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Malala Yousafzai argues, “Our men think earning money and ordering around others is where power lies. They don’t think power is in the hands of the woman who takes care of everyone all day long and gives birth to their children”. Express differently she informs that women in Pakistan are not seen to the same respect as men. Yousafzai claims women in Pakistan have not gained the same respect as men due to the religious beliefs of the Taliban’s. Have women in the United States gained the same respect as men?
Women in the United States have come a long from being seen as inferior to men but still have a long way to go. Women in the United States have not gained the same respect as men because of the toys society put upon females. They also have a pay gap that differs from men’s pay and is stereotyped based on their clothing. Finally, women are more prone to sexual harassment. Before babies are even born they are segregated by pink and blue lines that define the roles appropriate for boys and girls in society. When a couple goes in for an ultrasound they can benefit from the reading of the high-frequency sound waves. Some of the benefits consist of checking on the developing baby, it also informs if the couple is having twins and predicts the sex of the baby. As soon as the sex of the baby is known society puts a label on them. A girl is given the labels of nurturing, beauty and domesticity.
On the other hand, a boy is given the labels of masculine, protectors and handyman. These labels are embraced on a baby when choosing a great present for them to play with as an infant. One can see how in your local Target or Walmart toy layouts differs from boy to girls. When walking along the aisles of the toys you stumble upon a section that is colored with a green and blue backgrounds emphasizing it is the boys’ section of toys. While the girls’ section is pink or purple highlighting it was where the girl’ toys were located. When comparing the boys’ and girls’ sections one can tell how well segregated the boys’ and girls’ action figures are placed. For example, the top shelves are labeled “Marvel Superheroes”, the superhero area where there were only the men superhero and no sign of women action figures like Gorma, Wasp, and Black Widow but where located in the Barbie section for girls. This is significant because even though Gorma, Wasp, and Black Widow are “Marvel Superheroes” they are still segregated by the blue and pink line. For the boy’ side, each type of toys had labels on the top shelves expressing strength, power, and courage. The boys’ toys had words and descriptions that read, “Action”, “Lego the creator”, “Superhero”, “Guns”, and “Fast Furious Cars.” These captions used for boys’ toys have power controlling meaning. The manufacturers assemble products for boys’ that would emphasize their toughness and masculine characteristics society puts upon men. The aggressive titles used to exemplify young boys were not very stunning because our society labels men as the authority figures. Meanwhile, the girls’ toys usually had labels with words or descriptions such as “queen”, “barbies”, “cooking”, and “princess toys”. These words represent beauty, neutering, and domesticity. This was not unexpected because society made it okay for girls to be seen as only for their beauty and nurturing. Also many of the merchandise for girls’ were very sensitive and loving.
Another outstanding difference in the girls’ toys was they mainly practice roles of mothers such as cooking, cleaning, and beauty. Society has forced upon girls that their role in life should be to take care of the house duties, having kids and to please their husband. Although people don’t realize that they are preparing young girls for domesticity because they see nothing but innocent toys. Toys play an important role in characterizing gender roles. If parents purchase girls’ dolls, cooking toys, and makeup, they give certain roles for kids to follow. As if girls’ can only be girly and must learn domesticity at a young age. If they buy boys action figures, building blocks, and toolkits, they give another set of messages. It is telling boys that they should not play with Barbies, but also they don’t have to learn motherhood responsibilities and to be wiser when it comes to building and fixing things. The toys given to children determine what roles and skills they learn. Purchasing toys only for their sex limits children from experiencing and learning social roles. From exploring different job fields and taking on new challenges in furthering their education. It may just be toys, but for kids, it has an impact on what they believe is their role in society. As children grow older, what they pursue in a career and the income it provides them with will affect their form of living.
Women in the United States have only been working for ninety-eight years. Since the start of women’s working careers it took almost another forty-three years to get an act that made it law for equal pay amongst women and men, but even till this day, women have a pay gap compared to men. In the book, The Gender Wage Gap by Melissa Higgins and Michael Regan bring to the attention to society the gender wage gap history of women’s wages, the differences between men’s and women’s wages, and today’s efforts to close the gap. Higgins and Regan start their book with an incident that happens in 2014 with Sony movie studio. They explain that hackers released four Sony films onto the internet which allowed the public to download four movies for free. In addition to those films, the hackers also released to the public Sony’s documents revealing employees’ personal information and pay. When the information of the actor’s salaries was publicized actor Jennifer Lawrence the actor who starred in the movie The Hunger Games found out she had been paid 1.25 million dollars less than two of the male actors starring in the movie.
Money today represents power and by paying women less it is robbing women of their power. This reinforces the idea not only of the women’s pay gap but how women are not given the same respect as men. Over the ninety years, women have been working they have not learned how to put a price on what their time is worth. As one can see how in the book, The Gender Wage Gap Lawrence shared her thoughts about the pay gap as she says, “I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early”. In other words, Lawrence felt that she undermined herself and didn’t fight for her worth. This expresses how if women don’t stand up for themselves they will remain in the pay gap that has been hanging over them since the time women started working. This underlines that women are allowing themselves to be looked as inferior to men if they don’t negotiate to be paid the same as them. They are allowing society to put a price on their sex rather than on their work. Women’s pay gap cannot solely be blamed on the ways society see women; inferior to men.
Women have the ability to speak up and the law to support them from discrimination of sex. Maura Dolan a California-based legal affairs writer for the Los Angeles Times writes about Aileen Rizo who did not hesitate to speak up when she was cheated out of her respect. In the article, Prior salary can’t justify wage gap between men and women, U.S. appeals court rules written by Dolan informs how Rizo a math consultant for the Fresno County Office of Education found out that her employer had hired a man with less experience but still got paid $13,000 a year more than she did. Then Dolan tells us that when Rizo goes to confront the management about the unfair pay, she was told her pay was based on her prior income. Rizo did not just stay quiet of the discrimination that was done to her, she spoke up and sued. Rizo goes on to win the case because the judge ruling said, “allowing employers to consider prior salaries in setting pay was wholly inconsistent with the federal Equal Pay Act, passed in 1963”. Truly with this example, one can see how women have the power to stop the unfair pay gap between man and women due to the federal Equal Pay Act, passed in 1963. Dolan used this perfect situation of a woman not being seen as the same respect as men but didn’t stand for it. Rizo fought with the law, against the discrimination that was happening in her workplace and won. Certainly, Dolan wrote this article to show women that they are not alone when it comes to an unfair pay gap between men and women. Equally important Dolan informs women they have the power of the law to support them if they are being seen worth less than men. Women pay is not the only discrimination women face but are also stereotyping based on clothing. Women are always being judged on the way they dress and looked down on because of the way they choose to express themselves through clothing.
In the Thought Catalog, a digital youth culture magazine written by Shahida Arabi acknowledges in her article, Dear Society: Women Shouldn’t Have To Dress Modestly To Be Respected Or To ‘Avoid’ Rape, how society puts limits on females freedom of expression when it comes to clothing. As Arabi illustrates, “ In public schools, young girls across the country have been kicked out of proms and suspended from school for wearing clothing that was deemed too “revealing” and distracting, sometimes in light of overly rigid dress codes.” Otherwise speaking Arabic points out how females don’t have the freedom to wear something they are comfortable in. Females are being “kicked out” of school because of the form they express themselves in a piece of clothing. An example of a school code that limits females from the freedom of expression through clothes is Arroyo High School student handbook as their dress and grooming say, “ No tight or revealing shorts, dresses or skirts…No see-through tops may be worn. Shoulder straps should be at least 2 inches wide (no spaghetti straps). No halter tops or bare backs. “. This defines how female are limited in the way they could dress for their comfortability. If the weather outside is 100 degrees and a female chooses to wear short shorts rather than covering themselves with jeans because of the unbarring heat; females are judged for showing to much skin. Society gets the wrong signals of females asking for attention when female dress “revealing” but they are actually dressing for their comfortability. A former Student from Arroyo High named Katlen Tang would consistently get dress coded for the way she dressed and when asked how she felt about getting cited she said, “I feel like I’m not being allowed to be myself. It is not fair that guys can wear tank tops and allow to show skin”. Undoubtedly one can see how females in schools are being forced to feel like they are being controlled and not letting females express themselves through the clothing they feel best suits them. School dress codes highlight how females in school still don’t have the same respect as men do even when it comes to the way they dress. The aggressive pressure of disrespected does not stop in high school but continues on as females get older.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, there were about 75,175,000 women aged 16 and over in the working force, expressing 46.9% of the total labor forces are women. Well men still making up the bigger chunk of the workforce, women are still more prone to sexual harassment. As stated by Statista an online statistics and studies from more than 22,500 sources claim, “The results were then sorted by gender. During the survey, 42 percent of surveyed women stated they have experienced sexual harassment as a victim, while 11 percent of surveyed men stated the same”. The survey of Statista was conducted in the United States in 2017 on sexual harassment. Simply put women are the smaller percentage of the working force but have the bigger percentage of sexual harassment. This highlights how till this present day women are not given the same respect as men.
One can see due to the percentage difference in men and women level of sexual harassment. A closer examination of women being more prone to sexual harassment is in the scholarly journal written by Hollis, Leah P. a graduate from Rutgers University whose research has helped over 70 schools address incivility on campus. Hollis observes on a study done in 2015 that showed 62% of respondents say they were affected by bullying in their work prior to them working 18 months. When she looked closer on the majority of the respondents Hollis found that 71% were women. In other words women are still letting people take power over them as the Professor of Sociology and Gender studies at UCLA in her book What is Sexual Harassment Abigail Saguy says “One of the reasons it is men who harass women, and sometimes other men, is that this is about power and overwhelmingly (workplace) upper management is male, so the positions of power are disproportionately occupied by men and the bottom is disproportionately occupied by women”. As can be seen, professor Saguy highlight how some men are power seekers and women are what they feed on. For this purpose, women need to power them self with the law and courage to speak out about the disrespect they are facing.
Around 404 B.C.E a philosopher named Plato wrote “The allegory of the cave, he expresses how society is stuck in a cave and being ignorant to the reality of the lie and wrong treatment other are facing”. Today’s society is still stuck in the cave of ignorance. Society is being ignorant to the way women’s’ toys are being manufactured to represent motherhood roles. Women are not seen as equal to men when it comes to paying women. Women are sexually harassed more often than men. Women have come a long way to be able to vote, work and further their education, but women still need to keep fighting until they are given the same respect as men.
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