Women in Sports

Women in sports have been treated unfairly for ages. They get less money, less respect, and fewer fans. For the last 6 years I have been running track and field, starting at a high school level and now on to collegiate. Two questions I am almost always asked when a male finds out that I run track is “Are you fast?” and “Did you get a full scholarship?” When men talk to other men about sports their ability is nearly never questioned. Being a female my level of skill is always attached to my gender.

The unfair treatment spills over into professional sports as well. In an article I read on The State Press it stated that in the WNBA a rookie contract is $34,500 which is less than the average teachers salary while in the NBA their minimum rookie contract is $543,000. The wage gap is ridiculous. Being a female student athlete I know all about the blood, sweat , and tears it takes in order to get through just a week of classes and practice and the gap is unacceptable for the amount of work put in.

Regretfully, gender biases exist on and off the field as following are just a few comments I found related to male opinions regarding female sportscasters:

“Everyone knows women’s place is dancing provocatively on the sidelines”

“If it’s a female sport, I like female announcers”

“I just wanna know why these broads minds are on man sports and not in the kitchen..”

 

One might ask, will the gap ever close? Will females ever be viewed the same as males athletically ? I’m of the opinion that sadly it will not.

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There Is No Planet B

Climate Change as a feminist issue:

I was fortunate enough to attend the People’s Climate March that took place in DC this past Saturday, where thousands of protestors spoke out against the current state of the U.S. government, global environment, jobs, fossil fuels, renewable resources, and so on. I have always viewed climate change as an issue that leaned more towards scientific research, ecological preservation, and the overall well-being of Earth; but I had never really thought of it as an intersectional feminist issue until now.

Though everyone on Earth is experiencing the effects of climate change, women in developing nations are heavily impacted. For example, within these developing and growing countries women are traditionally expected to cook and clean, but with freshwater becoming increasingly scarce and contaminated, women must travel further for potentially “cleaner” water that still has no guarantee that it won’t cause health problems. Also, young school girls face the dilemma of leaving school to lend a helping hand in the family’s farm that is suffering due to the land changing as a result of irregular weather and climate. Another example is the maquiladora labor system in Mexico that hire and exploit their workers that are mostly women and single mothers. Not only do these large trans-national corporations underpay their workers, the factories release harmful chemicals and fumes into the adjacent neighborhoods that the workers call home.

Although we haven’t talked about the topic of climate change in our class, I thought it would be important to talk about due to Trump’s first 100 days which included appointing Scott Pruitt as the head of the EPA, proposing to slash EPA funds, and approving the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline. With the United States being such an influential player in the health of the world, do you think that the new administration’s attitudes towards the environment and climate change will detrimentally effect women of developing nations even more than now? Is there a way for the feminist movement to help women of the global south?

Just some food for thought.

Here are some cool things I saw at the march

DSC_0801DSC_0806DSC_0796

Here are some interesting links if you want to read more about some of the things I mentioned above:

http://www.maquilapolis.com/project_eng.htm

https://www.aspeninstitute.org/podcasts/climate-change-feminism/

13 Reasons Why

In my spare time much like many of us I do enjoy a good show on Netflix here and there. just last weekend my roommates and I sat down and watched this new show on Netflix which had 5 stars at the time that was starting to get a buzz on a bunch of our social media outlets. and after binge watch to see what this is about. The series is 13 episodes long and is for those who have not seen it is about a girl who commits suicide and leaves tapes behind for people to listen to in which she explains why she killed herself.

I found this so interesting because of how people responded to the show. Many people were saying the show had gone to far in many respects. Some arguing that the show was insensitive because some of the big talking points in the show were rape suicide, and mental health. While these things are alright to talk about behind closed doors they did not find it appropriate. Others argued the show talked much about these issues without working out a resolution in the end to have people take things away so I served to purpose to teach young people how to react to these situations if they were presented in their lives.

On the contrary I found this to be a phenomenal show and would encourage anyone who has not seen it already to spend the 13 hours of their life and experience this. The shooting of these issues that many young people and young women especially go through in high schools across the world gave a great view point of what these children struggle through many times alone. The show did not even take any short cuts when it came to the difficult scenes of filming the rape and or the suicide. These issues I feel need to be spoken about and I am frustrated that a show that did such a great job to start these conversations was receiving such push back.

I feel as if every time there is one of these shows that get too real that some viewers want them taken down and replaced by more entertainment that will keep everyone happy. but regardless how hard some of these conversations are to have I believe that if one person who sees a show like this and reaches out to get assistance or someone learns how to be a better ally to a struggling friend then the millions of dollars that were spent in production were not a waste.

What Will Make the Change: Conquering Institutionalized Power

In our readings, we’ve come across the phrase, “institutionalized power” in relation to male privilege and patriarchal dominance. The readings by Andrea Dworkin (I Want a 24-hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape) and by Audre Lorde (The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House) express similar views in the continuance of a dominant power that men have over women. Both authors want those who possess this “power” to realize that this leaves room for no change in how society views women. Two quotes from these reading stood out to me. “Only within a patriarchal structure is maternity the only social power open to women” (Lorde) and “Power protected by the unacknowledged legislators of the world is what men have. The Men’s movement suggest that they don’t want that kind of power, but find reasons not to do something about changing the fact that they have that power” (Dworkin).  With these quotes in mind I began to question, how exactly do we handle this patriarchal structure that exist? What tactics are necessary to change this power that men have?

I was having a conversation with some of my friends about male dominance and the affect that it has on women. In the conversation, someone questioned what would you do if you found out that a male friend or someone you know sexually assaulted a female. The men in the group instantly deemed this action as a deal breaker, where they wouldn’t want to associate with the guy who committed the act because it isn’t something that they agree with or would ever condone. From that reaction so many questions arose for me like “Why not make him aware of the seriousness of his actions?”, “Why not report his actions to an authority?” or “How do we make sure that he doesn’t do this to someone else?”. To only disassociate yourself with someone who commits an act like that only leaves room for them to continually do it again and again and again. Although my male friends have never had to deal with a situation such as this, I believe that if you know someone who feels comfortable taking advantage of women, a morality check should take place. It is important to acknowledge the act that person has committed and make it known that what has happen isn’t right in any way, shape or form.

Although this is just one issue, there are so many other issues that arise from men using power over women. This topic gets tough to talk about because it seems that all men are being categorized in this group of “male supremacist” where they use male privilege and patriarchal dominance to oppress women. That isn’t the case, every man doesn’t but some men do and that is where the problem lies. I don’t think that I have a concrete answer to my initial questions, but what do you think needs to be done to make a change in the ways that men use their power or change the power that men have?

Response to Feminism in the mind of a college student

I’m currently taking a First-Year-Seminar class, focused on “discussing classics”. In this class, we read and discuss different reading every class, usually about different philosophies, news, historical events, etc. Tuesday, our readings to discuss were geared towards feminism. Before every class, we must have the texts read and discussion questions ready to discuss. I was disappointed, but not surprised, with what the questions were and how the conversation went. The two readings were “A Woman’s Philosophy of Woman” by Jenny d’Hericourt and “Women and Fiction” by Virginia Woolf. To summarize, the first reading is discussing how men and women have their differences, but how you perceive them is what influence it has in the world. It focuses on how women should be encouraged to take more authoritative roles in science, politics, etc. and have different qualities and skills to offer in those positions. In the second reading, to condense into one sentence, men and women have different values and qualities which produce different works, in this case it is poetry, criticism, and history. In our group of nine, there are seven guys and two girls, so the conversation was going to be a little biased. It was just surprising to see how many people still do not see faults in their ways or the general way of society. One question that stuck out to me was, “why do some women just naturally assume that all men hold some stereotypical viewpoint on women?” This was kind of frustrating to listen to, because the guys in our group were basically saying that it is all in women’s’ heads and women stretch to be more valuable than men. This is not the case, as generally, these stereotypes are strongly rooted in society and affect women in many aspects, such as jobs, sexual violence, physical abilities, family roles, etc. Another area of feminism we discussed was whether the increase of women going into the workforce rather than staying at home with the kids was taking away from the ‘importance of being a mother’. As expected, most of the discussion was sexist and degrading-with a majority of the guys in the group implying that all women are good for is reproducing. You would think with so many women making a difference in the world that the idea that being mothers is all women are good for would change.

Where Should We Draw the Line when Parodying? (April 16th post)

So, this is something that has bothered me for quite some time, and I don’t have an answer for it. I watch a YouTuber called Filthy Frank, a guy who is half-white, half-Japanese. He’s supposed to represent a disgusting, terrible person. If you go to Frank’s YouTube description page, it says that he is “the embodiment of everything a person should not be. He is anti-PC, anti-social, and anti-couth.” Basically, his “character” that he performs is supposed to parody “the social media machine” and essentially reflect how terrible everything in the world is. So then, the actual character behind this persona, Joji, does not actually hold the views or believe in doing the things that are acted out on camera in his show. The reason I’m talking about him is because Frank essentially displays acts of human indecency in terms of ableism, racism, sexism, so on and so forth. The issue I have with this is that from one perspective, the things he is doing on this channel are a parody; they are jokes and are clearly described as such. They don’t actually represent what he thinks is good or right in the world. However, when people make these jokes, regardless of intention, that message is still technically being spread, and there are those who will agree with it regardless of whether or not the person conveying that message means it. This spread technically promotes that mindset. A similar example lies in the YouTuber “Pewdiepie” using a website known as “Fiver” to pay some people five dollars to hold up a sign that said “Hitler did nothing wrong.” News media took this and used it to claim “Pewdiepie is a Nazi”, despite him not truly expressing any actual anti-Semitic or Nazi views, and the fact that the fiver incident was meant as a joke. Pewdiepie also apologized for making the joke and recognized that he had gone too far with said joke. However, again, the idea presented here still potentially finds its way to those that agree with it. I’d personally like to believe that context matters, that intention matters, that every instance of controversy should be dealt with on a case by case basis to ensure that jokes remain jokes, and actual hate-speak and hate crime are prevented. However, I’m unable to think of any practical methods to ensure such a thing happens. I assume that McIntosh (based off of the list of privileges that she made in our text [FF p. 12-14]) would likely say my ability to have this view is due to my white privilege, and honestly I feel like there’s merit in that. My identity as a white male isn’t necessarily threatened by statements like “Hitler did nothing wrong.” Obviously Hitler did everything wrong, there should be no disputing that. But they’re also words that are linked to different intentions based on context and who says them. However, the message of hate is still there.

(Here’s a link to Frank’s Youtube description on his page. I will warn again, the channel does have offensive content.)

https://www.youtube.com/user/TVFilthyFrank/about

You’re Still Homophobic and Nearly All of Your Kids Are Gay??

When my sister left for her sophomore year of college, I didn’t see her for three months. This was strange because she only went to school 40 minutes away and she used to come home every once and a while in previous semesters. She also wasn’t answering her phone messages and I couldn’t drive yet. I later found out why she hadn’t been home for so long when my mom sat me and my other two sisters down and said to us, “Please promise me when you go to college you won’t come back gay.”

Yikes. My parents were never too outwardly homophobic while I was growing up, just occasionally. There was one time towards the beginning of my high school experience that I was watching a TV show called The Fosters. The main focus of this show is about a house of fostered children by two openly gay, married women. I remember my dad coming home from work and seeing me watch an episode with the moms kissing and he said with an aggressive tone, “Turn this crap off.” This was also around the time I was told I was not allowed to watch Glee anymore because some of the characters were gay and my mom “didn’t like that”. This reminds me of Martin and Kazyak’s Hetero-Romantic Love and Heterosexiness in Children’s G-Rated Films. It wasn’t often because there was little representation of any lgbtq+, but whenever I watched something on TV with gay characters I was told to turn it off. I grew up loving these same hetero-romantic Disney movies only to find out it was approved by my parents to enforce myself and my siblings to be straight because that’s what my parents wanted. Guess what though guys, it didn’t work!!! Four out of five of your kids are #gay!!!

Bringing it back to why my sister hadn’t come home in so long, the reason was because she came out to my parents. A few years earlier, my brother had come out and after my parent’s initial anger and tears, it became like his queerness wasn’t a part of his life. We never talked about it, he’d never bring a boy home and the rest of the family didn’t know. My sister didn’t want that for herself so she sent a letter home saying she was gay, she was proud, and she didn’t want this to be this big secret in her life.

Currently, she lives with her fiancée in an apartment 30 minutes from home and after a few years of getting used to it my mom is very supportive and has grown in a lot of ways. My dad, on the other hand, continues to this day to not even look at my sister’s fiancée in the eyes after they’ve been together for two years. It’s wild to me that someone can be so obtuse and demeaning when he goes to church each week and pretends to be a loving individual.

Gender Issues on the Internet: How /r/MensLib has Shaped Discussion in a Public Forum

It is relatively widespread knowledge that if you are searching for intelligent, considerate conversation about gender issues in the depths of the internet, you are likely to emerge disappointed and more cynical than you were before you started. Popular websites like 4chan have granted anonymity to a mixed bag of individuals rampantly spewing xenophobia, sexism, transphobia, and racism. The few communities that do emerge with the intent of discussing “men’s issues” almost invariably devolve into cesspools of misogyny. If there ever was a forum for calm, logical discussion on actual men’s issues without the corrupted core of a problematic user base, it would surely be an oasis of reason met with positive response.

Wikipedia lists reddit.com as the 7th most popular website in the US, and the 22nd most popular website in the world as of 2017. User-created content channels known as “subreddits” are denoted with the prefix “/r/”, taken from the text entered into the URL in order to arrive at one (i.e. “reddit.com/r/WorldPolitics” or “reddit.com/r/BabyElephantGIFs”). Although Reddit is home to several outspoken alt-right groups, it is generally regarded as having a left-leaning user base. If there ever was a place for a thoughtful discussion to prosper between a diverse community of individuals, it would be on Reddit. Enter /r/MensLib.

The mission of /r/MensLib is stated on the sidebar of the subreddit, and is as follows: “The /r/MensLib mission is threefold.

  • To address issues and inequities facing men through discussion, information-sharing, recruitment, and advocacy.
  • To provide a space for men wanting to push back against a regressive anti-feminist movement that attempts to lock men and women into toxic gender roles, promote unhealthy behavior, and paint natural allies as enemies.
  • To examine and dissect traditional ideas of masculinity to promote the development of men as better and healthier individuals, participants in their relationships, and leaders in their communities.”

The sidebar also mentions that the /r/MensLib community “recognize[s] that men’s issues often intersect with race, sexual orientation and identity, disability, socioeconomic status, and other axes of identity”. Just by looking quickly at the titles of posts made by the subreddit’s 18,000 readers, it is evident that this mission is maintained. The comment sections are respectful and inclusive to all sorts of perspectives, and the community atmosphere is welcoming.

A Vox article discussing the impact of /r/MensLib (https://tinyurl.com/lgkm9e9) on perceptions of gender issues reflects the influence a properly moderated space for even-handed discussion can potentially have. By simply adhering to basic principles of courtesy and respect, an entire avenue of discussion has been legitimized. The space that /r/MensLib has created continues to draw bipartisan support as an example of what discussions of gender issues on the internet can be like if done right.

Stereotypes in Everyday Films

One of the major influences of gender inequality comes from the media. Movies and TV shows typically portray women as weak and vulnerable. Women are normally viewed solely based on their physical appearances while disregarding their intelligence because they are only there as arm candy or to look pretty. These films or shows follow many different storylines such as, having women look for love, being a love interest, or a need to gain respectability. There are many other roles in which women are portrayed, but these ones stuck with me the most from what I have seen in movies.

In our upcoming reading by Martin and Kazyak, it discusses the power of G-rated films on children because it reinforces heteronormativity. However, I would like to take this one step further and say that children’s films can also reinforce gender inequality. While reading this text it eventually led me to think of Disney’s most recent film, Zootopia.

Disney’s Zootopia demonstrates gender bias throughout most of the movie. For those who haven’t seen the movie, it is about a female bunny (Judy) who at a young age was ridiculed and laughed at for wanting to become a cop. Given that she was bunny and small it gave the impression to others that she was unable to perform the same level of skills as other animals. Although Judy does become a cop, she is still undermined and not given the same respect as her fellow male colleagues to work on higher and more dangerous criminal cases. Instead, Judy is placed into parking ticket duty, which is an insult really because she graduates top of her class in the Police Academy.
Zootopia encompasses the ideas in which women are treated unfairly and seen as inferior despite their credentials. Of course there are other films and shows that perceive woman as well-respected, strong, and independent. In these scenarios though, I find that they are subject to fall and become subject to fall in love for some guy (the most annoying kind of storyline) or they are seen as cold-hearted just because she holds a high social status. It’s extremely unfortunate that scenarios such as these are being viewed to children in which normalizes the disparities in gender. I would like to finish off by asking, what you think of stereotypes in the media and its implications on not just children, but everyone.