Women / Gender Studies

progress about gender equity

Japan in two weeks (1) sexual harassment

I was in Japan for two weeks or so. Over this short period, there were so many things: American presidential election, Japan’s TPP push, flu season, Professor Nussbaum’s winning the Kyoto Prize, etc. I have written a few blog articles on some issues. This piece is about my thoughts on sexual harassment and sexual assault incidences in recent Japan.

二週間でみた日本(1)セクハラ

二週間とちょっと、関西にいました。その間に米国の大統領選挙があり、日本ではTPPの国会承認手続きへの動きがあり、恩師マーサ・ヌスバウム先生が賞のために来日され、彼女を迎えた京都ではしつこく咳がつづくマイコプラズマ肺炎という病気がはやり、ネットでは私のペーパー(日本会議について)を載せていただいたりしたようでした。その間のことを、何回かに分けてブログに書きとめたいと思います。

・・・・

京都の下鴨署などで通訳をする友人が、こぼれ話をしてくれた。夜中の2時3時、早朝にも電話がかかり出かけるらしい。それも毎日のように。私なら寝ぼけて「グッド・ラック」といって、お断りするだろうか。元気に仕事を引き受ける彼女は、エライ!

よくあるケースに、日本人男性と外国人女性のトラブルがあるという。「セクハラ」というので「レイプなの?」と聞くと、「強姦ではなく、男性が女性の性器を触ったりする」のだという。

。。。下につづく

アンティ・フラジリティ 。。。抗· 脆弱の国

もう10年以上も前のこと。隣のおばちゃんが聞いてきた。

「さっちゃんのご主人はナニ人? アメリカ人、イギリス人、ドイツ人、フランス人?それとも、イタリア人?」

主人という家父長制の古めかしい言葉に、たじろぐ私。

おばちゃんはお構いなしに、興味津々である。

「それとも・・・?」

「あの〜。宇宙人なんですぅ」と応える。

おばちゃん。大爆笑。

「かおるはね、離婚したのよ」 かおるちゃんはおばちゃんの娘で、私の幼なじみである。

「大丈夫。失敗は成功のもと」 はげます 私。おばちゃん、また爆笑。

。。。下につづく

Gender and friendship: can women and men be close friends?

Posted on October 6, 2012 on Being Intelligent Gifted

  • “Men and women can’t be real friends,” Pierre, a gentle French man in his late 20s, insisted.
  • “There’s always that sexual dimension that makes male-female friendship impossible,” chimed in Guido, an Italian banker in his early 40s.
  • “I had to cut contact with my close female friend because my wife was jealous of her,” revealed Michael, a Belgian in his mid 30s.
  • “It depends where you live. In my village in the south of Spain, men and women get together and dance as friends, only friends no more,” argued Jose.

(We always start our Business English class with current events. Unusually, last week, my students were more interested in talking about male-female friendship than the economic crisis in the Euro Zone).

Though views on friendship vary from culture to culture, generally, such relationship between men and women is less common and more complex than same-sex friendship.

Friendship between men and women is viewed with suspicion because of cultural social and physiological realities. In films, friends always fall in love or end up in bed, which has either a happy or disastrous ending. Our education and socialisation encourage gender division in terms of physical and emotional needs and ways to attain these. There’s a prevailing belief that men, by biological nature, are more sexual thus more likely to have more than one partner.

Some individuals use friendship as a camouflage to their emotional insecurity and other psychological handicaps. They need a female friend (or friends) other than their partner as they didn’t experience emotional stability while growing up, they never witnessed their parent’s love and devotion to each other, or they were deprived of their mother’s care and attention. Meanwhile, are these not just excuses for a selfish desire that is responsible for some divorces and failed relationships, which have disturbing consequences, especially when children are involved.

Morality, Ethics and Gender

“Are Women More Moral Than Men?” was the title of the Sun’s article last April 17. According to this write-up, the study of Prof. Roger Steare (Corporate Philosopher at Cass Business School in London) involving 60,000 volunteers demonstrates that women and the over 30s have a higher moral attitude. This is because women consider the feelings of others (thus, in many instances put their own needs last) while men are self-interested and have an individual approach in decision making.

Morality refers to the principles of right conduct (‘refer’ because it’s not objective) which is independent of the law, and instead are codes set by the society and accepted by individuals for their own behaviour. Some people have lost opportunities and employment due to their immoral or unethical decision or misjudgment of what the society considers right (good) and wrong (bad). In France, for instance, it is believed that if Mr. Dominique Strauss Khan didn’t face legal battles for allegations of sexual misconducts, he would be a strong candidate in this year’s presidential election.

Morality is associated with ethics because the latter is a form of moral philosophy – i.e. what you should do as a boss, friend, parent, child, teacher, citizen or professional person in a given situation. There are cases when what’s ethical is immoral, e.g. slavery in the ancient time and today’s so called ‘donations’ to gain business contracts.

Madame, Mr, Firefighters and other titles

This week, the French Government has decided to stop using Mademoiselle in official documents because it's discriminatory. There's now no reference to matrimonial status and the choice is either Madame or Monsieur. In English-speaking countries, Mrs. is for married women, Ms. for single ladies or those whose civil status is unknown and Mr. for men. I must admit that when I write I've the tendency to use Ms. even when I know that she is married, so perhaps we should also bid farewell to Mrs.

International Women's Day: Women and Their Intellectual Giftedness

This is my contribution to tomorrow's International Women's Day (8/03/11) ...

"Gone are the days when we thought of women as less intelligent than men because of their smaller brains. The fact that Einstein's brain is known to be 10% less in volume than that of an average person (Montlahuc, 2006) has aided in putting this debate in the cupboard. However, gender continues to be a significant issue in any discussion about intellectual performance.

Cohen disclosed in 2007 that three-quarters of applicants to read maths and 90% for computer sciences degree at Cambridge University were males. He also posed the question as to why in over 100 years of Field Medal's ( Maths Nobel Prize) existence, none of the winners has been a woman. Similarly, Zeidner, et al. (2004) reiterated that Western studies find adolescent boys to be usually better in spatial and numerical abilities whereas girls are superior in verbal abilities. Hormonal difference is believed to be the reason for this: oestrogen enhances reading capacity, which is attributed to women being more gifted in communication and languages than men while testosterone improves performance related to space, which explains why men are better in giving and applying directions than women. There are no concrete explanations, however, why there are more high IQ possessors among boys than girls. Some researchers and academics, though, think that the type of questions asked is to be blamed for this difference. For instance, there might be more questions about cars and mode of transportation than housekeeping and fashion. On the other hand, there are those who insist that really there is no consistent evidence on the difference in IQ scores due to gender.

In France, it is reported that girls have better academic results than boys but succeed less in admission to prestigious universities ‘grandes écoles’ because they suffer from a competitive environment ‘environmental concurrential’ (Jacqué, 2009). According to Jacqué, on average, the performance of men and women is similar. However, women are concentrated in the average (not many have very good and very bad results) while the men are dispersed – i.e. many with very good results but also many with very bad results. Consequently, when you choose the top candidates you get more men. As well, men are generally more competitive than women, particularly in patriarchal societies in both developed and developing countries.

A Japanese "refugee" (in Japanese)

I have just returned from Japan. In Japan, I am a rather big, sturdy, and outspoken woman. In the U.S., I was seen to be a soft-spoken and small-sized woman. In France, I am back to a "normal" size. Having lived in different countries, I feel I belong to all countries. But, I will stay as a "foreign" person in each country. Going back and forth between Japan and France, I see good and bad things in both societies.

日本人「難民」

3日前、フランスに戻った。今回は関西に2週間、滞在した。昨年は3週間、帰国した。時差ボケ、文化ボケで過ごす一週間目、「あれはナンだったんだ」とヘマや混乱を分析する二週目、そしてやっと慣れたころに出国する日本。

Obatarian’s agency (in Japanese)

Obatarians refer to those middle-aged and older Japanese women who become scary bitter “monsters” and fearlessly blunt, rude, etc. 

オバタリアンたちのエージェンシー(agency)

もう死語になったのだと思っていたら、このあいだ強烈なタイプに遭遇した。ああいった人を「オバタリアン」と呼ぶのだろう。思えば世界中どこにもいらっしゃるが、なぜか日本でよく会う。オバタリアンを育てるような風土が日本にあるとしたら、それは何なのだろう。

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