Final Major Project #5

Androcentrism & Eurocentrism in Western culture

“Many commenters were startled to learn about a long known but rarely taught side of Woodrow Wilson. White people have a lot to be surprised about. The very nature of white supremacy requires sanitized teaching about slavery, the genocide of indigenous people, the reach of U.S. militarism and many other topics.”

“Admittedly, new information does not necessarily translate into social change. Cherished and deeply rooted beliefs are not easily surrendered. I often think of how long it took for the arguments of Copernicus and Galileo that the earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around, to be accepted. Ideas and habits are stubborn. Systems resist change. Powerful institutions have vested interests in preserving the status quo.”

At this point, I’m mostly info-dumping all of my research to keep track of it.
Back to androcentrism: it is a societal fixation on masculinity. It is the standard, all things originate from it, and everything outside of it is other. Masculine mindsets and attitudes are universal, feminine ones are deviance.

I’m getting into something activist-like, so perhaps it’d be interesting to look at groups such as the Guerilla Girls. I ordered two of their books with all of their work and their thoughts on it. The general idea is that male artists (not just artists actually but men in general and especially the male viewpoint) dominate the art world. They reported that less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art sections of the Met Museum were women, but 85% of the nudes were female. They pointed out the under-representation of women in art institutions.

Three studies were made by professor Mykol Hamilton. They show that the masculine bias remains even when using gender-neutral language. In two of them, half had a male bias even after being exposed to gender-neutral language, while half had no gender bias at all. I’m curious as to how I would’ve responded to such a study.

In the third study, only men showed a masculine bias whereas women showed no gender bias. She assumed, and I agree with her, that this may be due to the fact that men have grown up with the ability to think of “any person” as a generic “he”, since the pronoun applies to them. Another realisation is that using neutral terms that explicitly includes women, she uses the example of “he or she”, reduces androcentrism more effectively than neutral language mentioning neither.

Links and references:

Lapayese Y.V. (2012) Androcentrism in Schools. In: Lapayese Y.V. (eds) Mother-Scholar. Transgressions (Cultural Studies and Education), vol 85. SensePublishers, Rotterdam.

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