Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Rich means by "compulsory heterosexuality" and "lesbian existence"

Rich, in regard to "compulsory heterosexuality", says, "It was written in part to challenge the erasure of lesbian existence from so much of scholarly feminist literature, an erasure which I felt (and feel) to be not just antilesbian but antifeminist in its consequences, and to distort the experience of the heterosexual women as well.  It was not written to widen divisions but to encourage heterosexual feminists to examine heterosexuality as a political institution which disempowers women--and to change it."  There are a lot more quotes, but to summarize, Rich says that "lesbian existence" has been erased from our culture...even documents, etc.  She is saying in this quote that the idea of "compulsory heterosexuality" was partly created to challenge that erasure from history.  She says that it was written ultimately to be overridden by women when they realize that it's actually disempowering them. 

In regard to "lesbian existence" Rich says these three things among others: "Lesbian existence suggests both the fact of the historical presence of lesbians and our continuing creation of the meaning of that existence.", "Lesbian existence comprises both the breaking of a taboo and the rejection of a compulsory way of life.", "I do not assume that mothering by women is a 'sufficient cause' of lesbian existence."  As for the first one, there IS  a history of "lesbian existence" as noted multiple times in the article, because they were punished (even by death sometimes) and their documents, etc. were destroyed.  There is still "lesbian existence" today because it's everywhere.  In the second quote she explains what makes up "lesbian existence".  She says that it comprises of 'the breaking of a taboo', which would be the fact that 2 women are together, and 'the rejection of a compulsory way of life', which means if I decided to be a lesbian I would be rejecting "compulsory heterosexuality" by not requiring my self to marry a man.  There was some discussion in the article regarding the possibility of lesbian existence generating from being mothered by a woman, but Rich in stating in the third quote that she doesn't agree with that.  And for that  matter, I don't either because that would imply every woman becomes a lesbian which is absurd because humans would no longer reproduce naturally.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Something about the Subject Makes It Hard to Name by Gloria Yamato


Yamato argues that racism will inevitably end sooner or later.  "Celebrate the inevitable end of racism."  However, she argues, it will not be easy and it will not happen instantaneously.  "Racism--simple enough in structure, yet difficult to eliminate."  "Cuz you can't even shave a little piece off this thing called racism in a day, or a weekend, or a workshop."  Honestly and unfortunately, I don't agree with Yamato on her first point.  I think racism will be around forever...I think it's not something that "we" (white people/society in general) can not overcome.  I can't say if that's because white people will never try hard enough to eliminate it or if the world will end before we get a chance to complete the process, but that's how I feel.  I definitely agree with Yamato on her second point though.  It IS not easy, or it would've happened already!  That's pretty apparent I think.  The not happening instantaneously...well, pretty obvious if you step back and think about it like that, but Yamato's right.  Some people, probably a lot of people, believe that something like a one-hour class can fix it.  The one-hour class could definitely help the problem, but I don't think that one-hour of anything can completely reform anyone's ideas. 

In class I will try to talk...about this and that I believe 1. racism will never end completely because "we" will never get that far and 2. one-hour classes can't completely fix anything, only merely help issues.  I think it will be an interesting class discussion, especially with everyone having read 1 of 4 different articles.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oral History for the Qualitative Researcher by Valerie J. Janesick

I found this text to be helpful for our oral history project.  It first gave a lot of background information like the history of oral history.  Then it got into techniques and gave a couple of great examples.  I only wish that my participant could give me in depth answers like that!  lol  They were a little extreme...I'm sure that was not their first run through or their first experience doing a project like it.  Overall, I found the text to be very helpful.  I didn't completely read it until after my first interview, but maybe I will be able to incorporate some of the ideas from it into my second or third interview. 

Cool informational site on oral history

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lawrence Mead Quote

Lawrence Mead said, "If poor people behaved rationally, they would seldom be poor for long in the first place."  I agree with Mead.  And I also disagree with Mead.  I think it depends on the situation.  There were statements made in the film People Like Us for this argument and against it.  For example, as stated in the film, more than half of lower class blacks have moved up to middle class in recent years.  This proves Mead's quote correct in my eyes.  However, also according to the film, there are many people who believe that someone remains in the same class for their entire life.

There was also a woman from the film who said that 'a lot of it has to do with being born in the right house'.  I believe this very strongly.  I also believe that it supports Mead's quote as well.  If you were born in the 'right house' then you behave rationally by getting a steady job and moving up.  If you weren't born in the 'right house' then you don't act rationally, thus staying poor. 

Another person from the film said, "getting ahead is not the most important thing...the most important thing is staying where you are".  Which of course you don't want to move down but moving up can still be your next most important thing...make sure you stay where you are first then worry about moving up later.  Someone else from the film believes that the middle class of society strives for higher but the lower class does not.  They just hope their children will do better.  I agree with that if this is a movie, but I'm not so sure that's how it really is...might bring up in class...