What's Wrong With This Picture? Photography of Gender Inequity in Everyday Life

Gender inequalities in everyday life often go unnoticed.

In the Spring 2015 semester, students in Prof. Carly Hayden Foster's "Issues in Feminism" course documented examples of gender inequity in their daily experience. The photographs and accompanying text below examine clothes and makeup, media and marketing messages, societal expectations, the workplace, and more.

Explore the exhibit and view life "through a different lens."

What gender biases do you encounter in your daily life?

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Baby Bibs

Photographer: Lindsay Hettick

In this photo are two baby bibs in which the left one is pink, has flowers on it and says mommy's girl. The right one is blue, has an airplane on it and says daddy's co-pilot. This shows gender inequality starting at the early stages of life.

The "girl bib" is basically stating that girls should wear pink since that is the social norm and that they should stick closer with their mothers instead of their fathers.

The "boy bib" is stating that boys should wear blue since that is the social norm and that they should stick closer to their fathers instead of their mothers.

This picture is just one of the prime examples of how social norms describe inequality between the genders.

Written by Lindsay Hettick

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His and Hers Beauty Products

Photographer: Rachel Middleton

With women there's so much pressure to be perfect and look perfect. This picture depicts the vast difference between the beauty standards held for both men and women.

Women are made to feel they need this abundance of products to be beautiful, and that being beautiful is the ultimate goal. While men are looked down on and mocked if they spend too much time on outwardly appearances, being called "girly" and less masculine. Even the labels themselves show the difference with color-coordinating labels with blue for boys and pink for girls.

Written by Rachel Middleton

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Clothing and Makeup

Photographer: Kahli Cox

In society, gender roles are pushed upon us from a young age. Anyone who does not conform to these roles is subject to ridicule and scrutiny.

Clothing and makeup are both gender specific, but there isn't a need for that. Being a boy who wears makeup should not subject someone to name-calling, just as being a girl who wears cargo shorts and no makeup shouldn't subject someone to ridicule either.

Written by Kahli Cox

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Getting Ready to Go Out

Photographer: Liam McLaughlin

This photo was taken of my sister while she was getting ready for our mom's birthday dinner that we were both going to attend. The difference is that it took me ten minutes, a quick shower and change of clothes, to be presentable for dinner. My sister on the other hand, like many women in America, felt compelled, almost as if it is required, to wear makeup when going out in public. My sister had to use not one but two makeup bags and it took her over an hour to get ready after stepping foot out of the shower.

This is a double standard that contributes to the beauty myth and in my opinion is totally unfair. Not once have I ever been expected to wear makeup or curl my hair for an hour to look presentable, but my sister must spend countless more hours than myself if she is to look presentable, whether it is a job interview, a prom, or even just dinner with friends. Makeup should not be an aspect of femininity. Women are held to a higher and quite frankly unfair standard of beauty and I believe it needs to be changed.

Written by Liam McLaughlin

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Paying for Dinner

Photographer: Kara Herrmann

I chose this photo because it depicts a man paying for dinner. This is the common thought of many that the male should be the one to pay for dinner. In my opinion this is a result of everyone thinking that the male is the breadwinner in a relationship and that they should be responsible for paying for the woman.

This is an inequality because it avoids the fact that many women in today's society are the actual breadwinners in many families and have professional jobs in the common workplace. The woman-to-man ratio gap in the workplace is slowly being closed day to day. It should not be seen that a woman will not and cannot earn enough money to be able to support herself, if not others.

Written by Kara Herrmann

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Restaurant Workplace

Photographer: Chelsea LeClair

The picture I took is from my workplace. I work as a "cocktail waitress." The restaurant is divided into two parts, by a carpet/tile line that runs down the middle of the restaurant (as shown in the picture).

On the "cocktail" side, only females are allowed to work over there and must wear tight-fitting shirts, supplied by the workplace, that almost always have a plunge neckline.

On the "dining" room side, males and females can work over there and wear baggy, non-revealing t-shirts.

It is actually frowned upon to wear revealing clothes on the dining room side and conservative t-shirts on the cocktail side. On most nights, the cocktail waitresses will make twice, if not more, money than the dining room. This angers the males that do work there because the fact that they are males is keeping them from making more money.

Written by Chelsea LeClair

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Pay Gap

Photographer: Phillip Ross

The pay gap is an issue that is faced in most workplaces. According to www.aauw.org, in 2013, among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid. The picture demonstrates that if a man is paid $1.00 a woman is paid 77-78 cents of what a man makes.

This can have many effects on women, such as being a single mother and having to pay for children's basic necessities. One of the many downsides with the pay gap is that a woman could have to rely on a man to provide for herself and her children.

Perhaps this is society's way of pushing women to rely on a man, and being afraid of women being on their own and providing for themselves.

Written by Phillip Ross

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Glass Ceiling

Photographer: Kelly Lambert

Women are underrepresented in leadership roles in the world of business. They face more unique challenges in the workplace compared to men. This invisible barrier that prevents women from being in these leadership roles, moving up the corporate ladder, and achieving greater success is known as the "glass ceiling." Regardless of how qualified or experienced a woman might be, oftentimes she is not going to be given the opportunity to further advance in her career.

Women are able to see through the glass ceiling at their male counterparts above them gaining power and success, while they are stuck below, unable to do the same. The glass ceiling also includes the matters of unequal pay, the lack of involvement that women are allowed to have in the workplace, and maternity leaves.

"Cracks in the glass ceiling" refers to the small gains that some women have made in the workplace.

Written by Kelly Lambert

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House Chores

Photographer: Tayaqua Winford

Many people think of inequality between male and female in the workplace, the pay gap, jobs expected to be filled by a specific gender. But what about inequality between male and female in house cleaning?

These pictures represent the inequality between house chores. I observed my mom and stepdad cleaning. I noticed that he automatically took out the trash and she automatically did the same by washing and folding the laundry as well as cleaning the bathroom. He was expected to take out the trash because taking out the trash is a man's job. Women are expected to do the laundry and clean the bathroom because it is more feminine. Taking out the trash involves going outside of the home, getting dirty. It is perceived that women are not supposed to get dirty. Women are supposed to stay in and deal with the delicate things.

So why is it that men and women have different cleaning expectations? Why is it not acceptable for men to do laundry or clean the bathroom and women to take out the trash? Is it because if a man does laundry he will be looked upon by society as less of a man? Or, if a woman took out the trash she is judged as trying to be a man, because she took the role of a "man's job"?

Written by Tayaqua Winford

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Photographer: Kaitlyn Funneman

These pictures show the difference in the way that men and women are advertised to, especially in the way of body wash.

The men's soap conveys energy and strength and it is an all-in-one product including shampoo.

The women's soap conveys being delicate and is just a body wash, unlike the men's product.

Written by Kaitlyn Funneman

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Bed of Expectations

Photographer: Laura Lloyd

This photo is titled "Bed of Expectations." It is meant to depict the unrealistic physical standards media forces upon women. Being exposed to this at a young age leads girls to believe there is something wrong with the way they look. These girls believe they need to alter their physical appearance in order to be accepted by society.

Media has set a high standard and an exceedingly impractical representation of a woman's body. Saying they should practice the three t's: tall, tan, and toned. Magazines are full of ladies with so much makeup placed onto their faces and not a single hair out of place.

In the photo, the viewer will see a run-of-the-mill girl lying on top of numerous magazine pages of society's beautiful women. In black and white, she feels as if the colorful pages surrounding her belittle her as a woman.

Written by Laura Lloyd

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Body Hair

Photographer: Mary Cait Rohlfing

The first time I remember body hair being an issue for me was when I first grew armpit hairs, two or three little dark hairs that caused disgust, and I was on vacation with my family and was mortified that I have body hair. I tried to convince my stepmom to teach me how to shave and of course she refused since I was only nine years old. Looking back, I believe this is one of the real starting points for young girls and boys being taught to be ashamed of their bodies, as boys are teased for not growing armpit hair and having hairy legs to proclaim their masculinity as well as young girls being shamed for having any hair being places besides their luscious locks.

The issue of being feminine/masculine with the amount of body hair that is socially acceptable is a fight I feel I fight every single day. In my changing views of beauty, I have encountered many aggressive remarks from friends, family, and coworkers. I have never been in real danger for my choices of not being an avid shaver and feeling like it does not define my identity or sexuality, I have been told to "just conform a little bit" or "you're just more manly than most girls," as I sit in a dress with armpit hairs peeking out. I find this idea behind body hair and sexual identity exhausting and repressing. Luckily, the remarks I get only provoke the response "I have body hair because I am a human."

Written by Mary Cait Rohlfing