Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Follow Up: Enloe and Steinem

Steinem's article mainly focuses on the male identity that is based on supremacy. She says this is especially apparent in white, middle class, heterosexual males. Research shows that the most acts of violence, especially impersonal and hate crimes, are committed by these characters. They show their superiority through the fact that they can impose pain on others and kill others. This gives them power which they believe they deserve simply because they have grown up white, middle class, heterosexual and male. Steinem points out that all other criminals and murderers kill and do other acts of violence mainly to improve their own conditions. The poor kill for money or drugs, minorities sometimes kill to claim their own space, and women often kill in self-defense. White, middle-class males, have generally killed only for dominance. Steinem backs herself up by showing the statistics that the portion of serial killings not committed by white males is proportional to the number of males who are anorexic. She questions whether factors of race, sexual orientation, and economic status would remain so undiscussed if the perpetrators weren't of the dominant race, orientation and status. I think this is a really incredible point and a true one. If the killers were of a minority, their backgrounds would be questioned. If they were women or gay, people would question societal oppressions that effect them. However, Steinem provides hope by saying that if men are raised more like daughters and taught the value of empathy and the welfare of others, they could grow up differently and perhaps place less weight on dominance. I think this is actually true because looking around, I know many men who are sensitive and kind and are more likely to be dominated by a woman than to dominate someone else.

Enloe's article also brought up some really interesting points. I thought it was really great that she started out with different people's willingness to speak up in the classroom. I thought that it related really well to the greater problem of women's ability to speak out in general. I definitely noticed a birdcage like scenario in her argument. Women are faced with 6 criteria that they need to consider before speaking up for themselves. They are fenced in by these 6 wires, sometimes only one or two of them are acting, but they consistently have to think of every single one. Enloe's point about factory workers essentially being silenced reminded me of the Globetrotting Sneaker article that basically explained exactly why women couldn't speak out.

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