This blog is very exciting! In the spirit of being the first to post here, I would like to share my excitement about our class blog! I am looking forward to hearing many, many stories of otherness experiences. More than that I am looking forward to the insights that hearing these stories will motivate in myself, and hope to have my eyes opened in ways they were previously closed. It would be a stupendous bonus to inspire the same motivation in a fellow classmate!
I would like to open the blogger with a definition of the Other by www.m-w.com (merriam-webster dictionary):
"3 a: one (as another person) that is psychologically differentiated from the self b often capitalized : one considered by members of a dominant group as alien, exotic, threatening, or inferior (as because of different racial, sexual, or cultural characteristics)"
A story of that took place recently in my hometown (or right next to it) had me thinking about otherness and our class. Here is the link to the news article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/01/31/BADJUP18R.DTL&hw=jewelry+murder&sn=001&sc=1000
It was about a man who owned a jewelry store and had an attraction to his employee. After asking her out and being turned down, he plots to have her kidnapped, raped and killed. He hires a man, plans out the whole event, telling the man when she gets off work and when to pick her up, where to take her, and how to carry out the rest of his plan. Depressing I know; but after doing research on the evolution of anxiety last semester, this story really struck me.
As a woman I have been faced with sexism and many other uncomfortable situations where I have felt as the Other. In this scenario, I was thinking about women and their ability to curb anxieties about their vulnerability to danger. Those that can't, have a hard time functioning in society (as does anyone with high anxiety). However, it is instances like this story that remind me of why it is so hard to desensitize yourself sometimes to the potential dangers in everyday life as a woman. Not only is it something we face in social and familial atmospheres but also in schools, or apparently even in the workplace.
It is reading an article like this that I feel a little cheated on some level. A place like work, that is supposed to be a safe environment has been tainted in my mind, reminding me just how easy it is to become a victim in any circumstance we encounter. When I first heard this story, I strongly identified with being the Other as a woman in that scenario. I remembered all the other times in my life where I have been an Other, just because I was a woman and just because my biological makeup somehow makes me more vulnerable in certain situations. Mostly I thought about how unfair it felt, that this biology, something so out of my control, can contribute to my feeling like an Other in the society of which I was raised.
I hope I have not offended any of the men or women in our class, some of my statements are rather general, and I have met women who do not share this position of gender differences, and see women as superior or at least equal to men. The reality to me is that our biology makes us an easier target for sick minds.