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Battle of the Sexes

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FC: S E X E S | Battle of the

1: Social Problems Fall 2013 Final Group Project Battle of the Sexes presented by: Megan Chittenden, Hanna Fithen, Stephanie Young , Jocelyn Patterson

6: Battle of the Sexes During the preindustrial period, it was considered “normal” for women to be full-time homemakers, tending only to the needs of her family. If a woman did work outside the home, prior to marriage and children, she would only be considered for administrative, domestic or caring professions. These professions included secretaries, nurses, teachers, nannies, factory workers, and domestic servants. A womens worth and intellect were not valued or taken seriously during this period. According to Emile Durkheim, women possessed a much smaller brain capacity than men, which made them incapable of being productive in public roles or on intellectual levels. It was unheard of for women to compete for a career in a male-dominated field. No man would put his business affairs in the hands of a female, no matter how competent she may have been. Despite all, women fought for their rights to be treated as an equal and to have the same rights and privileges as their male counterparts. The year 1929 proved that times were changing when women were given their right to vote, but the victory was short-lived once reality set in that this new law did not create more opportunities or level the playing field for women. Women, during the 1950’s, could barely land a job and they held less than 40% of the professional positions. Even today, in modern society, women are still offered less opportunities, lower wages, and are still expected to maintain the husband, house, and children. Men still remain the dominant gender. Gender inequality remains a huge issue not only in the United States, but all over the world, because times have changed but the rules have not. Women are no longer staying in the kitchen; they are realizing their full potential by pursuing an education and climbing the corporate ladder, before even considering getting married and becoming

7: mothers. These inequalities are not just in opportunities, careers, and wages, but also in what we consider “beautiful.” It is no secret that both men and women have been held to a specific beauty standard for decades. If women are not born beautiful they are given a tool kit by society in order to meet those expectations. Surgery, make-up, sexual prowess, and style are major components making up the debate that is gender politics. Specifically, size plays a very important role in how much power a man has over his surroundings and therefore other people. Men use their body to dominate their environment. We frequently see examples of this in public (men taking up a plethora of space without consideration, and women turning into contortionists to avoid being “rude.”) but are so accustomed to the behavior it is rarely questioned. Because the media is so readily available and meant to inform the masses, it is no surprise governments around the globe regulate information behind the scenes. Since the United States Congress is made up of nearly 90% men, one can easily assume why women are portrayed in such a specific box. Although the feminist theory is the most obvious relating sociological perspective, the conflict theory applies as well under the sub-genre of sexism. The difference in perception of physical size between the sexes is a psychological power game. Larger women, women taking up space, women being physically comfortable is threatening to masculinity as a gender role overall. Why? Because bigger (or using more space) equals more confidence and power, and men typically want as much power as they can generate. This common misconception (of bigger men being more powerful) is littered throughout the media. In conclusion, to fix this problem we must redefine or find constructive new ways to demonstrate power and confidence.

8: In the United States, we have become a torn nation over gender inequality because different groups fall under different theoretical perspectives. The Functionalist perspective states that gender inequality is a functional necessity. Functionalists believe that gender roles are required in order to maintain the stability of society. Emile Durkheim believes that social evolution caused differing strengths and weaknesses to become evident in males and females. In order to function properly, women and men must work together cohesively to fulfill the role they were each designed for. According to functionalists, women are to take care of the children and maintain the house. Men are expected to be involved with public work orders and to be the breadwinners. These gender specific roles were common in preindustrial societies but today women maintain a dual role of working outside the home as well as being a caregiver. Mens participation in domestic duties remains low. Functionalists believe that women who fight for gender equality are contributing to the downfall of the structure of society. They note that the increase in divorce and non-marital childbearing is directly related to women entering the work force. Children born to a single mother have increased risks of suffering from divorce, facing delinquency, and more likely to be disadvantaged economically and socially. Functionalists believe that gender inequality must exist in order to maintain a functional society. I believe that if women and men work together to create a stable family, society will continue to be functional. I believe a woman can be the breadwinner while the father attends to the domestic work as long as both parties are satisfied with their role.

9: On the contrary, conflict and feminist go hand-in-hand with their position against gender inequality. They believe that the only reason that gender inequality exists today is because it gives power to one specific group—men. Men maintain this dominance because they are awarded in prestige, power, and authority, while women are simply looked at as subordinate tools whose only purpose is to take care of the home and tend to the children, while looking pretty. They believe that the only way to achieve true gender equality is by becoming more involved in the political and economic systems and facing the subject head-on. It is time to ask those difficult questions and point out the structural differences, between men and women, in everything such as family, jobs, and socialization. Interactionists focus on who is given privilege through our social language. Our language spoken loudly since the beginning of time, that privilege is given to men. Under this perspective, whoever society considers the privileged party, is who they look to for social norms to determine what is good and how they should behave. To change who has the privilege, we have to change the way that we use the language, by not placing so much importance on gender. We may never be able to completely eliminate gender inequality, because we do not have the power to change minds, but we can move towards progress by creating and implementing solutions that would make it very difficult for this inequality to exist.

10: In regards to women being given less opportunities and offered lower wages than men, small businesses and large corporations alike, should be required to hire an unbiased and anonymous, 3rd party company to conduct all of their new-hire interviews, promotion interviews, annual raise evaluations, and also oversee write-ups and terminations to ensure that everything is handled in a lawful and fair manner. Each member of this 3rd party company should be thoroughly trained to base all decisions on the resume and the work ethic of that individual, rather than their gender, race, age, etc. This will allow equal opportunity for all by eliminating gender discrimination in the workplace. When it comes to the beauty standards that are placed on women, we need to reverse the image of “perfection” by banning Photoshop from the media and magazines. No media outlet should be allowed to use this feature to misrepresent and deceive how women look, especially when the models have to be altered to fit the mold. This will help impressionable young women to gain self-confidence and acceptance by, showing them that beautiful women are created in all shapes and sizes. This will also help men to appreciate true beauty, rather than the superficial, which will result in a win-win situation.

11: Photo Sources Cover photo: Back photo: Source: Photo.com, photographer unknown , ID# 87776422 Page Two Photo's (clockwise) Woman lighting husbands pipe Source: Corbis / Photographer: Poodle Rocks/Corbis Woman and children seeing father off source Corbis/ Photographer unknown Happy Housewife Source: Corbis/ Photographer Josh Gorbis Page Three Photo Women Unite Source :Corbis/ Photographer JP Laffont Page Four Photo Wage Inequality Source :Corbis / Photographer Nickoli Pinin Page 5 photos Top Photo Men VS women tug awar Source: Corbis/ Photographer Adrianna Williams Bottom Left Men and Women reaching for world Source: Corbis/ Photographer Dann Tardif Bottom Right Women Wall Street Source Corbis/ Photographer Dan Tardif

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