The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE seminar discusses degradation of women in society, gender roles

By Samuel Medina/reporter

Two government instructors told SE students they were in for a huge shock March 23.

Marilyn Murphy and Ruthann Geer wanted to spread awareness on how women are being portrayed in media, advertising and politics during Miss Representation.

“Women only tend to be in media for domestic and sexual reasons,” Murphy said. “That is not what America is about!”

Murphy presented statistics and videos to show how much women are being degraded on a daily basis. From the average person to powerful women in the government, she said sexualizing women on different platforms of media is common and is toxic to children. People learn so much from the media and don’t even realize it, she said.

“On television, we have to subject ourselves to what is known as face-ism,” she said. “What typically happens is it usually shows a man’s face to make him appear sophisticated, but what it does for females is show the whole package.”

Children are subjected to unrealistic ideal images of beauty through ads seen anywhere by anyone, and it has a significant impact on them. Murphy said 78 percent of girls by 17 years old are unhappy with their bodies, and 65 percent of women have had an eating disorder.

“Those photos in magazines can really mess with someone’s brain,” she said. “We learn from what we see, and that’s not always a good thing. Media shapes our opinions, attitudes and beliefs.”

Gender roles are embedded into society but should have no place in it. Many people get suspicious when others step outside these gender roles, Murphy said. Gender should not predefine who one is and what one should do with one’s life. Women do not always have to be doing housework, and men do not have to be the financial provider, she said.

“Now it’s OK if you’re into this, but this should not be expected out of everyone,” she said. “Society creates all of these gender roles that we sometimes don’t always want to follow.”

In politics, men often vote on bills that involve women, but women only make up 17 percent of Congress, Murphy said. The media attack women’s clothing and make sexist remarks to demean them and give the men an advantage on public support. Men seldom get any comments about their hair or clothing, but women have to suffer through it, she said.

“Politicians like Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton often get rude remarks about their hair or get sexualized to make them seem less powerful,” Murphy said. “If you bring some women to the table, you’re going to get problems solved.”

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