Although gender equality can be measured in many ways, we must question what the possibilities are. Women can be discriminated against in the work place by not being allowed to perform the same duties as men, and if they do these jobs, they do not always receive the same pay. Women have long been trying to earn their place in the political world, whether it is a city council seat, state senate or vice president position. Yet society uses various sources of visual media including television, internet, and videos in advertising to attract attention using young, attractive, thin models; and this is sending the wrong message to our youth. Even though beauty pageants are held to find the most beautiful woman in the universe, this could still leave our young ladies thinking they should continuously strive to have the perfect body. Women can be beautiful as well as talented and intelligent. They should be recognized by society, especially in terms of equality and opportunity.
We need only stroll through a local mall or walk down a street on a weekend afternoon to see the effects this is having on these young ladies. They are trying to imitate the cover of the current popular magazine on the store shelf. The model is very thin and dressed in little clothing. Our daughters and granddaughters are feeling all this peer pressure, thinking maybe this is what they need to look like to make it today. This could possibly affect their self-esteem and self-worth. They need to be more realistic and find peace with their own bodies. So many girls and women are involved in the social media craze like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram; they see all these perfectly shaped women, so it makes them feel unhappy. This is another reason they feel compelled to go along with the crowd.
Magazines, television, and movies should not promote unrealistic body images to pre-teenage girls and young women. Continuous reminders and repeated access to these videos, movies clips and, advertising could possibly lead to anorexia, bulimia, and the abuse of dangerous medications to lose weight. Bulimia is where a person eats and then throws up or takes laxatives to get rid of the food. This can cause very serious problems. A lot of times bulimia and anorexia will go hand and hand. The person will binge eat, then purge or use laxatives or enemas to excrete the food. They go to the bathroom as soon as they eat, hoping they will pass the food. They might also do very extensive exercise. It can cause dental problems, depression, and bone loss along with many other health issues. This psychological study done on the self-image of adolescents is showing that they feel the need to change their body image to fit in with the crowd. The authors feel that social networking and the internet need to do more to change this image and help these children with their health issues. If they help cause the problem, they should help repair it (Copetti and Quiroga 161-177). This disease is so very deadly and can attack anyone. As soon as it grabs a good hold, it becomes a parasite. It will cause high blood pressure and other medical conditions. Women in their late twenties can be on as many as four blood pressure pills a day. Doctors can do many, many tests and still not find the underlying cause of medical problems. This disease can affect every organ in the body. The organs start shutting down one by one. It will cause a stroke, then the kidneys shut down, the liver quits working; eventually weeks before her thirtieth birthday she has died.
Although the beauty pageants have talent shows, this does not always show intelligence or education of the contestants; it shows they are still exposing their bodies. This is not to say some of these models do not have a college education, or they might be working their way through college by posing for the pictures. Some beauty pageant contestants start as children competing. Before they know it, they have missed out on a normal childhood. All they know is to live for the competition. We, as a society, need to mentor this younger generation. They must understand the big companies are out to make money. We must show them there is a better way. Whether or not they go along with the crowd, they should stay in school and work for a better life. These are decisions that children need help with; after all it could affect the rest of their life.
As soon as a woman applies for a job as a construction worker, heavy equipment operator or other positions that have been considered man’s work for years, people either think she is not capable of doing the job or that she has no business even trying because she is a woman. They think women are much too fragile to be handling large machinery. A woman might be a truck driver, crane operator or airline pilot. A company more than likely would contract a man operator before hiring a woman contractor to haul a load of freight, they might be concerned about the safety of the load under the care of a woman. If the woman is a crane operator, a company could possibly choose a man, thinking they have more experience, would be safer, and would be smoother with the crane. This is not always the case. A huge airline, such as United Airlines, might hire a man pilot over a woman with the idea if they ran in to rough weather during a flight the man would be more capable of handling the airplane. Women are trained to handle the same situations as their counterparts.
Women have been in the trucking industry for many years. When our troops had to fight in World War I and World War II, the women were left to fulfill a lot of the jobs that were always considered men’s work. The first woman to receive a chauffeur’s license, now called a commercial driver’s license, in the United States was Elizabeth Drennan in Texas in 1929. She hauled explosives and oil field equipment. Seven percent of the professional truck drivers on the road today are women (qtd. in Marsh 1). A lot of them do specialty, heavy hauls, explosives, and refrigerated loads that require demanding expertise and care of the load as well as transporting the freight. Women are still being criticized for doing a man’s job, but they can do it just as well and make just as much money if they are working for a respectable company. Many women own and operate their own trucking companies with much success. “Women are under represented in decision making positions worldwide. However, gender equality and diversity are recognized to have beneficial effects on organizations, institutions, and the overall economy. This article provides evidence that removing the glass ceiling, the invisible barriers which prevent women from reaching upper level positions may produce not only more equality but also substantial efficiency gains” (Profela 34-37). Even though a lady might have the same doctorate or master’s degree from a reputable college or university, the man may get the job because the employer might think that he needs a long-term employee. He may also be thinking that a few years down the road, this woman might decide to marry, have children, and become a stay at home mother. He, in turn, has invested years working with this employee and lost her. She, on the other hand, has performed her job efficiently and has gained several high-profile clients to the company’s portfolio during her employment giving the stockholders a hefty profit.
As soon as a woman runs for public office, people tend to think she is giving up her home. The old way of thinking is that all women should stay at home, have children, get up in the morning, send their husband and children out the door, and clean house all day. Those days are long gone. Women want to have a say in what goes on in their town, country, and government. After the Anita Hill and Judge Clarence Thomas conflict in 1991, women decided it was time their voices should be heard. In 1992, one hundred and seventeen women ran for Congress, far surpassing the 1990 record of seventy-seven. In Washington state, Patty Murray, whose only experience was serving on a school board for six years and four years in the state senate, decided to run for the United States Senate after their senator retired. Her opponent once belittled her and called her “merely a mom in tennis shoes”. She picked up the phrase and used it as her campaign slogan, and she won the election by fifty five percent (qtd. in Morin 128). As soon as the Hill, Thomas hearings were finished, women that had long since been mistreated started coming forward. As soon as one person makes that effort, it will give others the strength to follow. We need to encourage anyone that is being mistreated, no matter who it is, to seek help. You can always find a friend, police officer, doctor or social worker that is willing to help.
Still with everything that is going on in today’s world, we need to help all the other people around us. It is a fact that not only our adolescent girls, young women, and young boys are all affected by the internet, television, and movie industry’s decisions to display less than honorable products; some of the explicit things that are shown and viewed by them today are unreal. Possibly if enough concerned citizens appealed to the advertising community these ethics could be changed. Laws are changed in our government system daily by people sticking together, why should this be any different. We might consider getting laws passed to have the ratings on advertising better controlled. Women need to stand up for the rights they have earned. We have come a long way by earning the right to vote, the right to defend our citizens as police officers, and become fighter pilots. We are equal, and we can be whatever we want. Women no longer must stay behind closed doors, stay uneducated, untrained and prevented from seeking high level positions and earning decent wages. They are equal to their men counterparts whether society wants to face that fact or not.
- Copetti, Aline and Quiroga Carolina, “The Influence of Media on Eating Disorders and the Self-Image in Adolescents.” Revista de Psicologia da IMED vol. 10. no. 2, 2018, pp.161-177. Article 26 June 2016, Directory of Open Access Journals, GALILEO.
- Marsh, Aaron, “Driving Forces: Women Taking on More Lucrative Trucker Jobs.” Fleet Owners Exclusive, 19 March 2019, p. 1. Business Source Complete, GALILEO.
- Morin, Isobel, “8: The Year of the Woman: 1992.” The Year of the Woman: 1992, Oliver Press. 1994. p. 128. Book Collection Nonfiction, GALILEO.
- Profeta, Paola, “Gender Equality in Decision-Making Positions: The Efficiency Gains.” Interconomics, vol. 52. no. 1. 2017, p. 34. Business Source Complete, GALILEO.