Thursday, December 4, 2008


Guess who's getting featured in one of SU's student run newspapers! yours truly. ;) (etheline and olives) Check out our first story in the Participator,since we have a new outlet to hopefully increase the traffic of our blog, definitely expect more updates. =)

Olives and Etheline are feminist bloggers and undergraduate students at Seattle University. They like to address broad issues of feminism, but particularly issues in the Seattle community. Their blog can be found at The following is a dialogue between Olives and Etheline:

Olives: Where does the name Robot doves come from?

Etheline: Our blog deals a lot with confronting and challenging culturally enforced notions of femininity. Sometimes juxtaposing stereotyped symbols of femininity can be a useful way to engage in a discussion about the ways in which these stereotypes fail to hold up to reality. That's what the title Robot Doves is about.

Etheline: One of my favorite quotes that you posted on our blog is the one by Jessica Valenti (founder of "When you're a feminist, day-to-day life is better. You make better decisions. You have better sex."

54% of college age women say they have had sex that they regret. According to a study done at Standford University, women in college orgasm less than half as often as college males during hook-ups. Olives, what do you think is the reason behind these statistics?

Olives: Well the next quote from that study explains it: there is a social focus of sexual activity on male pleasure. There's a culturally embedded notion in our society that if you're a woman and you're open about your sexuality, or you enjoy casual sex, you're not meeting the societal standards of purity, in other words you're dirty, you've "been around." On a socially subconscious level, men tend to be more attracted to women who are "pure," and "virgin like." I think your blog post about dictionary definitions truly speaks to the lopsided expectations of women and men when it comes to sexual standards. Could you speak a little bit about that?

Etheline: Well, when I wrote that post I was interested in getting at the true meaning and power of words. For example, people throw words like 'slut' around all the time to describe pretty much anyone (or specifically, any woman) they want to put into that category, but very few people can give an exact definition of what makes a slut. Because their purpose is to define words, I looked at what dictionaries have to say about the word slut as well as a few others. As it turns out, the dictionaries' definition of these words are just as broad as the ways in which people use them. These descriptions show how subjective these terms are but fail even once to describe them as derogatory or insulting. But of course the frequent use of these words has a profound influence on establishing the exact standards you were talking about. What's your view on refuting messages like these?

Olives: I think it's important for women to understand that it is ok to be as sexual as they desire, to experience pleasure and embrace their sexuality. It's oppressive when a woman can't freely enjoy their sexual nature.

Etheline: So why do you think feminists have better sex?

Olives: Usually feminists are more conscious of the ways society enforces cultural norms. It's empowering to reach a consciousness in which you can separate what society has defined you to be and how you choose to define yourself to be. As Jean Kilborne points out so well, our culture is oversaturated with sexualized images of women. But this truly is only one side of a bigger societal ill. Men face extraordinary pressure to live up to unrealistic standards of masculinity. But there's more of that on our blog as well…

Robot Doves further explores these issues and represents the continuous dialogue between Olives and Etheline. Anyone is welcome to contribute their voice to the conversation.

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