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Women, Gender, Society, Identity

07 Jul 2017Other Essays

There are issues about who is the stronger or the weaker sex or who remains superior than the other. There are those who clamor for equality of rights between men and women and those cultural injustices brought about by the difference in sexes. These have long been subjects of debate for centuries and until the present time. The attribution of masculine gender can be traced in history.

Is gender treated as an identity or a possession? Some experts think that in most cases, men have attributed subjectivity to themselves and have reduced women to the status of objects, or to nothing. However, current debate shows that men are surrounded by “tools of feminine gender and by women-objects.” In Cheryl Clarke’s article, “Lesbianism: Ac Act of Resistance” the author states that there is no one kind of lesbian, nor of lesbian behavior or any kind of lesbian relationship. Thus, it is but natural, that there is also no one kind of response to the pressures that lesbian labor to survive as lesbians (Clarke, p. 505).

Sometimes I wonder, as I finished reading these two articles, why women are always on the side of passivity? In marriage, when situations call for a decision, a will, a desire, an authority, it is always the decision of the father that sets in and not that of the mother’s. She does not enter into opposition with her husband in matters affecting the family. She does not exist and she may not be vocal about her thoughts; she may not have a place of her own in the process, for she subordinates herself to the masculine gender.

As the women rediscover themselves, they sense that they need not sacrifice any of their pleasures to another. Women become wiser and have learned to handle themselves better. They don’t easily allow themselves to be objects of men’s fantasies nor their pleasures. Women have their way of finding their own pleasures. Even though women’s evolution has made a radical change, the same is not sufficient enough to fully liberate their desires. They remain objects of masochistic pleasure, responsible for housework and the performance of their reproductive maternal functions.

Today, women are enjoined to “tacitly go on strike;” to learn to avoid men until they become totally independent of their rights and become strong enough to defend themselves. They are enjoined to be empowered individuals who can stand up for the choices they make. They must demand for recognition as well-respected human beings and not as mere prostitutes. They are enjoined to find their own place in society worthy to be called contributors of its own progress. They must learn to earn their living themselves. Women must finally come out of their shells and learn to speak up and assert their place in the society for if they fail to do so, history would simply repeat itself bringing women back to their old self

Everywhere we go and regardless of time of the day or night, one can be the subject of assault or sexual violence especially among women and children. Statistics show that sexual violence is escalating to an alarming rate indicating that it has become a common scenario that can happen to anyone.

Surviving sexual violence may be a devastating experience for a victim to handle as she finds herself in a state of shock in accepting her shattered life. Worse thing that can add to her shattered predicament is seeing before her eyes that the criminal justice system is so slow in seeking justice for her, the victim. She often finds her self helpless— she loses her job, her home, her self-esteem, money, time and peace of mind. Life is never back to normal for fear that sexual violence can likely happen to her again. Another worse thing that can happen to her is experiencing pain caused by the people who lack the kind of understanding and empathy to a victim like her. Clarke asserts the role of sexual politics in this issue as she states that “Sexual politics mirror the exploitative relationship between the white slave man and the African slave—and the impact of both relationships (between black & white and woman & man) has been residual beyond emancipation and suffrage (Clarke, p. 506).

Even if biological studies spell out a person’s basic building blocks of experience and identity, a large part of a person evolves within culture, society and family and where those building blocks are assembled into different structures. Truly, indeed, the community influences gender-role development through its attitudes regarding what is appropriate behavior for males and females and the gender-role models it provides with whom children can identify. The community’s attitude on gender roles affects what behaviors it reinforces and punishes in children. Comments like “That’s unladylike” or “Go and stick up for yourself like a man” make a big impression on children.

We need to acknowledge that in our culture, maleness and femaleness have been defined around externals: roles, sensory data (dress, mannerisms, speech, habits), performance, sexual capacity and emotional expression. Historically, men have hunted, chopped wood, fought wars, been mechanics, explorer, moneymakers and risk takers. Any man who would do any one of these things well could comfortably attach his masculinity to the function. In this way, he gained comfort since he had obviously proved his maleness to everyone through what he could produce. Women, traditionally, have tended and feathered the nest. They have associated exploration and risk-taking with masculinity.

Meanwhile, in the article on La conciencia de la mestiza, Towards a New Consciousness, the author concludes that the place where the Chicano’s and Chicanas reside today is still plagued with the same problems of “struggling to survive. He says in no uncertain terms, “Yes, the Chicano and Chicana have always taken care of growing things and the land,” yet they themselves have not progressed at all. It is no wonder them, that in all frustration, Clarke ends her works by saying that “So all of us would do well to stoop fighting each other for our space at the bottoms because there ain’t no more room.”

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