One of my biggest passions is gender equality. How is something as basic and fundamental as equal rights still not achieved in this day and age?! It seriously confuses me. Why won’t I get paid for the same work as my male counterpart? AHH. But that in itself is a whole other long story.
This strong passion towards equality didn’t surface until undergrad when I took my second required writing course. I chose a class titled U.S. Women’s Writers that was within the department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). The whole first week of the class didn’t cover any writings of U.S. women. My teacher spent a lot of time introducing concepts like feminism, intersectionality, social identity, sexuality, and even more which were somewhat foreign to me. (Here is a recent article on intersectional feminism – how race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation all play a part in someone’s identity!)
So long story short, there was a moment in within that first week of class that I knew I had to pursue more courses in this department. I felt so connected to what my professor was teaching and I felt so enlightened and intrigued by the subject. The moment came when she shared this YouTube clip:
Even though its old, all of the concepts are still alive today. The narrator is explaining how yogurt is marketed towards women. These commercials are portraying women on diets because aren’t all women supposed to be watching their figure? They are also portraying women wearing baggy clothes because can’t we, as women, relate to not feeling comfortable in more form fitting clothing?
After I saw this video, I went home and watched TV for way too long just looking for these marketing strategies playing on the expected roles of women (being thin and conscientious of their body). You should seriously try it. (Another marketing technique is for diet pop. You will never see a commercial with a man drinking diet pop. That’s because men aren’t supposed to diet or care about what they eat.) Stereotypes, people.
Anyways, this sparked my interest in the subject. I basically followed my professor and took whatever class she was teaching next. I took Women in the Media (my favorite class discussing how women are marketed), Muslim Women in the Media, and a Women of Color class.
My minor has truly broadened my horizons and made me more aware of the problems women of all types face. As a woman in medicine, I’ll soon see a whole other side to sexism. By raising awareness and speaking up for ourselves, I believe this inequality will be overcome :).