Thursday, July 29, 2004

The New Macho: Feminism

This article caught my attention, and while I don’t typically focus on gender issues or feminism in my research it made me think.  I particularly like Ehrenreich’s comment about calling the current ‘war’ the war on terror—I much prefer the suggestion that we identify the enemy of this campaign “an extremist Islamic insurgency” rather than the war on terror.  I think it helps to clarify that it is not all individuals who live in the middle-east or originated in that geographic region of the world.  It is a particular group of individuals who have a set of beliefs and ideas that are not necessarily shared by their fellow country men and women or other individuals who hold similar religious faiths. 

Apart from the commentary about how the ‘enemy’ is identified and portrayed I think this article does a good job of pointing out there are a lot of other issues going on domestically and abroad, which are often neglected by politicians.  There are a variety of issues in which the structural inequalities in U.S. and other societies are detrimental to particular segments of that population.  The issue of women’s status is just one of many.  I personally would be thrilled to see politicians take up the fight to effect structural changes that would make a real difference in the experience of these individuals and groups.  Whether or not they will is the larger question—one which doesn’t have a positive answer at present.  It is still nice to see an argument with some sociological elements out there, which gives encouragement to those of us making the effort to connect sociology with the publics it studies. 

The article should be available at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/29/opinion/29ehre.html?th.  It appeared in the July 29, 2004 NY Times.  


20 Comments:

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Goesh said...

Shelters all over the US are filled with victims of terrorism - domestic terrorism, and not the kind of terrorists wearing white sheets at a cross burning. The typical response to domestic violence is to toss out some program money and pat one's self on the back for caring and acting -

1.) The State Department could add to their terrorist list, along with al qaidah and hamas, Wife Beaters, eh?
2.) Tom Ridge could issue a bulletin most every friday, alerting the public that the risk of domestic terrorism is high, since many people get paid on Friday and have the cash to make happy hour and do some extra drinking - and we know alcohol abuse is often a precipitating dynamic in domestic violence.
3.) An ad hoc committee could be organized to research whether or not labeling spouse abuse as terrorism would in anyway diminish the nation's capability to thwart external threats
4.) Abuse counselors and shelter staff could be named "counter-terrorism experts"
5.) Another ad hoc committee could be formed to research whether or not labeling domestic violence as terrorism would in any way alter its public perception and reponse

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Erin said...

I liked the pairing of incendiary with feminism - it gave me a laugh.

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Goesh said...

- what would really be incendiary would be a United Clerical Workers Union - all the women who mostly fill the office sweat shops, the medical field in particular, working for low pay and lousy benefits organizing, demanding equal pay with assembly line workers and union plumbers and carpenters - further incendiary activities could include counter-terrorism experts, formerly known as abuse shelter staff, sneaking around at night posting signs on bars known wife beaters frequent that read, "This establishment enables spousal battery", or, "This bar serves a woman beater" - Let the public develope its own sociological theory on that puppy.....

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger Goesh said...

Papal Feminism: I must say, despite being ultra right wing bent, that the ol' Pope has his audacity, don't he? Issuing a blanket condemnation of Feminism yet the church will issue no mandates for birth control in Latin America, or any other region for that matter. The first consideration of women is that of breeder, by Papal decree, since the ill affects of multiple birthing on women in 3rd world environments is almost totally negated by the awesome authority wielded by the Roman Catholic Church. Thou shalt not take the pill is issued with and by the same authority that offers its Sacraments to people who see themselves in spiritual need. Ticket to heaven, anyone?? Combined with the fact that the church is still one of the wealthiest institutions on the planet and bearing considerable political clout, 3rd world women don't have much of an alternative but to breed and die young. Is it any wonder the church didn't have itself in good order when the many reports of child molestation began to surface years ago? We can well expect a decree or two coming from the Papacy regarding children, in light of the feminism proclamation - no child shall work for less than 2 cents an hour while making clothes for Western nations - that would be righteous for starters - All children deserve at least one year of education - No child shall be sold into economic and sexual slavery unless the entire family is totally desititute - females choosing the profession of prostitution must be at least 9 years of age - atta' boy, your papalness - keep the guidance coming

 
At 7:26 AM, Blogger Goesh said...

And speaking of machoness and feminism:
I've been an observor and partial to dogs for many years. My neighbor keeps a couple of Beagle dogs, half grown pups. Though he adequately feeds, houses and waters them, they are tethered on long leashes and he never interacts with them. Like children, pups need time and contact, lots of it, so I pet them some and give them some table scraps on occasion. I've noticed for some time now that the one pup always rears up on his hind legs, looks me in the eye and makes mouthing/chewing motions as I approach. I've always just assumed that he wasn't getting quite enough to eat, though by no means is he malnourished. It recently dawned on me that this pup pretty much regards me as his mother. Now gender difference and roles has never been much of an issue with me and I've never given it a whole lot of thought, coming from a rural upbringing where several women in the community were the best farm impliment operators going and several wowen could physically outwork any man. Yes, they were big, powerful women that could heave potato sacks and hay bales all day long, but I have digressed. Being sort of rough looking and muscular and having a beard, it just seemed a bit incongruous that this pup saw me as Mom - Typical human (male?) ethnocentrism. But if you think about it, it makes sense. The young in canine packs are sustained by the females - they suckle and nurture them and return to the den from the hunt with some meat, or they regurgitate it for their pups. No wonder this pup would rear up, look at me in the face and make mouthing/chewing motions - Mom was on hand for some petting and table scraps. My point here is this: what would all these macho guys who keep aggressive, big dogs think if they knew their extension of themselves actually regarded them as their Mother? Picture some character who keeps a pit bull that is mean and the guy sees himself as the alpha male and the mutt as an extension of himself, projecting that macho, tough, aggressive image. HA! HA! HA! Ol' Spike really regards him as Mom - ya' gotta' luv' it!

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Goesh said...

- and speaking of dogs and gender perception:
A couple of years ago, one of my granddaughters wanted a dog, so her parents obtained one for her. She had simply wanted a dog and when they brought the pooch home and informed her it was a male, she said she had wanted a girl dog. When told they couldn't return the dog, she promptly named him Kimberly! HA! HA! Ain't it grand??

 
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