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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Race, Gender and Sexuality--Who AM I?!

When people write that there was not enough time for discussion and in fact, we had more than an hour for it, this means that the discussion was good. Indeed, this time was not enough for the FLEX Alumni to express their opinion on race, gender and homophobia issues in Georgian reality during the two-day seminar that took place in New Art Café.

We watched three films and talked about three respective issues. I choose films that are not too artsy but not too Hollywood either. All three films have very high rating on IMDB, though some were better than others.

The event was held at the New Art Café because 1. It was moderately priced 2. It did not look like a classroom. Originally I wanted to rent a small screening room in one of the movie theaters, but their prices are just unreal, and their customer service…well, you get the idea.

My favorite discussion was about racism/ ethnocentrism. Alumni touched deep issues, knowledge of the official language was brought up, immigration seemed a problem to some and nationality and national identity were examined. One of the alumni asked why do we even need a sense of nationality, which definitely charged the air with controversy.

Gender discussion was not what I expected. None of the themes of the film were touched, though one of the guest speakers just recently worked with UN on a study about violence towards women in Georgia and she could have talked about how relevant the film was to Georgian reality. In the end, girls felt frustrated, boys felt outnumbered, and we concluded that pregnant women should move away to the village and stay there for 9 months J

And finally, we did not discuss, but asked guest speaker about homophobia, which was very informative, but not too controversial. I am still wondering what happened to the voice of the audience, since the last two discussions were so heated.

The goal of the seminar was to let the audience see that there are many opinions on the matter and make them question their beliefs. I hope that at least some of the alumni (and the guest speakers and organizers) will research these topics more to come to a solid conclusion. After all, critical thinking means re-examining the established truths and arriving at one of your own!


  1. I loved the discussion parts the most. It helped promote a critical thinking and the better understanding of the issues. I thought that on the gender issues the other film could be screened.

  2. Discussion should be regulated in some way. I don't know how.

  3. I didn't get a chance to say this to the guy who thinks that we don't need any ethnic identity: I agree that it would be better if we weren't labeled because of our nationality and I would like people to respect each other without paying any attention to ethnic labels. But I think his idea was too radical. I would like to keep my ethnic identity, I just don't want to be judged as a Georgian and not as a person who I am.

    Nini K :**

  4. well the place and movies were really well chosen, so good job :D but I hated a discussion about gender problems. It didn't go the way I expected either. some kids (u too I guess) thought that we were going to home-prison our wives while they're pregnant. that was NOT what a guy in front of me (don't remember his name) said. he just wanted his wife and his baby to be secure, that's all :D plus, I didn't change my mind yet: I still consider being a mother as a greatest challenge and the hardest mission for women. so fuck all careers for women, firstly they should be good mothers :)

    saba (a weird one) :D

  5. wow wina postze ertmanets chamen da aq 4ad 4 commentia sul :D

  6. xo mec magaze vkaipob, ra gaxda es homosexualizmi amistana, danarcheni aravis araferi ainterebs. anda seminaris dros ameebze bevri isaubres da homosexualizmze--ara da ak dro ixeltes :-)
    cina posts minda vupasuxo: I still consider being a mother as a greatest challenge and the hardest mission for women. magram shen xom ar xar woman! ratom ckvet mis magivrad? da daushvat saertod ar minda bavshvebi? mxolod imitom unda mkavdes rom I can? well, I can also do lots of things, but should I do them?

  7. :D ya, we didn;t have a lot of discussion about homophobical problems, but not because we weren't interested in it, just our guest speaker was too good and informative :) as to being mom, I don't think that every girl should become a mother. just my wife should :D u agree that every1 has a choice, so let me choose a kind of a girl that I want :P
    seminarzec amas vamtkicebdi, samwuxarod umravlesobam arasworad gaigo :S

  8. Hi everyone! I genuinely enjoyed attending the seminar. So, thank you for making it interesting.

    I have many comments, but for now let me state two issues, and maybe I can discuss other issues later.

    1) I think Color Purple was amazing. But prior to watching the movie we heard some negative comments about it, which made the participants prejudiced against the movie. I agree that books are always better than the movies, but it doesn't take away from the fact that Color Purple was well-crafted and provided a lot of food for thought. But because the audience had the impression that others were not enjoying the movie (because of the initial framing), we didn't address the concrete situations and issues brought up in the movie. But overall the gender discussion was very interesting for me. Guest speakers were strong!

    2) I have a hypothesis as to why the issue of homophobia didn't spark heated debates and was more of a Q&A session with the guest speaker: well, no offense to the girls, but during the seminar, mainly boys were the triggers of heated discussions, as some of them brought up controversial arguments and stated radical points of view on the subjects at hand...but when the topic was concerning the sexuality, boys got a little bit uncomfortable showing their knowledge about such issues, as they were afraid that somebody would think that they are gay or bi, just because they have a decent amount of knowledge about the topic. I think it was an uncontrollable subconscious fear. If this hypothesis is true, it shows how strong is the fear of being considered bi or gay in the community. But I might be wrong though.

  9. To Anzor: Interesting observation. In general, boys are less outspoken on homosexuality if they are not expected to disguise it. That is also relvant to gender perceptions. Because when people speak of homosexuality they usually mean male homosexuality. Often you hear "homosexuals and lesbians" etc. That is because lesbian sex is not really considered as sex because phalus is absent.

    Therefore girls, when girls speak of homosexuality it works in a same way. They are not to be suspected.

    Would be interesting if we talked about homophobia (that sometimes is covering only male homosexuality (not in terms of "same" but "man")) lesbiphobia, biphobia and transphobia.

    I Think this is also the reason why women would fear more to find out that their husband is gay than man fear their wives desiring other women. That is not about an orientation, but gender.

  10. To Paco: yes I completely agree about the gender differences in this case. Do you think that this kind of difference in gender (especially the observation you pointed out in your last paragraph) is due to the fact that a lesbian woman who is no way attracted to a man can still be forced to participate in a heterosexual act, while there is practically no way to make a completely gay male participate in a heterosexual act (obviously because he just won't have an erection)?

  11. @Anzor: you are right. Also, female sexuality has never been really explored deeply, so many people believe that a woman is a lesbian simply because she did not meet the "right man" or was abused as a child or something else, anyway, the supposed reasons is almost always social, while with male homosexuality, people always say that it is biological.
    I actually wanted to discuss female sexuality a bit, hence the episode of "Eyes Wide Shut". I agree that it is about gender. It is accepted for a woman to hide her sexuality and her preferences, no matter what they are, and homosexuality is not an exception either.
    Sorry for ruining the film for you guys, I do believe that it is a good film to discuss, but not a good film on its own, compared to the other two.