The strive for equality among women and men is a valiant one. From the right to vote, to the Equal Pay Act, to Row vs. Wade and the women’s right to chose, women have made undeniable strides towards equality. There should be no argument that women deserve equal rights as men do, but it’s the approach that feminists attack this challenge that deserves some investigation.
Bitch Magazine is a magazine coined as a “feminist response to pop culture”, they put out an article called “The Woman Borg” discussing the incredibly genderized roles that robots, an technologically advanced characters portray on screen. The article brings up points of the women being sex objects, subservient to men, and not as physically capable of saving the world. The article states in its final paragraph, “Yet there is hardly ant precedent for imagining a gender free world delivered via technology—it’s simply still too alien to our culture.”
There’s where the approach has a flaw. I believe that this push towards having a gender free world takes away from the value of being a woman. This is not to say that are not grave inequalities on screen and in our culture, but it is to say that sometimes the differences are positively defining and should remain to society to show respect for women.
Even though there are gender flaws in our pop-culture, chivalry is not dead, and the constant movement for women to be gender free beside men takes away from the beauty and allure that only a woman can hold. It is a fact that we must yes reform the negative images that pop-culture blasts women with everyday, but the motivation should not be to replace these women with gender free roles but rather by emphasizing the amazing feats a women can and already achieve.
Despite the bombarding of Laura Croft type action stars and ditzy Legally Blonde women, there are plenty of pop culture icons that are women who are proud to be a woman and with that have earned the respect by the masses for their image as both an icon and a woman.
Our current first lady Michelle Obama is a prime example of a woman that captivates the public with her beauty charm while still being intelligent and poised. We see images of the First Family and the way President Obama holds his wife to the utmost respect. Images like the one shown at left with the President proudly holding his wife as his equal is what our pop culture should focus on when portraying women.
Mrs. Obama’s role is not only beside the President, but she equally charms audiences worldwide with her well spoken image about politics, family, and life. Below is a perfect example of two women in the world that are powerful because yes they have broken into men’s territory and become equal but more importantly they are famous for being powerful women. Towards the middle of the clip, (see 3:05 in), Ellen asks the First Lady (note she is not yet the First Lady in the video, the clip was prior to the election), how she and the now President have made their marriage work, the First Lady responds respect, a mutual respect for each other and having each other’s back in all the endeavors that they begin on. This shows how a women can be powerful, but also respected as a women for being both an equal and for the specific respect that a man should give to a women.
Although Michelle Obama is an example of a powerful female, it does not take being beside a man to make a women powerful and equal to men. Think of Oprah, of Tyra Banks, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin. Whether or not you agree with these four women’s view points, it is hard to say these women have not made a name for themselves both as leaders in their field and as leaders of women. These are women that have broken gender roles, and do stand side by side with men as equals, but they remain different in that they are respected and looked at as being powerful women.
My point is that the feminist movement is an amazing push for equality, but that should not be the only emphasis. Rather than hoping for gender free roles let us flood the media with images of successful women being proud to be women. For example, Alicia Keys and her famous ‘Superwoman’ song about independent females, and how being a woman should not be something not to strive for but rather something to benefit from.
There is a famous quote that ties into my argument about the 1930’s dancing super star of her time Ginger Rogers, “Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.”
We need to change our pop culture to show equality between genders, but these strides towards a gender free world should not be the only display of females. We need to teach our girls and young ladies that being a woman is a beautiful and powerful thing and that they can be just as powerful as the men beside them while doing all the same things plus a great pair of four inch high heels.