Privilege Within Our Society

Privilege is defined as having unearned entitlements which are “things of value that no one should have to earn, they should be universal to all.” However, when only certain groups are alotted such unearned entitlements, it gives way to becoming an unearned advantage. [referencing Braden’s lecture on the subject matter]

I chose the photo below as it depicts a man who knows that he is privileged through circumstance of having the persona of an elderly white male. He is the epitomy of what is considered privileged in the eyes of society and he knows it. The sign he is holding which reads “defend rights for women and girls” is, yes, inspiring and commendable however it is sad that in our society when women want to speak up against men, men must still speak for them in order that their voice will really be heard by the majority(how does that make any sense?!)

Now privilege does also dig a little deeper than whether one is a man or woman. Privilege can be based upon one’s race, financial situation, education level, sexuality, style of dress, etc.etc.etc.

It’s true a white woman has privilege over a minority woman. It’s true a white man has privilege over a minority man, a minority woman, and a white woman. While this is, horrifyingly, true this does not make it right. This system of privilege persists because it is not challenged. Yes, there are exceptions- for instance if one is a queen, king, innovative mind, etc. then perhaps they become the privileged ones. However, even that does not make it “okay”. There should be no ranking system- why should anybody be placed higher on the scale of importance above anybody else? Are we not all human? This man in the picture shows just through his actions and few words that he understands there is injustice, and he understands he is a part of the system that is allowing it to continue- but he is not standing for it, he is standing against it. He’s decided to take his advantage and use it to make it so that the oppressed will be heard (at least by those who walk by him on the street or come across the image as I did).

Privilege exists, it persists, and will only continue as long as the oppressed continue to play into what society believes that “their place” is- below those deemed “privileged”.


Rape Culture

Rape culture is “a concept that links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society, and in which prevalent attitudes and practices normalize, excuse, tolerate, and even condone rape.” One doesn’t have to look very hard to see the prevalence of rape culture within our society through victim blaming, the sexual objectification of women, and the lack of seriousness with which rape is taken and considered within our society. 

Women are often blamed for the abuse they’ve sustained, accused of being out an an improper time, wearing “rapist attracting” clothing, or perhaps even that they “should have known better” than to be alone where they were, when they were there. 

It isn’t hard to see why it is that women are targets for such a terrible act when magazines, billboards, tv advertisements, etc. are CONSTANTLY portraying women as sexual objects and, even worse, sexual objects that bow to the every will of men. Emphasis on OBJECTS.

Everywhere I go I hear rape jokes in the form of “I’m going to rape you”, etc. I’m sorry but I do not personally find that funny or something to be taken lightly AT ALL. Why has it become okay within our society to make fun of/trivialize such a serious issue? Many women suffer PTSD and emotional trauma due to rape and really are never the same person for the duration of the rest of our lives, but it is okay to make a joke out of it?! NO!

It is beyond absurd that women continue to be blamed for their abuse, that men get away with it under such excuses as “Well, did you see what she was wearing?” I do not care if she was walking down the street completely naked, she was not asking to be raped nor did she deserve such abuse and certainly she does not deserve to be blamed for that abuse! GIVE ME A BREAK! I believe the two pictures below do a good job of illustrating the aforementioned points. It’s true, no one looks to the rapist and asks such useless and absurd questions and women shouldn’t have to base their lives around the possibility that she might attract the attention of a rapist! Let’s put the blame on the perpetrators, not the victims. Let’s stop perpetuating a culture in which this abuse persists through trivialization and promotion (through this trivialization and sexualization of women) of such a terrible crime!






Patriarchy Within Our Society

Patriarchy is defined as, “a social system in which males are the primary authority figures central to social organization, occupying roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination.”

“You hit like a girl.” “Man up.” “Don’t cry like a little girl.” “Woman’s work.”

The list continues forever. If one sat down long enough and tried to think up derogatory terms toward women or those phrases that place men as stronger and more competent than women- he would not have to think very long or very hard. Within our male dominated society, men have been placed as heroes, bread winners, inventors, catalysts of change, etc. etc. while a woman’s place has been established as a child bearer, nurturer, and servant to her husband. A woman has every capability that a man does: she can be smart, she can be strong, she can be a hero or a catalyst for change, but in the eyes of our society her best will never be enough- she will always be one step below her male “equivalent”.

We live in a society in which women are second-rate citizens, even moreso if they are of a minority status. A woman makes less money for every dollar than a man who holds the same position as she does. There has never been a female president as well as there is a very minimal presence of women within Congress and other areas of government. It is also very apparent that jobs have been divided into “women’s” and “men’s”. For any that are to make an attempt to refute the fact, by perhaps pointing to a female mechanic or marine I’ll respond that yes while she can hold this position, it is not without many obstacles, jeering, harrassment, etc. that she has come to hold and further maintain such a position- guaranteed.

The below video serves to expose just how visible the divide between men and women within our society truly is. This successful women depicted in the video is seen as arrogant and bossy while her male equivalent is considered strong and confident. It is sad that we live in a world where a woman can work her way up to a high position and still be ridiculed and considered incompetent as she watches a man of the same position be praised for the same position and skills. I think this video does an excellent job of illustrating this point.

Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth, defines the beauty myth as “an obsession with physical perfection that traps the modern woman in an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of “the flawless beauty.” The beauty myth is perpetuated by the prominence of media within our society. Everywhere a young girl, or woman, turns she is bombarded by images of women with perfect skin, size zero waists, and perfect body shapes- women that appear so perfect, it’s a wonder they’re even real. That’s the thing. They’re not real! These women have been airbrushed, enhanced, and who knows what else through the aid of computer technology and an editing team. As it’s often said, “Even the girls in the magazine do not look like the girls in the magazine.” (As exhibited by the image below, even Brittney doesn’t look like Brittney!). Girls continually allow themselves to feel inadequate in comparison to these unrealistic images-falling victim to anorexia, bulemia, low self esteem, low self worth and various other negative thought patterns/ illnesses. It is an outrage to me that a woman cannot simply be comfortable with the beautiful woman she is. It is also angering to me to think that this myth persists to pervade society through magazines, television, movies, conversations- everywhere! It angers me that so many girls look in the mirror and where they should see a beautiful women, they see a flawed being. (See the picture below the one of the photoshopped Brittney).

The idea of beauty within society needs to be reshaped- to include REAL girls and do away with unrealistic, unattainable, and overall FAKE representations of beauty. Girls should be encouraged to embrace all of their different shapes, hair colors, skin tones, eye shapes, etc. etc. etc. because newsflash- they’re all unique and all beautiful! We all need to just DO AWAY WITH THE BEAUTY MYTH! Again I’ll restate, just to make it clear, “Even the girls in the magazines do not look like the girls in the magazines.” Take a deep breath, relax, and smile because you’re all beautiful just the way you are- there’s nothing to try to achieve, no goal weight to starve for, just a body to embrace and a life to live.