Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

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Sex Trafficking

In class we discussed sex trafficking. Most of us are under the impression that sex trafficking usually happens more frequently in foreign countries than in does in the United States. I was surprised to find out that it’s really a common thing all over the world; even in our area. Three years ago there was a sex slavery ring bust in Washington Co. Tn. That really hit close to home, because that is home. We watched a news clip about sex trafficking in northern Virginia where they busted a ring leader. Talking about how close to home where a lot of this was happening really surprised me. It’s caused me to be more conscious and aware of my surroundings because it’s really happening right under our noses.


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Legality of Prostitution and Is It The Most Rational Option?

The Australian documentary of an educated woman studying for her Doctorates while choosing prostitution to be her career path reveals new aspects of prostitution: the natural needs of all humans even when handicapped.  Before viewing the documentary, I was quite skeptical of finding any real morality in prostitution without stretching and bending rationality.  However, I believe the documentary did enlighten viewers on being the catalyst for handicapped individuals to have a similar opportunity to that of every other human.  My question is, if prostitution were legalized in the US, how would US law enforcement regulate an industry that is meant to be privately operated?  Of course sex trafficking of women and underage girls already exists, but would legalizing the industry actually make sexual slavery transparent and separate from the prostitutes by choice?

 Australia is a good example of how law enforcement can regulate prostitution through the registration and mandatory health tests of prostitutes.  These are analogous arguments to that of legalizing marijuana; however, the effects of legalizing marijuana are not synonymous to the effects of legalizing prostitution.  Prostitution has the higher probability of eliciting violence towards women; but on the other hand, women are already victims of the same sexual violence.

I respect that the documentary brings light to the natural sexual needs of handicapped individuals, but I do wish those individuals would have access to specialized dating sites for people in similar situations.  Handicapped individuals should have equal opportunities in their social lives to others, but if relationships are the ideal goal in sexual relations for the average individual, why look to prostitution as the most rational option for sexual relationships?  Of course dating websites for handicapped individuals is complicated, but working to legalize a very expensive and dangerous industry is even more complicated.

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Wonder Women

It amazes me how society can make women feel so less of themselves. We are never honored for the heroic things that us women do in life. All we see is what is portrayed in the media, comic books, and society. Men are always the ones that are being honored, and known to us to be the heroic figure, but nothing is wrong with women stepping up being a hero for a change. In some cases women have been the hero, but have never been praised for their heroic duties, as men have. Watching the film in classed, titled Wonder Woman, really portrayed a good look for women. The title really speaks for itself. The movie really proved a vivid point in saying that women can be just as strong and heroic as men. She was a very popular women back in olden times, but it eventually died down, because she was strongly out number by the male super heroes.  These heroes include: Super Man, Batman, Spider man, and even more up to date heroes like the incredible hulk. In my eyes those are all action heroes that do not really excite females. I feel as if there should always be a female super hero in the media, so us women can feel like we have someone to look up to, with the same gender. If more people where to watch the film it would really set things into play, giving people a new perspective to look at when it comes to super heroes. I really enjoyed the film and absolutely love the fictional character of Wonder Woman.

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Scarlet Road

The Scarlet Road is a documentary we watched on April 1st about sex workers in Australia. I had no idea that prostitution was legal in parts of Australia so I was kind of caught off guard from the beginning. As the documentary continued, I was surprised again that these particular sex workers advocated and practiced having clients that possessed severe disabilities. Part of me thought “Oh, how sweet?” but the rest of me still believes prostitution is wrong, so the ends don’t justify the means in my opinion. I can understand that these people are trying to make a positive difference in the lives of the disabled, but at the end of the day I can’t agree with it due to my religious beliefs. When the woman the documentary centered around travelled to England to meet the family of the boy whose mother wanted to get her son a prostitute, I noticed something that I’ve seen in society. This woman was actively trying to help her son lose his virginity, in most societies men are expected to lose their virginity young, it’s not considered something precious. Whereas, with most women, we’re taught that virginity is something to be protected and daughters aren’t encouraged to have sex by their parents like sons are. That double standard really bothers me. What’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander, so to speak. But, I digress. The documentary was for the most part, pretty strange to me, but I guess I’d rather see women and men that choose to be sex workers than watch the heartbreaking stories of women and men that are forced into these lifestyles.


Rape Prevention

Rape is one of the most horrible crimes in today’s society. It’s been occurring for many years and the opinions circulating about what causes it and what can prevent it are just as ridiculous. I have heard the usual things like, a woman wanted it because the way she acted or dressed. When people keep believing these kind of things regarding rape, it doesn’t make the problem any smaller. I have seen too many cases where a woman was raped and because no one wanted to believe her, she spends her whole life not telling any law officials. Also, I have seen instances where even a woman’s friends or family don’t even want to believe she was raped. Whatever ever the reason for people’s denial of rape, it is not helping and just makes these crimes accumulate faster. Women and men should stand up and say something about the subject, or more and more people will keep getting away with rape.

Women can do something big about the rape culture. Women can speak up if they have experienced this type of crime. Even if it hurts, or someone doesn’t want to believe them, they can let other women be aware of this crime and talk to law officials that are interested in catching the rapist. If no one wants to listen, never stop talking about it. If they refuse to believe, never stop trying to make them believe. Rape is far from something to be taken lightly. It is a disturbing crime that happens around us everyday. If women speak out about their experience, other women will know how easily it can happen to them and others won’t have any choice but to believe and support them.

As for men, I learned this valuable lesson on what they can do from a Ted Talk video last semester regarding violence against women, which includes rape. Whether it’s picking on a scrawny teenager that isn’t too good at football or whistling as a lady walks by, it seems like all men around each other will applaud what the other is doing. Men are apt to approve of behaviors and even mock them when it seems like all men are acting this way, even if they normally wouldn’t approve of it while they’re alone. If a man is a man that is strongly against rape, he needs to show his true feelings to all men around him. Others might aggravate him at first, and that’s to be expected. If a man is really passionate about his hatred of these type of crimes, he won’t let that stop him. Eventually, most of his friends will catch on to his behavior just like they do the not so good behaviors. These strategies will not stop rape completely, but just one or two crimes is an extraordinary difference.


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Bullying is far from being a new issue inside schools and even inside the adult world.  But with the proliferation of bullying through social networks when should the government intervene to protect individuals from threats and conspired plots online?  Do other variables such as violent video games and even violent Hollywood movies have a strong enough association with cyber-bullying that it authorizes the government to intervene and regulate the private sector’s market?  I would argue that the constant exposure to graphic video games and movies has the capability to desensitize an individual with weak absolutes.  However, who is to determine the correct absolutes?  Our perception of our family, environment, and even the strangers around us affect our absolutes, the basic morals we true to ourselves subconsciously and perceive to be normal.

Slapping a woman is a social violation the US shares in culture and, therefore, is a standard absolute we have in perceiving this behavior as inappropriate.  But when we are exposed to this form of abuse in the entertainment industry, especially at young ages, the perception of what is normal and what is immoral may become blurred and less pertinent.  Writers create their scenes to sell you the game, so they may skew the use of abuse to be light-hearted or masculine to commit and not attempt a common “moral to the story” picture to their market.  This is not to criticize every video gamer or avid action movie-watcher to be desensitized; many writers in the entertainment industry write the violence for the simple plot of good versus evil.  But it is when writers weave violence such as rape and beatings to glorify a male character or to maintain the individual’s attention with such elicit entertainment.   

Although it is difficult to link violence in the entertainment industry as the direct cause of violent behavior from this market, I do believe there is a significant association between the entertainment industry and cyber-bullying, physical bullying, and even physical destruction and terrorism and, therefore, it is in the authority of the government to create more specialized policies to address the spectrum of violence in today’s social networking world.  I understand the argument that government intervention is a violation of our freedom of speech, but the woman featured in the TedX clip exercised her freedom of speech peacefully before individuals conspired on the internet to target and attack her.  These threats may sound menial as they at least originate online, but law enforcement and law-makers should not discriminate the victim of these targets while government agencies such as the NSA focus on online violence potentially leading to the plotting of a terrorist attack.  A terrorist attack is the strike and killing of many and is in the interest of the government to counter; should the potential strike and murder of many people on an individual basis be of any less concern?  Both the government and the community must work within their authority to treat these online threats as the new equivalent to face-to-face threats.

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Where are the women?

In class we watched a film called “Wonder Women” which really opened my eyes about certain topics I had never really thought about. The film basically went over Wonder Woman’s story and how she has developed or underdeveloped over time and her impact on women. I had never really noticed before that there is only one real woman superhero out there, Wonder Woman. At first, she was brought up as very powerful with a lasso that could make any man tell the truth. She was iconic and many women looked up to her, but as time passed the comics had changed her from being powerful to being a damsel that needed rescuing and that is beyond wrong. Why can’t women be seen as being strong and independent? Why must the media constantly objectify us? Even in the beginning of Wonder Women she was still being objectified by her outfit. An itty bitty outfit such as hers probably isn’t the best for fighting crime. Not to mention how degrading it was to the character when she first appeared on a comic book cover being carried by some man who had just “saved” her life. Women need more then just a Wonder Woman to look up to. Where are the other female superheros? Still waiting to be discovered? Wonder Woman is our gateway to bigger and better things. It is OUR time now ladies and we have to make a change before our daughters grow up thinking a man is going to constantly be there to save them. We need more women superheros depicted in the media because everyone in real life knows at least one super woman who does not get credited for paying her bills, raising a family, keeping a job, or going to school while doing it all. THOSE are the women I want to see in my movies. Real women who know what they need to do and what is best to do. SHOW ME THE WOMEN.