Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Reflection Paper on the Social Justice Event

The Social Justice Event that I attended was about Women Studies and the special guest was Leslie Grinner; the creator of S.C.W.A.M.P. This acronym stands for Straightness, Christianity, Able-Bodiness, Maleness, and Property Ownership. In society, these 6 ideologies create what is perceived as the "normal" society. Anything that does not fit into this criteria is considered abnormal, usually discriminated against, or even though of as less superior. Leslie Grinner came up with this because these were the standards in order to vote. You were assumed to be straight, had to be a christian, had to be able-bodied, a male, and owned/ handled property. These are still held true in society even though we had made strides to create diversity in the community.

SCWAMP can easily be seen through community in multiple ways but I'll connect it to three:

1) Jobs
2) Politics and
3) Media

In jobs, women to this day make 75 cents to every dollar a man makes. They could be doing the exact same job and STILL be making less. That's why being a male is more accepted in the work force. Also being able-bodied helps with getting a job. It doesn't just mean not being handicap but being pretty creates a better able-body than someone who is considered ugly. You're guaranteed to get a better job if you're pretty.

In Politics, society is still afraid to have a female leader. In most countries around the world, women have already been leaders in that country. Why is it that in America we're still afraid to have a women leader. Also in politics, we just recently had our first black president, and he wasn't even fully black, he was only half black. All of our other leaders, presidents, etc have been white. They have all been straight, all rich and owners of property. Politics is full of SCWAMP.

The third connection is to the media: probably the most influential of three. Why? Because the media starts with children and sticks with them throughout their entire life. In the media, we see predominant heterosexual relationships. We see the villains as disabled (with a patch, crutch, peg-leg, hunchback, etc) and the pretty princess/ main women as skinny, beautiful, and always gets what she wants. We also see that a lot of christian values even if it's not reading verses straight from the bible. For example, women wearing cross necklace or praying before dinner.

Through this social justice event, Leslie Grinner broke down SCWAMP in the Twilight Saga. It is amazing that having seen Twilight I never noticed these prominent ideologies. Like the fact that this isn't seen:

Do you think that Twilight would go over so well as a movie if it had a homosexual couple in it instead of all heterosexual couples? Straightness is key in this movie as well as most movies out in theaters right now! Twilight also constitutes that having property, wealth and beauty is better. Edward Cullen and the rest of the Cullen's are absolutely beautiful, perfect actually, not a hair or thread out of place. Yet, Jacob, lives on a preserve, works with his hands, and is not the most beautiful person in the world in comparison to Edward (until the second movie when he took off his shirt and showed his abs for no apparent reason). Moving on, whiteness is prominent in the movie. Bella is the whitest girl ever and every boy that she meets wants her, black, Asian, and white. Of course she chooses Edward, the other whitest man in the world, and denies Jacob (who until recently I didn't look at as being more Latino than Native American). There are two black men in the entire series (one which disappears all together by the third movie and the other who is clearly a foreigner, not American.) Being white is very important in this movie. Finally, even though there is now real religion in this movie, Edward feels inclined to save sex for marriage regardless of how Bella feels. This is a very christian/ moral act. I doubt that it was intended but it is indeed a part of the Christian faith.

What I took most of all out of this is that Stephanie Meyers didn't write this with the intention of being everything that SCWAMP indicates; Meyers is just apart of this ideology and has been influenced by this culture of Straightness, Christianity, Whiteness, Able-bodiness, Maleness, and Property ownership. Meyers probably has no idea that this even occurs in her books, just as most of us probably never though that SWAMP really existed in society.

This idea really relates to three texts that we have read in our class:

1) Johnson
2) McIntosh and
3) Christensen

Johnson believes that we need to talk about privilege, power, and difference to create a more just and respectful world. It is said that if you're living in a predominantly white community, suburb, or anything to that extent, you are more likely privileged or have power. In Twilight, you can clearly see that Edward is privileged (his father is a wealthy doctor and mother is able to stay home) while Jacob lives on a reserve and has a handicap father so Jacob works. Johnson would wants people to notice how race, class, gender, and sexuality affect your privilege, power and difference.

McIntosh believes that white people do not notice how whiteness is more widely accepted or has more power over other races. In Twilight, I never noticed how the characters are white, living happily, and that Bella is willing to die for the dead white guy rather than be with the Native American mortal wolf man. I also never noticed in Twilight that there are only Two Black Males (not even Black women) in the films and one of them disappears (like stated before). I wouldn't notice this because it's not my race, I don't really think about how many black people, Asian people, Latino people are in films because that's not my race I suppose.

The final author that SCWAMP and Twilight relates to, above all in my opinion is Christensen and her idea of the Secret Education withing media. For example, Emily from Twilight:
Do you know how Emily got that horrendous scar and disfigurement on her face? He boyfriend or husband (I forget what he is) got angry at her, and shape shifted and slashed her face with his big strong wolf paw. The CRAZY thing is that she stays with him, saying it was a one time thing and that he just got angry and out of control. What does this sound like to you? OH I KNOW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ABUSE! Girls might not see it as that but they will see it as it's okay if he hurt her because they still love each other and it was a one time thing! This movie has a hidden message that Stephanie Meyers probably didn't even mean to put in! Media is constantly providing SCWAMP stereotypes and secret messages to it's viewers.

This social justice event was really impacting and made me think about the movies and media that I watch or view. I'll probably dissect everything I watch now!


  1. Wow. You definitely put time into this. It reads wonderfully.
    I couldn't agree more with the abuse part.
    Just an FYI, you left out the 'C' in SCWAMP in a few places.
    I already dissect things a bit, but hearing it applied to a movie by the person who designed such a concept, I think it's now going to be easier to draw the connections.

  2. this is the 3rd blog that i have read about the SCWAMP twlight social justice event. it seems like it was a very interesting event.


  3. omg i love your blog. i am an extreme fan of twilight....the books more than the movies...but anyway- i did not pick up on any of the stereotypes and/or hidden messages til reading your blog- unfortunately i couldnt make it to the event :( awesome blog post though!