Discrimination of Women and the Communist Manifesto Blog

Celeste Hannan Period 3

There have always been two groups of people, men and women, just like the Communist Manifesto describes two classes of people, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Since “ancient Rome, we have particians, knights,  plebians, slaves; in the Middle ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs” (Marx). Throughout history, there has been a struggle to be the most powerful, often dividing people into classes. Similarly, another subordinate group, women, have faced a dominant, over powering group, men. In history, women have been known to be submissive to men, often with no choice. The proletariat “with its birth beings its struggle with the bourgeoisie”, continuing their whole life (Marx). The lower class falls into a cycle of mistreatment, similar to women. Discriminated against in every way possible, women and the proletariat become slaves to their inferiors. Laws and society prevent women from leading lives men normally would.  The males were the head of the house hold, while the bourgeoisie was the head of the economy, gaining more resources, wealth, and power. Even after laws are created to give women equal rights, there is still discrimination against women taking place: discrimination in the Media and discrimination in the work place.

The shift between the feudal systems of industry to the modern industry created changes in class organization. No longer necessary in society, social ranks simplified. The bourgeoisie’s road to power created a new working class, the proletariat. With new machinery and new production methods, the proletariat forms, enslaving them to the bourgeoisie. The drastic changes in the market created a new shift in the economy. With the markets growing, the bourgeoisie kept exploiting the proletariat. The bourgeoisie needs laborers to keep up with demand: it did not matter what kind of worker, as long as “they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine” (Marx). Fewer skills are necessary to complete tasks. Therefore, “differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. All of instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex” (Marx). Entering the work force allowed women to prove their equality. However this was just a start. Since the 1800’s women have gained more power, but they are still not equal to men. Women’s worth is placed at how she looks, while a man’s value is what he is capable of. Media sets standards for women, exploiting them, giving women another obstacle to become completely equal to a man.

Media sets standards for every culture affecting the way people think, act, and behave. Using television, newspapers, and radio, media affects the masses in our society by influencing everyone. Media send messages to our subconscious and educates people on the norms, especially the youth, which gives media a responsibility to present everybody equally. This is problematic because the media tends to exploit women. Everywhere in the world, women are constantly objectified. Women in developed countries are considered “equal”, however this is not true. Media is constantly setting impossible expectations for young girls.  Media is everywhere we look. If the media objectifies women, it affects the people that see these media tactics. They expose women in a violent, cruel, degrading way.  They also create bad examples for girls to follow. Kim Kardashian set an expectation that a sex tape will make you famous. Young girls then think that maybe if they make a sex tape, they can be as pretty, famous, and popular as Kim Kardashian. The degradation of women’s images has been so intensified by the media, that one cannot tell the difference between pornography and simple advertising. Today societies, young girls look up to magazines to see what their idol looks like. They cover their faces with make-up, as if to cover up their true, innocent selves. They burn their hair to make it look like the girl’s hair in every ad or magazine.  Little girls buy the same degrading clothes that the supermodels were wearing. They believe that dieting will make them more worthy, but instead it harms them. Why do they do this? Because they are taught that their appearance will be judged constantly.  Constantly worried about how they look, young girls miss out on countless opportunities to be successful. They lose sight of their grades and focus on appearances. They are taught that their self-worth has everything to do with how they look. If they do not look like the photo shopped women the media created, they think they are not good enough. This mind set affects how they act. Young girls start thinking less of themselves. They resort to starvation and other harmful ways to make themselves feel worthy. This expectation media has created affects every girl that watches them. Instead of focusing on personality and inner beauty, media associates a women’s worth with her body. The message women are receiving is that they should to be beautiful, skinny, and “perfect” at all times, while also being submissive and almost childlike.

This exploitation carries over to the work place. Women face inequality in their work place. “A working girl is a human being with a heart, with desires, with aspirations, with ideas and ideals and when we think of food and shelter we merely think of the…necessities…Have we thought of providing her with books, with money for…a good drama?…Have you thought about a girl providing herself with a good room that had plenty of air, proper ventilation in a somewhat decent neighborhood.  Do you think of all these things when you think of a minimum wage?  Let us not think of a piece of bread.  Let us think of a working woman as a human being who has her desires to which she is entitled” (Newman). Since gender was a distinction, gender has prevented women from making a living. From the late 1800’s to today, women have faced changes in the work place. From working in factories during the progressive area, to replacing men during World War I, to facing unequal salaries today, women have challenged the system for the better. Since 1979, when women were paid sixty two percent of their male coworkers, there has been a rise in how much women make compared to men. Today, women still make eighty one percent of their male counterparts. However, despite all the change that has occurred, it is still not enough. All women must strive to gain respect and higher pay in their workplace. Women must stand up for their rights and they can no longer take this unequal treatment. Starting from the Communist Manifesto, when Karl Marx stated that distinctions of sex are less prominent, women have been gaining power. By proving themselves in the workplace and in factories that dominated the modern industry, women got a taste of what it is like to work. As they got a glimpse of what it is like to work, women fueled a movement that changed the course of their lives. Unlike the proletariat who are enslaved to the bourgeoisie, women are facing their opponent and gaining the justice they greatly deserve. Also offended because of their enslavement and exploitation, the proletariat will eventually get fed up the bourgeois and face their superiors. Growing more numbers and getting more agitated with their treatment, the proletariat become more powerful. Essentially, the bourgeoisie creates their own “grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable” (Marx). Inexorable, the proletariat will defeat the bourgeois, like women must defeat the discrimination in the media and in the workplace. The bourgeoisie “furnishes the proletariat with the weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie” (Marx). Destined to become equal, the proletariat and women have destined to disrupt their unequal treatment and strive to become equal. Both have a fate to become equal and both will do whatever it takes to gain their equality.

 

National Women’s History Museum. “NWHM Exhibit: A History of Women in Industry.” NWHM Exhibit: A History of Women in Industry. 2007. Accessed May 04, 2016. https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/industry/6.htm.

“Gender Inequality and Women in the US Labor Force.” Gender Inequality and Women in the US Labor Force. 2011. Accessed May 04, 2016. http://www.ilo.org/washington/areas/gender-equality-in-the-workplace/WCMS_159496/lang–en/index.htm.

“Gender Inequality and Women in the US Labor Force.” Gender Inequality and Women in the US Labor Force. 2011. Accessed May 04, 2016. http://www.ilo.org/washington/areas/gender-equality-in-the-workplace/WCMS_159496/lang–en/index.htm.

Wood, Julia T. “Gendered Media: The Influence of Media on Views of Gender.” NYU EDU. 1994. Accessed May 4, 2016. https://www.nyu.edu/classes/jackson/causes.of.gender.inequality/Readings/Wood – Gendered Media – 94.pdf.

Oakford, Samuel. “Gender Equality Is Still a Huge Problem in the Global News Media | VICE News.” VICE News RSS. November 23, 2015. Accessed May 04, 2016. https://news.vice.com/article/gender-equality-is-still-a-huge-problem-in-the-global-news-media.

McSweeney, Melissa. “Gender Equality in the Media: The New Social Movement – The Airspace.” The Airspace. August 12, 2012. Accessed May 04, 2016. http://theairspace.net/insight/gender-equality-in-the-media-the-new-social-movement/

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One thought on “Discrimination of Women and the Communist Manifesto Blog

  1. I completely agree with your article. It is a cool topic, and I had never thought to compare women and the proletariat. Your perspective is really cool, and women’s treatment is such an important issue, I am glad someone wrote about it. I think it would also be interesting to further explore the idea of how the stereotypes that we hold influence a girl’s expectation of her future, in terms of jobs and higher education. Many fields, particularly in math and science, are still male dominated, and I think this has a lot to do with the media and stereotypical expectations society places on young girls. Overall a really cool article!
    Paige Alexander – period 3

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