We’ve talked recently about how it feels to be a woman walking down the street regardless of the time. It’s honestly scary and potentially dangerous because, well, I am woman. It would be unfair to claim that all men bark these absurd remarks and inappropriate gestures to women walking by just as it would be false to assume that all women find it attractive. Videos like these bring attention to the “silent” harassment that happens everyday and I say “silent” because harassment like this go unseen, and worse, unacknowledged. Or if it is acknowledged women are berated for “overreacting” and being “stuck up” or “too good”.
This video shows a woman walking through all sects of NYC for 10 hours not speaking a word, simply recording the reactions around her (the comments under the video are worth a read).
I believe that more videos like these should be created to show that cat-calling does not only happen in cities but in all environments. Maybe people would pay more attention and take an active stand if they knew that the clerk at the grocery store wasn’t just checking out prices.
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.
Gender stereotypes affect all parts of our lives. This includes unconscious biases at work, and the Hidden Curriculum at school. It even affects how we drive and where we park.
This article from the online TIME magazine reports that a Chinese mall has separate, larger parking spaces for women. These parking spaces are pink, 30 cm bigger than normal spaces, and are “respectfully reserved for women” because of a local belief that women are bad at driving. The mall managers said that they wanted to “make it easier for their female customers” by giving them extra room.
Is this sexist? Some might argue that it is sexist towards men because it gives women privilege just because of their gender. Julia Wood (2013) might argue that it is sexist towards women, because it stereotypes and treats them like children, who are “less mature, less competent, less capable, than [male] adults (p. 236)”. These large, pink parking spaces reinforce the stereotype that women are bad drivers, and that women depend on male mall managers to “protect” them.
Is it oppressive? According to Frye (2000), we would have to look at the whole social system, culture and history of China to see if this situation is a part of system of oppressing women (p 12 – 13).
What do you think?
Recently, the prestigious Loyola Law School issued a memo to students including a statement about how female students should dress when clerking.
As is often the case with professional dress codes, women’s clothing choices were addressed, with no suggestions about what is appropriate for men.
This gets at the double bind faced by women in something as simple as choosing what to wear to work. On the one hand, women are encouraged to look beautiful in their work appearance, as traditionally defined in our culture. On the other hand, often women are judged for looking too “sexy.”
Ultimately women’s job performance should not be evaluated on their appearance. It is an example of how “appearance counts” as a theme of femininity affects women in their professional lives in a significant way.
As Drexler argues here in a CNN editorial about the memo what should matter most is, “how women perform their jobs, and not which shoes they happened to choose that morning.”
So although I am not a Nicki Minaj fan, I do think she makes a very good point in this short clip. Yes, our society has come a long way on their views of women in the work force. However, there is still a lot of discrimination out there. In chapter one of Gendered Lives, Julie Woods writes, “The fact that my sex makes me vulnerable to job discrimination, violence, and other injustices is not something I accept as unchangeable.” Nicki Minaj’s clip gives us a whole new perspective of this discrimination with a look at how women in the entertainment industry are discriminated against. One would think that celebrities don’t experience discrimination, but it is clear that this social construction of gender roles truly is unequal all over. When will our society start to see women as equals? Will our society ever see women as equals?
This is a very interesting video compilation of high- and low-points of how women have been represented in mass media in 2013. Worth watching!
The video was created by the founders of The Representation Project, whose mission statement reads:
The Representation Project is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change. Interactive campaigns, strategic partnerships and education initiatives inspire individuals and communities to challenge the status quo and ultimately transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, or circumstance can fulfill their potential.
What if sexism was part of the job description? Interesting article about sexism in the music industry.