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.