Sunday, April 24, 2011

Follow Up: Greenstone, Attenello, and Pruce

I found these articles really inspiring. They all follow women's journeys towards leadership and self-empowerment. The different paths they each took are really interesting. One thing that really struck me, which seemed like a commonality for all the women, was the issue of bias. They all had to acknowledge and get over their own perspectives before they could understand others. Greenstone regrets that she spoke sharply to the girl who stereotyped Jewish people. Attenello had to disconnect her feelings as an outsider so she could provide resources that would be helpful to other women and Pruce had to admit to her bias as a Jewish person living in Israel towards the Pakistani's in order to forward women's issues, her other main cause.
Attenello's story was particularly interesting to me. I can completely understand her feelings of being an outsider of Unidad de New Brunswick. I can see how she would feel like she was enabling rather than empowering and I think it's really great that she had the insight to realize that. However, I thought it was also really impressive that she was able to overcome her discomfort to help women who could benefit from the resources she could provide. I think it's really important to understand what ways we can be useful to others while still being realistic about our role. Her point about representing a group that she wasn't a part of and couldn't necessarily communicate with or relate to made me think of the way men must sometimes feel of the feminist movement. I can see how it would be really difficult to relate to, or feel a part of, a group that you can't identify with.
Pruce also interested me because I had never thought so deeply about her definition of the distinction between grassroots activism and formal political involvement. When she said that activism is predominantly female, under appreciated, and not well paid while formal political involvement is prestigious, and well paid, I was really shocked. I had never thought deeply about this distinction before. It reminded me of all our discussions about women in the workforce and how women typically do the undesirable, monotonous jobs, while men are elevated in better positions.

5 comments:

  1. I also really appreciated Attenello's insight into the fine line between helping and taking the voice away from a group. It reminded me of the colonialism dicussion we had regaurding Afghani and American women. At what point are we helping them fight oppression versus forcing our western values on them. As a white student who has taken many classes on racism and oppression I can in some ways relate to her feelings. While ending reacism is something I care deeply about at times I feel out of place in these classes because I have no personal experience. I think what is important to understand is that we all can relate and add insight to issues of oppression. Whether we are the victims or the group in power we all play a role in perpetuating the cycle and therfore should all play a role in ending it.

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  2. I agree with Tira that it was very insightful of Attenello to realize that she could still help the Unidad de New Brunswick, even though she was technically an "outsider". Although Attenello ended up leaving the group because she felt uncomfortable in a leadership position, I think it says a lot about her characters that she really tried to help these women. Attenello's situation reminded me of a group in my high school. I went to a predominantly white high school, and there was a student group that was for students of color, only. White students were not allowed to join this club (it was recognized by my school administration), because they arguably did not understand the experience of a student of color in a predominantly white school. Looking back on this, I think that this club was in a difficult situation. On the one hand, there is no way that I could have known what students of color at my high school felt like on a day-to-day basis, but at the same time...what if I had wanted to be an ally? I think that having allies, although they may not racially identify with a group, can be a very powerful thing, which Attenello illustrated through her article.

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