “I knew that when you found out I couldn’t have kids you would dump me.” Little did he know that I was smiling inside when the Dr. said he was sterile. So now, thankfully, we have nothing in common.

Chapter 9 Reflection

In my opinion, it is unfortunate that popular culture has such a huge impact on all of society. Too much emphasis is put on women to make them seem weak, helpless, and dependent. Many movies I have watched have a male hero, always saving the female victims. The women in these movies are always depicted as stereotypically young, thin, sexy, and beautiful. Seldom do I see the roles reversed, as far as the average female saving the man. Many of the romantic movies I’ve watched seem to reveal a false reality. Most of the women end up with a wealthy, loving, romantic, man. That is rarely the case in the real world. The romantic movies make it seem as if all a person has to do is focus on getting that perfect mate. They rarely show tragedies and hard times that each of us deal with daily. I think it makes it even more difficult for adolescent girls to realize how difficult relationships can be. Many of the teen girls go through many boys in order to find that “special one” that is portrayed in the movies and on television. I feel it does more harm than good in persuading young girls into promiscuity. Even the romantic, comedy sitcoms on Disney seem to focus on that first kiss which in reality leads to much more with the current generation.

Reading 75 (Sexting), really hit home to me. I bought my daughter a cell phone at the age of 13 thinking that since she was entering high school and would be in extracurricular activities, it would be her way of reaching me when she needed a ride home. Boy was I wrong. Over the past 3 years, I have confiscated her phone too many times to count. I usually take her phone privileges away because of excessive use and disregarding homework due to texting. Never did I think of the term “sexting”. As a Teacher’s Aide for high school students, I have come across a few instances where a couple of girls have sent explicit photos of themselves to their boyfriends and the boys forward the pictures to their friends. As an adult, I have very uncomfortable with sending sexy pictures to my mate. The teen girls in today’s society seem to have no shame. This reading opened my eyes to what I thought was my daughter being the typical teenage girl. I am thankful for this reading because I was able to talk to my daughter about the subject of sexting. Of course, she was very aware of what it was. She said it is common among many of her friends. I asked if she had participated, and she that she hadn’t and never would. What was disturbing to me was the reason she didn’t participate. She said she wouldn’t because she knew I would find out because of all the students I work with. This subject frightens me, but I plan on doing a lot of research, talking, and active listening with my daughter.  

Chapter 8 Reflection

I work at a job where out of 10 staff, 9 are women. Some of the ladies and I talked this week about our wages. Come to find out, the sole male that we work with makes 45 cents more than all of us. He transferred from a different position in the company that most men work to a position that takes care of disabled clients in a residential setting. This made his wage transfer with him. What really ticks me off is the fact that he is unable to work with the female clients; however, we are required to work with both male and female. Many of the tasks that need to be done, he is excluded from because he is a man. Talk about unfair!

I am not so sure where my work ethics came from. In my household growing up, my mother never worked outside the home. My father worked and came home to a clean house, a shot of Crown Royal, a Coors beer, and a hot dinner, which was hand delivered by my mother every single day. I remember the one and only time my mother was too sick to get out of bed. For 3 days my father stayed home to take care of my brother and me. I couldn’t wait for my mom to get better. All hell broke loose in those 3 days. The house was a mess, dinners were a disaster, and my dad cussed and fussed about everything.

Reading 61 (A Brief History of Working Women), had my jaw dropped. I knew that African American women were treated poorly to say the least during slavery. But, to be whipped while pregnant was upsetting. I think it would be fair to assume that many of these women were pregnant by some of their slave owners. What other reason would they have to protect the fetuses? Also, when I read that during WWII, the women stepped up to work in the factories to support the war effort, and that they did not receive equal pay as the men made me pretty angry. Especially looking at the present situation at my job. Not so much has changed regarding equal pay for men and women. Yes, I do work, go home to cook, clean and take care of the children. I would love to change that routine. Hopefully, men won’t dominate as much in the future.    

Chapter 6 Reflection

First of all, I am appalled by the statistics that women have been paying nearly double the amount of premiums as men. I am thankful for the Medicaid program. I couldn’t imagine children having the opportunity to be healthy without it. Although I was covered by health insurance from my job, when I was pregnant 3 years ago, I qualified for the Medicaid card for prenatal care and delivery. For some reason, I thought that was all it covered, so I continued to purchase insurance for myself. Every month I would receive a medical card with my kids’ names and myself. After a year and a half of this, I called the Dept. of Human Services and asked them why my name was still on the card. The caseworker told me that I would be covered until my youngest turned 18. Holy Hell!!! All this time I was paying the copay on my Drs. visits and medication. I cancelled the insurance from my job, and now I receive an extra $100 a month on my paychecks. Many people take advantage of the system. However, others like myself who never qualified in the beginning, are so unaware when they do qualify for assistance.  

While Reading 51 (Women of Color and Their Struggle for Reproductive Justice), I am glad that during my prenatal care I wasn’t coerced into sterilization. It is sad that black women who receive welfare have been forced to accept sterilization in order to continue getting benefits. I realize there have been some issues regarding “choice” in reproduction in the black community. But, I didn’t realize some of the reasoning behind it. It never crossed my mind as being a population control effort. This makes me extremely angry. It is unfortunate that some people believe that if they take away the choice for women of color to reproduce, they will make sure the black community does not increase. Shameful, because they may be restricting the life of other black scientists, chemists, doctors, inventors, PRESIDENTS, etc. Mainly, they may very well be restricting the life of their own grandchildren!    

 

Chapter 5 Reflection

REAL women do come in all shapes and sizes. This is so true. Everyone has a different definition of what beauty is. I have always seen facial beauty as symmetry. It doesn’t matter what size or shape a person is, as long as their face was symmetrical. I’ve always thought this was the correct way to view beauty. I was wrong in much of my thinking. As much as each of us says we don’t judge and view people by their looks, we all have a tendency to do it. My 16 year old daughter and I went to Sonic 2 days ago to turn in her application. While we were there, we ordered ice cream. As the car hop brought out our order, my daughter said, “Ewww, she is not attractive.” I didn’t have a chance to respond since the girl was immediately at my window. She bent down to see my daughter in the passenger seat and said to her, “Did you just turn in your application?” My daughter said, “Yes.” The car hop responded with a beautiful smile and said, “Good luck, I sure hope you get hired. You seem like a really neat person. I will be rooting for you.” The look on my daughter’s face was heartbreaking. She was in tears all the way home. She said to me, “Mom, I feel horrible. I judged that girl by the way she looked.” I do believe this was a lesson learned for my daughter, and I hope it sticks with her for the rest of her life.

It is a true disappointment on how body image is viewed. Children are most vulnerable to the critical responses they get from others. One of my jobs is a Teacher’s Aide at a high school for kids with behavior/emotional disorders. Many of these kids have no filter and say whatever comes to mind. I hear “fat black bitch” or “Ms. Warren has weave in her hair” at least once a day. Before I became somewhat confident in myself, these comments would have had an impact on me mentally. I realize these kids have issues with their own confidence, which in turn makes me believe adults who judge others have the same issues.

In response to Reading 40, Body Ethics and Aesthetics among African American and Latina Women, I absolutely agree with style being a key aspect of beauty. Many people in the black community believe that as long as you are dressed appropriately and “carried” yourself appropriately, no matter what you looked like, you were okay. As I was growing up, I never had designer clothes and shoes. What I did have was cheap, clean clothes and many of them. My mom kept my hair pressed with a hot comb, and made sure we bathed regularly. I was never teased or taunted because of my appearance physically. I fit right in with most of the “rich white folk”. I did come across many white girls with eating disorders or at least they were very distressed about their body image. I never did come across a black girl being worried as I was growing up.

 Now, I believe black women are a bit more aware of their body image because black men have become so interested in white women. Many black women try not to be so “ghettofied” as to not project the image of the “loud, sassy black bitch, who nags all the time, with the improper grammar, table top ass, and nappy hair”; Whereas, they try to be the” laid back, intelligent, white woman, with the pretty hair, and nice booty”, because they feel that is what will keep their black man home. I beg to differ. My mom is 86 years old, and she has always told me that appearance doesn’t matter when it comes to a relationship. If a man cheats it is because of their lack of self-confidence.  They are afraid that they cannot live up to their mate’s expectation. In other words, they are not sure they are “laying it down” enough to satisfy their woman.

Chapter 4 Reflection and Reading 35

I am reluctant to say that I failed the Rainbow History quiz miserably. I always thought that my interest and support for the gay community meant something. After taking the test, it proved to me the lack of attention I paid to other individuals and their choices. And yes, I am ashamed of myself. My lack of true knowledge of the gay/lesbian community does not even allow me to comment on the subject much. I thought I knew much more. I have found, however, that I will learn more and stay connected with my gay and lesbian friends. They deserve to know that if I accept their way of life, I should be more knowledgeable of it.

I truly enjoyed Reading 35 (Queering Black Female Heterosexuality).  I wasn’t unaware of how society viewed black women, but seeing in “black and white” had my mind wandering. Realizing that black women were known as “welfare queens” was something very new to me.  I was brought up in the 70s and 80s. I was told to be a respectful, hard working girl. Sex was never discussed in our household. (Let alone masturbation). For the most part, sex was a bad word. Sex was definitely not learned “in my parents’ house.” I do consider myself a very sexual person. What is strange to me is the verbal part of a sexual relationship. I have a very hard time expressing myself verbally; however, I have no problem physically. I continue to get a little flustered when my mate tells me to “talk” more. I can’t seem to understand why it is so easy for most males to “talk dirty”. As a black woman, I feel I have to uphold the good girl reputation, and since sex was so taboo while growing up, I am still in the process of learning. I’m taking heed to the expression:  A wife in the streets but a Ho in the sheets.

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