In this course, we will work together to explain inequalities
between women and men and to interpret what they mean for
people's lives. Most of what we do, think and feel depends
on what it means to be male or female, and on the different
expectations that people have for men and women. Gender
distinctions permeate the institutions, opportunities, and ideas
around us. Our goal is to make sense of this. Some
questions we address are:
What do we mean by gender
inequality? How does it arise? Why does it take
different forms? Why do some societies have more gender
inequality than do others? How do institutions like the
family, the economy, and religion affect the social position of
women and men? How do the direct relations between women
and men – as friends, brothers and sisters, lovers, spouses,
parents and children, colleagues, bosses and employees – depend
on the social positions of women and men? Why and when does
sex inequality change?
Through reading and discussion, and through critically examining
our own lives, we will build our analytical tools to understand
and talk about sex inequality knowledgeably and
perceptively. We will also try to expand our general skills
in theoretical criticism and social analysis.
In brief, we all should attend class consistently and
punctually, and join in class discussions. We all must
write regularly about the ways our lives illustrate or challenge
the ideas we study, prepare a "gender social biography" for a
term paper, take brief quizzes on each topic, and take a final
All students should try to take part in our regular class
discussions. We will work together to foster a cooperative
environment. We want everyone to feel free to express
ideas, however those ideas may differ. We also want to
promote an atmosphere where any and all questions are
welcome. Those who do an outstanding job at class
participation will receive extra credit for it.
Each student will write a "gender social biography" for a term
paper. These papers will explore how circumstances and
experiences have shaped our identities with respect to gender
expectations and how sometimes our responses have led us to defy
or ignore those expectations. The papers will take into
account the various kinds of social influences and experiences
studied in this class. During the semester, for each
section of the course we will a write brief biographical
analysis, considering how the development of our gender identity
relates to that topic. These commentaries will then be the
starting point for writing the final term paper. (For
details about the gender social biography, please see the links
in the following box.) Please be aware that we will not
accept late papers.
We will have brief weekly quizzes on the reading materials,
emphasizing the concerns raised by the study questions attached
to each topic below. We will have a final examination the
last day in class that will cover all of the course
material. Both the quizzes and the final exam will focus on
understanding the main ideas of the materials we read and discuss in
A class is a collective learning enterprise. We all
want to act responsibly and with decorum or our enterprise
founders. To make the class work for all of us, we can all try
to show up to class on time, pay attention, and avoid things that can
irritate others, such as talking to the person next to us when someone
is presenting their ideas to the class, eating noisily, or the
like. If we are meeting "remotely," via video, everyone should
be on screen throughout the class, with attention focused on whoever
is talking. We will have a lot of discussion, some among all in
the class, some in smaller groups. Everyone is always free to
disagree with other people's ideas - indeed we encourage challenges
based on disagreements about what research has shown or the logical
implications of claims - but we should all treat everyone else and
their ideas respectfully. Plagiarism or academic dishonesty of
any kind will not be tolerated.
Course Outline and Readings
When relevant, the pages we want to read appear in brackets at
the end of each listed reading. If the listing does not
include pages for a reading, it means that we read the entire
article or chapter.
To analyze the causes of
gender inequality, we need to know what we mean by gender inequality.
How can we conceive of and talk about gender inequality in ways that
are general enough to apply across the range of relevant phenomena,
consistent enough to minimize conceptual ambiguities, and precise
enough to be analytically effective? Gender inequality has been
extraordinarily diverse and wide spread. Women and men are
unequal in every conceivable way in endless circumstances, both
immediate and enduring, by both objective criteria and subjective
experience. So, what counts as gender inequality? Can we
characterize it in ways that let us confidently and impartially assess
when there is more or less of it? Can we systematically and
consistently capture the ways that systems or instances of gender
inequality differ in content or character? We need tools, both
theoretical and empirical, to qualify and quantify gender inequality
if we hope to understand and explain it.
- What do people commonly mean by the distinction between
“gender” and “sex?”
- Why do people studying gender inequality distinguish
“gender inequality” from “gender differences?”
- While making sense of gender inequality, why do we need to
keep in mind other forms of inequality within a society?
- What is the difference between status inequality and
- Why do some authors suggest that the rise of women’s status
over the past two centuries might be considered a theoretical
paradox or enigma while others, in contrast, suggest instead that the
persistence of gender inequality in recent decades might be
viewed as a theoretical paradox or enigma?
- What aspects or components of gender inequality have
become significantly less unequal over the past 150 years,
together constituting a long-term decline in gender inequality?
- What are the principal inequalities between women and men
that persist in the U.S. and similar “modern” nations according
to our sources?
- What does Jackson mean when he says, “two kinds of
social conflict fueled the decline of gender
- What do we mean when we say women and men are
- What do we mean by saying that women and men have competing
ideologies or myths about gender?
- What is the difference between distributional differences
and categorical differences when we are comparing the characteristics
of two groups?
- What is problematic about the common cultural explanations
of “deceptive distinctions” between women and men?
- How does “framing” work in Ridgeway’s
2. How is gender inequality symbolized and reproduced in
Gender inequality is expressed and
reinforced (or challenged) in every interaction between women and men
(and in many interactions among those of the same sex). This
pattern is true for all forms of social inequality and social
distinction, but is more striking to gender theorists because kinship
and sexuality make male-female interactions so frequent. We want
to consider how people experience and act out gender in their
day-to-day lives. We want to think about the most basic
questions. Why and when do women and men act differently?
Why and when do people respond differently to women than men?
How do all these private individual actions when taken together over
time influence the understanding of gender in a culture and gender
- Gendered Society: The Social
Construction of Gender Relations [114-122, 127-131]
- Framed by Gender: Ch. 2 "A Primary Frame for
Organizing Social Relations" [important, read carefully]
- Gendered Society Reader: Beards,
Breasts, and Bodies: Doing Sex in a Gendered World, Raine
- Gendered Society Reader:
The Truth About Boys and Girls, Lise Eliot
- Gendered Society Reader: The Gender Similarities
Hypothesis, Janet Shibley Hyde
- Gendered Society: "So, That
Explains It": Psychoanalytic and Developmental Perspectives on Gender
- Why is it meaningful to say that gender identities are both
voluntary and coerced?
- How does gender inequality in modern society influence the power
most men feel they have?
- What do people mean when they say institutions are gendered?
- Why might some argue that Freud’s theory attributed key gender
differences to biology while others argue that it did not?
- How is it possible that gender identity (whether we are male or
female and what it means to be either) is learned (not inherent or
biological), but that we experience it as natural and
- What did Gilligan claim about the relationship between gender and
ethics, and why has the claim been controversial?
- How would you explain the term “sex roles?”
- How does Dozier’s study raise questions about standard ways of
distinguishing “sex” from “gender” or claims that gender is socially
constructed by people “doing gender” in interactions?
- What is the “gender similarities hypothesis” and how do research
findings support or not support it?
- According to Ridgeway, how do gender stereotypes relate to a
general problem of coordinating social interactions? (Also, can
you identify any serious problems with Ridgeway's argument about this
proposed relationship? This part is very high difficulty.)
- How, according to Ridgeway might the existence of framing lead to
- According to Ridgeway what is the difference between specific
status beliefs and diffuse status beliefs?
- How is it that a very small, biologically determined, average
sex difference in children can become a much larger difference
in adults, but still be commonly attributed to biology?
3. Why have women been disadvantaged compared to men in all
Although scholars disagree if women have
ever been fully equal or had higher status in any society, all agree
that men have been dominant in most societies, although the degree of
dominance varies greatly. This strong pattern raises difficult
questions concerning how we explain the prevalence of male dominance,
questions for which no answers have yet gained a consensus. The
"origins" problem asks how we can explain the apparently independent
rise of gender inequality in societies all over the world. The
universality problem asks why have women apparently occupied a
subordinate position in all societies. Together, these
inescapably lead to asking how biological differences influence gender
inequality, particularly how they have an influence under some
conditions and not under others. They also force us to ask how
explaining the "origins" of gender inequality relates to explaining
the "persistence" of gender inequality. How theories handle
these issues is decisive for their form and effectiveness.
Theories sometimes try to sidestep these questions, but avoidance is
an unrealistic strategy because sooner or later efforts to apply the
theories or contend with challenges bring these issues to the surface.
- What are some of the attractions of biological explanations
of gender difference and inequality? How has the popularity of
biological explanations varied across historical periods and
- How is the work of evolutionary psychologists relevant to
the study of gender inequality, and what limits the value of its
- What seems to be the historical pattern of motives behind
brain research and hormonal research concerned with gender (and
sexuality) differences, and the results they find?
- What was the influential argument that Margaret Mead
presented in 1935 book Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive
- Why are those who study gender inequality so concerned with
the division of labor?
- When comparing across societies, what are some of the
conditions that seem to correlate with or indicate high levels of
- What do we know about the relationship between testosterone
levels and violent behavior?
- According to Herdt, what is the significance of “coming
- How does it make sense to think about the role of biology
in the origins of gender inequality?
- How and why do we distinguish explaining the origins of
gender inequality from the persistence of gender
4. What determines men's and women's roles and positions
Family and kinship institutions are
everywhere crucial to the status of women and men and to their
cultural identities. Women and men have strong and lasting
relationships as spouses, as parents and children, and as brothers and
sisters. Kinship rules define relationships at birth while
marriage creates bonds between adults (and often kinship
groups). Family structures vary considerably, but commonly
involve living together, pooling of resources, and interests bonded
through a shared fate. That such links between women and men can
coexist with severe gender inequality is analytically
challenging. Not surprisingly, a lot of theoretical and
empirical work has sought to disentangle and explain these
relationships. Probably the two general issues in the modern
world that have received the most attention concern the ways that
women and men are unequal within families and the interdependence
between inequality within families and the gender inequality that
exists outside families, particularly within economic and political
- Destined for Equality: Institutional Individualism:
"Individualistic Family" 157-169
Download Article: Pennington, Suzanne (2009)
"Bisexuals 'Doing Gender' in Romantic Relationships", Journal
of Bisexuality, 9:1, 33-69.
- Gendered Society: The Gendered Family [151-195]
Download Article: Scott Coltrane.
Labor and the Routine Production of Gender." Social
Problems 36: 473-490 [read 473-480].
- Gendered Society Reader:
At-Home Fathers and Breadwinning Mothers, Caryn Medved &
William Rawlins [167-178; ignore the category names
the authors use for the families, such as "reversing"]
- Framed by Gender: Ch. 5 "Gender at Home" [stress
- What does Coltrane’s study tell us about the division of
- Over the past two centuries, what are the most important
long-term trends in marriage rates, divorce rates, and birth
- Over the past two centuries, what are the most important
long-term changes in the legal and cultural understandings of
- Over the past two centuries, what are the most important
long-term changes in the relationships between family and work?
- How do bisexuals seem to respond to conventional gender
expectations in their relationships?
- How do the family devotion and family provider schema fit into
Ridgeway’s framing analysis?
- What is the principle of least interest and how does it
- Why did divorce laws change over time and what implications
did the changes have?
- Over the long term, how have changes in family organization
improved the relative circumstances of daughters?
- What social conditions promote or obstruct equality between
wives and husbands?
- How do you anticipate typical families may differ in the
5. What is the role of sexuality? Part 1: What is
Everyone recognizes the importance of sexuality, but the
basic facts about sexual behavior remain vague, ambiguous, and
confusing to most. Before we can talk about the causes and
consequences of sexual behavior, we need to understand some things
about who does what. What are the sexual practices common in the
population, how have they changed over time, how do they differ across
population groups and subcultures? Who does what and why?
[Note the page numbers in
brackets for most of these selections, indicating we are reading
only select parts]
- Download Article: Herbenick, Debby,
Michael Reece, Vanessa Schick, Stephanie A. Sanders, Brian Dodge,
and J. Dennis Fortenberry.
Sexual Behavior in the United States: Results from a National
Probability Sample of Men and Women Ages 14–94." The
Journal of Sexual Medicine 7, Supplement 5 (2010): 255-65.
[Look carefully at Tables 2 & 3 for data on the sexual activity of
young adults (ages 18-29); reading the text is optional; note that
a simplified version of these tables appears as p. 423 in
Gendered Society but only includes numbers for the
Online Article: Ford, Jessie, and Paula
Hookups, Sex, and Relationships at College." Contexts
(2014). Optionally, for a more complete analysis, read
England, Paula, Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer, and Alison C. K.
Fogarty. "Hooking up
and Forming Romantic Relationships on Today's College
Campuses ." In Gendered Society Reader, 5th edition,
edited by Michael S. Kimmel and Amy Aronson. New York: Oxford
University Press, 2007.
- Download Article: Garcia, Justin R., Chris
Reiber, Sean G. Massey, and Ann M. Merriwether.
Sexual Hookup Culture: A Review." Review of General
Psychology 16, no. 2 (2012): 161-76. [read: 161-4; also 168-9
section on alcohol & drugs]
Download Article: Herbenick, Debra,
Michael Reece, Stephanie Sanders, Brian Dodge, Annahita Ghassemi,
and J Dennis Fortenberry.
Women's Vibrator Use in Sexual Partnerships: Results from a
Nationally Representative Survey in the United States."
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 36, no. 1 (2010): 49-65.
[read: 49-51, 61-62]
Download Articles: "Tactics
of Sexual Coercion: When Men and Women Won't Take No for an
Answer," Cindy Struckman Johnson , David Struckman Johnson &
Peter B. Anderson, Journal of Sex
Research, 40:1, (2003): 76-86 [all]; "Sexual
Coercion in Men and Women: Similar Behaviors, Different
Predictors." Elizabeth A. Schatzel-Murphy, Danielle A. Harris,
Raymond A. Knight, Michael A. Milburn. Archives of Sexual Behavior.
38:6 (Dec 2009): 974-986 [read 974-76; optionally skim remainder].
Heterosexual Anal Intercourse: An Understudied, High-Risk Sexual
Behavior. Baldwin, J. I., et al. Archives of Sexual
Behavior v. 29 no. 4 (August 2000) p. 357-73. [read 357-8, 361-2,
Download Article: "The
Lives and Voices of Highly Sexual Women," Eric S. Blumberg,
Journal of Sex Research,
40:2, (2003): 146-157
Download Article: Bernstein, Elizabeth.
Sex Work for the Middle Classes." Sexualities 10,
no. 4 (2007): 473-88.
Download Article: Griffith,
James D., Sharon Mitchell, Christian L. Hart, Lea T. Adams, and
Lucy L. Gu.
Pornography Actresses: An Assessment of the Damaged Goods Hypothesis."
Journal of Sex Research 50, no. 7 (Oct 2013): 621-32.
[read: 621-23, 628-30]
- If we compare the data on sexual activities of women
and men across the age groups from adolescents to mature
adults, what does it suggest about possible historical changes
in sexual activity (or by age)?
- What circumstances or characteristics distinguish women who
use vibrators for sexual pleasure?
- Compare women with men relative to the likelihood they will
attempt to manipulate or coerce sex from other people and how they
might do it.
- What kinds of people engage in heterosexual anal
- In what ways might the lives of highly sexual
(heterosexual) women be comparable to those of homosexual men and
- How does “bounded authenticity” play a role in commercial
sex according to Bernstein?
- How well do data and other work seem to support
England’s claim that “hook ups are ‘gendered’ in three important
ways”: “men initiate more” “men's sexual pleasure seems to be
prioritized” and “woman are more at risk ... of getting a bad
- Research has shown repeatedly that high alcohol
intake by both participants typically precedes (heterosexual)
hookups of college students. Why is this?
- Does the history of sexuality in the United States
(and similar nations) over the past half century seem to
support the arguments in evolutionary psychology, to challenge
them, or to tell us little either way?
6. What is the role of sexuality? Part 2: How do sexuality and
romance relate to the unequal relationships between men and women?
Sexuality has been evoked in
multiple ways in the study of gender inequality. It may be
considered as a possible motivating cause for inequality, examined for
the ways it reflects or is effected by gender inequality, or
incorporated as a peculiar tension between women and men that mediates
both the causes and effects of gender inequality. Essentially
everyone recognizes sexuality as critically important to gender
inequality, but it eludes comprehensive analysis.
- Gendered Society: The Gendered Body [396-404, 409-414,
Down So Long: Intimate Combat: Sexuality and
Bem, Daryl J.
Exotic Becomes Erotic: Interpreting the Biological Correlates of
Sexual Orientation." Archives of Sexual Behavior 29,
no. 6 (2000): 531-48.
Download Article: Breanne Fahs.
Compulsory Bisexuality?: The Challenges of Modern Sexual
Fluidity. Journal of
Bisexuality, Volume 9, Issue 3 & 4 July 2009 , pages 431-449
Download Article: Waskul, Dennis D., Phillip
Vannini, and Desiree Wiesen.
Women and Their Clitoris: Personal Discovery, Signification,
and Use." Symbolic Interaction 30, no. 2 (2007):
Download Article: Zaylia, Jessica Leigh(2009)
a Newer Theory of Sexuality: Terms, Titles, and the Bitter Taste
of Bisexuality', Journal of Bisexuality, 9 (2): 109 -
- Gendered Society: Gendered Intimacies: Friendship and
- What real differences distinguish male from female
sexuality in American culture; what are mistaken cultural
beliefs about such differences?
- Do lesbians and gay men typically enact their
sexuality more like heterosexual women, heterosexual men, or
- How might romantic love - both as a cultural ideal
and a common experience - influence or be influenced by gender
inequality? You might consider the sources and consequences of
romantic love, its cultural history, and the principle of least
- How does Daryl Bem’s theory about the causes of sexual
orientation seek both to take into account biological influences and
to suggest that sexual orientation in not biologically caused?
- Among young women today, we find some who engage in
bisexual behavior largely in public and some who pursue
relations with both women and men but do not exhibit bisexuality
in public. What seems to be the difference in their motivations
and sense of identity?
- What does the term “symbolic clitoridectomy" mean?
Can we relate this to gender inequality?
- Both women and men exhibit body image anxieties,
concerns over the way their bodies look to others. In the U.S.,
how have the content and severity of these image concerns
typically differed between women and men? How are these
differences related to sexuality and gender inequality? (It
may help to consider comparisons between now and the past and
other possible sources of variation in body image anxieties.)
- How do the differences between women’s and men’s
experience and strategic use of sexuality reflect gender
inequality (remembering that women and men also experience and
use sexuality in many similar ways)?
- Do typical male friendships differ from typical female
friendships in American society today? How have differences
between men’s and women’s friendships varied over time and
- How might women’s use of sexual provocation be
related to gender inequality?
- Why is the relative influence of social experience,
biology, and personal choice over sexuality so controversial
7. What is the role of violence and intimidation in the
relationships between men and women?
Most theoretical approaches to gender
inequality suggest that violence between women and men plays a role in
sustaining inequality; some also point toward violence as an initial
cause. A recurring issue concerns the degree to which violence
is an expression or result of gender inequality or, alternatively, is
a cause of inequality. The separate roles of rape, harassment,
and domestic violence, and their relationships to each other are
another critical question. Much research and argument has also
been focused on the question of women's aggressive impulses and
Gendered Society: The Gender of Violence [all]
Down So Long: Intimate Combat: Violence and
Sanday, Peggy R.
Rape-Prone Versus Rape-Free Campus Cultures." Violence
Against Women 2, no. 2 (1996): 191-208. [read: 191-199, 201-3]
Download Article: Fergusson, David M., L.
John Horwood, and Elizabeth M. Ridder.
Partner Violence and Mental Health Outcomes in a New Zealand
Birth Cohort." Journal of Marriage and Family 67,
no. 5 (2005): 1103-19. [read: 1103-05, 1113-14]
- Download Article: Little, Betsi, and Cheryl Terrance.
Perceptions of Domestic Violence in Lesbian Relationships:
Stereotypes and Gender Role Expectations." Journal of
Homosexuality 57, no. 3 (2010): 429-40. [read: 429-432]
- Download Article: Thomae, Manuela, and
Afroditi Pina. "
Sexist Humor and Social Identity: The Role of Sexist Humor in
Men’s In-Group Cohesion, Sexual Harassment, Rape Proclivity, and
Victim Blame." HUMOR 28, no. 2 (2015): 187-204.
[read: 190-196 on In-Group Cohesion & Sexual Harassment]
- Download Article: McLaughlin, Heather,
Christopher Uggen, and Amy Blackstone.
Sexual Harassment, Workplace Authority, and the Paradox of Power."
American Sociological Review 77, no. 4 (2012): 625-47.
[read: 626-27, 635-39]
Download Article: Thompson, Carleen M., Susan M. Dennison, and Anna Stewart.
Are Female Stalkers More Violent Than Male Stalkers? Understanding
Gender Differences in Stalking Violence Using Contemporary
Sociocultural Beliefs." Sex Roles 66, no. 5 (2012):
351-65. [read: 351-354]
- Download Article: Statistics
on Sexual Violence
- According to Sanday, what conditions on some college
campuses or in some college fraternities seem to produce higher
rates of rape?
- What is psychological or symbolic castration? How
does this idea help us understand the performance and meaning
of aggressive acts between women and men?
- How does the pattern of male aggression and violence
toward women influence women’s perceptions and behavior?
- In what ways are women’s aggressive acts in
heterosexual couples typically similar to, or different from,
those of men? (Accepting, of course, that displays of aggression
and violence vary greatly among heterosexual couples.)
- How does gender inequality influence women's and men's
aggression and use of violence toward the other sex?
- Why and how should we consider sexual harassment if
we want to understand women’s fear of rape?
- How do women and men typically differ in their
experience of aggressive impulses and acting out aggressive
- How do we explain presence and significance of rape
in a modern society?
- What reasons might we have to suspect that people in
modern societies commonly underestimate the aggressive impulses
of women(compared to those of men)?
- What does the term “sexual violence” mean and why do
we distinguish this from other kinds of violence?
8. How has the economy influenced men and women's positions
Essentially all analyses of gender
inequality give great importance to the economy. Gender
inequality appears everywhere embedded in economic inequality, in the
sense that a critical aspect of gender inequality involves unequal
access to economic resources and positions. Sometimes this is
understood as an expression of gender inequality, sometimes a cause of
gender inequality, sometimes a result. Many analyses consider it all
- Summarize important changes in women’s economic
participation over the past 150 years. Among other things, it is
useful to consider differences by period, by type of women, and by
type of job.
- How does the movement of men into traditionally female
jobs compare to the movement of women into traditionally male
- How does employment potentially serve as a source of
pride, obligation, resources, or negative identity for men and
for women? The goal here is, first, to think through the reasons
that women and men seek and hold jobs, and, second, to consider
how that having (or not having) those jobs effects men and
- What conditions in the economy produce the wage or
income differential (or “gap”) between women and men?
- Explain the “glass ceiling”: what does the term mean
and what do we know about why and how it occurs?
- How did government policies, laws, and actions
influence women's changing employment in the twentieth century?
Consider broadly how government orientation either bolstered or
eroded obstacles to women’s participation over different periods,
and also consider whether any historically specific government
actions or changes in policy stand out.
- According to Ridgeway, how have framing processes
influenced the jobs into which women are hired, women’s promotions,
and women’s wages/salaries?
- Why is the analysis of “tokenism” valuable for
understanding changes in women’s economic participation?
- What seem to be the causes and the effects of sexual
harassment in the workplace?
- How and why has women’s economic participation
changed over the long term? Consider the motives and the
actions of women, ordinary men, and powerful men. Also, consider
the difference between women’s movement into low-status jobs and
their movement into high-status jobs.
- According to Reskin, what causes women’s wages or income to
be lower than that of men, and how does that argument relate to the
ideas present in other readings this week?
- How have different kinds of discrimination influenced
women’s experiences in the economy?
9. Political processes and individual action. How have
political processes, men, and women each both resisted and furthered
As structure and as actor, the state has
been unavoidably central to ongoing practice of gender inequality, to
its persistence, and to changes in the form and amount of gender
inequality. Any political policy, agenda, body, or
process may support and enforce gender inequality, passively permit
it, or oppose gender inequality (as is true with any form of social
inequality). A political process or policy may have different
implications for different aspects of gender inequality (for example,
labor protections laws for women that guard them from some
possibilities of employer exploitation while simultaneously limiting
their competitive access to some kinds of jobs). In general, to
protect and use their advantages, socially dominant groups seek to
sustain influence over political processes. Conforming with this
expectation, the long monopoly of men over political power has
consistently both demonstrated and sustained gender inequality.
Yet, over the past two centuries government actions have also
contributed to the decline of gender inequality. Thus, with
respect to political power we face a series of critical questions: how
did political power become and remain a male domain?, how has
political power and governance reflected and contributed to gender
inequality?, and how and why did some aspects of political power and
government act in ways more consistent with improving women's status
than preserving gender inequality?
- Destined for Equality: Surrendering the Heritage of
- Gendered Society Reader: Sexual Harassment and
Masculinity: The Power and Meaning of "Girl Watching", Beth A.
- Destined for Equality: Women's Rejection of
- Destined for Equality: Citizenship: Gaining Equality
from the State
- Gendered Society: The Gender of Politics and the
Politics of Gender, pp. 311-317 only
Down So Long: The Reproduction of Economic and
- Why do men in positions of authority show preference for other
men whose social characteristics are like their
- Why do we want to distinguish between ordinary and powerful men while explaining the
persistence and decline of gender inequality?
- Responding to changing circumstances, women and men sometimes
adopted new strategies or changed their typical behavior in ways
that contributed to gender inequality’s decline over time.
However, even as they contributed to gender inequality's decline,
they typically did not seek to reduce gender inequality, commonly
did not favor a change in gender expectations, and often did not
even recognize that their actions could or would affect gender
inequality. So, how do we explain this pattern?
- Why has men’s defense of gender inequality declined over the past
- How have the goals of feminist movements been compatible
with (the effects and requirements of) long-term structural
changes in the U.S. and other modern societies? And in what
ways have their goals been in conflict with that long-term
- Assess the reasoning behind these two claims: “men have probably
sustained their gender advantages more through competition with other
men than through efforts to keep women from enjoying similar
opportunities or status”; “men resisting women’s advance
[typically] understood themselves to be fulfilling their
obligations or protecting well-earned rights”.
- How did ordinary men’s interests in opposing improvements in
women’s status and their capacity to do so both change over
- Writers have suggested that men long opposed women’s movement
into high-status jobs (and women’s access to higher education that
would prepare them for such jobs) because adding women would increase the
competition men would face for promotions and the like. Why is this a
argument strong or weak?
- Why are culturally derived beliefs and rational calculations
both important for understanding how men’s typical actions
changed over time in ways that affected gender inequality?
(Note that the analogous question can be asked about women’s
- If most men in positions of organizational power share a
discriminatory attitude towards women, why do we expect that
the powerful men who do not share these discriminatory biases
would still act (in their jobs) largely like their discriminatory
colleagues? (Note this issue does relate to the general problem
of why people conform, but this question aims at the causes
specific to the context of organizational power.)
- What do analysts mean by the “male rebellion” against marriage in
the second half of the twentieth century, and why might it have
- Why did men in government think differently about the woman
suffrage issue than ordinary male voters? How does this compare
to differences between the ways that employers’ thought about hiring
women and the ways that male workers thought about it?
- How do we explain women’s difficulties at achieving economic
power through entrepreneurial success, rising through organizational
ranks, or inheriting wealth?
- How do we explain women’s difficulties at achieving political
power, both as individuals and collectively?
- How have feminist efforts contributed to the reduction in gender
inequality, and how have those efforts fallen short?
10. How we to assess and interpret evolutionary influences?
- Kelly, Daniel, and Patrick Hoburg. "A
Tale of Two Processes: On Joseph Henrich’s the Secret of Our
Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution,
Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter." Philosophical
Psychology 30, no. 6 (2017): 832-48.
- Chudek, Maciej, Michael Muthukrishna, and Joe Henrich. "Cultural
Evolution." Chap. 30 In The Handbook of Evolutionary
Psychology, edited by David M. Buss, 749-69. Hoboken, NJ:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2015.
for Brief Paper
- What are the principal ideas that motivate this work by
Henrich (and his collaborators)?
- What, in a paragraph summary form, is the central
argument? Write this as if it were meant to inform an
undergraduate like yourself who has never heard of these
- How might this approach have different implications for the
explanation of gender and gender inequality than the
evolutionary psychological approach?
11. What role does ideology play in determining the relations
between men and women?
Ideology is near the center of almost all
efforts to explain gender inequalities. Gender ideology includes
people's understandings of masculinity and femininity, ideas about
when it is fair to treat women and men differently, divergent
expectations about women's and men's abilities, internalized schema
that evoke different judgments of women's and men's actions, and rules
about proper male and female behavior applied to children. All
these and more facets of gender ideology induce us to feel differently
about women and men and to treat them differently. Gender
ideology is crucial to the organization and persistence of gender
inequality. Conversely, every belief that symbolizes,
legitimates, invokes, guides, induces, or helps sustain gender
inequality is itself in part a product of gender inequality.
However, while the form of gender inequality may shape gender ideology
over time, we are generally more interested in gender ideology's role
in shaping and preserving gender inequality.
- Download Article: Grubbs, Joshua
B., Jessica J. Good, and Tay Hack. "Ambivalent Sexism, Benevolent Sexism, Hostile
Sexism." In The Sage Encyclopedia of Psychology and
Gender, edited by Kevin Nadal, 61-63, 136-37, 895-96.
Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2017.
Down So Long: Disputed Ideals: Ideologies of
Domesticity and Feminist Rebellion
- Framed by Gender: Ch. 3 "Cultural Beliefs and the
Gendering of Social Relations"
- Destined for Equality: Institutional Individualism
Download Article: Döring, Nicola, Anne Reif, and Sandra Poeschl.
How Gender-Stereotypical Are Selfies? A Content Analysis and
Comparison with Magazine Adverts." Computers in Human
Behavior 55, Part B (2// 2016): 955-62. [read: 955-57, 61;
look at photos throughout]
Download Article: Cancian, Francesca M.
The Feminization of Love." Signs 11, no. 4 (1986):
- What do we mean by institutional
- How does the impact on family organization made by the rise
of modern education compare to the impact of the rise of modern
- What are the highlights of women’s changing educational
opportunities in the U.S. over the past 150 years?
- With respect to the U.S. experience, in what ways is it
likely that the education offered to women and men (at various
levels) influenced gender inequality over the past 150
- What were the major influences responsible for the rise of
meritocratic ideas and their increasing
- Why does Ridgeway stress it is important not only that we
hold stereotypical beliefs about gender, but that we can take it for
granted that others hold them as well?
- According to Ridgeway, what are the most basic, shared
beliefs about differences between women and men in our culture (we
are concerned with the content of the beliefs, not the
- According to Ridgeway, what produces the stereotypes about
differences between women and men that become prominent as
popular beliefs? That is to say, what decides which
differences - real or imagined - become culturally
- Why do people who privately hold "alternative" gender
beliefs still commonly rely on the dominant beliefs to guide
their actions, particularly in their “public”
- Why did the ideologies of female domesticity change over
- If men did not impose the content of the successive
ideologies of female domesticity, what
- What common characteristics of the otherwise diverse ideals
of female domesticity made them seem to work for both women and men
and for the acceptability of gender inequality to
- With respect to the determination of dominant ideologies,
what is the relevant common underlying idea in the Marxist concept of
“determination within limits”, the Weberian idea of “elective
affinity”, and Merton’s concept of “functional
- What does Cancian mean when she says, “Part of the reason
that men seem so much less loving than women is that their behavior
is measured with a feminine ruler”?
12. What does the future hold?
Where do we go from here? Will
gender inquality continue to decline, and greater gender equality
spread throughout the world? Are some aspects of gender
inquality particularly resistant to reduction, and if so why?
Could change stagnate? Behind such concerns are two principal
questions. What has caused the long-term pattern of declining
gender inequality? And what has preserved aspects of gender
inequality in the face of these accumulating changes? Combining
the answers to these two questions with an effort to project the
relevant influences into the future, is the basis for trying to
understand the possibilities for the future. Behind this also
lies another analytical question with moral overtones: what does
gender equality really mean?
- According to England, what are the key conditions that are
obstructing, and could even reverse, the shifts toward gender
- According to Ridgeway, what are the key conditions that are
obstructing, and could even reverse, the shifts toward gender
- According to Ridgeway, why do gender stereotypes survive
- How does Ridgeway use the idea of "cultural lag?"
- According to Jackson, what are the principal causes of gender
- According to Jackson, what are the main components of arguments
that the movement toward gender inequality is severely
- What, according to Jackson, are the principal defects in
arguments contending that processes in the future may stop
or even turn back our movement toward greater gender equality?
- How have interests affecting gender inequality changed over time
for important categories of men, women, and organizations? Are there
important relevant interests that have not changed much?
- How do evolutionary psychological analyses of gender
differences relate to the issue of explaining the future?
- What causal sequences or processes might we expect to induce
significant changes in the ways that women and men enact gender
in their everyday interactions? For example, will people
respond to women and men the same? Will people consider
female and male friends the same? Will people be
indifferent to the sex composition of groups they participate
in, from a workplace to going out for a group evening?
- What might be the fate of the “family” as we move toward
full gender equality? How will families look
different? Will families have the same importance in
- How might female and male sexuality change on the road
toward gender equality?
- How are women’s typical expressions of aggression likely to
change with increased gender equality? What about
men’s? If you do not think they will become similar, how
do you explain the expected persisting difference?