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Blog Post 6 – Survival of the Fittest

24 Dec

http://thefbomb.org/2010/12/survival-of-the-fittest/

I know I already blogged once about my experience and opinions on verbal harassment and cat-calling to women on the street, but this post I found on the fbomb brought up some interesting points for me. The blogger comments on how she can’t believe in post feminism because women must literalyl face street harassment every day, and it is a constant example of men’s power over women. She discusses how some of her friends find catcalling flattering, but every time she approaches a group of men she automatically feels self conscious of her breasts and thighs, like she shouldn’t be showing them. She discusses how even though the men on the street probably don’t put very much thought into it before they say things to women, the fact that they view a woman’s body as public property to comment on is scary and only makes you think about what they feel they can do on a more extreme level. Being catcalled is a constant reminder that a woman is being viewed only as a sex object, and is being reduced simply to the way she looks. The blogger goes on to talk about how catcalling has more to do with men maintaining their traditional power role, than sex. If they feel like they can say these things to a woman, and are above her, they reinforce this power dynamic. They can’t actually expect a date out of it, but by commenting on a woman’s body, they are saying she is only worth the way she physically looks, which makes them feel dominant. The writer wraps up the post and says verbal harassment is “yet another example of female sexuality being used to degrade and punish.” Catcalling and verbal assault is one of the main examples I see of women being degraded in every day life, so I found this post interesting and agreed with the writer’s points about male power being ingrained in our society.

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Blog Post 3

23 Dec

http://teenage-feminist.blogspot.com/

On this blog, a post entitled “Operation Anti-discrimination” made me think about shopping and the discrimination that takes place in clothing stores. This girl blogs about how she hates the store Hollister, and how she is about to engage in an experiment with her friends, dressing up as different stereotypical shoppers at the mall. She will be dressing up as an overweight girl, wearing baggy sweats and no makeup, and entering a store she has strong opinions about. She states in the blog, that part of her, hopes that when she asks them if they have her size, they will try to help her without being rude and discriminatory, but part of her hopes they won’t.

As a college kid, I barely have the time or money to do shopping myself. I have a friend who is obsessed with designer brands and always wants to go to Louis Vuitton and Gucci, just to look around. I always feel really uncomfortable when we go in though, because for some reason I think it’s obvious I can’t afford anything, and am not wearing designer clothes myself. I’ve never been outright disrespected, but whenever we go in, I feel out of place and unwanted. This idea of discrimination in stores is interesting, since you’d think all they want to do is sell as many items as possible, but then there IS discrimination if you are not their ideal customer. I think for designer stores, this better than-thou attitude works because the clothes appear too good for just anyone to own, making their value go up.

Emily Stockdale

Blog Post #2

20 Dec

http://thefbomb.org/2010/12/saturday-vids-glamour-magazine-and-the-girl-on-page-194/

This post, entitled Glamour Magazine and the Girl on Page 194 discusses how the magazine featured a plus size model about a year ago (on page 194) that got a lot of positive attention and feedback. In response to this, the fashion magazine promised to continue to feature more plus size models. I have noticed lately that magazines actually HAVE started to incorporate this type of beauty more! It is nice to see, and I think especially attractive to readers because “plus size” is usually actually closer to the average size of most women in America.

One example I can think of where “plus size” or more curvy women are featured, is on the show MAD MEN. The show takes place in the 1950s and 60’s when it was thought of as most attractive for women to have a curvy hourglass figure, but I think the show has really influenced fashion and the common stereotype that the only way to be attractive is to be skinny. Since MAD MEN, and other shows where curvaceous women are featured (Keeping Up With the Kardashians etc.) women who don’t necessarily fit the size 0-6 category have begun to grace the covers of Vogue and Glamour, and have have changed what currently is thought of as “sexy” in the media. The Blogger from f-bomb asked if Glamour has actually continued to feature plus size models, and I do think they have, along with other magazines. The balance is still not equal between plus size and thin models in magazines, but I have seen a change, and it is nice to know that different types of bodies, that are more similar to women living and working in America today, are becoming more prevelent in the media.
Emily Stockdale

2010- Not the Year of the Woman in American Business

15 Dec

http://feministing.com/

I just read this post on feministing.com that states actual statistics showing numbers of women who held executive officer positions in major American corporations this year. Companies such as Delta Airlines, Kohls, Radio Shack, Citigroup, Loews, Blockbuster, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Apple are all without a single woman executive officer. The Catalyst Census was released this week and tracks the number of women in the top businesses positions in corporations in America. This year 14.4 % of Fortune 500 companies have women in top earning positions, which is an increase from last year, 32% have one woman executive officer, and 27.4% don’t have any.

Though this Census includes only Fortune 500 companies, it shows how women really are not equal to men yet in the corporate work place. It was nice to see that the percent of top business women went up a little since last year, and is slowly rising, but it was interesting to me how most of these companies have one or no women making the major business decisions about the companies’ futures. It will be interesting to see how the statistics change in the future as woman continue to be more career driven. The way we are socialized has made it difficult today for women to have a huge career and perhaps raise a family, which is probably the main reason these statistics are the way they are. Though this is surely changing, women now are faced with having to be a “superwoman” and balance both, whereas a man’s career is what is traditionally thought of as most important. As long as women are the ones having babies, they will always have to take time off work to be a mother, which will constantly make it more challenging to be equal competitors with men in the work place. But it is nice to see that gradually, the numbers of women holding top executive positions are rising in America today and that family dynamics will continue to change in our society to support women who have important careers.

Emily Stockdale

“Sexism” in the Sweet realm – a big fat follow-up post

9 Dec

This blog post discusses a New York Times ballet dance critic who recently reviewed a professional performance of the Nutcracker, and proceeded to comment on the size of the two lead dancers. One of the dancers, the girl, suffered at one point from anorexia, and the blogger on Feministing discusses how the writer states that she had probably consumed “one too many sugarplums.”

I am a Musical Theater major here at Pace, and part of the major is being involved in dance. Though I am no where near a professional ballerina, the pressures for a performer, especially a female one, to be thin are incredible in the performing arts world. Before you enter the professional world of auditioning, you must know your “type,” in other words, what you look like and the rolls you are likely to be cast as. Many of the girls I know have been told by the heads of our department that as a girl, you must either choose to be fat, or skinny, there is no in between. You must be considered as the “funny character part” or the attractive “ingenue” type.

I find it interesting that this writer had the nerve to write about the size of these dancers in the Times. It is clear that neither of them had anything close to a weight problem that inhibited them from giving an amazing performance, and if they didn’t give a performance that was up to this critic’s standards, it is ridiculous that he could possibly try to blame this on their size or weight.

Emily Stockdale

Blog Post 1: Response to Blog

18 Oct

http://afeministresponsetopopculture.blogspot.com/

I read a blog called Feminism/ Popular Culture, and I found a really interesting post about a new video game that “offers feminist commentary.” The game is called “Hey Baby” and basically takes the player through the streets of a city as a woman who is getting cat called and continuously sexually harassed. As the player you can shoot and blow up any man who says anything to you. The blogger hoped this game would bring up some discussion of the imbalance of power that is evident when men catcall women on the street. She also blogged that this video game was probably not the best response to the issue of sexual harassment on the street, it treats violence with violence, and the player being harassed is always a woman. This game is meant to be discussed in a serious way, even though it basically has the player shooting up every man who shouts at her on the street.

I thought the idea of the video game was interesting. As a young woman living in New York City, it is so frustrating to walk down the street and be cat called. I’ve tried everything because I hate it so much, I guess I feel so powerless when a man says something disgusting he “wants to do to me” on the street. When I first moved to the city I was a bit naive, but I learned quickly that wearing heels and a skirt was basically a death march. Now, if I’m going out at night, I wear flats and bring heels because it saves me from some unwanted attention. I’ve tried having the attitude of “screw it” I’ll wear what I want, but though I may appear that I don’t care, I am beyond uncomfortable. I’ve tried yelling at men when they say inappropriate things, but in most experiences, this has only lead them on. In the past year, I moved neighborhoods from Murray hill to the financial district. I was excited at first because I thought dressing how I wanted would draw less attention here, where people are more expected to be dressed up. Not so. In my experience it doesn’t matter if it’s a construction worker, or a wall street man, I am still harassed at the least, 5 times a day.

I think this video game, though a bit overboard, has some great underlying messages. Obviously it wouldn’t have been made if street harassment wasn’t such a huge and annoying part of most women’s lives.

Social Construction Exercise: Venus Razors, Emily Stockdale

6 Oct

Venus razors are an example of a product in our world today that is “gendered.”   This commercial razor is branded as “feminine,” and though it is built a bit differently than a “man’s” razor, it essentially does the same thing.  This ad is just one of the many Venus razor adds of its kind that advertise that  being  a “goddess” means having smooth legs.  Really, who do  we shave our legs for?  Perhaps for ourselves, but most likely to appeal to the opposite sex, or what the image of “womanly” has been socially constructed as in our culture.   It is thought of as dirty our unkempt for women to have body hair. Venus suggests that removing your hair is the way to be “radiant” and powerful, like a goddess.   Therefore, womanly is thought of as hairless.   In this add in particular, bright colors that are associated with femininity are used.  Women with different lifestyles are shown, but in the end, the commercial is tied together with the image of a girl who appears to be out on the town, looking sexy and “attractive” to a man.

It is hard to imagine the Venus razor ever being connected to or used by a man.  It is interesting because Venus is actually a branch of Gillete, which is a  major men’s razor company as well.  Men’s razors are advertised and gendered just as much as women’s.  Dark “manly” colors and metal tones are used to show off a sleek metal razor that appears heavy and masculine, in contrast to the bright pink or purple almost weightless look of the Venus.  It is interesting because there is really no razor here that is non gender-specific.  Each razor is designed for the individual to fulfill the gender role of being manly or womanly.