Shanjean's Blog

February 27, 2010

“The future of women is uncertain…But there will be always be men”(22).

Filed under: Uncategorized — by shanjean @ 12:03 am

The world is coming to an end and all our fault!!!! I believe that is what Jeanette Winterson is trying to depict in her novel The Stone Gods. In the story a planet equivalent to Earth that inhabits human life is quickly being destroyed by humans and they are being forced to find another alternative. The story a sort of exploration story as the main protagonists explore the new planet of Planet Blue. To be honest, I was not a huge fan of the novel, but it definitely does get a person to think.

I think that Winterson is making a statement about how humans interact with nature. As humans we are slowly destroying this planet and what are we going to do when faced with the dilemma of not being able to exist on the planet because of our own selfish behaviors. I think that Winterson is making a number of points in the text of showing how we have become so caught up in “our” world that we do not realize what we are doing to the planet. How far are humans going to technology? Are we going to have robots in our homes instead of pets? Are we willing to give up some of our guilty pleasure to help try to save the planet? It is crazy to think about our world coming to an end, but the reality of the situation is that it is not that far away from happening unless we change our ways and FAST!

The one character that I found particularly was the character/robot “Spike.” I think that this robot hits the nail on the head when she says, “Humans are rendering themselves obsolete. Successive generations of de-skilling mean that you can no longer fend for yourselves in the way that you once could. You rely on technicians and robots” ( 65). I think that this statement by Spike in the story sums up what Winterson is trying to say throughout her novel.

Another things that I found particularly sickening is that fact that the men want to pursue sexual relations with twelve-year olds. While reading this in the novel all I could think is PEDIFILE!!!! But, this made me think…anytime I turn on the T.V. there is some sexed up 16 year girl. Whether it be commercials, music videos or television shows the age of the females that is broadcasted to a mass audience seems to get younger and younger! I think that Winterson addresses this issue of wanting to stay young forever in the novel, but she does so in a way that makes me question our own society. Almost every woman I know over the age of thirty has gotten Botox making wrinkles disappear, but what is wrong with having a few wrinkles? Why do wrinkles have to be ugly?  I think Winterson addresses issues that are very familiar to our generation, but she makes it seem creepy and forces us to question our way of living.

February 20, 2010

Alien Seduction

Filed under: Uncategorized — by shanjean @ 9:44 pm

As some may find the aliens in Octavia Butler’s story of Dawn to be the most alien of all fiction extraterrestrials, I actually thought that there was something intriguing and strangely human like about these aliens. Even though the description and the appearance of these creatures is very unhuman like and I could understand why many readers could see them as being very alien like, but it is their actions and their thinking that make them so human like to me. Butler describes the Oankali as so, “The lights brightened as she had supposed they would, and what had seemed to be a tall slender man was still humanoid, but it had no nose–no bulge, no nostrils–just flat, gray skin. It was gray all over–pale gray skin, darker gray hair on its head. The hair grew down around its eyes and ears and at its throat. There was so much hair across the eyes that she wondered how the creature could see” (13). This is the first description that we get of the these aliens and it is easy to be weird out by this because it is SO different from what humans stare at in the mirror everyday. The Oankali explains that he uses tentacles the way a human uses their nose or eyes as a sensory organ, but since it is so unfamiliar to humans to it a little unnerving to imagine what these creature physically look like.

Besides from looks, I think that the Oankali aliens have a lot of human traits. The Oankali saved what few remaining humans from Earth survived after a nuclear war and after a lot of research the only way for the Oankali and human race to survive to is trade genes…aka make alien babies. At first, I thought that this was a little far fetch even for a science fiction story but then i thought about James Cameron’s film Avatar and how the human took the form of an Avatar and mated with one of the native Avatars. When watching that film I was drawn in to the their love life and I wanted the human avatar and the native avatar to end up being together, but never once did I question their sex life as being alien like. This made me start to see the plot in the novel as being more realistic. I also think that Butler is using this story to show how humans work. She makes the familiar unfamiliar, but it has happened in society before where humans think the only way to better themselves is by reproduction. One example would be African-American women slaves often times would have sexual affairs with their masters in hope to be treated better, which usually didn’t not happen. Other times White slave holders would consider what they were doing for African-Americans at the time to be bettering their lives and that they were saving them, but in reality they weren’t.

February 12, 2010

I feel like a woman

Filed under: Uncategorized — by shanjean @ 2:15 pm

While reading Joanna Russ’s novel The Female Man, Shania Twain’s country hit song “I feel like a woman” immediately came to mind and I could not get that song out of my head while reading this novel. Even though the song is a tad cheesy there is something about it that reminds me of the characters in the book. The key line in the songs says, “Man, I feel like a woman.” This reminds of when Joanna makes this statement, “I had just changed into a man, me, Joanna. I mean a female man, of course; my body and soul were exactly the same” (5). Joanna refers to herself this way to show how she has adopted the role of the man and she wants to disassociate herself from being considered a female. As seen in Shania’s song and in the book it really is about how you feel about yourself and how you want others to view you. 

To go along with this I learned about Androgen Insensitivity syndrome in my biology class this week. It is when a person is genetically male, but appears to be female and develops as a female. A woman runner in the Olympics was made aware of this syndrome when she was genetically tested and they told her that she was a male. Genetically they have the male chromosome, but they develop as a woman. After learning of this syndrome it makes me wonder if maybe the character Joanna in the story could have possibly had this syndrome or she is just choosing to disassociate her female qualities.

I think that the characters in the story relate to Joanna Russ is different ways. I think that her overall message was how society produces different people and I think that Joanna,  Jeannine, Janet and Jael are combined together to make up Joanna Russe. I think that in the story she is showing her different ideas of feminism and how it can work in different ways in society by making the 4 characters, but I think she uses them in allusion to herself to show how there can be different options for women in society.

February 5, 2010

What I Didn’t See

Filed under: Uncategorized — by shanjean @ 3:20 pm

Karen Joy Fowler’s short story What I didn’t See was enjoyable read. The plot takes place in an African jungle and this group of people is exploring the jungle and the life amongst it. Feminism can be seen throughout the work because of the role of women in the story. Fowler pairs the women and the gorillas role as being similar as viewed by the men. The men basically invite the women on the trip for their stereotypical value not for actual appreciation on their work. I felt that the way that Archer underestimated the gorillas he also did the same for the women.  Archer states, “If one of the girls should bring down a large male,” [Archer] said, “it will seem as exciting as shooting a cow. No man will cross a continent merely to do something a pair of girls has already done” 343.  He uses stereotyping of the gorillas and of women to how uninteresting  both of the species are. This is one of the lines that spoke to me most in the piece because Archer makes these statements without any consciousness to what he is saying. His role in the story is to show how some narrowed minded people in the world think. This reminded me of the film, “King Kong.” For the men it is about show and gaining respect for their masculinity and when women undermine that they are pushed to take it to the extreme. In King Kong the giant, but gentle Gorilla responds the woman making the men horribly massacre him. This is kind of similar to this work in that the woman’s role are undermined and the men are forced to kill the gorillas instead of killing humans. But why did the men have to kill at all? I think that Fowler is speaking to the Antropencentrism idea that human feel they have the right to kill if it is in their own interest, but as we can in the story this is major downfall to the characters in the story and they took it too far.

Anthropocentrism can be seen as  a central theme throughout the story. What Eddie essentially does in the story is play to the overly testosterone driven men to slaughter families of the gorillas in order to keep the men from killing the porters. Eddie states, “Russell and Merion, they were so angry  I could smell it. I thought at any moment one them would say something that couldnt be unsaid, something that wold get to the Belgians. And then I wouldnt be able to stop it anymore. So I kept is stuck on the gorillas. I kept us going after them. I kept us angry untill we had killed so very many and were all so ashamed, there would be no way to turn and accuse someone new” (353-54). You can see how in this statement by Eddie that he manipulated the men into killing the animals because it seemed more right than killing humans. That is antropocentrism at work and Fowler is speaking to that theme by having the men kill the gorillas after they stated earlier how the men down played the killing of the gorillas that the women could do it.

January 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — by shanjean @ 7:11 pm

Octavia Butler addresses some deep issues in her short story The Evening and the Morning and the Night. In the story the characters are stricken with a disease called Duryea- Gode Disease. It is a  terrible disease resulting from a medicine that was supposed to cure other diseases such as cancer, but the effects seem to have created this generation on humans that are taken over by the disease. The persons with the disease end up mutilating their own bodies and others to the point of death. Most people who suffer from the disease are placed in hospitals where they are treated poorly and eventually die by killing themselves while in seclusion. The characters in the story Alan and Lynn visit an alternative care facility for people with the sickness and while there are given an ultimatium for their sickness.

I feel like Butler has racked my brain with this story. While shes brooches important issues in the story such as race and treatment of mentally ill, I feel that she makes me think harder about these issues than the other texts. As for talking about mental institutions she is showing that people with disability and with sickness should still be treated humanely. I think that Butler brings up issues of both race and biology in the story. I think she is showing the power of sexism on certain parts of the story. Alan and Lynn debate about their future in this conversation:

Lynn:I swallowed I hadn’t really faced that question yet. Did I want to spend my life in something that was basically a refined DGD ward?

Lynn:No

Alan:But you will.

Lynn:Yes. I thought for a moment, hunted for the right words. Youd do it.

Alan:What?

Lynn:If the phereomone were something only men had, you would do it.

In this conversation you can how Butler uses gender in the story. I think that she does this is order to the power of biology and gender. I think that in even trying to break the mold of man is dominant in this text it is some how making the female still look weak and by doing showing that both genders have there own weaknesses.

January 26, 2010

“I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with me, aside from seeing you–that’s the best sign of crazy I can think of.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by shanjean @ 9:04 pm

 After reading Marge Piercy’s, Woman on the Edge of Time, it makes me question the treatment of patients in psychiatric hospitals. Regardless of the state of mind of a person, they still deserve to be treated like a human being and I do not believe that character Connie was treated well at all. In one description of her situation she states, “Captivity stretched before her, a hall with no doors and no windows, yawning under dim bulbs. Surely she would die here. Her heart would beat more and more slowly and the stop, like a watch running down” (51). The picture that Connie paints of the treatment that is forced upon would make just about anyone crazy. I think that this novel portrays the psychiatry profession in such a negative way that it makes the readers sympathetic toward Connie and her situation.

In the beginning of the novel, I did not think that Connie was crazy. I felt sorry for the situation that she was forced in and became angry with how she was being treated. Then after reading further and finishing the novel I think that Connie very well could have been crazy, but who are we to judge? She was put in an extremely terrible situation and was treated like a lab rat. No one cared for her or for her health and mental well being so why should she? I felt that the situation that she was in drove her to be insane. At one point Connie states this about the treatment she received, “They acted as if they couldn’t hear you. If you complained, they took it as a sign of sickness. ‘The authority of the physician is undermined if the patient presumes to make a diagnostic statement.’ She had heard a doctor say that to a resident, teaching him not to listen to patients” (11). I think that this description of what Connie over heard the doctors say is crucial in beginning to realize the treatment of these patients. I mean for heaven’s sake the poor woman can not even express what is going on with her own body! I think that this would be a hard profession to be in, but the way that the doctors viewed their patients is WRONG!

I think that Luciente and Mattpoisett is fake. I think that this is all in Connie’s head and I think that is her way of keeping herself sane. I think that she would have gone completely mad without having this world to escape to. She even states, “I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with me, aside from seeing you–that’s the best sign of crazy I can think of” (57).  Connie usually sees Luciente after being on high doses on drugs which could make anyone have these kind of visions. I do not think that they were real, I think that these were visions induced by the drugs but also it was a way for Connie to escape her dark and dreary reality of being in a mental institution.

January 15, 2010

Wives are Aliens

Filed under: Uncategorized — by shanjean @ 3:41 pm

After reading Lisa Tuttle’s Wives, it makes me think about the role of a wife. In the short story these wives are descibed as being aliens that succumb to the power of the men in every aspect of life. The one character Susie decides that she is sick of the way things are and want to attack and kill the men. She is unable to persuade any of the other wife aliens to join her in this uprising. As a result Susie is killed by her fellow peer wives in fear that the men will find out about this and kill all the women. Tuttle describes the wives in such a way that make them come off as being aliens, but in reality I don’t think that this piece was about aliens. Tuttle was describing wives in a way that make it strange to us, but it not that far fetch from things that women and wives do. One example of this is how she describes the outfits of the wives and how they paint their faces. This is all too familiar to women as they wear make up and  tight clothing and in older times when used to wear girdles which is very similar to way that Tuttle described the “skintights” that the wives in the story wore. The saying that we used in class to describe other texts is “making the familiar strange” and that is exactly what Tuttle is doing in this work.

Even though the plot of story revolves around women I think that the message of this story is intended to question the role of men. The term androcentric can be profoundly understood and seen in this text.  Androcentric is a term that refers to the idea that life is to be centered around the men and a “woman’s place is in the kitchen,” meaning that women can’t contribute to the greater world of business, education and politics. This concept is seen in this text as the wives  do everything that men want and mostly out of fear. The last line the husband says “Three tits and the best coffee in the universe” (198). This is very much echoing this idea of androcentric in that all the wife is good for is sexual pleasure and to provide food  and a clean house. I think also that this text is pointing out that it is never-ending cycle that women cannot escape. Women are morphed into this alien body of being a wife that they lose who they truly are and in the end they fear the power than their husband has over them and all also what other people think so they bite the bullet and do it anyways. Heaven forbid a wife be happy for her own sake rather than pleasing everybody else.

January 8, 2010

Differing Views

Filed under: Uncategorized — by shanjean @ 8:35 pm

When I read Alice Eleanor Jones’s story Created He Them, I became very angry at the husband, Henry, and other husbands who act like Henry. The short story is about the character Ann Crothers and her husband Henry’s struggle to get by in life with insufficient funds. The story is told from Ann’s point of view and I definitely think that Jones did the purposely in order for the reader to sympathize with Ann more than would if the story was told from Henry’s point of view. The way that Jones portrays Henry made me dislike him and I think that this was done intentionally. Ann is a hardworking women that stays at home and takes care of the children,house, chores, cooking, and husband. Ann is treated very poorly by her husband as he has no respect for her place in the household. Being a female I totally took Ann’s side in the story and developed a hatred toward Henry. As I am sitting here thinking more about the story and the author’s intention of the piece I am beginning to wonder is other reader’s developed this hatred or if I am feeling this way because I am also a female and realize the amount of work it is to take care of a home and family…

I feel as though Henry and Ann “jobs” differ greatly. Ann is basically employed and bossed around by her husband and she never seems to please him, which is how it usually is in the work place. It is hard to please the boss, but that is the purpose of the position and Ann’s job is to please her husband. Henry does not even realize all the hard work that Ann is putting into her job. On the other hand, Ann sees that Henry works very hard and acknowledges that he is a good worker when Jones states, “Henry’s job at the laboratory was a responsible one, and Ann was sure he did it well” (73). Ann recognizes that Henry does work hard and is trying to help his family by supporting them with money. Although Henry is a good worker, he tends to dispute with his fellow employees a lot which speaks to the type of person that Henry is. He is just down right disrespectful!

MTV\’s Teen Mom Trailer

Above is a link to MTV’s Teen Mom trailer for all you who have not seen the documentary.

While reading this short story I was reminded of a situation I saw in a reality show on MTV. Please forgive me as I am reality TV junkie, but there is a show on MTV called Teen Mom. It is about these teenagers who have children at a very young age and this show follows these young mothers around to show views the tribulations of being a young mother. The one girl Amber had to drop out of high school after becoming pregnant and she moved in with the father of the child. She is constantly upset that he never helps out around the house and his counter argument is that his role in the house is to work to provide money for his family, but for Amber she still wants him to help out with his fatherly duties. It is hard for men to see how hard a woman’s job truly is when they are not around. I think that relates to Ann’s situation in that Henry does not appreciate all the work that Ann does for him and his family. The story and this example reminds me that this is a constant battle for women. Women have to prove time and time again that although they may not be employed by someone else they still work just as hard if not harder than men in the workplace.

January 4, 2010

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by shanjean @ 9:01 pm

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