By Marwah Shebl
Gender is a complex and, in some cases, a hard topic to discuss (depending on the environment the topic is being presented in). In addition, gender is often confused with and misinterpreted as sex when in fact the two social constructs, even though often go hand in hand are not the same thing. The distinction really begins with the definitions of the two terms gender being defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “difference between men and women based on culturally and socially constructed mores, politics, and affairs” whereas sex is intern defined as “the distinction between male and female; or the property or character by which an animal is male or female.” Even with the two distinctions being made simply by definition people still have a hard time making a distinction between the two. That being said we as a society have (for the most part) grown away from our once narrow views on gender for instance looking into both Takaki and Postmen’s work though they both present vary different perspectives on male and female roles in different instances they never mentions LGBTQ induvial(s) nor do they mention any kind of gender other than the two generic binaries (male and female respetctively) throughout the entirety of their books, though it should be noted that the time in which these books were both published most likely a big hand in that.
Though Takaki doesn’t mention a third gender or any other gender aside from man and woman, male, and female he does give examples of both men and woman being decimated against and or mistreated. Though in several instances he leans more heavily towards depiction the hardships of women within different minorities in our country’s history two examples being that in 1850 “more than half of Irish immigrants were woman and daughters of farmers who had become maids in America” (Takaki, p. 154) and “Confucianism defined the place of a women: she was instructed to obey her father as a daughter, her husband as a wife, and her eldest son as a widow” (Takaki, p.209). Unlike in a Different Mirror where Takaki mentions both binary genders in different groups as a while and then provides a more in-depth analysis mostly through interviews Postmen rarely mentions gender related issues or sub topics and for the most part just sticks to the topic of the increasing threat that comes with the of ever-growing technology in the United States. Postmen goes in depth with his theories regarding the incline of technology in the chapter titled “The Huxleyan Warning” and states that “we would be better off if television got worse not better” (Postmen, p. 159). This comment suggests that he feels that technology is ultimately harming the general-public. This is generally true in the fact that for the most part a group of people can say whatever they won’t on the internet and face little to no punishment until something bad happens one example of this is what is now being referred to as the incel movement. The “movement” as it is referred to is a misogynistic and misandristic group mostly consistent of males who believe that they are being forced to remain celibate by all those of the opposite gender and who until recently were not seen as a threat to the general public despite a majority of its members spreading violent messages about plans to harm or kill those you they have deemed guilty for “forcing” them to remain celibate. Misogyny defined by diction.com as “hatred, dislike, or distrust of women, or prejudice against women” and misandry is defined as “hatred of males.”
In the interview with Bailey Williams from Yes! Magazine I asked her about her experiences with gender-based harassment in the workplace she responded saying “I have not dealt with any gender-based discrimination in in the field of journalism yet thankfully” though she did mention her experiences with gender-based discrimination in her time after graduating college when she worked in a gym and that when she tried talking to her male boss she “wasn’t taken seriously. I was told that maybe I was being too flirty or should wear less tight clothing.” This can easily be portrayed one of the many ways the misogyny has worked its way into everyday society where instead of trusting that when someone says they are being harassed and doing something about it rather than brushing it off and ignoring the issue or distrusting someone when they say that they are being harassed. In addition, I had also asked Baily what safeguards are in place at Yes! Magazine to prevent any sexism from taking place at work she didn’t go to much in depth as to the extent of these measures, but she did say that they have strict policy against any kind of gender based discrimination and that “when you are hired you meet with three different people and they all explain how they are open lines of communication if you don’t feel comfortable going to your boss” she also mentioned in the interview that a lot of the administrative and editors in Yes! Magazine are women.
Furthermore, with keeping in mind Takaki’s counter narrative and Postman’s warnings of the overpowering growth as well as influences of technology on society we can hopefully come up with safeguards, laws, and policies to ensure that all people no matter their gender, creed or what have you don’t have to face discrimination or live in fear every-day due to being born different and or be forced to fit conventional norms formed by society.
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Gender Identity has Become Absurd. (2016, September 22). Retrieved June 5, 2018, from https://ktfnews.com/gender-identity-become-absurd/
Postman, N. (2006). Amusing ourselves to death: public discourse in the age of show business (20th anniversary ed.). New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Penguin Books. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=1125742
Reflection: Community Engagement – Presbytery of Lake Erie. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2018, from https://pbylakeerie.org/reflection-engagement/
Takaki, R. T. (2008). A different mirror: a history of multicultural America (1st rev. ed.). New York: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown, and Co.
University, A. (2017, July 18). The Power of Communities of Practice. Retrieved June 5, 2018, from https://medium.com/autodesk-university/the-power-of-communities-of-practice-bb89569880c1
YES! Magazine. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2018, from http://www.yesmagazine.org