Posted by: bethanygeiger | January 28, 2016

I’ve recently been thinking about whether there is a correlation between our historically male dominated society and the general sense of vulnerability and defenselessness many women feel on a daily basis. Although I am sure stereotypical physical size and anatomical differences between men and women are huge contributors, I wonder if there are other factors as well. Are the social, political, and economic hierarchies we’ve created between men and women potential reasons women feel unsafe walking at night or traveling alone?

If women have grown up believing men are the ones with power in families, government, and the workplace and those men are the ones that make decisions about our lives on those levels, doesn’t make sense for women to believe that men can easily control our lives on a personal level as well? Perhaps as women take on more leadership roles in our male dominated society, feelings of empowerment will spread to women’s actions in their daily personal lives as well.

When women catch up to men stop having feelings of incompetence in the workplace, maybe that will stem off to psycological empowerment across the board. Reversely, I wonder if there is a correlation between women who feel physically empowered and more equal with men and their feelings of placement in the gendered social hierarchy.

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Responses

  1. I would say yes, there has to be a correlation between our male-dominated society and the general sense of vulnerability and lack of power women have. I think it has a lot to do with our country’s history. Males have held the power for so long and with that power, there inevitably comes some corruption. I do believe the physical factors play a part in why women can feel unsafe or nervous about walking alone at night. Personally, I feel that I am a pretty strong female and would put up one heck of a fight if I was ever attacked. However, at the end of the day, men normally are physically stronger than women. As a result, most men don’t feel unsafe or nervous when walking alone.

  2. Your post gets to a deeper, more philosophical question about how our society works. I agree that the physical characteristics play a major role in what jobs women were presumed to be capable of. However, I think the bigger issue is the perception that people have about women’s capabilities as leaders. The reading for class today touches on this aspect. They did research on a study done that gave two leaders the exact same qualities and scenarios changing only their first name to be either feminine or masculine. The participants rated them equally on their leadership but rated the woman to be more abrasive and self-promoting, while the man was rated as confident and assertive. This just shows that the perceptions are so ingrained in our minds that women are able to be leaders but they are somehow perceived as being abrasive, self-promoting, and unappealing. Once society learns to see women leaders as just as confident and assertive like men, we may see more women in positions of power without them being scrutinized.


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