Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Title IX

When Ms. Kobus gave her talk, she showed us a documentary that was about domestic and sexual abuse on college campuses and how the college campuses try to downgrade it like it didn’t happen and some college campuses don’t even report it. This is causing men and women who were sexual harased to not come forward and talk about it because they know nothing will get done and everyone will just think they lied about it. Title IX was created after this became a big problem on college campus, mostly due to harassment toward women. In the documentary, there were shocking statistics about a whole bunch of IVY league and good schools that have had reported sexual abuse. This has been on the rise and has included some big schools but unfortunately, they haven't changed much.
I think this is a big problem that needs more attention as well as a change because the actions that are being done now aren't changing anything. If anything this problem has grown on many different campuses and in many different ways and people think this is okay or has no effect on anyone but from the videos of the females sharing their experiences, they were affected very much but there have been things in their way preventing them from coming forward or sharing their experiences with others.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Trifles

    After watching the play Trifles last year, it was hard not to laugh at myself after watching it again.  I was humored by how few of the ideas and topics in the play I picked up on.  Having been written in the early 1916, it was interesting to see how the problems at hand have continued to this day.  Many of the themes that we have discussed throughout the class were present in the play.  I kept referring to Ms. O'Connell's presentation "the cult of domesticity," and how women were not involved in any business not regarding the house.  Mrs. Peters and Ms. Hale were mocked by the men and not involved in any of the discussions.  The play is a testament to many of the problems that women have faced and continue to face. I also found it difficult to cope with the fact that Mrs. Peters and Ms. Hale held back evidence in an effort to protect another women.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trifles


I really enjoyed watching Trifles, and I thought that it brought up many good points about gender. Women were valued far less than men, despite the women being incredibly smart. Sexism stood out to me over and over again as the men made demeaning comments about their abilities, especially in relation to the case. The underestimation of the women reminded me of the idea that women are put on a pedestal. The women in Trifles were underestimated for their their intelligence, and not their home-making. By putting women on a pedestal like this, it shows how women can be valued in some areas and not others. In trifles the women are not even considered suspects, despite one of them murdering her husband. Mrs. Wright was not originally seen as a suspect because of her gender, and nothing else. Trifles made me think about all of the small underestimations made about women every day. Despite some progress, women are still constantly undervalued, mostly in the workplace. Small things like being interrupted or brushed aside are still big issues because when each small injustice builds up, it makes a large impact. In our society, women don’t carry the same weight as men, yet they are valued highly in the home. The women in Trifles are valued for their cooking and cleaning, and this continues into today’s society. There are many similarities between today’s gender roles and the ones seen in Trifles. Although there are these similarities, watching Trifles also showed the progress that society has made. Women are valued much more than they used to, yet the injustices that women face still exist. It is very interesting to see this progress, and it brings up a question of what society will look like one hundred years from now. The documentary Miss Representation stated that it would take 500 years for women to reach equity in congress at the rate that it is currently happening. I hope that it takes much less time and similarly women are not underestimated nearly as much as they are now, or in Trifles.

Trifles

In the play "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell, the play is portrayed as valuing men over women.  Trifles, meaning a thing of little value or importance, I believe is referring to the women of the play, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters.  While the three men Mr. Henderson, the county attorney, Mr. Peters, the sheriff, and Mr. Hale, a neighbor of the Wrights, take over the most important roles in the play, the women, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are just figures in the background.  Throughout the investigation of Mr. Wright's murder, the three men are the most important people in seeking out whoever committed this crime, if it was not Mr. Wright himself.  When both of the women were looking around the house to find objects to take to Mrs. Wright, they look through an old box of quilts that Mrs. Wright had made.  In this finding, they discuss whether they believe Mrs. Wright would "knot" or quilt it.  Following this discussion, Mr. Henderson makes jokes about this, entering the house saying "Have you decided whether she was going to knot or quilt it?" in a sarcastic tone, followed by a laugh.  These little details are what makes the meaning of the play so significant.  While Mr. Henderson makes fun of the women for rummaging through the quilting box, this is where the murder case gets solved, when the women find the bird in the box with its neck rung.  In finding this detail, it becomes evident that Mr. Wright had killed the bird by ringing its neck, therefore, Mrs. Wright killed her husband by ringing his neck.  When the women found this out, they did not tell the men and they pretended not to know anything about it.  I think that this was important to the play because throughout the play, the importance of men was portrayed in them being the main investigators in the case, and the women finding out what really happened was very important because it brought power to the women.  The men, being the most "important" in the play were not able to find out what happened to Mr. Wright, while the women were, symbolizing their importance in the play.

Trifles

     In the first couple minutes of the play, I found it a little hard to follow what was going on given that the play started in media res . I did quickly notice the sociocultural dynamic the play was set in with the men doing all the talking like Mr. Hale giving his testimony while the women were not acknowledged. Very cleverly, however, Glaspell leaves a subtle message within the play that became very clear at the end. Throughout the play, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale are seen as less than as it is the men who are taken seriously in the investigation of the murder. The title "Trifles" becomes appropriate since the women are treated with a lack of importance. A few times Mr. Henderson makes fun of the women in their questioning of Mrs. Wright's knitting style. What he does not know, however, is that their questioning ultimately solves the murder case. It becomes evident that Mrs. Wright did have a motive in killing her husband. Mr. Wright snapped the bird's neck, and so consumed with rage his wife returned the favor and snapped his neck. It is important to note that it is women's stereotypical notions of emotions and higher importance to detail that prove superior. I found it quite ironic. I did question, however, why Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale did not say anything. I think perhaps Glaspell does this on purpose to send a greater message and be somewhat spiteful.
     I also believe this play plays on the fact that women were not considered competent. While this notion obviously benefited Mrs. Wright, it also highlights once again how women were not and still are not seen as equals in comparison with men. The men in the play do not think that Mrs. Wright is capable of killing primarily because she is a women, Unfortunately, the same thing can translate to the present and the various roles women have taken on. A woman can easily be written off from a higher position because her sex but also how attractive she may be. Among all the stereotypes for women there is a stereotype that attractive women are most likely unintelligent. When thinking of this, I recall the character of Izzy Stevens in Greys Anatomy where she was previously a model who posed in lingerie in order to pay for her college tuitions. Having been accepted to an elite residency program, no one believed it when she said she was studying to become a surgeon. No doubt she turned out to be a remarkable surgeon.
     All in all, after watching this play I was reminded of the constant indifferences. While taking my AP Spanish Lit exam the following day, three of my essay prompts surrounded an early era's sociocultural dynamics, the patriarchal system, and feministic views.

Trifles

Trifles left me thoroughly impressed; Glaspell’s observations, published in 1916, were incredibly astute and are surprisingly applicable to modern gender divides. For instance, the County Attorney was focused solely on solving the case and boosting his own pride, but the two women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, were more sympathetic towards the accused Mrs. Wright. This preference of men to play the singular hero is reaffirmed when we consider Mr. Robertson’s presentation about language. The article he referenced noted that boys, more often than not, wrote about themselves and their honor, while girls, more often than not, wrote about their siblings and friends. It was also concluded that instead of basing their plot on a victory, most stories written by girls concerned simple tasks or activities like jumping rope, which only serves to highlight another difference in male and female thinking patterns: as per society’s influence, women don’t gravitate towards competition like men. This key point is clearly illustrated in Trifles as Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters collaborate towards a realization and never fight over who is going to claim the supposed satisfaction from helping to uphold the law. In fact, they decide to withhold their findings and support Mrs. Wright’s innocence. It’s never determined whether Mrs. Wright was guilty of murdering her husband, but regardless of this, Glaspell, before the Suffrage Movement, publicly introduced this notion that women should stand up for other women. A farmer’s wife does not have an easy job, although at the time society labeled it as such. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peter acted from gendered characteristics that continue even in today’s classrooms. 

It’s interesting to connect these themes to my life at seventeen, surrounded by other seventeen and eighteen year olds. We aren’t elementary students writing about toy soldiers or braiding hair, yet we still conform to these gendered expectations. Isn’t “locker room talk” just boys trying to outcompete each other in a very macho-spirited way? Just the other day, a friend of mine texted me about how unbelievable it is that a boy’s pride can blind him from how rude he’s behaving. This is not to say that women are always empathetic, because we’re not, but I think there is some fairness in saying that we are “trained” by the common societal system to be the responsible ones who are loving mothers, devoted nurses, and the ultimate caregivers. And I believe that these are good traits that can lead the world away from assumptions and towards awareness, but women must also be taught to value themselves equally, as the documentary Missinterpreted expressed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trifles

Going into class on Monday, I had no idea what to expect regarding the content of the play “Trifles”. I found the play to be a bit hard to follow, but by the end of it, I got the message it was trying to send. The female actors did a nice job of showing us how women were expected to act and behave during that time, and the male actors did a good job of showing us how women were treated during the early 1900s, long before equality was ever an idea our society entertained.
Throughout the play, there are strong moments of sexism that stood out. I noticed that the only time the women really talked was when the men would leave the room. When a woman was standing next to her husband, she rarely spoke a word. There was also the blatant disregard for a woman’s opinion. Men did not seem to think a woman can look at the significant facts of the case. The whole time though, the women were much closer to solving the case than the men thought, and in the end they did. Another thing to look at is how the men underestimated the woman’s power. Mr. Henderson would not even think to consider Mrs. Hale a suspect, being typical to overlook the power of a woman at the time.
In today’s world, women are pushing boundaries and I like to think that our society has put the stereotypes we have seen in this play aside. While we used to think of women just as the quilters and cooks in the kitchen, we now have women who have roles such as Mr. Henderson's. Watching this play has really shown me how far we have come, in terms of gender roles, in 100 years, and I am curious to see if we can replicate that same amount of change in the next century.