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isn’t there a robot somewhere that can answer all my questions?

2009 February 24
by Maddie
  • i left class yesterday with a few random questions, one of which I see is similar to Simran’s below. On that note, my question for Anna was, how do you respond to the claims that the cover of Vogue is misrepresentative of the average woman? Maybe (definitely) even more so because of all the airbrushing scandals that have surfaced in the past 5 years. How can Vogue claim to be a woman’s fashion magazine when the women on the cover are virtually digital creations– or digitially enhanced at the least– that the “average” woman is supposed to look up to? Simran- I whole heartedly agree with what you wrote about the difference and confusion about whether the clothes or the body is the accessory here.
  • Anne asked “is everyone here a professional?” and Nadya said no. Why isn’t “mom” a profession? 14 kids… sounds like a professional mom to me.
  • Sometime in the past week a man has come forward claiming that he is the sperm donor of Nadya’s 14 children. Does it matter? What are the social implications of a man even attempting to say “those are my children”? clearly, a sperm donor may or may not someday be a father, but the catch is that he’ll never know. He didn’t donate sperm to become a dad– he donated sperm hopefully to help someone out somewhere, and to make $50. So now…he wants to be recognized as what… a father? or just as the proud generator of powersperm? WHATS THE POINT?
  • Also, I’m glad that Waris picked up on the structure of the question I asked, concerning whether or not there is a link between the gender issues in 3rd (eastern hemisphere) and 1st (western hemisphere) world. I believe it to be 100% true that in general, people in the western world see the gender issues as detached for the most part from others around the world. And when Western hemisphere people help to subdue Eastern hemisphere gender issues, Waris said “they are helping themselves” and this is exactly right–they help themselves by feeling good that they helped someone else. i’ll make an uneducated guess that many individuals who provide aid from West to East often do not recognize or cannot acknowledge the full imact that eastern cultures have on their own. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t fit into this category, but at the same time, I don’t think its ever possible to know the entirety of the impact one society can have on another, especially while you’re existing in one of these said societies.
  • my last comment I had was in response to Wenza. When she said that her brother was also a suicide bomber, the first thought that went through my head was, “how does a mother raise two suicide bombers?” Clearly I have no information on their mother’s involvement in their lives, but I’m always fascinated by the ignorant things that pop up in my mind. WHO PUT THOSE THOUGHTS THERE?
3 Responses
  1. The Doctor permalink
    February 24, 2009

    Maddie- I always saw “professional” referring to having a skilled job that pulls in a lot of money. While being a parent takes a monumental amount of time and energy and is surely a full-time job, there’s no money for the effort. Perhaps this is why it’s not considered a “profession.”

    Maybe the could-be sperm donor wants to be a dad, or maybe he wants to share in the spotlight, but we’ll probably never know. I agree that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to step in after the fact and then want to be recognized for his donation. Just because he could be their biological father doesn’t make him the dad of those kids.

    Finally, for a bit of humor, the title of your post reminded of a little something from customer service.

  2. Mista Jay permalink
    February 25, 2009

    I agree with the Doctor–I’d be quick to say that the man probably just wanted to get his piece of the pie while it was still warm. But also, society tends to look down on men that abandon the mother of their children. They’re not considered “real men,” so maybe that’s why he’d want to claim the children? Though, is he honestly going to take care of these 14 children? Or maybe that’s the catch, maybe because he’s the sperm donor and not expected to take care of the children; it’s safe to “own up” to his children without having to take care of them…hence why I think it’s just for publicity.

    Also, Maddie, your comment about the West helping the east reminded me of an article I read for gender and sexuality in the Middle East. It was called “Suffering Sisters” by Melani McAlister and it was about western feminist attempting to raise awareness about genital mutilation in the Middle East, yet many Middle Eastern women were outraged by this. Though many of them admitted that yes, genital mutilation is a problem, they also pointed out that they had a lot more problems to deal with, like poverty, starvation and unsanitary water and that those more pressing issues, in their mind, should be taken care of first.

    In fact, this reminds me of when Anna spoke yesterday about how she taught women in a more poverty-ridden country (I forgot which one, sorry!) how to sew, and Professor Dalke said: “who decided they needed to sew? You or them.” And she answered “Me.” While I admit in my mind (coming from a western perspective and all) , teaching these women how to sew is a good thing indeed if it can lead to a better income. Yet when coming from this new angle, I wonder if women that are the subject of these sort of rescue projects feeling a little resentment to these western women who decide these sort of things for them?
    The “Suffering Sisters” article explained that Middle Eastern women felt the like Western feminists little project, that the West was only interested in “rescuing” them in order to be the heroes instead of working with them, and that the Western women were only defining them by their bodies instead of looking at them as equal peers who were much more than the state of their genitalia.

  3. The Doctor permalink
    February 25, 2009

    Response to Mista Jay- I guess this is the part where I always hit my head on the keyboard because it feels like I’m damned if I help and I’m a jerk if I don’t.

    It’s admirable to see injustice and pain and want to do something about it. It’s also admirable to keep your head on straight and do your homework so you do something well instead of just fast. On the other hand, when faced with the myriad problems in the world, who wants to sit still and wait for the paperwork to go through?

    “Though many of them admitted that yes, genital mutilation is a problem, they also pointed out that they had a lot more problems to deal with, like poverty, starvation and unsanitary water and that those more pressing issues, in their mind, should be taken care of first.

    Excellent point. I reference Maslow’s heirarchy of needs. I am not condemning anyone for wanting to help anybody, for flying a banner for any cause. There’s a lot to be pessimistic about in this world, and we might as well have all hands on deck, doing what they can where they can. That said, feed people before fighting for their civil rights; bring the homeless inside before talking race relations; get all the kids out of poverty before telling them it’s okay to grow up queer. Not in place of, just before. Once people aren’t gonna die, then we can move onto the next set of problems.

    Not responding directly to Mista Jay, just musing out loud now:

    As for our “right” to decide to help out in other cultures… no, I’m not saying that America gets to play savior or that I’ve suddenly transformed into a Mighty Whitey, but dammit people are hurting, other people are apathetic, and that pisses me off.

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