like disney for grown ups

submitted by: sol skyers

It’s that time of the year everyone!! “Out with the old and in with the new“, and what better way to start off 2012 than with a brand new season of “The Bachelor”, where 25 beautiful women come from all across the country just to meet this single hunk.

While introducing the Bachelor to the women who are competing for his affection, they have these brief introductory scenes, where they say a little something about who they are, what they do and what they hope to find on the show. There were a few things that immediately caught my attention and struck me as odd.

Once upon a time shows such as this one, made most if its viewers feel a little green with envy that only the most beautiful women stood a shot at winning the love of their real life prince charming. However nowadays if you look closely and pay any attention at all to the stories of some of these women, you’ll quickly learn that a lot of these women may look the perfect part yet seem to have the same misfortune and bad luck that many of us women have on the other side of the HD television screen.

So far within the first thirty minutes of the show I have heard the story of a woman who had been broken up with via text message, another woman who is a relationship expert blogger, yet cannot seem to find her own true love, who, while telling her story, looked as though she was about to break out into tears. Oh, and of course, the single mother who claims her son is what makes her world go round. I don’t know if it’s just me, but who is watching the little boy who makes your world go round while you are galavanting off trying to find true love?

Now anyone who knows me knows that I myself am a hopeless romantic, but I cannot say that I would abandon my everyday responsibilities just to find ‘true love’. I think it is extremely absurd to showcase these women as desperate enough to come from all of these unique walks of life in hopes of finding Mr. Right. To me it almost appears as though all of these women represent rejection at its finest and here is where they have all been sent to rally and riot for love.

The Bachelor chosen for this season is no virgin to the whole television experience, he was previously on the Bachelorette where he himself was rejected, so all-in-all this season reeks of second chances. A woman just showed up and claims that she knows everything there is to know about wine, (catering obviously to the fact that the bachelor owns a vineyard), so he proceeds to ask her a question regarding a specific type of wine.  She then confesses that she knows nothing about wine at all except that she loves to drink it.

The lengths that people in general will go to make put themselves in the running, to win a spot in someone’s heart is rather ridiculous. This could be why two people get together then divorce or break-up later down the road. That’s the thing with being fake: anyone can do it and many people are fantastic at it. But most can’t do it for the entire ‘happily ever after’.

So the bachelor fast forwards a bit and reveals upcoming scenes, some which include women who clearly have emotional and psychological issues, which I mean many people suffer from mental illness and or some sort of emotional instability, but to have it showcased in front of millions of people just screams desperation for tv ratings. (we love to be validated in our belief that all women are neurotic and unstable).  It definitely adds drama to any reality based television show, and gives most people at home what they want to see.  And what they want to see is what they expect to see.  The socially constructed categories we have all been raised in come to full light on television – there is something audience’s love about being able to believe in the mythical Cinderella and her Prince Charming.  This show is like Disney for grown-ups.

I have carefully inspected the 25 women and I have noticed that not anyone of these women are of color, have any noticeable physical disabilities. There are no women who are plus size, nor are there any women who seem to be over the age of 30. Now I can safely assume that Mr. Ben submitted his special list of what it is he is looking for, but this perpetuates that nasty little cycle that I as a feminist does not like. So what Ben, only Caucasian females under the age of 30 who have silicone breasts are up your alley? Here I thought that true love was about the connection that was made between two people, not just on the superficial exterior. Whatever would Cinderella have done if Prince Charming had a beer belly or a receding hair line? I especially love how all the women are dolled up, looking their absolute best. All of the stops have been pulled out to make this show (or rather, showcase of white, upper class women) a success. Makeup, hair extensions, false lashes, designer dresses, perfect bodies…what happens if it rains, or when he wakes up next to you in the morning and – omigoodness – sees the real you?

So, I lastly see a woman who seemed the most ‘normal’ on the show who quit her job of five years to come onto the show…I don’t know what to say about this.  Television portrays women as so desperate and pathetic that we are willing to do anything at all just for someone else. And that their careers and old lifestyles are disposable. Which sort of makes them … a little disposable.  

I am sorry, but what are we teaching our daughters and our sons? That it’s okay not to pursue professional careers because the man of their dreams will foot the bill and sweep them off of their feet? Are we teaching our sons that it’s okay to be sought out by gold digging women as long as she has a great set of breasts?  That only skinny, white women are sexually attractive? That women and or men who may be in a wheelchair or may have a prostetic limb are undeserving of love? We unfortunately live in a world where we have to set positive and realistic examples for our upcoming generations, but it is something that must be done!

It is a new year and we are only two months in, and I’ll be damned if I am going to buy into this whole sexist, and racist, and patriarchal show. It’s getting a little old.  Wake me when Hollywood decides to let a gay or lesbian search for true love, and among those 25 suitors let there be people of all shapeus, sizes and colors.

Peace, Love & Unity

~Sol Skyers~

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still i stand

Submitted By: dante l. simonato

I am a feminist: proud, intelligent, and motivated to stop the male violence against women and children. When I was in my second year at the University of Windsor, another female student came up to me after our Women Studies class we were taking together. She noticed the passion and energy I had during our discussions in class that helped us students understand how oppression, inequality, patriarchy, injustice, social constructions, and language affects women’s lives. That same day my friend took me to the Womyn’s Centre in the CAW Building on the second floor in room 291. There, we met other like-minded feminists who believed that violence against women and children is unacceptable.  We all shared the same view: we will not stand by and allow this abuse to go on any longer.

Being an official radical cheerleader for the international annual event “Take Back the Night” has kept me focused on the goal of making our community aware of the systemic gendered violence that makes women victims of abuse. This violence is enacted not just by strangers, but mainly by known males in their lives: it could be a close friend of the family, a brother, uncle, father, or a husband.

My own personal experience with physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological abuse started at the age of sixteen by one of my sister’s ex-boyfriends. When I told my mother about his advances she explained like many mothers before her had to tell their daughters to just stay away from him and avoid being alone with him. Well, I never knew what this was called, even though I knew he was wrong for what he tried to do to me that night when I was babysitting him and my sister’s child.  In my Women’s Studies class this was given the name “Not Quite Rape or Harrassment”, and the meaning sat with me from that day on. Many of us females have experienced that sexist, racist, male privilege that seems to give people with penises the right to make sexual advances at any female body without consequences or punishment.

I remember feeling disgusted in his behaviour, and still to this day I feel that betrayal and distrust of men in general. I have talked to my sisters about this incident and we were all able to think of a time that we have been violated by a man. What I do not understand is why do we women have more loyality to men than towards other women? I have been in the presence of women that have choosen to stay in an abusive marriage for the sake of the children. What is it about being a single mother that is worse than having your power as a woman stripped away from you day by day by a husband, father and love?

When I divorced my daughter’s father I felt that I would rather be alone with my three month old baby struggling than to put up with one more day with her abusive father. A man that puts his hands on a woman is a coward and I believe that it’s more harmful to the children to witness their mother being abused by father than to grow up in a single parent household. As time went on, I continued to educate myself because in that first marriage I was considered utterly stupid: I was unable to speak properly.  But, when he went racial on me, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was a fat, black, bitch…I planned my escape from that moment on and have not looked back since. Today I fight for other women to escape when they are ready to leave this fucked up situation. I will fight to make sure that the resources are there for them to stand up and fight back against their oppressor. Sleeping With the Enemy was a movie I watched long ago and now I fully understand what it was like for the lead character to leave her husband.  And now, I am speaking to the females out there: if you are in that situation please stay strong, think about what life you and your children really deserve and remember that you are not alone.

I want to thank the sisters that have worked hard to produce this feminist blog because through writing about my experiences, these words heal the wounds created by the men that tried to destroyed me and still I stand, cheer, laugh, love and will conquer these chains and will break them with this energy. Be postive sisters because the movement is alive and well. She just marches to a different beat…

editor’s note: university of windsor’s women’s studies classrooms have been honoured with Dante’s passion, courage and determination that has touched and empowered many budding feminists to stand proud and speak loud. 

bathroom blues

About a month ago, I was eating lunch at the Sunset Café on campus with some friends. This was the first time I have ever been to this restaurant, but it is conveniently located on campus so I decided to give it a try. After I finished my food, I had to go to the bathroom. I noticed that there was a men’s bathroom and a unisex/wheelchair accessible bathroom (which was occupied). This confused me. Where do I go to the bathroom?  I was always taught not to use wheelchair accessible bathrooms, as a sign of respect for those who need them. And the only remaining bathroom to use was clearly marked “Men’s.” I walked over to the woman at the cash register and I asked her where the women’s bathroom was. She told me there wasn’t one and that concerned me.  I went back over to my friends and they told me to just use the men’s bathroom…

I want a bathroom where I can feel comfortable being in. It’s bad enough that most public spaces are already male dominated!  What if I was on my period that day and I needed somewhere to dispose of my pad? There is no female disposal box in the men’s bathroom…and how awkward would that be if a guy seen me coming out of the stall with my dirty “sanitary napkin”? Yes – some people wouldn’t care. But most of our culture is socialized to act in specific and gendered ways every day.  All it would take would be for me to walk into the men’s washroom with my pad or tampon and have someone see me and all hell would break loose.

This blew my mind. How can people walk by these two bathrooms for so long, and not be outraged? Has society taught us that able bodied men deserve these types of privileges? Why is it okay for able bodied men to have their own bathroom, while everyone else is crammed together into another bathroom?

The course of action I took was contacting the HR office at the University of Windsor. They informed the Graduate Student Society (who own the Sunset Café) of my concerns and they have contacted me since. They have fixed the problem (they made both of the bathrooms unisex), and I am satisfied with the change. This was my first time taking action by promoting equal rights by myself, and I am very happy with the outcome.  I hope my actions have opened people’s eyes by showing them that things like this should not be tolerated, and not to be afraid to take some action if you don’t agree with something.

editor’s note: katie is a first year women’s studies and social work student and is the youngest member of the wssa.  she likes watching hockey and eating pizza for breakfast.

the wonderful world of women’s studies

My first impression of the Women’s Studies program was positive because I found the course material to be so vast and multifaceted.  For example, in the Women in Canadian Society course, we discuss subjects ranging from the environment, to economics, to the advertising industry’s misguided use of women.  I had some preconceived ideas of Women’s Studies, but for the most part, I did not know what to expect.  Although I have always considered myself a feminist, I realized upon entering Women’s Studies how little I actually knew about the women’s movement.  For example, I knew very little about the third wave movement, and I was not aware that there even was a current feminist movement!

My view of Women’s Studies has changed over time.  I can see now how it has caused me to grow as a person and has led me into critical self-reflection that other disciplines do not foster.  I find that pursuing Women’s Studies also helps me to understand concepts in other academic areas, like Social Work for example.  After taking Women’s Studies classes, it is clear to me just how useful and interdisciplinary this program is capable of being, as it brings together students from many faculties and draws on teachings from different academic backgrounds.

When I learn about the contributions and persistence that women in the past have committed to and for the benefit of future women, it makes me proud to be where I am today as a female university student.  Sometimes in class I feel emotionally moved when I hear about the courage and strength that was required of women who have made positive change in society that would benefit so many future generations.  Also, it makes me wonder why these amazing contributions to society are not taught at the public school level.

If the elementary and high school historical curriculum included teachings on more accomplishments of Canadian women, it may inspire teenage girls to aspire to great accomplishments in their own lives.  For example, this may encourage young women to get involved in politics at greater numbers.  This would be beneficial since Canada has far less female politicians than a lot of other developed, democratic countries.  In addition, I feel that it would be advantageous for teenage girls to learn more about women’s contributions to history because in turn, it may motivate them to feel better about themselves and explore their abilities and potential.

editor’s note: this piece was submitted by a second year women’s studies and social work major who enjoys being actively involved in women’s studies events across campus throughout the year.

may all your christmases be white

the cult of christianity and consumerism

by: karly van puymbroeck

please note: all manner of religious discussion is a form of this author’s individual opinion

With Christmas just a few short days away, I feel pressed to write a piece about the overall growing discontentment I have towards the holiday season.  I feel really disconnected to the all the Christmas songs promising love, happiness and peace and disheartened at all the racist issues that seem to prop up on local, provincial and federal news at this time of year.   Having just finished exams two days ago, I’ve had the first 48-stress free hours since the beginning of September, and am finding all this time on my hands to be spent trying really hard to find that warm fuzzy place inside me that all the Christmas well-wishers seem to have in overwhelming abundance.

As a feminist, I cannot help but question the motives of a holiday that is so centered on dominant Christian ideology and false conscious consumerism.  Although I am not against Christians, I am suspicious of most organized religions, typically those who have a long history of violence, misogyny and oppression.  It is not about my personal disdain for the Christian faith – it’s really about how our culture has chosen to favour one religion above all others and turn it into an all or nothing holiday.  That is, through direct-to-consumer advertising and pop culture’s representation of Christmas itself, the holiday is so blatantly exclusive to the dominant class (white/heteronormative/middle-upper class).  I have compiled a massive list of points as to why Christmas is, in reality, a sham, but narrowed it down to three main points that may speak to why myself and others may be feeling slightly…left out this holiday season.

You are not a Christian.  I have chosen in the past year to stop identifying with the Christian faith, (a choice that I respectfully choose not to elaborate on at the present moment) but I am so conditioned by our culture’s Christian sympathies to still believe that Christmas is a time for me to rejoice in the … blah blah blah.  In short, as an ex-Christian, it is really difficult to pry myself away from the sticky confines of Christianity, particularly Catholicism and it’s guilt-tripping tendencies.  However, what is even more difficult to do is to negotiate finding this “warm fuzzy feeling of peace and happiness” by shopping endlessly for friends and family and feeling immense pressure from television ads that equate the meaning of Christmas with spending money.

Also, if you are not Christian, then this particular holiday may not have any real meaning to you.  This should be a given fact considering the diverse population this country is made up of.  However, our yearly schedules in employment and school are made up solely around Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter.  At many places of work, it is often difficult for people to negotiate time off for any other religious occasion that exists outside the dominant faith.  Christmas and Christianity works to alienate all other religions and spiritualities by creating the inherent assumption that everyone celebrates Christmas.

– You are not white – Christmas in 2011 is a time for advertising that over-indulges itself with the white, heteronormative ideal.  It doesn’t take a genius to point out the absence of any racialized persons in television commercials or Christmas specials, but it does take some critical thinking to determine why this is so.  Christianity is so closely knitted with white supremacy, which has a long history of racialization, colonialism and patronizing attitudes towards marginalized groups like the poor and the Indigenous.  At Christmas, we hear John Lennon crying out for people to take notice of the oppressed people in the world, but Christianity has high jacked the Beatles’ song and used it in their commercial to raise money for the poor, starving black babies in Africa (the only racialized people I see in ads for Christmas). There is nothing wrong with supporting an organization such as this, but you need to ask yourself why this commercial only plays at Christmas time.  The commercial pulls on our heartstrings by playing on a dominant Christian notion of helping the “deserving” poor – all of whom are African-American in this case.  I challenge you now to find a Christmas movie at Wal-Mart that has a black male or female lead or to find commercials or any Christmas narrative that is represented by any racialized person(s).  (You don’t actually have to look – I already did, and there isn’t anything).

Christianity is closely tied to whiteness, and whiteness is closely tied to the oppression of racialized people.  Commercials such as these play on the idea that only whiteness (and everything it entails) is deserving of Christmas!  The absence of racialized people in dominant modes of media, particularly advertising, demonstrates how Christmas is exclusively for white people, completely negating all other communities of racialized people who follow the Christian faith around the world.

– You are not part of a nuclear family or a heterosexual relationship  — Christmas is only made to seem accessible to those in a nuclear family (father, mother, brother, sister) and to those who are heterosexual.  This is seen in nearly every advertisement.  We usually see the mom shopping for the entire family, the dad in his patriarchal position carving the turkey and cutting down the Christmas tree.  There are millions of examples of the nuclear family at Christmas, but the point I’m trying to make is that our culture is filled with families who are made up of all different types of people now, and also many families who operate with one sole parent, making the consumerist Christmas we see on television nearly impossible to recreate for their families (a single income doesn’t get people far in 2011). What I find most repelling is that many sects of Christianity still do not recognize certain persons in our modern day world.  Many churches and sects deny GLBTQ persons, who many of us have in our intimate families and social circles.  It’s obvious to me that the Christmas spirit comes with fine print.

Given the three points above, it’s no wonder I feel disconnected to the holiday season, like so many other people do.  We have been conditioned into accepting Christian propaganda, even if we don’t believe in the faith itself, while all other religions are told by many to “suck it up” and “if you don’t like it, go back to your own country”.  Christmas may seem like a time to relax and see friends and family, but all the other stuff that comes along with Christmas can be disheartening, and well, isolating to those who do not fit the norms of our culture. Furthermore, I am embarrassed how our culture has adopted a religion’s principle core values and beliefs and made them into something that can be bought and soldThis is a paradox: at it’s most basic principle, religion and spirituality is supposed to be an individual’s inward journey towards discovering the meaning of life by different religious and spiritual practices of the person’s chosen faith.  It is not an Ipad or Xbox; it is not a debt-induced free-for-all at the local WalMart.  But our culture has made these spiritual values into an economic exchange that has huge impacts on people who cannot keep up with exaggerated consumerism, resulting in immense pressure on everyone during the holidays to not only spend exuberant amounts of money, but to also try and squish themselves into a tight, rigid mould of the Christian doctrine.

editor’s note: karly is a fourth year english literature and women’s studies double major.  she enjoys teaching and mentoring young girls through feminist principles and has a particular interest in hip-hop and indigenous feminisms.  

fresh feminist lemonade

The Women’s Studies Student Association will be selling lemonade and yummy baked goods this Wednesday December 30th in the CAW Centre from 11am – 4pm. Come out and fill your belly with feminist juicy goodness and help us raise money to purchase our blog from wordpress and make it an official website!

feminist juice is a welcoming and inclusive space where students can be openly expressive about their experiences with feminism. The possibilities for expression are endless, and we encourage everyone to use and embrace their voices on a united platform that actively resists the silencing and marginalizing of women.

Please bring your appetites, and any questions you might about feminist juice to our lemonade stand this Wednesday! It’s a good chance to meet the people who helped make feminist juice happen and to socialize with other like-minded students.

Thanks for your support,

Karly Van Puymbroeck and Judy Lai

smile, and you just might get one back

By: Sol Skyers

Smile, and you just might get one back!

I was lucky to get into a Women’s Studies class this semester; it seems that my old procrastinating self never registered early enough to get into one prior to now. I wasn’t sure what to expect beforehand. I think ignorantly I expected to see a bunch of man-hating females congregating in one room discussing how men are the root of all evil. I was obviously mistaken and quickly learned that Women’s Studies is more than anything I had ever believed it to be.

I met a girl in my class who repeatedly beats herself down, claiming she isn’t worthy enough to be at school and how she’s thinking of dropping out. I needed to know why she felt this way, because I too have been in the same position. When I asked her why she didn’t believe in herself, she said that her father had always told her she wasn’t good enough. In that moment, I truly realized how powerless women can be within their own homes, a place where we should feel safe and supported, yet we’re being beaten down and damaged.

I saw strength in her because she gave herself a chance. She rose above anything she had ever been taught and was attempting to stand on her own two feet despite anything she had ever been told. I loved how candid she was considering I was a stranger to her. Something about her was so radiant even though I could hear the pain in her voice.  I felt like she was speaking on behalf of millions of females who feel like they’re not good enough, who feel they don’t deserve happiness.  Women have a unique value and worth, that is irreplaceable, our womanhood could never be minimalized. We are a rare species with such amazing power. We need to encourage one another and remind each other that we are all in this together. Often I believe that half of the problem is that somewhere along the way we stopped being sisters and became enemies and competitors, but no one knows the struggles, the pain or the joys and happiness better than a fellow female.

I have noticed the absence of women being friendly to one another to anyone that is not a close part of their immediate circle. Whether it’s in the halls or in the washroom, not too many people are quick to offer a smile, or a selfless act of kindness. We as women have the ability to reach out to one another and assure one of our own that they are not alone. Let’s face it: life can be challenging at times, and it has a funny way of making us feel secluded, when really we are all struggling in our own individual way.

I encourage each and every one of you to reach out this semester to someone who is but a stranger to you, try to get to know someone you usually wouldn’t talk to.  You just might inspire someone, make a lifelong friend, and if nothing more, it’s always good to know the first name of a fellow classmate.

Peace, Love & Unity

~Sol Skyers~

editor’s note: sol skyers is a first year women’s studies and social work major.  she believes strongly in uniting women together through developing bonds of sisterhood.

beauty school dropout

By: Aholland

The idea of beauty is to be; white, able-bodied, and blue eyed.  Beauty is a societal norm that we must conform too, and if we don’t we will be punished. God forbid if that happens!

If beauty is shaking my assets on TV, then I most definitely don’t want to be a part of it! As men and women we are coerced to believe this ideology of reaching the goal of beauty, men are to be muscular, insensitive, have short hair, with washboard abs. Whereas women are considered to look “feminine & petite,” able-bodied, have long hair, emotional, and wake-up with perfect make-up in the morning! (Now you know that ain’t gonna happen!) I know many females that obsess over their photos: Does my hair look okay? Do I look fat? Am I wearing too much make-up?

It never ceases to amaze me when males decide to look macho and take photos of their abs and newly worked biceps just to fill  their egos, and girls that rack their brain until the wee hours of the night trying to figure out the perfect comment! Society continues to change but yet we make the mistake of trying to keep up with the latest trends and fashions. In a perfect world we must conform but I say forget THAT; lets break down the barriers of what society says and rise up to be our own women and man! Let’s become role-models, and owners of our sexuality. What is considered beauty cannot be defined as one size, one skin colour, one hair style, and one cup size. Beauty is on the inside and we gotta let it shine through on the outside!

Peace & Love,

Aholland

editor’s note: Aholland is a first year psychology and women’s studies student.  she is involved in different types of feminist activism, with a particular interest in Afrocentrism.

heteronormative hollywood

The Change-Up starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds is a body-swap comedy about a family man, Dave Lockwood (Bateman) and a single man-child, Mitch Planko (Reynolds) who swap bodies and experience each other’s lives. Other than the obvious Freaky Friday rip-off, the movie poster alone should show you that this movie is going to be bad. Instead of giving you readers a long, and boring review of the movie as whole, I am going to present a character analysis to point out the obvious offensive material.

We start off with Dave Lockwood, a hard-working father of three who loves his job and his family but wishes he spent more time partying and sleeping with women. You can tell that his life obviously sucks because he has to live in a beautiful house in the suburbs and deal with his wife Jamie (played by Leslie Mann) and crying babies. Poor Dave, how can a man in his 40’s live a life like this! Dave is portrayed as a demasculinized man because he actually concentrates on his career and family rather than the “masculine” act of having no emotional attachments to someone, and sleeping with different women.

This leads us to Mitch Planko. Now Mitch is a struggling actor who lives on his own, has a nice sports car, and is able to sleep with as much women and smoke as much weed as he can. Why? Because he is a single man who is good looking and can do what ever the hell he wants. In other words, he is “living the dream”. Mitch constantly swears and uses offensive and vulgar language to bring on the LOL’s. For example when Dave asks Mitch what his latest girlfriend’s last name was, he comes up with this jtem of an answer, “I don’t know. Tatiana Calls-Me-Up-at-Three-O’Clock-in-the-Morning-and-Wants-to-Fuck-stein. Who gives a shit!” Isn’t that just knee-slapping comedy right there? I mean seriously, who gives a shit about the woman you have been seeing for weeks and you’re having an intimate relationship with. Who gives a shit.

These two characters shows that to be “masculine”, one has to live a single man’s life and sleep with a lot of women and try to avoid having a life-long partner and “stinky” children. In this movie (and most Hollywood movies – let’s be honest here) Dave is a “loser” and Mitch is the “winner”. The idea of the masculine man that this film demonstrations is problematic because it tells men (heterosexual men to be exact) that the only way to be a “real man” is to not have any life long commitments to anyone and thus allowing them to sleep around and use women as they please because that’s what “real men do”. The more women you sleep with, the more of a man you are. Dave is not “masculine” or de-masculinized because he only got 1 woman and is now stuck with her forever, along with three screaming children.

Now let’s move away from the male characters of The Change-Up and let’s have a look at all the female characters that appears in movie. I am warning you now; they are all 2-dimentional characters with no depth. Before even viewing this film, I already knew that it would fail the Bechdel Test*

The first woman that is present is Dave’s wife Jamie. She is the mother of Dave’s children and claim’s that she has a job but the only time you see her is at home with the children. To add to the domestic stereotype of women, she cries hysterically and becomes angry with Dave (well technically Mitch since Mitch is in Dave’s body) for not helping out with the children. That’s about it. That’s all I could say about the woman you would think would have a larger role.

The reason that I believe that there is no character development of Jamie is because she is just a part of Dave’s successful life. She is a prize that he gets for having a well paying job. This is very conventional of films like this. We see a man that is studying hard, concentrating on his career, finds a well paying job, makes his wealth, and then eventually finding an attractive wife in order to complete the successful lifestyle.  If he doesn’t have the wife yet, his job is to get one (and a very particular type of woman) to be deemed a success. Jamie is just there to show filmgoers how successful Dave really is, and so there is no need for her to develop throughout the film. Unfortunately women like Jamie are used a lot in Hollywood films.

The next woman is Dave’s assistant Sabrina (played by Olivia Wilde).  Of course, Sabrina is the sexy assistant that Dave has had a crush on for a long time but can’t do anything about it because he is married (bummer!). When Dave and Mitch switch bodies, Dave finally has a chance to date Sabrina. Sabrina obviously falls for Dave’s charms and they start seeing each other. When it was finally time for Dave (in Mitch’s body) to sleep with Sabrina, he realizes that it was wrong and run’s home to his wife. Sabrina ultimately ends up with the real Mitch even though she fell for the charms of Dave and was un-impressed with Mitch when he was in Dave’s body. But hey, Mitch needed to settle down with someone so I guess it should be her.

Again, we see the woman as an object, a mere prize to be won. Mitch ends up with Sabrina after he successfully made the big business deal with the other company (while he was in Dave’s body) and realizes that working hard really does pay off.  Following along with our heteronormative narrative, paying off comes in the form of scoring a sexy woman.

The very minor female characters are Mona the Porn Star and the infamous Tatiana that we don’t need to know her last name. Mona the Porn Star is only there to be an exploited sexual object that Dave has to sleep with for the soft-core porno that Mitch was involved with before the body swap. She is seen as very unattractive because she has extreme plastic surgery on her face (Joan Rivers-esque). They do a close up on her fake breasts to bring on the comedy.  Tatiana is Mitch’s current girlfriend who we later find out that she is pregnant. Dave (in Mitch’s body) can’t sleep with Tatiana not because he is still married, but because Tatiana is pregnant. Because you know, pregnant women are extremely unattractive. He calls Mitch a “freak” for sleeping with her all this time. He ultimately rejects her and she leaves.   The minor female characters are merely used as punch lines for sexist comedy, which shows how our society treats women who differ from the norm.

All the women in the film were objectified and were sexualized in order to make the audience laugh or to please the male gaze. In one scene Jamie is completely naked and is walking in slow motion in order for the audience to get a good look at her naked body. When Sabrina and Dave (in Mitch’s body) were about to have sex, she is sitting on him topless while he is fully clothed. In another scene Sabrina and Dave get a tattoo on their date and Sabrina gets a tattoo on her inner thigh – requiring her to open her legs, with no pants on, for the male tattoo artist. Being a pornstar, Mona’s body is used as comedy because of the plastic surgery that she has done. She is deemed unattractive and so they use her looks to make the audience laugh. Tatiana, the pregnant girlfriend, is also naked and even though she is a beautiful woman, she is used for laughs because she is pregnant. This is problematic because it gives the audience a distorted view of the female body and it makes the audience see women as an object to laugh at or an object to please the male gaze rather than respecting and appreciating the woman and her body.

Without looking at the offensive material I would give this movie a 1 out of 5 stars. Overall it wasn’t really funny (people are still using toilet humor to get cheap laughs?) The only reason I was able to watch the whole thing is because Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds are nice to look at.

Side note: If you are an Arrested Development fan like myself, I would recommend you not watch this film because it will effect how you feel about Jason Bateman/Michael Bluth. If you are a Ryan Reynolds fan I suggest you skip this one too because it’s boring as hell.

*The Bechdel Test is a film test that follows these three criteria’s: 1. It has to have at least two women in it 2. Who talk to each other 3. About something besides a man. For more information visit http://bechdeltest.com

editor’s note: abby is a second year student from the University of Windsor.  this is her first time writing for a blog and is excited to continue to writing movie reviews from her feminist perspective in the future.  

I’m a feminist, right?

By: Judy Lai

Feminist. 

What a powerful word. Jam-packed into these eight letters are multiple meanings that represent the experiences and beliefs, as well as the unwavering resilience of millions of people all over the world. That, in itself, makes it more than just a word. Maybe that’s what makes it so intimidating — for me at least. 

My first year of university was like a typhoon that raged its way through my life, turning absolutely everything I knew upside down: my values, my relationships, my language, everything. For the first time, that unsettling, tip-of-the-tongue feeling I always had was validated. I had never been able to put to words why I was always so annoyed with playing second-fiddle to my brother, or why I thought my mom’s notion of a dainty, feminine, subservient daughter was seriously twisted. These are just a couple of examples of the huge, resounding, confusing themes in my life before I took my first women’s studies classes. I’ll always remember thinking, “Holy crap – that’s it!” in my Women in Canadian Society class because it was such an “ah-ha” moment. Finally, finally, finally someone knew how and why I felt this way. I was paving my way to embracing something I had always taken for granted: my powerful voice.

But even now, at times, my voice is like a little peep. It is not loud enough to fill a room and maybe it doesn’t move others to have their ah-ha moments, but I still feel like a feminist. Every bone in my body practically screams feminist. My every emotion and thought exerts feminism and those values and goals that push me forward every day. My goal, now, is to reflect this passion – this feminist passion – in everything I do. I want to reach, to go beyond that initial excitement to realize all that I am capable of: my full potential.

I am capable of everything under the Sun and everything beyond it too.
How reserved and soft-spoken I seem
An illusion to the roaring, pulsing, living
Being, womyn, woah-myn
That is me.

Loud and proud
Igniting that flame, that spark
That sets afire
The scorching path

This does not make me a contradiction.

I am conjunction
Concoction
Creation
Beautiful, lone creation.

editor’s note: judy is a women’s studies and social work student from the university of windsor.  she hopes to continue writing pieces that explore the process of forming a feminist identity.