Final Project Blog: The Joker

Toxic masculinity can be perceived as a way to hold dominance over men, women and society. Although some may choose to agree that toxic masculinity mainly affects women, I’m here to talk about the contrary. We forget that even though men are men, they can still be easily affected by toxic masculinity. I chose to watch the film, The Joker directed by Todd Phillips in order to present the ways that men can harmfully dominant one another. The main character, Arthur Fleck is a failed comedian who is completely disregarded by society due to his mental illness. Towards the end of the film, toxic masculinity drives Arthur Fleck to the point of madness in which he turns into the well-known psychopath, “Joker”. Although this film is fiction, being beaten by men on the street, abused by male character Thomas Wayne and bullied by male character Murray Franklin, result in how Arthur Fleck transformed into the criminal mastermind, Joker. 

Towards the beginning of the film, Arthur gets his work poster stolen by a gang of men, which results in him being beaten up in an alley way. The purpose of this scene is to demonstrate just how cruel some men may be to others. In Michael S. Kimmel’s, Masculinity as Homophobia, he shares an example at the playground that if two boys pick a fight with each other, one will either have the option to run like a “sissy” or to stand up and fight like a “man”. In most cases, men will choose to fight for themselves because they don’t want to be perceived as the weaker individual. The scene relates to Michael S. Kimmel’s playground story because the gang of men chose to fight Arthur in order to hold power over him. I believe this is an example of toxic masculinity because it represents the men that choose to be violent instead of civilised to others around them.  

Towards the middle of the film, Arthur’s mother tells him that the character who plays the Mayor, Thomas Wayne is his father. When Arthur sneaks his way into the men’s room to speak to Thomas, he confronts him and tells him that he is his son. Thomas Wayne automatically tells Arthur that he and his mother never slept together, that he is adopted and crazy. When Arthur refuses to listen, Thomas results in violence and punches him right in the face. This scene relates to what bell hooks had to say about patriarchy in, Understanding Patriarchy. She mentions that, “Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak…through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence.” The scene in the film relates to patriarchy because it demonstrates how Thomas used violence to dominant Arthur because he knew he was weak. This ties along with toxic masculinity because once again men use violence as a tactic for defense instead of confronting their feelings in a different way. 

The end of the film is about how Arthur gets called to be on character Murray Franklin’s live show. Unfortunately, Murray Franklin only asked Arthur to be a part of his show in order to ridicule him in front of thousands of people. Once Arthur understands that he is being made fun of, he retaliates and reaches his character’s full potential. In Michael S. Kimmel’s, Masculinity as Homophobia, he explains that, “Manhood is equated with power.” I thought that this quote explained Murray Franklin’s behavior perfectly in the film because he only made fun of Arthur in order to feel like a powerful man. This scene relates to toxic masculinity because it demonstrates that some men bring other men down in order to feel powerful. Although the film ends off with Arthur killing Murray Franklin due to his frustration, it shows how toxic masculinity had a hand in making him this way. I choose to believe that if society had treated Arthur in a civilized way, then maybe he wouldn’t result to becoming a criminal mastermind.

To conclude, Arthur Fleck transforms into the Joker because he was abused, bullied and ridiculed by different men throughout the movie. In no way should one result in becoming a criminal mastermind like the fictional character Joker, but this film does demonstrate the ways that toxic masculinity could push one into madness. If men learned to go against toxic masculinity stereotypes, then society would have a higher chance of being civilised. Although this movie was quite disturbing, I thought the writers and directors had a brilliant way of showing how men could harmfully dominant other men. I would definitely recommend this film, not only did it keep me at the edge of my seat, but it educated me on how society could be so cruel to some people as well. 

By: Julianna Noto

Blog 05: Feminism is for Everybody

Throughout many generations’ men have struggled to keep up with the way that society defines masculinity. It has become a label put on the men who portray strong, driven and careless characteristics. If some didn’t have those characteristics they were often shamed amongst their families and taught to be more “masculine”. Unfortunately, because of these social norms it has caused many men to force themselves into being people that they’re not just because they don’t want to seem weak compared to others. 

In bell hooks’, Understanding Patriarchy she talks about how, “Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation.” She talks about how patriarchy restricts men to enable their true emotions considering society expects men to always be so brave and strong about everything. She shared a story about a game that she enjoyed amongst her and her brother during their childhood. It was made clear by her father that the game was only played by boys and when she decided not to listen, she got put in her place. According to hooks this was one of the most traumatic experiences in her life and she blames it on patriarchy. Hooks explains, “In service to patriarchy her task was to reinforce that Dad had done the right thing by, putting me in my place, by restoring the natural social order. If it wasn’t for patriarchy there would be no division for what was accepted for boys and girls. 

In Michael S. Kimmel’s, Masculinity as Homophobia he focusses more on the way that men can be called out for acting a certain way that doesn’t measure up to societies idea of masculinity. “He states that men fear being ridiculed as too feminine by other men and this fear perpetuates homophobic and exclusionary masculinity.” It’s very unfortunate that the norms of society think it’s okay to start characterising men who don’t act masculine. He shares an example at the playground that if two boys pick a fight with each other one will either have the option to run like a “sissy” or stand up like a man and fight. Due to the fact that so many people would be watching even if that boy would be terrified out of his mind he would have to stick up and fight for himself to avoid being called out. Kimmel explains how men are pressured to maintain their masculine stature, “Our efforts to maintain a manly front cover everything we do. What we wear. How we talk. How we walk. What we eat. Every mannerism, every movement contains a coded gender language.” He then takes his essay into the direction of how, “Manhood is equated with power.” In reality everyone is powerful regardless who they are or what they portray, but because of society… “we’ve constructed the rules of manhood so that only the tiniest fraction of men come to believe that they are the biggest of wheels, the sturdiest of oaks, the most virulent repudiators of femininity, the most daring and aggressive.” I believe that it ties along with why so many men are homophobic because they fear that those who aren’t masculine will unmask all men. In reality men do have a soft side and its beautiful, but because of society so many have to hide this side of themselves.

I strongly hope that men could redefine the meaning of masculinity for the sake of the impact it has on social issues like sexism, racism and homophobia. It’s easier said than done, but if we could teach men that it’s okay to be more themselves and that’s it’s okay not to portray masculine features, the world would not rely so much on patriarchy. Bell hooks says that, “Patriarchy as a system has denied males access to full emotional well-being, which is not the same as feeling rewarded, successful, or powerful because of one’s capacity to assert control over others.” To conclude all men and women should not have to feel as though they don’t deserve to feel powerful and successful, so societies views on masculinity should end. 

-Julianna Noto

Blog 04: International Women’s Week

On Tuesday, March 3, I attended The Importance of Collective Care in the Helping Profession by Anuska Martins. Her presentation was very powerful because it’s something that a lot of people go through on a day to day basis. She spoke about Intimate Partner violence (IPV) and about the ways to help those who are in danger. She stated how it can happen to normal couples that don’t necessarily expect it to come. She also mentioned how there’s many different types of IPV and how some people don’t want to admit that they’re in danger, so they result to being in denial. Her Key message was to ultimately inform people to keep their eyes open to danger even from a loved one in order to save them from violence. 

Anuska mentioned the shelter she works at for the safety of many women. She explained the significance of the shelter that it purposely looked like a house in order to not draw attention and to keep the women safe. The women in the shelter would receive support and advice from the professionals there and the shelter could hold up to nine women and their children for up to three months at a time. 

This presentation made me think differently about the views on intimate partner violence because of how dangerous and scary it is. It’s so unfortunate that so many people are victims to violence due to their partners. I think that it’s crucial to always keep an open mind to the possibilities of danger even though it may be the person you love. As Anuska mentioned, it can happen to anyone. 

To conclude, Anuska explains it’s important to always help others, but also to not forget about ourselves. We forget sometimes we’re all people, we all get tired and need breaks. I would definitely recommend this presentation because it taught me so much about something I didn’t really dive into before. 

On Thursday, March 5, I visited the auditorium for international women’s week and learned about Art in Response to Backlash presented by Sonya Stefan. Her presentation was very interesting, but not what I had imagined. Throughout her entire presentation she provided lots of videos and pictures about the things that took interest in her life. Sonya Stefan is a dancer, curator and filmmaker who embarks herself in many clubs. The first one is, La Lumiere Collective which is a mini cinema where people can share their films for a very low price to one another, Telepresence where she collects old surveillance equipment to make her films, Kids Pop where she provides many services for young children and families and lastly, Lux Magna which is a celebration of culture and arts. 

Many other students and I enjoyed her presentation, but we began to question what the connection between her passion for art, dance and film to International Women’s week was. She then gave her key message which was that her work is based on body, and with that comes a lot of complication to women. She said how she grew up hating her body and only after age 35 she began to love herself due to her expression of arts. She mentioned also how dance was an industry where a lot of women had to shut their mouth and obey, therefore exploring dance in a healthy way really inspired her to be the best version of herself. 

Her presentation didn’t really make me think differently towards the struggles that women must go through, but it did inspire me. I adored the way Sonya challenged many negative aspects into positive because of art. 

To conclude, Sonya did add that her definition to feminism was someone who is honest, open and willing to learn. She said how she was born a feminist and would probably die one as well. I would recommend her presentation to a friend, because it showed me how there’s so many different ways of being an inspirational woman. 

By: Julianna Noto

Blog 04: Maria Neira

An inspiring woman to me, is anyone who goes out of their comfort zone to make a change. In this case Maria Neira has done a lot for the environment in terms of tracking process on health and climate change. Maria P. Neira was born in 1962 and is a Spanish physician and international civil servant and diplomat. She is commonly known as the director for the department of Public Health, Environment and social determinants of Health, World Health Organization. She also worked with refugees for “Doctors Without Borders” for those who were underprivileged in Salvador and Honduras. Today she encounters the lengths that society must go to, to protect the environment from climate change. 

Maria Neira is like me in the sense where we both come from European backgrounds and are women with aspirations in life to become the greatest versions of ourselves. Although our aspirations may be different, I believe that when I put my mind to something, I can get it done just as well as she can. Maria Neira is different than me because she has the courage to stand up and voice her opinions regarding the environmental issues. Regarding her accomplishments it demonstrates how she’s a very outgoing person, while on the other hand I’m more reserved. It takes a lot of power to be a great speaker, therefore that’s where we differ. She also has the tendencies to inspire so many individuals all over the world while fighting against making the environment into a better place. She gives the message that she is a powerful and inspirational woman that can influence many into making a change.

I decided to choose Maria Neira simply because I knew nothing about her, and I wanted to learn why she was nominated for being an inspirational woman. I learned how, “Maria has been spearheading the global fight against air pollution as director at the World Health Organization” (Wyns).  In her Ted talk, I enjoyed the way she linked climate change to the simple action of breathing because it reminds people that if the earth becomes over heated, we won’t even be able to do the basic necessities of living. She states how, “Seven million premature deaths a year caused by exposure to the bad quality of the air we breathe,” and that if we want it to stop we should consider, “reducing traffic in cities or investing in public transport and engaging in promoting cycling in cities, investing in renewable energy, promoting cleaner energy for cooking, cooling and transportation and heating are solutions.” I think people like her are crucial to have considering we need someone to look up to when it comes to making the right decisions. 

Ultimately, I seem to find her quite inspirational because she’s knowledgeable on the topic, she has a big heart and takes interest in regarding the health of the environment and of many individuals. She inspires people to make the right decisions and to cut down on bad habits because it only come as drawbacks for the environment and for our health. Due to the fact that she’s persistent in her field, she won the Inspirational women working towards protecting the environment, International Women’s Day Celebration in Geneva, by UNEP in 2016. It takes one person to inspire all and I truly believe that Maria Neira has the power to do so.

By: Julianna Noto 


“Dr Maria Neira Nominated an ‘Inspirational’ Women.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 14 Apr. 2016,

“Maria Neira.” NewCities, 19 Mar. 2018,

“Maria Neira.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Feb. 2020,

Neira, María. TED,


Blog 03: Gender diversity in the Early Contact Period

According to the Gender and Culture Diversity in the Early Contact Period, it describes how the cultures of both the English and French colonizers and the indigenous colonizers encountered. After reading about the indigenous cultures, I learned about how men hunted and gathered, while women took care of gathering berries, prepping for meals and taking care of the children. Although the work was divided and the men were mostly leaders, women had authority and were respected. Women were also entitled to be Shaman and included into everyday life decisions. On the other hand, European people lived in a different way. Men also did the hunting and gathering while women took care of the family and cooked, but women had no say in anything. There was a hierarchy that men were in charge and that women and children had no choice but to obey the man of the family. The only time a woman would be involved was if a man decided to sell his property, he would have to consult his wife before doing so. Unfortunately, women were kind of put in the background, they would be seen as assistants rather than owners. Ultimately, aboriginal women had great power and European women weren’t allowed to rule their husbands.  

Both cultures do relate to our own contemporary Western culture. When comparing the indigenous culture to today, women and men do share equal responsibilities in a household, like cooking, working, cleaning and taking care of children. Women and men can both be owners of a business and both have opinions that are accepted and valued. Unfortunately, not everyone perceives life that way so that’s why the European culture relates to our culture as well. For example, there’s stereotypes of how women should be in the kitchen and shouldn’t work because they aren’t capable of doing so. How women should be silenced and walk behind their husbands, just as the French women did. Even today, men will refuse to cook or clean because they believe it’s a women’s job. There’s no excuse to why it should be considered a “women’s job”, when other cultures have been proving that all genders should be equal. 

Lastly, the aspects of indigenous cultures that struck me the most were that the women were seen as, “hyper-sexual” because they weren’t bound to one husband and that they were allowed to experiment sexually before marriage. It upsets me that the European women would trash indigenous people, when in reality it’s what they all should’ve been routing for. It’s ridiculous how many innocent people from European cultures have been forced into marriage without any love ties, therefore I find it rather strange that they wouldn’t want that for themselves. I think that a choice to experiment sexually before marriage and the right to divorce should’ve been less frowned upon by European women because it could’ve led to a place where all genders are equal.

By: Julianna Noto

Blog 02: Street Safety for Women

It’s no secret, street harassment has been an ongoing issue for many women in Canada. The actions of catcalling, following and any unwanted physical behavior by strangers are serious forms of sexual harassment that everyone should be taking seriously. Some don’t take this issue seriously since it’s become culturally accepted, but I believe it’s crucial to speak up about it in order to end the harassment. Street Harassment, “can cause people to “choose” less convenient routes and alter their routines; give up hobbies and change habits; and even quit jobs or move neighborhoods or simply stay home because they can’t face the thought of one more day of harassment.” (kearl). Ultimately, it’s an issue that should require everyone to be greatly educated on. 

According to research concerning Canadian women who were affected by street harassment, “…over 80 percent of the women surveyed had experienced male stranger harassment in public and that those experiences had a large and detrimental impact on their perceived safety in public.” (Kearl). Ask anyone, I can guarantee you that almost every woman has experienced some sort of harassment or has felt unsafe at one point or another while walking on the street. It is ridiculous that majority of society thinks that it is okay to be making people feel uncomfortable while they are on the street. Regardless if someone gets hit on or whistled at, they are still valid examples of harassment and shouldn’t be tolerated. Due to all the issues happening on the street, society has agreed on some sort of stereotype where women can’t or shouldn’t be allowed to walk alone without being harassed by strangers. All this is doing is creating a fear for those who are being victimized and empowering those who are causing the harassment. Sadly enough, “It doesn’t just happen to adults: 70% of Canadian women experience this before they are 15, for some it happens before they are 10 years old.” (Fox). “Street harassment can happen to anyone too, Members of the LGBT+ community experience extremely high rates of harassment.” (Fox). Evidentially, feeling unsafe while walking on the street is something that happens to almost everyone and it needs to end.

 As a society it’s important to find ways to progress this issue, therefore, here are some ways of how society has helped progress and prevent this issue from recurring. Now available, “Anti-street harassment groups created by women who were fed up blossomed across the world”, “UN Women launched a Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces programme in 2010”, “Several governments passed national or city-level laws on street harassment”, and “Anti-harassment and anti-violence organizations.” (Kearl). Obviously, there is no right way to deal with these types of situations, but having people just take initiative to start movements for street safety helps bring awareness. As for those causing the harassment, I believe that they need to take a step back realize that what they’re doing isn’t okay and how would they feel if the same thing was being done to them. The reason that I believe that it happens more than it should is because of confusion. Take for example, a man sees a pretty woman and he’s genuine about wanted to catch her attention, but the problem is the matter of how he chooses to catch her attention. Many things can make people feel uncomfortable and it’s crucial that we all learn about boundaries at one point. In my opinion teaching boys and girls at a young age of how to approach people is lacking and that’s why as a society, we are facing many cases of street harassment till this day. It’s just wrong.


Fox, Naomi. “Street Harassment Isn’t a Compliment.” Canadian Women’s Foundation, 19 Dec. 2017,’t-a-compliment/.

Kearl, Holly. “Why Stopping Street Harassment Matters.” Stop Street Harassment,

By: Julianna Noto

Blog 01: Different Views on Feminism

Feminism is a term that’s brought upon to us in many different forms. After reading “You’re a Hard Core Feminist. I swear.” by Jessica Valenti and “Feminism is for Everybody.” by Bell Hooks I came to a realization that the definition of feminism varies amongst people.  Jessica views it as the “belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes,” while Bell Hooks views it as, “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” Although these two definitions are quite similar, they offer different versions of how people portray the word “feminism”. I believe that Jessica Valenti explains that feminism is more than just women wanting to make statements, it’s about women and men being equal on all social, political and economic terms and about women feeling good about themselves like they should be. On the other hand, Bell Hooks explains it more as a way to end sexism due to it being a problem that women can’t truly be themselves. Even though there is a slight difference in how both authors want feminism to be portrayed, they both ultimately have the same purpose of wanting women to express themselves for what they deserve and believe in. Both authors voice that feminism has nothing to do with being anti-man and that even though everyone should be a feminist, they have come to the terms that not all women are. Both agree that true sisterhood will never truly exist considering that not all women agree with the idea of speaking up about feminism, and that’s okay. 

In all honesty before reading both essays I had envisioned a different idea of feminism. I always understood that all women wanted was to be treated equally but, I didn’t fully understand why so many women still felt the need to voice their opinions of “feminism” as much as they did considering so much has progressed over the years. I now understand how many challenges women still go through and how feminism has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to be more powerful than men, it’s simply just about abolishing gender stereotypes and being offered the same treatment as anyone else is, which is completely understandable. 

One section from the essays that really stood out to me was in Jessica Valenti’s introduction. Not only did she start off in a dramatic way to get her points across, but she also mentioned how being called a girl was the ultimate insult. She stated, “Notice anything? The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you call a guy is a girl.” I always knew that comment had been circulating for as long as I can remember, but I never really got to stop and process it. I do believe that in some way society has evolved into genuinely supporting those into being who they truly are, but there will always be some sort of assumption on women just because of that comment. Even if in reality there is nothing wrong about being called a girl, somehow society views it as a way to degrade women into being weak. In my opinion, unfortunately for as long as that comment remains present, there is still inequality between genders.

After discovering that Hooks grew up in a racially segregated town and valenti being a victim to online threats because she spoke freely of her opinion really made me appreciate the wisdom, they both have shared upon their readers. I understand the injustice they both went through, which makes me understand why they even bothered to educate people about the inequality going in the world and why it’s crucial that we at least try to fix it. 

By: Julianna Noto