Reading List: Black Feminism, Queer Theory of Color, & Beyond
By C Michelle
Please read and comment! Thank you!
44 high school students in Chico, CA, discuss stress, anxiety, and political issues. September, 2017
I asked 44 high school students in Chico, California, about their explanations for girls being more anxious and depressed than boys, according to national surveys. One boy said that male depression is prevalent too, as he knows from personal experience, so it may be we don’t know as much about what boys are really feeling due to social definitions of masculinity. The answers of these Advanced Placement students are found on the book webpage.[i] The most common explanation is female hormones impact emotion so “their brain is a chemical maelstrom.” They’re always moody, said one boy. Another said that the motherly instinct makes girls more emotional. They mature faster; “They take things more seriously so they get anxious about a test that a male might not even study for.”
The second most common explanation is that girls are held to a higher standard in their appearance and behavior, as “society holds women on this pedestal and many women think that they aren’t good enough and feel less than their counterparts,” magnified by comparison to fake posts on social media and airbrushed photos of models. Due to high expectations of perfection, “we always have to act polite and be conservative. They expect more from us but treat us worse than males.” There’s a double standard in appearance, so that “We are worried about the way we look and guys make it clear that eating nothing and being tan is considered hot.” That leads to the third explanation that a patriarchal society makes women anxious due to sexual assault, putdowns (called “hoes” and “stupid”) in a culture where young women are “slut shamed, cat called, put down, and left to basically do what men won’t.” Women are judged by their appearance and attractiveness to men, facing more ”societal scrutiny.” A boy observed, “Society is patriarchal and their lives are significantly more difficult. As a male, everything has literally always been easy for me. That is not the case for anyone who is not like me in color, class, or gender. Our society’s truly deplorable ongoing bias towards women is a strain on our collective unconscious.” It seem that young people believe that girls are more anxious and depressed because of their hormonal fluctuations, being held to a higher standard of appearance and behavior, and faced with more judgment and criticism in a society dominated by men. There’s nothing comparable to the excuse that “boys will be boys.
Causes of stress in this order
“At just 15 years old, Zuriel Oduwole has met no fewer than 24 presidents and prime ministers as she carries out her mission to advocate for girls’ education in Africa. When talking to African leaders, the Los Angeles teenager stresses the need for “making policies so that girls are able to go to school until at least the age of 18 so they don’t get married when they are 12 or 13…”
“Women in India” Review (Chapter in Volume 2 of Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur,
The chapter, “Women in India”, by Dr. Gayle Kimball, provides a broad spectrum of social, economic and political situations that affect the women in India. One of the greatest merits of this study is the author’s recognition of geographical (urban and rural) and structural (gender, caste, class, etc.) specificities that affect different groups of women in India differently. Acknowledgement of difference of women helps remove any universalizing tendencies and provides better scope to equip ourselves with solutions vis-à-vis the unique situation that different women face in India.
One very interesting observation that comes out of this study is the general discomfort with the word ‘feminism’ by women in India. Ascribed narrowly to the Western counterpart, ‘feminism’ has unfortunately, and very wrongly so, has come to be equated to ‘man hate’. Owing to the exclusive participation of women in the West’s feminist liberalist movement, the sentiment still prevails that it is a movement ‘for women, and by women’ and to replace ‘men with women’. Feminism’s aim is not to replace one oppressive system, patriarchy, with another, matriarchy. Instead, feminism understands that patriarchy is an oppressive system that functions by prescribing gender roles to everyone. This is why Nivedita Menon, in her seminal work Seeing Like a Feminist, defines patriarchy as a system where few older men in power control women, younger men, and people of non-heteronormative sexualities. To put it crudely, feminism is a movement aimed for establishing equality among sexes. In fact, in India, feminism began with men like Raja Rammohan Roy and Vidyasagar who understood traditions such as sati (widow immolation), child marriage, and imposed widowhood, as detrimental to the entire society and sought to eradicate them.
Dr. Kimball’s work becomes important in understanding these nuances of gender in contemporary India and making us realize that in order to opt for equality we all need to fight together, irrespective of the sexes we belong to.
The Lyrics for Generations Will Rize by Nattali Rize feat. Notis & Kabaka Pyramid have been translated into 2 languages
You wont see us on the TV, you wont read it in the news feed. but the time it come, Change keeps beating like a Drum. Cause The People have the Power, They keep Waking by the hour.And the Youth them see so they’re breaking Free from your mental slavery. Generations will Rize, Governments they will fall, We’re the only ones who will carry us through it all, If the words they are clear and the actions are strong, Oh my People We can’t go wrong… so hold on. hold on. hold on. hold on. Staring down their lie of democracy will you fight on your feet or live pon ur knees…? This is not the way that life’s supposed to be I’m callin’, callin’ yeah. These generations are making that change, they’ve learnt your system now they’re gonna rage, better take care and babylon you be aware, this a warnin’ warnin’ yeah. Generations will Rize, Governments they will fall, We’re the only ones who will carry us through it all, If the words they are clear and the actions are strong, Oh my People We can’t go wrong… so hold on. hold on. hold on. hold on. It’s just a drop inna di ocean of revolution, every ripple felt by the younger generation. Just Rize and take your stand where you belong cause it’s awakening, replacing them false religions. Truth it spread like wild fyah in di streets, any thing less than equal rights get delete cause higher consciousness we seek, open up your heart and let that inner voice speak. In the midst of these crazy times we’re gonna find our place, if we open up our hearts and let love lead the way. To the world that we want to see, we nah have no place for dem capitalism and dem economy. So open up your heart and let Love lead the way again.