Gendered Citizenship Assignment

Gendered Citizenship Assignment Words: 511

Since the term ‘consumer citizenship’ has been coined by merging two terms together, this section has been devoted to the meaning and significance of the term ‘citizenship’. Citizenship has been defined as a “status” conferred upon those citizens who are members of any particular community or state and share equal rights and duties (Marshall, 1992). Feminist scholars studying consumer citizenship argue that the register of citizenship includes varied meanings which alter and shift in accordance with the political and cultural contexts within which they occur so that the concept of the “good citizen” can only be applied to a selected few especially the male members of the community whose position in the community is reinforced through policies and programs which benefit them rather than female members of the community (Lister, 2003). Researchers confirm that liberal democratic societies focus on the attributes of rationale and specific potential of an individual rather, and these attributes have been gendered as masculine traits so that the concept of a complete and perfect citizen is embodied by the image of males or men rather than females or women (Arnot and Dillabough, 2000; Lister, 2003). As a result of this male centred embodiment, women have been placed on the margins of citizenship due to the belief that they are not mentally balanced and lack the ability to be politically conscious (Arnot and Dillabough, 2000). Historically and traditionally, women have been accepted and recognised as crucial contributors of social and family life with functions like child birth, raising children and looking after the welfare of their families, which is a private sphere of life, while the public sphere has been granted to their male counterparts who enjoy the rights of being male citizens of the society or community. Feminist scholars assert that the very notion of gendered citizenship promotes a model of citizenship which is devoid of logic and encompassment, and which is against the very notion of democracy (Werbner and Yuval-Davis, 1999). In order for democracy to be enforced in the citizenship model, Werner and Youval-Davis (1999) assert the importance of universalism which should rank above all distinction before the law. Feminist scholars also debate about the gendered approach in citizenship by considering the concept of activism (Fraser, 1992). Sparks (1997) builds on this concept by using the example of the famous Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement in America, which was triggered because she ‘sat still’. Sparks (1997), engages in a discussion revolving around ‘dissident citizenship’ by Rosa Parks who resisted the notion of racial discrimination through her characteristic “quiet middle-class respectability” which was apparent through her shy and womanly demeanour. Apparently, the traditional and respectable milieu of Rosa Parks proved to be a secure manner for challenging the authority of white males in the Montgomery district, a comment, which according to Sparks (1997) is a classic representation of the inconsistency in democratic citizenship especially in the new globalized world where consumption and citizenship are intricately linked and interwoven with little regard for gender or any other kind of prejudiced perspectives. (This is only a random excerpt and should strictly be used as a sample only.

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