Stop Treating Me As A Child!

I knew I wanted to be a leader…

When I first came to Longwood University and attended the New Student Leadership Program, it sparked a fire in my soul to continue to develop myself as a leader.  As I have grown over the past three years at Longwood, I have been giving so many opportunities to refine my leadership skills and use it to help others develop their skills. I have become a part of different executive councils, I have attended countless conferences, and I have worked with many Longwood students on developing new programs for leadership. Why do I mention this? Because of these countless experiences it has lead me to pursue a future career working on Capitol Hill. I see myself as a contributor to this country, and the public and helping them. I see myself helping constituents develop legislation that will create more opportunities for those who need help like education reform. I see myself creating a legacy in this country, whether that be small or large. So the question is, will my gender stop me from achieving those dreams?

Am I close to hitting the glass ceiling now?

Peggy-Olson-231452_L
Peggy Olson from Mad Men

History has shown us that women have always been told you can get a job and start a career, but there is a limit to how far you can go in that career. For example, women who became secretaries, there is no advancement in that career. These are usually called “pink collar jobs”, jobs that require skills that women are associated with having. Such as, organizing, counseling, assisting and so forth. It’s not like other jobs such as Sales Associate where someone might have the opportunity to climb up to assistant manager and then eventually manager.  These “pink collar” jobs were very common in the 1960’s and we can see that in shows like “The Mad Men”. Slate an online news source discussed Mad Men and the stereotypes that were filmed in the show. Take Peggy Olson, one of the main characters, for example, Peggy was hired to be a secretary. Although she was able to create and contribute to the creativity on advertisements, the men in the workplace consistently reminded her that her place is as a secretary. This show not only dictates the stereotypes that women were placed under, but the sexual discrimination that many women went through. So how have we learn to define this type of sexual discrimination in the workplace?

We have been able to define it as the “Glass Ceiling and Walls” effect, which means that there is barrier created to the advancement of women and minorities, as well. Not only that but according to “Gendered Lives” by Julia T Wood, “The term glass walls is a metaphor for sex segregation on the job.“.  Both of these terms have lead many women to not have the ability to achieve their career goals, and have limited not only their abilities, but their happiness. Of course now as we have reached the 21st century, women are now advancing into careers such as STEM research, Military combat, and politics. But has the glass ceiling and walls just simply disappeared or has it just risen enough to make women and minorities feel like the glass wall and ceiling are gone?

The Uncomfortable Truth

capitol-hill-4
The ugly truth on Capitol Hill

I recently came across an article that spoke about republican women working on The Hill. This article was the main reason I decided to write my blog on this topic of the “Glass Ceiling/Wall” effect. Recently Politico, a conservative news source, wrote about the glass ceiling on Capitol Hill being shatter proof. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers has discovered herself that the glass ceiling effect is very real, and has personally impacted her growth as a republican on Capitol Hill. Rep. McMorris is currently the House Republican Conference Chair. But for her she would like to fill in one of the top 3 leadership spots, Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, or Whip. Many republican’s stated that The Hill is still a very male dominated industry. Some republicans state that only recently have republican women been elected into office and haven’t risen into a seniority position yet. My argument to this is, women like Rep. Cathy McMorris has been working on Capitol Hill for 20+ years. Does that not qualify her for a seniority position?

So what now?

With that being said, what can we do now? What we can do is to to start recreating the workplace, changing the way we hire, not based on sex or race, but merit. Although there are equal opportunity laws, it is our job to reinforce this. Looking at jobs as not masculine run jobs, but jobs that anyone can have and can do well in. We, as millennials, will come across challenges, but if we redefine the workplace , ourselves and the future will work in institutions where it’s okay to limit someones success based on sex and race. Let’s start the wave of change in the workplace.

You Were Born to be Brave!

I was born this way, whether or not people accept who I am as a person. That shouldn’t matter because I was born this way and my acceptance of that is the only thing that matters. Lady Gaga has inspired hundreds of millions of people by writing lyrics that break gender norms and bringing issues to the light regarding gender and sexual orientation. Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way” was one of the most inspirational songs to hit the radio air waves. Not only is Lady Gaga’s song inspiring others, but her activism for the LGBT community is encouraging. For this blog post I am focusing on the difference between sex and gender and how gender norms are being viewed in society.  The song “Born This Way” challenges the idea of what sexuality is, and how norms are changing in today’s society.

gregdavid_custom-32007cfcbeaa53df6042370f3e7fc7bfdece42e1-s800-c85
Greg David, a 24-year-old employee at Urban Outfitters in Washington, D.C., says he has masculine days and feminine days.

My generation is probably the first generation to really accept LGBT people as who they are. In a Pew Research Forum, they found that ” Younger generations express higher levels of support for sam sex marriage.” (2015). This isn’t to say that every single person in my generation accepts LGBT people, but for the most part, I would feel confident to say about a solid 3/4 of my generation does, approximately 70% of my generation does according to the Pew Research Forum. It is so crucial in today’s society that we properly educate those around us on what the difference is between sex and gender, and how we can play a role in changing the gender norms that we have seen be displayed in pop culture for the past 50 years.

You know it’s really interesting to reflect on what kind of impact society has on us everyday. For many people, they have had to fight for society to accept who they are, even if that is acting just a smidge out of their gender roles.

1915398_1254451810967_1255164_n
My cousin

For my cousin Lizzie, she has always been the tomboy of the family. As child she was the one who wore the cargo pants, with the Green Day t-shirt, and then road around on a skateboard. For both my Aunt and Uncle they

never pressured any gender norms

onto her. They knew that this was who she was as a person, and she was happy being that way. But for some people, they couldn’t accept that. One day my whole family were at a restaurant, and Lizzie, who was still figuring out her identity, started using the men’s bathroom. One man though was not accepting, he yelled at her and told her to get out. My Aunt came to my cousins defense and told him she is just trying to figure who she is as a person. For myself, that moment opened my eyes not only to what society expects but that as humans we need to remain open minded to who people are. This story always helps me connect with others who are trying to identify their own gender. Like Lady Gaga would say, “Don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself and you’re set” (2011).

Julia T. Wood’s book, “Gendered Lives“(2010), defines the difference between sex and gender. Wood explains that sex is the biological makeup that either defines us a male or female. Gender is what we view ourselves, it is not biological, although our biological sex does determine whether or not we are  male or female, but we learn to act in either a more masculine or feminine manner with gender. The issue is that in society what you biological sex is, society expects that your gender reflect that. For my cousin Lizzie, She was born a female(sex), and society expected that as a female she would act in a feminine manner(gender). Although she still is female, today she leans to more masculine traits. Because of this, people who are born a male or a female, but feel as though they are more feminine or masculine, society scolds them if they act out of their gender roles.

In life, we face challenges, whether that is with our appearance, our sexual orientation, our beliefs, our race. But with people such as Lady Gaga, who are trying to change these norms, we are one step closer to achieving an open society for those who struggle to be truly happy. The song “Born This Way” is more than just a song to jam out to in a car. It’s powerful message that is to help open and broaden people’s idea of gender norms, and those who continually struggle with their gender identity.

At the end of the day, the one thing that we are in control of changing is the way we view others. Which we can do by educating ourselves on topics such as gender identity, or sexual orientation. Doing this could make us more knowledgeable and accepting of others.  This is such an important conversation for everyone to have, I understand that personal beliefs get in the way, and that society expectations challenge our beliefs. But for us to change the expectations we start with a conversation, and learn how we can change societies gender norms. For my cousin Lizzie, and the rest of the society who experience challenges of defining their gender or feel the pressure of gender norms, you were born to be brave and never forget that you are who you are.

 

 

When Harry met Haley

When you were 6 did you ever imagine being someone other than yourself? As kids we all were curious about the different activities we would be involved in whether that was playing with our toy trucks and cars, or dressing up and playing house with our other friends. Did you ever reflect on what type of gender role you played as a child? For many of us we knew we acted in either a more feminine manner or masculine manner, but for one child that not the case.

Throughout the Transgender Lives Video, we were introduced to a young girl name Haley. For her, her gender identity came to her pretty naturally, except for the fact that she was born Harry.  Harry was one of the many children who understood early on that although they were born a boy, they were meant to be a girl. our_america_transgender_episode

Let’s ChitChat

I am a person of curiosity, a sense of adventure, and a passion for helping others.  My name is Ally Werner, I am currently a junior at Longwood University. I am studying Communication Studies with a concentration in public relations and a minor in Political Science.  My major truly defines what kind of person I hope to be after graduation. I have a passion for helping others and bringing awareness to issues that are affecting the people of the United States. I have the ability to work with others to create opportunities and resolve issues that will help build a better future. Ever since I was a child, I knew that my ability to help others was a unique gift, because I have always took the time to truly understand what people needed. I have a curiosity to understand why and how politics and policies have shaped and helped our society. I truly believe that every person in the United States of America deserve an opportunity at success, and I believe that it starts with education. I was raised to believe that your socio-economic class should never define your ability to succeed in school. That is why I see that my future career will involve working on passing policies in Congress that help improve resources and opportunities for those who wish to achieve an education.

I stated to become more curious about education opportunities when I was in middle school. I was given an opportunity to help students with physical and mental disabilities who needed help with school when I was in high school. This was the first hand experience that fueled my passion to help others, I saw how difficult it was for those who wanted to learn, to struggle and were denied a chance to challenge themselves. I worked with Pathways for Exceptional Children, we concentrated on one program called “Include Me” which helped work on inclusion in schools for children with learning disabilities. We met with the School Board of Education for New Jersey several times to provide testimony, and statistics on children who are leaving the public school system because private schools are providing better opportunities for inclusion in their classrooms. We worked with public schools, to provide child to child mentoring which then gave students tutoring programs, and inclusion opportunities for students. Now at Longwood, I am a member of SEAL (Student Educators for Active Leadership) which provides leadership opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills through conferences and programs. We also host Sticks and Stones program ever spring which provides awareness on bullying in schools, which leads to exclusion in classrooms. These are just some of my many experiences that have helped me develop my expertise in providing opportunities for those who have limited resources for their education.

Longwood University takes pride in the classes that they offer, many of them force you to become more open minded about the modern society we live in. For myself I have taken several classes that broken down the old time stereotypes of gender norms such as Interpersonal and Intercultural communication, media and society. These three classes have helped show how the public interacts with each other, and how that has changed over time. This has influenced my view on gender norms in society today. It has made me aware that although many of the stereotypes of women and men have diminished, there are still gender norms that shape our view on how men and women should act. Although we have adapted our views on sexuality and gender norms, there are many people who still believe in traditional views on gender norms. I believe that as much as we wish to break down all stereotypes on men and women, as a society we create a status quo  for society to abide by. I remember getting bullied all through middle school because I was so tall and I was overweight, because society expected women and girls to be shorter than boys, and slim. Because of that, it caused my personal self-esteem to drop dramatically, and I knew even for girls who were slim and short, they constantly judged themselves for not being that perfect image. The same went for some boys in my class, they were judged probably even worse, because society forced them to feel the need to be manly, be tall, and not overweight either. I think because of the criticisms we received when we were younger, we know push ourselves to be healthier, and be self-aware of what we do to our bodies. I hope to learn a lot from this class, I hope to become more realistic about gender norms, and become more knowledgeable about societies current views. I want to learn if the status quo has changed since I was a child. Overall I am excited to see what this class has in store for me, how I can change my own views, and become more self-aware about how I view gender norms.

Me, at The Sticks and Stones anti-bullying campaign in 2014

 

Just another Longwood Blogs site