Gender Equality Bake Sale: Whose voices are missing?

CAlgytEUgAAVzFu President Obama once stated as following when remarking on equal pay for equal work, “Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns…in 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong” (qtd. in Kessler). Recently, a group of high school students held a bake sale on campus, using this statement as the support for their struggle with gender inequality. According to the interview done by Randall Carlisel, I found the voices in his interview about the opinions towards this event are incomplete. We are easy to find that most people in his interview praised these students’ action except for only one student suspecting the statistics they are using. Therefore, people should realize that the voices of adults who can think comprehensively and realistically (e.g. teachers and sociologists) are missing. Since there exist many causes for gender pay gap that cannot be attributed to gender inequality, however, have great influences on widening the wage gap, it would be biased discussing the inequality based merely on this statement. In the following article are some examples of these inevitable factors.


Firstly, the organization of jobs is one of the most important factors of wage gap, which should not be attributed to gender inequality. According to the descriptions of gender socialization, “ individuals are taught how to socially behave in accordance with their assigned gender, which is assigned at birth based on their biological sex”(Tolmie). For example, the toys and games parents select for children are often unconsciously intended to socialize them into the appropriate gender roles. Girls receive dolls in an attempt to socialize them into future roles as mothers. Since women are expected to be more nurturing than men, giving a girl a doll teaches her to care for it and fosters the value of caring for others. When boys receive dolls, they are likely to be action figures designed to bring out the alleged aggressive tendencies in boys. Consequently, as it is explained by the principles of hegemonic masculinity, women are more likely to be nurses, secretaries and teachers who are usually in subordinate social position while men, in the contrary, are usually in the dominant social position – being doctors, CEOs and principals. The different characteristics and talents between men and women will results in gender segregation of jobs, which becomes one main explanations for the gender wage gap because men-dominated occupations tend to pay better than women-dominated occupations (Aulette & Wittner, 193).Still people have to be aware that even when women are in female occupations they are still paid less then male counter-parts because anything tie to the feminine is undervalued.

Secondly, the statistics the promoters are using fail to take race and classes into consideration. As it is shown in Table 1, when compared with non-Hispanic white men (a benchmark used because they make up the largest demographic group in the labor force), the pay gap is much worse for many women of color when compared to non-Hispanic white women. Thus, it can be seen that the low


wages for women in color is an indispensable factor for the overall large gender pay gap in America. While the generally lower graduation rates being a factor for lower wage paying for women in color, the statistics show that many of them tend to be paid less than their white peers even when they have the same educational background (Wallace). A possible explanation is discrimination, which is attributed largely to the history of colonialism and capitalism. During the colonial era, “colonialism exists in the form of white supremacy, which posits that white skin is somehow superior/better to darker skin” (Tolmie). As it is more directly pointed out in one article of R.G. Price, “With very few exceptions, all slaves were African and brought to America for the sole purpose of free labor and thereby all people with dark or black skin were labeled something less than human in comparison to the white population” (Price). These ideas still exist today in the form of racial stereotypes and prejudices and racist violence, which can be clearly reflected in the wage gap between female peers in America. Thus, it can be seen that how important it is to to mention the races and class elements as well when analyzing the gender wage gap.

Despite the fact that there are lots of factors attributed to inevitable gender wage gap, we can never deny that there do exist pay inequality between genders and these students are popularizing the right thing. However, it can be seen that their efforts are actually helping only white, able-bodied people, people who are at the disadvantaged position or minor position in society, for example, LGBTQ people, disabled people and people of colour,  are not benefiting from the statement of equal pay for equal work.  It can be seen clearly, most people in the video being interviewed are all white, even including the promoters of this event. Therefore, there is lack of representations of diversified groups of people speaking of their voices. And it is probably these people, are experiencing the most unequal treat in wages. I am not saying that there is no wage gap between genders by this article.

I really appreciate those students’ awareness of the inequalities in society and make actions to prevent it at such a young age. Nevertheless, they need to explain the problems more clearly and analyze it in different standing points rather than just copy what a legitimate source said, because that’s the only way to convince the public. Also, the public should never merely rely on the words of people being interviewed in the news to make a judgment, even though it appears to be a justice event, however, should keep a critical mind to figure out whose voices is missing.

Works Cited

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith G. Wittner. “Gender and the Global Economy.” In Gendered Worlds. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Wallace, Rachel. “By the Numbers: A Look at the Gender Pay Gap.” AAUW

Empowering Women Since 1881 By the Numbers A Look at the Gender Pay Gap Comments. September 18, 2014. Accessed April 3, 2015. http://www.aauw.org/2014/09/18/gender-pay-gap/.

Price, R.G. “Understanding Capitalism Part III: Wages and Labor Markets.”

Understanding Capitalism Part III: Wages and Labor Markets. January 11, 2005. Accessed April 3, 2015. http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/capitalism_wages.htm.

Tolmie, Jane. “GNDS 125.” Classs Lecture, “Gender Socialization”, January 8, 2015.

Tolmie, Jane. “GNDS 125.” Class Lecture, Globalization, Colonialism, and Orientalism in Visual Culture, January 29, 2015.


Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby: The Inequality behind the Legal Equality

I was totally shocked by the heading of the news as “Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby” when I first saw it. I doubted that the heading might be exaggerated in some extent in order to attract the readers’ eyes. I am not surprised by the fact that LGBTQ people are still treated unequally by the society, however, it is really hard to imagine how can a doctor, as one of the most respectable and honorable jobs in the world, rejects such a tender young soul who doesn’t even have a sexual orientation yet. However, it turns out that the doctor did decline a treatment with a six-days-old baby without notifying the family in advance by stating the conflict between the treatment and her religious belief. Here is the address for the news: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-%20same-sex-couples-baby

There might be people saying that what Dr. Vesna Roi did is not illegal and she should not be criticized. The first reason is that even if Roi had copped to her homophobia, Michigan – the state they live, isn’t among the 22 states with laws protectingLGBTQ people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation (see figure 1). Besides, it seems that Roi handled things in an appropriate way because she turned the treatment over to another doctor and also apologized for her behaviour. Nevertheless, Roi’s decision as a licensed doctor, raises an ethical and moral issue.

Fig. 1. Same-sex marriage in the United States

FD1DA4CA-9720-48A0-98F1-6B1B5EDE74B8Sources: CNN, Pew Forum, Human Rights Campaign, Marcum LLP

Here are some reasons stating why Roi’s behavior is a betrayal to Hippocratic Oath, medical ethics. Firstly, as it is stated in the Hippocratic Oath – the principles of which are held sacred by doctors to this day – “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure; I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm” (Tyson). It can be explicitly identified that it is a doctor’s duty to prevent disease in even the healthy members of our society without a single specific exception. Nevertheless, Roi obviously failed to accomplish the oath by not treating her patients equally regardless of their background. Furthermore, Roi failed to fulfill the Code of Medical Ethics offered by American Medical Association (AMA) because in one of the principles, it is stated that “However, physicians who offer their services to the public may not decline to accept patients because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis that would constitute invidious discrimination. Furthermore, physicians who are obligated under pre-existing contractual arrangements may not decline to accept patients as provided by those arrangements” (Opinion 9.12 – Patient-Physician Relationship: Respect for Law and Human Rights). It can be seen that Roi did the opposite of the principles by declining the pre-existing meeting merely based on her parents’ gay sexuality, which became a perfect example of anti-gay discrimination.


According to Roi’s letter of apology, she is obviously emphasizing that the only reason for her denial of the treatment is that it was against her religious belief. The new bill proposed in Michigan’s state legislature on nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community “ introduced the ‘religious freedom’ bill specifically as a ‘necessary companion’ to the LGBT rights bills that had already been proposed” (Ford). This action has actually enabled anti-LGBTQ discrimination because it is a perfect excuse for people who don’t want to take the blame of exerting discrimination. However, if we look mor closely into the underlying meaning of religious freedom, it is not appropriate for people like Roi to use this as excuse. Brooker Tucker, one representative from American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan(ACLU)once claimed in his committee that “Religious freedom means the freedom to exercise your individual religious beliefs. It does not mean the ability to impose your beliefs on others nor requiring the state to finance your discrimination against those same taxpayers who do not share your beliefs” (Tucker). Contrarily, Roi is imposing the idea of heteronormativity to The Contrerasas by saying in the letter that “I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients” (MyFOXDetroit.com Staff). Here, putting her words in another way, it seems she is referring the baby from LGBTQ family as abnormal and only the patients from heterosexual family is normal. The result that The Contrerasas cannot be viewed and treated equally definitely became a stigma for them because it was the doctor that they appreciated and trusted in after the first impression who exerted discrimination against them. Consequently, this notion that religion justifies the discrimination of other human beings is rather contradictory to religion itself and to the concept stated by Cornel West that “justice is what love looks like in public” (West).

Throughout this disappointing and shocking news, people should realize it is a high time for state like Michigan to complete its legislative system, exerting more equality to different groups of people among the society. Also, there should be more people like the Contrerasas to speak out their misfortunes because that’s the only way to let the society realize the harm discrimination brings.

Works Cited

Ford, Zack. “Michigan Advances ‘License To Discriminate’ While LGBT Protections Stagnate.” ThinkProgress RSS. 4 Dec. 2014. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/12/04/3599833/michigan-rfra-discrimination/&gt;.

MyFOXDetroit.com Staff. “Doctor Refuses Treatment of Same-sex Couple’s Baby.” – Fox 2 News Headlines. 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of- same-sex-couples-baby>.West, Cornel. “Cornel West Quotes.” Cornel West Quotes (Author of Race Matters). Goodreads. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/6176.Cornel_West&gt;.

“Opinion 9.12 – Patient-Physician Relationship: Respect for Law and Human Rights.” Opinion 9.12 – Patient-Physician Relationship: Respect for Law and Human Rights. American Medical Association. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion912.page&gt;.

Tucker, Brooke. “Committee on Families, Children and Seniors.” ACLU of Michigan. , Michigan. 18 Feb. 2015. Lecture.

Tyson, Peter. “The Hippocratic Oath Today.” PBS. PBS, 27 Mar. 2001. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/hippocratic-oath-today.html&gt;.


Lilting: The Collision Between Western and Chinese Culture

    When viewing all the trailers of the Reelout Film Festival, there is only one movie that fully attracted my attention – Lilting. The reason why it draws my attention is quite simple – the heroine of the movie is a Chinese mother. After viewing the trailer I am really curious about how will this film reveal the conflict between the Western and Chinese culture, because as a Chinese myself, I know clearly what’s most Chinese’ view towards LGBTQ. Here is the trailer of this film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeInPhXR4Gk


     Lilting talks about the changing relationship between a Cambodian Chinese mother (Junn) and her son’s homosexual partner (Richard), after the death of her son (Kai). Richard, as Kai’s beloved one, decides to take the responsibilities of looking after of Junn. However, Junn never acknowledges his kindness because she cannot accept the care offered by a stranger. Knowing Junn’s identity as a traditional Chineseh mother – who is homophobic because there’s a lot of prejudice, stigma and the like against LGBTQ in traditional Chinese culture – Kai and Richard knows clearly what would it means to Junn if she knows Kai’s true sexual orientation.


However, because of Richard’s persistent efforts and patience,including finding a translator for Junn to help with her romance with a British old man. great progress is finally made in their relationship. The reason for this success is largely due to Richard ‘s cultural appropriation – using chopsticks and making good Chinese dishes. All these behaviors gains Junn’s favor gradually in the plot.


     One important scene I remember is the argument between Junn and Richard when Junn tell him that she no longer wants to meet the Alan. They both shouted out their indignant and depression that is concealed carefully for the past days. In their conversation, Junn is emphasizing that she is Kai’s mother, and Kai is her only son and also, the only person she could rely on in this foreign land. Therefore, she takes it for granted that she should live with her son instead of Richard, the people have no relation with them. She refuses the care offered by Richard, even doubt his intention of being so caring to her as a stranger. Here, Junn is representing a typical Chinese woman who is influenced deeply by the society characterized by over-emphasized femininities. During 1960s-1990s, women in China are always told to be a good wife and good mother since a young age. They are never taught to pursue their own life, contrarily, they are asked to stay at home – cooking, doing house chores and so on. For example, Junn was placed in the Nursing Home, where there is nothing to worry but to enjoy her remaining years happily. However, Junn would rather to stay with her son all the time, taking care of everything for him. Besides, according to what Richard said, Junn is too dependent on Kai and is pushing too much pressure on him. Here, being subordinated by men is another characteristic of emphasized femininities. As it is introduced at the beginning of the movie, Junn has been in England for over a decade, however, as it is shown in the movie, she cannot speak in English or even understand it at all. We can easily identify that how much Junn rely on Kai, even for the most basic daily communication. This scene plays an important role in the overall importance of the film because it is the first time Junn faces her problems directly, laying a solid foundation for breaking of ice in her relationship with Richard at the end.


     This is the first time for me to attend a film festival, so I have imagined a lot before attending this special event. Due to the special theme of this festival – queer films, which is controversial in a certain degree, I felt actually a little bit nervous, and also curious. What would be special from my past cinema experience? Will some of my behaviors be considered offensive? However, since the moment I step into the cinema hall, it seems all these questions came to an answer.

      Before the film really begins, the manager announced a lucky number, and the person with that number on her ticket got a set of DVDs as a prize. This activity successfully lightened the mood of the audiences, rendering everyone feels more comfortable and relaxed. During the viewing, everyone just laughed at the funny points, smiled at the sweet scenes, and signs at the sad moments. Everything just seemed so natural and normal. Then I realized that it was just adopting this kind of ordinary heart when viewing, that the respect is fully paid. Acting too courteous and cautious will probably be counterproductive. This experience was really a lesson for me in terms of the authentic meaning of respect.