Women Empowerment

Through reading Priscilla Frank’s “How 100 Years of Advertising Created the ‘White American Woman,'” and discussion in class, I have began to ponder on what Americans, in modern times, think of women. I remember seeing one of the best advertisement techniques by UN Women that expresses the belittlement of women. In their campaign, they typed into a simple search engine “women are/shouldn’t/need…” and each advertisement presents a different idea. After reading what each search engine’s top searches were, it became clear to me that America has this idea to “[put] a woman in her place,” (Frank). Read through these advertisements and analyze the prejudice bestowed upon women.

How is it just to criticize women for their own existence. Is it not a Constitutional right that all men and women are created equal? Is it not a right for a woman to vote? Have we not moved past ancient times of a woman staying at home and devoting her life to a male? I firmly believe that through the ages, women have earned their right to inhibit on the same level as men. We have been just as intuitive, innovative, passionate, driven, and more. Women have encountered physical and mental abuse for years for just being a woman; however, each time, it seems as if the negative actions bestowed upon women only empower us to succeed even more. Every hard obstacle women have encountered has allowed progression for the future.

We viewed this advertisement in class. This specific advertisements suggests that a woman is not worthy of anything more than staying in the kitchen or tending to her husband’s every need. In modern society, jokes thrown around about how a woman belongs in a kitchen or how someone throws like a girl only brings us a step back. As a progressive nation, we need to be a leader to the world in showing innovative thinking. It is unproductive for our nation to reverse times. Think of all the advancements women have brought to the world: a car heater, life raft, fire escape, solar heating, medical syringe, modern electronic refrigerator, ice cream maker, computer algorithm, multiple telecommunications technology, dishwasher, computer software, beer, and so much more (Buzzfeed). Without the help of women, modern luxuries would not exist.

Not only are women innovative but they are confident and strong too. Think of all the women who have stood for rights: Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, and Jane Addams to name a few. Their ability to stand up for what they believed in help movements of race, poverty, injustice, social reforms, and all the other topics Oprah Winfrey covers.

Another modern woman who has made incredible efforts to benefit education is Michelle Obama. She has fought hard for schools to endorse art education, provide healthy lunch, and countless support for girls in school. She understands the hardships girls encounter while getting an education whether it is mental or physical. It seems that this ideal of girls sticking together powers the future for a new generation – the women’s generation. As Beyonce has said, “Who run the world? Girls.”

Why is it that America still ridicules women? Is it because “she’s precious, she’s innocent, she’s privileged, she’s pure,” (Frank)? Have we not shown our strength through our years of efforts for equality? Or maybe its because “she’s disenfranchised and oppressed,” (Frank). There are still constant battles for equality through this idea of feminism. Not only do women accept and support it, some men do too. One thing is for sure, women will never back down until we are equal.

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War May Die, but Words Remain

Through Robin Tolmach Lakoff’s essay, I thought I should further my investigations through parallels of the Holocaust. Within the Holocaust, 6 million were murdered at the hands of soldiers. These soldiers were given specific instructions to eliminate specific ethnic groups. This persecution is nothing more than what the soldiers in Lakoff’s essay are rightfully accused of – subjective murder; however, the accusation Lakoff portrays is on a much smaller scale and clearly not as repulsive. Nothing speaks more true than, “Bullets and bombs are not the only tools of war. Words, too, play their part,” (1). Although 6 million deaths are quite unfathomable, the words that lead these militia to their crime play a massive role.

Each prisoner of war was given a specific number in which they were identified. This number represented their existence in the small aspect of the concentration camp and nothing more. If they were relevant to the real world, they would have names – which they did, but they were stolen and shattered by the brutes. These German soldiers created a new identity and category that these organisms now lived in. They were no longer part of the homo sapiens classification but one, as I stated in a previous post, of almost insect like existence. Repetitively the statement to “terminate” the Jewish population was Germany’s goal; however, we do not terminate humans. To terminate or be a terminator indicates, to me, someone who will extract and kill bugs. The identification through number classification and termination expresses that the prisoners were nothing more than bugs waiting to be killed off by their gases or mass weapons.

In the clip above, Schindler sees a girl in a red coat. Although the entire layout is black and white, the little girl’s red coat stands out. This signifies the innocence that is being killed off due to the war. She is alone and looking for a way out but also in a sense calm. The chaos around her represents the corrupted government and the girl in the red coat represents the Jewish citizens that are just trying to escape the persecution they do not deserve. The character being a young girl represents the childlike aspect that is forced upon the prisoners when they are sought after. This is a realization for Schindler of the innocence that stands in the soul of the prisoners. The German Jewish citizens are mortified by the soldiers that are forcing them out of homes. It is easy to see that the Jewish civilians have the Star of David around their arms to signify their existence as a bug. They were called “subhuman” and “Jewpig.” These terms represent that “they are not really human, so they will not feel the pain,” which enables the soldiers to easily murder the innocent souls (2).

It is through Schindler, and I’m sure other soldiers as well, that they realize the brain wash they have soaked in. The slur and derogatory terms that follow these people help accommodate those who are uncertain with what they are doing. This again makes what they are doing seem justifiable because they know that no rightful man would kill another innocent man. For the Germans, they can be thankful for their slang that allowed them to “call their enemies by names that make them seem not quite human,” (1). Without that, I’m sure they would go mad.

From Ancient Greece to Modern Times

In Robin Tolmach Lakoff’s “From Ancient Greece to Iraq, the Power of Words in Wartime,” the author depicts the degrading connotation that military soldiers reference the opposing side. Lakoff argues that soldiers dehumanize “enemies” in order to justify their unjust actions (1). Soldiers will “refer to an Iraqi prisoner as ‘it,'” as a sufficient coping mechanism when the torture or killing is to follow (1). An “it” is something someone may call an insect that they can so easily step on and kill because there is no profiling to the insect. “It” is not granted enough credit to be anything other than a disgusting, creepy-crawling thing that pesters around. Soldiers instate such slang for the comfort of justifiable living.

The author specifically references the wars in the past and present to validate that actions have yet to change. The phrase “history repeats itself” is clearly evident. Lakoff explains that in World War I,”the British gave the Germans the nickname ‘Jerries,'” (1). The word itself is stated on Dictionary.com as “a German soldier;” however, it is self-evident that this word denounces a German soldier. The word collectively portrays that specific group for the prime purpose to make killing justifiable. They wouldn’t be killing a German soldier, they would be killing a Jerry – so technically no harm, no foul. That, in my opinion, is not the case. I understand that killing is only used when we need protection; however, if someone is to commit the act, they should be content with knowing it was for their own protection. There should not be any slang that dehumanizes the victim just so the murderer can sleep soundly at night. The murderer – and I say that term very loosely – should be comfortable to sleep at night knowing he took a life for the right reason. Yes, took a life. He did not kill a “‘handjis,'” but an actual human being (2). Too often in life do we degrade those around us to get “a sense of superiority and control,” (1). If your local judge or even a Supreme Judge, along with Congressmen, can look at you right in the face and call you a fellow American or citizen knowing the death penalty still exists and he has granted approval for the death, our soldiers should not be able to dehumanize another country. The judges can sleep soundly because they know their actions are just. If the soldiers can’t sleep at night, maybe their actions aren’t just.

The Neglected Fundamental

We learn each letter until letters mean nothing and words mean everything.

In Eudora Welty’s “One Writer’s Beginnings,” there is a central theme of the importance of reading – of course all the current readings have the same central theme; however, Welty takes it further. Instead of Welty focusing on the big picture of reading, she knit picked away to the core until my favorite part in which she talks about the alphabet. The alphabet is the fundamental tool of a language – one that does indeed have a written language. She states, “I believe the alphabet is no longer considered an essential piece of equipment for traveling through life,” (23). In this statement, the author accents a dying tool even though it is the basis of the language; however, what she is trying to convince the audience is that people do not learn to speak and write by a one-letter basis. Slowly but surely, we learn words, then phrases, then learn how to pair sentences to create a paragraph and so on and so forth. The lesson plan for students to learn one letter at a time to compose a phrase is completely outdated. I agree with Welty in that when I was taught how to read and write, I had a picture book with words underneath the pictures. When there was a picture of a cow it would state cow underneath; when there was a picture of a horse it would state horse underneath, etc. It is almost as if we just memorize the words before we learn the alphabet. When I began to read, I read the words but never actually thought of the actual letters. I knew what the words meant and how to use them – I never acknowledged the fact that each individual word had a specific letter to make up the word.

Welty continues with this idea of memorization through, “you learned the alphabet as you learned…your father’s and mother’s name and address and telephone number,” (23). As a child, if I were to get lost, I had my home phone memorized – remember home phones, before cell phones; however, it was memorized. The author draws a parallel between the alphabet and learning parents’ phone numbers because we commonly overlook the fact that there is an individual segment in each. By segment, I mean that there is a specific letter or number placed in the spot for a specific reason to allow beauty to happen – i.e. books or the beauty of hearing your mother’s voice.

My all time favorite quote from “One Writer’s Beginnings,” is, “I fell in love with the various winding, enchanted-looking initials,” (23). Welty doesn’t simply overlook the letters and continue reading forward, she is mesmerized by each individual letter in its own. Each letter holds a specific reason for being there. Without one letter, the word clearly wouldn’t be the same and would throw off each piece of work it holds. I, again, agree with the author that the alphabet is beautiful and too often overlooked. It is the fundamental piece of every writing or reading.