Archive | 11:38 pm

Les Miserables

5 Oct

This Christmas, the critically- acclaimed musical, Les Miserables, is coming to the big screen! This is a film that I am really looking forward to, having seen it performed on stage; I think it will be interesting to see how it translates as a film. Setting aside the artistic genius displayed on stage, the story provides several complex issues involving women, one of which I thought related to the recent topics in class.

A female in the musical, Fantine, bares an illegitimate child. Upon discovering this, the women of the town shun her and they band together in hope of having her removed. The men begin thinking of her as a whore.

It is with this mindset that the foreman makes an advance, which Fantine blatantly rejects. Fantine is thrown out because of this.

I find this interesting for multiple reasons:

  1. The women are coming together to tear another woman  apart. It is amazing that they can be so cold to one of their own; however, it is common in so many scenarios. We have seen this in Women and Politics. It occurred during the Women’s Movement and during the introduction of contraceptives. Women will react to the situation without placing them in the other female’s shoes. They don’t think: What if this happened to me?
  2. Although it is frowned upon that Fantine has an illegitimate child, the men encourage it by making advances on her.
  3. The reason she is thrown out is opposing the advance. I think it is the idea of expectation. Society expects you to fit into the mold it creates for you, or else. Women shunned her because she did not fit the mold of a wholesome woman. Men shunned her because she did not fit the stereotype of a slut.I have included the trailer for the movie. It’s EPIC. Check it out.

What do you think the mold for women in society looks like today?

Female Scientists Face Bias

5 Oct

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/science/bias-persists-against-women-of-science-a-study-says.html?_r=0

I remember when I was a little girl thinking that I wasn’t good at math and science. This was mostly because I believed girls just weren’t good at math or science. In my mind it was okay because girls were good and art and English, subjects I would rather be good at anyway.

Why did I believe this? Because teachers told me.

I remember my teachers saying that boys thought math and science were easier, while girls thought English was easier. Looking back, I know this gave me a license to not try as hard in math and science. If I was doomed to be bad, why even try? This societal gender bias held me back in my studies. The article I found says female scientists, even accomplished ones, are held back by gender bias, too.

Society has programmed us to think of women as dumb and clueless and of men as the scientists and innovators. Women in science were less desired as employees and received lower pay. The worst part of the study was that even female scientists were biased against their own sex. Female science professors have lower expectations of their female students then their male students.

What can we do to change this perception? Women should be free to excel in all fields, and not be held back just because of gender bias.