Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Summary of Enloe “The Globetrotting Sneaker” and “Daughters and Generals in the Politics of the Globalized Sneaker”, and Shyam “Safe Keepers and Wage

“The Globetrotting Sneaker” and “Daughters and Generals in
Enloe discusses how Nike and other similar sneaker companies use woman labor to make their shoes cheap and expand their profits. She goes on to explain how governments and companies work together to create a deal. The deal is that shoe companies get to make a lot of money and the country becomes more industrialized.
Despite Nike supporting human rights and specifically women in their ads, their generosity only extends to where their profits are not hurt. When women in South Korea gathered to discuss wages, the factory managers called on troops to commit sexual harass, rape, and other horrors on the women in the name of “a control mechanism for suppressing women’s engagement in the labor movement.” Throughout the reading I found myself marveling at women’s bravery, but no more than when reading about how the same women who were harassed at their meetings, showed up to the same meeting the next week.
Enloe explains what the sneaker companies offer young women and what they offer the government of the countries where they set up factories. For the young women it is a chance to earn some income (even if it is an incredibly meager income), and for the country it allows money to be made, industrialization to occur, and their trade to increase. The sneaker companies and the governments work together to convince women that it is their patriotic duty to work in these factories. Without a change in what it means to be feminine, many women would not work in the factories.
These two chapters discuss how the women working in the factories are pitted against each other and other women looking for jobs as well. Instead of women rallying together, they are taught to distrust each other because they all want money. This reminded me of what Douglass discussed. Douglass and Enloe both write how women are taught to be mean to each other. It is not for their benefit, but for the patriarchal society’s benefit.

“Safe Keepers and Wage Earners”
Shyam discusses what issues South Asian women working in America face. A lot of the article is auto-biological. I was surprised by her parents’ support of her. Despite her traditional, patriarchal family, her parents encouraged her to get the best schooling she could. She talks about how she used to think that the patriarchal family was the only way, but still she dreamed big.
This article talks about how hard it is for South Asian women to balance having careers and their domestic duties. South Asian immigrant women have to uphold the gender roles and be successful (until their children are born). Shyam realized that for these women, they needed to know how to attain jobs so that they were not financially impaired. Her stories of the abused women not being able to leave their husbands because of financial issues are heartbreaking, and her work with them inspiring.
Shyam goes on to talk about how her own work life taught her a lot. South Asian women need to be submissive in the house, but assertive at work if they want to treated seriously. It took her a little while to figure this out, but was able to find the strength within her to do her job well. She ends the article discussing how difficult it is to “have it all.” She marvels at women who are able to balance their jobs, family, and own personal interests. I think this shows the issue facing many women today. Is having it all possible, at all?

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