Gender is a significant aspect in society. It is perceived a social institution, which dictates human lifestyle. Through gender, people understand each other and appreciate the varying roles played by each other. It is therefore an element in a culture that cuts across the race. This essay is divided into three parts. First, it focuses on the elements of race, gender and culture. Second, it criticizes the first part and finally, it reflects in the first two parts. Gender and race define women as lesser humans in every culture. The study seeks to find out how gender and race looks down on women. The study greatly relies on Chinese culture. As a woman of Chinese origin, gender has played a significant role in my lifestyle and academics.
According to Lorber (1), gender is a human creation, which can be modified to fit one’s perspective of life. Just like culture, gender is perceived different in different races. Gender as a way of life defines one’s behavior and role immediately after birth. Through gender signs and signals, everyone is categorized in their status and expectations. In America, the roles in different genders have been shared such that it is challenging to define the specific roles for different genders. This is because gender has defined women as homemakers and in charge of the minor roles in society. Gender just like race has placed women in a lower rank in terms of respect and other privileges in society. According to Collins (748), gender has enabled men to perceive themselves as better than women in all aspects. Hence, they applaud women who stand out in the roles men play. It is also on the same basis the African American is applauded by the entire world when they excel in the areas better assumed for the whites only. According to Collins (745), it is difficult for men to accept that they are more privileged than women are but easily accept that women are less advantaged. It is on a similar basis that the whites find it difficult to accept that they have more opportunities in the world than say the African Americans. This is the basis why the more privileged, the men and the whites, are reluctant to let go their privileges. To overcome this challenge, Collins affirms that women need to rise up in their roles and challenges to overlook these cultures. This is according to a Black woman’s perspective. She asserts that if only the Black women can work and excel in their roles then can they overcome this culture. The white women can also rise out of emotionalism and positively apply erotic power (Collins 749). Collins goes on to assert that these perspectives are only in existence in the thoughts of people, the more you work, the less time you have to think weirdly.
As a Chinese woman, I have faced diverse forms of biasness. In China, women as young as zero years are perceived to be a curse. It is extensively believed that the lesser the women the greater the social value in the country. This is attributed by the culture where men and boys are seen as blessings and cause for development. Chinese authorities have encouraged infanticide such that in every birth consisting of 100 girls, 120 are boys. This culture has further been encouraged by the development of selective abortion, which has seen more girl children fail to see the light of the day. Girls who manage to survive go through challenges, such as poor health due to poor health care accorded to the girl child. Many of the girls, especially in the poor villages in china rarely go to school. They are therefore left and hidden at home. Very few girls, from privileged families and those who overcome cultural challenges are educated to higher levels. Otherwise, numerous females live in poverty and destitution. Girls have been perceived as objects of male satisfaction. This has led to a network of smuggling girls out of the country for clandestine business. Women on the other hand have had no alternative as to cater for their needs and those of their close relatives. This culture has brought a deficit of women power in the political realm. Women in general have to work twice as much as men to gain recognition in this part of the world. In connection to this, women have limited freedom to advance in academics and take leadership roles.
From Collins’ perspective, women have been defined in a manner different from their identity. Females are perceived as weak and lesser than men. Women however have stood on a different standpoint. This comes out clearly from the Black women’s standpoint. These women have strongly resisted domination. The logical issues have influenced their main concepts of gender. These women have thus come up with a varying perception of oppression. According to Collins, there are two approaches of understanding women. One approach asserts that women identify with the powerful and have no understanding of their form of oppression. The other approach perceives that women are lesser humans than their authorities and these are incapable of expressing their perception. These approaches are expressed to imply that women lack enthusiasm for political activism. I strongly concur with Collins on this standpoint. This is because women have stood the ground to prove that they can think and excel just as their male counterparts.
From the black African women standpoint, the political and economic achievement of women has enabled them to define themselves differently from the perspectives of the world. This has been through their experiences in the diverse fields they play, the roles they assume, relations they have and the communities in which they live. They have enjoyed greater roles and experiences, which have been defining women and black females. These attributes and successes have stimulated the females to unconsciously come to terms with material reality. Thus, the women have proved that the experiences and reality they encounter with are no different from those encountered by the ruling group. They prove that personal roles and thoughts are connected.
A black female will perceive and play the roles assigned as long as her thoughts are parallel to the thoughts of the society. It is besides possible for a female to play the roles assigned but inwardly think and play the roles assigned to the ruler. The variations in perspectives have made outstanding women to attain the heights. It is possible for a woman, defined by her gender and her race to rise above the common thoughts and live the best life. This is only possible through a varying standpoint from one common in the society. For instance, in the Writing by Collins, Black women were seen as minor workers. They were therefore limited to menial jobs and could go with or without pay, depending on the attitudes of the employers. The Black woman asserts that she needs to work and work her best in order to overcome worrying over issues, which have overtaken the white woman. She therefore resorts to do her own work and become her own manager. This is because she is accomplishing her goal and setting her goals to meet her targets. The black woman is happy that she is occupied doing some positive activity, unlike the white woman who is still defined by her own society.
The main difference in gender is in the mind of man and woman. This is because both minds are the same but the thoughts that come out are different. Moreover, some women have risen to defy the odds of the society by beating men at their own game. The main barrier is that as women are rising to defy the odds, the society is working hard at keeping them at bay. The African American woman asserts that, “the saner you are, the madder you are made to appear” (Collins 749). Society is working hard to ensure that men and the better races are classified as superior while women and the lesser races are perceived as objects. This has been possible through the self-defined standpoints of the suppressed. Women and the perceived lesser races need to rise up and think contrary to the described perceptions.
Gender as the overriding element has defined women and thus culture. This is evident through the different roles assumed by females and males. This definition has brought major social challenges in every race. Gender has enabled men to perceive themselves as better than women in all aspects and thus more difficult for men to accept that they are more privileged. They rather accept that women are disadvantaged. In America, men are applauding or weirdly applauded and perceived when they are seen carrying babies in public places. It is also challenging for a poor Chinese girl to obtain formal and the best education in China just like her male counterpart. According to Shotwell (1), gender as a social problem can be changed. Gender signs and signals have limited many in the society from becoming the best they ought to be. For women, it is difficult to domineer in the male-defined careers without much objection. It is likewise difficult to obtain proper services in a white-dominated society when you are from African American Descent. Since gender, social class, and racial formation surround us, each of us is affected and limited. People have risen to levels depending on their surroundings and perceptions. Others through medical intervention have changed their genders. However, the society have disproved of their actions. There is need therefore to overcome gender definition for liberty. Just like any culture, this can be modified to fit one’s perceptive of life. Gender as a way of life defines one’s behavior and role immediately after birth. Through gender signs and signals, everyone is categorized in their status and expectations.
Gender is significant in any society. As a social institution, it dictates human lifestyle. Through gender, females and males understand each other and come to appreciate the roles played by each other. Gender and race defines women as lesser humans in every culture. Thus gender and race looks down on women. From the Chinese culture, women have limited opportunities to advance their lifestyles and live like their men counterparts.
Collins, Hill, Patricia. The Social Construction of Black Feminist Thought. Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 1989. Vol 14(41). 745-773.
Lorber, Judith. “Night to his day: The Social Construction of Gender.” Paradoxes of Gender. 1994. Yale University: Yale Publications. Print.
Shotwell, Alexis. “Open Normativities: Gender, Disability, and Collective Political Change.” Jstor Organization. 2012. 37(4):989-1016