Monday, May 14, 2012

The Feminine Mystique and Reality

Throughout the class, we have has learned about female superheroes and how they deal with violence to get a better picture how gender fits into how world. From learning about how Wonder Women's bracelets are actually symbols of male oppression to how Buffy the Vampire Slayer subverts gender expectations again and again and again, there is always more to know about gender that one doesn't instantly pick up. On this blog, a multitude of women's issues have been brought up and addressed really well by everyone who has blogged here. I can say that, as a guy, I have left this class and blog more enlightened about how gender plays a role in society.

This last blog is about the usefulness of what we have learned in this class. If we can't use it to make a difference in society, we have at least used it be more intelligent about the world around us. The world isn't "perfect"and may never be perfect. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't always tried to perfect it. The female superheroes that we have learned about always tried to make the Earth a better place, even at great cost to themselves. In doing so, they proved to be equals of their male counterparts and became symbols of bridging the gender gap. Usually. As this article shows, superheroines can also be used to show how men see women as objects of pleasure. It at first shocks me how men subject women to overtly sexual positions, especially superheroines. However, I feel that it should be notes that these are works of fiction, which should say something very strongly. If women could get oppressed in a work of fiction, they can definitely get oppressed in reality. The superheroines stories should should serve as mirrors of real women's struggles.

One of the most important works of the feminist movement, while also being one of the most important works of the 20th century, The Feminine Mystique called the unhappiness of housewives in the 1950's and 1960's  "the problem that has no name." She then writes about how women want more than just to fill gender roles men have set up for them. One of those roles being objectified sexually. Betty Friedan, the author of the book, argues that women need more that just sex to find fulfillment in life, which was a very radical stance coming out of the very conservative 1950's. She is what I would call a real life super heroine because she was a mouthpiece to women's frustrations  when it could have come at a great professional cost to herself. It was the book that sparked the second wave of feminism into the very tumultuous 1960's.

We still have a long way to go in gender equality, but we shouldn't forget how far we have come. Before, women weren't allow to have jobs without their husbands permission. Now, they can run for the most position on Earth and almost get it, too. Is that impressive? I would think so. I would like to close with a video:

1 comment:

  1. I think you make a great point about the exaggeration of society within fictitious comic books—it does go a long way to support the idea that women, in real life, must fight for themselves and prove how strong they truly are. I still think it is pathetic that this is a point that even needs to be proved, that in order for a woman to be considered strong by society she must prove that she is so. Whereas some men, on the other hand, are assumed to be strong, even when they are the complete opposite in actuality.

    And although women have certainly come a long way within the last century with respect to gender equality, I think there is still a long way to go. But how far is it actually possible for them to get in this area? Do the makings and natural workings of our society really allow for absolute gender equality?


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