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.