Wage Gap: What is it and why is it troublesome?

retrieved from: www.swifteconomics.com
retrieved from: http://www.swifteconomics.com

Women in the United States are at a disadvantage: the wage gap. Women are unable to get equal pay for equal work. Now sadly, many don’t believe that the wage gap exists. Studies shows the wage gap starts right after college. So female college students, now not only do you have to worry about a finding a job (in a terrible economy) but unfortunately you wont make as much as men with the same education and experience who are in the same position as you. Personally, as a woman who will have to face this it makes me upset that even if I’m as qualified as a man, I can’t make as much as him just because I have lady parts. This wage gap is also really detrimental for families where the women is the bread winner and makes the majority (if not all) the income for the household. The Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963. While it did help with some of the pay gap it still is a problem. Earlier this year, the Paycheck Fairness Act was proposed and then killed in both the House and the Senate, being blocked by the GOP and those who don’t believe the wage gap exists; this is the second time the bill wasn’t passed (it was proposed in 2009 as well). This bill would have updated the 50 year old Equal Pay Act, getting rid of red tape and loopholes, help track unfair payment practices, increase penalties for payment violations and much more.

There are a couple of reasons why I find this issue of importance. First, I attend a school where there is disproportionately more females than males and I would hope that they are aware of this sort of issues that they will be facing in the next couple years and hopefully we can start doing something about it like start writing letters to our congressional representatives telling them we want this passed to better our future and to help those who are already at a disadvantage (which would probably be helpful since I go to school in a pretty conservative state). Second, this is an issue that affects more than just women. It affects the children of single mothers or homes where the mother is the primary source of income for whatever reason. It affects husbands or significant others who may have to find higher paying jobs that may not be as preferable in order to make up for loss income. It is a family issue. It also is an issue of fairness and equal opportunity. I today is an especially important day to talk about it since it is Equal Pay Day- a day used to raise awareness for this issue. Women are paid on average o77 cents for every dollar a man equally qualified make. By the time a woman is 65, she will have lost $431,000 due to the wage gap. The numbers are worse for women of color: black women make 69 cents for every dollar a man equally qualified makes and latina women make 59 cents for every dollar a man equally qualified makes. Do what you can– call your representatives and help make change on this issue.



Lorde: Fighting the Photoshop trend

I recently came across an article about how singer, Lorde is combating the photoshop epidemic. Recently Lorde found a magazine posted her picture with her skin highly photoshopped and perfected. In response, she tweeted the photoshopped picture next to the originial:

retrieved from http://www.upworthy.com/
retrieved from http://www.upworthy.com/

Her tweet said “i find this curious – two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. remember flaws are ok :-)”

I think this statement against the photoshop epidemic in Hollywood is fantastic. I think it is a way that stars can help give regular girls confidence in their flaws when they accept that the pictures in the magazines aren’t real (which many young girls don’t realize). I think more star speaking out against this practice will help younger girls avoid unhealthy behaviors to make their bodies look like the pictures in the magazines and it will help show that everyone is against this harmful practice.

What do you think?


Target Photoshop Fail

A buzz on the internet these days is Target’s photoshop fail. Swim season is coming up so Target is starting to market their link of swimwear on their website.  A recent “thinspiration” phenomena is the thigh gap: or when you stand with your feet together your thighs don’t touch. This desired trait is pretty problematic because it is unattainable for most women and when your thighs are that thin it can indicate serious weight problems. Target posted this picture of a model wearing one of their pieces of swimwear:

retrieved from: http://www.policymic.com/
retrieved from: http://www.policymic.com/

The problem with this picture is that it’s clearly obvious they photoshopped the picture to make sure there was a thigh gap. The is a section of the bottom of the swim suit that is missing. Besides the thigh gap photoshop you can tell that they made her torso thinner due to the morphed appearance of the arms.

I think there should be bigger repercussions from consumers to companies that have these shady practices when it comes to body image. This bad example shows how bad the problem is and much we try to change beautiful girls to unattainable beauty standards which just perpetuate unhealthy relationship towards food and exercise (ie not eating, developing eating disorders, and obsessive exercise) in order to try and attain these things that are unrealistic. If customers backlash to these practices that harm the health and psyche of young girls, then maybe we could create a change in how the fashion/modeling industry presents women in advertisements and magazines

Ban the B-word

A new campaign has gained national attention recently: Ban Bossy. This campaign has gotten the support of many female celebrities, such as Beyonce, Jane Lynch, Condoleezza Rice and Jennifer Garner:

This campaign interrogates why we call assertive young boys “leaders” and “independent” but we call young girls “bossy”, “stubborn” and “pushy” as if they should be quiet and not try to assert herself in school or in groups with her classmates. This labeling of soley females leads girls to hold back and try to blend in with the crowd instead of stand out in the classroom or in other social groups. I think that this campaign is a good way to help to negate the terrible gender stereotypes on young women. I’ve always been outspoken and very assertive, and it always bothered me to be called bossy. I think that young girls should always be encouraged to speak their minds and try to excel and lead in groups.

What do you think? Good campaign? Good Message?


“Man Up”: More Harm than Good

“Man up!” “Grow a pair!” Just two ways to tell someone they need to be tougher, more masculine, like a real man. This dominate idea of what masulinity: of being, strong, tough, and emotionless actually is more harmful for males than it is empowering. Jackson Katz, author of Tough Guise, indicates these images of being a “macho man” like Rambo or the Terminator teach men to be a man and to be powerful you must be violent, especially toward women. The ideas endorse using violence as a way of getting why you want (a reason why there is an increase in school shootings in the past 20 years). The ideas teach men that you should remain emotionless because “big boys don’t cry”.

So next time you hear someone say “Man Up” or “Grow a pair” Respond with one of the following ways:


Minorities on College Campuses Campaigns

I found this article about a campaign that over 50 students at Harvard University are participating in to raise awareness of racial prejudice that minority students face, especially in light of the affirmative action policy being recently passed.

At the same time as this campaign is gaining traction, my own university is having discussions of a lack of minority acceptance and representation on my own campus. Recently one of the campus-run-blogs ran an article that started the conversation, when a girl talked about quitting one of the most prestigious organizations on campus because of problems with handling issues of diversity. This has lead to a movement of students from my school using “#MinoritiesAtMadison” to start a conversation and hoping to not only to have more minorities begin to attend our school, but to teach acceptance of diversity on our campus as well.

While my blog is about representations of gender, I think that representations of gender and representations of race are intertwined. I think that these discussions about representations of both race and gender are key to bring acceptance to everyone, no matter what they identify with. I think more campuses should bring about these conversations in order to help reduce the discrimination that minorities face, not only from the institution but from their peers.

What do you think?


Academy Awards Ignorance? Uproar about Jared Leto’s lack of knowledge about the Trans* Community

Jared Leto has won several awards for his role as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyer’s club, however, members of the trans* community are very upset at the ignorance he has for the people of the community and the oppression and struggle they face on a daily basis. Many have problems with the script of Dallas Buyer’s Club itself, believing the film in and of itself does not accurately portray the story and that the portrayal of the characters are stereotyped and inaccurate

He’s been quoting saying he deserved to play the role as a transgender woman, as a cisgender (one who identifies with the gender they were born as) male, instead of a transgender woman playing the role he was given because “it goes both ways” despite the fact that members of the trans* community rarely get to play roles of cisgender characters. In fact, more often than not- cisgender actors portray transgender characters, and don’t accurately portray the lives of members of the trans* community.

His acceptance speech at the Golden Globe shows ignorance as well. Making inappropriate jokes about getting his entire body waxed and “ladies know what” he’s talking about (having a very traditional gender role script because only ladies get their bodies waxed). As well as referring to the trans* community as the Rayons (his character’s name) of the world instead of by their identity, which many view as problematic.

What do you think? Do you believe that Leto was insensitive to the trans* gender community through his role and his actions after the filming?


Photoshop Pefection?

Here’s a super interesting video. It’s by Hungarian pop star Boggie. While you don’t really understand any word she’s saying, the message is pretty clear that it’s problematic how most celebrities and models are photo-shopped every time they are put in a magazine. We are constant altering the bodies of women (and men) in to unnatural forms (like really long necks) because we think they have aesthetic value.

What do you think about the photo-shop culture that dominate the entertainment industry?


How perceptions affect the Trans* community

I found this fantastic article written by a transgender woman talking about her experiences with her gender identity. There are roughly 700,000 people in the US who identify as transgender in the US. Transgender refers to a person who does not identify with the gender they were given at birth (ie a biological male identifies as a woman). There is a lot of stigma that is attached to being transgender mainly because many people do not consider it “the norm” and it has been gaining a lot of public attention in the past 5-10 years.

There are many theories as to why people are transgender– some believe that it is associate to how much/how little testosterone a fetus is exposed to in utero. Many who identify as trans*gender experience depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as substance abuse before diagnosis due to the internal struggles of not identifying with ones given gender. Many who identify as trans*gender receive hormonal treatments to get the biological traits of the gender they choose to identify as, or even get sexual reassignment surgery.

However, sadly many people do not accept people who identify as trans*gender as their choose gender identity. Many women do not believe that transgender*women (who were born male) are really women because they do not have the internal organs of a woman. I think this is really problematic. It think we should be more inclusive of the trans*community. Just because someone doesn’t have the internal organs doesn’t mean they aren’t a woman. Many who are born as women aren’t born with uterus, like Miss Michigan 2013.

What do you think?


What I Be Project: Challenging Representations

I came across this awesome project: the What I Be Project. This project consists of a photographer taking pictures of people with their insecurities written somewhere on their body. This project is fantastic– it challenges norms of society dealing with body image, gender, sexuality, abuse, personality, and even career paths.

Check it out and let me know what you think!