Gendered World Views (Winter 2017, section 8)

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 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. A participation grade will be assigned.

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by strawberry456 on February 24, 2017
This image from 2007 is advertising a fragrance for women by Sean John called 'Unforgivable Woman'. In the photo, a man is forcing himself onto a woman. He is pushing her against a wall and kissing her neck. The woman seems to be attempting to resist him, since her arm is raised, but clearly he is too overpowering for her. There isn't joy in her expression; instead, there is pain. The picture shows a railing for a staircase leading down, meaning that she is perhaps being brought into a seclude and dark basement where she won’t be able to get help.

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by Damien_Reid on February 24, 2017
The notion that sex sells is one by which nearly all advertising agencies abide. However, in recent years, marketers have begun to take this theory to an extreme. Such is the case with Malaysian airline company Firefly, which received large amounts of criticism after engaging in a distasteful ad campaign several months ago. Of the two pictures which it published, one (posted above) shows the backside of a female flight attendant upon which are imprinted the words "50% off".

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by giraffe_queen on February 23, 2017
The reinforcement of gender roles are found in every aspect of our society (music, fashion, television, advertisements, sports, etc.) with the same message being badgered into our minds over, and over, and over again. The message so frequently conveyed that women are supposed to be fragile, weak, feminine, sexy, but not too slutty, not only impact women who are being pressured to fit into these constricting categories, but also encourage men to be dominant and lustful over women.

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by tCal on February 23, 2017
              Corporations only have one thing in mind; to maximize profit no matter the cost. In order to attract the most customers, fashion companies will target a specific category or a specific gender. Sexism is very present in the world and these fashion firms only make the situation worse. Dolce and Gabbana are known for their exotic and erotic ads, but this image sparked a backlash against the company back in 2015. This ad is a perfect example of the objectification of women because it gives men harsh ideas like gang raping and violence against women.  

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by Anonymous on February 23, 2017
In this advertisement conceived by Gucci, a male stands beside a woman and she pulls her panties down while he is clearly attracted to her.  This ad has been banned in the United Kingdom for degrading women. It is obvious that many elements can shock a lot of individuals and its sexual content is shown in a very unique and special way. The male dominance marked by the young man, the submission presented by the lady and the “G”-shaved monogram near the sex of the female represent the effects that the consumption of the products made by Gucci can create.  

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2 years 3 months ago

Great article and I could not agree more! I am a firm believer in the power of education in order to counter prejudices as I am a first hand example of how a course from the feminist world view opened my eyes to interpret situations in a way I have never before done. The educational approach not only teaches the historical context of such phenomena, but the lens begins to be engrained in you, making it a reflex to look into social issues more in depth. Ultimately, that type of mentality is what will eradiate these issues (although there will always be some bad people) in the most effective way possible. Your section regarding cognitive science mentions how it could be helpful to understand why homophobia is happening, to counter that I say that it is far more important to bring up how it came to be. When discussing topics such as hegemonic masculinity, virility and the patriarchal worldview, the historical aspects of homophobia and the emphasis on male heterosexual domination become very clear. This clarity is so important to me because it brings out the absurdity in many of the social phenomena that society has been laced with for ages, and when such absurdity is exposed, no prejudiced belief can stand to be validated.

Although I am sure that there are many bodies of work that may interest/help you, I unfortunately cant reference you to any due to the fact that my opinion is largely based in discussions that were never put in writing and published. I suggest maybe looking up buzzwords such as “hegemonic masculinity” and “virility” as these are heavily related to your subject.

2 years 3 months ago

Truly, your article brings up a relevant point on the ongoing homophobia in our modern society. Sadly, homosexuals still face a lot of discrimination and it is a hotly debated issue. I agree with you that it is important for people to understand more about homosexuals to lessen the exclusion about homosexuals’ problems.

You made an interesting suggestion of addressing the topic through three concepts, but what I find the fact that heterosexuality is seen and represented as the only correct sexuality is what is primarily concerning. Hence, I wish to develop more on this aspect by introducing the term compulsive heterosexuality. Compulsive heterosexuality refers to the sole accepted sexuality set up by hegemonic masculinity which men should conform to and all other sexualities are deviant. It promotes a sexuality centered on the “natural” and “true” biological urge for sex among men. Indeed, it is about fulfillment of this masculine urge and not about emotion; it is not about want but about need. Focusing on the performance of masculinity rather than sexual need, demand for a lot of sex with a lot of women is mandatory. The rules require a right kind of sex with a right kind of ways with a right kind of people. Therefore, men tend to avoid gay people, strictly separating themselves from them, as there is a fear that close contact with gays will threaten and undermine their own masculinity, their dominance as subject.

Even though, my statement mainly speaks on masculinity but I am trying to advance a more open-minded approach so that allowing one should not be an obstacle for the other. We should be more accepting, supportive of the differences by looking beyond the majority, thus, making our world a more beautiful place. How great an accomplishment coexistence would be!

Finally, thank you for your awesome article and I hope my opinion was beneficial.

Here are some links about compulsive heterosexuality:

https://afeministtheorydictionary.wordpress.com/2007/07/18/compulsory-he...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_heterosexuality

2 years 3 months ago

Truly, your article brings up a relevant point on the ongoing homophobia in our modern society. Sadly, homosexuals still face a lot of discrimination and it is a hotly debated issue. I agree with you that it is important for people to understand more about homosexuals to lessen the exclusion about homosexuals’ problems.

You made an interesting suggestion of addressing the topic through three concepts, but what I find the fact that heterosexuality is seen and represented as the only correct sexuality is what is primarily concerning. Hence, I wish to develop more on this aspect by introducing the term compulsive heterosexuality. Compulsive heterosexuality refers to the sole accepted sexuality set up by hegemonic masculinity which men should conform to and all other sexualities are deviant. It promotes a sexuality centered on the “natural” and “true” biological urge for sex among men. Indeed, it is about fulfillment of this masculine urge and not about emotion; it is not about want but about need. Focusing on the performance of masculinity rather than sexual need, demand for a lot of sex with a lot of women is mandatory. The rules require a right kind of sex with a right kind of ways with a right kind of people. Therefore, men tend to avoid gay people, strictly separating themselves from them, as there is a fear that close contact with gays will threaten and undermine their own masculinity, their dominance as subject.

Even though, my statement mainly speaks on masculinity but I am trying to advance a more open-minded approach so that allowing one should not be an obstacle for the other. We should be more accepting, supportive of the differences by looking beyond the majority, thus, making our world a more beautiful place. How great an accomplishment coexistence would be!

Finally, thank you for your awesome article and I hope my opinion was beneficial.

Here are some links about compulsive heterosexuality:

https://afeministtheorydictionary.wordpress.com/2007/07/18/compulsory-he...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_heterosexuality

2 years 3 months ago

I really liked the statistics that you mentioned on Nike doing a turnaround and helping the factory worker’s through the establishment of various laws against injustice! It brings to light the injustices faced by the workers, along with the necessary solution to some of their problems. However, I believe you can further analyze this topic by researching the disparities workers face based on gender within the factories.
According to an article, 85% of Bangladesh’s factory workers are women, with Nike completely disregarding women’s reproductive labour because many women are refused maternity rights or simply fired when discovered to be pregnant. These statistics delve into the concepts of the gender wage gap, presence of a glass ceiling and mommy tracking that occurs in various job industries.
Most (Nike) factories fail “to pay the legal minimal wage”, which demonstrates the existence of a gender wage gap that is the calculation of the median male wage and the median female wage, that determines the disparity between the two. These women have to care for a family, and must support their family as either the primary or supplementary breadwinner, yet they are barely paid minimum wage. The gender wage gap demonstrates that women cannot successfully have a high income along with a family; it is one or the other.
Additionally, with most women working low-income jobs, compared to their male counterparts, they never advance further than the low level jobs within the hierarchy of their company, showing the presence of a glass ceiling. Most of the women working in the factories will never advance past their status, and will get fired for focusing on any other life goal such as having a family. So, these women are fired if they don’t do their job with dedication, but are never able to advance in the hierarchical ladder if they do put in effort, i.e. they are stuck in their position.
Finally, the factory shows the diminishing opportunities women face in the workforce after having children because they are fired immediately when pregnant, or denied their maternity rights, which defines the concept of mommy tracking. These women, no matter how devoted they are to their low income job, are fired just for wanting a family, which shows the social inequalities between genders because men are often encouraged and respected for having families, while women are shamed and fired for it.
Furthermore, there is a great amount of sexual harassment that occurs in these factories with “1 in 10 women workers are threatened with being made to undress, with 1 in 10 workers experiencing other sexual harassment”, showcasing that women are objectified for their body and the work they do holds little value.
I believe that though Nike may have proposed a few laws to better the rights of their workers, they have ignored the discrimination towards women that could have been fixed with solutions such as more flexible working hours along with maternity leaves and child care options. Maybe for a future blog you can delve into these concepts? But overall, this analysis had many interesting statistics, which I learned a lot from and enjoyed reading it!
If you would like to further explore the concepts of the gender wage gap, glass ceiling and mommy tracking you can refer to these articles:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_pay_gap
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_ceiling
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mommy_track
https://leftfootforward.org/2012/03/nike-exploitation-women-workers-bang...

2 years 3 months ago

A very well written and informative post on the ongoing social issues that women face in the work force and in society. With President Trump as leader of the so called “free world” these injustices that women face are not going to disappear anytime soon. Your article’s message is very clear but there is another underlying message when reading it. The article speaks about how policies concerning women’s bodies and health are being created and passed by men. The reason being that women have a minority presence in President Trump’s cabinet and in the political sphere of the United States of America.

From a gender perspective: the underlying message of your article is the glass ceiling that women and minorities face in the corporate and political world of the 21st century. The glass ceiling is the invisible barrier that prevents women and visible minorities to climb to the highest levels of the corporate or political ladder. Despite their qualifications and their education women and visible minorities seem to advance up the ladder as quickly as white men. At entry-level or other low-level positions the job market is filled equally with both men and women but less and less women (including visible minorities) are found in high-level, high-paying positions. The Patriarchal society favours men; significantly men that are white and virile. For women to achieve the same status as a man they must jump though more hoops and overcome more obstacles; all because they are not a man. Trump’s administration and the current members of the Supreme Court (3 women to 8 men) are evidence to the ongoing struggles that women face. In the presidential race, Hillary Clinton has reached record places but still has not reached the highest glass ceiling. She is the testament that women can break through some of the highest ceilings there are. To further your understanding of the glass-ceiling topic, refer to the links posted below about Hillary Clinton.

DNC speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnXiy4D_I8g
Defeat Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSPBjOnHTaM ( She speaks about the glass ceiling that women face in the world although they did not break the highest one)

Members of the supreme court
https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/biographies.aspx

2 years 3 months ago

Hello Beth! You build a very compelling argument in your post. It’s quite fascinating to learn that there are many factors that contribute to people’s perception of homosexuality, such as their financial stability, the political atmosphere of the country they reside in or their religious views.

However, I’d like to propose a gendered perspective on homophobia. I conjecture that homophobia can be directly linked to society’s perception of masculinity today, particularly pertaining to hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is a type of masculinity that promotes male dominance and that is celebrated as the ultimate mark of power. Men who conform to these standards are perceived as leaders and are rewarded handsomely in all aspects of life. These roles and expectations can be grouped into something called the Man Box, a self-regulating system that constructs a very narrow definition of masculinity and that confines men. Indeed, men who do not fit within the conventional Man Box, i.e. they display emotion, are not aggressive or are not seen to be highly sexual with women, are rejected by their peers. This rejection and social pressure often come in the form of verbal policing, such as “fag” or “pussy”. This is where homophobia comes in to play. Men who feel threatened will use homophobic slurs against other males in order to assert their own masculinity and simultaneously push their rival out of the Man Box. Therefore, I believe that homophobia isn’t simply just a fear of homosexuality, it is the fear of being perceived as not manly enough and hence not deserving of respect or power.

If you want to know more about the Man Box and hegemonic masculinity, take a look at this link: http://www.wps.colostate.edu/men-and-masculinities

2 years 3 months ago

This is a very informative and interesting article. To further its analysis, you could have included a feminist viewpoint as to why the Supreme Court is composed of primarily white-male Americans. America was built by a patriarchal world view which abides by the rules of hegemonic masculinity. This means that the American society believes that white, virile men should be in control of political, social, economic, religious, and familial power while women should accept their subordinate roles. Even though this belief is outdated, our society is still effected by this traditional notion as shown by the underrepresentation of women in the Supreme Court. Only 3 members of the Supreme Court are women and they had to go through multiple obstacles their male counterparts did not have to go through in order to attain their approval to be on this Court. This gender discrimination manifest itself in the glass ceiling theory. The glass ceiling is when women are prevented from obtaining high-ranking job positions despite being just as or more qualified for the job as male candidates due to this sexist, cultural belief. I believe more women should be appointed seats in the Supreme Court because they provide a different perspective on new policies and world issues. Their viewpoints are especially important when the Supreme Court makes decisions about bills that effect women like policies on abortion. They provide an insightful understanding about what women experience and what their needs are better than male members of the Court.

Another aspect of your article that could have be elaborated on is intersectionality. Intersectionality describes the discriminatory systems (sexism, racism, classism, etc.) that overlaps & reinforces each other in our society which prevents minorities from gaining political, social or economic power. These minority groups are also effected by the glass ceiling. By looking at the current ethnicities of the members of the Supreme Court, we can clearly see that the privileged white male and white female individuals dominate the demographic of the Supreme Court. Note that there are more men than women and that there is only 1 Black male on this court. This an unjust because a person’s ethnicity or gender does not affect their ability to make rational decisions in politics, whereas narrow-mindedness does. In order to create a more forward-thinking and fair society, the Supreme Court should appoint more women and people of different ethnicity who are just as qualified for the job as white men. Overall your article was enjoyable. Keep up the good work!

Discrimination of gender experienced by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court member. https://www.infoplease.com/people/ruth-bader-ginsburg
Members of the current Supreme Court.
https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/biographies.aspx

2 years 3 months ago

Short and concise! Well written. Your article brings forth to the many controversies created by the advancement of the internet. The advancements of internet impede on citizens’ privacy as the government uses the network to collect data’s on everyone. For instance, the event with Edward Snowden back in 2013 led people to consider about internet privacy and espionage. However, on a gender point of view, the advancement in internet brings forth to both advantages and disadvantages. Network expansion allowed ideas to spread faster such as feminism. On the other hand, it creates room for discrimination also. This is similar to “Gamergate.” Its creation was to defend journalists while they review video games such as GTA. Although used for its primary purpose, #Gamergate is used more often to ease women journalists’ harassment by males. Harassment techniques range from sharing personal information to sending death threats. One of the possible reasons for all the harassment might be since men are taught, since very young age, that they are superior to women. Men are subjects, whereas women are objects. This can be seen in pornography, advertisements, songs, and so on. In this case, to an extent, we can understand why the harassment towards women happens, yet it is unacceptable. Internet censorship and tracking could prevent discrimination while impeding on people’s rights. IN this case, which one is more important?

The following link have more information concerning #Gamergate:
http://gawker.com/what-is-gamergate-and-why-an-explainer-for-non-geeks-1...

The following link have more details concerning Edward Snowden:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

2 years 3 months ago

Great research! I really enjoyed your proposed solutions and concern to help educate the younger generation on politics! This is an extremely well written text, but I would also like to bring up the aspect of gender in politics to further understand the lower voter turnout.

From the late 19th to the early 20th century, First Wave Feminists fought tirelessly for women’s suffrage and the right to vote. Suffragettes were radical feminists who employed militant tactics which included breaking windows and destroying property in order to get what they wanted. Since then, women were given the right to vote across First World countries and the number of women voting started increasing rapidly. As a result, from the 1980s to today, the gender vote gap became apparent and consistent where women were more in numbers than men who vote. In fact, approximately 65% of eligible women voted whereas less than 50% of eligible men voted. This is remarkable when we consider that men, in the past, dominated politics and even had to prove their masculinity by showing they had political power and the ability to vote. Women were also in general expected to be less interested in politics, but we have overcome these expectations now. However, there is still a disproportional number of women in higher positions despite their education and qualifications. This is called the glass ceiling and is especially present in politics.

It is also important to mention that men and women have different political views. For instance, statistics show that women will associated themselves more with the left wing so they are more likely to vote for the Democratic party whereas men are more likely to turn to conservatism and vote for the Republican party. Of course, there are many other important factors that come into play when voting like race, sexual orientation, class, region and age as you already mentioned. Finally, younger men and women should not take voting for granted as it’s a privilege.

If you would like to read more about the gender vote gap in politics, check out: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/us/politics/gender-gap-campaign.html?...

2 years 3 months ago

I really enjoyed reading your article. You have an eye catching title that got me interested right away and you wrote on an interesting topic that made me considered the future of our generations. You have also successfully identified the two sides of this questionable topic. Even though I am against the idea of altering the genetics of living organisms, I do acknowledge the multiple benefits in doing so, especially in a gendered context. Firstly, human genetics can solve men and women’s struggle of acquiring the ideal body that satisfies our modern beauty standards. For example, men are always trying to achieve the modern Adonis body, which is the ideal masculine body. The problem is that men are always comparing themselves or other people to these ideal body images and people who fail to conform to these images are treated poorly. However, with the help of human genetic alteration, men will no longer be pressured in acquiring the ideal hegemonic masculine body, thus solving the discriminatory problems in the process. To show that women are also pressured in achieving the ideal body image, here is a website containing interesting statistics.
http://www.heartofleadership.org/statistics/

Genetics alteration is also the solution to completely annihilating multiple social constructs, most importantly the concepts of privilege and intersectionality. These concepts can be based on the physical appearance of the person which results in major discriminatory problems to people who are not in the privileged category. These problems have caused issues with huge wage gaps and reinforcing the ideology of the glass ceiling. Everyone in our society should be treated fairly and they should all have an equal opportunity in advancing the corporate ladder. With the help of genetics engineering, society can create the ideal human race where privilege and intersectionality are no longer an issue, because everyone is an ideal human being.

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Institution