In my advanced essay I choose to explore the way women are viewed by men in American society. Women are taught to have skills in many fields, and be literate but they should never interfere with the skills of a man. After reading many essays such as, “To Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldua, I questioned whether it was possible to tame (control) a woman when she has so many skills and attributes. In conclusion, I have learned that it is not possible to tame a woman because her skills and attributes are powerful. I am most proud of my scenes of memory. I worked hard on them for this essay and believe that the quality of them improved in this essay.
V. Women of the World
The first mistake I made in giving up my power was thinking I didn’t have any. Honestly, most of my insecurities about my power came from being the only girl (and the youngest) with 5 brothers. Many would think that because of me being the only daughter and the youngest, many would expect me to have been praised, treated like a princess, and in fact, some parts of me were. But the generalization of who women should be and what we should be doing was shown to me early on. I was also underestimated and other qualities of myself were not praised. “Oh you’re such a beautiful girl,” I would hear from my brothers because evidently, to men, beauty is most important. I would wanted to have been recognized for me intelligence. This does not compensate for the ugly stigma that remains unspoken but clearly seen. A woman can aspire to have skills in many fields, and be literate, but they should never interfere with the skills of a man. This stigma was obvious between us and is obvious in many American families. My personal views have changed as I’ve gotten older. I have read different articles and pieces that have changed my view on what women are able to do. In the essay, “To Tame a Wild Tongue” author Gloria Anzaldua questioned, “Is it possible to tame someone’s tongue when they have so many?”. This made me question if it was possible to tame (control) a woman when she has so many skills and attributes.
I have been exposed stigmas through woman empowerment programs and organizations.
women accept this stigma
women fade into the shadow of men
Men rely on women to do the “behind the scenes work” and then reward them with the gift of superficial compliments
Girls need only women to teach them how to love being a woman.
As many times as I fell into the shadow of my brothers, I’ve learned that as much as men are involved in the demise of women, they can help women understand their worth worth. My fifth oldest brother, Ali was involved in building my confidence in positive ways. I remember the day he taught me the first lesson of how to love being a woman.
Lesson 1: Love being smart.
My father’s office was so quiet that only the clocks ticking could be heard. I brushed my pencil lightly across the homework page looking for answers that weren’t coming to my head. I was trying to do my math homework but it just wasn’t happening for me. The door opened, closed and the room went pitch black. I could smell the stench of hard working hands. “Assalam Walikum” Ali said. “Walikum Assalam” I said, barely containing my smile. I knew it was him. “Whatcha doing.” he asked. He didn’t know that I had been doing the same thing for twenty minutes. Brushing led against paper, back and forth, back and forth. I tried telling him that my math homework “wasn’t working out” and “math isn’t for me” but all I received was, “You’re smart...try it again.” repeated 10 times and “You surely won’t get anywhere if you don’t apply yourself. I tell you you’re smart all the time, you just have to believe it.” I was silent after that last part. Everyone had told me I was smart but when he had told me I believed it. I had learned lesson one of loving being a young woman.
I wish I had paid a lot more attention to Lesson 1 and the many other lessons. Hearing them from my other brothers was a lost cause and shortly after that office visit, Ali had died from a motorcycle accident. Stepping out of my house after 3 days in hibernation, I became the lost cause. I had forgotten all the lessons he taught me about loving myself just because he had left. On the day of his funeral, silence filled the air. Tears fell and hit my chest almost in a rhythmic tune. My mom walked me to the car and I slipped in, but no words slipped out from either of our mouths. The entire ride I kept looking at the bright orange paper in the wind shield screaming FUNERAL. Ironically, cyclists zoomed past my car crossing through traffic in weird dangerous patterns. I made eye contact with one. Four seconds of contact and my brother’s face became the man’s face. “You’re smart...try it again” I heard in my head. I ended eye contact with the driver immediately. I saw her face and the screaming orange sign.
Slowly but surely I began to live out the lessons he taught me. Women should love different things about themselves and shouldn’t fade into the shadow of men.
A, Gloria. "To Tame A Wild Tongue." Borderlands: The New Mestiza = La Frontera. San Francisco: Spinsters/Aunt Lute, 1987. Print.