Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

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Frye’s Oppression

While reading Frye’s Oppression, it truly led me to believe that women are more oppressed than men and in many ways as well. Some ways women are physically, mentally, spiritually or emotionally restrained as mentioned in the reading is how women are seen in the US in regards to sex. The author speaks about how if a woman is sexually active she is considered to be wild or called rude remarks but if she is not active sexually she is considered stuck up, “lame”, or things of that nature. Another thing that caught my eye in the reading is when it speaks about how if a women dresses one way she is somehow seeking sexual attention, but if she dresses the opposite, many assume that she does not care about her appearance. Does this stuff really matter? Our society is all messed up in my opinion. For example, in class today we spoke about gender and identity and how we perform gender. I think this closely relates because it’s like we are taught as children to be a certain way and to stick to it. Like as a women, you are told to dress a certain way and to act a certain way, if you do the opposite of what is “normal” as a woman I think that easily puts you in as bait for oppression because of the fact that if you don’t  go by the “norm” you are automatically  judged or treated a certain way.


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Emotionally Restrained Men/Women

I think culture portraying men to be emotionally restrained and women to be physically restrained can be harmful in many different ways. When guys look at girls they think puny, small, or weak. Women view themselves very differently. We think we can hold our own against men and a lot of women are not as weak and small as men think. But when you have society looking at women as weak individuals then us women start to question how strong we are. When you look at spiritual, women tend to be the ones who in some countries still don’t have a say so in anything they want to do. Men are superior and that’s how it should be. I think women don’t get as much credit as they should.

Society portrays men to be strong and in charge so when they show emotion and weakness it’s wrong or makes them look like they are being babies. Mentally i’m sure it’s hard on men for society to think that way because you have to put on a front. When men are upset they can’t really show it because they are suppose to be strong and emotionally stable. Everyone has emotions and it shouldn’t be different when a man or woman cries or shows how they feel.

I think society shouldn’t put labels on certain people, gender, race or anything in that matter. We should all be looked at equal because we all can accomplish what we want and should be able to act the way we want without it being looked at as wrong or different.

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Pharr Homophobia

After reading “Homophobia” I believe that lesbian-baiting does not keep women “in line” because we all have a preference in which gender we are attracted to. We don’t live in a society anymore where a woman needs approval from a man. As far as economic power is concerned there are more successful women on the planet today than there have ever been. Let’s take Ellen Degeneres for example who is a lesbian yet she is successful in her career. If lesbian-baiting does anything it discriminates women. If a woman chooses to sleep with another woman she will be labeled as a lesbian but if she sleeps with multiple men to prove to everyone that she is straight she will be ridiculed and be labeled as a slut. The only reason lesbian-baiting is successful at times is because society looks down upon homophobia because there are a few people out there who think it’s a sin because they believe they know how to paraphrase a book that was written thousands of years ago. Lesbian-baiting does not keep women in line because they were never out of line to begin with. The ones who need to be kept in line are the ones who use this tactic to harass individuals.

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Marilyn Frye’s “Oppression”

I used to be a very, very quiet person. At school, I read books. I was quiet because everyone talked over me and I let them. At home, I was shushed when I had something to contribute either because of my young age or my brothers’ learned traits from my father to talk whenever and say whatever comes to their minds. I was used to being pushed aside and talked over. And it’s not their fault. I forgive them. It’s something they learned from their father and he learned from his father and so on and so forth.

In Marilyn Frye’s Oppression, she discusses how women are retrained physically and how those restrictions damage us. And though my experiences growing up were not seriously dangerous as far as life and death, I know that there are wives and mothers and daughters who have dealt with this and more severe oppression; and I can’t even begin to try to grasp how remarkably restrictive that must feel.

These constrains that we have on women and their voices and what they attempt and do not attempt stunt their growth both spiritually, and mentally. When we cannot ask questions, we will never find out answers. When we don’t get to ask questions or contribute, we don’t have to think for ourselves. And it’s no that we don’t want to, it’s that we don’t know to. And when we don;t take action, we have no experiences to learn from.

As a result of these remarks, for a long time, not only did I not feel like I had the right to speak, but I had nothing to say. The people who were supposed to be teaching me did not know of my questions and my stagnant interest in learning and personal growth, which was mediocre at best. It keeps us from a better education and a better understanding. I didn’t think there was much more than what I was being told.

Eventually I did start to speak up and ask questions in class and learn to not be shoved aside. But some days i do mourn the loss of so many wasted years where I did not try. And I think this is where Marilyn Frye makes her point. Oppression is not only being pressed, but sometimes we are pressed until we stop. And that’s not alright.

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First, lets start off with the definition of oppression. Oppression is the “prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control.” In today’s society, the need to control others is everywhere. In the world of media, male or female, we like to control how they look, what they wear, and how they act. If one does not “go with the crowd” then we frown upon it.  I feel as if oppression may effect men more than women, because emotionally damage is far greater than physical damage. The first reason why males are effected by oppression is because they are taught as a young child to be tough and “men don’t cry,” but as humans, everyone cries and we should embrace men to show how they truly feel. Secondly, society should allow men to be more in touch with their sensitive side. Most women bitch and complain because a man does not show enough emotion or affection when as a society we bash men who are “pushovers.” Third, we expect men to be dominant. I know as a very dominant woman, I do not want a man who is as tough headed as I am. Everyone is different and I feel that if we allowed men to be whoever and whatever they feel then things would go a lot smoother. Fourth, if a man is not “the provider” then he feels less of a man due to society. What troubles me is females are told to do what makes them happy regardless of the income, but what if males were told that? Men are lead to believe that they have to make the most money and sacrifice aspirations just to provide for the family. Lastly, I feel that males are taught to gain masculinity you must have sexual experience or to be “good with the ladies” and for a man who is not any of these things might be called gay. Talk about emotional damage, being called gay by your guy friends would do the trick. I feel as women, we set a double standard. We can’t want an emotional man, but then say he is just like a girl. When realizing how oppressed men are, we also have to realize if we want them to embrace who they are we must be willing to accept it.

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Oppression of Men

I went ahead and assumed that most of my classmates would be speaking about oppression of women, so I decided to take a different route and look at men’s oppression. It is said often that women are oppressed by the male sex but while that may be true, the oppressor can be oppressed as well which we learned in our text book. When we think of aggressiveness or violence we think men, not women. I believe that men are given a very small margin of what is considered being a “MANLY MAN.” If a man goes outside of this small tiny box they are looked at as being “girly” or “wimpy.” I don’t believe there is a lot of give and take in that.  Another thought that we discussed a little in class was men in physical pain compared to women; women will be given much sympathy for something like a fall or maybe even being hit, but a man will be expected to brush it off or “rub some dirt on it” and move on as if nothing even happened to them.  It is almost as if men aren’t equipped with a feeling or pain and certainly zero possibility of having emotions like women.  No boy or man ever wants to be told “you’re being a girl” because that damages their manliness in a sense, but at the same time men are human just like women and they need to have a sense of comfort, attention, closeness, and care too.  Like I said earlier, there is this thought by most that women are constantly under this cloud of oppression but men are as well which is often forgotten, but they would be judged more harshly to express it. Others may disagree and argue that men do not understand the woman’s oppression, so is their a hierarchy of oppression? Or does that rule only apply to the different instances for women alone? I think some people find the male sex to be “Bully’s,” and while that may be true in some cases, remember that the bully of a school is usually battling their own issues as well.





My Life experience: Understanding There is No Hierarchy of Oppression

My mother and grandmother were school teachers, and of all things my mother was an English teacher. Why on earth did I have to be Dyslexic? I am a student, I am a teachers kid, and I am Introverted. How does this relate to Lorde?

I’m obviously a student just like everyone else, but I am the gray matter. That means I do not learn in a normal way like most people, but at the same time my disability dose not classify me to be in a special education class. I did receive classes to help me caught up, and I did make it to college. I had to work extremely hard to get to where I am today. 

Growing up some teachers thought I was lazy and stubborn until testing proved I was indeed a dyslexic. My mom being an English teacher noticed right away something was wrong, but other teachers disagreed with my mom. My mom would work with me as a child, and reading turned into screaming crying fits. From a first graders minds it like gosh my own mom can not even teach me how to read. She is a teacher why can I not seem to grasp this. I hated reading because it was hard, and no one outside my family seemed to believe that I had a problem. I cried cause I felt bad and anxious. I felt like it was just expected of me to be good at english, and a great student.

As I got older and my disability was know. I had to be careful about it. My parents did not want that to define me. I was so worried and wished I was not dyslexic, and I cried a lot. I would get kicked out of class for crying, because I was frustrated. I was frustrated, because I did not how to communicate my feelings.

By high school groups would come in to talk to students with disabilities about our future. They would tell us what we could do besides going to college. If I said I was going to college these groups would ask me what my back up plan was. It made me feel like maybe college was not for me. Other groups were trying to make me be out going, because “obviously I felt bad about myself because I was dyslexic.” 

This statement is not true. I’m just introverted. I Love meeting people, but I love listening to people the more than talking. In fact, I only get help from a group of five friends, and I go to them in different situations. I was not quite or shy because of my disability, but because of my personality. 

Nothing is wrong with being dyslexic or introverted child of an english teacher. It makes things harder cause lots of people do not understand either. Most people tend to be extroverted, and learn in the “standard way”. Just because I do not does not mean anything. It just means I go about things in different ways than most people. with that being said I respect people who learn differently from me, and have different personalities. I know that we share lots of similarities they just go about it differently.