October 6, 2014
Critical Response: Constructing Rhetorical Borders
The reading by Lisa Flores Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and competing Narratives of Immigration discuses interconnections among race, nation, and immigration within the rhetorical borders. The reading raised an interesting question of “who we are and who we should be.” Who we are is determined by the color of our skin, our race, ethnicity, where we live, etc., but it does not necessary identify with who we should be.
Immigration is a topic always in the news. People migrate to escape economic strife, and job scarcity but when they come to another country they are labeled as “illegal aliens.” When they are in another country illegally, they are immediately labeled and sent back. A lot of people think of “illegal aliens” as people coming into the country and taking jobs away from citizens, when they actually take jobs that citizens would not actually work because the rate of pay is too low or the jobs are degrading and they wouldn’t do them. While they are seen as “illegal immigrants” many of those people who come into the country want to provide for a better life for themselves and their families. The reading talks about a large population of Chinese people coming into California for work, and also addresses the Mexican population. When the article talks about the immigration of Mexican people, it states that Mexican workers came into the territory to be hard workers and became an “ideal immigrant workforce.” Mexicans were “configured as peons, which came to constitute an uneducated laborer willing to work hard for little money” (370). The Mexicans were defined as “poor, uneducated, and without ambition” and was looking towards a day to day life rather than a desire to get ahead, “they have nothing and expect nothing” (370) and were agreeable and controlled workers. The terms alien and illegal alien became identifiers for immigrants in the borders. There would be newspaper articles titled “Detective shot by alien” (377). Who they were as people became identified with what they were to the country.
The reading also talks about the body of Mexican immigrants as “the use of characterization was central as the discourse surrounding Mexican immigrants, across both dominant narratives, constructed a foreign body, distinct from and distasteful to an American body. The emphasis on disease, in particular, positioned Mexican immigrants as reproductive bodies that would potentially infect the national body. As such, disease metaphors are an effective means through which to express border vulnerability, for the diseases spread in ways that cannot always be regulated.” This means that although Mexicans wanted to work hard and make money, they also posed a threat to the Americans because they were illegal immigrants to the country and reproduction was seen as a disease.
“Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration” by Lisa A. Flores makes some very interesting points about immigrations. One such point that I was not previously aware of was the Repatriation campaign of the 1930’s. Obviously, I’m aware that many people both then and today feel very strongly that illegal immigrants should be deported. The argument often behind this is that they are stealing our jobs. (I highly doubt that anyone who says that would actually want a low status job that the immigrants are holding now, but I digress.) What I found so interesting about this campaign was that: “the drive was never designed to result in numerous deportations but was instead crafted to create a media-produced fear that would be the impetus for ‘voluntary’ repatriation”. It was essentially meant to scare immigrants into thinking that they would be deported, and to encourage them to simply head back to their country of origin on their own. This sort of sneaky and manipulative tactic is interesting and a bit disconcerting coming from the media and the government.
This work’s discussion of narratives is also very interesting to me. When the article talks about the increase in Chinese immigration it becomes clear that narratives make a huge impact on the societal feeling towards certain groups. Chinese were perceived to be low class and trashy, and therefore people did not want them here. At all (368). Mexicans were portrayed as having little to no ambition and for that reason were thought to be perfect for temporary work. They were seen to be non-threatening and a good fit for jobs that white Americans did not want.
On page 337 the article discusses the term “Alien” and how it becomes nearly synonymous with “criminal”. This is absolutely the work of the media. By calling someone an alien you are essentially dehumanizing them. They aren’t even a person – they are a creature. A creature from some far-off place that is unfamiliar to us. This is not the realty of the situation. They are humans. They are simply humans from another part of the Earth, but humans nonetheless.
The article ends on an important note. These issues of immigration that the article discussed serve as a reminder of why this still needs to be an issue. We have time and time again targeted certain groups and treated them unfairly, and we need to keep this in mind to try and improve our actions in the future.
October 5, 2014
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson
Lisa A. Flores article, "Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration," sheds light on a issue that is extremely prevalent in our society today. With all the media surrounding border control issues, it is easy to get caught up in all the information, true or false, that comes with problems like this one. It is a national issue and it involves so many people, like all the children that are between borders without anywhere to go. This article helped me put more of the root of the issue into perspective. When I heard about illegal immigrants coming into our country, undetected, taking from our resources and employment, it is upsetting. There should definitely be a more strict process so that we know who is coming into our country, especially in times of war. However, not every immigrant is illegal and not every immigrant wants to come to our country to exploit it. It is a stereotype that unfortunately is consistent, because of the people who decided to make wrong choices and ruin it for everyone else. But this article, reminded me that rhetoric has a lot to do with these perspectives, some that I'm sure I have. I feel as though this is an issue, like the race issue, something that seems impossible to solve. We shouldn't look down on anymore, no matter where they are from. But it gets more and more difficult when things like drugs and illnesses are coming into our country from foreigners.
The part in this article about Mexican workers being "peons" or easily controlled workers made me understand why we are reading this for class. It is about control over bodies. This mind set is taking advantage of a language barrier to seek dominance over a person, over their body. This article discussed bodies as humans and bodies as rhetoric and I think that with an immigration issue these are both the types of bodies that need to be addressed. I think it is hard for me to form a serious opinion about it because I feel uneducated in this area. I hear both sides to the story, given to me by the media. I think the bottom line is that people are people and we can't try to control them like mindless animals. There has to be a better way to remain a strong nation and not harm people or another nations in the process.
October 6, 2014
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson
Immigration seems to always be an issue in America, except that on time when a bunch of people from England came to America and did some inhumane things to the people who lived here before them all so they could call the land their own, however since then any group of people who immigrated to America voluntary or involuntary have been viewed in a negative manner. This reading did give me some new information on the history of immigration here in America, but it also lost me in some spots as well.
Before reading this essay I knew about the Chinese Exclusion, however I did not know about how the government was trying to push Mexicans out of America by creating a type of propaganda that made them want to deport themselves voluntarily. This really interested me. I understand that obviously an immigrant has to go through a pretty long and in depth process to become a citizen but America is known as “the land of opportunity”, so of course people from other countries are trying to come and live here. I understand the frustration with people sneaking into our country but I do not totally understand the frustration of immigrants.
In the essay Flores does a great job in presenting real life examples on how legal and illegal immigrants are treated in America. Her main focus is on Mexicans and rightly so. I am not going to lie whenever I think of immigrants I think of Mexicans because they seem to be bitt end of every immigrant joke. I also see Cape Verdeans and Haitians because I live in a community filled with them. It’s obvious to me that most illegal immigrants are Mexican because they are a neighboring country therefore it easier for them to sneak in. I also like how Flores showed how Mexicans were looked at as ideal laborers. Today though, they are looked at in a negative light because they are “stealing” jobs from Americans. I know that before other Europeans coming to America were not treated in the most positive way but today they don’t seemed to be discussed as a problem. Flores makes a good point when she talks about how people were so worried about the disease that the Mexicans would bring to America but they were not so concerned about the disease Europeans brought over that actually killed many people.
Before reading the essay I was not really sure of where I stood on immigration. Now after reading I am still not sure, however I have gained more respect towards them. Not that I did not respect them before just now I have a better understanding of them and I feel more sensitive towards the hate that they receive from a large number of people. I am not very educated on the politics about immigration but I do know that this country was built on immigration and it should not have this negative demeanor towards it. American citizens were lucky enough to be born here and we should welcome those in who are trying to live a better life and give their children better opportunity.
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson
5 October 2014
Within the article, “Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration” Lisa A. Flores discusses how immigration plays a role in today’s society. Immigration has been widely debated for many years. Although people mostly think about immigration being illegal, there are many people who have immigrated legally from many other countries. When they immigrate illegally, people often refer to them as “illegal Aliens” The article even tells us that for this reason, these people are viewed as criminals for this reason. I think this is absolutely ridiculous calling these people criminals just because they wanted to escape their country in order to make a better life for not only themselves, but for their families as well. This does not sound like a criminal to me. There are so many people who are actual criminals out in the world that need to be stopped. I think that the police should spend more time trying to catch them, than put away people who are not criminals and are only trying to better their lives.
I heard a story about a woman who had to immigrate here in order to escape from her husband. He had been abusing her, and if she stayed in her country, then might even be killed. So, her only option at the time was to leave this country and head to the United States where she knew she could be safe. But, she wasn’t completely safe since she had to hide from the U.S government as well. In my opinion, while there are a ton of immigrants heading into our country and taking up the resources and jobs, I think that there should be exceptions made for people who are in threat of danger. This woman has to be the kindest and most selfless woman ever, and yet for breaking into a country that she wasn’t born into just to escape being hurt or killed from her husband, she will now be viewed as a criminal herself.
Throughout the article, the author constantly uses the phrase “the Mexican problem”. I find this phrase to be so impersonal and rude. I understand that there might be a lot of them coming into the country, taking away supplies, but people most often only think about the negatives from this immigration. They mention how they might bring diseases in, crime, etc. But rarely to people mention the positives of immigration. The phrase just clumps all immigrants into one category and that there are no exceptions. The author mentions at the end how people are constantly accusing the immigrants of their unemployment, when really it is because of the economic crisis. It is easier to blame other people then themselves.
5 October 2014
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson
“Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration”
Lisa A. Flores’ article “Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration” exposes the rhetorical devices and strategies employed by the United States (specifically the government and media) to dehumanize and categorize the Mexican-American population during the 1930s. In reading this article, it became overwhelmingly apparent that little if anything has changed in more than 80 years; present-day America still uses the same types of rhetoric directed at the Mexican-American population, and the problems this population faced in 1930 are very much alive in 2014.
Within the first line of Flores’ work, she states, “Questions of national identity emerge and disappear, seemingly in concert with times of crisis and stability.” This was an intriguing concept, although I don’t know how true this is in the 21st century. In the past decade or so, the immigration/Mexican border debate has come up frequently without rhyme or reason. Pre-9/11 and the election before this focused largely on the Mexican border; it seems in times of prosperity (or arguably, American boredom) our government and people have time to focus on the immigration debate. Once 9/11 happened, however, we focused our attentions the immediate “threat”, pushing the immigration debate to the side. Still, once the economy crashed, the Mexican border got brought to the forefront of the discussion again. It was easy to blame Mexican immigrants (both legal and illegal) for coming in and taking “our” jobs, despite the fact that the economic crash was much more complex than this. Likewise, Flores mentions, “Curiously, these conversations rarely addressed inherent contradictions, such as the availability of jobs for Americans versus arguments that only Mexicans would accept certain jobs.” So it would seem that in the 1930s as well as the 2000s that the conversations about Mexican immigration were less about factual or truthful arguments and more about a larger degree of unrest: the “threat” to the American identity.
Flores’ article focuses on the rhetoric used to describe the Mexican-American population of the United States which goes to suggest this larger question of American identity and how these immigrants are refused the ability to fit into this identity. The rhetoric that described these immigrants ostracizes them from the rest of the United States, with a major focus on the dehumanization of them. For example, Mexican immigrants were a source of cheap “peon” labor, which Flores defines as “poor, uneducated, and without ambition.” Simply put, they were a workforce that was easily controlled, thus benefitting the American corporations and businesses as a whole without promoting or helping these immigrants in the long-term; this reinforces the capitalism that permeates American society. Also, the United States put fear within Mexican immigrants with the threat of deportation, coupled with the encouragement by the government for these immigrants to “repatriate”. While the government at this time did not have the power or resources to deport a large percentage of these immigrants, the rhetoric surrounding this threat signified to the immigrants that they weren’t wanted, and thus many of them were “encouraged” to leave the country. In addition to this, the immigrants were further dehumanized by the rhetoric of calling them “illegal aliens” and “criminals” which distanced them from the rest of the American people while suggesting that there is something intrinsically wrong or unacceptable with them. This rhetoric is unfortunately not surprising, as the American media and government still use these terms to describe the Mexican immigrants in our society today while refusing to attempt to understand them. America is praised for its diversity (the “melting pot”) but it seems more and more that our people want assimilation.
“Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration” by Lisa A. Flores
“Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration” by Lisa A. Flores is an article that brings to mind a discussion I had in a previous class in which we discussed rhetorical borders. In the public mind, a border is a well-defined line that separates us from the “other”. In reality, borders are cultural constructs that can exist on both land and within people. Hot button issues such as border control and job division are handled in the media under a lens of ethnocentrism. The terms used to describe immigrants sway the mainstream audience into becoming fearful and aggressive. Within the article Flores cites specific cases in which articles began referencing immigrants in terms that would no longer allow them to be viewed as subservient workers, but as trespassing criminals: “The emphasis on criminality and the criminalization of entry combined to provide a rhetorical space in which the Mexican body became a criminal body. Virtually gone were references to Mexicans as peons, as docile, as necessary farm labor. Replacing this discourse was a narrative in which Mexicans occupied the space if criminal” (Flores 376).The moniker “illegal alien” not only set the tone to deepen the contrast of the “other”, but reminded Americans that immigrants were criminals, trespassing onto their home land.
Looking at how easily the media and government influenced the perception of an entire culture is devastating. However, it reminds me of our reading of “Foucault’s Body Tropes”. The entire population of American society was essentially shaped to fit the government’s standard of normal. Today, we are still trying to live this standard. As a society we still feel the repercussions of the Chinese Exclusion and the Repatriation Campaign. Our country is incredibly wary of the “other” and looks at other cultures with an increasingly ethnocentric eye. Instead of living with our borders we need to realize these lines are a construct, and we’ve only drawn them within ourselves in order to categorize what we believe is normal. As Flores states, the idea of race through the lens of nationalism only leads to greater harm. Realizing that the other is only the shadow of fear and difference will help develop our country into a prosperous nation. A nation that can finally move past internal conflict and jumbled borders, in order to stand whole.
The topic of immigration has always been one up for debate. People are constantly arguing about the fact that there are Mexicans coming into the country illegally. Some people believe that they should all be deported. Some think that this country was founded on the idea of the melting pot meaning that we should accept different nationalities and not discriminate. Some people think that if they are going to come over here then they should at least be penalized and not given all of the benefits that they are getting. There are many facets of the debate about this sort of thing and those are just a few.
It is not even just Mexicans that are being discriminated against for immigrating to America although they are the main concern of people at the moment. The article pointed out a lot of other times that people in America have had a problem with people immigrating here whether legally or illegally. This is really interesting because our ancestors all had to have immigrated here at some point. Also, America was founded on the idea of the melting pot meaning that we should accept all of these people. All everyone really wants is to come here so that they create a better life for themselves and their families. That shouldn’t make them criminals because that is something that everyone wants. The Statue of Liberty even has a quote on it that says “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Does this not even matter anymore?
The author of this article starts off with a quote that says “How a nation treats the immigrant speaks volumes about a nation.” It makes me wonder what other nations think of us based on the way that we treat immigrants and the way that we have treated them in the past. We definitely don’t treat them well.
I think that it is good that this article talked about all of the immigrants that have come into this country whether legally or illegally and how they were treated rather than focusing on just one of them. I also think that it is terrible that Mexicans are automatically considered criminals because so many of them have come into the country illegally. Even ones who came in legally are often discriminated against because people just assume that they came into the country illegally. I don’t think that is necessarily fair to judge them all for the actions of some of them. It’s not like they are coming here to intentionally destroy everything. They are coming here to try and make their lives better because that is what America is supposed to be known for. We are supposed to be the land of equal opportunity.
Critical Response 10/6
I think the biggest issue discussed in this weeks reading is stated on the second page of the document. Lisa Flores writes, “immigrant and criminality are so closely connected rhetorically that the slippage from immigrant to criminal seems almost natural.” While the rest of her article, “Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration”, discusses many different rhetorical aspects of Mexican Americans, this is the quote that really resonated with me. The reason for this is probably, unfortunately, I noticed the “slippage” in my own judgment of illegal immigrants.
Perhaps it is because they are labeled as “illegal” that mentally I assume the rest of their character can be based off of a label, one in which we have prescribed to them with bias. But even upon further dissecting that label, it is possible to note that it is not the immigrant that is illegal, but the process in which they came to the country.
One of the things I have chosen to write about the most in this class is the notion of societal roles and stigmas and I think this is a big one that I had not even thought of until reading this document. The odd contradiction is that here in America we praise those who do whatever it takes to succeed and provide for their family at all costs. It is strange to think of how much berating is done of the immigrants who travel here illegally simply to live a better life with their children.
Of course this is not how the media depicts these events occurring. Usually the Mexican immigrant is painted as a criminal. They discuss the benefits of citizenship that the immigrant is unjustly reaping from our government, the overpopulation they are causing, and the violent and drug-related crimes that they commit. This projection becomes generalized to all illegal immigrants. So even the immigrants who are running away from the unjust treatment of their homeland are labeled as criminals and treated as such.
There is not cut-and-dry way to fix this issue of wrongly labeling immigrants. Of course there are still legal processes in which they should follow in order to obtain citizenship. However their desire to be American citizens by any means possible should not reflect anything about who they are as a person. An awareness is needed regarding the unjust stereotyping of illegal immigrants and only then could we possible solve this issue.
I really enjoyed Jordynn Jack's approach in her article "Acts of Institution: Embodying Feminist Rhetorical Methodologies in Space and Time." Discussing how the female body and feminist rhetoric are represented through the combination of appearance, space and time through the scope of WWII propaganda gave an interesting and original twist on an issue, the issue of the equality of men and women and females in the work place, that has long been discussed.
The idea of rhetoric vs. reality grabbed my attention because throughout this class we have been discussing the power of rhetoric and how it has the ability to sway beliefs and give false information. Jack states "wartime propaganda (rhetoric) suggested that women’s opportunities were unlimited but actual industrial practices related to women’s work (reality) failed to change. But such an explanation would oversimplify the constitutive relationships between “rhetoric”—the symbolic injunctions about women workers—and “reality”—the materialization of those injunctions into the physical space of the factory," (286). Having it explained to me like this was helpful because I can see that we still do this today. Rhetoric has the power to make people believe something is happening or being done, but the reality of it all is very different. "Rhetorical acts stressing women’s delicacy operated in this way to impose a certain kind of identity onto women—one that was bolstered through an integrated material-symbolic system. It was not only rhetoric of the body but also the integration of these rhetoric into dress, spaces, and time structures that reinforced women’s identity as delicate, weak, fragile, and therefore in need of extra protective measures," (294). This quote seems to sum up the point of the article and emphasizes the power of rhetoric.
Forming this essay around WWII, not only interested me, but it also showed me that we have come a long way as far as the way woman as treated in the workplace. I'm not saying it is perfect, far from it, but the ideas such as woman can fatigue easier and have to look a certain way at all time, are as prevalent. I thought it was shocking that most of the quotes in Jack's article about how woman should be treated in the work place, as far as the conditions their fail bodies couldn't endure or the amount of rest they needed during the day, were quotes from other woman. I assume that a lot of the repression and unequal treatment of woman has been always due to men trying to dominate. However, this article made me see that in some cases woman were advocating their own limitations. The term "order of bodies" was used in this essay and I can see why. Woman and their bodies were suppose to look and function a certain way in order to be feminine. Unfortunately this "way" or "order" was regarded as weak. Even now, we associate the female pronoun and identity in terms of something weak, such as when we negatively say someone "threw a ball like a girl." It was interesting to see how this played out during WWII, back when woman were still coming into their own as individuals. Like I said, I do like seeing how far we have come. Especially when present issues can get me discouraged. At least I know that now, when I go to work, I am allowed to work as many hours as I can and no one will be worried that I might fatigue faster than a man.
Jordynn Jackson’s essay “Acts of Institution: Embodying Feminist Rhetorical Methodologies in Space and Time” starts out in a very interesting way. I had always been taught that Rosie the Riveter was empowering for women, but she makes points against this idea. She states that the overall argument in her essay is: “that feminist rhetoricians should pay more attention to gendered rhetorics of bodies, clothing, space, and time together in order to construct more thorough accounts of the rhetorical practices that sustain gender differences” (286). This relates to Rosie the Rivateer, because even though women were encouraged to enter the workplace, the differences between women and men were still very much emphasized, which still put women a step back.
The essay talks quite a bit about binaries and how men and women are placed on a binary even when a gradual scale might be more appropriate, as with body size for example (289). I think that this is a very good point and applies to rhetoric in more ways that just that of man vs. woman. This sort of binary is also used for sexuality, race, and age. These are also traits that could easily be put onto a gradual scale, but our society chooses to put them on binaries of “straight or gay”,”black or white”, “young or old”, instead of examining more closely and accurately.
The fact that women were put into the same jobs as men but still treated as less than because of their femininity just seems silly. I think that in that situation women should have been taught to embrace their new position, but instead they were told that they could only do certain kinds of work that was suited for women, and that they could only work a certain number of hours because they couldn’t handle more. This is not encouraging. This essay makes some really important points about the binary between women and men and I think that it is something we should be more actively taught, instead of just passing Rosie the Riveter off as a wonderful symbol of feminism.
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson
7 October 2014
“Acts of Institution”
I thought that the article, “Acts of Institution: Embodying Feminist Rhetorical Methodologies in Space and Time” by Jordynn Jack was very interesting to read. The opening two lines really grabbed my attention from the start. Jordynn writes, “Rosie the Riveter has become a popular figure in American public memory. An icon of feminist advances in the workplace, Rosie supposedly showed that a woman could do a man’s job and do it well” (285). While I have never heard of Rosie the Riveter before this article, I like how the author uses her to show how capable women are in the workplace. Not only that, but they are able to do a great job as well. She is a good representation of women, and even inspires people outside of the workplace. It helps to show people that they can do what they set their minds to, even when others might be telling them that they can’t.
Throughout the article, Jack discusses how women were viewed and treated in opposition to men in different periods of time. During World War II, women were expected to fill in for men in war industries. Before the war, women were slowly being included in the workforce, but they were still being treated as inferior. Jordynn Jack mentions, “Propagandists suggested that women were somehow more suited for certain kinds of war work than men, given their quicker fingers, their better attention to detail, and their greater capacity for routine, tedious work” (290). A former pianist might have to operate a milling machine while artists, sculptors, and pottery makers could become an expert handler of plastic molds for dies. She mentions how, while their smaller bodies were once viewed as a setback, it is now viewed as an advantage. This is because their small bodies can fit into smaller aircrafts, whereas men’s bodies cannot. This has helped allow women to take over men’s jobs, and prove that they can do just as good of a job, sometimes even better.
Women’s jobs in the public sphere are often taken from their lives within the private sphere. Jordynn Jack writes, “Thus work tasks performed outside the home are often figured as “natural” for a woman if they can be cast as analogous to those tasks performed inside the home. For example, nursing and teaching have historically been justified as “women’s work” because women typically cared for sick family members and raised children in the home” (294). During WWII, propaganda would reinforce this idea in order to show that their experience at home would make their new jobs more familiar and easier. She even mentions how this actually limited the work women could do, rarely challenging them. They were always stuck in the same jobs. Women shouldn’t have to do all the same work at home, and then head out to their jobs and do the same thing. It gets boring and then nothing is ever learned or accomplished. Women had twice the amount of work men did seeing as men didn’t have all of the domestic duties women did. It makes sense why studies found that women tired more during their jobs. They had a lot on their plates.
October 8, 2014
Critical Response: Embodying Feminist Rhetorical Methodologies
Jordynn Jack’s article the “Acts of Institution: Embodying Feminist Rhetorical Methodologies in Space and Time,” was interesting to read because it discussed the female body and how it is represented through the combination of bodies, dress, time, and space within gendered rhetoric’s focusing on the example of women factory workers in America during World War II. Her iconic figure allowed for women to take up space in factories and work just as a man would, without limitations.
The article begins by discussing a popular figure known in American history as Rosie the Riveter, an icon of feminist advances in the workplace. Rosie showed that a woman could do a man’s job and do it well. Her image proved that women were just as qualified to work as the men. Rosie’s image changed the way people defined the definition of femininity and was able to promote women’s employment in America during the time of World War II. While woman’s opportunities were always limited due to the differences they possess in comparison to men, their differences were materialized in the workplace. The body played an influential factor in helping to identify where a women would be best suited to work. The size of a woman’s body or fingers determined their job making them ideal riveters, welders, and airplane mechanics; an advantage they had over male workers.
Feminist scholars have suggested that bodies, dress, and spaces have traditionally been shaped around a male/female binary. Going along with this binary, male had the power and authority of a male body. They take up more space physically as they are larger in size in comparison to women. The physical space they take up are in places and in roles of spaces such as presidential platforms, the pulpit, law court, or public lecture halls while women were confined to spaces that were of less importance such as spaces like the parlor or the classroom. The rhetoric of space may dictate how a material space should look, who should use it, and so on, “rhetoric’s of time dictate when that space should be used, who uses it when, and how activities are scheduled and sequenced within that space” (288).
The elements of delicacy, appearance, and domesticity like the body practices with adaptations in factory workspaces to suit women and relied on a fundamental differences between men and women that was materialized in bodies, dress, space, and time. Time structures shape women’s bodies, needs, and nature consisted of the times of number of hours women worked, how long women worked, day, and schedules of services that supported women workers (i.e. transportation, shopping, cafeterias, and day-care centers). There were laws that in place that set a limit on the number of hours women could work each week, and often when they could work. The justification on the law was to provide special protection for women because of their reproductive roles.
7 October 2014
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson
“Acts of Institution: Embodying Feminist Rhetorical Methodologies in Space and Time”
Jordynn Jack’s work “Acts of Institution: Embodying Feminist Rhetorical Methodologies in Space and Time” focuses upon a time praised by many for its beginnings of feminism: the 1940s, in which women joined the workforce while men were away from war. This footnote about men being away at war suggests the overall goal of Jack’s work, in describing the fact that this feminism is shadowed by its relationship to men and how women’s roles at this time were still treated as being uniquely different from men’s. This dichotomy of man/woman is present throughout the entire time period within American society (and arguably still is to this day), and Jack spends her work describing how this was represented within the workforce during the 40s. Furthermore, she gives three lenses or “clusters” to view this dichotomy with: delicacy, appearance, and domesticity. As I was reading, I found little if anything to argue with or challenge, as Jack cleverly anticipates what questions may arise during reading. For example, when I read that, “In 1943 and 1944, a number of national reports warned that women workers had higher rates of absenteeism than did men,” I immediately assumed that children had something to do with this number – which Jack almost immediately mentions in response to this fact. Thus, this essay was an effective work in giving a comprehensive overview of her argument with virtually no major questions left unanswered.
What I found to be especially notable is Jack’s coverage of the various acts of institution that were put in place within the actual workforce that reinforced this dichotomy between man and woman. The discussion of the allotment of time for women and services provided to women was compelling; I particularly appreciated her section which discussed factory layouts and how they were “shifted to accommodate women’s bodies.” While reading, I became conflicted and unsure about how I felt this information. One part of me appreciated the attempt by factories to become inclusive and create a workplace suited to women. After all, most of these women had children, so they absolutely needed daycare centers from an objective perspective. However, I also questioned how inclusive these accommodations really were when they were creating such a distinction between men and women. Furthermore, at one point I wrote in the margins, “Who asked for this?” This question arose in me because it seems most of these accommodations were included as an overall assumption of women’s needs rather than asking real women what their actual needs were. Instead, the institution seems to treat women as if they were a vague concept. While many of these accommodations seem helpful, some of them were strange or outright insulting. The prospect that a workplace must include a beauty parlor for the female workers was utterly appalling to me – these women were working long hours doing manual labor in factories, then going home to take care of their children and the affairs of their homes, and yet there’s just an assumption here that these women must want to go to the beauty parlor. This was a completely ludicrous thought to me, and then I realized that this “need” probably was helpful to the women in the workforce, because they were given a third duty in addition to their work and home lives: being beautiful. Ultimately, while I found these details to be shocking, at the conclusion of her article I was immensely saddened because I find that not much has changed in over 70 years, and that the line between man and woman is still clearly defined within American society.
October 8, 2014
I am personally all about women empowerment. This essay however has me thinking that I am not a feminist because their way of thinking is just a little too extreme for me. While I do believe a woman can do anything a man can do, I do as well believe that some jobs are better performed by men because of their naturally physical body and while other jobs are better performed by women for their naturally physical body. Most jobs can be performed equally as well by male and female, that’s just how it is.
In “Act one: Delicacy” Jack talks about
Notions of women’s delicacy have shaped labor practices and protectionist laws since at least the start of the century, often limiting the kinds of work women could do, for how long, and in which kinds of workplaces. During World War II, notions of women’s delicacy persisted, even as women were recruited to fill in for men in war industries.
While this is all true I do understand this thinking of job owners. A man’s physical body is shaped with broader shoulders and other attribute that fits the job of physical labor better than what a women’s body does. Although a woman can become strong like a man I am going to take a wild guess that these women were not at the gym doing crossfit training and learning how to lift properly. However in the next paragraph Jack talks about how women were looked at as better for some jobs than men which is obvious. It’s a fact that the male and female body is generally built differently which will make one body type more fit for a job than another in the physical sense. Yes there are ways that either gender, mostly females, can change how their body works to become also fit for the job.
In “Act Two: Domesticity” the main argument I thought of was
how women that their previous experience would translate into wartime work and to make these new kinds of jobs seem more familiar to a female audience. However, rather than challenging traditional notions about women’s bodies, these discourses often reinforced them, limiting technical work to those tasks that could be associated with traditional forms of women’s domestic labor.
Initially I do not see the issue with this. I feel like these women were probably scared that they were not able to do these jobs but once they seen that things they were already doing were similar I probably gave them more confidence. As for the second part of the quote yes they could have been challenged but just entering the workforce was a big change and a lot of these women probably were scared to enter it so I can see how making them comfortable to start was what would work best. However I do think once the women got comfortable working they should have trained them to do more challenging things.
Finally “Act Three: Appearance”, I was ready to completely disagree with this whole part till I saw “it was assumed that women would naturally want to look their best, primarily in order to attract the opposite sex”. As a female I see nothing wrong with always wanting to look your best because the truth is when you look your best your feel more confident. I mean if you feel confident looking like a mess then good for you but I bet if people, male or female, took the time to get themselves ready everyday then they would be more confident. Now I do not mean they need to do their make-up every day or have this awesome hair do but I mean dress well and just do your hair.. The reason I disagree with this though is because it is saying that they would do it to attract the opposite sex. I would assume they would do it because that is how they like to represent themselves or feel comfortable. Not all women like to be so done up which is fine but I find most who do get done up do it because they want to look good for themselves and yes male attention usually des follow a well put together girl and it does boost confidence but I think women should get dresses and care about how they look for themselves.
I like that this article focused so much on feminism. I feel like that is a subject that has much debate about it but not a lot of people understand what the actual purpose behind the whole movement is. I mean people know that it is about women becoming equal to men but that is all they really know. I have read a couple different articles that get into the nitty gritty of what it all means but I feel like I still don’t really understand what it is all about.
I thought that it was interesting how it talks about when women first went into the workforce. It was during World War II when a majority of the men were off at war. I think this is interesting because that means that a lot of men were not around to oppose the idea of women entering the work force. If a woman’s husband isn’t around to tell her no then why not? I just think that it is terrible that this was the only time when it could have really happened, when all the men were off at war. Women had probably been thinking about this sort of thing for a while but weren’t able to do anything about it because they were supposed to be good little house wives and listen to their husbands. Their husbands meanwhile would not have approved because they would want their wives to stick to societal norms.
I like that once women found a place in the work force people ended up realizing that their size could actually be helpful with a lot of jobs. While men tend to be stronger and better at jobs that involve heavy lifting and whatnot, women seem to be better suited to jobs where they can fix things and whatnot. It mentions that them being small allows them to be able to crawl inside wings and walk across the framework of planes then it would be for men or people who are larger. Also their small hands allow them to be able to more easily manipulate and fix things within the mechanics of machines and whatnot. Also a lot of their domestic work at home made it easier for them to learn how to do things like weld and whatnot because they were actually pretty similar to one another.
I like that some places easily accepted the idea of women joining the work force and set up things like daycares, cafeterias, shopping places, and transportation. I think it was good that everyone was helping each other out like this. Women were probably pretty nervous to be joining the work force knowing that when their husbands came back from war they would most likely get in trouble, so I am sure that the support like this helped to ease their concerns a little bit.
I found Brenda R. Weber’s article “What Makes the Man? Television Makeovers, Made-over Masculinity, and Male Body Image” to be very interesting. It makes a new and interesting point about how men who undergo makeovers are taking on a feminine role, as it is usually women who are in the position where their bodies and appearance are openly judged. I actually felt as though the article made many points that were new to me. The role of the man stemming from our American-ness was another one. Since the country was formed on independence, we wanted our idealistic men to also be independent, self-made, strong, etc (290).
The difference between the ideal masculine form and the ideal feminine form may be drastic, but we all undergo similar efforts to achieve it. For example, page 292 discusses how both men and women will undergo plastic surgery in order to appear more competent and be able to compete more effectively in the job market. The difference lies in what surgeries men and women choose. Women often want to look thinner and younger, while men want to look younger and more muscular. It never really occurred to me that men get implants to have the appearance of bigger muscles, but it does happen.
Michelle Back’s “They Say I’m Like That But They Don’t Know Me: Transcultural Discourses of Masculinity” also makes interesting points about masculinity and its relationship to femininity. I enjoyed that this article utilizes interviews, as that makes the material seem more real. In the beginning, the older men were very much backing up American heteronormative ideals. I found the brief story in the conclusion to be very interesting because it shows how men can sometimes react when put into the position of a female. Domingo is very willing to go home with various women until he realized that it is the women who choose the men. This puts the men in the less dominate position, and he does not like that. From that point on he refuses to go home with women. I see this happening a lot: men do not like to be put into the positions that females deal with on almost a daily basis.
The relationship between masculinity and femininity is very delicate. It seems as though women never mind being a bit more masculine as much as men mind being a bit more feminine. This surely stems from man’s escalated position in society, whereas women are a bit more repressed.
13 October 2014
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson
“What Makes the Man? Television Makeovers, Made-Over Masculinity and Male Body Image”
Brenda R. Weber’s article “What Makes the Man? Television Makeovers, Made-Over Masculinity and Male Body Image” covers many overlapping issues such as the television makeover phenomenon, masculinity and its history, as well as the implications of these two issues when they intersect in the “male makeover”. However, Weber does not stop there; she also seemingly focuses upon the differences between males and females in regards to makeovers as well as issues of heteronormativity. Thus, Weber’s work ambitious as it seeks to reconcile all of these topics within 19 pages, which often results in missed connections or questionable arguments. While I found her work to be enlightening at points, for the majority of it I found myself confused at what the overall goal or theme was.
For example, Weber opens her work by discussing the general idea of the “makeover” and how it has manifested within our culture. She states, “Since the beginning of the new decade, however, television has launched a proliferation of make over-themed shows for the house, car, and body that seek to inform men and women of the pleasures and possibilities of transformation, rejuvenation, and alteration.” While she expands upon this idea throughout her essay, I found myself confused and conflicted about what Weber’s perspective upon this idea actually is. The mere existence of her work and the sheer research put into developing her arguments would suggest that she finds this makeover phenomenon to be problematic, however the phrasing of this statement could suggest otherwise. It is easy to consider all forms of reality television, especially makeover shows, to be harmful or a negative perpetuation of societal pressures, such as the need to be beautiful. To a degree, I can understand and even agree with this notion as the “Extreme Makeover” show was disturbing and showed many people who thought they needed to be “fixed” on their exterior to find value within themselves. On the other hand, there is a real value within the ending of Weber’s statement, in which for many there can be real “pleasures and possibilities” within “transformation, rejuvenation, and alteration”. I think it is always preferable that a person is content with what they have and who they already are, but to expect every person to actually feel this way is unrealistic. Furthermore, I would argue that almost every person is seeking to transform themselves on a daily basis, whether this is through something as mundane as a career or promotion, or something as drastic as an “extreme” makeover. It was hard for me to come to a resolution on these conflicting ideas, and I found myself wishing that Weber had expounded more upon this to give me more clear direction in reading. Also, in the eight years since publication of Weber’s article, most if not all of these makeover shows have gone off the air and there are far fewer on the air in my opinion (although there are plenty other reality television shows that have filled these spots). Ultimately, I was unconvinced on the true impact of her arguments since these shows no longer remain at the forefront of American television.
However, that is not to say that Weber’s work was without merit. Her discussion of masculinity and “what makes the man” through these multiple focuses yielded new insight; I especially liked the “concept of the self-made man”. This was an interesting idea to me as it suggested a differing sense of pressures for man than I think applies to women; women are often expected to conform or become this maternal ideal like their mothers, while the “self-made” man is expected to yield to the pressure of becoming this iconic male, all by themselves. I also appreciated the discussion of male reluctance in these makeover shows, as I believe it reveals that the male psyche is conditioned to seek the aforementioned self-made ideal and thus is reluctant to listen to advice from the “experts” on these shows. While I remain confused as to what Weber’s work was trying to achieve as a whole, I think it was nevertheless important and effective at acknowledging that men also face and experience similar pressures even in the realm of reality television.
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson
9 October 2014
Shows that revolve around a makeover, whether it is on the body or not, used to be geared toward women. But, recently, more makeover television shows have been made for men to watch. For instance, there is MTV’s Pimp My Ride and HGTV’s Trading Spaces. They have even started to make shows focused around making over military training facilities or the athletic practice field. In television, men are viewed as the complete opposite of women. In shows revolving around plastic surgery, women are made to be more feminine with “large breasts, an hour-glass figure, a pert nose, etc.” (Weber 288). For men on the other hand, “As Bordo (1999) has noted, to be considered "soft" is "one of the worst things a man can suffer in this culture" (p. 55). And yet, the very nature of the makeover so problematizes a singular conception of masculinity that to believe in a successful makeover outcome also requires a realignment of how gender is under- stood” (289). It isn’t considered masculine for a men to undergo plastic surgery or do the same kinds of things women do on television. In order for a man to be masculine, they would need to not depend on inherited material wealth or social power, but rather he needed to make himself on his own with physical strength and material success.
While it is nice that TV is changing to make more people interested in the shows, I think that not all men are interested in those “masculine” shows that they air on television. There are some men who actually enjoy the fashion shows or decorating houses. There are even women who are interested in manly shows. From what I’ve seen, it is much more normal for a woman to watch manly television shows than for a man to watch feminine shows. A man might get teased by his friends for watching feminine shows, while a woman usually does not. On television, when men wear make-up, they are supposed to look natural, like he isn’t wearing any make-up at all, while women are made to look dressed up, pretty, and feminine.
In the article, “’They Say I’m Like That But They Don’t Know Me’: Transcultural Discourses of Masculinity” Michele Back attempts to define masculinity based on different cultures around the world. In the lives of the men shown in the article, it was up to the men to provide for the families. So, they had to leave home in order to do so. She points out that the father’s presence in his children’s lives is crucial, but they are always absent in order to bring in money. So in this case, work is tied to masculinity. Where we live today, it is up to both men and women to provide for their families. They also don’t need to travel in order to get these jobs. It isn’t necessarily described as a masculine task. It’s hard to believe that in other countries (even states) the culture is completely different. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the men to not be a part of their children’s lives. When they do return, they might not even know them well enough, and the kids would be even closer to their mothers. She mentions how they have to close their hearts in order to get through the working season of being so far away. This just sounds terrifying and awful. In these cases I understand why it is only one parent who has to leave home to work and not both, (so someone can care for their kids) but there should be more jobs available close to home so that the men would not be forced to leave.
October 15, 2014
Critical Response: ‘They say I’m like…’ and What makes the Man
The two reading focused on masculinity and the male body image. Michele Back discusses discourse within masculinity and the focus on the male body participating in male activities in which is associated with masculinity while Brenda R. Weber’s article focuses on the television makeovers, masculinity and the male body image.
Michele Back’s article ‘They say I’m like that but they don’t know me’: transcultural discourses of masculinity addresses gender and discourse within masculinity. The discourses were formed by their “status as marginalized, indigenous outsiders in a predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon region of the USA, as well as by the dire socioeconomic straits under which the band had lived and worked” (105). From reading the article, I gather that cultural and historical context has been used to connect with how discourse is applied to masculinity. Gender is a set of practices in which people construct and claim identities’ as a result of doing the acts of being a male or female.
Brenda R. Weber’s article "What Makes the Man?" Television Makeovers, Made-Over Masculinity, and Male Body Image addresses the transformations of men and the makeovers as a means for observing how manliness is constructed by the media. The male makeover is something that is not as widely known as female makeovers since the media is always promoting television shows about transforming the physical appearance of women’s bodies through plastic surgery, and beauty makeovers as women always tend to have a greater concern for beauty and self-appearance than men do. At times it is often easy to forget that males do have self-conscious thoughts about their physical appearance as women are always focused on these types of television programs.
The article discusses the role of masculinity within these types of television shows. The value of masculinity is based upon the values of the self-made man, as it is defined on the definition of self-determination, autonomy, and individualism. Stated in the reading “a man is expected to prove himself not by being part of society but by being untouched by it, soaring above it. He is to travel unfettered, beyond society’s clutches, alone-making or breaking whatever or whoever crosses his path” (290). This quote from the reading sums the idea of the self-made man and defines what makes him have the characteristics of one. The idea that the man had to make himself known on his own by proving himself through physical strength and material success. If I think about this way of thinking about what makes the male today, pretty much every male in a role such as political, athlete, lawyer, etc., has fit into this category of what makes a man a man. They have had to create a name and reputation for themselves which fits into the male body including physical strength, intelligence, and virility that men appear to be.
October 15, 2014
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson
Brenda R. Weber's essay "What Makes the Man? Television Makeovers, Made-Over Masculinity, and Male Body Image" outlines a lot of specific points about the concept of masculinity and the how it relates to "feminized" TV shows, such as body and home make over shows. I thought it was an interesting approach to discuss masculinity in this context. I never realized how geared toward women these shows are. I have always enjoyed watching before and after shows, and look forward to the big reveal at the end like everyone else. I remember when The Swan was on TV, however, I never watched it. After reading this, I youtubed a few episodes. I was strangely uncomfortable at the way the experts and doctors made these women who were deemed, mostly by themselves, as "ugly." Most of them has emotional issues that prompted them to over eat or neglect their physical health and beauty. The way the show plays out, it is as if plastic surgery will solve all their problems. They have a counselor "on staff" who is suppose to help these woman with their issues (although of course I don't know what goes on behind the scenes) but he or she is kind of put on the back burner, while the physical beauty aspects are highlighted. In the end, the women, who have not seen themselves for the entirety of their recovering period, are able to look in a mirror, in front of everyone for the first time. I didn't like it. There is this certain look that heavy facial plastic surgery usually has and it is fake and barbie like to me. I also don't like the notion that someone is using someone elses standards of beauty (the doctors) in order to define themselves. I am not saying I am completely against plastic surgery, because when intense deformities arise, it is a good thing to have. However, I am against it to change yourself to look like someone else or what you think you should look like.
I had never throughout about this in terms of men and that is why I liked this article. Body image is obviously an issue for both genders, because everyone wants to look the best that they can. But reading this in terms of how men are suppose to behave and be seen, as far as emotionless, aloof, strong, safe etc, it seems as though that is lot to live up to. I liked the part when Weber quote Connell about the western business suit, and how political leaders are wear the same thing to suggest that they are strong and powerful. The idea of the self made man is also still prevalent in our society. In a strange way, I thought of the movie "American Psycho." The main character, although he is a crazy serial killer, struggles with the idea of rising to the top. This influences his manhood and deems him worth or not as a "real man." I think the crazy killing sprees come as a sort of breaking through society norms, like you never really know what someone is like inside. (But that is besides the point). The point is that masculinity is a lot to live up to and most of what it means to be a man is suppose to be marked on his body.
October 15, 2014
Joyce Rain Anderson
I enjoyed the article “What Makes a Man?” I thought it was very interesting to look into the topic of makeover shows and males. I never really thought of how these shows represented males. The main focus of this article seems to be that these shows first make males take on a more feminine role by taking part in a more female dominated and oriented show. I do agree that make over shows are more feminine and it does make the male subject on the show appear to be taking on a feminine role but I do have to say that obviously it is not only girls who feel self-conscious on their appearance now, which I think is great. Why should women be the only ones to care about how they look? In the beginning Webber says, “The logic suggests that the outside is a reflection of the inside, but also that the outside can influence the inside” and honestly this is true logic whether people want to admit it or not. When someone is comfortable and confident with their outside appearance they feel better about themselves. I know personally on days when I get up wear a new outfit and my hair and makeup come out perfect I walk around like nobody can touch me but on days when I “scrub” it I prefer to not leave my house. Most people feel this way. I have not seen the show Ten Years Younger, I also only watched a couple episodes of Extreme Makeover mainly because watching the surgical procedures make stomach turn and I do not really think that plastic surgery is needed but if someone is that desperate to change how they look and they have the money for it I say go for it. I can definitely see how that show can make men seem more feminine because a lot of time its females who feel the need to have plastic surgery or homosexual males. But people need to remember heterosexual males can be just as unhappy with how they look as females and homosexuals just they are not as open to confess it. Now I have watched a lot of What Not to Wear and I think the show is great. It helps people learn how to do hair make up and dress properly for their body type and they even include their careers and I also like that they do push people to try things that they would not normally be comfortable wearing just so they can see it and if the person ultimately do not like it they do not force them to get it and at the end they let the person shop for their own clothes using their guidance. Of course it was rare to see a male on the show and this article argues that make over shows are making upon how a man or woman should look. Yes they do seem to set the norms of feminity and masculinity but to me they set the basic platform for the contestants because if they are having issues dressing themselves to begin with they are going to put them in the most “normal” style they know and obviously over time the contestant can grow and add some of their uniqueness to their clothing. Also these shows do not force people to be on them they are nominated by friends and family, people who care about them, and ultimately the contestant has the last say on whether they do it or not so therefore they all want to be there and want change. While I do agree with Webber that men on these shows are definitely entering a female dominated area they should not be deemed unmasculine for it everybody has insecurities not matter race, sexual orientation or gender.
In What Makes the Man I think that the idea of men doing anything that involves giving themselves a makeover is considered feminine. Women are not the only ones worried about their outward appearance. Everyone worries about that sort of thing, it is just that it is considered strange if a man were to say anything about it. That is because in society we have been trained to think that it is feminine to be considered with such things when really this isn’t the case. Also, the fact that it has been decided by society that men submitting to such things as makeovers, especially on tv where everyone can see them, makes them feminine is ridiculous. Just because of the stigma that is involved with it I think it shows courage on these men’s part to openly be involved in this sort of thing. So what if a man gets involved with something like a makeover show? Just like everyone else they are trying to make themselves feel better about themselves by making their appearance the way that they want it.
At the same time, makeover shows that involve the makeover of a house a lot of times involve males and females. The males in the show a lot of times are either the host of the ones who do the heavy lifting and hard labor. If they were the ones choosing the colors of the walls or the upholstery or something then they may be considered somewhat feminine. I think this is silly because men still care about their scenery, they may not generally care as much as women do but they do care.
I think it is interesting in the article Transcultural Discourses of Masculinity that she focuses not only on the idea of masculinity but also as it relates to multilingual people. She focused on the band of Ecuadorian men which was interesting. She said that being the only female that really ever interacted with them was interesting because the presence of a female seems to automatically make them start thinking about intimacy whether it be subconscious or not. Also, I like that one of the aspects of masculinity that she focused on was the reason behind them deciding to become musicians. Most of them said that they did it because they needed a job in order to be able to provide for their families, This has always been considered a very male thing to do. In the past males were the only breadwinners in the family. Nowadays it can be both but men still feel like they need to be the one to do it because it makes them feel more masculine and important. Also, depending on the kind of work it could be easier and more beneficial for them to be doing that then something else.
All in all, I think it is silly to assign specific genders to certain activities. Just because one gender likes doing something more than the other gender does not mean that only one gender can potentially do that thing. Both genders should be allowed to do as they please.
October 20, 2014
Critical Response: Branding Teena and Dynamics of Gender Hegemony
The readings this week focused on transgender, transsexuality and queer. In today’s society transgender and transsexuality is more accepted than it was years ago. While it is still an issue that is unaccepted in some cultures and societies, it has made a progress of being more socially accepted than years prior. Gender is what separates males and females through physical differences as well social and emotional differences. Males and masculinity portray an image of toughness where they don’t show emotion but if they do it is not in public. Males promote masculinity and stand for portraying a privilege of being above females and having the power. Females are seen to be more emotional. Transgender deconstructs the differences between gender and masculinity and femininity.
The reading by Shelley Budgeon, “The Dynamics of Gender Hegemony: Feminities, Masculinities and Social Change,” was interesting to read as it focused on the dynamics of gender discussing the feminism and masculinities within social change. Gender defines what we are as humans. Anatomy makes up and defines a difference between males and females. Gender difference gives us an understanding of what it is to be male and female. When it comes to the physical differences of males and females, it comes with the social conclusion that males present themselves in a masculine varying privilege while femininities play a significant role in reproducing gender. Masculinity and femininities promote social change and open possibilities for alternative social arrangements. The current time allows for greater change between the terms of masculinity and feminism.
Annabelle Willox’s article “Branding Teena: (Mis)Representations in the Media” discussed the film, Boys Don’t Cry, which was based upon a true story of a young woman, Teena Brandon, who changed her name to Brandon and Teena was able to pass as a man. After her secret was discovered she was murdered. Willox addresses the question of analyzing the film on the issue of associating with “queer” without wishing to conflate the issues of transgender, transsexuality and queer. Transgender deconstructs sex from gender as it allows for the split of gender to fit their gender identity. When Brandon’s male gender was identified, he was described as looking like “just a regular guy with “his” thin face” (412). With gender we place an idea of what it is to be a male with a certain look and definition defining what it is to be a male that we use to associate with how we see a male figure. We do the same with females. When we see a person, we identify them with the definition and association we have predefined for them based upon what we know. Transgender defies what people think about gender, and contradicts what it is to be separated by gender. With transgender a female, like Teena, can pass as a man but is still composed of being a female. While she may have had the qualities on the outside of looking like a man and fitting the definition of what it is to be a man, she was able to alter her appearance to look like a man that other people have known to associate her as being a man.
Responses to and thoughts about course readings