That's someone's sister/daughter/wife ?

(28 Posts)
bronteheights Sun 15-Jun-14 10:16:51

Hi ... Ive never started a thread before but I'm a longtime lurker! I hope I manage to make sense. It occurred to me the other day that when women (or men) are trying to get someone to understand the impact or ethics of porn/prostitution/stripping/sexual violence etc they often say something along the lines of 'how would you feel if it was your daughter/wife/mother?' I understand that the intention of this is to make the person consider the humanity of those involved BUT doesn't it actually do the opposite? It's as though only women that fit into their own patriarchal familial structures count. I find it disturbing that some men seem to only think of their own females as humans so unless someone references them and makes a link they fail to see hideous acts against women who are strangers as repellent. It's even worse when someone says 'that's someone's daughter/mother'? Yes; they're also a PERSON! Why do we have to give them value through their relationships with other people? What if they aren't someone's daughter? Don't they matter anymore? Is it fine for an orphan to make a living as a prostitute? As long as she isn't someone else's daughter, wife or mother?

I don't know why it annoys me but when someone says it I feel a bit miffed. I sort of feel like I'm defined by my relationship to those around me by extension. And I feel sad for those being described as 'someone's daughter' because I see them as belonging to themselves and of inherent worth and value.

I hope that makes some sense... It's hard to articulate how I feel about it. Not sure if I'm seeing something that isn't really there!

The comparison has more or little value depending on why you think "she's someone's" is either a good or a bad idea.

If you think that its value is in prevention of male violence against women, then comparing incidences when it is used to humanise men is unhelpful.

If you (like me and others on this thread) are worried that it rather reinforces the notion that women have limited value as people in their own right and only have significance when you think of the distress caused to others if they were harmed, then comparing the depiction of men and women is useful. Because it would show (or not) the prevalence and different ways in which men and women seem to need humanising via their relations with others.

SandorClegane Thu 19-Jun-14 13:17:40

But you cant dismantle the surface, obvious inequalities without challenging the insidious, implicit underneath stuff. The way that we use language to symbolise experience is mediated by ideology, unless you're willing to be open to unpacking that stuff then the surface stuff isn't likely to change. I agree with the op, women should be seen to have an inherent value as people not a value that is defined by their relation to men.

SandorClegane Thu 19-Jun-14 13:18:29

That was in response to purpleroxie not you buffy.

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