Monday, April 11, 2011

Extended Comments: Alexis' Post on Atalanta, Alice in Wonderland and Tolman and Higgins' "How Being a Good Girl Can Be Bad for Girls"

Firstly, I agree with all of the extensions to world issues and main points of the texts highlighted by Alexis. She starts out by stating what the main arguments of the Tolman and Higgins article are:

"* Good girls don't have sex unless they're married/it's to procreate.
* Bad girls have no morals and will have sex with anyone.
* Sex (for females) is not for desire, but relationships.
* If you have sex with more than one person and/or outside of a committed relationship, you are a bad girl."

She also points out that these points are "cultural stories" according to Tolman and Higgins, which relates to the concept of re-presentation we have recently been studying in class. We learn our values according to what we see presented to us repeatedly, which so happen to be things like...victim blaming. Alexis drew my attention to various real world victim blaming situations (she hyperlinked two cases I hadn't specifically heard of before), which led me to think of Bill Napoli, the Republican senator in South Dakota who said he justified abortion under these circumstances:

"A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."

This quote holds inherent judgment value that blames victims of issues like sexual assault or domestic violence. In order for a woman's trauma to not define her life, according to Napoli, she must be a victim of something including being "brutalized," "raped," and "sodomized." Napoli is also not alone in this statement...ones such as this have been spreading around the country like it's nobody's business lately with talk of all the cuts and changes surrounding things like abortion rights. This happened when I was in high school.

Napoli also says that the girl had to be religious and a virgin.

A "virgin." Not to mention the fact that virginity is a socially constructed norm that generally only applies to heterosexual intercourse even though what "sex" is has a range of possibilities.

Furthermore, as Tolman and Higgins state, rape law puts all of the responsibility onto the female to have proven "nonconsent," which takes the responsibility off of the male and also makes the male out to be out of control.

Lexi goes on to say:

"Both Atalanta and Alice deal with this idea - being told what you must be. Atalanta, in the end, is successful in taking control over her life - just like Alice. However, while watching "Alice In Wonderland", I focused more on the portrayals of woman who weren't Alice."

This is an interesting point, since other female characters in Alice and Wonderland surely are not depicted as empowered, unique and agent in the positive light that Alice is. I would argue that the depiction of The Red Queen actually kind of counteracts Alice's positive characteristics and shows that females who take the "bad" path or who show sexuality in their characters are sinister.

At the end of Lexi's post, her final question is still "Why is the only female who ever shows true romantic inclination the one who is ultimately shamed out of society? Is this a representation of the good girl and bad girl that Tolman and Higgins discuss?" I was essentially having the same confused thoughts and questions. Thanks Lexi for letting me spiral off your thoughts even more and awesome work/critical thinking :)

1 comment:

  1. Deirdre, thanks for using my post!

    I think the quote you used from Bill Napoli is so...powerful, but not in a good way. It's limiting the people who can be victims to a select portion of the society. I think the saddest thing is that this feeling is supported in the judicial systems - such as when there was the bill to "re-define rape" or just the victims who have to sit through the horrifying court process.