Gendered World Views (Winter 2017, section 11)
About this class
Pink is for girls and blue is for boys, or at least that's what many of us were taught as children. But what are these stereotypes really telling us? Assumptions like these force men and women into specific roles, and from a very young age, we socialize boys to be aggressive and girls to be nice – we then assign an aesthetic to each group that reflects this. But how do real people deal with these expectations? What does it mean to see the world through gendered terms?
This course will introduce students to the patriarchal world view that created the gendered stereotypes we live with today and the ways in which gendered assumptions structure society. We will then focus on the challenges that have been raised by the feminist world view and explore how women deal with gender inequality. The second half of the course will be largely dedicated to masculinity studies and feminist observations regarding how the patriarchal world view hurts men as well. Finally, we will end with a brief look at what queer theory has to say about gender. Students will be asked to reflect on their own world views and how gendered ideas have effected their lives. A participation grade will be assigned.
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Your article on the media’s portrayal of abuse was extremely captivating. I particularly appreciated that you cited credible experts and used concrete examples to make your point; however, I believe that your article would have benefitted from analysis through a gendered lens. Specifically, references to the Sex Wars would add historical context to the issues that you discuss.
If you were not already aware, the Sex Wars were debates that took place during the seventies and eighties, during which feminists argued about the nature of pornography. Some anti-porn feminists argued that pornography depicted women as submissive and promoted rape culture. Conversely, others, dubbed sex-positive feminists, agreed that pornography was flawed, but asserted that it had a right to exist. Ultimately, sex-positive feminists won the debate by heavily leaning on the notion that censorship, in any form, violates free speech.
By referring to this influential debate in your article, you could draw parallels between the pornography debate and your discussion of the media’s portrayal of sexual abuse. I noticed that, throughout your writing, you tend to point out the flaws in pornography. Researching anti-porn feminists could provide you with more context and more information to back up your stance. Furthermore, informing yourself about sex-positive feminism could lend itself to the nuance of your article, if you choose to update it. Ultimately, I strongly encourage you to research the Sex Wars. Providing historical context will inevitably add a sense of veracity to your claim that the media should stop glorifying abuse. I have linked below a few articles to get you started and I hope that you branch out from there.
This is a great post that tackled many of the issues around power and the perplexing and at times confounding intentions of the Trump administration. You handled the issues concerning trans individuals with great care and I like how you equally give attention to both Trump’s supporters and his opposition.
From a gendered standpoint, I am completely against Trump’s action to remove federal protection for trans individuals as it propels history backwards and breaks down the foundations of human rights. However, it is key to note that this not only affects the trans community, but equally puts pressure on any individual who does not conform to the male-female binary, whether they be intersex, two-spirited or any of the other infinite gender identities. By removing the federal protection of trans students, the Trump administration is actively proving their narrow-minded view of gender and sex as something that is solely binary and definitive. His actions show that if you are born male, then you must conform to masculinity and if you are born female, you must be feminine; however, placing labels and forcing conformity is against the very ideas of freedom, individual identity and uniqueness.
I believe that we are solely following a “sexual script” that dictates the way men and women should interact; and although it is not always explicit, many mediums in current pop culture support the same kind of restrictive narrative promoting heterosexuality. For many, the learning outlet on topics surrounding sex and sexuality is online, and often through pornography, which supports heterosexuality that promotes male dominance and female subordination.
To oppose to this binary, known as the Queer Theory, individuals who do not conform to this binary or to the heterosexual script and belong outside of this so-called normal believe that there should not be a normal. Some may identify with their assigned sex and decide to love someone of the same sex. Some may feel as if they were assigned the wrong sex based on the way they perform their gender. The possibilities are virtually endless, so queer theorists believe that there should be no labels or specific guidelines, but rather let everyone live in their infinite possibilities. So the notion is to reject society’s impulse to categorize individuals as heterosexual or as normal since there is no productive use of such terms. Instead, the goal is to see gender and sex as a non-restrictive aspect with infinite identities.
Therefore, if the Trump administration continues to pursue the removal of protection of trans individuals, they will continue to demonstrate a narrow-minded approach towards sex and gender. In a way, he is promoting more conformity, uniformity and restriction instead of individuality, freedom and support. If you are interested in learning more about gender issues and the queer theory, the following is a comprehensive article on Shmoop that introduces some of the issues surrounding this topic: http://www.shmoop.com/queer-theory/
The Godfather films is a great example to explain and portray hyper masculinity. With that being mentioned, there is another concept that would add to your argumentation and that concept would be hegemonic masculinity. This term is defined as legitimizing men’s dominance as well as their central position and power in society. Hegemonic masculinity also involves following the very contradictory rules of the “man box” which include being though, being strong, be stoic and being highly sexual with women. In your essay, you mention how men are the central and most important characters in the films and how women occupy a subordinate and almost non-existent role when it comes to power and decision making compared to their husbands who make all of the decisions. The previous is an example of hegemonic masculinity because it ensures men’s central position and dominance in society. Another important element that is important to note is how all of these men are heterosexual. There is never mention of homosexual men because in order to follow the different criteria of the “man box”, one must be heterosexual. Therefore, hegemonic masculinity is greatly demonstrated in the Godfather series with Vito Corleone’s way of presenting himself as a dominant and authoritarian man as well as Michael Corleone’s way of demonstrating his power and dominance via his ruthless violent actions. Thus, the Godfather movies are perfect examples of what it is to be a man and what it is to be in control by following very carefully the different principles of hegemonic masculinity which are directly linked to the “man box” that must always be followed and respected in order to protect one’s masculinity. For more on hegemonic masculinity, the following article explains a little more on the “man box”: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/megasahd-escape-the-act-like... .
This is a well-constructed argument that is definitely quite debatable. Discussions around censorship laws versus private browsers are often filled with controversy and dispute, but you handled the notions of moderation gracefully, while providing reasonable solutions.
Although your opinion may seem unpopular since it restricts some online privacy that people have grown accustomed to, I agree that there needs to be a way to limit the number of illegal websites. From a gendered point of view, some of these websites slow down the feminist agenda due to their distribution of pornography in its current state.
To this day, pornography is a highly debatable topic amongst feminist; the discussions started during the Second Wave of Feminism and developed into a heated set of debates called the Sex Wars. The anti-porn feminists argued that this medium promotes violence and aggression against women due to its demeaning depictions of women and promotion of the rape culture. Radical and lesbian feminist, Andrea Dworkin, claimed that pornography resulted in the dominance and humiliation of a woman’s sexuality for the pleasure of heterosexual men. Since many are not formally taught about sex, porn becomes a learning tool and Dworkin argued that this teaches men to be abusive while women are to act as submissive objects.
On the other hand, sex-positive feminists were in favour of pornography. Although current porn had undeniable problems, they argued that legislation on this medium would be an attack on free speech; porn was a way for women to explore their sexual avenues and determine what they found pleasurable. Closing these opportunities would limit women’s liberation, which included sexual liberation as well. Thus, just as speech cannot be controlled, this should not be either; instead, they wanted to make it better.
This gave rise to feminist pornography, which is deemed equally pleasurable material, but complicates the notion of who is involved. Unlike current porn, it does not create fetishes and is not solely made for a heterosexual male audience. By complicating body type, power roles, the narrative, gender, sexuality and race, this becomes a political project that combats the systemic inequality that exists in current porn and ensures safe and consensual sexual activity.
Although this is a growing industry that is taking a step in the right direction, it must compete with current porn. While the material is equally pleasurable, the cost of paying actors and ensuring safe and consensual conditions forces this porn to cost money while current porn can be found for free online. In addition, with the Internet, pornography has become more mainstream and has developed into a global industry; however, revenge porn and porn addictions grow proportionally as well, giving the medium a poor connotation and preventing feminist porn from gaining popularity.
Overall, from a gendered standpoint, I agree with the notion that some Internet censorship should be exercised to reduce the consumption of current porn found for free online or on websites that allow the publication of revenge porn. Feminist pornography is equally pleasurable material, yet offers diversity and safe material to remove notions of violence, abuse and dominance in sex. If you’re interested in the discussions around toady’s feminists pornography, the following is an article by Russell O'Connor posted on Everyday Feminism: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/09/feminist-porn/
Great CashMeOusside, I really enjoyed reading this article. You brought very good points about sweatshops in foreign countries and how boycotting this company like Nike won’t do anything. I truly believe that in today's society everything is based on profit, not the well-being of others. This subject is ignored all the time because we really don’t know what’s happening in other countries and it so hard to grasp the concept that people are working for cents in these countries.
I believe that intersectionality and disproportion of women have a lot to do with this. Women in Asia mainly China probably have the hardest lifestyle. They are forced to work at a young age why their brothers go to school and get educated. These women earn 10 cents to 20 cents an hour. While you might think this is a little harsh, most of the women don’t even keep the money because they need to pay off debts. These women are between the age of 15-25 working 19 hours a day in terrible conditions. While the men usually pursue other ventures, these women are faced with this injustice. This is proven because 85% of sweatshop workers are women. It just shows the intersectionality these women face for living in a developing country, being a women and living between the ages of 15-25.
Here are some links that might interest you:
Very well written and very topical issue. Now a days, advertisements seem to be pushing more and more towards inappropriate and un ethical imagery… To me, in this article, Rebok promotes two major ideas in something called the “man box”. The man box is a concept that defines masculinity and if you do not “fit” in the man box you are not considered a man. To me, the two main ideas that this add supports is the idea that a man is strong and more concerned with the ultimate body and that he is emotionally superior or unattached to women. In the man box we see words like strong, tall, fit, muscular… so on and so forth. These words are the definition of what men should look like and this is what this add promotes by saying that your workout i.e. your appearance is more important that your significant other. This idea also promotes the idea that men are less emotional and/or emotionally stronger than women. “Cheat on youth girlfriend and not on your workout” is saying that men are more attached to themselves as opposed to other people. If you are interested in learning more about tha man box here is a really interesting ted talk.
Before I begin I would like to say that all your points are valid and hold truth to them; as it is very important to consider a person's schooling and parentage before evaluating the subject. However, I couldn't help but notice that you were missing the factor of gender and the socialisation of gender roles and norms within your plan to analyse the origins of homophobia within and across several different societies.
It's important to note that the way an individual who identifies as homosexual will face different types of oppression and marginalisation based on their gender. As children, we are taught different roles and ways to behave based on the genitals we inherit and are expected to act upon these roles we have been given for as long as we live. And it comes as no surprise that through this socialisation we learn that men are powerful, wealthy, highly sexual, and in charge. Inversely we learn that women are frail, quiet, chaste, and submissive. This sets up a dynamic where women are below men and are discriminated against because of it this type of socialisation.
However, not all men and women share the same experience as they will face more or less discrimination (or privilege) over others based on other factors such as: age, able-bodiedness, race and/or ethnicity, and SEXUALITY. Thus the concept of intersectionality comes into focus. Intersectionality is the term used to describe when an individual has one or more overlapping or intersecting identities that determines the types of oppression or privilege that they will experience.
This becomes relevant to your article because it entails what type of oppression a homosexual person may face if they were female or male (or of any race or ethnicity other than white). For example, in a particular situation, someone who is female and homosexual will have more oppression to deal with than a man who is homosexual. This is because the man who is homosexual has the privilege of being born a male. Therefore, I believe it is also important to investigate the manner in which children are taught gender and gender performance since it also has a significant effect on whether individuals grow up to be homophobic.
gender performance:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_construction_of_gender#Applications... & http://queermodernism.blogspot.ca/2010/03/definition-of-gender-performan...
Excellent post! I couldn't agree more with what you said. Marketing today has become untrustworthy due to the lies and the manipulation. However, that isn't the only issue here. Nowadays, some ads promote unrealistic goals such as the example you used, weight lose commercials. This leads to women not eating enough and trying to lose weight at an unhealthy speed, all of this because of marketing and "before and after" pictures which for the record, might not be true. Such commercials, especially the ones directed to women, create self-objectification, which is when a person sees themselves as an object. In addition to that, the way that women are represented in other commercials, show that they are nothing but objects, and constantly getting dominated. Men are also represented unrealistically in commercials. They are always big and very muscular. They also don't show a lot of emotion, which is being virile. Men are taught (not only) in commercials not be dominated, contrary to women. And of course, overweight people are rarely featured in marketing. Finally, all of what I described is defined as social construct. This means expectation made by society itself about a specific gender. This link my help you furthermore: https://communicationandgender.wordpress.com/gender-construction-and-ide...
This is a really awesome post! You did a great job of bringing to light the impact that a country's wealth and leadership has on the appearance of homophobia in society. I personally have never thought of these arguments, so I am very happy that I landed on your post!
Since you are doing your final paper on the roots of homophobia, I thought I'd tell you about what I, myself, have learnt to be one of the main roots of this terrible issue. Hegemonic masculinity is a type of masculinity that coincides with the patriarchal world view. It is a type of masculinity that believes that men should be dominant in all aspects of society. Although this idea of "dominance" seems outdated in the progressive world we live in today, for the longest of times, this world view has unconsciously been heavily enforced into our society and is what contributes to homophobia still existing today. Hegemonic masculinity is achieved by demonstrating the qualities that are found in the "man box". The man box tells men, from a very young age, to always be strong and aggressive, to be dominant over women and to never cry or be feminine. Most men who don't conform to the "man box" are penalized. To push someone into the "man box", people use derogatory terms such as "fag", "pussy" and "bitch". For straight men, these words have been associated with the threatening of one's manhood and has therefore caused the term "homosexual" to be taken as an insult. This explains why certain acts of homophobia can be a demonstration of one's hegemonic masculinity. I strongly believe that in order to combat homophobia we must also break down the "man box" as well.
If you are interested in learning more about hegemonic masculinity, have a look at these links: http://www.wps.colostate.edu/men-and-masculinities, https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/megasahd-escape-the-act-like... <https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/megasahd-escape-the-act-like.... Once again, great post and I wish you luck on your final paper!
The growing population of internet trolls that plague digital society have a reach that extends beyond the confines of tiny screens and binary code, even going so far as to effect the physical safety of its targets. This article was therefore fascinating, as it analyzes Google’s Perspective, a program that aims to make the internet a safer space, walking the fine line between online censorship and free-speech through an analysis founded on multiple ethical systems.
While this program would be a vital addition to the fight against internet trolls, it remains a reaction to the offense after it has occurred, whereas a preventative measure would be preferable. The first paragraph of the article mentions a study done by The Guardian wherein it was found that of its ten most trolled writers, 8 were women, and the 2 men were black. This therefore suggests that internet trolling stems from the teachings and pressures of the patriarchal world view and hegemonic masculinity, wherein the worth of a man is determined by his domination, usually of a violent or sexual nature, over his inferiors, notably women and visible minorities.
The #gamergate controversy is an example of this, wherein female video game developers and critics who challenged the issue of representation in video games were met with a violent lash back by an almost exclusively male online community. Their masculinity having been threatened, a huge number of internet trolls sought to reassert themselves through primarily online death and rape threats.
While a program such as Perspective would help in limiting the damage done through the censorship of comments such as these, the underlying issues permeating our society remain the same. If we wish to fix the issue, we must tear down the ideas at the very foundation of this patriarchal mentality, and not simply its refuse.
An introduction to the patriarchal world view: https://www.thoughtco.com/patriarchal-society-feminism-definition-3528978
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