Kicking Some Balls Around and Living the Dream…Of Unequal Pay.

Whether you are a girl or a boy, you most likely grew up playing a sport or two. Who knows, maybe you even became so good at that sport that you went on to play in college, and even pro! What a life to live, to be doing something that you love everyday, traveling the world, and getting paid for it. Yet, for the people who sit in the stands to cheer these lucky people on have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. A lot of people have no clue what goes on in the dark, until it gets to be so much that some sort of action is taken to bring it all to light. 

USA Soccer
Spirited USA Soccer Ball.

Inequality, It Is Everywhere.

In this day and age, many people do not truly realize the gender inequality that surrounds us in our day to day life. In the work place, in the classroom, in the stores, in professional sports. Almost everywhere you go, there is an example of gender inequality.  People don’t notice this inequality for multiple reasons. Whether it is because of how they were raised, their lack of exposure to the media, or their lack of education, to understand that men and women in today’s society are looked at, hired, treated, and paid differently. That is a concerning revelation. It is important to realize that not everything that glitters is gold. Except, if it is in the hands of a male, it probably is.

Hard Working Women Deserve Appropriate Pay.

About a month ago, the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (the most successful female soccer team ever) filed a wage-discrimination action against the U.S Soccer Federation. They are trying to fight for equal pay in concerns to the United States Men’s National Team receiving much higher salaries and bonuses. In an article posted on ESPN’s website, journalist Kate Fagan (2016) stated that, the USSF’s 2015 financial report, says that despite the women’s team generating nearly $20 million more revenue last year than the U.S. men’s team, the women are paid about a quarter of what the men earn” . That is baffling. Now, how does that work? These women work just as hard at competing and succeeding, yet still aren’t getting paid the same because they are females? The discrimination is uncanny in the decade that we live in today. 

The United States Women's National Team celebrates with the trophy

The United States Women’s National Team celebrates with the trophy

The Haters Are Gonna Hate.

One may argue that the women do not face the same obstacles as the men do, therefore they should not get paid the same amount. In a recent article by Beau Dure (2016) from the Guardian, he mentioned that, “equal work isn’t necessarily accurate if you acknowledge that the US men face greater competition to make the roster and greater competition to win games, and they draw higher ratings, higher attendance and more revenue over a four-year cycle”. As factual as that may be, that is not a good enough argument to convey towards this subject. For example, say a male manager at McDonalds works at a faster paced location and has to handle multiple people a day because he works in a major city so he gets paid more versus a female manager who works in a small town that barely sees any customers, but is doing the same tasks as the male. Those external factors are against the women’s control. In the end, the same job and tasks are being completed.

Unequal pay for females is prominent.

Unequal pay for females is prominent.

Success Is Limited. 

Julia T. Wood talked about the glass ceilings and glass walls that women face during a certain point in time of their careers. These invisible barriers limit their success. They work and work until they get to the highest level of achievement (so they think). However, there is more to go in terms of success, but the discrimination is so strong, it holds them back. A great example in this case would be how these glass ceilings are denying the women’s team access to the same pay wages and privileges as the men who play the exact same sport for the exact same country.  Another key concept from Julia T. Wood is that about affirmative action. The only way things are going to change in terms of this discrimination is if the system is addressed. This group of women are fighting not only for themselves, but for every woman and minority that are in the same position. The constraints on their paychecks due to their sexes is a form of inequality that needs to either be taken care of and at least brought to light. 

Carli Lloyd, one of the players filing wage suit.

Carli Lloyd, one of the players filing wage suit.

Many people may have guessed or assumed that the Women’s National Team gets paid a lot. They do get paid a lot in regards to what their occupation is and compared to other American’s. Yet, the difference between the men’s team is concerning. Star midfielder Carli Lloyd (2016) summed it up nicely to the New York times by stating, “Each year, the United States men’s and women’s national teams each play a minimum of 20 friendly matches. The top five players on the men’s team make an average of $406,000 each year from these games. The top five women are guaranteed only $72,000 each year”. Those numbers are mind boggling. How is that wage gap even possible? Seeing the actual numbers  of this situation makes sense as to why they have chosen to take such a strong action.

 

It Takes Guts To Stand Up For What You Believe In.

Topics such as this one do not come to mind always when discussing professional sports. The statistics and fun facts of the players are the details that people chat about. Having the behind the scenes details come to light really puts things in perspective: men still are better off than women, and they can have it all. One thing is for certain, if the women on the Women’s National Soccer team fight this battle with the same tenacity, strength, and perseverance that they do when they are out on that field winning gold medals and world cups, than they can conquer this battle for equal rights. Women have come a long way in all aspects in life and this will have to be yet another thing that they take over and win for the better of society.

 

Just a Small Town Girl, Livin’ In A Child-Free World.

It seems that this day and age, it is becoming more prevalent to see couples without any children. Many couples are choosing not to procreate for various reasons. One of those reasons being that they simply do not want children. They do not want the stresses of a child to come between their relationship, or they just enjoy doing whatever they want and going wherever they want without the strings of a child holding them back. After reading the Childless By Choice article for class, it really sparked an interest in me! This topic is a very relevant one to me because ever since I can remember, I have never wanted kids, and to this day, I still do not.

Child-Free T

 

At the start of everyone’s early days, they are exposed to their extended family (if they have any), to their friend’s families, and even to families portrayed on television. These families include a parent(s) and their children. This exposure to couples having kids usually sets the tone for children, and young adults, that they too will grow up and have children. Laura Carroll, of the Huffington Post wrote in an article that, “…we make this assumption because for generations, we’ve been taught to believe that parenthood is the ultimate path to fulfillment in life. We may have successful careers and do many other things in life, but becoming a mother and father is what’s going to make life truly worthwhile. The key phrase here is what we ‘have been taught to believe’ about parenthood”.  So, when someone decides to not have children, other’s are baffled by this decision. It is seen as abnormal to the norms of today’s culture.

This child-free topic of discussion can relate back to chapter of Becoming Gendered: The Early Years in the Gendered Lives textbook by Julia T. Wood. In this chapter, it talks about parenting and communicating gender to their kids. For kids growing up, they follow gender norms that will carry on to their adult years where then they will parent their children as a mother or father. However, in a more contemporary society, things are changing. People are stepping outside of those gendered norms and not becoming parents at all. They are breaking the barriers that say a woman should have a child and be nurturing and caring towards it, and a father should be working to earn a salary to provide for his family.However, in today’s society, it is becoming more common to see the opposite. Ted Wayne, of the New York Times stated that, “The percentage of childless women ages 40 to 44 doubled from 1976 to 2006, when the figure stood at over one-fifth of women”. I think that speaks a lot towards those who don’t want/ don’t have children by choice. They are feeling comfortable enough not to conform to social norms.

Males grow up learning that they have to be manly and strong. Females grow up learning that they need to be caring, ladylike, and preparing to raise children. Julia T. Woods describes that an ideal woman needs to be superwoman. She states that, “..woman are required to try to have it all. It’s not enough to be just a homemaker and mother or just a career woman” (2007). Yet, lately more and more people are growing out of these gender roles. They see that, in their opinion, there are far more benefits of living a life child-free even if they grew up in a culture where it is an expectation that a couple will have children.

A recent study showed that many Americans are deciding to not procreate. The woman does not feel as though she needs to keep up with the societal norms in the sense of child birthing. The man agrees enough with his wife that he does not pressure her in doing so. These personal roles are changing dramatically. People aren’t as influenced by the expectations of our society’s “rules”. Men and women are continuing to challenge the gender roles set by society by not having kids and following that routine of parenthood. This is occurring so much that it is becoming more accepted.

Time Magazine

Time Magazine

For example, my aunt and uncle do not have kids at all. They are living a life where they are free to travel whenever, spend their money however they like, and still have nieces and nephews to care for. They are doing it all! When I was younger, I did not understand why they did not have kids. I was so used to seeing all of my other aunts and uncles with their children (my cousins) that I thought it was rather odd that my one aunt did not have any kids of her own. That was all because I did not have an understanding of the other things people did outside of the norms that I was regularly exposed to.

I am excited to get married, to travel the globe with my husband, and to be independent enough to do anything we want without the concerns of our kids. We are the priority in our day to day lives. Not to say that I do not like kids, I tolerate them, but they just have never been my cup of tea.

I agree with comedian and author Chelsea handler when she said, “I definitely don’t want to have kids. I don’t think I’d be a great mother. I’m a great aunt or friend of a mother”.

To make light of this topic, I stumbled upon a parody ad about a child-free couple. It is clearly not a real advertisement, but I thought it would be fun to incorporate into this topic! It demonstrates what people can do when they do not have children, or are not ready to have children just yet.

 

Get To Know Me, I’m Meg OC!

Let’s start off by simply saying hello

All things animals. Meet the bear, Lexi.

All things animals. Meet the bear, Lexi.

My name is Meghan O’Connor, but somehow along the way of high school and college, the nickname “Meg OC’ has come and stuck around. If you could only know three things about me, it would have to be that I am obsessed with animals, I love to travel, and I love to cook! My hometown is the lovely, blossoming, not well known county of Stafford, Virginia. I am a Senior here at Longwood University! I am majoring in Communication Studies with a concentration in Public Relations, as well as a Health Education minor. These past four years I have tried my best making memories and getting involved. I am a member of the Division I Field Hockey team, a member of the Sigma Kappa Greek organization, and a member of the Communication Studies Honor Society Lambda Pi Eta. I love meeting new people, and being around others.

Throughout my years here, I have grown tremendously. Whether it is academically, or personally, the difference is incredible. Communication Studies wise, I feel as though being involved in many various groups and organizations has truly taught me how to work with a bunch of different people to complete tasks/goals. These multiple learning experiences are going to work so well in the professional world because who knows what types of people I will be working with. Resolving conflicts amongst group members, or communicating interpersonally with all those whom I am immersed with was sometimes challenging, but also usually tied back a lot to my studies.

One course that I took, along with my Health Education minor, that I think will tie really well into this course is Human Sexuality. We learned about sex vs. gender, and the different types of sexuality within this world, as well gender norms around the world! It was a very interesting, unique course to say the least. Also, as a woman athlete, I have been affected by the “gender norms” of my generation. With my sport, field hockey, it has become a common rumor that if you play the sport you must be “gay”. I do not know how or why that even became a thing, but it has. A lot of the times, while working out, I struggle with that personal body image because of how society might perceive me as a woman, working out, and lifting weights. It definitely is heartbreaking at times. However, with the new fitness craze going on in our country it has decreased. It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, but the problem alone is that it should have never bothered me, or any female athlete for that mater. With this communications course, I hope to learn more about the gender norms in America, and how they have changed throughout the decades. I am also looking forward to learning about other cultures, and what they think about the gender issues taking place.

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