Defying Gender Norms in Rowan’s The Bacchae 2.1

There is something unnerving about a man wearing a woman’s clothing. Just ask Buzz Bissinger. In this brief clip, he talks about his love for wearing women’s clothes, and why that doesn’t, in any way, make him “less of a man.” For some reason, the fact that the line is blurring between gender norms recently has made plenty of people uncomfortable, but it also a step that is being widely celebrated. Caitlyn Jenner being the most recent and prominent example of a transgender celebrity, Laverne Cox being the next, the doors are opening for everyone’s own gender interpretations and people are leaving their bias’ at the door.

Although there is a huge difference between transgender and cross-dressing, the fact of the matter is people are more accepting and even apt to blur the lines of gender.

This is a prominent theme in the Rowan play, The Bacchae 2.1. This is a production that tells the tale Euripides wrote in ancient Greek times, The Bacchae. This play, even during ancient Greek times, deals with blurring the lines of gender, and it is commonly interpreted as a strong feminist play. (That’s a bit lengthy, but worth the read.) The women in the play reject the rules of Thebes, the city they are supposed to live in, and instead of staying at home and doing the duties of the home, they leave the city, go into the mountains, and celebrate Dionysus, the God of fertility and wine, in sexual acts and all around good times.

In order to infiltrate the women, Pentheus, the king of Thebes, dresses up as a woman and goes into the mountains, ultimately to his death. (It’s an ancient Greek play, guys, we should have seen this coming.)

The opening of the play, the women are found giggling and hanging all over the men. They are more or less props.
The opening of the play, the women are found giggling and hanging all over the men. They are more or less props.
When the men talk, the women sit down quietly and listen.
When the men talk, the women sit down quietly and listen.
Dionysus, the cross dressing God, is taken and thrown into jail for his outfit, and the fact that the women worship him.
Dionysus, the cross dressing God, is taken and thrown into jail for his outfit, and the fact that the women worship him.
Dionysus has an intoxicating affect on the women in Thebes.
Dionysus has an intoxicating affect on the women in Thebes.
Dionysus helping Pentheus come up with a way to infiltrate the women in the mountains.
Dionysus helping Pentheus come up with a way to infiltrate the women in the mountains.
Pentheus transforming into a woman's clothes, and actually enjoying the process.
Pentheus transforming into a woman’s clothes, and actually enjoying the process.
Dionysus and Pentheus have a pseudo-sexual experience on stage in the form of a dance. Pentheus previously expressed his hatred of homosexual acts, but now he doesn't appear so offended.
Dionysus and Pentheus have a pseudo-sexual experience on stage in the form of a dance. Pentheus previously expressed his hatred of homosexual acts, but now he doesn’t appear so offended.
The women in the mountains explaining their sexual prowess and fantasies to the newly found member.
The women in the mountains explaining their sexual prowess and fantasies to the newly found member.
Homosexual acts are celebrated by both men and women who worship Dionysus, and Pentheus' mind begins changing.
Homosexual acts are celebrated by both men and women who worship Dionysus, and Pentheus’ mind begins changing.
Alas, it came too late. Agave brutally murders Pentheus after tearing his wig off and discovering a man trying to spy on them.
Alas, it came too late. Agave brutally murders Pentheus after tearing his wig off and discovering a man trying to spy on them.
Dionysus stands erect as his female followers stand behind him at the closing of the play.
Dionysus stands erect as his female followers stand behind him at the closing of the play.

The Levels of Pay Equality

By now I’m sure you’ve all read Jennifer Lawrence’s essay for her pal Lena Dunham on Lenny Letter, an empowering website that covers everything from feminism to politics. Jennifer Lawrence’s recent addition to the website had the internet ablaze in a matter of hours, as is expected of J.Law. “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?” she wonders, and goes on to describe how the Sony leak helped her realize how much less she was being paid.

While this is all very helpful for her fellow actresses, many of us mere mortals are wondering why she didn’t reach out to include every single female, not just females making hundreds of thousands a movie. While she did indicate her situation is hard to relate to, and even if she didn’t tackle the issue head on, (I won’t be calling her a strong feminist voice/leader) her willingness to even address the issue is admirable.

Women in everyday jobs are faced with this discrimination.

This is not a difficult concept to understand, and even students and professors at Rowan University have done studies on this.

One study I have found was conducted by Laura Schultz, a Math professor at Rowan University. If you’re like me, you have to look at the study several times to understand exactly what it’s saying. The first set of results shows the difference between the gender wage gap based on two means, while the second set of results shows an insignificantly smaller wage gap based on the medians. Basically, the second one states it is hard to see a difference when it comes to male and females in the same metropolitan area, working the same job, with the same amount of education. Which is good, as far as gender wage gaps go.

The next paper I found while researching was written by Joel P. Rudin and Kimble Byrd, both professors of business at Rowan University. What this paper critiques are four bills that have been passed into the 107th Congress, that may appear to be progressive, but actually only allow current employers to “maintain their current pay rates,” as these professors describe in the abstract. It is quite interesting to read.

I think it goes without saying that there are different levels to wage equality, even among women. The goal is for an African American male to make the same as a Caucasian male, who makes the same as a Caucasian women who makes the same as an African American women who makes the same as a Latina women, if they are all doing the same job. It’s that simple.

Until next time!

 

Talking with Dana D’Angelo: Hockey & Feminism

Boys are naturally more athletic than girls. They are built bigger, they are physically stronger, right? While this may be generally true, the importance we, as a society, place on men’s physicality should be debunked. Women, pertaining to athletics, are considered less than men in athletics. The amount of time I heard “I can’t watch girls playing soccer. It’s so boring,” in my life as a soccer player is asinine. I accepted it then, nodded and even agreed. (Hey, I was young and too busy impressing boys to question what people said.) This is a societal norm we grow up with, and we always think norms are true until we realize they’re not. Some people may still believe this, but the issue that has been getting more attention over the past few years is trying to debunk those disbelievers. Should girls be allowed to play on boy sport’s teams? If so, what ages are appropriate for co-ed teams?

My female cousin, Tina, played little league football for our township growing up. She is a football fanatic to this day, and she played because she wanted to. Two years later, she stopped playing, but not because she didn’t enjoy it. Rather, she saw that she would never be taken seriously on the field, because she played football like a girl.

This led me to look at sports at Rowan, and I found something that struck my interest. Dana D’Angelo, 23, played on the Rowan Women’s Ice Hockey team her last two years of school. This team was recently formed in the last three years. I’d never heard of a women’s ice hockey team, so I was curious. Generally, ice hockey is thought of as a tough macho-man sport, because it is tough, and it is one of, if not the only sport, (I know of at least) that allows physical altercations. My family is full of huge Flyer’s fans, and I’ve often heard that hockey is the toughest sport. (Obviously people may agree or disagree. I don’t really think about it enough to put my opinion out there.)

(Dana D’Angelo, above, sent me this photo after the interview.)

I was curious about how she felt playing a sport that is considered tough (for men, which is basically twice as tough for women, you know?), and although it was not a co-ed team, it is still considered a masculine activity.

She was eager to answer my questions, and I am just as eager to share them with you.

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(Dana, to the left, sent me this photo.)

 Q: When was the Rowan’s Women’s Ice Hockey team founded? I’ve never heard of it before.

A: “My junior year my teammates Laura and Rachael, who have been playing ice hockey for awhile decided to start the women’s team. They started recruiting other girls and then there was 10. Some who played in the past and some who have never held a stick or were [never] on the ice besides falling down on it.”

Q: What were the responses of family and friends when you started playing?

A: “The type of responses that I received when I told people I was playing were very supportive. I came from playing roller derby which was rough and hard and looked at as ‘a lesbian sport,’ even though it was mostly married women with kids and just me. So I was used to being looked at as playing a rough and crazy sport.”

Q: What were the games like? Generally speaking, what was the energy like at the games?

A: “It was awesome to have friends come out and watch the games, and see how tough us women can be out on the ice, and that it’s not just intertwining when we play.”

Q: What do you mean by that last part? Can you expand on that a little bit?

A: “Of course. I mean, we had a team full of girls who could kill it on the ice and then go out in a dress to a bar after if we wanted, and kill it at the bar.”

Q: Being a male dominated sport, did you ever feel like you were being judged by anyone?

A: “I didn’t feel like I was being judged by anyone, but if they were I probably just didn’t even care to notice. After taking the big step to come out in high school, I never cared about what people thought of me. I just wanted to do what made me happy.”

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(Dana sent me these photos after the interview. She is to the far right. They won the championship her senior year.)

Girls are just as “tough” as boys both physically and mentally. As for co-ed teams, I think they are necessary for youths, but I am not sure where I fall in the spectrum after a certain age. I think it’s important to note that just because men are thought of as tougher than females, we can be just as tough. The creating of this hockey team goes to show that gender norms are shifting, and people aren’t as likely to fall into one category or the other, but they can allow themselves to be anything they want to be, female or male. Down with gender norms!

Until next time!

One Thing You Should Never Have Sex Without

Consent.

It sounds obvious, right? Sex without consent is rape. Rape is a crime. Rape is an assault, an attack, the dehumanization of an individual, essentially, because what rapists are saying to their victims is that their consent is not needed. It’s not necessary, and therefore their objections do not matter. The victims have no control over what is about to happen to them.

How terrifying must that be?

If you google rape on college campuses, article after article will pop up from various colleges across the country. Recent articles, too. One day ago, three days ago. These are reported rapes. Think about the rapes that go unreported.

Some of you may be wondering how this issue is feminist, but it is exactly what feminism stands for. Equal treatment of all individuals, no matter the gender.

No is an answer. It is an acceptable answer that should be listened to.

While browsing the world wide web, I found a video of one of my favorite actors – Matt McGorry – speaking out about rape. I watched the brief video, which led me to the organization that is centralized on rapes, but even more specific, rapes on college campuses. How great is that? The initiative was launched last year by President Obama. I am just now discovering it – whether it went unnoticed by me, or it didn’t receive the type of press that other situations receive has yet to be decided. (I’ve always been pretty current with the news, though.)

What’s the organization called? It’s On Us. It is enlightening, and definitely relevant to every college, even Rowan.

This led me to investigate Rowan a bit, and I have some useful information on their website.

  • Only 16 percent of rape victims will ever report their assault to the police because survivors often may face post assault adversity and hostile reactions from law enforcement, family and friends.
  • 63 percent of completed rapes, 65 percent of attempted rapes, and, 74 percent of completed and attempted sexual assaults against females were not reported to law enforcement.

Look at those statistics for a moment – 74% of attempted and completed rapes are not reported. How utterly depressing.

Many people think this doesn’t occur at Rowan, but that is not the case. Simply because they victims are not reporting what happened to them. Throughout the years I have found an article from 2001, 2012, and even as recent as 2014. These are simply the ones that have been reported, and have caught the attention of the news organizations. It is heartbreaking to anyone who has felt that their voice would not be heard or listened to, which is usually the case as to why victims don’t report their assault. That, or they are ashamed of what happened.

Rape is something that should never happen, and definitely something that should be given more attention than it has been in the past. No is an answer, and females should not be afraid or coerced into saying yes, because that is rape. Unless it is a definitive, sober hell yes, we should all reconsider what we are about to do.

I leave you with this Lady Gaga music video, as well as a link to the HuffPost Women article that has statistics, as well as more information pertaining to the topic at hand.

The music video is courageous, but also contains sensitive material.

Until next time!