Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Update

I can't believe it is already November 1st! Time is flying and I'm trying to enjoy every moment of my last year. Take a look at what I have been up to in the month of October:

I learned how to create a stop motion and make a little video. This was made by my friend Kathryn, my little host sister, Gayane, and I, but mostly Gayane. She is 13 years old and very creative! Take a look!

I took a trip down south a few weekends ago to the "wine region" of Armenia for the village of Areni's annual Wine Festival. A weekend of homemade wine is a great thing! Here are some pictures:

During the month of October, my sitemates Morgan and Kathryn, and I organized 6 seminars on Domestic Violence and Gender Equality and 1 DV event where we watched a film, displayed artwork, gave resources on DV agencies in Armenia and had a great organization, Society Without Violence, come and speak. Domestic Violence education was something I really wanted to do during my service and I'm glad we succeeded! Here is an article they posted on their website about the event!

And here is a picture from one of the school seminars (thanks for the photo Morgan!):

And Finally, a group of us gathered in the NE of Armenia for this past weekend to celebrate Halloween. Rocky Horrow, Costumes, etc ensued. I was a "Freudian Slip." Living in a foreign country makes you that much more excited to celebrate American traditions. (Photo courtesy of Fred)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This is what a feminist looks like.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, some of my Peace Corps and Armenian friends and I are working on a Domestic Violence series in our town this month. This week and next, we are going to schools and facilitating seminars on Gender Inequality and Domestic Violence. Hopefully, after the seminars are complete, we will be having a big event to give hard facts on Domestic Violence, present resources for help, show a film, and have art work and a speaker. We haven't really planned too much of that yet but hopefully, as things usually do in Armenia, it will quickly come together.

Now for any of you that really know me, you know this is right up my ally. I once bought a t-shirt off the internet that read, "This is What a Feminist Looks Like." And, I'm sure I've scared off a few guys in the past after insisting I open my own door or carry my own heavy box of whatever. But believe it or not, I have calmed down a bit here in Armenia. Or so I thought.

It wasn't until this week when I began watching my old time favorite sitcom, "I Love Lucy," that the bell in my headed started going off once again and my inner child folded her arms and squished her face while whining, "it's not fair!" I mostly watched this show (obsessively) at my Grandma's growing up and therefore was too young to pick up on the gender cues.

For instance, yesterday I watched the episode, "Sales Resistance," in Season two and this is what happened. Lucy bought a sales pitch on an infomercial and purchased a handy dandy kitchen tool. She attempted to show Ricky, Fred, and Ethel how it could be used to cut a potato into 16 identical slices for french fries. After it didn't work...
Ricky: "Lucy, either you call him and tell him to take it back or I'm going to use it to demonstrate how to cut a wife into 16 identical slices."
Lucy: "Really?" [picks up the phone to return it]

I couldn't believe it! Don't get me wrong, this is still one of my favorite shows; I absolutely love it. And, I know it is only a reflection of the culture of the time.
However, even if these strict gender roles don't exist [everywhere] in America anymore, it is very interesting to have a vision into America's past and know that these tidbits that were degrading to so many women are still real life scenarios all over the world, including right here in Armenia.

On a related theme, here is an interesting trailer I saw thanks to another PCV: