Helen Icken Saafa

Improved Essays
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
…show more content…
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

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    It’s not that they didn’t care more than anything they didn’t know about the problems of minority women they had just realized that they weren’t alone in “the problem that had no name”. Middle class women were beginning to realize they were severely oppressed by a patriarchal society so there initial focus was naturally on relieving their own oppression. This early second wave feminism was not perfect, but no movement is, it may have been exclusionary but it was incredibly important. The Feminine Mystique united women, although not all women, together for the first time and laid the groundwork for a modern feminist movement one that didn’t just want to vote but wanted true…

    • 1445 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In her exact words she summarizes, “It is quite conceivable that if other women fail to make a deep impression upon the world, it is because they are tied down in their situation.” (Beauvoir) She goes on to explain the details of how women helped during the revolution and the commune, but because they were women they did not get the credit that was due, and if a woman did not do anything then they were seen no differently. This was upsetting because she believes that during her lifetime, women should have been held at a higher expectation, effectivley making her a feminist of her time. To compare her views, Geoffrey Chaucer felt her pain and echoed the same thoughts when writing his Canterbury Tales and using certain characters to portray his thoughts. Chaucer was an anomaly to women when he was alive, Ken Longworth from the Newcastle Herald explains, “Feminism and the 14th century aren't usually mentioned in the same breath but there were male writers who supported women's rights.” (Longworth) Throughout all of the stories told by the characters it is clear that the characters want to be heard or want to confess these tales off of their chests. They could have very well saved these tales for their pilgrimage, but instead they spew the truth wielding words.…

    • 1229 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Today, we take women's suffrage for granted, but back in the 1800's and 1900's it was a big deal. People like Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought their whole lives for the vote, but they never lived to see it happen. The two made petitions and stood up for what they believed in, and now women today can thank them for helping them get the right to vote. The fight for women's suffrage began in the early decades before the Civil War. Women were outraged over the fact that men had more rights than women, so many people decided to take a stand.…

    • 830 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Discrimination For Women

    • 812 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Women need to stop being disadvantaged, and have a right to donating the opposite gender can do. Women have a right, and their right should not be taken because of their sex. If the movement can make a change than the hiring manger will see that their wrong, and that women should be treated equally. America needs to unite, and make a change for women all over the…

    • 812 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Dan believes that we should not question why a woman chooses to wear makeup, but rather accept that each women has their own reason. “Makeup can be a self-esteem booster, an expression of femininity, a way to show off skill or a myriad of other things.” (Dan). Each woman 's experience is unique. According to Avelie Stuart and Ngaire Donaghue, women who grew up during the second and third wave of feminism, which includes all three women interviewed, do not feel that they have to abide by these beauty standards. They explain why feminism is important to allow these women to create their own identities and redefine beauty standards when they state “Practices such as wearing lipstick or shaving one’s legs no longer present ideological dilemmas for many feminists.…

    • 1384 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Women's Right To Vote

    • 1122 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Now, that does not mean total equality, but that is a huge improvement even from a century beforehand. Women’s suffragists had a monumental impact on the world we live in today by advocating for the right to vote. They had to overcome so much, mainly the traditional views of women and their extremely antiquated and sexist societal sphere. Female suffrage is positive, however, it was difficult for those advocating that to convince such radical opposers of a women’s say in their governance. However, all obstacles are meant to be overcome and with the passing of the 19th Amendment, the UNited States took a monumental step towards equality that would continue to improve the country as a…

    • 1122 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    They were both major disappointments for women activists who were hopeful that these amendments would grant everyone the ability to vote, not just slaves. This was not the case though. Moreover, the 15th Amendment did not specify that women were excluded, so when some women, among those being Susan B. Anthony, tried to vote under the ambiguous wording, they were arrested. Furthermore, the major women figures, Stanton, Anthony, and Lucy Stone were split apart due to their differences of opinion on supporting the 14th and 15th Amendments. Stanton and Anthony separated and formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) which supported enfranchising women, but…

    • 996 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She argued that women should have a voice in the parental rights and the future of the child after risking her life to carry it (Perry 219). She believed that this right would be hugely revolutionary in the lives of women. Wright thought that a woman being independent and unmarried was one of the worst things that could happen for the women’s suffrage movement. He identified the excess female population of England as a problem. He grouped unmarried women into a group and labeled them as feminists, claiming their ambition would not stop at demands for equal pay (Perry 223).…

    • 835 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    and Britain—formed organizations to fight for suffrage,” (Historynet). Many educated, renowned, established successful women was denied the right to vote because of their sex. But women fought this political campaign for which lasted more than 72 years. In 1890’s the term Feminism was created to give women their rights. Feminism was used to describe a “political, cultural or economic movement aimed at establishing equal rights and legal protection for women…Feminism involves political and sociological theories and philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference, as well as a movement that advocates gender equality for women and campaigns for women 's rights and interests.” This term created a balance in gender equality.…

    • 880 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Looking at several different cases throughout the world, Goldman argues that there are many other problems that need to be solved including labor laws in the United States and giving women the right to vote would not secure that the problems will be solved. She clarifies her point by stating that women could be the solution to the problem, but there is no clear evidence that they will be able to solve what men could not, meaning that whether women do or do not vote the problems that are present in society would still be there. This makes Goldman separate from the suffragists, such as Susan B. Anthony, because though Goldman is in support have giving women the right to vote, she sees no reason why there should be voting for women, let alone voting at all. Though for clarification, Goldman can be described as a modern woman, but not an activist for women’s right for universal suffrage. So even if Goldman does argue that women should have the vote, she does not believe that there should be a need to vote for…

    • 998 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays