Posted by: camillecarson11 | January 24, 2014

“Real Life Cinderella Story”

Scandal is a great show. It is one of my favorites because it is the first television show to have a black female as the lead role in over 20 years. But, it is one also of television’s most recent hit shows not only for its drama and romance, but for its ability to relate to real-life issues we are all faced with.  In the last presidential primary, the democratic party had the option of choosing its first female representative, Hillary Clinton, and this issue is what the clip addresses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1oyIEgDWAQ

After watching the clip, I remember thinking, this is perfect for a class discussion. It addresses everything that was spoken on in class today and our readings. This concept of femininity versus masculinity and which one will reap desired outcomes happens in every day life and the media. Until women stand up and go after what they want (as was so eloquently placed in the TED Talks we watched earlier), there will be no progress. Lisa Kudrow, playing a Congresswoman running for President, relates sexism to racism. Her strong correlation between the two links to inequality and outrageous justifications for not allowing women into higher positions. This “glass ceiling” that can be imposed on us based upon many criteria is a problem of today. Kudrow’s character even points out how the media staged the set to remind the audience of her gender.

An element that has been focused on, and greatly debated, in class recently is the importance of skill set over characteristics tending to be associated with gender. Kudrow’s accomplishments were great and were what any man fighting for the position of presidency tends to possess; she had military background and experience as a Congresswoman, but when trying to reach the top tiers of her career, this is when gender becomes a problem. This reverts back to my first post on the blog about Beyonce’s new song “Flawless.” Women can have ambition, but never want to succeed that of a man’s ambition, because then they are aiming too high and will be considered “power hungry” or a “workaholic,” or any other negative connotation we can attach to women being ambition-driven.

Eagley and Carli’s concept of the Labyrinth is a new concept that I prefer over glass ceilings and concrete walls. As a woman, I see this relationship of femininity being correlated with weakness. This is no more. Studies are showing women’s traits that were once seen as negative, and now seen as beneficial in the workforce; however, the results of these studies are still not being shown in practice. Changing these unconscious efforts to stereotype women as the weaker sex in the corporate world may take time, but until women “grab the bull by the horns” per se, nothing will change. We must use the labyrinth style of reaching our goals; press forward through roadblocks, change our views of ourselves, and let people know… we are qualified to do the same work of men.

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Responses

  1. I, too, prefer the labyrinth over the glass ceiling and concrete wall analogy. When I first imagined the glass ceiling and concrete wall, my mind immediately pictures barriers that are impossible to overcome. However, with the labyrinth, yes there are obstacles, but there are various ways to move around them and use them as guides along your path.

    I think this directly correlates to women in leadership, because although women may face discrimination solely because of their gender, they can use this negativity to guide them to their ultimate achievement and grow from any discrimination present.

    Thinking about women leaders in politics, my mind immediately goes to Sarah Palin. She was the first female governor of Alaska, and the youngest governor in Alaskan history. Gender was not a role in her term as governor, as she had both 93% and 89% approval ratings in 2007. She is also a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association – which most people only characterize men with. She is also a member of Feminists for Life, which is an anti-abortion, pro-contraception organization. So – what does this all mean? How can a woman be a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, support capital punishment, and also be a member of Feminists for Life? The answer is simple – she is a great woman who completely changes the normal stereotypes. Instead of being a simple stay-at-home mom who cooks and cleans all day, she is out hunting and fishing in Alaska with her family, riding four-wheelers, and doing characteristically “manly” things while also being a successful woman leader. I believe that Sarah Palin sets forth an example which we should all take into consideration – we all must travel through our own labyrinths to be ultimately successful. She clearly did not get to where she is today without criticism and judgements, but she used these as tools to propel her to where she is today. Instead of seeing a concrete wall as blocking her from her goals and ambitions, I would like to think of Palin’s journey as a long journey through her own personal Alaskan labyrinth that made her who she is today.

  2. I agree, as well. I, however, think of some of the women whom have made their way to the top in business. Mary Barra of General Motors or Virginia Rometty of IBM are great women leaders of top-of-the-line businesses. They are inspirations of mine as a future business woman. I am a high believer that things should be decided based on a person’s skill set and potential to grow and not on gender, race, or anything else.

    As for the labyrinth term, I think it is the most accurate one from our readings. I think it is very similar to the open door situation. If one door closes, then something else is going to open. People, women or men, just need to keep on pushing and not give up. The labyrinth is a maze that may be confusing, but there is always a finish line. Women can achieve their goals if they continue to search for that finish line and for that next open door.

  3. I also prefer the concept of the labyrinth over the glass ceiling. The glass ceiling is a barrier that cannot be broken; and I think that even though it is rare, the glass ceiling has been broken by women. We tend to view the statistics rather negatively because they seem so uneven. However, it is important that there are women in top positions where there were none before. So, instead of focusing on the fact that it is not equal yet, focus on the progress that women have made and know that they will continue to progress until the numbers even out. The labyrinth implies that it is possible for women to reach their goals; there is no specific point that they are not allowed to move past. It will most likely be difficult, but not impossible.

    In the clip, I appreciate that Lisa Kudrow’s character does not want to be viewed for her gender. She is not asking for any special treatment as a woman. Some people believe that there should be a quota system in order to ensure the equal presence of women in top level positions. However, this is simply reverse discrimination. When Hillary Clinton was running for president she used her gender to her advantage. It is not shocking for politicians to attempt to win votes any way they can, but it would also be a shame if people voted for her simply because they wanted to see a woman as president. In that case, she is still being identified for her gender and not for her abilities.

  4. I love this clip! I think it speaks everything that we are trying to reinforce and establish from this class – equality is achieved through de-gendering leadership and showing that it is individualized.

    It’s important to see this clip as a way to verbally and visually show someone tackling the idea of the glass ceiling effect and how it prevents women from moving forward because of their gender. Lisa Kudrow effectively demonstrates how the media is working to present her character’s inability to be Commander-in-Chief because of her gender. She breaks through the glass ceiling and doesn’t let her gender stop her in her pursuits to run for president. Snaps for Lisa’s character and her dedication to de-gendering her campaign to run for president!

    However, I feel the labyrinth should be applied to leadership rather than the glass ceiling. The labyrinth exhibits how women (and men) are capable of achieving their goals and aspirations through their work; symbolized by working their way to the exit. Anyone and everyone can be seen as having their own personal labyrinth that they are working to find the exit to, not just women. With the glass ceiling, this inhibits women through gendering them and their accomplishments as not sufficient, based entirely on their gender.

    In current times, that’s why I feel the labyrinth effect is more relevant and modern, and more open than the glass ceiling. One implies failure regardless of the woman’s hard work, where the other shows that hard work and dedication of anyone can present results to whoever is working through their labyrinth.

  5. When I saw this clip I just had the sudden urge to scream out “You go girl!” I think one of the problems that we come across in regards to equal rights is the fact that many women just expect change to be handed to them. In reality though, things aren’t going to change or get better unless we work to make it that way. I think Lisa Kudrow’s character did an awesome job at highlighting what it takes to get your point across. She wasn’t afraid to step out of line or offend anyone because if you want change to happen, that is what you have to do. We have to speak out and we have to define and illustrate our grievances with equal rights in order to take the steps towards workplace equality. I think that Kudrow’s character is a great example of Eagly and Carli’s “labyrinth” metaphor because it shows that women can navigate their way to the top. The “glass ceiling” concept made it seem almost impossible for women to reach higher-up positions and that may have been true in earlier decades, but now I think women are starting to earn their place. I think one of the reasons this show is so popular is that it showcases the fact that women can reach their goals and they can be successful in business and politics if they are willing to put the work in to get there. This clip shows that there is hope after all for female advancement in the workplace as long as we are willing to actually speak up for ourselves.

  6. This clip is awesome! It is one of my favorite ones that we have watched. It makes me think about myself as a leader and what I would do in her situation. I would hope to be the type of female leader to stand up for myself, and women in general, like Lisa Kudrow. I think this is important because we need more women to do this, and once we do, I think progress will be made.

    Like the comments before mine, I also agree with the labyrinth concept. With talk of the glass ceiling, I used to picture women looking up at men, yet never being able to reach their level. Now, I view it as women crawling through the broken glass hole and joining men. But the labyrinth covers so much more. A wall or ceiling infers that everyone reaches a stopping point where there is no progress to be made. This is just simply not the case anymore with women’s leadership. Each woman has her own obstacles to work through and overcome. They are all not the same, nor do they happen at the same time. Unlike the glass ceiling, the labyrinth signifies ways to move past these obstacles in hopes to reach the end. I, however, see the labyrinth as never ending. There are always going to be obstacles in life, whether it be the workforce or any other aspect. How you choose to conquer these obstacles is where progress is made.

  7. I completely love this clip. And I, like everyone else that commented, completely agree with you about the labyrinth concept. The glass ceiling and concrete wall concepts are really deterring to women. Who are they to say that there isn’t a way past the gender role nonsense? There are many amazing women who have found ways to move past the assumption that women cannot reach that level of leadership, such as Mary T. Barra, the CEO of General Motors that Dr. Shollen mentioned in class. If someone has the skills and experience to be considered for a high level leadership position, then why shouldn’t they be considered? Gender should never be an issue. This clip is so empowering for me, to see gender roles openly scorched for what they are, which is sexist and has no real value.


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