Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm a chick...and I'm down with that!

In reading the first chapter of the Douglas book I noticed myself getting increasingly anxious. It was frustrating to read as well as a little bit eye opening. My mind shifted to thinking about women and young girls in other countries, wondering if they had the same self esteem issues as American women always seem to posses (being that in they most likely did not share the same media influences). It really is all about self esteem you know. The only reason we sometimes want to bring down others is to feel good about ourselves. I do think this is something we have learned through the media and our environment. HOWEVER, I don't think that should be an excuse.

I have always been someone that does what I want. I hate people telling me what to do; I do things because I feel it's what is best for me. I don't want to be tied down to what the media or society tells me what I am. I honestly think it's sort of a cop out. Having worked in the corporate world for a couple years, there were times when I was treated stereotypically. That doesn't mean that I responded stereotypically. No matter who we are or how people treat us, we have a choice. We have a choice to become invaluable. If my boss can't afford to lose me because of the work I produce, he won't fire me because I'm a women. I believe this goes for any race or sex. We are people. People are assets.

Of course there will always be people who are close minded and accept stereotypes as realities. But if we don't succumb to that and continue to work and provide to the best of our abilities, eventually even their mind can be opened. It takes time, it's not easy. But that doesn't mean it isn't possible. I think Douglas has a bitter taste in her mouth and seems to be playing the blame game right now. I just won't play with her.

On another interesting note, check this chick out:

She is another Real World cast member this season...and I bet you wouldn't have guessed that she is Transgendered. Meaning, she was born a dude. I seriously cannot even seem to grasp this concept yet, it is completely out of my realm of understanding why anyone would do this, but I think maybe as we study more about gender vs. sex I can understand what the heck is going on with her. Maybe.


  1. Hey B!

    You have posed an intriguing question about woman in other countries. While I think that some of the same thoughts/esteem issues are the same in places such as the UK, I would be very interested to know about third world countries or Iraq and places such where the government controls the media. Actually, I would really like to know about Germany during Hitler's reign and what woman were told the "norm" was.

    It is all about self esteem. I totally agree there. You know my past and how my ex liked to bring me down. I honestly think it it was not only to make me feel bad but because her self esteem issues it made her feel ten times better.

    The whole media thing too is a bunch of bunk. We all have these wonderful God given things called hands. They work wonders to turn off the TV, the radio, close the newspaper or shut a book. We choose to watch, listen, or read what we want to. I like 24 and so does my wife, and friend Jesse Brunner. His wife Katie on the other hand preferrers not to watch the show. When we watch it she goes and watches House. Does that make her a hater of the show? No...And does that make JoAnne come out of the mold of a woman just because she likes 24 (and no she doesn't just watch it for Keifer Sutherland) no. It's called choice and the freedom thereof. It may sound cliche but when we turn off a show or whatever we are exercising our first amendment right to freedom of choice.

    I too have worked in the corporate world (I still do but I am a "telecommuter now) at Allied Insurance and I too felt like I was treated stereotypically (First being in an area predominately with woman and being a CSR seems to carry a label) and I do have value. In fact Allied places a "value" on you as a CSR. Jobs are what you make of them. The media does not dictate what they are. My father is professor of library science...just like teaching is a predominately field held by woman but he loved (I say loved because his job is slowly being taken over by computers) his job and is one of the highest paid librarians at Iowa State. Right now if my dad gets fired it won't be because he is a guy, or he does a lousy would be more than likely over budget cuts.

    So when Douglas talks about the media molding and telling woman what roles they should play...she might want rethink some of that. I mean we do not need the media confirming what we already know about ourselves or taring us down.

    Finally as for MTV's RW...It is quite interesting to see a transgendered person on there. I admit I stopped watching in 2001 but I cannot recall ever seeing a transgendered person on the show up until now. What I do know about transgendered persons is very limited but if I remember right they usually feel like they are a woman trapped in a man's body and vice versa. I will be very interested to see how our discussion in class progresses and perhaps we can talk about it there.

  2. I don't think we can really ever fully comprehend and appreciate how influential the media was and how strong societal expectations were 65 years ago. It's easy for us today to say that people should have just been more tolerant, or more flexible in their thinking. Or they should have opened their minds to a diversity of other options and ideas. Change in society is hard and it hurts and there's a lot of kicking and screaming on both sides, those who want things to stay the same and those who are fed up. Diversity is everywhere in society today- all kinds of viewpoints, all kinds of lifestyles, all kinds of values. ideological choices are everywhere. How could we even imagine living with such focused societal expectations on the roles and characteristics of women? Today, so much more is acceptable in the media and in society of what a woman can and can't do, what she looks like and how she lives. And granted, we do still deal with stereotypes today, but I don't believe it's anything like the 1950's. Reading this book makes me feel lucky to be born when I was, to live in an open-minded society that took 60 years to get here.

  3. I agree with Meg. It is pretty much impossible to imagine or fully understand what it was like to live during the 60's. We can read about it all we want, but the point is, we'll never completely understand because we weren't there. Back then there were tons of women's right's issues going on. Douglas talks about feminism and how it's was sort of considered a dirty word. Today, in the year 2009 women technically posses all the right's that men do. But I think when we're referring to self-esteem, and how "that's what it's all about" we have to consider both time periods. I agree that self-esteem is essential. I grew up being taught that I was important, had a lot to offer and that no one could tear me down but myself. I was taught and shown how to develop great self-esteem. But was this taught and exemplified in the 60's? I guarantee you if it was, it was not even close to how stressed it is today. And on top of that, I guarantee the media messages at that time were not worried about girl's having a healthy self-image and self-esteem. As much as we bash media and its negative impact, I do think that media can bring about positive feelings and positive change. If it were all bad, it wouldn't still be around, would it? Like Meg, I am also very grateful to have been born in this generation and enjoy the benefits of an open-minded society.

  4. Actually funny enough I would have totally thought that girl guy whatever was transgender she looks like it to me or he looks like it. I can feel the tension in the room during class from the girls I think they definitely have alot of passion on this issue of gender and discrimination. From your blog I can see you to so take advantage of the time to give it to us guys and enjoy the ride. You may scare all of us if you get to crazy though but you have passion I can tell so I want to atleast give you credit for that.

  5. I like your observation that "It really is all about self esteem you know". That we as a people have our self esteem manipulated this way & that is also without question. I'm pretty sure that surviving Jr. High with your self esteem intact was quite the accomplishment for most people.
    Think about it, if Douglas writes that women had these unrealistic standards for say, child-rearing or home management set for them, what effect would it have on their self esteem knowing they had untidy houses or kids that were unlike the media-reinforced standard? Their self esteem would crater, because at least on tv, the standard had perfect kids, perfect houses & they did house work in high heels. That message today is anachronistic and retrograde. You say you hate being told what to do. Look at your environment, can you say you've not been affected by what the marketplace tries to sell? I know I have at times.
    I think part of Douglas' point was that for her generation, being targeted by the media made people insecure, whether they loved being told what to do or not.

  6. Thanks for the comments guys! I completely agree that I am lucky to know this world and not the one Douglas did. I do have respect for those women. I guess I just would never want anyone to use it as an excuse for thier own unhappiness. And adam...are you trying to say I'm crazy? ha ha. And Ben, you are totally right, I am guilty of being influenced by the media. I would just say I work hard not to let anyone or anything else dictate my life.