Gender in relation to ‘public’ and ‘private’

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Today’s class sparked some interesting thoughts for me, some of which were not coherent enough to voice in class (or which developed further after leaving the room, as good thoughts inevitably do). In no particular order, some more stuff:

Karol’s presentation was titled “Kaleidoscopic frames”. The visual of a kaleidoscope is a powerful one, reminiscent almost of puzzle pieces; each shows a fraction of the whole image, but none independently complete the picture. Are we like this too? Each of us leads a private life (relatively) unknown by others, but we are interconnected in many complex ways. When we look through a kaleidoscope, we see a fragmentary version of our world, small pieces isolated from each other rather than viewed as a whole. This image was interesting and I would have loved to talk about it more!

I loved that Gabe brought up gender, particularly in relation to the Sue Thornham article. I enjoyed reading Thornham’s article, but I thought it kind of skirted around the issue of gender rather than tackling it head-on. For instance, why is it that talk shows and soap operas (and later reality television) are considered to be ‘for’ women? Initially, these programs probably aired during the day, when men were at work and their wives were at home letting the turkey cook, or watching the baby nap, or whatever. But now that women are often breadwinners as well, is it the focus of the program that makes us classify them as being ‘for’ women? If a man watches these shows, does it emasculate him? On that note, if a woman watches things aimed at men (sports, game shows, late-night adult cartoons), is she viewed in the same light? This enters into a new discussion, I suppose, about whether TV unites us or separates us – we can watch a show in our own private life, but when does it become public property? When we turn on the TV to watch it, or when we discuss it with a friend? Can we then cross over into other people’s private spheres by sharing common interests?

I had so many thoughts on Jamie’s “Mr. Robot” presentation, but none of them seemed to make sense outside of the confines of my own brain. The Twitter feed, as was pointed out in class, could be an hour-long discussion on its own. Is the Food Network tweet an example of escapism (like the Bachelor, for me), where the #BlackLivesMatter tweets seem to be a call to action? Is it our laziness that makes us scroll past politically charged things on Twitter or Facebook (or read them and go back to our lives), or would we like to do something, but don’t know how? The upcoming federal election is a hotly debated topic, and there are constant news stories about it. I read the stories, but I rarely comment; political leanings and opinions on these stories seem to belong in my private sphere. When I feel comfortable with someone, I may voice my opinions and allow them to peek into my sphere, so to speak. But in this expository action, are we creating a new sphere?

Until next week.