Monday, April 30, 2012

Effects of Feminism in Society

Feminism has had a very significant impact on society in many different ways.  It has had a positive impact on women as they have much more freedom in everything they want to do.  Some of the things that have been improved are: better education offerings, almost equal pay to men, options regarding contraceptives/birth control, abortion, voting rights, and opportunities for life outside the home.  Feminism has also had a positive impact on men.  Some men feel less pressure to be the sole income provider of the household and it is more socially acceptable to be a stay at home dad if he pleases. Women have come a long way in gaining rights but there is always more progress to be made. 

Feminism has had a negative impact in some regards.  Families have had somewhat of a negative impact from feminism.  More parents are both opting to work so that sense of family can be missing in some homes.  Another problem with feminism in society is stereotyping.  Some of society views feminism as a negative thing because they have only seen the most radical feminists.  Stereotyping gives feminism a bad reputation with society.  Feminism has had somewhat of a negative impact on men’s’ lives too.  Some men have let feminism bring down their ego; they don’t feel as masculine when women have so much power.  While feminism has impacted the ego of some men negatively, it has sparked an interest in others.  Many men throughout history and today consider themselves feminists.    

Feminism has had both positive and negative impacts throughout history and it will continue to do so.

Author: Holly P.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Analysis of Sports Illustrated covers

I am analyzing rhetorically the difference between the male tennis star’s (Roger Federer) Sports Illustrated cover from the summer of 2009 and the women’s cover from 2010 (Anna Kournikova).  Notice how Roger Federer is portrayed first and foremost as a tennis player.  Anna Kournikova, on the other hand, is portrayed first and foremost as a sexual woman.  Do magazine covers, advertisements, and other media images usually portray female athletes as athletic or as sexual?  Wood states that "the limited coverage of women's sports that exists disproportionately focuses on sports in which athletes have the most conventional feminine appearance and behavior.”  (Wood)  This is shown clearly in comparing these two covers of an athletic magazine.  Without going in and reading the article, we have no idea if Kournikova is a tennis player or just another pretty face. 

Wood states in her book that “women professional athletes continue to be under-represented in news coverage, and are often stereotypically portrayed when they are included.”  Men are usually described athletically as "big," "strong," "brilliant," "gutsy" and "aggressive," women are more often referred to as "weary," "fatigued," "frustrated," "panicked," "vulnerable" and "choking."(Duncan) Media images of women in sports are also very different from the familiar pictures of male athletes in action. "the most traditional stereotype is women as sex object, and that continues to dominate media" (Wood)  Female athletes are increasingly photographed in sexual poses.  My opinion is that Sports Illustrated feels like it is necessary to sexualize women for men to sell more magazines.  Gatekeepers regulate television and media by only focusing on men’s sports and when they do “recognize women it is usually because of their attractiveness or feminine appearance and behavior.” (Wood) It obvious that women athletes are underrepresented, but when they do get in media the journalist  interests are poses that could be seen as suggestive.  This is a fact in Kournikova’s cover.  The tennis player is obviously photographed on a bed hugging a pillow with her shoulder exposed and her facial expression is suggestive which is backing up the stereotype of women being vulnerable and weary instead of the strong and gutsy athletes they are.  The cover for Federer is very different with his action shot showing a powerful swing and his athletic ability.

I did research and found out that Anna Kournikova was recognized because tournaments that didn't include Anna Kournikova had 30% less attendance. (Robinson) Her matches always sold out and several different reports stated that “it's safe to say that fans weren't crowding the courts in order to watch Anna Kournikova beat her opponent.”(Duncan) It seems like her fame has less to do with her accomplishments and more to do with her sex appeal and attitude. A quote from Kournikovoa in this magazine says, "I'm beautiful, famous and gorgeous." No one mentioned her athletic ability; not even Anna herself!  

In this article I pointed out some of the inaccuracies by the media as they do their best to portray female athletes and sports in a misleading light. Viewing this issue rhetorically I am more aware of inaccurate reporting and, have sought, in this article, to bring some of these inaccuracies out into the open.  My group is looking at women in the workplace, and this is a great example of how women are seen as objects and recognized for their looks rather than their abilities and talents.

Duncan, M.(1992).Gender Bias in Televised Sport. FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting.

Robinson, David. " - Male & Female Athletes In The Media: Are They Equally Portrayed?" Web. 20 Apr. 2012. <>.

 Wood, Julia T. Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub., 1994. Print

Author: Sarah C.

Analysis of an article by Andrew Rosenthal

Growing up in a predominantly Catholic family and choosing to attend a private, mainly Roman Catholic college, birth control is a very controversial topic in my mind. There are good and bad aspects to it. Roman Catholics see it as a form of abortion; killing a baby before it has a chance to live. Some see it as the path to women’s rights. The article I’m analyzing sees it from the second point of view. The main point of the article isn’t about birth control but it has a great deal to do with what I’ll be analyzing.
The article is entitled, Wars: Imagined and Real. The author, Andrew Rosenthal, starts off explaining what he means by the title. He writes about how politicians are often comparing conflicts to wars and usually they’re not warlike at all. He gives examples of those that are not actually wars, such as the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs. He then states that the War on Women is an actual war amongst politicians (Rosenthal). He goes on to speak about the back and forth conflict of women’s rights referring to abortion and contraceptives. After he writes about that, he starts to proceed into the topic of economy and job loss in the past couple of years. Rosenthal also makes very interesting points about the media misleading people. I find this all very intriguing and it definitely relates to my group’s topic of women’s rights in the workplace.
Rosenthal makes a valid point that birth control issues and women’s rights go hand in hand; if women did not have proper birth control, more and more women would have no choice but to stay home and raise their family, or choose a life of celibacy (Rosenthal). That is a very interesting argument to me because I think it really brings us into the topic of sex vs. gender. According to the Anderson/Collins excerpt we read in class, sex refers to one’s biological identity as male or female, and gender refers to the social identities attributed to women and men (Anderson/Collins). I think these definitions play a big role in this battle concerning women’s rights and contraception. If it wasn’t for the biological identity that women are born with, there wouldn’t be a need for birth control or any types of contraception. I don’t want to say that childbearing is holding women back, but that’s the main reason they didn’t have equal rights in the first place. If they were blessed enough to have a child, many people in this world saw that as a burden. They weren’t allowed to work; their sole position in life was caregiver of the children. Birth control and contraception have made it possible for women to take on their role in the world that is the gender of women, not just their biological identity. 
In Rosenthal’s article, he mentions that Mitt Romney claimed “92.3 percent of the job losses during the Obama years has been women who’ve lost those jobs” (Rosenthal). Then he quickly states that that claim is very misleading (Rosenthal). That percentage is accounting for only the time that Obama has been our president. If you go back two years earlier to when the Great Recession began, men have lost more jobs than women (Rosenthal). I think the misleading claim that Romney made happens more often than not. The media is constantly misleading us in more ways than this example; they are constantly trying to tell us what to think about and where to focus our attention (Wood). The media focuses our attention to people and events that are most important (Wood). We typically believe what we see, read, or hear so that gives the media a lot of power. In regards to the earlier comment about 92.3 percent of job losses being women’s jobs, if someone hadn’t done further research into that comment, people would’ve believed that Obama was the main cause of all the women losing jobs. The media has a lot of power, and they can be very misleading sometimes. In the Anderson/Collins excerpt, they state that “ideologies claiming that women are now equal to men have led many people to believe that sexism is disappearing (Anderson/Collins 84).” Yes, we see more women in the workforce, but where in the workforce are these women? A lot of the women in the workforce are in gender-segregated, low wage, stressful job positions (Anderson/Collins). Some are in higher management positions but most are in retail or government; which is why so many have had trouble getting their jobs back (Rosenthal). A lot of these women are younger, too. They’re learning more and more in college about sexism and how important it is to utilize the rights they are given.    
In conclusion, sex vs. gender and media play a very big role in women’s rights in the workplace. I’ve definitely learned that the sex of a person can be a hindrance to the rights that come along with the gender of a person. I’ve also learned that the media can be very misleading but also very informative. We have come a long way as a country and I like to believe that we will keep moving forward with this topic. 

Works Cited

Anderson/Collins. "Conceptualizing Race, Class, and Gender." 2009. 67-88.
Rosenthal, Andrew. "The Opinion Pages." 13 April 2012. The New York Times. Article. 19 April 2012.
Wood, Julia. "Gendered Media." Gendered Lives. Cengage Learning, 2010

Author: Holly P.

Analysis of an article by Alexandra Franklin

Feminism is very present in our society today. Many people have strong views about feminism and some people struggle with identifying themselves as a feminist or not. Alexandra Franklin did not have a problem identifying herself as a feminist, but she struggle with some aspects of considering herself a feminist.
The article “Part of a Whole, but Still Me” was written by Alexandra Franklin and appeared in the New York Times on September 8, 2011. The article focuses on Alexandra’s feminist life and how aspects of it have changed throughout the years. Franklin decided in sixth grade when her teacher made a comment and began living her life the way that she thought a feminist would. She did struggle with things, such as depending on a man and giving in to society’s norms that come with being a woman with her new identity. Franklin provides examples of communication in her article that include existence of social class, gender, and power.
When it comes to the existence of social class, Franklin reflects on her past and talks about the high school she attended, which she refers to as “the old money private school” that she attended (Franklin, 2008). She also mentions that her family received a reduced tuition rate in order for her to go to the school. This is an issue of social class because her family would not have been able to afford to send her to the private school she attended if they did not have access to a reduced tuition. The fact that Franklin had to accept reduced tuition tells the reader that Franklin did not come from the “old money” that the rest of her classmates came from and it could have had an impact on her relationships with her peers and an influence on her feminist identity because according to Anderson and Collins, social class is “a series of relations that pervade the entire society and shape our social institutions and relationships with each other” (76). Franklin may have been more like most of her classmates if the existence of social class had not been present.
 The concept of gender is very evident in this article, especially because it is an article about feminism. According to Anderson and Collins, gender includes the social identities that are tied to being a male or a female (83). A very powerful statement from the article is when Franklin recalls her mother trying to get her to act more like a girl. Franklin states: “I remember my mother chasing me around the house with a tube of coral lipstick, begging: “Don’t you want to feel pretty? Don’t you want to look nice?” (Franklin, 2008).” This quote is interesting to me because I believe a lot of mothers try to push being beautiful in the eyes of society on their daughters. This is a direct relationship to gender because being beautiful is a social identity that is tied to being a woman. It can be hard for young girls and women to accept beauty as a social identity of being a woman if they do not want to partake in the practices of being what society has called being beautiful. Franklin also mentions participating in ballet but she mentions, “…I barely had room in my duffel bag for pointe shoes and feminist texts” (2008). I believe that Franklin felt that because the girls in her neighborhood all did ballet and it was a “girl” thing to do she had to do it. I feel that Franklin did many things in her childhood just because it was expected of her gender, like wearing makeup and being in ballet.
 Finally, the concept of power was also evident in this article. There were many people that Franklin had experiences of power with. Herrick writes about power from Foucault’s point of view, Foucault says that power and knowledge and related and power “generates ideas and concepts that are worked out materially in a culture” (Herrick, 248). I believe that Franklin’s mother had power over her only because she had more knowledge than Franklin. But the power that I find the most unique in this article is the fact that Franklin is a very powerful woman. Franklin is a woman who declared herself a feminist when she was very young. She didn’t let people influence her for her entire life, and she knew that she can be a strong feminist woman while she had a boyfriend and did things that were expect of women. But she did these things because she wanted to, not because society told her to. She had the knowledge that was necessary to have power and I believe she obtained in her feminist texts she referred to near the beginning of the article.
 Alexandra Franklin’s article is an example of an artifact that we would come across in everyday life which we could apply concepts of communication to. I saw aspects of the existence of social class, gender, as well as power in this article. “Part of a Whole, but Still Me” demonstrates that Franklin faced issues of social class, gender, and power; and the fact that she could overcome power that other people had over her.
Anderson &Collins. Conceptualizing Race, Class, and Gender. 67-87
Franklin, Alexandra. "Part of a Whole, but Still Me." The New York Times 8 Sept. 2011. Print.
Herrick. Discourse, Knowledge, and Power. 246-252.
Author: Greta B.

Analysis of Crystal Light Ad

The term feminist is largely misunderstood in our society, being a feminist means standing up for the rights of men and women. I am a feminist because I believe that men and women should be equal and treated with respect and dignity. Women have come far in history with gaining rights but there is still a lot of inequality. Women are represented in bad ways in the media, there are traditional roles of women presented, and women are unequal in the workplace. 
I chose an ad for the drink enhancer Crystal Light. The ad is a picture of a woman from her waist to her mouth. Next to her is clear water pouring into a glass filled with red water, meaning it is mixing with the Crystal Light packet. On top of the torso of the woman are the words “Water your body. Recharge. Restore. Revive. Help nourish your skin from within with delicious, fruity abandon Crystal Light Skin Essentials. This ad relates to my social movement of women’s rights because this ad portrays women in a stereotypical manner. It is also a factor that leads women to believe they need a certain body type. This ad is one that would be seen in magazines or other printed places. It was produced in 2010 by Kraft foods.
The first concept that I will use to analyze this article is who is empowered vs who is disempowered. This artifact both empowers and disempowers women. The woman featured in the picture is disempowered because her face is not shown. It does not matter who this woman is, she is merely being used for her body. The women who buy the product become the empowered ones. The ad says that it helps women’s skin and is good for them as a whole. This leads women to go out and feel like they can change their dry skin and make themselves healthier. The concept of power is interesting because while this ad in one way does empower women, it was most likely constructed by men to lure women into buying this product. Herrick found that “power is governed by rules, though these rules often are not consciously adhered to…there are discursive rules governing who may talk, what can be talked about, and in which settings.” (250) The creators of this ad decide who sees the ad, what the ad says, and whom the ad is aiming to reach. This gives the creators of the ad the power and takes the power away from those who view the ad.
The next concept that I will use to analyze this article is stereotypes in media. According to Wood, “there is an increasing trend in media to portray women and even young girls in highly sexualized ways.” (269) The woman in this ad is naked and is therefore portrayed as extremely sexual. All this woman is needed for is her sexy body because if she looks sexy and drinks Crystal Light, then other women will buy it. Wood also found that “magazines predominantly show women with impossibly perfect bodies, which have often been digitally altered…” (269) The body of this woman is not real and could never actually be attained by anyone. Consumers, however, fool themselves into thinking that they can look like this woman if they too drink Crystal Light. These images of impossibly thin women lead both women and young girls to believe that they are not good enough. It causes women to be unsatisfied with themselves and potentially cause them to take drastic actions to look more like the women on ads.
In conclusion feminism is about rights for men and women. While over the years women have gained many rights and are coming to be viewed more as equals, there is still work to go. Media portrays women in stereotypical ways and also disempowers them. This ad is a great example of how media does this. The woman is used for her body, and is portrayed in a stereotypically sexy way. The creators of the ad have the power, not the woman in the ad or the consumers because they decide what gets seen and where.
Works Cited

Herrick. Discourse, Knowledge, and Power. 246-252.

Wood, Julia T. "The Study of Communication, Gender, and Culture." Gendered Lives:Communication, Gender, and Culture. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub., 1994. Print.

Author: Erin H.

Antifeminism Arguments

 “Antifeminism opposes changes in women’s roles, status, rights, or opportunities.” (Wood, 2011, p. 90)

First wave Feminism Counter Movements:
·      Antisuffrage movement (1870-1920): men and women both believed that if women were allowed to vote and have higher education that it would ruin their “natural” roles as wives and mothers.  Many wives of men in positions of high power spoke out against suffrage.  An organization was started called the National Association Opposed to Women’s Suffrage that had over 350,000 members.
Second Wave Feminism Counter Movements:
·      Antifeminist movement (1970’s): Marabel Morgan started the Total Women movement and Helen Andelin started the Fascinating Womanhood movement (Wood, 2011, p. 91). Both groups fought for women to return to traditional attitudes, values, and roles.  The Total Woman movement taught women that they should be sex objects and should be submissive to their husbands.  It urged women to focus their time on becoming sexually irresistible to men.  Many women took classes on how to become more “sexually attractive and submissive to their husbands.” (Wood, 2011, p. 91)  This was during a time when women were economically dependent on their husbands and didn’t want that to change.
·      STOP ERA campaign (1970’s): ERA was a campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and STOP ERA was a direct response to this.  Phyllis Schlafly, a large spokeswoman for STOP ERA, traveled to warm women and men that feminism was turning women into men.  She encouraged the traditional roles of women staying in the home and men being the head of the house.  The ironic part was that she defied everything that she taught because she took on masculine roles by being a political activist. The members of this campaign also taught that passing ERA would “undercut men’s willingness to support children, allow women to be drafted, threaten the family, and permit women and men to use the same restroom. “ (Wood, 2011, p. 91) These claims were not based in fact. The upper economic class, whom it benefited, funded this campaign.
Third Wave Feminism Counter Movements:
·      Antifemimism of the new millennium (2000’s): A book titled The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide for Finding Intimacy, Passion, and Peace with A Man written by L. Doyle in 2001 “counsels women to abandon the quest for equality if they want happy marriages.” (Wood, 2011, p. 92) Other authors are coming out and claiming that women’s rights movements have come too far and that men are suffering.  Christina Sommers published a book titled The War Against Boys in 2000 detailing the struggles of boys being disadvantaged in schools because of the women’s rights movements.  Another author Hise wrote a book called The War Against Men in 2004, which discusses how women have taken power from men and that this is “contrary to God’s commandments, which define the proper relationship between women and men.” (Wood, 2011, p. 92)
The two major antifeminism claims:
1.     With women becoming more independent, they are failing to keep up at home thus causing marital problems, delinquent children, and broken homes. Feminism hasn’t helped women, it has only created more problems for them and therefore feminism should be renounced.
2.     Women have gained all the rights that they can and therefore there is no longer a need for feminism.
      Wood, J. T. (2005). Gendered lives: Communication, gender and culture. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.

Author: Erin H.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Analysis Women's Rights Rhetoric

Analysis of Rhetoric in the women’s movement

Becky Swanson claims that "The public attention given to the contemporary women's movement in the past decade is due in part to the rhetorical developments within the movement." She labeled the movement to be incomplete rhetoric. Key elements of the rhetoric include the rhetoric of naming, building of community and underrepresentation of women. (Swanson)

The earliest stage of women’s movement was the women's "liberation" rhetoric. At this time there were strategies used to redefine women. The naming of the enemy, men, was key in the rhetorical development of the movement. A famous researcher 'hancock' argues that the characteristics of the enemy serve as the rhetorical criteria for a counter-definition of women. (Swanson)

The strategy of "total rejection of men and elevation of women" serves as a way to build community while searching for "affirmation by negation.” The women’s movement enabled women to develop and individual and collective identity as women and to understand the connection between individual and community.  The new finding of rights has a way of reflecting and building upon a sense of community weaved within the women’s movement. (Weisburg)

Swanson, Becky. From Small Group to Public View: Mainstreaming the Women's

Author: Sarah C.