To Whom It May Concern

I wrote this letter after reading Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua.  In this work, Anzaldua offers her own commentary on the status of women’s rights in Mexico and shares her personal experiences of living in a “border culture.”  I hope that the message and intent of this letter will be clear, even to those that have yet to read this book.

To Whom it May Concern:

“Though we ‘understand’ the root causes of male hatred and fear, and the subsequent wounding of women, we do not condone, and we will no longer put up with it” (Anzaldua 105).  For centuries, women have suffered at the hands of male-dominated societies which oppress women and violate their rights.  We are tired of being considered second-class citizens and demand that our voices be heard.

Perhaps you do not recognize the privilege which comes with your biology.  Perhaps you simply do not understand how your verbal and physical abuse is dehumanizing, degrading, and humiliating.  Regardless of your justification, there are no excuses.  You can no longer sit back and enjoy your comfortable lifestyle, while women around the world are being exploited, taken for granted, and assaulted.  This letter is a call to action, a reality check.  On behalf of women everywhere, you must change the way you think and act.

As a male, you may think that gender inequality benefits you in numerous ways.  Your language represents your identity as a male and your modern culture is founded in patriarchal ideology.  Male privilege manifests itself in your life on a daily basis, whether or not you recognize it.  When you come home to a clean house and a homemade dinner, when you walk down the street without fear of being harassed or assaulted, and when you receive a paycheck that does not devalue your work simply because of your gender identity.

However, have you ever thought that this inequality which benefits you in many ways also has negative affects?  The lack of economic development, the rise in unemployment, and climbing poverty levels; soaring rates of domestic violence and sexual assault; and more.  These issues are bound to affect you on a more personal level, therefore you are forced to acknowledge their existence and attempt to overcome them; but you never will.

There are numerous systems of social stratification which are present in our society.  You may be at the top of one, but you find yourself at the bottom of a system of world order.  How did it feel when American corporations came in and stole your land, your business, your history?  How does it feel to watch as your friends and family members lose their work, their homes, their belongings?  You may feel shame, embarrassment, and horror, as you watch the life your ancestors built being torn to shreds by Western imperialists and capitalist businessmen.  These emotions which you experience are those felt by women around the world each day as their freedom becomes the property of government officials, male relatives, and any other man she encounters in her daily life.

Although this is somewhat similar, there is no way to understand how women feel without living in their shoes, so to speak… but this does not mean that you cannot help.  Show respect and compassion to the women in your life.  Help with household chores and childcare.    Educate yourself and those around you about women’s issues, human rights, and current social movements.   Align yourself with the politics which support the notion of a new masculinity, and ultimately gender equality.  This will change your life, but more importantly, it will change the world.

Sincerely,

Michelle

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alejandro M.
    Mar 20, 2011 @ 22:53:35

    As a father of three daughters I couldn’t agree with your “main” point more. It was interesting to reflect on all the ways this inequality benefits and hurts me personally on a regular basis.

    I would however, love to debate you on some of the other points you mention. Specifically when you write about business and global economics.

    I have not read the book so I wonder are these your points of view or are you relating to what the author has written?

    Last I checked, Americans do not “steal” anybodies land. Actually they pay more than what the market value is, which is only logical because this is the the reason the land is sold. Jobs are created that did not exist before, again probably at higher wages than the local market and with better benefits.

    I live in a third world country and see how this envy and Anti-American sentiment is so easily widespread unjustly. I would go on but this is not your main point and I want to make sure one aspect of your argument does not affect readers understanding of the other. I would recommend you look for a stronger analogy.

    Yours truly,

    Western Imperialist Capitalist Businessman

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Widgets 999 Any Item » "Perhaps you do not recognize the privilege which comes with your biology. Perhaps you simply do not…"

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