WGS Exam 1
October 5, 2010
Categorizing or erasing an individual’s identity in today’s society based off of gender, religion, race, as well as sexuality is a common occurrence. It is difficult to grasp the concept of a society that is completely devoid of robbing an individual’s humanity or even falling victim to the process of stereotyping. Although, change is a must, will people follow through to obliterate the everyday stereotypes or fall blind to the assumptions that lurk through our society? Woman everyday must leap through the rings of insularity that shape our society’s expectations of how a woman “should be.” Therefore, women all have multiple identities that are shaped through either systems of power or oppression because of society’s “set guidelines.” In all societies, there exist the obvious biological differences between men and women that categorize them into different social roles. Ultimately, these justifications shape and limit their attitudes and behavior in a society. In our patriarchal society, males enjoy the socially dominant position, thus hiding women under there power. “In discussing how a woman should be, numerous commonalities were that women are supposed to nurture for their children while the man should be the breadwinner. Or that it is not enough to be classified as a woman, she must be feminine as well” (Class Discussion (9/9/10). In other words, masculinity and femininity are gender qualities that reinforce each other because of social discrimination. However, women who do not feel like they fit the role may begin to wish for the opposite sex. “Our identities are not just what we were born into, but are also…our experiences in the world, [and] the understanding we create from those experiences” (Tzedek). Take for instance, the article read in class about the Muslim woman who escaped her family’s culture in order to express her true identity as a lesbian woman. Aliyah knew her family would not accept her as a lesbian because it went against her religion and culture. She said that "I want to be a part of my family, but what is the price that I have to pay? Honestly, I would rather die than go back to that person I was" (5). Not only does she feel like she has to conform to what her family wants but also to what society believes a woman should be; a heterosexual white female. This is a problem because this lurking emotion of confusion stirs an idea of hopelessness. Will there ever be a society where being a lesbian woman is normal? Or will those who demand equal rights finally get a social climate in which variation can exist without being exploited? All in all, one can see how a woman’s identity can form a juntion of their race, religion, and or sexuality. Being a woman in a socially constructed male world is a struggle to hold top management jobs because they are undermined regardless of there talents and aptitude. Men “…say they will work to improve women’s status, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they cant or wont support the idea of lessening men’s” (McIntosh, 278). In relation to intersectionality, all women have the common junction of being oppressed under a man’s higher status, however, being a white woman in comparison to a black woman; there is now a change in status. While white privileged feminists fought for increased access to professional jobs they ignored the fact that women of color and women of the working class were being overworked. “Eventually, it became a matter of women being divided by forces of labor because of how society’s conformities shaped them. Rather than fighting to change men’s oppressive dependence on women at home, they instead focused on the fight for higher status among races” (Student Article). Because these gender differences shaped how a woman should act, it caused a rift between women. They ultimately fell prey to the “divide and conquer” strategy causing women not to realize that they all share the same...
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