Quotes About Powers Of The Weak

Quotes tagged as "powers-of-the-weak" (showing 1-1 of 1)
Bell Hooks
“Women, even the most oppressed among us, do exercise power. These powers can be used to advance feminist struggle. Forms of power held by exploited and oppressed groups are described in Elizabeth Janeway's important work Powers of the Weak. One of the most significant forms of power held by the weak is "the refusal to accept the definition of oneself that is put forward by the powerful". Janeway call this the "ordered use of the power to disbelieve". She explains:

It is true that one may not have a coherent self-definition to set against the status assigned by the established social mythology, and that is not necessary for dissent. By disbelieving, one will be led toward doubting prescribed codes of behaviour, and as one begins to act in ways that can deviate from the norm in any degree, it becomes clear that in fact there is not just one right way to handle or understand events.

Women need to know that they can reject the powerful's definition of their reality --- that they can do so even if they are poor, exploited, or trapped in oppressive circumstances. They need to know that the exercise of this basic personal power is an act of resistance and strength. Many poor and exploited women, especially non-white women, would have been unable to develop positive self-concepts if they had not exercised their power to reject the powerful's definition of their reality. Much feminist thought reflects women's acceptance of the definition of femaleness put forth by the powerful. Even though women organizing and participating in feminist movement were in no way passive, unassertive, or unable to make decisions, they perpetuated the idea that these characteristics were typical female traits, a perspective that mirrored male supremacist interpretation of women's reality. They did not distinguish between the passive role many women assume in relation to male peers and/or male authority figures, and the assertive, even domineering, roles they assume in relation to one another, to children, or to those individuals, female or male, who have lower social status, who they see as inferiors, This is only one example of the way in which feminist activists did not break with the simplistic view of women's reality s it was defined by powerful me. If they had exercised the power to disbelieve, they would have insisted upon pointing out the complex nature of women's experience, deconstructing the notion that women are necessarily passive or unassertive.”
Bell Hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center

All Quotes | My Quotes | Add A Quote

Browse By Tag