Thursday, May 31, 2007

Should women be expected to..

The News Poll on Yahoo7 Home Page poses the question :

"Should a woman be expected to give up her career to support her husband?"

I am sure you can think of a few problems with this question and i'd love to hear your thoughts.. every day in the media, we are treated to stories and opinions that have the effect of reinforcing the normative cultural position.. and its sometimes so subtle that we hardly even notice the impact..

..i like to think that i shield myself from some of the effects of media stereotyping and construction of people because i rarely watch tv.. go to a cinema or listen to the radio.. but i cant avoid my computers Home Page so easily.. and media has a way of subtly slipping into your life in some form.. even in just listening to conversations that result from media stories.. media - of course - is a power source in our society..

so i'd like to take the time to unpack this one small Yahoo News Poll question by talking about the unspoken aspects of the question..

  • doesnt pose the question in reverse.. "Should a man be expected to.. etc
    ..the word "support" is used in a gendered way.. the inference is that a women supports by propping up.. and a man supports by providing.. and this is a restating of the traditional gender roles.

  • the word "expected" is asking for social and cultural regulation of the expectations of women.. the question asks what should be expect of a woman..

  • as women in same sex relationships, or women seeking a same sex relationship.. we are completely excluded from this statement.. and we are more than excluded, we are made invisible.. as if we dont exist.. its a heteronormative question that can only have answers that reinforce the heteronornative position..

moving away from the actual content of the question.. what about the power of the media in posing this question.. ??

  • if you should choose to answer the News Poll question, its a ticker box response that you may choose from.. the answers are preselected for you, so you are either forced to remain silent, or respond in one of a few preselected ways.. think about the power in that for a while..!!

  • on its face, the question looks reasonable and seems to by asking for readers opinion.. but the resulting Poll response can not be broader than the question posed.. the only actual choice available is to answer or not to answer.. either way you are affected by the question .. ..rendered invisible.. or confined by its terms.. etc..

..i hate these sort of normalising "questions" that are actually statements.. i hate the sublty of them and that there is no recourse to not have your day dotted with media word pollution..

dont construct me today !!

No comments: