Final Project: Mustang (2015)

“Mustang” (2015) is a Turkish movie that follows the life of 5 orphaned sisters growing up in a very traditional family and society. This movie is directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, a female director and it is told through the perspective of Lale, one of the 5 orphaned sisters. This film shows the many cultural restrictions put on women in a conservative society. However, the 5 sisters do not agree with any of these restrictions. Therefore, these five sisters go against social expectations and prove to be strong and brave individuals.

Indeed, many expectations are put on these women as they are expected to become good wives. These women are being forced into conservative housewife roles by their grandmother and uncle. Indeed, these sisters are continuously thought by their grandmother how to cook, take care of their husbands, stay quiet, and not to take too much space in a room. These women are expected to go along with what the conservative society expects from them, such as to wear clothes that cover their entire bodies, to not have relationships with boys until they are set up in an arranged marriage, etc. However, the five sisters do not agree with these social expectations of women. As a result, these sisters go against them forming their own identities.

After a neighbor spots the five sisters playing with boys innocently on the beach, they get punished by their caretakers. Indeed, their grandmother punishes them by hitting them and their uncle punishes them by screaming, insulting, pulling one of the sister’s hair, and forbidding them from leaving the house even for school. This shows that the conservative society unjustly expects certain things from girls and that girls do not have the same privileges as boys. However, these girls form a strong bond with each other as they support one another. These five sisters do not follow the restrictions that are set on them. For instance, they sneak out of their house to attend a soccer match even if they were forbidden to attend this sport. This demonstrates that these girls are strong when they work together. After the girls were forbidden to stay at home, their caretakers started to set them in arranged-marriages even if the girls were unwilling. In the case of Sonay, she got to marry her boyfriend. Indeed, before the marriage, she snuck out of the house several times to go see her boyfriend at night when she was not allowed to go out. After she got set up with a boy that was not her boyfriend, she stood up to her grandmother saying that she will resist and scream if she did not get set up with her boyfriend. This demonstrates Sonay’s strength and her bravery as she stood up for herself and her love.

Unfortunately, it was not everybody that got the marriage they wanted. Indeed, Tugba who did not have a boyfriend was obliged to marry a boy that she did not want to marry. She had just met him when she was introduced to him. In addition, after her marriage, she was expected to have sexual intercourse with her new husband. However, she did not bleed after the sexual activity, which was a big problem for the two families as they automatically thought that Tugba was a “slut” because they thought that she had already lost her virginity. Tugba was unfazed by this, which shows her strength and bravery as a woman. Once the families brought her to the doctor, she explicitly said that she was not a virgin, however, after the doctor’s check-up, he revealed the news that Tugba’s hymen had not yet broken. This shows the double-standard for men and women in conservative societies as women are automatically perceived as “sluts” if they lose their virginity, however, men are not perceived this way. Indeed, Ece, one of the five sisters, did not care about this expectation of women having to be pure at marriage. When she saw a male that she found attractive and him finding her attractive, they had sexual intercourse in her uncle’s car. This shows that Ece is a strong woman that does what she wants to do going against the social expectations of women in her society.

Lale also breaks rules. In fact, she sneaks out of the house several times to learn how to drive. This demonstrates that women can do the same things as men and that no gender is above the other. Indeed, she successfully learns how to drive, which allows her at the end of the movie to drive away with Nur to the city as Nur does want to be married to somebody that she does not love. Indeed, this shows strength and bravery from both Lale and Nur as they go against their society’s expectations of them. This leads them to freedom and gives them the chance to start making all their own decisions in life, which demonstrates women’s strength and bravery. 

In conclusion, these five sisters go against social expectations proving to be strong and brave individuals. Still to this day, women continue to be perceived unequally compared to men in some societies, which is why we have to continue to denounce these injustices and fight for equal rights for men and women all around the world.

Blog 5: Feminism is for Everybody

The society that we live in has constructed many ideas for men and women. However, these social expectations do not apply to every individual. Indeed, some people may have a certain amount of fear about things like their actions and their sexuality if they do not meet society’s expectations. Some individuals may even choose to fake it as they feel forced by their surroundings to act a certain way. For instance, some men might feel obliged to act “manly”, which could lead them to not be themselves and to them losing their fundamental right of expressing themselves

In the text “Masculinity as Homophobia” by Michael Kimmel, he suggests that men are scared of acting not manly enough and therefore they will be considered as being homosexual. Indeed, he states: “The fear of being seen as a sissy dominates the cultural definitions of manhood.” (Kimmel 147). This shows that he thinks that men are afraid of showing their true colors as they have been taught by society the “correct” way for them to act and if they do not follow the “correct” way, they will not be accepted by their surroundings. However, these social expectations do not work for every single man. In fact, they are taught to be strong and to endure everything without needing any help, which could put a lot of pressure on men and how they need to be. However, men could be liberated if we as a society redefined the idea of being a man and the expectations we have set for them, such as their roles, their sexuality, their likes and much more.

In the text “Understanding Patriarchy” by Bell Hooks, the author defined patriarchy as the following: “a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females” (Hooks, 1). This system puts a lot of pressure on men as well as is unequal between sexes. The author opens up about her experience in her household, where her parents believed in a patriarchal system and did not support her through her life. She felt excluded. For instance, she couldn’t play with marbles because her brother would not give her any as he said it was for boys (Hooks, 1). Hooks also points out that patriarchy can lead to violence between the patriarchal parents and the children as many problems can arise in this system (Hooks, 2). However, this does not only negatively affect women as it also negatively affects men as they are lead to maintain this lifestyle, which can prevent them from their emotional well-being (Hooks, 3). 

After reading both these texts, I further understand how by redefining masculinity, men could be liberated as it could take away a lot of the pressure that is put on them. Unfortunately, this issue happens still to this day with many families who still have a patriarchal system. Thus, we have to as a society realize that gender and political systems like patriarchy are socially constructed and that we can deconstruct them if we stopped enforcing them and if we redefined masculinity.

Blog 4: Rafiki (Kenya, 2018)

During the International Women’s Week, on March 5th, I attended the screening of the film titled “Rafiki” in the auditorium. The key message I got from this movie is that homosexuality is still not accepted in many countries, such as Kenya. Indeed, in this movie, Kena and Ziki fall in love both being young women having parents that are rivals in the upcoming elections. Despite how they feel about each other, homosexuality is frowned upon by the conservative community that they live in. Kena and Ziki were aware of these realities and had to hide their love in the public. However, they are beaten up by the community when they are exposed as being homosexuals, which shows the cruelty as well as the closed-mindedness of the community. This film shows that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is not over and that everybody has to continue to fight for equal rights between people of all sexualities. 

Some students reacted very emotionally even shedding tears while watching this movie as the two women who loved each other in the film had to hide their emotions to not be frowned upon by their community and because these women were hurt physically because of their sexual orientation, which is definitely hard to watch. Others were shocked by the fact that this inequality still happens today. 

This screening made me think differently as I was unaware of the extent to which some people are treated solely because of their sexual orientation. This is very alarming as I believe that people should be treated equally no matter their sexual orientation. The community completely rejected Kena and Ziki and believed they were possessed by demons for being themselves. They were beaten up to the point that they were bleeding and even Kena’s own mother, as well as Ziki’s parents, rejected them. This made me think that we have to continue to fight for LBGTQ+ rights in order for people to be treated equally no matter their sexuality. 

Additional information that I can add to my review would be the fact that this film was nominated as the best foreign-language film at the Oscar Awards. However, it was later removed from its nomination as Kenya officials banned the film for promoting lesbianism. This information shows that still today some officials are homophobic and that people have to continue to fight for equality for people in the LBGTQ+ community. Even in big award shows, there is inequality based on one’s sexual orientation.

I would recommend this film to my friends as it is a beautiful film that shows the love between Kena and Ziki. This film shows the reality of a conservative country, such as Kenya. In addition, it is a movie from African cinema, This allows people to explore movies from a different region as many people, nowadays, only watch very popular movies from Hollywood. This movie opens the mind of its viewers making them think about the society we live in today. In my opinion, this is a must-watch movie for everybody.

Blog 4: Luisa-Marie Neubauer

The inspirational woman that I chose is named Luisa-Marie Neubauer and she was born on April 21st, 1996 in Germany making her 23 years old today. This woman was inspired by the famous Greta Thunberg as she got concerned about living in a world of rising temperatures. In 2018, she is one of the main initiators and organizers of the “Fridays For Future” strike, which is a school strike for the climate in Germany. All these events that she organizes put pressure on the governments to abide by the 2015 Paris Agreements, an agreement that has the goal to decrease global warming. In addition, Neubauer is a member of the Alliance 90 and the Green Youth, two associations that promote the environment. She is studying in Geography since 2015 at the University of Gottingen and has received many scholarships. 

This woman is like me as she is a young university student that is passionate about Geography and I am a young CEGEP student that loves Geography just like her. I did not choose a career path in Geography, however, I truly enjoyed the Geography classes that I had in high-school as well as in CEGEP. Another important way that Luisa and I are similar in that the fact that she is European and I am half European as my mother is Polish. In high school, I was a volunteer in a program for the environment along with 19 other students in my district, where we did all sorts of things to promote and educate others about the environment. For instance, we took part in things like planting trees, flowers, having presentations, painting a mural, going to manifestations, etc. Much like Luisa, I am engaged with the environment wanting to protect it and wanting to have better laws to do so. Also, I participated in the 2019 march for the environment in Montreal with Greta Thunberg just like how she participated in a march for climate change in Hamburg with Thunberg.

This woman is different from me as she has taken a different career path than me. Another difference would be that she lives in Germany, which is very different from Canada culturally. On top of having these cultural differences in our daily lives, she is a woman and I am a man. These sex differences have possibly led her to live certain obstacles that I will not have to live in my life simply because of the fact that I am a man. The same goes for me, I have possibly had obstacles that she will not have to go through in her life solely because she is a woman. Unfortunately, there are still today differences in the way one is treated in society because of one’s sex.

I decided on this woman as I find that she is very implicated in the world of climate change and the fight for the environment. I also chose this woman because she is young just like me and I find that it is easy to relate to a younger person that is fighting for a good cause and to be inspired by them as we have a similar background growing up in today’s society.

I find that her actions and what she stands for are inspirational. She has had a Ted Talk, which shows her confidence and her determination while she speaks in public and fights for the environment. She has participated in countless protests for climate change and stays true to herself and what she believes in as she refutes comparisons that the media makes about her being the German Greta Thunberg. She is her own person and she is trying to fight for the environment, which I find inspirational.


Blog 3: Gender Equity in Indigenous Cultures

In Indigenous cultures, everybody had equal rights and opportunities. There was no such thing as men being more privileged than women. In fact, it was an egalitarian society, where both men and women had important roles and powers in it. This was much different than European culture, where it was not an egalitarian society. Women in Europe were often treated less well than men and they did not have equal rights and opportunities as men either. Once the Europeans arrived in America, they were shocked to see that women and men had the same status. Gender relations are different from culture to the other. 

In Indigenous societies, everybody had a role that was necessary for the survival of their people. In their culture, there were also people who were “two-spirited” meaning a person that is gay, lesbian or transgender. These individuals could have same-sex marriages, which were recognized by the Natives from the start of history. The gender relations in Indigenous cultures were very more open than it was for Western cultures. Over the past decades, gender relations in Western cultures are becoming more egalitarian. However, there is still a lot of work to be done as there are still inequalities with men and women today. For instance, in some jobs, women are not paid the same amount as men for doing the same job as them. The LGBTQ community is still being discriminated against by people in Western cultures. There is still judgment of what women are able or not to do, such as do certain jobs. Women are also expected to act in certain ways in Western cultures today. Western cultures are trying to have the same gender relations in Indigenous cultures but there is still work to be done to deconstruct society’s beliefs on gender.

What struck me the most about Indigenous culture relations on gender is that they were an egalitarian society from the start and the fact that they did not have unequal attitudes towards women. This struck me the most as the society as painted and stereotyped the Natives as being savages. However, they were the ones with equal rights and opportunities in gender, which really made me ask myself: who were the real savages in history? In brief, we can learn from gender in Indigenous cultures that we must treat everybody equally regardless of their gender and that we should not discriminate against people solely because of their gender.

Blog 2: Gender and Sexuality Double Standards

In today’s society, certain rules and principles have been unfairly placed on different groups of people. We call these double standards (Salazar, 2018, para 2). They have shaped our society’s ideas on what is acceptable and what is not as well as created the expectations we have on certain people simply based on the group they belong to. Double standards can have numerous negative effects on society as numerous people end up accepting them even though they can be harmful to a group of people (Salazar, 2018, para 3). One of the most common types of double standards we encounter in today’s society is based on gender and sexuality. These standards have existed for a long time and it is now that people are trying to no longer follow them (Jasmine, 2015, para 1). There has been a lot of debate around the topic of double standards, some people wondering which sex had it rougher. Others wondered if moving forward our society will be able to drop these double standards or if they are too fundamental to the survival of the society as they are built into the core of it (Jasmine, 2015, para 1). 

Sexual conduct for men and women are perceived very differently, which is a great example of double standards. In fact, men are praised and rewarded for having sex with a female. As opposed to women who are shamed and stigmatized for having sex with a male. Also, women who have many sexual partners are shamed and stigmatized, whereas men who have many sexual partners are praised (Kreager & Staff, 2009, para 1). Men will be seen as champions and women as sluts for having the same sexual behavior (Lakrits, 2019, para 6). Women still do not have equal pay for equal work, which is a big problem and a double standard saying that men are better workers than women (Lakrits, 2019, para 3). In the workplace, women are treated very differently than men. Women will often be perceived as a secretary of some sort. Assertive women will be considered as being “bossy” and “mean”, whereas if a man is being assertive, he will not be considered as such (Lakrits, 2019, para 8). For parenting, fathers will often be praised for being a good dad and taking care of their kids. On the other hand, women will receive the same amount of praise as they are expected to take care of their kids by society. In fact, a 1998 study, showed that fathers received more praised than mothers for parenting (Lakrits, 2019, para 16). Unfortunately, there are multiple more double standards on women that can lead them to be perceived negatively and to be treated unequally compared to men.

There are also double standards of men that affect both men and women. Women that want to cuddle are perceived as affectionate because they are often stereotyped as delicate and sweet individuals. However, if men want to cuddle, they will be perceived as needy as they are stereotyped as being strong and unemotional (Greene, 2015, para 6). A married woman without a job will be considered as a caretaker and a homemaker, whereas a man without a job will be considered as a failure because he is not “providing” for his family financially, which is what he is expected to do stereotypically by the society (Greene, 2015, para 7). A male who cries will be perceived as being weak and fragile. As opposed to a woman that cries. She will be perceived as being sad and close to her feelings (Greene, 2015, para 11). Many other double standards on men negatively affect both men and women.

In conclusion, these gender and sexuality double standards are based on stereotypes and expectations that society has on sex.


Greene, M. (2015, May 18). 7 Double Standards that Hurt Men (and Women). The Good Men Project. Retrieved from

Jasmine, S. (2015, December 14). Gender Double Standards The College Perspective. odyssey. Retrieved from

Kreager, D. A., & Staff, J. (2009). THE SEXUAL DOUBLE STANDARD AND ADOLESCENT PEER ACCEPTANCE. Social psychology quarterly, 72(2), 143–164. doi:10.1177/019027250907200205

Lakritz, T. (2019, January 18). 11 surprising double standards that still exist for women in the US. INSIDER. Retrieved from

Salazar, D. (2018, May 21). Double Standards Are Plaguing Our Society What and how are double standards hurting our society?. odyssey. Retrieved from

Written by William Romero-Muskus

Blog 1: Trying to define Feminism

More and more people are identifying as feminists today. But what exactly is a feminist? 

Jessica Valenti’s definition of feminism in her work “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” and Bell Hooks’ definition of feminism in her work “Feminism Is for Everybody” are similar as both authors talk about the common misconception of feminism, that it is about being anti-men and that feminists are frustrated women wanting to be like men. In their definitions, both authors agree that feminism is not about hatred or having “antis”, but about women wanting to have a better life and not being disadvantaged just because of their sex. However, Valenti and Hooks’s definitions are also different as Hooks states that it is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression and Valenti states that it is about feeling good about yourself as a woman and about being progressive. Hooks thinks of it as a movement as opposed to Valenti. In addition, Hooks uses a more formal language than Valenti, which is another difference in their definitions. Feminism is important to these authors as they have both experienced sexism in their personal lives and they have both noticed it in the lives of other women. Valenti and Hooks realize the progress women have made over the past years. However, there are still inequalities between the sexes today, which is why it is important for them to continue to fight for equal rights to end sexism as a whole. 

Based on what I have read, I would define a feminist as a human being of any background with any physical trait that has the belief that men and women are equals and should be treated the same way in life with the same rights and freedoms, the same opportunities, etc. It is a person that wants to end sexist oppression and exploitation. After the reading, my definition of a feminist changed as feminism is also about ending sexist exploitation and oppression, which I did not know before. 

The section titled “Feel-Good Feminism” by Jessica Valenti really struck me and made me think as it shows that women are constantly brought down with negative comments about their intellect, their physical appearance, their habits, etc. This part of Valenti’s essay really made me stop and think about these comments and how they make women feel like they’re not normal. These remarks can truly dictate how a woman acts and perceives herself from a very young age. This struck me as it made me think that women are never really safe from other people’s judgment and they have to learn to be strong and deal with all these remarks and expectations that society puts on them. From this section, I learned that feminism gives women a safe space to make them feel good about themselves.

After doing some research about the authors, I found it very interesting having read about authors of different ages with different cultural backgrounds. The information I encountered made sense to me as I expected that it was a younger author that wrote “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” as it contains many swear words and a very familiar type of language, which is easier to read and relate to if you are young. On the other hand, Bell Hooks, an African-American woman that lived through racism and sexism in her life, took a more composed approach stating her points clearly to support feminism using a more formal type of language. My research did not change my appreciation for their articles. It gave me a background on the women that wrote them, which makes me understand more the texts. 

Written by William Romero-Muskus