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Cultural Relativity and Exploring Global Gender Ideals - Essay Example

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It has been a prevalent and well-known notion that gender varies from society to society; indeed, Sherry Ortner and Harriet Whitehead…
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Cultural Relativity and Exploring Global Gender Ideals
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Download file to see previous pages Apart from the primary data I collected as an interviewer myself, the essay also contains some secondary research that espouses the notion that gender varies from culture to culture. For my interview, I contacted a Pakistani woman, Fareedah, who lived in my friend’s neighborhood; I felt that because she was from a different country than mine, she could offer me a chance to compare and contrast how men and women behave in our own societies. According to Fareedah, “it is the job of the men to support the family, the women are supposed to value their household chores and domestic responsibilities over everything else. I know many women who have had to give up their jobs after they got married and had babies.” Whereas in Pakistan society apparently it is not seen as appropriate for women to work, in other societies women are expected and often encouraged to join the work sector. For instance in Taiwan, because of “expanding demand for women’s labor, female labor force participation rates in Taiwan climbed from 32.6% in 1966 to 46.1% in 2001,” (Hu & Kamo, 105). Also, what immediately came to my mind when Fareedah stated that women are not expected to join the workforce in her society, was World War II when women in Britain were asked to join arms and ammunitions factories, and drive agricultural machinery. Fareedah also claimed that “I think women are just naturally inclined towards looking after the children and doing housework,” and also “men are made by nature to be more concerned about everyone around them, like a big lion who has to protect his pride! You should see the men from our North West Frontier Province, they are like kings, ruling and taking responsibility of their own little settlements.” ...
naturally inclined towards looking after the children and doing housework,” and also “men are made by nature to be more concerned about everyone around them, like a big lion who has to protect his pride! You should see the men from our North West Frontier Province, they are like kings, ruling and taking responsibility of their own little settlements.” This echoes with what Ortner and Whitetaker claim about life in non-Western societies; “women are seen as tending toward more involvement with private and particularistic concerns, benefitting themselves and perhaps their children, without a regard for larger social consequences, whereas men are seen as having a more universalistic orientation, as being concerned with the welfare of the social whole,” (Ortner and Whitehead,7). Fareedah also said “my own daughter has a job in America; she is working as a teacher. She is very happy. But were we back at home, I would have been scolded for allowing my daughter to work, and she would also be reprimanded.” Questioning Fareedah about the attitudes towards relatives in her society, she said “I think people are very close to one another, and all the sisters, brothers, cousins, uncles, grandparents etc. are connected to one another in such a way that they all exert influence on each other.” She also said that “there is no way you can do something without seeking the advice or permission of your relatives, there is nothing you can do that your family cannot find out. So well-knit and integrated the society is!” Kamo and Hu claim that “like in many East Asian societies, the extended family is a preferred arraignment in Taiwan,” and that “73% of them (respondents aged 65 or older) actually lived that way,” (Hu & Kamo, 107). Asking Fareedah about her ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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