Final Project: Brooklyn 99

After learning a lot about feminism in this class, I used the knowledge I was given to  explore the theme of feminism and equality in one of my favourite TV shows. The TV show that I decided to watch is Brooklyn 99. It is a comedy that takes place in New York City that follows the lives of the NYPD that work in the 99th precinct. There is great diversity when it comes to the characters. There are characters part of the LGBTQ, black, white and Latinas. Although this show will be sure to make you laugh, they also do discuss some serious topics such as the #metoo movement, infertility problems, toxic masculinity, feminism, mental health and much more. 

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, l-r: Chelsea Peretti, Joe Lo Truglio, Joel McKinnon Miller, Andrey Braugher, Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Stephanie Beatriz, Dirk Blocker, (Season 3, 2015). ph: Scott Schafer/©Fox/courtesy Everett Collection

There is a lot of female empowerment in this show. The two main female characters, Rosa and Amy are extremely good detectives, maybe even the best and are always rewarded for their amazing work. This is unusual for women to be portrayed as smart and powerful characters on TV shows. They are both tough characters and aren’t afraid to tell others what to do. It’s great to see that these women are seen as equals to the men that are in this show, not once has this series put more importance on the men and it is rare to see that these days. To be able to watch these women work hard and be recognized for it is inspiring. I bet this show has inspired a lot of women to go after what they want. 

The men on this show are also feminists. It is never directly mentioned but their actions and their support to their fellow female colleagues just prove that they are. They never say anything sexist, they don’t believe that the women aren’t smart enough to do their jobs, they listen to them and are very respectful. Everyone was so proud of Amy when she became Lieutenant. There was no anger or resentment towards her, just praise and happiness for her accomplishment that she worked so hard to get. Amy’s husband Jake also works at the precinct and is always telling Amy how proud he is of her and how he loves that she is so smart. It’s refreshing to see that a man cares about this woman’s work ethic and personality rather than just about her looks and body. In most shows we watch, the men are usually degrading towards women, even the ones they choose to marry. The relationship between Jake and Amy is an equal partnership and that’s how relationships should be portrayed as all the time. 

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE: L-R: Melissa Fumero and Andy Samberg in the ÒJake & AmyÓ season finale episode of BROOKLYN NINE-NINE airing Sunday, May 20 (8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.ÊCR: John P Fleenor / FOX

This show also explores the topic of toxic masculinity. Terry Jeffords is a super big guy, he’s buff and is rather authoritative. But underneath what looks like to be a scary man is actually one of the most caring people. He often shows emotion and is very family oriented. What I really like about this show is that no one looks at Terry and thinks of him as less of a man because of his emotions. He always talks about his family and how much he loves his daughters. I feel like in normal life people tend to look down upon guys that show emotion because they think it makes them less manly. Even though Terry has a big heart and is emotional, no one uses it against him or disrespects his authority because of it. This show demonstrates how reality should be and it’s very enjoyable to watch. 

The character Charles Boyle tends to show a more feminine side. He has a big heart and is always showing love and affection to his best friend/colleague Jake. He takes interest in a lot of things a stereotypical man doesn’t usually take interest in. He is super affectionate but no one ever makes him feel like less of a detective because of his personality.

Overall, this show is one of my all-time favourites. Not only is it absolutely hilarious but it also integrates very important and sometimes controversial topics into its storyline. I can’t remember watching an episode that I didn’t like. Watching this show from the perspective of a feminist is hopeful. We can only hope that society will be as accepting of us as it’s portrayed in this show. This show has been around for 7 years and is still going strong because they have a huge fan base. Hopefully, there will be more television shows in the near future that will tackle important topic matters and portray women as equals as this show does.  

Blog 5

Hooks was raised to believe that men were born to rule the world because that’s how God viewed it and how her parents wanted to raise their family. Her role was to “to serve, to be weak, to be free from the burden of thinking, to caretake and to nurture others.” Hook’s brother was taught to be a stereotypical man. That rage was okay, violence was okay and that showing emotion wasn’t a manly thing to do. Something very disturbing happened in her childhood. All Hooks wanted to do was play marbles with her brother and ignored that her dad said she wasn’t allowed because she was a girl. After she denied and persisted that she wanted to keep playing, her dad beat her. Her mom told her that she “need(ed) to accept that (she) was just a little girl and girls can’t do what boys do.” It’s not right for a parent to say these things and I can understand how scarring it is to be told something like that. I especially feel bad that even her mother, another woman, told her not to do what she wanted either. 

“Patriarchy as a system has denied males access to full emotional well-being…” The limits that are put on men about being able to express emotions stop these men from feeling pain or sadness. If they express how they feel they aren’t seen as manly enough and aren’t doing their jobs properly. Bottling up feelings is never a good way to live and prevents them from feeling natural emotions. Men are “supposed” to be leaders, that’s what many of them believe anyway. Not only would redefining masculinity and helping end sexism be beneficial to women, it would also be great for men that want to express themselves but don’t because of societal beliefs. It would liberate them from being violent, angry and emotionless because by redefining this term it would also impact them in ways they might not have expected. It is often seen that women are the ones that want change because their voices aren’t loud enough and they are seen as weak and powerless but at the same time this change is needed for the men as well. They might want to express emotion and be more loving and caring but aren’t because of the beliefs put on them to be stern, angry and powerful. 

Men are scared to act, dress and talk a certain way in fear that they will be perecived as homosexulas. They don’t  want people to possibly have the “wrong idea” about them. They want to be seen as “real” men. Kimmel writes that homophobia is a fear that other men will unmask them and reveal who they really are, while at the same time stripping them from their masculinity. Boys are afraid to be unmanly and be too feminine. No one wants to be called a “sissy” because it just makes them feel like they don’t belong and that they are different.

A way we all can do a part and redefine masculinity is to simply stop having expectations and stereotype what men should do and how they should act. Women and other men shouldn’t have a predetermined opinion on how men should show emotion or how they feel, talk or dress. By doing this it will liberate everybody because no one will judge people based on your sexual orientation, race or sex. No one wants to go through life having heavy societal expectations being put on them, whether you are a man or a woman everyone should have a fair shot at being their own person and do whatever they please without having society put their beliefs on them. This way everyone will be treated fairly and everyone will live their life how they please and be liberated from the conceptions that have already been put into place for them.

Blog 4

This week I went to two presentations for Women’s week. The first one that I attended was on “The Importance of Collective Care in the Helping Profession,” presented by Anuska Martins. She discussed the serious topic of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and what she does in order to help women that are victim to this type of abuse. There are so many types of IPV and it can sometimes be hard for you to realize you are being victimized or you also might be in denial.Situations like these usually start of like normal relationships but then slowly tension starts to build and then one day your partner just snaps. Sometimes the love is so strong between the two people that the abusee often goes back to their abuser. When the women realize that things are wrong there are places that they can go to for help.  

The woman that was speaking works at a shelter that looks like a big house so that it blends in with the other homes and not get any extra attention drawn to it. Nine women can stay at a time for up to three months and are allowed to bring their children. They get support and advice from the professional helpers. The location is confidential so the women don’t have to fear that anyone will find them. 

It was interesting to hear that even though the professional helper’s job is to help the women in need, it sometimes gets too much for them too. They can be so focused on wanting to help the others out that they forget about their own feelings and may start to get burnout. They can start feeling resentful that they help people out with their problems but no one’s there to help them out with their own. 

I always knew domestic abuse was a thing but this event really opened my eyes on what happens behind the scenes. It’s scary to think that someone you love can turn into someone so violent and take over your life and wellbeing. Myself and other people in the crowd definitely enjoyed the presentation but were also shocked on how often and how scary IPV actually happens. It was definitely a learning experience and something I would like to know more about.

The second presentation I went to was the Art in Response to Backlash presented by Sonya Stefan. She showed the crowd many images and videos of the things that she found interesting throughout the duration of her life. She has created clubs like La Lumiere Colllective in which people share films they’ve made to others for a low price, Telepresence is another club where she uses and collects old camera equipment to make mini films, Kids Pop is a service for young kids and Lux Magna where they celebrate culture and art. 

This woman was a dancer and was insecure about her body, she knows that that is a struggle for a lot of women too. Growing up, it was hard for her to like her body and appreciate it but once she turned 35, the expression of art helped her love herself. Dance is an industry where the women had to “shut up and obey” and once she learned that it was actually an artform she began to be the best version of herself as she could. 

Sonya defines feminism as someone who is honest, open and willing to learn, she was born a feminsit and believes she will die as one too.

I enjoyed listening to her speak and I hope to see her again next year.

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson is the woman involved with the urge to fight climate change that I chose to learn more about. She was the seventh president of Ireland and the first-ever woman to hold this position. Many women cried on the day of her inauguration merely because they didn’t know it was possible for a woman to become president and hold so much power. She was born on May 21, 1944. After being president she became the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In 2010, she established the Mary Robinson Organization- Climate Justice. It is the injustice of climate change that she finds so striking. Is that it affects the poorest countries and the poorest communities. In the United States, there have been storms that have destroyed the poorer regions. The poorer community is less resilient so it takes longer for them to recover from such great damage that the bad climate has caused them. 

After talking to a lot of women she has realized the gender dimensions that are involved in climate change. The roles of women and men are different and she has noticed that it is the women that are “supposed” to be in charge of putting food on the table, have to go get the water and firewood and if there is a drought it makes the situation worse. Climate change is setting back development for poor means of support and she says it impacts women in particular because they are the ones who want to try and keep their families together. Her mission is “to put justice and equity at the heart of responses to climate change, particularly those concerned with how best to respond and adapt to the challenge that it poses for the poorest and most vulnerable peoples of the world.” 

An important way that we are different is that she is a very confident woman and had no problem becoming the first-ever woman president of Ireland. She knew that she could do it just as well as any man and do it even better. This happened thirty years ago at a time when gender equality wasn’t understood by everyone. The fact that she put herself out there and did what she wanted and accomplished it greatly says a lot about the person she is. I wish I had that much confidence and it is something that I can hopefully work on in order to make an impactful difference in the world like she did. 

An important way that we are similar is that firstly, we are both Irish and secondly that she is very people-centred and is also fighting for a more equitable future. I like that she cares and finds it unfair how people in the poorer communities are the ones that suffer the most from the consequences of climate change. I always help the less-fortunate in any way I can, especially around Christmas time my sister and I always make food and donate toys for people who can’t afford it. I think what she is doing is different and stands out from what other activists are doing because her non-profit is targeting a demographic that people sometimes forget about.

I chose this woman because I liked the fact that she is fighting climate change for the less fortunate, I did my research on a few people beforehand and I just liked how not only did she want to protect the environment but also the people that can’t save themselves from the damage that has been done. A lot of the other women were scientists but I felt like her reasoning hit home.

I think she is a very inspirational woman. She had so much courage to put herself out there and become president. She did what a lot of young women never even thought was possible and made it possible. I define inspirational as someone who has made a difference in our world and is someone we can look up to as a role model. 

Works Cited

“Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.” Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice,

Robinson, Mary. “Why Climate Change Is a Threat to Human Rights.” TED,
Marsh, Michael. “Mary Robinson.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 20 Feb. 2020,

Blog 3

In Indigenous culture, men and women seem to have pretty equal roles. The men often did the harder more laborious work and did most of the hunting and the women did more of the fishing, food preparation, made the clothes and cared for the children. Even though the men did more labour intensive jobs, both the roles of each gender were just as important. I found this surprising that something from such an early time period saw the roles of men and women as equally valued. It definitely took people of non-indigenous cultures to accept the fact that both men and women could do work that evenly benefitted one’s household. The women were always consulted and their opinions were respected when it was time to make major decisions, 

Something that shocked me the most about this culture was the “two-spirited” people that would identify themselves as both genders and take on the roles that both the men and women would have to do. I thought this was very interesting and I had no idea that this was a thing that happened because I never learned it in any history class that I took. Not only would a “two-spirited” individual take on the roles of both genders but would also wear a combination of men and women’s clothing. Two-spirit people can marry or have sexual relationships with either a man or a woman. European observers, however, used the derogatory term “berdaches” because they thought it was unmanly. 

When the Catholic Church came into play, the genders were more separated and the men were given a bit more power. The husband/father was the leader of the family and must be obeyed at all times. The French civil law made sure that children were under the legal control of their fathers and could not marry without their father’s consent until age 25 for women and 30 for men. When married all belongings were owned equally and the property was controlled by the man; however, he could not sell without consulting his wife beforehand. The Church is what gave men more power than women, the women believed that the Christian ideology undermined their power. 

I think that we can learn a lot from gender in Indigenous culture. From the beginning, they viewed both men and women as equals even though the work that they did was different, the work that either of them did was essential and equally important. We still have this problem in our culture where men and women aren’t entirely seen as equals. As a society, we have come a long way but we still have a lot that we can work on. Men and women still aren’t paid equally and that isn’t fair because the same amount of hard work is done by women as it is by men. In our culture, when women decide to stay home and rais their children, it is looked down upon by certain people but in Indigenous culture, the women took care of their kids and were seen as important because they were shaping their kids to be good ad learn how to do certain things and grow up to be strong individuals. 

It was interesting to see how that so early on, there was a group of people that viewed women to be equals with the men. I was surprised that even though the women didn’t do such laborious jobs that their jobs of keeping the food, home and children intact was just as important as hunting and building. For us, when women would stay home to clean, cook and care for children it was seen as not as important because they weren’t the breadwinners of the family.

Blog 2: How Women are “Supposed” to Look

A lot of women have an idea in their mind of how they are meant to look. Even if you don’t admit it, there have been times where you have compared your body to those of others and wished to look like that instead. Society sees beautiful as being, tall, skinny, having clear skin, nice hair and just overall looking “perfect” all the time. This is super unrealistic and toxic for women. This can lead to many women having eating disorders because they starve themselves and are malnourished in order to be skinny just all the models. “When young girls see these unhealthy messages, such as the need to have a thigh gap or flat stomach, it can increase their chance of developing eating disorder behaviors in order to obtain these body types.” (Gonzalez 2016). These beauty ideals often come from celebrities and models because these are the types of people that most men find beautiful. A lot of girls feel like they need to look pretty and perfect in order for a man to like them.  Magazines always use the pretty and skinny celebrities on their covers, and if they aren’t perfect enough the photos will get photoshopped to be more attractive. 

Not only are beauty standards about having the ideal body but it is also about race. Going into a makeup store or pharmacy, a white person will have no problem being able to pick out their right shade of foundation. Contrarily, if you are a person of colour and need a foundation, the selection is much smaller and the chances of finding a shade that is right for you becomes very slim. “The reason it is difficult to find beauty items for people of color is because the standards of beauty are discriminatory to anyone who isn’t white. Any face that represents anything relating to beauty is white, and if there is a person of color representing a certain beauty product they often are light skinned.” (Mattimore 2017) This may cause people of colour to not feel beautiful because they aren’t represented a lot on magazines and in fashion shows because the majority of the time the beautiful people that you see walking the catwalks are white. 

Something else that I found was interesting was beauty pageants. You hear stories all the time of young girls competing against each other to be the most beautiful contestant. This is really bad for girls to do because if they don’t win they might begin to question their beauty and wonder why they weren’t good enough to win. You shouldn’t be judged based on the way you look. Girls are put up on stage and are voted if they are pretty enough or not to stay in the competition.  It isn’t right that these young women are being pinned against each other based on what they look like. “ Countless people argue that they teach young girls that they have to aspire to arbitrary beauty standards.” (Mantai 2019) I believe that women shouldn’t be judged on how they look because it can lead to many problems that aren’t just insecurity. Health problems can develop due to feeling imperfect in their own body. What some people fail to understand is that everyone is built differently and just because someone looks a certain way doesn’t mean you have to. 

It isn’t right that women should feel like they have to be a certain way. What people fail to understand is that every individual is unique and that there are no two same people in the world. If all women looked the same, wouldn’t you agree that the world wouldn’t be an interesting place?

Works Cited

Gonzalez, Felicia. “Media Today : Unattainable Beauty Standards.” Girls Empowerment Network, Girls Empowerment Network, 27 July 2016,

Mantai, Joshen MantaiJoshen. “Argument in the Office: Are Beauty Pageants Feminist or Flawed?” The Daily Nexus, 15 May 2019,, Dylan Megan. “The Problem With Beauty Standards.” Medium, Gender Theory, 25 May 2017,

Gabrielle’s Blog 1: Defining Feminism

Jessica Valenti believes that every girl is a feminist. It doesn’t matter if you try and say you’re not, you are. If you have a problem with something that society says or does that would make a woman feel degraded, you are a feminist. Feminists come in many different ways and it doesn’t always mean you are anti-man, it simply means you just want what you should deserve as a woman and as a human being. Hooks’ definition of feminism is a movement to end sex oppression. Both authors make it clear that women shouldn’t be scared to admit that they are feminists. They are both proud to call themselves feminists and believe the rest of humanity should do the same. In both essays, it’s mentioned what society defines as feminism, as people who hate men. This statement is cleared up by both authors and define feminism as not hating men but wanting women to be treated as equals. The term sisterhood is also trashed by both authors, they both seem to believe that it’s not a real thing or something people should follow. Some differences in these readings are that Valenti’s tone is much angrier, you can tell that she is really affected by what people think about feminism and she is very passionate about the topic. It was more interesting to read her essay as it felt like I was talking to a friend rather than reading an informational article like Bell Hook’s.

Before reading the two essays, my definition of feminism was for people of all genders to be treated equally. I believe that no matter how you identify there shouldn’t be a difference in how you are treated. Even after reading these two essays, I still stand by my definition. Now that I am more enlightened by the readings, I can add on to the definition without changing it completely. Just because you are a feminist you shouldn’t be anti-man or anti-everything. As Valenti mentioned, it is progressive and as a society we can abolish the typical feminist stereotypes. 

Something that really stuck out to me in Valenti’s essay is how she referred to the word “feminist” as the “F-word.” A lot of people are ashamed or scared of using the term feminist because they fear what society might think about them. Stereotypically as mentioned by the author, “feminists are supposed to be ugly. And fat. And hairy!” People might look at a feminist and think that they are weird just because they want to be treated with respect and be treated equally and they are scared of using the word feminist because people might get the wrong impression. It’s a term people don’t like to use or call themselves because it’s a “bad word.” I liked how Valenti called it the f-word. I know a lot of people that struggle with admitting that they are feminists because people will judge or look at them weird. I believe people shouldn’t even have to tell people that they are a feminist, we all should be and not have to explain ourselves. But even though I believe this, feminism shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing and if you are a feminist you should embrace it and not hide it. 

After doing some research on both authors, I was particularly fascinated by Bell Hooks. She grew up in a middle-class family and lived in a segregated town. She also attended racially segregated schools and wrote about her transition into an integrated school and her struggles of being a black female. By learning this information about Bell Hooks it made me appreciate her views more and understand her views on white supremacy.