How do the characterizations and points of view in “Kindred” and “Beekeeper’s Apprentice” end up undermining the feminist ideologies……….
Feminism in the Decentering of second wave feminism and rise of the third wave, by Rivkins, is a political and social movement aimed at transforming the minds of people in the way they perceive certain genders. Feminism exists in many forms for example; some feminists believe that equal treatment must exist between women and men (Rivkins 5). Nonetheless, they believe that the notion that women should stay home and look after children is improper; some agree that there are differences between men and women but this should not amalgamate to any unjust treatment of women by men; others believe that for a long time society has been run by men and this has to be changed by a revolution. Ultimately, feminism begun with the notion that women should be given human rights and the notion was addressed by philosophers such as John Stuart and Mary Wollstonecraft in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Feminists worked hard to make women have equal rights as men in society. The third wave emerged from the second wave and it focused more on age, sex, race and color. Nevertheless, the 80’s was seen as a depressing period for the American Feminist movement since the equal rights amendment diminished. In an article, White Women, Black Women, and Feminism in the Movement Years, Breine argues that generation of white upper class activists failed to advocate issues related to women of color, women living outside the United States and women of low income. Some women never saw oppression in terms of sex some viewed it as an issue of color (1096). Ruth in an article titled, Issues in Feminism argues that cultural claims and arguments laid out by feminists were as follows; that women and men have biological differences and cannot be treated in the same way for example in the military; others have claimed that women should not attempt to change society, because it would make men have less authority and power discrimination. Some feminists argued that culture was mainly concerned with the white man working class and ignored concerns about gender and race (690).
For long time feminism movements have been undermined as much as women try to voice their concerns it has still fallen on deaf ears. Women’s movement in the 60’s and 70’s feminism was a woman’s experience “under patriarchy” where the extended tradition of male dominating culture had silenced their concerns, dismantled their lives and treated their pleas as futility. My argument will first be based on the initial power struggles between men and women. For a long time women have been trying to gain recognition in the political and social fields (Rivkin 7).
Nevertheless, there lacked a unified factor which could bring them from different backgrounds together, insecurity and a hypocritical way of living in sisterhood; on top of that, stereotyping has etched into the minds of many women where they strongly believe that they cannot do a “man’s work”. Still on the other hand, this paper explores the aspect of reversing and equalizing of power between men and women. The feminist movement leaked across gender and ethnic boundaries with African American feminists scholars like Mary Hellen and Barbara Smith writing many books that touched on the history of African American life along with gender disparities. Feminist critics from the lesbian community such as Bonnie Zimmerman also shed new light on lesbian writing. Feminist literary works gained recognition in the market in the 70’s and 80’s because of its rich and vexed contents. However, regardless of the popularity there were a lot of critics especially from male dominated literature and this led to banishment and the literary forms being despised by men in educational institutions and the public sphere. Lastly, this paper will also explore the consequences that arise when powers between men and women are reversed and/or equalized.
The kindred by Octavia Butler is one that is often shelved in African-American literature and that which describes the cultural background of African American Feminist in the 1960’s and 1970’s during the second wave and beginning of the third wave of feminism. Women under the male patriarchy had their pleas silenced, their lives distorted and their concerns threatened. (Rivkin 5). Butler categorizes her work as “one of a kind grim fantasy”. Butler tells of an African-American Woman, Dana in 1976, who starts her first journey back in time. The peak of her story concludes that kindred involve issues of future survival, oppression sacrifice and freedom to save her ancestors and leave behind a generation. With Audrey Lodre, she described the family as a distinct economic factor in which men exploited and took advantage of women labor. Nevertheless it was labor organization within the family that constituted the material basis; needless to say it was the significant determinant for oppression of women (Audre 335).
Similar to Butler’s novel, is a 1984 essay the undeclared war against women by an African American writer Audrey Lorde, who outlines some of the problems that face African American feminists. Lorde notes a number of differences that disregard feminist solidarity across ethic, class and sex-preference lines. In this story, Rufus is the son of Weylins, the owner of slaves, who happens to be a distant relative to Dana, the main character woman in the story. This is another of Lodres’ point, why is feminism so despised and leaving women to recoil in Horror at every notion of feminist? Nonetheless, Rufus uses his position and masculinity given to him by the white society to undermine Dana and force her to do things for him against her will (Butler 130). For example he forces her to convince Alice to bear him a child so that they can have a close relationship. Reproduction in the 60’s formed the material basis for the subordination of women. It was only through the latter that women’s oppression and the biological family end. Socialization, sexuality and reproduction were aspects in the family that related historically but not intellectually (Audre 332). In the early feminist family discussions neglected the issues of fertility control and reproduction. Free contraception and abortion on demand was a major topic and area of struggle between the law, health professions and women. By forcing women to perform particular tasks against their will, men in society undermine the latter by denying them rights to make their own choices (Hellen 240).
The beekeeper apprentice, by Laurie, illustrates how cultural background is a barrier for women in male dominated fields. Over the past years, the family has been exposed as a site of exploitation and domination from its idealized image as a unit with women performing women’s work as well as the men doing man’s work (Rivkin 5). King in beekeeper’s apprentice defines an “apprentice” as a young person who works for someone in order to learn their skills (King, 201). Mary is being employed to work as an apprentice for Holmes who takes her under his care and teaches her every kind of skill he can think of whereas Mrs. Hudson trains her everything from cooking to sewing. Holmes gains an interest over her when he realizes that she is a potential equal. Russell breaks the cycle of female stereotype when she enrolls for further studies at Oxford (King, 220). In the article, the power of discourse and the subordination of the feminine men in society feel inferior whenever a woman positions herself as a threat in terms of being educated (Rivkin 7). They always believe that a woman’s place is only at home (Hellen 210). Through the journeys, both novels accumulate meaning and shape the insight of the reader to understand the feminist attempts in relation to struggle of power, position, recognition, ambitions and aspirations. The feminist ideologies are undermined in both Kindred and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. In Kindred, the male character undermines the female ideas both economically and politically in a way that, they threaten women through the rape acts, whippings, being sold off into the South, and denial of making their own life decisions. Scholars have argued that in Africa, a the medium which has the powers to transform people’s perceptions have stereotyped or sidelined women’s issues through images and contents making it hard for them to change perspectives in relation to women’s rights violation. Instead of giving women a platform to voice their aspirations and frustration, it continues to center issues about men and male values. (Breines, 1130)
Differences occur as a result of the good or bad, superior or inferior, subordinate or dominant and this is what resulted to initial struggles between men and women. For a long time women have been living under oppressive conditions of men. Men who had been involved in these acts were never charged of any misconduct. Victimization comes from a culture of violence towards women one that is geared by societal-level influences that develops acts of violent acts such as rape (Ruth 110). Unless media gives women access to freely express themselves then the struggles against women’s rights oppression and violation will forever be constrained. In the novel of age, race, class and sex, Audre Lorde brings out the images of feminists who constantly campaign for women’s rights and develop equal opportunities for women in employment and education. Struggles of women’s movement were incomplete when the backlash against feminism and black civil rights accelerated in the 1980s (Breines 1120).
There was an initial struggle for women in the 1960’s and 70’s thus the second wave and third wave of feminism begins. Audre in the power of discourse and the subordination of the feminine sheds light on the second-wave feminist movement that focused on the actions of women’s liberation movements (Audre, 330). Inequalities in politics and culture were some of the reasons that made women form movements and voice their concerns against male discrimination. Male take precedence over the feminine pleasure as Irigaray in Kinship between Life and Death, would illustrate how the latter has to be inarticulate in language if it acts as a way of threat to underpin logical operations of the male counterpart. “Women were forbidden to express their own pleasure in the presence of a man” (Irigaray 700).
Nonetheless, this paper explores the aspect of reversing and equalizing power between men and women. In the article of the power of discourse and the subordination of the feminine, it says that women must assume the feminine role to convert this form of subordination into affirmation and start to thwart it. She has to go through the extra mile of resubmitting herself (Rivkin 1). The article is not trying to create or talk about a theory in which women would be the subject or object of discussion, but is trying to “jam the theoretical machinery itself “. This article fears that feminism would cause the masculine to be no longer “everything.” For example, in Butler literal piece of kindred, Dana begins to have some influence over Rufus the first time she rescued him from a river and resuscitates him.
In one instance while they were playing a game of chess Mary was able to emerge the winner. Laurie King later on describes how the skills Mary got from Holmes helped her to advance for her university Degree in Oxford University. Women ideas about herself in relation to these novels are elaborated in a masculine logic and a cover-up of a possible operation of the female character in language. In Irigaray’s piece she contends that if women are such good mimics, it is because they are not simply absorbed in this function but are capable of bringing new nourishment to its operation (Rivkin 1).
Nevertheless, the paper will explore on the consequences that may arise as a result of reversing and equalizing power between men and women. Lodre in, age, race, class and sex, contends the difficulties that arise whenever women attempt to fight for their rights and the consequences that befall them are usually extreme. Women were expected to play a silent role in society and not in any way prove themselves superior to men. Laurie king explores how Mary after gaining access to higher levels of learning was later on subjected to threats if kidnap from his own tutor Holmes.
In an article, contribution by women of color and ethnicity, Black and Third world women are expected to educate men whereas lesbians and gay men are required to educate the heterosexual world (Mann 60). As a result of reversing power between men and women then the roles in education also changes. Consequently, the wages of men in industries consistently dropped when the women entered the workforce. In the 1960’s and 1980’s U.S experienced a period of declining wages and constant deindustrialization when manpower or workforce by men reduced (Mann 58). Women are robbed of each other’s creative ideas and energy under an unacknowledged difference in class (Breine 1098). This is evident when the women of color criticized the second wave of feminism in support to the third wave. They argued that the second wave of feminism downplayed the differences among women. Refusing to see the difference makes it difficult for women to see the different pitfalls and problems facing them. Some women view oppression only in terms of sex, others are so much consumed in stereotyping (Breine 1090).
In the article, the Decentering of second wave feminism and rise of the third wave, the aspect of feminism emphasized the need for feminists to not only address external forms of oppression but also to view oppression and discrimination from an internalized point of discussion (Mann 50). Historians have pointed out mishaps of the 1960’s and 1970’s feminism which predominantly tackled issues of white women and ignored women of color. The latter concerns were only heard only from the 1980’s onward (Breine 1125).
The future of our nation relies heavily upon women’s ability to develop and identify new definitions of power and patterns that can cut across difference in age, class, race and sex. The second wave of American Feminism as opposed to the Third Wave was blinded by ways of theories and politics and totally failed to emphasize on the day-to-day concerns of women of color and ethnicity in the U.S. Women should get rid of the old patterns that cover them in stereotyping and other forms of pretense in the name of unity. These old patterns condemn and alter our progress into repetitions of the same old hatred, suspicion, guilt and lamentation. For women to walk through the paths of freedom they have to undergo change. Change is painful yet is worth the take to keep oppressors who undermine feminist actions underfoot. It is a new path to survival for Black and white, old and young women alike.
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