Ruth Frankenberg

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In Ruth Frankenberg’s book, White Women: Race Matters. On the Social Construction of Whiteness, her main argument is that ‘race shapes white women’s lives.’ As the reader continues on they are profoundly convinced by her argument. Through the use of gender, race, class, and nation Frankenberg’s analysis is full of incitement and quite telling. This chapter elaborates on Frankenberg’s statement that ‘race shapes white women’s lives’. Ruth begins by comparing this statement to those that are more commonly heard, such as how gender shapes the lives of men and women. She then begins to elaborate on her theory by bringing to the reader’s attention to the broad perspective of ‘whiteness.’

Frankenberg explores the idea of two analytic powers that are continuously referred to throughout the book. These ideas consist of the significance of race in white women’s’ lives and the idea of race being in every atmosphere no matter how one tries to shape it. Ruth then continues to explain her beliefs in this book and how they emerged out of the second wave feminism and into the third wave feminism. She commented on how feminist women would appear to go through phases’, such as anger over racism and later try to form a multiracial organisation which in turn would form more tension. It was through this experience that she had come up with a new idea and clarity over the meaning of racism.

Frankenberg began to understand issues concerning race more clearly after attending groups that consisted of women of all ages, races and classes. It was through this organisation that Frankenberg suggests that she was able to understand the viewpoints of those individuals whose positions in relation to power and insight of culture differentiated.

Frankenberg reflects and provides insight on the opposing view point. She argues that when the idea of racism appears, it is the white feminist women who look to see the issue that only deals and concerns those of colour, when in fact the...
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