I, as a born and raised American citizen, am in some ways proud of my country and other ways find myself disappointed. I have always found an interest in learning about people and cultures and what makes us unique from one another. I hope to eventually travel the world, not just as a tourist but as someone who can spend time exploring and living in the rural communities of said country and try my best to become immersed in the culture. After the readings this week I found myself disappointed in our society. It is our lack of knowledge and understanding that makes us stand out as Americans and often criticized when tourists of other countries. I do believe part of this has to do with our isolation when looking at geographical factors, whereas countries in Europe tend to be close to one another in America we have 50 states which create almost an entire continent. I hope that we strive to learn more about others outside of our culture and norm. Even within our own nation there is a great amount of diversity but I think we do struggle to learn about the difference to understand. It is important to not just notice and realize that there are differences than to actually take interest and wanting to learn.
I am not afraid to admit that my knowledge of the Islamic culture is weak. We are so quick to jump to conclusions and this often is because what we learn and know is coming from the portrayal in the media. What I do know about the culture is learned from articles I’ve seen or news on the television which clearly is not a realistic picture or even close to the understanding of the other society and when reporters are pushed to tell the truth they often turn away because they do not believe that that is what others are interested in or want to here (Abu-Lughod, 2002). I think Mohanty did a great job stressing that women everywhere are in struggle yet not necessarily in the same exact struggle and often find that western culture finds themselves thinking they understand other cultures. The way we portray other cultures and genders has a great effect on the attitudes we create and hold. This article clearly supports the fact that as a western society there is still oppression present and marginalized.
In regard to the facts stated in “The Thong vs. The Veil”, I was and still am astonished that our nation focuses on the idea that Islamic women are suffering and needing to be saved from appropriation when it is in their culture where they have had a greater movement in the power women hold. “there are more women serving in Iran’s parliament then there are women serving in the U.S. Congress” (“The Thong vs. The Veil”, 2001), those this is true we still continue to focus on said oppression these Islamic women are facing where there are other issues at hand, one being our oppression and sexism present in our own nation.
Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2002. “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others.” American Anthropologist 104(1):783-90.
Black Electorate Communications. “The Thong vs. The Veil”. 26 November http://www.blackelectorate.com/articles.asp?ID=491. 02 July 2016.
Mohanty, Chandra. 1988. “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses.” Feminist Review 30:61-88.