Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Follow Up: Enloe

In "Being Curious about Our Lack of Feminist Curiosity" and in "The Surprised Feminist", Enloe looks at how important it is for feminists to always ask questions. She points out that if we do not ask questions then we will never make new discoveries.
In the introduction Enloe questions the natural assumptions about life and gender that society makes. Patriarchy has seemingly always been around so it is natural in the Western world. She is challenging patriarchal systems that put masculinity first and femininity in the outskirts. If we allow ourselves to stop being curious about traditions of masculinity and femininity then nothing will ever change. There is a great danger for feminists than not being curious. This reminds me of investigative reporters who work hard to answer the questions that they are curious about and expose the truth for the rest of the world to learn. In a way Enloe's feminist is an investigative reporter, who challenges patriarchy to find the truth. Feminist curiosity is not limited to the public patriarchy that surrounds society, but also the private life. Why do women cook and clean more than their spouses? Why are women more likely to work in a sweatshop? Enloe points out how patriarchy only survives because men and women allow for it. They are not curious enough about the system to learn more about and to change it.
In chapter one, Enloe focuses on the importance of surprise and how we should allow ourselves to be surprised. She questions the assumption that being surprised means you are not qualified or creditable. There are some things that you may be able to predict if you look closely enough, but this is not always true. Enloe talks about some of the things that surprised her, such as the collapse of the Brazilian economy or the success of the U.S. Women's National Basketball Association. Admitting her surprise is the only way that she will be able to move forward. I wonder how being surprised came to be a bad thing? Why is it that if you cannot predict something than you do not know enough about it? If nothing ever surprised you than there would not be anything more to learn. People may not like surprises, but that does not mean that they are bad. Enloe concludes her chapter by saying that being surprised is vital to being a feminist and a human being.

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