Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Research shows that girls in the United States are socially constructed to think about theirselves in a harmful way.

As students enter, please take out your "We Should All Be Feminists" reading.  Then answer these questions:

1.  What does it mean to be a feminist?

2.  What does "like a girl" mean?

3.  List all the steps you take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted.     

4.  Tell me about someone you know who is affected body image issues.  Without using any names describe their situation.

1.  Being a Feminist

Here is a link to the author Chimananda Ngozi Adichie's website.
 And here is her Ted Talk.

Here is a discussion guide from Lean In.

1. What does it mean to be a feminist?

2. Is being a feminist a bad thing?

3. Can you be masculine and be a feminist?

4. How are boys affected by the treatment of women?

Here is a 2016 report from WaPo about attitudes toward feminism in America

2.  "Like a girl"

When did "like a girl" become a bad thing?

The promotion of masculine traits above feminine ones leads to denigrating of all things feminine.  This binary doesn't allow for individuals to be who they really.  Instead, it pushes males and females to opposite poles with opposing traits.  And the binary's message is, if you are a male, you can't be anything considered feminine.  This means males deny their own humanity because they cannot be caring, empathetic, emotional, vulnerable or dependent - all of which are human traits.

3. Females and Assault
The objectification of women and the denigration of all things female puts women at risk physically.  Men may not realize this because they do not have to think about it.  But for women, this is something that is conscious.

4.  Femininity and body image

Do you know Amy?


This video shows Amy not feeling like hanging out. There are numerous studies showing that this is true for significant numbers of young women. Look at the research below and think about whether this has been true in your life. Do you know girls who struggle with self-esteem, body image and eating/dieting disorders? If you don't, can you at least see how the media is constructing a reality for girls?

Thin Ads + Low Body Image = Stress?
Ads Showing Skinny Models Might Hurt Self-Worth In Vulnerable Young Women
Viewing ads of super-skinny models may make young women feel worse about themselves, especially if they have body image problems, according to a new study. Researcher Gayle Bessenoff, Ph.D., reports the findings in Psychology of Women Quarterly. Bessenoff is an assistant professor in the University of Connecticut's psychology department.

What Studies Show: Links Between Media and Self Esteem in Girls Many studies conclude that there is clearly a link between young women’s self esteem and the media. *The Journal of Research on Adolesence, in a study of body image and self esteem (Daniel Clay, Vivian L. Vignoles, Helga Dittmar - 2005), imparts that the the declining self esteem that girls often experience entering into adolescence is in part due to social comparison with media models. In a 2006 study of girls' body satisfaction and self esteem from the American Psychological Association (Hayley Dohnt,, Marika Tiggemann), research also illustrates that media creates a negative influence on girls' body images and self-esteem – particularly in regard to acceptable levels of thinness.

A particularly alarming media trend is the sexualization of women at younger and younger ages. Medical News Today discusses how suggestive images of young women negatively affect girls self-esteem, playing a role in onset of depression, eating disorders, and low-self-esteem.

Sexualization Of Girls Is Linked To Common Mental Health Problems In Girls And Women Science Daily (Feb. 20, 2007) — A report of the American Psychological Association (APA) released today found evidence that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls' self-image and healthy development.

Dying to Fit In- Literally! Learning to Love Our Bodies and Ourselves By Christine Hartline, MA In the United States approximately 10% of girls and women (numbering up to 10 million) are suffering from diagnosed eating disorders. Of these at least 50,000 will die as a direct result! Recent data reported by the American Psychiatric Association suggests that of all psychiatric disorders, the greatest excess of patient mortality due to natural and unnatural causes is associated with eating disorders and substance abuse.

Teen Body Image Media images have a strong effect on people's body image, particularly for women, because the ideals the media presents for women are farther from the average woman's body. The Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) reports that in 1972, the ideal woman shown in the media (models, movie stars, etc.) weighed less than the average woman, yes, but only by 8%. By the late 90s, the difference had become 23%....In one study from Harvard University reported by (SIRC), it was found that by age 17, 7 out of 10 teens have been on a diet and as many as 80% of teens may have a negative body image....The onset of eating disorders for 86% of people is before they finish their teens.

Look at this powerful video about how people are made to think about themselves and how different that can be from reality:

Females and Work

Many jobs still highly genderized: nurses, early education (97%), dental hygenists, secretaries (94%), paralegals, housekeepers are highly female while pilots, carpenters, mechanics (98%), and firefighters (94%) are highly male.

Women earn 78% of what men earn and women earn less compared to men of similar education at every level.  This is true from women in poverty to women with professional degrees.

The Gender Pay Gap from the Washington Post explains the dynamics that lead to unequal pay for women.

Take away:

How are females socialized by U.S. society?

How does Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explain feminism?

How does masculinity relate to the socialization of femininity?

For more info, see pages 251 - 259 in Ferris and Stein.

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