MYTH: High heels have always been synonymous with femininity. You may find it surprising to find out that high heeled shoes, once worn by European aristocrats to signify aristocracy and glamour, were indeed used historically by Iranian Cavalry, as BBC quotes Elizabeth Semmelhack of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.
"The high heel was worn for centuries throughout the near east as a form of riding footwear," says Elizabeth Semmelhack of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Good horsemanship was essential to the fighting styles of Persia - the historical name for modern-day Iran. "When the soldier stood up in his stirrups, the heel helped him to secure his stance so that he could shoot his bow and arrow more effectively."
We often consider television as an escape from reality, a way to disconnect from the daily grind by entering the world of characters whose lives we become intimately acquainted with and increasingly invested in. In its ideal form, television also offers creative spaces in which to tell diverse stories and subvert harmful cultural norms. Too often, though, TV uses recycled stereotypes, amplifies the same small number of voices, and continues to underrepresent experiences that have been historically ignored. By talking and reflecting critically on the stories that TV does and doesn’t tell, we can hold a mirror up to our society’s inequalities and fuel conversation around how these issues play out on- and off-screen.
Boxed In, a report recently released by The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, tracks the representation of women acting in and working on TV projects in 2014-15. While 42 percent of speaking characters on broadcast television in 2014-15 were women (a proportion that still hasn't reached gender parity, by the way), women comprised only 27 percent of show creators, producers, executive producers, directors, writers, editors and photography directors. Of on-screen female characters, 77 percent were white, and a whopping 98 percent of actresses depicted characters younger than 60.
The term might bring to mind the recent large-scale leaks of nude photos online or emotional teenagers sending explicit pictures of their ex-partners (often girls) around their school. Many in the media have been saying that the solution to this problem is easy: women should just stop taking nude photos of themselves, right?
MYTH: Families are better off financially when fathers are the primary breadwinner, as opposed to mothers.
In nuclear families headed by a heterosexual couple, when the mother, not the father, is the primary breadwinner, the total family income is higher. A Pew Research study revealed that in 2011, the average family income was about $80,000 for families in which the woman was the primary breadwinner, as opposed to families in which the man was the primary breadwinner, in which the average income was $78,000. Families with spouses that make approximately the same income had an even lower median income—about $70,000.
The amount of breadwinner mothers have grown in the past fifty years; mothers who make more than their spouses made up four percent of the population in 1960, and grew to make up fifteen percent in 2011. In fact, the amount of mothers whose formal education has gone beyond their husbands increased from seven percent in 1960 to 23 percent in 2011.
MYTH: Major toy companies have steadily become less sexist in their products and marketing.
“Fairy tales are more than true—not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” (G.K. Chesterton)
Halloween is scary. A coven of witches hang out randomly on a street corner. A zombie passing by in a taxi makes eye contact with you. Small (hopefully!) werewolves ring your doorbell and howl for candy. The fact that the streets crawl with monsters on the holiday specifically designated to be scary is no coincidence.
Passed in 1965, the Equal Pay Act was lauded as a victory in the fight to end gender-based pay discrimination in the US. Fast-forward to 2014, women of all backgrounds still make less a week than men, finds a study by American Association of University Women. Both Latinas and African American women make 11 percent less their male counterparts, while the gap for White women (22 percent) and Asian women (21) was slightly higher. Although many factors contribute, the root of the wage gap may lie in the way American society views gender, families and industry.