Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Inequalities Outside of Algebra

For centuries, American women have always been viewed inferior due to certain expectations that debilitate their capabilities. Unfortunately, today’s society continues to follow the same mindset. Gender inequality in the U.S. exists not only politically, but also socially and economically. Alas, every aspect of American culture and media portray numerous stereotypes of women. As Betty Friedan describes, gender inequality is an epidemic that infects this country’s progress. In order for the U.S. to advance forward, we must put an end to the obstacles that prevent women from fulfilling their capabilities and the objectification of women as a whole. 

To this day, there still exists many derogatory stereotypes that reduce women to objects, or place prejudice against any woman who shows power or independence. Such stereotypes create a mold of the “ideal female features” and pressure women of all age to succumb. In doing so, our society then reduces females’ potential to being the inferior sex, whose sole purpose is to appeal to men and repopulate the planet. Furthermore, the media is a large component in the spread of such ideals. For example, in a Revlon makeup commercial featuring Halle Berry, she claims that the use of such product will allow you to “get close, real close”. Following the close-ups of her face, Halle is then in multiple shots with a male model who is admiring her appearance up close. This particular commercial especially targets a female audience, and is branding it the product that can finally smooth the skin to make women more appealing to men. Unfortunately, sexist stereotypes do not stop at makeup commercials, but instead, dominate American culture, everything from movies to magazines to music.

The concept of inadequacy of females has been ingrained in American society for centuries, and has still prevailed. Although women have had historical triumphs in paving a path in a “man’s world” such as gaining the right to vote, America lacks ever having a female leader, and also has a severe scarcity of women holding positions of high power. Not to mention the fact that women (even more so for women of color) receive lower pay for the same job than men. To be exact, white women earn 78 cents to the white man’s dollar, 63 cents for an African American woman, and 54 cents for a Latina or Hispanic woman. How can a nation considered to be so innovative and free allow such obstacles for women’s equality to exist?

Even as young children, we are exposed to our culture’s fundamentals of sexism. Girls are told the romanticization of being a damsel in distress or common fairy tales in which the female ends up marrying her prince and that is her purpose. In society there needs to be representation of strong and independent females whose life does not revolve around a guy. Sexism is so deeply-rooted in American society to the point where movies and tv shows are a play on the heroic male figure with the beautiful female whose character is never as fully developed. How can our society be content with teaching young children to fit into these traditionalist stereotypes rather than pave a path for themselves?

As stated by feminist activist, Betty Friedan,“The problem that has no name — which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities — is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease.” Together, this society must pull efforts in order to create a better future for women to succeed.

1 comment:

  1. Thequestion in your third paragraph, about how the United States can consider itself a bastion of liberty and equality but still pays women less than men, reminded me of a book my sister told me about. It takes place in the future when a disease kills off all men and it shows how each country copes with the epidemic. It is hard to imagine how a world in which men are held so highly superior to women would deal with a disaster like that.