Final Project: Mary Kom

 Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom is a woman born on March 1st, 1983 and is currently 37 years old. Born in a poor family with no goal in sight except working in the fields her parents owned, she was blessed with the opportunity to go to school as it is an opportunity given to not many in India. Developing for sports and viewing the success of many athletes pushed her into starting boxing.

         A movie was created in the honor of Mary Kom by the same name and featured her life in 122 minutes in the shoes of Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The film begins with a very young girl that finds a glove and becomes very interested in the sport. Her father, being an ex-boxer worries about her daughter getting hurt and hurting her face which could potentially result in a rejection for marriage. People that live in poor areas such as the Mangte family believe that women are only raised to be given in marriage one day when they grow old enough, but Mary showed her dad that he was wrong when she won the Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championship.

Mary Kom: Mary Kom wins gold medal in style ahead of World ...

         After many victories in her matches, Kom falls in love with a boy and wishes to start a family with her husband. The couple decides to have children despite the constant denial of her coach who sees a lot of potential in the boxer and believes that her career would be over if she chooses to have those children and take care of them as a mother.

         Chungneijang after a few years, people begin to not recognize, and this is the push that motivates her to come back to her boxing career. She approaches her coach that abandoned her because she decided to have children and proved that a married woman could still pursue an athletic career even after giving birth. She trained long and hard to become fit and learned moves all over again. Taking care of the children became a responsibility for her husband and he gladly accepted to take them and let his wife pursue a boxing career leaving behind those that believe men are supposed to work and not take care of the children and that women should be the ones doing those tasks.

Priyanka Chopra's Mary Kom can't be released in Manipur: Reasons ...

          Going against her father’s wishes to pursue a career while being born in India is an action that takes a lot of guts to make. She was able to successfully make a career and prove that being born to be wedded one day is not the reason women are born. Furthermore, giving birth and then trusting her husband to take care of the children showed the world that marriage does not mean the end of a sports career and that women do not always have to be the ones to take care of children and food.

Mandira, Katrina, Priyanka: Who's got the BEST muscles? VOTE ...

Blog 5: The Real Power of Men

In many civilizations, the concept of patriarchy was existent but there was no name for it because the population thought that the dominance of the male was “normal”. As we moved forward in time, the concept never disappeared. Most of the families today still have a dominant male and even if they don’t. Male children are still affected by the ideology that has been shared with their friends by their parents who have a dominant male in their homes.

Even if today we have a complete definition of patriarchy, it is still seen as the “normal” way to live in families. Whether u live in a home affected by the patriarchy or not. Male children will always be exposed to the concept and will develop the wish to dominate and not feel powerless even if it is not something they wished in the beginning.

Bell Hooks and Michael Kimmel both have displayed in numerous essays how males are not necessarily in the quest for power and dominance because of gender differences but instead, males are generally powerless in a certain view and society is the main reason why they are seen as dominant beings who use violence and finally how it is possible that they could be “liberated” from the role that has been given to them by society.

In Bell’s essay, he refers to patriarchy as a life-threatening social disease. Throughout his essay, he explains the methods and goals of parents in the system of patriarchy: “to indoctrinate boys into the rules of patriarchy, we force them to feel pain and to deny their feelings”. Patriarchy resolves heavily on the existence of masculine and feminine behaviours. It would be safe to assume that women are the victims in this case, which they are, but they also help promote this system. Instead of fighting back some end up supporting the system by not realizing what the problem is and taking action. Even if both realize the existence of patriarchy, the “psychological patriarchy” according to Bell will be the biggest challenge. Unless most become able to understand it, the misconception that men are the enemies will remain. Thus, making the liberation of men as dominant and violent enemies impossible.

In Michael’s essays, he displays the “manhood” existent in America. It consists of two fears: the fear of being called homosexual and the fear of being called “sissy”; In other words, being associated with what they consider to be weak beings such as gay individuals and girls. Furthermore, he explains how our every behavior and actions are gendered and that they impact the manly cover: “Every mannerism, every movement contains a coded gender language”. People distinguish each by behaviors and actions taken and “manhood” has certain actions and behaviors associated with it and anyone who does not behave in such way would not be seen as “manly”; This indicates that “manhood” is just an image that is shown specific audiences, it is an act. Michael suggests that if people were more open to differences and accepting, this would help men be freer and more open and not necessarily doing “manly” acts as frequently as they did.

Men are seen as the universal human, the dominant ones. I think that if men managed to redefine masculinity in a way where men and women would seem more equal and relatable sexism would significantly decrease. The lesser the difference between men and women, the more chance they have of understanding each other and finding more similarities. This could also affect racism since the image of the “dominant white male” would cease to exist therefore removing differences leaving only ethnic differences and the color of the skin. For the same reasons, homophobia would also be impacted by those changes. The usage of the term “sissy” would drastically decrease.

Blog 4: Living as a “non-binary” person.

The event I attended revolved around the backlash attached to people who live outside the gender box. Four individuals gathered on a stage to freely talk about their personal experiences and share them with the wide public. This event featured individuals who are not a part of the binary genders that are featured in the world. Those four explained how they defined the “non-binary” term, how culture interacted with their gender identity, the responses they received from their families, their relations with the LGBTQ+ community and how they manage their lives publicly. The group composed of people that were born mostly during the 70-80s, but one was around the same age as the audience which was around 19 years and they came from very different countries which were a great addition.

The talk included some experiences that the four individuals lived throughout their lives and how difficult life has been because they considered themselves as non-binary. Some of them mentioned that most people labelled with gender but in reality, they just wanted to be known by who they are which was themselves, their name, not the constitution of their bodies or sexual orientation. Others stated that there were no such terms that defined non-binary individuals which made it very difficult back then to illustrate or define how they felt. One of them mentioned that their grandparents were very homophobic people; Even if they wanted everyone to know how they felt, they preferred not to tell their grandparents.

When we think of difficulties non-binary people receive, we think of the way they are referred to as, or how society treats them as alien, from the experiences that the 4 individuals received, we can understand that it is because many think that male and female are the only “normal” genders that the people who do not correspond to these suffer. Overall, it was very interesting to listen to such unique but believable stories. The difficulties these individuals faced were terrible and shows how such people are still treated in today’s society. I have spoken to many in the audience and they have all enjoyed listening to the experiences the four shared with us because we were able to understand better how it is to live in a world being “non-binary”. I would strongly suggest attending such talks because you will be able to meet people that have actually been through those stages of life or maybe still are, but their experiences are something everyone can learn from.

Oral: Vandana Shiva

Climate change has been an issue that many have marked as severe and some have decided to disregard it. Many individuals have already found themselves dedicated to making an impact on the current climate state. Out of many, Vandana Shiva is an environmental activist born on the 5th day of November 1952 in India. Despite being born in a developing country, she had access to education and the will to pursue it to the limit. In 1972, Vandana graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree at the Punjab University in Chandigarh. That was not her limit, in 1977, she then travelled to Canada to obtain a Masters in the philosophy of science (University of Guelph) in Ontario and a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing the same nationality as me, she returned to her country of birth, India to continue her studies in interdisciplinary research in the fields of environmental policy, science and technology at both the institutes of Science and Management in Bangalore, Karnataka.

Back in her homeland, Vandana Shiva, influenced by her interest in human rights and environmentally friendly ideology, created the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology[1] which is focused on protecting people’s rights and the conservation of biodiversity. Soon, Vandana became the author of many books but I have found two particularly interesting: the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize winner: Making Peace with the Earth[2] and Soil Not Oil[3]. Making peace with earth focuses on the impact on the environment by corporate capitalism[4] and the quest for power by large businesses. Soil Not Oil explains the dangers of society focused on industrialized agriculture. In one of her articles summarizing her book[5], she wrote: “A one per cent increase in soil organic matter can increase soil water holding capacity by 100,000 litres per hectare, five per cent can increase it to 800,000 litres. This is our insurance against climate change, both when there is drought and too little rain, and when there are floods and excess rain. On the other hand, cement and concrete increases the runoff of water, aggravating floods and drought”.

The number of books she wrote and her nationality caught my attention. I find it inspirational that despite being born in a developing country, she achieved such an education, travelled to gain even more knowledge, came back to the country she was born in because she felt it was unguided and finally devoted herself to making a change in the world. She made numerous books that reflected her ideology and her knowledge while explaining the real problems that are affecting all of us. I find it inspirational that such a woman decided to write about these problems and giving written, a detailed explanation about the environmental issues the world is facing, not many, especially born in a country where education is limited and most of its population resides in poverty decide to talk about these issues that some consider trivial.

Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva: The fight for climate justice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bcT_b5luL0

Source:

  1. https://www.eldis.org/organisation/A6564
  2. https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745333762/making-peace-with-the-earth/
  3. https://www.northatlanticbooks.com/shop/soil-not-oil/
  4. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-corporate-capitalism.html
  5. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/04/23/living-soil-lies-solution-climate-change

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandana_Shiva

https://www.countercurrents.org/shiva230211.htm

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/2019/12/indian-environmentalist-vandana-shiva-fight-climate-justice-191228004940555.html

https://yourstory.com/herstory/2019/09/women-activists-climate-change

BLOG 3: Gender relations in the old days

Early French colonizers had a vast masculine space. The only women know with power were nuns which were composed of women and played major roles in the development of the colony’s education, the medical department and social services. Marriage during those years was not a matter of personal choice based on romantic inclinations. The husband was the leader and the wife and children were to obey him. Even with the rule of the husband, he was unable to sell joint assets without consulting the wife.

Indigenous people were encountered during the early colonizer days by both the French and English colonies. Women in indigenous society had a lot of power over men, which the two colonies did not. Aboriginal women contributed to the labour and some even hunted small prey. Furthermore, they were given the right to decide for the entire community. Aboriginal people had the right to choose who they would marry based on their romantic relationships, they were also given the right to have sexual relationships before marriage.

Today, a lot has changed from the culture of indigenous people. Yet, some similarities have not vanished. Today, similar to the indigenous society, the woman has the right over the property she owns and can decide to share with her husband. Any financial decision made over it cannot be executed without the consent of the women. Personally, the fact that men were authorized to marry multiple women even when they possess such a strong role in that society struck me the most. I would think that women in such a society would keep a hold onto their husband, but on the contrary, they allowed them to have multiple relationships. Indigenous cultures show that women have always had an essential role in society and that the culture propagated by European countries which believes that women should not work and always be dominated by men is wrong.

Blog 2: Women and Sports

When we think of sports, we think about exercising our body, dripping with sweat, becoming an image that would be associated with the country we support, and we think about having fun. Sports are for everyone yet; boys are more engaged in playing sports. Is it because we believe that females are inferior to males when it comes to physical activities or is it because of gender polarization and the number of opportunities they have been given?

According to WSF Teen Sport Report, 2018, 40 percent of teen girls do not actively participate in sports. This can also be directly linked to the 1.13 million opportunities given to boys instead of girls according to the National Federation of State High School Associations 2018-2019. Society does not approach girls as much as they approach boys. This causes young girls to categorize sports as an activity created for men and separate themselves from it.

Due to society labelling sports as an activity created for men, women have been treated as inferior beings, as they have rarely made more revenue than men when they have been displayed on the screen. This also has an impact on the final cash prize. For example, FIFA’s total prize money was around 400 million dollars for the men’s team in contrast to the 30 million for the women’s team in 2018. This is not the only case in which women’s sports teams have faced inequalities and will certainly not be the last one.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_polarization
https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/what-we-do/wsf-research/
https://www.uplifterinc.com/gender-inequality-in-sports-how-to-grow-female-sports-audiences
https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-soccer-says-womens-team-has-been-paid-more-than-mens-team-11564440487

Blog 1: Similar views of feminists

Fighting for rights has been somethings humans have started doing centuries ago. Today, feminists are keeping this fight alive, not to acquire new or absurd rights, but just enough to be completely considered as equal to men and remove sexism. Jessica Valenti and Bell Hooks have written about feminism and have given their own opinions on it. Achieving rights by standing up for equality has been the source of motivation for many. Jessica believes that having thoughts such as believing that a person will be paid less for the same position as a woman is enough to demonstrate that there is still some form of inequality remaining in the world and that feminism would help eliminate this thought eventually. In Hook’s case, feminism is losing its power and position in the world. Those who seek equality and to end sexism have been oppressed by society, yet it is not a reason to give up. Society has become dominated by men and it will not change if there is no one to fight back and break free from this system.

Jessica believes that every single action taken or thought processed by each one of us that seeks equality between women and men makes us a feminist. Similarly, Hook believes that feminism is a movement to end all sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression. In both beliefs, anyone could be considered a feminist as long as they seek equality and wish to end sexism. However, Jessica has more individual approach to this movement than Hook, she focuses more on an action that every one of us as individuals would take and would ultimately group to form a force to be reckoned with instead of Hook, who seeks to view this situation as a phenomena that affect us all and we should all make decisions as a group to be more effective. Feminism has been something both of the authors heard repeatedly throughout their lives. They both have released that feminism is not something that is considered good by society. It is something strange, unwanted and useless according to some. They believe that this ideology is wrong and that the unfairness in society is real and needs to be addressed.

 After reading the texts, my view of feminists has changed. I now do believe that everyone that would think of just a scenario in which a woman is being treated unfairly due to any reason and that the person would genuinely think that the act is unfair would be considered a feminist.

 The first few paragraphs of You’re a Hardcore Feminist. I Swear. She mentions that most of the insults are directly linked to a girl. I did not notice that most of the swear word people use are actually terms that are associated with girls and that was a remark very clever from the author as I did not notice this myself. This made me stop and realize that the author had been right and that this fact had more significance than it did on the surface.

 After some research, the writing style that was used in the texts was made clearer. Valenti, a person that had been living in a populated area such as New York and is relevantly young did not fear using swear words. On the contrary, the use of such words helped youngsters understand faster. Hook was a person that had seen the cruelty of racism with her very own eyes. In her text, explaining racism and not being emotionally too driven into it and instead, explaining it in a calm way that relied only on facts was the probably the better approach to explaining her point and promoting feminism in her story.