Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis
This article attempts to present chronology of the word ‘gender’ through the lenses of history. For over a long period of time, scholar have made use of figurative allusion with grammatical terms to instigate traits of sexuality or character. It is only recently that scholar introduced the world ‘gender’ into encyclopedia of social science and dictionaries (Scott). The scholar begun to use the word ‘gender’ when describing the social organization in regards to the relationship between the sexes. The connectedness of the word ‘gender’ and grammar is full of unexamined possibilities and explicit. It is full of unexamined possibilities in the sense that many Indo-European language have third group of neuter or unsexed (Donaldson). On the other hand, it is explicit by the fact that the use grammar follows a formal rules that observe the adherence of feminine or masculine designation.
The author of this article indicated that gender has been often used in many article to refer to female. The approach favors the argument by the earlier social scientists, theorists of patriarchy and feminist historian (Scott). For several year, the world gender has been used to demean women based on social and economic achievements in the society. However, in the late 20th century, the use of the word gender has been commonly used to describe the equality in relations with feminine and masculine.
On medicine women and white shame-ans
This article began by presented how Chief White Cloud and White Swan Women exchanged their vows. The author narrated vividly the dressing mode of the bride and bridegroom in which all the outfit was made from polyester suede (Donaldson). The second scene in the article presented about the Women’s Studies in which the non-native were borrowing native spiritual practices. The incident was demonstrated when young women questioned the bitterness expressed by the native Indian American since they didn’t want White American to imitate their cultures (Appadurai). When asked the student vehemently expressed their white American took their resources, lands and now they want to take their cultures.
The two scene highlighted the complex and volatile issues affecting what the author refers to as “New Age Native Americanism” (NASA). The article described the scene as a misappropriation of American Indian tradition to be an alternative sources of spirituality and knowledge. For example, the marriage of Chief White Cloud and White Swan women was performed with the bride and bridegroom addressed on Native Indian clothes yet the two are supposedly to be British (Donaldson). On the other hand, NASA is seen as the most useful movement for feminist transformation. According to this article, non-native women uses Indian tradition as an avenue of avoiding patriarchal biases of monotheistic religion and gain access to empowerment.
The core theme of this article was to present events that involves the use of cultural diversity such as dressing mode to express the social identity of certain people in the society (McClintock). For instance, the author presented the use of native cultural practices and names by non-native to disguise themselves in order to be accepted as part of the society in which the cultural practice is practiced. From the article, it is clear that cultural practices such as dressing modes and names have specific means to particular communities in the society.
Both article highlighted the issues of feminism and masculine in the society and how it has evolved over a long period of time. For example, in the first article the author presented the step that lead to the adoption of the world gender in the modern social science (Donaldson). The use of the world ‘gender’ by the American feminists was meant to emphasis fundamentally social quality of distinctions based on sex. According to Scott, the use of ‘gender’ was to highlight the avoidance of using biological determinism when referring to sexual difference or sex. In addition, the use of the world ‘gender’ in the first article was to emphasis the relational aspect of normative definitions of femininity (Scott). In the first article, Scott quoted Natalie Davis stressing the importance of understanding ‘gender’ from the historical perspective of women and men.
“It seems to me that we should be interested in the history of both women and men, that we should not be working only on the subjected sex any more than an historian of class can focus entirely on peasant. Our goal is to understand the significance of the sexes, of gender groups in the historical past. Our goal is to discover the range in sex roles and in sexual symbolism in different societies and periods, to find out what meaning they had and how they functioned to maintain the social order or to promote its change” – Natalie Davis.
Similarly, the second article emphasized the importance of understanding feminism from Native American knowledge and from the much wider spectrum of New Age Native Americanism. In this case NANA existed as a unique subgenre of New Ageism and involves the determination for the alternative spiritualties and lifestyle.
Another similarity of the two articles is that both have contributed to a more captivating discussion about feminism based on the cultural misappropriation and misinterpretation of certain words. The two articles laid down the foundation for comprehensive understanding of feminism and masculinity from the perspective of cross-cultural relationships. Further, the two articles extended their discussion and highlighted the influence of popular feminisms and the impacts of academic feminist community in the modern society (Scott). For example, in first article the author used chronological events to explained how the term ‘gender’ was integrated into the dictionaries and encyclopedia of social science. Similarly, the second article used NASA to present how modern American society influence the changes in the spiritual and cultural practices.
Yet the two articles comprehensively advocated for the equality of women in the society and academic feminist community, each article attracts different critiques based on the arguments presented. For example, the first article approach the issue of women inequality using misinterpretation if certain words such as ‘gender’ (Scott). This means that the author of the first article focused her arguments around the term ‘gender’. Throughout the article, the author demonstrated how many scholar used the term ‘gender’ to refer to women. Some her critiques may argue that before the term ‘gender’ was included in the dictionaries and encyclopedia of social science, the scholar were correct use two words interchangeably.
In contrast, the second approach the issue of feminism from lifestyle and spiritualism. The author of this second article centered his arguments on cultural practices. Although, the two articles highlighted the influence of academic feminists in the community in the understanding of women inequality, the theme of the first article was centered on the term ‘gender’ and the second article was centered in the cultural practice (Donaldson). This means that critiques of the second article focuses on the misappropriation of native culture, while those of the first article focuses on the skewed interpretation of feminism. Another contrast between the two article is that the first article employed the various theories including the Marxist and historians to explain the inclusion of the term ‘gender’ into the encyclopedia of social science and dictionaries as one way of avoiding skewed interpretation of the term, while the second article used integrated real life.
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