3

How The Cookie Crumbles

http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q

To begin with, I found this article to be quite interesting. It’s certainly an interesting way to demonstrate gender inequality and the wage gap. To sum it up, a group of high school students held a bake sale in which guys had to pay $1.00 for a cookie, as opposed to girls who had to pay $0.77. The purpose was to showcase the differences in pay faced by men and women within America, where on average women only make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. This sparked controversy, and most importantly, conversation.

(Found at http://video-static.clipsyndicate.com/zStorage/clipsyndicate/271/2015/03/18/02/51/swlmmwmgwsrdmpvdysco.jpg)

I believe that it was an excellent way to demonstrate the wage gap – an issue that is hard to portray simply by discussing it, as comparing a dollar to 77 cents may not seem like that big of a deal. However, when it’s actually embodied in front of a person who is forced to pay more, the severity and unfairness of it becomes much clearer.

Before really diving into the issue, I would like to point out that these statistics are more relevant to white, able-bodied men and women than to men and women of ethnic groups, who on average are paid much less than their white counterparts. Likewise, people who are able-bodied are often also paid less (Aboriginal).

That being said, ethnic voices were excluded entirely. Even within the comments, based on the profile pictures it seems that it is predominantly white men arguing that these statistics are untrue and white women arguing the opposite. Many of the men arguing against these statistics have used derogatory terms, insults, and unbacked statistics to try and support their arguments. Some examples from the comments are “…men pay for more than half of the cost of having and raising children.”, referring to these statistics as an “anti-scientific lie”, and my personal favourite  “I do think though that in many jobs a man is more productive… so in some jobs men are on average superior…” (Carlisle, in the comments)

(Retrieved from http://amysrobot.com/files/pay.jpg)

Many people argue that the inequality does not actually exist, and that if it does it is merely a 5% wage differences as opposed to a 23% difference. The underlying issue relates directly back to entrenched sexism within society, reaching back to the time of colonialism. Before European settlers came to Canada, equality was not just an idea but was a practice among Aboriginal citizens, and jobs were shared among both sexes, though a gender split was still apparent (Colonialism And Slavery Handouts). However, following the arrival of colonial settlers in which Aboriginals were colonized, suppressed, and ultimately dominated over, it became a very male-dominated society, in which white men held more power than anyone else (Tolmie, Jane, week 9). These power systems have become heavily integrated into our society, meaning that straight, able-bodied white men are generally viewed as those with the most power (Aulette & Wittner).

I find it interesting that the comments themselves exhibit these power systems – there are a much greater amount of comments from white males than there are from any other group of people. This, paired with the fact that the majority of people in positions of power (i.e. the government) are white, able-bodied males, contributes to the inequality and oppression of other groups – when there is a majority group in power, their interests are often looked after and met far before the interests of others.

Further, when a crime is committed by a young white man, for instance, news stations often focus on the potential that this person had or basically lessen the severity of the crime by making what could be considered excuses for the criminal. Meanwhile, there is a tendency to focus on what the victim did or did not do beforehand. On the flip side, if the offender is a person of colour, the severity of the crime is often stressed and very rarely are excuses made. This speaks of the racism present within society, and is portrayed through the reactions of different news stations regarding the rape case discussed in week 11 (Tolmie, Jane, Week 11).

Focusing solely on the career aspect of this issue, a great example is the glass ceiling effect, in which women of all ethnicities and men belonging to ethnic groups are unable to reach high-paying jobs, despite there seemingly being no reason. It is as if there is an invisible barrier there, preventing people from moving up into better jobs.

(Retrieved from http://www.kchronicles.com/comics/2012-07-22_glass_ceiling-2665b5af.gif)

Ultimately, I believe that this was a fantastic way to get conversation going, and was certainly a great thing for high school students to do. However, it is not enough to create significant change. This is exhibited through the comments, and the utter denial clearly seen. Issues like this need to be targeted by the government, and individuals who hold a fair amount of power. It must be taught to people, publicized, etc. Only then, once people are truly aware of what is going on, can a difference be made.

References

Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Repairing the relationship. (2010). Unequal Relations, 165-200.

Carlisle, R. (2015, March 17). Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q

Colonialism and Slavery notes, as provided by Maria-Teresa.

Tolmie, Jane, Week 9

Tolmie, Jane, Week 11, Monday Class

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith G. Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. 18-120. Print.

3

Homophobia Within Western Societies

***Trigger warning! Pictures depicting horrifying homophobic displays***

After watching this video, in which a 6-day-old baby is refused treatment by a doctor because of her same-sex parents, I wish I could say that I was shocked and outraged, that I had never heard of such a thing happening before. Of course I was outraged. I was also disappointed. But unfortunately I was not shocked. The horrible truth is that occurrences like these are commonplace, especially within the United States.

I suppose that that is a result of our colonial roots. When colonizers from Europe took over and invaded our land, the leaders were mostly heterosexual, white male citizens who, in the long run, supressed the natives and attempted to rid them of their cultural heritage (Alfred). These power structures are still in effect, meaning that straight, able-bodied white men are generally viewed as those with the most power (Aulette & Wittner).

The issue here, and in many cases similar to it, is that social constructions have become the norm. Bodies are no longer simply viewed as bodies; instead, they are assigned a gender, an ethnicity, and a sexuality. These assigned aspects are given different merits, each meaning something different and with preferences for each varying based on geographical location (Aulette & Wittner).

In theory, there is no such thing as sexuality. People are simply genderless bodies who are attracted to other genderless bodies. These bodies do not have ethnicities or races – they are simply human bodies. However, as gender, race and ethnicity are created and applied, sexuality then comes into play. In a heteronormative society such as ours, it is simply expected that everyone you meet is heterosexual– that is, only attracted to others of the opposite sex – unless told otherwise. This creates further problems, as any sexuality deviating from the norm is seen as problematic and unnatural.

In fact, the term homosexuality was coined as a way to categorize gay people as mentally unstable (Harek). This then brings us to problems surrounding medicalization.

Assumptions made by the general public are highly contingent on the information provided to them by doctors and other authority figures. Throughout the 20th century, doctors searched for a “cure” for those who identified as homosexual, implying that it is an illness. This was then reflected in the actions and attitudes of everyone else, who often bullied and at times outright rejected those who they perceived as gay (F.,J).

Even today, in a society in which homosexuality is supposedly accepted, teens are bullied for it, adults are mocked and rejected for it, and total harassment ensues. While this may not always be the case, it far too often is.

There are over 80 countries that have laws restricting same-sex relationships, some of which are even punishable by death (Dann, G.). For those of us in Western countries, it is easy look at these other countries and think “Man, that’s horrible. I’m glad that [insert country here] is not like that. I’m so glad we’re such an accepting society with little to no homophobia left”. Perhaps the country we live in does not have anti-gay laws punishable by death. But even Western countries are not completely accepting. Homophobia is still very real and very present. According to a survey taken in multiple European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, the US was one of three countries with the highest rate of people claiming that gay sex is wrong (Aulette and Wittner).

Harassment based on sexuality within both public and private domains can be very damaging – there are countless reports of kids committing suicide after being bullied by peers because of their sexuality, of kids being beaten by their parents because of the same reason, of people being harassed on the streets, of being beaten by strangers, of horrifying anti-gay protests, and even of people being murdered because of their sexuality. The threat of these occurrences is worse for a person of colour who is gay, or someone of any colour who is transsexual as well as gay.

Homophobia within all domains threatens the mental and physical well-being of all gay people, both in a mental and physical capacity, and threatens to impact their overall quality of life.

Another issue that leaves me enrages is when people act in a homophobic manner and say “It’s not personal, but…” But what? But yes, it absolutely is personal. Those homophobic words and actions have the potential to have a huge impact on the personal life of people all over the country.

Similarly, when people say “I’m not homophobic, but I don’t support equal rights.” Meaning I have absolutely nothing against you, and I don’t think you’re any less of a person than me, but oh wait yes I do. A statement that declares that someone should not be allowed to get married to another person of the same sex, or should not be able to raise kids because they are the same sex as their partner is absolutely homophobic, despite claims otherwise (Duffy, N.).

The following is an excellent video demonstrating how kids of same-sex parents feel about their family. I would like to see someone watch this video and say that there is something wrong with these kids because they were raised by same-sex parents, or that their needs weren’t being met, or some other horribly pompous remark that is absolutely irrelevant and false (Weber, B.).

http://www.upworthy.com/some-kids-of-gay-parents-tell-us-their-secrets-and-theyre-adorable

Aside from the social implications mentioned above and the threat of violence, homophobia presents further complications when it threatens to leave people without a doctor. Whether it be a gay person, a gay couple, or the children of a gay couple, the risks are clear. It threatens the health of a patient while they are left to look for a doctor who is comfortable treating them.

The biggest issue is a lack of laws supporting gay citizens. Not only are they lacking, there have been multiple attempts to bring in further laws that are, in essence, anti-gay. They state a variety of things, from criminalizing gay relationships to stating that someone who is gay can be refused service from someone whose religion or personal beliefs condemn being gay (Ford Z.).

Further, those laws that do exist are mediocre at best, as can be demonstrated from 3:09 to 3:19 in the original video where it basically says that though in theory doctors cannot refrain from caring for a patient based on his or her sexual orientation, in practice they are able to do so if their personal, religious, or moral beliefs do not support it. That is to say, if a doctor completely supports gay rights they cannot refuse to care for a patient based on their sexuality (which, realistically, a person in this context would not do anyways because they support gay rights), but if that doctor does not support gay rights they are able to refuse because the patients sexuality is not compatible with their personal beliefs (Doctor).

In closing, there is clearly still a large amount of homophobia within Western countries, but especially within the United States.  However, that is not to say that there is no acceptance. Huge strides are made as more and more states within the US gain equal marriage rights. Having discussed the bad, I would now like to leave you with a short video, though only 2 minutes in duration, is full of potential, full of hope, and that ultimately tells it as it is.

http://www.upworthy.com/when-you-have-common-sense-like-this-guy-who-needs-to-argue-with-homophobes-9

Resources

Alfred, T. (n.d.). Canadian Colonialism. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www3.nfb.ca/enclasse/doclens/visau/index.php?mode=theme&language=english&theme=30662&film=16933&excerpt=612357&submode=abou

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith G. Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. 18-120. Print.

Dann, G. (2014, January 1). Worldwide Homophobia: The Case of Sacred Sex and Trinity Western University. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/g-elijah-dann/homophobia-trinity-western-university_b_4770956.html

Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby. (2015, February 18). Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-same-sex-couples-baby

Duffy, N. (2014, January 1). Kellie Maloney: I’m not homophobic, but I don’t think same-sex couples should have children. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/08/15/kellie-maloney-im-not-homophobic-but-i-dont-think-same-sex-couples-should-have-children/

F., J. (2009, July 9). Culture, Medicine, and Body. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://culturemedicineandbody.blogspot.ca/2009/07/medicalization-of-homosexuality.html

Ford, Z. (2014, February 3). 9 States With Anti-Gay Laws That Aren’t That Different From Russia’s. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/02/03/3241421/9-state-gay-propaganda-laws/

Harek, G. (n.d.). Facts About Homosexuality and Mental Health. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/faculty_sites/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.htm

Weber, B. (2013, January 1). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://www.upworthy.com/some-kids-of-gay-parents-tell-     us-their-secrets-and-theyre-adorable

3

Blog One: The Way He Looks

When representatives from Reelout Queer Film Festival originally visited our class to show us trailers of all movies offered this year, The Way He Looks was one of the ones that really caught my eye. The trailer can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBlLAzamSa4

If I’m being honest though, it was not my first choice, but was instead within my top 3 or 4. Needless to say, when I found out that I was not able to view the ones that I would have preferred I was a little disappointed, though still excited in a sense as it seemed like a very intriguing movie nonetheless. The disappointment did not last long; it began to ebb the moment I walked into the room where it would be shown. The excitement mounted while I climbed the stairs, something that I had never done to see a movie before. It was the beginning of a very unique outing. Somehow, I knew it would be a great experience right from the start. Though not tiny, the room was still smaller than I had expected; for some reason, I was imagining a huge room. Still, the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, and I instantly felt a sense of community, which only grew as anticipation for the film expanded.

The film itself was impressive, and certainly met my expectations and then some. The Way He Looks follows blind 15-year-old Leonardo and his best friend Giovanna as they deal with teenage angst, romance, and other typical teenage problems. When a new kid named Gabriel joins their class, Giovanna is thrilled at the prospect of finding her “prince”. Ironically, when first discussing him with Leonardo she mentions this and questions whether Leonardo is jealous. Shortly thereafter, Leonardo and Gabriel begin spending an increasing amount of time together, leading to Giovanna herself becoming jealous and feeling as if they are leaving her out and possibly leaving her behind as a friend.

The appeal that surrounds Gabriel is quite clear; in an ablest society, those who are differently-abled are often viewed as childlike, incapable of taking care of themselves, or as defects. As stated within Gender, Race, and Popular Culture, “We are the living proof that minds can and do go haywire and that it can happen at any time. Some people aren’t ready for that news, so they react to it with overt anxiety or hostility.” As such, Leonardo is often treated in an overprotective manner such as when his parents are reluctant to allow him to stay home alone, freak out when he doesn’t check in for an hour, or in their refusal to allow him to go abroad due to his lack of sight. His mother even asks who would take someone like him into their home. When treated any other way, it is most commonly in the form of bullying, such as the little quips that Fabio and his group of friends make. It is quite clear that those who are able-bodied hold the power, and seemingly look down on Gabriel or see him as incapable of caring for himself, such as when Fabio declares that if he must sit behind Leonardo in class, he would be forced to help him for the entirety of the day. Gabriel, however, does not view Leonardo as someone who is incapable of doing things viewed as regular, but instead takes him to the movies, asks him to watch a meteor shower with him, and even has him ride a bike at the end of the film.

It becomes increasingly clear that there are romantic feelings between Leonardo and Gabriel, but also apparent is their reluctance to admit these feelings. This us seemingly the first time they have been attracted to someone of the same sex, thus bringing up questions of sexual orientation for the two boys (Gender Spectrum), both for themselves as well as wondering about the sexuality of the other. Unfortunately, in a heteronormative society such as ours where the assumption is that a person is heterosexual unless told otherwise as that is considered the norm, heterosexuality is a large part of the cultural hegemony (Aulette &Wittner, 200). This is exemplified when Leonardo tells Giovanna that he is in love with Gabriel. At first she runs off, unable to discuss it with Leonardo before first processing this new piece of information. A few days later she visits him at his house to discuss it with him and says that she never saw him in that manner. Rather than imagining that he was homosexual, she automatically assumed that he was heterosexual.

After confronting their feelings for each other, the pair kiss and hug before the screen cuts to black and then begins a new scene. In this new scene, Fabio is once again tormenting Leonardo. He teases Leonardo on his close friendship with Gabriel, implying that they are more than friends. In response to this, Leonardo slides his hand down Gabriel’s arm and entwines hand with his new beau. Upon seeing this, Fabio’s friends begin chuckling not at Leonardo and Gabriel but at Fabio and his sudden lack of power over the pair. In a way, this new confidence on Leonardo’s part shows how this film was as much or more about discovering oneself as it was about discovering one’s sexuality. This is important as it shows that while sexuality is a very important part of ones’ identity, there is much more to a person than simply that. In each other, they find themselves.

In fact, the relationship between Fabio and Leonardo is an excellent example of two cases where an intersectional analysis is required when viewing their interactions, specifically in regards to the power structures in effect (Aulette & Wittner, 18). In Western countries, straight, able-bodied white men are generally viewed as those with the most power. In the case of Fabio and Leonardo, both are male but Fabio is both straight and able-bodied, therefore possessing more power than homosexual, differently-abled Leonardo.

While this film provides a fantastic look at homosexuality and differently-abled bodies and could play a large part in raising awareness for those who fit under either or both categories and could be argued as achieving greatness, there were some problematic scenes among those better ones. For one, there were multiple scenes where slut shaming was enforced, such as where Giovanna calls Karina a slut because of her interest in Gabriel, mostly simply because Giovanna herself was interested in Gabriel. Both Giovanna and Leonardo dislike her for this reason, and it is implied that they disliked her before primarily because she was a “slut” for flirting with many boys. It is Gabriel who says that he likes her because she is a nice person, leaving Leonardo hmming and haaaing in response.

Finally, Leonardo experiences relatively positive responses when coming out as homosexual. Giovanna accepts it, and even those who previously bullied him seemed mildly okay with the concept. While this is great and supportive communities such as that do exist, there are often individuals and even whole communities who outright reject those who are not heterosexual, shunning them and tormenting simply for being themselves. This was not exhibited within the film.

Ultimately, I found this to be a fantastic movie and would very much recommend it to anyone who is given the opportunity to see it. It is well worth it, and truly does bring up important topics.

~MeggaPengu

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith G. Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. 18-120. Print.

Daniel Ribiero. The Way He Looks. Brazil, 2014.

“Disability and Ableism .” Gender, Race, and Popular Culture Book 2. Canada: Pearson Custom Library, 2013. Page 37. Print.

“Understanding Gender – Gender Spectrum.” Gender Spectrum. Web. 9 Feb. 2015. <https://www.genderspectrum.org/quick-links/understanding-gender/&gt;.