Thursday, July 29, 2010

Now in Video

So, I decided to make a series of Going Rampant videos alongside the articles. This is because a lot of people express a "too long; didn't read", so I figured a video blog would help me communicate. If you want to read a well-composed argument, keep reading the blog. If you want to watch me ramble on about a subject, check out the Going Rampant YouTube channel here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Buffy is Not Anti-Male

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and to a lesser extent its spin-off Angel) is a feminist show intended to have an inspirational message about young women being strong, but I sometimes see male netizens claiming the show is hatefully anti-male. They say that Joss is a misandrist who uses the show to make women hate men to the point of enacting violence against them. This, however, is a complete misunderstanding of Buffy, Joss, and feminism in general. While there are some individual feminists who are misandrists, feminism is not misandristic in and of itself, and mainstream feminism strives only for gender equality. Joss is not a misandrist, and Buffy represents mainstream feminism’s goal of gender equality by honoring its male protagonists just as much as its female protagonists. Claims about the Buffyverse’s supposed misandry include that there is a double standard with the misandrist character Anya, the Angel episode “Billy” says all men are misogynists, Buffy has a matriarchal message, and that Buffy’s execution of Caleb is a call to violence against men.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pink Iron Girl

I was recently at the movies. At one of the theaters I like to go to (Regal Cinemas?), there are these series of cartoon shorts about kids going on a mission to get junk food from the concession stand by becoming characters from hit movies such as Harry Potter or Spider-Man. The one that I saw this time was about a girl who becomes Iron Man, the suit appearing around her, and she blasts off. For a quick short about something relatively pointless, it had a period of cool action and some homages to the movie like her falling through the ceiling. It was cute and it was entertaining, and I thought it was cool that they were able to let a girl take the role of action star; however, I was also disappointed by the fact that they felt the need to make her Iron Man suit pink.
The color pink is used in contemporary Western society to separate female items from mainstream (male) items. By making all girls necessarily pink, whereas boys can be any color but pink, it contributes to the separation of femininity from mainstream culture. When things are separate, they are encouraged to be valued differently, and this coupled with latent cultural misogyny leads to femininity to continue to be devalued. In order for there to be gender equality, we need to stop gendering colors and let anyone represent themselves in any color.
My feelings regarding this issue were not helped when I then watched Toy Story 3 and saw a male character (Ken) mocked for writing effeminately in pink ink. Gendering colors contributes to sexism. Stop it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Honesty is a Privilege (LGBT)

(This is something I wrote for a philosophy class. I was supposed to recall an instance of lying, cheating, or stealing and then try to justify it, the implication from the text being that these are always bad and we’re just kidding ourselves when we tell ‘white lies’ because all lies cause damage, and no one deserves to be lied to, etc. The only moral use of lying was in a situation like where a violent racist asks you where the black people live, and you’re obliged to lie to save people from obvious physical harm. This sentiment annoyed me, and the textbook author seemed a bit heterosexist, so I wrote a small paper against it when I only needed about a paragraph.)
Honesty is a privilege of heterosexual individuals, those who are well-liked by society. For gay, lesbian, or bisexual people, lying is a way of life. It is true that one lie begets another, but it is not true that all people start out at the same level of honesty because of the presence of homophobia and heterosexism (the prejudice that occurs from the perception of everyone as heterosexual). Everyone in our society does just assume that everyone else is heterosexual, and a person who does not conform to this must “come out of the closet”, meaning to directly tell people that he or she is not straight after having lived in secrecy. Our society is just not friendly to gay people, so if you aren’t straight you have to be very careful who you tell and under what circumstances.

Midwives’ Connie Danforth Showcases Act Utilitarianism

(This is an essay written for a philosophy class. I’m not quite sure the textbook taught accurate definitions of terms, so take my analysis with a grain of salt. I also had some trouble meeting the minimum limit, so there are a lot of quoted portions.)
The book Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian, is a fictional novel about the ethical dilemma posed to the midwife character Sibyl Danforth and the ensuing legal investigation regarding the morality of her decision, as narrated by the character’s daughter Connie. Believing one of her clients, Charlotte Bedford, to have died mid-delivery, Sibyl performs a cesarean section to save the infant at the expense of the mother, who may not have actually been dead. In order to keep her mother from facing penalties delivered by the justice system, Connie deliberately tampers with evidence, her justification that the woman is already dead and there is no point in having her mother suffer for actions that cannot be changed, which is a form of act utilitarianism. While highly illegal, Connie’s actions are moral in this specific context.