Write a paper in which you suggest strategies for dismantling gender stereotypes
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Write a paper in which you suggest strategies for dismantling gender stereotypes. How can we mitigate the power of stereotypes?
Write a definition for mitigate here:
make less severe, serious, or painful (Google)
List synonyms you can use for mitigate here:
alleviate, lessen, weaken, dilute, mollify, attenuate, quell, allay (Google)
Write a definition for stereotype here:
a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or
For this paper you must use these sources:
1. Roxane Gay “Bad Feminist”
2. Julia Serano “Why Nice Guys Finish Last”
3. Another source we have read this semester
As you write this paper, remember that you are suggesting strategies. This means that you should decide on strategies that can be used to break down stereotypes that exist in our culture about gender. By strategies, I mean you should come up with a plan of action or policies that would help lessen the power of gender stereotypes. These ideas should drive your paper as you use the sources to explain why the ideas you present are necessary.
Gender Stereotypes in American Culture
Females Males pink blue
free with emotions (cry, allowed to hide their emotions (not allowed to
express sadness) express sadness)
remain pure/virgins encouraged to ‘sow their wild oats’ ambitious, but not too ambitious ambitious
Stereotypes from Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist” Definition of ‘essential feminism’: “Essential feminism suggests anger, humorlessness, militancy, unwavering principles, and a prescribed set of rules for how to be a proper feminist woman, or at least a proper white, heterosexual, feminist—woman—hate pornography, unilaterally decry the objectification of women, don’t cater to the male gaze, hate men, hate sex, focus on career, don’t shave. I kid, mostly, with the last one” (163).
Why is this idea of feminism wrong? It is wrong because feminists could be of any gender, any ethnic background, any economic background because feminists believe in the equality of the sexes in all aspects of life. Therefore, this idea is not based in fact and is instead a stereotype about people who identify themselves as feminists. Unfortunately, this stereotype persists due to examples of feminists in all forms of media. The danger in the definition of
‘essential feminism’ as presented by Roxane Gay is that it excludes people who believe in the movement as equality between the sexes, and it also excludes those who might be advocates or even join the movement because they do not view themselves this way.
Ideas of how to dismantle ‘essential feminism’: Thinking about ways to make it clearer that the feminist title can belong to anyone is essential in order to counter this idea. Campaigns that show people such as Roxane Gay who identifies herself as a feminist, albeit a “bad feminist” but still one could be helpful in beginning to dismantle this idea of an “essential feminist”. One thing that I have seen before is people wearing feminist tee shirts with a definition of feminism on it or just the word feminist. Sometimes I see men and women with these tee shirts. Could this be a way to promote that feminism is for everyone? Is it enough? What about public announcements? We constantly see commercials on television and also on YouTube and other streaming services so what would it look like if there were commercials or spots not selling anything but presenting a global view of feminism? Maybe this would reach many people or maybe people would ignore it. What about in schools?
What type of training would teachers and administrators need to promote a global view of feminism?
Definition of ‘good women’: “Good women are charming, polite, and unobtrusive. Good women work but are content to earn 77 percent of what men earn. Depending on whom you ask, good women bear children and stay home to raise them without complaint. Good women are modest, chaste, pious, submissive” (163).
Where did this idea of a ‘good woman’ come from? I’m not sure, but it is an idea that was perpetuated in media and in some cases may still be despite the women’s movement of the 1970s in America. Why is this dangerous? It is dangerous because if you are not labeled or categorized as a ‘good woman’, it is possible that you are seen as a ‘bad woman.’ It is also possible that being a ‘bad woman’ is something that others can use against you.
Ideas about dismantling this stereotype: There is too much to unpack here so I’m going to focus on the earning potential of the sexes. It is ridiculous that there is an idea that good women are “content to earn 77 percent of what men earn.” Clearly this is not the case. There are more women raising children, providing for family members by themselves with no partner. This makes it a struggle for them to provide as much as men are able to do because they are paid more. Not to mention if one does the same amount of work one should be compensated equally. This should not be a debate. The laws need to change right now so that there is equality in pay.