This View on Marriage: Thoughts?

I’m not a huge fan of the Real Housewives franchise but I came across this article and thought it’s an interesting read on a very conservative and restricting view of how marriage should be. Let me know what you all think!

Sam

 

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“She’s Famous, she’s asking for it”

I had a bit of a heated discussion with one of my followers dealing with my critique of the discourse used to refer to Miley’s VMA performance. I think the biggest problem I had with this discussion was that my follower said “She’s famous, when she acts like that she’s asking to get criticized.”  I think this is a flawed idea. The reason she’s getting criticized in the status quo is because of the patriarchal views of how a woman should act toward her sexuality. The traditional view is a women should not be sexual in anyway; she should be virginal and pure. When young people grow up in Hollywood, you get a double standard of men acting more sexual with little to no criticism and women who are ostracized for showing their sexuality.

So let’s look at few examples of how this double standard affect the young men and women who group up in the public eye:

Justin Timberlake was in NSYNC for most of his teenage years. When he went solo, many of his songs were about sex, and his music videos and performances were provocative. Take one of his new songs Suit and Tie. Verse one starts off: “I can’t wait ’til I get you on the floor, good-looking/ Going hot, so hot, just like an oven/ And I’ll burn myself, but just had to touch it/ But it’s so fine and it’s all mine”. Just wait! Verse 2 gets even better: “Stop, let me get a good look at it/ Oh, so thick, now I know why they call it a fatty/ And aww, shit’s so sick, got a hit and picked up a habit/ But that’s alright, cause you’re all mine/ Awww, go on and show ’em who you call “Daddy”/ I guess they’re just mad cause girl, they wish they had it”. If people want to criticize Miley about being a poor role model, why don’t we call JT out on his musical lyrics, that were played all over the top 20 stations all summer. I was at a family summer festival this summer with young children and this song was played. Why don’t we make a commotion over having the young men in our society exposed to music objectifying women? Why do we consider it completely normal that man can talk about wanting to have sex with a women? Oh that’s right, Justin Timberlake is a man, so he can be a sexual being in our society. I have looked everywhere on the internet. No one has criticized JT for his sexual lyrics or provocative performances. Just another double standard that skates by the public eye, something the most people realize exists and/or don’t question.

I’ve already talked about Miley’s situation. If you didn’t catch my blog post on it, check it out here. There’s also the example of how Robin Thicke’s sexually degrading song, that he wrote explicitly to be degrading to women, didn’t get massive media attention. People are making him to be a victim of Miley’s harlot ways, subjecting a married man to provocative dance, as if he has no say in what happened during the performance. Another double standard.

I could name countless other women affected by this: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Amanda Bynes, the list goes on and one about female child stars who grow up in the public eye and are criticized for doing what most young women end up doing as well, just out of the public eye. Young women go to college and they act on their new found freedom and sexuality. Ladies, how many of you have gone to a party and done one of the following: make out with someone, twerk to your heart’s content, grind with someone on the dance floor, or go home with someone you met. I’ve done it and I know other girls have done it to. ALL of those things are ok- you’re expressing your natural sexuality and don’t let someone tell you otherwise. Miley is doing the same thing, just in a public setting. Only by confronting this patriarchal view of a woman’s sexuality can we actually make a societal change to ignore the double standards.

Do you agree or disagree?

Sam

He’s assertive, she’s a bitch

I’ve spent the weekend at a debate tournament in Atlanta, GA. I was listening to people talk about debates and someone said, “I hate those girls that are really nice before rounds and then get bitchy during the debate.” It’s statements like that the completely infuriate me, mainly because this is a huge double standard when it comes to debate and life in general I believe. Men can be aggressive in a debate and people thing they’re a good debater. If women are aggressive, she’s being a bitch. I’m going to admit something- I’m an aggressive debater, sorry not sorry.  I stand my ground and I’m not going to be pushed around in a debate. Many people think this is a negative quality in a women. In fact, many people think a woman should shut up and keep her mouth shut– if she isn’t she’s a bitch.

Let me tell you the worst comment that has been said to be about how I’m an assertive debater. My opponent last year, after facing me a few times, asked “Sam, you’ve made someone cry in rounds before, right?” I was shocked and pretty insulted by this comment– the reason I was asked this is because I am a women and I’m assertive. If I was a male, no one would have questioned how I act in a debate. Patriarchy at its finest.

This hurts women in a few ways:

1. It hurts us in the workplace. You have to be assertive now a days in the work force. There are more people in most feels than there are jobs. If you want to rise to the top, you’re going to have to push for it. However, men who are assertive are seen as driven and are given a pat on the back, a promotion, a better title, a raise, or a mixture of those options. Sadly it’s not the same for women. Women are can go one of two routes in the workforce. We won’t be assertive because that’s how our parents, teachers, mentors and society have conditioned us. We should be nice, quiet and reserved and good things will come to us. We also could be assertive but most likely will be reprimanded for it because we look bitchy and pushy.

2. It hurts us in academic spaces. If we speak our minds, we look like a know-it-all and pushy. That’s one reason why men refer to smart, assertive, and intimidating women as a bitch. It just encourages young women to sometimes “play dumb”– we all have either encountered this or have done this. I think a good example is Cady from Mean Girls. She plays dumb so she isn’t intimidating to Aaron, that way he will like her because god forbid that she be perceived as intelligent.

The reason I have a few problems with the word bitch in these contexts.

First, I’m think it’s important to know the origin of the words you use. I think knowing why words came about is pretty important in order to stop re-entrenching oppressive and dominating language and behavior. So let’s get a small history lesson on the word bitch. The word bitch emerged in the 12th century from the word “bicche” to refer to a female dog. However, referring to a woman as a female dog predates the origin of the word bitch. In Ancient Greece and Rome is was a sexist term to compare women to a dog in heat. In the Dark Ages men used it to suppress the common belief that femininity was sacred.  This is also when the insult “son of a bitch” emerged to ridicule pagans who worshiped Diana, the goddess of the hunt. That phrase then evolved to mean an insult to a horrible man. So during the Dark Ages, the term was used to insult men, by either referring to him as a woman or equating him with a dirty female animal. However in the 18th century, we began insulting women once again with the word bitch and it was used so much it began forced it’s original meaning (female dog) out of usage. At the beginning of the 20th century, the word began to refer to obscenity– the worst meaning of the word at this point in time was referring to a woman as a whore. The next real rise in the word was in the 1920’s after women got the right to vote. Then the word popped up again in popularity after World War 2 and women weren’t needed to hold down the home front. During the 3rd wave of feminism, feminists tried to reclaim the word and have control over it’s meaning.

Second, men (not all) use the word to put down women, to dominate them, to ensure their privilege. And I think this is a real problem. I don’t think a lot of people understand this is what it does but they use the word to dismiss a women, despite her intelligence, despite her accomplishments, if she is intimidating then it’s one of the first words that comes to mind and probably is what they refer to her as. And I think it is critical that we try and remove this concept and idea of women out of our culture and society. It will remove this double standard how how men are expected to be an assertive, authoritative figure and women need to be a damsel in distress: quiet, reserved, and polite, keeping her comments to herself.

Let me know if you agree or disagree,

Sam

*Disclaimer– I don’t think that every time that someone uses the word bitch this is what they mean intentionally. I personally believe that men using this word toward women has historically served a purpose which has perpetuated that same meaning to our culture and discourse today.

All this talk about Miley is sickening

I have a huge problem with how this whole Miley Cyrus at the VMAs situation went down. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t care for the performance and I would never act like that. However, I’m really bothered by all the slut shaming that Miley has received. I’m am not a Miley fan. I don’t care for her music or her acting but I have a problem with how people responded to her risque performance. Sure it was jaw dropping, something many people didn’t expect. I didn’t watch the performance until a few days after it happened and I saw a large amount of Will Smith memes (which are actually a reaction to Lady Gaga, not Miley) as well as chicken butt memes. I heard lots about how Miley was raunchy and a bad role model for teenage girls.I watched this video and sure, it wasn’t the most kosher thing I have seen on the internet but It definitely wasn’t the worst. I wouldn’t let my boyfriend’s 7 year old sister watch it but that’s part of the reason its on at 9 or 10 at night on MTV (not a prime time channel).

The first thing i’m going to address is this whole “chicken butt” comment. So maybe her shorts were a little too tight. Cool story. The problem with criticizing Miley’s body, is that she doesn’t have an ounce of fat on her. She is so skinny and nit picking at people like that promotes poor body image, that no matter what you do its never enough. I personally have fought with the issue of body image and trying to conform to our idea of a “perfect body”, which is unattainable. Look at Miley, she’s got some curves and is really thin yet people can still say “she needs to do squats before she can wear those shorts”. People wonder why there are an increase in eating disorders in adolescents– it’s because our society, for whatever reason, idolizes the supermodel body that is unattainable by most of the population and then criticize those who don’t have anything wrong with their body. We make comments to question what girls want to eat and wear.

Second, slut shaming, especially in Miley’s case, I find to be done more by women than by men. We are our own worst critics. I’m sure we’ve all heard it. A group of girls gossiping about another girl wearing a skirt that was “too short” or heels that were “too high” or dancing “inappropriately” or making out in public. Let’s be honest ladies, we’ve all talked about another girl doing these things. Most likely, you have done at least one yourself. The problem with slut shaming is we tell women “you’re bad” if you act out of the stereotypical idea of women. People like to think of girls as virtuous and virginal and if we break out of that mold, we’re asking for it. Slut shaming promotes rape culture. It says, if you act provocatively you can’t say no to someone who wants to have sex.

The last thing is that everyone blamed Miley for her provocative acts but I haven’t heard one thing wrong with Robin Thicke’s song Blurred Lines, a song that promotes rape culture.This is another part of slut shaming. Women get criticized, and men get a high five. Men can be sexual and degrading but women have to cross their legs and look pretty.  In an interview with GQ, Robin Thicke said that he and his colleagues were the perfect people to “make fun of” be derogatory towards women because they’re all happily married with children and that it was fun to be derogatory to women for once. I may be going out on a limb here, but if my husband made this song/video I would be rather offended. Just because you’re married doesn’t give you a free pass to be sexist. Many feminists have criticized this song, some even made a feminist parody of the song (I like the lyrics to the parody but I think the video is degrading to men which is counter productive to their point). My biggest problem is that it’s second nature to the public to be critical of a woman who is provocative in any sense but for a man it’s accepted and ok. I hope that someday our concept of gender roles and norms will be constructed in such a way where everyone is held to the same standard– either its inappropriate for anyone to act in a sexual manner (which most likely wont happen) or we all just get over the fact that women are sexual beings too and let it go.

Sam

Wage Gap Doodles– a simple explanation of gender roles

Hey all,

Hopefully you all read my last post which talked about the wage gap. So to follow up, I found a few political cartoons which talk about the wage gap in relation to gender roles.

This first cartoon I enjoyed specifically because the problem of assertive women being considered a bitch isn’t just a problem in the work place. I find a huge problem with this double standard of men being expected to be assertive and sometimes argumentative. If women do they’re a bitch. The tradition idea of women is that they are submissive and don’t object to their male counterparts. It’s very unfortunate that because if you, as a woman, break out of that mold, if you are independent and stand up for yourself, it’s considered a bad thing.

This cartoon really sold it for me because it refers to the double edged sword women face when entering the workforce while having a family. Women are usually expected to care for the children when they’re sick (Not true in all cases, there are many dads who leave work to care for their children– kudos to them), women are expected to care for older relatives when they get old and need being cared for, and women give birth to little ones. Sadly the US is really behind on provided family and maternity leave to both men and women who are in the work force. And while men too are the victims to the lack of enforcement of the Family and Medical Leave Act, a lot of the burden falls on women to take the unpaid leave due to the expectation to follow gender role norms. So women who choose to have a career are forced to choose: be a career woman, leaving someone else to care for kids and relatives (and be perceived as a bad mother) or sacrifice your career to take care of those you love.

Hope these cartoons shed some light on some gender role stereotypes. Again, this blog is to make people aware of some of the problems women face, not to bash men in anyway.

Thanks,

Sam

Hey, let’s talk politics

Hi, I’m Sam. I’m what some  may consider a rebel. I like to press the edges of reform when it comes to different social issues. I’m going to lay some tough information on you so bear with me. We all grow up hearing that America is the place of equal opportunity, where you can become what ever you want as long as you work for it. I’m sorry to burst the bubble of every starry eyed child, but it’s not true. There are institution and structural barriers that prevent everyone from having that “equal opportunity” and allow certain groups of people to become privileged within the system.

So I guess you’re wondering what does that have to do with this blog. Well, my goal is to share information on how women specifically are disadvantaged in American Political Culture. Most likely there will be references to other groups, such as racial and ethnic groups, the LGTB community, those with mental and/or physical disabilities, etc.

So to get us started off: let’s go back to the idea of how America the land of equal opportunity. Today I’m going to talk about  one of the reasons women are at a disadvantage: the wage gap. Women are unable to get equal pay for equal work. Now sadly, many don’t believe that the wage gap exists. Studies shows the wage gap starts right after college. So female college students, now not only do you have to worry about a finding a job (in a terrible economy) but unfortunately you wont make as much as men with the same education and experience who are in the same position as you. Personally, as a woman who will have to face this it makes me upset that even if I’m as qualified as a man, I can’t make as much as him just because I have lady parts. This wage gap is also really detrimental for families where the women is the bread winner and makes the majority (if not all) the income for the household. The Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963. While it did help with some of the pay gap it still is a problem. Earlier this year, the Paycheck Fairness Act was proposed and then killed in both the House and the Senate, being blocked by the GOP and those who don’t believe the wage gap exists; this is the second time the bill wasn’t passed (it was proposed in 2009 as well). This bill would have updated the 50 year old Equal Pay Act, getting rid of red tape and loopholes, help track unfair payment practices, increase penalties for payment violations and much more.

There are a couple of reasons I wanted to start off with this issue. First, I attend a school where there is disproportionately more females than males and I would hope that they are aware of this sort of issues that they will be facing in the next couple years and hopefully we can start doing something about it like start writing letters to our congressional representatives telling them we want this passed to better our future and to help those who are already at a disadvantage (which would probably be helpful since I go to school in a pretty conservative state). Second, this is an issue that affects more than just women. It affects the children of single mothers or homes where the mother is the primary source of income for whatever reason. It affects husbands or significant others who may have to find higher paying jobs that may not be as preferable in order to make up for loss income. It is a family issue. It also is an issue of fairness and equal opportunity. I thought this issue would be an easy introduction into the many issues that women have in today’s political culture. This blog is not about bashing males and whatever privilege they may have. My goal is to bring awareness to different issues that men and women both can advocate to change.

Thanks for reading,

Sam