Monday, October 26, 2015
1.These problems cannot be solved. They can be dulled, in some areas more than others, but they won't ever be eliminated. It's taken centuries for women to gain as much freedom and equality as we have, and we're still not on the same playing field as men. There is an unavoidable and inherent separation between us. The reason that these issues will not go away is because no matter how much progress we make there are still those pockets of people who are not for the cause and who will teach their children who will teach theirs to view the situation in the same light. Our society is dominated by white males with money. The disconnect starts when we are young, in aries so harmless as toy displays. Recently Target attempted to take a step in the direction of gender neutralization by removing the labels "boys toys" and "girls toys". Realisticly, this wasn't going to change which toys kids are going to gravitate towards, because they've all already become accustomed to like. People surround their children and their friend's children with gender specific toys blindly from the time they are born. Target stores received backlash form the operation and returned to the old displays. The failure this attempt generated is proof that the issue isn't one easily fixed, and that it's not one that everyone wants to be fixed. Major corporations like this have an unsaid responsibility to take advantage of their impact on all people, not just children.
Women are taken extreme advantage of in media and the workplace, not to mention at home. Women in politics are especially frowned upon. They are openly regarded as less able than and inferior to their male peers. Females are scrutinized for being "emotional" and deemed unqualified to hold positions of power. In the Miss Representation video it showed examples of women being ridiculed on live television. The value of female input is much lesser and for different reasons than that of men. Women's value is determined by their appearance. We saw how male politicians and news reporters were commenting on the womens' clothing choices far more than they were acknowledging what they were saying, most of which was disregarded as irrelevant. This sociological barrier, this glass ceiling, is a major separation between men and women. It separates them in terms of income, qualification, and credibility. These misconceptions about women as being feeble and unable are the reasons behind sexist acts of violence. Men feel unthreatened when demonstrating their "dominance" over women, making the misfortune often and severe.
A fair amount of men take "no" for "convince me" when it comes to sex. Because of the way women are objectified and accessorized in mass media, they feel that with our without persuasion women wil comply to whatever requests they might have. Robin Thick's Blurred Lines for example, has been called a "rape anthem". This is because the words suggest to women that they should be "good girls" and go against their initial response "no", because that's what girls do. He's supporting men who pressure women into sex, and encouraging women to agree.
Gender stratification is an issue too deeply rooted to be eliminated. It's current form may change over time, but the overarching values are cemented into our culture, very much so because of the way images of females are presented to males starting at a young age. This issue will evolve, but it will always be present.
The first step in understanding how gender is socially constructed is understanding the difference between sex and gender. The two are often merged and used as synonyms, but have separate meanings. A person's sex is determined by their physical features at birth. Gender, is which category you identify with. In "Doing Gender", Zimmerman and West clarified that "Sex... was what was ascribed by biology... Gender, we said, was an achieved status: that which is constructed through psychological, cultural, and social means." This distinction is important. This confusion is the cause of endless conflict over the matter. The reason this stigma still exists is because we (people) have been socialized to view both genders as individual different groups of people. Men have been at the top of the social latter in our society since it started hundred of years ago, and that's just in America. Removing ourselves from the common point of view and stepping into that of a sociologist, sing our sociological imagination, we can make the connection between the two groups.
2.Learning this has affected my sociological imagination because before I hadn't even thought about there being a difference between sex and gender. Now that I know, I feel ignorant, and it's made me think about how i could have accidentally offended someone and not even realized. I take homophobic jokes less lightly and now that I'm educated on the subject, I feel some responsibility to to educate others. As a white person I have many advantages, but also as a women many disadvantages. I need to use the advantages that I do have to bring awareness to the gender stratification issue.
3. I don't think that the gender stratification issue is one that can be fixed, but I do think that is can be dulled. I think that with people in the industry advocating for gender equality, change is much more attainable. Many of the issues can be solved, but the biggest hurdle is mindset. There are groups of people who have no interest to support the movement, and groups of people who are against it all together and who will pass down their views to their kids and so on. The glass ceiling barring women and people of color from the high paying jobs given to white men needs to be destroyed. People of all genders and races deserve to be judged on their intelligence, free from physical appearance. A huge step in this is promoting the idea through mass media. It is the quickest way to reach millions of people, many of which are young impressionable people. The limiting factor in achieving gender equality is the mass of people against the movement, but that doesn't mean that there aren't enough activists to ensue significant change.