Tag Archives: society

What it Would Mean for America to Elect its First Female President

27 Mar

From the initial inception of society, the exclusion of women from institutional politics was an extension of their exclusion from the public space. Traditionally, women, even those who worked outside of the household, took care of the family, the domestic space and were in charge of “reproduction”, while men had the most important roles in society, especially those related to politics, religion and war. With time, however, this sexual division of labor became less marked, thanks to the mobilization of women themselves.

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Ever more present since her private meeting with President Obama on Monday, is the mounting speculation over whether Hillary Clinton will soon announce a presidential run. And of course there is discussion on whether a woman is equipped to run the country.

To begin, I would like to reiterate to my readers that Feminism is a practice, NOT a single person or outcome. Despite the views of some of my peers, feminists are not “women who want to become men.” Conversely, feminism is a scope, a lens if you will, for looking at the world, and aims for attaining even ground and destruction of any influencers that may exist which perpetuate unfair advantages favoring men over women. Feminism does NOT define women as victims. Feminism recognizes that men are biologically built for some duties better than women and vice versa. There is not contesting that. But what feminism yearns for is an equal consideration between women and men where gender should not be a bias. This applies to jobs and things as simple as purchasing a new car.

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For me, I think a female president would be able to finally mediate the tired, drawn-out arguments over birth control and abortion access. And while I don’t think anyone, man or woman should have the power to exercise an absolute decision over what a woman can and cannot do with her own body, a female president would be more empathetic than a man to rape culture and therefore better motivated to address and educate society’s acknowledgment to obvious and unobvious (normalized) forms of sexual violence.

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The good news is that most Americans find women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, with many saying they’re stronger than men in terms of being compassionate and organized leaders, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey on women and leadership,

So why, then, are women in short supply at the top of government and business in the United States? According to the public, at least, it’s not that they lack toughness, management chops or proper skill sets.

It’s also not all about work-life balance. Instead, topping the list of reasons, about four-in-ten Americans point to a double standard for women seeking to climb to the highest levels of either politics or business, where they have to do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves. Similar shares say the electorate and corporate America are just not ready to put more women in top leadership positions.

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As a result, the public is divided about whether, even in the face of the major advances women have made in the workplace, the imbalance in corporate America will change in the foreseeable future. About half (53%) believe men will continue to hold more top executive positions in business in the future; 44% say it is only a matter of time before as many women are in top executive positions as men. Americans are less doubtful when it comes to politics: 73% expect to see a female president in their lifetime.

If Hillary was to win the 2016 election, I think it would be a catalyst in kick starting a new movement where women would feel more confident and empowered to succeed and inspired to become more politically active. Women have come so far, it would be very liberating, at least for me, to elect a female president. It is one of the last frontiers we have yet to claim.

Quick Facts:

Women are far more likely than men to see gender discrimination in today’s societyAbout two-thirds (65%) of women say their gender faces at least some discrimination in society today, compared with 48% of men who believe women face some discrimination. A double-digit gender gap on perceptions of gender discrimination is evident across all generations as well as across partisan groups.

Women and men are seen as equally good business leaders, but gender stereotypes persist. Most Americans (54%) say men would do a better job running a professional sports team, while just 8% say women would be better at this. And a 46% plurality also give men the edge when it comes to running a large oil or gas company. But the public is two and a half times more likely to say a woman, rather than a man, would do a better job running a major hospital or a major retail chain.

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Please share your thoughts; I love reading the different perspectives of my readers.

Being Fierce in ’15 – Dispelling the False Association Between Feminism and Misandry

12 Feb

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We’re going back to basics. Have you ever heard the term misandrist? It’s like the antonym for misogynist and pertains to hatred for men instead of women.

Lately, discussions of feminism have been at an all-time high as celebrities such as Emma Watson are taking a public stand on the issue of inequality between sexes. Consequently, most backlash and negativity seems to attack feminism at it so-called weak spot, calling supporters “man-haters.” When did feminism become code for “person who hates men?” When did feminists become viewed as individuals who believe all men are predators? After all, feminist is just a word. A word to describe people who believe everyone should have equitable places in society regardless of their gender. Hey guys, that means we support you too!

Some feminists are misandrists, but it is not a criterion to join the movement. A portion does not equal a whole, even if that portion is very loud.

What matters is that feminism, distilled down to its most inner core, is about gender equality, with the goal of creating a society or utopia in which gender does not restrict an individual from an equitable shot at success and happiness.

Most feminists, including myself, politely disagree with the belief that women are better than men, and conversely try to convey that we’re all deserving and worthy – women, men, trans – and should be treated as such.

Man-hating is unfortunately a reactionary sentiment identified with feminism.

So…What Does Feminism Say Is Bad?

Feminism came about because of sexism – it’s historical presence as well as its existence today. Sexism is the problem, and a problem that is largely engaged in by men, and a lot of women internalize. Because men are largely the vehicles for sexism, they oftentimes wrongly associate feminism as an attack on men. But we’re not out for your blood in particular, our sights are on the patriarchy.

Men become participators in sexism because they have been taught to behave and think that way. Women internalize it for the same reason.

Aside from seeking equality, feminism asks both men and women to think about those normalized behaviors created by society, and calculate the impact. More than anything, the movement asks to hold people accountable who perpetuate sexism whether they realize their behavior is sexist or not.

It’s easy to get defensive about this. Whenever my boyfriend and I debate if feminism is relevant or even needs to exist today, he oftentimes brings up the belief that men can’t be accountable for sexist behavior they never thought/knew was wrong. To no avail I argue that this does not make it acceptable.

It all comes down to society and educating our peers how to treat each other with equity. That is what feminism seeks to achieve.

Saying all feminists hate men is a stigma, which closely relates to the notion that college is just one big beer fest. But you and I both know that college is more than that, isn’t it? Maybe I went to the wrong university…

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String Theory-Can a Feminist Wear a Thong?

17 Dec

As a feminist, I support the establishing and  defending of equal political, economic, and social rights for women. However, we are not all lesbians, or discontent with conspicuous clothing or deviant behavior. I have said on previous occasions that I appreciate women who can put themselves on display, yet remain proud and in-control. Angela Carter would agree with me here.  On that note, I wanted to bring up the iconic, yet controversial thong.

I love thongs because they compliment my body, make me feel beautiful in a way which embraces my womanhood, and allows me to view myself in an intimate type of way, which for me, is empowering.

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Natasha Bragg, author of “Behind, Beneath, and Between: Tracing the Thong” (http://dismagazine.com/discussion/22772/behind-beneath-and-between-tracing-the-thong/) brings up a conversing opinion stating that

The thong has come to represent more than primitivizing a culture’s misunderstood dress. It is brought up in the conversation of objectification, too. A thong bathing suit, like the ones Coco Austin, star of E!’s Ice Loves Coco, famously wears in her “Thong Thursdays” Twitter updates, has become representative of air-headed hyper-sexualization and material concerns.

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The million dollar question of whether a feminist can wear a thong is, according to Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, “symbolic of young people’s relationship to feminism.”

I believe Bragg presents a good argument. But why can’t I support the women empowerment movement while being sexy? Do these negate each other?

The word “feminism” has undergone a transformation as interesting as the history of the undergarment. Its relationship to dress is undeniable, but the blurred lines between gender studies and fashion design sometimes make themselves clearer by drawing attention to the differing priorities on either side. Sex is fashion and fashion sex; gender is sex and sex gender. Still, fashion can try to ignore gender, and gender can discriminate against fashion. It’s okay for a feminist to wear a thong, but is it okay for a thong to be representative of feminism? Perhaps more importantly: Can a thong be representative of anti-feminism?

Fashionably, the thong changes its mood every few years and represents something new. The thong is rebellious: It sticks out, hides again, becomes functional, emerges as decoration, and stretches itself thin.

And so I am taking a pantie pledge to continue wearing thongs as I establish myself alongside, if not above the patriarchy.

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Slam Poetry! Katie Makkai defines the word, “pretty”

12 Nov

When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, “What will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? What comes next? Oh right, will I be rich?” Which is almost pretty depending on where you shop. And the pretty question infects from conception, passing blood and breath into cells. The word hangs from our mothers’ hearts in a shrill fluorescent floodlight of worry.

“Will I be wanted? Worthy? Pretty?” But puberty left me this funhouse mirror dryad: teeth set at science fiction angles, crooked nose, face donkey-long and pox-marked where the hormones went finger-painting. My poor mother.

“How could this happen? You’ll have porcelain skin as soon as we can see a dermatologist. You sucked your thumb. That’s why your teeth look like that! You were hit in the face with a Frisbee when you were 6. Otherwise your nose would have been just fine!

“Don’t worry. We’ll get it fixed!” She would say, grasping my face, twisting it this way and that, as if it were a cabbage she might buy.

But this is not about her. Not her fault. She, too, was raised to believe the greatest asset she could bestow upon her awkward little girl was a marketable facade. By 16, I was pickled with ointments, medications, peroxides. Teeth corralled into steel prongs. Laying in a hospital bed, face packed with gauze, cushioning the brand new nose the surgeon had carved.

Belly gorged on 2 pints of my blood I had swallowed under anesthesia, and every convulsive twist of my gut like my body screaming at me from the inside out, “What did you let them do to you!”

All the while this never-ending chorus droning on and on, like the IV needle dripping liquid beauty into my blood. “Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? Like my mother, unwrapping the gift wrap to reveal the bouquet of daughter her $10,000 bought her? Pretty? Pretty.”

And now, I have not seen my own face for 10 years. I have not seen my own face in 10 years, but this is not about me.

This is about the self-mutilating circus we have painted ourselves clowns in. About women who will prowl 30 stores in 6 malls to find the right cocktail dress, but haven’t a clue where to find fulfillment or how wear joy, wandering through life shackled to a shopping bag, beneath those 2 pretty syllables.

About men wallowing on bar stools, drearily practicing attraction and everyone who will drift home tonight, crest-fallen because not enough strangers found you suitably fuckable.

This, this is about my own some-day daughter. When you approach me, already stung-stayed with insecurity, begging, “Mom, will I be pretty? Will I be pretty?” I will wipe that question from your mouth like cheap lipstick and answer, “No! The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be, and no child of mine will be contained in five letters.

“You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing. But you, will never be merely ‘pretty’.”

Girls on the Run

16 Oct

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Girls on the Run is a non-profit program that provides pre-adolescent girls with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths and successfully navigate life experiences. It inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Ultimately, participants will realize their limitless potential, and learn to activate it in order to pursue their dreams.

I read in the local paper that a chapter was opening up in my town. I thought it would be a great idea to volunteer as a coach, or running buddy. I love the idea of teaching young girls to be confident and respect themselves through running and give them a feeling of accomplishment through a big 5K event. With low self-esteem, peer pressure, and poor fitness among the problems facing young people today it’s great to see my community recognizing and addressing the problem head-on. Girls, especially at a younger age, need to be aware of, and aided in breaking out of the limitations often placed upon them by society.

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