Explore the intersection of racism and gender in contemporary Australia. In a place particularly like Australia recognised to be a multicultural country, ‘gender’ is targeted in race particular aspects and ‘race’ is experienced in gendered forms. This paper will elaborate on the intersection of racism and gender when both come into play as well as the role it presents in Australia of today’s society. Many literature discussions would imply that racism and gender fit in completely different categories from the other but as some authors argue, there are interconnections between the two.
Elaboration of how racism is a form of discrimination is one circumstance and gender is another will be discussed throughout the paper in which it will highlight how both cases can be seen to bring a higher force of discrimination. Authors such as Pettman, Waters and Crooks look into the studies of gender and racism to find the pervasive influence on people of all background in contemporary Australia. Through studies of gender & racism, women in particular have been seen as usually marginal or invisible in society.
Some writers illiterate on the experience of immigration and multiculturalism women confront while others would focus on women’s experience of the Second World War and their migration to Australia. In relation to power, gender could be displayed in different locations in accordance to being constituted (Pettman, 1991 pp. 53). Gender has often been bypassed to being a natural thing, therefore they are presumed to be vital in human thoughts.
Pettman establishes the role of gender by highlighting the cultural differences within a male and female in the categories of masculinity and femininity in which what seems to be the most socially appropriate to society’s norms. She raises the questions, how minority women experience racism; and the ways different women face sexism? Pettman states that ‘Racism and sexism, even where connected, do not operate alone, but articulate and are articulated through structures of power in society’ (pp. 54).
Although it is primarily stated that gender is more of a socially constructed term it is not biological, as ‘sex’ would be a more of a scientific term to it. While sex refers to more of physical attributes individuals hold, gender differences are by no extent categorised along with sex as both bear different connotations. In a community such as Australia, Women who are of non-Caucasian backgrounds and Indigenous Australian are shown to be highly disadvantaged when it comes to relations of poverty, employment, security and homing.
Following the society of Aboriginals and migration of non-Caucasians to Australia, Pettman analyses the notion of the relations of gender prior to this. Passing throughout forms of social inequity, Non-Caucasians as well as Indigenous Australian are underrepresented in which interactions experienced in this case are multi-dimensional. Pettman emphasizes that ‘the rules, roles and practices are often fair towards them at many circumstances but are primarily in favor of dominant social interests’ (1991 pp. 6). In demonstrating that there is a racial construction for women in particular of ‘Indigenous’ background, they are treated differently especially when it comes to the caretaking of their own children.
Mahoney points this out as being relevant to the ‘stolen generation’ in its analysis where it states that in Australia, it would be acceptable in the racial discourse that Caucasian women make better mothers for the children of ‘Indigenous’ background rather than the Indigenous mothers themselves (1997 pp. 91). Since the invasion affecting Aboriginal women, she argues its importance how social practice is taken into accordance in the examination of whiteness. With ‘Asians’ being present in Australia, they are not contradicted to being included as ‘Australian’ but rather their identity is more noted to be of an ‘outsider’ (pp. 294). The demonstration of women and racism illustrates the difference in subjectivity, experience, social relations and identity in women of contemporary Australia as a general notion.
Women face sexism in a general context, but with the addition of racism, women of coloured and Indigenous Australian has a higher jeopardy of fronting discrimination and disadvantages through their experience. Pettman argues that ‘the notion of tradition Indigenous culture and society give justification for protection towards women and children of Indigenous background’ (1992, pp. 66). She details how Aboriginal women especially face certain dangers and are more vulnerable violence with connections to Australia’s a colinisation.
Although both Indigenous and coloured women experience discrimination, they face significantly different circumstances of discrimination. Pettman implies how women of coloured (migrant women) experience many difficulties in employment in the work field with a disadvantage to people of Caucasian background (1992, pp. 60). In favor of who experiences the most racism, it is depicted that people of Asian and Muslim background experience higher levels of discrimination than most.
In terms of experiencing racism, women of different culture face significantly different discriminations with accordance to their culture and background along with stereotypes. They generally had a higher level of unemployment and the concentration of them securing a job fits along the categories of low income jobs with poor and dangerous working conditions (pp. 61). Men may also experience sexism as it does not always favour the woman’s side every time.
This may be because women have always been seen as the lesser and marginal class as compared to the men who are seen as the ‘alpha’ and the dominant leaders in society as Mahoney argues (1994, pp. 290). For example, a more dominant group of women can over empower a man whom is seen as the minority in which sexism coverts and attacks the man in this situation. Sexism not only displays a course of individual attitude but also is built into many social institutes but generally as a basis, it is often used in relation to the discrimination against the women in the term of patriarchy.
This ranges things to the likes of gender stereotype where the characteristics and behavior of men and women as well and transgender all intervene with one another. A gender stereotype is a term utilized in which it elaborates the way ‘men and women should behave in a certain manner according to what society sees as the right thing or the wrong thing’ (Mahoney, 1994, pp. 291). The presence of men according to the relations of men is highly dominated by them in all societies. The domination of men is known as patriarchy where women are represented in a marginal level.
McIntosh emphasizes the connotation of ‘White Privilege and Male Privilege’ stating that ‘whites are carefully taught not to recognize privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege’ (1997 pp. 291). With these ideas, it illustrates that the scuffle of women’s dealings with sexism and patriarchy further intricate the awareness of these conditions leading to the reconceptualisation of gender. Upon analyzing the data of racism and gender, there are many significant statistics which reflect upon women in ontemporary Australia. Woman compared to men are more disadvantage when it comes to employment in the workforce of labor as well as domestic sphere. Women tend to fill in the role of ‘mother’ which affects the outcome of their search for job employment. Men are capable of filling in the role of many job aspects which range from labor work to domestic sphere, where women are less likely to find a suiting job to labor and move to areas of teaching, nursing and social services.
Holmes states that ‘woman on an average basis earn 65% of what men would earn which leaves a gap difference of 35% between them’ as reported scientifically (2010 c. 11). Apart from men being filled in many jobs of labor employment, they are more geared towards the scientific and engineering areas, jobs that technically portray a higher wage income than those of social services in general where women are more inclined towards (c. 11).
Pettman distributes the idea that ‘the “intersectionality” searches to seize the structural and dynamic magnitudes of both the basis collaboration of two or more forms of relating to discriminations or system of subordination’ (Pettman, 1992, pp. 70). She states consequently that in the way the manner is addressed, racism, patriarchy and economic disadvantages to name a few including many others all contribute in constructing layers of inequity positioning where men and women stand as well as other racial groups (pp. 70).
Through Intersectionality, the recognition and connection of identity, particular races and gender are taken notice of. On an intersectional approach, asserts that look onto identity are considered indivisible aspects and also when speaking of gender and race it is taken into hand that the two subjects conjoined together establish a whole new subject to be discussed (pp. 72). Although it has always been looked passed that gender and race have always been distinguished as their own subject, nobody takes notice of what it could bring towards society if the two were to intervene and combine.
The two elements of these topics picks weak points as well as the discriminations held against them into a different level of discrimination where women are targeted not only in the favor of sexism but also taking note of their background, beliefs and nationality individually (pp. 72). Theories of sexism and racism are brought up as a discussion topic in general as a kind of oppression and in a way they are compared to one another. In this circumstance, Pettman argues how ‘class, gender and ethnicity overlap each other’ (Pettman, 1992, pp. 57).
In examining the connection between gender and racism, she notes how it puts a bigger emphasis upon institutional racism illustrating how it could do things such as drawing away the focus of the individual’s feelings and actions distributing it to social resources instead. Although institutional racism is solely based on rules, roles and practices, they more so favor the more dominant groups social interests which does not make it fair even though the idea of them sound fair (pp. 57). This comes directly towards multicultural groups whose interests are ideas are lesser as compared to more dominant groups such as the white society.
This places a feel where institutionalized racism is more of a multidimensional and is comprised through communication with other sources relating to social inequity throughout contemporary Australia operating unofficially usually not in favor of rhetoric and authorized government laws (pp. 58). Through not only experiencing racism and sexism, this could escalate and lead to many further issues that are outside the specific category expanding to problems like crime, poverty and many more through a chain of events leading towards it.
The shaping of the social media has been one of the biggest outlets in portraying racism and genders intersection throughout contemporary Australia. It comes in the form of being able to manipulate, communicate and influence people over the nation especially towards the participants who partake in the roles the social media plays the most. Individuals who pay less attention towards the social media are affected at some point as the form of communication through other people would eventually reach them at some point.
Langton (1993) is one of the most notable Indigenous academic authors who illustrate the many important roles the film and media play in representing the construction of not only gender and sexuality but Aboriginality as well and how discrimination throughout Australia is reproduced in this manner. Langton (1993) notes how it is usually the norms of what society sees as mainstream social analysis turns them minor or ethnically determined. Often over a certain extent, while containing some elements of the truth masked behind the media, it tries to recognize iversity and qualify the overgeneralisations social theorising at many times encourage the conduct. Multiracial Feminism has been a topic of discussion not only in Australia but to the likes of globally as well. As it have always been throughout generation to generation and continuing on into the present, women especially of colour have always been placed in a situation where they have confront the hegemony of feminisms solely constructed by the criteria of middle-classed white women.
Pettman (1991) highlights the need to challenge the system of domination, not by just the subjects of gender but throughout various hierarchies where the lives of women are impacted on because of the location they reside in (pp. 189). Within the constraints of oppressions of gender, race and class, women establish viable lives for not only themselves but their families and their communities as a whole also (pp. 190).
The differences of women are systematically connected in many different ways where the relational nature of dominance and subordination is expressed through this manner where race is made an important element through the relations of white women and women in the marginal category. This composes of a large range of methodological approaches from the multiracial feminism which allows society to better understand the social world with the different groups of women within it as well where alternate ways of understanding these process’ are established (1991, pp. 92-193). It is coming to understand the term Pettman recounts that multiracial feminism is something that ‘brings together understandings influenced and drawn from the lived experiences of diverse and changing groups of women globally worldwide’ ( pp. 193). Woman of different nationalities are able to share their experiences and culture among others therefore this helps to bring multicultural and traditions where ever the location may be, as this is the path to contemporary Australia becoming much more diverse.
Gender and racism as a whole context are expressed in many different ways throughout its intersection in contemporary Australia. Although the framework of these two or still an issue in our nation, it has always been so in the pass as well and unlikely to end with the recent matters taken into accordance. There have been various outcomes introduced to make the inequality terms equal for human beings as a whole as it only brings help to a marginal rule.
There may be a possibility that the intersection of gender and racism within Australia may be rid of its context of discrimination but it must also be taken into context that human beings were born this way to find inequality, differences and variations among another. This is a uniquely discussed subject that will not disappear over the course of the next few days but takes an extremely large amount of effort to get rid off as for this subject to no longer exist, all humans not only within Australia but globally as well must work together in unity.
Courtney from Study Moose
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