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Lecture 34 Gender con’t.docx

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Sandra Colavecchia

1 Sociology 2U06: Family Sociology Feb 16 2012 Lecture 34: Gender con’t Readings - Chapter 23 of Fox – Coltrane - Chapter 24 of Fox – Dunne Gender in Lesbian Relationships - Lesbian Lifestyles – Book by Dunne – 1997 – women’s work and the politics of sexuality - Chapter 24 of Fox – Lesbians at Home: Why can’t a man be more like a woman? o Looked at 60 lesbian couples who had previous hetero relationships o Discusses idea that individuals are constrained in heterosexual relas – internally and externally  External factors that shape how a man and woman relate to one another  Internal factors – what men and women bring to heterosexual relationships are pre-existing ideas of masculinity and feminity o All constrain on how men and women react to one another in relationships  Main external thing – men’s greater economic power  Not the fact that men earn more – but the fact that they can translate that into exerting more power over their female partner o Felt no pre-conceived gender models telling them how to make sense of their relationships as lesbians  Felt freer – no assumptions, rules or guidelines – greater flexibility to pursue a more egalitarian relationship  Relas more equal than hetero o More aware of power dynamics as lesbians – considering that heteros have the power  Been told that they are immoral and deviant for being gay – then feel more equality in the relationship because found someone who is like them and feels like they do – empowered when saw contradiction between what the larger system in society tells them is right and what they know is right o No pre-existing ideas that existed to make the lesbians accept that inequalities are a natural part of lesbian relas  Economic independence o Tried as much as possible to avoid economic inequalities o When there was an obvious inequality – they tried to address it to offset the issue  Strategies included 2  Living within the means of the person who earned less  Separate bank accounts  Sharing homeownership  Trying to avoid one women becoming financially dependent on her partner  High levels of emotional intimacy o Greater than hetero relas  Men withholding emotional support  Heterosexual woman coping strategies for this o Get emo support from female friends instead  Sharing housework  Support of each other’s work and career o Even if it meant something like having to relocate or working long hours - Equality in hetero relas o Blaisure and Allen (1995) Feminism and ideology and the practice of marital equality  Couples striving for domestic sharing  Set out to study couples who claimed to be feminists (men and women)  Belief in women’s equality in marriage o Supporting needs of both spouses o Not sacrificing one spouse’s needs to the needs of the family  This study – along with a lot of literature in sociology – finds incongruencies between people’s ideologies and their actions  Would expect to find the greatest degree of congruency btw the feminist ideology and these couples practices
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