Friday, July 23, 2010
I think that many people have thrown in the towel of feminist change so to speak. This is especially true of people in the US because we are certainly privileged when compared to developing countries. Despite the fact that women in the US can now vote, go to college, and start careers while raising a family is a big feat. However, there are gender stereotypes, the media, and attitudes of our culture that are harmful to women. Women can never truly be themselves because they have to speak, look, and act like a woman. Women are still discouraged from working toward certain “manly” careers as we can see from the low number of female computer science majors at JMU for example. You can even say women’s lives are becoming more stressful because many have to juggle both a career and the screaming children.
Educating people about feminism is not enough to promote the change we need. Both men and women alike must be aware of their dialogue, communicate to our partners that responsibilities should be shared, and be mindful of the media and musical culture and how it can subconsciously reinforce our gender stereotypes. We must appreciate the differences of all people and embrace a future of social change.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Due to class and race differences, some women don’t have the choice in their reproductive rights. Women in impoverished situations are often denied birth control and adequate care if they are expecting. This variation of opportunities women have seems to say, “This wealthier white woman’s health and judgment is more important.” In our capitalistic society, this makes perfect sense because everything is driven by profit and morals are thrown out the window.
Reproductive choices are important for women because it gives them a sense of entitlement. So many aspects are life are controlled by men that is nice to be in control of something so valuable and unique to women. Also, many women become pregnant due to rape which is directly influenced by our patriarchal society. Women don’t often have control over rapes but they certainly should have control of the consequences.
JMU has several awareness programs about abuse that I’m sure are quite helpful. There are also emergency phones scattered throughout campus so that students can get help if they need it. However, the dorms are easily accessed by perpetrators because many students either hold the door from them to be nice or they follow another student in that has a card. Much to the inconvenience of students, I think that all dorms should have number codes, because this may provide more safety for all. Another thing to keep in mind is what happens on the weekends. When alcohol comes into play at parties, women are at their most vulnerable to abuse by men. Police can only help with underage drinking outside of apartments and school property, but who is going to help those other college women inside those apartments? The bottom line is that we women must be careful in situations such as these, look after ourselves, and stay with a group of trusted friends who care about your well being.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Outside of the home, women at work often work in more menial jobs and if they don’t, they are still getting paid less. The attitudes employers and other male employees have toward them is also not acceptable. Too often, women face sexual harassment and just a general idea that women are mentally or physically inferior to men when on the job.
When I was working as a server at a restaurant, I noticed that my jobs were limited and that I faced a bit of discrimination because of my gender. For example, on a positive note for me, I was not forced to do any heavy lifting. However, there were also distractions that affected my productivity. My fellow employees would be likely to flirt with me to the point of being obnoxious. I also noticed some women flirting with their customers just so they could receive bigger tips. I tried to never to resort to that one for that purpose. I valued the efforts I put into my job and I think all women should do the same; by not taking advantage of the treatment they can receive just for being a woman. This kind of attention may seem nice, but it is counterproductive because it feeds into sexual stereotypes and the inferiority of women.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Homosexuals probably don’t feel as comfortable with their PDA as heterosexuals do because people tend to judge them negatively. They face a complex, yet most likely freeing situation in their intimacy because they are more likely to be equal and not pressured to take on concrete masculine and feminine roles. Attached to homosexuals, however, are negative attitudes because they are not following the traditional male-female relationship, but do not follow they typical gender roles.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I do recall experiencing gender inequality in my life. For example, I started Tae-Kwon-Do when I was five years old. I was especially weak even for a girl but I think that I was treated differently as opposed to the boys in my classes. For example, we were not made fun of if we did the “girl” pushups with our knees on the floor but there was no excuse for the boys. Also, they seemed to baby us more and have thinner boards for us to break. I think the instructors expected more of the boys and therefore pushed them to be superior to us..this can be applied in many things in life. Just because women are very rare in the Computer Science field doesn’t mean they are less capable, certainly many are. They are just not pushed hard enough or are discouraged from society to pursue the field.
Friday, July 2, 2010
I truly believe that how a man treats a woman while dating reflects the gender expectations he was raised with as well as the role he expects to play in marriage. Although dating roles are becoming slightly less traditional, oftentimes the man plays the dominant role. Perhaps the modern woman will take some initiative and ask the man out herself or make the first phone call. Usually, however, once at the date, the man will be the one driving, holding the door open, paying for the meal, etc. Early on in a relationship, men tend to want to feel masculine, in charge, and generally more powerful than their female partner. It is also more normal for the woman to be the most expressive and loquacious in a conversation while the man sits and admires her beauty; the sex object in front of him.
Once a couple is married, the man carries this attitude into their social life where still today; women usually take over the responsibility of inviting friends over and setting the social calendar. When married couples have disputes, again the man more often than the woman will shut the topic out and bottle things up inside instead of communicating.
This is why it is so difficult to carry through an equal marriage. In order to do so, men and women have to question taught values and gender characteristics that seem to be a given piece of them. The truth is, men and women usually have a mixture of both feminine and masculine traits but repress certain ones because they feel it is inappropriate in our society. An example of this may be a woman holds in a belch and dirty joke at the dinner table or a man who pretends to have an object in his eye when he cries during a sad movie. This repression can truly be a sad way to live, because we are all actors in this big game of life.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
These images of “beautiful” women are everywhere and impossible to ignore unless you are completely sheltered from the world. It is sad because many women go to extreme measure with exercise and diet not with the intention of becoming healthier, but to look like models or to be appealing to men. I believe that life is much more comfortable and rewarding when we are not so absorbed in “fixing” our unique bodies that will never be perfect. This is easier said than done, especially for young women like myself who are immersed in the dating world. I often find myself with negative thoughts toward my body but then I simply go out in public and notice all of the shapes and sizes of women and do you know which people look beautiful to me? The women with confidence! I think that women must simply show more confidence in everything they do in life and these changing attitudes will eventually lead to real change.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
In today’s society, there are numerous groups for women to go to discuss problems, so addressing these problems has to go about differently. I think more men today wish to support women in their equality and should be more of an ally for these causes. A Gender Manifesto could still be used today, however. This is a common set of harsh demands that promote women’s equality. However, I don’t think it is necessary for the list to be harsh because changes must happen gradually at this point. Our social ways are so deeply rooted that it may cause a great uprising of anger from many who have not yet become aware. This manifesto should address things like sexist language, rules on the objectification of women in the media, and equal pay in the workforce. These are all issues that are far from being fixed despite the courageous and ambitious women of the feminist movement.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I think that the more traditional ideas of womanhood are fading in society now. More couples are raising girls to be ambitious, successful, and dominating women who are encouraged to compete with men. We no longer need to experiment with women’s equality; most people will agree it is a positive thing. On the surface, we have achieved equality between man and women, but people must look closer. Yes, women are starting to dominate the workforce. But, we still get paid less than man for the same job. Also, though women are usually not bound to the home, men today still feel awful if their wife happens to be the breadwinner and often judge a woman as gay if she is a tomboy.
Successful First Wave activists were both men and women. However, they all had to be very strong-willed, tough, and ambitious to get the movement to where it is today. Women activists undoubtedly faced severe criticism for behaving in “unladylike” ways but it was worth it. However, I think that because young people didn’t grow up with repression of inequality, we just don’t appreciate the opportunity when it comes to voting. It is more common for people middle-aged and up to vote probably because they knew a world where they had to struggle to be where they want to be.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The fact that women can give birth seems to me like something that should make people respect and admire women. However, in a patriarchal society, this can give men more of a reason to sexualize women and take advantage of their sexuality. Maybe when women are pregnant, they are seen as weak and need to be babied and protected; another way for men to dominate in their relationship.
I think that this type of feminism makes sense in that I believe SOME of the differences in men and women stem from nature. Also, a patriarchal society is a major reason why women continue to live in oppression and small changes DO help. Radical feminists work to promote change in small and seemingly insignificant ways as well such as language. “Due to this, some female radical feminists refer to themselves as “womyn” in order to dissolve any ties to men or males” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_feminism). I feel like small, yet conscious and progressive changes such as this will cumulatively help because society will not accept a radical change so fast. However, I do not agree that all of the “feminine” characteristics should be the norm instead of the “masculine”. I think that it takes a mixture of these traits, inside of every individual, to promote a sound and peaceful society.
Because of the varying degrees and beliefs of feminists, stereotypes can certainly not be seen as viable ways of judging the idea of feminism. It is someone’s attitude and ideas that make them a feminist, not how much they refuse to look like society expects them to look or how badly they hate men. Most feminists do not hate men, and in fact, are married to men and wish for them to become allies in their cause. Something that all feminists want though, is equality for women and this should not be far fetched.
It seems like just about everything in society mimics appropriate (stereotypical) ways for men and women to behave. Movies depict male characters as heroic, tough, aggressive creatures and women as sexual, passive people that men can lean on or walk over. Music, especially today’s, is overtly sexual and degrading to women. Parents also pass down these attitudes on to their children by making an effort to educate girls more on manners, giving gendered toys, etc. Learned gender roles are ingrained in our culture with such deep roots that people don’t even think about it by passing it off as just a part of their personality.
Gender is also seen in the way men and women move their bodies. Because of a combination of women’s inferiority to men and the culture of how women and men should look, distinguishable differences arise in body language. Women are told nowadays that they should be model thin and therefore women are more self conscious. When sitting down, women tend to cross their legs and they walk with small and less relaxed movements. Women are not supposed to take up too much space body wise as well as in society. Men, in contrast can usually be seen seated with their legs spread out and walk with big, confident movements. This is an example of how male feelings of dominance and power finds its in the more subtle things seen in life. What is interesting is that these differences in body movements are widespread among males and females, regardless of whether the man is poor and jobless or the woman is in a high place of authority.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I would consider myself a person who is striving to be more of a feminist. I display many “typical” characteristics of a woman that our patriarchal society approves of. I love children and am pursuing a career in teaching, I am sensitive and enjoy sappy Romantic Comedies, I am passive and let others take the lead in many situations, and I think it is “charming” when men baby women and open doors. Something I hope to gain out of taking this course is to gain some insight as to the gender socialization in my life that might have contributed to the personality I have today. I feel comfortable with my personality but I think that in order for me to contribute, even in small ways to the feminist movement, I need to learn to step out of my box and just relax like it seems men innately know how to do. I need to uncross my legs, walk with long and purposeful strides, and refuse to let people talk down to me! This is of course easier said than done, but it is a goal nonetheless.
I would define feminism as the idea that all women deserve the same opportunities in society as men and they should be valued for what they contribute to all aspects of life. It is also the idea that it should be acceptable for both men and women to display their gender in any way they wish even if they don’t fit the gender norms. Gender stereotypes are a major crisis in society because they can hold people, especially women, back from achieving their true potential. For example, I’ve always wondered why men always seem to be better at math and science and these types of majors are dominated in the universities. I don’t believe this is simply a difference in the biology of the sexes but instead, society telling these boys that they should be good at math therefore boosting their confidence in the subject. On the other hand, I have always been terrible at math to the point where I feel nervous and sick walking into a math test. Perhaps I was not pushed hard enough when I was little partly because of gender and therefore now look at a math problem and give up right away.
I do not believe that equality between the sexes has been achieved. Yes, there has significant progress in the opportunities women have in the workplace and education. On the surface, it all looks fine and dandy. However, what is hidden beneath the surface may seem harmless. These things could include language, small gestures (men holding doors, paying for dinner), and the still widespread wage gap between the sexes for the exact same job. Many people don’t think that equal opportunity is a dire issue any more and therefore say and do nothing, thus encouraging that the cycle of patriarchy doesn’t die.