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Lisa Sitoh


Does capitalism entrench patriarchy?

March 19, 2016

When The Hunger Games lead actress Jennifer Lawrence was named as Forbe's highest-paid actress from June 2014 to June 2015, Lawrence voiced her displeasure publicly. She was honoured to have won this prestigious accolade, but she was also indignant that she had earned a whopping $28 million less than Robert Downey Junior, the highest-paid actor. We are in the 21st century when there has been a huge advancement of human rights compared to the past, yet the Hollywood industry evidently presents traces of male chauvinism. The Hollywood industry is just one of the industries under the capitalist system, which continues to perpetuate patriarchal notions. While capitalism has indeed provided a platform for women to prove their capability in the working world, capitalism entrenches the gender-wage inequality. Furthermore, in third-world conservative societies, capitalism cuts off educational opportunities for women to rise up the social ladder.

In the cut-throat capitalist economy, everyone has to rely on their individual abilities to climb up the ladder of wealth and status. While females have to put in even more effort to debunk the stereotype that women are weak and incompetent, successful career women have earned even greater societal respect in the end because they have fought long and hard to attain that status. Rather than seeing capitalism as a glass ceiling for the "weaker" gender, capitalism is the driving force for women to claim the recognition they deserve. After all, the capitalist system does not reward workers based on gender, but on their talent and hard work. Thus, capitalism,at least in more liberal countries, provides a relatively equal playing field for both men and women to fight for success.



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