Unit I. English language as a world language



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Impossible’To Rape Woman In Jeans, Italian Court Rules

ROME – Female lawmakers wore jeans to parliament yesterday to protest a ruling by Italy's highest ap­peals court that it is impossible to rape a woman wearing jeans. "Jeans: An alibi for rape," read the sign held up by five deputies. The court overturned Wednesday a rape conviction against Carmine Cris-tiano, a 45-year-old driving instructor sentenced in 1996 to two years and eight months in prison for the rape of his 18-year-old student.

"It is common knowledge ... that jeans cannot even be partly removed without the effective help of the per­son wearing them and it is impossible if the victim is struggling with all her force," the court explained.Mr. Cristiano's lawyers insisted the woman had consented to having sex with him and that there had been no evidence of violence.

"This ruling is shameful. It offends the dignity of women," said Alessandra Mussolini, a deputy of the rightist National Alliance. "Women are already scared of re­porting rapes, this just makes it worse. "It is a dangerous signal for all women in Italy and we will wear jeans until it is overturned," Ms. Mussolini added.


Answer the questions:

  1. Does the problem of woman maltreatment exist in your country?

  2. What are the ways of solving this problem?


Is Feminism Still Important?

The new millennium has been a time for reflection on the ideas and movements that have shaped British politics and influenced sociology. Feminism has not escaped examination. On the contrary, the question of the relevance of feminism has become an important issue since the late 1990s. This is partly a genera­tional reassessment; 30 years after the second feminist wave (the Women's Libera­tion Movement) feminism is facing a real test. Are its ideas and theories relevant to twenty-first century life? What can feminism offer those women (and men) who were not even born when it was last at its height? Three recent books offer some answers: Natasha Walter's The New Feminism, Germaine Creer's The Whole Woman and Imelda Whelehan's Overloaded: Popular Culture and the Future of Feminism.


Equality feminism

Natasha Walter is sure feminism is still rele­vant today. In The New Feminism (1998) she makes her case by citing structural factors such as pay inequalities: women still earn only 60-80% of the male wage. Women may fail to get jobs or promotion as they are viewed, economically, as a 'bad risk', who will cost employers money because of maternity leave. At the end of the twentieth century women still constituted only 18% of hospital consultants, 7% of university professors and 4.5% of company directors.

It could be argued that women are not getting these top jobs because they lack rele­vant qualifications or experience. Yet, with more girls doing well in education – better than boys in some cases, this seems unlikely to be true. It is clear that without affordable childcare women who are mothers find it very difficult to undertake paid work. But some research suggests that much of this absence of women from top jobs is still due to sexual discrimination.

Walter identifies legal inequalities also, for example the way in which women in rape cases have been made to face prolonged interrogation about their sexual past (as if to 'prove' their consent) whereas their alleged attackers are not subjected to the same scrutiny.

Walter's feminism could be termed 'equality feminism', for the key focus of her book is that women must have formal and material equality – financially, education­ally, legally – with men. Walter believes that most women want this and that there is a new feminism among young British women. However, she thinks that, although many women are sympathetic to this 'new' feminism, they are often reluctant to call themselves feminists for fear of association with the old, negative stereotype of feminist – the man-hating, miserable woman. Walter argues that this stereotype has arisen through the ideas feminists put forward in the 1970s, most notably the notion that 'the personal is political'.

This famous slogan was intended to demonstrate that personal experiences, such as sexuality and motherhood, were the site of unequal power relationships. It illumin­ated the ways in which the understanding of domestic responsibilities as 'women's work' prevented women from earning money outside the home. Most importantly, it made 'private' issues such as domestic violence and rape within marriage visible, and led to the provision of refuges and to new legislation to protect women (Jowett 2000).

However, in Walter's opinion, the slogan is a hindrance to modern feminism. Although it was successful in giving women the knowledge and ability to ensure that they were not oppressed in their personal lives, it diverts attention from real inequality and it loses the women who would call themselves feminists if it were not for the unattractive stereotype. By hanging on to the slogan, feminism loses out twice.
Is the personal still political?

Walter's attempt to divorce this slogan from 'new' feminism has met with some crit­icism. Katharine Viner (1999) has argued that many aspects of women's personal lives remain political, for example the fact that women are judged more harshly than men if they have many sexual partners, being labelled 'slag', as a term of abuse, rather than 'stud', the 'complimentary' name for a sexually active man. (Indeed, the example of legal inequality Walter identifies in rape cases could be seen as both personal and political.)

Viner accepts that feminism may have become unpopular because it has been associated with a stereotype of dogmatic women who tried to tell other women how to run their personal lives. But she says that this stereotype is both inaccurate and unfair (Viner 1999):

The personal as the political was never meant to be a prescription of how to live your life. It was never meant to be a rallying cry to shave off your hair and take up with the lady next door. But what it was really meant to do was create an awareness of how our personal lives are ruled by political factors...To accept that the personal is still political is to be realistic. It is not to say that political changes – equal pay, childcare, welfare support for single mothers – are not important...But the personal – body image, intimate relation­ships, women's portrayal in the media – cannot be ignored.

Imelda Whelehan echoes Viner in sensing a danger in the work of Walter, which seems to view this stereotype of feminism as an accurate image of past feminists. Whelehan (2000) says that Walter's optimism for the future is infectious: 'It is just regrettable that the feminism of the future is being built upon a certain amnesia about the past.'


Liberation feminism

Cermaine Creer's influential book. The Female Eunuch (1970), is credited as one of the key works of the Women's Liberation Movement, and Greer has spoken and writ­ten about feminism for many years. As a result, her new book, The Whole Woman (1999), was awaited with much anticipation. Greer agrees with Natasha Walter that fem­inism remains necessary in modem Britain. But Greer's key contention is that aiming for 'equality' with men is simply not enough. She says that although equality legislation has been in place for decades, women still face oppression in their personal lives; for example, they feel pressured into trying to look slim or feminine. Greer argues that 'equality legislation could not give me the right to have broad hips or hairy thighs, to be at ease in my woman's body'.

Moreover, Greer asks' 'Who do women want to be equal to?' This may remind us all that not everything is perfect for men and that they can suffer oppression through their class, their 'race', their sexuality, their (dis) ability, and even their gender – when, for example, they lose out in custody cases because they are automatically seen as the secondary parent. Greer writes: The notion of equality takes the male status quo as the condition to which women aspire...the visionary feminists of the late sixties and early seventies knew that women could never find freedom by agreeing to live the lives ofunfree men.'

Imelda Whelehan echoes Greer's critique of Walter when she says that within Walter's feminism 'the only possible aim is equality within patriarchy'.


Liberation or equality?

Greer suggests that women should be aiming for a feminism based upon 'libera­tion' rather than 'equality'. Liberation, she argues, is about asserting the differences between men and women, and trying to work out just what women's (and men's) lives would be like if they were not weighed down by gendered ideas such as 'masculinity' and 'femininity'.

The disagreement between those who favour focusing upon the differences between men and women and those who wish to argue that men and women are inherently equal is an important one. Feminists have often been seriously divided between those who believed that women and men should be treated the same and those who believe that women have different needs and priorities.

For some, the drive to argue that men and women are equal degrades women's special qualities and roles, particularly as mothers and carers. For others, the danger in focusing on women's differences is the potential for those differences to be used as a reason to deny women the same opportunities and freedoms as men.

The concept of 'liberation' may seem a great idea, but it is difficult to isolate just what it means or to translate it into a work­able plan of action. After all, the formal, structural successes of the feminist move­ment – the Equal Pay and Sex Discrimina­tion Acts – were achieved by equality feminists who worked at a grassroots level to make sure that women enjoyed the same formal status and privileges as men.
Popular culture and the future of feminism

Imelda Whelehan in her new book, Over­loaded (2000), is as strong as Natasha Walter and Germaine Creer on the question of fem­inism's importance: she feels it is still rele­vant and necessary. Whelehan is particularly interested in the ideas of 'choice' and 'con­trol' in relation to feminism. She argues that popular culture – magazines, newspapers, television – is laden with the idea that young women have control over their lives and the ability to make choices over their lifestyles. Whelehan thinks that this focus on lifestyle choices detracts from the continued existence of important structural barriers which work against equality, such as unequal pay and lack of childcare. She also thinks it encourages the false idea that women can choose to do whatever they like, regardless of their position and circumstances, when in reality women are variously discriminated against through their class, 'race', sexuality and (dis)ability as well as their gender.

Whelehan wants us to question whether some apparent 'choices' for women are real ones. An example could be that of tabloid page-3 models. Is becoming a page-3 model really a choice, freely taken, or are the women who do it simply persuaded by money? And even if they are not directly pressured, perhaps we should ask what it says about the value of women's intelligence and their hard work when some women get paid more for exposing their naked bodies than they do for working in a shop, an office, a classroom or a courtroom?
The future of feminism - the same old story?

Like Walter, Whelehan thinks that many young women actually agree with the ideas of feminism but are reluctant to identify themselves as feminists. Whelehan argues that this problem for feminism is linked to the ideas of 'choice' and 'control' we hear so much about. Because we know that some things have improved a lot for women over the last 30 years and because we are continually told that women can 'control' their own lives, when we hear feminists talk about the power imbalances between men and women or the idea that women have less 'choice' than they think they have, we see them as silly, out of date and pat­ronising. Whelehan comments that women who are sympa­thetic to feminism 'are baffled to find that, despite common­place assertions that women's lot has improved immeasur­ably, many feminists are still busily claiming that things are no better'.

It may be that feminist achievements have created a space for further critical thought, through which other issues have emerged for consideration. It is not that things haven't improved for women but that we all think more carefully about gender now: the work of feminists and sociologists has pointed out how important the issue is within society.

Despite her own recent intervention in the debate, Cermaine Creer (1999) comments that it is up to women in each generation to devise their own agenda, based upon what they feel is important. Both Walter and Whelehan sense that young women desire a modern feminism of their own, which they themselves will define. As Whelehan specu­lates: 'A new generation's engagement with feminism may throw up some surprising results in the next century.'
Answer the questions:


  1. What is your attitude to feminism and emancipation of women’s rights?

  2. In what spheres are men and women still not equal?


WHY I WANT TO HAVE A FAMILY

Lisa Brown
When she wrote the following essay, Lisa Brown was a junior majoring in American Studies at the University of Texas. In her essay, which was published as a "My Turn" column in the October 1984 issue of Newsweek on Campus, she uses a variety of transitional devices to put together a coherent argument that many women in their drive to success have overlooked the potential for fulfillment inherent in good relationships and family life.

For years the theory of higher education operated something like this: men went to college to get rich, and women went to college to marry rich men. It was a wonderful little setup, almost mathematical in its precision. To disturb it would have been to rock an American institution.

During the '60s, though, this theory lost much of its luster. As the nation began to recognize the idiocy of relegating women to a secondary role, women soon joined men in what once were male-only pursuits. This rebellious decade pushed women toward independence, showed them their potential and compelled them to take charge of their lives. Many women took the opportunity and ran with it. Since then feminine autonomy has been the rule, not the exception, at least among college women.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the invisible push has turned into a shove. Some women are downright obsessive about success, to the point of becoming insular monuments to selfishness and fierce bravado, the condescending sort that hawks: "I don't need anybody. So there." These women dismiss children and marriage as unbearably outdated and potentially harmful to their up-and-coming careers. This notion of independence smacks of egocentrism. What do these women fear? Why can't they slow down long enough to remember that rela­tionships and a family life are not inherently awful things?

Granted that for centuries women were on the receiving end of some shabby treatment. Now, in an attempt to liberate college women from the constraints that forced them almost exclusively into teaching or nursing as a career outside the home – always subject to the primary career of motherhood – some women have gone too far. Any notion of motherhood seems to be regarded as an unpleasant reminder of the past, when homemakers were imprisoned by husbands, tots and household chores. In short, many women consider motherhood a time-consuming obstacle to the great joy of working outside the home.

The rise of feminism isn't the only answer. Growing up has something to do with it, too. Most people find themselves in a bind as they hit their late 20s: they consider the ideals they grew up with and find that these don't necessarily mix with the ones they've acquired. The easiest thing to do, it sometimes seems, is to throw out the precepts their parents taught. Growing up, my friends and I were enchanted by the idea of starting new traditions. We didn't want self-worth to be contingent upon whether there was a man or child around the house to make us feel wanted.

I began to reconsider my values after my sister and a friend had babies. I was entertained by their pregnancies and fascinated by the births; I was also thankful that I wasn't the one who had to change the diapers every day. I was a doting aunt only when I wanted to be. As my sister's and friend's lives changed, though, my attitude changed. I saw their days flip-flop between frustration and joy. Though these two women lost the freedom to run off to the beach or to a bar, they gained something else – an abstract happiness that reveals itself when they talk about Jessica's or Amanda's latest escapade or vocabulary addition. Still in their 20s, they shuffle work and motherhood with the skill of poker players. I admire them, and I marvel at their kids. Spending time with the Jessicas and Amandas of the world teaches us patience and sensitivity and gives us a clue into our own pasts. Children are also reminders that there is a future and that we must work to ensure its quality.

Now I feel challenged by the idea of becoming a parent. I want to decorate a nursery and design Halloween costumes; I want to answer my children's questions and help them learn to read. I want to be unselfish. But I've spent most of my life working in the opposite direction: toward independence, no emotional or financial strings attached. When I told a friend – one who likes kids but never, ever wants them – that I'd decided to accommodate motherhood, she accused me of undermining my career, my future, my life. "If that's all you want, then why are you even in college?" she asked.

The answer's simple: I want to be a smart mommy. I have solid career plans and look forward to working. I make a distinction between wanting kids and wanting nothing but kids. And I've accepted that I'll have to give up a few years of full-time work to allow time for being pregnant and buying Pampers. As for undermining my life, I'm proud of my decision because I think it's evidence that the women's movement is working. While liberating women from the traditional child-bearing role, the movement has given respectability to motherhood by recognizing that it's not a brainless task like dishwashing. At the same time, women who choose not to have children are not treated as oddities. That certainly wasn't the case even 15 years ago. While the graying, middle-aged bachelor was respected, the female equivalent –tagged a spinster – was automatically suspect.

Today, women have choices: about careers, their bodies, children. I am grateful that women are no longer forced into motherhood as a (unction of their biology; it’s senseless to assume that having a uterus qualifies anyone to be a good parent. By (he same token, it is ridiculous for women to abandon all maternal desire because it might jeopardize personal success. Some women make the decision to go childless without ever analyzing their true needs or desires. They forget that motherhood can add to personal fulfillment.

I wish those fiercely independent women wouldn’t look down 10 upon those of us who, for whatever reason, choose to forgo much of the excitement that runs in tandem with being single, liberated and educated. Excitement also fills a family life; it just comes in different ways.

I’m not in college because I’ll learn how to make tastier pot 11 roast. I’m a student because I want to make sense of the world and of myself. By doing so, I think I’D be better prepared to be a mother to the new lives that I might bring into the world. I’ll also be a better me. It’s a package deal I don’t want to turn down.


I. Answer the questions:

        1. What is Brown arguing for in this essay? What does she say prompted a change in her attitude? (Glossary: Attitude)

        2. Against what group is Brown arguing? What does she find wrong with the beliefs of that group?

        3. What reasons does she provide for wanting to have a family?

        4. Identify Brown's use of transitions in paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9. How do these help you as a reader to follow her point?

        5. What are the implications for you of Brown's last two sentences in paragraph 6: "Spending time with the Jessicas and Amandas of the world teaches us patience and sensitivity and gives us a clue into our pasts. Children are also the reminders that there is a future and that we must work to ensure its quality"?

        6. For what audience do you think this essay is intended? Do you think men would be as interested as women in the author's viewpoint? Explain. (Glossary: Audience)


II. Suggested Writing Assignments:

              1. Write an essay in which you argue any one of the follow­ing positions with regard to the women's movement: it has gone loo far; it is out of control; it is misdirected; it hasn't gone far enough or done enough; it needs to reach more women and men; it should lower its sights; a position of your own different from the above. Whichever position you argue, be sure that you provide sufficient evidence to support your point of view.

              2. Fill in the following statement and write an argument in support of it: The purpose of a college education is to ____________.

Contents
Introduction………………………………………………………………3

I. English language as a world language…………………………………4

International English……………………………………………………4

The transatlantic connection.......................................................................6

English, the language, reconquering polyglot India...................................8

Simplicity...................................................................................................10

II. Travelling..................................................................................................15

The art of travelling abroad.......................................................................15

Zanzibar: tourism and conservation..........................................................16

Ecotourism in Amazonia...........................................................................19

Eight ways to protect your health while travelling...................................20

Your way to America................................................................................23

Amsterdam................................................................................................24

III. Healthy way of life. Traditional and non-traditional medicine...........25

Alternative medicine.................................................................................25

What is acupuncture?................................................................................26

Homeopathy..............................................................................................28

The most important day............................................................................29

Fast food and nutrition..............................................................................32



IV. Third World countries. Demographic situation....................................33

The world’s urban explosion....................................................................33

Too crowded for comfort?........................................................................36

Where the Third World is first..................................................................39

Rural-urban migration in Colombia..........................................................40

New medicines for the developing world.................................................43



V. Family matters...........................................................................................47

Family life...........................................................................................47

Better to stay married for children’s sake...........................................50

The problems of a family..........................................................................52

The marriage debate..................................................................................54

VI. Racial prejudice.......................................................................................57

The ethnic dimension................................................................................57

Sport, Racism And Inequality.............................................................60

Fry aims “to build a rainbow world”........................................................65

Policies of race still haunt South Africa...................................................65

VII. Women and modern society..................................................................66

A social profile: gender.............................................................................66

Impossible to rape woman in jeans, Italian Court Rules..........................69

Is feminism still important?......................................................................69



Why I want to have a family?...................................................................74





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