Wiiii I wrote this.

Embajada de Estados Unidos en Panamá

La comida es una de las tradiciones más sobresalientes de las celebraciones del 4 de julio. Familias se reúnen  para hacer una gran barbacoa y siempre hay platos principales como hamburguesas, alitas de pollo, frijoles con puerco, coleslaw (ensalada típica de Estados Unidos), palomitas y helado.  Para conocer una cultura a fondo  hay que entender lo que les apetece. Este 4 de julio, la Embajada de Estados Unidos  los invita a aprender acerca de la cultura estadounidense a través de la comida.  Este 4 de julio, compartiremos con ustedes todas las comidas mencionadas  aquí, parte de nuestra celebración de independencia.

La primera comida que vamos a destacar será la hamburguesa. La hamburguesa se estableció en Nueva York para atraer a los marineros alemanes porque esta comida duraba bastante tiempo y era algo familiar.  Estas hamburguesas no eran como las hamburguesas de hoy; eran como un pedazo de bistec salado.  El…

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I’ve read Pornland and the intersection between porn dissemination and technology fascinated me. Technology has completely changed the porn industry. Originally the porn industry was a soft core print based medium, Playboy, that fell under life style magazines. As the advent of different desires developed, Penthouse and Hustler became their competition by presenting a bit more hardcore images Hustler being the most hardcore. Moreover, pornography was sold on DVDs. The internet has complete changed porn dissemination and the limits in the pornographic films online. Films and magazines are no longer purchased as much at all and multitudes of porn is only accessed online. This constant dissemination of multiple types of porn on different sites and the idea of being in the privacy of your home changed the nature of porn online. Porn viewers constantly want more types of porn that push the boundaries because there was so much of the same porn everywhere on the internet! The advent of the internet has created an increasingly hostile porn industry. Moreover, websites that already push the boundaries of what women can handle glorify their websites’ intense videos.

For example, the interface of one chocking and gagging porn website makes the viewer, even if they’re underage, want to gain access to this website. Firstly, they have a 8 images of women being gagged by penis till they’re make up runs and they’re eyes pop out. Another specific image was a girl being gagged with Xs made of tape of her eyes. The website introduction coaxes you in to wanting to view the website. According to Pornland, hardcore porn viewers started with everyday porn but the constant desensitization by constant images of hardcore pornography facilitated through the vast information exchange of the interview. Internet  seems to be reinforcing the subjectification and objectification of women in Porn and making the objectification substantially worse, which can be seen on the different boundary pushing websites.

I’ve decided to focus on the formation of an online Lesbian community specifically via using media including film, web series, and television in a online discussion structured website. Autostraddle posts 2 to 8 breaking news stories daily and 4 magazine style articles a week. The film, web series, and television sections seem to get an update every few days. Their mission statement is:

Autostraddle’s girl-on-girl culture is rooted in basic social values and ideals — we want women to feel good about themselves, we want equality and visibility for all marginalized groups and ultimately, we’d like to change the world.

I want to relate visibility to the film, web series and television component of their website. Autostraddle creates community by constantly updating and supplying information on web series and television shows that feature lesbian characters and/or actors. This ties into the idea of wanting a role model in outlets of culture to understand yourself. Just watching the series or films they recommend creates a lesbian community because afterwards the women comment about what they watched on the discussion board. Autostraddle provides an even more participatory community because they link you to the shows fundraising website on Kickstarter and there are promo commercials to donate to make the next season or a film. Some of these fundraising pages raise enough money and some of them do not, no matter how cool the project is. This participatory element creates a deeper community because you could become part of what you’re watching. For example, I bought a Unicorn Plan-It shirt which is a show created by Autostraddle and the proceeds went to funding season 2.

I’ve started to formalize myself as a member of the Autostraddle community. I’ve added a display picture and started to join groups. I joined a total of seven groups that act as forums for particular interests and could be seen as a form of a personal learning network. For example, I’ve joined one group whose main focus is feminism and some members post articles and give their opinions. The New York  group I joined ties into personal learning networks even more deeply because it gives information about different events in New York and some of the girls that are interested in going and the possibility of meeting them there. I think this is a good crossover between the physical and virtual world.  From these groups- including the ones I didn’t join- I learned about the existence of the different communities within the community such as the existence of a Hispanic group (that I joined). Therefore, I could attempt to analyze one of these specific groups but I still do not know where exactly this research will lead me. I have searched Autostraddle’s film section and I’ve watched some interesting web series recommended and some sponsored by the website, so I might be interested in focusing solely on the film aspect of this community. I am contemplating how that would tie into the overall course specifically. I was very glad to read the chapter on Second Life because it helped me think of ways to approach the research regarding Autostraddle and the formation of community and be ready for new areas the research could end up revolving around. This upcoming week I plan on interacting with the members, once I start using some of the tools that enable me to favorite documents and anything else along those lines.

I joined http://www.autostraddle.com, according to their slogan this website provides News Entertainment, Opinion and Girl-on-Girl Culture. Autostraddle has a myriad of topics and its interface is like an online magazine with articles taken from different sources. Their options for diversion of and relating to Lesbian culture are divided into: The Goods which has videos, interviews, and feature headlines, Arts and Entertainment which chooses from an array of popular culture media and subdivides it, Society + Culture which includes topics such as gender, feminism, business and work, Politics and Activism with News and Politics, and lastly Community subdivided into how to join Autostraddle. This website has a front of being a place to obtain information, as I started reading more and more articles, watching shows, and interviews, I started to notice the spokespeople for the website their level of intimacy and how they wanted this reflected in the people on the website. Later, I realized that in the background there was also a community in which you can make your profile, chat online, become a part of their fundraising for different projects on their website such as girl-on-girl web series. The website provides a medium for a global village of Lesbians that are looking for information on girl-on-girl culture as well as the advancement of gay culture in society. I joined and the website asked for information such as email, name, and to choose a label I identify with. I haven’t investigated the significance of the label in interaction on the website thoroughly enough, but it could be a way to create a community within the community or used as a dating profile. This labelling could also signify the importance of identifying with the setting, and thus, knowing how to interact. At this moment I have no friends, messages, or many other things that Autostraddle offers. The website also allows you to favorite articles and according to their front maybe write about this articles in forums and create a community of people with similar interests- similar teams. Overall, my first impressions are that this website is fun and packed with information.I will further investigate its background and see how it’s incorporated into their forums or any new discoveries on Autostraddle.

Taytan’s initial reaction to me saying the topic is medicine was, “most of the population doesn’t have access to medical care.” She feels extremely sad about the current situation in Ethiopia because she knows the people are out in the streets of Addis Ababa begging for money. These beggars along with most of the population result to treating themselves through prayer or they die if it is severe. The people of Ethiopia have a life expectancy of 45 along with high infant mortality because the inaccessibility of medicine.

However, outside of Addis Ababa herbal medicine is used and Taytan says that people usually get less sick. Even though there are lots of doctors in Ethiopia that are qualified to care for people. Taytan says when she is sick she just goes to the doctor and the doctor prescribes her with medicine. After which  she goes to a pharmacy. She says this is standard for her. Taytan knows there are still lots of medical practices rooted in supernatural beliefs but she does not know anything about them because she has not had too much experience with it. She knows that there tend to be lots of fakes in the traditional healers and this contributes even more to the amount of people dying.

Taytan believes that this problem needs to be solved but since it is so intricate there is no way this can be handled in such a corrupt political situation. This situation is similar but a main difference is that a lot of medicine does not require a prescription so treatment is much more accessible.

The majority of Ethiopia practices Orthodox Christianity but there are other religions such as Catholicism, Islam, and Protestantism. There are more churches than mosques in Addis Ababa but there are still a plethora of both; however, outside of the city there are not as many churches or mosques. One of the famous churches in Ethiopia is called Lalibela, it is carved, underground and a tourist attraction because it has been referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Furthermore, exorcism is a common thing in Ethiopia and it is specifically common to the Orthodox Christian Church. Taytan is an Orthodox Christian however within her nuclear family there is a division between who is more devote in their actions even though they are all Orthodox. While her mother and sister habitually go to church on Sunday to do their prayers, Taytan and her father believe that faith is within the soul. They both feel that they do not need to prove their belief in God by going to church every Sunday although they practice everything in the religion such as lent.

Orthodox churches in Ethiopia are unique as there is a priest who practices Kidase and the people who attend are not obligated to stay the whole time. They just go there to pray unlike Protestants church in which you have to stay for the whole service. Taytan said a funny anecdote concerning her religion and a day at church when she was younger. In her religion women are not allowed to wear pants to church and one day both Taytan and her mother were wearing pants and they went to church in which most people get exorcised. They were insulted because they wore pants.People in the church laughed and said look at her she is wearing pants. Then another lady interjected defending Taytan by saying she’s just a little girl but look at her mother trying to show off her rear end. At that point in time Taytan believed it was funny but in retrospect she believes clothing should not determine the nature of your relationship with God.

There are major differences within Ethiopia about what is right concerning religion and even within Orthodox Christianity. This just exemplifies the complexities behind religion everywhere. In Nicaragua, this whole idea of a dress code to go to church is very prominent as well. Once I was asked to go to church and I had to dress in a something specific as to not be mocked. Therefore, I understand Taytan’s experience and can sympathize with her.

As in any other country there are hierarchies of class in Ethiopia. Unfortunately most of the population is in the lower class; therefore, these people suffer in terms of wealth, education, and medical care. On the other hand, there are the extremely rich, rich, and middle class people who have access to wealth, education and medical care. This gap cannot be bridged because there are no job opportunities and education is key to obtaining a job; moreover, there are not enough available jobs. Since the poorer people do not have enough money to pay for an education, the cycle continues and they stay poor. Additionally, there is constant influx of people going to Addis Abeba, capital of Ethiopia, creating a greater strain on the jobs. As the poor are becoming more stuck in the lower class, the upper class retain their power. This immense dichotomy can be seen in the fact that the filthy rich have huge houses, an excessive amount of cars and are just overall engrossed in material culture whilst the poor suffer and beg in the streets for a day’s meal.

Taytan is in the upper middle class. This allowed her to attend the only French school in the country ,Lycee-Franco Ethiopian. Although the school was not the most expensive, it had the reputation for being the best high school and the most rigorous in Ethiopia. She is surrounded by middle class people and have had the same friends her whole life. They are all in the same class. Whilst Taytan’s was attending Lycee-Franco Ethiopian school there was a public school right next door, a fence divided the two schools. The students from the public school used to throw rocks to their side. At her school, there were charity events once a year to give clothes to the charities. As opposed to neglecting the poorer classes, beggars, Taytan tries to give them support by giving them money and speaking with them.

I had this experienced in Nicaragua as well. It is pretty much the same situation. Even though Taytan and I try to help by giving support most of the upper classes actually neglect and avoid the lower classes and live their lives mostly ignoring the class disparities.

Corruption. Corruption. Corruption. There are 64 different ethnic groups in Ethiopia and for the last 18 years the Tigray have ruled. Although the government has helped Ethiopia’s development in infrastructure and overall development, Meles Zenawi favors the Tigrays, being a Tigray himself, and more specifically his family members. Ethiopia, being a very poor country, receives lots of aid from developed countries but the money never goes to the poor people. The people of Ethiopia have no idea where the money goes. At first Zenawi, a member of the Derg, took control of power after the Red Terror in 1977. After they seized power, Meles Zenawi had to go through presidential elections to prove that Ethiopia was a democracy but he rigged the votes by arresting the members of the opposition party. He also killed the supporters in rallies but it would be too obvious. Meles Zenawi killed people indiscriminately.

The time of the election was very interesting because in Taytan’s household as her mother was tigray and her father Amara was filled with joking tension. Moreover, Taytan’s mother is related to the Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. Taytan’s father would tease her mother about her relative killing a lot of people.  Even though her mother was related to the Prime Minister, she did not support him due to all his fraud and mischievous manners.

She recalls the election in 2005 where the Ethiopian government banned foreign embassy staff from monitoring the poll. Obviously, this is so Zenawi could manipulate the system and take control yet again. This affected Taytan’s life because she got used to hearing frightful gunshots outside of her home. Taytan says there was even a time that she had to lay down on the floor to speak to her friend because of the gunshots being fired. Another example of this is that Taytan had to take a big national exam “ministry”. That day guns were being fired all over the city, each parent did not go to work because they were scared to leave their children, so they stayed in the parking lot.

I have been through things like this before. Once when I was in high school there was a bomb threat and school stopped and we were taken to a higher area. There were also some riot during which Molotov cocktails were thrown. However, Taytan’s political situation seems more close to home.

In Ethiopia, women are seen as nurturers; therefore, women are in charge of the household, looking after the children and keeping the family together. In comparison to the father who works all day and is the breadwinner. This is a prime example of private/ public dichotomy. Although women in workplaces were primarily given jobs related to nurturing and stereotypical characteristics of women. For example, women would be secretaries or flight attendants whilst  men had a higher positions. Although Ethiopian Airlines has the best training program along with being the airline that travels to the most places in Africa, it exemplifies gender stratification because of who they hire to do specific jobs. The flight attendant force is predominantly women whereas the pilots are predominantly men, there are only 5 women pilots. Just recently, Amsale Gualu Endegnanew became the first female captain working for Ethiopian airlines.

On the other hand, in Taytan’s household gender stratification is presented differently. Both of her parents are business owners which goes against the grain. However, 20 years ago Taytan’s mother was a secretary herself, which does conform to gender stratification. In Taytan’s household, remnants of gender stratification hold true. For example, her mother is in charge of telling the maids exactly what to do and how. Moreover, her father earns more than Taytan’s mother. In contrast to these remnants, her parents built a house that they rent and they both get a common income from it. Nowadays, as her mother epitomizes, people are more equal because women are moving up in position and receiving more education; therefore, obtaining a job has become more about education rather than gender.

In Taytan’s opinion, the fact that gender has become less of determining factor to hire has allowed the country to grow. Nevertheless, she still believes that some things are predominantly for women. For example, Taytan feels that her father would have no idea how to direct the maid as to what to do around the house or what food to buy. This is an example of something she feels is a job for women. In my opinion, I understand her perspective but I feel that it depends from person to person what they are more inclined to do in relation to their gender.