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Starting Points CH5.docx

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Gender Equality Chapter 5 of Starting Points  Sexism: perceived superiority of one sex over the other (usually men over women)  Gender: expectations of behaviour and appearance that we describe as masculine or feminine (set of social expectations)  Many more women work today and have careers  Women today at a fork in the road: Develop career or focus on motherhood?  Gender trends apparent in market o Female school principals, male primary school teachers, women politicians  Do men and women inherently gravitate towards different jobs and careers?  Is this distribution a result of social prejudices that allow different job opportunities to males and females?  Media mass produces gendered information Functionalism  "How does gender inequality contribute to the well-being of society as a whole?"  Argue that gendered division of labour is most effective and efficient way to carry out society's tasks of reproduction and socialization  women better at raising children due to early attachment and so they should focus on that Critical Theory  "Who is best served by gender inequality?"  Marxists refer to class relations o Working class women pop out the next generation of cheap, workers o Women care for the working class at no expense to the capitalists o Assumes that men and women are both equally victims of capitalism  Feminists o Women are exploited by the capitalists AND the men of their own class o Men make women as subservient to them as they are to their own bosses Symbolic Interactionism  How is social arrangement symbolized? How is gender inequality, negotiated, symbolized, and communicated in our society?  Inequalities arise where social differences have been symbolized, as something that is taken for granted, by population at large  Concern with how gender differences become inequalities o Ex. Sexual double standard (expectation that women will feel different from men in sexual matters) allows men more freedom than women o Sexual freedom is described as men's free access to women 1 Social Constructionist Approach  When did gender inequality emerge in a particular society, what events preceded this emergence and what individuals/groups were instrumental in this process of moral entrepreneurship? And by what steps has gender equality begun to emerge?  Historically oriented o Gender inequality declined in 60s and 70s due to actions of women's movement o Especially successful given presence of other social protests at the time in the West o Baby boom ended so there was a need for 2 family incomes  more education and jobs for women  need for women with fewer children and more education o Development of reliable birth control cut links between gender, sexuality, and childbearing Types of Feminist Sociology  Most influential approach in studying gender equality  Disagreement among feminists lead to various forms of feminism  Forefront the importance of taken-for-granted everyday life as a window on important social facts about power distribution 2 Classic Studies: The Sociology of Housework  Ann Oakley published her book in 70s that made people realize housework, traditionally a woman's responsibility, was work, not just a casual outpouring of family affection  This drew attention to domestic inequality  Many women viewed their role as homemaker central to their identity, although all found housework unpleasant  took it for granted as unavoidable  Women are disempowered and imprisoned by their beliefs on "the proper role" of women (esp. mothers)  Socialized by patriarchal gender ideology into accepting slavery in marriage and motherhood  Oakley's sample lacked variety in female domestic and employment roles o A UK study showed a broader variety of views about housework than Oakley reported  Said that Oakley narrowed and distorted the picture of housewifery into that of a thankless, joyless task Gendered Socialization  Socialization: process of inheriting/disseminating norms, traditions, ideologies of a society  Sex: biological characteristics that make a person a male/female  Parents treat sons and daughters differently  different toys, different room colours  Children further socialized into gender roles through their relationships with other family members o Fathers socialize sons to "become men", older brothers socialize younger through "secrets of manhood"  Dividing and elementary school class into boys and girls emphasizes gender as a basic distinction among people  Children in daycare centres create peer groups that provide access to peer culture and ideas about age- and sex-"appropriate" behaviour norms  all use reference groups (ex. Comparing themselves to Hannah Montana for how girls should dress, talk, behave, discuss ideas)  Hidden Curriculum: schools steer boys towards technical domains and girls towards commercial, artistic, etc. o Less prevalent today than in past Mass Media  Young people gain experience as to how men and women are supposed to act towards each other; differences are dramatized  Women portrayed as sex objects "on display and seemingly for purchase"  objectify o Sexy and passive  Men expected to be economically successful, the family's breadwinner  Trend today expects men to spend as much as women on fashion  Women rarely called to give expert opinions on business, politics, economics  90% of guests on Sunday morning US TV shows are men 3 The Beauty Standard  Appearance norms: shared notions about beauty that attract us to some people and not to others  felt most keenly by women  Violation of such norms leads to ridicule, exclusion, disapproval  Aging brings a natural reduction of what our culture considers attractive  resist through products and even surgery  People admire others based on appearance features that approximate the ideal (ex. Prosperity, health, attractive)  Departure from appearance norms suggest poor genes, grooming, lack of self-discipline/worth  Lines blurring between behaviours traditionally viewed as characteristic of one gender  Ideal women have become smaller, more toned and fit; and men, bulkier and muscular  Mass media shows us fantasy to generate sales  Fantasies about ideal male and female tell us to expect very different things of men and women Conflict Between Sexes  Rate of dissolution of relationship descends from dating (highest), cohabitation, marriage (but all are still quite high)  High rate of marital dissolution argues that mating, attraction, romance, love are no guarantee of long-term co-operation/attachment between sexes  Institution of "family" provides no guarantee of stable bonding across sexes; differences between boys and girls, men and women are evident  Young people, though less inclined to stereotyping than their parents, have not lost sight of culturally defined differences between men and women  Workplace discrimination on the basis of sex have been outlawed and eliminated o Hiring processes are still under suspicion of glass ceiling: sex-based barriers to equal opportunity for hiring and promotion The Gendering of Crime  Men more likely than women to commit every kind of crime  Robert Merton's Anomie Theory: crime is connected to an inability to legitimately achieve social goals  Thus men are more likely to commit crimes to achieve social goals  Considered innovators for seeking anti-social ways of achieving success in our culture's goals  Also rebels by rejecting culture's goals and the accepted means of getting them  Women are socialized to be gentle, not brutal, and internalize frustration (via depression, addiction, etc)  less likely to commit murder  As child bearing continues to decline, women may also take on more male adaptations to anomie 4 Classic Studies: Men and Women of the Corporation  Rosabeth Kanter argued barriers met, roles played by women in corporations are mainly a result of their numerical minority not sex.  Women behave in womanly ways in organizations when denied authority, and manly ways in authority  People, regardless of sex, who suffer from blocked opportunity, powerlessness, and tokenism act in similar ways (ex. Displaying less ambition)  Tokenism: hiring people from underrepresented groups in order to deflect criticism or comply with affirmative action rules  Submissiveness is a social structural requirement  give more
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