Reclaiming Sexualization (11/2/17) Meeting Notes! by Eliya Ahmad ’19

In this meeting, we started off by discussing the difference between internal and external validation; internal validation would be doing something because you feel good, and external would be doing it because other people think you look good. People mentioned that sometimes others can misinterpret ones reasoning behind wearing revealing clothes — no one thinks, “okay, this low cut shirt is on and I’m ready to get attention from boys,” and yet sometimes that is what is assumed. However, sometimes it can be difficult to separate the personal from the societal, and one can end up subconsciously doing things for external validation due to internalized beauty standards.

People questioned whether it can be empowering to reclaim sexualization, or whether doing so it feeding into the issue. It can be a power, but you still have no control over how others view you. The poem “What Do Women Want” was brought up in relation to this. We also brought up a Margaret Atwood quote about male fantasies, and discussed how nearly everything is assumed to be done for men.

It was mentioned that it is nearly impossible to escape societal pressures in terms of appearance. Thinking you look good is still conforming to standards of what society think looks “good,” since otherwise we would just be wearing squirrel skin coats for warmth. Essentially, we decided that there is no good option; regardless of how you dress or act or present yourself, you are still affected by societal standards. 

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10/26/17 Meeting Recap! by Maya Bashner ’19

In this meeting we discussed a recently viral quote:

“I want any young men who buy a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion. Think about it: a mandatory 48-hours waiting period, written permission from a parent or a judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protestors holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protestor who call him a murderer. After all, it makes more sense to do this for young men seeking guns than for young women seeking an abortion. No young woman needing reproductive freedom has ever murdered a roomful of strangers.”

We began by discussing the flaws in the quote, for example that it doesn’t mention what needs to change for abortion laws, and therefore doesn’t give a clear message about the point of the quote. This led into a discussion about different forms of activism. A point was made about how quotes like these assume the education of a reader, making them inaccessible to a wide audience. This led to a discussion about whether quotes like these over complicate or over simplify the issues at hand. In some ways, when quotes like these circulate the internet, they are continuously simplified to cater to web-users, depleting the original intention of the quote. However, it could also spread to a wider audience given the variety of users that could come across it.