Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Week 5 Presentation: Iu-Mien Women

Linda Phan
ASA 150E
Week 5 Presentation
This week’s presentation was on the marginalization of Iu-Mien women in America. These women mainly lived in a matriarchal family structure since the patriarchal one began to fall apart with the advent of the Vietnam war. The men were brought in as guerilla soldiers for the U.S. to fight the communists. Many died in war, leaving their wives to tend for the children and old and find substinence to sustain the family. The presentation focused on the aftermath of the Iu-Mien diaspora in the United States, specifically, how Iu-Mien women do not have a strong voice due to the economic and cultural factors that affect them.

The presentation covered the main points of the article which was how Iu-Mien women developed a sense of resilience despite their physical living conditions and responsibilities. I thought that while the points of the article were covered, the explanations were very brief and generalized. Given that the article had a very small sample size, the presenters took this article and generalized it to all Iu-Mien women, which does not accurately portray all populations of these women. The presenters covered most main points in the article such as having a large number of children most Iu-Mien women had to take care of in addition to their extended family in, often single-handedly while still being able to preserver. Their strength grew from their acceptance of their current situation, patience, reframing their experiences, and the Iu-Mien community interdependence. I felt that the presentation was very brief such that it did not take up the majority of the class time and facts were given without any way for the audience to really understand the impact of the facts. For example, the presenters mentioned that these Iu-Mien women had difficult lives but the explanations were not sufficient to really get the point across. I feel that if a video was shown, the visual aid would provoke an emotional response in the audience to really help the audience better understand what the women were going through. Because most of the audience cannot relate well to these women, the impact of the explanations of these women’s circumstances are devalued because it becomes more of a fact than a better understanding.

I would suggest for future presentations that the group provide visual examples to supplement their explanations to allow the audience to better understand and retain the information presented. Facts can easily be remembered but also as easily forgotten. Emotional responses provoke a sense of common ground and familiarity that will be retained long after the presentation is over. In addition, i suggest more elaborate explanations of the main points of the presented topic. While I understood the point the presenters were trying to convey, I attribute this to my strong background of Southeast Asian experiences in the United States. Without this prior background, the presentation would be very vague to me and I would better understand the material simply by reading the article on my own instead of having the same facts repeated to me.

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