Sunday, August 30, 2009

Girls Studies

Hello Everyone,

My name is Natasha and I am sad to say that this will be my last semester at UCF because I will be graduating in December. My major is psychology and my Minor is Women's Studies.
Women's Studies has literally changed my life, so much so that I plan on getting my Masters in Women's Studies. I think I have been a feminist all my life, I just never really knew what a feminist was until I started taking Women's Studies classes. Now, I am a strong activist for the Women's movement and what it represents. I love telling people I am a feminist and the actions, beliefs, and comments I receive in reply to that statement. lastly, I am happily married feminist with two CATS!

Your life as a Girl”

I think Sittenfeld effectively captures the girlhood experience, because she displays the constant struggle between the boy-girl relationships and the societal pressure for girls to conform to standards of what women should be. For instance, the boy’s nit-picking of girl behavior and looks. They do it as if they know what and how a girl should act and the only “girl” behavior that the boys approve of is the behavior that is of an obeying nature. For example, when she confronts the behavior of the boy who screams “can I suck your tits” his friend tells her to relax, it was just a joke. Also when one boy physically pushes himself on her physically hurting her, she screams at him, but all he says is deal with it. As if physical harm to a woman means nothing to him. She, because she is a girl, should simply deal with his aggressive attempts to touch her. These examples are all examples of girls being slighted and looked at as being less than boys, less human.

Meanwhile, girls are constantly trying to please every boy in terms of her beauty, brains, and demeanor because society by means of media implies she must. For example when Sittenfeld writes “senior year, you develop a schedule: Every Sunday morning you burn your skin. Not in glory though, not you: What you do is rub wax onto your calves, and then for half a day your legs are as smooth as pebbles. Or you use rotating silver coils that rip out your hair from the root, or you use bleaching cream. You stand in front of the mirror bleeding and stinging and knowing full well that the boys in your class will never think you’re beautiful anyway.” I think what Sittnefeld is conveying in her story is something most if not all girls go through during “girlhood” and continue to struggle with into adulthood.

“Red Anything Extracurricular”

I enjoyed reading about the extracurricular activities of girls. Most of the activities weren’t the normal extracurricular activities that we take part in within school. For example, one girl wrote about going to the Hamptons and the time spent with her grandmother and cousin. Another girl wrote about her first job, which sounded absolutely horrible, and another simply wrote how she enjoyed spending time alone. Most of these stories were the opposite of what Sittenfeld wrote about. Many of the girls didn’t mention boys or their influence on their lives. Instead, these girls wrote what they most loved, what made them feel alive, normal, human, and good. Where Sittenfeld wrote about what caused her confusion and sadness--boys, the girls wrote about what they enjoyed most which did not involve boys. And in that difference these stories become alike. Sittenfeld felt that she needed a man to make her feel complete. She struggled with loneliness and insignificance. While, the stories of the girls focused on experiences that made them feel alive.

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