Women and gender studies: Definitions and essay

Published: 2019-11-08 09:30:00
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Gender studies are quite complex and different philosophers have different views and approaches. There are also a few words that form part and parcel of the gender philosophy. I have tried to define a few terms on the same with subsequent reflections and in-depth answers to my definitions. Later in this essay, I chose to address question one from the available questions. Specifically, I delve into the philosophical analogy of gender being a social construction and how patriarchy operates on a systemic level. In my view, gender bias and societal stratification should not be encouraged or perpetrated within any society or economic system.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Prejudice is the state by which an individual holds preconceived judgments or convictions which are unreasonable. It is also the act of harboring irrational hatred or suspicion against a particular group, gender or religious adherents. In this case, opinions are formed before-hand founded on deficient facts. From a philosophical point of view, prejudices are principles adduced from provisional judgments. Examples of prejudices are logical egoism which involves self-love, individual prestige prejudices or even sexist prejudices where someone holds the view that certain people are not worthy or capable of doing or undertaking a certain task especially work related issues. Simply put, they have the notion that women are weaklings. In such instances, a woman may be denied a deserved job opportunity or opening eg engineering or construction jobs, thus in the long-run work-related gender imbalance is created in various sections of the economy.

Sexism, on the other hand is the belief that one particular sex is more valuable or superior than the other which is according to the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary. Limits are imposed on what each kind of gender ought to do. Men are overlooked as important over the female counterparts hence they are at times assigned more privileges than the female counterparts. Feminists are of the contrary opinion that women may be sexist to men since most institutional powers are bestowed to men. A casing example is when certain social cultures believe that ladies and women, in general, have no say in various issues that touch on family and that the man has the overall say in the home and the wife comes in second. Or rather in some cultures, conceiving a male child creates a superiority notion as the girl child is regarded as less superior.

Patriarchy is a system where the father is always the head of the family which is according to the Collins English Dictionary. In this, the society is mainly governed and run by men being the most dominant gender. Males are regarded as family heads and kinship and descent and titles are mainly traced through the male lineage. Supreme authority within a community is rested on the oldest male. If power comes into play, it is normally transferred to the males only. This is prejudicial since all genders are supposed to be treated equally. A very good example is in the Greek Orthodox churches where the hierarchical ranking of leadership is dominated by males. In another example, in matrilineal/matrilocal societies, women normally live with their siblings and mothers even after being married as they never leave their maternal home and brothers play the role of social fathers which is to the detriment of the original biological father of the offspring.

Myth of meritocracy is a cultural system whereby individual advancement is based on achievement and personal abilities but there is also the aspect of popular story or belief that is associated with a person or occurrence which is according to Rowman & Littlefield book on The Meritocracy Myth. This assertion is challenged by the argument that there exists a gap between how people perceive the working of a given system and how the system actually works. It is also referred to the myth that distributes wealth and income resources based on individual merits. Unequal societies are less happy than equal societies. A very good example was the presence of only one woman in the entire cabinet of Tonny Abbot back in 2013. This was despite the fact that there was a large pool of senior women in the government; the cabinet had only one woman then. Perhaps this could have been adduced to the popular notion that certain positions are associated to certain persons; qualifications notwithstanding. With such biased and fictional myths, women are easily left out when filling certain positions.

Systems of oppression are practiced in societies where there is a cruel and unjust use of power and authorities against citizens or individuals (Rachel Gibbs and Claire Martin). Affliction and tormenting comes into play in such scenarios coupled with dehumanization and exploitation. In institutions or societies where such is propagated, certain members of a social group are harmed while the other corresponding social group normally reaps from the harm directed to the oppressed group (Allan G. Johnson). Force and violence can be applied so as to propagate oppressed ideologies. Oppressive systems are created by abusive acts driven towards establishment and maintenance of dominance. As explained by Sam Richards and Paul Saba in their publication on the basis of women oppression, the best example of such oppressive systems against women is the documented brutal and sustained attacks on productive and sexual autonomy of the women in Europe which occurred during the capitalism era through torture, killings, and witch hunts. During that era, artisan and peasant women who showed spiritual liberalism were maimed and killed.

In this section of the essay, I address myself to question 3. The American system has developed different economic approaches and systems to manage resources. There are four main systems used to manage scarce resources. These are traditional economic system, command or planned economic system, market economic system and mixed economic system (Shmoop Editorial Team). Depending on the type of system employed in specific locality, a lot of factors come into play. In traditional economic systems, prior long and established patterns are followed ie, it is shaped by past traditions. They are not dynamic since they rarely change but economic relationships and behaviors are quite predictable. In this, individual interests come after communal interests and privately owned properties are respected. In command or planned economies, the central government or authority controls the entire economy by dictating how resources are distributed, commodity pricing or even wages. In market economies, individuals make most of the economic decisions. Existing interactions between companies and individuals within the marketplace dictates how the available resources and goods are distributed and allocated. Individuals make most of their investment choices in this system and types of consumption thus the government is almost completely absent from the affairs of the economy. Lastly, mixed economies entail amalgamation of the elements of both command and market economic systems. Individuals make economic decisions in the market whereas the government of the day plays the role of equitable distribution and allocation of resources. United States majorly employs the mixed economic system and to a lesser level, the pure market economy. It is upon the incumbent political party to implement the best economic system that best serves the general population. The federal reserve plays a crucial role in the economic management and policing within the economy. Different Federal Reserve heads at any point in time have different approaches.

According to the web lesson transcript of Erin Long-Crowell definitions of the various social classes in America, there exists the upper, middle and lower classes. The American society is socially stratified through categorical ranking of people in a hierarchy manner. The system is open and social status is realized through effort and merit and movement within classes is achievable through opportunities and increased level of education. Classes are determined by individual socioeconomic conditions and membership to the various classes doesnt have a specific criterion. Thus, In America, members of the upper class are regarded as owners of production means. They are very wealthy individuals and most private wealth is in their hands. Top executives, respected government officials and business owners fall in this category. Income levels and wealth status determine a lot in this class. The upper class is also divided into the upper-upper class who mainly got their wealth through inheritance and the lower upper-class who mainly work for and earn their acquired wealth. On the other hand, the middle class makes up nearly half of American population and most advertisements target them, within this class, upward, downward and horizontal movement is very active within this class. Within this class are the upper middle class who lead a fair lifestyle and earn salaries which are above average. The average middle class have a national average income level going by the kind of above average salaries they earn. Members mainly have the white collar job. The working class are mainly the lower middle class and members mostly have blue-collar jobs and their earning is slightly less that the normal national average. The final class is the lower class. This class lacks the financial means to meet their day to day basic needs. They are a minority group and the rest of the societal classes look down and segregates them. This class is further divided onto the upper-lower class which is also referred to the poor working class with quite low levels of education. They are rarely skilled and take up most of the job opportunities which attract minimum wages. Job security is not guaranteed to them and they oscillate along the poverty line. The final societal class is the underclass or lower-lower class who rarely share norms with te rest of the other classes. Homelessness, crime, joblessness, poverty and epidemics characterize this class. It is rather evident that the various classes define the various available opportunities.

Myth of meritocracy can serve to make class inequalities seem natural by creating the notion that resources are equally distributed across all sections of the economy by the systems in p[lace while in the real sense, this distribution is pegged on merit. It is evident that people of the lower class seem to be ignored when resources are distributed since they are not viewed as worthy. Thus in most economies, focus is put on the upper class due to the notion that they are the main wealth creators in a given economy (Rowman & Littlefield). Sections of the lower class perceive it to be normal to be without most of the amenities and provisions that prosperous sections of the society enjoy since to them, the never merit to enjoy such facilities, a sense of inferiority complex develop in their mindsets. In the long run, they lose hope in pursuing those facilities that the system cannot provide for them. Due to their low income levels, they seem to be a liability to the system as it is the belief that nothing good can come out of them.

On a much broader picture, policies on development plans mainly focus on the well to do sections of the society. Since the middle and upper class contribute a lot to economic systems, development in terms of infrastructure, education, health and social amenities is mainly focus in localities where they seem to inhabit at the expense of the lower cadre of the society within a certain region. Concrete and long-term development plans are coined to favor the wealthy. It is easy to come across cases of disease outbreaks in areas where the lower class live s...


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