Friday, March 7, 2008

Kate Gaskill

Kathleen Backer was born in Jacksonville, Florida but raised in Georgia. She was raised in a typical wealthy, southern family. Her family never had the typical stay at home mother. Instead, both of her parents have serious careers to support their family together. Her father does not play the dominant role in the family; both of her parents equally share the power within the household. Kathleen Backer has very intriguing opinions on the importance of women and feminism.

Feminism has many definitions. The qualities of females and how men and women are equal is one definition. Feminism is mainly seen as women fighting for their equal rights. Kathleen Backer does not identify herself as a feminist particularly, but does believe in women having the same, equal rights and treatment, as men. People think of the extreme when they envision a feminist, but some like Backer see feminist differently, “When I think of a feminist I think of a woman who will stand up for their rights but I think sometimes they turn anything, little unimportant issues, into bigger problems then they need should be” (Backer). Like many others, Kathleen Backer thinks that feminists can be slightly extreme when it comes to the issues they are fighting for. She gave an example: “I was talking to a woman with strong feminist views once and she was saying that if she was to go on a date with a man and he was to open the door for her then she saw that was men taking the women’s power away, because woman can open their own door. I think that is taking it way too far, a man opening a car door for their date is more out of respect then taking a woman’s power away” (Backer). Some feminist do look into some of the small things to exceedingly. I did happen to ask Kathleen Backer if she did identify herself as a feminist which wave of feminism would she fall under, she answered: “Third wave because I believe that anyone, man or woman, can stand up for equality rights. I also like that the third wave feminist are more open minded and not as strict on the ways that a feminist should be” (Backer). Feminism is seen differently by all different types of people; Kathleen Backer has a common opinion from the outsider’s view of feminism.

The “Second Sex” was an intriguing part of the interview. I refreshed her memory and explained that the “second sex” was how in society the women are the object not the subject like men. Backer explained, “We live in a society that is dominated by men. Since back in the day men were the ones who worked while women stayed home and men have always had the power over women in history. To an extent I think it is changing a little. People are becoming more aware that women are the “second sex”. I think changes start when people become aware of the issues and since women are become active and raising people’s awareness it is slowly but surely changing. As time goes on I think it will slowly keep changing and improving” (Backer). People are beginning to change the way that they think about women when it comes to them being a more dominant role.

Women are treated different compared to men in the workforce. Backer had a personal experience that proves that there is some discrimination of women in the workforce. She thought, “Women are not treated equally in the workforce, I think the discrimination between women has improved over the years but we still haven’t seen very many women CEO’s or any women president’s, those higher level careers are mostly dominated by men. For example, I applied for an upper level position and lost it to a male applicant, I’m not sure if was more qualified than me but I can still look at it as he got the job because he’s a male” (Backer). Her personal experience is a great example of how someone who is possibly equally qualified is turned down simply because of their sex.

Kathleen Backer also had strong feelings about how women are portrayed in the media today. The perfect, cookie cutter, tall, skinny, beautiful, flawless women are plastered all over magazines and television. Backer believes, “Women are portrayed as objects, today they are still only showing beautiful young thin women” she also believed, “it is slowly changing for example, the Dove campaign, but that’s one of many things that has changed, for instance high fashion is never going to change. This is because companies want the ideal perfect looking women to sell their products” (Backer). Women are going to keep being seen as sex objects because the media is never going to change. They use what works, sex sells and women are used and shown as sex objects to sell products.

There are many ways that feminist can make other people aware of how women are treated unequally. One of the more effective ways today is on the internet. There are many blogs by feminists about issues concerning women’s rights. Since the internet can reach anywhere world-wide it is an easier way to spread the word and get more support for feminist issues. Backer said “I believe that the cyber feminism is an amazing idea. The internet is the easiest way to reach more people, more quickly. This way women, and anybody who is interested in the feminist issues can read and write their own opinions on the issues at hand” (Backer). The internet is easier for feminist to spread their opinions and get more people interested in feminism and possibly becoming equally evolved.

Feminism is defined in different ways but is mainly women who fight for their rights and the equal rights of all women in every part in society. Since Kathleen Backer was raised in a family with two parents who equally share the power in the household, she has a different outlook on feminism than those who were raised with a stay at home mother and a father who took care of the family and worked all the time. Equality of women is slowly beginning to change in society today but still has far to go and the best and quickest way to conscious raise it through cyber feminism which is through the internet, most likely through feminist blogs.

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