Posts Tagged ‘society’

FOR EVERY GIRL WHO IS TIRED OF ACTING WEAK WHEN SHE IS STRONG, THERE IS A BOY TIRED OF APPEARING STRONG WHEN HE FEELS VULNERABLE.

FOR EVERY BOY WHO IS BURDENED WITH THE CONSTANT EXPECTATION OF KNOWING EVERYTHING, THERE IS A GIRL TIRED OF PEOPLE NOT TRUSTING HER INTELLIGENCE.

FOR EVERY GIRL WHO IS TIRED OF BEING CALLED OVER-SENSITIVE, THERE IS A BOY WHO FEARS TO BE GENTLE, TO WEEP.

FOR EVERY WOMAN WHO IS TIRED OF BEING A SEX OBJECT, THERE IS A MAN WHO MUST WORRY ABOUT HIS POTENCY.

FOR EVERY WOMAN WHO FEELS “TIED DOWN” BY HER CHILDREN, THERE IS A MAN WHO IS DENIED THE FULL PLEASURES OF SHARED PARENTHOOD.

FOR EVERY WOMAN WHO IS DENIED MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT OR EQUAL PAY, THERE IS A MAN WHO MUST BEAR FULL FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.

FOR EVERY BOY FOR WHOM COMPETITION IS THE ONLY WAY TO PROVE HIS MASCULINITY, THERE IS A GIRL WHO IS CALLED UNFEMININE WHEN SHE COMPETES.

FOR EVERY WOMAN WHO WAS NOT TAUGHT THE INTRICACIES OF AN AUTOMOBILE, THERE IS A MAN WHO WAS NOT TAUGHT THE SATISFACTIONS OF COOKING.

FOR EVERY GIRL WHO THROWS OUT HER E-Z-BAKE OVEN, THERE IS A BOY WHO WISHES TO FIND ONE.

FOR EVERY BOY WHO IS STRUGGLING NOT TO LET ADVERTISING DICTATE HIS DESIRES, THERE IS A GIRL FACING THE AD INDUSTRY’S ATTACK ON HER SELF-ESTEEM.

FOR EVERY GIRL WHO TAKES A STEP TOWARD HER LIBERATION, THERE IS A BOY WHO FINDS THE WAY TO FREEDOM A LITTLE EASIER.



Original poem can be found at:

http://www.workplacespirituality.info/ForEveryWoman.html

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American boys walk in packs

playing dress up in

small towns, boulevard

walking along panels

illuminated of glass.


American boys get violent

scared straight

sending vibes like

small atom bombs

fallout smells of

musk, fear, Old Spice,

Boy Scouts.

 

American boys and mall-metal podcast

haircuts get the better

of me, an American boy,

hapless in fashion’s prison

culturebound to ignoramus

brethren, fatuous

fumbling for cigarette

taunting nervous girl

as she walks by alone.

 

American boys atomic and atomizing

walk strong in tough

group same shirt

bent brim hat to

Senor Frog shooter

night for to make

get drunk, get pussy,

get real stupid drunk

like television drunk.

 

We too Americans, boys

caught somewhere

nomadic in packs

snapping fingers

giggling in 7/4

rearrangers of names

becoming sounds blasts

of rhythm without

territory or time,

 

We too America(n), boys,

despite it all,

laugh it out

have it out

have a drink

have a smoke

have a conversation

interrupted

by cell phone

new conversation

text message

on virtual

co-planar getting

co-planar getting

sick.

 

Let’s start a fire, America.

Let’s do away with

Boys Who Will Be Boys.

Let’s become something else.

 

-Patrick D. Higgins


 

Do we want the vanilla iced latte or vanilla bean frappuccino? The new Coach purse or next month’s rent? Heels or flats? Highlights or lowlights? America’s Next Top Model or Project Runway? Single or get married?  Let’s look beyond the shoes, the purses, the jewelry, and the clothes. Look beyond the surface.

The reasons women started a revolution for themselves many decades ago are still true today. However, the extraordinary change and growth we have achieved in a single generation is astounding. In a 2009 study the Rockafeller Foundation did, in collaboration with TIME magazine on the battle of the sexes from the 1970’s to the present, Nancy Gibbs describes not only how far women have come, but also how our wants and needs have changed over the years.

In 1848, when Elizabeth Stanton first spoke up about her discontent with the American government and the limitations being placed on women at that time, including their freedom, thus began the movement where women would fight to no longer look to a man for approval. Women would take matters into their own hands, instead of asking for power, they took it themselves. The movement for social, political, and economic equality for both men and women has seen many changes since then, so where are we now?

Gibbs reported that “it is expected by the end of 2009, for the first time in history the majority of workers in the United States will be women. The growth prospects, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are in typically female jobs like nursing, retail and customer service. [However], more and more women are the primary breadwinner in their household (almost 40%) or are providing essential income for the family’s bottom line. Their buying power has never been greater- and their choices have seldom been harder.”

The question that is posed and consistently remains the theme of this article is: is the battle of the sexes really over? Other questions raised about this topic include:

How do men now view female power?

How much resentment or confusion or gratitude is there for the forces that have rearranged family life, rewired the economy and reinvented gender roles?

And, what, if anything, does everyone agree needs to happen to make all this work?

Some of us might know the answer, some of us could see part of the answer in reading this article, and yet the rest of us may never find the answer. But the point is that we agree these aren’t just issues we can sweep under the rug. We need to acknowledge that these issues are real and affect men and women each day.

Remember when you were little and you got all dressed up to go over to grandma’s house for the christmas family reunion? Everyone sat around eating cookies and telling stories about how things used to be “back in the day.” Grandma would say things like “take your education seriously, when I was your age I never had the opportunity to go to college” or “we were never allowed to wear those outfits anywhere, at school our uniform skirts were always measured to our knees, and elsewhere we always wore dresses that covered our arms and it was unheard of to show cleavage. Even at church, we wore dresses, stockings, gloves, and always had to have our heads covered with a Sunday hat or a small cloth that looked like a doilie.” For years and years we heard how our grandmothers, our aunts, our mothers, never had the same opportunities that you and I have today. If you’re like me, you always just responded with “yeah, yeah we know, you had to walk 10 miles to school each day, up hill both ways.”

But what was really going on at that time? What changes were women making, if any? Gibbs brings back the history for us in saying,

“At a time when American society was racing through change like a reckless teenager, feminism had sputtered and stalled. Women’s average wages had actually fallen relative to men’s; there were fewer women in the top ranks of civil service (under 2%) than there were four years before. No woman had served in the Cabinet since the Eisenhower Administration; there were no female FBI agents or network-news anchors or Supreme Court Justices. The nation’s campuses were busy hosting a social revolt, yet Harvard’s tenured faculty of 421 included only six women. Headhunters lamented that it was easier to put a man on the moon than a woman in a corner office.”

A lot of people have said, around this same time is when feminism started to die. That, it was no longer “cool” to be a feminist in our American society. The rallies and riots in the streets and the scenes of women on Capitol Hill burning bras were a thing of the past. (Ah! I so wish I could have been a part of that!) Many said, and still say that the Women’s Movement was a joke, that it was just a bunch of angry women who were constantly PMSing for a couple years and wanted everyone to suffer for it. Men and women, including feminists, have said that there is no movement. That a movement means there is progress, that the cause is “going somewhere,” but the women’s movement won’t accomplish anything, it is not and will not go anywhere.

“[Well] that was a cranky exaggeration; many changes were felt more than seen, a shift in hopes and expectations that cracked the foundations of patriarchy. ‘In terms of real power- economic and political- we are still just beginning,’ Gloria Steinem admitted. ‘But the consciousness, the awareness- that will never be the same.'”

 If we’re being honest here, I agree that the awareness of feminism will never be the same as it was in the 1970’s. However, one stereotype we gladly fulfill, is that we will never go silent. Feminism still lives on, and we’re certainly not about to shut up about it! To all those that say feminism died a long time ago, and to those who constantly reep snobish remarks at women who publicly voice their thoughts of feminism- you may silence few individuals, but you will never silence the movement. Furthermore, as history has shown, we have the cold hard facts to shatter the thoughts and words of all those who said WOMEN CAN’T. The truth never lies my friends.

Today 57% of college students are women. In 1972, 43% were.

In 1972, there were 7  female TV-news correspondents at ABC, CBS, and NBC; out of 153. As of 2009, there 95 out of 252.

21—The median age at which a woman got married for the first time in 1972.

26— The median age at which a woman married for the first time today.

39% of all births are to unmarried mothers. 12% were in 1972.

There were 18,000 women who held a membership with the National Organization for Women, in 1972. As of 2009, the memberships have jumped to 500,000.

There are now 3.3 million married couples in which the wife is the sole earner. That’s 2.4 million more than in 1970.

                                1972: 13%                              2008: 23%

             Percentage of children living with a single mother.

 Exactly 89% of women and 89% of men both agree they are comfortable with the woman in the household earning more money than the man.

40% of women say they are the primary breadwinner in their household

More men (60%) than women (50%) are convinced that there are no longer any barriers to women’s advancement in the workplace.

Forty years ago, 1/3 of all workers were women; now nearly half are. 76% of adults view this as positive for society. AND 80% view this as positive for the economy.

29% of men agree that female bosses are harder to work for than male bosses. 46% of women disagreed.

71% of men are more comfortable than their fathers with women working outside the home.

70% say women are less financially dependent on their spouses than their mothers were.

Men have lost the battle of the sexes. 58% of women disagree and 62% of men disagree.

And as a personal side note: To my fellow sisters, feminazis, and all those in between…don’t ever let someone else take power over you to the point where you feel you cannot speak your mind. Everyone has a voice. Including the really pesky misogynists…if they have a valid argument, bring it on. If they just want to piss you off…I really don’t give a f*** is sometimes the most liberating response. Finally, to all those “closet-feminists” who are sometimes afraid to speak up…this is for you. I hope you join the rest of us soon!

Rock on.

What Is Feminism?

Posted: July 30, 2010 in Feminism, Politics, Sisterhood
Tags: ,

In New York City, there was a boy whose “father was a strict disciplinarian with a harsh temper, and [he] was often the focus of his father’s rage…” The boy grew up, and after many circumstances in which most of the outcome was failure, “He took an apartment on Fourteenth Street in Manhattan, near Sixth Avenue, on a stretch of city block that was then heavy with homelessness and drug dealing. One of the doormen in the building, with whom [he] was close, was beaten badly by muggers… [and] in 1981, [he, himself] was mugged by three black youths as he entered the Canal Street station one afternoon” (147-148). Are you beginning to think this man is bound to hit rock bottom or explode with repressed rage? His name was Bernhard Goetz, and in 1984 he got on a train, in one of the most awful transit systems in the nation, and shot four young black men who were tormenting him. Many people, including psychologists and most of the general public would say it was bound to happen because of Goetz’s life history and a lot of psychological problems. Would you agree that “Crime, isn’t a single discrete thing, but a word used to describe an almost impossibly varied and complicated set of behaviors [?]…To say someone is a criminal is to say that he or she is evil or violent or dangerous or dishonest or unstable or any combination of any those things” (138). What is to be proven in this paper is that Goetz committed those crimes because of the environment that he lived in; the crime was inevitable because the environment he was surrounded by was closer to hell than any other in the nation. To prove this, one must look into the meaning of the Broken Windows theory and the Power of Context; which are both crucial parts to the epidemic theory of crime.

     No one hears of epidemics these days, when we think if it, what first comes to mind is something like the plague or a sickness, but no one thinks of the larger epidemics that have been occurring in society for twenty to thirty years at a time. According to history, the crime epidemic has fluctuated tremendously, and the time period we’re focusing on, 1980s-1990s, was a heat wave no one could forget; especially if you lived in New York. What is an epidemic? What triggers them, and what is the tipping point that allows it to devour society?

Gladwell, in explaining how the Broken Window theory applies to this epidemic theory of crime, says, “[The Broken Window theory] says that crime is contagious—just as a fashion trend is contagious—that it can start with a broken window and spread to an entire community. The Tipping Point in this epidemic, though, isn’t a particular kind of person…It’s something physical like graffiti. The impetus to engage in a certain kind of behavior is… from a feature of the environment” (141-142). In this particular instance, the New York transit systems’ conditions were so appalling, a key figure William Bratton, said “it was like going into the transit version of Dante’s Inferno” (137). Graffiti covered the trains from top to bottom, so much garbage it was hard to see the floor, and “fare-beating was so common it was costing the Transit Authority millions of lost revenue annually.” The epidemic of crime was at its peak because the environment people lived in gave them the assurance that it was acceptable to commit crime and trash the city because no one cared and no one was going to do anything about it. The message the streets of New York, as well as elsewhere throughout the nation, was giving off during the 1980s was the reason for such misconduct.

As criminologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling wanted to put the Broken Windows theory into action, they hired David Gunn as the new subway director for New York to oversee the rebuilding of the subway system. Gunn turned the transit system into something that was such a turn around to what it had been, it could of passed as ‘Pleasantville’s’ regular means for transportation. By not allowing for garbage and graffiti, subconsciously the citizens of New York reacted in a ‘treat others the way you would want to be treated’ sort of way. While this project lasted from 1984-1990, William Bratton, the new police chief, was the next ‘disciple of the Broken Windows theory’ to step in and finish off the second part of this new epidemic to clean up the city. Focusing on the fare-beaters in the transit system, Bratton said, “The idea was to signal, as publicly as possible, that the transit police were now serious about cracking down on the fare-beaters” (pg.145). Bratton’s creativity in outfitting an old city bus into a rolling station house was the brink of the tipping point that brought on such a stifling drop in crime by the mid- 1990s; “the idea was to send an unambiguous message to the vandals themselves” (143). By centering their plan on the small things that were the root cause of the major problems society allowed, was just what the doctor ordered to bring an end to this relentless crime fever.

If the source of crime is in the small things within what our environment provides, how do we determine what they are? To introduce the Power of Context one must know it as an environmental argument. “It says that behavior is a function of social context… [and] you don’t have to solve the big problems to solve crime” (150). The Power of Context suggests that the psychological make-up of a criminal has little to do with why he commits crime; however, it has everything to do with the message that is being sent by the state of his community. “The essence of the Power of Context is that the same thing is true for certain kinds of environments—that in ways that we don’t necessarily appreciate, our inner states are the result of our outer circumstances” (152).

Of course one would question this radical idea because we have always been told that the reasons for why someone becomes a criminal lies in the individual himself. Common ideas of this concept include: 1) “Psychiatrists talk about criminals as people with stunted psychological development;” 2) individuals who grew up without good role models and have had bad relationships with their parents; and 3) the genetic composition of the person. There are more familiar concepts such as 4) “crime [being] a consequence of moral failure;” 5) having a distinguished personality type; 6) people who are not properly taught what is right from wrong; and lastly, 7) individuals “who grow up poor, fatherless, and buffeted by racism and don’t have the same commitment to social norms as those from healthy middle-class homes” (149-150). “What [psychologists] are suggesting is that this is a mistake, that when we think only in terms of inherent traits and forget the role of situations, we’re deceiving ourselves about the real causes of human behavior.” (158) The truth is yes, thousands of people have psychological, emotional, and psychical problems, and they will always be there; they don’t die off or magically recover when the crime wave goes up and down, but it’s the atmosphere that surrounds those people, and the tipping points that compel them to be criminals.

Many scholastic and psychologically driven tests have been done to prove whether these theories are in fact true, or just another opinion. Some have been outrageous, some have caused the most average people to become evil or insane, and some have tested the mere innocence of children. Although these concepts are extremely controversial, “we need to remember that small changes in context can be just as important in tipping epidemics, even though that fact appears to violate some of our most deeply held assumptions about human nature.” (166) It seems that if the theories remain in practice within current community systems, we could see more and more change throughout our nation in the years to come.

Reference: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Alva Belmont (1853-1933)

Suffragist, Reformer, Philanthropist

“I have been crying in the wilderness for wealthy women to give up their leisure and do something to justify their existence- in vain- no reforms appeal to women who have everything,” bemoaned Alva Belmont, who, unlike the rich she criticized, was a major benefactor of the women’s suffrage movement. Belmont, a divorcee, then widow, of two affluent men, gave of herself as well as her fortune. She was a founder of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage and it’s successor, the National Women’s Party.

In 1912 she led a suffrage march in New York City, and five years later, she gave her Washington, DC, house to the NWP as its headquarters, serving as the organization’s president from 1921 until her death. Belmont campaigned for decent working conditions and fair wages for laboring women, supporting the 1909-1910 New York shirtwaist-maker’s strike. She not only raised funds for the cause, but personally went to court to bail out strikers. The owner of several lavish homes, the untiring Belmont also pursued an interest in design, becoming one of the first female members of the American Institute of Architects.

Helen Gurley Brown (born 1922)

Writer, Magazine editor

In 1962, after nearly two decades spent navigating the worlds of white-collar office work and single womanhood, forty-year-old Helen Gurley Brown penned the best-selling self-help guide Sex and the Single Girl. Her book raised the confidence and encouraged the independence of unmarried professional women everywhere, helping to inspire the feminist movement.

Three years later Brown, who had no editorial or journalistic experience, became the editor-in-chief of the fledgling literary monthly Cosmopolitan. She infused the publication with style and bravado and introduced the phenomenon of the modern-day cover girl. Cosmo quickly became one of the country’s most popular magazines, its circulation, under her leadership, increasing from eighty thousand to over two million readers in just a few years. Brown remained Cosmo’s editor for over thirty years, coaching a generation of women to achieve success in love and at the workplace. In 1997, when she took a new post as editor of the magazine’s fifty-nine international editions, the New York Times wrote: “Rarely has a magazine been so strongly identified with one editor for so long.”

Get it girl! Xoxo

Jane Austen (1775-1817)

British Novelist

Her countless complex, silly, endearing, shameful, and inspiring characters remain dear to readers today, but Jane Austen hardly grew up expecting to become one of the most highly regarded authors in the English language. Daughter of an English clergyman, Austen received a casual education at home and enjoyed a close relationship with her sister, Cassandra, while surrounded by six brothers and the young boys enrolled in the Austen’s boarding school. She began writing at an early age, developing a light, satirical voice while expertly delving into human nature in depictions of daily life and human interaction.

Source: Women Who Dare, from the Library of Congress

We Can Do It PosterIn World War II over six million women joined the home front war effort in America, filling jobs that had been exclusively male. Produced by the War Production Co-coordinating Committee, the “We Can Do It!” poster created in 1943 by J. Howard Miller inspired women entering the workforce. 1942’s popular song, “Rosie the Riveter” became a nickname for all women in the war workforce, as well as what this iconic poster became known as. As men returned from WWII, most women left the factories, but the confidence, competence and earning power they had experienced forever changed the American workplace. Over time Rosie has become an icon symbolizing women’s strength, determination and ability to do any job. The Rosie the Riveter advertisement is effective in that it encouraged women to go against their society’s gender norms and generate force behind their new role and service to their country.

            When first visually analyzing this advertisement, we can see that the main elements being projected are attitude and power. The text “We Can Do It!” is large and the only text present; it is significant because in this one short statement, these words of encouragement and confidence had enough power to convince women they could contribute and be just as strong as men. This poster is unique because it portrays feminine and masculine qualities. Rosie is showing feminine qualities by wearing makeup and lipstick, her eyes are large and dramatic, and her hair is curled and pinned up in a red and white polka dot bandana. Contrasting to what qualities women were expected to have in that time period, Rosie is also wearing a men’s work shirt, the symbol on her shirt is a woman instead of a man, her hair is covered, and most importantly she is holding a very strong and masculine stance. Her facial expression shows plenty of attitude, especially with her direct stare, showing no fear or doubt. The advertisement shows that although she might look feminine, her actions show hyper-masculinity. Rolling up her sleeve shows that she is ready to work hard and portrays that she has strength and power that no one knew she possessed.

            In observing the Rosie the Riveter poster, we can similarly compare it to the famous Uncle Sam Wants You poster. Although both were created to persuade men and women separately for different reasons, the confidence and power generated from each are similar. Rosie the Riveter is all confidence and encourages women to take on a new role and embrace their strength. In an androcentric society, this message exerts that women can step out of the homemaker role and can handle the responsibility of a man’s job as well. This debut of strong women everywhere stated that it was women’s time to step up and their opportunity to take on more power. Our government called upon the highly androcentric society of the 1940s and asked women everywhere to reverse their roles and fight the gender norms constructed for them in order to help keep the country running. Rosie the Riveter forced women to be more than what society told them they could be.

            Although modern America has largely evolved from the created roles and values that were enforced in the 1940s and 1950s, R.W. Connell, author of Gender: Short Introductions, makes an observation that can be liberally applied to women’s roles, regardless of the current decade. Connell explains that, “women do most of the housework, in most contemporary societies, and also most of the work of caring for young children. Women are much less likely to be present in the public realm than men, and when they are, they usually have less in the way of resources” (pg.2). This is, in short, what women were faced with when the men of the United States went to war. In this “post-feminist” world, there has been a huge increase in the number of women in the workforce and working the same jobs as men, at usually the same hours or more. However, Connell says that worldwide, women’s average incomes are fifty-six percent that of men’s average incomes. In perspective, our society is economically set up so that women must be dependent upon men.

            “People construct themselves as masculine or feminine. We claim a place in the gender order- or respond to the place we have been given- by the way we conduct ourselves in everyday life” (Connell, 28). The Rosie the Riveter advertisement was effective in that it sparked a revolution that allowed women to take power for themselves and generate a force that was bigger than them, to accomplish new roles and responsibility in order to serve their country. However, from the historical demands from reform of social movements regarding women in the workforce, reproductive rights, homosexual law and many more, we still see today that there is unequal respect amongst the relations between men and women in our society. Gender is completely socialized by the people we surround ourselves with and by our relations with the values and beliefs that our social structures provide. Cultural patterns differ, yet gender will always be taught. We must stray away from the thought that the human race is so black and white, and try to reform what has been instilled inside us by learning that gender is just another social structure in our society.