Final Project

Briana Panaccione

Movie: She’s the man

The movie she’s the man encompasses a story on sexist gender roles and feminism. It is about a young girl with a passion for soccer trying to prove that women can be just as good as men in soccer. It all started when the girl’s soccer team got cut from the sports list because they didn’t have enough players. Viola, the main character, asked the boys soccer coach if they can join their team but the coach and team players responded with sexist stereotypes about women. Viola saw an opportunity to prove that women are just as good as men in sports; she disguised herself as her brother Sebastien in his new school while he was away and joined the boy’s soccer team in order to beat her previous schools’ boys team named the Cornwall’s. The ending resulted with Viola revealing her gender during the game against the Cornwall’s and her team ended up winning the match. Her powerful message was sent across and she even got herself involved in a little romance.

The point of this movie was the prove that women can do anything that men do. We are all capable to accomplish anything we set our minds to and that we all deserve an equal shot. This movie also exposes how the world views genders. It proves how our society is patriarchal due to the fact that to prove her point she had to dress up as a male. She couldn’t be taken seriously or be able to prove her point if she wasn’t seen as a male figure. As a woman she wouldn’t be taken seriously even if her predicaments were true. Therefore, the story proves that women and men strengths could be the same, but it is how we see things and due to patriarchal societal views that make us judge women more harshly.

While the movie teaches viewers that women and men can have the same strengths, it also covers a stereotype about men sensitivity. Duke is perceived as a typical high school jock; Viola expected him to show interests in girls for only physical attributes but as the movie goes on we see otherwise. Duke is talking to `Sebastian` about women. Sebastian made a comment about a girls sexual appearance and Duke defended by saying “Why do you always talk about girls in such graphic terms?”, he proceeded by explaining how he believes that a sentimental connection and being able to have good conversations is worth more then the sexual relationship. Another example is the relationship developed between Viola and Olivia. Olivia is a popular pretty girl who falls for Viola disguised as Sebastien. She appreciates `Sebastian’s` ability to be open and honest about his feelings and fears and says how most men wouldn’t admit their fears and aren’t in touch with their sensitive side.  Because `Sebastian` is honest, Olivia perceives him as more of a man and it is the reason she falls for him. These passages open up the topic about the meaning of masculinity. It is trying to show that men are often criticked for being insensitive and only caring about the sexual aspects of relationships when it isn’t always true. Men should be able to show affection and care and sensitivity; it is normal for humans to have these emotions. The movie also proves that a male will be defined as a man when they’re honest and don’t feel barriered or influenced by the stereotypes of society. Men indeed are in touch with their feelings and they should feel freer when expressing their emotions.

While watching this movie, I noticed the gender expectancies that are put on society and all the demeaning words that are put on women. At the beginning of the movie, when the girls as their schools’ boy’s soccer team if they can join their league, the coach laughs in front of their faces. He tells them that they won’t win the tournament with girls on their team and says that women aren’t as fast, strong, and athletic enough as guys. Other insults were when the coach from another soccer team was telling his players that their acting like a bunch of girls since they were being irrational and starting a physical fight. Instead of acknowledging that the men are the ones acting this way and that it is their fault, he sees it as acting like girls. The coach also used phrases like don’t kick like a girl or you’re being a girl, etc. Violas mom also criticized her for not being womanly enough. The mother keeps insisting that Viola attends this ball and wears a ruffled large gown, but when Viola refuses, the mother says, “you might as well be your brother”, which insinuates that she can’t be considered a girl since she doesn’t want to wear a dress. There are many more details and examples of sexism in the story.

I really enjoyed watching this movie; I had seen it numerous times before but was never attentive to the sexism and messages lying in the story. I find this movie is great to reveal the boundaries set on women and men and it proves that women are strong and capable. There should be no difference when defining men and women in strengths because we all deserve a fair shot at proving our abilities. I think this movie is a good example to show men that showing feelings is normal and that it should be more accepted in society. I also believe that women should not be defined as a woman based on their appearance or how we dress or the curves we have and so on. We are all human beings and although there are some factual differences, we are still all alike in many ways and we should all have the freedom to express our selves in any way we want, and we shouldn’t be discriminated or judged by anything other than what we as individuals bring to the table.

Blog 5: Feminism is for everybody

Briana Panaccione

Men have had their role in society dictated to them their whole lives. For a very long time, dating even further into western civilization, men have been given roles and were each expected to assume those roles whether it was true to who they are or not. They were not given the free will to do as they please, or think as they please; they were given expectations that for a long time were forced upon them; the outcome is in todays society because a patriarchal way of living has now become the norm.

We often don’t speak of the pressures that were put on by men or why men have been given authority or if they truly even want it. Most people defend feminist and say that women should be equal to men, women should have the same power as men, and so much more. However, although women have been put through sufferings that should have never existed, it is still very important to understand who we are criticizing, is it men, or is it the patriarchal role that society for a long time has put on men?  Bell hooks and Michael Kimmel have written documents clarifying this issue and opening people’s eyes to the reason why men have been portrayed this way. They stories make us realize that men have gone through hardships as well which caused them to have internal conflicts.

Bell hooks article called “Understanding Patriarchy” really opened my eyes. If I hadn’t read the text I wouldn’t have realized what men went through and I wouldn’t have thought of how to understand why men have been giving these roles. Bell Hooks talks about personal experiences in her family; her dad once beat her because she didn’t comply to the “girls” expectations of society. She explained how her brother was more passive and sweeter, whereas she was more aggressive; they were both forced to change who they are in order to be a proper man and women at that time. She mentions that a man was suppose have no emotions, be the leader of the house, be aggressive and tough, but not all men are born with those characteristics. When someone is forced to act out of their character, they create an inner conflict in which they don’t understand which can cause mal behaviour. For example, Bell Hooks explained how men have so much pressure to maintain power and authority, therefore when they feel as though their lacking control over their families, they may act out in abusive or sexually violating ways to reinstate their power. So, although their actions are very wrong, it is still extremely important to understand why they become like this and what we are trying to change. We have been so accustomed to this patriarchal lifestyle that some people don’t want to change, Hooks says how women even unconsciously input a male dominant role with their children.

Men have been brainwashed since the beginning of time; this reasons for why society is the way it is and makes us understand that the man is not the issue but rather it is the societal expectations of how a man is supposed to be that we need to change.

Michael Kimmel talks about a very similar story as Hooks. He explains how men have been harshly judged which makes them scared of other men, scared of being called a sissy, or scared of being judged as homosexual. He says how there have been so many insults and judgements on men that they don’t feel free to be who they are and instead try to comply to what people think men should be like. Men act out in violence because it shows aggressiveness and strength. If we didn’t have these expectations for men, then they would feel free to be who they are and to show emotions. He also explains how the definition of man has been so manipulated that people don’t all support relieving the social disapproval of gays, men of colour, women and etc., because it would lessen the definition of what it is to be a man which would make them more insecure.

From the aid of these articles, I understood that a man could be liberated when we stop all our expectations of what we think a man is supposed to be. We are brought into our lives to be who we are and have our own experiences; there should not be any character distinction between a man and a woman. We are who we are, if a man is more gentle, passive and warm hearted then it is okay. If a woman is aggressive and carries authority in the household, it is okay. Qualities exists for everyone to share. It would be very hard and it would be a very long process to change the worlds view on gender roles since it has been instilled in our minds for a long time, but, slowly if we change the way we think and be more accepting, men would feel relieved from social pressures and women equality with men will prevail.

Redefining the definition of masculinity will liberate us all. If there are no expectations of what a real man is supposed to be, then everyone will be seen as equal; a guy won’t be seen as less of a man by the color of his skin or so on but instead will be judged on who they are as a person. With no expectations of men, men can be who they are, and women will feel freer to be who we are. With no social gender roles, I am sure people will be more welcoming and understanding and not judge others for immoral reasons. We weren’t born in this world with the mind set of discriminating others and knowing we had to have certain traits. We are born clueless and end up developing a personality, so if we are being nurtured with the thoughts of everyone is equal and having no expectations, then people can be who they naturally are to the core.

Blog 4: International Women’s Week at Vanier

Briana Panaccione

On February 6th 2020, I attended an assembly called “Appropriate This!: The Slav & Kanata Debacles.” It spoke about a man named Robert Lepage who was making documentaries based on false historical background. Robert Lepage is a “Canadian writer, director, designer, and actor known for his highly original stage and film productions.” The Panel discussions spoke of two of his cultural plays; one called Slav that was about African American history and the other called Kanata about First Nation history.

The two speakers shared their unappreciated experience with Robert Lepage. For both of his plays, he demonstrated both cultures stories falsely and each of his plays didn’t even include African American or Indiginous actors. When he was confronted about his cultural appropriations, he reasoned by saying that his films are “artistical” and he can portray them as he wants. The issue here is that indigenous and African American people have been mainly excluded from society and they have a lot of background and sentimental information about their story. If their story is to be told, it should be told in the most honest and truthful way and it should be demonstrated by people of that culture. It is their experience, their history and their story to tell.

When I spoke to other students, they expressed the same feelings of injustice as everyone else. It isn’t fair or right that this man could portray a play with such false background and even after being approached about the situation, still neglect their opinions.

There have been many articles written about these plays; it stirred up a lot of tension from people defending the representation of their culture.

Here a article speak about both the Kanata play and Slav play, it quotes: “Another one of Quebec director Robert Lepage’s productions is mired in controversy, following an uproar over SLĀV, his show about black spiritual slave songs sung by a mostly white cast and headlining Betty Bonifassi, a white singer, that was cancelled by the Montreal International Jazz Festival after a few performances.

Lepage’s upcoming show Kanata, about Indigenous people, once again without any real representation or artistic input from the very communities it is about, prompted 20 Indigenous artists and activists to write a letter that was published in Le Devoir.”

I enjoyed listening to this speech because I wasn’t aware of this issue and I hope Robert Lepage becomes wiser regarding the issue and doesn’t happen again.

Miranda Wang

Blog 4: Miranda Wang Climate Actions

Miranda Wang is an entrepreneur, inventor and CEO of the company Biocellection. She works with her best friend Jeanny Yao. Her company aims to turn PL plastics waste into valuable chemicals. Miranda was in senior year of high school when she was first inspired to help contribute in the climate crisis of plastics. She went on a fieldtrip to a land field and was appalled by the massive amount of waste there was, and she noticed how the remains were primarily plastics. The plastics break down but never fully chemically disintegrate. At that time, she was studying science and wanted to figure out if there was a possible way to fully break down these plastics. She was given an opportunity to take on this challenge during a science fair; Miranda, her best friend and their professor worked on a research project for to find a solution for plastic biodegradation; since then they’ve continued their research and created their business BioCellection. They’ve invented a chemical process that breaks down the polyethylene plastics and turn it into valuable chemicals that can then be used to make numerous items, such as paint, nylons, performance materials used in cars, clothes, electronics and so on. Their goal is to further their research and get everyone aligned with their mission to solve the plastic problem. As of now their work is mainly laboratory but their goal for 2020 is to have a demonstration unit. Miranda said: “The next step– creating the demonstration unit– is a critical one in which we’re essentially taking science out of the lab and putting it into the realm of engineering.” Their first challenge is to solve the plastic film situation. Since most plastics aren’t recycled, they end up piling up in the land fields and floating in the oceans. Soon they say their will be more plastics in the ocean then fish. Their goal throughout their discoveries is also to diminish this issue in order to save marine life. On the Biocellection site, here is a video they demonstrated of an ocean filled with plastics.

Miranda said in an interview on march 9th 2016: “We are half way finished building a genetically modified bacterium that can break down plastics about 80 times faster then the best known organism and we currently hold two provisional patens for this technology and like you said one of the downstream products of this science is that after the bacterium breaks down the plastic waste, because of the chemistry that happens in the cell, the cell is able to do this in a complete non toxic way, so the cell protein can actually be used to feed the fish and we`ve demonstrated 73 mortality rate.”

Here are some awards Miranda Wang innovation was recognized for.            

  1. Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureate
  2. UNEP Young Champion of the Earth
  3. Wharton Business Plan Competition Perlman Grand Prize Winner
  4. Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Prize, etc.….

-Briana Panaccione

Blog 3: Aboriginals Womanhood

Briana Panaccione

The document on Aboriginal and Europeans talks about the gender relations in each of their societies. As for Indigenous people, their ways of distributing power was very just and egalitarian. In their society, the male and women tasks were very different but had an equal value for contributing to their survival. For example, while men did the hunting, the women cleaned the meat and prepared the meals. Women in aboriginal societies were also eligible to important decision making such as trade decisions, distribution of food etc.…; they also shared the power with the men to be a Shaman. Each aboriginal society respected and viewed women as having equal power and domination as men. They acknowledge that the jobs done by the women are crucial to their survival which is why a women’s role is their society is very important.  They even included a two-spirit gender identity role in certain indigenous societies. It is the accommodation of masculine and feminine traits in one body, each aboriginal society expresses this identity in different ways. Overall, men were not distinctly seen as more powerful in Indigenous societies; women shared power with the men and were seen as equally essential to their everyday lives.

          Gender relations in indigenous societies are quite similar to todays society. I might even say that a women’s role in their society was more appreciated in their culture then in todays contemporary world. From indigenous cultures, I can gather that todays view on women roles and their view on women roles both show supportive recognition to a women’s abilities and contributions to society. Women have the right to important decisions and positions as well as men do.  The difference to me seems that women in their culture didn’t have to fight for justice between the sexes because their jobs were already seen as equally valued. In todays society, we seem to have adopted a more European view on women’s roles because although we have had a great increase in the support of women’s power, we still had to fight a long time for our rights to equality. Indigenous women were not all seen as equal to men but for the most part both genders shared equal status. While reading the document, I was surprised by the power women had in indigenous cultures. I figured back in those times that all women were seen as less; I appreciated the fact that a women’s role could be equally valued and recognized as those of the men. Women in aboriginal cultures worked hard, as well as the men did, and a society that can view women as equal to men shows strength, decency and intelligence.

Blog 2: A Women’s Wardrobe

Briana Panaccione

Our style is a way of expressing ourselves. It is glimpse into who we are without verbally saying it. Our style is shown through the clothes we wear; it allows us to show our uniqueness, self confidence, and creativity. Our choice of clothes projects an image of who we are. Though it all sounds wonderful, here is the issue, some people will assume certain wrong messages by our choice of style and use it as an excuse to defend their actions or thoughts. For example, if a girl wears a short skirt and revealing top at a party, some people will assume that she is slutty and is asking for attention. But why can’t the message be that she is confident and feels sexy; and why does sexy have to be confused with being sexual? Or if a girl wears legging and a short top, people will assume she is trying to show off her ass or that she doesn’t have good morals etc. Why do clothes have to be sexualized and used as a justification for people’s thoughts. What we wear represents part of who we are, but it shouldn’t imply that we are promiscuous or asking for anything or have any other intentions then expressing ourselves.

There are many cases where women are criticized for what they wear when there are accusations of rape. There was a story in Jakarta where a man not only raped but also killed a girl. The capital governor blamed the girl for wearing a mini skirt instead of punishing the man’s awful actions. According to the site, women protested in defensive saying: “Don’t Tell Us How to Dress, But Tell Them Not to Rape.” There are so many other cases where people blame rape cases on what the person wore, that we are “asking for it”, but I can bet that the majority of the world’s population wouldn’t ask to get raped or imply that in any way. We should have the social freedom to wear what we want and not constantly be judged or harassed. Rape or any form of assault should not be blamed for what the women was wearing. In article on Independent news, Dr Hannah Bows said ‘“We know that people are raped wearing a variety of clothing. The idea that a woman who goes out scantily clad will be pounced on is the most common myth across generations. They could be in their jeans, school uniform, or pyjamas.”’ She further explains that rape is not about what a woman wears but rather a man having domination and control over the women. It is time that people stop sexualising women’s clothing’s and realize who the true criminal is.

            It is scary and surprising that people of high authority such as police officers, judges, etc.…, would ever possibly accept or try to justify an action as cruel as rape or sexual assault. It is dehumanizing and disappointing that women have to worry about any consequences their outfits will sexually project to other people. Wardrobe and style are never and should never be an excuse for others committing degrading actions towards women.  


Blog 1: My Blog Trying to Define Feminism

Briana Panaccione

Blog 1

Jessica Valenti and Bell Hooks share a very similar opinion on feminism. Feminism to them is having gender equality. It is a way to find your self and a way to make us women feel more empowered and realize our worth as human beings. Feminism is a way of learning to respect your self and your values. Both authors defend feminism as not being anti men or all of the other negative and degrading stereotypes people portray on them, rather it should be seen as being a movement for equality and female respect and justice. Jessica Valenti argues more on the fact that us women shouldn’t be constantly judged on what people think is the “right way” women should act. She argues that there shouldn’t be any determined way or idea of how a woman should be because we are all different and should all feel free to be who we are. We should feel ashamed or have to be judged by others for not fitting in the false ideal of how women should be because really, there is none and there shouldn’t be any. Bell hooks in the other hand argues for similar women rights but focusses mainly on ending sexism for women as well as men and to defend feminist of different face and groups as well. She believes we all need to work together to not only end sexism, but to end racism, class elitism etc., in order to achieve equality for the sexes. Feminism over all is important to both authors because it helped them find their place in the world and made them become wiser, stronger and more passionate.

In my opinion, a feminist is someone who is tired of women being degraded and put down all the time. A feminist is someone who realizes and understands that women should have all equal rights of men and vise versa. There should not be a gender that is superior to others and there should not be stereotypes on how any of the sexes are expected to act. We are all equal and we should all feel free to act in any way we feel is most natural.  Feminist are strong minded individuals who are creating a stronger and more powerful image of what a woman is supposed to be seen and treated as; and it is also for women to realize that we deserve better and to fight for our worth. My idea of feminism prior to reading these texts would be the same, although I do feel a stronger strive and better understanding of the need to support feminism.

A part in the text that made me reflect was when Bell Hooks talks about other injustices we need to end in order to have a peaceful world. She mentions having a world without racism, sexism, domination and so much more. This struck me because I realized if it weren’t for all these injustices and stereotypes, then people would be much kinder and genuine, we would all have a greater human nature to be kind and respectful and to value all that is different. It would be amazing to live in a world that wasn’t affected by all these unethical issues.

Learning about the authors definitely enhances the meaning of these texts because it relates to them through personal experiences of injustice; especially with Bell hooks, her experience was not only to defend feminism, but she also experienced racial issues as a black woman fighting for her rights with feminism as well.