Brumberg, Jackson & Naryan & Stable, Kumar

Carly Ozarowski

The notion addressed in “The Burka and the Bikini” of dieting being an American female necessity was very interesting to me. “Now that the Taliban’s horrific treatment of women is common knowledge, dieting and working out to wear a string bikini might seem to be a patriotic act.” (Brumberg, Jackson, 2001). I believe the way this paper was written helps in it sounding more ‘powerful’. Brumberg and Jackson draw comparisons (will opposite, yet still equally extreme) between women’s body management/ treatment in Afghanistan and America. Many Americans were and are horrified with how women are treated in Afghanistan this paper elicits the same emotions but makes people think about how women are treated in America.

Like “The Burka and the Bikini” Narayan’s work elicits the same kind of comparison; drawing on similarities and differences between dowry-murder and domestic violence in America. Considering that Narayan could not find specific numbers and figures for domestic violence, it was initially concluded and referred to on page 97 as the “phenomenon with no specific name”. Domestic violence murders could easily have statistics kept on occurrences but yet there is not a huge national concern so the statistics seem to fall to the side. Something I found interesting about this reading was that Narayan did not just end the article with what was found but yet went through to explain all the problems faced in making this comparison. Such as being too narrow or too broad, or not having sufficient data to make comparisons.

I think it is interesting the idea that “absences” makes it so some people in America do not make the connection between dowry-murder and domestic violence murders. I would like to think that as people, our society is smarter and can make comparisons and notice similarities without needing things to be more ‘at home’. I guess this truly shows how media and the news can effect people and be some of the only information people get. For example domestic violence murders are not addressed on the news and are not seen as a wide spread US problem and that just is not the case, but that is how the news perceives it.

In the final reading “Unveiling imperialism: media, gender, and the war on Afghanistan” by Stabile and Kumar, addresses how treatment of women in Afghanistan were used to justify the US war on terror following September 11th 2001. What is most important to note is that the treatment of women in Afghanistan was hardly addressed or covered in the news until September 11th. On page 771 Stabile and Kumar state: “According to any objective standards, life in Afghanistan was harsh beyond comprehension. Yet until Afghan women proved rhetorically useful, their tragic circumstances merited little coverage in the mainstream media.” Something I find so interesting is that the treatment of women and children was used to justify the war. It’s one thing, in my opinion, to justify the treatment of children in a different nation because children are younger and by nature more dependent. Contrary women are not viewed as equal to men (no matter what nation you are in) and still need the U.S. troops to protect and save them. It is disturbing that women were used as a justification for this war yet; they were not helped, according to the article, as much as they could have been or should have been.

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5 thoughts on “Brumberg, Jackson & Naryan & Stable, Kumar

  1. Sophie Furman

    Your first paragraph made me think about an article we read in intro to soc. last semester that explained daily tasks we do in an extreme way that made the class believe the writer was talking about a completely different tribe. In reality the writer was talking about Americans and shining a different light on the ideals we put in place, and the way our society runs. It wasn’t until the class read this article though that we were able to see it as extreme. This is just like the two extremes of women being displayed in the articles we read.
    How they’re more similar than we first believe is really interesting. People here say the woman in Afghanistan are suffering from the body issue a lot more, when really it’s just an opposite extreme. It’s interesting how clearly I see the similarities after reading these to articles.

  2. Gina Pol

    Almost all of the readings we had this week touched on some parts of culture that attributed to the ideas and beliefs that people have. In the American culture, we have been given the opportunity to choose what we want to wear, whether it is a bikini or shorts as an option that we have, while we see women in Afghanistan being forced to cover their bodies. Since we are embedded with the idea that women have the right to wear whatever they want, we only recognize the oppression that occurs in Afghanistan due to their lack of choice. As a result, we do not even recognize the walls that are surrounding our own lives. Some women are so pressured to conform to the mainstream ideals of beauty that they alter their bodies in detrimental ways. This results with some women have eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and even smoking or drinking problems. I think if we were look at it from the lens of an Afghanistan woman, she may even see our culture as an extreme.

  3. Sarah Wills

    Just like Carly, I also found the article, “The Burka and the Bikini” very interesting. This article offered a different perception on how Americans view the female body. While some people may think that it is empowering to expose the female body, it also has created a lot of negative side effects for women in society. Some of these effects include eating disorders, anxiety, and unrealistic body ideals. While it seems like exposing the female body is so empowering, could the exposure really just be enforcing the desires of men in American society?

  4. Bianca Scofield

    I like how you mentioned domestic violence as a women’s issue that plagues America but instead we focus on another countries’ women’s issues. As I mentioned in my previous comments, it is easy to point the finger at other countries, it is difficult to examine our own country’s faults in regards to women. Americans are so cultured to think that violence and thin battered women is normal thing. Although we are seeing some of that violence and skinny ideal being transmitted to other countries, it originates in America, therefore wouldn’t we be considered the root of those sociological problems?

  5. Sophie Sharps

    I was also very struck by the idea that “absences” and “lack of” terminology mean that we do not think to make these connections. It made me think of how many things have never crossed my mind, simply because we do not have a word for it or I have not been exposed to an idea before. This speaks to the power of language as a social construct that defines how we think and our capabilities to form words, ideas and comparisons. Narayan stated that she herself had never thought of domestic-violence murder until she began comparing domestic violence to dowry-murder. This is a great example of why it is crucial to understand other cultures, practices and lifestyles outside of our own comfort zone, because these new customs create a new language with which to view the world.

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