Candelario (2000) examines the relationship between gender and identity. He exposes ways in which gender roles are influenced by culture and race. The reading exposes the challenges women immigrants face in foreign countries.
Espiritu (2001) exposes the sexual immorality in the American culture. Most Filipino immigrant women are worried about their daughters. Their desire is to see their daughters adopt the Filipino culture. Espiritu’s interview with the Filipinos shows that they view levels of immorality in America as unacceptable.
The view of ‘no ugly women’ by De Casanova (2004) shows how women are demoralised by the society on the issue of beauty. The society has set benchmarks on who is considered beautiful. The media has made the conditions worse by glorifying images of women who are considered beautiful. The reading shows that women tend to rely on these findings. The beauty is also related to the races, whereby white women are considered more beautiful than their black counterparts.
Hall (2000) argues that middle class women are experiencing violence. The poor neighbourhood makes it worse for the female. They are also denied the right to socialize and form relationships. The schools and other institutions are not doing any better to reduce the abuse and violence experienced by women. The male dominance threatens the women from expressing themselves. Therefore, they do not talk about the domestic violence, but accept their predicaments.
All the readings had a huge similarity as they focused on race, gender and sexuality. Women experience violence and still remain in the same house holds. Most women thought violence and sexual abuse was something they could not do away with. It is evident that the dominant gender assigned value to the different races, gender, social class and sexuality. Differences in race and culture helped expose moral decay prevalent in some cultures.
The authors used real life stories to bring out the themes of oppression, gender inequality, poverty, sexuality, among others. They examined the works of other authors to justify their claims on the issues. The research work of the authors entailed closer evaluation of the various cultures bringing out the diverse perceptions.
Observations made by previous authors and interviews of the victims ensured that the documentation reflected the true picture of the effects on the ground. Their findings exposed the situations dominant in various societies. Interestingly, they all expose the manner in which the societies are dominated by male chauvinists. The women are observed as servants and sexual objects for men.
Analysis/Critique of the Readings
The readings focused on issues faced by women in society. They bring out the oppression and gender inequality that had dominated the society. The readings also brought out the issue of male dominance in the society. The struggle of women is depicted as they try to free themselves from various forms of oppression. Gender based violence is high in the societies and the there is little done to improve the situation. Most young girls end up giving up and end up leading hopeless life.
Poverty has been depicted in most of the readings. The poor neighbourhoods have made conditions worse for the girls, who struggle to make ends meet. Some girls even lament being born of that gender. The situation is worsened by relations, domestic assaults, and response by institutions like schools and leaders.
There are family breakages that destabilize the lives of the young girls. Most girls are brought up in single parent settings. The biological fathers do not care about the lives of their young girls, and in most cases fail to educate them. In most situations, women are subordinate to men. The girls believe that attainment of freedom from abuse relies on becoming independent. They are tired of being looked down upon by the society.
The readings also indicate a variation of cultures. Some actions, such as girls sleeping around with men are considered taboo by other cultures. Men from these cultures view sexual satisfaction from women as their basic need. It is also a taboo for people from different races to be involved in a relationship. Girls would be advised against getting into such relationships. The people of a certain class were not allowed to mingle with those of a lower class. This led to the problem of poverty becoming persistent.
The idea of women from a different race appearing ugly is demonstrated in the readings. Some races are thus considered superior and may have numerous advantages over others. For instance, the white commanded respect and the ladies were regarded highly.
Personal Reflection of the Readings
The readings were exciting as they enabled more enlightenment on issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Though some of the issues depicted have faded in the modern society, there still exist cultures that observe them. However, women need to do a lot to ensure that they achieve their desires.
The readings also reveal that a person’s characteristics are affected by their upbringing. Decisions a person makes are thus influenced to some extent by the background. However, individuals have no control in selecting certain factors like race, class and gender. Most individuals have been affected by these factors. The boys are taught to be dominant while the girls are taught to be submissive. This affected the lifestyles of the persons throughout their life.
The readings show that gender is a complex issue. There exist countless characteristics of speech, appearance, movement and other factors different from biological sex. However, the society viewed gender as either male or female, with the male being the dominant sex. Beauty is also perceived as an important feature among women, and has the ability to influence one’s character.
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