As I reflect back on my posts, I realize how much I have learned about women and violence throughout the course. As I look back on the letter I wrote in the beginning of class about the meaning of feminism, I learned many new things that I had hoped to learn and also learned a greater awareness on the issues women face in society. I had planned to learn how feminism intersects with gender and race. I learned that women, especially black women, face so many issues in society during their lifetime that is under the dominance of males and the inequality of women. I understand the relationships women have with others in relation to how the media shows women hating each other regularly and how women tend to put other women down. In the Feminine Mystique, Friedan talked about the problem with no name, which is the overall idea that women are unhappy. Why is it that we are familiar with the problems women face but cannot recognize the problem with a name? Audre Lorde talked about the oppression all women face just in different forms. The Beauty Myth explained how women hurt themselves and their bodies just to look “beautiful” under the standards of society. The issues I raised about the common thread of violence women face in my posts were all related to race, class, and gender and I connected those issues to a national and global aspect. I took examples from how I witnessed violence against women in my life and around me and put them into thoughts for my entries. As I think about everything I have learned in this course and in the outside world it has helped me express my feelings in these entries and gave me a better understanding on the perspective of life as a woman.
The reproduction of women is known as the ability women have to giving birth. I think it is called reproduction because women are produced and reproducing other beings into the world. Reproduction is the repetition of the act itself and will never have the value of the original. Women endure so much pain in their lifetime but yet manage to still find time to bring others into this world. Reproduction can be a good thing however I think that reproducing can cause negative issues in the world. I think the increase of child birth cause the economy to go bad. We do not have sufficient resources for all of the population and it keeps growing which has caused an economic stir. There are many single parent mothers who have to take care of the children and rely on government funds that have been costing us budgets cut and higher unemployment rates. In some cases reproduction causes reduction. Women share the ability to reproduction but they do not have the privilege of access to all of the resources need as men in a patriarchy society. As we discussed in the class, the globalization of inequalities and economics relate to the production/reproduction inequalities of women. I do not understand the issues women face in the world because without women some things and people would not exist. When women experience violence, I wonder how someone can hurt a woman when they were born and raised from a women; I just never got the concept of how men abuse women. Women were put on this Earth to reproduce and bring life into the world not experience unnecessary pain.
I think the masculization about wealth is extremely visible in our lives because most of the wealthiest people are males and wealth is seen as a masculine aspect rather than equalize for all genders. Instead of being put under the category of wealth, the feminization of poverty is categorized more for women. In society males are known as the bread winner and females are not the ones who make the most money or financially support the household. In reality there are a lot of women who can support their household better than a man and even alone most of the time. Women are suppose to feel embarrassed when they think about money and men are suppose to feel dominate. The masculization of wealth is seen in our everyday lives especially for me as a college student. There is this whole issue that males are paid more than females, which in many circumstances is true. For example, when it comes to athletics males are paid way more than females and receive more attention than female sports. In a lot of occupations men are paid more than women and they often uphold higher positions; women are viewed at the bottom of the barrel and are used to looking up at the top of the ladder at men. I also think this is related to the way women spend their money. Most guys can maintain wealth but women spend so much money on things we need or may think we need that guys often do not care about.
Selling sex through advertisements has been an issue concerning women for some time now. Ads uses women to sell products but the women are exposed in a sexual manner to get more attention. In particular, magazines are filled with ads that normally would have a woman in the image. So the question is why do women participate in this or what do they find interesting in magazines? An answer that was discussed in class was that it relates to the stereotypes for women and how we love gossip. This answer is absolutely true however it does not explain why women advertise themselves and basically sell their bodies through media. I enjoy magazines because I like to keep up with the latest fashion and see what trends are in but I do not respect the way some magazines portray women when they are selling a product. For example, I seen an ad for watches but the model was nude, I do not get why the model has to be naked in order to sell a watch that is worn on your wrist not your body. Or when advertising household products, there is never a male being involved, women are always used when it has something to do with the home and selling the product. There are norms and expectations set out for women relating to advertising and we do not have much say so on how we want to look or how the ad should be sold. In my opinion the term “sex sells” only relates to the sex of women which pleases the male population and agonize women and their appearance.
In class we discussed the purpose of the female body is to have children. There are so many expectations for how women should look in society and what we should do with our bodies. Beauty takes over the idea of character. Some women are so obsessed with beauty that they actually hurt their natural self when trying to keep up with expectations. It is a huge difference between “real life” appearance and what you do to it afterwards. I think beauty is all about behavior; it’s the ideal of perfection and how you go about gaining it. Females are seen as weak with no forms of strength, so we are always being used within society. There are expectations on how we should look but it is never okay for how we want to look and what is comfortable for us, yet we continue to please others in order to feel good about ourselves. Women bodies are not appreciated or worshiped; they are used, torn down, and passed on. I think as women we have to come up with a better way of taking care of our bodies and not trying to replicate what is in the media or what make others satisfied. We are stuck between what is ideal and what is not ideal, and most people try to go towards the direct of ideal even if it is unnatural or unsafe. When women try to move away from the binary box, we are criticized and humiliated then become unsatisfied with ourselves instead of having confidence about the way we look; we rely on the myth of beauty.
When I thought about the way society portrays female beings, it helped me with the thought of my project proposal. My project is based on the sexualization of female cartoon characters. I plan to display how the media re-create these characters with a “sexier” appearance. Cartoon characters are usually made for a young audience, but the female character I chose to display is not appropriate for children. The media gave these characters a whole new look; they have enlarged breast, explicit clothing, longer hair, and a glowing face. I thought this would be a good idea because it shows how the media change the appearance of females and make them look more appealing for a male audience. The message that I came across is women should always look sexy if they want any attention. In class we discussed how women take drastic measures to look good such as surgery. Some women think that surgery would enhance their beauty and make them look beautiful. In reality women need to realize that being natural is true beauty and we should all be happy with the way God created us.
My project is to express the use of sexualization and I will create a character that I believe is more suitable for children without giving it a sexual image. I plan to address the issue women have been facing for some time now, which is how society expects us to have this ideal image that is unnatural. Sexualizing cartoon characters is going to far and I believe it is representing a wrongful image for our younger generation.
We live in a violent world especially when it comes to the violence of women and how they are mistreated and sexualized. Women are sexualized everywhere, in the media, the real world, books and magazines, etc. In my hometown city, Detroit, there have been multiple kidnappings of young women back to back in the past months. I do not understand why these women are being kidnapped and found dead without any trace of information. These women are mothers, sister, and daughters and it can happen to anyone. My parents are afraid of me going out with my friends just because of the tragic incidents that have occurred in our city. It is very sad when I think about the violence women face, not only in local perspective, but also globally. There are women all around the world that are being abused, trafficked, and brutally violated. A few months ago my two friends were kidnapped and threw in the trunk of a car and was missing for weeks, their bodies were later found in an abandoned field and they were tortured. It really hit me hard because no female should have that happen to them and to personally know them I felt bad for their families. The violence against women must stop but we have to be more careful and wiser in certain situations and bring this to an end cause as I stated earlier it could happen to anyone. It is no longer safe for women in this society and that is disappointing to say. In class we learned that women are sold as bride maids and sex-trafficked and forced to do things that they are not pleased to do. Either way you look at it, women are always used in society whether it is illegal or legal it seems as if we can never win.
I believe the quote “I am not free while any woman is unfree” basically means that all women face oppression, but maybe in different forms. The whole idea that it is happening; it may not be happening to you but there are many other women around the world that it may be happening to. For example prostitution, I do not go through it, you may not go through it, but there are other women you know that go through it, maybe for financial stability, and it makes you angry to know that a woman is being oppressed in such manner. We live in a culture that embodies women as “less than” so women oppression is a whole and just because it is not happening to you, it can happen to anybody. Lorde describes us as being unfree because we are still holding on to our anger instead of expressing it.
Racism is happening all around the world. After reading this quote I realized that Lorde is trying to say instead of being angry about racism we tend to become angry with ourselves. You may hear a racist comment and not say anything because of the fear of what is coming next so you hold it in and later become angry at yourself for not saying anything. It happens to all of us. Being unfree is more of a mental problem, when approached with racism we fear what is coming next and become silent. This essay is steering us away from fear and towards anger, the anger we should express, the anger we endure, and the anger that is filled within us that should be lashed out on the context of racism.
It is something about us black women, that society believes we should be punished. What is even sadder is that our black men believe in oppressing black women supporting male privilege but not understanding that one-oppression does not give reason for another. The hardships we face as women and being African American can be a struggle that no other culture has to face but it is our women who endures this pain in society. It is discouraging that we have to put up with the idea of claiming who we are and then deal with the consequences. I do not understand why women are being punished for their choices. A good example we discussed in class was about the New York Mayor who went around the city posting pictures that criticize single mothers. It is absurd that we have to face the blame for everything and the mistakes that are made in society. Why is a female in the wrong because she is a single mother when it takes two to make a child, so what about the men in society who abandoned women and their children or do not help support their families?
They accuse black women appearance as asking for rape or sexual attention. They claim that we are not enough or we want this when in reality no one can speak for a woman unless she is speaking for herself. It is disturbing to recognize the amount of violence women have to face especially black women, it seem as we can never win in society and are always at the bottom of the barrel. Audre Lorde does an amazing job with these essays and describing the oppression black women have to face in society.
“Black women are said to invite rape and murder and abuse by not being submissive enough, or by being too seductive, or too…” -page 61
In a world where males are dominate, it is rare for women to come together and help each other, as we should. I believe women are the most powerful beings ever created but do not understand the true power that is deeply rooted within them. If women were to have a stronger bond then society would be structured a lot better. When women are hurt we tend to bring each other down instead of uplifting one another. Most likely we all share the same problems and have a lot in common then we may think. We all suffer the same pain and bleed from the same areas. To be a woman is a privilege, we should learn to understand that and stop settling as options when we are much more than that. I think women should care for other women just as they would for their children or significant other. The power women possess is so strong that our bond would be unbreakable and we could have a great influence on society itself.
Womanhood helps you with all the struggles you live through and bring women closer together to help one another. I think if women stick together more, we would face less violence, discrimination, and have greater advantages than what we have now. The concept of womanhood means so much to me and is important because I think society can be improved if women were to join each other and help each other grow. Without womanhood there would be no grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, or friends to nurture the world and make it a better place.