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Proposal for Gendered Silence Paper

han yu's picture

In this male dominant society, men always have many false assumptions toward women.

“There was something in your eyes that let me know I could talk to you.”

“I could tell by your eyes how you felt. I could smell you wanted me.”

“Bitch, if you don’t wont a man to speak to you, you ought to stay in the house.”

From their illusions, women always have that insatiable hunger for men and sex. Women are never supposed to know physical fight back. Women are always lying, which in fact, as Jason Stanley pointed out, is that men are “stealing the voices” of women, “robbing” women’s “ability to refuse”. And men also have that contradictory thoughts that even though women from their eyes always welcome having sex with them, women are still not supposed to have their own sexual desires. “Eva ain’t natural because she denaturalizes the desexualized image of a ‘proper’female victim of sexual violence, because her sexuality is not bounded by either a romantic or an economic contract”. Because they are not in power, women’s complex personhood is constantly ignored, and their voices are never being listened or kept intact.

Eva and Menchu both applied some kind of silent resistance, but what are some more specific reasons of their resistance? What are the broader implications on general people not in power? Can their silence serve as a powerful tool? What are their alternative acts? Are those effective?

Currently I have many questions going in my mind. And I feel that the texts we have read recently and also before fall break can help me a lot in analyzing gendered silence. I need to delve into them more to have clearer thoughts for writing this paper. 


Anne Dalke's picture

yes, han, i think you need to do some 'delving,' carefully reviewing a single text (Eva's Man or I, Rigoberta Menchu) with an eye to the ways in which the silences there seem to be the result of gendered constructs. it might be helpful to do this reading with the help of one of the feminist theorists we've read--starting with a clear sense of how wendy brown, or adrienne rich, or tillie olsen, or michelle balaev sees gender operating to silence women, and then using that lens to help you see how gendered silence presents itself in one of the longer texts. move away, in other words, from very general, grand claims of this proposal, to something more specific and textually supported.