Tag Archives: inequity

What Is Inequity: How Strip Clubs Reinforce Male Privilege

In a world where women are gaining economic status and independence, inequity between women and men is still perpetuated in establishments like strip clubs, where women are viewed by customers as sexual objects. Strip clubs provide a way for men to “relax” and “be a man” (Jeffreys 167) without having to worry about feminist women being offended by sexual objectification. Strip clubs promote the idea that it is natural that men need time to unwind and do “manly” things, like drink, smoke, and carry on with their friends while objectifying women. But why does this need to take place in a setting that subjects women to male control? Men have control over women in strip clubs by determining the size of strippers’ tips and how long and to what extent interactions with the women go, reinforcing the power disparity between men and women. According to Jeffreys, strip clubs “provide a compensation for the decline in power that men have experienced as their wives, partners, and women workmates have shed their own subordination, begun to compete with them, and demanded equality.”

Though the act of stripping is seen as empowering by some women, many men do not see it this way. Thus, strip clubs extrapolate the inequity between men and women by creating a place where men can openly objectify women, where women not in the sex industry are unwelcome, and where men do not need to treat women as equals.  

Jeffreys, Sheila. “Keeping Women Down and Out: The Strip Club Boom and the Reinforcement of Male Dominance.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 34.1 (2008): 151-73. Print.

Big Question: What does it mean to be the “target market”?

Being the target of an advertisement or other piece of media can take many forms. The first form is positive while the second form is negative.  In the positive end of things, at least positive for white straight cis men of the upper to middle class, is that the media is what they want to see.  For example, as outlined in the Chambers article, there is a significant amount of heteronormativity in the L Word despite the fact that it is theoretically about lesbians.  Music videos and movies and advertisements are targeted at those particular kinds of men and therefore being marketed to is a very positive experience that has become so commonplace that it seems unsettling when there is a different target demographic.  

For cis women, people of color, and anyone in the LGBT community, being marketed to can be a very negative experience. For example, as pointed out in  “Assimilating the Queers,” the stereotypical gay, fashion forward, put together, white, cis gay man is exactly the sort of representation that would probably at least partially target the LGBT community.  This however is a hurtful, incorrect stereotype that ends up alienating a large part of the LGBT population even more. For women, being the target demographic, as also elaborated on in “Selling the Body Beautiful,” means being degraded and expected to be endeared by it.  The advertisements that shame women for all of their choices and looks are geared towards making them feel guilty and inadequate.  Most media marketed towards women is marketed towards that stereotype of women not wanting anything very deep and meaningful and that they would rather watch something more vapid, which adds to the harmful impact of media on women and how they feel about themselves and other women.  

Big Question: What is inequity?

Inequity is a social institution. Judith Lorber contends that humans seek to organize and categorize, which leads to differentiation based on many factors, including gender. Gender categorization permits the division of tasks and roles between the genders (Lorber, 115). Ultimately, both the norms created by categorization, and the categorization itself, stratify society (Lorber, 116). The consequence: men are considered the dominant gender, while all others are devalued.

Inequity is found where you least expect it. Even within second wave feminist organizations, tension and inequity existed between women. White feminists, generally wealthy and privileged, invited black feminists to join their movement in sisterly solidarity (hooks, 133). bell hooks recalls feeling that it was presumptuous for those women to assume solidarity, given their own privilege, and also to “invite” black women to their pre-established club. Ignorance leads to inequality, and unfortunately, ignorance is quite widespread.

Inequity is unnecessary. Categorization might be human nature, but that doesn’t mean we can’t consciously and collectively make efforts to dump categories and ignorance in favor of spectrums and understanding. Fausto-Sterling suggests methods of literally eliminating categories from our lives, such as taking gender categories off of legal documents (111). She notes that gender equity is within reach, given improvements in public tolerance, political organization, and a fantastic “gender lobby” (124).

Sources:

Anne Fausto-Sterling, “Should There Be Only Two Sexes?” (2000)

bell hooks, “Sisterhood: Political Solidarity between Women” (1986)

Judith Lorber, “The Social Construction of Gender” (1990)

What is inequity?

Inequity is not having an equal playing field with other members of society which manifests itself in many ways. It is present in our interactions, laws, and even the media. Sometimes we forget how big of an influence the media plays in our daily interactions. One big way that we experience the world is through the books we read and the television shows we watch. In order to talk about a helpful step in fighting inequity I want to talk about the television show, Orange is the New Black and how it does this. One way that people can become more equal is when they are represented in an accurate way in the media. Specifically in Orange is the New Black, one perspective of the experience of transgender women is presented through the character Sophia Burset, played by trans actress, Laverne Cox. Throughout the show she is conveyed as someone who definitely faces difficulties as a trans person such as not having access to her hormones or dealing with issues related to her relationships with her wife who stayed with her through her transitioning period. Julia Serano in Experiential Gender does a good job of also capturing another experience of being a trans-woman by explaining her feelings regarding womanhood and what it meant for her to also go through her transitioning period. Not only does the existence of these people promote more understanding, it also results in people of similar backgrounds feeling more empowered because they can relate to the people they see in the media.

I think it is imperative that we focus on painting a complete picture about different groups of society, so that people can start to understand different groups of people. Having both personal and fictional accounts in novels and television providing multiple perspectives, respectively are definitely a start so that we can even greater strides to creating a more equitable society.

Source:

Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Seal Press: New York, 2007.

What is inequity?

As far as pertaining to gender, I have always seen inequity as the inherent difference in how society treats men vs. women, exemplified by Judith Lorber’s statement of how “In a gender-stratified society, what men do is usually valued more highly than what women do” (Lorber 116). More opportunities are available to men, and in all aspects of society, they are seen as the favored gender. However, I have never really thought about the inequity that may be found within the genders themselves. Bell Hooks writes a lot about the role of racism as it pertains to differences in sex, and how “White females discriminate against and exploit black women while simultaneously being envious and competitive in their interactions with them” (Hooks 131). She goes on to say that in many cases, divisions of race may even take precedence over divisions of gender.

I wonder if this inequity within our own gender, this lack of “solidarity” of which Hooks so emphasizes the importance, is what is holding us back from bridging the inequality between genders. How can we fight for that cause when we are too busy discriminating against and fighting within ourselves?

Hooks, Bell. “Sisterhood: Political Solidarity Between Women.” Feminist Review, No. 23. 125-138. Print.

Lorber, Judith. “The Social Construction of Gender.” Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology. 4th ed. N.p.: n.p., 2006. 113-19. Print.

What is Inequity?

Inequity, a lack of fairness or justice, is at the root of every gender issue. Any gender issue—for example, the degradation of women, objectification, sexism, and unequal opportunity—can be traced back to the historically established inequality between men and women. In Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, Beauvoir quotes Aristotle’s definition of women, which is an indication that gender inequity is a long-standing issue. Aristotle says, “the female is female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities, we should regard the female nature as afflicted with a natural defectiveness.” This definition explains why inequity exists. It is a mindset. The idea that women are defined in relation to men and that they are the “Other,” as Beauvoir puts it, makes it impossible for fairness and equality to exist. Inequity, in terms of gender, stems from the deep-rooted belief that men are the dominant sex and women are passive and “afflicted with a natural defectiveness.” In order to eradicate inequity, therefore, we need to recognize that women, while they do lack certain qualities that men possess, are deserving of fairness and equality.

de Beauvoir, Simone. “2. The Second Sex: Introduction.” Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. Ed. McCann and Kim. New York: Routledge, 2003. 33. Print.

What is Inequity?

What is inequity?

Inequity is being denied the right to determine one’s gender. In Anne Fausto-Sterling’s Sexing the Body, she heavily, and rightfully so, criticizes genital reconstructive surgery on infants. When a child is born with an ambiguous or unidentified gender, the first reaction of both parents and doctors is to “fix it.” But what are they really trying to fix?

Gender cannot be fixed for it is a social construction. Surgery may change a child’s biological sex, but it will not change his gender. Gender is a formulation of social, cultural and personal influences. Every child has his own gender. It is a creation of his environment and of his free will.

Determining a child’s gender for him is inequity. Inequity is being denied the right to choose and experience your own gender. Performing surgery on an infant to correct his natural, biological sex to fit society’s gender norms, as either male or female, utterly disregards the child’s right to choose his gender identity and forces the child into a life of physical and emotional pain.  As Fausto-Sterling says, “we protest the practices of genital mutilation in other cultures, but tolerate them at home” (79).

Why in a modern society do we continue to change the course of nature?

Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Sexing the Body. New York: Basic Books, 2000. 78-115. Print.