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Women's world today
Transcript of Women's world today
It seems incredible for us, but also nowadays in rural areas of China there are female children forced to live with bind feet. Also in the poorest part of China people still think that educated women are useless for the society and that their only duty is to work in the house for their husband and also for their male sons. It’s difficult to change this situation because women are educated since childhood to listen to men without complaining. In this part of China also the principal rights, like life and dignity, are denied to women. If we look to the richest and globalized part of China, we can see an occidental life style. Taste and mentality has changed really fast thanks to the capitalism. But this very fast change in mentality has brought some problems too, for example men’s fears for women progress. Girls'
caused by Girls' success Chinese girls have become victims of their own success. Since they are better at memorizing, while male are better at operating, girls are getting better results on university’s admission exams. So, for helping boys, universities started to accept more men, even if their scores were lower than girls’ results. This fact is making a lot of young women become very angry, so some of them started a protest.In this protest, several dozen women and a few sympathetic men have shaved their heads (at home, since public demonstrations in China are banned) and shared the photos on the Internet.After this first protest, also four other women shaved their heads, this time in public in the relatively free city of Guangzhou (Picture from “Corriere della Sera” 22th February).
"The entire system of examinations favors girls over boys because most of the content tests memory and girls are better at memorizing and boys at operating," said Li Wendao, author of the 2010 book "Save the Boys" and a psychology professor from Beijing's Capital Normal University.
I completely do not agree with this explanation of the reason why boys are accepted even if their scores were worst than women’s, because I think it is not just a problem of memory, in fact in my opinion if they study as hard as women they can get the same results. So if a girl deserves to enter university because she is very good at studying, she has all the rights to get admitted! We don’t have to forget that in China women are also excluded from some important activities, like police academies, pilot training and maritime industries. They are also under valuated in sciences and technology, because the traditional mentality is still to train boys in those subjects. PAKISTAN To avoid risks Malala chose to write using the pen name “Gul Makai”.
Gul Makai in Pashto means cornflower and it is also the name of the heroine of many local folk stories.
Malala wrote about life under Taliban rule: how she hid her schoolbooks under her clothes and how she kept reading even after the Taliban banned girls from schools.
A paragraph that really affected me is the one she wrote in January 2009: “Today our teacher told us not to wear colorful dress that might make Taliban angry”. In this phrase we can understand how limited is life for women in those areas, in fact they can’t even wear clothes with the color they like.
In Pakistan, since 25 million children are out of school, is the country with the lowest youth literacy rate in the world.In three years, Malala became a very important person in Swat and she also won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. Recently she started to organize the “Malala Education Foundation”, a fund to help poor girls from Swat to go to school. With all those achievements she became a powerful symbol of resistance to Taliban ideology MALALA YOUSAFZAI “For one Malala shot and silenced, there are now thousands of younger Malalas who cannot be kept quiet” Malala is shot while returning after taking a school exam. Two other girls are injured too.
Malala was taken by airplane to the nearest hospital in Peshawar where a bullet lodged near her spinal cord was extracted in a three-hour operation. Later she was taken to London’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where she is recovering now.
The Taliban confirmed that they had shot at Malala for what they called propagating western culture. A Taliban spokesman called the child a "symbol of obscenity." They added that if she survived, they would attempt to kill her again.
Malala and her father are not scared, and they said that they will go back to Pakistan when she recovers. 9th October 2012 For the courage that Malala shown in this fight,
she have been nominate for Nobel peace prize. former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The website of the Labour Party reportedly described Malala as: "A Pakistani pupil and blogger, who attained global fame after she was shot in the head by Taliban in October for criticizing the militant group on her blog." Malala has become an internationally recognized symbol of opposition to the Taliban's intention to deny women education, and against religious extremism in a country where women's rights are often violated. Malala Yousafzai is a very brave Pakistani girl.
She was only 11 when she started writing a blog for the BBC: it was an Urdu-language online diary.
In this diary she described life under the TTP. Why Afghanistan is the most dangerous place in the world for women RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY TALIBAN WHEN THE PROSTITUTION BEGINS IN FAMILY Since the beginning of the war a lot of things have been said and written about women’s conditions in this country. But even if abuses, violence, atrocity and cruelty are seen by everyone in the world, Afghan women’s situation is terrible and it is still getting worse according to the last Human Rights Watch (HRW) report. The worse situation is the one of women that lives in tribal areas and that are still being stoned to death, or are victims of summary executions, or are still being disfigured with acid, all this just because they are alleged culprit of adultery or just because they were victims of rape. Here the ones who maintain connections with the outside world are males, while women’s work is inside the family.
Since they are considered an economic resource and they are as important as land, cattle, house, they belong to husbands. So women live in purdah, which means that they are confined in the house, to help the older ones and look after children. To them is also denied the right to have propriety and heritage Families celebrate male sons’ birth, but not the birth of female daughters. Women are considered “nagis-e-agl”, which means “stupid from the birth”, and that’s why they can’t go to school, Talibans in fact say that women’s brains are smaller than men’s so they don’t deserve to study.
The noun “woman” is used as insult by men Afghanistan is a country strongly attached to traditions, in fact, every time that a “progressive” government has tried to change society’s rules and to give some rights to women, there have been violent protests.
For example, in the ‘20s, King Amanullah tried to modernize the country by building some elementary schools for female children and giving teenage girls the possibility to go study in the nearby Turkey, but he was exiled in 1929. From Khaled Hossein's book
“A Thousand Splendid Suns” “Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.” This is a phrase said by Nana, the mother of Mariam (one of the main characters). Nana was the domestic of a rich man, Jalil, who lived with his three wives and their children. When Nana found out to be pregnant of Jalil he justify himself with the other wives saying that she seduced him.
It is a strong message to give a girl very early in her life, but it is a message that many Afghani women, especially under the Taliban rule, learned in brutal ways. “Mariam heard of women who were killing themselves out of fear of being raped, and of men who, in the name of honor, would kill their wives or daughters if they'd been raped by the militia”. This is the part of the novel that made me think the most. The author was talking about the war in Afghanistan in 1994. He wrote that Kabul streets were full of death body, glass, and crumpled chunks of metal and there was murder, and, increasingly, rape, which were used to intimidate civilians and reward militiamen.
It is a phrase that expresses very well women condition during those years, a terrible situation that really makes me sad. The list I will report from the site of “Rawa” (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) is just a brief list of the hellish condition of Afghan women. They are forced to live under Taliban rules and this short list can’t describe completely their sufferings and their privations: in fact Taliban treat women worse than they treat animals. For example Taliban prohibit keeping birds in cages, but they imprison women inside the four walls of their houses.
Women have no value for Taliban, their only duty is to give birth to children, to satisfy male sexual needs and to doing house works. Taliban restrictions and mistreatment of women include:
•Complete ban on women's work outside the home, which also applies to female teachers, engineers and most professionals. Only a few female doctors and nurses are allowed to work in some hospitals in Kabul.
•Complete ban on women's activity outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother or husband).
•Ban on women dealing with male shopkeepers.
•Ban on women being treated by male doctors.
•Ban on women studying at schools, universities or any other educational institution. (Taliban have converted girls' schools into religious seminaries.)
•Requirement that women wear a long veil (Burqa), which covers them from head to toe.
•Whipping, beating and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules, or of women unaccompanied by a mahram.
•Public stoning of women accused of having sex outside marriage.
•Ban on the use of cosmetics. (Many women with painted nails have had fingers cut off).
•Ban on women laughing loudly. (No stranger should hear a woman's voice).
•Ban on women wearing high heel shoes, which would produce sound while walking. (A man must not hear a woman's footsteps.)
•Ban on women riding in a taxi without a mahram.
•Ban on women playing sports or entering a sport center or club.
•Ban on women's wearing brightly colored clothes. In Taliban terms, these are "sexually attracting colors."
•Ban on women washing clothes next to rivers or in a public place.
•Modification of all place names including the word "women." For example, "women's garden" has been renamed "spring garden".
•Ban on women appearing on the balconies of their apartments or houses.
•Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can not be seen from outside their homes.
•Ban on males and females traveling on the same bus. Public buses have now been designated "males only" (or "females only").
•Ban on the photographing or filming of women.
•Ban on women's pictures printed in newspapers and books, or hung on the walls of houses and shops.
(Information taken from http://www.rawa.org/rules.htm) Thousands of Afghan girls and boys are trafficked into neighboring countries, like Pakistan, and sold like slave every year. Even if it is illegal, prostitution is largely diffused in Afghanistan. The reason why women are forced into the sex trade by their families is due to poverty and drug addiction, usually of a husband or brother or both. The families often saw women as a source of money and take advantage of them,.
“Most of the times are families that sell their daughters and daughters-in-law, and after that the girls have no choice but to continue on this path, also because families of origin, in shame, didn’t want them back in the house” says Nigina Mamadjonova from International Organization of Migration.
In this country where sexual education doesn’t exist and where families punish daughters and wives that dishonor them, prostitution involve high risks, especially of attacks by Taliban, but also, as often happens everywhere, of assault and robbery by the same customers. Mah Gul, 20 years old, is the young women murdered in 2012 from her husband's relatives because she opposed to become a prostitute like they wanted. She got married 4 months before in Herat, in western Afghanistan, and immediately after the marriage pressures and violence from her in-laws had began. We only know her name, there is nothing left, not even a photograph. Soma. Born in Mazar-e-Sharif she were only a teenager when her granddad decided to get her married to a man she have never seen before. When she arrived in Kabul for the celebration, she discovers that the groom was only 8 years old. Not much time later his family oblige her to become a prostitute during the party organized by her father-in-law: for 200 dollars the visitors could eat, drink and watch Soma and the other teenagers of the family dancing. After that they moved in the bedrooms. Soma was forced to sleep also with 4 men per night. India is not a country for women.
At least is not yet a country for women. The pressure to give birth to a male A clip from the Hindi film
"Dil bole hadippa" SAMPAT PAL
Warrior in a pink sari Malala is back to school! The images of the girl wearing her backpack and exploring her new school were a source of inspiration for many, who see her return as a victory.
“I am excited that today I have achieved
my dream of going back to school” 19th March 2013 INDIA After more than 40 years Italy is still waiting for ones and USA haven’t seen a female commander in chief at the White House yet India has a
Minister, Indira Gandhi According to Indian Constitution, a woman has the same rights as a man We can see premier in sari or actress wearing low-cut dress in television 1996 the 21st century India remains a patriarchal society and statistics can prove it As soon as a woman tries to break free from chains and to overcome some barriers, her personality is questioned and her reputation and honors are ruined. In addition to the lacks of autonomy, the worst things women have to bear are prejudices. Researchers Duflo and Pande have made a survey, asking Indian people to judge some men and women reading a politic speech. The text was exactly the same, but people who listened to a woman were less inclined to trust her and to share her ideas than people who listened to a man. Every day women are molested, abused and killed Since a daughter is less worthy to receive food and care, children and young female death-rate in some Indian States are 6 percent higher than male’s death-rate.
Also the sacrifices made by poor people for educate a son aren’t the same that a daughter deserves, in fact at national level female analphabetism is twenty points less than the male’s one. If a woman chooses to stop cover her face with the sari or if she talks with a man that isn’t her husband she is accused to be indecent.
If a wife falls in love with another man is her fault.
If she decides to live with a partner she chooses, people say people say she ran away from home and if her relatives find her she might be killed. Her partner instead doesn’t take any risk, also if he is a married man nobody will ever say that he ran away and if his wife decides to go back to her parents, they won’t accept her back. The man will only receive an admonishment, followed by congratulations for having his mind back.
Worse situation: in case of rape people often blame women for what happened because she brought it on herself, and policemen may refuse to record the complaint. AFGHANISTAN To have a better idea I read a book written by the Italian author Valeria Fraschetti who spent two years in India to make a report about women’s condition in that country. The title of the book is “Sari in Cammino, Ecco perché l’India non è (ancora) un Paese per donne” which means Walking Saris, that’s why India isn’t (yet) a country for women. Despite the variety of the society, divided into castes and classes, languages, ethnic groups and religions, the majority of women have to bear the same cultural pressure: to give birth to a male. Too many times a female daughter is a person that nobody wants, often considered like an economic and social burden, lots of people think that is better to get rid of her. They think like this today as in the past, but the difference is that today there are ultrasounds and aborts.
In 1990 Amartya Sen, an Indian economist, denounced that female child aborted and killed in Asia in the last decades were more than the sum of both the World Wars victims: 100 million. Today the data are also worst and the growing welfare doesn’t stop the catastrophe. In fact the Indian regions where the disappearing of female children is more alarming are the regions where there’s more comfort. The dowry is a custom that once only member of high castes used to have, but now (also if it is banned) is common among every caste, because of the “Sanskritization” process that brings people of lower castes to raise their position through the adoption of rituals, customs and beliefs of the higher castes.
Due to the consumerism the dowry is expanding, in fact the greedy for
“stuff” is pushing husbands and in-laws to have more and more
demands. In this way they transform the woman into an object used to get other objects.
That’s why a daughter is considered more
expensive than a son, because to get
her married you’ll have to pay for the dowry. “To have a female daughter is like watering the neighbor’s plant” says an old local proverb.
“Spend 500 rupees today to save 50 thousands tomorrow” announce the advertising campaigns of Indian clinics that offer cheap echography to know the sex of the unborn.
The sex determination test in India was banned in 1994 with the
Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique Act (Pndt Act), but neither the 5
years in prison nor the 50 thousand rupees fine for transgressors
can stop this practice. In fact, due to the development of technology,
ultrasounds exam has become very cheap and almost everyone can afford it. That’s why private clinics have made an illegal business of it. For example the doctor writes the medical report with a blue pen if the unborn is a male, while he writes using a red pen if it is a female; or it’s enough that doctor says goodbye giving advices like “start saving money” (for daughter’s dowry) or “Go and buy sweets” (to celebrate if it is a boy) to understand the sex of the baby. The reasons to prefer sons over daughters are different, for example in the northern regions, where agriculture is the most important economic income, families need strong arms for work.
But the main reason is the dowry. Traveling through the country to know women’s story, Valeria Fraschetti found out that Indian women, maybe thanks to their sufferings, often have a strong tolerance for the overpowering, and that means to accept it less and less.
In fact, under the impulse of modernity, their desire to become independent is growing.
In her book she reported the story
of 13 brave women who tried to
change their destiny, fighting
against culture and traditions. "SARI IN CAMMINO" Mitu started fighting for saving her children when she wasn’t a mother yet: today Guddi and Pari are 6 years old and she is still fighting. She got married in 2004 to a doctor, Kamal Khurana. It was an arranged marriage. Then, like tradition wants, she moved into her in-laws house, with the dowry: clothes, a fridge, a television and jewelry. But shortly after her in-laws started making demands for additions to her dowry: they wanted a new car and other jewelry. They also abused her when these demands weren’t met by Mitu’s parents. (According to Unicef more than 5 thousand women are killed every year by in-laws because they consider the dowry too small). It is because the Khurana didn’t want to have to pay for a future dowry that Mitu’s sufferings began, with one of the moment that should be the best of her life: the discovery to be pregnant She was expecting a couple of twins. “What if they’re girls?” this question was making everyone nervous, except Mitu that was trying to convince her husband that having daughters nowadays doesn’t make any difference, because they work and earn like men. But Kamal didn’t want to listen to her and he started, with his mother, demanding Mitu to have a sex determination test done. Mitu refused to have the tests done and was severely persecuted by her husband and in-laws. They locked her into a room without food for some days and when they opened the door they offered her a cake. Mitu is allergic to eggs, so they assured her that the cake was eggs-free. Mitu was very hungry so she didn’t refuse. That evening, she developed severe allergic symptoms but Khurana family denied medical aid until the next morning when she was brought to the hospital. "A baker mistake" would justify then Kamal. When she went back home her in-laws were determined that she should have an abortion of at least one but preferably both babies. That confirmed Mitu suspects that they have done the test when she was sedated.
Mitu should have been in bed to rest but her sister-in-law repeatedly made her clean the floors, in hopes of inducing a miscarriage. Also her husband pushed her
down of stairs when she was at the fourth month,
hoping to cause a natural abort. After that episode, she called her father that picked her up and brought her home the next morning.
Mitu was in and out of the hospital for the next couple of months, while her in-laws refused to be in contact
with her When she gave birth, two months premature, to her children Mitu was determined to help her in-laws find at least some love for her two innocent little girls, wanting the daughters to have a father. She moved back into her husband’s home. But things didn’t improve: once Kamal’s mother gave a kick to the child’s chair making Guddu fall on the floor, since then Mitu has never gone back to their house and now she and her daughters live with her parents. Mitu filed a complaint under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC&PNDT Act) against her husband as well as the doctors and the hospital that preformed the illegal sex-determination test. She was the first woman to do it in Delhi, more than 10 years after the Act was first passed.
Mitu was also told by the official that followed the case that she should “stop wasting her life and give her husband a son if he wanted one.” It’s incredible how the official that should make people respect the law gave a woman the advice to break it! Mitu has no intention to surrender: she says that it’s also thanks to her husband if now she is so strong and brave, because those are things that change a person's life, and she’s become a fearless activist for women’s right.
But first of all were the maternity and the support of her parents that gave her the strength to fight this struggle.
It is a battle that if Mitu win will encourage other
women to ask for justice and to ensure that one
day - for sure far from now - even India will
finally become a country for women. (to watch it go to the next step ) Sampat Pal was born in Uttar Pradesh, one of the poorest Indian states where the subdivision in castes is still very strong She understood the importance to be a group when you have to fight for something. So she created the “Gulabi Gang”. Gulabi in Hindi means pink. She chose that name because of the color of the sari that every woman who belongs to the gang wear when they make a protest. In fact to make a sit-in outside a police station is the only way for them to make policemen pay attention to a woman’s request. One day, when she was just a child, Sampat was in the field, helping her parents and relatives working, when she saw a group of children well dressed and clean, walking together. Her friends told her that they were going to school. Sampat didn’t know what school was, the only thing she knew was that school is just for rich people, because poor people’s children work in fields Sampat was very poor and her destiny seemed to be already defined. But Sampat was also really inquisitive and so that day she decided to go to school. She was very smart and good at learning, in fact, even without the materials, she learnt to write (using a wooden stick she wrote on the ground) and day after day she became as good as the other children. But the traditions broken into her life, she was only twelve when she got an arranged marriage with a man she didn’t know After that culture and traditions say that she has to be silent and submitted to her husband and his parents. But she couldn’t bear this submission and so she defended herself, with the result that she, with her husband and their two children, were banned from their house where they used to live with in-laws For them it could have been the end, but instead it was a new beginning In a short time Sampat became a warrior, defending weaker and women’s rights. She started organizing meeting to help women to understand their potential, teaching them how to sew clothes that they could sell and get some money A million of women belong to Sampat gang and they are still increasing.
It’s a big pink wave which is trying to change Indian women conditions Sampat says that if she is still fighting with all her forces to improve female conditions is also thanks to Dukhli story. Dukhli was her brother-in-law Sao Pal’s wife. Sao Pal was a really aggressive man that used to beat his wife for every minimum mistake. Dukhli’s room was near Sampat’s and she eared Dukhli crying a lot of times. Those episodes of violence made her really angry, but she couldn’t do anything because her husband didn’t allow her and she had to obey In this way she realized how helpless women are in front of male violence, how society has deprived women also of the pure and simple right to the dignity. She says let’s take for example the galis, the insults. Why are women always involved in them? Behen chod? F**k your sister! Mather chod? F**k your mother! Let’s take any swearword, in Hindi is always feminine. Sampat says that once she was doing a pacemaker in a dispute between two brothers because the younger brother’s goat went grazing in the field of the older one. The discussion degenerated and one of them said to the other Behen chod! What have the sister to do with the goat?? The other brother then answered Mother chod! But to none of them came to mind that they were insulting their own sister, their own mother, the one who gave birth to them. It’s absurd! STORY OF DRAUPADI: from the “Mahabharata” This is the story of Draupadi, from the “Mahabhrata” which is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. It is the equivalent of the Bible for Hindus. More than four-thousand years ago, there was a violent dispute over the power between two brothers: king Pandu and his big brother Dhritarastra, blind since his birth. Pandu had got five sons and they were married to the same woman, Draupadi. Dhritarastra instead had a hundred sons. The two branches of the royal family, on one side the Pandavas and on the other side the Kauravas, never missed an opportunity to clash. One day the one hundred and five cousins played dice together. In front of the hundred Kauravas, the five Pandu’s sons bet their empire and they lost it. Then they bet their wife, Draupadi, and they lost her too. Duryodhana, the firstborn of the Kaurava, required that they bring immediately Draupadi in the throne room. To humiliate the losers who attended the scene furious but helpless, he ordered the woman to undress herself in front of the court. But Draupadi didn’t want to listen to him, so he grabbed the edge of the sari and pulled. While he was brutally unrolling her sari, the poor woman closed her eyes and started praying, imploring god to save her honor. Her prayer was fulfilled: the more Duryodhana pulled the sari, the more the sari seemed long, even infinite. He continued pulling the sari until he was wrapped in kilometers of textile, uselessly. Full of anger he had to give up. Draupadi’s honor was safe, but Kauravas' wasn't, that couldn’t “consume” their prize, neither the honor of Pandavas, defeated and covered by shame. When their opponents, that had already taken everything from them, suggested another gambling match, the Pandava accepted without thinking twice. The deal was that the losers would go into exile in the jungle for twelve years, and then they would have roam for another year with their faces covered by a mask so no one could recognize them. At the end of this punishment they would have their kingdom back. So they started this last game, but the Kauravas had loaded the dices, so they won this round too. According to the deal, the Kauravas went out of the court wearing poor clothes and they went into the jungle.
When the five brothers came back thirteen years later, Duryodhan refused to give their kingdom back. In this way the big battle of the Mahabharata began, it was an apocalyptic conflict. At the end the hundred Kauravas brothers died and everything were destroyed. Because reading it today we discover that, at the beginning, there
was a woman. She was the stake for which thousands men massacred
each others. But is it really like that?
Indeed, neither the Pandavas that bet on her like she was a horse, neither
the Kauravas that only wanted to posses her, cared about her.
It was above all a question of power.
Sampat Pal, in her book, says that four-thousand years later, Indian men haven’t changed: they’re tyrants that only want to dominate everything and insist to impose their laws, while in reality they are weak and full of vices. They bet their salary playing dice, they drink alcohols, they use marijuana and under the effect of this substance they beat their wives.
Some of them go to look for a job in the city and they stay there for months, until the job ends. Meanwhile they get drunk to forget the loneliness, they have sex with prostitute and get illness that when they go back home they transmit to wives. It is in this way that AIDS started to spread in the countryside. Why did I report this story? Now we will talk about the occidental society, our society
If we consider our culture and our life style, of course we think: “Thankfully here women's condition it’s different!”. For sure it is different but even so there are some negative aspects in women’s condition that we can’t forget. First of all women are often victims of domestic violence OCCIDENTAL WOMEN’S CONDITION We live in a society where it seems that women have the same rights as men, where everybody is ready to accuse oriental men for how they treat women, but even in the occidental world domestic violence is very diffuse and it is like a taboo that nobody wants to talk about. In my opinion another reason why women don’t report violence is that a law, for example against stalking, is not enough if you don’t support women who find the courage to denounce it. Victims of domestic violence are women and children because they’re weaker than men, but most of the time women haven’t got the courage to sue their partner and they try to hide everything from the other people. In Italy it seems that violence against women, especially at home, is a private matter that can’t be discussed. It’s like a woman should be ashamed to suffer it. The second thing we can’t forget when we talk about the condition of occidental women is
the influence of media on our society We live in a world where the huge diffusion of mass media influences everybody, even if we don’t realize it. Media change our thoughts, our attitudes and so our life style These means of mass communication are controlled by powerful people, that lots of times send us the message that women who wear the hijab (the veil) are to be considered submitted to men, ignorant and culturally backward, etc…, on the other side the commerce of female body is never considered that way.
Muslim men consider their women like a “temptation object” so they feel the duty to cover them, not only because women are seen like a private propriety, but also with the purpose to save them from the others men.
Also occidental men consider women like a “temptation object”, but they exploit them with commercial purposes, men feel the duty to uncover and sell them like goods.
This is the start of female body and sensuality commercialization, where these things are used only to make money. The principal aspect of mass media influence is advertising The primary purpose of the mass media is to sell products.
Advertising does sell products of course, but it also sells a great deal more than products: It sells values, it sells images, it sells concepts of love and sexuality, of romance, of success, and perhaps most important, of normalcy.
To a great extent, advertising tells us who we are and who we should be.”
Jean Kilbourne HISTORY OF WOMEN IN ADS At the beginning ads were only focused on the product to be sold, however, as years pass, advertisements begin to objectify women and to use women as a way to sell products.
There are several reasons for this choice of use women in advertisement: first of all publicity turns to women because they are responsible for family shopping. Another reason to use female body is to attract attention: male's because they are attracted by women, female's because they want to became like the beautiful models they see in the spot. Advertisements have developed through years in order to sell more products 1950s 1960s late
1900s This ad once again shows a woman and a young girl who seems excited by the fridge: it’s an example of a “young homemaker”.
We can see that, according to the advertisement, the women's place is the kitchen and it is opportune to teach them properly since very young
It is not just a case that the baby is a girl and not a boy (neither there is a brother in the image). From the late 1900s, advertisements started using strong female presence as subliminal and unconscious desire. Lots of ads use women also if they are irrelevant to the product, just to sell it. For example, the image shows that the product advertised is vodka, but what does women have to do with alcohol? In this picture the woman is like an object, just a way to gain the attention of males. Women in these types of ads are often seen in provocative poses and often the picture focus on specific body parts (in this case the breast).
That advert doesn’t only attract male attention, but also women’s: in fact they may want to buy the product hoping to become like the model in the image. Around the 1950s, women in advertising began to be confined in the domestic role. As the picture shows women are often seen doing house works such as washing the dishes. With the phrase “Get out of the kitchen sooner!” we imagine a man like on a couch, holding control on the woman and having the possibility to do everything he wants. Ads started telling people that buying the advertised product was the only way to solve personal and social problems.
Companies assume women as the main audience for the advertised products. In these years products, as can be seen in the picture, were advertised in a way that made people feel insecure. This particular ad shows a man walking away from a crying woman, this indicates the man’s anger and the woman’s sadness. This woman is show as insecure and vulnerable. Also the text “Is a wife to blame is she doesn’t know” indicate the low status of women, because they lack of knowledge in comparison to men.
“If a man was leaving you because you didn’t use a particular product, would you buy it?” Women, nowadays like in the last decades, have been influenced by the way the media has portrayed them as THE PERFECT WOMAN It is really difficult for women to escape the
message of the “ideal” woman sent by the media.
Media will always influence our society with its images that fill our lives. So I think that one of the most important things to do is trying to change how media do advertising. An example of this change is Advertisements have been telling women since a long time that they aren’t perfect and that they can always improve their appearance, so women learned to compare themselves to the “ideal” woman in the publicity.
The companies are using this marketing strategy of targeting women to sell their brands and products. They are not selling what a woman actually needs, but instead they are selling a product that a woman wants to become with after consume. But what is the perfect woman? Media has created the standard of the beauty.
In the pictures we can see how a magazine has imagined the “perfect woman”. They put together different aspect of the face from different women, taking the best part from each one. The results are two beautiful women, but they don’t exist in real life. Behind the scene, these “ideal” women were basically created by computer technology, using programs like Photoshop.
I think that this huge presence in the media of images of perfect women created by technology means that real women’s bodies have become invisible in the mass media. MEDIA’S INFLUENCE
ON EATING DISORDERS As a result of all these advertising, the problem of eating disorders has become more and more serious in our society, especially in America. We are bombarded with ads, which contain the message that to be happy and successful we must be thin.
Women develops this pressure to be thin since they are children, in fact society teaches children that that their look is important since an early age. Think of three or four years old children who are repeatedly praised with phrases like: “oh you’re so cute!”
Thanks to this kind of social mentality and the fact that children and teenagers spend a lot of time in front of television, there are more of them coming up with a superficial sense of who they are.
But how can we tell children that it’s what you are inside that counts, when media continuously contradicts this message? The result is that women, in order to become the “perfect woman”, start over-exercising, dieting and skipping meals, convinced that they are never beautiful enough. In this way women don't realize when they are developing eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia.
Anorexia and bulimia are very serious disorders. They are psychiatric illness with a high death rate. Those who don’t die suffer from long-term health problems.
Other problems broungth by these illnesses are heart disease and kidney disease. So people affected by these disorders have to get proper treatment if they want to survive. Here some worrying statistic from the UK: Anorexia nervosa affects 1 to 2 per cent of women aged 15 to 30. Of those who develop the disorder, 15 to 20 per cent will die within 20 years. Other problems related to the media and body image include depression and anxiety. People may worry too much about their appearance and may become anxious or depressed if they feel they don’t look like the ideals they see in the media. For underline that even our society isn’t perfect, I’d like to report a phrase of Professor Sir William Asscher who says: “In societies where there is no culture of thinness, eating disorders are very rare. Increasing Westernisation has led to an increase in eating disorders in several cultures." it’s time to change our mentality Let’s take this photograph as an example:
Each one of these women is an Olympic athlete.
Let’s change the notion that thinness is the only indicator of health and fitness! DOVE CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BEAUTY The “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” is an international effort that Dove Company is doing to try to make a real change in the way women and young girls perceive their beauty.
This campaign, launched in 2004, has created, and continues to create, thought-provoking ads and messages that cover all definitions of beauty, like the first image which represented curvy women in white underwear. Dove created also a “Self-Esteem Fund” to fight against beauty stereotypes which influence women and girls. This fund is directly financial supported by Dove products sales.
It funds selected project and organizations in a large number of countries around the world. In my opinion we don’t have to forget that this is a marketing strategy to sell more products, but it seems to do a lot of good campaigning. Dove has for sure a great increase in sells thanks to this campaign, but also if they’re doing it mostly for money, I have to say that is a very effective campaign which increase women self-esteem and try to change the normal idea of advertisement, so I hope that other company will follow Dove’s example and change their marketing strategy and they’re way to do adverts. ZERO STEREOTYPES
COMMUNICATION Stop with this ads of women-mothers-housewife or women-sexual object. It’s time to change!
It’s time to stop selling women bodies, which are used to attract the attention of people also if it has no connection with the product in the advert.
Two Italian blogger, Giorgia Vezzoli and Francesca Sanzo, have launched on the net a “Decalogue for a zero stereotypes communication”. These rules are address to companies and to agencies that realize publicity to raise their awareness of the use of these stereotypes in their spot and pictures.
This Decalogue is copyleft: it can be copy and diffuse freely, because the authors want these rules to contribute to change the way to do publicity. 1.Woman is a person, not an object. If you are using women in your communication, ask yourself if their image could make someone think the opposite.
2.“To cover” women is not enough for being gender friendly. First of all you don’t have to diminish with attitudes, words or other form of communication them.
3.Women’s body, even if uncovered, is never vulgar and is never a thing to be ashamed of, but it is vulgar its commercialization and the way it is used. To take advantages from a woman’s body (or from a part of it) and to use it for selling a product is always a bad thing.
4.A communication by the women side should propose aesthetic models that aren’t much fake and unattainable, but models that consider the natural shape of women and, where possible, their diversity.
To make women feel inadequate because they aren’t like a unique beauty standard (young, thin and sexy)
is not a way to stay by their side.
5.Avoid stereotypes, either male or female, in your communication, unless your intention is an evident and strong critic.
6.Degrade men instead of (or along with) women, don’t mean to be gender friendly, but to promote a fake parity that degrades everyone. Women don’t need that.
7.Sensuality and sexuality are beautiful things, but do they fit with the product or service you are advertising?
8.If sensuality fit with what you are advertising, then remember that women are not person available to the viewer. Don’t make your communication addressee think the opposite.
9.When your communication proposes a love image (in all its form) and the person are like subjects and not like object it doesn’t mean that is vulgar. But if your communication is target to adults, be sure that the circuits where you’ll launch it won’t reach children’s eyes.
10.Be coherent. Be by women’s side means think and behave in particular ways. Is useful to be gender friendly in communication if you aren’t in real life, in your work and in your relationship. Decalogue for a zero stereotypes communication There is lot of difference in the state of women in different societies, but anywhere in the world the woman is never really considered equal to the man and treated in an equal way.
If we look at the statistics, one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime (this means around one billion). This is a thing that a woman like me can’t accept, because it is not a statistic on women that live far away from me, but also here in Italy the percentage of women abused is very high.
We have the duty to do something, and every little thing is very important. 14th February 2013 “One billion women violated is an atrocity.
One billion women dancing is a revolution” One Billion Rising is a global day of action – and dancing – in protest against violence against women.
The purpose of the event is to make a global protest to stop violence against women. How? Just dancing the same song written on purpose for this flashmob: “Break the chain”. The event was held in every part of the world: from England to America, from Italy to India, from Sudan to Afghanistan.
And it is not important if we weren’t one billion like in Eve Ensler's (founder of the movement) intention, because we were really a big dancing wave!
I really got emotionally when, together with the other women in the square, we scream “We Rise!” with a finger pointed to the sky.
We rise, we, women in every part of the world. We rise for all the women that can’t rise. For all the women that suffer. For all the women that fall under violent husbands or heartless fathers’ blows. For all the women that can never raise their eyes and that can even express their opinion. For all the women that can’t go to school, that get married when they’re just children, that are offended at workplace. For all the women that are raped because a man has took their miniskirt for a “yes”.
For all those women we rise, for the inhuman violence they suffered and they still suffer.
But we also rise for ourselves, because we are ashamed to live in such a world. “I can see a world where we all live safe and free from all oppression
No more rape or incest, or abuse. Women are not a possession!
You’ve never owned me, don’t even know me,
I’m not invisible, I’m simply wonderful.
This is my body, my body’s holy.
No more excuses, no more abuses.
We are mothers, we are teachers,
we are beautiful, beautiful creatures!” I would like to conclude with some words from the song “Break the chain”, soundtrack of the flash mob, which express all my feelings about the importance of women and our rights: