Wednesday, October 24, 2007

the positive stereotype of the western woman

The first thing to note is that western women do not suffer any harm through war – they ‎are at the delivering, not the receiving, end of the missile. ‎

A UNIFEM report has it that " The economic cost of violence against women is ‎considerable — a 2003 report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ‎‎(CDC) estimates that the costs of intimate partner violence in the United States alone ‎exceed US$5.8 billion per year: US$4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care ‎services, while productivity losses account for nearly US$1.8 billion." ‎

In peaceful Geneva, Switzerland, a randomly selected study of nearly 1,200 ninth-grade ‎students revealed that 20 per cent of girls had experienced at least one incident of ‎physical sexual abuse ‎‎( ‎

According to The Care Center ( ):‎

‎• Of rape victims who reported the offense to law enforcement, about 40% were‎
under the age of 18, and 15% were younger than 12.‎
‎• Of 1,000 representative female students at a large urban university, over half‎
had experienced some form of unwanted sex. Twelve percent of these acts
were perpetrated by casual dates and 43% by steady dating partners.‎
‎• Female adolescents are frequent victims of sexual assault and rape. The‎
incidence of rape in the United States peaks among young women 16 to 19‎
years of age. The reported incidence of rape and sexual assault reflects a
fraction of the actual frequency of this crime. The National Victim Center
estimates that almost 700,000 women are raped each year, and that 61% of the
victims are under the age of 18.‎
‎• Female adolescents are at high risk for becoming victims of acquaintance rape‎
or “date rape.” Studies have shown that the highest incidence of acquaintance
rape occurred in grade 12 and during the freshman year of college. Of the‎
‎25% of college women surveyed who reported having had unwanted sexual‎
intercourse, 84% knew their assailant, 57% of the episodes occurred on dates,‎
and 41% of the women stated that they were virgins at the time of the assault.‎
Again, this is probably an underestimation of the true incidence of date rape

Alcohol a factor:‎
‎• It is estimated that approximately one-half of assault cases involve alcohol
consumption by the perpetrator, victim, or both. Moreover, while alcohol
consumption and sexual assault frequently co-occur, this phenomenon does
not prove that alcohol use causes sexual assault. Rather, alcohol contributes to
sexual assault through multiple pathways, often exacerbating existing risk
factors. For example, the desire to commit sexual violence may actually cause
alcohol consumption in that a male perpetrator drinks alcohol before
committing a sexual assault in order to justify his behavior. Whereas, among
college-aged males, fraternities encourage both heavy drinking and the sexual
exploitation of women.‎

Date rape drugs:‎

‎• Date rape drugs or drug-facilitated sexual assault causes sedation and amnesia
to the extent that a potential victim cannot resist or may not be aware of the
assault. In fact, about 25% of the women who contacted the Canadian Sexual
Assault Center reported that drugs were a factor in a rape. The most
commonly reported drugs in addition to alcohol to facilitate sexual assault are
flunitrazepam and gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), which is now touted as
a new recreational ‘club drug’.‎

Long term effects:‎
‎• Victims of marital or date rape are 11 times more likely to be clinically ‎depressed, and 6 times more likely to experience social phobia than are non-victims. ‎Psychological problems are still evident in cases as long as 15 years after the assault.‎

That's not a pretty picture for any society, especially one that claims to be the universal ‎conscience, with the ability to tell right from wrong. Why should a society that respects ‎women as individuals, unlike (remember) Muslim society, why should such a society ‎present such awful statistics? ‎

I will let Andrea Dworkin speak on the subject of western man's perception of western ‎woman. ‎

‎"The skin of white women has a meaning in pornography. In a white-supremacist society, ‎the skin of white women is supposed to indicate privilege. Being white is as good as it ‎gets. What, then, does it mean that pornography is filled with white women? It means that ‎when one takes a woman who is at the zenith of the hierarchy in racial terms and one asks ‎her, What do you want?, she, who supposedly has some freedom and some choices, says, ‎I want to be used. She says, use me, hurt me, exploit me, that is what I want. The society ‎tells us that she is a standard, a standard of beauty, a standard of womanhood and ‎femininity. But, in fact, she is a standard of compliance. She is a standard of submission. ‎She is a standard for oppression, its emblem; she models oppression, she incarnates it; ‎which is to say that she does what she needs to do in order to stay alive, the configuration ‎of her conformity predetermined by the men who like to ejaculate on her white skin. She ‎is for sale. And so what is her white skin worth? It makes her price a little higher. ‎‎("‎

What Andrea Dworkin had to say about women being objectified in western society ‎cannot be easily denied: and one does not have to go as far as pornography to see it (though we must keep in mind the fact that pornography in the US alone constitutes a $10 billion industry). ‎Advertisements routinely use women; there are women's pageants still; the diversity of ‎lingerie that western, consumer society has dreamt up – and which is almost totally ‎missing in a place like Bangladesh – can leave little room for doubt that women are ‎meant to be gazed on – consumed - by men....

In conclusion, what are we to say about the positive stereotype of the western woman against the negative stereotype of her easter sisters?

They are both completely wrong.

1 comment:

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