In the assigned readings for the class, many of theauthors make and explain their own arguments regarding about social change andhow one can initiate it to occur. In Audre Lorde book, “Sister Outsider,” she statesthroughout the chapters that in order for social change to happen one mustfirst use individuals’ social differences as an instrument for action andchange. In a chapter titled “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’sHouse,” she speaks about how feminists are focusing only on white women andexcluding women of color and different ethnicity. This brings up similarities between white feminists andthe patriarchy as they are using the same tactics to oppress women who aredifferent compare to them or identity with a minority group like blacks andlesbians.
Lorde, in a previous chapter, acknowledges that differences are usedas an old strategy of domination to divide groups. She remarks, saying, “As atool of social control, women have been encouraged to recognize only one areaof human difference as legitimate, those differences which exist between womenand men.” (122). In the Master’s Tools,Lorde states that by ignoring differences would only mean to copy a system ofpower and oppression which many white feminists claim to be fighting against.
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Shewrites: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Theymay allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enableus to bring genuine change.” (112). Which explains that using these tacticswill not lead to liberation or social change.
Instead everyone’s voices shouldbe included and the differences among us should be welcome as one must learn”…how to take our differences and make them strengths.” (112). By this, thesedifferences will become the foundation for creativity and power, while alsoserve as the reason or key to the survival and future of the women’s movement.
In Jean Halley’s book “Seeing Straight:An Introduction to Gender and Sexual Privilege,” the author tries and succeedsin making the readers question their own assumptions of gender and sexuality. Throughoutreading the book, the audience are made to view the privilege inherent byclassifying certain categories such as heterosexual and cisgender as normal, while other categories are placeunder the label of being abnormal likequeer gender and sexuality. This book, from what I gathered, pushes on the ideathat social change can be accomplished when individuals begin to dismantle/challengesocial institutions. In a section from chapter two, titled Social Norms and Institutions, the author writes: “Social power,rules, and practices of institutions change over time in response to socialmovements and historical changes.” (34). Meaning, that due to circumstanceslike movements, things that were once regards as being deviant, abnormal orjust wrong in nature can change as our cultures and ways of thinking changesand, eventually, become socially accepted. Halley offers a scenario to thereaders about a situation in which a senior in high school wants to bring hergirlfriend to prom and how due to this, she might face being “… banned from attendanceby social administrators…” (34).
In chapter eight, in a section called Queer Hope, Queer Courage, the authorremarks again about the prom situation and replies that as off 2015, a highschool has picked two boys to be prom king and queen. Showing the positivesocial change which has occurred due to recent events in the past years. Arlie Hochschild book, The Second Shift, focus on a subject in which she callsthe “second shift” which is the work a woman does at home such as housework andchildcare after her paid job. She remarks this term or second shift essentiallyor roughly adds one more month in the year for women. With a desire tounderstand more about the wife’s extra month and how it effects both thehusband and wife, she interview around fifty couples and observed them in overa dozen homes. From this study, Hochschild concluded that in these families,the household and parenting duties are not shared equally but rather it isinstead pushed on the women or wife. Even though she now involved in the workforcejust like her husband; she is still expected to keep up with the same responsibilitiesshe used to do in the home when she was not out in the workforce. Due to thisdouble stress placed on these women shoulders, it can be said, that because ofthis, she is unable to perform as successful as she would in her career.
Due tothis, Hochschild remarks – in chapter two – that marriage is a “…magnet forstrains of the stalled revolution.” (18). Insimple words, the stalled revolution is when certain advancements in genderequality have been done in the workplace, however, there were no advancementsdone in the home. Fromthis book, it’s clear that social change can only occur if the playing fieldbetween both women and men are leveled or equal. This can be done by increasingwages for women and providing both longer maternity leave and guaranteed paidpaternal leave for father to bond with their children. By doing some of thesesuggestions, equality can be achieved in the workforce and the household.
CitationsHalley, J., & Eshleman, A.(2017). Seeing Straight: An Introductionto Gender and Sexual Privilege. Rowman & Littlefield. Hochschild,A. R., & Machung, A.
(2003). The second shift. New York: Penguin Books.Lorde,Audre.
(1984). Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Trumansburg, NY: CrossingPress.