Midterm - Deirdre Mulligan FGSS 201 Midterm 12 October 2007...

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Deirdre Mulligan FGSS 201 Midterm 12 October 2007 Question 1 In her article “Fear of Feminism: Why Young Women Get the Willies,” Lisa Marie Hogeland puts forth the concepts of gender consciousness and feminist consciousness. Gender consciousness is simply women’s awareness of the fact that they are women – “awareness of women’s vulnerability and celebration of women’s difference” (Hogeland 2). With gender consciousness comes the heightened concern for exploitation of women through violence by men, which takes advantage of women’s vulnerability, but also the “appreciation of things pertaining to women” (2). These things, according to Hogeland, include “soap operas and romance, self-help books, [and] talk shows” (2). Gender consciousness is the appreciation for one’s own femininity. Feminist consciousness takes this awareness to another level by politicizing women’s issues. It concerns the freedom, power, and influence that a woman can or cannot have in society because of her gender. It “asks questions” (2) about how women’s vulnerability and difference can foster our growth or hinder us as a group, and fights to make sure that the latter does not occur. Feminist consciousness is intimidating to many of Hogeland’s students, as well as women of all ages in our society, for several reasons. First off, they are afraid of being called “feminazis,” as in the past few decades, feminism has been looked down upon thanks to a conservative political arena. They are afraid of being labeled as lesbians because of feminist beliefs. Many fear that they would not be able to sustain a meaningful relationship with a man if
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they identify themselves as feminists. (As Hogeland points out, there are few young men who are feminist-sympathizers.) Most of all, underlying all these reasons, is a fear of politics. This is due to a “fear of complexity, fear of thinking, [and] fear of ideas” (5) that inhibits many women from expressing their opinions and politicizing their personal, gender consciousness.
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Question 2 A lesbian is not a woman, according to Monique Wittig’s article “The Straight Mind,” because gender is a socially-constructed idea based on the patriarchy of most modern societies. “Pornographic images, films, magazine photos… constitute a discourse… [signifying] that
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Midterm - Deirdre Mulligan FGSS 201 Midterm 12 October 2007...

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