Final Portfolio

Hello everyone, My name is Kulah Love Massaquoi, I am currently attending the Borough of Manhattan Community College majoring in Business Financial Management. I anticipate gaining my Associate Degree in Financial Management and transfer to a four-year college for my bachelor’s in Business Administration. The reason I want to earn a bachelor’s or a master’s degree is to gain a better understanding of what it takes to manage a business and help me at being successful. I am originally from a West African country called Liberia.   My goal is to be an international business owner and banker. I decided to study business because growing up as a little girl I always had to take things to sell. When I sold those things, I realized that my products were meeting people’s needs and I was rewarded for it so I fell in love with the business, and nothing has changed since then. I also choose this job because as a business owner you can be the one in control to build things, help people, change the world, and have a good and flexible lifestyle and to manage in selling and buying goods as the owner of a business or banker. I graduated from the class 26 Year Up program. I join the program to build my professionalism and learn more about the business world since I am a business student and want it to be a part of my success in life. I register for this class to be able to have good communication skills and to know about the different types of gender. Additionally, I was told by my advisor to register for this in order to have all my requirements for graduation this summer. Watching the video was very important because it makes me understand that when we hear about gender and communication we should not always think of sex, but race and ethnicity, and then to have a love for each other no matter what partners do to one another. 

I really enjoy the videos that I watched and the readings I learned that everyone has a different identity. It’s very important that we take life interesting and significant. As the first video “Be a Man”  talks about the type of level that lives have to offer to each and every one of us. According to some of the readings that were assigned I learned about the importance of women’s gender, sex, and sexual identities. When a person is born, they are characterized by chromosome me, organs, or hormones. It is important that we know that whenever the doctor is referring to the sex of a person, we should always know that he is talking based on physical appearance. Gender identifies us as male and female in social life. Identity has automatically been assigned during childbirth. We are assigned labels as girls or boys based on genitalia. While the term “sex” refers to someone’s sexual anatomy and has a biological distinction between male and female. Such genitalia and genetic differences tell us when a baby girl is born that she is female or a baby boy is born male. Gender is based on fact or condition of belonging to or identifying with a particular gender. We can express our sexuality through our thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behavior, practice, roles, and relationships towards people. It varies based on identity physical, emotional, and romantic attraction. I believe sexuality can be identified in so many ways like homosexual, heterosexual, pansexual, demisexual, bisexual, and straight sexuality are a part of a massive spectrum and can’t truly be minimized by society’s idea of it. All of these tell us about the sexual orientation of a person. The binary makes us understand that these identities are not the same for everyone. It is important to know the difference between when and where to use the proper terms and how to respect gender, sex, and sexual identity. Though my understanding is limited, I plan on learning to express the perspective view of how sex, gender, and sexual orientation is important. I personally identify with my physical sex and gender-based on societies view on what female is. In the beginning, my idea of gender sex and sexual identity was all interchangeable and I really had no distinction. I have a feeling that this class will help me see the difference and help communicate and understand the complexity and spectrum of such. Another article discusses western culture views on body types and stereotypes that are associated with them. From what I understood it seems the concept of the female body is political. Because of social policies, the power in which our bodies hold is regulated by the standard of beauty, weight, race and etc. These regulations give us an unhealthy idea of what the human body is to look like. Society has a standard of the “ideal beauty”. As humans, we struggle over the degree of individual and social control of our bodies. The body can be socially and is physically strong based entity and inequality. Social constructs create the norms of our culture and can be determined through our looks, expression, impressions, and really discipline before it reacts to things. According to professor “Rosalind Gill” in 2007, she stated that men have joined women in what she calls the “body culture” – an obsession with shaping “the body beautiful”

Throughout the readings I see both genders deal with unrealistic body expectations. Men deal with it differently and often question their own masculinity because of these ideas. Both men are constantly looking for validation or their beauty to be recognized. “Men, like women, increasingly define themselves through their bodies. and gay men tend to be more aware of this than straight men (Gill, 2017). men’s bodies were barely (pun intended) noticed by critical researchers. but they are increasingly being used in advertising to sell products. Although men’s poses differ from women’s (Gill, 2017; Jhally, 2009), all tend to represent idealized young adult images of binary masculinity and femininity, and all are increasingly eroticized.” For women specifically, we’ve been conditioned from the womb to look “sexy”. It’s advertised from childhood on up. “Girls do not have to be in a beauty pageant to internalize sexualization girls’ group of606- to9-year-old girls in the Midwest found the sexualized paper doll as their ideal self (68%) and the doll that would be popular (72%: Starr & Ferguson, 2012). Researcher Christy Starr said, “Although the desire to be popular is not uniquely female, the pressure to be sexy in order to be popular is” (cited in Abbasi, 2012, paras 6-7). Not all the girls chose the sexualized doll as their ideal self: Girls who took dance classes, had maternal influences that did not self objectify, had been taught to view media critically, and/or were raised with strong religious beliefs were more likely to choose the doll with more clothing as 

their ideal self.”  This destructive structure needs to be restructured in every way possible to make it all-inclusive and accepting. Growing up in my culture body-shaming is normalized. The subtle jabs cut like. A knife but I just power through. Comments like “Oh, you put on weight” or the backhanded comments “You look good you just need to lose the gut” made me cringe but I saw nothing wrong with it. I hear those comments being said to other women. I see this personally and I’m learning daily that it needs to change.   Me being part of this class l understand that word privilege is described in so many ways. According to  Oxford, dictionary privilege is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. While watching the video the word privilege is described to have advantages and disadvantages that identify each and every one. The video stated that some people have a privilege to be born with wealth, while others struggle to be better people in society. I know from the video that some people may not have full control over privilege. I believe people should always find a way to make the impossible to be possible.  I also understand that privilege has had an impact on my life and I remember as a young child going through a lot of setbacks. For example, when I first entered this country people took advantage of me. I didn’t have the same upbringing and cultural understanding as my American counterparts. I have an accent that sounded different which at times made communicating a little difficult. There was a vast difference between me and the Americans I went to high school. I had to assimilate to the way things were done here. I didn’t get the slang so I was made to feel different. Aside from being born in Africa, I had to deal with racist behavior from uninformed white people. I had to deal with the stem of certain opportunities that I was passed over. I am now starting to understand the line of disparity between rich, middle class, and poor. Opportunities I have worked hard for were belittled do to people speaking of “affirmative action”. This was when I understood that certain social privileges I  thought I had I didn’t. What I now understood is I have to work 2x as hard to be given privileges that some people are not afforded and yet still it’s not a privilege. What I have gained on “privileges” is that the only privilege I have is moving to America to better my life. I believe I have to travel, educate, finance, and increase my experience as a Liberian American woman in order to understand what privileges I have to use and better my country. I always try my best to be independent and a better person. I put full effort into everything I do. I know that I don’t have privileges but I will take opportunities otherwise not given to me. Furthermore, I will be discussing how the media influences people and how individuals perceive themselves and the world at large. The different types of media include movies, radio, and television shows. The media influence people either consciously or unconsciously regarding how they should view and interact with the male and the female gender. This essay examines gender representation in movies by looking at the portrayal of characters in Sex, and City season 1 and 2. The results reveal that male subordination is evident in today’s films and following the notion of social constructivism such images of gender representation are affecting the perception of viewers on what a woman or a man is. The term Social constructivism is the idea that concepts, definitions, social order, and what is the right or wrong change from time to time as meaning are created through interactions and relationships between people (Popa et al. 1103).  Representation of gender in the media is the use of language to depict men and women differently and in a way that conforms existing statements about gender and proper rules of talking about gender (Scharrer 442).  Gender traits and gender stereotypes are socially constructed and generalized beliefs about what it means to be a man or a woman (Popa et al. 1102). A gendered film depicts women as having acceptable feminine traits such as submissive, physically weak, dependent, nurturing, follower, physically attractive, accepting advice, and ashamed, while men are physically strong, give advice, with a higher economic status, perpetrator, problem solver, leader and independent.

Representation of Female Characters

Analysis of the personalities of men and women as depicted in Sex and City 1 and 2 is instrumental in understanding how language is applied to create different representations of men and women. Carrie is the central character that falls in love with Mr. Big after coming to New York to look to big love. Another character, Charlotte, is depicted as a woman who is on the lookout for a perfect husband and family. She is also shamed for openly talking about sex. The third woman, Miranda, struggles with maintaining balance motherhood, wife, and having a successful career. Another character, Samantha, is depicted as a woman who doesn’t care about how other people perceive her and doesn’t shy away from having open discussions about sex. However, she is concerned about looking young, and despite being successful, she can do anything to keep her youth.

Overall, women in Sex and City 1 and 2 are represented to have an obsession with their physical appearance. They work extremely hard to look beautiful by applying makeup, wearing styled clothes, and having styled hair. Also, women in the movie are portrayed to be always on the search for husbands or boyfriends to fulfill their love life. the portrayal is informed by the stereotype of women as dependent on men.  Representation of Male Characters Mr big is described as a very rich man who remains in a relationship with Carrie for about ten years. The masculinity traits of men as being more financially stable and problem solvers are evident in how Mr. Big buys Carrie expensive clothes and help her in finding solutions to her problems. Another character, Steve, the husband to Miranda, is very much bothered my Miranda being too focused on her work instead of concentrating on her role as mother and wife. A third character, Harry, is a perfect husband for Charlotte as he is economically stable, independent, and ambitious and financially takes care of her and their daughter. The fourth man, Samantha’s boyfriend, Smith, receives a lot of support from Samantha. Smith is always at work and has little time for Samantha, which annoys her and makes her feel trapped.  Overall, all the male characters are represented as independent and having a strong economic status. It is apparent to a large extent that female characters depend on the male characters emotionally, physically, and even economically. The male characters also wear male clothes to emphasize their masculinity (Scharrer 442). Vitally, the males in the movie receive support from their women, and they are not concerned with looking attractive and young as the women. Steve is the only male character who depicts feminine traits of having emotions. Impact of the Message on Creating, Maintain, or Changing Understandings of Gender

The gender-specific features explored in the movie reinforce the existing gender system about what a woman and a man are and serve as examples of how men and women should behave while relating to each other. For instance, women are represented as working towards attaining the highest level of beauty, and such reinforces the socially constructed view that physical appearance is critical for women. Again, Sex and the City also create understandings about how modern women should behave. Despite being an independent woman, Samantha does not challenge the gender power structure in some aspects. For instance, she still depends on a man for love and even supports Smith in his career. The movie shows that the modern woman though economically independent should still uphold the traditional female traits of being supportive to men, dependent and emotional, and should feel ashamed if their relationships do not work. To some extent, the film challenge existing stereotypes by portraying women as financially independent and Samantha as taking control of her sexuality. The depiction of Steve as having feminine traits of having emotions shows that men as well can be feminine. Possibilities from the Findings and their Meaning. Although the movie depicts women as having some similar characteristics with men such as being employed and financially independent, men are still represented as the subordinate gender. Despite the progress on an international level regarding the acceptance of women’s rights, the same is not presented in its full potential in the movie, Sex and the City 1 and 2. It means that gender roles that viewers are presented with on a daily basis are lagging behind in showing improved images of gender equality. Furthermore, Artifact for analysis is a television sitcom “Sex and the City” that premiered in 1998

My focus is on season 1 and 2 and I have picked three concepts from the readings on gender in institutions that I believe apply to this draft are:

  1. Social Constructivism
  2. Gender representation
  3. Gender stereotypes 

The concepts help highlight how women are perceived in society. Although I initially thought that the artifact was a source of entertainment, looking at it again from the eye of the identified concepts helps bring out the societal problems regarding the portrayal of women in society. As a television series that gained a large TV audience since its first airing in 1998, it became clear that such popularity is also closely linked with how it represents our understanding of gender.  The level of promiscuity of the women, obsession with beauty, and the urge to depend on no man show the struggles to shake away social constructs on what a woman should or should not do. The men in the television series are also seen to be domineering over women, a fact that brings out the stereotype as well as the gender representation in the society. The gender relations, which only served as entertainment, was actually demonstrating how men should be in control, with the women being beautiful to seek approval from men. Overall I couldn’t really relate or find me nor the people around me in these terms except for maybe one. While others might identify me using one of these terms when it comes to my race and county of origin, I have never personally done it. Although black people here in the United States are often referred to as Colored, People of color, or even African American, I do not refer to myself as such nor do any members of my community. I am originally from Liberia and take a lot of pride in my origins. I consider myself African, Liberian to be specific nothing less, and nothing more. It has always struck me that there is even this need to separate people here into so many groups, that often instead of uplifting, belittle them. Growing up in Liberia, I did not pay much attention to the color of my skin or what it could mean somewhere else. I was just me but as soon as a person is here in the United, they must fit in a box. Not a box that brings people together but rather marginalizes them. When we categorize people back where I’m from, let’s say with tribes, it’s to highlight and celebrate the difference in culture, never to bring one human lower than another. Before any separation, we see ourselves as equal humans and African. One of the theories of the “Critical work on language and the philosophy of language” in the reading about the “ Feminist philosophy of language “ that caught my attention is the Metaphor. It is an aspect of language often without foundation that is constantly used to belittle

women and justify sexist behaviors. I have for the longest seen a post on social media, translated in many languages, rewritten as a meme or simply a status, that has been widely accepted for the

sexuality of women compared to men. Although without any logical sense, this metaphor encourages distorted views regarding women and the majority doesn’t even question it. A lot of people find this as a justification for men to be promiscuous or it’s used to shame women’s sexuality. Human genitals have very little to do with a lock and a key, how can we base a conclusion about us from two objects I asked myself. Gendered metaphors are used daily by men and women alike from more sophisticated discussion to the most common ones; direct or indirectly. The take away from them is that they hurt us. They encourage bigotry and sexism!

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