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My Research On Sexism

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I chose my previous manager who I worked with at Aldo in Gilroy for about three years. She is my manager as well as a close friend. The reason as to why I chose her was because she was a female in a predominantly male worked job. She is Hispanic and is twenty- five years old. She has been working since she was fifteen years old. Not only is she a female but also a minority. In the Mexican culture it is not common for women to have jobs and careers. It is instilled in them at a very young age that their job is to stay at home have kids and take care of them. As well as have the food ready and house clean before their husbands come home. In the Hispanic culture women have no business in the work place. Even though she lives in the United States her parents still have old views about the way things should be done . But since she grew up here she told her parents that things in America are different, so they agreed to let her work. So she has basically been a victim of sexism since she was very young. So this why she has so much ambition and determination to make it in a so called “man’s world”.

Methodology

The interview took place at her apartment. I interviewed her at the kitchen table. The people that were preset were me and her as well as her two younger children. I did not record anything she said. As she was talking I was taking small notes just so that I had a little bit of an idea about how I was going to structure my paper. I wanted to give here my attention since she took the time out of her busy schedule to speak with me. It was a very open type of environment and vibe that I gave off. She even had little refreshments out for me. I didn’t have her talk to me for a long period of time straight. If she had to tend to her children she did. So as we were interviewing her children would come crying telling her something or one was hungry. She had to have a little more focus with her children because she one was two years old and the other one was only one. I think that affected the way that she responded to my answers because I didn’t have her full undivided attention her mind was on other more important things.

Findings

Interviewer: State your sociodemographic information by way of gender, ethnicity, age, educational qualifications?

Interviewee: I am 25 years old and a female. I am Hispanic and I graduated High school. I did not pursue any higher education of learning.

Interviewer: Define sexism in your own words

Interviewee: Sexism to me means behavior based on one’s sex or sex stereotypes.

Interviewer: Cite three instances in which you faced prejudice and discrimination due to sexism?

Interviewee: I faced sexism at work because the higher position is held primarily by men like District Manager or Regional Manager. You never really see a female in those positions. Another instant that I fell victim of sexism was when I was at work their was a customer complaint I went to go asses the situation and the man said that he did not want to talk to me he told me that he wanted to talk to a man. I commented to him that I was the store manager and there was no male manager on duty so he didn’t want to handle his problem in store he decided to leave. That wasn’t the first time that something like that happens its usually the older male because they are stuck in their old world views. One more instance of sexism that I faced was when I was very young all my older brothers would be playing soccer and they would go out and have fun. But I was never allowed to do that when I wanted to play soccer my parents told me know that I had to be a cheerleader that was a predominantly female role.

Interviewer: What were your thoughts and feelings?

Interviewee: I feel that this is really unfair in the job setting where the man didn’t want my help made me feel very mad. I had to work twice as harder as that men to get where I am at. For him to undermine me like that and want to go with someone else is a slap in the face I think.

Interviewer: Have you faced any other forms of prejudice like for example based on racism, ageism to name few?

Interviewee: I have had prejudice by was of racism because I am a Hispanic women people look down at me and feel like I got the job out of pure luck. They think that Hispanics aren’t capable of doing the job as good as white people. They feel like we worked better with out hands in the fields rather than in offices or retail jobs. I had a customer come in very mad to my store and when I did not allow her to return the things she told me “you people are all” the same. So she just put me in category just because of the color of my skin. There was another instance where a customer came in and I knew that she was racist I wouldn’t let her return her shoes because they were really messed up and she said if she can get someone that speaks English to help her. I have also had people discriminate against me because I became a store manager at a very young age at 17 years old. When ever there was a customer complaining and yelling in my face she would say “where is the manager?” and when I would tell her “I am the manager” she thought I was joking and said she wanted to talk to the real manager because I looked so young and inexperienced.

Interviewer: Have you felt prejudiced towards any group?

Interviewee: No I have never felt prejudice to any group I feel like everyone has the right to be treated equally no matter hoe they look. I think us as humans have that natural right.

Interviewer: Do you think media plays a role in perpetuating gender stereotypes if any?

Interviewee: Yes, I believe media plays a really strong role in how people use gender stereotypes. There are commercials like Victoria secret that shows these really beautiful women so it holds every single woman to look like a model. So it puts us under this microscope and makes us seem like everyone Is looking at us. I watch of Mexican soap operas and all the women are beautiful and it’s the same old story line. The girl is in distress and the man come to her rescue. Or they have a fight and the girl leaves but later she comes back because she realizes that she can’t live without the guy. Another way that I think that the media objectifies women and cause them to be a stereotype is when I watch boxing with my husband, those girls that hold up the ring number are really pretty and are only wearing a bathing suit which is basically nothing. It makes me feel that us women are just like a piece of meat for men to gaze at. I think that they shouldn’t be any ring girls because it objectifies us.

Interviewer: Did you ever underappreciated by your superiors because you were a female?

Interviewee: feel like I wasn’t underappreciated that much but I also wasn’t praised a lot. Well at least not as much as my male counterparts. Their would be sometimes when Managers from different stores didn’t do nearly as good sales as I did and they would get really good emails complementing them and sometimes it was like I was forgotten about. I got some recognition but not enough as I would like to have gotten. I have to admit sometimes I contemplated quitting my job and just being a stay at home mom. But I did not want to give in and let the males have their way.

Interviewer: How do you think your male counter parts would have reacted if they went through the same thing that you went through?

Interviewee: I honestly don’t think that they would have been able to go through what I went through. I feel like men have a short temper and can’t keep their emotions in check. That’s why I believe that women are the better options for these managerial jobs.

Interviewer: Have you only been stereotyped with one company or multiple?

Interviewee: It has been with multiple companies I feel like it is like that in all major retails stores. I think that they believe that women are not up for the challenge. Or maybe its because we run the risk of getting pregnant so that means that we would be out of work for a long time. I personally don’t think that is an excuse to not give someone a shot.

Interviewer: Did they tell that you had to look a certain way to work for the company you were at?

Interviewee: They didn’t blatantly tell me that I had to look a certain way to work their but they did tell me that I had to look presentable at all times in order to drive sales. I had to also make my female employees to come into work more done up do that they can grab the attention of the males that would go in and buy shoes.

Interviewer: Besides your parents has anyone else stereotypes your or any other female that you know?

Interviewee: Well know that I have a little daughter I see my husband act sexist toward her. For example, her that she always has to be nicely combed and have berets in her hair, as well as wear dresses. Also when ever he buys her clothes or anything like that he always buys her dolls. He tells her that she can’t talk to boys and if she did she had to go pass it by him first. He tells my son that he always has to be the strong man and if he is not their he has to fight and protect his sister. My son is barely three years old he really doesn’t know what that means. Not to mention that he is a little teddy bear and he would not hurt even a fly.

Interviewer: What is your take-home message

Interviewee: My take home message is that you should never underestimate what females can do. We can do everything a man can do and most likely even better. I don’t want people to see women as weak because we are the most powerful people. I would like to see men try to give birth and see how strong they are. Even have them go through the day of the life of a stay at home mom. I don’t think that they would be able to do that. They would get really overwhelmed. People need to stop being so stubborn and realize that it is the 21st century now women can do a lot of things. We just need a chance to show what we got. While I was hearing this it made me think wow women really do struggle that much in trying to advance in a man’s world. I would think that some women were just being obnoxious trying to sound really important but now I know that they are doing this because they have to. I also never really noticed discrimination due to gender because I am a male and I never go through that kind of sexism. After hearing what she has gone through it made me change my ways while I am in the work place talking to women. I have been guilty of making sexist jokes in the work place because I didn’t think anything of it. But now getting the perspective of a female I know that they are getting discriminated basically all day and work should be the one place that they can feel free and not discriminated against. I tried to keep my emotions in check as I was talking to her because I can see that she was speaking with a lot of emotion and I didn’t want to say or do something that would have made the situations worse. So I was very serious and I nodded my head and I was repeating back to her what she was telling me so that she saw that I was taking in all the information that she was telling me. Which I think it helped because it seemed like she was holding these emotions for a long time and she just wanted someone to talk to about how she felt.

Discussion

There have been many studies looking at how women react of feel when they are discriminated. Women may feel hopeless that they will never be positively valued in the work place (Miner-Rubino, Settles, & Stewart,2007). The person I interviewed felt that way when she was passed up for the regional or district manager opportunity because it is predominantly handles by a male. Years passed while she had her job as the store manager and she hadn’t gotten a raise or upgraded to a higher volume store to get the opportunity that she can handle that kind of responsibility. Women are the primary target of uncivil behavior such as rude and discouraging remarks and men are the primary advocates of this (Chui & Dietz, 2014). This situation was displayed when the interviewee had a situation when the male had a customer service issue and he ask to speak with the manager and when he say that she was a female he wanted to talk to a male because he felt like she was incapable to incapable to help him out and she didn’t know anything. Women are better suitable to have a managerial job because they know how to control their emotion better than a male. Women have a better Big Five trait than males which is agreeableness. Agreeableness describes the extent to which people orient toward interpersonal relationship (Krings & Facchin, 2009). This is important because me being a male I can lose my temper very easily when a customer or someone is being annoying or obnoxious I have been guilty of lashing out or going to the back to recollect myself. But I have witnessed situations when a customer is totally in her face and she kept her cool didn’t raise her voice or say anything offensive. Men lack efficiency skills with which they can use to cope negative feelings triggered by injustice ( Krings & Facchin, 2009). In today’s day and age women are in many different work places we have women doctors, police officers, and even construction workers. Women comprise 51% of the labor work force and provide a significant pool of potential leaders ( Sanchez-Hucles & Davis, 2010). The women are out their it is not lack of people in the work force. Its just us as a society that needs to give them that opportunity. They have a lot to bring to the table they need just a shot. Men are associated with being leaders because they more commonly demonstrate assertive masculine traits that translate into leadership ( Eagly , 2007). I think that this might be the problem because in popular culture men are the ones that take charge of the situation when things are going wrong. They are the ones that keep their composure. These women may feel that their higher status counter parts are doing nothing, to change the position of women (Miner-Rubino et al.2007). One thing we talk about in class was sub categorization which is placing specific individual within a group to whom the stereotypical characteristics do not apply. Used so the stereotypes for the group can be maintained in the face of disconfirming evidence. The interviewee was sub categorized because she was Hispanic and told that she was “ all the same”. In some parts of the world we have cultural stereotypes a shared community wide pattern of beliefs. This applies to the interviewees parents who did not let her play soccer because that was a boys sport. This doesn’t happen in Mexico where my manager is from this happens in all of South America. Women are still oppressed and made to take the back burner. When women want a voice they are males see it as a insult or form of disrespect (Chui & Dietz, 2014). I have seen this when women try to enter a conversation or voice their opinion at times the men keep on talking and ignore them as if they didn’t hear what they are saying. Which I believe isn’t right because you aren’t respecting them as an individual. Something else that I believe can play a role in sexism and people being stereotyped is the study done by Hovland, Janis, and Kelly (1953) less educated people tend to be easily persuaded. The motivational theory suggest that they feel poorly about themselves and try to talk down to a minority to feel good about themselves. This makes sense because the that was being racist to my manager might actually be jealous because she would want to have the job and position that she has. I am not sure why but I have seen mostly Caucasians have this kind of prejudice to most minorities. They feel like they have this sense of entitlement just because of the color of their skin. As I was talking to her she told me that she learned from her past experiences and she will teach both her sons to respect women and not to look down on them and treat them as equals. Due to the fact that they have a sister of their own and I don’t think that they would enjoy someone treating their sister inappropriately.

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