Monday, April 11, 2011

Follow Up: Crenshaw and Brownmiller

I thought one of the most shocking parts of Crenshaw's article was her discussion of immigrants. It reminded me of the birdcage article. It seems that we are providing many resources to women who are in abusive relationships in general. However, many women are unable to make use of the services regardless of whether they exist. Crenshaw points out that many immigrant women wouldn't even be able to report abuse because in order to gain status as an American citizen they must stay in their marriage for 3 years. Not only do they have to remain in the union, but they have to keep their spouse happy enough to sign the forms at the end of the period that allow them access to citizenship. That is a serious pressure on a woman. Although she would have access to the services of safe houses or other free services, she cannot make use of them. Her "trapping wire" is that if she reports the abuse, her husband will probably no longer sign off on the papers, therefore returning her to her home country. She is forced to weigh the options and decide whether her health, safety and peace of mind are worth putting at risk for citizenship. Also, it is unknown how many other people are relying on her to work in the States and return money to support a family. There were many other examples of the "birdcage" in her piece, but that was one of the main points I saw where it really stood out.
In Brownmiller's piece about rape, I could see the theme continuing. By women portraying their sexuality more through "enlightened sexism" they are marked as sex objects. Because they are shown this way through the media and many other ways, it is not surprising that men are able to argue that women actually "like" the rape. Through the stories I have heard this is absolutely not the case. No woman should have such an act forced on her. In the past week, I attended an event that one of the girls in class was talking about, The White Ribbon Campaign. One of the speakers talks about how it is the job of men to help other men stop abuse. They need to stand up for women and help them as well. Molly mentioned this in her post as well, the paradox that men are the people we fear, yet we also look to them for protection. The speaker at The White Ribbon Campaign said that a college in the northeast created urinal cakes that said "You are holding in your hand right now what it takes to stop rape." Although I think it is really important for women to come together and say no to rape, I also think that men should be involved in the process. Not all men rape, and the ones who don't should be enforcing that standard on others.

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