Reflection Paper #1
“Combahee River Collective” and “Codes of Gender” portrays gender as a process and structure. Lober in “The Social Construction of Gender” and Johnson in “Patriarchy The System” discuss similar concepts. The central argument claims that gender is created by the society by associating different roles with the males and females. Social construct is the cause behind the oppression, suppression and submission of the females. The films and the readings transmits the themes of social inequality encountered by women. Gender is a process which ultimately leads to the benefit of males in the form of privileges, power and domination. Compare to males females remains disadvantageous and expected to come up to the society’s expectations. Gender is a process which promoted the ideology that males are different from females.
Social interaction of people with others in the society convinces them to associate different roles with males and females. This philosophy claims that members in society influence others to reach to gender in the same way as they did. This is also due to the fact that people living in same people learn to build same attitudes and approach towards life. Lober mentions, “gender is constantly created and re-created out of human interaction, out of social life, and is the texture and order of the social life” (Lober). The process of gender plays prominent role in maintaining gender order which transmits the belief that females have different responsibilities compared to males. According to Lober gender has no reality because the people and the society only create it. These ideas as have no reality but are only the product of social stratification. The role of gender also works through discursive roles claiming that women must always be taking the roles of good mothers, obedient wives and caring daughters. Gender is this produced by human behaviors which are learned from other people of the society. Johnson mentions, “we think of a normal life related to male privilege, women’s oppression, and the hierarchical control-based world in which everyone’s lives are embedded” (Johnson). The purpose of Johnson is to blame the unfair classification of the society which convince males and females to perform the roles as assigned to them. it is simply a society’s criteria of giving more privileges to the males in the form of power and depriving females of basic rights. The prevalence of patriarchy is also the result of human behaviors. It exists to create a divide between the male and female genders.
Gender is a process which claims that the roles are distinct for males and females. This reflects that the behaviors which are appropriate for males are inappropriate for females. This puts restrictions more on females because they are expected to take the roles as desired by the society. The arguments of Lober and Johnson criticizes the unjust division between the males and females because females always face more pressure from the people compared to the males. This social inequality has been the cause of the oppression and submission suffered by the females. “Combahee River Collective” was the group of black feminists who have used the same concepts of social construct for defining the status of females which varies entirely from males. The liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s demanded equal rights for the women. The central claims laid by the black women stated that gender classification has been the reason of economic and social crisis experienced by them. Through protests the women of the liberal movement demanded fair and just rules for the black women. They further stated that the experienced of black women in workforce cannot be ignored on the basis of gender or sexism. This argument was also raised to highlight the social injustices encountered by women in the form or pay gaps such as females made only 80 percent of what men earned. This disparity was only created due to the gender construct which viewed males as more intelligent and capable compared to females. prevalence of gender construct has undermined economic opportunities for women which is unfair and unjust. Combahee River Collective claims that women can perform better roles in workforce if they are offered equal and fair opportunities irrespective of their gender.
Goffman’s groundbreaking analysis in “Codes of Gender” portrays male-female distinction by relying on the same concept of gender construct. The film transmits the themes of feminine oppression and devastation which is the result of unfair social norms. The film demonstrated the ritualization of subordination which put taboos on the women by restricting them to follow the orders and rules of their male partners. The Codes of Gender depicts that male and female must perform the duties as assigned to them by the society. Any role which is outside the social norms or social expectations is wrong. This theory portray women as passive and powerless which have always given the power of exploitation to the males. The codes plays destructive roles in the lives of females who are always expected to act as defenseless creatures and must accept subordination. The argument raised by the film is not different from the readings because it also criticize the unjust classification of the gender. Goffman has revealed that gender codes are so strong that women are even aware of the surrounding expectations or taboos in their unconscious. This is the central force which discourage them from taking any role which is disliked or rejected by the society. The film also transmits that men are always the ones with more power who can control females and even exploit them by imposing restrictions. The codes becomes part of women which stops them from taking unexpected roles which could be for their self-development and improvement.
Lober and Johnson on the readings have shared same narrative of feminine oppression under the influence of gender codes. Lober claims that both male and female are convinced to take the same roles as assigned to them by the society because they have witnessed their elders doing the same. Since birth they are constantly engaged with different settings where females remain submissive and oppressive. This sets the standard and social code expecting that women must be always follow the patriarchy in which male is the controlling authority. Johnson also claims that the patriarchy is constructed by the society which gives more power to the men. The readings and the film implies that the only way of changing the role of females is by challenging the conservative social norms and by rejecting the male superiority.
The ritualized culture in Goffman’s film is the same as discussed by Lober, Johnson. The readings and the film have emphasized on highlighting the complex society created for limiting the potential and self-worth of the women. The settings in the film and readings essentially transmit the same themes of gender inequality which leads to social injustice. Escaping the gendered society is almost impossible for the females because they are victims of this unfair system which enforce unnecessary sanctions. Gender has always existed as a social construct and process which controlled the behaviors of males and females.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Johnson, Allan. "Patriarchy The System." (1997).
Lober, Judith. "The Social Construction of Gender." (1991).
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