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Feminist Rage: Classroom Edition

Today was one of those days where I hate my major. I am an Electronic Media Technology major and being in a tech-related program means that most of my fellow eMedia students are male. This is not as awesome as you may think it is. This is not a case of "I am an available female constantly spending class time with a number of available, eligible males." This is more like a case of "I am a terminally single female surrounded by males who fall way below the standard I have set for myself, or that any woman with self respect should set for herself."

Don't get me wrong - I love me some geeky dudes. But there's a difference between being attractively geeky and being one of those guys who plays WoW for 14 hours straight in his parents' basement. That is not sexy at all. And if you are one of those dudes, I suggest you go out and get some sunlight. You should probably bathe first, though.

There are a few exceptions, but most of the guys in my program fall into the latter category. And as they spend a lot of time together, they tend to suffer from what I refer to as "behavior echoing and amplification". That's when a group of people that act and think similarly are together for a long period of time and begin to think that their behavior is widely acceptable. They all think and behave the same way and echo these thoughts and behaviors back to other members of the group. Individual members of the group are now validated and increase this behavior, resulting in amplification as a whole. There's no one there with a dissenting viewpoint, so they come to believe that their way of thinking and behaving is acceptable.

This came into effect today during my Media Design Applications class. Our homework had been to put together a digital portfolio and we were doing peer reviews. For the reviews, our professor shows the work to the whole class on a projector. He brought up a folder containing the work of a male student and opened one of the files.

The file in question was an image in the style of a Demotiovational poster. The photo was of a young woman with a cut and bloody cheek. The hand she had under her chin was bloody as well. The text underneath read, to paraphrase because I can't remember the exact wording, "Communication: Pay attention the first time and you won't have to be told twice."

It felt like I myself had been slapped in the face. As I sat there, stunned into paralysis, classmates talked about the Photoshop work that had been done to enhance the stage makeup on the woman's face and clean up the image, but not the offensiveness of the image. They questioned whether the image was appropriate for a portfolio, not the appropriateness of the image in general.

No one said anything until I raised my hand and said, "This is inappropriate. People will find this extremely offensive." The whole room understood my implied "I am extremely offended by this." and got quiet, like the thought had not occurred to them. And suddenly I felt all eyes in the room on me.

For the rest of the quarter, I'm going to be known amongst my Media Design Applications classmates as the girl who got all bitchy over one stupid joke. I don't care. If you let something like that slide once, it'll slide by a hundred more times. If I stayed silent I would be sending the message that it's perfectly okay to advocate hitting a woman and find it humorous. Without the dissenting voice, they just keep echoing and amplifying that behavior.

I don't care how small an incident it was. It's not acceptable. It's not a joke.

I hope you like your right hand, buddy, because no self-respecting woman is ever going to touch you.

ETA: Jesus tap-dancing Christ what the fuck is going on with guys and misogyny today?! NOTICE: The group/fanpage/what-the-fuck-ever-Facebook-is-calling-things-these-days that you can "like" called "Not being raped by Ben Roethlisberger" not only makes light of the fact that a man has allegedly gotten away with multiple sexual assaults because he's a football player, but is insensitive to his alleged victims. I have told several people that if someone on my feed liked it they would be instantly defriended, no exceptions. Someone just found out how absolutely I was not kidding when I said that.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
...That is an omgWTF moment. I can't wrap my head around that happening in a classroom setting. Seriously!? You get two thumbs up for speaking up and letting it be known that it was definitely not okay.
May. 4th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
I am disgusted at their behavior but applaud the fact you voiced your opinion.

Agreed. As long as they think it's funny, they're not going to be able to attract any positive attention from a female.
May. 4th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)

I probably wouldn't have been nearly as temperate as you were. Don't you ever let anyone tell you that something like that is too small an incident to address. Things like that make it FAR TOO EASY FOR THE SONS-OF-BITCHES TO JUSTIFY THEMSELVES! Somebody needed to call them on it, and if the professor didn't address the complete inappropriateness of that piece's subject material, I'd report him to his department chair. LIKE RIGHT GODDAMN NOW. You're not in some modern art class where edgy material can get a pass under free expression statutes. You're in a Media Design class, where you're supposed to be learning HOW TO DESIGN MESSAGES THAT AFFECT MASSIVE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE ON BOTH CONSCIOUS AND SUBLIMINAL LEVELS. Any professor who lets that shit slide in their class instead of IMMEDIATELY dressing down the little fucker who did it should be stripped of their tenure.

May. 5th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
I can't recall any specific instances, since it's been at least 2 years since I was in a film class and about 3 since I had a media class like that. Basically? I had to deal with crap like that, too.

*kicks the boys* Not acceptable!
May. 5th, 2010 12:58 am (UTC)
I'd just like to say that, as a guy myself, I would be right alongside you, maison. I'm a strict advocate of equal rights, over all, and especially for women. I'm actually a bit appalled that Ted would let that slide, but Ted's a bit of a pushover.

Not all guys are like that but, sadly, most of our program is full of those losers. To be honest, it's shit like that that makes me ashamed of my gender.
May. 5th, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
You are one of the mentioned exceptions. ♥
May. 5th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
I'd hate to get Ted in trouble, but that seriously needs to be brought to Mike's attention. Not only is that morally inappropriate, it could get our school in legal trouble.

A lot of those sick jokes, like the "women in the kitchen" or the "black slave" jokes, are supposed to be funny based on how horribly inappropriate they are. It doesn't necessarily mean the artist or the viewer are in support of those viewpoints. However, this picture sounds extremely offensive. It's one thing to poke fun at something that isn't a current problem, but violence against women IS a current problem, and it's not going to help anyone if a classroom, and possibly a larger audience, laugh at it. We don't need cavemen going home to smash their girlfriends up because some idiot thought it'd be a funny DeMotivational poster.

I can honestly say I'd be giving you some deserved backup in class if I was there. Seriously consider telling Mike about it.
May. 5th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
He did mention when he brought them up that the images were extreme (there were some others with the guy in question posing with two girls, one of whom was grabbing the other's boob, and a naked couple covered in either blood or chocolate) and possibly inappropriate, though mostly in a "you shouldn't show this to potential employers" way. When I protested the image I talked about, he agreed that people need to be careful with that kind of imagery. It wasn't as harsh a condemnation as I was hoping, but he did acknowledge that the image was offensive.

I also don't know if he's had any kind of dialogue with the student regarding the appropriateness of his work in general outside of class.

But I will be mentioning it to Lou tomorrow. She'll be able to tell me if it's something I should mention to Mike.
May. 5th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Alright, that sounds a bit better, then. You go, girl.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )