Monday, February 16, 2009

Discourse and Power

Last week in class, we talked about how dominant discourses shape our understanding of events, people, places and things. Through "discursive constructions" we building our knowledge of what seems "normal," "natural" and "good." These discourses are shaped by ideologies of power.

For example, we talked about how menstruation get constructed in negative terms BECAUSE it is associated with women and women's bodies. How might the dominant discourses around menstruation be different if they were connected to the power of men?

If Men Could Menstruate, by Gloria Steinem.

Any thoughts?


Janet Jae; said...

In this clip, having menses are glorified when in actuality, for a woman, having her period for the first time she might face feelings of disgust, embarrassment, excitement.

We're often times conditioned to feel that periods aren't so exciting, but having secondary sex characteristics are. Essentially, having breast's and curves are proof that you're now a woman.

The clip is hilarious

Maureen said...

This video is hysterical.

It's interesting how in the clip if a man gets his period he is suddenly able to score more goals in soccer and ask out women...quite impressive.

What special talents do women have as a result of this? In looking at the ads surrounding periods (as we did last week) it seems that all a women feels in regards to her period is the need to cover it up.

Also, I tried to click on my name on the right hand side of your page and it didn't link to my blog. Just wanted to make sure that you got my blog address I posted last week..

Tiffany said...

This was a funny segment. It's so true though- if men had aunt flo come and visit them once per month then it would almost certainly be more glorified then it is for women. It would symbolize masculinity (give blood to take blood), respect, and power. I like how the video seems to call it "manpause". I feel like menopause would be seen as respectable, instead of "old, used up, and past your prime...", like some people view women who are going through this natural change in life.

Further, "period paraphanalia" would probably be glorified for men, compared to shameful for women. Maybe there would be "period envy"...

Another note, the fact that rag and napkin are terms used to describe a device that is used to "clean up" a period implies that periods are dirty, smelly and gross. This is just ridiculous and degrading. Men (and the society surrounding men) would certainly find a way to make these terms seem awesome and remarkable. For example, the video describes a tampon as "bigger!". This implies that bigger tampons would be better, and the more blood you expel means the more masculine you are. I don't think a woman who used jumbo tampons would get the same responses...