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Representing Women


Summary The summary is on the topic of women representation in the contemporary culture. The author brings out the complexity of this issue throughout the chapter and giving clear and numerous examples and explanations of the various ways in wh...Read More


~Posted on Mar 2019

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Representing Women

Summary The summary is on the topic of women r...

Summary

The summary is on the topic of women representation in the contemporary culture. The author brings out the complexity of this issue throughout the chapter and giving clear and numerous examples and explanations of the various ways in which the society views a woman. The author majors mostly on how the popular culture portrays a woman and feminism and how a woman is portrayed in the eyes of a man.

The chapter begins with a classification of women as being in need of romance, love and relationship and commitment while being subjected to men. This classification portrays women as people with no more ambitions than getting into a relationship for sex and recreation. On the other hand, it classifies men as ambitious and having goals that are not grounded women rather wanting to achieve a career goal, job satisfaction, and financial independence. It portrays men only in need of sex and not a relationship or romance from a woman; this was between 1964 and 1993. The ideology of this kind of feminist has been made popular through magazines. The ideology through research has been found to change between 1993 and 1997 where the representation of femininity. The shift is new to femininity that promotes socially confident and fun-seeking women who enjoy sex without being limited to relationships. The new femininity also encourages women doing things that they wouldn’t previously engage in like drinking alcohol and ideas that women should know what they want and not just commitment to raise a family. The idea leads to women straying from the common perception of traditional femininity, putting them under lots of criticism. Women are criticized and said to be doing things that only men are supposed to do, hence putting the future of the nation at risk because when engaging in this kinds of activities and independence, there is no time for them to procreate and raise a family. As a result, magazines try to promote the return to the traditional woman where their main activity is to raise a family even though they are pursuing career goals (p. 87-93).

The other classification according to the author is through their body appearances ‘looking good’. The popular culture has always scrutinized women and classifying them as looking good if they have silk hair, slim bodies, smooth skin and looking young. This is something that has led to women seeking cosmetic products and surgeries to be able to keep up with the societal norm of beauty. According to the author, this is ironical in that the society wants the woman to remain traditional and natural, but when it comes to the beauty, they have high standards on what a beautiful woman should look like. The societal expectations are for the woman to be beautiful to please men, yet the new femininity expects a woman to be independent and knowing what they want. This is apparently not possible is a woman cannot be able to choose for themselves what they want to look like because there will be criticisms (p.93-99).

Another representation of women in the society is the areas of work and the domestic role. In this classification, men are classified as people who dominate the public domain while women are associated with domestic activities like, recreation and taking care of children and the family at large. The work of a man on the other had is not at all associated with taking care of the family directly but through putting food on the table. Employers who employ women often give them a subordinate position, which means that their salaries and remunerations are lower than those men counterparts receive. The work of a woman is not only on the job they have been assigned to but on the family too. The popular culture has portrayed through numerous films that the work of raising a family is not easy. The author, therefore, poses a question on how the women are compensated for the work done on the family if the men are remunerated at the workplace with more salary than that of a woman. Motherhood has continued to be undermined where if a woman gets pregnant it is taken negatively by the employers hence adversely affecting the woman’s career. The author, therefore, suggests that mothers are set up for failure where standard are set so high such that they can never be good enough for the job to attain standards of perfection (p.99-107).

The other representation of women in the society is based on sexuality, morality, and violence. Morality and sexuality have different meanings and implication for male and female. For a woman, respectability is always tied to sexuality. For a woman to gain respect, they have to be sexually shy, modest or even innocent. Women who are the opposite of this, those that openly have multiple sexual partners, those that wear sexy clothes and those that are open and sexual cannot earn the respect. The representation of these women is into two categories according to the society where the shy and innocent are the virgins and those that are openly sexual are the vamps. In morality if a ‘vamp’ is raped then, they asked for it and if the ‘virgin’ is raped then she is a victim.  For the ‘asking for it’ part, the society puts the blame on the victim, ‘the vamp,' freeing men from taking responsibility for their mistakes which shows the double standards on the issue regarding the rape case. The media coverage on rape just shows how women are judged by the popular culture on the importance of morality and sexuality in rendering their judgement of the case. This is especially the conservative media that is against the new femininity that involves excessive drinking, casual sex and hanging out with friends as opposed to the tradition where a woman’s place is at home (p.107-112).

Reaction

The author’s main issue that has presented itself throughout the chapter is the poor representation of women. The author has provided various assumptions that may not be correct when looking at a woman. The author proposed that women have been represented as people with no ambitions where their main aim is the get into a romantic relationship which ultimately leads to commitment and raising a family. This poor representation only places men on the superior edge where they are represented by having big goals and dreams to accomplish, unlike women. The portrayal, therefore, presents women as a sexual object for men to satisfy their pleasures then move on to things that matter in their life which are, career goals and financial freedom.

The other representation is of women being just good at raising a family and leaving the public domain to the men. It would not be fair to classify women in this manner because they have more potential when they are given a chance. If women were not judged by pregnancy and were to be given more salary in their jobs, then the employers would realize the great potential in women. This is because women can be able to handle a family which is not easy as presented by various films like Raising Hellen and at the same time be able to manage a career.

The author gave another poor presentation of women through the issue of sexuality and morality. With the example of rape, it is clear women are harshly judged yet letting the culprits of the heinous act walk without any consequences just because the society believed the victim ‘asked for it.' It does not mean that a woman deserves unjust act just because she does not conform to the conservatory norms presented by the society and media. Everyone deserves a fair trial and not judgement even before listening to their complaints.

The author’s argument was on point and easy to understand since they presented clear examples and support from sources that are directly related to the issue. The author evoked a deep analysis on how various issues concerning women are taken for granted in the society hence leading to unfair treatment. It reminds one of how unfair the society is and the need for change in how people view other. The example the author gave on the attitude of a practicing lawyer on the issue of rape at the end of the chapter. It is disturbing to see elite people closed in the conservatory ideas even after being exposed to so many viewpoints. Moreover, being judgmental the way he was yet he is supposed to take everything objectively and not being subjective (p.112).





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