Every Quilt Tells A Story

ECS 110  Summary of Learning

 

A quick couple of notes about this video.

1)For the first little bit you will see a blank screen, the screen should be white but in the video it looks grey.  As you watch that first bit its important to remember it should white.

2) here is the link to music in the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCsZQW0Rkvo

3) Quilting is my passion and my plan is too make the “quilt” in the video into a quilted wall hanging for my classroom.

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Week 12 blog response

Disability Binaries

When we think of disabilities or of someone who is disabled the usual first thought is of what that person cannot do. There are exceptions to this reaction as there are when we speak of other binaries such as sexism, gender, racism but the common normal narrative is to see what someone can’t do.  We maybe lulled into thinking that society has made great strides into the middle ground of the disable/able binary.  We see that now it is illegal to have a work place, or public place that is not accessible to those that need accommodations, we see that many people who are disabled have jobs.  We see that people are trying to raise awareness and help find cures for disabling diseases and conditions.  In the article Stolen Bodies, Reclaimed Bodies the author states that when” The dominant paradigms of disability — the medical, charity, supercrip, and moral models — all turn disability into problems faced by individual people, locate those problems in our bodies, and define those bodies as wrong.” When something is wrong, we see it as something that needs fixing or as something that is broken and no useful.  This broken image supports the disabled side of the binary, that disabled people are less than.  In order to disrupt this binary of disable/able we must first stop thinking of people’s bodies as wrong or broken simply because they can not do everything the so called normal way.  I would dare to say that most abled bodied persons need modifications in the way we do things at some point in our lives, we don’t consider our bodies broken or disabled when we do.  For the most part the modifications I am talking about are minor, such as eye glasses, canes, hearing aids and the like.  None of these things fall in the realm of disabilities or outside ableism. Now consider modifications like wheelchairs, aids to help non verbal people speak, personal aids, are these not also modifications to help a person function more optimally just like eye glasses.  So to disrupt this binary we need to define what makes one modification a disability and one not.

The second part of the prompt was to trouble the norms and see how our understanding of disability changes when we view it from Clare’s (Stolen Bodies, Reclaimed Bodies) perspective of a disabled, transgender, lesbian.  My point of view is that our understanding of disability should not change because of these other binaries. Even though there is intersectionality of the different binaries in Clare’s life, one binary does not cause the other binaries to become less or more of an issue.   Clare will have a more difficult time because she is living out side of more than one binary and will quite possibly face more discrimination than she would if she were just disabled for example.

 

Gender Binaries

Self in Relation

Gender stories

 

Part 1 Normal Narratives of Gender

In reading the blog posts from the class on gender two really stood out to me. Meyan Piok writes from his experience growing up in Sudan, Raphael Gigante writes about growing up in the Philippines, and I write from my perspective as a Canadian.  As we explore the stories we will see that gender binaries are not just a Canadian, North American or white narrative. The prejudice + power = an ism, in this case sexism, equation is played out in any society when one group is dominant over another (Finally Feminism 101).  The normal narrative of gender is that male and female have specific roles to play in the home, at work and in society in general.  Males are usually seen as the ones who go out to work, and do the labourious jobs around the home.  Women in this narrative are seen as homemakers, do the indoor work, cooking, cleaning and look after the children.  We see in these two stories, as well as my own. that our parents or friends who are older than us, that these binaries are ingrained into their thinking. “I will never wear a skirt! As a male and head of this family, I don’t want to see you washing the dishes or doing household chores.” My own account of being relegated to the kitchen to cook during the garage build because I was a girl.  Meyan’s account of his pastor returning to Sudan and being shooed out of the kitchen not only by men but also by the women when the pastor tried cook himself a meal, lend proof that these gender roles are still alive, well and part of the thinking of older generations.   The gender binaries do not only play out in societal and familial jobs but also in emotional ways as well. “[O]ur group of friends we would tease each other when we say each other get scared or cry” (Piok) speaks to the narrative of being manly.  In my story I speak of the fact that my dad’s first born was a girl and how he was very disappointed in that.  That narrative of a first born should be a boy was a very old notion that has carried on in some families

In these stories of normal narratives, we see instances of ideological incongruencies (Solomon, Portelli, Daniel and Campbell, July 2005).   We believe that when women step outside of the normal role that she is no longer fitting into the stereotypical role of house wife, mother and caregiver.  The reality is that most women, even though they have outside jobs, take care of the majority of the housework and are usually the ones that take the time off from their jobs when kids are sick.  Raphael states in his story that even though his mother went out to work to keep the family financially she was also responsible for training the children to help her with household duties as well. Western society has made great strides in trying to do away with the traditional gender roles but it still has a long way to go.  Other countries, such as, Sudan have even further to go in combating sexism and the gender binaries evidenced in Meyan’s final statement “ … [in]divorce the women would be sent away and the kids would stay with the father. Everything in the household is considered as belonging to the man.”

Part 2 Disrupting the narrative

“Our identities, our thoughts, and our beliefs can’t always be sorted easily into two categories. In the world we live in, we set up two distinct categories — man and woman — that everyone must choose between. But that doesn’t actually reflect the full diversity of the human experience.” ( What does it mean to be non-binary?) This statement reflects the nature of Maizie’s story Being Me. I chose Maizie’s story on gender to disrupt the normal narrative of gender roles because I found the story to be so opposite of what I play out as woman. I consider myself a tomboy and love a good game of football. Like Maizie I was always the one out playing with the boys when it came to sports.  I unlike Maizie drew the line at the getting your hands dirty type of things like hunting and fishing.  I have known a couple of other women who hunt but none speak about it with the pride that comes across from Maizie.  I found that there was a level of comfort in the way the Maizie told the story.  It resonated with me that she didn’t feel the need to be something she wasn’t but was comfortable with her choices to pursue “traditional male pass times” in a woman’s body.  While I enjoyed playing rough sports with the boys when I was younger, and could hammer a nail with the best of them, my motivation wasn’t to be me but to prove that I as girl could be as good as any boy and be worthy of my dad’s love.

I notice when we try to disrupt the normal narrative of gender, society is more willing to accept women stepping in the male dominated realms rather than when a man tries to step in the feminine side. This is a theme that is evident through all four of the gender stories referenced for this piece.  I don’t mean that it is easy for women to break into for example professional male dominated sport or male dominated jobs but that when a women challenges something that is traditionally male oriented, society is not as resistant to this unlike when a male chooses more traditional feminine leanings.  Women are often given the tools and are often encouraged to partake in things like hunting or fishing for example.  Maizie’s parents encouraged her love of hunting at a young age by giving her, her own gun.  However, when males tend disrupt the male gender role and take on more typically feminine roles they are looked down on.  Men who are interested in the more traditional female pastimes such as sewing, knitting, or quilting for example are subject to much more negative scrutiny than a woman who is taking up hunting and fishing.  Men are more likely to be labeled as queer or gay when their interests are not masculine in nature.  Parents of little boys are less likely to supply knitting needles or a sewing machine for their son.  Men, who choose to stay at home with their children are considered less ambitious, less manly for their choice

Gender binaries exist in every culture.  In Sudan, we have seen that these binaries are as opposite as you can get.  In western societies there is a bit more of a graying of the binaries.  Women work, have almost equal rights in divorces, are accepted into the male dominated jobs, and can pursue traditional male activities without too much difficulty in the western world. Men though have a bit of tougher time bending these binaries but it still is done and accepted eventually.

Resource

Class stories

https://pamx6.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/being-a-girl-being-a-woman/

https://meyanpiok.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/gender/

https://jasperalph.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/writing-the-self-4-it-doesnt-mean-youre-wearing-a-skirt/

https://maziehooper.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/being-me/

Class readings

https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/

Solomon, Portelli, Daniel & Campbell. (2006). The discourse of denial: how white teacher candidates construct race, racism and ‘white privilege’. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 8(2), 147-169.

What does it mean to be non-binary?

 

Being a girl, Being a woman

Writing the Self #4 gender

Being a girl meant that your dad didn’t come to see you for two or three days after you were born because you weren’t the preferred boy or at least that is how my story of being a girl starts.  I was the first born to my dad and the first grandchild.  I should have been a boy there was no other option.

Being a girl means that at five, ten, eleven, twelve, sixteen years old you are a plaything for teenage boys when you don’t know what is happening is wrong.  You are subject to grown men who think they can touch you and say things to you because you are girl.  The women in your life don’t protect you after all the men mean no harm.

Being a girl at thirteen means that you are regulated to kitchen duty during the garage building because you are a girl and you belong in the kitchen not out hammering nails.  It means that your brothers who did half the work you did get new bikes right after the build because they did a man’s work for a few hours over the weekend while you worked in the kitchen prepping meals, drinks and snacks the entire weekend and you don’t get anything because you didn’t work.

Being a girl at nineteen means you go out to the bar and some guy buys you drinks all night even though you have told him that you are not interested in him.  He doesn’t have to listen to you when you say you are involved with someone because after all you are at the bar with your girlfriends not your boyfriend so you are fair game.  He gets mad when you refuse to leave with him, because you are a “tramp” to put it mildly and led him on.

Being a woman in your twenties means that you get to realize one of your life long dreams and become a mom, three times by time you are 25.  Being a woman in your twenties means that you are subject to people telling you had the perfect family at one boy and one girl, that you don’t need a third child. You are irresponsible to have more than society’s perfect two child family and asked if you know what causes it etc.  When you choose to stay home to raise those children you wanted so badly you are lazy, taking advantage of your husband and generally are worthless.

Being a woman in your thirties means that you start to come into your own, you start to realize that it doesn’t matter what people think.  It means when you decide to homeschool your children “they” think you have lost your mind.  How could you possibly teach anyone, you don’t know anything, you are just a stay at home mom.  Your family planning methods come up for conversation because in your late 30’s you decide to have not one but three more children and homeschool them.  It means that when asked if you know what causes that(babies) you don’t give a hoot, and come back with something smart.

Being a woman in your forties means that you realize that you are strong.  You have gotten past all this stuff that has been thrown at you, your whole life.  It means that you have succeeded in protecting your daughters from those men, you have taught your son how to treat a woman and are teaching your young sons that women are valuable.  It means that you were strong, have done what is best for your family despite the obstacles and demeaning marks.  It means that you are confident, strong, and smart enough to pursue your other life long dream.  A dream that is not valued by some people because its not a high paying profession, because it is traditionally a woman’s profession.  A dream to be a teacher.  A dream with every midterm, every essay, every class and every assignment, becomes closer because you are doing everything you can to make it happen.  Being a woman is good.

 

Seeing colour

Writing Self #3 – Racism

I grew up in the North Central neighbourhood of Regina.  Today it is known as a very rough neighbourhood, it was tough when I grew up there too. The school I went to was about 50% white kids and about 50% First Nations or as they were referred to, back then, as Indians. In school we all hung around together in our little groups.  It didn’t seem to really matter to most of the kids, if you were white or First Nations.  If you had the same interests, you hung out together at recess and after school. Most of us were poor, welfare kids and that was our common bond. It was also difficult to understand racism, when you heard First Nations kids calling each other “big Indian” or “squaw’ you didn’t think to much of it. My mom and stepdad had a First Nations friend at the time, and everyone in their group would refer to her as a “squaw” she would laugh about it and make some comment to them about their skin or some such and then everyone would laugh and carry on.  So this too lent itself to not seeing racism for what it was as a kid.

When I was between 11-13 two things happened that gave me some awareness that people of different skin colours were not acceptable.  I began babysitting for people in the neighbourhood to earn extra spending money.  I had two families I regularly babysat for. One family was a white family, the dad was a city policeman and the mom was a nurse so by “traditional’ thought a nice family.  My parents never worried when I was there, if I was later than expected getting home from babysitting from that house it was never an issue.  I never had to be home from their place at certain time even on a school night.  The other couple I babysat for was a mixed race couple the wife was white and the husband was black.  They weren’t what you would consider a professional couple like the first couple I mentioned but they both had good jobs and a decent home.  When I babysat at the second house, I had to be home at a certain time even on weekends, my parents wanted me to call them every couple of hours at least when I was there.  When I would balk at these rules and question why I had to do this I was told they didn’t trust this man. He had never done anything to me or in the neighbourhood that would cause any distrust, he treated me as well as the man from the other couple.   It was because the dad in the second house was black.

The second time it became apparent was when I was dating, as much as an 11-13 year old can and should be dating. I was “going out” with this boy from our class at school.  He didn’t look especially First Nations but he was a bit darker than I was.  I didn’t think much of it, he was good looking, had a long hair and rode a really cool bicycle what more did a 13 year old girl want.  We used to sneak around and meet at the local park, not because I thought it was a problem that he was First Nations but because I wasn’t allowed to date.  One day him and his friends rode by my house and stopped to visit with me and my friend who were sitting outside.  After they were there for about ten or so minutes I all of sudden had to go in and stay in.  My step dad then told me he didn’t want that “indian” hanging around the house.  We had done nothing for my step dad to distrust him it was just because he was ‘indian”.

When I think back to these instance that is when I began to see things differently.  I suddenly was aware of an uneasy feeling I would get when I would walk by men of a different race, something that had never bothered me before.  To this day it still makes me nervous.  The ironic part is that I should be more afraid of white men as they have done me far more harm than any other man of any other race.

Its Not Flat

Writing #2

To adapt a saying “you can take the girl out of Saskatchewan but you can’t take Saskatchewan out of the girl” became very true for me in 2014.  In March of 2014 I was so excited and very nervous, I was about to knock the number one item off my very short bucket list.  I was going to England.  My grandma was a war bride that came to Canada from England just after World War II.  I had always dreamed of going to England to meet my relatives and see where my grandma grew up, lived and met my grandad.  I had only left Canada once in my almost 45 years and the biggest cities I had ever been to were Calgary and Edmonton.  I also had never flown so this was a huge adventure.

I arrived at Heathrow Airport in London England, the size of the airport should have given me some clue as to just how far removed I was from quaint little Regina but I was far too exhausted and in awe to take much notice.  I met my cousins and soon we were on our way to their place about an hour out of London.  We took the M25 and it was busy typical highway except they drove on the wrong side.  Soon we veered off on to a secondary road, this is when I had my first I am not in Saskatchewan moment.  The road was so narrow and no shoulders there was barely any room for cars to pass each other.  It was a bit nerve racking to say the least but I soon got used to it.

One of my requests was to sight see in London, my cousin’s son accompanied me and we toured London for two days.  It was an amazing city and I got to see in person, all the great tourist attractions I had only read about and saw in photos or on tv.  By the end of 2 days I had enough, the sheer number of people that were constantly around even at 10pm was overwhelming to this Regina girl.  I was glad to be back at my cousin’s house in a community that was likely the size of Regina.

I spent 2 weeks in England and it was everything I imagined it to be and more.  The whole time I was there, though I had this small niggling frustration and tiny bit of tension in my thoughts.  I couldn’t put my finger on it. I attributed it to being away from my husband and boys and out of my comfort zone.   The source of the frustration and tension hit me in a big way as I was flying into Regina on my way home.  I looked at the window as we were coming near the city and even though it was dark, I could see the wide open spaces.  I could see the farm yard lights with nice wide spaces in between.  In the dark I could somewhat make out the straight lines of the grid roads. Upon seeing the wide open spaces and straight lines the small bit of mental frustration and tension I had been feeling the entire time left me.  England is not flat, there are no long straight roads that you can see what is coming for miles, there are rolling hills that you can’t see over, it is twisting and turning.  The whole time I was there I could never exactly see where I was in relation to anything else.

Best Kind of Chaos

“Mom, mom wake up, Santa’s been here.” Its my 4 year old Ian.  I slowly squint my eyes into narrow slits to try to make out the clock on the other side of the room without actually finding my glasses in the dark.  Surely it can’t be time to get up, it was a late night and “Santa” didn’t get to bed until after 1 am.  I finally can see enough of the clock to see that there is a five, a zero and some other number.  Ugh its only five am, far too early to be up even for an excited 4 year old.  I finally convince him to come snuggle for awhile and after much squirming he finally falls back asleep.

“Mom, mom, wake up, Santa’s been here.” Don’t these children have a dad, its now my six year old Easton.  I ask him what the numbers on the clock say, he tells me seven, three, zero.  He reminds me that his dad and I told him he could get up at 7:30am.  Easton also informs me that he has woken his older brother, Evan who is 8, up.  They want to open presents but I disappoint them with the reminder that they can’t open presents until the big kids get here and they won’t be here for at least an hour.  My husband and I get up and tell the boys to be quiet and not wake Ian up yet.

Ding dong, dog barking, three excited boys yelling the big kids are here. Chaos ensues. The boys and the dog rush to open the door for the first arrivals consisting of their older brother Eric, his wife Catherine and big sister Brett. A few minutes later the last of the big kids arrive, big sister Becky and her boyfriend Jarrid.  There is a lot of excited chatter and choruses of “we can open presents now.”

The smell of coffee fills the air, utensils clatter as everyone fills their plates, excited chatter of kids and adults fill the room as we settle in for the morning.  Everything is right, all my kids are home at least for part of the day.  Its the best kind of chaos.