The ideas that most stuck out for me this week were

1) The relationship between slaves and masters
2) Why there’s inequality
3)Inequal, but different

1)I may have heard this before, but I found it to be really thought-provoking idea. You would typically think of the slaves as earning the spot of powerless and weak, with the master being a strong, dominating figure. Yet, neither of the two holds absolute power over the relationship. They’re co-dependant and neither can exist without the other. Also when Jill talked about how the master gets his identity from the slave. She/He learns what he/she should or should not be from the slave. It would seem though that the slave who has knowledge of the co-dependancy has more power since, knowing that the master needs them, they would be able to manipulate situations in order to get what they want. This makes me think of the movie the Experiment (based off of a true story) where there’s the pretend jail mates and pretend guards. The guards are only able to hold power when the jail mates give them the ability to control them and you can see how fragile the role of the guard is when the jail mates refuse to obey and instead attack them. It shows also that there has to be fear in the relationship for it to work.

2) I just did my essay and Adam and Eve where I talked about something similar to this. De Beauvoir believes that women are not naturally inferior while men are not naturally born to dominate. She believes that we are labelled certain ways and thus act in those ways, but going back to Hacking you can see that there’s a cycle which happens. People being labelled certain ways, acting in those ways and then being labelled again.You can’t say that women and men only follow their given labels because you don’t know what came first, the label or the way humans naturally are. I believe that in order to have been given these labels, men and women must have had some sort of natural inequality to create these labels. There has to be a reason for these labels to have formed.

3) Jill talked for a bit about how it is said that men and women are equal, but just in different way, yet this is still inequality. This is something that I’ve thought about for a long time especially after religion awareness day that was happening in the SUB a couple of months ago. I was speaking to an Islamic woman and she was telling me about the wrong ideas that people get on there religion, specifically concerning female inferiority. She told me that even though men went to work, women were allowed to do whatever they wanted with their free time and that men were obligated to supply them with whatever they wanted/needed. Men were forced to work, while women were given the freedom to do whatever they pleased. She also told me that their religion’s prophet’s last words were “be good to women”. It was a while ago so I don’t remember everything she told me, but there was a lot and throughout her entire “rant?” I kept thinking how can this be equality? Yes, both genders are being forced to do something or inhibited from doing something, but why does that make it equality. Equality should be both genders being allowed the possibility to do everything the other gender can. Being equal, but in different ways just means being equally oppressed.

1 thought on “

  1. Lots of great reflections here. I just want to comment on the first and second points briefly. About the master/slave relations, yes, it makes sense that the slave would have some significant power in the relationship in the way you describe. And there does have to be compliance in the “slave” for the master’s power to work (good reference to the movie; I haven’t heard of that film, but I bet it’s based of off the Stanford Prison Experiment, which was a real experiment). But if you think about the relationship in the form of men and women a century or so ago, then I wonder if women necessarily had more power than men b/c of this ability to manipulate. They still couldn’t leave their relationships easily if they wanted to, support themselves and their children, get as good of education (especially in, say, the 19th century and before), etc. So though they could do some manipulating of men, they were still, I think, subject to men in the sense that they couldn’t freely choose to leave and live entirely differently than they did with their partners. But that’s just my current thinking; my mind could certainly be changed!

    On the second point, it’s a good question why there might be a label of inferiority vs. superiority in the first place; it’s not just that it came out of thin air, right? If I remember correctly from reading Beauvoir’s text a few years ago, I think she says that women’s biology makes it such that they are sometimes unable to take care of their own needs and need the help of others (due to childbirth and child rearing in large part). Men didn’t have such issues, and so were able to be more independent, spend more time working for what they need, etc., and women generally got treated as if they needed taking care of. But it’s been a long time and I may not be remembering exactly correctly.

    Also, could you reactivate the plugin that allows commenters to check a box to get an email if there are any replies? Go to the dashboard, click on “plugins,” then activate “subscribe to comments.” Thanks!

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