Reflection: Professorial Chair Lecture

Simone de Beuvoir’s idea of the body was interesting but also puzzling. I have always been bothered about how men sexualize the body of a woman. They only view it as a form of pleasure regardless of how powerful or intelligent the woman is. It does not matter who the woman is or what her personality is, if man sees the woman attractive, most of the time it ends there. The woman is attractive because of her looks, her body. De Beauvoir’s idea goes beyond that. She states how the body limits freedom especially for women. A woman’s difference with a man can be seen physically and the roles of the body. A woman menstruates, gives birth etc. and this is a sign of oppression. It is bothering that because of the body, there is a division for labor. Although it is true that men are generally stronger than women, that might be the only advantage of men in labor. Physical strength and nothing more.  It then made me question how can reproduction can be alienating. There is no point to it and it is illogical but it is the sad truth. I see it as a man’s obsession that it wants to dominate. They are the ones who made women oppressed and alienated. Something similar to that talked in the lecture was stereotyping. It is normal for a person to stereotype because he or she does not know every person in the world. When someone seen as Asian, they think of the Asian that they see on TV, internet, etc. Anyone can be stereotyped because there is no one person that is known throughout the world. The problem with stereotyping is that it blinds people to see through a person like how man sees a woman. Without knowing who someone is first, we stereotype to pretend we know something from that person. The personality does not matter.

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USAGENR Finals

ARTICLE

COLONIALISM

DECOLONIZATION

RESISTANCE

REASON FOR CHOICE

In Praise of Difficult Chicas: Feminism and Femininity

 

Esthercita concealed the brothel from others because she believed they would not understand her method of money-making. Tia Esthercita flouted the church’s social dictums, scoffed at being ladylike and defied hombres machista. The prostitutes were decent, well-dressed ladies from the city who were managing to make a living during an era when there wasn’t much for women except marriage. Esthercita showed elements of colonialism because of her belief that she would not be understood. This can be related to colonialism in a way that there is a barrier between her and how she can express who she is. It is like being trapped.

She flouted the church’s social dictums and showed decolonization through resentment of the norm. She went away with how ladies are supposed to be.

The prostitutes showed resistance by making a living instead of the norm of getting married. They resisted the idea that marriage was the only way for women to live.

Heartbroken: Women of Color Feminism and the Third Wave

 

Growing up as an Asian realizing that her identity was being created for her not by her. Writing a dramatic letter to the Congregational church asking them to remove her name from their list because she did not want to support or be affiliated  with a patriarchal institution  such as a Christian church. Embarrassed with the attention that comes with being a foreign exchange student, she tried to ignore the differences. She took the negativity and dissociation she felt and began to internalize the feelings. Identity being created for her, not by her showed colonialism in terms of not being able to choose who she is. There are more powerful forces that disables her who she wants to be.

Removing her name from the Congregational church showed decolonization because she removed herself from an institution that owned her. It is similar to a country removing itself from the rule of another country.

She tried to resist the idea that she was Asian and the embarrassment that came with it. She resisted and fooled herself into thinking of another role as an Asian.

Nasaan ka Anak ko? A Queer Filipina-American Feminist’s Tale of Abortion and Self-Recovery

 

Society giving them capital for becoming model minorities yet systematically berated them for their differences. Losing their mother tongue and shedding their rich cultural histories. The unexplainable joy in singing Tagalog songs. Although she couldn’t understand a word, she sang unabashedly. She savored the feeling. The healing process after abortion. Losing their Filipino culture showed colonialism because of how society looked at them. It was like the society colonized them and in effect, they began to act like how the society wanted them to be but at the same time, society still berated at them for their differences.

Being colonized can disable a person from enjoying his or her culture. With a new life, she was not able to do Filipino things so being able to speak in Filipino gave her joy. It is similar to decolonization because of the feeling of finally doing Filipino things.

Her healing process showed resistance because she had to let go of the pain and learn to accept herself. She resisted the idea that she needs to be self-punished and be miserable for what she has done.

 

 

The Body “knows”: Self, Identity and Body Awareness

I do not remember the exact time that I became aware that I was a male but going back when I was really young, I thought that I looked more like my father, brother, uncles, etc. At some point, I was able to know that my sex organ was for males and females did not have it. That was probably the confirmation that I knew that I was a male but all I thought that time was that it was just a classification. Also, as a child, it did not take long before I had another sibling and it was a girl. Most of the time, babies are naked so I saw that she had a different sex organ or maybe at that time, I thought she did not even have one.

Growing up as a boy, it was different compared to my sisters. I mostly did chores at home with my brother and father while my mother did chores with my sisters. I also saw that some chores were exclusive for me and my brother and some were exclusive to my sisters. Most of the time, my father teaches me to repair anything from broken lights, cars, doorknobs, etc. I also saw how my cousins did chores and most of the time, they were similar to me and my siblings.

I realized that there was only a short time that my parents decide on most of what is happening with my life and my siblings. They decide what clothes we wear, our haircut, our attitude, etc. and they base it on how most people treat their children. But then there will come a time when our parents let the decisions come from us. From how we look and act and everything but there is also need for our roles. When my parents are not around, at least one from me and my brother should be at home. I would not know much about how my parents raised my sisters but for me, as a son, I began to understand how to be a man through my father and my brother and this was before I studied anything about genders.

Growing up to be a man, I thought that I should be tough, I should not talk much, I must be a gentleman. I used to get hurt a lot in my childhood because back then, playing with my friends, I trip, fall, slip, and all the accidents possible. I also hated losing to any game to the point that I cry every time I lose. I used to cry during those times but my dad and my uncles always told me to toughen up. I was afraid to look like a coward and I felt pressure during the times I cried because I wanted to be like them.  So eventually, I think I toughened up. Since then, I can say I don’t cry much compared to men in my age. Recently though, I realized that there was more to being a man than just being tough. Luckily for me and probably for everyone in my family, we were taught to respect women. It was not like my dad told me to do so but rather it was showing me that everybody’s equal. I never thought of women as being inferior to us men.

Being a teenager, I admit that I was once in that age when I questioned everything. For example, why should I always be the one to open the door for my family? Until now, it’s one of those roles that I have in my family. Whenever someone from my family comes home late at night, I am the one they call to open the door for them. I really do not mind about doing that but sometimes, when I’m tired and just want to rest, waking up at 3am to open a door, it’s just unfair to me. It was frustrating but then I thought, at some point, I caused some inconveniences to my family as well but I did not hear anyone complain. I may not be a teenager anymore but sometimes it still frustrates me that there are certain characteristics and roles that I have to own because I am a male. But, growing up, living my daily life and gaining experiences everyday are helping me grow as a person and as a man.

All my life, I have never been one of the bigger people. In my childhood, I was one of the smallest both in terms of height and also because I was very skinny. It was not until high school that I had normal weight. It was also during that time when I began to have an active lifestyle and it was because of that lifestyle I had normal weight. Working out made me feel tired, hungry, a lot of times. I was so active, I did not care about what I ate or drank. I even realized that I began to have a huge appetite. But, my lifestyle and some say also because of my body type that enabled me to maintain my weight. From high school until now, I loved the feeling of working out. I joined the Citizenship Advancement Training in high school and became an officer in my 4th year and during a two-year stretch, I had something similar to a military training. In college, I joined a varsity team with the DLSU Animo Squad as a drummer so for more than six years, I have had time training and working out 4-5 days a week. It was because of this lifestyle that I think has influenced my personality in relation to my body. During trainings and similar activities, I have learned that I should not try to impress other people surrounding me. There are those who are bigger and more muscular than me but there are also those who are more physically challenged. I do not care about what my body looks like and that has influenced me not to care about what other people think of me. I have also worked hard for my goals with my body. There was a time, I wanted to gain mass and weight, and it was tough because I should eat the right food, I should eat every 2-3 hours, and I must have enough sleep, which was impossible during college especially for a student-athlete. This made me learn about hard work, discipline, and time management. I should work hard in training and in my academics, discipline myself about eating healthy and studying instead of doing nonsense, and allocate time for sleep, academics, and training. The way I treat my body has influenced how I treat my life.

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Representations in the Film, “The Help”

White females in the film were seen as the more privileged and are probably the most seen group in the film. They can be described as wealthy, and they seem to enjoy each other’s company. Most white females think highly of themselves compared to everyone else. They are also the most diverse group in the film. Racist and insensitive white females can be seen through Hilly Holbrook and generally, her group of friends. Skeeter can be seen as a very compassionate white female, especially to the blacks. She is the same with her mother, except her mother did not have the courage to show her love for the blacks in front her white friends.

Black females are dominantly the help and are probably the lowest group of people in the film. They are mostly abused by their white owners but will care so much to those who show love to them. Even when abused, they tolerate acts of racism from their owners because they have less power and they do not have anything else to do if they get fired. They have different personalities but more or less are the same when it comes to their daily lives.

There were only a few white males in the film and they were seen as the white female’s partner. They are more laid back in terms of their emotions compared to the white females. Stuart and Johnny Foote are two of the few white males present in the film. Stuart was for a time Skeeter’s partner while Johnny is Celia Foote’s husband.

There were also few black males in the film but since they are black, they also suffer the same racist acts. Unlike the white males, who can be seen as inferior to the white females, black males believe they are above black females as evidenced by Minny’s husband, Leroy. He was not shown in the film but he was presumably black because of their lifestyle.

Police in the film were white males and they seem to answer and support the whites only. In the film, they arrest a black female who was a maid because she was said to have stolen something from her white owner. There was not much evidence but police still arrested her and did not follow the request of the maid to get her purse.

Politicians were not seen much in the film but based on the setting, they support racism. They support segregation and are blind to what is happening with “the help”. The police work for the government and so the politicians must know of the activities of the police. They know that the police are capable of abusing black females but they do not do anything about it.

The children, regardless of color, are innocent. They do not know racism and do not bother whether they interact with people who have different color than theirs. Aibileen, works for Elizabeth Leefolt, and takes care of her very young daughter, Mae Mobley. Aibileen and Mae Mobley, as seen in the film, share a very deep bond, so much that Mae Mobley refers to Aibileen as her real mother. Skeeter, as a child, also loved their maid, Constantine. The other children in the film were Minny’s and as seen by her eldest daughter, Sugar, black children will have the same experience with their parents if racism continues.

The wealthy white society can be generally described by the characteristics of Hilly Holbrook. They see black people as inferior, slaves dirty, etc. and believe they should be segregated from them. Some do not feel genuine hate for them, but by the standards of their society, blacks should not be equal to them. They can also be easily influenced by a powerful person like Hilly.

The film dominantly shows women but that does not mean they show dominance in the film. Amongst themselves, yes, but not towards men. There was a part in the film where Skeeter’s friends want her to have a partner because she works too much and cannot settle in life. Minny, after being fired by Hilly, is abused by her husband Leroy. Minny can be seen as one of the stronger women in terms of her courage but when it comes to her husband, she is powerless. Celia Foote also shows fear towards her husband. When she hired Minny, she was glad to have her and was very comfortable having her around the house but she ordered Minny to leave the house before her husband arrives. The few times men are seen in the film, they can be seen having less emotions compared to women. Leroy abusing her wife and Stuart leaving Skeeter after she learns of the book are evidence of this. The help also exclusively has women. There is no rule or law stating that only women should serve as the help. Men can be butlers or something similar to that but the film does not show one.

The film shows how blacks are inferior to whites by acting like slaves. They do everything in the house but is recognized by their owner. Even in a house, segregation is apparent by the blacks having their own bathroom because whites believe they are dirty and carry diseases. When someone is black, he or she is colored, and they have their own category. In the film, when a black man was shot, the bus driver orders colored people off and tells the whites that he will take them as near as he can. Blacks also tend to have blue collar jobs while the whites have white collar jobs. Children are supposed to be innocent and must be able to choose their path. White children, are usually raised by black women and they love them for it but the film shows a few number of adults who love care for the blacks. White children love their black nannies but growing up, they are taught by their parents what blacks are according to them. Similarly, black children should be able to escape the hard life of their parents if they study and work hard but given the society they live in, they will have a similar life like how Sugar became a nanny like her mother. Even with all the inequalities the blacks face, they cannot do anything because whites are more powerful and do not have much help like the police. It took a white woman for them to come out and be brave enough to tell their story about the daily abuses they face.

Skeeter was young white woman like her friends, Hilly, Elizabeth, Jolene, etc. Reality shows that white people like them are superior to blacks. Nannies should be black women and they should be segregated. But Skeeter did not support this way of life. She did not want to disrespect these black women and instead wanted to help them and talk and become friends with them. She played a huge part in resisting reality by giving voice to these abused black women.

Hilly also attempted to resist reality in the end when Skeeter’s book was published and became known to the public. Changes were happening with how people look at the help because of the book. The book involves different stories and one in particular is a reference to Minny and Hilly and the chocolate pie made with Minny’s droppings. A lot of people are believing the stories but Hilly was resisting that reality by accusing Aibileen of theft. She ultimately failed arresting Aibileen but the latter left and quit being a helper to pursue a career in writing.

– Antonio Pedro Angelo F. Ferrer