The Theories Behind Rape Culture By: Valarmorghulis

In her book, Transforming a Rape Culture, Emilie Buchwald describes Rape Culture as “a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women,” as a “continuum of threated violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself” (Buchwald). Buchwald’s definition raises an important point; rape culture is everywhere. It is in the statements we make, the stories we read, the news we hear, and the actions that occur as a result of this cultural phenomenon. Why is this the case? And why, often times, is the victim of these words and actions, blamed for what occurs? Rape culture exists and is prominent due to a lack of education on the topic of rape and a willingness to overlook the serious consequences these actions have. Gendered Worlds examines three theories to explain why rape and rape culture exists: Evolutionary Theory, Individual Psychology and Inequality (Aulette and Wittner). Evolutionary Theory states that rape happens due to men’s need to procreate and that their drives must be met at all costs (Aulette and Wittner). This theory states that “it’s only natural” for rape to happen and suggests that “women should neither flirt nor wear provocative clothing” (Thornhill and Palmer in Aulette and Wittner). This theory is problematic when examining why rape happens and adds to the rape culture through the idea of victim blaming. Victim Blaming is when the victim/survivor is blamed for the abuse or negative actions they have been subjected to (Bancroft). Victim blaming often makes it harder for the person to come forward when they are experiencing abuse in any form because they are worried that they will be accused of causing the abuse (Bancroft). An example of these negative behaviors was prevalent in the Steubenville Rape Case. During and after the trial, the media and citizens often took the side of the young football players rather than the girl who was victimized (Strasser and Culp-Ressler). There were headlines such as CNN discussing how the boys were “promising students,” ABC News making excuses for the rapists, NBC News discussing the boys “promising football careers,” and perhaps the most disturbing, The Associated Press and USA today stressing that the victim was drunk (Strasser and Culp-Ressler). These headlines and stories bring to light the horrible reality of media and society glorifying the actions of the rapists and accusing the victim because she was “drunk.” Society chose to focus on the fact that the girl was intoxicated, rather than the fact that the boys raped her. This can also be related to Ashley Judd’s twitter activism. Judd states, “The themes are predictable: I brought it on myself. I deserved it. I’m whiny. I’m no fun. I can’t take a joke. There are more serious issues in the world. The Internet space isn’t real, and doesn’t deserve validity and attention as a place where people are abused and suffer. Grow thicker skin, sweetheart. I’m famous. It’s part of my job description. The themes embedded in this particular incident reflect the universal ways we talk about girls and women. When they are violated, we ask, why was she wearing that? What was she doing in that neighbourhood? What time was it? Had she been drinking?” (Alter). Evolutionary theory creates the problematic idea of victim blaming which contributes to the rape culture phenomenon. This paradigm is prominent because people refuse to accept the damaging affects of this culture, and educate themselves, choosing to teach how to prevent rape, rather than teaching people not to rape. Individual Psychology looks at rape from the perspective of the disturbed and convicted rapists, it also suggests that men who rape were sexually abused as children (Aulette and Wittner). However there are several limitations to this approach. Firstly, they do not look at the social context of rape and just see then as deviant people, second, it only examines men’s sexual violence, even though girls and boys are sexually abused, and finally, the theory only looks at convicted rapists, which is mainly poor men or men of colour, and not wealthy white men, who may offend but are practically “immune” to criminal charges (Aulette and Wittner). This theory is problematic because it does not apply to all people and states that you must be mentally ill or disturbed to rape. It ignores the consequences of labeling all rapists as deviant, rather than recognizing and educating people on the multiple other situations that it could occur in. The third theory, Power Inequality, argues that power differences between men and women produce gender domination and subordination, leading to men’s entitlement and rape through naturalizing them (Aulette and Wittner). Naturalizing means that systems of inequality are constructed by society to the point of people seeing them as the natural way of order (Aulette and Wittner). The idea being that it has become natural through history for society to see men as the dominant and women as the submissive. This theory also looks at the intersectionality—crossing of inequalities that complicate gender differences—of rape (Aulette and Wittner). This means that this theory examines the chances or prevalence of rape in different classes, races, and genders. This theory shows a larger knowledge of the varying causes and effects of rape and rape culture. In conclusion, rape culture is a prevalent issue in our society today. If education on the issue was brought to light, more people might feel comfortable coming forward to report sexual violence, whether it is comments, offensive media or rape itself. There needs to be a larger dialogue on a very serous topic.

Works Cited

Alter, Charlotte. ‘Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Twitter Abuse And Rape’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.

Bancroft, Lundy. ‘Avoiding Victim Blaming « Center For Relationship Abuse Awareness’ N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.

Buchwald, Emilie, Pamela R Fletcher, and Martha Roth. Transforming A Rape Culture. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 1993. Print.

Root Aulette, Judy, and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

Strasser, Annie-Rose, and Tara Culp-Ressler. ‘How The Media Took Sides In The Steubenville Rape Case’. ThinkProgress. N.p., 2013. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.

Internet and the Birth of Cyber Bullying

Social networking is “the development of social and professional contacts, the sharing of information and services among people” (Dictionary, 2015).  As network developers imagine and create programs to make this world a smaller place to live I’m sure their intent was not to create an environment that also supports anonymous online bullying. The ability to create and receive support for a forum that fosters negative and hurtful comments is far easier today than yesterday. A concern amongst many advocacy groups is what will it be like tomorrow.   While social networking is in its infancy, cyber bullying and violence directed towards those perceived different can easily reach a greater audience.

The Internet has been naturalized; it’s everywhere. Around 35% of the world’s population has access to the Internet. Sixty-nine percent of American households use the Internet; otherwise have access through work, school, and libraries (Aulette). Instead of face-to-face interactions whereby someone physically or mentally hurts someone, it can now be accomplished from the comfort and privacy of your home or anywhere with Internet access.

It’s difficult to say when one may be bullied and for what reason someone decides to target them. The assumption, which has been socially constructed through movies and television shows is that bullying is between a jock and a nerd. However bullying can develop from one’s “flaw”, whether it is body size, appearance, intelligence, social class, etc. I was always taught that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, that I shouldn’t say anything at all, however many feel the need to make comments where often it is unnecessary and unwanted. Previously I was witness to an online dispute that involved a girl posting what she believed to be an innocent photo of her and her boyfriend. The comment section resulted in pages of negative comments about their relationship and banter between multiple people bringing up her history and anonymously posting their opinions of her. This isn’t the first dispute I have been witness too online with the common theme resulting with the girl as the victim. What I have also observed is that bullying is gender neutral with both boys and girls being active participants. I would consider this yet another male privilege, given that girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims of cyber bullying (Do Something).

Bullying isn’t only an issue that is dealt with by children as it often carries into the adult years. Celebrities are not immune to bullying and are commonly tweeted about in a negative light. Recently actress Ashley Judd tweeted an innocent comment about a basketball game that received more attention than intended. She received so much hatred and violent sexual threats that she needed to delete the tweet. What Ashley has experienced is not uncommon for females on the Internet. This one tweet resulted in her intellect insulted in addition to her age; appearance and family (Time, 2015). She explains that the responses are “in vivid language, humiliating and violent resulting in assaulting her genitals, vaginal and anal, would be violated, shamed, exploited and dominated”. “Either the writer was going to do these things to me, or they were what I deserved” (Time, 2015). I am not saying that men would not be harassed for the same kind of tweet, but you don’t often see them being sexually harassed over social networking the way women often are. Ashley, along with many girls and women all around the world, are sexually objectified. “They are made into a thing for another’s sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision-making” (Aulette). When harassers speak about violently raping and any other violent actions, they may be trying to assert hegemonic dominance of the victim. I believe that one of the hardest parts about any situation like this would be that the harasser might never be brought to justice.

No one asks to be harassed or feel sexually abused. Not when you post a picture on Facebook for your friends to see or in tweeting support for your favorite team during a basketball game. People hide behind their screens; sometimes even their anonymity and abuse people believing nothing will be done about it. Eighty-one percent of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person (Do Something). While there are laws and many people trying to prevent and stop online harassment, the harsh reality is that it is still very difficult to convict.

The Internet isn’t a phase; its here to stay and people need to learn how to use it responsibly. People also need to understand the growing issue that women represent the majority of online harassment. These women are not only harassed verbally, but sexually as well. What needs to be done in order to attempt to prevent online harassment in a time that social networking is becoming easier and more popular? Personally, I think there could be big changes if people held their tongues and if they didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

By reeses96

Works Cited

“Social Networking.” 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 3 Apr. 2015. < networking>.

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. Third Edition ed. New York. 226 & 237. Print.

“11 Facts about Cyber Bullying.” Do Something. Web. 3 Apr. 2015. <;.

Alter, Charlotte. “Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Twitter Abuse and Rape.” Time. 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 3 Apr. 2015. <;.

Education as the Key to Erase Single Sided Stories

Historically, people of colour have often been automatically attributed to certain tendencies and behavioural traits, solely based on their ethnicity. This idea of racialization, clumping alike groups of individuals based on race or culture and branding them with certain stereotypes, started as early as the 19th century with the idea of orientalism. Orientalism is a way of viewing different races, specifically the Arab peoples in the East, as backwards and needing to be saved by white people in the West, orientalism defines women in the East as promiscuous and exotic, and men as untrustworthy and violent (Said, “Orientalism”). This theory and perception of certain races being violent criminals is still present in today’s justice system. Blacks are automatically seen as having criminal behaviours and those of colour are over policed and imprisoned based on racist historical roots that are socially constructed due to biases and single story perspectives which are believed to be true by many, but with education and understanding, minority races may be provided with a safer and less discriminatory space.

Using violence as a lens is the way in which people, often whites, look at blacks and people of colour. Violence has become the way in which these bodies are viewed and in turn results in marginalization and imprisonment. According to Angela Davis, 70% of those locked up in prison in America are of colour, due to the racialized assumptions of criminality. Often individuals, sometimes even myself included, will look at someone of colour and automatically associate them with stereotypes of being violent and making poor life decisions, when in fact that is not always the case. This idea of viewing races with a ‘single sided’ stereotypical story stems from history and is further instilled in us through media and selective news covering, often we are bias to or unaware of the entirety of a story and must realize that all races and ethnicities are diverse, with different sides to their story. As Chimamanda Adichie points out, whites only see a single sided story of people of colour and the same goes for blacks when they think about the West, the media and ways in which we are educated as children enforces certain beliefs and stereotypes that are based on one’s race, and these stereotypes are often not the complete story. This one sided-narrative in turn results in problematic and long-lasting issues for marginalized communities, especially surrounding people of colour and the law.

Blacks are systematically targeted as criminals, society segregates these individuals based on their race and creates structured racism within communities. This pattern of negative connotation and treatment to a group of people based on their race is known as institutional racism and is present not only within jails but also all other social institutions such as schools and banks (Chegg, “Definition of Institutional Racism”). Martese Johnson, a 20 year old black boy who was supposedly not acting in an aggressive matter, was still attacked by white police until he was bloody and abused, and was faced with such a violent conviction because of the preconceived idea of the narrative surrounding people of his ethnicity. For countless black individuals just like Martese, the justice system is composed largely of white people who hold a bias over racist practices which stem from historical beliefs and ideals. There is much debate surrounding the over-policing of blacks and many people argue that blacks are likely to be involved in violent crime, however is this belief factual or is it perhaps a racialized stereotype? According to NAACP, blacks are incarcerated at six times the rate compared to whites and this is a result of biased legislation and racialized criminalization towards not only the black community, but many other races.

Not only do blacks face prejudice within the justice system, but Islamic people also face islamophobia, Islamic men are seen as terrorist and their women need to be saved by the white saviours. Again, all foreigners or those of another race which is historically viewed as threatening to whites, is categorized based on racial stereotypes and interpretations. This automatic criminal attribution of peoples based on their skin colour results in their isolation and marginalization within society, meaning that racism is still a very real thing which is hidden within the societal beliefs of crime and the construct that certain individuals are more likely to be criminals. This oppressive factor in turn further impoverishes those individuals whose impoverishment is seen to be fixed when they are imprisoned, as they are supposedly unable to act out their black criminal tendencies (Davis, “Masked Racism). Due to the socially constructed racism, the risk of arrest is ultimately higher for black people, which means that even though many of them are hard-working, non-violent, law abiding citizens, they are not given the same chance as the majority to escape such prejudice, discrimination and arrest.

Overall, when we are uneducated and presented with a historically told, one sided story about certain races, it is difficult to escape these stereotypes which ultimately put marginalized communities at a disadvantage. When these boundaries are broken and all sides of the story are told, both the good and the bad, we can then see people as individuals that make up a race, rather than a group of people which are all violent murderers and drug dealers. I believe education is the key to understanding people of different races, removing the ignorance surrounding the supposed violent nature of blacks and other ethnicities because stereotypes are not necessarily untrue, they are just not the complete story (Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story).

By doglover1

Works Cited

“Masked Racism: Reflection on the Prison Industrial Complex”. Angela, Davis. N.D. Web. <

“Virginia Governor Calls for Inquiry into Student Arrest”. BBC News. 19 March 2015. Web. <

“Fact Check: Do Black Americans Commit More Crime?”. Patrick, Worrall. 27 Nov. 2014. Web. <

“Criminal Justice Fact Sheet”. NAACP. 2015. Web. <

“Definition of Institutional Racism”. Chegg. 2015. Web. <

“The Danger of a Single Story”. Chimamanda Ngozi, Adichie. Oct. 2009. Web. <

“Orientalism: a Brief Definition”. Said, Edward. 1979. Web. <

Love has no bounds, why do we? By reeses96

What is more important, love or gender? This is a huge question in regards to same-sex marriage. If love were more important, then why do people care so much about the legalization of same-sex marriage? How is the right to deny the happiness of a same-sex couple getting married anyone’s authority?

Gays are a marginalizScreen Shot 2015-03-11 at 5.28.15 PMed minority because society has made them that way. They aren’t given the same rights as straight men and women are; marriage being one of the fought for rights. Social construction has made it so that marriage is seen as the legal bonding of one man to one woman. Although over time the fight to make gay marriage legal has been won in many locations, there are still a number of places where the marriage of gay men and lesbians is illegal.

While marriage symbolizes mutual love, there are also spousal rights and financial benefits that go along with the legal bind. Although a gay couple may live together for years as co-dependents, they may be “prohibited from carrying each other on policies for health insurance or life insurance when that benefit is provided by their employer for workers’ heterosexual spouses” (Aulette). By not being legally married, same-sex couples also don’t have the right to make decisions about their partner’s health care as a married heterosexual couple would. In the United States, in some states where it is still illegal for gay men and lesbians to get married, civil unions have been granted. Civil unions offer similar rights to that of a heterosexual marriage, such as claim of each other’s taxes and insurance benefits (Aulette).

Another issue that comes with the various gay rights, or lack there of, is the impact on children. “Only very few states permit unmarried partners to petition to adopt jointly” (familequality). This means that legally, one parent of a child is a legal stranger, despite having been acting as a parent since birth. They have no custody rights of the child; they can’t sign anything medical or legal in regards to the child. Where the law doesn’t see two parents of a child, I would think society would as it would be plain to see first hand the raising of the child by two parents, but this isn’t always the case. The non-legal parent sometimes feels like a “nanny or mommy’s sidekick” when it comes to giving permission for something so small as the attendance of a birthday party and being overlooked because the permission of the legal parent is seen as more appropriate (Aulette). Having no legal ties to the child may leave the child in distress if the legal parent were to die. The other parent would have no legal claim over his or her own child even if they are the most suitable option and has been a parent for the child’s entire life.

There isn’t only the issue of legal rights of a child, sometimes it’s a matter of first getting a child. In some cases, same-sex couples are denied permission to adopt a child because of their sexuality (lgbtmap 2011). Not only does this hurt a couple wanting to love and care for a child of their own, it denies a child in need a loving and stable home.

Gender socialization has made it so that it seems unnatural and too complicated for same-sex couples to have a family. There are certain gender roles when it comes to parenting that same-sex parents are thought of as not having. In family dynamics, the standard story is that “all children are raised in households with one masculine male father and one feminine female mother” (Aulette). Same-sex couples are then left with the consideration of are both parents going to referred to as ‘mom’/’dad’? Should they conform to the heterosexual model and one is ‘mom’ and the other is ‘dad’?

There is a lot of discussion on whether same-sex parents are harmful to a child’s well being or not. In my opinion, it’s not the parents who raise the child and a lack of love and care they provide the child with, it’s society that harms the child. How society often treats same-sex marriage and families sends a message to their children that their parents aren’t adequate and that something is wrong with their family. What is wrong with two people loving their child? Not only does the way society speaks about same-sex families affect a child’s mental health, it’s now come to a point where it’s affecting their physical health.

In Michigan, a doctor refused to treat a 6-day old baby girl because her parents were lesbians (myfoxdetroit 2015). The women were under the impression that their doctor primary concern was the well being of their infant, as it should be, not the parents’ sexuality. But the fact of the matter is that there are few laws that protect gays. “Doctors can refuse treatment if it’s incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs” (myfoxdetroit 2015).

When it comes down to it, we are all just human beings, no matter our race, gender, or sexuality. I think equality is one of the biggest issues of our time and that it’s gone too far when a child’s health is put at risk. Your sexuality shouldn’t determine whether you could get married, adopt a child, or how much love you could give a child. What is more important, love or gender?

Works Cited

“Map: Same-sex Marriage Laws around the World.” Cbc News. 20 Jan. 2015. Web. <;.

“50 States of Adoption.” Family Equality Council. Web. <;.

“All Children Matter.” Lgbtmap. 1 Oct. 2011. Web. <;.

“Doctor Refuses Treatment of Same-sez Couple’s Baby.” Myfoxdetroit.con. 18 Feb. 2015. Web. <;.

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. Third Edition ed. New York. 226 & 237. Print.

Sexual Orientation Shouldn’t Matter For Justice

What is justice? Is justice simply what the law says it to be, or perhaps is it inclusive and protective of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, religion and so on? For many individuals they are protected by the law, but for members of the LGBTQ community that is not always the case. Some same sex couples, like Krista and Jami Contreras who live in a state which grants LGBTQ with no protective laws, experienced discrimination and humiliation that affected not only them, but also their daughter Bay, because they do not fit into the heteronormative category of cisgender that is overly dominant within the justice system. With laws that are in favor of cultural and societal sexual ‘norms’, discrimination towards the LBGTQ, trans and all other minority communities is common place in many areas of the world because they are not viewed as equal, due to their intersecting values and traits, which in turn lead to oppression and marginalization.

Much like the Contreras, who experienced sexual discrimination, many members of marginalized groups face similar circumstances of exclusion and judgement that affects their everyday lives. For example, blacks fought and are still fighting against racism and transgender people have to face a society that often looks down upon them and criticizes them because of their gender socialization. Krista and Jami’s story demonstrates that yes, when their doctor refused treatment for their six day old baby girl she had the right based on her moral and religious beliefs, but just because such a law protected their doctor didn’t mean that the Contreras were safe as well. In order for justice to be protective and fair to all individuals it must be inclusive of all umbrella terms and intersecting qualities when it comes to things such as gender, race and religion. Dr. Vesna Roi’s refusal to do her job and treat a patient with same sex parents because it went against her moral beliefs is not in fact wrong, she is entitled to freedom of belief, but how can one say that it is right when you look at the position the Contreras were put into?

As Dr. Cornel West said, “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t serve the people unless you save the people” meaning that when something, such as a law, is put in place to protect certain individuals, it should not in turn discriminate or harm any other groups within the community. For the Contreras, they were not given the right to fight the prejudice that they faced because Vermont does not offer any such legislation to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms for the LGBTQ community. The situation that they faced with Dr. Roi was one sided, justice was in favor of the gender binaries that are socially constructed and excluding of those that do not conform. The Contreras story is the case for so many people that are faced with interconnecting and marginalizing factors in their life that they can even be legally denied the right to be treated by healthcare professionals. When looking at such oppression how can the government say that they are serving for the justice of the people if they are jeopardizing and harming certain groups of people that should be given the exact same fundamental rights and freedoms as anyone else.

Justice is hard to define because not every person is going to view the term and what it looks like within a community in the same way. However, if the law were to protect their citizens based on what West said, “justice is what love looks like in public” then perhaps all people would be entitled to their rights, freedoms and feel safe, regardless of their sexuality or any other marginalizing factor. In order for justice to serve the whole of the community those that put justice into place must take into consideration everyone’s positionality, sexuality, culture and religion to make justice an inclusive, non-judgemental and non-oppressive system. Certainly we do not live in a perfect world and individuals opinions, morals and beliefs are going to vary and clash, but the first step towards justice for all is by working in solidarity with all groups, not just heterosexuals or whites, but rather every race and community, whether they are in power or oppressed. For the Contreras, while Dr. Roi was given the right to defend herself based on her personal values, the Contreras were not in turn granted the same equality and fairness, and in order for justice to serve all equally, it must respect, accept and protect everyone’s sexual orientation, beliefs, race and ideals.

By: doglover1

Works Cited

“Doctor Refuses Treatment of Same-sex Couples Baby.” 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.

“Dr. Cornel West – Official Website.” Dr. Cornel West – Official Website. Web. 3 Mar. 2015. <;.


A Fine Line by valarmorghulis

There is a very fine line between appreciating and appropriating the culture of others. What makes the difference between cultural exchange and cultural appropriation? Where is the line drawn? In my opinion, Cultural Appropriation stems from a place of privilege coupled with an ignorance of the original cultural importance. Power Structures play an important role in cultural appropriation. Often times it is white people appropriating the culture of other marginalized minorities. They select aspects of the culture that are fashionable or trendy and ignore the meaning or symbolism of the item. For it to be cultural exchange “there needs to be some element of mutual understanding, equality, and respect for it to be a true exchange,” and you should be “engaging with a culture as a respectful and humble guest, invitation only,” (Uwujaren 2013).

There is also the difference between restricted and unrestricted symbols (âpihtawikosisân 2012). Restricted items are items or symbols that are earned, or replicated symbols that can be used officially by people who have earned them, or can be mocked by people who have not. Unrestricted symbols are things that do not require achievement and are free to use (âpihtawikosisân 2012). This is helpful in drawing the line between cultural appropriation vs. appreciation. “Restricted” symbols are often used when it comes to cultural appropriation. If a person not of a plains culture were to wear a native headdress, it would be seen as appropriation as they have not earned the headdress, nor do they know the meaning behind it. The most brave and powerful people in a tribe only wore the native headdress, and they earned a feather every time the tribe felt they acted in a particularly brave way ( Therefore, people who wear the headdress are coming from a place of privilege to use the article as a statement of fashion. They are ignoring and disrespecting the original culture and the importance they put behind it.

Another issue with cultural appropriation is the portrayal of the Asian cultures in the Western world. Edward Said coined the term Orientalism to examine the way Asian cultures are stereotyped from a colonialist ideology. Huffington Post examined the portrayal of a few stars portraying acts with “Asian influences.” In particular they looked at Katy Perry’s “geisha-inspired,” AMA performance, Selena Gomez’s “Hindu-themed” Billboard Award’s performance, and Lady Gaga’s “burqa-accessorized wardrobe” (Duca 2013). It is extremely risky for celebrities to portray these cultures, when they themselves have no association to them. Celebrities have such a wide sphere of influence; they open up what is acceptable to their fans. If celebrities are portraying the ideals of cultural appropriation to consumers, they are taking a part in the cultural production of these negative actions.

A Sociological Images article examined cultural appropriation in tattoos. Many people get Chinese or Japanese symbols tattooed on them with no relation to either language or culture and even less knowledge of what the symbols actually mean. The article discusses a blog, Hanzi Smatter, who asks for tattoo submissions of Japanese and Chinese writing, and tells people what their tattoos actually mean (Christensen 2012). Hanzi Smatter discusses how most of the tattoos do not mean what they think they do, and some have no meaning whatsoever (Christensen 2012). Hanzi Smatter states that “some tattoo shops use this gibberish font for tattoos—using the font to spell out words letter by letter, when Chinese and Japanese don’t work that way,” (Christensen 2012). This shows the clear consumerism of these aspects of cultural appropriation. There is such a market for these “exotic” looking tattoos, that tattoo parlours have incorrect symbols, and people do not even look into it. This shows the privilege of some to use a part of a culture to look good, with a complete ignorance of the actual meanings behind it.

As a white female, I have no experience with my culture being appropriated. However, I have seen others glorify certain aspects of other cultures for their own benefit with little knowledge of the culture behind it. Around Halloween, my building had a meeting about cultural appropriation in costumes around this time. Most of the people understood why certain elements, such as “black face,” were completely wrong. However, many of the people on my floor became quite insulted when they were told they had to be careful when emulating certain aspects of Disney princesses, like Mulan and Pocahontas. The message here was not do not be your favourite princess, rather, be careful how you portray certain elements, as it could be insulting to others culture. Coming from a place of privilege, it was difficult for them to see why wearing Pocahontas’s “native” outfit could be seen as problematic or insulting.

In conclusion, it is often difficult to draw that line between appreciating and appropriating, but it ultimately comes down to a knowledge and respect of others culture. People need to recognize the “restricted” and “unrestricted” elements and work from there. I am by no means saying you should not appreciate the beauty of different cultures, but you should be aware of what you are appreciating.

Works Cited

âpihtawikosisân,. 2012. ‘An Open Letter To Non-Natives In Headdresses’. Retrieved March 9, 2015 (

Christensen, Wendy. 2012. ‘Lost In Translation: Tattoos And Cultural Appropriation » Sociological Images’. Retrieved March 9, 2015 (

Duca, Lauren. 2013. ‘Cultural Appropriation 101: Feat. Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus And Selena Gomez’.The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 9, 2015 (,. 2015. ‘The Symbolic Meaning Of An Indian Headdress’. Retrieved March 9, 2015 (

Uwujaren, Jarune. 2013. ‘The Difference Between Cultural Exchange And Cultural Appropriation’.Everyday Feminism. Retrieved March 9, 2015 (

Modern Day Take On The Cliché “Boy meets Girl” Love Story by reeses96

This movie takes place in a small town, where Ricky (Michelle Hendley), a beautiful young transgender girl doesn’t believe there to be any boys left in town to fall in love with so Ricky takes into consideration changing her sexual orientation/preference. While Ricky, with the dream of becoming a fashion designer, waits for a letter to come from fashion school in New York, she meets a new girl named Francesca (Alexandra Turshen) who waits for the return of her Marine fiancé David (Michael Galante). The two girls become close friends that quickly turned into more than just friends. Watching Ricky become invested in Francesca, Robby (Michael Welch), Ricky’s close childhood friend is let thinking about his feelings for her. Upon the early return of David, drama arises amongst the four leaving relationships and the future left questionable.

Boy meets Girl as showcased in the 2014 Reelout Kingston Queer movie festival is the most recent work of writer and director Eric Scaeffer. What is so refreshing about the up and coming star Michelle Hendley is while she portrays a transgender girl in the movie; off screen she is a transgender women herself. This sweet, funny, romantic movie focuses on the themes of self-acceptance, and friendship, following your dreams while also focusing on the theme of transphobia and homophobia.

This film involves many of its characters taking a step back and reviewing some of the choices they’ve made. Ricky struggles with her search for love and how her future will pan out having not gotten into fashion school. Robby must act on his feelings for Ricky, ones that he’s always seemed to have, but never pursued. Francesca with having slept with Ricky while engaged to David, and David for how transphobic he is towards Ricky.

David is aggressively transphobic, voicing his opinion after learning about Francesca and Ricky’s new found friendship. He asserts hegemonic masculinity, showing dominance when he forbids Francesca of seeing Ricky, becomes aggressive with Francesca in public, and attempts to assault Ricky after finding out about the affaire. It is later revealed that it is all a cover. David didn’t hate Ricky; in fact he was very much infatuated with her, which lead to the two having sex in high school. Afraid of how he would look in the eyes of others, especially the Marines, David simulates this pure homophobic character.

One scene that really stood out for me was when Francesca is invited over to Ricky’s house and asks Ricky if she has a tampon. And while everyone in the room just stares at Francesca, she further pursues the matter continually asking, as if she were completely clueless as to why Ricky would not have any tampons. The way I take how naïve Francesca is of Ricky being transgender as a sign of how accepting she is of Ricky and how she doesn’t view her as anything other than an average girl. She never acts discomforted; she is merely kind hearted and a genuine friend. Of course being cisgender, Francesca had questions at some point, but she was always polite and understanding of Ricky’s response.

This just goes to show that while many may not be accepting of those who are transgender or even homosexual, there are always people that are. Thus relating back to Ricky’s mother, who is out of the picture, we slowly discover that she was not accepting of her son becoming a girl. While Ricky holds on to this burden with her mother, it was wonderful to see that Ricky had such a supportive father and brother who loved Ricky for everything she is.

It was interesting to see the different side of the typical romantic comedy from what I’m used to seeing in the theatre. While following the lines of a romantic comedy, this movie had more meaning then just a happily ever after. Even as society has evolved and is more accepting of the LGBTQ community then many years ago, it still doesn’t come through in the media, Hollywood movies in particular, as maybe it should. I think this is a great movie that could be easily transitioned into larger community M. It was not too intense, and plot wise pretty much follows typical romantic movies, with slightest change that it’s main character is transgender. This could open up the LGBTQ films to be shown to the general public and not just one viewing in the Reelout festival.

As far as my experience goes, it was a very cold walk from the Queens campus to the screening room downtown. There was such a great turn out for the movie I was glad to have gotten my ticket in advance from the SHRC on campus; there was a long line of people just hoping to get in, with so few seats left to be bought. Given how popular the festival, if not this movie in particular turned out to be, I believe the movie could have benefitted in being shown in a larger setting. Overall, I very much enjoyed the movie and had a great first experience with the LGBTQ community.

By: reeses96