Gender Equality Bake Sale

Gender Equality Bake Sale

This article recounts the event of school bake sale in which three female students are selling bake goods. However, this is not an ordinary bake sale. The girls are charging the boys one dollar for the baked goods and the girls only 77 cents. The purpose of this was to illustrate the wage gap in America, for every dollar a man makes; a female employee makes only 77 cents. It is astonishing that in the year 2015, there is still that much of a gap in wage. Often times in media and social platforms there is talk of the progress, and how great strides are being made to close this gap. However, when the realities are truly examined as a society we are stagnant in our efforts. It is the feminist movement that society needs to rally behind. It needs to become clear that the foundation of feminism is gender equity, not female or male superiority. When this becomes a universal truth, then and only then cant the strides bring about effective change. It is also important to understand the difference between equality and equity, equality is treating everyone the same, where as equity is giving everyone what they need to succeed. Although both are vitally important, perhaps it’s time to focus on universal equity. Equal and fair opportunity of all individuals should be a understood truth, however, no one person is the same, and therefore it seems unreasonable homogenize the struggle ethnic groups, genders, or whomever it may be, faces.

In the news clip accompanying the article, a field reporter was sent to the school to cover the “controversial” bake sale. It was interesting to see in the video that the in studio reporter as well as the field reporter were both men. Even more specifically, what can be deduced from a short clip, they were white, powerful, cis gendered males reporting on the injustice of the male/female wage debate. Even before reading the accompanying text or watching the rest of the video the first image one sees is one of white male privilege, in a news story about the unfair wages women experience in the workplace. Further into the video it should be noted that when the reporter is looking for opinions from the school, only one female student was selected for her opinion. Even in times of gendered unrest the people leading the conversation are those who come from the most privilege. This report alone so visibly demonstrates the androcentric world we are living in, and how hegemonic masculinity still reins supreme. It is time for those experiencing the struggle, whatever it may be, to lead the conversation. No one understands what those who are oppressed are going through quite like the oppressed. So why are we seeking advice about how to liberate us from these oppressive forces from those perpetuating the very problem we are trying to solve.

The fact that this demonstration was even considered “controversial” is a problem all in itself. Why should it be surprising that women and girls are upset about being viewed as less than, in the eyes of corporation? Where is the controversy, that women can actually think for themselves and are finally finding the mediums to do so? It is time to shatter the glass ceiling that so many successful women are subject to reaching day in and day out. The question is how do you altars ways of thinking that have been embedded in society for years. The answer in my opinion is to start at the beginning. As discussed in lecture, at such a young age girls and boys are socialized at such a young age to believe certain things about themselves. Boys are the strong providers and girls and the weak vulnerable caretakers who need saving. This is where it needs to end and we need to start teaching. Illustrating to young girls and boys that the previous binary ways of thinking are so outrageous. So outrageous, that they wouldn’t even think that something such as unequal pay would be something that could even exist in the world they live in. Starting the conversation is important, and I do feel we are making progress in getting the conversation out there. Talk can generate change, however, in order to see full restitution requires meaningful action. We can talk all we want but until we take the necessary steps to change what is unjust and unfair, all will stay the same as it always has been.

Carlisle, Randall. ‘Gender Equality Bake Sale Causes Stir At Utah High School’. Good4Utah. N.p., 2015. Web. 10 Apr. 2015. 

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Laverne Cox on Intersectionality and Feminist Issues

Laverne Cox on Intersectionality and Feminist Issues

Laverne Cox Speaks of a situation she encountered when she was walking the streets of New York and the sexual harassment that erupted from simply trying to arrive at her destination. She recounts an exchange between two men and herself, in which the men were exchanging derogatory terms with regard to her race. Following this exchange the men realize she is transgender and the harassment changes focus from one of race to one of gender expression and identity. She then goes on to further explain the vehement hostility that transgender people face in living their everyday lives, more specifically transgender people of colour and how the intersecting oppression creates and even larger realm of risk. Laverne Cox presents an intersectional analysis with regard to the struggle LGBTQ individuals face. Through this analysis she posits that if acceptance cannot be learned no progress can ever be made.

Writer, and activist Audre Lorde once said, “There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives” (138). The ideas of Lorde conquer greatly with the message Cox conveyed throughout her speech, as well as the methodology of intersectionality in general. Intersectionality is a concept that illustrates the individual characteristics we posses such as our race, gender, class etc. result in varying forms of oppression that cannot be dealt with independently, but rather must be examined synchronously. With the notion in mind that we are not one-dimensional people it only seems logical that an intersectional intervention would present great strides towards equality. However, we live in a society in which we greatly value instantaneous results and quick fixes. Problems such as racism, and transphobia (prejudice against transgender people), or homophobia (prejudice against homosexual people) don’t have a Band-Aid solution; there is no “quick fix.” With complex problems come complex solutions and it is the apathetic nature of society that promotes this cycle of oppression. People such as Laverne Cox understand that nothing will ever be accomplished in the face of hatred. However, it is naïve to believe that love alone is the answer, nonetheless, it is a start, and no great act has ever occurred without the strongest of foundations.

Throughout Laverne’s speech it also became apparent that white privilege was an underlying theme. She describes that among transgender people, transgender people of colour are those who make up the largest percentage of victims of violence (Cox, “Explains and What to do About it”). As Peggy McIntosh mentions in her essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, white people often do not even realize the extent to which they are privileged and in fact are taught not to recognize this (278). McIntosh explains that white people are taught to see themselves and their lives as the standard of normalcy and all comparisons are to be made based off this standard (278). If a white cis gendered male posses the most privilege, then a female transgender person of colour would be experiencing three intersecting forms of oppression. It is the way in which society deals with these intersections that Laverne speaks of that perpetuate the androcentric and misogynistic views that have been so predominant many years.

Laverne Cox presents an exceptional analysis of the injustice faced by the LGBTQ community. If it was not already glaringly obvious we live in a world where people fear what is different. This fear, more often than not manifests into something far more poisonous. It will always be exponentially easier to see things the way they have always been and to understand things the way they have always been taught. However, this can only breed more fear. If we as a society are willingly to accept the differences, open our minds to the possibility of change then we can be released from the chains of blind conformity that have been holding us back for generations. We need not accept this fear any longer. Speakers such as Laverne depict to society the steps that need to be taken, as well as what has already been accomplished. As a transgender woman of colour starring in an extremely successful television show, she proves that we can tackle these issues. She serves as a beacon of hope for the LGBTQ youth that the struggle they may be facing is something that can be overcome. Using intersectionality as a lens in which to view these pressing issues allows for a far more comprehensive analysis, and I believe that is exactly what Laverne did in her presentation.

Works Cited

Cox, Laverne. “ Laverne Cox Explains the Intersection of Transphobia, Racism, and Misogyny (And What to Do About it).” Everyday Feminism. n.p. 7 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2015 <http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/12/laverne-cox-intersection-what-to-do/>

Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing, 1984. Print

McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Gender through the Prism of Difference. Oxford University Press, 2005. Web. 10 Mar. 2015

Film Review: Boy Meets Girl (2015)

Film Review: Boy Meets Girl (2015)

Director:  Eric Schaeffer

Writer: Eric Schaeffer

Cast: Michael Galante, Michelle Hendley, and Jean Devereux Koester

Genre: Comedy/Drama

 

Argument/Thesis:

The Film Boy meets girl challenges the heteronormative ideals of the archetypal love story portrayed in most romantic films. In turn, the film brings necessary attention to the transgender community.

Synopsis:

Michael Welch and Michelle Hendley star alongside each other in this groundbreaking film about the trials of love and relationships in the lives of young adults. Set in a small town in Kentucky Robby (Welch) and his best friend Ricky, (Hendley) a transgender girl are living their lives in hopes to someday make it out of the small town. Then comes along beautiful young girl named Francesca, whose fiancée is on tour in Afghanistan. A relationship ensues between Ricky and Francesca and in turn the viewer is able to see the hegemonic masculine ideas that her fiancée believes so strongly. This relationship serves as an eye opener for Robby and his true feelings for Ricky emerge.

Review:

The Film Boy Meets Girl allows the viewer to watch the premise of a basic love story through a completely different lens. The narrative of a stereotypical “boy meets girl” story follows strict gender binaries, never taking into account the possibility of variance with regard to gender roles portrayed in these films. Ricky the female protagonist in the film is a transgender girl who is trying to establish herself and make it to New York City in order to achieve her dreams of being a fashion designer. This film challenges the gender stereotypes associated with the “quintessential romantic” relationships as the main character who ends up finding love is in fact transgender. Throughout the course of the film it truly feels like you are going on the journey with the characters. There is a sense of authenticity and believably with regard to the characters that makes it far easier to relate to their struggles. As a viewer you really become invested with the characters lives as the films underlying themes can be widely related to. For example, Ricky struggles with her identity as a young girl and although puts forth a tough exterior truly wants to be accepted. This can concept is true for so many adolescences in society today. Despite the fact that the logistics of the situation may differ from person to person the notion of acceptance is common to all.

The film touches on the understanding that gender is not simply what your biology denotes. It is how you express yourself, how you identify, and most important it is how you feel most comfortable presenting your self to the world. It is clear that this film comprehends the social construction of gender and how this can be harmful to individuals such as Ricky who do not follow these gender binaries set out by society. For example, when Francesca first meets Ricky she assumes that she is a heterosexual cis gendered female, falling line with the compulsory heterosexuality that is ingrained into our beliefs from a very young age. When Ricky tells Francesca that she is in fact transgender, Francesca is astonished and begins to ask a series of personal questions. As a result of this social construction it is often times too much for individuals to comprehend that there exists individuals who don’t fall under this socially constructed gender binary. Additionally, ideas of gender are not always what society has fashioned them to be. This can be difficult for individuals to perceive, because this idea of male/female heterosexuality is all that was ever discussed for such a long period of time.

This film gave a realistic perspective of the trans experience. It really demonstrated the ups and downs trans people experience. Although being cis gendered, I will never fully understand what that is like, the film allowed for a more well rounded comprehension the kind of struggles trans people go through on a daily basis

Specific Scene:

There is a scene towards the end of film where Ricky and Robby have fight and in the heat of the moment Robby tells Ricky that she’s “not really anything” (referring to her gender). This scene is particularly heart wrenching because Robby was the one person who she thought she could trust and in that moment he treated her as an aberration. Individuals can empathize and be supportive all they want however, at the end of the day there is no way to understand what she has gone through and must go through on an everyday basis. It illustrates that although society has made significant progress with regard to understanding the complexities of gender there is still ground that needs to be covered. Society must reach a point where thoughts such as these never even cross the minds of individuals.

Experience:

         I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the experience of Reelout as much as I did. I entered into the experience with the pre-conceived notion that it was going to be an environment in which certain views would be heavily promoted with out explanation. Nonetheless, I was proven to be vastly incorrect, as it was very enlightening. I really enjoyed the whole experience and the outpouring of support from the community and the sponsors that I witnessed while in attendance. I believe these types of festivals should be something that are consistently promoted. This festival in particular really opened my eyes to the importance of an understanding the issues some of the films were tackling. Furthermore, once the film started it felt less like obligation and more like enjoyment, something that I was to see for a simple fascination in the film.

Sources

Thefilmcollaborative.org,. (2015). Boy Meets Girl. Retrieved 11 February 2015, from

http://www.thefilmcollaborative.org/films/boymeetsgirl