Disposable Women


            I have touched upon so many subjects since my first Women’s Studies course, however, a huge subjects that has constantly circled my mind; after the recent “Women and Globalization” course I’ve taken, is the notion of the “disposable woman”. To begin, I was very intrigued by the stories of the women working in “maquilaroras”. The movie Senorita Extraviada, and readings about women working in factories and “sweatshops”, in places like Asia and Mexico, are very important examples to help understand the way that these labor facilities operate when it comes to female employees.

            The movie and these readings have helped me learn a couple things about the reasons for why women take these types of low wage jobs, with bad working conditions. They do it because it may honestly to be the only way that they can find to support their family. I think it’s sad that some women are encouraged by their own mothers to work these types of jobs because it is so common in their culture. It’s ‘s even more upsetting to know that women are being called “bad girls” for not being obedient to the cultural norm because it causes there to be pressure on a woman who wants to be seen as a “good girl” in their society.

            At the end of the day, these women who are working in sweatshops are in a bad predicament because if they get the job, and don’t perform as expected, they will be easily be replaced by another ready and willing woman; this proving their disposability. Nanny’s, maids, and ses workers are another example of jobs they a woman can have, but easily lose if they aren’t obedient. It breaks my heart to learn that in many severe cases, women have brutally lost their lives due to their employer.

            All of these things make me get a better picture of how globalization really assists in the oppression of women. The need for income in impoverished, or third-world countries causes women to have to take on jobs that fuel our oppression. In my opinion, being a sex worker, jobs in sweatshops, or as nannies and maids aren’t bad, as long as it’s a woman choice (not including being coerced into doing so). In order for these industries to be more considerate to women, they need to provide proper treatment and compensation.

~Sasha Sanders, UMass Dartmouth Alum, Class of 2013

Supreme Court throws out a class action lawsuit brought against Wal-Mart, by its female employees


In a course I took where the focus was on different successful methods of building an argument, we ended up watching a video clip titled “Too Big to Nail”, where Stephen Colbert sarcastically gave his opinion on a situation where The Supreme Court threw out a class action lawsuit brought against Wal-Mart, by its female employees.

            Colbert’s claim was basically that Wal-Mart is too big of a corporation, for that lawsuit to have been successful. The reasons that he uses to support this claim are that “it’s not the largest private employer (Wal-Mart) in the US repeatedly violating rights; it’s the thirty-four hundred completely different locations, individually violating their rights in different ways”. He also says that the class was too big for the lawsuit to become successful. The evidence of this is because the women suing had different jobs, at different levels, in all 50 states, and if Wal-Mart lost they would owe at least a billion dollars back and therefore have to raise there prices. He also uses the evidence that according to Wal-Mart’s lead attorney, “Wal-Mart as a whole cannot be held responsible because they have a strong policy against discrimination and in favor of diversity” (Colbertnation.com), and this is written in the employee manual. Though his tone is sarcastic, he still manages to establish a sort of credible tone with the use of logos with some of his logistics.

            After watching this video clip I’d have to say that the he was somewhat persuasive for me, because the incorporation of the facts that he had, were useful in convincing me that Wal-Mart was “Too Big to Nail”, however  his sarcastic tone took away from the level of persuasion because it was sometimes hard to understand if the facts that he used were truly facts, or just opinionated sarcastic remarks.

            I’d have to say, it’s really discouraging to women in the the work force who wish to gain equality. Especially, when things like this are happen all too often, with no way to protect women’s rights, and with the issues being “too big” to nail.

~Sasha Sanders




Same ol’ Hips, Just a Different Sway: Illuminating on the role of women in TV series


“I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed.”

             ~Meredith Brooks – Bitch 1996

When Bitch, by Meredith Brooks, came out, I was only 6 years old, but for some reason, it liberated me. I sung the lyrics to myself, very low of course, and for some reason I didn’t want to be a “Barbie girl, in a Barbie world”, I wanted to be “a sinner” and “a saint.” I felt like this was the type of woman who had an individualistic mindset, and could definitely relate to me.  I would also watch television shows like Living Single, where the women weren’t portrayed as submissive to men, or as non-complex beings as individuals, which also related to me. These things lead me to wonder; does television teach its viewers to see that the “realistic woman” is a bitch, mother, child, and lover all at once? Not really, it teaches us that women may possess all of these qualities, but not collectively, we are more shown to have each of these qualities, split amongst the individual woman.

Over time an endless progression of television programs that tell stories about women’s lives. With so many shows targeted to, and cast with women, we can notice many similar characters reappearing. The most pronounced group of characters I see recurring on television involves a group of four women. Within this grouping, there is usually ‘the smart one,’ ‘the sexy one,’ ‘the naive one,’ and ‘the motherly one’. It would be foolish to believe that the similarities amongst these characters in TV shows over generations are an accident. In fact I think that they are important to understanding our culture, not only because of their common re-productions, but also because the variations among these representations, point to significant cultural differences in society. These characters teach viewers that women are versatile creatures,

Let’s think about these three different television shows (all top rated), from different eras: Golden Girls (85’-92), Living Single (93’-98’), and Sex and the City (98’-04’); which each includes a quartet of women characters. Now while these shows are about very different modern women (older White women in suburban Florida, twenty-something African-American women in Brooklyn and thirty-something, White, professional women in Manhattan), the four main characters in each show similarly represent four feminine models found throughout Western culture: the iron maiden, the sex object, the child, and the mother.

Miranda from Sex and the City, Max from Living Single, and Dorothy from Golden Girls represent the iron maiden archetype. These women usually wear  business suits and have sharp, blunt, and shorter hairstyles. They’re cynical, competitive, sometimes abrasive and mean-spirited, and often antagonistic toward men. Their viewpoints might be considered feminist or just plain “bitchy,” and they value women’s right to be equal. These women work in male dominated professions and achieve high status (Miranda is a lawyer, Carrie a writer, Samantha is in PR). Most interestingly however, for these women, although they may desire a romantic partnership, they’re independent and do not need a men in their lives. They more commonly find romantic love impractical and/or incompatible with her career ambitions and independent needs. For example when giving advice to Charlotte, Miranda says, “it’s all about control . . . if he goes up there, either he’ll have the upper hand or you will . . . the question is if he goes up your butt will he respect you more or less . . . that’s the issue,” exemplifying her focus on blockading male dominance.

Samantha, Regine, and Blanche embody the sex objects in Sex and the City, Living Single, and Golden Girls. They are concerned with the male gaze and do what is necessary to get that attention. They’re sensual, superficial, and take great pride in sexual experiences. Money, power, and sex are central to them. They also feel power from sexuality and believe that women should use their sexuality to get what they want. The comments made by them are mostly sexual and shallow, and they are all about being “lovers.” For example, in the first episode, Dorothy says, “I would kill to be 40 again” (TVLand.com),  talking about how, when with a group of 20-something male teachers were at work earlier that day, she had forgotten that she was older than the other women.

Charlotte, Synclaire, and Rose portray the child character. They’re usually dressed in skirts and girly accessories such as bows, ribbons, or flowers. They’re prudent and conventional, and often seen as simple characters. These “childish” women portrayed as immature, although sometimes making surprisingly profound statements as children sometimes do. They’re naive and their comments are usually silly and discounted as ridiculous. Similarly also, these women believe deeply in romantic love, and desire romantic love above most other goals. Interestingly enough these women seem to have a relationship and have the most content love life.  In a conversation about sex Charlotte decides that she cannot be “the up-the-butt girl” because “men don’t marry the up-the-butt girl . . . whoever heard of Mrs. Up-the-Butt . . . no, no, no . . . I can’t, I want children and nice bedding,” this showing her use of ridiculous phrases, and her longing for a loving family like a child would want.

Finally, Carrie, Khadijah, and Sophia are the characters portrayed as the mother. While Sophia is reduced to the comedic stereotype of the ethnic mother, Khadijah embodies the strong independent mother common in notions of the Black family. These characters are central to the group, and ultimately help seek wellness for the group. The stories they tell reflect the complexity of the world, like a “mothers” would, even with the use of wit and sarcasm like Sophia often uses. The mother character is more neutral on issues, and often contemplates, and over-analyzes the dilemmas in her life as well as in others. For example in the episode where Sinclair blurt outs the secret that Regine’s new “man” is married, to comfort Regine, Khadijah puts her arm around her and says, “Look . . . listen, as much as I love to be right, and you know mother does love to be right. I wish I was wrong this time, but girl, the man is married,” referring to herself as a “mother” type.

 These shows provide examples of the different personalities women have and help us see that the “realistic woman” isn’t much of a “Barbie Girl”, but is more commonly “a sinner and a saint”. However, these archetypes placed within a cultured system can then become stereotypes, and while stereotypes can change over time, they generally become set within specific cultural contexts. The women portrayed in this show are from different time eras, in different settings, and yet, they embody almost the same exact personalities, ideas, occupations, and personal issues, and this is what teaches people about the lives of realistic women. If only Television could show us that there is more versatility within the personality of the individual woman, they would really accomplish teaching us about what the realistic woman is. They need to teach more that we are all uniquely different, rather than being confined to the “Same ol’ Hips, Just a Different Sway.”

~Sasha Sanders, CWGS Alum, Class of 2013

Woman’s Resistance to Neo-liberal Globalization


            Although neo-liberal penetration has brought along many negative drawbacks for women women, it’s existence also creates a movement of global resistance, in the struggle against neo-liberal authority.

            Filipino women’s resistance to globalization is led by GABRIELA; a militant, national coalition of women’s organizations, and  GABRIELA has facilitated the organization of grassroots women. It has helped to raise consciousness among its members and the larger public on the impact of neo-liberal globalization on Filipino women and one of its major political campaigns is the “Purple Rose Campaign”, which is an international campaign against the sex trafficking of Filipino women and children.

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Female Engineers By Rola Hassoun

According to the Office of Institutional Research Assessment, roughly 16% of the UMass Dartmouth College of Engineering students are female. This means, the College of Engineering is 84% male! This is not surprising considering the social and institutional barriers that drive younger women away from perusing majors in the sciences, but this is particularly interesting when discussing discrimination within the College of Engineering.

As a female engineering student, who has experienced multiple cases of discrimination while attending a different institution, I have not experienced discrimination from my professors or administrative staff at UMass Dartmouth. I have a profound respect for the College of Engineering on this campus and I have always felt that I was treated the same as my male peers. However, my male peers did not feel the same. Over this past year, many of my male peers have suggested that professors have favoritism for female engineering students. Many of them believe that Engineering professors are more lenient with grading and are more “easy going” with the females in the class. I asked several of the male students why they felt this way and the cumulative reason was “girls are just obviously treated better and professors like them more. They give them better grades because they feel bad for them. Prof. A is a creep and likes girls and Prof. B is a female so she likes girls.” This is when I realized that many male students in the College of Engineering have NO IDEA about the challenges that female engineering students face. Maybe, the entire campus community may not see the full story when it comes to our female engineering students.

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Social Construction of Gender By Sasha Sanders

I can honestly say, that of all the things I’ve learned while taking women’s and gender studies courses, the most important topic has been the social construction of gender. I believe that understanding this concept is key to helping liberate women because if everyone would realize that we only view gender the way we do because we were nurtured to do so, we would live in a world where people are more accepting of each other’s differences.

In the Judith Lorber’s “The Social Construction of Gender”, she explained that gender is a human production which is dependent upon everyone constantly “doing gender”. She says that gender is maintained as a process, and as part of a stratified and structured system; which has caused gender to be “so pervasive that in our society we assume it is bred into our genes”. Lorber’s excerpt concludes, stating that, gender inequality “is produced and maintained by identifiable social processes and built into the general social structure and individual identities”, and I absolutely agree with this statement because this is the same way that the idea of race, class has been produced in our society.

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Oh, Ohio! By: India Brown

Since when did no mean yes? Since this is apparently still an issue today, let’s break it down in the most logical sense. Yes: a sign for going, green, a nod of the head from up to down, a smile even, and sometimes the casual thumbs-up. No: a sign for stopping, yielding if you need to hear it one more time, but that should never be the case, red, a nod from left to right or vice versa, a frown, and that thumbs-down has to mean something undesirable. Being categorized as a victim is the worst feeling, many of us have been there once, maybe twice. No one wants to be the one blamed and no one wants to get hurt.

Often time’s people try to blame the victim for the rape. They’ll say something ignorant like, “She was drunk, and she had it coming!” Yes, because she had a sign that said, “Please, scum of Ohio, rape me!”  How is the one or many that forced themselves on a girl and took videos and laughed because the victim was unconscious, not being questioned? How is it that a girl passes out that makes her an easy target? Here’s some food for thought: what if that girl was dead the whole time, surely necrophilia is something to laugh about and show to all your guy friends.

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I’m your Girlfriend, not your Maid!: Violating a Gender Norm By Sasha Sanders

My boyfriend is Puerto Rican, and when we first began our relationship things were done with mutual understanding, however, now that I spend a lot of time staying at his house, with him and his mom, I’ve realized that he expects that I will accommodate to this socialized role of woman: the “house wife”. We would constantly argue about why he feels that I should always cook for him, make his plate, wash his clothes, and ultimately tend to his every nurturing need.

So, my violation of a gendered role consisted of deciding not to cook, clean, or perform that “role” he ‘assumes’ of me. This ultimately forced me to separate myself from him physically, until I felt that he understood that if I did things for him, it was only because I care for him and expect the same in return, not because I felt that it was what I am supposed to do as a woman.

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Nike Ads Positive Portrayal of Woman By Sasha Sanders

It is remarkable to realize the amount of advertisements one consumer can be exposed to in a single day.  The sad thing about this is the majority of these ads have a subliminally harmful effect on consumers—especially women. Most people find it almost impossible to name an advertisement that positively influences women, but people must not realize that NIKE ads seem to always make sure to portray and influence women in a positive aspect.

Sex is predominantly the image that advertisers seem to portray. Women are usually half-clothed, and some of the ads don’t even make sense with the product it was trying to sell. However when it comes to the Nike Women campaign, I feel that these ads are very empowering for women. The most recent ads pick a part of the body that women typically hate, and the ad tells an empowering story about that body part. For example, the ad titled“Thunder Thighs”does not show any picture other than a picture of the body area being described. The ad reads,“I have Thunder Thighs and that’s a compliment because they are strong and toned and muscular, and though they are unwelcome in the petite section, they are cheered on in marathons.  Fifty years from now I’ll bounce a grandchild on my thunder thighs and then I’ll go out for a run”(Nikewomen.com). This ad is very empowering for women because not only is this ad addressing the issue of larger thighs in the present, but in the future as well.

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Musings from Sasha By Sasha Sanders (Post Two)

The Women I Aspire to be

      If I could think of a woman from television as I was growing up that I looked up to, it would have to be “Claire Huxtable” from the Cosby Show. She was such an empowering, fearless, beautiful, intelligent, loving, woman; amongst many other qualities. I admired her also as an African American woman, like myself, and the ability that she had to be a great mother, wife, and career woman.
However, growing up, I was raised by a very large ammount of women. My mother, aunts, cousins and grandmothers were the predominant people who I gained my wisdom from, and I could honestly say that they are the women that I always looked up to. These women never seemed to be the type of women that made it seem as though not having men around was a disability. They were and are so strong, independent, intelligent, wise and loving, the perfect combination of a woman to me. The type of woman I want to be.
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