Category Archives: Blog Group 3: Nov. 16 final

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Gender stereotypes and influence

BY Linxin Jiang

Even in this modern society, there are many hidden and visible gender stereotypes that happen every time, every day. Gender stereotypes affect not only a single group of people but the entire population.

No matter what gender or sexual orientation you are, you are being hurt by gender stereotypes in one way or another. For a long time, people had stereotypes in their minds. Men should be powerful, rational, hard working, and good at repairing things. Women are emotional,  good at housework, and they can be less educated as long as they are getting married. To them, everyone should follow the rules; whoever didn’t, became potential targets.

For women, gender stereotypes are very harmful and their aftereffects are extremely prominent. Women can be ignored in the work environment because they used to be labeled as emotional, unprofessional, and good at raising children. Some women don’t even have the right to decide if they want to have a child or not. When a female decides not to have a child, her family might give her enough pressure to make her give up on what she really wants. Their reasons could be that ‘every woman goes through this’, ‘you are so selfish if you don’t have at least one child’,‘when you are getting older, you will regret it’. However, marriage is not as simple as fairy tales portray them to be. Every fairy tale ends with the prince and the princess living happily together. As a woman who is brave enough to get married and have a child. There is a very high chance that she will need to do all the housework and cook for the family, despite going to work just like her husband.

As a female who majors in Computer Science, I have been questioned by others since the first day when I picked this major. No one believes me when I say I picked this major because I love coding, instead they question if I have good logic to write code. When they finally accepted that I want to become a programmer, they suggested that I become a front-end developer because it requires less logic. When I answer by saying I hope I can be a front-end developer only because I love building user interfaces, they always have an “I told you” expression on their faces. They want to tell me how ‘smart’ they are for giving such useful suggestions. Sitting in a classroom where ninety percent of the students are male, I sometimes wonder if studying and working with mostly males is really what I want to do? After two years of exploring the technology field, I came to the realization that I am not the one who needs to change. In addition, I encourage more women to try and explore more about technology.

Most men believe that they don’t need to fight for anything. But the reality is that many of their rights are gone without notice. According to this quote from my People and Language class. One of the articles points out, “Many researchers have reported that both sexes engage in gossip… but its cultural meaning (for us) is undeniably ‘feninine’. Therefore we might expect to find most men avoiding it, or disguising it as something else, especially in mixed settings where they are concerned to mark their difference from women ”(Cameron). To keep their masculinity, they are forced to act like they don’t like gossip.

Men get upset when women try to fight to get their power back. They claim that women already have a lot of power nowadays as opposed to in the past. They stigmatize feminism by saying women who support feminism are asking for more than they deserve and are taking men’s rights and power. They argue that feminism is a means for women to get more money without taking on any responsibilities. Ultimately, they don’t feel that women have been treated unfairly. They even claim that women have more rights and power than men at times, however, it is undeniable that our society is patriarchal. 

Does this mean men don’t need to fight for anything?

The answer is surprisingly no, everyone in this society needs to fight for themselves. This  is because men ask women to follow the gender model. That means, according to their logic, they should be powerful, rational, work hard, and good at repairing things. When men ask women to stay at home to take care of children and do housework, they are asking themselves to work harder to feed everyone in the house. When they ask their wife for anything, they need to consider that their daughters may be placed in the same position when they grow up and get married.

If there are no gender stereotypes, the LGBTQ community wouldn’t have had to go through what they had been through.

At first, the church was against homosexuality. Although we can no longer know the real reason, the following are some popular conjectures. For example: ‘church wants to have better control’, ‘stable population’, and ‘against the Bible story’. When something becomes common sense, it is very difficult for us to break it down. 

According to the video, “Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson”, Michael Lynch said when she thinks about Marsha P. Johnson, she thinks Marsha is someone who kids today who are gay know nothing about which is a shame. Because she‘s one of the reasons they are sitting in all their liberty glory. Marsha paid the price for who she was.

Marsha P. Johnson was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen, who was known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights. She was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

One big thing in Marsha and Sylvia’s life was that they had formed a group called STAR (Street transvestite action revolutionaries). They were able to operate an apartment as a shelter for homeless transgender youths, who were kicked out of their home for being transgender.

During the interview, Michael said: “I’m not intending to live 20 more years. I don’t want 20 more years of this wonderful life of disco romance. They call me a legend in my own time because there are so many queens gone that I’m one of the few queens still left from the 70s.”

Feminism is never just for women. People who are controlling this game want us, men and women, to fight with each other over small things. Therefore, they can take away bigger things from us without notifying us. 

 

References:

Cameron, Deborah. Performing Gender Identity. 1999. 

Frameline Voices – Pay It No Mind: The Life and … – Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo0nYv9QIj4. 

Gender Stereotypes and Western Ideologies in Media

Imagine being stuck in a time loop where you are persistently vouching for the rejection of old traditions pertaining to gender stereotypes and Western ideologies. But, always in the end the men with institutional power rise above your words and have an inconceivable amount of influence over society. No matter how much you chant, talk or fight, you always lose. Gender stereotypes have been deeply ingrained into human beings consciously and unconsciously. And to be honest, how do the men with institutional power even have this much control over society? The answer is with media and capitalism. We as a society consume mass amounts of media and live in a capitalistic economy that fuels off of our consumption and purchase of products. Of course it is fused with unconscious subliminals and a dash of the yearn to control women. Consequently, gender stereotypes are further encouraged by media and capitalism.

There are various forms of media used to control the influence of gender stereotypes but film is a visual story-teller that encourages unconscious ideologies like no other. Naomi Wolf explains it best in her text “The Beauty Myth”. It states, “The resulting hallucination materializes, for women, as something all too real. No longer just an idea, it becomes three-dimensional, incorporating within itself how women live and how they do not live: It becomes the Iron Maiden. The original Iron Maiden was a medieval German instrument of torture, a body-shaped casket painted with the limbs and features of a lovely, smiling young woman” (Wolf 3). The women that do not meet the standards of what it means to be a woman are subject to punishment. They will not find love because no one wants them to bear their child and they will be shunned from society. It is exactly like being placed in the Iron Maiden forced to conform to what society wants you to be while you live unhappily. A perfect example of this is in the feminist horror film Jennifer’s Body which challenges the false ideologies set in place for what categorizes as femininity and addresses women’s rights in a frightening way. 

Jennifer defies the gender stereotypes set in stone for femininity or I would say, uses it to her advantage. As the monstrous feminine Jennifer lures in her male victims through oozing sex appeal, scares them and disembowels them. She feeds on their organs but is fueled by their fear. Jennifer is the complete opposite of what would be categorized as feminine traits, she is aggressive, dominant and independent and as a result she is rejected. This film takes the ideologies set in stone for female sexual identity and the generic stereotypes with the goal to encourage women to realize mens fears is women that can inflict the pain they do. 

Although Jennifer was visibly not conforming to the ideologies set in stone for women and was rejected, the women that strived to be the perfect housewives were also rejected and and even unseen. For example it states in the text “Women, Race and Class” written by Angel Davis, “(The woman) has been isolated in the home, forced to carry out work that is considered unskilled…Her role in the cycle of production remained invisible because only the product of her labor, the laborer, was visible” (Davis 233). It is clear that the women will always deal with the short end of the stick because nothing we do is ever perfect. Even being the perfect housewife that fends off the fear that she is letting life escape her while she is chained to her home is not enough. Being a full time parent is not enough. But women are still influenced by these stereotypes and forced to fulfill them.

In addition, gender stereotypes are further controlled by capitalism. For example in the text, “Women, Race and Class” by Angela Davis, states, “The “housewife” reflected a partial reality, for she was really a symbol of the economic prosperity enjoyed by the emerging working classes” (Davis 229). As a result of the house wife being the symbol of economic prosperity it added another layer of what it meant to be the perfect housewife and that was spending money excessively. Although women were forced to fit the mold of what it meant to be a housewife or else their motherhood was at stake, they were now seen as what Seccombe states “the housewife has tremendous ‘purchasing power’ and that her ‘changing tastes’ affect the market place dramatically, they portray housewives as superficial social parasites, consuming but never producing” (Seccombe 1).

I have come to the conclusion that it is not about us women being enough. We can conform to gender stereotypes and blindly abide to Western ideologies unconsciously or consciously. But men will still yearn to have control and I am willing to fight for a change. Overall, gender stereotypes are further controlled by media and capitalism.

References:

11. Angela Y. Davis. “Women, Race and Class”.2

32. Wally Seccombe. “The Housewife and Her Labour Under Capitalism”.4

52. Naomi Wolf. “The Beauty Myth”.6

Self Love

What do you define self love to be ? When you go on social media, do you see any forms of self-love in women? Self-love is defined as regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. When I am on social media, I see women who are appreciating their self time which is a form of self love because they are taking the time out to reflect on themselves. Reflection is important because one can see how they have changed, which could be a good thing. Change brings about growth which brings happiness. You are now in tune with your inner-self and you have a positive mindset. Picture yourself taking a day off to just relax. You are reading a book and you have on your face masks. How did that make you feel? Were you calm and relaxed? If yes, you have just done a form of self-care. This self-care ties into self-love because you are taking time to love yourself with no distractions. You are able to take a breath and just relax. 

     In the documentary “Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson”, Marsha P. Johnson’s form of self-love was her being a drag queen. She dressed up in her fancy outfits who made her unique while making thousands of people laugh at the shows. It made her happy to see her put a smile on others faces. She has also made progress in this world by herself because her showing her true self made others show their true selves as well. It’s like she made them fall in love with themselves over again. Marsha P.Johnson had a positive outlook on life and that happened because of the self- love she had for herself. Yes, people would be cruel and call her names for that matter but what did she do? She continued to be amazing. To accept self- love, you have to let go of what people think of you whether it’s good or bad, don’t compare yourself to others, trust in yourself when it comes to decision making, etc. Once you do these things, you’re on the right journey to self-love. If someone tells you something about you that hurts your feelings, turn it into a positive statement. If you find yourself comparing yourself to other people, think about how wonderful you are. If you have a hard time making a decision, just trust that the decision you make is one that will be a positive outlook for you. 

    There was one day I decided to have a self-care day. I put my phone down and watched the show I was binge watching at the time. The whole day I went without texting my friends or going on social media. The night came and I did my skincare routine and I felt so relaxed. For me, that was my form of self-love because I tuned out  all distractions to focus on me. I was happy I did so because I got to reflect on myself and while I was reflecting, I noticed that I am someone that always wanted things to be done how I want them to but I came to the conclusion that it’s not possible. I have to wait my turn for when things happen in my life and not rush it. I say this because there was in time I would see all these relationships on social media and I wanted it to be me so badly. I wanted that to be me the same time it was for everyone else. I had to sit back and think “their timing right now,  doesn’t mean it’s yours”. I had to focus on loving myself more because how can I want a relationship with love without loving myself first ? Self-love always starts within yourself is what I’ve learned from this experience. My mom also told me to pray for things that I want to happen and she taught me that God will make it happen when my time is ready for it. This for me was progress and a change I saw happening for myself.

 I hope from this you take that self-love is important for us women because it allows us to bring in the new us. We have to want to do this for ourselves so we can stay connected and not feel like the world is caving in on us. 

The Falsity of the Notion of the Sex Binary

The concept of a gender binary, the notion that you are either man or woman, has been thrown into public discourse enough times that it is now considered to be debunked in many respected academic circles. Many parts of society have already started moving past the notion of fixed roles and expectations based on your sex at birth, which is supposedly determined by your chromosome combination. This is seen in the slow acceptance of the existence of transgender people, with life and identity-affirming accommodations becoming more commonplace. These include the gradual embracement of concepts such as someone choosing to undergo hormone replacement therapy, bottom and top surgeries, and asking for preferred name and pronouns, regardless of how it may appear in identification documents. However, what is far less discussed is the falsity of the sex binary, the idea that you are either a biological male or female. Even within trans circles, there exists the misconception that your biological sex not only exists, but it cannot be changed. It is said that XX chromosomes mean you are female, and XY mean you are male. This concept is not as rooted in biology as some people may think it is. The very existence of intersex people debunk this construct; their very existence showing how sex is far too nuanced to be arbitrarily grouped into just two categories.

Intersexuality, as defined by the Intersex Society of North America, “is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” It is estimated that “approximately 1 or 2 percent of children are born with mixed or ambiguous sex characteristics.” This means that anywhere between 79 to 158 million people on this planet do not squeeze into this archaic binary that we know as sex. The notion of the sex binary implies that you are either biologically male or female. If you are male, you must have XY chromosomes, a penis, testicles, and an Adam’s apple. If female, you must have XX chromosomes, a vagina, a set of breasts, and ovaries. Intersex people may have some combination of the above-mentioned traits, or just entirely different traits altogether. One such example of this is the existence of people with XXY chromosomes, known as Klinefelter Syndrome. The fact that people can have a different combination of chromosomes than that which the gender binary mandates the arbitrary grouping of is enough in of itself to debunk this myth altogether. Additionally, it is important to note that referring to people with XXY chromosomes as a syndrome is stigmatizing and it is only seen as such in the context of a gender binary, being perceived as a sort of sickness, rather than a valid form of identity.

People whose biological makeup does not conform to the sex binary continue to be mutilated as newborns without the ability to consent. Hubbard writes, “In the last few decades, in conformity with the binary paradigm, medical interventions have been developed to try to
‘correct’ the genitals of infants who manifest any form of sex ambiguity.” These operations are, admittedly, sometimes necessary for health reasons, such as to surgically create a urethral opening, as some intersex newborns are not capable of passing waste on their own. Despite often having a physical makeup that poses no immediate risk to the infant in question, their genitals are operated on in order to conform to the sex binary, meaning that they will be shaped into either a penis or vagina. Such operations are done without the consent of the patient, as newborns cannot consent. These procedures are more for the sake of appeasing the society around the patient than it is for the patient’s own wellbeing. The notion of a sex binary justifies the mutilation of vulnerable people, leaving them with more questions than answers as they grow up.

Society needs to undergo massive changes so that this notion of a harmful sex binary is abolished. It is not rooted in biology, as the very existence of intersex people disproves that. It is used as justification in order to violate the bodies of newborns. Schools should teach about sex as a spectrum rather than the black-and-white dichotomy of male and female. On the medical level, an intersex newborn should be operated on as minimally as possible, with procedures being decided upon as medically necessary.

 

References:

Hubbard, R. (1996). Gender and Genitals: Constructs of Sex and Gender. Social Text, 46/47, 157–165. https://doi.org/10.2307/466851

Klinefelter syndrome. Intersex Society of North America. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://isna.org/faq/conditions/klinefelter/.

What is intersex? Intersex Society of North America. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex/.

Gender Equaility

Yanjun Jiang

Historically, it has been believed that women are lower than men in terms of body and intelligence. There has always been a cliche that women should stay at home. They believe that women are born to take care of others, and their legal rights and employment opportunities are much less than those of men. The current law says that women’s rights and interests should be protected and equality between men and women should be guaranteed. Secondly, considering women’s great contribution to society, women’s role should be brought into full play. Although today’s women, go to school and work like men, which seems equal, in essence, men and women are not equal.

Not just America, but the world. From birth, most babies are defined by the doctor’s sentence “boy” or “girl”. Society calls us to play the role of men or women; Women are required to be gentle, beautiful, and self-defense at any time. And men are the same. They should be firm, strong, and full of aggression. Every child is required to present the image that society needs or wants us to present, but what society requires us to present or do must be right? Why should women always be beautiful? Why do men have to be better than women? Obviously, this is the definition left to us by ancient people. But are we in the middle ages or what dynasty? None of them. A new era has come. Why can’t we change the definition of gender? The women’s rights movement in America continues to develop, but we refuse to take another step forward. Instead, we retreat step by step.

In the excerpt from ‘The Feminine Mystique’ by Betty Friedan. Betty utilizes the term “feminine mystique” to describe society’s assumption that women can be satisfied through housework, marriage, and raising children alone. However, the author expounds that middle-class women suffer from harm in playing the role of traditional housewives, so that they can not obtain full human ability and freedom. As Betty said, “Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts, and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night — she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — “Is this all?” This makes me deeply feel the decadence and powerlessness of women, especially those who become mothers. They get deeper and deeper in playing the role of mothers. They start to live from losing themselves until they are bound by a complex, busy but meaningless life. They always feel that something is missing. Even if they arrange their own life well, they still can’t find their own direction. They repeat low-skilled work, which devours women’s enthusiasm and stifles their thoughts. Their sense of existence, happiness, and value instantly decline. They are inundated by trivial things every day, which often makes them feel empty. This makes them more confused and struggling, and makes them realize that they are gradually lost in trivial life because the focus of life is always around the family and children. There is no other color in life and nothing else to do except them

I don’t know how many people in America and the world can correctly understand feminism. Women’s rights are easily equated with men’s rights. However, the reason why feminism was called this name was that it was completely patriarchal at that time, and women had no rights at all. Therefore, these oppressed women appeal for equality. What they appeal for is “equality”! Not “privilege”! Real women’s rights are equal rights and human rights. It’s not right, it’s equality! Equality is divided into two kinds: physical equality and spiritual equality. It is difficult to define physical equality. Because most countries in the world give men and women the same rights: they have the right to vote, they can get a job, and go to the same school. However, there are still backward countries that continue the tradition of men being superior to women. Not only backward countries, but also advanced countries have similar hints. For example, in James Cameron’s “Titanic”, when encountering a shipwreck, passengers agree that women go first and men stay last. This is a manifestation of civilization, but I think everyone should have the same right to live in crisis. Of course, this is only my personal understanding.

Everyone has the freedom to choose their own, and we have no right to define a person according to his/her gender. Women can be gentle or strong; Men can be strong or weak. At the same time, they can be heterosexual or homosexual, which are moral. There are still seven kinds of brilliance in the sunlight. Why do people ask or require things in this world that can only show one side? At the same time, I hope that women can wear short skirts without being accused of seducing men; Men can wear feminine clothes without being ridiculed as perverts. I want everyone to understand that women dressed well are not seducing you; Men don’t dance ballet to attract attention. I want a virgin who is worshipped not only because she gave birth to Jesus, a city without gender discrimination, a society in which women can make money to support their families, and men can take care of children without discrimination. Women are not only mothers, wives, and daughters, but also other identities. Both men and women are equal in spirit. Everyone can choose their own appearance instead of being “cosmetic” by social public opinion. The way of thinking of women and men can be the same. Please don’t bind the current idea with the previous truth. Both men and women are victims of gender discrimination, which needs to be changed.

All of the above, we should make them a reality. If men and women, the two largest races in the world, cannot be equal, how can we say racial equality, equality between the rich and the poor, and equality for all? Equality for all does not just mean that we have to do it. This is everyone’s responsibility. Don’t think you have ever been infringed by gender discrimination. We are not part of the world, we are the world. On earth, we are independent individuals. In the universe, the world becomes a point – we are to the world as atoms are to the body. Changing gender discrimination is the responsibility of the world and everyone! Men and women should unite rather than indulge in the world of men or women.

Before we were born, the world was like this, and there was nothing we could do; Before we died, the world was still like this. We were incompetent. I hope everyone can start from themselves and change their sexism.

 

The perpetual war of being a woman.

            Man, vs woman, white woman vs black woman, rich vs poor, fat vs skinny, modest vs revealing.

All these words highlight the internal battle on what it means to be a woman. More importantly, they emphasize the idea of intersectionality and double standards within femininity.

The fight for equality for women is no longer a sole battle of simply being a woman. Society has constructed an internal war within womanhood on what it means to be equal. Women are no longer simultaneously fighting for equality with men but now against each other. The two-course readings “Excerpt from Feminine Mystique” and “Black Feminist Thought in the Matrix of Domination,” shed light on the inconsistency within femininity and what it means be both powerful and powerless at the same time as a woman. Understanding the effects of intersectionality in feminism is imperative to recognizing the overlapping discrimination and oppression that occurs with being a woman of color, which Patricia Collins reveals in her article. She focuses on the notion of knowledge and the connection to power by emphasizing that race, class, and gender are an interlocking system of oppression.

Society continues to construct this idea of equality by creating a new level of inequality, which is amplified in analyzing intersectionality and double standards within feminism.

You’re too dressed up, you’re too dressed down, look hot, you look like you let yourself go, eat less, men like women with some meat on their bones, plump your lips, look natural, your trying to hard”

Endure the pain.

Don’t complain.

Be nothing. Be less than nothing.

Be a lady they said.

The fight for equality is not limited to just man vs woman, it is also woman vs woman. We turn women against each other through the ideas that are upheld from double standards and forget about those that face overlapping oppression from not only existing as a woman but also for their race. My goal is to show that women continuously live in a spiral of oppression through a closed funnel of inequality. In comparing the “Excerpt from Feminine Mystique” which was written 15 years ago to our society today, the similarity is that no matter what a woman chooses to do they will face oppression. Understanding intersectionality and double standards exist for women emphasize the idea that we must be more aware of the obstacles and inequalities women face.

The Continuous Spiraling of Double Standards through a closed funnel:

The “Excerpt from Feminine Mystique,” shows how women during the time after WWII were nothing but the cherished housewife. It highlights that their sole purpose was to be “perfect wives and mothers,” whose dreams were left to question “Is this all?” This glorified occupation of being a housewife and a stay-at-home mom is now a prime example of the internal battle woman face from double standards. The book “Mommy Wars: Stay at Home and Career Moms face on their choices, their lives, their families,” shows the effects of double standards on women. The continued shame now raises the question of women’s choices: to work or be a stay-at-home mom. The novel presents the two sides of the endless war of for women. The internal battle of women against women is shown through the shaming of one another. However, Leslie Steiner explains that “There is no good reason for working moms to treat stay at home moms like dirt” (Steiner). The oppression of women prevails through the control of individuals who are not women, which is exemplified in the “ongoing debate in the U.S about the benefits of working versus stay-at-home motherhood by experts, that are not women and aren’t even parents”(Steiner). The once glorified occupation of a housewife is now being shamed, yet working mothers are also being questioned.

 Be pure, don’t be so uptight, smile more, wear makeup, men don’t like women who try too hard, save yourself, don’t be a prude, be dirty, be innocent.”

Endure the pain.

Don’t complain.

Be nothing. Be less than nothing.

Be a lady they said.

Intersectionality is like a song that never ends:

The two pieces of literature reveal that no matter what a woman chooses to do she will be shamed yet glorified, questioned but supported and ultimately powerful and powerless at the same time. However, this is when an intersectional framework is needed to point out the effects of not only being a woman, but a woman of color, who will end up facing double oppression. As Kimberly Crenshaw states “We’ve got to be open to looking at all of the ways our systems reproduce these inequalities, and that includes the privileges as well as the harms” (Crenshaw).

Intersectionality in feminism is understanding that a woman of color is experiencing overlapping oppression, which Patricia Collins shows in her article “Black feminist Thought in the Matrix of Domination.” Her focus on knowledge being a vital factor for social change underscores my argument of the importance of intersectionality. Intersectionality within feminism is best explained as “Viewing the world through a both/and conceptual lens of the simultaneity of race, class, and gender oppression and of the need for a humanist vision of community creates new possibilities for an empowering Afrocentric feminist knowledge” (Collins). Understanding the interlocking systems of oppression proves once again proves the correlation to double standards that women face and the perpetual war of inequality.

Man, vs Man/ Woman vs Woman  

Women vs Society

Be a lady they said.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Be a Lady They Said – Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine – Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8ZSDS7zVdU.

“Excerpt from ‘The Feminine Mystique’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Feb. 2006, https://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/us/excerpt-from-the-feminine-mystique.html.

“Intersectional Feminism: What It Means and Why It Matters Right Now.” UN Women, https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/6/explainer-intersectional-feminism-what-it-means-and-why-it-matters.

Steiner, Leslie Morgan. Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2007.

Final Blog Post

Cleaning, doing laundry, dishes, and watching the kids has always been seen as a “women’s job” . It doesn’t matter if they have another job and come home tired, they are expected to do everything in the house because the “man of the house” had a long day at work. Now, personally, I have nothing against men. It’s just the fact that why are certain things expected from a woman and not a man, even if they both put in the same amount of effort within the day. A man isn’t going to stop being a man if he helps do the dishes or fold a couple of shirts. After all, the dishes didn’t dirty themselves, the clothes weren’t only for the women’s and the kids didn’t make themselves. So why is it that society views it okay for a man to come home after work and “watch the game” but if a woman comes home and doesn’t have time to do certain things, then that woman is a slob and not a good wife. To most of society, a good wife has dinner ready, clothes done, and the house sparkling, and that’s just how it has to be, according to the majority of the world. 

In Angela Davis’s “Women, Race and Class” she discusses this issue, along with many others of course. (because this is definitely just one of many many differences/issues with women), and although this book was written quite some time ago, it’s sad to say that we haven’t come as far as we would like to think. In one of her chapters she discusses how a woman is never shown any appreciation and how everything is taken for granted. I, myself can say I am guilty of this, as I’m sure many of us are. We may not do it on purpose but we do it. Sometimes you come and you just see that everything is in its place and that the food is ready, but how many times do we stop to think about what went into the making of everything. Did your mom, wife, or partner put aside something else important to them just to get the house ready? Maybe they didn’t feel well but got up anyway because they didn’t want to get that look, the “wow you really stayed in bed all day while I went out look…” We have to learn to really appreciate what a housewife or any woman does for their home. Most of the time we don’t appreciate the actions until we are the ones doing it and then realize that it’s not all that easy. If a man were to perform these everyday tasks they would realize that it’s just as difficult as the job they go to everyday, and I’m not saying that all men are this way, but if more men were to put in the effort, they would realize that it’s okay if their wife comes home and doesn’t feel like cooking and maybe just wants to sit and watch a movie.it doesn’t make them a bad wife, it just means they are tired just like everyone else. Women are human just like men and would like to be appreciated for all that they do, and not put on a show when they don’t. 

The meaning behind a woman means so much more than what everyone thinks. we shouldn’t be assigned tasks just because of our body parts. We have to be looked at as a whole, women have so much potential that goes beyond cooking dinner and watching the kids. If society were to open up their minds just a little bit more, they would see that it’s okay if a man picks up a broom once in a while, they’re not going to lose their manhood if they cook dinner and the same for women, if they don’t clean one day, it’s not the end of the world. We are all equal, and should have the same expectations. Nobody is better than anybody, and if we all have hands we can all complete the same tasks without being all dramatic about the situation. 

LGBTQ+ Representation in the Media

With new advancements in technology, media has become an extremely integral part of today’s society, especially with the younger generations. Due to the prevalence of media and how much it is consumed daily, it has also become more important for representations of differing identities to be a greater part of what we see. It is thus important for everyone to feel represented no matter their race, age, body type, weight, gender, and sexuality. Moreover, because the media is such a big part of our lives, it can often dictate what people deem as normal and accepted. Films and TV shows are one of many ways in which we see people that embodied our traits portrayed.

These forms of visual media essentially tell us what’s normal and what’s not and because of this, everyone wants to feel represented in some way in order to feel like they have a place in our society. Not only does this validate and make one feel fulfilled, but it also aids in educating those who don’t occupy certain spaces. It raises awareness and helps promote the inclusivity of these diverse peoples within our communities, which is why social movements often focus on this topic so adamantly. Seeing yourself or aspects of yourself portrayed is important and this is especially true in the LGBTQ+ community. The impact that positive queer representation has had and will continue to have on society is huge and there needs to be more instances of this in the media to ensure that queer people benefit from their stories and experiences.

The portrayal of queer characters in TV shows and films, for example, has seen a huge influx in recent years and people that consider themselves LGBTQ+ are being represented more now than ever before. The “gay best friend” could be seen as one example of queer individuals being seen as normal in the media, but these types of portrayal are not enough. It is important to note that, the portrayal of queer people in the media hasn’t always been the most progressive and this impacts the ability for queer representation to be seen as normal.  In Queer written by Karen Tongson it states that, “At times “queer” has come to mean a particular set of sexual practices, positions, and proclivities. In the past fifteen years or so, scholars have vigorously debated whether or not queer constitutes any form of antinormativity” (2). Queer-identifying people have unique experiences in the world, but these experiences are more than the stereotypes that we may have been exposed to. Stereotypical queer roles should not be used to make queer portrayals in the media seen as normal.  Reducing queer people to harmful stereotypes in the media robs them of the opportunity to showcase their experiences and essentially reduces them to one-dimensional characters with little to no depth that does not accurately reflect their lived experiences.

Particularly, trans representation in the media has a long way to go to ensure that trans people are allowed progressive roles in the media. The YouTube video titled, AVP Courageous Conversations – Disclosure shines an important light on the topic of trans representation in film and TV.  In the video, one of the interviewees featured briefly at the start of the video makes an important point about trans depictions in TV and film. She states that, “There is a one-word solution to almost all the problems in trans media, we just need more. In that way, the occasional clumsy representation wouldn’t matter as much because that would be all that there is” (9:19 – 9:27). More trans representation would further promote the idea that queer identities – or more specifically Trans identities – are normative and that would benefit queer people as well as non-queer people that view and engage with media. There needs to be more portrayals of trans people navigating dating, for example. Dating is something that we all do, seeing a trans person do this on TV or film would help promote the more normative portrayals of queer people.

In addition, this increase in overall queer representation will ensure that the more impressionable members of the queer community, possibly young, closeted LGBTQ+ members, see people that they relate to in a positive light.  In AVP Courageous Conversations – Disclosure, one of the panelists Jazzmun Nichcala Crayton points out that LGBTQ+ people, particularly youth, often face issues like homelessness and the lack of true LGBTQ+ representation aids in these issues being overlooked and ignored by Hollywood and the media. She also points out that an increase in this representation could aid in actual LGBTQ+ getting access to resources that can improve their lives (26:00 – 27:30). With more LGBTQ+ films and TV shows being made, that opens up more opportunities for aspiring LGBTQ+ actors and creators to create media that reflect their own experiences. This would also provide economic opportunities for LGBTQ+ people both in and out of the media.

Furthermore, it is important to note that representation needs to be more than just “diversity hires”. Tongson states that, “Aren’t-we-GLAAD approaches to quantifying queer visibility—that is, measuring with exactness how many gay characters, shows, and actors are on TV or in films, and whether or not these portrayals are positive or negative—have created their own set of limitations around our encounters with all forms of media, not just explicitly queer representations with identifiable queer bodies, characters and ‘acts’” (2). I agree with this sentiment. LQBTQ+ representation needs to have some significant backing behind it. It simply isn’t enough to just add an LGBTQ+ character into a movie or TV show. There needs to be more to their stories than harmful stereotypes or biased and unbalanced portrayals. Diversity hires aren’t enough and at times can be disingenuous.

To conclude, LGBTQ+ portrayals and presentations have seen some inspirational and important milestones. There are movies like Moonlight and TV shows like Pose that are having huge cultural impacts on the media we watch. There are still some ways to go, but trans and queer representation will continue to grow and progress thanks to technology and younger generations.

 

Citations

“AVP Courageous Conversations – Disclosure” YouTube, uploaded by New York City Anti-Violence Project, 22 Feb. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXWzGcxBW2E

Tongson, Karen. “Queer.” Keywords For Media Studies, 20 Mar. 2017, keywords.nyupress.org/media-studies/essay/queer/

The Manifestation of Injustice

What is a housewife? By definition, a housewife is a woman whose main job is caring for her family and managing household affairs while her partner goes out to work. This modern occupation is a modified version of the “traditional” responsibilities of women — cooking, cleaning, and nurturing for the family — that have persevered throughout history, though the duties involved have changed little. If anything, women are now expected to not only take on the role of a housewife but to also work to earn their keep. This diverges from the traditional belief that women ought to stay at home, thus many have proposed a modern solution for this modern problem. They affirmed that since women are increasingly becoming active members of the economic class, they should perform both duties expected of them — responsibilities pertaining to the family and economy. Such propositions generate unfair treatment of working women and give rise to a phenomenon called the “third shift”. Ultimately, in present-day society, women are subjected to the roles of being both their family’s primary care provider and active breadwinner. 

According to “The Feminine Mystique” written by Betty Friedan, in the past, a woman’s biggest ambition in life was to be the perfect wife to their husband and mother to their children. They gloried in their role as a housewife and longed to live life like the American suburban housewives depicted in pretty pictures. However, the feminine perspective has changed with time and fighting for their husbands was no longer a top priority. In stark comparison with the past, women now desire independence, and they have the means to do so. Throughout history, women have been shunned from the streets, and a working woman meant her husband was incapable, hence bringing shame to the family. Now, things are different. Unfortunately, despite the advancements in women’s rights, society doesn’t view things quite the same way. As noted by Davis, “Having stepped outside their ‘natural’ sphere, women were not to be treated as full-fledged wage workers. […] Their exploitation was even more intense than the exploitation suffered by their male counterparts” (p. 229). Someone has to cook the food, clean the house, and take care of the children. Capitalists ponder, why should it be the men who have always worked when we have women whose original jobs were to do these things anyway. If they want to work so badly, then they can just enact their “roles as women” and do work on the side if they must. This dangerous chain of thoughts works to exploit women; society would have the means to gain free housemakers while simultaneously increasing the working population. Women are on the losing side no matter how you look at it. 

The term “third shift” refers to the domestic chores women are held accountable for in addition to their daily work shift(s). They work during the day just like their male counterpart, but once home, women have to manage domestic affairs while men get to relax. Sadly, this vicious cycle of unfair treatment is not only reinforced by male members of society but also by fellow females, in the form of internalized misogyny. Through years of oppression, they have come to accept the sexist stereotypes and are in turn demeaning other women as a result. Distorted thinking is a tell-tale sign of this where they may think — “I’ve been through this too. If I can make it through then so can you”. Oftentimes, this sort of behavior is demonstrated by older members of society, by mothers or grandmothers, who are usually guiding figures in the eyes of children. This, inevitably, leads to a deformed self-image and sense of self at a young age for girls and faulty thinking in boys. 

To stop this trend of unjust between genders, some have suggested shifting the gender role so that men can become househusbands. At first glance, this may seem like a plausible solution, however, it has little effect on the issue in the long run. Having men become househusbands only changes the victim of the “domestic burden”. With the men in charge of the chores and childcare, and the women earning the wages, one might be dissatisfied with the type of responsibilities the other has. In the words of Davis, “Since housework does not generate profit, domestic labor [is] naturally defined as an inferior form of work as compared to capitalist wage labor” (p. 228). Put simply, there’s no way to compare the work of cleaning the house and the work of filing papers, and this can lead to bickerings over who did more work.   

More feasible solutions in combatting the issue at hand would be to compromise the workload between both parties and to eliminate internalized misogyny overall. First, labeling chores as a responsibility of both parties will significantly reduce thoughts regarding gender roles. Then, the work should be split to accommodate individual schedules and become a shared duty. This method involves a lot of compromises and acceptances since it won’t work if one side starts arguing over the amount of work done. Secondly, sexist stereotypes should not be reinforced by individuals deemed as model figures by children, such as parents and teachers. Just because you have been through the hardship brought about by male dominance and female misogyny does not mean you can assert dominance over another to ensure they suffer just as much as you did. 

We shouldn’t start struggling only when we see the light at the end of the tunnel, but struggle so we can see the light before it’s too late. Giving in is not shameful; sometimes both sides need to take a step back and see the whole picture for a better future.

References:

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. 2006.

Davis, Angela Y. Women, Race & Class. Vintage Books, 1983.