Interviewing a Woman Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

interview of a woman that is more than 40 years old and belongs to a generation different than mine. It analyzes and provides a reflection of the woman's life experiences and beliefs. The main focus of the interview is to evaluate the impact of belief systems and socio-economic structures in her life as well as any resistance to these factors. The reflection also examines the impact of ideologies, cultural factors, social structures, and economics on the interviewee as a female. In addition, the process of through which she negotiates these factors and opportunities and limitations in her life are also discussed.

Brief Summary of the Interviewee

I interviewed Rebecca Mintz who is a dynamic, highly accomplished, and renowned business woman in her community. Mintz is famous for her dedication to social work and community development through which she has made major contributions towards improving the livelihoods of young women in her community. Currently, she acts as the voice of the voiceless and always advocates for the protection of women's rights through empowerment initiatives. As she continues to travel to various places for speaking engagements on issues affecting women, Mintz has played a crucial role in uplifting the standards of women and creating networks among various community development organizations. I have known Mintz through her work in uplifting women's lives and chose to interview Mintz because of her experience in empowering women. The interview went very well because of her responsiveness to the questions and the insights she provided.

Rebecca Mintz was born in Greenwood, South Carolina and attended Pickens Senior High School before joining University of South Carolina where she major in women's studies. She was born in a middle-class family where both parents worked to provide for the family though her mother was responsible for most of the child rearing practices. Mintz was born in 1964 and got married to her long time friend in 1985 and has two daughters. One of her daughters is married while the other is a college sophomore at a local university. Her decision to major in women's studies was influenced by some of the challenges women in community faced as she was growing up. Unlike currently, women in the then society were experiencing relatively high levels of gender discrimination in nearly all societal levels. This discrimination contributed to her passion in empowering women and fighting for their rights in order to help improve or uplift their lives. She enjoys her work because of the impact it has had on the lives of women in this community.

Theme from the Interviewee's Life

Social structures, ideologies, economics, and cultural factors have a significant impact on an individual's life. The impact of these factors is mainly dependent on how the individual negotiates these factors, compliance and resistance to them, and available opportunities and limitations in the individual's life. Based on an analysis of these factors and reflection on Mintz's life, one emerging theme is feminism. Mintz is a real feminist who is completely passionate about women's issues and engages in initiatives to promote women's rights. As previously mentioned, her passion in these issues is mainly influenced by social structures and cultural factors.

When she was growing up, Mintz realized that women in her community were experiencing tremendous challenges related to sexuality and gender identity, which resulted in discrimination and prejudice. The discrimination and inequality acted as the root causes of violence that contributed to structural power struggles between men and women in her community. The social norms during this period prescribed the roles of men and women and condoned abuse. Actually, these social norms and social structures increased women's vulnerability to abuse, exploitation, and violent relationships. In contrast, cultural factors also contributed gender inequalities and discrimination against women through limiting their choices, opportunities, and freedoms. From an economic perspective, women had limited income-earning and survival opportunities because of financial dependency on their husbands. The prevalent gender inequalities was also fueled by ideologies that the society had towards women in which men were considered superior to them and treated them as second-class humans.

However, Mintz negotiated these factors through the support she received from her family unit. Even though she has two brothers, her parents did not raise her differently, which made her feel at ease with her sex and gender identity. Moreover, her father did not embrace these factors and usually treated her mother well since he believed in equality of both sexes. He would always encourage the entire family to consider everyone equal regardless of their genders. When she decided to major in women's studies at the university, her family was very supportive and deemed it as an opportunity for her to play a crucial role and make major contributions toward the development of the society. Moreover, she has also received huge support from her husband that has made her help women obtain their rights, which is her major satisfaction. Generally, Mintz exhibits passion for women's issues and rights as her life is constantly dominated by the theme of feminism.

Reflection on Interviewee's Description of Her Life

When I asked Rebecca Mintz whether she identifies herself as a feminist, her answer was in the affirmative based on her belief that as a woman, she holds an equal position with a man. As a self-identified feminist, Mintz argues that she needs to be treated with the same respect as a man. She states that her identity as a woman should not generate or provoke different treatment from men because she deserves respect as a human being. Mintz conception of her identity seems to be based on the ideologies of Caroline Ramazanoglu who did not believe the notion that racism can usually be lessened to class (Khayatt, 136). In her argument, Ramazanoglu states that color is not a universal or static category of disadvantage that would rise above all other sources of social difference that determine the quality of individual's lives. In her case, Mintz believes that gender is not a source of disadvantage that should contribute to differences in treatment of women as compared to men. She believes that while social differences exist, her identity as a woman should not contribute to her consideration as a second-class human or contribute to indifferent treatment.

In relation to her contributions toward the feminist movement, Mintz states that raising her two daughters and advocating for women's rights have been her major contributions. She refuses to relegate her life to housework because it is generally unfulfilling and problematic. This belief is based on the Theory of Liberal Feminism in which women are considered as rational human beings with the ability to take full responsibility for their lives just like men (Hamilton, 14). This is a concept emerging from Mary Wollstonecraft's individualistic ideology of liberalism that emphasizes liberty, fraternity, and equality.

When I asked her about the role marriage has played in her identity and work as a women's rights activist, Mintz stated that her parents' marriage and her marriage have acted as a pillar to who she is. These marriages have acted as support units in shaping her understanding of feminism and the role of women in the society. In contrast to many marriages in her community, Mintz parents and husband have had a different view of the role of women at home and in the society. She states that if these marriages did not act as support structures, she couldn't have accomplished much in her work. She believes that gender inequalities and discrimination were prevalent because of the society's perception towards marriage. From her experience, many individuals who mistreat women view them as the weaker gender and sex tools. Her perspective about marriage is based on the protective or provider theory of marriage in which marriage is viewed as an invention for the protection of women (Coontz,…

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