Friday, September 3, 2010

Women's Studies: Day 1

I feel that even after just one class period in Intro to Women's Studies that I look at the world with different eyes. 'Embedded feminism' and 'enlightened sexism' are two concepts whose meanings are incredibly prevalent in current times, and give the illusion (through media, etc.) that there are many powerful women out and about in the world. Through television show characters such as Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy, which Susan Douglas mentions in her book 'Enlightened Sexism', we can see that high power positions are available to women. However, while Miranda has become a respected, successful surgeon, her personal life has clearly suffered, in that on the show she is now a single mother and has a poor relationship with her parents. This situation, I feel, shows the real issue with how women are portrayed- we can hold power in the workplace, but often at the cost of something else (here, our personal lives). Another example of this is on the show Nurse Jackie on Showtime (click to learn more about the show). Jackie is one of the head nurses at All Saints Hospital. While incredibly successful in her job, her family life is continuously falling apart, as she frequently takes prescription pain killers, is cheating on her husband regularly, and her older daughter has emotional/mental issues. This is just another way that I feel that women are hurt by the media. There are all of these television shows that give the illusion that women can do anything and that we have achieved something important (even though Jackie is a nurse, a stereotypically female dominated field), yet they also seem to portray females as not having the availability to do it all; that we really can't be strong in all of the aspects of our lives. This could be dangerous for future generations, it could be very being discouraging. Many young women look up to figures such as Dr. Bailey and even Nurse Jackie, yet the fact that these powerful women have such difficulties in their personal lives can be disheartening.

1 comment:

  1. I know this comment is about a month late, but I just watched the movie "Stepmom" last night, and the points you make in this post really struck home when I was watching the movie. The media again and again shows us that women are not really able to "have it all." They essentially must choose between a successful career or their family or personal life. In "Stepmom," the stepmom, Isabelle is a very successful, top-notch ad photographer. As she begins to take on more of a role with her fiancee's two children, she is forced to leave work early often to pick up the kids from school or spend time with them. One time, Isabelle has to leave a shooting to pick up the kids and her boss tells her that her work is suffering as a result and that she has lost her "edge." If she leaves now, he claims, he's going to be forced to fire her, essentially making her choose between the children, whom she is beginning to love, and her career, which she has worked her whole life for. She ends up leaving and choosing her personal life over her career. I found it really telling how her fiancee, the father of the children, was never put in the same situation as Isabelle, where his career suffered as a result of his personal life. While I love this movie, I didn't like the message it gave off that men can have it all, while women cannot.