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Discuss The Ways In Which Gender And Race Intersect With Each Other. Make Reference To The Film "Falling Down."

2595 words - 10 pages

This essay argues that the concepts of femininity and masculinity are culturally and racially specific and can not be read as universal. The notion that there are commonly held ideas about what constitutes being a 'woman' across cultures and races will be rebuffed in this essay using the arguments put forth by Ien Ang. Ang's article, 'I'm a feminist but ... 'Other' women and postnational feminism' puts forth the arguments that mainstream feminism is embodied in white/western culture and that there are incommensurable differences between women resulting from their position as racialized subjects. These arguments will be analyzed and discussed within this essay to further strengthen the argument that femininity is culturally specific. Ang's example of American women's reactions to the artist Madonna's sexualized performativity will be analyzed and discussed as an example of the differences between the performance of sexuality between white and black American women. Rita Felski in 'The Doxa of Difference' counter argues to Ang that the different reactions to Madonna's sexual performativity are the result of overlapping frameworks and discursive regimes. Felski's argument will be analyzed and I will then draw my own conclusions surrounding the arguments put forth by Ang and Felski. The construction of white masculinity as a product of cultural and racial specificity will then be looked at in regards to Joel Schumacher's 1992 film Falling Down. The argument that the film disassembles white masculinity and that white masculinity is not a unitary perspective will be discussed in relations to the arguments put forth by John Gabriel, Jude Davis and Carol Smith.Ang argues in her article, 'I'm a feminist but . . . 'Other' women and postnational feminism' that a core, unconscious aspect of white/western feminism is its' embedded ness in white/western culture. Ang uses the example of the feminist maxim, 'When a woman says no, she means no!' to articulate the extent to which feminism is embodied in white/western culture. This maxim brings to mind the image of the ideal feminist woman as one who is strong, confrontational and assertive. However it is only through Ang's analysis of this maxim that I realized these qualities are not culturally neutral but rather are used in white, Western discourse. For these qualities praise individuality, directness and confidence, all of which emphasis Western cultural values. However, this does not mean that all western women have these qualities or that these qualities are not valued in other cultures, rather that these qualities are admired in western culture. It can therefore be argued that the maxim represents a very particular feminist subject position, that of the white western woman for, '[these] values may not be available or appeal to 'other' women.' This example illustrates that feminism must develop as 'a self-conscious politics of partiality.' Politics of partiality suggests that knowledge is always partial, in...

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