Rape culture is a term used to describe a culture where sexual violence is excused, accepted, and sometimes even given approval. Violence is normalized because it is seen in media and pop culture. People become desensitized to it.
In Dream Worlds 3: Desire, Sex & Power in Music Videos, we are shown how men and women are portrayed in pop culture. Women are often portrayed as passive, while men are dominators.
The video then considers the effect of music videos on the behavior of women and men.
Video clips of the 2000 National Puerto Rican Day Parade are show, where women are sexually assaulted by groups of men. While extremely disturbing, this is a powerful example of the effects of rape culture.
“Gender roles are the way people act, what they do and say, to express being a girl or a boy, a woman or a man.” –Planned Parenthood
Gender roles are taught at an extremely young age.
Childrens toys are a great example of how society teaches stereotypical gender roles.
Girls have dolls, dress-up clothes and kitchen sets. These toys encourage girls to take care of children, clean and wear dresses.
Boys have trucks, balls and tools. These toys encourage activity, manual labor and movement.
I remember when I was a child, I loved Matchbox cars. However, I would always have to go to the boys section because they weren’t available for girls.
Today, companies have started to make toys for girls that have typically been for boys.
However, if girls do have “boy” toys, they are always pink or purple. And, never are “girl” toys — like makeup or dresses — advertised to boys.
In the video below, Riley explains that she doesn’t think it’s fair that all of the girls have to buy princesses and all of the boys have to buy superheroes. See? Even children get it!
Colors are another great example.
When searching for girls clothing, you will see a lot of pastels. Boys usually have much bolder colors.
The divide becomes even more apparent when you shop for baby clothing. The majority of clothing for baby girls is pink, while boy clothing is blue.
Gender roles are prevalent in every aspect of our lives. They determine what is acceptable to wear, how you can act, if you can work outside the home, where you can work, what positions you can hold in your church and even what emotions you can show.
Those who follow the gender role given to them are praised, while those who break from their gender role are punished.
The video below shows how early children begin to develop gender stereotypes.
I believe our society is slowly becoming more accepting of those who stray from stereotypical gender roles; however, we have a long way to go.
Feminists believe that there is oppression in the world, and often women are the ones being oppressed. They believe that this isn’t natural and can be stopped.
There are many different types of feminists in the world, but their universal goal is gaining equality.
Often when people don’t know about feminism, they mention bra burning. That is only one small event in the universe of feminism. Not all feminists burn their bras.
Feminists aren’t men-haters. In fact, studies show that feminists – whether male or female – have better relationships.
Feminism is not shameful. It seems that people refuse to be called feminists because they associate being a feminist with negative stereotypes.
If you think women should receive equal pay for equal work, you are feminist.
It doesn’t matter your age, race, religion or sex.
Throughout my time in college, I have learned that many people do not know the meaning of basic gender concepts.
Because of this discovery, the idea to explain these concepts on Gender University came to mind.
I will be using this week as a trial for a new segment called, “Say What?”
Every day, I will explain a new concept related to gender.
Today, I decided to start off with two words that are very basic but often confused: masculine and feminine.
I’m not saying that masculine and feminine are confused with each other; rather, I have found that often people confuse these terms with sex.
Sex is biological. It consists of our genetic makeup, reproductive organs and hormones. Man and woman are words often associated with gender, when in reality they are more closely linked with sex.
Feminine and masculine are terms that deal with gender. Femininity and masculinity are not determined by sex, but rather by culture. Society determines what traits are masculine and feminine.
For example, these words are often associated with femininity: nurturing, passive and weak. On the other hand, these traits are often considered masculine: aggressive, non-emotional and strong.
Men can have stereotypically feminine traits, such as being emotional. Similarly, women can have stereotypically masculine traits, such as being active.
In the end, culture determines what is considered masculine and feminine. So what may be considered masculine in one culture might be feminine in another.
Sex – Biological characteristics that differentiate men and women.
Gender – Cultural values that determine feminine and masculine characteristics.
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