Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Third Wave Feminism

I agree with the viewpoints of the third wave feminism. Unlike the second wave feminism where they attempted to get women into equal jobs and push women into positions of equality the third wave feminism bounces ideas off of the second wave feminist goals. But they also try and challenge and expand common definitions of gender and sexuality. I believe that this is crucial for our society; because although it is very important to have the numbers and see the equality first hand in businesses, education and society we need to alleviate the society of gendered stereotypes in order to make a lasting change. Even though we have seen a lot of changes and pushes towards equality, like in the module on women in the workplace, it was still a relevant issue on how women were informally held back. Through things such as glass ceilings, interest groups, sexual harassment and pregnancy issues women are still not given complete equality. I think that we need to change the "face" of women in order to gain this complete equality it is going to take a major overhaul of the stereotypes that are embedded in our minds. It is also important to take into account the different types of privilege and oppression that each person faces. Equality is not the same for everyone; different people require different needs in order for them to achieve equality. This is another thing that the second wave failed to realize is the issue on intersectionality. Not all women are the same and not all women go through the same troubles and need the same issues taken care of. We need to realize the different experiences that women go through and help alleviate all areas of oppression not just the ones that deal with gender. I wish that I believed that we could completely alleviate all gender and sexuality stereotypes, but sadly I feel like they will never fully go away. But I do believe that it is important to slowly start chipping at these stereotypes and change the traditional views on women, men, African Americans, whites, gays, transgenders, etc. so hopefully lead this society to greater equality. 

Birth Control

It is amazing how reluctant the American society was to providing birth control. It was not until 1965 that married couples were allowed the right to birth control. That just blows my mind because seeing how much money our country puts aside for federal assistance, which is given largely to single mothers. Also there is an ongoing problem with children in orphanages and there is many children that are not adopted in their life. And there are also a lot of children that are not given the proper care and opportunities because their parents were not ready to have a child. 
When this issue arrises I always think of my good friend whose parents were not ready to have a child when they had him. He has suffered almost all of his life because his parents did not care if he never did his homework, his parents never cooked dinner he always had to prepare his own, his parents were never in his life when he was growing up and it made it more challenging for him to create his own path and actually succeed. Luckily for him he is a very motivated man and has created his own life, but his sister on the other hand is a 5th year junior (in high school) and does not show great signs of graduating let alone creating her own path in life. I am not saying that it is better for a child to have no life than a bad life, but you also have to think if it is really fair to the child. Is it fair that my friend was born to a 19 year old mother, who had not finished high school, whose dad was not supportive and did not give a crap about his that fair? I think that birth control is the smartest thing that women who are not ready to have a child can do for herself. 

Monday, July 19, 2010


I just came across a very alarming fact, that I would have never of guessed. It was not until 1993 that martial rape became illegal, nineteen NINETY THREE! That just blows my mind, when I was born it was still legalized. It is amazing that women obtained the right to vote before it was illegal for men to show violence towards their wife. It also blows my mind that still to this day in 33 states there are still exemptions given to husbands from rape prosecutions. This probably discourages women from even pressing charges against their husbands, I know that if I was being abused by my husband, or in that case it would be my ex-husband, I would not even go through the troubles of fighting for justice because I know that they could easily get themselves out of the situation.  Not only has it taken a while for our society to enforce a law making violence in relationships illegal but the issue with gender violence has yet to be stopped. 
Gendered violence overall is an issue that is ongoing. While many people think that violence towards women has decreased the fact of the matter is it continues to increase. Ten to fourteen percent of married women have been raped by their spouses. Rape, really, it is hard to believe that women are staying in relationships with men who treat them like objects. It breaks my heart too to think that there are many women out there that are staying in abusive relationships because of fear. The whole issue of abusive men and submissive women is something that is socially constructed. It is sad but violence towards women by men is a power issue and must be seen as a result of men dominance. Gendered violence, just like many other issues involving gender traces back to the way that male and female are socialized into behaving. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Don't Just Give a Man a Fish Teach Him How to Fish

In the TANF program of welfare they do not support the need for further education and/or job training if you are receiving financial help. Their mind set is that "any job is a good job." This really blows my mind because with that mentality they will most likely forever be stuck in the financial situation that they are in. Most likely, the reason they are needing this assistance is because they do not have the education and training to obtain a higher paying job so they are stuck working a minimum wage low grade job. Its not like they need to go through medical school and become doctors but with a few months to a year of good training they could have the credentials to really boost their income and push for a higher job. Instead of paying five years for them while they are working a dead end job, pay a couple months or a years worth or money for them to get training so they can live on their own. I think this could really turn around the problem and help people get out of the "rut" that they may currently be stuck in. People need to learn that its not about getting stuff handed to them instead its about getting the assistance to make a change in their life so then they can live self sufficiently. I understand that people go through hard time and that it can be really hard to support a family and I am not saying that the government does not need to assist people at all but what about when the government leaves, and all they have done for these people is given them temporary relief. 
It is like the whole story about a fisherman not catching a fish for a person instead he teaches the person how to fish so he himself can catch as many fish as he needs/wants. That is the mentality that I have because I think it is counter productive to temporarily help someone with out aiding them in the right direction to get out of their situation. When people are in that tight of a financial situation its hard to look at money and say this is going to schooling and training when you have bills to pay. Instead that is where the government should come in and they should relieve some financial stress for the person to focus and try and complete their training in order to better their life. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Household Work

While in high school I really never thought of the large burden that regular household work takes out of your day. Moving into my apartment was a real eye opening experience. All I have to do is make sure my room is clean, do my laundry, clean my bathroom and cook my meals and I complained all the time about that work. Now I look back on all the work that my mom did on the average day while working full time. I am one of three girls and not only would she work 8-4 but then she would come to all of our activities cook dinner and then she would wait until we went to bed before doing the housework because she wanted to spend time with us. If you think about it in an average day a mother would make breakfast, pack lunches, make dinner, do a few loads of laundry, clean up the kitchens, possibly do the dishes or vacuum and then deal with all the activities and planning for the family. I feel like all of this work is really overlooked, I mean I know that I have overlooked it many times, especially because most of the time my mom at least tried to do the work when we were sleeping or out of the house. 
I think that as the years have passed my family as a whole has respected the work that is done around the house by my mom. Recently my dad started working out of the house, so he has tried to help out a little here and there to take some work off my mom. So he currently does a lot of the work that she used to do (except cooking and laundry, he's not so good at that haha.) But since he has been helping out I have seen that my sisters and I also try and help out a little more here and there. I feel like this really takes some of the stress off my mom, because although this work is not really recognized and taken into account as actual work women do put a lot of hours into this work and without it a house would not be able to function the way it does with out this. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Third Women

I believe that it is very important to take into account the differences among women around the world. Although all women push for equality between women and men; certain women have a harder time making forward strides for equality. Third women are women that are living in the third world. Many of these women rebuke the idea of feminism because they believe that it is just an issue that deals with Western society. Although majority of women in the United States only consider gender as an area of oppression, that is not the case with all women around the world. Women around the world also deal with the issues of race, socio-economic level, culture, etc. Therefore these women experience oppression differently than the women in the United States. 
I never really thought about the different treatment that women get from around the world and how those differences can affect their view on feminism. If you think about it even traditional Southern women are viewed and treated different than the stereotypical northern woman. For traditional Southern women they are expected to stay at home, raise the family, cook great meals, keep the house clean and care for their husband. Then there are the 21st century Northern woman who is seen as someone who works outside of the house just like the man and doesn't feel the need to wait on her husband the way traditional 'Southern Bells' may. Although I am not trying to say that all Southern women wait on their man and family hand and foot and all Northern women don't do anything around the house, I am using this more to compare extremes. As you can see the ideas about feminism and equal rights may also vary between these two types of women. Now multiply that and think about the women that are from third world countries. Just as Levitt's put it in his study of african women from 1999-2004; 52% of women surveyed say they think that wife-beating is justified if she neglects the children; around 45% think it's justified if she goes out without telling the husband or argues with him; 36% if she refuses sex, and 30% if she burns the food. And this is what the women think. The differing views that women have based on their society, culture, race, ethnicity, etc. can allow them to view feminism and women's rights in different ways. We can not normalize the issue and make it universal because no woman's standpoint is identical to that of another woman's. We have to understand the differences that do exist and make an effort to customize the process of achieving equality to all women. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I do not believe that being fat compares to a disability. While disabilities are something that you can not change, although you may be able to make adjustments to better live with your disability it is not something that is going to go away. My view on fatness is  that it is something you can change. Although I have seen my sister struggle with being overweight for years and I see the pain that it can put you through but it is something that can be changed. I am by no means saying that it is easy and if you just workout a little and eat kinda healthy it will come off, but with life style changes you can change your situation. I also see how it is hard for someone who gets so obese to even have the strength to start making these life style changes. But with my sister it frustrates me so bad because I am very health conscious I try and eat healthy and work out at least 5 days a week. I try so hard to get her to change her diet and work out with me and I know it can be frustrating because I am not someone who was born with a weight problem. She has been this way since a very young age and yet I was just the normal weight for my age group. But overall I do not think that fatness should compare to a disability. 
Not only is it something that can be change and it is not definite I feel like by comparing fatness to a disability only makes it worse. I think it sets the stage that fatness is something that you will forever have to live with. Yet I have seen my best friends mom drop 100+ pounds. She did not go to surgery she started working with a personal trainer and changed the way she was eating. I feel like by making fatness a disability it would make people who suffer from being fat think that there is nothing they can do to change it. Even though there is! People need to get encouragement to make a change in their life they do not need to just be told that they are forever stuck that way. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

gendered ability

I think that our gender stereotypes have locked females and males into a certain abilities that they believe they are able to obtain. Men are constantly connected with strength while women are seen as passive and weak. The prime example of the difference in expectations between women and men are the alterations in push ups. "Boy" push ups are the traditional pushups while "girl" push ups are considered push ups that are done on your knees. This reiterates the fact that our society looks towards women as weak and unable to fulfill the physical strength of men.
When I teach advanced gymnastics classes we always condition at the end. When I say that we are doing push ups I constantly have girls asking me are we allowed to do girl pushups. I always ask what do you mean "girl" push ups? Even though I know exactly what they are talking about I want to stress that just because they are a girl does not mean that they are unable to do a pushup. Most of the girls moan and groan when I say only "real" push ups, but yet they realize they can do them. Some girls are never even taught the proper weight to do pushups they are just told that they can complete them on their knees. I also think that when it comes to physical performance in general; the low expectations in females does not even push them to perform to their fullest potential. While men are frowned upon if they do not perform their physical tasks to a high level of completion women are encouraged to finish their physical tasks at a lower level. I think that the fact that our society tells females that they are not strong and cannot complete the tasks that men do. Therefore girls do not even try as hard as they could because they see themselves in this light. Men are seen as more able and the dominant type in society and its reflected in their ability. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lottery Mentality

White privilege is something that I, myself, do not really find necessary to talk about. But why is that? Is it because I do not want to think that I have an inherent right over others? Or maybe because I do not want to admit that other people have to overcome obstacles because of the color of their skin. Either way I do not really think about race as a major problem in our society. I think this is because of the whole effect of the lottery mentality; which is the mentality that people are progressing because you see certain individuals getting great opportunity and progress yet you fail to realize the other large group that is not getting those same opportunity and progress. 
Many whites do not think about the affects of skin color because it is something that does not handicap us. If anything we benefit from the natural color of our skin. Even the lightening of the skin in the African American community is seen as more beautiful. I have a friend that lives across the street and she went to go visit St. Thomas last summer and I remember her mentioning how she was hoping to not come back dark. First of all I never really put two and two together in the fact that African Americans can indeed tan but second of all she stressed how she liked to keep her skin tone as light as possible. But just the ideal in general that having light skin gives you more advantages in life than any thing else. 
At the same time whites try and camouflage this white privilege and make it seem invisible to others. I do believe that strides are being made to rid society of inequality among races, but we need to focus on the big picture. Not the few individuals that are making strides, but whether or not the African American community as a whole is making strides to become more equal to their white counterparts. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I think that acquired privilege is something that disproportionately benefits certain groups in our society. These are privileges that people are born with and do not have to do anything in order to experience the benefits. Just like status (at least in the olden days) acquired privilege is something that you can not achieve, it is simply something that other people are lucky to have. It also reinforces stereotypes and leads certain groups to have unfair advantages over others. 

The way that our economy is now really privileges people who have connections. It is very hard to come right out of college and land a high level job without connections. One of my very good friends was a business marketing major, he attended a decent school and maintained right below a 3.0. He was not involved in any activities on campus and had no prior experience in marketing. Luckily for him, his dad was one of the top district marketing executives for some food company (of course I now forget what company) but none the less lets just say this really catapulted his career. My friend ended up landing a well paying marketing job with a friend of his dad's. Luckily for him, he was able to get right into the corporate world with a little push and connections. Yet on the same hand I know other business majors, like my cousin, who has been out of school for two years and has been working as the associate manager for a retail store. By no means am I trying to say there is something wrong with working retail but at the same time he went through the same schooling, with a better GPA and has been out for two years with no offers. I think that these privileges that certain people obtain, through no action of their own, really disproportionately benefits certain groups. 

While there are many people who have worked themselves up to a high level you have to think about all the work they put into it in order to make it where they are. While other people are handed jobs some people work their entire lives to achieve certain jobs. It unfairly benefits others why limiting some who have no access to these connections and acquired privileges. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Change in family dynamics

I think that it is very interesting to note the change in the power model of families. I was just thinking about this recently and it really does show how far females have come with the tolerance for different types of family dynamics. Forty years ago you would always find the woman of the house doing the household chores, taking care of the kids, and keeping track of the family schedule. While this is a job in itself, you rarely saw women working outside of the household. 
These days there are three different types of family power models; head/complement model, junior partner/senior partner model, and equal partner model. The head/complement model is the traditional model where the male is the breadwinner and the female is on "house duty." The junior partner/senior partner model on the other hand is what we see more these days; it is where not only does the man but also the woman of the house works to bring in money. While the woman enters her "double shift" after work with the household duties she also is a part of the financial responsibilities. Lastly, there is the equal partner model where traditional roles are completely disrupted and neither partner is more likely to perform provider or domestic roles. 
Now enough about background, I think the fact that we can define a model that disrupts the roles and allows women and men to partake in both provider and domestic freely says a lot about where we have come. I had learned in another class the naming an issue gives light to how far we have come with that issue. If it was not increasingly seen as acceptable for both women and men to share roles we would not have a model dedicated to that issue. 
These changes in responsibilities of men and women can be seen in everyday situations. Although tradition still holds on and many situations are stereotyped to "proper" gender appropriate roles I think society as a whole is making steps to tear down these stereotypical roles. For example, where I teach gymnastics there is a class called 'Mommy and Me' already from the name it follows a stereotypical attitude towards mothers raising and socializing their infants. But the awesome thing is last session when I taught that class I had a class of 5 and 2 of the 5 children had their dads join them on a Monday morning instead of their moms. Not only is that showing that dads can take an active role in caring for their children but it also shows that the woman must be taking the role as the bread winner. I think this is awesome and I applaud the men that partake in a mommy and me and they prove that times are changing and just because a mom works full time or a dad does not work and stays at home with his family does not mean that they are wrong. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

The strive to be perfect

The fear of rejection and abnormality has led me to negatively view myself many times in my teenage years. Growing up I was extremely athletic, I played about every sport known to man and was always active. As my mom says I came out of the womb with rock solid legs and as ideal as that may seem it has led me to some very low moments. When you are in middle school and even high school you do not want to be looked at as a strong girl instead you want to be seen as a fun loving girly girl. Instead people viewed me as tough and strong and that was everything I did not want to be. I would try and eat healthy in hopes that my legs would get "smaller" little did I know when you are training for sports like I was there was no way for me to lose the size of my legs because it was pure muscle. I wanted to be the skinny girl that one that had toothpick legs not the athletic one. 
It amazes me how already in the few years I have been out of middle school the ideal body is changing. Just like the slide show says the ideal body image is far from static. These days (at least for older girls) having muscle definition is something they strive for. And it is very funny because now that I am out of sports and now that I no longer train I work so hard to build the muscle I once hated. It is really sad actually, people work so hard to maintain and gain certain body types...but why? Why does it really matter if you are skinny, athletic, "pear shape" or curvy. I understand the importance of being healthy and I try and maintain a healthy life style but Americans strive so hard for commercialized beauty; something that is far from normal and artificially enhanced. The media created images are giving girls a negative outlook on their own bodies. Females and also males are going to drastic measures such as anorexia, bulemia, etc. in pursuit of these bodies. Out of every hundred THOUSAND people only 5 women actually look the way that models do on tv. What about the other 99,995 women? Why is it so important to advertisement to place value on the minority of women when all they are affecting is negative self images from others. I think that the media really needs to 'revamp' its commercials and it would affect the way that our society as a whole views beauty. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Importance of Conscious-raising

One of the most important aspects of the third wave was conscious-raising.  We hadn't realized that just studying this subject and naming the problem and problems would be a radical action in itself. Women who were experiencing similar situations came together and were able to relate and realize that not only was it okay to feel these ways but it was normal. It also allowed women to target certain areas that were in area of change. 
I think that conscious raising in general is very important in making a change. I learned in an earlier class that until the term and conscious was raised on sexual harassment nothing could be done to change it. If people do not have a common ground to relate to people and a common foundation of what is going on there is no way to progress. From our consciousness-raising meetings was coming the writing which was formulating basic theory for women's liberation movement. And without this informative speech women would not have progressed as far as they have. Conscious raising has now been used in many contradictory issues; whether it is gender, social class, race, religion, etc. 

Racism in the first wave

When listening to the online module it shocked me that  Stanton, Anthony and other feminist refused to endorse amendment because it did not give women right to vote. I feel that women and African Americans were pursuing the same interest, equality. While other feminist supported the right for African Americans to vote because they felt that it would lead to the right of women to vote some feminist like Stanton and Anthony said they would never support it. It really shocked me because throughout the women suffrage movement African Americans supported the women and helped them seek equality because they were another subordinate group. This attitude towards the advancement of African Americans made them lose support that they had with others such as Fredrick Douglass. Black women were sometimes even denied membership into white feminist groups. While not all women were racist it still blows my mind that some feminist were aiming for equality yet they were not acting in an equal manner in the mere fact that they did not support others that were suffering. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I do not believe that with the current role of the state in social realms of our society will ever be able to achieve complete equality. As was mentioned in the lecture a state is an abstract concept that refers to all forms of social organization representing official power in society; the government, law and social policy, the courts and the criminal justice system, the military and the police. If you think about all of these social organizations that represent official power they are all male dominated and particularly dominated by white upper class males. And the government which is a subset of the state does not represent everybody equally. It benefits the people that are mainly in power in these organizations, white upper class males. It works to both maintain sources of inequality and as an avenue for social justice. It supports citizens in standing up for what they believe in and taking a stand if they see inequality but yet it proves to be supportive of this inequality in how it unevenly supports certain groups. The state also teaches and enforces public behavior and determines how people will govern others and how power is exercised. Gender and race are used to structure these social institutions which in turn establishes social behavior. Many of our perceived stereotypes about different races and genders are ones that are set forth by the state itself. I feel like the inequalities that are seen in social institutions that make up the state make it impossible to ever see complete equality. And many of the stereotypes that run through Americans are reflected through these institutions and I feel like they are very hard to break. I think it is some what unrealistic to expect to see complete equality because no matter what I feel there is always going to be some type of inequality in the institutions that reflect our society. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What type of feminist am I?

I had no idea that there were that many types of feminist. I always knew that some feminist were more "extreme" then others in the fact that some push for equal rights in a more "in your face" way then others. But the fact that all of these groups are focused on the same overlying goal but they push for different little goals in order to achieve some since of equality. 
Although I cannot personally relate, I find that multi-cultural feminism is the most interesting. This states that women of color face barriers that must be overcome and that not all oppression is created equal it depends on social construction. I never really thought about the difference that women of different races face, I kind of always grouped women together and believed their path towards equal rights as the same. Multiple systems of domination affect the lives of women and men, whether it is race, gender, social class or sexual orientation. So obstacles may vary from woman to woman. And what gender means to us and others and how it affects our lives differs between people. I think that it is really important when discussing rights and goals of women is to acknowledge the different spheres of injustices affect groups differently. And this also compels us to recognize how intersections among multiple social locations, or standpoints, shape individual lives and structure society. I think that this sheds light on the need for more than one type of feminist. Not all women are the same therefore not all women will push for the same things and therefore those that come from similar standpoints come together to push for their needs and wants. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Doing Gender"

Our society has strict socially acceptable roles for male and female. Our society as a whole has put a lot of energy in people "doing gender" and performing their roles in an acceptable way. We have taught that "doing" female means being sensitive and caring, putting effort into our appearance, being superwoman and many times putting others feelings before our own. While males on the other hand have been taught that "doing" male means being successful, aggressive, sexual, self-reliant while by all means staying away from anything feminine. In order to be accepted and respected our society expects you to do and perform the appropriate gender. 
Our society rigidly pairs masculinity with males and femininity with females.  Social isolation meets many people who do not identify with a socially prescribed gender. There are no in-between spaces and our society does not view gender as a continuum. From birth until death society uses this binary way of defining people in every day situations. In X, this child was not accepted by neighbors, parents or other children because he did not prescribe to a distinct gender. In the article one set of children's parents went on to say 
"The Joneses, they said, should be forced to tell whether X was a boy or a girl. And then X should be forced to behave like whichever it was. If the Joneses refused to tell, the Parents' Association said, then X must take an Xaminiation. The school Psychiatrist must Xamine it physically and mentally and issue a full report. If X's test showed it was a boy, it would have to obey all the boys' rules. If it proved to be a girl, X would have to obey all the girls' rules, and if X turned out to be some kind of mixed  up misfit, then X should be Xpelled from the school. Immediately!"
 This instance shows how deeply our society is embedded in the importance of gender. Why does it matter what gender X is? Society has placed a strong importance on children acting out their appropriate gender and for fear that they will not be accepted or be ridiculed based on their likings many children do not take part in things they may want to because of the restraints society has put on them. Masculine and feminine are socially constructed and something that is socially hard to get around. It makes the lives of people who do not prescribe to a certain gender nearly impossible. Why would it matter if a girl was dressing, acting and playing with "boy" things? 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What is woman's studies?

When signing up for woman's studies I originally was doing it just to fulfill my track for my major. During maymester I took gendered communications and I learned that gender and the performance of your gender really fascinates me. I was interested to study more about gender through a "female lens" and I am very excited to learn more. I see myself as a "typical" female I am very sensitive, I cannot wait to have a family and be a mother, I put too much pressure on myself to please others and I put a lot of peoples feelings before I do my own. I am interested to learn more about how stereotypical characteristics of women and men came to be.
The word feminist brings about many different feelings from many different people. As we learned in module two many stereotypes of feminist are that they are lesbian male hating women. While many feminist are married females and some are even males these stereotypes come from people who fail to get to understand who feminist are and what they stand for. I believe that feminist are people who strive for equal rights and opportunities between males and females. I also feel that feminist try and rid society of inequalities in institutions that are fueled by stereotypes for each gender. I do believe that female equality has come a long way since the start of the second wave feminist. Although there are an increased number of women in managerial positions and increased men being stay at home fathers there are still many institutional changes that have not been addressed such as lack of mentors for females, exclusion of females in informal networks, glass ceilings and brick walls. These informal practices or unwritten understandings limit women from being able to fulfill their goals. 
I also feel like the stereotypes that come along with being a feminist have discourages many women from standing up for what they believe in and inequalities that they see. I think that changing the view of feminist and teaching ignorant people who feminist are and what qualities they are pushing for can help push women forward. I have to admit that I have at times not given certain groups the respect they deserve because of preconceived notions. Many feminist lack the respect from people that is needed in order to alleviate many inequalities.