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[1]( From

boyhood, nal€s ar€ bombard€d with the mcssage thar "real men dominaie worien, \hich mcans they control womcn's behalrour and nray abuse them v€rb]lly and physically.iSo powerlul and pcrvasivc rs this fomula for the appearance of nanhood that a ma with anequal, mutual relalionship with a woman may .adopt a posture of dominance towards her when oth€r [ren arc around l Such behaviour susgests mcn believe "manhood" is not inherent in a man, but dep€nds on both tl,c opinion ofother men and the existence ofa subjected person or group l

[2]

Females have enormous power in this d]'namics because the appearance of virilily depends on them. Women ai€ its centre: domination of a t0 womalr is supposei to mak€ a man feei like a marr that is, superior. Still, to justify abusive treat.rent ofwomen in their own minds (a{ler all, most men love some womeD)) men must view them as a separate species, like pigs or dogs or cows (terms often appl;ed to women); and dominating a lowly "dog" or "cow" can hardly be very satisfying. The 15 fo.mula achieves its goal only Iieetrngly. Yet iDstead of abandoning thrs unsuccessful road to self worth, mcn walk it ovel and over again, as if enough rcpetition will somehow bring them to th€ end blessed relief from self-doubt.

[3]

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Other men, too, have power in this fomula. This fonn of seif-esteem 20 can only be achiev€d by being witnessed by other men, who alone can confd marihood on a man. Moreover,\.Iren cannot dominate women i wiihour maintaining solidarity against them, Even a woman who accepts the status of obedient dog has capacities for independent thought, action, speech, and qrealivity tlat militate against easy consigrlment of 25 her to inferior status. \To supprcss these qualities, men mDst alty solidly against women, cr%ting hs-titutiglqthat tbreclose all roles to women li.' except breeder sewanthood, tluust them into and keep them in the position ofsubhuman inferiors. Thal even a united male 6ont has nerer totally succeeded in keepirg ry'omen silenT6?-!i56frlii6[E does not 30', d€ter men from continuing in this effort either. make policy in goyernrnents, churches, or other powerful institutions. Most men se.ve as dogs, bulls, or rcbots to lreir masters. Men continualiy rernind women that they too are victims, are not responsible for government policy or economic disadvantage or war, 35 that like women, they are oppressed. This is true. I question why they do Irot join the feminist movement or create a panlle] movcn1cnt. Nonetheless, the entire system of female oppression rcsts on ordinary men, who maintaid it with a fcrvour and dcdication to duty that any secret police force night cn!y: What odrcr systen c.an depend on almost 40 halfthe populaiion to eDlorce a policy daiiy, publicly and privately, wiih utterreliabilitv?

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[5]

As long as some men use physical force to subjugate females, all men need not. The knowledge thal some men do suffices to threaten all women. Beyond that, it is not necessary to beal up a woman to beat her 45 down. A man can simply refitse to hire women in well-paid jobs, extract as mDch or more work from women than men but pay them less, or treat women disrespectfully at work or at home. He can fail to suppofl a child he has engendered, demand the woman he lives with wait on him like a servant- He can beat or kill tie woman he claims to love; he can rape 50 women, whethq mate, acquaintance, or stanger; he can rape or sexually molest his daughters, stepchildren, or the children of a wornan he claims to love. The vast majoriry of men in the world do one or iore ofthe above.

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Thc wonlan, tradihonally, owrnlt to her seclusion in the "honrc", the place ofpivate propeny, has long b€en nothllrg. bu1 a molher loday, r nor or,l) r' 'o rh, r ur,' ut f,rodl .o'r ,.t 'l . more so? - {h€ wid€spread availabilily ofconti eeption and abonion arc

ll

.rturylq..1r9f to
contrac€ption

that

iand db-oriion\are spok€r of mosl often as possible ways orionno-iffi or e\pr 'rnd . rhc hrnl rdr. ol b-rng a rnorlr, r bl
choice", the fact remains that th€y imply the possibility of .ryg4jfyaA women's social slqlus, atld thus ot modilying th€ nodcs of social relrtr-dfsSdw-e en meu and women

)ripossible role being a woman And rf .5
'enng

10

12l

But to what reality would woman correspond, independently of her reproductive function? It seems that two possible roles are availablc to her, roies that are occasionally or frequently contradictory. ygjlSrL co.ol4 b:ly!; 9q!!Lln this case she would enjoy, in a rnorc or less near future, the samE economic, social, political rights as men. Sbe t5
would be a potential man- But on the exchalrge mark€t especially, or exemplarity, the market of sexual exchange - woman would also have to presefle and mainiarn what is called fe ininit,. The value ol a woman would accrue to her from ber matemal role, and, in addition, ftom her "femininity". But in fact that "felllldlylls a-role, aD imaP.e,_ a 20 value. imDosed uDon women bv male svslertrLof represenralion In lhi! rnd ioses herselr b) ffih.rseli illat this Basquerade playing on her feminidty. The fact rcmains requjres an effar oo-ber fart fnr u,hi"h she is not compensatirl. Unless ber pleasure comes simply ftom being chosen as an object of 25 consumption or ofdesire by masculine "subjects". And, moreover, how can she do olherwrse witloul bcing out or ctrculation"? .\

13i

In or:r social order, women are "product6" used and exchanged by men. Their stafus is that of merchandise, "corfinodities". How cal such obj€cts ofuse and tftnsaction claim the right to speak arrd to participate in exchange in geoeral? Commodities, as we all klow, do lot take theftselves to market od thei own; and if they could talk.... So women havc to remain an "infrasauchue" unecognised as such by our society and oul culfure. The use, consumption, and circulation of their
sexualiscd bodies underwrite the oryanisation and tle reproduction the social order, in which they have nevor taken pad as "subjects".

10

of

35

t4t

'Women ate thtrs in a situation of sPecifc exPlaltation with rcspect to exchange operations: sexual exchanges, but also economic, social, a:rd cultural exchan8es in general- A woman "enters into" these exchanges oniy as thc object of a transaction, unless she a8rees to renounce the 40 specifrcity of her sex, whose "identity" is imposed on her according to

nlodels thai remain lbreigt

to her. Women's social iDlenority

ls

reinlorced and complicated by the faci that wolnan does irot have access to language, except through recouEe lc) 'rnasculin{]" syslems of representatioD which disappropriate her from her relation to hersell and to olher women I'he "feminine" is never to be idenlified except by and lor th€ masculine- the reciprocal proposition not being "lrue".

,15

[5]

But this situation of specihc oppression is perhaps what can allow women today to elabonte a "critique of the political economy", inasmuch as they are in a position extemai to the laws of exchange, even though they ar€ inclr-rded in them as "commodities". For, without the exploitation of the body-matter of women, what would become of the sl,,mbolic proccss that govems society? What modification would this prccess, this society, undergo, if women, who have been only objects of consumption or exchange, were to become "speaking subjects" as well? Not, of cou6e, in compliance with the mascuiine, or tJ,e phalIoclatic, model '.

50

55

;.

16]

That would not fail to challenge the discourse that lays down the law today, that legislates olr ever)'thing, including sexual difference.

1.lr1.t )

Adapted

from Luce Irigaray TIis Sex Which Is Not One
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Nole \,\rhe. a qlest.n asks lor a. answer rN YOUR O!!N WOROS AS FAR AS POSSBLe and yo! seecl rhe approprale materia lrom lhe passaoe for your
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R€ad PassageA n lhe separale rnserl and rhen a.swer lhe queslio.s beow.

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wi(h reieren.€ to paragraph o.e, why does rhe writer betieve thar even me. $ho lfeatwofren equaLy a.d respecttuLy,may adopr a poslure ofdohinance towa.ds herwhen olher hen a.e around (rnes5 6)?
Use

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The wdrer be ieves that {here are lwo possibe .otes avaisbe (o women l/v re a sumhary lo show how lhese two roL€s difler ftom each ourer a.d lhe pr.bem5 women ra@ qhen rry nq ro f r 610 rhs_,orea r,.. e-"

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French and lrigaray took ar ditterenr ways men asse.t @nt,ot over womef.

ldentify lwo such issues lhat adse and whidr aro comhon lo both wrilers. Discuss howthese issLes wo!'d be ofparticutarconcer. to your own society.

Dhw appraptiate irfomation f@ the ll-ns. Howev'a you shauld rcty t\Aety on yout own rete@ht ideas and expenence i4 aFlertaiustity

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Men asse.l conr@rover women in difierent ways. One such

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Sample Answeri Men assert contaol over women in nrany different ways One such way is when they perceive women int€rmsof theirlargely rraterndl roles. lnlrerpaSsage Irenchiooks at how men create inslitlrtions that fo{eclose 3ll roles to women excepl breederservanthood" and this point ls reiterated in lrigaray when shc asse.ts lhat 'the woman, traditionally l...l has long been nothing but a mother."
I strongly feel that the matemal and domestic labels are still pervasive ways in which women in Singapore are defined While it is obvious that Singaporean women are increasingly being represented in areas beyond that of their traditional domain, ihere still exists a common view that lhe righi place for a woman is sti{l at home The entries to a photogEphy competition on the theme "Women at work earlier thts year, focused mainly on jobs that have long been dominated by women such as modeling,

cleaninq and cooking, offering little alternative to tl"€se stereotypical images of working wornen. lmages of th€ rich afld {amous portrayed in the media also convey contradicting messages regarding wornen's expected roles- The delighted coos of the Channel News Asia presenter in tber programme'At home with ..." when meeting a successful woman in her car€er and finding out that ihis very woman is able to cook and clean suggests that wornen are expected to be successful both at home and at work. Those who do not conform to this noble image rjsk the wrath of society.
The widespread celebration of the working woman along wath her home_making skills in Singapore puts tremendous pressure on the modern Singapore woman who seeks to flnd her own voice at work and at home. This might also lead to the underminifig of any concerted efforts of wor€n to be successful in areas beyond their traditional boundaries.

Significa@

Another way in which men may assed control over women lies in how it is almost impossible for women to enter their wodd. ln passage B, lrigaray argues thal a woman has to give up 'the specificity of her sex" in order to be part of the mal3 $'cfld. But she also believes that it is almost impossible for a woman to do this because in the market of sexLral exchange, she still needs to retain the "masquerade of femininity." French takes a more extreme perspective in asserting that the doors to the world dominated by rnen are flrmly shut to women as they are not even viewed as humans. This view that women face rnultiple obstacles in attempting to be part of the male world probably holds true sornewhat within the policies of particular institutions in Singapore. The gender bias in the entry requirements of the medical faculty in NUS show partiality to!,ards male applicants over their female counterparts. Males are alsb paid more in the extra they get for having served National Service The income tax retum form assumes males to be the breadwinner or the head of a household' implying that the only possible female role is relegated to the more domestic one. Furthermore, there is no denying that female politicians in Singapore are signiflcantly under-represented compared with their male counterparts. These examples show how Singaporean women still do not quite share equal oppo unities in access to particutar paths of work and education as a result of the institutionalised bias against women. Therefore, even if women were to be empowered to venture into realms commonly dominated by men, any progress made will face impediment unless society as a whole agrees to renrove such concretised and systemalic ba.rjersSjngapore's reputation in the global context regarding truman rights is already fJcing criticism . ls this yet another area for concern?

Examples

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Significence

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