Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bill Baird

I left this lecture feeling as though I have been taking advantage of a right I thought was natural to existence. I knew the right to privacy movement was a long fight, but I never stopped to think that it was a continuing battle. I just couldn't imagine that people would want to take away the right to protecting one self. I was shocked and immediately humbled for being so foolish.
I was unbelievably impressed by this man and can not believe everything he was willing to sacrifice for this cause. It's not very often when you meet a person who is actually selfless. He worked so hard and still does. We laughed at his methods of showing the absurdity of the law, but in reality it wasn't that funny. It wasn't funny because there are people out there who really want to make it so birth control isn't available to single people and there are people who want to overturn Roe v. Wade.
These rights are what helped to further empower women to take control of their own sexual lives and rights. These laws finally gave them backing to the right to say no, to say when, and to say how. These rights have been so unbelievably crucial in how I live in my day to day life and I have not thought twice about trying to protect or defend them. I have said that I believe strongly in women's rights, but apparently before this lecture I truly didn't.
I look at this man and I feel so unbelievably thankful. This man has saved more lives then we can even imagine and has protected so many others. He reminded us again and again how important these rights are and he is correct. We shouldn't let people take this away from us.
The opening speaker used the word hero and he is most certainly correct in this fact. What Bill Baird has done is amazing. I can honestly say that without the laws that he helped to put in place I probably wouldn't have been in that auditorium today. That fact keeps resonating in my head. All because of the actions of one man.

Lines of Pain

I found myself only partly agreeing with what was discussed by Professor Maria Frank in concerns of the speeches of Hectors wife as well as her discussion of Dido. For the wife of Hector her concern over her husband's death and the pain she felt because of it can be seen as metaphorical. In the second speech after she sees her husband's body she launches in to a long speech talking about how she left her son and her to the vices of the Greeks. While she may just be discussing the pain of what her son will be going through she is also metaphorically discussing the fall of Troy. Like her husband the city will be left to be devoured by worms after the dogs are done. Her husband's death marks the end of the city and the end of his household. Troy relied upon a monarchy as the sole source of government and power with the loss of Hector its entire basis was ripped away and was left in a state of unrest because Astyanax was too young to take the throne. When she burns his clothes it is symbolic of the future of Troy where all the wealth, everything to remind people of what that city was will be burned and left to ashes by the Greeks.
I do agree with how the wife of Hector challenges the Trojan idea of honor and glory. She has to sacrifice her husband, her son and even her own life because of what the men have classified as badges of honor and proof of glory. Her bitterness is real. She as a woman, a widow, has no hope of finding a way to live without the threat of death if she survives the destruction of Rome. She was the wife of Hector, his prize, and she has the destiny of becoming the victors slave, or worse whore. She will have to live a life where her fall will constantly be thrown in her face and she will have to suffer for the actions of her husband. Her son has no hope of surviving. As the sole male heir he will be killed as soon as the Greeks gain entrance. This pain is real and the bitterness attached to it as well.
So many people look at these epic stories as the source for the definition of what a hero is. They also look to these stories as the best example of glory and honor in battle. These men fill the songs of the warriors people seek to aspire to become. Few people take a moment to really look at what these men left behind and the fate they left their family to suffer. These men aren't really heroes. Instead they are men who fight for no real reason and see their family as nothing more than a token of their prowess. What is there between the lines is the pain that the women and children experienced that are slaves to this idea of honor and glory. They have no choice and their fates entirely rest upon the actions of their "hero". Where is the glory in this?
The story of Dido always frustrates me. She is just as much of a hero as Aeneas, if not greater. Everything Aeneas was trying to achieve she had already done and on her own as a woman. Yet, she is belittled and forced to conform to the male conventions of feminine weakness when in the presence of her man. I think her pain is not entirely based upon the fact that Aeneas will not recognize their marriage, but instead of his inability to recognize that she is worth just as much as him. Her suicide is not that of a broken heart, but that of one who is entirely defeated and sees no recovery. Aeneas took advantage and made her break her vow and her reputation as woman was forever tarnished. She has to suffer the fate of a cheating woman rather than a death of a true hero. She takes her own life because she is left to face her people, her brother, and her enemies knowing that all her great deeds were erased in their minds because of Aeneas's rejection of her.
Saba's poem The Goat really struck a chord with me. It's the first time I have seen in writing a recognition that pain is universal whether it be man or animal. It's a concept that many people forget. Pain is felt by every living thing and there is a recognition of it when witnessed. It also brings to light how people rarely take the time to recognize that their pain isn't singular. There are others hurting around them and others who have hurt before. Pain isn't a one instance occurrence. It cycles through man and animal in endless waves with moments of respite. Out of the entire lecture it is this poem I feel that truly addressed pain in purest form.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Performance Pain

I find it so unbelievably ironic and frustrating the difference between women doing triathalons and men doing them. For men its showing their vitality and their ability to deal with pain for women its about finding a reason to survive. Why is it that when women become athletes we have to have some sort of pressing reason to push us in their pursuit of athletic prowess. We can't just seek to do a sport because we enjoy it.

This idea of the triathalon as a mark of a moment to decide to survive intrigues me. What is it that makes the triathalon the starting point for women specifically to decide to continue on with their life and find a new reason to survive. Women said they did because of an end to a relationship, age, and disease. They have to push themselves to do things they have never done before and go beyond whatever they thought they were capable of. I do think the emotional connection with becoming this type of active is a true representation. It requires a whole new form of determination and new want to be a person again. I just find its interesting that the triathalon is becoming this outlet for women. Prof. Striff discussed how it was a badge of honor and how you would automatically gain respect for being a triathlete and I feel that this is the basis of the reasoning. Women are seeking a new way to gain respect for themselves whether its within their community or if its just with themselves.

The Iron Man has always been an event that fascinates me. Part of me secretly wants to do it while the other part is absolutely piss scared. You look at the ironmen and they don't look human anymore. They become machines to the event and seek to just survive the next stride, stroke, and pedal. How does become romanticized in one's mind? The amount of pain that a person must go through would be enough to scare most people away yet the Iron Man is sold out again and again and again. I think the idea of survivorship comes into play with this as well. People seek to find ways to prove to themselves that they can overcome and survive. The Iron Man is a way for athletes to show themselves that they can overcome and succeed. I would love to talk to someone a year after finishing an Iron Man. I am curious to see if they have an entirely new outlook.

What confuses me is how this idea of survivorship isn't discussed generally when the Iron Man is brought up. Instead we are to look at these athletes with reverence and also think of them as being somewhat insane. I feel as though that because the event is mostly male the idea of survivorship is something that should not be discussed. The male athlete is idolized and seen as flawless and there is nothing behind their desire to compete other than the want to succeed. The only time survivorship is discussed is when it is a man with a disability.

I find myself so hopeful and so frustrated with the triathlete realm after this lecture. There still remains a huge seperation between the male and female triathletes. They all endure and they all seek to find a reason to survive why can't this be the story that is told across the board?