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Monday, July 23, 2012

Some Feminism/Sexism Posts I Gathered

1. How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science (posted July 12). It's a very long article, but here's the important part: when women talk to men about science/research stuff, the women are often a bit worried that the men aren't taking them seriously. And this makes the women less confident, less excited about their work.

It's not true all the time, but yes, I often do have those stereotypes in mind when I'm explaining something about my robotics research. Like, I gotta try really hard to say the right things and not sound too casual, because he probably already assumes I don't know what I'm talking about.

Xkcd said it better than anyone else. This is exactly what I'm afraid of. Image source.
2. Ranked: Disney Princesses From Least To Most Feminist (posted July 11). This is a really interesting article- I totally love Disney cartoons. This is definitely worth reading.

However, I feel kind of uncomfortable about saying "this character was more feminist than this character"- they all lived in different settings/times and had different personality types and had to work with what they had. Mulan is ranked as the "most feminist" because she pretended to be a man. Pocahontas is ranked as #2 because, among other things, "she's the only princess who doesn't end up with the man she's in love with."

So does that mean that if you like to cook and clean (like Snow White), you're not a feminist? Does that mean if you get stuck and need to be rescued (like Aurora), you're not a feminist? Does that mean if you make a choice to give up your dream in order to be with the man/frog you love (like Tiana), you're not a feminist? I'm actually really disturbed about the implication that the ideal feminist is one who rejects her own femininity, like Mulan.

"Now is probably not the best time to share my opinion on how women shouldn't be judged by what they wear." Image source.
I think you can't judge an individual character, but maybe you can judge a movie. You can look at the messages it's sending- and in order to understand that, you need to know the context of the culture it's in. If "Snow White" was the only movie in which we see beauty being a really big deal, then, well, whatever. But the fact is, that message is everywhere in American culture, and it gets reinforced in movies.

3. Why doesn't Sarah Robles, the strongest person in America, have all the athletic sponsorships? (posted July 3). Sarah Robles is a Olympic athlete, a weightlifter who can lift 568 lb. But unlike many incredibly talented athletes, she's not being paid a ton of money to endorse products. Why not? The easy answer is she doesn't fit the "standard of beauty" for women.

Image source.

But there has to be more to it than that. I don't think you can point to any particular person or company and say this is their fault. Companies are in it for the money- they will pick athletes who are well-known. There's no rule that says all the top athletes must be asked to be in ads.

This goes a lot deeper than "all the companies are evil and hate her because she's not skinny and 'feminine.'" If anything, it's not anyone's "fault"- it's a sad story about American culture in general.

4. And here is a really really cool article about "storing a password in your subconscious." Usually when you read news articles about science, the headline totally misrepresents it, and you read it and you get to the end and you're like "...so...?" (Well, at least that's been my experience.) This article actually IS awesome.

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