Category Archives: Sexism

Feminism

Feminism isn’t a scary word or something to distance yourself away from. Being a feminist just means that one believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Feminism is one of the biggest issues in our country. One would think that equality of gender is a given, but sadly, it’s not. We have come a long way since the 1900s, but equality is still not there. Women are still not being paid equally, women still need a higher degree to get a job a man can get with a lower degree, and women are still underrepresented in our government and media. The pay gap affects many women, yet some companies still do not fight for pay equality. The glass ceiling applies to women who are kept from advancing higher in their careers because they are women. Many people in today’s society think that women are treated equally with men, but so many of these people have internalized misogyny that they are blindsided by reality.

Feminists advocate for equal opportunities and rights in our society. They also hope to bring more representation of females in our media and government in order to maintain a balance between both genders. In the late 1960s, the second wave feminist movement took place. The goals of the second wave feminist movement were simple: let women have freedom, equal opportunity and control over their lives. The movement fought for women’s education, employment, right to own property, rights to their bodies, and for the protection of women from domestic violence. Many of the rights women have today, like the right to education and divorce, were fought for by feminists in the past, but the fight is still not over. In 2013, there were over 700 bills proposed to regulate a woman’s body, and for men, the rightful number of zero. By the time the average woman reaches 60 years old, she will have made $450,000 less a man in the same exact position. People need to stand up for the feminist movement and fight for the rights of equality. Our society needs to fix the representation problem, the wage inequality problem, and society needs to fix the fact that women are still seen as second class citizens.

The subcategory of Feminism is sexism, and this does not only affect women. Men face societal pressures too, like the pressure to be tall, or strong, to push down feelings, like fear or sadness, the pressure to be the breadwinner, and to be the, “man of the household.” Sexism is about exclusion and unequal power in society. It is about shaming and belittling and devaluing the feminine. Notice how many pressures that boys face come down to defining themselves against women. There is this societal pressure to not be like girls. Boys need to know how to throw a ball, unlike girls. Boys need to be tall and strong, unlike girls. Boys are told to not be emotional like girls. These gender specific pressures are a side effect of sexism. All that is where feminists step in and say that there is more than one way to be a man or a woman. We all have a combination of feminine and masculine traits, it’s about being human.

We need to teach all people equality, respect, and nonviolence rather than power, domination, and aggression. We need to build a world where boys and girls can feel and cry when they’re sad, where anyone can be a stay-at-home parent, where boys and girls can be leaders, a fully dynamic human who can’t be shoved into a box and be told who to be. Understanding how these inequalities and attitudes permeate our society and working to correct them, is in the best interest of everyone.

— Stacey

 

Religious Discrimination

The Overlooked “-ism”

         The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion – the government cannot stop you from believing one thing or disbelieving another. No one disputes this, and the right to your own thoughts is considered by many to be our most valuable right. After all, without our own opinions, what else do we have? If this is really true, why do we always overlook violence and hatred based on religion overseas? And the slowly increasing intolerance and persecution of Christianity in our own country?

For instance, a worldwide study conducted two to three years ago found that 100,000 Christians are killed for their faith every year. The Arab Spring revolutions that occurred since then can only have exacerbated matters. And it is not only in the Middle East – although they are the worst offenders – where Christians and other religions face oppression. There is the Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, the government killings of over a million in Sudan and South Sudan, and China, home to one of the largest and fastest-growing Christian populations in the world (Black). How many people in America even heard about any of this?

Which brings us back here to the United States. While we don’t face as dramatic an issue as thousands of deaths per year, intolerance towards Christians is growing at an alarming rate – and freedom of religion is becoming freedom from religion. For years, I have had to deal with “jokes” about Catholics being pedophiles, hearing that I believe in fairy tales, that my religion is mythology, my faith is false hope, and hearing that all Christians are hateful and insensitive. And at the same time, the government is mandating that we Christians must defer on issues like abortion and healthcare coverage of contraception, even if it violates our basic religious beliefs.

But the issue here is not about legislation. It’s about faithism, which deserves the same status as racism and sexism. We say we fight for equality and civil rights, but we continue to overlook atrocities committed around the world and treat people unjustly at home. There is no difference between religious discrimination and racism or homophobia, and it’s about time people stopped acting like there is.

— Joshua

Work Cited:  Black, Conrad. “Global Persecution of Christians.” Nationalreview.com. National Review Online, 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Discrimination

Discrimination is something that most individuals run into at some point in their lives. Discrimination can be found at school, in public places and so forth. Discrimination is defined as the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs, rather than on individual merit. Generally discrimination tends to be a negative, as people are treated poorly for being different — being of a different race or religion, being part of a different social class and so on. One could be agitated that another person is from Canada, a country that they may not like, and said person could alienate that person, or treat them poorly because of it. Discrimination can be considered similar to racism and sexism, as both attempt to put down others for being different and for not conforming to ones expectations.

Discrimination is a substantial problem in our society, as it is very damaging to the emotional well being of others, as well as being completely unjust and unreasonable. No one person should be discriminated against because they have different interests, different beliefs or have a different skin color. A potential solution to discrimination is tolerance. If we all accept that others are different than us, and we can put up with these differences, there’s no reason to act negatively towards others. While discrimination is very easily preventable, it has continued to exist since the dawn of human interaction, and unfortunately will continue.

— Jake

Feminism

No country has reached gender equality. I say this with great regret. For centuries women have been battling to achieve equality. It has taken hard work and perseverance from women to achieve even a slight change in the social construction of gender. These women, who campaign for gender equality, are called feminists. Feminists believe in feminism, which is the advocacy for the rights of women to be socially, economically, and politically equal to men.

There are three waves of feminism. The first wave began in the 19th and 20th century. In the early 1900’s, women were not to work; they were to give birth and care for their children. Men were the workers; men were the only people who had social mobility. Social mobility is the ability for an individual to “move from one position of a society’s stratification system to another” (Witt 241). Women were not to be anything other than housewives; they could not experience mobility because they had limited involvement in the workforce.

In this case, men were the instrumental leaders of the household; they handled all of the outside obligations of the family and had certain goals outside of the home. Women were the expressive leaders of the house, where they were responsible for handling the internal affairs of the family. Harriet Martineau, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Ida B. Wells, formed this theory about instrumental and expressive leaders. In their theory they recognize that the woman’s job as being an expressive leader, gives way for men to complete their instrumental tasks (307). In my understanding this is saying that, while women are at home taking care of the family, men are progressing in society because they have time to do so. This means that women cannot progress through society on their own, but merely in their husband’s shadow. Feminists are the kind of people who aspire to show other women that they too, can have goals. Feminists view themselves and other women to have the ability to be instrumental leaders. So, from a feminist point of view, not only can the man be the one who is allowed to have goals outside of the home, but women can too. Women can express themselves in whatever way they would like, and they have the ambition, will power, and intelligence to be more than just housewives.

Even in the political world in this time, women were not equal to men. Not only were not working outside of the home in large numbers, but they also could not vote. This wave of feminism is noticeable because it was in the time that there was a significant move towards gender equality. Up until 1919, women were not granted suffrage. Women were not granted the right to vote, to work, or to be a part of governmental decisions. Feminists in this time fought for their right to suffrage; they marched, they rallied, and they campaigned for equal rights. These women were tired of being oppressed; they wanted to be involved in the world around them. In 1920, feminists won one of their many battles for equality; they were granted suffrage.

In the second wave, many journalists stepped forward to pronounce their understanding of gender equality, and advocated for change in the workforce. Betty Freidan, the author of The Feminine Mystique,used both her writing and her verbal language to communicate to the public her beliefs on feminism (300). From Freidan’s understanding, women were isolated from society and did not have the social, economic or political resources to be successful. As a feminist, Friedan suggested that women should contest the thought that their goal in life is to have children and be a wife. Women needed to strive to achieve more in life and fight for the kind of life they wanted and occupation they wanted. Feminist organizations, such as the National Organization for Women, started to arise. These organizations helped to fight for women’s equality politically, while women individually fought for their social freedom.

Feminists strive to be equal to men and aim for the dollar they make to be the same dollar that men make. Today, women make about 77 cents to the dollar that a man makes. The amount of money a woman receives for the same work as a man is significantly less than what he makes, this is called the gender pay gap.

Even though the pay gap is not completely closed, there has been some success in closing it. Women in 2014, are able to work in the government, along with men. Even though they are not paid equally to men, they can achieve similar, though not equal, social statuses to them. Along with that, there are also some men who earn less than women since women have taken over a large portion of the workforce in America. Although these success stories are enticing, they also reveal the problem with the social statuses of women in the United States. Women can only go so far in the workplace; they cannot succeed men in their standing of prestige. Where men are doctors, women are nurses, if that brings upon a better understanding of the matter. There is an invisible barrier between how much a woman can achieve in relation to what a man can achieve this is called the glass ceiling. The glass ceiling stops qualified women from moving upward in the workforce. Feminists have worked hard to break this glass ceiling. But it is important to note that without feminist actions bringing women to the workforce in the first place, there would not only be a glass ceiling, there would be no work.

There is always another step to take when attempting to achieve gender equality. There are some women who have guided the way to prove that the ceiling can be broken. For example, Sheryl Sandberg has become the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, which is a highly appraised position that would normally be held by a man. The fact that a woman has taken charge of such a large corporation proves that even though society has attempted to stop strong women from achieving their goals, they do not always succeed. Feminists are the people who believe that women can be just as strong and predominant as Sandberg, Hilary Clinton, or even Michelle Obama. Feminists advocate for women to aspire to achieve the highest social status they could possibly imagine. This is because feminists do not fear such a thing as the glass ceiling, but rather see it as a challenge that they are ready to face head on.

The third wave of feminism involved advocacy for cultural freedom for women. There was this idea that women were to be uptight, clean, polite, and obedient. Women were sanctioned negatively if they broke their gender role. This idea that women were supposed to behave and dress how men wanted them to, is where the term sexism originated. Sexism is, as Jon Witt has explained it, “the ideology that claims one sex is superior to the other” (308). Men were under the impression that women dressed and behaved for them, and that everything they did, was to be for the pleasure of men. This was because women were inferior to men, and were to be submissive to their ideals. Sexism is what really started off the third wave of feminism.

Kathleen Hanna was a feminist who pushed for another wave of feminism to begin. This part of the third wave was mostly viewed and understood by millennials of the era. This is because Kathleen was in an all-girl punk band titled Bikini Kill. Many people ranging from pre-teens to those in their early twenties were deep into the punk scene. This is why this part of the wave is not found in history or sociology books, because it was sort of an underground station of feminism. Instead of soft, soothing singing and harmonious sounds, Kathleen screamed into the microphone and wore only her underwear and a t-shirt to gigs. Occasionally she would write “slut” across her stomach or some sort of label that men had given her in the past. She shouted about how men treated women like they were some sort of material good, and how women deserved just as much as what men have. Her words struck the hearts and minds of women who had been abused, neglected, and even oppressed by men. She not only played for women, but for men also. She talked about the hardships of men and how she hoped to see the day when men could be seen as sensitive creatures without being oppressed because of it. This band was a powerhouse for a large feminist movement called Riot Grrrl.

Riot Grrrl was focused on bringing women together and having them recognize their oppression. It was all about GIRL POWER. Hanna had an unladylike persona and outright opinion that turned men away from her, and brought more girls to her shows. Girls began to relate to Hanna since she sang about rape, sexism, and the oppression of women in society. When men became disgusted by Hanna’s performance and attitude, it was obvious that gender equality in this time was less about sex and more about gender. Sex is the biological difference between a man and a woman. Gender is the social and cultural differences between a man and a woman. In this case, a woman was acting out of the ordinance that society thinks that a person of the female gender should act. The female gender is supposed to be petite, clean, and quiet. The male gender can be vile, gross, and loud. So when Hanna broke the socially constructed norm for the female gender, she was deemed as deviant. Even though Hanna was deviant, that did not stop her feminist movement. Riot Grrrl expanded, and even more women started to break their gender roles. This opened up an entirely new world of feminism, one where it was a culture, rather than just a movement. Still today Riot Grrrl exists, along with many other feminist organizations. The purpose of the Riot Grrrl movement and of Bikini Kill was to allow women to express themselves however they wanted. If a woman wanted to dress like a man at a Bikini Kill show, that was accepted, she was accepted no matter how she looked or acted. Eventually, this movement of the 1990’s encouraged women to express themselves freely. Obviously, women are still pressured through gender roles, but there are more women acting freely now than there were many years ago.

Still, today, women are advocating feminism. Why, might you ask? Well, because gender inequality is still an immense problem in not only the United States, but all around the world. One of the main dilemmas with feminism is that, not everyone truly understands what it means. The definition can be disoriented, because there are so many pop stars that are skewing the understanding of the word. There are famous people who are making it seem as if feminism is hatred towards men, and that feminists should rally against men. This understanding of feminism is far from correct. Like I said before, feminism is the advocacy for women to be equal to men. That is taking into consideration that men have been oppressed also, and there are gender norms for men, just like there are for women. So, instead of fighting against men, it is better for us to inspire men to fight with us. An actress that campaigned for feminism brilliantly was Emma Watson. Emma began a campaign called He for She, which asks men to promote equality for women through social media. This helped to invite men to express themselves as feminists, because before it was as if they were not allowed to be part of the movement. Women like Emma Watson are changing the future of our women. It is important that females, look to people like Emma and Kathleen, and never give up on fighting for equality. Equality is what we have been fighting for, for years. After centuries, we still have not achieved gender equality. There is still a gender pay gap, sexism still exists, and so do the norms for men and women in society.

Gender equality needs to be the objective for our children, our grandchildren, and even our grandchildren’s children. Feminism must not die out like it did after its second wave, and it needs to be understood for what it really means; men and women deserve to be equal to one another.

— Danielle

Works Cited:  Witt, Jon. SOC 2014. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2015. Print.

Feminism

When somebody says, “You fight like a girl” it is supposed to be an insult, but I and many other women find no reason for that to be degrading. Women may be known for the stereotypes of being small, weak, and fragile, but these labels are hopefully soon to be forgotten. Everyday women are fighting their boundaries and growing stronger in their mental and physical ability. The distinction between men and women is prominent, but altogether for the wrong reasons. Women need to be known for what they really do rather than what is expected of them. Females are strong, compassionate, motivated, beautiful human beings that are just as qualified for any position as a male.

The feminine hygiene product brand Always ran a recent campaign to ask what it means to run, fight, and act like a girl. The real test was to prove that our image of what girls are is weak and slow when that is not in fact true. We tell girls when they are growing up that it is important to be smart and tough and to be who they want to be, but as they mature they are pressured to act against their upbringing and pretend to be less athletic than a male to attract them. Seems silly right? Maybe socialization is to blame, but people fail to promote girls as equal to men in in all abilities. Women can run, fight, and speak generally as equivalent to a man without losing her femininity.

Women should not be portrayed as weak just because they are supposed to be pretty and lady-like. It should be grounds to show that women can do all things equal and be lovely all at the same time. It is time that we begin to teach girls that “like a girl” just means “not like a man,” and nothing more and nothing less. Equality between genders is the goal and a fair fight to this conclusion is needed.

There are many different actions to support feminism, some being much more extreme than others. A new movement called “Free Bleeding” is on the rise among women who are fighting the “man” made world. It is an act of defiance towards feminine hygiene products that shame a woman from her natural monthly cycle. The women will avoid all sanitary products to hold in the bleeding and release their menstrual blood in between her thighs and onto her clothes naturally. They are making a clear statement to fight against the idea that women’s monthly cycle is something that is gross or disgraceful and making it something that should be acknowledged as a gift. It is a gift that reminds humans where children come from and just how important a woman is to the miracle of life.

Sexism plays such an unfair role in our society and women are seen as weak because of their cycle. It is completely discriminatory to claim that women are less qualified for a position because she could be unstable during their menstrual cycle. The idea that a woman cannot emotionally stabilize herself is narrow-minded for any person to think.

It is also now time that we begin to give women fair opportunity for employment and rid of the unequal pay gap that we allow today. Any person working up to the standards of the position should not be paid less for it because of their gender. Women should not face glass ceilings. Women should not face second shifts. Women should not be divided out from men, but sadly, we are.

If women learned to really fight like a girl can and not like their stereotypes say and if all men showed more respect for the women who are the breadwinners, then maybe society could reach equality between genders. Just maybe we all could work a little harder to show that fighting like a girl means fighting like a human being.

— Amy

 

Feminism

With the start of suffrage at Seneca Falls in the mid-19th century, feminism has continued to be a main topic in society. Feminism is the belief that men and should have equal rights (Merriam-Webster). Thanks to the women who worked hard and spoke out when it wasn’t the thing to do, women have the right to vote, have the right to hold different roles in society, have “equal” rights in the work place and are seen as equal to men, in general. Even with their efforts, society has not come full swing.

I know for a fact that women still get paid less than men when doing the same job. I wonder what makes people think women deserve to earn less money when we do the same job and can do it just as well or better? This is known as the gender pay gap. Also, the role of the women in society has evolved quite a bit, but women are generally treated in a way that implies that they should be the caregiver or taking care of the house AS WELL as working.  This is known as second shift. As women, we know we have the ability to do both, but as a feminist we believe that the idea of just women having that role should transform into the thinking that both men and women could do this.

Feminism is a hot topic for media figures. Celebrities like Lena Dunham, one of the leading characters on the hit HBO series Girls, declares herself a feminist; it’s a part of her identity. Is labeling yourself as a feminism just the cool thing to do these days; is it a bandwagon idea? Many people tie feminism with being anti-male. That could not be further from the truth. Being a feminist does not put down or belittle men. Feminism is about believing that men and women should be equal. In other words, people would believe that being a feminist is being sexist because you believe that women are better than men. This is why there’s a need for people to become educated on the topic because it is so important for our society to achieve full equality between men and women. Below is a graph showing the growth of women in the work force from 1890 to 2012.

–Natalie

Sexism

Sexism In Our World Today

Sexism is an issue that has been around since the beginning of time. This is known as the ideology that claims one sex is superior to the other. It is more common that men see themselves superior to women. I read a few examples from a women’s blog called The Guardian, the first one is from a female soldier and it reads, “I had a fellow soldier say to me: “I don’t think women should be in the military but you’re a good soldier.”” This just shows how this man thinks only men are capable of defending their country. Another example I have is from a mathematician who stated that, “One day I found out that one of my colleagues would frequently check with a male colleague to verify whether what I had just said (about university regulations or department politics or whatever) was true. He never does this to any of our male colleagues (at the time I was the only woman here). This is the same guy who was on a hiring committee with me. When we received a letter of recommendation praising a female candidate, he told me “The writer obviously only wanted to promote women.”” By stating that, the man is pretty much saying that a woman wouldn’t ever get that kind of recognition on her own she had to be helped by someone who only wanted to promote women.

The concept of sexism can also be related to feminism, the glass ceiling concept, and gender pay gap. Feminism is the belief in social, economic, and political equality for women. It’s always joked about that women belong in the kitchen or that women were made to make babies and please their husband and men were made to work and provide for the family. Today people are starting 1to fight against this treatment of women and it is slowly starting to change, but probably women will never be thought to be equal to men because you can’t change the way everyone thinks. The concept of glass ceiling is basically an invisible barrier that blocks the promotion of a qualified individual in a work environment because of the individual’s gender, race, or ethnicity. An example of this is a man entering the teaching world and getting promoted to principal or superintendant after a short period of time when a woman could be doing the same job for many more years and she never gets promoted to a higher position. Lastly, the gender pay gap is related to sexism because it is the difference between the amount of money paid to women and men, often for the same work. Today, equal pay for women is still getting voted against. Even though women come to work the same amount of time as a man with the same job as her and she does the same amount of work as he does she still might get paid a few dollars less an hour than he does.

The issue of sexism causes many problems in society. It makes women feel inferior or even scared sometimes to be in public or in the work place because they are always the butt of a sexist joke. Also, women can go to work and bust their butt just to get paid less than the man in the cubicle next to her. Another problem is young girls are being taught that they need a man to take care of them and that they can’t do the same work as a man can. Sometimes it is often found that women who are successful and take charge are called a bitch or not well-liked and when a man does the same thing he is looked up to and considered powerful. Some solutions could be that women need to educate their children both boys and girls that everyone is created equal and that women can do just as much quality work as a man can. Also girls need to be taught to pursue their dreams and goals. A law for equal pay also needs to be passed in the near future.

To end this discussion I am going to tell a story that is short yet definitely passes the “so what” test.  My mother recently bought a house that needs every room in it redone completely. She has done all of the carpentry work on her own with a little help from my brother and I. As you can imagine she makes many trips to Home Depot, Menards, and Lowe’s. One time she needed to get things for the electrical work in the kitchen so she went to Home Depot to get what she needed. When she reached the correct lane she was approached by a male sales associate and he asked her “who are you buying this for anyway”. She said she couldn’t believe he approached her and said that. Not only that time but another time my mom was in the store the same associate approached her again and said “what are you looking for because certainly you’re not shopping for yourself.” Things like that are just unnecessary and make her not even want to shop at Home Depot anymore.

–Leah