Gender Inequality

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Gender Equality Prezi

During weeks #10 and #11 of the semester, we will be covering material on the topic of gender inequality. Our materials includes chapter 12 of our textbook as well as two documentaries, I was a Teenage Feminist and Still Killing Us Softly, 4.

The movie I was a Teenage Feminist explore one woman’s journey to understand what feminism means in her own life and what some of the current issues are within the movement.

In the first half of chapter 12, the authors set out to define the extent and social understanding of gender inequality. The open with some statistics, “worldwide, women perform an estimated 60 percent of the work, yet they earn only 10 percent of the income and own only 10 percent of the land. Two thirds of the world’s illiterate are women” (319). The authors make a distinction between “sex” and “gender” and describe how various social theories have attempted to explain the differences between men and women and their differential positions and respect through arguments that are based on “nurture versus nature” distinctions (320). As sociologists, the authors establish an understanding of gender difference as based upon social structure.

In the second half of the chapter, the authors discuss how gender expectations are framed through various social institutions: language, behavior, media, religion, law, politics, and the economic system. The chapter then dives into the employment disparity between women and men, examining also racial and class divisions as well.

In the documentary, Still Killing Us Softly, 4, Jean Killborne overviews how women are represented in television and magazine ads and what this tells us about the social messages of women and men in our society.

Four our blog posting #9, due on March 31st, (2 hours before class), please discuss in detail a few of the themes from the reading and movies. Find some informational and academic links that exemplify (or counter), some of the points made in the chapter. Be prepared to review your links and present them to the class. Please also include a discussion question with your blog posting and your presentation. We will have about 10 students present their links and then we will discuss the reading together.  b

  1. Elizabeth Daniels says:

    There were many different themes that were discussed throughout chapter 15 that had to do with gender inequality that caught my attention. One of the many themes of this chapter is whether gender is biologically or socially based. They talk about how people develop to who they are today based on their “nature” or amount of “nurture” that they received when they were younger and as they grew up. Nature is based on the biological factors and evolution, and nurture is based on how they were socially interacted with. From the biological perspective, men and women have different chromosomes and hormones that make up who they are as a person. Males experience different secondary sex characteristics such as taller, stronger, more muscular and facial hair. This is all due to the androgens within them. Females experience changes such as menstruation, lactating, larger breasts and broader hips. This is all caused by estrogen. Socially, males and females are modeled differently between cultures, within cultures, over the course of their lives and between and among different groups of men and women based on differences in class, race, ethnicity and sexuality. (321)
    Another topic that I found interesting was the division of labor among different cultures and communities. There is a large difference of what men and women are doing among their community compared to other communities.
    It was very interesting to see the differences in learning and attention that boys and girls receive when they are in school. Starting from when they are born, girls and boys are treated differently. Girls are seen as sweet and boys are seen as tough and strong. They learn what it means to be a boy or girl early in their life, mainly based upon what their parents teach them. Fathers and mothers both have the strongest influence on their sons when it comes to how a gender is suppose to act. Fathers want their sons to be tough and strong, playing sports and building things. This reflects on how the young boys respond when girls want to join in the games or activities that they are playing. Boys will most likely not let a girl join in a game with them, but girls on the other hand will let boys play with them if they ask more frequently. Boys are less likely to play in games that are dominated by opposite sex and they play much more competitive games.
    In school, boys are paid attention to more often than the girls are? Is this really a gender inequality or do boys act up more and lose concentration more frequently than girls?

    The movie, “Still Killing us Softly 4”, shows very well how girls are viewed in advertisements and how degrading and influential it is. Girls are “suppose” to be as thin as a toothpick, but still have large breasts. The advertisements make it seem like you are not beautiful or accepted unless you look like the models. In reality, none of the models actually look like they do in the magazines. With the technology today, the models are made to look much thinner than they already are. This causes girls to think that they should look like this and after they have tried dieting healthy, they resort to not eating, becoming anorexic and becoming very unhealthy and sick. It is also leads into depression and low self-esteem.

  2. Gary Gustin says:

    One theme that stood out for me while reading Chapter 12 was the idea that sex differentiation, historically speaking, has either been seen as something common to all cultures throughout history or as something that varies depending on the culture. Although sex differentiation does occur to some extent in all cultures, it does not necessarily translate into a lower social status for women (see p. 323). Male dominance varies depending on time, place and culture. As an historian, I think that it is important to note that even within a particular culture, male dominance is not always universal. For example, while women (at least in the upper classes) were mostly confined to their homes in ancient Athens, in Sparta women were free to leave their homes and took on added civic and economic responsibilities. They also had the privilege of being accorded military honors if they died in childbirth. Both Athens and Sparta shared a common Hellenic culture, yet local variations within that culture could challenge or reinforce male dominance.

    Another theme is the fact that our American society’s portrayal of men and women in literature and advertising is grossly unequal. For example, in children’s books the ratio of male to female pictures was 11 to 1, and the ration of male to female animals was 95 to 1. Traditional gender roles were also seen, with boys being more interested in outdoor activities and girls being more interested in indoor activities. Boys were portrayal as dominant and girls were portrayed as passive (p. 326). This construction of gender remains strong in our society, with sometimes devastating results. Males and females are deprived of their abilities to express themselves, and compulsory heterosexuality forces people to live double lives and to be unjustly penalized.

    In the movie that we watched in class on Tuesday, March 29th, Still Killing Us Softly 4, we saw the imbalances in advertising and the subtle and, in some cases, not so subtle messages that these advertisements send to us. I think that we are more influenced by advertising than we want to admit, myself included. Women are routinely degraded and portrayed in unrealistic terms (in some cases their heads are shown as being larger than their waists, which is impossible), and they are only seen as being beautiful if they are thin and light-skinned. This badly damages the self-esteem of women, and the same situation is creeping into advertising with men as well. Gender is a complicated and difficult issue to deal with in America, and although I wish that I could say that it was getting better, it really is not.

    Here are some links that discuss gender in American society that I think would be useful to watch and discuss:

  3. Peter Wu says:

    Chapter 13 of “In Conflict and Order” discusses the inequality that exists between both sexes. Something that stuck out to me was table 12.1 on page 321, that shows a chart of how labor is divided in different societies. It seems that men do the more “manlier” work and the women do the more “ladylike” work. Observing this, I wonder if these societies allocated each sex with their respective work because of the fact that they are simply men or women, or was it done in the name of efficiency. Women can do the same type of work that men do, we have seen this throughout history of women who stood up and did what is typically known as a “mans job”. But the societies that were sampled probably wanted the most productivity, so I would be interested to know if they allocated women to “ladylike” work simply because they were women, or was it because these societies thought that women would be more efficient in those areas.

    This question can probably be answered by the order and conflict perspectives(324). The Order perspective states that the division of labor between men and women is done for efficiency purposes, that is men are hunters and women are nurturers. The Conflict perspective, on the other hand, states that the division of labor between men and women is done to oppress women. It states that although women do more of the work, their work is not being rewarded because it cannot produce a public good or service, the work they do is only done for the household.

    A statistic that was shocking was the study done on award winning childrens books and the amount of male and female characters. They found that the ratio of male to female pictures was 11:1 while that ratio of male to female animals was 95:1.

    I could definitely relate to some statements in the book. The quote on page 327 is so true. When my elementary school hosted boys against the girls games, we guy also made fun of the girls. And even though we were young and didn’t know what we were talking about, looking back our school system shouldn’t separate the genders like that, it causes opposition against sexes from an early age. Another statement that I can relate to is the fact that although women are becoming more equal educationally, it seems that women go for the life sciences, while men study physical sciences(329). For example, in a majority of my math classes, it seems that the guy are studying finance and theoretical mathematics, while the women study math education.

    The movie “Still Killing Us Softly 4” explores the socialization of women through advertising. Something that stuck out about the movie was the neurological aspect of advertising. It stated that advertising is a subconscious thing the slowly molds us into a way of thinking. It even stated that even if you say “it doesn’t effect me”, the advertisement is still going to be embedded into your mind. Something else that really stuck out was the introduction. The fact that this lady has been trying to solve this problem since the 1970’s, and since then the problem has been only getting worse. The advertisements she showed on screen ranged back from the 1970’s, which is absolutely shocking. I applaud her for standing up to this problem and hoping her the best.

    Here is a collage of women eating salads and laughing.

    The socializing effect shown in the link is obvious.

  4. Pete Lucchesi says:

    Chapter 12 primarily examines the social organization of not only our society in the United States, but societies throughout the world as they pertain to the inequality of men and women. As stated in the chapter, men’s and women’s roles in society are not parallel throughout the world, “but every society has certain ideas about what women and men should be like…” (316). The argument here is that the ideas about “gender” are socially constructed and not natural.

    Of course there are biological differences between men and women that influence each gender’s role in society. Because women give birth, they are expected in most cultures (and it has been this way since the dawn of human civilization) to also rear the child while the husband makes a living to support the family (in early human society the father was the hunter while the mother cared for the children). Because of these behaviors that have been instituted in human culture since the earliest humans, a social norm has developed where males and females take on certain responsibilities.

    Now, it can be argued that technology has freed women from the necessity of staying home and has allowed them to join the workforce, but “order theorists” believe that “the traditional division of labor is beneficial for society as a whole” (322). The argument is that keeping with traditional roles promotes stable family life and efficiency. The major order theorist Talcott Parsons argued that in these industrialized times, the family and the designated roles of men and women are more important than ever because men need a place of affection outside of the stresses of work and his family home life can provide that (322). To me, this is a very weak argument for traditional gender roles and the counter-argument of “the conflict perspective” which points out that these roles of men and women give much more power to men because their roles as money earners bring with it more respect and power in most cultures, especially capitalist cultures (323). The following article provides further insight into the “order perspective” but focuses more on how women are dealing with balancing their traditional roles as mothers with the newer role of having a career:

    Continuing with the authors’ argument that gender is learned from a very early age, many solid arguments are made about how, through socialization, children develop an idea of what it means to be a boy or girl and how one must act. However, although I agree that toys can play a major part in gender socialization, I believe it is unfair to attack this industry for creating gender-linked toys. Like the majority of companies in a capitalist society, toy companies are in it to make a profit and it is most profitable to manufacture toys geared toward girls and toys geared toward boys. This being the case, it only makes sense to market these toys to the specific gender they are intended for in order to make the highets profit. I feel like it is unfair to criticize these companies for practicing basic marketing principles. In my opinion, it is the parents’ responsibility for making sure that their children know that it is ok to play with whatever toys that they want. Do not blame industry for society’s shortcomings because, in my opinion, this is the easy way out. It should start and end at home.

    Killing Us Softly 4 really had an impact on me and I started to think more about the advertising and portrayal of women that I see in the publications that I subscribe to. I am a big fan of magazines and I consistently read GQ, Men’s health, and The Hockey News magazines. Upon flipping through these magazines after watching Killing Us Softly, I took notice of the portrayal of women in the ads and articles. GQ and Men’s Health were especially eye-opening because any mention of women was about: sex, their “hotness”, their breasts, sex advice, or just simply pictures of them wearing barely anything and in suggestive poses. I realize that these are men’s magazines and this is generally what men want to see and read about (admittedly I am no different), so I understand why this is the case. However, I realized for the first time how degrading this probably is to any women that might pick up these magazines and flip through them. In fact, GQ has a tab on their website that just says “women” and the page contains different spreads of sexy women featured in the magazine. In fact, one of the biggest controversies that the magazine has faced in its long and storied history is the recent photoshoot of the “Glee” cast members which showed the women (who in the show portray high school-aged girls) wearing barely anything. This caused a huge uproar among the public against GQ for sexifying these characters. Here is the link to the article and photos:

    The feminism documentary did not really have an effect on me because I felt like I learned nothing new. The feminism movement has made great progress over the years, especially in our country, but I felt like nothing came of her making this film. Here is comedian Ali G on feminism:

  5. Chris Medina says:

    Every since “mankind” has existed, the dominance of men over woman has been obvious. Male dominance exists in every aspect of life from interactions of male and female, school, job opportunities and even to religion. This sexism that exist does not give any sort of benefit to the community as a whole, but it still exists anyways. Even though in the past decades, the right for woman equality with men has been getting better, there is still a gap that exists allowing men to have greater power in life.

    Once specific and major area where gender inequality is shown is through the work force. In the past we have always gotten the idea that woman are to be household workers and to care for the children. Such ideas are even seen today through advertisements which downgrade woman. However, even though this image still exists, there have been improvements that are starting to change the way in which woman are to be viewed, especially in terms of the work force. For example, there have been new laws that have been passed in order to try and reach equality. One law that passed for woman equality was in 1963 which was the Equal Pay Act. This act does not allow for men to be paid more for the same job that woman are doing. Even though laws like these are constantly being passed to help the woman in the workforce, the spread of power and money is still dominated by men. Some reasons for the male’s continued dominance in the workforce is that woman are usually concentrated in the lower-paying occupations such as clerks, receptionist, and secretaries. Other reasons include the facts that woman as a group have less experience and education then men, as well as the fact that woman tend to do less overtime (Eitzen et. al. 342). So even though there have been movements to help the woman in the workforce it is still an area that is unequal for woman.

    Another major area that discriminate and puts a gender role on woman, is the media. The media has so much power that it instills ideas in everyone on how men and woman, specifically woman should act. One big area of the media that shows this “do your gender” idea is in advertisements. For example this starts at a young age with children and the advertisements of toys. All toys are gendered and while boy usually have toy such as sports balls and action figures, girls are stuck with cooking play sets and less active toys (Eitzen et. al. 327). This is shown through the media with the way in which they try to sell their toys. This image and idea that the media tries to send out continues from the learning ages, even to the adult stages. In the documentary Still killing us Softly 4 we get to see an in depth analysis of how the media portrays the woman. In the video Jean Kilbourne give us plenty of examples of how the media expects woman to be. For example they are expected to be flawless and have perfect figures. A way that the media sends this message across is through posting the most beautiful woman in their magazines. However, many of the times these woman are manipulated by computers to make them seem flawless and put the level on how woman should look at an impossible height. This is just one way in which the media portrays the woman. It also portrays woman as being very thin. In recent years the size of the woman in advertisements have shrunk. This type of idea is not only physical, but it is also social. This idea of woman shrinking seems to give the impression that woman are weak and have less power then men (Jean Kilbourne). This type of gender identification is targeting woman and trying to hold back who they are and what they can accomplish.

    One more are where the female is being treated unequally and is being put in a gender role is sports. In the past, men dominated every sports and in some places woman were not allowed to even play. Now as times change females are getting more opportunities to engage in sports, however, it is still not completely equal. An example of the growth in female sports is that in 1972 only 300,000 woman were involved in sports. Now the number is much greater as in 2006 the number increased to over 3 million (Eitzen et al. 331).

    Over time the amount of changes that have been made are great, as woman are starting to achieve equal dominance as men. There is still a lot of work to do in order to reach complete equality. Images from the media only serve to hurt the status of woman and keep them stuck in the status quo. This idea of keeping woman under male dominance is not good at all. In order for our world to continue to grow in every aspect of life, from the economy to social life, we need all the minds we can use. By degrading woman and not giving them the equal opportunity we are only using half of the world’s potential and in turn hurting everyone.

    One argument in the article about woman in combat is that they don’t have the physical capability to keep up with men. Is this true and should this be the underlying reason why men dominate the combat units?

  6. Erica Porco says:

    Gender differences and womens’ struggles to achieve equality in society amongst men, are themes that were portrayed throughout Chapter 12, and the two documentaries, “I was a Teenage Feminist” and “Still Killing Us Softly”.
    Women have been struggling to achieve equal treatment in society for centuries. Women are inferior to men when it comes to language, behaviors, media, religion, politics and law according to Chapter 12. “Language perpetuates male dominance by ignoring, trivializing, and sexualizing women” (334). Words that refer to women usually degrade them, belittle and show that they are dominated when compared to words that describe males, which show power and dominance. Woman’s expressive behaviors are usually more polite and keep their hands to themselves, whereas men take up more room, interrupt and feel that they can touch women easier. Even though “women are 52% of our population”, the media does not portray them as much as they do men (335). Women are not usually in the news rooms as much as men and there are more male role models on TV than there are women role models. In religion women have been portrayed to be less dominant than men like with the idea that women came from Adam’s rib. Also all images of God are portrayed to be men. When it comes to politics, in the U.S there has never even been a female president or vice president because they feel that women handle situations differently than men do when it comes to war, peace, social welfare, and the economy.
    In comparing the two movies we saw in class, both movies talk about how women should be viewed and are viewed throughout society. In the documentary, “I Was a Teenage Feminist” she goes on to talk about how society makes women feel that they have to look beautiful all the time. The reasoning for that is because the media portrays all these models who many women of all ages idolize and wish to hopefully look like. But the media has taken it too far. In “Still Killing us Softly, 4” Jean Killborne really portray this point with showing many magazine photos of women who were very thin and beautiful. However, now with digital photography and photo-shopping of pictures, the majority of the pictures we see today are not what the models look like at all. Many of them are made thinner and their faces are altered to look like this “perfect” girl. Jean Killborne stated in one of the photos for skin products that her skin was flawless because she didn’t even have pores.
    i found a website that really talks about the key aspects of gender inequality and the roots of it. This website hits many of the items talked about throughout Chapter 12 and i found it interesting because it asks the question: “What might be the socio-cultural implications if men were to also be the child bearers?”

    I believe that society has always made women inferior of men because men are afraid of women. They are afraid that women can do everything on their own without the help of men, besides reproduction. So making women inferior controls their power in society.
    My question is what if women were superior to men, and men had to fear and feel subordinate to women? What if men had to feel degraded and belittled like many women are today, when men could not live without women as well?

  7. Angela Halton says:

    Chapter 12 of In Conflict and Order it discusses the gender inequality between men and women. The chapter starts out by saying that every society treats women and men differently. We may be under the impression that lines drawn between men and women are fading but there is still no nation where the genders are equal. The themes that we have witnessed in the documentaries Killing Us Softly 4, and I Was A Teenage Feminist, and Chapter 12 is the dominance of men over women in America and the impact media has on influencing and supporting that idea, along with the social factors that make women unequal to men.
    There is almost a set definition of what a woman must be. There is a stereotype and idea that as a woman you must live up to. There is a specific gender role and that is what creates the division between the equality of men and women. These gender roles are created socially and biologically, but it is rather apparent that women are more influenced by society and those pressures and expectations.
    From the beginning there is a line drawn between young boys and girls. Boys are taught to be dominant, competitive, while girls play with dolls or fake kitchen sets. This is already setting an idea to them as to who the dominant gender is. Children learn what pertains to their gender and stick to that stereotype instead of breaking the mold usually. From childhood it only gets worse.
    Looking at the media alone gives a set idea of the idea a women should live up to. Take a glance at a magazine, watch a commercial and you see the ideal woman that is created in the United States. Their most important feature isn’t what is on the inside; it’s what is on the outside that matters. This is shown to us in the documentary Killing Us Softly 4. It brings out what many may be overlooking in advertisements. Many advertisements towards males turn women into objects; advertisements directed toward women are to help improve your beauty. They also show the role that women have, being the homemaker. As quoted in In Conflict and Order “if you are a middle-aged woman, a lesbian, a Latina, a woman with a disability, a women of size, a low-income mom struggling to get by… good luck finding programming that even pretends to reflect your life”(335). The media has created the image of what an ideal woman is supposed to be and most do not fit into it.
    Many do break the mold and idea of this but there is still a long way to go. The equality and image of women is changing greatly now and has been in recent decades.

  8. Katie Cimmino says:

    Chapter 12 examines the social organization of both the United States and other societies throughout the world as it relates to inequality of men and women. The roles of men and women are not the same around the world, “but every society has a certain idea about what women and men should be like…” (316).
    We already know about the biological differences between men and women that influence gender roles in society. Women are expected in most cultures to raise the child, while the husband has a job and earns the money to support the family. These roles have been around since the earliest humans and it has developed a social norm where males and females take on certain responsibilities specific to their gender.
    Many would argue that technology has allowed women to join the workforce instead of staying in the home, but others would say that keeping the traditional roles would promote stable family life and efficiency. The Conflict Perspective points out that the roles of men and women give all the power to the man because their role of having a job and making money for the family brings more respect and power and this is seen in most cultures. We have seen more now than ever women finding a balance between care giver to their children and having a professional career.
    Gender roles are learned at a very young age through socialization. At this young age children learn what it means to be a boy or a girl and how to act in that role. Toys seem to play a large role in gender socialization. We can hardly ever find toys that are shared between genders. I think it is very true that these gender difference toys are made so that the toy companies can make a profit. I don’t think we can just blame the toys for enforcing gender roles in children. I think that it is the parents responsibility to make sure that their children know that it is okay to place with whatever toys they feel like playing with. We can blame the industry and the toy makers, but I feel very strongly that gender socialization starts at home.
    Killing Us Softly 4 really made me think more about the advertisements that we see every day on TV, in magazines, and on the streets. Women are picked apart and are used to grab the attention of men to buy the products. The focus of a woman in these advertisements is on their bodies. These advertisements tell women who we are and who we should try to become and when a women can’t achieve the beauty and image that is portrayed in these ad’s they feel ashamed. What women look past is the idea that these images are altered with Photoshop, and they aren’t real. Women are pushing themselves to become these images even though it is something that can’t be done. These images that we see every day are really damaging to women and their self-esteem.

  9. Melodi Vinette says:

    At a young age children learn the gender roles in society and are subject to believe in those roles. Young girls are seeing images in magazines, images much like the ones presented in the Killing Us Softly documentary. They are lead to believe that women should be sexy, slender and in charge of the housework. In advertisements for cleaning supplies it is typically a woman using the product and demonstrating how well it works when she must clean up after her children or her husband. Toys also play a huge role in the socialization of children. toys teach skills and encourage children to explore different roles they might one day occupy as an adult (327). Examples of popular toys for young girls are easy-bake oven and Bratz dolls. Examples of popular toys for boys are transformers and sports toys.
    It is evident here the issue with the images the media portrays and the ideas children get from these images. Young girls want to play with Bratz dolls because the dolls are skinny, glamourized and slightly sexual. These girls like the way these dolls look because they resemble models in the media, and as stated in the book these girls play with these dolls because they are exploring what they one day aspire to become. On the other hand, boys are encouraged to play with toys that display a sense of toughness and encourage violence. In the media men are portrayed as strong, tough and powerful and these toys give young boys a taste of that, which they then think should be their future. According to the text, children teach each other to behave according to cultural expectations (327). This exemplifies the fact that children take what they see in the media, the “perfect people” and they aspire to behave and look as these people do.

    Studies of fifth graders show that boys are more likely to play outdoors, play in larger groups, play in age-heterogenous groups, play more competitive games, play in longer-lasting games and are less likely to play games dominated by the opposite sex (127). This study exemplifies the idea that even young boys recognize that men appear to be the more powerful figure in society and they follow along with these customs even in play. Young girls then follow along and begin to believe that men should be the more powerful figure and that belief is dangerous to the future of socialization.

    How do you believe that socialization of children should change?

    The attached article is about how toys help children to grow and develop socially and mentally, with all these effects toys have on children it is easy to see how the gender roles can be learned through certain toys.

  10. Taylor Takats says:

    The chapter “Gender Inequality” in the textbook In Conflict and Order, deals with issues concerning the gender stratification that exists within the culture of the United States. Gender stratification is defined as the “hierarchal placement of the sexes that gives women unequal opportunities, resources and power” (320). What really stood out to me from this chapter was the discussion of how gender is learned and reinforced at a very young age. Even before most relatives and friends even see a newborn infant for the first time, the “congratulations! It’s a boy/girl” card is purchased. These cards are not gender neutral in any way, instead they force certain ideals of that little boy growing up to be big and strong or that little girl to grow up to be soft and delicate. The chapter goes on to describe how as the children grow they participate in power play, “a complex social process that involves both gender separation and togetherness,” and tend to play with gendered toys (327). It has been observed that boys do not only tend to play outdoors more but they also play in larger groups for longer and more competitive games, meanwhile girls have been observed to not be as active or aggressive in play. (327). The children don’t solely play differently in groups, but also tend to play with “gendered” toys that are portrayed as “girly” or “masculine.” This children often play with these toys because these are the ones parents tend to express more approval towards since they reinforce their child to adhere to the socially acceptable gender stereotypes. Even at an early age it can be noted that girls and boys are taught to behave and express themselves in a certain way. The stereotypes that parents instill in their children stay with their children throughout their lives and can lead to very submissive but emotionally expressive girls and physically strong but emotionally stoic boys.

    Unfortunately, children are not only influenced by their parents regarding gender, but they are also heavily pressured by the media. More specifically: advertisements. The influence that advertisements hold over developing minds is discussed throughly in the documentary “Still Killing Us Softly 4.” In this film, Jean Kilbourne addresses the prevalence of sexism that saturates the advertisement industry. Women tend to be a very common target in ads. Women are expected to be young, beautiful and very very thin. Also, they are not only expected to be “sex kittens” but also innocent and virginal. This pressure has led to a large increase in women’s dissatisfaction with their own bodies. Kilbourne states that “91 of all cosmetic surgeries are done on women.” This is appalling. Kilbourne even states that she has been even been informed of girls being given breast implants by their parents on their graduations. I find it very disturbing that parents are helping this process by making it seem okay to strive to achieve the media’s ideal rather than reach for real hopes and goals. Kilbourne even states that “there was an increase in eating disorders in fiji shortly after introduction of television into the culture.” The skewed perception of women’s bodies due to the media is not simply prevalent in the United States, but also has become a more worldly issue.

    On the other side of the coin, feminism fights against these beliefs to promote a stronger female gender, not one that is morphed and disfigured by the media until a real women has become no longer recognizable. In the documentary “I was a teenage feminist” the director and protagonist, Therese Shechter, details her journey through which she discovers her passion for the feminist movement. In the documentary she even confesses that she felt more comfortable at a gay/lesbian/bisexual celebration that most anywhere else. This is probably because at these events the participants are free to be whoever they want and are not confined by the norms of society. What I also found interesting was the idea that “more women identify themselves as republican than feminist” since the word “feminism” has become so tainted and looked down upon by the general population. Being a feminist does not have to be radical and not feminine, as Shechter described. A women, or man, could be a feminist just by believing that the sexes are not equal and need to see at least some change so that society can move forward.

  11. Kristen Nersesian says:

    In the reading one of the major points discussed is how media has tremendous power. Advertising is subconscious so we are unaware that it is even going on. Whether you are driving and see billboards or listening to the radio and here numerous different advertisements, you are being brainwashed everywhere. What many people do not realize is how many commercials they are exposed to on a single day when they are watching television. Thousands of commercials and advertisements are shown in a single day while we watch television and it is brain washing us even when we don’t realize it is. Another major point of the chapter was the occupational distribution. “Gender segregation refers to the pattern whereby women and men are situated in different jobs throughout the labor force, and economic restructuring has fundamentally altered the gender distribution of many occupations (341).” Gender segregation really has not changed all that much since 1900 in the work force. Overall only about 15 percent of women work in jobs typically held by men. In 2006, it was reported that less then ten percent of women worked as mechanics, construction workers, or tool and die makers.
    The earnings gap between women and men have narrowed over the years but they are still not even. A woman earns seventy seven cents for ever dollar a man earns. For women with color their earning discrimination is even greater. Women are concentrated in lower paying occupations than men and tend to work less overtime than do men.
    In the film, Killing Us Softly 4, it shows how the media portrays women as inferior to men. In magazines and commercials they always show men as these humans with large muscles and powerful, yet they portray women as very very skinny and somewhat shrunk and shy. They portray women has having this beautiful perfect body and shape that is really impossible for all women to get. The way these advertisements portray women has gotten worse over the years. Women in magazines and television commercials are photoshopped to look beautiful and skinny. What is most important is how women look. The perfect image is a skinny, light skinned, flawless girl. Most African American women are portrayed as wearing leapord or in a jungle setting. The most upsetting thing about the way they portray women is that two thirds of the United States will never get even close to looking like this. One third of the U.S. is obiese and two thirds of the U.S. is overweight. In advertising items are sold with women’s bodies. There will be an advertisement for cigarettes yet the ad only shows the woman’s breast.
    My question is what would happen if women were portrayed in advertisements as they really look, without photoshop and without looking flawless?


  12. Molly Froehling says:

    Gender differences and gender inequalities were presented in the two documentaries “Killing us Softly 4” and “I was a Teenage Feminist”, as well as in chapter 12 of the text. The film “ I was Teenage Feminist” focused on themes of feminists tracing back 40 years. People in society are ignorant to the term “feminist” and don’t understand what it means exactly. Society is quick to label them as anti family, socialists, lesbians who leave their husbands. Women have the power to be smart, independent, and should not conform to the ideal that you don’t fit into. Feminism can be defined as how to live, a choice, to look and feel however you want. It is demanding those choices for every person. After watching this documentary I had a different look at who feminist are and what they do. A few themes in this movie that were societies twisted view of females in magazines like Cosmo. Advertisements and media influence young women on how they are supposed to look and dress. They don’t promote independence, and choices and things that should matter more. BUST magazine was on that was shown in the movie as a feminist magazine that tells the truth to girls. The film also discussed how in the corporate world women get “crap” for fighting for their own rights, whereas men do not. To many this is seen to be radical, the act of women standing up for themselves. Along with being discriminated in the work force, women are also discriminated through some health insurance. The film mentioned how insurance pays for Viagra, but not all women’s birth control. The movie sent out a message that women can challenge the mainstream society and how to change the world. Girls need to dive in and to it by themselves. Some of the messages in this movie reminded me of one of my favorite movies growing up “The First Wives Club”. In the movie three best friends reunite at the time of their divorces to set up a nonprofit organization for single women seeking revenge on their husbands. “After years of helping their hubbies climb the ladder of success, three wives have been dumped for newer, curvier models. But the trio is determined to turn their pain into gain.( movie leaves a message of women empowerment and women standing up for their rights.
    Chapter 12 focuses more in depth on gender inequality. The chapter starts out by saying how in no nation are men and women equal. There is gender stratification in our society where there is a placement of the sexes that gives women unequal opportunities, resources and power. There are two factors that contribute to this, they are social and biological. Men are seen in society as being the economic support, whereas women have always been seen as the domestic, emotional supporters. There is casting that takes place at birth to mold boys and girls differently based on genders in society. There is sex discrimination for children in schools, toys, sports and many other areas in their lives. It begins at a very young age, where media plays a large role in guiding girls and boys. There are different careers for girls and boys that can be seen in TV shows, cartoons and even in toys. Boy action figures are seen as being superheros, or firemen, policemen, men in the military. The chapter also discusses how men and women play different roles in the work force, religion, and politics.

    I very much enjoyed the second documentary “Killing us Softly 4”. The film takes a closer look at advertising images of women in our society. It continues forty years later, with the same widespread sexist and exploitation of women. It leaves us in a “toxic cultural environment” that sells normalcy to who we are and how we should look. It gives girls and women the idea that the female is flawless and absolute. It was amazing to me to see how much models and advertisements are actually retouched to make them seem as if they are flawless. There is so much discrimination that is put on women in these advertisements. It creates a culture that makes women into sex objects, only focusing on their flawless bodies rather than their brains. Women are seen in many compromising positions, barely clothed, and extremely thin. What sort of message is this sending to young girls? There is widespread violence that is created against women, where woman are beginning to be seen as “things” and “objects” to men. Not only does this bring about violence, it brings about sexualization of girls. Eating disorders, depression, and low self esteem are products of this toxic advertisement environment. It is becoming a huge health factor in our culture today

  13. David Strong says:

    Several themes were discussed in the chapter but one of the ones that I found the most interesting was the idea of gender inequality in education. Specifically, I was caught off guard by the ideas that the section of the chapter entitled “Teacher-Student Interactions” brought across. I did not know that teachers tended to give male students more attention than females. Now, I was a little bothered that the chapter did not provide much in the way of statistics or proof of this idea but, after a quick Google search, I discovered that there have been dozens of papers written on this subject. It seems that the idea that teachers impose gender roles, even while claiming to be gender-neutral, is well documented and that there is no clear solution to this issue. Teachers are human, male and female, and so they are subject to the same socialization and institutional influences that this chapter outlines. We cannot expect teachers to teach students fairly if the teachers themselves do not even know that they are being unfair.
    Another theme that intrigued me, and was obviously more prevalent in the movie “Killing Us Softly 4” but was also in the chapter briefly, was the idea of gender inequality in advertising. Indeed, it is easy to see when looking through any magazine that women are sexualized in advertising. I picked up a copy of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition and on the back cover was something that made me very uncomfortable. There was a female M&M candy posing provocatively at the beach. Was this advertisement trying to make me think that M&Ms were sexy and would bring bikini models to me? The entire idea of the ad made me sick. This link is the image:
    This is an extreme example of an advertisement with gender inequality but it is just one of many that are out there.
    Finally, another theme, though there were many, that hit me was the idea of gender roles being instilled as soon as birth occurs. Parents, right from the moment they name their child and bring them home from the hospital, are setting up the gender roles that their child will follow for the rest of their lives. I saw this first hand with my good friend who has 1 and a half year old boy and a 5 month old girl. The way that they treated their children was much different. With the boy there was an emphasis on toys that involved active participation, blue and red colors, and an emphasis on teaching him to be independent. With the baby girl the colors were very pink and white and the toys that she plays with are much different from the ones her brother plays with. The girl is given more stuffed animals and less active toys. When I read about this in the chapter I realized that it is very true and wondered why our society has these pre-conceived notions of what boys and girls should be like and why we must impart these ideas on to our children when they are so young.
    My discussion question is: Why does society associate colors such as blue and red with maleness and pink and yellow with female characteristics? What do these associations say about how deeply ingrained gender inequality is in our psyche?

    The links I found were:

    This shows several examples of gender inequality in TV commercials.

    This is an interesting video where they interviewed young children about gender roles…it is quite surprising.

  14. Jessica Baker says:

    In the chapter the Order and Conflict Perspective are the two theories that argue about their views on gender roles. The Order Perspective talks about the biological differences between men and women. There are a few factors that separate men and women into their specific gender roles; history, society’s needs and biology. According to the Order Model the role division is functional or beneficial for society. While Conflict Perspective argues against the Order Model because it doesn’t address what Conflict theorists think is most important about gender roles, that they are not equal in opportunities, resources and power. The Conflict Model sees gender roles not as neutral ways of meeting societies needs and sees gender roles as a part of the larger system of power and domination. “Most Conflict theorists explain gender inequality as an outcome of how women and men are tied to the economic structure of society. These theories say that women’s economic role in society is primary determinant of their overall status. The division between domestic and public spheres of activity gives men and women different positions of advantage and disadvantage. Their roles in the labor force and in the family are interdependent. (324)” Later in the chapter the Gender Roles Approach and Gender Structure Approach is discussed, the Gender Roles Approach focuses on the traits of individuals that they acquire during the course of socialization, like ways of relating. While the Gender Structure Approach focuses on the factors that are external to individuals, like social structures and social interactions that reward men and women.
    I think that both the Conflict and Order Perspectives make good points about gender roles but I think that I agree with the Conflict Model a little bit more. But I don’t think that women should be automatically attached to the home and doing domestic things, I think that’s a choice that every woman needs to make for themselves, to have a family, stay home with the kids or have a career or have both.
    I think there is a definite preferential treatment in boys sports compared to girls sports in high school and college. Boys get more participants in the sports; more people come to their events, more financial support, better facilities, support of the school administration. You can even see that at Siena, depending on the team they get preferential treatment, especially boys basketball. I understand they bring in more money for the school but I don’t think they should be able to get away with everything from getting into trouble for alcohol or even getting out of work in a class. Or another example is the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team which has an amazing record for the past few seasons has gotten a lot of press but still the men’s team gets more media coverage.
    While I was watching “I Was A Teenage Feminist” I would have to agree that women in the 21st century don’t want to say that they are a feminist or don’t know the meaning of word. They don’t want to be labeled as a lesbian. Our cultural perception of feminism is a negative one when really every woman wants to have social, political and economical equality for both the sexes. I also agree with the amount of pressure there is to be the ideal woman in the 21st century, which was brought up “Killing Me Softly 4.” I enjoyed watching the second documentary so much better, I thought it was informative and interesting to see how the advertisements have changed, stayed the same or in most cases gotten worse over the last few decades.
    After watching the movie I looked into the advertisements a little further and I found this blog about the Happeh Theory, which looks at the human body as a cylinder. The part that I found the most interesting about this blog is when it looks at the “Anorexia Dent.” This shows a few different examples of pictures where they change the shape of a woman’s waist drastically to make her appeal much thinner.
    Then a found another article on Disfunkshion Magazine titled, “Teen Girls Not Fooled by Airbrushed Ads” which is nice to think but I don’t think there is much truth to this statement. But you can decide for yourself.

  15. melanie lynott says:

    Chapter twelve discusses how a child’s home life can affect the roles of gender. The chapter says gender is learned; however I believe it is a biological factor. I believe to some extent gender is learned, but I also feel some gender roles are biological. In class we saw how commercials played into gender stereotypes. I agree that commercials do gender specific toys towards boys and girls; however I do not think this is a bad thing and I think people are looking to far into it. In my opinion, I would not want to play with cars and trucks, like many other girls I would want to play with Barbie’s and dolls. Boys and girls are genetically built different, we are not the same, and therefore have different ideas of fun toys. I feel society may push girls towards playing with dolls and baking toys, but I also feel that many girls are born with nurturing needs. Obviously not all girls feel this way; I feel it is a biological matter. Some girls feel they are nurturing and homely and other girls feel they are not. I believe you are born with those feelings. Also I thought the advertisements were biased because they did not show any non-gendered toy advertisements like board games. However, I found the advertisements in “Killing Us Softly Four” to be disturbing. Women should not tolerate being projected as an object, as seen in the advertisements. Its shocking how many advertisements there are in magazines and commercials, that exploit women to be only seen as a “sex symbol” rather than intelligent. Do women of our society think that it is okay to be exploited like they are because it is so common now?

  16. Brennan Johnson says:

    When reading chapter 12 on Gender Inequality the first line is what struck me the most. “Every society treats women and men differently. Today there is no nation where women and men are equals (319).” This one sentence really caught me off gaurd. I immediately thought to myself, “how could EVERY nation treat both sexes differently in many aspects of life?” Then I realized that almost every nation has their own set of beliefs and cultures that make up their own value system. However there had to have been a similarity in all of them to have men mainly in power.

    The book did a very good job in portraying the fact that although women have progressed greatly as years go on, there is still gender discrimination amongst them in the workforce, in classroom, and at home. One thing that I also liked that the book mentioned is that most of the statistics that were taken were portraying white, middle class women and men. So there you already have to question whether or not these statistics are true, and the ones that they did have about minorities seemed questionable as well. Women have made major steps but there is still gender stratification that goes unnoticed by many, including me. Out of all of the chapters that we have been reading, I usually was a fan of the order theory except in this chapter! The order theory or perspective in this chapter believed that gender differentiation was needed in order for society to function correctly. It truly bothered me that those who believed that this was the right outlook for society did not consider any gender inequality.

    What I truly believed in most was the section that spoke about “learning gender” I truly believe that this is the one and only way in which gender ideas will stick in ones head. If certain ideas and beliefs are put on you at such a young age, you tend to maintain these believes for most of your lifetime. I really was not schocked by the statistic that said that “fathers have been found to reinforce gender stereotypes more often than mothers (325-326).” Fathers will not allow their sons to partake in what they consider to be a “womens practicion” or anything of the sort. Mothers usually support any decision in which gender roles are intertwines, a.k.a androgyny. Usually people do not realize that certain expectations are put on boys and girls at such a young age. I never experienced this because I only have a mom which is why I am more open to intertwining male and gender activities, but that was only my home life. In the classroom I also never realized any of this biased attitudes towards one sex being better than the other. I always partook in the activities that this book would consider to be “male dominated activities.” My classmates did not make fun of me or treat me differently to this. So as a child I however did not experience any abnormalty in this. And in high school almost all of my math and science teachers were females.

    The media however is a different story and that truly portrays what society expects of men and women. Earlier on in the chapter, it was talking about women being nurturers and men being the providers and how this mentality was kept alive throughout the years. In the recent movie in which we just saw “Killing Us Softly” this documentary really shows that the media is one of the most powerful influences that makes boys and girls realize their place in society. I truly enjoyed that documentary because I agreed with almost everything that she said. Society makes sure that women know that the most important thing about them and the only thing that will get them far are their looks. So obviously in almost every movie to date women have always appeared as the helpless or the ones who are the “other woman” or their only roles pertain to making men appear as though they are more needed then they are and that women are only useful for sex. The media also targets the way women should act, behave, and dress, more than men do. Hmm why is that?? Men would like to and want to appear strong so why degrade themselves when they want to stay in power.

    In almost all of the women’s magazine it says things like “get thinner in 6 weeks” and “how to look good for your man” and all this other stuff. I never truly realized it until that documentary because I tend to not pay attention to those things. My thing is I really do not get peer pressured or influenced by other peoples attitudes or beliefs, it really does not affect me. It’s just really shocking to see how it affects the women and girls in our society. Society trying to tell you how you should be is crazy because who is anyone to say that someone should act, dress, behave, and look a certain way. I do however believe that some of the things that the lady in the documentary were addressing were a bit far fetched but it was funny. She definately made some good points about how people do not even realize that they are being told what to do. Also it was good that she brought up those who are opposed to her views, you are always suppose to do that in order to make your argument stronger. I personally was not a fan of the documentary “I was a teenage feminist” I thought that the title was totally hypocritical especially when she admitted that she didn’t understand why she was a feminist, so therefore how can you label yourself as one. It just did not make sense to me.

    For some people no matter how much their parents or their upbringing had instilled on them, the media can have a way to make it seem like there will always be something wrong with you. It truly is sad that so many people can be affected by this. I think that this is a consequence of poor parenting skills. Parents should tell their children not to worry about what anyone thinks of you or other things in that regard.

    The movie that I believe truly represents gender inequality is Motocrossed, the disney movie that has to do with a sister pretending to be her brother in order to compete, and this big ordeal that occurs because eventually people find out that she is a girl and try to disown her or make fun of her. Also Motorcycles are seen as being a guy thing so the fact that she was participating in this sport was an even bigger deal.

  17. David Machi says:

    One of the themes discussed in Chapter 12 was learning gender. Learning gender is basically the act of each member of society to learn to be a male or female. This starts right at birth, where each person is “cast” into the role of female or male based on a biological inspection. Throughout the rest of that person’s life he or she will gradually be learning their role. Gender socialization is used to describe how we learn gender (325). Boys and girls are treated differently at their beginning, the boys are described as strong or tough and girls are described as sweet and pretty. Boys are treated with toy cars and sports balls while girls are given dolls. These things help both genders learn their roles. The family has the most influence on teaching their kids what roles they are. They do this by dressing their kids in gender specific clothes and give them gender specific toys. They also treat them differently. For boys, it is not ok to cry, they are taught to suck it up. Also media plays a key role in teaching boys and girls their roles. In books and movies, boys are shown in active outdoor situations while girls are passive and mostly indoors. Research among 5th graders showed that boys, more than girls played outdoors, played in larger groups, played in more groups with different ages, were less likely to play in games dominated by the opposite sex, played more competitive games, and played in games that lasted longer (327). Boys are expected to be in more competitive games as they grow older and it shows in sports. Boys are the participants in sports while girls are expected to cheer for the boys. So the expectations that boys and girls face is one of the main factors that shape them to learn their genders.
    Discussion question: Growing up, what things did you experience that put pressure on you to be more “manly” or “girly”.

  18. Sean McKenna says:

    In Chapter 12 of our textbook, Gender Equality, many issues are brought to light which are also addressed in the documentaries Still Killing Us Softly 4 and I Was a Teenage Feminist. These issues were primarily issues concerning the inequalities in gender which are still present in today’s society. In Still Killing Us Softly 4, Jean Kilborne explains in great detail the unequal light shed on men and women in advertising and backs up her claims with mounds of evidence. She discusses how women in almost all mainstream magazines these days have been digitally altered to look better and many pictures of women we see in magazines are combinations of two or more women, the editor picking, for example, the eyes of one to match with the nose of another. In addition, although the models and actresses who are portrayed in magazines are almost always altered so their look is impossible to achieve without help from advanced photoshop and airbrushing, sometimes the images are altered to the point where achieving such a figure is humanly and anatomically impossible. This blatant disregard for authenticity provides an unrealistic goal for many impressionable youth to aspire to and, combined with actresses’ almost encouraging young girls to develop eating disorders, for example, Kate Moss saying “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” furthers the stereotype pushed by the media which dictates women must do whatever it takes to become beautiful.
    In chapter 12, one focused-on aspect of media which demonstrates gender inequality is television commercials: “Television commercials have long presented the sexes in stereotyped ways, Women appear less frequently than men and are much more likely to be seen in the home rather than in work settings, and are much more likely to be in ads for food, home, and beauty/clothing products” (333). The inequality of the sexes represented in television is extremely apparent in advertisements to children; Kilborne references many advertisements seen on channels such as Cartoon Network, including one ad for the exact same product, a sort of fun clay/model magic type thing, one marketed to boys and the other to girls. The ads are drastically different and the boys are shown using the material for making elaborate fortresses and destruction of things while the girls are seen using it to make fake food and fake houses to tend to. Doctors from various universities have even come together to address this issue as being harmful to the development of women (
    The idea of gender inequality in television commercials is an aspect of media which is still very much rampant today. I pose the questions: How has gender inequality in television commercials affected your life? Have you ever felt compelled to by something due to the way it was marketed towards your gender?

    This is a link to a report on male dominance in the media and television:
    This is a link to a video of how women are portrayed in the media over the years. The creator was inspired by Jean Kilborne:

    Eitzen, D. Stanley., Maxine Baca Zinn, and Kelly Eitzen. Smith. “Deviance.” In Conflict and Order: Understanding Society. 12th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2010. 159-83. Print.

  19. Dan Festa says:

    Chapter 12 of In Conflict and Order discusses the issue of gender inequality. Much of the information not new to me, as I think that the issues of inequality of women in society, the workplace, and even sometimes the home are things that get a lot of exposure. Still, seeing some of the actual statistics related to gender equality that were presented in the chapter was certainly eye opening, especially those relating to employment and wages. For example, “only 32 percent of lawyers, 32 percent of doctors and 39 percent of full time university or college teachers were women” (Eitzen et al 341). The disproportionally low percentage of women in what the textbook calls “prestige” occupations is surprising, and seems to show that as a society, the United States has not made as much progress towards equal employment and payment for women as many would like to think. The following article discusses the wage gap between men and women:
    Another issue that the textbook mentions was the portrayal of women in the media. A shocking statistic that was mentioned showed that in award-winning children’s books, the ratio of male images to female images was 11:1, and the ratio of male to female animals was 95:1 (320). This shows that even from a very young age, people observe an inaccurate, unfair presentation of women. It seems like most people would agree that women are often misrepresented as being overly sexual and secondary to men in the media, but the fact that this trend even extends to media intended for children is disturbing to say the least.
    I feel that the documentary Still Killing Us Softly 4 did an excellent job of further examining the way that women are portrayed in the media. Some of the advertisements shown were blatantly sexist and degrading to women, and some were more subtle. It is interesting how often we see these commercials or print ads that portray women in a certain (usually unrealistic) way, but tend not to think about it very much, and simply accept it as the norm. Although I was aware of the fact that advertising frequently employs unrealistic portrayals of women, I think that the documentary has opened my eyes to not only the frequency of sexist advertisements, but also that this kind of advertising has been going on for decades, and shows no signs of changing anytime soon.
    I Was a Teenage Feminist, on the other hand, had much less of an impact on me. Although I understand why it was made, I do not think that it brought any kind of new information about feminism to the table. However, it was somewhat interesting to see how the word “feminist” can be defined in different ways.

  20. Kyley Walsh says:

    There were many themes throughout this chapter that involved gender inequality. One theme was the question of gender being biological or social. This theme includes the argument of nature versus nurture. Biologically, “males and females are different from the moment of conception” (320). Men and women produce different hormones, androgens and estrogens. During puberty, males develop hair on their body and face, a muscular body and a deeper voice. Females on the other hand develop pubic hair, breasts and broad hips. On average, men are stronger and more aggressive than women. Socially, males and females hold different roles. For example, males are more likely to be involved in construction (building a house) while females are more likely to carry water.
    Another theme that attracted my attention was reinforcing male dominance in the media. In this part of the reading I found out that the media distorts images of women. With research, “studies show that women journalists’ role in newsrooms is shrinking even though women predominate in undergraduate and graduate journalism” (335). On entertainment television, the roles of women portray women as not strong and intelligent. They portray the cooking and cleaning part of the show, while the men do not.
    The last theme that seemed important to me was the struggles for women in the twenty-first century. Struggles for women’s rights in society still exist today, which is very unfortunate. There are groups of people, and feminists, around the world today who are fighting for the equality of women in society. Hopefully in the future, their effort will pay off and women will stop struggling with their roles in society.
    In the documentary, Still Killing Us Softly 4, a major theme was how women are portrayed in advertisement. For women, advertisements portray a “perfect image” and most models are photoshopped to fulfill that image. Advertisements influence depression, eating disorders and low self-esteem to be common in young girls. The body that is portrayed by models is unrealistic in most girls and is giving a false image of how women should look to society.

    My discussion question would be: If advertisements truly portrayed the real image of women then would problems in young girls like depression or low self-esteem be less likely?

  21. Leo Wetter says:

    “Everywhere we look-the global economy, politics, religion, education, and family life-men are in power. But men are not uniformly dominant. Some men have great power over other men. In fact, most men do not feel powerful; most feel powerless, trapped in strifling old roles and unable to implement the changes in their lives that they want’ (Kimmel, 1992:171). This quote is found on page 322 in chapter 13 of our textbooks. It is referring to the apparent advantage that men have over women, throughout their lives. Even though everything that our country stands for believes that all people are equal-no matter race, religion, or gender-without any exceptions. Women are forced to reach a certain standard that society sets publicly for all to see. The clip we watched called “Still Killing Us Softly” represented women in society being pressured into looking thin, and being promiscuous. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we watched “I Was a Teenage Feminist”, where women were on a mission to fight societal pressures and temptations. These women were not giving in without a fight, to have there dignity and freedom.

  22. Kevin Allen says:

    The women’s rights movement began in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 and it was not until August 26th 1920 that the 19th Amendment was passed that granted women the right to vote. Even though women now had the right to vote they still faced inequality in the United States. In 1972, Congress outlawed sex discrimination in public schools through title IX of the Educational Amendment Act (328). This progress for women’s equality, but there was still a large gap between men and women. Things have gotten much better in recent years but this gap still exists. The movie “I was a Teenage Feminist”, is about the present day feminist movement and women fight for equality. Nowadays more women are attending colleges than ever before. More women are being hired for jobs, but they are still earning lower wages than men. Since 1970, the percentage of all women in the labor force has increased dramatically from 43% to 60%, while men have decreased from 80% to 74% (340).
    The movie “Killing Us Softly 4” focuses on the advertising image of women. While many feminist are fighting for women’s rights the media seems to do the opposite of that. Magazine articles usually portray women doing stereotypical things such as cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children. The media has tremendous power (336). With these stereotypical magazine ads and television commercials many women find it hard to break away from them. “Killing Us Softly 4” states that the typical women portrayed in a magazine ads is usually young, tall, skinny, large breasted, white, blonde hair and blue eyed. This ideal woman that they show is about 5% off women. When young girls see these ads they feel that they need to like these women and when they cannot achieve this goal, it can lead to depression, eating disorders and low self esteem. The media can also distort women’s image and bring about change as well (319). The movie also spoke about the media’s increased use of photo shop and how they create this ideal woman that does not exist.
    Discussion Question: Do ads in magazines and television and the way they portray women go against what the equality that the feminist movement has been fighting for so long?
    This video is about a guy named Dick Masterson who wrote about title Men are Better than Women, talking about his book on Dr. Phil’s show.

    This is a New York Times article about the photo shopping used in magazines.

  23. Raenee Ritter says:

    After attempting to find a video to post in my blog i feel so offended. I found this video and after watching i cannot believe the advertisements that are shown to the public eye. Not only was i extremely offended by i also felt as though i was watching a porn movie along with a horror movie at the same time. Another shock to me was the names of the companies being advertised. Such as Dolche and Gabbana and Gucci. Two extremely successful fashion lines that are often out of the price range of any middle class american. However not all of the advertisements were American, a good portion of them were foreign as well. The message that is projected by these advertisements is the objectification of women by men and society as a whole. It is not only something of the past as the video i have attached shows it progress over time. We still live in a highly sexist world when women are treated as less than equal and in some cases less than human. As stated in the textbook on page 333 the topic of Reinforcing male dominance is a huge issue among this topic. I a majority of the advertisements shown in this video the men are shown above the women, suppressing them, controlling them. Where the women are conforming without objection as if it is okay or normal for this to be occurring. The message that this is sending to our youth is horrendous. If i were a parent i would not let my child be exposed to any one of those ads shown in the clip and yet these ads are public, they can be found on billboards, in public places. These are not things that can be controlled. This is sending the message to little girls that that is how they should be when they grow up and to little boys that they are superior and that is how they are supposed to act. It baffles me to think that any individual can consider the world we live in post-sexism. That is not the case at all, as proven by this video. When we were watching the documentary “I was a teenage feminist” I went into it having the definition of feminist that most others have rather than what it really means. I think after watching the documentary and this video as well as doing some research on the topic, every one should be a feminist. Standing up for the political, economic, and social rights of women, is a very important thing to do with the present inequality. i don’t see how you could call yourself a human being if you are against equal rights for women. Men and women were created equal. End of story.

    This second video does a nice job of showing how women are portrayed to be perfect in every aspect among the media. Skinny, firm, small, soft, tan, pretty, flawless… the synonyms continue. In reality, no one is perfect, photoshop simply makes people perfect. The skin, hair, eyes, lips, body. After taking a advertising class myself and working with photoshop i have seen how easy it is to altar someones appearance without it looking as though you have done so. As for the body image that is presented, i look at some advertisements and think how sick the models look, i would never want every bone in my body to show. I personally think a fit body is more attractive than a scrawny, and a fit body is obtained through hard work not throwing up or not eating. The pressure put on todays young females to look a certain way is sickening. I feel the pressures everyday along with all other teens, but accepting yourself and realizing that the grass is never greener on the other side is something that should be reinforced in todays society more than it is.

  24. Andra Tomassi says:

    There are several themes of chapter 12, however the ones that stick out the most to me are the themes involving education. I am an education major. I not only have always been a dedicated student, but I have become someone who is dedicated to teaching. The chapter states, “Although girls on the average receive higher grades in high school thank boys, they tend to score lower on some standardized tests, which are particularly important because such test scores are used to make decisions on awarding of scholarships and admissions”(329). This hits home to me because I always was an A student however, could not perform the same way on standardized tests. I think it is important not judge students on test scores alone. An article titled “Education and Beliefs about Gender Inequality” written by Emily W. Kane discusses the enlightenment approach suggests that education should increase both awareness and criticism of gender inequality(77). However, the textbook suggest this is not entirely true. Though there has been increases in women’s role in certain areas of education such as math and science, there are still noticeable gaps(329).
    I believe that education in a bridge to several of the other themes in the chapter. Discussing the earning gap as a direct correlation of a person’s education, there must be a reason why men are still earning more than women. In the article “Where the boys aren’t: non-cognitive skills, return to school and the gender gap in higher education written by Brian Jacob, he states that nearly 60% of college students are women. He goes on to states, “Among low-income and minority students, young women are 25% more likely than young men to enroll in some form of postsecondary education. The textbook makes me question how then less women of color are in the workplace. The text states “Women of color make up 15 percent of the U.S workforce. They are concentrated in the least paid, lowest status in the labor market, with few fringe benefits, poor working condition… ”(345). Gender Inequality begins at an young age. And even though, children go to school to better themselves and become something more, girls are at an disadvantage from the beginning. There are gaps in school, in the workplace, in politics and even in religion.

    Looking at the film “Still Killing Us Softly 4” one can see that advertisements have a major effect on how both genders see women. Relating this to education, I cannot remember one book in high school that strong , independent, successful character was a women. It is only in history that we hear about women who made a difference. However, it is usually occupied with a long struggle and much resistance from men. The information we are given at school is a form of advertising how a women to look and behavior. It may not be as obvious as a photo from a magazine, but students are learning about these character and people who contribute to inequality of women.
    How can women overcome such inequality, if they are met with it at every stage in their life?
    Do you think the percent of women in college help with overcoming the gender in gaps in the workplace?

  25. Emily Chow says:

    In the text, Eitzen and colleagues explain order and conflict theories to help explain gender stratification (323). The order perspective says that biology, history, and society’s needs are all combined to place men and women in distinct gender roles. Men fill roles that are “instrumental” and women fill the “expressive” roles. This theory suggests that this division of labor is functional and practical because it assures that the important societal tasks are accomplished. According to the conflict perspective, gender roles are set as part of the larger system of power and domination, and not ways of meeting society’s needs (324). This theory explains that there is a division between domestic and public spheres of roles that give women and men differences in advantage and disadvantage.

    Reproductive rights is a controversial topic in the United States. In the video, “I was a Teenage Feminist,” there were people protesting for and against abortion. One anti-abortion protestor insisted that she believed she was a feminist and that women should have rights over their own bodies, however, she contradicted herself by saying she did not believe a woman should have the right to have an abortion. I think the take-home message of the “March for Women’s Lives” was less about promoting abortion, and more about giving all people equal access to resources such as sex education, contraception, and safe abortions.

    One of the most compelling arguments made in the video, “Killing Us Softly, 4,” was how ads are eroticizing violence. Ads portray women as being dominated by men in a sexual encounter and cause the consumer to question whether the situation is violent or erotic. In reality, this fine line between violence and sex can be a very dangerous message to people who are exposed to these advertisements. I think that these ads are the most harmful because they can lead to both men and women understanding what’s sexy as something that involves a man abusing or assuming power over a woman. I think these ads contribute to the overwhelming rates of domestic violence and battering. They are creating a mindset that makes it the norm for men to act violent toward women.

    Discussion question: Given that domestic violence is predominantly men inflicting violence on women, how might ads and media outlets be instigating the problem?

  26. Megan Hannah says:

    In chapter 12, Gender Inequality, many different topics are discussed such as the basis for gender inequality, male dominance, mass media and politics. One of the most interesting points brought up in this chapter is that “Gender inequality is different thank other forms of inequality because individuals on both sides of the power divide (the divide being between women and men) interact very frequently (in the home, in the workplace, and in other role relations (334).”

    One topic they discussed was interpersonal behavior. In this relation to gender roles they talked about the interactions and gender roles played by men and women. One study that I found very interesting was “mixed-sex groups, men talk more, show more visual dominance, and interrupt more, whereas women display more tentative and polite speech patterns (334).” Another thing they talked about was how instead of treating gender only as an identity, or socialization or stratification, sociologist perspective emphasizes gender as dynamic practices, which is “what people say and do as they engage in social interaction (334).”

    Another topic discussed was media and the lack of women in important roles in the media such as news anchors. Women make up 40% of the television news workforce but on 25% of the news directors (335). This is a striking statistic to me because I always thought the opposite and that there were quite a few news anchor women, at least half. In many movies such as The Ugly Truth, the producer of the news show is a woman and one of the anchors is a women. In other movies such as Anchor Man, the men are disgruntled when a female anchor is brought on to the show and they are almost mocked for how they reacted.

  27. Amanda Morales says:

    In the documentary, I Was a Teenage Feminist; the narrator explored her own rediscovery of the power of feminism. The irony in the movie is the negative assumptions behind feminism. Both men and women were afraid to truly relate to the word and understand its actual meaning. Chapter 12 regards to the feminist approach as “one in support of women’s equality” (319).Democracy is based upon the ideals of equality and individual rights and to not define oneself as a feminist is to deny democratic ideals. Men were quick to call feminists lesbians or other negative stereotypes. Women were unsure of its true meaning and weren’t able to identify with the title. Following her younger friend, the narrator watched her develop the true meaning behind being a feminist and believing in the rights and power of women. As the film maker, watched, interviewed, and listened to others she was able to capture her own remembrance and find a side of feminism that worked for her.

    Killing us Softly 4 revealed the alarming and disturbing messages behind advertisements. Advertisers are using women’s body to sell products and portray certain images and ideas. Models are becoming deathly ill and Photoshop is altering the looks and faces of many women. We are society who has simply lost grip of reality and focus on the unattainable levels of “beauty”. As a culture, we should not allow for people to be objectified and reassembled to create the ideal person. Chapter 12 discussed how even our language represents male dominance. “Use of the pronoun he when the sex of the person is unspecified and of the generic term mankind to refer to humanity in general are obvious examples of how the English language ignores women” (334). I believe Jane Killborne does not want to change the entire English language but she does want women to be viewed as powerful, independent, successful people.

    Book series and now popular films, The Twilight Saga, dismiss the female character into a subordinate damsel in distress. She is dependent on her boyfriend who is underlying controlling and aggressive man. She falls under his power and loses her voice as woman, listening and following his rules and demands. This series diminishes all the success and accomplishments strived for by women listed in chapter 12, I was a Teenage Feminist and Killing us Softly 4.

  28. Dylan McDonough says:

    Gender discrimination is a severe problem in America that has yet to be rid of. Though there has been great improvement in the fair treatment of women over the past few decades, the problem still persists. Laws have been passed that have helped women overcome some of the prejudice, but there are some things laws cannot change. Chapter 12 in “In Conflict and Order” discusses some of these issues that we still face in contemporary times.
    One example of gender discrimination is seen in our work force. Affirmative Action laws have dramatically increased the amount of women of all races in our work force. There are all time highs in women in high powered positions and of high earnings. This may make it sound like there is no difference between genders in the work force, but this rise in women workers was due to fact that 50 or so years ago, very few women held jobs. Though nearly half of the workforce is made up of women, only 15% hold jobs typically held by men such as an engineer, judge, or stockbroker, all highly respected positions (341). The earnings gap shows how though prevalent in the work force, women are not given the same opportunities as men, even with the same college degree. Today, women only receive 77 cents to every dollar a male earns (342). This is because women tend work lower paying jobs and do not receive the same pay opportunities as men when first receiving a job (342).
    The media also plays a role in gender discrimination. As the book says, “Studies have continually demonstrated that highly stereotyped behavior characterizes both children and adult programming as well as commercials. Male role models are provided in greater numbers than are female…(335).” The movie Killing Me Softly 4 also demonstrates this situation. Jean Kilbourne shows through many examples the image that the media has produced about women. That is that they should all be passive, should be innocent yet extremely sexual, and should submit to men. These images can be damaging to women across the world. Young impressionable girls see these images and feel as though they must act this way in order to be normal. Here is a video showing the difference of gender roles in mainstream advertisements.

  29. Nick Mancuso says:

    According to Eitzen in In Conflict and Order, factors such as race, class, and sexual orientation have an impact on our understanding of gender. (319) The question – is gender social or biological? – is asked. Biologically, men are more aggressive, active, and dominant than females. (320) Socially, there is a visible gendered division of labor. Women and men almost never share the same type of job; everything is separated, like politics, religion, education, family life. (322) Patriarchy, also mentioned in “I Was a Teenage Feminist,” is when men are disproportionately dominant over women in a social organization. In this documentary, the director often used the word patriarchy to describe society. This took most people by surprise and made them think of her as a radical feminist. She believed in the patriarchy and I think there is reason to believe this is true of our society. Although women have gained rights and equality, they haven’t gained equal power. Men still control almost everything in society. Eitzen wrote that the U.S. is a “capitalist patriarchy where male supremacy keeps women in subordinate roles at work and in the home.” (324) In “Killing Us Softly 4,” the speaker doesn’t talk about the patriarchy, rather the effect of advertising on both men and women. In many ads, gender inequalities are prevalent. Women are often depicted as dainty and weak, while men get all the power and strength. Nowadays, advertising is becoming increasingly sexual and even pornographic, and we now have the highest rates of STDs and teen pregnancy in the world… go figure. Years of our lives are spent watching commercials and looking at ads and subconsciously we are absorbing it all. Gender inequality in advertising exposes young ages to the idea that this is what we are and this is what we should be.
    Do you think we need more censorship in advertising the way it is today?

  30. Alexis Farfaro says:

    According to Jean Kilbourne’s documentary, Killing Us Softly 4, the average American sees over 3,000 advertisements a day and spends about two years of their life watching commercials. These ads are subconscious, quick, and create an environment around which we base our sociological ideals. Many advertisements portray women as children, which causes them to look vulnerable, whereas men will be depicted as powerful and as having dignity. Despite that women are meant to seem vulnerable and childlike, they are also depicted in advertisements as experienced and sexy. Sex is used to sell everything from alcoholic beverages to clothing to fast food. The sexual connotations portrayed through advertisements have become increasingly more pornographic and sex has become more trivial and non-intimate. Linking sex with violence, such as having an attractive girl dressed provocatively being followed by a shadowy figure has also become more common. Most ads depict woman as sexual objects and use Photoshop to create an “ideal”, yet unrealistic female beauty. Woman’s bodies are seen as products, such as in advertisements for Michelob where there is an attractive woman portraying a beer bottle. These types of advertisements may cause violence towards women to be more justifiable by men since they are constantly faced with the idea that a woman is an object rather than a human being and therefore they become more accepting of it. They may also cause women who do not look like the women in the ads to be less confident in themselves. In addition, they allow for men to judge the women they know and date more harshly because they may base their judgments off of the women they see in ads. According to the film, fewer than five percent of women have the bodies that advertisements deem as acceptable. Women often turn to cosmetic surgery because they desire to look like the images they are faced with on a daily basis, despite the fact that it is an impossible goal to accomplish. 91% of cosmetic surgeries in the United States are performed for women with more that twelve million done each year.

    These advertisements are creating a false sense of what is accepted as beautiful in our culture. There is no need to spend hours of using Photoshop to create a flawless image when it is obviously unrealistic and has no positive effects besides profit for those selling the products. Despite this, I also feel as though it will be harder for companies to revert to using more realistic women in their advertisements because of the strong- held notion that sex and beauty sell products. The message of an ideal form of beauty has already been communicated and received by the American culture, therefore it will be difficult to rescind. However, if the change is gradually implemented over time, placing emphasis on real beauty instead of what the girls look like in magazines and on television, then eventually people may begin to accept that change in a positive way. Victoria’s Secret advertisements only use tall, skinny women with flawless skin and the “perfect bodies”, yet these women are still not considered perfect, so they are digitally enhanced to be flawless in every way. This Dove commercial reveals the time and effort that goes into creating ideal beauty for advertisements. It is one of the first attempts at raising awareness that the women we see in magazines and on television are not natural, but rather are enhanced digitally to be flawless.

    According to the chapter, the costs and consequences of sexism are both social and individual. Inequality benefits certain segments of the economy; for example, corporations that pay women less than men usually make a higher profit. Privileges to individual men are a result of sexism as well. The costs of sexism are much higher than their benefits. According to chapter twelve, “our society is deprived of half of its resources when women are denied full and equal participation in its institutions” (351). When women are limited to certain jobs and are unable to carry out their true potential, society is not experiencing those skills and talents which could be extremely beneficial to our world. Inequality in women also causes suffering for millions (351). Since adult women are more likely to live in poverty than men are, the rate of women and children in poverty in the U.S. is extremely high. Men are also denied potential for human development in certain aspects of society such as in careers like nursing and teaching. Men are taught to control their sensitive side and only show masculinity, which can hinder communication between couples and cause inner struggles with men to want to be accepted in society but to also want to be able to show their feelings. This leads into another theme in Chapter twelve, which is the idea that gender is learned rather than inherent in human nature.

    Sex and gender are two different things according to the chapter. Sex is defined as “the biological differences between males and females”, whereas gender is described as “the social and cultural patterns attached to women and men” (319). The chapter discusses the question of whether gender is biological or social. The biological bases for gender roles are that males and females are different from the time of conception and have hormonal differences which cause them to be different physically and emotionally. The social bases for gender roles is that “every known society makes gender a major category for organizing social life” (322). In my opinion, gender is very much a social adaptation. Children are not born knowing how to behave in society, they learn from what they see. In essence, socialization is the cause of sexism in our culture.

    Why does income differ so much between men and women, especially in office jobs where it is well-known that women are just as competent, if not more, than men to perform? Desperate Housewives clip

  31. Jeff Amorello says:

    Several themes that were apparent both in the documentaries and the text book include gender and power, reinforcing male dominance through the media, occupational distribution, and more. The main idea I retained from this weeks studies is that males and females have similar capacities to achieve remarkable feats, but society holds females back and encourages men to remain the dominate sex. In the past half century, women have made great strides in their quest for equality, but a gap between the sexes still exists, and without knowledge about gender inequality, the problem will remain.

    Dating back as far as history tells us, an imbalance of power between men and women has always existed. Men have dominated politics, family life, religion, and education, leaving women with little respect and authority (322). The relationship between men and women is much like that of race and social class. These socially constructed categories are human made, in order for society to thrive, but society is seeing this start to transform (323). Although most societies are still male dominated, some cultures embrace the social differentiation, and it does not represent inequality among the sexes but rather natural differences.

    As seen explicitly throughout “Killing Me Softly 4,” male dominance through the media continues to touch society each and every day. With emphasis on television commercials and magazine advertisements, the documentary expresses how potent the inequality between men and women in the United States is. Consistently in commercials, males are portrayed as strong, dominate, intelligent, and most definitely the head of the family. On the contrary, females are generally portrayed as weaker, often times completing tasks such as cleaning, cooking, or taking care of children. At first it seems harmless, a television advertisement generalizing gender roles, but it is evident that the millions of people exposed to the ads are indeed impacted by these “social norms” displayed throughout the media.

    Fortunately for women in the United States, great steps have been taken in order to become a more equal nation. In the film, “I Was a Teenage Feminist,” the primary focus is the now mainstream idea that women and men should be able to coexist in society without many gender boundaries that exist today. The theme of this movie is that women have the power to overcome the societal norm, and that not all men believe male dominance is appropriate. As seen in the documentary, both males and females are currently fighting for gender inequality, and there is hope in the U.S. The real question is, is it possible for a world to exist where gender and sex inequalities don’t play a role?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s