Tag Archives: gender inequality

“Miss Representation” and Gilman

I recently watched a documentary that I think will relate to a lot of Gilman’s theories on gender inequality.  This film was released in America in 2011, titled “Miss Representation“. The film explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America and challenges the media’s limited portrayal of what it means to be powerful women.

“The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself. In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.”

Excerpt from film.missrepresentation.org/synopsis

We live in a society where the people are extremely influenced by the media and what they see on television. Images and portrayal of women that you see on Television ( TV shows, movies, the news) and advertising are shaping the values and norms in our society. I think Gilman would agree with everything this documentary stands for especially at the fact that in the media, woman are over sexualized  and advertisements are constantly telling Woman how they should look and what is beautiful. This effects the way woman feel about themselves , where they start to feel like they aren’t good enough and essentially become dependent on men.


I think Gilman would agree with Lisa Ling. She explains in her theories that this patriarchal society promotes Women’s economic dependence on Men and undermines their freedom as well. Gilman talks about the inequality in the division of labor and how a women’s economic standing and social status comes from her husband.


This is statement in the documentary by Nancy Pelosi represents how society has created social norms where the woman is suppose to stay home and take care of children and not have the same opportunities as men to become a leader in this society. Being asked this question in the media shows how the media, “America”, still thinks that women need to stay home and be caregivers instead of trying to become leaders, CEOs, or politicians.


This relates to Gilman’s ideology that women are oversexed and that there is too much emphasis on sex-distinction. Women are pushed excessively to devote to their looks and have to develop over the top female qualities all to attract a man. I agree with Jennifer Siebel with this quote, I truly feel that the media and this patriarchal society makes women feel disempowered as well as distract them with advertisements, fashion and beauty tips and instead of focusing on how to become a leader.


In Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper (1892), she explains that women start to become depressed and have psychological issues because of the way in which women are being treated and undermined. Women face the authority of “The Man” or “The Doctor”, both of whom claim they know what is best for her but aren’t really listening to her therefore she stays depressed. This expectation to look a certain way and also what the media portrays as what beautiful is suppose to look like in the “hyper-sexualization” that occurs in hollywood, affects every women and this leads to eating disorders, and many psychological issues among young women.


I am going to end this post with more quotes from the film to show how America ( which portrays the land of equality and opportunity) is still stuck in a patriarchal system and hasn’t made much progress:                          Image                            Image                           Image

If you want to watch the Miss Representation documentary trailer CLICK here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2UZZV3xU6Q



Blog #6: Gender Inequality

In the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century, Charlotte Perkins Gilman focused on the lack of political and economic power of women.  Through her work as a writer, Gilman utilized her publications to change those aspects of society she did not like.  Her social actions to change society views on women can be identified as using weber’s ideal types of instrumental-rational actions.  One of her literature that focused on gender inequality relied on a lot of Marx’s ideas.  It states, “The labor of women in the house, certainly, enables men to produce more than they otherwise could; and in this way women are economic factors in society.  But so are horses.” (Women and Economies, 1898).

Gender inequality is defined as “economic and political disparities due to gender.”  Different expectations were based on gender.  Inequalities in economics focused on wealth and/or income, and political differences focused on legal rights.  One explanation for gender inequality could be the Nature or Nurture debate.  Arguments for Nature would say that women are innate caregivers and it does not come natural to men.  On the other hand, nurture arguments would say that causes of gender inequality could be shaped by the environment or society.

One example of economic disparities can be seen through the job market.  People tend to view nurses as only a female job and feel different when a male is a nurse.  Views on this type of jobs for men are not the norms of things.  Men are seen as taken on more masculine jobs. In the movie, Meet the Fockers, Greg Focker (Ben Stiller)was laughed at and made fun of when he revealed that he is a nurse to his fiancé’s family.  In the past, women were mostly nurses and caregivers.  However, in today’s society, more men are becoming healthcare providers and cooks than women.

In regards to women and economics, Gilman states that “to show how some of the worst evils under which we suffer, evils long supposed to be inherent and ineradicable in our natures, are but the result of certain arbitrary conditions of our own adoption, and how,  by removing those conditions, we may remove the evil resultant.”  (p. 245).  In other words, Gilman was saying that society tends to view women as mothers, wives, and caregivers and this view of women hinders their abilities to succeed independently in social and financial situations.  The job of being the home-maker prevents women from entering the workforce, leading women to become financial dependent on their husbands.  A woman’s freedom only comes when they are no longer dependent on their husbands.  In other words, money is what makes the real difference.


Blog #5 A woman’s struggle for equality is never over

Women have long struggled for equality alongside men. Dating back to the first wave of feminism women struggled to obtain the right to vote and later the right to contraception as well as equal pay. Women took a stand for their human rights and rights as women. It was about speaking up and being heard, having an equal say just as men did. Women have since then come a long way however gender inequality is still present throughout our society. It is especially visible in the work place. We know that women get paid on average 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

glass ceilingWomen in the work force are constricted by the glass ceiling. This is a political term used to describe an intangible barrier within a hierarchy that prevents women or minorities from obtaining upper-level positions and keep them from rising on the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements. Moreover, the Mommy Track presents a barrier to advancement as well. Women struggle to break through these biased molds that have been placed on us long ago. This gender inequality begins early through gender socialization. The distinction between both genders are pronounced since birth and early childhood with clothes, toys and activities. As Gilman writes “They must be dressed differently, not on account of their personal needs, which are exactly similar at this period, but so that neither they nor  anyone behold them, may for a moment forget the distinction of sex” (225). Boys and girls are raised with different mindsets because of their biological makeup. However it is not just our innate biological differences which promote inequality moreover these gender differences are reinforced and institutionalized through socialization. Gender socialization promotes and sustains gender inequality. We live in a patriarchal society where sex-distinction is very much emphasized and women are a minority group.

Previously, the man was the head of the household as women stayed at home. This made women economically dependent on the working man. In addition less women attended college. Although there is a greater number of women working today with college degrees, they are still at a disadvantage as they are paid less. These disparities are seen in the gender wealth gap. Women with bachelor’s degrees earn only $4,708 more than men with high school diplomas. While men with bachelors degrees earn $24,700 more than men with high school diplomas. The value/earning in the area where women became predominant tend to decline (ex. teachers).Women tend to concentrate more in social sciences and men in engineering, math and computers.

There is an increased number of women in the work force and women are closing the gap in degrees earned, pay, power and prestige. Women are the majority on campuses from 55-60%. Research shows that women have better grades, resumes and a clearer sense of goals. Generally, women in fact do mature earlier and are more serious about school. In reference to gender socialization; boys behave worse in classes and ignore directions as opposed to girls who are more focused, conscientious and well behaved. Women are also making changes in degrees. More women are holding professional degrees in law, dentistry etc. We can do it too!!! It’s important for women to become independent and break through molds that society has placed on us.


Blog #3- Gender Inequality

We are taught from a young age that men and women must have different interests, act a certain way, and achieve different goals. For example girls are taught to like pink, and to “act like a lady”, while boys are taught not to cry and to “man up”. In society it’s okay for a girl to express her emotions but is seen as gay if a guy is emotional. This is all so wrong because we are all really just the same.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman would refer to this as gender socialization. Gender socialization is how individuals learn to observe gender norms, to behave in “gender-appropriate” ways, relative to a given culture. This promotes gender inequality. Gilman states that the traditional family roles (stay at home mom / working dad) only promotes women’s economic dependence on men. Luckily in todays society, it is becoming more and more normal for women to branch out and support themselves. Women are beginning to realize they don’t need a man to support them.

The YouTube video we watched in class, “Shrinking Women”, also demonstrated more ways that men and women experience gender differences and inequalities. She spoke personally about her family at home but these norms stand for most Americans in todays culture. First she stated that the women shrink while men get fatter as we age. This is because women are always pressured not to eat a lot. Women are taught to absorb and be quiet while men are taught to shout and speak their mind. When she asks questions in class she always apologizes for asking, which is a huge sign that she was taught not to ask questions. She also stated that women are taught to cook and clean for their man and to do whatever they ask.

Blog #2 Gender inequality

Gender inequality is defined as economic and political disparities between genders. The video we watched in class epitomizes gender inequality in our society today. In the clip a woman was introduced to her job and every person in the workplace was a male. This shows how men dominated the corporate world and women had no plausible place in the “corporate world”. The video also went on to show how women weren’t seen as capable of performing certain tasks. One of the characters stated to paraphrase ” heres a type writer, its simple enough for a woman to use”. This also went to show that machines had to be simplistic and easy enough for a woman to use. In my opinion this was just the way of society at the time, the idea of women working seemed bizarre . However this doesn’t make it right but it could explain the reason behind why people behaved the way they did in this time.

Gilman + Gender Inequality

Blog #5

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) is an American intellectual and sociologist who critiqued the idea of gender inequality. Gender inequality is the economic and political disparities due to gender. Economically, there are disparities between wealth and income. Politically, there are disparities between legal rights. Gilman points out that a female’s economic position is basically determined by her husband or father (closest male relationship). Women lack economic independence. 

Today, this same idea of gender equality still holds true, however I believe that it has changed a bit and women do not depend on males economically in all cases. Gender socialization process is both dynamic and subject to change. Back in the day, women were told to stay home and do “housework”, such as cook, clean, do laundry, and take care of the children. However, now, females are capable of cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and taking care of children as well as having a job. Therefore, the women do not solely depend on the income of their spouse. Sometimes, we can see the care where the father stays home as the “house-mom” and does all the work that was previously taught to children as roles taken by females. For instance, my sisters coworker is a female and the only source of income for their family. Her husband stays home and takes care of the children, while she goes to work to bring home money to support the family. 

I found the image below to be really interesting because it is showing how society is changing and males stay home and do the house work:


Also, in many Scandinavian countries, there are many benefits that are in favor for both men and women. In Sweden, the men are allowed to take off for maternity leave, even though that rule only pertains to women in some countries. Sweden has a great equalization policy when it comes to maternity leave. 



We live in a Patriarchal institutions society, which gender inequality has pass down throughout the history. Women always seems to fall in the lower category than men. Back in the days women were dependent to men because they  weren’t allowed to go out and work, which they eventually work as stay home wives and mothers. Women’s value were base on their husband’s status. However, in modern days, women still face inequality in the work field, such as lower salary compare to men, male dominance in the high positions.

The part that Gilman points out is that we are all in a gender socialization society, which become stereotypes. Males were taught to be strong, tough and responsible. Females were taught to be generous, soft, and obedient.  The ruling class shaped the gender roles and use education, media, and environment to make it deeply rooted within our mind.  So even though women works and get pay nowadays people still think that it’s their duty to do the housework. It’s not fair in a logical sense, yet that’s the social expectation that is rooted in ourselves. The gap of gender inequality might get smaller and smaller throughout the time frame, but the inequality will never disappear.  Because nothing is fair and equal under the reality of Capitalism.