Feminist Ethics Class and Final Problem Solving by Marie Cartier


This spring I taught “Feminist Ethics” at California State University Northridge. I have posted two blog on this site regarding the students’ projects for that class: April 4, 2012:  The Feminist Toolbox by Marie Cartier, and May 12, Change My Mind, Move My Heart: Feminist Ethics in Practice by Marie Cartier.

In the original blog I explained that the students were asked to identify a private or public a problem that they could find a full or partial solution for and that their actual final had to actually implement their proposed solution. Students had to use “The Feminist Ethical Toolbox,” or what they call “Cartier’s Toolbox,” in their solution. The toolbox addresses questions such as, “Is everyone affected by the decision (the solution to the problem) at the decision making table?” and “If they are not at the table, are they represented at the table by someone who will speak to their interests?” among others.

The second blog addressed combining art with scholarship/activism so that we do not only change minds but also move hearts. Students had to attempt to combine art with their problem/ solution-consciously using art as a “toolbox” element helps facilitate social change. It is in the integration of both art and scholarship that the most poignant and effective social change strategies are birthed.

This blog contains these “birth announcements” from selected Feminist Ethics students from my class. They are posting the actual hot links to websites, blogs, on-line petitions, and explaining how their projects wrapped up in the last 16 weeks. (Also one of this blog’s founders, Gina Messina-Dysert, came into our class as a guest speaker—and encouraged the birth of many new blogs!)

It is my hope that the “Feminism and Religion” community will be able provide a forum for conversation for these budding feminist ethicists. And now– the Spring CSUN Gender Women’s Studies 360, “Feminist Ethics” class presents their finals!

From Karisma Gideon:”Mainstream music today has become even more popular but the lyrical and video content continues to promote highly sexualize and degrading material–people younger than ever are being negatively influenced by it. Help educate and spread knowledge and urge artist to create content with good substance!” See my work at: http://www.facebook.com/ChangeStartsWith1 and also http://changestartswith1.blogspot.com/

From Sose Shirinian: “This video is a social commentary on some of the issues surrounding mainstream pornography and its affects. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-JrS7azGO8

From Kimberly Hernandez: “This is my blog link about taking care of our home and planet, Earth! And hopefully this will inspire people to make changes in their lives to keep our planet healthy and happy.  Here it is http://givingtheplanet.wordpress.com/

From Christine Montain: “Sexual Harassment in the workplace is an ongoing problem, and it’s important to have continued education. This shall increase awareness for victims to come forward to have a voice and be heard, and others to be reminded of what sexual harassment consists of so this will no longer be a problem. See: www.eeoc.gov Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and also www.dfeh.ca.gov California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

From Lindsey Darden: “My final has been manifested into a blog and Face book page, serving as open commentary on the cultural context of which we find ourselves in the Western world making decisions about beauty and cosmetic procedures — from the everyday to the extreme. http://beautifuluniquesnowflake.wordpress.com/

From Jordan Branch: “There are so many people that need support after being sexually attacked. This video is meant to help educate friends and family of sexual assault survivors on how to help their loved ones. “ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T_ftDvObbs

From Ashlee Morales:  “I informed people about the dangers of using cosmetic products,. I presented to Lambda Sigma Gamma, Alpha Pi Sigma, and Sigma Alpha Zeta. My presentation was better the second time, because I was a little more familiar with it. What I liked most was seeing how people responded to my presentation, and how it made them think. This is why I chose to approach my problem in the way that I did, because I valued the person-to-person interactions. This made me feel like I really made at least even a small difference as part of my solution to this problem.”

From Berlyn Reisenauer: “My project was to stop my boss from sexually harassing me at work. I went through my HR representative who addressed the issue in a way she feels comfortable. Although I do not feel comfortable with the results, they have done all they will do. I am not allowed to know what was done and I must continue to work with my boss. I have succeeded only in raising awareness to the issue, but I will use that awareness to my advantage. Not all problems can be solved, but awareness can be built. I did what I could to defeat my boss, although I failed, I feel stronger for knowing that I tried.

From Alexis Rubalcava: “There are so many people that suffer from body image disorders. We can all help to be a part of the process and a great way to remind someone who does suffer from these disorders is to create a scrapbook. A scrapbook will constantly remind the person of how beautiful, important, and special they really are. They are never alone.”

From Kelsey Shanahan, “The representation of women in the media is inaccurate and gives a negative portrayal of women. This affects many young girls and women in our society and i believe there should be more positive images and roles of women in our media today. I created this website to raise awareness about this issue and help those who are suffering from self esteem issues due to media pressure. http://changetodaysmedia.weebly.com

From Janette Boire: “Women in the punk community are often times misunderstood and judged based on their lifestyle and choices to not conform to societal views of beauty. Through interviews presented in a ‘zine, their voices are able to be heard of all the struggles they have encountered in society.”

From Marie Quadra: “My ethical issue is that not enough students in urban environments graduate from high school. My solution to the problem is to do a public relations campaign for an after-school program that works toward address this issue.”

From Lusine Makarosyan: “This is a website which contains Information and resources on gynecological health, tailored for the Armenian woman or young girl. This website also contains a blog as well as physicians directory. “ http://hyewomanhealth.weebly.com/

From Teddy Patigian: “ http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/reintroduce-hr-2543-stop-deceptive-advertising/ Sign this petition to help reintroduce H.R bill 2543 back into congress. Crisis Pregnancy Centers need to be held responsible for their false advertising and manipulation of pregnant women.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are religiously based organizations whose sole purpose is to stop abortions from happening. They often falsely advertise as abortion clinics to get women to walk into their doors with hopes to persuade them to keep unwanted pregnancies.

From Muna Adem: “This is a website that tries to highlight and create awareness of Female Genital Cutting/ Mutilation. While this site tries to advocate the end of this violent crime against women by focusing on the severe health consequence that comes with this practice, it also makes an effort to create a space for those who have undergone this procedure to give them a voice and perhaps advice they are looking.” http://femalegenitalcutting.weebly.com

From Jennifer Ketcham: “Healing rape trauma is a complicated and arduous process, and it isn’t something that has to be done alone. This website is devoted to the healing of rape trauma.” Http://www.SurvivingRape.com

From Sarai Virgen: “I proposed an awareness program for girls at my local middle where they can speak freely and get information that would otherwise be taboo in their homes. The school liked my proposal but with timing issues and budget cuts they told me there was nothing that could be done at the time. The next step that I will be doing is volunteering at this school over the summer and if enough girls are interested in my program I will have the opportunity to begin planning the program in the fall and hopefully have an established program in the spring.”

From Subrina Konian: “Plus size women are people too and women should not be discriminated based on their size. Plus size clothing should be available in every store in order for plus size women to be able to shop in every store like women less than a size 12.”  http://www.change.org/petitions/more-clothing-available-in-retail-stores-for-plus-size-women

From Sonia Alcantara: “By advocating for special education students and parents’ rights I made the world a better place. Doing that makes me feel thankful, blessed, and connected to myself and others.”

Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style. Ms. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.



Categories: Ethics, Feminism, Social Justice

Tags: , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. I love it! All these young people with wonderful ideas and strategies. Marie, you are a Great Academic Mother. Brava!

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  2. It has been such a great experience to be part of Professor Cartier’s class where I have learned more about life than other class. I have also learned more about some of ethical problems in our world through my class mates projects than anywhere else.

    As I continue to work on my own project, I have noticed that working with any kind of ethical issue is challenging because you want those people who have been invisible to be heard on the table while at the same time making their voice heard outside the table through other peoples awareness. But when one is able to slowly break down this challenge, we can see why the use of toolbox is imperative for bringing about changes in our society. When creating my website for Female Genital Cutting, I have used art as a way to not only make the young girls visible and heard, but also as a way to make people not only read about the problem but also see and feel the problem through videos, pictures, poem etc. I believe that when we are able to actual feel, see and hear someone else pain and struggle, we become aware of the problem in a different way. I know that my website or Facebook page alone will may not end FGC all around the world, but I know it will be part of combined efforts to change young girls life while providing a “safe” place for those who have already gone through this procedure. And even if I am only able to save one girl from being cut, my heart will be satisfied.

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  3. It has been such an experience to been part of Cartier’s class where I have learned more about some of the ethical issues in our world through my class mates project than anywhere else.

    As I continue to work on my own project, I have noticed that when working with any kind of ethical issue, challenges will occur because you want those who have have invisible to be heard on the table while at the same time making their voices also heard outside the table through other peoples awareness. But when one is able to slowly break down this challenge, we can see how imperative the toolbox is when bringing about changes in our society. When creating my website for Female Genital Cutting, I use art not only as a way to make these young girls voice’s heard and visible, but also as a way to make people not only read about problem, but also see and hear through videos, picture, poem, etc. I believe that when we actual feel and see other peoples pain and struggle, we become aware of the problem in a different way. I know that my website or facebook page will may not end the practice of FGC, but it will be part of combine efforts to change young girls life while providing a safe place for those who have to live with FGC. And even if I am only able to save one girls life, my heart will be satisfied.

    Like

  4. It was such a wounderful experience to take Feminist Ethics with Dr. Cartier. I learned so much from the class. What is so great is that what I learned I will be able to apply in real life. I identified a public problem and found a solution for it. I actually implemented my solution using “The Feminist Ethical Toolbox,” or “Cartier’s Toolbox.” The toolbox addresses questions such as, “Is everyone affected by the decision (the solution to the problem) at the decision making table?” and “If they are not at the table, are they represented at the table by someone who will speak to their interests?” It gave me so much satisfaction have the opportunity and being able to advocate for special education students and parents’ rights. I was able to represent them when they were not at the table.Doing that made me feel thankful, blessed, and connected to myself and others.” It is amazing how now other parents are coming to me to share their problems.
    Thank you Dr. Cartier!
    Sonia Alcantara

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  5. I think feminist ethics are incredibly important and something that we as humans are getting better at. I wouldn’t say that we are there yet, but we are moving in strides towards equality. I do feel like there is a lot that women tend to bring on themselves According to Johannessen’s writing in Ethics in Human Communication women tend to slant their words in order to get men to do things for them. I have even been guilty of trying to seem like a “damsel in distress” so that I wouldn’t have to change my own tire. If we as women want equality then we need to be willing to give up somethings like having doors opened etc.

    Johannesen, R.L., Valde, K.S., & Whedbee, K.E. (2008). Ethics in human communication (6th ed.). Long

    Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.

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  6. hmm..well i disagree as i don’t think necessarily that feminist ethics has much to do with women having men open doors for them . but i appreciate you signing into this post especially since it has been up for awhile. i am not familiar with johannessen’s writings– but what i will say is in a system that privileges one over another it is important to recognize cultural capital– men have it in terms of economics over women for the most part– and so given that, women are often forced to understand men more than men must understand women. this is a longer conversation, but i’m willing to engage more deeply in it if you want. ;) overall, however, i would add that “feminist” ethics is not addressing men and women so much as it it is addressing the need for feminist ethics to be employed in culture– and feminism is not gender specific but specific to equality not just in gender but across the board–in other words, to coin bell hooks, feminism is for everybody

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