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Lecture 1

WOMS 287 Lecture 1: Class Notes (First Test) Dr. Doris Chang

Womens Studies
Course Code
WOMS 287

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Knowledge and Representation of Women
Gender neutral terms
o Postal worker not mailman
o Flight attendant not steward/ stewardess
o 1970s and 80s a college campus movement to use gender-neutral terms. By 90s and 00s
gender neutral is becoming “mainstream”
o Needed to be inclusive and not biased
o Defined as male centered society
o What would you call a female president’s spouse?
o 80 cents for women to $1 for men
o Born and given father’s last name
o Marry into husband’s last name. But the law doesn’t require this, it’s just tradition
Simone de Beauvoir- Second Sex
o Reasons why women become subordinate
o Focused on French history in this book
o Became more influential and talked about in English countries more than her own country
o Women are 50% of population of societies so therefore they should have ½ the power
o She looked at Africa- Americans in the US and Jews in Europe
o “If you look at these groups every time they get persecuted they rally together more” “But
women are not as united” “Why is this”
Because women have more have more unity with men of the same nationality, language, class,
race than of other women
o Social media connects us better now
o Class opinion women compete too much with other women
o People’s influence can be self-restricting because your friends are usually like you.
Therefore, you limit the reach of your opinion.
o To unite better we must point out there is a problem
Gender stereotypes
o Ex. Color coding baby clothes from the minuet you are born “Behave your gender
o Experiment in the 70s and 80s: adults were told “look at how cute this baby boy is” They say
he will be strong. They left the room; the next baby was dressed as a girl. The girl is
described as “cute, princess, etc. “It was really the same baby. The color made them think a
certain thing.
o Ex. Tv shows men as the beadmakers and women as housewives. Mostly in the s shows. 1/3
of women in the 50s worked outside the home but weren’t portrayed in TV.
o We are still using these “cookie cutter” images of the “perfect family”
o Women can wear pants, but a man can’t wear a dress “not socially acceptable”
o Double Standard
Women’s history = the new history
o Started in the 1960s. New history sometimes referred to as the people’s history
o You hardly hear about the commons people history. So how did they contribute to society?

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o Women propelled industrial revolution. They were first to work on an assembly line (1800s)
o How did we go about finding this history? Mainly interviews
o Married women’s property acts (1840s)
o Federal and state
o Stated that women can have their own property without having to give it to their husbands
o USA is more advanced with this at the time than Europe with these acts
19th amendments (1920s)
o Guarantees women’s suffrage so the right for women to vote
o Kansas gave women suffrage in 1912 but could only vote up to governor
Civil Rights Act (1964)
o Most foundational/ early civil rights act
o Prohibits job discrimination because of race or sex
Taylor V. Louisiana (1975)
o Heard by the supreme court in 1975
o Sued because only men could serve in a jury at this time in law “gender bias”
o Supreme court ruled it was un-constructional to exclude women from jury duty. Changed in
the entire USA
Women’s studies
o Not offered until 1970s first college to offer these classes was San Diego College in California
o Second college was WSU in 1971
o By 1976 Board of regions in Kansas decided you can major in women’s studies
o Interdisciplinary- means to get knowledge from many different studies “cross-listed” to
understand/ improve women’s lives
o Self-determination is the ability and awareness to lead your own life.
o Not just the study of women but also the study of men
Social Science Methods
o As study of customs of people and cultures
o Cultural anthropologists not usually their own culture
Margret Mead- Anthropologists on national geographic cultural anthropologists Sex and
Temperament in Three Primitive Societies
o In New Guinea (1935) This was for her PH.D.
o Can be an inside observer- live with them
o Can be an outside observer- just watch
o Mead used both methods at all three societies
o Need to listen and respect your subject’s words
o Don’t evaluate and judge based on your culture
1.) Both men and Women, non-violent, equally gentle, decisions were equal

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2.) Both Men and Women were both aggressive, seemed to always be yelling but this was normal,
but by her standards they were aggressive
3.) Most interesting to her, Men and women’s roles were nearly the opposite of the US’s roles. Men
were more emotionally expressive religious/ political leaders, artsy. Women are less emotional
accountants, travelers
o Nature V. Nurture- She determined gender roles were based on nurture rather than nature.
o Lab experiments
o Mostly used by psychologists
o Blind pill/ placebo effect
Survey research
o Randomly selected participants
o National survey has at least 1,000 participants
o Used to gauge public opinion
o Questions are straightforward and have short answers
o In depth interviews
o Time consuming
o Break ice with interview participants. It will help them feel more comfortable
Oral history
For new history
o (1930s) Great Depression era FDR created The New Deal
o This used government to help hire/ give jobs (Hoover Dam)
o He hired people to send historians to go south to interview living, freed slaves. Mostly
elderly women. Information was put into national archives in D.C.
o The U.S. went into debt to give people jobs
Archrival research
o State federal archives
o A depository of documents of all government branches
o Read government opinion on things
Content Analysis
o How authentic it is
o How gender roles are portrayed in old TV shows
o How social media is used
o What is real/ fake new and how do you tell
Why men and women became unequal
5 rhetorical approaches to explaining women’s situations
1.) Traditional religions and theoretical justifications
o Adam and Eve in genesis
o Woman was “made” for man
o Women lost us paradise, got death, labor, and pain
o Reinterpretation of the narrative about Adam and Eve by Elizabeth Caddy Stanton
and other biblical studies in The Women’s Bible. Founder of women’s suffrage
movement in 1848 upstate New York.
o Patriarchy
2.) Traditional biological assumptions v. modern science
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