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Study Guide

WS100- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 43 pages long!)


Department
Women & Gender Studies
Course Code
WS100
Professor
Lorraine Vander Hoef
Study Guide
Final

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WLU
WS100
Final EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Chapter 1: Studying Women-Why Gender Matters
Gender; cultural expectations and societal arrangements by which men and women have diff.
experiences in society
1.1: A Focus on Women: Taking Women Seriously
Position of women in U.S. society has changed drastically (occupy top professional
positions, comprise the majority of college grads, most are employed, etc.)
Attitudes have changed; women and men are more likely than the past to prefer to work
outside the home rather than stay at home
Women don’t often choose one, often see careers, marriage, and motherhood in
their future
Status of women in society is all around; comprise majority of elementary teachers but
are less likely to be professors, more women are in political office but men are more
likely to hold the most influential positions
In public places, men touch women more than women touch men and men touch women
on more places on the body than women touch men
Men talk more than women and interrupt women more than women interrupt men or men
interrupt each other
Women are more likely to smile when with others (esp. men), even when they aren’t
happy
More families are headed by women but women’s low wages increase the chance of
female-headed households being poor
Poverty among children in such households has increased
1.1.1: Studying Women: Women’s Studies and Feminist Scholarship
Feminist perspectives on history
Renaissance is generally viewed as a progressive time that encouraged
humanism and creativity, but women were mores domesticated and many single
peasant women were persecuted for being”witches”
Studying women in terms of psychology
Carol Gilligan showed that theories of moral development took men’s
experiences as the norm, measured female experiences against that
Showed women and men have different moral development- women
make more contextual judgements
Men’s experiences were taken as universal
1.1.2: Feminism: What’s in a Label?
Feminism is based on a philosophy of change- that we can build a more just society for
women by understanding and transforming social behaviors/institutions that are the
basis for women’s experiences
Feminist premise; women’s/men’s positions in society result from social factors (not
natural/biological ones)
Feminists want to transform society on behalf of women
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Feminist believe women’s experiences/ideas/concerns are equally as valuable as those
of men
Most women support feminist issues (equal pay, childcare, violence against women) but
many hesitate to identify as feminists
Feminism may be equated to being and lesbian and thus having a hatred for
men-rejection of feminism rooted to fears/stereotypes about lesbians
Identifying as a feminist is risky (being judged, teased, etc)
Feminism isn’t necessary anymore
Feminism is associated with aggressiveness
Some identify as “humanists” instead of feminists, but believing in betterment of life for
everyone (men and women alike) makes you a feminist
Men may hesitate to identify as feminists for fear of being thought as gay (rooted in
homophobia)
Men are subjected to cultural expectations about masculinity (affects
emotions/identities, social roles)- aspect of feminism
Feminism threatens the status quo and those who protect it
Advocating for women’s rights can be dangerous (Malala Yousafzai, Taslima Nasrin)
U.S.: conservative women’s groups accuse women’s studies of brainwashing
women
1.2: Connecting the Personal and the Political
Adrienne Rich (1976) suggested asking “what is life like for a woman?”; asking questions
creates new questions and issues for investigation (why is there so much violence
against women)
C. Wright Mills; sociologist who believed sociology’s purpose is to understand the
relationship between individuals and the society they live in
Personal troubles; part of an individual’s personal experience-privately felt and only
involve the person and their immediate surroundings
Public issues; events originating beyond one’s immediate experience-involve structure of
social institutions and their historical development
Mill: Couple in a marriage may experience personal troubles , but when the divorce rate
for the first 4 years is 25%, there is a structural issue with the institutions of the
marriages and the family/other institutions bearing upon them
Personal troubles often originate in the public issues emerging from
historical/social conditions
Common patterns in experiences of abused women reveal it isn’t just a penal matter-it
originates in social institutions defining women as subordinate to men and men as
having power over women
Battering is both a personal trouble and public issue
Individual life is situated in social/historical environments, which condition our experience
and how we think about it
Social structure; organization of society that shapes social behavior/attitudes
Shape ind./group choices, opportunities, experiences
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