Thank you for reading!

First, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope that you are currently more informed on the issues gender roles and ideals bring to culture as well of how the media impacts our views. I specifically focused on Lee Marcle’s First Wives Club; Coast Salish Style; observing the struggles these aboriginal women faced but more of how they resisted them in order to survive and thrive!

These women resisted the ideals placed on them such as society, media, their husbands, etc. I hope through this blog you understood how the term ‘sexy’ can be considered very broad; what is considered sexy in western culture is not always the same in others as it is extremely influenced by ones culture. We as society need to be aware of other cultures and ideals, realizing our way is not always the right way. We need to be more inclusive instead of exclusive.  The Salish women felt secluded from the Western’s description of sexy and also that their forms of romance were less important, or not truly ‘romantic.’

I discussed the roles of these Salish women and how they compared to our westernized women; differences in roles, position within society, etc. Perhaps our westernized culture needs to take note of the equality between men and women within the Salish culture. Although we are striving for equality between men and women, men still dominate many areas of our society whereas women are more important in Salish culture.

These women resisted the ideals placed on them, displaying their determination. These women did not just survive through their struggles, but were successful through them! They surpassed the gender roles placed on them as well as the media’s influence of their physical and emotional status of ‘sexy’ and ‘romantic’ showing their own self confidence and knowledge of their self-worth.

Not only did these women defy the social norms, they succeeded in doing so; proving their strength and determination.

Resistance is Futile?: An Introduction

This blog takes a great look at how resistance to gender roles and ideas is now beginning in children’s toys! No longer is the ‘boy toys’ just for boys!

Necessary Resistance

I want to show you something.

You can probably guess, but that is a promotional image from the Nerf company’s new line of Girl-Focused toys, Rebelle. You can tell it’s for girls, because the name is feminized (in the French sense), and everything is slathered in pink. The line recently launched with it’s first product, this little beauty right here:

It’s called Heartbreaker.

One of the talented ladies at the media feminist blog ChezApocalypse has already discussed why it was given that name and why it’s a problem, so I won’t repeat their words when I can just link to them right here.

What I will say is this: this is a toy for children.

Children, I think, are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to gender interpellation, because they don’t have much control over what discourses they enter, or how they are socially hailed…

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Sight.

This post shows how ‘sight’ aka what we see influences us as society. An excellent incorporation of our class literature with media! It can be closely related to my blog concerning women’s appearance; looking at people a certain way based on what they wear (women wear dresses).

Performing Gender

Above all else, the first thing people judge is how you look. When a woman wears a dress, they are obviously female. It’s when you can’t discern someone gender by their attire is when things get messy. But appearances can be deceiving, as many films and literature show. In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Viola dresses as a man, and a eunuch at that, in order to survive.  She is able to infiltrate both the male and female realms without trouble because she looks like a non-threatening male. She performs as a male and they believe her. When Viola, as Cesario, for encounters Olivia, the first thing she says is that Olivia is “most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty” (I.v.168). Viola immediately performs as a male, commenting on how beautiful Olivia is. Typically men start out by complimenting a woman and then proceed with the conversation. Viola is performing as any male would, pointing…

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Westernized Salish Women; Surviving and Thriving

Our culture with which we grew up shapes our identity as well as forms our knowledge of how to conduct one’s self within society. Being raised within one community and culture and then switching to another can be very challenging as the ideals with which you come to know are not always the exact same.

Looking at “The Laundry Basket” we see a woman who was raised in her Salish family to be strong and not controlled by men. When she marries a white man and is moved into a different community, the ways of life that she knows do not fully conform.

‘“My mother held a job and did the laundry, too.” The quality of his voice has changed. During his endless complaining about her unwillingness to work and work and work, his voice had been loud and arrogant. Now in its dreamy memory state it possess a mocking purr as though, from wherever in the world he was, he knew she was not keeping up with the holy duties of motherhood” (Marcle. 48).

Her husband’s dominance controlled her even when he wasn’t home; nagging in her head as if he were there. ‘“What am I doing? He’s gone but his voice still dictates my every mood. It hangs in the air, like the paper”’ (Marcle. 48). Her inner struggle of wanting to fulfill her desires competed with her husband’s demands creating an inner battle.

When we are controlled we often rebel. Mom and dad say DON’T go to the party that appears to us like a challenge otherwise known as rebellion. When her husband appreciated her and allowed her to run the household she was happy and more than willing to do her ‘duties’ but as soon as he demanded, she resisted. She began finding things that pleased her that he couldn’t touch such as her writing. She began to survive again! She stated “I’ll die if I don’t keep pecking and believing…” (Marcle. 50). She was determined to do what she wanted in life, despite his demands. “She saved time by not caring so much about housework. Wall-washing was sacrificed to writing. Deleting daily floor washing added to writing time” (Marcle. 51). Her writing became more important and gave her a purpose in life again.

The male dominance over her was something she was not used to and felt as if she had been repressed within her own home. “Maybe it was all too nightmarish for him, a white man, to see this Indian bride become one of the pampered literati of Canada. The sickening notion struck her that he had fallen in love with her because he wanted someone to whom he could feel superior” (Marcle. 53).  Of course this made her upset, but it also gave her a new reason to fight! She was no longer going to be an easy going house wife, but rather her own person with her own dreams and desires for her life.

Her determination was seen as she continued to write her stories, regardless of what he had to say. As she divorced her husband, she took control of her own life.  He did not fight her on this issue, and proved his disregard to her and their children. “Her husband had not contested to the divorce or application for custody. No complications except the tight feeling inside her wanted to say, “Excuse me, I just divorced your entire race, your honor, wouldn’t you like to comment on that/ I mean, I chucked out his entire lineage as a possible source of comfort in the hereafter, so wouldn’t you like to resent that for just a moment?”’ Although she is thriving by divorcing the one thing that made her very angry, she wanted some sort of satisfaction. When she purchased the washing machine however, and saw her son’s eagerness to help this was all of the satisfaction she needed; seeing that her boys had not turned out like their father. Although she was now a single mother, she had the freedom to take control of her life without that constant nagging in the back of her mind.

Coming into the western world and marrying a westernized man can not only be a culture shock, but an awakening to ideas and concepts that do not match other cultures; making it hard to fit in and conform.

Disney Even looks at Gender Roles

I was recently watching old Disney movies with my family, and I realized…. have you ever seen a male character in the role of maid or nanny? Look how many Disney has; Cinderella always cleaning, Snow White taking care of the Seven dwarfs (aka 7 men), Mary Poppins cleaning and taking care of the children, etc. Disney, like the rest of Western culture too believed women and men had certain roles they needed to perform. Even lately, the movie “Despicable Me” shows a man taking care of the children but he often has no idea what he is doing!

Note: the one female mouse tells the other male mice to “leave the sewing to the women.” Even the mice have gender roles established!

Gender roles are taught to us at a very young age through our family, society, as well as media playing a HUGE role.

This post gives excellent examples of the western male and female stereotypes concerning both their personality and their roles! Well done

What's My Role?

In society, men and women have been slotted into specific categories.  Each gender is given a set of stereotypes which they must adhere to, or else they are seen as “weird” or “gay/lesbian.”  Men and women who do not perform their traditional gender roles are called “sissies” or “tom boys.”

Male Stereotypes

  • Men work in “dirty jobs” (e.g. construction, mechanics, plumbers)
  • Men are good at math and science
  • Men are strong
  • Only men can be doctors, engineers, scientists or work with technology
  • At home, men perform the “dirty jobs” of mowing the law, taking out the trash etc.
  • Men play sports and video games
  • Men enjoy camping, fishing, hiking and hunting
  • Men are lazy and messy
  • Men are in charge of their wives at home or are the manager, CEO, or owner in the workplace
  • Men do not cry or show emotion

Female Stereotypes

  • Women have “clean jobs” (e.g. secretaries…

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Feminism Goes Digital

After watching this video for our class discussion post, I realized how closely related it was to my blog. The video focuses on the “fourth wave of feminism” considering the digital media. It really made me think… were Salish women feminists? Or did they simply always have power? I really thought about this and realized that within our western culture we came accustom to men being the leaders, and now are trying to take back this power.