Independent Study Step 2:

I will need to know about the history of sexism, misogyny, and female representation in music from the 1960’s-present day. This will require a deep dive into the world of music, music criticisms, as well as history to have historical context for the music. I will study third wave feminism and the Riot Grrrl movement in relation to female representation and misogyny in music. I will also research the representation and messages of present day queer artists who have managed to make it into the mainstream.

Independent Study Blog Post 1-4

Step 1-

I am interested in exploring sexism within botany as this is related to sexism and gender studies. Specifically the work of Thomas Leo Ogren he had essentially coined the term ‘ botanical sexism’. This is a more recent find and with allergies getting worse due to climate change knowing that our allergies are stronger due to this reason would be informative. 

Step 2- What do you need to know?

What I would need to know to contextualize this project and discuss who Thomas Leo Ogren is. And why did he study this topic? The academic subjects that my project would relate to are science and health. This project concerns everywhere. This also affects everyone who suffers from bad allergies. 

Step 3- 4 -Annotated bibliography

At least 3 online articles and 2 scholarly articles that relates to the topic

Botanical Sexism Cultivates Home-Grown Allergies

By Thomas Leo Ogren 


This is Ogren’s explanation on what’s wrong with having all male trees and scrubs planted. He also states that these male trees production of high amounts of pollen harms children’s health and also states that women who have airborne allergies have increased health risks. He gives the solution of planting more female trees which would eliminate great amounts of pollen in our landscapes. 

Allergy- Free New York

Thomas Leo Ogren

 This news article explains the impact of having a lack of female trees in NY and the impact that it would have if there were female trees. Ogren further supports planting female trees would possibly solve this allergy problem along with plating a variety of trees so that people are not suffering from stronger allergies due to increased sensitivity.

The Allergy Fighting Garden 

Stop Asthma with Smart Landscaping 

By Thomas Leo Ogren

In  this book Ogren creates a system for combating allergies based on the sex of ones plants. He explains in his book how planting female trees to capture pollen can reduce allergens. He also provides a great list of plants and an allergy ranking scale, to aid people in landscaping or their everyday lives. 

Which is the most hayfever prone city and is ‘ botanical sexism’ to blame? 

By Helen Lock 

The Guardian


This article gives many examples of how having predominantly male trees or even a singular mature male tree production of  pollen can negatively impact people’s health. Towards the end they give a solution to the problem for landscaping to be allergy friendly.

How urban planners’ preference for male trees has made your hay fever worse

Ally Hirschlag


This article further supports Ogren’s work.this article also discusses the impacts of pollen on heath.

Independent Study Step 2

My topic for my independent study is on the “Me Too” movement. This movement is in effort to create social change by victims of sexual assault sharing their own experiences in hope to show just how common sexual harassment is. The importance of these stories is that if people are more aware of sexual harassment and how casually it is sometimes treated, then tolerance for it will decrease. Through research of my topic, I discovered this movement is multi-faceted when it comes to news coverage, race, gender, class, media and much more. Although this movement is fairly contemporary, it originated in 2006 and of course issues of sexual assault have been in conversation way before then. This movement gained it’s popularity by the numerous amount of actors who exposed the sexual assault stories pertained in the film industry. These celebrities were flooded with a lot of support, a move toward justice and privilege. When discussing this movement, I think it’s important to see the factors on what stories get to the media and which stories get ignored. The Me Too movement, founded by Tarana Burke, she aimed to raise awareness of sexual violence that women and girls, particularly women and girls of color, face in our society. In my study, it’s important for me to discuss how the movement shifted from it’s initial goal and seems like it’s not a space for women of color. I want to discuss race, social status and gender and how they each interact with this movement.

MeToo movement: These 7 facts show its impact - Vox

Independent Study (Step 1 & Step 2)

Step 1:

I am choosing to use my independent study to shed light on the existence of race based hair discrimination in the workplace and how this practice lends direct assistance to the marginalization of black women that are members of the work force. I know that I am going to have to look further into specific accounts of women who have experienced indifferent treatment at work based on how they are choosing to wear their hair. I may even broaden the scope and look into how race based hair discrimination can limit the success of black women and young girls in their academic growth. Most prominently though, my focus will be African American women who choose to wear their kinkier tresses in professional settings that have received push back, lost their jobs, and even their right to an eduction as their natural hair textures are considered “unprofessional” and “unconventional”.

My project will cover topics such as (but, possibly not limited to):

  • Race – Researching first hand accounts of how kinkier texture hair traditionally found (in most instances) on black women are received in professional/academic settings as compared to finer/looser curl patterns.
  • Gender – How this form of discrimination helps to limit the success of women (specifically African American women) in professional/academic settings.
  • The history tied to why black women have felt the need to chemically process their hair in order to assimilate with White culture
  • Natural hair as a form of resistance**
    • Pulling information from a few interesting articles that I’ve come across while taking a deeper look into my topic of choice
    • Having a bit of trouble finding scholarly sources but, I will continue to research

Step 2:

Provisional Thesis Statement/Argument: Black people have faced years of stigmatization based on their appearances. Hair is a huge part of who we are. In most cases, many people use their hairstyle as a form of expression. When I see a woman with a huge healthy afro my mind immediately turns to words like strength, beauty, power, confidence etc. Alternatively, there a many who may feel that African American women wearing their natural hair reads as them being unprofessional and uncouth. These opinions derive from the stereotypes associated with being black in America. Women have it hard enough trying to find success in this society structured specifically for the betterment of men. To be a black woman in America expressing her blackness in the form of a hairstyle and have that classified as “unacceptable” is truly disheartening. We must normalize kinky hair as it is something that has existed for years and will continue to be part of the black woman’s aesthetic.

Ind Study Step 2: What do you need to know?

In order to contextualize my subject I need to know what exactly makes women struggle to be a ‘Woman’. My project will related or includes ideas as violence against women is often a result of unequal power equations both real and perceived between men and women and is also strongly influenced by cultural factors and values. This means the project more likely focus in what areas and how women face sexual violence and pressure. It will involve more other issues related such as domestic violence, rape case, child sexual abuse, rape within marriage or dating relationships etc. Many have connections with culture and its factors. Sexual violence is likely to occur more commonly in cultures that foster beliefs of perceived male superiority and social and cultural inferiority of women. Although culture is an important factor to understand sexual violence in its entirety. It concerns certain countries such as India, Bangladesh etc. Also, concerns social status as poor sometimes being faced with these kinds of problems. Women with sexual assault often face significant challenges in overcoming their trauma, including diminished mental and physical health, lack of financial resources to access medical care, difficulties maintaining stable employment, housing and a lack of familiarity with accessing resources and trusting service providers. These factors are all related to each other of women living well and strong in every community. In addition, I need to explore at what level these factors are developing and ways to prevent that.

Independent Study Step 2 – Ida B. Wells

I will be researching Ida B. Wells and her contributions as a suffragist, journalist, and leader in the civil rights movement for my independent study. I will attempt to explain how the fearless approach used by Wells in her writings and equally displayed through her actions called attention to the unjust treatment of blacks in the southern United States can be seen as a blueprint for black feminism. I will attempt to recognize Wells for her part in opening the doors for women (black women specifically) to vocalize their standpoints in an effort for change, not only for black women but, for the entire race. My study will relate to the racial unjust faced by black people living between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 through the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. My study will touch on topics related to race, social class, gender, and history. I will need to do further research on works written by Wells in protest of racist practices (i.e. lynching, segregation) as well as gain a deeper knowledge of her contributions to the African American community and women’s suffrage movement.

Independent Study Step #2 – Melissa Ocasio

Image result for meghan markle blue dress

For my independent study I’m researching Meghan Markle. The academic subjects my topic relates to are contemporary news, race, and the media. Since Meghan Markle married into the royal family she has had to deal with much prejudice and has to deal with the racist British press. In my opinion, she has carried herself with poise and I respect the charitable work she is apart of. I need learn more about Meghan Markle charitable work and what her goals are now that she and Harry have stepped down from the Royal family. I also need to learn more about the negative press she dealt with during her time as a Royal family member.

Independent Study 2 : Madonna

For my Independent Study, I have chosen to specifically research and pick apart Madonnas not only career, but also the way that her passion turned into something that can change society’s whole perspective. I think my first step into really developing this, is to figure out whether or not, the intent of being so iconic, in terms of the being so impactful as a feminist activator, was there before or after the fame. In retrospect, Madonna has influenced all facets, including the news, gender, sexuality, history, and all forms of media. Her music videos alone have and continue to spread awareness of so many different controversial topics, that are so rarely talked about, such as ageism. She built her career as a the Queen of Pop, being so unapologetically herself, in a time where a women having that much ownership over themselves was deemed very uncommon. I think its crucial for me understand her background as she was growing up, to understand how such a power house of women came to be. Besides the good though in her life, the importance of the struggles and obstacles she faced is going to benefit me immensely in developing this as well, in order to see what she overcame to get to the place she is in now.

Independent Study : Step 2

For my independent study I’m researching Isra Hirsi. The academic subjects that my project relates to is science mainly to deal with climate change. Isra is a climate change activist. Through my research this project concerns current events dealing with global warming. This also deals with race because in the climate change conversation black and ethnic voices are not heard. There isn’t enough representation for people of color in this conversation even though we are the main ones being impacted by it. climate change is a global problem which effects everywhere. Media gives representation to white faces and voices not giving people of color a chance. Each of these factors relates to my project.

What I would need to know in order to discuss it is how underrepresented people of color are and how greatly we are impacted by global warming. I would need to know how Isra is leading and how she is opening a space for people of color liker herself. Also, I would need to know how media has and influence on each of these factors.

Independent Study Step 2

Since I will be discussing the issues of violence against women, my project will relate to subjects such as unequal power relations (domestic abuse, rape, assault, manipulation), discrimination, and double standards and how we feed into the cycle based on how we grow up (gender roles?). The different facets of my project concern contemporary events such as the #MeToo movement, the recent Harvey Weinstein trials and more.

My project intends to discuss the effects violence has on women as a unit not singling out a race, class, and/or sexuality; I may incorporate various instances where an identifier such as a women’s race becomes a key player in the issue being discussed. I will definitely involve historical events such as the feminist movement of the 60s and international and historical events such as how women from across Asia were used as “comfort women” during Imperial Japan and current issues where women are sold into sexual slavery. I may discuss how women are portrayed in the media and how they are expected to behave by general society (demure) as well as other cultural and sexual expectations such as having small feet (foot bindings in China).

Today, social media plays an exceptionally large part of how women and girls feel about themselves. Body shaming has become an issue and if you don’t have tan skin, wide hips, a skinny waist, and large busts then you are not attractive; this feeds into that toxic and violent cycle that a women’s body is the only thing that matters and not her mind which can lead to other detrimental health issues such as anorexia, bulimia nervosa, low self-esteem, suicide, and self -mutilation among others. *What’s seen as attractive varies by country. The example above is what’s largely accepted for American women and may vastly differ somewhere else*.

Each factor either stems from or leads to a violent act. To discuss each factor successfully, I will have to organize without going off tangent.