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oppression and agency

I chose to look at the specific oppressive institutions in each case and the ways in which they affected the agency or subjectivity of each of the populations examined. The Chicana group, Moraga and Anzaldua specifically, but also the larger group of individuals who identify as Chicana, are oppressed mainly postmodern scholars who attempt to render their identities problematic by stating that they are “essentialist� and “foundational�. To resist the misquoting and misinterpreting that goes on regularly by postmodern scholars of Chicana work, they have created a realist theory of identity. They see identity as “relational and grounded in historically produced social facts� and specifically focus on the way that social, political, economic, and epistemic components of social location affect the lives of individuals. Additionally, Moraga discusses a “theory in the flesh� which basically just notes that women of color will develop a necessary method of action which changes regularly with an individual’s understanding of her/his own social location.
The imprisoned women of India and Argentina are oppressed clearly by the state. In the reading provided it was clear that the state curtailed their disciplinary and torturing behaviors specifically to the women who were imprisoned and that it attempted to “make an example� of the consequences of immorality through these very behaviors. They did so by murdering the baby and/or the mother, torturing the baby physically, taking babies from mothers and many other tactics. The resistance that came out of these situations is complex and could easily be lost as it is mostly comprised of minute daily-life details.
Some of this resistance consisted of singing nursery rhymes and songs during torture or, in Hannaman, everyone called each other by familial names thus creating a family or community within these prison settings. These acts of resistance were extremely significant as they were direct responses to the attempt of the state to take family and motherhood from these individuals. When it was taken from them they simply made their best attempt at recreating it. An additional aspect of resistance seen in these writings is the fact that they exist. Towards the beginning of the article it was stated that in these two societies women were expected to remain in the private sphere and be quiet and passive. Through writing about the experiences, and especially because they did so in a very powerful way not depicting themselves as victims, these women resisted the most basic aspect of the state’s oppression.
The Creole Surinamese women are oppressed by some overlapping factors. Firstly, they were oppressed as they found their employment in “hidden� or frequently overlooked fields. Especially for this reason, they frequently worked jobs that offered little compensation. This particular group is also oppressed by Caribbean gender relations in that society in general is very male dominated. Men take the better jobs, are allowed to be involved in politics, are listened to when it comes to important issues. Additionally, these women are oppressed by the class-based aspect of their society.
To resist, the Creole Surinamese women reorganized the ways in which they lived their lives. They refused to base their personal and daily lives on men; rather, they bonded together as women to provide for each other economically, socially, sexually, and in other ways as well. This situation disturbs the male dominance within society as a whole within their community. They also worked hard to create organizations in which they could push for the accomplishment of goals that were important to them. When no one else from the community seemed to care that teachers were taking money from children or that children were insufficiently fed, they took action and worked with the education system and provided food for school children.