3690: A Journal of First-Year Student Research Writing


Cora HawnFollow

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Overview: In Ireland, both the patriarchy and the strong mothers seem to be timeless, but they exist in a delicate balance to one another. The Irish mothers who presented as a strong constant have always been capable of overtaking the patriarchy, yet the patriarchy has been a burden on Irish mothers for much of the nation’s history. The beautiful irony is that this patriarchy, a society where men are granted an inequitable amount of control, is slowly falling victim to the persistent Irish mothers, as fathers continue to fail their children and leave mothers with no choice but to take the lead. Irish mothers are slowly dominating the patriarchy that has treated them as second class citizens for centuries. Though Ireland is historically a patriarchy, uninvolved fathers, as seen in The Guard and The Snapper are forcing Irish mothers to take back control; this control is the foundation of a matriarchal society.

Author's reflection: My name is Cora Hawn, and I am an Inclusive Childhood Education major with a concentration in Psychology at St. John Fisher. I am also involved in the honors program here at Fisher. While I admittedly had very little knowledge of Irish society going into my 1299, Watching Ireland, I have always had a passions for psychology and sociology. The role that gender plays in societal standards and the blind adherence to societal norms fascinates me, so seeing the strong Irish women that were portrayed in the films of this course was refreshing and exciting. Ireland is known to be a Catholic, and therefore patriarchal, society, but these films painted a different picture of Irish gender roles than I was expecting. I saw families run by the mothers and a notable lack of paternal involvement in their children's lives. I saw the mothers of Ireland taking the power that the fathers of their children were unknowingly relinquishing both in and out of the home.

In writing this paper I found it difficult to hold back the naive idealism that I was tempted to insert throughout. As a woman myself in a universally patriarchal world I needed to draw the line between evidence of a power shift and my own wishful thinking. The first several attempts to write seemed to be infested with opinion and lack the proper evidence to support it. No matter how often I tried, I could not remove my own feminism from my writing, so I decided to lean into it while finding and inserting research based evidence. When I did this I wrote the whole paper in a few hours because it was natural and seemed like writing in a journal more than anything else. I had always been taught that opinions had no place in research based writing like this, that it was meant to be a clinical, dry presentation of findings, but in writing this I discovered how untrue that is. My opinion was my voice, and writing is not meant to be a presentation of facts, but an expression of the author’s voice. It is a form of communication and one’s unique thoughts must be conveyed in their writing as well as the facts that have been gathered.

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