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Week Three Blog

Dualism is the denied dependency on our differences to separate male and female in our society. Plumwood talks about dualism vs. difference. This is explained as while in society everyone is different, we do not place value on our differences. With dualism, we are dependent on the differences that separate us as male and female, although we deny that we do so. The relation and explanation of domination shapes the identity of the subjects. Dualism is defined by structure and systematic reason.

Dualism is portrayed in some contrasting pairs such as mind over body correlating to men over women. Whether we realize it or not we use these contrasts in society everyday. The side with mind and men is seen to be the more “natural� or “normal� whereas the side with body and women is seen as “less than� or “unnatural� and “irrational�. In our society, Plumwood explains, even though we may not seem conscious of it, we naturally assume men have power over women. She basically goes on to explain five different ways dualism shapes our society. She uses what she calls “Backgrounding� which is where the superior group is dependent on the inferior group, but does not believe this dependence exists. Also, “Radical Exclusion� which is maximizing differences between people while minimizing shared characteristics. “Incorporation� is another way, in which is the inferior defined in terms of the superior. “Instrumentalization� is where the superiors needs define the inferiors purpose. And lastly “homogenisations� which is a stereotype that says that the inferior group are all alike whereas the superior group has individual members.

As gendered subjects these five things influence the way that we act and live. Take for instance, men and women. Men are dependent on women, because they need women to bear children, and stereotypically take care of them, and to do the cooking and cleaning. Although this idea is prominent in our society, many men would deny that this idea exists at all. This is an example of back grounding. Also, insturmentalization exists in our society because the men (the superior) define the women’s (the inferior) purpose. Stereotypically in our society women exist in order to serve men and cater to their needs. It is hard for use to overcome these ideals that have been around for centuries because of the existence of these dualist ideas.