Gender in the Media/ Women’s Healthcare

Gender in the Media

Gender in the media has always been an issue, I can’t count the classes that we have discussed this in. How they media portrays different races and genders. Is this what our society hinges our social beliefs on? Can we change it to show a more accurate picture of reality?

I definitely believe that what we see in TV and in magazines can really shape how women see themselves as a gender. And honestly I don’t know that the issue is specific to women. In the article Gender in the Media it describes that women are vastly underrepresented, and if they are represented it is generally in a gender specific way or a very sexually suggested way.  This has become such a social norm that I think we are almost immune to it. We expect to go to the movies and see a woman searching for a man and her life suddenly become more meaningful when she finds one. “ It is just as important for males to see females as capable, valued for their character, and their stories as being worthwhile”( Gender in Society. Marielena Zuniga. Page 93). Women need to be represented in strong leading roles, to show that all women aren’t just desperate for a man. Women are more than capable to hold a job and hold a successful life. This article gives a history on how women have always been sexual in the media and television. It isn’t going to change unless women speak up and say what they want to watch. After all most movie theater ticket sales are from women. Women need to demand to see women who are in strong leading roles and not used as sexual symbols or general female gender roles. This picture is an example of how women are displayed in the  media. It is the cover of Sport Illustrated Magazine. This is a mens magazine that is about sports. Well on the cover there are women in bikinis, well half of one anyway, what message does that send about a woman? That it is ok, or necessary for women to be half naked to get a mans attention to sell a magazine. First of all what does this half to do with sports? Nothing. Women need to be displayed in the media in a respectful way, and this is not how to do it. Not to mention over half of them are blonde, skinny, and tan. It is displaying yet another extreme gender profile.

The issue with body image and how Hollywood portrays that is also a huge deal. I think that women are affected by this their whole lives. I would estimate that it starts as early as 1st grade, when you are old enough to comprehend what you see on TV and then relate it to your classmates and friends. In one of the articles I read it starts out as early as playing with dolls, “they quickly become the defining criteria for our status and our own worth” (Klaus Barbie, and other dolls I’d like to see. Susan Jane Gilman. Page 72). Our society has always been a comparative one, is what they have better than me? This nature I believe was created by the media. The media strives to create an image that will captivate people so that they will always have control in society. I think this issue is also present in the life of men. I don’t believe they are affected as much but I do believe that the need to look like a pro athlete or something of that nature is there. Men are also looking for a mate to share their life with, and feel they have to be attractive to do so. I just don’t think the need is as great for men as for women. Men cannot have a mate and still have a successful life.

The media needs to adapt a new learning curve as far as I’m concerned. They need to understand that these size 0 models with airbrushed features are not realistic. Would it not be more effective and relatable to show someone more like me to get me to buy something? If I see some model use a product and go it works for me and it will work for you. I am sitting on my couch going, psh that girl is nothing like me why would I buy a product that works for her. The media needs to realize that the public will respond to something that is real, more realistic to what we live in day to day life.

It sucks that media has to define the gender distinction because media can be such a great thing, but there is such a dark side. I don’t believe in censoring of the internet and things like that because it is such a great tool.  The media needs to stop defining genders and let society decide for themselves. If they want to have strict gender roles then they need to have diversity and show men and women in different roles. For them to create these extreme roles where women are sex symbols and stupid and men this being that makes more money and doesn’t need a woman then society is never going to stop having all these issues that we read about every day. To me it’s hard to wrap your head around, you would like to think that they would want to have strong, independent women on tv but I guess that just isn’t the case. It is something that needs to be changed.


Ageism/ Women’s Healthcare

Ageism seems to be just the same as any other Woman’s issue. We are always the low man on the totem pole. Women aren’t receiving the healthcare they should, and the little that they are is being threatened by different ideas.

Women aren’t receiving the pension and income that they should when they get older because of their caretaking nature. Many women are forced to take lower paying jobs that are more flexible to take care of their families. If they have a higher paying job they often have to take so much time off work they don’t make near as much as they should, because of this women don’t receive the benefits they should after they retire. “Care giving can be an economic disaster for women and is one of the largest barriers to their retirement security” (Older Women: The Realities. Older Women’s League. Pg. 440)

Women tend to outlive the men in their lives so in their old age they must become independent. “Many women are just one man away from poverty” (Older Women: The Realities. Older Women’s League. Pg. 441). Women often rely on a man’s income to live comfortably, since women outlive their spouses when the man dies there she is left alone to figure out things on her own. Since women don’t make the money men do she doesn’t have the pension she should.

It has been brought up to change insurance into a private institution which would not work for women.  With Medicare women have the stability and insurance of having their health needs taken care of. With a private health insurance claim the women would not get much because she would be too much of a liability. This just blows my mind, a woman has taken care of her entire family and husband and held a job and yet none of that is good enough to get her the benefits she deserves after retirement.  A woman is a caregiver her entire life, at 65 the government should be begging to be her caregiver.

Women deserve to have stable pensions and retirement income after they reach a certain age. Most women have raised an entire family, held a marriage, and kept a job for 40 something years, if that doesn’t count for enough to get retirement then honestly I don’t know what will. The policies should be changed so that women get pension for how many kids she raised instead of what money she didn’t make that a man did. Maybe policies should be changed to make up for the pay gap in between men and women that would somehow even out the money they each receive. Either way something needs to be changed.

This article covers the gender gap in Healthcare for women in general, not necessarily just elderly women. It touches on the fact that women use the doctor for regular checkups and thing more than men do, and the fact that women live longer and therefore will acquire more health issues in the course of their life. The main problem is that men don’t understand the health problems that women face that they don’t, our healthcare premiums should cost the same for the same coverage. It is as simple as that, as for Obama’s free birth control bill, that isn’t even the main issue. As usual a man, because he is not directly affected, does not get the whole picture here.


Module 1: How Women Operated Back Then

The lives of these beginning feminists are pretty remarkable. If you really think about it they could have been killed for standing up for the rights of women. Back in the day of women such as Wollstonecraft and Stanton women had a very rigid stereotype that they lived within and they had no option to stray away from that. Most women didn’t understand that they were being oppressed because it was all they had ever known, the world had been that way for their mother and their grandmother and her mother before her. It was something they were born into and I imagine something that they thought they could never change. If I lived in this era I would definitely be in this movement with these women, honestly I would be right in the middle of it. It would be a scary thing standing up for something that was completely opposite of anything you had ever known, but not being to even walk alone without a man would be a little extreme to just sit back and take. What I took from the reading about the history was that the stereotypes were so extreme that walking or speaking without permission of a man was frowned upon, I never realized it was to that measure. It is one of those things that you know existed but it still blows your mind when you get down to the nitty gritty of how bad it truly was.

There are definitely modern connections to the oppression women faced back then. Even here in the USA women still don’t  make the salaries the men do, in the same job titles with the same credentials. There still has yet to be a female President. Women are just now being able to join the infantry in the military. In the military the women are held to a lower physical standard than the men. All these restrictions are all around us, they just aren’t as extreme so they are overlooked. In the book reading a particular quote caught my eye, it reads ” as the Chinese proverb has it, the fish are the last to discover the ocean”(page 25 paragraph 2: Men and Women’s Studies: Premises, Perils, and Promise, Michael Kimmel). These stigmas are still present in modern life because all men still don’t understand that gender is a huge issue. As a woman I am defined by my gender. Our culture is catered to the middle class white male. As far as they are concerned they are genderless because ” gender privilege affords us(men) the luxury of ignoring the centrality of gender” ( page 25 paragraph 6: Men and Women’s Studies: Premises, Perils, and Promise. Michael Kimmel). You sit down and think well women have the right to a job, to vote, and to make their own decisions without the consent of a man, but in the end do women pay for these choices because of the conditions of society?  If you are a male that is raised in a traditional household, with “traditional” gender roles and you marry a feminist. She then decides that after she has children she doesn’t want to be a housewife but a successful career woman with a family, will you think less of her for pursuing her dreams?

Women make up over half of the work force but still are not viewed to be as competent as their male counterparts. Males are seen to be dominant in the math and sciences, because that has been conditioned into the school systems for as long as I can remember. Does this mean that a female can’t equal the intellectual ability of a male? No, the can’t because they aren’t afforded the same opportunities. As much as I resent the gender roles that are expected of me because I am a woman, some of them are overlooked because they are what I have always known. ” Women’s studies has demonstrated that gender is one of the axes around which social life is organized, one of the most crucial building blocks of our identities”(page 24. Men and Women’s Studies: Premises, Perils, and Promise. Michael Kimmel). Our gender has defined us since birth by color, little girls must love pink and little boys must love blue. Personally I love green which apparently is gender neutral. Gender lines are drawn all around us, it seems as if gender equality is something that can never be reached.

I found an article that shows how women still live just like Stanton did in the 1800s, shocking to think that in our modern world some women still don’t even has basic freedoms that some women here in the USA think nothing of. Click on “women” to read the full article.  This article relates mostly to women of the middle east, countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Afghanistan. These women are not allowed to drive, leave the country, ask for divorce, bare their face, they are still victims of constant violence. It is shocking that these women still face the gender inequalities that Mrs. Stanton faced so long ago. These women have lived this way their entire life and can not escape it because they fear their family will disown them, that their husbands will leave them stranded, or even worse be killed for disobedience. These women live in constant fear but have no way of fighting for their rights.

This photos just represents some percentages of women in the workforce. It is a very real representation of one of the gender inequalities remaining in the USA today.

Camille Coltrain

My name is Camille. I am a rising senior at Western Kentucky University. I am majoring in Public Relations major with a minor in marketing. I bet you are wondering why I am taking a class here at EKU when I am finishing up at WKU, well my mom works at EKU so it is free for me, which is great.  I live in Richmond but I was born in Louisville. My dad was in the military when I was growing up so I have lived in 5 different states and 2 different countries. I have a younger brother who attends UK, and my cat Moose who is like my child. At WKU I am a member of a social/service sorority called Omega Phi Alpha, I have held some positions but I am taking it easy my senior year. I am in Richmond for the summer for an internship I received in Frankfort working for Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

I am enrolled in this class so I can graduate on time. It opened up some opportunities to take higher level classes at WKU to fufill my liberal arts requirements, if we are being honest. I have never taken a web course, so I am a little nervous about that aspect of the class. Going into this class I didn’t have a strong opinion,from reading the info I am intriqued by the class, the idea that women’s studies made the idea of gender visible is a really neat concept. I consider myself a free thinking woman, who believes that I should be able to pursue my career and be just as successful as a male with my credentials, so I believe this class will be interesting and give me a lot more insight on what I already believe.