Currently, I am involved in an internship that allows me to conduct my own research. Luckily, I was able to conduct that research right here on campus! During my observations, I observe children with different types of disabilities play in a pool with Longwood TR student (we call the LU students “helpers”). As a side note, I can honestly say it doesn’t even feel like research because the observations are so entertaining and fun to watch. But anyways, as I was watching for nonverbal behaviors, I noticed that all the girl helpers seemed to be playing and watching after the preschool and elementary school children, while the boy helpers played with the older high school boys. I couldn’t help but think about our class and how women are seen as the nurturers and how men are seen as the rough and tough kind of guys. I was really tempted to ask the professor of the class if it was done on purpose… but then thought maybe not. She might think I was implying something and I need her on my good side!
I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and found a very interesting video titled the “The Pink Tax.” This video talked about how woman’s products such as razors, clothing, and shampoo are typically more expensive than men’s and how this is sexist. Why are women paying more for the same products that men are using? This brings me back to chapter 7 in our textbook. At an early age if kids are seeing that certain items are cheaper and they can get more items if they get the item that is essentially just “a different color” they”ll probably go for the cheaper item. This however could really effect a child’s gender identity. Being an unconscious process that is shaped at an early age, our gender identity is our own private experience of our own gender.
If you would like to learn more here is an article titled why do women’s clothes cost more than men’s?
Since some of our recent class presentations, I had been thinking about the line between women feeling confident and unrestricted about their bodies, but also only having a small range of body types that we typically see on social media with this type of #empowerment. Is it really empowered if only young women with small waists and large breasts/butts get to flaunt it? And, does being celebrated for their bodies yet again direct attention to “appearance matters” as a more important sign of value than their actual capabilities and character?
The New York Post recently ran an editorial on the Kim Kardashian naked selfies that stated, “Whenever a woman suggests, explicitly or implicitly, that her worth or value or power comes from her appearance, she loses. Women everywhere lose. And feminism, the kind that taught that a woman’s life is not about her body, loses, too.”
On the other hand, if we had more men, women, and people who are intersexed of all ages, shapes, sizes, and gender identities posting, and those people were celebrated instead of shamed, then perhaps the whole idea of “appearance matters” would lose it power for women. Because if everyone’s appearance was considered one of many interesting and unique parts of who they are, then we could celebrate the whole person.
Check out this Tumblr #redefiningrealness that is trying to do exactly this! I’d love to see that get as much attention as Kim Kardashian.
What do you think?
This is an interesting article about how a number of men and women celebrities who have been body shamed for both being “too skinny” or “too fat.” Prison Break star Wentworth Miller is particularly interesting because he breaks norms of masculinity described in chapter 7. He discusses his depression, an issue commonly faced by many men, but one that often is not talked about publicly.
Of course, my favorite response is Amy Schumer’s! But, you’ll have to check out the article to get her take on it.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan of rap music by a variety of artists. One of my favorite rappers, Wax, has a song called “I Ain’t A Real Man.” The catchy hook qualifies the title:
I ain’t a real man, real men work
Digging, digging, shoveling dirt
The kind of work, that when you get home your back hurts
Blood stains cover your shirt, that’s real work
The rest of the song goes on to explain how Wax doesn’t consider himself a “real man” for working in the music industry as a rapper when there are firemen, soldiers, plumbers, migrant workers, coal miners, truckers, and even McDonald’s employees who are laboring under worse conditions for worse compensation. I thought it was an interesting perspective, considering most rappers take pride in boasting about their masculinity and degrading that of any competition in the industry.
We learned that masculine identity is often expected to include certain elements of success and self-reliance in one’s field of work, but in spite of this, Wax admires laymen who work more labor-intensive jobs for less wages. Listening to the song is helpful in understanding the dynamic logic he offers, so I encourage you to check it out!
Many sports attire stores such as Nike, Puma, and Under Armor use male and female when trying to promote couples athletic wear. Although on Valentines Day this year Adidas pushed the boundaries on the “couples wear.” As you can see in this picture it is two girls most likely kissing and working out. Now when I first saw this picture I didn’t think anything of it, but then I read the comments about people being upset and saying Adidas shouldn’t have done this. In chapter 7 we talked about ways that women should do when they are Growing Up Feminine. Women should be worried about their appearances, be sensitive and caring, negative treatment by others, and be superwomen. In this add it is showing women, not only being in a relationship, but also being fit, working out, and getting stronger. Many people had a problem with this add because it’s two women, but all I see is love for and individual and love for being healthy. Thoughts?
*click on the Adidas word to view the image*
A couple of days ago, I watched an episode of Friends that called my attention and made me think about some of the things that we are discussing in this class. In this episode, Ross’ son, Ben, seems to enjoy playing with a Barbie, which makes Ross feel very worried because it isn’t really a toy that boys “should” play with. In his efforts to make Ben drop the Barbie, Ross brings a G.I Joe for Ben to play with since he is the “toughest guy in toy land”. I thought this had to do with something I read in Chapter 7 about growing up masculine. One of its themes was to be aggressive, which involves being tough and not run from confrontations. When I read about it, I thought that of course it would make more sense for a boy to play with a G.I Joe rather than a Barbie, but this shouldn’t mean that it is “wrong” to play with toys that don’t reflect the traditional views of feminine and masculine. I remember that my sister and I used to play with Barbies while growing up but we would also ask our parents for Max Steel’s since we thought they were pretty cool too. But to conclude this thought, I just don’t think that we should be as worried as Ross because we see a toddler play with a toy that is not very “according” to their sex. In the end, a toy wouldn’t make that much of a difference because there are so many other factors that influence how we will decide to perform our own gender.
Every Friday my roommate and I host movie night at our apartment. Unconsciously, we have exhibited our gender identity. We have experienced gender differently and have an idea of what it means to be female or male. Every part of movie Friday reflects our personal beliefs of our roles. The boys have picked movies like the Dark Knight Rises and American Sniper (which the girls thoroughly enjoy as well). As they have been socially taught and encouraged by their parents throughout their lives that it is masculine to be aggressive and self-reliant. In both cases the men are heroes that are dependent upon themselves and kick but all while looking good. As tradition would predict they are successful and strong men who save the day and eliminate the bad guys. I can’t really blame them for looking to Bruce Wayne as a role model or manly goals… I mean he gets the ladies with ease, is a successful billionaire (sometimes), is strong, and has toys that blow things up. Moral of the story he embodies everything that our culture and most personal influences have deemed masculine. There are many more similar examples in the link provided that give insight on such movie characters.
Within an article found in People, a woman in NYC was catcalled, followed and told she had “good legs” when she was fully covered, wearing a long parka and tall boots. Her Instagram picture has gone viral as she highlights on the sickening perceptions that individuals place on a woman’s body, and their appearance.
Christen Brandt’s story, pleads for the realization that the female body is often assumed to be sexual and sensual, despite what the woman chooses to wear or how she wishes to look. Often times people attribute femininity to showing skin or wearing sexy outfits, however this article displays that a woman can still receive negative gestures even if they are fully clothed and not showing any skin at all.
In Western culture, and many others, mothers are often expected to drop everything for their husband and children. I think that this is a very unfair and toll-taking emotional responsibility to place on women, and it is in fact what deters many people from even having kids. Mothers often carry an emotional guilt as a result of the media messaging that conditions society to believe that mothers must take care of everyone else first, before taking care of themselves. This is a social problem of gender inequity because fathers are not held to the same standard, nor should they be. In order to be in the position to care for others, one must first take care of themselves.
American actress, singer-songwriter, businesswoman, daughter, wife, and mother of two, Jada Pinkett Smith, shares some invaluable insight with her daughter Willow on the importance of cultivating your own happiness. She makes a brilliant point about how when someone isn’t balanced in life, they look to others to make them happy which leads to chronic unhappiness. So true and I hope people carry this message forward to help reshape how mothers, women and all people live, treat each other, and treat themselves.