Monday, 28 February 2011

American Immigration

This weeks blog task was to find a K-12 website that presented immigration in the 19th and 20th century. I found this week to be very difficult. Through google I found out that Louisiana is the second most poverty-stricken state in America and thought it would be interesting to concentrate on one of the high school in that area of America. I managed to locate a list of schools, however, most of them did not have their own personal websites. I found the Jena High School. I resorted to using links from the Jena High School in which they used the following report for their classes. The school which is in central Louisiana had many academic links to reports that students can use on a regular basis. Even though the school didn't actually write the report, in my opinion, it shows that the Jena High School believe in what the article stands for.

"After the depression of the 1890's immigration lowered considerably. Immigrants from Northern and Western Europe continued coming as they has done for three centuries but in decreasing numbers".

The article continues to list the different parts of the world that people immigrated from in the 1800's, such as Eastern and Southern Europe as well as Canada and Latin America. By 1910 Eastern and Southern Europe made 70% of America. After 1914 immigration decreased again because of war and the 1920's immigration restrictions. The article continues to name the reason of immigration to America. The most common motives were escaping religious, racial and political persecution or seeking relief from a lack of economic opportunity or famine pushing many immigrants out of their homeland. Many Immigrants were pulled here by contract labour agreements offered by recruitment agents.

Many Immigrants could not afford first or second-class passage through America and therefore had to go through the processing centre on Ellis Island. The centre went through some 12 million European Immigrants herding thousands of them a day through the bran-yard structure during the peak years for screening. Many of them were turned away due to bad health, being a criminal or an anarchist.

I think the students reading this article will soon come to realise how much effort and hard work got their ancestors in a decent position to settle. The followong quote from an Italian Immigrant really stood out to me.

"I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When i got here, found out three things: First the streets wernt paved with gold; Second, they wernt paved at all; and third I was expected to pave them".

I think that people still believe in the "American Dream" and want their children's, children to grow up with the belief that anything is possible. However they still want to show the difficulties of establishing themselves and the difficulties they will be faced with. It is not a straight forward as always seen but despite these difficulties few people gave up and returned home.

High School Website:
The Article Website:

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Blackfoot (Blackfeet) Nation

The Blackfoot Nation are 'perhaps the most powerful tribe of Indians on the continent' according to the North American Indians of 1866. The Blackfoot are a Nation who are very proud of their history but also see a bright future for their tribe as seen by the slogan on their official webpage which reads, "A Proud Past, A Bright Future".

The website which I have chosen to look at gives an insight into the Blackfeet past and present, as well as facts about their culture. A paragraph which I found interesting about the Nation's culture,
"Through it all, we Blackfeet have remained a deeply spiritual people that have struggled to preserve and protect our culture, language, way of life, and way of thinking. We have an incredibly rich heritage of traditions, customs, beliefs, art, and stories. We have kept the flame of our culture alive through times when it was in constant danger of being extinguished. Today, thanks to our elders and ancestors who kept it flickering, the flame is burning brighter and brighter every year. It will soon be a blaze that will eventually outshine and outlive societies with shallower roots, a weaker notion of who they are and why they are here, and a lesser sense of obligation to the natural world, their community, and to each other."
This paragraph of their webpage shows how they are proud and thankful of their heritage, but what I found particularly interesting was towards the end, where it states that they will eventually outshine and outlive societies with shallower roots. Perhaps a suggestion to todays popular culture and material lifestyle in America?

Regarding the tribes history the website has a very detailed account of key moments in Blackfoot history, but they are also very critical of lecturers and professors who claim to know about them, they state that only they know their true history. "O
ur Creation Story, handed down through a hundred generations, takes place at Badger-Two Medicine, a sacred place next to what is today the Blackfeet Reservation and Glacier Park. If a scholar wants to tell us that somewhere in the dark and distant mists of prehistory we walked from Asia, or came by raft across one ocean or another, we will listen and smile, because we like our Creation Story better." They speak of how they were in the early 1800's a race of 20,000 but due to the Europeans bringing war and smallpox they were diminished to a mere 6,000.

But the tribe did recover from this and today they stand as the biggest tribe in Montana and as one of the largest in the United States with a population of around 16,000 and in the 2000 census around 84,000 people identified as having Blackfoot ancestry. The Blackfeet identify themselves as being a generous tribe who look to help rebuild what they and other tribes have lost over time, they have a strong relationship with their land today as the claim to not own it, but they are owned by it.

The website is very well presented and the Blackfeet try to interest new members to joining their tribe by informing them about their beliefs and values, also the website is good for those people who are already members of the Blackfoot Nation, they have a Tribal Members news tab and also they have a Tribal Heroes section, in which they list important members of their society and why they are so important.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

the Kumeyaay tribe

The Kumeyaay Indians (also know as Tipai-Ipai, Kamia, or formerly Diegueño) occupy the state of California and Baja California in Mexico. They live on 13 reservations in San Diego county and 5 communities in Baja California. This map shows the main bands of Kumeyaay Indians.

One of the first facts mentioned in the history section is that the Kumeyaay have lived in this area for 12000 years; this establishes how long they were there before European settlers. It also describes how good life was before colonisation: Southern California has always been a haven of good weather, and good life. The Kumeyaay of Pre-Contact wanted for nothing. With ideal climate, and a land that they cared for and in turn provided a bounty of crops, game, and medicine. With little to no thought given to hardship of survival, the Kumeyaay were able to turn their thoughts to ways to improve their life. This was a world of astronomers... horticulturists... healers... scientists... and storytellers....’

The explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo led the first European expedition known to visit San Diego in 1542 and the first European immigrant settlers they had there in California was 1769; at this time it is thought that the Indian population there was over 150,000. This tribe were one of the later ones to be affected since as early as the 1630s reservations were being made for Indians. It says that up until European settlement ‘the Kumeyaay were living off the land in harmony with nature, developing their unique North American tribal culture over THOUSANDS of years, including their native Yuman (Hokan) languages.’ Again, it mentions the length of time the Kumeyaay have lived it that area; this quote also indicates how important their traditions are to them thus showing that they don’t want to become Americans.

Next it describes how the Spanish had moved into their territory including coastal lands which were important to the tribe. It says how there was ‘continual friction and bloody, murderous fighting between the Kumeyaay and the non-native invaders’. It seems that the Kumeyaay are proud of how they stood up and fought bravely, in this section of the website there was in extremely big letter a quote from Lt. Colonel Pedro Fage in 1779: ‘Indeed this tribe, which among those discovered is the most numerous, is also the most restless, stubborn, haughty, warlike, and hostile toward us, absolutely opposed to all rational subjection and full of the spirit of independence’. It also describes how, as a result of the Mexican-American war, the US-Mexican border cut the Kumeyaay lands in half thus leaving some of their tribe alienated. They were also greatly affected by the California Gold Rush of 1848-55 because it tripled the Californian population as well as bringing disease, weaponry and greed. Worst of all though was the control the state and local militia had over the Kumeyaay which is described as genocidal: ‘Militias were at the forefront of the government-sanctioned murder of Indians in California. Typically attacking at night, the militias would murder men, women and children... Local, State and Federal governments supported the genocide of California Indians. City governments paid bounties on heads or scalps of Indians’. However, it also says how assimilation using the California Spanish Mission System, relocation and reservation poverty was also disastrous to the ‘ageless California Indian spirit and timeless culture’. Only around 1,000 Kumeyaay Indians are thought to have survived into the 20th century.

Overall the Kumeyaay seem to be quite bitter and sad about their tribe’s history which is completely understandable. Just like any tribe they have had lots of land and much of their culture stolen from them as well losing lives. However at the start of this section the editor of the website says, ‘I've rarely heard San Diego Indians speak ill of or express bitterness over the past — they seem to be more interested in their present and future’. Despite this, much of the website entails the history of the tribe and there is little about what affects the tribe nowadays; perhaps this is because they don’t have many issues nowadays, although I find that hard to believe considering that Native Americans have quite a long way to go until they have complete equality. At the present time the Kumeyaay tribe gain quite a lot of money through the casino business thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 and Proposition 1a of 2000. It says how that, through this, the Kumeyaay ‘at last have a shot at participating in the American Dream’; this quote felt weird to me considering how proud the Kumeyaay seem to be about their traditions on this site however I suppose that they are thankful for the opportunity to get out of the impoverished conditions they were in. The issue surrounding that of Indian casinos is that of Americanisation and Capitalism against traditionalist Indians.

Apache's Cultural Business.

The tribe that I looked at was the Yavapai-Apache nation. They are a federally recognized sovereign nation, in which the people are descendants of the Wipukyipai (Yavapai) and Dil zhéé (Tonto Apache). The reservations that they live in currently are, Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Middle Verde and Rimrock which encompasses more than 1,600 acres throughout the Verde Valley. The website I looked at is located here.

The website I'm looking at doesn't really have a history tab, that you can look at or browse. But it does have an Our Culture tab, which on looking, does inform you of the culture of the two tribes that merged into the one we see now. It says that both tribes share a history, but even today have different cultures and separate histories/identities. It then goes onto to section the two main cultures/histories separately, with the Apache's being listed first.
It carries a mission statement, which says:
The Yavapai-Apache Nation’s Sovereignty is dependent on its cultural, religious, governmental, judicial systems and the practice of it’s own way of life-- independent of the greater American society. This uniqueness has to be preserved, recorded, taught, and supported by the Yavapai-Apache Nation’s government. Dilzi'e'e Culture Department is dedicated to preserve and continue this way of life that God instructed our People to live.

From what I can gather from this website, there seems to be some sort of field trips organised by Apache tribes people for younger generations or visitors, which goes to areas of importance and cultural significance. It also details that the clans people hold meetings where they discuss on how to keep their culture and history relevant to issues today.

The other tribe's section, also has a mission statement similar to the first. It says:
The mission of the Yavapai Culture Department is to create and tailor a research core for community access to acquire the Yavapai language for future generations to have preservation of language and sovereignty.The program involves those responsive to the stewardship of the Yavapai cultural heritage, the restoration of traditional arts, history, song, and stories of the Nya vabeh, and consultation and protection of the sacred lands and cultural property.

It then goes onto say how currently they are trying to keep their history/culture around, all the whilst teaching younger generations of the certain tribal ways.

What interests me greatly though is the Tribal Enterprises as it is stated on the website, which actually shows the Business enterprises that the Apache are into or part of. They are part of quite a wide arrange of businesses from Casino's, RV parks, Construction, Convenience Store and a Development & Financial institution. It seems that the Apache are not only keeping alive their traditions and history through field trips and cultural meetings of the elders, they are also establishing themselves businesses to make money to fund activities or whatever else to keep their history alive and their traditions.

Navajo People

This week I have chosen to look at the Navajo people. The Navajo nation extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico covering over 27,000 square miles of unparalleled beauty. Navajoland is larger than 10 out of the 50 states in America. The Navajo nation truly is a nation within a nation.

The History

Centuries before Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas, Navajos were already settled in the Four Corners area of the Colorado Plateau. The first white men were trappers, beginning as early as 1820. The California gold rush in 1849 brought many settlers invading the land of the Navajo. Home were built, land was farmed and live stock grazed on the ranges. The whites took their land as their own regardless in the indigenous people who had arrived their before them. If the Navajos got in the way of this "progress" then they were pushed out and often shot. The Navajos fought back and wars began, resulting in the establishments of forts set up by troops sent to protect the settlers.

Patients began to wear thin between the Navajos and the whites. By 1863 the last campaign was launched against the tribe. The plan was to remove all Navajos from their homeland. The settlers destroyed all crops, killed livestock and polluted the water. Eventually the settlers rounded them up at Canyon De Chelly and sent them on a "long walk" to eastern New Mexico. It was during this time that the government decided that the tribes needed to be separated from each other and reservations were established. The Navajos endured four years of hardship in an internment camp until the Treaty of 1869, when they were allowed to return to their beloved homeland. Thousand had died but with determination the Navajos survived and re-established themselves so successfully they are now the largest Indian tribe in the United States.

Problems Faced Today

This tribe does not seem to have as many problems as other tribes as they have many established businesses and are the largest tribe in America. There are many public services such as the Employment Assistance program, Social Services and Education Links.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Makah People

I've chosen to look at the Makah people or the "People of the Cape" (qʷidiččaʔa·tx̌) as they call themselves. They are located at the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and their Reservation is in Neah Bay, part of which is the most Northwest point of the United States.


"Makah spoken history tells the story of ancient times when the Makah People, the Qwiqwidicciat lived in a world that revolved around the sea and land. Yet it never lets one forget the great cultural changes that brought the tribe to where it is today, a sovereign nation in its traditional homeland. Makah tribal members live both on and off the reservation and throughout the world practicing an intertwined contemporary and native culture. The Makah, both past and present, have demonstrated their ability to adapt, survive and flourish."

Before contact the Makah tribe had a vast amount of land, both co
astal and inland and so they had access to a great amount of natural resources from both the sea and the forest. Throughout this land they had five permanent places of residence as well as summer homes. Every village had longhouses which were made out of cedar and often housed several different generations.

"Waatch, Sooes, Deah, Ozette and Bahaada, were located along the shore of the northwestern-most point of the continental United states." "Kidickabit, Archawat, Hoko, Tatoosh Island, Ozette River and Ozette Lake. These summer camps were closer to the traditional fishing, whaling and gathering areas of the Makah."

The website tells that the Makah people had advanced navigational and maritime equipment and were obviously very skilled when it came to traversing the water. They also had a great respect for everything that helped to keep them alive during the winter months. Another skill they possessed was in canoe building, for which they made canoes for every type of use from catching salmon to seals, for children to practice in as well as for war...with the canoes having sails so that the people could use the wind advantageously.

"The canoes and their contents were never disturbed as the Makah were taught from an early age to respect the belongings of others. The Makah were tireless paddlers and traveled great distances to obtain food or trade their wealth."

However, everything changed when the Europeans arrived. Even though they didn't have direct contact, thousands of Makah people died from diseases such as smallpox, tuberculosis, influenza and whooping cough. The site says that because of this great loss there was obviously a huge amount of grief and therefore a lot of the old ways were lost because the traditional ways in which they passed on information was interrupted. This was just before the Makah people signed a treaty with the United States.

"On January 31, 1855, the Makah Villagers, represented by 42 Makah dignitaries negotiated and signed a treaty between the United States and the Makah Indians. The negotiations between Gov. Isaac Stevens and the Tribal representatives were held at Neah Bay in the Chinook language, an English interpretor present. The Makah Tribal forefathers knew it was up to them to protect their peoples' whaling, sealing, fishing and village land rights from elimination. Certain rights were specifically outlined in articles in the treaty to insure that the importance of continuing these traditional practices was clearly understood by both the United States government and future generations of Makah. In order to retain Whaling rights, and to protect the health, education and welfare of their people, the Makah ceded title to 300,000 acres of tribal land to the U.S."

It also states that despite the attempts to make the Makah people assimilate by using laws against potlatches, ceremonies and the Makah Language, the people resisted being completely assimilated and that this can be seen today by their use of ancient cultural ways.

Problems faced today?

This particular tribe does not appear to have problems like some of the other ones do because they own several businesses and their location is partly to do with this.

  • Grocery stores and an arts and crafts store
  • Several restaurants/cafes
  • Moorages
  • A variety of bed and breakfasts as well as Hobuck Beach Resort
  • Mini mart (with 24 hour filling station)
  • Makah Business Enterprises
  • Own public transit
  • Makah Museum
"Step inside a life-size reproduction of a longhouse and see how the Makah lived for thousands of years. You can also stop by the Gift Shop. We have a wide variety of items made by local Native artists."

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Women in the Workplace

In my blog this week I am at the representation of women in the workplace, specifically in the office. I will ompare two images showing this: one from the 80s and one from now.

The first image shows an image of women at work in an office in the 80s. At this time the second wave of feminism was in motion and women wanted fuller equal rights. I think an important factor of this image is the way the woman is dressed: a bright blue power suit and heels. By having padded shoulders they were imitating men’s broad shoulders, thus making them equal as well as making them look powerful. However by also wearing heels and the suit being fashionable and bright it reiterates the fact that she is female; in the 80s women wanted equal rights but they didn't want to sacrifice their feminity to get it, this probably led to this post feminism image 'post feminist television heroines can be recognised by their economic independence while employed in a respectable profession, by their provocative clothing styles and by their acceptance of their choices and lifestyles by their friends' (Joke Hermes ‘The Tragic Success of Feminism’ in Feminism and Popular Culture). Between 1980 and 1985, the percentage of women in jobs increased from 15% to 71% and most of these women worked in offices as secretaries, just as this image shows. However, at this time there was still a lack of women in 'man's jobs' and high positions.

The second image is a representation of women in the workplace in contemporary America. The main point of this image is that men and women are equals in the workplace: the two women in the foreground and the two men in the background are basically in the same positions doing the same things; the fact that there is more than one woman in the picture shows that they are not a minority in the working world (unlike decades earlier). In some ways this picture is partly correct because women are getting closer and closer to equality; for example in 2006 women’s earnings increased to 77% of men’s compared to 66% in 2003. However, the rate of income for working class women in service jobs increases at a slower rate; as Nickel & Dimed demonstrates women are paid poorly and therefore have a very low standard of living. As you can see this image doesn’t present that side of women in work, it shows successful middle class women in the workplace; therefore this picture only indicates the ideology of equality.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Women in the Office 1980's - 2000's

For this weeks blog post I have chosen to look at women working in an office. This leads to stereotyping women's jobs and gender inequalities in the work force. This includes feminism in the first and second wave and post - feminism.

The first image is a woman working in an office in the 1980's. The picture shows a woman hard at work on what seems to be an average working day. As you can see the woman is well dressed which indicates a high income and therefore must be well educated. Even though it was becoming more common for women to go to work after university or college most women didn't work until there children had started going to school. It was very unusual to see a woman being the main bread - winner in a family. She is also doing two jobs at once (multi-tasking) which shows that she is hard working even though her job may not be manual and possibly not classed as a "man's job". This indicates good organisational skills and that she is just as dedicated to her job as man would be with his. In this image the woman is very glamorous. This shows she can have a good job and still look feminine.

The second image is of a woman in the same profession but 20 years on. As you can see this picture is very different to the first one. The woman here is very relaxed and seems to have some leisure time to paint her nails. This indicates that she has the "have it all" factor. This means that she can have a well paid job, be well educated, look glamorous and have the social life. It is becoming less unusual to see women without a job and it is becoming more common for a woman to be the main bread- winner in a family. On the other hand this picture could give a bad image of women in the work place. This could indicate that women are not as hard working as they were in the 80's and therefore should not get paid as much as a man in the same profession. This is refering back to the post - feminine wave, as women do not need to prove themselves as much and therefore deserve to have more leisure time for themselves and can relax and enjoy their job.

Women in the work force have had major breakthroughs such as more women working after they graduate from university and I am sure they will continue into the future.

Women in Army: Then + Now.

This weeks post, is obviously about the representations of women and women in the work place. Obviously this leads to gender inequalities in the work place and Feminism in its first and second wave and even post - Feminism.

This first picture to the right, is of women working in manufacturing factory, that dealt with the construction of planes for the war effort during World War 2. This obviously was a huge leap forward for equality for women in the work place. Seeing as most of the men in the country were in the armed forces, or away in foreign countries fighting the Nazis. This ideal of women in the work place, doing what the masculine jobs was quite a distinct part of the fight for equality. Women seemed to show that they were capable of doing what men could do. This is quite clear in this picture, seeing as one
of the women is using a powertool, which is more often than not, associated with men. The power tool itself is quite symbolic of masculinity as it empowers the man's skill and his usefullness. Seeing this women use equally as well, shows that during the war, it really didn't matter if it was women or men creating planes or tanks, women were equally as dedicated to the job as men.

This second picture shows women currently in the United States army. This is quite significant seeing as it is only recently that they have been allowed to serve along with men in the armed forces. Women are trained alongside men and it can be said that they are treated equally among the men in the forces, yet there are still restrictions for women in the military. This is an example of the glass ceiling, if it can be called that in this instance, where women soldiers cannot be placed on the frontline as armed infantry. This does stop women from going to the frontlines, as they can be assigned to support line, and help deliver rations/ammunition etc to the frontlines which is still very dangerous. It is a major breakthrough for women to be allowed in the army, and not be given directly supporting roles but actually training and serving among the men.

Female News Presenters

The first image that I have chosen to look at is of Betty Nguyen a News Presenter for CBS. She is the woman to the left of the picture and is an attractive young woman who is wearing a short skirt which is cut above her knee, this is supportive to my point which is that women who work on TV appear to be over sexualized and have to appear in a certain way for their audience.

Before becoming a network anchor and correspondent for CBS News, Nguyen anchored the weekend morning edition of CNN Newsroom. She spent six years at CNN covering major news events including the earthquake in Haiti, presidential elections in Africa, hurricane Katrina, the death of Pope John Paul II, and went on an undercover assignment in Myanmar. Prior to that, Nguyen was an anchor at KTVT-TV, the CBS affiliate in Dallas, where she covered numerous breaking news events, including the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Nguyen began her career as a morning anchor and reporter at KWTX-TV, the CBS affiliate in Waco, Texas. Although Nguyen has a long history in broadcasting, I feel that she has to appear in a way that pleases the male eye and although she is an impressive journalist and Anchor, her appearance is just as important to her job role.

There was recently a case where ESPN sportscaster Tony Kornheiser was suspended for slandering 47 year old news presenter Hannah Storm, he criticised her for wearing clothes that were too revealing for a woman of her age. This supports my suggestion that there is a certain ideology for a female news presenter not only do they have to do a good job, but they also have to be aesthetically pleasing to males.

This is an image of Barbara Walters, the first ever female American news presenter who amongst much controversy at the time in 1961 was given a TV role on The Today Show.

The reason that I have selected this image is because it shows how even in 1960, women had the same appearance as they do in today's news, they again not only had to be good at their job, but also had to look good for the camera.

In her autobiography, she describes this era before the Women's Movement as a time when it was believed that nobody would take a woman seriously reporting "hard news" and this was because of the idea that only men could present the news as women were not equal and shouldn't do the same jobs as men.Which perhaps explains why women have to appear as if they are about to walk the catwalk for the news, to please men.

Masculinity In America

The article which I have chosen to look at is by an American Pastor, Chuck Baldwin, who poses the question, 'Whatever happened to Masculinity?' Baldwin begins the article as he means to go on by suggesting that masculinity has been 'scorned' due to the recent infatuation with homosexualtiy in Hollywood.

To back up his belief that masculinity is being dismantled, Pastor Baldwin gives his understanding of what it takes to be a man, he lists what he feels makes a man, a man."By masculine, I mean a man who not only demonstrates the physical qualities of ruggedness but who also possesses inner toughness. A man who says what he means and means what he says. A man who recognizes the importance of honesty. A man of noble principle. A man without covetousness. A man who cannot be bribed or bullied. A man committed to manly virtues. A man who is the head of his home and knows how to control and discipline his children. A man who loves justice but also knows tenderness and mercy. A man who fears God and shows reverence for the sacred. A man who knows the difference between the rule of law and the lust for power. On the whole, our society today has little tolerance for such men. Even in our churches, masculinity is dying. "

Pastor Baldwin here describes a strong man, not just physically but emotionally and intellectually. This conception of man is a severly outdated one, In America when men were the sole providers for their families and had priviliges that women were not entiled to, this idea of what it means to be a man, may have been true. But in the 21st Century these ideas are no longer entirely correct, not to say that men like this are not about, because there are but most men do not need to be all these things to justify their manliness as there has been a significant change in ideals over what it means to be a man.

Baldwin goes on to suggest that it is because young boys are over exposed to female behaviour that they cannot understand what it means to be a man. "The overexposure of young boys to women leaders is taking a serious toll on their masculinity. Think about it: it is not uncommon for a young boy to never know a male teacher or principal until reaching high school, and even then, male teachers are egregiously outnumbered by their female counterparts." Baldwin may be correct in suggesting that as most children are exposed to females more due to mothers tending to be the ones who stay home and care for the children, yet to suggest that this is affecting their manliness is absurd. Mothers have predominantly throughout history been the parent to raise children in the home, so to suggest that manliness is detiriorating due to exposure to women is contradicting to his argument.

"Hollywood is continuing to pollute our culture with its incessant promotion of movies which praise and promote the homosexual lifestyle is one more nail in the coffin of American decency and manhood. It is unclear whether America will be able to rebound from this anti-masculinity political correctness that currently permeates our culture. However, one thing is clear: true masculinity is fast disappearing from the American landscape, and as it vanishes, so does one of the significant attributes that helped build this nation." Baldwin has some very strong views on anti-masculinity and as a Christian it may be that his views on gay couples is what reinforces his issue with masculinity, he seems to blame Hollywood for the what he sees as the lack of manhood in America. Baldwin says that True Masculinity is disappearing from America, but this is only his outdated idea of what it takes to be a man, infact I would say that manliness is still present in America, if you look at some of the top sports players, you get tough and dedicated men but the difference is that these men can cry tears of joy if they are to win a major event without their manliness being questioned. So if a man is to show emotion and care this doesn't make him less of a man.

Chuck Baldwin - Whatever Happened To Masculinity?

Monday, 14 February 2011

Women and Work in America

My chosen article for representation of women in work during the 1980's is about Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel in space, which I combined with another site with details about her life. and
She attended Stanford University and after gaining her masters degree, saw that NASA were looking for astronauts and applied.
"More than 8,000 men and women applied to the space program that year. 35 were accepted, six of whom were women. One was Sally Ride."
Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983 on board the Challenger STS-7. (A Russian woman had been in space before her.)

She returned to space the following year, again aboard a Challenger and has a total of more than 343 flight hours in space. Since then (And all in the 80's) she has been:
  • "Assistant to the NASA administrator for long-range planning. Ride created NASA's 'Office of Exploration'"
  • "Science Fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University."
  • "Named Director of the California Space Institute and Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego where she pursued one of her heartfelt crusades, encouraging young women to study science and math."
What we can learn from these sites is that the 1980's was a period of change because more women were in higher education and gaining degrees and that women were starting to infiltrate all fields. However we can also see that the media is to blame for a lot of the problems because at the time she was asked questions such as. "Will space flight affect your reproductive organs" and "do you weep when things go wrong?" Very much implying that men are the stronger sex, that women cannot cope with certain jobs and that they were all expecting her to give up or to fail.
Chat show host Johnny Carson, in fact said “the shuttle launch was being postponed until Sally Ride could find the purse to match her shoes.”

The most recent example of women in work that I've chosen is from the following website:
It is a list comprising the 50 most powerful Women in Business, the list itself being started in 1998.
In 1998 when the Most Powerful Women in Business list premiered, just two of our honorees ran Fortune 500 companies. This year 13 do."
There are a few notable entries on this list, which stand out from the rest and some of which are examples of how America is changing in regards to its workforce and power players.
  • Number 4 - Angela Braly, CEO and President of Wellpoint. "A Texan who started out as a waitress, Braly now runs a $61 billion health insurer with 34 million members -- more than any competitor."
  • Number 5 - Andrea Jung, Chairman and CEO of Avon Products. (Also on the board for Apple) "She enables millions of women worldwide to work for themselves. Headcount rose 200,000 in the U.S. alone during the first quarter." However, it should be noted that Avon are appealing to the insecurities of women, which is counter-feminist.
  • 4 out of the top 10 are women from ethnic backgrounds, although may have been born in the United States.
  • Some of the highest paid women are on the site, but they do not make up the top 50 and are therefore less well known or heard of and it could mean that powerful and high earning women are under-represented.
Something that did strike me as odd was that none of these women have a hair out of place or look stressed or even that old. (Despite the youngest being 34 and the majority being in their 50's) This makes me believe that the pressure on women to continue to look perfect all of the time (and in this day and age) is immense. Surely in such a position of power, it matters less what you look like and more about how capable or suitable you are for the job?

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Contemporary Masculine Identity in America

I looked at an article called ‘The End of Man’ by Hanna Rosin: This article describes and illustrates how the male role in American society has changed in recent years and the implications this could have in the future.

Firstly, the article focuses on biologist Ronald Ericsson who came up with a way to separate sperm carrying the male-producing Y chromosome from those carrying the X in the 70s; thus allowing parents to choose the sex of the child, it was advertised as a way to make sure you get a son however in the 90s most parents were choosing to have girls. This not only shows how back in the 70s males were the first class citizens but how in a few decades females quickly rose up to become equals; this supports the idea that American masculinity is always shifting. Ericsson is describes as having a ‘Old West, cowboy swagger’ and his agrees with the image of ‘a guy riding on his horse along the river, no bureaucrats, no lawyers. He’s the boss’. This goes back to the image of taming the wild and self-made men but he’s represented as a dying breed. This contrasts to the image of men at the end: ‘unemployed, romantically challenged loser can show up as a perpetual adolescent...a charmless misanthrope...a happy couch potato... He can be sweet, bitter, nostalgic, or cynical, but he cannot figure out how to be a man’. The main reason for this change is the shift in economy: well paid, ‘manly’ industrial jobs vastly decreased and post-industrial jobs replaced them, these jobs are ‘indifferent to men’s size and strength’. Instead attributes such as ‘social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus’ are more valuable and these traits are predominantly feminine; therefore women excel in this economy and the once valued traits of ‘real men’ are no longer necessary.

Also, it describes how there is a major student gender gap with the majority of graduates being women: ‘women now earn 60 percent of master’s degrees, about half of all law and medical degrees, and 42 percent of all M.B.A.s. Most important, women earn almost 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees—the minimum requirement, in most cases, for an affluent life. In a stark reversal since the 1970s, men are now more likely than women to hold only a high-school diploma’. By comparing these statistics to a time when the stereotypical ‘real man’ was privileged and women’s place was in the home, the complete contrast is shown; Rosin even infers that this role reversal will go even further. It says ‘college is the gateway to economic success, a necessary precondition for moving into the upper-middle class...[this] defines our society. And demographically, we can see with absolute clarity that in the coming decades the middle class will be dominated by women’. It is suggested that one reason for this is because many of these women’s parents began careers later in life and therefore urged their daughters get their own careers.

Due to the increasing number of professional women, the number of married women has decreased: it states how only 60% of women aged 30-44 are married compared to the 84% who were in 1970. One factor contributing to this is because women are too busy with their jobs but the other is due to a lack of ‘marriageable’ men. The article suggests that women are becoming the breadwinners of their families and that men have little to offer anymore; so even when men are married the woman is the more powerful one: ‘[households have] turned into matriarchies, with women making all the decisions and dictating what the men should and should not do’. The article also draws attention to the Cougar phenomenon; saying that it’s not about desperate old women but desperate young men trying to latch onto their power. This idea of men being desperate and the weaker sex would be completely unthinkable a few decades ago. As Monday’s lecture stated perhaps it is now similar to when black men felt they were robbed of their masculinity because they were controlled, this article leads us to believe that men (especially white men) are now controlled by women.