Helen Icken Saafa

772 Words 4 Pages
For my first critical reaction, I selected Helen Icken Safa’s article Women’s Social Movements in Latin America. In her article, Safa, a former director of the Latin American Studies Center, focuses on an increased rate of participation in social movements by women, particularly those who are poorer. She takes information from political, economic, and social aspects of society to argue her point of why more women are participating.
While Safa made many well-written points, my personal favorite point of hers comes from her argument on feminists being critical over the fact that the self-help organizations tend to keep their main opportunities grounded in traditional women’s tasks, particularly in cooking. Safa argues that “These women never
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Safa states that “In moving their domestic concerns into the public arena, they are redefining the meaning associated with domesticity to include participation and struggle rather than obedience and passivity.” (Safa 1990, 362). To me, this quote meant something. Plenty of the feminists who were against the self-help organizations argued their point in a way that seemed to be attacking feminine traits at their core. But the whole point of true feminism is to show that being feminine is not a bad thing. The women working at the self-help organizations are using their inherent traits to help better themselves. Unlike the feminists portrayed here, they are not casting what they do in a negative light just because it is seen as a traditional role for women. They are using what they do to advance their own roles and redefine the entire basis of their …show more content…
Safa wrote “...this redefinition [of women’s roles] must occur not only in the minds of women themselves but in the society at large…” (Safa 1990, 363). To me, the quote was not only about Latin American women, but women as a whole. We can’t advance ourselves in any instance as a gender without changing the viewpoint of society as well. We only make up roughly half of the population. If the other half isn’t with us as well, we’ll only reach a standstill. It brings to mind the fight for suffrage for women during the 1800s-1900s. The women who fought couldn’t do it alone. They had to work to get society to agree with them as well. And when society finally did come around, the role of women (at least for white women, as other women could still not vote) was redefined to include voter.
There were a few parts of Safa’s work I disliked. One in particular that caught my eye because of previous classes was how she self-cited. When an author self-cites, they lose credibility. It can make their opponents point out that the author couldn’t find another viewpoint to back their own up, so they had to use themselves to get their point across. And although Safa only did it a couple of times, it still made it seem as though she couldn’t find a second point to agree to hers. So to me, it just made me wonder if anyone else truly agreed with her

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