By looking at what the objects I use in my everyday life I have come to realize the bigger picture that these items represent. Items as simple as deodorant or even pockets portray the repression of women that has been occurring for centuries.
My first item is a picture of my drawing class. In a class of fifteen people, only one is male. This is not uncommon for art school. Women make up 60-70 percent of those studying art at a university level. Yet women only make up about 30 percent of artists shown in museums and art galleries. Some reasons given for this by gallery owners are; women are seen as risky investments because women may leave their careers to start a family, women not being as aggressive when it comes to promoting their work, and even a lack of passion for their careers. Art critic Brian Sewell in an interview for The independent spoke on this topic saying, “Only men are capable of aesthetic greatness. Women make up 50 percent or more of classes at art school. Yet they fade away in their late 20’s or 30’s. Maybe it’s something to do with bearing children.”
Ever since I’ve been a little girl I realized that women’s pockets were utterly useless they were either too small to put anything in or sewn shut. Christian Dior once said, “men have pockets to put things in, women for decoration.” Pockets are hidden spaces that allow for the mobility of both hands. On average women’s pockets are 46 percent shorter and 10 percent narrower than men’s. Women are forced to either restrict their mobility by caring a purse, carrying their items in their hands, or asking a boyfriend/male friend to carry their wallets or phones on a night out. In a study of 80 different styles of women’s jeans and 80 of men’s by Jan Diehm & Amber Thomas, they found that only 10 percent of women’s jeans fit a women’s hand while a 100 percent of men’s jeans can fit a man’s hand.
I had always wondered about using men’s deodorants and razors, I found that women’s razors gave me razor burn and female deodorants really didn’t do a great job at masking the sent. I made the switch about four years ago and found that I got a much closer shave with men’s razors with no burns or cuts while with the men’s deodorant was stronger and always masked the sent. The biggest thing that I noticed when I switched was the cost difference. I began to research the “Pink tax” and found that women’s items are marketed in an approach called “pink it and shrink it” where manufactures create the same item, make it smaller and more feminine. In a study of 400 of these items 42 percent of the time women paid more than men for the same item, 40 percent they paid the same, and 18 percent men paid more.
Another item I have is a tweet that shows a picture of Beyonce and Ed Sheeran performing alongside one another, Beyonce was dressed in a huge ballgown while Ed was in a T-shirt. The caption of the tweet said This photo is very representative of what we expect from men and women at the top of their game isn’t it? While a T-shirt and jeans may be Ed’s style that would never be acceptable to his female counterparts. Beauty standards in the entertainment industry are nothing new but it remains one of the most powerful messages that is given to young girls. Because the entertainment industry influences our society so heavily here we are shown that while Beyonce is one of the most successful women in the world she had to work harder to get to where she is.