Gendered World Views (section 11, Winter 2016)
About this class
Pink is for girls and blue is for boys, or at least that's what many of us were taught as children. But what are these stereotypes really telling us? Assumptions like these force men and women into specific roles, and from a very young age, we socialize boys to be aggressive and girls to be nice – we then assign an aesthetic to each group that reflects this. But how do real people deal with these expectations? What does it mean to see the world through gendered terms?
This course will introduce students to the patriarchal world view that created the gendered stereotypes we live with today and the ways in which gendered assumptions structure society. We will then focus on the challenges that have been raised by the feminist world view and explore how women deal with gender inequality. The second half of the course will be largely dedicated to masculinity studies and feminist observations regarding how the patriarchal world view hurts men as well. Finally, we will end with a brief look at what the queer theory has to say about gender. Students will be asked to reflect on their own world views and how gendered ideas have effected their lives.
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I’m really glad that your article is tackling a current issue we are faced with today especially because it hits so close to home. I was not aware that this was actually a business smugglers made money out of before reading your article!
I believe you’re looking at this issue of people-smuggling from a deontological perspective, which is an ethical position that is measured through universal rules that determine whether or not your actions are moral. As you have mentioned, you believe that people-smuggling is wrong because people are being smuggled into countries illegally which is cheating with the government but also increasing human trafficking.
However, I believe utilitarianism has a better approach to this issue because this ethical framework argues that if the situation is creating happiness by doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people it is morally acceptable. In this case, many are fleeing countries where they would not necessarily have a future in and are trying to seek a better life. Rescue teams are putting in the effort to give them this chance of a fresh new start. All of these people are motivated by good intentions.
Yes, these people do have to go through a difficult and costly journey in order to find a new life, but perhaps they would not have to seek the aid of smugglers if only the governments had a more lenient law on immigration. Maybe then the people-smuggling business would decrease since people would no longer have to rely on the smugglers.
I find your post very insightful and structured very efficiently. Though I do think that your introduction to the subject was somewhat quick and to the point, your summary of the topic is very properly articulated. Also, by comparing the situation to that of Muhammad Ali’s and quoting professionals such as the sociologist Michael Eric Dyson, you highlight the importance of the topic even more. Finally, by giving your stance on the issue, it makes your article all the more thorough, however this inherently introduces the possibilities of other opinions on the issue through different ethical frameworks.
In this case, there are conflicting ethical points of view that have to be taken into account. For instance, Kaepernick’s refusal to stand up during the anthem did not sit well with many other NFL players who basically argue that standing up for the anthem honors the men and women who serve and have served the U.S. military. This ties into to the framework of ethical relativism, which in sum, refutes the judgement of actions or behaviors of people from other cultures, (well in this case race) because no moral principles are valid for all people, places and times. Essentially, morals are pitted against each other- discrimination and disrespect for the men and women who serve the U.S. citizens. On the other hand, a utilitarian point of view would see Kaepernick’s actions as inherently good. The teleological ideal (utilitarianism) functions based on giving the greatest happiness for the greatest number. In other words, by kneeling during the national anthem, the NFL player is doing the most good but making a public statement that there definitely a problem when it comes to inequality and police brutality against minorities. Also, as per your concluding statement, Kaepernicks actions sparked debate and brought attention to your topic, and consequently would aim to eliminate or at least lessen the issues of race.
In closing, I feel as though applying the utilitarian framework would be the most suited point of view would be best for this situation. Because of your anecdote, the overall idea that ending or lessening the brutality towards people of colour justifies that doing so would bring the greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people.
You bring up an issue that is important to deal with in today’s society. Some sources of information have an agenda which they push by being intentionally misleading or providing false facts (or “alternate facts”).
The reason for banning fake news falls into the ethical framework of deontology, or virtue ethics, which is a concept which states that what is considered unethical is always unethical, regardless of the context. Therefore, fake news should be illegal because it is a lie, which is always unethical.
However, passing a law to ban the spreading of false information is a teleological action, meaning whether it is ethical or not is determined by its intended outcome. While the intention is to create a truthful media, limiting free speech (as you mentioned) is a problem.
This is because there must be an entity which decides what is truthful and what is not. Current events in the United States demonstrate the use of the term “fake news” to discredit any opposing information. President Trump, the largest proponent of fake news’ prevalence, tweeted: “Any negative polls are fake news” (Twitter: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/828574430800539648).
The power to eliminate “false information” can be easily abused by allowing those in power to mislead the masses, which is the exact same as publishing fake news in the first place. The only difference is that true information can be deemed false and therefore be censored.
To deal with this situation, a utilitarian approach should be taken: provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people. By choosing between a media filled with both truthful and misleading information or one with just misleading information, it is clear that a ban on fake news would not be good news.
First of all, I’d like to say that you’ve chosen a great title for your post: it’s catchy, informative, but short enough to make me want to read the rest of your article! I also appreciate your use of details such as the definition of freedom of the press, exact dates, and names of agencies that were involved.
That being said, I think that you are intuitively looking at this problem through the lens of a rationalist ethical system. Ethical rationalism argues that we are duty-bound to reason because will––pure, practical reason––is the only thing that is unconditionally good and should thus lead to good actions. There are two imperatives in this system: a hypothetical imperative, which we act on to achieve a good outcome, and a categorical imperative, which we act on because the action itself is good and we are duty-bound to it. The only categorical imperative (the fundamental rule, if you will, of rationalism) is that of universalizability: act on something only if you wish for everybody to act in the same way. In essence, your actions, rather than their outcomes, must be good in order to be ethical.
Another key point of rationalism is that all rational beings cannot be treated as a means to an end, but are rather ends in and of themselves. In the case of this article, the journalists were being spied on as a means for the Charbonneau Commission to crack down on corruption. Regardless of the potentially positive outcome here of furthering the investigation, the action was simply wrong because rational human beings were treated as a means to an end: this is unethical according to rationalism.
Great piece, I really like the way in which you described very specific features of this book such as the smell of herbal medicine as well as physical condition of the book. I found it very interesting when you compared the creation of books from that time period to today, especially when you hinted at the way in which these books were advertised represented an early form of capitalism. Although you are undeniably correct with your claim that today's print publishing is much more efficient and that the methods of creating books such as this one are outdated, it is important to think about how advanced books like this were for their time. Before the printing press allowed these to be published, each book would have to be hand written by a scribe which is timely, and leads a rarity of identical books. Even how you noted that the last word on each page is the first word on the next is very advanced as this is how those who bind the books know that the pages are in order. Overall, outstanding article with great analysis, just thought I'd put my opinion in on how impressive these books actually are for their time.
You made some great observations on this problem, and you well explained the reason for why people should realize that school shootings and rape are unacceptable. I totally agree with you that adolescents should be aware of that. In addition, to analyse further this problem in order to get better solutions, we need to consider the gender issues that hide behind it.
The hegemonic masculinity asks men to dominate the world and the others, and people who do not perform their virility, the strength and prowess, will be considered to be weak men; thus, they are allowed to be dominated by other strong men. There is not mistake with these qualities, like athletic and powerful, but the problem is that the patriarchal world view asks men to behave only the way they want. Men can never show their weakness, so people among them who get bullied by the others cannot seek help. Therefore, some of them will have no choice to do some extreme things such as committing suicide and school shootings. It is really sad because it is something that people can prevent by well educating the adolescents that they can do and behave the way they want. In addition, the compulsive heterosexuality gives men even more restrictions. It says that men should be sexual active with multiple women. Since most men are told to be violent, some of them end up by raping some women.
We all need to concern about the gender issues since they are not only negatively influencing a group of people but all of us. Finally, here is the link to an article that discusses the relationship between masculinity and rape culture that I think might be interesting for you to read:
I find your example of shootings in school as a way to prove strength through violence a very true point. The fact is that men indeed do get a lot of pressure to have a mask on and always act tough and strong, even if they really aren't or do not want to be this way. It is unfortunately a sad reality that will never change unless society, and men especially, stop putting this pressure on one another to perform this masculinity at all times and hide their true selves from one another. In my world views class we learned about the "Man Box" which is a set of characteristics which a man must have in order to be considered a real man or masculine by society and other men. If a man doesn't have one specific characteristic they can compensate with the other as long as they have a good amount of the characteristics down and do not fall outside. Hegemonic Masculinity is another important term to know when discussing masculinity and goes hand-in-hand with this idea of the "Man Box', it basically signifies a type of masculinity that promotes male dominance, much like that of a patriarchal society would demand. A lot of characteristics of masculinity from the man box really fall into this idea that sociologists have coined hegemonic masculinity and it is the type of man that as you describe in your post, is the one society really imposes on men to be. If you are interested by this make sure to check out this Wikipedia page that really explains more in depth the idea of hegemonic masculinity and the "Man Box".
I feel these that these arguments are correct to some extent, and if you were to add gender based arguments it would become more compelling. There are basically two terms that can be pulled out in terms of gender related issues with respect to the rejection of Syrian refugees. First of all, it could arguably be said that these Syrian refugees face oppression regarding race, status and sex. In other words, intersectionality, in which different types of oppression occur, is present in this case. These refugees are being discriminated not only for their race, but it could be said that “American” are still not fond of the Muslim which makes up 90% of the religions practiced in Syria. Also, class and sex could also come into play, as American’s still have not achieved true gender equality, therefore limiting Syrian men, but further restricting immigrant women. On a different note, Donald Trump’s remarks can only be described as the most hegemonic case of masculinity in a while. Trump embodies most of the traits that are present in the “Man Box”. He imposes male dominance by being an extremist. In your argument that he would want to build walls, shows how he doesn’t want anyone interfering with “HIS” country. Also in debates and presidential campaigns, Trump has gone so low as to personally insult his fellow candidates. In short Donald Trump’s hegemonic masculine traits could be the source of his supporters- many Americans think in the way that Trump does.
You raised some excellent points on the important issue of injuries in football. I agree that requiring coaches to undergo training in order to be able to properly teach the mechanics of tackling is critical in preventing the occurrence of life-changing injuries.
However, I think it is also important to realise the role masculinity plays on this problem.
One major issue is that football players are voluntarily playing through injury. For example, Brett Favre played with a broken thumb on his dominant hand in 2003, Byron Leftwich played through a broken tibia in 2003 and Chris Simms played with a ruptured spleen in 2006 (Total Pro Sports Editors). In all of these cases, I believe that these men battled through injury to conform to gendered expectations. According to hegemonic masculinity, men are supposed to be tough, strong, macho and dominating. By playing through injuries in a violent sport such as football, men are not only proving that their bodies are more dominant than women’s since they can withstand the rigors of football, but also their dominance over other men. Players who play through significant injury are seen as the toughest of men and are thus able to reinforce their masculinity and their place in the “man box.”
The other significant issue is that coaches and trainers are lying about their players’ health. Often times, players suffer severe injuries but are told that they can return to play by their coaches and trainers without being adequately evaluated and tested. For example, Jarrius Lindsey, a former running back for Jacksonville University, is suing the school on the grounds of negligence (13 News Now Editors). He received many concussions during his career, but was never properly treated for them, as the school did not follow the concussion protocol (13 News Now Editors). Consequently, “he will suffer from a traumatic brain injury, memory loss, excruciating pain throughout his body, headaches, depression and anxiety” (13 News Now Editors). Although some will say that the school did not follow the protocol because they wanted to win, I believe the real issue has to do with masculinity. Football is a sport that tests a man’s toughness and strength. By agreeing to play the sport, coaches and trainers expect their players to play through extreme pain. With all that said, this lawsuit is clearly a classic case of a team telling their player that he is “fine” and that he needs to power through the rigors associated with football.
Sources and Interesting Links:
Firstly, I would like to thank you for talking about such a topic because it just puzzles me that there is a country out there that treats women the way they currently do in this day and age. As a practicing Muslim I do have some background knowledge on the basic fundamentals of Islam surrounding the gender inequality portion you speak of. I think it’s insane that women recently got the right to vote and also the fact that women are not allowed to drive in their own country, but this has nothing to do with the religion of Islam itself. It is the patriarchal monarchy that governs Saudi Arabia that implemented these kinds of laws that prevent women from experiencing the many pleasures associated with freedom that we are able to experience on a daily basis here in Canada. Furthermore the Quran preaches more about equality among men and women than what is actually interpreted by the government. There are strict rules about how men should behave and dress as well, and women are encouraged to be educated and are allowed to conduct businesses. This is what happens when the society has a patriarchal mindset.
The dress code is meant to keep their image “pure” in a sense that they don’t want women to be objectified; this is something that comes from the Quran because it’s important that women should not be judged by how they look but by their intellect. The purpose that male guardians serve is that they have to protect the women, yet here I am in Canada, independently walking to places I want to go to without any supervision and thankfully nothing terrible has happened to me. I could go on forever but, if they really were being true with themselves they would know that in the Quran, God declares, “…In God’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware” (49:13). Thus stating that men and women are equal in front of God. Also another thing is that men and women must congregate every year in Mecca (which is in Saudi Arabia) to perform the pilgrimage and the women keep their faces visible; something mentioned in the article that I will provide at the end of this paragraph.
Works cited: where I got the line from the Quran
Pervez, Saulat. "Hijab In Islam." WhyIslam. N.p., 5 Feb. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
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