Thursday, May 5, 2011

Social Justice Event

After hearing that the social justice event that I would be attending was going to be based around the film twilight, I was more than apprehensive.  Once I then found out that the speech was to be given by the same woman who had come up with the theory of "SCWAAMP", I was much more interested than I had thought I originally was going to be.  I walked into the event to find something that I had half expected walking in.  This of course being the first part of the event, which was a speech focused on the challenges in Women's and Gender studies classrooms.  I am in no way attempting to be sexist in my saying this, but I had an inkling as to what the general topics of this part of the speech would be, and I was sure that it would include several different instances in which women are mistreated and/or underappreciated within society today. 
                As I had presumed, this was the main focus in the beginning, but to my surprise my own views were explained to be a part of the problem itself.  It fit directly under the category of "Resistance to feminist theoretical perspectives".  I instantly realized what I had been doing, becoming even more interested after the fact that views such as my own were exposed right there in front of me.  Any and all prior perspectives that I held were cast aside, and I gave even more attention to the speaker.  As she progressed, she explained the importance of Gate Openers and Resistance Breakers.  This was a concise list of ways in which states can overcome, and work on exploring other individual's values.  Such topics within the list included:  Exploring and deconstructing theory, encouraging student ownership of values and beliefs, and also challenging students to "unpack" their knowledge.  
                The next part of her presentation consisted of an almost overwhelming breakdown and analysis of the three twilight films, focusing on how they involved gender roles, as well as attempted to keenly apply examples of race within the characters in the films.  When she first said that the rest of the presentation was a breakdown of these three films, I had no idea as to what this would actually be.  I once again had my doubts, but none the less was interested in seeing exactly what this would be.  Overall, I found this part of the presentation to be very interesting.  I had never actually paid enough attention to the films to be able to make such inquisitive accusations as to how ethnicity and gender roles were so clearly incorporated.  For me the twilight series was simply something I had to sit through in order to please my girlfriend.  The presenter's  perspectives into the film were extremely in depth, going as far as to describe the in accurateness of the traits involving a specific Indian tribe with the movie.  I started off not thinking that this could amount to anything meaningful, but in turn came to realize that movies need to be looked at closely like this in order to gain every aspect hidden within the film itself.  I am, usually the king of such breakdowns, but have never attempted one for these movies, sticking mostly to horror films.
                However, my favorite part of the entire presentation was the part in which the presenter began to speak of the several classes that she herself teaches, mostly involving woman's rights.  I wasn't surprised at all at hearing that these were the type of classes that she taught.  She went on to explain that over the years, several students will become very involved within this class, and are able to gain a strength thy never had before.  She said that there have been countless instances in which a female student will go directly to her and completely open up about an issue, such as domestic abuse or any other problem such as this.  I realize the amount of strength it must take to actually tell someone of your problem, either due to extreme fear or even immense amounts of nervousness.  I could see from the way in which she presented this point that she was very proud of the fact that her class gave these individuals the strength they needed to confront their fears.  Getting a sense of gratification as a teacher is what it is all about, and it is the exact same feeling that I one day hope to achieve.

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