Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gender on the Body

Power relations are reflected and reinforced in beauty norms because the men are still considered to be the more “powerful” between them and women. Women will always have a higher standard than a man to look good. Beauty norms affect women and men differently because women have more of an acceptance to be beautiful than men. Some men like to be “fit” but most women feel that they to extremely thin and beautiful and have no faults. Men tend to be more attractive to thin, pretty women with clear skin, especially if the men are fit themselves. Women typically judge men by their looks, not on what their body looks like. If women were to wear baggy clothes they would be stared at, but men wearing baggy clothes is normal. Beauty norms have affected me because I’ve never been able to get the “hottest” guy in school because there are definitely prettier and skinnier women in the world than me. I’ve always had the bigger thighs out of all of my friends, whom seem to be more “popular” because they wear a size zero. The media plays an extremely important role because everyone on television is pretty, thin, and clear skin. Beauty norms start at a young age. There is a huge amount of teen role models who are beautiful and thin and seem to be perfect, which makes teenagers today want to be just like them. Women can resist the beauty ideal by having more confidence in themselves. Phallocentrism works to control men’s bodies because everything about them is considered central and normal.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Second Wave Feminism

I believe that consciousness raising groups is a great thing. Everyone should be aware women oppression and know the effects it has on the entire society, not just one individual. If consciousness raising groups became popular again today, I believe they would be extremely effective in addressing social inequality. Social inequality is primary based towards women and although many people realize that there is social inequality, they might not understand how in depth it is and how much it is still going on today. If there was a consciousness raising group I believe most people would be shocked to realize how much is actually going on. Radical feminists in the Second Wave were unable to sustain their momentum because the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 and in 1973 the decision for Roe v. Wade was decided. Although these were passed and decided, many people still did not want to accept the fact that it was put into action. If I were to write a gender-based manifesto, it would be about how women are classified as not being “strong” enough because they are more feminine than a man. Essentialism is only based on a single-axis identity. They also focus on generalizations about a group. Identity Politics signifies a wide range of political activity and theorizing founded in shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups. These issues should not be based on one specific identity. Diversity issues may be lost due to identity-based approaches because there are many different types of social groups in our society. Homosexuals are discriminated against just like many women.

First Wave

In 1863, Stanton and Anthony organize the Women’s Loyal National League and gather 300,000 signatures on a petition demanding that the Senate abolish slavery by the constitutional amendment. I do not believe that such a strategy would be very effective for feminist activists today because it takes more than 300,000 signatures on a petition to change or abolish a law. And it is primarily thought and changed by the higher-level people. However, I do believe that racism and classism still divide feminist movements today. Feminist movements are primarily based on the race or class of the person or group. The First Wave was about letting black people have the same freedom as the white. Suffragists may have dealt with the issue of Black suffrage by understanding it more and being more patient for a change. To be a good activist you needed many decent personal characteristics. You needed to be confident, well-educated, and make sure you got your point across in a strong and positive way. You must agree with everything you say and every decision you make. Suffrage is not “on the radar” by many young people today for many reasons. There is a mixed-race in schools, you can not vote until you are eighteen years old, and certain sports are commonly known to be masculine or feminine with no questions asked. There is also a larger percentage of race for one sport rather than another. For example, more African Americans play basketball and football, while more whites play tennis and soccer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Public Policy

States maintain inequality by working with other institutions. They assign roles and distribute resources. States also regulate other institutions and provide guidelines for expected behaviors or roles and channel resources and power. They stay involved in international policy-making. For example, they regulate family, education, economic systems, and religion. As of today, fortunately, I have never experienced discrimination by the state first hand. Years ago white men were the only people allowed to vote, own land, and could have slaves, whom were Native American. Women were also not allowed to vote and were made to stay home and do the housework. Today, women still constitute a small number of candidates for local, state, and national offices. I don’t believe that there will ever be equality in our democracy because there is a tremendously small amount of women in Congress. Congress, today, still illustrates white men domination. I believe there is always going to be a small amount of women involved in any type of government. In order to have a more just state I believe that there needs to be more of an acceptance towards women. There obviously needs to be more women in the government but in order to do that we just realize that women are just as capable as men in many things. Today, I believe, that women are just as or if not more capable than men. Women are definitely more recognized than years ago but there is still a long way to go for there to be full equality.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Feminist Theory

When first beginning to read some things seemed fairly familiar, but I couldn’t believe how many different kinds of feminism there really were. While reading, the thing that caught my eye the most was the fact that universities would want to have single-sex classrooms because if there were men they would dominate the discussion. With having multiple types of feminism, it makes people wonder what really feminism is. We believe feminism to be equality, everyone being treated fairly, regardless of your sex and gender. When women’s studies first came about in universities they were made to write their own textbooks, compile readings lists, develop new curricula, and establish new journals. These classes were made to establish women into the campus communities. Some theories are stereotyped as lesbians and some focus on heterosexual issues. With all these different perceptions on feminism, no one is going to understand the true meaning behind feminism. We under the concept, everyone being treated fairly, but we won’t understand the concept behind lesbians, heterosexuals, and transgender. I was shocked to read that some feminists believe that transgender is wrong. Some view this group as traitors to womanhood. In other words, they are referred to as “fake women”. But some feminists see them as males although they are truly women. I truly don’t believe there is such a thing as a feminist method because each feminist looks at things differently and their methods can be used in multiple ways. The feminist method may give feminists an idea of what and how to study but it’s not something that everyone follows step by step.

Sex and Gender

We define sex as being the biological and physiological characteristics of a person. There are many sex characteristics. Women menstruate, men don’t, and men have testicles, while women don’t. Gender is referred to as the socially constructed roles, activities, and attributes that a given society believes to be appropriate for a man or woman. There are also many gender characteristics. Women typically earn less money than a man in a particular work setting, in Viet Nam, more men typically smoke than women, men are the only ones allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and women are typically distinguished with more housework. I believe masculinity to be aggressive, rational, strong, and dominant. Femininity is more the passive, loving, and intuitive of a person. People “do gender” mostly by the way they are brought up. For example, the type of clothes they dress you in and the way they decorate your room or nursery. I learned to do gender by my parents. They made my room into a girly, pink room and dressed me in girly clothes and bought me many dolls, Barbies, and any other feminine toy. Gender ranking reinforces sexism because you are ranked by your sex and gender. For example, men play football and women play field hockey. Sexism is primarily based on gender. Women are made fun of or laughed at when wanting to try out for a masculine sport. While, when men tryout for a feminine sport they are laughed at in a joking manner, typically not in a manner of being made fun of.


I consider myself a feminist. I think of a feminist being the kind of person that believes

every woman deserves just as much respect as any other man and that women are not always the

weaker sex, regardless of race, class, and or sexual preference it should not matter. I chose

women’s studies because I am a woman, and I do enjoy learning about where we were at one

point and how we have evolved into where we are now. I hope to learn in this class, the

importance of women past and present and the impacts that they had on their society and where

it has led ours now in this current society. I expect to learn more about feminism and famous

women in this course. I hope that I have a better appreciation for what women in past generations

have done to achieve where we are now. Some negative stereotypes of feminism, I think, are

when people here the word “feminist” they automatically assume that it’s something bad. They

think the person is going to be over the top about any and everything that pertains to women. I

believe that some aspects of equality between the sexes has been achieved but there are always

going to be those few people that don’t believe that women should be doing what men do and as

many men that don’t want to admit it, a majority think that whatever women do, men will always

do it better. Especially in a male dominated work force.