Understanding the connections: gender equality is deeply rooted in everything.

Whilst I was absent for the group mapping session, I was able to gain insights from other class members filling me in, and recreating the maps they made together in class. The thing that struck me the most was the general ease in mapping and making connections in comparison to the first mapping task. It pointed out the huge gap in knowledge that has been filled through collaborative research and discussion, and it was much easier to gain an understanding of how different people play roles within the issue.

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(Meacock 2016)

The first map is the stakeholder’s within the issue. The previous stakeholder’s map was reasonably difficult to fill the space and was all over the place and unorganized. With the additional knowledge it was easy to break down the stakeholders into succinct subcategories that covered all areas. The biggest difference I can point out in the ‘human’ section is that categories and sections have become un-gendered. The last stakeholder map pulled apart men and women and the stereotypical differences between who would effect them, however this version manages to cover all bases without gendering. I think there is accuracy with how large the media section is and I feel as though media plays an enormous role as it infiltrates information to the public. I found the coverage of video games particularly interesting as there are such a large amount of extremely sexist video games –as the times stated; “In some games, you can even have your character pay a woman for sex and then kill her, if you are so inclined.” (Sifferlin 2016) This is having a huge impact on players, particularly young men – “They found that boys who played the games containing sexism and violence were more likely to identify with the character they were playing. They also reported less empathy toward the images of female victims.” (Sifferlin 2016) I previously hadn’t considered video games as a part of the media; but was incredibly intrigued to find out more and absolutely appalled when I did. Whilst it is only a game, what kind of messages are we sending – particularly as a huge sector of players are young boys! (Sorry for the tangent…)

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(Meacock 2016)

The second map was considering the controversies, emotions and motives. I found this mapping process particularly helpful to step inside the shoes of someone else and completely unpick and understand their perspective. I think it’s important to question and try to understand different perspectives of the issue (i.e. not identifying publically as a feminist) in order to induce change around the issue (i.e. making it a comfortable experience to identify as a feminist and cleansing the stigma that comes with it).

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(Meacock 2016)

The third map explored the connections between human and non human stakeholders within “reluctance to identify with the term feminism.” This map proved how far my knowledge has come within the topic as there is no way I would’ve been able to identify and connect the stakeholders in an in-depth way like this. Whilst this map could be extended on (and probably go forever) I think it was a really valuable learning curve in that it made me realized that each issue and each approach to change will not only effect the intended audience, but will have a knock on effect to several other human and non-human stakeholders that may not be immediately obvious.

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(Meacock 2016)

The final map is an exploration of a particular non-human element exploring the different issues and challenges, capacities, associates, politics, value alignment and hierarchies associated with this element. This map focuses on clothing and by breaking it down into these categories, we were able to understand all the different aspects and influences it has on the issue within society. We covered how traditions and gender norms influence a way of thinking about clothing; and how this infiltrates into common situations and effects how people are viewed. We also covered the influences of religion, individualism and freedom of choice. The most interesting topic unveiled was the ‘excuse’ of sexual assault being provoked by a woman’s representation of herself. With the treatment of peers and social media (due to the ways of thinking in society) it doesn’t really seem surprising that defenders of sex offenders see it as justifiable to blame a woman’s attire as inviting or ‘asking for it’. This is in dire need of change, and whilst it has started to; it is crucial that we remove stigmas and stereotypes and reinforce that; no matter what someone’s wearing it is not okay to sexually assault someone – ever.

 

This mapping exercise has underlined that this issue is massive, with so many connecting elements and influencing factors. In order to truly achieve gender equality, empowerment of both sexes, and freedom of individuality there needs to be a collective shift and a large community involvement as there are so many intrinsic connections and knock on effects to seemingly unrelated areas.

 

Meacock, L. 2016, Mapping Exercises, University of Technology Sydney, .

Sifferlin, A. 2016, Here’s What Sexist Video Games Do to Boys’ Brains, Time, viewed 7 September 2016, <http://time.com/4290455/heres-what-sexist-video-games-do-to-boys-brains/>.

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