Perpetuating Gender Norms – To what must women react?

It’s been somewhat of a struggle for me to fully grasp why gender norms seem to be so perpetuated in our society. Ideally, the women’s rights movement should’ve turned everything around, yet women are continuously lowered and viewed as subordinates to men. I come to realize that there just isn’t one party to blame but that both men and women continue to contribute to their own traditional stereotypes that are outdated and in some respect, regressive. What got me thinking was seeing the film, Dreamworlds 3. I never really analyzed music videos farther than the point where I told myself that it was bad to portray a woman as an object or sex-crazed creature. Now, when thinking about the actresses of the music videos themselves who seem glad and willing to pose in little clothing and make provocative gestures (pop stars who become sex symbols are not excluded here), I can’t help but feel that they are approving and promoting the sexualization of the female body, which subsequently leads to sexual harassment/abuse. So I think that we, as women, must react to not only the stereotyping we receive from others, but also and more importantly, to our own conformity to societal norms. We must ask ourselves why we are going along with the system. Is it perhaps easier to do so? Or is it virtually impossible to escape the norms that are pushed upon us? If we hope for change, we must realize that we hold some of the cards as well.

Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex & Power in Music Video. Dir. Sut Jhally. Media education foundation, 2007. Film.


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