gender roles

Religion and Gender Roles

In Samantha Eyler’s article, “Why I Had to Lose My Religion Before I Could Support Gender Equality”, she talks about how she was taught, as a child, to conform to rigorous gender roles. She, as a woman born into her fundamentalist religion, was to remain quiet and subordinate. That sort of brainwashing worked for her for 16 years. It wasn’t until she went off to college and devoured religion and philosophy courses and other holy books and scriptures, did she realize where her religion went wrong.

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She realized that her personal values and her religion’s morals didn’t line up. Why should she, someone who wanted to be a doctor or a senator, have to remain on the sidelines and do nothing except what her husband wished? Her tale of finding herself and then wanting to find religion all over again is near and dear to my heart.

I’ve been brought up in a strictly Catholic household. In Poland, where my parents are from, religion is the biggest and most important thing in everyone’s lives. At least, in my family. So when my parents came across the Atlantic, they brought their strict morals and guidelines from their religion with them. As a child, I followed along. I didn’t know any better, right? Maybe my faith started to break when I was told by my instructor in CCD that because I was a girl, I couldn’t be a pastor. I wanted to talk about my love for God and the love God had for me to people all the time. I wanted to share the word of God with people, so why shouldn’t I be able to be a pastor?

I started noticing the inequalities in my religion throughout high school but I would never be able to outright call them straight gender inequalities until I came to college myself. It angered me to see my religion treat women, who are just as devout as men, the way that they did. I wouldn’t stand for the hypocrisies I had been spoon fed since I was little. So I called off my religion. I stopped going to church, I stopped praying. I adopted the idea that if I led a good life and did good unto others, then I’d be okay. If I needed to talk to God, or gods or any other higher being, I could and I didn’t have to limit myself to the rituals of the Catholic church. I want to be able to do good in the world not because my religion has told me to, but because it’s the right thing to do.

And it may have torn a rift in my family, but there are much worse things to tear families apart than differing views on a religion or wanting to be treated as an equal.

Watson’s A Woman?

I know this is old news, but in one of the more recent adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Lucy Liu (of Charlie’s Angels fame) has taken up the role of Dr. Watson. That is, Doctor Joan Watson.

This is great news! A WOC (woman of color) playing a well known doctor! On American TV. How awesome is that?

Jon Michael Hill plays “Detective Bell” and Lucy Liu is “Joan Watson” in CBS’s Elementary.

I’ll admit, when I first started hearing of the show (which was just after BBC’s Sherlock had just finished it’s British premiere of season 2) I thought it was just us Americans trying to get some ratings off of a popular British TV show.

Then I started hearing about how Liu’s character Joan is a disgraced surgeon, with no military background (as opposed to the canon, where Watson is a former military doctor). Then I started to think that the reason she was disgraced was because the writers thought of her as a woman who doesn’t deserve to be in a highly respected medical position. Because she’s a woman. I really thought this would just end up being fodder for those that actually truly believed women belonged only in the kitchen and not in the operating room.

But then I started watching the show during winter break this past year. And boy golly gee was I super duper wrong about Joan!

In the show, Joan Watson is still a former surgeon. She was discharged after (accidentally) killing a patient under her care. This I suspected. Afterwards, she’s looking for a new job. And so she becomes a sober companion, a person who lives with a recovering drug or alcohol addict, which is exactly how she comes to be at Sherlock Holmes’ door (played by Johnny Lee Miller). In the show, Joan Watson actively chooses to continue making other people’s lives better. She actively chose to become a sober companion because that’s what she thought she’d be good at.

Joan Watson actively calls out misogynistic remarks made by Sherlock and by others in the show. Her surgical past is not just used as a way to confirm Sherlock’s brilliant breakthroughs. Often, there are cases where Sherlock is stumped and it’s Joan herself who finds the connection and solves the murder because she’s the brilliant one too. She’s not just there to further another character’s development. She has her own developments and we see her family and friends and loved ones come by in her life. We see her kind and caring side, as well as her methodical procedural side. She is a true “strong female character”, not because she kicks butt (she actually has little to no martial arts skill, which thankfully defies the “kung fu Asian” character trope, and she doesn’t gain any martial arts or self-defense skills until much later into the show) but because she has many facets to her personality (like real women!) and she has emotions (like real women!) and she changes and develops and makes mistakes (like real women!).

So cheers to the Elementary writers for taking what could have been an awful ploy for ratings (because there’s no ‘bad publicity’) and turned this into one of the best, well-rounded character adaptations I’ve ever seen.

Redefining Gender Roles

While recently on Twitter, I saw an article that Yesiris tweeted, and it sparked my interest. This article is about a photographer that decided to use his love of photography to express a certain message. This photographer, JJ Levine, recreates typical domestic environments that play with gender roles.

shower  He decided that in these pictures he would use one model, to depict both the male and female in the picture. Levine says the result “challenges the normative idea that gender presentation is stable or constant. Rather, gender expression can be fluid and multiple.” The way he sets up these scenarios makes it easy for the viewer to not only understand the scenes, but relate to them as well. They are normal domestic scenes that almost everyone has taken part in at some point. kitcehnI personally liked this article because it definitely opened my eyes to possibly question, “could I live as the opposite sex?” or possibly “do I possess some opposite sex-like qualities?” It is definitely an eye opener and can possibly expose those who are not necessarily familiar with this topic.

Role Reversal Gone Viral

While I found myself browsing Zite recently, I stumbled upon an article about a French short film that has gone viral. In this video, the creator decided to make a statement by creating a video that followed a man throughout his daily routine. But the viewer soon comes to realize that this man isn’t depicted as a “typical” male figure. The viewer slowly will realize that not only is this man a “house-husband”, but he is living in a world where the gender roles are completely switched.

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Throughout his day, the viewer witnesses him be a victim of prejudice, sexual and verbal harassment, and a relationship where he does not have any control of the struggles within. I personally really liked this video, because although it is cliche of me, as a woman, to say there are double standards, this video clearly exemplifies that there is a double standard between men and women. These things happen to women constantly, but because they are women, these occurrences are often overlooked. This video going viral shows that maybe the viewers, both man and woman, are noticing the double standard of gender roles, and maybe we are taking yet another step forward in the progression of equality. The fact that this message was put into “entertainment” as a video, made it much more powerful. Hearing about these stories doesn’t really have as much of an effect on people as much as viewing it first hand does.

Jen Welter

I found this articlethat Arielle Armenti tweeted on Twitter and was instantly happy for us women!

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First and foremost take a look at her body! So built and for all the men out there we can be as built as you are or can be stronger than you.

I was amazed after reading this article. This article is titled “Jen welter becomes first woman to play in men’s pro football league in contact position” written by Nina Mandell. Jen is 36 years old. For those who are familiar with football, she finished with 3 rushes for a loss of one yard. Throughout the article she mentions moments that she would tease some of the other players on the team, who were men. Jen was simply the first woman to play a contact position not the first woman to play in a men’s professional football league. This article states that Patricia Palinkas appeared as a holder for the men’s semi-pro Orlando Panthers in 1970. Julie Harshbarger and Katharine Hnida kicked in men’s pro games four decades later.

I love some of her inspirational words, “I’m an athlete, I’m competitive,” she said. “But the bigger thing for me is obviously for little girls to see they can do everything just like little boys can.”

She can be a great role model to children around the world, especially for those girls who love football but feel as though they cannot play because it’s a “man’s sport.” She is like a modern Rosie the Riveter. She can encourage any young girl to follow their dreams and do what they want to do. A good influence if you ask me!

Bad Girls Club

Ever watch a show and knows that it’s against just about everything you believe, but still have a hard time trying to look away? Well this is what I’ guilty for when it comes to The Bad Girls Club.

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For those of you who don’t know what this show is or what is about here is a little information about it. The Bad Girls Club is an American reality show created by Jonathan Murray and airs on Oxygen. The show places a groups of seven girls in one house who need to remain in this house until their three months are through.  At the end of this trial they are rewarded with $10,000 each. Sounds easy right?! Wrong! All of these girls tend to have some kind of problem, such as psychological or behavioral.  Because of these issues and others like having too much pride. These girls feel they need to “prove” themselves by showing the other girls that they are considered the “baddest girl.” There mission to take this title is what is the core of all of the problems that occur in the house along with the fact that they have rules to follow. For example, not hurting each other physically. This is a reason why some places outside of America have banned from putting this show on air. They feel as though it will influence young teenager to what to do all these bad behaviors. Didn’t think this would be an issue right? Piece of cake placing seven girls in one mansion for three months. Well not when it comes to these girls.

I read an article written by Katie Elaine Boyer titles Stereotyping Women on “Bad Girls Club.” She starts off by talking bout this show being her guilty pleasure and although she is against what people would most likely think about all girls she still cannot stop watching it. She states that she feels like “Bad Girls Club” defies traditional female stereotypes because the stars are generally strong and independent young women who do whatever they want to do. She points out that while men are generally assumed to be the ones who handle their situations or problems by cursing, fighting, and screaming all the girls in the bad girls club handle their problems in that way.  This show does not show positive images of women or empower women at all. As much as I do like this show I must admit I would not want my daughter or younger sisters watching this and/or attempting to ANY of what they do. This may influence to think it is okay to do the things that take place in this show. For example, the girls go out clubbing from time to time and when they do they usually come home with a stranger they found at the club and have sex with them while intoxicated. Another point that Katie mentions is this:

“Each season the producers introduce the cast in the first episode by giving each girl a “title.” Examples of labels audiences are supposed to associate with the characters are: “The Mouth,” “The Party Diva,” “The Drama Queen,” “The Southern Spitfire,” “Chief Executive Bitch,” and “The Botox Barbie.” These titles encourage audiences to stereotype not only the “bad girls” but also girls in their lives. Again, the show’s creators are pushing the idea of self-fulfilling stereotypes.”

Things like this is what our society does not need around today. Things like this may led to dangerous actions, such as a possibly suicide because of titles or things of the sort. Although shows like this may be entertaining to some of us we must also take into consideration the effect it may have on some viewers.  I must admit I am guilty of this, but will also like to mention something about one of the recent seasons. Two of the girls built a bond/friendship and the other girls were jealous so decided to bully them. When the show ended they form this anti-bully program and made it a mission for their viewers to think about bullying and how it can effect people. This I thought was a great idea because us, the viewers witnessed them being bullying and how it was effected them, but they made it out to be something good and very influential to others. Should we still have shows like this on air?!

Katie Boyer’s Article

14 yr old Wanted to be Heard!

Read this! Pretty interesting 🙂

Lego friends

I found this interesting article on Twitter, tweeted by Amanda Yacovelli.

It’s about a 14 year old named Ann and her feelings on this particular Lego toy set they had released. This 14 yr old girl wrote a letter to Lego expressing her feelings about the discrimination and about the message she believes this particular toy gives off about women. She starts off by talking about how much she loves Lego and happy they keep coming out with varies kinds until she came across these set (picture above). She tells us exactly why she is disappointed by saying”

” This is why I was so disappointed  when I recently heard of Lego’s horrible, totally misguided decision to make market line of (very pink) Legos for girls, complete with a girl brushing her hair in the mirror, a bottle of perfume, and more. This is problematic for only two or three MILLION reasons, but let me pick the first, broadest, and most obvious: the idea that if you want to market a ling to girls, it cannot involve any \movement, adventure, or activity. ”

legoo I, honestly, was not aware that they have this set out. After reading this article I can see exactly why she would be upset. The other original Legos have much more room to move and are not constricted to strictly look in the mirror and forced to use this “perfume.” Ann continues to mention that the toy gives off this idea that girls can or should do nothing more than sit and prink.  She feels as though Lego states that boys are having more fun due to the fact that their characters can do so much more. This makes sense to me, I feel as though it is giving the message that we, as women, should be that stay at home mom or house wife from back in the day. What about the stay at home dads or  the girls who don’t like the color pink.

Women have came a long way and this toy makes it seem like we’ve gotten nowhere and are back to what people believed women should be doing with their lives. I’m sitting here trying to think about more toys that this plays a part in. Are there more out there that is giving off a wrong message? If a 14 yr old can point this out and go as far as write a letter to Lego, how do you think the women who worked hard to lost the name of a “stay at home mom/house wife feel?” Some may say that Lego is stereotypical for this toy , I would have to agree and say that I don’t want to be limited to my actions and women can do just as much as men can. It makes us looking boring and limited to certain things, which is not me! How do you feel about it?

click here to view the article itself!

Progression of Gender roles in Television Pt. 2: One Day at a Time

As mentioned in part one of my progression entry, gender roles have always played a large role in American sitcoms. Sitcoms began in the late 40’s, early 50’s, when the socially accepted gender roles were the mother caring for her home and family, and the father working and providing for his family. As time carried on, the progression of gender roles did as well. In the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a television sitcom called “One Day at a Time”. In this Sitcom, there was a different type of family unit. Unlike the Cleaver family in Leave it to Beaver, this family unit contained only three people. It was comprised of a single, divorced, working mother who was raising her two daughters. In terms of gender roles and how families were portrayed in the media, this was a huge jump. Not only was the family unit somewhat “broken” in comparison to the earlier sitcoms, but the mother’s gender role was entirely different. It became more socially acceptable as time carried on for a woman to not only be a mother and care for her home and family, but to be a working woman as well, and take over the “male” role of the family unit.

Ann Romano and two daughters from
television’s “One Day at a Time”

Progression of Gender Roles in Television Pt. 1: Leave it to Beaver

Gender roles have been present in television as long as sitcoms have been aired. Starting in the late 40’s and 50’s, it seemed that every series or sitcom incorporated gender roles. In 1957, a show called “Leave it to Beaver” aired its first episode. Within the first few minutes of this show, it was very clear that gender roles were going to be a big focus. The opening credits show an ideally pictured family with a mother, father, and two sons during their morning routine. The mother and father stand together to send their children off to school, the father in work attire and the mother with two lunches in hand. Throughout the numerous seasons of this show, there is a common theme or pattern among their gender roles. In the 50’s and 60’s, a woman’s role in the family was to simply stay home, clean, cook, and tend to her family. This is portrayed by “June Cleaver”, the mother, doing things such as cleaning and cooking all day, and having her husbands supper on the table and slippers ready when he got home. She was taking on the socially accepted role of “house wife”.

The father, “Ward Cleaver” would say goodbye to his loving wife and children, and go out to work for the day. His sole role in the family was to support them. Financially, he was the main support for the family, and only source of income. In the late 40’s to the 60’s, this was the socially accepted role of a man in the family. It was an unspoken understanding that what was seen as an “average” family was a happily married woman who was a homemaker and man who had a career to support the family, who together had about two children.