Thursday, November 27, 2008

Week 10 Reading: Insights

Here are two things that I noticed from this reading, that I'd like to point out because I'm not sure if I could make sense of them in class off the top of my head:

One of the follow-up questions to Jacinto Jesus Cardona's "Bato con Khaki's" is "Why is bato 'too bold' a word for the speaker's 'mother's blood?" (339). Then, right after that, in Jamaica Kincaid's essay "Girl," a dominate voice, probably female (perhaps a mother, older sister or older family friend) speaks to a girl about how to grow up appropriate. The connection between the two pieces highlights how it is the responsibility of the mother/female to raise the next generation both male and female, which is probably obvious because it falls into that domestic sphere.Then, wouldn't it also be presumed, that those children's failures are automatically projected onto the mother? It becomes the mother's responsibility (and shame) when her son becomes a bato or her daughter a slut. Considering all of the outside influences that act upon children--media, technology, peers, other adults, history, it's quite unfair that females are forced to bear this responsibility alone. Katha Pollit supports me (or I guess, I support her), when she wrote "They let parents off the hook--no small recommendation in a culture that hold moms, and sometimes even dads, responsible for their children's every misstep on the road to bliss and success" (399). And isn't unfair to fathers that they aren't given (more) credit for the responsibility or shame that they bear for their children's futures?

Although McQuade and McQuade do a reasonable job to separate gender and race into different chapters, race is still a significant factor to consider when talking about gender (some people debate that it is completely inseperable when speaking of gender). I thought Judith Ortiz Cofer's "The Story of My Body" hit the nail on the head at the end, when she writes,
In college, I suddenly became an "exotic" woman to the men who had survived the
popularity wars in high school, who were now practicing to be worldly: They had
to act
liberal in their politics, in their lifestyles and in the women they went
out with (349) [emphasis added].
The questions of exoticism and exploitation are really interesting. Conversely, in "How to Write A Catchy Beer Ad," when the ad makers were filming the ad, they wanted women "to look hot but approachable, someone I wouldn't be scared to talk to" and thus went with twins who were "All-american and real" (391). (Funny--of course they're real, they picked living, breathing humans?! And what does it mean to be All-American?!) They wanted women who were similar to themselves, but "approachable" which could be read as non-threatening, subservient, less than. And are exotic women thus oppositely viewed as other and scary?

Week 10 Reading

Yes, I am posting on Thanksgiving. Some people may make a big deal out of this, as in this isn't much of a holiday if I'm doing school work, but what's a better way to chill out and digest than blogging? Probably watching a movie, but blogging it is.

I was anticipating this week's reading, because I have a vested interest in gender studies (I wish more people did). Mainly I tell people I have my degree in English, but I doubled, and also have a degree in Feminist Gender Sexuality Studies. Try not to let the F-word scare you.

More or less I found that McQuade and McQuade had good insights and asked several important questions. I highly suggest:
  • p. 343 Judith Ortiz Cofer's "The Story of my Body"
  • p.353 Marjane Satrapi's excerpt from "Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood" - if you haven't seen the film from this graphic novel, Persepolis, Netflix or rent it IMMEDIATELY. It's brilliant (and entertaining) and showed me a world vastly different from the few stereotypes I had in my head about Iran.
  • p. 366 Jane Slaughter's "A Beaut of a Shiner"
  • p. 370 Portfolio: Nancy Burson
  • p. 378 Susan Bordo's "Never Just Pictures"
  • p. 390 Chris Bollard's "How to Write A Catchy Beer Ad"
  • p. 398 Katha Pollit's "Why Boys Don't Play with Dolls"
  • p. 402 ARMY ad "There's Something About a Soldier"

I don't have a highlight this week, however I will post a few insights I had (immediately following this post--yes one rock, two birds.) But I will end with this food for thought from Pollit's "Why Boys Don't play with Dolls."
Every mother in that room had spent years becoming a person who had to be taken
seriously, not least by herself.