Gendered Aspects Of Globalization Essay

1658 words - 7 pages

Globalization is usually described as a process that minimizes the metaphorical distance between countries through economic, political, and cultural integration. However, globalization is also gendered in various ways; it has different effects on men and women depending on socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Globalization causes meanings and ideas about gender and sexuality to shift, which in Caitrin Lynch’s ethnography Juki Girls, Good Girls, creates a fine line between exploitation and empowerment, and in Holly Wardlow’s ethnography Wayward Women, leads to changing patterns of kinship and marriage.
Globalization, in terms of western ideals of private property, commodity consumption, ...view middle of the document...

One of the ways these women experienced betrayal was by their husbands, whom, due to globalization, worked for wages in urban factories and chose to spend their money on alcohol, cigarettes, or sex outside of marriage instead of supporting their wives and children. This behavior angered the women because they felt deprived of their rights in the marriage. Women whom couldn’t control their fury used negative agency to “punish” the men for not taking care of them. One example of negative agency is finger lopping, where a woman would chop off her finger and throw it at her husband. This would temporarily prevent her from working in the gardens and caring for the pigs, and thus cause complications for her husband. A more extreme type of negative agency was becoming a passenger woman; a woman who treat her sexuality as an individual possession by exchanging sex for money, and thus resigning her reproductive and social responsibilities to her kin. Being a passenger woman was highly stigmatized and dangerous, because it meant being an outsider in society and thus being outside the realms of protection against violence and rape.
With developing individualism and independence, globalization also causes ideas about gender and sexuality to change and shift. This is evident in Juki Girls, Good Girls, where Lynch explains that Sri Lanka’s national identity is dependent on how well women follow the feminine ideal of modesty, innocence, and purity. Since the women workers wanted to enjoy the freedom of their new wages, but at the same time remain dutiful daughters, mothers, and wives, they shaped and crafted new identities around the ‘Good girl’ ideal that were neither too modern nor too traditional, but something in-between. An example of how they cultivated their new ‘Good girl’ identities was by going to religious and ‘proper’ events, however, while travelling to these events, they would tell jokes, gossip, flirt with men, dance, and sing. Another example is that they wanted to distinguish themselves from other village women by simulating the style of white-collar workers. One of the ways they did this was by wearing their hair in ‘bumps’ and dressing in fancy clothes. These subtle adjustments would allow them to take part of modernity while still being traditional and disciplined factory workers. In other words, they reconstructed what it meant to be a ‘Good girl’ and a woman in Sri Lankan society.
In Wayward Women, sex among the Huli people was considered to be merely for reproduction and not for pleasure. One of the reasons for this was that women were considered polluting, and thus, having sex was believed to taint the men, who were considered attractive and pure. With more women becoming passenger women and more men getting exposed to pornography and Western ideas of sexuality through work in urban areas, the idea of sexuality started to change. The passenger women started to perceive sex as pleasure and not just a form of negative agency against...

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