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Sugarclaws
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Join date : 2011-02-05

PostSubject: Sexual Difference   Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:52 am

Book: Intro to Literature, Criticism & Theory
Authors: Bennet and Royle


I thought this was really interesting. It was one of the first things I read when being introduced to reading things in a feminist light. I'm going to note that I am a feminist, but a postmodern one. Not a radical one. I don't believe in violent protests and everyone knows how much I love beautiful men. So, yep!

This is great because not only did it help me read texts in a feminist light but it helped me look at the world and more clearly see how society operates so strongly on gender stereotypes and differences.

Short summary of the chapter:

  • Often in books or stories, the man will be naturally given a set of qualities: practical, dominant. The woman will be emotional and subordinate (unless she is a femme fatale, in which often those will show emotion and subordination eventually anyway). Without us knowing it, we're reading about a HIERARCHY of gender, where the man is in power. This is called a patriarchy, and it can be very oppressive.
  • There are different ways of oppression - an example in the text is given. One of them can be the 'soft face' of oppression where the woman is made to believe that the man is 'protecting' her - when in fact, he is simply exercising power over her. This may or may not be intentional on the man's part (we are products of our society after all).
  • Most gender stereotyping is based around biological differences - i.e., dick, vag. ehehe. But Western society has attached so much importance to genitals that the penis even has its own philosophy attached to it: the phallus. The fact that this word even exists shows that the penis has become a symbol representing power and authority.
  • So when we look very closely, not only is sexism displayed in books, but it's also displayed in our very language - phallus is one example, but think about how inappropriate it is to call a guy 'hey girl!' or 'omg woman' - but it's totally fine for us to be called 'dudes' or 'guys' or 'man'.





QUESTIONS (all optional):

1. Thoughts?

2. Have you read any books that were clearly sexist?

3. Have you read any that were only subtly so?

4. Pick up a random book - can you find any sexism there?

5. Pick up one of your OWN work - can you find any there?

6. What do you think about the sexism we use in every day language? Do you even see it as a negative thing, or is it something that has just become a harmless part of society's evolution?

“What’s the worst possible thing you can call a woman? Don’t hold back, now. You’re probably thinking of words like slut, whore, bitch, cunt (I told you not to hold back!), skank. Okay, now, what are the worst things you can call a guy? Fag, girl, bitch, pussy. I’ve even heard the term “mangina.” Notice anything? The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl. Being a woman is the ultimate insult. Now tell me that’s not royally fucked up.”
― Jessica Valenti

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