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.

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

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.

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.


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 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.


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.

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.

October 11, 2008

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.