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[1]( From boyhood, nal€s ar€ bombard€d with the mcssage thar "real men
dominaie worien, \hich mcans they control womcn's behalrour and
nray abuse them v€rb]lly and physically.iSo powerlul and pcrvasivc rs
this fomula for the appearance of nanhood that a ma with anequal,
mutual relalionship with a woman may .adopt a posture of dominance
towards her when oth€r [ren arc around l Such behaviour susgests mcn
believe "manhood" is not inherent in a man, but dep€nds on both tl,c
opinion ofother men and the existence ofa subjected person or group l

[2] Females have enormous power in this d]'namics because the appearance
of virilily depends on them. Women ai€ its centre: domination of a t0
womalr is supposei to mak€ a man feei like a marr that is, superior.
Still, to justify abusive treat.rent ofwomen in their own minds (a{ler all,
most men love some womeD)) men must view them as a separate
species, like pigs or dogs or cows (terms often appl;ed to women); and
dominating a lowly "dog" or "cow" can hardly be very satisfying. The 15
fo.mula achieves its goal only Iieetrngly. Yet iDstead of abandoning thrs
unsuccessful road to self worth, mcn walk it ovel and over again, as if
enough rcpetition will somehow bring them to th€ end blessed relief
from self-doubt.

[3] Other men, too, have power in this fomula. This fonn of seif-esteem 20
can only be achiev€d by being witnessed by other men, who alone can
confd marihood on a man. Moreover,\.Iren cannot dominate women
i
wiihour maintaining solidarity against them, Even a woman who accepts
the status of obedient dog has capacities for independent thought,
action, speech, and qrealivity tlat militate against easy consigrlment of 25
her to inferior status. \To supprcss these qualities, men mDst alty solidly ,. I
lrli against women, cr%ting hs-titutiglqthat tbreclose all roles to women li.' ' '
..1
' except breeder sewanthood, tluust them into and keep them in the
, position ofsubhuman inferiors. Thal even a united male 6ont has nerer
I totally succeeded in keepirg ry'omen silenT6?-!i56frlii6[E does not 30',
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.i I d€ter men from continuing in this effort either.
'-.J
I4l Most men do not make policy in goyernrnents, churches, or other
powerful institutions. Most men se.ve as dogs, bulls, or rcbots to lreir
masters. Men continualiy rernind women that they too are victims, are
not responsible for government policy or economic disadvantage or war, 35
/v that like women, they are oppressed. This is true. I question why they do
Irot join the feminist movement or create a panlle] movcn1cnt.
Nonetheless, the entire system of female oppression rcsts on ordinary
t, men, who maintaid it with a fcrvour and dcdication to duty that any
tnlt' secret police force night cn!y: What odrcr systen c.an depend on almost 40
halfthe populaiion to eDlorce a policy daiiy, publicly and privately, wiih
utterreliabilitv?

rjl
[5] As long as some men use physical force to subjugate females, all men
need not. The knowledge thal some men do suffices to threaten all
women. Beyond that, it is not necessary to beal up a woman to beat her 45
down. A man can simply refitse to hire women in well-paid jobs, extract
as mDch or more work from women than men but pay them less, or treat
women disrespectfully at work or at home. He can fail to suppofl a child
he has engendered, demand the woman he lives with wait on him like a
servant- He can beat or kill tie woman he claims to love; he can rape 50
women, whethq mate, acquaintance, or stanger; he can rape or
sexually molest his daughters, stepchildren, or the children of a wornan
he claims to love. The vast majoriry of men in the world do one or iore
ofthe above.

o*^@i!rE64rhe Lyar Asainst won@t

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Pass age l]

llj Thc wonlan, tradihonally, owrnlt to her seclusion in the "honrc", the ll
i'\ place ofpivate propeny, has long b€en nothllrg. bu1 a molher loday,
nor or,l) r' 'o rh, r ur,' ut f,rodl .o'r ,.t 'l .
r
\\ more so? - {h€ wid€spread availabilily ofconti eeption and abonion arc
-1-l \ .rturylq..1r9f to that )ripossible role being a woman And rf .5
iand db-oriion\are spok€r of mosl often as possible ways
contrac€ption
orionno-iffi or e\pr 'rnd . rhc hrnl rdr. ol b-rng a rnorlr, r bl
'enng
choice", the fact remains that th€y imply the possibility of .ryg4jfyaA
women's social slqlus, atld thus ot modilying th€ nodcs of social
relrtr-dfsSdw-e en meu and women 10

12l But to what reality would woman correspond, independently of her


reproductive function? It seems that two possible roles are availablc to
her, roies that are occasionally or frequently contradictory. ygjlSrL
co.ol4 b:ly!; 9q!!Lln this case she would enjoy, in a rnorc or less
near future, the samE economic, social, political rights as men. Sbe t5
would be a potential man- But on the exchalrge mark€t especially, or
exemplarity, the market of sexual exchange - woman would also have
to presefle and mainiarn what is called fe ininit,. The value ol a
woman would accrue to her from ber matemal role, and, in addition,
ftom her "femininity". But in fact that "felllldlylls a-role, aD imaP.e,_ a 20
value. imDosed uDon women bv male svslertrLof represenralion In lhi!
ffih.rseli rnd ioses herselr b)
playing on her feminidty. The fact rcmains illat this Basquerade
requjres an effar oo-ber fart fnr u,hi"h she is not compensatirl. Unless
ber pleasure comes simply ftom being chosen as an object of 25
consumption or ofdesire by masculine "subjects". And, moreover, how
can she do olherwrse witloul bcing out or ctrculation"? .\

13i In or:r social order, women are "product6" used and exchanged by men.
Their stafus is that of merchandise, "corfinodities". How cal such
obj€cts ofuse and tftnsaction claim the right to speak arrd to participate 10
in exchange in geoeral? Commodities, as we all klow, do lot take
theftselves to market od thei own; and if they could talk.... So women
havc to remain an "infrasauchue" unecognised as such by our society
and oul culfure. The use, consumption, and circulation of their
sexualiscd bodies underwrite the oryanisation and tle reproduction of 35
the social order, in which they have nevor taken pad as "subjects".

'Women ate thtrs in a situation of sPecifc exPlaltation with rcspect to


t4t
exchange operations: sexual exchanges, but also economic, social, a:rd
cultural exchan8es in general- A woman "enters into" these exchanges
oniy as thc object of a transaction, unless she a8rees to renounce the 40
specifrcity of her sex, whose "identity" is imposed on her according to
nlodels thai remain lbreigt to her. Women's social iDlenority ls
reinlorced and complicated by the faci that wolnan does irot have access
to language, except through recouEe lc) 'rnasculin{]" syslems of
representatioD which disappropriate her from her relation to hersell and ,15
to olher women I'he "feminine" is never to be idenlified except by and
lor th€ masculine- the reciprocal proposition not being "lrue".

[5] But this situation of specihc oppression is perhaps what can allow
women today to elabonte a "critique of the political economy",
inasmuch as they are in a position extemai to the laws of exchange, 50
even though they ar€ inclr-rded in them as "commodities". For, without
the exploitation of the body-matter of women, what would become of
the sl,,mbolic proccss that govems society? What modification would
this prccess, this society, undergo, if women, who have been only
objects of consumption or exchange, were to become "speaking 55
subjects" as well? Not, of cou6e, in compliance with the mascuiine, or
tJ,e phalIoclatic, model '.
;. 1.lr1.t )
16] That would not fail to challenge the discourse that lays down the law
today, that legislates olr ever)'thing, including sexual difference.

Adapted from Luce Irigaray TIis Sex Which Is Not One

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Answer 3ll q!eslio.s

Nole \,\rhe. a qlest.n asks lor a. answer rN YOUR O!!N WOROS AS FAR AS
POSSBLe and yo! seecl rhe approprale materia lrom lhe passaoe for your
a.sw€r, y.! musl stillse ycur own words 10 express it Lil(lecredlGnbegvenlo
..s.{ers vrh ch o.y coFyqods cf pirrases irom the passa!.

R€ad PassageA n lhe separale rnserl and rhen a.swer lhe queslio.s beow.

i. wi(h reieren.€ to paragraph o.e, why does rhe writer betieve thar even me. $ho
lfeatwofren equaLy a.d respecttuLy,may adopr a poslure ofdohinance towa.ds r2l
herwhen olher hen a.e around (rnes5 6)?
Use yolr own words as rar as possib/e
4 Fon.llelouahparaqrcph.eTp<inft opp,es6nre. ree,ner..e\voj-oec ro
dnd u e relalonsnip es€s this opFi;e@ aad h-r to,ced;*oms,

2 From paragrlfh lwo exp.i.wlry dom natng a towly dog or'cou can hardybe

Usa yorr ow, wo.ds as far 6s possib/e.


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Re:d P.ssase A in lh€ sepa.ale tnsertand rhen answer rhe
c. :lion! rw.

5. Give lhe meaiing of *ch ot rhe lo[ow].g words as rheyare lsed n the passage
rou may ff tc lhe answer in a word ora shod phrzse t2l

7 The wdrer be ieves that {here are lwo possibe .otes avaisbe (o women l/v
re a
sumhary lo show how lhese two roL€s difler ftom each ourer a.d lhe pr.bem5
women ra@ qhen rry nq ro f r 610 rhs_,orea u- ;;i;ia
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(b) compefsaled irre 24) Org.n se youraiswers soas tob ng od pairs ofconkastbeh!€e.lhe |wo r.€5

trl
Da nal neety hst rhe difteren.es in anisataredfashiot).

Wnte na natethan 15a wotds Use yout.||. ||ards es t'u aspossible

(el conpricared (/he 43)

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a rdbhry or .o .acabt,o1 and abo-o, z-.,erl,..nq
lhFossihte rote:beinq aroman'(/t es 4,S)? tr. *o_z_i .;::3:

{b)
li, ed"J:i:"ph Ih,"", accordine ro rhe Mrrer, in what ways sre women
--! :-J f:l

3. French and lrigaray took ar ditterenr ways men asse.t @nt,ot over womef.

ldentify lwo such issues lhat adse and whidr aro comhon lo both wrilers.
Discuss howthese issLes wo!'d be ofparticutarconcer. to your own society.

Dhw appraptiate irfomation f@ the ll-ns. Howev'a you shauld rcty t\Aety on
yout own rete@ht ideas and expenence i4 aFlertaiustity -
wuranswe;, l8l

Men asse.l conr@rover women in difierent ways. One such €y is


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Sample Answeri

Men assert contaol over women in nrany different ways One such way is when they
perceive women int€rmsof theirlargely rraterndl roles. lnlrerpaSsage Irenchiooks
at how men create inslitlrtions that fo{eclose 3ll roles to women excepl breeder-
servanthood" and this point ls reiterated in lrigaray when shc asse.ts lhat 'the
woman, traditionally l...l has long been nothing but a mother."

I strongly feel that the matemal and domestic labels are still pervasive ways in which
women in Singapore are defined While it is obvious that Singaporean women are
increasingly being represented in areas beyond that of their traditional domain, ihere
still exists a common view that lhe righi place for a woman is sti{l at home The
entries to a photogEphy competition on the theme "Women at work earlier thts year,
focused mainly on jobs that have long been dominated by women such as modeling,
cleaninq and cooking, offering little alternative to tl"€se stereotypical images of
working wornen. lmages of th€ rich afld {amous portrayed in the media also convey
contradicting messages regarding wornen's expected roles- The delighted coos of
the Channel News Asia presenter in tber programme'At home with ..." when meeting
a successful woman in her car€er and finding out that ihis very woman is able to
cook and clean suggests that wornen are expected to be successful both at home
and at work. Those who do not conform to this noble image rjsk the wrath of society.
The widespread celebration of the working woman along wath her home_making skills Significa@
in Singapore puts tremendous pressure on the modern Singapore woman who seeks
to flnd her own voice at work and at home. This might also lead to the underminifig of
any concerted efforts of wor€n to be successful in areas beyond their traditional
boundaries.

Another way in which men may assed control over women lies in how it is almost
impossible for women to enter their wodd. ln passage B, lrigaray argues thal a
woman has to give up 'the specificity of her sex" in order to be part of the mal3 $'cfld.
But she also believes that it is almost impossible for a woman to do this because in
the market of sexLral exchange, she still needs to retain the "masquerade of
femininity." French takes a more extreme perspective in asserting that the doors to
the world dominated by rnen are flrmly shut to women as they are not even viewed
as humans.

This view that women face rnultiple obstacles in attempting to be part of the male
world probably holds true sornewhat within the policies of particular institutions in )
Singapore. The gender bias in the entry requirements of the medical faculty in NUS Examples
show partiality to!,ards male applicants over their female counterparts. Males are
alsb paid more in the extra they get for having served National Service The income
tax retum form assumes males to be the breadwinner or the head of a household'
implying that the only possible female role is relegated to the more domestic one.
Furthermore, there is no denying that female politicians in Singapore are signiflcantly Significence
under-represented compared with their male counterparts. These examples show
how Singaporean women still do not quite share equal oppo unities in access to
particutar paths of work and education as a result of the institutionalised bias against
women. Therefore, even if women were to be empowered to venture into realms
commonly dominated by men, any progress made will face impediment unless
society as a whole agrees to renrove such concretised and systemalic ba.rjers-

Sjngapore's reputation in the global context regarding truman rights is already fJcing
criticism . ls this yet another area for concern?