“Women, Culture and Politics”, written by Angela Davis, and “Psychology of Women”, by M. Matlin are the books certainly worth reading. Numerous quotations from the texts will help to clearly show the significance of both books and describe their main similarities and discrepancies.
In the first book, it is easy to see that the role of the female in the world is the important issue not only for the ordinary woman. What is more, it was written by Angela Davis, an activist, who played a crucial role in the 20-th century, particularly in 1980-1990 years. This incredible person could specify the main issues which worried the world not so long time ago, in particular, the life of the black women. Talking about the female people, and describing them, she pointed out the women’s culture and the way black women behave; the reaction of the politics to numerous movements and actions of those people. Unfortunately, the government was not really enthusiastic about the equality of the rights of both sexes. Moreover, it was considered as something which is not so important, meaningful, that is why, many people had to uphold their liberty and independence as the individuals.
It is important to make a thorough analysis of the book “Women, Culture and Politics”, in order to present its best quotations and the clue ideas. From the first paragraphs it is easy to see the main purpose of the text and for whom it was devoted – the black women and their rights’ infringement. For example, the author states that the white leaders see the movement of black women as only the insignificant sign of their existence on the Earth. (Davis, 1990)
Again and again Davis says that the only possible way to reach the equality for black women is simply to change the current political environment. She points out the importance of the policy of United States and their responsibility of becoming a more socially-oriented country, with good foundation for child care and health care.
One more important question that was raised in the book is the poverty, in particular the condition of the black people at that time. “From 1980-1983 an additional 1.3 million black people became “officially poor” (Davis, 1990, p. 23).
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It is said that namely the black man was the object white women should be afraid of, as a possible prosecutor or the rapist. Moreover, there is the statistics which proves that 90 percent of all rapes are intra racial rather than interracial and proportionately black men rape black women more often that black men rape white women (Davis, 1990).
The problem of health care is also one of the major in the book, especially for black women. Unfortunately, the root of this issue is, again, poverty. Thousands of black women see their rescue in consuming the drugs in order to soften the cruel reality of poverty. What is more, because of such a propensity to drugs black women are labeled as bad mothers and are stereotyped in such a way. To some extent, it helps to control them and keep on the same level.
“Black children are the most likely to be born in poverty and are twice as likely to die in the first years of their lives; they are also three times as likely to be placed in educational classes for the mentally deficient, even retarded” (Davis, 1990, p. 74). It is more than just sad news; an unpalatable truth is that ordinary children should suffer from the thing they were born with, the color of skin. It sounds so ridiculously and at that same time outrageously that because someone is black, he or she should suffer from the oppression, because black people are different, they are not at the same level as the white people are… There are too many destructive factors and pressures in the lives of inner-city black children. Davis believes that it is the lack of a quality education that only helps to contribute to the sufferings of children (Davis, 1990). It is a common knowledge that the people who live with inferiority complexes can share them with their friends and it is especially true for children. What is happening with those children, particularly black kids? They grow up being afraid of the common judgments from the public in the face of white people. Unfortunately, these kids will become people with an unintegrated personality. Why? Their family upbringing is the answer; because their parents suffered long time ago from different types of persecutions, in particular the stereotypes, the most widespread tool against the black people.
Angela Davis continues: “If any goals are to be achieved by the black race than employment and educational opportunities should be readily available” (Davis, 1990, p. 85). From these words there can be made a conclusion that, regardless the color of skin, the government should give all the possible kinds of education, special courses and additional programs for all the children in order to give them deserved places in the market of employment. No one should suffer from the unemployment and, as the result, future unhappiness, for instance, unrequited love, divorce, or the misunderstandings with future children.
Finally, Davis calls for the black people to set their sights on a more socially oriented system. She believes that in order for black people to guarantee a better life for their children, it is the only political mode they can follow (Davis, 1990, p. 89). The thing that Angela Davis was a communist proves that the idea of changing the political power is obvious.
So, after everything has been said a little addition can be made, Angela Davis was not afraid of showing people the true sense of the existent system in the political arena. She had a strong desire to show all women, black and white, what the current government is doing to marginalize them from the world of men, dominant and strong.
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Davis (1990) states:
Rape bears a direct relationship to all of the existing power structures in a given society. This relationship is not a simple, mechanical one, but rather involves complex structures reflecting the interconnectedness of the race, gender, and class oppression that characterize the society (p. 47).
Time and time again, Angela Davis shows people the true structure of the system that touches all the branches of race, gender, and class oppression. She points out that rape is made as only a sexual desire of a man, though it is considered as a trait of dominance and power from the side of men.
The author of the book says:
While we have recognized the bonds linking us to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Latin America as having been wrought by our respective racial and cultural heritages, we must be equally cognizant of the fact that these ties have been enormously strengthened by our common pursuit of dignity and freedom (Davis, 1990, p. 186).
It is true that having the common goal people become united and their ties are strong and reliable. In the quotation written above, Davis pays people’s attention to the call, that all the people, especially women, regardless the color of skin, should be united and believe in themselves, in such a way they will form the special kind of a community which can freely resist the outer influence, and give the possibility to the individual to show himself or herself as a worthy woman or a man.
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The need for the women’s economic independence, equal treatment for both sexes and the improvement of the level of life, in particular such areas as health care, housing, protection against police brutality, and education are the major issues that should be addressed by women on the international level.
Davis (1990) states that:
Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation (149).
Character is one of the most needed things for the person, losing the character means the loss of somebody’s identity as a personality. So, if black woman has a strong character, she is a powerful personality, just because of this feature, because this peculiarity makes her the individual who can resist other people.
“Radical simply means “grasping things at the root” (Davis, 1990). It is true because digging everything from the roots helps to understand the problem or the result of something much better.
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“The work of the political activist inevitably involves a certain tension between the requirement that positions be taken on current issues as they arise and the desire that one’s contributions will somehow survive the ravages of time” (Davis, 1990, p. 196).
Further in the book Davis (1990) describes the difficulties young black girls face:
Media mystifications should not obfuscate a simple, perceivable fact; Black teenage girls do not create poverty by having babies. Quite the contrary, they have babies at such a young age precisely because they are poor – because they do not have the opportunity to acquire an education, because meaningful, well-paying jobs and creative forms of recreation are not accessible to them… because safe, effective forms of contraception are not available to them (p. 200).
That is the reality of the black women; being born in the poverty they remain innocent, but they should struggle for their rights and for the future of their children.
The book “Psychology of Women”, contains a lot of useful information for the women, and helps to encourage all the women, regardless the color of skin to take their lives more seriously. The whole text is about a deep knowledge of the further developmental possibilities and opportunities of the women. At the same time the book describes the way to understand the psychology of women. The themes which are represented in the text are about the problems and challenges with which women, especially young generation, have not dealt yet. For example, menopause, parenting and job discrimination, namely these topics represent the reality of the women, their human nature as the women.
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The book says that there should be provided more researches and deep analysis of the women in color. This issue plays a pivotal role in the life of every black woman, as each statement about her color of skin touches the identity and self-esteem of the female.
“Feminism is a belief system in which women’s experiences and ideas are valued; feminists emphasize that women should be socially, economically, and legally equal” (Matlin, 1987). This truth is not only about the feminists and their movements, it is more about the equality between both, women and men and the balance that should always exist between them.
There are many similarities between the book “Women, Culture and Politics”, written by Angela Davis, and “Psychology of Women”, written by M. Matlin. The main similar issues that both books address are: the equality between sexes, the significance and the importance of the women in color, violence against women, in particular the black ones, comparisons of the gender in social and personality characteristics.
The major discrepancies are in points of view on the pivotal role, that is about the status of the women, their position in the society, and how they react to certain events. Angela Davis pays great attention to the laws and politics concerning the black population, specifically women. While in the second book, “Psychology of Women”, there are not so many bright examples of black women, their movements and actions in the community. In the book of M. Matlin there are a lot of instances and exercises of the themes that touch the identity of the women, for example: infancy and childhood, adolescence, love relationships, sexuality, pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and older adulthood. In the first book there is a lesser number of the topics from the list given above.
The chosen book contributes to the “Psychology of Women” because it is supplemented with many examples, speeches where the role of black women is in the first place. Furthermore, both books complement each other, some of the issues which are in the first book are not included in the second one.
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Each person, every woman, namely the black woman should and would benefit from reading the books described above. The topics which are presented in the books are of the paramount importance. It is more than just essential to read these books. Moreover, the black people, women, should not only read but use the information from the books in their everyday life.
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