This Is Where You Post Your Curation Assignment and Response

19 Jan

This week we are reading a short article from Judith Butler about gender equity. On Thursday we will begin discussion bell hooks. By Thursday I will have assigned all of the curators. When You are typing a post, to your right is a “Categories” menu. Be sure that you check the “Discussion” block after you complete your post. Some students prefer to type their posts in Word and then cut and paste it in this box.

This will be fun. Trust me. All of us feel the safety of expressing some ideas here that we would not be comfortable expressing in class. I am establishing another way for us to communicate through GroupMe. You will all need to download it to use it.

5 Replies to “This Is Where You Post Your Curation Assignment and Response

  1. Chapters 4 & 5
    Bell hooks start off chapter four with a strong argument that is calling out middle class white women, again. This group of women created a front of so-called sisterhood. To them sisterhood was based on the idea of common oppression. However, they only led with the oppression they had experienced. These women failed to take into account race, class, and sexual preference. Hooks states that this movement taught women that being a female is being a victim. Yet, they were still only thinking about themselves in saying they are the victims, middle class white women, forgetting about the majority of the female population not being in the same position as them. Hooks emphasizes that in order to build a strong movement many things must be unlearned and thrown away. Things such as that women have no value unless relating or bonding with a man. Male supremacists thrived off of this idea that women are worthless if they are not in some way connected to a male. They executed in their actions this exactly by oppressing women. Male supremacists also thrived off of saying that relationships between two women diminish experiences rather than enhance them. Hooks goes on to explain that women must branch out and not let this affect their daily lives. Women need to explore and communicate with one another. Theresa Funiciello is an example of this, and shows what sisterhood should be. Funiciello organized a multi-racial group of women to lead a conference in response to a racist request. The request was to not talk to a white woman because she may be too articulate and to not talk to a black woman because she may be too angry. This shows oppression in the form of racism and Funiciello has a response that the feminist movement needed, not speaking of sisterhood but putting its true meaning into action. By communicating and understanding a strong foundation will be built. Women of all races, all classes, all religions and all sexualities must come together and talk with each other. In doing this, a platform for a movement will be formed under the realization, to women like those who started the movement of sisterhood, that there are far more ways women are oppressed than they are taking into account. Hooks dives deeper into the early start of feminism and highlights why it was not working. She goes on to explain that early feminists called out all men for oppressing women. Black women also did not support this, so not only were men against the movement some women were also against it. They believed that this stance, and basis, for the movement would not achieve anything rather only intensify sexism. Those early feminist did not take into account race, class, religion, and sexual preference of males. It is a simliar pattern that keeps repeating itself in the early feminist movement, saying all when in fact the voices of all have not been heard. Hooks points out the fact that lower class men, non-white men and others who do not make up the stereotypical man women think of have also been opressed by theses male supremacists. Calling out all men instead of being specific also set the feminsit movement back. Some men, like the ones listed above, may have been for the feminist movement but not after hearing that they as well are being blamed. Hooks identifies that a man can lead a strong, powerful life without oppressing others. She shows that you do not have to put others down in order to build yourself. Hooks shows this by examining lower class men, white and non-white. Lower class men have encountered women working out of normal gender roles and still been able to do their work and build themselves without attacking women. Hooks closes out these two chapters with a strong statement, that men and women both need to work together to see that sexual oppression exists and harms everyone. This will build a strong movement.
    Why do you think women like those who started the sisterhood movement believed they were creating a strong platform?
    Why do you think there was such a lack of communication between races, classes, religions, and sexualities?
    If there was communication between the women calling out all males and the women who believed that was not a sound stance, how do you think the movement would have evolved differently?
    Why does Hooks so strongly believe that in order for the movement to succeed men and women need to work together?

    Nicole Burney

    • I find fascinating Hooks argument that the white woman that started this movement, even though they were being discriminated against, had a certain privileged above those non-white, low-class women. I could not agree more with the point she establishes. I am curious if these middle/upper-class white women realize that they could speak and fight for their equal rights because people would listen to them and they would not be as threatened as a black woman expressing her concerns. As for your question, I could say that the lack of communication comes from the ignorance of these white women. These women were privileged and only see their own struggles, setting them as the same struggles everyone had. Also, it probably comes from the rooted racism and segregation that the US had at the time. The second wave of feminism came in the 1960s. Segregation legally ended in 1964. This timeline may explain a lot as to why white women did not include black women and other women of color in their fight towards equal rights. As for the question about women calling out all men for being sexist versus those who argue that they should not categorize them all the same, I understand that it is likely that not all men thought the same or treated women the same as sexist men that degrade and discriminate against women. Yet, at the time that this movement was starting it would have been complicated to identify those men that were allies or that think differently. These women, that created the sisterhood, did not know any better to expand their fights towards other race, class, and sexual preference, how could others expect them to open their arms and accept the gender they were going against. I wonder, and a question a pose is, what did these men that supported and believe in the feminist movement did to make themselves heard or to try to be included in the movement? They could not have expected that these white women would know that they want to be part of a movement lead by only women.

  2. Chapters 6 & 7
    In chapter six Bell Hooks puts a strong focus on power and what it means. Women throughout the feminist movement have been uncertain of power. She talks about how women who were interested in change affiliated power with a negative connotation. Hooks goes into more detail about the real meaning of power, and what it means. She describes two types of power. She describes the power of men as dominating and controlling. She describes the kind of power women need to take as creative and life-affirming. Women see power the same as men because of societal norms. Women take the same power men have over them and assert it themselves in punishment of children. Some women did take power, but failed to evaluate the different kinds. They became the men they were fighting against, putting men down to build themselves. Hooks describes a category of women who embody and execute the kind of power she is talking about that needs to happen. Lower class women exhibit this power because they work and care for their household, making dependence on another nearly impossible. Bourgeois women did not even see this type of strength because it is not linked to power over others. The thought of power by the bourgeois women corrupted the feminist movement. Later on more forms of power were viewed over but the definition of domination still stood at the forefront of minds. Hooks explains that women need to reject the powerful definition for their reality. If they do that, positive self thoughts follow and power within yourself is seen.
    Hooks highlights another reason the early feminist movement was uncommunicative and close minded. She focuses on transforming thoughts and perspectives on work. She brings the bourgeois women’s thoughts back into play, that work outside of the home was freedom from oppression. They talked of work that gives them economic freedom so they would not have to depend on a man. No lower class, lower paying jobs were mentioned which women were already working. The early feminist failed to see majority of women were already and still financially dependent on men and under their power. The basis of the movement was that work is liberating for women. Lower class women, once again, were against the movement. They were frightened their jobs would be taken from them and given to the bourgeois women. Black women and men fought together to express their concerns of white women taking jobs away from qualified people. Their fear happened, white supremacry flourishes and the early feminist got what they wanted. Those who hired the white women were seen as good in their eyes but those women failed to realize they were asserting the wrong kind of power, to lower class women they could have been seen just as sexist as male white supramesiscts. Black women spoke up, pointing out that if the feminist movement was soley about working they did not need it. People realized that working would not bank them economically free and only hurt them, making the numbers of poor women grow rapidly. Hooks points to that fighting poverty among women would stand a better front for the movement. It would include women of all races and religions. Furthermore, Hooks goes on to explain what kind of oppression happened to women while in the workforce. She explains that women were taught their work is devalued and that they only work out of need and scarcity. Women were psychologically oppressed, they were not allowed to have creative power or have satisfaction in helping one another. These women needed the power Hooks talked about in the previous chapter. These working women needed to reject the dominating power and have creative power. The feminist movement will only move forward if women look at the big picture and address the need of all women of different races, religions, classes, and sexualities.

    If women took power as Hooks explains in chapter six, how do you think the movement would have evolved differently?

    If working conditions were different for bourgeois white women, do you believe the movement would have kept going, stopped, or taken a new path?

    What are ways during the early feminist movement that could have led to a more open minded system rather than close minded?

  3. This is a good start, but both posts are responses to my post instead of new posts. You create a new post by navigating to the curation/discussion page and clicking the plus sign at the top. That will take you to a page where you can type in a title and your summary. Then we have a new thread.

  4. bell hooks, Feminist Theory: from margin to center, Chapters 6 and 7
    In “Changing Perspectives on Power,” hooks argues for a change in how power is understood. hooks specifically calls for a new definition of power that overturns the values white supremacist capitalist patriarchy upholds by defining power in terms of control and exploitation. hook frames her argument by illustrating two radically different understandings of power by different actors within feminist thought and the mainstream and radical feminist movements. On one side, according to hooks, power has been assumed to mean “domination and control over people or things.” (83) For particularly white, bourgeois feminists, this view of power defined the mainstream feminist movement, viewing women’s powerlessness as a result of male domination and called for equal access to economic wealth and protection in political arenas (83). On the other side, radical feminists, who focus on women’s liberation, sought and seek to transform the meaning of power, seeing power being understood as domination as bad and detrimental to the feminist movement’s goal. In summary, power can be understood as “power as domination and control” by the mainstream, bourgeois feminists and “power as creative and life-affirming” by radical feminists (84).
    While white, bourgeois women believed women in high positions of power would handle power differently than men, as hooks challenges throughout the chapter, however, simply changing the actors does not change the sexist, racist, and classist system and society; power needs to be reexamined and redefined to radically change society to be more equal and equitable. This failure to recognize need results in a failure to adequately recognize connections between oppression by the patriarchy to oppression caused by white supremacy and capitalism, leaving out most women. For hooks, by looking at women and their daily experiences living and resisting an oppressive society, power ends up not being inherently bad, but instead comes from strong self-concept and decision-making skills (88). Looking forward, hooks urges feminists to examine gender norms and roles and, instead of viewing them devoid of power and wrong, to take a step back and see what they mean in context of white supremacy, the patriarchy, and capitalism. Failure to view within complete context results in failure to include all women and transform power from being oppressive to being creative and liberating.
    In “Rethinking the Nature of Work,” hook continues her analysis of power and the relationships between gender, class, and racial oppression by looking specifically at work. In this chapter, hooks specifically critiques second-wave feminism and its goal of pushing for women to be allowed to work outside of the home. hooks builds off her previous argument about power, particularly in terms of economic power and wealth-building. Gaining access to and participating in the system does not dismantle it; it only reinforces and preserves definitions of both power and work. hook, however, continues critiquing feminism that comes from the center and how it ignores the experiences of women at the margins in terms of work: “[middle class women] were so blinded by their own experiences that they ignored the fact that a vast majority of women were (even at the time The Feminine Mystique was published) already working outside the home, working in jobs that neither liberated them from dependence on men nor made them economically self-sufficient” (95). While work could be liberating if it was not compulsory and what one desired, as hooks emphasizes, work as inherently and universally liberatory is not true, especially for most poor and working-class women who experienced work as exploitative.
    In unpacking the relationship between work and feminist movement, hooks emphasizes how certain challenges to historical actors impacts the goal and direction of the feminist movement, noting that the growing rates of poverty were not taken seriously by the feminist movement, largely comprised of middle-class white women, until they were personally impacted in the late 1970s and 1980s. hooks particularly focuses on how this limited understanding of work harmed Black and poor people, highlighting the dangers of failing to center the most marginalized women. Specifically, the influx of married white women meant fewer jobs for qualified Black people, reinforcing “the extent to which white supremacy has worked to prevent and exclude non-white people from certain jobs” (97). hooks, ultimately, asserts that in order for the feminist movement to be true, it needs to center the experiences and needs of all women, especially the most marginalized, encouraging more women to participate and collectively push for liberation. For feminism and work, what this means is defining work not in terms of exchange value and brining all women to rethink a positive definition of work.
    Questions for consideration:
    – Like women excluded movement hooks centers, what happens if someone does not see themselves as a member of the feminist movement, but still advances feminist ideas and goals through activism, even if they may not see it as activism or resistance? Should their voices get included? If so, how do they get included and how do we ensure that their voices, experiences, and perspectives are preserved and preserved authentically and on their own terms?
    – How does hooks emphasize perspective and different experiences within her argument about power and work? How does this specifically show up in the development and agendas of the mainstream feminist movement?
    – hooks highlights how historical moments inform the make-up and goals of the mainstream and radical feminist movements. How did understanding of work and power change as they relate to what they mean for the feminist movement and liberation? How do you think they look now for the feminist movement in our current moment?

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