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Political And Social Inequalities

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Political and Social Inequalities

Racism and gender inequality are still two of the most controversial topics in today's society. While reading some of the stories that have been assigned, I've noticed many similarities as well as changes in the political and social aspects of life at the times set in the readings with those same aspects in today's society. While the readings show us some of the inequalities that we faced at the time such as gender inequality and racism, we still face these same inequalities in today's society. We may not see them as often as we once did, but if you look hard enough, you can find examples of gender inequality and racism in everyday life.

While reading "Shiloh" by Bobbie Ann Mason, we are drawn to the inequalities that Norma Jean faces by being a woman in the late 1970's, early 1980's. Norma Jean is thought to be dependent on her husband, not well educated and very outspoken. She shows us that this isn't true with her. She is very ambitious and independent. She even starts going to night school so that she can be more educated. "Something is happening. Norma Jean is going to night school. She has graduated from her six-week body-building course and now she is taking an adult-education course in composition at Paducah Community College" (p 277). She lives by herself most of the time because Leroy was always gone so she became very independent. Norma Jean makes the decision to divorce Leroy and he's the one that is kind of shocked. "Without looking at Leroy, she says, 'I want to leave you'...finally he says, 'No you don't'" (p 280). With this conversation, the narrator makes us believe that Norma Jean is a very strong and independent woman.

This is very similar to today's society because women still are thought to be somewhat dependent on their significant other. Women are also thought to be less intelligent than men and they don't make nearly as much money as a man who holds the same job. How often do you see a woman C.E.O? Not as often as you see a male in that position. When you do see a woman however, there is no way she is making close to the male C.E.O. How often do you see a male for a secretary? I actually can't think of any time that I have seen a male at the front desk of an office building. Is there a reason for this to have not changed yet? For a long time, women were also thought to have the jobs of nurses and men were the doctors. That recently changed about 20 years ago. Now you see many male nurses and a large number of women doctors. There are many professions that were and still are thought to be male dominant. We still tend to consider the more physically demanding jobs meant for men, and the nurturing and helpful jobs are supposed to be meant for women. Many of the same visions that stood at the time about women and their role in society still hold true today but aren't made as obvious because of how politically correct our society has become.

While working at a one of my restaurants, I was looked at for a management position, but failed to get it over a male server who had been there six months less than I had. I actually was not even informed of what had happened until I returned from Southern California. When I approached my general manager, all she said to me what that it was the district managers decision, not hers. Our district manager happened to be a male and apparently thought I was not qualified enough to run the floor alone. However, when this new manager had questions, who do you think he asked, me. I was eventually promoted a few months later when my district manager came in and saw how the place was being run, but I still can't help to think I was discriminated against until I proved myself to him.

In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," we receive another great example of how women were oppressed. This story takes place even further back in the late 1800's. During this time, women weren't even allowed to hold jobs, let alone think for themselves. Gilman does a great job of showing us how the role of women was back then. John treats his wife like a little girl in this story. He say's to her one night when she was walking around, "What is it little girl? Don't go walking around like that-you'll get cold" (p 537). She is told what she can and can't do and when she is able to do it. He has complete control over her and even gets into her mind. I believe he did this to try and keep her in the mindset that he has control over her. He would tell her there was nothing wrong with her, and that all she needed was fresh air and a lot of sunlight and she believed him. He even goes as far as putting her in an old nursery. "It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was a nursery first, then a playroom and gymnasium, I should judge, for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls" (p532). She would try and tell him that she wasn't getting any better but he wouldn't listen to her so she just agreed with what he said. Men were thought to be more knowledgeable at the time especially because most women didn't go to school for very long or at all. So when John and her brother both tell her that nothing is seriously wrong with her, she believes them.

We still see this in our society today with the older generations mostly, not that the man has control over the woman, but by the way we see things it appears this way. The men will say something in public to a friend or someone in a store, and if the women doesn't agree with it they just look at the man, but they do not say anything about it because that's the way society was when they were raised. We do not see this with the younger generations.

Your culture also has a lot to do with the way you react to the many obstacles that we face in today's society. I have found that many Asian women are very quiet



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