The other connection between the two is that they both affect all kinds of people, across all lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, location etc. There is no way to identify a violent person based what they look like or where they live. I read a book in another class that discussed the flaws in the system that is meant to protect victims of rape. The overall flaw has to do with the fact that our laws are meant to protect people from stranger rape (Megan's Law, for example), when in actuality, acquaintance rape occurs far more often than stranger rape. I think part of the reason the stranger rape myth is around is because 1) people feel safer thinking that they can protect their families from strangers by keeping their children close to home and whatnot, and 2) stranger rape makes for great media coverage. A Dru Sjodin case attracts more interest than a friend-of-the-family case. I think the same goes for cases of violence. It is fairly rare to hear about domestic violence situations within the home, but it is common to hear of street/stranger violence. I think people are afraid to accept the fact that domestic violence/abuse occurs so close to us. There is still this idea of "what goes on in the home stays in the home"/ "public vs. private spheres." But we should really be paying more attention to violence within families/close associates and less attention to stranger danger. I don't know if anything has changed since I was in grades k-12, but I remember being told to not talk to strangers, to lock your doors at night etc. but there was never any talk about what to do about violence in/near the home.
December 2009 Archives
The other connection between the two is that they both affect all kinds of people, across all lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, location etc. There is no way to identify a violent person based what they look like or where they live. I read a book in another class that discussed the flaws in the system that is meant to protect victims of rape. The overall flaw has to do with the fact that our laws are meant to protect people from stranger rape (Megan's Law, for example), when in actuality, acquaintance rape occurs far more often than stranger rape. I think part of the reason the stranger rape myth is around is because 1) people feel safer thinking that they can protect their families from strangers by keeping their children close to home and whatnot, and 2) stranger rape makes for great media coverage. A Dru Sjodin case attracts more interest than a friend-of-the-family case. I think the same goes for cases of violence. It is fairly rare to hear about domestic violence situations within the home, but it is common to hear of street/stranger violence. I think people are afraid to accept the fact that domestic violence/abuse occurs so close to us. There is still this idea of "what goes on in the home stays in the home"/ "public vs. private spheres." But we should really be paying more attention to violence within families/close associates and less attention to stranger danger. I don't know if anything has changed since I was in grades k-12, but I remember being told to not talk to strangers, to lock your doors at night etc. but there was never any talk about what to do about violence in/near the home.
When looking at the past presentations I think there is a relationship between the global sex trade and child abuse. These are serious that are happening in the United States. These problems are more common in females but are happen to everyone. We can look at these problems intersectionally because they can happen to any race, economic class, and either gender. One interesting statistic I found when I was doing our presentation on child abuse was that girls who were sexually abused were more likely to become prostitutes, which could lead to entering the sex trade.
When children are sexually abused they usually feel ashamed, embarrassed, or deny the fact that is happening. They usually face depression, which lowers their self-esteem. I did my mid term paper on the Global Sex Trade and found that some of the females that were involved were because they thought this was the only thing they had. They often were troubled women who experience hardships and felt that this would give them a better opportunity and life.
These are both serious issues that we as a society need to be aware of and provide resources to people that need help. We need to educate others on these issues to identify the signs of these events that are happening.
I agree completely about abuse and violence not being isolated to one specific group in regards to victims as well as abusers. People like to think that it couldn't happen to them as well as think that people of a similar social status, race, gender, etc couldn't commit such crimes as well. I think you made a very valid point with the idea of "comfort because that concept plays a large role in people's opinions of people's opinions about such issues that were covered in a many of the presentations we had for class.
Take women in the military or in sports for example, the main reason that either of these issues are brought up is because the general public doesn't seem "comfortable" with women being in male dominated fields. The same concept applies to women in industry in terms of women not being competent or "cut-throat" enough to do the same job that men do. People also are not often comfortable talking about sex trafficking unless it is about that ever present "other" so they don't fear it would happen to them.
All in all, one way to help make steps in the right direction in solving the various issues that we have discussed in class is to continually talk about them and help educate others about the reality of these issues, rather than the sometimes off representation these issues receive in the mass media. As always, education and "spreading the word" is something we can at least do on an everyday basis to help make a little bit of change.
Two topics discussed last week that are very similar are women in sports and women in the military. Women's participation in both these activities has been very limited until recently and women seem to face many of the same obstacles, the major one, of course, being the "good old boy" traditions that still dominate them both. Women have faced funding obstacles in sports because of the false belief that there is not an interest in watching women play sports. Women in the military face obstacles to advancement and are prohibited from taking on some roles within the military sole based on their gender. Although the military has said they are only trying to protect women, the lack of choice they are given and the idea that women "need" protecting shows the extent to which stereotypes are used to limit women in the military. I also found it interesting that both groups mentioned women being seen as homosexual because of their participation in these male dominated activities. I find it a strange association that just because women participate in activities that are often viewed as "unfeminine", they should be labeled a lesbian. Again, this just goes to show how deeply rooted our ideas about what is "acceptable" and "unacceptable" gendered behaviors.
I believe there is a large connection between the presentation on sexual trafficking and domestic violence in that they are both pervasive social problems that happen behind closed doors, and are therefore incredibly difficult to mitigate. Even when the issues are uncovered, sometimes more close to home than we care to think, the issues tend to get swept under the rug. For many different reasons, human trafficking and domestic violence remain invisible evils.
Another thing that really struck me about both of these presentations is the under-representation of males when experts discuss the topic. The underground sex industry has its share of young boys, but very little about them is mentioned in mainstream coverage of human trafficking. And, as the presentation discussed, when boys are found, it is assumed they are in the underground sex trade because the want to be.
The same thing goes for domestic violence. Often times, it is assumed that the only victims are women and girls, and that boys stick up for themselves. But, as the presentation discussed, women can be abusers, and men and boys are frequently abused as well. Also, the consequences of violence in the household go beyond physical pain; there are emotion effects, and often when children witness violence they go on to repeat the cycle later in life.
Another interesting thing about these two issues is that the problems themselves are colorblind, but the coverage is not. When Elizabeth Smart went missing and subsequently rescued, media covered the story non-stop. However, many people go missing every day, but only middle class white girls are ever really represented.
If you look at these topics together, it is easier to see the differences in how women and men are treated and a supposedly equal society. Women are assumed not to like sports and get less scholarship opportunities to play sports in college. Also, professional women's teams are not heavily advertised like men's teams and have little national recognition. Women in the military do not have many high level positions or positions close to the action. Women are thought of as being too sensitive to play sports or go to the front lines. Looking at these issues interesectionally, it is easy to see that gender effects these two issues more than race or class because in sports talent matters most and it doesn't matter when you join the military. Class effects women in sports because less scholarships are available to women and women who join the military often don't have a lot of money and join up to pay for college.
I would like to compare the relationship between the Dove campaign and the cosmetics industry with the underground hip hop movement and mainstream hip hop culture. The main connection is resistance to the established degradation and objectification of women. Obviously, there are huge differences. The underground hip hop movement is local and community driven, whereas the Dove campaign is national and based in a corporate ad campaign. But while they may have different goals and varying degrees of effectiveness, they face similar opposition.
Both mainstream industries offer negative illustrations of women. The woman in the hip hop video is completely sexually available and submissive to the power of the man. The woman in the cosmetics ad is unattainably flawless, making every non-airbrushed person less than beautiful. Both represent an ideal woman, in the music video she's ideal for a man and in the advertisement she's ideally beautiful among women.
Part of the flaw in the Dove campaign is that they are just trying to replace the current ideal. It is a step in the right direction to put larger women and women of varying skin shades in their ads, but it has to go beyond just making a slightly larger, darker ideal. And as was pointed out in class, the shapes of those women don't really vary all that much, even though they vary somewhat in size. And they all have flawless skin and teeth and nice shiny hair. So, they do conform to some standards that I'm sure we could all attain if we would just use Dove products.
Another similarity between the mainstream hip hop and cosmetics industries is their relationship to social hierarchies. The hip hop presenters pointed out that knowledge of that art serves as cultural capital. This capital is used to establish hierarchies. In a similar way, makeup represents a woman's position on the established social hierarchy. Higher class women can afford expensive colors and cosmetic surgery, whereas lower class women are limited to cheaper brands and can't afford to go under the knife. On the other hand, makeup is also presented as a means to moving up the social ladder. If you paint your face in a certain way, you can fool the people above you into thinking you are one of them.
Although it certainly isn't perfect, the Dove campaign for real beauty represents a larger trend of women rejecting the unattainable and undesirable mainstream ideal of beauty. The underground hip hop movement, with its roots in political resistance, also rejects the mainstream norms of degrading women for male power. Female fans and performers are changing the image of hip hop, just like real women are changing the image of female beauty.
The last presentations were all interesting, however the two that I think had the most material to compare and contrast were the issues of Hip Hop music and Domestic Violence. Sure there is some Hip Hop that isn't misogynistic, however . . . too much of it is. And yes, we do have freedom of speech . . . however, at what point does Hip Hop become inflammatory and incites violence towards women? I know the comparison of racism has been made to sexism in the past but it bears repeating -- if the "N" word is off limits to the majority of the population why isn't the "C" word off limits to men? What purpose does it serve? Is there ever really a reason to use it? It's not okay to discriminate, to use disparaging language, to incite violence towards women )or anyone)through action or words. If we accept violent misogynistic Hip Hop we are essentially saying, it's okay that we demean women in mind, body and spirit. Women aren't worth the time or the effort if would take to consider the repercussions of a social mind set that listens to Hip Hop and then accepts domestic violence as a natural consequence or necessary evil in this culture to keep women down and in their place. Okay, maybe it's the mood I'm in. Hip Hop isn't the enemy, however . . .
"And while abuse is obviously real in the so-called real world, I think that the big question is: what is the reality of the abuse depicted in hip-hop work? Does it have a strong affect in influencing potential/existing domestic abusers? Or does it just provide a mean-world syndrome where people just think that there is more violence than there actually is, just because violence is so prevalent in the media?"
In response to brunn064's question above,
It is absolutely obvious that abuse is a real thing happening in the real world everyday and I think that it's going to continue to happen no matter what. I think it is good that people are acknowledging the abuse and violence issue. If people are more aware that it's happening, they may be more willing to do something about it or try to help.
I don't listen to much hip-hop music but I would think that a lot of people in this world look up to the hip-hop artists. They have a lot of power over their fans and I think that they could use that power to get the message out that the violence is a negative thing and needs to stop. However, if they are sending the opposite message, that power can also have a negative affect on the fans.
It is unfortunate that the media is the way it is and only seems to focus on the most negative things in the world. I often times don't even want to watch the news because it is so depressing. I hope that most people understand that the news is this way and that they are showing all the violence in the media because it gets more attention than a light hearted positive story does. The media is often more concerned with numbers/ratings than they are with sharing factual information.
The two presentations that really stood out to me were the presentations on the global sex trade and the dove campaign for real beauty. I think often times women's insecurities lead them to make decisions like becoming involved in occupations that involve selling their bodies because they are looking for acceptance and appreciation. The dove campaign for real beauty captures women's insecurities and embraces them as something they should find unique and beautiful about themselves. Something that also impacts the global sex trade I believe is the very provocative advertisements that show women advertising certain products. Images of women half naked dripping wet adorn bus stops, billboards, TV screens, and magazine pages. Women are depicted as sex symbols, giving the idea to young minds that women are supposed to be these extremely sexual beings. In the dove campaign people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities are able to see an advertisement of what being a women truly means.
When we begin to address the way women are depicted in society, we are able to change the way society sees women. Through this we can change the way women see themselves and hopefully put an end to the degrading work of the global sex trade.
The presentations of sexual abuse and domestic violence are very closely related. Stereotypes have a large impact on both of these issues. It was clear through both presentations that the media plays a very powerful role in reinforcing the stereotypes that society has created. Most people want to believe that abuse/violence only happens to a certain "type" of person completely different from them however this is far from the truth. These issues occur among all different kinds of people no matter what race, class, gender etc. they are.
Society seems to want to believe that women are always the victims and that men are masculine and would never be the ones being abused. I think comfort plays a huge part in these stereotypes as well. People only want to think about what the norm is and what is comfortable so, the truth is not always what we see. It's important in both of these issues to be aware of what the truth is and what the media is portraying because these can be two completely different things.
The bottom line is that abuse and violence are not isolated to one very specific group of people. It is happening everywhere across all types of people whether we want to acknowledge it or not.
Among this two week's presentations, I would like to talk about women in sports and women in military. Traditionally, sports and military are dominated by man. Women were sometimes forbidden to serve in the two areas. However, during the last decade, women have increasing involving in the two fields. I think the way that women status changes in the two fields can fairly express the women's status in the society. Although women status has been improved, there is still more to work on.
In women in sports' presentation, it is mentioned that although the condition and benefit of women's sports players has been increased, there is still some gap between male and female athletics. Even though the passage of Title IX has recognized and helped to increase the right and freedom of women, there are still limitations that hinder the gender equality. WNBA and NBA has drew my attention that regardless how many effort has put to increase the equality between the two gender team, there is gap between's the earning and popularity. It is like in the current society, although there are continuous efforts to improve the equality and people are educated about the equality of genders, there are still some undermining problems.
Women are stereotyped to be physically inferior to men and that had been the fundamental discrimination that happens within the military. In the presentation, it is mentioned that women are treated somehow differently in the military. They are not allowed to serve on the front line because there are gender stereotype in the mind of the military men. In other word, one would say that they are being "protected" and has a lesser opportunity to take up a high risk job which would hinder their performance in the field.
By looking at the two issues together, we would think that stereotyping is the main concern. Women are always stereotyped to be weaker and more subordinated although there are many campaigns and laws about gender equality have been carried out. I think race does not play an important role here, but classes and gender do. Military targeted at the lower class poor people and usually recruit their force from the lower class people while sports are usually played by some wealthier people. Also, women in the two fields are always being discriminated because of their physical ability. Men think that women are inferior to them and this has further hidden the road of gender equality in the two fields. In order to achieve the full gender equality, I think there is still a long way to go.
A connection that jumped out at me was the similarities between domestic abuse presentation and some of the issues that lie with hip hop representation and lyrics. For example, in the domestic abuse presentation, it was discussed that domestic abuse is tolerated much more among younger women. Hip hop also conveys this as the "abuse" portrayed in lyrics and in music videos almost always features young attractive females. Additionally, the bottom line is that domestic abuse is about power, not sexual preference. In my opinion, a lot of the negative actions that go down in hip hop lyrics or videos are about power as well. It's about being the best, the most masculine, the wealthiest, the most badass, etc.
I think that insights we can gain from these two presentations is that abuse, and more specifically, abuse of power is prevalent everywhere. It's in the home behind closed doors and it's also in the public via mass media forms such as the radio, television, and internet. And it transcends to everyone regardless of class, race, or gender. Abuse happens to those of lower classes, but it also "exists" in the world of wealthy rappers whose work depicts it.
And while abuse is obviously real in the so-called real world, I think that the big question is: what is the reality of the abuse depicted in hip-hop work? Does it have a strong affect in influencing potential/existing domestic abusers? Or does it just provide a mean-world syndrome where people just think that there is more violence than there actually is, just because violence is so prevalent in the media?
I wanted to use an extra blog post to talk about something I didn't get a chance to mention during the hip hop discussion. I've listened almost exclusively to reggaeton music for about 6 years now (reggaeton is basically latin/Spanish hip hop)...and when I listened to it before there were songs that were somewhat degrading to women but never to the extent of calling women "bitches" or "ho's". The music videos were incredibly rare and also rarely featured women. However, I have noticed that as mainstream American hip hop has become cruder towards women, so has reggaeton. I feel like the American culture has an incredible impact on other cultures, whether it be consciously or unconsciously. Now I watch reggaeton music videos that are almost complete replicas of hip hop videos. Over the years, they have become more graphic and more degrading to women. They feature the same types of women that appear in hip hop videos, all with hardly any clothes on, shaking their asses. I've also noticed that a lot of videos feature men "on top"...meaning that the men are somehow elevated (I took a Chicano studies class where we studied this theory of men being positioned higher than women especially in videos)...and I started noticing this even more in reggaeton videos. For example, one video features the two singers standing on top of a car while the women are dancing around the car, and they proceed to point at them as if to give them the okay to do their best moves one by one. While reggaeton has not hit this "low" that I feel mainstream American hip hop has, I fear that it soon will. I started looking up the record companies to see if that was why these videos were tied, possibly they are produced by the same companies, and sure enough I found the record company that produces Snoop Dogg also produces one of the most famous groups in reggaeton. So not only are we affecting other cultures unconsciously, but we are telling them that sex sells and they should produce videos to match our hip hop.
I chose to analyze the hip hop presentation and the beauty industry presentation. I feel like one can use an intersectional analysis to look at money and media as the underlying factors (and problems) for both of these topics. When the beauty industry campaign began I remember feeling completely thrilled that new types of female bodies were portrayed and that things were coming to light that could change ideals. I am definitely not a thin woman, and I was excited at the thought of how my values of loving myself regarding my size, could be matched by women and men everywhere. But what the presentation showed me was that while this was a wonderful campaign, money was an underlying factor influencing the effort put into the campaign.
The money made from the Dove campaign was astronomical and it seems to me that there are so many women out there waiting for the time when ideals will change, that when they finally seemed to, it was almost a let down to know that the individuals behind these ads may be behind them solely for monetary gain. But in reality, why should anyone be surprised at this? Mainstream media is completely obsessed with monetary gains, it is practically an ideal ingrained in all of us. Money is everything, money will get you where you need to go, money will provide for you what you cannot have otherwise. And it feels like the hip hop industry uses the exact same ideals.
The hip hop industry is infamous for demonstrating to all of us that only those who have ridiculously expensive cars, large houses and lots of material possessions, are the only ones who are worth anything to this world. It is entirely about who has the most possessions, who has the best possessions and who is making the most money. The women in both presentations play an important role, while one attempts to distribute beauty between all sizes, the other presents beauty as one look.
I also want to note that not only do these factors play a role, but race, class, and gender definitely do as well. The part that shocked me most was the gender differences by the same company, between Dove and Axe. While Dove is portraying women coming in all shapes and sizes, Axe is completely reversing these images and showing that all women must be sexually available, sexually promiscuous and a size 0. I think it was MTV that had a program about the women dancers in hip hop videos, and one woman said she could not afford to pay any bills, had no options left, until she was introduced to a woman who danced for hip hop videos. The woman told her she had the "look" they wanted in their videos, someone attractive, thin, beautiful, and that she could make an impressive amount of money in that industry. She said she tried out and eventually started working on videos with huge hip hop artists, but after a while she said she felt degraded and singled out as the producers of the videos later on in her career, would look at her and say "no thank you, your hips are too big", or "no thanks, you've put on some weight lately". Race is important in understanding the differences in the woman that each industry aims at, while Dove tries to portray black females, they leave out a wide array of women that are not black or white. At the same time the hip hop industry, most often, portrays black women, occasionally white women, and also ignores the entirety of other races.
While money is the bottom line in any sort of business, it's impressive to me that Dove was one of the first companies to acquire money while supporting a positive campaign. I think that although the company produces opposite ads for Axe, the important factor is that women need to learn to believe in themselves and feel secure regardless of size, shape, weight, etc. and THAT is what will lead them to leading a happier life. I don't think it's completely about disregarding men's opinions so much as showing women that the confident woman is the one that will reach her goals in her marital life, work life, and social life. I have to say that while the money is the main goal it is somewhat disheartening, but I still say thank you to Dove and continue to show women that we can be secure and confident.
Hi Gomol, in response to your question, I personally believe
that you answered it yourself by stating that you understand that it is a
long-term goal. As mentioned in my blog, I concluded that we as individuals all
do conform to these ideologies. As much as we may try to avoid it there is no
escaping it. We see it on a daily basis from advertisements, to billboards, and
commercials. Capitalism has done wonders in making sure that everyone knows
exactly what they need to make them "feel better" or "be better". Who doesn't
want to fit into that ideal beauty type?
Hi Gomol, in response to your question, I personally believe that you answered it yourself by stating that you understand that it is a long-term goal. As mentioned in my blog, I concluded that we as individuals all do conform to these ideologies. As much as we may try to avoid it there is no escaping it. We see it on a daily basis from advertisements, to billboards, and commercials. Capitalism has done wonders in making sure that everyone knows exactly what they need to make them "feel better" or "be better". Who doesn't want to fit into that ideal beauty type?
If you read The Culture Industry Enlightenment as Mass Deception by Adorno and Horkheimer, you'll realize that from our very decisions to what we do, it has been instilled on us through culture, we have become objects ourselves, and there is no sense of individuality. Adorno and Horkiemer states that "Through manufacturing the desire and need for 'art' and 'entertainment' the industry is able to assign ideological codes and meanings into these commodities...through constant repetition, the culture industry hypnotizes the unknowing masses, who are "helpless victims" to what is imposed on them". So in response to your question to reject the Dove campaigns? Even if we try, there is still no way in which we can ignore these ideologies. My point that I was trying to get across when stating that Dove is still a part of these ideologies is that no matter how hard we try, we can't escape what culture and society "assigns ideological codes in". I may sound fatalistic, but I guess I can blame that on the Cultural Studies department here at the University.
As for your last question I find myself a bit confused. I am not all too familiar with hip hop and its origins to what is originally rapped about, (as well as the general population), so I find the "newer form of rap" as the only form of rap that I know due to mainstream media and culture. A misconception? Perhaps, but this allows me to be a perfect example for you. Seeing that I have no idea about the "remnants of the social and political resistance it once was", I myself have conformed to a stereotype that hip hop culture is simply based on black men rapping about "money, cars, and hoes", because that is what is produced to the masses.
Basically you could use the same answer I have just written about earlier. I have no control what so ever in what is and what is not allowed. I simply believe that due to culture and society, ideologies are created and thus cannot be changed. What I call for is just an awareness of what is going on, that what looks like "change", only carries over into what they are trying to change.
Both issues also involve the downplaying of female perpetrators as well. Often times with domestic violence, women who hit their intimate partners are looked at as less serious or as a joke. The same goes with sexual abuse, we never hear about women perpetrators, even though they do exist. This, I believe, has to do with gender roles and the fact that the media and the rest of society are trying to protect the "femininity" of women who could not be capable of such evil acts.
By looking at both issues, one would begin to realize that such incidents are not isolated and that often times the media plays a false role in portraying who is really effected. An intersectional perspective would help someone see these connections by looking at the problems that people face across race, class, and gender.
After listening to the presentations over the past two weeks, I chose to write about the similarities between Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence. As presented, incidences of Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence know no boundaries - it occurs to victims regardless of economic class, race and gender. Both are widespread problems with long term effects to the victim and respective family members. Luckily, with an increase in awareness of the problem and education on available help and assistance, more battered women and children are coming forward and reporting their abuse and abuser.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior not a single incident. Each incident becomes more severe and more frequent. Domestic violence can take many forms, including sexual abuse. The abuser often assaults the victim sexually in which force is used to obtain unwanted and undesired sex. Domestic violence also takes the form of physical, assaultive behavior. It can take the form of emotional and psychological abuse where the abuser afflicts fear in their victim through intimidation and controlling or domineering behavior. In many cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse, the abuser, in many cases the man, has an overwhelming desire to overpower and control the woman and children in the household. The man is the head of the household and may result to violence and abuse to reinforce this status. Any forced act of sex, physical assault, and intimidation are acts of violence. The majority of reported cases usually involve men as the abuser and the woman as the victim. Many times, incidences of domestic violence and sexual abuse go unreported. Shame, secrecy, and feelings of isolation are reasons why the victim will not report the act of violence against them. Fear of more severe abuse and violence if reported is another reason why these acts of violence go unreported. Children often won't report their abuse for fear of repeated abuse, fear of others not believing their story or because their abuser has threatened them or family members if the child reports the abuse. Abuse and violence against boys and men often go unreported for similar reasons, but also because of fear of being viewed as being "gay" if the abuser was another male or fear of being weak if the abuser was a female.
Unfortunately, society in the past believed it was okay for men to use whatever force was necessary to control the behavior of women. In addition, society perceives the care and responsibility of the family, including the care of the wife and children rests with the head of the household. As a result, society hesitates to interfere with the family unit when domestic violence or sexual abuse is involved. In addition, since abusers often repeat learned behaviors, there are times where the abuser does not feel they are using excessive force or acts of violence to get their point across. Alcohol abuse and mental illness also contribute to domestic violence, often leading to the victim feeling somewhat responsible for the abuser's abuse of alcohol.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse have many common factors. In addition, in a majority of domestic violence cases, sexual abuse is common. As noted above, abusers often repeat a learned behavior. Adults abused as children have an increased risk of becoming abusers themselves. Even as witnesses (versus being the victim) of abuse and violence, women and children can be affected in the same way as people who are physically and sexually abused. Children of domestic violence may believe that is the way to show affection or respect.
Continued education and awareness of the growing problem is needed to break the rapidly growing problem. As noted, individuals in differing economic classes, race, and gender are not immune to the problem. Unfortunately, the media tends to focus on stories of abuse and violence of white, upper-class girls leading to the public's perception that abuse and violence among minority and lower-class is more common. Domestic violence, in which sexual abuse is very common, is a wide-spread problem. It will take abused women, men, and children to come forward and tell their stories before this problem can be brought under control.
The apparent lack of overlap between the representation of women
in the beauty industry as portrayed through the Dove campaign as well as the
way women are portrayed in mainstream hip hop culture is where I am choosing to
draw my analysis. Both mainstream hip hop and beauty/cosmetic advertisements offer
up images of the ideal woman. Regardless of color, she is impeccably flawless.
In mainstream hip hop music videos, those women are there to service the male
figure in the video in whatever fashion they so choose. She is there to be the
ideal for the male. In beauty advertisements the ideal woman varies perhaps in
her age and color only, but even that is severely, severely limited. However,
she too is made to be the image of perfection. She is there to be what every
woman "should" aspire to be. In both instances, what we are teaching society at large is the
same. There are serious restrictions on what we can qualify as beautiful, and
beautiful is what you should want. What the Dove
campaign has been trying to do is recreate the image of "beauty" as it is
portrayed in advertisements. I tend to commend them for their attempt, despite
the obvious contradictions within the campaign itself. They profit from it, and
regardless of their seemingly good intentions, they are still marketing a brand
and a product, and in order to do so, inevitably must convince their audience
that they are not perfect, and need the product. In a somewhat
similar vein, while I don't see much in the way of improvement or attempts at
change in mainstream hip-hop, the roots of hip-hop are that of art as a form of
social and political resistance. The local hip-hop scene in Minneapolis is a
shining example of such, and the talent belongs to men and women of many races.
As a means of social resistance, I think that hip hop presents an opportunity,
a vehicle through which to change mainstream culture as a whole. While these
comparisons seem vastly different, I see similarities in the way the Dove
campaign approaches an inherently morally bankrupt institution, and the way in
which local hip-hop revamps the mainstream hip-hop scene at large. As I said earlier,
I tend to commend Dove for their efforts. I tend to believe that some effort to
change the way we see beauty is better than no effort at all. I think that the
local hip-hop scene offers a beautiful and refreshing look at diversity in a
culture that has largely removed its original message. I think something is
better than nothing. The danger of
scolding Dove's self-esteem campaign removes the possible good that it is
doing. Of course it's good to question the motives of marketers. But it is also
good for young girls to be exposed to the possibility that beauty does not have
to be as narrowly defined as it currently is. I think it is equally good to
support the local hip-hop scene. Hugely different, perhaps, but I feel that I
can't criticize and analyze the way women in mainstream hip-hop are portrayed
without at the same time realizing the amazing work that female local hip-hop
artist, Dessa, has put out, and the way in which she portrays herself. Or the
positive ways in which Atmosphere treats the idea of women in hip-hop. We can
critique and rip apart every institution in the world today, but occasionally
it may be good to commend those who have taken steps in a more intersectional direction.
The apparent lack of overlap between the representation of women in the beauty industry as portrayed through the Dove campaign as well as the way women are portrayed in mainstream hip hop culture is where I am choosing to draw my analysis.
Both mainstream hip hop and beauty/cosmetic advertisements offer up images of the ideal woman. Regardless of color, she is impeccably flawless. In mainstream hip hop music videos, those women are there to service the male figure in the video in whatever fashion they so choose. She is there to be the ideal for the male. In beauty advertisements the ideal woman varies perhaps in her age and color only, but even that is severely, severely limited. However, she too is made to be the image of perfection. She is there to be what every woman "should" aspire to be.
In both instances, what we are teaching society at large is the same. There are serious restrictions on what we can qualify as beautiful, and beautiful is what you should want.
What the Dove campaign has been trying to do is recreate the image of "beauty" as it is portrayed in advertisements. I tend to commend them for their attempt, despite the obvious contradictions within the campaign itself. They profit from it, and regardless of their seemingly good intentions, they are still marketing a brand and a product, and in order to do so, inevitably must convince their audience that they are not perfect, and need the product.
In a somewhat similar vein, while I don't see much in the way of improvement or attempts at change in mainstream hip-hop, the roots of hip-hop are that of art as a form of social and political resistance. The local hip-hop scene in Minneapolis is a shining example of such, and the talent belongs to men and women of many races. As a means of social resistance, I think that hip hop presents an opportunity, a vehicle through which to change mainstream culture as a whole.
While these comparisons seem vastly different, I see similarities in the way the Dove campaign approaches an inherently morally bankrupt institution, and the way in which local hip-hop revamps the mainstream hip-hop scene at large.
As I said earlier, I tend to commend Dove for their efforts. I tend to believe that some effort to change the way we see beauty is better than no effort at all. I think that the local hip-hop scene offers a beautiful and refreshing look at diversity in a culture that has largely removed its original message. I think something is better than nothing.
The danger of scolding Dove's self-esteem campaign removes the possible good that it is doing. Of course it's good to question the motives of marketers. But it is also good for young girls to be exposed to the possibility that beauty does not have to be as narrowly defined as it currently is. I think it is equally good to support the local hip-hop scene. Hugely different, perhaps, but I feel that I can't criticize and analyze the way women in mainstream hip-hop are portrayed without at the same time realizing the amazing work that female local hip-hop artist, Dessa, has put out, and the way in which she portrays herself. Or the positive ways in which Atmosphere treats the idea of women in hip-hop. We can critique and rip apart every institution in the world today, but occasionally it may be good to commend those who have taken steps in a more intersectional direction.
It was not a surprise to find out in when doing the research for my groups trafficking presentation to find out that many individuals who are trafficked were/are abused in some form as children. Children who experience abuse(sexual/physical)at the hands of someone they know or do not know are placed into a lifelong pattern of enduring pain that is known to be responsible for destroying not only their childhood, but the remainder of their own life as well as those in close relation to them, as well as their own children. This is the cycle of abuse that is talked about.
If a child is fortunate enough to get away from an abuser and being abused there are invisible scars that will remain and more than likely resurface at various times in their lives.
There are stories everywhere that are heard of children who were abused or came from homes where domestic abuse was evident where they have forgotten or repressed many of those traumatic memories only to have them haunt them later in life in countless ways.
As well as the child who will have a long road of healing. Possibly at various points in their life, individuals who are trafficked experience much of this same trauma. If a child is being abused by someone they are related to and/or live with they are dependent on that person in every way possible. They are at the mercy of their abuser. Trafficked individuals also depend on those who are trafficking them for their basic life needs.
Abuse and trafficking, which is a form of abuse is about having and keeping control and power over another person(s). This is not only done in a physical way. it often starts out as emotional, psychological & verbal abuse. Their is an unequal hierarchy in these relationships, which can vary from all areas of race, class and gender.
Abuse and trafficking happens right in front of our faces. Becoming educated and learning the signs to watch for is a first step towards awareness. Becoming involved, making it your business instead of it being a "family problem or societal/racial problem" is like failing to report a crime you know is being committed. It might feel intimidating to step outside of our comfort zones and take our blinders off when we are aware of someone being in any of these situations but the fear that we might temporarily feel is really nothing compared to what that individual who is being abused or trafficked is living on a daily basis.
Often times it is known that victims/survivors are not believed or taken seriously. Women might be seen as just being overly emotional or exaggerating their situation. Children might be seen as having an overactive imagination. Taking someone's claims seriously is the first step in breaking this devastating cycle.
I chose to take a closer look at these issues because I think we often stereotype victims of sex trafficking or child sexual abuse. THE IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW IS THESE THINGS CAN AND DO HAPPEN TO ALL PEOPLE. The best thing we can do as a society is be aware of these issues, identify the early signs of someone experiencing these problems, educate the community, and also provide SAFE and PRIVATE resources for all people to access if they need help. In many cases, victims of abuse feel embarrassed, guilty or ashamed and never tell anyone about their abuse. This cannot happen because it is a vicious cycle and victims experience many behavioral, emotional and physical problems and also perpetrators continue to abuse other victims. As a society we need to make changes to protect the lives of all individuals and help stop sex crimes.
I agree with your analysis of how these two presentations are interconnected due to the fact that they are male-dominated fields. The one thing that I beg to differ on is when you said that "To me, there are too many centuries of gender discrimination backing sports and the armed forces that complete equality will never be achieved." I think that this is something that can be changed. I think that it has to start with an overall re-structuring of the thought process that society has on each gender, but I don't think that it is something that seals the fate for all generations to come. When you look at history, there were many things that people have achieved when the majority said it could never be done. For example, when my mom was a child, she told her teacher that someday we will land on the moon. She was scolded and put in the corner for what the teacher thought was such a radical thought and possibility. But we made it to the moon and back successfully since the first landing numerous amounts of times. I just think that we should give humans more credit than what appears to just be the inevitable due to the fact that we are becoming more liberal-minded as a society. I think as soon as the generations of more conservative and republican-minded individuals die off, it will leave room for the more democratic and open-minded people to make changes for gender inequalities.
The two presentations that I chose to analyze and draw connections between were the Women in the Military presentation and Women in Industry. The reason that I chose these two presentations is because there is a blatant and direct interconnectedness between them since both deal with the careers that women hold and how they are treated in those careers. Women working in the industry deal with sexual harassment and the denial of some of the same opportunities that are given to men working in the same industry, which keeps many women stuck in their positions with no chance of promotion. Though the military does not have as much of a wage gap as many "corporate" type jobs as described in the Women in Industry presentation, the military does seem to have stricter requirements for women then men to join in the first place, which means that many women are overqualified for their positions and making the same amount of money as their less qualified male counterparts, which is very similar to not being paid for the same work since higher qualifications should warrant higher pay.
In regards to looking at these two different issues from an intersectional perspective, one of the most important insights shown from analyzing both issues together has to do with not only accounting for and recognizing our own personal biases in regards to race, class, and gender in the work place, but also recognizing the affect of being in a doubly (or even triply) disadvantaged and what the affect that that has not only on your career choices and opportunities, but also on the way that you are perceived by your employer, whether it be the military or a more corporate job. Though being more disadvantaged does obviously correlate with having less opportunities and a higher likelihood of being discriminated, I still feel like gender plays the largest role in regards to male dominated fields, such as many corporate cultures and the military. I feel that many businesses are more likely to hire a minority male than a white female, given that they have similar qualifications.
I have chosen to write about the intersections that the issue of women in the military has with women in sports. I think that they are connected in numerous ways that reflect the overall societal view of them. They are both fields that are dominated by male influence and leadership, but this can transcend to any field that a person can look at within American society due to the fact that we live in patriarchic society. For this reason, women are always deemed as being the weaker of the two sexes and are pushed to live up to those standards through laws and regulations that are set to make sure they do.
This can be shown through the 'risk rule' within the military, that was discussed in the presentation, that says that women are not allowed to serve on the front lines due to fear of imprisonment and for their overall protection from having to be forced to do so. In sports, this 'risk rule' can be seen when women were only allowed to do certain types of sports, mainly cheerleading, before title 9 was enacted. In both cases, these rules made sure that they were to stay within their gender normative roles that have been set by society; to not get dirty, to look cute, and to support the men in all that they do-quite literally.
Even though women were given more rights and freedoms after title 9, there are still limitations on women within what is seen as overall-male dominated fields. One clearly displayed example of this is women in hockey because "After the 1990 Women's World Championship, body checking was eliminated because female players in many countries do not have the size and mass seen in North American players" (Wiki.org). This gender discrimination is something that begs me to question: Well, then are American men able to check in hockey because across ALL countries, they are the same size and body mass? I beg to differ. For example, if you look at the height and weight of men and women from Asian and American societies, there are clearly major differences in height and weight of individuals, so shouldn't this rule also apply to men's hockey? This lack of physical contact has lead the popularity of women's hockey to drop because we are a society fixed on seeing things in confrontation and without checking, there really are no other opportunities for 'legal' contact for women in hockey. This can be connected back to how women may lose interest in the military due to the fact that they are unable to 'get down and dirty' with the men on the front lines. Overall, there are laws set in both fields in order to 'protect' women, but who says we need protection in the first place?
Another issue that arises in both of these fields is the stigma that is set by the men in society that women are trying to take away their jobs as men and leaders. This notion has been seen across all of American history, dating back to the civil war. Women, when men left for the war, were put in the role of being responsible for the upkeep of the home and family while the men were away. This meant that they had to take over the male-dominated fields in order to keep them intact for when the husband came home. Then, after the war, women's freedoms were restricted back to only involving work within the home. This was due to the fact that the men were there, so why should the women have the right or responsibility to take care of the 'manly' duties. This same kind of thought process can be seen through women in sports because of the effects it had on the number of sports that men had after title 9 was enacted. More sports were opened and created for women to participate in, but then the number of men's sports decreased, so there has been a lot of controversy with this issue. In the military, there can be this overall notion that if women are able to be on the front lines, then they are taking away the more 'leadership' types of roles that men have had for so long. Both of these situations exemplify this issue that men have over women if they are able to have the same rights.
Overall, an intersectional perspective has allowed me to see all of these issues within these two fields as connected by looking at how gender plays a large role in keeping women in a more subordinate role than men. I think that race and gender have some grounds for qualifying as reasons to why there are so many differences (like for the reason why women are not allowed to check in hockey), but I think that gender is the one facet that overshadows all of the others. It is something that cannot by biologically changed, but the ways in which the views and norms are perpetuated for each gender within society should and can be changed because it is a societal construct.
Between last weeks and this weeks presentations,
I've decided to talk about Hip Hop and Women in Cosmetics. These two are
related in one obvious way and that is the emphasis of women in American
culture. I may be over generalizing, but focusing in on
mainstream Hip Hop and their videos, African American women are always
portrayed as sexual objects and are exploited. From Hip Hop lyrics to barley
there bathing suits in videos, bell hooks states that, "the black female
body gains attention only when it is synonymous with accessibility,
availability, and when it is sexually deviant" (66). As for Women in Cosmetics, it's apparent that
representations in media to advertisements seek a specific type of women to
represent what every woman should aspire to. Either a size 0, blonde, with
perfect boobs, or an exotic other, with perfect skin, hair, and bone structure.
Cosmetic surgery is available for those who can afford it, while others develop
eating disorders to fit into a number that the average American woman is not. While
Dove is a step in the right direction, the controversy (Axe spray "Bow chicka
wow wow") around it still addresses its flaws. As a classmate in class had
addressed, these women that are suppose to represent all women still have
perfect hair, teeth, and complexions (not to mention that their bodies are
proportionate with no rolls/love handles showing). Dove in the end is still a
beauty product used to "better oneself". The correlation between the two is that women are either
oversexed or not perfect, and they are objectified and constantly judged in how
they look. By looking at them together, we can see that society still upholds
the standards of beauty and the lack of respect for women. Popular culture is
perhaps the main contribution to these forms of thought, and we all
unconsciously conform to these ideologies. With an intersectional perspective, we can see these
connections in many ways. As discussed in the presentations, race, class, and
gender all come into play. For Hip Hop in it's mainstream, African American
women are usually the models. They are "aspiring" models that hope to get
discovered. For women in cosmetics, surgeries are for those who can afford it.
Cosmetics from Christian Dior to Mac usually run between $60-$100 dollars, clearly
not affordable for those who are low income, and so you have your generic
brands at the local Wal-Mart. Let's not forget our Cosmo girl who trains in "looking
like she's rich to catch that man". The message? In order for you to be good
enough, objectify yourself and conform to societies ideas of beauty.
Between last weeks and this weeks presentations, I've decided to talk about Hip Hop and Women in Cosmetics. These two are related in one obvious way and that is the emphasis of women in American culture.
I may be over generalizing, but focusing in on mainstream Hip Hop and their videos, African American women are always portrayed as sexual objects and are exploited. From Hip Hop lyrics to barley there bathing suits in videos, bell hooks states that, "the black female body gains attention only when it is synonymous with accessibility, availability, and when it is sexually deviant" (66).
As for Women in Cosmetics, it's apparent that representations in media to advertisements seek a specific type of women to represent what every woman should aspire to. Either a size 0, blonde, with perfect boobs, or an exotic other, with perfect skin, hair, and bone structure. Cosmetic surgery is available for those who can afford it, while others develop eating disorders to fit into a number that the average American woman is not. While Dove is a step in the right direction, the controversy (Axe spray "Bow chicka wow wow") around it still addresses its flaws. As a classmate in class had addressed, these women that are suppose to represent all women still have perfect hair, teeth, and complexions (not to mention that their bodies are proportionate with no rolls/love handles showing). Dove in the end is still a beauty product used to "better oneself".
The correlation between the two is that women are either oversexed or not perfect, and they are objectified and constantly judged in how they look. By looking at them together, we can see that society still upholds the standards of beauty and the lack of respect for women. Popular culture is perhaps the main contribution to these forms of thought, and we all unconsciously conform to these ideologies.
With an intersectional perspective, we can see these connections in many ways. As discussed in the presentations, race, class, and gender all come into play. For Hip Hop in it's mainstream, African American women are usually the models. They are "aspiring" models that hope to get discovered. For women in cosmetics, surgeries are for those who can afford it. Cosmetics from Christian Dior to Mac usually run between $60-$100 dollars, clearly not affordable for those who are low income, and so you have your generic brands at the local Wal-Mart. Let's not forget our Cosmo girl who trains in "looking like she's rich to catch that man". The message? In order for you to be good enough, objectify yourself and conform to societies ideas of beauty.
Works Cited: hooks, bell. Black Looks. Boston, Ma: South End Press, 1992.
The two presentations about Women in Sports and Women in the Military are connected because they both deal with issues about women in men dominated areas. While women do not compete directly with men in most cases, they are participating in a field that is traditionally dominated by men and therefore traditional gender stereotypes are present. Women are considered to be "weaker" than men in both sports and in the military. The fact that the military doesn't want women fighting against men on the front lines can be equally compared to women not competing against men in sporting activities. The issue of mental toughness also comes up in this situation. The military states that women are not mentally stable enough to withstand high-stress situations like combat, etc. This idea dates back hundreds of years about "women's constitution" and the like. Women are sometimes accused of being less mentally tough when it comes to competitions as well. It is often thought that women just do not have the desire to compete that men do.
My personal opinion is that in regards to intersectionality, race and class have a minimal impact on the gender divide in male dominated fields. While class may affront women in the military higher rank, and race may be stereotyped in the field of women's sports (black athletes, etc.) I think that the issue and problem of gender is so large that race and class can be easily overlooked. To me, there are too many centuries of gender discrimination backing sports and the armed forces that complete equality will never be achieved. As someone mentioned in class about the women in sports presentation, you can't just change the status and levels of representation of women in sports, instead, centuries of social thinking has to be addressed and changed.
I agree completely with your views in regards to education being the most effective long term solution to sex trafficking and sexual harassment, but as you said, it is a very difficult motion to organize. In regards to what you wrote about sexual harassment in the workplace, a lot of the same type of information came up when I was doing research for my group project on women in the military. There are just so many women who have been not only sexually harassed, but also sexually assaulted in the
armed forces and don't say anything for fear of repercussion. They usually end up coming out with their stories after they are already out of the military and it makes it so they have no legal means to press charges because the assault/harassment happened so long before it was reported. United States
I think that what it comes down to is that there not only should be a more education to the general public about issues regarding sexual harassment/sexual assault in the workplace, but there should also be on-site sexual harassment training so [people not only have a guidelines for what is deemed appropriate and inappropriate, but also so employees can have more knowledge about whether they themselves are being harassed. There is so much harassment that either just goes unnoticed or unreported because people think that that is just "normal" workplace behavior, when it really isn't.
Education on most of the issues that we have spoken about in class seems to be the answer to a lot of the problems that plague our society and women especially. Maybe our government money should be used to implement more of these programs that we have talked about as opposed to what a majority of government funding is being spent on now. :p
You bring up a good point relating job dependency in sex trafficking with sexual harassment in the workplace. But I would disagree that job dependency causes the more overt types of harassment found in blue collar jobs. I think women in white collar jobs, especially very competitive ones that require a lot of education, are just as fearful of losing their jobs as blue collar workers. The blue collar workers fear losing their paychecks, and the white collar workers fear losing a place in their field. So I don't think it's a matter of tolerance on the part of the women, but rather tolerance within a given occupation. That is, it might be more likely for a lawyer to be fired for some overt form of harassment than a construction worker, because it's inappropriate for the former but expected of the latter. I think we discussed the reasons for these differences in class. Men in white collar jobs equate their masculinity with the size of their paychecks, whereas men in blue collar jobs, which generally don't pay as well, make up for this lack with their physical strengths.
When I first learned about the amount of human trafficking that occurs in the United States and specifically in Minnesota was shocked, too. I am not sure why, but the issue is not addressed directly in the media. Unless you are aware of the problem and how it manifests, it is hard to identify even when the media does cover it. For example, there was a story in the Star Tribune last summer (http://www.startribune.com/local/50149212.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUT) that discusses the bust a "prostitution ring." Once familiar with some of the common practices of traffickers, you can tell by reading this story that at least some of these women are victims of human trafficking. Here are a few key phrases from this story as an example:
· "They allegedly recruited prostitutes, mainly from Mexico and Central America, and took their identification papers to prevent them from fleeing"
· "A house at 3212 Cedar Av. S. in Minneapolis was the hub of operations, where prostitutes stayed while en route to and from the airport or moving from brothel to brothel"
· "one woman was forced to provide sex to 46 'johns' in one night"
The first point is perhaps the most important...besides using physical violence and forcing women to take drugs, one of the primary ways traffickers make it nearly impossible for victims to escape is by confiscating their passports. In fact, a major part of the Federal legislation regarding human trafficking specifically addressed this issue by making it illegal in and of itself to confiscate and/or destroy passports, visas, or other forms of international identification.
For anyone out there who would like to get involved in this issue, I recommend looking into a local organization called Breaking Free...here is the link:
When you mention that the two are similar because some women choose to enter into human trafficking, it gave me the impression that you mean women who are sexually harassed choose to be harassed as well. I think that this is an extremely problematic argument. Do women who are sexually harassed and do not report it or women who feel like they have no other options but prostitution truly making a choice to stay in their situations? Also, trafficking is a much larger problem beyond prostitution and I think it more greatly affects those who do not voluntarily enter into it, therefore separating the two problems further. I would argue that neither sexual harassment nor human trafficking are tolerable because they lead to depression, suicide, PTSD, and many other mental and physical disorders, which means that they were clearly not "tolerable." For some it might be seen as tolerable, but the only other option for people being trafficked for sex tourism is death. Given the options available, does it remain tolerable?
I also think we need to realize that sexual harassment and human trafficking involve men and women; women are not the only victims, although they are the majority of victims. Therefore, respect of women might not have anything to do with the problems; it might be solely about power and power differentials between victim and victimizer. Many women who are abused do not allow it because they do not appreciate their bodies, but they allow it because they feel worthless in their position, as wife, girlfriend, daughter, etc. They feel like they deserve it, and if they do better at what needs to get done, the abuse will stop. I think that the problems of domestic abuse go much further beyond abusers acknowledging what they are doing to their victims. Many abusers know what they are doing and need mental help to stop.
I really like the idea of educating the perpetrators of sexual harassment and human trafficking as well as penalizing them for their actions. It didn't occur to me before, so I thought it was a great idea when I read about it. Getting perpetrators counseling and educating them about the long-term effects of their actions would definitely be beneficial to helping to put a stop to these crimes.
I think education on this topic is essential. The word needs to be spread that this is happening and these issues are real. People always like to think that terrible things do not happen to people like them because it is comforting to believe that. The reality is that it could happen to anyone. It was very productive for the groups to talk about what is going on in the communities around us because that hit very close to home. It made me realize that the problem is real and it's everywhere; not just overseas.
Perpetrators do need to be prosecuted however, no matter how many times someone is prosecuted; the issue will still exist somewhere. This is why I also feel that it is incredibly necessary to assist and help the victims. The groups discussed the negative effects sexual abuse and sex trafficking has on the victims that escape. After all the torture they are put through, they survived and deserve a shot at a normal life but they need help to do so.
I think the problems of sex trafficking and sexual harassment are interrelated problems that must be adressed together. Its absolutely astonishing to me at how many people are trafficked into the u.s. each year and that Minneapolis is a major hub of this sort of transportation. My project was on sexual harassment and when coming across the statistics of how prevelent the harassment was I was turly shocked as well that in this day in age sexual harassment prevails in such high numbers.
I think that when it comes to these two topics we need to not blaim the victims. There needs to be prosecution and jail time on behalf of the perpetrators and not the women or children exposed to trafficking or women exposed to sexual harassment. I think in terms of sexual harassment that companies need to be held somewhat liable in terms of the harassment, but that the perpetrators of the harassment should be prosecuted by the company as well as the law and the victims should never have to worry about losing their job or relatiliation. i think the penalties for the harasser should be even stiffer if there is a clear sexual harassment policy in the workplace. Sex trafficking should be more heavily policed. The men/women who purchase the sex need to be the ones prosecuted and the women/kids who have been trafficked should be helped in returning home and some sort of psychological help. The women/kids who are recovered in the sex trafficking could also help uncover larger operations which could then be taken down and have the people who run these larger operations being punished. There also needs to be FAR stiffer penalties for anyone caught trafficking humans. i found it absolutely ridiculous that you can get longer for trafficking drugs than humans. That makes me absolutely sick. Eiether way both of these issues deal with helping the victims of the crimes, and prosecuting the perpetrartors further and more severly. Many changes in legislation needs to be made in terms of human trafficking and sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment and human trafficking are very difficult issues to address. Race, class, and gender do interact with each other to make women vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination. I believe that these terms such as "race" "class" and "gender" is a generalization that pretty much covers all aspects of the problems. Take for example the women that are forced into trafficking, it was noted that the majority of them are either sold off (which address's class, income, poverty) to either benefit the family, or help the family. When it comes to race, we learned that the majority of races are included in human trafficking, from Asian, Latino, white, and black, it just depends on what is in demand, and gender is obviously prevalent. Women are primary targets for sexual harassment and human trafficking. The education of a woman can definitely benefit a woman. When it comes to sexual harassment, being more familiar with laws to knowing ones rights in the states allows for sexual harassment to be address, knowledge is power.
As for policies that target both issues, I personally believe the each should be addressed individually. Both topics are serious and should be treated with the same amount of concern, but by having individual policies would make for better results. Rules that apply to one cannot always apply to another, so by have separate policies, both cases will have direct attention.
I believe in prosecuting perpetrators, assisting victims, and educating the population. I believe that if people were just to be more aware of what was going on, coming together, and fighting for women's rights, it would create change; however, that is easier said then done. Living in a patriarchal society, it is difficult to change culture completely, or find that support. Unification of women and men who support women is a way to address issues at bay. But I guarantee you that there are still men out there who believe women are below them, and that form of thought allows for sexual harassment, and human trafficking to persist. There is a reason as to why this underground industry is so successful, there is no respect for women, and even I see it on a daily basis. My Uncles still hold on to traditional values in which women are to cook. At my Grandpa's funeral this past summer, we women were not even allowed to sit at the table with the men because according to my mother "it's tradition, and because we are women, it is not allowed". It drove me insane, and if we (little sister and I) gave anyone an attitude, my mother gave us the dirtiest look because we would then be viewed as "rebellious daughters who shames the family". My point here is, cultural beliefs in other countries make it more difficult to address these issues because women are generally viewed as inferior, thus making them mere objects to be used.
Looking at the local aspects of these issues, I realized that even I was not aware that Minnesota ranked 13th in human trafficking. This just proves the lack of education for the public, I've asked several of my friends, and none of them had any clue as well. Questions as to how this goes about, to what kinds of signs to look for would be an interesting way to approach the topics. Law enforcements that specialize in "busting" human trafficking should definitely educate the public on what signs to look for. On a personal note, I actually had a friend who had work for a massage parlor in uptown. I remember her telling me that the men that came in usually talked dirty to her and she could not figure out why. One day her boyfriend came up to her infuriated because of what he had found. The company that she had been working for had an ad in the erotic section of advertisements in a local magazine! She immediately quit.This just shows us that some girls really don't know what they are getting into, and education is perhaps key in preventing such atrocities from happening.
The only common policy/strategy I can think of that would address both sexual harassment and human trafficking would be to have more general awareness of the effects of sexual abuse and what it means to harass/traffic women. I think we need to gain more respect for women; I don't have a specific solution for that, but I think that is a significant part of the problem. If women had enough self-esteem to appreciate their bodies enough to not allow anyone to abuse them, it may lead to a decline in women choosing to sell their bodies. Likewise, if men knew what kind of toll they were taking on women and were taught how to treat/respect women, it is likely that less men would participate in such demeaning activities.
I think we should focus on educating both victims and perpetrators. Prosecuting perpetrators is great, but it can be very difficult to change perpetrator's behaviors. Therefore, when they are free to go back out into the world, they will most likely re-offend. However, It may be beneficial to educate perpetrators after they are sentenced in an attempt to get through to them.
I was surprised to learn of the local human trafficking stints. How have I heard nothing about this until now? I think it is incredibly problematic that I am so shocked. Why is this such a seemingly-taboo topic? I definitely think we need to have some basic education around human trafficking, specifically within our local communities.
I was very surprised to learn about the high levels of sexual trafficking in the Twin Cities; I had no idea that we ranked so highly in the list of large cities. I've also never experienced sexual harassment in the workplace (despite working as a security guard for a summer), so it was really eye-opening to read this week's blog responses and hear about everyone's experiences. I think part of the reason sex trafficking and sexual harassment policy is so difficult to create and enforce is because things happen behind closed doors and few people are willing to speak out, and it's not something that can be easily spotted.
I think it is impractical to assume that a one-size-fits-all policy would work to curb either sex trafficking or sexual harassment because no two incidences are the same. I do, however, think that what needs to be consistent in these policies is victim protection. From reading through this week's blog entries, it's clear that polities to combat sexual harassment do not take the victim's privacy or comfort into account. I think this is because sexual harassment is an internal issue with companies instead of a legal issue. I'm not familiar enough with discrimination policy in the
As far as sexual trafficking goes, the role of protecting victims has really only been by third-parties, like this: http://www.peacehealth.org/KBASE/shc/shc99prs.htm
The problems of sexual harassment and human trafficking are distinct problems that should be dealt with as such. Both problems do affect women and deal with typically unwanted sexual interactions, but the situations that make people vulnerable to these problems differ greatly. Human trafficking often involves a pimp and/or kidnappers to create the human capital for their business. Sexual harassment is usually unwanted sexual attention in a public setting like work or a bar, where the victim is not receiving any money for being exploited. Laws can be passed that address both problems, but I also think we need to be aware of the specific differences in each issue.
As far as policies and strategies go, perpetrators need to be prosecuted, victims need to be assisted, and target populations need to be educated. If we focus on one and not the others, someone is getting left out and the problem is not being solved as a whole; holes are still being left. If the target populations are not being educated, the perpetrators that continually evade the law will still be able to find victims who are unaware and vulnerable. If the victims do not receive help, it will be detrimental to their mental and physical health. Without help, victims might also go on to become the victimizers as we discussed in class. High penalties must be placed on convicted perpetrators as well because if they think they can continue to get away with harassing or trafficking people, they will continue to do it until they get caught and penalized.
In terms of sexual harassment, local laws and national laws are equally important for putting a stop to harassment. Local laws can force companies within the state and cities to educate their workers about appropriate and inappropriate work behavior. Victims of comments, touching, or innuendos that they feel are inappropriate need to understand the role that they play in stopping harassment as well. Companies need to have policies in place to protect their workers and avoid lawsuits.
In terms of human trafficking, the problem becomes transnational as many tourists partake in "sex tourism." Sex tourism complicates the local control over problems. I recently watched a Dateline story on sex trafficking of young girls in Svay Pak, near Cambodia. The main clients for the pimps in Svay Pak were from the United States. Some of the girls trafficked were as young as five years old and the police corruption often made it difficult for raids to be successful. Laws both in Svay Pak and in the United States need to address these sorts of situations. If U.S. citizens are caught in other countries partaking in illegal sexual activity such as sex tourism, they need to face severe penalties upon return to the U.S. The pimps and kidnappers of these children must also face severe penalties in their own countries. If the U.S. citizens did not provide the pimps with clients, no girls would be subjected to the terrors of sex tourism.
Providing more education programs to women who come into the United States so they can get a job that doesn't include selling their bodies would also be a good idea. If there were more programs that received government aide, this would make it easier to come to the U.S. and make a legitimate living instead of being thrown into a sex ring.
Safety is the main issue here. There should be more education about how to avoid being taken into a sex ring so this would not happen in the first place.
I think that sexual harassment is something that is still very prevalent in our society today, and something needs to be done to address is. Another issue we talked about last week was sex trafficking, which presented some very surprising information that I was not aware of, especially how close to home it is occurring.
In my opinion these are two separate issues that need to be tackled by two separate agendas. I think to stop sexual harassment businesses need to make sure they are putting into motion the policies that they have in place already. I think often times women are two afraid to speak up about harassment that his occurring in the work place and there needs to be a confidential way for women to confide in their administration and reassurance that the harassment will be put to a stop.
For sex trafficking I think the most important thing we can do is educate you women on how they can prevent themselves from falling victim to this crime. For me I didn't know anything about it, especially that it is taking place right here in the twin cities. Along with educating women on what sex trafficking is and how to avoid it, we need to take a look at why women are voluntarily entering into the work world of selling themselves for sex. If we can encourage women that this is something that can be avoided and there are other solutions to making money, we can stop perpetrators from gaining women to work for them.
I think we also need to enforce harsher punishments on those perpetrating these crimes, often times it is repeat offenders, which just goes to show we aren't doing enough to stop these people the first time. I think with punishment should also come some form of counseling, so these people can realize why they are doing these things and find a healthier outlet to their problems.
Sexual harassment and sex trafficking are two issues addressing
sexuality of being unwanted. However, from last week presentation on sex
trafficking, some women do volunteer themselves to be in the business. Others
are force and do not want to get involved in the industry. Similar with women
who work are being harass. Both issues do have similarity of addressing how
class, race, and gender play a role. In both of the presentation, it indicated
that women are the target of experiencing harassments and trafficking. Base
upon their class, women in the lower class are taking more advantages of being harassed
to get promotion or more money. Women or girls are more likely to enter the
trafficking industry because they are either sold from their parents or in need
of money due to poverty. I think race varies in between, depending on whom you
are and the location the issue takes place. But most likely, trafficking are
more likely happened in the European and the Asian continent area. Harassment occurs
depending on the location such has business not having a harassment policy in
which it is easily for employees to get advantage of being harass. I also think that perpetrators should be prosecuted because
taking away a person's right of saying no is against their will. And I do know
that in some countries, they don't function that way. However, if both issues
happen in the United States, then of course it's a different story. I think it's
better to tell than later because like the case mentioned in the sexual harassment,
it took forever for the case to come to a conclusion because it took her long enough
to not say something about her being harass. The sooner the victims report, the
better it is for their case. Also helping women who are trafficking to get out
of the business or help them seek counseling because treating women at sex
objects for money is disrespect to all women in general. Women who experiences unwanted physical sexual touching in both harassment
and tracking should be address in school so that the students are aware of the
issues that can happen to them. I know that the movie called "Taken" give a
good example of the process of trafficking young girls into getting into the
sex trade industry. However, there should be a documentary or research videos
that could help education others to know how to avoid getting trafficking, and
the outcome. Some working industry has been aware of the harassment that can
occur at work and it's a good thing that they are having a harassment policy. I
do think that people can break the policy and harass their own co-workers, but I
think the person being harass should say something about it because it can affect
themselves, the person harassing them, and the company as a whole.
Sexual harassment and sex trafficking are two issues addressing sexuality of being unwanted. However, from last week presentation on sex trafficking, some women do volunteer themselves to be in the business. Others are force and do not want to get involved in the industry. Similar with women who work are being harass. Both issues do have similarity of addressing how class, race, and gender play a role. In both of the presentation, it indicated that women are the target of experiencing harassments and trafficking. Base upon their class, women in the lower class are taking more advantages of being harassed to get promotion or more money. Women or girls are more likely to enter the trafficking industry because they are either sold from their parents or in need of money due to poverty. I think race varies in between, depending on whom you are and the location the issue takes place. But most likely, trafficking are more likely happened in the European and the Asian continent area. Harassment occurs depending on the location such has business not having a harassment policy in which it is easily for employees to get advantage of being harass.
I also think that perpetrators should be prosecuted because taking away a person's right of saying no is against their will. And I do know that in some countries, they don't function that way. However, if both issues happen in the United States, then of course it's a different story. I think it's better to tell than later because like the case mentioned in the sexual harassment, it took forever for the case to come to a conclusion because it took her long enough to not say something about her being harass. The sooner the victims report, the better it is for their case. Also helping women who are trafficking to get out of the business or help them seek counseling because treating women at sex objects for money is disrespect to all women in general.
Women who experiences unwanted physical sexual touching in both harassment and tracking should be address in school so that the students are aware of the issues that can happen to them. I know that the movie called "Taken" give a good example of the process of trafficking young girls into getting into the sex trade industry. However, there should be a documentary or research videos that could help education others to know how to avoid getting trafficking, and the outcome. Some working industry has been aware of the harassment that can occur at work and it's a good thing that they are having a harassment policy. I do think that people can break the policy and harass their own co-workers, but I think the person being harass should say something about it because it can affect themselves, the person harassing them, and the company as a whole.
Sexual harassment and human trafficking is a problem that should be educated more about for people to know and also addressed in a way that would help women from sex-based exploitation and discrimination. It may seem like women do want to be harassed or trafficking, but it is not their fault. They are truly the victims because if they are sold or pushed into trafficking, they don't have the choice to decide since others are deciding for them. They have rights and a life that they should be able to choose for themselves. Sexual harassment is an issue that should be addressed in a way that would help the victims instead of saying they had the intentions of making someone harass them.
There should be strategies or policies that are stricter on these types of issues and should be dealt with on a daily basis because if it is ignored then people would not know what is occurring around them. There should be harsh punishment for perpetrators and more on assisting the victims so that they can recover easier knowing that the perpetrators are being punished. Educating people more on sexual harassment and trafficking will help people open their eyes more and actually see what is going on and to improve. Anyone can get harassed and become a victim. Anyone can choose to do trafficking whether their own decision or someone else's. It's not just certain people. I think the more information or knowledge people have about these issues would help women from discrimination and exploitation.
I think these two examples of sexual exploitation need to be addressed differently on a smaller scale, but there are common strategies that can address the larger scale issues contributing to both. Sexual harassment is generally a workplace issue. Education in the form of workshops can help, as can making sure every employee knows the sexual harassment policies and that those policies are clear. Prosecuting the perpetrators and enforcing zero tolerance policies are both important. The victims need legal protection that ensures job security. On the other hand, human trafficking is much more underground. Perpetrators need to face harsh penalties, and more assistance needs to be provided for victims, who might be in a foreign country with no place to go and no resources. Public awareness needs to improve. I certainly did not know the scale of this problem in
On a larger scale, class and gender inequalities need to be addressed to eliminate discrimination and the demand for sex entertainment. In considering these examples of sex-based exploitation, I thought of the related issue of prostitution. In these three cases, only the prostitute might be prosecuted, because she is not seen as a victim in the way a trafficked or harassed person is. I think this represents a lack of recognition that these issues have a common cause.
Sex trafficking and sexual harrassment do have similarities in which that women are sexually exploited, and how these crimes are prosecuted and handled by our society. In order to resolve sexual harassment, or bring justice, one must speak up first. Which is very intimidating I would imagine. Also after the inital speaking up, one must file a claim with their employer. If this claim is denied by the employer, the person may file a claim under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and if they believe your case, then you file for a civil lawsuit. So basically the task of getting justice for sexual harassment is a long road of paperwork, proving you were sexually harassed, and waiting. In human trafficking as talked about in the presentation is less prosecuted, and has more broad laws leaving the fact that people get worse punishments for other crimes. Laws and policies should target in assisting victims, but prosecuting the perpetrators more harshly.
To target sexual harassment and sex trafficking, there needs to be education/awareness brought to the public's attention. Many people know about sexual harassment in the workplace, but many people don't know about sex trafficking, especially in Minnesota. Just lastnight I was having a conversation in which my friend said "that doesn't happen here!" People are blind and don't want to believe terrible things can happen in America, even in Minnesota.
I noticed that you and a few others commented about not reporting when you were sexual harassed. I have been sexually harassed more than a few times, and only reported it once...and it was the most awful, uncomfortable, awkward thing I have ever done in my life. I talked to my manager who agreed it needed to be taken care of and when I finally spoke to the right authority who worked for the corporation (I worked at a well-known corporate restaurant) she took my name, my number, so on and so forth...they then proceeded to tell the male who harassed me that I had reported him, (even though I had asked for them not to give my name out...I did not want an apology I simply wanted him to be talked to because I know I was not the only woman he was inappropriate with)...made him sit down and have a strange conference where we watched a video about sexual harassment together and at the end he had to apologize to me. It was awful. I don't know if their system of handling sexual harassment was a disaster...or if all systems are like that (I sure hope not!)
On the upside...you talked about education in the workplace...and I can say from another experience where I worked with a man who was constantly touching women and himself inappropriately...that after we had a small reminder at a meeting a few months ago he completely stopped acting inappropriately...something about that little reminder and maybe even the scare of how much trouble he can get in if someone reports him, sure seemed to help.
Human trafficking deals with race and class in that those of lower class are more susceptible to being sold to traffickers, and race is approached as a selling point, as the presenters talked about exoticism and familiarity playing a part in how women (and men) are used in the sex trade.
Both sexual harassment and human trafficking deal with dehumanization, though to a different degree. I think with sexual harassment and human trafficking the overall intention is the same, to make someone lesser, to control or have power over someone else, but the degree to achieve that objectification is markedly different. Sexual harassment in the workplace is more about asserting your superiority in the workplace, while human trafficking is more about the complete control and objectification of someone. They both stem from the same thing, but the level of severity in the achievement of the desire for power over a person is different.
To deal with both, there needs to be more awareness and education about them. I feel that sexual harassment is often viewed as "something that just happens", like it's unavoidable and people should just deal. If harsher penalties for sexual harassment existed, if more women felt they were able to talk about sexual harassment or bring complaints to their superiors without worrying about "rocking the boat", then I think incidents of sexual harassment would decrease. Furthermore, I think that there is a need for people to understand what constitutes sexual harassment, I am constantly dismayed to find that gender, class and race classes are not mandatory at schools. People need to know how sexual harassment affects people and why it needs to stop.
In the case of human trafficking, I find that most people don't view this as "their" problem, it's something that doesn't happen in America, and if it does, it certainly doesn't happen where they live. I think that people need to be aware of how widespread human trafficking is, and how it's not just certain people who get taken or sold (the poor, minorities, whatever) it can happen to anyone. While it is somewhat pathetic that people are not able to see a problem if it doesn't apply to them, this is probably the best way to raise awareness and get people to combat human trafficking; by letting people know that it's happening in their white-bread-suburban-middle-class neighborhoods, not just Southeast Asia or the ghetto.
Obviously the ability to provoke action based on class and race is problematic, and America as a nation needs to change it's entire merit and value system to have lasting change and equality, but until that occurs, frightening people into action is the most expedient course of action, even if it's not the healthiest. People respond faster to threats than moralizing and calling upon their sense of social justice.
Education, raising awareness and persecuting perpetrators all need to go hand in hand to affect change; the more people who know about these problems are the more people who can change policies and put in place new policies that target perpetrators.
I know that another woman mentioned this in class at the exact moment I was thinking it, but we discussed how blaming the victims seems to be an underlying factor in both sexual harassment and sex trafficking. I remember taking a class in psychology discussing the projection and replacement theories of how we project our inner failures (and even attributes) on to other people, completely subconsciously. Now I'm not sure how far these theories extend but when an individual is is forcefully taking a woman, or forcefully "rubbing off" on a woman, it's interesting to see the INSTANT the blame turns from themselves to the victim. It's almost like an invisible flip, like an admission of guilt. But it seems to be a hell of a lot easier to blame the victims, in a society perspective or in an individual perspective.
I think education is a huge factor but the problem I see is that there are only a select population that receive the education necessary to end these problems (worldwide). Education is a key concept but in reality education only reaches those that choose to be educated, or are fortunately given it. However, I have a friend at work who loves to touch women constantly and make sexual jokes at women...and when we had a work meeting a few months back we all watched a sexual harassment video and his inappropriateness instantly stopped (even though he had worked there 5 years)...something about that little reminder of how much trouble he could get in led him to stop...so in that sense is it possible that fear can work??
I was amazed when Maleenia told our group of the Sweden experiment where it penalizes men but not the women. What an interesting role reversal...I wonder if something like that were in place throughout the world what it would do it the "masculinity" of men...knowing they can no longer blame the victim and get away with it. I also forgot to ask her if the women in Sweden only call the police on the men purchasing sex if they are violent or piss off the women...maybe at the very least ending violence against those women?
I think that watching the presentations on harassment in the workplace and global sex trafficking was a reminder that even though we have come significantly far in terms of women's rights in the United States, there is just so much more work that still needs to be done. One of the saddest aspects that I feel was touched upon was from the trafficking presentation about women who voluntarily entered the sex industry, but were forced to stay in an industry in which they did not want to be a part of. The idea of these women being condemned and basically written off because they joined intentionally at he beginning is just way to close to the standard "she asked for it" excuse given in many rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment cases. NO ONE deserves to be drugged and forced to sell their body to any willing customers.
I agree with many of our other classmates' posts about education simply not being enough. Of course the issue of sex trafficking needs to be brought to the public eye and people need to become more educated about what is really going on, mainly because people have no idea that it isn't just happening in the slums but in their own backyard as well, but education is not enough on it own. It is just sad that issues such as trafficking are only brought up when there is a nig bust or when we are sitting in a GWSS class. The main issue is that our government just seems complacent in regards to the entire industry. It gets set on the "governmental backburner" when it should be front and center stage, which I feel most people would also agree with if they knew the facts regarding the industry.
In last week's discussion, I think the primary link to the sex trafficking and sexual harassment is that these two issue mainly happen to the lower class women. I think government should impose laws that focus on the equality and educate the public about the equality between two sex and class and race. This is the ultimate solution to all kinds of unequal issue like sex trafficking and sexual harassment.
In last week's presentation, I was so shock to know that the city that I am living is actually one of the active sex trafficking markets in the world. I could believe that sex trafficking is happening around me at anytime because I thought this horrifying trade would not happen in such a modern city. This is a very serious issue that needs urgent respond, otherwise, more and more women and children will fall into the net and being hurt severely. I think that in order to address this issue, we need to focus on education and government involvement in dealing with this issue. We need to end it, so we need a better education that addresses this issue to the youth and make them aware of the harm that caused to the society, to the victims and to the world. I think the government should have imposed more strict laws to secure and protect the victim as the physical and mental harm that caused on the victims is irreversible. I appreciate how Sweden deal with this issue, they punish the one consume this kind of service instead of making all people involving in sex trafficking alone illegal. I think this may not be the best method to stop sex trafficking, but at least they take are taking their very first step to help. I think the American government ought to take action to halt it like what the Sweden government does. The consumers that consume the services lead to the growth of the trade. If they were punished severely, they are more likely to step back and stop the growth of this kind of immoral business.
As the presentation addressed, blue collar jobs are more likely to experience sexual harassment and they are less likely to report. However, in white collar job, women are better educated and they are more knowledgeable about how to stop sexual harassment before it really happens to them. Women who have low status and less education are less likely to find jobs, they don't want to get into trouble so they choose to endure it, this make the issue worse and worse.. We need to give the victims counseling and supporting services to back them up, to make them feel cared. In such way, harassed workers are more willing to report the cases and the perpetrators would not be easily get away. Surely, a better follow up services or counseling work is necessary to the workers as a supporting mean. Also, I think education is also the important step to stop this issue. As people are better informed about the harassment, they are more willing to help out and know how to respond once it happen to them.
After listening to the group presentations on sexual harassment and sex trafficking on Thursday we saw how that race, class and gender made these women vulnerable to sex- based exploitation and discrimination. I do see the similarities between both of these issues and policies that need to be enforced to target these problems.
It was shocking to see the effects of sex trafficking and even scarier to think that it is happening here in Minneapolis. Because this is a shock to many I believe we need to educate the public to raise awareness on this issue. People may know it is happening but many do not see in happening on a local level. We should first need to address the economic and social issues in the communities that these women come from. Also educate the population that are going to strip clubs and "using" these victims making them work for money. There should also be policies where these venues should no longer be open. By eliminating the source all together this problem should lessen and eventually be ended all together.
One major change is how we treat and see the victims that are sexually trafficked. They should not be punished but rather helped. Perpetrators should be prosecuted and victims helped. There should be a service where these victims can go to and receive support. They should not be scared or ashamed but rather just interested receiving advice, counseling, and help. When they told us about Sweden's policy in class making it illegal to purchase sexual services but not punishing those who offer the services, I think this is a first step to go about dealing with this issue in the United States.
Sexual harassment in the work place is another issue that needs to be addressed. Having a few jobs over the years I can see how different places enforce sexual harassment policies more than others. At my current job we have training videos, policy handbooks, and yearly workshops addressing this issue. This makes one more comfortable and it is easily accessible to get help. They target you on a personal level and have a zero tolerance policy. Nobody should have to deal with sexual harassment at a work place because of all the available help offered. Women who do experience sexual harassment in the work place is due to the fact that it mainly goes unreported. One should stop this problem before it happens so they can have a positive work environment, not allowing this to effect their work.
The greatest link and the best solutions lie in addressing economic and political equality, as they really are at the heart of these issues. Policies that have such lofty aims often fail, largely because they seek to change underlying and often subconscious social values, but not addressing them would only seem to worsen the problem. I feel like policies that aim to address equality have a better chance of being successful at a national than at an international scale. Partly because of the enormity of the problems, and partly because people seem more willing to address the problems of people they see as being like them (when examining international issues its easier to see it as "not my problem").
It seems the political tactics used to deal with the issues discussed last Thursday would have to be different. Obviously providing aid to victims and education are both important aspects of addressing sexual harassment and sex trafficking, but in somewhat different ways. Aiding victims of international trafficking must include providing necessities and helping victims build a life outside sex industries. Assistance for victims of sexual harassment are not the same, although in severe cases, including sexual discrimination which results in the loss wages, providing basic necessities, at least temporarily, may be important. However, sexual harassment victims are more likely to need legal aid than other forms of assistance. Moreover, both of these issues may be improved through public education. Today, most individuals and employers are fairly well educated in sexual harassment and discrimination, but since these practices persist, it seems important to continue efforts to educate employers of their responsibility and workers of their rights.
In issues of human trafficking, addressing the prosecution of traffickers has not led to a successful reduction, but persecuting the purchasers of sex has had some success in Sweden. However, prosecuting perpetrators of sexual harassment/discrimination in the United States has been somewhat successful in opening opportunities and bringing awareness to the issues. It is interesting to me that both Sweden's law and high profile sexual harassment cases in the United States have been successful not so much because of the laws, per se, but because of the negative image attached associated with breaking the law. In both cases, the media play an important role in dissuading certain behaviors, and seem to reiterate the importance of changing not just laws, but the underlying beliefs and values.
The primary link is that both methods of victimization happen to women. On a wide range scale, I believe that more education and legal reform need to be addressed to these issues. For sexual harassment, I feel that each case is different, primarily because there are different levels of sexual harassment. And while both are bad, there is a big difference between calling a woman a sexist nickname (for example) or something much worse, like forcing oneself on her. In that case, the punishments and/or other methods of action need to vary one what methods of harassment are actually happening. Human trafficking is typically (overall) a more severe issue as it usually involves force, thus the punishment should always be severe.
As far as locality is concerned, I feel that a lot could be done about human trafficking in
I feel that both methods would be effective in educating and raising awareness simply because between the messages placed in local advertising and in a ten o'clock news segment, there would be great frequency and reach. Furthermore, once the public is informed, I think that there is a good chance that an attitude of "not in my backyard" will arise and maybe some more serious action will be taken as people write to representatives, make police inquiries, and take more safety procedures overall.
I wanted to mention my thoughts on the possible differences in behaviors of perpetrators of sexual harassment with regards to race and gender. I kept thinking about how racial harassment would be likely be categorized under a hate crime. The way the perpetrator carries out the crime can be considered in other ways.
If the crime is committed by a male against a male, it's likely to be physical but not necessarily sexual unless the perpetrator is harassing this male because of their sexual orientation in the first place.
If the perpetrator is a male and the person harassed is a female, the behavior is likely to be in a sexual form. This sounds like I am generalizing males but this is the way males generally act with females.
If the perpetrator and the victim are not the same race I would personally feel that the crime was based on race and the way the person was harassed would come after that whether it was physical, verbal, sexual etc.
By looking at reports of hate crimes, it would be interesting to see what the percentage is of the perpetrator and the victim being from racial backgrounds that are not the same vs the same.
I've read this over a couple times and I think I'm making sense of this. It's complicated and very confusing when you get these dynamics together.
Whether the person if blue collar or white collar employed, being faced with having to make a decision whether or not to file a sexual harassment case is going to cause them to have a fear of losing their job which provides financial stability for them and/or their family. Financial loss to an individual due to losing a job is a major loss no matter what class level they work in. We all need references for a new jobs regardless of them being white collar or blue collar, both people , if they stay at the job need to go their everyday realizing that the talk that happens around the water cooler may be about them this time.
I feel that education is one way to start the battle. It needs to start young though. For much too long I've felt society in general has needed to switch gears when it come to sexual harassment, any kind of harassment for that matter between students in schools.
Recently at White Bear Lake High School at female student whose life was threatened because of her race.
This is the link, but I was really surprised to find out that the story is no longer available to view. I found part of it in the archives but it said to read the full story it had to be purchased. WOW! This girl did what she should have done which was reporting the other kids who were threatening her. She ends up being pulled from the school by her father because he is worried about her safety. This is an great example of why I think so many people do not report abuse or harassment against them. Too many times the victim end up losing more than the perpetrator does.
I'm sure this type of thing also has been known to happen to people who are trafficked and people who are harassed in the workplace.
Sexual harassment and human sex trafficking are more severe problems than most of us imagine. Sexual abuse occurs in 1 out of every 4 females and 1 out of every 5 males in the United States. That is an alarming statistic. There are similarities between sexual harassment and human trafficking. First, in both instances, a victim is emotionally and physically abused. The victim also has increased chances of behavioral and emotional problems. Second, the perpetrator or abuser, often times gets away with it. Whether a victim is too embarrassed to report abuse or does not have the resources or support to do so, the abuser gets away with it and most likely victimizes others. This is a severe problem because unless an abuser is found, arrested and given a harsh sentence they will keep abusing.
I think sexual harassment issues should be dealt with right away. We need to keep letting communities (especially younger people) know they are not alone. We can do this through education and community organizations. Victims of abuse need to know that there are endless organizations that offer support, both financially and emotionally. They need to know that they are safe. We also need to identify and incarcerate abusers right away. Often abusers are only sentenced to a few months or years behind bars and when they get out of jail they almost always abuse again. This cannot happen. We need to make stricter laws and severely punish those who abuse others, especially children. In regards to sex trafficking, the problem is deeper and more complex. Sex trafficking is such an underground industry that it will take more time and resources to stop it but we need to. Sex trafficking is not just an issue abroad, it is happening in our own country, and in our own city. We need to find the organizations that are behind sex trafficking and put an end to them. Sex traffickers need to be imprisoned without parole and also fined large amounts. Part of the reason sex trafficking organizations stay alive is because they have money and power. When we arrest members of these organizations they need to be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars. They also need to serve long sentences in jail.
It is up to us, as a community, to put an end to these issues. We need the government to crack down on abusers and with the law on their side put an end to sexual abuse and sex trafficking. If we do not take drastic measures sexual abuse will continue and get worse. It is time to take action.
As far as Sexual harassment I think a lot of time the problem with these cases is that its kept quite or under wraps even after its been reported. Similar to what takes place in Sweden, I think individuals reported or convicted of sexual harassment in any setting to somehow have their name known publicly. So if sexual harassment was taking place in a work environment and it was reporting a supervisor or boss it should be their duty to make the individual being accused name known to the entire company/business, but the individual experiencing the harassment should be kept confidential. I'm not sure if this creates any legal issues but I feel as if a person is bold enough to sexual harass someone they should be able to deal with the consequences. I think this will also make people think twice about harassing someone if it has a chance of publicly ruining their name and reputation. Our society takes a huge emphasis on what other people think of us, so if our reputation is on the line I think 9/10 a person would choose to keep their name or reputation out of a situation like this.
There were many different concepts about underlying everyday life that was presented within both of these presentations. When I use the word 'underlying', I am expressing the view that while people go about their everyday lives, there is this other culture that is being perpetuated and looked over because it is not a part of the common American's daily life. I think that both of these issues, sexual harassment and human trafficking, is something that every person knows at least a little bit about, whether they have experienced it themselves, known of others that have gone through it, or have heard about it on some form of media broadcast.
They are also ideals that work hand in hand as catalysts to broader forms of human exploitation and de-humanization. They have the obvious ramifications that appear to be all against the women and people of lower classes that are involved. Along with this though, I think that we have to look at how the women, especially ones that I have regrettably known, who have played certain systems, within the harassment issue in specific, in order to better themselves within the company they were a part of. This type of use of the system is one that I don't think the group had talked about. I just think that it can be pushed to encompass people other than just heterosexual women. It is something that men experience and it is something that society classifies as a gendered offense, meaning that it is a 'manly act' that only men do and when they are accused, they are rarely proven to be wrongly accused. Also, when I say that it happens to heterosexual women, I mean that I have heard plenty of instances in which my homosexual friends have been 'released' from their job position due to being accused of sexually harassing another co-worker (male harassing a male) and in most places, especially a job within a school district, they have a zero tolerance policy for anything pertaining to this act. I just think that both of these cases should be incorporated when looking at harassment and the way in which they are gendered and sexually oriented to benefit what society sees as the normal victim.
I think that there should be reforms to the policies that we have set in place due to the fact that one group had information about corruption within the policing and other forces that were set in place to try to prevent harassment and trafficking from happening. I see these issues as things that encompass the same types of unwanted exposure of one's personal space, feelings, emotions, morals, and everything else that involves these types of acts. I think that harassment and trafficking are things that involve the same types of psychological and physical hurt for the people deemed as victims, but also the people that are the criminals in these situations. Overall, I think that there may be policies that could address and help to correct both of these issues. The most important thing that a person can acquire and that no one can ever take away from someone would be what is inside of them, the knowledge, the intuition that can be instilled at a young age and reinforced through various mentors and teachers throughout their lifetime. I think that this would be one of the most important programs or things that should be set in place to help people across a lifetime. Along with that, you can only do so much for a person that has experienced such a traumatic event and you can only do so much to help the perpetrators and prevent them from doing it again. I think the best way to overcome and avoid an issue is to always prepare yourself and plan ahead in case there is no way to get out of said situations. As far as the local issues that have come about within Minnesota, I am not proud to be apart of a state that has such a high population of people involved in sex trafficking, but I think that it needs to be seen as an opportunity that I can be involved in to stop and prevent.
As our global economy worsens and our resources continue to dwindle it's no wonder that more and more people become desperate for survival or complacent and apathetic to the ills of society. As discussed in class this past week issues like not having enough food and hunger are real threats to 1 in 8 adults and 1 in 4 children in this country. As jobs diminish women are less likely to bring grievances of sexual harassment at the workplace for fear of loosing their jobs. I know at one of the agencies where I work we have a yearly mandatory sexual harassment training video that we must watch followed by an online quiz at the end. If we don't we are simply taken off the schedule until it is completed. The video is new every year to keep current with any legislative changes that may have taken place. Apparently there is a lot of money being spent by companies on sexual harassment lawsuits where they are help liable. I think managers are trained too to take allegations very seriously.
"According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the number of employment discrimination and harassment cases filed per year tripled between 1990 and 2000. In fact, employment lawsuits currently represent thirty percent of civil litigation in the U.S."
Harassment can be interpreted as hardship
"Today, the cumulative costs can come close to $1 billion for the biggest organizations with many companies paying for pay equity incongruities including failure to provide equal pay, offer equal opportunities for promotion, or for not shielding women employees from harassment."
Given this information, the laws and the fact that sexual harassment in the workplace cuts into businesses bottom line I think that employers will be our biggest advocates for real change.
Human Trafficking on the other hand is something that has not been legislated well enough, nor has there been enough coordination throughout the world to seriously look at the root causes and effects.
More recently though attention is being given to human trafficking by the United Nations:
October 22, 2009:
SURVIVORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING 'CHAMPIONS OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE', SECRETARY-GENERAL
TELLS HEADQUARTERS EVENT ON HEEDING VOICE OF VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
May 13, 2009:
NO LONGER POSSIBLE TO TURN BLIND EYE TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING, AS WORLD WAKES UP
TO SCOPE OF SCOURGE, GENERAL ASSEMBLY HEARS IN THEMATIC DIALOGUE
Secretary-General Calls for Strong Laws, Broad Alliances, Concerted
Action, Zero Tolerance; Member States Weigh Need for Global Action Plan
Tougher laws and consensus building among member countries is a start to understanding the problem and addressing inequity, lack of opportunity, sexism, racism and poverty.
I agree with you when you say that we need to "educate target populations because it would bring awareness to the community." This is an important issue that I think you bring up because a lot of people I have talked to did not know about the sex trafficking issue in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I believe that if more people were educated about the issue, especially when it is in their own community, they would be more motivated to help or to stop it. Also, if they were educated about the topic they could have looked for signs that could easily have been apparent under their own noses. For example: the "message parlors" that are often times implicated in sex trafficking situations. If people in the community were more educated and aware of the topic, I think that it would be of special concern due to the fact that people have a strong sense of community and would not want to see something such as this occurring in the place where they live
Distinct issues need to be dealt with regarding sex trafficking and sexual harassment. First of all, if people who have to deal with these issues had resources such as being able to get different jobs and be somewhat independent, it might not be such a problem. Also, if victims had resources such as police to talk to who would not treat them as if they were the in the wrong, it might help as well. Overall, issues such as this should not be under the table. Victims should be assisted instead of prosecuted. If they are prosecuted, especially in sex trafficking cases, the perpetrators will continue to re-offend without any consequences. People involved in sex trafficking often times are so emotionally damaged that they become the ones who partake in recruiting people later on. The cycle may be able to be stopped if there were policies that counseled victims and restored their psychological health. Other policies that would improve sex trafficking and sexual harassment would be education about such issues. If the masses were enlightened about such issues and the harm that they cause to certain individuals, maybe the cycle could possibly stop.
I was aware of the situation of sex trafficking in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The one thing that shocks me about this situation is the fact that the perpetrators were only sentenced to what I believe was 35 months. Even though the policies in the statutes are stiffer, they got away with quite a light sentence. The message that this sent out to the public was basically saying that sex trafficking was okay and to not take the state statutes seriously. I think that there needs to be stiffer sentences especially considering the physical and psychological harm inflicted on most of the victims. If there were mandatory sentences set out for sex trafficking, I think that it would possibly have a deterrent effect and might help stop this booming industry.
After listening to the presentations on Thursday, I was shocked to hear that Minneapolis has a very active sex trafficking market. I wasn't aware of that at all and it came as quite a shock to hear that something as horrific as that is going on in the city where I live. I think we should focus on why certain areas in the world have high amounts of sex trafficking and why that is. From this we could start to try to address these factors. I also think we need to focus on the government's involvement with sex trafficking and make it a point to get the media's attention on the government people who are involved with it. This would hopefully cut down the involvement that police officers and others have with sex trafficking, therefore, making it harder for these places to be around. I think all countries should adapt a somewhat similar policy to Sweden's that was discussed in class. It sounds like this has made a positive step towards ending sex trafficking. I believe that there has yet to be a policy that deals with sexual harassment effectively. I think the first step in towards establishing one is to talk to people who have been sexually harassed at work and ask them what they would have liked to seen done to help them out with their situation. I think we need to focus on prosecuting perpetrators big time. There are not hard enough laws out there to punish these people for their actions and it needs to change. We also need to help victims by giving them counseling and support groups. Also, helping them take the necessary steps to start a new life and start to let go of their negative past. I definitely think we to educate target populations because it would bring awareness to the community. I think if the community was more informed on what was happening they would be more willing to help out. Most people do not want to live in an area where something as terrible as sex trafficking is going on and would want to do something to change that. After listening the presentations I have motivated to help out somehow with these issues. Especially that it is something that is happening in Minneapolis. I need to become more informed of the issue and learn what is being done to stop it if anything is being done.
I think that it is pretty evident that class and gender come into play when discussing human trafficking. I think that the distinction between the classes has always been a factor when talking about the sex trade. Since it is almost always desperation that drives women and their families to enter the sex trade, it is almost a given that the women in the sex trade and in human trafficking are poor and of a lower class. The rich are the ones who have the disposable income to spend on sex. While I am not making any allegations against the rich, nor am I stating that poorer or middle class men do not participate in the sex trade, I do think that the richer classes provide the foundation for the industry. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-men-buy-sex As crude as this may seem, sex for recreation is almost a luxury, especially in harder financial times. The poor obviously do not have the expendable income to spend on sex when food and other human necessities take priority. Therefore, I don't think that prosecuting perpetrators who buy sex is an effective way to stop human trafficking. People are going to buy sex if the money and the resources are available therefore, we have to put the focus on taking away the resources.
Gender comes into play when we look at the aspect of sexual harassment as it relates to human trafficking. While sexual harassment in it's most basic and elementary of forms may not be seen as a large enough threat that can lead to human trafficking, the idea is still the same. If men do not respect women enough in the work place or other public institutions, then it is only logical that they would not give women the respect they deserve when it comes to purchasing them for sexual favors. http://www.humantrafficking.org/links/83
I think education is not the way to stop human trafficking. Yes the more people know about trafficking the more we become alarmed, but speaking from me on a personal level, even though I know about it and am sickened by the whole thing, the most I could do on a personal level is to donate money to organizations. http://www.stophumantraffic.com/ To stop human trafficking, it has to become a governmental concern and become a governmental policy. If the world, or even just our country, becomes united in it's thinking and desire for prevention. The government not only has to make the participation and the promotion of human trafficking illegal with serious consequences, but it has to strengthen our borders to stop the influx of people being shipped around the world for trafficking purposes. If the Minneapolis Police Department can spend the time and resources to bust drug rings, why can't they focus just as much on stopping forced prostitution? Clearly, human trafficking is so dark, and horrific, that the measures needed to eliminate the problem must be serious, severe, and strict.
My grandparents were children of the Great Depression which meant their cupboards were always full. Even today my grandmother who has gone from having a full house of nine to being widowed and hardly cooking has full cupboards. Her cupboards today are full of pre-packaged foods in cans and boxes which is much unlike her cupboards of my childhood memories.
The elderly and poor are at a higher risk of hunger. Like my grandmothers cupboards of today, the food shelves and homeless shelters rely on the same types of non-perishable foods that are unhealthy.
After listening to the presentations and reading the prompt for this week's blog, I thought about the similarities between sexual harassment and sex trafficking. At first, I had trouble coming up with similarities other than the exploitation of another person for sex. However, after thinking about it further, what sex trafficking and sexual harassment have in common is that a person through the intimidation of another (the perpetrator) feels they have no choice but to give in to the perpetrator and do as the perpetrator demands - usually perform sex acts against their will. In both cases, the victim feels either their life or their livelihood is in jeopardy if they do not do what the perpetrator demands. In both cases, the victim is not able to break the cycle that consequently develops. Once a victim of the perpetrator, it is extremely difficult to escape from the hold of the perpetrator. When rescued from the perpetrator's hold, the victim remains a victim for years. Embarrassment, shame, guilt, and hopelessness often consumes the victim. Without professional help, the perpetrator continues to control the life of the victim.
Both sexual harassment and sex trafficking are offenses that have occurred for many centuries. For example, when you think about slavery in the United States, sexual harassment and sex trafficking of female slaves were prominent even back then. Therefore, dealing with these issues will not occur quickly or easily. Sexual harassment is typically thought of as a workplace concern. Fortunately, laws have been enacted to help protect workers from intimidating supervisors and managers who demand "services" in return for a more promising career. Employees who report sexual harassment are protected by retaliation laws so that if a victim reports sexual harassment, they cannot be terminated for this reason. Retaliation claims and lawsuits have helped to reduce the number of terminations that have resulted as a result of filing a claim against a supervisor or manager. With the continual emphasis on training and education in the workplace, victims of sexual harassment are speaking out more.
Unfortunately, unless the perpetrators are "punished" for their inappropriate actions, the perpetrator will continue to behave using the same intimidating tactics to get what they want. Most perpetrators are demoted or may even lose their jobs. Lawsuits filed by the victim may cost the perpetrator hundreds of thousands of dollars for their actions. However, rarely will the perpetrator serve jail time. Until sexual harassment is viewed as a criminal offense versus a civil offense, the perpetrator will face only "monetary" punishment. Therefore, I believe the perpetrator should also complete supervised, mandatory community service time, helping individuals who are less fortunate than others. The perpetrator should not be able to "buy" his way out of trouble. I believe more states should require sexual harassment training of all employees, not just those in management or supervisory positions. I also believe the schools - high school and college - should include sexual harassment education in their core curriculum.
Sex trafficking however is much more complicated in my opinion. The fact that sex trafficking often crosses state and country boundaries adds much to the complexity. However, as stated in the presentation, those caught and convicted of sex trafficking must be punished with stiffer jail sentences. Parole should not be an option and the perpetrator must serve the complete sentence. The perpetrator who had financially benefitted from their inappropriate actions must also compensate their victims by providing quality medical and psychological care. In addition, since many of the victims of sex trafficking are young, innocent girls, the perpetrator should be required to set up education funds for each of the perpetrator's victims. Education and public awareness of the continual problem of sex trafficking should also be funded by the perpetrators. In addition, while not viewed as a crime by all countries, countries such as the United States should work with other countries such as France, Sweden, Britain, etc. and enforce other countries to recognize that sex trafficking is an atrocious violation of human rights of women and children.
In terms of the local aspect of sex trafficking, perhaps I am just naïve and at times, walk with "blinders on", I was not aware that the Minneapolis/St. Paul area was dealing with such a problem as sex trafficking. When I moved to Minneapolis from Nebraska to attend school, I of course did not find materials on the web about the sex trafficking business in Minneapolis. The citizens of this state need to voice their concern to their state's legislators and through education of the citizen of the state, put an end to this concern.
Anna brought up a really good point about food subsidies. The government provides a lot of money, tax breaks, and incentives to various sectors of the economy, including food producers. I'd be curious to see how much money is given out this way compared to how much is invested in food assistance for the poor. I'm just throwing this out there - but what if everyone shopped locally only - what would be the economic impact of that? Wouldn't it be negative (in economic terms only) - and how could we address that aspect also?
I do see the links between sexual harassment and sex trafficking and how race, class and gender interact to make women vulnerable to sex-based exploitation and discrimination, especially on a global level. I think that each of these, sexual discrimination and sex trafficking, are distinct issues but common policies and strategies could target both at the same time - although each also needs distinct policies and strategies that focus on it specifically.
I think we need to focus on prosecuting perpetrators, assisting victims, and educating target populations for both of these issues - education and legal reform are both necessary to address sexual discrimination and sex trafficking.
To better address sexual harassment we need to address the social aspects that make this something that happens with frequency and provide actual remedies. As someone who has been sexually harassed in a work place, I think there needs to be something other than laws and courts to address sexual harassment. I think for a lot of people who have experienced sexual harassment on a mild level, it just seems overkill to report it and make such a big deal about it. That might sound silly (or offensive to some), but for me, I never reported my experience because I didn't want to make the situation a bigger deal than it needed to be. Perhaps education in the workplace should be stressed, and instead of just having a boring policy on sexual harassment, people should have to be involved in workshops or trainings that bring the issue to them on a more personal level.
For sex trafficking, we need to address the economic and social issues that exist in the communities many of these women come from. Poverty and cultural values around females must be worked on - which can be done through education and legal means. We also need to assist victims of human trafficking, and not make things harder or more traumatic for them.
I think that Sweden has a good model for addressing human trafficking by making it illegal to purchase sexual services, and not criminalizing those who offer such services (whether providers of sexual services are forced into it or not). I think this is a good approach to dealing with sexual trafficking, but I don't know if Sweden has any support services in place for helping victims of sexual trafficking.
I was surprised to learn Minnesota had such high levels regarding sexual/human trafficking. I feel like we are so progressive on social issues, but we fail to have anything in place to help victims of sexual trafficking - and that surprised me.
In general, I think that our policies and strategies for addressing sexual discrimination and sex trafficking are very reactive, when they should be proactive and preventative. We need to look at the roots of these issues and focus more energy there. We need to stop these things before they happen, rather than deal with them after the fact. Addressing the larger systemic issues holds the possibility for reducing sexual harassment and sex trafficking because it may change ideas about what is ok and acceptable to do to other people.
In this week's blog posts, I'd like you to again think creatively about how to address sexual harassment and human trafficking. Do you see links between these issues beyond those similarities I listed above? Are this distinct issues that should be dealt with as such, or might there be common policies and strategies that can target both problems? Should we focus on prosecuting perpetrators, assisting victims, educating target populations? I'm especially interested in what you think about local aspects of these problems, as discussed in the presentations.
I read Animal Vegetable Miracle last year, and I agree that a local food revolution would be beneficial on so many levels. It's good for the local economy, the environment, the people who eat the healthier foods, etc. As for the issue of hunger, this is the sort of fundamental overhaul that would benefit the poorer population the most. One thing the government could do to support local food producers is buy from them for school cafeterias. The college I went to when I lived in the dorm and ate at the cafeteria had a local food table, and there were always good options there. Using local foods in schools would be one investment with (at least) two positive consequences, support for the local economy and healthier foods for kids.
During this week's discussion of hunger in American, and its possible solutions, we spoke a bit about school lunches. I am a strong believer, and it seems so were most others, that a reform of the lunch system is necessary to ensure health in all children, but especially those who rely on free or reduced breakfast and lunch programs for most of their nutritional needs.
I was never a huge fan of school lunches growing up, but the first time I ever really thought of the quality of school food and its nutritional implications was in September when the New York Times ran an article discussing New York City public school cafeterias. It discusses a few of the logistical hurdles to providing quality food to students; raw meat is not allowed in NYC school cafeterias, the Department of Education publishes a limited list of ingredients that can be used, and most school's don't have the fire emergency equipment necessary for there to be any open flame stoves and ovens. Some of the NYC schools are trying to prepare more food from scratch, but efforts like this require a lot of participation and experience of the school cooks, something not all districts have. One of the cooks profiled, Mrs. Barlatier says that she tells those she is training, "if you would not eat it yourself don't serve it". At her school, children are asked to not use the snack vending machines until after they have eaten their lunches. And the article describes another challenge: "No matter how delicious [Barlatier's] food is, she battles daily with the mercurial palate of the middle school student".
Improving the quality of the lunch itself is one step, but the program that provides lunches for free or at a reduced price needs to be expanded as well. Its called the National School Lunch Program and their regulations are that a family of four has to have a household income of under $28,665 for a free lunch, and $40,793 for a reduced price lunch. According to the living wage calculator, a family of two adults and two children living in Hennepin County need an income of $63,776 to meet expenses. It would make more sense to have all families that make under that amount to qualify for, at the very least, reduced lunches.
I didn't see a direct parallel to what Winne was saying about supermarkets in areas that don't need them to supermarket locations where I live, which I also thought was interesting. I currently live in St Paul and the supermarket locations (Rainbow and Cub) are in a lower class area. The ritzier supermarkets (Kowalskis and Whole Foods) are in the higher class areas. This makes sense to me, (why price out the people who have the best access to your store?) so Winne's article was particularly interesting. Another aspect of this is area pricing in general, if higher prices drove out the poorer before or after the establishment of those supermarkets. Within that is the issue of redlining and job availability, and the ability to form stores for a very specific (read: white and middle class) market of people within the area.
So how to address all these inter-related things? Branding and consumer tiers will always exist within a capitalist culture. So how to solve hunger within this? Raise awareness about welfare, food stamps and other government assisted food programs, so the dominant ideology about the social unacceptableness of each can be shifted. If more people can become aware of why these things are necessary and why people buy the way they do, this could in turn raise awareness about inequalities in race , class and gender, which lies at the heart of hunger in America. I think the first step to anything is social awareness, anything else is a band-aid.
I worked at Papa John's, and although there were not a ton of leftovers since everything was made-to-order, there were homeless people who would come in and ask if we had any leftover pizza. Management did not allow us to give anything out- not necessarily because they were worried that these people would get sick, but because they did not want the homeless to continue to come in, asking for pizza. Looking at it from a business perspective, I understand why businesses would want to avoid having homeless people loitering around. However, it does seem selfish to turn the hungry away.
But like you were saying, Yangx467, I think the law that prevents establishments from giving their food away should be changed so that restaurants can donate their "perfectly good" food to shelters. If people are only able to access the food through food shelves/shelters, the liability issue could be contained within the shelter; there could be a waiver that all individuals who enter the shelter's building would be required to sign before they enter. The waiver would protect businesses from being sued. Also, restaurants would not have to worry about anyone hanging around to see if they could snag some free food at the end of the night.
Mccar353, as for what you said about restaurants saving time by simply throwing out the leftovers, I think there should be a system in place where someone from the shelters comes and picks up the leftover items at the end of the night. That way, it would not be so much of a hassle for restaurants, and they would therefore be more likely to donate.
In her article, Flitcher discusses the relationship between food culture in the United States and food welfare programs. As an insight into the limited and unhealthy eating habits of food stamp recipients, she observes that, "despite what they learn about nutritional needs and smart shopping, low income people will continue to purchase convenience foods, snack foods, holiday foods, and status goods because they continue to classify first of all as Americans and only second as poor Americans" (395). This trend exacerbates one of the main issues that food welfare programs face today: poor eating habits/nutrition of recipients and the related negative public image. The reality of the public opinion of these programs has led to pressure from outside groups that would like to conform recipients to a certain type of diet. These external stresses are inherently at odds with the cultural norm (Americans pride themselves on choice--and the choice to be bigger and better) that poor Americans are already trying to meet by purchasing name-brands and spending more on unhealthy foods. That is the paradox of the system, and one that needs to be considered as solutions are considered.
I believe that hunger in American must consist of a comprehensive set of top-down and bottom-up tactics. From the government, there needs to be an increased funding of school breakfast and lunch programs to ensure that children are receiving the nutrients they need to be healthy and alert while learning. From the community level, there should be standards set for school cafeterias, something that can be accomplished through cooking classes for school chefs and local food. Here is an article from last September about this type of initiative from the New York Times: http://bit.ly/7OUnSz
I also think that there should be monetary incentives for families receiving government food assistance to use the subsidies on nutritious food choices. That program would need to be supported by education initiatives so that people know what is healthy, and how to cook with those ingredients.
There should also be government support of media literacy. Flitcher discusses how pleas from children are often the driving factor in parents feeding them high fat, low sugar snacks, and a drive to buy name-brand products. I think that awareness of advertising, especially advertising to children, will help families understand that a recognizable name does not mean that it's the best option, and it will hopefully help in mediating demands from children.
From the bottom-up, I believe that co-operative community gardens and grocery stores could do a lot of good in promoting healthy food to struggling families, while minimizing the amount of "food deserts" in the country. I think that soup kitchens and food pantries play a large role in supporting nutrition and food aid in this country, and those efforts should continue to grow.
Finally, I think that more comprehensive community health education can bring a lot of people a long way in helping groups become healthy and stay healthy. Telling one family to do something different (like buy generic, low-sugar, low-fat) isn't going to get the effort anywhere, but telling an entire community and having them work together would work.
I am currently working on a journalism project that has to do with food borne illnesses, and the angle that I am going with is to shop more local because it is healthier. My point is that farmer markets should become more advertised and more popular because they have very good benefits. These include supporting local farmers and of course eating things that are healthier. I think shopping at the local farmer market should be encouraged to do in public schools. This would provide information about farmer markets to kids. This would hopefully then encourage them to shop healthier as they get older. I think the organization "Feeding America" is a successful program, especially in the last few years. For example there is a Flip camcorder out that has hearts designed all over it. Every camcorder that is purchased ten dollars is donated to Feeding America. Even though that may not seem like a lot, it is currently the top selling design on their website. I think this says that people want to give back and with programs that have things like this or have celebrities endorse them helps out a lot in the long run.
P.S. I'm sorry this was late. I was under the impression that it was due Thursday. It was my misunderstanding and I apologize.
We need to fundamentally change our food culture. Eating more 'slow' foods and taking more time to cook our meals would benefit all Americans. Fitchen writes that "poor people cling to and may even exaggerate dominant American food preferences" (395). Unlike wealthier people, however, they don't have the money to eat fast food and fruit. So changing our overall attitudes toward food would have a greater impact on the diets of poor people. But that is, of course, much easier said than done. Fundamental changes are usually long term, and we clearly need some solutions now.
I don't really know much about the food programs in our country. Maybe there could be some food stamp incentives for buying healthier foods, to make food stamps go farther in the produce section than the cereal aisle. There should probably be a shift in food subsidies as well. I know the government promotes the production of corn, which often becomes high fructose corn syrup that makes us obese. Subsidies for domestic production of fruits and vegetables could help bring the cost of these items down. And local is cheaper and better for the environment, just because of the decrease in transportation. So some sort of local foods program would benefit all of us as well.
Winne brings up the issue of access. The ideal solution to this problem would be affordable, high quality groceries everywhere. Perhaps a short term solution is providing bus passes or a ride service to low income families. Then at least the trip out to the big chain store wouldn't cost money, although it still costs time. Free bus passes would probably help in other ways, too. For example it might open up job opportunities farther from home.
One solution to hunger could be to simply bring more awareness to the fact that we have given ranks to certain types of food, and associated certain brand names and types of food with the rich (beef steak) and generic brand names and types of food (processed American cheese) with the poor. If food was seen as food and there were no cultural/class implications, I think there would be less poverty because children would not beg for brand names, and adults would not feel obligated to buy the more expensive items. I realize that it would take a very long time for any kind of impact to be seen, but we need to start somewhere.
I don't know enough about existing food-assistance programs to determine what is or is not working, but another way to fight hunger could be to hold more public food-drive events. Every so often there will be an event where you can either donate a canned food item or give a dollar or two. I think that is a great way to get people involved and obtain food items, but I think it would be even better if maybe once per year, communities would hold a larger food drive, where perhaps there would be games and such that would cost a donation of some sort. On the other hand, I don't know if that would be effective.
A third hunger solution is to have a group of families take turns cooking large meals that can be frozen for each family. Ideally, there would be enough people involved (thirty families) where each family would only have to cook dinner once per month. Even if only fifteen families participated, each family would only have to cook two meals per month. Not only would this save families time and money, it would help build relationships and bring nutritious food into these communities.
While foodstamps and other government programs like that to help the poor obtain food are a wonderful idea, why are people still going hungry? Mark Winne point about supermarket availability should be adressed. If there are no supermarkets to use the foodstamps in, then they were completely useless. Even though there are programs that try to eliminate hunger in the United States, there needs to be much more done to fix the root of the problem.
For as long as poverty, hunger and malnourishment have been problems attempts to fix these problems have been in effect. Food stamps, soup kitchens, and various other programs have been installed with hopes of helping and feeding these hungry people. Unfortunately, these programs are not fixing the hunger problem. According to Fitchen,
"the poor are less well fed now not only because of reduced purchasing power ... but also because fewer of them are currently receiving government food assistance and those who do get assistance are receiving less of it" (387, course pkt. 399).
This is a huge problem! More people are going hungry because of less purchasing power and government assistance is unable to satisfy their basic nutrient and caloric needs. Also, high in cost but low in nutritional value foods are being bought with these food stamps. This is leading to more hunger and malnutrition.
Although this may be obvious, I really think there needs to be a greater push for purchasing locally grown food. People are able to buy fresh food and produce, sometimes in bulk, at lower prices. Not only would this help poor people buy food and support local farmers/food producers, but their caloric/nutritious needs will be met as well. I definitely think the government needs to re-think their food-help programs. Obviously food stamps help, but I think a new assessment of what families REALLY need. If they need $10 extra dollars to afford the fruits and veggies needed for their family, this can really benefit. Not only will people be fed, and healthily, but problems like diabetes and obesity will decline if people are able to afford HEALTHY foods. I also think there is a huge problem with food waste... I believe people have a duty to think of others who are not as fortunate and either save food, or compost old food- maybe this will increase community gardens where local places can donate seeds for people to grow their own food.
People who are poor or are of lower-class have access to food that is not healthy for them because of the prices, limited resources, and location. They deal with a great amount of stress just trying to provide enough food for their family and more of those populations are minorities. They purchase foods that aren't healthy such as "frozen pizza, potato chips, soda pop, prepared desserts, and sometimes a beef stick." Another thing is that low-income people don't really have the money to afford expensive food that are healthy and they tend to buy food that are shown in commercials on T.V. Poverty also plays a role in what kind of foods that can be purchased by people because it "affects the amount of food that poor people can obtain for their money or their food stamp." If they are limited to a certain amount of money then they are also limited to a certain amount of food. People who live in a certain neighborhood will have access to different food than those of another and they might have to go miles to buy food that is not offered at their store. If parents are not able to give food to their children, their children can become malnourished, they starve or become unhealthy and other consequences of not eating healthy or having any food.
I think that our food culture does need to be changed, at least the price or types of food offered to anyone. Food should be equally distributed and be affordable for those who need it. There are programs and people who are helping eliminate hunger throughout the world and one of them is Feed My Starving Children that helps pack healthy food to ship out to over 60 countries. I helped volunteer once for this organization and there are also other organizations which I think has decreased starvation by a few percentages. It would eliminate problems of hunger for those who are starving, but also for them to be able to afford healthy food.
We do need to change our food culture in order to address hunger base upon Fiction's article because buying certain food that create obesity and health concerns to the children is not good for their health. Just because the children want to eat certain food, it is unnecessary to buy food that does not nourish their body. I have younger siblings and my mom always buy snacks for them to eat. The outcome of continuously eating the snacks caused them to have cavity and being picky eaters. However, since my mom was using her money to feed 11 people, she usually bought cheap food and snacks. The grocery store that my mom buys food whenever she is low in money would be at Aldis and So Low. It is true that both store is very cheap regarding price, but the quality of the food is not good from what I've experience. Aldis have food that is similar to other brand food, such as having similar cheese cheetos chip, but different brand name and price. So Low have food that either are expire or comes from other grocery that care sold in lower price. I know that the cheaper the food price is, the better it is for low income families. However, I do not think that it is healthy for parents to buy food from those groceries with expire food and bad quality, rather buy food from other grocery store that has fresh and new food out in the floor.
To include food stamps and EBT card, parents can take advantage of buying any food they like, and it is most likely for them to buy unhealthy food. I think the government should at least give parents a list of food that are acceptable to for them to buy, relatively letting them use the money to buy food that is not healthy. If parents are unable to provide food for their children, the food money given by the government to the parents should have a regulation of what food to purchase. It is of course money to help children receive nourishing food, not just unpleasant food.
Such programs that I think will help address hunger in a healthier way would be to have grocery stores that contain healthy food, but cheaper. Having fake and unhealthy food is not going to help children receive the right amount of nourishment to grow. Such grocery stores should me located in areas where there are families with low income because they are families who either use food stamps or EBT cards, and parents who do not make enough to feed their family. Affordable and healthy food is best for children to gain such sustenance, other than eating junk food from the corner store or unhealthy snacks.
Also, there should be something said about leftovers because it is one of the things that are being waste in America. I grew up in a family where we eat what is in our plate. No leftovers or any food being thrown in the garbage unless it is necessary. Whatever is in our plate, we have to eat it and not waste it. I sometimes go over to other people's place and they waste a lot of their food just because they couldn't finish it. I think it's a waste to waste food because money is spend to buy those food, and finding money to buy the food can to very difficult for other family. Me and my friend would joke about not wasting food and think about children in Africa because we are fortunate to have food to eat, but for them, they don't have access to good food. Although it is good to save food and put it away for the next day, however, it's not a good thing to waste such good food that could have been eaten by other people who really need to be feed.
After reading the articles many can see how we need a change in our food culture. We need to change the way we sell and market foods. The food market is mostly affecting class because of the prices and accessibility. Many of the less nutritious foods are a lot cheaper than the fresh fruits and vegetables. Also organic, healthy, and fresh choice foods are sometimes harder to get selling them at only some grocery stores and are found to be a lot more spendy. The location of where one lives could influence this on going problem that our culture faces. Sometimes the convince of fast food the only option because they do not have time or it is the only thing available hear there home. Also different races are custom to different types of food that can be less healthy. We need to make healthier foods more affordable to everyone no matter of their race, class or location.
After reading today's article it became very apparent to me that we need to change the way we access food and the price of it in America. We have large chain "super" grocery stores which provide people with vast aisles of cheap processed foods. Theres also an abundance of fast food chains in America that have such things as "dollar and value" menus that provide people with extreamely cheap and easy food. Since all this food is cheap it restricts poor people to only being able to afford the unhealthy, easy to prepare and store foods. These people do not have access to the large markets of fresh organic produce and fresh meats that many afluent people enjoy. They're stuck with what stores are nearby the poor neighborhoods and what they can afford. These people who cannot afford the foods of higher nutritional value end up suffering the health consequences of unhealthy foods such as obesity, diabetes, and developmental issues in children. "A child that grows up in a poor family that is exposed to this food is likely to grow up and repeat the cycle: hungry because poor, and poor because hungry" says Fitchen. People that grow up poor with only access to cheap unhealthy foods suffer the consequences throughout their lives and pass it on to further generations.
Fitchen later discusses that most people claim that food selections are "purely a matter of indvidual preference" people essentially chose what they want to purchase and eat. This treats empoverished people as if their purchase of unhealthy food is a choice they freely made, and the health consequences they suffer are reactions to that choice. But how are these people supposed to chose to eat healthy foods when these exact foods cannot be afforded? I think that American really needs to work on changing how healthy foods can be accessed and afforded by all of it's citizens. We can only benefit as a society by having healthy people, so there is no reason to keep subjecting poor people to these unhealthy conditions. I think that there should be incentives with food stamps for those people that choose to buy produce and meats. I also think that we should support American farmer's and the government should provide more assistance to them and incentives to keep their prices low so that everyone can afford to eat their produce. I also think that instead of having large chain grovery stores we need to have more markets where people can go and buy fresh food coming directly from farmers who are selling their products directly. I think encouring these types of changes in the way Americans have access to food will help our society in general as everyone will benefit from being healthier.
Hunger in America exists because Americans tolerate it and are misinformed about poverty and hunger. It is a solvable solution. We produce plenty of food, enough to feed everyone. But where the problem lies is how it is distributed. For example, just think of how expensive produce and meat are compared to food from McDonald's. Healthy, necessary food is expensive, unhealthy food is cheap. Therefore, unhealthy, inexpensive food is more accessible to people in poverty because they can afford it more than buying produce and meat from the supermarket. To address this problem, healthy food needs to be less expensive and more accessible. Yes, soup kitchen, food banks, some church programs, and other emergency food programs help with providing some aid, but there are not enough programs that help fight the distribution problem. Therefore the problem will still exist if the whole country isn't aware of the problem.
I believe Fitchen said it perfectly "...the focus of American public attention on "Third World Hunger" and the enthusiasm for mass media events to raise money for famine relief divert attention from hunger and malnutrition at home." When I tried to research "hunger in America", all that came up for hits was "third world hunger". It's like Americans don't want to believe people in this country are starving and malnourished because the lack of distribution of food. Also it's interesting to think about the people that are at the most risk for hunger and malnourishment. "Within the national figures, those population groups, geographic regions, and age ranges most likely to fall below the poverty line (such as Blacks, Hispanics, Indians, members of household headed by women, and children) are also most at risk for being hungry and malnourished," said Fitchen. If the majority of people living at or below the poverty line are minorities, couldn't it be said that food is "dysfunctional" across classes, races, gender, and age?
Hunger is an enormous issue but I think that if every person made a bit of an effort to help, a huge impact would be made. Thanksgiving morning, my dad volunteered with a few of his colleagues and served food to the homeless. My dad explained that these people had absolutely nothing. No place to live, nothing to eat and stuck out in the cold of
This weekend I saw the movie Blind Side. The father in the movie owned almost 100 locations of Taco Bells and Kentucky Fried Chickens. The little boy in the movie asked his dad what happens to the food that is leftover at the end of the day in his restaurants and the father explained that is simply thrown out. Fitchen and Winne discuss the failure of current institutions to solve the problem of hunger in the U.S. Throwing all this food away seem so wasteful and it could be put to good use in helping solve the hunger problem. These institutions are turning their heads from the problem and taking the easy route by just dumping the food rather than finding a way to save it and make a difference. I hope that work will be done to make progress on this wasteful issue.
I thought the comment about Whole Foods was very interesting. Place like Whole Foods do have a stigmas about being expensive, an image they are trying to wipe out with their latest ad campaign. If more people could afford to eat healthy, would they though? I know several families who are much richer than mine and their kitchen pantries look like a 7-11!! They always had way more junk food than my family did, and they could afford to have organic and natural EVERYTHING! I think that affordability comes more into play when you are talking about restaurants. When fast food places were mentioned because of the ability to have a meal for a couple of dollars, I could completely relate. When stopping at McDonalds, it is definitely cheaper to order a small fries and a double cheeseburger than to order a salad. Clearly, America needs to change it's mind and habits.
When I read the prompt for this weeks blog post, I immediately thought of something I had read in a copy of National Geographic Magazine while sitting in a waiting room over Thanksgiving break. In the article, they were looking at Africa's hunger problem, but I think the statement they made is applicable to the United States as well. The article states that thirty-something percent of the world's grains go to feed livestock, not people. I found this very interesting. I'm not a vegetarian by any means, but it is interesting to me that so much of what is grown on our planet that could go to ending hunger is instead spent on feeding animals that are killed to feed the "rich" or "middle class". Fitchen specifically mentions in her article that sometimes people on food stamps are seen buying beef steak in order to "convert their perceived hunger into a sense of well-being or to affirm that they can live like other Americans." How very interesting. Studies have shown that while humans do need amounts of protein, that protein does not have to come from meat to be healthy. http://willtaft.com/sustainability/how-much-meat-do-we-eat/ To me this seems to be a real shame that so many are going hungry when we have a fairly simple solution here. I'm not suggesting cutting meat out of the world's diet completely, but maybe we should cut back and focus on getting the grains to those who are desperate for a meal.
My second thought is to revamp the way the United States does it's food assistance programs. The "commodity distribution program" that Fitchen discusses in her article seems to me to be a more effective way of distributing food to those who need it. The program still exists today (http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/tefap/) although not in the same form as it did post WWII. What I found interesting about this was that when I went looking around the website, I found several references to the program being "emergency" meaning that only in emergency like cases of malnutrition would the program become available. We should be stopping the problem before it starts. My grandparents were on the program their entire lives. They were poor and I remember seeing government issued cheese and powdered milk for as long as I can remember. I don't think there is anything wrong with the government giving assistance by deciding what people should eat. Some might bring up the freedom of choice as a right we have as Americans, but I say that if you are so poor you have no food, it shouldn't matter what you receive. If the government made food stamps only apply to fruits, vegetables, and other basic staples and then made commodity food available to everyone, I think that malnutrition in the nation's poor would subside dramatically.
This document tells the history of the Commodity Assistance Program:
I believe that, in a sense, we would have to fundamentally change our food culture to address hunger effectively. Nutritious food is a luxury that belongs to those who can afford it. There is always this talk about how poor people should just get the basics and that is it and anything else is being irresponsible, but one cannot maintain an adequate diet for themselves or their family with just bread, cheese, pasta, and condiments. Like Fitchen said in her article, "For all poor people, the constraints of having to feed a family on an inadequate budget are exacerbated by the fact that hunger is cognitive as well as metabolic." We aren't always just hungry for bread and potatoes and sometimes we want, and our minds NEED to eat something that we are actually hunger for, not just a necessity.
In regards to food distribution and food subsidies, I think
that reform would be a good idea, but I don't think it would last long
term. It is sad reading about people who
at the end of the month have to serve
I think that having readily available supermarkets would be a much better way to address hunger. Most super markets offer a wider variety of food (including various off brands of luxury food) as well as more nutritious options for a lower price. The problem with this though it that, as covered in Winne's piece, the "retail food industry" goes where they can make the most money, which most certainly is not in poor inner-city communities. Maybe if some sort of complimentary community transportation were available for low-income families who don't live near super markets. This way, the supermarkets wouldn't have to relocate to locations that would not be best for their business interests and the low-income community members would have access to the supermarket a couple times a month.
After reading the two articles, I think that it is really necessary to change the American food culture. The two article suggests the dysfunctional food culture. People purchase food to satisfy their want but not their real "need". Also, there is not enough access to food and the current institutions has failed to solve the problem of hunger in the U.S for a few decades already. Unhealthy food caused obesity. It is worth look at hunger and obesity in the American because these two extreme ideas are contradictory in one rich country (USA).
I think we would need to fundamentally change our food culture in order to address hunger. I remember that I had a volunteer to make food for the homeless people. The food that we made was fresh and healthy, but the person in charge told us that they rarely have a proper meal because they cannot afford it and the homeless people don't even care about the food quality at all. I don't think we can do anything to help the situation but to help to give them fresh food like fresh sandwich and fruit sometimes. However, it all need huge amount of government fund or charity donation.
Some people purchase instant low nutrient food because those foods are comparatively much cheaper and affordable for the low income people. The low income people do not concern about the quality but the quantity of food. I think government subsidy is a good way to lower the healthy food price for the low income people. Also, I think the middle and higher class people have enough education and awareness on healthy food, they pursue a healthy life style no matter how expensive the healthy food are because they understand the cost of having unhealthy food.
One alternative is education from young age. School should introduce a lunch system that consists of healthy food only and gradually when the kids grow up, hopefully they will take up the same eating habit in school. By indoctrinating the little one that healthy food brings good life would be better than just force them to purchase and consumer food that they don't like.
However, I think the best way is to change the "American food". The fast and low nutritious food, like McDonal, Burger King has been symbolized to be a kind of food that people normally have for meal. People think that it is fine to have a meal of "American food" because this is part of their culture. However, if we change the food culture, things might have a chance to lower the abusive intake of unhealthy food of the American because there will not be any social tolerance that eating unhealthy "American food" is fine.
Because food is such an intense part of our culture--particularly social and status culture--food culture would probably have to significantly change in order to do anything substantial regarding American hunger. If there was more of a national emphasis on simple, healthy food, then maybe lower-income parents wouldn't feel pressured to buy expensive, non-nutritious brand-name junk food, for example. But that's exactly where the problem lies, the social pressure to have "good" food.
I myself can remember being jealous of the kids at school who had the brand-name desserts during lunch, when I was left with apple slices. This pressure still continues to this day, as sometimes I will go have sushi with a friend when I really should be on a Ramen budget.
But ultimately, something beyond just public policy or government intervention must be done, simply because the government only has so much money, and there will never be consensus on how to spend it--for preventing hunger or otherwise. Furthermore, how often do politicians say that they will do something about ending hunger for good and then nothing comes of it. Does Nixon's quote of putting "an end to hunger in
However, there are food distribution programs that do work. But it is more niche-based. For example, Meals on Wheels is a great program that helps many people everyday, but it primarily helps those who are sick and/or elderly.
Sometimes, I feel that the more informal food distribution groups are the most effective, because people feel more compelled to "donate" or "provide" when they have a personal connection to those in need. I have a personal example that I think resonates quite well. Five years ago, when my brother was diagnosed with cancer, friends, family, and people we didn't even know donated food to my family so that my brothers and sisters and I would be well-provided for as my parents were constantly at the hospital tending to my brother. Additionally, my father was unemployed at this time, so this time which made this generosity even more useful and appreciated. If people everywhere donated as much as these acquaintances and strangers did to my family, or at least donated some element be it time, resource, or talent towards ending hunger, I am convinced that things would be a lot different now. But people don't usually feel motivated to contribute or change their ways unless it affects them personally (and also positively) in some shape or form.