FEM 2012 – Corrie Scott
T.A. Alex Viau – [email protected]
Course 1 – Jan 10 th
The focus is on the process of questioning… seeks to put women in the center since they are not as present in all the
different sectors. Not only on women but also on the masculine image in society. Perceptions in society of sex and
gender. The way power circulate to the lives of individuals and groups. The difference with feminism is that feminism is
more the social movement whereas women’s studies is the academic side of it.
Bell hooks: feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.
Sex: refers to the designation of being biologically male or female.
Gender: the social construction of the masculine and feminine. Refers to the cultural designation of feminine and
masculine. A social category imposed on a sexed body (Joan Scott)
Dichotomy: Organizes people, concepts and things into two mutually exclusive categories. Encourages us to view things
as opposites, eliminating the possibility of ambiguity. Influence the way we describe and understand the idea of
opposites, relevant to the way we perceive males and females, our social perception of biological organs. We now take
biology as THE determinant factor to separate people. Predominant thought in modern societies, day night, yes no, black
white. Our tendency to view as odd or deviant grey zones is a product of dichotomy. It is a either or way of thinking.
- Aggressive - Emotional
- Ruler - Delicate
- Tough - Accommodating
- Breadwinner - Submissive
- Logical – rational - Maternal – nurturing
- Authoritative - Passive
- Physically strong - Irrational
- Unemotional - Pink
- Blue - Physically weak
They’re opposites of each other, putting the men as more valuable, superior. Very stereotypical, considering the fact that
a lot of men display feminine traits and vice-versa. People that display traits of the opposite sex are usually perceived as
gay or lesbian, often subordinated. It obviously depends of the trait, but it is usually not valued for a man to be emotional
or weak. Its culturally based, in Europe for instance, men are not all strong and tough, and it is perfectly fine. They are
other social groups that would change that list, race for instance.
Course 2 – Jan 13 th
Video – bell hooks – outlaw culture
Popular culture is where people get their perceptions of ideals for genders. Thinking critically (on top of literacy) is at the
heart of any transformations on social ways, and representations. White men have the power to reproduce any images
they want to, giving their representations of racial stereotypes or sexist stereotypes that perpetuate negative
representation in society. (In movies or shows) Media has a huge control on our imagination. It’s a manipulation of the
representations. Medias are also used to hold back women from feminist ideas.
White supremacy evokes political thinking, like the apartheid where the society of colored casts, and allows the
collusions of black people, refers to institutional thinking instead of personal beliefs.
Ex. Madonna, reproducing patriarchal ideology and positioning herself on the white camp, reproducing white supremacy
because it made more money. Movie Kids** rap music
Color cast system: the color of your skin determines your rank in society, lighter skin and women with straight hair have it
Commodified blackness: the use of blackness to sell media, like the movie smoke, reinforcing the stereotypes. young
white men from the suburbs listening to black music as a commodity…
Enlightened witness: what we should be, educated, aware, and critically vigilant about the representation, literacy.
White supremacist capitalist patriarchy: 1- keeps white ppl at the center of the discussion, makes the whites responsible.
2- shows the ways that oppressions interlocks and reinforce one another, 3- evokes the political system, the institution,
the structure not just the individual point of view. 4- allows for the complicity of people of colour.
1 Course 3 – Jan 17 th
Scientific understanding of race (See the article)
Like sex, we tend to thing of race as innate and biological, something we inherit from our parents. We try to find the
characteristics that identify to the races. The measurements of the skull, the ones of white men as larger, as having a
bigger brain, and those of women and black ppl as smaller. Race is not based on biology, but race is rather an idea that
we ascribe to biology. (Alan Goodman). Race has no genetics or biological basis.
There is a greater genetic variation within the populations typically labeled Black in White than between these
populations. (Ian Haney Lopez). Reveals the social rather that scientific nature. The history has long been the history of
failed efforts to justify social beliefs. (Lopez)
Slavery predates race. Race came as a way to justify slavery, and social inequality. Racial fabrication: humans
produce races, the process by which racial meanings arise, human rather that social natural forces creates it. That
includes gender and class relations. Our understanding of race and the prejudices changes very quickly. Races are
constructed relationally, against one another, and not in isolation. We understand blackness in contrast or in opposition
to the white population for example. Suggest the possible intention to deceive and implies the working of human hands.
Race – the power of a illusion l 4 of 4 (youtube)
1. How is ancestry different from race?
Ancestry is biological, genetics, the family tree. Race is solely a social construct.
2. Should doctors take biological race into account when treating illness? Can you think of a situation where
thinking about race as biological might be misleading or have a negative effect?
No, because we might have some ancestry that doesn’t show visibly. Doctors presume, and rule out
prematurely some sickness associated with certain races.
3. Race is an illusion. Racism is real. Explain.
Racist assumptions are very commons, the black professor often mistaken as the football coach.
Course 4 – Jan 20 th
Interlocking oppression, Additive models vs. interlocking models
Additive = adds all the oppressions as units of oppression, like black and woman. So all people have all the same
characteristics of women, or of black people. Too simplistic. Gives us a portrait of a woman as .. very patronizing.
Interlocking = acknowledge that the systems of oppression work together. Sexism, homophobia and racism all work
together. By treating one you treat all. They are all dependent of one another.
Sarah Jones – interlocking analysis on youtube (Def poetry: Sarah Jones “your revolution”)
The revolution will not happen between these thighs – the objectifying of women
The mainstream roots of black people and hip hop, the need to make it real again, commodified blackness
Women are as much to blame for reproducing the stereotypes Coercive domination for gays.
Shad on youtube (Shad - brother (watching))
Historical representations of blackness and black masculinity, as hyper violent and sexist. The young have that pressure to
act like that and to reproduce those stereotypes. their hypervisibility.
Lynn Manning. Her website and her blogspot. Poem The magic wand :
Quick-change artist extraordinaire,
I whip out my folded cane
and change from black man to blind man
with a flick of my wrist.
It is a profound metamorphosis—
From God gifted wizard of roundball
dominating backboards across America,
To God-gifted idiot savant composer
pounding out chart-busters on a cockeyed whim;
From sociopathic gangbanger with death for eyes
to all-seeing soul with saintly spirit;
From rape deranged misogynist
to poor motherless child;
From welfare-rich pimp
to disability-rich gimp;
And from ‘white man’s burden’
to every man’s burden.
It is always a profound metamorphosis.
Whether from cursed by man to cursed by God;
or from scriptures condemned to God ordained,
My final form is never of my choosing;
2 I only wield the wand;
You are the magicians.
Negatives stereotypes of people with disabilities, but positive as well…
Resistance – The Narcicyst.
How we understand power.. middle-east ppl are the new black
The kind of resistance he’s using against the prejudices in society against Muslims and north africains, and …
Many different images of Muslims, they’re not all the same, cultural instead of biological prejudices, like the culture is
predetermined to act a certain way.
Course 5 – Jan 24 th
Suffragette movement in Canada, the 1 wave of feminists, who were working for the vote of women. Some were
imprisoned and some died for the cause. The famous five : Emily Murphy, Nelly Mc, 1916, Alberta gave women the right
to vote provincially. Some women won the right to 1918 could vote federally, except aboriginal men and women (until
1960), and Indo and Chinese men and women (until 1947). Suffragettes demanded the right to vote but were not
interested in the rights of aboriginal. So they were for the rights of “some” women. The movement was to control alcohol
consumption that was believed to be the cause of all evil in society. It was sometime called maternal feminism, they
argued that the values that made good mothers and spouses should be put to good use, throughout the society, women
were morally superior, demonized the men’s lust, and saw themselves as the keeper of the nation, they also used the
superiority of biological white women. The domesticity of women, maternal responsibility to children as a political..?
Some were talking about the purification of the race, eugenics, the idea of superior races. The lobby for the
preservation of pure or superior human stock, and the management, of not outright elimination of those deemed to be
inferior. This movement was alive in Canada well before Hitler. “bad genes” as called by Emily Murphy.
Alberta Sexual Sterilization Act, 1928-1972. Most at risk for forces sterilization were men and women with
disabilities, new immigrants, native residential schools, women deemed “sexually promiscuous”. Look for the number…
The population was in favor of this movement, they voted for it and the law passed. They all strongly believed they were
doing a good thing for the “Canadian” population, keeping it safe and healthy, protecting it against the bad genes of the
either physically or mentally sick (determined with IQ tests), and of the immigrants. But there it no such thing as a
Canadian race, and never will be.
Sterilization of Leilani Muir video on clipbucket
Course 6 – Jan 27 th
“Ethnosexual frontiers are sites where ethnicity is sexualized, and sexuality is racialized, ethnicized and nationalized.” She
denounces how rape is used as a weapon of war. It has been used around the world in numerous conflicts. “rape camps”.
Was used as a means of ethnic purification, to draw an ethnic in the sand.
Shorn, Suspected women to have been sleeping with the enemy, (the Nazis) were severely punished, especially
in France, Shaven head, swastika tattooed on their heat and chest, paraded almost naked in the streets. Our women
should not of been having sex with their men. Those women were unfairly suspected. Men collaborating are very seldom
Interlocking: all systems of oppressions work together to reinforce one another. This makes it almost impossible
to fight against only one of them.
Propaganda posters during WWII showing happy white families, promoting the ideal family. It is a direct
connection with the nation that pushes them to be more conservative and inclined to pursue that ideal. Heteronormative
family. (Heteronormativity**: where anything else is seen deviant or unnatural).
sexuality is an important factor in the defense of racial and national boundaries.
Course 8 – Feb. 3 (missed course 7)
Race, the floating signifier: referring to the values and meanings people have learned to associate with racial categories.
Race works like a language. Systems and concepts of classification in any given culture. It’s the meanings behind the
signifiers that he’s interested in, and the way they get produced. His main point is that racial terms gained their meaning
by the shifting relations of differences. Relational, not essential. They depend on opposites, on their relation with other
opposites. Never have one specific meaning, always going through the process of reevaluation and appropriation.
The social definition of being white has changed throughout the years. (see lecture and video). The Irish and the French
Canadians were associated with the blacks, as ape-like.
3 The lord Durham Report in 1839, where he was sent to Canada to study the French Canadian question, as they were seen
as a different race. “The English were doing the French a favor by forcing them to assimilate.” Were saving them from
their inferiority, offering them our wealth and superior education. It’s the same colonial discourse that was used in Africa.
White privilege, which the goal is to problematized whiteness. To question the normalization of white privilege and white
people in general. Those privileges are often invisible to us whites but highly visible to the non whites. The white people
don’t feel empowered. Were not thought to question it, or even to notice it. Peggy McIntosh : “white privilege and Male
privilege”. Men are over advantaged. Often denied and often protected. Were all against racism, but were all thought to
protect our privileges. (ex. Being highly represented in the media, being shown that my race has done all the work in the
constitution, never asked to speak for the whole race, able to talk about racism without seeming self seeking, etc.) its like
an invisible and weightless backpack of unearned assests, which we were formed to remain oblivious to. (McIntosh)
1. What does Hall mean by politics without guarantees?
2. According to Richard Dyer, “whiteness as race resides in invisible properties and whiteness as power is maintained
by being unseen”. Explain and find examples, from the reading and your own experience.
The default position of often whiteness, like if we don’t precise, ppl assume were talking about white people. It is
We can make it visible by educating people more about whats going on. People are unaware.
Course 9 – Feb 7 imaginary Indians
It is what non-natives want them to be. It does not accurately represent actual aboriginal people. It is the images that are
projected on them.
Indigenous people have been stereotyped (Pocahontas) biased portraits. Representations of native masculinity. The word
Indian is the invention of the European, it’s a white conception. The great Indian warrior, perhaps the worst Indian
stereotype, fierce, a threat to civilized society, covered in war paint, savage. We see that character in a lot of westerns. It
is also often romanticized and sensualized. The actual communities did not most of the time have warriors. They are
portrayed as law breaking, as something that needs to be contained, dangerous, hyper masculine. Medias focuses on
these issues instead of the actual problem, (ex. The Oka crisis). It makes them seem like they don’t belong in modern
society, like there’s no place for them. Never do we see them as alive and well and thriving, they are not dying today.
Their population is growing, but mostly in poverty because of the lack of attention from the government. Pervasive.
Movie Smoke Signals (how to be a real Indian).
Another stereotype is the vanishing Indian, a vanishing race. Everyone is jumping on the culture to try to
document everything before it dies completely. Like it’s a phenomenon comparable to the dinosaurs, portrayed in
museums. People collect Indian artifacts.
White Americans have failed to convert them culturally. Some people call it a cultural battle. Some of the
strategies that aboriginal activists are using to subvert and resist colonial versions of native masculinity.
Thomas King – I’m not the Indian you had in mind. (short film). To try to go against the stereotypes they were
dressed in modern clothes, as doing the same things any other person would, they are also questioning whose fault it is,
theirs or ours, they acknowledge the existence of this imaginary Indian, but saying that its not them.
Paintings by Kent Monkman, hypersexualized, feminization, he’s giving the native American the power, putting
the cowboy as a participant, also sexualized. Eroticized. The other painting, the white guy who made the statue is kissing
the indian he made on a horse. Hypermasculinity.
1. According to “Judgment Day”, the residential school system in Canada constitutes genocide. Explain.
They impose the Canadian patriarchal and Christian ways, while suppressing their cultural ways.
2. In “judgment Day”, Victoria Freeman suggests that “our best efforts may contain destructive distortions
or be harnessed for wrong ends”. Explain using one example drawn from the reading.
3. According to Janice Accose in “Reclaiming Myself”, Canadian literature is an ideological instrument,
Promotes the cultures, philosophies A certain kind od values, of the white, fosters attitudes about
4 Course 10 – Feb. 10 th
Mohawk girls movie by Tracey Deer, 2005. The adolescents are so isolated they come to believe the outside is the enemy.
Some are criticized for wanting to make it in the outside world. It become a tough decision for them to decide what they
want to do with their lives as soon as it comes for them to choose which high school they want to go to. Marginalized
community. It is also hard for them to figure out where they stand in society, who they are.
The massive Mercier Bridge looms over the eastern end of the Kahnawake Native reserve carrying commuters
into the city of Montreal. For Amy, Lauren and Felicia, three Mohawk teens living in its shadow, the bridge also serves as a
constant reminder of the bustling world just beyond the borders of their tiny community.
Like typical teenagers, all three are wrestling with critical decisions about their futures. But for these girls, there
is more at stake. The rules on the reserve can be strict and unforgiving. Move away and you risk losing your credibility, or
worse, your rights as a Mohawk. Stay and you forego untold experiences and opportunities in the "outside world."
Like nearly half of the teenagers in Kahnawake, filmmaker Tracey Deer utilized government subsidies to attend
private school in Montreal. Vowing never to return, she then left the reserve to attend college in the U.S. Now a graduate
of Dartmouth University, she has come home to Kahnawake to play a role in the evolution of her community.
With insight, humour and compassion, Deer takes us inside the lives of these three teenagers as they tackle the
same issues of identity, culture and family she faced a decade earlier. Like her, they are outspoken, honest and wise
beyond their years.
Shot over two years, and interspersed with home videos from Deer's own adolescence, Mohawk Girls provides a
surprising inside look at modern Aboriginal youth culture. Deeply emotional yet unsentimental, it reveals the hope,
despair, heartache and promise of growing up Native at the beginning of the 21 century.
Course 11 – Feb. 14
10 multiple questions and 8 short answer questions. (10 + 40)
Ex. A scientist can determine a person’s race by looking at his a) DNA, b) skin color, c) none of the above. (c)
Most at risk for forces sterilization in Canada were a) men and women with disabilities, b) … c) all of the above. (c)
1) What does bell hooks refer to as the “color cast system”?
How rare it is to see black women in music videos, they are not seen as desirable. Relates to the white
supremacy concept, black people are encouraged to conform to white standards of culture and beauty.
2) What is meant by “interlocking system of oppression”?
All facets of oppressions work together, for example sexism and racism. They all reinforce each other. You can’t
address one without addressing all of them, it won’t work if you attack one in isolation. Ex. First wave feminism,
where the women were racist, and the fact that they didn’t work for all the women backfired on them.
3) According to Richard Dyer, “…whiteness as power is maintained by being unseen” (from Colored white, not
The power and privileges of being white reside in the fact that it is kept invisible. It is because it is so subtle that
no one can denounce it. White people don’t feel as though they are empowered. We look at who doesn’t have
power, but not at who do have the power. White people deny those advantages. White as being the default,
generic, as universal, as human, and people of color as being particular. Whiteness becomes normative. Flesh
colored Band-Aid or crayons are white.
4) According to Stuart Hall, race is a floating signifier. Explain.
Referring to the values and meanings people have come to associate with racialized groups. They are arbitrary
meanings that we learn unconsciously. Race functions like a language. They slide and change because they are
The essay question: Discuss the following se