Sunday, September 5, 2010

Response to 9/2 Reading

After reading Susan Douglas's introduction titled "Fantasies of Power", I found myself thinking about feminism in an entirely different way than I ever have before. I realized how true her concept of "Enlightened Feminism" is: that every day we, as a society, are made to believe women have actually come so much farther than we actually have. Douglas mentions how the girls of Sex and the City, for example, "prove" that women really can have it all (that they can be successful career women by day and "kama sutra" masters by night). This reference made me start to think about my own life and experiences. This past summer I had an internship in finance in NYC. Since women are still clearly the minority in financial careers, the women at my bank had organized a sort of support group for all of the female associates. As I attended the networking events they had organized, I would always ask the question of what the most difficult challenges were that the senior women had faced so far in their careers. Many of the responses were typical, such as balance of career and home-life and getting men to treat you equally in the workplace; however one woman told me that she was frustrated by the fact that after working until three or 4 am the night before, she was always expected to come to work the next morning looking put-together and perfect. Men could show up looking tired and frazzled from the lack of sleep, but women had to look refreshed and happy to avoid the stereotype of Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada that Douglas mentions at the end of the introduction. Society re-enforces the expectation that women should not only be successful in the office with respect to the work they do, but that they also need to look put-together and attractive while doing so. The girls of Sex and the City are supposed to give hope to women everywhere, but in reality they are simply re-enforcing the unequal expectations put on men and women to be "successful" in the world today.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting to see the double standards applied to women and men in the workplace especially within aspects of dress and overall appearance. I feel like this is also seen within day to day society. Girls are always expected to look pretty and wear fashionable clothing. When going out, most girls typically wear dresses, high heels, and a substantial amount of make-up and jewelry. But what about the guys? When have you seen a guy in a suit and tie at a bar on a Friday night? Guys just simply don't dress to the same standard and they're not expected to. They wear t-shirts and jeans or sports gear and probably get ready minutes before leaving their houses. However, if a girl was to dress as such, would she still be approached by guys or viewed in a complimentary fashion? The smaller and 'sluttier' the clothing a girl wears, the more chance a guy will be interested in her. Yet, that doesn't apply to guys. If a guy was seen in a speedo, he'd merely get weird looks and be avoided at all costs.