Reaction on Reading Packets

This post is a reaction to the 3 packets of information that was given to my Women’s Colloquium class over numerous topics including rape, the lack of female artists in museums, sexism, women in the courtroom, and women getting into the education system and creating careers for themselves. So inevitably this reaction will cover a lot.

The readings started off talking about colonial women for the most part. How the wife, way back in the day, was more than content to stay home and help the family by making candles and spinning/weaving. This was their way of contributing while the man farmed or had a job in town. Women back then did not feel the need to have a job because they were still contributing to the profit of the family in their own way. And it makes sense, they did what they were good at, and still had a feeling of self worth. As the world has evolved and become much more industrial, the man takes giant strides, while it seems the woman is always two steps behind. While the man left for his job or career the woman was left behind with housework and possibly childcare. No longer having a feeling of self worth because (as most studies show) there is no recognition giving to the wife/mother of doing household duties. No pat on the back, it is expected of them to do these chores.

Now there was the very rare exception of a woman working as a doctor, architect, lawyer, and politician; but these poor women were depicted as “strange mutations” thank to the media back in the 50s and 60s. Just how rare? Here are some stats for 1960: 6% of doctors were women, lawyers 3%, and <1% of engineers. What about professors? Hell no, when women were going to a higher education they were always taught by men who said “you’re taking a mans spot here, but really you’re only filling a quota.” They never had female professors and the crazy thing was that they didn’t even question it! It baffles me that women once were thought about his way, and though about themselves this way!  Women were, and occasionally still viewed as the weaker sex, even though the college attendance is dominated by females now. An example of them being the weaker sex, is when employers would pay women less for the same job that a male was doing. One employer even asked a single business woman  “Do you have a family you have to support?” ‘No.’ “What about a mortgage?” “Not yet but I would like to buy a home soon.” “Well that’s why the man gets paid more!” I was appalled by this nonsense! What about a man who is not yet married and living alone as well! Same circumstances. What is sad to think is that we still have this sexist pay gap!

I hate what society has been forcing onto us since the beginning of time. That women are meant to be raised “pure” and are to be raised under their fathers rule until they are married and basically pawned off to their husbands care. That they are a piece of property, and there for only reproductive purposes.

Moving into the area of television, where it was clear women had only limited options is despicable. What’s even more depressing is that the roles women had back then portrayed them as either children (I Love Lucy) or a modern housewife with all the trimmings. Now don’t get me wrong Lucile Ball was a revolutionist when it came to women in comedy and producing her own shows, but she didn’t really portray her self as a powerful woman in the show. In the 970s we had a boom in household wives watching soap operas (information herehttp://soapcentral.com/soapcentral/news/2005/0509-historyofsoaps_01.php) and although those shows were based around some strong resilient women, they were mostly based around cat fights and love stories. As of late in the 2000s we have women fighting over companies and much more than just a man.

When I read about the flight attendants and about their “height and weight requirements” I was outraged. I could not believe that they were hiring girls on just their looks, and their marital status. They had to be single and plan on marrying within at least 3 or so years (preferably 18 months). Meaning these girls were never around long enough to realize how crappy their lack of benefits were, and they could never advance in position. They were eye candy, meant to be slim and appealing to the business men flying. This also meant that marriage was death to a woman’s job or career. Kaput! You’re done. This also meant that women wouldn’t get hired for other jobs regardless of better schooling than men in things other than just flight attending. Want to know how employers went about this? “Do you plan on getting married anytime soon?” -“Well eventually.” “Alright we’re going with the man, thanks for your time.” And the sexism wasn’t even seen as sexism! It was the norm! How obscure that life must have been.

Something that I read about in one of the excerpts was how a woman waiting to meet a business perspective in a bar was asked to leave. That it was a place for men and that she could not “solicit” there. Pretty much calling her a whore. It blew my mind! I could not image just chilling at a bar in a hotel, possibly waiting for someone, and then be accused of being a prostitute! I would be outraged, and so would that women. Its like comparing the following pictures:

I would be appalled!

Unfortunately I did not get much out of the Guerrilla Girls, aside from it being a great PR tactic for women artists. I liked the idea of it, and the point they were trying to prove. Along with the Riot Grrrl Manifesto, the lack of grammar, which I know is ironic for me considering how poor mine is, I found it was to hard to follow.

I found the 3rd wave portion to be a bit on the “bitchy” side, although I have been known to get pretty steamed up before on touchy issues as well.

I found a lot of the information on rape astounding. It really made me think about it, with all my “human sexuality” classes I’m taking it made me think about what is classified as rape even more. I have also gotten in discussions before with many people about what is considered rape. But honestly I think that I don’t support everything they had to say about rape. I know this is a very touchy subject, so I will try to not be coarse about it. But honestly, I don’t think you can put all the blame on a guy. Like in the instances where the information said “a woman can say no even after some fooling around has begun.” I don’t know how I feel about that. Purely because, let’s face it, everyone fools around after drinking, everyone can feel like it was a mistake the next morning, but only a woman can say after the regret that is was rape? Bull sh*t. You can’t blame a man for reading the situation wrong. If you started fooling around and decided half way through that you didn’t want to continue sex, and hardly voice your opinion on it, that to me isn’t rape. I do believe if you push him away and say “no” sternly then yeah it would be. Although rape is a very serious accusation, I feel as though some women don’t treat it that way. It can sometimes be who mislead who? Who regretted what? And that can turn into something that could ruin one of the participants life.  And what about men getting raped? IT doesn’t happen as often but it does. Men raping men and women raping men. But those men hardly ever step forward. It breaks my heart that things like this happens in this world and no thing can seem to fix this. Their was talk of teaching boys in school, in sexual education programs, that rape is bad, and is a crime. That could help yes, but that’s only one generation out there. What about the generation that has already learned they like to rape others? I read in one study of a university, that if it wasn’t breaking a law/wasn’t a crime 60% of men would rape a woman. That is way to high of a statistic for me to ever feel comfortable around college guys.

Rape has been around since the dawn of time. How do we “beat” it out of society when it’s been engrained in their DNA. What I also found incredibly interesting was the fact that our bed time stories are based around rape. Like Little Red Ridding Hood; that was about rape?!? SAY WHAT? How had I not realized that yet in my adult life? It is so clear to me now. I was blind before. And it is always a man coming into save the damsel in distress. It is a retired story line, it has been used for as long as their has been stories to be told. A women gets into trouble and a man must save her, and sometimes save her from another man. It’s disgusting to think about.  But you find another wolf in an old Grimm story with males as the leads and they can save themselves! The 3 little pigs is the example I am using right now. Over all it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, when I wish what I was tasting was bacon. It makes me think about any powerful woman in those old stories. They are the evil ones, the antagonists for the helpless protagonists. The old cannibalistic witch in Hansel and Gretel, the spiteful stepmother of Cinderella, the mother of Snow White, and those are just a few. Why must we have the powerful women be the evil monsters?

Although some of the examples given in the reading are very disturbing and those women deserve the rights that every woman deserves. Domestic does not mean safe just because you have your husband there to save you. Wives can be raped by their husbands as well too. I believe society needs to change, that seems improbable.

That is all I care bare to say on this subject.

~Jacki K

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One comment on “Reaction on Reading Packets

  1. In the old days, women school teachers were not allowed to have “followers” and if they married, were dismissed from their jobs (for all the reasons you cited above). Reading about stewardesses (before feminists got rid of sexist language and they became flight attendants) they were almost expected to be flying call girls, catering to men. Imagine the sexist remarks and groping they had to put up with on “business” flights. This is the era of the Playboy bunny and “gentlemen’s clubs.” That’s why second-wavers who remember this era don’t find it empowering for women to allow themselves to be objectified. There was a split during the second-wave over sex positivists (those OK with porn etc.) and other feminists.

    My great aunt told me that in the late 50s she was meeting a group at the Russian Tea Room in NYC. She arrived by cab, alone and was refused admittance because she might be a prostitute. She was allowed in when escorted by the cabbie. She was not as outraged as you might expect. This was the norm at the time.

    For Guerrilla Girls, do you think their tactics work? Do they have a point? They also,advocate for women behind/in front of the camera in film (and I know you like film).

    Do Riot Grrls have a unique message? Why did they die out? Was culture able to co-opt or diffuse them? Why would culture want them gone?

    The Rape of the Sabines that you put in the piece is great. Do you know the story? It’s also used in the classic musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. There’s a whole musical number based on it.

    As for rape, you’re right. Drinking to the point of drunkeness is dangerous for women in a way is usually is not for men. So, should women get totally blasted? Is that safe (let alone healthful)? And you’re also right that the article does not mention rape as a crime against men (possibly because statistically so many fewer men are raped). But when men are raped, are we assuming that the rapist can’t stop or misread the situation?

    Feminists used to use a mugging as an example. If a man s mugged, is he assumed to have brought it on himself? Is he asked, “why were you out at night? Why/were you drinking? Were you dessed in a way that made your wallet visible? Didn’t you tempt the mugger by putting your wallet in your back pants pocket? You wanted to be mugged, didn’t you?” If we apply typical rape sorts of questions/logic to other crimes, does it stand up?

    Great Red Riding Hood picture too. And you’re right. Why are powerful women demonized? Think of witch craze, think of herbalist, healers, mid-wives being burned as witches or at the least shut out of what became male-dominated medical profession/nurses as helpmeets and servants to male doctor.

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