The two readings on Blackboard, one by bell hooks on global feminism from her fabulous reader, Feminism is for Everybody, and one by Lois Leveen from Bitch magazine on gendered toys/enertainment via Dora the Explorer and international labor relations, remind us that despite many advancements in the United States, the struggle for gender equality persists across the globe, especially in developing nations. To wrap up our summer session, please reflect on the political call to action the authors promote. Since this is our last graded post, worth 25 points instead of 20, I encourage you to pull ideas from throughout the semester–not just those from this week’s readings–to propose ideas on how we as Americans can find a balance in recognizing the struggles of women across the globe, and likewise gender relations in general, without patronizing or paternalizing other nations’ citizens (something for which hooks argues strongly). Finally what role should/could media and new technologies play in raising not only gender inequality awareness but also action?
Before we can begin strategically dismantling how popular media stereotype masculinity, femininity and sexuality, it’s important that you read through the many article links on Blackboard under the Media tab. In this space I’m going to include links to condensed Media Education Foundation videos (also available in Blackboard) regarding representation of women’s images in television including Generation M and Dreamworlds 3. Off the Straight and Narrow summarizes representations of gays, lesbians and bisexuals from the beginning of the network era until the mid 1990s, while Further Off the Straight and Narrow is an analysis of gay representation on TV from the late 1990s to now. In the former two videos, we see increasingly sexualized ideals of femininity. In the latter, we see a move toward slick, yet safe gay identities in the mainstream media. Throughout all these images is a reliance on stereotypes that erases the diversity of gender and sexuality experiences and identities. What other stereotypes of gender and sexuality exist in the mainstream media? Will new stereotypes emerge? Will popular media ever be able to move beyond these stereotypes. If so, how?
Blog Activity 10: Doing Gender at Work June 8, 2009
Today’s reading summarized major issues facing women in the workplace. The Gambles explained the difference between internal and external barriers to advancement in the workplace and also touched on inequality of women’s and men’s wages. The 2003 figures estimated that, on average, women make 72 cents for every dollar men earn. This more recent New York Times’ graphic display of the gender wage gap breaks the difference up by occupation. If you scroll your mouse over the dots on the graph you can see specific percentage differences. A few that I think are striking include physicians and surgeons. Women in these professions earn an astounding 40% less than their male counterparts. In the higher education sector, women earn 22% less than men. One study explains the higher pay disparity at executive level corporate employment, while another highlights the relationship between traditional values and men’s wages.
Another important thing to recognize beyond the gender barriers and pay inequality are the societal pressures and expectations to perform (so-called) masculinity and femininity in the workplace. The text only briefly approaches the topic, so I’d like for us to expand the discussion and connect it to the gender wage gap that clearly still persists. One article that I think successfully brings the two ideas together is focused on women’s transition from educational success to workplace struggle. A second article discusses the gender expecations in hosting programs on the Food Network. Please read the articles (as well as the other links I’ve included in the post) and reflect on your experience and that of women and men close to you who have experienced gender discrimination (societal, economic or both) in the workplace. What pressures still exist? How might we resolve these issues civilly?
Touching base June 5, 2009
I want to commend you all on your hard work and thoughtful contributions to the blog this week, especially the most recent prompt on romantic relationships. Not only were there more assignments this week, but you also made great strides to discuss the “tough” topics. It’s these times that I think online learning might actually be more beneficial than a physical classroom. Think about how many times you wanted to voice an opposing opinion but didn’t feel comfortable or didn’t want to rock the boat. Similarly, sometimes face-to-face discussions become heated and uncomfortable. I’m not suggesting we replace all traditional learning spaces with online forums. Rather, just as some of the blog prompts have encouraged thinking outside the norm, I think our current virtual classroom is challenging our longtime assumptions about learning. Those of you who haven’t yet revisited the relationship blog post to read through everyone’s remarks, I suggest doing so. In the meantime, good luck on your Web portfolios.
Please refer to the links from Blackboard as well as those I include in this post and p. 241 of your textbook to help inform your comments.
The following link provides CNU enrollment figures categorized by gender and race. In summary, undergraduate enrollment is currently at 45% male and 55% female, which is comparable to the national figures shared in the textbook (though it is six years old now, wow). National projections continue to point to higher female enrollment. Situate this analysis within the textbook’s description of gendered learning styles (there’s a handy chart on p. 239) and answer the following questions.
What effect will the differential between men and women have on them and CNU’s future? Will a surplus of educated women allow more women to attain jobs that were once awarded to men? How might the disparity alter social relationships? Will men experience difficulty establishing lasting relationships with women who are better educated than they are?