In Search Of Respect: Selling Crack In El Barrio Analysis

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This essay will address how gender roles are discussed in Philippe Bourgois ethnographic book, ‘In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio’. This will be pursued by exploring one of the key characters in this text. This essay will primarily centre on the role of women based of the stories of Candy. The other main characters in this text are of male gender. Primo, who runs the crack house for his boss Ray and Caesar who works in the underground economy for his friend Primo. Bourgois’ study takes place in El Barrio where underemployment, social marginalisation, drugs, violence and misogyny are prevalent. Patriarchy is in crisis as gender roles are in reverse. Both male and females are trying to maintain power and respect.
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With the lack of local community, social marginalisation and growth of women’s rights, men are failing to keep their once prevalent status of dominance. As traditional roles collapse of men providing for the family economically the role of women and men have changed. The problem facing the women is the men attempting to beat them into submission through abuse and sexual violence. This has resulted in misogyny being a part of street culture in El Barrio. Men publicly assert their power through their hatred for women and girls. Bourgois expresses misogyny being part of street culture when he mentions a comment made by a neighbour, eleven year old Angel. Angel tells them about his hopes of his mother giving birth to a boy due to the evidence in El Barrio that girls are occurring victims of rape (2003:…show more content…
She was no stranger to abuse and sexual violence. In Bourgois’ book, Candy says she was abused by her father until the age of thirteen (2003: 218). This is an example of men lashing out to regain authority. She threatened his authority by warning him that she would run away and elope if the beatings did not stop (2003: 218). Bourgois explains what he has learned from Candy about the cultural traditions. Without the traditional community they once would have had in Puerto Rico, there was no intervention to stop child abuse. As a teenage girl, Candy went against her father’s dominate role by running away. It was not uncommon for such instance to occur Puerto Rico. The family faced no shame by a runaway daughter as long as she allowed her lover to have complete control. Usually a girl would have the aid of her community to bring her to a new male-dominate household and away from her father’s abuse (2003: 219). This tradition followed Candy to an extent. Alone on the streets Candy was raped by the street gang of her future husband’s. Instead of finding safety, she was a victim of misogyny. She had become pregnant at the age of thirteen and married Felix, the leader of the gang who had committed the crime against her. Candy continues to suffer abuse as she became, ‘a child-abuse wife.’ as she says in Bourgois’ book (2003:
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