midterm - Door opening ritual: Marilyn Frye talks of the...

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Door opening ritual : Marilyn Frye talks of the oppression of women as a birdcage. She points out that ‘microscopically’ (on individual levels) certain rituals seem the opposite of oppressive. The door opening ritual is one of these. A man is keeping the door open for a woman, creating options for her, how could people find faults with this act? But like a birdcage, one has to step back and look ‘macroscopically’ to see that this act is counter intuitively part of a pattern that keeps women oppressed. When one looks at the door opening ritual from a different perspective he/she sees that it makes the assumption that women need the help of a man. A similar example of the birdcage phenomenon is the article about cheerleading we read. When looked at ‘microscopically’ it seems as if this law is helping to create equality between men’s and women’s basketball teams. However, when looked at from a broader stance, one sees all the ways in which the cheerleaders and the female basketball players were programmed to believe that their athletic skills were inadequate in comparison to the men’s skills and that the women’s team did not deserve cheerleading support. Both the cheerleading example and the door opening ritual are examples of Marilyn Frye’s birdcage theory. It emphasizes how it is not specific, individual instances, but rather a practiced system that keeps women oppressed. Intersectionality : Intersectionality is the belief that every woman experiences sexism differently based on the other groups she belongs to: i.e. being a racial minority, or being a disabled women. A black woman’s experience with sexism will be inherently different than a white woman’s. The best example of intersectionality at play is Rogers V. American Airlines where Ms. Rogers was not allowed to wear a braided hairstyle. She was discriminated specifically as a black woman. It wasn’t race discrimination (because black men weren’t affected) or sex discrimination (because white women weren’t affected) but a combination of both (9/5/07). Intersectionality enables the women’s movement to see gender discrimination from all perspectives and better conditions for
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women in all groups. Consciousness Raising : Consciousness raising was a tool early feminists used to understand the ways in which women were being oppressed. Women would come together to discuss their lives and analyze their individual experiences. They found that many of them were suffering in the same ways. The phrase “the personal is political” was coined. This means that things that are happening in one woman’s life are probably not just personal issues and should be globally recognized. Rape is a good example of this. Many women have personal experiences with rape or sexual assault, but it should be a political matter because it should be recognized globally as an issue and it should be protected by law; the personal is political. However, Thompson would argue that the political is personal too, because even if one has not been affected by rape it
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2011 for the course WOMENSTD 240 taught by Professor Cortera during the Fall '07 term at University of Michigan.

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midterm - Door opening ritual: Marilyn Frye talks of the...

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