Archive by Author

Men Are Doing More

9 Dec

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Amazing news: Men are doing more housework. Women in relationships are no longer expected to be the sole chore-doers.

According to an article on Yahoo News, cleaning brands are starting to market more to men, do to the changing relationship dynamic.This was the first year in Tide’s 66 year history they showed a husband doing laundry in their ads. And men are starting to be featured more in diaper commercials.

As of 2011, Men do 16 minutes of housework a day, up 2 minutes from 2003. Women do 52 minutes of housework a day, down 6 minutes from 2003. There is a huge discrepancy towards the time commitment between men and women, but I’m willing to accept progress as progress.

After all, men do a third of the housework today (I’d prefer 1/2, but we’ll get there). That’s way up from men doing less than 1/5 of housework in 1965. Generationally, men doing housework is more acceptable. Sociologist Dr. Scott Coltrane describes it best, “Gender roles fall away when they no longer make sense.”

Heroine Worship

9 Dec

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This past year in movies has arguably been a great one for women. From Snow White and the Huntsman, Brave, and the Hunger Games, movies introduced young brave women who aren’t afraid to kick some ass.

Not everyone’s happy about it though. Movie critic, Frank Parlato, recently quit his job because he disapproves of the roles these women are given in movies. “I don’t want to publish reviews of films where women are alpha and men are beta,” he wrote. “Where women are heroes and villains and men are just lesser versions or shadows of females.”

One movie he used as an example was Snow White and the Huntsman, which showed Snow White overcoming vulnerability, donning armor, and charging into war against the evil queen. This, Parlato claims, is “a Hollywood agenda of glorifying degenerate power women and promoting as natural the weakling, hyena-like men, cum eunuchs.”

Why does his opinion matter? According to an article from the New York Times, it matters because Hollywood is known for over-sexualizing and degrading women, and it’s surprising that in this day and age some positive portrayal of strong women in movies can be so threatening.

Hollywood is arguably one of the most sexist industies, argues the article. Smart well-rounded characters, like Hermione Granger, are only the sidekicks. Women aren’t heroes unless it’s in a ‘chick-flick’ which, of course, men would not want to see anyway. Who want’s to see a woman be the hero?

Even in comedies women aren’t funny, men are. Katherine Hiegl made Hollywood universally angry when she called Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, sexist. She argued that the movie is “a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. … I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?”

Hiegl was right, frankly, it doen’t matter how deeply immature a guy is, hot girls are gonna sleep with them anyway. And those girls are gonna be bitches and the guys are gonna be goofy and adorable. If the girl is funny, it’s because she’s dumb. That’s how comedy’s framed.

Any female heroes stereotypically are obsessed with their love lives. The chick-flick is basically a love lusting woman looking for a perfect man. Movies featuring heroines like Katniss Everdeen should be a breath of fresh air, proving that a female hero can focus on other things beyond her love life.

Hollywood, luckily, is beginning to move past gender roles for heroines. Supporting movies like the Hunger Games can make this progress more permanent. I hope we see a lot more Katniss Everdeen types of heroines in the future!!!

The (Edited) War on Men

8 Dec

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When Fox News released an Op-Ed, called the War on Men, it became an anger-inducing, viral sensation. The author argued that women don’t get married anymore because men are pissed off at feminism. Specifically, men feel that “women aren’t women anymore.”

She argued that in order to get married, women needed to surrender to their femininity and assure men of their bread-winning status. She states that, “the so-called rise of women has not threatened men. It has pissed them off. It has also undermined their ability to become self-sufficient in the hopes of someday supporting a family. Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them.”

Understandably, the article made a lot of women upset (me included), so the author recently posted an article to clarify what she had meant. She argues that men and women are fundamentally different, no matter what feminists say. A woman’s success in the workplace does threaten men, so don’t brag about it. A man can’t get pregnant so success in the workplace is all he’s got, allow him to provide.

“Just because you make your own money doesn’t mean your guy can’t pay the bill. Just because you value independence doesn’t mean you can’t take your husband’s last name. Just because you can do the same job a man can do doesn’t mean you need to let him know it.”

She goes on to say that surrendering to your femininity means being ok with the guy being in charge. We’re equal, but he doesn’t need to know it. Even though this article isn’t as provocative as the first, I’m still dissatisfied.

Women can play whatever role they want to in a marriage, and if the guy is truly right for them it shouldn’t cause friction. A wife being happy about a promotion or excited about a project at work shouldn’t damage her marriage. Neither should the decision for the wife or the husband to be a stay-at-home parent.

The same argument is at play: that the woman shouldn’t express her desires or successes if she wants her relationship to work.

My argument is that traditional gender roles shouldn’t dominate the success of a marriage. The love and commitment of the two partners should.

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Offensive?….

7 Dec

Ellen DeGeneres is a lovable, quirky woman. Hardly someone that would be caught offending anyone.

The activist group One Million Moms have called this JCPenney commercial with Ellen Degeneres offensive. Why? Because Ellen is an openly gay woman.

The content of the commercial isn’t an issue for One Million Moms, a group closely tied to the American Family Association, the group is offended more by JCPenney’s decision to hire her and feature her on commercials. Their complaints really don’t go beyond that… they are just angry that Ellen isn’t being judged, criticized, and outcast for her sexuality.

“Since April, JC Penney’s has not aired Ellen DeGeneres in one of their commercials until now,” the group said. “A new JCP ad features Ellen and three elves. JCP has made their choice to offend a huge majority of their customers again. Christians must now vote with their wallets. We have contacted JC Penney’s several times in the past with our concerns, and they will not listen. They have decided to ignore our complaints so we will avoid them at all costs.”

One Million Moms has a right to be against whatever they choose to be. With the gradual changing of public opinion towards LGBT rights and the upcoming Supreme Court case on gay marriage, the country is clearly going in a different direction than they want it to. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad direction or one that we should not take.

Hopefully, in the future they’ll view Ellen based on her personality and not want her shunned for her sexuality. The rest of the country has.

Not Buying it

7 Dec

ImageThe problem with this birthday card is pretty obvious… I was as boy obsessed as the next 13 year old, but telling a young woman that she needs to find a rich boyfriend to dote upon her and that this will only happen when she gets big boobs is shockingly offensive. A 13 year old girl has only just left childhood and she’s already being told that she needs to be dependent, materialistic, and have big boobs. As soon as she hits 13 is she supposed to reevaluate what gives her self worth?!? Great message…

This sexist Hallmark card was posted on Twitter in the UK. It was re-posted and criticized so much that Hallmark has stopped selling it less than 6 hours later. This was in part of MissRepresentation’s #NotBuyingIt campaign. Its amazing that we have the power as consumers to eliminate sexist products like this from society. We’re nowhere where we need to be, but it’s great that consumer action helped pull this off the shelves. 🙂

Politics of Reality Response

2 Dec

The Politics of Reality starts by explaining that lesbians do not technically exist. Sarah Hoagland explains that the insulting decision to not define lesbians should be seen as liberating. These women can define themselves.

This may be an optimistic take, but the fact remains that lesbians were so excluded that they were denied a definition. The article goes on to explain that those who would willfully exclude a definition of lesbians lose the right to define them because of their apparent bias.

Oppression is controlled by whoever is in power. The article explains that the roots of reality lie in power; the very word reality is rooted from ‘regal’. Whatever those in power acknowledged or saw was reality. Whatever those in power hose not to see does not exist.

That was the activity in class last Monday. Our groups consisted of the outsiders, the observers, and those in the spotlight. We demonstrated this by either standing in the hallway, watching those on the table, or standing on the table with a bright light on our faces.

As the outsiders in the hallways, we represented an oppressed group, like the lesbians. As observers we represented the rest of accepted society. The focal point for the observers was the group on the table, it was hard to pay attention to anything else. As the group on the table, we represented those in power. With the light in our faces, we could not see the observers at all, and we knew that the oppressed were not even in the room.

It was an interesting experiment, reading the article helped me understand it more.

Do women want to be objectified?

20 Nov

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While I was taking a homework break, I stumbled on an interview with Cameron Diaz. She was saying how she believes stripping down is empowering, and how all women secretly want to be objectified.

“I think every woman does want to be objectified,” the 40-year-old Diaz said. “There’s a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think it’s healthy.”

Diaz related it to being comfortable stripping down for the camera.  “I’m not some young girl with the photographer going, ‘Will you take your clothes off?’ I’m like [mimes stripping], ‘How does this look?’ They’re like, ‘Today we’re not going to put anything other than bras and heels on you,’ and I’m like, ‘These heels are not high enough.'”

She argued that as long as she’s in control of it, she’s happy being objectified because its apart of her femininity.

Do women want to be desired? Of course, men do too. It’s a natural human longing to be wanted based on your sexual appeal. But objectified?… Being stripped of your human traits to some sex object in the eyes of a man is exactly why sexual assault and rape happens… Denying seeing a sexy woman as a human being is what leads to the pervasiveness of sexism in society.

Women shouldn’t like being objectified, they should like being seen as a woman: sexy, smart, strong, someone with a personality…not an object. So when Cameron Diaz says all women want to be objects, she’s not talking about me.

What do you guys think?

A Human Right

18 Nov

The UN recently declared that birth control is now a universal human right. Women deciding when they have children and how many directly effects their quality of life.  The UN study reports:

“Studies have shown that investing in family planning helps reduce poverty, improve health, promote gender equality, enable adolescents to finish their schooling, and increase labourforce participation.

When a woman is able to exercise her reproductive rights, she is more able to benefit from her other rights, such as the right to education. The results are higher incomes, better health for her and her children and greater decision-making power for her, both in the household and the community.”

I’m very happy that the UN has acknowledged the importance of birth control access, but real change can’t come until society changes. One example the report cited is that the Catholic churches influence in the Phillapines has completely prevented poor women from getting birth control. Lower income countries also suffer access problems. Hopefully, family planning will be more affordable and accessible as time passes.

Not Nearly Enough

13 Nov

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I was thrilled watching so many women get elected on Election Night. A historic amount of women were elected: 20 senators and 81 representatives. After all the sexism in the campaign, these women have shown that women’s voices are heard and respected by constituents.

I found an article that argued that even though women have made gains, they still haven’t made enough. According to their research, female politicians are more effective when the amount of females match that of men. If that’s true, women have a long way to go before garnering significant political influence…. It’s a little depressing.

Women make up about 20% of lawmakers in the United States even though half of the US population is women. Apparently, when women only make up 20% of a lawmaking body, female lawmakers speak only 60% of the time a man may speak on the floor. They are more likely to be rudely interrupted, less likely to take an aggressive stance on their beliefs. 

Studies have shown women speak less when they’re outnumbered. It’s depressing, but the article argues that women will only have full influence when there are more female lawmakers. Otherwise, female politicians are less effective than their male colleagues.

I have trouble accepting this research, because it essentially disregards any potential influence elected female officials have…. The article supports a more balanced legislature, I just wish it was in support in matching the gender makeup of America, not giving our current politicians more emotional support.    

I am proud to be a woman because…

7 Nov

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Hey guys! I’m Jessica Johnson, a junior legal studies major. Once I graduate I’m planning on being a paralegal for a few years and then hopefully going to law school. I’m passionate about politics, self-expression, and celebrating holidays. As soon as October came I was already planning out my Christmas shopping. 🙂

I am hoping that being involved in the legal field will give me the opportunity to do something good… either by defending clients or becoming active in local politics. Either way, I’m excited to see where life leads me. 

Why are you proud to be a woman?

Being a woman is a deep part of my identity. Being in this class expanded my view of womanhood from exposing me to the wonderful feminists who came before me.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be and why?

Honestly, it would be the view that certain men have of women. There are men who view women as objects, and that leads to the oppression that still exists in society today. This oppression is justified as men trying to protect women or to respect them, and some women accept that. Really, it leads to institutionalized discrimination like preventing young women from going to school, revealing their faces, or driving a car. In American society the oppression exists in limiting reproductive rights or judging a woman’s worth on her sexual appeal. I believe women have to fight for the rights of ALL women, personal liberties should never be limited through legislation, here or around the world.

What does the future of women in politics look like?

Watching so many women get elected last night was inspiring to me. Women have made so many political advances throughout the world, but for some reason had dragged in the US. Last night gave me hope that someday the amount of women in Congress will finally match the demographic makeup of the country. With the growing acceptance of respected women in politics, I believe I’ll see a female president in my lifetime. 🙂