Introduction to womens studies

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Section One: Write about your experiences with racism. Explain what you think causes racism and offer some solutions that you think can help stop racism.

Racism arises from a broader perspective. Karl Marx was a German socialist and revolutionary who propelled the conflict perspective that all social suffering and problems arise from a singular source. This singular source is the clash or conflict between those who control the powerful motives of society and those who are forced to operate within this control. Racism is a product of this conflict. The result, racism, is the dynamic disproportion of individuals who express influence between those who are burdened without choices towards their own influences. Class systems differentiate between citizens born of “status”, nationality or race. What is evident is that those citizens considered belonging to a more laudable supreme class level have exploitive control over all other subordinate class members. Fairer skinned human civilizations have a recorded tendency to seek imperial power over other civilizations. The act of race determining the social worth, social subordination, or social servitude is the practice of racism. What I have experienced from racism is very peculiar. If you asked this question to my grandmother or some other member of an oppressed nationality, you would possibly get events of sizeable verbal abuse and/or physicality. Myself on the other hand, I've experienced abuse based on indoctrination. The history of my nationality is permeated from birth with a stain. The mark I carry gives my counterparts white privilege, gives me strife to study it, and gives me power to defeat it (even if simply personally).

Section 2: How do the media influence our perception of beauty? How can this be dangerous? What can we do to change society's beauty image?

Beauty's definition changes with what the popular notion is marketed to be. The media has influenced American women to believe that what is propagandized to society is the only definition of what is beauty. This fall, my friends and I watched the Victoria Secret fashion show. All throughout the production they gasped and sighed at the models. They made comments like, “I wish I was tall like her”, “I wish I was her”, and “I hate myself.” It was disturbing that when I attempted to diffuse the comments they insisted on their negativity towards their perception of self. Today's media has defined beauty for my friends, being 5'9 or taller, having long straightened hair and being thin is beautiful. These two females are not ugly ducklings but they feel pressured to have the attributes of these women on screen. What I found dangerous is the stigma upon their weight; both girls weigh less than 115 lbs. I have observed obsessive behavior about eating habits, dress sizes, and the gain of even one pound. One of these ladies has been hospitalized three times since fall break for dehydration and weakness. This means that the desire to fit into media's beauty mold affects their living ability.

I think that society's image of beauty can be changed. Media and beauty campaigning companies need to make conscious efforts to offer a variety of marketing standards for women. There needs to be a representation of all types of women in advertising to stop the impression that there is an ideal appearance. It will also be key that women have a personal individualistic outlook on themselves. There will only be progress if women view themselves as beautiful based on unique qualities and standards.

Section 3: Why do you think we (as a society) create categories (based on gender, race, class, sexuality, ability level, etc.)? What purposes do they serve?

Every individual “belonging” to a certain category is a typical American worldview. Most individuals find solace and comfort in the predictability of their lives. Individuals of a society feel threatened when their tradition, categories, and values are challenged. I believed that social categories exist to differentiate between those who can have power and those who should not. This is an archetypal human consideration that the groups you most associate with are exceptional or most truthful in light of others. Marx published essays that gave names to these category dynamics. The “proletariat” is identified as the working middle or lower middle class citizens. The“ bourgeoisie” is identified as a small class group that controls the proletariat. The bourgeoisie use their class status to further lower the proletariat and exploit them to heighten their wealth and control. In America, your gender, sexuality, or race can be the determining factors on how you belong to the upper or lower classes. I'm very observant of people, rituals, generational habits, and folkways. People confuse what the “experience to life” really is; life is a routine of mental death. Living is to die a thousand times and conglomerate all what you have been taught and been pressured to believe is true and simply develop your own truth. I find it absurd that Americans wholly believe that it's the only country in the world that is not subject to internal corruption and that gender; race, class, and sexuality actually have meaning to a life's purpose and truth. Social categories don't have any profound evidence of principle and it is a farce to assume that they have any defining purpose.

Section 4: What could the system (education, welfare, family services) have done to save Precious earlier on in life?

     Education in urban areas is very poor. These areas are populated with minority and lower socio economic classes. Often the financial support, quality of services, or urge to improve the state of education for urban America is little. Precious attended schools where the teachers are disenfranchised from helping every student succeed because the school systems are not supported for them to do so. Her literacy was dependent on her primary education but was jeopardized by the inadequacy of her area's assistance. State and local services also failed Precious. The Department of Human Resources for all states is understaffed and the social workers are also unpaid. This detracts away from DHR's ability to recognize, intervene and offer social services to victims like Precious. Occurrences like incest, domestic abuse, and early age pregnancy are all problems that family services should have been attacking aggressively in her life. Young women should be educated on what is an acceptable domestic situation to live within. Her school instructors, family friends, and other social representatives could have improved her childhood by intervention. Without this direction and instruction, Precious was left to defenseless to suffer as a child the actions of the adults around her.

Precious encounters emotional and social problems because of her weight and obesity is an epidemic in America. The Center for Disease Control gives statistics that reveal obesity in children will grossly affecting the health of our future generation. Federal food agencies should embark on changing the standards of what we eat so that children aren't prone to obesity. The struggle that Precious endured during her childhood can be credited to failure of her education system and social services agencies. What marks Precious's story as moving is although failed by society, she learned self-determination and worth.