A virtual community can be described as an online group of people who interact together. The group usually has similar characteristics, features, fears, likes, dislikes and they share their experiences together. Virtual communities have made it easier to communicate with friends, acquaintances, colleagues, family and several other groups. Classmates discuss school activities through conference sites or through groups such as WhatsApp rather than meeting physically. This helps in saving both time and resources. Virtual communities play a significant role in our lives nowadays. Among the different groups that have used virtual communities to their advantage are feminists. Feminism explores the ambiguities of gender identity that underlie the rise of new fashion trends (Brym & Lie 7).
Gender can be defined as a persons sense of being either masculine or feminine (Brym 6). Gender is an important aspect of an individuals identity. Gender forms the basis of sociological feminism. Since clothes are one of the ways through which can be expressed, feminists sociologist have done so much with regards to fashion and how it affects women (Brym 6). Traditional feminists are of the opinion that fashion is part of patriarchy, a system which propagates the dominance of men over women. These feminists believe that fashion is mainly the preoccupation of females, and it takes a lot of time, resources, effort and money to choose, buy, and clean clothes, and that fashionable clothing is often impractical and uncomfortable, sometimes even unhealthy (Brym & Lie 7).
Feminists argue that fashion does imprison women. They add that since fashion lays more emphasis on youth, being slim, and eroticism, it degrades women through objectifying them as sex symbols (Brym & Lie 7). Brym gives the example of the song Prison for Bitches by Lady Gaga. In one scene of the video, Lady Gaga gets strip-searched before the prison wearing little more than chains. Most feminists argue that the video glorifies rape, and female domination. However, other feminists argue that Lady Gaga is a continuation of the girl power movement that emerged in 1996 (Brym & Lie 7).
Virtual communities have been used by feminists to advocate for their rights. Feministing is a feminist website which covers many activities. On their twitter account, they started a discussion on payment disparity because of gender; where men are paid more than women in the same while they both have similar qualifications. I participated in the discussion saying that indeed, the practice is wrong. I supported the argument that gender discrimination does indeed exist in the work place. The reason why I participated is because gender inequality in the workplace is still a reality in 2017. Year after year we receive and look at figures that confirm that much more remains to be done to ensure that women and men have equal access to the labor market. For a long time, the society has been suppressing womens rights (Brym & Lie 27). Although the rates of discrimination have reduced over the years, women still face major issues like sexual harassment and pay discrimination.
The feminist theory shaped my argument since it advocates for gender equality. Feminist theory emerges from the analysis of the power or dominance of men who subordinate women, in a kind of power emerged from society itself, guided by cultural patterns and historically reinforced, where unconsciously women have relatively responsibility for its constant permissibility. The gender study begins with the analysis of cultural patterns, given by the norms, beliefs, customs, rights, obligations and social relationships between men and women. These analyses are based on various feminist theories, with their explanations before the economic, social, political, cultural inequality and oppression against women specifically, as a consequence of a socially constituted patriarchal model.
According to the perspectives of feminism, it is the use of the power of man that generates the gender inequality, raising that current the question: Where are the women in the decision making? Why is the opinion of women not taken into account, in the fields economic, political, social, cultural, and educational? (Brym & Lie 27) It is the feminist movements that incursion an promoting the visibility of women as a fundamental actor of society, and promoter of generational changes and primary contributions for social transformation.
Among the gender theories we have: Theory of the difference between genders: gender inequality lies in the difference biological, which implies the psychological difference in personality, and the form of relate to the environment (Brym & Lie 7). This includes: basic values and interests, the way of doing value judgments, goal building, literary creativity, sexual fantasies, sense of identity, the general processes of consciousness and individuality, the relationship biological with its biological offspring, the relationship with its same sex; in synthesis all the life experience then the patterns or stereotypes between man and woman arise.
Theory of inequality between genders: this concept is reinforced by society; men and women are located differently and also unequally, since women have less material resources and social status, power and opportunities for self-realization (b) the inequality comes from the same organization of society and not of biological or personality differences (c) vary capabilities and traits but no model distinguishes between the sexes, (d). Men and women respond better before structures and situations with egalitarian conditions (Wadesango 165).
Theory of oppression between genders: the gender difference and inequality between genders they are byproducts of patriarchy and a power structure is constituted. Gender inequality has historically been fostered by patriarchy, as a way of universal power that results from the subjugation of women by men, from which capitalism has benefited greatly, being able to establish that the Capitalism cannot function without patriarchy.
Through my participation, I was able to point out that gender discrimination is a backward and harmful practice. It has made the lives of women hard and miserable. Gender discrimination in the workplace leads to the creation of a hostile work environment. It also propagates harassment and violence in the workplace. Gender discrimination is a human rights violation and eliminating it in the workplace will go a long way in curbing the problem.
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. SOC . Nelson, 2017.
Wadesango N. Is Gender Equality Still An Issue? Tensions And Contradictions Embedding The Work Of Feminists Today. Journal of Social Science, Volume 26, 2015, pp. 163-170.
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