« September 2008 | Main | November 2008 »

October 31, 2008

Blo Eight

Anne Koedt and Andrea Dworkin had written about how men use sexual practice to demean women. Koedit had used orgasm and Dworkin used pornography. They both support each other in that they explain how men only see women as objects to please them. In Koedt’s essay she had point out why men maintain the myth. One of them was that men maintain this myth because “the best physical stimulant for the penis is the woman’s vagina. In Dworkin she had used the industry of pornography. In her essay she had written that “more and more male consumers are eager to spend more and more money on pornography.? So what the writers seems to say is that women are used for sexual pleasure for men. It didn’t matter how they got it. Whether it is an actual woman or a movie or images of a woman in sexual position men look and enjoy. They are seen as objects.
They also point out how certain objects could demean a woman. A vagina, in Koedt’s essay, was used to demean women. If they could not have a vaginal organism then something was wrong with them. However, that is not true and women should not be demeaned by this. In Dworkin women are used in pornography. If a man, who watches porn, was asked, did he like the women in the pornography or if he knew the girl or woman in it. Would he answer yes to both questions or will he answer no. The answer would most likely be no. They may like her because her body brings him sexual pleasure but he wouldn’t know her. That just supports the idea of women being seen as just objects to please men. Heterosexual men do not want to see men on men action. They would prefer women over men. Heterosexual men do not want men. Men do not have the sexual parts that women do. Men do not have the vagina other men need. This vagina is so important that Dworkin had said in her essay that “pornography sells and promotes it.?

Blog 8, Kelsey Hippen

I want to assign a personal perspective to what we’re learning. When we read about men, women, sex, rape, and so on, we read about real people and situations, most of which we can associate someone from our lives to match that experience. When we read such an academic perspective on sexuality, remembering that is challenging, but I think it’s crucial if we are to glean real-world perspective. Koedt and Rich challenge one another from an academic standpoint, and I lose a sense of the humanity behind the subjects they discuss. However, Rich stays the truest to the people behind her writing.

In “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm?, Koedt describes how women are trapped in a patriarchal relationship to men. Her writing does not acknowledge that, in some cases, a woman can A) maneuver around patriarchy with a willing partner to create an equally enjoyable experience for both partners, and B) experience trauma even if she recognizes that the vagina is not the source of the orgasm, and that the clitoris is. Koedt’s perspective is exceedingly factual (yet probably based on improperly conducted studies) and it misses the point. The point is that, yes, misinformation on the woman’s (in)ability to vaginally orgasm has shaped heterosexuality, but once heterosexual women recognize this, they need to situate themselves within their sexuality with a partner who not only also recognizes this, but recognizes it to the extent that the woman knows it.

Unlike Koedt, Rich captures the personal essence to the sexuality she describes. She says that “female friendship and comradeship have been set apart from the erotic, thus limiting the erotic itself?. I want to extend this to heterosexuality as well. Friendship and comradeship between a man and a woman has somehow been lost in this discussion, singled out from the sexuality, limiting sexuality itself. To understand heterosexual sex, we need to apply Rich’s concept of lesbian relationships to heterosexual relationships, recognizing that in each sexual encounter, two people are interacting in a dynamic way. After all, both Koedt and Rich would not be able to write about these dynamics if they had no sexual experience themselves.

Blog Eight

The Koedt and Dworkin piece support each other in the sense that women are merely objects of pleasure for men. In Koedt’s piece, “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm? she argues about women only being able to achieve clitoral orgasms. She states that females, “must discard the ‘normal’ concepts of sex and create new guidelines which take into account mutual sexual enjoyment.? Females are supposed to recreate their sexual standards for men’s pleasure and they do. They have come to believe that they can achieve a vaginal orgasm, an orgasm which Koedt explains “does not exist.?
In Dworkin’s piece, she explores females in the role of pornography. Not only are they in porn for men’s pleasure but in the working field, they get paid less than men on average. Pornography was created for men’s sexual desires and fetishes and this demonstrates how females are treated poorly and placed in these films for nothing other than male pleasure. Dworkin states, “Woman as whore exists within the objective and real system of male sexual domination. The pornography itself is objective and real and central to the male sexual system.? This relates to Koedt’s article because in both cases: sex and pornography, women’s pleasures and desires are not considered. In both of these instances, they are merely placed in the act to be objects of pleasure for men, regardless of their perceptions and expectations of the situation.

Blog Eight Assignment Instructions

Blog Eight Assignment

We began our discussion of sexuality this week. We focused on four, interrelated readings by Koedt, Dworkin, MacKinnon, and Rich. Take two essays of your own choosing and demonstrate how they either challenge or support one another. For example, you may want to look at how MacKinnon’s argument that our consciousness around sex cannot be changed is challenged by Rich’s argument for the acknowledgement of a lesbian continuum- another system of desire, affiliation, and pleasure that is not heterosexual or patriarchal in nature.

If you are not so interested in talking about sexuality but want to instead focus on the Kessler text (the piece left-over from our week on the body), you can write a blog that considers how the way the medical establishment “treats? intersexed infants also produces knowledges about what a normal body is. Either way, make sure you write 250-300 words.

October 28, 2008

blog week 7

Both pictures are very ridiculous to me. First the black women is made to look very dark almost blue in fact and she had on a leopard print outfit. The outfit makes me believe she is in comparison with an animal. In many pictures black people are made out to be animals, and in this one she is not completely an animal but she is half way there, and she has an afro like that is the only style the African Americans do to their hair which is very far from the truth. She is constrained down as for the rest of the items in the picture, I don’t know if that is a part o the “art? of the picture but she doesn’t look comfortable at all and she looks like she would rather be doing anything else.
The other picture that says, “The chef does everything but cook, that’s what wives are for.? This is crazy in my eyes other people may have their opinions about it. The slogan really doesn’t make sense to me because if that is what wives are for then what is the purpose of having a chef in the first place. What exactly is this chef doing. The wife is hugging the husband from the back and smiling as if she is okay with this, but women are made out to be the servants of the mans wants and needs at anytime of the day, and if she is not available then she is not doing her job. Maybe I am just reading it wrong. Maybe the chef is the wife and when she cooks she is the called the wife instead of the chef, well I really don’t know but this advertisement is not okay at all.

blog 7 for chole005

Image 1 (‘what wives are for’)

This image represents the ideology of a woman as a housewife, who is responsible for all of the cooking in the household. The appeal seems to be that in buying this product the party will achieve what Naomi Wolf refers to as an old (perhaps then modern) idea of what it means to be female and the roles ascribed to being a women, as she says, ‘the happy housewife as the arbiter of successful womanhood’. The woman seems to be defined in terms of her ability to act out her role as housewife and please her husband. In addition, her adherence to concepts about what beauty is and how beautiful she is considered play into how ‘womanly’ she is considered.

Image 2 (‘Moschino’)

To me, this women looks like a prostitute, or that the image should bring to mind a prostitute. She is described as ‘cheap and chic’ and is risqué clothing. She is looked at as an object of pleasure, tied down to be an object of service rather than mutual gratification. Sirena J. Riley talks about differences between body images that are developed between African Americans and whites. Perhaps this is why she is tied down, to prevent any expression of the non-white body images, some of which are definitely more realistic, that African American culture has encouraged. Likewise, she is portrayed in an animal print; we talked about how women of color are often portrayed as animals in popular culture.

October 27, 2008

week seven blog

Both pictures show women as submissive and less than human or men. The first picture represents women as submissive nothing less than a housewife. She is there to make her husband a nice meal after he gets home from work. She is leaning on him who can be translated into she leans on her husband for support as well as for survival. This picture is what looks like a happy white suburban husband and wife with all the new appliances yet what she is really for is to run the appliances for her husband and she is not capable of doing anything else. The headline also confirms the idea that wives are for cooking and that is all. This picture also shows the gleeful look upon the wife’s face, making her look happy to be in the housewife position. As for the other picture it shows the inhuman qualities of the model. She is dressed in animal print in a kind of exotic sexual position. The idea is that she is more of an animal than a human because of her position clothes and because she is black. It gives the message that women of color are nothing but sex looking animals. It also focuses on her body, you can count every rib and it just looks unhealthy. In both pictures they degrade women but what is more shocking is that it takes time to even realize what the add is for. I still don’t know what they are trying to sell because the focus is not on the product but on the models.

Week Seven Blog

Both pictures are portraying very degrading images of women. The first seems to be targeted towards the white middle/upper class. Even as simple as having both persons being white sends a message of what every couple/family should look like (white, middle/upper class, nicely dressed). The way they are dressed also sends a powerful message. The man is dressed in a nice suit and tie, probably just coming home from work because that is what men do. However, women typically stay at home, right? They do the house work, and work in the kitchen and always wear chefs hats like the one the women is posed in the picture with. Although she is dressed as if she is doing cooking/cleaning work, she still has perfectly painted nails, make-up on, and is nicely dressed. This sends the message that all women no matter what type of work they are doing, they must look and present themselves as being beautiful. The posture of both is also a signifcant part of this image. The man is facing away from the woman, while the woman clings on to the man. This shows that women cannot be independent and that they must always be dependent on the man. The caption also highlights these ideologies when it says "that's what wives are for" (image 1).

The second image directly compares African American women to animals. The woman is tied onto the wall as if she is nothing more than the left over body of an animal when they are hung on walls. The viewer does not even think of this woman as having a personality or "spirit", the image strictly focuses on her body and posture. Her leapord clothing relates to her African American descent by showing native animals. Her body posture and body image also says a lot about this photo. For one, she is a very thin female. Is this image trying to say that in order to be chic you must be extremely thin? Her eyes are either closed or very close to being closed to also show that she is not really a person, she is just a body. It also shows how seductive and sexy she is, trying to sort of sell her body as she is selling the clothing. Her posture also has to do with being attractive in order to draw attention to her. All of her body parts are open and out from her, her legs are open and she is trying to be seductive through her body stance.

blog seven yo

The first image is amazing! There are many, many things playing out in this, in terms of gender ideals, images of black women, and sexual desire. The first thing that jumped out at me was this woman’s pose. Her body is contorted to look like a mounted animal’s head, complete with dramatic lighting from the top down, and pins holding her to the wall. Talk about equating (black) women with animals! She is wearing leopard print, which puts her literally in animal skin, along with having shiny oiled skin, which speaks about large African jungle cats among other things. Her eyes are closed, which doesn’t allow the viewer to identify with her on an individual level. Her position is extremely sexualized, chest pointing forward, butt jutting back, insinuating sexual desire, underlined by the closed eyes. The gold lettering “moschino? I instantly read as “machismo,? which could just be my eyes being dyslexic, or it could be me reading what it wants me to read. And “cheap and chic?? Class issues abound here, cheap meaning that “anyone? can look like this because it is cheap to buy(?), but still “chic? a fancy French word that usually talks about high fashion, unattainable to most class groups. Whew.
The second image casts the woman as an object instantly because of the language of the caption “that’s what wives are for!? as well as her leaning on her husband’s back as the perfect doting wife, subject to all her husband’s whims as to what he wants to eat for dinner. She can make anything for him, now that she has her latest gift, an addition to her kitchen, her favorite place to be, completing her appliances. Am I projecting here? It is casting the man as a giving thoughtful husband, knowing that he can give her presents (a class issue—how many people can spend 250 bucks on a mixer as a little present to please the wife?) and a patriarchy issue (he is in control of everything down to the menu, but cooking? He doesn’t need to get his hands dirty; he’s got a wife for that). The presence of ingredients around the table imply class as well, nice wine glasses, fresh oranges, natural brown eggshells. The wife is also looking directly at the viewer, and look how happy she is! She’s staring straight into my eyes, telling me if I had one of these mixers I’d be happy too, right? Heterosexism, fo’real.

Blog seven

Both of these advertisements represent various ways women have been, “should be?, or are presented today. In the first ad, this typical 1950/1960’s scenario, a woman is clinging to her husband while posing with a Kenwood Chef kitchen appliance. She is perfectly maintained with manicured nails, beautiful curled hair, and her makeup on. She is most likely greeting her husband after a long day’s work with his meal hot and ready. This ad most likely is targeting middle class, white, heterosexual women, perhaps “homemakers?. By saying that “the chef does everything but cook—that’s what wives are for,? points out how a machine could easily replace a wife because the only thing they are good for is domestic affairs. The second ad shows an African American woman dressed in an animal print and pinned against a wall. The fact that the woman is wearing an animal print proves that many advertisements with African American women in them are often linked to nature or animalistic qualities. The fact that African American women are often linked to animalistic behaviors is demeaning and degrading to their culture and all women in general. By being pinned down it shows the oppression that many women and people of other cultures. There are dualisms present in both of these ads; the first shows that women equal machines/domestic “goddesses? and the second ad shows that African Americans equal animals. Both are degrading to people of all genders, sexes, ages, races, etc.


The first image portrays the ideology that wives serve as cooks for their men. This is the ideology that still exists in our society, but maybe not to the level it used to be when this ad was created. While the men (dressed up in a suit, very professional) work outside and act their job as breadwinners, women belong to the kitchen. The woman is objectified because it shows that the only thing she can do (limits her abilities) is to take care of herself and the man “that’s what wives are for?. She has painted nails, she has a lot of make up on, and overall she is smiling and the man is too. This portrays the ideology that women must look beautiful (even in the kitchen). This shows that the woman and the man have accepted their gender roles the way they are. The woman sees nothing wrong with clinging on the back of the man, and doing everything to satisfy him. Obviously this goes back to the old ideology that man are dominant because if it wasn’t for that man she wouldn’t have the house appliance at all because the man got it for her. He has control over her. He could also choose not to buy it for her.

The second image portrays the idea of not only how women should look like in general, but also the idea of dehumanizing black women. The women is tied like an animal, she has to be controlled otherwise she would be “wild? and exotic. She is also wearing leopard print clothes, which portrays her as an animal. This ad says more than that though. She is not just an African American she is also a woman, and she has to attract attention by revealing parts of her body. The body of a woman is objectified and that’s why the woman looks extremely thin. This ad also agrees with the idea that African American women are considered of less value than the “normal white women? since it says “cheap and chic.?

Week Seven Blog

In image 1, you can see that the model is positioned and pinned to the background like a fashion doll, along with her accessories. Barbie, arguably the most famous fashion doll of all, has helped to perpetuate the beauty myth to young girls for decades. To obtain a body even close to Barbie’s, one is forced become a consumer of the “$33-billion-a-year diet industry? and “the $20-billion cosmetics industry? Wolf mentions in her essay. The emphasis on the cheapness of the clothing implies that it is targeted toward low income women, primarily black women. Whether Moschino clothing is cheap or not, in the quest to be fashionable it is clear that consumption is inevitable. Also, most likely because the model is black, she is depicted as an entertainer (positioned next to a microphone), drawing upon the images of the sexualized video girls mentioned by Riley in her essay, further targeting young, black women. The woman is scantily clad and exoticized in leopard skin print, reflective of the way most African American women are when present in the mainstream media.

The advertisement in image 2 also links beauty and perfection to consumption. The target of this ad is married men. They are told that they should buy this product for their wives as a “gift?. This ad calls to mind the post industrialization period that Wolf writes about. The ad implies that a woman’s role is one of domesticity and a man’s is to make the money and buy the product. In a way, this ad is representative of the backlash of first wave feminism. Like we talked about in class, this ad enforced the message given to couples in the post World War II era and encouraged structured gender roles present in the modern nuclear family.

blog 7

The first ad plays on the ideology that women are objects and that it is the husband’s priority to keep their “objectified? wife in good working order. First, the ad clearly explains that The Chef the product being sold does everything and anything else that the Chef mixer cannot do and the husband dose not want to hassle with the “wife? is for that. The woman is leaning on the man in the ad almost waiting for him to push her “on button? to work and be perfect to help with his life and represent him well. This ad is clearly an ad that speaks to middle class, Western culture men and women. Like I sated before, the ad tells the man that his wife is an object and to the women it is the user manual on how she should act to be a “non-broken?, working, perfect wife.
The second ad exemplifies what we spoke about in class. That every or nearly every ad with African American women in it plays on the racial ideology that women of color are close to nature and represents them as animals. The woman is not only an animal she is also chained to the wall and tied up which can directly symbolize the racial slavery of the past. The ad is directly trying to address upper class Western women. I do think that it is ironic that it says cheap and chic with an African American woman tied to the wall. Not only does the ad seem to suggest that women of color are like animals that should be caged it also seems to call them cheap as well.

Blog Week 7

In the Kenwood ad, there are definitely some direct and subliminal messages being portrayed. Judging by the woman’s hair and makeup, it looks like this may have come from the 60s/70s era. She is very done up and pristine, and of course she’s wearing a wedding ring because she is a “perfect? image. The man, too, is well-dressed and business-like because he is a “perfect? husband. The way they are positioned, too, is very telling about how a perfect relationship should be (for the sophisticated, upper-class white couple). She has her hand on his shoulder and leans into him affectionately from behind, like she needs him for support and leadership. At the same time, it says that she will support him from a submissive standpoint, because, as the wife, she does the actual cooking. Her body language and expression almost says “Thank you for the Kenwood Chef, Honey! Now I can be a better cook for you!? I think the ad is directed at men because it says “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef.? It’s like the next line should be “…and so should you!? The man even has an expression that is just short of a wink toward the other men looking at the ad. All that it takes for someone to have a perfect wife like his is to buy her a cooking instrument. It puts her back in the kitchen, and not only does she love you for it, she loves her role as your personal cook.
The Moschino ad also conveys a message about submissive women, but in a much more sexualized way. The woman is very dark-skinned, and her hair and clothing are used to play up her ethnicity. She is made to look more exotic, sexual, and animalistic in this way. Her body position, with an arched back and spread legs, also are used to personify sex. She is bound to the wall, like the sunglasses, and like them is just something to behold and own. Holistically, the model is just sexually objectified. Her being tied and sexual also asserts the submissive nature a woman (should) have toward her male, dominant counterpart. Her race and the bondage being used on her also implies slavery to me. The ad makes it ok to look at a modern black woman still as an object. The clothing line is even described as “cheap and chic?—does this mean the black woman is beautiful/sexy and easily attainable as well? I couldn’t even say what item in this ad is being sold, unlike in the Kenwood. Clearly, the only thing a person should come away with is “Moschino? and “Sex.?

Blog 7

It is significant that in the first image the woman is an African American who is depicted alongside animal images like the leopard print and nature like the lightening. This gives her an exotic, very animalistic look as though she is one with the world rather than just a human being. This brings up the concept of using human and animal dualisms. Although it may seem intriguing and exciting for her to been seen as an animal, it actually alludes to the concept that she is inferior and completely brought back to her animalistic nature. African american women are usually portrayed as animals, which I think is unfair because in a way it makes their culture seem thoughtless and emotional like animals. I think it’s all about grabbing the attention of men and women to make them desire whatever product is being sold because it brings them down to their raw, sexual nature.
With the second image it is almost to eerie like Pleasantville or something. It always bugs me when ads depict the women as a happy servant to her husband cooking him a meal on their new must have appliance. Honestly, how can Kenwood think that women want to be seen as such a mindless slave in an ad then go out and buy their product? These ads make people believe that the only for them to be happy is to follow this stereotypical norm that has been passed down through countless generations and that they only way to achieve that norm is to buy some stupid product. This ad is trying to grab men by saying look at how great it will be to have your wife cook for you and it plays off of women’s insecurity that if they do not please their husband, boyfriend, etc then they will never live happily with their suitor. The problem with most ads now a days is that they play off of everyone’s insecurities and they fuel the belief so that people will buy things to make themselves better.

October 26, 2008

Blog Seven

Blog image 1 is an easy image to classify. It's obviously based off the racial idea of black during the Motown era, with big afro hair and leopard skin clothing, furthermore painted dark black much like the ads we saw in class to emphasis her skin color. It also uses a relatively attractive women who is so thin, one can see her ribs. She's also chained to the wall like a slave “tied? to his or her master, perhaps a reference to the past when poor black slaves were indentured to their masters. The ad appears to be exploiting stereotypes about African-Americans to sell sunglasses.

Blog image 2 also appears to be a reference to the philosophy of yore, where after World War II, women were expected to stay home and cook dinner for their husbands. Even with advances made in equality for women, this image of the “barefoot and pregnant? woman in the kitchen is still a somewhat pervasive view, especially amongst the upper class where women may not need to work to help support the family they are raising.

The ad pines that Chefs only run the kitchen and don't actually cook. The ad claims “that's what wives are for.? It's references what I said above, as well as a nod to the idea of men's dominance over women. It touches on the ideology that men go to college, get a job and make money for his family, while his wife stays at home, bearing and tending to his children. Judging by the picture quality of the ad, it looks to be around a time when women's right may have recently been obtained, perhaps sometime around the late 70's. I'm not sure if the ad has any racial commentaries, but it does seem to follow the image of the white family enjoying a good time, something not often depicted with black people in ads.


In comparing images 1 and 2, we see a very clear distinction between race, culture, class, and sexuality.

The author of The Beauty Myth says that “beauty? is the “best belief system that keeps male dominance intact…The beauty myth is not about women at all. It is about men’s institutions and institutional power.? Image 1 shows this just by placing the phrase “Cheap and Chic? in front of the animal-like black woman. Her body is pressed up against the wall in a vey sexually inviting way. Together, this image is saying that black women are cheap and available. Image 2 keeps the male in control because there is a message there saying that men can give women everything they need.

Image 1 shows a seemingly single, thin, black woman who has that animalistic look to her (she’s literally wearing animal prints) and “ghetto-fabulous? as Riley would say. This image immediately connects me with Riley’s words, “Being ghetto-fabulous is all about going from rags to riches.? This woman appears to have everything under control, with the world at her fingertips. Interestingly, Riley also says “Obesity is associated with poverty.? The woman in this image is stick-thin, yet somehow strong. She probably has an eating disorder, which is a sign that a person feels a lack of control in their life.

Image 2 shows a white, middle-upper class couple who appear to be living the beautiful, American Dream. The generous, bread-winning husband buys his wife a Kenwood Chef, implying that she will be the one to use it to make all of their meals and she will love every minute of it. This image looks to be taken from the 50s or so, and I believe The Beauty Myth brings up the point that beauty ideologies continuously change over time. Today, we don’t see as many images of the stereotypical perfect white couple/family, but we do still see male domination and assumptions that women take care of the housework, whether or not they have their own careers.


The kenwood ad speaks to a number of ideologies. First is that the users depicted appear to be fairly affluent; the man is dressed in a suit and the surrounding area is full of aesthetically pleasing food displays. It can be inferred that one must be middle or upper class to enjoy the product, or that having it will provide the illusion of happy and wealthy like the couple. It is also notworthy that the couple is a heterosexual one. Finally, there is the fairly blatant sexism manifesting itself in a number of ways. The most obvious is the 'wives are for cooking' message. Somewhat more subtle within the same text is that man is being refered to as the chef. Chefs inherently have authority over their cooks, and are teh ones to claim credit for a well-made meal despite doing very little of the actual work (work that the cooks are doing). So not only is there the message of men having an authority over women, it also makes the statement that women should be behind the scenes making everything work, but not receiving the credit. And last, there is the fact that the woman is holding onto the guy. This nto only reinforces the aforementioned power situation, but also implies that women need a man.

The moschino ad spends a lot of energy exoticizing people of color. While it is not necessarily bad that something is exotic, to portray a person or group of people as exotic reinforces that they are not familiar, not part of the norm; that they are different and do not readily belong with everyone else. This is done first by choosing a leopard skin outfit; the leopard being not only being an animal, but an exotic animal (specifically from africa). to continue with the animalization, the model is posed in an agressive sexual position. additionally, she is surrounded by rock star gear. lastly, the woman appears to be pictured as part of some sort of kit in a box. this is an obvious nod to the ideology that women and perhaps people of color as well, are simply objects and not wholly human.

Interpreting Ideologies in Advertisements

The first ad appears to have been an ad in the 1950’s, an era in which men were ideally the breadwinners of the family and women cared for the children as well as the home. Everything done by a woman during this time was to please her husbands, leaving little or no room for her own happiness.

The ad represents the ideals of the 1950’s in many more ways than one. The woman clings to her husband as if she has no independence, no ability to stand on her own two feet. She is perfectly done-up: nails perfectly manicured and painted, presentable makeup with red lipstick, curled hair, and she is wearing a very nice black outfit. Her husband wears a suit and tie. Poor guy! He just returned from a long and grueling day at work. He’s in luck, though, his wife has been working all day in the kitchen to prepare him an ever-so-delicious after-work snack including wine and freshly baked pastries! Not only is the image derogatory, the text is as well. It portrays the machine higher than the woman: the machine does not cook, the wife does. “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef? has a negative connotation as well: the wife is financially dependent on her husband and is unable to buy her own Kenwood Chef.

The Moschino ad, on the other hand, portrays cultural and racial ideologies. The woman is of African descent and wearing a leopard print outfit. The image relates African women too closely to nature, as if African women roam in the wild, completely uncivilized. The text reads “cheap and chic,? implying that African women are cheap, unimportant, and lesser than white women.

Blog 7

Let's examine the Moschino ad. Examining the model, she looks ethnic and tribal in her leopard outfit, afro, and dark skin. Traditionally in western black culture, the curly afro and dark skin are not desirable, enforcing the idea that this black woman is exotic and forgein. I feel this accentuates how 'unamerican' the black woman is, though most black americans ancestors have inhabited the united states longer than some of its white citizens, like my family. Though not discussed in class, this ideology is from historical context of the 1900's that nonwhite is nonamerican. Another ideology expressed here the dualism that portrays all black women as animalistic, enforced by her leopard attire. Her pinned down position even hints to the perceived immobility of black women today. Her painfully thine frame is the work of an ideology that praises the thin woman, speaking to every woman of how thin she ought to be, especially the white woman. Side note: Some of the bloggers felt a black model was chosen to portray a brand who's logo is cheap and chic, but in my opinion, Moschino is still no bargain. A black model was chosen to target lower socio enconomic groups in any way I feel. Many high fashion labels use black women on the run way or in high fashion ads.
The second is obvious. As a successful male you ought to have a cute perky wife who strives to please you and you ought to be able to provide her with everything she needs, or so these ideological messages tell us. Its a direct reflection of capitalistic ideals. Even look at the body language, the wife is clinging to the man's shoulder, enforcing the idea that he supports her. Personally, I feel this ad speaks directly to a male audience with the slogan "I'm giving my wife a kenwood chef!"

False Advertising??

Blog Week Seven

The depiction of a black woman in leopard print in the advertisement for Moschino is an excellent example of what we discussed in class this week. We talked about how there are fewer ads with black people but that most often they are exhibited in ways displaying blacks as animalistic. In other words, depicted as less than human in this photograph. For instance, she is dressed in leopard print in a very sexual pose and underneath are the words “cheap and chic.? She is also tied down at her ankles and wrists as if possibly her animalistic tendencies can be tamed by subduing her. It definitely states that black woman are subhuman and should be hunted and objectified.

The advertisement about the “The Chef? minimizes the role of women as compared to men. Even in the stance with him before her, she takes a less important role. He is dressed in a professional manner and like so many advertisements (and the unnatural expectations that developed from these advertisements) from this time period (probably the 60s) there are expectations of a woman having make up on, nails done even after she has been working in the house all day. The statement “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef? seems to state that because he makes the money, he has the power to give her things, which she couldn’t otherwise have. She is equated to another appliance in the house but she can’t even perform as well as “The Chef? except to cook. I felt it also looked at woman in a way that they are so limited and narrow in their outlook that they could possibly be content being an object just simply to please a man and also be so delighted in an object – the appliance.

Blog Seven

The first image is of a skinny black model. The lighting and the patterns of her clothing make her look exotic. The leopard print alludes to the animal/human dualism, making her, of course, wild and inferior. A smaller detail is that she is actually pinned to the wall – her wrists and elbows are held back by the ties. She’s also really skinny, probably unhealthily so. This is a common image in the media, for all women. In all honesty, I have no idea what this advertisement is for. Possibly for the clothes? It is important to note that this is also a black woman. Black women are portrayed as exotic, again striking on the animal/human dualism.

The second image is of a husband and wife, advertising for Kenwood Chef – a kitchen appliance. The statement says that the appliance does everything but cook, and that’s what wives are for. The wife in the picture looks really happy – happy to please her husband, is the message. The couple looks perfect and happy, and somehow, we get the idea that this is how things are supposed to be. The wife cooks for the husband, and all is well.

Of course, both of these images also play into class roles. You have to be able to buy something to get to these points. You have to buy the clothes to be sexy and exotic. You have to buy Kenwood to make sure your family life is smooth. What if you don’t have money for these sorts of things? Too bad. The slogan on the bottom of the Kenwood Chef advertisement also states, “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef.? Basically, you have to have enough to be able to give your wife a Kenwood Chef in order to ensure happiness and order around your home.

Blog 7

This first image shows the ideology that women's place is in the domestic sphere, where the husband can use her for whatever he needs. It completely demoralizes women by equating them to machines, and implying that the machine can do more than the woman can, or that the woman is just needed for the smaller things that this extravagant machine cannot do. It also shows the ideology of woman as "chief emotional and physical nurturer" (Bordo 171). While it says man needs woman for cooking his food, it also shows the woman holding the man at his back and the man leaning into the woman as if for physical support. This ad shows men as the consumers, by saying "I'm giving my wife a Kenwood Chef". So by buying this product for his wife, the man is being a "real" man and keeping his wife “in her place?. I think this ad is also directed towards the middle and upper class in the way the man is wearing a suit, the woman's nails are done and that you need to be able to afford this product.

The second image shows the stereotyped ideology that African Americans are exotic, and almost flora/fauna- like. It shows this by the leopard print outfit, as well as how she is tied down with her lips curled up (almost snarl-like), as if she was a wild animal being restrained. This image also illustrates Wolf’s "Beauty Myth" in the model’s thin figure, and we are to believe that this body type is what all women should strive for. It also portrays her as a Barbie doll, in the way she is tied down at different places on her body with accessories tied down around her. This gives the impression that others can manipulate her, and that she is defined by having others do things for her. The look on her face, while it could almost be a snarl, also looks like she is getting some sort of sexual satisfaction from being tied up and made to look like a doll, telling us that women want to be dominated like this and that they get turned on by it.

Week Seven Blog

The first advertisement implies many things about society. When first analyzing the photo, you notice that the woman is clinging to the man. This shows that women are needy and also that this is how they should act, if they want to be a loving wife. Also, the man has his back toward the woman instead of facing her and possibly embracing her as well. This shows the man's superiority over the woman's inferiority. It hints that maybe women are supposed to show all the affection in the relationship while the men look powerful, needed, and respected. Both of the people in this ad are in more formal wear while in the "kitchen," which is kind of odd, but in turn shows that appearance is a big deal and that both man and wife should always look at their best. The suite shows that the man has power and lives in the business/ job world and the formal wear of the woman shows that even when she is doing housework she should still look good for her husband. Aside from the things we can pull from the image like body language, attire, and appearance, they also give us some text. "The chef does everything but cook-that’s what the wives are for," implies a few things. It shows that women's place is in the kitchen and that a "good" wife cooks for her husband. It also implies that women are still useless in the kitchen without some sort of "manmade" mechanism. It shows that men do all the work, but that wives should follow their lead and be at their husband's every beck and call. The smaller text saying "I'm giving my wife a Kenwood Chef," is saying that men control the money and the buying of goods and that women don't have a say. Also, it makes women seem inferior, helpless, and needy because the husband has to "give" the wife everything.

The second advertisement is a little less obvious than the first. At first glance it just looks like a model, but if you look closer and think about the ad you can get a lot more out of it. First, the woman seems to be pinned to the wall along with the other material goods. This implies that women are just another material good like a microphone or sunglasses; that women are just objects to be bought and sold. Also, like in many ads, since it is a woman of color she is dressed in a more exotic print. This is stereotyping that both women are animals and also that women of color are exotic and different from white women. The way in which the woman is positioned says something more about her status as well. It could mean that she is helpless, but also that maybe she is somewhat risqué, sexually seductive, or whorish. This goes along with the wording on the bottom "cheap." Having her arms and legs spread and pinned down is showing male dominance over females. Lastly, this ad, like the first, shows something about appearance and how people should look. This woman is very skinny, so skinny must be beautiful.

Blog 7

The first advertisement for Kenwood Chef portrays this image or ideology that 'every man needs a woman in the house to care for his needs.' In this case, the woman of the house needs to know how to cook, and her husband will supply her with the appliances that are needed to fulfill that role. Of course, the male would be known as the chef, leaving the woman to be discredited for all of the work she has done. She plays a 'behind the scene' role. The woman, or wife, also looks very happy about what she is doing, like that is the role she is supposed to play and she is wiling in doing so. Obviously, this really wouldn't be the case, but it's used to make the appliance that is being advertised more appealing because it creates happiness and love in the household. The advertisement also states at the bottom, 'I'm giving my wife a Kenwood Chef' as if she should feel very lucky and privileged to have one of her own. Overall, it is showing how the woman provides for her man of the house and will accommodate all of his needs and wants with delight. I believe the ideology of this article relates to white, upper-class individuals, but also between the separation of where women and men 'stand' in the household.

The second advertisement for Moschino portrays an ideology of a black woman who is pinned down. She is being used for a display that everyone can look like. As we talked about in class, black women are related to animals or plants in advertisements. This is a prime example with the black woman dressed in a cheetah print outfit. The statement at the bottom of the article says, 'Cheap and Chic' possibly having a relation to the woman being of color, meaning that she can look good even though she has to buy cheap clothing. I think the ideology of this article is directed towards women of color and possibly lower class women who can't afford expensive clothing.

Blog Seven

The first advertisement implies several ideologies. In looking at the text on the ad, the phrase "the Chef does everything but cook" tells us that men are clearly more important than women as they are doing "everything." The wives, on the other hand, are only good for cooking, so every man needs one at his service to satisfy all his food-related needs. Looking at the bottom of the ad, which says, "I'm giving my wife a Kenmore Chef," tells its audience that men have power over the money in the family and they have the power to use it to pamper their wives with cool new appliances. Also, in the image, we see the wife clinging to the husband's back. This implies that she is the more submissive of the two people and also gives the impression of a dependence on the husband. She is all made up, showing that appearance matters and wives are supposed to be cute. Both the husband and the wife are happy and smiling, showing that they are content with their relationship and the way their statuses tell them to act. This, in turn, makes everyone who sees the ad think that this how it should be since that couple looks happy.

The second ad has more subtle ideologies. The fact that the black woman shown is dressed in a leopard print outfit makes her resemble a wild animal. This ties her into the nature side of the dualism and even implies differences among women. Perhaps if a white women was shown, she would not be portrayed as a jungle animal since white women are more "domestic" and accepted. She appears to be pinned to the wall somehow, which shows that she has limitations and barriers restricting her. The phrase "cheap and chic" displayed at the bottom could imply what the woman's social status is. It makes a statement that all black women must need cheap clothes, which in turn leads to the assumption that they have a lower class status. The model in the ad has an extremely thin body and is very dark skinned, so it may also set beauty standards for black women.

Kelsey Hippen

In the first advertisement, I see a few important ideologies at work. First, I see that the word “Chef? is written with a capital C. I recognize that “Chef? is the name of the product the advertisement promotes, but I wonder if there is a more important statement being made. Perhaps the “capital C Chef? communicates the dominance of the male role in the woman’s life. We see the same concept in Lorde’s writing—Lorde capitalizes the words “Color? and “Black? to draw our attention to our self-imposed norms. I think this same concept applies to “Chef?—we self-impose the dominance of the male in the woman’s life.

Also, the article says, “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef.? If we interpret the article by concluding that men decide the role of the women in their lives, then we can support that conclusion by noting how the phrases “that’s what women are for? and “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef? are connected. Perhaps we can assert that if the phrase about the man giving his wife a Chef was not included in the article, the message about male patriarchy would not be as strong.

In the second advertisement, I notice that the black woman is portrayed as an exotic animal, which is a trend we discussed in lecture. Although I do not entirely understand the reasoning behind this, I think that we can tie it to Riley’s “The Black Beauty Myth?. One of the messages within that article is that the white bourgeois American Dream has not only permeated into capitalism, but into black women’s body images as well. I think the way that the white bourgeois have been able to interpret black women through the lens of capitalism is by branding her as something “not us?, and therefore, “exotic?.

Picture analysis

For the top picture with the man and woman, the particular ideologies that are present include the feminine subjugation through marriage and gender specific roles. Although there is no subjugation in the actual image, the words that accompany the ad convey the stay at home wife/mother reality. The bright red nails and lipstick shows that there is an ideal of beauty at work that the woman must wear bright colors to be beautiful. The use of the honorific ‘Chef’, referring to the man, is an example that even though the wife is probably the one who does the cooking the man still takes credit for the ‘intellectual part of the work. The other image is unique because it shows how Blacks are portrayed in media as inanimate or related to nature and the wild. Her pose is very unnatural; she seems to be ‘pinned’ to the wall like the other objects in the picture. This helps to dehumanize her and make her into an object that they are trying to sell. To make her more exotic and ‘natural’ looking she is wearing a leopard print that invokes the jungle and Africa and nature in the extreme. The lack of concealing clothing also sends the message that Blacks are more objects of sexual desire.

Week Seven

The Moschino add pictures a black woman in leopard print pinned to the wall with other Moschino accessories in much the same way one would pin an insect in a butterfly collection. Along with the sense we're given that this woman is "cheap and chic" like Moschino products, the other most obvious effect of this image is its dehuminization of black women in general. Because, as Professor Bashore has said, advertisments attempt to sell everyone particular "right" ways of acting, thinking, and feeling, this image and others like it apply to all black women at once, not just the woman in the photo. This image tells black women (and everyone who sees it) that they are subhuman and animalistic, only worthy to be violently hunted and displayed for other's pleasure, and indeed the way she's pinned up suggests that she must be restrained or killed in order to be presentable to white civilization. The large afro and the way her skin has been digitally altered to look darker and glossier serve to further mark her out in a world of eruocentric beauty as "exotic" and exciting: worthy of male conquest. This image is a good example of how eurocentric beauty standards have a special effect on black women different from that of their white counterparts, as discussed by Riley in The Black Beauty Myth. Black women must engage in the diets and fanatic attention to appearance that white women must, but they must also maintain the stereotypes assigned to them specific to their race as white people expect (and often demand) to see them.
The Kenwood advertisement above all reinforces the proper and divergent roles of man and woman, husband and wife. The woman in the photo clearly embodies the perfect woman: white, married, beautiful, and scrupulous to her unpaid duties as a domestic houseservant of a the perfect, middle class, working man. This is made obvious in her conventional beauty, the wedding band clearly visible on her finger, the chef's hat perched on her blonde head, her innocent smile, and the way she leans in towards her husband, showing her willingness to pander and serve. Turning to examine the man, we see that his character and possible activities are far more ambiguous and left to the imagination than are his wife's; he has far more options open to him. He is dressed in a business suit, a symbol of power and wealth; he is clearly portrayed as "a man of the world." But he is faced away from his wife, leaning away from her, and we cannot see his hand where his wedding band might be. He gives the camera a knowing, self-confident smile. We know he is the god-like bestower of desirable goods (the Kenwood chef) to his childlike wife, but that he is not expected to engage in the dirty work of actually providing sustinance. The caption says: "The Chef does everything but cook - that's what wives are for." These words almost beg the question, "well, what IS he doing, then?" were we not supposed to assume from the start that he must be engaged in terribly important matters of business in the masculine public sphere and that the great role of men as creater of civilization and provider made possible the luxury his wife lives in.

Week Seven Blog

The first image creates the ideology that the man is supposed to work outside the home and earn the money and the woman is supposed to stay home and cook for her husband. The lower righthand corner says "I"m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef," like he's doing her a big favor by buying her this appliance. The two are displayed as the perfect happy couple. He's in a business suit and she's all dolled up and cuddling up to her husband. This is supposed to be the norm for an upper middle-class white couple within society at the time of this ad. The ad is telling women that they should cook for their husbands and be pretty for them so when they come home from a hard day of work they have something to eat and a pretty wife to look at.
The second image portrays the black woman as animalistic with wild hair, the animal print outfit, and in the way she stands. Underneath her it says "cheap and chic," and it seems like they're aiming this ad to a black audience who may not have as much money. The woman is also tied or pinned up to the wall somehow, making her seem caught or helpless. This ad is definitely generalizing that African americans don't have as much money as white people do and need a cheaper but still stylish line of clothing.

Blog Seven

The first advertisement, the one for the Kenwood Chef mixer, definitely gives the impression that the woman in a relationship does the cooking, not the man. It seems to depict the average, middle class couple who are very happy with their roles in their lives. Like we talked about in class, the woman also is very eager to be next to the man which seems to show that yes, she is dependent upon him. This advertisement also implies that cooking is all that wives are for. It seems like it is trying to define what a woman is, or what she is good for, by defining a job that women in general do, or should do if they want to be the proper wife. Even the clothing that both the man and woman wear point towards the man being the hard working, bread winner in the relationship while the wife stays at home. He is wearing a suit as if he is getting ready for work or just got back, clearly implying that he has a job, while she is in a chef's hat and very casual clothing, not something she would probably wear to work if she had one.

The second advertisement, however, goes in another direction entirely. It is trying to give the impression that people of color are more animalistic than so-called 'normal, white people' and plays into a lot of the generalizations that are thought of when many people think of blacks. For instance, the animalization and exoticness due to the leapord print clothes and the fro...both are things that seem to automatically pop into a person's head when thinking of people of color. What degrades/generalizes this advertisement even more is the fact that it is an advertisement for cheap clothes. It seems to say that people of color are the only people who do or could ever want to buy cheap clothing. No one would have possibly ever thought to have put a white woman in this advertisement, because supposedly no normal white woman would want to buy cheap clothing, or clothing that blacks would buy, because that would appear to be degrading to her current status.

week 7

The first picture claims that wives are for cooking; implying that at least part of their purpose is to feed their husbands. This is an overt itemization in which it dehumanizes the concept of a wife to exactly what is being sold here, a household appliance. The appliance, which is implied to be a gift in this case, is being given to a women to help her cook for a man. This reinforces stereotypes that women belong in the kitchen, which his suit enforces the idea that mean belong in the workplace. On top of the idea that this appliance is clearly intended to be used in the kitchen by a women, the add is still directed at men with the “I'm giving my wife...? comment. In summary, this add gives multiple signs saying that women are less then men, and there to serve men.

The second is another obvious example of “exoticness? that we discussed in class. Namely that a non-white individual is portrayed as exotic through symbolisms with rare plants/animals (in this case a leopard as the skin print on her clothing). Granted I'm a little out of touch with product labels, I don't even know what the product of this advertisement is. This add is using a female body simply as a means of attracting attention to the advertisement. Again, this add is dehumanizing; in this case to women of color by relation to animals and this use to simply attract peoples attention via body. The body position also appears to sexual in nature, which doesn't appear to have anything to do with the product (again, I'm not sure what that product actually is, but I doubt it's sexual in nature).

Blog Seven

In Image number 1 the woman is being displayed as an object. She is attached to the wall making it look like she is some item being sold in a package, like a doll or barbie. She also looks like she is helpless by the position she is standing in. Giving the impression that women in general are helpless and need to be controlled. As an African American woman, she is wearing an animal print outfit. Many ads portray African American women wearing outfits with animal prints showing that they are wild and exotic and uncontrollable. It is showing the idea that she is an animal and not a human being. The wall she is attached to is pink making it more feminine and saying that is the color for women. By the type "Cheap and Chic" the ad is saying that this product is easily obtainable and also saying that women in general and specifically African American women are lower on the scale in our society.

The second ad is portraying a women and a man. The ad is for the kenwood chef. The text is saying "The chef does everything but cook. That's what wives are for." This text is saying that women are only used for certain things in life, like cooking. They are nothing better than an object in the house that do what they are told. It is showing that there are specific gender roles that men and women follow and shouldn't stray from them. The man in the ad is wearing a nice suit and looks professional. His back is turned to his wife and he is not looking at her. The woman is clinging on the husband, she had painted nails, her makeup is done, and she has a fake looking smile on her face like she is forcing it. This shows that the man is always in control and the woman is the desperate object of the household. The woman is also wearing a chefs hat which demotes her and shows that is her actual job in the house. The smaller picture in the corner which states "I'm giving my wife a Kenwood Chef," is also telling that the husband has control over what his wife gets or does. In this his back is also turned to her not looking at her and the wife is still clinging on to him even if she is facing the other way showing us that the woman needs the man.


In the first image displayed we are able to see the classic stereotype of a home. The woman is, of course, tending to the cooking, while the man is dressed up in a professional business suit. The woman is perfectly done up with absolutely no flaws. The quote at the top of the ad implies that a woman's job is only to cook and perpare meals for her husband. The ideology of this image portrays that women should always look 'perfect' for their husbands and tend to their every need. Another interesting factor of the image is the fact that they both look and seem very happy with the roles they are each given. The woman looks completely content with being a housewife, and the man looks content 'bringing home the bacon'.
The second image is an ideology of women of color portrayed as animals. The woman in the Moschino ad is hung up on the wall, almost like a picture. She is just hanging there, half naked, dressed in animal print. One interesting detail of the picture is the way her mouth is portrayed. To me, it almost looks savage. Her body is so dark and her mouth is highlighted in an animal-like nature. This adds to the ideology of women of color as animals or wildly exotic.

Blog Seven

In image one it shows an African descendant pinned against the wall wearing leopard skin. In lecture we had discussed how in advertisement with African descendant were seen as animals. In this advertisement not only is she seen as an animal but as a prized object to hang on the wall. It also seems to imply that she is at your disposal and you can do anything to her. The word on the bottom, cheap and chic, seems to imply that thought. This also seems to tell African descendant girls should look like. Like Sirena J. Riley’s main point that white women are not the only ones affected by body images but women of color are also affected by body images. African descendants may be affected by the models thinnest, with her ribs showing. They could also be affected by how the model looks and may feel that they should follow her way. The way she is posed also gives that aura of come and get it for men. The way her legs are spread; the way her arms are position; and the way her head is tilted back and her eyes seem to be looking at us.
In the second image it is quite obvious what the ideology is for it. It is the ideology of a housewife and the perfect husband. The whole image seems to say “We keep each other happy because we please each other.? The husband keeps the wife happy by buying her equipments to cook. The wife keeps her husband happy by using those equipments to cook food for her husband. The words “The Chef does everything but cook-that’s what wives are for? also say that a true chef knows what should be used to make a meal great and the cook only knows how to cook. It kind of gives the idea that women are so mindless and clueless that they don’t even know what to cook with if they didn’t have a chef. It also says that women are dependent on others to help them with things. The image also implies this idea because she is clinging on to her husband’s back. She depends on him to support her.

Blog 7

The first advertisement for the blender is basically a testament to women in that time period. Women were the bread makers and men were the breadwinners. The saying “The chef does everything but cook- that’s what the wives are for? shows just how valuable women were in the kitchen. It also shows that women were only valuable for serving husbands and taking care of the housekeeping and cooking. The woman in the picture looks happy to serve her husband with such a fine kitchen appliance. I also like that in the corner it says “Im giving my wife a kenwood chef!?- wow what a nice gift? This kind of says that you’re a good husband if you buy your wife the finest cooking equipment to better serve you. Its like buying a slave a new tray to serve food to you on and calling it a Christmas present. The image also shows that you too can be that happy if your food is made with that mixer.
The second advertisement of the woman posing for a clothing line portrays African American women as being animalistic and a part of nature. The fact that she is tied to the wall with a look of pain kind of symbolizes how animals and African Americans are trapped in a white society where they are held back but the limits made by white people. Also, at the bottom it says “cheap and chic? which makes me wonder whether they are talking about the clothes or the woman? This is degrading. Also, she is held against the wall with her legs open and arms back which is somewhat sexual and provocative- maybe that’s what you need to be chic.

Blog 7

Blog 7

The first image of the African American woman nailed against the wall shows the degrading effects of society onto African American women. She is wearing a leopard print outfit and her hair in an “out of control? Afro. This ad shows an African American woman as a savage. It further puts African American women down, makes their culture “savage-like,? demeans African American women to a lower class, while the model’s open legs and sexual posture makes African American women sexual objects. It does not help that towards the end of the ad says “cheap and chic,? thus further demeaning African American as cheap sexual objects. Also as the model is pinned to the wall, it shows how African American women must be controlled and restrained, or their “savage wild? selves will destroy society. Riley’s reading, “The Black Beauty Myth? relates to this image because Riley mentions about how white society “permeates into capitalist material goals, but body image as well, creating a distinctive increase in black women’s body dissatisfaction.? Since western ideal wants women to be tall, skinny, and beautiful, it now expects African American women to be tall, skinny, and beautiful. Thus, it puts further pressure onto African American women to fit this type as well.

The second image reinforces the role of a wife as a homemaker and the role of the husband as a breadwinner. The domestic, kitchen product further puts this women into this position, while showing that only white middle class women can live this as well to have such a great husband who gives a “Kenwood Chef.? The man also seems to be moving away from the wife, while her and her perfect painted nails are leaning towards him, trying to keep him, showing that no matter what, the woman needs a man. Also, the slogan on the bottom, “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood chef,? further proves the woman’s dependency on a man, because men are the only one who can give such a thing to a woman. The woman embodies beauty. She has perfect hair, nails, clothing, teeth, and lipstick. In, “The Beauty Myth,? beauty is something “women must want to embody it and men must want to possess women who embody it.? Thus, it proves only attractive white middle class women will be just as happy as the woman in the ad.

Blog 7

In the first add, it basically shows women as a service to there husbands. Also I thought it was very interesting that she was hugging him from the back because it is always said that a good woman stands BEHIND her husband and I thought the ad definetly tried to imply that. Also this add showed how happy the man looked to have his wife doing everything and taking care of him and the wife looks so happy to actually be catering to her man and taking care of her husband. They make it seem like that if a woman does her "job" , the man will be happy, and then they both and the family will be happy. Lastly the statement stating that's what wives makes the emphasis on the service of women to men standout.

In the second add, it shows a woman of color who looks very uncomfortable and backed against the wall. It shows her as being an object just like the other things around her on the wall. Her hair is natural and wild and the clothing she is wearing is of a wild beast so I'm not sure if that had any significance of saying something like a woman, especially a woman of color, needs a man in order to transform from this untamed life to the role of a housewife. Also there is an uneasy or uncomfortable look on her face where it makes it seem as if she wants to get away from being backed into the wall but doesn't quite know how to herself and thinking that maybe waiting on a man to help her would be the best thing because thats how society makes it seem, you know like women need men.

blog 7

This first advertisement is basically about a house wives staying home to fulfill their husband’s needs. In the image the guy looks happy having a wife who is the chief and whenever he comes home there’re will be a lovely wife there to cook for him. The wife looks like she’s also happy too. Standing behind her husband showing the viewer how enjoyment she feels. This advertisement show that that’s how a wife is suppose to be for her husband, that’s the role for women. Men are suppose to show that they are the boss who are suppose to relax and wait for their lovely wife to do their women’s role in the house.

The second advertisement is based on what we had said in class where color women are most of the time pertrade. The black woman in the image is staple to the wall where it seems as if she is more of an object, like those objects next to her which are being staple to the wall also. The clothes she wears are wild and so she needs to be tame like an animal than a person. Her face expression looks like she doesn’t enjoy posting liked that but have too. This image makes it seems, that women are suppose to act like an object where they are being control.

October 25, 2008

Blog Seven

The Kenwood chef ad demonstrates the patriarchal system in which we live. The advertising slogan “The Chef does everything but cook- that’s what wives are for! reinforces the idea that a man’s wife exists to serve him. The man provides for the woman and in return she must do his bidding. The posture of the couple indicates this also, with the woman pressing herself against the man, her posture and expression indicates gratitude and happiness, and she just wants to be close to him. Her chef hat clearly shows her role is to cook while her perfect make up, nails, and hair show that her job is also to look beautiful for her husband. He, on the other hand, has his back towards her indicating that he does not feel the same about her, his facial expression a smile that does not look genuine or actually happy. The ad also reinforces the idea that white, middleclass, heterosexual couples are the successful ones, and if a couple fits into this category and have a Kenwood Chef then they can be truly happy.

The Moschino ad reinforces popular social conceptions of black women as exotic and wild. She is dressed in animal print clothing to reinforce the idea that she is an animal. Her posture is unnatural, her face tilted upwards with closed eyes that combine to make her seem like an object instead of a person. She is attached to the feminine, pink wall behind her, suggesting she must be tied down to make her safe, as she is a wild animal. The slogan “Cheap and Chic? suggests that the woman in the ad is for sale, objectifying her, and that this object is something easily attained, indicating that black women are of lower rank. All in all, the ad greatly objectifies black women, portraying them as animals that cannot be controlled.

October 24, 2008

Blog Seven

In the Moschino advertisement the black woman is dressed as a cheetah stuck to the wall. A prevalent ideology that comes to mind when looking at this picture is African Americans being commonly portrayed as objects of nature in ads whether they are plants or animals. The fact that the ad says “cheap and chic? speaks down on black women because it infers that they can be chic but only if they are cheap as well. The ideology of African Americans being portrayed as nature or animalistic objects additionally speaks down to them because both of those things do not have choices in what other humans do the them, they have to take it. It’s ironic to me that they show the woman in the ad as the ideal “perfect? woman. This goes along with the Black Beauty Myth in which Riley states, “black women’s beauty ideals and experiences of body dissatisfaction are often different from those of white women.?
The Kenwood Chef advertisement demonstrates the typical wife ideology: women are expected to cook perfect meals for their husbands at every appropriate time. The wife in this ad appears to be standing behind her husband, with her hand on his shoulder reassuringly. These situations give males dominance despite the fact that they rely on their wives to cook. This demonstrates that if you are a wife and are unable to cook gourmet meals for your husband, then you will be unsuitable as a wife and ultimately fail.

Blog Seven

The first image for Kenwood appliances, basically states that the reason a man is to marry a woman is for her to cook for him. The ideology that is portrayed through this advertisement is that women are good for only one thing, to be a housewife. This advertisement makes it look as if the woman is completely content with that “job title? as well. The couple looks very happy and satisfied with their lives as working man and housewife. The question that the advertising agency is asking is: why wouldn’t you want to be as happy as this couple? Or you must act like this (be a working man married to a housewife) to be happy and “normal?. This advertisement is speaking to the white, middle to upper class. Many people of this time, especially those outside of the white race, would not have been able to afford special appliances for the kitchen. Also, those minorities were also considered abnormal and would not be applied to the ideology placed into this advertisement.
This first advertisement reminds me of the old “Leave it to Beaver?. Mrs. Cleaver stays home all day cooking and cleaning in a dress and high heels, while Mr. Cleaver goes to work and comes home to a five course meal. In this advertisement, they are trying to say that Kenwood appliances will help the wife produce the meal and reproduce the ideas and behaviors of a normal family.
The second image for Moschino Fashions is displaying an African woman looking very exotic and almost safari like. As we talked about it in class, many times Africans are often portrayed as being animals or very exotic beings. The woman in this advertisement is pinned up against the wall, reminding me of someone tying up a pet. This advertisement is placing an ideology upon this woman that Africans are believed to be animal-like or exotic. Also, the phrase at the bottom “Cheap and Chic? makes me feel as though they are degrading this woman. They are saying you are animal-like and are only good for “cheap? clothing.

Blog Seven Image 2


Blog Seven Image 1


Blog Seven Assignment Instructions

Blog Seven

This week, we talked about the body as cultural mechanism of social meaning and control. We looked at how representations of the body in culture bear ideologies about the subjects they are said to signify as well as how such representations form discourses about how we, as subjects, are supposed to live, act, and feel. We ended the week by exploring how representations of the body in culture are racially, culturally, ethnically, and sexually diverse. Use your readings to examine the two images below. “Read? them to determine what ideologies are at play and how those representations speak to particular racial, cultural, class, and sexual realities.

October 20, 2008

blog six

Paula Gunn Allen
Born as a Native American she was taught by her mom and her grandma that women are strong and are powerful. Her grandma would tell her stories of women who are stable and strong. As she entered the western society she sees differences and how the system acts upon her, her family and her culture. Being a Native American her consciousness based upon herself (identity) causes these oppressions. Her identity brings her this consciousness of racism, classicism, and sexism upon her culture, which are being produced by the Western culture.
Allen’s conclusions to her consciousness were through experiences, seeing and hearing it. From this hybrid identity, she used her knowledge to compare the two cultures together.

Her position is closely tides with Allen’s also. Her consciousness of being Mexcian is also compared to the Western ways. She defines herself as being more than one thing when it comes to the Western ways. The system as was said are, racism, sexuality, and ethnicsim. She defines this border land as a place where it separates these two cultures from the beginning and how this consciousness is an out skirt of all the cultures too. She wants to create this space where she can be in or everyone fits in. She wants us to recognize these and the view it as our point.

Both Allen and Anzaldia both clearly descried in one’s point of view and show us how gender and power relates to one another. Its like thinking out of the box and not think about the western ways.

Blog six!

I would like to discuss Anzaldua and Mohanty. Anzaldua describes a consciousness she terms “Mestiza consciousness?. The new mestiza, for her, juggles and copes with her layers of identity, even though none of those layers correspond. This consciousness is produced from a situation where one is on the outskirts of each of their cultures—both, and neither, all at once. This can also be considered “borderlands? or “hybrid? consciousness because the mestiza’s identity is forced to the periphery of “real? existence. She ultimately desires to have a space where she can exist. This is a powerful lens through which to view gender. Using Anzaldua’s situation, we can understand that perhaps gender is both-and-neither as well. This distinction has major implications for the way we view one another. I am left with the question, “Are we all, in some ways, both-and-neither??

Mohanty presents a different perspective, yet it is complementary to Anzaldua’s. Mohanty believes that the “third world women? consciousness is a social construct; it’s discursive. This consciousness is defined by the common struggle that all third world women share. The cultural characteristics that produce this consciousness find their roots in third world women’s factory employment, as well as fertility issues. This ties in with Plumwood’s instrumentalization—that third world women are simply “tools? to advance society. We can also understand Mohanty in terms of gender and power. She advocates for the idea that struggle can create links among us which can eventually lead to a coalition for positive political action.

If Anzaldua describes a problem, then Mohanty writes the prescription; if Anzaldua conceptualizes hybridity, then Mohanty conceptualizes coalition. Although Anzaldua describes hybridity in terms of mestiza women while Mohanty describes coalition in terms of third world women, we can apply what we know from each in order to move toward change. For example, in Anzaldua’s life, perhaps a motion toward synchronizing her situations in the world would be perpetuated by political action that seeks to remove stereotypes and to recognize individuals as fragmentary.

Week 6 Blog

Lorde, being woman who is oppressed in many different ways for her race, gender, age, and sexuality has developed a consciousness of which she is forced to act differently in order to protect herself from the harsh criticism and stereotypical judgment of others. She is not only oppressed because she is a woman, she is oppressed because she is black, and she is a lesbian as well. Because she has to deal with so many types of oppression, she has to learn new ways to act in different situations for protection. Lorde lives a white patriarchal in which the circumstances she lives in are looked down upon. Lorde has to consciously think about the way in which she acts everyday in order to please or fit in with those around her. In her situation power works through your skin color and your sexuality. Being a woman is the least of her worries when you take into consideration other characteristics that define her.

Gunn Allen comes from a place where women have a strong identity. Her oppression is not based on whether she is male or female. She does however had to deal with the conflict of being a hybrid, American and Indian. Women in her tribe are particularly strong and independent women, which contrasts with American society where women are seen as weaker figures who are dependent on men.

Lorde and Gunn Allen’s ideas relate in a few different ways. Although the types of oppression that both women are under are very different, they both have formed a consciousness. Within these consciousnesses they are forced to act in certain ways among certain groups of people. Lorde is forced to act straight in her black community because she states homosexuality is seen as a “white? thing. Gunn Allen has to act as the weaker sex in American society as opposed to being responsible, self-sufficient, and strong witted among those in her own tribe. No matter what kind of oppression one suffers, they all develop a consciousness that forces them to act in a way in which to protect themselves from the harsh criticism of others.

Blog Week 6

Audre Lorde introduces a kind of consciousness we had not yet discussed in this class—an awareness of one’s self (or others) not only as a woman, but a black woman, or a gay woman, or a black gay woman, or any other combination of factors. It is not enough to say that that person experiences oppression the same was as other people who fall into one or more of the same categories. It is as if to say that all of those factors together create an indivualized experience that is not always comparable to the others. Lorde argues that social positions should be viewed as valuable differences, and not used to create dualisms.
Amzaldua, too, sees a plurality in her personality. To Mexicans, she is seen as an Indian. To Aryan Americans, she is seen as a Mexican. Like Lorde, she cannot be accepted for all components, but instead is oppressed because of them. Lorde is frowned upon by African Americans because she is gay, although she shares the same race. Amzaldua is shunned as a Mexican by whites, although she mixed race. Both scholars recognize and confront the issues of race/ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and class. Amzaldua offers a slightly different solution, however. She believes that her different background(s) make her a hybrid. She is all of her components and yet none of them at the same time. Her solution does not see an intersectionality like Lorde’s does, but a way of balancing everything. The combinations do not necessarily create a unique experience, but ones with the different aspects of oppression.

October 19, 2008

Week Six Blog

Anzaldua’s consciousness is one of a divided nature. She feels torn between two cultures, countries and ways of life. She lives on the borderlands, being neither one country nor the other. She rejects the one or the other idea and says that all countries and cultures are hers. Anzaldua is torn between these two cultures, that of the white American and that of the Hispanics. She feels rejected from both cultures for trying to pursue the other. When she tries to be American she is being disloyal to her Hispanic culture. When she tries to be Hispanic she is rejected and looked down upon by the American culture. Even though she talks a lot about being pushed away from both cultures she really focuses on the mestiza, this idea of being one. She wants to show us that we need to stop rejecting everyone and start including everyone.

In contrast, Gunn Allen’s consciousness is more of a hybrid. She is struggling to find a balance between her Native American culture and her White one. She grew up with women that were strong and reasonable and taught her to be those things. However, she lived in America and was told that women should be helpless and mindless. She talks a lot about the images of women created by different cultures, but she counters that with specific women who went against those images. She shows us that it is the system or culture that creates these images and these are not necessarily true for every woman in said culture.

Both Anzaldua and Gunn Allen seem to be reaching for a happy medium but in very different ways. Anzaldua wants one, whole and inclusive culture whereas Gunn Allen is striving to be both at the same time. Anzaldua shows that if there was one culture that power would be good and equal. Gunn Allen focuses more on women being strong and standing up in a culture that’s telling them they aren’t worth anything.

Blog Six

With different ages, races, classes, and sexualities come different expectations. These expectations are imposed upon society as a whole because as people strive to meet society’s expectations, they in turn grow to expect the same from others. Different ages, races, classes, and sexualities also limit the opportunities that are available to individuals who may not be at a “+5? advantage in comparison to a white, Christian, middle class, heterosexual male.

Lorde writes about the interlocking nature of power. Power isn’t one single institution that affects every single person who is disadvantaged in society. It works through many different channels that, when brought together, form oppression.

She talks about how lesbians are more oppressed in the Black community because of the belief that being homosexual is a “white? thing. As a person’s situation changes, so does the way in which they are oppressed.

October 18, 2008

Week 6 Blog

Blog Week 6

In Barbara Smith’s article, “Home,? she describes her life in basically a –5 system since she is black, lesbian, economically challenged, and female. She not only had to search for an identity and a place of comfort, but also has to deal with missing the two most important role models, her mother and now her aunt. This search plays a large part in her life, in fact, she explains that her history only lives within herself and she is unable to share. She feels disconnected from her past but feels hope because of her current relationship and that relationship brings about that feeling of comfort that she so longs for in her life. She also knows how important the connection with her family history is and how it impacts your current life.

Paula Gunn Allen feels conflicted within two cultures because the role models she has within her own culture are strong, capable and powerful women. She speaks from a “hybrid? perspective and a place where it is important to share the history of your people. Women have a strong identity within their tribes. Her mother shared the stories of their lives and handed down an understanding of her role within her heritage and a respect for the elders. White American culture teaches those women are weak and helpless victims of male domination, which results in a conflict within the Indian culture for indigenous people.

Each article demonstrated how shared history and shared experience bring about learning and identity for individuals as well as groups.

October 17, 2008

Blog Six

Anzaldua believed that the kind of consciousness that results from being oppressed by multiple different power systems is a sort of fragmented consciousness. Anzaldua believes that belonging to multiple different groups, or power systems as the case may be, makes it difficult to be able to feel like you belong completely in at least one of them. This is produced because so many of the different groups conflict with each other, so you have to pick and choose which personality, or part of yourself, that you are revealing more of depending on which group you are in. For example, if you are a lesbian and a feminist at the same time, like Anzaldua, it is difficult to fight for just one or another. As a lesbian she was disclaimed from her people; However, as a feminist, she fights for the beliefs and rights of the women of her people. Having a consciousness like this compels a person to draw the conclusion that he/she will never be able to belong to a certain group and will therefore possibly never get all the power that they may deserve. They must live on the 'borderlands' or just reside upon the edges of each group, never fully apart but never really leaving, and make due as best he/she can.

Gunn-Allen, however, believes in a more 'hybrid' version of consciousness from being oppressed from multiple power systems. This type of consciousness is produced by getting two different ideas of the same thing from two different groups. For example, Gunn-Allen is Indian and from that part of her culture she believes that women are supposed to be strong, smart, practical women; However, she also goes to school in a white community and from that part of her culture she has learned that women are supposed to be weak and mindless and rely on men completely. This kind of consciousness compels a person to draw the conclusion that you can only have a certain personality depending on the group you are in at a particular moment (like you can only be a strong, smart woman when among your own tribe, otherwise out in white society you must portray the weak, unintelligent woman that they expect).

Both of these author's descriptions of gender and power relate because both deal with having to be a part of multiple oppressed groups and both relate how you have to be careful which part of yourself you show more of depending on which group you are in. Anzaldua's description could perhaps be strengthened by Gunn-Allen's, because Gunn-Allen lived pretty much her whole life seeing both sides of the 'story'. She saw the oppression of woman and the strength of women at the same time and lived both lives and so is able to probably draw a better conclusion than Anzaldua about how to deal with being in multiple oppressed power systems.

blog six for chole005

Paula Gunn-Allen's article "Where I Come From is Like This" gives us a taste of how gender and power interact in native American society, speaking from her 'hybrid' perspective in between western and indigenous cultures. The consciousness she has gained from this perspective is unique because of her ability to look outside of the western power systems we take for granted. Because of the different viewpoints presented to her during her lifetime about the gender and society, she is able to draw her own conclusions and form a bi cultural identity in spite of the legacies of colonialism all around her.

In her article "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Redefining Difference" Audre Lorde shows us how as a lesbian feminist women of color, she has experienced oppression under systems of power in ways many of us will not. Her consciousness, like Paula Gunn-Allen's, has been formed by her ability to see the role of gender and power in the western world from more than one viewpoint. This is how Lorde comes to the conclusion that differences are dividing us not for their own sake, but because we are unwilling to accept and embrace these difference and view them as positive rather than as barriers.

Both of these authors push the reader to examine and understand gender and power and how it effects them from a less familiar standpoint. They achieve this by being able to confer a sense of their unique perspective, and by showing us the the importance of recognizing and understanding these voices.

October 16, 2008

Week Six Blog

Anzaldua and Gunn Allen both dealt with the issues of being many things all at once, but both had different views of the kind of consciousness that resulted from being oppressed. Although they were similar the difference was that Gunn Allen felt that she was more of a hybrid while Anzaldua embraced the idea of a third consciousness or the borderlands consciousness. Anzaldua was at the borderlands of nations and caught between her culture as a Chicano women and lesbian.
With Gunn Allen she produced her consciousness from taking in her indigenous identity and combining it with her knowledge of the outside world and herself to make sense of western patriarchal oppression. It seemed like Gunn Allen made herself more a part her culture due to the oppression she endured so that she could learn more about her civilization and separate it from the others. From her writing readers can gather that power works through competing cultural codes.
On the other had Anzaldua showed that power was multiple and uneven, but this coincides with the fact that Anzaldua was very multiple in the sense of who she was because she was never just once thing. Every part of her was something and partially something else because she never defined herself.
Anzaldua and Gunn Allen were similar in the sense they had many views and encompassed many experiences all in one. Specifically they dealt with their sexual identity and how to remain a part of their culture/ civilization. Gunn Allen and Anzaldua were different in how they dealt with oppression, their, culture, and they identity. Basically Anzaldua never defined herself but rather accepted her consciousness as one of borderlands meaning a meshing of many things so that it is both and neither. Whereas Allen actually defined herself and her experiences as a hybrid and focused more on learning about her culture in the west and how the oppression worked.

Week 6 Blog

Lorde & Anzaldua

First off, Lorde has this idea of an interlocking nature of power and how intersectionality is this consciousness of oppression. She believes that she will always be seen as a ‘piece’ and never a ‘whole.’ For example, even though Lorde is a black lesbian woman, she believes people will only view her as ‘black’ alone, and not as a black lesbian woman altogether. I believe this cultural situation arises from society not being able to accept people for who they are as a ‘whole’ and just look at them piece by piece. Many believe that if you are not white, you are black and that is wrong, relating to Plumwood’s view of dualisms. In my opinion, I think this is how a big chunk of society views individuals and again, doesn’t appreciate them as a whole, leading to problems with gender and power. Since Lorde is a black lesbian woman, she is looked down upon not for being just black, but also for being a lesbian and a woman. It is never a win-win situation, although Lorde believes that differences should be useful, and individuals shouldn’t be shunned because of them.

Secondly, Anzaldua has this concept that power is multiple and uneven. Again, someone is looked down upon for something they are or something they aren’t, such as Anzaldua being apart of two different cultures. She has this idea of a mestiza consciousness, where she creates her own ‘hybrid’ consciousness from being oppressed between two different cultures. She combines these two borderland consciousnesses (of the two different cultures) to one hybrid (mestiza) consciousness. Anzaldua is apart of two different cultures, and this makes it harder for her to determine where she ‘fits’ in with society and how she thinks she will be accepted. She is being oppressed as a single subject because of this. Anzaldua doesn’t like the idea of being just a little piece of who she truly is since she is apart of multiple identity categories. Therefore, she creates this hybrid consciousness. Personally, I believe this is where she’s telling us that power is multiple and uneven, and we have to find our own way to make ourselves be that ‘whole’ by condensing every aspect of who we are between the borderlands.

Lorde and Anzaldua both believe that gender and power are impacted by race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. An individual has to take accountability for naming the conditions of that position. Lorde describes herself as severed parts and not a ‘whole,’ where Anzaldua creates this new mestiza consciousness that is not whole because she is combining the consciousnesses of her two cultures into one.

blog 6 yo! --a little late

The three authors of the past week have described systems of oppression from their personal standpoint and position within that system. They have amazing insight into the structure of that oppression not only because they are knowledgeable about their own position, but also because they can recognize the way in which oppression works in a more comprehensive way. They do more than just describe their position; they each offer a solution calling for a consciousness change within society.

Lorde’s position she describes as intersectional. She feels she has many different identities that cannot always be read by others as many within the whole of her self. She is black, lesbian, working-class, feminist, mother—all these things together, which can conflict within her and cause her to suppress one or more aspects of her life in order to be more accepted, simpler to read. Her resolution, therefore, is to say that all differences between people should not be seen as dualisms; rather society needs to accept differences as new knowledge from which to learn and benefit.

Anzaldua is describing much the same position. She has an intersectional consciousness from being positioned between her indigenous Mexican identity and western culture. Hers is a little more complicated though, because of language, and strong differences in cultural values between the two. Her standpoint is fragmented. She feels she cannot find a balance within her aspects of identity because they are so conflicting. She feels like she doesn’t have her foot fully planted anywhere, and this makes her vulnerable to oppression. Her solution is the mestiza consciousness, or ambiguous social identities. She wants to say that the clash that she feels is ok, and not something to thwart her actual existence, or lead to her being considered as lesser than.

Gunn-Allen’s position I see as embodying the mestiza consciousness that Alzaldua describes. She feels tension between the western culture she has entered as an adult, and the Native American culture of her childhood while living on a reservation. While these two influences often conflict, she has made an identity for herself that consolidates them. In this way she is living in the mestiza consciousness, not really being one or the other, but both together. She never has to suppress her Native American-ness or her western-ness; they can exist together. She achieves this by recognizing the power of her native cultural history and reverting to the ideals within it whenever she sees disconnection within the western culture.

October 14, 2008

blog six

A. In the readings I found that many of the women are going through the same things. Although they may be in all types of different categories they all have similar issues. In Gunn Allen’s article she talks about how strong the women in here tribe are and how they do everything on their own and that makes them independent and powerful. She talks about how a woman was getting beat up by her husband, and how her grandmother left her husband years ago. That makes me think about how women are oppressed and how men think that women are supposed to bow down to them and depend on them hand and foot. The article said that the women may be associated with a lot of different things but oppression was not one of them. This makes me think that women portray what society portrays them as, what I mean is that some women just go with the flow.
B. Both of the authors are kind of in the same situation. They are stuck in the middle of different categories. Lorde is stuck in the middle of categories that do not collide in today’s society; she is a feminist, black, women, and lesbian. She talks a lot about how she can’t be all of them at once in certain situations. She is fully conscious of how to act in those situations that call for her to act a certain way.
C. The consciousness that power works through identity shows in every author’s article. The fact that when someone has to act a certain way to be accepted shows how people won’t have power or respect if they are in certain categories. People that are not plus 5 are automatically oppressed and the people that add more “negative? factors to their lifestyle will be looked upon as less powerful and more oppressed.

Week Six

Gunn Allen:
a)Gunn Allen speaks of her grandmothers and her mother telling her throughout her childhood that women were powerful, strong, and stable giving her a confidence in herself as a woman and as a member of her tribe. The cohesiveness of her tribe and of her with her elders instilled in her a vivid memory of her people's history and identity. She is conscious of the oppression; racism, colonialism, classism, sexism that she and her tribe suffer. Because of her consciousness as an Indian woman, she can use her identity to combat all manner of oppression.
b) Gunn Allen's consciousness is shaped by the hybrid identity she has in which she is constantly shifting in and out of/and is simultaneously in both her first identity as an American Indian and the dominant forces of Western colonialist culture. She experiances the oppression of racism, colonialism, classism, and sexism and yet at the same time she experiances the power of being a woman passed down to her from her grandmothers and the power of her people's will to survive.
c)Gunn Allen draws different conclusions, for example, about how power works through gender because of her own experiances. Though some Indian women have been abused and raped in the tribe, her images of strong, independent women help her overcome her vulnerability as a woman.

a)Mohanty calls for a great expansion of western feminist consciousness. Western feminism has often framed non-western women in a dualistic logic in which non-western women become flat and homogenous. She suggests an approach that reclaims the lable of "third world woman" to give these women agency, voice, and distinction.
b)Mohanty's consciousness arises from her identity as a third world woman trained in the United States. Recognizing the vast ignorance and silence surrounding third world women in western feminist discourse, she demonstrated the need for a intersectional feminist analysis that would look at oppression not only in terms of sex but also geographic location, class, religion, race/ethnicity, history, and colonialism.
c)While western feminists have remained relatively silent on issues of colonialism, race, and poverty Mohanty shows us that all these forms of oppression intersect and act upon each other in ways crucial to our unerstanding of oppression. For example, immigration laws have been designed at many points throught history to target and exclude certain groups, such as Chinese women or Mexican miners from entering a colonizer country.

Both Gunn Allen and Mohanty's descriptions of gender and power intersect in that they both point to the need for white western feminists to expand their consciousness of poor, queer, women of color and also their ideas about what a woman can be. They also highlight the different levels of power women have in specific contexts: for example, white western women have the power to define and speak for third world women, and the women in Gunn Allen's tribe were considered to have considerable power by its members.

October 13, 2008

Blog 6

Audre Lorde describes her consciousness as being intersected. She is not allowed to be everything she is (woman, black, feminist, lesbian) because there is not a place in society for all of those things to exist at the same time. Instead, she is required to pick one of the pieces of herself to refer to. She argues that the differences she has can be useful for seeing things from a different perspective than many others, and therefore she can help contradict our society's system of dualisms and the "one and no others" way of thinking. She says that the way in which our society can only see one difference at a time leaves all other differences and the way they are analyzed stable, and little change is made.

Paula Gunn Allen describes her consciousness as a double identity. Gunn Allen grew up in a Native American family but was educated and participated in "white society" as well. Women in her Native American culture were strong, powerful and were not seen as below men. When she would interact with white people, however, she felt she had to abandon her Native American womanhood and act more subdued and "weak" to be able to be identified as a woman to non- Native American people. Gunn Allen's conflicting identities of women show that dualisms are not universal, and that Native American culture has thrived without them. Difference in Native American culture is seen as just that, not as a way of judging one thing over another, and Gunn Allen thinks white Americans can learn a lot from this.

Both Lorde and Gunn Allen have perspectives of conflicting identities, but while Lorde looks at her differences as being related, Gunn Allen looks at how much her differences oppose one another. However, both authors agree, neither can be everything they are at one time and be fully accepted in society. Both are also looking to break down the system of dualisms so there can be a cultural space made for them where multiple differences are accepted.


Lorde and Anzaldua clearly point out that the relationship between gender and power is affected by race, class, ethnicity etc.
They are both situated in different but similar standpoints in society. Lorde does not “fulfill? the norms by being black, lesbian and a woman and Anzaldua doesn’t either since she is a Chicano and belongs to what she calls “the third world.? Because of the way they experience gender and power they think of their differences or their perspectives in somewhat different terms.
Lorde introduces the idea of consciousness based on intersectionality. She often finds herself downplaying certain parts of her in different situations. She downplays being lesbian in front of the black community, because that’s something that “white? people do and it would be considered betrayal.
Anzaldua on the other hand introduces the consciousness of a “hybrid? or what she “broken, fractured, severed parts.? She is positioned between two different cultures and countries. She says that these parts of her are always there. She differs from Lorde because she says that there is no intersection.
The big difference between Lorde and Anzaldua is their resolution. Lorde believes that we should accept the differences because they are good. We should not take the differences and create dualisms, but instead use them to understand gender and power from a different perspective. Anzaldua’s resolution is that we need to understand that being both and neither is not a deficit, and that is how we can create a whole new world.
Reading these two reading together emphasizes the idea that gender and power are experienced differently. They both give the readers a new perspective to look at gender and power, which is very helpful.

Week 6 Blog

According to Lorde, many different systems of power produce different kinds of consciousness that stem from intersectionality. She states that we need to take accountability by naming the conditions of our position and recognizing who we are, every part of us. We should see our differences as useful.
When people are of multiple cultures they are forced, in most cases, to see both sides of oppression. Like Gunn-Allen, consciousnesses are produced from two cultural backgrounds. Her Indian and American sides have such different views about women that she has to find a distinction between the two and make sense of how to fit and find her place between these two views.
These consciousnesses compel us to draw different conclusions about how power works through identity. This happens because we are forced to pick one over the other instead of finding a balance between our cultures and/or other limits. Both of these authors come to different resolutions in terms of finding a balance in their power both coming from several limited backgrounds. Lorde concludes that we need to get rid of the black vs white and recognize those grey areas it can’t be strictly one or the other. Gunn-Allen’s resolution is to make sense of her western patriarchal oppression and find a middle balance between, be hybrid.

Week 6 Blog

Audre Lorde writes about a fractured consciousness that develops in subjects feeling intersectional oppression. She explains that she feels she may only express one part of her oppressed self at a time. She has a hard time expressing what she considers to be her whole cultural identity. Because she is black and a lesbian, she considers herself on the outskirts of the feminist movement. She also considers herself not wholly accepted in black and queer circles. It is clear throughout her essay that the different groups she is describing are all reacting to their statuses of oppression given to them by the institutional powers and norms, and, as a result, women create factions amongst themselves in an effort to preserve their separate cultural identities.

Gunn-Allen presents to us with a different consciousness of power relationships. Her’s is a consciousness that is made up of two dueling ideologies. She struggles to marry her upbringing as a Laguna Pueblo woman to the greater white, Christian community she experienced. She describes the confusion of learning culture from two distinctly different sources, sources that have historically been at odds with one another. She says that many American Indian women have trouble separating their Indian heritage and their American identity.

The authors both focus on something very important in the struggle for feminine equality. We need to understand that women come from different cultures and ethnicities and that means they all have differing ideas about what it means to be woman in their particular circles. Lorde points out that these different cultural factors can create factions within any oppressed community. Gunn-Allen asserts that the institutional cultural identity can be deeply ingrained in one’s ethnic identity. In the fight for equality, women need to be able to decipher what lessons they have received from the institutional powers that be and better separate them from their ethnic identities. Once they have done so, women will be better able to reach across the borders that keep them separately oppressed and hating one another. True sisterhood can only be achieved when we can accept every woman as our sister because we no longer fear or disregard their specific oppressive circumstances.

Week Six

In the past week we have read essays by Lorde and Anzaldua. In some ways the essays by both of these women are very similar, they both look challenge dualistic thought by discussing people caught between many identities. Upon further examination, however, it becomes clearer that Lorde and Anzaldua look into different aspects of this argument.
Lorde discusses her own identity being a black female lesbian and writes on how this creates views that coincide with each other, or rather how views from one identity intersect with another to create a consciousness that created from the crisscrossed views of many. We can use this consciousness to realize that power is not created because of one identity and then another, but rather the sum of all of those parts together and the result at the end.
Anzaldua proposes something a little different. She writes of a “hybrid? consciousness that, like Lorde’s is created by being more than, to use Johnson’s system, + or -, but Anzaldua suggests that a whole new consciousness is created. Not just the cross and intersection of views from multiple consciousnesses, but a result from views completely unique. Anzaldua discuss herself, being a Chicana woman who was not only from the “boarderlands? but felt that her own self was a “boarderland?.
Both authors make it clear that dualistic thought is far from the complete way of thinking. The essays do not make one author seem correct and the other not, but rather open it up to the existence of many consciousnesses and that the creation of them can be unique to a person, or a place.

Blog six

Gunn-Allen’s view on consciousness results from each culture that it comes from. There isn’t exactly a good or bad view or quality to it; it’s just the way it is. Her consciousness arises from being part of two very different racial communities, Native American and American. In her Native American culture, women are seen as strong able bodied beings that can do just as much if not more work than the men. However in Gunn-Allen’s American culture, women are supposed to be “lady-like? and more delicate than men. She sees this as somewhat detrimental to women who are torn between these two very different cultures. She mentions acts of violence, partying, drinking excessively, travelling too much, and quitting jobs as ways to “cope? with the dilemma of which culture to identify with.
Anzaldúa deals with her multi-racial/cultural background differently than Gunn-Allen. Anzaldúa explains her diverse background as her different cultures merging as one. She talks of intersectionality and hybridization of the two. Anzaldúa focuses more on the positive, strengthening aspects of her diverse background and embraces it. In class we compared Anzaldúa’s hybridization as a sort of juggling act, trying to find benefit from each part of herself. Both Gunn-Allen and Anzaldúa talk of trying to figure out how to balance, juggle, embrace,ignore, or separate themselves, their culture, and their gender.

October 12, 2008

Blog Six

I'm not exactly sure what is meant by consciousness, but I believe it's like the idea brought up the Lorde piece where a woman in Africa would not think of herself as a black woman, but because of the way society functions today, she's forced to associate herself as a black person in the presence of different races.

Likewise, this idea is expanded in the Gloria Anzaldua piece, where she talks about being a Chicano woman in a white male society. Her plight is further complicated by her being a Lesbian, which doesn't allow her be one being, rather she's split between being a Mexican, a woman, or a Lesbian. She takes which ever consciousness is necessary to please her perspective sect that she's vouching for.

Meanwhile, in the Gunn Allen, in addition to being a minority, she's also in the Third World part of Allan Johnson's +5 System. In the Third World system, she's likely subject to situations that arise out of living in substandard conditions, being looked down upon and victim to the uneducated masses who may not have been taught about the rights of others.

The two authors have similar ideas in theory, as is often the case in the pieces we've read. They believe that people are oppressed due to race, class, gender, and sexuality. Indeed, Gunn Allen pays tribute to at least two of the women we read piece for in Gloria Anzaldua and Andre Lorde. In fact, I'm hard pressed to notice any real difference between the three writers' views.

Week Five

Lorde examines how oppression operates on people's loathing of difference and their tendency to either ignore it or use it as a block to progress. This loathing of difference creates different kinds of limits. It limits the connections we can make with other people; Lorde discusses the generational "gap" that exists in our society and how because of this progressive lessons that the former generation has learned don't get passed down to the younger one. Lorde describes this as having to "invent the wheel every time we have to go to the store for bread." Ignoring differences produce ignorances about the real needs of people. The white, middle class, heterosexual dominated women's movement often ignored the fact that lesbians and women of color were different from themselves and did not simply share all the same problems and agendas. A person's ability to identify with the oppressor also varies. Lorde discusses the issue that there is more room for white women to seek a small share in the larger power of a patriarchal world than there is for black women. She also discusses the need for black women to come together as women and to cease relying on black men for identity. She explains her position as a lesbian of color: she is often made an enemy where she would be an ally in different communities, asked to abandon parts of her identity for the sake of avoiding tension by calling attention to her differences from others.
Lorde does not consider patriarchy the one primary form of oppression and discusses the consequences of obsessively focusing on oppression in terms of sex, or, for that matter, race, class, or age. She advises a more inclusive approach: recognizing difference and the relevence it has in people's lives and asking us to use a more intersectional approach to analyzing oppression and systems of power.


In her essay, Lorde describes a consciousness that oppression can come from those within an oppressed group. For example, Lorde describes how she is oppressed by white women who, while oppressed themselves as women, oppress Lorde as a black person; Lorde is still oppressed as a woman by black men, and as a lesbian by fellow black women. This comes about because people within those groups might focus only on their particular oppressions and forget their relative privilege compared to some members of the same group. Additionally, those further oppressed are asked to ignore those differences in the name of unity to the one group. This demonstrates how power can be negatively utilized even in an oppressed situation if one forgets what relative privileges they may have.

Gloria Anzaldua proposes that people oppressed by multiple systems develop a 'boarderland' or 'hybrid' consciousness. It is impossible to separate any one part a person oppressed in such a way; that person is necessarily a combination of all parts involved. This is due to the fact that those people are forced to constantly go between the groups with which they are oppressed where they are coerced to becoming only that one aspect of themselves.

Both of these authors hammer in the point that, when oppressed, an individual cannot be asked to become only one portion of themselves. They are still a combination of everything that they are, and the specific oppression they face is a result of all those factors together. Anzaldua, however, is arguably more effective in getting this point across not only by actually naming and describing this idea as a new consciousness, but also by adding in the aspect of being a third world person.

blog #6

Paula Gunn-Allen has a confused consciousness and is appalled by the Western culture and the oppression that results from it. Gunn-Allen not only explains how she is constantly oppressed as being a stereotypical “savage? she also had to deal with the flipping on cultures respect towards women. In her Native culture stories were constantly being told to show that women are strong and intelligent. However, in Western cultures it is almost completely opposite (especially for a woman of color) women are seen as incompetent, fragile, and not respected, heard, or understood like in Gunn-Allen’s culture. The confused consciousness is produced by these mixed views of having two different cultures tell her two completely different aspects of how women should act and be treated. Power works directly through identity and this can be seen through Gunn-Allen’s confusion and is one of the major causes of conclusion. In Gunn-Allen’s Native culture power is stressed and emphasized while in Western culture women are encouraged to be feminine and incapable which leads to disruption of power.

Amzalduia has a consciousness somewhat similar to Gunn-Allen’s with being in-between cultures or like Amzalduia explains “borderlands? but she also includes the need for the acceptance of difference in our culture. Therefore you can say her consciousness is that of isolating cultures that need to avoid the need to be whole or complete. The sense of isolation comes from the obvious fact that those of different cultures or parts of the world have two different borders and are treated in completely different ways depending on which part of the border their on. Also she feels that she is so oppressed because in Western culture the sense of wholeness and need to be only in a few isolated groups is constantly being stressed. Therefore, those who are different or outside of the selected groups are seen as weird, and out of place instead of someone interesting and special which leads to oppression in our culture. Because Amzalduia is an outsider and has the identity of being someone “different? culture gives her less power than that of someone who only has one border and fits snugly into a category.

The similarities between the two are that both of the authors and the cultural groups that they represent are different and have two different cultures. Because of their differences they are seen as less powerful than those who fit inside the norm. Both want to change the culture so they can see everyone as a whole. Also, both authors stress the need of passing down information to other generations so they will be prepared to deal with and hopefully someday change the way Western culture is.

Blog Six

Gloria Anzaldua introduces the consciousness of the Borderlands explained as the mixing of races, creating a hybrid human being. Those following one culture are on one side of the border and those following another culture are on the other side of the border. Those following both cultures are thought to be in the “borderlands?. With the mixture of cultures, some feel “torn between ways? as to which culture to follow, causing a “cultural collision?. One in the borderlands is thought to not reject any part of either culture even though they may contradict the other. They only try to embrace these differences. We have talked about those as a part of several cultures are thought to be less powerful but Anzaldua explains, if one remains close to their roots and embraces their culture(s), they will be stronger.
Paula Gunn Allen introduces a consciousness of women and their power through an Indian perspective. Women in Indian cultures are never portrayed as “mindless, helpless, simple, or oppressed? as in Western culture. She mentions how the Western culture has weakened and devalued tribal traditions of women’s power. In Indian culture women are oppressed in some ways by men but they also hold a very important role in society and therefore hold a great amount of power. She did not experience gender oppression until she experienced Western culture.
Both Anzaldua and Allen relate mixing/adding one’s cultures together with Western culture. Anzaldua’s piece focuses more on showing one’s culture(s) and being proud of all of them while Allen’s piece seems to show the incorporation of Western ideas into Indian culture and the differences between the two. Also, Allen shows how the Western culture has affected Indian ideas and how it has weakened the Indian ideas.

week six blog

In Lorde’s essay “Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference,? she describes how she is situated within a system that does not recognize her complete self. She breaks down what she defines as her pieces of identity; her age, her race, her sexuality, her political views, and how they often conflict within her daily life. This conflict creates a space that she dubs “intersectional,? meaning she is in between the limits society places on being a woman, or being black, or being lesbian. This intersectionality informs the way she interacts with people. She is highly aware of her “performances? because she never feels like she is fully recognized as her whole identity, she has to bring out one aspect and subvert the others in different situations.
Lorde politicizes her situation by saying she is always oppressed by the limits within which she has to work. She is oppressed because she is a woman, she is oppressed because she is black, and she is oppressed because she is lesbian. But she is also oppressed because she is all these things at once. I believe that she is not just saying oppression stems from a system of patriarchy, or a system of heterosexism. One definition of oppression for Lorde is by not fitting within the limits of one or another social category, and therefore shunned.
Lorde says oppression is a lot more complicated than just being female and not male. It is informed by one’s entire being and place within a system that categorizes and limits people according to single pieces of their lives, never willing to look at a bigger picture.

I also wanted to bring my classmate’s attention to a very interesting show on HBO (I think?, but you can watch it on surfthechannel.com) called Big Love. Its about a polygamist family living kind of undercover in Utah, where polygamy is illegal. It’s a husband and three wives and seven kids, with three houses all sharing a backyard. Yeah, I know its just a tv show, but I think within the context of this class, the idea of gender roles within a polygamist family is very interesting, and maybe something that we can learn from. It’s a situation few of us are familiar with, and could possibly shed some light, if not on polygamy, then just on how we all come from different situations, and each situation informs how we look at others, and how we “do? our own identity within the culture that we live. Check it out.

Blog Assignment Six

Audre Lorde shows us a whole new way of looking at oppression through her unique classification and background. Since she is a women of color, a feminist, and a lesbian all at the same time, she can give us a very different perspective that most people don't see on a regular basis. She is oppression from many different systems of power and came up with a consciousness that involves intersectionality. This is when a variety of different classifications and characteristics come together to form who you are and how you are looked upon and sometimes oppressed. Each of her classifications is an section of her and they all intersect and intertwine to make her who she is. This consciousness forms for Lorde because she is not only oppressed by males for being a female, whites for being black, but also other blacks, females , and heterosexuals for being homosexual. She feels forced to downplay parts of her depending on who she is with just to be accepted, which isn't right because she doesn't want to be classified as just a woman, just black, or just a lesbian. When she is with feminists she tries to downplay her race and sexuality, when she is around other blacks she downplays her sexuality, etc.

Anzaldua has some similar and some different perspectives and views. Her being a chicana lesbian, she also comes from a perspective that isn't always seen or heard. Instead of calling her consciousness an intersection like Lorde, she calls it borderlands consciousness, broken, or a hybrid. She is a mix of white and mexican and therefore feels like she can't be either so she is nothing. She has "severed" parts and feels like she needs to "juggle" between the classifications she is caught in between. This compels us to see how much of a struggle and how caught in the middle someone of two different races can feel.

Both Lorde and Anzaldua have many things alike with their lives and the way they see things. Both give us perspectives that aren't always considered, ones that stray from the "norm." Also, both show us just how much race, class, sexuality, gender, etc come together and form our place in society and the power in which we receive. Both women live a life where they can feel oppressed by multiple different factors. One small difference is that Lorde seems to feel at an intersection, where she has to choose one way over the other depending on the situation, whereas Anzaldua feels like she is at a crossroads or a border, and feels broken. Neither seem to want to have to choose one way or one characteristic for each situation, but neither feel exactly the same about this situation. Lastly, both seem to want to show us that there is more to oppression than what we see and that we need to see what they see in order to change things. We must internalize difference and learn to think of it as just difference and not a a negative or a dualism.

Week Six Blog

Lorde and Gunn-Allen are both writers who have experienced gender oppression and can view it through a cultural perspective. Lorde is a Black lesbian feminist who feels that she always has to suppress part of her identity, depending on which situation she is in. For example, when she is around feminists, she must only be a feminist, suppressing the fact that she is also Black. She argues that people see only the oppression that they are experiencing and participate in the system of oppression by ignoring the oppression that people face from other things – such as race, sexuality, etc. She thinks that we need to recognize the different kinds of oppression and realize that individuals can experience oppression differently, depending on their own situation.

Gunn-Allen is a Native American woman who was stuck between two cultures – white and Native American. In her culture (Native American), gender oppression does not really exist – women are valued for many different reasons. It was only through her connection to white culture that she experienced gender oppression in this “white? way. To her, this meant that gender oppression was not innate. It was something learned. She also talked about how it was difficult to be caught between the two cultures. She, however, was able to conclude that she as a woman was strong, and not something delicate and inferior like in white culture.

Lorde and Gunn-Allen’s arguments are similar, in that they cross cultural boundaries. What makes them different, in my opinion, is that Gunn-Allen was able to simply choose one part of her to agree with, while Lorde is stuck with changing her outward identity in different situations. Lorde came up with suggestions as to what to do about it, while Gunn-Allen seemed very content with the fact that the Native American teachings would pass on to her children. What about the rest of us?

Week Six Blog

Gunn-Allen describes her position (and other American-Indian women) as being in a “bicultural bind? where she is situated between the culture of her Native tribe and Western culture. She describes these cultural positions as being in opposition of one another and that it usually creates an uneasy tension in which she must negotiate her identity and not fall victim to destructive ways. She is in the position of a colonized indigenous woman in America who was raised Catholic. Gunn-Allen discusses that this position forces her to recognize her Indian self and to pass on her understanding of her position to other Indian and non-Indian women. Through the oral traditions of indigenous peoples, Gunn-Allen sees a potential for the voices of American Indian women to grow and emanate, thus carrying social change and understanding.

Audre Lorde, on the other hand, comes from a different position as a black, lesbian woman. She discusses these interlocking identities as "intersectional" and connected, allowing for a unique understanding of difference. Lorde discusses that we can use difference in a way that enlightens one another about our unique standpoints. Learning through difference can eliminate ignorance and question the predominate power that denies and privileges certain groups. She wants to eliminate the dualistic approach to power.

When comparing and contrasting these pieces, it is easy to see there is definitely points of difference and they are two women speaking from different positionalities. However, they have in common some similar characteristics such as there colonized histories, in respect to Anglo-American oppressors. In addition, I think they both call for their people to speak up and discuss issues that have left them powerless or oppressed. They want to speak not only to their own social circles but those that have denied them power. They want to encourage social change through words, literature, stories, etc.

Blog 6 by Katie Kubes

In Gloria Anzaldua’s essay “La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Toward a New Consciousness,? Anzaldua elaborates on how race, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality are interlinked in the structure of oppression. As a Chicana lesbian, Anzaldua identifies with what she considers the borderlands consciousness. Her use of the term borderlands is figurative. In reality, a borderland is a physical region between two separate places. In her case Anzaldua refers to the borderlands between the United States and Mexico, as she is Chicana—both Mexican and American. Therefore, the borderlands consciousness is that which exists in between two cultures: both cultures yet neither. A “hybrid? of the two, constantly juggling and adapting to fit the norm.

From Anzaldua’s perspective we can study gender and power from a different perspective. We cannot take solely gender into account, as race, culture, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality are all intersected with gender. Oppression based on these five elements can and does occur within genders. Within the +5 system, each +1 that one does not meet is one less way in which they hold power.

Similarly, Audre Lorde explains similar obstacles in her article “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference.? As a black, Socialist lesbian, Lorde is also caught at an intersection. This intersectionality is the consciousness she experiences. Lorde states, “…white women focus upon their oppression as women and ignore differences of race, sexual preference, class, and age.? Thus, any woman or feminist straying from a +4 in the +5 system cannot fully partake in the fight for women’s rights.

As displayed in the short entry, Anzaldua and Lorde share similar perspectives. Both express that the relationship between gender and power is also impacted by race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. Both live on the outskirts, at a crossroads. In order to understand gender and power, we must first understand other characteristics such as those listed above that are oftentimes excluded.

Blog 6

Gun Allen’s consciousness of oppression comes from her knowledge of the American culture vs that of her Native American culture. She sees the differences in the way culture views and treats women. Within her Native American tribe, women are viewed as powerful not only mentally but also physically and metaphysically. She states that Native American women are “far indeed from the ‘weaker sex,’ the designation that white aristocratic sisters unhappily earned for us all.?
Gun Allen’s ideas and experience within two different cultures leads me to believe that power directly correlates to our identity. The biggest example that I can pull from her article is that of menstruation. If we look back at what Plumwood said, women are weaker because of their connection to the body. Menstruation was what made women the inferior sex; whereas in the Native American culture, menstruation blood is seen as powerful enough to kill someone.
As opposed to Gunn Allen’s views from being within two cultures, Lorde’s argument about oppression comes within the American society. As an African American lesbian, she feels oppression from many angles, also known as intersectionality. Through her position in society she realizes that women view their oppression without looking at it from all angles. She says that women believe they are oppressed by their gender and ignore their race, class, age, and sexuality. From her experience within culture, she feels like she must hide her sexuality while within the black community and within the lesbian community she must act differently due to her race. Lorde feels that she shouldn’t have to act different ways depending on her surroundings.
From this experience she believes that we have created artificial barriers for ourselves and that we internalize our differences and somewhat oppress ourselves. Thus, our identity shapes who we are and how we think we should act.
Lorde’s argument is very similar to that of Gunn Allen’s argument. They both feel that your identity shapes who you are and how you believe you should act. They both argue that women are oppressed in society; however using different points of view and their own personal experiences. I think that Gunn Allen creates a stronger argument than Lorde because she sees the treatment of women through more than one culture. Whereas Lorde creates her argument from within many divisions of the same society.

Blog 6

Anzaldua think in ways of borders, which is known as borderland consciousness. There are always borders that separate the different classes, races, religions, ect. The borders in between are the things that cause the limits. They create the limits each group has because they are closed into limited norms. She thinks that there will either always be borders and limits in our society or there will be none. It is one or the other. Anzaldua realizes that she is forced to choose who to be depending on what group she's with. She has to choose what part of her make up she needs to show more in order to fit in that time. She wants to be her whole self all the time and be accepted for that. Many people have trouble finding where they would fit in or what norm they belong to because they have so many things that make up who they are.
Lorde is a black lesbian woman. She has many different things that make up what she is as well. She sees so many limits because of the views and opinions there are that cross and interfere with eachother. They create more problems for people and create even more differences and limits. She sees oppression in different ways because she sees the black oppression, the lesbian oppression, and the women oppression. She, as well, doesn't want to have to be more of one aspect of herself than another at different times. She is who she is. She sees the differences but thinks that we need to accet and embrace the differences in order to live together and get past them.
Both these authors find many different limits that cause them to choose one over the other. They both are made up of more than one thing and they want to be able to show everything at one time. They want limits to be recognized and dealt with. They both deal with oppression everyday and deal with the limits that set people apart. They both want to have people recognize it to possibly change it one day.

Blog Six

Lorde describes what it is like to live in a Western culture as a black, lesbian woman. She discusses intersectionality and how each of these different aspects of herself work together to make her whole being. But, when she is with different groups of people, she has to minimize herself to include only the one of these characteristics which will make her most similar to the people she is with. For example, if she is in a group of white feminists, she has to highlight her female side, whereas when she is with a group of black people, she has to downplay the fact that she is not heterosexual. This shows us the exclusive nature of our culture and emphasizes the fact that power is dependent on much more than gender.

Gunn Allen talks about her Native American culture and how it portrays women in comparison with Western culture. She says that in her culture, women are actually thought to be quite powerful and are very respected. There are rarely negative characteristics associated with them, unlike in Western ways of thinking where females are regarded as almost useless compared to men. This poses a problem for her in that she doesn’t know exactly how to act. She can’t act as a Western woman “should? if she is to fit in with the Native Americans, and vice versa. She brings to our attention to the influence culture has over how we perform our genders and how power comes from our cultures expectations of us as gendered beings.

These writers are similar because they both have trouble fitting in to all the categories they belong to at the same time. Each of them has to flip back and forth between identities depending on the situation and company and they both realize that it really doesn’t have to be that way. Ideally, we should all be able to portray our true selves all the time, whether this includes one identity or several.


Lorde explains that being lesbian, a socialist, black, and many other things can influence the way you act in certain situations. Since she doesn't fit into most categorys of social hierarchy, she needs to change the way she thinks and acts in different places. She is always conscious of 'what' she is and how others will label her. This is the same thing that happens to people who aren't male, Christian, middle class, heterosexual, and white. She explains that we can only show our true colors in one category. A good example of this is the one she uses of her going to a feminist convention. She downplays her lesbian and black qualities to fit in better. Lorde explain how we need to see her and people like her, who are different and dont fit into social norms, as good. We need to accept and listen to what these people have to say because they are in a good position to help us understand oppression.

Anzaldua explains how she caught in between two worlds, and how these cultures never intersect. Anzaldua talks about the borderlands consciousness and the hybrid consciousness that she faces each day. Her viewpoint is that everthing is broken and never intersect. She views herself to always be an outsider because of the fact that she will never completely fit into either of her 'worlds'. She is always on the absolute outskirts of the cultures she is in. Her 3rd world persepective can also help us to understand the ways in which opression affect us in our everyday and in others' everyday.

Lorde and Analdua are very similar because of the fact that they both talk about intersectionality. They each discuss their feeling on intersectionality in different ways, and both concluded that their standpoint in culture and on the social hierarchy can help us to better understand oppression, gender, and power.

Blog 6

Blog 6

Mohanty and Anzaldua bring a new consciousness to oppression. Anazldua describes it as being a hybrid, and how western society does not allow her to be both, but rather one or the other. Mohanty brings the notion of the “third world? and how westerners stereotypes and groups all “non westernized? nations into one group, which furthers oppression because of their race, ethnicity, and class.

Hybritiy comes from individuals who have two cultures that are broken and have no intersection. They constantly contradict each other. The “Third World? comes from those who are lower class, colored, heterosexual or homosexual, and are stereotyped because they are all these things, and/or the area they are from. The notion of the “Third World? does not just mean women from developing nations; it also describes certain women in the United States as well.

Anzaldua gets us to think of gender and power differently because she brings a new perspective of how these hybrid individuals live and look at the world. They bring a new perspective of how westernization works because they are a part of it, even though they are different from it. She ties in the importance of these social differences can affect the women. Mohanty allows us to see gender as a category, and how we assume these third world women as a category and how we categorize the world around us. She also enlightens us how western feminists helped bring the categorization.

Both Mohanty and Anzaldua bring the notion of how women of different class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality affect gender and power. They both show the complexity of how the two cultures class with another. However, Mohanty’s argument is stronger than Anzaldua, because Mohanty points out that the “third world? is instrumentalized, not just a product of two conflicting cultures. Mohanty relates these experiences of the “third world women? through the everyday, while Anzaldua describes more of a surface explanation of how hybritity should not affect us.

Lorde and Anzaldua

Being a black lesbian, Lorde describes a consciousness based off of intersectionality, where various views coincide/cross. She encourages us to recognize our differences, rather than fear them.

Anzaldua presents a consciousness pertaining to the “borderlands? or “hybrid? consciousness. She encourages us to heal the split between race, class, sexuality etc. She recognizes that she will forever be a hybrid or a neither in culture categories.

Lorde tells us that blacks, women, those of the 3rd world, the working class, and the older are subordinate within the United States. More specifically, she brings up the issue of black women (and other women) disregarding skin color and focusing on gender in terms of feminism. Furthermore, Lorde talks about black lesbians being a threat to black nationhood.

Anzaldua (and other “hybrid? individuals) is faced with a cultural situation where she must decide which culture she wants to be a part of depending on who she is around at the time. She is caught in a bind and is required to “juggle? between these different ways of life.

Lorde’s consciousness helps us look at the bigger picture of oppression. Instead of focusing on a single form of oppression, we’re pushed to look at the possibility of multiple forms of oppression working simultaneously. We seem to rank some forms of oppression worse/better than others, but that needs to stop because oppression is oppression.

Anzaldua’s consciousness really pushes us to have empathy for those who don’t have a place/have multiple places in the world. She brings up the idea of creating new cultures for those who are split between two.

Both Lorde and Anzaldua are faced with multiple oppressions. They’re both female and colored. In addition, Lorde is a lesbian and Anzaldua is biracial. Both of them must struggle with themselves on the inside. One major difference between Lorde and Anzaldua involves intersectionality; Lorde is all about it, whereas Anzaldua is broken. Her parts are severed and therefore cannot intersect.

The Showdown, Allen vs Anzaldua

Allen describes a consciousness that takes values from both cultures that it stems from with no regard to the type of values it takes. Both good and bad are mixed together to create a consciousness that is part of each. Allen's consciousness is produced because of the 'civilized' effects from the white culture and the power accorded to women in the Indian culture. The women in the Indian culture are torn between acting as strong members of their society and acting as the delicate 'flowers' of white culture. This push and pull of the two cultures causes them to fracture in order to cope with the stresses. Allen tells us that the women deal with this in different ways; drinking, partying, quitting jobs and other self destructive ways. Power works through identity by limiting how much respect and power that Indian women have in different situations. This fluctuating power is based on the context of the social situation that the women are in and has nothing to do with who they are as individuals. Anzaldua describes a consciousness that comes from the fracture of being in different power systems at the same time. But, where Allen points out the negative aspects of this division of expectations, Anzaldua is quick to point out the benefit of being 'hybridized'. She equates cultural hybridization to biological hybridization whereby a stronger individual is created. Anzaldua and Allen have very different views of how intersectionality affect power. Anzaldua sees the intersectionality as something that strengthens and supports the power of women in society while Allen sees it as weakening woman's power. Another difference is that Anzaldua sees the intersectionality as a way for women to grow stronger by developing a tolerance for the intersection and Allen sees it as a way to bring out the worst in Women by sending conflicting messages of how to act.

Week 6 Blog

In Lorde's essay, she describes the kind of consciousness that results from being oppressed by many different systems of power is that she develops a intersectionality method of incomprehensible differences and understands the fact that all these things intersect or come together in order to oppress her but also these differences are useful for identiification. Hert only problem with that is that she doesn't want to have to downplay any aspect of herself or her identity in order to be accepted by some people. She also explains the way in which those consciousnesses are produced out of a particular cultural situation goes back to when she talks about in front of white women she has to downplay her race and in front of black women she has to downplay her sexuality. This goes back to one of the basic things we learned about how culture has an extreme effect on gender. Lastly, This type of consciousness should compel us to draw different conclusions aboiut how power works by realizing that differences are useful but should not be used as dualisms as in having to chose or be either/or.
In Anzaldua's piece the consciousness she talks about or that results from being oppressed by many different systems of power is a borderland consciousness or hybridity consciousness. This means that she believes in a mixture of cultures coming together to create a consciousness that you are a whole that belongs or can belong to many other cultures simultaneously which makes you become "caught in between" in a sense. She explains that the way those consciousnesses are produced out of the particular cultural situation in which she exist being from a third world culture but also mixed with other cultures it also creates a "new consciousness" which makes her juggle in between the two depending on the situation which goes back to the understanding of performing gender according to the situation we are in. Lastly, According to Anzaldua this consciousness should make us completely change the way we think about humanity and having to be either/or as well.
Both Anzaldua and Lorde share similarities about believeing that we can belong to more than one group of "classification" at a time and intersection and hybriditiy is almost the same in a sense. However they differ because Anzaldua believes that being apart of mor than one culture or classification system causes them to clash with each other while Lorde say they all work together to make "you" as a person and how you are identified among people.

October 11, 2008

week six

Paula Gunn Allen and Chandra Mohanty seem to believe that we are aware of what is going on. We base our views on things that we are aware of and not of something that we see around us. They seem to say that we base our views on cultural belief and not of others. They seem to say that we all have different views of feminisms. Feminism seems to be the main theme for both of the essay. In both essays female are believed to be viewed differently in each culture and similar in some. They compare two cultures and two worlds or classes as a whole. In Paula Gunn Allen’s essay she compares how females are viewed in two different cultures, white Americans and Indians. In the white world females are usually seen as “mindless, helpless, simple, or oppressed.? However, the Indian women are seen as strong independent women who were treated equally or sometimes higher than men. For Allen though she is a mix of both or a crash culture belief of women. In Mohanty’s essay she compares the first world women with the third world women, women other than white. She explains how first world women are usually seen as the feminist and the third world is not. The reason is that third world women are stereotypically seen as factory workers who were frozen in time of the past. The first world women are usually seen as feminist because they have the privilege of earning more money. In the third world though they only have the privilege to earn enough money to survive. So both the essays deal with different point of views from different culture. The white women are somewhat more about ideas and other ethnical women are into independence and physical strength.

Week Six Blog

In the essay "Where I Come From Is Like This," she states that an American Indian woman is mostly defined by her tribal identity but that in western culture, some see her as "devalued" while others see her as quite powerful. In their culture, women are not seen as oppressed because they are women. In fact she says the negative connotations that she knows of about Indians are more often about males. But because she was also exposed to white culture she had notions about women being "weak." She states, "my 'weak sister' emotional and intellectual ploys get the better of my tribal woman's good sense." She describes it well as a "bicultural bind" between being strong as an American Indian and "hopelessly insecure" as a white woman. These consciousnesses were produced by her raising and seeing the women in her culture do all the things that a white woman would ask for a mans help for. This essay really shows how power is formulated through what the society has taught us to believe power should be.

In Lorde's essay the consciousness that was produced from being oppressed was that she had to define herself as one thing, such as black, lesbian, etc. She felt she had to deny part of herself for others to understand even a part of her. She exists within a culture where being lesbian is a "white woman's problem." When she's with black people she sort of has to deny the lesbian part of her being. Also when she's with a feminist group she has to be feminist and maybe reduce her blackness. In this case power works through identity by displaying the part which will allow you to have the most power or say in the situation.

These two essays both relate in a strong way with being one thing around one group of people and another with another group. In the first example, being strong and independent with the American Indians and a helpless woman in the white society. In the other being black when around other blacks, and lesbian and feminist around other feminists. In Lorde's essay she brings up the point of having to deny parts of herself, whereas the other essay doesn't address denying being American Indian.

October 10, 2008

Blog Six Assignment Instructions

Blog Six

This week, we expanded our discussion of gender, power, and oppression in everyday life. The authors we read were particularly concerned with situating gender and power in the context of race, class, ethnic, cultural, and religious differences in order to demonstrate where and how the experience of gender and power is unique to our cultural locations, identifications, and political histories. For many of them, taking accountability for systems of power and oppression (last week’s theme) requires us to consider where and how systems of power and oppression are interlocking- race oppression works with class oppression, works with gender oppression, works with sexual oppression to create the structures through which we’re able to identify ourselves and through which others are able to read us. Moreover, they similarly argue that recognizing oneself as a subject that is constructed through such interlocking systems requires us to contemplate perspective (one’s point of view) and position (the politics of one’s location in culture) as they relay certain truths about gender and power in everyday life.

Each author introduces a different way of thinking about (a) the kind of consciousness that results from being oppressed by many different systems of power, (b) the way in which those consciousnesses are produced out of the particular cultural situation in which these subject exists, and (c) how such consciousnesses compel us to draw different conclusions about how power works through identity. In a 250-300 word blog, take two authors we discussed this week (you may also use Lorde) and briefly outline those three points for each (what kind of consciousness they describe, out of what cultural situation does that consciousness arise, and how does that consciousness get us to think differently about gender and power). Then, briefly describe how the two authors’ descriptions of gender and power relate. For this secondary task, you do not need to go point-by-point, but you should think of at least two-three ways that you could relate the authors through their similarities, differences, or where their arguments strengthen/trouble one another.

October 7, 2008

Blog Five

Similar to Johnsons “Plus Five? system, Lorde explains that performing gender requires an accumulation of age, race, class, sexuality, and gender. Lorde, being a black lesbian, is oppressed by men because she is a woman and also by heterosexual women because she is a lesbian. When analyzing this performed gender, many aspects of the person are looked at, not just whether they look male or female. Therefore, age, race, class, and sexuality all limit the performed gender.
Lorde does not think that patriarchy is the primary form of oppression. Lorde, much like Frye, is trying to explain the origin of oppression; what types of people oppress and for what reasons they oppress the “Black and Third World people, working class people, older people, and women. She explains that oppression by men is not the only form of oppression. To go back to her example of being a black lesbian, she is oppressed by men but she is also oppressed by white women because of her sexual preference. As I understand it, she is stating that oppression can be performed by anyone even those that are a part of an oppressed group. Oppression is not only performed by the patriarchal group.
Because she is a lesbian of color, Lorde’s analysis of gender and power has more detail rather than just men have more power than women. She explains that sexual preference and race also play into the power that is associated with gender. Lesbianism was once thought to be only a “white woman’s problem?. Lorde explains that many black lesbians are less likely to express themselves freely because they will be thought of as being “less black? as a result of their sexual preference.

Oh, my Lorde!

I found Lorde's essay particularly fascinating. For one reason, her essay opens using Johnson's +5 system, Lorde tells us she is a "forty-nine-year-old Black lesbian feminist socialist mother of two...and a member of an interracial couple." Not only do I think it is interesting that Lorde throws her result to the +5 system out so quickly (in the second paragraph) but that her result to the +5 system is more than a result. Lorde breaks grammatical punctuation rules by listing her results with no commas between them, which right away tells us how she feels about her identity. As the essay goes on, Lorde discusses not just being black and being a lesbian, but rather being a Black lesbian...a huge difference. Lorde makes it clear that for her there are no ands, no commas, but rather that she is what she is because of what she is. Lorde's essay also brings up another intriguing subject. On the final page of the essay, Lorde states, "For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." In my perspective, this means that in order to change any type of system (considering that the system to be changed here is a patriarchal system oppressing women) the change can not come from within the same system trying to be changed. This means that real change can only come from, not only outside the norms, but outside the system. The greatest example that Lorde gives us is by capitalizing the letter "B".

October 6, 2008

Week Five

Throughout Lorde’s essay we can see that she feels that patriarchy is not the only form of oppression. She really focuses on how women oppress each other, through race and sexual orientation. “Black women in the political, social and cultural fields, heterosexual Black women often tend to ignore or discount the existence and work of Black lesbians? (Lorde, 121). She shows that even within the circles of black women, lesbians are being oppressed by the very women they should be bonding with. She seems to be saying if we don’t stick together even within our race how are we supposed to come together as women as a whole, and until we learn to do that we can’t make any progress.

When Lorde analyzes gender and power its obvious she’s writing from the point of view of being a black lesbian. “As a group, women of Color are the lowest paid wage earners in America. We are the primary targets of abortion and sterilization abuse? (Lorde, 120). She definitely includes herself in this group and isn’t afraid to say the facts, whether we want to hear them or not. She brings up the fact that when white women talk about oppression they only talk about being oppressed as women. They never talk about how races are oppressed or how they themselves oppress women of color.

Week Five

In Lorde’s essay she seems to talk a lot about patriarchy but it’s not really all about that. It seems to be about power in all age, race, class and sexuality. Each of these has their own limits. For an example, children are children they are expected to act like children and adults are expected to act out their gender. Patriarchy is just another way of saying that each of these are oppressed to act a certain way and that it is expected of each of them to act the way the society sees them as. Also in each of these categories there are powers limiting each one. Another example would be when Lorde writes that white women seem to oppress black women and do not see that they are oppressed themselves.
Each category seems to limit them and have someone who seems to have more power than the other. It is like Johnson’s plus-five notion. In each category there are always those subcategories and in each of those subcategories there are more. It is like a circle of oppression and limits. Age subcategories are young and old. The subcategories for the young and old are the many races. In those subcategories there are the higher, middle, and lower class. In those subcategories there is the sexuality state of heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, etc. Then it goes back to the age. It is like Lorde says in her essay “We find ourselves having to repeat and relearn the same old lesson…? (117).

week five blog for chole005

I think the most important point Lorde makes is that oppression comes in many flavors, not just patriarchy. There are so many ways for human beings to be somehow not exist as a 'plus five', (or limited) and Lorde brings to mind two ways these boundaries maintain the systems of oppression we encounter every day.. First, they cause oppressed groups to be pit against each other. They are blind to the fact that their struggles are really the same, or that they have anything in common with other groups of human beings that are limited by social stigmas or prejudge. An analogy would be a solider in Iraq. He or she has a lot more in common with the Iraqi civilians that resisted the invasion of their country, but identified these people as the enemy, rather than the politicians who decided on sending him or her to war, who the solider has very little in common with in economic and social terms. A second point that Lorde brings up is that by having some 'plus five' elements, say being white but also not being male, we do not see ourselves as the oppressors, or part of that system. By making this system a 'they' instead of an 'us', we can shift the blame to a nameless entity instead of of examining the guilt of our own actions. Lorde has been able to see this through her personal experiences as a black lesbian, giving her a unique and seldom heard point of view on gender and power. Lorde states that these differences shouldn't be ignored, as others have suggested, but embraced.


Lorde is limited in our culture in MANY different ways. Not, only is she a women she is a black, lesbian, women. She is limited in our culture with the oblivious limit’s of women not being allowed to seem masculine, and the fact that she is black so therefore she is less in our culture than white people. But she is also limited in the groups she should be accepted in. For example, she is a woman and should be included in our “sisterhood? but feels excluded because she is Black and makes things for feminists to complicated.
Lorde explains that the trappings of the mythical norm is where the power resides in society. “Those of us who stand outside that power often identify one way in which we are different?. Because women are outside of the power or cultural norms because we are not men when therefore look for what’s different and assume this is the cause of our oppression.
Lorde dose not think that patriarchy is the primary form of oppression. She doesn’t think that only one group is the reason for all of the oppression in our culture. Basically she is saying that the white, male, middle class, christen is not the only person who is causing oppression those within the systems who have other differences as well do. For example, white women often fall into oppressing Black women and ignore that they are also oppressed as women themselves.
Through Lorde’s analysis of gender and race as a lesbian of color also helped her understand the fact that some differences are overlooked and often disregarded even though they should be looked into and changed. Black women often forget to know that they are oppressed as women because they feel like they have to disregard being Black.


Lorde’s idea of a “mythical norm? resembles Johnsons “+5?, but a little more expanded. She adds thin and young to the system. Lorde’s gender identification is an indication of position as an oppressed woman because she is female and therefore is oppressed by male. She is a “Black? female and therefore oppressed by not only male, but also women who believe “white? is dominant. She is a lesbian female, and therefore oppressed not only by male, and white female but also by the African American woman. She says that the way the “norms? are defined in America, each one of us knows that “that’s not me.?
I think Lorde thinks patriarchy is the primary oppression, but in order for us to have a social change we must fix these other oppressions that really shouldn’t be happening. There are all these subcategories of patriarchy that make it difficult to bring social change. She says as women “we must root out internalized patterns of oppression within ourselves if we are to move beyond the most superficial aspects of social change.?
Lorde is even being oppressed by her “sisters.? African American women do not agree with Lorde’s identification as lesbian. That is something that should be left for the “whites.? It seems to them that she is betraying the community. Then Lorde says the sisterhood does not even exist. She has to fight oppression by man, in a different level or situation because she is different.

Week Five Blog

Lorde’s essay is interesting because does not only show the viewpoint of a woman in society, but the viewpoint of a black, lesbian woman in society. Lorde’s age, sexuality, race and class all limit the ways she can perform gender. She has to deal with not only the normal oppression women face in society, but also with being of a different color and sexuality. Also, because she is 49 years old, she has to deal with ageism as well. She says that in order for her and subjects she discusses in her essay to survive, they have to be “watchers?, which means they have to adapt to the language and manners of the oppressor for protection.

Because Lorde is African-American, her position as a black woman is different than that of a white woman. She believes that she is oppressed because of her race as well, although this is not brought up because many white women view oppression as based on sex only.

To Lorde, patriarchy is not the primary form of oppression. Partiarchy has a wider range of value to white women she says. Black women, especially lesbians in society have a wider range of things to worry about, whether it is sexual abuse practices in other countries, street violence, low wages paid and a never ending struggle for equality. Lorde’s analysis of gender and power is specific to her position because being a black lesbian in society she has been discriminated against and always will be. Even thought patriarchy is a big form of oppression, she has many other dangers to worry about due to her race and sexuality that play a bigger impact on her life.

Week 5 Blog

I believe Lorde's gender indentification is always an indication of her being an oppressed woman because she believes that being a black lesbian sets her 'aside' from the norm of being a white female. Heterosexual black females also look down upon her because she is a lesbian, and they refer that that is a white woman's problem that led to black women deciding if they were lesbian or straight. This is an example of how she is showing that she is being oppressed, not only by white women, but also by women of her own color.

Yes, I do believe that Lorde thinks patriarchy is the primary form of oppression. People grow up living in patriarchy, learning to accept and identify it, and separate it from the typical 'norms.' In her essay, she describes how it is something we are taught from birth, whether it is deemed right or wrong, we choose a specific stance in it occording to what we are taught. In her case, she believes that people who were not 'used' to the fact that there are homosexual individuals out there, and those people were essentially taught to think that is the 'wrong' way from the time they are born. There is not a way we can escape it, if we keep performing it.

Once again, patriarchy comes into play for Lorde's analysis of how gender and power have an effect on her being a black lesbian. Individuals look at her differently, whether they are black or white, male or female, since she is a lesbian of color. They get this idea from the beginning of their lives where they are taught what is 'right' or 'wrong' in the sense of 'being' male or female, straight or gay. To her, people do not look at her the same if she tells them she is a lesbian married mother. In the opposers' eyes, this is not the atmosphere in which children should be raised, since they believe that is not the 'right' way. In turn, she has had to struggle with being accepted as a black lesbian married mother.

Blog Five

How a person 'does gender' is usually copied from the conventional actions of people surrounding them; they learn the appropriate gestures, phrases, reactions, and manners for a situation that fits their expressed gender by watching. For simplicity's sake, lets refer only to women. A woman learns to convey herself correctly by watching and producing, yet the process becomes more complicated as other factors mold what type of woman she is. Her age group, class, ethnicity all hold her to different standards; these standards then modify her expression of herself as a woman. These make limits, each woman's limits are different depending on her race, class, and age. As my limits may be different than those of Lourde as I am white, young, heterosexual female. As she sees it, she has more limits in society due to her disadvantageous race, sexuality, and age. But the bottom line being our oppression is not the same, yet we are both opressed. As exemplified here, oppression does not only exist through sex. Oppression exists between classes, races, and ages; naturally the oppression of these groups are carefully tied with patriarchy to give women the illusion their struggle is a united one, when in reality each suffers individually. Patriarchy is not the only form of oppression, its the most widely recognized form though. Its often too difficult to acknowledge some of the others exist though their influence is just as widely felt as patriarchy. According to Lourde, oppression is much different. It spawns from the fact we see the differences between us as either inferior or superior, we cannot relate them as equal, therefore these differences produce separation. She suggests we redefine these differences and identify ourselves, we can change the pattern of oppression by seeing ourselves as equal, but different individuals. Her idea of how to overcome such oppression directly reflects her status as a black lesbian as she continually stresses differences between each woman. As a minority in multiple contexts, Lourde's experience as a woman has been a much different one than I have ever known. We are women, but how can you say we are sisters and we've had 'homogenous' experiences? Yet to overcome this oppression, she is my equal; society must acknowledge none of her traits are inferior to the next woman. Overall, I truly appreciate this attitude on overcoming the male power in our nation. For once, its okay to not identify with your fellow female, yet still have a sense of unity with her.

Week Five Blog

Things such as age, race, class, and sexuality are all limitations as Lorde would say. She brings up this belief of “norms? in society, limitations similar to Johnson’s plus five system, that “the norm is usually defined as white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, and financially secure? (Lorde 116). With these standards in mind, anything less of them is the root for the oppression in society today. She also states that yes, there are differences between us such as age, race, sex etc. but she believes that “it is not those differences between us that are separating us. It is rather our refusal to recognize those differences, and to examine the distortions which result from our misnaming them and their effects upon human behavior and expectation? (Lorde 115).

Due to these beliefs I do not believe that Lorde would think that patriarchy is the primary form of oppression. She explains that many of these differences are part of what causes oppression, and that we should look at the distortions around difference and not every aspect by itself. Lorde also states that “in a patriarchal power system where whiteskin privilege is a major prop, the entrapments used to neutralize Black women and white women are not the same? (Lorde 118). This being said, she is making the point that the oppressed do not feel oppressed in the same way that others do. Because of their differences they are still oppressed differently.

She states immediately at the beginning of the reading that she is a Black lesbian woman. This seems to of course be a big part of her identity due to her status. However, it is with these differences that she states she wants her identity to be known. She wants to be looked at by all of her differences as she stressed before about learning and benefiting from difference, not by picking every aspect apart and possibly classifying herself by only one aspect.

blog five

In our in class discussions of oppression we saw many points of view. Lorde expresses that patriarchy is not the main form of oppression in our society, but an overall system of power. Lorde’s views even relate to Johnson’s and the +5 system, a point system based on white, male, middle class, heterosexual, and Christian attributes, these specific attributes “limit? the ways in which power is held and gender is performed. In class we discussed that many ways in which a person could be oppressed, how they are oppressed and who they are oppressed by. In the +5 system it is seen that someone at a +5 status oppresses anyone below them, therefore a +4 oppresses anyone below them, and so on. Therefore, it is expressed that there are systems of power are the ways in which people are oppressed.

Lorde defines herself as a “forty-nine-year-old Black lesbian feminist socialist mother of two.? Lorde seems to identify first and formost as a woman of color and secondly a lesbian. She emphasizes certain aspects of herself, almost in order to, it seems, leave certain parts of herself to be known and yet others to be unknown. In order for us to understand Lorde’s point of view, I believe it is important that Lorde identifies with all aspects of herself, not just a select few.

Week Five Blog

Audre Lorde talks about the differing levels of oppression on women of different ethnic identities. White women, she notes, are more likely to focus on purely women’s issues and seem to consider all women equally oppressed as a collective. She also says that white women are more likely to join the oppressor because of the level of privilege already held by white women. Lorde discusses the way oppression is not always the same for white women and women of color. Because white women are more privileged due to their closer likeness to the norm, they are less limited in their everyday performance. Lorde says that people of color have less freedom to express discontent. Bad attitude in a person of color is often taken as dangerousness or hostility. Also, she she says that women of color face specific challenges in gender relationships because they seem to take the brunt of sexual violence, by both black and white aggressors. For women of color, this implicit sexual victimhood puts large limitations on their gender performativity.
I don’t think Lorde would identify patriarchy as the primary force of oppression for all people like Johnson might. Lorde focuses on race relations in her analysis of oppression. Her status as a minority greatly affects her interpretation of oppression. For Lorde, patriarchy is one of those sisterhood issues that affects all women. I think Lorde would argue that patriarchy is just one source of oppression for women of color like herself. Lorde would rather we consider the differences of all oppressed parties and make it our responsibility to be conscious of the way these differences affect the ways in which these different groups feel oppression. She uses her own position as a black lesbian to talk about the different ways in which white and black people think about lesbianism. She says that because lesbianism was once viewed as something culturally white, black lesbians are less accepted, even in their own black communities, and therefore less likely to freely express their sexuality.

October 5, 2008

Blog 5

Lorde's gender identification is always an indication of her position as an oppressed woman because of the obvious that women, in general, are always oppressed and because of the less obvious reason that even by other women she is oppressed just because she is of colored skin. White women believe they have a little more superiority over black women just because they are white and of the 'preferred color'. They want to share some of the glory and power of white men and, since oppressing black women is the easiest way to make that happen, they tend to take advantage of the situation. Even among other people of color Lorde is oppressed, because she is also a feminist. Being a feminist, to many blacks, makes her seem like she is betraying her culture and her community. So no matter where she goes and no matter what group she is in, Lorde will probably always be oppressed because of at least one of her many attributes.

Through this oppression, Lorde had gathered a very good idea of what it means to be oppressed and why the oppressors do what they do to oppress people he/she believes is lower than himself/herself. Through her life experiences she seems to have come to the conclusion that patriarchy is indeed the main form of oppression among society as a whole. Johnson said that everyone acts differently depending on the group he/she is in which I think explains perfectly the situation that Lorde is in. A white woman with white men would be oppressed, but as soon as that white woman gets a chance to be the oppressor for once she would change the way she acts and take advantage of her opportunity, therefore oppressing black women like Lorde.


While exploring Lordes ideas and rereading over her analysis of age, race, and class, one can see how she is oppressed. One is also able to notice that because of her position and the fact that she is black, lesbian, and in an interacial couple, she is oppressed everyday. Her everyday is much different than ours. She notes that everyone can see how black people, women, and homosexuals are treated as inferior, yet noone really stops and thinks about it. The fact is that this also a part of our 'everyday'. Everyone is taught at a young age how to act, and how to respond to others around you. Everyone is taught how to perform gender, and conform to society's ideas and norms.
On the idea that we perform gender differently according to our age, class, sexuality, and race, I agree. This idea goes hand-in-hand with the fact that what you wear and how you look can determine your age, class, and sexuality. We know limits because of our outward appearance. An 80-year-old isn't supposed to wear high heels and tube tops. They are limited to sweaters and long pants. Lesbians are thought to be 'butch' or are thought to be, as society would label them, a 'lipstick' lesbian. This is whats wrong with our culture. Why are there only 2 catgegories, and why do we even need these categories? These labels are engraved into our perpectives and need not to be.

week 5 blog

Lorde talks about how thing like age, race, class and gender limit us because we all have been programmed to respond to differences with fear. This goes back to thinking of the notion that people fear what they can not know. She also talks about how it makes us either ignore the difference or try to copy it. ignoring it or not accepting difference then in turn creates even worse things like racism. so in my opinion it limits our minds. In Lorde's opinion each individual is their own oppressor because they worry so much about trying to hold their position and be who they are which in turn takes too much energy because society will never accept difference. The idea i got from Lorde is that she thinks things like race, age, gender, and class which in terms is a patriarchal thing is the primary form of oppression. She also says being black as well as a lesbian makes people not accept her the way they should. She talks about how people in a sense wants her to deny parts of herself in order to be accepted. In accordance with Johnson's plus five system she has basically all odds against her. More specifically, she talks about how white women may have trouble reading literature from a black woman because in order to read it, they have to view a black woman as their equal or as good of a woman as them. This is a really messed up notion but things like this happen in our society!

Week Five Blog

In Lorde's essay, she describes ways in which limits and oppressions, and the different ways in which they effect us everyday. There are certain norms in society and as you get further and further away from a norm the more limited and the more of an outcast you will be. It's like the point 5 system, where everyone has a different make up but it's the ones that have more of the norms that have more points. Therefore they are less oppressed then those who find themselves with less points. This works with race, religion, sexuality, age, and class, where then it is more difficult to perform your gender when you do not fit into the limits that are usually accepted. For example, Lorde is saying she is more oppressed because she loses points because she is an African American lesbian woman.
Lorde thinks that these differences among us make us distant and create limits within our society. She proposes that we think about oppression by recognizing those differences between each and every person and look at what they might mean and how they affect us in order to move past them. Without accepting these differences we won't be able to get past them to create less limits and more community.
Lorde explains how everyone has differences but she uses herself to show how one person, like herself, who is African American, a lesbian, and a woman is oppressed. She has three things that could seperate her from the society, but she says that we cannot get rid of the system that we are in, because what we've learned in our lives, we learned inside this system. We need to think outside and learn to start appreciating and accepting the differences around us.

Blog Five

Unlike in the Frye piece, where the pride of men was the predominant force holding woman down, Lorde's system of oppression harkens back to the Allan Johnson +5 system of class, sex, and race in trying to explain the oppression problem. Lorde dismiss the idea of a universal "sisterhood" amongst woman as a farce. Instead, the other parts of Allan Johnson's system are what separates white, female, middle class, straight Christians from others. Whereas a white woman would focus on how the female portion affects her position in society, a black woman not has to worry about being a woman, she also has to worry about being discriminated by her race.

In other words, a woman of a minority class would be affected by her gender and her race. Thus, performing her gender may be especially hard. For example, a single black mother may have a harder time than a single white woman in securing a job and taking care of her child. A double whammy that can be multiplied by being poor, gay, or non-Christian.

Thus, the birdcage that Frye talks about in her oppression piece becomes more like an impenetrable woven basket of disadvantages. For those stuck in the basket, being taken equally may not be able to live the "American Dream." Instead, the "American Dream" is lived by those who act as the cover for the basket; being a part of the structure, but not bearing the load of society within, as well as covering those who are stuck within the basket.


According to Lorde, she, and all people not of the highest priviledge, are limited in performing gender because of the additional struggles of being oppressed by those other factors. As an example, she brings up the potential for black men to easily oppress black women, where the women can't resist in the name of black unity against their oppression. Additionally, because gender is performed differently based on these other factors, performing in a particular way might be seen as a taboo within another oppressed group which you are trying to maintain an identity with. Given the fact that Lorde is a homosexual woman of color, she is able to identify this problem. Were she every bit otherwise privledged, she would not be able to relay this analysis.

Patriarchy does not seem to be Lorde's primary form of oppression; that is, patriarchy in the sense of male dominance. Patriarchy in reference to the established system of privledges in Western culture, however, is what Lorde indirectly identifies as the primary source of oppression. She is not oppressed jsut as a woman, but also as a lesbian and person of color. No one aspect of her is the most oppressed, and anyone outside of whatever aspect of her is being oppressed, even if they are oppressed in a different way, can oppress her.

Week Five

Lorde’s text carries the same theme as Johnson does within his text—the plus five system. Johnson’s “plus fives? are (1) white, (2) male, (3) heterosexual, (4) middle class and (5) Christian. Lorde added her own category to Johnson’s five: age. Lorde wrote this article from the perspective of a non-plus-fiver—not white, not male and not heterosexual. She observes that black women's experiences are different from those of white women, and that, because the experience of the white woman is considered normative, the black woman's experiences are marginalized; similarly, the experiences of the lesbian (and, in particular, the black lesbian) are considered aberrational, not in keeping with the true heart of the feminist movement. Although they are not considered normative, Lorde argues that these experiences are nevertheless valid and feminine. Patriarchy renders women silent, invisible, and absent among men, the exclusion of poor women, Black and Third World women, and lesbians from the conference silenced, rendered invisible, and absent from those women who embodied difference among women. The theory behind racist feminism, we might say, is the same theory that excluded the experience and writing of white women for so long. Anyone who finds a comfortable place in that theory and refuses to cross over into the space of the margin runs the risk of closing off theoretical discourse once again to others. Viewing relations of domination for Black women in any given society and historical context as structured through a system of interlocking race, class, and gender oppression expands analysis beyond merely describing the similarities and differences between these systems of oppression to focus greater attention on how they interconnect. Assuming that each system needs the others in order to function creates a distinct theoretical stance that stimulates the rethinking of basic concepts in social science. These concepts are definitely not the "tools" of the classical or systematic theological "master." To rephrase Lorde, these are tools that will help to dismantle the house of bondage that insists on norm of Eurocentric patriarchal categories and experiences.

Week Five Blog

I think Lorde makes a bold statement when she says she has to identify only parts of herself, such as "I am a black woman," or "I am a lesbian." She has to sort of leave a part of herself out in order for others to be able to understand her. She's not trying to be someone else but yet she's not being her whole self. I also found it interesting that a lot of the oppression happens from those who are like us. For example when she talks about white women being oppressed as women, but focusing on just white women and not black women, and also when she mentions black women denying being lesbians or turning against black women who are lesbians. Age, race, class, and sexuality can all limit us in how we perform gender. Perhaps a lower-class female won't wear heels and a cocktail dress but instead wear jeans and a t-shirt. Older women don't tend to be flirtatious but some older men will make comments about young girls. I think the older we become the less we feel we need to perform those roles because we don't need to impress people as much anymore. Also different races have different backgrounds and different views of what is beautiful or normal. sometimes sexuality can be displayed through appearances, but sometimes people choose to hide their sexuality and act as a certain gender.

I feel that Lorde believes patriarchy is part of the problem, but that we are oppressing those who are like us. For me I feel that being thin is what is culturally good, and I've talked to many guys about this, but they like curves. So therefore it must be the women doing the oppressing in the scenario. She also gives the example of black women not accepting lesbians of color, that it is "a white woman's problem." Yes the +5 people reap more benefits and are given better opportunity, but I don't think they oppress as directly as the way Lorde explains.

I said in the beginning that Lorde is a woman of color and is a lesbian and she feels it necessary to identify herself as only one of these, being that they are not "normal." She finds herself being defined in terms such as "other, inferior, or wrong." In this article she openly states everything that she "is." She's basically saying people identify her by what she does or looks like rather than who she is, that she is "the lesbian," or "the black woman," not Audre Lorde.

Blog Assignment Five

Lorde's essay took Johnson and Frye's points and made them a lot more clear and relatable. She takes Johnson's "+5" system and adds other categories like age, weight/body type, marital status, etc, which I think need to be considered. Lorde shows us that even within one so called inferior group, women, there are more "sub-inferior" groups, lesbians, colored women, etc. Women are no only being oppressed by men and just for being women, but are also oppressing each other. I don't know how women as a group expect to become equal to men if we can't even accept, help, and consider each other as equals.

This is where "limits" come into play. Things like age, class, sexuality, and color limit how one can perform gender. When deciding how to perform gender, it has to be unique to you and has to fit into the other categories besides man, woman, etc., that you consider yourself a part of. If you are a woman from the middle east as opposed to a woman from Minnesota, the ways in which it is considered proper to perform "woman" are completely different. It is the same for the differences between how you perform woman as a 18 year old as opposed to a 50 year old. You have to perform accordingly if you want to be part of your group, your cultures' "norm." Societies' rules and limits may apply to all, but to all very differently. For as much a mom gets looked down upon for dressing like her teenage daughter or an arab women for dressing like an american, so might a black woman for dressing like her upper-class adopted white mother, by the women of the black community. Things like the third example may not be so obviously and normal for people to realize as the first two.

I wouldn't say that Lorde feels patriarchy is the primary form of oppression if you are considering the actually definition of patriarchy in which men are superior over women. Instead, Lorde is suggesting that women oppress other women just as much as men oppress women. This is seen not only by white women oppressing black or women of other race and ethnicity, but of heterosexual black women oppressing homosexual black women, and many other sub-group examples. She proposes that we think of oppression as anytime someone uses someone else's difference to put the other under themselves or to discriminate against the other. Finally, Lorde shows us that with her being a lesbian woman of color see can more easily see this type of oppression in everyday life, unlike some of us. She showed me a perspective that I probably wouldn't have even considered because it doesn't play out in my everyday.

Week 5 Blog

Week 5 Blog

In Lorde’s discussion of oppression she emphasizes that attention needs to be given to the difference in oppression even within the group known as women. She said it is important to note the differences between groups and individuals, not simply lump all women in one oppressed group. She says we have been brought up to look at each other’s differences with fear and contempt and we have developed negative ways of coping with these differences. We need to develop blueprints to construct healthy ways of dealing with and honoring each other’s diversity. We are limited when we do not learn new ways to perceive difference, which in fact, then limits (oppresses) others to be their authentic selves. If we are intolerant of to diversity whether age, class, race, and sex, then we fail to stop the generic subjugation of women across all walks of life.

For instance, particularly interesting to me, is the important lessons woman have to receive from the experience of the older generations and to forward their history on to the younger generations. The key component for this to take place is the respect to listen to the knowledge of people that have gone before you.

Lorde feels oppression in many ways. The +5 system of oppression is very evident for her. Not only does she have this system to contend with but also her feeling is that there is a disparity between the categories of women. Being a “black? woman and a lesbian comes with problems and limits that go unrecognized many times in addition to the limits ascribed to women in our hierarchal society. There is also a hierarchal limit in place amongst women.

Week 5

Lorde opens her essay with a very powerful statement. She flat out says that she is a “forty-nine-year old Black lesbian feminist socialist mother of two, including one boy, and a member of an interracial couple.? She is well aware of her status, and she uses her knowledge to illustrate how things like sex, sexuality, and color create limits for people. She goes into detail about one example of the limits created; the example of the newspaper article which said that poetry was less “rigorous? and less “serious? form of art and therefore it wouldn’t be featured in the article. But for a woman of her status, poetry is her main form of expression because it fits into her lifestyle, she doesn’t need a type writer, or a bunch of spare time, she can do it anywhere with little to no means of anything except pure thought, a pencil, and paper. Lorde believes that oppression is due to the patriarchy. She says that oppression is the result of the way we view differences, and that people are programmed to “destroy it if we think it is subordinate,? and the differences between people have been “misused? against the minority. She also refers to the “plus five? system in saying that white, heterosexual, Christian, financially secure men have the advantage. This affects Lorde in many ways. She is neither straight, nor white, she is a lesbian african american. To society she is oppressed due to her outside skin color; within this category of african americans she is also oppressed. This shows how you become more and more suppressed as you become farther away from the plus five.

Week Five

It is easy to become focused on one particular difference between people and forget about all the other differences, or more importantly, the similarities. As Lorde discussed in her essay, black women often focus entirely on oppression coming from whites, but completely forget about oppression on all women by the system of patriarchy. Everyone identifies others in relation to themselves, causing people to focus more largely on differences that divide everyone. However, this is limiting because often times the less important differences block out the big picture and instead of struggling for equality people become blinded and limited by the other differences.

In my opinion, Lorde thinks that patriarchy is a primary form of oppression but that is not to say other factors such as race or class are not very important in society’s performance; she believes oppression must be viewed in so many more terms than just sex. She discusses ways women are oppressed, the act of rape as sexualized aggression, and some black women’s refusal to see that they are oppressed as women as well as being oppressed as black. This leads me to believe that Lorde thinks patriarchy is the main type of oppression. Lorde’s analysis of gender and power is very specific to her position as a lesbian of color. She approaches social systems from not only a feminists point of view but also from an ethnic minority in a predominately white society’s point of view. This offers a more dimensional view on the issues than an oppressor or a less oppressed person would be able to offer.

Week Five Blog

I find the terminology of saying that gender is “getting done? to be rather confusing, more per say than gender as a performance. I heard it at first and really did not understand what the phrase meant, but as I thought about it more and through our class discussions I started to comprehend that “getting gender? done is just a further, more specific extension of gender as a performance.
Getting gender done seems to focus on the aspect of how people act out their gender on a daily basis to create an image for themselves in order to gain power. Getting gender done on a daily basis is about learning the limits that exist and how to work around them. I think this is where Frye’s “Oppression? comes into play and what he was trying to say. He talks about how when a person gets gender done, there are limits they must stay within otherwise they will face limits if they do not conform to sexual norms. The reading also points out that limits effect people differently and brings up other concepts like daily life and systems.
Within the systems is the fact that all people are implicated in the constant cycle of “getting gender done.? In class we discussed the important concept of us all being implicated and being in the birdcage metaphor that Frye brought up. I thought that the birdcage metaphor was very good because it gave a physical image of how we are all trapped in getting gender done and watching how others get gender done. Because it’s like we all understand that being in the birdcage may not be fun and rather overwhelming but majority of us understand that it maybe better or at least easier to stay inside the cage rather than locked out.

Week 5 Blog

In Lorde’s essay she discusses how things like age, race, class, and sexuality “limit? the way we perform gender. Lordes “mythical norm? theory ties in with Johnson’s “+5 system?. Those who are not white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, and financially secure are oppressed do not “fit in?. They become forced to do gender like the “mythical norm? instead of learning their own, unique way. It is those in the +5 system who have power and are not limited. People who do have these “limits? additionally feel the need to explain the way they do gender and to explain why they are not like those in the +5 system. Lorde explores ageism and concludes that women will never be able to rise up in society if they continue to ignore the advice and experience of their elders. On page 117 she states that, “We find ourselves having to repeat and relearn the same old lessons over and over that our mothers did because we do not pass on what we have learned, or because we are unable to listen.?
I do not believe that Lorde thinks patriarchy is the primary form of oppression. She explains that we all have oppression but there are divisions within it. “Black women and men have shared racist oppression and still share it, although in different ways.? She further elaborates that there is not one main cause or characteristic of oppression. Some people have more “limits? than others and are ultimately more oppressed than others or experience oppression in different ways.
Lorde’s analysis of gender and power is very specific to her subject position as a lesbian of color because she faces oppression from two different perspectives. She faced oppression from everyone because she is a black woman, which is a visible “limit?. Within her community she also received oppression as a lesbian. She is writing from her own experiences, which makes her such a credible source.

Blog 5

The concept of mythical norms, Lorde says, is when individuals can look at the +5 groups in society and know they don't fit perfectly into these categories. This affects the ways in which one performs gender because someone may see one way in which they are different from the "norm" and assume that deviation is the only cause for oppression without looking at all their differences (race, gender, sexuality, class, etc.) as a whole and how they are all interrelated to one's oppression. Lorde discusses the struggle black women go through, living with both racial and gender oppression. The performance of their gender is directly related to their race: "Within Black communities where racism is a living reality, differences among us often seem dangerous and suspect. The need for unity is often misnamed as a need for homogeneity, and a Black feminist vision mistaken for betrayal of our common interests as people" (Lorde 119).

I think Lorde would say that patriarchy is the primary form of oppression and that there is an established relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed. This is seen in white women who use their whiteness to get ahead, and also in all oppressed peoples who "become familiar with the language and manners of the oppressor, even sometimes adopting them for some illusion of protection" (Lorde 114).

Because Lorde is a lesbian of color, she feels she is always separated into distinct categories of lesbian, woman, black, etc. which are never analyzed as being interrelated. She never feels that herself as a whole is acknowledged. She says the way we separate differences but don't acknowledge a relationship between them causes more fear of difference and therefore more oppression of people with those differences and more established power for those in the +5 system.

Blog Week 5

I think what Lorde is trying to argue is that a person’s position in the realms of age, race class, gender, and sexuality cannot be considered individually. A person is made up of all of these things, and it is not enough to say that they are oppressed from one direction. Women all experience the oppression of a patriarchal society, as argued by Frye and Johnson. What Lorde contributes to the discussion is that women may also be subcategorized and experience oppression differently because of these other underlying factors.
Lorde does not necessarily view patriarchy as the primary form of oppression, but rather one of the most recognizable ones. Gender is one of the most basic ways of identifying a person, and so it is understandable why it has manifested itself as a social system. Any construction that allows one to view themself as “self? or “other? (in which self is inherently better than other) will create a system of oppression. Lorde sees this creation in ageism, sexism, racism, etc. For example, she points out that lesbianism was not only “other? to the heterosexual world, but also another degree of “other? for her as an African American. Being a black lesbian is looked down upon other black people, and somewhat negates the fact that she is still a black person sharing the same oppression. It does not suffice to say that she feels some sort of homogeneity with all black people, because there is yet more prejudice within this blanket term.

Blog 5

Lorde believes that age, class, race, and sexuality further limits the way we “perform? gender. She states on page 17, “Ignoring the differences of race between women and the implications of those differences presents the most serious threat to the mobilization of women’s joint power.? Since these factors limits her way to “perform? gender, she, as a “black lesbian feminist,? always feels “encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying other parts of self.? This means, (according to Johnson’s “+5 System?) that being black, not white; homosexual, not heterosexual; and a feminist, not a man-rule-all woman, will always oppress her. These factors will always limit her because she is not a white male heterosexual first world middle class citizen.

However, Lorde acknowledges beyond the “+5 System.? On page 17 she mentions how ageism, race, and sexuality within the female gender can further a woman’s chance to equality. She mentions young white heterosexual women receive more equality, thus showing that age; race, class, and sexuality further the limits.

With this, Lorde broadens the idea on patriarchy. Not only do the typical white, heterosexual, first world, middle class men are privileged, but also a system where women are limited too. Women oppress other women depending on this plus five system, as she states on page 118, “white women face the pitfall of being seduced into joining the oppressor under the pretense of sharing power.? Thus, Lorde suggests she must recognize the systems of oppression within oppression itself, because if looked broadly, we forget the other contributing factors in which others are oppressed.

Lorde knows she is not privileged. She knows being a black lesbian feminist limits herself in our culture. But from her experience, she understands more than just how the “+5 system? limits women. In order for us to progress as women, we as women must recognize these “smaller limits? to get us out of this oppressive system.

week 5

Lorde's piece was largely about identifying herself, and how society encourages people to identify themselves in terms of singular differences. Lorde's position, that of being both black and a lesbian, offers a relatively easy way to examine how this plays out. She is both oppressed as a black person, and as a lesbian, but the contexts in which these occur can be every different. In a social gather of women, it is unlikely she would be made to feel out of place as a woman, however, she can still be alienated and made uncomfortable via her lesbianism.

Lorde would argue that The Patriarchy is the part of the problem that we need to change in oder to fix the problems that are. She goes so far as to say that the future of our earth may on new definitions of power and new ways of relating across difference. Our current definitions are part of the problem, and are part of the current basis of The System (The Patriarchy). Lorde argues that the system that we created, is actually something that we need to break ourselves free from in order to rid this world of oppression. This also implies the construction of a new power system, which must in turn be based on different values then our current system. While I used the word “patriarchy? Lorde recognized this for more then just oppression of females, but also of oppression based on various difference, such as lesbianism.

Week Five Blog

In society there are always oppressors and always those who are oppressed, unfortunately there are many different categories of where people fit into. In any society oppressors in every situation from racism to sexism all have the “belief in the inherent superiority over the inferior group and therefore, the oppressors feel they have the right to dominate?. Author Andre Lorde is ultimately oppressed. She does not have any power Lorde sees herself at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Why? Because Lorde is an African American female, who is a homosexual and in an interracial relationship. She is not only oppressed by white men, but by white women, and black men and women as well. According to Lorde “many people in society have a hard time recognizing differences and many of the oppressed are under some illusion that their oppressors are really protecting them?¬¬¬¬¬¬. Lord is constantly working against oppression, she views society as an unfortunate hierarchy, not only does she have to work in the limits of being a black women, she also has to work in the limits of being a lesbian in a relationship with someone who is not black. She is fighting against her black community, her female community, as well as the white community. Lorde was constantly being encourages to “out some one aspect of herself and present it as the meaningful whole eclipsing or denying the other parts of herself?. Those who are oppressed are forced to deny that part of them that is seen as inferior; in lorde’s case that was almost every part of her. In lordes lifetime power was based on hierarchy and she was on the bottom of the totem pole. What lorde wanted people to realize was how women look at oppression differently based on what women are more oppressed those others. White women work towards equal rights for women but do not look at black women’s oppression in society. Black women look at their oppression from the white male society but do not look at oppression of a black lesbian woman. According to lorde, to change the tension among women, women must be able to “identify and develop new definitions of power and new patterns of relating across differences?. All women must come together to fight against hierarchy, because if they focus on differences between women they are not going to be able to look at the bigger picture.¬¬¬¬

week 5

In Lorde’s “Age, Race, Class, and Sex,? essay she analysis how oppression takes onto people’s lives. She discovered the fact that we need to think about oppression in many different ways and we need to realize that these obsession exists. This mythical norms explanation of oppression she gives her readers, she herself believe are the cause of oppression. She said that mythical norms are groups that we all at least fit in one, either “white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, and financially secure.?

I know it’s hard for Lorde to live as a lesbian, color and woman. But there are “limits?when it comes to performing gender. She said that in the black communities, black women have to realize that racism is a living reality, different among them are often dangerous and suspect. She talks about how white women oppress black women and how other black women also oppress each other too. She said that white women often don’t realize that colored women faces race issues.

As reading Lorde’s essay I realized that she capitalize Black, Color only and not american and white. These clues of her’s are telling her readers her main point about this essay. What sense she’s talking about and how strongly she felt about this oppression stage. That sets us form performing our own gender.

Audre Lorde and Oppression

Lorde discusses the position of an oppressed woman in that we constantly find "legitimate" difference between men and women, however, Lorde argues that we should seek to uncover and discuss the differences within the category of women as well. The differences between women such as race, class, age, ethnicity, religion and sexuality demonstrate the intermeshed oppressions that people experience uniquely from one another.

She encourages a dismantling of patriarchal dualisms that have created structures of oppression and the internalization of oppression that oppressed people carry with them. In particular, she discusses the experiences of Black lesbians, herself included saying: "I find that I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of myself" (122). In this quotation, Lorde expresses her frustration in society’s refusal to acknowledge multiple identities and oppressions. This, in effect, limits the progressive movement of women (and other oppressed groups) as a whole. Social, economic, and educational mobility are prevented by the silencing of some oppressions in favor of others. It continues to create hierarchical lines of separation and reinscribes oppression.

Finally, Lorde discusses the heteronormative oppression found within the Black community: One that is linked to sexism and often suppresses the identities of Black lesbians out of fear from Black male attack. She claims that this stems from a patriarchal fear of women becoming independent and self-relying which may reconstruct our normative notions of relationships and the role of women within society. As women, we must come together without a hierarchical structure of oppressions and use our simultaneously occurring identities to better understand difference as a tool to allow for growth and change.

Lorde and Limits

Lorde is very concerned with how gender, race, class, age, etc limit how we perform gender. She recognizes that since gender is a visual reflection of who we are and how we act, then also it is limited by other visual signals we give to people. She explains that it is not those differences between us in particular that lead to inequality but rather it is the refusal to acknowledge those differences and the 'distortions' that arise from trying to classify others without taking into account those differences. Lorde does not believe that patriarchy only oppresses because of sexual differences, she says in her article that 'To allow women of Color step out of stereotypes is too guilt provoking, for it threatens the complacency of those women who view oppression only in terms of sex.' What she is trying to say here is that if women of color step out from oppression then women who saw oppression only in terms of sex will be forced to acknowledge that there are other types and degrees to oppression. Lorde's perception of the world around her and therefore her thoughts and reflections are tinted with her identity of a woman of color and a lesbian. She includes many insights to both the communities of color and homosexuals. Her concluding statement of how to solve oppression is very revealing for her postion, 'For we have, built into all of us, old blueprints of expectation and response, old structures of oppression, and these must be altered at the same time as we alter the living conditions which are a result of those structures.' This means that if our definitions come from an old dictionary that is out of date then we will still fail the vocabulary test. And until we learn new definitions we wont be able to pass.

Differences; we can't ignore them

Lorde discusses oppression, as well as oppression within oppression. She says that we all have at least one group (“white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, christian, and financially secure?) that we cannot identify with and are inferior to. That group is specific to each one of us and causes us to believe that that one group is the only/most prominent oppressive group out there. For example, white women often fail to realize that colored women face race issues. Likewise, Black women tend to see oppression as a black issue, as opposed to a women’s issue.

I’m sure it’s very difficult for Lorde to live in our society being a colored, lesbian, woman. That is three strikes against her right there. She writes of black women maintaining that black lesbians are a threat to black nationhood, and “are basically un-black.? So, even people within an oppressed group can be oppressive. We’re all oppressive.

I thought it was interesting how Lorde stated that heterosexism is a way of identifying with patriarchy, whereas lesbianism allows women to be themselves (rather than servants of men). I can see how that makes sense, but what are heterosexual women who dislike the idea of patriarchy supposed to do?

The overall idea that Lorde carries throughout her article is that we fear differences, leading us to ignore differences altogether (which never solves anything), or try to fit in with the dominant and avoid the subordinate. I have heard over and over again that “we’re all the same? as people, but that’s not the truth. That’s a reality cover-up. Ignoring differences does not allow for change.

Week Five

Lorde describes how she is situated in everyday life in very clear terms. Because of this, we are able to do a specific read of her publication. Lorde describes herself as a lesbian woman of color. Because of her position, we can understand race, class, and sexuality in terms of Johnson’s patriarchy. All of those characteristics locate a person in society, and essentially limit the ways that we can perform gender. Lorde’s specific situation, as a lesbian African-American woman, always indicates her position as an oppressed woman because those factors play heavily into everyday life.

This is an abstraction of Johnson’s patriarchy. Lorde does not think that patriarchy is the primary form of oppression—instead, she proposes that we think about oppression in terms of joint vulnerabilities. For example, we can look at the oppression of black people as such: oppression of black men, and oppression of black women. Then, from there, we can think of the oppression of black women as black lesbians, and black straight women. Even from there, we can express the oppression of black straight women in terms of heterosexist black straight women, and non-heterosexist black straight women. Lorde is suggesting, here, that oppression can occur even at the microscopic level, and that oppression is not necessarily monolithic, like Johnson’s patriarchy seems.

I learned a lot from Lorde’s piece. In learning the ways that specific people with specific situations, like Lorde, “do? their gender, I can understand my own “doing? of gender in more detailed terms.

Blog Assignment #5

In Lorde's essay, she analyzes a whole different side to oppression that a lot of the readings we've been examining don't cover. She recognizes that patriarchy exists but analyzes the act of oppression within the patriarchal system.
Lorde doesn't believe that patriarchy is the primary form of oppression. She believes that oppression exists within the female sex as well in between the white and black females. Each category (white and black female) believes that the other is in a different struggle. The two "categories" don't see eye-to-eye and aren't on the same level as far as oppression goes. She uses herself as an example describing herself as a "forty-nine-year-old black lesbian feminist socialist mother of two" and goes on to explain how she is an example of a "other". These descriptions places Lorde in a "limited" environment. There's only so much she can do within her "limit", that is, when it comes to performing gender. These descriptions pertains to every single living human being and limits each individual to how much they can perform gender. What happens when a person exceeds their limit and how do they do this? And is it even possible?
Lorde proposes that we think about oppression through our differences, uniting us together through these differences. "We speak not of human difference, but of human deviance" (p 116, Lorde) is an important point she makes. Lorde develops a strong argument concerning how the human population focuses too much on the distortions of a population rather then creating unity from the slight differences. More specifically, as she goes on to discuss women and their oppression, "refusing to recognize difference makes it impossible to see the different problems and pitballs facing us as woman" (p 118, Lorde) So not only can we, as humans, overcome oppression but as females too.

Week 5

Lorde, who has very few advantages in the realm of social privileges, has some very powerful viewpoints when it comes to limits and oppression. She identifies more closely with Johnson’s +5 system than with patriarchy, but her take on it is slightly more involved. Not only does she add “thin? and “young? to the list of desired characteristics, she also points out that some of these identities are more valuable than others. In some cases, black males face more oppression than white women. Also, homosexuality, lesbianism in particular, in the black community is considered to be a “white people thing.? Despite the fact that being white is considered desirable, this does not raise up their social standings within the community, but causes them to be oppressed even among blacks. She also goes more in depth on the concept that there is much oppression of women done by other women. She gives the example that colored women’s work is often excluded from women’s studies courses because it is too different and difficult to understand. Another issue that Lorde brings to attention is ageism. She says that by ignoring the elderly, we may repeat mistakes that were made in the past. We view the older members of society as “excess? and end up relearning lessons that they learned because we are unwilling to learn from them.
Lorde’s feelings about her personal social standings are summed up when she says, “I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole,? and states that this is not an efficient use of her energy. Unfortunately, we live in a society where “black,? “lesbian,? and “woman? are loaded words with hidden meanings and connotations. Instead of being her whole self at once, Lorde has to live in a box within a box within another box, so to speak, with each of these three traits confining her a little bit more.

October 4, 2008

Week Five Blog

Lorde’s analysis of gender was refreshing. Unlike other authors, Lorde was a forty-nine year old, black lesbian. She stated this very clearly at the beginning of her essay, and this identification certainly influenced the rest of her work. If you think of her in the view of the plus five system, she is very limited by these qualities, and thus, also oppressed. To Lorde, patriarchy is not the only form of oppression. There is oppression in her life, not only from men, but within her race, from other women, and from heterosexual women also. She recognizes the fact that we need to think about oppression from all angles – women need to realize that there is more to gender oppression than just from men. White women oppress black women, etc. Even black women oppress other black women – in her example, she is a lesbian, and thus is oppressed by heterosexual black women.

Her solution is that we need to realize that this sort of thing exists. We can’t get defensive and deny that we all oppress each other. We have to change the system – “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house?. We can’t do it unless we step outside of it. We also cannot ignore that the differences and inequalities do exist. Individuals need to realize that everyone experiences oppression differently – no one can just be easily lumped into one category. No one should be expected to explain his or her categories. The category does not make the person who he or she is. It is only a small part. We need to start seeing people for who they are – their own persons.

Fighting Oppression Among Women

As I am a very visual learner, I attempted to visualize the arguments brought up in Lorde’s “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference.? For example, on the subject of “limits? to performing gender I pictured gender oppression as a large system. However, there are subsystems within these systems that limit certain people from fully performing their gender. Lorde says, “…white women focus upon their oppression as women and ignore differences of race, sexual preference, class, and age.? Race, sexual preference, class, and age are therefore the subsystems, and they are oppressed within the larger system.

According to the +5 system, one is advantaged if one is a white, heterosexual, Christian, middle class male. According to Lorde, this system seems to be prevalent within the women’s movement as well: young, heterosexual, white, middle class women are advantaged in their quest for gender equality. Women who do not fit these categories are more disadvantaged.

Based on the oppression of the subsystems within the larger system of gender oppression, Lorde understands that there are more forms of oppression than just patriarchy. There is oppression among women. White, heterosexual women are at more of an advantage than black lesbians. In order to see oppression beyond patriarchy one must observe oppression that occurs within patriarchy, i.e. oppression among women.

As an African American lesbian, Lorde is disadvantaged within the system of gender oppression. How can she fight against gender oppression when she is fighting oppression against her race and her sexuality? She states, “As women, we must root out internalized patterns of oppression within ourselves if we are to move beyond the most superficial aspects of social change.? In other words, in order to overcome patriarchy, women must first overcome divisions amongst themselves.

Blog Five Instructions

Week Five
Blog Assignment

This week, we started our new unit and Part II of our class. If we were to sum up what we have been doing these past four weeks, we might say that Unit One was an attempt to understand, on a very basic level, the generic functions of gender and power in everyday life. In contrast, we are now interested in naming how gender is “getting done,? what subjects are made in process, in what context is gender and power being analyzed, and what does it tell us about everyday life? We are now much more concerned with “specifics,? that include naming formations and operations of power, describing the precise context in which gender emerges, and analyzing how that gender performance might play out differently in other subject’s lives.

To recap, Marilyn Frye’s “Oppression? demonstrated how we can transform our discussion around the “limits? of gender performance into a dialogue around the politics of oppression; to talk about how limits impact different subjects differently is to talk about the way in which power situates us in uneven relationships with one another. Allan G. Johnson’s “Patriarchy, the System? located Frye’s more general observations about oppression in a systematic framework. He described how the politics of naming oppression- especially gender oppression- don’t have to be about blaming those who are privileged; instead, taking accountability for one’s unearned advantages enables subjects to consider how everyone is impacted by patriarchy. Lorde’s “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference? elaborates the importance of recognizing difference- not as a stumbling block to liberation, but as a realization of power differentials in lived experience that provide an even richer analysis of the inner-workings of power systems.

I want us to consider Lorde’s essay for a moment. She, like Frye, is concerned with politicizing the notion of “limits,? and like Johnson, is very interested in analyzing how such impediments stem from power systems, like patriarchy. How do things like age, race, class, and sexuality “limit? the ways in which Lorde, and the subjects she discusses, can perform gender? In other words, how is Lorde’s gender identification always an indication of her position as an oppressed woman? Does Lorde think that patriarchy is the primary form of oppression? If not, how does she propose we think about oppression? And finally, how is Lorde’s analysis of gender and power specific to her subject position as a lesbian of color?

October 1, 2008


In Cusp, we watched as Alice negotiated gender and power in her daily life. She experienced both obvious and subtle gender expectations. When growing up in a society that places value and privileges on normative gender performances, it is difficult to realize that power is allotted to some and withheld for others. Watching Alice’s story enables us to better analyze gender and power from a broader perspective. We can see that gender and power plays out in the classroom and in school settings all the time. For instance, Alice and her female classmates were often overlooked during class, waiting patiently to be heard from and to engage in the material. Instead, the impatience of the boys was rewarded with special attention and recognition. This kind of unfair treatment between girls and boys in classroom settings translates to internalization of inferiority for many girls. With teachers repeatedly ignoring girls, they tend to stop raising their hands in class and seek less teacher guidance and help. This can limit the achievements of girls in comparison to boys. Furthermore, the relationships between girls and boys are quite different from eachother in the movie. We can see that boys seem to have little problem getting along, while there is a girl v. girl mentality. Instead of solidarity, there is competition and animosity. Alice faces this when she is not invited to the sleepover and suddenly loses her best friend to the “cool kids? because she is not pretty/wealthy enough: “Look in the mirror, look at your face.? Her confrontation with beauty standards (including “beauty’s not out there, beauty’s in my tits,? playing dress-up, magazines, her desire for jewelry, and her mom’s friend saying, “you gotta look gorgeous every time.?) shows our culture’s infatuation with looks and the expectations of women to communicate sexual desire through body image. These expectations limit women from complete mobility, unlike their male counterparts.