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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Need Feminism Because...

I was very excited about today's lecture because Feminism is something I'm very passionate about. As I grabbed a seat in the front row, eager to learn something new, the lecture took a turn that I did not expect. We started out the morning talking about gender and how our society forces the idea of gender on us before we can even walk or talk. 

how the cards depicted girls
how the cards depicted boys
We got into groups and analyzed congratulatory cards that mothers usually get after giving birth. The cards meant for boys emphasized masculinity and stereotypical jobs "made for men." On the other hand, the cards meant for girls emphasized beauty, silence, and weakness. There was one particularly disturbing line in one of the girl cards that read "know she still looks like an angel even when she's saying no." This line is especially problematic, it perpetuates rape culture and the ever present idea that a woman's consent isn't mandatory. There was a onesie  that said "I'm too sexy for my diaper," this was really disturbing to me because it reveals that our culture sexualizes the female body the moment she is born. 

After lunch, we watched a couple videos dealing with the portrayal of women in commercials. We watched a yogurt commercial of a woman who was having a tough time deciding on whether she should eat a slice of cheesecake or not. The video had the woman saying all of these problematic things such as "I'll have one slice then eat celery sticks for the rest of the day." She appealed to the voice of anorexia and all but said she would throw up everything after she ate it. But along comes Yoplait which is apparently healthier and won't make the woman hate herself and her body. Commercials targeted at women always have the same method, they convince the woman in the commercial and the woman watching the commercial that there is something wrong with them and it can only be fixed with "their" product. On the other hand, commercials targeted at men emphasis masculinity and says that men perfect the way they are as long as they conform to a specific idea of manliness. 

We also talked about the oversexualization of women in media and that in and of itself makes me so angry. It's another whole can of worms that I can't believe is still popping up in 2015. When I talked to Professor Lamas about how the lecture kind of made me feel hopeless about our society, all he really said to me was that we are better than we were in the past. I agreed with him to an extent but we are not that much better. Women are still oppressed in ALL aspects of life. From home life to work life. From adolescence to womanhood. Publicly or privately, we are one of the most oppressed demographic and that just makes me so sad. I went to a short debriefing session to try to express how I felt but it didn't really work. I called my best friend to talk a bit more and the 50 minutes spent talking to her helped.  

John also took us out to dinner tonight. I'd been craving pasta for a couple of days so it was nice to eat that. Also the light conversation and walk around Philly helped my mood. Tomorrow's a new day and I'm always excited to start new. 

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