Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pink Saris

Gender Film blog.

'Pink Saris' is a documentary film about a woman named Sampat in Northern India, who helps to fight for womens equality. Instead of going to the government to fight, Sampat goes directly to the men first. She also started the Gulabi gang (Pink gang), a group of women who want to support the movement as well as Sampat  or has been helped by her at some point. Sampat lives in the poorest part of her country in the lowest caste (class). Where she lives, they don't believe in marrying a lower caste so a lot of the women fall in love and get pregnant by a man that they "can't" marry because they are seen as untouchable. In Sampat's country they also have high rates of women who are illiterate and high rate of mortality in women, mostly because an unwed women is often killed. In their culture the son marries and brings his wife home with him and his parents. So when a daughter marries, she's expected to move in with her husband and his family. Women are seen as a burden. If a women give birth to a baby girl that has complications they won't bring her to the hospital, they just let her die and the mother is also shamed for having a girl in the first place.

There were many situations where a man of a higher caste "loves" or actually loves a women who is untouchable (lowest caste), she gets pregnant and he leaves her either because his family tells him to or he just doesn't want to marry her. Sampat says "we choose our food and our clothes, why not our life partner?" Aside from other people who disapprove of marrying out of your caste, there is also an issue with marrying too young. A lot of these women are/were married off as young as 12 years old. That's pretty much child labor. When a wife marries she's expected to work and help out and be with her husband. These grown men marry children who went from depending on their parent's to depending on their husbands. Without their husbands or family, women in Sampat's country don't have anything. They work just like their husbands but won't have anything to show for it. Wives have been beaten by their husbands, father in-laws, brother in-laws and sometimes raped or molested by their in-laws and run away. Where would they go? Going back home is not an option especially if there was a dowry. So these women either throw themselves in front of trains or somehow find Sampat.

Sampat was once in these women's shoes so she never turns anyone away. She is married to a man from a higher caste but still lives in her poor town. So when those women show up needing help and some where to stay, she lets them stay in her home but it gets crowded. In some cases Sampat is able to diffuse the situation and get couples back together by talking to their families. She doesn't just talk though.. she yells and threatens haha and she calls them stupid. For the not so fortunate girls, she encourages them to study and make something of themselves.

I connected this film to Ayvazian's "Interrupting the cycle of Oppression" because that is what Sampat is doing. Sampat doesn't have male allies but she is being the woman that those young women don't see or ever heard of. Ayvazian says " It's hard for a young woman to grow up thinking she can be an airline pilot if it has never occurred to her that women can, and do, fly jet planes".

I also connected this film to Frye's "Oppression" piece because towards the end she talks about how men's gesture for opening doors and their false helpfulness. Men are seen as the Prince Charming who comes and marry's the women and takes her away. The family is just happy that she has a husband. It is made to seem like he is taking on this burden and doing everyone a favor when in reality he just bought him a slave that he calls his wife. She will cook, clean, work, care for the children, care for his parents, cover herself and not speak in the presence of men, and be beaten if she doesn't listen to their demands. According to Frye, "these gestures imitate the behavior of servants toward their masters and thus mock women."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression

Ayvazian, “Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression;” Blanchard, “Combatting Intentional Bigotry and Inadvertently Racist Acts”

     The two articles discussed allies and what an ally is. An ally is "a member of a group whom works to dismantle any form of oppression from which they receive benefit." An ally is a person who has the things you want or need and also wants to help you to get them for yourself. An ally knows that we are different but deserve equal opportunity. We can all be an ally to someone and have someone else be an ally for us in another form of oppression. The dominant side may be the privileged side but they may not all be the oppressors, they are the ones who have the most power.The point is to have someone speak up for you when you can't do it yourself, and be there for you when you can. Obviously people in power can have more of an effect than those who aren't.
    Blanchard's article discusses how we shouldn't condemn or con don in racial harassment that we overhear. We should speak on it at that moment  and stand up for the person being oppressed so they don't feel alone and so the oppressor knows they're wrong. A lot of people use freedom of speech as an excuse to be an asshole, and some people are just ignorant and have no clue that they are doing anything wrong to begin with. As an ally, your duty is to educate the "inexperienced" and to shame the the people who do it intentionally. The point of the article was to tell us not to leave it up to administrators to teach what's right and what's wrong. When you're setting examples for people around you makes it more comfortable for those people to do the same, because they know they won't be the only one.