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Of all the issues that were discussed in class, the fact that only 7% of females negotiate their starting wage is what got to me the most. Mainly because I think that is something I would do, especially just starting out and knowing how difficult it is for some people to find a job out of college. Also, just being that I am a shy person and probably more passive than I should be, I think I would be way too nervous to negotiate a higher salary, because after all, there are probably plenty of qualified individuals applying for that same job, that are just as qualified as me, if not more, right? That is exactly how I feel even though I know I shouldn’t. And the worst part of all, that thought it probably running through a lot of other young job-seeking individuals, and of those people with those thoughts, I bet most of them are women.
I can’t help but think that confidence (or lack thereof) and self-doubt is the reason for a lot of the inequalities between men and women in the work place. If women go into a job with low confidence and not even negotiating that starting salary offer, while men are the complete opposite, how would anyone expect wages to be equal? In some cases of feminism, I feel as though the woman is the biggest obstacle in the fight. I think it is obvious through every stage of life (childhood to adolescence to adulthood), that overall, men have more confidence than women. But that is not the problem, the confidence of men is not what is holding women back but it is the lack of confidence that women hold. It’s such a simple concept that we learn at such a young age, if you think you can, you will and it is a concept that more people, particularly women, need to adopt in their lives.
As we were talking in class the other day about women’s roles in a family institution and their ability to be mothers or not, it really had me thinking. All my life I have thought that I would want to be a wife and have kids and all that accompanies those things, but in the past few years, I find myself wondering if that is what I really want. While my views on marriage are still basically the same, I feel I am more realistic than most in realizing that marriage is not all that it is really cut out to be. It’s not all butterflies and roses and a lot of what will make a marriage work is compromise and team work. But as far as having kids goes, I find myself questioning if I want that at all.
I am only 23 years old, which I know is still young and I don’t have to be setting anything in stone as far as my future family life goes, but I often find myself torn with the idea of children or not. The idea that was brought up in class, that most women feel like children are the only way to fully fulfill one’s life, is an idea I find myself having sometimes. Honestly, at this point in my life I feel like the only reason I would have kids is because I don’t want to be in my 50’s, no longer having an option, and regretting that I never did. I am a very cynical person, often letting the bad of the world outweigh the good in my mind, and wonder if it is a good idea to even bring children into this world.
One of the slides mentioned the assumption that there is “something wrong with women if they choose not to have children”, and I see this assumption also holding weight on my (very premature) decision. It is just crazy how society expects everyone to travel the same path that is considered “normal”. Go to school, graduate high school, go to college, get married, have children. To many people, this is what is expected, and once one stage is completed, people begin to ask when the next stage will commence. I feel this puts a lot of unneeded and unfair pressure on people, particularly on women. Just because that path is one that the majority of people feel they want to take, it is not one that everyone may want to take and until people understand that, the pressure will be forever existent.
Magazines and tabloids don’t have the best reputation, for very valid reasons. As I stood in line at Target yesterday, I was just looking at the magazine stand and I was completely disgusted by what I saw. Of the approximately 20 magazines in the rack, probably 15 of them had Kim Kardashian on the cover. Being a reality television star, that would be expected, and while Kim Kardashian annoys me as much as she does the next person, I couldn’t believe what was on the covers. Cover after cover was some kind of one liner about how “fat” Kim Kardashian has gotten during her pregnancy. Just writing this now, I am getting all worked up all over again.
This is a perfect example about what is wrong with today’s media. SHE IS PREGNANT, of course she’s going to gain weight! If she didn’t, then she would be giving birth to a very unhealthy baby. It’s just absolutely ridiculous that the media is going to bash her for gaining weight at any point in her life (because, really, who cares) let alone during her pregnancy. A lot of the people who pay any attention to Kim Kardashian are females about my age and younger. Writing stories like this is giving the false impression that gaining weight during a pregnancy is a bad thing, and it is not at all. Pregnancy affects different women in different ways and while WebMD says a woman should gain 25 to 35 pounds during a pregnancy, for some women it is more and others it is less. Bottom line is, a woman should not be worrying about her weight gain during pregnancy, and that is exactly what’s going to happen with the media selling stories like this.
For one, I highly doubt the writer of the magazine knows just how much she’s gained. And who are we really hurting here? I’m sure Kim Kardashian could care less if the tabloids are calling her fat. These tabloids are really being heard by America’s youth and young women. Hearing the message loud and clear, don’t get fat, it’s not desirable and you’ll be scrutinized, whether you’re pregnant or not.
As I was doing the readings for chapter 10, I couldn’t help but feel disgusted and frankly, a little discouraged. Obviously violence against women is an ongoing issue of society, but to know that it is happening as frequent as it is really disheartening. Not only is general violence 10 times more likely to be directed towards women, but there has also been an increase in stalking behavior towards women. It is really shocking to read that a sexual assault occurs about every 2 minutes, a rape every 8 minutes, and that approximately 56 women are victimized in some way by an intimate partner every hour. To know that 1 in 3 women in the world is beaten, coerced into sex, and otherwise abused really opened by eyes to the immensity of a problem. It makes me think that if it is not me, it is (or is going to be) one of my very close friends throughout my life time.
I know that rape and violence are very real and very common threats to women, but to hear how often they happen in marriages is truly shocking. Of all sexual assault cases, 10 percent of them involve assault towards a women by a husband or an ex-husband and 10 to 14 percent of married women in the United States alone have been raped by their husbands. To know that this is occurring today between married couples makes it difficult to even think of how that statistic may have been different 50 or 60 years ago when the women in a marriage was totally dependent on her husband and divorce was almost impossible to carry out. Not only does rape occur in too many marriages, women who are raped by their husbands are likely to be raped repeatedly. Because marriage is such an intimate institution where the two people generally love and trust each other, it probably makes it that much more difficult for the woman to report it or even walk away from her abuser.
It just seems strange to me that with how common violence against women is, how come more isn’t being done? How come when women report rape, there is a ridiculously low conviction rate? Not only does that help the rape victims feel discouraged and partly to blame for their attack, but the rapist gets away. With the current cycle we are in, how is it ever going to stop?
This week, the supreme court is hearing two cases in the appeals to state and federal laws restricting same-sex marriage. The first is being heard today, an appeal of California’s ban on same sex marriage, which is widely known as Proposition 8. After these hearings, it is possible that the laws will state same-sex marriage as a fundamental right under the constitution, but it is also possible that nothing will change and the traditional marriage laws will still stand.
In a society that has seem to evolve and change so much in the past few decades, it is difficult to understand why marriage equality is still even an issue. The way the laws are written, excluding same-sex marriage from being recognized legally, it just opens the doors for discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals. If the law is going to treat LGBT individuals differently, than how can officials be surprised when the law abiding citizens do the same?
Even just the situation that has recently come to light with the Boy Scouts. Honestly, I couldn’t even believe that that was true, not allowing any openly homosexual individuals from holding membership. By not accepting these young boys/men, they are basically saying there is something wrong with you and we don’t want you to be included. For a young homosexual child, who is probably conflicted in his own mind about what is “wrong” with him and why he is not “normal”, I can’t imagine how truly awful that is. Not only is it terrible for the homosexuals being excluded, but it is also terrible for those hearing the message that it is okay to treat homosexuals differently and exclude them if you feel like it because they are different. Many children are suffering at the hands of bully’s all over the country for many different reasons and I think all of American’s can agree that it’s a terrible thing that needs to stop. The problem is, it is America’s people and laws that are setting the example for these kids and until a change takes place with those who lead, there will be a never ending cycle for those who follow.
In a society that is so obsessed with being thin and beautiful, the definition of what is really beauty is overlooked. Much of the media, including television and magazines, puts emphasis on being thin and this emphasis is drilled into the minds of many young girls. At such a young age, girls soak up the information fed to them by the media and they accept it at face value without dissecting it or questioning it. They are shown examples of “beauty” and what they are supposed to look like to be accepted as beautiful, and when they do not measure up to that impossible, unrealistic standard they feel as if they are not good enough.
The example of “real life” Barbie is one that I find to be most fascinating. Barbie is a toy, marketed towards young girls, and this is where society begins to lay the foundation of an ideal beautiful woman. Barbie is the epitome of what society defines as beauty: tall, thin, blonde, and blue-eyed, but the truth about Barbie is not really so beautiful. If Barbie were an actual living woman, she would be 5’9” and weigh 110 pounds. Her measurements would be 39″ bust, 18″ waist, and 33″ hips, which in actuality is not beautiful at all and almost alien-like. At the size that a Barbie doll is, it is difficult to see how disproportionate her body really is, but what is obvious is that she is thin, with a very small waist, yet very large breasts, and this is what young girls are being taught is beauty. Being 5’9″ and 110 pounds is not only near impossible, but it is also extremely unhealthy. At Barbie’s estimated height at weight, that would give her a BMI of 16.24 and anything under 17 is considered underweight or anorexic. Not only that, but it is highly unlikely that at such a low BMI Barbie would be able to menstruate, which is sending a highly confusing message. Girls are “supposed” to grow up to become women and become mothers and that is what many little girls want for their lives, so society is asking the impossible, be beautiful like Barbie and have babies.
The influence from society doesn’t stop there, rather it is enforced throughout adolescence by television shows and magazines, and all through adulthood leaving girls and women questioning whether or not they’re “beautiful enough”. The constant criticism on beauty leads to many negative consequences like bullying, self harm, and even suicide. As long as society continues to place the pressure on women to live up to the “ideal beauty”, it will be a never-ending cycle.