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Maids in Canada Article Analysis
You are to analyse following article/issue using the sociological imagination, perspectives and concepts we have learned about in this course.
Your media analysis must:
- Use a sociological imagination
- Use at least two (2) sociological perspectives but no more that three (3).
- Use specific sociological concepts (terms).
- Refer to specific arguments, facts, or opinions taken from the text
- Comment on the phenomenon more generally.
- Be at least three typed pages (750 words)
- example article below
- MAIN ARTICLE IS ATTACHED IN A PDF LINK BELOW FOR WHICH WE HAVE TO DO THE MEDIA ANALYSIS WHICH IS MAID IN CANADA. WE NEED NOT TO HAVE MORE THAN 800 WORDS !
- (THIS IS EXAMPLE HOW WE HAVE TO DO THE ANALYSIS ) FOLLOWING IS A EXAMPLE WHICH PROF GAVE IN CLASS
- Before diving into the analysis of this article from each of the perspectives, let me first say that a general sociological imagination would understand sexuality as a feature of a society and a particular culture. It would argue that how and when we express our sexuality is profoundly shaped by the society we live in, the culture of this society, our socialization, and our place in specific social structures. Right off the bat I would be alerted to the fact that this newspaper account of academic research is focussing on heterosexual women (or at least women travelling for heterosexual sexual relations) and does not speak to the myriad of other sexual possibilities. I’ll come back to this point in the feminist perspective.As a functionalist, I would note that in our society we have shared norms and values that frown upon women engaging in sex outside of committed relationships. While these norms serve a useful function for society (encouraging monogamous, enduring families), this does limit women’s ability to express their sexuality. To be blunt some women may need a sexual outlet. There may be many social reasons for this: relationships are lasting much longer due to better health etc. (and women get bored), due to divorce rates more women find themselves without a partner (but with work, children etc.), and many people in otherwise functioning relationships are not sexually compatible. This tourism therefore provides women with a place to engage in behaviour that would otherwise be considered unacceptable. By travelling to engage in this behaviour they get what they want, but the norms of our society are left intact. As it is unlikely that we would openly admit to the usefulness of this tourism this would be considered a latent function.However, a functionalist perspective might also consider this phenomenon dysfunctional and a sign of social problems. Perhaps this tourism is a result of the breakdown of societal norms and values (which in turn may be caused by rapid changes in families and women’s roles at work and home). If allowed to continue such behaviour may threaten relationships ‘back home’ (i.e. when partners find out). Of course, problems such as the spread of sexually transmitted diseases cannot be discounted. Moreover, on the other side of the world, the norms and values of the host country are being challenged/weakened. It might also be noted that some of the sexual behaviours demanded by these women go against longstanding codes of sexual conduct in the host country. This tourism threatens to undermine these norms and values and weaken the moral codes of these countries as well.Taking a feminist perspective changes my understanding of this situation. A feminist sociologist would note that in our patriarchal society there remains an inequality between men and women’s ability to express their sexuality. In our society women who are openly sexual beings are looked down upon whereas men are encouraged to flaunt their sexual prowess. Women who are openly sexual are considered ‘sluts’ or ‘whores’ whereas men displaying similar behaviour are ‘studs’ or ‘players’.Moreover, it seems that the only women that are allowed to be seen as sexual in our society are young and with a very particular body type. When was the last time that you saw a movie or commercial where a woman over 40 (30?) was portrayed (positively) as a sexual/sensual person. When did you last see a sex scene that involved a woman that wasn’t a size 2? This strict/unrealistic definition of beauty may make many women uncomfortable with their sexuality or even limit their ability to find sexual partners.I might note that the definition of ‘beauty’ for men seems rather more flexible as aging male actors seem to find romantic leads easier to come by (and they are paired with much younger women). Importantly, women also face a real threat of physical harm if they display their sexuality too brazenly. Men use this as an excuse for sexual violence and boyfriends, husbands use force and the threat of violence to control women they see as their property. Women who sexually open (or perceived as such) are targets for predators and victims of abusive husbands and lovers.From a feminist perspective sex tourism can therefore be explained by the inequalities faced by women. These women, limited by strict sex roles, are simply seeking an outlet unavailable at home. The threat of violence makes it safer to travel for the same sort of experience that men can get in their own backyards. Club Med moreover provides the sort of secure environment that heterosexual women seek and the activities they want!All this said, a feminist perspective also would draw attention to the fact that overall it is men who are much more likely to be involved is such sex tourism and sexual violence. This is not a biological phenomenon (an excuse often given) as we know that rates of sexual violence vary dramatically by society. Rather this behaviour is a result of patriarchal social structures that allow for and encourage men’s violence against women and other men (men are also the main perpetrators of sexual assault of other men). This story is something of a “man bites dog” sensationalist media account that threatens to draw attention from the social problem of men’s sex tourism.Finally, let me return to an issue raised at the outset of this analysis. As a feminist that understands and centres the discussion of inequality and sexuality, I must highlight how this article speaks only of heterosexual relations. This may indeed have been the focus of the original research upon which this story is based but I also feel it reflects upon how the media (and maybe academia) tends to marginalize anything other than heterosexual relations and contribute to a culture of heteronormativity (the privileging of heterosexual relations). This is limiting to both men and women of all sexualities. It might just be that these strict, patriarchal and heternormative norms/expectations are the root cause A critical (historical materialist) perspective would take a rather grim look at this phenomenon. Such sex tourism is simply a form of exploitation of less economically advantaged groups by advantaged groups. At the most blatant level we have a large corporation (Club Med) operating as a brothel owner. The so-called GOs are glorified prostitutes who sell their bodies for a certain period of time to their ‘bosses’. While such GOs make a wage, this is paltry compared to the profits of the corporate ‘pimp’. I might note that this form of exploitation is not entirely dissimilar from the exploitation all workers experience when they sell their services for a wage. We don’t like to think of it this way but we all sell our bodies (and minds) by the hour when we engage in paid labour for someone else.It is also important to underscore the fact that the ‘sex tourists’ are not simply any women but women with enough money to buy what they want. These are upper-middle class women from a wealthy part of the world. In the most disturbing version of this phenomenon, these women are traveling to less advantaged parts of the world to buy sex. Is this any different than the form of exploitative sex tourism we are more familiar with: men travelling to developing countries to exploit impoverished women with few other options?An interactionist/interpretive perspective would examine how individuals interact in the settings in question and how the social and physical context shapes this interaction. Most obviously, companies like Club Med go to significant lengths to encourage the activities/behavior described in the article. Alcohol is prepackaged within the resort fee which encourages consumption (‘gotta get my money’s worth), the brochures are full of innuendo, they only hire conventionally attractive hosts and foam parties enhance anonymity. I would draw attention to this last point as the vacation environment of singles traveling alone or with only a close friend or two provides an anonymous setting where one is free from the eyes of friends, colleagues, neighbours and coworkers which may encourage ‘norm breaking’ (behavior that goes against expectations of appropriate behavior).I would also draw attention to the use of language. This article is putting a new label ‘sex tourism’ on an old phenomenon – prostitution. An interactionist would recognize that our choice of language shapes how we accept a phenomenon. This is true for all those involved in this activity — both the industry officials and the women and men involved carefully use language to hide that this is prostitution. The GO’s are given different labels/titles which do not have the same stigma (negative connotation/meaning) of ‘prostitute’. The women are ‘tourists’ not ‘Johns’. Even in the non-resort version of events the women and men speak of ‘dates’ and use the language of dating rather than a commercial transaction. Of course, it is not only linguistic trickery that is going on. At the Club Med, the whole environment is manipulated to downplay the commercial transaction and make the encounters seem like any other romantic tryst. From the romantic language and imagery of the website to the carefully staged opportunities for GOs and women to hook up, there is a romantic veneer pasted over the economic transaction. Money for instance need never directly change hands between the buyer and seller. The women pay their money to the resort/travel agent and the GOs are paid a salary thus saving all the embarrassment of an open transaction. In the non-resort version, it is gifts and dinners rather than money that often changes hands. Neither the women involved nor the men consider this ‘prostitution’ because of how the interaction is carefully managed. The fact that some women are said to act as if these were simply another romantic relationship (crying at the end) is testament to how important the context of interaction is to our experience of reality. This reminds me of the term, social construction of reality — what we believe is real becomes real in its consequences. (THIS IS EXAMPLE HOW WE HAVE TO DO THE ANALYSIS ) MAIN ARTICLE IS ATTACHED BELOW FOR WHICH WE HAVE TO DO THE MEDIA ANALYSIS WHICH IS MAID IN CANADA. WE NEED NOT TO HAVE
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