From professional sports to children’s toys, women are portrayed as the weaker sex. The media and pop culture has allowed this to happen. Women are shown as dumb, beautiful, and totally dependent. Although women are shown like this, most women in the real world are intelligent, nice, independent, and not as beautiful as a supermodel. Women have fought long and hard to get rid of the demeaning connotations that go along with being female; yet, being female in today’s world means that you are not as strong or smart as anyone male.
Since 1848 when the Women’s Rights Movement began, women have been fighting against stereotypes alive in pop culture. At this time, women were not allowed to vote, allowed to practice medicine or law, allowed to go to college, or allowed to participate in church affairs. From then, many things have improved, yet women are still suppressed by much of what they fought in the movement. Women are now allowed to vote, hold almost any profession, go to any college they dream of, and are part of church affairs in non-Catholic denominations. Although all of these breakthroughs have happened, women are still oppressed by men.
The “glass-ceiling” is an excellent example of oppression of women in the work place. The glass-ceiling is known as the point where a woman can rise in the work place, when there are men who are able to rise above her. Many women are as capable if not more capable than some men for certain jobs. Yet these women are overlooked for their male counterparts. Women do not get paid as much as men and they do not get the career opportunities that men get. A woman holding the same position as a man can get paid up to 20% less than her male counterpart. The glass-ceiling is very present in most big businesses in the United States today.
The world of professional sports also oppresses women with the sports available for them to play and the salary they get paid to play. Men have the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, along with golf, tennis, swimming, wrestling and many others. The only nationally recognized women’s league is the Women’s National Basketball Association. They do have other sports, tennis, softball, and golf included, but not nearly the opportunities that men have. Also, women who do play professional sports do not get paid the millions of dollars a man playing the same sport gets paid. Most professional women athletes have to hold some other job or have endorsements in order to make enough money for her family. In a sense, the glass-ceiling exists in professional sports as well. In high school and college sports, many more are offered to women, yet there are still some that are only offered to men.
In the state on Illinois, any girl is allowed to try out for any boys’ team so long as there is not a team for girls of the same sport. The truth is, girls can try out for the team, but they will not make the team, and if they do, they will not get their well deserved opportunity to participate or they will be ridiculed so terribly they will quit. There have been a few girls on football teams or wrestling teams. Girls on football teams are generally kickers of some sort, so they will not get hurt by the boys on the field. The female wrestlers often win their matches on forfeit because the opposing team does not want to be responsible for their team hurting a girl. For these reasons, many of these girls never get off the junior varsity teams and are sometimes not allowed to make the team at all.
Barbie is the perfect example of what a woman is to be like, according to pop culture. She is a beautiful, well endowed woman who focuses mostly on her clothes and cars and not really on much of a career, outside babysitting of course. She has to have Ken there to support her. Ken has the business suits and always is seen driving Barbie’s car. This culture is being sold to young girls who may not believe that Barbie could hold a profession outside of babysitting and that she could also wear business suits and not just pretty dresses with high heels. She is also a way for a girl to imagine what she will look like as a woman; yet, Barbie is not a regular woman.
With the size of Barbie’s chest and the size of her waist, a girl is physically unable to look like Barbie. This doll has been around for decades, but no one has ever argued to make her more proportional or look like a more dignified woman. From the time a girl starts playing with Barbie, she knows that she is inferior to boys and she cannot do anything in life unless she is like Barbie. Barbie would not sell as well as she does if she looked more like an average woman or if she had hips; girls do not want to be average, culture tells them they cannot be average.
Back in the days of World War I and II, women were not allowed in the army or any of the armed services. They stayed at home and took care of America while their husbands were fighting in a war. Rosie the riveter helped women realize their potential, but as soon as the war was over and the men were home, they went back to being housewives. Although this has changed, women are still not eligible for a draft, nor do active duty women often get sent to the battle grounds of a war. Women are now allowed in any office in politics that they are elected to.
Women are in the Senate and the House of Representatives; they serve as governors, Supreme Court justices, and almost any other office. But no woman has been elected President. This shows that America still believes that a woman cannot handle the pressure of controlling that much of the world. People always say that the “first lady really runs everything” or “he couldn’t have done it without his wife’s advice.” If society truly believes these statements, why is a woman not able to handle the stress of actually being President?
No matter how far women have come over time, they are still the lesser sex and will always be shown as weaker than men. Only through changes in society will being a woman be a wonderful and empowering thing. If a woman President was elected, professional female athletes were paid more, and Barbie got a breast reduction surgery and a career, America would be on the right track for girls to grow up knowing they are as strong and intelligent as boys.