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Standpoint Theory of Sandra Harding & Julia T. Wood
Transcript of Standpoint Theory of Sandra Harding & Julia T. Wood
position we can use the inequalities of gender, race, class, and sexual orientation to observe how different location within the social hierarchy tend to generate distinctive accounts of nature and social relationship. Mean Girls is a film about Cady Heron, who was raised in Africa, moving back to America and entering a high school with a very concrete social ladder. Cady becomes friends with Janice and Damian, who are just as low on the ladder as she is. When Regina, Gretchen, and Karen (the Plastics, the social goddesses of the high school) befriend Cady, Janice sees an opportunity to bring the Plastics down off their pedestal. Janice tells Cady to learn all The Plastics’ secrets and sabotage their popularity. However, this plan quickly goes awry when Cady realized she likes the view from the top and all the perks that come with it. Cady begins blowing off Janice and Damien and transforms into a completely new monster, worse than Regina ever thought of being. Cady thought she understood survival of the fittest from her years in Africa but she had no clue what a jungle high school would be. EXAMPLE Sandra Harding and Julia T. Wood founded Standpoint Theory. This theory is about objectivity in society. They present the idea that where someone falls in the social hierarchy sets the tone for how open and objective he is. If you are on the lowest rung of the social ladder, then you have to look up and be able to see and understand everyone above you. However if you are at the top, you have no one to worry about but yourself. Harding and Wood believed that being able to see and understand the people above you leads to a more correct viewing of the world, and those at the top with limited viewpoint have a false view of the world. They felt that women, people with low SES, homosexuals, and minorities had a less false view of the world than the white male because of their place in the social hierarchy The entire movie is a prime example of Harding and Wood’s Standpoint Theory. I am going look at Cady’s transformation throughout the movie to give two example of Standpoint Theory. Low on the Ladder
When Cady first comes to school, the “freaks”, Janice and Damian, who understand her unique quirks, welcome her. Janice and Damian are open-minded and see the Plastics and everyone else clearly. Janice even knows she is a mean person, as she later explains to Cady. And at the beginning when Cady is with Janice and Damian she sees everyone for his or her uniqueness and is open to it; she sees and acknowledges everyone. Her reasons for sabotaging The Plastics are to bring them off their high horses and down to Earth with everyone else. View from the Top
Then once Cady is the leader of the Plastics, she becomes so self-centered that she only sees herself. Cady is out for her and herself only. She sets her eyes on Aaron Samuels and will stop at nothing to have him. She throws a party; disrespects her parents; does not invite Janice and Damian; misses Janice’s art show; gets drunk; and tries to hook up with Aaron, which is nothing like the Cady she once was. Janice even tells her, “Hey, buddy, you’re not pretending anymore. You’re plastic. Cold, shiny, hard plastic.” Summary:
When Cady was low on the social ladder, she cared about her friends, parents, and saw others in a clearer light. Nevertheless, once she jumped to the top rung of the ladder her vision narrowed and she was only out for herself. The transformation that Cady experienced was exactly what Harding and Wood were describing in Standpoint Theory. That Cady’s objectivity slowly withered as she climbed the social ladder. Conclusion:
Based on Harding and Wood’s Standpoint Theory, Cady started at the bottom with a very open-mind; and her views narrowed as she climbed the ladder, because her view was limited to herself and those who she shared the top with. References:
Griffin, E. (2012). A first look at communication theory. (8 ed.,
pp. 447-459). New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill.
Waters, M. (Director), Wiseman, R. (Writer), & Fey, T. (Writer)
(2004). Mean girls [DVD]. Available from http://www.
Black feminist thought: patricia hills collins, black feminist thought: knowledge, consciousness, and the politic of empowerment, 2nd edition, Routledge New York, 2000 key terms
place from which to critically view the world around us
2. master-slave relationship
show what people "know" about themselves, others, and society depends on group they are in
slave knows how he/master lives but master only sees his view rather than both
master higher in society has power to make their own view of world stick
3. Standpoint theory
"'straining at the bit' to pull away from feminist theories but recognize its ideas are still needed
gender differences result of cultural expectations and treatment each group receives from the other 4. Feminist standpoint theorists
women are underadvantaged
men are overadvantaged
not all women share the same standpoint, nor for that matter, do all men
stresses economic condition, race, and sexual orientation
5. Social location
important people at top of societal hierarchy are privileged can define what it means to be female, male, or anything else in a given culture
6. Local knowledge
-knowledge situated in time, place, experience, and relative power
first hand experience, report on coaching and your a coach
There is no possibility of unbiased 7. Situated knowledge
no standpoint of women, or any other minority, gives a clear view of way things are
8. Strong objectivity
starting research from the lives of women and other marginalized groups = less false view of reality
9. Four ways Black women validate knowledge claim
Lived experience, as a criterion of meaning
The use of dialogue in assessing knowledge claims
The ethic of caring
The ethic of personal accountability
10. three major attacks on Enlightenment rationality