Mail order brides

This video kinda reflects the reading we read for thurs on Planet Love. Interesting to hear that divorce rates are not higher for these couples and also reminded me of reality TV shows in the states such as bachelor and Million Dollar Matchmaker.


Generating Discussion: The Meanings of Transnational Motherhood

This article by Avila and Honageneu-Sotelo seeks to establish and explain a new form of motherhood that has arisen in modern times of immigration. They differentiate this mother hood from those immigrant mothers who have their children in the states and the normalized version of motherhood that is held in both white and Mexican society. This type of motherhood they explain is one where mothers cross borders in search of jobs(Usually domestic) in order to care for their children who reside and are being taken care (usually by their own kin) in their country of origin. The interviews in their research seek to show how the meanings of motherhood are transformed and how this new arrangement often contradicts the norms of motherhood in both American and Latin society. They posit that the norm comes from this idea of a “cult of domesticity”; they explain that this ideal was made possible by the industrial revolution because the man was able to go to work to make enough so that he could provide for the entire family while his wife stayed home with the children. But what is pointed out is that when race and class are thrown into the picture this norm cannot be upheld because women of color have to work to maintain the livelihood of their family. This in turn creates a demand for an alternative idea of motherhood the “Transnational Motherhood”.

As we would assume of anything that deviates from the norm, this new arrangement and ideal creates a conflict not only from the outsiders perspective but also internally for these women who come from a culture that hold the Virgin Mary as a model of “maternal femininity” while at the same time condemning autonomous women with the figure of La Maliche. Due to their status these women cannot afford the luxury of choosing not to work so some women come up with ways to integrate their work with interactions with their children. We see this is possible with immigrant women who work as house cleaners and to some extent those who work as “live outs”. Our transnational mothers are born out of “live in’s” of domestic work. This work is high demanding of these women’s time that they could not care for their family if they were to be near them. Out of the sample they researched half of these women had children back home and out of the three types of work “live in’s” had the lowest percentage of children living in the US.

Although this type of motherhood deviates from the norm and is seen as “least compatible with conventional motherhood” these women showed that they continued to maintain strong emotional ties to their families and children. By maintaining this emotional bond and maintaining them economically they are fulfilling their duty as a mother. Tensions of deviation of motherhood are further lessened  by leaving their children behind with kin (preferably with grandmothers) because they are given peace of mind that their children are being cared for and raised in a familiar manner as opposed to by strangers. The authors seek to explain how “impermeable nation state borders shape the nature of these women work”, they show how the global economy and policies and laws on immigration have real life implications on families so much so that they create and shape ideals of motherhood. These mothers are “transnational mothers” by force not by choice.

The first impressions and questions that I had while reading this article had to do with the difference in pay of the 3 types of domestic work, why are these women who are working more hours and investing their lives being paid significantly less?

I also found it interesting when he mentioned the deviation from the norm on both sides of the class/race spectrum but still how the deviation manifested differently for both ends. Elite women deviate because they have women of color raising their children and women of color have their kin raising their children this dynamic reveals a difference of culture. The authors mention it as a collectivist vs. individualistic approach. White women trust strangers to raise their children so they can maintain the same amount of autonomy they had before they had children. Women of color are depend on family to help them raise their own with an immense amount of gratitude in part stemming from the negative experiences they receive from their own employers who display jealousy instead of being thankful.

Connecting this short article to the reading how does the work of these women effect the gender roles and rights of American women?

The article also mentions these women as breadwinners and compared their work to that of Mexican men in Bracero Programs. Where men’s work in these programs was seen as positive fulfillment of gender roles and these women’s work is seen as mostly negative can we assume that gender roles of women remain unchanged or have they earned and moved closer to equal rights in their own culture especially now that they are earning income? Furthermore, why are the men absent in this research piece? Was it intentional?

Lastly, how does this idea of “Transnational Motherhood” complicate or compliment the concept of “anchor babies”?

Homosexuality/lesbianism in Professional Sports

It seemed like everyone had something to say about the coming out of professional basketball player, Jason Collins. From headlines like “Basketball’s Gay Paragon” to “Not the First Openly Gay pro Basketball Player” online news bursted with opinions and analyses of what this incident would mean for not only professional sports but also for wider society. Although America has seen trends of accepting homosexuality of its people it seems to have a completely different context when adding the element of sports.

Referring to concepts of sociology this stigmatization comes from the social construction of gender. Gender roles dictate how a female and male should look, sound and act like. If we deviate from these roles it comes with rejections or justifications for why it is ok that the individual acts in this why. Justifications are most prevalent in the realm of sports. We see heterosexual men in sports such as cheerleading that claim they do it to be closer to women or to look up their skirts or over compensate their masculinity by body building.

Continue reading

Hispanic Women Immigrants

In thinking about the final research paper for this class, I was very unsure of what topic I wanted to cover because there are so many good issues. I am still not 100% sure where the direction of my paper is going but I do know that I want to focus on Hispanic women immigrants and there experience in immigrating to the states or having a loved one immigrate. Due to the tradition of machismo in our culture it seems that even in a new country our conceptions of what a relationship looks like has not changed. The women are still in the kitchen and the men in the fields except to survive here the women are also working on top of everything else they already do in the household. (Could not get the link thing to work for the life of me. seriously spent like 30 minutes trying)

 Gendered Transitions by Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo will be a great start and source of research to begin with this topic. He has written a sociological book on this topic looking at all the social effects immigration has on the Mexican family dynamics also showing how concepts of masculinity and femininity change in these transitions as well., 

This piece by Susan C. Pearce, Elizabeth J. Clifford, Reena Tandon seems to be a similar to the source posted above but what I hope to get out of this piece is a source that provides a solution to the problems these women face because it is all good and dandy that we analyze and make these problems known but without a solution we are almost no better off than before.,

This source takes a looks at these transitions by way of media. I think that this is an important subject to provide with this discussion because the media has a big role in gender constructions. I think that for Hispanics novelas are a major source that exposes them to these constructions as well as to the advertising that goes on during these programs. It will be interesting to find out if these images help the Hispanic woman break out of her gender role or only contribute more to playing it out the traditional way.

My last source I decided to try and break away from the social science research and analyzation and use pure raw stories. This book provides me with just that. These are real Latinas’ stories that do not hold back. I hope this piece will help add a sense of reality and pureness to my paper.

In conclusion although I do not have my thesis figured out at this point I believe that I have good sources to start with and am on the right track to figuring out an outline for this paper.