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28 November 2006 @ 11:55 am
I just thought I'd add an extra entry to discuss my class this year. I have to say that Images of Women has been one of my better experiences in graduate school. I have been elusive about stacked classes in the past (both as a grad and and undergrad) and I have to say that this one was handled in a smooth fashion that made it both enjoyable and intellectually stimulating for all involved. So which was my favorite article and subject matter? This is a tough one for me to address, because I enjoyed all of the readings. I have to say the readings on Malinche were pretty interesting, as I was not well versed on that matter. Same goes for the Lilith story. I had never heard of Lilith (the story) before, nor had I linked it to Lilith Fair (you would think I would have, as the artists involved in Lilith Fair rank with my favorites). But the weeks we discussed consent and motherhood were very personal for me and I really enjoyed hearing different perspectives on each. I was also glad to read some bell hooks as well..I love her work (especially after hearing her speak at Southwestern in Georgetown a few years back - if she is so inclined Dr.McKinney should ask Dr. Dorton how he managed to embarrass himself at that one, the keywords in this story are clarity vs. brevity)

So I guess I didn't really adequately answer my own question about what I specifically liked, unless of course "all of it" counts.

I have told my "bosses" (the profs I work for) all about it, and one of them (who has not met my teacher , or at least leads me to think he hasn't) remarked that it sounded intriguing and that he would have to take them time to met her sometime. I sure hope he does! I would recommend her to anyone (you know, as one of those professors you HAVE to take before you graduate).

And no, I'm NOT kissing ass.
The article by Silja Talvi struck a chord with me. As a woman who has tattoos (four of them to be exact!) I can identify with her notion that tattoos are a form of empowerment, that they are one of few ways that women have control over their bodies and that for some women it is a frightening prospect to risk being further ostracized by men and women alike because they have them. When I got my first tattoo I was 22 and married. I had always wanted to have a tattoo and like many women and men who get tattoos I merely did it because I could. But after that initial experience it became something more for me, something I never realized would occur. I felt the same sense of power and control over my body that I never had before. My husband had no qualms about me getting a tattoo at all. I do not believe if he could he would - he has type 1 diabetes and they don't encourage it because of the risk of tainting blood sugar and all that - but nonetheless he was excited about my decision. This made it easier to get the next one. This one had a lot of significance for me. I was going through a rough time in my life and as Talvi suggests about her rose tattoo, it served as a reminder that I could get through difficult times. It is no coincidence that I had the chinese symbol for "strength" tatooed on my left arm - the arm closest to my heart. It embodied not only the physical strength that I had/have (I workout a lot) but also the inner strength to conquer any obstacle in my path (even if only symbolically). By this time the tattoo virus had started to run its course, and for those of us who have tattoos it is a hard virus to defeat. After I graduated with my bachelor's degree I decided to get a third tattoo, and this time I had one designed for me : two dragons facing one another in what looks like a "heart-shaped" battle. It's a really awesome spectacle, I wish I had a picture of it to show. It's a form of expression for me, but the idea of the body as artwork has always drawn me to tattoos. The concept of the skin as canvas really speaks to me now. My latest tattoo is on eof my favorites and not only is visually pleasing to me, it has other meanings as well - much like the one on my arm does. Its an "oruboros" - a serpent devouring itself. Depending on what culture you look at, many regard the ouroboros as symbolizing the cyclicality of life or rebirth, which I think is fascinating. The possibility of re-inventing the self is always present, and ironically represented by tattoos, or in my case, with a tattoo.

I do not necessarily agree with her assessment that women who choose to get tattoos represent women on the fringe of society. As I stated previously my first intention with my tattoo was a sort of "owning my body" statement but also a statement of "see what I can do". While I exerted control over my own body, I do not beleive it implicated marginalized status. I am neither a lesbian, ex-convict or runaway (although some may classify parts of my personality as "punk"). I was just someone who had always desired a tattoo and finally followed through. I know of many women who get tattoos as "rite of passage" or even as an 18th birthday gift to themselves. Many of these women would take it back and not get one. I would not, and I know the author wouldn't. But I believe she ignores the implications that the "mainstreaming" of tattoos brings to the message some women wish to convey with them. Many people choose NOT to get tattooed now as a means to express themselves, to "go against the grain"/ I hope that the meaning Talvi and others such as myself does not get lost amidst this mainstreaming effect.

I have to admit I am currently in the process of designing a tattoo for myself for making it through grad school (although I would rather get it over the winter break). I'm telling you its a sickness (and for me not nearly as "excrutiating" as the author implies. For me it's quite relaxing) and I can't seem to shake it. "What about your kids - how will you explain it to them" I get that a lot. Oh the assumptions people still make about tattoos....


The Ouroboros: (on my leg)

Chinese Symbol for Strength (on my arm):

Chinese Symbol for Horse (on my back):

My Tattoo Parlour of Choice:
Current Mood: amusedamused
08 November 2006 @ 04:05 pm
If you hadn't guessed by the title, this entry as something to do with anger. I am particularly interested in this topic because I can identify with some of the women who have been labelled as such. I have been told by more that one person that I have an "unusually high amount of aggression" - for a woman that is. How does this happen? I propose we explore some of my own experiences, just so maybe I can find an understanding and help others along the way.

My father had/has horrible temper, so - needless to say - I learned how to deal with my anger in a non-productive fashion. It seemed that any thing that didn't go his way would set him off, and soon a flurry of curse words and (sometimes) physical manifestations of his anger would occur (in his case it usually meant throwing things, breaking them, and getting more upset). While some of this had to do with his tendency to drink too much and too often, it still left an impression on my brother and I as growing children, when we didn't understand the effects of alcohol, stress and the like. He has since sought counceling to help curb his anger, although the cursing still occurs and he is still pretty quick to go off compared to other people I know. Nevertheless, my brother and I were left trying to figure out how to handle our negative emotions "properly". The journey is akin to being left on a desert island with a boat but no oars, or no directions on how to get back to the mainland, or both. Basically we have struggled with it. My brother more than I - or maybe that's just my wishful thinking.

I have to say that my anger has gotten out of control to the point of tunnel vision and outright rage a time or two, and it bothers me sometimes the things that upset me. Yet, after this week's discussion I realize that when people tell me I get upset over "stupid things" these "things" are often socially defined and gender related. I am not *supposed* to get pissed when the Bobcats lose, as if passion for sports teams is not "womanly". I am not *supposed* to get upset over my grades, I am not *supposed* to be angry when someone I care about gets shafted in his job. It is part of life. It is process. It is bureaucracy. I am *supposed* to accept it and keep my anger under control and under the radar.

The only two people who appear to understand where my anger comes from are my husband and my mentor (ironically the one who got shafted) - or at the very least tolerate it. Most of my friends don't see it or do not comprehend it when it manifests itself. This is probably because I try to hide it in order to maintain an image of stability with my emotions. Of course there are times when I am too overwhelmed by life to exert control over them and the anger and or tears leak out (this pertains not only to anger but sadness and stress as well). These are the times I am most embarressed and apologetic about my behavior. And why should I have to apologize? It almost makes me more upset that I have to hide it! There --- you see? Anger upon anger and all I can think to do is try to hide it! It's so unfair!

Sarcasm does me no good either, because sarcastic women are viewed negatively too. Interestingly enough people attribute it to my orgins - that is, where I was born. "Those yankee women with their attitudes and such". Apparently all yankee women are angry, sarcastic, ascerbic etc...

Can this image of the angry woman as the crazed, vengeful, raging bitch be changed? How is it harmful to women both physically and emotionally? I know for me one of the only good things that I do to control or channel it is through exercise (although if I am having a particularly bad day it can be a bit detrimental if I overdo it). I also meditate sometimes, which also helps. I just wish I could understand why I get upset so "easily" and why I cannot figure out other ways to channel my negative emotions.

Here are some interesting sites I found on ANGER:

Controlling Anger Before it Controls You:

Anger Toolkit:

Anger Management Techniques

Anger Management Online


Women and Anger: Facts and Advice

Anger Across the Gender Divide:

Not sure how I feel about this one, but interesting:
"Getting Mad":

Anger: Are Women Affected in Two Ways? (Just food for thought)
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
31 October 2006 @ 10:54 pm
I thought the discussion of motherhood would be interesting, but I was also a little nervous about the whole prospect. My husband and I are apprehensive about having children, and we both have expressed to our parents the notion that we may not have any. You can imagine the blank stares and remarks that we have recieved because of this. As you may well know, marriage and childbearing are linked to one another, and the necessity for one before or in addition to the other is prevelant throughout the globe. So imagine being one of those people who get married and *choose* not to have children. Many words and phrases come to mind, but the one I hear the most is "selfish". I can understand how many people may see this, especially those couples who cannot conceive. This is where we get the most grief.

"What about those married couples who cannot have children? I mean if you can have children you should"

This implies that it is our DUTY as human beings who are coupled by laws (set up by men in order to keep track of their "rightful heirs") to reproduce and perpetuate the species. It also implies that, as a woman, I should have an innate desire to have children. I have issues with both of these perspectives, which I will discuss further (although the article by "Friday" did a great job of hashing these out see it here : http://proliferations.tankgreen.com/2004/667/i-dont-ever-want-to-be-a-mother).

First of all, I love my husband dearly - that's why I married him. Ok, mostly why I married him. In America, married couples have a distinct advantage over non-married couples, especially when it comes to benefits (health, financial and social), so there is incentive to do so. It is also an expectation that one will - and should - do so. I'm not saying I married him because it was expected. I did it first and foremost because I wanted to, but I can't say that the pressure wasn't there and that I did not recognize the potentially positive benefits of doing so. (This makes me sound shallow doesn't it? But seriously, these are things that cross my mind when I make a serious committment to something, much like entering graduate school)

Second of all, why does being a female imply the desire for reproduction? To me its a generalization akin to the one that associates maleness with aggressiveness. If anything, I am the aggressive person in our relationship. Fight? That's me. Flight? That's Matt. Not an insult by any means mind you. Its just that, as I get older the desire to have children has diminished. I wasn't even sure of it when I was younger. I didn't play with dolls - I took them apart. This certainly does not mean that I am not nurturing. I am extremely nurturing with my husband, my family, my cats and my friends. If you ask me, my cats are my children at this point. My husband has a chronic illness (juvenile diabetes) so I am keenly aware of his health and wellbeing (I would be with or without it, but it adds a different dimension to it). Am I missing out on a special bond? Yes. I know I probably am. I just do not see myself as the type of woman who would raise children well. Why is this something that people outside of our coupledom cannot comprehend. Its not something I will "grow into". I really don't want any child to have to suffer at the hands of my gamble.

I just think it is so ingrained by society that you go to school, get a job, get married, have children and retire, that any deviations from this norm are alarming and somewhat incomprehensible. Its a shame, because I feel like I have so much to offer many people. I just happen to be a married woman who can bear children, which complicates things. I want to teach, I want to spread knowledge and experience many things. Is this selfish? To some. For me helping others learn is one of the best gifts to give, and if I can I will.

I found some interesting links to sites for coupleless children and articles on coupleless children that you might want to check out:


Child Free By Choice:

Child Free Zone:



"Voluntary Childlessness"

"Attitudes Towards Voluntary and Involuntary Childlessness"

Voluntary Childlessness and Marital Satisfaction..


I hope this helps with discussion on this subject. Its not like I do not care about children, children are some of the most important people in our country. They have the power to change things in the future for the better of others, and can only do so with our help. Sadly we do not give all of our children equal opportunities to do so. Our educational system is lacking to say the least, and the programs we have to help children are badly in need of funding and repair. Texas' children have the least amount of healthcare, and as a woman who went theough the public school system here - let's just say it needs work. So if I can do anything to help shape other children's future in America, I will feel that my duty as a woman, as a citizen, will be complete.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
01 October 2006 @ 10:30 pm
I just wanted ot jot down some of my own thoughts on Malinche.
I read a few of the articles abotu Malinche and did a little research on her on my own. I was intrigued by the idea that a woman who - in my opinion - simply used her skills to her own advantage for survival purposes is seen as somewhat traitorous to her people.

So I guess this is where reflection comes in!!

I found an article on the house where Malinche lived, and how many Mexicans are either fearful of going inside because of its haunted nature or out of disdain for the traitorous nature of its inhabitants. The current owners think it may be a long time before it will be aknowledged as having historical value. I am still surprised at the negativity surrounding this woman. Should Mexicans not be proud of their roots? Regardless of how they began? Or is this feeling of shame or anger still justifiable? But then again who am I to say? But my mom and I have always been so curious about our origins and did a lot of geneological research just trying to "know" our ancestry. To me its quite fascinating. I am mostly German on my mothers side. Should I be ashamed of this because of what the Germans did in the early 20th century? It's perplexing for me at times. I often add when I tell people that, that most of my people came before that time. So I guess I can relate in some ways. Here's a link to that story:


and a good place to start looking for your own personal history:


Another article debates whether or not Malinche is "Harlot or Heroine" To me, for a woman in her position, I would say she did some heroic and remarkable things. As the article states that :

"They ignore that she saved thousands of Indian lives by enabling Cortes to negotiate rather than slaughter. Her ability to communicate also enabled the Spaniards to introduce Christianity and attempt to end human sacrifice and cannibalism."

I also enjoyed the part about her ability to learn a new language amongst all the turmoil an duncertainty. For her own survival and for that of her people (who come to think of it cast her away so easily as a young woman). I think these facts are why I don't understand the negativity associated with her actions. What might have happened had she not interpreted - might more have died in the name of conquest? Who is to know?


I thought this article was interesting too - an attempt to seperate the myth from the fact of Malinche. Just thought it was interesting:


Interesting artwork:




Just my take. If I have any more thoughts on this..will post later.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
19 September 2006 @ 09:23 pm
I wanted to expand on my September 6th entry about "how I define myself." The following entry contains either links to or pictures of interests, symbols and other things I feel make up part of who I am.

So first and foremost I am Adele. Here is an interesting link that shows the meaning of my name: http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Adele
Although I challenge the statement that it is a popular first name. I seldom meet others with it, and those who know someone named Adele usually say something like "Oh my great aunt (who is usually old) is/was named Adele." Here is another interesting link about characteristics of people named Adele:

I am also from New Jersey (something I hold near and dear). Here is a link to my hometown and some of my favorite things from New Jersey that I miss:

TastyKakes! The best treat on the planet! (Especially the Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes!):

This site is essential for any "damn yankee" from the Deleware Valley who is missing pretzels, hoagies, Herr's Potato Chips of Franks Black Cherry Wishniak Soda:

One of my favorite places to visit when I go back home:

My sports teams (for better or worse):

I CAN'T Forget my precious BOBCATS! Though a Texas team I have maroon and gold coursing through my veins

So now that I have discussed some of the things that make me tick that are related to where I am from, let's discuss some of the other things that make up who I am.

Most of my friends will tell you that I am a huge dork/nerd/geek. This can be related to my interest in many things science fiction and history (yes..I'll get to that). I can thank my parents for most of this influence as well.

It would not be complete without my love of most things Star Trek:

or Monty Python:

or Mystery Science Theatre 3000:

or Weird Al (he is just so funny and creative!)

or my love of the American Civil War..to the point of re-enacting. No I'm not kidding:

But it doesn't end here. I think a large part of what makes up my nerdiness relates to my love of movies. In fact I am a downright snob when it comes to them, but I still have a few that are considered kind of cheesy that are near and dear to my heart.

I get a lot of my movie news from here:
They are the epitome of geekiness, and I love it. Inside information is always cool. I find some of the best movies here that people don't often hear about.

This is the best movie theatre ever. We used to go back when there was only the one downtown (after I turned 21):

These are some of my favorite actors:
Kurt Russell
Bruce Campbell
Jeff Daniels
Hugo Weaving
Vincent D'Onofrio
Billy Zane
Scott Bakula <---- nmy first serious crush. When I was 11 (1989) Quantum Leap debuted. Some of the BEST television ever!

Okay so I may have weird taste, but hey..at least I have taste ;)

Here are some of my favorite movies of all time (NO ORDER) A good place to look these up at is http://www.imdb.com:

Princess Bride
V for Vendetta
Lost In Translation
Once Upon a Time in the West
The Evil Dead Trilogy
Big Trouble in Little China
The Crow
Garden State

I could go on, but these were the ones that immediately came to mind. If you saw our movie collection (which is over 400) you'd understand why I can't really go on. I have so many favorites.

I also have eclectic musical taste, only some of which I will include:

Black Flag
Blue October
Rollins Band
Iron and Wine
Imogen Heap
Weird Al
Alkaline Trio
Bryan Adams (yeah I said it)
Billy Joel
Andrea Bocelli
Sarah McLachlan
The Uninvited
James Horner
Smashing Pumpkins
Most Anything played on KGSR

I am also an avid book reader. I recommend these book stores:

I love works by Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, Carlton Mellick III, Mark Danielewski, bell hooks, Shirley Jackson, Katherine Ann Porter, Kate Chopin, Franz Kafka, David Sedaris, Henry Rollins and countless others. I am up for most reading, especially those books that challenge the norm, like these:


I am also a huge fan of original t-shirts. This is my favorite site to get them:
Its t-shirt making by democracy. You vote on designs by ordinary folks and they get made. Pretty cool.

Also a cool site. "Capitalism done right" as they say.

Speaking of apparel - My most favorite shoes EVER:

I am a sociology major, an informed citizen and I have a sense of humor, as can be found in the following sites:

Sociology at Texas State

Alpha Kappa Delta

American Sociological Association



Viva la Colbert!!


I am more than what I put on here though, these are mere pieces of the puzzle that is me. These do not embody me, nor I them. I just thought this would be an interesting way to look at some of the components of myself, and boy there are a LOT. I have a huge list of ideas that have't even made it onto this page, but I figured even a glimpse would be entertaining at least!
Current Mood: geekygeeky
13 September 2006 @ 01:59 pm

The Malleability of Gender:
    There were several articles that we read this week pertaining to the boundries of gender. One of the articles was similar to a chapter in my textbook from Realities of Women, when we discussed the Mohave tribe and the Hwame and Alyha. I am just as fascinated by this now as I was then. I also have to mention that one of the books I read for my Women in Antebellum America class titled Intimate Frontiers: Sex, Gender and Culture in Old California also touched on this subject when it discusses the exploitation of Chumash Indians. The author (Alberto Hurtado) discusses how, at the Santa Claras Mission in California, Spanish soldiers would encounter men who were dressed and appeared to be "women with underdeveloped breasts". The soldiers and missionaries alike did not understand that as they harrassed and stripped these "men" of their clothing, it was seen the same as if it were being done to the other women of the tribe, who just happened to have more developed breasts.
    As a sociologist, I learned early on that gender is culturally defined and socially constructed. As in any other culture, Americans have expectations of those who are either male or female. The dissolution of the boundries placed between these categories often causes confusion (as we learned from Betsy Lucal's article) and discomfort both for those who missattribute and even those who are being misattributed (even if she doesn't admit it in her article, it obviously bothers her a little bit - why else would she write it?).
    This is an issue that I can identify with, even if it's not on the same level as Lucal or any of the other author's who discussed it. You've heard it many times: "I was a tomboy growing up" It's true, I was. I was pretty hardcore. I wore my hair short and also snagged some of my brother's close. I do not know what triggered my behavior, other than the search for identity that was interrupted many times by my parents rocky marriage at the time, as well as a case or two of moving back home to New Jersey that was prompted by  one episode of my parents seperation. I was moved to a new school that had just been built when I came back, and I decided that I would "start anew" as more than just a "t-shirt" tomboy, but all out. I cut my hair short, dressed raggedy and hung out with my brother's friends. There was little about me that said "girl" - except that I had to participate in girls leagues for soccer. And oh yeah - I was a girl scout (hey my mom was the troop leader, what can I say?).
    My first year of middle school tested that. The first day of school my teachers thought I was a boy and i was ridiculed in the lunch room. Needless to say from then on  I tried to conform to what was expected of a nerdy girl who had big glasses, braces and a desire to be accepted by others. I was utterly miserable, and looking back I looked pretty awful. I had no sense of what it was to be a "girly girl" and my attempts did more damage to my self image than good. 
    So highschool turned out to be a test of what I could "get away with" as a tomboy and still maintain femininity. It took a long time, even through high school, for me to realize that it didn't really matter. I needed to do what was right for me. Currently I maintain a healthy t-shirt and jean collection, with dressy clothes sprinkled in, as they are a necessity in the real world (some cultural norms are harder to challenge if you want to get and maintain a job). My hair (shoulder length) is the shortest it has been since that incident in 6th grade.  So even though I don't conform entirely to the ideal of the "American Woman" there a parts of me that still do. I don't know that I could or would do what Betsy Lucal does, but I admire her resolve for doing so.


Here's the books I mentioned above I've read in other classes that you may find of interest:

The Gendered Society by Michael Kimmel :


Intimate Frontiers: Sex, Gender and Culture in Old California by Albert L. Hurtado :


Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
11 September 2006 @ 07:32 pm
Gender Identity Online:

When I read this article it made me think of the paper I had to write for my recent Social Psychology class. I had to come up with a potential research topic and I chose to do the construction of virtual identities. I contemplated the creation of an online MUD (or Multi-User Dimension/Dungeon) where creativity and elements one's own imagined or real identity often go into character creation. It was interesting to read how Godwyn perceived his role as a woman online. While I have never personally gone online as anything other than a woman, it makes me wonder how I would be treated differently than I am now. Granted I no longer engage in live chat as often as I used to, it may be worth the experience to do so. The only thing that would stop me would be the IRB right?
06 September 2006 @ 03:21 pm
Several of the articles we read this week caused me to pause and make an entry. The first one was a cartoon entitled "Ramadan". Basically the author chronicles the multiple selves of one character who is both muslim and a lesbian, and draws parallels between the two. I think it is interesting, perplexing and a little bit sad that someone who is considered an "outsider" in American society must devise ways to disguise it or language that essentially avoids the revelation. In a country where we profess to be liberated and diverse, we have an awfully strange way of accepting true difference. I thought the author did a wonderful job of illustrating the delicate situation of some Americans whose religious beliefs and sexuality challenge the "norms" of our society. I had never thought of how similar religious and sexual persecution really are.

Two of the articles address something that has been on my mind lately. With all of the lashing out we are seeing against immigrants (illegal or whatever) the issue of cultural identity comes to mind. I think it is sad that some Americans should be forced to repress their cultural identity. Two articles I read were by Latina and Chinese American women who have struggled with just that. I know I am not a parent yet and know nothing of it, but how hard of a decision must that be for parents who either have a strong tie to their cultural heritage or not. Encourage it or repress it? Is this beneficial or detrimental to children whose heritage may or may not be what white Americans see as "acceptable" or "tolerable"? And what about when your own family sees it negativelly as well? The things we as caucasian Americans rarely have to think about! I'm not saying I'm entirely glad of it though. I was (in my mind) lucky that my mom enjoys geneaology and that I know a bit of my background. It just seems to me Americans want to forget about where we've been too easily. Or maybe thats my perception of it...


Having read and discussed some of the issues of self definiton made me think about myself. How would I - white female heterosexual American- define myself? Not just in the terms I provided either. If I were to look back at my heritage (much the same as the author of Nuevas Latinas) how would I define myself? Even if I didn't take the time to dig that deep - how would I define myself now? I mean, a name is a name but there is so much more to me then just that right? This is an issue that I am sure to touch back on in later entries, as I have many ideas of what I can do to express this.
Current Mood: amusedamused