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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Marita Bonner's "On Being Young - a Woman - and Colored

Marita Bonner dreams of equality among human beings as a matter against race and gender discrimination. To express her dreams, in her “On Being Young – a Woman – and Colored” she describes that women who are young and colored are very much disadvantaged.

At the first place, she explains briefly that all young people should be just the same everywhere; they own their spirit and courage to seize the days and world; life is full of curiosity and supported by “nourishing” and “warm” environment as in a sunny catnip field. But I got the feeling that being compared to a kitten, young people are inexperienced, full of weaknesses. That is why the dreams are like “a desire to dash three or four ways seize you”. She also dreams that every young girl dreams that there is no different rank between a man and a woman, as what she describes as one of a girl’s dream of her future: … a husband you can look up to without looking down on yourself. Unfortunately, those are all just dream.

Furthermore, she finds out that everywhere women are in the same boat. They are measured by a measurement by standards known within a limited group and not those of an unlimited, seeing, world … Being a woman is limited by many things set by male domination, whereas it should be standards of both – unlimited, seeing, world – male and female. They feel that strange longing seized hold of them, but they are made like the blind, blind mice; mice whose eyes have been blinded. Women are stereotyped as “dumb” and “blind”. They do not deserve to hear things or see things. Although they live a gay life (as compared to colorful parties), they feel that such gaiety is just a boring condition, like plain whole bread taste like ashes or stuffed costly chocolates that make the taste go stale if you have too many of them.

The worst condition is suffered by colored young women. being colored in general, a person is cut off, flung together, shoved aside in a bundle because of color. … the colored people are generally disadvantageous. The colored women are seen only as a gross collection of desires. They are stereotyped as stupid. (Do you need to be told what that is being …?) and as having no “polite” behavior (talk in staccato squawks—brittle as seashells--, “champ” gum, cover two yards square when laughing, taste runs to violent colors, impossible perfumes and more impossible clothes.) As the peak of the suffering Bonner writes that every part of you becomes bitter. The colored women live with a chip on their shoulder. Moreover, being a woman, they have to go about it gently and quietly, to find out and to discover just what is wrong. Just what can be done. Therefore, Bonner imagines that in such quietness as a woman’s perhaps Buddha is a brown woman. of course, this may mean figuratively, Buddha is a woman by gender –- attitude, the best example for this is women’s endurance – the case that may happen to anybody. This comparison tells me that Bonner dreams that race and gender discrimination should not exist.

Bonner’s dreams may come true in some parts of the world this day. However, there are still many women, especially the colored, who need to struggle as hard as live fish in a basket.

Yogya, May 2003

1 comment:

Márcia Sebastião said...

Very interesting and helpful.
Thanks for sharing.