My Place in the Social World
In our society women are identified by race, social class and gender. This is how our culture has portrayed women’s status in society. Women of minority groups such as African American, Asian, and Spanish American have less status than that of Caucasian women in our society. Our Advertisement aims selling products to improve a woman’s facial outlook of herself through beauty products. Cleaning products are pushed on women so we can keep our homes clean. This further promotes women’s place is to be kept quiet and stay at home taking care of her home, family, and husband. The ideal figure of a woman in fashion magazines are revealed as tall and thin (Kilbourne). Culture in new media portrays women as passive, innocent, submissive, and experienced. African women are shown in a dominatrix position as chained or in a sexual position with a white male. Dominance seems to what our culture thinks women want from men. Sex is the most important part of selling to the public and no one has spoken up about it except Jean Kilbourne in “Killing Me Softly” a film about how our young women are portrayed in our culture.
Social class, gender and race have a place globally reveal women who die after post-partum hemorrhaging during birth, and young women under the age of 14 are giving birth that causes the infant to get stuck and then tears the wall of the bladder which causes a lick of the uterus (Borges). This forces these young women to be outcasts in their own villages because of the stench. The position of women of third world countries has no voices or rights in their villages. They are the only ones who do all the work in taking care of the children, tending to household chores, farming the fields, and building the villages. In retrospect there are in the world 15% of women who are in legislative and 17% of women are in the US legislative and in the country of Rwanda 56% of women are in their legislative (Borges). This proves that women work hard to maintain their goals in rising up in social class while fighting gender and racial problems nationally or globally (Borges).
Gender and race status in third world countries give testimony of how women are beaten and raped, cases of acid attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Vietnam against women in the heat of anger. China has accounts of female infanticide where there are 118 males per 100 females and the cause is that girls have been aborted or killed after birth. India has outlawed ultra sounds because it was used to see if the child was a boy or girl and if it was a girl that baby would be murdered at birth. South Africa is reporting on the number of girls under the age of 15 being raped and murdered (Borges). The women in the United States have more rights than those living in third world countries and why should they complain about low wages and how media represents them in our society. Anything happening in a third world country doesn’t affect them personally, financially, or their life styles. This would be viewed differently if this was happening here in the United States.
Race can be described by what you are in groups such as Caucasian, African American, Native American, and Asian American. It is related to your social status in society to where you are employed, what neighborhood you live in, and the level of education you receive. Racism is part of our culture because each of these categories are defined on how each of these groups are seen in our society such as, Caucasian are the dominant group while African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans are the minority group who submit their own cultures to fit into the society of the dominant group (Anderson & Taylor 237). This is a form of racial inequality because they have to put their own individual culture and beliefs to the side to fit into our society norm. I am defined by these definitions as a white, heterosexual female. Others see me in this light because it is my label and not the real me. Culture defines anyone by what society expects of us. In society norms I should be married to a heterosexual male, bare children, and take care of my home. If I am not keeping my bargain with the norm than I have advertisements on television or on the Internet that inform me that I can go to a plastic surgeon and become a whole new person to get that perfect life. I can also take drugs to control my appetite and help me with my mood swings. Than with the aid of cosmetic cremes and make-up I can attract that mate and have the life that society expects of me. The only problem is that if I conform than I become the minority group and society is the dominant group (Anderson & Taylor 237).
The Empirical Reality of race, social class, and gender can be described by how the mass media promotes what is beautiful or acceptable in our culture. In the film “Killing Me Softly” by Jean Kilbourne states how media representation the gender of women in advertisement as passive, vulnerable, and thin. Race is represented by white women in magazines, television commercials, or Internet who are barely clothed and selling jewelry, watches, shoes or hand bags. When a woman of color is shown she is in bondage by a white male or being held against her will in a photo in a fashion magazine. Social class shows women who are innocent, virginal and has no opinion except to make her man happy. He is always white, rich, and in control by showing dominance over the woman in the photo. It promotes love, sex, the ideal female body, and porno (Kibourne). The use of sex to sell everything is more important in society than kindness or love for each other. Those women don’t want love they desire being beaten into submission, and controlled by men (Kilbourne). Women are defined in our social class as who they are and what they should be that is accepted in our culture. Advertisement gives examples that boys are active and girls are passive (Kilbourne). You see young boys playing with cars or blocks while young girls are quietly playing house or with dolls. When I sit down in front of the television I am confronted with ads on house cleaning supplies, beauty cremes and cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, fashion merchandise, sales on purses, shoes or jewelry at all the retail changes, and weight loss products or gimmicks. I actually believe that if I lose those extra pounds I will get that ideal shape that I see photographed and displayed in fashion magazines. I have actually found myself driving to the mall for those weekend sales, and spend more money than I had, but then I have credit cards. Didn’t the advertisement say that it’s not a credit card, but a feeling. I know that all these advertisements are gimmicks, but at times I find myself being pulled in to their beliefs and views on how I should look or act in what our culture wants from us. I put those feelings aside and ask why it is so important to do all these things? The answer to that question is to be accepted by our peers and identified as part of a group. Class consciousness is what makes me or anyone think about today not tomorrow and use that credit card to buy the things we want now (Anderson & Taylor 195). Our social class status is how we live, dress, and what cars we drive. It is more important to be like the “Jones” and get the things we want now than later. My race as a white female holds my place in the social class as middle class and college educated. Gender identifies me as female and reveals where I work and what salary I will earn. I work as an insurance biller for a laboratory in Seattle where I earn about $29,000 a year. If a man worked in my position he would earn about $49,000 a year. This means that the gentleman is college educated and performs the same tasks as I do by answering the phones, assisting patients with their insurances or questions on the balance of the bill, sort mail, deposit the checks, and filing. So, if I go back to college earn an MBA degree in business and land an entry position in accounting I will start at $40,000, but a man will be paid 20% more than me.
Occupational Segregation is the reason behind that is that white males are the ones who own these companies and are comfortable dealing with men in management positions (Alexander & Taylor 393). It refers to the distribution of social and economic resources according to gender. A functionalist will argue that a woman in the work place helps the economy and gives her an active place in society. The conflict theorist would add that women in a work environment aren’t given bonuses or raises on a regular basis as men, paid less and are never promoted in management positions in a company. Inequality of the sexes between women and men are still in corporations being used as a way to control the employees and this is called Gender Stratification (Anderson & Taylor 273). Social class and gender have caused problems in the United States and worldwide. Women today are educated and employed, but also don’t receive the same benefits as men in bonuses, raises, or income. Here women have the right to vote and struggling to make a living making less than men in the same field. The racial divisions of labor are that minority women are working in industrial and low income positions to take care of their families and send home to the ones left behind in their country (Alexander & Taylor 389). That will change some day because many women own major corporations, businesses, and political positions in government. Women are affected by race, social class, and gender in the United States, but they can vote, hold public office, and own businesses. The most important thing to fix is women’s moral conscious and how they present themselves to others in society. Also, they should think about the young women in third world countries who have no rights and who are just starting to fight for themselves as they did back in the 1960’s and 1970’s (Alexander & Taylor 281).
Borges, Phil. March 2009- December 2010. http://www.philborges.com/
Kilbourne, Jean Ed.D. “Killing Me Softly”. 2010. http://www.wcwonline.org/keypeople/kilbourne.html
Anderson, Margaret L. & Taylor, Howard F. 2009. “Sociology The Essentials Fifth Edition”. Chapter 7-Page 195, Chapter 9-page 237, Chapter 10- Page 273 & 281, Chapter 14- Page 389 & 393.