Tag Archives: Gender equality

What is domestic fairness in the Home?

The dynamics in which individuals, and partners choose to run their households is as diverse as the billions of people there on living on this earth.  Some might make the strong stance that everything must be split equally and evenly between both people.  This would include such responsibilities as, the division of chores, financial expenditures, daycare, and more.

However, I do not feel this approach is necessarily true.  It cannot be fair to demand domestic fairness within households, but then impose one possible method to ensure that equality is achieved.  As with everything in life, people should have the freedom to choose whatever they feel is fair in their home.  Lisa Belkin states in her article, When mom and dad share it all, “Gender should not determine the division of labor at home” (Belkin 2).  To me this is a perfect answer to such a convoluted question.  Domestic fairness in the home happens when both parties feel it is fair, period.  Whichever way they feel comfortable with dividing up the tasks, should be solely up to them.  The crucial point being, that society should not be able to rear its ugly head and influence the decision making process.  Gender should be left out of the equation, and moves should be made based on those particular individuals comfort level and personal desires.

Though, the ultimate question may be, can there ever really be 100% domestic equality in a home?  Is it ever really possible to maintain fairness in the home all of the time? The combining of two separate lives is a difficult task.  It has to be known that sacrifices will be made and following personal desires are not always an option.

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What is the modern woman?

And can we change what we are supposed to be?

It used to be that a woman was something to neither be seen nor heard. She was a being of silence, a being hidden within the walls of the home and behind the masculine form of her husband. She was a being meant to bring children into this world, a being who was “biologically distinguished from men” and “culturally distinguished from ‘human'” (Firestone 232). She was a hysterical, unable to have control over her own body, and forced into situations and relationships that she did not necessarily want.

But what is the modern woman? Have we really come far from the days of being specifically present at home? Of having children and raising them being the specific role she has been given? The modern woman has to ‘do it all’: she must “produce a full-time career, thriving children, a contented spouse, and a well managed home”, an ideal which is hard to always achieve (Ehrenreich 445). Today’s woman, in this world where equality is apparently supposed to exist, still bears the majority of the housework and child care. She still is not equal in her relationships with men, and in order to compete in the career world, she has to resign some of her caring duties to other women, such as nannies and maids.

But what if there could be a new modern woman? A woman who was not pressured to have children, who was not pressured to be married, who was able to live outside of the mold of society? This woman would not be penalized and found on “the margins of a society in which everyone else is compartmentalized”; she would be free (Firestone 261). Free from the biblical destiny of bearing children, free from the pressures of having a man by her side, this modern woman would not have to do it all in order to be seen as successful: she could do what she wanted, and she would have ultimate support to do so. This woman could be a single mother; she could be a married woman with no child. She could stay at home or work. Having the freedom to choose, without judgment or distress, what life a woman wants for herself is what the modern woman should be.

 Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Arlie Hoschschild. “Global Woman.” Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology. By Estelle Disch. 4th ed. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Pub., 2000. 443-51. Print.

Firestone, Shulamith. “Conclusion: The Ultimate Revolution.” The Dialectic of Sex ; the Case for Feminist Revolution. New York: Morrow, 1970. N. pag. Print.

Ad Critique Post – DiGiorno Pizza Commercial

The DiGiorno commercial ties very well with the main ideas discussed in Beauvior’s text titled The Second Sex: Introduction and Lorber’s text titled The Social Construction of Gender. In this commercial both genders are stereotyped into traditional gender roles as the men are seen relaxing outside while viewing sports and the woman is seen heading into her home with two large grocery bags. The men decide to order a pizza – but the main male character decides to call his spouse instead to demand her to make him a pizza the way he likes it. She replies, “you know I hate when you do this” as if this is an everyday occurrence between the two of them. He then demands her to make the pizza quickly.  This commercial resembles how Beauvior discusses gender: “man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him” (Beauvior 33). Her existence is dependent on serving men instead of being independent to do the task she enjoys. Lober’s belief that gender “creates the social difference that define woman and man” because people “learn what is expected…thus simultaneously construct and maintain the gender order” (Lorber 115). This construction is seen as the woman is expected to make the pizza for the men as she always does. After making the pizza the woman retaliates by turning the sprinkler on the three men. The men have no reaction and continue to watch sports, as if they are oblivious to her existence. Their actions demonstrate that men are seen as the supreme and the woman is only significant in service to men. Therefore, the woman is only defined according to the men’s terms.

Judith Lorber, “The Social Construction of Gender”, 1990.

De Beauvoir, Simone. “The Second Sex: Introduction.”, 2003.

What is fairness?

Fairness involves an equal, unprejudiced representation for all genders. The term “Gender Identity Disorder” does not allow a fair representation for individuals that identify themselves as transgender. “Gender Identity Disorder” is an unfair portrayal because of the negative connotations surrounding the word “disorder”. GID is used to describe a person who experiences discomfort with their biological gender and identifies with the opposite gender as a more appropriate presentation.

I first heard the term while viewing “I Am Jazz – A Family Transition” on Oprah’s channel OWN. The show is a documentary following the life of a transgender preteen that identifies as a female.  While viewing the show I analyzed that the people associated with her are open and fair about her decisions but the term used to describe her condition throughout the documentary is unfair. The term depicts transgendered individuals with a disadvantage because it is not favorable. It identifies their sexual behavior as a mental disorder that should be fixed. It positions them in a category that conflicts with the natural social conditions in society. “Disorder” implies that transgenders are not performing gender correctly and as a result the phrase can create social inequality. Transgenders are subjected to a diagnosis that defines them as a disturbance.

This dynamics can affect the representation of self with dominant gender standards because transgenders may feel like they don’t belong in a society that categorizes them negatively. It also doesn’t allow them the freedom to be themselves without scrutiny. Overall, I think it is unfair to define transgenders as a disorder in our society. There should be an unprejudiced representation for all genders.

What do you think about the term? Am I being overly sensitive about the issue considering this isn’t a widely used term to describe transgendered individuals?

Ad Critique: Dr. Pepper’s Guide to Gender Equality

Often, we are offended by ads that objectify women. This Dr. Pepper commercial does not do so and thus probably incites less outrage than one depicting almost-naked women. This sort of commercial, however, is similarly detrimental to gender equality. Certainly, the burly man in the commercial is, as Judith Lorber refers to it, “doing gender,” as he ruggedly carries a tree, sports a manly flannel, calls to nature with a forceful posture, and travels fearlessly through the wilderness.1 By contributing to gender as the process that teaches young boys acceptable traits and how to act, the character is reinforcing “the social differences that define ‘woman’ and ‘man.’”

Perhaps more importantly, however, in promoting the idea of manliness, the commercial is helping to perpetuate the male sex’s domination. The first line of the commercial is a perfect example as it states, “There is no such thing as a no man’s land to me.”2 In essence, everywhere belongs to man. Christine Delphy illustrates the underlying issue with this commercial when she writes, “[Sex] serves to allow social recognition and identification of those who are dominants and those who are dominated.” Dr. Pepper is implicitly reminding men that its product will help to ensure their male superiority.

Low-calorie items are usually marketed towards women. While embracing man’s dominance is an excellent marketing strategy, it should be interpreted as offensively as commercials objectifying women.

1. Lorber, Judith. “The Social Construction of Gender (1990).” In Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology, edited by Estelle Disch, 113-120. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2006, 113.

2. Delphy, Christine. “Rethinking Sex and Gender.” In Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives, by Carole R. McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim, 57-67. New York: Routledge, 2003, 62.

Perpending Privilege

What is privilege? Privilege is a special right or advantage granted to a certain group of people not based on personal merit, but based merely on something they cannot control, such as race, class, sex, or gender. Multiple studies have shown that in childhood, boys receive more money than girls for doing the same chores. “Masculine” chores such as mowing the lawn net more money than traditionally feminine chores Most likely, the majority of parents are not consciously deciding to pay their girls less. However, subconsciously, they have come to value the labor of males more than the labor of females. This is privilege at work.

Most people with privilege do not realize that they have it. Many men claim that they cannot possibly be sexist because they have sisters, implying that they can sympathize with women more because they grew up with one. However, one of the studies found that men who grew up with sisters actually tend to do less housework than their spouses and are also more socially conservative.

Having privilege is not a crime, but those with privilege need to recognize the advantages they enjoy and try to equalize the playing field, as the privileges they have were not gained from personal merit.

Chemaly, Soraya. “Even Little Kids Have a Wage Gap.” Salon. Salon Media Group, Inc., 15 Aug. 2013. Web. 14 Sept. 2013.

What is privilege and why don’t people realize it?

I would define privilege as the set of benefits given to a group of people, based on race, ethnicity, gender, class or other factors that are not due to an individual’s merit or personal accomplishments. In other words, privilege is what is given to you simply for which groups you may belong to. If this is true, why don’t people realize the unequal benefits that they receive?

I think people are unaware of the privileges that they receive until they are forced to confront the reality that others lack these privileges, or until they are forced to be without these privileges themselves. Privilege is often subtle. For instance, many in my school didn’t accept the existence of white privilege until they discussed that they had never been followed around a store, unlike their black counterparts. In “Whipping Girl,” Serano, whom others formerly identified as a man, transitions into being accepted as a woman. Afterwards she realized “men speak down to me, talk over me, and sometimes even practically put on baby voices when addressing me.” (Whipping Girl, Pg. 222) Though many men might realize that women are treated differently, the extent of their own male privilege cannot be comprehended until they are forced to live without it.

 

What do you guys think?

Serano, Julia. “Experiential Gender.” Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Emeryville, CA: Seal, 2007. 223. Print.