Analyzing Today's Feminism

Women's Studies 296Q Fall 2003 Wednesday 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm Herter 112
Instructors: Julia R. Becker (eiffelcat@hotmail.com), Amy E. Ferrer
(aferrer@student.umass.edu)

Course Description:
In Women's Studies classes here at UMass, we often touch on issues that resonate with our personal experiences, but we rarely have the opportunity to discuss them at length in order to fully understand them. In this course, we will discuss as many of these issues as possible and compare analyses of them and our strategies for dealing with them. We will base the course on readings relevant to popular culture, politics, race relations, reproductive rights, campus issues, etc. as they relate to feminism today in the lives of students.

We feel the need for this class on a personal and a communal level. Because there are fewer classes offered due to budget cutbacks, class sizes are larger and less time is spent on small group discussion. We want to create a space for that discussion to take place, a space in which loose ends and unresolved conversations can be addressed. We have felt the need for this space ourselves and have observed such a need among other students.

This class will also create a different environment from other classes, particularly because it will be student run, rather than led by a professor. Because we will be both students and facilitators, we will be able to foster more peer-to-peer learning. Without the difference in authority that shapes students' discussions with professors, we will be able to address issues that may not come out in other classes. Also, the readings for this class will be less "academic" in the traditional sense and more connected with the students' everyday lives and feminism.

Course Goals:
In this course, we aim to create an environment in which Women's Studies students and other young feminists can discuss current issues pertaining to feminism, allowing them to deconstruct and understand the implications of and ideologies behind them. We hope to envision strategies for the future of the feminist movement and ways to use our dialogues to further feminist causes.

Course Objectives:
In this course, students will discuss current and pertinent feminist issues relating to their lives and experiences, and the social, cultural, and political implications of the issues raised. Students will keep a journal in order to reflect on their daily thoughts and experiences relevant to the class and our discussions. Discussion topics may include but are not limited to politics, pop culture, campus issues, and activism.

Course Requirements and Grading:
There is a pre-requisite for this course of Women's Studies 201 or equivalent. Equivalent is defined as any Women's Studies department course higher than 201 or permission of the instructors. We have set this pre-requisite so that all students have some background in feminist theory and perspectives upon which discussions can be based.

This course is an experimental course and is student taught. The grading for this course is therefore mandatory pass/fail. Students will earn two (2) credits (applicable toward the Women's Studies major and minor) for a passing grade. Class will meet once per week every week throughout the semester for two and a half (2) hours. Approximately fifteen (15) students will be permitted to enroll in this course. Selection will be based upon information supplied to the instructors at the first class meeting. Only those students who attend the first class meeting will be considered.

Students will be graded on:
? Attendance, 20%: Three (3) unexcused absences will be an automatic fail, and no excuses will be granted unless the student provides documentation and promptly contacts an instructor about the absence. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class session. You must see an instructor after class if you are late. Three (3) unexcused lates will count as an unexcused absence. Note: We will divide the class in half, designating a primary instructor for each student. We will do this so that each of the instructors can get to know several students better and to keep us from becoming overwhelmed.
? Journals, 20%: At least one entry per week (entries should be at least 1-2 handwritten pages), discussing either issues raised in class or relevant issues from outside the course. These will be handed in three times during the semester. See attached guidelines.
? Major Project/Paper, 40%: In-depth analysis of issue(s) relevant to the course. A variety of formats will be accepted. Topic proposals due October 8. The paper or project will be due at the last class meeting before Thanksgiving, November 19. See attached guidelines.
? Short Paper, 20%: 3-5 pages. Reflect on the course as a whole and your experience in it. Due at the last class meeting. See attached guidelines.

To make up for an absence or shortcoming on an assignment, students may earn extra credit by attending an optional film screening (dates to be determined) or relevant out-of-class event and turn in a short (1-2 page) write-up about the film or event and how it relates to course material. To write-up an out-of-class event, the topic must be cleared with instructors prior to turning in the assignment. Possible films include Real Women Have Curves, Brown Sugar and Girlfight.

A course calendar is attached. However, because this course is designed to adapt to issues and events that come about throughout the semester, this calendar is subject to change.

If you have a learning or physical disability or require special accommodations due to other circumstances, please speak to one or both of the instructors. We will do everything we can to make this course work for you.

Course Calendar

SEPTEMBER 3, 2003: WHAT IS FEMINISM TODAY?
Fill out questionnaires, introductions, other initial business

In Class Readings:
Baumgardner, Jennifer and Amy Richards. "Letter to an Older Feminist." Bust Winter 2000: 57.
Breslin, Susannah. "I Hate Feminism." Bust Winter 2000: 34.
Muscio, Inge. "My Grandma Wore Combat Boots." Bust Winter 2000: 40.
Ott, R. Eirik. "I Love Feminism." Bust Winter 2000: 35.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2003: FEMINIST ACTIVISM AND THE "REAL WORLD"
Readings:
Mink, Gwendolyn. "Feminists, Welfare Reform, and Welfare Justice." Women's Lives:
Multicultural Perspectives.
2nd ed. Kirk, Gwyn and Margo Okazawa-Rey, eds. Toronto: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2001. 351-358.
Fudge, Rachel. "Celebrity Jeopardy." Bitch Winter 2003: 35-41.
Dusky, Lorraine. "Harvard Stumbles over Rape Reporting." Ms. Magazine Spring 2003: 39-40.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2003: REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
Readings:
Davis, Angela Y. "Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive Rights." Women, Race, and Class. Random House, Inc., 1981.
Erlbaum, Janice "La Girlbomb." "News from a Broad." Bust Fall 2003: 14.
Gillespie, Spike. "Ask Me About My Abortion." Bust Winter 2000: 74.
"The Push for Legal Abortion." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 410+.
Tattoo, Rose. "Having My Baby." Bust Summer 2001: 50.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2003: WOMEN AND HEALTH
Readings:
"Abortion." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 388+.
"Birth Control." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 288+.
"Norplant." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 318+.
"Our Change of Life: Menopause." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 554+.
Riessman, Catherine Kohler. "Women and Medicalization: A New Perspective." Social Policy, Volume 14.1. Social Policy Corporation, 1993.
"The Women's Health Movement(s)." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 687+.
"Women as Healers." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 700+.

OCTOBER 1, 2003: LANGUAGE
Journals Due

Readings:
Bilger, Audrey. "The Common Guy." Bitch Fall 2002: 19-20, 87+.
Morrison, Melissa. "Women and Children First!" Bitch Winter 2003: 23-24.
Scott, Julia. "Nothing More Than Feelings." Bitch Spring 2003: 25+.

OCTOBER 8, 2003: PORNOGRAPHY
Paper/Project Proposals Due
Guest Presentation: Educator/Advocate Workshop

Readings:
Caputi, Jane. "Everyday Pornography." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text Reader. 2nd ed. Dines, Gail and Jean M. Humez, eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2003. 434+.

OCTOBER 15, 2003: MEDIA IMAGES
Readings:
Breazeale, Kenon. "In Spite of Women: Esquire Magazine and the Construction of the Male Consumer." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text Reader. 2nd ed. Dines, Gail and Jean M. Humez, eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2003. 230+.
Feder, Ben. "Misconceptions of Poster Women." Massachusetts Daily Collegian March 13, 2003, Volume CIX Issue 100: 5.
Hall, Stuart. "The Whites of Their Eyes: Racist Ideologies and the Media." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text Reader. 2nd ed. Dines, Gail and Jean M. Humez, eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2003. 89+.
Jervis, Lisa and Andi Zeisler. "Rules of Play." Bitch Summer 2003: 34+.
Jhally, Sut. "Image-Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text Reader. 2nd ed. Dines, Gail and Jean M. Humez, eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2003. 249-257.
Kilbourne, Jean. "'The More You Subtract, The More You Add': Cutting Girls Down to Size." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text Reader. 2nd ed. Dines, Gail and Jean M. Humez, eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2003. 258-267.
LaRue, Yvette. "Celebrating Women Through More Positive Ways." Massachusetts Daily Collegian March 28, 2003, Volume CIX Issue 105: 4.
Stave, Kian. "Let's Talk About Sex and the City." Bust Summer 2001: 40+.
Swan, Rachel. "The Queen's Gambit." Bitch Summer 2003: 25+.

OCTOBER 22, 2003: TODAY'S POLITICS
Readings:
Goldberg, Stephanie B. "The Bush Overhaul of Federal Courts." Ms. Magazine Spring 2003: 42+.
Hoffman, Jessica. "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Pacifist." Bitch Spring 2003: 13.
Raha, Maria. "Veiled Intentions." Bitch Spring 2003: 19+.
Stern, Theresa. "Affirmative Action on Trial." Ms. Magazine Spring 2003: 68+.

OCTOBER 29, 2003: "Dildo Diaries" (Video)

NOVEMBER 5, 2003: BLACK FEMINISM AND RACE IN THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT
Journals Due

Readings:
Denizet-Lewis, Benoit. "Double Lives Down Low." New York Times Magazine Aug. 3, 2003: 28.
Kahn, Surina A. "The All-American Queer Pakistani Girl." Women's Lives: Multicultural Perspectives. 2nd ed. Kirk, Gwyn and Margo Okazawa-Rey, eds. Toronto: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2001. 150-152.
Hinkson, Leslie. "My Daughter, Myself." Bust Summer 2002:56-59.
Seymour, Nicole. "White Out." Bitch Summer 2003: 13+.
Smith, Barbara and Beverly Smith. "Across the Kitchen Table: A Sister-To-Sister Dialogue." This Bridge Called My Back. Berkeley: Third Woman Press, 2002.
Walker, Alice. "Womanism." Women: Images and Realities. Kesselman, Amy, Lily D. McNair, and Nancy Schniedewind, eds. Toronto: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2001. 18.

NOVEMBER 12, 2003: LGBTQ ISSUES
Guest Presentation: Panel from the Stonewall Center

Readings:
Douris, Athena and Diane Anderson-Minshall. "What Happens to a Dyke Deferred?" Bitch Fall 2002: 36.
Lee, Carole E. "My Gay Dad." Bust Summer 2003: 44+.
"Relationships and Sexuality." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 179+.
St. John, Warren. "Metrosexuals Come Out." New York Times June 22, 2003: Style Section 1.

NOVEMBER 19, 2003: Mini-Conference
Paper and Project Presentations

NOVEMBER 26, 2003: No Class

DECEMBER 3, 2003: AGEISM, ABLEISM, AND RELIGION IN FEMINIST CONTEXT
Journals Due
Readings:
Berkowitz, Elana. "Sex, Wigs, and Matzoh Balls." Bust Fall 2002: 64.
Globerman, Sari. "Riot Grrrannies." Bust Spring 2003: 13.
"Physical Disability and the Pressure to Be Physically Perfect." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 37+.
Rowe-Finkbeiner, Kristin. "Consent of a Woman." Bust Spring 2003: 69.
Wachsler, Sharon. "Access Some Areas." Bitch Winter 2003: 47+.
"Women Growing Older." Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. New York: Touchstone, 1998. 547+.
DECEMBER 10, 2003: WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF FEMINISM?
Short Paper Due

Readings:
Walker, Rebecca. "Becoming the Third Wave." Women: Images and Realities. Kesselman, Amy, Lily D. McNair, and Nancy Schniedewind, eds. Toronto: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2001. 437-438.

Guidelines for Student Journals

  • Each entry should be at least 1-2 handwritten pages, and you must write at least one entry per week.
  • This should not be a personal diary. Entries should analyze and/or comment on issues raised in or relevant to class discussions and/or course materials.
  • Journals will be turned in at the first class meeting of each month: October 1, November 5, and December 3.
  • Make sure your handwriting is legible. If this is a problem, please see an instructor.
  • Journal grades will be based on the number of entries and how the entries demonstrate the student's understanding and application of course topics.
  • View this as an academic assignment. While you may opt to use slang or other informal language, choose your words carefully.

    Guidelines for Major Project

  • Apply what you have learned from this course through either a paper or a creative project.
  • Papers will be approximately seven (7) pages.
  • Examples of projects might be artistic work (i.e. visual art, music, creative writing) or an activist project (i.e. workshop, series of editorials). Projects will require a 2-3 page write-up.
  • Collaborative papers and projects are permitted with permission of the instructors.
  • If you need help choosing a topic, please see an instructor.
  • Written proposals (one typed paragraph) will be due in class October 8.
  • Both papers and projects should use some outside sources/research and include an in-depth analysis of the material. Use MLA format for citations.
  • Final due date for projects and papers is November 9.
  • There will be a mini-conference at which projects and papers will be presented. The conference will be open to faculty and students. Presentations must be limited to 10 minutes for individuals and 20 minutes for groups, and will be followed by time for questions.

    Guidelines for Short Final Paper


    Guidelines for Extra Credit Write-Ups