Monday, January 31, 2011

WGS 310 - Week 3

Wow!  This week last week I have been asked to compare and contrast the work of two ancient female rhetoric's.  I have pondered this question with much trepidation just because I feel like I don’t have enough information in regards to the life of Sappho – as much as we would like to understand what she was writing about and what type of women she was – I think the information we have is just so limited.  I believe Sappho had unfortunately been an almost forgotten writer because of the unnecessary prejudices of being a female writer and because the subject matter of her poetry which often dealt with issues of love and possible female love subjects.  The limited amount of Sappho’s work we actually do have to work with has struggled to not be completely destroyed over time.    It is truly sad and disappointing to learn that only portions of her poems are available and much of her work  is “restructured” – which involves the piecing together of her work through the interpretation and educated guesses of (mostly male) scholars.  This is by no means a true representation of what could have been in Sappho’s heart as she was writing about love, life and longing for lost loves.   

Even though I am sad with the limited availability of her work - I am thankful that we can look at and ponder the little information we have regarding her life and I find it inspiring that at least a women living under the right circumstances (wealth) would have had this opportunity that so many other women did not have.  Imagine how wonderful it would be to have the opportunity to read what a woman in ancient times – someone without wealth or social status (a average women like me) would have had to say.  I believe the connections felt through the writings from over time would have been amazing!

In comparison, another female rhetoric we explored is Aspasia – she was a woman that just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right (male) connections.  Because of these connections and because of her status among these male writers she was fortunate to not have her work almost completely decimated over time (opposite of what had almost happened to Sappho’s work).   I believe since Aspasia was able to connect with the likes of Plato, Cicero, and Plutarch – she had the right males in her corner to help her succeed as a female rhetorician.  

What a deep and complicated picture of these women and how their works have been saved or salvaged.  I enjoy exploring these historically significant females and realize what an impact their writing has had on our lives.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What An Incredible Experience!

These last few days have been scary and exciting! It is amazing how the Internet and my Twitter account has helped me feel a certain connection with these people in Egypt and how it allows me to have this armchair opportunity to watch history unfold before my eyes!!

While explaining current events to my children I had fun showing them this iconic image from the 60's during a time when their grand-parents were protesting and fighting to end an unnecessary war!
And today we have this beautiful picture which represents people fighting in the same spirit of peace and love!

I am proud of these people and anyone else that is taking the time to pay attention and offer their support for these people.

The power of the people is an amazing thing isn't it?!

Here is an open letter that I found on the IPA (Institute for Public Accuracy) website which has been written to President Obama!  What an awesome idea!  Way to go!  Thumbs-up to those that have signed this letter...

Dear President Obama:
As political scientists, historians, and researchers in related fields who have studied the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, we the undersigned believe you have a chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt. As citizens, we expect our president to uphold those values.
For thirty years, our government has spent billions of dollars to help build and sustain the system the Egyptian people are now trying to dismantle. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family’s influence. It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said Friday “political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants.
There is another lesson from this crisis, a lesson not for the Egyptian government but for our own. In order for the United States to stand with the Egyptian people it must approach Egypt through a framework of shared values and hopes, not the prism of geostrategy. On Friday you rightly said that “suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.” For that reason we urge your administration to seize this chance, turn away from the policies that brought us here, and embark on a new course toward peace, democracy and prosperity for the people of the Middle East. And we call on you to undertake a comprehensive review of US foreign policy on the major grievances voiced by the democratic opposition in Egypt and all other societies of the region.
Jason Brownlee, University of Texas at Austin
Joshua Stacher, Kent State University
Tamir Moustafa, Simon Fraser University
Arang Keshavarzian, New York University
Clement Henry, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Springborg, Naval Postgraduate School
Jillian Schwedler, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Chris Toensing, Middle East Research and Information Project
Ellen Lust, Yale University
Helga Tawil-Souri, New York University
Anne Mariel Peters, Wesleyan College
Gregory White, Smith College
Asef Bayat, University of Illinois
Diane Singerman, American University
Cathy Lisa Schneider, American University
Robert Vitalis, University of Pennsylvania
Ahmet T. Kuru San Diego State University
Toby Jones, Rutgers University
Lara Deeb, Scripps College
Michaelle Browers, Wake Forest University
Mark Gasiorowski, Louisiana State University
Samer Shehata, Georgetown University
Farideh Farhi, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
Emad Shahin, University of Notre Dame
John P. Entelis, Fordham University
Tamara Sonn, College of William & Mary
Ali Mirsepassi, New York University
Kumru Toktamis, Pratt Institute
Rebecca C. Johnson, Northwestern University
Nader Hashemi, University of Denver
Carlene J. Edie, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Laryssa Chomiak, University of Maryland
Mohamed Nimer, American University
Steven Heydemann, Georgetown University
Miriam Lowi, The College of New Jersey
Wendy Pearlman, Northwestern University
Hesham Sallam, Georgetown University
Melani Cammett, Brown University
Michael Robbins, University of Michigan
Katherine E. Hoffman, Northwestern University
Asli Bali, UCLA School of Law
Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University
Guilain Denoeux, Colby College
Tom Farer, University of Denver
Norma Claire Moruzzi, University of Illinois at Chicago
Saad Eddin Ibrahim, American University of Cairo & Drew University
Asma Barlas, Ithaca College
Ethel Brooks, Rutgers University
Maren Milligan, Oberlin College
Alan Gilbert, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
Glenn Robinson, Naval Postgraduate School
Ahmed Ragab, Harvard University
Kenneth M. Cuno, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Agnieszka Paczynska, George Mason University
Zillah Eisenstein, Ithaca College
Quinn Mecham, Middlebury College
Riahi Hamida, Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences Sousse Tunisia
Jeannie Sowers, University of New Hampshire
Hussein Banai, Brown University
Joel Gordon, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville
Ed Webb, Dickinson College
David Siddhartha Patel, Cornell University
Thomas Pierret, Princeton University
Nadine Naber, University of Michigan
As`ad AbuKhalil, California State University at Stanislaus
Dina Al-Kassim, University of California at Irvine
Ziad Fahmy, Cornell University
William B. Quandt, University of Virginia
Lori A. Allen, University of Cambridge
Eugene Sensenig-Dabbous, Notre Dame University Lebanon
Alfred G. Gerteiny, University of Connecticut (ret.)
Lucia Volk, San Francisco State University
Anne Marie Baylouny, Naval Postgraduate School
Ulrika Mårtensson, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Emma Deputy, University of Texas at Austin
Sherry Lowrance, University of Georgia
Kaveh Ehsani, DePaul University
Ebrahim Moosa, Duke University
Benjamin N. Schiff, Oberlin College
Jeff Goodwin, New York University
Margaret Scott, New York University (adjunct)
Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Syracuse University
Kevin M. DeJesus, York University, Toronto
Courtney C. Radsch, American University
Gamze Cavdar, Colorado State University
John F. Robertson, Central Michigan University
Institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. Views reflected in this letter are those of the individual signatories.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Harassing Bloggers?

Cable Viewer
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What is Happening in Egypt.

I woke up this morning with a ton of tweets with stuff going down in Egypt. I'm reading that our media is not covering the things that are happening -but as of now the internet has been shut down to these people and there is report of a man getting shot during demonstrations.

Please take a moment to check out other sources of information (rather than our limited media view) and find out what is actually going on to these poor people. For those links they can be found in some of my tweets at
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yoga Undressed -Seriously?!? Yoga Undressed - Watch The Trailer

Ok, so I am definitely not the type of person to try Yoga naked and the idea of it creeps me out - though my daughters think its hilarious!!

I find it interesting that this video shows women and seems to have forgotten the male population. What gives?  Are men not as interested in Yoga? Or was the idea of using women more marketable?  I wonder the demographics of the people purchasing this video.

Yoga Undressed -Celebrate the Body In Its Most Sacred Form - Yoga Undressed - Watch The Trailer

Friday, January 21, 2011

WGS 310 Zainab Salbi: Women, wartime and the dream of peace

I recently took the opportunity to watch a talk that I found on TED Talks, this has not been the first time that I have listened to a speaker from this particular website  – but, this speaker was professional and I found the subject very interesting and definitely worth mentioning in this blog for my Women’s Studies class.

The speech is titled, “Women, wartime and the dream of peace” and the speakers name is Zainab Salbi she is a women who was born and raised in Iraq and who has experienced growing-up during a time of war and chaos.  Her experiences have caused her to want to take action and start an organization called, Women for Women International (  Through this organization she is trying to empower the women that are on the backlines of war and to be the encouragement in their lives so they can use their personal experiences to create a voice that can make the necessary changes needed to create peace during this time of conflict.

In addition to sharing her personal experiences, Zainab is able to give a few interesting statistics about the cost of war.  Though I wish she would have referenced where she got her numbers, I still thinks she makes a credible argument about how much more we could accomplish if we spent the money on more important things – such as education.

I believe Zainab Salbi is an exceptional speaker – she spoke passionately and from the heart.  Her experiences, professional manner and the examples of the stories she has heard over the years makes her someone that deserves to be heard and given our full attention.

I have included a link to this talk so you can tell me what you think!

Zainab Salbi: Women, wartime and the dream of peace | Video on

Friday, January 14, 2011

WGS 310 - My thoughts on rhetoric.

For a Women Studies course I have been asked to describe and reflect on the word “rhetoric” and my answer will be based upon what I have been able to ascertain during this last year in school as I have been exposed to this word a few times as I have progressed through my educational goals. 
"Saint Paul in Athens" by Raphael
While participating in courses such as, “Introduction to Biblical Interpretation” and “Argument and Debate”- I have learned that Rhetoric appears to be a form of verbal or written communication which requires a certain amount of skill and practice.  Rhetoric has its beginnings as an ancient art of communication which has been used for centuries with the purpose of persuading an audience, this audience would have consisted of a group of influential men sitting around talking about the meaning of life.  This style of teaching/learning would have been before stories and lessons became transcribed and would have practiced through oral tradition. I can only assume since rhetoric began with individuals such as Plato and other well educated men during ancient Greek civilization that this style of communication was probably something learned and mostly used by males of high social standing with consideration to the fact that women and slaves would not have been given very many opportunities to participate in the luxury of education.

In context of rhetoric and life in 2011, I feel that unfortunately because of recent events in our country the word “Rhetoric” is getting tossed around like a dirty word, what was once a method of communication used by the great thinkers of long ago it has now become an excuse to blame certain female political leaders for the unfortunate events that occurred in Arizona.  Without having spent much time paying attention to what Sarah Palin has to say I do not know if her rhetorical style is one to warrant this sort of criticism or if it is merely for her lack of political skills.