Gender Assessment: doing Gender

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Updated: Feb 20, 2021
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In “doing gender” West & Zimmerman counter the classic distinctions between the social constructed “gender” as opposed to the biological “sex”. Instead this concept argues for a more complex relation between social and physical features. If someone was not in favor of their gender role or did something that was not deemed “correct” for that gender this person would be committing an act of social deviance.

West & Zimmerman “going gender” came into play in the film Hidden Figure a few times and one that I noticed was when Katherine was fighting for her dignity and for opportunities at work due to the fact that she was the only women in NASA. She was not only fighting prejudice against blacks, but against women. In a clip, it was showing how Katherine was outshining Paul who was has been the departments resident genius in mathematical talent and analytical insight. He was trying his best to make it difficult for her to read the data by crossing it with black marker because he couldn’t believe that a woman was doing his job better than he was. The movie was providing sexism and prevalent not only among white males at their workplace, but also white females too, who been so long subjected to male superiority. In the middle of the clip it was also showing when they were going into briefings and Paul tells Katherine “There is no protocol for women attending” this where he is doing gender because she’s a woman and they’re not the dominate ones.

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Gender is one of the first social categories children learn in today’s society, and thus knowledge of gender stereotypes is evident from early childhood. As a girl, we’re expected to dress and act like one. For example, we must wear the color pink, wear heels and skirts because that is the typical stereotype in which how a girl has to look. Also, doing house work and taking care of the kids is “doing gender” because it’s a women’s job. Men and women reinforce gender roles by doing gender appropriate household work every day. “Doing gender means creating differences between girls and boys and women and men, differences that are not natural, essential, or biological. Once the differences have been constructed, they are used to reinforce the “essentialness” of gender” (West & Zimmerman, p.137). They’re certain things that we shouldn’t do because it’s not lady like such as having to sit properly and doing a job of a man.

The benefits that Hidden Figures present in terms of portraying gender is that at the end of the film they accepted that women can do the same some a male can. By watching this film people will learn that racial bias and typical stereotypes still are happening in our society today. This film was a great way in showing gender performances and so many other aspects of our lives, are governed by social norms.

Wave of Feminism

Second wave is a period of feminist activity with an aim to increase equality for women by gaining more than just empowerment. This issue includes the rights regarding domestic issues such as dress codes and employment. Second wave feminist is the failure to ratify equal rights and where white women are being more focused on by everyone else.

Throughout the movie Hidden Figures I noticed that Wave of feminism was happening in certain clip. However, the type of wave that I saw the most was second wave where Dorothy was being a hard worker and didn’t stop working until she got the promotion that she deserved as being the supervisor. Dorothy was just asking for the supervisor position because she was doing the work as a supervisor but wasn’t getting paid as one. The IBM program threatened to take over the jobs of the black women or the “colored computers” which was what they called them. Another example could be when Katherine raised her voice against the injustices she’d faced as a black woman at her workplace. She confronted to her boss Harrison that she had to run across the streets just to access the bathroom as they were segregated for white women and women of color. Lastly, in one of the clips Mary wanted to be an engineer but had to face many obstacles on the way for instance, being a woman and wanting to be an engineer, and fighting for the right to be the first black person and woman to attend her all-white grad school where she has to face also constant marginalization.

What we need to do is instead of fighting the system of oppression, women should be allowed to be empowered by choosing how they would fit into these existing power structures. I feel like everyone needs to have the same equality and not be treated different because of their skin color or because their gender. Everyone is the same in different ways and we’re all humans and can do all the same thing. What we shouldn’t do is treat certain people different and we shouldn’t have a certain rubric to follow in order to fit in a certain category, everyone should be having the same freedom and power.

Watching this movie people may learn that discrimination still tends to happen around the world and it isn’t being fixed by anyone. Hidden Figures is a good movie by showing minority women fighting and making their mark in this world. This was a nice reminder on how much is wrong with our country and how still women are sometimes being discriminated and out looked because of their gender, and provides a reflection on the potential dangers of discrimination. This movie should motivate us to start making a change in our society. To make a difference and to push for equal rights for all such as, working in unity and to disregard bias against women and all disregarded groups.

Men’s Movements

Profeminist Movements is supports battles for equitable treatment for women and increase women’s rights. It focuses more in equal pay for equal work. What this mean is being aware of women’s experiences and to bring them to the center of being noticed, no to be displace men but to be known as what they are.

In the movie Hidden Figures some Profeminist happened in the clip when the man that they were going to help out get to the moon wanted Katherine to double check the calculations because they sent him off, he told Harrison “I want the smart girl”. This is showing that he was one of the people that believed in her and her intelligence and didn’t look at her race. Also, he didn’t treat the African American women different when he was shaking everyone’s hand and greeting them. At the end of the movie she helped out Nasa make everything happen smoothly. She was eventually recognized now by everyone when she became the first African-American woman to head up a department at Nasa.

The intersectionality of race and gender makes the struggle of these women even more praiseworthy. What we need to do is learn to see women the same way we do with men. No man should treat a woman differently because they think they can do the same amount of work they’re capable of doing. A real man will respect a woman and is well aware in what women go through because of their gender and stereotypes.

When you’re watching this movie, it will help the audience learn that the three black female mathematicians fought against segregation, discrimination and sexism to work and get paid what they deserved and excel at Nasa during the Space Race. It will also show that not all white male treat people of color different because of their skin color some of them do have dignity and treat them the same way they will be treating their race. For example, A male colleague recognized Mary skill and encouraged her to train so that she could progress from mathematician to engineer.”

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Gender Assessment: Doing Gender. (2021, Feb 20). Retrieved from