Response Paper #4: “Under Western Eyes” Revisited: Feminist Solidarity Through Anticapitalist Struggles

February 10, 2012 § 1 Comment

Author Chandra Talpade Mohanty analyzes the paradox that exists between progressive shifts in thought with traditional perspectives. She explains in depth her stances on the dangers of capitalism and the hostile economic conditions it creates. Capitalism enables the dramatic division that occurs between privileged American people and impoverished nations.

I find Chandra’s commentary on the distinction between “Western” and “Third World” feminist practices fascinating. Racial divisions still occur even under the promotion for gender and cultural solidarity. Globalization and outsourcing from industries produces toxic environments for minority groups. And all the while in the U.S. we are touting how “progressive” we are.

Do you think current feminist issues focus enough on globalization practices? Are we reaching out to minority groups or retaining a privileged lens? I personally think there are still many issues we could handle better, such as responsibility for outsourcing disasters.


They Call Me Muslim

February 3, 2012 § 1 Comment

I thought the video They Call Me Muslim from class today was very interesting.  The way two different sides of one religion were shown gave me some insight on how people in this religion live. 

The first side being from the students attending a university in France, they chose to where the Hijab and were never forced.  While on the other side, being from the perspective of a woman living in Iran, she was forced to where the Hijab when she was outside of her home.  I think that this movie shows how being forced to do something can lead to rebellion.  When the students had the choice to wear the Hijab and then forced to take it off in class, many quit school because they were in a way rebelling against what authority figures told them to do.  Then in Iran all woman are forced to wear the Hijab so women rebel by wearing the tighter fitting clothes and wearing a Hijab but not in the traditional way of covering the hair.

In my opinion I feel that woman of any religion should be able to wear what they want to.  I personally didn’t know a lot about the Muslim religion so I looked into what the Hijab symbolizes and it represents modesty, privacy, and morality.  The literal translation means curtain or cover.  It isn’t just about wearing a headscarf.  There is a whole principle behind it.  Woman should be able to choose whether they want to embrace it or find something else that suits them better.   

To me it seems as though people in Iran assume that just because you are of a certain color you are Muslim.  Just like the reading from essay 8, they talk about how everyone assumes that they are Islamic when in fact they are Muslim and that there are many different types of Muslim. The woman in the video who grew up with Muslim parents doesn’t take on the role of being Muslim.  She is forced to partake in something that men came up with because it is wrong for women to tempt men by not being modest.  I agree with her in the aspect that they should control their temptation and not hold women at a different standard.  The authority figures are all men and because of that I feel like they think it is easier to blame the woman and make them dress and act a different way.

“Latinas on the fault lines of citizenship” (motherhood)

February 2, 2012 § 3 Comments

After our class discussion about this essay we read for this week I decided to expand on what we were talking about in class. As stated in class I talked about how I felt with a single mother working more than she should, making her son work and having to live in a very run down apartment is very shocking for me to read about. I was surprised to read that the government was so overbearing on this family because she was a single, mother Latina that was doing everything she could for her family. I realize that there are many single mothers trying to raise their families and most of them are doing bad things that the government would be looking for in Myrna’s house. I think it is wrong that they can check her house at any time and if something like men’s clothes or not enough food in the refrigerator they will strip her of her welfare benefits.

In this essay, Myrna seems to be very hard working and willing to do anything for her family. This reminded me of the essay we read last week about momism. In our society, I think that women have to live up to this standard of being the perfect mother even if they are doing it on there own. In the essay, ” Latinas on the fault lines of citizenship” Mryna states in an interview that “They can’t say that people on welfare are lazy, because I do work. When there’s hour, I work over 40 hours.” I think this is a crucial part of being on welfare because most Americans who are not on welfare do not think people should get the choice of being on welfare. This is because majority of the people on welfare are lazy and don’t do anything to find a job.

I think welfare should be given to those who actually deserve it not only those who need it. Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs today. Women have to be a care taker of their families and make sure everything is running smooth in order for the household to remain afloat. The movie, How Does She Do It, is a perfect example of how women have to be an all in one package and stretch themselves to ever extent of their lives and their families lives. I believe Myrna should not be “babysat” by the government because she is working hard to make sure her family is supported even with being on welfare. Mothers deserve more credit and should not be looked down on from society for being a working mother or a working, single mother because they are doing it for the benefit of their family.

“Latinas on the Fault lines of Citizenship” (Welfare)

February 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

  • When reading this article it made me re-analyze everything I ever thought about welfare. I thought it was something easy to get if you needed, especially easy for those with children. When reading and finding out because she made a little more money over Christmas they kicked her off welfare and she didn’t get put back on it until she lost her job. So in a nutshell don’t work too hard for the extra money for your family, instead be happy with the minimum. This all really shocked me. We as Americans like to take and possibly blow things out of proportion. I had always thought that if you were single, had a child, and needed support you apply, and you shall receive. The more children you have, the more support you get. I had always heard that is why some do not even get jobs, because they are making enough off welfare to survive and that is why our government fights for reduction in welfare.In this past year I had met at girl at the same age of me, has two children and her third on the way. She doesn’t have a job, and still buys new clothing for herself all the time, along with buying her friends food with her food stamps that were given to her to feed her children. She always seems to care more about herself and her well being rather than her children’s. Time after time you will see people taking this system for granted, such as not getting married just to keep the welfare. This right here is why we have such a bad idea of welfare. So many people do take advantage of this system, and the people who really need this income for their family do not even qualify for it.

The Past Is Ever Present

February 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

While reading this essay, I couldn’t help but feel upset, disappointed and sad. If we really stop to think about the history of African Americans, it’s very disturbing. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to be forcefully removed from my country of origin, travel miles and miles across oceans, arrive to a completely foreign country where my language, religion, name and dignity are entirely stripped from me. Not to mention that the moment my feet touched the soil, I was brutally abused and used, witnessed my brothers and sisters get raped, lynched, murdered and beaten, got accused for situations I had no idea about, was lied to, laughed at… and all because of the color of my skin. Years go by, political reforms are put into place… but, I’m still treated as a slave. Yes, I was “freed”, but with no knowledge, education, or help on how to build myself or my people back up. Yes, I was “freed”, but wasn’t even given a thank-you for all the sweat and labor to build this country that doesn’t even accept me and that isn’t even my own. If whites really didn’t like blacks, why did they bring them here? Why didn’t they send them back home?

Blacks are still seen as an alien in the country they are born (USA), and are still despised and looked down upon, why? I can’t help but feel the same for all people of color. What is it about people other than white being scorned because of the color of their skin or cultural background? Many people like to say that racism is an issue of the past and that it isn’t half as bad as what it used to be, but if we read between the lines and really pay attention to the media and our “leaders”, I think we’ll notice that racism is still very much alive, just much better concealed. We must find ways to accept all people of all backgrounds and educate younger generations about the negative consequences of racism and prejudice.

Black sheep of your own nation

January 31, 2012 § 2 Comments

When reading Helen Zia’s essay, “From Nothing, a Consciousness,” I can truly say that I can understand what she is going through and can relate to how she feels. In the essay, Zia expresses her experiences as an Asian American in America as it was occupied with the Vietnam War. Because of the fact that she was Asian (not even Vietnamese) she felt as if she was not even wanted in her own country of birth because of the fact that she looked like those who the US were battling. But that was not the only struggle that she faced. Not only did she have to battle racism, but sexism as well, and unlike her peers, she would not put one in front of the other.

This essay I would like to relate to my own experiences when it comes to gay rights. Even though I was born in this country and have lived here for my entire twenty two years of existence, I cannot help but feel like a second class citizen because my peers and I are not receiving the same rights as those of heterosexual couples. Zia and I are both the black sheep of our country because we are not those of the norm and just how she overcame her battles, I hope to overcome mine as well.

People Of Color Let’s Do Better

January 31, 2012 § 1 Comment

As I read “From Nothing, A Consciousness” I wondered what I could take from it. There were a few aspects I could relate to, being a person of color. But there was something about Helen’s story that was different. It brought up issues that I have looked at all my life, but never understood what was really going on. She was an Asian American living in a time where Americans were against Asians because of the Vietnam War. She received stares and the blame for something that was out of her control and had nothing to do with her—being a Chinese girl.

She had grown up in a Chinese household rooted with traditions, but she was somewhat Americanized. She spoke of how people like her were absent from anything considered to be American. That is a good point; you don’t see many Asian Americans in high political powers, major roles in movies, or the typical American mom magazines. Within the past 10 years, things have become more diversified and Asian Americans are on the scene, but still not as much as they should.

I also thought she brought up another valid point. It was hard for her to identify herself to one culture. She couldn’t relate to being Asian because she didn’t speak Chinese, know the Chinese routine, or much about her native land. It was hard for to consider herself American when she grew up in times where Americans weren’t too fond of Asians, she was treated different, and her family still followed Chinese traditions. I think this is the case I observe with a lot of Asian students on campus. There either Americanized, fully in touch with there Asian culture, or just not able to identify with either. I think it makes it hard for most of them to communicate with people from other cultures. Some of them are adapted to a certain lifestyle and it’s easier for them to flock with people who look like them and share their same issues, than to try and step out of their comfort zone.

This is a problem that I believe limits Purdue form diversifying? Not just the Asians on campus, but the people of color. It’s hard for us to identify with people who aren’t like us, or who don’t share the same struggle, so we are quick to stick with our own kind. This limits us from broadening our horizons and expanding our presence as a whole people of color. Something we need to do better about, as People of Color.

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