Final Project: Exploring Feminism

In the hit television series “Grey’s Anatomy”, the show is based around the medical field and the day to day lives of the surgeons that work in the hospital. Viewers get an insight of what it is really like to be a surgeon and the difficult tasks they all have to complete in order to become the finest doctors. The show mostly showcases the life of Merideth Grey, who is one of the main characters in the show as well as her friends Alex, Amelia, Maggie and more. This show has always been interesting to me because of the medical point of view, but it also includes women tearing down stereotypes from society.

Throughout the series we encounter many characters taking turns to be the head of their department speciality and the chief of the hospital. There have been around four people we see that we have been chief of the hospital, three of the four being male. The first black women to ever be chief of the hospital, Miranda Bailey has gone against the common stereotype of only male counterparts having a high position in the workplace. Dr. Bailey has gone against society’s idea of only having males in high positions and made the hospital the best it could be. 

When Dr.Bailey was chief, she felt the pressure of having to look nice when she goes into work, which includes wearing heels. In one of the episodes, she stated how she felt imprisoned and confined in the heels all because she has a higher position. She tells her husband how she feels it is unfair she has to walk in uncomfortable heels, instead of her surgery shoes, all because she has to fit a certain criterion. She then takes off her heels, not caring about what her colleagues will say about her unprofessional attitude. 

Another example of the show showing characters going against stereotypes is having the majority of departments with women as the head of them. There is a woman as the head of trauma, cardio thoracic, general and neuro. This is a huge step from what it used to be in society, with only males having higher positions in the workplace. No one steps down on them or treats them differently in the show, just because they have higher positions than others. It shows how women have the ability to have certain positions and should be offered it when it is well deserved.

This show really takes back what society sees as normal for how the workplace should be ran. It shows women empowerment and goes against certain stereotypes for gender. These women that have been put in higher positions are because they deserve to be there thanks to their talent and brilliant minds. It shows that women can be anything they set their mind to and no male counterpart should diminish them or make them feel as if they don’t deserve it. 

Blog 5: Feminism is for Everybody

Masculinity is a socially constructed identity which supports many ideas of what “a real man” should be like. The concept of masculinity has been around for many decades that it became a norm in today’s society that men are supposed to be superior over woman, not show their feelings, or always act tough in front of people, to name a few examples. This however does harm men, wether society realizes it or not.

Hooks gives her opinion on patriarchy right from the start of her article. She states how the system “insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females” (Hooks, 1). This shows that she believes she lives in a very patriarchal society where men are more superior compared to woman. Hooks mentioned that the American Perception to be a man is to constantly be in control. Hooks is convinced that in order to end male pain, there must be a stop to patriarchy.

In the article by Kimmel he begins by pointing out that masculinity is mostly about men not wanting to be perceived as gay from other people, so they therefore put up a front to show that they are not. This consequently damages the way men act and think since they try to act more masculine, “Constantly… checking the fences we have constructed on the perimeter, making sure that nothing even remotely feminine might show through. The probabilities of being unmasked are everywhere… even the most seemingly insignificant thing can pose a threat or activate that haunting terror” (Kimmel, 2).

In order for men to feel more comfortable in todays society, there are multiple possibilities. One of them being changing the way people view what characteristics are essential for a man to have. As an example, men should be tall, strong and muscular in order to be seen as masculine in society. There are also many other reasons such as stereotypes. Kimmel suggests that by removing the fear of homophobia, men should be able to act as they wish without having the terror of being called gay. He believes that men do whatever they can in order to be viewed as the most masculine person they can be.

If men redefine the meaning of masculinity, they can wear what they would like to without having a constant fear of making sure society isn’t perceiving them as gay, uncool, or not tough. This could also help in men playing whatever sport they like, being interested in different hobbies, pursue a various of careers and more. Men would be able to play sports such as dance or cheer that is usually seen as a girl sport. They would be able to not be ashamed at enjoying baking or making clothes as a favourite past time, men could not be afraid of wanting to become a nurse or a teacher since it is seen as being a women’s job and not a mans. With the change of how people see masculinity, it can boost the confidence of multiple men and change the way society expects men to act.

Blog 2: The Issue of Beauty Standards

In today’s society, the idea of beauty has been getting more distorted by socially constructed ideas, rather than what is truly is. Starting from a very young age, women and men are told that they have to have the perfect body, have no acne, have curves, be muscular, and so much more. This tremendous amount of pressure put on young children that sadly carries on into their teenage years and adult life is terrifying. Children should know that whatever shape and form their body is, is perfect. No makeup company or modelling agency ads should tell them otherwise. 

With the help of companies that show off women and men’s ‘true’ beauty, it impacts the children’s brain into thinking that they have to look like that in order to be considered perfect. With models advertised everywhere, always in the same body shape, it provokes some children to bully others that don’t fit the criteria of what social media claims to be the perfect body. With the issue of beauty standards everywhere, it causes children to become extremely unhappy with their appearance for no reason, which can lead to many health issues like eating disorders, anxiety, depression and more. 

Children should not be taught at a young age that they should have the perfect body, just like the models advertised everywhere, or they are not considered to be pretty. Children should be able to spend their childhood having fun, making new friends, playing on the playground at school. They should not be worried about whether they are considered to be pretty, or if they have the perfect body with the right curves where they are supposed to be, or if they have enough muscles in order to be viewed as being beautiful.  

 Some beauty companies have started including models in all shapes and colors for their ad’s, which is a start at ending the horrendous beauty standards. On the other hand, there are some companies that keep the same criteria they have been putting out and disregard the harm they are doing to young girls and boys. 


Blog 1: Trying to define Feminism

Jessica Valenti and Bell Hooks each have similar but different views on feminism.  They both find it essential to promote feminism, however they have different definitions on what feminism means to them.  Bell Hooks is a well-known writer, educator and activist. Her books emphasize her view on racism and gender roles in today’s society. Jessica Valenti is an American feminist writer. She was the co-founder of the blog, Feministing, which she worked on for seven years. Bell Hooks and Jessica Valenti are both strong feminist that believe that women should be able to be comfortable in their own skin and  have the same rights as men. 

            In the article by Bell hooks, she first describes her interactions with people who try to define feminism. She adds that her view of feminism is not angry women trying to be like men, but it’s more of women trying to gain equal rights. She focuses more on women needing to have equal rights in society and the issue of sexism. On the other hand, Jessica Valenti writes more about how women should feel good about themselves and have self-respect. Jessica expresses how feminism should allow society to see through the nonsense that would make people believe there is something wrong with them. A similarity between them is how they are strong advocates for feminism and want to enforce the idea of feminism to everyone they possibly can, in order for women to finally have equal rights to men and feel confident in their bodies. 

            Something that stood out to me while reading the two articles was how Jessica Valenti mentioned that people find feminism is becoming out-dated and not as important anymore. This section of the article was really interesting to read because I was not aware that majority of people on the media have mentioned how feminism is considered to be “dead”, since no one speaks about anymore. She also mentioned how society thinks that since there has been no big movement lately, that would probably signify that feminism has reached its peak, or that feminism is dead. This whole statement that she has heard from people really shocked me because I know that there is still more work to do in order to improve equal rights for women, but that some people think that feminists have succeeded in doing what they were intentionally trying to do surprises me. 

Blog 4: Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke is an American environmentalist, writer, and economist. LaDuke was born in 1959 and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Her mother was a Jewish art professor and her father was an actor as well as an Indigenous activist.  She graduated from Harvard university in 1982 with a degree in Native economic development. After graduating from Harvard, Winona moved to northern Minnesota in a white earth reservation, that was located in a rural part of Minnesota that was known for its residents having low socio-economic status. 

            LaDuke is a program director of Honor the Earth which consists of a group of people that fight for the rights of Native peoples as well as raise money for any financial or political resources. This group is also working globally and locally on the issue of climate change as well as sources of renewable energy. Along with fighting climate change, she is an advocate for Indigenous rights, a strong spokesperson for human rights around the world, supports gender and homosexuality rights among more. 

            Laduke and myself are alike in some ways because she is very determined and has a persevering personality like I do. At the moment Laduke is working on fighting against oil companies located in Minnesota to help mitigate the consequences of climate change. She has told The New York Times how “If the government issues the permit for Line 3 work, then I will be on the ground with my people. And if they don’t, either way she says, I’m going to plant my field.” This shows how persistent she is which is something that I can relate to. She is a very accomplished woman who is able to manage her projects in such a way that a lot of her successes have occurred simultaneously. This is something that I struggle with and is where we differ. She is in a group called Honor the Earth, she is fighting for Indigenous and gender rights not only locally but worldwide as well, she is rebuilding her house that she lost to a fire, all while raising three children. Winona LaDuke can handle many obstacles thrown at her and fight for all the important causes that matter to her which makes her a multi-tasker. I, on the other hand, am the type of person that is more successful in my tasks when there is a smaller number of things to accomplish.

            An important aspect of Winona LaDuke, which influenced me to choose her, was how she is capable of multi-tasking several duties so successfully. I find Winona LaDuke very inspirational because she never gives up on fighting for environmental rights not only for indigenous peoples but for non-native people as well. In my opinion, an inspirational person is someone who motivates people to want to better themselves and make them act in a way that improves their well-being. Winona LaDuke is considered to be an inspirational person because she advocates for causes that are important to her, she does many good deeds, and she fights for those who may not be able to do so for themselves, all of which results in people wanting to be more like her.



Blog:3 Gender Equity In Indigenous Cultures

According to the text “Gender and Cultural Diversity in the Early Contact Period”, it states that in numerous indigenous cultures, the male and female roles were both equally important to their social structure. It mentions how the male would catch the larger game for their tribe whereas the women would catch the fish and sort the berries for their tribe. The text clearly mentions how important both the male and female roles are to the tribe, since they both contribute greatly to how the tribe functions and nourishes themselves. The text also mentions how in the indigenous culture, the male could and would not make any decisions without consulting their wife. This shows how they value the opinion of the women in their society.

In contemporary western culture, the gender roles have greatly improved. Women now have more rights compared to a couple years ago. However, women still do not get paid the same amount that a man does, for the same job which is something that should be resolved soon. This is a difference between the the indigenous culture and the contemporary western culture, because the wage gap shows how women are not completely seen equal to men. Whereas in the indigenous culture, the women and men are seen as equally important to their tribe and contribute the same amount of work that helps sustain their people.

Something that shocked me about this text was that in the indigenous culture, there is a sex-gender system called the “two-spirit”, where native people assume a third gender. In this term, the native person would fulfill both the masculine and female gender roles.