Final project

“Jane the Virgin” is a romantic comedy tv show inspired by a Venezuelan telenovela that follows the crazy life of Jane Villanueva, a young virgin woman who becomes pregnant due to a medical error. She was raised with a teenage mother and her grandmother that she made a promise that she will stay a virgin until … her marriage. But at 23, she finds herself accidentally inseminated artificially! The donor is Rafael Solano, a survivor of seminoma and also the boss of Jane and one among her former flirtations. Her state also upsets her plans together with her boyfriend Michael, since they were planning their life.

The reason why I had chosen this show to write about is that in my opinion, it is a great example of a show that represents the many themes that we had learned in this class. One of the first themes seen in the shows is the fact that three females are the heads of their household which teaches females independence from men. Usually nowadays, sadly in our society, it is more the men that are seen as the individual that is supposed to carry on the responsibility of being the head of the household. This show is a great example of women as individuals that are financially stable in finding their happiness without having to have a male contribute to it. During the show, the main character, Jane, is represented as a very independent and strong woman that does not need a man to support her financially or emotionally. For example, Jane had big personal goals that she had worked very hard to achieve by working as a teacher and as a waitress at the Marbella at the same time, as well as an intern at her father’s studio and worked very hard towards her goals of becoming a writer. Therefore, we can see how Jane had achieved success in her goals without the assistance of a man. Another example of Jane’s independence was when she had decided that she wants full custody of her child while she was aware of the challenges of single motherhood since she had learned that it was not easy from her mother’s experience since her mother as well was a single mom but that has not stopped Jane from being an independent strong woman!

Another theme seen in the show is that women characters are the ones in control of their bodies and decision. For example, the lead character, Jane, was always in control of what she wants to do to regarding sexual activity with her boyfriend, such as, many times while she was in the bedroom with him passionately making out and even though it seemed like she was enjoying the intimacy with her boyfriend she was continuously thinking about “the flower” that was representing the promise she has made to herself and her grandmother, and as a symbol of her virginity. In short, Jane had remained in control of her decisions not to have sex by declining her boyfriend many times.

Another important theme represented in the show was the mutual sense of unity between the family members as Alba ( her grandmother), Jane, and Xiomara ( Jane’s mother) as well as other females characters. From the begging of the show till its end the support between the family members has always been present since they had always supported each other through school, finances, an unexpected pregnancy, situation with Jane’s father, etc. Another camaraderie found in the show was the friendship between Jane and her best friend Lina who is very important to Jane since she provides lots of emotional support during Jane’s hard times. Therefore her grandmother, mother, and best friend are all there for physical and emotional support which causes Jane to not need any help from any males characters and this is why it is so important for women to support one another.

Another theme found in the show was women making their own choices about reproduction. While Jane was dealing with this unexpected pregnancy, the people around her all had different opinions but Jane never let another opinion affect her own choice of reproduction. When Jane found out about her unexpected pregnancy, Raphael ( the donor ) and Michael ( the boyfriend), both were not really agreeing with the pregnancy but Jane did not let another man dictated her choices. Another scene that was very empowering too was when Xiomara ( Jane mothers) was telling her how she should know that she always has a choice because when she was pregnant with Jane, her mother ( Jane’s grandmother) did not agree with the pregnancy and wanted her to have an abortion since it was an unexpected pregnancy at a young age but Xiomara chose to give birth and keep Jane anyways. This show’s that her mother is trying to tell her that it is now her turn to consider all the available options: abortion or keeping or giving up custody and that it is up to a woman to make her own choice.

Another theme found in this show is that all the females characters are hardworking, very smart, powerful with professional and respectable careers. Besides Jane being a hard-working woman, Petra(Rafael’s ex-girlfriend) is another example of a hardworking woman since she had improved a lot in her career by ending up owning the Marbella hotel. Her confidence and determination are very inspiring, especially in a world where people were doubting her for being a woman. There’s also Nadine as an example of a successful career since she plays the role of a police detective which is usually seen more as a “man’s job” she is still working a very professional and respectable career. Another example of a great career was Luisa( Raphael sister) that worked as a gynecologist. Therefore, all these women had worked very hard to achieve the work that they did and I also like how this show even though it is based on a telenovela, they did not do female characters as they often do such as dramatic, a bit naïve, needy, etc. Therefore, I had learned so much from watching this show that portrays so many feminist ideas, Jane is truly inspirational !

Blog 5: Masculinity

Masculinity is a topic that has been debated in our society fairly often. Many wonder what it means to be masculine, and if we could even assign a definition to such a one-sided term. Men are primarily and secondarily socialized into believing certain characteristics (assigned by our culture ) are definitive in determining their manliness and masculinity. These characteristics range from not crying when they get hurt to being and playing violently.  

In “Masculinity as Homophobia “by Michael Kimmel, the author explains how homophobia is the basis of our social definition of “manhood”. He argues that American men are socialized into a very rigid and limiting definition of masculinity. He also states that men fear being ridiculed as too feminine by other men and this fear perpetuates homophobic and exclusionary masculinity. Men are scared to act “sissy”publically because if they will be doing so , they would be considered a “ faggot””. Therefore, the fear of being sissy dominates the cultural definitions of manhood. Men are scared to act, talk a certain way, they are scared to dress, in fear of being perceived as gay, and not as a real man. In my opinion, this is often an issue that happens for many men since it leads them to think that they aren’t masculine enough because there are certain “characteristics” to meet for you to be masculine enough. Men are forced to hide their feelings and become and remain emotional cripples which imprisons them by a system that undermines their mental health. When the author mentions “ Think, for example, of how you would answer the~question: How do you “know” if a man is a homosexual? When I ask this question in classes or workshops, respondents invariably provide a pretty standard list of stereotypically effeminate behaviors. He walks a certain way, talks a certain way, acts a certain way. He’s very emotional; he shows his feelings. “ Reading this, I had understood that manhood is socially constructed since we are socialized into this system and most of us learned about those “ gender expectations” in our family of origin, that are usually taught to us by our mothers. They were also reinforced in schools and religious institutions. In my opinion, each gender should act the way they want, dress the way they want, etc , and the way they eat, act, talk, walk, etc should not define their gender.

In “Understanding Patriarchy “by Bell Hooks, she talks about the definition of patriarchy. Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation. Hooks also defines that patriarchy promotes insanity. It is at the root of the psychological ills troubling men in our nation. Throughout the text, she gives many examples of situations that she had lived through with her brother because of the concept of patriarchy. Her brother was taught that it was absolutely his role to be served, to provide, to be strong, to think, he was taught that his value would be determined by his will to try and do violence, he was taught that a boy shouldn’t be expressing feelings, etc. What struck me the foremost is when she was explaining the traumatic even that she had to go through just because she wanted to play a game with her brother where marbles where involved. Her brother told her that it was a boy’s game, but she still insisted. This brought her to get beaten up by her father because she’s “just a little girl” and can not do what boys do. The fact that a young girl can’t play a game because of her gender, as if the game was made only for one specific gender is very absurd. 

The definition of masculinity should change since it has denied males access to full emotional well-being and is imprisoning them in a system that undermines their mental health. It also brings social issues like racism, homophobia, and sexism, and until we will collectively acknowledge the damage the patriarchy caused and therefore the sufferings it creates, we will not address male pain. As a nation, we must be willing to reveal the tough reality that the patriarchy has damaged men within the past and continues to break them within the present.

Blog 4: International Women’s Week

The event that I attended for the international Women’s week was the “Sex, Lies, and Evolution: Debunking the “Human Nature” by an anthropology teacher at Vanier College, Jacky Vallée.  

The presentation given by Vallée was concerning the misconceptions of men’s and women’s evolution and their roles created by society. He describes that these are just”stories” that humans have created for over the years to give each gender their role. Some of those stories are stories that had been passed for over years and we have heard them ever since we were kids but never actually thought about it enough to know that maybe they are incorrect. What Jacky Vallée tried to debunk is that behind those stories, there are other answers and with the help of anthropology, there is proof that the answer might differ and it is not always men the more dominant ones. Vallée had had also explained that is anthropology that allows explaining the opposite of what people have been claiming for too many years as “normal”. He had used the anthropological perspective to help explain to us that these gender roles aren’t based on human nature and they are just created this way by society.

He also explained the misconceptions that we have in our society when it comes to gender roles. For example, men were always portrayed as the ones who were creating tools, hunting for food, making fire, etc. While, women were portrayed as housewives, taking care of the children or doing light work such as picking berries and fruits, cleaning, etc. Which is, in fact, a misconception. Through the anthropological perspective, Vallé tried to debunk these ideologies through stories and making us understand that men aren’t, in fact, the more dominant ones, they are just portrayed as so by our society.  

Sadly, we still are in a “men dominating” society and gender roles are still present in our society. At the end of the presentation Vallé, asked the audience to raise their hands if their mothers are still the ones cleaning,cooking food for the family, doing the chores and as result, almost everyone raised their hands. He also gave the example of the human evolution picture that goes from an ape to a man which shows that when we think about humans, we directly think about men. And that is how from a random picture we get stories and call them “human nature”, which makes you realize how imprinted this ideology where men are “more superior” to women is, even to this day. I could tell that I was not the only one who was surprised by those facts and who left the auditorium and started questioning everything again.   

Blog 4 : Ugandan’s Greta Thunberg

The inspirational women that I have chosen is called Leah Namugerwa. She is considered Ugandan’s Greta Thunberg. Originally from the Mukono district, she is initially helpless and sorry for the deforestation of her region due to the expansion of Kampala, the neighboring Ugandan capital. Then inspired by the Swedish initiator of the Fridays For Future movement, she, in turn, launched out at the age of 14 in a fight for the planet. Therefore, she organized her first demonstration for the defense of the environment on a Friday in February, in a suburb of Kampala. “People have criticized me. They say that at my age, on Friday, I should be in class and not on the streets to go on strike, says the teenager. It’s good that my parents told me supported and encouraged “. Leah’s father, who runs a building supplies company, accompanies him regularly for his weekly service.

When the young Ugandan Leah Namugerwa turned 15 in August, instead of celebrating her birthday with her family and friends, she decided to plant 200 trees, to warn of the damage caused to the environment in her country. Juggling between school, demonstrations, speeches she gives in the capitals of the region to call to save the planet, she is one of those young people inspired by the now-famous Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, aged 16. Leah is behind a campaign to encourage the city of Kampala to ban the use of plastic bags and to warn of the risks of deforestation and the prolonged droughts and floods attributed to climate change.

Namugerwa has been a witness to many of the negative effects that climate change has led to. Her country, like many others in Africa, is at risk of desertification – that means fertile farming land turning dry and barren. Experts say it’s caused by droughts and raised temperatures – two factors linked to climate change which is affecting Ugandan people in all aspects of life. Moreover, according to Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the problems are accumulating :

Droughts collectively affected 2.4 million people from 2004 to 2013. Moreover, between 2010 and 2011, droughts caused an estimated damage value of about $1.2 billion. That’s equivalent to roughly 7.5% of Uganda’s GDP in 2010. 
Besides, climate change will lead to a 1.5-degree increase in Uganda’s average temperature by 2030. With the increasing temperature, Uganda is susceptible to environmental degradation, which has already begun. Furthermore, all these factors are causing the agricultural sector of Uganda to falter.

To be inspiring is to bring something to others through your life, your daily life, your goals, your motivation or your personality. Mostly someone who has achieved something extraordinary. Someone inspiring knows how to sublimate themselves and make the best of themselves to prove to everyone that what was claimed to be impossible, was well achievable. Inspirational people have shown that if you believe in your ideas and your dreams, whatever the obstacle, it is possible. I believe that Leah Namurgeva is an inspiration because of how she has demonstrated how much of an impact one individual can have in our world and how she had also opened the eyes of many young Ugandans to the environmental crises in Uganda, which shows how much of an inspiration she is.
“Before, the message on climate and environment was not clear to some of us, but Leah simplified it for us, telling us that it is real and that it is a danger for all of us. . “- Jérome Mukasa, 15, one of the young people who joined her in her fight.
Striking every Friday for greater action on climate change and plastic pollution is inspirational!

Striking every Friday for greater action on climate change and plastic pollution is inspirational !



Blog 3: Gender Equity in Aboriginal Cultures

Based on the reading “Gender and Cultural Diversity in the Early Contact Period”, it can be understood that this article reinforces the point that gender relations vary from one culture to another. This article describes the cultures of both the colonizers (French and English) and the Indigenous cultures the colonizers encountered. Throughout the text, it can be seen that the power exercised by Aboriginal women within their families was unfamiliar and disturbing to the French missionaries since they function based on a patriarchal religious and family system that rested on the God-given authority of men, rather than the Aboriginal societies that function based on the matriarchal system. Therefore, this is one of the main differences between these two communities. One believes that women should take the main decisions, whereas others think men should take the man’s decisions.

Among the largest group, Mi’kmaq, which were semi-nomadic, the contributions of both sexes were valued equally. The tasks of men were linked to the supply of raw materials. They hunted, fished and trapped. They were also responsible for politics and waging war when required. Women hunted small game and collected wild fruits, in addition to looking after the youngest children. When the men returned to the camp with resources, the women took care of their transformation. They prepared the meat to preserve it, tanned the skins and made clothes. Major leaders tended to be male, but women’s opinions on important decisions affected the group were sought and always respected.
Among the Iroquoians, tasks far from the village were reserved for men. They went hunting, fishing, and trapping, but were also involved in the war, trade, and politics. Decision making requires a larger Confederacy Council among various tribal councils, all of which were made of men; but those men were chosen by the senior women. Women had considerable status and authority. They also transformed the resources brought back by men. In addition to making the clothes and tanning the hides, they had to prepare the food so that it would keep as long as possible. Iroquoians societies were both matrilineal and matrilocal. Women also exercised considerable power in the longhouses, where decisions about its distribution among community members were made by women.

It’s quite clear that men’s and women’s roles are complementary and equally essential in the Aboriginal societies in North America. Unfortunately, our society is not only suffering from social class inequalities but also from gender inequalities being very present.For example, a man and a woman could do the same prestigious job and yet the man will get paid more. I truly believe that women are harmed by gender inequality and putting and respecting both genders at the same level and give both equal powers could be one of the things we could learn from indigenous tribes.

Blog 2: The portrayal of women

Wherever we look, we are bombarded with images of female bodies, women and girls – and their attributes – used to sell anything, from food to cars.

We could see how in our society, film and television actresses are getting younger, taller and slimmer. Women’s magazines are full of articles highlighting the urgency of losing those extra 10 pounds to finally reach happiness . Besides, did you realize how almost all of the models have the same type of hair and makeup?
How can we impose unattainable beauty criteria on young girls when the majority of them are nothing like the models we offer them? By presenting an ideal that is difficult to achieve and maintain, we ensure growth and the profitability of the slimming and cosmetic industry. (It is estimated that the slimming industry alone generates $ 60 billion (US) each year by selling sporadic slimming treatments , as a result of which 80% of people regain the pounds lost during this diet). Advertisers know that if girls and women are dissatisfied with their looks, they are more likely to buy cosmetics, new clothes, and diet products – so a huge media industry has been built by feeding, quite simply, this dissatisfaction that eats away at most women.

Overexposure to these images affects girls by pushing them to buy beauty products and slimming diets, but the consequences of this situation are even more serious. Research shows that when girls and women are constantly exposed to these images of young, slender, smooth-skinned women, they risk developing depression, low self-esteem, and poor eating habits: one of these studies show that half of girls between the ages of 16 and 21 say they want to have surgery to improve their appearance and almost half of girls aged 9 to 12 say they want to be thinner and have already followed a diet or know the principle of it . Poor self-image can have serious consequences, research published in 2009 reveals that girls who are dissatisfied with their figure are far more likely to attempt suicide – whether or not they are overweight

The consequences are serious and very real.Young girls must therefore be helped to acquire a critical mind but also to understand how a media representation of the female body is constructed and why these images make the headlines. Even better, they must acquire the strength to challenge these media images and demand a realistic representation of the female body. As young girls are exposed to these messages from an early age, we need to start media literacy much earlier, from an early age.


 The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market. Marketdata, survey May 2011.
Clark, L. & Tiggemann, M., 2006. Appearance culture in nine- to 12-year-old girls: media and peer influences on body dissatisfaction. Social Development, 15(4), 628-643. 
[6] Girl Guiding UK. Girls Attitude Survey. 2009. 

 Overweight status, self-perception, and suicidal behaviors among adolescents. Dhaval Dave and Inas Rashad. Soc Sci Med 68(9):1685-91 (2009) PMID 19297063) 

Blog 1: Feminism

When you hear the term “Feminism”, you will probably think that it is the urge and desire to gain rights for women. While that is true, it does not describe feminism in its entirety.For Valentini for example, feminism is something you define for yourself. It’s about finding the cause that works for you and makes you happy. For Hook, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. Even if those two definitions seem a little different, they both have the same objective: To create an equal world and to feel good about ourselves. Valentini’s definition was based more on doing what makes you happy and move on to dismiss someone and their opinions,meanwhile Hook’s was more based on the importance of male involvement in the equality movement, stating that for change to occur, men must do their part. Both of the authors are trying to make us understand how feminism isn’t about divisions but is a blueprint of a political movement for everybody.     

Although the two authors have a bit of two different definitions of feminism, after reading both articles I had understood that feminism is very important. Feminism not only allows you to see through the critics that would make you think there’s something wrong with you but also makes you feel good about yourself and to have self-respect. It is also important to them because it is what brings us together, it is where we stand. Feminism gives males and females the chance to be able to create a beloved community, to live together, to live in the truth, to live in a world that is “created equal”.     

  “Most young people are feminists, but we’re too afraid to say it —- or even recognize it. And why not ?“     

This had made me stop and think. After taking a couple of minutes thinking, I had realized that the author was right. Nowadays, most girls don’t always see sexism as a problem, they think it is just something they shouldn’t take too seriously and that is just a joke. Girls are less likely to call out boys for their sexist behavior. They do not want to appear bitchy or outspoken or unsexy. It would make them look like a feminist, and that for them it is too many implications: since you are most likely going to be considered that you were a prude, that you couldn’t take a joke, that you were a “man-hater” or a “bitch.”        

For me, feminism it’s equality for everyone. Let women have the same rights and be seen in the same way as men. All women, without exception, without barriers due to race or sexual and romantic preferences. Let there be no more injustices due to the gender of a person. It should go without saying, but it isn’t. Even if we evolve, we have not yet returned to this equality. We have to fight and defend our ideas until the end. For me, everyone can be a feminist and that’s a good thing, it shouldn’t have this false-negative connotation that I sometimes see spreading on social networks. We have to see it as a beautiful united movement. For me, feminism is knowing our history and being grateful for the struggle that has been waged and the best way to do it is to continue! Even though i always had my own opinion about feminism, these articles had helped me develop my meaning of it by seeing different definitions and opinions about feminism!