“There was a time when the pregnant woman stood as a symbol of stately and sexual beauty. While pregnancy remains an object of fascination, our own culture harshly separates pregnancy from sexuality. The dominant culture defines feminine beauty as slim and shapely. The pregnant woman is often not looked upon as sexually active or desirable, even though her own desires and sensitivity may have increased. Her male partner, if she has one, may decline to share in her sexuality, and her physician may advise her to restrict her sexual activity. To the degree that a woman derives a sense of self-worth from looking ‘sexy’ in the manner promoted by dominant cultural images, she may experience her pregnant body as being pregnant and alien” (53).
Iris Marion Young, “Pregnant Embodiment” Continue reading
In class on October 24, we watched the documentary Rape in the Fields. We watched this documentary because it connects with the article we read in the book Introducing the New Sexuality Studies. The article that could connect with this documentary would be “Mexican Immigrants, Heterosexual Sex and Loving Relationships in the United States” an Interview w/Gloria Gonzales-Lopez (NSS pages 538-546). Sexuality is not strictly an identity for these women, but the idea of it has become a means of capital gain for other individuals (there bosses) through the sex trade, prostitution, and undocumented work. For those of you who haven’t watched the video there is a shorter clip right below.
All of you were children yourselves at one point and a large portion will eventually adopt or have children of your own. Think back to your childhood to a time when you had a babysitter who was not a family member. What did this babysitter look like? Was this person a male or female? How old was he/she?
For most, this babysitter was a female who your parents may or may not have known beforehand. It pretty unlikely that your image of a babysitter is a male because the media and society generally portray babysitters, nannies, and other child care providers as women. Why? Are women instinctively better care providers? Is there some reason to NOT have a male babysitter?
According to this article in the Washington Post, most people are afraid to hire a male babysitter because, statistically speaking, males are more likely than females to be pedophiles. While this may be true, not ALL non-females are child abusers and some females are. Interestingly, the article never talks about men being incapable of caring for children, and suggests that this idea is a huge problem.
“Here is the real problem when we err on the side of statistics. By telling the millions of men that they cannot be trusted with children, we are reinforcing gender stereotypes at school, at home and at work.”
According to Essentialists, your sex and gender are inborn. Basically, it is a natural part of who you are and, because of this, women are born to be more caring, sensitive, emotional, and feminine while men are born to be strong, resolute, logical, and masculine. On the other hand, Constructivists say that your sexuality and characteristics are socially constructed by the culture in which you are raised. Basically, women are taught to be caring, sensitive, emotional, and feminine while men are taught to be strong, resolute, tough, logical and masculine (Seidman, 3-17).
So, which is it? Are women naturally more competent care providers? Are they trained to be care takers? Or perhaps, men and women are equally capable of caring for children, even with the very different socialization they undergo? The media tells us that men just cannot be trusted to do a good job in films like “Daddy Daycare”, “The Pacifier”, and “Mom’s Night Out” and never shows us men competently caring for children. This sexism hast to stop.
This sexism extends far beyond child care into all aspects of society. Men are more likely to become doctors while women become nurses. Most engineers are men while most teachers are women. Even when women cross over into male dominated fields such as being a college professor, they are generally paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. Why?