“Chickenhead Envy”

“Chickenhead Envy is not a pretty thing” (Morgan, 189).

The phrase “Chickenhead Envy”, is one that I think definitely can be considered an inflammatory phrase. In her final chapter, Morgan puts a cheeky spin on describing the advantages a woman has using her sex and feminism “to get ahead” in life. “At its essence, trickin’ is a woman’s ability to use her looks, femininity, and flirtation to gain advantage in an inarguably sexist world” (Morgan, 202)

When thinking about why Morgan used the particular phrase “chickenhead” to describe women who utilize their sex a particular passage comes to mind.
“The whole rooster thing…in a room full of roosters, the strongest rooster wins. And if your shit is not right you are definitely gonna have to watch other roosters wtih paper and status try to get at your girl. They’re sending her bouquets of flowers and you can’t even give her a rose” (Morgan, 213).

If you think about a chicken as an animal, the female is mostly used for sex by the rooster and to reproduce. Similarly the chickenhead female plays the same role amongst her black male counterpart. The title When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost I think reflects the idea of when a female comes to home to settle. But then again, I think that it may also mean when the female comes to the realization that change is necessary.

“Basically, chickenheads accept that in a male-dominated society obsessed wtih both beauty and sex there is something to be said for women effectively working their erotic power” (Morgan, 217).

In the end, Morgan basically says that the chickenhead never does really win because as P.Diddy puts it” we’re looking for the long term, those are the qualities we want. NOT Chickenheads”.

“Babymama”

In this section of When Chickenheads Come Home to RoostMorgan takes a look at the term “babymama” and reasons why many regard the American black family as being “extinct”. In her own personal life, Morgan makes a conscious choice to not be a “babymama”. Instead, she’d rather be a “career bitch from hell” and work towards her goal than run the risk of one day becoming a single black mother. Morgan faces ridicule because of her decision to remain single and free of a child. She writes about her encounter with a fellow sista who thinks Morgan has the job, the house, but no baby. Morgan responds by saying she is waiting to be married, and that drives the sista to ramble on about how she doesn’t need a man to support her and a child.

Amidst this encounter Morgan laces the story with several significant statistics:
1. As of 1994, 70% of black children were born to unmarried women (versus 25% of white children)
2. Only 33% of Black children lived with both parents (versus 76% of white children)
3. Children of single mothers are significantly more likely to live in poverty than children living with both parents.
4. 65% of black single mothers were poor, compared with only 18% of children of black married couples.

In my mind, Morgan is absolutely right to say she is waiting for marriage and hopes that it doesn’t dissolve to single parenthood. If she were just to go on like the rest of sistas, and have a child, raise it alone, she would only be perpetuating the vicious cycle which has led to the extinct Black family. I believe that because these women think it’s okay to remove the male figure from the lives of their children they are only fostering that belief into their children. Inevitably, their children will think that the male is only needed to procreate, and this idea will be passed on through generations.

Furthermore, Morgan goes on to describe the Black father by basically claiming that he is only necessary for the financial aspect of a child’s life. “Even the court systems seemed to have determined that the obligatory roles fathers have is financial (something we would never say about mothers), which is really wrong. Do you mean all the things I could be for my child’s entire lifetime can be made irrelevant based on how much money I’m making? As a black man it insults me from a human standpoint and a historical one. Certainly our sharecropping grandfathers’ value to their families was not based on money” (Morgan, 174). I completely agree with Morgan’s analysis of Black fathers.

She closes the chapter by saying, “We have to. Our survival depends on it” (Morgan, 182). She is without a doubt right that if black families want exist there must be a dramatic change in the mindset of the women and men who are making the decision to have children.

STRONGBLACKWOMAN

Just as Morgan describes earlier in the book, the term feminist is notoriously linked to the idea of a butch-lesbian esque, “anti-babe”. For that reason I think “sistas” are more apt to call themselves STRONGBLACKWOMEN because it is a representation of who they believe themselves to be, without using the dreaded f-word.  When I think of an SBW, I think of Morgan saying “Girl what more do you want. You got a good job, a fly-ass apartment, and a work/social calendar most niggas would kill for. Stop bitching and handle it.” (Morgan, 90). Furthermore, Morgan goes on to explain that the myth of the SBW empowers women by forcing them to believe that the ability to kick adversity’s ass is a birthright–a byproduct of gender and melanin. Politically, I think it must be hard for the black woman to admit to being a feminist because of overall discrimination on both levels, race and gender.
One of the interesting points Morgan describes is the difference between the SOUTHERNBELLE and the SBW. “So while the SB was hoisted on a pedastal so high that she was beyond the sensual reach of her own husband, Black women were consigned to the other end of the sclae, as mistresses, whores and breeders” (Morgan, 97). Thus, the original SBW was a myth created by whites to rationalize their brutality and a reason that the SOUTHERNBELLE could not compare to the SBW. But what I wonder is do black women really look at being an SBW today, the same way that they were referred to in the past?

When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost

“Feminism claimed me long before I claimed it.” – Joan Morgan

First, I’d like to just say that I’m REALLY enjoying this book so far. Morgan has a really fresh, fun, unconventional, upbeat way of writing, and I constantly find myself laughing out loud at certain points she makes. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything, which definitely makes the read more enjoyable.

In the first eighty pages that I have read so far, she touches on a lot of interesting topics.

“The F-Word” was probably the most educational chapter for me. Thus far, my idea of feminism has been fairly skewed. I’m slightly ashamed to say it, but my idea of a feminist has been similar to that of the feminists Morgan discovered in college. “The most visible were the braless, butch-cut, anti-babes, who seemed to think the solution to sexism was reviling all things male (except oddly enough, their clothing and mannerisms) and sleeping with each other” (Morgan, p. 35).

One interesting argument that Morgan makes is that “White girls don’t call their men ‘brothers’ and that made their struggle enviably simpler than mine. Racism and the will to survive it creates a sense of intra-racial loyalty that makes it impossible for black women to turn our backs on black men-” (p. 36). Then she goes to discuss the issue of a rape in Central Park, and how discussing the victim was a woman and the implications that stem from gender and race differences. It forces you to stop and think, what would the press/media and society in general say had the victim been a “sista”? It’s hard to say what type of divide would occur.

The most important issue that Morgan talks about is the willingness for women to fall right back into the same track almost willingly wanting to be a “victim”.  She explains it so well in a passage from the Hip-Hop Feminist chapter. 
“Holding on to that protective mantle of victimization requires a hypocrisy and self-censorship I’m no longer willing to give. Calling rappers out for their sexism without mentioning the complicity of th the 100 or so video-hos that turned up–G-string in hand–for the shoot” (Morgan, p. 60).
This is so accurate that it’s slightly disturbing. I remember one day watching a show on VH1 or MTV about the “Rap Video Hos” and what it took to be a girl in a rap video. Basically, it’s just a way of futhering demeaning yourself as an individual and as woman. If women think it’s acceptable to dress, dance, and act the way they do in today’s rap videos then what more do you expect from men? Objectifying yourself, almost gives our male counterparts the right to objectify us.

The Fallacies of a Logical Argument

If you were to study any logical argument you would find obvious flaws with that argument. Sometimes these flaws are designed to be useful for the writer of the argument. However, if you want the truth it is important to understand the different types of fallacies that exist. I will identify and give an example of each fallacy below.

1. Appealing to pity
Connects the reader to an emotional argument and forces them to have sympathy so that they side with the writer of the argument. For example, think of the ads on television for saving children by donating only 25 cents per day. It connects to someone by making them feel sorry, by showing image of malnourished and impoverished children. Therefore, you would sign up to make these donations even though you may not be positive where the money is going, simply because you feel sorry for the children shown in commercial.
2. Appealing to prejudice
3. Appealing to tradition
4. Arguing by analogy
5. Attacking the character of opponents
6. Attributing false causes
7. Attributing guilt by association
8. Begging the question
9. Equivocating
10. Ignoring the question
11. Jumping to conclusions
12. Opposing a straw man
13. Presenting a false dilemma
14. Reasoning that does not follow
15. Sliding down a slippery slope

The Informed Argument

According to The Informed Argument there are four basic types of argument, which include arguments to:

1. Inquire

Requires researching the topic and examining the issues surrounding it. A basic understanding of arguments to inquire simply comes from understanding the meaning of the term inquire, which is to try to discover the facts of a case. A writer must convince a reader to that the issue they are writing about is worth the reader’s time and attention. As a writer you might chose to write about a specific topic, but as you continue your research you may find that your views on the certain topic are altered. Arguments to inquire are exploratory.

        

2. Assert

Arguments to assert serve the purpose of presenting a viewpoint or position on an issue that may be in some way controversial. Every individual has their own personal take on a topic, thus arguments to assert try to reasonably convince the opposing side of their view.

 

3. Dominate

Arguments to dominate are the most commonly thought of arguments. It’s easy to think of an argument to dominate as the type of argument that a lawyer would use to convince a judge and jury that they are right. The purpose of an argument to dominate is to win!

 

4. Negotiate differences and reconcile

Also referred to as the Rogerian argument, based on the influence of psychotherapist Carl Rogers. Focuses on the importance of communication as a way to resolve problems. Focuses on “listening with understanding”, which often becomes a difficult task when an individual is engrossed or overwhelmingly passionate about a certain issue. There may not always be a right or wrong answer, but it is best to negotiate differences and work towards a resolution that might be in the middle.

 

After reading chapter 1 of The Informed Argument it’s really interesting to notice how images can make different statements/arguments based on a few alterations. The two images of Rosie the Riveter are prime examples of how making a few tweaks here and there can completely change the way something is conveyed and perceived by an audience. As I read through chapter 1, I noticed in the columns of the text that there were several different images particularly Figure 1-4 of the flyer that reflects an argument used to dominate. Some of the techniques used in Figure 1-4 parallel to the first image of Rosie the Riveter. The use of the bold-faced font and exclamation mark saying “We Can Do It!” is much more aggressive in comparison to the second image of Rosie, which is significantly less aggressive and more passive. Even the image of Rosie herself, with her eyebrows raised, stern face, muscles protruding, shorthair, are more masculine than the second image. The first image is definitely an image used to dominate and show that women should be a part of the work force, because they are just as powerful and domineering as their male counterparts. I think the second image makes more of an assertive argument for women involved in national public service and in the work force. Overall, the image is a more feminine version of Rosie and still represents the ideals, which she stands for.

It’s really interesting to see how one image can be altered and having different argumentative meanings and interpretations, especially such a timeless image as the image of Rosie the Riveter.

Ideas

I’ve been thinking about some ideas for who and what I wanted to research and write about for my first unit paper.  Through talking to my parents, friends, and some intense googling I’ve found a list and narrowed it down to the most famous and revoluntionary Latinas.

Here’s a list of ideas:

1.  Nydia Velazquez: the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the United States Congress.
It would be interesting to look at how Velazquez introduced and established the role of not only a women, but a Boricua in such a white populated government organization.

2.  Carolina Herrera: world reknown fashion designer and entreprenuer, one of the best dressed and most idolized women in the world.
She is probably the most famous fashion designer of Latin descent. I think researching her life, how she began, and the way she has changed the fashion world would be fascinating.

3. Eva Peron: served as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946-1952. Known for her charitable (Eva Peron foundation) and feminist works. Fought for women’s suffrage and also founded the nation’s first large female political party, the Peronist feminist party.

While all of these women are fascinating and their accomplishments in life have truly impacted society. I think Eva Peron defines a Latina feminist. She is without a doubt had one of the most influential and revoluntionary women. Eva Peron’s importance simply rests in the fact that she single-handly destroyed barriers and opened a door for all political active women to step through.
…she even has a Broadway musical written about her…what more could you ask for!!