Thursday, July 25, 2013

Learning the Ropes

This morning, the first thought that popped into my head was: How did I get back to the Bay Area? Even though my roommate and I only had a small fan on in our dorm room, cold air was blowing in through the open window and I was freezing. It was such a change from the frequent humidity that Providence has been experiencing lately.

Instead of attending class today, some of the leadership classes, including mine, got on a bus and headed to do a low ropes course. Although rain was definitely on its way, the staff was confident that we were going to have a great time (they were right!). At the beginning of the course, precautions were taken to avoid ticks since we were out in the woods, such as spraying ourselves with bug repellant, putting long socks on over our pants, and tying bandanas soaked in bug repellant around our ankles (obviously we looked super stylish). Everyone was making a big deal about the ticks, so I started to get really nervous but, luckily, I was not viciously attacked by any ticks today.

Within our Women and Leadership class, we broke up into two groups for our low ropes course activities. All of the activities were so much fun and required lots and lots of teamwork to be completed. One of my favorite activities was one where we balanced on a wire a few feet off of the ground. Two wires were attached to one tree, side by side, then gradually got farther and farther apart until they tied off to two separate trees on the other end (think of a “V” shape). The way it works is: you and your partner climb onto the separate wires on the end where the wires are close together, then, clasping hands and leaning into each other (in order to have better balance) you make your way as far as you can to the other side of the wire. It was difficult because the wires were shaking the whole time and kept getting father apart, so you really had to work as a team and trust each other to get far.  

After tons of trust-building activities, it began to rain really hard so, unfortunately, we had to go back to Brown early. This actually worked out quite well for me because I had lots of time to work on a small project for class. For this small project, we have to provide two examples that demonstrate the social construction of gender and gender norming and then analyze these examples. For my two examples, I picked the Disney movie "Peter Pan" (there are so many gender stereotypes) and popular video games that have characters in questionable roles based on their gender. I found it disturbing how simple it was to find examples for my project but, then again, I wasn't surprised because society's "norms" are present almost everywhere you look. Although it will never be possible to escape society, the best we as humans can do is work our hardest to eliminate the harmful pressure that society puts on individuals to try and conform them to restrictive norms.
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