Class Follow-up April 10th, 2012

In class we reviewed many of the problems in society relating to gender inequality.  We listened to the song “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce. In the song there are many emerging themes that relate to gender inequality and the readings we did for this week. Particularly to Landry (2000), who examined the difficulties that black women often face as being seen by others as virtuous. These women were “faced with the prevailing views of white society that placed them outside the boundaries of true womanhood”(Landry 2000:286).  In the song Beyonce, tells women to stand up and unite, congratulating those women who graduate and have a high powered position in society.   Also talked about in class was the struggle that women and particularly black women had to gain the right to vote.  Some of the biggest agents of social control are those in the white house.  Gender inequality is shown in the Senate where only 17 of the 50 members are women.  In class we talked about the sexual revolution and some of the movements that came with it, including the emergence of adolescence as a social category, mass media, and the birth control pill.  We then went on to talk about the six hindrances to the development of a radical theory of sexuality.  Sexual essentialism describes how we as a culture fundamentally think that men and women are inherently different.  This was shown during recitation when we watched the videos showing children pointing to a female or male Barbie when asked questions like “who cleans the house”.  The video showed how children even at a very young age can distinguish what gender is.  In the second class this week we looked at an interesting website that showed the different Time magazine covers comparing the US to Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific.  There were omission of some of the cover stories with headlines like “Why the US will never save Afghanistan.”  We discussed why there might be different covers, coming up with ideas like, the US doesn’t want to see covers with negative headlines towards our country. This all relates to social control, the omission of these headlines creates control over what Americans read.  We then went on to talk about Trayvon Martin, who was murdered in February by a man named Zimmerman.  It is crazy to know that there was no charges put out against Zimmerman, since a 17 year old boy was killed with only skittles and an ice tea on him.  After a couple of months he was finally arrested due mostly to the press associated with it, not only just in the US but also internationally.  This and other stories like that of an elderly black man named Chamberline that was murdered by police officers shows us some ways that white privilege works.  For those who killed the black men they have white privilege and don’t have to worry about the consequences.

-Written By: Natalie Rechter

Gender Inequality

Gender inequality, a variation among status and most importantly power between genders, is a plague that deeply impacts the United States. In retaliation feminists groups have been created throughout history as a means of retaliating against the inequality toward woman. In a recent article on Fox News, posted 3/29/2012, one member of a feminist group, Naomi Wolf, recently announced her campaign to boycott famous pop singer Katy Perry, for her portrayal of women in her newest video “Part of Me (Fox News 2012).”

According to Wolf, the video is a form of propaganda that is ultimately a disgrace to women. The portrayal of violence and the use of marines have sparked a controversy among some feminists. However, on the flip side, many argue that the video resembles the strength and power that a women has.

This article is a great example of the consequences of gender inequality. Many women do not agree on what they are aiming for. The reality is that, “even though an increasing percentage of families depend on the earnings of the wives and mothers, women continue to face discrimination at the workplace and still retain responsibility for the lion’s share of household labor (Gerson 1992).” Due to this, some women push for a career, and feel that due to the strength it takes to fight in the men’s work world, they do not have time to settle down and raise a family. Other women on the other hand have decided to take a less aggressive approach and have chosen motherhood, many acquiring the “cardinal virtues of true womanhood—piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity (Landry 2000).” However, until change is made neither of these types of women will be completely happy with where they stand.

A sociological imagination would determine that in the case of the article, both women feel that they are fighting for women equality, but they are ultimately fighting against each other due to the different impacts society has had on them. Their ideal vision of what women should fight for in gender inequality does not match up; hence they target each other instead of the root causes.

After reading the article, it is interesting to acknowledge that women are fighting each other in the same battle—a battle that should be unifying them.

Run the World (Girls)- Beyonce

Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce is a shout out to feminine power, in a world of men. The song targets all types of women whether they are college graduates, full time job holders working 9-5 earning wages, and even mothers; encouraging them to continue doing what they are doing whether men support them or not.

“I’m repping for the girls who taking over the world help me raise a glass for the college grads
41 rollin’ to let you know what time it is, check
You can’t hold me
I work my 9 to 5, better cut my check
This goes out to all the women getting it in you’re on your grind
To other men that respect what I do please accept my shine
Boy you know you love it how we’re smart enough to make these millions
Strong enough to bear the children then get back to business (Beyonce).”

The lyrics in the song target gender inequality; defined as the difference in power and status between men and women. Generally, it is known that women are often perceived as being weaker than men, resulting in the concept that women belong in the home taking care of children, not earning wages for the family. Going one step further in analysis, Beyonce is an African American women and “black women are excluded from the category of womanhood without debate (Landry 2000).” Throughout history, black women have had to fight a great deal harder to establish themselves as women in society, with the concept that “white mistresses gave birth to heirs, slave women to property (Landry 2000),’ being a great example of portraying the black women’s position in society.

Not only are the lyrics powerful, but the actual music video has a powerful addition to the message, as girls on crosses, girls chained up, and various other women, prepare to face an army of men in police uniforms with riot shields. The girls are shown dancing and standing their ground against the army of men that is there to stop them, proving that they are strong enough to face them.