A wild creature that has been known for centuries as the sacred animal of gods in some cultures. However in the western world, they are slaughtered, skinned, harvested for their body purely for the sake of pleasure. Their skin stripped off their bodies for apparel, shaped to fit another species as a secondary layer of skin, ironic isn’t it? Carved and reshaped to cover spheres which is thrown around for entertainment purposes. Tossed to prove which tribe is stronger than the other.
Born with the privilege of being a male, I have always known about the discrimination females have faced in society however, I never truly understood it. Yes I have heard many stories from my peers, sister, mother, and teachers about the oppression women face in general and I have tried to stand up for it but it never truly understood why this happens.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margeret Atwood written in 1985 is about a near-future dystopian society where most women are deemed infertile due to toxins and those who are fertile, are given the jobs to reproduce and only to reproduce with their owners.
This novel has opened my eyes to the reasons why women are oppressed. Due to commonly accepted patriarchal cultures in the past, these views take a long time to change. It was not only until the recent mid 20th century is when women started to really fight for their rights such as to vote and have equal opportunities as men. Although still facing oppression to this day, the fight for equality still goes on. The Handmaid’s Tale was able to paint a picture in my head, something which I was never able to do in terms of visualizing the issues women faced. By telling the story of someone who is forced to have sex whenever her owner demands, essentially being raped and not having the right to say no, is an exaggeration of what women face today. But how else was Margeret Atwood supposed to emphasize this problem without going to the extent of what a handmaid has to go through almost every day?
Question: Please explain what links you are making between this idea of privilege and paradigms. Can you draw on your own experiences of your own privilege here?
We have all experienced our own lives differently from one another which creates different paradigms for us all. Due to the many experiences we have all gone through, there are many factors that shape how we see the world around us and how we experience the world around us. For example, Singapore is a predominantly diverse Asian country that teaches no matter what race or religion, we are all equal. However, there is still some racism within Singapore whether someone is Asian or not due to their background. Personally I was born and raised in Singapore, attending a prestigious international school since the age of 4 and being exposed to many different cultures. However, when exposed to the local community of Singapore, I feel very out of place due to my background. I have a more western accent which the community around me notices and seen as someone who does not belong here, seen as a foreigner or specifically, ang moh (Caucasian) although I am not caucasian. However, when applying for different courses and interviews I am given the privilege of having a little more leniency in getting accepted due to the way I speak. I had an experience of when I was applying for my retail job at a local tech store, I was one of the few accepted due to the way I talk, my boss told me specifically she likes the way I speak and thinks everyone should speak like me. I did not think much of it because I saw it as a compliment rather than discrimination against locals who probably need the job more than I do. This links to my own paradigm of being someone who is privileged to go to a school such as UWCSEA, as we are all taught that we are all equal however when we interact with our local community of Singapore, we are seen as different, privileged, rich, and are given either special treatment or belittled.