Category: Journal Entries


Journal Entry: Family

Power can be distributed differently among families.  Power can be exposed by the mother, father, and in some rare cases the children.  If a woman contains the power in the family, this does not mean in any way that this family would falter because of a woman in charge in the household.  In my family, the distribution of power is somewhat complicated, but I would agree that my mother holds the majority of the power believe it or not.

Back during my teenage years, I would have said that my father contained the majority of the power in the household.  He was a successful businessman who was the best at what he did.  He went through three different jobs when I was in middle school through high school and always got to the top of his field.  For as long as I can remember, he was the one who provided for my sister and I by making a fair amount of money.  However, my mom has been the one that has done all the little and meaningful things that makes us a great family.

Taxes, insurance information, money distribution and childcare are shared equitably in my family.  My mother and father do the same amount of work and contain the same amount of power in these regards.  However, the running of the household is in the hands and control of my mother.  She has established where everything is set up and placed in our house such as the couches, televisions, pictures, posters, trophies, etc.  My mom is also in charge of dinner and the laundry.  She does a lot of work in and around the house to make it as cozy and comfortable as possible.  Even though my dad purchased the house, I still believe that my dad would be the one to move out if my parents ever get a divorce.  I know it sounds crazy, but my gut tells me if they ever had a divorce my mom would be the one to stay in our house.  That right there demonstrates just some of her power.

My father keeps an eye of our accounts and how much money everyone is spending.  However, my mother does all of the shopping, and she is a shopaholic.  She’s the one who shops for the groceries and goes to the mall and buys new clothes for her and my father.  My mother, without question, is the parent that decides how we spend our free time when my sister and I come home on occasion from college.  She will plan family outings and surprise us with family dinners and family movies.  Those two events are common rituals in our family.  Again, without question, my mother decides where our family will vacation.  She’s the one who does the research and contacts multiple hotels in the area in which we are traveling.  She also arranges our flight schedules to make sure we have good flight times.  Finally, again hands down, my mom decides when our whole family gets together and spends time with each other.  She is constantly in contact with all family members while my dad only talks to them briefly.

In most families, individuals would feel as though the father has the majority of the power within the family.  In my family, the mother exerts most of the power.  This is not typical of most families because the male is considered dominant and overpowering.  My mom in control does not make our family feminine because she is a woman.  She exerts multiple qualities that make her very masculine in some ways.  Additionally, when my parents get in arguments about vacationing or the house, my mom is the only one who does the yelling.  She has the upper hand and overpowers my dad until the problem is resolved.  This has been the case all my life, and I remember many, many examples.  My dad has had multiple chances within our family to exert a masculine, powerful role, but he always stays calm and contained, and I respect that out of him.  I know he would never cause any violence toward my mom.

People of all different genders, race, ethnicities, and social classes have established their own types of media usage.  The media has a large impact on the way an individual understands and experiences gender.  Throughout my life, I have never distanced myself from my media usage, meaning my media usage has generally been the same when I started to let the media kind of control my life in a way.  Media can be depicted through books, magazines, movies, the Internet, newspaper articles, video games, television, etc.  My list of media usage might be tedious, but it really describes my gender.

During my teenage years, most of the media I consumed was very similar.  Whether it ‘d be in the dentist office, orthodontist office, doctors office, or just sitting at home relaxing, I loved to read Sports Illustrated.  I was not one of those kids who would just look at the pictures and flip through the pages.  I was greatly engaged in the articles about certain athlete’s accomplishments.  I guess that is why I have a good memory of what famous athletes have done in their careers.

I have had a large collection of video games that I have played over the years.  The games I played were generally for mature boys.  I played games like Grand Theft Auto, Need for Speed, and multiple sports games such as NBA Live and Fifa.  After awhile, one game would become dull, and I would switch to another game until I got bored of that one.  However, after not playing a certain game for awhile, I would always go back to it because I enjoy it.  The sports games overall shape me because my greatest trait is that I am very athletic, and I don’t think someone could name an athlete who was not athletic.

I didn’t really get involved with the Internet until I was 11 or 12.  At that point, I was visiting espn.com on a daily basis.  On my computer at home, I would look up youtube videos of my favorite athletes at the time and watch their highlights.  When I created my facebook page, many of my first profile pictures were of athletes that I had admired at the time.  As you can see, there is a trend going on in the way in which I view the media.  Sports are viewed as mostly masculine, so it explains the impact the media has on my gender role.

Movies break the trend I had been creating.  People of different genders can like the same movies; however, some action movies can be seen through a more masculine role, and some comedies can be seen through a more feminine role if the movie is considered a “chick flick”.  My gender role remains true as I tend to appreciate mostly action/adventure movies.  Additionally, movies such as “The Hangover”, “Superbad”, and “Stepbrothers” are comedies, nevertheless, I believe they are viewed as a more masculine comedy even though many women have watched these type of movies.

My current media menu is limited to what I have described above.  I do not play any more video games because I have grown out of that phase of my life.  I have realized that I have more important things to do.  In regards to television, the program I watch most is ESPN.  That will never change, and I wish I could count the number of hours I have spent watching that channel in my lifetime.  Also, I have now been accustomed to reality TV.  I am a big fan of “Jersey Shore”.  That show carries out both gender roles of masculinity and femininity.   Since I am older, I am now subscribed to Sports Illustrated.  The Internet sites and videos I watch remain the same as well.  Like I stated above, my media usage has been the same throughout my life.

When I think of the one positive, empowering gender representation, I think of the NHL network.  At school, every night I watch the NHL network.  Ice hockey has been my secondary sport to tennis since I was 13, but I still believe I love hockey just as much as tennis.  People might say, “So what, you watch the NHL network.  How does that represent a positive gender role?”  Well, if you look at statistics, ice hockey is a multi-gender sport that is played the least by women.  This means that women participate more in basketball, softball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and track more so than in ice hockey.  A miniscule percent of women watch the NHL network.

A discomforting gender representation that I am embarrassed to claim is that I have watched “The Bachelor” on multiple seasons.  “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” is designated to a predominantly feminine audience.  Only 8% of men in the United States watch “The Bachelor”.  I believe that men don’t watch because it is a show about finding love.  A man’s masculinity might be called into question if he were caught watching the show.