Post-Industrial Inequality (1) – Gender
-Sex has tried to been used as a justification for inequality in the workforce, etc…
Beauvoir is basically saying that when we think about some ones character (character reflects a situation).
Women’s situation (repressed gender/sex) is not tied/caused to their own personal characteristics.
Femininity is not biological (women aren’t born feminine). Femininity is the product of a long process of
socialization, and the product of key rein forcers throughout a woman’s life (not hitting, not being overly
aggressive, having a pink room, playing with dolls, etc….). The same goes for men, and how a man learns
his power, and there is nothing inherent about a man that places them above women. Women have
occupied the position of “the other”. Men and masculine traits are taken to be the ideal form in a human
being (man is the default), and therefore women are thought of as the other, manipulation of a man, the
opposition of a man, etc…
-Women fall into the domain of immanent (interior, passive, static), and men fall into the domain that is
called transcendent (active, powerful, creative…).
-She believes that being a human being involves both the duality of immanent and transcendent.
-Women are incomplete, because men deny women (they are denied transcendent) which is a critical part.
When women actively seek to gain and get transcendent, they are stigmatized negatively. They are
thought of as an insect “man eater” or an ogre in the household trying to take over men.
!Breaking free from femininity is difficult because there are cultural challenges (stigmatized in negative
ways), as well as material challenges (women will have to sacrifice material comfort, economic
!Only women freeing themselves of economic dependency can they free themselves from femininity
(women need to get jobs)
-She also believes the nuclear family needs to be fundamentally re-structured
-Women have to make choices; caring for their families, or getting a promotion at work
What does gender inequality look like in Canadian society?
-Allows women to get their tubes tied.
-The work that women do will value 5-20% less than what men do (doesn’t include home care)
-Industries that are mostly female, earn less money
!In engineering, women earn on average, 30% less than men.
Conservative: This exemplifies biological determinism (differences in biology are what cause inequality).
There are inherent biological differences between men and women.
!Women’s skull size is smaller than men.
!Having a uterus involves lesser brain function