Sunday, February 2, 2014

HW 2/18: Expectations of Women and Veterans


  • Write on either Veterans or Women, and on at least one of the questions posted below. 





  • What does society expect?  What particular expectations would face early 20th century African Americans?  What about these expectations is unrealistic?  how do these expectations affect people?   What can we learn about human nature from the experience of being a veteran or an early 20th century woman? What can we learn about human nature from how our culture treated / treats them? (Warmup for Toni Morrion's Sula)

    11 comments:

    1. I want to say that I understand that most of what I say below consists of generalizations. These concepts are not true for everyone all of the time, but merely serve as a subtle trend.
      Although on the surface it may seem that we as a society have achieved gender equality, this is not completely true. There is a general undertone of unequal expectation for women within society, expectations that no one truly says aloud but that we all know exist, and most women follow. One large expectation for women is that they remain quiet and contained; they should not be outspoken or reveal substantial personality. This surfaces in the relationship women have with men. Many women today are afraid to appear too forthright or powerful around men to avoid being perceived as undesirable. Sometimes, more powerful women will have trouble engaging in a relationship with a man because he may feel inferior and thus uncomfortable. In addition, women tend to be expected to be perfect. Often celebrity websites will spend entire articles critiquing a female celebrity’s makeup or how her dress didn’t fit quite right in one spot. Ironically, this expected “perfect” also changes by the second. One day an article will criticize a woman for being too “crazy,” and then the next day for being too conservative. Yet this is rarely projected towards men, or at least it occurs much less. The same phenomena occurs in schools, where a girl’s clothing is crucial to how she is seen, and any move she makes can be critiqued behind her back. Although boys have to be careful about their impressions in school, one wrong superficial move like this hardly means as much as it does for a girl. Girls and women are expected to wear the right clothes, be both intelligent but also simple, docile, and adorable - an unobtrusive backdrop. Clearly, these expectations are unrealistic for what girl can be 1000% perfect 120% of the time? There is no way to succeed in this system. If a woman gains power she risks negative judgement for being too daring, and if she focuses on her appearance there will always be critique. If a woman were to attempt both power and appearance, she risks being perceived as full of herself, and might be ostracized. The results of this pressure are widespread. Many teenage girls spend every thought for months on end determining how to squeeze themselves into the countless boxes provided for them, to shrink for men and to be pleasing to others. As a result, girls can be heard apologizing sincerely for appearing tired, or doing well on a test. They spend on average more time than boys planning out their clothes, analyzing how different colors could go together and worrying about what others will think. This pressure can lead to mental illness like anxiety, eating disorders, and depression because the pressure becomes unbearable over time.
      This demonstrates the human need for safety and approval in society. Unfortunately, much of the reason that women are expected to be this way is that men are expected to be the opposite: strong, powerful, courageous, etc. In order to assume their position, receive approval, and feel safe within society, men and women must bulk up or shrink down, respectively and concurrently filling their societal description in order to feel safe. Breaking such boxes invites criticism, which not only demonstrates why both men and women fear freedom, but also the fear of those who don’t do this. They take the opportunity when someone exposes themselves in firing range to fire - to reassure themselves of their own place and self worth. This describes why girls and women berate other girls and women on matters concerning dress etc. - they do so to validate their own position, to climb above others and feel safety. Therefore, a strong human need which greatly manipulates today’s society is the need for safety and approval.

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    2. Every culture has its own expectations and presidents for women. In America, women have always been expected to be vulnerable, in need of care from men, and to take care of housework such as cooking/cleaning, and most commonly, her duty to have children. Along with this, women also receive expectations from the media regarding health and beauty such as always be dressed stylishly and maintaining a healthy figure. Women can never actually meet the expectations of society because with every expectation comes a form of contrasting belief. For example, women are expected to maintain unrealistically perfect bodies- however, men always claim they love a girl who can eat. Naturally, both these attributes are nearly impossible to obtain at the same time- so it’s usually a lose- lose situation for women. Moreover, women are expected to be smart and hard working- yet it’s uncommon for women to enter the fields of math and sciences because women are not supposed to cast a shadow over men who have been leading research in such areas from the beginning of time.
      One of the toughest things about being a female, is the lack of support women receive. In our modern society there is a surplus of shaming and hate towards any condition that does not reflect perfection of a certain category found in proper woman. Society finds minor flaws in a woman so as to put them down in order to make others dominant and powerful. Both men and women are guilty of being harshly judgmental and setting unrealistic standards for women to meet. If a woman shows too much skin- she risks being called a slut. However, if a woman wears a dress such that she covers too much skin- she risks being classified as prude. If a woman drinks excessively- she can now be categorized as putting herself out there, or “asking for it.” However if a woman does not drink, she risks a reputation of being boring; and men stereotypically like a daring (but not too daring) girl.

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    3. Today, there is so much talk about women. Women are finally able to do all the things men were able to do since the beginning. You can now see women on positions that are deemed for men like pilot, high office positions, women even run for president now. Even though women are getting more recognition today, they still have expectations that are less than those of men. Women are still not expected to gain those high positions, and if they do it is considered almost a miracle. Women are expected to be fragile and if anything goes wrong, a man can come and take care of her. This happens today because women were “oppressed” throughout history. Even ten years ago, a women wasn’t expected to get a degree in college because she would just be a housewife and take care of the children and the husband can do the earning. (At least in Russia.) Historically, women were paid 33% less than men for the same positions. There were even laws that prevented women from voting and similar activities. These kinds of rules and interactions with women led to the “unfair” treatment of women today. But fortunately, women are moving forward, and now the whole mentality is getting changed around. Now some people are already are expecting for women to make their own living and other things of this sort. This because women have fought for their freedom this whole time, so now they are expected to show that they are “strong independent women”. But overall, there is still a lot of controversy over women today, but defiantly improved compared to our history.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Dina Kharag
      In the United States, veterans deal with the troubling reality of getting a job that they deserve when coming back home. In society’s point of view, veterans are seen as people who are hard working, collaborative, and are willing to die for their country. So with this image draped onto their shoulders, it makes a lot of sense that veterans are expected to be seen as heroes when they come back to America. This is certainly true with their friends and family, but not so much in the public eye. This is especially the case when veterans try to find jobs. According to a statistic from Washington Post, unemployment rate for American veterans is around 10 percent. With a number like this, it makes a person wonder how can this be? Aren’t military veterans suppose to be the people that we want to see in our country honored? The answer should be yes, but with our fast paced world, companies don’t like training people anymore. These days, this simple task of training someone to work is a hassle since it takes time and money away from companies.This leave companies to take an alternative route to hire people who are experienced in the field, leaving veterans jobless. Another reason that veterans have a hard time finding jobs is due to the stigma of being emotionally unstable. The reasoning behind this idea is due to veterans spending time outside of the country fighting in foreign wars. To normal people, it’s scary to think about what the veteran had to go through during his/her military days. The list of bloodshed, seeing their new made friends die in the battle field, getting brutally injured, and more can make a person go against hiring a veteran. So in the end, it creates a fear that the newly hired veteran will do more harm than good. However, we need to stop treating veterans badly and branding them with taboos. In order for Americans to change their ways, we need to go against our negative thinking about veterans and give them more chances to obtain jobs.

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    6. The expectations of women have greatly altered from the twentieth century to the one we are currently in. In our American society, women are being praised. Bringing reference to Obama’s state of the union address, “I believe that when women succeed, America succeeds.” The expectations of women today are much more appreciative than the ones of the 1950s. The ideal stay at home mom, doing all the housework, I think is a total brainwashing of culture influence. Some women were completely fine with this, which is totally ok but the 60s led into a new era of views on women. The wrong thing about these expectations is that few women had input into politics or anything really. Zero supreme court justices and congress members were women in the early part of the twentieth century. Women understand different things that men can’t which is necessary in a developing world. It is great that women are being recognized for their equality with men but the problem with that is the bar for women gets raised. Women are motivated, hard working, and can do anything a man can do but let’s say she fails at something, the expectation of her to accomplish something gets replaced with maybe something like, she should just stay home and do the house work. I’m not saying this is true for every situation but it happens. Women and men have failures. The world continues to put these labels on women. Although now that they are being reputed for their abilities, those labels should not have been placed their originally. These expectations of women in the twenty first century intimidate men. In the working field women are just as able to be promoted as men. The expectations of an African American women in the early twentieth century would be not as highly commended as white women. Segregation was still intact, unable to give African American women opportunities that perhaps a white woman had. Again, a label was put up on these women. Not all but many people still saw African American men and women as unequal with whites, ridden for farm work.

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    7. The essence of a being a woman has been and is slowly being put up on an alter. Well deserved for I believe that without women, obviously the world wouldn't flourish. However, the belief of 20th century society and the expectations of that were set on women were minimal to none. As many of my classmates have already mentioned, women were seen as home laborers or the "one's" responsible for watching over and taking care of home duties. Such as watching the kids and doing chores that surprisingly in today's society we are all, including men, very familiar with. People were very closed minded back then, and believed that men had the power and authority over women. There was no recognition and equal rights what so ever. As time has gone by, society has improved for the better in some aspects, this including the treatment of women. I believe women have climbed up in the social ranks and society expects much from them, just as it does from men. Women have taken on jobs and new opportunities in hope of making not only this nation greater, but creating a change for the better in the world. I believe that just like everything else, whatever society makes of something it is quickly rubbed off on people and influences the thoughts and perceptions of many. People tend to become ignorant, and are blinded by the perspectives of others. It is evident that human nature is vulnerable because as people, we are easily influenced and lose track of whats important.

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    8. Hi all - I think we've hit some core ideas, and I wonder if things will get repetitive from here. I'm going to say that if you haven't posted yet and you don't have something new to add, you can skip this assignment and do a challenge assignment instead (one of the MC from last week, or the Morrison essay from next week). If you've got something new to add, great, post it :)

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    9. Something that hasn’t really been discussed here are subtle expectations and pressures on women regarding intelligence. It seems like because women often feel like they must be, as Till put it, “unobtrusive,” they begin to subconsciously doubt their own ability to influence an intellectual discussion. I’ve seen so many women and girls put conditions on their own points such as “this might not be right” or “I’m not really sure, but.” It’s as if they’re afraid of sounding too smart or powerful, worried that their intelligence will outcast them or offend someone.

      This problem is the result of the perfectionist culture previously discussed regarding women – to potentially convey an “incorrect” idea can at least temporarily destroy the perfect image women are taught to closely guard.

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    10. From how people treat veterans we can learn that humans only think about themselves, and of self-preservation. Veterans fight for theses people who in turn, ignore them. We know this because of the veteran unemployment rate and suicide rate. People are naturally selfish; in WW2 the idea of Hitler invading America was prevalent in the American people. So when the soldiers came back, they were treated as Heroes. But when soldiers came back from wars that didn’t affect Americans on a personal level. For example the Vietnam War the soldiers were treated like nobodies, even though they fought and died just like soldiers in WW2.

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    11. I guess I'll talk about veterans simply for variety's sake. Veterans in the US are cast away, with no cares given about their welfare. They do their duty and they're left to rot on the street, we suck all the use out of them and discard them. They show the consumer culture in a way, Americans love getting things using them once and just discarding them when they have little use for them. We put out grandparents in nursing homes and we put our vets on the street. But thats just human nature, when we run out of use for something we stop caring. The vets served their purpose, just because they put their lives on the line for the country doesn't mean that the country will improve the quality of theirs.

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