Women’s Studies

In the Women Images ; Realities text Western concepts of femininity Include a combination of Ideas about female good and evil that feminists have Identified as the Madonna,’whore dichotomy. Female virtue has traditionally been presented as pure, elfless, and maternal while female evil has been presented as deceitful, dangerous, and sinful. In a society which is racist as well as sexist, it is frequently the white woman who appears as pure and selfless while women of racial and ethnic minorities are seen as deviant. In the united States, ideas about femininity have been inextricably linked with ideas about race and class (pg. 2).

In the century, for example, urban, white middle-class women were told it was “woman’s nature” to be frail and demure while slave women worked alongside men in the fields. For hese reasons, women’s studies scholars often describe gender norms as racial zed. Thus, we often hear of African-American women’s domineering nature, the exotic, mysterious sensuality of Asian-American woman; the Chicana woman’s stereotyped as evil, sexually uncontrollable, and betrayer of her race; and the status conscious Jewish American woman.

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Stereotypes of women’s mental capability give rise to snap judgment that women are not as qualified as men for certain positions requiring what are presumed to be masculine attributes (e. . , intelligence, decisiveness, and logical reasoning skills). In general, stereotypes are tightly woven Into social fabric of this culture, and reinforce dichotomies notions of “femininity’ and “masculinity” (pg. 43). In the article, “I’m Not a Feminist, But… “: Popular Myths About Feminism Feminists are perceived as radical, which means, according to their notes, too radical, against tradition, too liberal, wanting to change everything, wanting too much.

Society does not condone outspoken women; feminists will be outcasts In a male-dominated society; they will be rejected by men and/or society; they will end up arguing, will lose men’s respect, will be perceived as pushy bitches, and might lose their Jobs. There are raised Issues around sexuality, noting that femlnlsts are Identified as lesbians. One group using gay rather than lesbian, perhaps acknowledge the possibility that men might be femlnlst too, and those men would be perceived as homosexual. It is important to be clear here about who find feminism unacceptable.

What was most often mentioned by my students was that power structure, such as those in the world of paid labor, and people with power, namely men, would reject feminist women. Much of what is called feminism is in fact The widespread existence of this fear is indicative of women’s more vulnerable social nd economic status, their dependence on males and male approval. This fear is all too real. The problem however, is not the horror or the unacceptability of feminism itself, but the horrible power of the status quo to punish what it deem unacceptable so that it may maintain itself.

Essay question #2: Describe dominant notions of masculinity and femininity in U. S. culture discussed throughout this course, and include how these notions differ across race, class, ethnicity, etc. How do these dominant notions help maintain systems of inequality? Give 5 examples and explain why for each example. Women Images & Realities say that we learn about gender—ideas about what it means to be female and male—in a variety of subtle ways. Images of women are communicated through the language we use, median depictions of women, direct messages from family, friends and teachers, and many other sources.

School experiences are another powerful socializing force. In a variety of ways, female students learn more than academic materials in the classroom. Here, they also learn about the norms for appropriate behavior in our culture and begin to consider how well they will measure up to those standards. Accepted patterns of interpersonal nd nonverbal communication reinforce unequal power relationships between men and women. The ways in which women and men address one another, disclose personal information, and even look at each other during a conversations communicate messages about differences in status and power.

One of the most influential purveyors of social norms is the media. For television to print and electronic media, norms projected through these avenues shape our views of what it means to be female. Through both advertising and editorial materials, these magazines encourage their readers to pursue strategies for “getting a guy, and dropping 29 pounds. Similarly, much attention has been directed at the negative portrayal of women in music. The lyrics of many contemporary songs depict women in demeaning ways, often reducing them to sex objects and caricatures of passivity and dependence.

In the article How Being a Good Girl Can Be Bad for Girls states that when women act as sexual agents, expressing their own sexual desires rather than serving as an object of a man’s desire, they are often portrayed as threatening, deviant, and bad, missing an affirmative account of women’s sexual desire. Yet, even while women’s sexuality is denied or problematized, the culture and the law tend to ssign women the responsibility for regulating heterosexual sex by resisting male aggression. Defined as natural, urgent, and aggressive male sexuality is bounded, both in law and in culture, by the limits of women’ consent.

In contrast, media accounts of boys’ sexuality tend to reflect what Wendy Hollway has called the “discourse of male sexual drive,” wherein male sexuality is portrayed as natural, relentless, and demanding attention, an urge that boys and men cannot help or control. Members of the Spur Posse, a group of popular white high school boys in a middle-class California suburb, competed with one another using a point system for oys were charged with crimes of ranging from sexual molestation to rape. Although many criticized the incident as an example of unchecked adolescent sexuality, others excused or even defended the boys’ behavior.

One father explained, “Nothing my boy did was anything any red-blooded American boy wouldn’t do at his age. ” Their mother commented, “What can you do? It’s a testosterone thing. ” A comparison of different boundaries of acceptable sexual behavior for girls illustrates the force of the cultural assumption of female passivity and male aggression. Essay question#3: According to feminists, how do institutions maintain gender nequality? Give 5 examples and explain why for each example. Witches, Midwives and Nurses states that women have always been healers.

They were the unlicensed doctors and anatomists of western history. They were the abortionists, nurses and counselors. They were pharmacists, cultivating healing herbs and exchanging the secrets of their uses. They were the midwives, traveling from home to home and village to village. For centuries women doctors without degrees, barred form books and lectures, learning from each other, and passing on experience from neighbor to neighbor and mother to daughter. They were called “wise women” by the people, witches or charlatans by the authorities.

Medicine is part of our heritage as women, our history, and our birthright. However, healthcare is the property of male professionals. Ninety-three percent of doctors in the US are men; and almost all the top directors and administrators of health institutions. Women are still in the overall majority—70 percent of health workers are women—but we have been incorporated as workers into an industry where bosses are men. We are no longer independent practitioners, known by our names, for our work. We are, for the most part, institutional fixtures, filling faceless Job slots: clerk, dietary aide, technician, and maid.

When we are allowed to participate in the healing process, we can do so only as nurses, and nurses of every rank from aide up are Just “ancillary workers” in relation to the doctors. Our subservience is reinforced by our ignorance, and our ignorance is enforced. Nurses are taught not to question, not to challenge. “The doctor knows best. ” He is the shaman, in touch with the forbidden, mystically complex world of Science which we have been taught is beyond our grasp. Women health workers are alienated from the scientific ubstance of their work, restricted to the “womanly’ business of nurturing and housekeeping—a passive, silent majority.

We learned this much: That the suppression of women health workers and the rise to dominance of male professionals was not a “natural” process, resulting automatically from changes in medical science, nor was it the result of women’s failure to take on healing work. It was an active takeover by male professionals, and it was not science that enabled men to win out: The critical battles took place long before the development of modern scientific technology. The stakes of the struggle were high: Political and rganizations, its theory and practice, its profits and prestige.

And the stakes are even higher today, when total control of medicine means potential power to determine who will live and will die, who is fertile and who is sterile, who is “mad” and who same. The suppression of female healers by the medical establishment was a political struggle, first, in that it is part of history of sex struggles in general. The status of women healers had risen and fallen with the status of women. When women healers were attacked, they were attacked as Women, when they fought back, they fought back in solidarity with all women.