Learning to Love Our Bodies Through Acknowledging Photoshop

[From Theory to Praxis Flyer–Alternative to Grant Proposal]

Rosie Molinary speaks to the collective you in her book, Beautiful You: “Yesterday you looked in the mirror, and, instead of your inherent greatness, you saw flaws. […] This morning, you walked into work, class, the grocery store, wherever and compared your body to someone else’s” (Molinary xiv). Molinary’s introduction to her book only serves to corroborates Jen Baker’s TED Talk on Total Body Love where she shares the shocking statistic that, “only 4% of women call themselves beautiful”.

From the time babies are just six months old they are able to recognize advertisements and logos as they are ubiquitous in our society (Kilbourne). Starting at a young age these images are retained in our subconscious and we learn to normalize these images and the actions that these images perpetrate. By the time we enter grade school we only understand one definition of beauty—thin—because this is the only definition we have ever been exposed to. As many of us strive to reach this “gold standard” it is not uncommon that low self esteem, depression, and eating disorders are developed along the way. We perpetuate Laura Mulvey’s concept of the male gaze by unknowingly objectifying ourselves through this lens set forth by the media.

However, even beyond size, women of color are subject to white-washing.  Their skin color is often lightened to resemble the “white ideal” our society has created and they are not just victims of one element of editing, but often multiple. Before taking GSS 101 I was only slightly familiar with the concept of “intersectionality” and I had no idea to the extent it plays into the mainstream portrayal of women of color in media.

The negative way we view ourselves is amplified through the widespread use of Photoshop. By college age most students are aware of the use of Photoshop, but few fully understand to what extent this application is used or how to recognize its use. By creating a flyer to hang up around campus—in Chambers and in several dorm buildings—I aim to have more woman be able to recognize the widespread use of Photoshop and in turn learn to call themselves beautiful. Although men are also victims of Photoshop, it is not to the extent that women are and so I am focusing on just woman for the sake of this project. The images on the left side of the flyer are all images before they underwent Photoshop and the images on the right are all the images after they have been extensively Photoshopped. Although these flyers would be more effective hanging up in a grade school, where 81% of ten year olds are more afraid of “being fat than having cancer”, these flyers are also pertinent at the college level because these issues transcend age (Baker). I wanted to also capture the affect of Photoshop on woman of color in my flyers because most people are unaware of the role intersectionality plays in women of color—they not only have to deal with the false beauty standards of size but also of color. For even mainstream celebrities like Beyoncé and Michelle Obama have been altered by Photoshop. By recognizing happiness is not defined by a size we can redefine the beauty standard together and move toward understanding that beauty and health are at every size and color.  Jen Baker explains in her TED Talk how we have to recognize that body hate is learned and so it can also be unlearned—and I hope my flyer will help to do this.

Work Cited:

Baker, Jen. “Complete and Total Body Love.” TED. 2014. Lecture.

Kilbourne, Jean. “Killing Us Softly IV: Advertising Images of Women.” TED. 2014. Lecture.

Molinary, Rosie. Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-acceptance. Berkeley, CA: Seal, 2010. Print.

 

DirecTV Has No Strings Attached to Feminism

In the spring of 2014, DirecTV, a satellite television company, released a series of commercials on network television starring marionettes for the sake of advertising. The commercials, though eye-catching, did not garner much attention until one starred a white, sexualized female marionette wearing lingerie and standing in a bedroom.  The marionette, who exists as an object on screen, is placed in contrast to her human husband. She claims that ever since her husband signed up for DirecTV he keeps talking about how he doesn’t have to look at “those ugly wires”. The bashful marionette, who has her own set of wires, continually asks her husband, “do you still think I’m pretty?” to which her husband replies, “baby of course I do”. As a result, the marionette whips off her bathrobe exposing her lingerie beneath. She directs movements toward her husband while asking “do you like what you see?” as he lays on the bed and serves as a spectator. Not only does this commercial exemplify the male gaze and society’s limited acceptance of sexuality and outside the “norm”, but it also serves as a microcosm for women’s portrayal in media.

Through the actions of the marionette and her husband, this DirecTV commercial focuses on the concept of the male gaze. First coined by Laura Mulvey in 1975, it explains how society views women through a male’s perspective.  The marionette wife, dressed in a bathrobe, approaches her husband with concerns about her physical appearance.  When the husband squashes her insecurities surrounding her appearance she sexually takes off her bathrobe to uncover risqué, red lingerie hiding beneath. She proceeds to make movements and noises provoking sexual behavior in order to captivate her husband.  DirecTV plays into this concept of the male gaze by illustrating women as sexualized objects within a matrix of compulsive heterosexuality. The husband lurches up in bed once he lays eyes on his wife’s undergarments and scans her entire body up and down, further objectifying his string-puppet wife as a figure for show.  Once his wife asks a series of questions about her physical appearance, he quickly changes the tone of his voice to urge his wife to continue moving her body for him to see. This relationship portrayed on the screen is entirely based off of appearance with little focus on anything else—every dialogue between the couple pertains to her attempting to gain his approval and then showing him what she has to offer sexually. This theme of male gaze has been so prevalent throughout American history, especially in current day advertising, and the portrayal of the marionette continues to illustrate America as a “man’s world” with the wife’s only purpose to entertain the man.

Furthermore, although interventions into misogyny and patriarchy have been made, our society hasn’t been able to break beyond the heterosexual norm, which is illustrated through the interactions and stereotypes deployed in this commercial.  Katz examines heterosexuality, in The Invention of Heterosexuality, by exploring its changing definition throughout time. He explains how during World War II, the concept of the “cult of domesticity” prevailed. There was this “reassociation of women with the home”, which forced the “predominance of the hetero norm” and caused “an era of heterosexual hegemony” to ensue (Katz 237).  This DirecTV commercial is starkly similar to these concepts that emerged during the war, forcing us to question whether any progress for women in society has really been made throughout the years, as this commercial is covered in sexism and stereotypes which were hyper-prevelant throughout the 1950’s.  The marionette is placed in the bedroom, which alludes to women in the home.  Her blonde hair additionally plays into the stereotype that blondes are dumber than brunettes—thus this woman could not possibly be associated with work outside the home. Likewise, the husband is sitting, somewhat tired looking on the bed, as if he just endured a difficult day at his job. DirecTV is attempting to “play it safe” by staying within sexual norms that our society is comfortable with.

Moreover, the lack of intersectionality in this commercial is striking. Both the wife and husband are straight, Caucasian individuals in the upper-middle class due to the fact they can afford a cable plan in addition to an expensive TV and home. DirecTV wants to appeal to its viewers, and so we cannot only hold them accountable for this portrayal. They must think our society is additionally not ready to discontinue the heterosexual norm.

Women are repeatedly portrayed in media as sexual objects. This commercial is only one of the many times that women have been portrayed as “less intelligent”, “obedient”, “pleasing” beings compared to their male counterparts. The figure of the husband, moreover, helps to portray the wife as a being with the primary intent to serve her husband. Even beyond spectating his wife, the husband holds the remote with control of the channels to signify he additionally has control of the home. His wife is literally a puppet beyond the obvious—the husband holds the strings and decides what role she should play. The wife is not in control, she is at mercy of the husband, and strives to gain his approval, which is illustrated by her repeated questions concerning her appearance.

One journalist from Time magazine states, “our suggestion to the wired wife? Cut and run” (Time).  Using sex to sell is not a new concept in advertising.  Instead of evolving with the changing times, this method has persisted in current advertising. Even more shocking, this advertisement received more criticism about being “creepy” than it did about its sexist nature. The inhuman puppet-wife distracts the viewer from the sexist nature of the commercial—the viewer is unable to see the objectification of women as the problem in the advertisement. The sexualized wife embodies Sigmund Freud’s “uncanny” since she is strange, yet familiar to us because this type of advertising is ubiquitous in our culture (Freud 1). The wife should not have to gain affirmation from her husband about her looks nor should she have to be portrayed as a sexualized object in order to appease the male viewer.  Women should not have to be sexualized at the expense of a company trying to sell their product.  They are not synonymous with sex and it’s about time we cut the strings between this binary.

 

Works Cited

“DirecTV Marionettes Pretty.” YouTube. YouTube, 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 9 Sept. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noFdLFMvh3Y>.

Dockterman, Eliana. “Selling Sexism: Why the Latest Commercials Are so Misogynist.” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

Freud, Sigmund. The “Uncanny” 1 (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

Katz, Jonathan. The Invention of Heterosexuality. New York: Dutton, 1995. Print.

Between Women: The Diversity of Same-Sex Relationships of Women in Victorian England

Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England by Sharon Marcus is a convincing, captivating, and original analysis that uncovers the importance and significance of the relationships between women in typical Victorian life. Marcus discusses how not many women in Victorian England had sexual relationships with each other or lived together in long-standing relationships like marriages. However, she also examines how women in Victorian England were involved in close and intimate relationships, which people at the time “believed cultivated the feminine virtues of sympathy and altruism”—that often had an element of objectification and closeness and affection (in a sexual manner). Marcus’s assertion that female bonds were “not only tolerated but promoted as necessary elements of middle-class femininity” (259) proposes an essential counteracting to the domineering opinions today that people in Victorian England saw all same-sex relationships as disgraceful and appalling.

Marcus goes on to argue that the wishes and needs of women at the time were motivated by consumerism and capitalism, and their friendships were recognized, reinforced, and strengthened by their “families, societies, and churches.” As she explains across a sequence of close readings, same-sex relationships and intimacy occurred in tandem and agreement with and even often promoted heterosexual relationships. Therefore, of course the people around women would support these same-sex relationships because these relationships in turn promoted heterosexual relationships, which led to reproduction and other societal expectations of women at the time.

Marcus goes on to support that images of women in the media at the time did not turn women into submissive and passive people, but on the contrary, represented the “erotic appetite for femininity” of women at that period. The appeal for femininity and fulfilling the ideals and expectations of being a woman in Victorian England drove women to this “erotic appetite. ” Marcus also showed how the relationships between women were a vital and central element of femininity through the analysis of literature, memoirs, letters, and more, and her immense collection of evidence further proves her argument.

When exploring the array of different types of female friendships, she focuses on how in many cases, female friendships just meant regular friendships, and how other times it meant lesbian relationships. Marcus goes on to describe how when same-sex “female marriages” were formed, that to her, they were not the controversial topic that same-sex relationships are today or that people thought they were. Even though these marriages were not legally formed, they were acknowledged in more wide scale social groups. Marcus also writes about a different sort of same-sex relationship between women and that is the relationships between mothers and daughters, and daughters with their dolls that were depicted in illustrations, and how these images had deceptive masochistic and sadistic insinuations and implications.

Sharon Marcus is the Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her area of study is 19th-century British and French literature, specifically, she focuses on “performance studies, theater, and the novel; literary theory; gender and sexuality studies.” (Columbia U. Website) She is the author of Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London (University of California Press, 1999) and also won the Perkins Prize for best study of narrative for Between Women, along with several other awards for this book. Her essays have appeared in The Blackwell Companion to Comparative Literature, The Cambridge History of Victorian Literature, and more. Marcus has also written for The Boston Globe, The Chronicle Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times Book Review. Marcus was also the recipient of Fulbright, Woodrow Wilson, and ACLS fellowships, and a Columbia Distinguished Faculty Award. In 2014, Marcus was appointed Dean of Humanities at Columbia University.

In conclusion, Between Women by Sharon Marcus is a persuasive and unique examination that unearths the meaning and substance of the interactions between women in standard Victorian life. Very few women in Victorian England had sexual or long-lasting relationships like marriages. Marcus discusses how women in Victorian England were often involved in close and intimate relationships, which they thought encouraged the feminine features of compassion and selflessness. Her claim that female relationships were not only allowed but encouraged and endorsed as necessary for conventional femininity suggests an fundamental response to the widespread opinion that the people in Victorian England saw all same-sex relationships (no matter the degree of sex or sexuality played in the relationship) as outrageous and horrifying.

Mary Edmonia Lewis and Art Historian’s Interpretation of Non-White, Non-Male Artists

In the history of art, white men stand above the rest. In most of human history, institutions were not set up to allow anyone but a white male­­ to succeed in art. The art world is stacked in their favor. In addition, a lack of resources and acknowledgment for women and people of color has led to an art historical timeline filled with white males. Therefore, we still honor the feats of the white male. To progress away from inequity, the field is now turning to look at the work of those less recognized. Yet how can art historians do this without looking at the artist in question as only an ‘other’, a member of a minority group, or an exception? Kirsten Pai Buick’s Child of the Fire attempts to answer the question of revisiting art history’s past by looking at artist Mary Edmonia Lewis. By critiquing the way past historians have viewed Lewis as only either Black, Indian, or female, Buick illuminates the flaws in art history’s assessment of those who are not white males.

The field of art history has a limited scope. There is a lack of research on diverse artists. In the past couple of decades, research has expanded because historians are recognizing artists not originally seen as worthy (a white male). However, the new research tends to reduce the artist to their gender or race. Reduction of an artist extrapolates their art into only their ideological struggle. Kirsten Pai Buick utilizes the story of Mary Edmonia Lewis to examine an understudied artist and consciously works against reducing her to an ideology. Lewis was a late 19th century artist who achieved moderate fame in her lifetime through sculptural work. Buick’s main interest in Lewis is her self-proclaimed identification as a black and Native American woman. Lewis proclaimed herself to be 50% Native American but was actually less than 20%. Combined with her inclusion of African American figures in her work, Buick recognized that Lewis leaned into her ideologies. Buick interprets Lewis’s ownership as her accepting both her own ideologies and the popular titles she was given in the late 1800s as the first great African American and Indian artist. Since Lewis began in the field of art, her ownership of ideologies has affected how she has been assessed as an artist. Buick presents two arguments around how Lewis’s ideologies have affected her. First, Buick explains how she will assess Lewis through her career in order to move discussion away from “ideological baggage” and a focus on Lewis’s life (Buick 2). Evaluating Lewis through her career opens the path for her to be seen as an artist rather than an ideology. Buick continues with her second argument. Using Lewis as a jumping off point, Buick reveals that America still has a “Negro Problem and an Indian Problem and a Women Question” that are all “deeply embedded” in art history (xviii). Buick wields examples of Lewis being seen through racial lenses to explain her two arguments; Lewis had a career, not a life of ideologies, and art history has issues around non-white, non-male artists.

Child of the Fire is the only book that addresses Mary Edmonia Lewis alone and makes an effort to view her in a non-traditional art historical context. Buick is currently an associate art history professor at University of New Mexico. There she continues research in her fields of interest including art of the Americas and representations of the land, African American art, the impact of gender and race in art history, and the history of women as art patrons and collectors. Her motivation to bring themes of intersectionality into art history is still a rare one. Her forthcoming book, White Skins, White Mask: The Performance of Race in British Colonial Portraits moves in a different direction by addressing race head on. A winner of the Driskell Prize, an award to honor contributions to the field of art of the African Diaspora, Buick already has a strong base for her future works.

Buick’s methodology for an exploration of Lewis isn’t a typical one. Since Buick is addressing two arguments; how Lewis has been studied previously and how that relates to art history in total, her main sources are published works from other art historians. While most biographers and art historians focus on primary sources as their forms of evidence to assess an artist, Buick employs other art historian’s works more than sources from the end of the 19th century. Buick acts as a historiographer. She cites works ranging from 1970 to 2000, encapsulating the contemporary viewpoint of Lewis and female artists of color. Using published works that had already considered Lewis by other art historians enables Buick a broader scope. Buick can evaluate art historian’s take on a non-white non-male artist instead of writing a strict biography on Lewis. The use of some primary sources and lots of art historian’s sources around Lewis led Buick to explain the two arguments she posed.

One of the strongest points Buick makes is in regard to how Lewis’s blackness has impeded on her valid assessment as an artist. Buick delves into what she calls the “Negro Problem” of art history (32). She argues an assessment of a black artist is tautological, meaning black artists fall into a pattern of redundancy. One basis of art history is the “maintenance of an uninflected, normalized notion of ‘whiteness’”, a specific white framework that has been engrained into the idea of good art (32). This causes black artists to “affirm and replicate” their difference as ‘blackness’, not as a way to react against this framework, but simply because they do not fit into it (32). Because they are forced in a position of blackness, a black artist is only seen as their identity. The purpose of their art is not important, as the tautological state of a black artist means their work is only their race. Buick brings this back to Lewis when looking at how art historian David C. Driskell interpreted her art. In 1976, Driskell claimed Lewis felt the need to use racial themes because she wanted to show the hatred her father’s race endured. Driskell dismisses the various work Lewis did by putting it under a racial theme umbrella as well as makes up an idea about Lewis’s relationship with her father and race that was never shown in primary evidence. In response Buick states, “It is as if racism were the only experience that shaped her identity and thus the only force that inspired her art” (33). Buick illuminates the tautology of Lewis’s identity makes her art only ‘blackness’. She continues stating that perspectives like Driskell’s make Lewis a “perpetual outsider” to white culture, and therefore good art (33). In opposition to Driskell and the popular stance he stands for, Buick provides a perspective of agency for Lewis. Rather than racial tautology, Lewis’s work sprang from a “negotiated identity” of race, gender, and America itself (35). Her art was more than self-portraiture, but a combination of the various communities she was involved in, and a contribution to the American art scene of her time.

Buick builds on her assessment of the problem of blackness in art history by looking at another artist of the late 19th century, Robert Duncanson. Duncanson, a landscapist, and Lewis are both subject to essentialism in interpretations of their work. Joseph D. Ketner, one of Duncanson’s biographers, claimed that the artist appropriated the landscape to his cultural identity and used it to communicate. In short, Ketner argues the rocks, trees, and other aspects of a Duncanson landscape were the artist’s “metaphors for emancipation and an essential blackness” and a way to communicate art to the African American community (36). There is no evidence that Duncanson intended his landscapes to be interpreted this way. While Duncanson’s work has been reinterpreted by other art historians for what it is, (a landscape), Lewis’s hasn’t. The distinction between the two artists is Lewis provides the black (and Indian) subject in her sculptures, unlike Duncanson, and has therefore always been subject to the essentialism Ketner used against Duncanson. Her work is inherently tautological; the only interpretation art historians present is a racial one. Buick exposes the tautology of race in evaluations of Lewis as an artist, and continues to expand the racial lens to include a Native American one.

An area that could have been explored further in Child of Fire is Lewis’s identity as a woman. Buick also fails to expose how women and women of color’s art has been interpreted in the same way she does for artists of color. A few arguments surrounding gender were made, most specifically with regard to Lewis’s representation of Native American women. Buick notes that Lewis, with her depiction of the story of Hiawatha, attempted to sculpt an ethnographically correct Native American for the first time in recorded art history (132). Up until Lewis, depictions of Indian women had been whitewashed or shown in submissive positions to white males. In the Victorian period, this subtle move broke ground into “who could and could not be considered a woman” in the culture and art (132). However, there Buick ends her discussion on Lewis as a gendered figure. Since the structure of the book was set up with one chapter focused on Lewis as a black subject and two chapters on her as a Native American subject, I suggest that another chapter would have been beneficial. Another chapter could address what it means for Lewis to be assessed as a woman, her time living in Rome with an expat group of gender and sexual fluid women, or her status within racial communities as a woman. A chapter on Lewis’s gender ideology would have answered questions I still have for Buick. Although Buick includes gender focused authors, spending more time in her analysis of Lewis and bringing in feminist art historians such as Linda Nochlin could have balanced intersectionality of Mary Edmonia Lewis.

Child of Fire is at the forefront of progression in art history. For too long the field has been dominated by white males in many ways. There have been few full investigations into artists of different ideologies, and of those assessments most have reduced the artist to a race or gender. Kirsten Pai Buick breaks new ground with her study of Mary Edmonia Lewis. Buick not only evaluates Lewis through her career and not her ideological story, but lays down evidence of the reduction of Lewis’s career by past art historians, and takes on the problems surrounding non-white, non-male artists in art history. This book provides an excellent example for those in the field of what it means to reexamine the artists of history, acknowledge greats of the past, but move forward with artists of different gender and race in a productive way.

 

Bibliography

Buick, Kirsten Pai. Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject. Duke University Press, 2010.

“Kirsten Buick.” University of New Mexico: Faculty. Accessed October 24, 2016. http://art.unm.edu/kirsten-buick/.

 

 

The Separation Solution: Single-Sex Education and the Politics of Gender Equality

9780520288966Separate but equal. These three infamous words, coined by Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, heightened the ever-present racial divide between black and white individuals until struck down in 1954 by Brown V. Board of Education. Just sixty-two years later, after working to rid this axiom from our norm, we have three new words to examine: different but equal. This time, the focus shifts to the sex divide between men and women.  Juliet A. Williams, author of The Separation Solution: Single Sex Education and The New Politics of Gender Equality, assesses the ideas behind single-sex public schools and how these ideas are constructed, especially in terms of sexist and racist stereotypes and economic inequality.

Williams considers single-sex education in public schools and examines how advocates and critics frame their cases and analyze how “gender differences have been defined and positioned within these competing frames” (Williams 28).  She argues to focus on the different beliefs about gender that parlay discourse about racial and economic injustice in education so that a more “constructive trajectory” can be set for future dialogue.  With the integration of women into the previously male-dominated schoolrooms in the 19th century, sociological and biological arguments surfaced, such that this combination would place strain on female reproduction. However, the cost of keeping up with this as well as the dominance of one room houses eliminated the concept of separatism in education until it reemerged following Brown v. Board of Education. As much of society still posed racist sentiments, the thought of white girls and black boys being taught in the same room spurred single-sex education until this argument proved ineffective as Civil Rights activists brought notice to the changing sex discrimination laws. However, at the turn of the 1980’s, the “Black Male Crisis” emerged when advocates claimed black male students were often marginalized in coeducation because they were placed in environments run by female teachers, and often came from single-mother families so they had no male role model and viewed education as “feminine” as a result.  These arguments discriminated against women and so the discourse shifted in the mid-1990’s to single-sex schools for females as “an effective means to build girls’ self-esteem and encourage greater female participation in the traditionally male dominated fields” and break down the existing heteronormativity (Williams 30). The discussion continued to grow for single-sex schools as advocates claimed that boys’ and girls’ brains are “hard-wired” to learn differently and therefore require separate learning situations, but these dubious arguments championing biological determinism were later shut down along with the majority of single-sex public schools.

Juliet A. Williams received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in New York, and is additionally trained as a political theorist.  Currently, she serves as a professor of Gender Studies and as the Associate Dean of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California in Los Angeles.  Williams’s research focuses on feminist theory, masculinity studies, gender and the law, gender and education, and cultural studies.  She has additionally written Liberalism and the Limits of Power and contributed to Public Affairs: Politics in the Age of Sex Scandals.

Williams notably frames her arguments through cross-disciplines: history, sociology, and biology. A series of court cases, specifically Plessy v. Ferguson, Garret v. Board of Education, United States v. Virginia, are used to set the historical context and establish precedents for building arguments for and against same-sex public schools. Moreover, relevant acts and laws, such the Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Education Opportunity Act and the Women’s Educational Equity Act served to exhibit the political history and legal studies behind same-sex education and the decisions behind those in office.  By developing the terms gender, education, race, ethnicity and examining how men and women learn and react to learning styles differently exudes a sociological and biological argument respectively. Moreover, Williams did not not conduct any studies herself, but furthered the discussion based on court cases, research studies, and news and media studies in local areas. She specifically emphasizes the pre-existing arguments of Kimberlé Crenshaw, Rosemary Salome and Leonard Sax. Crenshaw, who coined the term intersectionality, continually examines how women of color can be marginalized by feminist and antiracist agendas especially in single-sex education. Salome builds an argument against the “conflation” of gender into racial discussions that halted the worthwhile single-sex public school initiatives and urges for dissenters of single-sex education to “move beyond ideology”, while failing to address the origins and effects of “conflation” and recognize many dissenters opposed the discussion from analysis based off past programs (Williams 100). Sax argues for same-sex public schools, with the basis of his argument being they will curb the reinforcement of traditional gender roles, believing these stereotypes will persist in coeducational environments because they will mimic society’s structure. This way, students can be successful with techniques geared toward their specific gender. Beyond Crenshaw, Salome and Sax, William’s referenced the work of numerous other scholars to build her argument.

Williams effectively examines the role of intersectionality in the discussion about single-sex education and builds upon Kimberlé Crenshaw’s research on the topic.  She quotes Crenshaw, who asserts that “the failure of feminism to interrogate race means that the resistance strategies of feminism will often replicate and reinforce the subordination of people of color, and the failure of antiracism to interrogate patriarchy means that antiracism will frequently reproduce the subordination of women” (Williams 77). Williams continually frames the discourse on single-sex public education in terms of interesectionality to thoroughly illustrate one of main controversies over over black single-sex institutions—black girls. This concept introduced how they are specifically marginalized more so than their peers by single-sex specifically black institutions.  More so, arguing through an intersectional lens underscores the complexity and ignorance of using a “single-axis” approach to advocate for women because in doing so, the shortcomings black students face are ignored. This incorporation of intersectionality additionally highlights the “strategic leveraging of difference to fracture potential coalitions” and expands this debate beyond the gender discussion (Williams 79). Williams examines not just the way intersectionality is used to characterize identities, but also how it is used to characterize the politics on the issue as well.

Although William’s evaluates the role of separate public schools for boys and girls, she does not thoroughly examine those who do not fit under this rigidly classified system.  Queer students are overlooked and only mentioned in a couple pages at the conclusion as way of afterthought.  The discussion needs to be expanded to fit the ever-changing definitions of gender and sexuality. It is a significant gap in the argument to overlook the specifics of whether a student who identifies as one gender but bears a different sex is forced to conform to the male-female binary, and how this argument can be used for future discussion on single-sex public education.

Ultimately, The Separation Solution reads extremely informative as it provides well-framed, fact based arguments for and against the formation of single-sex public schools. Government officials and school board officials as well as anyone in the field of education should read this book because it poses relevant information on what it means to separate gender in learning environments, and how other factors have to be considered in this separation. Moreover, Williams makes note how putting the spotlight on marginalized categories may seek to provide fair learning environments but in fact generates social divides that created disadvantages and advantages for specific groups in the first place. So we are finally left to consider whether gender-specific problems really garner gender-specific solutions.

 

Work Cited:

Williams, Juliet. The Separation Solution?: Single-sex Education and the New Politics of Gender Equality. N.p.: U of California, n.d. Print.

“If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look”… An Analysis of “The Babadook”

“If it’s in a word or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of”… societal norms. The Babadook, especially in this trailer, both reinforces and questions many of the underlying assumptions our society has around gender and sex, class and sexuality. Amelia, the mother at the heart of this film, is simultaneously defined by her distance and increasing slippage away from norms, but also the societal pressures that she feels trapped and tormented by. The trailer looks at both Amelia’s perspective as a mother in society, but also society at large’s view of what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be a mother.

The expectations for Amelia seem to overwhelm her throughout the film. The most prominent of these expectations that Amelia struggles with are her responsibilities as a mother. As a mother, she is expected to be always emotionally and physically available to help her son, and able to quickly and effectively correct anything disruptive or societally detrimental that her child does. The first shot of Amelia in the trailer is her reading to her son, Samuel, in bed, a quintessentially maternal action as defined by our society. However, as the trailer continues, the world that Amelia lives in seems to be crumbling around her. Her son misbehaves and acts out in violent ways, like building a slingshot to fight the monster. Samuel is loud, disruptive and potentially violent, in ways that Amelia soon realizes she cannot always control. Samuel’s outbursts are Amelia’s “fault” as a mother, and through the institutions that surround her, she is blamed and shamed for her inability to control Samuel’s every move.

Amelia’s problems, especially with regards to Samuel, are often treated in an institutionalized way through a male perspective, as seen throughout the trailer, in ways that contradict and cause conflict within Amelia as a character. For example, the male administrator of Samuel’s school tells Amelia, in response to Samuel’s bringing a weapon to school, “the boy has significant behavioral problems” (while the female administrator remains silent), and the medical professional that Amelia sees tells her “all children see monsters”. Even the governmental agents of order, as seen through the police at 1:22 into the clip, are distorted and unhelpful in Amelia’s plight. The police officer is a reflection of the torment Amelia faces, with his gray skin and sunken appearance, much like the Babadook that plagues her and her family. The film simultaneously questions and reinforces the idea that the home and the family are the “woman’s sphere”; Amelia is situated in a context where her inability to mother Samuel “properly” is a reflection of both Samuel and her own failures in a medical sense. Samuel “promises to protect” his mother if she can protect him in the trailer; however, neither characters seems to be able to offer the other protection.

The character of Amelia also reflects and questions the stereotype of the “hysterical woman” and the dichotomy that society often situates between the sane, put-together mother, and the “crazy”, overworked mother who can’t handle her children. Much of the film appears to be presented as though it is from Amelia’s perspective. The quick glimpses of the monster that the trailer shows the audience, such as the knock on the door at the 1:00 mark of the trailer, the shadowy figure in the neighbor’s house at 1:19 and the graying skin of the police officer at 1:23, combined with the increasing desperation in Amelia’s voice and more unkempt appearance seem to suggest that perhaps “the Babadook” is only a figment of her imagination and a hallucination created by stress. Amelia herself seems to buy into the idea that what she’s seeing is not real; as she tells her coworker, “I’m fine…just a bit stressed at the moment.” The Babadook addresses a real consequence of society’s belittling of women and children; Amelia and Samuel face real dangers when what they see with their own eyes is dismissed as the ravings of an overworked, hysterical woman and the overactive imagination of a child. The belittling that Amelia faces as a woman is compounded by issues of class, and represents an example of how intersectionality can affect a person’s place in society.

Though the trailer doesn’t often address these issues as fully as the movie does, the trailer does help reveal how Amelia, by virtue of her class, is often judged and belittled by those of higher class and power. For example, though not addressed in the trailer, Amelia struggles in the upper-class world of her sister, and the assumptions and judgments that higher class women place on Amelia for not being able to “do it all” as both a working woman and a mother. Much of the judgment Amelia receives as a “bad mother” and “hysterical” seems to be compounded by her social class; Amelia has to work and cannot afford childcare for Samuel, and society around her seems to judge her for her inability, by virtue of her social class, to constantly keep watch on and act as an authority figure for Samuel. Directly addressed in the trailer, however, is how wealthier men of higher social status treat Amelia. The administrator and doctor, in addition to being men, are indicated to be of higher class than working-class Amelia in the trailer, and their opinions that they understand her situation better than her because they are men are compounded by the privileges they enjoy over her due to class. They are implied to be “experts” in their fields, which means that, in the context of dealing with Amelia, they assume they understand her life and situation better than she herself does, which, as the film progresses, soon becomes evidently fallacious.

The Babadook, as an entity, is also very interesting from a gendered perspective. While the Babadook is clearly not human, it is still slotted into the gender binary in this movie. It is gendered as male, referred to as “mister”, and wears clothes that Samuel and Amelia take to mean it is male. The gendering of the Babadook helps feed into the storyline of the loss and grief Amelia feels, and her isolation from the world around her. The male Babadook represents the two male people in her life that precipitate her decline. He represents both her deceased husband, who, like the Babadook, acts as an unseen effect on her life that keeps her from being able to live as society expects her to. He also represents her son, Samuel, who, like the Babadook, represents her fear of being unable to handle being a mother, her fear that she has created or “let in” a violent monster into her life and her fear that Samuel is unable to distinguish reality from fiction, into which Amelia herself fears that she is digressing.

The Babadook, while on the surface simply a traditional monster movie, is also a critique and presentation of societal norms and requirements expected of women and people of lower class. Amelia feels simultaneously far from, and dragged towards, societal expectations of her as a woman, a mother and a member of the working class. Just like “Mister Babadook” who Amelia tries to rid herself of, the expectations of society just won’t let her alone, whether or not she “lets it in” or not.

Burger or Blow Job?

“Sex sells.” This is a phrase that is ever popular in the advertising world and is used to sell products, services, and businesses alike. This strategy is usually seen as effective, but sometimes advertising companies purposefully push boundaries past what is deemed acceptable in order to evoke shock value in their viewers. In 2009, Burger King did just that with the release of an advertisement promoting their new “Super Seven Incher” burger. The advertisement had a limited release; it was only made public in Singapore, but was pulled from the market very shortly after it began circulation due to its controversial nature.

The images of the advertisement are overtly sexual and intend to depict a woman performing oral sex on the “Super Seven Incher.” The woman is the focus of the advertisement, as her profile from the neck up is shown on the left side of the ad. She is a white woman, has a blonde bob, and a face full of makeup. Her eyes are wide and her red lips are parted in an oval shape. Coming out from the right side of the page is the Super Seven Incher, aimed directly at the woman’s mouth. The advertisement is shaded darker at the corners and becomes increasingly lighter as the focus moves inwards towards the mouth and the burger. Below the image of the woman and the burger are the words “IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND AWAY” in white, bold letters. Below the phrase is a yellow panel depicting the burger along with a drink and fries and a price of $6.25 for the whole meal. The description of the meal is in the lower right hand corner of the ad.

The target audience of this advertisement is very obviously the heterosexual male and it is supposed to be viewed through the framework of the male gaze. The sexual nature of the image is attention grabbing and conveys the message that by eating the Super Seven Incher, they will receive as much gratification as they would from receiving oral sex. By depicting the act in this way, the ad is designed to create a fantasy for heterosexual males, which can be fulfilled by eating this burger. Eating this burger will make heterosexual males happier, more satisfied, and more appealing to women, according to the ad.

Depicting the woman in the advertisement in such a hyper-feminine way insinuates that the woman’s sole purpose in the advertisement is to provide pleasure and act as a sexual object. Creators of the ad specifically used a young white woman with bright red lips and blonde hair, characteristics that are routinely associated with sex appeal, to target their audience. Although the advertisement was released in Singapore, the woman is white which reinforces the westernized beauty ideals that we see across most media. By portraying the woman in this way, the ad creators have established that this is what a “real woman” should look like and this is how she should act. The woman is submissive to the man and his desires (as represented by the burger) and the ad links her femininity to sexual objectification. Sex sells, but usually only if it is in a heteronormative way. If the roles had been reversed and an image was insinuating that a male was performing oral sex on a female, the reactions would have been different. People would have been taken aback by the overt sexuality, since a male gratifying female sexual desires is not something often portrayed in contemporary media. The same goes for if a woman was illustrated performing oral sex on a woman, a man on another man, or any other combination of gender identifications.

The imagery of the advertisement is extremely sexual and this is furthered by the use of language surrounding the ad. The name of the burger itself, the “Super Seven Incher,” has nothing to do with the taste appeal of the burger. It does not describe what is on the burger or its quality, but instead describes the length of the burger. This burger length is a not so subtle reference to male genitalia, adding to the visualization of the sexual image that is portrayed. In the quote under the burger, the words “IT’LL BLOW” are larger than the rest of the words on the page, immediately catching the viewer’s attention. Slang terms for performing oral sex are “blowing” or “giving a blow job,” so the use of this specific language was no accident. The most glaring use of language to conjure up sexual images was in the description of the burger in the lower right hand corner of the advertisement. The advertisement tells its audience to “Fill your desire with something long, juicy, and flame grilled” and “Yearn for more after you taste the mind blowing burger” Both of these particular quotes describe the burger, but they do so in a way that expresses the longing and need of the heterosexual male to have his desires fulfilled. The “yearning” and “desire” that is expressed can refer to the male’s need for sexual gratification, but can also refer to the female’s desire “for more,” not in reference to the burger, but alluding to it as a representation of male genitalia. Using the images along with the specific choice of words furthers the message of the advertisement and adds to its shock value.

Although the ad was removed from the market, it was successful in the regard that its shock value made it widely circulated and talked about. It successfully perpetuated the image of traditional gender roles and used sexual imagery to maintain heteronormativity. Its purpose was to push boundaries, spark conversation, and evoke a strong emotional response from its viewers, whether it was one of desire or disgust. By this ad fulfilling its purpose, Burger King got the publicity that it wanted, a publicity that has lasted longer than they could have imagined.

Works Cited:

Stransky, Tanner. “Burger King’s Super Seven Incher Ad: Subtlety Is Dead.” EW.com. N.p., 24 June 2009. Web.

“Top 10 Tasteless Ads.” Time.com. N.p. Web. <http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1907218_1907236,00.html>

Respect Me For My Brains, Not My Body

Picture this. You are a blonde, caucasian woman. Perhaps you have large breasts. Perhaps you are frustrated with societal assumptions that because you are blonde, you must not be intelligent. Perhaps you are on the lookout for a company to purchase new glasses from, as you just got a new prescription. Enter Oogmerk Opticians, an eyewear company from Belgium. Their ad campaign, entitled “Get The Respect You Deserve”, contains a simple depiction of the same blonde, white, large lipped, large chested woman with one difference. One of the women is wearing a pair of glasses. In what is an extremely simple cartoon, both women are gifted a singular descriptive adjective below their depictions. The woman without glasses is labeled “easy”; the woman with glasses is labeled “hard”(See picture to the right). oogmerk_hard_rgb_1While the intended purpose of this advertisement is to get women to buy glasses, its main success is perpetuating effects caused by the sexual objectification of white women, namely through self-objectification. Furthermore, this advert does not even skim the surface on the wide ranges of stereotypes and objectifications unique to non-white women.

Culturally, women are objectified in a number of ways. The most prominent kind of objectification seen is sexual objectification, which occurs “when a woman’s body or body parts are singled out and separated from her as a person and she is viewed primarily as an object of male sexual desire” [1]. This dynamic is constructed through a society-wide hierarchy that places white, cisgendered, heterosexual males at the top. Sexual objectification of women can lead to a variety of outcomes on a scale from seemingly harmless to some of the worst experiences people will have to go through in their lives. A direct offshoot of this practice can be seen as the societal scrutiny of women’s bodies which create a wide range of standards and, often, unattainable images for how women can and should look and act. This analysis will focus namely on the experiences of white, heterosexual, cisgendered women, who exist at the top of the femininity hierarchy. However, it is extremely important to remember that these interactions and expectations exist in a wide range of unique ways the varying intersections face these challenges.

Stylistically, this advertisement makes its message crystal clear. The subtle nature of utilizing so few words in this advertisement draws up the image of a picture being worth a thousand words. The secondary sex characteristics, both the enhanced breasts and enhanced lips, depict an obvious statement about the assumed sexual behavior of the women. The viewer is then coerced in a simple manner to adopt this train of thought. Namely, that women who wear glasses are smart and/or stuck up, and therefore are “hard” to get into bed. This parallel structure seen is in no means a novel idea and claims its foundations around the segmenting of the female body. The females depicted are segmented so that the points of focus are their breasts and faces. Societally, women are commonly “seen as parts, rather than a whole”, namely their sexual body parts [2]. This stems from a depiction of sexual desire that reduces women to “a mere tool for sexual purposes,” or to a “sex object” [3]. While this conversation focuses mainly on cleavage, of any variety, as a depiction of a marker for essential female sexuality, the linking of the lips in this instance only aids in painting the portrait of a sexualized woman. Considering the unique role breasts play in conventional femininity, it is not a surprise that they are such sexualized part of the female figures in this advertisement. Breasts are utilized more than any other part of female anatomy in advertising and media images, that society “can barely catch a glimpse of side boob without thinking it’s sexual” [4]. However, an intriguing focus is made in this advertisement as well by enhancing the lips and linking these sex characteristics through color. This makes a subconscious association for the viewer regarding sexual acts that only works to underscore the overarching message.

This sexualization of secondary sex characteristics is solidified with the conquest related terminology applied to each woman. By stating the ease in which, if wanted, a heterosexual man could bed these two women, the objectification is internalized and able to cause a cascade of self-objectification and its effects. Furthermore, this diminishes the ability of women to appear educated, which reinforces the societal threat of women’s intelligence to the patriarchal hierarchy. By viewing these images in a sexual connotation, this concept of women being educated is erased from the thoughts of any potential customers, which allows the grounds for the tag line “get the respect you deserve”.

The language used, albeit simplistic, is probably the most problematic part of this advertisement. The message that women have to control their image in order to be respected, and that one can only be respected if they are “hard” to get into bed, constructs a pre-existing societal framework in which women are judged, as beings, solely for their appearance and not for their character. By evoking these images and concepts in this advertisement, the company is pining to tap into the appearance anxiety of the women viewing it. Appearance anxiety and body shame have been seen heavily in women who have been objectified, due largely to self-objectification [5]. The coopting of these symptoms of sexual objectification has one purpose: to trick women into feeling that they can change societal beliefs about their sexual promiscuity by buying Oogmerk glasses. This is a clear example of the rhetorical appeal of pathos, as its intention is to sway the emotions of its audience [6]. Through an explicitly minimalist approach, combining visual and verbal messages, these effects caused via sexual objectification are exploited to make sales and inherently reinforce these standards and requirements for existing as a “successful” woman. All of this ultimately ties to support the deeply ingrained societal dynamic of sexual objectification of women, which “no woman can opt out” of [7].

While ultimately this is not the most problematic use of objectified tropes surrounding the ties between female sexuality and female body parts, it highlights an overarching problem seen in the advertising industry today. Too often, there are problematic outcomes, like the power dynamics of rape and sexual assault, that stem from these beliefs that women exist as objects for men’s sexual desires.

 

[1] Szymanski, D. M., L. Moffitt B., and E. Carr R. “Sexual Objectification of Women: Advances to Theory and Research 1 7.” The Counseling Psychologist 39.1 (2010): 6-38. Web.

[2] Pappas, Stephanie, and LiveScience. “Our Brains See Men as Whole and Women as Parts.” Scientific American. N.p., 2012. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.

[3] Papadaki, Evangelia. “Sexual Objectification: From Kant to Contemporary Feminism.” Contemp Polit Theory Contemporary Political Theory 6.3 (2007): 330-48. Web.

[4] By 50 Million Liters Since 2007. “The Sexualisation of Breasts – The Circular.”The Circular. N.p., 03 Mar. 2014. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <http://thecircular.org/the-sexualisation-of-breasts/>.

[5] Szymanski, D. M., L. Moffitt B., and E. Carr R. “Sexual Objectification of Women: Advances to Theory and Research 1 7.” The Counseling Psychologist 39.1 (2010): 6-38. Web.

[6] “Pathos.” Writing Commons. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.

[7] Fischer, A. R., S. K. Bettendorf, and Y.-W. Wang. “Contextualizing Sexual Objectification.” The Counseling Psychologist 39.1 (2010): 127-39. Web.

An Analysis of Facebook Misogynists

Last year, in my high school class’s Facebook group there was a debate I’d like to discuss as it still infuriates me to this day. For context, I’m from a very small, affluent town in Connecticut. My town is known for being quite liberal, generally pretty progressive , and very well-educated. The public school that we all attended is ranked by U.S. News as being number 4 in the state and number 184 in the country. 99% of students who graduate from our high school go to college. For comparison, the national average of high school graduates who enroll in college is 65.9% according to The New York Times (2014). The percentage of Americans who actually attend and graduate from college is even lower. Every single person involved in these conversations is now attending a reputable college, including University of Indiana, Southern Methodist University, and University of Michigan. I don’t say this to brag, but rather to contextualize these comments and explain why I was so shocked by them. Given our shared background and education, this incident was unexpected. To further contextualize this, this occurred on social media with the knowledge that is was a form of mass communication. The people involved were aware of who would be seeing their posts. In order to analyze this, I will be examining some screenshots I have from the private group in which they were posted, and relating their contents to a variety gender and sexuality studies concepts, such as gaslighting, identity politics, and misogyny.

Despite having been graduated for nearly a year at the point when this incident occurred, someone decided resurrect our class Facebook group by creating a post in support of Donald Trump. When a fellow classmate, who happens to be female, spoke up about her dislike of the candidate, two male students felt the need to respond with the following comments: “95% of Hillary 12814413_964920363584441_1240800165149743160_nsupporters are women…BOOM roasted” and “You’re allowed to vote from the kitchen these days?” These comments led me to believe that these boys thought that female supporters of Hillary Clinton do not count and are invalidated in their belief simply because they are women.

 

As degrading as these comments were, what happened next was, to me and to many others, absolutely enraging. Another former classmate of ours posted a porn video that depicted a female porn actor advocating for a woman’s right to voice her opinion, only to be interrupted by a male porn actor shoving his penis in her mouth. Many people, including myself, were shocked that this boy would look up this video and post it in a group that was intended for school-related information. Despite this, many of my former classmates, both male and female, liked this post before group administrators (who were former student government members, so ex-classmates as well) removed the post. Prior to this however, more hatred and misogyny were spewed at the students who asked for it to be removed. Though it was a relatively small group of boys participating in this hatred, I was still shocked at the number of students participating and what they believed was okay to say, particularly coming from as liberal and well-educated of as place that we do. Ironically, this all occurred on International Women’s Day (March 8th), which, in my mind, solidified the point that we need this day to celebrate women seeing as we still face this misogyny, even from our classmates and supposed friends who are college educated.

I’ve included some of the comments below. These comments included such things as “#nomeansyes,” followed by “and yes means anal,” which reflected an incident we had during our Senior year, when the Women’s Empowerment Club created a rape awareness campaign, and put posters around the school with the statement “Rape is not a joke,” many of which were vandalized with the phrase “lol”. This displays the mindset of many of the students involved in this debate, where they truly don’t see women’s rights or rape (which certainly extends to more than just women) as an issue.
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Their comments showed to me that these boys see gender as a clear dichotomy; there are only men and women. Not only that, they perceive these two genders in a clear hierarchy where women are the lesser of the two. Their statements not only diminished women but also served to reinforce this dichotomy and created a notion of having to “choose sides” between men and women, or even between feminist and misogynist. The fact that this one boy thought he was “roasting” Hillary and her supporters by calling them women furthers this notion as it’s clear he thought this was an insult of some sort. Furthermore, this displayed a weak and simplistic version of identity politics, where these boys tried to create a sense of comradery and alliance because of their gender. Their beliefs are being shaped by their gender identity and the convictions that come with that. I believe that many of these students, as white, cisgender men, who were raised in a very affluent town, have never been the subject of oppression or faced anyone telling them they are lesser. Most of them have never truly faced hardship, which I can say confidently as I have known the majority of them since they were in diapers. They are able to make these statements because of their position in society.

The student who posted the video defended his actions the next day with this post below. He felt he was justified because, supposedly, girls from our class had messaged him telling him that they agreed that the other girls in the group, who were defending their right to be seen12814811_964485743627903_3451060346602791121_n as equal, were being ridiculous. Because he had some support from females, it was okay. This again ties into the idea of identity politics where he is attempting to justify his beliefs on the basis of his gender and the support of the other gender. Additionally, it could be argued that he is gaslighting, where he is manipulating others into questioning their own beliefs. He refers to this whole situation as a “joke,” trying to diminish the impact of his words and mold the perception of his actions. He tries to defend his own character, implying that if he’s a kind person he couldn’t have done something offensive,insisting he’s “never said a mean thing” to any of his opposers. This likely won’t be shocking, but he was not a kind person in school. He considered himself a class clown of sorts, and was constantly making fun of others, but always under the guise of humor.

The outrage that followed these posts were undermined by the original posters complaining that feminists don’t have a sense of humor and that they couldn’t take a joke, which, from their perspective, is clearly these posts were. The people involved in both these posts and the anti-rape poster incident (which are groups that include many of the same members, unsurprisingly) excuse their words and actions with humor. Words have power. Actions have power. They are not excused because you think they are funny. There were many comments in this thread that told people to “take a joke” or “chill out” or “get a better sense of humor”. However, I believe that the comments they made are rude and insulting, and should certainly not be taken as a joke. This idea that women don’t have a sense of humor when they try to defend their rights as people is derogatory and degrading. This “joke culture” is harmful because it invalidates feminists’ claims as humorless without at12814530_964920476917763_3029247096580930692_ntempting to understand their arguments, valuing humor as the most important factor. It also attempts to minimize the impact of the offending statements and the culpability of those who make them because they “aren’t meant to be taken seriously,” which is problematic because not only are the perpetrators not seeing the other side of the argument, they often don’t even recognize that there is a problem. They don’t see that feminism and comedy can coexist, and that one does not negate the other.

The claim was made that “feminism definitely doesn’t have a sense of humor,” to which I must respond: I’m sorry that I don’t find rape funny. I’m sorry that you think I’m a “bitch” for arguing that all humans –  male, female, or otherwise – should be seen as equal. I’m sorry that I can’t “just chill my nips” and accept injustices. I’m sorry that completely undermining another human and treating them like subhuman for factors that are out of their control is not hilarious to me. If that means that I don’t have a sense of humor, then so be it. I’d rather be able to see the value of a human than be able to take a joke. I’d rather be a feminist than a comedian.

Sport Athletes Treated Differently Based on Gender

Continuing the post I wrote awhile ago about U.S. women’s soccer team not receiving the same amount of payment as the U.S. men’s national soccer team, I found this video a couple of days ago and found it relevant. In this video, male sport stars are asked a series of questions referring to their bodies, relationships, etc. that are framed in a way that would be so called “acceptable” to ask female athletes. What I found interesting in this video is the reactions of the men; their faces are utterly confused and disgusted by the questions and seem to reflect the sentiment “Why on earth would you ask such a pointless, objectifying question?” But at the end of the video, instead of expressing similar facial and vocal responses as the men, the women athlete interviewed simply laughs and “acts like a lady,” which was disheartening to watch.