Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Am Triumphant

I spent an hour and a half talking to my Sex & Gender Roles teacher about my assignment. Thus, she raised my grade on my assignment from an 88 to a 94 (apparently the highest grade increase she's ever given. Ha. ) This means I have an A- overall (on that paper). In short, I win.

Thought I'd let you guys enjoy this parting shot of mine.

QUESTION: What is next for gender theory? Where do you feel there needs to be additional discourse? In this discourse, what questions should be explored? Be sure you explain why you feel the way you do.

ANSWER: So I have two answers to the question, one from within the framework of sociology and one outside of its comfort zone.

From inside the framework of sociology: I believe that more work needs to be done exploring what it is to be a male (within different cultures, societies, countries and suchlike.) While we did hear a bit about masculinity theory, feminism has been explored to an incredible extent. I think Kimmel's point about being the average white male and thus being invisible is well taken. Consider how many films confront the issue of the white male dissatisfied with his life and job, looking for some other purpose. From 'Fight Club' with its nihilistic, anarchy-driven approach to the entertaining 'Office Space' we've fought or spoofed the typical stereotypical white male career and job spectrum. But what about really documenting that experience and taking back the meaning of success, redefining it so that it doesn't mean working a job one hates in order to make the most money but doing something one loves, something creative that gives back to the world? Men, and certainly white men, have a whole slew of expectations waiting for them. How do they confront these expectations? How do they live their individual lives? Do they feel themselves to be empowered or not so much? It'd be interesting to discover more regarding that.

Outside of sociology's comfort zone: I think it would be interesting for sociology as a discipline to contemplate how exactly it comes up with its vision of the world it wants to create. For example, within this class we have talked a lot about "equality, freedom from oppression, liberty, acceptance" and so forth. Who is it who gets to define these terms? The sociologists? The people who feel oppressed? And how precisely ought law to be created? What if people find their freedom in unacceptable ways per sociologists i.e. what if a woman feels free when she goes for a traditional role where she is theoretically "subjugated" to her husband? Do we take the individual into account or only the mass- and who determines what is okay for the masses? For instance, nowadays it is in vogue to claim that homosexuality is a sexual orientation, not a deviation or aberration from the norm. Thus, homosexuals ought to have equal rights, etc under the law and some would even press for homosexuals to have the ability to get married as well. Now, let me state clearly I do not wish to offend anyone; I am writing from the perspective of where this logic ought to extend, not intimating a comparison. But out of curiosity, why is incest forbidden according to the law? I mean, perhaps it disgusts you or we do not want children abused, but suppose that you have a 21-year-old daughter and a 40-year-old father who have consensual sex. Why is that forbidden under our law? Isn't there a separation between church and state- if so, since when have morals entered the equation? Family members are oppressed due to the fact that the law prevents them from engaging in consensual sex with one another, aren't they? Or if not- why not? Who makes the laws, who gets to define 'oppression' and who is oppressed, and while the discipline of sociology aims to help society...who gets to define what helps society and what hurts it? I'd love to hear the answers to these questions.

(Just figured it's the last class, so I might as well throw out some fun ideas...have a party, people. *smile*)


The Cousin said...

Heh! I liked this!

A lot of "sociology" only seems to work/and or exist within the ivory towers of academia. Outside the towers, in the real world, the constructs and frameworks don't necessarily hold--and are a bunch of bologna!

The study of men? It's not going to happen. Why? It's not vogue--nor does it fit the social paradigms of the instructors in the academy. But I'm sure you were well aware of that. These same instructors will brush off such an inquiry with the retort that "men wrote history, why must we study them"

Have you ever read Sowell's "The quest for cosmic justice"? It's skewed a bit more politically, but I think it would be a nice response to the course you just took.

Now, more importantly, partying. I'm actually having a party right now...they opened my balcony back up after 17 months of not having it! Burgers on the balcony! Huzzah!

JewishGadfly said...

Seems like there's a little crossover between descriptive and prescriptive here. First of all, though, homosexuality is still considered a sexual variant, just not a pathological one.

That's an important distinction. Researchers and theorists in psychology and sociology are aware of the blurry line between acceptable and pathological. And you're right that it definitely gets very, very blurry figuring that out with the sexual variances, since attitudes towards sexuality change, some variants are odd but not harmful to anyone, etc. The descriptive claim might say, though: incest ISN'T accepted (this is true pretty much universally, probably for good biological reasons), regardless of what morally *should* be accepted (prescriptively). It would be so unusual and abhorrent to most people--regardless of a source for morality--that psychologists might assume there is something pathological in someone who is doing it.