In this past week of class, we looked at some visuals from a children’s book. You may be thinking… wow, Luca, a children’s book, but trust me, you’ll learn something from it. The 4 pages we looked at show some visual examples of some words that I’ve used and that have been thrown around the past few weeks in this women’s right unit. I very much benefitted from this conversation in class, so I want to hand it over to everyone here.
“Unequal access to opportunities.” We see here in this pic that two individuals are standing in this exact same spot (flipped) with the same hand position and same height, yet one is receiving plenty more apples than the other. This is due to the way the tree is flawed. It’s bent to one side making the person on the left have 10 times more apples, resulting in a lack of fairness or justice. Person on the left isn’t working harder, or doing anything different, just the system which their standing under (the tree) seems to favour the person on the left. But why is the tree bent? An example to solidify this idea is the movie “
In example of inequality in the workplace is seen in the movie “Legally Blonde.” While the actual movie is all about girl power and women doing what they want, I read an article linked here which brings up the toxic and unfair treatment in film and tv castings. Reese Witherspoon played the main role, and when at casting she was told “she wasn’t sexy enough.” Why I’m using the example is 1) It shows how the tree is bent in this situation (being in-equal to man as she is expected to dress scandalous for an audition even though the character in the movie dresses quite modestly besides a few scenes.) Witherspoon had to follow the casting directors sexist remarks in order for the tree to bend her way, while in the male roles the tree was already bent there way. They started out on an unequal playing field. 2) In an interview with Witherspoon about this movies casting she says “They thought I was a shrew” which is quite fitting. They thought of her that because she didn’t show up to casting showing all her skin.
This brings up the topic of the MeToo Movement where people with positions of power are being held accountable for using sexuality as a means of casting and getting what they want from performers. While legally blonde doesn’t have any intense allegations against them, it shows how easy actors do what the people with power want them to do.
“Evenly distributed tools and assistance.” We see here the same two people standing on a ladder getting the apples. While the person on the left is gathering plenty, the person on the right still cannot reach them as the ladder height is accustomed to the person on the left not them. This brings up the topic of “treat everyone the same.” While initially that sounds pretty promising, the more you think about it the more flawed you see it is. Treating everyone the same means you’re assuming that everyone benefits from the same support.
For example: Giving a man and a woman the same treatment does not take into consideration the chance of a women becoming pregnant, birthing the child, and raising the child. If you make the ladders in a situation like men and women the same, women don’t have the same potential to do as well because there needs aren’t being taken into consideration, there ladder isn’t heigh enough. Consider the apples opportunities, women cannot reach them if they are treated the same as a man as women have more pushbacks to deal with, making it unrealistic for the ladder to be the same as the mans. And see in the image how even if the person on the right could reach the apples, there are still less than the person on the left. This shows even if (in my example) the women is given more help, sometimes there are just less opportunities due to the fact she is a women and has to deal with things like sexism and discrimination.
“Fixing the system to offer equal access to both tools and opportunities.”
We see here both people standing in the same place with the same ladder, both receiving the same amount of apples. But, notice the wood holding up the tree. This is the justice aspect of it, fixing the system which is the tree to no longer discriminate against one group. They are standing there equally being the cause of the inequity was addressed and the systematic barrier of the bent tree was fixed.
“Custom tools that identify and address the inequality.” We see in this last image, the tree is still bent to the left, there are still more apples on the left yet the person on the right is being given a taller ladder than the person on the left.
People may see someone being given more as “unfair” but look, now they are at equal levels. Also notice how there are less apples on the right side compared to the left. I think the fact this image goes back to having less apples on the right side (compared to the previous one “justice”) is because equity treats the individual to the inequality of the situation, where as the apples are plenty on both sides in the justice image as justice “fixes” the system, making it perfect and ideal. In a system where men and women aren’t being paid the same due to the wage gap (aka the mother gap) you can’t really “fix” the situation as women are always going to be the one getting pregnant, but you can get equity by giving that women time off and paid leave. See what I’m getting at? Some situations can’t necessarily have justice as the world works how it wants to work, but we can address it and create custom tools.