Are women destined to be less than men?

Double Standards, Sexism shape Woods’ Story

I read and listened to this article at the same time. It’s a conversation  between Neal Conan and Roban Givhan about the women involved in the Tiger Woods scandal. Specifically, how the women are being described by their appearances and jobs. Its a bit sexist how these women are being targeted; and, while Tiger Woods is also being criticized, the media is giving him a chance to explain his actions, which is more than the women have gotten (at least not as publicly as Woods).

The writers frame is media and how media influences the opinions of society on celebrities and, in this case, a celebrity’s mistresses. The pictures of these women that show up in the media are, nine times out of ten, pictures taken as they are leaving a bar or club or some other night-life scene, where they are dressed for that sort of event. So, we only sees them in that way because that’s what the media wants.

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We see everything unfolding in the media. We see the ratio; 1 Tiger Woods: 15+ women. To these women, though, that wasn’t the case. It was just them and Tiger at the moment. But then again, we’re assuming these women know who Tiger Woods is, and if they know who he is, they know he’s married. That alone does say something about these women, but it says more about Tiger Woods. So, why are  the women being judged so much more harshly then he is? Is it because Tiger Woods is famous and talented and everyone loves him? Or is it because he’s a man, and “boys will be boys”?

 

Your Body Language Shaped Who You Are

This was a great talk by Amy Cuddy about how your body language not only says a lot about you, but can affect how you view and feel about yourself.  She talks about how she viewed students in a classroom, and she noticed that there were some students who entered the room high and mighty, and there were others who entered more small and crunched as to not draw attention to themselves. She points out that most of the students crunched down and keeping to themselves were the females.

 

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” Women are more likely to crunch down and physically make themselves smaller because they feel chronically less powerful than men”. Even when you google “man vs. woman body language”, most of what you see is similar to the image above: a woman being portrayed as smaller or less than a man. The writer’s frame, here, is how nonverbal communication affects how one views his/herself and is viewed by others.

Amy Cuddy had some very interesting questions:

  1. “Our nonverbals govern how others feel about us, but do our nonverbals govern how we feel about ourselves?”
  2. “Our minds change our bodies, but do our bodies change our minds?”

The two hormones mentioned by Amy are testosterone (dominance hormone), and cortisol (stress hormone). People in power need to have high dominance and be able to handle stressful situations. Amy suggests that we can “fake it until we make it”, meaning if you fake being powerful, you will become powerful because you will feel powerful. She tested this and found it to be true.

In relation to my inquiry, women are their own worst critics. They hold themselves to such a high standard and they feel that they have to prove themselves to men and to society as a whole. We (women) judge ourselves and other women so harshly because we constantly feel that we are in competition with each other because we live in a world, even today, where men are dominant.

Beliefs About Male and Female Competence Held by Kindergarteners and Second Graders

To get to the bottom of gender stereotyping; and to truly understand the who’s, whats, whens, wheres, and whys involved, it has to be traced back to before we formed opinions based on what we saw in the media and heard on the street. This study was done with 5-8 year olds. What it found was that “during the elementary school years, girls outperformed boys academically”, but “girls tend to rate boys higher and value their achievements more”. For some reason, even at such a young age, girls already feel like they are less than boys or that their achievements (even when they are the same as a boys) aren’t as impressive as a boy’s. The writer’s frame here is young children and their opinions of themselves and others.

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A study mentioned in this piece suggests that “women may run the risk of being considered unfeminine if they portray the characteristics necessary for success. While individuals’ ideas of what “success” is may be different, the characteristics it takes to get there pretty much look the same.

Children are like sponges; the absorb. They see and hear things around them. They are exposed to adult stereotypes, which have proven to them that women are less than men. So, what if adults got rid of this stereotype? Would our children still feel this way?

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