Gender Struggle

June 8, 2009
By Marie Cunningham BRONZE, River Forest, Illinois
Marie Cunningham BRONZE, River Forest, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Women are criticized and judged far more harshly then men. From Sexuality, the working world, school, homework, and the image the media feeds. Women have so much pressure to be perfect which is pretty, skinny, popular and a women cannot be too sexually active but may not be too prude. Yet everyone’s definition of prude or slut varies, thus making it impossible to be neither in today’s society. Women also trying to succeed in the working world struggle in the male dominant world we still live in today. Yes, there are many big successful women, but the many who helped her and surround her are successful men. Women have to be even more dominant and have stronger male characteristics to succeed and be noticed. Women in the working world were supposed to shed their femininity. Women cannot be whom they may want to be and may be confused. Many young girls who hit puberty or the teenage years struggle because they feel suppressed which can lead to depression and anger and turn into other negative outlets. They see their magazines and the images they are to uphold which are to be pretty ad that is all that they feel their self worth is bases upon. Women are in a male dominant society and they have to be either compared to as men to succeed to be a pretty perfect woman and succeed at being the pretty trophy wife.

For my action research I interviewed both men and women of all varied ages. I asked, do you think society makes women the sluts and men applauded for such behavior? All men and women of all answered almost always yes to this. I asked my mother why she thought that was so. My mother said it was because women used to need to be pure so that the father would know the child was his because she had sex with only one person. Thus men became obsessive with women being pure and having sex with only them. I rebutted that question with if that is so then how come with DNA testing why has society not changed? My mom answered, “Identity or gender role”. She then went into a rant, which used to be dirty or impure and men call women prude to receive sex and use women and when they want to marry they want a pure women usually. I also asked, “Do you think men should be dominate?” The men usually said yes if they were younger and the older men slit with yes and no’s. The women usually said no. I asked a young teenage boy why he said yes. He said, “Males dominant society and are the dominant species. Men make the rules. Men talk and women don’t stick up for themselves. Men want sex and as do women.” His answers were blatant but honest. Women feel inferior and some men agree that they should. It was how they were raised and taught. Women feel inferior because people think they should be sometimes. Women may disagree but I think everyone is guilty of contributing to the factors of male dominance. Society is very much so run this way.

The big heroic man almost always saves women in the movies. Hardly or ever have I seen a women save the man in trouble or even really save the day in the movie. Women are often the sidekick s if anything, but more often the beautiful dismal in distress. In the movies men usually dominate and run things. The women are also usually beautiful, skinny and attractively dressed in tight or revealing clothing to make them sexually attractive. They are often far more skimpily dressed then the men.
A woman portrayed in television is unrealistic and demeaning of women. Women should not have to be sex objects on television to get attention. My personal opinion is biased but it is how many believe women on television are seen as. This makes women feel inferior to not only men due to the roles they play in movies but women are affected by the movie star women on the screen that do not look like ordinary women.

After reading Where Are We? Which is an article From the Gender Knot by Allan G Johnson. In this article men and women come together for a workshop on gender issues in the workplace. Twenty- five men and women wrote the advantages and disadvantages the other gender has. The men and women’s lists were shockingly pretty similar. The article shows how women are disadvantaged and how women have to become more masculine to succeed in such a society. Our society is patriarchal one, as in which men are the breadwinners and even when women succeed it is hard for them to identify to the men stereotype. One of having a wife at home working, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids. Women lose their feminity and have to be tougher and more aggressive than even the men around them to succeed. This is just one of the many reasons women are so discriminated against in society. Women are in patriarchal society where men are the leaders and even those very successful women are surrounded by men who helped them get where they are today. When women and men scribbled down the disadvantages for women in the work world the results were depressing for women and made the men embarrassed and uncomfortable. Women weren’t known as just a manager but the “women” manager. In such a patriarchal society it is so hard to break such bonds and its thread so sewn throughout our culture. I think that the article’s content is believable and honest, a man writes and his news would be less biased than that of a woman. Even in the experiment the men agreed to many of the women’s numerous disadvantages. I think this article is credible and I agreed with a lot of its content, views, ideas and theories. It is applicable to my work because I am searching for how women are so disadvantaged what men really think if women and the way society are. Men don’t really maybe want society to change due to the advantages they have. It would be hard to live such a lifestyle. The problems are almost too overwhelming and many like to turn their head the other way.

In Oppression by Marilyn Frye, the article explains the oppression of women. Another subject upon this is it touches base with women and especially younger women being stuck between sexual activity being right and wrong and too what extent. Women are being called loose and whores which is punishment for being sexually active and prude if not active enough. Women are caught between two huge pressures and there seems to be no right answer to escape the criticism. Oppression even comes with how women dress. If they dress a certain way they are saying one is sexually available and if they dress another way they are communicating that they do not care about themselves or are unfeminine. Women are judged far more then men could be proved just in some of the evidence here. Women are criticized far more than men. How they dress, talk and act. Women are judged by how an outfit can judge how they feel about themselves. Women are constantly judged for their behavior and men do not have to face such cruelty in this category. Men are rarely called whores but instead applauded for such behavior. Men can be very sexually active and be a stud. A woman who is known to do too much would be harshly criticized or men would approach her because she was labeled as easy. This is hard for women to cope with and decide how to act on this because it can really influence their identity. The article may have a slight bias toward women because a woman wrote it. Much of the material or content was solely toward women’s oppression. I felt that many of the exampled oppressions were valid. Many if not all women face those problems that were written. This material is useful because it brings up how women are so discriminated against and far more harshly judged than men.

The excerpt from the book Teenagers titled Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher was powerful and true. It is the sad truth that girls face once they hit their teenage years. There is so much confusion and emotions and pressure during this period. It talks about the cultures, society’s pressures, and peer pressure. It says that girls split themselves into two selves, one being their authentic self and the other self the socially accepted reflective of how they act in public. Women feel that they are solely defined on appearance. Girls are unable to act in a way, which meets their true wants and needs. A clinical psychologist who is the author of the book really talks seriously and openly with the girls and the daily life they face being a teenage girl. The girls already feel inferior and society pushes these women towards feeling this way because men are predominately dominant. Girls are aware of their lack of power. Girls act in four general ways towards this, they can conform, withdraw, be depressed or get angry and all of which are negative consequences of this. This is relevant to my questions because women are judged more than them because they have to try and compete in a society where men seem to run things. Women shouldn’t have to be below men though, and should be able to run this country just as much as men. Girls feel the need to succeed and get careers. Girls realize though that their society represses them from such views and thoughts and they hide these thoughts. They act out in numerous ways because they feel that their only value is their appearance. This article could be biased because men’s struggles are not all mentioned and another woman once again writes it. I agree with much of what is written and I too can relate to the numerous thoughts and feelings mentioned. This is useful because I am a teenage girl and my life is different than that of a teenage boy. Teenage girls are harshly judged.

I read through many of the older men and women’s magazines. In all of the women’s magazines I saw a majority of the models were all thin and on occasion almost too thin. They were beautiful and there were numerous ads hoping for you to buy the latest makeup or outfit to make you appealing or sexually attractive. Many of the women’s magazines centered on household things or beauty. The teen girl magazines were filled with how to pretty yourself. Men’s magazines were more centered on success, business, money, and athletics. Women magazines being so focused on beauty and physical appearance is harmful. Women feel inferior because they feel far more criticized and judged by appearance then men. Women are supposed to be the beautiful trophies men are rewarded once they become successful. How beautiful the trophy shows how successful the man. Women are told to either be sexual and a slut or prude and clear of sexual activity. There seems to be no line between the two. Women feel inferior because their looks can never measure up to the air brushed magazines men see and compare women to. The bias would be my personal views and interpretations of the magazines. But many of the acts were to make women prettier and sexually appealing. Men are not judged solely on appearance as women more so are. Magazines are a great example of this.

A gender conflict article on A&E shows how women are seen as the silent sex object. Women’s body are for male pleasure which is the most degrading way a women could be seen as. Where this is especially highlighted in is in comedy. This article shows how comedian’s roles can be negative and the laughter they provide is not always what they think it is. At some of these jokes of women and oral sex the older people in the audience would gasp and nervously laugh and look at one another as the younger people laughed at ease and cheered. Our society cannot be so accepting of women and they are being degraded and overly judged. In society women should not be the sex objects and felt that is their worth. They are too judged upon their worth being their sex appeal. It is a bias resource because they may have had their own agenda when they wrote it. This is useful in my work because I want to understand all the sources as to what makes women so judged and make them feel inferior sex objects.

Works Cited
Frye, Marilyn. "Oppression."
Johnson, Allan G. "Where Are We?" From the Gender Knot.
Kibler, Alison M. "Gender conflict and cercion." Pop Culture 32 (1999): 1-9.
Pipher, Mary. Teenagers.

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This article has 1 comment.

Chillout555 said...
on Jul. 14 2009 at 10:21 pm
Congratulations, you have managed to write one of the longest articles I've ever seen on this opinions page on this without including a single fact. Basically, you have managed to write an entire long winded page full of ranting and hot air. Now I know this is the opinions page and you're supposed to post your opinion, but personally I think that you should try to build a rock solid case before you go around badmouthing FORTY NINE PERCENT OF THE HUMAN RACE. You say you're against gender discrimination but that's basically what you're doing. You're writing a page long rant about how Women are so unfairly oppressed by the world, and how all men are just cruel sadistic fiends, who oppress and exploit women just for the heck of it. If I were to use the same flawed emotion base d reasoning that you use liberally throughout the entire page, I would say that you don't actually care about gender discrimination, but just use that as an excuse to further the rights of your own gender (and by extension, yourself) above all others. I will not resort to that kind of reasoning since I have only seen one essay written by you, but I leave you with one final thought. The grass is always greener on the other side, and you should try to see things through other people's shoes before making accusations.

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