25April14 Meeting of Academic Conversations

Basically we came to the conclusion that there are a lot of double standards for men and women.

What’s considered sexist for women is often not considered sexist for men. Women portrayed in skimpy clothing is considered sexist, men portrayed in even less is considered sexy and strong.

Women showing their emotions is expected when they are in traditional roles.

Men are often considered vulnerable & weak when they show tender emotions.

But when women occupy formerly male dominated positions like in politics and as executives, showing emotions (crying or getting stern/angry) is considered weak, bossy or bitchy.

Men in the same positions showing the same emotions are considered passionate, assertive and strong.

We discussed the ban the word bossy campaign and most agreed it’s not used solely for women but increased sensitivity is needed for how the word is being used–if it’s a woman showing leadership than use the words “in charge”, “executive skills” or “leadership qualities” but if someone is being pushy and bratty then bossy is an appropriate word for any gender acting that way.

Our society is still perpetuating sexist gender roles. Studies show girls that girl’s are more likely to be chaperoned than boys. Parents tend to distribute household tasks along gender lines, pushing boys to do yard work, shovel snow, and take out the garbage and instructing girls to clean house, wash dishes, cook, and babysit (Newman, 1995). Parents, as well as other family and friends, often give children toys that teach and reinforce gender roles. Boys’ toys encourage invention, exploration, competition, and aggression (Newman, 1995), activity, mobility, problem solving, competition, and following strict rules (Benokraitis, 2002), while girls’ toys encourage creativity, nurturance, and physical attractiveness (Newman, 1995), passivity, domestic skills, imaginative play, and emotional expressiveness (Benokraitis, 2002). By age five, most children anticipate disapproval from their peers for playing with toys that deviate from their gender stereotype, so they forego those opposite-sexed toys, reinforcing and strengthening the gender bias (Benokraitis, 2002). Teachers tend to see girls as more emotional and are more likely to help a girl answer a question and let a boy figure out the answer on his own.

Ads continue to perpetuate stereotype roles, some great examples were shown.

We discussed the feminist definition of sexism as compared to the typical dictionary definition . The feminist definition suggested sexism can only apply to women because they are in a position of lesser power. Is that fair? Is objectification and sexism wrong no matter what gender? What about men obsessing about muscles, weight and getting chest implants and liposuction?

Do men embrace being objectified more? Is there an evolutionary advantage to being seen as strong and capable? Is there an evolutionary advantage to women being seen as caring and nurturing?

Do people not raised in our traditional society still assume traditional gender roles: Frankenstein was used as an example and homeschooled boys in class did not feel peer pressure to not show emotions or engage in other stereotypical behavior.

Racism:

There is a lot of blatant racist imagery on TV and movies from not that long ago.

And still racist stereotypes are displayed in pop culture today. If feminist idea that sexism only applies to those not in power, does the same go for racism? Does reverse racism or hate crimes against a dominant race not count?

 

Overall, we concluded more sensitivity and awareness is needed to treat everyone equally and we need to be aware of hypocrisy and double standards that weaken arguments. There are some evolutionary reasons for our stereotypes but sexism and racism are not ok against anyone and pop culture needs to reflect that.

 

Thanks everyone. You all taught a great class. If you need to review the footage shown please see the shared google doc.

 

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