Women are constantly oppressed in society with their wages, representations and roles in life. When working, women are sometimes harassed and normally receive half the pay of a men’s salary and have to work twice as hard to be equivalent to a man. They are patronized in the work place and oversexualized when it comes to television and film. A women is given the role of being a mother, chef, caregiver and a cleaner, but yet they receive no respect. With these expectations, women are forced to live up to the standards that society gives to them. Not willingly, but because they have no choice.
Instead of being the stay home parent who looks after the kids, cooks and cleans, men are viewed as the breadwinners. They wake up early in the morning, get straight to work, and make sure their family is taken care of. With men living up to these standards they are also recognized more than women. Why is that? According to the male society, women aren’t supposed to have a say. Anything they have an idea about is supposed to stay inside their household and reported to their husband. As Rebecca Solnit said in the story Men Explained Things to Me from the Writer’s Presence, Billions of women must be out there on this seven-billion-person planet being told that they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives, that the truth is not their property, now or ever (Solnit, Rebecca). This gives a clear explanation as to why a women should not be acknowledged when they speak, especially not even being able to be witnesses to their own lives. Their point will never be proven nor matter, when it comes to society looking in on one’s life. This is such a frightening way to look at life and women. A female should have the same rights a man does. If the truth is not a females property, then the same exact truth is not a males property.
In most countries around the world, women have much less earning power in the labor market than men. The median annual earnings for all U.S men working full-time, year-round, is $50,033 while the annual earning figures for women is $39,197. In this obvious case, women are making about eleven thousand dollars less than a man working in the same field as they are. Thus, even among the fully employed, a woman still earns only about 79 cents for every dollar a man earns (Newman, David M.). With this being the reality of what’s happening now, it is clear that women are constantly degraded by this behavior. It’s even been estimated that out of every three American women lives on the verge of poverty. In 2010, for the first time in our history, women outnumbered men in the paid labor force-though this shift had as much to do with larger numbers of men losing their jobs than with larger numbers of women entering the labor force (cited in Rampell, 2010) (Newman, David M.). The only reason women were able to gain such opportunity was because men lost theirs. They lost their opportunity of working in such work force which then gave women the chance to gain the positions men once had. Even though this ironic change occured, it only lasted for the year 2010. When talking about the work area and looking at the side of wages and salary, life for women and men were very unequal.
Women with bachelor’s degree can expect to earn less than men with a two-year associate’s degree. Similarly, women with doctoral degrees earn much less than men with only master’s degrees (ProQuest Statistical Abstract, 2015) (Newman, David M.). There are four major categories of degrees that are available after graduating high school which are, associates, bachelor’s , master’s, and doctoral degrees. A person can receive one of the four degrees depending on their level of study. Seeing that a man can be at level two and still exceed a women at level five is a huge problem. How can you pass someone who is higher than you or knows more than you? A women only made it to that level because she received all the proper practice and help that came with each level. She worked very hard and fought to get to that stage in life. With a man being at level two, that means his journey has just begun. He isn’t far ahead or on a higher level because he doesn’t know of the obstacles or sacrifices those levels will come with. With a man being able to exceed a woman who is three levels higher than him is outrageous and unexplainable. This precisely shows that no matter how ahead in life a woman is, a man can make her title worth less.
In life, society highlights men to be superior human figures, which impacts the way a young boy is brought up. Instead of them living their life and enjoying the simple things, they will already be pushed to the point of maturity. As Silas Hansen said in the story, What Real Men Do from The Writer’s Presence, He has heard people say this his whole life, even when he was a kid, even back when he was still trying, desperately trying, to be as happy as a girl — and later, too, after he told people the truth of his gender (Just trying to help, they would say) — so he knows it must be true: He shouldn’t be afraid of anything. In this quote, Hansen happens to be speaking about himself, and explaining what he has heard and been told while growing up. Hansen also says, A real man watches football, knows how to do things around the house, and doesn’t watch TV shows or movies. (Hansen, Silas) Why is it that a man has to have these traits? Because society place these values on men, they now feel obligated to fulfill the requirements or they won’t fit into a man’s category.
In some situations at a regular workplace, women tend to be very defensive. They feel the need to be this way because they need to protect themselves. Because some women were so vulnerable, men tend to take advantage of them and tyrannize them. Women believed that one of the ways to keep men from bullying them and getting their way was to become defensive. Women had their guards up at all times just in case something out of the ordinary happened. Once a women got a job, she was very protective of it and made sure she did whatever she could have done to keep it. Men were so much empowered that if they wanted a women’s job, they could take it away in the matter of seconds. Limit educational and training opportunities for women and withhold adequate jobs with the excuse that women are incapable of filling them (Pharr, Suzanne). Women have been openly limited to receiving jobs and education all around the world, so I believe that they had and still have a right to be defensive over what’s theirs.
World War II was a huge war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. Before World War II began, women still acted on their role which was to be the stay home parent, while the men were out working. During World War II, all men went away to go to war leaving most of the womens in their jobs. For womens, this was an honor but nevertheless, their pay would still remain less than what a man would be making in that job. How could a women feel good about herself knowing that this was the only option of living? She didn’t. Why are females treated the way they are? How is this fair to the female society around the world? Most females are handled this way because they aren’t respected by other human beings around the world. The kind of negativity that most females go through on the regular basis is unacceptable and threatening.
Women have struggled to break through into male-dominated careers for decades due to stereotypes fostered by the media’s influence. As much as it was a fight for them back then, the same fight is going on now. There has been a plethora of times where a woman has been denied a job because she doesn’t look strong or sturdy enough to lift the weights. In other words, females are basically being told, go find something else to do, this is a man’s job. Looking into the life of politics, there are mostly men that take on the roles in government. Why not a women? During the Presidential election of 2016, Donald Trump took the victory over Hillary Clinton in becoming the president. Even though Hillary Clinton didn’t win the election, she has done a great deed. She paved the pathway for women all over to have the courage to run for a place in the office. She stands on the sturdy shoulders of many more female political pioneers who also aspired to be the leader of the free world, but they were just a little before their time, says Maria L La Ganga from The Guardian magazine. Analyzing this quote, we can see that women didn’t have the right to try and run for anything when it came to the political aspect of things. Being that Hillary joined the election in running for president in the year 2016, she showed women that there’s nothing wrong with trying. If I can do it, you can do it as well.
According to The New York Times, Shannon Sims writes, Some fishermen and women on Lake Kivu cast their nets at sunset and return before dawn to collect their trappings. But that method can be risky: the nets can be tampered with, or the catch scooped up by interlopers in the midnight hours while everyone else is asleep. So instead, many of the fisherwomen choose to spend their nights on the water. But nights on the lake can be uncomfortable and even dangerous, for any number of reasons ” wind and pirates, among others. Last year, as a single mother, Ms. Karikumutima had no choice but to bring her infant baby out on the wooden boat with her at night, lying the baby down on a blanket in the hull of the canoe while she paddled from one net to another in the cold and the rain. The intense physical work and danger that comes with fishing on Lake Kivu, along with reinforcement from traditional gender roles, kept women from fishing for generations, tending to backyard farms instead. But in post-genocide Rwanda, that seems to be changing. For Ms. Karikumutima to take such a brave step forward to provide for her family shows a sign of courage and determination. Her courageous act shows women that they can’t do absolutely whatever they need to do to survive in this lifetime. Meanwhile other fishermen and women are only casting their nets at sunset and returning before dawn to collect their trappings, Karikumutima is taking her baby out onto the wooden boat and into the water, on a journey with her to collect her feeding for a period of time. Along with reinforcement from traditional gender roles, kept women from fishing for generations, makes it very clear to us that women were not supposed to do anything out of the ordinary, that didn’t fit the character of their assigned gender role.
When we take a look at TV shows, movies and commercials, they are supposed to be entertaining elements for the eyes to watch. Taking part in watching these things is a time of relaxation, and sometimes to recover from all the hard work you’ve done for the day. Television depicts men and women in many contents. Women are portrayed as significantly younger and thinner than women in the population as a whole, and most are depicted as passive, dependent on men, and enmeshed in relationships or housework. Along with that, they are individuals who do not like wearing clothes, freaky, overly submissive to the voices of men, and a wench. The media makes women out to be evil and stuck up, which is why they are not respected in today’s society and looked down on.
A mother is the female parent of a child. Mothers are women who inhabit or perform the role of bearing some relation to their children, who may or may not be their biological offspring. Mother’s are considered the caregivers, chefs, cleaners, and a woman with strength and courage to face another day. Having a child and taking care of one isn’t easy at all. In the first stages of having a child, you have to make sure they are always fed, they are always clean, they have enough clothes to wear, and they are never out of diapers. You get less sleep and all your time goes to taking care of that child. With a woman having this difficult role to take up, they deserve the most respect in the world, but unfortunately they don’t receive that respect at all. As a parent, women sometimes receive no respect from the children’s. Their kids feel the need to disrespect them because of how they see women are oppressed on TV or in reality.
In the TV show Supernanny, the show features professional nanny Jo Frost, who in each episode helps a family where the parents are struggling with their child. Taking a look into season 4 episode 17, there is a young 8 year old girl named Caila who abuses her mom, while walking home from school. She throws her backpack at her mom, and forces her to carry it. Caila then begins hitting her mom for not taking the backpack, and intensively starts shouting and crying on the sidewalk. With Caila doing all of these unnecessary acts, her 11 year old brother Brandon is no better than she is. Brandon bullies his mom, and yells at her when she punishes him and takes away his TV. He screams how much he hates her, and wishes she was never in his life. This is a perfect example that shows how women are mistreated by their children and left to feel ashamed of themselves. When picturing the image of your child yelling at you and saying hurtful things, you would be left in a puzzled state of mind.
With the type of living that occurred in the 1800’s and even before that time, it corrupted the minds and thoughts of many people. Society is changing everyday but the negativity still seems to find its way out in the world. Negativity on women of course. Women deserve better in every aspect of life. There is no reason why a women should have to walk the streets of her neighborhood with her head down. A women needs all the empowerment in this world and Maya Angelou’s speech Phenomenal Woman is the definite face of encouragement.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size. But when I start to tell them, they think I’m telling lies. I say, it’s in the reach of my arms, the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the curl of my lips. I’m a woman, phenomenally, phenomenal woman. That’s me, I walk into a room, just as cool as you please, and to a man, the fellows stand or, fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, a hive of honey bees. I say, it’s the fire in my eyes, and the flash of my teeth. The swing in my waist, and the joy in my feet. I’m a woman, phenomenally, phenomenal woman. That’s me. Men themselves have wondered, what they see in me, they try so much, but they can’t touch my inner mystery. When I try to show them, they say they still can’t see. I say, it’s in the arch of my back, the sun of my smile, the ride of my breasts, the grace of my style. I’m a woman, phenomenally, phenomenal woman. That’s me. Now you understand, just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about, or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, it ought to make you proud. I say, it’s in the click of my heels, the bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, the need for my care. ‘Cause I’m a woman, phenomenally, phenomenal woman. That’s me (Angelou, Maya).
Maya Angelou’s speech Phenomenal Woman is a speech that is fighting against society and its stereotypical ways in identifying how a woman should act or carry themselves. She gives woman a new definition of feminine and shows that idea of being a woman and feminine are very subjective. She proves in her speech that her confidence and determination attracts the eyes of men, not her body or sexual submissive comments. Through her speech, she gives woman the encouragement they need to face another day in the type of society they are living in. Angelou makes it very clear that one person does not need to fit a certain role to be considered strong or beautiful. With all facts that have been stated, it is very clear that women once again are constantly oppressed in society with their wages, representations and roles in life and there needs to be a change or together as a community, everyone will all fall.
Angelou, Maya. Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48985/phenomenal-woman.
Frost, J. (2005). Season 4 Episode 17. Supernanny. American Broadcasting Company, Channel 4, W Network, E4, Esquire Network.
Hansen, Silas. What Real Men Do. The Writer’s Presence: a Pool of Readings, by Donald McQuade and Robert Atwan, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018, pp. 111“115.
Newman, David M. Identities and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. THIRD ed., McGraw-Hill Education, 2017.
Pharr, Suzanne. Homophoba as a Weapon of Sexism . Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: an Integrated Study, by Paula S. Rothenberg and Soniya Munshi, Worth Publishers/Macmillan Learning, 2016, pp. 134“143.
Sims, Shannon, et al. Rwandan Women Paddle Into the Male World of Fishing. The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Dec. 2018.
Solnit, Rebeca. Men Explain Things To Me. The Writer’s Presence: a Pool of Readings, by Donald McQuade and Robert Atwan, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018, pp. 492“497.
Wood, Julia T. Gendered Media: The Influence of Media on Views of Gender. 1994, www.nyu.edu/classes/jackson/causes.of.gender.inequality/Readings/Wood%20-%20Gendered%20Media%20-%2094.pdf.
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