From Toys To Alcoholic Beverages, Gender Shapes Our Lives

From Toys To Alcoholic Beverages, Gender Shapes Our Lives

Willamette University's Women Gender Studies professor Jade Aguilar presents "How Gender Shapes our Lives".

On Wednesday, Feb. 15th at 5:30 pm, 25 people gathered at the Springfield Public Library to listen to Willamette University Women Gender Studies professor, Jade Aguilar, present a talk on “How Gender Shapes our Lives,” presented by Oregon Humanities.

Aguilar started the evening by stating that from birth, boys and girls are treated differently. This separation of treatment influences how we grow and how we act.

“As kids, the way we are treated-an example being the kind of toys that we are given-influences us to form into stereotypical roles of gender,” Aguilar said. “A girl is given toys that resemble household duties, like a toy kitchen or a baby doll. Whereas a boy is given toys of activity, such as Legos, or toy cars.”

To further empathize her point, Aguilar showed pictures from JeongMee Yoon’s “The Pink and Blue Project.” Images compared two rooms cluttered with toys. One room was covered in pink toys with a girl sitting against a wall, and the other image showed a different room covered in blue toys with a boy sitting in the middle of the room. Aguilar then opened the floor to audience discussion, where audience members could share their own opinions on the subject and even ask questions as well.

“As a kid, we talk to girls more. We ask them to share their feelings more,” one audience member said. “Like we ask them: How does that make you feel? Does that hurt? Do you need help? But with boys we teach them to be brave and to ‘man-up.' When they grow up, women tend to share more and have a better vocabulary because that’s what we taught them. Whereas men keep more feelings and emotions to themselves, because they were taught as a kid to do so.”

After some discussion, Aguilar asked the audience to come up with a list of ways little girls and little boys are treated differently. The audience presented a list that included: clothing, toys, sports, how we talk to them, and how a parent polices their activity.

“What’s interesting is that parents of boys let their boys adventure out more and have a bigger radius of freedom outside the home,” Aguilar said. “They are allowed to stay out later and adventure out more than girls. That’s because as kids, we tell them to go out and adventure. We tend to keep the girls closer.”

Aguilar then connected her presentation into current society. She mentioned how in society, we gender everything from our drinks, to jobs. She further explained this with the example of how we even base alcohol drinks off of gender.

“There is a woman in a bar and she’s drinking a very masculine drink, let’s say a shot of whiskey,” Aguilar said. “There is also a man in a bar and he’s drinking a very feminine drink, let’s say an appletini. The way we would judge the woman drinking the whiskey is much more masculine than the man drinking the appletini. That’s because in society, we value masculine items over feminine items.”

Another example of how we gender items was illustrated through Legos. Aguilar brought up advertisements of both girl and boy Lego sets. The girl sets included town buildings like a salon, a vet, and a store. Whereas, the boy sets included fighting monsters, building cars, and even building castles. The advertisements for the girls promoted making relationships with friends, compared to the advertisements for the boys which promoted adventure and accomplishments.

“Through things like this, we are told that we are different,” Aguilar said. “We are shown that we live in a binary system.”

Aguilar concluded her presentation by commenting on today’s society and suggesting a possible solution to these gender issues. She sees these issues getting better, but also getting worse. She believes that in order to better solve these issues, we need to give kids new and broader messages about gender. We need to model priority behavior and set good examples that acting like a ‘girl’ or a ‘boy’ is okay for anyone.

“Presentations like these help to educate the public and make them more aware of such social implications.” Aguilar said. “It forces people to think differently and open up to new opinions.”

This was Aguilar’s 20th presentation with Oregon Humanities. She has visited many different cities within the state and even gone to numerous local businesses as well, to help further start productive conversation within the public.

“What I like about these presentations is that they help to educate the public and make them more aware of these social implications.” Aguilar said. “It forces people to think differently and open up to new opinions.”

The Oregon Humanities Conversation Project helped to support Aguilar’s visit to the Springfield Public Library. The Oregon Humanities Conversation Project brings facilitators to different cities all over the state to help to share ideas and promote change. To apply to host a facilitator, a local community group can apply on the organization's website:

“My favorite part of these community presentations is the fact that you get to see a wide variety of different experiences,” Audience member and Oregon Humanities subscriber Devan Ashbridge said. “It shows different awareness’s of the public.”

Cover Image Credit: JeongMee Yoon's official website

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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The 2020 Election: The Democratic Party Part 1

We all have the duty of becoming politically conscious in order to wisely act on the crucial decision that lies ahead of us in the very near future. In this unbiased, multi-part series you'll be able to get a brief look into both the 2020 Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.


The race for the 2020 presidential election is on the rise as 24 Democrats and 2 Republicans have been officially confirmed as potential candidates. Ranging from California to New York, we may recognize "big names" such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, however, it's important to get to know all the candidates in order to have a clear idea as to who you want to be leading the country for the next four years.

*Due to the high number of Democratic candidates, they will all be highlighted over the course of three articles throughout the coming weeks.

1. Joe Biden

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Serving as the Vice President alongside Barack Obama and former senator of Delaware, Joe Biden has already ran for president twice, making the 2020 election his third and what he considers, final time. Biden hopes to strengthen the middle class by raising the minimum wage to a more livable standard. He also hopes to restrict the purchase of guns through background checks as well as being in support of a ban on assault weapons.

2. Bernie Sanders

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Having served on both the House of Representatives and The Senate, Bernie Sanders has caught the attention of many Americans due to his push for universal healthcare with the idea that "All Americans are entitled to go to the doctor when they're sick and not go bankrupt after staying in the hospital." As well as making public secondary-education schools tuition-free in a mission to help lower student debt. Sanders believes in the threat of climate change as his campaign includes the future of passing a Green New Deal to move from fossil fuels to sustainable energy as well as ban fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure. Bernie Sanders additionally believes in abolishing the death penalty, reforming the police system, and ending the discrimination of applicants based on criminal history

3. Beto O'Rourke

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Beto O'Rourke has represented Texas in the House of Representatives from 2013 - 2019. He has a noteworthy platform towards business which includes increasing federal funding towards the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that would aid in creating competitiveness with America's small- and medium-sized manufacturers against global markets. O'Rourke also believes in the idea of increasing voter numbers no matter what the political party may be as well as help ex-convicts regain their right to vote after serving their sentences. In doing so, he plans to create more outreach to the younger generations by ensuring pre-voter registration for all 16 and 17 year olds. Moreover, Beto pushes for a change in creating new term limits for the US House, Senate, and Supreme Court.

4. Kamala Harris

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Kamila is a lawyer and has served as the junior US senator and Attorney General of California. While she is new to the presidential election process, Harris aims to increase teacher pay with the "largest federal investment in teacher pay in U.S. history with a $13,500 raise." Moreover, using her specialization in legal matters regarding sexual assault, Kamila hopes to protect Planned Parenthood as well as women's reproductive rights. Harris states that as President, she will eliminate the wage gap between men and women as well as racial disparities involving maternal health care. Harris additionally hopes in protecting LGBTQ+ rights by not only passing an Equality Act to fight against discrimination in schools, work, and public, but appoint an Attorney General with the purpose of investigating and prosecuting hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals.

5. Elizabeth Warren

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Growing up in rural Oklahoma in a low-income home and eventually serving as a US senator for Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is described as a progressive candidate who's campaign is working towards "universal childcare, student loan debt relief, and down payments on a Green New Deal and Medicare for All." Warren hopes to build the middle class up and defend unionized jobs by allowing 40% of board members to be elected through employees. Moreover, Warren is in favor of strengthening the military as well has bringing troops home from overseas, as well as banning private prisons and decriminalizing marijuana. She additionally has stated to end Washington corruption by banning lobbying along with preventing Senators and Congressman from trading stocks whilst in office.

6. Cory Booker

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Attending Stanford and later graduating from Yale Law School, Cory Booker became the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey. Booker's main concern is to end gun violence, ban assault weapons, and bring his battle to the attention of the NRA to create "liberty for all." His 14-part plan includes creating a more extensive process to obtain a gun, one of which would including an FBI-issued background check as well as requiring "micro-stamping" on all guns to ensure the ability to trace back the source of ammunition used in crimes. Moreover, Americans seeking a gun license would have to apply for a 5-year license after which would require renewal. Booker has also proposed the idea of providing newborns with savings accounts that would accumulate until they reached 18. He states that this plan would help settle the gap between the classes by offering lower-income households a nest-egg averaging at about $46,000. He also aims to make contraceptives employer-covered and repeal the punishment for an abortion outside of incest, rape, or for the woman's health.

7. Kirsten Gillibrand

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From New York, Kristin Gillibrand became a US Senator in 2009, becoming the youngest person in the Senate at the time. Her 2020 platform includes creating universal healthcare for all that would cover both mental and reproductive health in addition to it's regular standards. Her stance on Medicare For All also stands for reducing the price of prescription drugs as well as aiding in the process of overcoming addiction. Gillibrand also aims to introduce postal banking which would allow those without checking accounts have the opportunity to take out small loans through their local post office. Moreover, she believes in not only the legalization of both medical and recreation marijuana, but in erasing all past convictions from it. Kristin Gillibrand stands with strengthening the middle class by raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, creating paid medical and parental leave for all Americans, and fighting for the right to form unions and protect worker's rights.

8. Amy Klobuchar

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Amy Klobuchar is a lawyer and politician who currently serves as a US Senator from Minnesota. Klobuchar's campaign fights for providing every household in America with high-speed internet by the year 2020 along with aiding farmers by increasing their access to loan programs as well as raising farm bankruptcy debt levels. Moreover, she hopes to better the education system by increasing teacher pay and putting more money towards public schools. As well as increasing the federal Pell Grant and tuition-free one to two year community and technical colleges. Amy Klobucher believes in re-instated the DREAM Act to grant citizenship for foreigners who immigrated to America as minors. She supports immigration reform as well as ending the cruel separation and treatment of families on the lines of the border and creating a refined pathway to gain citizenship.

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