Thursday, March 10, 2016

Finding a Balance

John Berger fights to voice his opinions on gender roles in his writing piece titled, Ways of Seeing. He classifies women as being those who appear in society, while men are those who act. Berger explains how women constantly focus on others' perceptions of them. He also emphasizes the importance of appearance for both genders. Men, he says, show off their power and dominance in society, while women dress and act in a way that shows how they value themselves. While I agree that women have been taught to worry about the way that other people, specifically men, view themselves, I also think that society tends to overlook the powerful women and the weak men. 

There are a few examples that Berger uses in order to support his theory, including a simple scenario of a female walking across a room. He says that the girl only thinks about how others see her as she crosses the room. I, myself, follow Berger's previously stated example. Whenever I do certain actions, particularly in front of a crowd, I find myself thinking about how others view me doing those actions. I am not entirely sure that I agree with Berger, however, because I am not completely convinced that those thoughts and emotions are present solely due to the fact that I am a female. Though the non-dominant role that females are given probably plays a part in those thoughts, there is a chance that I feel that way because of my age or other factors. 

Berger describes the female in ways that are similar to a manikin, in the sense that she is constantly looked at and her appearance is modified for the benefit of her viewers. There have been many circumstances in modern day America where women's physical appearances were adjusted in order to look more aesthetically pleasing. There have been many problems with women models, because of the lack of "plus size" girls. Some companies even promised to open a plus-size section of their store, yet the model for the clothing was far from overweight. 

This upcoming election has raised a lot of awareness because of the chance at our first female president. While I believe that it would be very empowering to have a woman run the country, I also fear that the power of the president could be diminished since woman are seen as inferior. Berger would argue that Hilary would act in ways in order to please the men, such as Bill Clinton, who was already president which could take away from her glory and the progress that our country has made. 

Overall, women are grown up to believe that they must fit certain molds in order to be seen as beautiful or successful. Though Berger thinks that the reasons women act in particular ways is simply due to gender, I believe that other aspects play a role, and that males can feel inferior as well, even if they do not express it. It is important to focus on gender equality and boosting the self esteem and respect for both genders and how they interact with each other. 

1 comment:

  1. Your conclusion is interesting because you said, "males can feel inferior as well, even if they do not express it." That is another example of gender roles: men are not allowed to truly express their feelings because "emotional" is a feminine characteristic. I think Berger was right in his thesis, but his argument might've been stronger if he delved into the detrimental effects of male gender roles as well.