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.

Influential Women in the Workplace: Rhetors- Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg: Chief Operating Officer for Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg was born in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1969 to Adele and Joel Sandberg. Sheryl attended grade school in Florida; high school in Israel; then Harvard where she graduated at the top of her class with a B.A. in economics. Soon after she earned an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

Today Sheryl is well known for her position at Facebook. After meeting founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, she was asked to take the position of Chief Operating Officer for the company. Previous to this position she worked for Bill Clinton as Chief of Staff at the United States Department of the Treasury, and Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google.

Sheryl stands as a contemporary symbol for gender equality in the workplace as she holds an important position of authority at a large corporation. She has achieved success because she believed that she could do anything she set her mind to. Sheryl shows women today that they are as equally qualified as men through not only her actions, but also through discourse.

In a commencement speech given at Barnard College, an all women’s college, Sheryl addresses the gender problem when she says, “We have to admit something that’s sad but true, men run the world. Of one hundred and ninety heads of state, nine are women…corporate America top jobs fifteen percent are women...that means that when the big decisions are made…we do not have an equal voice at that table. …I truly believe that only when we get real equality in our governments, businesses, in our companies, universities, will we start to solve this generations central moral problem—which is gender equality.” As a rhetorician, Sheryl grants power to women when she acknowledges the fact that even though men currently make up the majority of the working class, women have the power to change that.

"Sheryl Sandberg." Bio & Lectures. WordPress. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.<>.

Swisher, Kara. "Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg on Women in Workplace: “Don’t Leave Before You Leave”." Bio & Lectures. WordPress, 18 May 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <>.


By: Molly Flaig

Stereotypes of Feminism

Many people have negative views towards feminism and people who identify as feminists because of the stereotypes that are attached to feminism. According to an article called “Top 10 Feminist Stereotypes” on the website titled ZIMBIO, an entertainment company out of California, some of the very popular stereotypes of feminists include: all feminists believe in the same things, feminists hate men and the idea of family, feminists don’t shave, and feminists are masculine and unattractive. According to Roy, Weibust, and Miller, there was a study done by Fink and Verderber that found that when people think of the word feminist, they think mostly positive things (148). They found that people often associate feminism with positive terms like “intelligent, ambitious, knowledgeable, and caring” (Roy et al., 148). On the other hand, people do often think of negative terms when given the word feminist. Some participants in the study called feminists “aggressive, opinionated, forceful, and non-conformist” (Roy et al., 148). Roy et al. also says, “Women believe that other people have negative stereotypes about feminists, even if their own personal views of feminists include many positive and neutral characteristics” (148). These negative views and stereotypes could be held responsible for why it is hard for people to “identify as a feminist” and it keeps people from “fighting sexism” (148).
 Of course there are some people who identify themselves as feminists that fit these stereotypes, but the reality is that identifying yourself as a feminist does not mean you have to live up to the common stereotypes of being a feminist. In fact, according to The Happy Feminist, Feminism 101- What is Feminism? people who identify themselves as feminists are really just everyday people. This blog is written by a self-proclaimed feminist, who neither identifies as a male or female.
Feminism 101- What is Feminism? provides the audience with five facts about feminists. The first states that feminists are not from one background. Feminists come from every background you could think of. Feminists come from different religions, ethnicities, social classes, countries, etc. (Feminism 101). Along with being a very diverse group of people in terms of background, feminists are also very diverse in personalities and the lifestyle they live (Feminism 101). Feminists are also very different in what they focus on in when it comes to their feminist views, some people focus on the roles of men and women, violence towards women, women’s rights, and many more areas of interest when it comes to feminism (Feminism 101). Another big misconception of feminism is that all feminists think the same things should happen, when really most people have different thoughts about what should happen when it comes to feminism (Feminism 101). One of the most important things for people to understand about feminism is that feminists, just like many other people, do not focus all of their time on feminism. Many people who claim to be a feminist are interested in other issues as well, like being for or against the death penalty and achieving rights for both sexes (Feminism 101). Just because someone identifies as a feminist does not mean that they have to abide by a checklist that consists of what a feminist is. The beliefs, focuses, and values of feminists are all different and it is important to understand that.

          "Feminism 101--What Is Feminism?" The Happy Feminist. Web. 27 Apr. 2012.             <>.
           Roy, Robin, Kristin Weibust, and Carol Miller. "Effects of Stereotypes About Feminists on Feminist Self-Identification." Psychology of Women Quarterly. 31. (2007): 146-156. Print.

"Top 10 Feminist Stereotypes." ZIMBIO. 2009. Web. 27 Apr 2012.             < 10 Feminist Stereotypes>.

Author: Greta B.

Intro to our Blog

People often struggle with feminism and what it means; many people have their own opinions about what feminism means, and it is important for people to understand what the term feminism really means. Webster’s dictionary defines feminism as 1) “The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes,” and 2) “Organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” Webster’s dictionary also says the first known use of the word feminism was in the year 1895. Owen M. Fiss, a professor at Yale Law School, states: “Feminism is the set of beliefs and ideas that belong to the broad social and political movement to achieve greater equality for women” (413). Foss goes on to say, “…feminism gives shape and direction to the women’s movement and, our course, is shaped by it” (413).
There are many different ways to define feminism, but the main point of feminism is to achieve equality of the sexes. Feminism has come a long way since the women’s movement has begun and I believe that the meaning has changed and will continue to change. Today many people, both men and women, are identifying themselves as feminists and are fighting for equality of the sexes.

Fiss, Owen M. "What Is Feminism?" HeinOnline. Web. 27 Apr. 2012                                                                            <>.

  Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://www.merriam-          >. 

Author: Greta B.

History of Women in the Workplace

Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia
Copyright (c) 1994, 1995 Compton's NewMedia, Inc

Throughout most of history women generally have had fewer legal rights and opportunities than men. Wifehood and motherhood were regarded as women's most significant professions. In the 20th century, however, women in won the right to vote and increased their educational and job opportunities. Perhaps most important, they fought for and to a large degree accomplished a reevaluation of traditional views of their role in society.
Formal education for girls historically has been secondary to that for boys.  They could attend the master's schools for boys when there was room, usually during the summer when most of the boys were working. By the end of the 19th century, however, the number of women students had increased greatly. Higher education particularly was broadened by the rise of women's colleges and the admission of women to regular colleges and universities. In 1870 an estimated one fifth of resident college and university students were women. By 1900 the proportion had increased to more than one third.
Women obtained 19 percent of all undergraduate college degrees around the beginning of the 20th century. By 1984 the figure had sharply increased to 49 percent. Women also increased their numbers in graduate study. By the mid-1980s women were earning 49 percent of all master's degrees and about 33 percent of all doctoral degrees. In 1985 about 53 percent of all college students were women, more than one quarter of who were above age 29.

Women at Work

In colonial America, women who earned their own living usually became seamstresses or kept boardinghouses. But some women worked in professions and jobs available mostly to men. There were women doctors, lawyers, preachers, teachers, writers, and singers. By the early 19th century, however, acceptable occupations for working women were limited to factory labor or domestic work. Women were excluded from the professions, except for writing and teaching.

The medical profession is an example of changed attitudes in the 19th and 20th centuries about what was regarded as suitable work for women. Prior to the 1800s there were almost no medical schools, and virtually any enterprising person could practice medicine. Indeed, obstetrics was the domain of women.
Beginning in the 19th century, the required educational preparation, particularly for the practice of medicine, increased. This tended to prevent many young women, who married early and bore many children, from entering professional careers. Although home nursing was considered a proper female occupation, nursing in hospitals was done almost exclusively by men. Specific discrimination against women also began to appear. For example, the American Medical Association, founded in 1846, eliminated women from membership. Barred also from attending "men's" medical colleges, women enrolled in their own for instance, the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, which was established in 1850. By the 1910s, however, women were attending many leading medical schools, and in 1915 the American Medical Association began to admit women members.

In 1890, women constituted about 5 percent of the total doctors in the United States. During the 1980s the proportion was about 17 percent.

Women also had not greatly improved their status in other professions. In 1930 about 2 percent of all American lawyers and judges were women in 1989, about 22 percent. In 1930 there were almost no women engineers in the United States. In 1989 the proportion of women engineers was only 7.5 percent.
In contrast, the teaching profession was a large field of employment for women. In the late 1980s more than twice as many women as men taught in elementary and high schools. In higher education, however, women held only about one third of the teaching positions, concentrated in such fields as education, social service, home economics, nursing, and library science. A small proportion of Women College and university teachers were in the physical sciences, engineering, agriculture, and law. 
During wartime women have served in the armed forces. In the United States during World War II almost 300,000 women served in the Army and Navy, performing such noncombatant jobs as secretaries, typists, and nurses. Many European women fought in the underground resistance movements during World War II. In Israel women are drafted into the armed forces along with men and receive combat training.
Women constituted more than 45 percent of employed persons in the United States in 1989, but they had only a small share of the decision-making jobs. Although the number of women working as managers, officials, and other administrators has been increasing, in 1989 they were outnumbered about 1.5 to 1 by men. Despite the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women in 1970 were paid about 45 percent less than men for the same jobs; in 1988, about 32 percent less. Professional women did not get the important assignments and promotions given to their male colleagues. Many cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1970 were registered by women charging sex discrimination in jobs.

Working women often faced discrimination on the mistaken belief that, because they were married or would most likely get married, they would not be permanent workers. But married women generally continued on their jobs for many years and were not a transient, temporary, or undependable work force. From 1960 to the early 1970s the influx of married women workers accounted for almost half of the increase in the total labor force, and working wives were staying on their jobs longer before starting families. The number of elderly working also increased markedly.

Since 1960 more and more women with children have been in the work force. This change is especially dramatic for married women with children under age 6: 12 percent worked in 1950, 45 percent in 1980, and 57 percent in 1987. Just over half the mothers with children under age 3 were in the labor force in 1987.

Weisberg, D. Kelly. Feminist Legal Theory: Foundations. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1993. Print.

Author: Sarah C.

Influential Women in the Work Field: Rhetors- Maggie Lena Walker

Maggie Lena Walker: Businesswoman, newspaper editor, community leader, African American women's rights advocate.

Maggie Lena Walker was born in Richmond, Virginia on July 15, 1864 to Elizabeth Draper and Eccles Cuthbert. Later her mother remarried William Mitchell, who was a slave and her co-worker when they were working in the household of Elizabeth Van Lew. Maggie was the mother to four children: Russell Eccles Talmadge, Armstead Mitchell (died as infant), Melvin DeWitt, and Polly Anderson.

As a student Maggie joined the Independent Order of St. Luke, which was an African-American fraternal and cooperative insurance society. She graduated from Armstrong Normal High School, and proceeding graduation pursued a career in teaching until three years later, in 1886, when she married Armstead Walker Jr. At this time in American culture it was expected that when a woman got married she was to leave her working position and tend to her families needs. However, along with being married, the Independent Order of St. Luke still remained a priority to her. She held many important positions in the society from delegate to the biannual convention, to the top leadership position of Right Worthy Grand Secretary.

Maggie was also a member of many other clubs including the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), the Virginia Industrial School for Girls, vice president and national board member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and finally the Virginia Interracial Commission.

In 1903 she established the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and served as President. When the bank became The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, she took the position of chairman on the board of directors. Maggie was the first woman president of any bank. The banks motive was to loan money to the community, and by 1920 it had financed over 600 homes.

In 1905 Maggie and other African American women from the Order of St. Luke started the department store, St. Luke Emporium.

Maggie Lena Walker died on December 15, 1934, yet she paved the way for women in the workplace by joining numerous organizations, and then going the extra mile and taking a role of leadership in them as well. She was not known as a rhetor for giving speeches, or for holding high political positions, but for presenting herself as an iconic figure that women were able to look up to during her lifetime and after. Maggie put herself in positions that were then only familiar to men, and she showed women that they were equally capable of accomplishing tasks in the workplace.

For more on Maggie Lena Walker, and her National Historical Site visit:

Bois, Danuta. "Maggie Lena Walker." Women's Biographies: Distinguished Women of Past and Present. 1998. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <>.

Johnson Lewis, Jone. "Maggie Lena Walker." Women's History. The New York Times Company. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <>.

Miller Branch, Muriel. "Maggie Lena Walker (1864–1934)." Encyclopedia Virginia: Walker, Maggie Lena (1864–1934). Virginian Foundation for the Humanities, 8 Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <>.

Walker?, Who Was Maggie Lena. "History and Culture." National Parks Service. National Parks Service, 19 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <>.

By: Molly Flaig

Women's Right's Audience

The early women’s movement, and more current social movement of women in the workplace attract two audiences—women and men. The movement’s purpose is not only to empower women, like many people assume, but also to convince men that women are a gender worth supporting in the workplace.

Stretching as far back at 1911, a day devoted to the empowerment of women called International Women’s Day (IWD), has been a way to promote gender diversity in the workplace. It endorses women’s growth through political, economic and social achievements. In 2011, IWD’s slogan was “Empower. Invest. Accelerate.” When researching the motives behind the day, words such as “strengthen and encourage” were also included. These words are directed towards women, as the connotation behind them instigates women to feel motivated.

The movement is also directed at men to convince them that women deserve the same rights that they possess. Difference in pay and position keep (some) men from understanding and accepting that women are just as capable as them.

For more on the differences of men and women in the workplace refer to: Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women

"International Women's Day 2012." International Women's Day 2012. Aurora Ventures, 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <>.

The Global Retention of Women (GROW) 2011 International Women’s Day Toolkit

By: Molly Flaig

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Comic analysis

When considering the working class it is not uncommon to first think of businessmen. The actual word “businessmen” infers that men are the subjects of the working class. Upon looking at our group topic—the issue of women in the workplace—I have come across multiple comic strips that target the contemporary problem of inequality through satire. The comic I am analyzing consists of a bodacious, curvy, light-color haired, woman walking out the door of her employer’s office. Inside the office labeled “Chairman,” are two shocked men dressed in suits and glasses. One of the men sits behind a desk with a phone and note pad on it, behind him there is a chart hanging on the wall. From these small, but pivotal additions to the drawing one can conclude that the men are of superior importance to the business. The comic reads, “I use to lose my secretaries because they were getting married—now they leave to start their own companies.” My analysis of the comic will show how women are represented in the work field, and how there are often times misinterpretations of the significance of women.
 The text within this comic is noteworthy for many reasons. The first is that the Chairman uses the word “secretaries” when referring to the woman leaving his office. He does not address her as a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer or even simply a Manager, which implies that women are not capable of holding a commanding position in the workplace. This comic conveys the idea that women are only good for secretarial duties. This complies with earlier times in that women often took on the role of secretary, assistant, or receptionist as those positions were sought after by women who were looking to leave their household duties of wife, mother, and caretaker. Now, in more recent times, women are standing up for themselves in the workplace.

 My next point analyzes the text as a whole. Like I mentioned previously, women used to be recognized as the spouse who had to stay home with the children, and tend to household duties. Now women are taking a stand in an effort to gain height on the corporate ladder. In earlier times women would quit their job to get married. The irony within this comic is that this woman is not leaving to get married; she is leaving to start her own company. This has become a common trend now that equality within the work field is becoming mainstream.
 To look at this comic strip rhetorically, it is important to understand that there is a difference between “sex” and “gender”, and also understand what gender really means. In Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture, Wood states, “sex is a designation based on biology…society designates people as male or female based on their external genitalia” (19). Wood later expresses that gender is more of an idea “we are born male or female (sex), but we learn to act in masculine and/or feminine ways (gender).... Gender involves outward expressions of what society considers masculine or feminine.” (21). The world has communicated to us that working is a masculine trait, hence the word “businessman”; and that tending to a home is a feminine trait. In this comic this is not the case. The woman is breaking a social norm when she goes against the gender roles society has set out for herself.
 A final aspect of this comic that stands out to the viewer is the actual graphic feature—the art. The first thing I notice is that the woman is curvy; she is wearing a short skirt dress suit, a scarf around her neck, and her hair up. She is fully embracing her feminism. Lots of women are curvy, but in this instance it also implies her as a sex icon. Wood says, “the most traditional stereotype is woman as sex object, and that continues to dominate media” (269). It is interesting to see that even in a comic a woman is represented as a sex symbol. The second part I notice is the ratio of men to women is 2:1. Later Wood explains, “mass media consistently underrepresents women and minorities relative to their presence in the population…although in reality women outnumber men, media (mis)interpretations would lead us to believe the opposite” (267). Men are given the power when they are shown outnumbering women.
 In conclusion, it is evident from this comic that women are frequently portrayed as not only a minority, but also a sex symbol. This commonly happens in the workplace although times are changing. The woman in the comic is proud to be a woman, and knows that she must take a stand in the workplace to get what she wants.

Wood, Julia T. Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture. 10th ed. Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
 Wood, Julia T. Gendered Lives: Gendered Media 10th ed. Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.

Author: Molly F.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Analysis of Judy Brady's Essay

We All Need Wives
            Women’s rights and feminism has been an issue in the American culture for many years. The first Woman’s Rights Convention was held in New York in 1948 after women were not able to give their opinions about slavery at Anti-Slavery Conventions (The Woman’s Rights Movement). Now, 168 years later, many people still feel that women do not have equal rights and opportunities that men do. The feminist movement is an important part of our time and people, both men and women, will keep fighting for equality between men and women.
In the spring of 1971, Judy Brady wrote an essay in the first issue of the feminist magazine called Ms. Brady’s essay was titled “I Want A Wife” and she described the roles of a wife in the 1970’s. Brady also gave examples of how she wanted a wife because of everything that a wife takes care of. Brady gave examples of things that a wife would do in everyday life, as well as the roles of a wife in special situations, like at a dinner party or on a vacation. The way Brady described a wife was very powerful to feminists in the 70’s.
The roles of women have changed drastically since Brady wrote her essay, but many people still believe that a woman’s role is to be a wife. Many believe that a wife’s role is to stay at home to take care of the house and the children. We are at a point in time where that role isn’t always the case. I believe that Brady’s essay was a way for people to rethink what the roles of a wife were.
In rhetorical terms, the aspects of the rhetorical situation and power are present in this essay. There are many ways this essay could be interpreted, but I believe that Brady had an idea of how she wanted people to interpret the essay. We will now dig deeper into what Brady was writing about, in terms of being a wife, when it came to aspects of the rhetorical situation and how power is examined in the essay.
The rhetorical situation includes eight elements; exigence, persons, relations, location, speaker, audience, method, and institutions (Rhetorica ). Exigence refers to what happens, or doesn’t happen, that causes someone to talk about the action (Rhetorica). The aspect of persons refers to who is involved in the exigence of the rhetorical situation and what the roles of the people are (Rhetorica). Relations refers to the relationships between the people involved are, focusing on relationships in power (Rhetorica,1). Location refers to where the site of discourse was and where the artifact appeared (Rhetorica). The speaker is the person who is presenting the information in the way that they are presenting it, through writing, a speech, or an image and the audience is who the speaker is trying to get their point across to (Rhetorica). The method is the way that the speaker decides to present the information and institutions are the rules for the elements of rhetoric (Rhetorica). In Brady’s essay, all aspects of the rhetorical situation are present but I will focus on exigence, audience, and method.
When it comes to exigence, someone would feel like they need to speak about the essay because Brady is giving the job description of a wife. She does not explain these duties in a gentle way. She lists all of the duties of a wife when it comes to raising children, keeping the house clean, making sure everyone is where they need to be and when they need to be there, the duties of a host, and even the wife’s sexual duties. One example is when Brady states, “I want a wife who will not bother me with complaints about a wife’s duties. But I want a wife who will listen to me when I feel the need to explain a rather difficult point I have come across in my course of studies. And I want a wife who will type my papers for me when I have written them (Brady, 508).”  This could cause one to speak out because it is clear the wife has many duties while the other person’s duties only consist of educational duties. Just because the wife is a wife does not mean that the wife should have to do the long list of things that Brady has described and it may compel someone to speak out.
When it comes to Brady’s audience, the essay is aimed toward people with beliefs that the role of a woman does not just take place in the home, doing all of the planning for the family and taking care of all of the family member’s needs. Brady states: “I want a wife who is a good nurturant attendant to my children, who arranges for their schooling, makes sure that they have an adequate social life with their peers, takes them to the park, the zoo, etc. I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children special care…” (Brady, 507). This quote indicates that a wife’s job is to take care of the children and to make sure everything goes smoothly in the home. The member of the audience would appreciate this quote if the audience member disagreed that a wife needs to be the only one worrying about the well-being of the children. Brady’s audience can really be anyone who read her essay, but I believe she aimed it at people who have feminist views, especially because the essay first appeared in the feminist magazine called Ms.
I believe that Brady used a very unique method in writing this essay. Again, the method  refers to how the speaker chooses to address the members of the audience (Rhetorica). Brady’s essay has a sort of sarcastic tone to me. She goes on and on with the duties that the wife has while the partner is at school. It seems like everything that could possibly be done in a household is listen in her essay. The essay makes it seem like the wife is the only person who can get anything done in the house and the partner only needs to bring home a paycheck to keep the house financially stable. Brady doesn’t seem to be portraying a negative message toward the wife, but more towards the wife’s partner. Not only does the wife need to take care of the house and the children, but the wife also needs to take care of the partner. This is evident when Brady states, “I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after me. I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need be, and who will see to it that my personal things are kept in their proper place so that I can find what I need the minute I need it (Brady, 508). I believe that Brady chose her words very carefully because she wanted her audience to realize that this was, in most cases, the role of a wife in the 70s. Many people did not agree with the way a wife was portrayed and people wanted to make a change. This essay was provided evidence for a wife doing much of the household work, taking care of the children, and taking care of the wife’s partner. The way Brady wrote this essay could definitely have made a member of the audience want to speak out.
Brady’s essay was written in the 1970’s and many of the duties of a wife are still the same today. Many people with feminist views do not think it is right for a wife to have all of these duties with absolutely no help from a partner. Brady demonstrated all aspects of the rhetorical situation, but I focused on exigence, audience, and method were all very important aspects which definitely got Brady’s point across. People could have interpreted Brady’s essay in any way, but I believe many people interpreted it in a similar way, especially if the audience members were people with feminist views. Brady’s essay was a powerful artifact that could have opened the eyes of many people who had certain views of a wife and her roles.


Brady, Judy. "I Want A Wife." The Essay Connection. Comp. Lynn Z. Bloom. 6th. New York:             Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001. 507-10. Print.

"Rhetorical Situation and Kairos." Rhetorica. N.p., n.d. Web. Feb 02 2012.             <>.

"The Woman's Rights Movement." . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar 2012.             <>.

Author: Greta B.