Category Archives: Gender & Sexuality

Royal Domestic Violence


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Royal Domestic Violence

An artist, Saint Hoax has created a new campaign called “Happily Never After”. It is a series of beatened and bloody Disney Princesses that includes: Princess Jasmine, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. The caption on these posters states “When did he stop treating you like a Princess? It’s never too late to put an end to it.” Hoax created this as an awareness campaign to all women who have been victims of domestic violence. It is meant to encourage victims to report to the authorities so that these problems won’t be repeated again.

This campaign is not meant to scare little girls into seeing gory pictures of their favorite Disney characters, but it is focused towards the adult women that grew up watching these Princesses. Almost all little girls obsessed over the Princesses and Prince Charming and the wonderful happily ever after fairy tale that happens at the end. Little girls dream of marrying a Prince Charming and being treated like royalty, but does that always happen? No. There are so many women in this world that face domestic violence and continue to stay in the detrimental relationship. As shocking as these posters were to me, I can’t imagine how much of an eye opener it would be for someone who actually is a victim of this ongoing problem. To see your favorite Princess in the same predicament as you, and the caption itself promotes self confidence and courage.

Domestic violence remains at a high percentage and is still a problem all over the world. Many places it may be culturally accepted. It is a kind of power that uses hard tactics and irrational reasoning to not only physically abuse someone, but mentally. This campaign brings awareness to deviance and taking social/self control of one’s own life and gaining it back. The inequality of many relationships are becoming a big problem as women are becoming more powerful in society. It is time for change, and this domestic violence social movement/awareness is a great step in doing so. Great job, Saint Hoax.

Submitted by Daniella Pizarro

Stab at College Rape Culture


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Stab at College Rape Culture

All over the country there have been pushes to reform how colleges and universities deal with Rape. It has been found that when a rape or sexual assault was reported, certain universities tried to hide it or let the offender get off with a slap on the hand. Rape is wrong and by trying to protect the offenders, these institutions are basically justifying it and making it seem like its not such a bad crime. These students across the country are using their power of defiance to bring light to a problem in our society. They are challenging the powers of their university and giving a voice to those who were victims and weren’t heard. Hopefully their actions bring a change in the way these things are not only handled by these educational institutions but also by this country.

Submitted by Jayla O’Neal

Changing Perception of Sexuality


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Changing Perception of Sexuality

I found the “Same Love” song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis interesting because I never really heard anything like it on the radio. It has become very popular and controversial because it touches upon a sensitive topic to many conservative Americans. Gays and lesbians have been discriminated against due to their sexual preferences ever since the beginning of time. Lately, more television shows include gay couples, such as Modern Family and the Fosters which plays on ABC Family reaching out to a diverse audience. This social movement brought about by the meda towards acceptance didn’t happen overnight and not everyone is still open or accepting of it either. In order for policies to be implemented for equality of all, the culture and social structure of the American society has to gradually change. This of course takes time and lots of enforcement from people in power and through socialization new generations will become more open minded.

Submitted by Diana Marzouk

Colbie Caillat’s new song has so many feminist messages


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Colbie Caillat’s new song has so many feminist messages

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. Women have been oppressed for a very long and there have been so many social movements to make women equal to men. Recently celebrities have been trying to raise awareness for girls and women on being yourself. There is a lot of pressure on girls to be the prefect girl. When watching tv there are so many ads about products that will help women become “prettier”. Cobie Caillat recently came out with the song “Try” this song was inspired because she was tired of thinking she had to look a certain way to impress people. The song ends with ,”Take your make-up off/Let your hair down/Take a breath/Look into the mirror, at yourself/Don’t you like you?/Cause I like you.” This is literally what she means, the message is that be happy with yourself don’t do things because you feel forced to because you are expected to look a certain way. I love this message she has in this song because in our society there is so much pressure on girls to look a certain way. There are so many diets, makeup, hair products etc to “help girls out”. This is putting horrible impression on the younger generations because they are trying to mature so fast and are not happy with themselves because they don’t look like their perfect celebrity etc. The music video is also great because it starts out with people of all ages with makeup and hair done but then as the song goes on they start taking off their make up and undoing their hair and are just happy with themselves. This music video should really open people eyes on how much pressure there are on girls and how it really messes with their self-esteem and that we should teach girls and women to be happy with themselves because that is when they are truly the most beautiful.

Submitted by Sapna Desai

Blurring the Line


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Blurring the Line

Robin Thicke’s song Blurred Lines was met with a lot of controversy after its release. It was immediately banned from youtube due to the topless models prancing around in his second version of the music video. The song was seen as fun and upbeat but some people took a different meaning and message. Lines such as “you know you want it” were seen as rape culture inducing by some feminists. The women looked like accessories and were encouraged to be tamed sexually by the men singing. A lot of songs are about sex these days because that is what sells but there is a fine line between being sexy and being offensive. This song brought about feelings of women being used as objects, feminism, and the popular debate of rape culture. Some might enjoy the playful nature of the video and see it as harmless but most decided to ban Robin Thicke completely from our culture. After this song his success slowly dwindled and he recently had devastating album sales with a new release. Gender inequality is present in this debate as well as the objectification of women. Women are patronized in many cultures in different ways and here they are seen as objects of desire. Here the men have power over the women and are the dominant sex. There is a social order here and the beautiful women are most definitely not at the top.

Submitted by Breann Dick

We’re All The Same


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We’re All The Same

I found this article and resource interesting because society to this day is still very skeptical and critical when it comes to transgendered people. This particular category would seem to fall under the ”social norms” or the ”cultural norms” because it is something that society isn’t used to and something that is still not considered normal in society unfortunately. I picked this picture because it is proof, that a transgendered person can still function and participate and be successful in the real world just like everyone else can. Just because they are not exactly like what society considers normal doesn’t mean they cant be doctors, or lawyers, or in this case actors/actresses. I also feel like society is very deviant when it comes to transgendered as well. The behavior and choices of transgendered in everyone’s eyes ”does not conform to basic cultural norms and expectations”. However, they still are able to do just as much as anyone else in the world, and even if it’s still not 100% accepted among society, it will continuing getting better and easier for the transgender population.

Submitted by Jennifer Thomas

Cultural Norms and Commodification of Women’s Bodies


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Cultural Norms and Commodification of Women’s Bodies

This article covers the occurrence of visible injuries on models’ feet during major Fashion Week runway shows. Models walked in uncomfortable, ill-fitting, impractical shoes for so long and at such a high speed that they sustained injuries. Fashion Week and the fashion world in general has been critiqued for disrespecting women’s bodies and creating unrealistic beauty standards, but visible injury is a new level of using women’s bodies as ways to make money while ignoring their needs. Calling out the actions of large fashion houses, since fashion is such an important part of our culture, and there is so much money invested in the fashion industry, is a form of deviance. However, this deviance is a rational choice – pointing out sexist tendencies that are social norms helps to make steps to reduce inequality that women as an oppressed group feel.

Submitted by Ellie Parrish

Submitted by Elspeth Parrish

Empowerment


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Empowerment

The entire Aerie Real Campaign made a big impact on me when I first heard of it. It seems to be summed up nicely in this little video, though as a disclaimer, can I just say that I was quite anxious to curate this specific piece since it DOES show a scantily clad young lady. However, this hesitancy itself is part of why I think this campaign is valuable and sociologically relevant.

For the most obvious reason, I think that this advertisement is valuable because it redefines beauty, to a large degree. Beauty in the eyes of Aerie is not goddess-gorgeous anymore. But beauty is also not exactly about “loving your body just as it is.” These models are healthy and glowing–they are not re-touched to look impossibly thin and blemish-free, but it DOES look like they are active and healthy. If you know that you are healthy, no matter if you are carrying a few extra pounds or a few too few pounds, then yes, you are beautiful, and I think Aerie is celebrating that. The pressure seems to be off for young girls to always be wishing they looked like models, because suddenly, they do look like models.

For a less obvious reason (and the reason that I decided to use this despite my hesitancy) I think that these sorts of real-life, unapologetic advertisements could help reduce the oversexualization of women’s bodies. When I was in France, I went to a beach where topless sunbathing was allowed. I was struck by how this did not seem super scandalous and sexy, but rather, everyday and ordinary, like watching a guy jog by without a shirt on. Women (most women…) don’t ogle every shirtless jogger because the chest is part of the human body, and the male chest is something we’re used to seeing–it’s not forbidden, and thus not as sexualized. The Aerie ad with it’s total acceptance of and pride in the normalcy of a healthy woman’s body seems like a very empowering step for which Aerie should be commended. As a huge company–being part of American Eagle as well–Aerie was taking a lot of risks in running this campaign, but I think that they knew that it could spark wonderful changes in society as a whole, by changing people’s individual thoughts about women’s bodies.

Submitted by Laura Seabourne

Gender Roles In Sports


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Gender Roles in Sports

When we all watch our favorite football teams play in the Fall I am sure we know that every single player on that team is a male. What if a female wanted to join the team? Why is it that certain sports only allow a certain gender to participate? This image was something that I wanted to draw attention to. We are all created equally but yes some times men are capable of more than women. I know growing up I was a tomboy and participated in all different types of sports just not in on a team. Not every sport is gender specific though. Take swimming for example which is something that I did most of my life, there are men and women who are on a team together but they compete with other teams in meets and swim races with their specific gender. Culture which is, “the collection of values, beliefs, knowledge, norms, language, behaviors and material objects shared by a people and socially transmitted from generation to generation” (Croteau p. 59). Our culture sets up our norms and beliefs in the way our sports are designed. When a woman shows up to join a football team it is a behavior that is against the cultural norm and so it gets negative reactions from others. We have as a culture set up specific gender roles for specific things. Gender roles are “a set of social expectations regarding behavior and attitudes based on a person’s sex” (Croteau p.290). Gender roles shape identity with the following: appearance, activities, behaviors and emotions, and aspirations. We learn our gender roles through socialization in our culture.

Sex is the “biological distinction between females and males” and gender is “the socially constructed cultural expectations associated with women and men” (Croteau p.285). Our gender differences are based on culture and not on biology. As mentioned in the book, “studies show an overwhelming number of similarities in the psychology and abilities of women and men, with more variation occurring within each sex than between the two (Hyde 2005) (Croteau p.285). Reflecting on that last line from the reading, we are able to see that in studies, women had the same abilities as men with more differences between individuals in a specific gender then between individuals of different genders. So why is it that we still don’t have co-sporting activities? If women and men have equal capacities for the same abilities? Of course with this idea that women cannot play men sports we create a gender inequality.

So, in theory women can do just the same as men but since our culture and our socialization has made us use specific gender roles we see certain activities as normal for women and normal for men and they don’t cross. With equal abilities women are in fact capable of doing just the same as men but our culture limits what we see as acceptable behavior from women in regards to sports.

Submitted by Courtney Bailey

[Example post] Bic Pens for Ladies!

Bic Pen For Her Women Reviews
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The “Bic Cristal for Her” is a good example of how gender can be reinforced through consumption and advertising.  Here a generic item–a pen–has been marked with gender through its name (“for her”), packaging (are those flowers along the edge?), and advertising. As this article about the pen notes, some retailers claim the pens “are reserved for women and feature a diamond-engraved barrel for an elegant, unique feminine style. The tinted, hexagonal barrel is thinner for better handling for women and still keeps the ink supply visible.”  

The absurdity of such claims were called out by consumers in their product reviews.  For example, comments on the Amazon web site have been used as a simple form of protest and resistance, mocking the manufacturer of the needlessly gendered product.  One person wrote, ““Finally! For years I’ve had to rely on pencils, or at worst, a twig and some drops of my feminine blood to write down recipes (the only thing a lady should be writing ever),” the reviewer wrote. “I had despaired of ever being able to write down […]recipes in a permanent manner, though my men-folk assured me that I “shouldn’t worry yer pretty little head”. But, AT LAST! Bic, the great liberator, has released a womanly pen that my gentle baby hands can use without fear of unlady-like callouses and bruises. Thank you, Bic!”

The tone-deaf advertising and the resistance to it are a good example of how gender continues to be contested.