Student Profile: Fareyd Bonnett
Fareyd Bonnett Answers Our Questions
Major: Creative Writing (English), Minor: Women's Studies
Year of Study: Junior
Why did you become a Women's Studies Major/Minor?
I started out at as a Philosophy major. I was interested in Philosophy because I wanted an environment that would let you, "think outside of the box." Instead, I found philosophy a stifling major that interested itself in the regurgitation of
thousand-year-old ideas. While searching for something different, I took a WS class from a professor that was highly regarded (I believe she now teaches at UC Berkley). What I found astounded me.
In WS, I found a field of study that actually did revere free thinking and original ideas. WS was taught as an interdisciplinary field of study that "distrusts" many other social and biological sciences, and exposes their innate political biases. In WS, I found truly new ideas that challenged my own beliefs, and I found avenues to explore these ideas. Once into WS, I found myself most interested in Gender Studies (thanks primarily to Judith Butler) and Feminist Philosophy.
Who's your feminist/gender studies s/hero and why?
My personal hero was the professor at the University of Iowa that introduced me to WS, Marjorie Joules (I hope I spelled her name correctly). As for authors, Judith Butler was the single most influential, but bell hooks, and Susan Faludi also influenced me greatly. I also came to find myself so much at odds with people like Andrea Dworkin that I must admit that her work influenced me, although I despise her conclusions. I also enjoyed The 2nd Sex (albeit a tad old and containing many outdated ideas) and the humorous writings of Kate Bornstein.
I also admire the activist works of Emma Goldman, and I had the distinct privilege of defending the Clinic in Iowa City that bears her name from Fred Phelps and his gang of gay-hating cronies.
If you had a feminist/gender equality superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it?
It is a dark and stormy Friday night in Texas. "Queer-bashing night," the locals call it. A group of drunken good-ol-boys descend upon a known homosexual, on his way home. The attackers corner the boy. The ring leader speaks.
"You're gunna get what's comin' to ya, fag!"
But before any violence begins, a voice rings out from the darkness, "Stop!"
Frightened, the mob disperses, as a dark figure emerges from the shadows. The boy
nods to the Dark Knight, defender of all bullied people.
Another night passes, and people are safe thanks to the man, similar to, but legally different from Batman, who watches and protects.
What feminist/gender equality-oriented musicians do you listen to or suggest to others? Why do you enjoy these performers?
I adore k.d. lang, in fact, I have a major crush on her that goes beyond my love of her music. Part of what draws me to her music, is that she exists in a strain of very "macho" music that would normally be very resistant to an androgynous lesbian, but her undeniable talent has allowed people in places like Nashville, to revere her.
What books, films, or websites do you suggest for those interested in Women's/Gender Studies?
Books: Gender Trouble, Ain"t I a Woman?, Backlash, Sexing the Body, and for better or for worse I think everyone should read Intercourse.
Films: The Piano (imagery and ideals of the Victorian woman), The Hours (a good cross section of what modern womanhood/manhood entails), Farewell my Concubine (Complex issues of transgendered identities), Boys Don't Cry (True story about the violence facing transgendered people here in America)
What words of wisdom do you have to share with Women's/Gender Studies majors and minors about pursuing this area of study and how this knowledge will be useful in the future?
In the popular film, "The Matrix" when Neo visits the Oracle, she points to a Latin inscription above her door. Translated, it means, "Know Thyself." In America, we have all been gendered since our birth. This programming has implications in every aspect of our lives. To understand this social conditioning is to understand ourselves, and knowing oneself is the first step to true freedom.
We'll wrap up with possibly the most important question: Green Sauce, Red Sauce, or Twilight?
Well, I think Twilight is trite, Pop-culture crap. And that is me being nice. Wizards are cooler than vampires, so I take Harry Potter. After all, Dumbledore is the wise-old-gay mentor we all need.