September 2009 Archives
Hi Guys... please bear with me, as this is my first attempt ever at blogging (Facebook is the closet I've ever come, and I maybe do a "status update once every 3 month!) and,currently, I feel awful. Boo!
Anyways, one aspect I'm really excited to continue to explore through out the semester is intersectionality. It is such an important element to consider, as we need to be conscientious of the multiple "layers" that surround different people (of all genders) to better understand situations and/ or viewpoints. It reminds us that although we may have the best intentions in mind, speaking for, or on behalf of a group we personally are unable to fully represent (due to different cultural, sexual or gender affiliations) may often marginalize people even further, by essentially creating an "other" group, however unintentional it may be. I'm completely on board with the idea intersectionality, because it seemed as if early feminists only focuses on what the upper-class, white, straight women was interested in at the time, and that proved to only further polarize women since only a certain group, or idea was accounted for, and considered the 'norm.'
As someone pursuing a double major in GWSS as well as Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance, it's interesting to me to see how the two different majors have put a somewhat different spin on the topic. Although they share major similarities, the concept of intersectionality through Sociology (where it was first presented to me) has been a bit different, so I'm looking forward to learning more on the topic, and the perspective through GWSS courses.
Zenzele mentioned in class that Black and Hispanic men are the most likely to be sentenced to death by our legal system. Adding to this concept of intersectionality, I wanted to also lend support by sharing a fact I learned in my Race, Class & Gender course that pertains to the death penalty. That is 92% of the people currently on death row are below the poverty level. To me, this shows a clear correlation between race and class, and makes it undeniable that the law is colorblind, or dissuaded by funds, as it tries to present itself.
Examining these issues further by peeling back the layers continues to expose and enlighten me to issues regarding not only race, class, gender & sexuality, but also the law, politics and policies that continue to disadvantage certain groups of people. I personally feel outraged at things I've learned through class, as well as things I've learned via my own research. Undoubtedly, this has contributed to my desire to be a lawyer who focuses on human rights and activism issues, and I feel grateful to have a much sounder concept of intersectionality, and at the same time, understand that I have much, much more to learn.
Hello! I wanted to start of my blog by saying that I am really excited about this class. I think that we have had some really exciting discussion so far! I was very intrigued by the exercise that we did in class on Tues. All of the situations were so hard to sift through and I thought that it really made me think outside the box. There are truly so many difficulties that women face when involved in domestic violence situations that are not thought about on a superficial level. I think that it is really important to have a class totally dedicated to minority women because the reality is that no matter how we say it white is the norm. There are ample statistics, as we have already read, that show a clear line between the treatment of white women and the treatment or brown and black skinned women. Being white does not mean that we don't experience violence it just means that there is one less intersecting layer that is not present that white women have to deal with and that is race. White women can still be poor, or disabled, or gay which gives them other hurdles to deal with but they are not a minority nor do they have a historical history of slavery, genocide, and outright violence which was fully supported by whites.
The first time I saw this commercial, I didn't really see what was wrong with it - I saw it as vulgar and yes disgusting, but I didn't see how this commercial, as do most of the media we see today, perpetuate systems of inequality and oppression. I remembered this video as I was reading our text from last week and watched it again with a new perspective: I see now how I had internalized the images as just "normal" part of our culture, not something to offend me, another example of how we often internalize our own oppressions and become part of the problem as such.
Type in this URL and watch it:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XiZk74GkgM
No, the video is not and SNL skit making fun of whitecastle or something to that extent. It is an actual commercial. Here we witness a pig playing the role of what is generally a woman's job, a stripper, and displaying itself in for (in this case) mans consumption. Inherent in this analogy is violence: the pig is doused in BBQ, butchered and then prepared into juicy burgers to be consumed. These images both commodify and oversexualize women. Women are meat, they are to be consumed, their image is for pleasure, you can sell, buy it, consume it. Women are sexual objects.
This video has clear ties to domination - gender violence, psychological violence and structural violence (hence it being a "normal" scene within media). As far as intersectionality, I'm not sure where race or class fit in here in terms of oppression but they are definitely apart of what's going on.
The first idea that I continually think of during our discussions and readings is that of whiteness. Our readings and class topics are attempting to create a space for women of color's issues, particularly domestic violence, to be heard. In order to do this, our analysis focuses exclusively on women of color. Unfortunately what happens here is that whiteness becomes the 'unmarked,' even a yard stick. For instance, because we rarely (not never, but rarely) talk about what happens in the case of white women with domestic violence, it starts to appear as though white women are not victims of domestic violence and/or that white women are the "norm." When whiteness is not mentioned, it's the blank, the normative, and the without-culture. Of course whiteness has culture, and it can be dismantled just as much as the many versions of "color" can.
Now for the caveats: I'm not saying that we should add white ladies' issues in, or that what we're looking at isn't worth looking at (I would say just the opposite!). What else are modern feminists to do? We've forgotten to interrogate the intersectionality of many issues, which has left out race, and therefore we're practically backtracking. This is just something to keep in mind while we do this. Don't assume that whiteness is monolithic or blank or without culture, and most importantly, don't let it become what is the "normal thing" in your head.