Race, Class And Gender Essay
Race, Class and Gender issues are commonly brought up. Throughout history many groups have been stigmatized not just for their race, but for their sex, and class as well. People of lower class incomes get slandered for where they live and for not having the economical means to purchase most common goods. Women have been considered the weaker sex for centuries, and currently, some of the old fashioned and ignorant theories on women being subordinate to men prevail.
In the article “ Rethinking Women’s Biology” the author position appeared to be that society dictates what a woman means and teaches it from childhood. The old concept of blue for a boy and pink for a girl starts out from birth and is consistent throughout childhood and into adulthood. The clothes we wear, our activity level, what and how much we eat, the type of vocation we are in, all these variables occur due to society. Society has norms that are expected to continue. Even though society has these notions of what is normal and natural it is the concept people have of themselves that is also a primary dictator on their lives. (Hubbard 1990).
“ The Social Construction of Gender” touched on how Western society views gender. This article pointed out historically how women and men appear to be separate species entirely. And that even though physiologically we are similar, male and female, we are of an opposite class. The male and female class should not be labeled how our bodies function for we are all individual and unique. If a scientist views a female to be female based on the fact that physiologically she menstruates, than what is a female that ceased menstruation or never began to? Is she only half woman? Is a male not a man if he is not capable of producing sperm? (Lorber, 1992)
The article also mentioned how sports glorified men and ignored the female athlete. Only giving women 5% of television coverage opposed to men receiving 92%. Sports can trivialize women symbolically. For example, College sport teams may name the male team tigers and the women’s team kittens. (Eitzen &Baca Zinn, 1989). This can coincide with the males being considered strong and the women being sexual. Roles were also mentioned as “society’s prescriptions for those of their gender status because the norms are expectations get built into their senses worth and identity as a certain kind of human being and because they believe that their society’s ways are the natural way.” (Lorber,1992, p.42).
“Ah, Ya Throw Like a Girl” was similar to the above to articles. It suggested how roles of society predict female and male roles. He referred to personal childhood memories. Reminiscing how while playing sports, his father, would encourage him to throw hard ball overhand. And how if he didn’t he was throwing like a girl. He would be teased and taunted by friends and family if he did not play the sport hard and rough, because that’s how boys do it. He also pointed out that his sister was more talented in sports than he but could not play. Basically, this authors position was traditional roles needs to be deleted with a new modern way of thinking. We know more now than we did when traditional male and female roles were established and we should all concur with the new age liberation and equality. (Messner, 1992)
“ In A Male Centered World, Female Differences Are Transformed into Female Disadvantages” was an article that stressed how because female and male persons have different body types this is what predicted the roles that would follow. Males being strong and dominant in stance and female averaging to be smaller and more petite than men led society’s to think women were less capable. The authors position appears to be that because society think males are strong and women are weak this is indented into others positions and continues the cycle of a male centered world. Only by speaking out and protesting for our Civil Rights when we feel they have been disregarded will women take a stand. She uses the term “Gender Polarization” which refers to the scripts laid out for us within our society. These are the male and female roles that are expected of men and women. How we dress, eat, play, love, and care for ourselves according to our roles. This defines her Gender Polarization. She is an admitted feminist and strongly believes in fighting for equal rights. (Lipsitz Bem, 1994).
“ The Social Construction of Sexuality” explained the history of western society’s view of natural human sexuality. It was based on the Christian perceptions of sexuality and sin. Sexuality was intended to be an expression only to procreate and bare children. This throughout time has set parents up for failure when they explained “the birds and the bees” to their own children. The position of this article was that society should steer away from misguiding their children to think that sexuality comes with procreation and acknowledge that they are separate and do not necessarily follow each other directly. That a more honest and open relationship is a healthier for children to understand and accept. That society should cease the words homosexual, heterosexual, bi-sexual, etc. and just acknowledge sexuality alone. This would delete title and assist with the depletion of norms and rules within our society. (Hubbard, 1990)
All of the articles have made one unanimous point; society is sets the norms and rules. And that it is a cycle that most of us attribute to. Raising children in the way our parents raised us assists with traditional norms. I agreed with all the authors. They pointed out there position clearly and gave accurate and precise descriptions of what they thought, why they thought it, as well as used several references to back up there information. The overall point of society’s norms and how they start was interesting and informative. In “Aw, Ya Throw Like a Girl” (Messner, 1992) the author used a more personalized approach referring back to his own memories of his childhood and demonstrating how it affected his sister. That she was not afforded the same opportunity as him was moving and gave his article a more humanistic reality of his position. When explained this way it is easier to reflect on the reader’s personal experiences as well. In “The Social Construction of Gender” I like the author’s description of discrimination through athletics. How male sport teams were called “lions” and meant to appear strong and women’s sports teams were the kittens. Kittens beings a more sensual and passive name. Never observing this before and found it interesting. I agreed with the all authors on the way to assist in changing the norms of society. Unfortunately, norms have lasted so long and there are many outside factors. If we as a society teach our children to respect, love, and treat equally everyone they encounter, what is to say that this will change everyone perceptions?
The article “Aw, Ya Throw Like a Girl” (Messner, 1992) reminded me of similar stories growing up. I have three brothers and roles were very clear in growing up in my house. I was the only girl and was expected to assist with all of the house chores. My brothers would be responsible for lifting the groceries in the house and doing outside chores. If there was nothing to do outside my three brothers could play. The boys were not expected to cook or clean the house. These were the roles I grew up with. Women could be strong and independent but men always appeared to be stronger. My brothers could talk real loud and boisterous but if I spoke that loud I would hear my mother or grandmother say that it was not lady like to talk loud. And women were expected to always be appropriate. Cross your legs, no elbows on the table, and no slouching, but my three brothers never got reprimanded for these same habits. I have the blessing of having a two-year-old son. I hope to instill in him love, respect, and understanding for everyone. I can only attempt to keep him focused on the fact that there are differences in the world and that “different” only means new, unique, and interesting instead of him learning “different” as weird, freaky, or odd. But society as a whole is a lot bigger than I am. Hopefully, my son will not conform to society’s way of life and will make his own norm
Rose Smith Laura Pogue English 1301 February 28, 1999 Three Ways to End Racial Discrimination Arlington Texas’ Sam Houston High School student body in 1998 was 67.1% minority and spoke 42 different languages (Smith). A 1991study shows 64% of people 18 to 29 approving of interracial marriages, compared to only 27% of people 50 or older (www.strang). This rise of diversity in the school district and this growing acceptance of miscegenation reveal the slow death of racism, but the fight to end racism must continue. With exposure to other races, giving people time to change their views and educating the future generation racism will die. Exposure partly controls the mentality of a racist. Do not shelter children from other races. When people surround themselves by a different race, they may feel uneasy or uncomfortable but with continued exposure to different minority groups they will grow accustom to them. Sam Houston High School has students from all walks of life. These students are in the same clubs and organizations, play the same sports, and are all equally competitive in the same classes. This proves that different races can co-exist in an environment with out one group feeling out of place or inferior. Let the Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, and Asian children continue to learn and play together and racism will have no place in society. Some argue that racism will not end, yet look at the deterioration over the past 200 years. With time America’s decline of racism will continue. Jim Crow Laws prevented blacks from exercising their right to vote in the late 1800’s. In 1964 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., MLK, won the Nobel Peace Prize for leading a nonviolent fight for racial equality (New Student Bible 1180). At the turn of the new millenium a growth in interracial marriages and diversity in the school district are present. In 1991 when I was entering into education, interracial relationships shocked me because they were unacceptable when I was in high school, Assistant Principal Charles Lester of Sam Houston High School said. Now when I walk down the halls I am not even phased by mixed couples (Smith). Exposure and time can not solve the racism problem alone; it takes education. When racist parents raise children their beliefs are instilled in the minds of the children. Teach children from a biblical background: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28) or from the basis of the Constitution of the United States, all men are created equal, and racism will decrease. Along with education about racial differences, comes respect and understanding of the differences. All African Americans are loud gangsters. All Hispanics are lazy. All Caucasians have superiority complexes. All Asians are smart. These stereotypes can be proven wrong with education. MLK was a prominent African American and certainly not a gangster. Any time you have the opportunity to accomplish something and you don’t, you are wasting your time on earth, Roberto Clemente the first Hispanic in the Baseball Hall of Fame said (www.majorleaguebaseball). Clemente a 12 time all-star does not meet the definition of lazy. Knowing the traditional Asian culture shows three main values they stress: study hard, work hard, and family first. These values could account for Asian’s academic success. All of these are examples of stereotypes proven wrong with a little education. With time, education, and exposure racism will end. The X generation should make strides to eliminate racism by giving it time to die, teaching children the fundaments of the Bible, and getting involved in a diverse community. Heroes like MLK and his followers were not afraid to stand up for what they thought biblically and morally correct. Their efforts triggered a movement towards a racial free world. Who will stand out from the X generation as heroes in the fight for the abolishment racism? Work Cited Galatians. The New Student Bible, NIV. Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991. MajorLeagueBaseball.com.22Feb.1999 . Maxwell,Joe. Strang Communications. 22Feb.1999 . Smith, Rose. Interracial dating still brings up questions. Sam Houston Texans 24 Oct. 1997: 6.