Ch 1 of Women's Realities, Women's Choices

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Women's and Gender Studies
Daga Sandra

Chapter 1 J Imagery and Symbolism in the Definition of Women THE M EANING OFIMAGERY AND SYMBOLISM Experience, Perception and the Symbolic Construction of Reality Classification and Perception N We make use of symbols to give meaning to our perceptions: words, colour, object used to represent something else N 9 ]}LZ}}KLLKLZZ}ZK}o] }LZ Z}ZK]L]L][LZKZ o]L]8 N We select particular features of personality and physical shape on which to focus and ignore others Shaping of Reality N The application of names and symbols gradually construct us, and vice versa N Cultures vary widely in their attribution of characteristics to femininity and masculinity IMAGERY AND SYMBOLISM IN THEDEFINITION OW OMEN N We learn to classify objects and combine symbols into imagery N A lack of reciprocity: men have been the providers of images and women and men have been the recipients The Construction of Images and Symbols N Images built out of our symbol-controlled perceptions usually grouped into categories and classified in different ways N Different purposes = classification of the same objects in different ways N ZK]L]L[}KLK Z]o]ZZKLL]ZKL o]LL }]2L}L L helplessness N Womanhood may be idealized as essentially childlike and associated with innocence, unwordliness and vulnerability N Some of the cultural classification of women and children are contributed by men and women as they mold themselves to fit the classificatory system that exists The Use of Symbols and Their Influence Language N Inherently a symbolic system N Language we use contains the message of inequality in many forms N Through language, man KLZZ}o[LZhe is the standard singular pronoun, one masters material one does not mistress ]; N Teaches us men are the doers and owners and that women are valued mainly as caretakers and supportive partners N Our language is phallocentric J expresses cultural biases = sexist N Reinforces sexist behavior and organization in our society, to promote stereotype by gender and to perpetuate inequality N Guidelines concerning language usage suggest: N Man and mankind = humanity, human being, person, people N Man-made = artificial, synthetic, constructed N She, he, her, his = personal and individual Myths, Fantasies and Imagery N KL9KL]Z }^]LZ]Z}L]K2_ N We learn that man came first and that God is like man J Eve was made as a companion to Adam and constructed from his rib
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