Racial Hierarchies and the Roles of Women

We have recently learned about the Filipina women’s roles in Lebanon and also the Lebanese diaspora. Many of these women are treated very unfairly and seen as a minority. The women who identify as members of a diaspora culture in lieu of a member of the host nation are subjects of discriminatory treatment based on race. Some diaspora bodies are historically viewed as more desirable than others, which in turn causes them to be more regulated than bodies of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

The main hierarchies viewed in Lee’s article are the live-in maids and domestic workers. Though Filipina women are seen at the lower end of the spectrum, Lee states that they are also viewed as “smarter, more educated and more professional” than other women who are living in Lebanon. There are many perceptions taken on the Filipina women. They are generally well liked because of their beauty, which has increased their confidence regarding their sexuality; however, any man who is involved in a relationship with a Filipina is looked down on as a loser because no matter what her appearance may be, she will always be known as a maid. Therefore, many of these women are in relationships with migrant men, who are also alone in their country. This concept is sad because these women are beautiful and are hard workers, but they are not accepted in their communities due to social hierarchy.

There are not only women who identify with the diaspora in non-host nations, but also those who identify in a host-society as well. Lebanese women who have left Lebanon find themselves alienated by their homeland. Abdelhady states that Abeer was considered an “outsider” in Lebanon due to homosexuality. It is remarkable that though Abeer knew she did not fit in in her homeland, she did not want to change. She was proud of her sexuality and has found a way to get involved with social issues in New York. During a time when an individual would try to change the way he/she lived, Abeer took her sexuality into her own hands and chose not to change for anyone because that was who she wanted to be.

Though “whiteness” seems to play a racial signifier these days, when it comes to Lebanese culture it does not. It has created the way that individuals view each other in society. I think that whiteness has a ring of normality and freedom too it. For example, the heterosexual white male is the most dominant individual in our society. However, even though these women may have identified as white, they were not free. They were judged no matter how they looked or what their actions were. I think that today whiteness is a separator, though it should not be. It is not a good thing. In today’s society, if a teenage white male or female identify as anything other than heterosexual, there is a large chance that they will be bullied. Whiteness means something in some aspects; however, not when it comes to events that are not dealing with racism. I don’t believe that’s how this world should be. The lebanese should not have a reputation due to their culture just like discrimination in the United States shouldn’t exist.

In certain cases, many women identify as diaspora, which leaves them as a minority. I believe that these women are capable of many great things, like Abeer, who chooses to strive for a change to prevent other women to feel the way she did. I think that certain women will always be regulated differently due to ethnicity because that is how our society is formed. However, there are women who want change, so there is always hope.

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