Evolution of Female Concerns Women have fought for their equality between men throughout history. Women have fought for their right to vote, the right to receive education and more. Now in modern society, women legally possess equal rights as men. However, there is another huge wall women have to climb over; society’s gender norms and expectation.
Gender norms and expectations are culturally constructed in a way that has historically been to the detriment of women; even though women have made significant advancements in sport, in the home and in the workplace, they still have to deal with limitations that are left over from previous gender expectations and assumptions that have held back women in the past. This contention is supported by the analysis of Jacob Anderson-Minshall’s article “Out of Bounds”, Howard Miller’s propaganda poster “We Can Do It! and Cathy Glui’s essay “Richer Sex”. Few decades ago, women were not given equal right to play specific sports which men were allowed to participate in. Time has shifted and modern society gives generally equal options to both genders when choosing sports. Although female athletes have gained opportunities, the basic society’s assumptions are still entwined in our culture, mistreating female athletes through judgments and media. It is a society’s normative that males are physically stronger and are more capable of competitive sports.
This gender expectation that women are less athletic also takes place in the recent hot topic, transgender. Article, “Out of Bounds” by Jacob Anderson-Minshall illustrates the society’s overlooked misconception towards trans-sexual athletes. Within trans-sexual, FTMs comparing to MTFs receive far less limitation. Article states about FTMs that “they are never a subject of debate, nor are they presented as viable threats to men’s sports”(Minshall,2005). This implicitly indicates that FTMs are considered weaker than males because FTMs originate from female.
It is mentioned in the article “that anyone exposed to testosterone at puberty will be a good athlete; that all males make better athletes than all females; and that males will change gender in order to reap rewards in women’s sport which they are unable to obtain by competing in men’s sport”(Minshall,2005). As stated previously, female athletes receive less attention from media than male athletes. When they do, their figures are overly sexualized and objectified. This trait also applies to transgender.
When people flip through magazines, most of the articles on female athletes are very disturbing. It is distressing to see how numbers of athletes are being portrayed like the following example from “Out of Bounds”, “Please puff up her denim miniskirt just enough for us to drink in the full length of her long, bronze legs”(Minshall,2005). As it can be seen, female athletes are paid only small attention on their athletic success, but more on their physical appearances. Female objectification downgrades women making them less powerful resulting in these undesired attentions.
Social assumptions that females are less likely to success, affects females in workplaces. Historically, female have always been seen to be recessive to men. Even now, female have less options and a lot of limitations set by society. The poster “We Can Do It” by Howard Miller gave women in 1940s, new options to work in place of men who went to the WWII. This was an innovational advancement for women at the time, and indeed, “From 1940 to 1945, the number of women in the workforce rose from twelve to eighteen million” (Shea, Scanlon and Dissin Aufses 232).
Although it had a major contribution to the increase of female rights, this poster shows underlying social assumptions towards women. The female in the poster is obviously wearing makeup and manicure. Despite the main message that has been sent out to encourage women to work, this poster also expresses that women should still look feminine while working for masculine jobs. Although women are now able to occupy jobs more easily, they undergo society’s norms that pressure women into specific jobs.
The Article “Gender Games” written by David Sadker indicates that “Today, despite all the progress, the five leading occupations of employed women are secretary, receptionist, bookkeeper, registered nurse and hairdresser” (Sadker). Furthermore, “about 3 percent of Fortune 500 top managers are women” (Sadker). These facts clearly display that women are far less likely to obtain jobs or positions with high pay. Naturally today, female workers in average only make three quarter of the salary of men. Low pay restricts women from being independent from men, making them powerless.
Situations have changed, and now women in marriage are also allowed to work. Occupying jobs enable women to feel strong and independent but at the same time, it changes their relationships with their husband, and their roles at home. The article “Richer Sex” by Cathy Glui focused on female breadwinners, and revealed that “These women valued their independence and career progression, and liked control. They appreciated their partner’s contributions to the family, but grappled with feelings of pressure and worry as well as guilt and resentment” (Glui).
Female breadwinners feel the pressure formed by societal expectations towards women. This stereotype is exposed in Brady’s essay, “I want a Wife” which states, “I want a wife who will plan the menus, do the necessary grocery shopping, prepare the meals, serve them pleasantly, and then do the cleanup while I do my studying” (Brady). The essay inscribes the role of wives boldly and precisely. Wives plan every meal, go grocery shopping, cook, and clean. Female breadwinners are pressured that although they are the main source of income, and they work much longer hours than their husband, they must still complete all the domestic work.
There was a story in the article where “one couple said that when they were out with others for a meal, they would encourage him to use his credit card when paying” (Glui), however couple later admitted that it was the female who was paying for the card. This one incident shows that it is somehow embarrassing for the couple to have a female breadwinner. What causes this? Again, it is society’s expectation; the expectation that females are weaker and cannot work professionally. It is embarrassing for couples to have the “weaker” being the main source of income because it negates the masculinity of the male.
Although women in home gained the opportunity to work outside house, they still do majority of domestic labor. Female breadwinners constantly suffer under society’s judgments and even try to conceal the fact that she is the breadwinner in the family. Social expectations and norms keep women from enhancing their careers either in the sports field, workplaces or houses. Society always expects women to be less competitive and weak, steering women into specific jobs and positions them to serve in family. These expectations are culturally formed and they are detrimental to women’s potential and success.
Females have gained significant privileges within past few decades, but these advancements led into new questions in our society. Neglect towards female abilities constantly changes its form, but it is always with us. Works Cited Anderson-Minshall, Jacob. “Out of Bounds. ” Fun & Games 2005. Brady, Judy. “I want a Wife. ” 2006. Glui, Cathy. “Richer Sex. ” Maclean’s 6 March 2012. Sadker, David. “Gender Games. ” Washington Post 30 July 2000. Shea, Renee, Lawrence Scanlon and Robin Dissin Aufses. The Language of Composition: Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. Boston: Bedford, 2008.