Tips on how to approach CAT Reading Comprehension passages
- Don’t get into the minor details of the passage; just focus on what each paragraph has to say
- As you read, create a map of the passage; you must remember what thing is located where in the passage
- Once you read the question, come back to the part of the passage that is likely to have the answer
- Compare the options and eliminate the incorrect choices based on the evidence that you see in the passage
- Choose the answer once you are convinced of the right choice
PassageIn a society little dedicated to sustaining relationships, encouraging cooperation and community, recognizing the value of collaboration, or rewarding altruism rather than greed, women have historically defined, defended, and sustained a set of insights, values, and activities which, if never dominant, at least provided a counterweight and an alternative ideal to the anomie, disconnectedness, fragmentation, and commercialization of our culture.
Many of us saw women’s experiences and concerns as the source of a sorely needed transformative vision—a profound commitment to the emotional and physical activities, attitudes, and ethical comportment that help people grow and develop, that nurture and empower them, affirming their strengths and helping them cope with their weaknesses, vulnerabilities and life crises.
When America’s masculine-dominated, marketplace culture has not openly thwarted women’s hopes and dreams, it has often tried to co-opt women’s liberation. Thus, while many women have remained faithful to this vision and still struggle valiantly to make it a reality, it has been difficult for millions of others to resist a barrage of messages from corporate America and the media that define mastery and liberation in competitive, marketplace terms. Corporate America and the media have declared that feminism triumphs when women gain the opportunity to compete in what Abraham Lincoln once called the great “race of life.”
Following a classic pattern in which the victims of aggression identify with their aggressors, many prominent advocates within the highly competitive capitalist marketplace have themselves embraced this masculinized corruption. Placing competition above caring, work above love, power above empowerment, and personal wealth above human worth, corporate America has created a late-twentieth-century hybrid—a refashioned feminism that takes traditional American ideas about success and repackages them for the new female contestants in the masculine marketplace.
This hybrid is equal-opportunity feminism—an ideology that abandons transformation to adaptation, promoting male-female equality without questioning the values that define the very identity it seeks. From the equal-opportunity feminism first envisaged in The Feminine Mystique to that promoted today by Working Woman and Savvy magazines, and the dozens of primers that promote the dress-for-success philosophy that often pretends to speak for all of feminism, progress and liberation have been defined in male, market terms. While some equal-opportunity feminists pay lip service to the work of their more care-oriented sisters, claiming that they would support a broad agenda that addresses our caring needs, the overarching mission of many is to help women adapt to the realities of the masculine marketplace. In this environment, the goal of liberation is to be treated as a man’s equal in a man’s world. We had hoped that by going into the marketplace and taking our posts there as individuals, we would somehow subvert it.
It is, of course, true that a great many professional women are deeply concerned about the fate of personal, political and social life in modern America. They express great disenchantment but nonetheless seem caught in a gilded cage.
Many believed that our femininity would protect us, that the force of our feminism would make us invulnerable to the seductive logic of either patriarchy or capitalism. What we had not counted on was the ability of the marketplace to seduce and beguile the best and the brightest, its capacity to entrap us in its rules and entangle us in its imperatives. A few women have won great wealth and privilege. But, not unlike men in similar positions, many of them are unwilling to jeopardize what they’ve acquired in order to work for change. Some are so caught up in their own personal sagas that they have forgotten the women who have been left behind.
Question: In the context of the sentence “Following a classic pattern in which the victims of aggression identify with their aggressors, many prominent advocates within the highly competitive capitalist marketplace have themselves embraced this masculinized corruption,” (lines 27-31) the word “aggressors” refers to:
[A] corporate America and the media.
[B] equal-opportunity feminists.
[C] advocates of women’s liberation.
[D] male chauvinists.
Question: Suppose an equal-opportunity feminist were to argue that the basic goal of feminism is to eliminate the barriers that keep women from competing with men on an equal basis. The author of the passage would most likely counter this stance by arguing that:
[A] many women have already been assimilated to the marketplace.
[B] the desire to compete is contrary to true feminist ideals.
[C] the greatest barrier is the dissension among the ranks of feminists.
[D] women should aim not for equality but for eventual dominance.
Question: Adopting the author’s views as presented in the passage would most likely mean acknowledging which of the following points?
[A] Feminism as a movement has lost touch with its roots.
[B] Attainment of personal success in the traditional sense is not the highest of ideals.
[C] Wealth and privilege have no intrinsic personal value.
[D] The marketplace is but one of the societal spheres that are male-dominated.
Question: Which of the following would the author most readily accept as an explanation of the fact that many professional women do not speak out about the need to care?
[A] Women who are deemed troublesome are often passed over for promotion.
[B] The philosophy of caring has been shown to be detrimental to business practice.
[C] Professional women prefer to lead by example rather than through activism.
[D] Transformative feminism has completely replaced Equal-opportunity feminism.
Question: The author’s claim in the passage that “some [women] are so caught up in their own personal sagas that they have forgotten the women who have been left behind” (lines 71-73) is:
[A] supported by the personal experience of the author.
[B] supported by a comparison with the male experience of the marketplace.
[C] not supported by any specific evidence given in the passage.
[D] inconsistent with the assumptions and logical reasoning of the passage.
Question: Based on the information in the passage, which of the following opinions could most reasonably be ascribed to an equal-opportunity feminist?
[A] The woman has to play by traditional rules in order to be a successful professional.
[B] The commitment to caring is bankrupt as a feminist strategy.
[C] The marketplace will become more humane as more women gain positions of power.
[D] Women have finally attained equality with men in the marketplace.