Posted by: jordanhayes96 | March 21, 2019

Building Alliances

On Tuesday, we talked about tempered radicalism and some points in this slide really stuck out to me. One of them was building relationships and forming alliances. One thing that I found out recently that I sometimes struggle with. However, my dad is completely the opposite and I really admire him for that. He is the type of person who you don’t know if they actually know who they are talking to or not, because he just acts like he is best friends with everyone. He will get to know someone so well in such a short amount of time, that he just keeps building those relationships and alliances. He works for Marriott and seems that whenever he needs something, someone is always there to help.

I think the reason he is so successful in this, is because he has such good conversation skills and always looks from the other person’s stand point. He never puts himself above anyone, and it is truly amazing to see.

I think this is why our most recent speaker was as successful as she was. She confronted her enemy and he became an alliance. It definitely takes a type of personality to do this, but having a strong group that is on your side can make all the difference when it comes to leading. Forming alliances, I think, has a lot to do with truly caring for the people in your group and is a two-way street. If you do things for them, then they will return the favor. What do you think? Do you think having alliances directly impacts how good of a leader you are?

I also thought about disruptive self-expression and how this ties into forming alliances and building relationships. I think disruptive self-expression is the perfect way to not have people feel overwhelmed and immediately say no. By just casually doing something, like me being vegan as I said in class but I don’t make others feel like they have to, more people have been asking me questions and eating less meat. This can work for building alliances. By being a good person and holding true to your values, people will want to form relationships with you.

Posted by: dickardnora | March 21, 2019

Men as Women’s Allies

After discussing in class the idea of tempered radicalism and small wins, I became interested in researching strategic alliances. Specifically speaking, strategic alliances with men. Most of what we talked about in class was building an alliance with your enemies, so I’m aiming for this blog post to be more about how men can help women in the workplace. The article I found discusses how male allies can benefit women as well as some challenges men might face when they attempt to become allies.

According to the article, when men are involved in gender inclusion programs, their organization sees more progress. This means that men are invited to attend women’s leadership conferences and are encouraged to participate in gender equity conversations. Personally, it makes total sense to me. If we involve men in these conferences and conversations, they have an idea of women’s hardships in the workplace and allows them to see our perspective. In some cases, these men could be in the “in-group” which is a perfect area to instill change.

Unfortunately, in some cases, women don’t want men as allies. On the one hand, some women want these conferences and conversations to be a safe place to share. When a man comes into the equation, a woman might feel discouraged to share her honest experiences or ideas. However, I believe that involving men in these conversations can be very beneficial, even if it is uncomfortable at first.

The article identifies three type of men in the workplace regarding gender equity. There are the apathetic, aware, and the active men. The “apathetic” men are disinterested in the subject of gender equity all together. The “aware” are those who understand, but do not know what to do about the issues. The “active” men are those who are proactive about gender inclusion. It is important for women to be open to the idea of having a male ally. I think that encouraging men into these conversations and helping them feel comfortable when attending women’s conferences will benefit us in the long run. Having those “active” men on our sides can help us turn the “aware” men into “active” men, or “apathetic” men into at least “aware” men.

How do you feel about this? How do you think men could be better allies to women? On the flip side, how can women be good allies in return? Should women allow men into these conversations and conferences on gender equity, or should they remain a safe place for just women?


Posted by: mattbush5895 | March 21, 2019

Women Leaders: Striking the Balance Between Work & Life

Finding a balance between work and life is a very hard task, even for men. Women have it doubly hard however as society has put perceptions on women that they need to be the caregivers and should always put their family/life ahead of their work. In an article written by Ashley Young of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, four tips are pointed out for women striving for that work-life balance. These tips coincide with the readings we have done in class on work life balance and are as follows:

  1. Allow for shifting priorities: know that sometimes it will be a busy week at work but the the next week the focus can be on something else
  2. Don’t sell yourself short: be confident in your abilities in you profession
  3. Take risks: being successful is difficult, without allowing for risk taking, the success that is achieved will be much less
  4. Develop a thick skin: people judge everything we do and we will never be able to make everyone happy, figure out what you want and don’t let people dissuade you from your goals

These points bring in many aspects of our course but I would like to discuss the aspect of shifting priorities. This point makes me think of the statement, women can have it all but just not at the same time. Do you think this is true? If so, how can women overcome this hurdle and why has society made it impossible for women to have it all at the same time?

I believe that women can have it all at the same time due to how I define this statement. For me, when discussing this point, time is very variable. One week does not define a career or a relationship with your children. There will be give and takes throughout your whole life but as long as those give and takes balance out I believe that this means you had it all at one time. Nobody can get through life without making sacrifices but it is the amount of sacrifice that determines whether or not you achieved a good balance or that you “had it all.”

Posted by: hannahcroyle | March 20, 2019

Apology to Mothers in the Workplace

I was intrigued in class when we discussed the perceptions of commitment between men and women in the workplace, where women are frowned upon if they are unable to make the 4:30 meeting or struggle looking for day care solutions, but men are applauded if they leave work to catch the soccer game. In this article, Katharine Zalenski writes a humbling apology letter to the mothers she has worked with before, admitting she was someone who showed similar attitudes to her male and female coworkers.  Katharine rolled her eyes when her fellow mother coworkers would decline getting drinks, questioned commitment of the women she worked with when they could not make her late afternoon meeting, and overall did not have a lot of respect for women when they balanced work and family. In my opinion, it takes a strong person to admit to past mistakes and show where previous weaknesses have been. This is especially the case if you are so far to one side in your beliefs, changing that perspective is hard to recognize and discuss out loud.

All of this changed for Katharine when she had a child and was suddenly embarrassed to admit she had to make the same choices the women in her office had.  She ended up eventually quitting her job, deciding to help launch a company which would allow women to work from home. With these new remote advances, many women and millennials (who are also very interested by the flexibility) are able to live a more adaptable lifestyle while maintaining their commitment to family. She mentions watching Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” TED Talk we saw in class and was further depressed by it. The lean in strategy Sheryl advocates for, pushing women to sit at the table and be as involved as possible is not for everyone.  Some women do not desire or prioritize that level of commitment, and it is not practical in many modern situations. She also discussed Slaughter’s “Why women still can’t have it all” piece and was saddened that she had contributed to this reality until it became her life. This further drives home the overarching point I took away from Slaughter’s article, which displays women can’t have it all because they lead a different life and have different priorities, not because they are not committed enough.  Katharine, unfortunately, did not come to this realization until she was in the position of a woman depicted with “commitment issues”, someone she had only assumed other women to be.

After scanning the article and watching the quick interview, what are your thoughts on Katharine’s overall leadership? Does gaining this new perspective of being a mother allow her to be more empathetic to other women in the workforce? Would she have been able to truly understand what other women were going through without having a child?  Why could this understanding be valuable to her leadership skills?

A few weeks ago, I was getting ready for bed and going through my normal night time routine of checking social media. Manchester Pride had announced that Ariana Grande would be headlining the event, which sparked criticism among the LGBT community. Also, the ticket prices from 2018 to 2019 nearly doubled because of the high profile artist that would be headlining. Grande has gained popularity among pop fans, feminists, and gays by creating empowering songs for women that focus on self-love and embracing your identity. But many people were confused why a straight-identifying artist was going to be headlining an event that’s purpose is to celebrate the LGBT community.

“idk… ariana headlining pride when she’s straight (as far as we’re all aware) …. and doubling the price of tickets …. kinda smells like exploitation of the lgbt community to me …..” was written by one twitter user that gained popularity.

This event lead me to think about the discussions we had in class pertaining to marginalized groups being tokenized and used by means of benefitting others. In particular, people of the LGBT community felt exploited – that Pride was becoming commodified and based around profiting rather than celebrate LGBT people, Pride’s mission. Grande responded, “Hi, my love. I have nothing to do with ticket pricing – Manchester pride sets those rates, and they’re mostly out of my control. The LGBTQ community has been so special to me and supportive throughout my entire career” to the tweet. I thought that her response to the criticism was mature and well planned, but unfortunately her actions did not reflect upon her intentions correctly. I can understand why she feels confident in representing a community that she supports and loves, but why make her the headlining artist?

Grande has been a pop icon and role model for many in the LGBT community, but some worry that her being the event’s headlining artist will bring out those who are harmful to the community. Of course every large public event has this potential, but someone with such a large following and popularity has higher risk of attracting racists, homophobes, and many other extremist groups that intend to harm the LGBT community.

The backlash is understandable, who wouldn’t question why Pride, an event celebrating a large group of marginalized people, would not be headlined and represented by a member belonging to their own group? There are many artists that are part of the LGBT community that were not offered the opportunity, which was another upsetting factor for the community. As we all know, no one can ever make everyone happy… but do you think that Grande made a proper response to the public? If not, how do you think she could have made the situation better? Should Manchester Pride have responded to the backlash and replaced the headlining artist with a representative of the LGBT community?

In all, I believe that this whole situation of underrepresentation is being ignored by the corporation and is sending a message that this is acceptable. We need to make examples out of injustices and raise awareness about getting those marginalized groups a seat at the table, having their voices heard. The LGBT community has suffered far too long and fought far too hard to get to where they are today, so why continue to ignore the unfairness? Though the idea of representation of all minority groups should be implemented in our own society, we have to start somewhere. Why not now?

here is a brief article explaining the situation:

Posted by: madelinebelangercnu | March 14, 2019

Ashley Graham and Intersectionality

“Be your favorite kind of woman”

The past few weeks, we’ve discussed both intersectionality and how women are portrayed in the media. Ashley Graham touches on both of these aspects; she is a model and a leading force in the body-positivity movement. We talked about race being an important factor when discussing intersectionality, but size can also be a prevalent social identity for many women. It’s a topic that is rarely talked about, but Ashley Graham tackles it head on. I’ve posted some links below to a few articles and a TED talk that give you a better idea of who Ashley Graham is:

Body image is something that a lot of women struggle with, and the media isn’t helping. As we learned through Miss Representation, unrealistic expectations for women are plastered over television and social media, and these resources are easier to access today than ever before. Ashley Graham’s willingness to speak out on a topic that makes a lot of people uncomfortable makes her a leader in the industry, and she has openly discussed how she feels larger women are represented within the industry. She mentions that she no longer wants to tokenized as a model, and wants companies to reach out and make efforts to represent women of all body sizes.

So how does this relate to leadership? I think Ashley Graham’s situation poses a number of interesting questions for our class. How does being a larger-bodied women impact her ability to lead? How does this impact differ for someone that isn’t a leader specifically for the body-positivity movement? Are they taken less seriously or garner less respect because they don’t necessarily fit the “box” for the “ideal” woman?

I wanted to include my own experience with a leader we’ll call Ellen. I had the opportunity to work at a program this summer with high school kids all across the country. We showed them how to demonstrate leadership through their respective sport. The program was filled with jam packed days; we practiced 4 hours a day in the summer and attended both leadership classes and sports psychology classes. Ellen is a larger-bodied woman and is also one of the co-directors of the entire program. Even though our days revolve around a lot of activity, she found her niche. She not only runs yoga in the mornings, but she makes it out to almost every practice session each day. Similar to Ashley Graham, Ellen is extremely open about her weight and is willing to have conversations about her weight journey. In spite of what some people may see as a hindrance to her job, Ellen uses her position to make a body positive statement and act as an amazing leader and woman. I hope that women of all shapes and sizes are able to successfully enact leadership the way that Ellen does.

Posted by: maddiebogan | March 14, 2019

Women leaders “having it all”

We have been talking in class a lot about women “having it all” and how successful women leaders also balance their family lives. This is a topic I have been thinking about lately as I get ready to graduate and enter the real world. I also recently got engaged so as I start to plan my life with my future husband, I’m thinking about how I will balance my career and my family and if I will be able to “have it all”.

Often times successful women leaders who have families are asked how they do it or what they think about “having it all”. An article I found discussed what certain women leaders felt about that phrase and the three themes among the interviews were you can have it all but not at the same time, what exactly are women leaders “having” when it is said they have it all, and having it all can be overrated. I have attached this article and although it is very short, it is still just interesting to hear these women’s perspectives on the question of having it all. In the part of Shonda Rhimes’ book we read as well as the article by Anne-Marie Slaughter, they discuss how women actually can’t have it all because while you are succeeding in one area, you are failing in the other. I think this is very true and in order to achieve a good balance of work and family, you need help whether it be from a spouse, a nanny, or just a flexible job.

We have also seen in class how many women in top leadership roles today are advocating for women to push to the top of their career and lean in, as Sheryl Sandberg put it. This bothers me because while it is amazing when women achieve these top leadership roles, they aren’t for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, if a women wants to pursue a high leadership position than she absolutely should and no one should hold her back, however, these leaders are portraying it as work should be more important and women should be focusing more on their career so that more women can be in top leadership positions. To me, family should always come first because as you age and reflect back on your life, more often than not you will not regret missing a meeting or not staying late in the office but you will regret not spending enough time with your kids or your spouse. I think if a woman has a job she loves and it is flexible enough to allow her to still spend time at home with her family, she should not be pressured to have to go after a higher leadership role if she doesn’t want to. It just seems as if there is so much pressure on working women today to achieve top leadership roles in their career in order to have more women in those positions.

Posted by: elisetaylor6588 | February 14, 2019

A milestone in the world of “perfect bodies”

I feel like we have discussed many topics in this course so far: intersectionality, oppression of women, and stereotypical traits of feminine leadership. However, when we discussed how females feel like they need to “be perfect” as discussed in the reading about college students in leadership, my mind automatically went to my passion for dance, and how this image to be perfect is so exacerbated that many girls will sacrifice their physical health. When dancing at the School of Richmond Ballet, I was extremely fortunate to have been trained under some of the best professors of ballet in the state. And while there are many lovely memories of my time there, several quotes have remained in my mind.

“You need to lay off the hamburgers”

“Elise, you have potential but your body isn’t right. You have the unfortunate attribute of large thigh muscles”

said to a friend of mine: “I’m not allowed to let you go en pointe until you loose some weight.”

“There is ONE sized tutu, and it doesn’t fit all …. “

While all of these comments are directly talking about body image, and may have sounded harsh to a thirteen year old, these teachers had reasonings behind their criticisms. In the 1960’s, a great choreographer and dancer, George Balanchine changed the face of ballet. He would only take girls who had slim features, long, lean muscles, and “a longer neck to emphasize “epaulment” or the general poise of the upper body. According to various sources, but particularly the Dance Magazine, Balanchine created this stigma of the “skinny ballerina” and “wanted to see the bones”. Having grown up in this environment I understand where some people are coming from when they say you need to loose weight. Dance first and foremost is about putting an experience on for your audience and hoping they are able to garner emotions from your dance. We dance for them, and then for us. If a person is too heavy to look graceful it may not be as pleasing. This sounds harsh and I disagree with the fact that their should be a weight limit, yet I am contradicted and confused about my slight understanding that the corps de ballet, or the dancers who dance cohesively in a group must look similar for artistic reasons. When my friend was told she was too heavy to go en pointe, it was not because they refused to teach her, but because biologically her bones could not support her and she would have injured herself.

How does this relate to women in general? I think this speaks to the fact that to a certain extent, all females are influenced by the media, or by the love of their sport, to have a “perfect body”. While men certainly feel this pressure as well, male dancers in a ballet company have much more flexibility with how they may look. They can have big muscles or lean muscles – it really doesn’t matter. Why do you think this is? Maybe because the males don’t dance in a corps de ballet but are instead almost always partnering with the prima ballerina? Society has come a long way in accepting various body images, yet the ballet world seems to be stuck in the past. Until Misty Copeland arrived.

Misty Copeland is not only the first African American female principle dancer, but she has defied the “skinny dancer”. Yes she is fit and thin, but she has muscles that are seen as far too large and defined. The question of whether Misty Copeland is a “leader” or simply a hallmark of success is debatable, but what she has done for young dancers who have been discouraged by harsh words or reality, is astounding. Not only has she unknowingly and maybe unintentionally started a remarkable movement in the ballet world, but she herself deals with intersectionality. She was criticized for her race as there had “never been a black sugar plum fairy”.

This brings me to several questions. If you become the “first” of something and overcome all odds, are you a leader or a role model? I think her leading exhibits the “behind the scenes” leadership as she speaks out against prejudice and works to bring dancers mental health and individualism to the table. Do you see the current ballet world as dangerous, or understand (even partially) where choreographers are coming from when they want a cohesive look for their corps de ballet? Finally, and maybe the most important topic regarding this class: why aren’t male dancers held to the same standards as females? I encourage you to watch this – a young girl is reading a rejection letter from a ballet academy, yet Misty Copeland, with her “wrong body” is dancing and showing the world that labels and supposed requirements can be defeated with passion and determination.

Image result for corps de ballet
a stereotypical corps de ballet: long legged, thin, delicate frames. Caucasian

Posted by: hannah.yaz | February 13, 2019

Speaking Out

Because I want to be a teacher, I chose to discuss a story related to education.  Some of you may have heard of her already, but if not I encourage you to read more about this incredible woman.  Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan on July 12, 1997.  While growing up, Malala’s father was a teacher and ran a girls’ school in their village.  Malala loved going to school every day.  In January of 2008, the Taliban took control of Malala’s town in Swat Valley.  The extremists banned many things and prohibited girls from going to school.  If anyone rebelled against them, there were harsh punishments.  In 2012, Malala exposed herself as a target because she decided to speak out publicly on behalf of girls and their right to learn.  In October of 2012, Malala was on her way home from school (I’m not sure exactly when girls became able to go to school again?) when a masked gunman walked onto her school bus.  He asked who Malala was and proceeded to shoot her in the left side of her head. 

She woke up in a hospital bed 10 days later in Birmingham, England where she was told what happened.  Malala went through months of surgeries and rehabilitation and was released to live with her family in their new home in the United Kingdom.  Together, Malala and her father established Malala Fund in order to help girls around the world earn the right to an education.  Malala received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014 and is the youngest-ever Nobel laureate.  Currently, she studies at the University of Oxford and continues to fight for each girl to have a free, safe and quality education.  She travels around the world to meet these girls and spread the word, and she encourages everyone she meets to participate in this fight for equality. 

I chose to share this because not only is Malala’s story inspirational, it is crucial in understanding leadership.  Rather than fearfully accepting defeat and helplessness, she took a stand for what she believed in and continues to fight day after day because it is important to her.  I think we all can use this lesson in our lives by figuring out what is truly important to us and deciding to make a difference about it.  I don’t think we should focus so much on gender on this situation; we should contemplate the fact that she stood up for herself and fought back against an unjust and broken system.  One quote from Malala that stuck out to me is “I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is the story of many girls.”  Many people feel as if they cannot exercise leadership because they think they aren’t powerful enough, influential enough or even qualified.  However, everyone should have the right to be heard and use their voice freely.

Posted by: libbywilbur3 | February 12, 2019

Color/Gender in Casting

In my theater history class, we often discuss different ways shows can be cast and ultimately say that you can cast how you want, as long as it supports some kind of artistic vision or theme you are trying to draw out of the piece. Otherwise, we tend to say cast as scripted. But there is hot debate over that, too, since most scripts are full of white people and a lot of men, which leads to many people possibly never getting cast.

The article I have attached below from the Los Angeles Times discusses this phenomenon recently. Before, people would cast based on the script, until they realized many people weren’t getting opportunities to act because they didn’t fit certain roles. So colorblind casting came into play, where people ignored color and sometimes gender, and cast people into roles based on their talent and ability to play the part. The article says that now, we are leaning more toward color-conscious casting. It got to a point where people are getting cast because they are a different race or a different gender. People often get mad when shows are white-washed when they shouldn’t be or a man plays a transgender character, instead of using a transgender actor. It becomes blurry and fuzzy on what is right and what is wrong for the show and to also be socially aware and responsible.

My biggest question and concern with all of this is: do we continue to worry about casting people diversely in shows or do we instead make shows that allow diverse casting to be possible so they have representation? Or does that lead us to new shows that strictly need diverse casts and leaves more white-dominated communities to only do older shows out of fear of white-washing a performance? If more shows were made that specifically asked for different ethnicities and genders, would that eliminate white actors? Where does the role of the director, the leader of shows, come in? Does their artistic vision get shot because of social pressures to be inclusive? Does too much inclusivity become exclusive at some point?

As an aspiring director, I see this tie to leadership often because directors have to make these choices and most of the casting decisions. Much of the time we are concerned with the talent, but more often we have become aware of the social context we are working within. As a female director, I hope to do shows with a lot of women, but that does not mean men are left out. But is it bad if they become a smaller part of the show? Also, actors cast in the big roles often go on to gain fame, money, awards, and more opportunities. They become role models, but if all the role models look the same, what does that say to kids or aspiring thespians? How do we integrate inclusivity, diversity, and intersectionality into our films and theatrical productions effectively?

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