Thursday, December 2, 2010

Long Post 12/6

Cynthia Enloe’s Introduction and first chapter focus upon “curiosity” and how it relates to feminism. She begins by defining words like “natural”, “always”, “tradition” in relation to asking questions, which can start one on their path to taking women’s lives seriously, something that she claims is “a crucial first step”. In discussing ungendered terms, she says, we aren’t acknowledging patriarchy, because often patriarchy and/or misogyny are hiding here. Many societies are patriarchal, and what is “masculine” in them she says, “is most deserving of reward, admiration, etc.” and can be found everywhere. They are systems, however and not just made up of men. It is an old system, but one that is complex. She also says that feminist curiosity extends to formal and official matters but also those less public.

Furthermore, Enloe talks about her coworkers, the feminists in Japan, Korea and Turkey who have been expanding he curiosity. She gives them as well as many others credit for pushing her though process and helping her “dig”.

In the “Surprised Feminist”, chapter 1 of her book, she says, “I have come to think that the capacity to be surprised and to admit it is an undervalued feminist attribute.” In admitting to being surprised by many of the occurrences of the 20th century, such as the NATO-ization of human rights, she felt that though underestimating consequences she could build upon it. These issues she discusses are deeply gendered and have different effects on the identities of the people involved, because gender is often a key component. In teaching her students, she felt that surprise is often a key component of discussions. Overall she believes that when new events, surprising and patriarchal happenings in the world around us, we should be curious. We should be ready to be surprised and then ready to move forward and “make our strategies more savvy” in order to become better, or at least more confident feminists.

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