1. We, the people, have the right to be educated.
Public schooling itinerary will require courses that will inform our youth properly. Honest education will protect us from dishonest government. Public schools and broadcasts will no longer allow censored textbooks, rewritten histories, and fixed media.
2. We, the people, have the right to say no.
As educated citizens, we possess the right to deny any action that directly affects our human rights. This may include the injustice system, cavity searches, and unlawful taxation.
3. We, the people, have the right to eat properly.
We deserve food that is not processed, cheaply made, and genetically modified. We expect appropriate food for a reasonable cost so that our children, despite the income of the household, are not malnourished.
4. We, the people, have the right to demand a nation restored to unity if the nation were being intentionally divided.
We will not allow those in power to divide the 99%. Our strength is in our numbers, and we have the right to enforce this amendment by any means necessary.
5. We, the people, obtain the right to revolt against a police state.
We understand that policing is beneficial to the safety and well-being of the people. However, unlawful policing or policing against innocent citizens is hereby forbidden. If policing is not used in accordance with this amendment the people maintain the right to revolt without penalty.
6. We, the people, have the right to appeal and dismantle any law that directly violates human rights.
As of this day, no law shall go unnoticed by the people. If a law is passed, especially on religious standing, that denies any persons their rights is subject to be changed or abolished. This process will not involve congressional consent nor approval from any position of power. This decision will be made solely by the people, for the people, on the grounds that the law does not protect its citizens, but hinders their rights.
If you have an amendment you would like added to this, please let me know! All ideas are welcome.
“Being a Humanist means trying to behave
decently without expectation of rewards or
punishment after you are dead.”
Recently, an article was brought to my attention titled, Dear Atheists…Are You Tired of It All? by Bodie Hodge. Before opening the envelope, I consciously decided to read it with an open mind out of respect for the sender of the article. I couldn’t get through the whole thing without scribbling rebuttal notes and questions, though, as I found the content to be overwhelmingly biased. I thought, instead of arguing, or making myself sound just as ignorant, I would thoroughly research some aspects of Hodge’s argument and make an argument of my own. I have avoided attacking religion and offending my religious readers by stating fact and evading opinion. Atheists deal with copious amounts of misconceptions, so I hope you find this with an open and honest mind, and become enlightened to a worldview possibly unlike your own.
To dive right into Hodge’s article, the first sentence asks if we are “tired of all the evil associated with the philosophy of atheism – Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and so on? After all, most murderers, tyrants and rapists are not Biblical Christians “(391). He goes on to say, “Even if they claim to believe in the God of the Bible, they are not really living like a true Christ follower…are they?”(391). How do you argue with someone who says that all bad people aren’t Christians, and if they say they’re Christians, well, they’re not really Christians? Looking at this statement from a Biblical perspective, it is clearly stated that, “only God knows the hearts of men” (1 Kings 8:39). That being said, to cast judgment upon those who sin by deeming them non-Christian is contradictory to the Christian faith and it puts Hodge in a hypocritical position. Putting religion aside, morale can be scientifically observed. It is believed that our ability to differentiate good and bad resides in the neocortex. The neocortex was believed by Carl Sagan, a renowned scientist and author, to hold “abstract and moral judgments”. It is “what makes possible our judgments, what makes for the moral knowledge of good and evil. It is also the site from which our creativity emerges. And the Neocortex is home to our sense of self” (Murrell). Some might suggest that God gave us the Neocortex, but then why did he also give it to other mammals?
Hodge goes on to claim that “atheism has no basis in morality [i.e., no absolute right and wrong; no good, no bad.]?” (391). However, a recent prison statistic from The Federal Bureau of Prisons in the U.S. found that 39.2% of inmates in America were professed Catholic, 35% were Protestant and, interestingly enough, Atheists were at a substantial low of 0.209%. So, to say that Atheists don’t know right or wrong is obviously incorrect. One could even say that Atheists know more about good and evil than believers [in anything] do.
Historically, there are many cases of believers lacking morality. We all know famous instances such as the Crusades, the Salem Witch Hunts, The Spanish Inquisition, the Western Migration, the slaughtering of Native Americans, the list goes on. However, most of us do not know about Catholic run extermination camps during WWII, or the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ who claimed to hear the voice of God telling him to brutally kill thirteen young women. It should be striking you ironic that the author blatantly disregards these disturbing moments in Christian/Catholic history, and yet he has the audacity to throw Hitler to the Atheists, “evil associated with Atheism…Hitler” (391). For some reason, believers often forget about their religions’ dark past, or they simply attribute it to a different sect, “well, that was the Catholics”, and so on. In Hodge’s opinion, people who do bad things aren’t true Christ followers (even though we should all be considered ‘sinners’). Either way, in a Christian view, we can always be forgiven for the horrible things we’ve done. That’s the benefit of being an exceptional species in the eyes of a God.
Additionally, Hodge does not even like the idea of being unexceptional. He makes this abundantly clear as he puzzles over an Atheists’ philosophy. He says, “you are essentially no different from a cockroach in an atheistic worldview (since people are just animals) [it] must be disheartening” (391). However, the Bible actually supports the idea of having no advantage over our animal counterparts:
“As for humans, God tests them so that they may see
that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is
like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies,
so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage
over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place;
all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit
rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down
into the earth?” (Ecc. 3:18-21).
Having no profound purpose could surely be disheartening to those who have been raised in today’s society. Carl Sagan said in his book The Demon-Haunted World, “If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits”? Science has surely offended believers by perpetually informing society of its’ unimportant role in the Universe. It’s no wonder that religion and true science will never be allies. In regard to exceptionality in this Universe, Sagan also said that, “Those who wished for some central cosmic purpose for us, or at least our world, or at least our solar system, or at least our galaxy, have been disappointed, progressively disappointed. The universe is not responsive to our ambitious expectations”. If it is too hard to swallow the idea of being miniscule, then we have successfully created a world in which we can destroy freely, hate openly, and regress proudly.
Humans are proposed to be the only soul bearing species, but for an Atheist, the idea of lying comfortably among the vast array of life is overwhelmingly humbling. (Humble: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance). To live without privilege, exceptionality, or God-given right, has surely given Atheists a new outlook where [given the previous prison statistic] violence is no longer needed. And why would it be? Privilege has always been the root of violence, whether it is a man’s privilege over a woman (rape), white privilege over black, heterosexual over homosexual, one religion over the next, and so on. There is a trend which cannot be ignored; violence can be minimalized on a grand scale when we accept ourselves as unexceptional.
Having said that Atheists believe we are no better than cockroaches, Hodge goes on to claim that Atheists view themselves as God, “within an Atheist worldview, Atheists must view themselves as God”, and, “So by saying there is no God, the Atheist refutes his own position by addressing the question as though he or she were God!” Although an interesting philosophical attempt, his argument is intentionally confusing and weak. An Atheist, by definition, is someone who believes in no God or gods, whether it be Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, or his own self, and by finding his own place in this great Universe, realizes his small [ungodly] role. It is simply contradictory and presumptuous to claim that Atheists view themselves as God, and it is just as factual as saying Christians view themselves as ducks. Hodge’s attempt was to assert that to claim there is no God, you must therefore be omniscient; but then, is the conclusion not the same to claim there is a God?
The Bible, according to Hodge, has created many of the modern ideals we have today, i.e. holidays and weekends, cleanliness, and marriage. Firstly, holidays or “Holy Days” are without a doubt an ancient ritual. Hodge says, “Why look forward to time off for a holiday when nothing is holy in an atheistic worldview?” (392). His point is blurry, but he seems to be saying Atheists do not deserve to celebrate holidays. However, holidays are not just Bible related; we have Halloween, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, etc. Today, if atheists or non-Christians wish to celebrate a holiday then they may do so without having to relate any of it to the Bible. For the religious days like Easter and Christmas, they have become a part of our society and our culture, and much less of a “Holy Day”. We look forward to these days because as babies and toddlers they were imbedded in our brains as a day of giving and receiving. Society has tweaked the idea of holidays, so we can celebrate them ambiguously, and without discrimination. Somehow, inclusion in holidays has offended some believers.
As for weekends, Hodge says, “A weekend is really meaningless in an Atheistic worldview – since animals, like bees, don’t take a day of rest or have a weekend. So why should Atheists?” Well, of course we take weekends because they are a part of our societal structure. God didn’t take two days of rest as we do (five day work week, two day weekend), so why do we? It is because the idea of a weekend was actually only invented 100 years ago, when students and employees worked or studied seven day weeks. Laws were invented to spare citizens of exhaustion and loss of pay (over time, Child Labor Act, weekends, etc.). Even still, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “34% of the population is at work on the weekends”. It has absolutely nothing to do with their religious affiliation and everything to do with societal expectations.
Continuing on Hodge’s idea that Christianity is the foundation of our societal structure, he states that Atheists have “no consistent reason to be clean (snails don’t wake up in the morning and clean themselves or follow other cleanliness guidelines based on Levitical laws)” (392). No, snails do not, but there are many species that do clean themselves regularly, without the aid of a law – like cats (both domestic and wild), elephants, monkeys, and many more.
Continuing on, Hodge believes that marriage is a religious idea, and indeed it is. However, life partners have been around far longer than the Bible. Many animals, particularly primates and dolphins, are very similar to us when it comes to instincts and behaviors – for one, they mate for life. There are actually numerous species that mate for life such as wolves, many subspecies of birds, insects, and rodents. Moreover, there are species that practice homosexuality regularly and have same sex partners for life (and these cases have caused no disturbances in the order of the species). The lists of homosexual cases in animals have been dolphins (the smartest of all mammals besides homo sapiens), penguins, lions, and many more. This discovery contradicts Hodge’s claim that “Christians have a basis …a reason to uphold marriage (God made a man and a woman)” (393,394). These cases of homosexuality are widely known, and people tend to disregard their significance. Hodge is right, animals do not practice holy matrimony, a religious gesture; they practice loyalty to their mate and offspring, and do not condemn each other’s sexual preferences. In fact, in some species, homosexual activity is encouraged, as these animals are protectors of the other’s offspring, and hence beneficial to the survival of the species.
Sexual preference and love are topics that are often difficult to agree on. Hodge’s take on love is that Atheists have “no objective reason to believe” (392) in it. However, love is only a direct God-given emotion from a Christian standpoint, but from a scientific vantage, love was not invented at the dawn of Judaism or Christianity. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs in a specific part of the brain, again, the neocortex, where most of our intense and profound emotions stem from such as regret, delight, and sexual attraction. We are not the only species to experience this series of dopamine reactions (love); in fact, it is commonly believed that all mammals experience it, or something fundamentally similar. Research has shown that people with “damage to their neocortex demonstrate that although the individuals retain their intellectual abilities, their inability to function on an emotional level makes everything in their lives fall apart. They are unable to ascertain a sense of self-awareness” (Hoegler). It is an immensely significant discovery to find that the brain administers love, and not the heart. Learning that the neocortex plays such a remarkable role in what makes us human, is a fascinating adventure indeed.
Death: The Final Frontier?
Hodge presents a question to the Atheist community, “Why would an Atheist care to live one moment longer in a broken universe …all you have to look forward to is…death, which can be around any corner”, he continues, “in 467 trillion years, no one will care one iota about what you did or who you were or how and when you died” (393). Isn’t this a perfect example of the human condition? He is practically saying, “How can I bear the thought of dying and becoming nothing? How can I accomplish such fervent works just to be thrown to the wind and forgotten? It must all mean something…because it means something to me.” It is not so much an unfortunate realization to adhere to one’s finiteness; it is a journey of overwhelming responsibility to make the life we have more meaningful. The acts we do today should be in consideration of the greater good of man, not the greater good of our [speculated] soul, and especially not for the greater good of our legacy. However, this ideal hides effectively underneath Hodge’s idea of proselytizing, since spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ is considered to be an act of good upon man. Unfortunately, spreading the knowledge of Jesus doesn’t cure starvation, poverty, or disease; good people doing good deeds do (whether it be in the name of Jesus or no one at all). Death, to an Atheist, is the absolute end. The only way around this, is the transfer of energy from one place to the next. Humans are a selfish, self-entitled species, and the idea of death is certainly frightening. It is actually quite challenging to overcome the idea of a truly mortal self, but wholly rewarding. To be an Atheist means to embrace life with sincere admiration. There are no second chances in this worldview, and with death waiting to consume us in its grip, it makes the adventure of life all the more stimulating.
There is only one opportunity to live; seize it.
” I think if we ever reach the point where we think
we thoroughly understand who we are
and where we came from, we will have failed.”
- Hodge, Bodie. “Dear Atheists, Are You Tired of It All?” Answers in Genesis (n.d.). Print.
- The Bible, 1 Kings, Ch. 8 Verse 39, and Ecclesiastes Ch. 3 verses 18-21. n.d. Print.
- Sagan, Carl. The Demon-Haunted World. Toronto, Canada: Random House, 1997. Print.
- Sagan, Carl, and Ann Druyan. The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.
- Murrell, Beatrix. “Consciousness in the Cosmos: Perspective of Mind.” Stoa Del Sol. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
- Hoegler, Melissa. “Love and Neurobiology: Not So Strange Bedfellows.” Love and Neurobiology: Not So Strange Bedfellows. Serendip, 2001. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
 Most prominently in dolphins and primates who experience numerous complex and emotional interactions (even love), which will be discussed later in this essay.
 Not to be confused with reincarnation. Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity suggests that mass and energy are transferable. This process is necessary and common in the Universe. If the energy we have goes elsewhere after death, it would not be a conscious being (soul).
They are the two sides of the spectrum that tear the world in half by its groin.
The job of empirical science is to observe and find absolutes, where as religion serves as a solution to the unanswerable.
Although so different, they inevitably coincide, and I am utterly fascinated with them both.
I’m stuck right now in a duel between college majors. What to pursue?
I’ve found myself, pen in mouth with fingers unable to contain themselves from ranting about controversial religious issues, but yet, science has a special place in my heart.
Science longs to know what else is out there, beyond our weak and powerless selves. Religion claims it already knows.
Science was my childhood sweetheart.
Religion, however, leaves me curious. Why the mass hysteria? The delusion even, worldwide since the dawn of civilization?
I’ve found myself leaning towards Religious Studies because it is in a sense, getting in to the mind of the killer. It is becoming devil’s advocate so that I can effectively be the scientist I aspire to be.
Religion has a complex anatomy and sociology. Perhaps religion and science aren’t so different after all.
A reading of a manifesto regarding women’s power in a revolution.
We will not respond to sit down and shut up.
We will not be afraid to wage a war.
We will not silence the cries of our brethren.
We will not give authority to the dogs.
We will find our place somewhere in some hidden railway, or in some sewer beneath your children’s feet.
We will always breathe life and we will always bleed red.
We will see that we are carefully constructed.
We will realize that we are not unique, nor independent of the watchful eyes and the artistic hands.
We will be women, not unable nor unwilling, but truly underestimated.
We will be the world’s dancers, singers, and prostitutes.
We will be the world’s doctors, lawyers, and pastors.
We will not see the future, but the image of our true selves.
We will grow two-spirited, both nurturing and aggressive.
We will find comfort in the space we inhabit.
We will be the mothers of the monsters and the gods, the sisters of the demented, and the daughters of the fear-mongerers.
We will remember, however, that we are the change we wish to see.
We will know that every demon began an angel.
We will have our eyes wide open with our trumpets blaring.
We will have voices louder than the roaring sea.
We, as women, will not be cowering in fear at the feet of our leaders.
We will always see beauty in our mistakes.
We will anticipate our revolution.
We will remind ourselves that “minority” makes us look weak.
We will find power in our numbers.
I can remember hiding sheepishly in the safety of my mother’s bosom as a young girl. I always found comfort in her strength. I was one of the lucky ones. I was a child who had a woman who represented independence and discipline, a woman who demanded respect. My mother was the epitome of womanhood in my world. She taught me, through her actions, that being a woman meant overcoming the powers that be, that it was just something that came with being female. She taught me never to give in to a man’s demands, whether at work or home. The message I received helped me differentiate between real life and television. What television fed me was the ideal superficial female: high heels, short skirts, and purposeless creatures without men. Little girls who have no role models like my mother are susceptible to this pervasive image, and it flourishes no matter where we go. The media is teaching girls to be aesthetically pleasing while also teaching boys that women exist only for sexual enjoyment. This problem is rooted far beyond MTV music videos, internet pornography, and even the film industry as a whole. This problem stems from the highest tiers of the ladder: the ruling elite.
The elite are the wealthiest one percent of the population. They are the people filtering information to the public. They control our food supply, the military, transportation, stocks, media, education, and many other aspects of our daily lives. They have been described as “the group that owns the leading worldwide means of production” (Carroll). For example, the Rockefellers and Morgans have had immense control in America since the Great Depression. These leading elite familes “plan, manipulate, and enforce policies that benefit their continued concentration of wealth and power” (Phillips/Soeiro). As if financial and educational control isn’t enough, they have found that television is another way to manipulate the public. For example, General Electric, founded by J.P. Morgan, now owns NBC, Universal Studios, The Weather Channel, A&E, the list goes on. This is just one example of the control that the few elite have over the media. It is important to reflect on the impact their control has had on the way America views and treats women.
Televisions purpose is to bring laughter, empathy, anger, patriotism, or romance, and most of the time, it truly does. Characters we saw were often our parents or best friends when we did not know where else to turn. They taught us how to put on make-up, how to kiss, and even how to be successful. They told us that you can achieve the impossible with a little magic, and they taught us distorted truths about the past. Television has parented many generations, and although we cherish its teachings, the negative effects of its upbringing are all too apparent. Women are one of the biggest victims of this industry, used not only to target the male audience, but also to act out womanhood for the female audience. Behind the scenes TV has always been an industry dominated by men, and that has not changed in nearly a century. Recent statistics have shown that “18% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films” (Lauzen) were women. This means 82% of the images flooding our televisions and movie theaters are written, produced, and edited by men. Sexualizing, under representing, and misinforming women are direct results of this prejudice. What women are constantly receiving is a man’s idea of what they are or should be. This creates a society based on male imagination, and in turn it creates a glass ceiling that reflects this distorted image. This technique is not new, but television was an invention that made advertisements more evident.
Advertising on television was a new and useful tactic, especially for the elite. Major corporations, like General Electric, paid advertisers to broadcast their products directed towards the main consumers: women. If they could keep women at home, they would have a consistent and reliable consumer. She would know what the best dishwasher brand was, what the tastiest soda was, and all the stores that sold them cheapest. Advertisements not only reinforced their role in the family, it advertised all their needs to do so successfully. The television helped shape women as the consumer. Everything a woman could see around her reinstated her place at home and seldom anywhere else. There was no other way to learn how to be a woman than by a man behind a camera. Women became the target for two reasons. One was to construct them as the reliable consumer for benefit of the corporations, and two was to reinstate male power in post-WWII America.
At the dawn of television and during WWII, women finally had the opportunity to become “Rosy the Riveters” while the men were overseas. Women were beginning to endanger the traditional structure of the family. Since men were away at war, women were proving their work ethic in factories across the nation. This must have been horrifying for the powerful ruling class. Because traditional family structure had been broken, women were strong and unified, and they were capable of an effective and dangerous up rise against oppression. The elite corporate conglomerates were beginning to feel the weight on their shoulders to solidify their control. Keeping women in the confinements of their kitchens was “a mark of status for men” (Salam) and a fool-proof way to maintain a society ruled by men. Even with their brief taste of freedom, women were pushed back to cleaning, caring for the children, and cooking; only this time, it was done with a television. New shows were on the rise. Series like Ozzie and Harriet, The Honeymooners, and I Love Lucy were teaching women, effectively for a decade, to keep quiet and let the man bring home the bread; even if that meant going “to the moon” now and then. The post-war fifties were a vital time for men to maintain their control in society. While “16.1 million” men were overseas, the men still in the U.S. were outnumbered by women during the war. Women had taken over jobs and proved themselves to be a powerful force. Perhaps it came as a surprise that women could successfully chair hierarchal positions. Those in power knew they had to reestablish the roles by setting a very strict gender expectation. Gender is “the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women” (WHO). It is a fragile and flexible expectation. It can easily be manipulated or maintained, and television was a useful way to accomplish a desired standard. Broadcasting companies and their owners had discovered early on that media was influencing the behaviors of the public. After the war, the television had officially swept the nation under its wing, and by the mid-50’s “half of all U.S. homes had one” (Stephens). By 1963, that number jumped to 91.3% (TV History). Roughly 50 million Americans were now at the disposal of an elitist agenda. Mid-century, television companies had begun to experiment with political manipulation through broadcasting. It was believed that “a well-publicized campaign should change votes” (Graber). When it had been proven to work, the media officially discovered its role as the most influential power in the world. Without their knowledge, the growing media was calling to arms every woman who had felt the overwhelming pressures of falling short of perfection.
Despite the tireless attempts of television networks, women rebelled against their expected images, and the 1960’s came with a roaring vengeance. Women across the nation were leaving their kitchens and abandoning their bras in a desperate attempt to reshape the gender roles they were assigned. Women were using what was once used against them; publicity. Music, literature, and film had become a tool, rather than a hindrance as it was in the previous decade. Women were evolving in the media like never before. What it meant to be a woman went from seductive and submissive to authoritative and persistent. They had certainly become a distraction to the male-driven communities they occupied, and with the help of mainstream media, they were no longer easy to ignore. The “second wave” feminist movement had learned to utilize the still budding media to their advantage. Activists and their organizations, “emphasized the role of the media as a lever for social change” (Bradley) to those who followed them. Instead of accepting what the post-war media told them about themselves, women set out to change the standard. Unfortunately, however much progress women made, there was always someone with the upper hand keeping them down.
For example, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 lobbied against a wage difference for men and women. The pressure to act on the demands of American women overwhelmed even the presidential administration and “in a climate of social change, the president announced a campaign that would put fifty women into high federal offices” (Bradley). The men in America who had never faced such a threat were now in danger of losing their esteemed positions to women. Suddenly, the image of feminism had become tainted and the American culture had reinstated “media’s distaste for active, assertive women” (Beck). Female activists were being coined as lesbians, man-haters, over-sensitive, un-American, and immoral. Women in the movement became “the media’s favorite punching bag” (Valenti). These stereotypes of feminists haven’t changed to this day. Women, especially when working together, were too dangerous a force and they had to be tamed and controlled. The second-wave movement gave women a reason to stand up for themselves, and a reason to dismantle the small and fragile establishment. The elite, and the broadcasts they funded, had to ensure that the public knew how threatening feminists were to families and hardworking Americans. If they could achieve that delusion, they could again silence, or at least subdue, fifty-one percent of the American population. Media in the seventies, and even still, are giving women a reason to never want to be involved with the dirty, offensive “F-word”.
Although women had certainly made strides since the kitchens of the 50’s, there was an obvious stand-still in feminism in the 1980’s. Sociologist Kathleen Gerson considers the women’s movement an “unfinished revolution”. Gerson explains that women’s ideas about their roles in society have changed but men’s are “neo-traditional.” It is inconvenient for men to be running our country’s media when women are struggling to get the upper hand in society. Women cannot move forward when surrounded by the traditional idea of how a man believes women should act in society. This, unfortunately, hasn’t changed much in over fifty years of media-influenced culture. In today’s pop culture, women are more often portrayed in high ranking positions than they had been in the past. However, when women move up in positions of business, movies depict them as being the “bitchy” boss, or even having to sleep their way to the top. For example, in the movie The Proposal, Sandra Bullock plays the stubborn, ungrateful, cold, and emotionless boss. It takes the attractive male role, Ryan Reynolds, to bring out her “feminine” and “caring” side. It is difficult to find a movie in which a female boss is portrayed as being successful and also happy. Even when women are the boss in female magazine companies they are unbearable to work with; such as Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. She is literally being called the Devil. Today, women are shown as depthless without a man in their lives, but yet men are often considered successful bachelors when they are in the same positions. Women on television today are being given money to have a baby at sixteen so that MTV can cheaply film their lives for a large profit.
The Music Television network spends more time degrading women than playing music. Shows like Jersey Shore, The Real World, Bridezilla, etc., constantly show women negatively. If they’re not out scouting for a husband, they are tools used to show a man’s success. If not that, they are loud, drunk, and always in competition with another woman. MTV is a mastermind at creating female characters versus other female characters. It creates the illusion that women are not meant to get along. Shows like Rock of Love and The Real Housewives of… are perpetuating ideas that women cannot get along. If women believe that they cannot get along with other women because they are petty and deceiving, then women will never coalesce. Thus, a female-driven movement is probably never bound to happen again. The elite have a distinct control over MTV and its horrific portrayals of women. For one, MTV’s owner, Viacom, seems to specialize in shaping young Americans. Viacom owns MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr. (Viacom). An interesting line up of channels considering 63% of MTV viewers are ages 12-34 (Parent TV), and Nickelodeon is obviously targeted at young audiences. These channels have an important role in shaping young Americans it seems. Also, Viacom was spun off of CBS, a network that is affiliated with Time Warner. Time Warner was founded by Steve Ross, whose office now resides in The Rockefeller Center (Bloomberg). Truth of the matter is, there is an obvious lineage of networks that link directly to the Morgan’s and the Rockefellers, the leading elite families in the world.
Another perfect example of modern media’s influence is the porn industry. The age of technology makes this business the most profitable above all sports and television combined, bringing in about “57 billion dollars annually” (BYU). Some businesses profiting hugely off the porn industry are HBO, which is owned by Time Warner, and Comcast (DirecTV), which is owned by General Electric. Media consolidation is even evident in pornography, and this multi-billion dollar industry is incredibly harmful to the way that women are portrayed. Statistics show that the “largest consumer of internet pornography is 12-17” (BYU) in age. Boys are learning, younger than ever before, what it means to be a man and what women are created to do for them. Pornography is an easily accessible tutorial for young men, where they learn that all women want is sex. Porn reinforces the notion that dumb women are attractive, and her body is her value. “Women are commoditized and objectified in porn, which puts them on an unequal footing with men […] this leads men to regard women as subordinate. ‘He sees breasts and genitalia’” (Shmuley). Porn shapes fragile and young female minds into believing their worth is in their genitalia, and for young boys, women are there for entertainment. The goal of porn is to maintain a strict social order while reaping obscene profits.
Even though some simple research will show otherwise, some citizens still believe in the “American Dream”. Some still see America as an equal opportunity to make it in the world. Sadly, they may even claim that the glass ceiling has been broken and there is equality in today’s society. However, it is ignorance that helps keeps American culture in a brain freeze and an intellectual stand-still. For those who aren’t searching, it would appear that men and women have the same chances of becoming whatever they aspire to be. Unfortunately, it just isn’t so. There is still a gap in the work force and “Women currently hold 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 4.5 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions” (Catalyst). Women make up approximately 51% of the population, so if equality existed, it would reflect in the numbers. Still, the media portrays the incredibly small number as some sort of proof that women have made it in society: that the fight is over. Complacency has always been the enemy of activism, and it would appear this nation has found comfort in inactivity. Fortunately, we simply do not live in a world where there is no refuge from corporate controlled media consumption. Women have not fought the good fight and lost. Americans will one day realize the extent of their cultural brainwashing. There is still time for change and revolution. The first step, of course, is realizing that what we are being taught isn’t without consequence. The information we receive is for the purpose of serving an agenda: profit and conformity. When we realize this, we are taking the first step to raising action against the cultural brainwashing.
Women have hardly achieved equality and fair representation in our capitalistic media, but there is still hope in this dark generation. There is a very blatant reason to keep women down, because they threaten male agenda. Flip through your hundreds upon hundreds of DirecTV channels and analyze how effective the media has been in shaping your idea of the world, and yourself. Have the artificially generated stereotypes pressured you into believing something about your surroundings? It isn’t coincidence. The era of technology has only made things easier for the elite to structure society. Gender expectation and ideals of femininity are just results of capitalistic globalization. When we open our eyes and rediscover the information we have been receiving, will be the time when true improvement will be made possible. Carl Sagan, a renowned scientist and author, spoke about media and government corruption in his book The Demon-Haunted World. He said, “It’s disheartening to discover government corruption and incompetence, for example; but is it better not to know about it? Whose interest does ignorance serve?” (Sagan). When we choose to close our eyes and cover our ears to the real issues, we are benefiting no one but the establishment who attempts to hide them in the first place. A nation of wide awake, informed, and angry people is the largest threat to the powers that be, and thus there is no wonder why women are held hostage in our culture.
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