Men Cast a Real Big Shadow

Five weeks is a very short amount of time. It is also an eternity. Welcome to the post on why men suck.

For the past five weeks, we have been studying one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, The Taming of the Shrew (TOTS). We have been looking at it through the lens of women, feminism in a sense. We read the play, and studied the feminist movement throughout the ages.

Throughout the project, we were also completing weekly reflection posts on what we were learning. These posts were fun to do, because we got chances to reflect on what we were learning. These posts, including Sluts and Women and Tigers, Oh My!, What Am I, a Maid?and Subtext much were a chance to record the process during the process. A lot of what we learned were in these posts, so by all means check them out.

There were three sides to the project; essays, history, and TOTS. The project went in circles between these three, and were a ton of fun to connect!

Lets talk first about the essays, because why not. We were reading a bunch of essays and texts that showed examples of women in history, and we had to answer a bunch of questions on them. At the time, it seemed real annoying and a waste of time. Actually, though, it was really beneficial for the last leg of this project which we’ll get to later. They helped me learn about the structure of an essay, and how different people have different styles for writing essays. It was really interesting to see how people used evidence, broke things up in certain ways, all that jazz. They also served as fantastic proof for that final product.

Now, history. Mostly, we looked at the 20th century. Starting with the suffragette movement, which was the first wave of feminism, we moved through time to see how things changed, and didn’t change, for women.

We had one milestone specifically focused on the history. We were split into groups and assigned a decade to research and present. Now, due to some circumstances, I wasn’t actually at the presentations. That doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything. I did a considerable amount of research on the topic, which was quite insightful.

My biggest takeaway from that was one of the research points about women and appearance.

The 70’s were the beginning of the natural makeup idea. Women could still wear makeup, but couldn’t look ‘whorish’ by wearing too much makeup. They had to be slim, and natural looking. It wasn’t just men that pushed this appearance, either, which is sad. its upsetting to think about the expectations for the ideal woman, and how much of that is just their looks.

That would bring us to The Taming of the Shrew. As far as Shakespeare goes, it was well written of course, but kinda rapey. Petruchio is the perfect example of one of those creepy men in todays media that doesn’t listen when someone says no. Looking back now, that’s probably the inspiration for some of those pieces of media. Anyways. It is the perfect form of media to look at when inspecting women throughout history. It portrays exactly the ideal woman, and how to make a shrew that perfect woman. It makes me want to throw up.

Now, I mentioned that final product before. And honestly, you may have figured it out. Regardless, here is the big reveal. We were writing an essay about the continuity and change of women throughout the 20th century, more or less. We used the knowledge from reading all those essays and text, to be able to create the perfect essay. And I say the perfect essay because I have done at least 10 revisions and it is finally approved. Of course I love the challenge, but I liked the first one. Its always good to have feedback though, and I am happy with what I am learning.

One thing that I have struggled with in the past is my conclusions. I always felt that they were weird and rambley. Well, I think a lot of my writing is weird and rambley. Anyways, apparently this was good. I mean, you can take a look at my final essay and see for yourself.

I learned a lot during the course of this project. Of course I am used to feedback, but with the new grading system I am really getting into the grove of things. I learned that what I think is great can always be improved. There is always more to add. It also taught me to really look at the media I consume, and make sure its not super rapey.

Canoe Jousting, Anyone?

What do you really know about the place you grew up? What stories lay hidden in these small communities? How can we tell people more about them? Thats really what this project was about. We, as historians, were to research our little community of Deep Cove, and see what stories we uncovered. 

For this project, we were trying to create a walking tour of Deep Cove, with different physical markers to lead to further learning. What we didn’t realize was that a Deep Cove walking tour already existed. The Deep Cove Heritage Society produced one a couple years ago. So, in true PLP manner, we contacted the DCHS and were gonna help them create a new walking tour!

The first hurtle we had was choosing our locations. We wanted to keep many of the stops that the original pamphlet had, and add new ones. We had to come up with a pitch for our locations, and Ms. Maxwell would choose for us out of the ones we pitched. My location was a new one, the Government Dock in the cove. It may seem like an odd place, but there was a story I had in mind. 

I didn’t grow up in Vancouver, let alone in Deep Cove, but my grandpa did. I asked him at the beginning of the project if, when he was a kid, he ever visited Deep Cove. And I got gold. He told me this amazing story of a trip he went on to Deep Cove that launched my entire project. My grandpa is an amazing storyteller, and it was amazing talking to him. 

His story led me to research about the Deep Cove Regattas. And while I couldn’t find loads of info about them, I did learn a few really key ideas. For one, canoe jousting is a thing. Also, the DCHS has a bunch of original video footage from the regattas which I would love to get my hands on. Unfortunately, due to timing issues, that wasn’t possible. But hey, at least we know they exist.

Now, on to the actual product we were creating. Based on our audience, we thought it best two create 2 tours. They are the same, but on different platforms. One was the Google Map.

The other, which I worked on, was the physical pamphlet. We wanted the tour to be accessible for people without wifi or data. The pamphlet was not easy, though. I, for whatever reason, got to be the Lead Curator. And while I do have some experience leading group projects, doesn’t mean its easy. 

Lead Curator was not so much a specific task, but more of a facilitating role. I helped out different groups and people inside our team. For example, when the map design team was planning out the route, I helped them figure some things out. Other jobs included checking everyones progress, helping to communicate with the Google Map team, and doing citations. 

Each location had to have a short narrative and a digital enhancement, which was another fun part. Because of the small spacing on the pamphlet, we had to shorten all of our research into less that 100 words. Our long and suffering editors worked really hard, and finally did it. 

Since the beginning of Deep Cove, the waterfront has been a key part of what brings people to the area. In the 1930’s, it played a key part in bringing tourism, with the Deep Cove Regattas held in the summer time. Competitions were held during the festival, including diving, boat racing and canoe jousting. Today, the spirit of the regattas is reflected in events like the penguin plunge, an annual community event. For both tourists and locals alike, the waterfront is a key part of what makes Deep Cove special.

The digital enhancement, however, was all on our own. I had originally wanted to create a video with the footage from the actual regattas, but like I said before, that wasn’t possible. So I decided to record my grandpa’s story, which turned out fantastically! I love my grandpa, and this was just amazing. 

Now on to our favourite part of the blog post, reflection on competencies. This project had three competencies; Take Historical Perspective, Writing and Designing Text, and Using Resources. I did kinda touch on the competencies in the body of the post, but I’ll go into further depth here. 

Now, taking historical perspective was something that wasn’t necessarily easy. We were trying to have multiple perspectives in our short narrative, but fitting that into under 100 words was a bit tricky. This was definitely something I struggled with. But then I got it! Tourists and locals. For tourists, the gov dock is a hot spot, somewhere you can take your Honeys Donut to eat. The regattas played a huge part in tourism as well. Before these events, many Vancouverites would visit the Wigwam Inn for summer fun. Once the regattas got started, the community became a hub for tourism. These regattas, and the corresponding tourism, was huge for the people who lived in the area. Businesses then and now need tourism to function. The regattas, as well as other events held on the water, helped build community spirit in the area. 

As I mentioned before, we had to create real short narratives for the pamphlet. This is where the writing and designing competency comes in. We had to take the really relevant information from our research and make it small. But its not just words. We had to tell the story of our location in this passage. It was difficult to actually realize what the relevant information was, but I think in the end it turned out okay.

Using resources was a bit more straight forward. We had to find info from a variety of sources, and I did my best to do just that. Books like Echoes Across the Inlet and Echoes Across Seymour were a really big help. I can’t say that I use books for research a lot, and it was refreshing. I also got info from an audio recording of a Deep Cove bus tour, which, man, was quite interesting. Of course the Deep Cove Heritage Society archive was a big help too. Once we had all the info, we had to cite. There was a bunch of unnecessary turmoil to do with that, but in the end we got them all in a document. 

This was a really fun project overall. Learning about our community is super fun. And golly-gee, all I want to do now is canoe joust.

Sluts and Women and Tigers, Oh My!

Morning folks, and welcome to my final year of blog posts. It is indeed my last year of high school, and truly an end of an era. So cherish it while it lasts, but boy will you have a lot to cherish. This year, one thing that we’ve been ‘asked’ to do is write a weekly reflection blog post. There are many factors making this year odd, (cough covid cough), but this one is sure to be something to be remembered. So let’s start of the year right and talk about sluts!

Context. Okay, so in this project, not that we’ve actually been given lots of information, we’ve been focusing on two topics, which I’ll talk about in this post, the first being the changing role of women, I think. Not super clear but let’s go with it.

We started off by watching a couple videos from different time periods where they used the word slut. We were supposed to be understanding how the word has changed overtime, though in the videos the word was used in different ways. We had an assignment were we looked at the videos which can explain them more.

In the first example the word slut is used, though in a comical way, as a sort of attack against the women in the argument, as well as the person of who pm they were talking about. ‘Jane you ignorant slut’ is an attack, not a joke. It is also said by a man on public television, which has definitely changed. In the Golden Girls episode, several years after the SNL skit, the word slut is used in a more comical light, and is recognized as such by all the characters. The characters kind of laugh at it, like a joke between friends. The key difference in the golden girls scene, though, is that it is said by a woman. This kind of changes the connotation. Still, in both the first and second examples, it is said as a joke and recognized by the audience as such. The third clip from Sex and the City takes a more philosophical look at the word. Carrie looks at it from a serious standpoint, like is she actually a slut. In the context that she seemed to take it, she looked at the word from a negative standpoint. Today, posing that word in any sort of context on TV would be a much more serious thing. It would really only be used if a woman was taking back the word, or if the character was already looked at in a negative light. The point is, overtime the word and is use has changed quite a bit, and it’s definitely not looked at as it once was.

In all honesty, I am not a fan of that word. At all. I know some people are trying to reclaim it, similar to the way the LGBTQ+ community retook the word queer. It just seems so judgemental. It places an assumption upon women that creates a double standard between female identifying people and male identifying people. Men are expected to have many partners, while when women do it they are called derogatory terms like slut. Times may have changed, but this idea still exists. 

Another thing we talked about in the discussion was how it was different when a woman called another woman a slut. Sure it’s different, but it still stings. In the show Grand Army, based on a play called Slut: The Play, girls still call each other sluts, in a bad way. They act a certain way, so they must be sluts. It really sucks that we still think this way.

On a lighter note, the second thing we were focusing on this week was vocabulary. Yay. 

Remember those spelling packages you would get in elementary school, where you would study a bunch of words, do activities with them, and then have a spelling test on them? Well, this was basically that, sans the test. We were learning some, not new, but very interesting words. Words like imperious, and fervent.

I fully thought these were random words. Turns out, sometimes things have rhyme and reason. These words were then used in a passage we had to thematically analyze. Just gonna say solidly that that was a weird passage. Would you have your lover eaten by a tiger or marry another woman?