Gender: Sociological Perspectives [7 ed.] 1138103683, 9781138103689

A landmark publication in the social sciences, Linda Lindsey’s Gender is the most comprehensive textbook to explore gend

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Gender: Sociological Perspectives [7 ed.]
 1138103683, 9781138103689

Table of contents :
Part I Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives
1 The Sociology of Gender: Theoretical Perspectives and Feminist Frameworks
2 Gender Development: Biology, Sexuality, and Health
Section 1 Biology and Sexuality in Gender Development
Section 2 Gender and Health
3 Gender Development: The Socialization Process
4 Gendered Language, Communication, and Socialization
5 Western History and the Construction of Gender
6 Global Perspectives on Gender
Section 1 Gendering Global Development
Section 2 Glimpses of Our Gendered Globe
Part II Gender, Marriage, and Families
7 Gendered Love, Marriage, and Emergent Lifestyles
8 Gender and Families
9 Men and Masculinity
Part III Gender and Social Institutions
10 Gender, Work, and the Workplace
11 Education and Gender Role Change
12 Religion and Patriarchy
13 Media
14 Power, Politics, and the Law
Section 1 Law and Public Policy 543
Section 2 Politics

Citation preview


A landmark publication in the social sciences, Linda L. Lindsey’s Gender is the most comprehensive textbook to explore gender sociologically, as a critical and fundamental dimension of a person’s identity, interactions, development, and role and status in society. Ranging in scope from the everyday lived experiences of individuals to the complex patterns and structures of gender that are produced by institutions in our global society, the book reveals how understandings of gender vary across time and place and shift along the intersecting lines of race, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, class, and religion. Arriving at a time of enormous social change, the new, seventh edition extends its rigorous, theoretical approach to reflect on recent events and issues with insights that challenge conventional thought about the gender binary and the stereotypes that result. Recent and emerging topics investigated include the #MeToo and LGBTQ-rights movements, gendered trends of COVID-19, political misogyny in the Trump era, norms of masculinity, marriage and family formation, resurgent feminist activism and praxis, the gendered workplace, and profound consequences of neoliberal globalization. Enriching its sociological approach with interdisciplinary insight from feminist, biological, psychological, historical, and anthropological perspectives, the new edition of Gender: Sociological Perspectives provides a balanced and broad approach with readable, dynamic content that furthers student understanding, both of the importance of gender and how it shapes individual trajectories and social processes in the U.S. and around the globe. Linda L. Lindsey is Senior Lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis and Professor Emerita of Sociology at Maryville University. Her teaching and research are under a gender and intersectional umbrella, including courses on diversity, inequality, globalization, and health and society. Publishing outlets include co-edited Women of Asia: Globalization, Development, and Gender Equity Sociological Quarterly, Preventing Ethnic Conflict, and Sociology, third edition. She presented at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing. A longtime volunteer, she works with agencies on behalf of women’s advocacy, health, and development. She is a past president of the Midwest Sociological Society and has been elected to Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in America.

Gender Sociological Perspectives SEVENTH EDITION

Linda L. Lindsey

Seventh edition published 2021 by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 Linda L. Lindsey The right of Linda L. Lindsey to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. First edition published by Prentice Hall 1990 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Lindsey, Linda L, author. Title: Gender : sociological perspectives / Linda L. Lindsey. Other titles: Gender roles. Description: 7th Edition. | New York City : Routledge Books, 2020. | Revised edition of the author’s Gender roles, [2015] | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2020023753 (print) | LCCN 2020023754 (ebook) | ISBN 9781138103689 (hardback) | ISBN 9781138103696 (paperback) | ISBN 9781315102023 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Sex role. | Sex role—United States. Classification: LCC HQ1075 .L564 2020 (print) | LCC HQ1075 (ebook) | DDC 305.3—dc23 LC record available at LC ebook record available at ISBN: 978-1-1381-0368-9 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-1381-0369-6 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-3151-0202-3 (ebk) Typeset in Berling and Futura by Apex CoVantage, LLC Visit the eResources:


Part I Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives


  1 The Sociology of Gender: Theoretical Perspectives and Feminist Frameworks


  2 Gender Development: Biology, Sexuality, and Health


Section 1 Biology and Sexuality in Gender Development  38 Section 2 Gender and Health  71

  3 Gender Development: The Socialization Process


  4 Gendered Language, Communication, and Socialization


  5 Western History and the Construction of Gender


  6 Global Perspectives on Gender


Section 1 Gendering Global Development  197 Section 2 Glimpses of Our Gendered Globe  206

Part II Gender, Marriage, and Families


  7 Gendered Love, Marriage, and Emergent Lifestyles


  8 Gender and Families


  9 Men and Masculinity


Part III Gender and Social Institutions 


10 Gender, Work, and the Workplace


11 Education and Gender Role Change


vi Contents

12 Religion and Patriarchy


13 Media


14 Power, Politics, and the Law


Section 1 Law and Public Policy  543 Section 2 Politics  570

Glossary599 References606 Index720

Detailed Contents

Prefacexxvi Acknowledgementsxxix

Part I Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives 1


The Sociology of Gender: Theoretical Perspectives and Feminist Frameworks3 Sociology of Gender  3  Basic Sociological Concepts  4  Key Concepts for the Sociology of Gender  5  Distinguishing Sex and Gender  6  Gender Inclusiveness 7 • Gender Roles  7  Sociological Perspectives on Gender  8  Levels of Analysis  8  Functionalism 8  Preview 9 • Preindustrial Society 9 • Contemporary Society 9 • Critique 10  Conflict Theory  11  Marx, Engels, and Social Class 11 • Contemporary Conflict Theory 11 • Gender and the Family 12 • Critique 12  Symbolic Interaction  13  Social Constructionism  14  Doing Gender 14 • Heteronormativity 15 • Doing Difference 15 • Dancing 16 • Critique 16  Feminist Sociological Theory  17  Intersectionality 18 • Backlash to Intersectionality 19 • Intersectionality and Science 20 • Reprise 20 • Feminist Perspectives on the Family 21 • Critique 21  Feminisms 21  Liberal Feminism  22  Socialist Feminism  23  Radical Feminism  24  Cultural Feminism  25 

viii  Detailed Contents

Ecofeminism 25  Global Feminism  26  Cyberfeminism 27  Emerging Feminisms  28  Feminism, Media, and Politics  29  Portrayals of Feminism  29  Television 30 • Politics 30  Case Study: Feminist for President, Vice President, and FLOUS in Election 2008  30  Hillary Rodham Clinton 31 • Sarah Palin 31 • Critique 32 • Michelle Obama 32  Feminism and the Political Climate  32  Feminist Progress  33  Women’s Movements as Feminist Success Stories  33  Women’s March on Washington 34 • #MeToo 34 • Moms Demand Action 35 • Movements with Feminist Solidarity 36 • Reprise 36  Key Terms  36 


Gender Development: Biology, Sexuality, and Health38 Section 1 Biology and Sexuality in Gender Development   38 Nature and Nurture  39  Margaret Mead  39  Critique 40 Evolution, Genetics, and Biology  40 Sociobiology 40 • Primates: Animal and Human 41 • Critique 42 • Cognitive Biology 42 • Male and Female Brains 43 • Critique 43 • Neurosexism 44  The Hormone Puzzle  45  Aggression 45 • Age 46 • Running too Fast 47 • Motherhood 48 • Critique 49  Sigmund Freud: Anatomy Is Destiny  49  Critique 50 • Feminism and Freud 50 • Psychoanalytic Feminism 50 • Nancy Chodorow 51  Gendered Sexuality  51  Ambiguous Sex, Ambiguous Gender  52  Intersex 52 • Sex Reassignment 52 • Transing 53 • Critique 55  Does Nature Rule? A Sex Reassignment Tragedy  56  Essentialist Shortcomings  56  Sexual Orientation  57  Queer Theory 58 • Asexuality 58 • Sex Partners 59  Global Focus: Third-Gender Cultures  59  South Asia 60 • Indonesia 60 • Native Americans 61 • Reprise 62  Sexual Scripts  62  Patterns of Sexual Attitudes and Behavior  62 

Detailed Contents  ix

Gender and Orgasm 63 • Critique 63 • Premarital/Nonmarital Sex 64 • Extramarital Relationships 64  Sexual Double Standard  65  Women and SDS  65  •  Masculinity and SDS  66  •  Sexuality in Later Life 68 • Critique 69  Nature and Nurture Revisited: The Politics of Biology  69  The Female Advantage in Evolution  69  Reframing the Debate  70  Section 2 Gender and Health  71  Revisiting Biology and Culture  71  Measuring Health and Well-Being  71  Till Death Do Us Part: Gender and Mortality  71  Global Patterns  74 In Sickness and in Health: Gender and Morbidity  76  Men and Morbidity 76 • Women and Morbidity 76 • Menstruation 77 •  PMS 77 • Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) 78 • HRT: Risks and Benefits 79 • Critique 79 • Body Studies 80 • Eating Disorders 81  LGBTQ Morbidity  82  Advocacy 82  Gendered Health Risks: Selected Causes  83  HIV/AIDS 83 • Men and HIV 83 • Women and HIV 84 • Global Focus: Women and HIV in the Developing World  85  •  Drugs and Alcohol  86  •  Study Drugs and Opioids 86 • Smoking 87 • COVID-19 88 • Gender and the Pandemic  88  •  Race, Gender, and COVID-19  89  •  Pandemic in a Pandemic 90 • Critique 91  Explaining Gendered Health Trends  91  Sex and Gender, Biology and Culture  91  Again, Masculinity  92  Challenging Gendered Health Risks: Advocacy  92  The Women’s Health Movement  93  Gender Bias in Research and Health Care  93  Androcentric Medicine 93 • Heart Disease 94  Progress in Women’s and Men’s Health  95  Empowerment for Health  95  Key Terms  96


Gender Development: The Socialization Process97 Gender Socialization and Cultural Diversity  97  Culture and Socialization  98  Adaptation 99  Gender Socialization: Intersecting Social Class and Race  99 

x  Detailed Contents

Asian Families 100 • Latino Families 100 • African American Families 100 • Raising Daughters 101 • Raising Sons 101 • Intersectionality 102  Theories of Gender Socialization  102  Social Learning Theory  102  Gender Socialization for Boys  103  •  Gender Socialization for Girls 104 • Critique 104  Cognitive Development Theory  105  Gender Identity 105 • Critique 106  Gender Schema Theory  106  Critique 108  Social Cognitive Theory  108  Critique 109  Reflections 110  Agents of Socialization  110  The Family  111  Do You Want a Boy or a Girl?  111  •  Gender Parity  111  •  Gender-Typed Wombs 112 • Gender Socialization in Early Childhood 113 • Gendered Childhood: Artifacts of Socialization 113 • Clothing 114 • Toys and Dolls 114 •  Barbies 115 • Sexualization and Action Figures 115 • Toys and Gender Scripts 116 • Gender-Neutral Toys 117 • Gendered Parenting 118 • LGBTQ Parenting 118 • Mom, Dad/Sons, Daughters 119  Peers and Preferences  120  Games  120  •  Shifts in Gendered Peer Behavior  122  School 122  Dick and Jane at School  122  •  Sociological Theory  123  Television 123  Television Teaches 123 • Sesame Street 124 • Cartoons 124 • Children’s Programs 125 • Advertising 125  Socialization for Gender Equity  126  Challenging the Binary  126  Androgyny 126 • Critique 127  Gender-Neutral Socialization  127  Raising Baby X 127 • Parents as Innovators 128 • Critique 128  Key Terms  129


Gendered Language, Communication, and Socialization The Generic Myth  131  Titles and Occupations  131  What’s in a Name?  133  Children’s Names  133  Linguistic Derogation  134 


Detailed Contents  xi

Gendered Language Usage  135  Registers 135  Female Register 136 • Male Register 137  The Language of Friendship  138  Gossip 138  Nonverbal Communication  139  Facial Expressions and Eye Contact  139  Smiling 139 • Anger 140  Touch and Personal Space  141  Space Invasion  141  The Female Advantage  142  Gender Online: Communication and Social Media  143  Men Online  144  Males and Social Media  145  Women Online  146  Females and Social Media  147  Global Focus: The Language of Japanese Women  148  Style and Syntax  148  Women in Business  148  Manga 149  Explaining Gendered Language Patterns  150  Dual-Culture Model  150  Critique 150  Dominance Model  151  Critique 151  Social Constructionist Model  152  Critique 153  The Impact of Linguistic Sexism  153  Cognition and Self-Esteem  154  Resistance to Language Change  155  Formal Change  155  Language Change as Gender Success  155  Key Terms  157


Western History and the Construction of Gender Placing Women in History  159  The Intersection of Gender, Race, and Class in History  159  Historical Themes about Women  160  Classical Societies  161  The Glory That Was Greece  161  Partnership 161 • Oppression 162 • Athens 163 • Sparta 164  The Grandeur That Was Rome  165 


xii  Detailed Contents

Male Authority 165 • Female Power 165  The Middle Ages  166  Christianity 167  Witch Hunts  168  Feudalism 168  Renaissance 169  Martin Luther and the Reformation  169  •  Critique  170  The American Experience  171  The First American Women  171  Gender Role Balance 171 • Tribal Leadership 172 • Colonization and Christianity 172  Colonial Era  173  Gendered Puritan Life  173  •  Witchcraft  173  •  A Golden Age for Colonial Women? 175  The Victorians: True Womanhood  175  Frontier Life  177  Industrialization 178  Race and Class 179 • Union Movement 180 • The Depression 181  World War II  182  Demand for Women’s Labor  182  •  Women’s Diversity in the Labor Force 183 • What About the Children? 184 • Japanese American Women 184 • Peacetime 185  The Postwar Era to the Millennium  186  The Women’s Movement  186  Early Movement: 1830–1890  188  The Seneca Falls Convention  188  •  Division and Unity  190  The Nineteenth Amendment  190  The Contemporary Movement  191  Second Wave Feminism  191  •  National Organization for Women 191 • Coalitions 192 • Third Wave Feminism 193 • Fourth Wave Feminism 194 • Critique 194  Key Terms  195


Global Perspectives on Gender Section 1 Gendering Global Development  197  United Nations (UN) and Development  198  Human Development and Gender Equality  198  Critique 198 • CEDAW 199  United Nations Conferences on Women  199  The Legacy of Beijing: A Personal Perspective  200  •  FWCW for Today  201  Women, Globalization, and Development  201  Rural Families  202  Bangladesh: A Neoliberal Globalization Case Study  202 


Detailed Contents  xiii

Critique 204  Women and Development  204  A Sociological WAD Model  204  Global Patterns of Gender (In)Equity  205  Patterns of Diversity and Similarity  205  •  Applying Gendered Patterns  206  Section 2 Glimpses of Our Gendered Globe  206  Russia 206  Central Asia  207  The Soviet Legacy and Contemporary Russia  207  Employment 207 • Collision of Family and Employment 208 • Fertility Politics 209  Marriage and Family  209  Family Values 209 • Independence 210  Masculinist Discourse  210  What is Feminine?  211  •  Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Violence  211  Feminism in Peril  212  Sexuality 212 • Dangerous Feminists 212 • Russian Feminism 213 • Critique 213  China 214  Reform and the Chinese Family  214  Footbinding 215 • Marriage 215 • Critique 216  The One-Child Policy: Gone But Not Forgotten  216  Son Preference 216 • Caregiving and Security 217 • Critique 217  The Gender Paradox of Neoliberal Globalization in China  218  Women’s Paid Labor  218  •  Women and the State  218  •  State Capitalism  219  India 220  The Religious–Political Heritage  220  The Social Reform Movement  220  The Gandhis and Nehrus  221  The Gender Gap in Human Development  221  Health 222 • Five Year Plans 222 • Gender-Based Violence 223  Feminism in an Indian Context  224  Feminist Strategies against GBV  224  Japan 225  The Occupation  225  Gender Equity and Public Policy  226  Gender Equality Bureau 226 • Demographic Crises 227  Marriage and the Family  228  Motherhood 228 • Critique 228 • Husbands and Fathers 229  Work and Family: A Nondilemma  230  Critique 231  A Japanese Woman’s Profile  231  Feminism 233  Work–Family Balance  233 

xiv  Detailed Contents

Latin America  234  The Gender Divide  234  Family Planning 235 • The Church 236  Latin American Women, Globalization, and Development  236  Feminist Agendas  237  Intersection of Class and Gender  237  Israel 238  Experiments in Equality  238  Kibbutz 238 • Military Conscription 240 • Critique 240  Family, Education, and Jobs Under a Religious Umbrella  241  Family 241 • Education 241 • Employment 242  Jewish Feminism  242  Golda Meir’s Legacy  244  The Muslim World  244  Islamization as Countermodernization  245  Afghanistan: Taliban and War 245 • Critique 246 • Iran: The Shah and Khomeini 247 • Veiling 247 • Toward Reform 248 • Women’s Arab Spring 248  The Arab Middle East  249  To Veil or Not to Veil  250  •  The Issue of Choice  251  North Africa: Female Genital Mutilation (Cutting)  251  FGM 251 • Critique 253  Nordic Nations  253  Norway 254  Sweden 254  The Equality Future  255  Key Terms  255

Part II Gender, Marriage, and Families 7

Gendered Love, Marriage, and Emergent Lifestyles

257 259

Love 260  Linking Love and Marriage  260  Friends and Lovers  261  Defining Love 261 • Distinguishing Love and Friendship 262 • Same-Gender Friends 262 • Other-Gender Friends 263 • Friends with Benefits 264  Gendered Love and Love Myths  264  Gender and Styles of Romance 267 • Men in Love 268 • Critique 268  Selecting Marriage Mates and Partners  269  The Marriage Gradient  269  Emerging Adults 269 • Intersectional Demographics 270 • Socioeconomic Status (SES) 270 • Age 270 • Older Women, Younger Men 272 • Age Gradient

Detailed Contents  xv

Intersections for Older Women 272 • Race 272 • Race, Ethnicity, and Gender 273 • Race and SES 273 • Attractiveness 274 •  Sociological Theory  274  The Marriage Squeeze  275  African American Women 275 • Critique 276  Gender Roles in Marriage and the Family  276  The Marriage Gap  277  Theoretical Perspectives on Gender, Marriage, and Family  279  Functionalism 280 • Critique 280 • Conflict Theory 281 • Critique 281 • Feminist Perspective 281 • Critique 282 • Symbolic Interaction and Social Constructionism 282 • Critique 283  Gender and the Family Values Debate  283  Critique 284  Housewives 285  Housewife Status  285  The Issue of Housework  286  Global Trends 286 • Dual Earners 286 • Multicultural Variations 287 • Shifting Work 288  Extramarital Relationships  288  Gender Differences 289 • Single Women 290  Gender in Emergent Marriages and Alternative Lifestyles  290  Cohabitation 290  Gender Differences  291  Single Life  292  Romance in Later Life 293 • Gender Differences 293 • Critique 294  Long-Distance Relationships and Marriages  294  Commuter Marriage 295 • Military Spouses 295 • Critique 296  Egalitarian Marriage  297  Scandinavia 297 • Partnership 298 • Equity Benefits 298  Key Terms  299 


Gender and Families


The Parenthood Transition  300  Motherhood 301  The Motherhood Mandate 302 • Functionalism 303 • Conflict Theory 303 • Challenging the Motherhood Mandate 304 • Voluntary Childlessness 304 • Feminism 305 • Critique 305  Fatherhood 306  New Fathers 307 • Children’s Development 307 • A Fatherhood Mandate 308  Parents as Dual Earners  308  Children of Employed Women  308 

xvi  Detailed Contents

The Child Care Crisis  309  •  Children’s Time with Employed Parents 310 • Critique 311  Helicopter Parents  311  Intrusion f/or Autonomy 312 • Hovering Moms 313  Gendered Families in Multicultural Perspective  313  African American Families  314  Ideology of Black Womanhood  316  •  Multiple Risks of Race, Class, and Gender  316  Latino Families  317  Puerto Rican Families 319 • Mexican American Families 320 • Cuban American Families 321  Asian American and Pacific Islander Families  322  Cultural Diversity 322 • Challenging Subordination 323  Native American Families  324  Divorce 325  Gender and Adjustment in Divorce  326  Gender Beliefs and Emotional Well-Being 326 • Age 326 • Employment 327  The Impact of Gendered Law in Divorce  327  Custody 327 • Joint Custody 328 • Gender and Coparenting 328 • What about the Children? 329 • Divorce and Poverty 329 • Dividing Assets 330 • Child Support 330 • Remarriage 331  Single-Parent Families  332  Mothers and the Single-Parent Household  333  Solo Parenting Mothers by Choice  334  Fathers and the Single-Parent Household  334  Gender Patterns in LGBTQ Families  335  Same-Sex Marriage  335  Gendering LGBTQ Families  336  Parenting 337 • Adoption 338  Egalitarianism 338  Lesbian Mothers  339  Gay Fathers  339  Coming Out  340  Emerging LGBTQ Families  341  Trans Families and Parenting  342  Key Terms  343


Men and Masculinity Historical Notes and Masculine Markers  345  Patriarchal Historical Standards  345  Between Wars: The Depression  346  War and Soldiering  346 


Detailed Contents  xvii

Korea and Vietnam 347 • Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan 347 • Suicide and Soldiering 348  Sports 349  Brutalized Bodies 349 • Sports Violence 350  On Masculinity  351  Hegemonic Masculinity  351  Masculinity’s Norms  352  Antifeminine Norm 352 • Interpersonal Relations 352 • Success Norm 353 • Gendered Occupations 354 • Intellectual Success 354 • Toughness Norm 355 • Aggression Norm 356 • Mass Shootings 356 • Sexual Prowess Norm 357 • Pornography 358 • Tenderness Norm 359 • Images to Reject or Accept? 359  Homophobia 360  Demography of Homophobia  361  Risks of Race and Ethnicity  361  •  Gender  362  Masculinity and Homophobic Labels  362  Gay Men 362 • Gay Rights 363  Masculinity and Fatherhood  363  Images of Fatherhood  364  Socialization 364 • Race and Ethnicity 365  Parents as Partners  365  Men at Childbirth  366  Divorce 366  Men at Middle Age and in Later Life  367  Retirement 367  Masculinity Matters  367  Midlife as Crisis  368  Women at Midlife  368  •  Men at Midlife  369  Widowhood 369  Widows 370 • Widowers 370  Gendered Violence  371  Rape 371  Statistics 371 • Profile of the Rapist 372 • Rape on College Campus 373 • Pornography and Rape 373  Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence  374  Why Doesn’t She Leave?  375  •  Sociological Perspectives on Sexual Violence  376  Men’s Movements in the United States  376  Men’s Movements: Rejecting Feminism  377  Mythopoetic Men 377 • African American Men 378 • Promise Keepers 378 • Men’s Rights Movements 379  Men’s Movements: Supporting Feminism  380 

xviii  Detailed Contents

National Organization for Men Against Sexism  380  •  LGBTQ Movement  381  Men’s Movements: Toward the Future  382  Key Terms  383 

Part III Gender and Social Institutions 10 Gender, Work, and the Workplace

385 387

Historical Overview  387  The Home as Workplace  388  The Industrial Revolution  388  •  Victorian Myths  389  •  War and Jobs  390  Balancing Multiple Work and Family Roles  391  Employment and Well-Being  391  Eldercare 392  Unpaid Work  393  Money and Mental Health 394 • Summary 395  Gendered Institutions in Employment  395  Influence of Family on Workplace  396  Socialization  396  •  The Child Care Crisis  397  •  Married with Children: The Demography of Career Achievement 398 • Career versus Job 398 • Employer Views 399  Economic Trends and the Family  400  Law and Public Policy  401  Family Leave 401 • Equal Pay 402 • Affirmative Action 402 • Comparable Worth 403  Gender and Unemployment  403  Recessions 404 • COVID-19 Recession 404 • Gender Gap 404 • Critique 405  Women in the Labor Force  405  Gender-Typing in Occupational Distribution  406  Men on the Escalator  408  •  Women in the Professions  409  •  Medicine 409 • Law 410 • STEM 410 • Summary 411 •  White-Collar Women 411 • Blue-Collar Women 412 • Blue-Collar Men  412  •  Job Ratios and Gender Beliefs  413  The Wage Gap  413  Triple Jeopardy: Gender, Race, and Social Class  415  •  Sexual Orientation: A Paradox? 415 • Human Capital Model 416 • Sociological Theory 417 • Summary 417  Corporate Women and Executive Leadership  418  Barriers to Corporate Success  418  •  Glass Ceiling  419  •  Advancement and Recruitment 419 • Performance and Profit 420 • Agency and Communion 420 •  Sexual Harassment 421 • Toward Corporate Success 421 • Diversity 422  Women Business Owners  422  Types of Business 423 • Work-Life Balance 424 • Corporate Deserters 425 

Detailed Contents  xix

Gendered Management Styles: The Partnership Alternative  425  Global Focus: Japanese Style Management  426  •  Critique  426  Global Focus: Women and Microenterprise  427  Women’s Entrepreneurship through Microcredit  427  Critique 428 • Neoliberalism and Microcredit 429 • Social Business 430  Key Terms  430

11 Education and Gender Role Change


A Brief Lesson in History  432  The Enlightenment  432  Progressive Education  433  The Gendered Educational Journey  433  Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education  434  Jane 434 • Dick 434 • Critique 435  Elementary and Middle School  436  Jane and the Gendered Curriculum  436  •  Dick and the Gendered Curriculum 437 • Critique 437  High School  438  The Paradox of Gender and Mathematics  438  •  Explaining the Paradox 439 • Social Class, Race, and Achievement 441 • Gendered Tracking and Vocational Education  442  •  Gender in the Hidden Curriculum  443  •  Athletics and Masculinity 444  Higher Education  445  The Gendered College Classroom  445  •  Major and Career Paths  446  •  Graduate School 449 • Academic Women 449 • Tenure 450  Gender Issues in Education  451  Shortchanged Students: Girls or Boys in Educational Crisis?  451  What about the Boys?  451  •  Assessing the Boy Crisis  452  •  College Entrance Exams  452  •  College Enrollment: Race, Social Class, and Age  453  •  What a Degree Buys 453 • Critique 455  Single-Gender Education  456  Girls in Single-Gender Classrooms  456  •  Boys in Single-Gender Classrooms 457 • Critique 457 • Social Climate 458  Gender Parity in College  459  College Admissions  459  Sexual Harassment in Schools  460  Bullying 460  Military Schools  461  Sexual Harassment or Bullying?  462  The Lessons of Title IX  462  Politics and Assaults on Title IX  463  Discrimination against Men? 463 • Critique 464  Global Focus: Closing the Gender Gap in Education in the Global South  465 

xx  Detailed Contents

Assessing Success  465  Sustainable Development Goals  466  Key Terms  466

12 Religion and Patriarchy


Rediscovering the Feminine Face of God  468  Goddess Images  468  Women’s Religious Roles 469 • Goddess as Creator 470 • Africa 470 • Asia 470  The Principle of Gender Complementarity  471  Critique 472  Islam 472  Feminist Views of Islam  473  Critique 474  Muslim Women in the United States  475  Hinduism 475  The Feminine in Hindu Scripture  475  Sati 476  Judaism 477  Family Life  478  Sexuality and Social Control  478  The Texts of Terror  478  Contemporary Images and Practices  479  Christianity 480  The Bible and Patriarchy  480  Paul’s Writings 481 • Biblical Men 482 • Progressive Views of Biblical Women 483  Gender Roles and American Christians  484  American Protestants 484 • Mormon Women 485 • Christianity and Politics 486  • American Catholics 486 • Scandal and Sexual Abuse 486  Gender, Religiosity, and Leadership  488  Gender and Religious Orientation  488  Sociological Perspectives  488  The Issue of Ordination  489  Confucianism and Islam 490 • Judaism 490 • Christianity 491 •  Catholicism 492 • Protestantism 493  Clergy Women as Leaders  494  Toward Inclusive Theology  495  Language of Religion  495  God Language  496 • Reinterpretation of Scripture 497  Feminist Theology  498  Intersectionality 499  Key Terms  500

Detailed Contents  xxi

13 Media


Print Media  502  Magazines 502  Fiction 502 • Articles 503  Advertising 503  Stereotypes 504 • Sexualization 504 • Well-Being 505 • Resisting Magazine Images 505 • Subtlety and Subliminals 506 • Aging and Gender 507 • The Business of Beauty 507 • Critique 507  Film 508  Screen History  508  Good Women and Bad Women 509 • Sexual Violence 509  Pairing Sex and Violence  510  Aging Females, Ageless Males  511  Gender Parity and Film Portrayal  511  Critique 512  Music 513  Rock Music  514  Women of Rock 514 • Challenging Misogyny 515  MTV and Music Videos  516  Gender Ideology 516 • Race and Gender 517 • Critique 518  Television 518  Gendered Violence  519  Boys, Violence, Video Games  519  •  Women and TV Violence  519  Prime Time  520  Gender Profiles in Drama 520 • Invisible Women 521 • Intersecting Gender, Race, and Ethnicity 521 • Comedy 522 • Employed Women 522  Daytime Television  523  Soap Operas 523 • Reality TV 524  TV’s Gendered Exceptions  525  Commercials 526  Children’s Commercials  527  Men’s Images in Media  528  Advertising 528  Film 529  Television 530  Situation Comedies: Men in Families  530  TV’s Gender, Race, and Class Link  531  Middle-Class Men 532 • Working-Class Men 532 • Critique 533  Gender and Mass Media Industries  533  Television 534 

xxii  Detailed Contents

Broadcast Journalism  534  Sports 535 • Weather 535 • Critique 535  Film 536  Directors 536  Media and Social Change  537  Intersectional Media and Women’s Voices  538  Sportswomen 538  Changing for Profit and Social Responsibility  539  #MeToo 539 • Critique 541  Key Terms  541

14 Power, Politics, and the Law


Section 1 Law and Public Policy  543  Gendered Law and Policy  543  Employment 544  Bona Fide Occupational Qualification 544 • Disparate Impact 544 • Equal Pay Act 545 • Comparable Worth 545 • Critique 546 • Affirmative Action 547 • Gender–Race Intersection 547 • Courts 548 • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  549  Education and Title IX  549  Courts 550 • Athletics 550 • Benefits to Females 550 • Critique 551  Sexual Harassment  552  Impact of Sexual Harassment  552  •  Social Construction of Sexual Harassment  553  •  Sexual Harassment and the Supreme Court  554  •  Thomas– Hill 554 • Kavanaugh–Blasey Ford 555 • Critique 555 Domestic Relations  556 Divorce 557 • Family Economics 557 • Domestic Abuse and the Courts 558 • Gendered Rights and Liabilities 559  Reproductive Rights  559  Legal History 560 • Hyde Amendment 560 • Affordable Care Act 561 • SCOUS 562 • Pro-Life 562 • Pro-Choice 564 • Dialogue 564  Crime 565  Gender Socialization  566  Economics 566  Criminal Justice  567  Female Leniency? 567 • Intersecting Race and Gender 568 • Sex Work: A Case Study 568 • Critique 569  Section 2 Politics  570  Gendered Politics  570  The Political Gender Gap  571  Presidential Voting Patterns 572 • Gendered Issues 573 • Intersectional Voting 573 

Detailed Contents  xxiii

Gender and Public Office  574  Political Party 574 • Women in Office 574 • Appointments 575  Barriers and Opportunities for Female Candidates  576  Socialization Factors 577 • Beliefs about Women’s Roles 577 • Motherhood and Husbands 577 • Structural Barriers 578  Election Lessons: 2008 and 2012  578  Election 2008  579  •  The Primary Election  579  •  The General Election 579 • Election 2012 580 • Republican Messages to Women 580 • Democratic Messages to Women 581 • Critique 581  Election 2016: Referendum on Gender  581  Pivotal Intersections  581  •  Revisiting Gender and Electability 582 • Socially Constructing Electability 582 • Hillary Rodham Clinton 583 • Leadership 583 • Donald J. Trump 584 • Masculinity 584 •  Outright Sexism 585 • Racism or Sexism? 585 • Critique 587  Midterm Election 2018  588  Election 2020: Spotlight on Intersectionality  590  Electability 591 • Vice President Pick 592  HRC: The Hillary Factor  592  The Equal Rights Amendment  593  Ratification’s Rocky Path  594  New Christian Right  594  Issues of Interpretation  595  Military Service  595  ERA Coalition  596  Ratification 596  Feminism in the Twenty-First Century  597  Feminist Lessons  597  Support for Feminist Goals  597  Key Terms  598

Glossary599 References606 Index720


2.1 Life Expectancy by Race, Hispanic (Latino) Origin, and Sex, 2006–2017 2.2 New HIV Diagnoses for Most Affected Subpopulations by Gender, Race, and Sexual Contact, 2018 3.1 Baby Blues 7.1 Why Get Married? 7.2 Same-Sex Couples and Their Children 8.1 Racial and Ethnic Composition by Parent Type (%) 8.2 Percentage of Children Ages 0–17 By Presence of Parents in Household, 1980–2018 8.3 Percentage of Children in Poverty by Family Structure and Race and Hispanic Origin, 2017 10.1 Projected Decrease in Labor Force Participation 10.2 Women and Men in Selected Occupational Categories 10.3 Female Workers in the Tech Industry 10.4 The Gender Earnings Ratio, 1955–2018, Full-Time Workers 10.5 Declining Progress in Raising the Weekly Gender Earnings Ratio 10.6 Median Weekly Earnings of Full-Time Women and Men Workers by Race and Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity 11.1 Actual and Projected Numbers of Master’s and Doctoral Degrees Conferred by Sex, Selected Years and Projected to 2027–2028  11.2 Distribution of BA Degrees in Selected Fields of Study, by Sex: Academic Year 2016–17 11.3 Men and Women in College Major (%) by Pay 11.4 Annual Income by Educational Attainment and Sex, 2017  11.5 Earnings for Full-Time Workers by Education for Men and Women 13.1 Historical Comparison of Percentages of Behind-the-Scenes Women on Top 250 Films 14.1 Gender Gap in Party Identification, 1994–2017 14.2 Gender and Support of Candidate by Political Party of Candidate in Midterm Election 2018

74 84 117 261 278 314 332 332 394 409 411 414 414 415 446 447 448 454 454 537 588 589


2.1 Leading Causes of Death in the United States by Sex 2.2 Leading Causes of Death by Sex Ratio 2.3 Life Expectancy and Projected Life Expectancy to 2050 by Sex and World Region 4.1 Percent of U.S. Adults Who Use Each Social Media Platform, by Gender 7.1 Median Age at First Marriage by Gender, Selected Years 7.2 Marriage and Divorce Rate, Selected Years 7.3 Marital Status in the United States by Gender 2018 9.1 Myths of Rape 10.1 Projected Decrease in Labor Force Participation by Gender and Year (%) 10.2 Occupations with the Largest Pay Gap by Gender as % of Median Weekly Earnings 14.1 Testimonies to Senate Judiciary Committee, Anita Hill, 1991 and Christine Blasey Ford, 2018 14.2 Gender Gap in Presidential Elections, 1980–2016 14.3 Women in U.S. Congress, Selected Years

72 73 75 144 271 277 278 372 406 407 556 571 575


Extraordinary social change, made vivid by the global pandemic and Election 2020 in the U.S, continues to influence our personal, and professional, and social well-being. Gender, 7th edition effectively captures the profound gender effects of this change. Nearing the completion of this edition, a gender backdrop of the pandemic was exposed. Framed by intersectionality and relevant interdisciplinary content, the sociological story of gendered social change is narrated. This story unfolds in light of explosive gender-defined events such as the #MeToo and LGBTQ movements, resurging feminist activism (Women’s Marches) sexual assault allegations surrounding media moguls, religious leaders, and Supreme Court justices, the gender politics of Elections 2016, 2018, and 2020, the link between toxic masculinity and gun violence, and stalled or reversal of women’s progress as consequences of politics and globalization. Most gender issues, however, unfold under the radar, often in a community context. Content framed by the dominant sociological theories, the feminist perspective, and cutting-edge interdisciplinary research, takes readers on this more hidden journey, focusing on the unraveling of gender stereotypes. These include issues about paid and unpaid work, gendered leadership in corporations, intersectional risks for single parents, transgender children, and LGBTQ families, and perils associated with the gender binary. With multiple critiques of contentious material, Gender, 7th edition offers a provocative yet balanced accounting of gender in all social institutions. Students can locate themselves in abundant content on diversity and the intersection of gender with other social categories they occupy. Key sociological concepts are introduced early and reinforced throughout, providing the tools for students to tackle the complex gender issues that follow. Advanced students have their sociological expertise bolstered. Instructors in sociology and kindred disciplines will find Gender, 7th edition comprehensive and challenging with content that is readable and meaningful for students. This text offers springboard to delve deeper into gender topics—whether for class projects or research agendas—with hundreds of new scholarly references, media tools, and online resources.

TEXT SECTIONS: NEW AND EXPANDED MATERIAL Every chapter in Gender, 7th edition is updated and expanded. Given that topics overlap, cross-references appear throughout.

Preface  xxvii

Part I Reflecting the wealth of expanding sociological and interdisciplinary scholarship, sections take aim at the consequences of gender binary thinking in childhood development, language, sexuality, and health and well-being. A new section reflects the latest critiques on nature and nurture and the surging field of transgender studies. Trailblazing research unravels paradoxes about the simultaneous backlash and support for feminism and the persistence of, but ardent challenges to, gender stereotyping. Puzzles of sex and gender, parenting, and politics and media are spotlighted. Emerging feminisms in the United States are considered in light of a new section on gender-related flashpoints globally showing stalled progress but also empowering trends in the pursuit of gender equality. Part 1 includes new material on: • • • • • • • • • •

sociology’s fourth theoretical perspective, social constructionism, applied to heteronormativity and the gendered world of dance emerging feminisms and women’s success stories (Women’s March on Washington, #MeToo, Moms Demand Gun Action, LGBTQ rights) sex reassignment and gender affirmation, and the revised definitions and added categories of sexual identity that are altering views of sexuality converging, widening, or unchanging gender trends in death and sickness (opioid crisis, study drugs, heart disease, COVID-19) persistence of gender stereotyping (gender reveals, toys and TV for boys or girls), alongside an increasing number of parents who prefer gender-neutral child raising rapid progress against linguistic sexism (inclusive language, choices in pronouns, abandoning masculine generics) increased gendered social media and cyberfeminism’s challenges to it fourth wave feminists contesting and embracing previous waves an expanded model of women and development and gender consequences of neoliberal globalization, focusing on the Global South backlash to feminism in Putin’s Russia, rise of essentialism in China, upsurge of sexual violence in India, fundamentalist resurgence in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and stalled progress for women in Israel and Japan; feminist successes include women’s voices from the Arab spring, cracking of marianismo-machismo divide in Latin America, and sustaining gender equality in Nordic nations.

Part II Focusing on gender role patterns in partnering and in the families they create, this section offers the latest demographic and multicultural portraits of marriage, cohabitation, divorce, and single parenting in father-only and mother-only families. America’s emergent LGBTQ families, and couples and parents in long-distance relationships share their stories. Gendered dilemmas for egalitarian in dual-earning couples and families are highlighted. Significant new research on masculinity norms throughout social institutions emphasize challenges to traditional definitions of masculinity and how men respond to these challenges. Part II includes new material on: •

emerging gender patterns in selecting partners for marriage or long term relationships (age, SES race, attractiveness) and singlehood by

xxviii Preface

• • • • • •

evidence that employed mothers and dual-earning couples benefit a child’s well-being trends in momism and helicopter parenting trends in long distance relationships, including military families with deployed moms and/or dads gender roles in child-focused and egalitarian LGBTQ families couples desiring egalitarian marriages and partnerships but gender obstacles thwarting achieving them masculinity norms in light of toxic masculinity via the pandemic, #MeToo, and gun violence in the U.S. and decreasing homophobia in society but increased homophobic bullying in schools gatherings of men (men’s movements) according to whether they reject or support feminism and how they fare today

Part III Sociological insights on key gendered trends in the economy, education, religion, media, law, and politics frame this section. Given heightened public attention, women’s paid and unpaid work are accented as pivotal influences on how gender unfolds in all social institutions. Stalled progress on women in corporate leadership and in the STEM workforce is dissected. The final chapter on law and politics brings full circle material from the first chapter and topics discussed throughout the text. It provides the most current material on the consequential gendering of policy and politics. The gender–race intersection related to Supreme Court nominees and in Elections 2016 and 2020 is discussed and critiqued. This discussion is framed by the politics of misogyny in the Trump era. Part III includes new material on: • • • •

• •

widespread support to reduce the gender wage gap and to enforce the Equal the Pay Act but reduced support for affirmative action stalled progress on women ascending as corporate leaders stereotypes about women workers and motherhood by employers feminism and the voices of women in conservative religions (Orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, Islam) seeking ordination and leadership roles, and the priest shortage and sex scandals in Catholicism fueling support for women’s ordination the widening gender gap in STEM majors and increased sexual harassment in schools sustaining Title IX that is under political assault


The completion of this reshaped 7th edition of Gender relied on the time and talents of many people. Special gratitude goes to Tyler Bay, Sociology Editor for Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, who navigated me through the entire process just as the pandemic cancelled conferences and in-person meetings and our work and personal lives were upended. His support during this difficult time was very much appreciated. Thanks to Taylor & Francis editorial, production, and copyediting staff including Charlotte Taylor, Julia Hanney, and Liz Dittner who ensured the manuscript was clear and over two thousand new references were cross-checked for style and accuracy. I am grateful to my friend Laura Balluff for her attention to the details of additional copyediting and reference checks as the book expanded and deadlines loomed. Maryville University’s library offered outstanding women’s and gender resources, user-friendly material, and rapid access to up-to-date content that make this volume strong and meaningful to readers. I relied on Washington University with library access to its extensive collection throughout the pandemic. Daily links from the extraordinary SWS listserv allowed this edition to be as current as possible. SWS also provided much needed help for self-care during dispiriting pandemic days. This book is dedicated to the memory of Morris David Levin who passed during its writing. His lifelong friendship and emotional upkeep helped sustain me through many, many conversations about manuscript and writing crises (“make sure you save!”). He is sorely missed. I wish to thank my dear friend Nancy English (Fontbonne University) for a myriad of computer-related issues that usually emerged one minute before a deadline. She introduced me to new data techniques and cheerfully read and critiqued various chapter versions. I highly value her thoughtful, ongoing input to my work. My thanks to friends and colleagues who encouraged me through the long writing process. These include Marsha Balluff, Betty Buck, Sandra Christie, Bill Nagel, Mehrangiz Najafidadeh, Bob Ott, Deb Phelps, and Barb Snowadzky. Panera (aka BreadCo) in Kirkwood, Missouri offered respite from textbook fatigue. Even during months of social distancing BreadCo friends helped to reduce writing stress and COVID anxiety. They listened patiently, offered insights on gender from their own lives, and supported me as I finished this edition. These dear ones include Ann Biele, Nancy English, Bill Euwer, Judi Warnecke, and Wendy and Michael Zilm. Linda L. Lindsey St. Louis, Missouri


Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives


The Sociology of Gender Theoretical Perspectives and Feminist Frameworks

All causes, social and natural, combine to make it unlikely that women should be collectively rebellious to the power of men. They are so far in a position different from all other subject classes, that their masters require something more from them than actual service. Men do not want solely the obedience of women, they want their sentiments. —John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women, 1869 John Stuart Mill’s insights 150 years ago foreshadowed the explosion of resurgent global activism on behalf of women in the millennium. His comments spotlighted the oppression of women. The next century of sociological research, as well as that in allied disciplines, spotlighted gendered oppression. This transformative research profoundly influences not only our academic understanding of gender, but how it shapes the way advocacy and activism on behalf of women play out in the U.S. and across the globe. Traced to the political and economic maneuverings of powerful men, the last decade witnessed a resurgence of antiwomen sentiment and escalating violence directed at both women and minorities. Decades of progress toward gender equality have not been erased, but John Stuart Mill’s insights cannot be dismissed today. On the other hand, the resurgence of oppression is being met with the resurgence of feminism, bringing more women—and people representing all forms of diversity—into its ranks than at any time in American history. Gendered oppression also harms men. We will see that the revitalized feminist movement benefits men and women. Anthropologist Margaret Mead (Chapter 2), is attributed with saying, “every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man” (see Mead, 1967). This book echoes that sentiment.

SOCIOLOGY OF GENDER Sociology is interested in how human behavior is shaped by group life. Although group life is ordered (arranged) in a variety of ways, gender is a fundamental component of the ordering. The study of gender emerged as one of the most important trends in sociology in the twentieth century and that legacy continues today. The research and theory associated with studying gender issues propelled the sociology of gender from the margins to become a central feature of the discipline. All social interactions, and the institutions in which the interactions

4  Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

occur, are gendered in some manner. Accounting for this gendering has reshaped the theoretical and empirical foundations of sociology. On the theoretical side, gender awareness has modified existing sociological theory and led to the creation of a new feminist paradigm. On the empirical side, gender awareness has led to innovative research strategies and opened up new topics for sociological inquiry. Sociological research aided interdisciplinary initiatives in women’s and men’s studies and spawned a cascade of sexuality studies, much of it focused on gender variant people. This research opened up collaborations with activists across the globe, giving voice to women who were silenced because of gender oppression. Interdisciplinary research on globalization fuels new strategies to deal with its huge economic and social repercussions altering women’s lives (Chapter 6). To understand patterns of globalization and a changing political climate, for example, sociological analysis must account for gender. Other social science and humanities disciplines are following suit. Advocacy organizations and the therapeutic and health communities are incorporating gender trends in service to their clients and patients (Chapter 2). This book documents how sociologists contribute to understanding the influence of gender in shaping our lives, our attitudes, and our behavior. This understanding is enhanced by investigating not only the links between sociology and other disciplines, but by integrating key concepts such as race, social class, and sexuality to clarify gender relations. With this integration in mind, sociology advanced one of the most important thrusts shaping research, theory, and activism in gender since the mid-twentieth century. Intersectionality describes the process that combines risks from multiple positions associated with disadvantage that result in a matrix of domination and oppression. As the opening quote suggests, John Stuart Mill foreshadowed intersectionality in 1869. Intersectionality is pivotal to understanding gender patterns in sociology and will be highlighted throughout the text. Taken together, we will see that the sociology of gender is beholden to intersectionality, interdisciplinary research, and international (global) collaboration. We open with an examination of basic concepts and theories that lay the groundwork for our sociological journey into gender.

Basic Sociological Concepts Societies are structured around relatively stable patterns establishing how social interaction is carried out. One of the most important social structures that organizes social interaction is status—a position a person occupies that is a significant determinant of how she or he will be defined and treated. We acquire statuses by achievement, through our own efforts (graduating from college), or by ascription, being born into them (family name), or attaining them involuntarily (disease or disability). We occupy a number of statuses simultaneously, referred to as a status set, such as mother, daughter, attorney, patient, employee, and passenger. Compared to achieved statuses occurring later in life, ascribed statuses immediately influence virtually every aspect of our lives. The most important ascribed statuses are gender, ethnicity, race, and social class. Social class is also referred to as socioeconomic status (SES). Of course, SES can be altered but its ascription provides initial economic benefits (wealth), or liabilities (poverty), and social capital, resources from our network of social relationships (Chapter 7). Sexual statuses, such as those associated with gender variance, may or may not be ascribed or may or may not be achieved (Chapter 2). A status is a position within a social system and should not be confused with rank or prestige. There are high-prestige statuses as well as low-prestige statuses. In the United States, for example, a physician occupies a status ranked higher in prestige than a nurse. All societies categorize members by status and then

The Sociology of Gender  5

rank these statuses in some fashion, thereby creating a system of social stratification. People whose status sets are comprised of low-ranked ascribed statuses more than high-ranked achieved statuses are near the bottom of the social stratification system and are vulnerable to social stigma, prejudice, and discrimination. When status sets are inconsistent, risks or benefits associated with ranking may vary. How does a female physician compare to a male nurse? There is no known society in which the status of female is consistently ranked higher in all settings than that of male. A role is the expected behavior associated with a status. Roles are performed according to social norms, shared rules that guide people’s behavior in specific situations. Social norms determine the privileges and responsibilities a status possesses. Females and males, mothers and fathers, and daughters and sons are all statuses with different normative role requirements attached to them. The status of mother calls for expected roles involving love, nurturing, self-sacrifice, homemaking, and availability (on call) to her husband and children. The status of father calls for expected roles of breadwinner, disciplinarian, home technology expert, less availability to wife and children, and ultimate household decision maker. Society allows for flexibility in acting out roles, but in times of rapid social change, acceptable role limits are often in a state of flux, producing uncertainty about what appropriate role behavior should be. People may experience anomie—normlessness—because traditional norms have changed but new ones have yet to be developed. For example, for over a century the most important economic trend impacting gender roles in the United States is the massive increase of women in the labor force. Although women from all demographic categories contributed to these numbers, mothers with preschoolers led the trek from unpaid home-based roles, to full-time paid employment roles. As mothers, caregivers of elderly or infirm parents, and employees, women are often put in untenable positions with expectations that they can satisfy the needs of family and workplace simultaneously. Despite legal mandates and substantial evidence that traditional gender norms are harmful to women as mothers and as employees and are a disservice to businesses striving to hire and retain talented women workers, companies largely adhere to these norms. Companies have not meaningfully accounted for social change surrounding women’s expanded roles. As a result, family and workplace roles inevitably collide and compete with one another for the mother–employee’s time and attention.

Key Concepts for the Sociology of Gender Society applauds the statuses and roles that allow people to organize their lives in consistent, predictable ways. Along with accepted norms, these two factors prescribe behavior and ease interaction with diverse people from other social statuses, whether or not we know these people. Yet there is an insidious side to this predictable world: when norms become too rigid and narrowly defined, freedom of action is often compromised. These rigid definitions contribute to the development of stereotypes—oversimplified beliefs that people who occupy given statuses share traits in common. Stereotypes most often center on negative or pejorative views of a given group and are used to justify discrimination against members of that group. The statuses of male and female are routinely stereotyped according to traits assumed to be biologically based. Women are stereotyped as erratic and unreliable because of uncontrollable raging hormones that fuel emotional outbursts. Assigning these negative stereotypes results in sexism, the belief that the status of female is inferior to the status of male. Males are not immune to negative consequences of sexism, but females are more likely to experience

6  Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

it. Compared to males, for example, females occupy statuses associated with less power, less prestige, and less pay in the workplace or no pay for work in the home. Sexism is reinforced in systems of patriarchy, male-dominated social structures leading to the oppression of women. Patriarchy, by definition, exhibits androcentrism—male-centered norms throughout social institutions that become the standard to which all persons adhere. Sexism’s most vehement expressions are fueled by beliefs about female inferiority due to natural, unalterable biological forces. For centuries beliefs about women’s capability hinged on childbearing and a home-based domestic life constrained by motherhood and in service to her husband. Domestic servitude reinforced restricted opportunities for education and literacy. These restrictions made men guardians of what has been written, disseminated, and interpreted regarding the social placement (ranking) of men and women. Until quite recently, history was recorded from an androcentric perspective that ignored the other half of humanity (Chapter 5). This perspective sustained beliefs that patriarchy is an inevitable, inescapable fact and struggles for gender equality are doomed to failure. Women’s spectacular educational achievement comes with the power to engage in research offering alternatives to prevailing androcentric views. This scholarship suggests that patriarchal systems may still be the global norm, but they are not inevitable. Gender egalitarianism was a historical fact of life in some cultures and is a contemporary fact of life in others (Chapter 6). With taken-for-granted assumptions that make women and men “naturally” different, sexism is firmly implanted in patriarchal systems. Sexist ideology, therefore, justifies discrimination against females—members of the “inferior” sex (Chapter 2). Patriarchy and its androcentric foundation are further preserved when women are controlled through misogyny, the contempt and disdain of women that propels their oppression. Sexism offers an ideological justification for discrimination of women; misogyny can be said to police and enforce it (Manne, 2018:78). To keep women in their place, therefore, misogyny is used to demean and shame women. In this sense, a person may be a sexist but not necessarily a misogynist.

Distinguishing Sex and Gender As gender issues became mainstreamed in scientific research and media reports, confusion with the terms sex and gender decreased. In sociology, these terms are now fairly standardized to refer to different content areas. Sex refers to the biological characteristics distinguishing male and female. This definition emphasizes male and female biological differences in chromosomes, anatomy, hormones, reproductive systems, and physiology. Gender refers to social, cultural, and psychological differences between males and females that are associated with masculinity and femininity. Sex makes us male or female; gender makes us masculine or feminine. Sex is largely an ascribed status because a person is born with it, but gender is largely an achieved status because it must be learned. This straightforward distinction masks multiple issues associated with usage. It implies that people can be conveniently placed—or place themselves—into unambiguous either-or categories. Certainly, the ascribed status of sex is less likely to be altered than the achieved status of gender. Some people believe, however, that they were born with the “wrong” body and are willing to undergo major surgery to make their gender identity consistent with their biological sex. Sexual orientation, the preference for sexual partners and sexual attraction to one or the other gender (sex) or both, also varies. People who experience sexual pleasure with members of their own sex likely consider themselves masculine or feminine according

The Sociology of Gender  7

to gender norms. Others are born with ambiguous sex characteristics and may be assigned one sex at birth but develop a different identity related to gender. They may be reassigned to the other sex through surgery. Some cultures allow people to move freely between genders, regardless of their biological sex (Chapter 2).

Gender Inclusiveness These examples spotlight those whose identities do not match simplified sex and gender categories. Accounting for this categorical mismatch, LGBTQ is the inclusive term for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. Their lives are rejections of a gender binary, that males and females can be classified into two distinct, oppositional, nonoverlapping categories defined as masculine of feminine. Notice that this definition includes biological (male and female) and cultural (masculine and feminine) factors. In public opinion, the terms sex and gender are often conflated, and sex is a proxy for gender when no other information is provided. On the other hand, when sex and gender are measured with more information, such as what “male and female” refer to, compared to what “man and woman” refer to, people largely distinguish the terms. Male/female = biological qualities; man/ woman = sociocultural qualities (Bittner and Goodyear-Grant, 2017). Another significant distinction is that sexual majority (heterosexuals) emphasize more biological content in both sex and gender; LGBTQ people emphasize more sociocultural content. Many people do not identify with the conventional binaries of either sex or gender and perceive the terms through their own sexual identities. Researchers are accounting for non-binary identities by expanding options for people to categorize themselves according to gender (Geist et al., 2017; Schudson et al., 2019). Unless sex is discussed in a specific biological context, gender has steadily become the general, accepted referent in research. People do not like to be “put in boxes.” Scientists, however, need terms to classify people by certain characteristics, but the devised terms must be meaningful for scholarship and acceptable to the people in the categories under discussion. The concepts of sex and gender are fraught with ambiguities. When used as binary categories, not only is scientific understanding distorted, but such usage is a disservice to multitudes of people in the LGBTQ community who identify as “gender variant.”

Gender Roles From a sociological perspective, we are concerned with gender and how it is learned, how it changes over time, and how it varies between and within cultures. Gender is both non-binary and fluid, viewed on a continuum of characteristics people may act on regardless their biological sex. Adding the concept of role to either sex or gender increases confusion. When the sociocultural concept of role is combined with the biological concept of sex, it is difficult to determine what content is being discussed when subsumed under the label of sex role. Today gender role, rather than sex role, is standardized usage in sociology. Gender roles, therefore, are the expected attitudes and behaviors a society associates with each sex. This definition places gender in the sociocultural context. These issues will be detailed in Chapters 2 and 3, but problems of terminology will follow us—haunt us—throughout this book. From a sociological perspective, we are concerned with gender and how it is learned, how it changes over time, and how it varies between and within cultures.

8  Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON GENDER Sociologists explain gender according to several dominant theoretical perspectives, general ways of understanding social reality that guide research and provide paths for interpreting data. In essence, a theory is an explanation. Formal theories consist of logically interrelated propositions that explain empirical data, information derived from observations or experiences. For instance, data (a plural word) indicate that compared to men, women are more likely to be segregated in lower-paying jobs offering fewer opportunities for professional growth and advancement. Data also indicate that in the United States and globally, the domestic work women perform in or near their homes is valued less than the work men perform outside their homes. Why? Like sociology, the disciplines of biology, psychology, and anthropology offer explanations for gender-related attitudes and behavior. Not only do these explanations differ between disciplines, but scientists in the same discipline offer competing explanations for the same data; sociology is no exception. The best explanations account for the volume and complexities of data. Research on gender issues is rapidly accelerating and the best theories are interdisciplinary and intersectional. Sociological theory frames the book but also accounts for these trends.

Levels of Analysis Sociology’s theoretical perspectives on gender also vary according to level of analysis, the range of data collected and how data are explained. A macro sociological perspective on gender roles directs attention to large-scale social phenomena such as labor force, educational, and political trends that play out according to gender. A micro sociological perspective on gender is largely contextual, directing attention to small groups and the details of gender interaction, for example, between couples, in families, and in peer groups. A mezzo sociological perspective on gender draws attention to definitions of wider cultural norms that configure all social interaction. In this sense, the mezzo level is a bridge between the micro and macro levels. Media-inspired images of genders, for example, are transported to schools and workplaces and influence the activities of students, teachers, and employees. The theoretical perspectives unfolding in all three levels are being successfully combined to advance better explanations for attitudes and behavior related to gender. Early sociological perspectives on gender evolved from scholarship on the sociology of the family. These explanations centered on why the roles women perform in their households (private sphere) and men perform outside their households (public sphere) are associated with varying levels of power depending on if a man or a woman is carrying them out. To a large extent, early work on the family continues to inform sociological thinking on gender. The next sections overview the major sociological (theoretical) perspectives highlighting explanations for the gender–family connection.

Functionalism Dating to the early-nineteenth century, at the advent of sociology as an academic discipline in Europe and the U.S., functionalism rapidly became sociology’s most influential theoretical perspective. Also known as “structural functionalism,” it is a macro sociological perspective based on the premise that society is made up of interdependent parts, each of which

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contributes to the functioning of the broader society. A change in one part leads to a change in every other part. Functionalists seek to identify these parts (structure) and determine how each contributes to meeting basic social needs. Social stability—balance and equilibrium—are enhanced when parts work together effectively and efficiently. In the face of social change where accepted norms are disrupted, internal mechanisms—such as measures of social control—are mobilized to restore equilibrium. Both social control and stability are enhanced when people share similar beliefs and values. Functionalists highlight this value consensus as a key factor in maintaining or reestablishing social stability. When values shift too quickly normlessness can follow and social stability is threatened.

Preview These central ideas in functionalism set the stage for understanding how sociological theory frames gender and gender roles in marriage and the family. The central ideas of the theories that follow do the same. Functionalists focus on the family as the critical institution to instill values to children about the “proper place” of men and women in society. When children in all families learn and accept these values, society functions smoothly and any dire effects of social change will be minimized. In turn, the gender status quo is maintained in the family and wider society.

Preindustrial Society Functionalists suggest that social equilibrium in preindustrial societies was sustained by assigning different tasks to men and women. Given the hunting and gathering and subsistence farming activities characterizing most preindustrial societies before the late eighteenth century in Europe and fledgling America, role specialization according to gender was deemed a functional necessity. As hunters, men were frequently away from households for long periods, centering their lives on providing meat to the family. It was functional for women—­ limited by pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing—to shoulder domestic tasks near their homes as gatherers, subsistence farmers, caretakers of children, and guardians of their households. Survival depended on all family members helping with agricultural and domestic activities. Girls continued these activities even as boys reached the age they could hunt with the men. This rather uncomplicated functional division of labor was reproduced in cultures throughout the globe. Women may have been farmers, food gatherers, and producers of household necessities, such as candles, soap, and clothing, but were dependent on men for other food and protection. This dependence established a power and prestige hierarchy by which male activities and roles came to be more valued than female activities and roles.

Contemporary Society Despite being oversimplified, functionalist principles apply to contemporary families. Influential twentieth-century sociologists asserted that disruption is minimized, harmony is maximized, and families benefit when husband and wife assume complementary, specialized, nonoverlapping roles (Parsons and Bales, 1955; Parsons, 1966). When the husband–father takes the (traditional) instrumental role, he is expected to maintain the physical integrity of the family by providing food and shelter through breadwinning and linking the family to the

10  Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

world outside the home. When the wife–mother takes the (traditional) expressive role, she is expected to cement relationships and provide emotional support and nurturing activities that ensure a smoothly running household. If there is too much deviation from these roles or there is too much overlap, the family is propelled into a state of imbalance that threatens its survival as a unit. If too many families abandon these traditional roles too quickly, stability is threatened. Supporters of functionalist assumptions argue, for instance, that if gender roles in the family are too ambiguous, the risk of divorce increases. Indeed, there are dire consequences for interfering with established gender roles.

Critique It is apparent that functionalism’s emphasis on social equilibrium—maintaining the status quo at all costs—makes it an inherently conservative theoretical perspective. This image is reinforced by its difficulty in accounting for a variety of existing family systems and a torrent of new family forms (Chapter 8). Functionalism is not keeping pace with rapid social change, moving families to adopt more egalitarian gender roles. To the dismay of scientists, theories and the research on which they are based are routinely distorted in popular culture and used to support a range of ideologies. At its rudimentary level, functionalism has been a justification for straight, white, male dominance and gender stratification harmful to men and women of color and those with gender variant identities. In the United States, functional analyses were popularized in the 1950s when, weary of war, the nation latched onto a traditional, idealized version of family life and attempted to reestablish not just a prewar, but a pre-Depression, existence. Functionalism tends to support a white middle-class family model emphasizing the “different spheres” economic model of male head of household, and his female subordinate. Women function outside the home as a reserve labor force, such as needed labor in wartime. This model does not apply to poor women and single parents who are employed by necessity to maintain household survival. It may not apply to African American women, who by choice are less likely to separate family from employment, and who derive high satisfaction from both. Research also shows that gender specialization of household tasks in contemporary families is more dysfunctional than functional. Women relegated to family roles that they see as restrictive, for example, are unhappier in their marriages and more likely to opt out of them. Despite tension associated with multiple roles and role overlap, couples report high levels of gratification, self-esteem, status security, and personally enriched lives (Chapter 8). Contemporary families do not fit functionalist models. To its credit, functionalism offers a reasonable explanation for the origin of gender roles and the usefulness of assigning tasks on the basis of gender in subsistence economies or in regions in which large families are normative and children are needed for agricultural work. Contemporary functionalists also acknowledge that strain occurs when there is too sharp a divide between the public and the private sphere, particularly for women. They recognize that such a divide is both artificial and dysfunctional, particularly when families must cope with massive social change accompanying globalization (Chapter 6). A globalized economy calls for high achieving career women who also accommodate their families. Although the downside is that a “superwoman” status creates tension due to role overload, it is impossible to dismiss the functional utility of her status inside and outside the home. Finally, neofunctionalism accounts for multiple contexts and interdependence of gender relations—biological,

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psychological, social, and cultural. A functionalist examination of these contexts allows us to understand how female subordination and male superiority are reproduced and defended across the globe.

Conflict Theory The macro sociological perspective of conflict theory, also referred to as “social conflict theory,” in important ways reflects opposing assumptions about social order and social change compared to functionalism. Unlike functionalists, who believe that social order is maintained through value consensus, conflict theorists assert that it is preserved through power one social class holds over another.

Marx, Engels, and Social Class Rooted in the writings of Karl Marx (1818–1883), conflict theory argues that society is a stage on which struggles for power and dominance are acted out. The struggles are largely between social classes competing for scarce resources, such as control over the means of production (land, factories, natural resources) and distribution of resources (money, food, material goods). Capitalism thrives on a class-based system that consolidates power in the hands of a few men of the “ruling class” (bourgeoisie) who own the farms and factories that workers (proletariat) depend on for their survival. The dominant class maintains power over the subordinate class by extracting as much profit as possible from their work. Only when the workers recognize their common oppression through class consciousness can they unite and amass the resources necessary to seriously challenge the inequitable system in which they find themselves (Marx and Engels, 1848/1964; Marx, 1867/1976). The first widescale test of Marxian beliefs was in the Soviet Union, formed five years after the 1917 “October Revolution” in Russia led by Vladimir Lenin, eventually propelling Joseph Stalin to power in the 1920s. The Soviet Union enveloped Russia, Eastern Europe, and much of Eurasia, until its demise in 1991. Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) applied Marxian assumptions to the family and, by extension, to its gender roles. He suggested that the master–slave, exploiter–exploited relationships in broader society, between bourgeoisie and proletariat, are translated to the household. So-called “primitive societies” were highly egalitarian because there were no surplus goods— and hence, no private property. People consumed what they produced. With the emergence of private property and the dawn of capitalistic institutions, Engels argued that a woman’s domestic labor is “no longer counted beside the acquisition of the necessities of life by the man; the latter was everything, the former an unimportant extra.” The household is an autocracy, and the supremacy of the husband is unquestioned. “The emancipation of woman will only be possible when women can take part in production on a large social scale, and domestic work no longer claims but an insignificant amount of her time” (Engels, 1884/1942:41–43).

Contemporary Conflict Theory Later conflict theorists refined original Marxian assertions to reflect contemporary patterns and make conflict theory palatable to those seeking social change in the direction of egalitarianism but not through revolution as outlined by classical Marxism (Dahrendorf, 1959;

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Collins, 1975, 1979). These conflict theorists assert that social institutions such as the family, economy, and government are based on the dominance of some groups over others. Conflict is not based simply on class struggle and the tensions between owner and worker or employer and employee; it occurs on a much wider level among almost all groups. These include parents and children, husbands and wives, young and old, sick and healthy, people of color and whites, heterosexual and LGBTQ, and females and males. Any group defined as a “minority” according to their lower levels of resources are subject to exploitation by a “majority group,” those with a higher level of resources. The list is infinite.

Gender and the Family Conflict theory focuses on the social placement function of the family that deposits people at birth into families who possess varying degrees of economic resources and social capital. People fortunate enough to be deposited into wealthier families will work to preserve existing inequality because they clearly benefit from the overall power imbalance. Social class endogamy (marrying within the same class) and inheritance patterns ensure that property and wealth are kept in the hands of a few powerful families. Beliefs about inequality and power imbalance become institutionalized—accepted and persistent over time, thus defined as legitimate by both the privileged and the oppressed. The notion that family wealth is deserved and those born into poor families remain poor because they lack talent and a work ethic is reproduced. The structural conditions that sustain poverty are ignored. When social placement operates through patriarchal and patrilineal systems, wealth is further concentrated in the hands of males, and female subservience, neglect, and poverty expand. Contemporary conflict theorists match Engels’ contention that when women are wage earners, they can leverage power inside their homes. In turn, this leverage leads to more egalitarian marriage and family arrangements. The conflict perspective is supported by research showing that a woman’s household work, especially caregiving, affects her paid work in multiple ways, including work experience, advancement, seniority, location of workplace, and hours worked per week. All of these are linked to the gender gap in earnings (Chapter 10). Those lacking the resources to demand sharing household burdens or purchasing substitutes, perform undesirable work disproportionately. Since household labor is unpaid and associated with lack of power, the homemaker (wife) shoulders the vast majority of domestic tasks. The more powerful spouse performs the least amount of household work, including child care.

Critique Conflict theory is criticized for overemphasis on the economic basis of inequality and assuming inevitable competition between family members. It tends to dismiss consensus between spouses or partners regarding task allocation. More important, paid employment is not the panacea envisioned by Engels to overcome male dominance in and outside the home. The gendered division of household labor does not translate to a reduction in the gender wage gap or reduced in-home responsibilities. The former Soviet Union had the highest percentage of women in paid employment in the world, but more household responsibilities than women in many other countries, and earned two-thirds of the average male income. In post-Communist Russia, there is no change in women’s domestic work, but women now earn less than half of men’s average earnings (Chapter 6). Research is unequivocal that even in cultures

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with increased gender equity in the workplace, employed women globally take on second and third shifts of domestic work after returning home (Chapter 8). Conflict theory is associated with the idea that men as a group intentionally organize themselves to keep women in subordinate positions. However, many unorganized or unintended social forces come into play when explaining gender stratification. Functionalism’s bias against social change might be matched with conflict theory’s bias for social change. This bias is less of a problem for conflict theory, however, particularly when stripped of some Marxian baggage. Contemporary conflict theory has made strong inroads in using social class to further clarify the gender–race–class link in intersectional analysis. Class advantages for some people of color may override race disadvantages. Sexism is brought into the mix by conflict theory. Most people are uncomfortable with sexism and patterns of gender inequity that harm both women and men. Women are denied opportunities to expand instrumental roles offering economic parity with men outside the home; men are denied opportunities for expanding expressive and nurturing roles inside the home. At the ideological level, sociological conflict theory has been used by activists to reduce racism, economic-based disparity (classism), sexism, heterosexism, and ableism, and discrimination due to disability or disease (Bericat, 2019; Scambler, 2019; Velez et al. 2019). As conflict theorists move beyond class-based approaches and engage in more intersectional analyses, the perspective is probably the strongest to account for multiple oppressions. Contemporary conflict theory lays the foundation for many, if not most, macro-level analyses in gender studies in the U.S. and globally.

Symbolic Interaction Symbolic interaction (SI), also called the interactionist perspective, is at the heart of the sociological view of social interaction at the micro level. It is a highly contextual explanation for interaction, accounting for details of the setting. With attention to people’s behavior in face-to-face social settings, symbolic interactionists explain social interaction as a dynamic process in which people continually modify their behavior as a result of the interaction itself. Herbert Blumer (1900–1987), who originated the term symbolic interaction, asserted that people do not respond directly to the world around them, but to the meaning they bring to it. Society, its institutions, and its social structure exist—that is, social reality is bestowed— only through human interaction (Blumer, 1969). Reality is what members agree to be reality. People interact according to how they perceive a situation and act accordingly. A key step in the interaction process is how people think others who are there also understand the encounter. Each person’s “definition of the situation” influences others’ definitions. To illustrate symbolic interaction’s emphasis on reasoned, shifting behavior, I developed the concept end point fallacy, asserting that the negotiation of social reality is an ongoing process in which new definitions produce new behavior in a never-ending cycle. The end point fallacy is an excellent way to explain the inconsistencies between people’s behavior as they move from setting to setting. We have latitude in the way we act out our roles. Because the context of the interaction is a key determinant of role performance, the role performance that is appropriate in one context may be inappropriate in another. Cultural norms are modified whenever social interaction occurs because people bring their own definitions about appropriate behavior to the interaction. These definitions shape the way people see and experience their group lives in the daily worlds they occupy.

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Social Constructionism Social interaction is also governed by norms that are largely shaped by culture. Because social constructionism (SC) accounts for “outside” cultural cues that invade interaction, it is wider in scope than symbolic interaction. As a mezzo perspective it bridges the contexts of interaction at the micro level with larger cultural patterns at the macro level. Despite differences in scope, both SC and SI share features that strengthen their explanations. The most important feature is the social construction of reality—the shaping of perception of reality by the subjective meanings brought to any experience or social interaction. Consistent with Herbert Blumer’s view, every time social interaction occurs, people creatively “construct” their own understanding of it—whether “real” or not—and behave accordingly. Concepts such as gender, therefore, must be found in the meanings (constructs) people bring to them (Deutscher and Lindsey, 2005:5). Taking hold during early socialization, these constructions emanate from a variety of sources, such as our families, schools, and media (Chapter 3). Consistent with SC, all these sources provide cultural guidelines for how we carry out our roles. Consistent with SI, they are selectively chosen and acted on in various contexts. Social constructionism is also consistent with the end point fallacy because the definitions are never completely rigid; they are always in a state of flux. Workplace definitions of “gender appropriateness,” for example, are modified when men and women replace one another in jobs that earlier were defined as “gender inappropriate.” Today nursing and elementary school teaching for men and science and soldiering for women are more likely to be socially constructed as normative and gender-appropriate jobs.

Doing Gender This idea of what is appropriate or inappropriate for gender is extended in ways consistent with both social constructionism and symbolic interaction. Concepts used to collectively categorize people—such as race, ethnicity, and gender—do not exist objectively, but unfold through a socially constructed process. Gender emerges not as an individual attribute but is “accomplished” in interaction with others. People, therefore, are doing gender (West and Zimmerman, 1987). In “doing” gender, symbolic interaction takes its lead from Erving Goffman (1922–1982), who developed a dramaturgy approach to social interaction. Goffman maintained that the best way to understand social interaction is to consider it as an enactment in a theatrical performance. People are evaluated according to how well they meet cultural norms and expectations about gender. Doing gender, therefore, is also inherent to social constructionism. Like actors on a stage, we use strategies of “impression management,” providing information and cues to others that present us in a favorable light (Goffman, 1959, 1963, 1971). Think about the heterosexual bar scene where men sit at the counter and operate from a script where they are expected to make the first move. If a woman is with friends, she must disengage herself if she is “selected” by the man. It is probable that the women drove separately. These scripts may be modified by sexual identity but still play out in socially constructed ways. The LGBTQ community learns sexual scripts that account for a wider range of identities that crosscut many sex and gender categories (Chapter 2). Television also illustrates these concepts. Although there are many cultural variations, TV lays out gender-scripted rules for accepting or rejecting hookups that are negotiated and acted upon in bars and meet-ups for singles of all sexual persuasion for viewers across the globe. Early childhood classrooms are gendered by space and the activities in the spaces (Chapter 11).

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Despite well-intentioned teachers wanting to bring boys and girls together to enhance learning, children quickly learn which spaces are appropriate for boys and which are appropriate for girls. If a child ventures into the other gender’s space, they adapt their activities according to which gender “owns the space” (Delfin, 2019). Since young children self-segregate in school, teachers may find it easier to allow separate experiences for girls and boys. In doing so, however, gender differences are reproduced and efforts at gender equality are stalled. Gender is structured by one set of scripts designed for males and another designed for females. Although scripts for doing gender permit a range of behaviors, a typical result is that the labels we use for gender promote a pattern of between-sex competition, rejection, and emotional segregation. This pattern is reinforced by routinely referring to the other sex (gender) as the opposite sex. Men and women label each other as opposite to who they are and then behave according to that label. This kind of “doing gender” serves to separate rather than connect the genders.

Heteronormativity Gender and sex are contested categories (Chapter 2). In social interaction, however, people script their behavior, often inadvertently, according to both categories. Heteronormative scripts mark heterosexuality as the proper sexual orientation and sustain power differences between women and men, and between players who may define themselves in one or more LGBTQ categories. Combined with persistent taken-for-granted homonormativity, gender-based binary cultural scripts frame all sexual encounters. Heteronormative is being challenged among young adults who are more accepting of gender non-conforming people, but with media reinforcement its ideology remains dominant (Duncan et al., 2019; Gamble, 2019; Thorne et al., 2019). For sexual scripts to be acted on, “gender” must first be determined. “Determining gender” is achieved by “authenticating another person’s gender identity” (Westbrook and Schilt, 2014:33). This process begins under a heteronormative umbrella (social constructionism) but may be transgressed by those in the interaction who “agree” on who everyone “is” and what is expected to occur (symbolic interaction). Men in all sexual categories are evaluated by other men (and women) according to the degree in which they adhere to masculinity norms (Chapter 9). Although these evaluations may challenge rigid gender norms, they reinforce binary beliefs about gender and disparage attempts to defy heteronormativity.

Doing Difference Men and women in various social networks—formed at school, work, and in volunteer ­activities—further illustrate the doing gender process. From early childhood, gender segregation becomes the standard in social networks. Gendered subcultures emerge, perceptions of gender differences are strengthened, and the common ground that forms intimate, status-equal friendships between the genders is eroded. Differences rather than similarities are more likely to be noticed, defined, and acted on. When cross-gender social interaction occurs, such as in the workplace, it is between men and women who are not likely to be in statuses with similar levels of power and prestige. Once the genders are socially constructed as different, it is easier for those with more power (men) to justify inequality toward those with less power (women). Social difference is constructed into social privilege that reinforces gender norms.

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Dancing On the other hand, the dance floor offers a space for doing difference that challenges and subverts gender norms. Dance is highly gendered. Ballroom dancing, waltzing, tangoing, and ballet, for example, are enacted by prescribed, rigid gender roles. He leads, she follows; he lifts, she is lifted; his movements are sharp, hers are flowy; he is not drab in clothing, but she is definitely more glittery, with a lot of feathers and ruffles. Men’s dominance in these dance genres serves to reduce the femininity that males—and dance audiences—may see as assaults on traditional masculine norms. Dance teachers inadvertently valorize the physical and psychological traits associated with male strength and psychological “coolness” (Christofidou, 2018; Clegg et al., 2018). Girls outnumber boys 20 to 1 in dance classes. These numbers are reflected in the highly competitive ballet world. Males have less competition than females for prized slots, but both are constrained by gender in dance norms. Innovation is less prized than is gender tradition. These traditional dance genres are in flux. Men are performing dance roles that for centuries were assigned to women. Women are showing off their physical prowess by leaping higher and twirling more than ever. Same-gender ballroom dancing and reversed male and female roles in theatrical dance are being ushered into dance settings. Men and women learn to lead and learn to follow (Mainwaring, 2019; Peterson, 2019). In challenging gender norms, however, it is taking more time for ballroom dancing and ballet to catch up to street dance, hip-hop, and dance clubs catering to styles of dance on a rotating basis—the Lindy Hop one night, to swing, Charleston, or jitterbug on other nights. People dance in costumes of the era; cross-dressing is frequent and accepted, drawing spectators and novice dancers. In “performing difference,” dancers and spectators alike take advantage of the excitement and innovation offered in these “third spaces” (Swing, 2018; Anttila et al., 2019). Given that the LGBTQ community is at the forefront in creating third spaces, a form of activism via dance garners support for gender-nonconformity. Gender is not erased, but intentionally doing difference on the dance floor certainly disrupts gender norms for exciting and pleasureful experiences.

Critique Explanations for doing gender framed through symbolic interaction and social constructionism focus on agency in choices of behavior. Symbolic interaction’s highly contextualized approach needs to account for processes that often limit choice of action and prompt people to engage in gendered behavior that counters what they would prefer to do. This focus may undermine fluidity to recast gender norms in ways that benefit both men and women. Divorce can allow for “redoing” gender—housework, parenting, and breadwinning roles are abandoned out of necessity rather than choice. In the lives of former spouses and their children, however, dealing with the trauma of divorce may be easier by adhering to traditional gender roles as much as possible. Divorce, therefore, also offers the option for “undoing” gender but it is often “redone” to match previous gender arrangements in the family. For social constructionism, cultural norms remain significant structural forces that constrain choices of behavior. In some cultures, for example, women and men are directed by both law and custom to work in certain occupations, marry people they would not choose on their own, and be restricted from attending school. Larger social structures also explain family dynamics. Men and women interact as individual family members and according to other social roles. Interaction shifts with the prestige associated with all these roles. For example, a

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wealthy white man with a powerful corporate position does not dissolve those roles when he walks into his home. They shape his life at home, in the workplace, and in other social institutions. Race, class, and gender offer privileges bestowed by the broader society that create a power base in his home. Power and privilege can result in a patriarchal family regardless of the couple’s desire for a more egalitarian arrangement. Both symbolic interaction and social constructionism must account for definitions of gendered behavior, appropriate or not, prompting people to believe inequality (patriarchy) is inevitable. Regardless of how fluid it may be on the surface, a gender binary is still set up. Are the men and women on the dance floor “redoing” or “undoing gender?” Are transgender dancers incorporated just for the sake of “edgy politics?” (Schaefer, 2017) In the micro worlds of post-divorce homes or in dance clubs, are traditional scripts modified enough to say that gender is “undone?” Gendered scripts invade dance space even as its boundaries are transgressed. Dancers may be redoing and undoing gender simultaneously. If gender can truly be undone, then it must go beyond choices of individual identity and performing roles in various contexts shaped by gendered cultural norms (micro and mezzo levels). It must also be multi-structural, with efforts at undoing gender in all social institutions (macro level) (Risman, 2018). The best explanations for gendered behavior account for all levels. All sociological theories lead to some final questions. Is doing gender unavoidable? Society’s gender binary sets up social inequality. If we can do, redo, and undo gender, can we— and indeed, should we—deliberately degender our lives? As Judith Lorber (2005:5–6) points out, this does not mean thinking about gender goes away, but it recognizes gender complexity and how gender intersects with other statuses. Regardless of potential benefits, the notion of “degendered” lives at first glance seems impossible and impractical. With revolutionizing sexuality research at the forefront, however, the impossible may become plausible (Chapter 2).

Feminist Sociological Theory By calling attention to the powerful impact of gender in the social ordering of our relationships (micro-level analysis), how they are socially constructed (mezzo-level analysis), and gender patterns in social institutions (macro-level analysis), the feminist theoretical perspective in sociology is a major paradigm significantly reshaping the discipline. The paradigm is shaped by feminist sociologists who identify and critique androcentric patterns in sociology and other social sciences. Indeed, in tracing the development of sociological theory, the voices of dominant white, Western males are heard, and the contributions of non-Western sources and female voices are at best marginalized (Alatas and Sinha, 2017:1). Scholars and activists disagree about elements to include in feminist sociological theory but the consensus is that it must explain gender in relation to power and oppression and use these explanations to challenge a status quo disadvantageous to women. Because power relationships are at the core of the feminist paradigm, it is a strong partner with conflict theory. Both perspectives assert that structured social inequality is preserved by ideologies accepted by both the privileged and the oppressed. Only when oppressed groups gain necessary resources can these ideologies be challenged. In challenging the prevailing system, feminists focus on women and their ability to amass resources in their individual lives and through social and political means. Feminists work as academics, researchers, journalists, and activists to advance women’s empowerment—the ability of women to exert control over their own destinies. Empowerment for women is connected to increased confidence, strength, and resilience.

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Feminist theory also resonates with symbolic interaction and social constructionism. Unequal power relations between men and women can be interrogated from the point of view (definition of the situation) of women who are “ruled” by men in many settings. For example, ambitious corporate women need to practice impression management based on gender norms in their corporate setting, but at the same time need to maintain a sense of personal integrity. Corporate women who are recognized for other roles, such as serving on non-profit boards or in high profile voluntary service, bring these positive portrayals to their office. The feminist perspective accounts for ways to empower these corporate women by clarifying the relationship between the label of “feminine” (symbolic interaction) and how these women are evaluated inside and outside of their workplaces (social constructionism). Overall, feminist sociological theory collaborates well with most other sociological perspectives. A thoughtful reading of all the sociological perspectives should point out why functionalism is the theory which is most mismatched with feminist theory.

Intersectionality A fundamental contribution of the feminist perspective to the humanities and social sciences is its attention to intersectionality, the multiple oppressions of people with distinctive combinations of disadvantages based on gender, race, and social class. Although these three categories were the nodes of intersectionality, it has greatly expanded to account for other risks, such as sexuality, ethnicity, religion, and disability. The initial gender–race–class linkage in analyzing social behavior emerged with African American feminists in the 1960s; they recognized that an understanding of the connection between these multiple oppressions is necessary to determine how women are alike and how they are different. Three decades later, Kimberlé Crenshaw formalized this understanding using the term intersectionality, pointing to a “matrix of oppression” as a centerpiece of feminist theory. Crenshaw originally employed intersectionality in a legal and political context to describe discrimination and injustices of black women rooted in gender and race (Crenshaw, 1989, 1991). Black women’s experiences were obscured, making them legally invisible as well as increasing their vulnerability to racial and sexual violence. Intersectionality was a prism to bring to light dynamics within discrimination law that were disregarded by the courts. Crenshaw may have coined the term intersectionality that went viral three decades later, but black feminists already had it on a on a fast track. Building on the foundation of these earlier African American feminists, seminal work by Patricia Hill Collins (1990, 2000) further elucidated the powerful consequences of intersectionality. The gift of intersectionality is that its roots were in activism and social movements spurred by black women. For decades, they have been in the forefront of challenging social institutions … to create more equitable communities, families, and coalitions … Black women have been absolutely visionary when it comes to democratic participation, restructuring organizations, and resisting racially and gender-oppressive characterizations. (Wingfield, 2019: 346, 359) Feminists today are keenly aware that combined oppressions have multiple, synergistic effects. Identifying these effects opens up paths for activism to serve marginalized groups. Hearing the personal stories of women in these statuses is an important goal.

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Intersectionality in feminist theory also explains how overlapping categories define a person’s identity and potential for risk. While some categories come with advantages, such as whiteness, others come with jeopardy, such as poverty. Regardless of risk or benefit, intersectionality accounts for the overlap. For example, when the issue of poverty becomes “feminized,” it is defined primarily by gender—women are at increased risk of being poor compared with men. A focus on the feminization of poverty ignores the links between race, social class, and marital status that puts certain categories of women—such as single parents, women of color, and elderly women living alone—at higher risk than others. To explain poverty, racial and class oppression must be considered along with gender. Attention to these links spotlights the hidden, taken-for-granted power of privilege, the right to benefits or immunity granted to specific people or groups. When white middle-class feminists focus on oppression of women, they may not recognize the privileges that come with their own race and class. Intersectionality launched a seismic shift in feminist theory. It has expanded well beyond any specific configuration of risk to account for why some configurations carry more or less risk than others. Women are better served when interventions can be tailored to groups of women with similar configurations of oppression but also capitalize on any privileged statuses. Feminist activists use intersectional approaches to shape strategies to meet the needs of the constituencies they serve. Intersectionality’s attention to diversity that originated with the gender–race–class link has reverberated throughout sociology and other disciplines, generating a great deal of interdisciplinary research. For example, Collins’ work synthesized ideas from scholars, activists, and writers in the humanities, philosophy, and social sciences. Similar work opened new academic programs in men’s studies, and women, gender and sexuality studies. Feminist scholarship provides opportunities for men to view themselves as gendered beings and to make visible their concerns. Intersectionality’s research reach continues to expand as other sites of oppression are identified.

Backlash to Intersectionality Intersectional feminist theory has reverberated across disciplines with large sex and gender content areas. As intersectionality’s scholarship and activism continue to gain prominence, so do its critics. Some argue that intersectionality has been co-opted by disciplines such as business to justify profit from women’s underpaid labor in the guise of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Gender strategies vary in businesses according to whether CSR is proactive from an employee level or comes from management in a top-down fashion. CSR can be a tool for achieving gender equality at work or for cementing existing gender barriers (Georgeac and Rattan, 2019; Torres et al., 2019). Others battle over the ownership and origins of intersectionality to compete for funding for new programs in corporate universities. Intersectionality may be watered down or passed over by white women, including feminists, who are race-loyal. Some black feminists contend that intersectionality has been stolen and seek to reclaim its original analytic models (Cooper, 2018; Nash, 2019). Within feminist ranks the legacy of intersectionality is contested. In political realms, the right wing learned to fear intersectionality and wanted everyone else to fear it, too. Right-wing politicians and media lambast intersectionality, ironically, as privileging oppression and victimhood, often in the name of funding for dubious projects. As a form of identity politics, they assert that intersectionality applauds people for the number of victims

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groups they claim to belong to. Crenshaw herself is disturbed about “intersectional erasure ” in the Trump era. They focus on downward trajectories of white working class men, and beliefs that race and gender privilege provide better paid jobs for women of color. The fact that women of color are the people most impacted by deindustrialization and the defunding of public sectors these women disproportionally depend on, is ignored. Trump cultivates these messages, appealing to the anger of working class men (Columbia Law School, 2017). Working class men of color are also swayed to accept messages that they are left behind—and falling behind—women of color. The current debate over intersectionality is really three debates: one based on what academics like Crenshaw actually mean by the term, one based on how activists seeking to eliminate disparities between groups have interpreted the term, and a third on how some conservatives are responding to its use by those activists. (Coaston, 2019) Debate is not resolved, nor should it be. Keeping with the spirit of intersectionality, no matter how it is defined, debate will continue to shift directions and nurture feminist progress. My take is that intersectionality is a reunion of research and collaboration that sets a path for feminist advocacy and activism.

Intersectionality and Science Like all science, sociology is served when data can be generalized. Intersectionality offers a powerful theoretical approach to understanding categories of oppression. It is problematic, however, to disentangle the effects of one category compared to the others. The concept is associated with terms such as inclusiveness, diversity, and multiculturalism, but it goes beyond any of these. It is not additive but synergistic in its effects. Intersectionality is valued for this synergy but quantifying it for science is exceedingly difficult. Qualitative analyses of women navigating categories of risk offer riveting narratives that speak to the necessity of an intersectional framework. Intersectionality’s theoretical foundation, however, is not yet matched with empirical work to determine how various statuses in the matrix of oppression/domination are ranked. Taken a step further, can a specific combination of statuses with privilege overcome another combination of statuses with liability? For example, subordinate men report high levels of discrimination from dominant men. Intersectionality would predict that comparable subordinate women would experience an even higher level of discrimination, but this is difficult to confirm. Counselors confront their own stereotypes regarding race, religion, and immigration status of low-income families they strive to serve. How do they navigate the intersections of these statuses to better serve their clients? (Veenstra, 2013; Smith, 2019b). Research is needed to clarify a hierarchy of linkages. If a ranking can be identified and even minimally quantified, strategies to address women’s oppression are improved.

Reprise A key strength of the feminist perspective is providing a bridge between sociological theories accounting for intersectionality—social diversity in all of its forms. By challenging a patriarchal status quo and androcentrism in sociological research and theory, it creates dissent that may limit its acceptance by some sociologists. Alternatively, the feminist perspective plants seeds for building a sociological template that transcends this status quo. Sociology benefits from the intellectual ferment ushered in by the feminist paradigm.

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Feminist Perspectives on the Family Feminist scholars in the 1960s and 1970s viewed the traditional patriarchal family as a major site for the oppression of women. They asserted that when the patriarchal family is regarded as beneficial to social stability, as functionalism contends, it hampers egalitarian roles desired by both men and women. Feminist sociologists emphasize that gendered family relations do not occur in a vacuum; people are helped or hurt by resources outside the family that shape what happens inside the family. Intersectional models inform feminist thought on the contemporary family. In addition to gender, for example, single-parent African American, Latino, and Native American women are disadvantaged by race in employment necessary to support their families. Divorced lesbians must deal with a system that represses and disparages samesex relationships when they fight for custody of their children. With an intersectional thrust, feminist theory has pushed the necessity to study families through various vantage points. The family exists in a largely hidden, protected setting. By making gender visible, feminists have changed the way family scholars address power and privilege as played out in this intimate environment. A gender focus reveals social relations in the family and uncovers silences related to troubling parent–child relationships and tragedies of intimate partner violence (Allen, 2016; Jaramillo-Sierra and Allen, 2016). The consensus of feminists is that women may be doubly or triply disadvantaged by their race, class, or sexuality, but they are not helpless victims. They possess agency, the power to adapt and sometimes to succeed in difficult situations. Uncovering stories of women’s oppression in many families is a first step in agency, paving the way for advocacy and activism to attend to their needs and to the needs of women like themselves.

Critique With a view of gender marriage, and the patriarchal family focusing on oppression of women, the feminist perspective, like conflict theory, tends to minimize the practical benefits of marriage. A marriage may be patriarchal, but it includes economic resources and social support that women in these marriages may view as more important in their daily lives than their feelings about patriarchy and whether it flows into subordination. Feminist scholars find it difficult to reconcile research suggesting that women in traditional marriages are as satisfied with their choices as women in egalitarian marriages. Many women support equal rights but reject feminism, believing it disparages the traditional, cultural family roles they value. Latinas, for example, often cannot recognize how their lives are plagued by the intersection of racism and sexism (Liang et al., 2017; Robnett and Anderson, 2017). Detailed in later chapters, feminism’s emphasis on human agency may also marginalize situations in which women’s victimization is condoned by custom and ignored by law. Women’s agency is encouraged and celebrated regardless of circumstances, but it may be overshadowed by victimization.

FEMINISMS Feminist theory and its attention to intersectionality offers a framework for advocates addressing women’s inferior social position and the social, political, and economic discrimination that perpetuates it. Many of these organizations form networks under the umbrella of feminism, an inclusive worldwide movement to end sexism and sexist oppression by empowering women. Although not identical, feminist movement(s) and women’s movement(s) are

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largely interchangeable in the eyes of the public. A century ago, women in the U.S. formed a movement to achieve suffrage. The suffrage movement lacked the diversity that likely prolonged its quest for women’s right to vote. Fifty years later a new movement emerged, referred to as women’s liberation. The revitalized women’s movement faltered because it did not realistically account for intersecting categories of oppression that divided women (Chapter 5). Intersectionality is fraught with tensions but lays a foundation for feminist networks across the globe and helps bridge these divides. Globalization presents ongoing challenges for women, so feminist agendas addressing needs of all women are always in flux. Feminists accept the goal of ending sexism by empowering women but disagree about how to accomplish it. Because the feminist movement seeks diversity and welcomes inclusiveness, full agreement on identifying problems and strategies to address them is unlikely. Though global in scope, the movement unfolds in highly localized and regionalized forms. “The” feminist movement is a misnomer. Feminism fuels worldwide debates leading to creative, practical, and innovative strategies for women’s empowerment. Reflecting the difficulty of adopting one agenda, the movement partitions into various categories or branches according to general philosophical approaches. Categories are fluid; they evolve and are re-created as different waves of feminism flow through society (Chapter 5). Feminist categories, therefore, are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. Women and men who identify with feminism are not likely to place themselves in any category. Feminists, however, generally subscribe to the principles of the following “feminisms.”

Liberal Feminism Liberal feminism, also called egalitarian or mainstream feminism, is based on the general proposition that all people are created equal and should not be denied equality of opportunity because of gender. Rapidly ascending during the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s, liberal feminism is associated with feminism’s second wave (Chapter 5). Since everyone benefits from the elimination of sexism, men and the LGBTQ community are encouraged to join their ranks. Liberal feminism takes its lead from Enlightenment beliefs of rationality, education, and the natural rights that extend to all men and women. This is articulated in John Stuart Mill’s (1869/2002) The Subjection of Women, that “what is now called the nature of women is an eminently artificial thing—the result of forced oppression in some directions, unnatural stimulation in others.” In the name of gender equity, women can mobilize for positive and productive change within pluralistic, multicultural systems. Liberal feminists assert that society can be modified—not completely restructured—to achieve women’s empowerment. They focus on achieving gender equality in the public sphere (workplace, school, political office) through legal approaches to gain, for example, equal pay and reproductive rights. They recognize the powerful interdependence of public and private spheres and that gender inequality in marriage and family impedes feminist progress outside the home. They support marriage as an equal partnership, with men matching women in responsibilities for domestic tasks and child care. This view is favored by professional middle-class women who place a high value on achievement through education allowing for better employment opportunities and making a decent living to provide for their families. Liberal feminism appeals to “mainstream” women who do not necessarily disagree with the overall structure of society, only that it be nonsexist. However, by preferring to work within the system rather than seriously challenge it, liberal feminists may be accused of bending to male values in the patriarchal system they disavow.

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By attention to the similarities rather than the difference between women, liberal feminism believes shared values can bring women together regardless of race or (sub) culture. This belief largely explains the overrepresentation of white women in the ranks of liberal feminism. Intersectionality is valued but liberal feminism is often equated as “white feminism.” Since broader gender equality goals are aided by policy initiatives, liberal feminists increasingly focus on political campaigns to mobilize support for women’s causes. They are the linchpins in campaigns for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), strengthening workplace protections for sexual harassment, widening reproductive rights in health care, and securing safety for women and children fleeing domestic abuse. They dispute feminisms that reject the politicization of women’s causes. The ballot box is regarded as the key vehicle to serve the interests of all women. The National Organization for Women (NOW) and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) are formal groups in synch with liberal feminism. Both call for an end to restrictive gender roles that diminish opportunities for both women and men (Chapter 14).

Socialist Feminism Often referred to as “Marxist feminism,” socialist feminism adopts a Marx–Engels model linking women’s inferior position to class-based capitalism and its alignment with the patriarchal family in capitalistic societies. Socialist feminism argues that sexism and capitalism are mutually supportive. Women’s unpaid labor in the home and paid labor in a reserve labor force to be called on and discarded as needed serve patriarchy and capitalism. Socialist feminists also contend that economic and emotional dependence go hand in hand. A husband’s power over his wife is absolute because she is fearful of losing the economic security he provides. In repudiating capitalism, socialist principles need to be adapted to both home and workplace. Sexism and classism are mutually reinforcing, so society needs to be structured to accommodate economic redistribution that serve families and all classes. This agenda is revolutionary but does not play out violently. Mass-based protests are preferred strategies to help achieve socialist feminist goals. Socialist feminism appeals to working-class women and those disenfranchised from presumed economic opportunities in capitalism. It has made more headway in Latin America and has served as a powerful rallying point for women in other developing nations. Its most vivid expression occurred in the former Soviet Union, where women continued to carry the heavy burden of unpaid household labor while also functioning in the paid labor force (Chapter 6). Socialist feminists support the work of movements such as Occupy to draw global attention to oppression related to both gender and class. Although socialist feminism is tied to Marxist theory, there are key differences between the two. Whereas Marxist theory focuses on property and economic conditions to build an ideology, socialist feminism focuses on sexuality and gender. Men and women retain interest in their own gender group, so it is unclear whether the socialism being struggled for is the same for both men and women. Some argue, for example, that American socialist feminism has no loyalty to any regime that defines itself as Marxist (Gordon, 2013). A humanistic socialist approach to feminism requires consensus on how the new society would be structured. Once men recognize their hidden privileges, they would voluntarily renounce their privileges as men. Highly unlikely.

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Radical Feminism Liberal and radical feminism surfaced during the tumultuous 1960s women’s liberation decade. Radical feminism is said to have emerged when women who were working with men in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements were not allowed to present their positions on these causes. These women became aware of their own oppression by the treatment they received from their male cohorts, who insulted and ridiculed them for their views. The second wave of feminism leading to the rebirth of the women’s movement in the United States in the mid-twentieth century may be traced to the women who were derided and ignored by those they believed to be allies. History repeated itself. American feminism in the nineteenth century is traced to women who were denied the right to express their views by the men they worked with in the abolitionist (antislavery) movement. The condescending attitudes of the men of that era provided the catalyst for women to recognize gender-based oppression. Then they organized to challenge it (Chapter 5). Both liberal and radical feminists experienced the same life-altering events but took different tracks as a result. Radical feminists contend that sexism is at the core of patriarchal society and that all social institutions reflect it. Whereas liberal feminists focus on policy and legal remedies to address women’s discrimination in social institutions, especially school and workplace, radical feminists focus on the patriarchal family as the key site of oppression. Social institutions are so intertwined that it is virtually impossible to meaningfully attack sexism in a system infused with patriarchy. The radical label bestowed on these feminists—a label they largely accept—draws from their assertion that gender is the underlying form of oppression, cutting across race, class, and culture; today disability, age, and gender variant identity is added. Women’s oppression stems from male domination; if men are the problem, neither capitalism nor socialism nor any other male-dominated system will solve the problem. Unlike the liberal feminist argument that the “system” can be modified to accommodate gender equality, radical feminists call for new, separate women-centered institutions that rely on other women rather than men. Women can chart a variety of paths in these separate institutional spaces created and led by women. Women’s unique needs—distinctly different than men’s—are served. Women are empowered by one another. They envision a society in which the female virtues of nurturance, sharing, and intuition will dominate, but in a woman-identified world. Acknowledging that removing sexism from all institutions is impossible, radical feminists work locally to develop profit and not-for-profit institutions in service to women, such as small businesses, day care and counseling centers, and shelters for women escaping domestic violence. Reflecting a membership that is more diverse than other feminisms, especially related to race and LGBTQ identities, these localized institutions vary considerably in structure, philosophy, and strategies. For example, gender variant youth escaping abuse in coming out or being “discovered” by their families may be directed to a safe space catering to those with either a male or female identity. The blueprint for the women-centered society envisioned by radical feminists is stamped on such activities that are individualized in design and scope. Radical feminism’s disparate elements, however, coalesce with the conviction that male supremacy and female oppression define and structure all of society. Radical feminism in the mid-twentieth century is not so radical today. The alternative institutions created by these feminists continue to evolve as priories of their female clientele shifts. Education for social workers and human services professionals account for these shifts. In this way, radical feminist ideals in women-centered institutions have been mainstreamed

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to benefit the communities they serve. The claim that radical feminism grew out of liberal feminism and then laid the foundation for all subsequent feminisms is a valid one. If radical feminists were (are) too conventional, other styles of feminism supplant them.

Cultural Feminism Like radical feminists, early cultural feminists believed that in fighting gender oppression, women are best served by a shared women’s culture. The two groups differed on the values to build this shared culture. To serve women’s empowerment, cultural feminism seeks to re-appropriate undervalued qualities associated with women’s roles, including cooperation, caring, nurturing, openness, and connectedness. Culture needs to be balanced so that masculine values such as competition and aggression are no longer overvalued, and feminine values such as collaboration and kindness are no longer undervalued. These roles should be celebrated rather than ignored, or at worst maligned. Cultural feminists suggest that women’s qualities have biological underpinnings that grant them a unique essence, and make them naturally suited to perform roles such as caregiving and working with women suffering from abuse. Women should be able to provide for their families even if they are in home-based caregiving roles. Cultural feminists partner with other feminists, for example, to create shelters and rape crisis centers. If this sounds like radical feminism, you are correct. The issue of how much women are like other women and how much they are different from men is highlighted in cultural feminism. All feminisms struggle with the degree of gender difference or similarity debate, but cultural feminism’s contention that biology underpins the gender differences separates it from other categories. Lesbians and female-identified members of the queer community are drawn to cultural feminism by the focus on women-centered relationships, whether sexual or not. Although criticized for its biological essentialism argument (Chapter 2), and in line with queer theory, cultural feminists were among the first to challenge the binary concept of “woman” in feminist sociology (McCann, 2016). Cultural feminism was cultivated in radical feminism, and as we see later, queer feminism was cultivated in cultural feminism.

Ecofeminism Women drawn to feminism by environmental activism are the catalysts of ecofeminism. Ecofeminism connects the degradation, domination, and oppression of women with the degradation of the ecosystem. Drawing on earth-based spiritual imagery, ecofeminism suggests that those from all faith communities have an ethical responsibility to challenge a patriarchal system of neoliberal globalization that is deepening the impoverishment of the earth and its people. Appropriating the image of women as icons of nature care, and healing, ecofeminism invigorates interreligious dialogue to work for planetary justice on God’s earth (Kuo, 2017; Phillips, 2016). Ecofeminists and socialist feminists share the understanding that unleashed, unregulated globalization dependent on women’s labor is responsible for the plight of women and the plight of the planet. As ecological responsibility strengthens, predatory capitalism weakens (Caro, 2015). Gender equality and climate justice go hand in hand. Under a gender equality umbrella, “climate justice” is a rallying cry for ecofeminists that serves the planet and women and their families. In Africa, three-fourths of all water is collected by women and girls (Chapter 6).

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There will be a time …when the last well goes dry … and much of the world is already on the brink of a dreadful thirst, a life only more tolerable because women travel great distances to … scoop up water and bring it home. (Zoloth, 2017) Given the dire predictions of climate change and global environmental peril, ecofeminism’s foundational “healing the planet” narrative is strengthened by adding “saving the planet” to the discourse. Like global feminism, ecofeminism develops in localized and regional contexts. Contexts may be different, but political action and networking with NGOs are necessary for funding and support at all levels. Women are the world’s subsistence farmers and agricultural laborers whose livelihood is most imminently threatened by climate change. Decades of evidence suggests that environmental justice and addressing the climate crisis cannot succeed without women’s leadership. To that end, the UN is spearheading a call to action to assure women are in the top ranks of the power structure in their home nations (Di-Meco, 2019). With ecofeminism in mind, women are shaping climate change strategies and goals. There is no single strand of ecofeminism, nor is there one agenda to meet environmental goals. Ecofeminism’s strength is traced to its success in recruiting eager activists from a variety of demographic and cultural categories across the globe. Young women are ecofeminism’s most enthusiastic recruits, representing the globe’s high school and college students. As “climate feminists,” they embrace intersectionality, coalition-building, and justice (Dolan, 2020). Greta Thunberg (born 2003), Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019, represents the new face of climate activism—young and female.. She is credited with invigorating the worldwide climate change movement, bringing with her hundreds of thousands of teens and young “Gretas” across the globe (Alter et al., 2019). She may not be identified as an ecofeminist, but her messages and leadership clearly resonate with the movement. Given international attention to ecological crisis centered on climate change, ecofeminist activism continues to increase. With its holistic viewpoint, and strategies linking gender equity, faith, and environmental action, secular women and those in faith-based communities are drawn to ecofeminist ranks. Ecofeminism is poised to ascend as a significant player in the climate justice movement.

Global Feminism Also called transnational feminism, global feminism is a movement of people working for gender equity across national boundaries. Global feminism contends that no woman is free until the conditions that oppress women worldwide are eliminated. Ecofeminism’s emphasis on planetary needs and holism resonates with global feminism’s underscoring that the world is interdependent and is becoming more so. Global feminists organize around highly gendered macro-level issues that crosscut the globe, such as sex trafficking, denial of reproductive services, inadequate or nonexistent legal protection from sexual abuse, human rights violations in the name of culture, and protecting women and children fleeing war. Specific patterns of punishment and sexual enslavement are devised for women who oppose oppressive regimes. Global feminists work to ensure that refugee families are safe in camps and temporary shelters. In efforts to empower women, these feminists disparage cultural relativism when it is used to justify violation of human rights, such as restricting a girl’s access to education on religious grounds. These issues are more visible in the Global South, but women in the developed world are not exempt from negative repercussions (Belec and Benson, 2017; AWID, 2019). For example, they advocate for immigrant women in developed nations who cannot

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access health care for their families or employment for themselves. Global feminists partner with the United Nations and NGO networks to uncover and attack lethal gendered patterns affecting all women. The women who come together for the United Nations Conferences on Women (Chapter 6) and for simultaneous global women’s marches represent these views. Global feminism acknowledges critical cultural constraints in working for gender equity. Since all empowerment strategies are necessarily culture bound, strategies that are successful in one culture usually cannot be applied to another (Canetto, 2019). All work on behalf of women must account for the multilayers of culture or it will fail. Whereas intersectionality is woven into all feminisms, its most vivid expression is in global feminism. With the upsurge of feminist activity on ensuring the rights (and protection) of sexual minorities and women speaking out against religious repression, the emblematic gender, race, and class intersectionality has rapidly expanded to account for these categories. Other strands of global feminism extend the “culture” problem, arguing that intersectionality is not realistically interwoven into their work. This strand declares that global feminism is dominated by white, western feminists who falsely homogenize women and fail to disentangle the legacy of western colonialism from their work in the Global South. Global feminism in this context is more about “imperial feminism” than a so-called commonality of commitments that can be applied to all women. Muslim women and devout women in other religions are signaled by imperial feminism as “trapped” by their oppressive religion (Chapter 12). Although this critical perspective on global feminism is valid, many of its claims have been—and continue to be—addressed by feminists working on macro-level global issues. Critiques have opened dialogue, in turn creating new spaces for cross-border feminism. In a religious context, devout and secular feminists are finding common ground (McPhillips, 2016; Deb, 2016). They acknowledge there is no such thing as a single, universal feminism all women accept. Feminism is better thought of as “situated” with women of the globe beholden to “family, community, culture and the state.” Transnational feminist solidarity does not need to be achieved for women to see other women as similarly situated, whether in the Global South or developed North (Gowrinathan, 2019).

Cyberfeminism At its genesis in the 1990s, it was already clear that men exerted control over the Internet and shaped it according to masculinist ideology. Feminist thinkers challenged that control, arguing that the web is a place of “boundless possibilities” to adopt any identity people desire (Varghese, 2019). The Internet’s technological revolution and the powerful gendered effects of social media that swiftly followed fueled feminist energy, spawning the cyberfeminism movement. In simple terms, cyberfeminism seeks to remake cyberspace and create virtual worlds that benefit women. Cyberfeminism defies definition. It is at once a feminist community in cyberspace, a philosophy about how the digital world both marginalizes and empowers women, and it is a series of practices (methodology) to achieve this empowerment. All these tracks show up in various strands of cyberfeminism. Cyberfeminists form virtual kinships and connect with one another in styles that cultural feminists celebrate. In the early Internet days women’s strong sense of connection to other women was appropriated to challenge sexism and racism in the art world. Born in the 1980s, “Guerrilla Girls” (GG) are a group of radical feminist pop artists who don guerrilla masks

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(“go ape with us”) to highlight the failure to tackle the lack of gender and race parity and representation in the art world. With “in your face” website images, like other feminists, they are re-appropriating the f-word to publicize their ideas. Decades later their protests continue. Some progress is noted, but museum directorships, pieces in permanent collections, and academic appointments in art and design are still majority white male. GG are also campaigning against Hollywood’s lackluster efforts to recruit female movie directors. They exist as a virtual community but step into real space, calling out the art world and Hollywood in their iconic guerrilla masks (Adrian-Diaz, 2019; Donnelly, 2019). Another cyberfeminist track is ensuring women are cyberspace leaders rather than marginalized followers. White men and boys with economic resources created the first cyberspace in their own image and for decades owned these creations. Cyberfeminism calls for education and training, encouraging girls to enter computer science and STEM fields to become coders and web designers. With digital tools, females are challenging male-dominated spaces in gaming, existing as a bastion of sexual harassment. Digital competence allows girls more control over gaming narratives (Chapter 4). Entrenched racism in gaming further marginalizes women of color in “marked gender spaces.” Black cyberfeminism offers routes for women of color gamers that disrupts these spaces, serving to empower their digital communities (Richard and Gray, 2018). With heightened media attention to online sexual harassment, shaming, and silencing of women, cyberfeminists have altered the discourse that these behaviors expected in the digital world (Levey, 2018). Until recently, the accepted narrative was: if a female trespasses on “male” cyberspace, she must accept the consequences, however misogynistic they are. This classic approach of blaming the victim no longer holds. Cyberfeminists are at the forefront in dismantling so-called male ownership of the virtual world. They are creating safe cyberspaces for women to be digitally critical without fear of bullying and harassment, whether in online professional articles, blogs, or social media. Cyberfeminism calls for the re-doing of gender to craft gender equitable cyberworlds.

Emerging Feminisms All feminisms pay attention to the intersection of gender with other social categories relevant to their agendas. The categories discussed are best viewed as umbrellas with spokes linked to many emerging subsets and shifting layers. Cultural feminism may host Latina and Asian feminisms, focusing on the family resilience in adversity attributed to strong women’s roles. Native American feminism and indigenous feminism may be aligned with the holistic principles linked to ecofeminism. Queer feminism is rapidly evolving from radical feminist roots of the second wave. Similar to radical and cultural feminism, queer feminism splits into subsets, such as those working for women’s rights overall, and those focusing on LGBTQ rights (Marinucci, 2016). The intellectual ferment generated by queer feminism in the U.S., resounded in Europe, and it is emerging as a distinct category of feminism globally. Other emerging feminisms demonstrate the pattern of solidarity and fracturing. Christian feminisms take several paths. One emphasizes that men and women have different strengths, perspectives, and ideologically based roles, that are complementary in God’s design. Men are not superior to women since both sexes have equal worth and dignity. They believe that complementarity of the sexes does not compromise sexual equality. This style of Christian feminism respects personhood, from conception to (natural) death. Another Christian branch advocates for women’s equality with men in God’s plan, including the right to be ordained,

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to preach, and to lead congregations. These Christian tracks can be called “feminisms” since they speak to issues of gender equality crossing a spectrum of Christian faiths. Catholics in the Christian feminism movement may reject personhood at conception. Lutherans in the movement may or may not advocate for woman’s right to be ordained (Chapter 12). For Christian feminists and those in other Western and non-Western religions, devout women form coalitions with secular women—and with one another—to advocate for issues matching their feminist beliefs about God. These emerging feminisms expand diversity and represent feminisms’ next generations. All varieties of feminists negotiate how gender is constructed according to their own needs and priorities. Different feminisms result from these constructions.

FEMINISM, MEDIA, AND POLITICS Is feminism still the “f-word?” Feminism is a movement to end the oppression of women. It uses women’s perceptions and experiences to devise strategies for overcoming oppression. It embraces political goals that offer gender equality. Public support for feminist goals and women’s empowerment are widespread. Support for gender equality continues to increase for both women and men. Over the last 40 years, each birth cohort holds more egalitarian attitudes than the previous one. Gen-Xers and millennials are most likely to be strongly egalitarian. Another significant trend is that traditionalists who opposed equality are being replaced with traditionalists who are ambivalent about it. The shift in these attitudes is most noticeable in relation to politics and workplace (public sphere) compared to family life (private sphere) (Scarborough et al., 2019:173). Most American women accept key beliefs of feminist ideology and agree that feminism has altered their lives for the better. Women affirm other women for being affectionate and caring as well as ambitious and competent, values they see as consistent with feminism. However, women are less likely to identify as feminists if they feel they are “too different” from feminists—either better or worse. Educated young adults support feminist goals but do not think that feminist collective action to end gender discrimination, for example, is necessary to achieve the goals (Meijs et al., 2017; Charter and Mogro-Wilson, 2018; Eagly et al., 2019; Redford et al., 2019). These examples suggest a persistent gap between attitudes about gender equality and how they are revealed in behavior. Women agree with what feminism represents, but many refuse to identify as feminists. Open, necessary, and critical debate, a catalyst for empowerment, is a feminist hallmark. Intersectionality is at the core of most feminisms and fuels much of this debate. Feminists have different priorities and identify with different feminisms They agree to respectfully disagree. Feminists understand these distinctions, but they are presented to the public in highly distorted ways.

Portrayals of Feminism Media are formidable influences in generating and reinforcing gender stereotypes. Feminism is signaled out as a favorite media focus fueling gender stereotypes, sexism, and especially in the political arena, misogyny (Chapter 14). Both feminist agreement and the feminist value of disagreement are ridiculed or demeaned in conservative media and ignored or marginalized in mainstream news and entertainment media.

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Media latch onto disagreements among feminists with sound bites that feminism is split into irreconcilable warring factions, dooming its goals. Women are fleeing its ranks and it is difficult to entice new feminist recruits. This negative attention is reinforced with news-style entertainment suggesting that since we are in a “post-feminist” world, women have achieved occupational, political, and legal parity with men. Because feminists have nothing else to fight for, they fight among themselves. In addition to highlighting disagreement among feminists, media depict feminists as puritanical and man-hating, taking unfair advantage of men in the workplace and controlling men in their homes.

Television Prime-time television series portray feminists in negative and highly stereotyped ways. Jokes deriding feminists about their appearance, sexuality, and love life and how they control their children and husbands are common. Boys who support assertive girls fear homophobic labels casting doubts about their masculinity (Chapter 9). Assertive girls are silenced when they are “accused” of being feminists. Young women and teens are often the targets of sexist jokes. Sexism is reinforced by the contemptuous statements about feminists routinely made by the popular and attractive characters in the shows (Chapter 13). The policing function of misogyny lurks behind many such sexist portrayals. Given the power of media to construct gender, young women and men who may identify with feminism in principle find it difficult to do so in public

Politics In media overall, racist comments are unacceptable; sexist comments are acceptable. In the 2008 Presidential primary, John McCain responded to a female supporter (when asked, “How do we beat the b*ch?” (referring to Hillary Clinton). Momentarily taken aback, but amid the laughter, he smiled and responded, “But that’s an excellent question.” Consider McCain’s probable response if his supporter used a racist slur rather than a sexist one? Although the Trump era unleashed a barrage of racist slurs and comments, and conservative news media ignored or excused them, they were not applauded. Sexism in political reporting appears to have weakened after the first Obama election in 2008, but it has been reignited under the Trump presidency. Mainstream news commentary can be accused of benevolent sexism, appearing to be positive and friendly toward women, but actually negative and damaging. When a female candidate is considered more compassionate (a positive trait) than a male candidate, she is held to a higher standard. She needs to balance compassion with political ambition in campaigning; he does not. Even so-called well-intentioned, benevolent sexism contributes to gender stereotyping and undermines gender equality. In political media, hidden, benevolent sexism and overt, hostile sexism exist side by side. Misogyny plays out in the latter.

Case Study: Feminist for President, Vice President, and FLOUS in Election 2008 Coverage of women candidates is highly gendered whether or not they are identified as feminists (Chapter 14). The remarkable 2008 presidential election serves as a case study in

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media views of feminism and politics. Women were viable contenders for the highest offices: New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as potential Democrat nominee for President and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as Republican nominee for Vice President. With feminism taking center stage, a storm of gender-based commentary was unleashed during the run-up to the election. Public perception of these (and other) candidates was skewed via media rendering of gender and of feminism Both Clinton and Palin self-identified as feminists. However, they were portrayed in media as very different feminists.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Hillary Clinton’s feminist label was intermittently applauded in some news media, suspiciously viewed in mainstream media, and scorned and ridiculed in right-wing media. The Clinton campaign highlighted women’s issues and her feminist label. By extension, her personality was associated with divisiveness, “unlikability,” and media-constructed views of radicalism. Feminism was further diminished when Clinton was couched as an opportunist unsure of how far she was willing to go in support of women. Virtually no mainstream media source countered feminist stereotypes or discussed decades of support for women and by women. Media instead spotlighted women, feminist or not, who endorsed Barack Obama’s candidacy. Messages were that women are their own enemies, that feminism is unraveling, and that the sisterhood is split (Wiener, 2007; Valenti, 2008). Feminists who disagreed with one another and engaged in critical, respectful debates were absent in media discourse. Feminism as applied to Clinton in the media represented a threat to politics as usual.

Sarah Palin Although Sarah Palin and her social conservative supporters disagreed with a feminist political agenda (Chapter 14), in a famous interview Katie Couric asked whether Palin considered herself a feminist. Palin’s response: “I do. A feminist who believes in equal rights, and I believe that women certainly today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed, and to try to do it all, anyway.” Sarah Palin’s feminist label was generally applauded, regardless of the political persuasion of the media source. The McCain–Palin ticket ran a campaign that put Palin in charge of policy reinforcing traditional views of women that resonated with social conservatives. Feminism was benignly to positively portrayed by Palin’s status as an elected official, as a mother with small children, and with a supportive husband. Feminists were largely at odds with the ticket’s policy agenda (or lack of one) to bolster women meaningfully in such roles. However, they supported Palin’s quest for office, especially as a role model for young women and working mothers. In utterly false and astonishing media messages, however, feminists were cast as detractors of a woman’s right to have a career and a family (Young, 2008). Regardless of the feminist label, the McCain–Palin ticket embraced an antifeminist agenda. Palin self-identified as a feminist and enjoyed high support among socially and politically conservative women. Social constructionists argue that the authenticity of any label is determined by self-definition and the ability of the actor to convince others to accept this definition. Social conservatives accepted Palin’s definition of feminism. Her ardent supporters believed women do not experience workplace discrimination (Sharrow et al., 2016). If a

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woman fails in the workplace it is due to her level of individual responsibility and initiative. Any fault is assigned to women, not to any inequality in the workplace. Feminism, as applied to Palin, did not represent a threat to politics as usual.

Critique Feminism is light years advanced, with two centuries of messages supporting employed mothers, equal opportunity for men and women, and equal pay for equal work. The vast majority of Americans approves of these feminist messages. Portrayals of Clinton and Palin for their feminist views, however, cannot be separated from the sexism that mired both their candidacies, particularly related to their appearance and demeanor: Clinton, because she was too masculine; Palin, because she was too feminine. Journalists were suspicious of Clinton’s feminist image, but she was taken seriously as a viable candidate. For Palin, media sexism was evident for failure to seriously engage her on complex issues related to the economic and international challenges facing the United States. Regardless of her feminist assertion, media focus on personal matters rather than on political matters undermined Palin’s credibility (Heflick and Goldenberg, 2011). The McCain–Palin ticket lost credibility by claiming that media were sexist when asking “unfair” questions about Palin’s experience and by pressing John McCain on his abysmal record of advocacy for women. The public agreed that focus on Palin’s family life was sexist; they also believed that claims of sexism for questioning candidates on policies about women were hypocritical (Quindlen, 2008).

Michelle Obama First Lady (FLOTUS) Michelle Obama’s popularity was linked to ensuring that her children smoothly rode the wave of their White House residency. She was socially constructed according to her ability to maintain family normalcy amid the spotlight on her children, especially by conservative media. As FLOTUS, media attention to her “warmer side” buffered stereotypes about feminists being “too strident.” Feminist support was strong whether or not she engaged in a pro-woman agenda outside her family roles. Any support she garnered from social conservatives eroded during the Obama Presidency. To maintain a broad base of support from all ranks of women, she walked a narrow and difficult line. Since vacating the White House, she continues her activism on behalf of civil rights and feminist goals. She is judged as a prominent and effective role model for both, particularly for black women (Haynes and Block, 2019). Feminists were (are) unwavering in her support. For social conservatives and people who are ambivalent about feminism, the current backlash to women will likely corrode even minimal support for her feminist goals. These goals are deemed “too feminist,” even if they benefit this very cohort.

Feminism and the Political Climate Women’s issues are defining elements in the current political climate, but these issues are not usually framed as feminist per se. With so many women seeking and winning office, strategies for both Republican and Democratic women are based on labels defining them as more or less liberal or conservative. Labels of “radical” and “extreme” to assault the other party and widely reported on in the media may substitute for feminist-bashing of earlier campaigns.

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Officeholders and candidates in both parties are aware that the feminist label is no longer associated with political doom. It may even offer a glint of political advantage. Today’s feminist candidates embrace race and ethnic diversity that is distinct from second-wave feminism (Chapter 5). Some assert that millennial support for Bernie Sanders’ brand of feminism in 2016 speaks to feminism’s success. Millennials affirm a feminism that does not support a status quo, even if it means electing a man to office (Teitel, 2016). Retaining his millennial support, Sanders’ 2020 campaign run does not appreciably diverge from his 2016 campaign.

Feminist Progress How can feminist strength and productive messages to women be projected positively when feminists dare to disagree with one another in public? Can feminism be reframed more favorably? Several arguments suggest this scenario is likely. First, young women lulled into believing that sexism was in its death throes were severely jolted by the blatant misogyny during the 2016 campaign, clearly demonstrating that feminist goals continue to be illusive. If sexism was benign before the election, it was overt and hostile and transformed to misogyny during the Trump administration. Misogyny served a latent function by raising consciousness that feminist obstacles loom large for women seeking success, whether in the media or in the political and business world. Second, Hillary Clinton’s vocal support for feminist goals resonated with Americans in the 2018 wave that elected a record number of women to Congress and in state and local races (Chapter 14). Third, as media are savvier to definitions of feminisms, they are presenting a variety of feminisms at work. Despite the Trump era backlash, young women are accepting more media-labeled feminist messages than a decade ago. Finally, as noted, feminism may offer a political advantage, especially as shaped by proactive, positive campaign markers rather than a reactive defense to negative media. Although many women do not identify as feminists, a burgeoning number of technologically savvy young men and women are reclaiming and embracing the label to counter sexism and gender stereotypes. The successes of cyberfeminism speak to this reclamation. Sexism in media and on the Internet are swiftly met and condemned via tweets, blogs, and social media instantaneously reverberating across the globe. Mainstream media outlets are quite aware that ignoring sexism translates to loss of viewers and advertising dollars (Chapter 13). As suggested by the varieties of feminisms and the need to counter feminist backlash, women are abandoning the discourse of separation that distanced feminists from one another.

WOMEN’S MOVEMENTS AS FEMINIST SUCCESS STORIES The severe backlash to feminism during the 2012 and 2016 political campaigns (Chapter 14), ironically, is a sign that barriers to feminism are eroding. The pushback of women’s rights igniting resurgence of patriarchy and ensuing violence have set in motion a strong feminist rival that today has more of a media blessing than in the recent past. Media cannot ignore hundreds of thousands of women coming together to protest gender injustice and to advocate for women-identified causes. In mainstream media broadcast time for these events is abundant, and commentary is fair or positive. Appreciated by the media, groups spotlighted here have made remarkable strides in advancing feminist causes.

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Women’s March on Washington The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration millions gathered to protest the offensive, antiwoman sentiment that marked his political campaign. For two years the campaign stoked misogynistic messages about women in general and Hillary Clinton in particular (Chapter 14). Organized by women’s networks and social media postings drawing thousands of independent marchers, protests swiftly re-ignited a feminist movement that may have been faltering. An estimated half a million people converged on Washington, D.C. With “Sister Marches” throughout the U.S., between 4 and 5 million Americans took part in the protests, an astounding 1.0–1.6 percent of the U.S. population. Joined by protest marchers across the globe, about 7 million came together in support of women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, and human rights. They marched to support immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities. With tens of thousands of male supporters, they also marched against sexual harassment and abuse. Decades of work on behalf of women were set to be undone with Trump’s election. On January 21, 2017, the Women’s March on Washington became the largest single day protest in U.S. history. All stripes of feminists are acutely conscious that misogyny fueled Trump’s political campaign in 2016 and fuel his reelection campaign. The injustices unfolded in the initial years of his Presidency were fodder for sustained global protests. Women organizers pushing harder than ever to mobilize have sustained the movement with subsequent marches, with more on the horizon. However, the focus is now on ensuring that supporters of women’s rights come to the polls. Street protests visibly demonstrate strength in numbers. The less visible work of “strength through voting” is ongoing. As attested by the number of elected and appointed leaders in the U.S. and globally, despite misogyny—or perhaps because of it—the feminist movement is meeting with success.

#MeToo Feminist movements capitalize on the strengths of one another. The current #MeToo movement is born out of social justice activism in 2006 when Tarana Burk, who originated the term, spoke out in empathy and support for victims of sexual harassment (Chapter 13). All feminisms are indebted to the work of cyberfeminism. Soon after the first Women’s March, #MeToo exploded on Twitter, and quickly permeated social media and news outlets across the globe. Empowered by others like themselves, multitudes of women for the first time spoke openly about experiences of sexual abuse. #MeToo grew fast and furious, toppling powerful men in Hollywood, media, industry, and government on charges ranging from inappropriate behavior to criminal sexual abuse, violence, and rape. The movement is sustained through social media and events, such as awards shows for movies, TV, and music, where celebrities speak out in support of courageous women and girls reporting sexual harassment ranging from misconduct to rape. Although opinion about consequences to men is divided— whether too harsh or not hard enough—public consciousness is raised. Women are heard and men are no longer excused. Uncovering allegations of sexual abuse by powerful men, many of whom lost their jobs or are in jail, is an important prong of #MeToo. Its impact reaches far beyond deposing these men, however, by prompting major policy changes on sexual harassment. Many states are banning nondisclosure agreements that cover sexual harassment, essentially

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forcing women into silence for the sexual abuse committed by these men. The sister #Time’sUp movement focuses on the workplace, such as helping survivors of sexual misconduct with the cost of legal defense. The press enables the visibility of #MeToo in ways that can support feminism even in ways that draw attention to celebrities rather than the movement at large (De Benedictis et al., 2019; North, 2019a). MeToo and feminism are linked, however, and the linkage is generally affirmed in the eyes of the public. Listening to celebrities is different from listening to ordinary women and girls. Under a feminist umbrella, #MeToo empowers girls who say, “enough is enough,” and tell their “me too” stories.

Moms Demand Action The day after 20 children were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Shannon Watts launched “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” (MDA) at her kitchen table to protect children from escalating gun violence. Starting with Watts’ 75 FB friends and joining with “Everytown for Gun Safety,” today MDA boasts 6 million supporters, more than the NRA, and is the largest and most powerful advocacy group for sensible gun control laws. Taking on the gun lobby, MDA activism has led to gun control laws in 20 states—many with Republican governors—and banning firearms in franchises, stores, and businesses (Chozick, 2019). MDA activists overlap with the young people of “March for Our Lives,” the movement spawned by David Hoagland and survivors of the high school mass shooting in Parkland, Florida where 14 students and three staff were murdered. Young women are leaders, spokespersons, and organizers, making up over half of the movement’s activists. It is difficult to ignore the fact that most of the millions of MDA supporters are women. As MDA’s tallies its successes, resistance to its goals will also mount. MDA remains a rightwing target. In turn, more MDA grass roots women are mobilized to march in local parades, organize memorials for victims of gun violence, and attend town halls to voice support for gun control policies. Although Moms Demand Action is not thought of as a women’s movement or feminist movement per se, the labels can apply. It shares the fundamental idea that social justice and activism are interdependent. Echoing sentiments from most all women’s movements, Watts asserts that when women come together, they can change the world. In unleashing the “unique power of women,” leading with empathy, and asking for help, MDA shares #MeToo strategies and parallels aspects of cultural feminism. MDA is successful for mobilizing mothers across political boundaries. Parents—especially mothers— are motivated by the unimaginable fear of not only losing their child, but the murder of their child (Watts, 2019). Men are welcomed into its ranks as partners. MDA refrains from labels such as toxic masculinity as a cause of gun violence, preferring to focus on rallying men and women as a voting bloc for gun control. Led by women’s activism, MDA, Everytown for Gun Safety, and March for Our Lives work to keep the media spotlight on gun control. It is difficult to ignore the fact that most of the millions of MDA supporters are women. As MDA tallies its successes, resistance to its goals will also mount. MDA remains a rightwing target. In turn, more MDA grass roots women are mobilized to march in local parades, organize memorials for victims of gun violence, and attend town halls.

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Movements with Feminist Solidarity Women’s movements are girded by all feminisms. Although they spotlight different goals, all the feminisms described earlier can be thought of as “movements.” Recognizing the menacing pushback of women’s rights and responding to the resurgence of misogyny, they rally their supporters under the “big tent” of gender justice. By the considerable overlap in counting members of their ranks they are allies for the revitalized, powerful feminist movement globally. On the streets or online, grassroots support for gender equality from all generations of women and interest in women’s issues is unparalleled (Keoghan, 2018; Giugni, 2019). The LBTQ movement spotlights discrimination in the workplace and in family law; the movement in women’s health tackles injustices in health and health care, with a focus on reproductive health; ecofeminists join climate activists to demand transition to renewable energy across the globe. Their work supports indigenous families facing loss of sustainable land; they work to educate the public on how to live in balance with the environment (Horseherder, 2019:22). Feminists in the “End It” anti-sex-trafficking movement join with activists protesting human rights violations through the globe. These movements suggest that the umbrella of second wave’s liberal feminism is being reopened and modified. The contemporary understanding is that fourth wavers are more individualistic and highly intersectional, but they speak with a unified voice in pursuit of feminist progress. The word feminism may make some people uncomfortable, but the “strong in-your-face word” is remerging and winning the day as women are drawn in to support commitment for progress of all women (Rampton, 2017:160). Whether referred to as women’s movements or feminist movements, there is reason to celebrate women who are changing the narrative from feminist disdain and failure to feminist respect and success.

Reprise Theories and concepts in this chapter, and the visions of society they suggest, are offered as tools to approach the array of gender issues you will confront. Each theoretical perspective has its own insight and explanation for any given issue. Issues are further refined when theories are used in combination. Consider these theories, too, as we explore fully what the word gender may suggest. Does the title of this book suggest difference, binary, and (inevitable) inequality? Can a blurring of gender and the roles associated with it open fissures that topple gender inequality disadvantageous to everyone? It is expected that by the conclusion of this book, you will have developed a perspective that is most meaningful to your individual and social experiences related to gender.

KEY TERMS Agency Androcentrism Doing gender Dramaturgy Empowerment

End point fallacy Expressive role Feminism Feminist sociological theory Gender

Gender binary Gender roles Instrumental role Intersectionality LGBTQ

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Misogyny Norms Patriarchy Role Sex

Sexism Sexual orientation Social construction of reality Social stratification

Status Status set Stereotypes Theory


Gender Development Biology, Sexuality, and Health

(Man attains) … a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can women— whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. —Charles Darwin, 1871 From The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex

My coach said I run like a girl. And I said if he ran a little faster he could, too. —Mia Hamm, 2017 Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1991,1999) and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion (1996, 2004)

SECTION 1 BIOLOGY AND SEXUALITY IN GENDER DEVELOPMENT Mia Hamm’s quote on a handmade sign held by a young girl at the Women’s March in 2017 clearly challenges outmoded ideas about gender. The sign drew over 20,000 shares on Twitter (Huebsch, 2017). Binary views of sex and gender have shaped science and medicine in profound ways. These views are largely biologically based and carry over to how research is conducted and how findings are absorbed by the public. Science may inadvertently perpetuate gendered thinking by taken-for-granted cultural assumptions framing their work. Arguments against gender equality, therefore, are fundamentally biological. Despite abundant data to the contrary, beliefs about women’s inferiority due to biology stubbornly persist. Essentialism is the belief that males and females are inherently different because of their biology and genes. This difference makes men and women “naturally” suited to fulfill certain roles regardless of their intellect, desires, expertise, or experiences. Like sociological functionalism, essentialism does not state explicitly that difference equates to inferiority, but the assumed quality or essence that makes men and women different is consistently drawn on to justify that conclusion. Although men are sometimes its targets, essentialism points to women’s biological and reproductive makeup that refrains them from standing on equal ground with men. The explosion of research on issues of sex and gender globally provides massive evidence refuting essentialist claims. The role of biology in gender development is not discounted,

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but research clearly demonstrates that cultural beliefs are greater barriers to equality than biology. When these beliefs are muted, desire and talent are combined with opportunity and encouragement and people move into non-traditional gender roles. Decades of research make it empirically clear that any blurring of the gender binary is advantageous to males and females who feel restricted by conventional roles as well as those choosing alternative sex and gender identities and lifestyles. In other words, everyone benefits.

NATURE AND NURTURE How much of our gendered behavior is determined by nature (heredity, biology, and genes), and how much is determined by nurture (environment, culture, settings), where we live and learn? Sociological explanations for sex and gender differences are rooted in the nurture side of this question. Certainly males and females are different. We differ not only by physiology, but also according to demographics, attitudes, and behavior, especially related to sexuality. All social institutions are manipulated by sex and gender. Do these differences suggest that patriarchy is inevitable? Do differences outweigh the similarities? What is biology’s role in determining these differences? Examining the research and theory generated by these questions—and the controversy surrounding them—sheds light on the “it’s only natural” argument. This chapter unveils controversy and even tragedy surrounding how these questions are answered. The “only natural” argument is in fact an extension of the nature versus nurture debate. The sex and gender binary haunts this chapter. Binary thinking is challenged and refuted throughout, but scientists must use these very categories to discuss their research. Because this chapter focuses on biological issues, the categories of male and female as the “sexes” are frequently used.

Margaret Mead Famed anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901–1978) was interested in exploring human sex differences, leading her to New Guinea in the 1930s, and living with three different tribes relatively isolated from Western contact. Among the gentle Arapesh, men and women were “peaceful in temperament,” nurturing, and compliant, and enjoyed gardening, hunting, and rearing children. The Arapesh gained immense satisfaction from these tasks, which were eagerly shared by both men and women. Arapesh children mirrored these patterns, growing up to be cooperative and responsive parents, with a willingness to subordinate themselves to the needs of those who were younger and weaker. Personality, Mead concluded, could not be distinguished by sex; “maternal behavior” extended to both men and women. By contrast, the fierce Mundugumor barely tolerated children. Early in life children were taught to be as hostile, competitive, and as suspicious of others as were their parents and elders. Mothers and fathers showed little tenderness toward their children, with harsh physical punishment common. Children quickly learned that tribal success was measured by aggression, with violence as an acceptable, expected solution to many problems. Both men and women were “warlike in temperament.” The Mundugumor, like the Arapesh, did not differentiate personality in terms of sex. The third tribe, the Tchumbuli, consisted of practical, efficient, and unadorned women and passive, vain, and decorated men. The community depended on women’s weaving, fishing, and trading; men remained close to the village, practicing primping, dancing, and

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art. Women enjoyed the company of other women. Men strived for women’s attention and affection, which women took with tolerance and humor (Mead, 1933). Contrary to her original belief that there are natural sex differences, Mead concluded that masculine and feminine are determined by culture rather than biology.

Critique Mead’s work is an anthropological standard on gender differences and was quite controversial when first published. Gender roles she described almost a century ago were undoubtedly as unusual then as they are today across much of the globe. We know now that gender roles vary within a narrower range than suggested by Mead’s research. However, her forerunner message continues as a bulwark against the “it’s ‘only natural’ argument.” No existing theory, specifically those grounded in essentialism, can explain the immense variety of meanings in the human experience attached to being male and female. It is precisely this variation that has led to so much research questioning biologically-based beliefs regarding femininity and masculinity. After Mead, “the word ‘woman’ could never be put in a fixed box again” (Cited in Schiffman, 2018:43). As noted, it is no simple task to identify biological (sex) differences and similarities between female and male, yet how these correspond to gender—masculine and feminine—is even more difficult. The demarcation between sex and gender may be a blurry one but research offers many avenues to explore the boundaries.

Evolution, Genetics, and Biology Debating the influence of nature and nurture on human behavior is often viewed through the lens of evolution. This Darwinian view suggests simply that some identifiable sex differences (such as sexuality, cognition, and parenting behavior) and gender differences (such as toy preferences, dating behavior, and career choice) have adaptive advantages for species survival. Genetics endow females and males with different capacities to allow this advantage to productively unfold. Other biological differences, such as prenatal androgens, reinforce genetic patterns so that girls and boys are led to separate, divergent life paths. Darwin’s theory of evolution reinforced the view that women were intellectually and physically inferior to men.

Sociobiology Rooted in the nature side of the debate, the field of sociobiology addresses questions of sex differences in its examination of the biological roots of social behavior. Using research originally designed by entomologists to study social insects such as ants, wasps, and bees, sociobiologists (Wilson, 1975, 1978) argue that evolutionary theory can draw conclusions about humans from studies of animals. The fundamental assertion of sociobiology is that, like other animals, humans are structured by nature (biology) with an innate drive to ensure that their individual genes are passed on to the next generation. This is the motivating factor in all human behavior. It is as adaptive for a mother to care for her children as it is for men to be promiscuous. Each sex evolved these attributes to increase its reproductive success. Sociobiologists assert that principles of evolution pointing to species survival

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provide the best understanding of how gendered social behaviors developed. For example, aggressiveness not only allowed humans to successfully compete with other humans and animals that shared our primeval environment, it allowed males to compete among themselves for females. The same principles explain promiscuity in men. Whereas women are highly selective in choosing mating partners, men spread their sperm as widely as possible. For sociobiologists, other behaviors rooted in natural selection include mother–infant bonding, female dominance in child care, and male dominance in virtually all positions and activities outside their households. As an evolutionary result of natural selection, the separate, unequal worlds of male and female emerged. Since the pattern is global, sociobiological claims are strengthened. Contemporary gender roles, therefore, reflect this evolutionary heritage.

Primates: Animal and Human Our two closest animal relatives are chimps and bonobos, together belonging to the “chimpanzee” genus. Both share 98 percent of their genome with humans, making them more similar to us than gorillas and any other primates (HPRG, 2019). Attention to humanlike characteristics among primates, including sex differences, exploded with groundbreaking anthropologist Jane Goodall’s remarkable observations of chimps. Decades of research on chimp behavior confirms male dominant social groups, violence outside of their groups, guarding pregnant females, and sexual behavior for reproductive, rather than “pleasureful” purposes. Chimps in the wild can be cannibals and will eat the infants of other chimp groups. It took years of observation for Goodall to document that her peaceful chimps were not as peaceful as originally thought. A female chimp is notoriously promiscuous. Sexual selection in sociobiology emphasizes competition and aggression in male chimps but puts less weight on the behavior of female chimps making choices among males who come courting, often with the cooperation of other females. Female chimps are selective of their mates when interested in conceiving, but promiscuous when conception is unlikely. They are sexually aggressive at times and actively resist the solicitations of males at other times. Male chimps can be nurturing, good fathers and invested in sheltering their offspring. Even alpha males keep order in their social groups and are protective without being abusive, either to males or females. Consequently, other chimps work to assure their own alpha male stays in power (Reichard, 2014; Murray et al., 2016). In chimp society there are always male challengers to the alpha male. Grooming is a way male chimps reconcile conflicts with other males who may be challengers. The male who is most aggressive or violent is unlikely to ascend to the top of the hierarchy. If a male does manage to get there, too much aggressiveness will ultimately topple him. Decades ago, Jane Goodall recognized that in order to stay in power it is better for alpha males to form coalitions with friends (Surbeck et al., 2017; Cohen-Brown, 2018). Our other closest non-human relatives, female dominant bonobos, are the more neglected primates in research than are the chimps. All known colonies of bonobos in captivity and in the wild are led by females (Gross, 2019). Female bonobos are thought to limit aggression, particularly by threatening males, by forming tight bonds with other females. Also thought to limit aggression, encourage consensus, and enhance tolerance, female bonobos engage in frequent, non-reproductive sex with any and all partners, male or female. Primatologist Amy Parrish asserts that living in a “matriarchal hookup culture,” bonobos are known as “the freelove, sexy apes.”

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For the bonobos … male-on-female sexual control isn’t inevitable or natural either … Chimps provide one model; bonobos, which some researchers believe are even more closely related to us than chimps, provide another. (Cited in Martin, 2018) Female-dominated bonobos capture, control, and consume meat similar to male-dominated chimps, often with a show of force against males. Female bonobos can attack males and form bands with other females for safety. Sometimes they attack simply for being annoyed by a male (Hare and Yamamoto, 2017). Despite evidence for alpha male aggressive chimps and alpha female cooperative bonobos, aggressiveness in primates is not often observed. Affiliated, friendly behavior such as grooming and playing is probably a hundred times more frequent. Among many non-human primate species, there is emerging evidence of male–male cooperation and tolerance in humanlike social structures that include norms about sexual relations (Díaz-Muñoz et al., 2014; Morell, 2019; Pisor and Surbeck, 2019). The view that sex is only to reproduce discounts sex for pleasure—in both humans and nonhumans—and disregards an entire range of emotions, personality traits, and sexual strategies that cannot be traced to animals. Sociobiologists offer productive leads for studying similarities between social behavior in humans and animals, especially related to reproductive advantages of mating with the best possible partners (Marzoli et al., 2018). However, leaping from insects and higher order animals to humans is at best tenuous.

Critique Sociobiology has some success in applying evolutionary theory to animal behavior. Evolutionary anthropology traditionally focused on small-scale societies and communities, attempting to find those with as little outside contact as possible (Mattison and Sear, 2016). Such research sites have disappeared. It is virtually impossible today to test natural selection principles on which sociobiology is based, weakening its empirical support for evolutionary links to human behavior. Feminist scientific critiques, including from feminist Darwinian biologists, center on those sociobiological and evolutionary approaches that have androcentric (male-centered) perspectives, are often presented in deterministic ways, make faulty assumptions about human behavior, and disregard well-documented research about animals. Given evidence from animal behavior, specifically primate behavior, it could be argued that human females are more intelligent or more powerful in controlling human males. Countering the conventional “male-dominance-for-species-survival” approach, for instance, evolutionary models also suggest that gender egalitarianism and rejection of male dominance is basic to what makes us “modern humans”—not the other way around. This compelling view suggests that egalitarianism was a necessary phase in human evolution (Power, 2018). Stereotypes about male dominance in animal and human species, and untestable assumptions about the evolution of sex differences, distort an otherwise valid approach to understanding evolution. This is not benign in its effects. Interpretations from evolutionary models are often used to serve androcentric political agendas harmful to women (Chapter 14).

Cognitive Biology Biological explanations for sex differences in humans draw on research about prenatal hormones and brain development. Androgens help determine how our bodies, including our

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brains, become sexually differentiated. Higher levels of androgens predict more male-typical than female-typical behavior. Cognitive sex (male–female) differences showing stronger visual-spatial ability for males and stronger verbal ability for females, higher activity levels for boys, gender-typed object preference, and maternal play behavior for girls, suggest biological roots. Evidence also suggests that infant girls come into the world with an orientation to faces and that infant boys come with an orientation to objects. These differences show up in infancy before powerful environmental influences kick in (Lonsdorf, 2017; Lauer et al., 2018). They are stable distinctions persisting over time regardless of broader social change. Some cognitive biologists assert that these plant seeds for different gender-based life paths, translating to expressive (domestic) roles for women and instrumental (breadwinning) roles for men. Notice the overlap of sex and gender in these assertions. A range of biological explanations for sex-differentiated behavior converge with claims to the public that the male sex drive makes men obsessed with sex and, therefore, sexually aggressive. It is difficult to deny their untamable sexual natures, especially when confronted with uncontrollable stressors causing havoc to their systems. These conclusions are often drawn from original research based on flies, worms, and rats (Gottwald, 2016; Rincón-Cortés et al., 2019). For humans, female-typical and male-typical responses to sex and other gender-specific behavior are influenced by prenatal androgens as well as by postnatal socialization (Hines et al., 2017; Sheldon, 2017). Messages to the public focus on the prenatal side, much of it from animal research, rather than the postnatal side from research on humans. In turn, data are often appropriated to serve a variety of social causes and political agendas.

Male and Female Brains More specific biological explanations for sex differences are gaining traction among neuroscientists. These explanations focus not only on how genes imprint “sex” on the brain but also on new research that “gender” can also allow this imprint. Epigenetics refers to the process of modifying DNA by “switching genes on or off.” Female and male brain cells express imprinted genes differently. Social behavior and expectations vary for males and females as a result of both a sex and a gender imprint. Neuroscience is enthusiastically embracing epigenetics as evidence for gendered brains. Gender and sex interact to shape the “gene expression in the brain.” Explanations for male–female differences in behavior, temperament, and personality are increasingly based on genes, evolution, and the belief in distinct male–female brains (Eme, 2018; Ogawa et al., 2018; Polderman et al., 2018; Cortes et al., 2019). Such explanations suggest that male and female brains are so strikingly different that the sexes may be tracked over their lifespan by brain development corresponding to gender roles. Women’s brains are hard wired to be mothers. Females, for example, have mommy brains. The circuits in a mommy brain are the “most profound and permanent in her life” and will be used to keep track of her children (Brizendine, 2006). Scientific accuracy of these assumptions, however, has not held up to scrutiny.

Critique Accounts of different male and female brains—whether from media or scientific sources— prompt beliefs that humans are largely in the hands of unalterable sex-based genes. Sex-linked brain differences—and those that can be traced to behavioral gender-based

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outcomes—however, “have not materialized with empirical evidence.” Male and female brains are actually not much different from one another. Even before the moment of birth, our brains show incredible plasticity. Different attitudes and experiences of our life journeys amplify existing plasticity (Wheeling, 2015; Rippon, 2019). These all challenge the simple binary proposed by so-called gendered brains. Hormones may account for some sex differences in sexual attraction, for example, but cannot account for gender differences in other roles, including nurturing, love, communication, leadership, and friendship. No reliable biological data suggest that women’s underrepresentation in some sciences and men’s underrepresentation in the caring professions are due to differences in biologically-based cognitive abilities. Sex difference data are presented according to average group differences and tell us nothing about an individual’s aptitude. Research usually does not provide size of the effects, only that correlations may be weak or robust or statistically significant or not. It is difficult to pick up a newspaper today without someone claiming that males and females are fundamentally unlike one another because a tiny bit of male brain tissue seems to work differently than a tiny bit of a female region of brain. Prenatal sex differences driven by hormones in rats and primates, and during fetal brain development in humans, are used to support these contentions. Male–female brain differences are spotlighted, even if any male–female brain similarities far outweigh them (McCarthy, 2019; Sax, 2019; Wheelock, 2019). Very small differences with limited generalizable effects are described as binary, natural, and inevitable—emblazoned and “written in our genes” (Hignett, 2018; Fine et al., 2019). Misinformation is transmitted, beliefs about biological determination for gender roles are further embraced, and gender stereotypes are reinforced. Women and men are, in most ways, more similar than different, but especially in our brains.

Neurosexism These biologically-based debates play out in neurosexism, charting gender differences in personality and social behavior by sex differences in the brain. Like other forms of sexism, this binary view suggests that one or the other sex is suited for certain roles, with male-dominated roles garnering more prestige and power than female-dominated roles. In highly patriarchal societies neurosexism blends easily with gender stereotypes consigning men and women to domestic or job spheres. Gender disparities in STEM careers reflect the power of neurosexism. The belief that science ability is innate lowers future interest in STEM for girls, but not for boys (Donovan et al., 2019). However, it is not too difficult to counter neurosexism using the very brain evidence that justifies it. Women’s brains, for example, appear to be three years younger than men’s brains, a significant, reproducible average difference, detectable even among people in their 20s. Younger brains are associated with better cognitive functioning in women as they age. Females have enhanced information recall early in life, speculated as an evolutionary advantage offering social cues for mate selection (Zentner and Eagly, 2015; Bhandari, 2019; Buss and Schmitt, 2019). In these cases, biology and evolution work to the superiority of females over males. On the other hand, like sociobiology, cognitive biology is plagued by problems with generalizing data on animal–human linkages. The linkages should not be discounted simply because they fit (or do not fit) conventional models of male–female evolutionary paths. Cognitive biologists cannot be held responsible for how these data are used to support neurosexism. Biological data offer important inroads to advance interdisciplinary research on sex differences useful to all the social sciences.

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The Hormone Puzzle The chromosomal basis of sex difference is clearer than the epigenetic distinctions that blur sex and gender. Of the two types of sex chromosomes, X and Y, both sexes have at least one X chromosome. Females possess two X chromosomes, whereas males have one X and one Y chromosome. It is the lack or presence of the Y chromosome that determines whether a baby will be male or female. That the X chromosome has a larger genetic background than the Y chromosome is advantageous to females with their (double) XX chromosomes. The extra X chromosome is associated with a superior immune system and lower female mortality at all stages of the life cycle. All other chromosomes are similar in form, differing only in individual hereditary identities. As noted, when hormones are added to the sex difference equation the boundaries between biology and culture are more blurred. There is a subtle but important interaction between sex hormones and psychosocial factors in gendered behavior. Hormones are internal secretions produced by the endocrine glands that are carried by the blood throughout the body, which affect target cells in other organs. Males and females possess the same hormones, but they differ in amounts. For example, the dominant female hormone, estrogen, is produced in larger quantities by the ovaries but in smaller quantities by the testes. The dominant hormone in males, testosterone, is produced in larger quantities by the testes and smaller quantities by the ovaries. The endocrine differences between males and females are not absolute, but differ along a continuum of variation, with most males being significantly different from most females. Sex hormones have two key functions that must be considered together. First, they shape the development of the brain and sex organs; second, they determine how these organs will be activated. Because hormones provide an organizational function for the body, their effects will be different for the sexes. For example, during fetal development, when certain tissues are highly sensitive to hormones, the secretion of testosterone both masculinizes and defeminizes key cellular structures throughout the brain and reproductive organs. The fetus first starts to develop female organs but later, under the influence of testosterone, masculinizes itself if it possesses a Y chromosome. A male may be viewed as a female transformed by testosterone—the female fetus is the “default” body. Masculinization and the development of sex differences are continuous processes and influence each other by hormones, individual experiences, and social expectations.

Aggression It is on the subject of aggression that debates on the influence of hormones on gendered behavior prove complicated and often polarizing. In most animal species, including primates, males are more aggressive than females. Higher aggression in human males peaks at about age two. Some animal studies link testosterone to increases in aggression, and in other studies androgens can both increase and weaken aggression. In humans, weak correlations are found between testosterone level and violence (Dayton and Malone, 2017; Music, 2017). Girls and boys are about equal in learned aggressiveness. They do not differ significantly in the influence of peers in determining aggressive behavior. Although peers do not “contaminate” boys and girls differently, there are sex differences in how children display aggression (Farrell et al., 2017; Zulauf et al., 2018). Girls are more likely than boys to suppress anger or carry it out verbally. They also use more relational aggression, purposely harming others,

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usually other girls, through manipulating peers, family members, and friends. Girls cause harm when a relationship suffers. Boys and young men are more likely to display aggression openly and carry it out in physical ways. They confront adversaries, usually other males, with pushing and shoving breaking out in fistfights, bullying, and shouting matches using sexually degrading language, often comparing them to weak girls (Chapter 9). Accounting for aggression according to key demographic features (age, race, ethnicity), key features of context (workplace, home, school), and key features of risk (abuse, developmental disability, sexual orientation), research does not show predictable, higher levels of aggressiveness for males. Statistical significance is weak or absent for studies that do suggest some correlation even when controlling for other factors. Endocrinologists and cognitive biologists are veering to the conclusion that the idea of “male and female hormones” as robust pathways to aggression and forms of pathological behavior oversimplifies the complexity of development in humans (Alexander, 2014a; Petersen and Dawes, 2017; Hammes and Levin, 2019). Animal studies, mostly done on rodents, do show a clear connection between androgens (male hormones) and male aggression, but a wealth of research on humans cannot support the same claim. Remember, too, that females possess androgens that are converted to estrogen. Level of testosterone, for example, is not a significant predictor of aggression for either boys or girls (Sato et al., 2008; Fine, 2017; Spencer et al., 2017). Besides the impossibility of designing ethical studies that can make the empirical causal leap from animals to people, we saw that studies on the most intelligent social animals, especially primates, cannot make the leap either. Also as noted, the most damaging argument against the aggression–hormone link is that sex differences in aggression are dependent on the type of aggression, the age of the aggressor, and the situation in which it occurs. Cultural features of the context are powerful forces in determinants of aggression. Despite inconsistencies in animal research, outbursts of aggression and moodiness during adolescence downplay or ignore culture and are blamed on fluctuations in hormones during puberty. Hormones shift constantly as people move in and out of various social situations. Testosterone increases aggression, but aggression increases testosterone. In competitions, levels of testosterone increase in winners and decrease in losers. Even among expectant dads, visualizing their nurturing role lowers their testosterone; when the baby arrives it jumps up. Hormones of teen boys and girls are less significant in aggressive behavior than mood, stressful events, peer and parental relationships, and methods of parental punishment (Oxford et al., 2017; DelPriore et al., 2018; Satish, 2018). These patterns show up in early childhood and follow into adulthood. There are different gender standards regarding the appropriateness of aggressive behavior, and they are learned early in life. As adults, men may feel pressured to act aggressively when publicly challenged. Masculinity scripts allow males more “freedom” than females in acting out aggression in physical ways. Girls shun girls, boys punch boys. Hormones shift constantly as people move in and out of various social situations.

Age Neuroscientists, physicians, and therapists are pivoting toward age as a viable explanation for aggression. Teen boys and teen girls do not have sex-differentiated brains as much as they have age-differentiated brains based on level of development (Siegel, 2015; Jensen, 2016; Damour, 2017). After all, they are teenagers! Sex differences in aggression are evident but

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not very large. Explanations for aggressiveness in males and females, and higher aggressiveness in males, cannot be adequately explained solely by changes in the brain or in hormonal imbalances. Environmental factors determine how a person’s aptitude translates to the real world. When a girl believes that math skills are learned, she does as well as a boy on a difficult math test as if she believes that math is a gift. Feminists struggle with the testosterone links to behavior, including aggression, sexuality and expression of emotion, when they are framed as proof of gendered personalities, male dominance, and inevitable patriarchy. However, they acknowledge it is not productive to dismiss all evidence of these differences. Neuroscientists and sociologists are engaging in interdisciplinary, intersectional research to discover factors accounting for differences that do exist (Davis and Risman, 2015; Ray, 2016). Testosterone is one of many components that influence aggression. It is clear that culture and context of aggression are as important as any biological predisposition of the aggressor. The bottom line: biological sex is not gender destiny.

Running too Fast Notwithstanding level of aggression, relying on selective testosterone-based beliefs about sex differences has huge consequences when the public believes that hormones determine “manly” or “womanly” behavior. Athletes are put under a bodily microscope. All athletes are monitored for steroid use, but international sports organizations target female athletes for tests not required of their male counterparts. Women’s reproductive organs and secondary sex characteristics are examined, and androgen levels are measured. Women report that the exams are humiliating. Runners are singled out. Dutee Chand was disqualified for Olympic trials for “abnormally high testosterone levels.” She could compete only if she took medicine to reduce her testosterone level. In contesting the ruling, witnesses identified over 200 biological anomalies—“from long limbs to fast-twitch muscle fibers”—that advantage male or female athletes. Swimmer Michael Phelps has exceptionally long arms and hands that certainly helped him achieve the record for most Olympic medals of any athlete. Chand won her appeal. The judge ruled that for female athletes to change their bodies to compete was “unjustifiably discriminatory” (Padawer, 2016:39). Caster Semenya was not as fortunate. Her high testosterone level is traced to a (possible) intersex status. Her female competitors argue she is more a man than a woman: she runs too fast for a woman. In Semenya’s case, the judge ruled her discrimination is necessary “to preserve the integrity of female athletics.” If she takes testosterone-reducing meds she may be able to compete against women; if not she may choose to compete against men. Is the ruling legitimate? Yes, otherwise there will never be a “female body on the podium.” No, it fuels misconceptions about trans women competing (Longman and Macur, 2019; North, 2019b). The “testosterone standard” used against female athletes continues to be contested. Unfortunately, testosterone is the stuff of (mythical) urban legend and stands in the way of “accurate understanding” of male and female bodies, much less their athletic bodies. Evidence is convincing—strongly so—that testosterone level does not predict your competitive drive or tendency for violence, your appetite for risk or sex, or your strength or athletic prowess. It is neither the biological essence of manliness nor even “the male sex hormone” (Jordan-Young and Karkazis, 2019).

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Motherhood Animal primate studies focusing on hormones released during pregnancy that allegedly fuel mother–infant bonding are used to suggest the existence of a maternal instinct in human females. This research asserts that female hormones of estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin biologically propel women toward motherhood. Furthermore, because these hormones are elicited in larger amounts during pregnancy and after labor, women are driven to protect, bond with, and nurture their infants from the moment of birth. Women’s desire for babies will always trump any desire men may have to be fathers. Fathering is learned, but evolutionary forces propel mothering. Infertile women who believe motherhood is based on a maternal instinct may view their inability to have children as inadequacy and failure (Chapter 3). Mothers protect, bond with, and nurture their infants in extraordinary ways, but these behaviors cannot be based solely on unlearned responses. Even evolutionary-based research does not support the notion of a maternal instinct. No “inherited” preference to bear children is necessary for reproduction. “Natural selection already favours mechanisms that result in reproduction, most significantly through the sexual urge” (Conversation, 2015). Evolution assures that babies are born because humans want sex. A century ago sociologist Leta Hollingworth (1916) discounted the maternal instinct belief, instead suggesting that “social devices” are the impelling reasons for women to bear and rear children. Socialization of females maximizes attachment to the young, whereas for males it is minimized. A woman suffering from postpartum depression may even reject her child. Infanticide, voluntary abortion, neglect by mothers, and selling children, especially daughters, are all too common globally. The number of voluntarily childless women continues to increase (Chapter 8). A new mother’s nurturing behavior accelerates quickly when she is in immediate contact with her newborn, but parental love emerges through repeated exposure to the infant. The majority of women eagerly respond to their infants and readily take on parenting and caretaking roles. These actions, however, are due to many factors rather than simply evolutionary biology. The birth experience of course creates a mother–child bond that is different than a father–child bond but this does not mean that hormones will make one parent better or more nurturing than the other. Neither does breast milk automatically make a mother a better parent than a father (Truscheit, 2018). When new fathers take part in birthing, measures of infant–father bonding are as high as infant–mother bonding. If gender-typing is low, infant care can be a rewarding joint effort by parents (Chapter 8). Consider Mead’s study of the gentle Arapesh, where men and women, and mothers and fathers enjoyed child care. The intense interest and love fathers have for their newborns and their capacity for nurturance are not based on hormones. Due in a large part to simplistic media accounts and blogs about of the genetic basis of sex differences in human behavior, beliefs about a maternal (motherhood) instinct persist. When a woman holds her baby in her arms for the first time, an amazing connection is born. Before you know it, the new mother’s maternal instinct kicks in. A mother’s love is the most pure and irreplaceable love that exists. It causes women to develop qualities they never knew they possessed. Little by little, they become exemplary mothers. (Youaremom, 2019)

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Wow! What if mothers cannot live up to this standard? Regardless of the maternal instinct as a culturally accepted biological standard, mothers do not live up to it. How our culture expects not only that you will know how to mother, but that you will enjoy it and that it will fulfill some deep need in you. But I hate being a mother. I love my kids deeply, more than I love myself, but I hate being a parent. (Pelley, 2019) Women feel guilty when revealing they do not share the bottomless devotion and selfless love expected of mothers. Indeed, they must be abnormal for not possessing “the” biologically programmed maternal instinct.

Critique The influence of hormones on gendered behavior is puzzling, and some research is equivocal. There is consensus among neuroscientists, biologists, and social and behavioral scientists that sex differences in behavior involve a complex mosaic of nature and nurture (Fausto-Sterling, 2016; Goldman, 2017). There is less scientific equivocation, however, about a maternal instinct. If it exists at all, evidence is negligible about women “innately drawn/uniquely hardwired” to childbearing (Campbell, 2016; Blackstone, 2017; Neal, 2017). This myth produces normative expectations about the “nature” of all women (we all want babies) and the “nature” of all mothers (we all have endless love and devotion for our children). It is harmful to mothers who can never live up to the ideal perpetuated by the maternal instinct myth. It is harmful to fathers pushed out of caregiving roles by beliefs they can never be as competent a parent as a mother. Feminists assert it is harmful to couples when society promotes childbirth but does not assist parents in provisions for childrearing. For the sake of both mothers and children we need to begin detaching the myth of motherhood from the reality. It’s unfair of any society to expect women to be the best mothers they can be without economic or emotional support, just because they should love their children. (Saini, 2017)

Sigmund Freud: Anatomy Is Destiny Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) stands at the nexus of nature and nurture. His influence on medicine and science is profound. There was no systematic psychology before Freud. He was the first to tie a specific theory (psychosexual development) to a therapeutic intervention (psychoanalysis), which he founded. As expected in science, a century of research on the foundations of Freud’s work has produced questions, inconsistencies, and disagreement, demonstrating that he remains a powerful force on the intellectual climate in many disciplines. The fact that a boy possesses a penis and a girl does not is the dominant factor in Freud’s theory of psychosexual development. Of his five stages of psychosexual development (oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital), the one that has received the most attention is the phallic stage as it relates to gender socialization. At ages 3–5, children recognize the anatomical

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difference between the sexes. They focus gratification on the genitals (the clitoris for the girl and the penis for the boy), and masturbation and sexual curiosity increase for both. Freud argued that girls come to believe that the penis, unlike the barely noticeable clitoris, is a symbol of power denied to them. The result is “penis envy,” which culminates in a girl’s wish that she could be a boy (Freud, 1962). She views her mother as inferior because she, too, does not have a penis. The girl’s libido, or sexual energy, is transferred to the father, who becomes the love object. Neo-Freudian psychologist Carol Jung referred to this experience as the Electra complex. The resolution occurs when the girl’s wish for a penis is replaced by the wish for a child. A male child is even more desirable because he brings the longed-for penis with him. In this way, the female child eventually learns to identify with her mother. Clitoral stimulation is abandoned for vaginal penetration, which is proclaimed as a sign of adult maturity for women. A boy also experiences conflict during the phallic stage, when his libido is focused on his mother, and his father is the rival for his mother’s affections. Freud called this experience the Oedipus complex. When a boy discovers that a girl does not have a penis, he develops “castration anxiety”—the fear that he will be deprived of the prized organ. The psychic turmoil a boy experiences during this stage leads to the development of a strong superego. For Freud, conscience and morality, the very hallmarks of civilization, are produced with strong superegos. Freud believed that girls have weaker superegos because the resolution of the Electra complex occurs with envy rather than fear. Because they experience less psychic conflict than boys, personality development is tarnished. This explains why women are more envious, jealous, narcissistic, and passive than men. A boy eventually overcomes the underlying fear, identifies with his father, reduces incestuous desires for his mother, and is later ushered into psychosexual maturity. Indeed, anatomy is destiny for Freud.

Critique Asserting that women cannot be fully mature unless they experience orgasm through vaginal intercourse, Freud’s beliefs about the biological inadequacy of females ignore the clitoris serving a purely sexual and pleasurable function. Physiologically orgasms are the same regardless of how they are reached. The sexism in Freudian theory is obvious and may have exceeded the intentions of Freud himself. His ideas were conditioned by the Victorian society in which he lived—one that largely embraced strict gender differentiation based on traditional roles for men and women in a taken-for-granted patriarchal world. Freud was initially criticized quite severely for notions about infantile sexuality and the psychosexual stages of development but garnered quiet acceptance for his comments on the biologically inferior design of females.

Feminism and Freud Can feminists be Freudians? Blatant sexism notwithstanding, the answer is “yes.” Feminist scholars and therapists certainly reject sexism but find useful core elements of his theory and therapeutic techniques. It would be counterproductive, for example, to reject psychoanalysis when it is successful for some women patients.

Psychoanalytic Feminism Psychoanalytic feminism emerged to analyze the construction of gender and its effects on women, including women’s subordination and men’s need to dominate and subjugate women.

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Even in Freud’s own time psychoanalytic theorist and physician Karen Horney (1885–1952) rejected Freud’s dogma on women as “distorted and condescending.” Referred to today as a psychoanalytic feminist, she retained the main outlines of his theory but rejected penis envy is favor of what she referred to as womb envy, the psychosexual inadequacy a male endures for being unable to bear children. She believed the Oedipus Complex and personality disorders could be better explained by cultural considerations, social problems, and a patient’s present anxieties rather than instinct and childhood reconstructions (Horney, 1937, 1939). Current feminist (re)interpretation of psychoanalytic theory allows problems of personality and male domination to be viewed from this unique perspective.

Nancy Chodorow Sociologist and leading scholar representing psychoanalytic feminism is Nancy Chodorow (1978, 1994, 2012), who integrates aspects of psychoanalytic and sociological theory. She posits that because in most cultures women do the child care, mothers produce daughters who desire to mother. Mothering thus reproduces itself. They produce sons, who devalue women for these very roles. Penis envy occurs because women, even young girls, recognize the power of males; so it is natural to desire this kind of power. There is nothing inherently biologically superior about this. A girl has the ability to maintain identification with her mother to achieve the desirable traits of empathy and connectedness. This is a positive resolution of the Oedipus complex, which Freud overlooked, ignored, or rejected from his male-biased view. Chodorow has since refined her work to better represent the individual, relational, and social dimensions in psychoanalytic theory and therapeutics. She asks how taken-for-granted sociocultural practices can work well with individuality that is shaped by these very practices? We are all individual subjects but a good route for knowing the mind of a patient is to frame therapy according to relationships, with family, friends, and as well as the therapist, and the social values all these players bring to the therapeutic relationship (Chodorow, 2019). The individual should not be absorbed in the social; nor should the social be ignored in the individual. Notions that Freud’s gender theories should be trashed because of their sexism, and instinct theories viewed with unabashed skepticism, are not helpful when the distrust of some aspects of psychoanalysis is sought when emotional help is needed by men and women. Psychoanalytic feminists and therapists are encouraged to incorporate the realities of gender, sexuality, race, and political economy into their work. They are moving beyond the prejudices and “authoritarian clinical styles” of Freud’s time. It is “not your father’s psychoanalysis” today (Seligman, 2019). Disagreements between psychoanalytic feminists and between feminism and Freudian theory are moving toward reconciliation. A sociological divorce from psychoanalytic theory risks overlooking or marginalizing psychosocial approaches to a wide range of social topics (Chancer and Andrews, 2014). Feminists are adopting theoretical and therapeutic models to replace traditional, Freudian-based, androcentric approaches to the benefit of male and female clients. Freud would be shocked—but not necessarily horrified— by the feminist turn of his work.

GENDERED SEXUALITY Conventional beliefs about sexuality written from biological and neuroscience scripts are undermined by a wealth of interdisciplinary research and scholarship on gendered sexuality.

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Historically, beliefs about males and females in regard to human sexuality were taboo subjects, shrouded in myth and superstition. Like the myth of the maternal instinct, research on gendered sexuality and the ambiguities it reveals dispels many myths, but many others persist.

Ambiguous Sex, Ambiguous Gender Adding to scholarship on gendered sexuality is the blizzard of media reports, anecdotal blogs, and surging social activism shattering binary notions of (both) sex and gender. The principle of sexual dimorphism, the separation of the sexes into two distinct, nonoverlapping categories, reflects biological notions of sex. Most people identify as cisgender, their sex assigned at birth aligns with their gender identity. As children, they become aware of two sexes who behave differently and generally adopt the gendered behavior matching their biological sex (Chapter 3). Cisgender people display established sex and gender binaries. In attitudes and behavior, however, many others do not reflect these binaries. The categories of gender and sex are rooted in cultural definitions; both categories are malleable (Hyde et al., 2019). Transgender is an umbrella term describing those whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth. They do not conform to culturally defined gender roles associated with this assigned sex. Chapter 1 noted the accepted scientific and popular culture usage of the inclusive LGBTQ category (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer). The term also describes people who are gender-variant. Often used interchangeably with sexual minority or gender minority, it signals a context where power differences emerge according to one’s sexual status or gender identity. Like other minorities, these power differences translate to discrimination and threats to overall well-being.

Intersex We can burrow into the links between physiology and behavior to see how nonbinary gendered sexuality unfolds. Infants born with sexual anomalies disrupt sex and gender binaries and shed light on the biological basis of sex differences. Formerly referred to as hermaphrodites, the term intersex describes the approximate 1 in 2000 infants born with both male and female sex organs, who have ambiguous genitalia (such as a clitoris that looks like a penis), or have atypical genetic or hormonal markers for male or female. Intersex people are frequently “diagnosed” with a disorder of sex development (DSD). They violate the principle of sexual dimorphism, the separation of the sexes into two distinct, nonoverlapping categories. Assigned one sex at birth, the child’s genetic sex is discovered later. Genetic markers determined if it was necessary to retain the child’s assigned sex or to surgically alter a child to become an “unambiguous” male or female.

Sex Reassignment Until late in the twentieth century, the principle of sexual dimorphism was rigidly adhered to in medicine. At physician prompting, parents typically chose sex reassignment surgery (SRS) as a viable, appropriate option for their intersex infant The infant may or may not be reassigned to the other sex. In SRS, sexual organs and genitalia are altered so the intersex child will fit the appearance of one sex or the other or will correspond to the child’s male or female “dominant” genetic code. Therapists stress that the timing of SRS is crucial for psychological

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adjustment. Sex reassignment is considered more successful if it occurs before age three, since gender identity and the sense of self is rapidly developing in toddlers (Chapter 3). The belief that the earlier the better for SRS prevailed among therapists for decades. SRS is offered as a solution for infants with DSD that is a moderate-to-severe type genital atypia. Even as recently as the 2010s, almost all infants with this diagnosis were subject to genital surgery. Parents are offered options about type and timing of surgeries, but rarely hear the option of not having any surgery (Nokoff et al., 2017; Sandberg et al., 2017). Genital atypia is the most severe DSD and may explain this high number of surgeries and physician reluctance to tell parents otherwise. Guidelines about SRS for infants and young children have changed dramatically. Newborns are more rigorously screened for a number of conditions, including internally ambiguous genitalia that previously might have been overlooked. Some may be discovered in utero. Parents are much more likely to know their newborn is intersex before leaving the hospital. The decision to surgically alter their child’s mismatched sexual apparatus—whether reassignment or not—to conform to the male or female sex, or to forgo surgery at this time, is agonizing to parents. Up to one-fourth of parents experience psychological distress because of these surgical decisions (Wolfe-Christensen et al., 2017; Emanuel, 2019). SRS is certainly controversial. Parents believe that even if the surgery is medically unnecessary, it will make it easier on their child to grow up “normally.” However, the child has no choice in the decision and the surgery is usually irreversible. Genital altering surgeries on intersex infants and young children today are criticized as akin to human rights violations. California is the first state to condemn the surgeries. A landmark legal settlement in favor of an intersex youth for the harmful outcomes of “genital correction surgery” was decided on the doctrine of informed consent. As a result, a moratorium on SRS for infants is in place (Miller, 2018; Lowry, 2019). These surgeries, however, were already in decline. Physicians and parents are increasingly rejecting “gender normalizing” surgeries. The World Health Organization and many U.S. medical associations are opposing such surgeries unless there is a significant imminent health risk or functional impairment. Evidence against SRS in infancy and early childhood supports the legal conclusions. Genitalia-altering surgery carries higher—not lower—risk of medical and psychological trauma than going without it (Compton, 2018; Knight, 2018). Current advice is to begin integrated mental health support of parents and families as soon as they learn of their child’s intersex status. If necessary, apply reversible non-surgical approaches as first interventions. Provide the child with age-appropriate information and counseling about the intersex condition as soon as feasible and continue parent–child support as the child grows and develops. A mature person decides on what action to take, if any, for surgery. Any irreversible surgery must wait until children are old enough to know and say which sex they prefer and how it is a match to their gender. If chosen, it may not be gender confirmation surgery (GCS) as much as it is gender affirmation surgery (GAS). “Sex reassignment surgery” (SRS) is less used as a term today.

Transing It was thought impossible to delay sex assignment at birth and raise a child without outward identifiable gender markers or until they were ready to decide on which sex they chose to “be.” The impossible has not only become plausible, but it is becoming acceptable. Transgender medicine has exploded. Research on gendered sexuality and the development

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of transgender studies draws on biology, neuroscience, and medicine, as well as psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Findings are used in counseling parents and their trans children. Adults seeking GAS have an abundance of information that was not available to them as children. Collaborative, interdisciplinary efforts on transgender offers parents best practices to navigate a difficult road for their intersex children. This information is vital, too, for another group of children. What about those children who from their earliest memories know they were born in the “wrong” body? These are genetic males or females who do not have the biological anomalies associated with intersex. They say they are members of the other sex. Some gender specialists estimate as many as 1 in 500 children are “gender-nonconforming” and that a portion will choose gender affirmation surgery. Consider Karen’s account of her five-year-old daughter watching a Victoria’s Secret commercial. Her daughter said ‘if she had breasts she would cut them off.’… When asked why, her daughter said ‘They draw so much attention.’ Her daughter came out as a transgender male in high school. After years of comprehensive medical and psychological support, he had a double mastectomy to align his body with his gender identity. (Cited in Remerowski, 2018). Such reports are confirmed by other parents. From the time she could talk, (she) told her parents she is a boy. … She doesn’t say ‘I feel like a boy.’ She says ‘I am a boy.’ (Schwartzapfel, 2013) When Coy was a year and a half old he loved nothing more than playing dress-up. Coy’s fascination [was] with all things sparkly, ruffly and pink … [At three] after not receiving girl pants at Christmas, he asked when [he was] going to the doctor to have me fixed … tears spilling down his cheeks, to get my girl pants? (Erdely, 2013) Skylar is a boy, but he was born a girl, and lived as one until the age of fourteen. Skylar would put it differently … [H]e was a boy all along. (At age 13) after a bout of Internet research, he told [his parents] he was trans. [He had gender surgery at age sixteen.] (Talbot, 2013) Young people transing from one sex to the other are likely to use transgender or simply trans to self-identify. Transsexual, a term originating with the psychiatric community officially diagnosed these people as having a “gender identity disorder.” Offensive to the trans population, both the term and the diagnosis have been abandoned (Arnold, 2017). In 2019 the World Health Organization reclassified “gender identity disorder” to “gender incongruence.” Physicians and therapeutic communities now use gender dysphonia to describe the distress—not mental illness—resulting from feelings that one’s body does not match one’s sense of self. They feel “trapped” in the wrong body and may undergo GAS to “correct” the problem. Only then can their gender identity and their biological sex be consistent. Crossdresser has replaced transvestite as a term referring to mostly males who are sexually aroused when they dress in women’s clothing. Cross-dressers rarely choose GAS. Many are married and prefer to stay married. They may perform as “drag queens” as a livelihood but usually hold other jobs under a male persona. Like many in the LGBTQ community, they report a gender identity that is flexible or fluid. Compatible with symbolic interaction, gender fluidity describes the shifting of gender identity and its presentation according to various contexts.

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Transgender people choosing GAS do not usually self-identify as gay or lesbian. They are newly minted males or females who desire sexual intimacy with the other gender. With biological sex and gender identity now consistent, they ease into their new gender and its associated roles with more confidence. Their ideal lover would be a heterosexual man or woman. The reality, however, is that most heterosexuals would not choose transgender lovers. Most people identifying as transgender do not undergo GAS. Neither do most in the broader LGBTQ population. The choice for GAS is understood first as a monumental gender identity hurdle. Comfort with the identity and maneuvering the unique contexts they live in are hurdles that follow. The intersection of social class and transgender identity also comes into play. The cost of surgery and treatment that must be monitored over a lifetime is staggering and often not covered by insurance. Even if psychological challenges are successfully resolved, the financial costs of the entire transing process are usually out of reach for most people who want GAS. A caution about the timing of GAS is warranted. Advice is to take it slowly. Transgender youth may change their minds about surgery, instead deciding on a nonbinary identity, living a gender fluid lifestyle, or after trying on the other gender for a while, retaining their assigned sex. Symptoms associated with gender dysphoria, such as gender nonconformity, may rapidly unfold in early childhood. But this is only one of a constellation of symptoms needed for its diagnosis. Gender dysphoria is not a phase: it is a serious, ongoing condition, with repeated insistence early in life, that she or he is the other sex. To date, science cannot determine which symptoms will persist. If gender dysphoria is diagnosed and persists past puberty, it is likely to be permanent (Bressert, 2019; Littman, 2019). Most genderquestioning kids are not gender- dysphoric kids. Deciding on GAS too early in life may be predict negative outcomes.

Critique Early research in the United States (1970s) on the success of SRS/GAS showed overall negative results: some believed they made a mistake, and others reported no better adjustment after the surgery. Recent research, however, shows much more successful outcomes in the U.S. and globally (Berli et al., 2017; Lindqvist et al., 2017). GAS on male-to-female report fewer physical complications compared to female-to-male. However, better surgical techniques have reduced complications for both. Female-to-male surgeries are rapidly increasing (Selvaggi et al., 2018). Some reports show satisfaction rates of GAS exceeding 90 percent. Advances in health care and therapy with a better understanding of transgender and a variety services for maneuvering transition are factors in such successes (Hess et al., 2018; Safa et al., 2019; van de Grift, 2018). A key measure of positive GAS outcomes or simply living an improved gender-variant life without surgery, is increased social acceptance of LGBTQ people. Media portrayals of transgender issues today are much more favorable. Overall most people with GAS report it had greatly improved their quality of life and few express regret after the surgery (Barone et al., 2017; Papadopulos et al., 2017; Sandoiu, 2018; Hadj-Moussa, et al., 2019). The success of GAS is well documented for most young adults. Those choosing GAS and parents delaying sex assignment for intersex children—so far at least—describe relatively happy scenarios. The success of GAS is also well documented for young adults. It is the choice factor that attests to these generally happy scenarios for SRS/ GAS. Without this factor, the following case study demonstrates a far different conclusion.

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Does Nature Rule? A Sex Reassignment Tragedy Unraveling the biological and cultural ambiguities surrounding sex and gender is exceedingly difficult. This is clearly demonstrated in the infamous case of SRS performed in 1968 in Canada to one of a pair of identical male twins, Bruce and Brian. During a circumcision at 8 months to correct a minor urination problem, Baby Bruce’s penis was burned off. Physicians concluded that constructing an artificial penis was possible but not promising. The twins’ parents learned that Dr. John Money (1921–2006), one of the world’s experts on gender identity, spoke of encouraging results with SRS for hermaphrodites. According to Money, parents and environment solely shaped gender identity. Although Bruce was not a hermaphrodite (intersex) and was born with normal genitals, Dr. Money agreed to take on his case and work with the family so that he could be “taught to want to be a girl.” At 22 months, Bruce had surgery to remove remaining penile tissue. Bruce was transformed to Brenda. According to Dr. Money, by age five, the twins demonstrated almost stereotypical gender roles. Given girls’ toys and highly feminine clothing, Brenda was being prepared for a domestic life. Brother Brian was introduced to the world outside the home, with preferences for masculine toys (soldiers and trucks) and occupations (firefighter and police officer) (Money and Ehrhardt, 1972; Money and Tucker, 1975). Brenda’s case appeared to be successful. Or was it? Directly countering Money’s positive assessment was a follow-up of Brenda at age 13, when she was seen by a new set of psychiatrists. They reported a far more difficult transformation. She rebelled almost from the start, tearing off dresses, preferring boys’ toys, and fighting with her brother and peers. There was nothing feminine about Brenda. Her gait was masculine, and she was teased by other children; she believed that boys had a better life and that it is easier to be a boy than a girl (Diamond, 1982; Diamond and Sigmundson, 1997). In therapy sessions, she was sullen, angry, and unresponsive. The mere suggestion of vaginal surgery for the next step in her transformation induced explosive panic. When did Brenda learn that she was born Bruce? At age 10, in an embarrassed, fumbled attempt, her father told her that she needed surgery because a doctor “made a mistake down there.” Subconsciously she probably knew she was a boy, but at age 14, she was finally told the truth. Expressing immense relief, she vowed to change back to a boy and took the name David (Bruce was “too geeky”). At age 18, at a relative’s wedding, he made his public debut as a boy and married in 1990. David had a penis and testicles constructed, requiring 18 hospital visits (Colapinto, 2000; Gaetano, 2017). In the media frenzy that followed David’s “coming out” as a boy, the public heard only that gender identity is a natural and inborn process. Nurture’s role is given little credit in the process. Decades after the Bruce-Brenda-David transformations, John Money continued to make a strong case for the social constructionist argument (Money, 1995).

Essentialist Shortcomings Although this case may support the nature side (gender identity is inborn), there are strong counterarguments for the nurture side (gender identity is learned). First, Brenda’s estrogen therapy began at age 12, but it is very doubtful that the effects of her biological sex were altered early enough to make her look—and certainly to make her feel—more like a girl than a boy. Brian was also confused and embarrassed by Brenda’s tomboy behavior. Children such as Brenda who do not physically or behaviorally conform to expectations are vulnerable to rejection and ridicule by peers. Second, with the fear she would revert to masculine

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preferences, unlike most girls today, Brenda was being raised rigidly to conform to stereotyped feminine gender roles. She was being prepared for a domestic life, but if her transformation had been successful, she could never have fulfilled the “ultimate” role of biological motherhood. Third, Brenda was keenly aware that boys had more prestige and a “better life” than girls. Her extraordinary opportunity to revert to the male sex may have been further prompted by these beliefs. Finally, and most important, by age two, children are marked with indelible gender stamps (Chapter 3). They may be altered over time, but never erased. Bruce became a girl nearly two years after everyone, including twin brother Brian, treated her like a boy. Bruce’s life as a toddler boy was written with masculine scripts; these scripts were abruptly changed to highly stereotyped, feminine scripts. Bruce’s gender identity was already unfolding. Fearing that those who knew Bruce for two years before his transformation to Brenda would derail the whole process, the family even moved at one point (Lindsey, 2004: 176–177). Certainly this case does not support John Money’s assertion that a newborn is a blank slate on which gender identity will be written. Money ignored not only the role of biology and genetics (Bruce was born with the normal “sex apparatus”) in attempting to transform Bruce into Brenda, but also ignored his own suppositions about how gender is socially constructed. Social constructionists emphasize the power of the end point fallacy—new definitions create new behaviors in an ongoing cycle (Chapter 1). Earlier definitions and behaviors are never completely lost, regardless of how they are transformed. Bruce was expected to unlearn earlier definitions and behaviors at the core of his emerging gender identity. John Money’s rigid interpretation of David Reimer’s case can be described as cultural essentialism. Just as biological essentialists claim sex differences due to nature, cultural essentialists claim gender differences due to nurture. Whether from biology or culture, essentialist views are unproductive largely because they are deterministic. They cannot deal with the blurring of sex and gender in socialization. Media accounts continue to blur this distinction; most reporting on the Reimer case is in the context of intersex infants. The media never questioned the ability of a host of players to carry out a giant pretense. Everybody was playing a game of science fiction, but the game of social reality was largely ignored (Lindsey, 2004). Despite these criticisms, however, a social constructionist argument is valid. Social constructionist views on gender learning neither reject nor ignore the powerful role of biological sex in socialization (Chapters 1 and 3). Unlike John Money’s version, the sociological view of social constructionism is not essentialist. The final irony is that John Money sends a Freudian-based biological message about David Reimer. Sounding like a biological essentialist, David is defined solely by his penis. At the loss of his penis, he loses both his maleness (biological sex) and his masculinity (gender). The only recourse, therefore, is castration and SRS. Rigid definitions of what males are “supposed” to be (Chapter 9) spelled doom for David Reimer. All these threads weave together in the tragic conclusion of David Reimer’s story. Treated for schizophrenia, twin brother Brian committed suicide with an overdose of antidepressant drugs. Grieving the loss of his brother and a life unraveling by depression, debt, and separation from his wife, two years later David Reimer took his own life by a gunshot to his head.

Sexual Orientation As more people identify as “gender fluid,” estimating the number of people in LGBTQ ranks is difficult. The categories overlap, people report multiple identities, and researchers use

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different measurements. Notwithstanding these difficulties, a variety of rigorous polls are generally consistent in their reports—all showing record numbers of increases. As many as 11 million people are estimated to be in the LGBTQ ranks. A million identify as transgender and 3.5 percent as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. This translates to 4.5 of the U.S. population in the LGBTQ ranks (Fitzsimmons, 2018; Trotta, 2019). LGBTQ numbers continue to increase but are vastly overestimated. by Americans. Less than 5 percent of adults identify as LGBTQ, but Americans think they comprise over 20 percent of the entire U.S. population. Sexual orientation, the preference for sexual partners or sexual attraction to one or the other gender, or both, (Chapter 1) is a large, influential component of the sexual minority population.

Queer Theory Terms describing people according to sexual attraction and preferences are routinely used by the public and media. Depending on how they are used and who uses them, some terms are contentious. As a result, discourse about sexual minorities is being reshaped; new labels are offered by the people they refer to. In reclaiming a term once associated with ridicule and derision, queer theory emerged in the 1990s to examine how all forms of sexuality and sexual identity—from sexual orientation to sexual behavior—are socially constructed. It explores the oppression of dominant sexual norms (heteronormativity) on people’s lives, particularly for sexual minorities (Chapter 9). By transcending taken-for-granted beliefs about sexual boundaries and disrupting the notion of gender binaries, theorists of queer studies examine how sexual identity is built up over time, emerging from the multiple contexts of our lives. Queer theory alerts us to the mismatch between sex, gender, and desire.

Asexuality Terms used here reflect current sociological usage, but they, too, will be altered as this reshaping discourse proceeds. Another sexual identity category, asexual describes someone who does not experience sexual attraction to others. They date and have sex, and can enjoy romantic attachment, but a sexual component is not part of their identity (Przybylo, 2016; Lehmiller, 2018). Why would this be considered a sexual minority category? Asexual people contend that, like other sexual minorities, they experience discrimination in a sexualized world, many preferring to keep their asexuality secret. This secrecy is also linked to their perceptions of gender and sexuality. As expressed by asexual and heteroromantic Frankie, age 18, I don’t have a defined attraction and because of the way that I experience romantic and platonic attraction … for me gender is a lot less important than it might be for others. (Cuthbert, 2019:858) Frankie’s description counters a society rife with assumptions that sexuality and even being human are the same. As an incredulous news host commented during an interview with an asexual man, When you date, the assumption for 99% of humanity, is that you are out there dating, and looking for a mate, in part because you want to, well mate … you’re allowing people to assume you are a vertebrate, because almost all humans are, you have an obligation to disclose that you are actually a jellyfish. (Cited in Gupta, 2015)

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Despite this demeaning interview, asexuality has rapidly emerged as a valid category in the spectrum of people with various sexual preferences. The acceptance of the concept of asexuality is incorporated in LGBTQ(IA), where IA = intersex and asexual. This broadened category is adopted by many advocacy organizations and making its way into research usage.

Sex Partners For those without any sexual attraction, asexuality is included as a new sexual orientation. However, in most Western cultures sexual orientation is usually divided into categories of heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual. Like gender identity, sexual orientation is not automatically granted by biological sex. Heterosexual is the category of people who have sexual preference for and erotic attraction to those of the other gender. Homosexual is the category of people who have sexual preference for and erotic attraction to those of their own gender. Homosexual males are also referred to as gay men and homosexual females as lesbians. Although the term gay is often used in the media to include both gay men and lesbians, researchers use it to designate men. Like transsexual, the referent “homosexual” is moving out of usage and is considered offensive by many LGBTQ advocacy organizations. Bisexual is the category of people whose sexual orientations may shift and who are sexually responsive to either gender. There is a great deal of variation in how and with whom people experience sexual pleasure. Symbolic interactionists suggest that sexual orientation unfolds and builds over time during sexual interaction in specific contexts with people who share similar sexual desires. Social constructionists contend that this interaction is grounded on cultural meanings and definitions brought to the sexual interaction. Like heterosexuals, men and women who see themselves as gay or lesbian maintain a gender identity consistent with their biological sex. They are socialized into prevailing gender roles except for their sexual orientation. This socialization helps explain why gay men and lesbians prefer sexual partners who fit the standards of masculinity or femininity defined by the culture. Because it is accompanied by gender roles that are defined as masculine or feminine, however, gender identity is more susceptible to change over time than is sexual orientation. In the middle of the nineteenth century, a masculine gender role was associated with employment that included elementary school teaching and clerical work. Today these same jobs are associated with a feminine gender role (Chapter 1). The conceptual distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation is a blurry one, perhaps explaining why transgender is the preferred term to self-identify.

Global Focus: Third-Gender Cultures Across the globe, specific categories of transgender people are singled out for performing important social functions, especially in villages and rural areas in the developing world. Their acceptance depends on the legitimation a community extends to performing these roles, thus allowing their unique subcultures to exist. Paralleling gender fluidity in beliefs and behavior, these trans people go through life with “mixed” gender identities. The xanith of the Arab state of Oman are biological males. They work as homosexual prostitutes and skilled domestic servants. Described as a “third” gender, they have male names but distinctive dress and hairstyles unlike either men or women. Xanith are not men because they can interact openly and informally with women and are not women because they are not restricted by purdah, the system of veiling and secluding women (Chapter 6). Gender boundaries are also transgressed by the ancient mahus of Tahiti. Mahus are usually young boys who adopt female gender roles

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early in life and obtain jobs usually performed by women. They have sexual relations with those of their own sex (males) but not with other mahus. Their preferred sexual partners, however, are females. The blurred gender roles, jobs, and sexual preferences defy descriptions of mahu sexuality. Although Tahitians poke fun at mahus, they are accepted members in society. Mahu semi-sacred status, viewed as naturally evolving from childhood, is bestowed with power and esteem for the traditional and spiritual roles they perform (Law, 2019).

South Asia Claiming to be neither male nor female, the highly studied hijras in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh) are born male but may “sacrifice” their genitalia to live as women, albeit with a transgender identity. The gender roles they act out as hijra are at the core of their identity and affirm their positive, collective self-image. They are not homosexual and prefer heterosexual men as sexual partners. They are called upon to perform important spiritual and religious functions, such as blessing newborn infants. Others are paid entertainers at weddings and religious festivals. Many others are beggars. Since hijra livelihood is contingent on the legitimization of these roles, hijras are emasculated by choice. Beggars are disdained and begging is illegal in parts of South Asia, for example, but hijra beggars are tolerated. Traced to the eunuchs of the Mogul Courts, India’s hijra communities date to antiquity. Historical legacy of hijras in Hindu India granted them legal rights earlier than in more religiously conservative Muslim Pakistan. After much controversy, Pakistan passed legislation guaranteeing fundamental rights to its transgender citizens in 2018. In rural South Asia where hijras practice their trade, sexual orientation and gender identity do not appear to be concerns. They are not homosexual and prefer heterosexual men as sexual partners. Hijras are ambivalent figures in India. They are teased and mocked but also valued and accepted for the ritual functions they perform. In Pakistan, despite legal protection, this ambivalence extends to disdain, discrimination, and violence. In rapidly urbanizing South Asia, the social acceptance of hijras is diminishing, fewer rituals are performed, and many are relegated to begging in order to survive. Legal rights for all gender-nonconforming persons are being stripped. In affirming heteronormative celebration, the state is advocating SRS for hijras and others like them (Chatterjee, 2018b; Mal, 2018; Saria, 2019). In turn, discrimination and marginalization increase.

Indonesia On the Indonesia island of Sulawesi, five gender identities among the Muslim ethnic Bugis are recognized. In addition to cis men and women, there are calalai (females performing male roles and dressing like men), calabai (males performing female roles and dressing like women, and bissu (transgender people with spiritual powers who can bestow blessings). Three of the five genders Bugi society recognizes can be positioned in the LGBTQ ranks. There is no word for gender in indigenous Bugi language. For Bugis, gender is made up of various understandings about sexuality, biology, and subjectivity. Despite contemporary Islamic discourse branding gender variant people as moral threats, many Bugi rituals and beliefs—such as gender and sexuality existing as a continuum rather than as a binary—are pre-Islamic. Their more isolated existence on Sulawesi may offer limited protection from the wave of vitriolic anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and arrests sweeping across Indonesia (Merigo, 2019).

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Those with mixed gender identities among the Bugi are generally tolerated and accepted for the roles they perform. Among the Bugi, the bissu may be regarded with awe and even reverence. They perform as priests and in weddings as maids of honor. A bissu must possess all gender traits found throughout Bugi society. Intersex infants are thought to possess bissu proclivity, but “normative” male infants can grow up to be female on the inside. Once this “femaleness” is revealed, bissu candidacy can be bestowed. Bissu life is not easy. To maintain respect, they must be celibate, wear conservative clothing as priests, and maintain rigorous ritual standards. Communities monitor their behavior. Respect for the bissu cannot guarantee their survival. They are the smallest of the three gender-variant groups and only a handful of bissu priests exist in some villages. Gradual cultural decline, fewer invitations to perform religious rituals, and village schools infused with LGBTQ hate messages, push the bissu to the verge of extinction (Ibrahim. 2019). The calalai and calabai may hide their gender identity, but bissu cannot. It is difficult to recruit bissu to openly adopt a transgender status. Local leaders may respect bissu identity but keep silent in the wake of heightening antiLGBTQ sentiment.

Native Americans Centuries before early European contact among Native Americans, over 100 types of sex and gender expression existed. Led by missionaries, the European and colonization periods that followed attempted to literally erase Native American culture, including these expressions (Chapter 5). As research uncovered multiple examples of nonbinary identities, they were labeled as berdache, a title conferred on those who did not exhibit conventional gender roles, such as womanly men and manly women. A “womanly man” may have been unable to exhibit masculinity according to Plains Indian warfare and became a berdache. More accepted accounts argue that berdache were revered religious leaders, acting as mediators between men and women and between the physical and the spiritual worlds. In some Plains tribes they were called upon to bestow “masculine ferocity” before war. Evidence for their respected status includes Lakota Chief Crazy Horse counting berdaches among his wives. Criticisms of berdache as a catchall label for such diversity centers on the non-indigenous origin of berdache (a French term for young, male homosexual partners) and the highly diverse role performances played out according to tribe and location. Over 130 North American tribes in all regions exhibited this gender diversity. Many contemporary tribes continue to demonstrate respect for gender fluidity but use two-spirit to identify themselves and others like them. The berdache label may oversimplify that a manly woman is lesbian, and a womanly man is gay. With focus on berdache males, it tends to marginalize the gender variability of those assigned as female (Lang, 2016; Pyle, 2018). Two-spirited people act out multiple cross-gender roles as well as those assigned to one sex or the other. They are skilled in areas usually reserved for either men or women. They should move between these roles seamlessly. Most important, however, they are conferred with special characteristics that neither a man nor a woman possesses. As an Apache two-spirited person explains: Two-spirited people are not LGBTQ, although some two-spirited people are LGBTQ … narrowing the definition. You’re not two-spirit unless you are familiar with your cultural identity and your traditions. (Cited in Hilleary, 2018)

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Reprise The, xanith, mahus, hijras, bissu gender of the Bugi, and Native American berdache (twospirit), perform important social functions. They enact religious and other cultural performances that otherwise might be lost. Anthropological research focuses on their gender-variant statuses, offering profiles depicting respect and acceptance, even if simultaneously mixed with mockery and disdain. They attest to the powerful impact of culture on gender identity and sexual orientation, ultimately challenging the sex and gender binaries in multiple ways. The perils associated with these challenges, however, cannot be dismissed. LGBTQ rights are under assault in places where, for centuries, enactments of accepted gender-variant roles contributed to community betterment and individual survival. Today legal rights awarded to gender variant people do little to guarantee their safety. In many developing world regions, fear of reprisal drives gender minorities underground. Violence is often sanctioned and ignored for third-gender people who breach gender binaries in traditional communities (Jamel, 2018). Eager to affirm and celebrate their work and heritage, we need to be cautious in contributing to a narrative that neglects the often lethal burdens conferred by these roles.

Sexual Scripts Sociologists emphasize how sexuality is based on prescribed roles that are acted out like other socially bestowed roles. Sexual scripts are shared beliefs concerning what society defines as acceptable sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors for each gender. All sexual scripts are gendered. Gender roles are connected with different sexual scripts—one considered more appropriate for males and the other considered more appropriate for females Sexual scripts continue to be based on beliefs that for men, sex is for orgasm and physical pleasure and for women, sex is for love and the pleasure that comes from intimacy. Cisgender men more than cisgender women believe in biological essentialism, which itself is a sexual script. Although people may desire more latitude—such as more emotional intimacy for men and more sexual pleasure for women—they often feel constrained by the traditional scripting of their sexuality. When both men and women accept such scripts and carry their expectations into the bedroom, gendered sexuality is socially constructed. Beliefs about gendered sexuality contribute to less sexual pleasure and more sexual dysfunction in the bedroom and risks for sexual abuse of cisgender women increase. Prejudice and violence directed at trans people also escalates (Ching and Xu, 2018; Skewes et al., 2018). Gendered scripting clearly illustrates that biology alone cannot explain human sexuality in even its limited forms. Sexual scripts may provide routes to conventional sexuality but over time paths offering new directions for sexuality can be built. Culturally based gendered sexuality will ever be eliminated. It is likely, however, that as gender roles become more egalitarian, the sexual lives of both men and women will be enhanced.

Patterns of Sexual Attitudes and Behavior Unveiling the myths and superstitions surrounding sexuality took many decades in the U.S. Major assaults on these myths and on the biological determinism embedded in beliefs about sexuality were led by the pioneering work of Alfred Kinsey and his associates (Kinsey, 1948; Kinsey et al., 1953). Just as Freud shocked science with his assertions on psychosexual

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development, Kinsey did the same upon revealing data on sexual behavior. He reported sexual activities far different from the supposed norms.

Gender and Orgasm Orgasm is the presumed standard for sexual pleasure. The original Kinsey data revealed that 92 percent of males and 58 percent of females masturbated (used sexual self-stimulation) to achieve orgasm. Males begin to masturbate during early adolescence. Females begin to masturbate later than men, usually in their twenties and thirties. Women use masturbation to “learn” how to achieve orgasm before they engage in penile–vaginal intercourse (Towne, 2019). Non-partnered masturbation is more frequent as they age. Preference for partnered intercourse, however, far outweighs all other forms to achieve organism for both men and women. During intercourse, men are twice as likely as women to report having an orgasm. Few men but up to one-third of women report that they rarely have one during sex. Sexual arousal is associated more with orgasm, and sexual desire is associated with the need for sex to fulfill an emotional or physical want. Of course, both can occur during intercourse, but in any ranking of factors for women’s sexual desire it is a relationship script, rather than a hookup or one-night stand for recreational sex, that is at the top. Frequency of orgasm for women is a weak measure of satisfaction in a relationship. A woman enjoys sex more—fulfills sexual desire—when her “relationship” partner reaches orgasm. Men rarely turn down opportunities for sex. Sexual enjoyment may be based more on the biology of sexual arousal for males and the psychology of sexual desire and commitment for females. These patterns have not changed substantially since Kinsey’s research. Kinsey found that over one-third of married women never had an orgasm prior to marriage and that one-third of married women never had an orgasm. Later data show that virtually all married women do reach orgasm, although not with every intercourse. Husbands generally like more frequent intercourse than their wives, especially early in the marriage. Later in married life, this trend may reverse; married women report more positive perception of their sexual behavior, and men report a more positive perception of their marital life. For both men and women, marital satisfaction and sexual satisfaction are highly correlated. A “warm interpersonal climate” in marriage prompts more frequent sex, and a higher level of marital satisfaction (Schoenfeld et al., 2017). If sex keeps people happy in their marriages, low sexual satisfaction is a good predictor of divorce.

Critique Nonetheless, the centrality of orgasm as the key measure of sexual desire for women is not warranted. Feminist research in psychology highlights that—regardless of the sexual context—determining sexual fulfillment through orgasm is an androcentric measure that does not capture the complexity of women’s sexual desire. Sexual scripts intervene to lower sexual desire. Emotional commitment looms large for women. Compared to men, women are less likely to feel positive about a casual sex encounter whether they orgasm or not (Fahs and Plante, 2017; Piemonte et al., 2019). Neither does orgasm capture the complexity of men’s sexual desire before orgasm or sexual satisfaction after. Sexual desire in men goes well beyond simplistic notions about biology. Men’s desire is mediated by erotic thoughts and sexual functioning, but also by masculinity norms in sexual scripts. Men may achieve the

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physical pleasure of orgasm, but it is dampened by concerns about how their sexual performance is judged by their partner (Nimbi et al., 2018; Séguin and Blais, 2019). Similar to women, gendered sexual scripts send conflicting messages to men. Also like women, men are happier with an orgasm with a girlfriend, mate, longtime partner, or wife.

Premarital/Nonmarital Sex Because the large majority of people have sexual experiences with those they are unlikely to marry, the term premarital sex is inaccurate. It is more accurate to refer to these experiences as nonmarital sex. The differences between cisgender heterosexual men and women in nonmarital sex have all but disappeared. Gender differences in sexual intercourse among teens (40 percent) and age at first intercourse are statistically insignificant (age 15 for both males and females). However, sexually active adolescent girls have significant decreases in peer acceptance over time compared to sexually active adolescent boys. The most striking gender difference is that 7.6 percent of males have their first sexual intercourse before age 13, double the number for females. These rates are higher for non-Hispanic black males and Hispanic males in metropolitan areas (Kreager et al., 2016; Lindberg et al., 2019). By age 21 virtually all men and women are sexually experienced, with the large majority reporting vaginal intercourse. Perhaps more surprising, gender differences in heterosexual oral and anal sex and number of sex partners are also decreasing (males have marginally higher frequencies in all of these than females). Norms about gendered sexuality, especially among teens, help explain these patterns. Although girls have increased their sexual behavior, they define it within the bounds of a romantic relationship, a perception carried into adulthood. A decade ago a boy was likely to have his first sexual intercourse with a pickup or casual date; today they are likely to say it is with a girlfriend. Girls whose first intercourse occurred before age 16 are more likely to report that it was coercive. Young women aged 18–24 report they were forced to have vaginal intercourse with males against their will; about 6 percent of males aged 18–24 report unwanted sexual intercourse but with a female or male (NSFG, 2018). When factoring in race, Asian Americans—both male and female—have their first sexual experience at a later age than whites, African Americans, and Latinos. The nonmarital norm of sexual intercourse holds for teens who took abstinence pledges and who promised to remain virgins (or not have sex again) until marriage. These programs are ineffective. Pledgers are just as likely to have sex as teens who did not take these pledges. High school males are less likely to receive information on birth control in sex education classes focusing on abstinence. An ironic twist to this trend is that when the abstinent-only pledges do have sex, it is riskier sex—they are less likely to use condoms or other forms of birth control (SAHM, 2017; Santelli et al., 2017; NSFG, 2018). With sexual scripting intact, females of all ages are more vulnerable to these risks than males.

Extramarital Relationships Once called “adultery” but now commonly referred to as “affairs,” this type of nonmarital sex is between a married person and someone other than the person’s spouse. These extramarital relationships take on many forms. They encompass different degrees of openness and include married as well as single people. The extramarital couples are likely to be close

Gender Development: Biology, Sexuality, and Health  65

friends, and contrary to perception, they may not include sexual involvement. The emotional involvement with a partner other than one’s spouse can be more threatening to the marriage than sexual involvement (Chapter 7). Despite the fact that most people disapprove of affairs in any form, Kinsey’s data indicated that 50 percent of males and 26 percent of females engaged in extramarital sex by age 40. Estimates are that 50–60 percent of married men and 45–50 percent of married women have had an extramarital affair. Although most disapprove of affairs, half engage in them. Although later research validated Kinsey’s data, the high percentage of affairs he reported was suspect. It is clear, however, that when respondents report their knowledge of affairs others are having, the numbers are higher. Men report multiple affairs, but women are catching up to men in reporting they have had least one affair. Age and gender intertwine, with infidelity for both men and women increasing significantly during pre-retirement years. Men in their 50s and 60s are about twice as likely to cheat as same-age women, but women’s infidelity rates continue to increase overall (Solomon et al., 2018; Wang, 2018). In addition, divorce rates have risen over time, and although these have plateaued, cohabitation continues to increase. Both divorce and cohabitation increase openness to extramarital relationships. Cohabiters who cheat fall into the infidelity statistic even if they are not legally married (Chapter 7). It is probable that reported figures for extramarital relationships are lower than the actual numbers. Kinsey’s data, therefore, underrepresents today’s infidelity reality.

Sexual Double Standard Sexual scripts set the stage for the sexual double standard (SDS), referring to the idea that men are granted more sexual freedom than women. SDS allows men to express themselves sexually and cushions them from harsh judgments endured by women who engage in the same behavior. Power dynamics help explain SDS. For example, sexually pleasurable hookups in college are endorsed by women and men who profess egalitarianism in and outside the bedroom. Because general levels of nonmarital sexual behavior for males and females are now similar, does a double standard still exist? The answer is more likely no when considering sexual behavior, but more likely yes when considering sexual attitudes. Permissive discourses about casual sexual behavior for women are overridden by traditional discourses. Sexual behavior has changed dramatically. It was long assumed that compared to men, women had weaker sex drives, were more difficult to arouse sexually, and became aroused less frequently. All of these assumptions have been proven false. The clitoris, not the vagina, as Freud insisted, is responsible for the multiple orgasms experienced by women. Prompted by feminist social scientists and a rejection of evolutionary views that sex for women is propelled by reproduction rather than pleasure, new models about female sexuality are emerging. Women may orgasm less frequently than men, but they report intense, satisfying, and “innovative” sexual experiences prompting more frequent sex. They want sex and want it on their own terms (Brotto, 2017; Frederick et al., 2018). In stark contrast to Freudian views, they offer an understanding that sexuality for women is pleasurable, fulfilling, and desired.

Women and SDS Gender differences in the sexual double standard are most apparent in sexual attitudes. Teens fall prey to SDS as they explore their own sexuality and discover that peers police

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what they say and do about sex. Girls quickly learn that female peers who choose sex in high school are evaluated more severely than those who choose abstinence. “Sexting” by adolescent girls is evaluated more negatively than similar sexting by boys. When girls do sexting, they are vulnerable to cyberbullying and physical threats. High school girls are aware of a sexual double standard (Young et al., 2016; Pearson, 2018; Ricciardelli and Adorjan, 2019). Boys largely do not notice that SDS even exists. Adolescence sets up a taken-for-granted sexual double standard in adulthood. Permissive discourses about casual sexual behavior for women are overridden by traditional discourses justifying SDS. Feminists highlight power dynamics to help explain SDS. For example, sexually pleasurable hookups in college are endorsed by women and men who profess egalitarianism. But women give in to sex to please their partners in ways that sustain male privilege in and outside the bedroom. The #MeToo movement and media depictions of male celebrities pressuring women to have sex attest to the blurry line between consent and coercion (MEF, 2018). Male power and privilege come together to reinforce SDS and the cultural politics that lurk within it. Women express the belief that emotional closeness is a prerequisite for sexual intercourse. Females do not want to be perceived as “easy lays” or “sluts” so are more cautious about casual sex. They may define themselves as sexually assertive but are always on the alert for coercive sex and for health risks in sexual encounters. Despite beliefs in sexual autonomy, however, women endorsing SDS engage in riskier behaviors. They may abdicate the agency they believe in, for example, and engage in unprotected sex or abandon relationship scripts for casual sex with acquaintances (Danube et al., 2016; Farvida et al., 2017; Rudman et al., 2017). They absorb conflicted messages about sex that both support and refute SDS. Men report sexual pleasure and conquest as the main motives. They prefer more partners over a shorter period of time than women. Strongly indicative of the classic SDS script, women expressing these same preferences are viewed more negatively than men. For example, women are judged negatively as the number of their sexual partners increases. Number of partners makes little or no difference to how men are judged (Jozkowski et al., 2017; Marks et al., 2019). Women’s sexual behavior is increasingly similar to men’s, but powerful sexual scripts assure an enduring sexual double standard. When considering body shame and nonmarital intercourse, women are more “sex negative” than men and are at risk of negative emotional outcomes of their sexual experiences. Also resonating with SDS, men more than women believe that oral sex is not sex, that cybersex is not cheating, and that women cannot fake orgasms. Oral sex without consent is considered rape in most states (Emmerink et al., 2016; Falconer and Humphreys, 2019; Hills et al., 2020). Although Asian men express more support for SDS than white and Latino men, race, religion, and ethnicity do not override gender in these trends (Guo, 2019). As expected, the most significant SDS gender difference is the persistent gap showing women expressing emotional closeness as a prerequisite for sexual intercourse. Women adopt a more “person-centered” approach to sex; men adopt a more “body-centered” approach. Compared to females, males are less likely to feel guilty about their sexual activities.

Masculinity and SDS On the other hand, sexual dominance for men and a less judgmental SDS come at a price. Men confide to other men that girlfriends offer the best sexual experiences. Men believe

Gender Development: Biology, Sexuality, and Health  67

that women are the true arbitrators of masculine sexual standards. and that women judge men by virility and sexual prowess. A man feels more masculine and experiences enhanced self-esteem when his partner reaches orgasm. This belief is justified given that many women describe their own orgasm as more intense when their partner ejaculates. They also report heightened feelings of sexual attractiveness. Women and men both believe that her orgasm is a sign of his success as a lover (Chadwick and Anders, 2017; Burri et al., 2018). Unwanted sex is usually thought of as a sexual encounter that is coercive to women and can lead to sexual violence. The notion of a man having unwanted sex with a woman is seldom considered. Even men who rarely turn down opportunities for sex sometime feign sexual desire not only to maintain their sense of masculinity, but also “to prevent upsetting their female partners” (Murray, 2018:130). Some men who do not want sex feel pressure from women who do want sex. Once sexual interaction starts they prefer not to confuse or hurt women who may feel rejected if men say no. These narratives are reflected in accounts of unwanted sexual encounters by college men (Ford, 2018:1310, 1314, 1316). … I don’t really like to make people feel bad about themselves … I kinda felt … like I had to go all the way. It was just necessary … It would have felt weird to me (to stop it). (25-year-old senior) Men also rely on masculinity scripts to describe their unwanted sex with women: There is social pressure that men like sex a lot and women can choose yes or no. So I guess it makes you unmanly if you don’t want to have sex. (20-year-old sophomore) I’m think about this girl telling weird stories about me to her friends … guys are supposed to enjoy sexual intercourse under any circumstances … I wanted to stick to the conventional script. (18-year-old first year student) Certainly these attitudes demonstrate that pleasurable sexual activities are highly gendered— conditioned by sexual scripts men and women confront differently. It is also clear that unwanted sex for men in most contexts is vastly different from unwanted sex for women. Remember that sexual scripts and SDS are not the same. Sexual scripts may fuel the sexual double standard, but SDS determines how men and women are evaluated in their sexual behavior. Even with heightened public consciousness regarding SDS, attitudes about sexual scripts have not changed as quickly as sexual behavior. Mainstream media endorse sexual scripts and SDS. Television use is associated with less sexual assertiveness for women, even as nonmarital sex is routine, normative, and celebrated throughout programming (Seabrook et al., 2017). Consider the sexual escapades on the wildly popular Sex in the City (1998–2004) television series and movie franchise (2008 and 2010) that candidly discussed female sexuality and disdained the sexual scripts surrounding SDS. The final TV episodes presented challenges for writers. Sex in the City was about female friendship and loyalty. It was about four assertive women who had recreational sex for pleasure, in hookups, one-night stands, and short-lived romantic encounters. The subtext was not subtle. Yes, they could fall in love, but would not be defined by any man. The show’s creator argued that the message should not be about finding fulfillment with one (man). Alone on the streets of New York would have been fine. Reunited with friends, sure. Why did Mr. Big (Carrie

68  Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Bradshaw’s love interest) have to be such a big part of it? At the end … it became a conventional romantic comedy. (Armstrong, 2018:189–190) Despite viewer complaints that the franchise betrayed its intent, the finale of the television and movie runs had all four women happily married. The disappearance of a sexual double standard is not necessarily desirable. The absence of gender differences in frequency of nonmarital sexual activities, number of partners, or degree of emotional involvement with partners could trigger a lifetime of more sex with more people who are less acquainted with their partners. Given the emotional and physical perils, violence, and unplanned pregnancy, if a sexual double standard vanishes, gendered sexual hazards may increase.

Sexuality in Later Life Cultural barriers and gender norms also apply to sexuality in later life. For the aged, a difficult situation is made worse by a combination of age and gender stereotypes regarding sexuality. Because sexuality is associated with youth and virility, it has been a marginalized or demeaned topic when applied to the aged. They are perceived to be sexless. If elderly males show sexual interest, they are viewed suspiciously. Women are expected to retreat to a sexless existence after childbearing and mothering. Women, however, experience more comfort and less anxiety about sex as they age. Beginning in late midlife—and contrary to sexual scripts—“bodily” sexual practices increase sexual satisfaction for women; relational intimacy increases sexual satisfaction for men. This pattern does not alter the fact that women at midlife and beyond continue to rank emotional intimacy as core to their sex life (Thomas et al., 2017; Miller, 2019). Emotional intimacy enhances sexual pleasure. On the other hand, widows significantly outnumber widowers; options for sexual activity decline for women, despite the fact that sexual desire remains strong. Research by two other pioneers of sexuality, William Masters and Virginia Johnson, shows that when advancing age and physiological changes influence sexual ability for men, performance anxiety increases (Masters and Johnson, 1966, 1970). A man’s wife may believe his “failure” is a sign that he is rejecting her. Men are socialized early to believe that they will be judged by their sexual potency. Intersecting sexuality with race for older people, Asian American males are less likely than white and African American males to rigidly adhere to masculinity scripts. They also have their sexual debuts in their late-teen years. It is not surprising that Asian Americans report lower satisfaction with sexual communication and compromised sexual and relationship well-being in old age. Sexual scripts are ageist as well as gendered. As noted, when a couple accepts cultural and age-related stereotypes, a cycle of less sex, less interest in sex, and increased emotional distance is likely in later life (Muruthi et al., 2018; Lee and Knippen, 2019). It may be easier for older people to cope with sexual myths if society assumes that they are not supposed to be sexually active anyway. Sexual scripts are changing for older people. Positive attitudes about sex and the sexual activity these attitudes prompt, are strongly linked to well-being and enjoyment of life for older people (Smith et al., 2019b). The gender gap in unmet sexual intimacy—which may not include intercourse—is larger for women; the unmet intercourse gap is larger for men (Beier, 2019; Træen et al., 2019). Over two-thirds of men and almost half of women age 65–74

Gender Development: Biology, Sexuality, and Health  69

are sexually active, and between ages 75–85, 38 percent of men and 17 percent of women engage in sexual relationships (Cruz, 2019). Although older women outnumber older men, men continue the pattern of choosing younger women as sex partners. A ten-year difference in age favoring men may be common, but for these women, their sex partners—whether widowed, divorced, or never married—are likely to be in their 60s or 70s. Led by older women, barriers to discussing sex—and engaging in it—are starting to fall for older people.

Critique Men and women are far less sexually different than most people believe. Within-gender variation is larger than between-gender variation in sexual behavior and the gap is decreasing in the sexual attitudes expressed as part of the sexual double standard. With genetics and biology highlighted, however, gender differences are exaggerated in media that report men and women are pitted against one another (think the Mars–Venus trope). As pointed out by Masters and Johnson in the mid-twentieth century and continues to be affirmed today, cultural barriers and messages scripted by gender roles inhibit sexual pleasure and distance men and women from one another (Trinh and Choukas-Bradley, 2018; Rubin et al., 2019). Regardless of whether the couple is married, positive sexual experiences increase well-being and relationship satisfaction. As the end point fallacy asserts, for both women and men, satisfying relationships predict happier sex lives which predict satisfying relationships in an ongoing cycle. Social construction of women as passive sexual beings and men as sexual conquerors can be reconstructed to make them partners in a mutually pleasurable experience.

NATURE AND NURTURE REVISITED: THE POLITICS OF BIOLOGY Biologically, women are definitely not the weaker sex. Drawing from data on human sexuality, developmental biology, animal behavior, and ethnography, anthropologist Ashley Montagu (1905–1999) made the case that women are more valuable than men because they maintain the species during a child’s crucial development stages. From a sociobiological standpoint, Montagu uses the idea of adaptive strategies, asserting that women are superior, too, because they are more necessary than men (Montagu, 1999). As we see in this chapter, Montagu’s claim that the natural superiority of women is a biological fact is convincing. He also contended that this biological superiority is a “social acknowledged reality.” Sexism is based on biological beliefs that can be proven false. Given rampant gender inequality that puts women in harm’s way, women’s biological superiority certainly is not an acknowledged social reality in most of the globe. He may have less convincing evidence to challenge the social constructions of sex and gender, but he literally turned around interpretations of women as passive beings who are sexually and biologically inferior.

The Female Advantage in Evolution Assertions about survival of the fittest favor women. Feminist evolutionary psychologists document ways women’s contributions aided human survival. Sociobiologists must account for data showing that human evolution benefited more from cooperation and the plant-gathering activities favoring women than competition and the hunting activities

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favoring men. DNA evidence suggests that a “make love not war” scenario was probably the most productive, adaptive strategy of the earliest waves of human migration out of Africa. As we saw with primates, conventional Darwinian wisdom about competition and the desire to pass on selfish genes does not conform with newer models suggesting that, like our chimp and bonobo friends, humans are “naturally” predisposed to altruism and cooperation (Tomasello et al., 2012). Attempts by humans to dominate other humans through violence, distrust, and cruelty were uncommon in early humans because they were maladaptive. Contemporary societies that survive and thrive are more altruistic, cooperative, and giving (Shaffer, 2019). Biology and culture intertwined in evolution to enhance generosity in humans. The non-human primate studies sociobiologists are so fond of indicate that competition to gain resources and increase reproduction is a narrow and unrefined view of evolutionary theory. Our chimp and bonobo ancestors suggest alternative evolutionary views. Even long-held beliefs about “male-dominated, chest-thumping” baboon society, are being questioned. The highly affiliated baboons, who went unstudied for decades, show males spending time with females as lovers not fighters and with males in ways that cement social cohesion. Baboons live their lives in close, continuous proximity with friends, family, and opponents (Dal Pesco and Fischer, 2018; Alberts, 2019). Primate societies are built around female choice and male–female affiliation rather than male–male aggression. Newer interpretations of the biology–animal–human link emerge that question conventional wisdom about human evolution and species survival. Biologists today avoid using survival of the fittest to discuss natural selection. Survival is only one of many aspects of selection.

Reframing the Debate There are many clues for our original question on the influences of nature and nurture, of heredity and environment, of biology and culture in explanations for sex and gender differences and similarities. Media accounts frame the debate as one versus the other, usually as nature versus nurture. All evidence points to the mutual collaboration of both in these explanations. Deterministic theories dismissing or failing to account for biology and culture (society) are doomed as useful explanatory models in science. From pop-Darwinism to popFreud, media take hold of the sex difference theme, and soon people believe that men have math, aggression, and promiscuity genes and women have nurturing, mothering, and emotional genes that predestine their gender roles. Despite scientific evidence, such claims can sustain the very sex differences scientists seek to explain. Genes are claiming more and more of our social and individual life when scientific theories are used to serve prevailing ideologies regarding gender. The female sex is the stronger one, but perceived sex and gender differences justify women’s subordination. Natural superiority, if it does exist, should not condone social inequality whether it benefits women or men. Biological and evolutionary-based arguments that exclude culture, nurture, and environment are not empirically sound. While not abandoning promising evolutionary-based arguments, psychologists, anthropologists, and biologists are working together to better understand how nature and nurture weave together to produce sex differences and similarities. The uneasy relationship between feminism and evolutionary psychology is being bridged. Socialization

Gender Development: Biology, Sexuality, and Health  71

exerts massive, profound influence on the differences that do exist (Chapter 3). Sociologists favor explanations for gender development and gender roles rooted in nurture and sociocultural factors. These explanations account for a range of variables implying that women and men have the “human” potential to achieve in whatever directions they desire. A great deal of rapidly emerging interdisciplinary data suggest that the nature versus nurture view is obsolete. The more productive nature and nurture view makes scientific sense. It also advances a social justice agenda.

SECTION 2 GENDER AND HEALTH REVISITING BIOLOGY AND CULTURE Biology and culture intertwine to explain patterns of health and well-being related to sex and gender. On the biological side, the XX pair of robust sex chromosomes offers an advantage to females compared to that offered to males by the less robust XY male sex chromosomes. On the cultural side, women and men’s approaches to health and well-being unfold in strongly gendered ways.

Measuring Health and Well-Being These patterns show up in two key measurements of sickness and death. The mortality rate is expressed as a percentage of the total number of deaths over the population size (×1000) in a given time period, usually a year. Measuring mortality is simpler than determining a morbidity rate, the amount of disease or illness in a population, also specified according to a time period. Even with well-defined symptoms, illnesses are in part subjective. Many people do not recognize their own sickness, or they may recognize it but not alter their behavior, such as taking time off work or school, or seeing a physician, Others prefer to treat themselves. Morbidity patterns are particularly difficult to calculate for mental illness. As a result, morbidity rates rely heavily on treatment data and may underestimate the prevalence of disease (how widespread it is at a point in time) and incidence (proportion of new cases over a specified time period). Despite these cautions, however, a clear and consistent inverse gender pattern exists in mortality and morbidity. Women have higher morbidity rates but live longer than men; men have lower morbidity rates but do not live as long as women.

Till Death Do Us Part: Gender and Mortality Females can expect to outlive males an average of five years in the U.S. Women and men die from the similar leading causes but there are significant gender differences in the rate (Table 2.1). For a few years Alzheimer’s showed a slight female disadvantage in mortality, but that has since changed. Mortality rates for all leading causes of death are higher for males (Table 2.2). This may be predicted since women live longer than men and Alzheimer’s afflicts the oldest in the population. Women had an initial disadvantage for diabetes but have

72  Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives TABLE 2.1  Leading

Causes of Death in the United States by Sex



  1 Heart disease


  2 Cancer


   3  Chronic lower respiratory diseases


  4 Stroke


  5 Alzheimer's disease


  6 Unintentional injuries


  7 Diabetes


   8  Influenza and pneumonia


  9 Kidney disease


10 Septicemia




  1 Heart disease


  2 Cancer


  3 Unintentional injuries


   4  Chronic lower respiratory diseases


  5 Stroke


  6 Diabetes


  7 Alzheimer disease


  8 Suicide


   9  Influenza and pneumonia


10  Chronic liver disease


Note: Includes all ages and races and origins Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Leading Causes of Death – Females – All Race and Origins – United States, 2017.” “Leading Causes of Death – Males – All Race and Origins – United States, 2017.” healthequity/lcod/men/2017/all-races-origins/index.htm

regained their mortality advantage over men. Men have been gaining on women in narrowing the mortality rate, but the age-adjusted mortality rate for men is still about 40 percent higher than that for women. When race is added to the life expectancy rate (LER) profile, white males reached parity with African American females in 2000. This parity was short-lived. The gap reappeared

Gender Development: Biology, Sexuality, and Health  73 TABLE 2.2  Leading

Causes of Death by Sex Ratio Male to Female Ratio

All Causes


 1 Heart disease


 2 Cancer


 3 Unintentional injuries


 4 Chronic lower respiratory disease


 5 Stroke


 6 Alzheimer's disease


 7 Diabetes


 8 Influenza and pneumonia


 9 Kidney disease


10 Suicide


Note: Reflects age adjusted ratio Source: Deaths: Final Data for 2017. National Vital Statistics Reports. June 24, 2019. 68(9). Adapted from Table B (p. 6).

within two years and is again widening. Black males have the lowest LER of all racial groups. Asian American men and women have the smallest LER gap. Perhaps surprising is the Latino life expectancy advantage. Latinas have the highest life expectancy for all six Hispanic-origins race-sex groups, including white females. The largest difference is between Latinas and black males (Figure 2.1). The smallest differences are between Asian and white males and Asian and white females, almost at parity. Asian Americans—not including the category of Pacific Islanders—live longer than any other racial group. They report the highest excellence in health of all combined race and gender groups (National Center for Health Statistics, 2018; Office of Minority Health, 2019). For all races and ethnic groups where data are available, women maintain a strong LER advantage and are projected to do well into the middle of the century. When factoring in SES, which has a profound health effect, females still have a more favorable LER than comparable males. Males have higher mortality rates at every stage of life. The first year of life is the most vulnerable time for both sexes, but newborn girls have an advantage in survival over newborn boys. Even in harsh conditions where food, safety, and basic health care are in short supply, girls have higher neonatal survival. By the 1990s, mortality data showed nondisease causes of death (accidents, suicides, and homicides) in the top-15 list. In 2010, homicide dropped from this list for the first time since 1965, but the previous 3.8 male–female ratio remained about the same. For suicide, although women experience more depression than

74  Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives 85


Hispanic female


Non-Hispanic white female

Age (years)

80 80.6

Hispanic male

77.5 76.4 75 75.7


81.0 79.1 78.1

Non-Hispanic black female 76.1 Non-Hispanic white male

Non-Hispanic black male






FIGURE 2.1  Life












Expectancy by Race, Hispanic (Latino) Origin, and Sex, 2006–2017

Source: Deaths: Final Data for 2017. Figure 5, p. 9. National Vital Statistics Reports. June 24, 2019. 68(9).

men and attempt suicide about four times more frequently, men commit suicide at the same rate—about four times more than women. In suicide, women choose less lethal means, such as pills, and are less likely to succeed; men choose more lethal means, such as firearms, and are more likely to succeed. Suicide appears in the leading causes of death for men but not for women (Table 2.1). Murder-suicides from mass shootings are perpetrated by men. Males succumb earlier to virtually all causes of mortality, with nondisease causes showing the greatest male–female differences.

Global Patterns The female advantage in LER holds globally. The graying world is a female world. The feminization of aging describes the global pattern of women outliving men and the steady increase of women swelling the ranks of the elderly. Women over age 65 account for 55 percent of the current elderly population globally, and of the oldest old, 80 years and older, 61 percent are female. Average survival rates of men are gradually increasing so that the sex balance of the oldest old is expected to widen even more by mid-century. For the first time in history people age 65 and older outnumber children under age five. The difference is smaller in the developing world, especially Africa and South Asia, but the pattern is intact (Table 2.3). The highest overall life expectancy is in Japan, where men can expect to live to age 81 and women to age 87. In less than a decade, many countries will have only five men to every ten women over the age of 80. In the developed world, the gender gap in mortality is declining slightly as men are gaining in life expectancy. A global caregiving crisis already exists, and women feel its brunt as caregivers to the aged at the same time they are raising children and

Gender Development: Biology, Sexuality, and Health  75 TABLE 2.3  Life

Expectancy and Projected Life Expectancy to 2050 by Sex and World Region 1990




Males Females Both Males Females Both Males Females Both Sexes Sexes Sexes




64.2 70.2


72.6 74.8



Sub-Saharan Africa










Northern Africa and Western Asia










Central and Southern Asia










Eastern and 66.7 South-Eastern Asia









Latin America and 65.0 the Caribbean









Australia/New Zealand










Europe and 69.6 Northern America











51.1 63.3


65.2 69.5



Least Developed Countries

Source: World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Adapted from Table 4, p. 29. New York: United Nations. https://population. Highlights.pdf

working outside the home (Chapter 8). Aged women are often caring for their infirm spouses but also for their own parents. Poverty combines with son preference, sex-selective abortion, and neglect and abandonment of female infants and girls in many parts of the world. The average global sex ratio at birth (SRB)—the number of boys born for every 100 girls—is 105 and slightly favors males. This slight difference favoring males dramatically widens in Asia, especially in rural China and South Asia, with estimates that between 117 and 140 boys are born for every 100 girls. If a newborn is a girl, the couple tries again and again for a boy, continually increasing SRB until the desired number of sons is born (Chapter 6). Frequent pregnancy and lack of safe and legal abortion take another toll. Maternal mortality figures are hard to track, but an estimated one million annual maternal deaths occur worldwide; 99 percent of these are in developing countries, and most are preventable. The huge pressure to produce sons increases women’s risk for domestic violence and abuse (United Nations, 2019). Given this reality, the female advantage in mortality is astounding.

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In Sickness and in Health: Gender and Morbidity Many data sources consistently report that women have higher morbidity rates than men. Women’s advantage in mortality may be offset by their disadvantage in morbidity, in part because living longer reflects increased chronic illness and disability. Men, however, are prone to physical and mental illnesses and injury categories in which women tend to be exempt.

Men and Morbidity Overall, men have fewer acute conditions but a higher prevalence of chronic conditions that are life-threatening and associated with long-term disability, such as heart disease, emphysema, and atherosclerosis. Males have the highest rates of cancer at the youngest and oldest ages and are almost twice as likely as females to die from it. They are also afflicted with a range of genetic disorders much less common in females, such as myopia, hemophilia, juvenile glaucoma, and progressive deafness. Unlike women, men cannot draw upon a spare copy of the X chromosome for protection. For mental illness, gender differences do not vary by rate, but they do vary by type. Men are more likely than women to suffer from personality disorders (antisocial behavior or narcissism). As a buffer against mental and physical illness for all people, it is better to be married Although poor relationship quality in marriage predicts negative mental health effects for both men and women, the marriage benefit still holds. For men, it is much better to be married. Single men have the highest mortality and morbidity rates for both physical and mental disorders. Never married, divorced, and single men have higher rates of mental illness when compared with all marital categories of women. Continuously married low-income men who are in high-conflict marriages still have a lower mortality risk compared with their single or divorced counterparts (Bulanda et al., 2016; Whisman et al., 2018). Since men are less likely to seek help for emotional distress—even compared to their already low rates of help-seeking for physical illness—rates of depression may be higher than reported (Smith et al., 2018b). Gender roles also put more men than women in occupations that are hazardous to their health, such as police and fire protection, the military, mining, and construction. Sports-related injuries are much higher for men than women and are associated with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Males in all age groups are more likely than females of comparable age to engage in behaviors that increase their risk of disease, injury, and death.

Women and Morbidity Morbidity gradually emerges in females, especially noticeable in preadolescence, where girls report higher levels of asthma, migraine headaches, and psychological and eating disorders compared to boys. Small gender differences in self-esteem favoring males show up during late adolescence and continue through the life course. As adults, women report more physical and emotional disorders and use health services more than men. Females of all ages report more daily and transient illnesses such as colds and headaches and a higher prevalence of nonfatal chronic conditions such as arthritis, anemia, and sinusitis. Most autoimmune disorders, such as juvenile diabetes and multiple sclerosis, are skewed

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toward women. Employed women and those with less traditional gender role orientation and higher gender equity have better physical and psychological health. Type of work is correlated to health for both women and men. Professional women frequently describe their jobs as stressful, but lower-level workers are more likely to report stress-related illnesses such as insomnia and headaches. With the exception of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), women have double the risk carried by men for most anxiety disorders. This pattern is often traced to cultural expectations for women meeting everyone’s needs before their own. As moms, as wives, and as workers, women strive for perfection in carrying out these expectations. For example, mothers are responsible for overseeing their family’s health and struggle to fulfill nutrition and physical activity goals at odds with what their children may want (soda and pizza) and what they need (cauliflower and salad). Family relations are disrupted by not giving in or giving in. Mothers shoulder the emotional brunt of these daily household battles (Baiocchi-Wagner and Olson, 2016). Associated with superwoman syndrome, this pattern is more prevalent in African American women and associated with disabling symptoms that interfere with these very roles. African American girls are socialized for strength and resilience that celebrate and valorize their experiences (Chapter 3). Black women are at heightened risk for depression. At times they have to let themselves off the hook and not feel they are failing others by doing so. While Black women have the benefit of our experiences, the training to cope … with racism and sexism … and the wherewithal to expand our capacity to deal with (them), we are not invincible. (Boylorn, 2017:303)

Menstruation In many cultures, menstruation is viewed as a woman’s affliction, associated with pity, suspicion, scorn, and fear. Religious norms frequently isolate menstruating women who must undergo ritual purification at the conclusion of their periods. As late as the mid-twentieth century in the U.S., medicine considered this normal bodily process as an inherent pathology of women. Physicians dismissed women’s physical pain as inconsequential or fabricated. Myths of menstruation and symptoms women present because of it have not been dispelled by the health care system.

PMS Research on menstruation and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) challenges these myths. Many faces of both are defined by physicians, therapists, researchers, and women themselves. PMS is largely—but erroneously—equated with regular menstruation. Most women experience some physical discomfort and mood changes between two days and two weeks before menstruation. Physical discomfort can include breast tenderness, cramping, and acne; mood changes can include increased anxiety, irritability, and depression. As many as 75 percent of women in their twenties and thirties experience some premenstrual symptoms, but only 2–10 percent experience the often disabling symptoms, which may be defined as premenstrual syndrome. The typical bodily changes of menstruation are included in the symptoms of PMS. However,

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a diagnosis of PMS, without treatment, includes symptoms that restrict a woman’s normal activities and well-being for several weeks a month. The severe form of PMS, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), is a serious, chronic physical and psychiatric disorder. A diagnosis of PMS is different from the normal bodily changes associated with menstruation. Research links PMS to fluctuations in hormones such as estrogen that influence anxiety, depression, and other behavioral changes. Changes in hormone concentrations before a woman’s period occur for all women, regardless of a woman’s symptoms. Women are more anxious or irritable because of the physical symptoms, not because of the hormones. PMDD may be an abnormal response to normal hormonal changes. These changes can cause a deficiency of mood-altering serotonin in the brain, in turn increasing anxiety or depression. The exact causes of PMDD are unknown, but risk factors include family history of the disease that may be traced to genetics, lifestyle choices such as cigarette smoking, and sociocultural forces such as lack of education and health knowledge. For PMS and PMDD, it is virtually impossible to separate the physical and psychiatric symptoms from the cultural expectations associated with menstruation. Researchers investigating biological and cultural factors, and medical practice guidelines incorporating both will be more successful in treating women with menstruation-related medical diagnoses. PMS is equivocal, but in affirming the condition, health care professionals help women who experience great physical and psychological difficulty with their periods. The feminine hygiene industry is partnering with patients and physicians to counter stereotypes about menstruation and PMS. They take advertisers to task about perpetuating stigma that menstruation is an embarrassment, and the best period is one that is ignored (Steimer, 2017). Prior to menstruation being reframed as non-shameful, and PMS being “legitimized,” countless women were turned away from a male-dominated health care system with vague, paternalistic assurances that it was all in their heads. On the other hand, PMS is so commonly misused in the media (a staple of comedy shows, for example) and equated with all menstruation, it is a convenient explanation and justification for women’s behavior. If women “have” PMS, it reinforces the myth that up to two weeks a month, adult women are physically and emotionally impaired. Their judgment, therefore, is suspect. Women can be in a double bind if they attribute changes in their behavior to PMS.

Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Misinformation and cultural stereotypes surround menopause, when menstruation ceases permanently. Several years before menopause, referred to as perimenopause, women may experience irregular menstrual cycles and report symptoms of irritability, depression, headaches, and hot flashes. Like menstruation, symptoms are usually not disabling. Severe distress accompanying menopause is experienced by about 10 percent of women. Research does not support that physical symptoms associated with menopause cause serious depression in women. Considering physical and psychological factors in combination, compared with puberty, menopause for most women is probably easier. Indeed, many women look forward to the time when menstruation ends. Medicine, however, clings to the notion that menopause is psychologically destructive because it seals off reproduction. Women prepare for motherhood and pregnancy their entire lives. Women may put off pregnancy but decide to freeze their eggs. Fertility clinics are surging Biological clocks have longer fuses in the twenty-first century (Myers, 2017; Waggoner, 2017; Bell, 2019). The reproductive cycle cannot be reversed, but women can alter themselves to

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escape the fate of menopause. Gynecologists often agree with Robert Wilson’s (1966) influential book Feminine Forever, that menopause is a “disease of estrogen deficiency” treatable by hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In this view, menopausal women must finally confront the reality that fertility has ceased; menopause creates unstable, moody women who make poor choices in later life because of their estrogen starvation. Wilson’s assertions and inflammatory language about women have softened but have not disappeared. Estrogen fuels the “feminine engine” in maintaining body attractiveness and sexual desire in women (Haselton, 2019). The good news is that even if fertility ends with menopause, with HRT femininity does not.

HRT: Risks and Benefits For decades HRT was the taken-for-granted “remedy” for menopause, prescribed by gynecologists and accepted by women taking the most commonly prescribed estrogen-progestin HRT. Benefits were thought to include decreased chance of coronary heart disease (CHD), curbing bone loss (osteoporosis), and slowing memory loss and cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. However, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) spearheaded the largest study ever conducted using a sample of 16,000 women followed up for over five years, which confirmed that estrogen-progestin HRT significantly increased the risks of invasive breast cancer, stroke, and blood clots. Perhaps more stunning, HRT raised, not lowered, CHD risk in healthy postmenopausal women. Because the harm was considered greater than the benefit, women were urged immediately to discuss HRT with their physicians. Potential harm to research subjects and getting information disseminated quickly was so imperative that the study was ended three years early. HRT was dramatically reduced. Later research altered the HRT picture. When accounting for age, perimenopausal women who start HRT may have a lower risk of heart disease than women who start it later. Another surprising finding is that a daily dose of estrogen may help control metastatic breast cancer or its recurrence in some patients. Led by the pharmaceutical industry, these revised findings were reported extensively in the media. Prescription of HRT again increased. Recent research alters HRT even further. In accounting for the benefits of HRT, two specific areas are clear: HRT remains the most effective remedy for those women seeking relief from menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes; it reduces risk of osteoporosis and fractures that often harken pneumonia and earlier death for those in their 70s and 80s—including men. HRT also lowers risk for colon cancer and diabetes. On the jeopardy side, although not as dramatic as first reported, HRT increases risk of endometrial cancer, blood clots, strokes, and dementia. Both risks and benefits depend on the age of the woman and how long she has been on HRT. Taken together, the practice guidelines suggest that HRT for individual women needs to be carefully evaluated and that the lowest effective dose is recommended for only as long as necessary (Lobo, 2013; Harper-Harrison and Shanahan, 2019; Martin and Barbieri, 2019). As research continues to uncover new evidence, the confusion and uncertainty of the risk–benefit debate of HRT for postmenopausal women is far from resolved.

Critique The HRT debate has no definitive medical outcome to apply to most women. HRT therapy will be a reasoned choice for women in consultation with their physicians. This decision, however, is swayed when HRT plays on the fears of aging women in a youth worshipping society. As mezzo-level social constructionists assert, HRT also reinforces cultural views of menopause as a disease that produces psychologically unstable women. The cultural refusal

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to accept the realities of aging, coupled with the gender stereotypes of women who are revered if they are young and fertile, compromises the health of millions of women. Given the choice, the majority of women would never want a period. New birth control pills with synthetic hormones can suppress a woman’s period for months, a preferred option for women in elite sports such as figure skating and gymnastics. Advances in hormone therapy may allow periods to cease permanently. The long-term effects of these powerful hormone-based birth control pills are unknown for younger women who opt out of menstruation for a lengthy amount of time. Regardless of whether women are pre- or postmenopausal, their cycles of life are defined as disease-producing processes that must be medicalized, medicated, and controlled. If science is doing its job, it will report findings that contradict previous findings. It is also clear from the HRT and CHD stories that science and medicine are not immune to gender bias. Feminist health professionals call for viewing menopause as a normal developmental process and for providing women of all ages with accurate information to make educated choices concerning risks, benefits, and treatment.

Body Studies HRT and sexual scripts are two important prongs linked to the female disadvantage in morbidity. Another prong is that they prime the attractiveness messages women hear about bodies their entire lives. Sociological interest in body studies emerged out of our discipline’s long-standing research tradition in work and occupations (Shilling, 2007, 2011). Body studies in a sociological context include cultural meanings attached to bodies and to the way that bodies shape and are shaped by society. Bodies are manipulated, regulated and controlled in gendered ways that have huge health consequences for both females and males. Body work describes occupations that include ballet dancing, gymnastics, acting, professional sports, modeling, broadcast journalists, hotel cleaning, and physical labor in construction, to name a few. To maintain their livelihood, workers in these body occupations must shape their bodies in rigid ways. All societies issue commands for appearance norms associated with social and economic success or liability. Although both men and women succumb to these commands, women experience more detrimental physical and mental health effects. Teen girls are especially vulnerable to these messages, often succumbing to binge drinking and cigarette smoking to cope with body image issues. Their identity and self-image are compromised when their bodies cannot live up to beauty standards. Sexual well-being is also threatened (Gillen and Markey, 2018; Jones et al., 2018a). Another example of the power of this standard is that women experiencing hair loss through chemotherapy focus on controlling their appearance to meet “cultural norms of gender, femininity, beauty, normality and health” (Dua, 2011). Hair loss violates an appearance norm that takes a psychological toll on many women. All women, however, fall prey to attractiveness norms related to weight. Bridal dresses are typically smaller than average sizes of the brides who will wear them. Plus-size gowns are also more expensive. Shopping for a wedding gown, a young Latina woman, was directed to “plus-size” dresses. As she recalls I also didn’t really like the stigma of being a “plus-size” bride. I have never been a plus size in my life so I didn’t want to start having that label just because of my wedding day. (Bishop et al., 2018:195–196) She vowed to lose weight to fit into a smaller size gown.

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Eating Disorders As the Duchess of Windsor said in the 1930s, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” Such beliefs translate to eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa, a psychiatric disorder of self-induced severe weight loss primarily in young women. A variant is bulimia, which alternates binge eating and purging. Incidence rates of these “fear of fat” diseases have steadily increased since the 1950s. Today, of the 30 million people with anorexia or bulimia, 85–90 percent are female. Body dissatisfaction is the highest risk factor for developing anorexia. Girls worry about attractiveness at puberty at the same time they gain an average of 20–25 pounds. African American and Latino girls and women have higher rates of obesity than Asian or white women. African American and Asian women, however, are more satisfied with their body weight, and Latino women are less satisfied than white women. Regardless of satisfaction levels, increases in eating disorders with onset in adolescence are reported for females of all racial groups. Self-esteem is fragile during adolescence for girls of all races, and weight issues contribute to their insecurity. Males are not immune to weight obsession. Increasing objectification of the male body in media, combined with excessive competitiveness in sports are key factors in the rapid increase of eating disorders in males, up 50 percent from just a decade ago. The largest increase is among adolescents. Eating disorders for males are associated with abuse of anabolic steroids, and whereas adolescent girls diet for thinness, boys diet to obtain a muscular body image, often to gain weight. As many as 90 percent of teen boys exercise in order to “bulk up” (Smith, 2019a). As for women, men’s psychological well-being is linked to body image messages about masculinity. Mortality rates from eating disorders are associated with organ failure, diabetes, malnutrition, and suicide. Because of co-morbidity it is difficult to determine one cause of death. However, we can say that anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, with over two-thirds of sufferers untreated. Half of females with eating disorders who die commit suicide. Since men are less likely to seek help for both physical and emotional illnesses, the prognosis is worse. Cultural beliefs significantly influence the development of eating disorders. Anorexia is described as a culture-bound syndrome first associated with norms of dieting and thinness ideals in American society. The power of the Western media has extended these norms to other societies. A famous study in Fiji, for example, profiled a culture where “big was beautiful” for girls. Television came to Fiji in 1995, and within three years, a teen’s risk for eating disorders doubled and there was a fivefold increase of vomiting for weight loss (Goodman, 1999). Although other cultures had television before Fiji, Western media-inspired beauty ideals permeated many non-Western cultures. A global surge in eating disorders is also linked to increased cigarette smoking by girls who are concerned about weight gain. Female models and movie stars have gotten progressively thinner. At size 14, today Marilyn Monroe would not easily find a job in movies. Whereas male celebrities have gotten more muscular, female beauty contestants average 20 percent lower than the ideal weight. Chronic dieting and excessive exercise are reinforced by other messages about obesity in the United States. The messages are paradoxical—Americans are obsessed with thinness at the same time as a ravaging obesity epidemic. The health and diet industries bolster these messages. From a conflict theory perspective, obesity requires medical intervention from a powerful health industry. Medicalization, a process that legitimizes medical control over

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parts of a person’s life, increases. Combined with cosmetic surgery and unhealthy body weight norms, the social pressure for thinness is supported by billion-dollar advertising for supplements and for-profit health care, such as plastic and bariatric surgery. Doctors may overlook other serious symptoms when they are confronted with an obese patient. That patient is likely to be female. Motivating female patients to lose weight using “tough love” can be a humiliating and counterproductive “fat shaming” strategy (Lester, 2019; Magane, 2019; Sackett and Dajani, 2019). Medicine sustains a culturally accepted belief that women’s bodies—and increasingly men’s bodies—are unacceptable as they are.

LGBTQ Morbidity Sexual minorities experience the highest morbidity rates compared to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Health disparities for mental illness and depression place those in the LGBTQ ranks at higher risk for substance abuse disorder, physical violence and suicide ideation. Adverse experiences worsens self-esteem. Poor physical and mental health outcomes are predicted by trauma and the shaming they internalize (Bridge et al., 2019; Schulman and Erickson, 2019; Scheer et al., 2019). Those who identify as female are at heightened risk compared to those who identify as male. Within this group, bisexual women have worse mental health outcomes than, for example, lesbians and gay men. They experience a higher level of discrimination and daily microaggression that intensify negative morbidity indicators that, as we have seen, apply to most women (Craney et al., 2018; Salim, 2019). Health disparities of female-identified sexual minorities also show up in the barriers they experience in reproductive and maternal health care (Gregg, 2018; Wingo et al., 2018). Physicians and health care providers can internalize stereotypes about LGBTQ health that carry over to medical treatment. Another likely explanation, I believe, is that the care community lacks the training and understanding to effectively deal with LGBTQ needs. They want the best outcomes for all patients. However, they are hampered by outmoded medical regimens attached to essentialist beliefs about sex and gender.

Advocacy The importance of addressing disparities in LGBTQ morbidity is gaining traction in the health care community. For LGBTQ youth, mental health outcomes are improved with interventions in schools and local communities that address bullying, sexism, and discrimination. All youths benefit when these problems are tackled. With the upsurge of public attention, continuing education for psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to address LGBTQ mental health issues rapid is escalating (Safa et al., 2019). Decreases in morbidity are associated with better understanding of how sexual expression and personal identity unfold in sexual minority clients. Support from the LGBTQ community enhances resilience that reverberates to psychological well-being (Painter et al., 2018; Rubinsky and Cooke-Jackson, 2018; Watson et al., 2018). The LGBTQ and health care communities are partnering to provide best practices for communication and counseling for sexual minorities. It is unclear if the Trump Administration’s recent move to redefine gender according to sex organs at birth will withstand widespread public condemnation. People who do not identify with a binary gender category—literally the entire LGBTQ community—are at further legal, emotional, and social risk for not complying.

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Gendered Health Risks: Selected Causes The gender gap in mortality and morbidity has increased in some areas and decreased in others. Intersectionality explains some of this gap. LGBTQ people have higher risk than heterosexual and cisgender people in some areas, and less in others. Women of color are more at risk for selected causes than are men of color. That being said, for selected causes of death and illness reviewed here, gender is a better predictor for health and well-being than is race or ethnicity.

HIV/AIDS In the 1980s, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) burst into public consciousness with reports of its rapid onset, high contagion, and certain death. It emerged in Africa and then in Europe and the U.S. The global AIDS pandemic spread to South America and Asia. A decade later, with no cure in sight, AIDS focused on the high mortality rate of men. In the United States in 1992, it was the leading cause of death of men between the ages of 25 and 44, with the highest percentage among men having sex with men (MSM). The fear of this deadly disease spurred global initiatives to combat AIDS through drugs and lifestyle changes. The gay community was at the forefront of efforts to stem its spread. Since the 1990s, in the United States and the developed world, major advances in antiretroviral (ART) treatment and large-scale education efforts about sexual behaviors to prevent infection refocused AIDS mortality to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) morbidity. Globally about 40 million people are HIV infected, with over half living in Africa. The AIDS death sentence has been commuted to a life sentence for people living with HIV who have access to ART treatment. The 1.1 million HIV-infected people in the United States are certainly more likely to have that access compared to their counterparts in the developing world. In the U.S. the incidence rate of HIV began declining in the late 1990s, and by 2013 had leveled off and stabilized. It is the highly gendered pattern of HIV that explains how its intersectional risks by race, SES, sexuality, and substance abuse unfold.

Men and HIV In the U.S., males account for three-fourths of adults and adolescents living with HIV (NCHS, 2019). Over 80 percent of new HIV diagnoses are among men, largely MSM (Figure 2.2). This translates to an estimated 2 percent of the population, but 66 percent of new annual HIV infections. These men are less likely than women to disclose their HIV diagnosis to friends, family or other MSM. Masculinity norms intrude and social support is lost at the time it is most needed and positive quality of life outcomes related to health are severely reduced (Laschober et al., 2019). The cycle of low support, fear of stigma and rejection, and unhealthy coping strategies worsens their diagnosis. Both the causes and effects of HIV are associated with excessive alcohol consumption, needle sharing, often with heroin, and use of crack cocaine, methamphetamines, and inhalants. Compared to women, HIV rises sharply for men who engage in riskier sexual behavior because of substance abuse. Young African American men report a higher number of sex partners than African American women and have more negative attitudes about HIV testing than women. Often overlooked are how regional HIV patterns are linked to race. Black MSM living in the South

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have the highest rates of HIV in the U.S. (Avert, 2019b; Carter and Flores, 2019; Moore and Belgrave, 2019). Regardless of race, however, college education reduces the risk of MSM acquiring HIV and predicts better quality of life outcomes if they do become infected. College educated gay and bisexual men are likely to understand how HIV is transmitted and use preventive measures when they have sex. They are also likely to be employed, have health insurance, and seek medical treatment if (and when) symptoms appear (Rzeszute, 2018). Middle class MSM are not immune to harmful masculinity norms related to sex and stigma all men confront, but their education and income offer some protective buffers from HIV (Chapter 9).

Women and HIV Women account for half of the worldwide HIV-infected population, and about 25 percent of new HIV infections in the United States. Cisgender heterosexual women in urban areas make up nearly one-third of all HIV-positive patients. The HIV burden, however, falls disproportionately on women of color (Almirol et al., 2018; Buckley and Awais, 2019). They account for two-thirds of new infections, with the large majority infected through heterosexual contact (Figure 2.2). About two-thirds of HIV-infected women are African American and 10 percent are Latinas. It is the leading cause of death for African American women between the ages of 25 and 34. The good news is that HIV diagnoses are down for women of color in these age groups, and it has stabilized for white women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). But other intersectional risks continue to magnify

Black/African American, Male-to-Male Sexual Contact Hispanic/Latino, Male-to-Male Sexual Contact White, Male-to-Male Sexual Contact Black/African American Women, Heterosexual Contact Black/African American Men, 1,678 Heterosexual Contact Hispanic Women/Latinas, 1,109 Heterosexual Contact White Women, 999 Heterosexual Contact 0

9,499 7,543 6,423 3,768



Blacks/African Americans




Other Races/Ethnicities

FIGURE 2.2  New HIV Diagnoses for Most Affected Subpopulations by Gender, Race, and Sexual Contact, 2018

Source: “Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas.” Data presented for diagnoses of HIV infection reported to CDC through June 2019. HIV Surveillance Report, 2019. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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HIV infections for women. The HIV incidence rate is declining at a slower rate in innercity neighborhoods among poor African American and Latino populations. In rural areas, lack of access to health care, and few sexuality classes in schools for adolescents increase HIV risk. Classes that exist are often abstinence based and do not provide meaningful knowledge about HIV (Chapter 11). Poor men and women living in the South account for a substantial proportion of new cases, the largest increases among women. Many women are unaware they are HIV infected until it reaches a more lethal stage. Once detected, stigma increases reluctance to seek help. Taking all these factors into consideration, poor, heterosexual, minority women are at greatest risk for HIV in the United States. Decades of education, prevention, and intervention show more success for gay men, but these trends tend to bypass many women.

Global Focus: Women and HIV in the Developing World Women globally are infected with HIV at faster rates than men, with the number of annual cases for women now equaling or exceeding those for men in the developing world. Women account for over half of HIV-infected people globally and girls and young women, aged 10–24, are twice as likely to acquire it as their male counterparts. More than half of HIV-infected women live in sub-Saharan Africa. Most are infected through heterosexual contact with a spouse or partner (Leung et al., 2019). Although women in the developing world with HIV are living longer, the diagnosis is still likely to be a death sentence, with life expectancy decreased by 10 to 20 years. Gender patterns on the spread of HIV have transformed it into a women’s and “family” disease; women can transmit HIV to their unborn children during pregnancy and childbirth. One of the most disheartening HIV transmission routes is through breastfeeding, a finding that sent shockwaves to the health care community that was recovering from scandals involving encouraging women to abandon breastfeeding for “modern formula.” If a pregnant woman is known to be HIV infected, she can receive HIV medicines during pregnancy to prevent transmission or babies can receive medicines four to six weeks after birth to reduce the probability of infection. These treatments are highly successful, but women must know they are HIV infected, must have access to the medicines, and must be counseled to not breastfeed their newborns. HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age in developing regions. Poverty-stricken young girls are vulnerable in cultures where “sugar daddy transactional sex” is normative. Believing that adolescent or younger girls are not likely to be HIV infected, older men seek them as partners. Stigma is reduced since the girls are not viewed as prostitutes, often referred to as “girlfriends,” but they receive material support from the men. They may be abandoned if they become HIV infected by these very men. Women’s lack of empowerment, differential access to services, inability to pay for the huge costs of ART, and victimization due to sexual violence and child marriage increase women’s HIV vulnerability. Countries with the least gender equality have the highest rates of HIV infections overall (Avert, 2019a; UNAIDS, 2019). The death rate from HIV transitioning to full blown AIDS is so alarming that it is linked to the drop in LER after its the two-century increase in life expectancy worldwide. Women’s biological chromosomal advantage does not protect them from a genital track that fuels HIV acquisition at twice the rate of men (Scully, 2018). Because women are infected at higher rates than men, HIV may be the biggest threat to their LER advantage.

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Drugs and Alcohol Most men and women use alcohol and other drugs in responsible, culturally acceptable ways. However, there are marked gender differences relating to these usages. Men engage in more illicit drug use than women and perceive lower health and social risks when using them. Although the gender gap in substance abuse points to its greater prevalence for men, adverse health effects from substance abuse—psychological and medical—are often more severe in women (McHugh et al., 2018:12; Hatchel and Armstrong, 2019). These effects are showing up more frequently for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Compared to women, half as many women report that they do not drink alcohol. More men than women drink excessively, binge drink, and adopt riskier behaviors relative to safety when drinking. About 15–17 percent of men (compared to 5–8 percent of women) meet criteria of alcohol AUD. Gender norms for men and women do not condone AUD, but masculinity norms plainly support high consumption of alcohol by men in recreational settings. AUD looms for men, however, when alcohol is used to cope with stress. Whether defined as AUD or not, the overconsumption of alcohol is linked to suicide rate for men (Chapter 9). Since 2000 the gender gap in drinking shows consistent narrowing. High-risk drinking among women increased 60 percent, and their AUD increased 84 percent (Grant et al., 2017). Women metabolize alcohol differently from men. When men and women drink equal amounts, women have higher blood alcohol levels with effects that show up more quickly and last longer. Estimates are that 10–12 percent of pregnant women drink alcohol, and 4 percent report binge drinking. Conservative estimates suggest that alcohol consumption by pregnant women results in 1.1 to 5 percent of children diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), linked to congenital heart defects, neurological damage, developmental disability, and low birth weight of infants, all of which impair health over a lifetime. These numbers are staggering. With better measures, FASD is far more prevalent than previously thought (May et al. 2018; Gunter, 2019). Even if it does not reach AUD, alcohol consumption is major factor in rape, domestic violence, and spouse abuse, with homicide a too-frequent outcome. If both men and women are drinking when violence against women occurs, it is difficult to convict the male perpetrator (Chapter 14).

Study Drugs and Opioids In coping with stress, men are more likely to turn to alcohol, illegal drugs and illicit use of prescription stimulants. Men have higher rates than women of non-prescribed meds for pain and much higher illicit use of “study drugs” such as Adderall. Whether prescribed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or not, for example, white men attending elite, selective universities are overrepresented in using so-called cognitive enhancing drugs. The acceptability and prevalence of study drugs justify their usage, many believing it to be a lesser form of cheating (Peralta et al., 2016; Prosek et al., 2018; Aikins, 2019). If they cannot get a study drug prescribed, students know where to find it and whom to buy it from on campus. Like the U.S., this pattern is found on college campuses in rich Western and East Asian Nations (Lucke et al., 2018; Song et al., 2018). Despite some moral ambivalence, comments by two male students demonstrate acceptability of study drugs regardless of how they are obtained (Petersen et al., 2015:204, 205). I mean, to be honest though, it’s not like I make up the symptoms, it’s just that the symptoms are so broad that anybody fits into it, so like, I sometimes have trouble focusing, okay, who doesn’t?

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Sometimes it even feels irresponsible to not take a stimulant, I think like, this would be foolish with what’s at stake. (Emphasis added) Women turn to prescription drugs that are “legitimately” prescribed. Prevalence rates for over-the-counter and prescription drugs are double for 18- to 64-year-old women. After age 65, men and women reach parity in their use of prescription drugs, at three or more times per month. Compared to men, women are almost twice as likely to receive a narcotic or antianxiety drug for a psychological problem, receive opioid analgesics for pain and depression, and are twice as likely to abuse or become addicted to them. These prescriptions are often at the heart of the opioid crisis for women. Women report higher prevalence of pain for cancer, lumbar stenosis and other causes of back pain, migraine headaches, and post-surgical pain and are prescribed higher levels of opioids than men. Men are more likely to die from overdose compared to women, but opioid overdoses have greatly increased for women compared to men (Serdarevic et al., 2017; Adogwa et al., 2019). Opioid crisis headlines sensationalize illegal opioid use and death rates for overdoses. Gender differences, however, are neglected in explaining these and other risk factors. Public outcry over the raging opioid crisis prompted a “Fast-Track Action Committee” roadmap to respond to the crisis at the federal level. The White House National Science and Technology Council report notes concerns about the maternal and neonatal exposure to opioids, but overlooks significant, increasing data on sex and gender differences in opioid use that have profound implications for gender-based prevention and treatment (Mazure and Fiellin, 2018; Becker and Mazure, 2019). An action plan is demanded, but if gender issues are not accounted for, any plan will be compromised.

Smoking Smoking continues to decline for Americans, recently hitting a 75-year low. Women have more difficulty achieving smoking cessation, so this decline is greater for men (Stevens et al., 2019). Women’s concern for weight gain plays an important role in the onset of smoking, especially among teen girls, and is an obstacle to smoking cessation. Body image satisfaction is not a significant predictor for cigarette smoking among teen boys (Jones et al., 2018; Thomas et al., 2018). The good news is that when women’s weight issues are addressed therapeutically, smoking cessation is more successful. Gender differences in e-cigarettes are less clear to date. Adolescents—both boys and girls—consider flavor as the most important factor for trying e-cigarettes, followed by nicotine content. Vaping initiates transition to cigarette smoking for males who never smoked, but not for females who never smoked; there are no gender differences in using e-cigarettes as a path to quit smoking regular cigarettes (Zare et al., 2018; Audrain-McGovern et al., 2019). As the negative health consequences of vaping gain attention, the public is calling for regulation of e-cigarettes similar to that for tobacco. Perhaps because women vape somewhat less than men, women support this regulation more than men (Jongenelis, et al., 2019; Lee and Oh, 2019; Saad, 2019). Although gender differences in tobacco use among adolescents are almost at parity, adolescent smoking has spiked. CDC blames the spike in all tobacco use on vaping, especially flavored e-cigarettes (LaVito, 2019). Like tobacco use, gender differences in marijuana use are narrowing. Regardless of gender, marijuana smoking is now as prevalent as cigarette (tobacco) smoking for a cross section of the population who smoke. It is unclear if vaping with cannabis will decrease tobacco

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use or if rising deaths associated with it will increase rates of marijuana use. Similar rates of smoking—whether cigarettes, vaping, or marijuana, do not translate to similar health consequences for males and females. Gender differences for all types of smoking may be declining, but the gender gap in rates of lung cancer and heart disease may also narrow. Women’s mortality from these leading causes of death may approach that of men.

COVID-19 Identified in 2019 by the World Health Organization (WHO), a coronavirus accordingly named COVID-19, reverberated dangerously across the globe. By early 2020 COVID-19 unfurled swiftly as the most menacing pandemic in a century, impacting the health and well-being of people in all areas of the globe and unleashing devastating, long-lasting economic consequences. The virus entered the Top 10 leading cause of death list by midsummer, and is on track to rank third by 2021. Other demographic data are emerging. We know most about age and vulnerability to the virus. This coronavirus strain targets the elderly, particularly those in their 80s who have other age-related health risks such as heart disease and diabetes that make the virus more deadly. Elderly in long-term care are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 mortality. However, younger people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are the growing percentage of new cases. In Arizona half of all cases are in this younger age group. In Florida the median age of new cases dropped from 65 to 35 (Bosman and Mervosh, 2020). Many new cases are traced to the reopening of bars and restaurants where face masks and social distancing are recommended but not enforced. Preliminary data suggest that most of these younger people are male.

Gender and the Pandemic What are the gender implications of COVID-19? As sex-differentiated data become available from large samples, patterns that have emerged so far fit with known sex and gender patterns of mortality and morbidity. COVID-19 is a global mankiller. Depending on the nation, global patterns show that male mortality is between 10 percent, and frighteningly, 90 percent higher than for women. Data from China and Italy, places hard hit early by COVID-19, indicate that men make up more than half the cases and are significantly more likely than women to die of it (Begley, 2020; Rabin, 2020; Reeves and Ford, 2020). Similar patterns are unfolding in the United States. To date, men are more at risk for mortality due to the virus, but women’s roles and overall gender inequities increase their risks for contracting it. Remember the pattern: women have higher morbidity but may ride out and survive diseases—such as COVID-19—to which men succumb. Remember the explanation: biological, genetic, and sex-based immunological factors (female advantage of XX chromosomes) and cultural factors are acted out in highly gendered ways. Men risk contracting COVID-19 in ways different than women. Compared to women, males smoke, drink, and consume illicit drugs at higher rates, engage in riskier behavior and sexual practices, and are less likely to seek preventive health care. Men go to bars more and practice less social distancing when they are there. Unless mandated, males are much less likely to wear masks than females. Many men believe wearing a mask is a sign of weakness (Capraro and Barcelo, 2020). Despite women’s more “responsible” behavior related to COVID-19 compared to men’s behavior, women’s roles increase their jeopardy for contracting the virus. Regardless of the current status of COVID-19 in our communities “social distancing” is the new normal and will remain on our radar for the foreseeable future. Social distancing is practiced in gendered ways. The large majority of health care providers, teachers, and day

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care workers are women. Women are caregivers in their families and for elders. Schools throughout the U.S. reopened too quickly and closed just as quickly. Teachers are infected and not replaced. Overseen by mothers, virtual leaning from home is the educational norm. In multiple settings, these roles put women in close physical contact with others on an ongoing basis, increasing their exposure to the virus. At its outbreak, protective gear for all workers was in short supply. Supplies for informal caregivers in the home or other settings were never a priority. They were nonexistent for these caregivers at the height of the pandemic. Social distancing must be assessed according to gender norms that put women on the front lines in carrying out ever-demanding roles during the pandemic. COVID-19 sparked the largest global economic crisis since the Great Depression. Women are more likely than men to say they are worried about its negative fallout. The low-wage sectors of the service industry is the port where women’s workers largely dock (Chapter 10). Women express more concern than men for the virus’ repercussions from income loss, inability to afford testing, and increased exposure to the virus because they cannot afford to take time off work, particularly in jobs disallowing work from home. Over half of all women workers are benefit ineligible. If they are fortunate to have benefits such as health insurance, they risk losing it as workplaces shut down. Both men and women with children worry about income and missing work, compared to those without children. Since family caregivers are women, they express greater anxiety overall (Frederiksen et al., 2020). Compared to other economic downturns fueled by health crises, COVID-19 triggered sudden, long-term widespread closures to contain its spread. Deemed as non-essential businesses, bars and restaurants, retail stores, hair salons, and establishments that employ tip-dependent workers, who are disproportionately women, led the closures. Like the health burden, the economic burden of the disease also disproportionally falls on women. Single-parent women facing closed schools without a reopening date must balance earning a living with caring for their children. As paychecks disappear, fragile mental health reserves weaken for everyone, with poor women in the most vulnerable ranks. During the pandemic and recession that followed, long-standing gender inequity in paid and unpaid work translates to women being relegated to a path fraught with hazardous gendered economic and health consequences (Chapter 10).

Race, Gender, and COVID-19 From the outset of the pandemic, the race–gender intersection was also predictable. For all races and locales, African American communities are hardest hit by the virus. Black Americans are dying at three times the rate of white Americans. In Chicago and Louisiana blacks make up about one-third of the population but comprise 70 percent of fatalities from the virus. Michigan reports that blacks account for 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths although they represent only 14 percent of the population. More black men in the U.S. have died due to the virus than any other racial or gender group (Pilkington, 2020; Yancy, 2020). While black men in the U.S. are suffering more fatalities, the deadly combination of racism, sexism, and structural inequality put black women and women of color at risk for the worst of the pandemic’s economic burdens. Over half of black women are in underpaid but essential positions, such as caregivers to the elderly, bus drivers, and grocery clerks. Black women and Latinas disproportionately work in unsafe settings, such as meat packing plants and nursing homes surging with COVID-19. Women of color are even less likely than women overall to have health insurance, and are less likely to seek medical care or testing when the virus is suspected. Gender has been on the back burner in discussions about unequal COVID-19 outcomes. Its impact on women of color, accounting for the overlapping oppressions they face,

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however, is gradually unfolding. The fundamental factor is that, compared with white women, women of color face untenable choices related to working or getting sick (Lindsey, 2020; Wingfield, 2020). Indeed, the notion of “choice” may not be the correct term. To date, there is none.

Pandemic in a Pandemic In the midst of the COVID-19 already roiling in black communities, the murder of George Floyd, an African American man, was videoed while he was in the hands of the police. Coupled with multiple incidents documenting police brutality spanning decades, Floyd’s death triggered massive protests in the U.S. that spread globally also reigniting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Protests continued for months in many cities fueled by police shootings of black men, notably Jacob Blake, and inciting violence by heavily armed counter protesters. These protests uncovered a second pandemic, largely hidden from public consciousness. This is the ongoing pandemic of racial disparities in health that include the consequences of systemic racism resulting in starkly disproportional rates of intimidation, violence and deaths of black and Latino males during policing. The relationship between physical and mental health, and race, gender, and criminal justice is well documented (Chapter 14). Black men (64 percent), for example, are twice as likely as black women (32 percent) to say they have been “unfairly stopped by police.” Black women are more likely than white women or Latinas to say they “had this experience” (Parker et al., 2020). The havoc of fear associated with violent incidents continues throughout a lifetime. Generations of black children are socialized to expect intimidation and learn how to deal with it (Chapter 3). It can be akin to the PTSD experienced by soldiers that may erupt decades after combat (Chapter 9). Spotlighting what divides us by gender and race is more newsworthy than what brings us together. At the height of COVID-19 in the Summer of 2020, the protests were remarkable for the demographic spectrum of protesters, that they were sustained for long periods, and that they were supported by the larger public. Conversations about health, violence, and race emerged. Americans came together to protest systemic racism, calling for reform of a justice system that unfairly targets black men. With a few exceptions, this consensus was suggested by the range of people drawn to the protest movements (Barroso and Minkin, 2020; Hamel et al., 2020; Mitchell et al., 2020; Parker,et al., 2020). • •

• • •

Men and women make up about half of those who attend a protest rally focusing on race, and they do not differ appreciably from the adult population by income or education. Majorities across all racial and ethnic groups, about two-thirds of the American public, express support of protests against police violence and of the reemerged BLM movement. An astonishing 1 in 10 says s/he has participated in the protests in some way. People under 30, many in high school and college, comprise about 40 percent of protesters. Majorities of Americans say news coverage of protests has been good and that Trump’s public message is wrong. Black and white adults do not appreciably differ in their beliefs about the motivations of the protesters. It is the stark political gap that divides the public. About 80 percent of Democrats say Trump has made race relations worse and that the protests address long-standing concerns about the treatment of black people. About 80 percent of Republicans believe the protests are sites for some to purposely engage in criminal behavior.

While the continuing partisan divide is disheartening, support for the protests reveals remarkable consensus of Americans often divided by race, gender, and SES. There is optimism that

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the dire health patterns of the “second pandemic” targeting men of color in the criminal justice system can finally be meaningfully addressed.

Critique During these perilous times, a sociological truism that “we are all in this together” reverberates throughout the media. I was reminded in a Zoom meeting with sociological colleagues on self-care during the pandemic that “physical distancing”—rather than “social distancing”— is the better descriptor for this new normal. Technology is a blessing. We are strengthened by the social contract underlying this message. The sociological story of COVID-19 is still being written. We need to be mindful of the assumptions we make with the limited data we have. As this chapter documents, however, it can be said that the probable gender effects of the virus were already written. “Vulnerability to infection, exposure to pathogens, and treatment received” differ between men and women (Wenham et al., 2020). Exposure to pathogens that include the disproportionate violence leveled at men of color in policing and the criminal justice system is an often overlooked example of gendered racism. Both pandemics speak loudly to lethal consequences driven by ongoing intersectional risks primed by race, gender, SES, and sexuality. The well-known gendered and intersectional patterns reviewed here must be accounted for at all levels of decision-making to curtail mortality and morbidity associated with both the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic of violence surrounding policing that put everyone in jeopardy.

EXPLAINING GENDERED HEALTH TRENDS Current patterns of mortality and morbidity in physical and emotional health, show male– female differences as converging (alcohol, smoking, sexuality), widening (suicide, violence) or unchanged (leading causes of death). These trends are also shaped by intersectionality, but as COVID-19 further indicates, the gender patterns still hold. It is the connection between biology and culture—and sex and gender—that explain these trends. Sex and gender are blurry, overlapping terms. Because of binary cautions, how they are used is often contentious (Chapter 1). That being said, in explaining health and illness it is helpful to discuss biological factors as male and female sex differences (or similarities), and to discuss cultural factors as masculine and feminine gender differences (or similarities).

Sex and Gender, Biology and Culture To recap, advantages of females tracked to biology include the extra X chromosome that makes women resilient, offering them increased stamina in health crises. Women must bear and nurse children, often under adverse conditions in unhealthy and unsafe environments. Women can summon reserves of strength to ensure they and their children can survive in conditions of deprivation. Women may have higher morbidity rates, but they are more likely to recover from the same sicknesses that kill or disable men. Cultural factors include significant gender differences favoring women in health knowledge particularly related to sexuality and reproduction. Young girls are taught to be sensitive to and aware of bodily changes. Gender socialization encourages girls to express health concerns to family and friends and seek available health resources. For cancer prevention and

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treatment, women are more likely than men to take advantage of new directions in medicine and self-care. This leads to earlier diagnosis, more treatable stages, and translates to lower mortality rates for breast and ovarian cancer. Gender role flexibility allows women to be less constrained than men in seeking help for illness and psychological distress. They maintain a larger social support network and have higher degrees of connectedness, calling on others for help in stressful times; men do not (Chapter 9). To the benefit of husbands, wives usually keep up social ties that buffer psychological distress in times of crisis. Widowers are more vulnerable than widows for depression and suicide. Along with violence, this is the alarming, widening gender gap harmful to men.

Again, Masculinity Research is convincing that inflexible and toxic masculinity norms prominently explain why men’s health and well-being are compromised. Lack of gender role flexibility for men is lethal. Difficulties of emotional expression, self-stigma, and policing of masculinity by men and boys predict less willingness to seek help (Berke et al., 2018). The usual suspect—fear of femininity—cements a man’s resolve to “go it alone.” However, research showing the perils of masculinity has cascaded, making its way into media and wider audiences. Workplaces are tailoring employee assistance programs for men who confront stressful hyper-competitive business settings daily. Happy (less stressed) employees are good for the bottom line (Chapter 10). Therapists working with positive masculinity show promising ways of overcoming barriers to help-seeking. Men learn skills in emotional regulation: restricting unproductive emotions (outbursts of anger, profanity, physical intimidation and fights) and broadening productive emotions (mindfulness, listening without interruption) (Seidler et al., 2016; Cole et al., 2019; Kaya et al., 2019). For physical health, when men are socialized to believe that seeking help is a sign of masculine weakness, they may not get treatment for life-threatening diseases in time (Chapter 9). For women these very patterns do contribute to higher treatment rates but in turn bolster the claim that women are sicker, weaker, and less emotionally strong than men. Men would do well to adopt the health-beneficial behavior of women. Unlike other gender trends, gender parity in mortality and morbidity does not offer beneficial health outcome for women. As women increasingly adopt the health-aversive behaviors of men (alcohol, smoking, hookups), advantages in women’s well-being may decrease. Biological advantages may not be offset by cultural disadvantages.

Challenging Gendered Health Risks: Advocacy Blatantly sexist attitudes regarding the sexual inferiority of women still run rampant in health care. For example, in the pre-Kinsey, post-Masters and Johnson, and contemporary eras, textbooks and tools for psychiatrists and interventions for psychologists highlight Freud’s anatomy as destiny model. Psychotherapy training for psychiatrists is curtailed in favor of medical training. The Freudian “comeback” with feminism in mind has not made its way into the few resources offered during medical school and residence programs for psychiatrists. With Freud as the foundation these resources encourage new psychiatrists to be familiar with some psychotherapy techniques. Although training is limited, Freudian theories are being reintroduced and embraced. If time is available, it is expected that well-rounded psychiatrists need a “Freud-chip” in their psyches (Antony, 2015; Klemenson, 2017).

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The Women’s Health Movement Emerging as an organized, powerful force by the 1970s, the Women’s Health Movement (WHM) confronted mainstream medicine by challenging androcentric health care, testing, and treatment practices harmful to women (Seaman and Eldridge, 2012). The movement asserted that women must be empowered to take an active role in all phases of their health and health care. Retreating from the traditional male standard that women patients must be directed in “therapeutic compliance,” an empowerment approach offers a “therapeutic alliance” between women patients and health providers. Patients are full partners as they traverse their path to health. The women’s health movement laid the foundation for the mantra of the current generation of physicians and health practitioners: communicate with patients for optimal health outcomes. When women become patients, they are subjects rather than objects. Effective communication rests on the “patients-as-persons” ideal. The WHM helped mainstream partnership, communication, treatment models, and research agendas beneficial to both women and men. It confronted gynecological practices between male and female patient women described as condescending and humiliating. It opened doors for women entering medical school and men entering nursing (Chapter 10). It paved the way for frank discussions about menstruation and challenged the medical profession’s oppressive framing of menstruation as a shameful monthly disability or disease. Since it emerged alongside the larger feminist movement, it heightened awareness about women’s and child health. NGOs advocating for women’s health exploded in the U.S. and globally. New health-related organizations spawned by the WHM were responsible for early investigations of gender, race, SES, and health, today commonly referred to as intersectionality. The WHM has converged in multiple organizations with varying issues and agendas. Although it is no longer considered a separate, distinct movement, its antennae continue to be far-­ reaching and significant for women’s health. Of its successes, the WHM legacy is spotlighted in medical research.

Gender Bias in Research and Health Care An androcentric medical system is harmful to the health and well-being of women. Existing health systems not only bolster conventional gender roles that disempower women but overlook gender-based health inequalities. Until quite recently women were virtually absent as participants in clinical trials involving drugs, medical technology, treatment, and medical care options on which contemporary health and health care are based.

Androcentric Medicine Male-centered medicine reinforces a (sex) binary that biological differences between men and women—some of which are justified—have major, inescapable health consequences. Despite this “sex difference” paradigm, the health care system is permeated with gender bias. It is often blind to disorders considered to be male or female, even if both suffer from them” (Stefanick, 2017:52). Since the advent of modern medicine in the U.S., male was the research and medical norm. A large, infamous, federally funded study examining the effects of diet on breast cancer used only men as sample subjects. Men are diagnosed with about 1 percent of all breast cancers. Although this finding can shed light on cancers overall, the study ignored women’s

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breast cancer symptoms related to diet and weight. Women and men could not be compared, a disservice to both. Therapeutic and scientific objectives were compromised. The breast cancer study with only male subjects added to the growing evidence that gender bias flaws medical research.

Heart Disease Research on coronary heart disease (CHD) is another notable example where exclusion of women in clinical trials is ominous. Done in the 1980s, this major study on the effect of low doses of aspirin and the risk of heart attack used more than 35,000 subjects, all of them men. The reduced heart attack risk was so spectacular that results were available to the public and physicians before findings were published (Steering Committee of the Physician’s Health Study Research Group, 1989). Results could not be generalized to women. The study also ignored the fact that women have a heart attack about ten years later than men and that CHD is the number one cause of death for both men and women. Women with advanced heart failure (HF) remain underrepresented in clinical trials dealing with sex-specific treatment. Research related to gender differences in uses of medical technology for heart patients is woefully limited. They present symptoms later than men and mechanical, interventional therapies that could be useful to them are underutilized in part because less is known about the benefits (or liabilities) of the devices for women. Women receive less aggressive cardiac care and have a greater risk than men of dying from a second heart attack or stroke (Daubert and Douglas, 2019; Habal et al., 2019; Henning, 2019). Despite these well-known facts, lack of women’s participation in research and clinical trials translates to inadequate clinical practice guidelines for women with CHD. The “heart attack gender gap” and misdiagnoses of CHD relative to gender differences continue, and women die needlessly. Physicians are more likely to attribute men’s CHD symptoms as organic and women’s symptoms as psychogenic. Women merely imagine they are having a heart attack (Butterworth, 2019; McGregor, 2019). Women receive fewer CHD diagnoses and fewer cardiologist referrals for the same symptoms men have. Women going to an emergency room (ER) for stroke are over one-third more likely than men to be misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis, hospital readmission, and compromised treatment increase for women of color, sexual minorities, and those with lower incomes and education (Miller, 2018; Virk et al., 2019; Lett et al., 2020). Gender disparities exist even before women with cardiac arrest get to an ER. Ambulances are significantly less likely to use sirens and lights when women are transported compared to men. Although almost all prehospital patients are resuscitated, women were “significantly less likely” than men to be resuscitated (Lewis et al., 2019:116). This startling finding with unconventional variables speaks to the hidden and often lethal effects of gender bias in health care. On the flip side, women may be more likely than men to be misdiagnosed for CHD. Severe emotional distress can lead to heart muscle failure and symptoms mimicking a heart attack. Takotsubo syndrome, better known as “broken heart syndrome (BHS),” unfolds with unexpected and stressful events. Whether emotional (sudden death of loved one) or physical (cancer diagnosis), BHS can lead to a misdiagnosis of a heart attack. One woman died of BHS after burglars ransacked her home. Even political events such as Brexit may predict the onset of BHS, such as a woman who experienced “Brexit bereavement” (Dolan, 2019; Siddiqi, 2019). Women are overrepresented in BHS. Women and men cope with stress differently,

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and its effects show up differently in the body. It may originate in the brain and reverberate throughout the body, most noticeable with chest pain. Older women present symptoms more frequently. To date, there is no genetic evidence for its cause or for the male–female differences. The focus is the emotional trauma that can trigger symptoms that mimic a heart attack for women. BHS appears to be severe but short-lived and reversible, with most people making a full recovery. It is likely to be misdiagnosed as a heart attack for women, followed with unnecessary tests and follow-ups (Dias et al., 2019; Heart Advisor, 2019). Whether there is too much or too little attention to heart issues, recurring gender bias in health care is evident.

PROGRESS IN WOMEN’S AND MEN’S HEALTH Capitalizing on research and activism spawned by the Women’s Health Movement, new directions for men’s health initiatives, and growing, influential LGBTQ health activism, gender bias in health and health care is being widely challenged. For the first time in history, women comprise half of research subjects in clinical trials for new drugs (Malamut, 2019). Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have emerged to publicize and influence health policy. More women are entering health care as gynecologists, hospital administrators, clinical psychologists, and other mental health therapists. Nurses, representing a historically female profession, are assuming more responsibility in decision making; their leadership roles are accepted and respected by physicians. They are at the forefront of team approaches to health care. These approaches are in synch with female patterns of socialization that predict better health outcomes for women—but also for men. Clinical trials in research with female subjects representing a diversity of racial and ethnic groups are rapidly becoming normative. LGBTQ activism extends this diversity to sexual minorities who had long been ignored in health research. Triggered by the panic and misinformation of the AIDS era, the LGBTQ community helped set the agenda to address health care needs of its population (Landers and Kapadia, 2019). Research protocols today account for all forms of intersectionality to make findings applicable to diverse populations.

Empowerment for Health Encouraged by the successful path of the WHM, the gap in men’s health is being addressed on multiple fronts. References to masculinity and its toxic norms are now common in public discourse. It is no longer puzzling to understand that masculine gender roles can be hazardous to men’s physical and mental health. Masculinity’s toxic influence on injury and death related to extreme sports, unnecessary occupational risks, impulsive sexual and alcohol-related behavior, and abuse of women is gaining attention. Parents are more informed that masculinity norms embraced by their adolescent sons can unfold in harmful ways. With toxic masculinity in mind, they are more vigilant in monitoring sexualized social media and violent video games their sons routinely digest (Chapter 9). Issues in men’s mental health are perhaps the most widespread health messages in media. Disheartening suicides of veterans and numbing mass shootings perpetrated by men are gradually being framed according to masculinity and culture rather than simply biology and hormones. Awareness of toxic masculinity on men’s health is only a first step to addressing its lethality. As noted, positive masculinity models are making headway. Male depression is less likely

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to be overlooked and therapists are incorporating these models in diagnosis and treatment. Help-seeking for symptoms related to physical and emotional illness is increasing for men of color, young men, veterans, and sexual minorities (Patil et al., 2018). There are encouraging signs that men are seeking preventive services. Male distress is less likely to be overlooked. Mortality rates for prostate cancer, for example, have decreased with early detection. Men’s health activism may be responsible for small but noticeable reductions on a range of male mortality-related measures. The empowerment of women as patients and health care practitioners is beneficial to men. Men’s rights activists would do well to embrace gender equality. Men live longer and have healthier lives in nations with high gender equality, such as those in Scandinavia (Chapter 6). When women do well, so do men.

KEY TERMS Anorexia nervosa Body studies Bulimia Cisgender Double standard Essentialism Feminization of aging

Gender fluidity Intersex Morbidity rate Mortality rate Neurosexism Psychoanalytic feminism Queer theory

Sex ratio at birth (SRB) Sexual dimorphism Sexual orientation Sexual scripts Sociobiology Transgender


Gender Development The Socialization Process

Blogging throughout social media speaks to the joys and woes of parenthood. Mommy blogging about boys is qualitatively different than mommy blogging about girls. A blogging post for mothers, #Boymom is “massively more popular” than #girlmom, outnumbering its counterpart by 3 to 1 in posts. Moms confess their experiences of raising boys that include photos of toy bikes parked in the middle of a flight of stairs, athletic cups and Hot Wheels abandoned in the unlikeliest of places, and even a photo of a child gazing at a woman in a bikini, with the caption ‘typical.’ (Cills, 2019) These blogs clearly show that the gender binary is alive and well for children and for the parents socializing them. As early as preschool, children have strong ideas about what boys and girls are supposed to do and be. They police one another in gender boundaries even if prompted by an adult to stray outside the boundary. They embrace smaller gender differences, in turn obscuring larger gender similarities. From the moment a girl infant is wrapped in a pink blanket and a boy infant is wrapped in a blue blanket, gender role development begins. The colors of pink and blue are among the first indicators used in American society to distinguish female from male. As these infants grow, other cultural artifacts will ensure that this distinction remains intact. Girls will be given dolls to diaper and tiny stoves on which to cook pretend meals. Boys will construct buildings with miniature tools and wage war with toy guns and tanks. In the teen and young adult years, although both may spend their money on digital music, girls buy cosmetics and clothes and boys buy sports equipment and technical gadgets. Despite rapidly ascending values celebrating gender equality and disdain for gender stereotypes deemed detrimental to children’s well-being, these patterns remain intact. The incredible power of gender socialization is largely responsible for this behavior. Pink and blue begin this lifelong process.

GENDER SOCIALIZATION AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY Socialization is the lifelong process where culture is learned, we develop a sense of self, and become functioning members of society. This simple definition does not do justice to the profound impact of socialization. Through all forms of social interaction each generation

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transmits essential cultural elements to the next generation via socialization. Primary socialization provides children with values and skills to effectively maneuver a variety of social situations. The family is the site of early childhood socialization where children receive their first messages about gender. Socialization never ends. Based on earlier experiences, continuing socialization is the basis for new roles and relationships encountered throughout life. Socialization shapes our personalities and molds our beliefs and behaviors about social groups and the individuals making up those groups. Gender socialization is the process of learning cultural expectations related to femininity or masculinity associated with the biological sex of female or male. The powerful forces of globalization that underlie social change and the expansion of cultural diversity have collided with gender socialization on a massive scale.

Culture and Socialization As a society’s total way of life, culture endows us with social heritage and provides guidelines for appropriate behavior. Socialization, therefore, is embedded in culture. Cultures are organized through interdependent social institutions, structures ensuring that basic social needs are met in established, predictable ways. The family sets the standards for how gender roles in children emerge, but the family itself is shaped by gendered cultural values. P ­ arent–child interactions occur in a broader cultural context in which females have less power and prestige than males. Beginning in infancy, for example, parents socialize sons to express emotions differently from daughters in ways that may not challenge gender differences in power. Institutions overlap in socialization so one can support and carry on the work of another. The primary socialization work begins in the family, and continues when the child enters preschool or kindergarten. Other institutions include the economy, religion, government, and an evolving leisure and recreational institution with a media focus. Like cultures across the globe, social institutions in American culture play out according to expectations and norms about gender roles. These roles are evident in the paid and unpaid jobs men and women perform, their leisure activities, dress, possessions, language, demeanor, reading material, college major, how frequently they engage in sex and the degree of sexual pleasure they derive. The list is endless. Culture provides standards of social control to ensure general conformity to a vast array of norms. Social control guarantees compliance to gender norms in informal but powerful ways. As the default, gender conformity comes with acceptance; gender nonconformity can be met with ridicule, exclusion from peers, and loss of friendship. Both boys and girls ridicule boys who play with dolls or toys designed for girls and shun girls who play too aggressively. Cultures adapt to gender role change. Adults who challenge workplace norms in which gender scripts are changing—such as men choosing to be child care workers or women choosing to be plumbers—also remain vulnerable until new norms are in place. When gender stereotypes are perpetuated through socialization, social control is particularly effective, yet in insidious ways. If women are stereotyped as lacking leadership abilities, an individual woman may be denied promotion to a high profile management job. Her individual ability is not considered due to the stereotype assigned to her entire gender. A man may be denied custody of his child or adopting a child based on stereotypes that men are less capable than women in raising children. Child custody and divorce law are infused with stereotypical thinking about gender (Chapter 8).

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Adaptation It may seem that culturally-based socialization creates little robots who uncritically accept and submit to gender roles. Arguing that the automatons of one generation produce carbon copies in the next ignores three important facts. First, socialization is uneven, taking place on many fronts. We are socialized by parents, siblings, peers, teachers, media, and all other social institutions. We know of achievement-oriented women admired for their leadership and men as successful adoptive parents. Second, we live in diverse, heterogeneous societies made up of numerous subcultures that share common characteristics but are distinguished from the broader culture in gender patterns. Subcultures are also differentiated according to race, ethnicity, social class, age, and attitudes about sexuality norms, all of which overlap with gender norms. Third, subcultural diversity unfolds in gendered patterns that are not merely additive, but multiplicative in effects. Explanations of childhood socialization must account for level of risk or advantage offered by formidable intersectional statuses (positions). Age-based subcultures emerge at points in the life course strongly defined by powerful gendered norms. Elementary school peers decide what counts as prestige, in turn influencing self-esteem, achievement motivation, and academic success. A boy defined as effeminate or a girl defined as a bully have much to lose. At the other end of the spectrum, the aged are not immune to such rankings. Age and gender stereotypes combine to work against divorced or widowed elderly who would like to date or mate. They risk social disapproval through stereotypes that view sexual activity in old age suspiciously. Elderly widows may be regarded as asexual; elderly widowers as “dirty old men.” Gender and age stereotypes collide with race and ethnicity in subcultures where remarriage for women—widowed or divorced—is highly unlikely. In other cultures, failure to marry at any age may relegate them to social exclusion and increased risk of poverty, yet remarriage is shunned.

Gender Socialization: Intersecting Social Class and Race Parental beliefs about gender intersect with social class and race as key determinants in the enactment of gender roles. Overall, middle-class parents emphasize autonomy and working-class parents emphasize conformity in socialization. These values translate to more gender role flexibility in middle-class families than in working-class and low-income families. Boys and girls from middle-class homes are offered less rigid gender role choices in behavioral expectations and career development and hold more egalitarian attitudes. Gender role flexibility and autonomy supportive parenting for both daughters and sons are enhanced in middle-class, dual-earner families with career-oriented mothers. Mothers in these families express higher levels of support for such flexibility and autonomy than fathers. Boys from middle-class homes, however, are more achievement-oriented than girls. Adding race as a factor, college students describe white middle-class women in more stereotypical ways than African American women. Regardless of race, however, upwardly mobile families express more traditional gender attitudes (Chapter 8). For African Americans, mothers’ employment and mobility may be more important than social class (SES) regarding gender. SES itself is multidimensional (income, occupation, education) and determined by these very factors, so it is difficult to sort out the direction of causation.

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Asian Families Asian American children are likely to be socialized into less flexible, traditional beliefs about gender than African American and white children. In these homes gender roles emphasize female subordination to all males and older females in a highly patriarchal family structure. This pattern is most noticeable in Indian (South Asian) American families where long-established ethnic and religious values about gender persist even among highly educated professional parents. Children expect parents to arrange meetings with prospective marriage partners. Although children have latitude in rejecting marriage candidates, girls are more pressured than boys to reject dating non-Indian men. Immigrant women from upper caste Brahmin backgrounds acknowledge the difficulty of navigating their professional and domestic lives. Motherhood is reworked to assure professional work is complementary to their domestic lives. Mothers are the repositories of ethnic socialization and ensure that both sons and daughters receive strong messages about Indian values related to marriage, and American values related to education and upward mobility (Manohar, 2013). Within two to three generations, however, unquestioned female subordination weakens considerably, particularly among Chinese, Korean, and Japanese families. Unlike Indians, gendered ethnic messages about marriage are supplanted more quickly with stronger messages about family mobility, financial independence, and a college education to achieve both. As Asian American children are Americanized, both boys and girls exhibit less traditional gender roles.

Latino Families Data from large U.S. Latino subcultures (Puerto Rican, Cuban American, and Mexican American) report females acting out gender roles in more deferential and subordinate ways compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Despite ethnic diversity, Latino subcultures share a Catholic heritage that fosters female subservience to males and prioritizes motherhood above all life goals. Women are expected to be chaste before marriage and dependent on husbands after marriage. Latino fathers are less involved with their children than mothers, but more involved with sons than daughters. For all racial and ethnic groups, Latinas have the highest teen birth rates. Latino parents, especially mothers, are stricter with messages related to sexual risk for girls than for boys (Killoren and Deutsch, 2013; Varga and Gee, 2017; Derlan et al., 2018). Latino children receive socialization messages promoting familism, a strong value emphasizing the family and its collective needs over personal and individual needs. Familism helps buffer hypermasculinity (machismo) in boys and serves as a source of prestige for girls, who early in life provide valuable care to the young and the old in their extended families (Chapter 8). Latinos face heightened risks for discrimination in these politically turbulent times. Families adapt and change to risks, often in gendered ways. Familism may buffer risks, but boys may break rules and defy parents more than girls (Ponting, 2018). Like other racial and ethnic minorities, immigration status predicts that these gendered patterns decrease, as Americanization increases.

African American Families Compared to other racial and ethnic groups, research on gender socialization in African American families is more extensive and more inconsistent (Jones et al., 2018b). On the one

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hand African American children are socialized into views of gender that are less rigid and less stereotyped. African American girls from homes with nontraditional gender roles have high achievement motivation and self-esteem. Compared to white males, African American males—both older children and adults—participate more in housework and child care. To the benefit of gender equity, binary views of masculinity and femininity are blurred in African American homes (Chapter 8).

Raising Daughters On the other hand, African American women encourage independence and self-reliance in their daughters but at the same time encourage them to accept other parts of a female role that are traditional. Mothers send powerful messages about the value of education to their children and do not accept excuses for poor performance (Ispa et al., 2019). Girls may internalize these messages more than boys. Girls, therefore, are deemed more studious than boys. Educational expectations are high for girls in African American families. In this case, “studiousness” may be associated with a more traditional role for girls but works to their benefit. A traditional gender role for boys perceived to be educationally at risk, however, may work to their disadvantage. Schools are adopting interventions, such as using culturally relevant teaching to boys, to counter these risks (Essien, 2017). In low-income father-absent homes, daughters’ self-reliance is strengthened by adopting more masculine roles; sons adopt roles that are less masculine in these homes. Mothers are less likely to grant freedom for daughters to explore expanded roles related to dating. Daughters report that their mothers are overly protective, and mothers report that their daughters’ behavior needs to be closely monitored, especially in relation to sexuality. Black girls are more likely than white girls to experience teen dating violence. Mother–daughter conflict surrounding issues of independence versus restrictions can lower their acceptance of one another, driving a wedge between them (Ahonen and Loeber, 2016; Simons et al., 2016). Mothers and fathers prepare their daughters more for racial bias than for gender bias.

Raising Sons That being said, however, mothers of sons are more concerned about racial discrimination and mothers of daughters are more concerned about gender discrimination. Fathers send stronger racial socialization messages to their sons. Fathers communicate racial pride and offer strategies for coping with racial discrimination. They underscore the importance of positive male role models for their sons with an emphasis on masculine values of strength and leadership. Associated with a fictive kin network (Chapter 8), African American children have biological fathers and “social fathers” as role models to learn about gender and marriage and family relationships. These father figures are positively invested in the lives of African American boys but may be inconsistent in their gender messaging. They can send messages to their young sons about “toughening up,” to be strong physically and emotionally, but it may be associated with risk in an era of escalating violence to minority men (Howard et al., 2013; Cooper et al., 2014; Hurt et al., 2017). Concerns about racial discrimination generally trump concerns about gender discrimination. It may be difficult for parents to perceive sexism (gender discrimination) for boys. This pattern is not a benign one. Mothers with high unease about racial discrimination have lower expectations for children’s academic success, especially for their sons. Parents’ own experiences of racial discrimination can mediate their

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vigilance in priming their sons, but not their daughters, for racial discrimination (Varner and Mandara, 2013; Varner et el., 2019). The paradoxical effect of these socialization practices is to bolster—yet challenge—traditional gender roles.

Intersectionality The socialization work of black parents in American society is strongly influenced by race and class inequalities that counter beliefs about gender equity. African American children who are facing a rough road because of racial discrimination may find it easier to adopt rather than challenge traditional gender roles if it means one less barrier to overcome. Historical patterns of gender role configurations in African American subcultures help in understanding the contradictions. High regard for the independence and initiative of African American women is normative. In this sense, the “traditional” gender role of women is one of strength and resilience rather than passivity and resignation. Consistent with conventional gender roles, white girls are less assertive than African American girls (Chapter 8). Mothers teach daughters to resist oppression, but also to accommodate African American institutions, such as the church, that does not sharply diverge from the patriarchal standards in the broader culture. Most important, African American children tend to adopt less polarized views of gender. Males and females are not “opposites.” Both men and women are encouraged to be nurturing and assertive. Supporting an intersectional model, the research is inconsistent only when race, class, and gender are separated and when white middle-class standards of masculinity and femininity are the default and applied to all African American experiences.

THEORIES OF GENDER SOCIALIZATION Theories of gender socialization spotlight the primary socialization years and how children acquire gender identity, awareness that the two sexes (male and female) behave differently, and that different gender roles (masculine and feminine) are expected. Like all socialization, gender socialization is mediated through biology, personality, social interaction context, and the social institutions. Different theories give different weight to each element. Freudian psychologists and sociobiologists contend that unconscious motivation and biologically driven evolutionary demands are overriding socialization forces (Chapter 2). Sociologists, social psychologists, and many personality psychologists emphasize social interaction over biology as the key socialization force. The focus on the context of social interaction has prompted significant interdisciplinary work between psychology and sociology in building theories of gender socialization.

Social Learning Theory Unlike Freud’s psychoanalytic approach on the internal conflict in socialization (Chapter 2), social learning theory focuses on observable behavior. For social learning theorists, socialization is based on rewards (reinforcing appropriate behavior) and punishments (extinguishing inappropriate behavior). They are concerned with the ways children model the behaviors

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of others, such as cooperation and sharing or selfishness and aggression. They choose models who are like themselves and avoid those perceived to be different (Bener et al., 2016). Imitation and modeling appear to be spontaneous in children, but through reinforcement, patterns of behavior develop that eventually become habitual. In classic social learning theory, as with other behaviors, gender roles are learned directly through reprimands and rewards and indirectly through observation and imitation (Bandura and Walters, 1963; Mischel, 1966). The logic is simple. In gender socialization, different expectations lead to different strategies of reinforcement from parents, peers, and teachers for doing either “boy” or “girl” things. Boys may be praised by peers for excelling in male sports such as football but derided for excelling in female games such as jump rope. Girls may be praised by peers for embroidering table linens but derided for preferring to play with toy soldiers rather than dolls. Gender identity is developed when children associate the label of “boy” or “girl” with rewards—or punishments—that come with appropriate or inappropriate behavior, then act out gender roles according to that perception. Parents and teachers model gender roles during the critical primary socialization years, and children imitate accordingly. This results in ongoing reinforcement of the valued gender identity. Social learning theory thus assumes that “knowledge about gender roles either precedes or is acquired at the same time as gender identity” (Intons-Peterson, 1988:40).

Gender Socialization for Boys According to social learning theory, boys and girls are not parallel in acquiring gender role knowledge during the primary socialization years. Early research by David Lynn (1969) asserts that boys encounter more difficulty than girls on the socialization path. Since fathers are not as available as mothers during early childhood, boys have limited opportunities to model the same-gender parent. In addition, contact with fathers is qualitatively different than from mothers in terms of emotional intimacy. With adult male role models scarcer in early childhood, boys struggle to put together a definition of masculinity based on incomplete information. They are told what they should not do rather than what they should do. “Don’t be a sissy” and the classic “big boys don’t cry” are examples. Boys must prove that they are boys “by showing that they are not girls” (Chu, 2014). Girls have an easier time because of relative modeling from her mother and the female teachers she will encounter in early childhood education. Lack of male models at an early age prompts stereotyped, inflexible views of masculinity. This gender role inflexibility may explain why males express more insecurity than females about their gender identity. Consequences of this narrow view of masculinity are insidious. Boys’ peer groups encourage the belief that aggression and toughness are virtues. Males exhibit hostility toward females and LGBTQ people. Cross-gender behavior in boys (“sissies”) is viewed more negatively than when it occurs in girls (“tomboys”). Women are more accepting of children who cross gender lines. Fear of ridicule propels males, especially adolescents, to use homophobic and sexist remarks to ensure that their masculinity is protected (Chapter 9). Although modeling is not the sole factor for gender role acquisition, it does suggest that gender-appropriate behavior is strongly associated with social approval. Even if laden with uncertainty and inflexibility, boys adamantly prefer a masculine role. A boy learns that his role is more desirable compared to a girl’s role, and that it brings him self-esteem.

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Gender Socialization for Girls Other social learning theorists counter that it is a mistake to conclude that availability of mothers and female role models in early childhood makes the socialization path for girls easier. Very young children are bombarded with messages suggesting greater worth, prestige, advantages, and rewards are accorded to males compared to females. By enhancing self-­ esteem, boys can readily embrace these gendered messages. In contrast, girls are offered subordinate, less prestigious roles that encourage deference and dependence. They must model behavior that is less socially valued. Feminist social learning theorists suggest that modeling “female appropriate” behavior can come with grave risks for women. Gender equitable attitudes are increasing across the globe but have not eclipsed the far more prevalent attitudes about female subordination and that women should respond to it appropriately—in other words, traditionally. Families in much of the developing world are organized by rigid age–gender hierarchies conferring power on men (husbands, fathers, male kin), especially the oldest men (Chapter 6). Children witness psychological coercion or physical force keeping women subordinate (“to know their place”). Women in these cultures model behavior reinforcing silence rather than recourse to abuse (Yount and Krause, 2017). Subordination messages are modeled in movies for teens often portraying girls in negative, gender stereotypical ways—as socially aggressive, bullying, selfish, and disloyal to female friends; these portrayals override positive portrayals of teen girls (Chapter 13). If modeling and reinforcement are compelling enticements to behavior, as social learning theory suggests, a girl understandably can be quite anxious if encouraged to enact roles or model behavior held in lower esteem. In socialization, girls have the advantage of gender role flexibility, but boys have the advantage of a higher prestige gender role.

Critique Children are not passive recipients of the rewards and punishments that social learning theorists envision. Because children routinely choose gender-inconsistent behavior, the reinforcement and modeling processes are far more complex. First, children may not model same-gender parents, teachers, or peers. Contrary to social learning assertions on masculinity norms, for example, boys who are more susceptible to peer pressure engage in fewer types of delinquency or aggression (Koon-Magnin et al., 2016). Children may also choose other-gender models outside the family who offer alternatives to gender role behavior that enhance self-esteem. A girl may be rewarded for a masculine activity, such as excelling in sports, but she keeps a tight hold on other aspects of her feminine role. Second, social learning theory minimizes the importance of social change, a significant factor in gender socialization. Families are more diverse than the stereotyped “at-home mother and outside-home father” that are used to explain the rocky socialization paths for girls and boys. Dual-earning couples with children are normative. Divorced parents, blended families, LGBTQ families, single parents, and nonresident parents who are mothers instead of fathers have created a wide range of models for gender socialization (Chapter 8). Third, other statuses vie for the attention of child and parent during primary socialization. Birth order and age of child may be as important as gender in determining how parents behave toward their children. Intersectional approaches additionally demonstrate that children experience subcultural family influences in which siblings and adults take on a range of nontraditional roles, such as in single-parent families. Finally, feminists who adopt social learning explanations for socialization point to a

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range of alternative, positive role models that counter, or subdue roles associated with harm or risk. They point out that education for girls has skyrocketed across the globe and provides a multitude of opportunities for productive role modeling. Regardless of the different paths offered to girls and boys, they learn to prefer their own gender and endorse positive qualities and roles associated with it.

Cognitive Development Theory Cognitive development explanations for gender socialization contrast sharply with social learning theory. Jean Piaget’s (1896–1980) interest in how children gradually develop intelligence, thinking, and reasoning laid the foundation for cognitive development theory. His work is consistent with symbolic interaction theory. Cognitive abilities are developed in stages through ongoing social interaction. Piaget’s work has been applied to school, peer, and family settings in ways that support symbolic interaction’s assertion that behavior is adapted to—and is altered—in given contexts. Simply stated, the mind matures through interaction with the environment. Behavior depends on how a person perceives a social situation at each cognitive stage (Piaget, 1950, 1954). Cognitive theory stresses a child’s active role in structuring and interpreting the world.

Gender Identity Building on Piaget’s work, Lawrence Kohlberg (1927–1987) claimed that children learn gender roles according to their level of cognitive development—in essence, their degree of comprehension of the world. One of the first ways a child comprehends the world is by organizing reality through his or her self, the unique sense of identity that distinguishes each individual from all other individuals. As a highly valued part of the child’s existence, the self—and anything associated with the self—also becomes highly valued. By age three, children begin to self-identify by gender and accurately apply gender-related labels to themselves and to others. By age six, gender constancy is in place. Gender is permanent: a girl knows that she is a girl and will remain one. Only then, Kohlberg asserts, is gender identity said to be developed. Gender identity also becomes a central part of self, invested with strong emotional attachment. Children aged three to five use gender identity to search for gender cues to label and guide gender-related behavior. These labels evolve into gender stereotypes. Children’s self-esteem is promoted when they see themselves as like (typical to) same-gender peers. Unless children believe that they have something in common with other-gender peers, negative stereotypes of these peers increase (Perry et al., 2019). Cognitive development theory offers a good explanation for gender-typing during primary socialization: when children figure out what gender means in their lives, they embrace that understanding; it enhances self-esteem but also creates and then reinforces gender stereotypes. Once gender identity is developed, therefore, it forms a core to organize much behavior. Children seek models labeled as “girl” or “boy” and “female” or “male,” and in turn, identification with the same-sex parent can occur. Although children base much behavior on reinforcement, cognitive theorists see a different sequence in gender socialization than do social learning theorists. This sequence is “I am a boy; therefore, I want to do boy things; therefore, the opportunity to do boy things (and to gain approval for doing them) is rewarding” (Kohlberg, 1966:89). Reinforcements are important, but cognitive development theory supports a

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self-socialization process. Children choose whom they want to imitate and how the imitation may be played out (Pauletti et al., 2016; Halim et al., 2018). Inconsistency in gender roles is accounted for by the different experiences of children. There is wide support for cognitive development approaches to gender socialization. Children are gender detectives. Their interests and activities—such as appearance, play, toys, and friendships—are based on their beliefs about gender compatibility, a pattern that cuts across race, ethnicity, and social class (Halim et al., 2017; Carlo et al., 2018). Children value their own gender more and believe theirs is superior to the other.

Critique The contextual nature of development cautions against its generalization. Cognitive development for psychologists is beset with the same criticisms of symbolic interaction for sociologists (Chapter 1). Cognitive development occurs in overlapping stages and in ever shifting contexts. As children shift from family to school, it is difficult to generalize one set of experiences to another. A more important shortcoming, however, is cognitive development’s assertion is that children actively choose gender-typed behavior after they understand gender constancy, the final stage to gender identity. Gender constancy appears by age six, but gender-typed preferences in play and toys are in place by age two or three. For the model to fit neatly with the stages outlined in cognitive development, gender identity must come after understanding gender constancy. Research cannot confirm this sequence. In countering this criticism, cognitive theorists say all that is needed for gender identity is simple, rudimentary knowledge about gender. Gender stability, where the child sees the same gender behavior over and over in a variety of contexts, will suffice. Gender stability allows children to accurately label who is a girl and who is a boy. For children to determine patterns of gender stability, however, they must experience social interaction in many contexts. This interaction is unlikely to be consistent in terms of gender. Understanding gender stability may be as complicated for children as understanding gender constancy.

Gender Schema Theory Rooted in cognitive development theory, gender schema theory (GST) emerged as a major theory to explain gender socialization. Schemas are cognitive structures used to understand the world, interpret perception, and process new information. In its earliest formulations, pioneering work by Sandra Bem (1944–2014), the most prominent gender schema theorist, contends that once a child learns cultural definitions of gender, these schemas are the core around which all other information is organized (Bem, 1981, 1983, 1987). Consistent with cognitive development theory, before a schema can process gender-related information, children must be at the cognitive level to accurately identify gender. Infants as young as nine months can distinguish between male and female, but it is between ages two and three that they make a giant leap associating this identification with knowledge about gender. Schemas tell children what they can and cannot do according to their gender. In malls they largely see girls and women, but not boys and men, in clothing and accessory aisles. On television they see female characters engaging in traditional family activities. They see sexualized girls who are pretty and popular. Even at the zoo, adults send socialization messages attributing masculinity and femininity to animals (Stone et al., 2015; Garner and

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Grazian, 2016; Drentea and Ballard, 2017). Gender schema theory suggests that limited and stereotyped images for girls may disallow them from thinking about different alternatives in life. Schemas affect children’s behavior and influence their self-esteem (self-compassion). A child’s sense of self is linked to how closely his or her behavior matches accepted gender schemas. Gender schemas can direct children’s behavior in ways that assure confidence, competence, and self-esteem (Yang and Merrill, 2016; Yarnell et al., 2019). When a girl learns that her culture prescriptions include being polite and kind, these behaviors are incorporated into her emerging gender schema, and she adjusts her behavior accordingly. Gender schemas are powerful influences in a child’s cognitive development. Cognitions processed via gender schemas direct children to use language according to gender role prescriptions. (Chapter 4). Gender schemas of parents influence how they behave toward their children and how children internalize these messages and act on them. The link between parent and child gender schemas is strong. Parents with traditional gender schemas are more likely to have children with gender-typed cognitions than are parents with nontraditional schemas. By 18 months, children can associate cultural symbols with gender—building blocks and football are associated with males; baby dolls and tea sets are associated with females. The gendered messages parents send to children may be subtle, but children are adept at rooting them out and matching them to their evolving gender schemas (Leaper and Friedman, 2007; Mesman and Groeneveld, 2018). Gender schemas influence memory with a selective bias for information congruent with gender. Children and adults can recall experiences, activities, people, media, and reading material more accurately when information is presented in gender stereotypical ways (Ruble et al., 2006). Gender congruent tasks such as household chores are easier to maneuver and completed more quickly. Girls can set a table more quickly than boys; boys can bring in the trash more quickly than girls. Gender schemas can direct children’s behavior in ways that assure confidence and competence. Children presented with pictures of girls and boys engaged in nontraditional roles, such as a girl sawing wood or a boy sewing, will recall the picture in a gender-consistent way—the boy is sawing, and the girl is sewing (Martin and Ruble, 2004:68). Young children exaggerate or invent male–female differences even if none exists, a pattern carried through to adulthood. These studies support Sandra Bem’s contention that cognitive development proceeds via powerful gender schemas leading children to accept a gender schematic world. The influence of culture on gender is refined via GST. Referred to as cultural lenses, every culture has assumptions about values, beliefs, and norms in its social institutions. Sandra Bem (1993) suggests that in American culture, three gender lenses are most prominent: gender polarization (shared beliefs that females and males are different and opposite beings), biological essentialism (biology produces natural, inevitable gender roles), and androcentrism (males are superior to females). The lenses of gender polarization and biological essentialism set up the justification for androcentrism and the male-centered norms it produces (Chapter 1). Children accept them without recognizing that alternatives are possible. As adults, they cannot envision society organized according to a different set of gender schemas. Cultural lenses provide a good interdisciplinary link to macro-level sociology. Functionalists are interested in core cultural and subcultural gender lenses influencing social order and social change. Monitoring these lenses over time offers insights into the functional and dysfunctional consequences of gender roles. The influence of gender schemas helps explain why it is so difficult to dislodge gender stereotypical thinking once in place during childhood.

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GST offers a productive model for understanding how gender schemas lead to sex-typing and imposes enormous, non-conscious limits on gender equity in all social institutions. Children are motivated to match sex (gender) with what they see in the broader culture. Gender schema theory, however, shows that this path to sex-typing can be altered and gender schemas can be modified. Bem’s work highlights gender role continuity but also how gender role change, fluidity, and flexibility (Kohlman and Krieg, 2017; Starr and Zurbriggen, 2017). The gendered digital divide, for example, may be breached when people discover that gendered beliefs may prevent females from investigating jobs in coding or computer engineering. Until recently, gender schemas about the suitability of STEM jobs for males over females imposed huge barriers for recruiting, training, and retaining women in these fields. The connection between gender and STEM has made its way into public awareness. Media frame STEM’s gender inequality as harmful to employees, businesses, and the economy. When taken-forgranted notions about gender are examined, course work can be adjusted, and businesses can tailor strategies to account for gender schemas in a productive manner. GST offers a rationale to dislodge gender stereotypes by bringing non-conscious beliefs embedded in gender schemas to the surface (Alfrey and Twine, 2017; Yang and Frye, 2018; Wegemer and Eccles, 2019).

Critique Through Bem’s pioneering work and decades of refinement, gender schema theory was at the forefront of challenging androcentrism and a narrow vision of gender flexibility. She “heralded the benefits of greater flexibility and gender equality” (Leaper, 2017:759). These strengths notwithstanding, GST has difficulty explaining inconsistency in the development of some gender-related cognitions (perceptions) and behaviors. It generally views early childhood as rigid in gender stereotyping, setting the path for continued gender intensification. Adolescents, especially girls, however, are more flexible and less stereotyped in many ­gender-related activities and choices. Girls are allowed, and frequently encouraged, to cross gender barriers in behavior. Cues shift as contexts change. Gender is assumed to be the core schema, but it competes with race, ethnicity, sexuality, and age schemas, for example, as children move between settings. These schemas crosscut and intersect with gender schemas as guides to behavior. Primary socialization of childhood masks the continuing socialization throughout life that displaces gender schemas (Causadias and Cicchetti, 2018; Knight et al., 2018; Oleschuk, 2019). Gender stereotypes may be in place by adulthood, but they tend to weaken—not intensify—over time.

Social Cognitive Theory Social cognitive theory (SCT) taps into the other theories to help understand how children actively choose their gender roles (a key element in cognitive development and gender schema theories) and how much imitation and reinforcement are needed for gender roles to be learned (a key element in social learning theory). It also stresses the continuous development of gender learning over time to account for their unique experiences in the life course (Halimi et al., 2016). As articulated by Albert Bandura, a prominent name in social learning theory, a social cognitive approach to gender socialization highlights rapidly expanding knowledge from observations, self-regulation of behavior once knowledge is gained, and the

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reflection of the behavior (Bandura and Bussey, 2004). Like social learning theory, Bandura’s social cognitive theory emphasizes role models as guides to behavior. SCT additionally accounts for a child’s expectations for outcome. Children internalize messages from many sources, perceive the goals they desire, and direct their behavior accordingly. SCT, therefore, highlights active self-socialization in children. Toddlers learn to self-regulate emotional behavior when parents respond to it in sensitive and supportive ways. By preschool, children have grasped emotional, behavioral and cognitive skills when confronted with “emotionally demanding situations” (think meltdowns). Boys and girls discover that fathers respond to failed attempts at self-regulation differently than mothers. Fathers give less latitude to sons rather than daughters; mothers show about the same latitude to both sons and daughters. Over time, both girls and boys appreciate more control from mother and less control from fathers (Perry et al., 2018; Van Lissa et al., 2019). Social cognitive theory is the leading model to understand how physical activities, such as sports, are mediated by gender. It explains the physical activity-gender link according to key socialization concepts: the selection of role models, the evaluation of role models, child’s self-efficacy (Beauchamp et al., 2019; Rhodes et al., 2019). Parents have enormous influence in modeling physical activities and sports. Children receive subtle messages about gender and sports from fathers and mothers and evaluate how their parents act out these messages. Do both parents actively participate in sports for the benefit of physical exercise? When parents encourage both sons and daughters to play outdoors, and join them outdoors, children benefit in health and physical fitness. Do fathers participate more or less than mothers? Social cognitive theory argues that gender stereotypes about physical activities communicated to children early in life make fathers more influential role models than mothers for boys, but mothers as more influential role models than fathers for girls. On the other hand, since children expect—take for granted—their father’s sports interests, physical activities (and sports) by their mother’s may be more influential, especially for girls. When girls see their mother as active, enthusiastic, and successful in physical activities and as a sports competitor, their self-efficacy (I can do it, too!) increases (Muenks et al., 2018; Boxberger and Reimers, 2019). SCT explains these choices according to the image of sports as a male domain. When women enter this domain, they stand out as role models. Peers are the next level of influence as role models for physical activities. Children do not receive encouragement from friends for doing physical activities. The number of boys not participating in sports at school or community leagues is much greater than the number who participate. Girls’ participation in sports is far less. Social cognitive theory offers insights about social norms and peer support networks to intervene on behalf of children’s health (Randazzo and Solmon, 2018). A girl’s perspective on physical activity can be altered with supportive peers, chosen from among her significant others, most likely to be other girls. With the help of teachers, performance and a girl’s self-efficacy are improved (Gill et al., 2018; Laird et al., 2018). In turn, she is motivated to continue physical activities and try for higher performance levels.

Critique Applying a social cognitive framework to understanding the determinants and outcomes of physical activity has been highly successful. Insights from SCT allow for teachers, coaches, school counselors, and health practitioners to promote effective strategies in the pursuit of

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children’s health. SCT also resonates with symbolic interaction’s approach for explaining role-taking in children. Both perspectives can consider how children judge the importance of parents, peers, and teachers as role models and the setting where modeling occurs. This bridge also encourages interdisciplinary work on the importance of context in social interaction. However, social cognitive theory must be further refined to address two questions about primary socialization: first, when does “active self-socialization” occur—before or after the selection of role models? Second, which is more important—the child’s choices or the availability of role models? In other words, can a child internalize and act out beliefs about gender if there are no role models already in place?

Reflections I expect this review of the prominent theories of gender socialization is puzzling. I also expect the review suggests answers to some questions about how children “learn gender,” but raises many more. All the theories offer productive leads. When one lays the foundation for the next, they overlap a great deal, making it difficult to readily distinguish one from another. There is no one integrative model explaining a child’s gender socialization. Such a model should incorporate strengths of all four theories (social learning, cognitive development, gender schema, cognitive development). The model should also integrate psychological and sociological approaches to socialization. Existing theories of gender development come with the strengths and limitations reviewed here. Given this review, new or refined theories should address the following questions: • • • • •

How do theories explain the spectrum of gender-conforming and gender-non conforming behavior? How do theories apply to socialization experiences of LGBTQ children? How can theories challenge the binary without using binary language and expressions to describe gender development? Which categories intersecting with gender—such as race, social class, sexuality, age—are the most influential in primary socialization? Which theories are feminist affirmative?

AGENTS OF SOCIALIZATION Notice that all the theories of socialization incorporated fundamental elements of the child’s world to explain how gender is developed during the primary socialization years. Agents of socialization are the people, groups, and social institutions that provide the critical information needed for children to become fully functioning members of society. Functionalists point out that if these agents do not carry out their socialization tasks properly, social integration may be compromised. Conflict theorists point out that these agents come with varying degrees of power, allowing socialization advantages to some groups and disadvantages to others. These agents are interdependent and are often inconsistent in the gendered messages they send to children. The focus here is on those agents that are the most influential in shaping gender roles during primary socialization.

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The Family The family is by far the most significant agent of socialization. Although globalization-driven social change has increased family diversity in all its forms and created more opportunities for children to be influenced by other social institutions, the family plays the pivotal role in primary socialization. The family shapes a child’s personality, identity, and self-esteem. Children’s values and attitudes are acquired from their family, including powerful messages about gender. Learned first in the family and reinforced by other agents, gender is fundamental to the shaping of social life. Gender messages dominate and are among the best predictors across a spectrum of attitudes and behaviors.

Do You Want a Boy or a Girl? The first answer expectant parents give to this question is “We want a healthy baby.” Then they state a gender preference. Preference for one gender over the other is strong. Among parents and non-parents, son preference is the likely choice, especially for a first or only child, a pattern found globally. This pattern is most prevalent in East and South Asia and is reported in the U.S. among immigrants from these regions (Chapter 2). U.S. couples say they prefer a child of their own gender, but this is stronger for fathers than mothers. Although the son-preference trend held true for almost a century in the U.S., this preference has recently cracked. In the U.S., swathes of urban China, and Northern Europe, including gender-equitable Sweden, college women, first-time pregnant women, and middle-class young adults state a daughter preference or no preference more often than a son preference. Women without children who aspire to graduate education and high-level careers express a daughter preference (Miranda et al., 2018; Allison and Ralston, 2018a; Pinsker 2018). The son-biased sex ratio for Asians in the U.S. is still evident but declining for non-Hispanic white families. These families are in the sex ratio norm for number of children “regardless of the sex composition of previous children” (Almond and Sun, 2017:21). Within one to two generations, immigrant families match the fertility rate of the broader population. In the U.S. small families are normative, with fertility at an all-time low. A life of singlehood, later marriage and childbearing, or marriage without children herald the fertility rate (Chapter 7). These trends suggest that gender preference (son, daughter, no preference), has diminished in determining family composition.

Gender Parity That being said, gender preferences may be weakening but cannot be discounted. Parity is a key factor in understanding parents’ gender preferences. The U.S. ideal is to have two children, one boy and one girl. Couples with two children of the same gender are more likely to try for a third child than those with one son and one daughter. Although this holds true for a subset of U.S. couples and are not enough to alter the overall fertility rate, these choices have huge effects for couples. Families are larger than expected until achieving the desired gender balance. Parity and gender preference meld in adoption strategies; adopted children are more likely to be of the “missing” gender (Larsen and Thomas, 2019). If they have no biological children, once couples make the decision to adopt, they have latitude in gender preferences and composition of siblings. Choices are based on their value set and unique vision of an ideal family. Families with adopted children are larger and more diverse by race and ethnicity.

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Couples who want to raise biological children but cannot conceive have choices other than adoption. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is used for both medical reasons (infertility, genetic screening) and non-medical reasons (sex selection). Over 90 percent of clinics offering ART report performing sex selection for family balancing (Capelouto et al, 2018:1106). With “sex selection via preimplantation,” ART virtually eliminates the chance of having a child of the “non-preferred” gender. Since ART is so accurate, even for medical reasons, couples will know the sex of even an embryo. With low-cost, non-invasive, and simpler procedures, sex selection for non-medical purposes has skyrocketed in the U.S. Internet sites and social media spawn increased public awareness and bolster its legitimacy. On a self-help site, an author and researcher spoke to a woman who chose ART to give birth to a boy. She casually mentioned that her own children include a girl and a boy. Later … she insisted, which I did not deny, that I could then not possibly understand the longing she and other women had experienced for a child of specific gender, because I had without striving for it what many of them so dearly wanted: the ideal “complete” and “balanced” family. (Bhatia, 2018: 201) Ethical and legal questions proliferate when ART is used for sex selection. On one hand, a woman’s reproductive autonomy is protected. If there is no harm to others, she should be able to select a gender and control the characteristics of that gender. State laws vary, but if she and her partner are the “owners” of an embryo, her choice should be reinforced, not disparaged (Boyd, 2018; Cahill, 2018). On the other hand, sex selection is associated with risk to females in the developing world and, although illegal, abortion of female fetuses is high in countries such as India and rural areas of China where son preference endures (Rinčić, et al., 2018; Kudina, 2019). It is impossible to dismiss the sexism associated with ART. For example, couples using the technology are more likely to try for a boy if they have two girls compared to couples who try for a girl if they have two boys. Unlike in the U.S., Australia’s disapproval of sex selection technology is high and growing. Perhaps surprising, disapproval is higher among young and more educated women (Kippen et al., 2018). Despite the undeniable sexism inherent in ART favoring males in sex selection, there is also undeniable sexism when the autonomy of a woman or couple to make the choice is curtailed or banned legally. Notice the parallels to the abortion debate (Chapter 14). Nonetheless, unlike ongoing media attention swirling around abortion, ART is largely off the public radar.

Gender-Typed Wombs Across the globe, when making childbearing decisions, couples reflect on the gender of their child or children. They have prenatal wishes for their children that are influenced by gender stereotypes (Wittenberg, 2017; Norling, 2018). Gender-typing begins in the womb. When sex of the fetus is known, mothers often modify activities She may continue rigorous, physical activities if she is carrying a male, but curtail them if she is carrying a female. Parents talk and think about the fetus in gendered terms. Males may be described as active and kicking; females, as quiet and calm. If a name is already chosen, mothers use it to talk to their baby and use gendered pronouns in their conversations with it. Mothers-to-be believe they can predict the sex of their baby before the second trimester. Regrettably, although half of mothers profess “fetal intuition,” they are no better at predicting it than flipping a coin (Barnes,

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2015a; McFadzen et al., 2017). Expectant mothers who want to know their baby’s gender compared to those who do not, show interesting psychological correlates. Those who want to know are described as perfectionistic and traditional. Those who do not want to know are described as egalitarian and open to new experiences (Kotila et al., 2014; Science Daily, 2014). Virtually all parents-to-be do know their baby’s gender. Happiness can quickly turn to disappointment and fear by finding out their baby will not be the gender they expected or desired. As one woman describes, the news she was having a boy instead of a girl prompted her to recall an especially close bond with her mother and sisters. She realized … she would not be able to recreate many of her own favorites childhood bonding moments—shopping for a prom dress, for instance, in a house with two boys. (Gibson, 2018) All these womb-related correlates help predict how gender socialization will play out in these families. The trend of expectant parents choosing not to know or to share the gender of the baby appears to have reversed—and rather abruptly. With savvy marketers monitoring popular social media sites and ease of sharing, “gender reveal” videos are exploding. YouTube registered a 60 percent increase in these videos in only a year, with many going viral. Gender reveal events are most common in the U.S. but are escalating globally. Certainly gender reveal parties indicate excitement and pleasure, but they loudly proclaim the perpetuation of gender norms at a time when these very norms are being actively resisted. Gender reveals emphasize distinct, binary, girl or boy stereotypes in themed parties such as guns or glitter, rifles or ruffles, and wheels or heels (Bologna, 2019). Parents struggle to avoid gender stereotyping their children, but patterns of gender socialization demonstrate these attempts are foiled.

Gender Socialization in Early Childhood Gender of the child is one of the strongest predictors of how parents will behave toward their children, a finding that is reported globally and one that crosses racial and ethnic lines in the United States (Carothers and Reis, 2013). Parents describe infant sons as strong, tough, and alert and infant daughters as delicate, gentle, and awkward, regardless of the weight or length of their infants. Fathers are more stereotyped in their assessments than mothers. Socialization by parents encourages gender-appropriate norms allowing separation, independence, and more risk-taking for boys and connection, interdependence, and more cautious behaviors for girls (Kline and Wilcox, 2013). While Dick is allowed to cross the street, use scissors, or go to a friend’s house by himself, Jane must wait until she is older.

Gendered Childhood: Artifacts of Socialization Proud parents deposit their newborns in a home ready to accommodate either a boy or a girl. The baby is also welcomed by greeting cards from friends and family displaying consistent gender-typed messages. Indeed, gender-neutral cards for any age are largely nonexistent. Pink- and pastel-colored cards for darling, sweet, and adorable girls and cards in primary

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colors for strong, handsome, and active boys are standard. The first artifacts acquired by the infant are toys and clothes. If parents-to-be choose not to tell others the child’s sex, friends and relatives choose gifts that are neutral to avoid embarrassing themselves or the expectant parents by colors or toys that suggest the “wrong” gender. Teddy bears and clothing in colors other than pink or blue are safe bets. But within weeks of the baby’s arrival, the genderneutral room vanishes and is easily recognizable as belonging to a girl or a boy. Most expectant parents, however, do know their baby’s sex and decorate the child’s room accordingly.

Clothing Lavender, pink, and light yellow clothing for girls sharply contrast with darker blue and red for boys. Although pants for school and casual settings are normative for girls, they wear pastel clothing with embroidered hearts, baby animals, and flowers. Pants for girls usually do not have pockets, so a purse is a necessity. Boys and girls wear T-shirts and sweatshirts. Boys wear those with superhero and athletic motifs, and girls wear those with female television characters and nature scenes. Pictures of outstanding male athletes are typically represented in nonathletic clothing for boys and sometimes for girls. A recent trend finds recognized female athletes depicted on clothing for girls. Halloween costumes provide a good example of gender-typing in clothing. Gender-neutral costumes are rare at Halloween, with hero and fantasy costumes favored by both boys and girls. Girls are beauty queens and princesses. Boys are warriors and “good guy” superheroes (Luke Skywalker and Spider Man) as well as their villainous counterparts (Darth Vader and Norman Osborn, aka Green Goblin). Halloween costumes are stamped with corporate branding of hegemonic masculinity that carries boys from trick or treating for candy to men drinking at parties for adults (Alexander, 2014b). Social cognitive theory suggests that costumes allow children to try out behavior in the safe, time limited Halloween space. As children get older costumes become more gender typed and children are better at observing reactions of their peers. Halloween models may be gender-typical (princess girl, superhero boy) or gender-atypical (zombie girl, boy dressing up as a girl). A costume for a zombie girl comes with different role behavior than a princess girl (Murnen et al., 2016; Dinella, 2017). If children like what they see (and feel), gender identity may be bolstered, or it may be challenged. Despite shifts to gender egalitarian attitudes, decades of research show widespread color-­ coded and gender-typed rooms, playthings, and clothing for infants, toddlers, primary school students, and adolescents. This pattern is taken for granted and continuing (MacPhee and Prendergast, 2018). Gender-oriented clothing and accessories provide early labels to ensure that others use gendered norms as signals to respond to children. If an infant girl’s gender is not readily identifiable by her clothing, she may have a bow attached to her bald head so that she will not be mistaken for a boy.

Toys and Dolls Gendered playthings for toddlers and young children are easy to spot and retrieve in toy aisles. Manufacturers offer gender lines for almost all their toys, even if the toys have the same function. Girls and boys play with the same building blocks but in different colors; girls’ are pink and purple, and boys’ are in darker primary colors. Infant girls cuddle pink-clad

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teddy bears and dolls, and infant boys cuddle blue-clad teddy bears and dolls. Plush animals are indistinguishable in all features except color. By age two, children begin to reject toys designed for the other gender and select those designed for their own gender. By preschool, children have a firm commitment to own-gender toys and tend to reject other-gender toys as well as the children playing with other-gender toys, especially if a boy is playing with a girl’s toy. By age three, for example, boys’ choice of male gender stereotyped toys gets firmer. Girls, however, increasingly prefer the playthings boys are given (Todd et al., 2017a, 2017b). Girls do not reject toys designed for them, but even at this young age, girls reach out for toys designed with boys in mind.

Barbies A clothing–toy link is a formidable force for socialization, especially for girls who buy “fashions” and accessories for their dolls. Dolls for girls, especially Barbies, “action figures” for boys (advertisers will never call them dolls) are standard gifts to children. Not only are messages about beauty, clothing, and weight sent to girls via dolls, but girls learn about options in life. Recently celebrating her 60th birthday, Barbie is the iconic representation of this socialization globally. An astounding nine out of ten girls own Barbies; most girls own multiple Barbies. Barbie has held a variety of jobs, including astronaut, flight attendant, and rapper. At the height of the women’s movement in the 1970s, she graduated from medical school as a surgeon and joined the army in the 1980s. She ran for president in 1992. Despite these jobs, girls who play with Barbie report fewer career options for themselves than boys (Sherman and Zurbriggen, 2014; Fine and Rush, 2018; Pflum, 2019). Barbie does have nonwhite friends, but except for skin color, they are identical in size to classic white Barbie. Ken dolls are marketed to girls: “shop for a Ken doll to round out your Barbie collection.” Ken has become more masculine over time, broader in the shoulders and more muscular. Recently overhauled to reflect concern for depicting diversity, we have man-bun Ken, mixed-race Ken, and “shorter-but-not-in-a-way-that-makes-him-any-less-of-a-man Ken” (Schwedel, 2017). Mothers fondly recall their own experiences with Barbie but have driven a charge for inclusiveness. Criticisms about Barbie‘s outmoded messages to girls on bodies, appearance, fashion comments (will we ever have enough clothes?), and options for their future life saw a decline in Barbie sales. Barbie and Ken overhauls by Mattel reversed this trend. Barbie is now bought in petite, tall, and curvy forms. Barbie comes in a wheelchair, has a prosthetic limb, has braided hair texture, and a new fourth shape, with smaller bust, less defined waist, and more defined arms (Kahn, 2019). Parents are relieved about Barbie-positivity and inclusiveness, and again feel good about giving Barbie as presents.

Sexualization and Action Figures Dolls for girls are increasingly sexualized. Most Barbies avoided this trend, although “Fashion Barbie” marked her sexually mature body shape with an outfit of black lace, short skirt, and plunging neckline (Sherman and Zurbriggen, 2014:205). Many dolls wear black leather miniskirts, thigh-high boots, and thongs, with the same items found on shelves in clothing stores for tween girls, often under “eye candy” and “wink wink” slogans. Theories of socialization explain the process differently, but all acknowledge the gender detriment associated with childhood sexualization. With its powerful media connection, sexualized dolls and

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clothing for ’tween girls are linked to self-objectification, feelings of powerless, and depression. A girl’s self-efficacy and competency, health, and overall well-being are threatened (Women’s Health, 2018; Forste et al., 2019). Parents dismayed by the grip of Barbie may encourage tween daughters to play with non-sexualized Barbie-type dolls until they are out of the doll stage of childhood. A generation ago the male counterpart of Barbie was G.I. Joe. Although today G.I. Joe is sold mainly to nostalgic adult men, it was the prototype for subsequent action figures. Current action figures for boys have larger body frames and are more muscular than the original figures. These figures can be bent, and their bodies can be manipulated to emphasize movement and complex activities. Except for baby-type dolls, girls play with dolls with few joints and limited options for staging movement. Girls equate beauty and style with Barbie. Boys equate good looks and ruggedness with heroic action figures. Messages about masculine and feminine embodiment ideals are sent to both boys and girls through these toys. G.I Joe has his own franchise, including movies in a military-themed, violent universe. Special operatives of the “G.I. Joe Unit” include live action characters with actors such as Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, and Tatum Channing. A commanding entertainment-based youth culture bolstered by gendered toys is another link to lower self-esteem, damaged notions regarding physical activity, and origins of eating disorders in children. Girls may be more susceptible, but these risks also accrue to boys (Chapter 2).

Toys and Gender Scripts Toys offer an invitation “to play with an identity” (Levinovitz, 2017). Playthings for children allow them to write their own scripts according to how they “relate” to their toys. Nonetheless, toys are designed to direct these scripts in gendered ways. Toys for girls encourage domesticity, interpersonal closeness, and a social orientation. Boys receive more categories of toys, their toys are more complex and expensive, and the toys foster self-reliance and problem solving. Toys for boys are likely to be designed for action (race cars, trains, weapons, building, outdoor play). Toys for girls are likely to be designed for housework (ironing, cooking, sewing, cleaning) and beauty (hairstyling, cosmetics, glamorous clothing for dolls). As they get older, Dick and Jane acquire toys that encourage more imagination, pretense, and role-taking. Pretend play is developed earlier in girls, but by second grade, boys surpass girls in imaginative play. Girls script play and stage activities more realistically, typically having to do with caretaking of dolls and playing house. Girls are little homemakers and boys are the “young men of industry” (Daly, 2017). The major exception to this pattern is the “princess” scenario girls embrace, often to the chagrin of their nontraditional parents. The power of Disney is transferred to toys for girls, and replete with play scenarios about romance and rescue (Heatwole, 2016; Hefner et al., 2017). Soon-to-be princesses cheerfully accept the drudgery of domestic tasks (Cinderella) until rescued by a Disney prince. Disney is making progress in carving out non-traditional spaces for female and male characters. Frozen, the highest grossing Disney film of all time, popular with both girls and boys, depicts an assertive princess and softer male in a lead role (Walsh, 2017). This bodes well for possible changes in gender scripting in movies that defy gender stereotypes (Chapter 13). Boys script play around fantasies related to superheroes, dragons and dinosaurs, wars in space, and aliens. The toys associated with the scripts are oriented to competitiveness,

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FIGURE 3.1  Baby


Source: © 2003 Baby Blues Partnership, Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc

violence, physical movement, and danger. Girls have one major advantage over boys in their toy selections: they can cross over and play with toys designed for boys. Even so-called gender-neutral toys still resemble toys for boys in color, such as primary color building blocks and boys pictured on boxes with toy trains. These keep the appeal for boys but allow them to be purchased for girls (Bainbridge, 2018). Playing with male-oriented toys is associated with sports participation and earlier development of manipulative and mechanical skills for boys. Given that boys are discouraged from playing with toys designed for girls (boys shrink from Barbies), if boys are restricted in their play, it is lack of encouragement in scripting suggestive of domestic roles, such as caring for children (no dolls allowed) and doing housework. Parents and children express strong preferences for gender-typed toys. These preferences reinforce persistent gendered messages children receive via their toys. Pictures on the boxes suggest how boys and girls should use toys. Jane uses her tea set to give parties for dolls in her room, whereas same-age Dick is experimenting with sports or racing trucks outside in the mud. Policing by siblings and peers ensures that children play with toys or stage games in gender-specific ways. These gendered messages in turn show up in differences between girls and boys in cognitive and social development in childhood and in gender roles as adults. Feminists argue that toys replicate patriarchal constructions of gender and lead to the oppression of girls (Collins and Rothe, 2017). Since girls enthusiastically consume artifacts such as dolls and toys for household work, they inadvertently narrow their options for life outside the domestic sphere.

Gender-Neutral Toys The gendered grip on playthings for toddlers and young children is loosening, with a steady trend toward less emphasis on gender. Toy aisles are more likely to be divided as “age appropriate”, rather than “gender appropriate.” Ads for toys are labeled for “baby” or “toddler” rather than for “baby boy” or “baby girl” (Garcia, 2018). Toys spark a child’s curiosity and open a gateway to gender flexibility. When boys and girls play with “gender-flexible” toys, they learn about the domain of the other gender. Boys learn comforting with dolls and girls learn competitiveness with balls (Li and Wong, 2016; Spinner et al., 2018). Toy brands are responding to demands from parents for gender-neutral non-stereotyped toys appealing to both boys and girls.

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On the other hand, a counter-trend is unfolding, this time driven by parents who want more complicated, mechanical, and technological toys for their daughters. Brands must design toys for girls that mirror toys for boys and market them in gender-neutral ways. Marketing strategies must be gendered and gender-neutral at the same time. This is a tall order. Boys choose action figures and girls choose Barbie, but marketers are attending to the huge range in between that offer non-gendered tantalizing options for parents and children. These keep the appeal for boys but allow them to be purchased for girls.

Gendered Parenting Non-parents are less traditional about gender appropriateness of toys or clothing or how parents should raise children with any standard of gender appropriateness. The transition to parenthood changes everything. Parents monitor their own parenting and believe its style is positive. As expected, their children do not share this view (Skinner and McHale, 2016; Endendijk et al., 2018). Children are well aware that moms and dads treat them differently. Also as expected, they believe their mothers will respond to them differently than their fathers. Parenting practices vary not only according to the gender of the child, but also according to the gender of the parent. Children as young as three years anticipate parental approval when they play with gender-typed toys. Boys expect more disapproval from their fathers by playing with toys considers to be for girls; mothers are neutral or less disapproving. Children expect mothers to soothe hurt feelings (it will be OK) more than fathers (you’ll get over it). They expect to have more recreational time with their fathers, especially in rough-and-tumble play. Household chores are typically divided by gender, but mothers more than fathers encourage both sons and daughters to take on chores usually assigned to the other gender. These patterns increase as children get older (Chapter 8). Parents have convictions that certain activities are suited to either a boy or girl. Parents perceive that gender is a good indicator of their children’s competencies in areas such as math, reading, and types of sport, even if these influences are independent of any differences in talents of the children. With gender in mind, parents discipline children differently. Aggressive behavior in boys is linked to gendered parenting, giving girls more latitude to “get away with things.” For other parenting styles, child outcomes are poorer if children see their mothers as more authoritarian than their fathers (Tavassolie et al., 2016; Endendijk et al., 2017). Children recognize the inequity in their parents’ behavior (it’s not fair!) but accept it as gender appropriate. Levels of parent–child and parent–parent similarity about gender role attitudes and the gendered behavior it triggers carry into adolescence and can follow into adulthood (Degner and Dalege, 2013; Halpern and Perry-Jenkins, 2016). Accepting gender stereotypes is consistent with cognitive development theory. The development of gender identity is linked to children’s perception of adult (parents’) behaviors.

LGBTQ Parenting Noted earlier, race and class mediate socialization experiences of boys and girls. Other parenting patterns crosscut not only race and class, but also religion, immigration status, and sexuality. Research on parenting and siblings in LGBTQ families show similar patterns. Parental sexual orientation does not predict level of gender conformity (Chapter 8). Like play behavior

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in families overall, children are gender-conforming. Children and siblings in LGBTQ families are less likely to endorse gender stereotypes and children have less gender-differentiated behavior than in other family forms. Over time, however, LGBTQ families drift toward the more stereotyped gender norm. Boys (but not girls) show more masculine behaviors (Goldberg and Garcia, 2016; Olson and Enright, 2018; Spivey et al., 2018). LGBTQ couples may actively resist these gendered norms depending on many factors, including support from family and community (Averett, 2016).

Mom, Dad/Sons, Daughters Gender of parent does not predict the level of responsiveness—both parents respond swiftly and appropriately to the demands of their children (Endendijk et al., 2016; Schinkel et al., 2017). Gender of parent, however, can predict type of response. There are clear differences between men and women in gender role expectations concerning child rearing. Children of all ages spend more time with women than men. Girls do housework with mothers, and boys do yard work with fathers. Fathers spend more time with their sons and focus activities on instrumental learning—how to repair things, how to compete successfully in sports, and how to earn and manage money. Regardless of the child’s gender, mothers talk to their children, are emotionally expressive, and stay closer to them more than fathers. Both mothers and fathers expect riskier behavior from sons. Fathers believe that overprotecting their children, especially their sons, limits opportunities for physical risk-taking that is unproductive. Risk issues show up in messages about sex and sexuality. Both parents find it difficult to talk about sexuality with their young children, but daughters are sent more restrictive sex messages than their sons (Brussoni and Olsen, 2012; Christensen et al., 2017; Lunkenheimer et al., 2017). Today’s parents are more likely to support beliefs about gender equity and feminist values than did their parents. A new generation of feminist parents is socializing the next generation of feminist children. They do not want to impose gender stereotypes on their children but, as forerunners of change, face difficult obstacles. Their less equitable parenting behavior may not accurately reflect their more equitable gender role attitudes. The ideological shift toward equity is more strongly supported by mothers than by fathers. Fathers have less support for gender equity when they have sons only, but more support when they have daughters only. As noted multiple times, a daughter’s cross-gender behavior is tolerated—even ­encouraged—more than such behavior by sons. Girls can now join Cub Scouts and earn the same badges and make the cars for Pinewood Derby that their brothers do, and their fathers did. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) followed suit and as of 2019 girls could join. This is remarkable given that the ban on transgender BSA members was lifted only in 2017 (O’Hara, 2017). Some BSA troops are ignoring the change, continuing to exclude LGBTQ children. Admitting transgender BSA members was expected to doom the organization. The admittance of BSA girls is now a bigger threat, also expected to doom the organization (Hare, 2018). It is clear once again that feminine activities are devalued. Parents (and society) celebrate girls’ achievement when they outperform perform boys or enter all-male bastions like the BSA (Braun and Davidson, 2017; Kollmayer et al., 2018). Celebrating the achievements and successes of girls, the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) is losing members. Consider how fathers, compared to mothers, are likely to react to the changes in BSA. Fathers lag behind mothers because they may tap into gender differences that reflect their own socialization experiences. Social constructionism suggests that beliefs about equity

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cannot fully erase these early family influences. Children from egalitarian households— whether their parents are defined as feminist or not—are exposed to patriarchy outside their homes and through other agents of socialization. Until egalitarian behavior is normative in all social institutions, a cultural lag persists. Socialization powerfully serves both gender role continuity and gender role change. As gender equity is more widespread, the next generation of parents will socialize their children in less traditional ways than they were socialized. Millennials are the leading edge of this charge.

Peers and Preferences Children transfer gender patterns established in the family to emerging friendships with peers. Play dates and birthday parties initiated by parents set the stage for these new relationships, often developing into friendships chosen by the children themselves. Two- and threeyear-olds delight in playing with their same-age companions, and parents are not compelled to separate them by gender at this early age. As school age approaches, however, this situation is altered dramatically. Peer-driven activities, games, and play are strongly related to gender roles. As all theories document, the family-peer connection is at the center of gender socialization. Watching a brother and sister play together illustrates this. When Jane pressures Dick into playing house, she is the mommy and he is the daddy. Or she can convince him to be the student while she is the teacher and relishes the prospect of scolding him for his disruptive classroom behavior. On the other hand, if brother Dick coerces Jane into a game of catch, he bemoans her awkwardness and ridicules her lack of skill. What would social learning theory say about the likelihood of Jane becoming an expert in catch? Games such as these usually are shortlived, dissolve into conflict, and depend on the availability of same-gender peers with whom siblings would rather play.

Games Games boys play are more complex, competitive, and rule-governed and allow for more positions to be played and a larger number of participants than games played by girls. Girls play ordered games such as hopscotch and jump rope in groups of two or three, which take up less space, minimize competitiveness, and tend to enhance cooperation. Both boys and girls play kickball, but boys play it at a younger age than girls and graduate to more competitive, physically demanding sports sooner than girls. There are significant consequences of gender differences in games and play. Girls prefer to socialize at recess rather than do any physical activity, a pattern more pronounced with African American and Latino girls (Kim, 2008; Holmes, 2012). When girls do not engage in physical activities in early childhood, they are less interested in sports and exercising, and stay indoors more than boys. By adolescence, they show some loss in bone density and are at increased risk for obesity (Chapter 2). An important early study of these effects bitterly concluded that girls’ games “teach meaningless mumbo-jumbo—vague generalities or pregame mutual agreements about ‘what we’ll play’—while falsely implying that these blurry self-guides are typical of real world rules” (Harragan, 1977:49–50). Decades later the pattern holds. Jumping rope is a shared activity for girls in smaller spaces on playgrounds that are dominated by boys who play soccer and

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basketball. Boys and girls are proud of these activities and seize opportunities to show off their skills. Boys act out masculinity in their sports skills, and girls act out femininity by friendship and precision in their jump rope skills. These skills are modeled to same-gender peers. Girls may take longer to develop the ability to take on the roles of several people at once—referred to as the generalized other by symbolic interactionists—valuable in developing leadership skills by understanding group dynamics. Effective leaders can anticipate how a group will react to management decisions. Complex games such as team sports require this ability. Games of young boys provide early guidelines helpful for success later in life, such as individual excellence through competition. Boys are at a disadvantage in other ways because it takes them longer than girls to learn values such as consensus building, cooperation, and emotional intimacy, also essential for interpersonal and economic success. Cognitive development and social learning theory highlight the effect of peers in fueling gender segregation during early childhood. With strong gender cognitions about similarity, peer group influence increases throughout the school years, exerting a powerful effect on children. As on playgrounds across the globe, children quickly gravitate toward same-gender peers. When children interact, positive reinforcement for the behavior of same-gender peers is more frequent than with other-gender peers. Young boys have stronger gender-typed preferences in activities when they are with peers than when alone. Boys who do not fit gender-typical norms are set up for peer victimization and emotional distress (Smith et al., 2018a:947). They are mocked by other boys for displaying fear or for crying when they are picked on and applauded when they are aggressive. Even with zero tolerance school policies about bullying when boys taunt other boys, their peers on the sidelines spur them on. Boys are more tenacious in their gender typical behavior and exhibit strong masculine stereotyped preferences through preadolescence. Boys are more likely than girls to be expelled from school for aggressive behavior so must walk a fine line between displaying too much or not enough aggression when other boys are present (Reigeluth and Addis, 2016). Both gender-typical and gender-atypical behavior is risky for boys concerned with keeping and gaining friends. When boys police each other on masculine norms, they either elevate and preserve prestige or risk losing prestige. Children prefer to interact with other children who have the same style of play as their own. Children who frequently play with same-gender peers are liked less by opposite-gender peers and more by same-gender peers. Girls’ preferences for same-gender play decrease in later childhood; boys’ preferences for same-gender peer play remain consistent. Gender segregation is enforced by peers, but high-activity girls gravitate to the games of boys and mixed-gender play without severe consequences. Boys who violate same-gender peer play rules are at risk on multiple physical and emotional fronts (Lindsey, 2016; Choi and Ohm, 2018). Boys interact in larger groups and have more extensive but less communal peer relationships; girls interact in smaller groups and have more intensive and more communal peer relationships. Early intimacy with peers carries over to higher levels of self-disclosure and trust between women, especially best-friend pairs. The trust and openness that enhance same-gender relationships can inhibit later cross-gender friendships. Gender boundaries are strictly monitored and enforced by peers in childhood, and the worlds of male and female are further divided. Because they learn different styles of interaction, when boys and girls meet as teenagers, they may do so as strangers (Chapters 4 and 7).

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Shifts in Gendered Peer Behavior Peer socialization experiences of girls and boys differ depending on type and context of the experience. Peer harassment, social exclusion, taunting, and name-calling are associated with gender-nonconformity. However, children’s engagement with gendered activities shows remarkable shifts for girls. Since girls are often rewarded for masculine activities, they can be more gender atypical in their activities (Braun and Davidson, 2017). As expected, peer harassment of boys predicts fewer feminine activities. For girls, gender non-conformity in later childhood is valued. Gender non-conformity in boys is not. As this chapter documents, boys and girls experience different gender socialization processes. These findings need to be incorporated in theories to explain both similarities and differences.

School The intimacy and spontaneity of the family and early childhood peer groups are replaced when children enter school, a setting where they are evaluated impersonally and rewarded for academic success. The highly gendered school environment is a weighty one for both parents and their student children for the next two decades of their lives (Chapter 11). With its gendered family foundation, primary socialization is relentless in its march to preschool. Regardless of the mission to evaluate children impersonally—by what they do rather than who they are—schools are not immune to gender role stereotyping. Teachers who sincerely believe they treat boys and girls similarly inadvertently perpetuate sexist notions.

Dick and Jane at School When Jane is ignored or not reprimanded for disruptive behavior, is encouraged in reading but not inspired by math, or given textbooks with females presented in a narrow range of roles—or not showing them at all—gender stereotyping is emboldened (Chapter 11). Teachers who consciously work to counter pervasive gender stereotypes reassure girls in their choices and interest in a range of subjects. A girl’s belief that she is good at math, for example, enhances her math achievement (Arens et al., 2016; Master and Meltzoff, 2016). In early school years, the math achievement of girls is heightened by displays of teacher warmth, as is the reading achievement of boys. As children enter middle school and children are being prepared for future roles, teacher warmth declines and gender stereotyping increases (Hughes and Cao, 2018; Valiente et al. 2019). Teachers and school staff strive to present gender equitable messages to Jane about her job choices, and she is more likely than Dick to choose less gender-typical fields of study. However, if these messages are provided in settings that segregate boys from girls, gender disparities may be unintentionally reproduced rather than broken down (Lawson et al., 2018; Trumpy and Elliott, 2019). By middle school, children are further aware that masculinity is rewarded more than femininity. For Jane, self-esteem and achievement motivation decline. Dick discovers his rowdiness gains attention from his female elementary school teacher, he can aspire to any occupation, and he is rewarded for athletic skills at recess. Unlike Jane, who is openly admired by girls, but grudgingly admired by boys when engaged in “tomboy” behavior, Dick is loath to investigate school activities typical for girls, lest he be called a “sissy.” “Fag discourse” disparaging boys by comparing them to girls and suspected LGBTQ children has significant emotional impact. The price boys pay for strict gender conformity is anxiety about transgressing boundaries policed by boys. Boys with lower gender typicality

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(gender nonconformity) correctly fear peer victimization. Whether a boy is gender-typical or gender-atypical, gender salience is significant and is associated with increased depression in adolescence.

Sociological Theory Macro sociological approaches offer insight to gendered school patterns. Functionalists emphasize schools’ responsibility to socialize children to eventually take on positions contributing to an ordered, balanced society. Schools offer academic, social, and technical competence required for future jobs. Children are instilled with appropriate cultural values and norms. American culture places high value on competition, initiative, independence, and individualism, and schools are expected to advocate these. In schools, values are associated more with roles celebrating the masculinity of boys rather than even the newer “quasi-femininity” of girls. Schools are indispensable in bringing together a diverse society through the acceptance of a common value system, but gender equality is often overlooked as part of that system. Conflict theory asserts that gender equality is a value associated with social justice and democracy, but it takes a backseat to individual success. Many schools unwittingly socialize children into acquiring one set of values to the exclusion of the other. Stereotypical thinking assumes that to fill bread-winning roles, boys need to be taught the value of competitiveness and learn to fill domestic roles, girls need to be taught the value of nurturance. Although both are positive, necessary values to instill, only one-half of American children truly accept one or the other. As schools begin to foster gender-fairness in the curriculum and in school culture, gender role socialization harmful to both girls and boys can be altered.

Television Television aimed at young children is by far the most influential mass media source of gender socialization. With streaming options available 24/7 a child may spend up to one-third of the day watching TV or in front of a device with television content. Toddlerhood is a critical time for brain development. Heavy television viewing is significantly associated with traditional and stereotyped views of gender, but even short TV segments influence endorsements about differences between boys and girls in ability, motivation, and personality. Gender stereotypes about emotions prevail in both entertainment and educational programming for children. Boys are stoic and show anger; girls are fearful and show sadness (Martin, 2017; Wille et al., 2018). Children are vulnerable in believing that television images represent truth and reality. Television establishes standards of behavior, provides role models, and communicates expectations about all social life. Children increasingly use messages from television to learn about gender and sexuality—a pattern found for all genders and for children of all races in the United States. When television images are reinforced by social media and movies, magazines, and popular music the impact on socialization is profound (Chapter 13).

Television Teaches Resonating with social learning theory, toddlers copy what they see on TV, with imitation increasing from preschool throughout the elementary school. Television encourages modeling. Children identify with same-gender characters. Boys identify with physically strong

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characters, (athletes, soldiers, superheroes). Girls identify with beautiful models, popular and attractive peers in school, and plain girls who are transformed into lovely and rich princesses.

Sesame Street Gender role portrayals in the shows parents love and encourage their children to watch are highly stereotyped. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Sesame Street (SS), is the most popular children’s show for preschool children of all time (Guthrie, 2019). However, it significantly underrepresents female characters—human or Muppet—and compared to females, depicts males as dominant, assertive, and in roles of authority. In response to complaints from parents about too many masculine characters, a major diaper brand was rumored it would remove Sesame Street characters from its diapers. Big Bird may be gender-ambiguous, but the diapers were virtually devoid of female characters. Oscar The Grouch, Cookie Monster, and Elmo were the figures mostly depicted on the diapers. The company repudiated the rumors and mentioned the characters of Zoe and Rosita would be more prominent on the diapers, along with generic designs suitable for all babies (Pasquini, 2018). Children and their parents who grew up with Sesame Street have difficulty recalling the female Muppets. Highly stereotyped vain and shrill Miss Piggy is recalled by adults as a Muppet from Sesame Street, but unlike Kermit the Frog, never appeared on Sesame Street. Partnership portrayals between male and female SS characters are rare. The same-gender relationship between Bert and Ernie (B&E) is applauded for its positive portrayal of males as best friends. As more than buddies, they do not hide emotions from one another. When asked if B&E are gay, one creator says he felt “they were” when writing about them (Brammer, 2018). Frank Oz, Bert’s creator, denies they are gay. Oz says he is happy that, regardless of sexual orientation, people can see themselves in B &E. Rare in the culture wars, a generally productive positive conversation ensued about the controversy. As Oz states And I learned something profound. Thanks for those who tweeted with me. Next time I would be very interested to know: If Bert and Ernie were indeed gay, would they be different than they are now? (Rosenblatt, 2018) Sesame Street prides itself on being inclusive and introduced racially and ethnically diverse characters decades ago. By its insistence that B&E are not gay, it may have missed “a teachable moment”, affirming LGBTQ relationships, people or Muppet (Blake, 2018). As Sesame Street celebrates inclusiveness by race, ethnicity, and perhaps by sexuality, it’s gender-stereotyped blind spot remains glaring.

Cartoons In cartoons for children, male characters outnumber female characters ten to one. Female characters are portrayed more in family- and home-based settings and are more physically attractive and sexualized than male characters (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast). Cartoons usually have all males or have one or two females, often in helping or little sister relationships. Many may recall from childhood the lone Smurfette among all other male Smurfs. When girls are portrayed with boys in adventurous situations, boys determine the story line and the “code of values” for the group. Boys get the credit for solving a problem

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when a girl does the work (Velma and Shaggy in Scooby Doo). Girls are defined in relation to the boys. If she has a lead or powerful role, she is often mean or evil (Angelica in Rugrats, 1991–2004).

Children’s Programs Television influences self-image. On Saturday morning and after school TV, boys are more significant than girls, if only by the sheer number of male characters in shows. Like Sesame Street, Public Television for children from toddlers to middle school is replete with shows featuring male leading characters (Arthur, Curious George, Wild Kratts, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood). Across children’s programming on all channels, television consistently portrays stereotypical female characters, especially teenagers, primarily as add-ons to males (SpongeBob, Phineas and Ferb). Children’s programming deviating from gender stereotypes is not only successful, but hugely popular. Females are lead characters depicted as heroic, smart, and adventurous; male and female characters are partners in adventures (Dora the Explorer, DC Superhero Girls, Odd Squad, Powerpuff Girls). Although these are positive signs, Superhero Girls have a sexualized appearance. Rebooted Powerpuff Girls (2016), alas, are still more puff than powerful, and it is difficult to find boys in roles that show caring and warmth. When girls take the lead in shows such as Odd Squad, boys are depicted as ineffectual at worst and geeks at best. Factoring in race, young white boys are offered the loudest TV messages that in turn are bolsters to their self-esteem.

Advertising Children’s television is supported by commercials and print ads aimed at products for children—mainly toys, fast food, and sugared cereal. In the early days of television, advertising for children’s items was targeted to adults. Today children are more likely than adults to watch the commercials. Despite efforts to control commercials consumed by their children, parents cannot control commercials watched on multiple devices or viewed in magazines outside the home. Parental strategies to counter advertising messages often fail (Nelson et al., 2017). The toy industry markets to the “child consumer” with age- and gender-linked ads designed for a specific niche of children. Advertisers ensure that doing without these toys is an unfortunate hardship. Commercials are blatant in creating desires for toys encouraging domesticity and passivity in girls and activity and movement in boys; girls play cooperatively, and boys play competitively and aggressively. These patterns show no sign of decreasing. In fact, gender stereotypes are intensifying. The entertainment industry has melded toys into television, and the child consumer it caters to is getting younger. Toy manufacturers such as Mattel and Fisher-Price, and producers of children’s programs such as Disney have joined in creating a “baby market” targeting the 0–3 age niche. Parents succumb to industry claims that children can learn while having fun. Industry and parents define toddlers as “early learners” with products marketed as educational, developmental (Baby Einstein, Mega Bloks), and enhancing sensory play, the needed step before the physical play that follows. Better yet are “learning” toys that are gender neutral, attractive to boys and girls alike. Like other toys on TV, however, learning toys remain clearly differentiated by gender. Advertisers must reconcile the trend toward the gender-neutral toys that parents desire, but with a TV industry that stubbornly persists in children’s shows brimming with gender stereotypes.

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Parents may offer gender-neutral toys to their toddlers, but buoyed by the TV-toy link, their offers are resisted. Parents searching for nonstereotyped toy alternatives may feel demoralized when the offer of a baking set to their son or a truck to their daughter is met with resistance. Tantalized by television, the child’s desire is within reach. The desire is likely to be gender role-oriented. The parent stands in between. Who is likely to give up the fight first?

SOCIALIZATION FOR GENDER EQUITY Socialization is neither consistent nor uniform. It occurs via diverse, intersectional agents throughout culture and at all subcultural levels. Yet gender role patterns emerge, and children learn to behave in feminine or masculine ways that reinforce the sex/gender binary. Significant contradictions also arise in this process. Girls climb trees, excel in math, and aspire to be surgeons and astronauts. These same girls are concerned about physical attractiveness, financial success, finding the right husband, and raising a family. Boys enjoy cooking and babysitting and cry when they are hurt or sad. These same boys are concerned about physical attractiveness, financial success, finding the right wife, and raising a family.

Challenging the Binary Theories and research on socialization strongly support the idea that masculinity and femininity need to shift toward gender role flexibility. And indeed, they have shifted. The benefits of flexibility attest to this shift. We know that rigid gender roles are constraining rather than liberating for life in a rapidly changing global society. In addition, socialization toward gender flexibility paves the way to increased gender equity. Critics may say that gender equity is embraced merely for political purposes, but global evidence strongly supports that the higher the level of gender equity, the higher the level of social health, and wealth, and individual well-being (Chapter 6). Regardless of how various theories explain gender socialization, they all agree that masculine and feminine traits are changeable. What socialization options might offer paths to achieving the flexibility that paves the way to gender equity? If gender constrains rather than liberates, perhaps “gender role” is an outmoded concept.

Androgyny The concept of androgyny refers to the integration of traits considered to be feminine with those considered to be masculine. Sizable numbers are identified as androgynous on widely used scales. As measured by these scales, LGBTQ individuals show higher levels of androgyny than the overall population. Both men and women of all genders score high or low on either set of traits or in combination with them. People accept their biological sex (being male or female) and have a strong sense of gender identity but acknowledge benefits of gender role flexibility. Gendered behavior does not disappear, but is adapted to situations and contexts, and simultaneously acted on according to talents and desires. Parents identified as androgynous are less stereotyped about masculinity and femininity and offer a wider range of behavioral and attitudinal possibilities to their children. Many are the forerunner parents to feminist kids.

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Critique Although androgyny is an encouraging concept, it is out of favor as applied to socialization. It suggests that people can be defined according to a range of gendered (masculine/ feminine) behaviors and then classified accordingly. This in itself is stereotypical thinking. Media-inspired conceptions stereotype the “androgynous man” as feminine, often portraying him as inept or weak. Today when a woman exhibits so-called masculine traits, she is more likely to be portrayed positively than she would have been only a few decades ago. Since androgyny is associated with femininity rather than masculinity, it lacks the envisioned positive integration of gender traits. It may be masculine-affirmative for women, but it is not feminine-affirmative for men. According to Sandra Bem, the pioneer in measuring androgyny, even if we define masculine and feminine by our culture, we need to stop projecting gender onto situations “irrelevant to genitalia” (Bem, 1985:222). She later reformulated androgyny to counter its drawbacks and to make it compatible with her gender schema theory. For parents and teachers to enthusiastically embrace a socialization model for gender equity they must believe that feminine traits in boys are as valuable and prestigious as masculine traits in girls. Because of lurking stereotypes and the higher cultural value given to masculinity, an androgyny model for socialization has been less successful.

Gender-Neutral Socialization Given the power of the gender binary generally favoring masculine traits, some parents who want to break its constraints adopt a gender-neutral approach to socialization. It is akin to the “degendered” model that considers outcomes for children not raised according to gender (Chapter 1). Gender-neutral parenting may exist on a continuum, with androgyny as a midpoint on the spectrum.

Raising Baby X The other pole on the spectrum would be raising a “Baby X,” maintaining a genderless existence for the child, even by concealing the child’s gender from others for as long as possible. Lois Gould’s charming children’s story published in Ms. magazine in 1980 represents this pole: Once upon a time, a Baby named X was born. It was named X so that nobody could tell whether it was a boy or a girl. Its parents could tell, of course, but they couldn’t tell anybody else. They couldn’t even tell Baby X—at least not until much, much later. (Gould, 1980: 61) The story revolves around how little X and its parents encountered and eventually overcame resistance from everyone who wanted to know what X was so that X could be treated as a boy or girl. Raising a gender-neutral Baby X seemed impossible only a short time ago. Although representing only a tiny number, parents raising children without a gender designation are growing. Media accounts are surfacing in the U.S., Canada, Sweden, and UK about the joys and challenges of parenting gender-neutral children. Parents choosing this option cannot

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be gender blind as much as gender vigilant. They cannot ignore how gender roles seep into every aspect of their (our) lives. Like the parents of Baby X, they keep the biological sex of their child hidden except on a “need to know basis”—like grandparents. Contrary to gender panic about biology, children learn about and their “body parts” and how they are the same or how they differ from other babies and children. Couples mention they want their “kids to be just kids,” and not force them to a gender mold. They select television and books accordingly. They avoid stereotypes in toys (let toys be toys), clothes, and language and assign chores based on interest and household needs rather than gender. Barbies and guns may not be options from parents, but other selections are child-driven rather than parent-driven. By preschool, parents will often defer to their children in making these toy selections. Moms and dads model non-gendered choices. Blogs connect like-minded parents and expectant couples who attest that gender-neutral parenting is beneficial for their children (Wells, 2017; Herzog, 2018; Tortorello, 2019). These child-driven choices are important, too, for parents who did not choose to raise a gender-neutral Baby X from birth, but gradually became aware that their child was stubbornly gender non-conforming. Evidence for the few children raised as gender neutral from birth shows they do not identify as LGBTQ as they get older. About 15 percent of gender-nonconforming youth overall identify as transgender by adulthood. Rather than imposing gender on a young child who is clearly resisting it, parents may adopt gender-neutral options for subsequent childrearing. The learning curve is certainly different for parents who are exploring these options for a school-age child. Parents who raise LGBTQ children in less gendered homes and in inclusive community settings can offer support for challenges their children will face in maneuvering this identity. The parents of twins raised as “theybies” from birth, for example, reflect on their home as an “ environment of openness where the twins feel loved whether they grow up to identify as LGBTQ or not” (Compton, 2018).

Parents as Innovators Given the obstacles that equity-oriented parents face in gender-neutral parenting, a more pragmatic approach is demonstrated by parents who want to raise their children in less gendered ways but also account for their children’s preferences that may be more traditional. Referred to as “Innovators” in Emily Kane’s (2012) research on gender socialization, these parents promote crossing gender boundaries but also support gender-typical patterns. Sons and daughters are offered a variety of activities, toys, and games that do not assume traditional interests. It is difficult, however, for parents to determine whether they are indirectly gendering. Is a daughter really expressing an interest in dolls, for example, or are parents instilling that interest on her behalf? (Kane, 2012:143). Innovative parents reject biological essentialism but largely accept their children’s preferences, whether traditional or nontraditional.

Critique Research on gender-neutral socialization related to artifacts and peers on gender conformity is abundant. Media reports notwithstanding, research on the results of gender-neutral socialization is scarce. Some developmental psychologists and therapists warn that gender-neutral parenting sets children up for confusion about their identity and sense of self. Without clarity, the “child is not a full person.” Gender-neutral children risk bullying, ridicule, and exclusion

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as they transition from home to a necessarily gendered world. Others voice ethical concerns about such parenting (Cutas and Giordano, 2013; Bracken 2020). Nonetheless, from accounts available, parents and children adopting gender-neutral socialization report satisfaction with their choices and optimism for a more gender-equitable future. Reports from the Sweden and the UK show “rigidly enforced gender stereotypes” are linked to mental health risks and compromised well-being (Hanna, 2019). The U.S. is less gender equitable than Europe, but patterns are predictably similar. Parents recognize gender pitfalls for their children if they are raised traditionally but are reluctant to deny these very traditions to their sons and daughters. They also know that raising children in two nonoverlapping gender roles is not productive in meeting the demands of a rapidly changing society. It will take a generation to see whether these children resurface as adults with the painful or happy stories full of highs and lows of growing up that all children encounter. We can tentatively conclude that gender-neutral socialization is not worse for the well-being of children than its normative gendered counterpart. With broader gender equity in mind, it is the better alternative. Baby X’s parents in 1980 had almost no options for degendering socialization. Seemingly impossible only a short time ago, options for gender-neutral socialization have changed dramatically. Consider the rapid acceptance of gender-neutral pronouns and inclusive titles (Chapter 4), gender-neutral marketing of toys and clothing, and growing support for the rights of LGBTQ parents and children (Chapter 8). Parents with gender-neutral visions compete with gender reveal and boymom celebrations. Powerful agents of gender socialization in families, schools, and media, however, show splinters favoring wider gender-neutral paths that serve gender equity. Baby X had a happy outcome. At the story’s conclusion, Baby X emerges as a well-adjusted and popular child: “X isn’t one bit mixed up! As for being a misfit—ridiculous. X knows perfectly well what it is! Don’t you, X?” The Xperts winked. X winked back … Later that day, all X’s friends put on their red and white checked overalls … and found X, in the backyard, playing with a very tiny baby that none of them had ever seen before. The baby was wearing very tiny red and white checked overalls. “How do you like our new baby?” X asked the Other Children proudly. “It’s got cute dimples,” said Jim. “It’s got husky biceps, too,” said Susie... . What “kind of baby is it? ... Then X broke into a big, mischievous grin … It’s a Y! (Gould, 1980: 64)

KEY TERMS Agents of socialization Androgyny Continuing socialization Culture Gender identity

Gender socialization Primary socialization Schemas Self Social control

Social institutions Socialization Subcultures


Gendered Language, Communication, and Socialization

That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind. —Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969 When Neil Armstrong first uttered his immortal words as he stepped onto the surface of the moon, it was unclear whether he forgot or flubbed the “a” before “man,” was misquoted, or that the recording could not accurately pick up the full utterance (Wolchover, 2012). Since “man” and “mankind” are redundant in his sentence, it does seem likely that the word was accidentally omitted. A half-century later, however, debate continues about the significance of the simple word “a.” In conjunction with his usage of the word “mankind,” this debate demonstrates that interest in the role of language as it relates to gender has moved from narrower academic arenas to wider public consciousness. Language wields a powerful but taken-for-granted force in socialization. Chapter 3 documents that primary socialization bombards children with mountains of information they must process, including learning both the verbal and nonverbal rules and complexities of their language. Language is multidirectional—it reflects culture and is shaped by it; therefore, it is fundamental to a child’s early understanding of gender. Language tells a child how culture defines and categorizes the genders. Symbolic interaction (SI), in conjunction with social construction (SI) is perhaps the most robust theoretical model for explaining the nuances of gendered language and communication, affirming that language shapes our perceptions and thus our understanding of “reality” (Chapter 1). In learning language, children become aware that the genders are valued differently. However, as the end point fallacy suggests, because socialization is lifelong, we continually modify language in response to situational context at the micro level, and social change at the macro level. It is the taken-for-granted part of language socialization that makes language such a formidable element in determining gender role continuity and change. Linguistic sexism is the normative production of language that subtly, but powerfully, transmits gender stereotypes that in turn perpetuates gender discrimination. Embedded in both language and speech, this discrimination usually plays out in favor of the power and dominance of men over women. For speakers of English, unless stated otherwise, everyone begins as a male. Decades of research on American English suggest that people are male until proven female.

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THE GENERIC MYTH The English language focuses attention on gender. The best example of such attention is when the word man is used to exclude woman and then used generically to include her. This is demonstrated when we speak of culture as man-made or the evolution of mankind, analogous to Neil Armstrong’s “giant leap.” Other examples may be less clear, such as referring to a voter as the typical “man on the street,” or finding “the right man for the job.” Are women included as voters or workers? More often the word is used to distinguish man from woman, such as in the phrases “it’s a man’s world,” “this is man’s work,” or having a “man to man talk.” The word is ambiguous and may be subject to interpretation even within the specific context. Although it is unclear where women “belong,” it does imply that they are “part” of man. Sometimes no interpretation is necessary. Although less frequent today, when in wedding ceremonies a couple is pronounced man and wife, she becomes identified as his. Generic language is not only ambiguous, but also discriminatory. It is awkward to change language to make it more precise. If man is supposed to refer to woman, then he also is supposed to mean she. Because English does not have a neutral singular pronoun, he is considered the generic norm, with she as the exception. An engineer or physicist is he, and a school teacher or secretary is she. Most neutral designations are also “he” words. A consumer, an employee, a patient, or a parent is he, despite the scores of women represented in these categories. Language is ambiguous, discriminatory, and inaccurate. The generic use of he is presumed to include all the shes it linguistically encompasses. It is quite apparent from research, however, that this is not the case. People develop masculine imagery for presumed neutral words, a pattern that is firmly in place by preadolescence. The pattern cuts across race, ethnicity, and social class, but males in all these categories adopt the pattern more quickly and more strongly than females. Generics with male referents are not neutral, since children and adults report primarily male, sex-specific imagery when hearing generic terms (Gygax et al., 2008). People visualize male and interpret the reference as male rather than male and female. We saw in Chapter 3 that a child’s emerging gender identity is strongly connected to the way words are perceived. The belief that the word man is a clear and concise reference to person does persist, even if the mass of evidence is squarely against this view.

Titles and Occupations Linguistic sexism abounds in the use of titles and occupations. When men introduce women in professional settings, the woman’s professional title is less likely to be used (Jane Smith rather than Dr. Jane Smith), than when men are introduced by men (Files et al., 2017:413). Unless otherwise mandated, conventional written communication, whether paper or online, continues usage of “Dear Sir” or “Dear Mr. Jones” even if we are unsure of the gender of the addressee. Businessmen are considered to be the likely occupants of these positions. The same can be said for chairmen, foremen, spokesmen, congressmen, newsmen, and garbagemen. If either gender deviates occupationally, entering the other’s field, we add linguistic markers (male nurse) to designate this surprising fact. Print media are inconsistent in use of generics, as a quick read of your local and neighborhood papers will verify. Women are referred to as “chairmen” or “chairwomen” for charitable events or are referred to as “he” when they are

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business executives and grouped with men who are also executives. The nonsexist designations would be “chair” of the event or “they” to refer to all the executives. Children confront this usage issue in reading material designed for their own age group. They may assign meaning to words quite differently from what the adult assumes the child understands. Consider a child’s shock upon discovering that a cat burglar is not a cat at all. Children also use linguistic markers in referring to females in traditionally male roles (lady spaceman) or males in traditionally female roles (male secretary). Generic language thus prompts occupations to become gender “appropriate” for children. In turn, achievement motivation for pursing the “non-appropriate” occupation can decline (Cimpian, 2010; Vervecken et al., 2013). Coursework in computer science for females and preschool teaching for males may seem out of their reach (Chapter 11). When they find a mismatch between what they see and what they perceive to be true, they opt for the less difficult route. The stereotyped gender role thus remains unscathed. When women enter predominantly male occupations, little attention is given to how they are named. A woman may become an engineer and be referred to as a female engineer lest people mistakenly think most engineers are women. Male occupations are linguistically protected from invasion by females. However, when males begin to enter predominantly female occupations in greater numbers, a language shift occurs rather quickly. Although women are the large majority of elementary teachers and nurses, men are rapidly entering these fields, making the use of she as a generic label a subject of controversy. It is now considered improper to refer to teachers and nurses as she when more than a token number of men enter the occupations. The same can be said for referring to stewardesses as flight attendants and waitresses as servers. Women are reaching the majority of clergy, pharmacists, attorneys, and physicians, but the generic he is likely to be retained for a longer period when referring to them as a group. Another linguistic marker involves adding appendages or suffixes to words to show where women “belong” occupationally. A poet becomes a poetess, an usher becomes an usherette, and an actor becomes an actress. Women are defined as the exceptions to the male-as-norm rule. The linguistic markers are not necessary for men who already own the occupations. Titles of address for women also reinforce the idea that women are part of men. The title “Mr.” conveys the fact that the person addressed is likely an adult male. But for women, marital status is additionally conveyed in forms of address. When a woman fills out a form where she may check “Miss” or “Mrs.,” she is conveying personal information not asked of men. These titles define women according to their relationship with a man. This distinction historically served to provide information about a woman’s availability for marriage and even suitability for employment. To counter this titular sexism, “Ms.” was offered as an alternative to both married and unmarried women who believed that marital status is private information they may or may not choose to convey. Yet language change does not come easily. When first introduced in the 1970s, “Ms.” was ridiculed and maligned as a radical feminist invention used by women to cover up the shame of being divorced or not being married. Editors bemoaned its style while ignoring its precision. These objections have largely disappeared. Although married women and homemakers tend to prefer “Mrs.,” single women and professional women prefer “Ms.” Ms. is now associated positively with female impendence, agency, and fairness (Burns et al., 2016). As a form of address, Miss has moved into linguistic oblivion for adult women; if used at all, it is reserved for young girls. As indicated by its frequent usage throughout most media formats, today “Ms.” is a normative, standard form of address with a high level of acceptance.

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What’s in a Name? A simple one-word answer to this question is “identity.” Whereas a name symbolically links us to our past and provides us with a sense of self-definition, in many cultures girls are socialized early in life to expect the loss of their surnames upon marriage. A woman may also lose her complete name and be called someone different. Jane Smith becomes Mrs. Richard Jones. The new name and title alter her earlier identity legally, socially, and even psychologically. In patrilineal cultures where there are few written records, the trail to determining her kinship lineage may also disappear. Traced to English Common Law on couverture, a woman and all her assets became the possessions of her husband at marriage. Although coverture has been skewered in the United States and Britain, a husband can still linguistically encompass Mrs. Jones. Today legal requirements for a woman to abandon her name at marriage have all but disappeared, but preferences to align naming customs with gender role traditions are deeply rooted in most Western societies (MacEacheron, 2016). Considering the cultural strength of traditional heteronormative marriage and naming practices, the belief that a woman should take her husband’s surname is strong for both men and women. The surname change at marriage has serious implications for women whose accomplishments are recorded under their birth (“maiden”) names. These women can literally lose the professional recognition that impact their income, credit, tenure, notoriety, and careers. Strategies women use to offset such liabilities include retaining their birth name for professional purposes or hyphenating their birth and married surnames. Same-sex married couples or those in civil partnerships must also contend with such heteronormative practices, but whether they have more or less leeway in maneuvering gendered naming pitfalls remains unclear (Jones et al., 2017). However, strategies to salvage a woman’s surname are increasing. College students have positive perceptions of both men and women who choose to hyphenate their names. Compared with other married women, those with hyphenated names are perceived to be friendly, well educated, and intellectually curious. Men with hyphenated names are perceived to be accommodating, nurturing, and more committed to their marriages (Forbes et al., 2002). Women students are more positive about hyphenation than men students, but the generally positive perceptions of both bode well for future shifts to more gender equitable naming. Another linguistic dimension is the ordering and placement of gendered pairs (men and women/boys and girls/he and she), names, and titles. Academic journals, for example, are persistent with use of “male firstness,” where masculine terms are ordered before feminine terms (Willis and Jozkowski, 2018:137). Male firstness exists throughout written and verbal communication. Husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs., and Dr. and Mrs. give prominence to men. If she is a doctor and he is not, Dr. and Mr. would not likely be used, and if they are both doctors, Dr. and Dr. is also a less likely form of address. Men own the province of placement, so their name and title come first. An exception to this ordering rule is bride and groom. Considering that her wedding is treated as the most important event in the life of a woman, this is understandable. Her wedding day, the bridal party, bridesmaids, bridal path, and mother and father of the bride suggest the secondary status of the bridegroom. His status is resurrected, however, by phrases such as “giving the bride away,” usually the prerogative of her father, indicating the groom’s new ownership of her.

Children’s Names Naming traditions for children remain highly gender-typed. Parents typically choose forenames that rigidly align with their child’s biological sex (Robnett, 2017:823). These naming

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choices ensure that people readily distinguish boys from girls. As expected, boys’ names are ripe for the picking as girls’ names but not the reverse. Popular boys’ names for girls include Madison, Morgan, Taylor, Cameron, Dylan, and Bradley. Gender-neutral names are not common, but some have emerged, including Avery, Peyton, Jamie, and Riley. Parents may choose androgynous names for girls in part because names perceived as masculine are associated with success (Kean, 2007). It is also permissible to append a name normally given to a boy to refer to a girl, such as Paul to Paula, Christopher to Christie, and Gene to Jean or Jeanette. A boy’s name is often used to designate girls, especially in shortened form. Pat, Lee, Dale, Chris, and Kelly are examples. But when boys’ names are co-opted by girls, such as Shirley, Jody, Marion (late actor John Wayne’s given name), Ashley, and Beverley, they quickly lose their appeal for boys. This sentiment is expressed by a concerned writer for devastated boys whose names are co-opted by girls. In schoolyards … permanent damage is already inflicted on budding male psyches of defenseless … Taylors and Jodys … It’s not like little guys have names to spare. Even before the young ladies hijacked Bradley and Glenn, there were fewer boys’ names than girls … Girls’ names were more like fanciful baubles for the decorative sex. (Goldman, 2000:22) Written two decades ago, this “naming” dilemma persists today. The obvious sexism in such comments bears out the taken-for-granted assumption that the superiority of boys over girls must be preserved. The equity option is ignored.

Linguistic Derogation English can be very unsympathetic to women. Women are typically referred to in derogatory and debased terms that are highly sexualized. There are several hundred such sexually related terms for women and only a handful for men. A few of the examples for females include broad, chick, doll, bitch, whore, babe, harpy, fleshpot, wench, fox, vixen, tramp, and slut. When men want to insult other men, they often use these same terms. Sexually derogatory terms are used almost exclusively by men and frequently in the context of sexually related jokes. Men who use and hear sexist jokes find them more amusing and less offensive than women, but both men and women judge the object of the jokes or the person who is sexually degraded as foolish, less intelligent, and less moral. Sexist jokes are associated with increased rape myth acceptance, especially in men defined by hostile sexism. Rather than declining, online sexist jokes are finding wider and more receptive audiences (Mallett et al., 2016; Plemenitaš, 2017; Sriwattanakomen, 2017; Cendra et al., 2019). And consider the sexual connotations of mistress and madam and the male counterparts of master and lord. The word girl suggests both child and prostitute. It is insulting for grown men to be called “boys,” but grown women are routinely referred to as “girls.” People take for granted the “guys–girls” distinction so that males do not have to be referred to as boys. Whether it is deemed inclusive or not, “guys” is an informal ubiquitous label to refer to groups of people. Linguistic practice regularly implies that males are complete beings who take on adult qualities and females are childlike and incapable but at the same time seductive and sexual. Females linguistically retain these statuses throughout their lives. Over time, English words for women acquire debased or even obscene references. Words such as lady, dame, madam, and mistress originally were neutral or positive designations

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for women (Henley, 1989:60). The masculine counterparts of lord, baronet, sir, and master escaped becoming pejorative. Another example is the word pair spinster/bachelor. Which word would you select to fill in the blank? “One attractive eligible _____ is always invited to their parties.” When a man chooses to remain unmarried, he is a “confirmed” bachelor. A woman may be a “spinster,” originally designating a woman who spins or sews, but now as old and unmarried, or an “old maid.” Although these words are rarely used today, positive terms for an adult, unmarried, female are unavailable or, if available (for example, bachelorette), are not commonly used. If women occupy a secondary position in society, stereotyped language continues to reinforce this placement. Language frequently trivializes women, casting them into categories associated with childishness, foolishness and being frivolous, a pattern that marginalizes them from other “adult humans.” Idioms, metaphors, and proverbs are linguistic markers reinforcing this marginalization (He and Zhang, 2018; Galer, 2017). Examples include: • • • • • •

weak as a kitten; gentle as lambs A man is as old as he feels, a woman as old as she looks women’s work, women’s place wine, women, and song empty-headed, dizzy blond cupcake, sugar pie, eye candy

If the terms man and woman imply maturity, the term lady minimizes a woman’s adultness. A wife or child may be referred to as “the little lady” of the house, distinct from “man of the house.” The male equivalent term is nonexistent. Trivialization of women evident in sexist language parallels the ideologies granting dominance to men in the larger social system (Douglas and Sutton, 2014). In turn, equitable gender role change in other institutions is thwarted.

GENDERED LANGUAGE USAGE Since we are socialized into the language of our culture and subcultures, as cultural diversity increases, the ways we use language inevitably expand. Both women and men communicate more effectively within their own subcultures, but also when speaking to those of the same gender. It can be argued that sex (gender) is in itself a subculture, and similar to other subcultures, produces marked communication patterns that enhance group solidarity and social identity for the ingroup but deter it for the outgroup (Greenaway et al., 2016). Although overlap between men and women’s communication patterns is more apparent than it was even a decade ago and the linguistic gender binary is waning, it is well documented that “male and female” subcultures continue to be differentiated according to gendered language.

Registers Sociolinguists use the term register to indicate a variety of language defined according to its use in social situations. Registers are gendered in that males and females who share the same formal language, such as English, also exhibit distinctive styles of communication, including

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vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and nonverbal communication. They are socialized into overall linguistic systems that are culturally shared but also into speech communities that are subculturally separate.

Female Register The research cited here identifies important aspects of female register that also highlight issues related to gender equity and male/female power differentials (Leaper and Robnett, 2011; Ehrlich et al., 2014; Julé, 2017; Katz and Woodbury, 2017). 1

Women use more qualifiers than men. These words usually hedge or soften evaluative statements: a friend is defined as “sort of” or “kind of” shy rather than simply “shy” to soften the statement. Another qualifier is when the sentence already begins with words that make it doubtful. “This may be wrong, but …” is an example.


Women may end a sentence with a tag question. When tags are used, a question follows a statement: “I enjoyed the concert, didn’t you?” or “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” Less assertive than declaratory statements, tag questions appear as if she was asking the other person’s permission to express her opinion or feelings. Use of qualifiers and tag questions may suggest that women are uncertain, tentative, or equivocal in what they are saying. They may be used as defenses against potential criticism. Consider the impact of the following statements that use both qualifiers and tag questions in the same sentence: • • •

It’s everything probably imagined, isn’t it? This sort of makes sense. Does it to you? I kind of liked the movie. What do you think?

Tags and qualifiers, however, enhance closeness between speakers.


Women use more intensifiers than men. Many of these words are employed as modifiers— adjectives and adverbs—that make up many word lists used by females: “This is a divine party,” “Such a darling room,” or “I think croissants are absolutely delightful” serve as examples. Men do use intensifiers, but a pattern exclusive to women is literally to intensify the intensifier by heavily emphasizing and elongating the word. In describing a fine dining experience, for example, both men and women may say “It was so wonderful,” but women will draw out and accent the adverb to become “It was so-o-o-o wonderful.” An emotional overtone is added to a simple declarative sentence.


When considering the most important roles women perform, vocabulary is more complex and descriptive than word choices for men. Women express a greater range of words for parenting, colors, textures, food, and cooking. They can describe complex interpersonal relationships and emotional characteristics of themselves and others using a greater variety of words and communication styles that are adapted to the setting, a pattern found cross-culturally. Parents talk to daughters more than sons, but compared to those of fathers, mothers’ conversations with both sons and daughters are longer and more detailed, explanatory, and interactive. African American mothers more than fathers talk with their children about sexual matters.


Female register includes forms of speaking that are more polite and indirect. By keeping the conversation open, asking for further direction, and not imposing one’s views

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on another, polite requests rather than forced obedience result. When women ask for favors, they do it indirectly. Women will make polite requests to others, including children (“Please answer the phone” or “Will you please answer the phone?”). Men are more likely to use imperatives (“Answer the phone.”). Both men and women share the same view of what is considered polite speech—by what is said and who says it.

Male Register For both men and women, the research overviewed here shows that specialized vocabularies and communicative styles emerge from specialized roles and gendered expectations. Male register, like female register, has important implications for a child’s socialization into beliefs about gender equity (Coates, 2007; Athanases and Comar, 2008; Talbot, 2010; Eckert and McConnell-Ginet, 2013; Robb, 2014; Hellinger and Motschenbacher, 2015). 1

Men use a wider range of words related to mechanics, finance, business, cars, technology, sports, and sex. They choose words related to objects and properties of objects and to topics that are impersonal. Men use sexually related words much more frequently than women. Males in all age groups, but especially at adolescence, direct derogatory sexual slang to females (b*ch, c*nt) and gay men (fag, prick). When boys use homophobic language, it is rarely challenged, especially by other boys who are present.

2 Although profanity in public by both genders is now normative, profanity in general, especially sexual profanity, remains the province of men. Men and boys do not mask profanity. They use it more frequently, use it in more settings, and, compared with women, are not judged harshly—and may be judged more positively—when they use it. 3 Because men are more likely than women to be in positions of authority, features of male register include being direct, succinct, instrumental, and personal. The personal feature may appear contradictory, given a man’s tendency to distance himself emotionally from others. In the male register context, however, personal usage denotes language that is more informal and less precise. Men in leadership positions can be relaxed and friendly and therefore more personal with subordinates of either gender. They can also be more direct and less polite. When men use tag questions, for example, they tend to be more coercive: “Why don’t you just get over it?” 4

Men talk more than women. Contrary to the stereotype of the bored man listening to the talkative woman, in mixed-gender conversations in a variety of contexts, research clearly indicates that men do the bulk of the talking. In classroom interaction at all educational levels, male students talk more and talk for longer periods than female students and are listened to more by teachers. Men talk more than women opponents in arguments, political debate, trials, business negotiations and workplace meetings, whether in person, by phone or in the virtual world. Men are offered extra time to speak and exceed formal and informal time limits more often than women. However, the perception that women are more talkative than men persists. When men outspeak women by large margins, men do not believe they had a fair share of the conversation.


Because men dominate women in amount of talking, it is not surprising that communication domination of women by men carries over to what is talked about, how topics are

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switched, and the frequency of interruption. In conversing with women, men interrupt more and use interruption to indicate boredom and impatience and pave the way to a topic change. In conversing with men or with other women, when women interrupt conversations, they do so largely to indicate interest in what is being talked about, to respond, and to show support. Gender role expectations regarding a man’s right to dominate a conversation are taken for granted by both men and women.

The Language of Friendship Gendered registers are important contributors to conversational strategies in building friendships between the genders and within single-gender groups. It is common to see several women in a coffee shop engaged in lengthy conversation long after they have eaten; young girls intently and quietly conversing in their rooms; or teen girls talking on the phone, text-messaging, or on social media with one another for hours. When comparing talk within same-gender groups, women talk more frequently and for longer periods of time, enjoy the conversation more, converse on a wider variety of topics, and consider coming together to “just talk” to be a preferable social activity.

Gossip All of these talk-related activities may suggest that a great deal of gossiping is going on. The term gossip is used almost exclusively to indicate a specific kind of talk engaged in by females—talk that is often viewed as negative, pejorative, and pointless. To the contrary, in all age groups, friendships are cemented between females when experiences are shared and explored and personal information is revealed. In gossip begins friendship. Gossip allows girls and women to talk to one another in their common roles, share secrets, and support the needs of each other as well as themselves. These high-affiliation strategies serve to strengthen their friendships. Conversation strategies of males are frequently defined as low-affiliation ones: using commands, threats, withdrawal, and evasiveness to get their demands met. Adolescent boys, for example, are less concerned with the needs of who they are talking to than getting their own needs met, a pattern that carries through to adulthood (Leaper and Ayres, 2007; Watson, 2012). When men want to encourage or cement friendships with other men, they play golf or tennis, go to football games, fish and hunt, or play poker. These activities tend to discourage lengthy conversations but encourage time together and create possibilities for more intimate discussions. Whereas women use open, free-flowing conversations in bonding and appreciate self-disclosure, men often feel uncomfortable in this regard. Safe topics such as sports and politics deter men from revealing details of their personal lives to one another. Do women gossip more than men? It depends on how gossip is defined. If it is defined as talking about others, then men and women do not differ. If it is defined as talking about others or oneself by revealing personal information, then women may gossip more than men. Men gossip about others and reveal personal information about the people they gossip about. But when men talk about themselves, they do so cautiously and minimize the amount of personal information they reveal. There are no significant gender differences in derogatory tones of gossip although women’s gossip is more positive than men’s gossip (Eckhaus and

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Ben-Hador, 2019). Although men gossip more about acquaintances and celebrities and women gossip more about friends and family, gossip topics are converging. Both genders gossip about dating, sex, celebrities, colleagues, and personal appearance. As topics converge, male self-disclosure will likely increase in gossip with other males. Except for the greater reluctance of men to self-disclose, any gender differences in gossip depend on which aspect of gossip is being investigated. If men “talk” and women “gossip” but are conversing on similar topics in the same manner, what separates the two is largely the social construction of gossip associated with being a woman. No one wants to be perceived as a gossip (Eckhaus and Ben-Hador, 2018). This may be why gossip defines women but not men. In mixed-gender relationships with romance as a goal, conversational strategies differ over time. At the beginning of a male–female relationship, men talk more than women, but once the relationship “takes hold,” communication decreases. Women would like to talk more; men would like to talk less. The more she attempts to draw him out, the more he resists. He often uses silence as a means of control (Tannen, 2001). Women fear that lack of communication indicates that the relationship is failing or that he has lost interest in her. Married women are more likely than married men to identify communication as a marital problem (Chapter 7).

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION The language we verbalize expresses only one part of ourselves. Communication also occurs nonverbally, often conveying messages in a more forceful manner than if spoken. In addition to bodily movement, posture, and general demeanor, nonverbal communication includes eye contact, use of personal space, and touching. Women are better at communicating nonverbally and more accurate in decoding nonverbal messages, but we will see that men may have an advantage in communication online.

Facial Expressions and Eye Contact In decoding nonverbal cues, females rely more on facial information and exhibit a greater variety of facial expressions than men. The accurate decoding of emotions is associated with better social adjustment, higher emotional intelligence, and stronger interpersonal understanding, a pattern found in many cultures. Females of all ages can accurately identify an emotion more often than comparable males and have less difficulty distinguishing one emotion from another (Thompson and Voyer, 2014; Hutchison and Gerstein, 2016; Wingenbach et al., 2018). Although the context may help explain why males and females display certain facial expressions, the nonverbal expression of smiling is clearly gender differentiated.

Smiling Since smiling is a form of emotion recognition, it is not surprising that women outperform men in determining the authenticity of a smile. Surveys on a century of photographs also show steady increases of both genders smiling, but women are more likely to smile and smile more fully than men. Although cultures vary in display rules and social scripts for

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facial expression, the pattern that females smile more than males is cross-culturally supported (Wondergem and Friedlmeier, 2012; Krys et al., 2015; McDuff et al., 2017). This “gender smiling” pattern shows up at all age levels, peaking in adolescence, and remains relatively constant through adulthood. As a test of this, take a look at your high school yearbook. Smiling increases for females in situations where gender-appropriate behavior is more conspicuous (being in a wedding party) or more ambiguous (entering a mixed-gender classroom for the first time). In candid and posed photographs, females smile more, but also are more rigid in posture, seeming to show a higher level of formality than males (Hall et al., 2001; LaFrance et al., 2003). Gender roles for females appear to offer less latitude for ease in situations where they feel they are “on display.” In these cases, smiling is likely to be staged and less spontaneous. However, although it is culturally mediated, smiling is associated with prosocial behaviors also indicative of women’s gender roles such as friendliness, caring, honesty, competence, and strengthening communal bonds, all of which enhance overall well-being (Krys et al., 2016; Chervonsky and Hunt, 2017). In this sense, with smiling as a key non-verbal marker, gender-appropriate behavior can offer individual and social benefits to women.

Anger Boys are taught to resist displaying emotion and to mask it in facial expressions. Parents and teachers allow girls to display their emotions more openly (Chapter 3). The notable exceptions to this pattern are fear and sadness and anger. Girls are allowed to display fear and sadness but not anger, and boys are allowed to display anger but not fear and sadness (Chaplin, 2013). What happens, then, when girls get angry and boys get sad and fearful? For girls, anger may be masked by crying, an acceptable outcome for young children in some settings. In contexts such as the workplace, when a woman’s anger results in tears, she is judged as weak. If she does not confront the aggressor, she can be exploited. If she counters the anger with a verbal barrage, she is too aggressive. Compared with men, however, women have a greater repertoire of acceptable anger-coping styles and anger diffusion strategies. Women express disgust and men express anger (Lair, 2020). There are few instances where males of any age can express fear and sadness by crying. Parents and teachers frequently use the “big boys don’t cry” reprimand. Peer disapproval for male crying is another effective mechanism of social control. For adult men, the expression of fear and sadness by crying in the workplace can amount to career suicide. Some changes are evident, however. Regardless of gender, the public display of sadness by politicians and media figures is now acceptable and expected in tragic situations, such as expressions of grief by John Stewart in his first broadcast after 9/11, and President Obama’s expression of grief in addressing the nation in the wake of the mass killing of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Similarly, Jimmy Kimmel received high public support when he emotionally weighed in on the near death of his newborn son and subsequent passionate appeal for maintaining the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) without which health care is unaffordable for many people, and unlike his son, sounds the death knell for uninsured children in the same catastrophic health circumstances (Shapiro, 2017). For boys, anger is often expressed during sports, physical fights, or barrages of profanity, which are more acceptable in some settings. For adult men, overt aggression in the workplace or in Congressional debates (Nussbaum, 2018) is certainly discouraged, but

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outbursts of anger are often overlooked. Superiors who use verbally aggressive messages in the workplace and whose nonverbals heighten the detrimental effects of these messages are perceived as less credible by subordinates (Lybarger et al., 2017). A boss, more likely to be a male, and one who can effectively manipulate verbal and nonverbal messages to his workplace cohort, is also perceived as a more effective and competent leader to both male and female subordinates (Chapter 10). Regarding research on gender differences in anger and fear, people are usually surprised by data showing that women engage in more eye contact than men. The stereotype is of a woman who modestly averts her eyes from the gaze of an adoring man. In both same-gender and other-gender conversational pairs, females of all ages look at the other person more and retain longer eye contact. Men have more visual dominance than women—a pattern of looking at others when speaking but looking away from them when listening. Direct eye contact increases perceptions of power, competence, and intelligence whether it comes from a man or a woman (Wagner, 2013; Toscano et al., 2018). When men look at one another “eye to eye” (stare down), it is often in an angry, confrontational manner. In countering verbal and nonverbal behaviors that may put women at a disadvantage in certain settings, to gain prestige and power, women may capitalize on their ability to retain eye contact without overtly expressing anger.

Touch and Personal Space Because touch can suggest a range of motives—affection, dominance, aggression, sexual interest, or sexual domination—the context of the touching is extremely important. Men touch women more than women touch men, and women are touched more often than men overall. As examples of appropriate nonverbal immediacy linked to job satisfaction and empowerment, subordinates may be touched by superiors, such as a hand on the shoulder or pat on the back (Kelly and Westerman, 2014). Although these behaviors are largely appropriate and appreciated, touching of the other gender, either peer or a subordinate, in any public setting, has significantly declined. When female flight attendants and bartenders are pinched and poked or when a man nudges and fondles a status equal in the office, sexual overtones cannot be dismissed. The surge in sexual harassment cases calls attention to the fact that women feel threatened, especially if the “toucher” is a boss or superior. The #MeToo movement is only one manifestation of this new and, as many suggest, needed reality (Chapter 9). With the glaring exception of spontaneous displays in sports related to emotional outbursts suggesting happiness or anger (think contact sports), men seldom touch one another. Touching is even more rare when it is associated with emotions such as fear, nervousness, timidity, or sadness. Men may hug one another, but not prolonged, in expressing grief in public.

Space Invasion Men are more protective of their personal space and guard against territorial invasions by others. In his pioneering work on personal space, anthropologist Edward Hall (1966) found that in American culture, there is a sense of personal distance reserved for friends and acquaintances that extends from about 11/2–4 feet, whereas intimate distance for intimate personal contacts extends to 18 inches. Men invade the personal space of women more than the reverse, and this invasion is more tolerated by women. The space privilege

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of males is taken for granted. The next time you are on an airplane or at a movie, note the gender differences in access to the armrests. In walking or standing, women yield their space more readily than men, especially if the person who is approaching is a man—more so if he is an angry man. Men retreat when women come as close to them as they do to women and feel provoked if other men come as close to them as they do to women. With space invasion, men display rank and dominance over women (Miller et al., 2013; Witkower et al., 2020). Men have an implicit entitlement to owning space and owning more of it. This was dramatically witnessed during the second Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump when Trump loomed over Clinton with body language suggestive of “menacingly stalking,” moving back and forth very close to her in the background, in dominating and intimidating ways. In other contexts, it could have warranted a call to the police (Jamieson, 2016). She chose to “ignore” his presence, and continued to address her audience, a decision met with widescale approval especially in a gender context where her “coolness” and lack of intimidation were on display. Clinton successfully maneuvered the nonverbal gender line women routinely face in space invasions by males. Even in their own homes, women’s personal space is more limited. An office, study, or “man cave” used by the husband may be off limits to the rest of the family. Wives and mothers rarely “own” such space.

The Female Advantage The ability to understand nonverbal language accurately for the sender and the recipient in a variety of settings can be of enormous benefit. In the workplace, female managers who accurately perceive emotional expressions of their employees and then use that information to support them receive higher satisfaction ratings. Male managers with a high degree of such accuracy receive higher employee ratings if they use the information to be more persuasive (Byron, 2007:721). A boss, more likely to be male, and one who can effectively manipulate verbal and nonverbal messages to his workplace cohort, is also perceived as a more effective and competent leader to both male and female subordinates (Chapter 10). Men may reap the benefits in and out of the workplace when they adopt selected nonverbal strategies used by women. Female supportiveness and male persuasiveness may suggest gender stereotypes, but accuracy in decoding nonverbal cues that works to women’s advantage is a key element in employee satisfaction. In schools and in dating and romantic contexts, research clearly shows that men markedly misperceive women’s friendliness as sexual intent, regardless of the extent of the couple’s relationship (Humphreys, 2007; Dobson et al., 2018; Treat and Viken, 2018). Male misperception of a woman’s nonverbals is one of the most frequent justifications evoked legally and in the court of public opinion for sexual assault (Chapter 9). A woman who recognizes the misperception via accurate nonverbal decoding can adjust her behavior accordingly, offering a more satisfying, safer dating relationship as well as a better work environment. Couples can learn the verbal and nonverbal cues to enhance their communication, even for topics that are difficult to confront emotionally. In health care settings, patients attended by physicians and nurses who adopt nonverbal behaviors that are supportive and empathic, show better medical and psychological outcomes. The shift to patient-centered, holistically oriented health care, a rapidly emerging medical norm, relies heavily on accurate reading of the nonverbal behavior of patients that

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works to the advantage of female health professionals and all patients. Female physicians who adapt their familiar gender-based nonverbal communication patterns, such as the power of touch patients find to be a sign of caring, also have better patient outcomes (Kelly et al., 2018; Mast and Kadji, 2018). In recognizing this benefit, coursework for health professionals is rapidly incorporating material on communication strategies effectively used by women, including understanding patients’ nonverbal cues.

GENDER ONLINE: COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA The explosion of Internet-based and other computer-mediated communication (CMC), through computerized technology occurring on a variety of electronic devices, offers insight into how language is adapting to technological evolution. Due to its mediated nature, especially with social media, CMC has not only altered the way we communicate, but is fast becoming its most influential mode. Compared with face-to-face communication, CMC provides contexts that are much more difficult to navigate. With an overwhelming array of applications available, the smartphone is the CMC device of choice for young people. Forsaking laptops and notebooks, the majority of teens and young adults prefer smartphones as their main type of communication. With social networking sites (SNS) as the most frequent applications accessed on all devices, these spaces are transformative, allowing users the freedom to maintain anonymity or carefully craft an identity. Given that the dawn of social media is traced to about twenty years ago (1997– 2000), it is astounding that by 2010 there were close to a billion social network users, jumping to 2.77 in 2019 and expected to increase to over 3 billion in 2021. North America, with the United States in the lead, ranks first in social network penetration (Statistica, 2018a). Almost 70 percent of American adults visit multiple online platforms, with YouTube (73 percent), Facebook (68 percent), and Instagram (35 percent) as the most popular, a majority reporting they visit these platforms daily (Perrin and Anderson, 2019). Almost all U.S. teens (95 percent), use smartphones, about half saying they are online “almost constantly” (Anderson and Jiang, 2018). As the heaviest users in all age groups, teens (13–17) and young adults (18–24) are at the vanguard of changing trends in social media use, with Instagram and Snapchat nudging out Facebook as their preferred social media sites (Smith and Anderson, 2018). These formats are not genderless, strongly mirroring gender roles and hierarchies in broader society. Whether CMC occurs via written form, such as email or text-messaging, through speech and visuals on a computer screen, android, or through other virtual worlds, gendered interaction is occurring. Rapidly changing forms of computer-based and phone communication are hybrids of verbal and nonverbal—overlapping what is seen and unseen. Since the advent of social media, adult females in the U.S. were larger users of social media than males, a gap that remains today. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat draw significantly more female users with males preferring more text-oriented forms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit (Storms, 2017). Even with this male preference, there is now gender parity in LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, as females have been catching up to males (Table 4.1). The largest gender gaps in social media use are in Pinterest, favoring females, and Reddit, favoring males. Despite this relative gender parity on CMC use, how messages are sent and received parallels gendered communication in other contexts.

144  Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives TABLE 4.1  Percent

of U.S. Adults Who Use Each Social Media Platform, by Gender







































Source: Adapted from Social Media Fact Sheet. February 5, 2018. Pew Research Center. http://www.

Men Online Computer-mediated communication is a boon for men. CMC has increased the overall communication of males in all age groups. Men are much less likely than women to keep in contact with friends and family by phone or postage, but they now turn to email, texting, and social media for these purposes. Men’s relationships can be enhanced with more frequent communication, even if its computer-based format is less personal—or perhaps because it is less personal. In online written communication, men prefer to use impersonal style and content. They use authoritative language and are more formal in messages to both friends and colleagues, regardless of the gender of the recipient. Inspect our work and school emails, for example, to demonstrate these patterns. In emails related to answering questions, discussing issues, or planning meetings, men send fewer emails to resolve the issue. Their emails tend to be terse and to end abruptly. Compared with women’s emails, sentences are shorter and more direct (“Meet in the cafeteria at 12:30.”). In online discussion groups, men are less supportive and tend to respond more negatively to interactions, using more assertive language compared with women. They express their opinions more often than women (Johnston et al., 2011; Rollero et al., 2019). In online situations that are more ambiguous because of the lack of visual cues, men are likely to rely on formalized, prescribed language styles. Virtual environments with visuals paint a gendered online picture for males. Men may be more comfortable in virtual worlds, especially through gaming, where they can manipulate the environment, stage events, and determine level of interaction frequency and closeness with gamers and with avatars (Zhao et al., 2010). Gendered space and interpersonal distance (IPD) in the virtual world mirror the nonverbal norms in the physical world. Nonverbal patterns in “Second Life,” a 3D virtual world allowing for control and manipulation of avatars, demonstrate that males avert their gaze when their interpersonal space is invaded, especially when other male avatars invade it. Males as avatars or as “real” people express their discomfort by widening IPD. Males may be less accurate in decoding nonverbal communication

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when compared to females, but when visual cues are present and men have a measure of control over their space, social interaction even in a virtual world appears to offer at least a modicum of “relationship” satisfaction (Bailenson and Yee, 2007; Srivastava and Chandra, 2018).

Males and Social Media Like females, males in all age categories use social media to stay connected and to reconnect with friends. Unlike females, they express their usage in more specific, goal-oriented terms. They may expect social capital to be accrued for use in their personal and professional lives. Men point to SNS benefits in terms of efficiency and convenience, such as the relative ease of finding information, locating people who share similar professional interests, and accessing job and career opportunities, patterns which may explain the gender parity in LinkedIn. On Facebook, men prefer to access information related to business, government, and politics, and to discuss the topics from a more detached, emotionally aloof stance. As would be predicted, however, emotional aloofness falls by the wayside with men’s use of frequent swearing and aggressive language on Facebook and other SNS (Kramer, 2016). Gender norms for men are clearly displayed in photos that serve as strong identifiers of “who they are.” Choice of photos for Facebook profiles, for example, is associated with poses, dress, and activities that remain markedly gender-typed. Males, especially teens, present themselves in a more stereotypical way than females, as active, independent, and dominant in settings highlighting competitiveness, strength, and physical activities (Rose et al., 2012; Oberst et al., 2016). Compared to Facebook, the 140-character limitation imposed by Twitter makes the site an attractive one for men looking for efficiency, simplicity, and ease of managing content. Since its introduction in 2006, men have embraced Twitter more quickly than women, though as noted, it is at gender parity in usage. In conjunction with Twitter’s growing influence, the perceived social capital benefit may explain why men access it less for entertainment and leisure and more for professional and news information (Hughes et al., 2012; Matsa and Shearer, 2018). Research is needed to determine whether content and interest become more or less gender focused. Security and privacy are considered less important issues for men, and thus they are more likely to engage in risky online behavior than women, including willingness to share their location, email address, and personal information, a pattern demonstrated globally (Kuo et al., 2013; Sheldon, 2013; Sasson and Mesch, 2016). These patterns may translate to more online friends, but young men with more online friends and fewer face-to-face friends report greater loneliness and heavier online reliance for sexual outlets, including sexual entertainment, use of pornography, and engaging in cybersex (Yang, 2015; Döring et al. 2017; Hood et al., 2018). Online sexual activities (OSA) offer outlets that are largely not problematic for college men, but compared to women, men are more likely to score in the clinical range for cybersex addiction (Giorfano and Cashwell, 2017). To date, gender role explanations for male and female trends related to security and OSA are robust. However, research is needed to determine whether less restrictive attitudes about women’s sexuality and their ease of access to OSA will mute these patterns (Chapter 2). Given that online men are attracted to social media in goal-oriented ways, they also appear to get burned out or fatigued more quickly than women. The benefits, lure, and excitement of Facebook fade more quickly with

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men in all age groups. By age 25 half of Facebook users say it would not be hard to give up social media overall, increasing to 66 percent for those over age 55 (Smith and Anderson, 2018). Men are more likely to be in these ranks than women. It is unclear if “Twitter fatigue,” will parallel “Facebook fatigue,” particularly for midcareer and older men, or if they can recapture the lure of social media exploration.

Women Online Women decode information and read nonverbal cues more accurately than men. Nevertheless, when the nonverbal environment extends to the virtual environment, women’s advantage appears to diminish. In most virtual worlds, men create the games, the rules, the language, and design websites and blogs with masculine aesthetics in mind (Cho and Hong, 2013; Schultheiss, 2017). Although women access blogs in much larger numbers than men and are gaining ground in video gaming, virtual entertainment is based on masculine gender preferences. CMC for women mirrors their verbal communication. As expected, therefore, emails, text messages, and Facebook posts used by girls and women are frequent, long, supportive, and affiliative. Women use more intensifiers, tentative language choices, and polite requests, and they respond more positively to interactions (“Let’s meet in the back of the cafeteria for lunch, OK?”). Women reference emotions and personal connections more than men, regardless of the gender of the recipient. In both style and content, they are more relational and expressive, especially when communicating with other women (Brody, 2013; Park et al., 2016). An interesting exception to this pattern is that online communication to female college faculty by female students tends to be less polite, more direct, more informal, and more demanding than communication used by male students (Jones et al., 2016; Thomas-Tate et al., 2017). Even with such a clear student-faculty status differential, perceptions about the lesser value of women invades online communication, likely heightening existing internalized sexism. Even as smartphones are the preferred CMC device, females still send more and longer text messages than males that include sharing more about their emotions. In online learning and discussion groups, women post more messages and have significantly higher participation rates than men. Women express satisfaction and enjoyment of CMC interactivity. Because men dominate face-to-face classroom discussion, women may feel more at ease in the online environment and adapt themselves better than males (Tsai et al., 2015; Yang and Shen, 2018). Overall, women are more likely than men to write the way they speak—both in the choice of words and in the way the words are conveyed. CMC, however, lacks important nonverbal cues women rely on to enhance the satisfaction they receive from online interaction. Women’s lack of comfort with the technology and the amount of effort needed to compensate for the nonverbal void in text-based language may explain why, except for SNS, females use computer technology more for education and instruction and less for entertainment and diversion (Wayan, 2018). There is a definite gender gap in how communication is perceived in the virtual world. However, in online teaching communities, compared with males, females more actively and enthusiastically participate in the blogs and chat spaces, offering the positive affirmations that build and sustain the social life of the communities (Morante et al., 2017; Kerr and Schmeichel, 2018). Rapid advancement of accessible, sophisticated, and inexpensive CMC

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visuals on smartphones or through sites such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and YouTube, may allow women to regain their nonverbal advantage.

Females and Social Media For every age category of SNS users, females exceed males in time spent accessing all types of social media. In terms of frequency of Facebook (FB) use, for example, 69 percent of females compared to 54 percent of males access FB at least daily (Statistica, 2018b). Females also exceed males in the number of Facebook friends they report, the feelings of closeness to their friends compared with those who do not participate in Facebook, adding to their friend count, and the importance attached to Facebook in their everyday lives. Adolescent girls, for example, assign great importance to adding to their “friend count” (Metzler and Scheithauer, 2018; Reich et al., 2018). For adult women, social media are not a substitute for face-toface friends but allow them to explore new friendships, express their feelings more openly, strengthen existing relationships, and reconnect with people. These benefits come with a price. Like males, self-selected Facebook profiles for females are gender stereotyped. Although females do not necessarily profile themselves as submissive, their levels of attractiveness, politeness, and friendliness tend to match traditional views of femininity (Rose et al., 2012; Soukup, 2018). Consistent with Erving Goffman’s (1959) pioneering research on impression management, the selection of the Facebook picture and self-presentation is highly important in crafting one’s attractiveness, demeanor, and personality. The concern for attractiveness matches decades of data correlating self-esteem with body image, a more prominent pattern for females than for males (Chapter 2). The “fear of peers” online carries to negative peer attitudes and social adjustment in other settings. More time spent on social media daily and accessing multiple sites is related to depression and anxiety, with teen girls and young women at heightened risk (Lin et al., 2016; Primack et al., 2017). Some young women associate the social interaction with FB friends as better than “real life friends.” They feel anxious if they do not frequently access FB, even in the middle of the night, a pattern associated with sleep deprivation and weight gain (Bergagna and Tartaglia, 2018; Whipps et al., 2018). Facebook “addiction” may be the female counterpart to Facebook fatigue among males. All social media are fraught with issues related to safety and privacy, especially as cyberstalking and online predation outpace legal, law enforcement, and technological remedies to control them. Estimates are that one-fourth of women experience abuse and harassment online, and until very recently, this was considered “business as usual” (Chapter 9). Females of all ages and in various professions, notably those in teaching, journalism, and politics, report bullying, threats, harassment, and cybersexism at higher levels than males, particularly when speaking out on controversial topics, a global pattern and one that has increased in the U.S. in the Trump era (Johnson, 2017; Baccarella et al., 2018; Penza, 2018). Because women and girls are in worse peril for psychological exploitation, sexual threats, physical vulnerability, self-censorship to avoid abuse is common (United Nations Human Rights, 2017). Especially as it relates to Twitter and political debate, their right to expression is silenced in the very medium that is expected to provide a forum for such expression. Women have the right to use Twitter equally, freely and without fear … The silencing and censoring impact of violence and abuse against women on Twitter can have

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far-reaching and harmful repercussions on how younger women, women from marginalized communities, and future generations fully exercise their right to participate in public life and freely express themselves online. (Amnesty International, 2017)

GLOBAL FOCUS: THE LANGUAGE OF JAPANESE WOMEN The language of Japanese women has been recognized as a separate social dialect for a thousand years, with its origins traced to the eighth century. One of the most important novels in all of Japanese literature, The Tale of Genji, was written in 1016 by Lady Murasaki, in women’s language. Although Japanese women’s language today is an expression of language used in women’s quarters for centuries, with young women at the forefront, it is being reconfigured in response to gender role change in Japan.

Style and Syntax Japanese women’s speech is highly formal and polite, much more than the polite gendered varieties of other languages such as English. Japanese women’s speech exceeds the politeness norms in a language system that is already one of the “politest” in the world. Japanese women, for example, rarely use profanity. Politeness is also expressed by their use of honorific and humiliative speech much more frequently than when men use these forms. Compared with men, women use far fewer interrogatives, assertions, and requests and, when they use them, construct them differently from men. Such patterns are demonstrated in the media, in the workplace, at school, and even at home. In addition to style of communication, the Japanese female register has distinctive formal linguistic patterns in vocabulary, topic, grammar (syntax), and phonology (sound and intonation). Unlike English, there are grammatical forms in Japanese that are used exclusively by women and numerous forms for which men and women use entirely different terms. Women speak of different things than men and say things differently when they converse about the same topic. Rules of grammar and syntax may also differ according to the gender of the speaker. For example, the words for “box lunch,” “chopsticks,” and “book” differ depending on whether they are spoken by a female or male. Women are obliged to select verb endings that render their sentences ambiguous, indirect, indecisive, and less assertive. Although age and social status of the speaker are markers in language in Japan, gender is the key identifier in usage. Linguistic femininity is so normative and expected that deviating from these norms risks peer disapproval and shame (Endo and Smith, 2004; Ogi, 2014).

Women in Business When styles of discourse are combined with the formal linguistic features of Japanese women’s language, women may appear to be timid and lacking self-confidence. The consequences of these speech forms are linked to social powerlessness, putting women at a disadvantage when they venture into nontraditional roles outside the home. Japanese women who are in positions of authority may experience linguistic conflict when they use less feminine forms of even the polite speech used by men (Takano, 2005).

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Consider managers in Japanese corporations. If a woman manager displays normative femininity, she may give the impression that she is indecisive or indirect. At the same time, however, she cannot be as authoritative as her male counterparts. She must not be too informal with employees she supervises or with other managers, the majority of whom are male. If she masculinizes her speech too much, she may be perceived as a threat to established business and social norms, which she has already violated by becoming a manager in the first place. Men must maneuver their language to account for the politeness of Japanese language as well, but they have much more linguistic flexibility. Japanese women’s business etiquette training propels them to speak “politely, kindly, and beautifully.” On the other hand, they recognize that this discourse serves larger strategic ends. In the exceedingly polite world of Japanese business, exceedingly more polite linguistic femininity can be advantageous for their businesses. It might be referred to as using the “soft touch,” not only to get what they want in an increasingly competitive, intercultural environment, but to create acceptable “non-traditional femininities” for the next generation of women in a variety of institutional contexts (Dickel, 2013; Okamoto, 2013; Itakura, 2014). For better or worse, Japanese language has a much greater impact on the way Japanese women carry out their professional lives.

Manga Despite these patterns, language change follows social change and Japanese women are adopting linguistic strategies to deal with linguistic conflict. Fueled by media, globalization, and social diversity, women from a variety of social classes and subcultures are using various formats to gradually defeminize traditional language. Research on manga, the hugely popular Japanese comics consumed by Japanese from all backgrounds and across the age spectrum, supports this trend. Manga is niched to serve all varieties of readers. Shojo manga targets elementary through high school girls, and ladies manga targets women in their forties and older who are in more traditional roles, especially home-based mothers whose lives revolve around family, children’s schooling, and accommodating in-laws (Ito, 2002). As expected, shojo manga pushes linguistic limits with discourse that is less traditionally feminine than what is found in ladies manga. Shojo’s characters use language defined as moderately feminine, moderately masculine, or neutral. When angry, they may use strongly masculine forms. Ladies manga reflects stronger feminine forms but this, too, demonstrates that “unconventional” feminine speech linguistic changes are creeping in. Gendered formal linguistics can be readily identified in written Japanese. Manga for all audiences shows less feminization. As indicated below, what is written about, however, is still likely to mesh with traditional roles stereotyped by gender and age (Ueno, 2006:22–23). LADIES MANGA An irritated mother-in-law talking to her son: You just heard it, didn’t you? Isn’t it awful? Your wife yelled at her husband’s very important mother. An irritated mother talking to her daughter: Things like your childhood dreams often change, so for now, just study hard. Understand? SHOJO MANGA Daughter speaking to her friend about her father: He is just a stubborn old man. I wonder why mom married someone like that.

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Manga reinforces other communication styles that are rapidly emerging in subcultures of young women throughout Japan. Online virtual communities have “reappropriated” women’s language in enactments of “gothic/Lolita” displays of fashion and appearance. Referred to as “costume play,” or kosupure, young women create subcultures that are linguistically and role distinctive, but definitely nontraditional (Gagne, 2008). The virtual worlds transfer to the physical world as young women congregate on safe Tokyo street corners in their online “outrageous” costumes and speak a language only they understand. Whether the degree to which women’s language will be enacted as the youthful occupants of the gothic/Lolita subcultures and the readers of shojo manga get older is unclear. Gender roles associated with marriage and the family in Japan remain quite traditional (Chapter 6). On Monday morning, girls return to high school wearing their traditional, conservative uniforms almost indistinguishable from those worn by their mothers and grandmothers.

EXPLAINING GENDERED LANGUAGE PATTERNS Explanations for the gendered language patterns discussed in this chapter are grouped according to conventional models sociolinguists label as dual-culture, dominance, and social constructionist. These models are also generally compatible with the theoretical paradigms in sociology and, as such, associated with corresponding strengths and criticisms of each.

Dual-Culture Model The dual-culture model argues that the interaction styles of males and females are separate but equal. Also referred to as the “difference” or “separate worlds” approach, the dual-culture model emphasizes that because childhood socialization puts boys and girls into separate subcultures, they develop different communication styles. If miscommunication occurs, it is due to lack of cultural (subcultural) understanding rather than male power or deceit (Tannen, 1990; Kendall and Tannen, 2015). Girls learn language to negotiate relationships and establish connections, and boys learn it to maintain independence and enhance status. The dual-culture model avoids women-blaming or female deficit in language. In important ways, the dual-culture model is compatible with functionalism. Functionalists maintain that language serves to enhance consensus that binds people to their culture, and that social equilibrium is helped when one’s language, including its nonverbal elements, is used and accepted by everyone. Functionalists suggest, therefore, that gender differences in language are useful for maintaining this equilibrium and minimizing confusion in communication. As noted, children’s use of linguistic markers (lady caveman) when there is a mismatch between perception and reality suggests this argument. From this perspective, it is better to avoid the confusion than to change the pronoun. It also implies that when people communicate in ways that reinforce traditional gender roles, there is less possibility for disrupting social patterns.

Critique There is support for the separate tenet but not the equal tenet of the dual-culture model. The model overlooks the cultural context of conversation and does not consider that along

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with gender, people bring with them other statuses that offer varied degrees of power that influence communication and perception of the speaker. Intersecting statuses of race and gender, for example, highlight this criticism. Housing agents and employers have the opportunity to discriminate against people of color because they can often determine race if the first contact is from a phone conversation. African American linguistic styles are associated with perceptions about lower academic achievement regardless of the actual achievement. A white woman compared with a man or woman of color is likely to have an advantage in these situations. Whether perceptions of speaker stem from gender or race, they are not value-neutral and can lead to inequity. Overall, stereotyped beliefs about style of speech are stronger for race than gender (Craig et al., 2012; Craft el., 2020). Although these patterns suggest that racism is more prevalent and commands more force than sexism, separate is not equal.

Dominance Model Robin Lakoff’s (1975, 2005) groundbreaking work helped lay the foundation for the dominance model, arguing that gendered language reflects women’s subordinate status. Nancy Henley (1977, 2002) extended this hypothesis to nonverbal behaviors, including facial expressions, body movements, gaze, and interruptions. Compatible with conflict theory, the dominance model explains gendered language use according to the power differences between men and women. The structure and vocabulary of English, such as the acceptability of male generics, have been fashioned by men, and they retain the power to name and to leave unnamed. Data on interruptions provide another example. Interruption is an attempt to dominate and control a conversation by asserting one’s right to speak at the expense of another. The dominance model views men’s interruption of women as the right of a superior to interrupt a subordinate. Female subordination is reinforced through use of hedges, tag questions, and conversational cooperativeness. Gender differences are explained by socialization of girls into less powerful feminine roles that teach them to be demure, attractive, and aiming to please. Girls and women adopt language patterns reinforcing socialization patterns that keep them from acting as independent or nonsubordinate agents. Speaking in the cyberworld offers a good example of the contemporary view of the dominance model. Although supposedly not “owned” by any one group, the Internet is dependent on seemingly undetectable technical language and codes without which all CMC would be impossible. Both in the literal and symbolic sense, code literacy is virtually owned by males. Men who sexually harass online and who use adversarial, combative, and violent and abusive communication styles manifest the dominance model. To have the last and decisive word grants the virtual speaker possession of the field. Instead of facilitating a gender-neutral environment, in terms of communication, cyberspace has magnified a devaluation of female-identified speech. (Herbst, 2009:135)

Critique Contrary to the dominance model, differences in status do not explain larger gender differences in nonverbal behavior and why the gender differences persist even when men and

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women occupy similar statuses. For example, women still smile more than men and talk less than men, even when they share equal statuses as professionals. For verbal behavior, the dominance model’s emphasis on the superiority associated with male speech and the inferiority associated with female speech implies that women are victims of culturally determined speech patterns that they may not be aware of or cannot control. Feminist reinterpretations of the dominance model, however, suggest that women gain power by using gendered communication patterns to their advantage. Throughout the personal and professional contexts they traverse, women recognize and negotiate the troubling constraints and pitfalls of gendered language to achieve the desired speech competency (Mills, 2012:240). A good example is that a greater amount of direct eye contact may be interpreted as assertive, with strength rather than meekness being communicated. Status equals look directly at each other. Status unequals do not. Women who want career advancement can adjust their eye contact so that they appear not quite as watchful but still adequately deferential to their superior. A female executive in the boardroom adjusts her nonverbals—such as amount of eye contact—to the situation according to the image she wants to project. She is practicing impression management to highlight her (superior) executive status and to de-emphasize her (subordinate) gender status. If men dominate women in verbal arguments, women’s visual behavior during the argument may be more dominant. If the language of cooperation is more beneficial than the language of competition in certain contexts, then women’s communication skills honed while developing friendships may offer an advantage. It is sexist to conclude that women’s speech is weak just because a woman is doing the talking. If female register is associated with powerlessness, it occurs in a society that values consensus less than competition and connection less than independence. Finally, social change in the direction of gender equity in other institutions is making its way into language. Female and male communication patterns are becoming more and more similar. Even in the virtual world female users, supporting one another and advocating for inclusion, such as in gaming, are forces behind recent successes of online communities, throwing into question the dominance–power explanation (Choi et al., 2012; Naidoo et al., 2020). This bodes well for the decrease of linguistic sexism in CMC and in larger media outlets, serving as a springboard for such decreases in other institutions.

Social Constructionist Model As used by sociolinguists, the ascending explanation for gendered language is the social constructionist (SC) approach. It is important to note that this usage does not distinguish the newer SC model from narrower symbolic interaction (SI) (see Chapter 1). By highlighting how language as a symbol shapes our perception of reality, how reality is redefined by altering language, and how interpersonal communication is negotiated, SI is embedded in sociolinguistics’ social constructionist model. This chapter highlighted evidence that the use of masculine generics, for example, makes it difficult to “image” women cognitively. Social constructionists emphasize that languages such as English produce genderlects, socially defined linguistic categories, such as male generics, that give more prominence and visibility to males. During the crucial primary socialization years when language learning occurs, children internalize views that contribute to the marginalization of girls and women. In a language framework, the social constructionist model focuses on the setting of the conversation and on the use of impression management in interpreting gendered language. It is clear

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that both women and men organize their talk via gendered norms but alter it to their advantage, such as for gaining dominance or for enhancing connections, as they move between conversational settings. Gender differences in conversational topics are largely determined by speakers’ opportunities to express their interests regardless of the power they bring to the setting. Much research suggests that women leaders in business and politics demonstrate agency in their communication strategies in ways that are both agenic and communal (Chapters 10 and 14). They reframe negotiations to adhere to the expectation of politeness associated with female register and style of communication but they still get what they want out of the negotiations. Japanese women are adept at manipulating linguistic boundaries to their advantage moment by moment in male-dominated contexts (Tench et al., 2017; Sato, 2018). For moderated online courses, the constructionist model offers more support than either the dual-culture or dominance model. Men and women use fine-tuned gendered language that changes as the online context changes. This may explain why women prefer social media as a bonding mechanism that can extend to men as well as women. As we move into more multicultural, diverse contexts of speaking, social constructionists alert us to be attuned not only to gender, but also to the backgrounds and cultural characteristics of all speakers. The flexibility and choice offered by various contexts of conversation distinguish the social constructionist model from competing explanations.

Critique As discussed, there is no definitive distinction between SC as used by sociolinguists and SI as used by sociologists. The very strength of the SI-embedded social constructionist model that relies on the conversational setting and the impression management practiced within it, makes it difficult to generalize explanations for gendered language to other settings. Context is always a moving target for choices in language and speech. Since generalization is a necessary ingredient for science, meaningful (social) scientific explanations are jeopardized. Specific features of various communication contexts to predict how speakers adjust their linguistic strategies as they move between contexts need to be investigated. In addition, the harmful effects of gender stereotypes are not overcome with individual attempts at impression management when language is (purposely) altered. Gendered social structures are ushered into all communication contexts. The mezzo sociological social constructionist paradigm that bridges micro–macro perspectives (Chapter 1) may offer a better model to understand the persistence of these stereotypes. SC is supported by rapidly ascending intersectional explanations for linguistic sexism. These explanations incorporate the reciprocal influences of gender, individual identity (micro), and key social categorizations (macro) that accentuate the power dynamics in relationships, such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, and social class, that are brought to (invade) any speech encounter (Levon, 2015:295). With intersectionality in the forefront, the choice of one explanation over another is directly linked to the effectiveness of feminist strategies for reducing the effects of linguistic sexism (McElhinny, 2014; Abbou and Baider, 2016).

THE IMPACT OF LINGUISTIC SEXISM Language subtly, and not so subtly, transmits sexist notions that are harmful to both men and women in many social milieus. In corporations, for example, the most important discussions

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related to stock forecasts are the quarterly earnings conference calls. Male executives speak over 90 percent of the time during these calls, because they far outnumber women, but also because they “just talk more,” such as giving a five-minute answer to a thirty-second question asked by a female executive. This mezzo-level research suggests that, compared with men, women analysts are bolder and more accurate in their forecasts, but their voice, literally, is drowned out by talkative men, whether in conference calls or in the boardroom. Corporate America, ironically, is aware of the skill differences between men and women (Maranz and Greenfield, 2018:B6). Yet ensuring balanced gender representation among executives, that simultaneously can reduce widespread linguistic sexism in business, remains elusive. The negative effect of linguistic sexism is additionally demonstrated by macro-level research that makes a causal connection between gender-marking in language and wage inequality: nations with a higher level of such marking have a higher gender wage gap and higher overall inequality (Shoham and Lee, 2018).

Cognition and Self-Esteem Language influences our perceptions of what is proper, accepted, and expected. When we hear the words man and he, we conjure up male images. When she is associated with nurses and homemakers, men are linguistically excluded. The use of male pronouns in a century of books is associated with women’s status over time. More female pronouns are used when women’s status is high; fewer when it is low. Since English has “grammatical gender” that is normative in the use of masculine terms and pronouns, women can be relegated to invisibility. Women report lower self-efficacy and goal orientation when reading masculine generics compared with gender-neutral forms (Vainapel et al., 2015; Gabriel and Gygax, 2016). Women’s invisibility is heightened when alternative images remain unexpressed because they remain unimagined. Ambiguous interpretations of masculine generics not only bias cognitions, but also differentially affect the self-esteem of people who read, hear, and use them. Those who use sexist language in written form are also likely to use it in oral form. During primary socialization, boys internalize masculine generics that they apply to their expanding environment, with their sense of well-being linked to that environment. When girls begin to expand their environments, they have no such set of referents. They must adopt symbols that are different and separate from the symbols used to identify people in general. Language learning also produces a double bind for women who are socialized into believing they must speak politely, shun explicit sexually-based humor, and refrain from “man talk.” Women’s language is associated with maintaining both femininity, associated with communion, and civility, associated with lack of confrontation. When female register ignores, deprecates, and stereotypes, women can internalize beliefs that they are lesser persons. Women do appreciate “sexually themed” humor, but not when it suggests violence or aggressiveness toward women (Schiau, 2017). The typical responses to women who express their dislike of being the targets of degrading sexual humor are: “Can’t you take a joke?” and “Don’t take it personally.” As noted from CMC, women are aware of negative repercussions that come with confrontation and may believe silence is justified. Language learning for girls may be the counterpart to the difficulty boys may experience in gaining a sense of identity from incomplete information they are offered during primary socialization (Chapter 3). In either case, the socialization road is not easy.

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Resistance to Language Change The evidence that sexist language creeps into our perceptions and does damage to both men and women is strong. Yet despite this evidence, people who would work fervently on other gender issues, such as issues related to equal pay, domestic violence, or same-sex marriage, are mystified or even angry when issues revolving around language surface, calling to change language to make it more inclusive. Similar to the type of ridicule that surfaced when Ms. was introduced, media reports tell us that he is now a loaded word and that no one dares to show insensitivity to gender-neutral terminology in public, with people preferring to offend against rules of grammar rather than against women’s sensibilities. Women should not be insulted but should remember that gender may be unrelated to sex in language. (The Economist, 2001:20) In this condemnation, rules of grammar are more important than how they are used against people, and women are denied any response, emotional or otherwise, by being told how they are supposed to feel. Those who advocate for gender-inclusive language are often labeled derisively as “politically correct” in the media. The label sarcastically implies that people are required to change terminology on frivolous, inconsequential, and unreasonable grounds.

Formal Change Although people tend to oppose what they perceive as invented language, examples from linguistic history indicate that “artificial” change may not be resisted if gender stereotypes are left untouched. The use of he as the required pronoun for referring to a single human being of indeterminate sex came into usage during the eighteenth century in England and the United States. Formerly, they or he or she were considered proper choices. The use of they as a plural word to identify a single entity was disdained by several powerful educators and self-styled language reformers who were able to establish he as the rightful substitute. An 1850 British Act of Parliament stated that “words importing the masculine gender shall be deemed and taken to include females.” In both instances, language change occurred by fiat, not through “natural” evolution. Although the earlier usage may not have been as grammatically sound, it was certainly more accurate. It also created a great many interpretive problems. As we saw, still in us today, he is presumed to be both generic (he = he and she) and nongeneric (he = he). The quick acceptance of the generic rested on cultural definitions that gave males more worth than females. To make language gender-neutral today, it is necessary to challenge the taken-for-granted belief that males are regarded more highly than females.

Language Change as Gender Success Despite resistance and inconsistent usage, linguistic sexism is on a rapid decline. In formal communication, such as in academic and corporate settings and in broadcast journalism, inclusive language is now normative. Many writers use he/she, she/he, or s/he, or they, to explicitly note that both males and females are being discussed, using forms you will find throughout this book. Of these options, although they is most accepted because writing can be altered, inclusive replacements for outmoded terms also are being ushered in. For instance,

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many use “first-year student” to replace the archaic and noninclusive use of freshman. Such changes offer the least cumbersome, most accurate, and now largely accepted solutions to the generic problem. Preferences notwithstanding, corporate and government offices, health care facilities, and public settings such as courtrooms and police precincts now typically require the use of Ms. when referring to adult females. Recognition of the harm of sexist language, and, in turn, the benefits of gender-neutral language is widespread (Kuhn and Ute, 2014). There is much support for incorporating inclusive language in government settings, schools, and media. Female teachers and young writers are agents of change, selecting reading material, adopting inclusive language, and showing ways to avoid the generic he (Pauwels and Winter, 2006). Prompted by requirements in virtually all style manuals, organizations, professions, and academic disciplines are adopting inclusive language standards in their correspondence, publications, and websites. News media have powerful influences on public perception. Broadcasters now routinely report on the “men and women” in uniform or “service members.” Ironically this neutral designation explicitly calls attention to gender and marks the fact that both men and women are in harm’s way. Written, entertainment, and broadcast media are also less likely than even a decade ago to use the generic he to refer to politicians, journalists, scientists, and world leaders. There are simply too many exceptions to expect audiences to overlook glaring noninclusive language. Masculine generics are on the verge of extinction. Another powerful catalyst against linguistic sexism emerged from the LGBTQ community and is credited with two current trends. Lurking behind the use of generics is the issue of how language challenges or reinforces the gender binary. Ms. or Mr. are largely acceptable, but the titles still indicate gender. Mx (pronounced “mix”) is trending today as a title for those who want to avoid specifying their gender at all. Like the use of Ms. a generation ago, it is contested for where and when it should be used. Some schools allow teachers and students to use it. Some businesses allow employees to use it. Fraught with political tensions, most government offices are reluctant to embrace it. A second trend is the use of “they/them” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. This usage is found in centuries of writing, including Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Austen. More important, usage is justified as an affirmative way to accommodate those who identify as “gender nonbinary.” Even if it is possible to incorporate the “plural they” by changing sentences, there is still the need for a pronoun for nonbinary people. The big boost for accepting the usage comes from the prestigious “go-to” Associated Press Stylebook, which now considers it proper grammar and word choice (Moore, 2018:A7). Pronouns such as they/them and titles such as Mx. may seem small ways to acknowledge someone’s identity, but they also open the door for dialogue about diversity and inclusion in a binary world. Although gender differences cut across context on many linguistic behaviors, girls and boys and men and women are more alike than different. Differences that do exist, especially in nonverbal communication, are differences in degree—not kind. Gender differences in conversational topics are getting smaller. The language of consensus and cooperation is moving into the workplace. This style of language is being socially reconstructed as beneficial for both employee satisfaction and company profit. Depending on context, men are displaying more self-disclosing nonverbal behaviors such as a quick hug of another man as a greeting rather than using the mechanical handshake of the past. Watch Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, or Conan O’Brien as confirmation. Such behaviors are approved by both men and women and enhance the rating of the shows and the likability of the male television hosts.

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Reread this chapter’s opening quote. Fifty years of commentary on the simple word “a” is a testimony to the weight, awareness, and decline of linguistic sexism. This is evident, too, in that NASA includes “a man” in every official message documenting this momentous event. Neil Armstrong himself worked tirelessly to rectify his error, if indeed there was one. By highlighting the word “a” over time, he certainly “got the word out” about the importance of gender inclusiveness in language. In his words, I thought I said it. I can’t hear it when I listen on the radio reception here on Earth, so I’ll be happy if you just put it in parentheses. (Associated Press, 2012)

KEY TERMS Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) Dominance model

Dual-culture model Genderlects Linguistic sexism

Nonverbal communication Register


Western History and the Construction of Gender

Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. —Jane Austen, Persuasion, 1818 Portending Jane Austen’s sentiments, in 1801 an anonymous author wrote in the Female Advocate, an American publication: “Why ought the one half of mankind, to vault and lord it over the other?” Reflecting an egalitarian model far ahead of its time, both writers identified a critical need to explore the other half of humankind. Distinguished historian Gerda Lerner (1920–2013), also a founding member of the National Organization of Women, extends this message to contemporary scholars. She suggests that the recognition women had been denied in their own history “came to many of us as a staggering flash of insight, which altered our consciousness irretrievably” (Lerner, 1996:8). This insight reverberated throughout the academy, and as a result, the field of women’s history rapidly expanded. Historians increasingly embrace their work as a record that connects the past to give meaning to the present. To explain the differential status of women and men in contemporary society, it is necessary to examine the impact of powerful historical forces constructing gendered attitudes. Scholarly work is scrutinizing the past with the goal of uncovering hidden elements in the lives of women from all ranks. As we will see, these uncovered elements are vastly different from centuries of discourse that highlighted a limited, circumscribed set of “proper” roles for women. These discourses date back to the earliest writings of the Greek philosophers and center on debates about women’s place, women’s souls, and women’s sexuality, and the suitability of women for marriage and procreation. Writings of this type were used, and continue to be used, to justify a patriarchal status quo. What is clear is that the centuries of debate on “women’s themes” do not constitute a women’s history. Another pioneering women’s historian, Mary Ritter Beard (1876–1958), asserted that in the 2,500 years history has been written, most male writers overlooked the histories of females. In historical writing, the whole of human experience has been dominated by the political, economic, and military exploits of an elite, powerful group of men. From the historical glimpses in this chapter, we will find that throughout history, women have assumed a multitude of vital domestic and nondomestic roles, many of which were ignored or relegated to inconsequential historical footnotes.

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PLACING WOMEN IN HISTORY With a strong feminist thrust, the revitalized women’s movement of the 1960s provided the catalyst for the independent field of “women’s history” to emerge. In the 1990s, many historians shifted to “gender history.” The distinction is an important one. Historians favoring a gender history approach focus on the power dynamics between men and women. Those favoring a women’s history approach tend to focus on social history, also called the “new social history,” that studies the lives and experiences of ordinary people. Women are the largest category in this history. Although there is general agreement as to what is not included in these categories, scholars do not agree on what the approach, content, and boundaries of the fields should or must include (Dayton and Levenstein, 2012; Gabaccia and Maynes, 2012). There is broad consensus, however, that because women and men experience events and traverse parallel, not necessarily overlapping worlds around them in qualitatively different ways, the starting point must be on those very experiences. Both gender and women’s history ask why women have a profoundly different historical experience from that of men. Since social history employs theories and methods of sociology to understand the interdisciplinary linkage between social and historical patterns, it can be explored from gender and women’s historical perspectives. This chapter includes both. Since women have basically been left out of historical writing, the first attempts at reclaiming their historical place centered on combing the chronicles for “appropriate” figures to demonstrate the existence of female notables of similar authority and ability to male. If there was Peter the Great, there was Katherine the Great. Referred to as compensatory history, this approach chronicles the lives of exceptional women and does not provide much information about the impact of women’s activities to society in general. Another track is contribution history, documenting women’s contributions to specific social and political movements. Their activities, however, are judged not only by their effects on the movement, but also by standards defined by men. Lerner suggests that we can certainly take pride in the achievements of notable women, but these kinds of histories do not describe the experience of the masses of women who remain invisible to the historical record. If females are peripheral in history, then some groups of females are even more peripheral. Both compensatory and contribution history parallel historical standards that, until recently, ignored society’s nonelites—the men and women of classes and races defined as marginal to society. Social history is perhaps the best inclusive approach to the past in account for their lives and cultures. A balanced history makes visible women and other marginalized groups and, in turn, affirms their identity.

The Intersection of Gender, Race, and Class in History Even though the relationship of gender to power is the foundation of women’s history, scholarship from African American and Latino women historians effectively argues that a ­gender-based male/female dichotomy falsely homogenizes women. The critical intersection of gender, race, and class must be in the historical foreground. Women’s history is again being reconceptualized to understand the power dynamics between men and women and how these unfold between women of different races and social classes. Related to this is the

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concern that when the historical experiences of women of color become chronicled, they may be acknowledged according to race, yet within another dichotomy—people of color versus white. Other categories such as sexuality and ethnicity, however, are still missing. A diversity (multicultural) framework should also be incorporated to allow a simultaneous exploration of the interplay of all these categories, providing a way to organize a truly inclusive history of women. With the rapid sophistication and mainstreaming of women’s history, feminist scholars endeavor to account for all these dimensions.

Historical Themes about Women It is impossible to provide a full historical reckoning of women’s and gender history. The intent here is to overview key historical periods important in influencing attitudes and subsequent behavior concerning gender, as well as to offer updates as emerging gender themes augment perspectives on the historical record. The focus is the historical paths in Western society that lead to current thinking about gender roles of American women and men. As mentioned in the first chapter, history illustrates the impact of misogyny, the disdain and contempt of women that propels their oppression. This reflects the first of two important themes to be overviewed. The first stems from gender history and is the theme of patriarchy; it relates to the power of men over women and the subjection and victimization of women. This theme is central to all feminist scholarship on women, regardless of discipline. Countering the implicit woman-as-victim approach, the second theme explores the resistance of women to patriarchy, focusing on stories of courage, survival, and achievement as women throughout history leveraged agency for individual and social benefits. This alternative view indicates that although women’s history is still unfolding, it has issued a formidable challenge to traditional thinking on gender roles. Feminist historical scholarship has challenged gendered dichotomies, for example, related not only to race and class, but also to categories defined in oppositional terms. This scholarship is abandoning “versus” in describing categories related to nature and nurture, work and family, and private and public spheres of men and women. Like feminist scholarship in sociology, this theme reflects the interdisciplinary thrust of social history. Multicultural factors are included in this thrust. This thrust reflects the second theme and considers how gender, race, and class intersect with other cultural components, such as region and religion, and coming later in historical renderings, the component of sexuality. Culture is used in the broadest sense to highlight diversity and to provide for more inclusiveness in a gender and a women’s historical record. Many of these cultural components are explored from a global perspective in Chapter 6. With these thrusts in mind and the inclusiveness they entail, the social history approach provides the framework for this chapter for several reasons. First, this approach scrutinizes the historical record to discover the roots of patriarchy and how this influenced misconceptions about the roles of women and attitudes about these roles. Second, it supports women’s history by borrowing from, and merging scholarship, in different disciplines. This interdisciplinarity challenges the narrow line of political history, that focuses on (white) men who make war, by examining other institutions, their linkages to large-scale social processes, and to the “many dimensions of human experience,” such as the economics of families and households. Third, and most important, it is a history of “most women,” the massive group whose contributions to their societies and whose response to the multiple oppressions they faced in their everyday lives had been ignored. Her-story, developing in tandem with social history, allows for a balance to the historical record (Scott, 2018:21).

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CLASSICAL SOCIETIES The foundation of Western culture is most often traced to the Greek and Roman societies of classical antiquity. Western civilization is rooted in the literature, art, philosophy, politics, and religion of a time that extends from the Bronze Age (3000–1200 bce) through the reign of Justinian (565 ce). The period between 800 bce and 600 ce witnessed spectacular achievements for humanity. With the achievements came ideological convictions that persist in modified form today. The dark side of classical societies was laced with war, slavery, deadly competitions, and a brutal existence for much of the population. Inhabiting another portion of this cordoned-off world was democracy, literacy, grace, and beauty. These opposites serve as a framework from which to view the roles of women. Like the societies themselves, the evidence concerning women’s roles is also contradictory. This contradictory evidence must be viewed in light of the fact that it is difficult to find the historical voices of classical woman that survived into the Renaissance. What we know about women and gender relationships in these societies is almost entirely from sources written by men.

The Glory That Was Greece The view of women in classical Greece (between the fifth and fourth centuries bce) varies according to the time, location, and sources examined. Greek literature, legend, and historical accounts are replete with references to the matriarchal society of Amazons, ruled by queens, inhabiting the treacherous terrain north of the Mediterranean world. Although shrouded in mystery, recent archeological evidence suggests the existence of warlike females in the region, buried with their weapons and horses, “that confirm Amazons were not merely figments of Greek imagination” (Mayor, 2016: 969). Greek mythology saw them as female warriors who were capable with a bow and who had little need of men except as sexual partners. Greek heroes, such as Hercules and Achilles, were sent to the distant lands on the border of the barbarian world to test their strength against the Amazons. Because the Amazons invariably lost and were eventually raped by, or married to, the heroes sent to defeat them, some historians suggest that these myths were invented to reinforce beliefs about the inevitability of patriarchy and to insure women remained in domestic and sexual servitude (Man, 2018). Although all legends, by definition, may defy authentication, too much evidence exists to dismiss the Amazon stories outright (Mayor, 2014). We know that throughout Asia Minor and the Mediterranean during this period, there are innumerable references to physically strong women from nomadic societies who were leaders and soldiers, and where men and women shared tasks essential to daily survival.

Partnership Archaeological material from the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age period immediately predating the birth of Greek civilization provides substantial evidence of matrilineal inheritance, female creator images, the sexual freedom of women, the goddess as supreme deity, and the power of priestesses and queens, lending credence to the existence of a Minoan matriarchy (Joyce, 2008; Younger, 2016). Others contend that these ancient societies show neither matriarchy nor patriarchy as the norm. In this view, the inference that if women had high status, then men inevitably had low status does not necessarily follow. A generally egalitarian or partnership society is also possible.

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The egalitarian zenith was reached in the goddess-worshipping culture of Minoan Crete. Cultural historians define it as a high civilization because of its art, social complexity, peaceful prosperity, and degree of technological sophistication. With art and Christian scripture as key evidentiary linkages, the social structure of Minoan Crete likely conformed to a general partnership model between men and women (Eisler, 1995b). At the birth of civilization, women enjoyed more freedom, including less restraint on modesty, and partnership roles in emerging religions. Interaction and unity rather than separation and isolation may describe the gender norms of the time (Knoblauch, 2007; Spencer, 2013). The mythology of such cultures points to the absence of warfare, private property, class structure, violence, and rape. Referred to as the “Golden Age,” the mythology bolsters the view of a society where stratification based on gender was largely unknown. Evidence from the Amazonian myths through to Minoan Crete does not necessarily suggest that a matriarchal society ruled by women existed, but it does suggest plausible alternatives to patriarchy. Claims about women’s power in prehistory remain contentious, but Minoan civilization represents a society of well-being and prosperity in which women played a dominant role (Grammatikakis, 2011:968). This civilization challenges the claim that patriarchy is inevitable today because it was inevitable throughout history. Images of women in powerful, respected roles and of men and women working together as partners prove empowering to all women. Over time, a matrilineal system tracing descent from the female line was replaced with a patrilineal system. Goddesses who dominated the ancient world and then lost their central position as gods were added to religious imagery (Chapter 12). The mother of the later gods may have been an earlier goddess (Munn, 2006). Maternal religion declined as patriarchal theology was grafted onto it and patriarchy eventually prevailed. Patriarchy, however, did not completely dislodge the revered goddess from later Greek mythology. Religion was the realm where the women of ancient Greece maintained a degree of power and prestige.

Oppression The Amazon legends and goddess images perpetuated the belief that classical Greece revered women. Except for some circumscribed religious practices and important household roles, however, the Greek world saw women as inferior in political, social, and legal realms. Plato called for girls to be educated in the same manner as boys with equal opportunities open to them to become rulers, believing that a superior woman is better than an inferior man. In the Republic, he stated, “There is not one of those pursuits by which the city is ordered which belongs to women as women, or to men as men; but natural aptitudes are equally distributed in both kinds of creatures.” Alongside his supposed enlightened image of women, however, is Plato’s disdain of and antipathy toward women. In championing the democratic state, Plato was a pragmatist as well as a misogynist. He believed an inferior class of uneducated women might work against the principles of democracy, so he appeared to champion the emancipation of women. Greek antiquity marked a clear gender division of labor, but wives were judged on their ability to manage a household, roles acknowledged as vital to family and society (Lion and Michel, 2016:2). Women may “naturally participate in all occupations,” Plato continues, “but in all women are weaker than men.” Women were excluded from his academy, and no woman speaks in his dialogues. Indeed, women’s sexual nature could distract men from reason and pursuit of knowledge, so men and women must exist in separate worlds. Since scholars have difficulty resolving Plato’s position that women are equal but

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inferior, his dialectic on women continues to be hotly debated (Blair, 2012; Moore, 2016). In the end, Plato’s emancipated women were likely to be illiterate, isolated, and oppressed. It is Aristotle who is more representative of the Greek view of women. In Politics, Aristotle explicitly states that a husband should rule over his wife and children. Women are higher than slaves, but if slaves are naturally meant to be ruled by free men, then women, as inferior passive beings, are naturally meant to be ruled by men. The male, unless constituted in some respect contrary to nature, is by nature more expert at leading than the female, and the elder and complete than the younger and incomplete … The relation of male to female is by nature a relation of superior to inferior and ruler to ruled. (Aristotle, Politics Book I, cited in Clayton, n.d.) Without this culturally accepted image of women, the natural order would be violated. Given Aristotle’s profound influence on Western philosophical ideals his distinctive biological foundation for male-female differences serves as the foundation for centuries of discourse on the inferiority of women.

Athens The women of Athens could be described as chattels. At one point in Greek history, even a wife’s childbearing responsibilities could be taken over by concubines, further lowering a wife’s already subordinate status. Divorce was rare but possible. As a group, women were classified as minors, along with children and slaves. Aristotle speaks of a man without property who could not afford slaves but who could use his wife or children in their place. Husbands and male kin literally held the power of life and death over women. Some upper-class women enjoyed privileges associated with wealth and were left to their own devices while their husbands were away at war or serving the state. Considering the plight of most women of the time, these women achieved a measure of independence in their households largely because of the absence of their husbands for lengthy periods. But Athenian repression of women was so strong that wealth could not compensate for the disadvantages of gender. From a conflict perspective, the class position of a citizen woman belonging to the highest class was determined by her gender, “by the fact that she belonged to the class of women” (De St. Croix, 1993:148). Her male relatives could be property owners, but she was devoid of property rights. As a woman, therefore, her class position was greatly inferior. In Marxian terms, women were an exploited class regardless of the socioeconomic class to which they belonged. Athenian society did not tolerate women in public places except at funerals and all-female festivals; so, for the most part, they remained secluded in their homes, which were also segregated. Women had special quarters that were designed to restrict freedom of movement and to keep close supervision over their sexual activities. Similar to authoritarian contemporary societies, Athens established a formal police force to monitor and protect the chastity of women (Chapter 6). Mourning was ritualized, and women could not express their grief in public or at the funerals they were allowed to attend. The major exception to this norm was the “Panathenaia,” the most important of all festivals in honor of the patron-goddess Athena, the protector of crops. All Athenian society was involved in the festival—slaves, citizens, and men and women. Less important Athena

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festivals reflected the daily lives of women, and festival rituals initiated girls at puberty to prepare them for marriage (Håland, 2012). During the classical period overall, women performed religious rituals that relaxed rules and offered a level of empowerment for women otherwise living under strict patriarchal control (MacLachlan, 2017). The few successful women in this world of men were in three groups. One group consisted of those women who practiced political intrigue behind the scenes to help elevate their sons or husbands to positions of power. The second group was the hetairai, high-level courtesans whose wit, charm, and talent men admired. When pederasty was in vogue, men sought boys or other young men for their sexual and intellectual pleasure in relationships that also prepared boys for manhood (Cavanaugh, 2017). It was common for a man to change his sexual preference to women after spending his youth loving boys. The uneducated wives could not compete with the social skills and cultural knowledge exhibited by either the hetairai, thoroughly trained for their work from girlhood, or the sexually experienced, educated males they frolicked with earlier in life (Murray, 2000). The third and very tiny group was made up of the highly regarded wives and daughters of literate men. Philosophers such as Pythagoras were esteemed in classical Greece, and wealthier families could afford the luxury of becoming their disciples. They looked upon Pythagoras as divine, with the result that they turned over their wives to him in order that they would learn some of his doctrines. And so they were called “Pythagorean Women.” (From Diogenes Laertius, Life of Pythagoras, cited in Pomeroy, 2013). In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, also known as Helen of Sparta, was considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Like the courtesans of the day, her manipulation of men was her only means of self-preservation (Tsakitopoulou-Summers, 2013). However, throughout much of history—Western and non-western alike—a courtesan had a better life than a wife.

Sparta The subordinate position of Athenian women extended to most of the Greek world. When comparing Athens to Sparta, some notable differences can be ascertained. Sparta practiced male infanticide when newborns were deemed unfit, especially to become warriors. The extent of infanticide and whether girls were killed is unclear (Schrader, 2011). Regardless, it cannot be concluded that male infanticide indicated a higher regard for females in Sparta. It is significant only to the extent that Spartan society was organized around the ever-present threat of war and strongly influenced the roles of Spartan women. If Athenian men were separated from their wives by war, the situation was magnified in Sparta. Spartan men were either at war or preparing for it. Military life effectively separated husband and wife until he reached the age of 30. These years of separation, marked by infrequent visits by their husbands, allowed wives to develop their own talents and capabilities that would have been impossible in Athens. While the men were away, the women enjoyed a certain amount of freedom. Although the woman’s responsibility was to bear male children who would become warriors, girls were also expected to be physically fit. A strong value to promote both fitness and beauty in girls was encouraged through rigorous gymnastic training. Although the value was stronger for males, athletics valorized compliance and subordination of all individuals to the social

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order (Christesen, 2012). Compared to women in Athens, young unmarried Spartan women enjoyed a higher degree of freedom. In addition to physical activities, citizen women were expected to manage the household and all the associated properties. Women retained control of their dowries and were able to inherit property. In comparison to Athens, the free women of Sparta had more privileges, if only because they were left alone much of the time. But in the context of the period, the majority of women existed in a legal and social world that viewed them in terms of their fathers, brothers, and husbands (Powell, 2016). Subordination and suppression of women was the rule.

The Grandeur That Was Rome The founding of Rome by Romulus, traditionally dated at 753 bce, led to an empire that lasted until it was overrun by invading Germanic tribes in the fifth century ce. The Roman Empire evolved and adapted to the political, social, and cultural forces of the times and in turn influenced these very forces. Changes in gender roles mirrored the fortunes and woes of the empire. The prerogatives of women in later Rome contrasted sharply with the rights of women in the early days of the republic. It is true that women remained subservient to men and cannot be portrayed separately from the men who dominated and controlled them. But compared with the Greeks, Roman women achieved an astonishing amount of freedom.

Male Authority Early Rome granted the eldest man in a family, the pater familias, absolute power over all family members, male and female alike. His authority could extend to giving death sentences for errant family members and selling his children into slavery to recoup the economic losses of a family. Daughters remained under the authority of a pater familias throughout their lives, but sons could be emancipated after his death. Even after marriage, the father or uncle or brother still held the status of pater familias for women, meaning husbands had a more limited amount of control over wives. The absolute authority of the pater familias may have helped women in the long run. The right of guardianship brought with it a great deal of responsibility. A daughter’s dowry, training, and education had to be considered early in life. If she married into a family with uncertain financial assets, the possibility existed that she and her new family could become a continued economic liability. The pater familias exercised extreme caution in ensuring the appropriate match for the women under his guardianship. This system allowed for total power of the pater familias, but it also caused a great burden for that very power to be maintained. By the first century ce, legislation was passed that allowed a freewoman to be emancipated from a male guardian if she bore three children. The roles of child bearer and mother were primary, but they allowed for a measure of independence later in life. Like Sparta, Rome was always involved in warfare, and a declining birth rate was alarming. The abandonment of the pater familias rule functioned to decrease the economic burden women caused for the family. Emancipation in exchange for babies was an additional latent function.

Female Power Like other women throughout history, Roman women could amass some power without the authority granted to men via law. Compared to the Greeks, Romans recognized a wider role

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for women. In the civic realm, Romans acknowledged women’s productive role in the origins of the state and offered citizenship to select women. Religious life still retained vestiges of goddess worship, and women shared in the supervision of the religious cult of the household. The comparative power of women held in the religious life of the empire is reflected in goddess cults and the revered Vestal Virgins. These mortal women symbolized Rome’s economic and moral well-being. Although vestal virgins were open only to a select few, these women took on roles of great public importance. Recent evidence suggests that in addition to the Vestal Virgins, the larger Roman priesthood was cooperative and gender-inclusive. Women and men worked together to serve the people; this work often elevated women to high roles as priestesses. Roman women, however, knew their lives would be carried out as wives and mothers. Nonetheless, wives also carried out the business of the family while their husbands were on military duty. These roles gradually extended so that it became common for women to buy and sell property as well as inherit it and participate in the broader economic life of the society (Matz, 2012; Diluzio, 2016). Their expertise was both praised and criticized, especially as women amassed fortunes in their own names. The necessity for economic decision making could not be reconciled with a lifestyle of too much seclusion. The Greeks would have been astounded to see women in public roles and at dinner parties seated with men. Although most women remained illiterate, including upper-class women who had the most independence, women had greater opportunities for learning and were taught to cultivate music, art, and dancing. These women challenged a system in which they were otherwise chained to their husbands or fathers. Roman women were eventually granted the right to divorce. Although the emancipated woman was a rarity in Roman times, women could use social norms about virtuousness to their advantage. They were required to be modest and subordinate but also loyal and industrious. The latter allowed for more leadership roles in and outside their households (Hylen, 2014). Freedom is relative. Roman society allowed a few women of higher social standing privileges unheard of in Greek society. Religion was the one area where women exercised much control, but with few exceptions, religious dominance did not expand into other realms. That a sexual double standard existed is unquestionable. Women may have been more visible, but they were definitely not autonomous. Alas, even the revered Vestal Virgins could be condemned to a cruel premature death for slight transgressions deemed unworthy of a daughter of the state (Turney, 2016). When compared to almost any free males in Rome, the most privileged, assertive, independent, and visible women were still in bondage to men.

THE MIDDLE AGES When the Roman emperor Constantine reigned (306–337 ce), the empire was already in the throes of disintegration. Constantine’s decision to wed the empire to Christianity was politically astute because Christianity seemed to offer an integrative force in a period when the empire’s decline was accelerating. Constantine’s foresight on the impact of Christianity was remarkable. He did not envision, however, that the collapse of Rome would be instrumental in allowing Christianity to gain a firm grip on Europe that lasted throughout the Middle Ages. The Renaissance and feudal eras combined did not radically diminish this powerful hold. Christianity profoundly influenced the role of women. Compared to the pre-classical

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era, women’s status in the classical era markedly deteriorated. This already bleak situation was considerably worsened when Christianity dominated Europe during the Middle Ages, a time frame most commonly regarded as approximately 500–1500 ce.

Christianity To its credit, the Church, in the form of a few monasteries and abbeys, became the repository of Greek and Roman knowledge that surely would have been lost during the sacking, looting, and general chaos following the disintegration of the Roman Empire. The decline of a literate population left reading, writing, and education in the hands of the Church. The power of literacy and the lack of literate critics permitted the Church to become the irreproachable source of knowledge and interpretation in all realms. The Church’s view of life was absolute. If certain sentiments of the early Church had persisted, Christianity might not have taken on such misogynous overtones. Extending from Jewish tradition, the belief in the spiritual equality of the genders offered new visions of and to women. The ministry of Jesus included women in prominent roles, demonstrating spiritual equality in the steadfastly patriarchal society of the time (Chapter 12). Also, the Church recognized that women provided valuable charitable, evangelistic, and teaching services that were advantageous to the fledgling institution. Some positions of leadership in the Church hierarchy were open to women and served as models for women who might choose a religious life. The convent also served as a useful occupation for some women, particularly of the upper classes, who were deemed unsuited for marriage. It provided a place of education for selected girls and a sacred space for women to worship together without interference. Talented nuns were also poets, composers, and artists. Whereas the convent may have offered opportunities for women, the measure of independence they achieved as nuns was viewed with suspicion. Education for nuns eroded, and with more restrictions put on women’s ownership of land, it was difficult to found new convents. Distrust of the independent woman in Catholic Europe served to strip nuns of their autonomy, and in Protestant Europe, women were left without an acceptable alternative to marriage (Schulenburg, 2008; Madigan, 2015). Misogyny eventually dominated as the Church came to rely heavily on the writings of those who adopted traditional, restrictive views of women. Women were excluded from the few covenant communities teaching reading and writing. Biblical interpretations consistent with a cultural belief of the inferiority of women that placed the blame squarely on Eve for the fall of humanity became the unquestioned norm. As a fifteenth-century minister told his flock, when Eve conversed with Satan’s Eve … told him what God had said to her and her husband about eating the apple; … the fiend understood her feebleness and her unstableness and found a way to bring her to confusion. (Cited in Bardsley, 2007:173) Christianity also altered attitudes about marriage and divorce. Unlike in classical society, marriage could not be dissolved. Perhaps the only grounds for divorce were extreme cruelty to a wife by her husband. In England, husbands were legally allowed to beat their wives, but not “outrageously” or “violently.” A wife who won her case had to prove that the violence was so great that she was in danger of death (Gowing, 2012). Few women sued for separation, but those who did had a good chance of winning their case. Because divorce was

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unobtainable, women may have benefited if only for the fact that they could not be easily abandoned for whatever transgressions, real or imagined, their husbands attributed to them. Whereas childlessness was grounds for marital dissolution throughout history, even this was no longer an acceptable cause. However undesirable the marriage, it was inviolable in the eyes of the Church.

Witch Hunts With the medieval Church as a backdrop, misogyny during the late Middle Ages created an outgrowth for one of the most brutal periods of history concerning women—the time of the witch hunts. The woman who deviated from gendered norms generated the greatest distrust. If she remained unmarried, was married but childless, was regarded as sexually provocative, or was too independent or too powerful, she could be denounced as a witch (Briggs, 2002). Women who were not economically dependent on men—husbands, fathers, or brothers— may have been higher in social class, but like their sisters in classical societies, their gender class dominated all other statuses. Money and power condemned rather than protected them from the witch hunts. The power of the Church was directly related to the poverty of the people. Women who survived economically in their paid roles as healer, midwife, and counselor were particular targets of the witch hunts. Such women were admired for their expertise and sought out by the communities in which they practiced their professions. They were transformed into witches who symbolized evil and the wrath of God. With witches symbolizing disorder and disobedience, female power was on trial but so was the fear of female sexuality, reinforced by Christian theology’s view that sexual passion in women is irrational and potentially chaotic (Garrett, 2013; Elmer, 2016). The majority of victims in the European witch hunts were women. Although the label of “witch” was not reserved exclusively for women, in medieval Italy priests could be accused of “harmful magic” to seduce married women (Wieben, 2017:142). Witch hunts of this period displayed an eruption of misogyny that remains unparalleled in Western history with tens of thousands of women burned as witches, ostensibly to appease God’s anger for their sexual impurity. It was common for women to publicly confess to eating the hearts of unbaptized babies and, the most common condemning confession, having intercourse with the devil. God and the devil are enemies, and the methods of the devil worked well on weak women with evil temperaments; thus burning the witch upheld righteousness and morality and claimed a victory over Satan (Nenonen, 2012; Castell-Grandados, 2014). Smaller Catholic states (for example, present-day Germany) conducted the most witch trials in Europe, in turn culminating in the most executions (Farmer, 2016:9). It cannot be denied that the medieval Church’s attitudes about women’s sexual desires played a prominent role in sanctioning the witch craze. As in classical society, a woman’s uncontrolled sexuality—not a man’s—was instrumental in destroying social order.

Feudalism Built on mutual dependency and duty between lords and serfs, the feudal system’s rigid hierarchy was adapted to the ongoing threat of war and extended to all relationships. Lords, who in turn expected their serfs to fight when called upon, protected serfs and their families. All serfs owed their lives to the lord of the manor, and the wives of serfs owed their lives to their

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husbands. The lack of respect for serfs in general, and their wives in particular, is indicated by a custom that allowed the lord to confirm the virginity of the serf’s new bride on their wedding night. Women of noble standing fared somewhat better in their valuable role to forge power of the family lineage through arranged marriages, although here, too, the lord of the manor granted permission for any marriage. However, in this masculine-centered feudal universe, some noble women ascended to queenships, amassing both the power and respect that could be leveraged to extend the economic and political fortunes of their families, especially marriageable daughters (Earenfight, 2013). Queens were astute in dealing with the political intrigue necessary to assure the best match for their daughters. An unmarried noblewoman was a property worth guarding, her virginity a marketable commodity, ensuring the legitimacy of a male heir, uniting two houses, and perpetuating a noble lineage. At marriage, brides from all social classes were given in exchange for a dowry. In families with means dowries of money or jewelry were expected; serf families made do with dowries of cooking pots and clothing. Some customs required a bride to kneel in front of her husband-to-be to symbolize his power over her. As the lord of the estate controlled her husband, she was to be controlled by her lord and husband. Whether serf or noble, feudal wives had much in common.

Renaissance The last 300 years of medieval Europe, which included the Renaissance and Reformation, were years of ferment and change that inevitably encroached on all of women’s domains. In general, the Renaissance had positive effects on women throughout the socioeconomic spectrum. Educated aristocratic women became patrons of literature and art, many of them authors in their own right. Notably the women who emerged as scientists, writers, and artists were literate women largely of noble blood. As such, they were accorded some prestige for their accomplishments. But other forces were at work that kept traditional images of women from being seriously challenged.

Martin Luther and the Reformation With the Reformation came the disquieting notion that the Church hierarchy excluded people from embracing religiosity and deterring them from worship. Preaching a theology of liberation from the Church he indicted as too restrictive, Martin Luther (1483–1546) advocated opening Christianity to everyone based on faith alone. Critical of Aquinas’s view that a woman was imperfect, in essence a botched male, Luther argued that those who accused her of this are in themselves monsters and should recognize that she, too, is a creature made by God. Many women embraced Luther’s justification by faith principle, but some paid a heavy price as a result. For example, Anne Boleyn was beheaded in England not only as a convenience to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, but in her effort to strengthen Protestantism in England; Jane Grey and Anne Askew, who dared to criticize the Catholic mass, were tortured and executed. The degree to which the first women embraced Protestantism for personal, political, or social justice convictions is unclear. The Reformation did appear to offer an opportunity to present different interpretations of Christianity highlighting men and women’s spiritual equality that could serve to elevate the position of women.

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This was not to be the case. Luther himself presents a paradox. He promoted education for girls and boys, so they might read the Bible for themselves. Most important, his break with Rome centered on the praise of marriage, not simply for convenience and reproduction but also for companionship and spousal love. On the other hand, women might not be “botched males,” he still described the subordination of women as ordained by God, believing a marriage to be hierarchical, with a wife as a helpmate, always inferior to her husband (Kleinhans, 2015; Wiesner-Hanks, 2016). Theological statements of the time abound with themes of superior man and inferior woman. Women bear the greater burden for original sin because of Eve’s seduction by Satan. God’s natural order assigns women functions related to procreation, wifely duties, and companionship to men. Upsetting the natural order, such as a woman’s adultery, justified her being stoned to death, but the sentence did not extend to an unfaithful husband. As the Reformation reverberated throughout the Western world, there were no dramatic changes relative to the image of women under Christianity. The Renaissance generated the rebirth of art, literature, and music in a world that was rapidly being transformed by commerce, communication, and the growth of cities. As a force in people’s lives, Christianity now competed with formal education. Literacy expanded to more men and some women, opening intellectual life that had been closed to most except for clergy and nobility. Women made some economic headway by working in shops or producing products in the home for sale or trade. As money replaced barter systems and manufacturing increased, a new class of citizens emerged who were not dependent on either agriculture or a feudal lord for protection.

Critique Like other periods in history, the Renaissance presents contradictory evidence about women. The question whether women actually “had a Renaissance” depends on the answer to other questions: which women? Where were they located? What was their social class? Historians have scoured the hundred years (1580–1680) of this assumed Golden Age for records of female notables, and hundreds have been discovered or rediscovered (Wiesner-Hanks, 2008). These records provide abundant testimonies to the intellect, talent, and stature of women poets, artists, artisans, and musicians. Although they provide an image of the past that is affirming to women, they remain, as always, witness to extraordinary rather than ordinary women of the day. Social history provides a more inclusive view, and from this, several plausible conclusions can be drawn. The Renaissance witnessed women in more diverse roles. Many women, particularly lower-class poor women, migrated to the expanding cities and were employed as servants, barmaids, fishmongers, textile workers, and peat carriers, to name a few. More educated women not of noble blood established themselves as actresses and midwives. Although a woman was protected from financial destitution by marriage, a surplus of women in some European cities such as Amsterdam may have made marriage unattainable, but less disastrous, if she was employed. Prostitution also burgeoned during this period. Compared to wives and unmarried women (spinsters), widows in England enjoyed the most freedom because they could inherit property and were free to continue their husbands’ businesses. But with a stubborn religious foundation in place, misogyny continued to govern Europe. Women who ventured outside prescribed gender roles found themselves in precarious positions both socially and economically.

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THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Women’s history and American social history are fundamentally intertwined, a productive association for expansion of scholarship in both areas. Because social history focuses on previously neglected groups such as minorities and the working classes, women are brought in as part of that cohort. Until recently, the interest in women was largely confined to issues related to the attainment of legal rights, such as the suffrage movement. Only since the 1970s as the feminist wave took root have gender and women’s history in the United States come into their own. This new history issues three challenges: to reexamine gendered social relations, to reconstruct historical generalizations, and to reconfigure historical narrative (De Hart and Kerber, 2003). Similar to newer sociological models based on feminist theory (Chapter 1), these challenges from women’s history are laying the foundation for a paradigm shift in the broader discipline of history itself.

The First American Women As a prelude to this paradigm shift, women’s history is bringing to the surface a range of taken-for-granted assumptions about women in America. The first American women were Native American women, but this obvious fact was historically disregarded until recently. In those instances when it was not ignored, stereotyped and inaccurate portrayals based on European, Christian, patriarchal beliefs prevailed. Prior to colonization, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, at least 2,000 Native American languages existed, indicating the massive tribal diversity of the time. Given such diversity, it is difficult to generalize about the status of Native American women as a group. The archaeological and historical record (the latter based mainly on diaries, letters, and some ethnographic descriptions from the period) does allow some reliable conclusions, especially for coastal and Midwestern tribes such as the Seneca of western New York, the Algonquins distributed along the Atlantic coast, and a number of Iroquoian tribes scattered throughout the territories east of the Mississippi River. Accounts of American Indian women during this period can be interpreted in many ways, and much is dependent on specific tribes and who wrote the accounts. Missionary and European views of Native American women on the Eastern shores during the 1600s saw them as beasts of burden, slaves, and “poor creatures who endure all the misfortunes of life” (Riley, 2007). This led to the stereotypical and derisive “squaw” image, that was perpetuated by zealous missionaries, who generally saw Native Americans as primitive savages (Fischer, 2005). This image contrasts sharply with the historical record.

Gender Role Balance Ancient tribal systems can be described by balance, complementarity, and functional separation of gender roles. In tribal communities as regionally and culturally diverse as the Iroquois, Osage, Pueblo, Nez Perce, and Hopi, men and women were thought to represent two halves of the same environment as necessary pairs (Edwards, 2018). Gender segregation was the norm in many tribes, but it provided women with a great deal of autonomy. The success of the system depended on balanced and harmonious functioning of the whole, with work of both men and women viewed as functionally necessary for survival; even with a tribal

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leadership hierarchy, one group would not be valued or, more importantly, devalued in comparison to the other. In sociology, this would be recognized as the classic functionalist model, void of judgments that define inferiority or superiority based on the tasks performed. Many tribal units were matrilineal and matrilocal, a man living in the home belonging to his wife’s family. Women were farmers and retained control over their agricultural products, feeding hungry settlers with their surpluses and influencing warfare and trade with the settlers through the power to distribute economic resources.

Tribal Leadership Native American women were also tribal leaders, many who represented gynocratic systems based on egalitarianism, reciprocity, and complementarity. In this sense, the leadership is suggestive of the partnership model said to represent some pre-Classical societies. Venerated for their wisdom, women were sought as advisers and as arbitrators in tribal disputes (Macleitch, 2007). As early as 1600, the constitution of the Iroquois Confederation guaranteed women the sole right to regulate war. John Adair referred to the Iroquoian gynocracy as a “petticoat government.” Among Virginia Indians, women often held the highest authority in their tribes and were recognized as such by white colonists. The English, fresh from the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603), “knew a queen when they saw one” (Lebsock, 1990). Another significant source of authority and prestige for Native American women was through their roles as religious leaders and healers. When roles of shaman and war leader coincided, women held very powerful positions, and in some tribes, the gods were women. In North American creation myths, women were the mediators between the supernatural and the earthly worlds and both men and women sought spiritual understanding through individual quests for vision. Fasting and seclusion were part of a woman’s spiritual quest. Menstruating women were believed to be so powerful that they could drain the spiritual power men required for hunting. Women would withdraw to menstrual huts outside the villages during this time. Is this interpreted as taboo and banishment? Scholars suggest that women probably welcomed the respite and saw it as an opportunity for meditation, spiritual growth, and the enjoyment of the company of other women (Evans, 2000). Again, although the worlds of men and women were rigidly separated, the balanced and cooperative system represented by these practices would serve to enhance gender solidarity.

Colonization and Christianity Colonization and Christianity were the most disruptive forces of ancient tribal patterns and, by extension, the status of women. The Iroquois Confederacy provided an image to the Europeans of a self-ruling inclusive democracy. But female participation in a democracy that was economically based on matrilineal–matrilocal clans mystified them. With increased European contact, women were gradually stripped of tribal political power and economic assets, becoming more defined, hence confined, by their domestic roles. Seen as a possible threat to the construction of the fledgling American society, Native women’s more equitable gender roles were supplanted by the patriarchal models Europeans took for granted. Conversion narratives effectively silenced the voices of these women and they began to look more and more like their subordinated colonial sisters (Gray, 2013). Christianity further eroded their powerful religious roles. The impact of Christianity on Native American

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women continues to be debated among historians. There is evidence from the writings of Father Le Jeune in 1633 about the tribes living on the St. Lawrence River that women were the major obstacles to tribal conversion. They resisted being baptized and would not allow their children to be educated at mission schools run by Catholic Jesuits. The women were accused of being independent and not obeying their husbands, and under Jesuit influence the men believed that the women were the cause of their misfortunes and kept the demons among them (Devens, 1996:25). Women were acutely aware that conversion to Christianity brought severe role restrictions. On the other hand, New England and Puritan missionaries, specifically the Quakers, had greater success in converting women. If change was gradual and the Indians could retain key cultural elements, the belief was that they would willingly accept the Christian message. This Christian Gospel did not obliterate native culture but “offered membership in God’s tribe” and attracted women by “honoring their traditional tasks and rewarding their special abilities” (Rhonda, 1996). Their culture could remain simultaneously Christian and Indian. Although historians disagree on the extent of Native American women’s resistance to Christianity and colonization, but scholars in the rapidly expanding field of American Indian women’s history accept that these women had higher standing in precontact America. (Stone, 2006; Rhea, 2016).

Colonial Era The first white settlers in America were searching for a version of religious freedom that had been denied expression in the Old World. The Puritans sought to practice a brand of Christianity without bureaucratic or doctrinal traditions they viewed as hampering devotion to God. In challenging the old order, however, the Puritans retained traditional beliefs about women.

Gendered Puritan Life Christian assumptions about male superiority carried effortlessly into the New World. Males were subordinate to God as females were subordinate to males. Puritan settlements such as the Massachusetts Bay Colony extracted the high degree of religious conformity considered necessary to the well-being and survival of the community. The Puritan community existed on obedience to the civil and moral law of the Old Testament as defined by the clergy. In the praise of social harmony, deviation from a clergy-sanctioned order was a threat to the social fabric. Nonetheless, Puritanism placed spiritual power in the individual. Cultivating women’s spiritual autonomy and religious development was encouraged, but only within the confines of a rigid patriarchal family structure. In 1637, Anne Hutchinson was banished from Massachusetts Bay for criticizing the minister’s sermons, for holding separate meetings for men and women who were of similar minds, and as documents from her trial indicate, for not fulfilling her ordained womanly role (Kerber et al., 2016:80).

Witchcraft Along with the threat of banishment, the convenient accusation of witchcraft kept potentially ambitious women in tow. An epidemic of witchcraft persecutions ravaged the Puritan

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colonies, fueled by images of independent and disobedient women who defied authority. The infamous Salem witch trials of 1690–1693 occurred when several adolescent girls and young women accused hundreds of older women of bewitching them. Invariably the older women were viewed as aggressive and threatening, out of character with the submissive women who knew their proper place in the Puritan community. With the community’s strict hierarchy at stake, it was not difficult to condemn people who diverged from their expected roles. Family relationships of many accused witches were marked by conflict. Women were accused of witchcraft for criticizing (“railing at”) their husbands, gossiping, or fermenting anger with neighbors (Sicius et al., 2012). There was also a powerful economic rationale to witchcraft. Many women condemned as witches had no male heirs and could potentially inherit larger portions of their fathers’ or husbands’ estates, thus producing more economically independent women. These women were “aberrations in a society designed to keep property in the hands of men” (Karlsen, 2004). Burning a witch was a convenient way to rid the colony of its aberrations, foil challenges to gender norms, and maintain the desired social order. Because religion extended to all areas of life and only men could be citizens, women were denied any public expression of their sentiments. When married, colonial women entered a legal status known as civil death. Based on English Common Law, the marital union meant that she could not vote, own property, sue or be sued, administer estates, sign contracts, or keep her children in the event of divorce. She had some control over property she brought to the marriage and could inherit property at the death of her husband, but she could not sell it. Marriage was sacrosanct, but divorce was rare but possible, mostly in cases of adultery or desertion. Family arrangements and limited divorce options ensured a version of palatable family harmony to the community and prevented destitute women from becoming the community’s responsibility. Puritan society was rigidly divided into public and domestic spheres. Although women had essential tasks in the domestic area, Puritan men still controlled both spheres. The other side of the picture required Puritan men not only to provide for the economic and physical needs of the family, but also to love their wives. The revolutionary idea that love and marriage must be connected was historically unprecedented; until this time, marriage was simply seen as an economic necessity (Chapter 7). If the couple happened to love one another, so much the better. The family was patriarchal, and marriage, although supposedly founded on love, fit into a family power structure that required a wife’s obedience to her husband. Puritan women also were valued because they were scarce. Most settlers were male, and because many colonies were obliterated by disease or starvation, the colonists knew that it was vital to repopulate or see their religious visions doomed. Some male colonists advertised in England for brides. Contrary to the overall derisive constructions of contemporary women, these first American “mail-order brides” were independent, respected, and powerful. Like other colonial women, they enjoyed a fairly high legal and social standing. A 1666 ad from the South Carolina colony promised the following: If any Maid or single Woman have a desire to go over, they will think themselves in the Golden Age, when Men paid a Dowry for their Wives; for if they be but civil and under 50 years of Age, some honest Man or other will purchase them for their Wives. (Zug, 2012:92) It is doubtful however, that potential brides overlooked the mixed messages in such ads related to an ideal life in the colonies but being purchased by a civil man. Women were also

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vital for their economic productivity in the family. Family survival, hence community survival, was tied to the efforts of both men and women. Vegetable gardening, weaving, canning, and candle and soap making contributed to the family’s economic fortunes, and these tasks were largely confined to women. Subsistence living was the rule, but surplus products could be bartered or sold. The family was the basic social unit for the colonists, and women were integral to its economic well-being.

A Golden Age for Colonial Women? Historians are at odds about the prestige of women during this period. Because there were far fewer immigrant women than men, and women were considered valuable, this leads some to suggest that the colonial period was a golden age for women. Although the colonists came to the New World with patriarchy strongly in place, adapting to the harshness of the environment required the modification of many beliefs. Strict adherence to gender roles was impossible for survival. Women had to be economically productive and had to have expanded roles. Outside the home, women engaged in merchant, trade, and craft functions. Women had legal rights as persons, not things (Smith, 2010; Witkowski, 2012). English Common Law intruded into the colonies, but it was often circumvented out of pragmatism rather than for religious intent. If a golden age mentioned in 1666 South Carolina existed, it had clearly declined by the late-eighteenth century. The family lost its centrality as the economic unit in society, to be replaced with a wider marketplace dominated by men. Women’s work was once again confined to activities that were not income producing. Colonial women became more dependent on their families for how their lives were defined. The American economy did not allow many opportunities for women to be wage earners. Resistance increased for women who, out of necessity more than desire, sought work outside their homes. The crucial element, however, is that Puritan ideology was based on the unquestioned assumption of female inferiority and subordination. The colonial environment was a modified version of Old World notions about women, discrediting the “golden age” thesis. Although there may not have been an idealized golden age; political participation, legal rights, and education enhanced women’s position and autonomy during the Revolutionary era. These changes kindled public discourse on women’s roles that served as a catalyst for later gender role change serving to benefit women.

The Victorians: True Womanhood The struggle for survival gradually diminished as Americans prospered on farms and in shops. As judged by customary economic contributions to the family, a middle-class woman’s productive role lessened, and her life solely revolved around housekeeping and childrearing. By the nineteenth century, her world had changed considerably. Victorian examples of womanhood made their way into magazines and novels directed toward women. Despite an undercurrent of liberal feminism that was fermenting during this period, periodicals targeted to middle-class women presented them with what is referred to as a “cult” of domestic femininity. Magazines popularized the new feminine ideal as True Womanhood, associated with the cardinal virtues of piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity. The Victorian middle-class home was to set a standard for morality; women were glorified in pulpits and in print as “angels of the home.” These became the venerated benchmarks on which society would judge them and on which they would judge themselves.

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Tied completely to her family, the middle-class woman found herself with time on her hands, a luxury not shared by her colonial sisters. Idleness was the reality, but it was transformed into a gentility striven for by many families. Gentility ushered in attitudes that women should be put on pedestals. Women were to be protected from the harshness of the world outside the home. Victorian femininity was equated with sexual, social, and political repression. The doctrine of separate spheres for the activities of women and men became firmly entrenched in the American consciousness. The strength of the True Womanhood cult was generally effective in silencing many voices of feminism that were being heard in Europe and America during the Victorian era. From pulpits throughout America, women were told that their home is the route to happiness and to resist voices calling them to other spheres. Supposedly, a woman did have a choice to define her rights and roles either inside or outside the home, as attested to by the Rev. Mr. Stearns: Yours is to determine whether the beautiful order of society … shall continue as it has been (or whether) society shall break up and become a chaos of disjointed and unsightly elements. (Welter, 1996:122) The Victorian era conjures up images of rigidity and repression, some that cannot be denied. Explorations into social history, however, provide alternative views. Many women traversed outside the bounds of propriety. Women of all classes, many by choice rather than necessity, ventured to the public sphere as paid workers, volunteers, reformers, and even athletes. White-collar occupations were opening for women, drawing America’s first female cadre of journalists, retail, health care, and clerical workers. Those who kept to the private household sphere traversed other boundaries as “scribbling women” novelists and poets. Others corresponded with lovers and male friends in sexually expressive ways, a pattern that flowed from the letters of the early nineteenth century (Lystra, 1989; Halpern, 2013). Courtship letters from African American women, like other Victorian women, reflect adherence to norms of decorum, but these women, most who were already employed, also challenged the separation of spheres doctrine. Rather than disparaging their public sphere life, they suggest self-determination and empowerment outside the bounds of households (Howard, 1996; Good, 2012; Roessner, 2013). Because one’s “actual” self can be disclosed in writing— whether letters, fiction, poetry, or narratives—it can be argued that women gained a sense of mastery not allowed in other parts of their lives. Although the Victorian vision of ideal femininity and ideal women was constructed from a white middle-class urban model, the vision was not lost on those who were virtually excluded from attaining it. Black women living on farms in the South, themselves the children and grandchildren of slaves, and immigrant women from working and lower-class backgrounds, were invited by magazines geared to them to share in the dream (Burt, 2013). The money to purchase the goods and domestic services for middle-class families, however, was unattainable for most women. Simultaneously, voices from the medical community cast non-white women in a category rendering them as distinctly inferior because of their race and their bodies. In childbirth, for example, “primitive” women give birth painlessly, but True Womanhood equated pain with femininity. Childbirth pain was necessary for “civilized” women (white, native-born, middle or upper-class), to solidify the mother–child bond and further reinforce the strict doctrine of womanly purposes of homemaking centered on

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childrearing (Rich, 2016:58). It is perhaps ironic that in this “no pain, no gain” analogy, nonwhite women might consider so-called painless childbirth an advantage! Clearly, however, women of all ranks exercised active control in adapting conditions of their domestic, sexual, and intellectual lives to adhere to social norms but also to meet their personal needs. Even under the edicts of True Womanhood, middle-class women had some freedom in working toward the causes they embraced, such as in movements for social justice and legal rights for women and minorities. The patriarchal family remained firmly entrenched and gender inequities intruded into domestic life, but Victorian women were able to achieve a modicum of autonomy. Gender role segregation enabled gender solidarity, which was nurtured by the emotional segregation of men and women. This allowed a female world in which a supportive, intimate network of female friendships and intimacy flourished, serving to empower women. Contemporary functionalism suggests that a focus on the rigidity associated with the Victorian era, particularly True Woman, overlooks the latent functions these very patterns provided for women.

Frontier Life Idleness was impossible on the frontier. Victorian America extolled the gentility and supposed frailness of white, middle-class women. Frontier society was disdainful of these very traits. As in the colonial era, women were vital for any settlement to be successful and were valued for their work both inside and outside the home. Through the hardship and deprivation of frontier life combined with lesser adherence to religious proscriptions concerning gender than in the colonial era, the pioneer woman achieved a degree of freedom and respect unlike previous periods of America’s brief history. The frontier experience began with the grueling trip West, which often took six months to complete. Faced with the deprivation of the trail, surviving the trip meant that the normal gender division of labor was suspended, with both women and older children filling expanded roles. Rather than viewing the situation as an opportunity for male–female equality, diaries from these women suggest that they saw themselves as invaders of a male domain. Although few women who emigrated West on the Oregon or Overland Trails came from the northeastern middle classes where the cult of True Womanhood reached its zenith, they were not immune to it either. In the journey West, women and men maintained separate worlds of existence as much as possible. Women created a specific female culture based on their roles of mother, healer, and nurse. Whereas men used the trip to fulfill dreams of bold achievement, heroism and camaraderie, many women found the experience lonely and isolating (LaSalle, 2011). The action and heroism of the trek west perpetuated by East Coast newspapers and magazines revealed more about the romance of heading West and less about the brutal effort in getting there. Life on the trail and later settlement in the West threw domestic roles in a state of disarray, but women appeared reluctant to redefine their boundaries to create anything but a temporary alteration of affairs. Although women often shared work and had overlapping functions with their fathers and husbands, gender remained the key variable in determining their duties and interests and kept them focused on their domestic lives. Remember, too, that Victorian notions of gender and gentility were fast eroding in this startlingly different environment, but these notions were not dislodged. It is not safe to conclude, however, that frontier women were passive. They exhibited a spirit of nonconformity, adventure, and extraordinary adaptation. Frontier settlements saw

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the necessity of woman’s labor not being confined to the home. The Homestead Act of 1862 propelled women to own and establish farms independently of fathers or husbands or to maintain their farms as widows. Child rearing was often left to siblings as wives worked in the fields. Subsistence farming required that as many goods as possible be produced and consumed within the home, with women taking the major responsibility to accomplish this. Isolated farms, prairie loneliness, and the daily harshness of frontier living generated the understanding that men and women, wives and husbands, depended on one another for physical and emotional survival. Both before and after the Civil War, African American men and women also trekked West, carving out new lives on frontier farms they purchased. In their struggle to eke out new lives on remote farms dotting the Western landscape, African American women and white women had much in common. These experiences served to elevate the status of women. Popular images of women as saints in sunbonnets, Madonnas of the prairies, and pioneer mothers abounded during the era of westward expansion, as did accounts of the deprivation, ardor, and premature aging associated with frontier life. Theodore Roosevelt himself celebrated frontier women. He evoked the frontier myth and elevated women as rugged individuals equal to men and capable of upholding “her civic responsibility to birth a mighty nation” (Dorsey, 2013:423). Diaries, letters, and oral histories of pioneer women demonstrate that ideals of domesticity and compliance existed side by side but with new roles ultimately challenging this very compliance (Halverson, 2013). They speak of women who, with their families, endured prairie fires, locusts, droughts, disease, and the ever-present loneliness. Most did not return to their homes in the East but accepted their new life with stoicism and a hope for making their farms an economic success. Through hundreds of excerpts, writers provide a picture of matter-of-fact women who adapted to and thrived in their frontier existence. The intent is not to idealize the brutal existence that pioneer women confronted. It also depends on which “frontier” women are in the narratives. Racial minorities, especially Chinese immigrants and Native American women, had even fewer choices and certainly much less freedom than their white pioneer counterparts, rendering the ideals of the “American West” meaningless (Woodworth-Ney, 2015). It is better to suggest that adversity was important in bringing these select men and women together more equitably on the frontier, even if the participants themselves did not acknowledge the altered gender roles.

Industrialization It appears incongruous, but as the cult of domesticity ascended, the first mass movement of white women into industrial employment was also occurring. From the founding of the United States, women have always participated in paid labor and were not completely circumscribed by their domestic roles. When teachers or shopkeepers or planters or traders were needed, and men were unavailable, women were encouraged to fill these roles. Industrial expansion during the nineteenth century required an entirely new class of worker. Faced with a shortage of males who continued to farm, industrialists convinced women that, although they were too weak for agriculture, work in the mills could suit their temperaments, was good for them, and was good for the nation. For the less marriageable, factory work saved them from pauperism. The iconic “Lowell Mill Girls” recruited throughout New England in the first half of the nineteenth century paved the way for the next generations of female factory workers. The Civil War and its aftermath accelerated the need for women in industry. Thousands of women and many children answered the call.

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Race and Class By the latter part of the century, the shift from an agricultural to an urban industrialized economy rapidly accelerated. The family was no longer the central unit of production, and work was performed for wages at other locations outside home and farm. By the turn of the century, farm labor required less than 10 percent of America’s labor power, with 20 percent of all women in the United States over the age of 16 employed outside the home (Balanoff, 1990:611). These women were young or single or were the wives and daughters of working-class families whose income was necessary to keep the family out of poverty. Married women worked only out of dire necessity, often driven into the labor market by widowhood. With True Womanhood still in evidence, middle-class married women were expected to devote time and talent to the emotional well-being of the family, aided by labor-saving products and appliances rapidly introduced to the home. By 1900, housework and child care were no longer a full-time occupation, leading to more leisure, boredom, and restlessness for women who were, however, discouraged from seeking paid employment outside the home. This situation generated two important results. First, many middle-class women became involved in social reform work, including the growing feminist movement. Second, the already existing schism between working-class and middle-class women widened. As we will see, this schism has not been completely mended. Working-class women were confronted with different issues. Industrial growth increasingly demanded cheap labor and looked to poorer women and immigrants to take on this load. The rapidly urbanizing Eastern states accommodated the flood of immigrants who settled in areas close to the factories, mines, and mills in which they worked. Immigrant women were overrepresented as unskilled laborers in jobs that cut them off from wider society and African American women continued to toil on farms and as domestics because factory labor remained closed to them in the North. In the South, an oversupply of African American female labor made their position worse. In the West, Asian women worked in small ­family-owned businesses. In this era, gender was disregarded as a qualification for factory work; race was not. The working conditions women faced were appalling, even by the standards of the day. Unsanitary conditions, no rest breaks, rules against sitting down, 54-hour and six-day workweeks, and grueling repetitive tasks were characteristic. In combination with an unsafe environment in which machines had no safety guards and buildings were poorly ventilated and lacked fire escapes, it is understandable why job-related injuries and deaths skyrocketed. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York caught fire, killing 146 workers, many of them women. Doors were kept locked so that workers could be inspected for theft of company merchandise, and available fire escapes needed repair, buckling under the pressure of those fleeing the fire. The owners of the factory, accused of locking the doors, were tried on manslaughter charges but were acquitted. Civil suits brought by relatives of 23 victims ended with payments of $75 to each family (Getzinger, 2009). A system of subcontracting finishing work to people, primarily immigrant women, became common. Women worked in “sweatshops,” the basements and workrooms of low-rent tenement apartments, thereby saving the company much in the way of production costs. What made an already dismal situation worse was that workers had to purchase their own equipment, which would then require years of arduous labor to pay off. Globally, the contemporary garment industry remains notorious in its treatment of lower-level female workers with factory tragedies an all too common outcome (Chapter 6).

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When men and women were employed in the same factories, women held less prestigious jobs and were paid less. Men resisted being employed with women in the same job. Gender segregation by type of activity led to a stratification system that justified the lower wages paid to women. Because both women and their employers viewed employment as temporary, gender segregation of jobs perpetuated low wages and kept women from training programs and job benefits. The nineteenth-century roots of gender-typing in jobs carry over to current debates about comparable worth (Chapters 10 and 14).

Union Movement The young women of the Lowell Mill era may have been union forerunners since, even under their tightly controlled factory and boarding house lives, they participated in organized protests about poor working conditions. The Triangle fire also ignited massive protests over the scandalous conditions under which people worked, generated much sympathy nationally, and created a ripe atmosphere for unions to flourish. The major growth period occurred from the 1870s through World War I. In 1910, union activist Mary Harris (“Mother”) Jones reported the horrendous plight of women and children in “Girl Slaves of Milwaukee Breweries,” published in 1910 in Miners Magazine. She comments that the workers are condemned to slave daily in the washroom (of breweries) in wet shoes, and wet clothes ... in the vile smell of sour beer, lifting cases … weighing from 100 to 150 pounds. The widely published article riveted public attention on such brutal labor practices. Most attention was on child labor, and not that the adult workers were women. The union movement, however, capitalized on publicity that benefited both women and children. In 1881, the Knights of Labor was opened to women and African Americans calling for equal pay for equal work. In 1885, 2,500 women members of the Knights of Labor endured a six-month strike marked by violence in Yonkers, New York, at a mill where they worked as carpet weavers. The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) gained recognition in many shops because of a strike that lasted through the winter of 1909, involving 20,000 mostly female shirtwaist workers. In addition to the ILGWU, the support of the Women’s Trade Union League and public outrage from the Triangle fire fueled legislation requiring more stringent safety and inspection codes for factories. Compared to the union movement organized by and for men, women’s attempts to unionize were not nearly as successful. Union efforts were not supported by a broad spectrum of people, including the police and courts. Many unions still refused to admit women, and even with an official policy urging equal pay to women, the most powerful union, the American Federation of Labor (AFL), was unwilling to exert the pressure necessary for its affiliates to conform to the rule. The AFL was also becoming a union of skilled craftworkers made up exclusively of men, and there was fear that the success of the union would be diluted if it took on the numerous women still in the ranks of the unskilled. Originally welcoming women, a period of economic recession saw members of the Knights of Labor competing with one another for scarce jobs. In 1895, only 5 percent of all union members were female, and by 1900, only 3 percent of all women who worked in factories were unionized. The ILGWU had become the third-largest affiliate of the AFL by 1913, and it did capitalize on the power that was being wielded by the AFL (ILGWU, 2015).

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But because men and women remained segregated by job, the unions representing women had less success. Unionization was obstructed by men’s fears of job competition and the tenacious belief that women’s place was in the home. By 1900, women represented half the membership of unions in five industries (women’s clothing, gloves, hats, shirtwaist and laundry, and tobacco), and they earned about half of what men earned; African American women earned half of what was earned by white women (Rosenfeld, 2014). The characteristics of the female labor force also made unionization efforts difficult. Work for women was unstable, temporary, and subject to economic ups and downs. In jobs performed by both genders, men were given preference in slack periods and women were laid off. Young women worked until marriage, which was the preferred exit out of the factories into a middle-class lifestyle. Although they did provide opportunities for women to develop leadership skills and agendas representing their own interests, unions of women workers tended to be small, more isolated, and financially weak. Overall, unions were most helpful to women when they were allowed to join with men. Women advanced more in the labor force during periods of growth as well as in periods of war. During the Civil War, women served as nurses, clerks, and copyists and produced uniforms and munitions. The Great War (aka World War I) also saw an expansion of job opportunities both in Britain and the United States. Government campaigns to rally support for war, its supply needs, and women’s labor force participation are evident throughout American history. World War I was also the first war where women in America and Europe were actively recruited for military service. After the war, British women who had worked in engineering (on buses, railways, and trams), in the services, and in government offices were dismissed and expected to return home. Those who persisted in jobs were often labeled “hussies,” or women who stole men’s jobs (Beddoe, 1989:3). Such statements were echoed in the United States. Public support for the war effort made the transition to the labor force easier for women who, if they had a choice, had not considered working outside the home. In most instances, women were summarily dismissed after the war. Women who ventured outside the home were caught in conflicting roles, but both industrialization and war were the catalysts for creating the “new woman” of the 1920s. Lamenting the demise of the True Woman, people both hailed and damned her new counterpart as she strove for equality with men. She “entered the 1920s with high expectations, ready for challenge and for choice” (Brown, 1987: 30–31, 47). The flapper era saw a loosening of sexual and social restraint. The era coincided with the repeal of laws restricting contraceptives that, seemingly incongruous, garnered support from prominent religious organizations (Wilde and Danielsen, 2014). Searching for independence and excitement young working women migrated to cities, and charted terrains for sexuality and freedom in the new living and employment spaces they carved out for themselves and other like-minded women. While retaining a separate political sphere from men, many of these new women worked for social and legal change. Prosperity, hope, and the formation of an identity that included marriage and children as well as volunteer and paid work, led many of these women to pursue feminist causes.

The Depression In less than a decade, much of this hope was shattered. The rule that scarce jobs should go to men first continued through the Depression. Job segregation and the belief that there was

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women’s work and men’s work ironically protected the jobs of women employed as waitresses, domestics, and clerks. Rather than accepting the loss of prestige associated with doing a “woman’s” job, some men abandoned their families because they could no longer be breadwinners. In those instances, in which a job was not defined completely in gender terms, such as teacher, it was rare to see a woman obtain it or keep it if a man could be employed instead. In general, industrialization saw women make steady headway in the world of paid employment. Older attitudes about women’s functions in the family continued to compete with the needs of an expanding economy. But the precedent for women working outside the home gained strength and was nurtured by gradual public acceptance for newer roles. Once the industrial era established this trend, World War II provided the most important catalyst to date for expanding employment options for women.

World War II Throughout history, war is latently functional for productive social change that otherwise might not have occurred or would have occurred at a much slower pace. War suspends notions of what is considered typical or conventional and certainly throws people into unfamiliar terrain in turn sensitizing them to potential never dreamed possible. In addition to the impacts documented here, for example, World War II gave women the only opportunity in U.S. history to play professional baseball. Novel situations occurred both on and off the battlefield. As this chapter documents, by choice and necessity women have consistently taken on expanded roles in wartime. Considering, too, that the history of the world is marked by frequent and prolonged periods of war, the roles women shouldered during wartime were essential for social stability. Usually these newer roles were short-lived, with the prewar social order swiftly reestablished when the men returned home. Although this was indeed the case with World War II, it is also true that this particular war profoundly influenced American women in unprecedented ways. The liberating effects of the war effort not only endured but had powerful consequences for the next generation of women. The impact was largely visible in the realms of employment and family.

Demand for Women’s Labor When America officially entered the war in 1941, there was quick recognition that victory depended on the total commitment of the nation. One task of the Office of War Information (OWI) was to monitor public opinion to determine the degree of commitment and willingness to sacrifice for the war. Accustomed to men taking the lead in both politics and war, compared to men, women were less receptive to military themes and events staged about the war. Within a few months of Pearl Harbor, when patriotism was at its height, a concerted national policy to fully mobilize the civilian population in the war effort was initiated. Much of this policy was focused on women. The powerful War Production Board (WPB) and War Manpower Commission (WMC) were set up to convert the country to a wartime economy, coordinate labor for the various sectors of the economy, and allocate workers for both war and civilian production. The booming wartime economy rapidly ended the Depression. It became apparent that the war machine required uninterrupted production schedules and an increased labor supply.

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Women were essential in filling the roles in the war industry as the men were called to military service. An efficient propaganda program was put into effect that prompted women to respond to the employment needs of a nation at war. The battle abroad could be won if women acknowledged and acted on their patriotic duty to be employed on the home front. After the Depression years, many women eagerly sought the higher pay and better working conditions offered in the war industry. When jobs became available, women were first hired in traditionally female positions, as clerks or semiskilled laborers in factories producing uniforms or foodstuff, but women were rebuffed from the defense plants that offered higher pay. Defense industry employers were at first reluctant to hire women, even if it meant paying men overtime or creating shortages in production. If continued, these policies would have had disastrous consequences for the war effort. As labor shortages reached crisis proportions, job training and opportunities for women in almost all phases of defense work soared. Within six months after Pearl Harbor, employers hired women in a variety of semiskilled, professional, and managerial jobs. OWI was responsible for selling the war to women and created images of defense work as exciting, glamorous, and economically rewarding. Campaigns appealed to patriotism and guilt for slacking off when the war effort needed women. “Rosie the Riveter,” popularized through a wartime song, became the new home-front heroine (Santana, 2016). She represented the millions of women who worked at munitions plants, foundries, and quarries as lumberjacks, shipbuilders, welders, and plumbers. OWI was successful in recruiting women for the civilian labor force as well as for the armed services. Women’s corps of all branches of the military were formed during World War II, and by January 1944, over 100,000 women joined. The employment of women reached its wartime peak in July 1944, when 19 million women were employed, an increase of over 5 million from 1941.

Women’s Diversity in the Labor Force Once the gender barrier eroded, women’s opportunities in the war industry flourished, with less concern about age, marital status, and race. However, preferences were still given to women who were white, single, and young. The war allowed African American women access to employment in defense plants, which significantly decreased their reliance on agricultural and domestic labor. Employment prospects for both African American men and women were increased by defense contracts, which contained clauses prohibiting racial discrimination. Nonetheless, some companies refused to hire African American women during the war. Labor shortages did increase their numbers, but they were hired for the lowest level jobs and, unless protected by a union, were paid less than either white women or African American men. An African American woman who worked in a defense plant poignantly expresses the mixed feelings of this situation—patriotism and pride along with disenchantment. I’m not fooling myself about this war. Victory won’t mean victory for Democracy—yet. But that will come later … maybe a hundred years later. But doing my share today, I’m keeping a place for some brown woman tomorrow. (Johnson, 1943/1996) As the war continued and the demand for defense workers grew, the demographic balance of the female labor force shifted considerably; both older and married women were recruited. Some industries reported an even division between single and married workers. Near the end

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of the war, married women outnumbered single women in the labor force. For the first time in U.S. history, African American women found employment in many of the same industries as white women.

What About the Children? The encouragement for married women to enter the labor force challenged a society that firmly believed a mother’s place was at home with her children. (By the close of the war, 32 percent of women who worked in the major defense centers had children under the age of 14.) Day care centers, foster home programs, and other variations of child care were developed throughout the country. By tying defense production to provisions for child care, day care services increased dramatically. The Federal Works Agency administered a program that, at its height in 1944, enrolled 130,000 children in over 3,000 centers. Rather than viewing child care as a menace to children and an indictment for mothers, such options were praised. Mothers with young children could enter the workforce where they were sorely needed, assured that their children would be well looked after. Overall, daycare centers were not that abundant and were used by relatively few employed mothers, with most relying on friends and relatives for child care. Some women remained suspicious of organized day care and preferred to remain unemployed rather than believe the media campaigns. Regardless of whether women took advantage of child care options, when they were needed in the war industry, innovative strategies were developed for daycare, and traditional beliefs about mothering were suspended. An effective government propaganda program allowed the nation to view day care, at least for a time, as the virtuous, safe, acceptable choice. Mothers were working in defense plants in unprecedented numbers, but their children were not regarded as being socially, physically, or psychologically at risk as a result. The view that women could and should shoulder more of the responsibility for the war effort was widely accepted. But a paradox remained. Men on the battlefields were seen as protecting the cherished values of home and family, and yet these very values could be threatened by altered roles of women on the home front. To get around this problem, another propaganda campaign was launched. Women were told that they were employed only “for the duration,” would return home to domestic duties after the war and would gladly give up their jobs to the returning men. Although joblessness for men was to be alleviated, female unemployment, of course, was never an issue. Devotion to country meant temporary employment for women, but the home is where women would and should want to be. Both men and women accepted this belief after the war.

Japanese American Women Within weeks of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt issued infamous Executive Order (EO) 9066 displacing thousands of Japanese Americans from their homes. These citizens were transported to hastily built temporary relocation centers governed by the military and eventually sent to ten permanent camps. Fearing sabotage, camps were located in remote, barren regions throughout the West and Midwest. Of more than 110,000 people of Japanese descent who were eventually interned, two-thirds were American, and most were women and children. Evacuees were met by firearm-wielding soldiers as they were escorted into

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their new homes—hastily constructed barracks devoid of all but the bare necessities. Privacy, sanitation, and health were compromised. With minimal supplies, women transformed these grim surroundings into reasonably hospitable living quarters. In a few short months, they cordoned off and decorated tiny barracks spaces for family living units. Like other American women, they planted victory gardens, undertook roles as teachers and nurses, and worked in camp industries manufacturing goods for the war effort. They re-created the best possible family life for their children. Iconic photographs by Ansel Adams of internee life at Manzanar camp in California were widely published. At first glance, photos and articles about camp life depicted women carrying out activities expected of other American women during the war. We see throughout this chapter how gender expectations are blurred during times of war. Expectations for Japanese American women, however, were magnified in how they displayed “Americanness.” Unlike other women, Japanese American women were caught between adhering to traditional gender roles to demonstrate their Americanness and shattering these roles during internment. Communal life with strangers eroded autonomy and loss of connection to family and friends. Displayed as “typical” American women, they appeared to accommodate the dismal and unjust circumstances of internment. If they resisted, they risked being labeled unpatriotic and disloyal. In this sense, an accommodating, polite, traditional, submissive “Japanese” woman also muted the anti-Japanese racial hysteria of the time. During war, we see women as active players in the situations that befall them. Japanese American women were vigorous participants in constructing their lives during internment to benefit their families, their camps, and their nation. Not one Japanese American was convicted of espionage or sabotage. President Gerald Ford officially rescinded EO 9066 in 1976; in 1988 President Ronald Reagan apologized to Japanese American internees, offering $20,000 to each of the survivors of the camps (Lindsey, 2016b).

Peacetime The ideal for which the war was fought—nation and family—remained unshaken. Romantic visions of wives and mothers in resumed postwar lives abounded during the war, alongside the images of capable women working in defense plants. Hovering in the wings during the war years, the cult of the home made a triumphant comeback to entice even the most reluctant women out of the labor force. For some women who remained employed, a return to prewar job segregation caused mobilization and protest. But without a fully articulated class consciousness or feminist movement to bolster them, they had no real basis for a sustained challenge to the system (Milkman, 2003). The conversion to a peacetime economy was accelerated with soaring marriage and birth rates, the earliest of the baby boomer generation. Labor-saving devices and technological innovations were introduced that revolutionized housekeeping but, ironically, did not decrease women’s domestic responsibilities. Whereas wartime media appealed to a woman’s efficiency in the home to keep her productive in the defense plants, propaganda after the war appealed to her homemaking roles. She was also held to a higher standard of excellence for these roles. Wives were deemed responsible for the psychological adjustment of husbands on their return to civilian life. Her needs were to be subordinated to his. Women were cautioned to be sensitive, responsive, and above all feminine, because this was what civilian life meant for men.

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New roles for women created during the war existed alongside traditional beliefs concerning their primary domestic duties. Some suggest that World War II represented a watershed for gender role change; others argue that continuity and persistence of gender roles was the reality (Meyerowitz, 2005; McEuen, 2011; Jaworski, 2014). Women themselves were divided in their postwar plans. Although many enjoyed the work, they saw it as temporary and only for the duration of the war. Many women who gained a sense of independence from their wartime jobs were bitter when postwar cutbacks forced them out of the labor force. Single women, war widows, and those who had to support themselves had no choice but to continue to work in the jobs that were available. The loss of pay and respect during the postwar years weighed heavily on many women.

The Postwar Era to the Millennium Despite the emergence of the “back to the home” ideology, the postwar era represented the massive re-entrance of women into the labor force over the next half century. Due to its huge gendered effects, this labor force trend (through to the continuing effects of the Great Recession) is the foundation for much material in this text. Debates continue about the level of impact, but it is impossible to ignore the liberating effects of World War II on women. The war itself contributed to broad social changes in American society. The seeds of social change were planted during the war and took root in an atmosphere of economic growth. Recovery from the Depression, narrowing of the gender wage gap, and urban expansion profoundly affected both women and men. Home and family remained integral to women’s aspirations, but a doctrine of the spheres that separated women from any other outside existence was doomed after the war. The roots of the sociocultural trends of the 1950 and 1960s can be traced to the war years. World War II was a key catalyst in the emergence of the global economy that profoundly and irrevocably altered gender roles in all social institutions. In later chapters, we see that the global economy in the early millennium is linked to both advantages and disadvantages for women and their families worldwide. Attitudes do not change as quickly as behavior. Efforts to restrict the nondomestic roles and activities of women in the postwar years that relied on beliefs about biology and physical frailty are difficult to dislodge. Throughout history, we have seen scores of women who successfully expanded narrow role definitions. But World War II provided models for gender role change on such a grand scale that women’s accomplishments could not be conveniently relegated to a forgotten footnote in history. Assumptions about essentialism and separate spheres continued to bolster gendered norms and restrict opportunities for both women and men. Attitudes inevitably erode, however, with massive evidence that contradicts these assumptions. The progress made by women during the war, coupled with rapid postwar social and economic changes, provided the framework for the reemergence of the women’s movement in the United States.

THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT In the new code of laws … I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. (Abigail Adams, March 31, 1776)

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In writing to her husband John when he was attending the Second Continental Congress, Abigail Adams cautioned him to “remember the ladies” and that if the ladies were ignored and denied the rights for which the Revolutionary War was being fought, they would eventually create a revolution of their own. Laws that they had no hand in creating should not bind women. To John Adams, she also wrote the following: That your sex is naturally tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute; but such of you as wish to be happy, willingly give up the harsh title of master for the more tender and endearing one of friend. Why then not put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity and impunity … so whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to men, emancipation for all nations, you insist on retaining an absolute power over wives. But you must remember that arbitrary power is like most other things which are hard, very liable to be broken (Letters of Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 31, May 7, 1776. Cited in Butterfield et al., 1963). John Adams, to become the nation’s second president, dismissed these warnings while helping to draft humanistic documents that proclaimed that all men are created equal. As he wrote to Abigail, “As to your extraordinary Code of Laws, I cannot but laugh. … We know better than to repeal our masculine system.” For the Founding Fathers, the business at hand was to build the infrastructure for an enduring democracy. That this democracy denied basic rights to females as well as to blacks was largely ignored. The challenges that did emerge, even from such influential women as Abigail Adams, did not provide the momentum for organized protest. Although Abigail Adams accurately predicted that women would foment another revolution, it took another half-century before it happened in America. Two other events helped fuel the rise of feminism and the beginnings of a women’s movement in the United States. First, the French Revolution’s ideals of liberty and equality inspired the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789. A reply by French playwright and social reformer Olympe de Gouges came two years later with the Declaration of the Rights of Woman, in which she declared that “woman is born free and her rights are the same as those of man,” that “the law be an expression of the general will,” and “all citizens, men and women alike” should participate formulating such law (Bock, 2002). For the first time, humanistic standards were explicitly applied to both genders. More importantly, the democratic fervor was sweeping France and influencing other parts of Europe and England, creating an atmosphere that at least considered these radical writings. Had such a work appeared first in America, it would have been rejected, dismissed, and buried. Second, in 1792, English writer and activist Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797) wrote what was to become the bible of the feminist movement, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (see Bennett, 2017). In this remarkable work, Wollstonecraft argued that ideals of equality should be applied to both genders and that it is only in bodily strength that a man has a natural superiority over a woman. As she writes, Not only the virtue but the knowledge of the two sexes should be the same in nature, if not in degree, and that women, considered not only as moral, but rational creatures, ought to endeavor to acquire human virtues (or perfections) by the same means as men, instead of being educated like a fanciful kind of half being. She maintained that women must strengthen their minds, become friends to their husbands, and not be dependent on them. When women are kept ignorant and passive, their children

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suffer, but society will be weakened as well. In advocating full partnership with men, Wollstonecraft explicitly called for a “revolution in female manners” to make women part of the human species by reforming themselves and then the world: Let women share the rights and she will emulate the virtues of man; for she must grow more perfect when emancipated. … (Excerpts from Wollstonecraft, 1792/1970)

Early Movement: 1830–1890 The Industrial Revolution radically reorganized the process of production. By the 1830s, employed women worked in factories for low wages under dismal conditions. Manufacturing altered home production of items such as soap, bread, candles, and clothing, and middle-class women lost much economic power. Whereas factory women used unions as vehicles for organized protest, middle-class women believed that higher education and political rights could best serve their aims. These women had different class-based ambitions and used divergent strategies to meet their needs. Unique to American history, they organized into their respective groups, but as women meeting the needs of women. The dire economic condition of women stimulated working-class and middle-class women to first organize. This humanistic catalyst for the early women’s movement also provided middle-class women with an outlet to work for a social cause. It was only during the latter suffrage movement that women from both classes joined for a common goal. Before suffrage, the rallying issue for women was slavery. When Wollstonecraft was calling for the emancipation of women, women were already playing a critical role in the abolitionist movement. It soon became apparent to the women who worked in the antislavery movement that they were not on the same political level as their male counterparts. Women abolitionists were often not allowed to make public speeches, and with the formation of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, they were denied the right to sign its Declaration of Purposes. When the World Anti-Slavery Convention met in London in 1840, women members of the American delegation, including Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, had to sit in the galleries and could not participate in any of the proceedings. They became painfully conscious of the fact that slavery had to do with gender as well as race.

The Seneca Falls Convention Women abolitionists began to speak more openly about women’s rights. As progressive as the abolitionist movement was, the inherent sexism of the day served to divide and alienate its members. Men feared that abolitionist goals would weaken by the attention given to women’s rights. While continuing their work for antislavery, women were now more vocal about legislative reforms related to family rights, divorce, women’s property, and temperance issues. Recognizing that the inferior status of women urgently needed to be addressed, in 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention was held in upstate New York, an event hailed as the birth of the women’s movement in the United States. The Seneca Falls Convention approved a Declaration of Sentiments modeled after the Declaration of Independence. It listed the forms of discrimination that women had to endure

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and that they vowed to eliminate. Excerpts from the Declaration clearly demonstrate the continuities of past and present concerns of women. 1

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.


He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she has no voice.


He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.


He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration. He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction that he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine or law, she is not known.


He has endeavored, in every way he could, to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.

This list of discriminatory practices against women, as well as 11 of the 12 resolutions aimed at ending such practices, was accepted by the Convention. It was agreed that women had to submit to laws they did not help create, but there was no unanimous agreement about whether they should seek the vote. History honors Seneca Falls as originating the suffrage movement, but the suffrage resolution was passed only by a small majority. Although the early women’s movement has become synonymous with suffrage, this was the very issue that initially split its supporters. Perhaps difficult to understand by today’s standards, many women believed that equality was possible without the vote. In the following years, conventions for women’s rights were held throughout the North and West. Since abolition was part of its platform, the movement never spread to the South before the Civil War. During the war, activities on the behalf of women per se were dormant, but they emerged in earnest soon after. Despite the lack of a national agenda and disagreements on strategy, the movement grew under the leadership of a few women who had the strength and time to work for its causes. Several outstanding women with unique talents are credited for this growth: Lucy Stone, the movement’s most gifted orator; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, philosopher and program writer; and Susan B. Anthony, the organizing genius known for her powerful extemporaneous speeches that formed the backbone of arguments about the necessity of women obtaining voting rights (Styer, 2017). These women spoke on social, economic, and legal issues affecting women and pressed for reforms in education, wages, organized labor, child welfare, and inheritance. As the movement grew, so did its opponents. First as abolitionists and then as feminists and always as women, many people despised and ridiculed the movement. Suffrage women, better known as “suffragettes,” were accused of being unnatural, masculine, and female sexual inverts who would doom America to sociobiological disaster (Behling, 2001). By the standards of the day, militant methods fueled opposition. Ever-present verbal abuse and threats of mob violence at rallies caused some supporters to downgrade the importance of the vote. The ranks of the movement were divided, and by the end of the Civil War, it was split into two factions.

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Division and Unity Although both factions agreed that getting the vote was necessary, they were split on ideology and strategy. In 1869, two organizations were formed. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). NWSA did not admit men, was considered militant in tactics, focused on controversial issues such as husband–wife relations, and believed the vote was necessary to achieve other rights for women. Enfranchisement, then, was a means to a greater end. The second organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), led by Lucy Stone and Julia Howe, was more moderate, attracting a core of middle- and upper-class women. To make the suffrage question more mainstream, the AWSA refrained from addressing issues thought to be controversial, such as matters related to marriage, divorce, and religion. AWSA focused its work on state-by-state ways to achieve the vote. In 1869, Wyoming was the first state to grant the vote to women but did so for pragmatic rather than strictly democratic reasons. Women were scarce in the territory, and the right to vote was thought to encourage more migrants. Wyoming was almost not granted statehood because Southern congressmen argued that the states did not have the right to grant suffrage. Because the legislature was elected with women’s votes, supporters for statehood asserted that Wyoming “will remain out of the Union for a hundred years rather than come in without the women.” By a small margin, Wyoming was admitted to the Union in 1890. AWSA strategies succeeded in gaining many advocates, with suffrage gaining the respectability it needed to attract a broader base of support. In the meantime, NWSA increasingly turned its attention to suffrage and campaigned for political and legal rights. In 1890, the two groups merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). A key consequence of the merger and its gain in “respectability” was that the organization generally distanced itself from the plights of black women, immigrant women, and working-class women. African American women worked diligently in the suffrage movement but were aware that a double standard existed for black and white women suffragists. Black suffragists called on their white sisters in the movement to “put aside their prejudices and allow black women, burdened by both sexism and racism, to gain political equality” (Terborg-Penn, 1991:133). Their words were largely unheeded. The exclusion of these potential allies at the turn of the century impacted the movement for the next 50 years. It took another half century before the schism appreciably narrowed.

The Nineteenth Amendment The early history of feminism, both in the United States and in Europe, is now known as first wave feminism, marked by challenging legal discrimination against women with a focus on obtaining the right to vote. Although NAWSA in fact accomplished little, the next 30 years saw renewed energies for passage of a suffrage amendment. Strategies deemed too radical were disavowed, militant members were expelled, conservatism set in, and a crisis in leadership occurred. Some of the expelled faction joined a group founded by militant suffragist Alice Paul in 1913. Embracing the tactics of the more militant English suffrage movement, Paul headed the Congressional Union, later known as the Woman’s Party. To bring the constitutional amendment to America’s public consciousness, the Woman’s Party staged mass demonstrations. In the meantime, as new president of NAWSA, Carrie Chapman Catt began a rigorous suffrage campaign in 1915. NAWSA distributed leaflets, lobbied, and addressed influential organizations. Woman’s Party members held rallies, went on hunger strikes, and

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used unorthodox, definitely “unfeminine” means to spotlight suffrage. Although tactics varied, the common goal was passage of a suffrage amendment that had been introduced and defeated in every session of Congress since 1878. By the end of World War, I, women’s right to vote had widespread support. In 1919, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed by margins of 304 to 90 in the House and 56 to 25 in the Senate. The struggle could not be over until two-thirds of the states ratified it. On August 26, 1920, by only two votes, the amendment was ratified in Tennessee, making the Nineteenth Amendment part of the U.S. Constitution.

The Contemporary Movement Once the right to vote was gained, feminism literally died in the United States for the next 40 years. The end of the arduous campaign resulting in ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment found some feminists insisting that broader social reforms, rather than narrower feminist goals, were now necessary because they believed political equality had been achieved. Others, including Alice Paul, called for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which would prohibit all forms of discrimination against women. The ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923, but even by this time, the unity of support for a specific cause had been dissolved. Coupled with the Depression and a conservative national mood, most activism for women’s issues was abandoned.

Second Wave Feminism It was not until several decades after World War II that the women’s movement re-emerged on a national scale. Referred to as second wave feminism, this phase of the movement (1960– 1980s) sought to raise the consciousness of women about sexist oppression in the power structure of society and about the use of political means to eradicate it. Under the banner “the personal is the political,” second wave feminists focused on ways to counter sexism in employment, education, popular culture and other social institutions. Three major events provided catalysts for this reawakening of feminism. First, President John Kennedy established the Commission on the Status of Women in 1961. The Commission issued a report documenting the inferior position of women in the United States and set up a citizen’s advisory council and state commissions to address problems identified in the report. Second, in 1963, Betty Friedan published her landmark work The Feminine Mystique. Friedan argued that women’s only road to fulfillment is as wife and mother. Referring to it as “the problem with no name,” women had no identity apart from their families (see also Chapter 13). Despite restrictive roles and a society that condoned and applauded such restrictions, women were beginning to voice their unhappiness. “It is no longer possible to ignore that voice, to dismiss the desperation of so many American women” (Friedan, 1963:21). The second-class status of women, which was pointed to in the Kennedy report, was bolstered by Friedan’s assertions and research.

National Organization for Women The third event heralding feminism’s rekindling was the founding of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966, with Betty Friedan serving as its first president. These three events are interdependent. Many of the women first met when they worked on state

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commissions set up after the Kennedy report. They were also unhappy with the progress being made on their recommendations and believed that a separate effort to deal with issues related to women was important. The creation of NOW can be viewed as an indirect result of the Commission on the Status of Women. NOW was formed during the turbulent 1960s, an era of heightened political activism and social consciousness. The drive to organize women occurred during a time when African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, poor people, students, and anti-Vietnam War activists were also competing for public attention through mass demonstrations for their respective causes. In comparison to many of the organizations spawned from these causes, including other women’s groups, NOW was more moderate in its approach. NOW’s ability to survive as a viable organization is in part tied to its mainstream emphasis. White, college-educated, middle-class women were attracted to NOW and became the base for its original growth. NOW adopted a top-down structure and remains hierarchically organized with a national body and formal constitution, but diversity and growth are enhanced with more autonomous local chapters. In the decades since its founding, NOW’s membership has expanded considerably, bringing in more nonprofessional and younger women, and women of color vital to the success of feminism in America. A feminist consciousness among African American women, for example, can be nurtured only through a framework that addresses the ideology of racism in America (Higginbotham, 2003). In 1967, the first NOW national conference adopted a Bill of Rights that included support for an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, women’s right to work at all types of job, maternity leave rights, and the right of women to control their reproductive lives. As suggested by these goals, NOW has a broad agenda of areas affecting women, but it largely focuses on political tactics to achieve its goals (NOW, 2018).

Coalitions The second path of the feminist reawakening consisted of women representing a wider range of backgrounds who came together in loose coalitions to work on common interests. These groups attracted younger and more racially diverse women, many involved with other social movements of the times, especially the Civil Rights Movement and anti-Vietnam War movement. During the 1960 and 1970s, these women founded many organizations, tending to match NOW’s tactics using mass-based demonstrations, mailings, and media attention for political ends. These included the National Welfare Rights Organization focusing on public assistance to poor women and their families, and the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), promoting women as candidates for public office. Other groups, more radical in orientation, shunned the formal structure of organizations such as NOW, believing that its focus on institutional reforms inhibited members’ individual expression including whether men should be excluded from their ranks. Known for “street theater” and disruptive vocal demonstrations, groups such as the New York Radical Women (NYRW), and Redstockings, for example, called attention to men’s domination of women in all phases of a woman’s life, including financial disparity, reproduction, sexual violence, and interpersonal relationships. NYRW offered labels and messages such as “consciousness-­ raising,” “sisterhood powerful, and the “personal is political,” now largely etched on a public vernacular. And yes, they were often scorned for tactics such as bra burning—bras were trashed, but nary a bra was ever burned. The key message they conveyed in America and

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heard around the world, however, was that of women’s oppression. NYRW “arose out of a savagely politized political, moment, much like our current one, in which the frustrations and injustices of life suddenly exploded into eloquent rage” (Press, 2017). Although less viable in the long run, these groups are good examples of not only the plurality of feminisms but of the many divergent paths feminism and the/a women’s movement took and continues to take over time (Chapter 1).

Third Wave Feminism The extraordinary legal and political successes extending women’s rights in the postwar era suggest that the women’s movement accomplished many of its goals. In the 1990s, however, a backlash to feminist initiatives began in earnest and stalled political progress. The mass-based demonstrations of all the postwar social movements were no longer part of the public consciousness. Unlike second wave feminists, young women were introduced to feminism in college course work (positively) or through media depictions (negatively). Young women embracing feminist causes in the 1990s were less likely to identify with concepts such as sisterhood, with its assumptions about women’s homogeneity, and were cautious about identifying openly as feminists. These women were the catalysts for third wave feminism, suggesting that there is no universal feminism and women define for themselves what it is and what it can become. They were likely to embrace identity politics, in which activist strategies are shaped by a configuration of the shared experiences within their own groups rather than on a larger, more encompassing one. Compared to their predecessors, they promoted feminist causes centered on alliances with groups who shared their interests and came from similar backgrounds. They maneuvered discrimination based on those backgrounds, especially when related to race, social class, religion, and sexuality. Activism in pursuit of justice for the health and well-being of unserved indigenous women, for example, was more a rallying cry than activism in pursuit of women’s health and well-being overall. However sympathetic they may have been to wider feminist concerns, activism was shaped by what ignited their passion. Even today, third wave feminism generally incorporates values related to individualism in pursuit of gender justice rather than to values related to collectivism in pursuit it genders justice. At the heart of this activism is the embrace of intersectionality (Chapter 1) that defined third wavers early on, today accepted by feminists of all stripes. Third wavers are given credit for reclaiming and embracing a feminist identity, particularly from the anti-feminist media; adding feminist goals into public discourse; propelling issues of violence to women to the center of public awareness; and for the overall resurgence of a feminist movement that initially prospered in a neoliberal global context (Evans, 2015a). Most important, even during the waning second wave, the notion of multiple categories of oppression were beginning to be addressed. Third wavers demonstrated not only how these categories overlapped but that the intersectional constellation serves as a privilege to mitigate oppression, or to propel the risk. It may be argued, however, that the successes of third wave feminism have been overshadowed by its failures to gauge the profound consequences of another intersection—that of individualism and neoliberalism—that may be unraveling hard won battles for gender equality. Neoliberalism is the economic system favoring free-market capitalist strategies associated with an ideology that the public good is enhanced through individual responsibility rather than public welfare (See also Chapter 6). The wedding of this powerful, hegemonic

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economic system with a foundation on a core American value, set the stage for an excessively conservative political agenda to grip the globe. Clearly symbolized by the Trump Presidency in the United States, by serving capitalist ends, this agenda is unfolding to the detriment of feminist progress. Although third wavers worked to upend the gendered distribution of caregiving and breadwinning roles, for example, the “competitive production of profit in globally integrate economies” undermines equitable role sharing. Individual desires and social well-being are co-opted by conservative neoliberal agendas (Evans, 2015a; Azmanova, 2016:771). Working for feminist causes within the confines of neoliberalism has produced policies that not only perpetuate a gendered division of labor but may be outstripping feminist resources to effectively challenge it.

Fourth Wave Feminism With this backdrop, scholars and activists suggest that feminism has turned to other means to thwart agendas that deter progress toward gender equity. Continuing to be shaped by intersectional ideas at the heart of the third wave, and a better understanding of the perils of neoliberalism for women, fourth wave feminism is said to be born out of digital age technology and social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, spawning activism resonating with women across generations and backgrounds (Chamberlain, 2016; Pruchniewska, 2016; Zimmerman, 2017). Whereas third wavers may have eschewed the second wave’s strategies of mass-based activism, this newest wave is credited with some of the largest feminist-inspired mass events and movements since the 1960s, including the Women’s March and #MeToo movement (see Chapters 1 and 9). As second waver activist and writer Alix Kates Shulman recounts, I think of the #MeToo Movement as a continuation of consciousness-raising, a resurfacing … With Trump’s election the movement has been reborn. Our early movement was full of rage. These women are very angry. It takes another upsurge of anger to get a movement going. (Cited in Heller, 2018) Online activism is catalyzed with flash events, bringing together members of organizations such as NOW and AAUW, with those who may not be members of any formal group. They can be quickly mobilized for rallies protesting gun violence, separating children from immigrant parents, and slashing food stamps and Medicaid in the name of individual responsibility. While not necessarily labeled “feminist,” women are at the center of the protests, and certainly serve the interests of an array of women.

Critique If there is a “distinctly different” fourth wave, it is yet to be cordoned off from previous waves. Certainly, the online activism that propels mass protests marks another approach to feminism even as intersectionality remains a foundation. To differentiate various eras of feminism, a “wave metaphor” took root. Its convenience oversimplifies the complicated historical record of feminist activism and tends to categorize women in more homogeneous ways, especially by age and generation. However, a so-called generation gap, as sociologists suggest, is not a medium for automatic disdain as much as it is a tool for socializing the

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next generation of feminists (Foster, 2018; Thorn, 2018). Thinking about waves as points of continuity and points of departure suggests feminist affirmation “between” waves (Evans, 2015b). A related criticism complicated by a wave narrative is that a “feminist” movement and a “woman’s” movement are becoming even more blurred. With certain caveats, the two terms are largely used interchangeably, as in this book. But given the rise of conservativism globally, women are increasingly being recruited for “anti-gender” movements (Kuhar and Paternotte, 2017). As noted, these can overturn earlier successes, especially equity initiatives related to employment, education, legal rights, and sexuality. The anti-abortion coalition, for example, has recruited many more women for campaigns to roll back services for contraception and coverage for women’s health care. They disparage feminism but may herald their activities under a women’s movement banner (see Chapter 14). Is this a “woman’s” wave but not a “feminist” wave? Although such criticisms are valid, a wave narrative is an apt one. It offers a general way to benchmark feminist progress over time and reminds us that, like the feminist movement itself, waves are always in the flux of change, coming undone and redone in points of contact, not of conquest (Helmreich, 2017:44). As feminist historian Linda Nicholson suggests, although the wave metaphor is not a perfect one it is also probably the best tool we have for understanding the history of feminism in the US, where it came from and how it developed. And it’s become a fundamental part of how we talk about feminism—so even if we end up deciding to discard it, it’s worth understanding exactly what we’re discarding. (Cited in Grady, 2018) This should sound familiar (Chapter 1). It highlights a century of feminist discourse about how women are alike and how they differ; how multiple and overlapping intersections and personal identities can be affirmed without sacrificing collectivist solidarity. Feminist waves incorporate the language of feminisms rather than a single feminism. Despite the historical chronical in the U.S. citing feminist discontinuity within and between waves and the lack of a common definition of feminism, there is commonality in areas of interest and goals. All acknowledge the importance of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution (Chapter 14), for example, but may disagree on where to place it on an activist priority list and the strategies to achieve it. For over two centuries, the feminist/women’s movement is extraordinary in diversity and inclusiveness, with forces for both division and unity, patterns found in the United States and globally. Discussed in the next chapter, this diversity may tip the scale for a stronger global movement seeking to embrace women representing all forms of feminisms.

KEY TERMS Compensatory history Contribution history First wave feminism

Fourth wave feminism Gender history

Identity politics Knights of Labor Matrilineal

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National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) National Organization for Women (NOW)

Neoliberalism Pater familias Second wave feminism Seneca Falls Convention Social history

Third wave feminism True Womanhood


Global Perspectives on Gender

Women’s rights are human rights. —Hillary Rodham Clinton, NGO Forum, UN Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995 Development, if not engendered, is endangered. —United Nations Development Programme

SECTION 1 GENDERING GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT Sociology advanced as a discipline in offering ways to understand the paths to modernity that transformed the world. This chapter explores the profound gender impact of global social change for women. The focus will be on the two commanding change-related processes— globalization and development. It is not redundant to say that the globe is globalized. It also is safe to say that no one is immune to the effects on their lives of a globalized world. The world is globalized because all societies have paths to borrow, learn, cooperate, and compete with one another. How they fare on these paths is largely dependent on the powerful forces of globalization, defined as the removal of barriers to increase the flow of capital between and within nations. Implicit in this definition is that globalization is synonymous with U.S.-style capitalism. In the 1980s neoliberal globalization (NLG) was rapidly ushered in, intensifying deregulation and privatization with unfettered trade openness and market liberalization as its global mantra. With the World Bank as the leader, NLG aligns with political, financial, and corporate interests to adopt free-market solutions for business profit and to solve social problems. Virtually all global players serving diverse constituencies, including the United Nations, must adopt NLG strategies regardless of how they might wish to do otherwise. Neoliberal globalization, therefore, is redundant. Globalization is a highly gendered process; it plays out differently in the lives of males and females. Globalization connects us in a single social and economic space, but it does not unite us. Unlike definitions of globalization, there is more consensus that development focuses on programs designed to upgrade the standard of living of the world’s poor in ways that allow them to sustain themselves The focus of the chapter is on gender issues in the Global South, also referred to as the developing world, the United Nations designation for less developed countries with severe impediments to sustainable development and often with poverty-level

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incomes per capita. Most of these nations are in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean and include small island nations of the South Pacific. The processes of globalization and development go hand in hand and are not benign in their effects. By highlighting gendered consequences of globalization and development, the United Nations offers tools for how many of these issues are assessed.

UNITED NATIONS (UN) AND DEVELOPMENT The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) spearheads efforts to reduce the gender gap in human development. Indices such as the Gender Inequality Index (GII) and the Human Development Index (HDI) capture a nation’s achievement using selected economic, political, education, and health criteria. Although indices include different dimensions, the world is doing better on overall human development compared to overall gender equality. Because gender equality is a factor in the composite and intersects with every other factor, nations gain or lose in ranking depending on where they fall on gender equality.

Human Development and Gender Equality United Nations (UN) efforts to increase human development and decrease gender inequality build on UN conferences and summits. In 2000, eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be achieved by 2015, targeted development challenges in the world. Goal 1 was to eradicate extreme poverty and Goal 3 was to promote gender equality and empower women. The poverty reduction goal was met five years ahead of the deadline. Other MDG successes include primary school enrollment increases to over 90 percent for both girls and boys in some Global South regions, declines in mortality of under-fives, and a striking maternal mortality decline to 45 percent globally. The bad news is that women’s political representation stagnated and the gender gap in wages and employment increased in many regions. Overall progress toward gender equality was seriously stalled or reversed. MDG targets for 2015 were woefully too optimistic. Acknowledging that work on behalf of women needed be done, and with better understanding of how to do it, in 2015 the UN adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), described as a “universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.” SDG #1 is “no poverty,” and SDG #5 is the call for gender equality, including ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls. The SDG blueprint sets 2030 as the target date to achieve each goal (Sustainable Development Goals, 2020).

Critique It is impossible that any country is on track to achieve gender equality in the next decade and the SDGs, like the MDGs before them, will be unable to reach their targets. The inaugural SDG Gender Index shows that “2.8 billion women and girls are living in countries that are failing to do enough to help their lives.” Despite this gloomy scenario, the report is viewed as a wake-up call to the world. Rather than complacency, the UN and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)—privately funded nonprofit groups mostly concerned with relief and

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development and advocacy for the poor—are calling on policy makers to locate and assist the women and girls who are left behind because of gendered intersectional risks of race, poverty, religion, and sexual orientation (John, 2019). Gender initiatives are better tackled at the local level. Initiatives underlying the SDGs are strengthened with multilayered views that account for specific community needs.

CEDAW In its Charter of 1945, the United Nations (UN) announced its commitment to the equality of women and men. A pivotal role to forge international consensus on behalf of gender equity was carved out by the United Nations in 1946 with the establishment of the Commission on the Status of Women. A rapidly growing international women’s movement supported the Commission’s work on legal measures to protect the human rights of women, especially in relation to the global divide on women’s role in economic development. UN efforts were amplified in 1979 by the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) during the UN Decade for Women (1975–1985). Described as an “international bill of rights for women,” CEDAW paved the way for groundbreaking UN Conferences on Women.

United Nations Conferences on Women With delegates representing nations across the globe, the UN convened conferences to work on a global agenda of women’s issues. These were convened in Mexico City in 1975, Copenhagen in 1980, Nairobi in 1985, and Beijing in 1995. Under the banner of “equality, development and peace,” each conference assessed a nation’s progress of commitments made on behalf of women. Alongside each official UN conference ran a parallel one, a forum consisting of hundreds of NGOs that brought together women from around the globe and from all walks of life. These largely grassroots NGOs represented an extraordinary array of opinions and agendas. Inclusiveness assures all voices are heard but, as expected, these voices fuel dissent. Conferences were marked by divisive issues related to politics, religion, ethnicity, and economics. Politically motivated and largely anti-feminist conservative groups strove to discredit and interrupt the proceedings. Although less evident in Mexico City, the NGO Forum in Copenhagen was more politicized. The split between women in the developing and developed world seemed to widen, deterring dialogue about what they shared. They left the forum, however, with better insights on dealing with diverse perspectives and conflicting priorities. Five years later in Nairobi, dissention was less evident and consensus was reached on key issues. A central change from Copenhagen was the acknowledgment that political issues and women’s issues cannot be separated. Whether called a “women’s movement” or a “feminist movement,” when women come together to work on common issues, it is fundamentally a political movement. Gains in political astuteness were unmistakable a decade later. In 1995, the international women’s movement took center stage when Beijing, China, hosted the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW). With 50,000 attendees, the seminal FWCW conference was arguably the most significant global women’s event in history to spotlight a women’s agenda. Its location in Beijing allowed more women in Asia to attend, including

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grassroots leaders from small communities who made the trek to Beijing through NGO fundraising. The 189 nations ratifying the Beijing Platform of Action targeted critical areas of concern related to gender equality. Marking the 25th anniversary of FWCW, the Platform of Action remains the “most visionary agenda for women’s rights and empowerment anywhere” (UNWOMEN, 2020).

The Legacy of Beijing: A Personal Perspective Like past conferences, in covering the largest gathering of women in history, international media focused on controversy and conflict rather than the unity and support that emerged during the conference. The Beijing gathering and the parallel NGO Forum in nearby Huairou represented landmark developments in global understanding and cooperation among women of the world. Discussed in many conference sessions, women are a glaring media blind spot. News sources approach women’s issues with stereotypes, misconceptions, and bias. In reporting to a world thought to relish controversy, the seeds for reinforcing those stereotypes continue to be sown. I believe, however, the truly remarkable events in Beijing helped alter this trend. While attending the conference, many of us were acutely aware that media dwelled on displays of dissent, specifically by religious fundamentalists representing an array of faiths. The Iranian delegation of fully veiled women and their male “escorts,” for example, provided much camera time. Their efforts were met by what I describe as “bemused toleration.” Media toddled behind with cameras and microphones and reported on the daily news around the globe that religious fundamentalism was tearing the conference apart. This was far from the truth. Although religious fundamentalism was one of many controversial topics, the NGO Forum was remarkable in gathering women of all faiths to engage in dialogue on matters that affected their daily lives, including family planning, care of children, gender-based violence, paid and unpaid work, and health and well-being—all which have religious overtones. Workshops brought together women on behalf of disparate religious and spiritual heritages. Politics, religion, and cultural traditions were met head on, for example, between Palestinian and Israeli women living under the specter of war, and between Muslim and non-Muslim women who disagreed about veiling or birth spacing or female genital mutilation (discussed later). Whether practices were accepted or rejected became less important than how they were discussed. Toleration and understanding emerged in an atmosphere where opinions were voiced and everyone could agree to disagree. What was noteworthy is that the die was cast against the rhetoric of any religion that restricted women’s human rights. Religious fundamentalism was recast as liberating, used as a weapon against sexism and for empowerment (Lindsey, 1995a). What is the legacy of Beijing? From attending the gatherings in Copenhagen and Nairobi as well as Beijing, the previous conferences were more divisive, but also smaller and less inclusive, with fewer women in the organizing bodies or as official delegates. Although the Beijing conference was racked with negative media attention, Chinese obstructionism, logistical nightmares, and inadequate facilities, the ability and perseverance of the women who attended and worked to get the Platform of Action adopted were nothing short of spectacular. In other famous words in addressing the NGO Forum, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton stated, “NGOs are where the action is.” NGOs continue to monitor governments for pledges made to women and their families through the ratified UN document. The Platform

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addressed 12 critical areas of concern, including education, health, and employment, outlining action steps to implement objectives. The number one issue was women’s poverty. Actions for this issue included creating gender-sensitive development policies, placing economic value on women’s unpaid work, and increasing education, training, and entrepreneurial skills for poor women.

FWCW for Today After you review current gender issues in various nations and regions from a global perspective, it should be clear how Beijing served as a watershed for women’s advocacy and for the global women’s movement. Despite the inevitable backlash, the women’s/feminist movement sent a powerful message around the globe. Women will no longer be ignored, women’s rights are human rights, and nations will be held accountable for their progress (or lack thereof) in ending gender inequality. With NGOs as watchdogs, numerous conferences, seminars, and workshops since Beijing monitor progress and ensure accountability. Monitoring is more effective with the increased numbers of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including NGOs and a wide array of groups such as labor unions, professional associations, teacher and scholar networks, community groups, foundations, and faith-based activists. Not all NGOs and CSOs are dedicated to goals of advocacy for women and disenfranchised groups worldwide. Some work against these goals. However, it is virtually impossible to halt debate. The FWCW gathering in Beijing attests to the fact that women’s empowerment benefits everyone.

WOMEN, GLOBALIZATION, AND DEVELOPMENT With sociological understanding at the leading edge, development studies focusing on women and gender in the Global South have cascaded. Research on women and development is rich and robust, offering clues to development planning, policy studies, and interdisciplinary theory building. It is lacking, however, in connecting the widening global economic gap to the women who are in the poorest ranks, and often overlooks women in advanced economies who fall prey to negative development outcomes inspired by neoliberal globalization. Rather than treating gender equity as a determinant of development success, NLG is better used as the independent (causal) measure. Development is more useful as an intervening variable. Disentangling development from NLG offers a clearer inspection of its powerful impact on gender (in)equality. Ester Boserup’s (1970) pioneering study on women in development, arguing that development has adverse effects on women—often leading to further impoverishment, marginalization, and exploitation—is well documented. Despite the progress from the FWCW and over a half-­century of policy studies on women and development in the Global South, this disheartening trend continues and the gap between theory and development practice looms large (Lindsey, 1995b, 1996; Jacquette, 2017; Mawere, 2017). The path to negative development outcomes for women is deceptively simple. In societies characterized by powerful patriarchal institutions, men and women rarely share equally the limited resources available to families, a situation that deteriorates with NLG. The underlying cause of inequality is that women’s roles are primarily domestic (mother, wife, homemaker, subsistence farmer), and although vital to the well-being of their families

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and to society, such roles are undervalued and unpaid. Most of the world’s women work in the informal sector, the economic activities of people who labor as subsistence farmers, landless agricultural laborers, street vendors, or day workers. Much informal sector work is undocumented because services and goods rather than cash are often the exchange basis. Globalization capitalizes on informal sector work of women and reinforces existing gender inequality.

Rural Families The hardest hit are rural women whose domestic work usually includes subsistence farming. Even though they were not landowners, Latin American and African women managed farms and retained control over their produce. Colonialism, agricultural development projects, and technology-based cash crop farming virtually eliminated traditional economic resources available to women through farming. Subsistence farming is vital to the livelihood of a family, but it is considered domestic work with no cash exchanged and no surplus for profit in the marketplace. Development programs typically use international economic definitions excluding the majority of work that women perform, such as child care, household labor, and subsistence farming. Development policies also ignore gender implications of work at the family level where the economic trickle-down model is supposed to operate. Policies are designed to upgrade the economic standards of families by concentrating on the (assumed) male head of household, who is the breadwinner, with his dependent wife as homemaker. Improving the employment prospects of men, therefore, benefits the whole family. This assumption is based on an urban, middle-class model that does not acknowledge the productive roles of women, especially rural women and poor families. Development programs undercount and undervalue women’s work. Men often migrate to cities in search of paid work, leaving women with loss of help in remaining subsistence activities. The employment options available to rural women are in low-paid domestic or commercial farm labor. Women are recruited for work in the transnational corporations’ (TNCs) assembling and light-manufacturing plants dotting urban fringes throughout the Global South. Others migrate across borders, joining the ranks of maids and nannies employed in the households of the world’s wealthy. The massive numbers of Filipino women who are employed in Hong Kong and elsewhere in richer Asian nations, can be dubbed the caretakers of the world. Many servant women free their wealthier female employers to work outside the home.

Bangladesh: A Neoliberal Globalization Case Study Neoliberal globalization as played out in Bangladesh’s massive TNC garment industry documents the plight of its young women laborers. The economy in Bangladesh is driven by 5000 garment factories providing employment for 4 million people, 90 percent of them women, many of whom migrated from rural areas. Although wages hover near the poverty line, they are double the wages women earn (or could earn) as agricultural laborers. The necessity of this work to survive in the city and send money to rural extended families keeps them dependent in jobs in unsafe conditions. Dangerous factories with little oversight of third-party subcontractors by TNCs are the garment industry norm in Bangladesh. Nominal owners rather than the TNCs for whom they were manufacturing were held responsible for 112 deaths of mostly female workers at

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the Tazreen factory in Bangladesh while making clothes for major brands. When asked to pay slightly higher costs to upgrade factory safety, representatives from Walmart and Gap stated: Specifically, to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories. … It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments. (Eidelsan, 2012) Hundreds of workers have also been killed in factories in Cambodia and the Philippines over the last decade. The Tazreen disaster was eclipsed the next year. With unions calling it “mass industrial homicide,” 1324 deaths and over 2500 injuries at the Rana factory in the Dhaka District of Bangladesh was the single largest factory disaster in history (Guardian, 2018). Massive safety issues were revealed from locked fire doors, malfunctioning sprinklers, and inadequate weight loads. TNCs preferred to lay blame on the factory owners subcontracted in many complicated layers removed from those who commission the garments (Lindsey, 2014). Tazreen lost global attention in a few months. With international advocacy and ongoing media coverage on Rana, however, policies to address the conditions were enacted. Two international programs, Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, are credited with improved worker safety and the inspection of 2300 large factories. Many have upgraded their safety standards. Six years after the tragedy inspections have faltered, increases in wages have not been forthcoming, and promises of a new hospital and health care to survivors have fallen by the wayside. Over half of Rana survivors cannot find work today because of injuries and mental trauma suffered from the factory collapse (ActionAid, 2019). Factories at most risk for safety hazards are overseen by the government or are hidden in layers of subcontracting and not overseen by anyone. Recent factory fire with injuries attests to ongoing safety gaps. Despite commitments to safe factories and living wages to thousands of young women, the status quo in the garment industry is not challenged (Perraudin, 2019). The TNC garment industry favors teens and young women for their willingness to work for low wages in substandard conditions. A seamstress who survived the collapse of the Rana factory says: “I’d like to find alternative work but I don’t know what I can do.” Her previous informal sector job was as a housemaid paying $20 a month. At the time of the factory collapse Bangladesh guaranteed a minimum wage of $38 a month in factories. The $18 difference literally kept her family from starvation (Al-Mahmood, 2013). Like other women surviving the Rana tragedy, she was anxious to return to work. Determined to avoid media attention and find even lower-wage employees, the garment industry is retreating to urban fringes and then to rural areas. In a step toward rural industrialization encouraged by the state, young women can be recruited from villages near newly built factories. TNCs report that factories are clean, safe, and convenient. Women welcome factory work as a way to escape grinding rural poverty. NLG proponents argue that factory work offers an alternative to a life of labor in the fields and boosts rural economies. TNCs may offer child care and schooling for workers and their families. The NLG track record for women in Bangladesh’s garment industry is tarnished at best. Rural women are positioned as a “new niche for economic exploitation” in the garment industry (Schoen, 2018, 2019a). Factory work opened paid employment to women because they could be paid less than men. The Bangladesh economy was transformed by women’s work and is now dependent on it.

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Nonetheless, neither unions nor international law have been able to seriously nudge TNCs to offer women wages to thrive rather than wages to survive.

Critique The magnitude of the Rana tragedy did document another correlation between globalization, especially its neoliberal thrust, and its perils for women. Public understanding of NLG’s connection to gender inequity and broader social harm has been heightened. Propelled by the international women’s movement, strong women-oriented NGOs, and the FWCW Platform of Action, the gendered impact of NLG is being addressed. Development projects funded through the UN and the World Bank, for example, must prepare a gender analysis at the planning stages to determine how the project differentially affects women and men. Feminists refuse to be complacent about “the current state of affairs” related to women and development. Reporting on negative development outcomes for women tends to normalize them. These trends are not natural, nor should they be accepted as givens (Beck, 2017).

Women and Development Building on sociological and interdisciplinary work on how global pathways are gendered, development studies continue to accelerate. Research on Women in Development (WID) was eventually supplanted by Women and Development (WAD). In acknowledging the power differences between men and women in development practice, Gender and Development (GAD) was ushered in. Embracing one or the other nomenclature is not simply an academic exercise. How terms are used and who uses them have consequences. GAD discourse often marginalizes the voices of non-elite women and silences feminist inspired rights-based approaches to gender equity in development. GAD has also become more aligned with the very neoliberal development policies that WID has been countering for decades (Benería et al., 2016; Narayanswamy, 2016; Carella and Ackerly, 2017). With abundant sociological work supporting neoliberal incursion into development policies harmful to women, I have retreated from my original embrace of GAD discourse, preferring Women and Development (WAD) as the best alternative to date.

A Sociological WAD Model Sociology has much to offer the Women and Development (WAD) discourse. Sifting through plentiful research, a WAD model informed by sociology can be useful for all players in development work. The model should incorporate the following elements. (Lindsey, 1995b, 2006; Deutscher and Lindsey, 2005; Cohn and Hooks, 2016). •

• •

Account for neoliberal globalization as the driver of gender inequality and the power relations between stakeholders, such as the World Bank, TNCs, United Nations, NGOs, and CSOs. Identify intersectional risks of gender with social class, religion, and other statuses that may empower and disempower women in development outcomes. Explain stratification keeping the developing world economically dependent on richer nations. Capitalism and colonialism intertwine to determine the structures shaping women’s subordination.

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• • •

Translate sociological theory for use in development planning and practice as envisioned by sociology’s founders; a “sociology of usefulness” is encouraged. Expand definitions of economic productivity to include women’s unpaid work in their homes, as farmers, and in the informal sector. Incorporate interdisciplinary thrusts. Sociologists, economists, and anthropologists must talk to one another, to practitioners, and to women and communities affected by development decisions. Adopt a feminist perspective emphasizing women’s empowerment. Like conflict theory, feminism challenges a patriarchal status quo (Chapter 1). Women’s empowerment enhances well-being for women, their families, and their communities.

Development projects that neglect gender analysis and ignore NLG are unrealistic and unsuccessful. Gender disparities are being recognized as injustices and obstructions to development.

Global Patterns of Gender (In)Equity The story of women and development is often told through the hopeful eyes of the United Nations and the economic optimism by TNCs and governments embracing NLG. It is also told by critics highlighting women’s peril in NLG-inspired development. It is impossible to capture the global complexity of gender inequality in any one story.

Patterns of Diversity and Similarity Despite women’s diversity and the intersectional risks they face from region or nation, or community, women represent remarkably similar patterns in carrying out their gendered lives. The five patterns below are neither uniform nor consistent, but they offer ways to distill the degree to which women maneuver treacherous gendered terrains. Each pattern asks a question and highlights the disconnect in ways women maneuver the gendered development terrain (Lindsey, 2018; Lindsey and Najafizadeh, 2019; Lindsey, 2019b). 1

De Jure/De Facto: By Law and by Fact. What are the successes and challenges to legal approaches for gender equity? The UN was an early player in explaining the disconnect between policy and law and how they play out in the daily lives of women. Despite laws conferring equal rights and opportunities on women, stereotypes, cultural obstacles, and social conservatism surrounding gender roles inhibit their enforcement.


Challenges of Globalization. What are the benefits and liabilities of globalization for gender equity? Whether in political, cultural, or religious contexts, and whether women’s work activities are in the formal or informal sectors, neoliberal globalization sets the stage for how gendered patterns unfold. Although globalization scenarios are strikingly similar, there are clear differences according to level of development in nation and region that help explain how NLG may be better or worse in the service of gender equity.


Women’s Global Dilemma: Balancing Family and Work. What is the influence of unpaid family and caregiving on the paid work women perform? Rooted in patriarchy, culturally entrenched gender attitudes are not easily swayed when women are employed. Cultural issues are most intrusive in “work–family balance” discourse in the Global South,

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especially where policy supports employed women. The notion that there is such a thing as a “choice” to balance work and family may be mysterious in much of developing world. 4

Activism, Advocacy, Agency. What strategies and resources are leveraged by advocacybased networks to challenge patriarchy and put women on the road to gender equity? In connection with the international women’s movement, advocacy by NGOs leverages resources to mobilize activism, even in nations with a low level of legal commitment to gender equity. Local advocates serve as conduits for grass-roots leaders learning to navigate political landscapes. NGOs expect to enhance agency and empowerment then retreat when women and communities advocate for themselves.


Re-Configured Gendered Lives. How are women’s lives re-configured when globalization alters gender roles and relationships? Intersectionality helps explain why legal (de jure) rights may not translate to desired gender equity outcomes in the context of globalization. Compared to rural women, their urban counterparts are likely to be in paid work, are better off economically, and have more latitude in determining future prospects. As NLG envelops their communities, women’s lives will inevitably be refashioned—for better or worse. New “womanhoods” are emerging that will serve as models for the next generation of the globe’s women.

Applying Gendered Patterns Inspect the gender issues in the nations and regions in the next section to see how the five patterns of gender (in)equity apply. These issues are flashpoints identified by activists, scholars, researchers, and feminists that are culturally defined gender markers for the nations or regions selected for review. Keeping the patterns in mind, the discussion is more organized, and the scope of the review is narrower. Even with this limited focus, however, the task is formidable. Science demands generalizations (macro level), but countless exceptions exist (micro level). The global gender patterns offer a route to account for both. The sociological objective, therefore, is to identify gendered patterns of life and living to illustrate what women share and how they fare as a result of these patterns.

SECTION 2 GLIMPSES OF OUR GENDERED GLOBE RUSSIA The Soviet Union was founded in 1922 and the Cold War ended with its collapse in 1991, ushering in optimistic predictions that democracy would envelop the world. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s policies of glasnost (“openness”) combined with perestroika (“restructuring”) were keys in transforming the Soviet Union into a democratic nation with a free-market economy. Gorbachev’s vision of a democratized, capitalistic Soviet Union was not to be. The USSR rapidly crumbled into 15 independent nation states, most of which embraced capitalism but not democracy. With increasing global dominance, Russia is the largest and most economically and politically powerful of the former Soviet republics. It began a rocky path in a transitional economy rebounding from a 1998 financial crisis, then sinking in the global recession, and again between 2014–2017. Growth is expected to be

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stagnant or modest at best (Aris, 2019). Even before multiple financial crises, the restructured economy deepened poverty and unemployment and slashed or eliminated subsidies for health and welfare. Russia’s economy is in transition but is otherwise like developing world nations in quality-of-life and well-being indicators, particularly in relation to gender. Russian women have been further marginalized or pushed into poverty by the effects of NLG and the transition to a free-market economy.

Central Asia Central Asia can be the testing ground for women’s agency in the region’s post-Soviet transformation. Nations in this region are struggling with maneuvering democracy and its outcomes after independence, while simultaneously adapting to massive repercussions of rapid neo-liberal globalization. Central Asia is home to some of the globe’s most repressive countries, where women continue to confront persistent abusive practices, especially in socially conservative countries such as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (Direnberger, 2019; Peshkova, 2019). Throughout the region educational and health care benefits have been slashed and public sector jobs, which disproportionately employ women, eliminated. Loss of paid work propels women into poverty; loss of subsidies for child care and elder care increases caregiving responsibilities. Violence is spiking, and calls for a return to the cultural, religious, and household-based economic traditionalism that shackled women in pre-Soviet eras are growing in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan (Dergousoff., 2019; Kudaibergenova, 2019). On the positive side, in Azerbaijan, efforts to improve women’s rights, well-being, and “place” are supported by an array of activists, state agencies, and NGOs. Azerbaijan may represent the blend of activism, advocacy, and agency that can serve as a model for policy makers seeking to enhance the lives of women in the context of NLG (Najafizadeh, 2019). To date, however, it is unclear if this optimistic blend of activism can be sustained by women’s advocacy organizations given the gender-based chasm left by the ravages of transition in Central Asia and Eurasia. Russia’s global re-ascendance and powerful non-democratic hold on the country and the region allow it to orchestrate any gender pitfalls associated with economic transition in ways they see fit.

The Soviet Legacy and Contemporary Russia According to the Soviet constitution, “Women and men have equal rights.” In 1917, Lenin’s regime mandated upgrading women’s position by abolishing all forms of discrimination that women endured in tsarist Russia. Women were granted full equality in educational and employment opportunities, family and property rights, and competition for administrative offices. Women secured almost half of the positions as deputies in state legislatures and were well represented in the trade unions. Political positions with the most influence, however, were essentially devoid of women. The rhetoric of equality masked the oppression of women in the former Soviet Union and plays out today in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Employment The Soviet Union had the largest percentage of employed women of any society during its rapid expansion, estimated at 80–90 percent by the World Bank. Initially employed in the agricultural sector, in no country in the world did women constitute such a significant part of

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the labor force in so short a time. Despite economic stagnation and a shrinking labor force for both men and women, in today’s Russia about two-thirds of women are employed. Women are urgently needed in the labor force, but this need has done nothing to curb pervasive gender stereotypes about women workers; men remain the preferred employees. Employers view women workers as less profitable. Employers are suspicious of working mothers and women who take advantage of the limited subsidies for child care. Child care reduces time available for training to upgrade a woman’s skills; in turn, she is considered an inferior employee. Russian women are highly credentialed professionals in law, medicine, and engineering, as well as in the skilled trades. Like women globally, however, they are overrepresented in low-paying and menial jobs, underrepresented in managerial jobs, and hold lower ranks as supervisors and in less prestigious specialties as professionals. Despite the official doctrine of equal pay for equal work and regardless of qualifications, gender discrimination in hiring and promotion and in wages is taken for granted. Some gains are evident. Under the communists, the average female worker earned two-thirds of the average male income. In 2005, women made 60 percent of what men made. The wage gap shrank to its lowest level at 26 percent in 2013 but has gradually increased since. Today it hovers at 30 percent. Women are not only in flat career paths compared to men, but if women’s pay accounted for their educational credentials, the gender wage gap would disappear or even reverse for top earners (Atencio and Posadas, 2015; Ebel, 2019). With entrenchment in unskilled jobs, in feminized professional jobs, and within a gender-based system of job segregation, women’s economic losses are predicted to increase. Gender inequity persists in unemployment. Globalization moved workers out of industry into an emerging service sector. New businesses rapidly emerged, and government oversight of these companies virtually disappeared. The decline of government bureaucracy and subsidies exerts a heavy toll on women and their families. Female unemployment is at record highs at the same time as unemployment benefits are slashed. Men and women adapt differently to the stark realities of the rocky labor markets in Russia. Women report lower levels of control but appear to adapt better than men. Given the deep economic divide between men and women, NGOs are supportive of the causes of women but have little power in advocating positions that differ from Putin’s expanding iron-fisted stance about women in the labor force and the preference for patriarchal families.

Collision of Family and Employment The glaring disparity between men and women in the labor force is explained by Russia’s unique combination of ideological and cultural factors. Referred to as a double burden (rather than a second shift) in a Russian context, powerful family barriers hinder women’s career advancement. Compared to men in developed nations and nations undergoing economic transition, Russian men take on the least domestic duties when their wives, sisters, and mothers are also in the paid labor force. On average, husbands have 30 hours more free time per week than wives. Slight decreases in work hours outside the home for both men and women do not match sharp increases in work hours for women inside the home. Women are torn by how to deal with peregruzhenost (overburdening). Heightened by the chaos generated by the collapse of the state-controlled economy, traditional views of family roles have re-emerged in rural areas, coupled with a chronic labor shortage.

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Fertility Politics The Russian government is alarmed at the falling birth rate (now at 1.6) and the increased preference for smaller families. Nonetheless, the economy depends on the cheaper labor of women who can be hired part-time or as temporary workers. Professional women are being pushed out of the labor force, but manual workers are still in demand. The economy could not withstand a mass exodus of women from the ranks of paid labor, but private enterprises are not offering benefits such as day care and pregnancy leave to entice women to stay in the workforce. Another confounding factor is that Russian couples do not want large families, but available and affordable birth control options are limited. Despite a steady decline in costly abortions, the abortion rate in Russia is believed to be the highest in the world. It peaked in the 1960s during the Soviet era (three abortions for every birth); although it has declined, it is estimated today that the number of births is twice the number of abortions. The UN has not recorded such a high rate of abortion in any single country for which records are available. This rate does not capture the number of illegal abortions, estimated to be between five and eight for every birth (Shabunova and Kalachikova, 2014; Sakevich and Lipman, 2019). In an ironic twist, efforts to bolster fertility in Putin’s Russia targets the “abortion culture,” with nationalist rhetoric (demography is vital or we will not exist) and by rallying conservative allies in the Russian Orthodox Church (pro-life narrative, like in the U.S.). Paradoxically, Putin is committed to legal protection for abortion but looks to the church as an uneasy partner in his pronatalist argument. The pronatalist call using nationalistic rhetoric may be more effective than the religious one. In proposing a ban on abortion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church couches it in terms of Russia’s lagging population, but with a variation on morality. It stated that the mass murder of children is “worse than the Holocaust” (Moscow Times, 2019). Either call, however, falls on deaf ears. Women are caught in a disheartening paradox. The government is unwilling to subsidize birth control options and employment benefits for new parents. Abortion is prioritized as a birth control option in a Russia largely devoid of “pro-family” subsidies that do not match its rhetoric. Simultaneously Putin’s prochoice Russia is leading the global movement to reassert traditional values that normalize women as inferior to men (Dukhanova, 2018). These values strongly align with religious conservatives and unfold in a stronger patriarchal family structure. Russian women accommodate and resist this alignment.

Marriage and Family Led by young adults, male and female differences on attitudes to marriage and the family and sex and sexuality are shrinking (Borusiak, 2013). Tantalizing images of gender partnership resonate with young couples. Since progressive attitudes have not translated to behavior altering the daily lives of Russian women, these attitudes are in an era of rapid decline. Despite women taking on virtually all household responsibilities, the prospect of marriage and children, albeit a small family, takes precedence, especially among rural women. Women appear to accept the far from egalitarian marital arrangement that inevitably emerges.

Family Values Russian women are much more family oriented than men and place a stronger value on child rearing. Family, children, and social order continue as the highest values for women;

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importance of paid work comes in as a weaker, declining value. These values mirror Putin’s conservative strategy idealizing women as homemakers and promoting the status quo as better for individual women and men and better for national stability. Agendas aimed at transforming families and relationships in the name of egalitarianism threaten such stability. Public opinion in Russia resonates with Putin’s authoritarianism, neoliberal economics, and a leadership style that appeals to a wide swathe of rural Russia. Despite policies that contribute to the economic plight for much of this population, collective interests are prioritized over individual interests (Chiozza and Stoyanov 2018; Mamonova, 2019). Women fall prey to hardships inside and outside the home, yet they embrace stricter, traditional gender roles. Young women express mixed visions about opportunities for good jobs and great families. They do not idealize marriage, nor do they see it as a ticket out of poverty or from the drudgery of unfulfilling paid work. They largely accept patriarchal gender roles and separate spheres as givens, believing that men should be the primary breadwinners. Fatherhood is encapsulated in masculinity norms surrounding breadwinner roles for men. Working class men are further constrained by lack of education and by economic peril disallowing them from alternatives to “successful” masculinity models men of privilege may be offered. Most men in Russia fall under these constraints, but like women’s seeming endorsement of patriarchy, accept them nonetheless (Åberg et al., 2018; Walker, 2018). For men, these norms severely restrict models of active fatherhood and other nontraditional family roles emerging in other societies (Chapter 9). For women, earning money and running a household increases overburdening, so why would women choose such as option? As an employed, married professional woman with two daughters insists: Of course I’m satisfied—a family, children, work, I’ve got it all … The husband should earn money, the wife bring(s) up the children and do(es) the housework. That’s how it is with us—it suits us, everything’s good with us. (Ashwin and Isupova, 2018:455)

Independence Reflecting on such views of marriage and the family, it may be surprising that Russian women define themselves as independent, not needing a husband to support them or their families. They strongly endorse their independence from men, whether married or not. Single motherhood is a normative, culturally accepted role of women in Russia. Despite lack of government subsidies for employed single women with children, conspicuously absent fathers, and the state’s silence about responsible fatherhood, many women assert that raising children is easier without a husband or father (Utrata, 2015). Men are dispensable. Women prefer a household free from the constraints of men who try to dominate. They may be agricultural workers, professionals, or clerks, but their main concern is to raise a family. Men are expendable in this equation.

Masculinist Discourse A powerful masculinization discourse has intensified under Vladimir Putin. This discourse endorses characteristics associated with toxic masculinity that imperil the well-being of men, increases gendered risks for women, and increases social liabilities (Chapter 9). Symbols of hegemonic masculinity dominate the political landscape and are vehicles to garner support for Russian nationalism. In the 2014 Winter Olympics in Moscow, the world watched as

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President Putin remained stoic and reserved, barely displaying any emotion, even as Russian athletes performed spectacularly. As if the Olympics provided the masculinist springboard, weeks later Russia began expansionist drives in the region. The world witnessed an enactment of masculinist discourse that helped enlarge Russia’s regional and global dominance (Bjarnegård and Murray, 2017; Romanets, 2017). With Putin’s regime bolstered by a thoroughly crafted and orchestrated masculinization, the association of gender and politics cannot be disguised. As with nationalism, masculinist narratives restrict women from running for public office. Women who do manage to gain public office are usually at the behest of the Russian party (Avdeva et al., 2017). Masculinist discourse lays the foundation for Putin’s conservative credibility. It justifies attacks on feminism and a decadent West that displays a “genderless and infertile mortality.” Putin leads the “global charge against debauchery,” offering voice to “conservatives, traditionalists, and nationalists across the globe” (Fish, 2017). Conservative far right media and mainstream political figures in the U.S. have praised Putin for such views (Foer, 2017; Michel, 2019). Under Putinism, gone are the days of economic vulnerability, military fragility, and weak men.

What is Feminine? Putin’s gendered rhetoric is constructed to rediscover the lost femininity of Russian women. Masculinist images include independence, strength, power, sexual prowess, and risk-taking Its feminine (not feminist) opposites (binary) include admiring women for being meek, humble, and dependent. Women are praised (or not) for appearance, attention to their bodies, and as they age, fashion choices accentuating their femininity. Such messages echo neoliberal marketing strategies to Russian women (Kalinina, 2017; Davidenko, 2019a, 2019b). On a visit to a female police officer training facility on International Women’s Day, Putin suggested ways they can maintain their figures (Rahim, 2019). If women lament masculinity that is adrift for contemporary men, and men reproach women for their lack of femininity, tension is eased by masculinist discourse welcoming back traditional gender beliefs for both women and men.

Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Violence The infusion of masculinist discourse is glaring in policies surrounding sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Sexual harassment in Russia is common and growing. It has no legal definition, nor are their guidelines on how to deal with it (Anyukhlina and Petrova, 2019). Sexual harassment of women is so taken for granted that Russian lawmakers see any legislation to reduce it as excessive and unnecessary, and which could turn Russian women into “overly sensitive Europeans” (Moscow Times, 2018). Despite education credentials superior to men’s, and holding more senior level management positions than women in the West, Russian women have no protection against sexual harassment in their workplaces or schools. Compared to sexual harassment, the line is less blurry for sexual violence. The Russian Criminal Code does outlaw “coercion to commit sexual acts” but the victim’s claims are often dismissed for failure to provide evidence for prosecution. If claims in the workplace are so easily dismissed, it is almost impossible to bring claims of domestic violence to court. Most telling is that domestic violence was recently “partly decriminalized,” resulting in a dramatic fall in incidents reported to police. Since the law was passed in 2013, approximately 50,000

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reported cases of domestic violence against women fell by almost 50 percent. With weak government response to sexual and domestic violence in Russia, it is not surprising that rape is the least-registered crime in Russia. Online activism against sexual assault has increased and media attention to grisly rapes has generated attention to gender-based violence, but female promiscuity and victim blaming are its counterpoints (Aripova and Johnson, 2018; Hendin, 2018). Even with high profile rape and abuse cases, the #MeToo hurricane sweeping the globe has barely made a dent in Russia (Ingurazova, 2019). Gender stereotypes are thriving. Current attitudes suggest that “men must be masculine and strong, and women should be feminine mothers” (Ferris-Rotman, 2018). Men’s strength includes taken-for-granted sexual dominance over women that often translates to gender-based sexual violence both inside and outside the home.

Feminism in Peril Undergirded by masculinist discourse reverberating throughout tightly controlled media, Russians are “creating a positive collective identity” that is popular with Russian voters (Riabov and Riabova, 2014:23). Images that counter this emerging identity are considered to be threatening and divisive. This discourse is designed as a direct assault on feminism. Feminists are portrayed as aggressive and vengeful and harming Russian values, and which, if not curtailed, will lead to a war with men. Women may be needed in the labor force, but they are blamed for men’s job losses. Russian women exist in a culture of male resentment where women’s accomplishments and rewards come at the expense of men.

Sexuality Feminism’s peril multiplies by its alignment with the LGBTQ community and its countercries against hegemonic masculinity that challenges antigay propaganda. Being LGBTQ in Russia is essentially illegal. A 2013 law declares that male homosexual relations, bisexuality, and transgenderism are “contagious,” can enlarge the “diseased” LGBTQ population, and make children queer (Kondakov, 2018). This “gay propaganda law” is directly linked to waves of escalating anti-LGBTQ violence sweeping across Russia and the doubling of hate crimes against this group. Explicit targets are LGBTQ youth (Human Rights Watch, 2018, 2019). With the state turning its back on the law’s victims, Russians in turn regard the LGTBQ community as not only problematic, but disposable. As defenders of LGBTQ rights, feminists walk on exceedingly treacherous ground.

Dangerous Feminists Feminism is more than a dirty word; it is a dangerous word. Members of feminist protest punk rock band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison in 2012 for singing an anti-Putin protest song. Since then the band’s male performer was hospitalized, suspected of being poisoned by pro-Putin agents (McKirdy and Gigova, 2018). Rap videos on YouTube in Russia offer both pro- and anti-Putin stances, but rather than in synch with feminist views, and like in the U.S., they are suffused with misogyny, violence, acceptance for using drugs on women, and blaming sexual assault on women for the way they dress (Chapter 13). It is safe enough to blog, but rap videos are largely pro-Kremlin in messages, with a heavy reliance on macho politics and unquestioned sexism (Denisova and Herasimenka, 2019). Rap

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music online may offer spaces for communication and dialogue about politics, but these are subsumed in anti-feminist thrusts. Those who spread feminist memes in Russia go to jail, domestic abusers do not (Denejkina, 2018). Often rapists who kill their victims literally get away with murder. With feminist intent, Pussy Riot started a conversation about corruption in Russia and were imprisoned as result.

Russian Feminism Feminism in early post-communist Russia emerged, rapidly declined, and virtually disappeared in the public sphere by the 2000s with Putin’s unimpeded ascent to the Russian Presidency. In contemporary Russia, feminism has a shadow existence. In addition to the masculinized political umbrella, other key factors help explain the decay of feminism in Russia. First, in light of strict scrutiny, Russian-bred NGOs have failed to become organizationally viable and financially sustainable. Suspicious of civil society, the Kremlin exerts control to curtail NGO activities deemed to rally opposition to Putin (Svetova, 2018). As expected, NGOs advocating for women are monitored closely, especially for social media posts and financial connections to businesses and non-profits aligned with the West. If tainted by feminism, NGOs in Russia have a low survival rate. Russian women, therefore, are more likely to be mobilized outside than inside Russia. Another factor in the decline of Russian feminism is minimal political representation on issues supporting women in their homes and workplaces. Considered to be speaking for all women, female political leaders are notorious for sending contrived and orchestrated messages that legitimate female subordination. Their words resonate with Russian women who believe they can never win any fight for power. Why should they? The home is their refuge. Contrary to Marxian assertions, the life of toil inside the home for no pay is eagerly embraced by women who toil for low pay outside the home. Most important, with this masculinist thrust as a major spoke in (ethno)nationalist conservative rhetoric and the demonization of feminism, calling oneself a feminist or engaging in feminist activities can be a lethal act. In riding out the NLG wave that has engulfed Russia and Putin’s increased authoritarianism, women face difficult issues. The restructured economy intensified sexual inequality. Glasnost briefly opened dialogue on the plight of women and NGOs and universities began publicizing the benefits of a women’s movement and women’s rights. Glasnost rekindled a hidden but viable feminist spirit that the Soviet Union had driven underground. Today, however, it is difficult to find that spirit in public discourse surrounding feminism. The popular view of feminism in Russia is that it doesn’t exist and is not needed anyway. Feminists are confused with lesbians and identified as man-haters, and seen as simply unkempt losers with problems in their personal lives. (Sinelschikova, 2017) Women have not mobilized enough to seriously challenge such openly misogynist images. Any feminist revival since the post-Soviet era is weak and weakening.

Critique Since Russia represents the trend of anti-gender campaigns mounting in nations outside the Global South, women’s issues are detailed at length. Institutions in Russia speak with a unified voice that make no attempt to hide their stance on gender or in anti-equality rhetoric (Moss,

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2017). Women witness these symbols daily and internalize messages about their place in society vis-à-vis men. They are not passive recipients of misogyny and are proud of their autonomy in their homes and refusal to be dependent on men. By choice and circumstance they maneuver their lives to gain the best of what it means to be a Russian woman in the face of Putinism. These discouraging trends notwithstanding, support for civil liberties in Russia is growing among younger Russians, and urbanites, with upsurges in rural areas. Under a civil liberties umbrella NGOs are actively working to draw attention to human rights. Limited dissent is possible on some issues of civil liberty, such as challenges to constitutional changes restricting avenues for protest. Dissent on feminist grounds, however, is driven underground (Gerber, 2017; Orlova, 2018; Trochev and Solomon, 2018). Women online offer the safest places for expressions of feminism in Russia. It is risky for feminists to move from online dissent to places where women gather to talk about feminism—spaces free from men and from the prying eyes of the state. Feminists are heartened by the Occupy Movement and social justice protest events. “Mass sing-alongs and dancing flash mobs” help create and sustain a sense of community (Krznaric, 2017:12). Although barely nascent, such spaces and events are gathering speed in Russia. In a country where the concept of feminism remains at best socially neutral and at worst a “mortal sin,” activists fighting for gender equality under the banner of feminism have to take success where they can get it. And it’s often fleeting. (Ekmanis, 2019)

CHINA Prior to the revolution elevating Mao Tse Tung as head of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recognized women as valuable allies in building socialism. For the peasant revolution to maintain momentum during the construction of a new regime, it was believed that women’s issues must be given priority. Because women were inextricably bound to an ancient, oppressive, and seemingly immutable family structure, women’s rights in the home were given highest priority. Priorities, however, were (and are) reconciled with immediate goals in mind, specifically economic growth. For the CCP, if women’s rights and economic development conveniently coincide, they remain a government priority. Similar to the ideology of the former Soviet Union, China’s goal to increase women’s employment is linked to the argument that when women gain economically, they also gain in the family. Whereas Karl Marx articulated the structure of classical social conflict theory, it was Friedrich Engels who applied this approach to the family (Chapter 1). Engels argued that the family is the basic source of women’s oppression. The patriarchal family is a microcosm of a larger, oppressive capitalistic society. By this reasoning, therefore, once women expand their roles outside the family in paid work in the new socialist system, servility to men will cease. Popularized as the “liberation through labor” ideal, women’s improved economic status was the twentieth-century foundation for achieving gender equality. Family reform would inevitably follow.

Reform and the Chinese Family The record of Chinese family reform since the revolution is mixed. The traditional Chinese family was based on Confucian principles, with complete authority to males. The family

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was patriarchal, patrilineal, and patrilocal. In Confucian classic writings, females are naturally inferior, unintelligent, jealous, indiscreet, narrow-minded, and seductive to innocent males (Chapter 12). Given these views, it is not surprising that women’s lives were severely restricted by custom and law. At marriage, she had to survive under the unquestioned authority of her husband, his father, and his grandfather, as well as other assorted male relatives. A female hierarchy also existed. Her mother-in-law exercised strict control, and she could beat or sell her daughter-in-law for disobedience or for running away. The bride occupied the lowest rung in the domestic hierarchy of the traditional Chinese family.

Footbinding Running at all was impossible for those women who endured footbinding, which could reduce a foot to as small as three inches. Dating to the early part of the twelfth century, this crippling procedure was more extreme for upper-class women who did not have to work in manual labor or in the fields. However, poorer girls in remote areas of China needed to contribute to the economic well-being of their families. Footbinding may have prevented work in the fields but girls were taught how to spin and weave, to produce goods for sale or barter. Besides becoming a status symbol and a prerequisite for marriage among the upper classes, footbinding ensured that all women remained passive and under the control of men. Although the narrative of footbinding largely surrounds cultural beliefs about women’s marriageability, tiny feet led to adept hands. In turn, these skills may have been an asset to a prospective spouse. Footbinding endured in rural areas into the latter half of the twentieth century in rural China (Brown, 2016; Bossen and Gates, 2017). For the family and Confucian-based society to function smoothly, both socially and economically, the subordination of women was required and practices such as footbinding helped ensure it. Spotlighting agency, nonetheless, women held economic leverage with home-based production that allowed for family survival.

Marriage The Marriage Law of 1950 abolished many practices that oppressed women in the traditional Chinese family. The fundamental principle on which the new law was based was free-choice marriage. It was expected that this would lay the foundation for releasing women from their abysmal existence in feudal marriage. Women gained the right to divorce; marriages had to be monogamous; and bigamy and other forms of plural marriage, as well as concubinage, were abolished. Also eliminated were child betrothal, bride prices, and any restrictions placed on the remarriage of widows. With women’s rights in mind, in 1980 a sweeping law was passed to update the older law. The 1980 law specified that husband and wife are legally equal in the home and both have the freedom to engage in paid work, to study, and to participate in social activities. Certainly the 1980 law bolstered the rights of women—especially urban women—in their homes. In rural areas, however, the law was met with less enthusiasm. Enforcement was minimal and progress stalled. Over the next two decades, China witnessed alarming increases in domestic violence, child abandonment, a quadrupled divorce rate, and large increases in poverty rates of divorced women. After years of legislative debate, the law was amended in 2001. Adultery and cohabitation were outlawed, and property division in divorce was extended to include all property gained in a marriage, including salary, profits, and inheritance.

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Critique Nonetheless, when laws collide with ancient traditions enforcement is difficult. Bigamy and forced marriage were already illegal, but ancient concubinage practices continue. It is also difficult to enforce the provision for wealthier men who have second wives and jeopardize the families of all their unions. Thousands of second wives and children of wealthy Hong Kong men live just across the border in Mainland China. Kin customs pervade, and parents of potential partners wield much authority in arranging marriages. A patrilocal extended family structure in rural areas continues to put new brides at a disadvantage and reinforces the preference for sons. Parents know that daughters are only temporary commodities. Ancient Chinese proverbs such as “Raising a daughter is like weeding another man’s field” are quoted and attest to the strength of the preference for sons.

The One-Child Policy: Gone But Not Forgotten Ancient traditions putting a premium on sons took an ominous turn for daughters. Since its founding, PRC policy focused on upgrading the status of women and simultaneously introduced a stringent campaign to reduce population growth. These two goals disastrously collided. In 1979 the one-child policy was initiated, allowing only one child per couple, with harsh penalties for violation. Whereas China had other programs to curb population growth, the one-child policy was unique in that enforcement was stricter and consequences for noncompliance much more severe. For example, couples received one-child certificates entitling them and their child to an annual cash subsidy. For subsequent children, an “excess child levy” was imposed to compensate for the state’s extra burden to feed and educate additional children. Rewards for the single child were returned with the birth of the second child. The policy largely applied to China’s 90 percent Han population; minorities such as Muslim Uighurs and Tibetans were allowed more than one child or were exempt from the policy. It was relaxed for farm families producing their own food in private plots for subsistence and profit; “excess” children could be pressed into agricultural labor. Penalties for excess children for poorer urban couples were more detrimental. Richer couples in Shanghai and the exploding cities in Guangdong Province could skirt the policy. They provided high-quality housing and private schools to several children. Since they did not rely on government subsidies, local authorities often quietly ignored them. When enacted in 1979, the one-child policy was the most unpopular program in contemporary China. Originally announced as short-term, it was expected that couples would reduce family size voluntarily. This has been borne out. Chinese couples increasingly say that they desire only one child, believing the family will be more prosperous as a result. A small family frees women for more education and employment options. In rural China, the centuries-old universal preference for sons is declining (Shi, 2017). For urban families, the educational gender gap in single-girl homes and single-boy homes has vanished. Among college-educated urban couples, females who want one child are now more likely to express a daughter preference.

Son Preference The one-child policy aggravated an existing skewed sex ratio due to son preference. Each birth cohort of women is smaller than the previous one. Because women marry men who are

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a few years older, fewer brides are available to grooms. Strong vestiges of ancestor worship existing throughout China may explain why mothers of sons are more traditional in gender ideology (Sun and Lai, 2017). A woman gains ancestral status only through her husband and sons. Without male descendants, she could have no afterlife. Chinese women who trace their family trees back 3,000 years do not find any women on them. Dismal indeed were the prospects of a wife who conceived no male children or who remained unmarried or a childless widow. With one child as the option, that child had better be a male. Support for the one-child policy peaked at the millennium with most people believing it was necessary for China’s continued economic development and prosperity. The policy ended in 2016. Couples are now allowed to have two children. Despite the demise of the one-child policy and preferences for smaller families, the disastrous legacy of the one-child policy for females will live on for decades. China has been unable to deal effectively with an artificial gender imbalance harmful to females, including infanticide, sex-selective or coerced abortions, and neglect of female infants. Kidnapping, prostitution, trafficking, and selling girls are frequent, increasing in areas with a shortage of females. As many as 40 million females are estimated “missing” in China.

Caregiving and Security The one-child policy collided with increased life expectancy, which is highlighted as a benefit of neoliberal globalization. Market liberalization, however, reduces subsidies for social services, such as direct assistance to the elderly and support for caregivers. By 2050, the elderly population is projected to increase to 24 percent, with few children available to support them. The looming care crisis is so threatening that China has introduced “filial piety” campaigns to make children aware of their responsibility to their parents. These morality tales have not been successful. Whereas men may take on financial obligations for infirm parents and grandparents, women assume daily caregiving roles, driving them out of the workplace. The unfolding caregiving crisis for China’s burgeoning elderly population provides ammunition for essentialism, nudging women into perceived “natural” and expected caregiving roles. China’s national fertility is below replacement level at 1.5, and the resulting demographic imbalances are massive. In areas with sex ratios as high as 115–140 males per 100 females, security issues are evolving. China’s estimated 150 million “floating population” is comprised mostly of unmarried migrant males. China will soon have over 30 million “leftover men”, many of whom will not be able to find a wife. In rescinding the one-child policy, China appears more concerned about security issues stemming from legions of unmarried, undomesticated men roaming the hinterland than for the dire consequences of the policy for girls.

Critique Chinese women averaged six children in 1970, dropping to 2.7 only nine years later. Despite this steep drop the one-child policy took effect in 1979 (Feng, 2017). China was successful in curbing the population via the one-child policy but are lamenting its very success. Originally China feared a fertility rebound if the policy ended but now may be welcoming a rebound. The two-child option has not spurred more births. Social development driven by female education, in which China has excelled, is a key factor in dampening any rebound.

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Also traced to the unintended consequences of the one-child policy, because there was a lower birth rate in the 1990s, there are fewer childbearing women today. Another twist to ending the one-child policy and welcoming two children is that companies do not want to pay for multiple maternity leaves so are not hiring young women, or are firing them if they get pregnant (Hou, 2017; Economist, 2018; Neuman and Schmitz, 2018). Gender discrimination may be illegal on paper, but the two-child option has deepened it. Damaging repercussions of de jure fertility control continue as a grim reality for females throughout China.

The Gender Paradox of Neoliberal Globalization in China After the disasters of the cultural revolution, in 1978 China unleashed the most sweeping and successful economic transformation in history. Credited to Chinese politician Deng Xiaoping, under the banner of Chinese-style capitalism or market socialism, the slogan “To get rich is glorious” was eagerly embraced throughout China and remains so today.

Women’s Paid Labor On the heels of neoliberal globalization, other economic reform fueled the massive entry of women into paid labor. For decades the consequences of paid labor for women continue to reverberate across China. In rural China, women’s employment was historically low. With relaxed restrictions on migration, however, opportunities for off-farm income accelerated. Women’s employment soared, many finding jobs near their villages and others migrating to the mushrooming global factories in China’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs). As hosts to foreign investment firms, SEZs are a major engine driving capitalism in China—where the profit motive thrives unfettered. Others migrate as couples, the more educated bypassing factories for higher-paying service and technical jobs. The migration of millions of Chinese between village and city constitutes the largest internal migration of any nation today.

Women and the State Economic reform and state policy appear to be mutually supportive, fostering both gender equality and women’s economic integrity. Support for this contention is strong. Women’s new activities in both rural and urban areas significantly increase household income. Rural poverty among women is eroding. Women carry on farm work when husbands and children migrate, but household decision-making power increases. The benefits of education loom large and women postpone marriage and childbearing (Tian, 2017). College graduation rates for women have skyrocketed. Women welcome market-driven reforms that offer flexibility for their on-farm work and opportunities for off-farm employment commensurate with their education. They report more independence and freedom from patriarchal and parental control over their lives. On the other hand, as in other nations, globalization widens gender disparities in state sectors that employ more women, and they are the first to be laid off. On family farms, less-educated women experience sharp increases in domestic responsibilities. Earnings are compromised when family members migrate and additional help is hired; girls often drop

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out of school to work on the farm. Urban women are employed in gender-segregated jobs and are paid less than men. Women’s employment in poorly paid clothing manufacturing is threatened. China is pricing itself out of garment industry labor with its higher monthly minimum wage that is double that of India and triple that of Bangladesh. NLG initially drives higher wages but they are often lost later by its very process. Prompted by media and either bolstered or ignored by the state, essentialist beliefs about the proper place of women are rapidly re-emerging. If job and family are incompatible for women, any problem of unemployment will be “solved” when women return to hearth and home. At the same time, women hear other messages that they are needed in the labor force. Conservative attitudes about paid work for women continue to go down—but progressive attitudes about gender equity do not go up. Constrained choices for women are summed up as “being successful” or “marrying well” (Wu, 2010). These attitudes reflect essentialism that is embedded in hiring practices. Often overlooked in the gender effects of NLG are the massive social problems spawned by industrial expansion (e.g.: black rivers contaminated by industrial and human waste, grinding rural poverty, and the expanding floating population). Problems are magnified by repressive communism (e.g.: human rights violations, information suppression, ruthless anti-democratization methods) that disproportionately impact women. Women are buffeted by abruptly changing policies founded on NLG that profoundly affect their well-being, but they have little power in how policies will play out.

State Capitalism China does not diverge appreciably from the “classic” model documenting NLG’s negative impact on women. Whether China’s state capitalism will help or hurt women in the long run may depend on China’s ability to orchestrate it on its own terms and commit resources to bolster all economically vulnerable segments of its population. Although it appears to be equity oriented, China’s state capitalism is first and foremost pragmatic. Gender equity is not an objective, but women may be accidental or unintentional beneficiaries. It is unlikely that gendered economics will be mainstreamed in China’s quest for market dominance globally. China is not a democracy, but its enviable position as the world’s largest market allows it to navigate neoliberal globalization with more freedom than its developing world neighbors. China appears to be the puppeteer, pulling its own economic strings. •

The collision of gender equity with state capitalism produces a gendered paradox. This paradox has two main thrusts: contradictory and stagnant attitudes about employment and equity persist. Conservative attitudes about paid work for women continue to go down, but progressive attitudes about gender equity do not go up. Market discourse under China’s state capitalism celebrates individualism and personal responsibility but flourishes in a culture that remains highly collectivistic in gendered traditions, inside the home and across other social institutions.

The paradox translates to weak enforcement of government policy. China is officially committed to women’s equality, but legal (de jure) means to enforce it in the workplace are feeble or absent and virtually nonexistent (de facto) in the home (Lindsey, 2019a:59–61). The paradox is far from resolved.

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INDIA India is confronting challenges threatening its economic and political stability. India’s population continues to increase in unstainable ways, projected to surpass China as the globe’s most populous nation within two decades. Considering the staggering problems related to population growth, land and food shortage, unemployment, and growing disparity between poverty and wealth, India looks to all segments of its heterogeneous society for solutions. Opportunities for women are major factors in solutions but planners have barely acknowledged this reality.

The Religious–Political Heritage As in the West, India’s religious heritage reflects inconsistencies regarding the role of women. Goddess images, important female religious occupations, and critical economic roles for women in the pre-Vedic and Vedic eras (2500–300 b.c.e.) demonstrate a modicum of prestige for women. Coupled with technological changes that excluded women, the ascendance of Hinduism gradually eroded this prestige and sent more women into a chattel-like existence (Chapter 12). Indian women share a religious legacy with Western women. Their freedom and status are severely compromised when religion gains an institutional foothold that is difficult to challenge. By the beginning of the first century, India decentralized the authority of the various Indian states. High-caste Brahmin scholars were powerful enough to interpret the ancient Smitris (laws). The Laws of Manu enveloped India and demonstrated how much the position of women had deteriorated. Manu made a woman completely dependent on a man (husband, father, or son). Manu forbade widow remarriage and reduced a widow’s status to such a lowly extreme that the ritual of burning widows (sati) steadily took hold (Chapter 12). The Laws of Manu demonstrated polarized views of male and female and were used to legitimize gender inequality as well as protect the interests of the ruling Brahmin class.

The Social Reform Movement Shaping the roots of a reform movement, new ideas concerning the status of women emerged by the nineteenth century. Glaring examples of the inhumane treatment of women were attacked, including child marriage, lack of property rights, purdah (seclusion of women), and the dismal condition of widows. Reformists were most successful when accounting for religious proscriptions embedded in these customs. They argued that regardless of caste or religion, such customs were responsible for the condition of women. Education and literacy, however, would make women better wives and mothers. Although many women were helped by these strategies, reformists accepted the belief that a woman’s life was restricted to her family life. Today most rural and lower-caste women remain untouched by the reforms. Divorced, widowed, and single women are in peril when they have no source of male support but cannot be employed for pay outside their homes. Hindu and Muslim women fall under the umbrella of male support for survival. For over two centuries Muslim women were bound by triple talaq, Islamic law allowing a husband to divorce his wife by uttering the word “divorce” three times, instantly dissolving a marriage. The blatant injustice of the practice, particularly from a human rights perspective, saw it banned throughout Islamic states.

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Even after decades of debate, strong opposition by Muslim political leaders and organizations argued that the government was interfering in Islamic beliefs and customs. It held on in India until 2019 when it was declared illegal. Muslim groups are vowing to counteract the law. Regardless of religion, cultural beliefs about women and marriage and the patriarchal organization of the Indian joint (extended) family impose huge economic and social hardships on women.

The Gandhis and Nehrus Serious questioning of women’s roles came with Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), who believed that women were essential to India’s quest for independence, but also that social justice demanded their equality. Given the nationalist sentiment and the charisma of Gandhi, women of all castes and regions flocked to the independence movement, assuming leadership roles and participating in all manner of political dissent. Jawaharlal Nehru shared Gandhi’s vision. As India’s first prime minister, against much opposition, Nehru pushed through legislation giving women the right to inherit, divorce, and vote. A strong women’s movement in India worked for gender equality 30 years before independence. But its effectiveness was curtailed by agendas set by British colonialists and Indian nationalists who supported women only when their interests happened to coincide. Patriarchal bias held on in the post-­ independence era, and despite their forgotten contributions, women became victims in further conflicts. Discourse about honor of the nation was intertwined with the honor of Hindu women for their roles of wife and mother. Women served as flagbearers for nationalism in carrying out these roles (Singh, 2016). Challenging the honor-bound roles of women triggers an attack on Hinduism and on the nation itself. Patriarchy, therefore, is left unquestioned and untouched. Like reforms a century before and continuing today, the vast majority of Indian women have not seen the benefits of a women’s movement on their daily lives. The Nehru factor in Indian politics continued to be played out after independence. Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi (1917–1984), succeeded to the post of prime minister in 1966, largely because she was a member of the Nehru dynasty and because her party believed they could control her. Her skill and strength proved them wrong. She was politically astute, using her gender as an asset rather than a liability. She identified herself as a member of the oppressed and astutely drew on powerful mother-goddess images in the Hindu tradition. She capitalized on accepted class and religious narratives to mute potential gender disadvantages as a woman running for the highest office in India. In 1976 Indira Gandhi enacted a mass sterilization drive, largely directed at men. She ruled with an authoritarian hand for 15 years, until her assassination in 1984 by her bodyguards.

The Gender Gap in Human Development Mahatma Gandhi’s vision to elevate the position of women in India is far from realized. Half of females are literate compared to three-quarters of males; about 20 percent more boys continue to secondary school level. Education translates into paid employment. When compared with the masses of unskilled female laborers in India, most of whom work in agriculture, professional women comprise only a tiny minority. Although there has been an expansion of female employment in general, this has not offset the decrease in the employment of unskilled women. The most important statistic related to gender and paid work is

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that virtually all Indian women are engaged in some informal sector work. India ranks 130 on the Human Development Index (healthy life, education, standard of living); 127 on the Gender Inequality Index (health, empowerment, labor market); and 95 out of 129 countries on the Sustainable Development Goals Gender Index. Education, for example, is the most glaring inequality that hurts human development in India. In rural areas, adult illiteracy is improving for both men and women. However, poor people in rural areas have been unable to take advantage of investments in education; the poorest people in India are women and girls living in rural areas. Taken together, these rankings are directly linked to the fact that women and girls represent the largest proportion of the population living in absolute poverty.

Health India has made progress on key indicators of health and development, including increased life expectancy and lowered fertility and maternal mortality in urban areas. Due to the rising inequality that has enveloped India, gains in health have stalled. In the poorest regions, infant mortality has increased and life expectancy has decreased. As in China, the sex ratio at birth in India favors males, an increasing pattern. With men outnumbering women by 70 million, not only will prospective husbands dramatically exceed the number of prospective brides, but the imbalances drive up violent crime, trafficking, and prostitution (Denyer and Gowan, 2018). Son preference contributes to higher mortality rates for females than males, with female infants less likely to receive necessities for survival in poverty-ridden households. The neglect of girls is linked to a strong, continuing dowry tradition in India. In highly stratified societies such as India, dowries, like other properties, are a means of social mobility. Men use rights over women to compete for social status. Males and females are closer to parity in nutrition and healthy life expectancy, but the harmful consequences of dowry and son preference for females continue (Chapter 2). Despite knowledge of family planning and the desire to have fewer children, frequent and excessive childbearing severely compromises the health of women. In addition to strong cultural beliefs about a husband’s right to have frequent and unprotected sex on demand, many women are unacquainted with methods enabling them to space births. A widely used method of contraception is female sterilization; one-fourth of married women are either unaware of or are reluctant to consider male sterilization as a method of contraception. Rural women struggle to access any type of contraception. At 31 million, India has the highest number of women in all developing countries with an “unmet need” for contraception (Green, 2019). For contraception as well as HIV prevention, women cannot insist that their husbands wear condoms, resulting in dire consequences for themselves and their families.

Five Year Plans These disheartening trends from the Human Development Index do not go unnoticed by officials. The central government has taken steps to combat the negative impact of neoliberalism and a restructured economy that extended oppressive gender ideologies to poor, rural women and those who toil in the informal sector (Wilson et al., 2018). Since 1951, policy initiatives are reflected in the Five Year Plans (FYP) targeted to economic development. From inception, a segment of each FYP targets women and their families. Early plans

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described women as subjects of “welfare” (destitute, disadvantaged, disabled). Through the years, FYPs adopted wording related to women’s equality, development, inclusion, and empowerment (Kaur, 2018). The Twelfth Five Year Plan (2011–2017) targets the gender gap in school enrollment, childhood malnutrition, and access to safe water for the rural population. However, despite ambitious goals for women’s empowerment and the reduction of gender inequality embedded in FYPs, resulting policies have been ineffective at best, with failure at the local level most notable.

Gender-Based Violence Nowhere does the failure of public policy unfold more starkly than in violence toward women. With sexual violence and abuse of women so rampant, India is one of the largest purveyors of human rights violations, ranked as the most dangerous country for women (Goldsmith and Beresford, 2018; Narayan, 2018). India is experiencing an epidemic of gendered-based violence (GBV). The nation’s attention was held by images of girls being gang raped in public places, sexually assaulted on buses, maimed women attempting to escape abuse from husbands, and women beaten by relatives who deem dowries too paltry or failure to produce a son. Dowry murder has jumped to its highest rate in decades. An enraged father beheaded his daughter over her dating a disapproved man considered to bring dishonor to her family. Women of all castes are not immune to GBV. Globalization opened up new channels for democracy and opportunities for education and employment for previously unserved urban women, upwardly mobile migrant women, and young female professionals enjoying opportunities for work and leisure in urban India. These benefits, however, have been overshadowed by the massive, rapid social change ushered in by globalization, that deteriorated long-established cultural norms related to gender, class, and caste, and opened a disheartening channel linked to sexual violence. Escalating violence against women coalesces with class, caste, and gender. Whether professionals or street vendors, women must always be on alert for their safety. Delhi, for example, often cited as the “rape capital of India,” represents GBV in multiple arenas of public life (work, school, leisure, movies theaters) and in the hidden, domestic sphere. Often escalating to violence, women face open harassment on the streets, on buses, and in their homes (Channa, 2019; Sen et al., 2020). Despite the law, husbands are unrepentant, girls are expected to marry rapists, sexually abused women are humiliated, police are sympathetic to the perpetrator, victim claims are ignored, rather than the victim, and media berate girls and women for venturing outside of their homes or schools. Women cope with the threat of sexual violence in ways that suggest avoidance of threatening situations, but that are born out of fear. Women see empowerment and inclusion as coping strategies, but personal safety is always in the forefront as they go about their daily lives (Nieder et al., 2019; Tanu et al., 2019). Sex crimes and GBV inside and outside the home are rarely punished legally or condemned socially. Disheartening to feminists is that patriarchal views of rape and GBV find sympathetic expression in the public sphere. These views filter down to laws that comingle women’s empowerment with unchallenged patriarchy, often making such laws unenforceable locally (Menon and Allen, 2018; Menon, 2019). Until fundamental taken-for-granted cultural practices are altered and perpetrators are penalized, women will be denied the benefits of education and economic development claimed as benefits of globalization.

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Feminism in an Indian Context The women’s movement in India is at the center of effort to combat gendered violence. This renewed feminist movement led by strong NGOs is promoting governmental attention to put beneficial principles of development into practice. The central government has taken steps to combat the negative impact of neoliberalism and a restructured economy that extended oppressive gender ideologies to poor, rural women and those who toil in the informal sector (Wilson et al., 2018). Violence against women, especially dowry-murder, has jumped to the forefront as a priority. The Indian women’s movement has increased public awareness of domestic violence, calling attention to the power differences between men and women that serve to disempower women in their families, in schools, and in the workplace. The movement also acts as watchguard to ensure that laws are passed and enforced rather than passed and ignored. Programs designed to curtail violence have a two-pronged thrust: attacking patriarchy and attacking economic inequality. Through focusing on social and welfare measures, women’s organizations are drawn into the political process. In the world’s largest democracy, political parties are recognizing the importance of the women’s vote. Training is a component of this process as well. With social media’s influence, outreach programs for poor, marginalized women are enhancing their confidence and self-reliance. Family-owned microenterprises in India are more productive when women share decision making with men. At the community level women are participating and influencing decisions in local self-governing bodies and, for the first time, are exerting their voting rights at all levels. As successful as these efforts may be, the feminist movement in India is constrained by many issues that feminism faces worldwide. The movement has not been successful in expanding diversity to attract rural women or to effectively mentor poor women as grassroots leaders, for example in tackling women’s sexual and health risks under India’s tenacious patriarchal domination or risks associated with neoliberal development projects that systematically undermine women’s economic integrity. NGOs that make up the movement continue to be led by women from elite castes. Abundant research by and about women addresses many of these concerns but applying it to the lives of women outside the academy is difficult. Whereas the activists working for independence in the early twentieth century were able to create a sense of sisterhood that transcended caste, religious, and cultural boundaries, the contemporary movement has been unable to replay that achievement. Second-wave feminism retreated from earlier party politics in favor of working with grass root leaders who identify with localized challenges. Feminists acknowledge that India’s extraordinary diversity thwarts effectiveness of policies that do not account for local and regional norms. India is not a monolith and feminists must engage with the state in ways palatable to women across its geographical and socioeconomic spectrum. Muslim women, for example, are doubly marginalized by religious discourse and socioeconomic disadvantages (Chantler et al., 2018; Spary, 2019). Women’s political power base regionally and nationally has been eroded. Strategies that diminished participation in party politics and the electoral arena locally have not served Indian feminism. As the power base erodes women’s issues are further marginalized from the public agenda.

Feminist Strategies against GBV Gender-based violence is centuries old, but the string of recent brutalities has mobilized women. Strong women’s advocacy groups and media outcry have kept the issue in the ­public eye.

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The diversity of women mobilized in campaigns against GBV is quite remarkable. This spate of violence has brought together women from unlikely ranks, including previously silenced victims of abuse, migrant women living on urban fringes fearing their daughters’ lives when they are working, and women living under the threat of violence and revenge in the households of their in-laws. The protest movement may be organized by professional women, but they have been joined by millions—literally—of women representing all castes, classes, and ethnic groups. The movement was born of their outraged realization that no matter how accomplished they are, women say “that girl could have been one of us” (Mitra, 2018). Feminists are adopting strategies to address everyday experiences of women in all ranks (micro-level analysis) and are accounting for gendered risks of neoliberal globalization (macro-level analysis) on the frontlines of economic development. Whether referred to as a women’s movement or a feminist movement, it is revealing that GBV becomes the rallying cry for feminist revitalization in an Indian context. #MeToo has taken root in India and brought a diversity of women together in ways other issues have not (Pegu, 2019). It offers an optimistic avenue for solidarity and an opening for feminism to achieve the inclusive, gender-equitable social order envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi at India’s independence.

JAPAN When comparing gender role patterns in Japan with other developed nations, we quickly confront a series of contradictions. During World War II, Japanese and American women had much in common—both labored on the “home front” in vital roles, yet after the war both were denied leadership positions in the government and industries that had relied on their services.

The Occupation After Japan’s surrender in 1945, Occupation forces were determined to establish policies supporting the emergence of a democracy compatible with Japanese cultural values. Japan’s remarkable advances in economic growth, health, higher education, and overall prosperity attest to the spectacular success of the experiment in guided social change introduced during the Occupation. Major shifts in attitudes about overall social equality, especially involving women and men, also occurred. It can be argued that the single largest beneficiary of this experiment was the Japanese woman. The provisions of the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945, mandating that democratic tendencies among the Japanese people be strengthened and that freedom of speech, religion, and respect for fundamental human rights be ensured, in part dictated occupation policy. With the enactment of the Showa Constitution on May 3, 1947, five articles provide for rights of women. Included are equality under the law with no discrimination because of race, creed, sex, social status, or family origin; universal adult suffrage; equal education based on ability (women could be admitted to national universities); women granted the right to run for public office; and marriage based on mutual consent. Beate Sirota Gordon (1923– 2012), a remarkable Austrian-American Jewish civilian woman proficient in Japanese who was attached to the army of occupation, literally coauthored the constitution that included

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women’s rights. Japanese women in 1947 had greater rights compared to American women because Article 24 of their new constitution had an unprecedented equal rights clause for women (Gordon, 1997). The clause was inserted after much debate and continues to be attacked, but has withstood over a half-century of criticism. In contrast, the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. has yet to be passed (Chapter 14).

Gender Equity and Public Policy Legal assurances of equality had their greatest impact on Japanese employment practices beginning with the Occupation. Laws were enacted guaranteeing women protection from long work hours and providing pregnancy and menstrual leave; the laws emphasized that a new Japan required the strong support of women in socializing the next generation for democracy and entrepreneurship. It is obvious today that such laws also inhibit women’s advancement, stereotyping them as less physically capable than men. It took 30 years, however, before the disparity was acknowledged. The Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEOL), passed in 1986, calls for equal pay and other improvements in hiring and working conditions. Unfortunately, without viable enforcement provisions, many employers simply do not adhere to the law. Others believe the failure of the law is due to the principle of Japanese gradualism, which companies use to block unpopular initiatives by invoking cultural norms emphasizing social order. Gradualism can take so long that without continued advocacy, a policy will never be enacted. Some changes have occurred. Blatant discrimination has decreased and support for women in the labor force has increased. However, EEOL had a negligible effect on the rate of women’s regular employment, even as they are highly educated and marrying later. The glass ceiling has barely been acknowledged, much less cracked in Japan. The law remains weak and can neither prevent gender-based personnel policies nor tackle the monumental problems of indirect discrimination (Lindsey, 2010; Mun, 2016).

Gender Equality Bureau Lackluster EEOL prompted the creation of the Gender Equality Bureau (GEB), established in 1994. With public receptiveness and feminist thrust, it was upgraded in 2001 to devise long-term plans related to gender equality. It is tasked with implementing the 1999 Basic Law for a Gender Equal Society (BLGES). The GEB research arm provides data on gender norms in households, employment, caregiving, and health to support implementation of BLGES. Like EEOL, however, GEB is hampered by competing views about traditional values related to women’s place in society and by lack of funds to oversee the reforms needed. GEB is directed by exclusive male high-level officials who seek input from the few women holding political office in Japan, a scattering of feminist-oriented NGOs, and through UN initiatives on gender equity. Even GEB acknowledges that these efforts do not come close to realizing goals related to gender equality, especially in the workplace. Men continue to hold virtually all decision-making power about how gender equity will or should play out in Japan. Support for elements of BLGES is evident. Issues related to human rights and violence against women, gender equality training for teachers, and (on the global level) funding programs aiding women in the developing world meet with fairly high levels of public enthusiasm. On the other hand, key provisions related to gender equality at home, at work, and in

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the community reveal large and persistent attitude gaps between women and men, between married and unmarried, and between homemakers and employed women. Men talk about the economic burden of marriage, and women talk about the difficulty of harmonizing home and family life. Employed women and homemakers report being overburdened with household responsibilities and caregiving for elderly parents-in-law who are increasingly grandparents. Highly educated women serve tea or are secretaries to male superiors with less education, seniority, or training. Despite decades of litigation, gender discrimination in recruitment, employment, and pay remain untouched and lack of opportunities for women outside the home persist. Annual campaigns such as “Gender Equality Week” are designed to raise awareness of gender issues, but awareness of inequality is not matched by behavior to reduce it. Cultural values about the “proper roles” of men and women in Japan remain largely intact.

Demographic Crises These views persist despite demographic changes that are transforming Japanese society. As in Singapore and South Korea, an ominous demographic timebomb is ticking. In the last decade Japan suffered its largest population decline on record. The birth rate is plummeting, and Japan is facing a huge labor shortage. Japan’s total fertility rate is 1.42, showing no sign of bottoming out; in Tokyo, it is much lower, at 1.20. At about 127 million people, the Japanese population is expected to drop below 100 million in less than three decades. Although Japan has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates, it has the happy distinction of having the highest life expectancy rate (LER) among all major countries. An LER of 85.7 in 2019 translates to over 26 percent of the population currently aged 65 and older; by 2050, 40 percent of the population is projected to be over the age of 65. Referred to as a “silver tsunami,” at the junction of demographic and epidemiological factors, Japan will have the largest percent of the oldest old (those 85 and older) in the world. These numbers are fundamentally due to women marrying later and waiting longer to have children. Many women will forgo marriage and childbearing altogether. Among unmarried adults (18–34), 70 percent of men and 60 percent of women say they are not in a relationship. Almost half of men and women in this age group say they are virgins. Unlike in the United States and Europe, single parenting is not a likely option for women. They prefer to embark on university education, offering them higher-paying, satisfying employment opportunities. Government efforts to increase fertility rate to 1.8 have not been successful. Stubborn norms about women’s place in society or offering viable solutions to work–family balance problems faced by women have met with indifference at best, to scorn at worst by potential mothers scared of what it means to be a woman in Japan’s notorious male-centered office culture (Okuda and Takeuchi, 2019). To cope with the foreboding demographic crisis, the government has violated another taboo—allowing large-scale immigration by foreign men to fill Japan’s labor shortage. Like Japan, Singapore and South Korea are in the midst of both a silver tsunami and loss of women in the labor force because they are caregivers for the youngest and the oldest in their families (Huang and Yeoh, 2019; Sung, 2019). Unlike Japan, workers outside their borders are readily available to take caregiving slots. Immigrants are invited to fill vacancies in sectors needing workers; and especially welcome women as lowpaid caregivers. Japan disdains the immigrant option. It is unclear which unpopular option

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will prevail—increasing opportunities in the workplace and for Japanese women or increasing the immigration of foreign men.

Marriage and the Family It is said that Japanese women walk with their feet pointing to the inside, toward uchi (home). The pulls toward home and any perceived incompatibility between home and the roles outside the home are so powerful that the uchi-pointing path is seen as the only realistic one for the large majority of Japanese women. Girls are socialized early in life into traditional gender role values. High school continues to drive their preparation to become full-time homemakers even as they tackle the courses preparing them for the difficult university entrance exams. There is no gender gap in education in Japan, even at the highest levels. Girls are ambivalent about the gendered paths laid out before them and are aware of stereotyped messages they receive, but like women throughout Japan, they expect to spend many years as full-time homemakers.

Motherhood Motherhood rather than marriage propels women into a full-time housewife role. Her family will probably consist of herself, her husband, and one child. The college-educated homemaker/housewife is expected to be selfless and intensive, offering the highest-quality child-centered home environment. For centuries, being a Japanese woman was synonymous with being a mother. Mothers remain revered and the mother–child bond is viewed as inviolable. Children in Japan are reared for more dependence and less autonomy than American or European children. From a functionalist view, the more dependent the child, the more indispensable the mother. Given powerful cultural beliefs that a woman’s life goal is to have children, this trend is not surprising. Motherhood remains the essence of a woman’s social and personal identity. A women’s role is ranked as mother first and wife second. Any work or roles outside the home are deemed inconsequential to identity. This expectation is so strong that it is virtually impossible for employed women with preschoolers to escape social judgment if anything is amiss at home when she is at work. A mother is solely responsible for her child’s well-being—a belief sustained by women themselves and society.

Critique After the war, laws removed blatant language related to women’s incompetency and inferiority. Parental consent was abolished for marriage beyond a certain age; divorce by mutual agreement was possible; and in a divorce, property would be divided between husband and wife. Such laws appeared to bolster a wife’s lowly status in the family. Herein lies the paradox. On the one hand, Japanese women are depicted as powerless, destined to domestic drudgery. Buffeted by the demands of her husband, her child’s school, and her in-laws, she is expected to be humble and submissive. Most of all she is in servitude most of all to her children. However, these stand in opposition to a strong tradition of decision making in the family; Japanese housewives are in full control of domestic life, with virtually unlimited autonomy.

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Patriarchy exists outside the home, but a husband who does household work deprives his wife of domestic matriarchy. Nowhere is domestic matriarchy more evident than in how household expenses are divided. Although it is expected that the husband is the provider, the wife maintains control over the financial management of the household. Paradoxically, his authority is demonstrated when he hands over “his” paycheck to her. In this sense, patriarchy and matriarchy are reciprocal. Earning the money is his responsibility. Managing the money is hers. To shed light on this paradox, most women fall between a submissiveness and assertiveness continuum; there is gradual, steady movement toward the assertiveness pole. Women are highly specialized in the domestic sphere. They also have lower levels of power, honor, privilege, and authority relative to men in the public sphere. Women as a group are defined by the principles of domesticity, seclusion, and inferiority, although individual women are along a continuum for each element The absence of public power is matched by domestic power (Nae, 2018). Much to the dismay of government, another sign of assertiveness is women resisting pressure by delaying marriage and childbearing into their thirties. Singlehood is being embraced by more and more Japanese women. Access to greater public power is limited but serves as a goal for the next generation of Japanese women. The view of the submissive Japanese woman is challenged. Women are active agents in their families and construct positive identities when choosing alternatives to traditional marriage and family lifestyles.

Husbands and Fathers Delayed marriage for women, who marry at slightly younger ages than men or choose to marry older, more financially secure men, results in a huge number of bachelors. In Tokyo alone over 40 percent of men in their early thirties are bachelors, most living with their parents. Men with university degrees who are employed full-time and live with their parents into their thirties are derisively referred to as “parasite singles” or “spongers” in the media. Ironically these terms first applied to single women living at home. Although men are not expected to possess the domestic skills necessary to survive on their own, today these single males are more disparaged than single females. Men, too, are ambivalent about marriage, perceiving that it brings gender constraints and loss of autonomy (Nemoto et al., 2013). Husbands often maintain a childlike dependence on their wives. It bolsters her freedom of action in the home but diminishes his (Tanaka and Lowry, 2013). Men may lament a bride shortage but they are in no hurry to prove to a potential spouse that they will participate in housework or child care. A generation ago most husbands filled the ranks of “salarymen”—company men with lifetime employment in one firm expected to spend 10–14 hours a day on and off the job with their colleagues. Strong cultural norms about workplace roles for men bolster a salaryman mentality even if it is damaging to family life. He sacrifices his life, and to a large extent even his wife and children, for his boss and his company. As common wisdom among Japanese housewives is “a good husband is healthy and absent” (Lachkar, 2014:30). Traditional salarymen are fast disappearing. Corporations would like employees to continue embracing the salaryman mentality, but without the benefits associated with them, such as guaranteed lifetime employment and generous pensions. More men are resisting the salaryman grip on their lives regardless, and are eager to live a fuller life outside the confines

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of conventional jobs and conventional marriages. Japanese men increasingly say that they want to be more involved fathers and husbands but are constrained by brutal workplace demands that ignore any life outside the job. Whether a salaryman or not, men embrace the obsessive Japanese work ethic that is a proud brand of the Japanese nation (Sherrell, 2018). Companies would do well to translate the work ethic brand for men to a family and fatherhood ethic. Paid parental leave and support programs for working men and women with children are rapidly being introduced. With strong government support, campaigns for Ikumen—a combination of the words “child care” and “hunk”—are waged in media to promote a positive image of men as active fathers with a better work–life balance. Accommodating the needs of fathers produces better employees with less stress (Goldstein-Gidoni, 2019; Powell and Hughes, 2019). Ikumen received a big boost from an image of Japan’s new emperor, Hironomiya Naruhito, as a “symbol of a new definition of fatherhood,” taking turns bathing and feeding his daughter in infancy (Gunia, 2019). If men take advantage of these opportunities, it should filter down to their employed spouses. Although aimed at fathers, a goal is to entice young people to marry and have children and for women to retain their jobs at motherhood. Ultimately, ikumen and life–work balance policies are designed to stem the demographic timebomb creating havoc in the workplace. The success of these programs is very uncertain. Employment of part-time women workers increased but child care leave by fathers did not come near to its projected goal of ten percent, stalling at four percent a decade into the program. Even the eligible fathers who took the leave did so only for five days or less (Nagase, 2018; Usui, 2019). The responsibilities of working mothers have skyrocketed, yet fathers do less housework and child care compared to any of the globe’s richest nations (Rich, 2019). Japanese millennials are named the “enlightened generation,” but compared to their parents, have less interest in prestige, career, marriage, and family. Men may have less interest in prestige and career, but marriage and family hold firm for women. Despite uncertainty about emerging work and family norms and which values to accept and which to reject, it is safe to conclude that the notion of egalitarian partnerships is antithetical to men in their homes or workplaces.

Work and Family: A Nondilemma The cultural belief that women in the labor force are temporary commodities until marriage is so taken for granted that any work–family collision is a “nondilemma.” Japanese couples certainly discuss the issue and often express regrets over how it is played out in their lives. Married women know that their roles as wife and mother will limit employment opportunities, but the issue is resolved in favor of home over workplace. The “balance” option is rarely considered. Like women globally, employed women in Japan are constrained by restrictive, stereotyped gender roles. Although women represent just under half of the workforce, over half of these are part-time or non-regular employees, and are concentrated in lower-level jobs with poorer working conditions and insecure long-term prospects. Easily noticeable among semi-skilled employees in retail, food preparation, and customer service centers, occupational gender segregation is powerful in Japan; very few employees cross over to the jobs of the other gender. Feminized jobs command little respect and much less pay than the few comparable jobs held by men. Japan has the largest wage gap of all developed countries, hovering between 60 and 66 percent for several decades. This holds true for both

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part-time and full-time regularly employed women. The gender gap in higher education has disappeared, yet women are excluded from management positions in most Japanese firms. Firms define women as part of a peripheral, impermanent labor force, easy to hire and fire. As corporate social responsibility (CSR) takes hold globally, savvy investors are calling for more gender diversity in businesses. To satisfy emerging CSR norms, Japanese firms may add women to visible upper ranks of their corporations. Whereas some women are empowered and are role models for corporate leadership, few women are added to other management streams and remain out of the promotion pipeline (McCarthy, 2017; Mun and Jung, 2018). Women increase company profits not because of superior performance, but because they receive lower wages. The lifetime employment norm is eroding in Japan, but if available, it is reserved for selected male employees. Japanese women are largely reentry employees after they rear children. They are likely to be middle-aged women in part-time or temporary employment who take jobs not commensurate with their education. They face discrimination due to a combination of gender, age, and family status factors locking them into a secondary labor market. Reentry women bolster the belief that women should not be hired or trained for permanent positions because they will leave their jobs when they get married (less likely today) or when they become mothers (highly likely today). This pattern continues, and despite shortages of workers, the gendered division of labor remains universal and unchallenged.

Critique Whether unmarried or not, employed mothers, or the rare salary-women executives, women are creatively walking uncharted territories and new roles. Women executives capitalize on their after-work friendships to bolster support for the underpaid jobs they would otherwise enjoy more. Working mothers creatively modify their households to their advantage. The mothers may deal with caregiving by employing “substitute housewives” or relying on their mothers or mothers-in-law who live with or near them. Mothers, rather than fathers, orchestrate accommodations so they can be regularly employed; men rarely contest these arrangements. Such arrangements provide no assurance that these women will be viewed more seriously as employees, nor does it eradicate role overload. Nonetheless, it allows some measure of occupational success for women who refuse to abandon their roles of mother and wife.

A Japanese Woman’s Profile Given these contradictions, how can contemporary Japanese women be portrayed? Two general portraits emerge. The first is of a woman who values family life and will sacrifice for it; who is unwilling to divorce even in an unsatisfactory marriage; and who believes she is discriminated against by both society and the family, but is proud of her role as decision maker in her family, especially in financial matters. She is more egalitarian and more individualistic in her role values than were women in the 1970s and 1980s, but she does not openly identify with feminism. She probably worked outside the home until her first child was born and then returned to the labor force when the oldest child entered high school. She sees herself as a professional homemaker and enjoys the status of being a “good wife and wise mother.” From almost three decades ago, the portrait of Mariko, a 44-year-old middle-class Tokyo

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suburban woman with three children, two part-time jobs, and a disengaged husband suggests this reality. It was a Japanese life, a woman’s life, no worse and no better than so many others, a life spent largely in reaction to children, to a husband, to sick parents … Mariko knew how hard it was ... to do the few things she wanted to do, to feel a sense of accomplishment ... Her children were getting older and would soon be gone, just in time, it seemed, for her to turn around and be a parent to her parents. (Bumiller, 1995:289) Fast forward to contemporary Japan. What does “being happy” mean to women today? A career will not bring happiness; this can be accomplished only by being married and having children. Japanese women continue to be socialized to embrace the desire for being a bride, housewife, and mother. Women are happy when they live out a “normative life script,” in an orderly, predictable manner. These sentiments are echoed by a woman with two daughters who gave up her job as an “Office Lady” at marriage, and another who grew up in a “typical middle-class family” with a salaryman father and dutiful wife (Goldstein-Gidoni, 2017:286, 288). From a very young age, my dream was to become a cute wife … It wasn’t as though my mother [clearly] told me so, but I was raised in such a family. My mother never worked after graduation. She did her bridal training … without working, and then got married … Since I was a child, I was always told “women should be women, men should be men,” so I just thought this is how things should be. I think that if we have a job and a house we already have everything. … We got married because we wanted to become happy but besides, we wanted to make our parents content. We also were surrounded by an atmosphere that “it is better to get married.” These women do not appear to utter these words with resignation or despair. It is a chosen life plan offering the normative road to happiness for women in a society that also values an orderly existence in and outside the home. Spanning decades, a “normal” life is a happy life for women in Japan. The second portrait reflects the desires of young Japanese women to be much more independent than their mothers. Some want marriage but will be very selective in choice of husband. After centuries of arranged marriages in Japan, by the 1970s love matches were normative. Both young men and young women want to marry for love, but romance is difficult to find. After graduation, they enter a gender-segregated labor force comprised of full-time married men and part-time married women. These highly educated women are financially independent but employed in jobs at lower levels than suggested by their credentials. Some believe they are not feminine enough for Japanese men; others do not want to marry men who only want housewives. Many women value their freedom, saying they have no “need” for motherhood. Friends of unmarried, and childfree women in their thirties may be mystified by these choices. As expressed by an unmarried office clerk: My friends from school are already married and have babies …, they try to comfort me, like I was sick, and say that if I don’t have the maternal feeling, it’s because I’m maturing more slowly, but that someday I’ll feel it. (Mandujano-Salazar, 2019)

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Her father calls her unpatriotic, and one reason for Japan’s demographic crisis! These women are choosing alternatives offering latitude from traditional gender roles but must contend with fallout for defying their families and questioning centuries-old beliefs about motherhood. It is the perceived incompatibility between employment and family that lowers a woman’s desire to marry and have children (Fuwa, 2014). Dilemmas related to work, children, and marriages are glaring in Japanese firms with vertical sex-segregation that limit a woman’s pay, promotion, and mobility (Nemoto, 2016). Women retreat from an employment path appearing to offer more freedom because of the rampant misogyny and gender stereotyping in Japanese firms. The call to marriage and motherhood is not necessarily a strong one for these women but signals a retreat from the constraints of office culture.

Feminism Women are vital for Japan’s global prominence, in achieving a high standard of living, and in amassing the globe’s best health record. With enticing media images of modernity, legal reform paved the way for challenges to the ancient patriarchal model in Japan. These reforms prompted limited but increased support for gender equity in the home and workplace and more involvement from husbands taking on involved father roles in child rearing. Linking in-country women’s groups with women-centered NGOs outside Japan under a common banner also fuels feminist activism. The movement is energized by conferences on how Japanese women deal with multiple discriminations based on gender, age, marital status, and whether they have children. Compared with the women’s movements in other countries, however, mass-based feminism in Japan is embryonic. Feminists in Japan are less vocal, preferring to orchestrate activism in a manner meshing with Japanese cultural norms of gradual social change. The “gradualness” strategy may be successfully playing out. Powerful patriarchal gender norms about family and workplace are eroding, albeit slowly. Young women assess opportunity costs of marriage, especially early marriage, and motherhood versus singlehood. Single mothering is not an option in these deliberations. Women expect expanded roles and greater autonomy for those roles. Rising expectations provide for reforms aimed at equalizing the positions of women and men, with priority focused on the workplace.

Work–Family Balance Unless the work–family balance issue can be dealt with effectively, however, Japan will face potentially catastrophic demographically-shaped consequences. Government, media, and businesses focus on the opportunities and risks associated with immigrants to “to reignite Japanese economic strength.” Given the anti-immigration rhetoric sweeping the globe, relocating to Japan for work creates other perils for immigrants. Feminists highlight clear data that women are eager and waiting in the wings to be invited as full participants with men in the workforce is ignored. The Japanese public also hear messages encouraging, almost naively, that young Japanese should “date and mate” to reverse the plunging birth rate, but always as married partners. College-educated women working in gender-segregated jobs find it difficult to meet acceptable men to marry. Japan also must address not only lack of support for child care and family issues affecting women, but the brutal corporate and business culture affecting men. Ramped up ikumen

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campaigns and implementation of womenomics, policy initiatives with women as the centerpiece for the revival of the Japanese economy, made some headway. Womenomics offer broad structural reform to support women in employment, leadership, and family roles (Usui, 2019:115). Some women’s advocacy groups, however, contend that womenomics co-opts feminism in a feeble attempt to hastily bridge chronic gender gaps in Japanese workplaces (Dalton, 2017). Despite these bold campaigns for reform, targeting gender equity in the workplace to carry over to the family as a viable means to bolster the birth rate has failed. Nonetheless, public support for reforms bodes well for addressing crises in employment, in population decline, and in child and elder care. With a feminist thrust that helped achieve the Basic Law for a Gender Equal Society, effective strategies to deal with work balance issues in the lives of men and women can be achieved. Ironically, from a social constructionist model, work–family “nondilemma” must be reframed as a “dilemma” for successful interventions to benefit women, families, and Japanese society.

LATIN AMERICA Latin American diversity in ecology, politics, and culture is striking, but important common features can be identified. These include a rigid class structure, pervasive Catholicism, and a colonial heritage from Spain and Portugal that continues to define the region. Latin American women demonstrate diversity and shared features that unite and divide them.

The Gender Divide The socialization of men and women in Latino cultures hinges on the concepts of machismo and marianismo, which are viewed as mutually exclusive beliefs separating the genders (Chapter 8). Because machismo emphasizes virility, sexual prowess, and the ideological and physical control of women, it is associated with legitimating violence against women. as well as compromised physical and mental health among men. Its long-term ideological effect reproduces male privilege throughout all social institutions. Machismo allows for male dominance in the household and is invoked to restrict socioeconomic, sexual, and other lifestyle choices of women. Reinforced by teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, marianismo is associated with glorification and spiritual verification of motherhood, a stoic acceptance of one’s earthly lot, and the endurance of an unhappy marriage. Unlike men, the moral superiority of women maintains that hardship is suffered in silence. It has evolved as a nearly universal model of behavior for Latin American women. These rigid images are more likely to be embraced by mestizos, people of mixed Indian and Spanish descent. Before the Spanish conquest, evidence of some egalitarianism and role complementarity existed between men and women. The conquistadors brought views of women stemming from Old World religious and feudal attitudes that allowed marianismo and machismo to become entrenched in the New World. Over time, women’s behavior was not merely a response to machismo, but also a survival strategy due to their economic dependence on men. Machismo is deeply rooted in Latin America, but machismo as a “global shorthand” for hypermasculinity is being challenged. The culture of machismo unfolds unevenly in Latin America. Prevailing notions of masculinity vary considerably, with region, ethnicity, and

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social class as important determinants of how it is displayed publicly (workplace, school, recreational settings) or privately (homes, family settings, peer networks). Cracks in the gender divide are evident. Women who achieve higher levels of education and work in well-paying jobs are less likely to embrace marianismo ideology, trends identified in Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Chile. Indigenous women are challenging racism and exclusion that are antecedents of violence often embedded in machismo. They are organizing chapters in Mexico, Central America, Bolivia and Columbia to take demands to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Men are increasingly partnering with women to combat gender-based violence in Latin America (Sieder, 2017; Tolman et al., 2019). Venues to reach men and tailor messages about gender-based violence are gaining traction. Men are working together and challenging other men to “unlearn” machismo and improve their own well-being and that of the women in their lives.

Family Planning Changes in family planning and reproduction provide other indications of a shift to a less traditional machismo–marianismo ideology. NGO initiatives traced to FWCW in Beijing include persuading governments to review family planning and birth control issues. Politically and culturally, Latin America remains solidly linked to the Catholic Church. In Guatemala, for example, the close relationship between the state and the Catholic Church has thwarted widespread efforts at family planning. In contrast, Peru has collided with the Vatican in policies to provide birth control information and counseling to women with respect to birth spacing. It is also in response to the doubling of Peru’s population since 1960, about half of whom live in extreme poverty, and a fertility rate of 6.2 among women with little or no education. Despite Church stubbornness, Peru’s family planning policies have been remarkable. In 1990, the fertility rate was 4.1; by 2019, it had dropped to 2.24. Successful family planning efforts are tied to political will. In 2014 Peru began a political reform process to improve women’s political participation. Nonetheless, targets for increasing the number of women candidates were unmet in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Women’s equality issues, however, are not on the back burner. In 2020, by a large majority, Peru’s Congress approved a “gender equality policy” to ensure that an equal number of male and female candidates appear on the primary lists in regional and local elections; at least one woman must be included in the formula that determines the presidential and vice-presidential candidates (Telesur, 2020). Although the political gender gap in Peru has not been breached, women’s appointments to top-level cabinet posts, coupled with this policy, provide clout to implement state-supported family planning efforts. Nicaragua has followed suit with government policy asserting that reproductive health, sex education, and family planning services are available to women. While continuing to condemn abortion as a birth-control measure, Nicaragua recognizes a woman’s right to decide when and how frequently she will have children. Nicaragua’s stunning, rapid rise to fifth place in the Global Gender Gap Index—only behind Scandinavian countries—indicates remarkable progress in closing gender disparities in well-being (World Economic Forum, 2019). Family Planning initiatives in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico are also heading to fertility rates that match or fall below replacement level. These positions are advocated despite Church policy banning any form of birth control other than the rhythm method. Contraceptive use is increasing at modest rates.

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Political influence for Latin American women occurs mostly within informal settings and through accepted cultural norms that do not seriously challenge gender roles. Feminist NGOs are altering this pattern. Even in more conservative countries such as Chile, Bolivia, and Paraguay, feminist discourse on human rights related to reproductive and sexual rights signals upsurges that are electing more women to office on platforms supporting sexual health. Catholicism offers strong support for social justice issues, but gender issues continue to be framed in centuries old Catholic codes and dogma. Catholicism has joined ranks with conservative Christians in right-wing religiosity sweeping Latin America. It is unclear if decades of progress on reproductive rights will be swept away in Latin America and the Global South.

The Church These trends suggest that the Catholic Church may be losing its power for strict compliance to Vatican policies. Latin American women express high degrees of religiosity, but resist church mandates on contraception. Latin America is transitioning to lower fertility. Educated urban women have fewer children compared to poorer, less educated indigenous women. In Guatemala and Columbia, the Church exerts a great deal of influence in how children learn about family planning through public education. In Chile, with powerful Church influence, the government put in place one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. Today, however, support for easing abortion restrictions is increasing among both men and women. More telling is that Chile’s birth rate has fallen to 1.77, one of the lowest in Latin America. In Brazil, the birth rate tumbled from 6 to less than 1.73 in only two generations. Educated urban couples with career-minded women want smaller families. They believe a small family is a prosperous family. Like other Latin American women, however, most identify as Catholic, define themselves as religious, and are reluctant to challenge gender traditions. The once solid political and cultural connection between church and state in Latin America appears to be waning. The Catholic Church is offering modified views on gender roles in marriage and the family to stem the loss of its adherents, many who are exiting to the popular evangelical Protestant megachurches emerging throughout Latin America. A strong passion for religion exists simultaneously with a strong appetite for secularization (Jenkins, 2013). Brazil may be the test case for gender roles and Catholicism. The Church recognizes that family planning is an antipoverty strategy. It works closely with NGOs in Brazil and elsewhere to support development efforts that include literacy, job training, and health awareness. These efforts appear to be successful in keeping adherents in their fold even as those very people disregard teachings about birth control.

Latin American Women, Globalization, and Development Research confirms the link between the erosion of women’s position and neoliberal globalization-based development strategies that harm rather than help women. Structural adjustment programs (SAPs), designed to increase foreign investment, eliminated some jobs in the private sector but many more in the public sector, which employs more women. Poorer women shoulder the brunt of negative SAP effects. In Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, for example, SAPs increased levels of female unemployment, malnutrition, poor health, and illiteracy; sexual abuse and violence spiked. Women’s empowerment was severely

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compromised—impoverishment and disempowerment go hand in hand. Once considered a success story for women’s progress in development, Brazil is in a state of collapse (Ticehurst, 2018; World Bank, 2018). As in other developing nations, NLG removes subsistence farming from women’s income-producing activities. When men migrate to cities for work, women and children are often abandoned on farms. Thus, in addition to religion and the survival of feudal attitudes, economic factors loom large in explaining the inferior position of women in Latin American cultures. Except for certain regions, most notably in Brazil, Costa Rica, and Argentina, Latin America remains underdeveloped after almost 500 years of European colonization, after the establishment of independent republics in the nineteenth century, and after the elimination of dictatorships in the twentieth century. Underdevelopment can be explained by dependency theory, which looks at the unequal relationships between Latin America and world markets and between women and men. Unequal opportunities due to fluctuations in world markets negatively influence the region, but the effects on women are disastrous. Not only are women and children the most vulnerable when the subsistence economy erodes, but in response to debt burdens, governments cut welfare budgets first. State policy and agricultural reform are not gender neutral and indeed serve to diminish the status of rural women.

Feminist Agendas Latin American women are not passive observers of these economic events and engage in collective action to ensure survival. In contrast to women’s movements in other parts of the developing world, the Latin American movement has been more successful in consensus building and in developing a feminist agenda embraced by women from a wide variety of backgrounds and from poorer and richer regions of Latin America. Although the class divide remains wide (Open Democracy, 2018; CGTN America, 2019). Large numbers of peasant and indigenous women, for example, are grassroots leaders, core organizers, and mentors for the next generation of leaders from their villages. In coalition with international NGOs, Latino feminists actively participated in those struggles leading to the establishment of democratic regimes throughout Central and South America. This organizational legacy provided strength in numbers and the political shrewdness to challenge economic and social policies detrimental to women. Feminist voices are heard when states prioritize reforms and when questions about gender-based discrimination are addressed. Unlike women in India, who are hindered in gender equity by peasant reform movements, such tactics by Latin American women allow them to become more politically astute and to develop both class and gender consciousness.

Intersection of Class and Gender The plight of most Latin American women who are in poverty contrasts sharply with upperand middle-class women who are employed professionals or who are part of the elite leisure class. Career women are supported by their husbands, parents, and other institutionalized devices that allow them to combine professional and family roles. The irony is that professional success is to a large extent dependent on the hiring of domestic help. Domestics provide services that help to blunt the impact of a career on the family. Domestic servants in Latin America—many of whom migrate from other countries to these jobs—represent most

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female wage earners. There is disagreement about whether working as a servant or a care giver provides a channel for upward mobility or whether it reinforces a rigid stratification system based on class. Since domestic workers are not protected by meaningful public policy, individual arrangements regarding benefits between worker and employer are negotiated. This scenario suggests that employer benevolence is the deciding factor in whether servants and their families will be able to bridge a class divide. Feminist scholars and political activists in Latin America have yet to resolve the issue of whether class or gender is the overarching issue that serves to perpetuate the low status of women. Several decades ago, consensus emerged among Latin American feminists that both categories are valid. Women’s liberation reinforces class struggle. In sociological terms, this supports a strong conflict theory orientation. It also fits a socialist/Marxist model of feminism asserting that patriarchy influences women to uphold a system that perpetuates their inferior position (Chapter 1). Only when class and gender barriers are simultaneously assaulted can equality for all people be realized.

ISRAEL Issues of gender equality have been salient in Israel since its founding in 1948 as an independent nation. With an eye on securing the existence of the new nation, Israel’s pragmatic embrace of equity initiatives served to rally support for a national agenda that simultaneously challenged traditional forms of gender stratification in the new Jewish state. The rise of Golda Meir (1898–1978), credited with immense influence in Israel’s founding and serving as the fourth Prime Minster of Israel, is often cited as how far women can progress. To date, no woman in the U.S. has ascended to the comparable position of President. Legislatively, women in Israel have achieved what women in the United States continue to fight for, such as paid maternity leave, equal opportunity with men in education and employment options, subsidized day care for children, and paid birth control and abortion services.

Experiments in Equality Israel is most known for bold experiments serving both the state and gender equity: the unique Israeli institution known as the kibbutz and conscription of women in the military. What is the success of these experiments?

Kibbutz Launched in 1909, the kibbutz originated as an Israeli agricultural collective in which all income is pooled, and egalitarian principles extend to family life, education, and labor. In return for hard work to the betterment of the community, kibbutz members received everything they needed. From its founding, gender egalitarian arrangements allowed parents to be full participants in the economic life of the community largely by raising children in separate children’s houses. Ideally the arrangement freed parents, especially mothers, from the extensive demands of child care. Initially designed as a radical departure from the traditional Jewish patriarchal family and its traditional gender division of labor, the kibbutz was an effort at eliminating distinctions between the work of men and the work of women.

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It is the child-centered approach to cooperative living that distinguishes the kibbutz from other communes worldwide, such as nineteenth-century Shakers in the United States and contemporary communes in Denmark (Brumm, 2008). Until about 1970, kibbutzim (plural form) were characterized by collectivization that minimized gender role differences and maximized instrumental and expressive role sharing for both men and women. In the spirit of communal living, infants moved to a children’s house soon after birth. The Sabbath was reserved for children and their parents to be together, but teachers and nurses were responsible for the daily socialization of children. This lifestyle did not reduce parent–child bonding but extended a child’s world to a broader network of primary relationships. Children identified with parents, deriving security, love, and affection from them. With parenting arrangements as a core component, roles performed by women and men were undifferentiated by gender and existed in a non-hierarchal system valuing the importance of the role itself rather than who performed it. As the kibbutz movement moved into its second and third generation, women’s dissatisfaction of raising children communally increased. To counter this dissatisfaction, kibbutzim gradually replaced the “child-centered” communal approach, to a “family-centered” approach—“nuclear like” in structure—with children living with their parents most of the time. Collective upbringing was thought to reduce burdens parents faced when raising children alone. Children had no such understanding, preferring to be with their parents than in the children’s houses (Aviezer et al., 2017; Palti, 2018; Yaffe, 2018). Despite such accommodations many kibbutz children abandoned kibbutz life in favor of urban living and nuclear families. The communal ideology of the traditional kibbutz was also weakened by the havoc of the 2008–2009 global recession, which disproportionally harmed rural communities. Although subsidies and loans helped sustain kibbutzim in riding out recession, neither were free; both needed to be repaid, further undermining the economic integrity of the collective communities. During recession many small enterprises collapsed, young people left kibbutzim in record numbers in search of employment, and it was difficult to attract the volunteers the communities historically relied on. The inflow of new members could not match the outflow of families, workers, and volunteers. The number of kibbutzim shrank and others were perilously close to collapse. Overrepresented by women, children, and older people, gender segregated jobs accelerated. Women functioned almost exclusively as child care workers, nurses, teachers, and kitchen workers; men functioned as agricultural laborers, in machine shops and technologically oriented community businesses, and as workers who transitioned in and out of the kibbutz according to employment. Men’s jobs brought in the funds to survive that could not be matched by the work women performed. Gender stratification by jobs and money was never a plan in the kibbutz, but evolved, nonetheless. With the recession as the watershed, the change in kibbutzim from relationships based on cooperation, community, and equality is also undermined by the ascent of neoliberalism in Israel and how it filtered down to kibbutzim. Even prior to recession, three decades of relentless neoliberalism bolstered privatization, individualism, and market relationships. As in other countries, the market approach to life in Israel has a gendered effect, eventually spreading to kibbutzim and assailing its equity based ideology. By 2010 recession debt was repaid, serving as the date that marked the end of the decline of the kibbutz movement. A new kibbutz movement is emerging in urban communes and in rural areas. Although agricultural kibbutzim dominate, a spectrum of economic and

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entrepreneurial activities spark community creativity and encourage others to become settlers. Volunteers are returning, almost 70 percent of them non-Jewish (Levi, 2018). Today about 270 relatively prosperous kibbutz communities exist throughout Israel.

Military Conscription It is the conscription of women for military service that is most notable in Israel’s experiment with gender egalitarianism. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF), envisioned as a “people’s army” with compulsory military service for both men and women, was a key strategy to solidify all citizens in the name of national security. During the War of Independence at Israel’s founding, Religious-Zionist women, together with men, rallied around the desire to share Israel’s national struggle. Although conscription of Jewish Israeli women has been mandatory since 1949, virtually all aspects of women’s IDF service continues to be hotly debated. Decades of debate emanating from bitter opposition from religious conservatives about women in the military prompt ever-evolving policies (Gillath, 2017; Rosenberg-Friedman, 2018). Only women are exempt from IDF service if they marry, are parents, or declare that they are religiously observant. Pregnancy alone allows for exemption. Despite these legal exemptions, an increasing pool of enthusiastic IDF recruits are women; more significant, Orthodox women are at the forefront of this pool (Feldman, 2017). Considering the Religious-Zionist women at the advent of Israel, these are the very recruits that may restore the image of the military as an inclusive “people’s army.” Regardless of whether they are mandatory recruits or voluntary, IDF service has mixed benefits for women. Women serving in mixed-gender combat units report a strengthened sense of self-efficacy, even as they experienced negative attitudes from the men in their units. What can be referred to as “military capital,” opportunities to interact with a diversity of people while serving earns expertise and creates social networks women draw on in civilian life. The economic benefits for veterans are lifelong (Braw, 2017; Shahrabani and GarynTal, 2019). IDF service may help mitigate gender liabilities women face in Israel’s social institutions.

Critique Feminists, academics, women’s NGOs, and journalists contend that gender equality in the kibbutz and meaningful women’s agency in the military are illusory. Although kibbutzim and military women enjoy a modicum of gender equitable advantages, these accrue to only a tiny portion of all Israeli women. Notwithstanding egalitarian rhetoric, Israel’s patriarchal systems informally limit the choices of women in all social institutions and remain intact in the kibbutz and in the military. In both image and reality, the traditional kibbutz has passed out of history. The radical experiment of the kibbutz never achieved its lofty egalitarian goals. “The kibbutz’s place in Israeli discourse exceeds its proportional role in society in Israel” (ILM, 2016). Today’s volunteers and prospective settlers will meet a far less than egalitarian kibbutz than they probably expected. Given the unquestionable dominance of the traditional, patriarchal Jewish family, the utopian vison of gender equity in the kibbutz faced insurmountable challenges. The legacy of equalitarianism in the kibbutz, however, has not vanished. Emerging kibbutzim communities are working to incorporate a pragmatic balance of collectivism and capitalism that can build on egalitarian roots as well as assure community survival.

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The military is likely the most gendered of all social institutions in Israel. Jobs are gender segregated, and women are excluded from many military jobs offering promotion and higher pay. Masculinist values run rampant throughout the military, sending chilling messages to women that constrain choices and the consequences of making non-traditional ones. Multiple risks for women of religious and ethnic minorities are heightened in military settings (Karazi-Presler et al., 2018; Wasserman et al., 2018). IDF women are viewed as interlopers; they are temporary commodities who pose no real threat to upsetting the gendered military regime. Women’s inclusion or lack of inclusion in the military is a huge political issue in Israel. Feminists and women representing the spectrum of bureaucrats, religious leaders, and soldiers do not agree on how gender issues should be represented in the military. The resulting conundrum has yet to be resolved. Gendered military policy shapes public discourse about gender in other social institutions. This thrust extends to the key institutions: family, education, and the economy and the religiosity that overarches them. All of these are intertwined with concerns about national security always hovering.

Family, Education, and Jobs Under a Religious Umbrella Israel is neither a religious nor a secular state. Is it a Jewish state or a state of Jews? Can it be a Jewish state but not sacrifice women’s equality? (Feldman, 2011:110). Regardless of answers, to these questions, “Jewishness” in Israel is played out in the confines of the private sphere of the family.

Family Israeli society is organized around the family as the dominant institution and the family as the cradle of Jewish heritage. As such, the Jewish family is tied to ancient religious traditions, which are unquestionably patriarchal in nature. The family is the litmus test for defining the role of women. Rabbinical courts have jurisdiction over matters of marriage and divorce and tend to favor Judaism’s most traditional branch—that of Orthodox Judaism. Women in all Jewish branches or sects, however, are expected to oversee domestic functions and prepare households for religious observances. These roles free men to study, to teach, to be breadwinners, and to be more fully engaged in the religious life of the community. A woman may contribute to her community’s social and economic life and she may see the division of household tasks as unfair, but religious ideology takes precedence over gender ideology in most Jewish Israeli families.

Education The gender gap in Israeli education has disappeared. Higher education for both men and women is encouraged and normative. Education and religion intertwine, however, to influence beliefs about marriage and the family for Israel’s youth The strong global connection between fertility and education is played out in Israel. Longer schooling delays marriage but the Israeli-Palestinian marriage market swerves to younger women. Postponing the risks of marriage may mean not marrying at all. Marriage traditions can collide with ambitions for higher education (Sabbah-Karkaby and Stier, 2017). In this marriage market, the benefits of a disappearing gender gap in education have yet to be realized.

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Religious schools inculcate a religious-based conception of womanhood that is shaped by interpretations of divine law and beliefs about different male and female worlds. Education is also a powerful factor in moderating the views of Jewish women when women have the authority to interpret scripture. Women have increased their numbers in seminaries and are ordained as rabbis in all branches of Judaism. Orthodox ordinations for women are rapidly increasing, but some interpretations of rabbinic law forbid them. Deemed as an illegitimate Orthodox rabbi, a woman’s call to a congregation is far from realized. Women rabbis in all branches of Judaism in Israel contend with gender barriers, but congregations are more supportive than in the past. Orthodoxy, however, has not fully welcomed women rabbis (Chapter 12).

Employment Israel represents the global pattern related to gender and paid work. Women continue to increase their share of paid employment but face gender gaps in earning, higher rates of unemployment and underemployment, and occupational gender segregation regardless of job level. Additionally, Israel has one of the largest gender wage gaps in the developed world. Older women workers and less educated women over 45 entering the job market after childrearing make less than half of what men earn in comparable business sectors. Older women workers have an increased likelihood of unemployment and a decreased likelihood of being retired (Axelrad et al., 2018; Heruti-Sover, 2019). The benefits of advanced education are reduced for women in Israel. Women lag behind men in professions that are otherwise highly paid. In dual-earner households with full-time professional couples, her education contributes to a rise—not a decline—in income inequality (Stier and Herzberg-Druker, 2017; Hertzberg-Druker, and Stier, 2019). Falling prey to the gender effects of neoliberalism, women’s employment and education can paradoxically serve to impoverish them in the long run. Women lose more public sector jobs, and in existing private sector jobs they are paid less. When conflict arises between family and job, employment is abandoned. Legal means to promote equality are thwarted by gendered problems in both the family and the market (Sa’ar, 2017; Shamir et al., 2018). Despite the Equal Opportunity Law passed by the Knesset in 1988 prohibiting discrimination in advertising, training, promotion, and severance pay (and later provisions prohibiting sexual harassment and unequal fringe benefits), these patterns persist. Laws are ineffective if enforcement is lax, exacerbated by fear of backlash preventing women from challenging the discrimination they routinely experience. Women continue to be viewed—and often view themselves—as wives and mothers first and then, much further down the scale, as secondary breadwinners.

Jewish Feminism Public policy has helped little with the burdens women face in carrying out their roles and the contradictions they face within these roles. To counter ancient traditions hampering gender equity, policy makers must translate the needs of women into effective and culturally acceptable legislation consistent with Judaism. The feminist movement in Israel is clearly the front-runner to do this translation but it continues to be hampered by lack of unity and suspicion among Jewish women based on ethnicity, class, and immigration status. Feminism was imported to Israel from the West in the

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1970s, and as in the West, the leadership of educated professional women shaped its agenda. For over three decades, the movement was dominated by Ashkenazi women—largely white, European-oriented, and solidly middle class. Feminist conferences in the 1990s were marked by dissent from Jewish women of color and working-class women representing those from Mizrahi, Palestinian, Bedouin, Asian, and Ethiopian backgrounds. Mizrahi women—whose heritage is traced to Arab North Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia—led the rallying cry that signaled hidden, deep divisions within Jewish feminism. They asserted that feminism as constructed by Ashkenazim could not speak for the diversity of women in Israel. It ignored Jewish and non-Jewish women marginalized by poverty, oppressed by ethnic roots and lack of education, and “othering” by their enactment of various strains of Judaism (Yonay, 2018; Remennick, 2018). Israeli women are ideologically and strategically separate from one another. On the positive side, some divides are being breached. Slower to bring into the feminist fold are Orthodox Jewish women struggling to balance gender restrictions of Orthodoxy with the demands of Israeli modernity. These are the very women, however, signaling an emerging feminist brand palatable to a cross-section of women in Israel. They are at the vanguard of accommodating tradition and modernity in the military, high-tech labor markets, and seminaries (Fuchs, 2018; Raz and Tzruya, 2018). They may not yet self-identify as feminist but engage in actions that can readily be described as feminist. Feminists in Israel overall have been less successful than their Western sisters in dealing with the contentious, fundamental connections between race, class, ethnicity, and gender that hinder efforts for feminist progress. Jewish women in America and Israel have a long history of feminist cooperation dating before Israel’s “re-founding” in 1948. Contrary to what would be expected by the gender equity narrative, American Jewish women have influenced their Israeli sisters more than the reverse. Issues surrounding race, ethnicity, and multiple Jewish identities put these American women in the throes of contentious dialogue long before Israeli women began to confront fallout from diversity. Issues are far from resolved among different constituents of Jewish women in America, but strategies for successful dialogue and maintaining organizational viability are offered to their Israeli counterparts (Yaron, 2011; Cohen, 2018). American Jewish women are said to have laid the foundation for the rekindling of an Israeli feminist movement. The peace process, for example, represents a new era for Israeli feminism that is poised to deal with some of these divisive issues. Not only are there more women than men in the peace movement, but Jewish and non-Jewish women represent a diversity of ethnic groups and branches of Judaism in leadership roles. In orchestrating dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli women, these women are raising awareness about issues women face in common, such as living under the threat of terrorism, increasing domestic violence, and ongoing sexual oppression. By embracing issues of social justice, incorporating deeply held perspectives from Judaism, recruiting female rabbis as leaders, and envisioning new ways of dealing with peace and security, the movement is mending diversity fences. A heartening turn is that young Jewish women and Palestinian women are endorsing the self-label “feminist.” Although Jewish students are more likely to subscribe to gender egalitarianism than Palestinian students who are more conservative in gender ideology, this did not prevent them from identifying as feminist (Sa’ar et al., 2017:1026). In turn, it regains the political prominence necessary to be an important player for policies that help all women (Alpert, 2013). Amid the right-wing turn that does not bode well for gender equity, it is said that Israel is undergoing the “greatest

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identity crisis since its inception” (Chazan, 2018). Feminists in Israel, whether Jewish or not Jewish, are leading the socio-political charge to ensure Israeli society remains open, democratic, and guided by social justice initiatives congruent with Jewish heritage. Gender equity will be served well in such initiatives.

Golda Meir’s Legacy The remarkable career of Golda Meir offers insight into the limits and successes of Jewish feminism. As a young activist in pursuit of socialist Zionism, she was introduced to the justice claims of the women’s movement in America that drove its policy agenda. Despite acknowledging the wisdom and of these claims, she never became a feminist activist. Remaining loyal to the patriarchy facilitated her rise to power. This loyalty cemented the views of male leadership in Israeli politics; these views did not change appreciably when she became Prime Minster (Klagsbrun, 2017; Lahav, 2018). Any agenda for gender equity was—and is—­ subsumed under a national security umbrella. Although there is a strong case that gender equity serves the purpose of national security, with seven decades of patriarchal views in place it is unlikely that the case will make any meaningful policy inroad. Securing the existence of the Jewish state overshadows all discourse. The thrust of Israeli public policy thus reinforces traditional gender roles and pressing issues such as gender equality and women’s rights are cast aside. Golda Meir’s astute understanding of maneuvering in the male political world allowed her ascendancy but also set a trajectory limiting the choices of women in contemporary Israel. Nonetheless, despite gender equity shortfalls in the kibbutzim and in Golda Meir’s politics, both offer models of empowerment for Jewish women.

THE MUSLIM WORLD The “Muslim world” represents a range of paradoxes to Westerners. On the one hand, oilrich Muslim majority nations take development efforts seriously, creating better living standards and enhanced educational and job opportunities for their citizens. On the other hand, for Muslim nations declaring Islam as state religion, government is based on Islamic laws or principles. Development occurs within unique cultural frameworks that Westerners often view with curiosity, suspicion, and anger. Existing suspicion heightened with the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Nowhere do these conflicting images emerge more forcefully than when viewing women in Islamic cultures. The highest level of gender inequality throughout all social institutions is found in Islamic cultures (Sakallı-Uğurlu, 2016:536). Women are at the nexus of debates about how Islam should be revealed in Muslim nations and to the world. Given stereotypes surrounding Islam, many are surprised to discover that Islam developed as a new religion and as a social reform movement aimed at changing the lowly status of women (Chapter 12). Reforms are possible, however, only in the context of a culture’s willingness to undergo change and endure stressful transitions. This has simply not been the case in Arab, South Asian, and African cultures dominated by Islam. Regardless of the position of women in the pre-Islamic world and the form of government in contemporary Muslim nations, the Qur’an continues to be drawn on as a moral rationale for restricting women. Resurgent religious fundamentalism has bolstered Qur’anic interpretations endorsing the

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inferior status of women. Islamic legal reform has many advocates and scholars repudiating these claims, and they provide evidence from the Qur’an for upgrading rather than degrading the position of women. Reform in the service of women’s rights has barely kept up with powerful fundamentalist resurgence.

Islamization as Countermodernization This resurgence is fueled by re-traditionalism countermodernization, or anti-modernization— a social movement that either resists modernization or promotes ways to neutralize its effects. Throughout much of the Muslim world, countermodernization is shaped by Islamization, also called Islamism, a religious fundamentalist movement seeking a return to an idealized version of Islam as a remedy against corrupt Western values. With Islamization, religion and state are inseparable and all laws governing public and private life have a religious basis. Powerful Islamists, militant supporters of extreme versions of Islamization and interpretations of Islam, are scattered throughout Arab cultures (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan) as well as in other Islamic societies (Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh). People defined as “lesser Muslims” according to their appearance, dress, beliefs, or religious practices are targets of violence by Islamists. Throughout the Muslim world Islamic authorities (“mullahs”) have long played an influential role in all aspects of social life. As an arm of countermodernization, mullahs advocate re-traditionalization to stem the tide of Westernization. This arm is selective in its ideas and the technologies used to convey the ideas. In Post-Soviet Central Asia, information and communication technology (ICT) is used to mold public opinion to defend re-traditionalism regarding women’s roles. Once unleashed, however, ICT cannot be easily controlled. Muslim feminists in Central Asian nations transitioning to democracy rely heavily on social media and advanced ICT to counter efforts at re-traditionalism, network with women globally, and support women’s rights (Lindsey and Najafizadeh, 2019:9–11). Decades of research suggest that re-traditionalism under an Islamic fundamentalist umbrella is masterminded for political power, relying on the subordinate status of women to attain its goals (Lindsey, 1988; Shehadeh, 2007; Mir-Hosseini et al., 2015). Despite Islamization couched as a benefit to women, they are its likely victims.

Afghanistan: Taliban and War While transitioning to a democratic government, the Taliban in Afghanistan re-emerged as a powerful force for re-traditionalism, with narratives of a return to “authentic” culture. Women are visible targets to enforce this return. Initially at the forefront of international advocacy in Afghanistan, women’s issues took a giant step backward in the post-2001 context. Islamic identity in Afghanistan can be restored when women embrace exclusively domestic roles. Islam is invoked to deny reproductive choice, educational opportunity, and paid employment. With “gender apartheid” taking effect, Islamization under the Taliban banned women from paid work and schools for girls and hospitals serving women were closed, lest women encounter men to whom they are not related. Women were executed for adultery and prostitution, sometimes defined as simply being seen with a nonkin male. Beheadings, amputations, shootings, and public beatings occurred for religious infractions such as clothing not sufficiently covering a woman’s entire body, for illegally teaching girls to read and write, and for going out in public alone—even if completely veiled (Lindsey, 2002a,

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2002b). The Taliban decreed out of existence any minimal rights women and girls had gained during the Soviet era. After a respite from its brutality, women are again targets of Taliban violence as it resurged in Afghanistan (and Pakistan) in the political void of ongoing war. In Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan, the search for a formula to protect traditions under Islamic law and deal with inevitable social change was resolved in favor of an extreme form of re-traditionalism. Despite the resounding global call to focus on rebuilding Afghanistan’s crumbling infrastructure, war funding is almost 90 percent of the allocation; development efforts get the leftovers. This is not surprising given unrelenting, obsolete beliefs about women. Domestic abuse is normalized and not criminalized. Rape victims are shunned by family in its aftermath. Elections are virtually void of women candidates. Women victims of war have increased sharply as a result of suicide, bombings, and drone attacks. Afghan women struggle to live with dignity as government support erodes and international aid dwindles. Women “used to be championed; now they are all but forgotten” (Bohn, 2018; Chira, 2019).

Critique Given the Taliban’s history of targeted violence to women and conservative views of women’s rights, it may be puzzling that women will be included in the Taliban delegation for talks aimed at ending almost two decades of war in Afghanistan. According to a Taliban spokesperson, these female delegates are normal Afghans, from inside and outside the country, who have been supporters and part of the struggle of the Islamic emirate. (Reuters, 2019) How these talks will play out is “certainly uncertain.” Talks come amid violence surrounding Afghan elections and fear women express if they try to vote (Zucchino, 2019). Women’s rights in most post-Soviet nations and in urban Afghanistan after 9/11 showed rapid gains. These effects cannot be conveniently shoved back into oblivion. On the other hand, women may support a cause that ultimately scales back their rights after the war. Are they empowered to advocate for women’s rights under Islam or are they tokens to be spotlighted and discarded—with rights denied—once the Taliban achieves its political goals? Historical trends globally show both empowerment and re-victimization. On the empowerment side, an infrastructure priority to ensure education for both girls and boys is paying off. NGOs in Afghanistan and in democratizing Muslim-majority countries in Central Asia are also keeping girls’ schools open and safe, training women for entrepreneurship through microenterprise, and offering reproductive health services for women. They are at the vanguard in ensuring that violations of women’s human rights are at the forefront. Women are change agents, advocating for themselves and supporting other women. Media images of Afghan women as victims is countered by activities demonstrating agency and empowerment (Nemat, 2019; Turaeva, 2019). Despite the rhetoric that Afghan women are “saved” by military strategies, it is development-focused education, employment, and safety for families that are more successful in defeating terrorist ideology and ushering in progressive attitudes about women. Afghanistan’s version of Islamization and subsequent reform efforts may offer clues to how it plays out in Iran.

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Iran: The Shah and Khomeini Compared to Afghanistan, Islamization in Persian Iran was (and is) not as extreme in its treatment of women. Women receive medical care by female physicians and health care workers in facilities designed for them and girls are in gender-segregated schools. Women graduate from college at higher rates than men. However, women in Iran are under the control of their fathers or husbands, are restricted from a variety of paid employment, and answer to Islamic authorities for violations of dress and traditional gender roles (most related to marriage, family, and motherhood). Iran provides a good example of how re-traditionalism can serve to restrict women. As in Afghanistan, a pattern of re-traditionalism repeated itself with the Iranian revolution that propelled the Ayatollah Khomeini to power after the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979. Women were a force in establishing the Islamic regime and propelling Khomeini to power. As exploitation under the Shah grew, women became more politically active and took to the streets in mass anti-Shah demonstrations. At a time when the veil was gradually receding as a remnant of the past, women embraced it as a symbol of solidarity against the Shah. The images of veiled women protesting in mass demonstrations were startling to many Iranians and Muslims around the globe. Veiling seemed to contradict the progressive view of women that was supposedly a hallmark of the Shah’s regime.

Veiling The veil served both pragmatic and symbolic purposes. It prevented identification of the protesters that could target them to the secret police, and it was a symbolic gesture to show resistance to Westernization of Iran. By restoring the veil as a key Islamic marker, broader social identity is also restored. Many women saw the veil as a symbol of solidarity, to be discarded or worn at will after the fall of the Shah. They believed their sacrifices and militancy would be rewarded in a new Iran. Under new religious leadership women would have expanded rights, including educational and employment options and more self-determination in their household roles. Khomeini’s position during the anti-Shah movement increased women’s support for him. He saw a woman as a man’s equal: “She and he are free to choose their lives and their occupations.” He stated that the “Shah’s regime has destroyed the freedom of women as well as men” (cited in Sanasarian, 1982:117). The new Islamic republic would not oppress women, according to Khomeini. Less than a month after the ousting of the Shah, illusions of equality were shattered. Legislation altered gender relations dramatically, so that they would not resemble anything like those existing in the West. The tragic paradox for the women of the Iranian revolution is that they were harmed by their support of it (Moallem, 2005). Gender segregation in all parts of public life deepened. Under shariah-based Iranian law the minimum legal age for girls to marry was lowered from 18 to 13. Examples of loss of freedom included physical brutality and loss of life. Women were executed for adultery and prostitution and beaten for improper dress. No longer was the veil a symbol of militant solidarity. In the eyes of many Iranian women, it became a symbol of oppression. With Khomeini’s blueprint, the next regimes continued to systematically undermine the freedom of women. Religious righteousness originally compelled both men and women to work in overthrowing the Shah. Once this succeeded, women were literally pushed out of

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public life and into the home. Many women would have embraced domestic roles anyway, but successive regimes severely circumscribed all other options.

Toward Reform Reformers have not been silenced. Re-traditionalism under Islamization strengthens and wanes. Its current course is unfolding via globalization in ways that thwart excessive countermodernization. Despite efforts to maintain the fervor of the earlier Islamic revolution and propel re-traditionalism, under President Hassan Rouhani, it takes a backseat to broader anti-Western and anti-American strategies. Amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran, how this may play out for women is in limbo. One scenario suggests that issues related to globalization and nuclear capabilities are in the foreground; Islamization and re-traditionalism, especially with respect to women are in the background. However, women continue to be a mainstay of political protest. Despite blackouts, videos showed (literally) tens of thousands of Iranian women protesting the reelection of former President Ahmadinejad, accusing the government of election fraud. Many women protested without traditional veils. Some women allied around Zahra Rahnavard, wife of opposition leader Mir Mousavi and outspoken critic of the regime. Eerily like the anti-Shah movement 30 years before, with cries of “God is great,” she galvanized young women to vote, evoking Islamic principles and the strong women in Mohammed’s family to support her stance. She vocally supported veiling, “arguing that it liberates women,” but stated veiling should be a choice for women. Nonetheless, her role in the female police units enforcing “Islamic behavior” on women was not forgotten. Although her husband did not come to power, the election represented a gender marker of politics in Iran. President Hassan Rouhani has been relatively silent on women’s issues. Women retain the right to run for public office in Iran and they have not been ousted from their offices under the past two regimes. Women use Iranian traditions and Islamic principles and law to speak out in support of women’s rights. Religious intellectuals debate, albeit reluctantly, how the “woman question” can be addressed in Iranian Islamic law. Acceptable economic reasons rather than unacceptable feminist reasons are usually cited, but it is clear that women benefit from debates. Feminists in Iran are divided by degree of support for Islamic principles and how their highly praised roles as wives and mothers can be used to women’s advantage. All feminists highlight the important leadership roles women have held throughout Islamic history. These cannot be denied or explained away. Any feminist divisions do not bode well for seeking reform with a unified voice. However, feminism remains minimally viable in Iran and signals potential reopening of dialogue between women and, hopefully, between women and the state. As in Afghanistan, ongoing instability in Iran makes predictions of which scenario will play out nearly impossible. Will ousting an unpopular president, even one whose policies are orchestrated by more powerful clerics, serve to reignite Islamization in Iran? Women helped topple the Shah over four decades ago and their rights were severely curtailed. Women hear similar messages today.

Women’s Arab Spring With the female voices of the Arab Spring coming to the forefront, Islam itself is being reframed from repressive (as played out in Saudi Arabia and ISIS-controlled Iraq and Syria)

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to democratic (as in countries outside the Middle East, such as in Indonesia, Malaysia and Senegal). Islamists must reckon with women’s voices. … Arab Spring cleared the way for the Islamists. And even if many Islamists do not share the democratic culture of the demonstrators, the Islamists have to take into account the new playing field the demonstrations created. (Roy, 2019) Regime changes triggered by zeal for political and social reform were led by Arab youth and women. Democracy and Islamic ideology are overlapping with activists who are secular, who are Islamist female activists, and who are Muslim feminists. The Arab Spring spotlighted diversity of opinion on the influence of Islam as oppressor or liberator of women. Islam cannot be equated with one or the other view. Most significant, female voices continue to be heard in debates about democracy and human rights (Ahmad and Rae, 2015; el-Husseini, 2016). Whether the vitality for democratic reform and women’s rights mobilized during the Arab Spring can be sustained in the Middle East and North Africa is debatable. The movement has receded but has not disappeared. It is re-emerging in unforeseen ways. In clinging to the gains earned a decade ago, women are said to be leading the first Muslim feminist revolution. They are mobilizing for women’s rights in Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and in Syria on behalf of Kurdish women (Svetlova, 2019).

The Arab Middle East Iran and Afghanistan are at one end of a continuum regarding Muslim women. Their views of women under Islam are rooted in Persian and South Asian historical and cultural traditions. Arab Muslim nations present their own traditions, beliefs, and interpretations about gender in Islam. Some feminist scholars insist that there are no effective models for women’s rights that resonate with Arab Muslim women. They are either too Western, too secular, or too pre-Islamic. Others say that Arab cultures embrace such rigid definitions of women’s roles in and outside of their homes that tampering with these will create social chaos. Strongly functionalist in orientation, male dominant–female subservient relationships in Arab Islamic nations are not contested (Mernissi,1987; Elboubekri, 2015). These views help explain why the Middle East and North Africa have the lowest gender parity—highest gender inequality—in the world (World Economic Forum, 2019). Despite these views, Islam regards women as formidable and potentially aggressive— images that are empowering to women. In their quest for modernization women are not only embracing traditional norms but also testing them. Women’s rapid advances in education in Arab countries is fueling dissent for patriarchal religious interpretations. Religious discourse is showing more welcoming attitudes to fairness for women working outside the home (Sidani, 2016; Glas et al., 2018). In Saudi Arabia, women run investment firms, manage shops, and are employed in hospitals. Corporations are highly gender segregated but opportunities for women’s employment in reshaped business roles are rapidly increasing. The Saudi government issued a ban on women driving in 1957. With new interpretations of Sharia law, the ban was lifted in 2018. By stretching the limits of male-dominated Saudi society, women endure public criticism, but believe that productive change is inevitable. In lifting the driving ban, however, this “inevitability” took 63 years!

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In Egypt, middle-class professional women have overcome social pressures and religious taboos for success outside the home. Influences on them are both modern—globalization’s imposition of Western style capitalism and socialist egalitarian ideology—and traditional— images of powerful females such as Queen Nefertiti and the Prophet Muhammad’s strongwilled wife (Chapter 12). The latter images bolster interpretations by feminist Islamic scholars that challenge fundamentalist views denying social justice to women. These scholars are leading fruitful interfaith dialogue and are bringing human rights issues related to women in all religions to the forefront. In Arab cultures as diverse as Jordan, Kuwait, and Palestine, women’s gains are apparent in health, literacy, and political reform. Even with the severe separatist policies against women in Saudi Arabia and unresolved turmoil in Syria, media cannot be completely restricted. The Arab Spring was inaugurated through Twitter. Women—both veiled and unveiled—were visible on mobile phones as protests unfolded in many Arab nations. The irony of the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq is that the conflicts are easily accessible via social media. Muslims see women as competent, successful, and esteemed in a variety of roles—as soldiers, journalists, diplomats, politicians, and aid workers. The shortage of Muslim women peacekeepers is being addressed by the United Nations. Women are being trained for these roles to serve Muslim nations across the world. Throughout history, despite its horrors and brutality, war is latently functional for altering perceptions of women.

To Veil or Not to Veil Islamic authority is intimately connected to its most visible reminder for women. Clothing choice among Muslim women is considered a barometer of this authority and of gender role change. A half-century of debate allowed for broad consensus on the elimination of FGM. This section ends with another contentious issue—one debated for over two centuries in various contexts—that is far from settled. Veiling (hijab/burqa/abaya) is practiced in many purdah-system gender-segregated societies and in Muslim communities in the West. Veiling practices have produced two general strands of feminist thought on the topic: one strand condemns it as oppressive and a sign of subordination, and the other reframes it as liberating and a sign of resistance. As a sign of oppression, breaches of modesty in dress can be severely punished in Saudi Arabia by the female veil police. As a sign of liberation, women preachers in Egypt don veils in their leadership roles. A middle view suggests that veiling is neither liberating nor oppressive. In a milestone of clothing evolution, Saudi Arabia sent its first ever female athletes, two runners, to the London Olympics in 2012. They competed in outfits ensuring speed on the track. A burkini (head to toe) clad Muslim model appeared in the Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated (Chapter 13). Young Muslim women in Indonesia and Southeast Asia are donning “hijabistas”—a word combining hijab and fashionista—to spotlight ways Islamic dress can be stylish and glamourous but still “covering up” (Maulia, 2019). Designers are catering to office workers and female professionals with clothing lines that take “untraditional” yet modest approaches to dress. Some contend these women are being exploited and objectified by social media armed by Western commercial interests. Others say that young Muslim women have been needlessly shut out from choices in fashion because of outmoded images of pious women. Whether as insult or affirmation of clothing choices for Muslim women, hijab-like fashions are becoming so popular that the fashion industry is test marketing them for non-Muslim women.

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The Issue of Choice The key issue is whether women have the power to choose among veiling options and whether one option is not to wear a veil at all. Critics of veiling are accused of denying the integrity of Islamic culture and the agency of Muslim women. The debate surfaced in pop culture on Pakistani television. A cartoon schoolteacher dons a form-fitting burqa where only her eyes are exposed and is transformed into action heroine, Burka Avenger, crossing global boundaries as an Emmy nominated TV series (2013–2016). With skills in martial arts and her wits, she defeats Taliban-like villains trying to shut down schools for girls. Is Burka Avenger a role model for girls? One critic argues that making the burqa look “cool” brainwashes girls into thinking that it gives them power rather than takes it away. Given that the UN has tapped Burka Avenger as a symbol for peace and against extremism, this argument is weakened (Masood and Walsh, 2013; Yi, 2017). Power relations emerging from veiling must be considered in the context in which it occurs. An unanswered question is whether a symbol of segregation and oppression is subverted or is reinforced. Veiling customs represents a female piety that is celebrated in Islam and by Muslim women of all ages. Whether as animated TV characters, models, athletes, or office workers, the Muslim women who don a wide variety of veils, burqas, or hijab are not flaunting modesty, but are celebrating it. Western feminists—Muslim and non-Muslim—tend to shy away from celebrating either indicting or praising veiling customs because of charges of cultural interference in Islam or misunderstanding the link between gender, religion, ethnicity, and politics. Even in societies with high levels of gender repression, where veiling is legally enforced, not optional, and associated with negative health effects, there is no consensus in the global community that it is or should be a human rights violation for women.

North Africa: Female Genital Mutilation (Cutting) Islam does not uniformly evolve across Muslim societies. However, many of these societies are linked by cultural practices regarding women swirling around how Islam is practiced in everyday life. Although the veil may be a symbol of oppression or liberation, from a feminist viewpoint, other customs suggest a more frightening reality. It is the practice of female genital mutilation that has stirred global debate.

FGM Also referred to as female or genital cutting, female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to a variety of genital operations designed to reduce or eliminate a girl’s sexual pleasure and ensure her virginity. If she is a virgin, she is marriageable. If not, she can be condemned, living as an outcast. Sometimes she is murdered. FGM is prevalent throughout North Africa, in parts of the Middle East, and in sub-Saharan regions. Banning it does not stop it. It is illegal in countries including Egypt, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, but near universal in its practice. The number of living females who have been cut is estimated at between 140 and 200 million girls. In Africa alone three million girls are at risk every year, including some infants and children as young as four years old. It is outlawed in the U.S. but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculates 500,000 women and girls—mostly Muslim immigrants—have undergone it or are at risk from it (Phillips, 2019). FGM is practiced by the wealthy and the

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poor and in rural and urban areas. Most girls who undergo the procedure are Muslim but it is practiced by Coptic Christians and those who adhere to tribal religions (Batha and Peyton, 2019; OWH, 2019). FGM’s past is untraceable. It predates Islam, although clerics in some Islamic cultures justify it today on religious grounds. For decades FGM was incorrectly referred to as female circumcision. FGM is not at all equivalent to the far less radical procedure of male circumcision largely performed on newborns. FGM ranges from a partial clitoridectomy to full removal of the clitoris, a woman’s most erotically sensitive organ. In its more extreme form, in Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, and some parts of Ethiopia, FGM removes the clitoris, then the vagina is sewn almost completely shut, leaving an opening large enough to release urine and menstrual blood. The effects of these mutilations range from psychological trauma to hemorrhage, blood poisoning, painful intercourse, lack of sexual pleasure, and death from infections or complications during childbirth. The vagina is cut open again on the woman’s wedding night, an experience reflected by the following lines in a poem by a Somalian woman: And if I speak of my wedding night; I had expected caresses. Sweet kisses. Hugging and love. No. Never! Awaiting me was pain. Suffering and sadness. I lay in my wedding bed, groaning like a wounded animal, a victim of feminine pain. At dawn ridicule awaited me. My mother announced: Yes, she is a virgin. (Muse, 2000) As brutal as it is, the practice continues. Sexual pleasure is eliminated, sexual purity (virginity) is ensured before marriage and chastity after marriage. It forms a core cultural identity of many traditional people. Girls who refuse or “deny” the procedure bring shame to their families. Women who were forced to undergo the painful procedure and midwives who know the health consequences are often its strongest advocates. A Muslim and the fourth of 11 children, a Malian woman reports the consequences when she opposed her parents and relatives in refusing to be “excised:” I was beaten and tortured. I was ostracized by the whole village … No women had ever refused … All my grandmothers had been excised … There are many women who have no support, there are many who have died, there is so much pain—all of which I can bear witness to. Only by fleeing to France and filing for refugee status did she resist the procedure. She could never return to her village or to her family. She was accused of heaping more shame on her people by disclosing excising traditions to Europeans (cited in Merry, 2009:137–138). Resistance comes with grave costs. UN Conferences on Women have taken up FGM. In 1980, African delegates argued that FGM was essential to guarantee a girl’s marriage. Delegates from Western cultures, appalled by FGM, were accused of interfering with hallowed cultural traditions. Five years later the issue was discussed with much less confrontation. A decade later at FWCW, under the broad mantle of “violence against women,” cultural boundaries were transcended and consensus was reached that FGM was a human rights violation. Although in jeopardy under the Trump administration, the United States may grant asylum to a girl returning to a country practicing FGM. Women feared that daughters could not be married without being “circumcised.” When entire villages do not allow it, men must look for marriage partners elsewhere or marry uncut women. Women’s empowerment suggests the latter.

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Critique It is unfair to regard FGM as the defining characteristic of an entire region but it calls attention to the issue of cultural change through women’s empowerment. The controversy also illustrates symbolic interaction’s “definition of the situation” and social constructionist reframing in two ways. First is the relabeling of “female circumcision” to “female genital mutilation” or “female genital cutting.” The former label suggests something mild or benign. The latter labels clearly do not. Second, the movement against FGM has been redefined as a defense of human rights rather than as cultural interference. The new definition of the situation is fast becoming the reality. All major international bodies and nations where it is practiced have committed to its suppression. Rather than “anti-FGM” campaigns, they have more success spotlighting advantages of not doing FGM. Cultural beliefs regarding proper roles for women remain strong, however, and despite laws to the contrary, the practice is widespread and continuing.

NORDIC NATIONS Compared to most of the world, both developed and in the Global South, gender equality in Nordic nations (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland) stands in sharp contrast. Year after year these nations retain top rankings for the lowest gender inequality and highest human development. Iceland is ranked first out of 153 countries on the Gender Gap Index (GGI) with the highest gender parity at 0.87 followed by Norway at 0.84. Norway is ranked highest out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI), with Switzerland a close second. By comparison, the U.S. ranks 15 on HDI and 51 (0.71) on GGI. Canada is ranked 16 and Mexico ranked 50 on GGI. Despite the stellar performance on gender equality in Nordic nations, it will take another 54 years to achieve gender parity on key indicators in all of Western Europe. In North America it will take another 151 years (UNDP, 2019; World Economic Forum, 2019). It is significant that Nordic nations embrace capitalism and are “highly engaged in global markets” but unlike most of the globe, the neoliberal thrust in Scandinavia is less pervasive. Egalitarianism and generous welfare policies exist side by side and markets are regulated. The successes of these nations undermine the argument that the “ideal capitalist economy is one where markets are unrestrained.” Humane, equitable, and prosperous outcomes are possible with well-regulated markets (Hodgson, 2018). The heartening news is that on all indices of gender equity, human development, well-being, and happiness, Nordic nations consistently lead the pack globally. Gender equality translates to high scores for GDP per capita, economic participation and opportunity, and health, and empowerment for women. Ranking varies only a tiny bit, but Iceland’s position in the top slots for the globe’s most gender-equal society has held for decades. Female empowerment in Iceland is traced to the strong 1970s feminist movement with ideals that have since pervaded all parts of Icelandic society. Finland is ranked as the happiest country in the world, followed by the Scandinavian (Nordic) countries of Denmark, Norway, and Iceland; the Netherlands and Switzerland are close behind (Hetter, 2019; World Economic Forum, 2019). Nordic women hold 35 to 47 percent of national legislative seats and about half at the municipal level. Scandinavian men’s and women’s well-being is enhanced by the gender parity in officeholders.

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Gender equality goals in Nordic nations are pursued through generous child care policies supporting women in the workplace and shared parenting. Spearheaded by women’s advocacy organizations throughout the Nordic countries, these goals have widespread support. There is strong convergence between the state (government) and civil society in the Nordic countries. Norway and Sweden provide the global standard for gender egalitarian models.

Norway Grö Harlem Brundtland ascended to prime minister of Norway, holding the seat at intervals for three terms and 16 years. Under her leadership, Norwegian society became synonymous with social democracy, and elevated gender, health, and environmental issues to the highest levels. In the following two decades, women candidates for prime minister outnumbered men. Elected in 2013, Erna Solberg is the second woman to hold that office. As a fiscal conservative with a strongly humanistic stance emphasizing the needs of the people, she is a powerful voice for human rights and continues Norway’s gender equalitarian legacy. This demonstrates that political power and gender equality are not at odds. Women have clout when other women in the legislative bodies of their nations represent them. Norway represents sociological understanding of how gender floods our lives in countless ways that can be played out productively. Decisions that on the surface appear to be gender neutral have a different impact on women compared to men. Norway mainstreams the gender perspective into all public activities. This does not mean that attention is exclusively directed toward women. The goal is equality and the gender perspective promotes it. The Norwegian government’s long-term objective is that the gender perspective becomes automatic, influencing all important decisions, whether in politics, in employment, or in education. To understand how gender influences social institutions and everyday life all public servants acquire knowledge of the gender perspective. Norway makes no attempt to eliminate gender roles. Women and men have different priorities and organize their lives accordingly, such as by job preferences, childrearing, consumer patterns, and leisure activities. Such differences, however, should not be grounds for unequal access to social benefits and economic resources. The gender perspective ensures that the different behaviors and aspirations of women and men will be equally favored in the organization and governing of Norway. For example, parental leave for new fathers has been in existence for decades. A high priority on the political agenda is to make it easier for parents with young children to combine family with work responsibilities outside the home This priority is being played out with data showing fathers are taking parental leave on the birth of both the first and second child. They are less likely to take parental leave in workplaces where gendered assumptions about active parenting by fathers prevail. Employer attitudes that compromise active fathering may be declining (Brandth and Kvande, 2018; Duvander et al., 2019). Norway serves as model for state and businesses partnerships in the name of family success. Parental leave and its financial and psychological cost of child care are the pivotal issues affecting employed American men and women and their families (Chapters 7 and 8).

Sweden As with Norway, Sweden’s gender equality advances through public policy, fueled by the belief that men and women should share power and influence equally. Sweden’s increase

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in the number of women in elective office and the generous benefits making it easier for both men and women to balance work and family life demonstrate the policy successes of these beliefs. Sweden is unique in that egalitarian principles emphasize gender role change in males. Sweden has done more than any other nation in stipulating that economic support and daily care and nurturing of children are the equal responsibility of both parents. Like most of the globe, women do more housework and child care than men and are employed more in occupations that are care oriented for children and adults, such as preschool teachers and eldercare. Swedes believe, however, that men have great stakes in gender equality. They want to set examples for children to become gender-equitable partners and to reject gender stereotypes harmful to the partnerships.

The Equality Future Compared to most of the globe—whether in advanced or developing economies of the Global South—gender equity programs in Nordic countries are exceptionally advanced. The costs of these programs are high and therefore contentious. The level of support and resources expended on the social and welfare benefits that Nordic countries provide to their citizens are extraordinary from an American perspective. These benefits have translated to overall well-being and an enhanced quality of life in economies with well-regulated markets. A damaging NLG path in Nordic countries may have been avoided so far, but it is unclear whether such a path can be averted. Like other nations with low fertility and a high proportion of elderly, Scandinavia relies on migrant workers, many of them poor, many of them women, and most of them bringing traditions that counter gender equality. Emerging right-wing populism reinforces anti-feminism. In Finland, populist political parties are “known for viewing the promotion of gender equality as unnecessary or even harmful” (Askola, 2017). Finland may be the earliest example of right-wing populism with an anti-equality thrust. Nordic nations have withstood the negative gender effect of NLG. Whether they can withstand the anti-equality rhetoric of right-wing populism is uncertain. Gender equity initiatives will be scrutinized to determine their cost-effectiveness. It cannot be said that Scandinavia is gender equal. Gender gaps in pay, in the professions, on corporate boards, in caregiving, and unpaid work may have plateaued, with fewer equity advances on the horizon. Robust Nordic equity plans for the next decade are in place, so it is doubtful that there will be retreat from ongoing efforts to reduce gender disparity. Efforts may be scaled back but not abandoned. Evidence is too convincing that as gender equality decreases, costs increase. Nordic nations stand as powerful global role models for gender equality.

KEY TERMS Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Countermodernization Developing world (see Global South) Development Female genital mutilation (FGM)

Global South Globalization Informal sector Islamization Kibbutz

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Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Neoliberal globalization (NLG)

Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) One-Child Policy Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) Womenomics


Gender, Marriage, and Families


Gendered Love, Marriage, and Emergent Lifestyles

My prince will come. —Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry. —Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance, 1893 Princess stories promote love and marriage as an escape from a world of drudgery and lack of fulfillment into one of enchantment and “living happily ever after.” Countering that image is the cultural belief that love cannot be sustained in marriage. Which is more accurate? A Cinderella story symbolizes the lives of those few fortunate (and beautiful) women who ascend from rags to riches when their prince arrives. The 1949 Disney version of Cinderella is alive and well. By the 1990s, we saw Richard Gere carrying Debra Winger and Julia Roberts away from their pre-princess existences as factory worker in An Officer and a Gentleman and as prostitute in Pretty Woman. The millennium saw Cinderella in the Oval Office. In The American President, Cinderella is Annette Bening, the talented (and beautiful) career woman swept off her feet by Michael Douglas, portraying the most powerful man in the world. In the next decade, Julia Roberts emerges again, this time as the Evil Queen in Mirror, Mirror, where lovely, angelic Princess Snow White (Lily Collins) is rescued by the handsome Prince (Armie Hammer). Cartoon or not, movies about teen Cinderellas abound. Through complicated and bizarre plots, ordinary high school girls and young women are transformed into princesses (Princess Diaries, Hallmark Movies) and whisked from mundane existences by teen princes who become kings (Chapter 13). Newer movies suggest themes related to female agency and strength, fractures in norms about female sexuality, alternative lifestyles for men and women, and women’s roles outside the home. At the same time, however, they highlight traditional themes about the power of love to overcome all obstacles and propel women into marriages that are expected to match their dreams. Even if the damsel in distress images fade and girls rescue boys, movies continue to endorse the triumph of romance (Gill, 2017; Hefner, 2018). Movies and television strive to modify twenty-first century Cinderella for empowerment messages palatable to young girls and their parents (Sibelski, 2019). Alas, the feminist veneer dissolves with stronger romance and “happily ever after” messages. These media images join with rampant consumerism producing the global phenomenon of modern “white weddings” extoling the rocky path of romantic love leading to the pinnacle of ideal marriage (Dunak, 2013; Hefner 2016). All genders are encouraged to take this path. Focusing on the American experience,

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this chapter examines myth and reality associated with gendered messages of love, committed partnerships, and marriage.

LOVE The powerful connection between love and committed partnering or marriage is so pervasive that many find it surprising that in America they have been paired only since the nineteenth century (Chapter 5). Romantic love as an ideal existed in Europe and throughout Asia centuries ago, but was rarely a basis for marriage. The poets and philosophers who sang the praises of courtly love during the European feudal era elevated love to something unattainable in marriage. The ladies of the court would bestow gifts, blessings, and an occasional kiss on suitors who would do battle or endure hardships for such prizes. Love was feared for the sexual passion it might produce, so was discouraged. Courtly love games were reserved for the aristocracy and excluded the vast majority of the population without the luxury of playing at romance. Personal fulfillment and compatibility of the couple were irrelevant.

Linking Love and Marriage Marriage, on the other hand, was the necessary but mundane alternative to the enchantment of feudal romance. Although the aristocracy glorified romantic ideals, like the ranks beneath them, their own marriage decisions were rational and pragmatic rather than emotional or romantic. Marriage was an economic obligation that affected power, property, and privilege. From a functionalist perspective, without the assurance of marriage and its legitimate heirs the entire social and political system might be threatened. This held true for kings as well as for peasants. Love was not an option for choosing a mate. Long-term partnerships with the mistresses or kings may have been rampant, but children of these liaisons were rarely eligible heirs. Love was not an option for choosing a marriage partner. The Puritan era in the United States ushered in the revolutionary idea that love and marriage should be inextricably tied. This was a radical departure from early European religious strictures, warning men that even lusting after their own wives was sinful. In the new American ideal, if love was not the reason for marriage, it was expected to flourish later. Parental approval of marriage partners remained the norm, but the belief that love should play a vital part in the process became etched in the fledgling American cultural consciousness. Romantic love in the United States today is ranked as the strongest factor in choice of spouse or committed long-term partner (Figure 7.1). Love continues to top the list of reasons to marry (Geiger and Livingston, 2019). Love as the foundation for marriage is fast becoming a global norm. Initially it was uniquely associated with the United States. Dramatic social change kept beliefs about the inseparability love and marriage intact. The leveling effects of the Industrial Revolution decreased class stratification and gender segregation, thus bolstering a social climate receptive to egalitarian attitudes. Consistent with a conflict perspective, as women moved into the world of paid employment, their economic power increased. Social change combined with economic assets enhanced marriage choices for both genders, but women’s choices were expanded considerably. By the 1890s, couples were receptive to the idea of companionate marriages—those based on romantic love—but with an emphasis on balancing individual needs with family needs. Less traditional beliefs

Gendered Love, Marriage, and Emergent Lifestyles  261 % of the general public saying __ is a very important reason to get married 88%

Love Making a lifelong commitment

81% 76%

Companionship 49%

Having children A relationship recognized in a religious ceremony


Financial stability


For legal rights and benefits FIGURE 7.1  Why


Get Married?

“8 Facts about Love and Marriage in America.” Online Poll, May 10, 2013. Pew Research Center. February 13.

about gender in other institutions, especially in education, employment, and leisure, were also bolstered in companionate marriages. Responsibilities formerly under the control of one or the other spouse began to be shared. Love-based marriage is strengthened in societies in which gender equality is fostered and women and men can express sexuality more openly. Women’s improved economic position, opportunities for young people to interact with less surveillance by parents, and more leisure time, allowed romantic love to blossom. By the beginning of the twentieth century, love, marriage, and the belief that a spouse should be freely chosen became inseparable. Even though the rate of marriage continues to decline, the belief that love is the most important reason for marriage remains virtually unchanged

Friends and Lovers Who so loves believes the impossible. —Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)

Defining Love Of course love is such a complex emotion, laden with folklore, superstition, and myth, that it seems to defy definition. Love is extolled for its virtue and damned for its jealousy. Euphoria, joy, depression, restlessness, anger, and fear are used to describe love.

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The love for a friend, sibling, parent, or child is clearly different from the feelings of romantic, passionate, ardent love. The distinction between romantic love and other varieties of love includes eros, or the physical, sexual component of love; agape, its spiritual and altruistic component; and philos, the love of deep and enduring friendships. Although romantic love ideals are expected to include all these components, agape and philos indicate other varieties of love relationships, such as the love between friends or siblings and between parents and children (Lindberg, 2008; Neto and Wilks, 2017). It is interesting that the sexual dimension of eros is the key component distinguishing romantic love from friendship, but also its most selfish aspect. Does sexual gratification counter the altruism idealized in romance? We will see that males and females answer the question differently.

Distinguishing Love and Friendship As with lovers, the profile for good friends and best friends includes acceptance, trust, respect, open communication, mutual assistance, and understanding. Friends champion one another. Friendship is supported by being loyal and upholding a friend’s integrity and honor when deemed necessary. Self-disclosure and perceived similarity are core for friendship formation and for cementing friendships over time, also vital elements for love relationships (Paludi, 2012; Pillemer and Rothbard, 2018). If these good friends, best friends, or other friends become lovers, the sexual passion dimension is added to the profile, and certainly complicates it.

Same-Gender Friends Under a heterosexual umbrella, when asked who their non-romantic best or close friends are, both men and women usually identify someone of their own gender. Same-gender friends know each other longer, spend more time with each other, and are more committed to the friendship. Early socialization emphasizes patterns of gender segregation that carry through to adulthood (Chapter 3). Compared to males, females report higher levels of intimacy, spontaneity, and openness with their same-gender friends, a pattern that crosscuts race and age. Women are more likely than men to have stricter standards for women who violate perceived friendship norms, such as flirting or making sexual gestures to another woman’s partner or spouse. This does not tap the same dimension as jealousy, but does recognize that women tend to have higher expectations than men for same-gender friendship. On the other hand, pop culture is celebrating the rise of female friendships (BFFs) in movies and television, in real-life, and in the fabricated life of performance. Stories highlight loyalty and forgiveness for transgressing sexual norms regarding the men in their lives. BFF stories among celebrities (Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez) inquire whether women have betrayed their gender by “preferring the company of men.” In the transient world of pop culture, it is unclear if friendship stories among women “have replaced tales of romantic love” (Witt, 2015:112). From a gender perspective, however, the answer is no. Men are more competitive and less open with their same-gender friends and are more likely than women to identify someone of the other gender as their best or close friends. This is also consistent with gender socialization that promotes instrumental and goal-­ oriented friendships for males and expressive, affiliative, and emotion-centered friendships

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for females (Frey et al., 2016; Stevanovic et al., 2019). From a symbolic interaction perspective, same-gender friendships are enhanced and stabilized when each party accepts the role definitions attached to gender and carries these definitions to their interactions. Young men, for example, spend conversational time on sex and sexuality topics, frequently talking about their own sexual prowess (Trinh, 2018). Projecting their sexual selves in ways that affirm masculinity may be a friendship enhancer for men as long as their friends do not see them as rivals. Meaningful friendships for both men and women are necessary for emotional and social well-being, but women appear to capitalize on them more than men. Females of all ages who maintain friendships with other women report being less lonely and depressed, yet they also report romantic liaisons with males as simultaneously euphoric and depressive. Women rely on each other for support when navigating relationships with men, especially in crises over sex and infidelity that may signal an end to a relationship (Knickmeyer et al., 2002; Pham et al., 2015). Women’s friendships with other women are at risk if they believe their friends are their romantic rivals. Women are more threatened by the physical attractiveness of rivals; men are more threatened by the status-related characteristics of rivals. Competition between friends depletes self-worth and can have lasting emotional consequences (Watkins et al., 2013; McGuire and Leaper, 2016). From a feminist perspective, beliefs that men have about power in love and choice of partner or spouse, encroach on friendships between women.

Other-Gender Friends Same-gender friends may be more stable and emotionally supportive because the passion dimension lurks behind other-gender friendships. Other-gender close friends are endangered by assumptions that men and women cannot maintain a “just friends” relationship and liking turns into loving. Men perceive sex and sexual overtones with their women friends as not harmful to the friendship; women perceive it as more detrimental, a belief that distorts the friendship balance (Hart et al., 2016; Reeder, 2016). Media images showing other-gender friendships doomed by romance reinforce these patterns. In the classic movie When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal (Harry) believes that it is impossible for men and women to be “just friends.” Sally disagrees. Harry is right: he marries Sally at the end of the movie. In the reverse but rarer direction, in hugely popular Seinfeld (1989–1998) Elaine and Jerry move from a romantic to a platonic relationship. After the dissolution of a romantic relationship ex-partners may continue as friends for reasons centering on trust and reliability, but men rate pragmatism and sexual access as more important for continuing it than women (Mogilski and Welling, 2017). It is difficult to return to being friends after having been lovers, particularly if one partner is in another romantic relationship. Consider, too, the friendship–love–friendship–love scenarios in other television shows, of which long-running Friends, How I Met Your Mother, and Big Bang Theory set the standard. These mixed-gender groups of friends included roommates, neighbors, and colleagues who had on and off again romantic and sexual encounters with others in the group, which strained the friendships, but had to remain intact for the series to continue. It was surely difficult for these groups of “friends” to maintain simultaneous platonic and intimate relationships. In series where a gay man and non-gay woman are friends, as in the pioneering and remerged “gay-celebratory” television series Will & Grace, it is his “gayness” that allows them to remain best friends.

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Friends with Benefits Moving from a romantic love emphasis to a sexual component in friendships, can other-gender friendships that are initiated with sex, or with sex coming later in the friendship, transition to committed relationships based on a romantic ideal? Referred to as Friends With Benefits Relationships (FWBR), sexual encounters without commitment, usually recurring with the same partner, are normative for unmarried adults of all ages. However, as expected, men are more likely than women to endorse and act on the sexual liaisons of an FWBR and women are more likely than men to desire commitment as the relationship continues. Women may choose sexual liaisons with friends, however, to explore sexuality and in a relationship they consider safe. FWBRs may offer a sense of empowerment for women in challenging gender attitudes about noncommitted sexual relationships men have long taken for granted (Norona et al., 2013; Jovanovic and Williams, 2018). Even as women continue to incur more social costs than men in a FWBR, sex as a pleasurable act for women is much less likely to be viewed negatively today (Chapter 3). Commitment comes in all forms. A formal commitment, such as engagement, is not necessary for young adults if they perceive a strong degree of commitment; this holds true for both men and women. Commitment is the key factor that separates other kinds of sexual encounters such as hook-ups (see below). Women have a stronger preference for commitment and romance relative to sex, but men, too, gain greater sexual satisfaction when an FWBR evolves into a committed relationship. High commitment can lead to “true” romance (Thompson and O’Sullivan, 2012; Galinsky and Sonenstein, 2013). Challenging the romantic love ideal, when an FWBR becomes highly committed, sex leads to romance, not the other way around. Couples who begin a relationship in an FWBR context are unlikely to sustain it over time without such a commitment. Even after the sexual intimacy ends, however, most young adults maintain the friendship (Mongeau, 2013; Owen et al., 2017). Close other-gender friendships can weather the gender storms. Nonetheless, in addition to the loving–liking difficulty, these storms include gender beliefs working against egalitarianism, creating the path not only for the demise of the friendship, but also for difficulties in sustaining other romantic relationships. These beliefs can inflict damage on couples representing all categories of gender. Gender role barriers limit the potential for rewarding and enduring friendships.

Gendered Love and Love Myths It is clear that ideas about love depend on who the object or target of our affection is, whether a spouse, sex partner, sibling, child, best friend, or parent. Friendship and romantic love are distinguished by more than sexual desire. Compared to friends and family members, lovers have heightened enjoyment from each other’s company, are preoccupied with thoughts about the lover, are fascinated by all that the lover says or does, and want to frequently communicate with the lover. According to Robert Sternberg (2008), love is a triangle formed by three interlocking elements: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Through open communication, intimacy brings emotional warmth and bonding. Physiological arousal and sexual desire are part of the passion component, where feelings of romance take precedence. Commitment involves the choice to continue and maintain the love relationship. All relationships undergo change and transformation, so each vertex of the triangle will not be equal, but too much mismatch between the components predicts the relationship will fail. Males

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and females differ in levels of satisfaction and skill for each of the triangle’s three elements as well as for other ways matching has been studied. Mismatches are associated with loss of passion, unrequited and obsessive love, and depression (Mikulincer and Goodman, 2006; Kito, 2016; Lewis, 2016; Eastwick et al., 2017). “If you don’t have each of intimacy, passion, and commitment in your intimate relationship, you are missing an important ingredient of a successful and happy relationship” (Sternberg, 2016:12). Because gender role socialization makes it difficult to maintain relative balance in these ingredients (vertexes) the joy and awe associated with romantic love may be compromised. Regardless of its definition, romantic love is idealized. Americans are bombarded with a lifetime of romantic messages. These messages in turn produce romantic love myths. To the extent that these myths become standards related to gender roles in marriage and the family, the effect of romanticization is not benign. 1

Love Conquers All. The “all” that is supposedly conquered in this myth are inevitable problems and obstacles of daily living. By idealizing the love-object, problems are even more difficult to solve. Total agreement with another person’s views on life and love is impossible. Romantic love is paradoxical. Idealization requires remoteness (keeping the lover on a pedestal), but intimacy evaporates remoteness (the pedestal collapses). Partners cannot fulfill all the needs of the other, nor can they ensure that all problems disappear.


Love is Blind. Confidence in true love comes with the expectation that social boundaries will dissolve. The belief that “it doesn’t matter as long as I love her/him” fuels this myth. Noted later, in selecting a partner or mate the love that it allegedly encompasses is highly structured. We are socialized to fall in love at a specified life stage with specified categories of people. No longer exclusive to Western cultures, the faith in romance is quite high. Love, nonetheless, is conditioned by formidable sociocultural and demographic categories that wield tremendous influence.


Love at First Sight. Because falling in love is outlined as a rational process, it contradicts the belief that people fall in love at first sight. Physical attractiveness certainly is the most powerful first impression. Until they speak to each other, information comes indirectly from the person’s overall appearance. The “love at first sight” myth is bolstered by what psychologists refer to as the halo effect—people who are attractive are assumed to possess more desirable qualities than those who are less attractive. Beauty and good looks are associated with other positive characteristics, such as morality, competence, warmth, and sensitivity. Initial attraction based on appearance is more important in chance encounters, such as on airplanes or at one-time events.

  Physical attraction is so important that it overrides intimacy, commitment, and passion (Zsok et al., 2017). This may explain why men are more likely than women to believe in love at first sight. The myth works against women because they are judged more strictly on level of attractiveness, especially related to body weight. Love requires ongoing, sustained interaction, and attractiveness issues tend to fade over time. As a prerequisite to love, interpersonal attraction is enhanced by the mere exposure effect— being frequently in contact with a person increases one’s liking and trust for that person. Couples communicate nonverbal attraction such as in eye contact, smiling, and gestures of intimacy over time (Montoya et al., 2018). Familiarity does not breed contempt; it breeds liking. This explains why college dormitories are major marriage markets where

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love can flourish. It also explains why the adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is incorrect. Its opposite, “out of sight, out of mind,” is the empirical reality. 4

One and Only Love Forever. Many accept the belief that there is a “one and only” person/soul mate, including people who are divorced or who have ended long-term relationships. Clearly the cycle of love–breakup–love–breakup refutes this. On the other hand, when couples are in the first passionate stage of a relationship, they are more likely to accept the “one, unique soul mate” belief; as the relationship continues, the belief diminishes. The sexual experiences and multiple relationships throughout young adulthood may not comprise a later marriage, but they also belie this myth (Allison and Ralston, 2018b). Men accept this myth more than women, but this is the love myth that is fading fast for both.


Women Are the Romantic Sex (Gender). Women are perceived as dreamy, starry-eyed romantics who seize love quickly. Women’s nature, with its embedded emotionality, so it is argued, conditions them to embrace romance and swiftly fall in love. Despite gender role change, decades of research shatter this myth. Men express a higher level of romantic love and fall in love earlier and harder than women. Men, including gay men, are more idealistic, score higher on romantic idealization of love and confess love first. Women are more cautious and pragmatic in attitudes about love and romance and how these attitudes are actually translated into their behavior. Rather than falling in love fast, women describe drifting into relationships (Harrison and Shortall, 2011; Carter, 2013; Mohr et al., 2013; Viner, 2018).   However, when women do decide to fall in love, they exceed men in levels of emotion and euphoria. This holds true for older and younger women and those who are in committed relationships or married. Well-being is enhanced when they perceive romance in many facets of their daily lives, from text messages and phone calls, to frequent encounters, to the romantic memories they recount about their lover (Frisby and Booth-Butterfield, 2012; Holmberg et al., 2018; Ohadi et al., 2018). Women are defined as the experts who will work harder and sacrifice more to maintain the relationship. Women perform the “labor of love” to keep romance alive well into marriage (Cantillon and Lynch, 2017; Sprecher and Hatfield, 2017). In Robert Sternberg’s (2008) theory of love, women attach greater importance to the commitment vertex of the triangle. For women, the rational behavior eventually leads to the romantic idealism characterizing love in America. It is at the passionate first stage of love where men are more romantic.


No Sex Without Love Normative FWBRs clearly contradict the belief that love is a prerequisite for sex. Almost everyone engages in nonmarital sex, and many enjoy sex solely for its physical pleasure (Chapter 2). Strong empirical support for nonmartial sex without the assumed love component is a twist on FWBRs. In this scenario, benefits (sex and physical intimacy) are retained, but friends are substituted for casual acquaintances, or at worst, strangers who become sex partners quickly after a meetup. Referred to as hookups, these causal sexual encounters are triggered by sexual excitement—not romance—and do not come with expectation for long term commitment. With college campuses perceived as safer environments and with peers offering varying levels of approval, hooking up is fast becoming a sexual standard among students (Montes et al., 2016; Carpentier, 2017). Today’s casual sex culture is different from the singles bar scene only a few decades ago when sex was not the inevitable result.

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  Even more than FWBR, heterosexual hookups are not only strongly gendered but are endorsements for an ongoing sexual double standard (Pham, 2017). As noted, women’s self-efficacy is enhanced when choosing sex for pleasure and they are less likely to endorse beliefs about sacrifice and submissiveness in a sexual encounter. However, they choose hookups less than men, take more risks in carrying them out, and are judged more harshly when they do. Aware of the sexual risks involved, parents prepare their daughters with family socialization messages centering on college for career rather than college for romance (Allison, 2016; Kalish, 2018). From a power-based heterosexual masculinity standard, men’s reputations are elevated with hookups, but reputations for women are jeopardized (Kettrey, 2016). Yet, as represented by hookup culture, the myth of love first then sex is shattered.   Research does show, however, that the most satisfying sexual experiences are with spouses and committed partners because attributes associated with other dimensions of love—caring, respect, and commitment—characterize the relationship. For college students, hookups can transition to FWBR and then to long-term relationships, suggesting that both casual and committed relationships play out during college. Neither hookups nor FWBR have replaced romantic relationships. Even as casual sex escalates, most students are in committed monogamous relationships and many are engaged by their senior year (Bible et al., 2018; Netting and Reynolds, 2018). The takeaway from the evidence about “sex without love” is that both men and women engage in casual sex and have multiple romantic relationships, especially in college, but preferences for romance and commitment remain. Experimenting with sex in college does damage eligibility of a future marriage partner. However, women are likely to engage in nonmarital sex (FWBR and hookups) when they hear love messages, even if these are not marriage messages (Lehmiller et al., 2011; Rudman et al., 2017). Although more likely for attitudes rather than behavior, the sexual double standard is largely intact. 7

The Opposite of Love Is Hate Since love is so difficult to define, the final myth is perhaps easier to understand. If there is an opposite to love, it is not hate, but indifference.

Gender and Styles of Romance Notwithstanding the sexual component, the transparency and sharing that are important ingredients of love separate women and men in the later stages of love and marriage. Gender role socialization commands that masculinity is defined by lack of vulnerability. One becomes vulnerable through self-disclosure; therefore, to love fully is to self-disclose fully. Men demonstrate higher levels of openness, communication, and self-disclosure than women at the beginning of a relationship. They use more direct and active strategies to initiate a romantic relationship. As the relationship continues, even into marriage, men tend to retreat in communication and responsiveness, even as women expect more of both. Women become resentful when men are unwilling to express feelings, and thoughts in transparent ways. For men, communication is a less important factor in preserving a marriage or maintaining a relationship (Chapter 4). For heterosexual married couples, cohabitants, and dating partners, it is the man’s behavior that sets the direction for the level of intimacy in the relationship that in turn predicts the level of satisfaction in, and adjustment to, the relationship for both partners.

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Men in Love Explanations for this pattern center on a man’s discomfort in opening himself to the emotions and intimacy demanded in ongoing romantic relationships or in other close friendships. Men may be reproached for lack of the emotional expression and self-disclosure that women have honed throughout their lives. Because romantic love is highly identified with the expressive dimension and self-disclosure in which women are more skilled, there is a disregard of the instrumental dimension, including the embedded physical aspects that men prefer. Rather than talking, men demonstrate love when they “do” masculine things for a wife or lover, such as repairing the car or cleaning out the gutters. Men put more emphasis on the eros/sexual component that is the distinctive gender marker of romantic love. Men are more likely to believe that portrayals of sex and sexual desire on “relationship” television, for example, are accurate and represent reality; women believe the same about portrayals of love on television (Punyanunt-Carter, 2006; Gamble and Nelson, 2016). Because love is idealized for its agape/altruistic quality, its key sexual marker is played down. Men, in turn, are viewed as “incompetent” at loving. A male deficit model that defines women as “relationship experts” has led to an incomplete, overly feminized perspective of love (Cancian, 2003).

Critique It is clear that males and females are socialized into different attitudes regarding romantic love. The idealism of romantic love weakens women’s endorsement for its sexual component even as casual sex is normative for young women. But the claim that men do not have the skill for the communication necessary to satisfy both partners in the relationship is not justified. Because gender and sexual scripts continue to call for men to be the initiators of a romantic relationship, they demonstrate these skills at the beginning of a relationship when they need to entice women into dating. Women give high marks to men who talk about goals, reveal otherwise private beliefs and attitudes, and disclose personal weaknesses to their potential partner. If men have good communication at one point, this skill does not suddenly disappear later. According to social constructionism and conflict theory, men hear the messages about romance and learn the skills to communicate it, but the will to do it is constrained by gender scripts allowing them to retain power by determining what is left unsaid rather than said in a relationship. Traditional gender roles jeopardize love and loving and the committed partnerships and marriages on which they are founded. Reinforcing the double standard (Chapter 2), heterosexual dating norms and attitudes about romance continue to conform to highly gendered sociocultural scripts, patterns that crosscut race and ethnicity (Eaton and Rose, 2011; 2012; Paynter and Leaper, 2016). Women who profess gender equality, even those with financial resources, find themselves entangled in a gender courtship script that supports the belief that men should be dominant. I could walk away—I’m not dependent on him. I don’t need anything from him. But I choose not to take that position … I do like a dominant man … [I don’t want] them to be submissive in any way … even if you’re his equal, I still think you should let him feel like a man … (Lamont, 2014:205–206)

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A woman’s relationship script calls for a more passive role, eventually allowing her to exchange sex for commitment. A man’s relationship script calls for an active role allowing for sexual dominance and conquest (Garcia et al., 2012; Kalish, 2013). Both scripts are in throes of change, and women’s and men’s conceptions of love and sexuality are converging (Chapter 3). The courtship game, however, continues to function according to gender role stereotypes. As stereotypes erode, loving relationships may better endure the reality of shattered love myths.

SELECTING MARRIAGE MATES AND PARTNERS The American embrace of romantic love fueled the global trend linking romance to selecting a spouse or permanent partner. Even in the developing world, where mate selection is often in the hands of marriage brokers, online dating services, parents, or relatives, love is increasingly factored in for sealing the arrangement. Regardless of whether it is in America or India or Brazil, however, the romantic optimism associated with love is modified prior to any marriage commitment. A prospective mate is dissected and evaluated on cultural, economic, and demographic qualifications deemed essential for a marriage. Like the love that propels a couple toward marriage, gender differences abound in the process of choosing a lifelong mate.

The Marriage Gradient Sociological research documents the strong influence of homogamy, becoming attracted to and marrying someone similar to yourself. If romantic love was the sole basis for mate selection, coupling would occur by chance; instead, homogamy results in assortive mating, coupling based on similarity. Assortive mating assumes that people who are socioculturally and demographically similar have more opportunities to meet those similar to themselves than more dissimilar to themselves. Similarity, therefore, sustains a relationship.

Emerging Adults College students are considered a key segment in the rapidly expanding scholarship on emerging adulthood, representing a phase of development between adolescence and early adulthood. Middle-class college students living on campus are privileged to be surrounded by multiple, enticing academic and nonacademic options offering opportunities to hone relationship skills. Whether living on campus or not, college is a powerful marriage market where people meet, date, have sexual experiences, fall in love, and marry. Parents send children to specific colleges with the expectation that an excellent education also allows for meeting potential partners from similar backgrounds; prized are socioeconomic status (SES), race, and religion. The view of college as a marriage market may edge out career priorities for women, especially with media accounts lamenting that suitable partners for women are lacking when they outnumber men on campus. This view is linked to the decline of women’s colleges (Chapter 11). To test predictions about homogamy, count the number of classmates who are engaged or formally committed by senior year.

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Intersectional Demographics Demographics such as age, race, social class, and religion are of enormous importance in mate selection. Although considered nonaffective in nature—that is, not tied to the emotional expressiveness and highly charged passion of love—these predict partner selection and marital stability more than the prized notion of romantic love. These nonaffective elements largely determine with whom we will fall in love. When demographic categories are intersected, we see more clearly that romantic love is tempered by a market approach to mate selection. This results in a process—albeit a gendered one—that is radically different from the ideology surrounding it.

Socioeconomic status (SES) Whereas homogamy is the marriage mate selection norm, it is filtered by the marriage gradient, in which women tend to marry men of higher SES, a conventional practice that historically propelled upward mobility for women. Of the factors in SES, education no longer functions as a key assertive mating marker of the marriage gradient. The education gender gap has reversed in the U.S. and throughout Western countries. As a pattern emerging less than two decades ago, wives with more education than their husbands now outnumber husbands with more education than their wives. Women are no longer averse to marrying men with less education; neither are men averse to marrying women with more education than themselves (Qian, 2017; Van Bavel et al., 2018). This pattern, nonetheless, does not translate to a sweeping change in the overall marriage gradient. The marriage gradient is functional for women who prefer well-educated men but, more importantly, who have the earning capacity necessary to support a family. The marriage gradient for SES persists because men outearn women. Even a high education level for women does not offset their gender disadvantage in the workplace (Chapter 10). Compared to men, women place a greater value on the instrumental qualities of a prospective mate and assess men on their suitability as good providers. Decades of research attest to this, even for college-educated women who express high levels of egalitarianism, expect high-paying jobs, and intend to combine career and marriage. Women do want to provide for their families but are uncertain about “how much providing to do.” Decades of research show women have reason to be pragmatic in selecting marriage partners: financial woes are associated with numerous risk factors in a marriage, including work–family conflict, parenting stress, and even sexual dissatisfaction (Melton and Lindsey, 1987; Loscocco and Spitze, 2007; Bjerk, 2009; Hill et al., 2017). Men, too, are more satisfied in a committed relationship if they perceive a sense of financial mutuality with their partners (Mao et al., 2017). Considering gender norms of male dominant breadwinner roles for husbands, however, men are more comfortable if they bring in more money than their wives. Today, “marrying up” for women is only important in how it translates to a family’s economic security. In heteronormative marriages, both men and women accept this gendered outcome.

Age Although largely taken for granted, age is the most powerful attribute in assortive mating for marriage and for committed partnerships. Most people marry others within a few years

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of their own age. If there is an age difference, the man is usually older than the woman. Traditional gender expectations dictated that men gain the education and job skills necessary to support a family, thus keeping them out of marriage longer than women, who are socialized for domestic roles. Since the 1950s, there has been a gradual increase in the marriage age for both genders. It is expected that in the next decade age at first marriage will be slightly above 30 for both men and women. For women the median age at first marriage is higher than at any time since 1890. The two-year age difference is expected to decline and may be at parity with men also in the next decade (Table 7.1). In later marriages or remarriages, age differences are likely to be greater, but usually favor the same younger woman–older man pattern. People often disparage romantic relationships and marriages with large age differences, usually of a much older man in economic assets and a much younger woman in attractiveness, a

TABLE 7.1  Median

Age at First Marriage by Gender, Selected Years

















































Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March and Annual Social and Economic Supplements. Historical Marital Status Tables. Adapted from Table MS-2: Estimated Median Age at First Marriage: 1890 to Present. November 2019 html

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pattern that shows up cross-culturally. Both get something of value (returns) on the exchange, but her status as a gold digger is more maligned than his status as a sugar daddy, getting a trophy wife, or gaining sex on demand (Gobind and du Plessis, 2015; Sela et al., 2018). Overall this pattern was/is so prevalent that it may be silently mocked but largely ignored.

Older Women, Younger Men A new twist on age-discrepant relationships and marriages shows a pattern generally favoring middle-aged women (40s–60s) with much younger men (mid 20s–30s). As a reverse of the older man–younger woman pattern, these older women are portrayed in pop culture as having the financial and sexual assets that are attractive to younger men. Imbued with agency and self-assurance, such women may be viewed as challenging gendered expectations about women and aging. On the other hand, often referred to as “cougars” and “on the prowl” for sexual fulfillment, Hollywood taps into women’s fear of aging and creates humorous scenarios that contest their apparent empowerment (Ames and Burcon, 2016). Contrary to these stereotypes, a five-year age difference in men and women in their 30s and 40s is the more common scenario. The five-year difference increasingly favors women. Previously married women and, interestingly, women with lower incomes, are likely to marry their younger partners (Alarie and Carmichael, 2015). In these cases, dissimilarity (lack of homogamy) by age, race, SES, and previous marriage predicts that they are divorce-prone.

Age Gradient Intersections for Older Women Compared to middle-aged women in their prime earning and job advancement years, later career women, recently retired women, and women in the 65-plus category who are divorced or widowed are at a greater disadvantage for a homogamous remarriage: men marry younger women at all life stages, and women outlive men by over five years at birth, increasing to seven years after age 65 (Chapter 2). For couples marrying in their 50s and 60s, a typical five-year age difference is the remarriage norm with the typical gender pattern of the man being older holding. Healthy aging, longer life spans, and relaxed norms about remarriage among elders, however, is altering this pattern. A woman’s assumed age disadvantage may be offset by her reluctance to remarry at all. In this life stage it is likely that many women are widows re-entering the romance and dating market after a stressful stint of caregiving for ailing spouses, or recent divorcees who chose divorce after launching the last child. College educated career women of the Gen X era (considered born between 1965 and 1980) and “younger” baby boomers (Boomers II) (born between 1955 and 1965), are also likely to be financially secure compared to their parents’ generation. In altering conventional gender role assumptions, older men are more eager to remarry and often select women who are older than themselves; older women are more interested in pursuing alternatives to marriage. New lifestyles and the SES–age intersect modify the marriage gradient for older couples.

Race Of the demographic variables, homogamy is historically strongest for race, with 90 percent of people marrying someone of their own race. New trends are cracking the racial homogamy pattern. In 1967 the Supreme Court overturned all miscegenation laws and legalized

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interracial marriage throughout the U.S.; since then these marriages have increased more than fivefold. Accounting for almost one-fifth of intermarriages among newlyweds, ten percent of all married people are now intermarried. Acceptance of interracial marriage has paralleled this trend, with four in ten adults now saying that interracial marriage is good for society, the highest support among college educated young adults (Bialik, 2017). Every state shows an increase in the percentage of marriages to someone of a different race or ethnicity. Hawaii has the distinction of being the state with the largest percentage of interracial marriages, at over half of all marriages. For newlyweds, in Honolulu alone, four out of ten married someone of a different race, the largest percentage of any city in the U.S. (HNN, 2017; Chalabi, 2018). Hawaii’s interracial marriage picture reveals gender patterns that are emerging throughout the U.S. With the U.S. Census now allowing for multiple racial responses, a more accurate but also more complex picture of U.S. diversity has emerged.

Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Led by Asians and Latinos, the fastest-growing category of intermarried couples are newlyweds. About one-third of Asians and slightly fewer Latinos are intermarried; about one-fifth of African Americans and about ten percent of white newlyweds have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. Among white, Latino, and Native American newlyweds, men and women differ in intermarriage by only two percent; Native American females “marry out” at about seven percent more than comparable males. Among Asian newlyweds, over one-third of women marry out, compared to over one-fifth of Asian men. Asian women of Japanese, Filipino, or Korean descent are most likely to marry white men. Hawaii is America’s only state with a majority of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and this Asian-white marriage pattern is predominant. Gender ideology explains these patterns, but in a paradoxical way. College educated Asian American and Latino women born in the U.S. receive gender messages countering those heard by their parents and grandparents. They are likely to seek marriage to men who hold less traditional views of women. Heteronormative white men seek Asian and Latino women for the opposite reason. They often desire a stereotyped Asian or Latino woman—exotic, submissive, and content with domestic roles. Although Asian and Latino men and women succumb to gendered romance, they may get what they want initially, but patterns of assimilation toward egalitarian gender roles predict more marital satisfaction among Asian American and Latino women than among white men. These patterns also suggest that assimilation/acculturation for Asian American women remains both highly gendered and racialized (Nemoto, 2009; Kiang et al., 2016; Lee and Kye, 2016; Muro and Martinez, 2016). The reverse gender pattern occurs for African Americans: black men are twice as likely as black women to marry out, with most marrying white women, but a growing number marrying Asian women (Livingston and Brown, 2017; Wang, 2017). Discussed later, this interracial trend is much scrutinized for explaining gender patterns in African American marriages. Overall, for most intermarried couples these numbers reveal a prestige hierarchy trend in choice of spouse with Asian women the most sought-after by men of other races.

Race and SES The race and class intersection in interracial marriages highlights homogamy in SES. This suggests that social class is the feature bringing these couples together that overcomes the

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feature of race separating them. Although interracial couples have higher rates of divorce, as with other couples higher levels of education and SES offer resources that buffer racial barriers and bolster marriage stability. Marriages flourish when quality of life is high, when intimacy, respect and mutuality override race in couple satisfaction, and when couples perceive support from kin, fiends, and community (Bratter and King, 2008; Buggs, 2017; Ludden, 2017; Shiao, 2018). Barack Obama, America’s first biracial President, is the son of a white mother and a black father who was African, not African American. His parents met in graduate school (SES homogamy) in Hawaii.

Attractiveness The importance both men and women attach to physical attractiveness in selecting a serious dating or marriage partner continues to increase, up sharply since the turn of the millennium. Media obsession with celebrities walking the “red carpet”—by how they look and what they wear—and their fairy tale weddings is a global trend. Both genders report that communication skills are important in choosing a partner, and men are now similar to women in that they add a woman’s economic prospects to their marriage partner shopping list. Men, however, continue to place a higher value on good looks, weight, and facial attractiveness compared to women. Attractive men, aware of their own good looks, engage in “mate-poaching” from women who are with less attractive men. Women are well aware of the value men place on attractiveness. Women with lower body esteem express less confidence in their relationships. Mixed-weight couples are perceived as poorer matches compared to matched-weight couples, especially if she is much heavier than he (Ambwani and Strauss, 2007; Collisson et al., 2017; Van Bavel et al., 2018; Hoplock et al., 2019). For a quick confirmation of gender beliefs about attractiveness, go online or pick up any newspaper for ads for dating partners. Men’s ads are more likely to mention that they are looking for “beautiful and slender” women or those who have “weight in proportion to height.” Women are more likely to say that they are looking for a relationship with a man who is financially solvent, dependable, and caring. Older men desire attractive, physically fit women who are younger than themselves. Male preoccupation with physical attractiveness cuts across race, social class, and sexual orientation. The crack in racial homogamy also suggests that there are cultural norms about attractiveness that transcend specific racial variations (Lewis, 2012; McWilliams and Barrett, 2014). To return to the love ideals: because men value it more than women and it is the first trait they notice when checking out possible dating partners, physical attractiveness is an important factor in why men fall in love sooner than women.

Sociological Theory Functionalism suggests that an attractive woman may have more of an advantage in “marrying up,” if she and her new family will benefit and if it contributes to a stable marriage. The feminist perspective, however, suggests that when excluded from power, women become objects of exchange. The marriage gradient in mate selection reduces women to objects based on appearance while disregarding other statuses, such as personal accomplishments and career success. Social constructionism suggests that idealized images of spouses, particularly media inspired ones, are defined by stereotypical gender norms. In line with a feminist

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view, social constructionism and symbolic interaction assert that the marriage gradient may produce a self-fulfilling prophecy in a dating context. Women come to view themselves the way they are viewed by men—as objects of exchange based on varying degrees of beauty.

The Marriage Squeeze When there is an unbalanced ratio of marriage-age women to marriage-age men, a marriage squeeze exists, in which one gender has a more limited pool of potential marriage partners. Most people marry in their late twenties, and men marry women about two years younger (Table 7.1). The baby boom era after World War II greatly increased the birthrate. More women were born in 1950 than men born in 1940. By the 1980s, there was a shortage of marriageable men. Because of the steep decline in birthrates in the 1960s and 1970s, men in their mid-twenties faced a shortage of women. This has changed again with a marriage squeeze favoring men. There are more eligible women than eligible men, especially for midlife and older women. The trends of women marrying men a few years older than they are, combined with higher male mortality rates and economic independence for women, help explain why. Although the proportion of single women at the prime marrying age is steadily increasing, widows make up a large portion of the single-women-living-alone category. Age is the factor on which the marriage squeeze was based, but with intersectionality in mind, it is expanded to account for key factors of race, education, and income. Women want to marry; however, women today are less likely to marry simply for financial security. This flexibility narrows the range of partners when these women are seriously thinking about marriage. Many may opt to remain single because they do not want to settle or settle down with the single men who are “left.” Men seek attractive women, but good looks have slipped in their ranking, with education, money, and intelligence having higher importance. No longer must educated women conform to a stereotype of playing dumb in the dating game. Today mid-career college educated women are much more likely to marry than less educated women or men. One of the best predictors of marital happiness is not how much a woman looks up to her husband, but his sensitivity to her emotional cues and, discussed later, his willingness to share housework and child care. Globalization and capitalism transformed families. Today women expect more from husbands than financial security and a social position (Coontz, 2018). Men today may shun exclusive instrumental roles and increasingly accept women’s expectations for sharing expressive/household roles in their marriages. The notion of the spurned, highly educated woman is a myth perpetuated by a female marriage squeeze based on age alone. The group most likely squeezed out of the marriage market today is poorly educated, lower-SES men.

African American Women Demographic trends related to race, age, and education, show an acute marriage squeeze for African American women as a subgroup. For both race and sex, life expectancy rates are lowest for African American males (Chapter 2). Approximately 60 percent of interracial marriages for black men are to white women. Already at double digits, educated African American men marrying women of other races continue to increase. For every ten college-educated African American women, there are two comparably educated men. African

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American women outnumber employed African American men in every age category by two to one (Black Demographics, 2017). Highly educated African American women are less likely to intermarry racially (as are highly educated white men). These patterns significantly restrict the field of partners African American women consider eligible for marriage. As a result, in comparison to white women, black women are more likely to marry men who are older, are of a lower educational level, and have been previously married. Interestingly, as white women begin to exceed educational levels of white men, they are matching black women in marrying “down” in education. Nonetheless, because of the gender gap in income, for both African American and white women, SES overrides education as the more important factor in mate selection. It is the race-gender– SES intersect that puts black women into more precarious marriages than white women. Viewed through this prism, these are not ideal arrangements for black women; neither are they unreasonable (Johnson and Loscocco, 2015). They may best be explained by the power of a marriage squeeze affecting marital choices of women regardless of race. African American women selecting partners of their own race who are otherwise significantly different from them—lacking homogamy—as it is for all races, predicts less marital stability and happiness.

Critique The marriage squeeze may be responsible for the hard choices people make in today’s marriage market. Demographic trends are strong predictors of these choices. One obvious factor in the choice to marry someone of another race is the size of the pool of partners available (Choi and Tienda, 2017). Demographics help us understand these choices, but they do not tell us why some people are more acceptable partners for marriage or long-term committed partnerships than others, such as why men are more willing to cross interracial boundaries in marriage than women. Eligibility in the marriage market is determined by strong intersectional gender, race, SES, and age norms regarding who are considered “appropriate” to marry—norms that propel us toward some people and away from others. As these norms are altered, the marriage market squeeze also fluctuates. For example, only two decades ago, media inspired portraits of desperate, sorrowful women who were not married by age 40 were said to be squeezed out of marriage forever. Today, never-married comparable age women are in a better position than previously married women not only to marry, but to select highly desirable partners (Qian and Lichter, 2018). Norms about education as a path for women marrying up is also no longer relevant; neither is a marriage squeeze attributed solely to age-based sex ratios. A huge, unbalanced sex ratio explains demographic patterns in China (Chapters 2 and 6). But in the United States, it does not explain the “dramatic, society-wide changes in sexual and relational behavior that have been going on for 50 or more years” (England, 2012:512). The marriage squeeze is not an objectively determined demographic process, but a socially constructed one.

GENDER ROLES IN MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY Social change impacting the road to marriage and partnering, and the families that result, is enormous. Marriage is both idealized and frightening for Americans. Images of loving couples

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with contented children coexist with those of abandonment, divorce, and domestic violence. The enchantment of romance has a bleak shelf life. Regardless of perception or reality, shifts in gender roles have altered our views of “traditional” marriage and families and prompted the emergence of a variety of lifestyles for those seeking alternatives to these traditional views. These shifts are also largely responsible for significant demographic changes in marriage trends.

The Marriage Gap Led by young adults who have higher rates of cohabitation and lower rates of marriage, since 1950 the United States has experienced a steady marriage gap. Since 1990, the marriage rate as well as the divorce rate shows consistent declines (Table 7.2). The lower divorce rate is associated with the decline in marriages and an increased rate of cohabitation. Fueled by the share of women who are not married or who stay married, the gap is widening. Over 45 percent of the American adult population is unmarried, including never married, divorced, and widowed, and over half of that group is women. Just since 2010 the percentage of both married men and married women decreased by about 5 percent, a large increase in a short amount of time. Given these trends, it is expected that the 2020 U.S. Census may show decreases in marriage and divorces since the latest data from

TABLE 7.2  Marriage

and Divorce Rate, Selected Years Rate per 1,000 population


Marriage Rate

Divorce Rate































Sources: Marriage and Divorces, 1900–2012.­ and-divorces-1900-2012; Provisional Number of Marriages (Divorces) and Marriage (Divorce) Rate, 2000–2018; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. National Vital Statistics System.

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2018 (Table 7.3). More people—especially more women—who are in committed relationships are choosing to remain single. Even with a lower divorce rate, divorced women have lower remarriage rates than divorced men (Chapter 8). Women who delay marriage or remarriage may choose not to marry at all. In addition, life expectancy is increasing, and because women outlive men, widows may find themselves without partners decades after their husbands die. For the first time in American history, more women are living

TABLE 7.3  Marital

Status in the United States by Gender 2018

All Adults

Men (%)

Women (%)




Never married









*Includes persons who are married with spouse present, married with spouse absent, and separated. Source: U.S. Census Bureau. Adapted from Table A1. Marital Status of People 15 Years and Over, by Age, Sex, and Personal Earnings: 2018. html

Who Is Living Together? Same-Sex Couples in the United States

543,000 Same-Sex Married Couple Households

FIGURE 7.2  Same-Sex

191,000 Children Living With Same-Sex Parents

469,000 Same-Sex Unmarried Partner Households

Couples and Their Children

Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2019. library/stories/2019/11/first-time-same-sex-couples-in-current-population-survey-tables.html

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without a spouse than with one. It is unlikely, therefore, that American women will live most of their adult lives in marriage. The marriage gap is also an economic gap. Regardless of race, poor people are less likely to get married (and stay married) than the nonpoor. Although both men and women who are poor are more likely to be squeezed out of marriage, poor women with children, especially women of color, are even less likely to marry. Although programs to increase economic resources, especially for men, do not increase their likelihood of marrying, economic insufficiency appears to deter both men and women from marrying (Schneider, 2015). Regardless of a marriage gap and the decreased time spent with spouses, marriage