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Is Popular Culture Destroying Women?

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posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 05:00 AM
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It could be something else, but personally, I see the blame on popular culture: i.e. the movies, tv shows, music, and general portrayal in the english-speaking media.

And I'd definitely say, at least in the US and UK, the role of women in society is being seriously and insidiously undermined: Not in a way you can clearly point to someone or something and say "They are at fault, stop them!", but instead, in a way that brainwashes people THEMSELVES to make decisions and accept such things as normal.

The reason I started up this thread was because I read some article about the recent elections in Tunisia, which were the first free elections held there since 1956. It was big news, because an Islamist party took power, which loads of people (even here on ATS) predicted was the beginning of the end for freedom, equality, etc.
The funny thing is that the percentage of women who were elected to their lower house: 26.3%.

That may not seem like much, but that means over 1 quarter of the seats went to women. But compare it to the USA (women only make up 16.8% of the lower house, and 17% of the Senate). Or to the UK (where women make up 22% of the lower house, 20% of the Upper House)- 71st most and 49th most, respectively. What's even more hilarious is that there are countries like Uganda, Tunisia, Sudan, Pakistan, Vietnam, that are higher.
Reference

And that is just politics!
I know from personal experience that females make up a miniscule number of the total undergraduate students of engineering in the UK. In for a number of years in an Electrical Engineering degree, there were absolutely NO women doing that degree. Computer Engineering fared a bit better, it had 3 women (these were classes of about 50-60 students). If you go higher (to graduate level studies), the number of women becomes even less!

The same with the US. From the 70s to the 2000, women in Engineering Degrees jumped a massive.....7.6% (from around 11-13% to around 19-20%). And from 2000 to 2008, it went down from 20.5% to 18.5%- the number of women enrolling stayed approximately the same (around 12500), but the total enrolling increased by 10,000 (most of which were male). Even the Engineering colleges that boast the highest female enrolment can't go higher than 30%.
(Reference

It is SLIGHTLY better for sciences/medicine, and better than that for law (although in both cases, it is less than 50% on average), but again, when you go to business, you'll find the business schools are struggling to get women enrolment above 30%.

Interestingly enough, females do better than males in high school, and therefore make up a larger percentage of those who do their undergraduate level studies overall. The problem being that the vast majority of these are in liberal arts (excluding the fields I mentioned here).

Now I hope you don't mind too much if I indulge my superiority complex a little
, but it is fields like Politics, Law, Engineering, Business and Sciences that usually lead the way of advancement and progress as a whole. Literature and art and such are certainly important, of course, and are often of greater cultural significance in
retrospect, but it is those other fields that lead the way.

Why aren't women flocking to these fields in at least equal numbers to men? I can understand if it was a field with large amounts of manual labour or something (which is why you wouldn't regularly see female construction workers or something), but these fields are pretty far removed from stuff that needs muscle.

Maybe if Hilary Clinton had won the last election we'd have more girls interested in that
. But then where would the US be? It is interesting how women who end up on top in Politics seem to have to take up these "manly" aggressive personas (at least in the UK and USA), but that's another topic.

I'd say it is because of the perception of women in the media, which then shapes the perceptions of young girls themselves- If you ask a regular kid girl who they'd want to be like when they're older, aside from those that name stuff like their parents' profession and sportsperson or something, you'd get responses like "Singer" "Dancer" "Actress" "Model" or maybe "Doctor" if you're lucky. Admittedly, boys at that age would be idolising famous sportsmen, or maybe astronauts and firemen (which isn't what I am on about, but I'd still say is several steps above wanting to join the entertainment industry) but as they grow and as they realise they won't be able to do that, their focuses shift to other stuff.

If you asked a teenager for the name of a famous scientist who is alive today, aside from maybe "Stephen Hawking", they wouldn't be able to give any answer. Definitely not be able to name any famous engineers. Politicians perhaps would be a bit easier, but I'd venture to say that few would even be able to name their state's senator. Society and media seems to elevate and make famous instead, groups that (honestly) have relatively way less importance: actors, singers, etc.
Society seems to lift up the importance of these to way above stuff like "Politician", "Leader" "Engineer" and "Scientist".
edit on 24-2-2012 by babloyi because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 05:10 AM
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Yes the media has a lot to answer for.Women are offered an impossible image to aspire to in the media. They must be beautiful, great mums, but, also capable of being a working mum, who still has the time to care for all the family.

Naomi Wolf argues that the multi billion dollar diet, cosmetic and cosmetic surgery industries construct this unhealthy image for women to make women feel bad and need their products.




posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 05:25 AM
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Yeah, the beauty thing especially is something I didn't really touch on in my original post. They seem inordinately obsessed with beauty. Can you remember the last movie you saw where the female lead wasn't overly "pretty" or "beautiful"? If you can, 10/10 chances that she was originally beautiful in her younger days. Contrast that to the male leads in movies. Sure, we have our Brad Pitts and George Clooneys, but we also have Paul Giamattis, Phillip Seymoure Hoffmans, Mickey Rourkes, Ron Perlmans, Danny Trejos, etc.
Even in the music industry, we have many of male singers who don't exactly fit the "pretty boy" mold. I'm not so up to date with today's popular music industry, but there were men who, even at their peak, wouldn't really be considered "good looking", eg. Meatloaf, or even those Metal bands who, even if they may have good-looking musicians, hide it behind intentionally "scaring" paint and make up.
Men who exemplify the fact that while our world is made up of some pretty people, it is also made up of loads of "normal" and sometimes even "ugly" people, and looks aren't everything.

Contrast this to female singers or bands: Again, unless they are older (in which case they had to be good looking when they were young), it seems it is important FIRST to have a pretty face, and then of secondary importance is the quality of music they make.

I remember reading a magazine that had an article a couple years ago about females in the Justice system, which focused on one particular woman. The cover of the magazine, instead of having a picture of this woman, or maybe a montage of others, decided instead to opt for this cartoony representation of some young woman with large breasts, wearing lipstick, coyly raising a gavel ready to strike down.
Turned out the female judge wasn't "beautiful" enough to warrant more than a small black and white photograph inside the magazine in the article itself.
edit on 24-2-2012 by babloyi because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 05:38 AM
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reply to post by babloyi
 


Even this at this time and age, you'll find in certain areas women are subjected to criticism, some avoid these areas due to that criticism, as some one stated earlier on, they're expected to be beautiful, great at their job yet still have great family/care time.

Also another factor is, still in many places the male , and some times not necessarily geographically, but the male feels he is alpha and should therefore be the provider. (This is vice versa as some women believe the male should be the provider any way!). When people believe that, they tend to lose interest in going out or doing any thing, as they know they have some one putting a roof over their head and food on their spoons.

Yes, it is of course great to see how capable women are now a days, but there is still that social criticism and society gabba. I mean when I was raised I was never really told that I could go out and do what ever, it was always, you will find a lovely man and learn to cook etc etc

These ideals are taught by many mothers, from a young age. I'd say women just need to realise the potential out there. Some have, and you'll find they've gone on to be the successful women we see in today's politics/media and such. Others have yet to see it and be inspired.



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 05:52 AM
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Threads like this though well intentioned are also part of the problem.

The media and neanderthal minds do create virtual roadblocks. But here we are as so many often do making women out to be helpless victims.

Happens all the time.

This constant projection of women as something to be protected, cared for, and even excused from taints even the best intentions and thereby contributes the same perception that females are less capable.

Even in the courts a 40 year old woman sleeping with a 15 year old male is just a cry for help while a 40 year old male with a 15 year old female is a monster taking advantage of a poor female. Because females are inherently naive and stupid must be the conclusion.

Even when allegedly "helping" most are just perpetuating the notion of female weakness.


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 06:34 AM
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I'd agree that the media has been destroying what is wholesome, but at the same time, I'd have to point the finger at people that continually veg out in front of the TV. I basically don't watch TV, except for the occasional news program and sports show. I don't have cable and I don't miss it.

I barely tolerate online ads, and I'll close out the page when I have to watch one to watch a video or if a video randomly comes on somewhere on the page.

I've drawn the line to what I'll tolerate.



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 06:34 AM
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dp
edit on 24-2-2012 by satron because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 06:41 AM
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To the OP: You make a great point. I don't know what to say though. I do believe that society is leading people off of a cliff with the gross idolization of celebrities, etc.

As a male though, I find it harder to find women to date because I don't fit that "pretty boy" mold either. Granted, I have made strides to improve my health but I still get nasty comments from some women.

It's all good. I'm not sure where society is heading but I do wonder if the prospect of not finding a good job is what drives some people to stay from college in general?



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 06:42 AM
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Originally posted by babloyi


I'd say it is because of the perception of women in the media, which then shapes the perceptions of young girls themselves- If you ask a regular kid girl who they'd want to be like when they're older, aside from those that name stuff like their parents' profession and sportsperson or something, you'd get responses like "Singer" "Dancer" "Actress" "Model" or maybe "Doctor" if you're lucky. Admittedly, boys at that age would be idolising famous sportsmen, or maybe astronauts and firemen (which isn't what I am on about, but I'd still say is several steps above wanting to join the entertainment industry) but as they grow and as they realise they won't be able to do that, their focuses shift to other stuff.


Well, who are asking? I've met plenty of girls who want to be doctors. At the college in my town most of the Physics majors are women. Most of the science majors are women there. I'm a music major, I don't see what is wrong with that.

Women do shift their focus to other things as they get older. I've seen plenty of girls who wanted model grow up and move on. As for beauty, what's wrong with wanting to look good? It's a biological imperative for women.That's why it exists. It always has. You discuss movies-You have noticed the men look pretty good too right? Most people don't want to watch ugly people for a hour and a half. It's human nature.
edit on 24-2-2012 by antonia because: opps


I also have to say-Popular culture isn't removed from the population. It exists because of the population. Someone didn't just invent foreign ideas. No one would be buying it if that was the case. These idea spring from the population and are reflected by popular culture.
edit on 24-2-2012 by antonia because: forgot something



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 06:59 AM
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I wouldn't say popular culture is destroying women. We've never had it so good compared to back when everything was controlled by a man. A lot of us anyway, there's still that other half of the world.

You might have uncovered a conspiracy though. It seems like the media is whipping up the brainwashed into picking away at women so the rest of us feel cornered into little niches and only the brave dare venture out into doing something different, in case we're labelled the same. And the worst of these torch bearing, pitchfork wielding, brainwashed people are, OTHER WOMEN.

Are we doing it because we're being brainwashed and controlled?
Are we doing it because it's our nature that don't want to see other women succeed?
Is it because we just idolise men more?
Is the "sisterhood" a lie?

Maybe thousands of years of being a second class citizen to a man (sometimes even secondary to his goats) has affected our mentality in the long term?


Another silly question - why are all famous hair-dressers men?



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 08:32 AM
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reply to post by wigit
 


Tabatha Coffey is a famous hairdresser. She has her own show on Bravo called Tabatha's Salon Takeover. But what does it even matter?

A lot of Native American tribes were Matriarchal. Not all of history were men the alpha, it really depends on what group of people you're talking about. That is just westernized revisionist history speaking.
edit on 24-2-2012 by RealSpoke because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 09:06 AM
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Every grocery store I go in, where you check out to the cashier, are always 'women's' magazines at child eye level, with glaring headlines of the words orgasm and sex, fifty different oral ways, it's just filthy and demoralizing, and (tries to) make women look like high libido scuzz. I wonder why this seems to be a policy of so many stores, and if it's a conspiracy similar to security gropings, to make people feel demoralized, therefore spiritually oppressed. I never see anyone perusing those magazines and purchasing them. It's like to me, where hardcore porn is allowed to be viewed in public Libraries so little children can see, and no one is allowed to do anything about it. I watched about this problem on an evening newsmagazine type show on tv the other night. All kinds of incidents everywhere involving exposures, assaults, fights.



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 10:04 AM
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reply to post by RealSpoke
 


Ok well this is what we know in the UK. They have their names all over our bottles, dryers, tongs, and brushes too.

Top hair stylists



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by babloyi
 




Is Popular Culture Destroying Women?


No. If there is destruction in process to the gender, then it is actually women who are destroying women.

We really have this thing for assigning blame to the inanimate and conceptual. We blame guns for violence, not those who pull the trigger. We blame religion for wrongs committed in the past by people who took advantage of it. We blame prescription medicines and drugs for those who become addicted from abusing them.

If either males or females, young or old are in any peril, it is because they don't think.

We have the faculties to make our own decisions but it requires us to apply ourselves to life, not sit back like it is an amusement park ride. We are responsible to ourselves for our choices and to society when we screw the pooch. We can't blame anything or anyone but ourselves.

But... no one wants to accept the consequences for their own behavior and choices in life. That is why we have emerging nanny-states where there used to be free societies and democracies.



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 12:06 PM
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Well, the timeframe I was talking about was more after the whole women's liberation stuff. There is no doubt that women 100 years ago had it much worse than they do now, but with so much potential with the explosion of "freedom" they were given, it is sad that so little of it has been utilised.
I wouldn't call it falling into the "victim" mentality either. It is independent, free women who are actively CHOOSING not to go into engineering, or politics, or business, etc.

reply to post by antonia
 


Originally posted by antonia
Well, who are asking? I've met plenty of girls who want to be doctors. At the college in my town most of the Physics majors are women. Most of the science majors are women there.

As I said, science and medicine is thankfully better than the rest, with women making up almost 50% of the total enrolment in the USA. I dunno where in the states you might be, perhaps the average in your state is higher?


Originally posted by antonia
You discuss movies-You have noticed the men look pretty good too right? Most people don't want to watch ugly people for a hour and a half. It's human nature.

But after mentioning movies, I gave tonnes of examples of male actors who are pretty famous and watched despite not falling into usual standards of "handsomeness". The same could not really be given of women (unless, as I said, they were attractive at their peak, and then just stuck around as they aged).

I'd be curious as to how far your point about population influencing popular culture as opposed to the other way around can be held up. I'd say there are plenty of historical examples, as well as current financial motivations of many media-influencing corporations that say otherwise.



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 01:31 PM
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reply to post by babloyi
 


In order for what you say to be true (regarding media), then prior to television, men must have preferred obese women with poor facial symmetry because it would have more securely ensured monogamy, ensuring the man raised HIS progeny - not someone else's. And this isn't true.

Media mimics, exploits and exaggerates human preference in order to make money. We are animals first, civilized beings second. Men like certain physicial traits indicating youth, fertility and solid genes when pursuing women in their effort to continue their bloodlines. Women prefer traits in men indicative of financial independence and strong character, in THEIR effort to continue their bloodlines.

It isn't the media. It's the animal inside us all. It will never go away, and we delude ourselves when attempting to snuff out its existence. Put down that Naomi Wolfe book. She overthought the simplicity of human life, and she once appealed to my pseudo-intellectual anti-establishment leanings.

This branch of feminism, relegating fundamental feminine traits to evidence of female supplication, is painful to watch. It propegates the man-as-dog stereotype, and reduces the woman to a specimen without intrinsic contributions.

That hourglass shape worshipped by media? That isn't the result of a media mogul cinching some poor woman's waist and force-feeding her image to the public. It's a reflection of her levels of estrogen, which, in turn, is a reflection of her fertility. It's why a woman's shape changes once she hits menopause. Try reading Survival of the Prettiest for a start. If you want to delve deep into the topic, give The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature a whirl.

I hope this helps broaden your understanding of the relationships between women and men. It certainly gave me a stronger appreciation of men, better sense of pride in what's considered to be feminine, and made me far less angry at the ghost in the machine. Nobody is out to get us, unless we insist upon it.



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by babloyi
Well, the timeframe I was talking about was more after the whole women's liberation stuff. There is no doubt that women 100 years ago had it much worse than they do now, but with so much potential with the explosion of "freedom" they were given, it is sad that so little of it has been utilised.
I wouldn't call it falling into the "victim" mentality either. It is independent, free women who are actively CHOOSING not to go into engineering, or politics, or business, etc.


There are plenty of women in business. Do you have any figures? I bet you don't. They might not be CEO's but I still know many women who own businesses. Things like clothing stores, bakeries, coffee shops, bars, etc. I live in Tennessee. I know plenty of women who own such establishments here and it's the repressive south. As for Politics-Please, what is useful about politics? Furthermore one has to get elected. Don't blame women if they run and can't get elected.

Ever consider that maybe a lot of women don't share you priorities? There is nothing wrong with not wanting to be an engineer. Frankly, I'm not smart enough to do that. I suck at math. Why the hell would I go into something that I know I can't succeed in? And what is the problem with that? Furthermore, what is the problem with a good looking woman modeling? What's the problem concerning talented people singing? If women are free to make their own choices they should also be free from you judging all of them wholesale because you think they should be doing something else. Some women just want to stay home and raise kids. Some women want to paint, some women want to do headstands naked in public. Who cares, it's their life, it's their choice.



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 01:43 PM
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Originally posted by redoubt
reply to post by babloyi
 




Is Popular Culture Destroying Women?


No. If there is destruction in process to the gender, then it is actually women who are destroying women.

We really have this thing for assigning blame to the inanimate and conceptual. We blame guns for violence, not those who pull the trigger. We blame religion for wrongs committed in the past by people who took advantage of it. We blame prescription medicines and drugs for those who become addicted from abusing them.

If either males or females, young or old are in any peril, it is because they don't think.

We have the faculties to make our own decisions but it requires us to apply ourselves to life, not sit back like it is an amusement park ride. We are responsible to ourselves for our choices and to society when we screw the pooch. We can't blame anything or anyone but ourselves.

But... no one wants to accept the consequences for their own behavior and choices in life. That is why we have emerging nanny-states where there used to be free societies and democracies.



Yup. It's called mate competition. While men align themselves with the most powerful men, forming alliances to dominate in an arena which will procure him a mate (or nine), women scratch out the eyes of other women so no man will want them. Women know something very important that most men aren't aware of: a woman without friends finds it very, very difficult to meet anyone. By boxing her out of alliances, other women increase their own chances of successfully dating/mating. Ever notice the women in your life just despise that beautiful new neighbor who causes a rash of lawnmowing each time she washes her car? And they never even met her?

Another interesting thing about beauty: facial symmetry dictates facial beauty (I'm pretty sure everyone is familiar with this concept, but if not, check this out) as well as the golden ratio. But did you know babies agree? In this link a study is analyzed in which it's determined babies stare at beautiful faces longer than average or below-average faces. The lesson? People like looking at pretty stuff. Again, this topic has been over-complicated by over-thinking.
edit on 2/24/2012 by chasingbrahman because: (no reason given)

edit on 2/24/2012 by chasingbrahman because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 01:53 PM
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reply to post by chasingbrahman
 


I do agree with you concerning human nature and such, but I don't think your view of women is entirely correct. I don't hate beautiful women personally. I'm fairly unattractive as well so if anybody has a reason to be hateful toward pretty ladies it's me. I think it's because I haven't lost my weight from having my son and I have a rather unattractive face, but I don't have my beautiful neighbors. I'd be lying if I said I didn't envy them from time to time, but I think it's best to take the time to appreciate good looking people and not get stuck on your unluckiness in the genetic crapshoot.

I think it's also pertinent to know just how much of "erotic capital" is socially driven. Symmetry says quite a bit, but research has shown that the longer you have a friendly relationship with someone the more physically attractive you find them. there are other psychological factors to consider i think.



posted on Feb, 24 2012 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by antonia
You discuss movies-You have noticed the men look pretty good too right? Most people don't want to watch ugly people for a hour and a half. It's human nature.

But after mentioning movies, I gave tonnes of examples of male actors who are pretty famous and watched despite not falling into usual standards of "handsomeness". The same could not really be given of women (unless, as I said, they were attractive at their peak, and then just stuck around as they aged).


Tina Fey
Oprah Winfrey
Barbara Walters
Madonna
Martha Stewart
This is just off the top of my head, but oh wait...
Kathy Bates
Meryl Streep
Oh gosh I'm begging the question.

Men got where they are because they aren't intrinsically driven to spend an afternoon flaming another man for the size of his hips.

When women starting lifting other worthy women with them, the world will change. But we're too afraid to be alone.
edit on 2/24/2012 by chasingbrahman because: (no reason given)




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