Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Susan Faludi Flops

Susan Faludi's lecture on "9/11: Myth, Media and Gender," was a let down for me. Although she may be admired as a feminist author and journalist, I think Faludi consciously fails to look beyond how just women are perceived or affected in this country; if she did she would recognize the greater social and cultural implications that events like 9/11 have on our nation as a whole.

For one instance, I personally did not understand her analysis of the relationship between the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the backlash it had on women, and King Philip's War. The gender implications that arose from an event in the 1600s to an event that occurred in the 21st century do not have any causation relationship. Given that women didn't even gain rights until the almost 1900s, there is no surprise that women were denounced as helpless and weak. Over 400 years later though, that is no reason to still believe that women were perceived as weak and dependent of men during a time of fear and need. The 9/11 attacks shattered our nation as a whole, not just the female gender.

"Men being strong relies on women being weak," Faludi said. But, really, that gives no description to what being "strong" is.  9/11 was a day that our country unified, both in grief and in heroism. Both men and women were victims and heroes of the 9/11 attacks. Whether it was a man or woman that died on the plane, in an office, or in a rescue attempt, the impact it had on our society was equally as chilling.

Another point she made was that women were denounced as soon as they started questioning the government about 9/11. This observation is biased in nature because in the case of questioning government, it is not just women who are wrong for doing so. For example, independent media outlets are frowned upon for their uncensored criticism and questioning of the government. The government is threatened by anyone who questions their intelligence or motives and the Wikileaks case with Julian Assange is a prime example of that.

Faludi said prior to 9/11, America was seen as a nation "not vulnerable  to attack." That day symbolized the shattering of American invincibility and contrary to what Faludi believes, a call for greater domesticity was the least of the cultural implications it had on our nation. She says the media didn't respond to the actual act of terrorism, but rather the cultural implications the attacks had such as "single women rushing to the alter" or "real men bringing back the bacon and women heating it up." Is that really what reflection of 9/11 has come to? She says the magnification of "manly men" in the United States came as a result of the attacks, but what defines a "manly man"? Chivalry went down in history years ago and we are in an age where women seek as high of and education and lifestyle as men. So, it is no longer pertinent to denounce male strength, as Faludi does, because there is no need for it in a culture where women are strong, independent, and capable of holding titles of power as they do today.

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