Monday, November 12, 2007

G A T C: The Building Blocks of Discrimination

The world of Gattaca portrays a bleak and dark futuristic society based on biologic hegemony. It is a world in which a person’s DNA strands and genomics destine their place in a caste system: Valid or Invalid. In the ideology of Gattaca, one must have a “genetic quotient second to none”; all the defects eliminated through engineering. To have begun life as a natural zygote or “God’s hand instead of a geneticist’s” is to trudge through life as a second-class citizen or Invalid. Those that are genetically engineered have a higher role than God; they wield all the power, benefits, and glory of achievement. Invalids, hence, are subjected to a life of purgatory. In Gattaca, the powers that be have “discrimination down to a science.”
Gattaca mirrors life in that Invalids are representative of women’s lives. Biology plays a major role in the film, as does real life. We can safely say that our society as an organization is gendered, “advantage and disadvantage, exploitation and control, action and emotion, meaning and identity, are patterned through and in of a distinction between male and female, masculine and feminine.” (211) We can deconstruct the 5 process of Frame 3 to illustrate this point.
Women like Invalid usually play supporting roles in most organizations. There are the exceptions of women and Vincents that outwit the dominant group. In doing so, women often have to adapt to rules of the divisions of labor.
Symbols and Images. Like Gattaca, the symbols of leadership today are that of masculinity. Even the Valid women in the film must adhere to this image. Their hair is held tightly in a bun, their wardrobe is masculine-influenced, and their speech/body language is structured to that of men. Is it similar today’s world? The images of world, business, social, and religious leadership all point in the same direction.
Communication interaction. Throughout Gattaca, Invalids are spoken to not with. Machines often tell an Invalid if he is welcomed or not. The communication is also non-verbal; Valids are upright, forward-looking and confident in stature. Invalids look downward and never at a Valid’s eyes, slouching, and disheveled. Even amongst Invalids, the language spoken is usually of a defeatist nature, hopelessness. Recall how Vincent’s supervisor speaks to him. In today world, observe the communication between women/men, women/women, men/men. The language usually reflect that women are not in power.
Identity reinforcement. The career choices, dress, and communication of Invalids are blatant. The above 3 processes are practiced over and over by women in today’s world. In her book, Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich uses first person research methods to illustrate this point. Women will often times restructure and reinforce their identity to subserviency. Many times, they do this without realizing it, creating a vicious cycle.
Fundamental element in “organizational logic”. Just as Invalids in Gattaca ‘become’ Invalids, women are often the product of the daily practices of domination and culture of subserviency.

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