Gorillaz Fictional Band Member Drops Sick Playlist

gorillaz_noodle
Photo credit: Wikipedia  

 

Mostly, Facebook is just a great way for me to waste a lot of time, but every once in a while, I find a real diamond in the rough of my news feed. This week, that diamond came in the form of an article from Bullet about Gorillaz fictional bandmember and lead guitarist, Noodle’s newest project: a playlist on SoundCloud. To be honest, I had forgotten about the Gorillaz until I saw this article. I was so excited to learn that the Gorillaz have a new album coming out, and they’ve been doing super random, cool promotional stuff, like giving each band member their own origin stories. The newest thing that’s been released in the ramp-up to their new album is this playlist I mentioned on SoundCloud, and it is everything my feminist dreams are made of.

Noodle has released a funky, fantastic, and feminist playlist to hype you up and get you moving. I have listened to the 28 minute long playlist at least 5 times since I found it a couple days ago. Every voice you hear is female and that is pretty damn cool when they’re rapping about riding low and singing about not giving a fuck. Noodle’s playlist is a fabulous reminder that being a girl is powerful!

Plus, like 26 minutes in, she hits me with the Tardis! Girl, you’re awesome. Thanks for the tunes 🙂

Ok, now I gtg find these backstories… Who is Noodle?

Listen to 私 Noodle❗️ by Gorillaz #np on #SoundCloud

Advertisements

(Un)Popular: An Analysis of Mean Girls in the Real World

I wasn’t very popular in high school. I never quite understood what it took to be popular. I cared too much about everything: my grades, my family, what people thought of me… I thought being cool meant not caring and as hard as I tried I couldn’t do that. The weirdest thing happened when I started college, though. I became popular. People wanted me to eat lunch with them. I had classmates fighting over who would be in my group. It’s like the things that made you popular in high school don’t really matter anymore and your peers start to see the more important attributes, like intelligence and humor. I wish I could go back to  my high school self, to all the drama freaks and the nerdy girls hiding in the library during lunchtime and tell them, IT GETS BETTER!!

So I am interested in what it is that makes girls popular. I’ve analyzed Mean Girls, a movie that is all about popular girls and one girl’s rise to the top of the high school food chain. Specifically, I would like to point of the behaviors and characteristics that seem to be closely tied with popularity. After this, I will attempt to make some inferences about these behaviors and how they affect the dynamics of their relationships, and how that reflects both negatively and positively on teenage girls. 

Mean Girls, written by comedian Tina Fey, is all about Cady, an African transfer student, learning the ins and outs of high school and “Girl World.” On her first day in an American high school she meets Janice and Damian, who give her a run down of the different cliques, the cool and the not cool. On her second day she meets the Plastics, Gretchen Wieners, Karen Smith, and their “Queen Bee” Regina George. She is asked to join the Plastics, supposedly because she’s “like, really pretty” and told the rules, “On wednesdays we wear pink.” But when Cady falls for Regina’s ex boyfriend the tables are turned and she is sucked into an all out “Girl World War”. Throughout the movie Fey has brilliantly illustrated what it means to be popular through Cady’s transformation from Wannabe to Queen Bee.

Mean Girls does a great job of pointing out how terrible high school is. I mean, seriously, high school is the hardest part of life for many of us, including myself. One of the reasons I believe high school is so hard is that the strangest characteristics make you popular. I have catalogued several of these characteristics, directly observed in the behavior of the Plastics, and organized them into positive and negative attributes depending on their affects on the person and the people around them.

The positive characteristics are a much smaller list so I will start with them. First of all, being a popular girl, especially THE popular girl, the Queen Bee, takes great leadership skills. Take Regina, while she is an “evil dictator” she possesses great leadership skills. She successfully organizes the Plastics in a dance number (jingle bell rock) and her “loyal followers” indeed follow her almost blindly. According to MissRepresentation.org on 21% of girls believe they have what it takes to be a leader. Is society instilling the idea in our young girls that in order to be a successful leader you must also be mean and manipulative? Is leadership in young girls considered a negative thing along with the other attribute they must have to be the leader of the pack in high school? These are questions I can’t answer easily, but instead should be considered by all of us. According to The Representation Project,  9/10 girls have not given up on the idea of being a leader. There is still hope, but we must foster safe and welcoming places where girls can love each other without comparing or competing.

 Regina also possesses great problem solving skills, even if she does use them for evil purposes. An example of this occurs when she puts herself in the Burn Book to blame the other girls. That was a mean and hateful thing to do, but seriously smart. If Regina, and other girls like her were to channel that cunning into good means the entire world could be a little brighter. Being popular also makes you a trendsetter. When Cady cuts holes in Regina’s shirt where her breasts are Regina proudly wears it, and soon everyone has holes in their shirts. Regina was unafraid to try something new because she was popular, but this is a skill all young girls should learn.

The list of negative attributes are much longer. The Plastics are caught in their own web of peer pressure and manipulation. As Gretchen Wieners so eloquently points out, “You wouldn’t buy a skirt without asking your friends first if it looks good on you.” Cady learns quickly that in high school your friends opinions of you are the most important. How will young girls ever learn that their own opinion should be of the highest regard if they are so concerned with their friends’ opinions? This raises many issues in my mind. It is known that our young girls are suffering an epidemic of low self esteem. Clinical Depression in girls is double that of boys. I want to suggest that these facts are very closely related to peer pressure and the fact that in high school your friends are your biggest critics.

Another attribute that seems common with popular girls is they mustn’t have a good relationship with their parents. My parents were very loving and supportive my entire life. Family time was key and missing it meant no friend time. Regina, on the other hand, treats her mother like crap, while her mother tries so hard to be the “cool mom.” She uses her parents as a way to get what she wants and manipulates them as much as much as she does the other plastics. Cady’s transformation into Queen Bee shows her relationship with her parents deteriorating. On the first day of school they hug and kiss and take pictures, but by Spring she is ditching their family time in favor of a house party and a cute boy. A great relationship with your parents when you’re in high school may be unfeasible to some of us, but a healthy relationship with them is vital. Young girls need adults they can confide and trust in.     

Oh, if I could tell high school girls how little these boys matter. No offense, men, but in high school, you are really the last thing girls should worry about, and yet it seems you’re the only thing we can think about!!! A great example of this is when Cady lies about being bad at math, her best subject, to get the attention of Aaron, Regina’s ex-boyfriend. Perhaps it’s because every popular girl has her own personal man candy. The only thing important about the chosen man candy is his looks, and possibly his inclusion in the football team. We send girls’ messages their entire life, but never so strongly as when they are in high school. One message that is very clear is your partner defines you.

A really obvious characteristic of being popular, which, unfortunately, transcends age in many ways, is good looks. As Janice points out in Mean Girls,  when planning Regina’s downfall, one her most important allies is her “hot bod.” Janice and Cady even devise a devious plan to feed Regina protein bars that help her gain weight. From an age much younger than high school we tell young girls that their looks define them. Through agencies like cheerleading, pageants, and princess parties we drive home ideas about femininity and physical appearance. We forget to tell girls how smart they are, how creative, or how tough, and instead shower them with compliments about how cuuuute and how pretty that dress. Is it any wonder that 53% of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies.  By age 17 that number is 78%. Our society has built a direct connection between the success of a woman and how good looking she is.

 Popularity in high school means feared rather than well liked. In the beginning of the movie, when the “wannabes” talk about Regina George, they speak with a sense of awe and admiration, but they say terrible things. One girls even says, breathlessly, “One time, she punched me in the face. It was awesome.” There’s a certain sense of fear when talking about or to Regina. But not one of those girls says anything positive about Regina. Throughout the movie, one theme made abundantly clear is that to be popular has nothing to do with being well-liked, which brings me back to the question, Has society inextricably tied these attributes together, being feared and bitchy in order to be a successful woman?

After taking stock of several good and bad characteristics of high school popularity i would like to go back and look at them a bit closer. What do they have in common? What does this mean for girls as they are pushed into young adulthood? The thing I fear the most is that these girls have no clue how to be good, true friends. According to Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, studies show we are more confidant and are able to learn and accomplishment more in small groups. We, as successful women, need other successful women for support, comfort, and friendship. But the plastics have no idea how to be any of those things for each other. They constantly backstab, manipulate, and undercut each other. I fear that as the new generation reaches adulthood they will be isolated from each other, with no lifelines to help them step up to success. 

My second fear has already come true, it happened to me, and it continues to get worse every day. Girls hate themselves. We pick apart our bodies and our choices, we undermine our own prerogative and we don’t trust our own opinions. Self esteem hits rock bottom in high school for many adolescent girls, and there is very little reprieve in college or the working world. It’s no surprise to me that depression in women has doubled since 1970. We are constantly, from birth, being told to question ourselves, being told our worth is defined by our beauty, something that ebbs and flows, for most of us, over a lifetime. It is no wonder women make up such small percentages of leadership roles. It is no wonder women still make $0.63 for every dollar earned by men. Our whole lives we’re told we’re not worth it. By society, and as a teenager, by each other! 

Something has to change. Several things have to change. But in relation to my current topic i have a solution. I would love to see more movies depicting healthy female relationships. Whip IT! is a great example a group of strong females who can also support each other without having to compete with each other. Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants is another great example. We need to make more films and TV shows about how to be a good friend, not how to be a Queen Bee. We need to start admiring and honoring good qualities, such as loyalty, kindness, perseverance, and critical thinking and stop putting beauty and material objects on a pedestal.


 Works Cited:    

Mean Girls. Mark Waters. Perfs. Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried.  Paramount Pictures, 2004. DVD.

Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. First edition. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

Cause and Effect. Digital image. Miss Representation. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.

“The Representation Project.” The Representation Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.

Women Who Wow Us: Maria Montessori

image
found out https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/let-a-childs-spirit-be-free-to-unfold-m-montessori/

Monday was WWW Us day, and it also happened to be Maria Montessori’s birthday.  Unfortunately,  I’ve been really slacking off on my blogging, so just two days late, here’s your weekly Women Who Wow us.
Maria Montessori was born on August 31st, 1870 in Italy.  She was raised middle class at a time when Italy, and the rest of the world held fairly strict gender roles. Despite this, though, she refused to fit into any boxes and, as a child and an adult, succeeded in many things thought at the time to be “masculine.”
Maria and her family moved to Rome when she was 14 and she began attending classes at a boys’ technical school, where she excelled in the sciences, especially biology. Her father never quite supported her, but her mother did. This continued into adulthood, when Maria went to the University of Rome and became the first female doctor in Italy.
Her choices of concentraion as a doctor were pediatrics and psychology, and she used these to treat children who came to the free clinic at her school. She made many observations on the psychology and intelligence of these children.
In 1900, Maria became the director of a school for developmentally disabled children and began to extensively research and observe early childhood development and education. Maria developed an education plan and practiced it within her school and found remarkable improvements in student development. She began talking and writing about her findings, and also use these speeches and paper to advocate for women’s and children’s rights.
After several years of success helping disabed children, the Italian government gave Maria the oppurtunity to help “abled” children. She was given charge of 60 low-income children from 1-6 years old. She tweaked her method where necessary and used it in her new school. This method is now referred to as the Montessori Method.
The Montessori Method refers to an environment where the teacher allows the student to learn what they would like, how they would like to learn it. One of her most famous quotes is, “The Greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, The Children are now working as if I don’t exist.
By 1925, The Montessori Method had gained great popularity all over the world, including in America. There were over 1,000 schools in the United States at it’s peak in 1925. They method eventually lost favor around 1940.
By then Maria had been forced to flee Italy and move to India, where she developed a program called Education for Peace. This program, and the work she did on it, earned her two Nobel Peace Prize nominations.
Maria Montessori died in 1952, in the Netherlands. In the 1960’s Montessori schools saw another bout of popularity, and there are many in the United States and all over the world still today. In fact, Montessori schools have recently been recognized as a major influence of many famous movers and shakers. Check out this video, where Google Founders talk about the influence a Montessori education had on them.
I’ve always loved Maria Montessori, and her system of education. I have learned a lot more about her while researching her for this post, and it’s been great! I hope you enjoyed learning, too!!
Until next time,
Stay Awesome

Women Who Wow Us: Sojourner Truth

image
Pencil on paper by Charles White-1940

Sojourner Truth was not always the outspoken woman we often hear about. You have probably heard of her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” You may even know that she dictated her own memoirs.
Do you know how she got there, though? I am so excited to share with you the story of Sojourner Truth, and how she became a woman who wows us!

(more…)

7 Seriously Important Feminist Readings

After telling you guys all about Margaret Mead yesterday, I had someone ask to recommend some of her essays to read. This, of course, got my brain swirling with all the wonderful papers, stories, and other writings I have come across since I started studying Women’s and Gender Studies. I feel like just about everything I have read in the last few years is extremely important because there are so many different facets and viewpoints to feminism. I could list every thing I’ve read since 2012 and I promise there would still be SO much to learn, for me and for you.

So, I have shortened this down to a handful of papers and stories that I think encompasses several different topics that you can use as firepower against MRA’s and meninists and racists who say ignorant shit.

  1. Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, By Peggy McIntosh

This essay, written in 1988, is still 100% relevant. It is about privilege. Whether that be white privilege, male privilege, straight, cisgender, religious privilege, even privilege for being able to live in a Western Society. The first step in becoming a feminist is recognizing your privilege and accepting that you have no idea what people who aren’t as lucky as you go through. This essay does a great job of breaking down simple privileges that we never realize we take advantage of.

2. bell hooks

THIS is a good place to start with bell hooks, (lowercase letters intentional) but I suggest reading anything by her you can get her hands on. Her rhetoric is honest and painful, in the best way. She deals a lot with issues of race. Also, she’s from Kentucky and I think that’s awesome.

3. I Am Not a Rapist By John Stoltenburg

This essay is  written by a male feminist activist. Stoltenburg has long been a supporter of women’s rights, writes and speaks against violence towards women, and tries to reframe how we as a society perceive masculinity. Also, he’s a guy!!! A MAN who’s a feminist! Whhhhaaatttt. But seriously, he writes well and I really like this essay.

4. X: A Fabulous Child’s Story

This is a fictional short story that explores the idea of society-constructed gender roles. I actually recommend it to any of my friends about to have a child, and now I recommend it to you. It is heart warming and sweet, but remember it is just fiction. Still gives you something to ponder on though.

5. 1.5 Million Missing Black Men

This is actually a newer article from the New York Times, from April of this year. I added it to this list, though because I think it’s really important. True feminists believe any social injustice is wrong, and “the race issue” is one of the most important issues of our time. To me, this article proves that. NYT takes facts and statistics and forces the reader to realize that PoC have a harder time living “normal” lives than cis, white people. Before you disagree, or you are offended, read the article. They do a much better job of explaining this than I do.

6. Am I Blue? By Bruce Coville

This is a really witty short story that explores identity and homosexuality in a very relatable way.

7. Margaret Mead

I can’t find any direct articles or excerpts from her books, but I did find a few articles explaining why her work is important. For me, personally, her work isn’t as relevant as some of the newer pieces I’ve listed above.


These six articles and stories are the very basic “Starter Pack” for feminists, if you will. I did not discover any of these myself, but was introduced to them, by amazing professors like Jill, my mentor and feminist role model. I tried to cover a number of topics, because that’s what feminism does! It doesn’t JUST follow “women’s issues” like many people believe, because we understand that if one person is held back, then we are all held back as a society.

I would love to hear what you think about these different readings! Which one is your favorite?

What did I leave out? Is there an article or story you feel is JUST WRONG to leave out here?

I fully plan on doing another round up of important readings, so we can move forward as a society.

Peace & Love

Rach

Women Who WOW Us: Margaret Mead

image

Margaret Mead was an extraordinary woman. In a time where women went to school to find husbands, she went to school and found her life’s work. Margaret was born in 1901 to an economist and a political activist. Her parents were feminist and encouraging, possibly leading to their daughter’s outspoken and bold personality, and her success in a male-dominated field. She went to Barnard College and got her Bachelor’s degree, then went on to Colombia and attained her Master’s degree in 1924 at just 23 years old! In 1926 She got the job of assistant curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History. Ethnology is the study of contemporary cultures, in order to develop a theoretical framework for analyzing human society.

    In terms of ethnology, Margaret had a theory. She believed that the struggle adolescent girls went through during puberty and young adulthood was an effect of Western Society’s strict rules and pressures put on adolescent girls. To further research her theory, Margaret knew she would have to closely observe girls OUTSIDE of the Western Society in order to have a solid point of comparison. Therefore, Margaret travelled to the small East Asian island of Samoa to live with a village of about 600. She immersed herself in their culture for six weeks, interviewing almost 100 girls during that time. Then, in 1928, she published Coming to Age in Samoa, a book about her travels and her research.

    In her efforts Margaret Mead broke many molds in the field of anthropology. Actually, before her trip to Samoa, doing detailed, immersive fieldwork such as this was pretty much unheard of. Additionally, her model of using a non-western culture to highlight issues in the western world was a groundbreaking and field-changing idea. Her cross-cultural comparisons completely changed the way we study human culture and made her a key anthropological figure for the rest of her life.

    Over the years Margaret became a popular public speaker, especially on controversial topics. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, especially when it was a topic she was well-researched on. A great example of this is sex and gender. Margaret wrote two books on the topic, Male and Female(1949) and Growth and Culture(1951), in which she argued that personality differences between men and women are socially constructed and not hereditary. This principle is still canon in Women’s and Gender Studies classes today. Margaret mead also wrote a column for Redbook and published a biography in 1972 titled Blackberry Winter.

    Margaret Mead was married three times and got divorced three times. With her third husband, Gregory Bateson, an anthropologist in his own right, she did many field collaborations. The two also had a daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson, who grew up to be a renowned author and anthropologist. Margaret Mead died in 1978 in her home in New York City, New York.

Women Who WOW Us presents Amelia Earhart

I love this color portrait I found of Amelia on fiddlersgreen.net
I love this color portrait I found of Amelia on fiddlersgreen.net

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life.”

Amelia Earhart was someone that could be a great role model to anyone.

She was a game changer in both the field aviation and in helping women everywhere see their own potential. She set nine flying records and sold several books. All while everyone around her said a woman could never do it. She has always been a big hero of mine.

In this post I will tell you about Amelia’s accomplishments and her amazing willpower.  I hope you take away from this that you are capable of anything you set your mind to.

Amelia Earhart was born July 24th, 1987 in Atchinson, Kansas, but she did not stay there for long. She grew up very unconventionally, especially for the time, and was quite the tomboy. She spent her childhood moving from town to town a lot with her railroad attorney parents. Eventually she ended up in Toronto, Canada, where her sister lived. In Toronto Amelia took a Red Cross first aid course and enlisted as a Nurse’s Aid tending to soldiers during World War 1. Following World War 1 Amelia returned to the states and enrolled in the premed program at Columbia University.

In her heart, though, Amelia must have heard another calling, because in 1920, after only a year at Columbia Amelia left the school and travels to New York where she went on her very first plane ride. After being up in the clouds, Amelia knew she had do it again, and was determined to take flying lessons.

The very next year, 1921, Amelia was able to buy her first plane, a bright yellow two-seater she nicknamed the “Canary”. Amelia used the Canary to set her first record, as the first woman to fly up to 14,000 feet in altitude.

In the years that followed, Amelia had some rough times. In 1924 Amelia was sick and had to be hospitalized for Chronic sinusitis. She was forced to sell the Canary and work several odd jobs, including a social worker, a teacher, and a salesperson for Kinner Airster, the same company that produced her first plane.

Then, on a cold morning in April, 1928, a fateful call was made. The man on the phone said “How would you like to be the first women to fly across the Atlantic?” With that phone call history was made. Even though Amelia was just a passenger, she and her whole team were given a parade and reception at the white house with then president, Calvin Coolidge.

Little did Amelia know, on this history making flight she would meet her future husband, George P. Putnam. Putnam also became Amelia’s manager, organizing her interviews and public appearances, booking her a luggage and clothing line, and even publishing two of her books, “The Fun of It” and “Last Flight”.

Though most of the records Amelia set were women’s records, this did not deter her. She felt she was always fighting to be seen as an equal person in a man’s world. She was quoted saying “Now and then women should do for themselves what men have already done–occasionally what men have not done–thereby establishing themselves as persons, and perhaps encouraging other women toward greater independence of thought and action.” Amelia believed every person, man and woman was capable of doing ANYTHING they set their mind to, and I think she is a great proof of that.

On June 1st 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan departed from Miami, Florida on a 29,000 mile journey that would take her around the entire world. She would be only the second person ever–and the first woman–to make this flight. By July 2nd almost three quarters of the trip had been completed. Inaccurate maps and shady weather had made the trip difficult for the pair, and their next stop, Howland Island would be the most challenging. Howland Island is only a mile and a half long and a half-mile wide. There landing would have to be perfect.

Despite constant contact with the US Coast Guard, who were stationed all around the island, Earhart and Noonan could not find their landing zone and shortly before 9 in the morning they lost communication entirely. Nothing was ever heard from them again. The U.S. government spent nearly $4 million scouring 250,000 square miles of ocean before finally calling off the search on July 19th.

On Howland Island there was a lighthouse built in Amelia Earhart’s honor. I hope you will always remember Amelia for her courage, her vision, and her ability to push the envelope in both aviation and women’s’ rights. I hope Amelia Earhart helps you to see the potential in yourself. Anything you set your mind to is possible.