Sociology Empowering Migrant Women

Writer Joanita Wibowo has published a thoughtful profile on three second-generation migrant-Australian women, featuring this quote from Sabina, a Lenanese-Muslim Australian:

“She went on to study sociology at university, which turned out to be ‘a really empowering experience’ for her. Sociological theories and language, she says, helped her understand her ordeals. ‘My trajectory as an academic was influenced very much by the experiences of how I’m feeling like an outsider as a child,’ says Sabina. ‘The only thing that gave me control over those experiences was being able to explain them.’ (Source: Junkee)

Sociology also gave me the tools to understand my ‘otherness,’ and advocate for migrant women and other marganised people who are made to feel like outsiders and denied social justice.

Ever since I could speak, before I even learned to write properly, I remember clearly wanting to be a story-teller. I went to university thinking I would pursue literature, but I found I did not enjoy the course. Instead I followed my early love of social studies. I enrolled in sociology in my first semester of university in 1997. This was supposed to be an elective. Two decades later, here I am: a passionate sociologist.

I would eventually go on to write both my Honours and PhD theses on themes of multiculturalism, racism, and social inclusion. I studied how young migrant-Australian women managed their identities, gender inequality, and other issues such as sexuality and culture.

Read more about the migrant women teachers and stories that inspired my education on my post, Heroic Women Who Inspired my Social Science.

Indigenous STEM: Dr Shane Ingrey, Dunghutti and Dharawal Man

Dr Shane Ingrey, Dunghutti/Dharawal man from the La Perouse Aboriginal community in Sydney, has a PhD in microbiology. He research focuses on the medical potential of native plants, continuing the knowledge of his grandmother.

“She’d say, ‘go and put this plant on it, this plant will suck all the stuff out for you.’ So we would always go out and do what she said, and that would be [the end of] that.”

Image & quote:

Sociology of Gender and Domestic Labour

“When weighed together, full-time working women spend 6.4 hours more per week working inside and outside the home than full-time working men. Averaged across the year, this means a 332 additional hours (or two weeks of 24-hour days) of work.” – Leah Ruppanner, sociologist, on The Conversation

Drawin of a woman's legs, she is is pants wearing slippers with a pink broom in the background. The quote says: “Clearly, society has a tremendous stake in insisting on a woman’s natural fitness for the career of mother: the alternatives are all too expensive.” – Ann Oakley, 1974
– Ann Oakley

Housework, like the organisation of paid work and other institutions, is inextricably linked to gender inequality.  

Sex roles describes the tasks and functions perceived to be ideally suited to masculinity versus femininity. Sex roles have converged across many (though not all) cultures due to colonial practices and also due to industrialisation. These roles were different prior to the industrial revolution, when men and women worked alongside one another on farms, doing similar tasks. Entrenched gender inequality is a product of modernity. It’s not that inequality did not exist before, it’s that inequality within the home in relation to family life was not as pronounced.

Read more about the social construction of gender on my resource, The Sociology of Gender.

Oscars Recognition of People of Colour: The “Politics” of Hollywood Racism

A new LA Times article, written by a White man, suggests that if the Oscars this year finally acknowledges people of colour, it will be “political.” “If it’s all-White again, nobody’s going to be happy and there might be a growing perception that the academy is out of touch,” says USC history professor Steve Ross, who then went on to muse that voters may choose a Black actor over a White actor due to “politics” and to avoid backlash. This article even quotes F. Gary Gray, director of Straight Outta Compton, and a Black American man, saying he won’t allow “politics” to govern his voting.

White actors getting an Oscar is not seen as political. That’s just business as usual (obvious and yet taken-for-granted institutional racism). People pointing out racism of the Academy and demanding that people of colour finally get recognition by an industry that sidelines diverse stories, is politics. The underlying presumption in this narrative is that people of colour can only ever achieve an Oscar statue through tokeism and because eliste White people are temporarily afraid of being called out for their racism.

Continue reading Oscars Recognition of People of Colour: The “Politics” of Hollywood Racism

White Male Rage and Hollywood Storytelling

“The rage that white men have been expressing, loudly, violently, over the very idea that they might find themselves identifying with characters who are not white men, the very idea that heroism might not be particular to one race or one gender, the basic idea that the human story is vast and various and we all get to contribute a page – that rage is petty. It is aware of its own pettiness. Like a screaming toddler denied a sweet, it becomes more righteous the more it reminds itself that after all, it’s only a story.”

Source: The New Stateman

Pride in India

Pride in India

“Public discussion of homosexuality in India has been inhibited by the fact that sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly. In recent years, however, attitudes towards homosexuality have shifted slightly. In particular, there have been more depictions and discussions of homosexuality in the Indian news media and in Bollywood.”

Via: #sociology #lgbtqia

‘In September 2014, 43 students from a teachers’ college were abducted in the town of Iguala, in Mexico’s Guerrero…

‘In September 2014, 43 students from a teachers’ college were abducted in the town of Iguala, in Mexico’s Guerrero state. What exactly happened to them remains uncertain; so far, the remains of only one student have been found. Miguel Angel Jimenez Blanco (below) headed a community effort to scour the countryside around Iguala for the missing students, leading search parties that uncovered grim evidence of dozens of other disappearances and killings. In August, Jimenez was discovered shot to death. “Despite the personal risk he faced in doing the job,” says photographer Chris Gregory, “he felt that somehow it made Mexico a safer place for his children.”‘

Homophobia in politics

Australian Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, thinks that legalising same sex marriage would make Australia seem “decadent” to the rest of Asia. How very convenient to make such a ridiculous comparison, especially since Australian politicians have selectively chosen to see Auatralia part of Asia only on some respects, such as to strengthen trade, but not when it comes to fulfilling international obligations on human rights abuse, including our (mis)management of asylum seeker policies.

This is just one of several nonsensical arguments recently trotted out against marriage equality, including another White, cisgender male politician arguing that equality would lead to polygamy (not to mention his earlier argument that homosexuality is like beastiality).

The lengths that Australian politicians will go to oppose basic human rights is astounding.