Sunday, February 28, 2010

Communication at Rhodes

The ending of “But I’m a Cheerleader” posed problems for our class. While trying to locate the exact reason we didn’t like it, we talked about how young the heroines were, how hard their life would be, and how unlikely it was for a high school couple to remain together. After thinking about it, I realized that for me, the conclusion was insufficient because it failed to answer the question I had wondered since the beginning. Is Megan really a lesbian? Though this might be crude or insensitive, it was never really clear to me whether Megan was being pressured into ‘experimenting’ or if her friends and family, in their vast stupidity, had somehow guessed right. If the key markers of homosexuality are vegetarianism, an aversion to bad kissing, and looking at girls, then there are a lot more lesbians out there than is currently suspected. The movie left me uneasy because I couldn’t quite fit Megan into any preformed role, and that uncertainty wasn’t resolved in by the ending. After two months of talking about gender roles and how to undermine them, I still think in terms of ‘is’ and ‘isn’t.’

I bring this up because of the stereotype of college being a place to explore new and exciting pathways, especially when women have relationships with other women. When one of my long-time friends came out recently, the reaction of another friend was: “When did you decide this?” Although my friend didn’t mean her comment in a negative way, it was seen as a disparaging accusation that homosexuality is a choice one can make. At Rhodes we have a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy that, while at the surface seemingly harmless, perpetuates the misunderstanding that prevents communication between students of opposing beliefs. As a campus, we have very little dialogue about important issues. We have pro and con sides of the dice, and each side is unwilling to even acknowledge the other. When we put the T-Shirt display on the quad, someone rips down part of the message. On a campus that is completely divested of communication, it is unsurprising that the gay and lesbian population doesn’t feel comfortable being more vocal. If groups like the GSA were more visible on campus, it would go far to help with this problem. My two friends had a misunderstanding of one another, not a fear of one another. Rhodes as a whole needs to communicate in order to educate both sides of the issue one why they feel the way they do.


  1. Throughout the whole movie, I continued to question the same thing. Is Megan really a lesbian or is this a social structure imposing itself to make her into a lesbian? The parents and friends began questioning her sexuality based on Megan's responses to maturing as an adolescent girl. She may have become vegetarian to stay slender and her dislike of kissing her boyfriend may have come from inexperience. These reactions do not imply that she is a lesbian, and her response couldn't have said it better," I thought everyone had these thoughts." I She may have been observing other girls, but she did not consider herself a lesbian until people started saying she was a lesbian.

    Over the past couple weeks, we have talked about the impact of socialization. From birth, I have been told to do certain things which make me a "girl." This post made me wonder, can it work in reverse. If you start telling someone they like girls, do you begin to believe it? This thought left me in confusion, because we have been discussing how one cannot experience reverse racism or reverse sexism so can there not be a reverse socializaton? And if there can't, how can we change our thoughts in future generations about the issues that we are facing today?

  2. I've seen reverse psychology of the type work, usually in candid representations of a parent trying to get a kid to eat healthy food or the more comical "family" shows, but I think it has some merit. Constantly telling someone they are/are not a certain way often times ends with the person believing it. This is increased in potency if it comes from sources they respect/love or large body of people saying it. I think what you're calling "reverse socialization" is more of just socialization's system continuing to move on.

  3. Armanda, I really liked that you still thought about asking if Megan was actually a lesbian or not. The other students did not seem to have that much of a problem figuring out their roots but Mary took a much longer time to think of her root. Also, Mary was forced by her family to attend the program but she never thought she was gay orginally. Megan never thought she was homosexual by herself but only because society, her family and friends, told her that she was showing " signs" of being a lesbian. I agree that Armanda says in her blog, girls experiment in high school and college but that does not mean that they are homosexual.


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