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Cultural Significance Of Celebrating Women Essay

One of the most important issues that women have to face today is the phenomenon called “double shift”. This is a phenomenon which is underpinned by the anachronistic tenet “the place of woman is in the home”. Anachronistically, the role of the woman has being changing. So even though women today feel freer and more independent, helped by education as increasing numbers of women enter the field of education worldwide, from the remotest villages of wildlife nations to Chicago in United States – they are still expected to take care of the home and family needs.

As a consequence women end up working two shifts, one at work and one at home, thus the term “double shift” or “double day. ” To add to their burdens, there is discrimination in the workplace. Which way are women headed? This paper explores the question by analyzing the traditional view of femininity that has not changed much over time – through history books, TV channels, and other pop culture products that define the differences between men and women for the collective human mind. This exploration would surely answer why there is a Woman’s Double Day but never a Men’s Double Day.

Discrimination in the 21st Century Workplace Research suggests that from 1965 to 1998 the time that women have been allocating to paid work has been increasing (Sayed, 2005). However, what is even more interesting is the time that women and men have been putting to housework. Sayed suggests that the time that women have been allocating to housework has been decreasing while simultaneously the time allocated by men into housework has been increasing continuously since 1965. Although this is good news, there is more to the story than meets the reader at first thought.

Even though more women are nowadays entering the job market and approaching jobs they did not previously occupy as regularly as men, there still appears to be segregation in the job market based on the gender of the working population (England, 2005). Apart from this segregation, job discrimination against women exists with regards to job assignments, sick leave policies, and access to worker’s compensation payments (Messing et. al. , 2000). Of course, it is the mindset of the working population that matters. Although women have been drawing away from the housewife model, the unemployment rate of women is still high.

This is a consequence of the women’s additional role of domestic and caring responsibilities, which is translated into higher non-employment or inactivity rates (Witz, 1997). Sometimes this kind of segregation turns into agitation and violence against women in the workplace. In the twenty first century, with abundance of magazines and television channels, we analyze cases from faraway lands and our own regarding violence against women, based on the traditional worldview that women are inferior to men and may therefore be easily overpowered – although there is clear evidence that women are already racing with men in almost all fields, e.

g. by heading multinational banks alongside men. It is also reality that such women are few. The term “gender segregation at work” refers to the formation of occupational groups which preoccupy workers based on their gender. Although it is agreed that gender segregation at work exists, researchers cannot agree on the reasons that lie beneath it. But, clearly, the main reason at work is the fact that society teaches different values to females versus males. Next, we explore this phenomenon with a truncated study of world media. What is the traditional view of femininity?

It is generally believed that femininity or properties characteristic of the female sex are the following: beauty, grace, talkativeness, mercy, forgiveness, patience, faithfulness and care for the family. Although these qualities may also define the male sex, it is the female that is typically expected to be more beautiful, graceful, talkative, merciful, forgiving, patient, faithful, and caring. Likewise, women may have strong, athletic bodies or great intelligence typically expected of males. Even so, the woman is usually defined with the above mentioned characteristics, that is, beauty, grace, etc.

in books, films, and advertisements; whereas strong, athletic bodies and great intelligence are typically seen as male characteristics. The books that common people have referred to through the ages have consisted of sacred scriptures, whereas films and advertisements are relatively new in our world. Children Now, an organization that watches over learning that is imparted to children of the twenty first century – has reported that 38% of females in the media that the children are exposed to happen to be scantily clad (“Media Stereotyping,” 2007).

Hence, the media is teaching children that women must be considered as sex objects, if not beautiful, expressive beings. Another defining characteristic of the female sex – according to the traditional definition of femininity applied in this paper – is talkativeness. Communication between men and women is cross-cultural, according to the different cultures theory (Thorne, 1993). Communication between men is generally straight-forward, while gossip is a term especially associated with women. Men’s talk is to-the-point, as they generally use communication to get things done, e. g.

car repairs or plumbing jobs at home. Women, on the contrary, are typically understood to be the ones who must keep their ties strong by nurturing their husbands and children at home – housewives appear to love communicating about people and their relationships. According to Thorne, the differences between the communication styles of men and women are dependent on “social contexts. ” Men and women do not belong to separate cultures in terms of communication at all times. So, while women seem to love gossiping, they are not expected to gossip with all people and in every situation.

Similarly, men whose talk is to-the-point may find themselves chatting on for hours on end about themselves and their relationships, when and if the situation calls for it. Properties characteristic of the female sex, as described in this paper thus far, do not seem to have changed through history. Published in the nineteenth century, Kate Chopin’s (1898) “The Storm,” is a short story about adultery, focused on a housewife by the name of Calixta, who is expected to undertake household chores as the principal goal of her everyday life.

The woman had had a flirtation with Alcee years before the story took place. Chopin informs the reader about the current situation between Calixta and Alcee: “She had not seen him very often since her marriage, and never alone” – certainly for the reason that the woman was not expected to see a man who was not her husband very often, and by herself. Being a man, Alcee is the one who begins to touch the woman as a way to start their sexual encounter. The woman responds with “generous abundance of her passion (Chopin).

” At the same time, Calixta’s husband is at the general store where he probably went to fetch viands for the household and has been stopped by the storm (Chopin). It is essential to analyze more of these gender roles in famous books and popular media. They seem to be superimposed from the home to the workplace. In Dashiell Hammett’s (2004) The Maltese Falcon, published in the twenty first century, Sam Spade is the personification of the American private eye.

The hero of Hammett’s novel meets with Miss Wonderly – wonderful in every way – when she appears in his office to request him to tail a man named Floyd Thursby. Miss Wonderly is undoubtedly a beautiful woman. Here, the beautiful woman is a stereotypical description of a lady who must meet with a macho male that can be hard and cruel – all for a good cause. The macho male replies to her thus: “You won’t need much of anybody’s help. You’re good. You’re very good. It’s chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get into your voice when you say things like ‘Be generous, Mr.

Spade (Hammett). ’” Conclusion As this brief study of world media with reference to worldwide reports on gender discrimination in the workplace reveals – differences between men and women are here to stay unless popular media makes an effort to change them by educating men and women, first in the home. Women are celebrated with the title, Women’s Double Day, perhaps because they are more compassionate and more intelligent than men. Evidence from schools has certainly painted this picture time and again.

The fact that women – outnumbered by men in the workplace – must also bear the cruel negative consequences of gender discrimination is to be contended with. The traditional definition of femininity calls for celebrating women. A brief glance into the way media portrays women – and has done so throughout the centuries of humanity on earth – clearly reveals that differences are driven into our cultural collective consciousness. Perhaps, therefore, it is time to celebrate the cultural significance of this celebration of women.

In other words, perhaps women should simply celebrate their double shift because they are wiser time-managers. The reasons vary, from mind to mind, worldview to worldview. Double Day, too, appears to be here to stay. References Chopin, K. (1898). The Storm. Retrieved Sep 15, 2008, from http://classiclit. about. com/library/bl-etexts/kchopin/bl-kchop-thestorm. htm. England, P. (2005, Summer). Gender inequality in labor markets: the role of motherhood and segregation. Oxford University Press. Hammett, Dashiell. (2004). The Maltese Falcon. New York: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard. Media Stereotyping.

(2007). Media Awareness Network. Retrieved Sep 15, 2008, from http://www. media-awareness. ca/english/issues/stereotyping/index. cfm. Messing, K. , Lippel, K. , Remers, D. , & Mergler, D. (2000). Equality and difference in the workplace: physical job demands, occupational illnesses, and sex differences. Sayed L. C. (2005, Sep). Gender, time and inequality: trends in women’s and men’s paid work, unpaid work and free time. Social Forces Vol. 84, Number 1. Thorne, B. (1993). Gender Play: Girls and Boys in Schools. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press. Witz, A. (1997). Women and Work.

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