Wife battering is prevalent and part of the normal family dynamic in India because of rising economic expectations and the problems are acted out at home. Alcohol is widely available, and a good part of wife battering is said to occur because the drinking helps to alleviate the feeling of hopelessness that accompanies poverty. Additionally, the culture as a whole does not place a great deal of value on women, the role of the woman, and the ability of the women to be a breadwinner. Women are seen as the matriarch of the family and their cultural value seems to be bringing forth as many sons as humanly possible. Because women are not seen as helpful with the stresses of the country’s economic woes, they bear the brunt of the family’s stress—literally.
Industrialization and modernization have led to increased child abuse in India because of an environment conducive to this phenomenon. There is now great competition and upward mobility amongst children, and there is strict discipline in the family. There is less support to raise children and fewer people to share the household tasks as the family moves away from the joint family. It is notable that gender specific child abuse occurs against females. This is because of the strong preference for male children. Girls move away from the family when they marry and cannot contribute to the family upkeep. In India’s culture, boys are more likely to stay within the family household and care for his parents into their elderly years. Girls are not actively killed, they are just neglected so badly they often die from lack of care. Additionally, more abortions occur when the parents discover they are expecting a female.
In Vietnam, men act as kings in the home while women work and are the breadwinners of the household. After working shifts of hard labor, Vietnamese women return home and spend five to six more hours doing housework. This is called “invisible violence”, because while there may not be physical violence within the relationship, intimidation and fear drive the relationship. “Visible violence” is actual physical violence. One study found that 17.5% of deaths in 1992 in Vietnam were caused by family violence.
Privilege is often invisible because it was set into motion long before the day we were born. Your race and sex are predetermined before you breathe your first breath, and you will be brought up in the class from which your family belongs. These quotients are out of a person’s control and are often overlooked as most people are the center of their very own universe.
No “category” of people are more or less likely to be aware of privilege. Some would argue that the lower class is more aware in that they see all the things that the upper class has and they do not. The upper class could then argue that they pay higher taxes and support the lower class and that wealth and opportunity is then shared. People of different races may say they were or were not afforded opportunities because of their race. Take the long standing argument about affirmative action into consideration. And similarly, people of different sexes or even sexual preferences could have the same awareness of opportunities given and passed by them based upon privilege. In any given situation, no one is right or wrong, and no one category of people are more or less likely to be aware of privilege.
Andrea was uncomfortable in Jewel’s Newark home for several reasons. She was eight years old and not yet socially advanced to be able to manage this change in environment and culture. She was not able to process the humor that Jewel’s family was sharing with her. Andrea had great difficulty utilizing the water room in the basement as a bathroom. She was suffering from social difference stimuli overload. These social differences certainly can be overcome. I think that these differences are important for people to understand, especially children. These differences ultimately promote tolerance and understanding and a more well-rounded knowledge base. Had these children lived closer to eachother, remained at the same school, or been older when the separation took place, it would have been easier to build a long and withstanding friendship regardless of social differences.
I can identify some elements of privilege in my own life. I have been afforded certain opportunities, job and otherwise through the social ties I have maintained over the years. Most of my professional growth is due to the privilege allowed to me because of who I was friends with, who I had worked for, or who my family was. This is not to say I do not deserve to be where I am today, just that it would have taken me much longer to get there without a little help from my friends. At times, these privleges have caused problems. There are many people who will never believe that you work hard or deserve your position. At times age plays a role as some people do not like to take constructive criticism from a younger person in a management role. These strains subside as staff get to know you and see that you really are the stellar performer everyone said you were. It seems that everyone is afforded or affected by privilege, just not everyone is aware of it.
To say women have been written out of sociology’s history suggests that although women played an important role in the development of the field, their contributions aren’t recognized or appreciated as much as the male founders of the generation. This period of time far preceded the Women’s Rights Movement and the early female “movers and shakers” in any field weren’t valued as much as their male counterparts.
These founding women had several common ideas including helping others, promoting equality, and being an active part in the study of people and their surroundings. Marianne Weber was a leading figure in the German feminist movement helping women to attain equality, Wells-Barnett headed national anti-lynching campaigns, and Jane Addams established the Hull House. Some even later collaborated to plan cooperative housing for working women. Each of these figures was focused on studying some aspect of the human situation and was a part of the movement that brought the study of sociology to where it is today.
These influential women were instrumental in the development of sociological ideas—such as sex is a social force, viewpoint is important, and the relevance of sympathetic knowledge to name a few. Sex continues to be a strong social force today with women’s salaries still falling short of a man’s with a similar position. The feminist viewpoint continues to be strongly considered in reference to society. Sympathetic knowledge and its relevance are still used today. It is even employed as a research method. Though at one point these contributions were strongly undervalued, even the existence of this particular text in chapter three of this book shows that today these contributions are strongly embraced.