Thursday, 27 February 2014

Who Needs Feminism?

Who Needs Feminism is an organisation based in Duke University, NC. Their work is aimed at challenging claims that feminism is dead and that it is no longer required. They push to dispel the reputation that the word feminism has as a "dirty word" and to lessen negative association of the movement. 
"We aim to challenge existing stereotypes surrounding feminists and assert the importance of feminism today. We feel that until the denigration surrounding feminism and women's issues is alleviated, it will be hard to achieve total gender equality, both statistically and socially."

They take photos of men and women on college campus' with their reasons that they still need the feminist movement. Some are frivolous, "So more men can wear leggings" and some are extremely serious, "Society teaches us "don't get raped" rather than "don't rape"". 
This blog started out on, which is a well known space for young people with strong liberal views, this, from a feminist perspective is proof in itself of the fact that young people still feel the need for the feminist movement and still see aspects of oppression. The image of feminists being older, white, unattractive, man-hating lesbians is clearly dis-proven by the massive diversity of the genders, sexualities and ages of the many people pictured.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Feminists for Life

  The feminists for life organisation is devoted to bringing back what they call a " renaissance". They are devoted to returning the old "pro-life feminists" vision of bring about a life that is equal and fair for women. Their principles are revolved around the empowerment of women and are as such:

*Giving them the chance the fate over their own pregnancy and what they can do with their own bodies "A world in which pregnancy, motherhood, and birthmotherhood are accepted and supported." They are supportive of giving women the right to abortion.

*They also believe that women shouldn't have to compromise the opportunities they are able to receive because of their gender. Issues such as being a mother shouldn't get in the way them being successful. They, therefore, want mothers and other women to gain more support both financially and other means. "Campuses and workplaces that support mothers in practical ways and do not force them to choose between their education or career plans and their children."

*More generally they want parents to be supported no matter what they choose to do. Whether they are keen on going into work or staying at home, they believe that they should be respected and backed. "A culture in which parents are respected, whether they decide to stay at home or return to work."

Women's Issues

Feministing is a blog run by various female writers and many other contributors who seek to promote issues regarding women in America. They encourage activism within society as they promote their causes on college campus talks and events.  Their main aims are to allow feminist writers to share their views on political, social and economic issues which they feel impact women today. For the most part their views are balanced, however issues on abortion and legislating women's bodies are still a main concern for most writers, for example the fear that the Roe v Wade legislature will be overturned. 
A feminist would view this site as helpful towards their causes and will make society see that feminism has not faded away as there are many issues that are impeding on women. They would also encourage more talks around the country so the message will encourage more women to stand up for their rights.   

Contemporary Female Issues

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and Holly Baxter run a blog called 'The Vagenda' and have been running their blog since 2011. They discuss issues surrounding women in contemporary America and often have a cynical and negative opinion of the expectations that society places on women.
They have recently written a piece for 'New Statesman' ( about the five issues that make up modern feminism. However, 'The Vagenda' covers everything from body issues, how becoming a mother reduces the possibility of a promotion, how female magazines are actually belittling and the horror of being a bridesmaid. One particularly relevant piece is 'The Power of the Selfie'; the selfie is becoming a vital part of the expectations of women (or female teenagers) because they are almost expected to regularly update their profiles with pictures of themselves in order to be stared at and shallowly adored by those around them. 'Vagenda' writes that abut selfies that 'as a woman, I often feel more innately female, more feminine and more attractive, behind the guise of masculinity'.
Now, as a blog supporting the equality of women and trying to move away from the stereotypical representation of women as suppliers of the 'male gaze', the problem that I have with this article is that this is reverting women straight back to that. By posting selfies, women are deliberately posing and asking for people to objectify them, which surely takes us back to where we have managed to move away from. E! Entertainment presenter Guiliana Rancic even took a selfie with a fellow celebrity on the red carpet before a recent awards ceremony, therefore exemplifying the nature of the selfie; a posed and glamorous photo that is supposed to show you in a 'constructed [way]... of identity and self esteem by showing [your] raw and naked face to strangers' but is instead a deliberately constructed posed photograph.
Although I see 'The Vagenda' as supportive of female equality and I appreciate the ways in which they notice that women are still fighting for this equality in a highly objectified society, I still believe that they are not always right with their comments about this society.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Feminist Majority Foundation

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) was formed in 1987 and is an organization that dedicates itself to women’s equality, reproductive health and non-violence. It is run by co-founder Eleanor Smeal. Its website states that it utilises both research and action to “empower women economically, politically and socially.” The group was formed after a Newsweek/Gallup poll revealed that the majority of women (56%) identified themselves as feminist. Both it and its sister organization, the Feminist Majority, lobby government and pursue equality between both men and women through legislative avenues, as well as organising rallies and conferences.

                Viewing this organization from a feminist viewpoint, I would be encouraged that a group such as this had the power to lobby government and the infrastructure to recruit and train young feminists to lead and advance the cause of the feminist movement. It looks to be both a professional and reliable organization that is able to advance the organization both politically and socially and that can carry the message of the feminist movement forward. It organises events that encourage both men and women to join the cause of things such as abortion, birth control, violence against women and sweatshops. Overall this seems like a good organisation that can be influential and make real change within America, politically, economically and socially. However, it only has two offices, one in Los Angeles and the other in Washington DC, this means there are not many opportunities for women to get involved on a grassroots level. Despite this FMF can reach a large audience through its publication Ms. Magazine, which it purchased in 2001.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Answers in Genesis

Answers in Genesis is a group of Christian Apologetics. Their work is focused upon defending the words of Jesus Christ. They believe in a faction of Christianity known as Young Earth Creationism which dictates that Genesis was a fact as opposed to an analogy and the earth, universe and all life was created by an Abrahamic God between 5000 and 10,000 years ago, they strive to prove the accepted scientific theoretical explanations  of the worlds creation and development (such as the big bang and evolution), describing them as 'Bankrupt'.
This quote from their 'about us' section of their website sums up their attitude to Evolution:
"The Bible—the “history book of the universe”—provides a reliable, eye-witness account of the beginning of all things, and can be trusted to tell the truth in all areas it touches on. Therefore, we are able to use it to help us make sense of this present world. When properly understood, the “evidence” confirms the biblical account."


The American Atheists group are a group that derived from a court case from 1959. Since then they have worked towards receiving support and giving support to those who don't believe in God. The idea that they need to give support to atheists is interesting because it highlights how they are such a small group in the United States, but are a quickly growing.
Another interesting a spect of the website is how they highlight how atheists have the same convictions as a Christian. They explain their equivalent of praying saying that they make their own inner convictions. Also they want a heaven on earth now rather than waiting till you're dead to go to heaven. It is clear to see, from this, the power and substantial force of Christianity in America because even the atheists website believe they have to make reference to prayer and heaven in order for it to resonate with Americans. It also shows how backward America is in terms of Christianities hold on them and how when compared to other western countries it has some way to go in terms of the spread of its faiths.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Mennonite Church USA
Mennonites are a Christian faith group that began in the 16th century. They are of Anabaptist faith. Which means they believe in the centrality and inspiration of the Bible and in Jesus Christ as the One sent by God to bring reconciliation between the Creator and a broken world.   Currently there are over one million members world-wide. Mennonite beliefs and practices vary widely, but following Jesus in daily life is a central value, along with peacemaking. They are also apart of relief efforts which help communities such as famine relief. 
The churches main aims are to preach the various ways that Jesus is the center of the faith. Missional churches read scripture in such a way that it helps form them into the image of Jesus Christ. Cultivate Christ-centered unity, and learn to agree and disagree in love.  To dismantle individual and systemic racism, develop intercultural competence, heal racial divisions, and value all the gifts of God’s diverse people. And grow through interaction with other Christian fellowships. This is shown as they have many different churches, one in particular is the Spanish Mennonite Church, which shows the relevancy of the faith in modern day USA as the population is changing due to increased Hispanic immigration. And so this will show a shift in the diversity of the community. 

'Push' Book Review

A bit late due to illness, but better late than never!

This review of Sapphire's 'Push' by Michiko Kakutani discusses it as a book about the villainisation of women by men, that is perhaps more evident through the review than it is in the actual novel. It is obvious that the rapings, abuse and murder done to Precious and her friends is committed by men, although Kakutani fails to notice that although Precious' abusive father has now left her and her mother (although sometimes still returns), Precious should be safe from harm, but it is her mother that still carries on the vicious cycle of physical and sexual abuse towards her, which although evident in the novel, it does not seem to register as significant in this review or any others. Kakutani says that 'Push' shows men as 'pigs who only think about sex' but what about Precious' mother?

The statement that the novel leaves 'the reader with the feeling that one has abruptly exited the world of the novel and entered the world of a support group' is true, as it is a very absorbing novel that transports the reader to a world perhaps unknown to them, especially with the aid of the authentic language used. However, I do not agree with the final comment that 'in trying to open out her heroine's story and turn it into a more general comment on society, Sapphire has made the tale of Precious decidedly less moving than it might have been' as it is a social commentary (and a very realistic, raw and earnest one at that), but it far from 'less moving than it might have been'. The story of Precious is incredibly moving and heart-wrenching and can surely be called a masterpiece of writing on Sapphire's behalf.

Pennsylvania Amish

The Pennsylvania Amish situated in Lancaster County have a history that dates back to the 18th century and to the time of William Penn's promotion of religious and cultural freedom. A small Amish community from Europe came and settled at this time, and since then, the Amish have stuck with the traditional way of life from 300 years ago, with farming and a simplistic, non-materialistic attitude creating their lifestyle (with electricity being banned as it creates too much of a connection to the outside world). They (as well as the Mennonites and Brethren in Lancaster County) are of the Anabaptist faith which means that they make a conscious choice to accept God and their devotion to God is therefore incredibly evident.
All Amish, not just the Pennsylvania Amish have similarities in their views of humility, family, conservatism, community and therefore live separately from the non-Amish community in order to achieve this effectively. However, an aspect of the Lancaster County Amish is that they are expected to give up their personal aspirations in order to create a 'pure' community.
Their style of dress promotes a sense of group belonging and identity, whilst demonstrating the willingness to give themselves in to group standards. The male clothing of the Pennsylvania Amish is black and consists of a dark suit, suspenders, straight cut trousers, black shoes and a black or straw hat. They wait until marriage to grow beards. Whereas Amish women wear plain, long sleeved dresses, a cape and an apron. They never cut their hair and wear it in a bun covered by a prayer covering.
Pennsylvania Deutsch (a dialect of German) is spoken, therefore limiting outside interaction even further and the children learn English in school but German for worship services.

Saddleback Church

              Saddleback Church was started in 1980 by husband and wife Rick and Kay Warren, since then they have expanded to become the sixth largest church in the United States1 with membership numbers over 22,000. It is based in Lake Forest, California but has a number of other locations throughout California that it also owns and performs ceremonies. As well as these, Saddleback also has a number of overseas ministries in Berlin, Buenos Aries and Hong Kong.
            Saddlebacks leader Rick Warren, affectionately known as ‘Pastor Rick’ believes, the five biblical purposes of the church are: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism, this he calls ‘purpose driven churches’. He is a best-selling author and also a the founder of a number of other organisations such as The Purpose Driven Network, a global alliance of pastors from over 160 countries and who have been trained to be purpose driven churches. Warren and his wife Kay have three children, Amy, Josh and Mathew, who suffered from depression and as a result, took his own life in April 2013. The family have set up a foundation in Mathews name and also donate 90% of their salary to charitable causes. Along with this, in 1999 they donated all the salary they had earned from the past 20 years back to the church.
Saddleback Church is known as a mega church as its Lake Forest base (pictured) seats 3,500, it and the other locations have over 200 ministries a week and the church proudly states 1 in 9 in the area calls Saddleback their church. As well as its main church it caters to all range of people including singles, children, women and seniors. It also has what is recognised as the leading student ministry facility in the world, which it claims has trained over 200,000 church leaders from around the world in the ‘purpose driven church’ philosophy. It is a Christian Evangelical church and so shares the same religious values as roughly 26% of the US2

1.       <> accessed 18 February 2014
2.       Pew research poll from 2007

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Siletz tribe

  The Siletz tribe was originally located in Alaska. They are a tribe that appear to be very proud of their heritage. They boast how the tribe had up to 11 different languages, which supposedly had incredibly different dialects, making it hard for the different divisions to understand each other, therefore demonstrating its diversity. The different locations of the divisions of the tribe meant that their diets differed too. The inland people ate mainly deer, where as the people on the coast ate fish. So these different factors show how the Siletz tribe had a degree of diversity to it.

  They are also a very well renowned tribal group. There is evidence for this because they were the second Native American tribe to be fully restored to federal recognition. The group has also been self governed since 1992, proving further that they are very well renowned group that has plenty of support. The group also own a tremendously large reservation  "occupy and manage a 3,666 acre reservation located in Lincoln County, Oregon." Not only do they own a large reservation, the group also have set up job opportunities for people who are a part of the tribe "CTSI requires a Tribal Application be completed". They also have a comprehensive healthcare system that is said to be of high quality and provides the people with happy and healthy lives. I believe that because of this it is fair to say that because of the size of the reservation, the fact they are able to offer jobs to those that are of the Siletz tribe and that have a very good healthcare system they are a group that are wealthy when compared to other groups in the United States. They are able to care for their people and provide them with jobs, education and good healthcare.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Seminole Tribe of Florida

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a tribe that lives and survives in south Florida. The Spanish left the Seminole nation largely alone and it was only when the Spanish ceded Florida to the English in 1763 that the Seminole had to fight for their land. After Jackson rises to power and crosses into Florida in 1816 the Seminole fight to retain their land, eventually signing the Treaty of Moultrie Creek in which the Seminole gave up 28 million acres, retaining only 4 million. About 3,000 Seminole were forced westwards along the trail of tears to Oklahoma. In 1858 after another war the US abandons plans to remove all Seminole from south Florida and since 1890 the Seminoles have been trading peacefully with the whites.

The Seminole Tribe today still resides in south Florida and after gaining federal status in 1957, has turned itself into a multi-million dollar tribe. They became the official mascot of Florida State University in 1947.  After receiving $10 million from the government in 1992, they have benefitted from zero taxation on tobacco sales and have taken advantage of the gambling laws to build casinos and hotels on their reservation in Hollywood, Florida. In 1996 the tribal budget exceeded $100 million. As well as the casinos and Hotels the Seminoles have an Indian school, museum and swamp safari.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is an example of what can happen when you have good leadership and how the Native American tribes cannot just survive, but prosper within American society. However within the Seminole tribe there is still problems, many refused money from the government in 1992 and are challenging the tribes activities, saying they are no longer true Natives as they have taken to American societies customs and beliefs and that they only hold on to their culture as a tourist attraction.

White Mountain Apache Tribe

The tribe is called the White Mountain Apache Tribe they are located in eastern Arizona. The site where they are located is notable as it surrounds the history of Fort Apache which was a military camp and reservation for Indians. Once the army abandoned the site in 1922 it became the site of Theodore Roosevelt Indian boarding school, which exists as a middle school today.

Their economy is largely based off tourism as they own casino's and have tons of recreational activities for visitors such as fishing and hunting. Therefore, they are quite wealthy and can fund public services such as Hospitals. Alcoholism/ Teenage pregnancy/ Suicide rate is unknown but it can be assumed that since their economy is stable there are few problems with this. The population of the tribe is 15,000 and many of them live on the reservation but many live and work all over the country and most live in the surrounding areas of White river. This means that they assimilate with the rest of the American population and have a more urban lifestyle and may work other jobs. Also many of the tribes youth attend the Arizona State University's which implies that the education they receive on the reservation is sufficient and so the youth can have many opportunities and possibly careers.    

I feel it is good they've had such success and are not in extreme poverty like other tribes and their children's education is important. It is also good they keep the history of their tribe alive and recreate it for guests and is passed onto the youth. This keeps their culture alive even if it is slightly modernised to fit with the society their in.

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe

The S'Klallam tribe is situated in Sequim (near the bigger town of Port Angeles) in the Seattle area, in Washington. It is a tribe currently consisting of 147 people and is a tight knit community with factors such as their economic status and healthcare status important components within their community.
The Jamestown Economic Development Authority (EDA) aims to help tribe members and their long term financial security and sufficiency by doing things such as: encouraging entrepreneurship within the tribe, strengthening existing tribal businesses and providing employment, as well as their casino, self storage and fireworks businesses which all play a big part in helping with the financial status of the tribe.
The tribe also has a high standard of healthcare, with a family health clinic and dental clinic, in which health insurance is paid by the tribe and the facilities can also be used by non tribe members.

Ten thousand years prior to the tribes creation, a nation (loosely belonging to S'Klallam tribes) of people lived on the lands in Washington and focused on self-sufficiency, leadership and self reliance, whilst creating a creative culture of art, song and spirituality.
From this original collection of people, the more specific S'Klallam tribe was created in 1790 and defined itself from the other tribes that it was connected to by its emphasis on the importance of community and culture, with inter-marriage being one of its features. The Point No Point treaty was signed in 1855.
However, after White settlers came to Washington in 1870, tribes were being pushed out and being forced to relocate to reservations. Some of the S'Klallam's managed to raise enough money to buy 210 acres of land in the Washington territory, therefore beginning the Jamestown S'Klallam community, with the population then being about 100 people.
Up until 1953, the tribe received services from the federal government until it chose to no longer 'recognise' them. Although, in 1981, due to economic hardship, the tribe was able to gain recognition from the government again, and because of this have been able to provide their high standard of health and educational care.
They have been named a 'progressive' Indian community and it is not hard to see why.

It seems to me that the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe is an incredibly fast-moving and caring tribe. It cares about its members (particularly with the high standard of health care and its economic efforts) and is very modern in its style of community. Economic problems no longer seem to be an issue and the S'Klallam tribe definitely does not fit the stereotypical tribe idea with issues such as alcoholism, high suicide rates and economic hardship. Of course, there is a possibility that these are all present within the community, but the success of the tribe and the hardships that it suffered a hundred years ago seem to have paved the way for a happy and successful community for its tribe members today. It seems that it towers high above other, less-fortunate, Native American tribes in America today.


                                                                        Health Centre

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Push Review analysis

The writer begins the review by stating that "Push the novel is pure poetry crafted by Sapphire about a girl who never gets the guy," This is to mean that this is not your ordinary story about a girl in school. This is about a girl who is living proof that bad things happen to good people.
The writer makes reference to Precious' daydreams, in which "she is milky white, cute and has long hair" this shows that in her mind, Precious is sure that life would be a hell of a lot easier if she was pretty and white, this is likely to be true, in urban America in the 1980's, although segregation had been abolished and everyone was supposedly equal, it was just like the pig says in Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
By the end of the novel Precious has found some solid ground, as the writer states, "She is slowly learning to grow with the help of Ms. Rains and the other students" I think although this novel is about some extremely dark subject matter the end seems somewhat forward looking, although nothing is properly resolved, it suggests that things could be.

Push, Outline to Presentation

I am going to start my presentation talking about what in the book represents and if this differs from what other races are represented by. I will talk about some of the challenges faced by Precious and also give some statistics from the time in which it was set. I will follow that with what I think the message of Push/Precious is, and who that message is aimed at, and for what reason. I will give a bit of the background of the author and assess whether she can accurately represent the African American community and the issues it faces. I then give my final thoughts on the book in the conclusion and answer whether it is successful in representing the complexity of the African American identity.

Questions I will ask.

1. Do you think the story can represent or relate to other races in America?
2. Who do you think the most important character in the book is?
3. Why do you think the author includes the other kids stories at the end?
4. Can we rely on the author to represent the issues present in the book correctly and accurately?
5. Do you think Push can be seen as a success story?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Push review

This review was published in 1996 the same time the novel was published and so is helpful in finding out what the reaction of the novel was to the society of that time. The reviewer picks up on the fact that 'Push is not the story of a helpless or self-loathing victim. It's meant to be a story of female empowerment and triumph.' this refers to the title of the novel and its symbolism i.e. the repetition of 'Push' throughout the novel as it indicates that Precious has to keep fighting until she gets what she deserves. This is friendship and a decent education.  The writer also makes references to the influences that inspired the writer, Sapphire, by the similarities of Precious's story to Celie's story in 'The Color Purple' and how that novel influenced Precious and  inspires female empowerment and reflects how coloured women are treated. However, the writer suggests that 'In trying to open out her heroine's story and turn it into a more general comment on society, Sapphire has made the tale of Precious decidedly less moving than it might have been.' I believe this is false as writing a story which deals with abuse in such detail, making it more difficult to read is moving, and you can sympathise with her struggles and the story line definitely stays with the reader.