In his book “the people’s history of the United States”, Howard Zinn tells the story of the invasion of European Americans in North America destroying the original inhabitants of the places. This includes famous explores such as Christopher Columbus, and Francisco Pizzaro. This are just but a few examples that he gives of the European Americans that contributed to modern America as we now know it. Many other historians have taken similar paths, favoring them in their works. Zinn seeks to correct the biases in this, but it may not be as straightforward as it looks. This is due to human psychological setting, the meme. The meme is the basic unit of cultural transmission or imitation (Broodie 21).
Richard Brodie explains it as a form of mental programming and likens it to a virus. Memes are to human behavior what genes are to human bodies, internal representations of knowledge (Broodie 64). An excellent example is the sexist meme that women belong in the home. These had for a long time limited the potential of men and women until new memes overrun them like a woman can be whatever she wants to be. In the same way, many people who have studied history of the United States will have the strong belief that the European Americans have led to most part of the modern day United States of America. They may be willing to change their opinions, but the belief that has been for so long drilled into their minds constricts them (Broodie 65). For this reason, it will be hard to change the bias especially to people of such academic and Intellectual influence. This in effect trickles down to the yet immature’ scholar; thus, trickling down to subsequent generations.
Howard Zinn describes the social and political structures if the indignant people of the Americas. He gives the example of the Iroquois tribe. The society was matrilineal with the husbands joining their wives families. The senior women of the society chose the man who would represent the village or clan in the tribal council (Zinn 36). In this way, there was sharing of power. The women would oversee the council meetings and the men voted on various decisions. Land and property we owned by the community. Several families owned a house.
Members shared duties equally. Men were usually out hunting and fishing while the women attended to the common house hold chores in the villages. This culture was instilled right from childhood (Zinn 40). Male dominance and female subordination was absent in the Iroquois society. I am of admiration towards the social setting of these people. They show that woman as capable as men somewhat even better as it is seen that the former hold a supervisory role in the administration. Furthermore, the culture of sharing and good will is impressive even shown to complete strangers as shown in the welcoming of Galileo. I cannot help believe that such culture was nurtured by women due to their caring nature.
Jesse Goldberg is a fictional character in Leslie Feighburg’s book “Stone Butch Blues”. Jess is a lady who changes her physique to resemble a man’s. This is to survive in society and to satisfy her own sexuality since she is attracted to women. She and many like her face many challenges due to the societal heterosexual stereotype. Police men raid all the lesbian bars and proceed to strip them naked, beat up and rape the women and those found to have less than three feminine garments. Despite her problems, she does not give up but moves to change herself to a man. She obtains a testosterone from a doctor and goes to the gym and transforms herself to a muscular bearded man. A similar scenario is portrayed in the plot of the 2007 film Outlaws. Here, the cast who have been living a normal life are forces to become vigilantes and fight their oppressors, a gang of criminals and drug dealers.
Jess is faces the tough decision to become a man or a woman. She encounters this dilemma due to the need to satisfy the society expectation as well as her own needs and desires. She wants to turn into a man because she faces the frequent abuse due to her sexuality. She must also survive as the world around her is predominantly male driven. On the other hand, she wants to remain a woman as this is her natural state. The two stories, the book and the movie portray characters who take matters into their own hands so as to solve their problems caused by the insufficiencies of society.
The book against love presents a polemic that elicits some controversies yet brings up a more critical thought and attention to the subject of marriage rather than marriage. Is it wrong to be unfaithful to a mate? No. according to the norms of society the thought is prohibited. However, according to the book the author shows that it is not much of a choice rather than nature. Society presents love as a wonderful feeling that offers people happiness and satisfaction. On the other hand, the epitome of love which is marriage shows something entirely different (Laura 64). Eventually the parties to this union will be plagued by boredom and dissatisfaction that is the complete opposite of what they once felt. The relationship also sucks out the freedom that they once had when they were single. Kipnis gives the example of having to explain to your mate on their where about and reasons for late arrivals. Such factors often drive people to seek the excitement that they once felt elsewhere. This will often lead to infidelity. Again, the pain of losing love is evident in anyone that faces the predicament further showing that love may not be all roses as people so desperately want to believe.
When harry met Sally is a romantic comedy that follows the lives of two people who have differing opinions on the relationships between a man and a woman. The film runs through twelve years of their lives and culminates in the two being lovers. I think Kipnis would have reacted positively towards the movie as it reinforces her theory. The stars have a rather exciting time before they get together romantically. Their platonic relationship is on and off, and they even see other people before they are reunited once again permanently. This is the stage in the relationship that is full of excitement and vigor. Even though the movie does not tell us what goes on afterwards it proves her (Kipnis) partly right.
I think that Kipnis is somewhat right in her opinion towards love and marriage. She offers the solution by suggesting periodic marriages. However, my main concern lies on the pain of losing love. This does not show the negative side of being in love but rather portrays the need for love in one’s life. Kipnis has captured the monotony of lagging relationships excellently and gives sound reason for it.
The mythical creation stories of the Iroquois, Yanomami and that in the Bible show the role that women play in society. The book 'The Complete Persepolis' also shows this which we follow in the revolution, in Iran. The book depicts the life of the author Marjane Satrape in war torn Iran. The mythical stories portray women as gentle and warm creatures who are the givers of life. On the other hand, men are ruthless. In the poem Tao Te Ching, Tao is a devoted mother. This is because it gives life. Women’s caring nature is shown in the same. The poem says she trusts those who are trustworthy she trusts those who are untrustworthy (Stephen 2).
In the Iroquois creation story, women are nurturing. She cares for her twin sons even when her husband disowns her. She is the origin of life since the people on earth descend from her sons. In the Yanomami story, Suhirina saves the village. She is described as beautiful; thus we conclude that it is a woman. In the Bible creation story, God the creator gives the woman to the man to give him companionship and fill the earth.
The Iranian cultural attitude to women is that they are subordinate to the man. Men look down on women, but women prove instrumental in the Iranian revolution. They prove equal to their male counterparts having being recruited but the antagonists of the shah regime. These were most middle class women who held various jobs. The lower class women also demonstrated ardently against the rule. After the revolution, the role of women changed as the women took public office. However, the law requires them to wear a hijab and cover their skin and hair in the presence of men. This is contrast to the above mentioned stories and the poem which portray the women as having different nature compared to men but not being inferior to them.
Men should not look down on women. They are as capable as men by virtue of being women. They are held lower in status because their gentle nature and their lack of physical strength. They play a crucial role in society, creating a vital balance around us. I feel that they should receive gratitude and not be victims for it.