idiothole: (kick. ass. die. young.)
idiothole ([personal profile] idiothole) wrote2010-09-30 04:37 pm

Precious, intersectionality, and on writing fic.

I have a Women's Studies course on intersectionality which is pretty fascinating. All my reading of feminist and anti-racist blogs has made me very familiar with the terminology but it's not all things I've learned previously.

Last time we watched Precious in class, and our assignment was to think about "significant markers" or statutes that Precious has in the movie. I began jotting down during watching and the list got very long very fast.

child/teenager (depending on your viewpoint - nevertheless, she's not considered an adult who can live independently at the beginning of the film)
doesn't fit into beauty standards
close to illiterate
dependent on welfare

We were also asked to think about intersections of these statuses in different situations. Obviously in the American context, black and poor far too often co-exist - slummification or whatever it's called in English, the structural racism. Precious is sexually harassed - because she's female, because she's black and partly because she's overweight and doesn't fit beauty standards (because the mindset is, she should take it as a compliment). She is raped and she is blamed for it, and unable to stop it from happening, thanks to many statuses that weaken her (age, gender, race, looks, weight, poverty).

Our teacher warned that while thinking about this might seem easy in the beginning, it will quickly become more challenging, and I definitely noticed this. There are situations in the movie where a lot of these factors contribute, but also situations that Precious overcomes tremendously, thanks to her own fighting power, nurtured by the teacher she gets to know.

It goes from a horribly depressing story to one of absolute triumph, unimaginable by my comfortable, privileged white middle-class existence in a relatively fair, relatively equal and relatively safe Nordic welfare state.

It is strange, and I look forward to the class discussing the film next week. This course isn't going to be a cake walk.


Some things I've thought about this week..

1. Is a devout Muslim man any more or less likely to be a closeted bi-/homosexual than a devout Christian man? Does the different cultural background mean a thing in this?

(My gut feeling to the first question is no. My answer to the second is 'probably' but the ways in which it manifests remain a mystery to me.)

2. How Jewish is a secular, atheist Jewish identity?

(I don't have an answer for this, nor do I really require one, just something that's been on my mind. I'm a non-religious person brought up in a Christian society, so I've always been really out of touch with how people define themselves through religion - the same as me through my non-religion? Or differently? I'm guessing the latter. Mine is a non-committal to anything, a shrug but with a willingness to learn about others. I don't know, it's strange.)