Support my Spring 2015 “Made in Boulder” Collection !

Alexandra Miller Jewelry Designs “Made in Boulder” Spring 2015 Collection Bead Fund


I need some help raising funds to purchase local beads, materials, & string for a new Spring 2015 “Made In Boulder” collection I’m working on.  I would like to debut it when I vend at Moving to End Sexual Assault’s (M.E.S.A.)’s 15th Annual Canine Classic 5k Walk/Run, coming up in Boulder, CO on Sunday, April 26. My goal is to create a whole new collection of bracelets and accessories made purely with locally-crafted beads from Boulder shoppes. The Canine Classic event is one of many events in April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

I’m interested in purchasing beads from local Boulder bead shoppes specifically for this event, i.e. Nomad Bead Shop, & other antique and unique jewelry/bead stores on Pearl Street Mall. Additionally, I would love to purchase some unique, one-of-a-kind glass beads from local glass artists, since there are so many wonderful ones here in Boulder! These high-quality and unique lampwork and glassblown beads are a bit pricier, but very worth it for quality handmade products made with local materials.  One of my goals is to promote female glass artists and the beautiful glass beads they are creating. I also would like to purchase some new jewelry display arms, a small printed sign, and of course doggy treats! All of the materials and items I purchase will be locally made or sold. Even if I do not end up debuting this “Made in Boulder” collection at the Canine Classic, my funding is primarily for the creation of this new line, and to promote local artists and local businesses! In the end, my ultimate goal is not to generate funds for the vending event, but to generate funds to create a brand-new Spring collection, 100% crafted, created, & designed in Boulder! I would love for my jewelry designs to become a part of the amazing local art community here. 🙂 

Instagram: @AlexandraMillerDesigns / Twitter: @A_MillerDesigns


Interview with Gathering of the Vibes Director of Sustainability, Harry Moran (7/26/14)

Interview with Gathering of the Vibes Music Festival Director of Sustainability, Mr. Harry Moran.
(Originally published on Live For Live Music 07/26/14) 

Interview with Gathering of the Vibes Director of Sustainability, Harry Moran

With the Gathering of the Vibes drawing nearer each day, Live for Live Music is getting even more excited to once again experience this extraordinary festival!  Writer Alexandra Miller was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Vibes Director of Sustainability and Community Outreach, Harry Moran.  A recent effort on behalf of Vibessustainability took place this past Sunday, July 20, when Gathering of the Vibes, The Terrapin Foundation, & Save the Sound partnered to host a volunteer beach clean-up at Seaside Park.
A Vibes attendee since the inaugural 1996 festival, Mr. Moran began working with the Non-Profit Village back in 2001.  Since then, he has earned his current title as director of sustainability and community outreach by helping Vibes continue the mission of going beyond simply “leaving nothing but footprints”. This includes educational/informational activities and programs, as well as charitable initiatives, such as The Terrapin Foundation & GOTV‘s annual food drive.

As mentioned in my interview with GOTV founder, Ken Hays, the festival has developed an exemplary musical model these past 19 years.  However, they are also an excellent model for how a music festival can reduce its environmental impact, as well as facilitate community outreach and involvement.  With a Non-Profit Village of about 18+ organizations and growing, some of which have longstanding histories with the festival, Vibes has certainly been an inspiration for other festivals in this light.

Alexandra Miller : Hi Harry! Thanks so much for taking time to speak with me today.  I’m really excited to be writing a piece on this aspect of the festival, because it’s something I personally love about it.  I guess my first question pertains to you specifically! How long have you been with the festival as the Director of Sustainability?

Harry Moran:  “I got involved in 2001, and actually before that I had attended Vibes from the first one.  My role started as helper/assistant coordinator of the Non-Profit Village in 2001, and then, as I like to say, I got in deeper and deeper, haha!”

Alexandra: Haha, so what was it like back in 2001 when you first got started? What were the first initiaves you did to be environmentally-conscious at Vibes? I recently wrote about the history about Gathering of the Vibes as a festival.  What is the history of sustainability and eco-conciousness at Gathering of the Vibes?

HM:  “Well at that point our Non-Profit Village was, I believe, 7 different non-profits,  a few of them environmentally-based.  We had Rock the Earth with a pretty high profile doing environmental work that connected with the musical community.  There were various environmental issues and we were helping to raise consciousness and money.  And there were a few others, as well, but I’m having to dust off some old memories of the earlier days!  A few of the organizations we brought in to tell their story, which was in turn helping to inform and educate our own community, the Vibe Tribe.  We have been involved with for a long time.  We also have a very longstanding relationship with a company called Clean Vibes.”

Alexandra: Yeah, I see them at almost every festival!

HM: “Yeah, they are at a ton of different festivals.  We had a strong program in terms of recycling and trying to divert as much material as possible out of the waste stream and minimize some of the footprint that goes along with a large event like this.”

Alexandra: That’s cool! And so it sort of just evolved from just recycling?

HM: “Yeah that was really the starting point and over time we’ve built on that.  But that’s the main starting point for any event, you know? What happens with all the stuff!”

Alexandra: You guys have been around for a while, so I guess my next question is how do you feel that Vibes sustainability efforts have impacted other festivals, and perhaps even vice versa?  Do you guys feel like trailblazers? I feel like in many ways, you are, like having such a large non-profit village, for one.

HM: “I think yes, because we’ve been doing this 19 years.   I’ve had many conversations with people from other festivals who have wanted to learn from us and, not that we have all the answers by any stretch, but to kinda share some of what works and what doesn’t work.   So we’ve had quite a lot of people from other events speak to us for that reason, because we’ve been around a long time and we’ve tried a lot of things.”

Alexandra: Yeah that’s what I was thinking when I was coming up with questions, that other events definitely recognize the success Vibes has had with many aspects of the festival, namely the overall organization and respect for the venue grounds where it’s held.  

HM: “Yes definitely, and one of the ways to frame that is that it’s all about community.  Seaside Park is a treasured community park in Bridgeport, so we take the responsibility seriously of taking care of the park and returning it to the city every bit as beautiful as we found it.”

Alexandra: Yes, I think that’s a really great way to phrase it, too, that you guys take responsibility for the space and respect the space.  Another way Vibes gives back to the local community is through its annual Food Drive, sponsored by the Terrapin Foundation.  

HM: “Yes, what we’re really stressing this year to our guests is to think about the Food Drive when they pack.  We’re going to be having volunteers stationed right where the cars come in at the search point on Thursday and Friday, collecting non-perishable foods, as well as hygeine products.  Make sure to pack your donation items last, so they’re right on top & easy to give to the volunteers, or to place in the donation bin, when you enter the gates! Donations will be accepted throughout the festival at the Terrapin Foundation Food Drive Tent, which will be located near the Ferris Wheel area and food court!  We’re just trying to make it as easy as possible.”

Alexandra: That’s awesome. And everything is donated to local food banks, etc., so it’s going back to what you were saying about community.

HM: “Yes, and it’s also good when packing to coordinate with friends to share items, as well as to share transportation.  We also want as few vehicles involved as possible. We’re right by the ferry, we have shuttle buses, and we’ve also got the Amtrak train and bus station.  Public transit is pretty well covered, and I know that a lot of people certainly take advantage of that.  Especially people coming from Long Island, they definitely utilize the Port Jefferson-Bridgeport ferry.”

Alexandra: Most definitely, I do myself!  Everyone can do their part to make their festival experience more “green”, before, during, and after the festival! For example, it’s not just the Clean Vibes people with the  clear and blue bags who should pick up trash; it’s all of our responsibility!

HM: “Most definitely, and the Vibe Tribe is really great about doing that, and we love them for it!”

Alexandra: A friend of mine and fellow Vibe Triber, Brian Grafstein, is a Solar Consultant at a New York-based company, Level Solar. He was curious as to what your take is on the current solar boom happening in our country? Are people finally realizing this is something we need to be harnessing?

HM: “I’m certainly glad to see more people harnessing the energy of the sun! Here at Vibes we of course have the Solar Bus, which  an educational resource on renewable energy! We also have the BioBus, whis is kind of like a mobile science lab where people can go to learn from scientists about the ocean and ocean life, and even look at some sea creatures under a microscope!  We will also be working with SolarGo Productions to sell solar-powered cell-phone batteries. You can swap them every 24 hours at their kiosk for a new, fully charged battery! As the sustainability director, it’s my dream to have a zero-waste, festival powered by renewable energy resources. But also through this role, I know the practical challenges that presents, as well.  For example, our Green Vibes stage, even though it’s not the main stage, has turned into a major stage over the past few years, requiring more lighting, sound, and power.  And some of the bands who are playing there expect that level of sound or lights.  So it’s very hard to be able to predictably generate all of that power from solar.  Although it would be ideal!  We do have our Carbon Cutters team, who are volunteers participating in challenges year-round to help reduce their carbon footprint!  Last year they prevented almost 2 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere!”

Alexandra: That’s awesome! (More information on the Carbon Cutters team at Vibes can be found on their page via Carbon Rally.) Also on the Green Vibes stage is a series of political, environmental, and local speakers who will spread awareness about various causes. Can you tell me a little bit about that? 

HM: “Yes the speakers will come out and talk in between bands, and my hope is that even if we have 50 people who stay and listen, that they will take that message home, and they’re going to still be thinking about it and doing something to make a difference outside of the Vibes world.”

Alexandra: Of course! That’s the same way I feel every time I see Phil Lesh, how even if 99% of the audience has heard his donor rap, he still comes out and spreads the message about organ donation, because there might be that one person who has not heard it, and maybe it’ll make a difference. 

HM: “It’s funny you mention that actually, I’m a huge fan of Phil Lesh, as well. In the early days of Vibes, I was on the board of an organ donation organization in Albany, NY, so I reached out to Phil to see if he’d want to do something at Vibes to help spread the organ donation message (since he was on site performing).  He ended up coming up and hanging out in one of our tents for a long time! People would bring their organ donor cards, and he signed as the witness! He couldn’t have been more generous with his time, and he really loves to get that message out!”

Alexandra: No way! That’s the best story ever!  I feel like it truly represents the Vibes spirit.

HM: “Yes, that it’s about more than just us, more than just ourselves!”

Alexandra: Exactly, right on! Well, I thank you so much again for your time! It was a pleasure chatting with you!

HM: Thank you, Alex! And don’t forget to pack non-perishable items to donate, and to check out the Green Vibes Speakers! See you at the Vibes!

 Below is the schedule for the Green Vibes Stage Speaker Series:

Fri. 12:15 PM: Long Island Sound Habitat Restoration with Gwen Macdonald (Save the Sound)

Fri. 1:50 PM: Kids & Teens World with Andy the Music Man

Fri. 3:30 PM: The World As It Could Be with David Gans & Henry Sidle

Sat. 12:15 PM: Terrapin Foundation Update with Wendy Gniady (Terrapin Foundation President), Kyle Murphy (Food Drive Coordinator) & Harry Moran (Vibes Sustainability & Outreach Director)

Sat. 2:00 PM: Local Green Energy Update with David Downie (Fairfield Univ.), Bob Wall (Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority) & Harry Moran (Vibes Sustainability & Outreach Director)

Sat. 3:45 PM: Privacy & Technology with Logan Place (ACLU-CT)

Sun. 1:00 PM: Green Transportation Update with Jim Motavalli  (Author, New York Times Contributor, Radio Host)

Sun. 2:45 PM: Money & The Political System with Daniel Miller (Represent.Us)

For more information on GOTV sustainability efforts, visit the Green Vibes page. To view a complete list of GOTV Non-Profit Organizations, visit the NPO page on the Vibes website. 

Below is more information about purchasing a solar-powered cell-phone battery at the festival: 

Official GOTV Keepsake Batteries available online now at pre-sale pricing ($29), while supplies last.  A portion of each sale benefits The Terrapin Foundation.

-Alexandra Miller

[Main Article Photo Credit: Gathering of the Vibes 2014 Food Drive Poster Contest Winner & Artist Cole Lemke aka Chump Magic.  Special thanks to Harry MoranBrian Grafstein, and all of the wonderful Vibes staff & volunteers!] 

Read more:

“Desarrollando una Actitud Negativa: El Espetáculo de Violencia Contra Mujeres en Hollywood”

Ms. Alexandra N. Miller

B.A. Hispanic Language & Literature – Stony Brook University, December 2014

Spanish Department Best Undergraduate Essay Award, May 2014

“Developing a Negative Attitude: The Spectacle of Violence Against Women in Hollywood Films”


Why are women represented differently in films than men? Why are women primarily given specific, sexual-based, disposable roles? With all of the violent crimes, domestic abuse, rape, and attacks against women, is this representation a product of reality? Or is it simply just that Hollywood is a misogynistic, propagandist cinema culture, as well as a reflection of the desires of current American society.

The MPAA, or Motion Picture Association of America, is an arbitrary and unchallenged authority in Hollywood that rates films individually, rather than based on a set system available to the public.  It also does not acknowledge precedents set by prior films.  The MPAA rates violence less harshly than sex, which is the opposite of what occurs beyond America, particularly in Europe and Latin America.  Particularly, it finds rape less deeming of an “X” rating than a consensual homosexual sex scene. That signals something morally wrong with American society.

Depicting rape on screen is participating in the act.  I believe rape is depicted for two reasons.  First, is that Hollywood films aim to satisfy based on the perspective of the male gaze. Second, is that it renders violence towards women as acceptable, which it never is.  Due to the extremely violent nature of crimes against women in various Latin American countries, some female filmmakers who have chosen to investigate this subject matter choose not to depict rape or bloodied bodies in their films.  My hope is that one day, Hollywood will portray a multi-gendered, multi-cultural perspective, that promotes healthy sexual relationships, while abstaining from depicting, and thus participating in, sexually deviant acts.

“Desarrollando una Actitud Negativa: El Espectáculo de Violencia Contra Mujeres en Hollywood”


¿Por qué se representan a las mujeres en maneras diferentes que hombres por las películas? ¿Por qué reciben ellas papeles relacionados con su aparencia física o el séxo?  Con todos los crímenes, abuso de relaciones íntimas, violaciones, y ataques contra mujeres, ¿es esta representación solamente un ejemplo de la realidad?  ¿O sea que Hollywood es misógino debido a los deseos de la cultura de la sociedad hoy en día?

La MPAA, o La Asociación de Películas en América, es una autoridad sin reglas fijas, juzgando películas individualmente, sin pensar de las calificaciones anteriores.  Su sistema es secreto y no está disponible al público.  La MPAA juzga la violencia menos que el séxo, el opuesto de la mentalidad en Europa y Latinoamérica.  Es común para la MPAA juzga la violación menos que una escena del séxo consensual entre homosexuales.  Esto señala que algo necesita cambiar en el sistema de calificaciones en Los Estados Unidos.

Representando la violación por la pantalla es igual de participar en el crimen.  Creo que se muestra escenas de la violación por dos razones.  La primera es que Hollywood trata a satisfacer la perspectiva masculina.  La segunda es que se envía un mensaje que la violencia contra mujeres está bien, que jamás es el caso.  Debido a la natura extrema de crímenes contra mujeres en países latinoamericanos, algunas directoras habían escogido a no mostrar el hecho de la violación, ni cuerpos mutilados.  Ojalá que en el futuro, sea posible que Hollywood cambiar de mentalidades y perspectivas, inspirar relaciones saludables, y más importante, no representar escenas de violación a cualquier género.

Dir. by Claudia Llosa
Dir. by Maryse Sistach


“Desarrollando una Actitud Negativa: El Espectáculo de Violencia Contra Mujeres por El Cine”

¿Cómo es que un director puede representar personajes femeninos?  ¿Hacen productos del deseo masculino o representaciones verdaderas de eses seres humanos? Nosotros, como una audiencia, anticipamos una cierta representación de mujeres y una cierta relación entre los géneros del masculino y lo femenino.  Sin embargo, ¿es el cine que crea la imagen conocida de la mujer, o simplemente es una reflexión de la realidad?  Incluso anticipamos que las mujeres enfrentarán a ciertas situaciones graves y peligrosas, como no existe otro camino para ellas sino por recibir daño.   Además, el sistema de calificaciones en Los Estados Unidos, en particular, aumenta y facilita esta actitud negativa y represiva a las mujeres.  Voy a discutir varias películas que muestran cómo vinculamos la violencia con el placer;  cómo Hollywood tiene una tendencia negar el placer de mujeres; y las formas buenas y malas hablar sobre la violencia contra mujeres (que es un gran problema mundial).   Mencionaré la película, Scream, de Wes Craven, y cómo esta película identifica las circunstancias típicas para morir en una película del horror.  Discutiré un crítico de la película, Pulp Fiction, para que comenzar de hablar de la violencia como espectáculo.  También, hablaré de la película, The Accused, con Jodie Foster, para continuar con esta conversación sobre la violencia sexual como espectáculo, o el voyerismo.    Siguiente, voy a discutir la película, This Film is Not Yet Rated, para hablar del sistema de calificaciones en Hollywood, y cómo afecta directamente a nuestros valores como un público.  Además, voy a discutir unas películas latinoamericanas, La Teta Asustada y también Perfume de Violeta: Nadie Te Escuche, para hablar de la manera alternativa en que directoras femeninas mostrar y representar la violación de mujeres por la pantalla. Finalmente, la película documental de Lourdes Portillo, La Señorita Extraviada (2001), utiliza una perspectiva investigativa para relatar la memoria de las miles de violaciones y matanzas en Ciudad Juárez durante los años 90.  Esta investigación respeta a las mujeres víctimas, sus familias, y sus memorias.

Primero, voy a hablar de los origines de la tendencia a mostrar mujeres victimadas por la cinemática de Hollywood.  El hecho de presentar tanta tortura dirigida a mujeres, quienes siempre aparecen en situaciones peligrosas, envía un mensaje a la audiencia que probablemente ellas merecen ese maltratamiento.  Por ejemplo, durante  una escena de una chica caminando por una calle oscura y vacía, la audiencia anticipa y racionaliza que algo malo debe y va a pasar a esta chica.

What obtains in all of these sequences is a sense of pleasure and excitement in a pure sensory, perspectival play partially rooted in ambiguity, an emphasis on sensual dynamics that begins to transcend stable gendered generic polarities of active/passive, sadistic/masochistic, stalker/stalked.  The cinematic gaze is refigured not specifically because the stalker’s vision is somehow qualified, but because the look becomes radically diffused, unmoored from classical subject/object positions. (Grant, 222)

La mirada de la audiencia se convierte en la mirada del hombre persistente, incluso peligroso, especialmente en películas del horror.  Esta mirada disfruta el tormento de mujeres débiles y vulnerables en una manera que se vincula con la sexualidad.  Esta cierta enfoca en el apuro y sufrimiento de personajes mujeres se origina en  esas películas del horror, cuyas tramas a menudo incluyen una vincula entre la matanza de una mujer y el placer de la representación visual.  Existe un distinto “…preference for female victims as evidence for the overall emphasis on the deaths of women in the subgenre, the special attention that murders of women get, even when male victims are present as well.” (Grant, 215)  Esas mujeres víctimas a menudo aparecen desnudas o en situaciones promiscuas.  Piensa en la película, Scream (1996), cuando uno de los personajes prescribe las reglas para sobrevivir una película del horror.  Aquí es el diálogo en lo cual que estoy hablando, el personaje de Randy (Jamie Kennedy) explica porqué siempre el personaje de Jamie Lee Curtis sobrevive en las películas de Halloween,

Jamie was always the virgin in horror movies. She never showed her tits until she was legits [sic].  That’s why she always outsmarted her killer in the big chase scene at the end.  Only virgins can do that, don’t you know the rules? There are certain rules you must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie.  For instance, number one, you can never have sex, big no-no. Sex equals death, okay?  (Craven, 1996)

Esta escena revela mucho sobre los roles de género para mujeres en las películas del horror.  El poder de una mujer sobrevive un ataque del asesino o monstruo es directamente relacionado con su expresión de sexualidad.  Si el personaje es virgen, sea más probable que sobreviviría, debido a esta cierta pureza.  Por otra parte, si es un personaje muy promiscuo, sea más probable que sufriría o estaría castigado por sus supuestos transgresiones. Esas películas del horror tienen una cierta tendencia mostrar mujeres débiles que merecen el aprieto que viene.  Sin embargo, cuando mujeres están representadas como fuertes, o en formas que oponen lo ideal del hombre, es difícil para la audiencia entender esas tipas de historias cuando una mujer está en un lugar de poder, especialmente en una película del horror.

Durante el comienzo del cine, Hollywood tenía que establecer que el entendimiento de la trama y los personajes de una película sería fácil para la audiencia.  Entonces, utilizaban preconcepciones comunes de mujeres para representar ellas por la pantalla.  Karyn Kay y Gerald Peary escribe en su texto, Women and the Cinema: A Critical Anthology, que en las primeras etapas del cine, Hollywood utilizaba estereotipos de sexos para que facilitar el entendimiento de la narrativa para la audiencia.  O mejor dicho, utilizaba la iconografía conocida para transmitir mensajes, especialmente sobre roles de género.  Kay y Peary explican,

…the origins of iconography and stereotype in the cinema [were established] in terms of practical necessity…in the early cinema the audience had much difficulty deciphering what appeared on the screen.  Fixed iconography, then, was introduced to aid understanding and provide the audience with basic facts with which to comprehend the narrative. (408)

Desde esta base, habíamos formulado las varias expectaciones para géneros, especialmente la mujer.  Durante las primeras etapas en Hollywood, no teníamos todos los medios de comunicación que tenemos hoy.  Por ejemplo, las películas tempranas no utilizaban el sonido, incluso habían hecho en solamente dos colores, el blanco y el negro.  Piensa en las varias estrategias de Hollywood clásico para representar personalidades de los dos sexos durante la edad de películas mudas y sin colores.  Esas personalidades quedaban con los mitos de la sociedad, que prescribir cómo deben ser los hombres y las mujeres.  Y desde este tiempo en Hollywood, las siguientes películas también se hacen según estos estereotipos y mitos.  Estas películas transmiten mensajes sobre nuestra cultura.  Kay y Peary continúan,

Myth then, as a form of speech or discourse, represents the major means in which women have been used in the cinema: myth transmits and transforms the ideology of sexism and renders it invisible-when it is made visible it evaporates-and therefore natural.

Entonces, lo que vemos por películas y otras formas de media llega a ser nuestra perspectiva fija.  El papel de la mujer llega a ser lo que ella representa para el hombre, no para sí misma, característica de un cinema sexista y dominado por la mentalidad y la perspectiva masculino.  Sin embargo, ¿por qué no habíamos cambiado o mejorado esa transmisión de mensajes o esa representación de géneros con la llegada de tecnología avanzada?  Parece que estos avances solamente habían ampliado los estereotipos ya fijos.  Si piensa del papel de la mujer en películas como Drácula, puede entender el origen de una historia romántica de una mujer en peligro.

Un ejemplo de un mito por el cine es el mito romántico.  Sue Thornam escribe en su libro, What if I Had Been the Hero: Investigating Women’s Cinema, “The romance myth, in which ‘she’ is ‘presumed to be the subject’ is, in fact…a matter of her passivity and his desire, and it is in essence a story of sadism.”  Entonces, el tema considerado más popular con las mujeres, el romance,  (un tema básicamente hecho para el entretenimiento de ellas), está lleno de falsos mensajes sobre cómo deben ser ellas; qué deben esperar en un hombre, y establecen una imagen ideal del amor.  Considera las princesas que esperan un rescate por un príncipe; sus destinos y sus futuros no dependen en lo que hacen ellas, sino por las acciones de un héroe valiente.  La mujer siempre había sido un objeto, un lugar que puede ser conquistado, sobrepasado.  La próxima cita viene del libro de Thornham, aunque es de otra crítica, La Señora Anne McClintock, en sus estudios de la poesía y la política del imperialismo Británico.

Women are the earth that is to be discovered, entered, named, inseminated and, above all, owned.  Symbolically reduced, in male eyes, to the space on which male contests are waged, women experience particular difficulties laying claim to alternative genealogies and alternative narratives of origin and naming.

El personaje mujer por el cine se había reducido a un espacio, una conquista, una persona que no tiene una historia propia. Ahora considera todas películas que había visto y piensa si están de acuerdo con esta observación de McClintock.  La idea de estar reducidas, las mujeres, es decir que sus historias y sus problemas no son tan importantes o tan centrales como los de hombres.  El problema es que las mujeres se convierten en espacios y objetos, en vez de personajes verdaderos y concretos. Además, regresando a la tecnología, solamente se ha reforzado estos roles secundarios para mujeres.  Por ejemplo con el programa Photoshop, que mejora (o supuestamente mejora) la imagen de mujeres para alinea con lo ideal de sociedad.  La idea que la una calidad importante de la mujer es su apariencia física tiene que ver con la perspectiva y la mirada del hombre.  Si esos hombres sólo las valoran como objetos, es más probable que las películas van a reflejar esa misma actitud.  Y, más útil en la realidad, el hecho de objetificar a las mujeres señala un mensaje de desasociación sexual a los hombres.

Cómo decía anteriormente, con tiempo la tecnología cinemática mejoraba, entonces, también mejoraba los métodos comunicar una narrativa y las estrategias entretener la audiencia.    La sexualidad y la violencia surgen como temas más populares para entretener y hacer espectáculo.  Henry Giroux dice en su artículo, “Racism and the aesthetic of hyper-real violence: Pulp Fiction and other visual strategies”, que la representación de violencia por la pantalla tiene mucho que ver con el placer.  Escribe, “Violence is increasingly becoming a source of plesasure, either as a site of voyeuristic titillation and gory spectacle, or as an aesthetic principle in all the major media of information and entertainment.”  Esta vinculación entre la violencia y el placer es la motivación para muchas películas a mostrar escenas prolongadas de la violación, por ejemplo, a satisfacer una doble fantasía misógina.  Este sentido de “voyeuristic titillation” es forma de escoptofilia que es muy común por el cine, cuando vemos algo que no debemos y no queremos, aunque no podemos mirar fuera.

El voyerismo y la mirada del hombre llegan a ser la perspectiva central del “mainstrem” cinema.  Por ejemplo, en la película, The Accused, dirigido por Jonathan Kaplan (1988), el personaje de Jodie Foster es una víctima de una terrible violación, por mano de muchos hombres.  Esta película destaca en mi mente porque incluye una escena prolongada de esta horrible, salvaje violación.  En mi opinión, no es necesario mostrar este hecho.  El acto de representar este crimen se convierte en otro crimen; la audiencia se convierte al violador, debido haber disfrutado el aspecto sexual de la escena.  Además, el personaje de Foster está castigado por el pueblo debido a haber reportado el criminal a la policía; ella era considerada una mujer promiscua en este pueblo, entonces la comunidad no observa como una fuente digna.  Existe este mismo problema en el mundo real; víctimas del abuso sexual tienen miedo confesar el ataque, debido al riesgo estar considerada una mujer sucia.  Estas tipas de escenas prolongadas están asociadas con la mirada del hombre, y pues directores y cinematógrafos hombres.  Las directoras que son mujeres tienen una tendencia respetar más el sufrimiento de la mujer, como un ejemplo de su fuerza inmensa vital.  No sea posible para un hombre entender la vida de una mujer, y lo mismo al opuesto.  Sin embargo, el mostrar de un hecho tan horrible como violación en una película de calificación “R” en Los EE.UU., o peor, por la televisión, es estar de acuerdo con lo que ve por la pantalla.

Es muy interesante notar que el sistema de calificaciones actual de Hollywood refleja esa mirada “mainstream” del hombre.  La película, This Film is Not Yet Rated (2006), explican el proceso inútil de calificar las películas.  Ellas están calificadas por un grupo secreto, el Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), quien tiene una tendencia aprobar de la violencia y castigar al placer por los filmes.  Por ejemplo, menciona que una película puede ser calificada como “PG-13” si las matanzas no son sanguinosas.  Al contrario, si una película muestra una escena de masturbación, especialmente si tiene que ver con las mujeres o personas homosexuales, es más probable que recibiría una calificación de “NC-17”.  Además, si una película muestra la cara de una mujer durante un orgasmo, esta película recibiría un “NC-17”.  Todas estas reglas reflejan la actitud de MPAA, y pues la sociedad, negar el placer de la mujer.

Una calificación de “NC-17” va a limitar la audiencia potencial de la película, entonces limitar el mensaje.  Si es más probable que el público va a recibir un mensaje violento que uno expresivo sexualmente, ¿cómo llegaría a ser la población?  Es más probable, incluso  existe evidencia) que la población se ha convertido en una bastante violenta. Según un doctor Theresa Webb, que aparece en una de las entrevistas de la película, debido a unos estudios sobre las películas más exitosas de toda la historia de Hollywood, existe una vinculación definitiva entre la  violencia por la pantalla y la violencia de la realidad.  La película también describe el modelo europeo del cine, que tiene una tendencia a limitar la violencia y estar más libre sobre la sexualidad.  Al contrario, en Los Estados Unidos, es cuatro veces más que las películas recibieron una calificación de “NC-17” para el sexo sobre la violencia.  Este es un comentario absoluto sobre nuestra sociedad.  Director Kevin Smith (Clerks; Chasing Amy; Dogma, etc.), comenta sobre esta mentalidad torcida del MPAA.  Dice que si fuera una de las personas quien tiene poder calificar las películas, iba a considerar la violación sexual, y los varios otros crímenes contra mujeres, como razones principales condenar y censurar una película.  Nuestras formas del arte no deben representar ciertos crímenes contra los derechos humanos, porque es una manera aprobar de ellos.

Cómo mencioné anteriormente, ciertos directores (la mayoría mujeres) escogen a no mostrar escenas de la violación, en favor de otros métodos para comunicar que sucedió este crimen.  Por ejemplo, en la película Perfume de Violeta: Nadie te oye, la directora Maryse Sistach decide mostrar solamente las imágenes de momentos  que siguen la violación actual.  Joanne Hershfield dice en su artículo, “Women’s Cinema and Contemporary Allegories of Violence in Mexico”,

By hiding the actual act of rape from the viewer, Sistach is refusing to participate in the dominant cinematic representation of rape ‘that sees rape as a hypermediated spectacle’…The cinematography and editing deny the male character’s control of the gaze.

Es claro que existen muchos otros métodos comunicar a una audiencia que una violación que ha sucedido, mejor que mostrar concretamente este hecho salvaje, incluso bestial.  Por no mostrar la violación, en este sentido, es negar el control masculino de la mirada.  La palabra ‘dominant’ en esta cita refleja la perspectiva del hombre, que había sido definitivamente dominante desde el comienzo del tiempo. Esta palabra también tiene que ver con el “mainstream” de nuestros medios de comunicación.

Muchas de esas directoras escogen a dedicarse a la memoria de esta violencia, en vez de mostrar la violencia.  La película, La Teta Asustada, de Claudia Llosa, nos relata una historia de una hija de la generación de mujeres violadas e intensamente abusadas durante el terrorismo en Perú entre los años 70 y 80.  Al contrario a mostrar, o incluso hablar explícitamente sobre esas violaciones, Llosa cuenta sus historias y sus memorias dolorosas  por el personaje de Fausta (Magaly Solier).  Las mujeres se convierten a espacios históricos.  El tono de la película es del discurso traumatizado, de la diagnosis de Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or P.T.S.D. (Theidon, 8).  Fausta tiene miedo de muchas cosas y situaciones, como caminar por las calles sin un compañero, encontrar un nuevo hombre, caminar enfrente de un hombre, y más.  Todos esos miedos son completamente entendibles para una mujer que ha pasado por (o pasado las memorias de) experiencias tantas traumatizadas.

También, la directora Lourdes Portillo hizo una película sobre el gran problema del feminicidio en Ciudad Juárez, México durante los años noventa.  Miles de mujeres habían sido violadas y atacadas brutalmente en esta ciudad fronteriza durante ese tiempo. Además, el gobierno y la policía de estas zonas echaban la culpa a las mujeres, y de verdad no hacía mucho para buscar los asesinos responsables.  En vez de mostrar tantas fotos de esos cuerpos mutilados, Portillo decidió a contar sus historias por métodos más humanos y respetables.  Ella sabía que esas mujeres no pueden hablar por sí mismas, incluso nadie puede hablar por ellas (Lee, 312). Entonces utilizaba entrevistas con sus familias para dar voz a esas mujeres extraviadas.

…la violación es siempre una cuestión de representación,  y como tal la imagen de la violencia sexual funciona como la materialización de un espacio orgánico donde tienen lugar identificaciones colectivas y fantasías públicas, desde una perspectiva masculina… Es sumamente importante que, precisamente por esto, el film de Portillo se cuide de no incorporar ninguna imagen visual de violencia sexual, ni proyecciones repugnantes de la muerte de las mujeres, a diferencia de la mayoría de los textos audiovisuales que se enfocan en exposiciones exageradas de los sucesos para el consumo enfermizo de lo turbio.  Señorita Extraviada se atiene muy bien a su labor de reivindicar la dignidad humana que se ha despojado de las desaparecidas, evitando caer en lo burdo del sensacionalismo. (Lee, 312-3)

Portillo no hizo espectáculo de la muerte desafortunada de esas mujeres, a favor de honrar la memoria de ellas.  Además, Portillo destaca la injusticia de esos crímenes, y cómo esta multitud de feminicidios muestra que la muerte de una mujer vale menos que la muerte de un hombre.  Sin embargo, es el respeto a la dignidad humana de las mujeres muertas que se hace esta película distinta.

A lo largo de todos los géneros del cine, es evidente que existe una cierta tendencia vincular el placer sexual con el sufrimiento de la mujer.  La mayoría de las películas pertenecen a la perspectiva masculina, que la dominante en nuestra sociedad.  Como dice anteriormente, el horror es el ofensor más frecuente de esta vinculación, con la tendencia de enfocar en las muertes de personajes mujeres.  También, es más probable que la mujer sea castigada por la expresión de su sexualidad en estas tipas de películas.  El cine por lo general en Hollywood enfatiza la representación de violencia, mientras censura la representación de sexualidad.  Esta actitud envía el mensaje al público que es más aceptable expresarse violentamente que hace sexualmente.  Esta representación de violencia incluye la de la violación sexual, y la mayoría de veces que tiene que ver con las mujeres.   Hollywood debe reconfigurar su sistema de calificaciones para que no representar escenas prolongadas de violación, incluso estar más estricto sobre la representación violencia por lo general. Porque definitivamente existen otros métodos hablar de y representar a violación, cómo hicieron Marisa Sistach, Claudio Llosa, y Lourdes Portillo en sus obras respectivas.   Si cambiamos la representación de violencia por la pantalla, ojalá que cambiáramos la percepción de violencia (específicamente la violencia sexual) en realidad.


Grant, Barry Keith. The Dread of Difference: Gender and The Horror Film. Austin: University of Texas, 1996. Print.

Kay, Karyn, and Gerald Peary. Women and the Cinema: A Critical Anthology. New York: Dutton, 1977. Print.

La Teta Asustada. Dir. Claudia LLosa. Perf. Magaly Solier. Cameo Media, 2009.

Lee, Sohyun1. “El Caso Extraviado De Señorita Extraviada. (English).” Bulletin Of Hispanic Studies (1475-3839) 89.3 (2012): 303-319. Humanities Source. Web. 7 Dec. 2013.

Perfume De Violeta. Dir. Marisa Sistach. Perf. Ximena Ayala, Nancy Gutiérrez. Centro De Capacitación Cinematográfica, 2001.

Pulp Fiction. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Prod. Lawrence Bender. Perf. Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, John Travolta. Miramax, 1995.

Scream. Dir. Wes Craven. Perf. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Jaime Kennedy. Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, 1996.

The Accused. Dir. Jonathan Kaplan. Perf. Jodie Foster, Kellie McGillis. Paramount Prodcutions, 1988.

Theidon, Kimberly. “The Milk Of Sorrow: A Theory On The Violence Of Memory.” Canadian Woman Studies 27.1 (2008): 8-16. Humanities Source. Web. 7 Dec. 2013.

This Film is Not Yet Rated. Dir. Kirby Dick. Perf. Kevin Smith, Kimberly Pierce, John Waters.  Independent Film Channel (IFC), 2006.

Thornham, Sue. What If I Had Been the Hero?: Investigating Women’s Cinema. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Print.

My Article for the Stony Brook Statesman Campus Newspaper – “Sexual Assault Increases on Campus”, 3 March, 2014 issue


The increase in sexual assaults on campus highlights the need for more female police officers on campus.  (PHOTO CREDIT: NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)
The increase in sexual assaults on campus highlights the need for more female police officers on campus.

Stony Brook is grappling with an increase in reported sexual assaults.  To quote the Feb. 11, 2014 Statesman article, by Ashleigh Sherow, “…there were 17 forcible sexual offenses in 2012 – five more than in 2011 and 10 more than in 2010.” Despite the large student body on campus, this number is unacceptable.  With a population of roughly 16,000, that means .2 percent of students have reported a sexual assault, compared to New York State’s 304 reports for its 19.57 million people, resulting in .0016 percent of the population reporting sexual assaults.  While college campuses generally have more sexual assaults than other places, New York State’s total of 304 assaults is part of an overall downward trend in reported sexual assaults in the state, while Stony Brook’s total of 17 represents an upward trend.  With these facts in mind, the question becomes how to combat the surge of Stony Brook’s increasing number of sexual assaults.  Some solutions would be to hire more female police officers, re-orient a portion of the police force to focus on helping victims (as opposed to maintaining law and order), increasing self-defense training and create bystander awareness workshops.

It is interesting to note that if you look at the sexual assault statistics in conjunction with the liquor law referrals, you will notice they both increase dramatically, especially from 2010-2012.  In 2010 and 2011, there were 205 liquor law referrals on campus, and in 2012 there were 294.  Numerous studies conducted over the past decade have found a significant correlation between alcohol and a variety of injuries, both unintentional and intentional.  Unintentional injurious events include: road traffic injuries, drowning, falls, poisoning, fires and others.  Intentional injuries primarily concern interpersonal violence, such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, elder abuse, child abuse, community violence and self-harm. According to a 2011 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, “Results found that men who are already prone to anger, who have hostile attitudes toward women, and who are in social environments that accept sexual aggression are most likely to engage in sexual aggression when intoxicated.”  After reviewing crime reports for the past three years, as well as the results of recent studies on intoxication and sexual aggression, Stony Brook should do more to increase awareness regarding the relationship between alcohol and aggression/violence. Furthermore, our police department should respond to this serious issue with specifically trained task force initiatives, such as hiring more female officers.

The University Police Department does offer a free, women-only course entitled Rape Aggression Defense (RAD).  The unfortunate reality is, while it is never the responsibility of the woman to prevent being raped, the last line of defense during an attack would be a woman’s ability to defend herself.  That being said, every individual, man or woman, should know how to defend themselves against potential threats. To specifically gear a course towards women’s self-defense against rape is to suggest only one type of assault scenario. Women are not the only victims of rape, nor are most rapes committed by strangers. According to RAINN, Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, approximately 73 percent of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. Also, it took until 2012 for the US government to include males in their definition of rape. It is even harder for male victims to come forward due to the fact they are expected to know how to defend themselves. So if they get raped, it is even more likely for them to think it is their fault. With these facts in mind, there should be more preparation for how to deal with the types of attacks that are most likely to occur in the real world, during both on and off campus activities. It is obvious to provide tips on how not to walk down a dark, secluded pathway; it is not so obvious to educate people on what to do in situations where the lines are a bit more blurry.

Perhaps the university could create an educational campaign that focuses on motivating students to take an active role in situations they don’t feel are right, instead of watching them play out from the sidelines.  We should reinforce and encourage that students (and all humans) need to be good Samaritans, rather than innocent bystanders.  Additionally, there seems to be some confusion regarding the definition of consent (you would be surprised to learn what most students consider to be a form of consent).  Student Patrick Kim was quoted in Sherow’s article, describing a nonviolent incident at a party where there “was no consent per se” and even went uninterrupted and unreported because “people don’t take it seriously a lot of the time.”  There are many myths about what is considered consent, especially when drugs or alcohol are involved.  Thus the university should take action to clarify any misunderstandings as a means of prevention.

The university does offer free, forensic examinations for victims of sexual assault at the hospital, called SANE, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.  Despite the convenience of having such a service right on campus, medical evidence for a sexual assault case can only be collected for up to 96 hours after the incident, and the evidence collected by SANE will only be kept for a duration of 30 days.  Due to the highly sensitive and unstable nature of a sexual assault case, unfortunately not all victims know or are able to seek medical attention immediately.  It would be beneficial to our student body to better promote this service.  Knowing more about it would encourage more victims to come forward, especially during those critical hours after an assault.

It must be noted that sexual assault statistics only reflect attacks that have been reported, representing only less than five percent of attempted/completed rapes being brought to the attention of campus authorities.  Perhaps the addition of more female officers, as well as the expansion of self-defense courses to advise all genders and cover all situations and a bystander awareness initiative, would lead to an increase in the number of reported sexual assaults.  If the self-defense courses included tips for what to do in certain social situations, such as parties, bars, or even walking home from a late evening class, perhaps more students would play an active role in looking out for one another in real-life scenarios.  These tips could potentially include education on social pressures to drink (such as Greek life or athletic hazing), unknown potency of jungle juice (and various other “bathtub” concoctions), how to detect presence/symptoms of “date rape” drugs (there are easy-to-use drink testing strips on the market) and strategies to make sure friends are never left alone at parties.  In addition, being that this is a research institution, perhaps a survey could be conducted (as it has in various other communities/institutions) regarding what students deem is consent to sexual activity.  For example, some individuals have the notion that they cannot deny sex to their intimate partner, because it is something that is owed.  There is also the belief that once consent is given it cannot be revoked (it can), or that if both participants are under the influence of a substance, consent is waived (it is not).  These incorrect beliefs serve to further perpetuate a culture where the foundations that lead to tolerance of rape remain intact.  Stony Brook University has admirably tried to combat these foundations, but it can and should do more to fight for a future free of sexual assault.

[Written by Alexandra Miller // Co-Researched by Alexandra Miller & Paul Grindle]

Re-published on 4 March 2014. Read it here:

Influence of this piece on campus/Change – “SBU Faces Lawsuit for Deliberate Indifference in Allegedly Mishandling Sexual Assault Case”. Read it here:

My Very First Poem, ca. Rhode Island, 2009

“@ the Beach”

Original (shitty) cell phone pic of Narragansett beach, RI
Original (shitty) cell phone pic of Narragansett beach, RI

I’m @ the beach & I’d like to share,
the sights I see, if you even care.

Moderately demented passersby;
under a blanket, a girl and guy.

Two lesbians frolic by a fence,
amidst the rocks and excrements.

Surfers bob in the distance.
I lost my phone I need assistance.

Ryan constructed a mini rock wall.
That guy with manboobs could be named Paul.

Moms & geezers flock to their chairs.
I swam in the ocean in my underwear.

A ball tossed by a hispanic baby;
dogs & seagulls pooping…maybe.

Avoid myriad stones as we claim our spot,
after smoking weed in the parking lot.

As I entered the water, I suddenly,
realized I did something carelessly.

Behold! In my pocket remained my pot.
will it still smoke? It may or may not…

To the shore, twas a dash!
To check the status of my stash.

I discovered it was fine,
back to the ocean it was time.

In the sky the clouds moved clear
to let the sunlight reappear.

I hope you enjoyed my descriptive speech,
regarding my day at the beach….

Written by : Alexandra Miller // special thanks to Ryan Hartnett & Narragansett Beach, RI