Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

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Endymion

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Thu Jun 20, 7:10 2019

I like ideas, behavior, stories and people who go against gender norms. That’s one reason why I am so interested in finding out about women in history. Warrior women are another such case.

To start with are the Greek myths of the Amazons. In myth the Amazons were strong aggressive women who always lost against the Greek males. However, recently there has been some archeology evidence that the Amazons were not completely a myth. There have been discoveries in tombs, in the area where the myths say the Amazons lived (around the Black Sea) of women warriors with weapons and even war wounds, although they did not live in an all female society. This article from National Geographic contains an interview with Adrienne Mayor who wrote the book The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World, published in 2014. In the interview she states “Archaeologist have been digging up thousands of graves of people called Scythians by the Greeks. They turn out to be people whose women fought, hunted, rode horses, used bows and arrows, just like the men.” And that “The great equalizer for those peoples was the domestication of horses and the invention of horse riding, followed by the perfection of the Scythian bow, which is smaller and very powerful. If you think about it, a woman on a horse with a bow, trained since childhood, can be just as fast and as deadly as a boy or man.” DNA testing has been able to determine that many of the buried warriors where women. The Scythians lived in Asia between the Black Sea and Mongolia. See here for the National Geographic article: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/new ... -cannabis/ and also here for an article from the Smithsonian: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ ... 180950188/. Connected with this is the theory that trousers were invented by horse riders living in this same area, so women may have been among the first to wear trousers.

The following information is from “The True Story of Grace O’Malley, Ireland’s Pirate Queen” by Anne Chambers. Born in 1530 in Ireland, Granuaile (Grace O’Malley) was a real Pirate Queen and had as many as 20 galleys in her fleet. A galley, such as she would have commanded, was a wooden vessel, powered by as many as 30 oars and one sail. They could sail in swallow waters without grounding which was a great advantage in that Granuaile could hid her ships in the many inlets which pocketed the northwestern coast of Ireland (page 10). Sometime after 1560 she went to live in a “tower-castle” on Clare Island, in Clew Bay in what is now County Mayo and commanded a force of two hundred men (pages 51 to 54). According to legend she gave birth to one of her three sons while at sea on a ship she captained and joined in its defense the very next day, as it was vital that her men could see their leader with them (pages 67 and 68). Granuaile was a Pirate Queen for over forty years (page 36) during which time she met with Queen Elizabeth in the summer and early fall of 1593 (page 125). Here is a video showing Mairead Nesbitt of Celtic Woman performing a piece of music called Granuaile’s Dance on the violin, while she dances to her own music, 4 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-ttrQ38mOc. She makes me think of a pixie or fairy in the way she moves. Also here is a link to an article entitled “9 Female Pirates you Should Know” by Krisaty Puchko. The nine are: Anne Bonny (b. c. 1698 in Ireland), Mary Read (b. c. 1695 in England), Sadie the goat (b. 19th century, New York), Queen Teuta of Illyria (b. 3rd century BCE in Balkan Peninsular), Jacquotte Delahaye (b. 17th century, Haiti), Jeanne de Clisson (b. c. 1300, in Brittany France), Anne Dieu-Le-Veut (b. mid 17th century in Brittany France), Sayyida al Hurra (b. c. 1500, Morocco) and Ching Shih (b. c 1775 in China): http://mentalfloss.com/article/58889/9- ... hould-know.

In 1942 the 588th Night Bomber Regiment was formed in the Soviet Union to help fight the German invasion which had begun the year before. This regiment was unique in that all of the pilots were women. These female pilots had volunteered and flew slow, canvas covered bi-planes similar to those used in the First World War, 24 years before. They were not women who happened to find themselves in combat, but their purpose was to be in combat. The uses of these types of bombers mean that the women could generally reach their targets undetected. They would then switch off their engines and glide to where they would release their bombs. The first sign the German troops had of these attacks was a swish sound just before the bombs struck. These female bomber pilots were nicknamed Nachthexen or Night Witches. The pilots of the 588th Regiment dropped more than 23,000 tons of bombs, many times making more than one fight a night. They never used radios nor had parachutes. The parachutes would not have been of much use since they flew so low. I saw a Russian made miniseries about these women, but was disappointed in that the female pilots seemed to be just put there to be a romantic interest for the male soldiers. Based on its trailer an earlier Soviet made movie seems better. See here (3 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Os7T0mO7eS4. This link goes to a short animated film about Nadezhda Popova, one of the pilots. The film is by Alison Klayman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI3uwt8RU10.

Tom,

To be continued
See here for a topic on Women in history: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50838

See here for a topic on Female Singers: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=50851.

See here for a topic on Female Artists and the Nude: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50860

Endymion

Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 0:03 2017
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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Mon Jun 24, 10:56 2019

While I have written about many “Women in history” I have not written about the second half of the title of this topic – “an examination of gender norms.” Well here I will correct that.

A simple definition of the term “norms” is something that is normal (usual, typical, or standard). These norms may involve relatively frivolous matters, such as fashions and types of music people like or they could involve much more serious things such as sexism and racism. It seems clear to me that many social or cultural norms do change over time, but in many cases change tends to be gradual, although the rate of change may vary and even reverse at times and this suggests to me two things. First that these social and cultural norms are not solely the result of inborn human nature or there would be no change or a change that is much slower than that which is seen. Second, for the norms that change gradually the changes are not solely the result of rational, logical and conscious thinking or the changes would be much faster than is seen. That is I believe that changes in these norms are in part, but a significant part, due to changes in the way people feel on an unconscious level about things, in terms of how they feel about what is right and wrong, what is good or not good, what is pleasant or distasteful and what is true or false etc. and not solely due to how people rationally, logically and consciously think about those things, although there could be relatively quick changes that are due mostly to logical decision making. Further there could be cases where the change appears to be rapid, such as the ratification of the 19th amendment, but that came about only because of a gradual development of support for it, which took many women working very hard over years and even after its ratification women were and are still not as likely to be elected. There does seem to be other such cases where change appears to be quick, but the quick change was preceded by a gradual development of support for it. Also, there could be changes that were caused by an overwhelming force.

So, based on the above existing norms (beliefs and feelings) which motivate various behaviors can be a result of “Nature” meaning what a person is born with and “Nurture” a person’s experiences after they are born. This is not an either or situation, but in my opinion it is a result of the interacting of nature and nurture, so one person may be influenced in a different way to a particular experience as compared to how a second person may be influenced by that same experience. Further these norms (beliefs and feelings) which motivate certain behaviors may be logical meaning that a person has consciously decided to act a certain way or the motivations can be the result of how a person unconsciously feels – feelings that come about spontaneously without conscious thought or a combination of both. The way I see it humans are not computers. Generally if one puts information into a computer it is fully there in a binary manner and entering it a second time will not make any difference. However, people are not like that. Generally it takes repeated efforts for a person to learn something (gain information or a skill), meaning that it takes practice. In regard to norms (beliefs and feelings) about what is right or wrong, good or bad, pleasant or disagreeable etc. being exposed to something different will not necessarily immediately erase the prior beliefs and feelings, although the new experience could add something and it is possible that repeats of those new experiences will tend to reduce the effects of the prior ones. So, based on this to various degrees norms (beliefs and feelings) can be thought of as being conscious or unconscious or some combination in between. To the extent that they are unconscious they take longer to change. However, if change is quick that would suggest they were conscious beliefs.

By extension a simple definition of the term “Gender Norms” is something that is normal (usual, typical, or standard) for one gender, but is not normal (usual, typical, or standard) for another gender. So, if norms could be a result of a combination of Nature, conscious Nurture and unconscious Nurture then gender norms could also be. Based on the concept of unconscious
Nurture if a girl or boy experiences women being mainly concerned about the home and family and their beauty and men being mainly concerned with the public and being the breadwinners then they may unconsciously, without thinking too much about it, assume that those roles are just natural. They could unconsciously associate leadership qualities with men and not with women then that could affect their beliefs and feelings, meaning that they may unconsciously believe and feel that men make better leaders. This process would form unconscious gender norms. If as these girls and boys grow up they follow those “learned” gender norms this could then result in the next generations of girls and boys making the same connections. However, this is not 100%. Every now and then we could have people going against these connections, for example women taking on more active public roles and there being more writing and talk about how women are as capable as men in regard to these public roles then girls and boys will have more opportunities to connect and associate women with activities outside of the home. So, the gender norms that women’s place is in the home and men’s is in the public sphere will lessen. This is what we see happening. That is unconscious nurture could explain the gradual change in gender norms that we can observe, for example the Gallup Polls on whether a person would vote for a woman president which slowly increased and the slow increase of the number of elected women.

Now some may write that they disagree with me, which is fine and appropriate for an “examination of gender norms.” In this way the reader can judge for herself what is most correct or may come up with a third possibility. On the other hand some may agree and I would like to hear from them also.

Tom,

To be continued.
See here for a topic on Women in history: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50838

See here for a topic on Female Singers: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=50851.

See here for a topic on Female Artists and the Nude: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50860

Endymion

Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 0:03 2017
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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Sun Jun 30, 16:21 2019

Earlier I presented data on the increase in the number of women elected to the US Congress. This post will be about the increase in the US female Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate (CLFPR) and the percentage of graduates from US schools who are female. If anyone has such data from their own nation I encourage then to write about it. The Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate is determined by dividing the civilian labor force by the adult population, with the labor force being the number of adults employed plus the number of adults unemployed. In this regard a person is unemployed if they are not working for pay, but is actively searching for employment. So, the CLFPR shows the percentage of the civilian adult population who are either employed or who are actively looking for employment.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis the CLFPR for women was 32.7% in 1948. It tended to increase until it peaked at 60.0% in 1999 and then declined somewhat to 57.1% by 2018. This same figure for men was 86.6% in 1948. It then tended to decrease and in 2018 was 69.1%. The net result was that the female participation in the labor force was 53.9 percentage points lower than that for males in 1948 and this gap narrowed to 12.0 percentage points by 2018. Thus this gap in percentage points was 4.5 times smaller in 2018 than in 1948.

The following information is from the First Measured Century as presented on a PBS website:

Labor Force Participation of Women (https://www.pbs.org/fmc/book/2work8.htm):
Single Widowed, Divorced or Separated Married, Married with Children < 6
1900 44% 33% 6% 12% (1950)
1996 or 98 69% 49% 61% 64%

So the biggest change was for married women. Note that the married with children < 6 series only began in 1950.

Attitudes toward Marred Women Working (https://www.pbs.org/fmc/book/2work9.htm):
1936 18% approved vs. 82% disapproved
1996 83% approved vs. 17% disapproved

Female Physicians: 1900 6% vs. 1998 26%
Female Lawyers: 1900 1% vs. 1998 29%
Engineers: 1900 0.01% vs. 1998 11%
This shows large gains in the percentage of women in each of these professional occupations.
https://www.pbs.org/fmc/book/2work11.htm

Gender Balance of Graduates, percent of persons with that degree who are women: (https://www.pbs.org/fmc/book/3education2.htm):
High School Bachelor’s Masters Doctorates
1900 60% 19% 19% 6%
1997 or 2000 51% 56% 55% 41%

Interesting is that there were significantly more women receiving High School diplomas in 1900 than men, but significantly more men receiving higher level degrees than women. It seems that if a man was to complete high school he were more likely to go in school than a woman who completed High School.

According to an article by Anne Strych of Bizwomen website, in 2016 women earned 53% of doctoral degrees and “. . . 2017 was the ninth year in a row that women earned the majority of doctoral degrees at U.S. universities.” See here: https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/ne ... grees.html

Further the article reported that “The CGS/GRE Graduate Enrollment & Degrees: 2007-2017 report also found that in fall 2017, the majority of first-time graduate students at all degree levels were women — 59.2 percent at the master’s degree and certificate level, and 53.5 percent at the doctoral level.”

The above shows additional examples of gradual change.

However, women did not do as well in all fields as the following chart based on information from the Bizwomen article shows:

Percentage of Doctoral degrees awarded by broad field and gender in the US 2016-17

Public Administration and Services 75.6
Health Sciences 70.3%
Education 68.8
Social and Behavioral Sciences 61.1
Arts and Humanities 53.2
Biological and Agricultural Sciences 52.6
Other fields 52.4
Business 48.9
Physical and Earth Sciences 34.1
Mathematics and Computer Sciences 25.1
Engineering 23.4

Tom,

To be continued
See here for a topic on Women in history: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50838

See here for a topic on Female Singers: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=50851.

See here for a topic on Female Artists and the Nude: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50860

Endymion

Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 0:03 2017
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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Sun Jul 7, 15:06 2019

Is there such a thing as visual Male Beauty?

I have written about how even now, based on the data presented, that women are underrepresented in many public endeavors – government, art, films, music and literature. And that it appears that there are significantly fewer stories which are primarily about women or girls in film and at least in what are considered the top books. An exception is in regard to dance, in that it seems there are many more female professional dancers than males, although there is data which suggests there are more men choreographers than women. As to there being more female dancers than male dancers I wrote “Well some might say that there are more female dancers because females are more beautiful than men. While I would agree that more people in much of the world experience females to be more beautiful than males, I do not feel that females are inherently more beautiful than males. However, I am going to leave a discussion on this for a future post.” Well here is that future post.

In my opinion visual beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. That is there is no subjective measurement of beauty. One person may experience one thing as very beautiful and another person may experience that same thing as ugly. This does not mean that one of those people is incorrect. In my opinion how a person feels about visual beauty can be a result of what they are born with (nature), but also their experiences after their birth (nurture). Therefore, I feel that the culture one lives in can influence a person’s perception of visual beauty. This seems to me to fit into the realm of gender norms, to the extent that it is normal for people to think of females and in particular women’s bodies to be more visually attractive and more likely to be beautiful, than those of males. However, this does not mean that it is natural for people to feel that way.

Currently it does seem to me that art nudes are mostly of women rather than men, but that was not always the case. During the classical Geek period (approximately 500 BCE to 326 BCE) almost all if not all large statures of the nude were of the male nude. Then between the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Renaissance there were almost no nudes particularly large nudes, either female or male. Interest in the nude revived during the Renaissance with the discovery of classical Roman copies of Greek statues. It appears to me that this revival involved male and female nudes, perhaps more male the first statue in the round of a nude since the end of the Roman Empire was Donatello’s David (c. 1440 to c. 1460). Most nude produced during this a period were of historical, mythological or religious subjects. Starting in the mid 19th century, perhaps with Manet’s “Dejeuner sur l’Herbe” (1862), it became more common to place the nude, particularly the female nude, in a modern setting. With this is seems to me that the female nude began to dominate. This change in how dominate the female or the male nude was in art at different periods suggest to me cultural inference.

Here are examples of the male nude in art that I see as beautiful. They are all by male artists. Nudes including male nudes done by female artists can be seen in the “Female Artists and the Nude” topic. I purposely choose each of the below works to be fully nude without censorship so as to avoid any notion of shame:

One of my favorite works of art is Michelangelo’s “David” (1501 to 1504). The statue is large, 16 feet, 11.15 inches tall, weighs 12,478.12 pounds (more than six tons) and is carved from Carrara Marble. I feel this is a beautiful work of art and that the model would have had a beautiful body. To me David’s face shows supreme confidence and concentration. He knows what he wants and he is certain that he will achieve it. Also in his expression I see intelligence. His body shows the same confidence. The figure’s weight is on one leg as if he is prepared to move forward. He is ready for action and is not tense. His physic shows a young man who is fit and powerful, but also who could be agile. Despite the strength indicated I sense that his more powerful quality is his intelligence such as is revealed by his eyes. His hair is slightly long and wild. If I had to use just one word to describe my impression of this figure the word would be “noble.” Michelangelo depicted “David” completely nude. Despite that the young man’s nipples, penis and testis are clearly shown there is no shame about this figure. Nothing is hidden – everything is there to be seen. For me this heightens the feeling of confidence and nobility that I see in the figure. He is not ashamed of any of his attributes and I don’t feel he needs to be. I don’t feel that Michelangelo thought of this work to be of the David of the Bible. The statue shows a young man, perhaps 18, but in the Bible David is too young to go to war, he is described as being little more than a boy. In 1504 this image of a giant fully nude male was placed in the Piazza della Signoria, in the heart of the city of Florence and in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. A place of honor where it could easily been seen.

This link shows David in the Accademia Gallery in Florence. It is narrated (2 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G0bT_Tuth4.

Next is a link showing the David being restored. Narrated by Karine, the restorer is named Cinzia Parnigoni. I included this one because it clearly shows the size of the work (4 ½ minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsrKhGI9uow.

Neither of the above videos shows the back of the statue so here is a link to an image of the back: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ngelo2.jpg.

Here is a short video from the Danish Royal Cast Collection showing Donatello’s David and narrated by Maria Haras (2 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj54WRAAxYY.

If you are interested here is a longer (7 ½ minute) video showing the bronze David in Florence and narrated by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kUUJJV_MNA.

Next is Auguste Rodin’s “The Age of Bronze” (1877) (1 ½ minutes, no narration) this version is not in bronze: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEzLkmJ0hco.

Now we come to a short 19 second long video showing what appears to be a computer generated “3D model of the Apollo Belvedere:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G1TmGTozSw.

And here is the same work from the Danish Royal Cast Collection narrated by Maria Haras (2 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3Vl11a_pa8.

Lastly, for the time being anyway, here is a painting, Girodet’s “The Sleep of Endymion” (1791) (3 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B68DWcOLj0, Narrated by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker. As noted in the topic “Female Artists and the Nude” the myths differ as to the name of the goddess and who put Endymion to sleep, but fundamentally they are about a female goddess who is visually attracted to a mortal male and visits him nightly – an active female and a passive male.

Tom,

To be continued
See here for a topic on Women in history: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50838

See here for a topic on Female Singers: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=50851.

See here for a topic on Female Artists and the Nude: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50860

Endymion

Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 0:03 2017
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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Sun Jul 14, 14:09 2019

This post will deal with three female artists, with the first not being as well known as the next two. She is Virginia Sterrett who was born in 1900 in Chicago. While a teenager she received a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago and then obtained employment illustrating advertisements. At the age of 19 she was paid a total of $750 for illustrating a book of “Old French Fairy Tales” by Sophie Comptesse de Segur. Two years later she illustrated Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book of “Tanglewood Tales.” The third book that Virginia illustrated was “Arabian Nights.” Here is a 3 minute long video with music of Virginia Sterrett’s illustrations along with her portrait shown near the beginning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY9nGUgilvI. This video is by Christiane Santiago.

I like Virginia Sterrett’s images and see fragileness in many of them, not just the pictures themselves, but also in the people depicted in them. Many of the artist’s color illustrations can be found at this link: https://artsycraftsy.com/sterrett_prints.html. Click on any of the books’ names to see the illustrations from that book.

The second is the photographer Dorothea Lange who was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1895 and who, as a child, became sick with polio. She has been quoted as stating that “[polio] was the most important thing that happened to me, and formed me, guided me, instructed me, helped me, and humiliated me.” Growing into adulthood she studied photography for a short period at Columbia University and then moved to San Francisco. During the depression and the Dustbowl disasters of the 1930’s and while she was working for the Resettlement Administration and the Farm security Administration Dorothea made some of her most moving images. In 1942, which was after the depression, Dorothea Lange took pictures of the many American citizens of Japanese descent and others of Japanese descent who were living in the United States and who after the US entered the Second World War were interned in camps as a result of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.

The following photograph, by Dorothea Lange is called Migrant Mother (1936) and is perhaps her most famous photo. It is of Florence Thompson age 32 at the time and an out of work pea picker with seven children.

Image

Here is a quote by the artist regarding her picture of Florence Thomson:
“I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction.

And here is a photograph of Dorothea Lange (1936):

Image

The following link goes to a ten minute long video with music show many of the artist’s photographs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw1AZkvdC8k.

The works of the third artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, are not just about flowers. She was born in Wisconsin in 1887 and traveled extensively throughout the United States. At the age of 28 she produced a number of charcoal abstractions. Then starting in the 1920’s Georgia O’Keeffe began to move away from pure abstraction, but her paintings still kept the general feel of that form. She did this with her pictures of flowers by zooming into her subject to show them as they are not normally seen and thereby made for herself a new motif. When in New York she produced some urban paintings, then she moved to New Mexico and began her series depicting the landscapes of that area. I feel Georgia O’Keeffe was an innovative artist who produced many beautiful pictures. Many of her works are of identifiable subjects, but with a distinct abstract quality with an amount of energy I would have not expected from a still life.

To show Georgia O’Keeffe’s range here is a video, with music of 294 of her works. Very nice, but it is 28 minutes long. I would suggest finding a place to relax while viewing it. Perhaps come back latter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMJuclT7lnw.

If you want something shorter here is a 3 minute video with music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q-9kEl_Pek. At the end is a picture of the artist holding one of her works.

I would like to see all of these artists receive more attention than they currently do, in particular Dorothea Lange and Georgia O’Keeffe. Due to the quality of their work and the innovation shown those images I feel they deserve it.

Tom,

To be continued
See here for a topic on Women in history: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50838

See here for a topic on Female Singers: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=50851.

See here for a topic on Female Artists and the Nude: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=50860

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