Culture / Rebecca Schultz

Gender & Advancement

“Ah, well, do I wish that we lived in a world where gender didn’t figure so prominently? Of course. Do I even think about myself as a woman when I go to make art? Of course not.” – Judy Chicago

A century ago, give or take, a couple of women who used their intellect rather than conceive their husband snagging plots began what today we refer to as the first wave of feminism. Since then gender equality has been vitally important in the vast majority of societies worldwide and women and men share household and financial responsibility. All the legislative records prove this phenomenal advancement in precise decorative font. I would like to challenge this however. Have we truly been emancipated from the age old patriarchal way of life? Just because women are not dancing around bonfires singing ‘roasty toasty brasserie’ does it mean that the social expectations of women have really changed?

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Media socialisation is a large part of forming beliefs and ideas. We are overwhelmed by commercials on a daily basis but if you are looking for the minor instances of gender inequality, they becomes hard to miss. Just like the Huggies advert I caught on television the other day which started something like this; “Listen up mums”. A standard introduction to an adorable ad campaign targeting mothers of young children, because mothers are the only ones doing the child rearing and having to purchase diapers. It’s the same debacle with the household product adverts. The majority of these advertisements show women at home doing the cleaning and needing the next best thing on the market to keep their home squeaky clean, or their laundry smelling as sweet as candied daisies. It’s a very low key form of sexism, but sexism none the less as women are being portrayed as the domestic child carers even today in the year of twenty twelve. A child watching adverts like these see the ‘mummy’ figure doing the cleaning, cooking, diaper changing etcetera. Can we really blame them for assuming that that’s just what mummy does? Can gender equality be pure and fair if after a hundred years, the assumed place for women is in the kitchen with a child on her hip and a mop swinging from the crook of her arm?

Rebecca Schultz

Picture Source: http://www.thesociologicalcinema.com/1/post/2011/04/challenging-gender-roles-in-mona-lisa-smile.html

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