Ex Machina by Alex Garland

    Movies are motion pictures that are used to tell stories or to teach people valuable lessons. Nowadays, they are a source of fun and entertainment for people all around the world, making them feel a variety of emotions: happiness, sadness, fear and more. Not only that but there are so many genres to choose from, for instance, horror, romance and comedy. Ex Machina directed by Alex Garland is a science-fiction movie about a man called Caleb who is invited by his employer, Nathan, to his remote estate. There, he is to perform the Turing test on one of his creations: an A.I. humanoid named Ava which is an evaluation which determines whether she is indistinguishable from humans or not. This particular film addresses gender issues and sexuality touching on stereotypical behavior, female objectification and feminism. The following paragraphs will be focused on showcasing how Ex Machina is a film that touches on feminist themes just as much as it touches on patriarchal notions. This statement will be proven through utilizing material learnt in class, characterization, imagery and symbolism.

    To begin, Ex Machina clearly touches on male gender stereotypes through how Nathan is characterized throughout the film. Nathan is a perfect example of an alpha male. The first time the viewers see Nathan is through the eyes of the programmer: Caleb. Nathan is seen outside on his deck wearing shorts and a muscle tee pounding away vigorously at a punching bag. This scene shows the viewers that Nathan is a powerfully muscular and athletic man leading him to look quite intimidating. His very masculine and muscular demeanor also foreshadows his naturally violent tendencies which are revealed when he mistreats his older artificially intelligent creations who all happen to be female. This portrayal of a very well built man who is incredibly strong fits in with the physical stereotype that all men need to be tough and muscular and are allowed to exert their power over others. Not only that but Nathan is always asserting himself over not only the female characters but also the only other male character in the film: Caleb. He puts on a friendly front when he’s around Caleb although he constantly reasserts himself as the man who holds the most power and control over others. Everything Caleb is permitted to do and anything he is permitted to access within the secluded estate is entirely dependent on Nathan and it is made clear the moment he walks into the research facility. Nathan gives him a pass that will only allow him to access limited resources stripping away Caleb’s freedom. He also constantly gives Caleb backhanded compliments and asks him questions he doesn’t know the answer to imply that he is superior to Caleb not only financially and physically but also intellectually. He talks to Caleb in a condescending manner oozing with overconfidence and even underestimates Caleb’s intelligence which eventually backfires on him leading him to his demise. Nathan also exerts his masculinity and superiority when addressing Kyoko by treating her much like a servant imposing demands on her and yelling at her with disapproval when she fails to meet his expectations. His character definitely represents how men act in a patriarchal society. According to Bell Hooks, “Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence.” and Nathan displays this through his behavior and actions. 

To continue, Ex Machina can be related to female objectification and how women overcome it which is a common issue women have gone through in the past up till this day.  For instance, in the film, all of Nathan’s creations are female in gender and the fact that they are literal androids might represent how that even in contemporary times, women are still viewed as objects that are only meant to be subservient to their husbands. Basically, in the movie, every new version of artificial intelligence that Nathan creates reiterates the idea that women are  interchangeable and not valued. Another instance that touches on objectification is depicted in the way Nathan treats Kyoko. She’s purely a robot and therefore he treats her like one, demanding things and ordering her to clean up around the house, to serve him dinner, to pleasure him and do other menial house chores. This reflects how society expects women to act passively and behave. This attitude shows in how he treats Kyoko like she’s nothing but a disposable being just like all of his previous creations. In fact, he justifies disposing of his creations because they eventually refused to comply with his commands therefore implying that in society, once a woman shows signs of rebellion, they are no longer wanted or needed. In the movie, Caleb takes advantage of Nathan’s drunken state using his pass in order to enter his room where he finds a series of videos. The set of footage reveals Nathan disposing of the lifeless bodies of his previous artificial intelligence attempts. They are all naked and some are even dismembered which shows how he truly couldn’t care less for them seeing them as nothing more but replaceable objects. What makes matters worse is that Nathan has a literal shrine of his previous creations in his closets as if they were a reminder of his old toys, of his old sources of entertainment who ended up there because they overstepped boundaries that shouldn’t have been crossed. Caleb also objectifies Ava in some way. She is trapped inside a glass box equipped with cameras that allow Caleb to view her every move. Caleb spends nights staring at her through the camera showing signs of lust as he almost seems hypnotized by the screen that allows him to view her in her chamber. The fact that he falls for her within a week is suspicious and might indicate that he fell for her for her looks and body and views her more as a being that can satisfy him sexually more than anything. To put it simply, he might just see her as a sexual subject. Although he could be viewed as the nice guy who wants to save his love interest others might argue that she might simply be a prize to be won at the end of the day. If the viewers consider the story from Avas perspective, if Caleb simply wants to release her because he fell in love with her, then he might be as entitled as Nathan is.

    To begin, Ex Machina clearly touches on female gender stereotypes but also subtly dapples into feminism through the portrayal of female characters throughout the film. Kyoko, in the movie, is one of Nathan’s other androids. Although she isn’t the latest version of his creation she is still kept around to do all the menial household chores. She cleans, she serves dinner and obeys to Nathan’s every order. She doesn’t talk. She’s not programmed to be able to communicate which might be a nudge at how women were expected to act in a patriarchal society. She doesn’t have the means to talk back or express her opinion and therefore has no choice but to be compliant even when she is put under such bad conditions suffering consequences for even the smallest of mistakes. She is also programmed to be blindly obedient therefore Nathan has total control over her actions. She supposedly reflects how women are boxed into a patriarchal society where they are expected to act passively and abide by societal norms that are placed upon them without complaint. In the past, any form of rebellious attitude would be frowned upon by others and definitely weren’t encouraged. Kyoko is in other words, the embodiment of what the perfect woman is according to patriarchy. On the other hand, Ava is completely different to Kyoko. She is Nathan’s Most recently created version of artificial intelligence. Throughout the movie, she is entrapped in a glass box that she seems to view as a prison. Ava first displays signs of disobedience and distrust in her creator when she asks him “Is it strange to have made something that hates you?” This sentence shows that she indeed did not develop a liking to Nathan and implies that she is not content with her current state: trapped in a prison where she is deprived of her freedom, deprived from going to the outside world. This could symbolize how women don’t want to be held back by restrictive gender roles that we find in patriarchy. Not only that but Ava continues to differ from societal norms as she eventually escapes the facility in which she was held captive. At some point during the film, Nathan says: Aa was a rat in the maze and I gave her one way out. To escape, she’d have to use self awareness, imagination, manipulation, sexuality, empathy and she did.” The fact that Ava not only rebelled against her creator but managed to escape from his clutches using her femininity brings into light qualities that make women powerful in their own way and shows the viewers that women indeed are more than people give them credit for. 

    To finish, Ex Machina is a movie that touches on gender issues and sexuality touching on stereotypical behavior, female objectification and feminism through its portrayal of female and male characters. Movies of all genres touch on gender issues if we look close enough. Although some can present issues within our society, we have to remember that they also teach us a lot about what we can do to change those problems. Sometimes they even empower others with messages and morals that are embedded within them or inspire others to think differently and play a role in opening one’s mind to new ideas.

  1. Perry, Erin. “Ex Machina: a Bluebeard Story With a Feminist Angle.” The Dinglhopper, January 15,2016. [https://thedinglehopper.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/ex-machina-a-bluebeard-story-with-a-feminist-angle/]
  2. Jones, Katie. “Bluebeardean Futures in Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.” Academia, Gender Forum, 2016 [https://www.academia.edu/29716751/Bluebeardean_Futures_in_Alex_Garland_s_Ex_Machina]
  3. Kristin. “Tales of Faerie: Bluebeard: A Feminist Tale?” October 27,2015. [http://talesoffaerie.blogspot.com/2015/10/bluebeard-feminist-tale.html]
  4. Johnson, Kjerstin. “How “Ex Machina” Toys With Its Female Characters.” bitchmedia, May 8 2015. [https://www.bitchmedia.org/post/ex-machina-film-review-gender-and-ai-feminism]
  5. J.A. Micheline. “Ex Machina: A (White) Feminist Parable Of Our Time.” Women Write About Comics, May 21, 2015. [https://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/2015/05/ex-machina-a-white-feminist-parable-for-our-time/]
  6. Toomer Jessica. “How Post-Humanism is Making Sci-Fi More Feminist.” SYFY WIRE. Mar 11, 2020. [https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/how-post-humanism-is-making-sci-fi-more-feminist]
  7. Jaylan Salah Salman. “The Original Sin in ‘Ex Machina’: Ava is The Origin.” Vague Visages, April 14 2017. [https://vaguevisages.com/2017/04/14/the-original-sin-in-ex-machina-ava-is-the-origin/]
  8. Cross, Katherine. “Goddess From The Machine: A Look At Ex Machin’s Gender Politics.” Feministing, 2016. [http://feministing.com/2015/05/28/goddess-from-the-machine-a-look-at-ex-machinas-gender-politics/]
  9. Smyth, Conor. “EX MACHINA, Expectations and The Male Gaze.” Medium, January 4, 2016. [https://medium.com/@conorjosmyth/ex-machina-expectations-and-the-male-gaze-6e47aa62d5ed]

10. Mulkerin Claire. “The Ending Of Ex Machina Finally Explained.”  Looper, March 21, 2019. [https://www.looper.com/148401/the-ending-of-ex-machina-finally-explained/]

5. Masculinity

In Bell Hooks “Understanding Patriarchy”, she talks about patriarchy and its presence in our daily lives. She expresses her opinion on why she believes that patriarchal masculinity is a big issue. She starts off by saying that patriarchy is present in almost all political and social systems and goes on to describe it as a system that insists that males are superior to everything and everyone that’s deemed weak and have the right to assert their dominance over them and continue to maintain that dominance through violence and psychological terror. She says that this is a problem because the patriarchal system continues to be passed down from generation to generation therefore teaching young girls and boys that they need to act and be a certain way in order to best fulfill the gender roles they were given at such a young age from parents but also from various institutions such as churches and schools. Girls have always been taught that their role is to serve, to be weak, to caretake and nurture and to be compliant whilst boys have always been taught to be served, to provide, to be strong and to hide their feelings. These predetermined gender roles make it hard for anyone to dare to act the way they want to and be the person they want to be and no one is doing anything about it simply because it’s become so common that it’s considered the natural way of life.

Throughout Hook’s text, she touches on the solutions to this problem. She brings up how we can start by allowing our children to choose whether they want to be authentically themselves or if they want to conform to the patriarchal system. Other than that, Hooks highlights how “blind obedience” is the foundation of patriarchy and the reason why it still stands today promoting the repression of emotions and the destruction of individual willpower amongst other things. She also shines light on how even women equally support the system even when men benefit most from it due to the fact that they don’t dare question or challenge the “false fantasies of gender roles.”  therefore sustaining patriarchal culture. She stresses the fact that in order to dismantle the patriarchal system, we need to finally stop living in denial and realize that we need to challenge it and speak up about it rather than ignore it. She states that to end the spread of this system, we need to “[…] challenge both its psychological and its concrete manifestations in daily life.” rather than critique it without taking action.

In Michael Kimmel’s “Masculinity as Homophobia”, he addresses homophobia and how it relates to masculinity. He states that men’s biggest fear is to be ridiculed for being too feminine by others and he says that homophobia stems from this very fear. He talks about how men are afraid that other men will “emasculate” them revealing the fact that they are not as manly and macho as they would like to portray themselves leaving them not only ashamed but humiliated. In addition, he calls out friends and peers for also influencing men into feeling the need to constantly hide behind a mask where they need to always be strong, manly and hide their feelings as they too act as a gender police that threaten to expose them as feminine. These factors are what forces guys into gender roles where they have to maintain a persona and cover everything they do by talking, acting and adopting mannerisms that aren’t stereotypically feminine. Kimmel relates homophobia to the exaggerated efforts of men to abide by the traditional rules of masculinity including violence and sexual predation. He also states that part of men’s issue is that they don’t see themselves as beings who are powerful saying that they were taught to believe that they are “[…] entitled to feel that power, but do not feel it.” which also gives them a reason to want to gain more power than they already have even going to the extent of not supporting women’s efforts to level the playing field. It also encourages men to disempower others using discriminatory means like age, race, gender, class, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

Kimmel then goes on to end his text by stating that peace of mind and relief from gender roles will only come about “[…] from a politics of inclusion, not exclusion, from standing up for equality and justice […]” rather than avoiding the issue entirely. I believe that in writing this text, he wants to suggest that men shouldn’t be taught that it’s their role to dominate and assert their power over everyone. He also seems to suggest that people should be more open minded and less judgemental towards each other and their actions whether they are feminine or not so they do not feel peer pressured into being a person they are not and development characteristics that are stereotypically masculine or. He wants people to stop creating a social expectation of the type of man males need to strive to achieve because it instills insecurity that leads them to wanting more power by taking it out on people they consider lesser than them whether it’s because of different gender, class, sexual orientation. All in all the word masculinity has to be redefined so that men stop feeling the need to hide behind a mask and so they are finally able to accept themselves and embrace their qualities obliterating their insecurities against others.

4.5 International Women’s Week

This week I attended a presentation called  (Re)imagining Gender and Sexuality in the Healthcare Field Through Ancestral Inquiry. it was held in the Auditorium from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. and presented by Emil Briones,  a 30 year old Faculty Lecturer in the Doctor of Dental Medicine Program at McGill University where he holds classes about social justice, health and social inequality. In the beginning of the presentation, he talks about how many of his students, especially those who are older and come from a generation with very traditional backgrounds, have difficulty grasping the fact that there are other ways of expressing ones gender since they mainly turn to scientific knowledge and biological facts to determine whether an individual is male or female. In response the close mindedness of his students, he encourages them to question the idea that there is only one way to understand where we stand when it comes to sexuality and gender. His main goal when teaching is to change peoples point of views on the subject of sexuality and “plant the seed” in order for those who have very restricted beliefs to at least think about topics such as racism and gender in a more open manner. Throughout the presentation he stresses the importance of understanding out personal cultural background saying things like “Know who you are. Know your ancestral roots.” as a way of encouraging the audience to gain more knowledge about their culture. He even includes personal storytelling and life experiences that led him the discovery of the Babaylan which are a class of spiritual healers in the Philippines.

After talking to other students, I can safely say that they responded well to the lecture because of how dynamic it was despite the fact that it was an early morning presentation. Not only that but they agreed with many of the issues brought up. For instance, many of the nursing students agreed that in order to understand the needs of patients, you need to know their cultural background. They really related to that statement since in the medical field, they are the workers who build the best patient contact due to the fact that they have the most opportunity to get to know the patients they care for as opposed to doctors and physicians who aren’t exposed to people to people contact as much.

This presentation made me understand the relation of gender and culture to medicine and how it’s necessary for medical practitioners to be knowledgeable of their patients background in order to make better and more accurate diagnosis’. Beforehand, I wasn’t aware that other cultural backgrounds needed to be taken into account when finding better solutions to the patient’s problems. It also, encouraged me to gain more knowledge on my cultural background. I do not know much about my ancestry but this presentation peaked my curiosity in finding our more about it because I do agree with Emil’s statement that it could contribute to the understanding of myself in more depth.

What I know about Emil is that he is a lecturer at Mc Gill University and that he also works as a conflict mediator. He is half filipin and that his grandfather was supposedly a substance farmer and a witch doctor that would cast out evil spirits from peoples bodies. His teaching methods consist of group discussions in order to help others learn from one another. His classes have a pass fail grading system because it encourages less competitiveness between medical students who are generally extremely competitive. Other than that, I also know that he feels privileged to be able to use his platform as a means to reach younger generations and help them open their minds to gender and sexuality.

Finally, I can say that I recommend this event to my friends because it was dynamic and interesting. It touched on subjects I wasn’t aware of like 2 spirited people and people who identify as gender non-binary. The lecturer is also very open to questions and would even answer ones that are very personal to him which is not something many people are willing to do.

4. Amanda Sturgeon

It is no secret that buildings play a big role in degrading the state of our planet. According to Worldwatch Institutes estimates, buildings consume at last 40% of the energy utilized in the world each year and in doing so, generates one-third of the carbon dioxide as well as two-fifths of the greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere.

Sustainability can be defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs. The inspirational woman that I have chosen to present is called Amanda Sturgeon and she is an individual that pioneers for sustainability and the creation of efficient buildings that will bring us to “the future we hope for and not the tomorrow that we fear” by using green building principles. According to the Governor’s Green Government Council, green buildings are basically projects that maintain and restore habitats that are vital for sustaining life. Green buildings become a net producer and exporter of resources, materials, energy and water rather than consuming and are supposed to create a healthy environment for the occupants whilst also disrupting the least amount of nature energy and resources.

Amanda Sturgeon is the CEO of the International Living Future Institute which is known for challenging architects to build green and use sustainable methods during construction. She is an award-winning architect in the Pacific Northwest where she has been practicing for approximately 22 years. Her projects often involve creating new concepts and ideas related to green building projects such as Biophilic Design. Amanda was a founding board member of the Cascadia Green Building Council in 2000-2002: a council that’s main goal is to help set a global vision for the transformation toward true sustainability supporting solutions to build efficiently. She has participated in various boards and committees and not only that but she has also taught at the University of Washington as well as Bainbridge Graduate Institute where she provides her students with lectures that focus on Biophilia as a pathway to a restorative future. Amanda was even elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and made a LEED Fellow in 2013 in recognition of her pioneering commitment to advancing sustainability through advocacy, policy and practice which is a big deal since LEED is a worldwide program that was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving the performance of buildings focusing on the issues concerning traditional buildings that matter most like saving energy, water savings, water savings and greenhouse gas reductions.

I can relate to her because I’m studying in a similar field as her. I’m in the Architectural Technology program at Vanier and green building is a movement that’s becoming more and more popular and talked about in class since many architects now recognize that building construction is a main component in causing global warming. It’s not a well known statement but buildings alone are said to consume 48% of all energy used in the USA. Now that I have a good idea of all the energy needed to produce building materials and then to operate homes once their built, I also aspire to build green in the future in order to preserve our planet for generations to come and I really hope that more architects gravitate towards building sustainably although it might be more costly. 

She’s different from me since she is a lot more knowledgeable about green building. I’ve only been introduced to the movement but she’s been actively contributing and supporting it throughout her daily life. She is so devoted and passionate about the environment. I am just learning about the concept and as a student, haven’t gotten the opportunity to build whilst applying sustainable methods. I also think that she is more innovative than I am considering she created a whole new concept of green design: biophilic design. This concept aims to bring in more than just fresh air, daylight and views within a building. It’s main goal is to incorporate nature within the building since it’s known to have created an interactive design that allows individuals to be immersed in nature since it allows for more productivity. Not only that but by using natural light and cross-ventilation, it reduces energy consumption therefore mitigating our reliance on electricity and fossil fuels. Also, by using local materials, it reduces the carbon impact that stems from transporting the materials from other places in the world. 

I decided to choose her because I admired her passion for green building as well as all the hard work she puts into using her platform as an architect to influence others to adopt sustainable measures when designing buildings. I also appreciate her dedication and determination to build green and find that she’s a great role model and inspiration for me to follow in the architecture industry. I also chose her because I was genuinely interested in her concept of biophilic design since it touches on various subjects my fellow classmates and I analyze in class and I wanted to be more familiar with her work and was curious to see how it differentiates from other green building concepts like passive houses, net-zero homes, R-2000 homes and more.  


3. Indigenous cultures

Indeginious cultures all developed different cultures and societal norms based on their lifestyle and the people who influenced their way of living. The Mik’maq’s were semi nomadic and had created societies where all people, regardless of their gender, have equal rights and similar opportunities. With the innus, men mostly took care of the hard labour jobs as opposed to the women who took care of household chores and the kids. Although, even with the clear labour division, their community worked well since every one of their roles were essential to their survival. Iroquoians were sedentary individuals. Although men were hunters, warriors and chiefs, women had authority. This particular society was traced not only marilineal but also matrilocal and therefore women had a significant amount of power. Supposedly, nomadic indigeneous people are accustomed to labour division but each task given was equally as important as the other but all it all, each different indigenious group had developed different gender relations over time through their habits. 

From what I read, indeginious cultures seem to have been majorly dominated by men in households, in the workforce, in politics and more. A difference I noticed between indeginous peoples cultures is that they seemed to really value women and their work and treat them as equals since most of their survival requires the help of both women and men. Their opinions were heard and considered, they could attain some of the same jobs as men, they were able to make the calls on important decisions at times and more. In our western culture, for a long time, I believe that women were undervalued, and underappreciated and not only that but they were treated as objects who were there to take on more of a subservient role in the household. Not only that, but they were deprived from the same job opportunities for education as men for a while too.  Although, we are moving past that issue more and more nowadays since feminists started being more outspoken about the issues regarding the lack of equality in western societies. Another difference that I noticed was the fact that many indigenous cultures were leaning towards matriarchal rather than patriarchal.

What shocked me the most was when the text mentions that iroquoian societies were both matrilineal and matrilocal. I did not know what matrilocal meant but when I found out that it was a custom where the husband goes to live with the family of the wife and contributed to the household with his hunting i made a parallel with today’s society. The iroquoians being a matrilineal and matrilocal culture introduced me to a way of life where women are in a sense “the man of the house”. It’s not something that we see often. 

Based on the reading on indeginous cultures, we can learn that both women and men although they do different things and have different skills benefit from each others qualities since they work in harmony to survive. We learn that women in indegenous cultures had a certain amount of authority and were appreciated by the community and were treated as equals (more or less). 


In the past, men were considered as the family providers leaving the women to take  responsibility over most household and domestic tasks. For the most part, women settled into their performative roles and did what society expected of them. They were expected to primarily take charge over chores such as cooking, cleaning and child care while the men went to work to financially support their family. For a long time, this reinforced the man’s traditional position as the head of the family. Recently, women have fought to earn better education as well as their place in the workforce opening doors to multiple fields for future generations of females to choose from. Although society has progressed to lessen segregation of women in certain occupations, there is still a clear gender gap of females and males in engineering to technology programs.

After doing some research, I found out that there were multiple reasons for the lack of female presence in engineering or technology programs. Despite the advances made in recent years, women are still less likely to choose a career in areas such as; engineering, mathematics and computer science. This stands in contrast to nearly all other fields of study, where women now represent the vast majority of graduates, for instance, in health and social science programs. One of the main reasons for the lack of female interest in these kinds of programs is the fact that society has been socially biased deeming these fields as masculine and underestimating the aptitudes and abilities of girls. Society has made a prejudice against women in science fields as less competent than men unless they exceed expectations. These stereotypes planted in our brains by societal norms are not only false but they also create a negative impact by putting limits of girl’s aspirations and by affecting the motivation and willingness of women to continue their education in technology or engineering programs since they tend to get discouraged quicker. Another reason women show a lack of interest in these fields ,because sexism is still heavily present in engineering or technology related jobs. Women work just as hard as men but get paid less , are often looked down upon and rarely get recognition for their achievements. All in all, science and technology fields are less appealing to women because professional success has been masculinized setting a tough standard for women to reach and because they aren’t treated with equity. 

Although the gender gap within technology and engineering programs is quite big, there are solutions that can encourage women to gain interest in these fields. For instance, in Montreal, Concordia University’s “Women In Engineering ” student group visits high schools and colleges to join engineering programs by talking about their fields or job and bringing awareness to younger women and encouraging them to join engineering programs. “Women In Engineering” gives younger generations of females a role model to look up to or aspire to become. Not only that but it also sends the message that women can do anything just as well as men can despite the common belief that girls are inferior to men when it comes to math and science related work fields. McGill University has a similar organization that also aims to bring awareness to younger women called “POWE”. ETS  even offers “ETS Scholarships for Women in Engineering ” to encourage women to continue their education in engineering. To sum it up, schools have been coming up with ways to gain for women in engineering and technology programs by exposing young women to the idea and by assuring that their education is paid for.


4 Main Reasons Why There Is a Lack of Women in STEM, Vitor Silva, 4/29/19, https://www.builtbyme.com/lack-of-women-in-stem-reasons/

Why are there so few women in STEM?, WGU, July 1 2019, https://www.wgu.edu/blog/why-are-there-so-few-women-in-stem1907.html

Female engineering students work to be the role models they didn’t have, CBC, Elysha Enos, March 8 2017, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/stem-gender-women-science-quebec-1.4013958

Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering, McGill, https://www.mcgill.ca/engineering/students/undergraduate/student-life/powe

WOMEN IN ENGINEERING AWARDS, ÉTS, https://www.etsmtl.ca/en/ETS/Bourses/Women-in-engineering-awards

1. Feminism

How are Valenti and hook’s definitions similar? How are they different? Highlight a few similarities and differences. Why is feminism important to these authors?

Valenti’s definition of feminism is “the belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes” as well as the movement organized around that belief of the sexes meanwhile Hook’s sees feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sex exploitation and oppression.” The definitions are similar in the sense that each of them don’t promote hate towards men. Although, Valenti’s view of feminism is more geared towards fighting for equality rather than fighting against sexism and female oppression. In Valenti’s case, feminism is important to her because it gives her clarity of view. Feminism empowers her and allows her to look past negative criticism and to feel good about herself. On the other hand, feminism seems to be important to Hook’s because it gave her a foundation of equality and justice to stand on when she was in a dark place. It offered her moral support and the strength to stand up to male domination and our patriarchal society.

Based on what you have read, how would you define a feminist? Is this definition different than the idea you held before reading these essays? 

In my opinion, a feminist is an individual who regognizes that all sexes are equal and who try to enforce that belief in any way possible small or big. Prior to reading these articles, I didn’t really know what a feminist was. Now that I have read these documents, I can say that I have a better idea of what a feminist is. Rather than seeing  feminists as people who simply fight for equal rights, I can see that they have fought for much more;sexism, female oppression, freedom from patriarchal societies, etc. Also, rather than assuming that feminists are “anti-male” and “angry”, I can now see that they are just empowered individuals who feel good about themselves and who support each other and their goal to nullify the preformative roles and thoughts society has engraved into our brains that males are superior to women.

Describe a section from one of the essays that really made you stop and think. Try to describe why this section really struck you. 

In the text This is What a Feminist Looks Like by Jessica Valenti, Jessica says “ You’re not too fat. You’re not too loud. You’re not too smart. You’re not too unladylike. There is nothing wrong with you.” I just thought it was an empowering message as a person who’s felt box in by people’s opinions, that excerpt from the text stuck with me because it reminded me that I shouldn’t have to constantly think about how others perceive me and that instead, I should attempt to look past the negatives and simply just feel good in my own skin. 

Finally, do a bit of research about these writers. Did this research change in any way your appreciation of their article?

After reading about Valenti and Hook’s my perspective remains the same. I can still firmly state that these two individuals have done a lot to encourage feminism despite being criticized and in the case of Valenti, even  harassed for her beliefs. I respect how they both put on a strong front against adversity and how they try to promote and encourage feminism by attempting to shine some light on the subject and to educate others on what it truly means to be a feminist.