When I was younger, I was told that I could do what ever I wanted when I grew up. With the support of my family, I believed it, but later in life I learned that this was not the case in society today. When I first found out that gender was a restraint for women, I was watching football on TV with my family. I wondered to myself why there were never any girl football teams. I asked my parents and they said, "Girls can't play football". I did not understand why they could not. I would hear excuses such as, "girls are not tough enough". "girls are not strong enough", "it's a man sport", etc. I did not think that gender was an issue for pursuing one's dreams until this moment. When I grew up, I later realized that even after multiple feminist movements and organizations, women are still not given the recognition they should after years since the establishment of America. Even after they have proved that they are as intelligent and capable of doing things, women are still not viewed as equal to men. Not only is gender an issue in our country, but race is too. We stand for "the land of opportunity" but that is simply not the case.
I can say that I construct gender everyday but I try my hardest not to let it limit me. I construct the stereotypical gender roles as a female everyday by the clothes I wear, putting on makeup, fixing my hair nice, and being worried about my image. This reflects the stereotypes of how women are appearance based and care too much of how they look and others perceive them. But I do not let this define who I am, it is merely an aspect of my image. I personally define myself as an athletic, strong, smart, and independent girl. I play basketball and run track and have never been afraid to challenge a boy to an one on one game or a push up contest. I also love the feeling when a boy who has never picked up a basketball challenges me to a game, and thinks he can win just because I am a girl, and they finally learn that I am able to beat them. I also define myself as smart and strong, and I am never submissive to a boy. I think that if I am right, which I usually am, I have the right to speak up and share my ideas, and even though they boys usually don't listen, at least I can get my ideas out there. I've watched and learned from all the shows where all the women are objectified, treated as less, and glorified because of their bodies. And I tried to live my life and break all these stereotypes. I never let a guy call me out of my name, and if they happen to, I let them know its not okay and I earn their respect as a woman. I would not necessarily call myself a Tom boy or masculine, but I think I define my femininity in a appropriate way that earns respect and equality from a guy. I wouldn't object if anyone ever called me a feminist, but I am not that hard core about it. I just believe that girls are equal to boys and should have all the oppurtunites they are given. So I will also continue to challenge the weak minds of the macho boys and defy their simple gender ideas, all while I wear my high heels, dresses and skirts.
Growing up, every other weekend was spent at my dad's house in northern Illinois. It's a small town where the people talk with country accents, and everyone listens to country music. It's mostly alot of farms and forests, so for fun, me and all my older cousins (mostly boys) would go swim in the lake, climb trees, or race our three-wheelers. I used to really love this song, and would always sing along when it was on the radio in our truck. The video is really interesting because the beginning is basically what we'd do every Saturday. We'd come home really muddy after playing with the dogs or driving the three wheelers over the muddy hills in the forest trails behind our house. However, later in the video, Gretchen Wilson has shed her "tomboyish" look for a much more girly, made-up outfit for stage. It's interesting how she can pull off being both really well, because that's how my childhood was growing up between my dad's, and my mom's, here in Chicago.
They are both about women looking in the mirror and having some disturbing, and empowering thoughts. At first, they admit to having confidence, but when taking a closer look at thier bodies, found many things to complain about. They were confused about thier own opposing thoughts and came to the conclusion that neither of them is too sure how exactly they feel about thier physical appearances.
This is sad. Women need to be just as confident in themselves as men. Women with low self esteem are easily put at risk by men who will abuse or take advantage of them. I personally think the media is partially responsible for the abuse rate because of how they make women feel about themselves. Appearance has become something so important to a women, that it can affect the rest of her daily life.I just feel that there are many other things that women could be doing with thier time than stressing out over their appearances.
In one of my classes last week, we discussed ethics and how it affects people in our society. This specific situation deals with a man who claims he had gotten medal of honor in award for his duties in the military, and because he lied they accused him of violating the "Stolen Valor Act."
He pleaded that this was a violation of the 1st ammendment (which I agree). The stolen valor act, to me, is quite controversial because this act is attempting to make speech, like satire and parody potentially a crime just because they arent truthful (4:50-5:05). Is this act justified under this certain situation? It doesnt seem realistic considering tv shows like Tosh.0, Daily Show, Colbert Report are fueled off this type of humor.
Gender hasn't ever been to big a part of my life. I never really saw a reason why boys should just play with boys and girls should just play with girls. What would the point be of denying yourself roughly 50% of the population, especially when you're a little kid and genitalia doesn't come into the picture. Furthermore, why do men and women have to be limited to traditional roles and typical activities?
I'm a guy, I was born a guy and luckily my mind agrees with that, I like guy things. I like to run, I like to go hiking, I like to play soccer, generally I enjoy watching shows and movies targeted towards a male or at the very least a gender neutral audice. I do male things. BUT, I straighten my hair, a typically female thing to do. It seems like whenever someone finds out about this they think its odd, and I'm here to say, why? I've been doing it since I was 13 or 14, I grew up with the insecurity of not liking my curly waves, so why am I not allowed to fix it to make myself happy, just because I'm a male and guys aren't supposed to care about things like that?
This is just an example of ways society puts pressure on your activities based on gender and I'm sure there are many others but its what I could think of at the moment.
"Just pick her"
"No, I'm not gonna pick her."
"Just pick her! She's good."
"No, I'm not wasting second pick on a girl."
Fourth grade recess. Football. I wanted to play. Twenty boys bunched in a mass in front of two captains. I shimmied in through a crack and became a part of the posse. First picks were made. Then second picks. Third. Fourth. Those two captains looked right over my striped hat, because they didn't know that some girls rock at football. Some of the Lindberg-Park-crew knew. The boys who I would play with on the weekends, they knew. The captains didn't yet, though. The fifth graders didn't know. Eventually I got picked. Not last or anything. But nowhere near first either. I got picked just because I was there, not because someone thought I would help their team win. I ran. I tripped. I dove. I dodged. I was in it. Second half came around, and our QB needed a sub.
"Someone else play QB for a down."
I ended up with the ball.
The perfect spiral made it all the way from my finger tips, to the open hands of that captain who wouldn't pick me second.
I like having something that shuts all the boys up.
I like having something that destroys the stereotype.
I'm glad that my mom taught me how to throw a spiral.
Gender, for me, does not play a large role in my ability to identify people. Unfortunately, the way in which I construct gender is extremely sexist and though I judge people based on their actions and words, occasionally, a sexist sterotype or assumption will slip into my thoughts and I end up embarrassing myself. I I tend to identify the "male" gender as a sort of warmth and inhabits the room-as if the men provide an emotional aspect to any social situation that women cannot. This holds true for women too, however; while I tend to judge women as a little more difficult to talk to than men, they provide a kindness and grace that men cannot achieve, as if they are always "right" about things. This, however, does not hold true in all cases.
In most cases, the gender that I assume about a person depends on the type of setting I'm in. For instance, if the setting is in a small room with not very many people, than most of the time, I have to assume things about people in order to make conversation. Therefore, I rely on my gender sterotypes. However, in a party setting, I can watch people and figure out which people fill which arechetypes.
Unfortunately, I am far from figuring out a way to eliminate all gender sterotypes from my conscious. However, the task is difficult due to our exposure to media that constructs gender in a very generalizing, demeaning way.
Analyzing one's personal view of gender is an incredibly complex task. I believe that American society, and the media in particular, have drastically distorted our views of gender. I think that when one considers the way that he or she (or neither, or both) examines one's relationship towards gender and sexuality, it is imperative to take into consideration one's geographical location, one's socioeconomic class, and the environment in which one was raised.
I hardly remember being a young child. For me, trying to remember my early childhood is like looking through fog, and I can occasionally discern vague shapes and figures, but I always seem to struggle to make out specific details. I often can't remember whether my recollection of an event is an actual memory, or a result of viewing photographs taken during that time. I was a shy, quiet kid, and although I played sports, I also dressed in a stereotypically girly way, and I often played with polly pockets and American Girl dolls. My best friend and I would often argue about who was girlier, and because she more more stereotypically masculine colors and was thinner, she always seemed to "win". Honestly, trying to get anywhere near my childhood mindset seems impossible. I can't fathom how I liked the things I liked, and looking back at how I acted often feels like a painful experience. My friends and I have jokingly labeled sixth grade as my "mean year", the year I was rude to my close friends and attempted to "be popular". I even bought a hoodie from Victoria's Secret's Pink line, and started dressing girlier. However, I also played basketball and, as a result of growing up watching my brother play hockey, I was passionate about hockey and could talk "with the guys" and my athletic tendencies also place me in the "average" category, whatever that even is. When I took up dance after a long break of many years, I took several different types of dance, including ballet. Ballet is considered incredibly helpful for building a foundation of discipline, strength, and technique that can significantly benefit one's ability to do additional types of dance. Yet, I felt like my friends would severely judge me, especially my best friend. I didn't want to be considered even girlier, so for many years I didn't tell her about ballet. Eventually, I couldn't avoid her finding out, and I was so humiliated.
Between seventh and eighth grade, for whatever reason, it was as if i woke up with a completely different perspective on life. I honestly don't know why my mentality altered so drastically. I just simply didn't care what people thought anymore. I was becoming a stronger, more skilled dancer and basketball player, I had a great friend group, I became a vegetarian, the Blackhawks were doing extremely well (haha), and for whatever other reasons, I just gave up all interest in caring what people thought of me. I mean, I still wanted people to think I was a kind, intelligent, respectful person, because I wanted to be all of those things. But, aesthetically speaking, I didn't give a crap about anyone's opinions, and that mentality has only grown stronger ever since.
I also don't know why I've started to question my gender lately. Similarly to my drastic change of mindset during the summer before eighth grade, in the past few months, I have had the strong urge to be a guy. I've always preferred the athletic body type aesthetically, and because I've become so serious about dance, I've realized that it would be much more convenient if I cut my hair extremely short. I'm also striving towards minimalism, including owning a small wardrobe of a small amount of quality clothing, and so maybe I'm favoring sneakers and pants to skirts and more stereotypically feminine shoes because of convenience and necessity. Maybe I've realized in this past unit on Feminism that women still suffer from a lot of discrimination and societal judgement and expectations, and maybe I just want to feel the power that society often attributes to men more often than women. Maybe I'm just bored. As I've said, where I live, in a very progressive, accepting, privileged community, I have very few problems and I often feel like I have no right to complain about anything, and that there are SO many more important things to do and worry about than my gender.
A while ago, since I realized that mainstream media basically sucks, I would limit my relationship towards the media to reading a few sites and watching a few tv shows and movies that are high quality, respectable works, and that portray life in a reasonably honest way. I've considered cutting out media completely. But right now, I feel like the media can exist as a tool for creating positive change and improving one's emotional mentality. I watch shows such as Project Runway, that oddly enough represents an extremely diverse group of people who are so talented and passionate that their outer appearances don't have any relationship to their abilities. I look up to actresses such as Rooney Mara and Ellen Page. I listen to podcasts with awespome female comedians. I read RookieMag religiously.
Dance has also actually helped me forget about sexism and gender. I am completely in lvoe with contemporary dance, which is basically whatever style of dance you want it to be, and emphasizes the emotional movement, in relationship to song lyrics. When I dance, I forget about how I look. I am free.
Gender has always been an idea that I haven't thought much of. Of course I have always recognized the differences between boys and girls, but mainly as a child, I had never thought they were really that different. I was the youngest child in my family, and growing up, I was really weird (not in a bad way). Around age seven, I had long blonde tangly hair that I would never brush, and I hated bathing. I had a lot of friends that were boys and I would comfortably run around naked with them. I was always messy, and I had no table manors. I would sit on the couch with my legs wide open, and my sister, who was a teenager at that time, would always yell at me and tell me to act like a girl. My sister, to this day forward, is the complete opposite of me. She is blonde, organized, well kept, girly, academically exceptionally smart, bossy, and always "right." I remember as a child she would try to brush my hair, dress me up, and attempt to put mascara on me. I always thought I looked really wierd like that. I actually thought I looked prettier when my hair was messy. Whenever she would complain about how she looked, I mentally didn't understand why people cared about what they looked like. I remember my mom telling me that someday I would care too.
She was partially right. Of course we all grow up with insecurities. I do care what I look like most of the time, and I do wear dresses and makeup. However, I never fully outgrew my childhood mindset. Yes, I am aware that I'm a girl, but to this day forward, my sister and I both fulfill two completely opposite gender ideas, although we are both girls. I still eat messy, I can't get my elbows off the table, and I can't sit up straight. I always burp and laugh at innapropriet times. I sit the way my dad sits, and sometimes to be completely honest, I don't care what I look like... My sister will still attempt to tell me to be more "lady like." Plucking my eyebrows and telling me to "style" my hair. She still tells me to be polite, wear more conservative dresses, dye my hair a "pretty" color, and take my nose ring out. But honestly, I don't care. I'm a girl, that is a pretty obvious fact. I like the way I look and how I act. So why does wearing pinker, more conservative dresses make you more "lady like?" How can one person be more "girly" than another? If you think of these terms, they really don't make sense. I do think that genetically, boys and girls show differing needs and tendencies, but I also think that your anatomy shouldn't define the way you act.
Your enviroment shapes how you identify your gender. As I was growing up, I've tried a numerous amount of activities such as ballet, gymnastics, baseball, and soccer. I've always wanted a Bratz doll, Barbie, or the new Baby Alive. Then, my cousins were mostly boys so I was always playing the video games on the PS2 with them. These experiences all shaped me into the person I am today. I wouldn't describe myself as a "girly-girl". My parents always pushed me to join new activities so I could find my passion, even if that meant joining a team of mostly boys.
By participating in ballet and gymnastics, I learned I love to dance and express myself. Dance may be seen as something that most girls do but I believe it's gender neutral. The baseball team that I joined, my friend and I were the only girls. I felt like the pressure was on! We had to prove that they weren't better than us. I wasn't too good at it but I wasn't the worst either. I remember the last game when I got a homerun, I was so excited because it proved that I had some skills. I wanted to get rid of the steretypes that were most likely running through the boys' mind. Although, comments were never made about our gender, I felt as though they were taught that boys were stronger than girls. I was proud at the fact that I was a girl and I got a homerun while one of the best players on the team were pitching.That may also have something to do with my competitive drive. The point is that these activities made me to the person I am today. I explored and experimented so that I didn't fall into what society has described as a female or male's role.
When I was younger I guess I took part in a lot of stereotypical "girl" stuff. My sister and I thought we were Mary-Kate and Ashley. We played dress up and watched Cinderella. I always knew my gender: I was a girl. I remember thinking, at some point, that life must be so hard for boys because they couldn't be girls. They had to hold everything in and just be tough all the time. They had to be interested in video games and throwing and catching a ball...over and over again. I thought they were just pretending to like all that. How could they actually enjoy that?! I thought they all secretley wanted to be girls but couldn't because society had strict rules about that.
As I started to get older, I became jelous of boys. I started to realize the number one expectation for girls: looks. When I was about ten, my friends started to care what they looked like. It scared me to death. I never cared and didn't want to care about it. I hated dresses and makeup and any shoes that weren't sneakers. But I still considered myself a girl. I still felt like a girl. Was I not a girl just cause that stuff didn't matter to me? As time went on, they started to get more and more concerned with their appearance. The pressure to be "pretty" became more and more evident to me. Still, I realized I can still be a girl and not worry about all that stuff. I can just ignore it. If society has the power to hang that over my head, I have the power to shake it off.
So for an English assignment last year, we had to get in groups and perform a scene from Shakespeare's As You Like It. In our group we had three girls and one guy even though there were two female roles and two male roles. I lost Rock, Paper, Scissors and was to play the Jester (male). In rehearsing our teacher told me to be more assertive and have a wide, broad, confident stance. I thought I had gotten pretty good at my portraying my witty character, until we showed our teacher a rough performance. The first thing the teacher told me to fix was my loose hips that were swaying way too much if I was to portray a guy. Then he told me not to put my hands on my hips either, and to look down upon the other character more literally (which was kind of tough since I was shorter). Afterwards, I totally had to reassess what my demeanor was. I guess this is when I saw all my little mannerisms that defined me as "feminine" or "girly".
How I define gender would be based on a whole slew of things, like personality, mannerisms, and how one dresses or act. I think it is personal, what one sees them self as. After the above experience I became very aware of how I carried myself, how I dressed, how I interacted with others. Something as common as shifting my weight all to one side or standing with my shoulders back or how I wave all show my femininity. The way I dress too, or how I wear my hair, or if I put on makeup also defines me as female. I think gender construction can also be greatly influenced by friends and family. I know my family is very traditional and conservative in our lifestyle. My dad is what would be called the typical male-breadwinner, since my mom took a teaching hiatus to be a stay-at-home-mom until I went into high school. Then I have two younger sisters, so overall the feminine distinction is very strong in my family. There is an emphasis on appearing girly, being good readers, being artistic, there was the whole Disney Princesses phase and being taught proper "princess manners". However, my parents are also incredibly encouraging when it comes to what wouldn't be traditionally defined as being feminine, and in this way I have learned to break from the stereotypical characteristics of what it means to be a girl. For example, my mom would always take us to the Museum of Science and Industry or the Planetarium on a rainy weekend. My dad loves to bring us downtown to see where he works as a stock broker, and he even comes to every one of our practices to become a better softball, golf, swimming, track, or tennis coach for each daughter. So even though they encourage us to be "little ladies", my parents are also big on being more well rounded then the daughters of the earlier twentieth century.
I have always considered myself a boy. Even though in my life I have had a great deal of feminine influence that has never changed the fact that I am a boy. I have four older sisters and a twin sister. My extended family is also very girl heavy, out of the 42 cousins in my family only 13 of us our male. I think that growing up with so many different female influences on us has shaped me and my male cousins into a very interesting blend of the male gender with feminine influence.
I have many female tendencies, the main one that I notice almost always is that I usually hold grudges for a very long time. I don't want to offend anyone but in my personal opinion girls are much more likely to hold grudges. They also tend to be better at it too. I think that because of the fact that I grew up laying almost exclusively with girls I learned this behavior from them.
I think that due to my unique upbringing as one of the only male children in a very, very large extended family has affected the way I see things. Despite the fact that I identify myself as a male, I am a bit more gender neutral than I would like to admit. I have the mindset of a male that has been shaped into a mold that can only be classified in it's own catagory by females.
Since I was a little girl, I think I had always known what my gender was. I know that my parents played a huge role in determining what my gender was going to be. I also think that society itself had a huge impact on me. Because of that, I think that is natural to assume that if your sex is female, then you're gender is a female as well. However, I know that in some cases it is different and that is one of the most courageous things I think anyone can ever establish. While choosing for yourself, your own gender is important, I think that there is a time in life where kids aren't old enough to make their own decisions about who they want to be. When you are 2 or 3 years old, I doubt that anyone has any idea about what gender is. That is why parents play a crucial role in how they influence the gender decisions of their child.
There have been many times in my life where my gender has been established. The first time I remember is when I was probably 5 or 6 years old. My favorite artist was Britney Spears and I wanted to be just like her. Since society has determined that the feminine gender is being pretty and sexy, I think Britney Spears covers that role perfectly. I remember watching her on TV and my mom would always wrap my shirt up to look just like her and I would dance to the song "Hit Me Baby One More Time". At the time I probably didn't know it, but my mom was helping me establish my gender by trying to make me look pretty like Britney Spears. Since I have two brothers, I think that she wanted me to be a girly girl. I don't think she could deal with all that masculinity in the house. Every girl needs some time to act feminine and release their inner woman. Not only did her influence help me determine who I was going to be, but society had an influence over her decisions as well.
Now my mom knew that she had to let me have a say in how I wanted to define myself. She knew that only letting her decisions influence what my gender was going to be was not fair. Every time she would sign me up for activities she would always ask me if I wanted to do it, whether it was t-ball or ballet. She did not fail at letting me make my own decisions at a young age. When I was little I did dance and t-ball. One day I remember I had a play-off t-ball game and right after my game I had to go straight to a dance recital. I think that the activities that I participated in helped me determine my gender as well.
I define my gender as a female. Even though I choose to participate in activities that might seem more masculine (according to society) such as softball, basketball, or any other sport, I love dressing up and looking cute for a fun night out with the girls. I guess you could call me a feminine tomboy.
A parody is one example of satire. It is basically used to show foolishness in humans, organizations, or governments. It usually ridicules society to effect political or social change. Weird Al Yankovic's songs are a perfect example of parodies.
Weird Al is an artist who creates parodies of many popular songs. Specifically in this song he uses the song "Beat It" by Michael Jackson to help him send a message out to our society. In this parody, he is basically arguing that Americans take things for granted and are very stubborn. He says at one point, "Well don't ya know that other kids are starving in Japan, so eat it, just eat it!" This argues that Americans are picky which proves that we take things for granted. He is criticizing the way Americans are by creating a song that calls them out on their mistakes. If people know about the embarrassing truth, they are bound to change sooner or later.
Ever since I was a little kid I never really saw people by there sex but just by who they are. When we had recess I played with both girls and boys. I played the same way every time and the girls seemed like they did not mind. I think they just liked that i was having fun and they were having fun. Also I am pretty sure that the girls did not want to be placed in a different category because they are girls. In elementary girls were pretty tough and if they did not want to role with the punches then they would not join in. Even when we would play basketball, when girls would join in I would play the same every time. I do not think that the other girls minded but I know the other boys minded because they had a different mentality then me. The other boys would say, "Bro you bogus. Why are playing so hard against them?" I would reply and say, "I am going to play the same way every time because I do not see them as girls I see them as players." I did not think that the girls wanted to be grouped in a different category because they are girls. I had the same mentality throughout middle school too.
When I got to high school my perception on girls started to change. I did see girls as different and when girls did ask to play I starting going easy on them. When I got to high school I got much bigger and stronger and I knew that girls would get hurt if they tried to play with us. Now that sounds mean but it is not because they are girls. It is because they are not as big and strong as we are. There are some games that girls can play with us but some of the games they cannot play with us. Then the guy looks like the bad person when the girl gets hurt. So I think there are certain restrictions that men and women should abide by. Men and women were made differently and should in some ways be held by different standards.
I have never really thought of anyone in my life to "construct gender" in one way or the other. The closest thing I can think of is how I look up to the women in my family as particular kinds of role models. My grandmother is one of the strongest people I know. She is tough and smart and nobody messes with her or her family. She also is always dressed nicely and wears pretty jewelry and treats my sisters and I to incredibly girly outings and shopping trips. My grandmother has four daughters, my aunts, and they are just as wonderful. They are, respectively, a doctor, an accountant, a pilot, and a teacher. My own mother is the best role model for a girl I can think of and I now realize that I have based a lot of what I think I should be like on her. She is gorgeous and smart and always knows what she is doing. One of the things I love about her is that she is not confined by any gender stereotypes. She is a wonderful mother to my brothers and sisters and I, she is a smart and skilled businesswoman and entrepenuer, a natural athlete, has great style and class, and she loves my dad. Speaking of whom, my father is an incredible role model as well. He is admired by all of us kids but in a particular way by my brothers, the kind of way that I admire my mother.
As far as gender goes, I do believe there are certain sets of decorum that men and women should abide by. And I know that it is never appearance or wealth or other material things but rather content of character that a person should be judged by. But I am comfortable with my gender and I frankly have no qualms about being pressured into one stereotype or another because I have a wonderful family to learn from and admire. Of course, I also hope to be a role model myself for my younger sisters and brothers.
I could write a book on my gender experiences. It all started in third grade, where I was the only girl whose hair was cut like a boys. I remember a classmate telling me, "You should be careful. Its not okay for a girl to look like a guy." I refused to wear skirts or dresses from age eight to twelve, unless my parents forced me to on special occasions. I wore jeans and black baggy t shirts to hide my chest. Growing up meant a seperation into two groups of guy and girl, and I didn't want to be treated in a seperate way. I was always a girl, but a changing body meant I was turning into a woman, which is much different from a little girl.
Middle school was a brand new place to everyone, there were so many new faces and new people who didn't know me, and I came in with short hair and baggy clothes. It hurt, but it was actually interesting in a way, because I didn't have a gender at that time. I literally was neither boy or girl. Half thought I was a gay boy, the other half thought I was a lesbian girl. I was stressed over the fact that I would be called a "fucking faggot who should go kill himself" or asked about "my lesbian sex life" but I felt accomplished in some way because I wasn't one gender that had its stereotypes and gender expectations
I was young and felt pressure that I had to choose a gender, and I did in the worst way, and I shouldn't have done it because I regret it now. I grew my hair, and went to Forever 21 for the prettiest outfits, that shined like a diamond. I suddenly wanted to be the desirable female and like I mentioned in my other post I had an eating disorder for a while. In sophmore year, I realized this fake look wasn't truly me, so I cut my hair and thew away the clothing.
I wear baggy t-shirts, but I do wear skirts and dresses. I like being both and not put in one gender. Its nice to wear a dress and be fashionable, and its nice to be comfortable in an oversized concert shirt. I know people in my classes and my friends know that I am a girl, but my gender is still neither to the world. In public, its in question when they say "Can I help you...young man? Or are you a girl?" Or they just say what they think, like when the librarian said she was busy helping me, a young man. A few months ago, a woman thought my boyfriend and I were a gay couple. About every week something about what gender I am comes up or is in question by someone.
I am gender blind, I don't define anyone as "just a girl or just a guy". I do realize that stereotypes do exist and there are expectations for two genders, but not for me, I view people as third gender. Gender is such a prison, you should go out and do what you want even if its a "boy activity" or a "girl activity".
Women and how their bodies were portrayed in the media. This one blogger is upset and outraged about how women's bodies are portrayed in the media. So this blogger is outraged by this particular magazine called Sports Illustrated. In Sports Illustrated they the famous edition called the Swimsuit Edition. This part of the magazine shows women in little swimsuits showing there bodies from head to toe. Now this year the magazine really outraged females because in its famous Swimsuit Edition the model was posing nude in the middle of the winter. The model was white, had blond hair, had blue eyes, and a perfect female figure that everyone wants.
Since this is a sports illustrated magazine then the target audience is obviously males because men watch a lot of sports and buy these types of magazines. So the editor decided to put in this swimsuit edition so that guys could look and enjoy women's bodies. Which depicts women as beautiful sex objects. On the flip side men are not the only target audience. When women see or view these magazines then the magazine sends out a message that women should look like the models in the magazine. Of course that is the image that women take from the magazine. The women who are the models in the magazine are terrorised by the media because they are putting a bad image in women's minds that they have to look like this models and when they can not look like these models then they are view in society as ugly. So society puts them at fault for these types of image.
I agree with this blogger because it was right on the money. She really explained her argument well and she was right about everything. The editor of this magazine put this swimsuit edition for men to view and idealize women and then on the other hand it puts the ideal in women's mind that they have to look like the models and if they do not then they are doomed by society.
I remember in elementary school that I was the biggest tom boy and I enjoyed it. People would call me little dude and all I would wear is baggy clothing. But as I got older and went to middle school and high school I matured, obviously. I began to wear more feminine clothing and acted more like a lady. I don't see myself as a girly girl or very feminine but that might be partly because I don't want to be seen that way. I want to be seen as a strong girl that makes her own decisions who's different from everyone else. I want to be independent and make my own rules, but I'm pretty sure that's what most women would want.
Although it seems easy to take control, it really isn't. It's hard to be the inferior character in a relationship because both people want it and because it's natural for a man to have it, they are the ones to usually succeed. I personally am not a big relationship girl so I can't really compare myself in a relationship but I have witnessed many good ones. My sister and also some of my friends have had strong relationships but still shaky in some areas. It's more difficult than it looks, especially because all the T.V. shows and movies make it seem so easy or make the female character not mind being the non dominant character. I personally watch all of the cliche shows like the Bachelor, Glee, Gossip Girl, Awkward, and all of those shows. In every single one of those shows show a woman that tries to be the dominant one but ends up failing or being satisfied. In the Bachelor these girls change completely around the guy and say that they will do anything to make them happy and that they will take care of them in terms of being the house wife. Now, I've never seen the Bachelorette so I can't compare the two but I assume it's the same way in terms of the guy saying he'll protect them and never leave them. The shows I watch are entertaining and that's what they're there for, even though I may not agree completely. You just have to remember that there shows and generally completely unrealistic.
While checking out Rookie (which is proving to be addictive, thanks Mr. Heidkamp), I found this article How To Be a Lady. Remember that thing called the Cult of True Womanhood that we were talking about in class and it is really ancient but for some reason still has repercussions in today's society? Yeah, that thing. It's really important to learn about it because, if you are a woman, you actually aren't one until you know it by heart. You should say it before you go to bed every night. Lucky for you, this Rookie article will help explain some of it to you. Especially about education:
"School may seem tedious and uninteresting to you because you are a girl, but it can have its benefits. You learn important subjects like writing, baking, and sewing. All of these skills are extremely applicable to your life beyond high school. You may choose to be a secretary or a housewife or a secretary who just has a job to support herself until she becomes a housewife. Your life is full of choices."
Beautiful. Pure poetry. Just the thing for the modern woman, who is now being forced to go to school. Your life really is full of options; about half the world is men, so just pick a good one, okay? Make sure you get all A's so that you can write grocery lists, bake your hubbie cookies, and sew him colorful ties. What else could you possibly aspire to do?
I grew up with only two older brothers, all of us are three years apart. Throughout my childhood I constantly strived for the acceptance with the boys beacuse I was surrounded by their little clique constantly. My street was one of those blocks that played ghost in the graveyard nightly, but my experiences were always limited. Seeing as I was the youngest and the only girl majority of the time, it took years before I was permitted to hide without the constant guidance of one of my brothers.
These patterns continued on for the rest of my childhood. Although I did enjoy polly pockets and playmobile dolls to a certain extent, I was always more drawn to the games of Mario Party, Super Smash Bros and Halo that my brothers were always so focused on mastering. No matter how talented I got concerning these video games, playing catch or keeping the secret of the fireworks that we would light off in the street when none of our parents were watching, I was never completely immersed in all of our street's activities.
Growing up in a house where teenage brattiness or any type of complaining would be met with immediate corporeal punishment by my brothers chastened me in limiting how much of my girly teenager side I would ever let filter through. I still fell into the abercrombie skinny jeans, uggs and a north face fad that all middle school girls obsess over, and many more trends to follow. But always I was extremely hesitant in asking my parents about buying any of these things for me because the "oooh wittle teenage Meghan is fitting in with all the cool kids!!" taunts never seemed worth trying to fulfill each and every detail to these teenage trends.
I appreciate these taunts and lessons now, as annoying as they can still be they have removed any last drop of materialistic or bratty blood from my body. But the constant limitations I was faced with and never feeling overly girly or ever like a tom boy, has given me a fairly neutral perspective on gender discriminations in our world. I'm glad that I am able to relate to twice as many people over random things, even if people wouldn't expect me to be a Mario Kart champion.
One summer I spent some time chopping wood as part of a service project in Wisconsin. We were split into groups of boys and girls, piled into a truck, and then driven to a site. A guy with a chain saw would meet us there and he would slice an enormouse, branchless tree into these huge slabs for us to split and pile in the back of a truck. As we lamented the summer heat and the camps modesty policy on shirts, one of the boys gave me a look and said something about girls not being able to take their shirts off. I said, no, the rule applied to both sexes and why couldn't I? He then looked at me and said "Girls have boobs."
Wait, wait, hold on, I do? I had no idea! I had no idea that I had a body! Geez, when did that happen? There must be something wrong with having one, right? Clearly there's something inately sinful in merely possessing boobs, because otherwise why would I have to wear my shirt when he doesn't? He doesn't have boobs. So he shouldn't have to wear his shirt, right? Because wearing a shirt has absolutely nothing to do with discouraging flirting on the camp by keeping all our sexy bodies fully clothed. No, no, if that was true then it would mean he would have to wear his shirt as well, even though he doesn't have boobs, because I am physically attracted to his body the way he is to mine. Of course thats makes no sense right? Girls just have to wear their shirts because it's sinful to have boobs.
I'm sorry, but could we stop the idea that somehow only girls are sexual and therefore must be covered up simply for BEING girls? In some more conservative circles of society, women are made to feel ashamed, grossed out, and disgusted by there bodies simply because of the beautiful shape their sexual capabilities have taken. Every girl will one day find that she has arrived at womanhood and she should not be made to feel ashamed of her body merely for being a body. This is perfect example of how much of society is still veiwed through a male lens. If womens' persepctive was also taken into account, there would be a social pressure on men to also dress modestly. It's not even just modesty, but simply the idea of a women's body being scandalist just by existing. She is something to be covered up and mocked. This double standard is part of the chain that makes it impossible for women to simply be people and not an appearance.
Do men have boobs? No. No, they don't. But they certainly have sexual bodies. And there's nothing wrong with that.
For this week's blogging assignment, we're going to get a bit personal. Write about how you construct gender in your own life.
This post can take many forms: a reflection of the choices you have made and the person you are or hope to be; a narrative of a moment in which the limits of your gender became clear or when you identified yourself or someone else identified you exclusively by your gender; another form -- video, presentation, etc -- which suits you.
When considering how you construct gender, consider in what ways you define yourself or others (individuals or institutions) define you as male or female, feminine or masculine, or as something in between or outside those categories. You might also talk about the ways you attempt to defy or subvert those categories. You might discuss your appearance, your behavior, the TV shows you watch .... Just try to be as specific as possible and avoid making universalizing statements that claim to speak for everyone.
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As noted in class, here is a great example of what we are calling a "feminist critique" -- in this case it's in video form and focuses on the portrayals of women in video games. Quick vocabulary explanation: "tropes" is another name for a stereotype or a common/cliched representation.
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Extra credit (if you did not do it in the last blogging cycle): Discuss a work of contemporary American satire -- a film, TV show, song, etc, from the last few years that uses the techniques of satire to make a larger point about society. Even though we are in a unit on constructing race, your example does not need to involve race as its primary subject matter.
Your post should include the following:
1. A summary of the work of culture -- maybe including a link to a video or lyrics.
2. An analysis of how the work uses techniques of satire -- irony, hyperbole, understatement, and/or parody.
3. An analysis of how the work is not simply making fun of certain people or institutions but how the work is trying to criticize and ultimately change society.
Note that we're asking you to do more than just #1 -- giving us an example. You need to analyze that example.