Posts Tagged ‘gender’

  • 2008-09 Winner: “Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market: Finding the Middle Ground” by Jasmine Yeh

    Date: 2010.04.17 | Category: Selected Essays | Response: 0

    “Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market” by Jasmine Yeh PDF

    “Lizzie with an open heart,
    Laura in an absent dream,
    One content, one sick in part;
    One warbling for the mere bright day’s delight,
    One longing for the night.”
    –Christina Rossetti

    Since its publication, literary and social critics have interpreted Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market in many ways.  Some critics uphold it is a masterpiece empowering women.  Others think much less of it due to the inconsistencies within the text.  This fairy-tale poem portrays two girls, Lizzie and Laura, tempted by goblin men selling a generous variety of fruits in a glen. Lizzie chooses to resist their cries of “Come buy, come buy,” while Laura gives in and trades a lock of her golden hair for the taste of their harvest, becoming insane with longing for it afterwards.  At the end, Lizzie breaks the spell of the goblins on Laura by withstanding their torture and hazing. Most of the critics’ interpretations are focused on either sexuality or the gender war between men and women. However, by assuming Peter Cominos’s Innocent Femina Sensualis in Unconscious Conflict as a basis for analysis, a new reading of the text emerges that embodies both interpretations. Rossetti’s poem depicts two “sisters”[1] who share a bond stronger than the bond between a man and a woman claiming, “For there is no friend like a sister/ In calm or stormy weather” (58).  With the two girls, Lizzie and Laura, Rossetti acknowledges the two extreme perceptions of women as passionless angels and whores (Cominos 163, 165).  Through the poem, she reconciles the two extremes by suggesting that there is a middle ground between the pure and the impure due to that bond of sisterhood.

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  • 2006-07 Winner: “‘Man Law:’ Perpetuation of Stereotypes Online” by Caitlin Pratt

    Date: 2008.05.24 | Category: Selected Essays | Response: 0

    “‘Man Law'” by Caitlin Pratt PDF is a social networking site, a virtual version of the facebook that some colleges give incoming freshmen.  The site allows users to create online profiles that list their personal information such as age, gender, birthday, hometown, e-mail address, class schedules, interests, musical tastes, and political and religious views.  Site users can view others’ online profiles, and interact in a variety of ways including joining common interest groups and posting photos, links, and videos.  Facebook was originally created for college students, and college students continue to make up the majority of its users.  More than ten million people now use the site, and they make it the seventh most-trafficked site on the internet (Zuckerberg).  One of the features of the site is the ability to create and join “common interest” groups.  Groups range from the serious like Gay-Straight Alliance and Cancer Awareness groups to the silly “I Will Go Slightly Out of My Way To Step on That Crunchy Looking Leaf.” Especially at large universities, this allows students to stake out a niche in their university community and network with people who share their interests.  Although many of these groups are intended to be fun or silly, other groups like “Man Law” reflect the fact that cyberspace still exists within the limits of societal norms and stereotypes.

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  • 2004-05 Winner: “Understanding the Science Gender Gap” by Matt Olson

    Date: 2005.09.15 | Category: Selected Essays | Response: 0

    “Understanding the Science Gender Gap” by Matt Olson PDF

    “A young boy and his father were in a car accident. Both were injured and rushed to the hospital.  They were wheeled into separate operating rooms and two doctors prepped up to work on them, but the doctor assigned to the young boy stared at him in surprise.  “I can’t operate on him!” the doctor exclaimed to the staff, “That child is my son!”

    This is a classic riddle that was once used in an episode of the T.V. series All in the Family.  Its ability to stump intelligent, educated people speaks volumes of the expectations people have for the sex of certain professionals.  It is difficult because when we hear the word “doctor”, we reflexively picture a male, because as we see on T.V., in books, on commercials, and our own experiences in the doctor’s office, doctors are men while nurses are women. The connection is never made that the doctor could be female and the boy’s mother.

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