Some material contained in this presentation
are from Gells and Levine, 1995
There is still a great deal of inequality between
males and females in our society.
Women’s occupations typically receive less in
wages and compensation than men’s.
Women make only about 80 cents to the dollar
compared to men.
Women still constitute a great minority of seats
in government (17 percent of congressional
Women’s gains have been slow. They are still not
The United States never ratified the Equal Rights
Amendment (ERA) guaranteeing full equality to
Women are over-represented in some occupations
while being under-represented in others.
“No woman can call herself free who does
not own and control her body.
No woman can call herself free until she
can choose consciously whether she will or
will not be a mother.”
Just what is it that is fixed in our makeup and what
is socially constructed?
How much of our gender-being is changeable.
Consider the following:
How people speak
Engage in courtship
Deal with stress
Choose a career
The power to is power that is directed towards a
task. We have the power TO do many things with
the physical world. As such, it is benign.
The power over is power that is used to dominate
an individual or a group. In the case of gender, it is
general the power of the male over the female.
This might be considered a misuse of power.
Patriarchy is the most pervasive form
of institutional sexism.
Men dominating a conversation
Men assuming a controlling role such as in
Men assuming that women are less competent.
Men excluding women from “men’s” events such as
business or recreational activities.
Click on image for John Boehner Women and Golf Story
Individual sexism: The belief that one’s sex is
superior to the other.
Institutional sexism: Policies, practices and
procedures that result in unequal outcomes for
men or women.
Glass Ceiling: The invisible barrier to women’s
advancement in the corporate world. The women
can SEE opportunities, but is ignored because of her
Reasons given for deliberate failure to promote
women often have to do with their presumed role
as a mother.
Glass walls: The barriers that prevent women from
accessing experience laterally—the process of
gaining experience by working in different
departments in preparation for promotion.
overgeneralizations about people
in some designated social
Some of the following slides are
from “The Meaning of Gender”
by Judith A. Howard and Jocelyn
A. Hollander in Charon, 2009
“… a set of prescriptions and
proscriptions for behavior—
expectations about what
behaviors are appropriate … in a
particular social context.”
Click on image for story and video
States Scott M. Lewis:
The basic premise of THE BEAUTY MYTH is that forced
adherence to standards of physical beauty has
grown stronger for women as they gained power in
other societal arenas. Wolf argues that this
standard of beauty has taken over the work of
social coercion formerly left to myths about
motherhood, domesticity, chastity, and passivity, all
of which have been used to keep women
powerless. … However, Wolf contends that the
beauty myth is really not about women, it is about
men’s institutions and power.
Medicine deformity or abnormality in the shape or size of a
specified part of the body: muscle dysmorphia.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness
in which you can't stop thinking about a flaw with your
appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But
to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don't
want to be seen by anyone. Body dysmorphic disorder has
sometimes been called "imagined ugliness." (Mayo Clinic
“Gender identity refers to
one’s inner sense of oneself
as female or male; it is a
major part of one’s selfconcept.”
“Gender identity may or
may not be congruent with
someone’s sex or gender,
and it is unrelated to sexual
“… often used to refer to a
a group of related concepts,
•Sexual Behavior (what you do)
•Eroticism (what turns you on)
•Sexual Orientation (who turns you on)
•Or desire to engage in sexual activity”
“It is the social context, not
the activity itself, that leads
us to impute meaning to the
woman’s [and the man’s]
action as being erotic.”
“The definition of men as aggressive
and women as passive reinforces
men’s power over women and
women’s dependence on men.”
Or does it? Discuss.
While sex is biologically determined, gender is not.
Gender is socially constructed. It is part of the
socialization process. It is cultural.
NOTE: This is a bit Elementary school teachers
Out of date now
Private household workers
Lawyers and judges
Teachers—college and university
Protective service personnel (fire, police, etc.)
Precision artisans, repair persons
Motor vehicle operators
Adapted from a variety of government sources. Found in Gelles and Levine, 1999: 369
Consider the family as organized
lines. That is, men specializing in
instrumental tasks such as having
a job and making money, while
women focus on expressive tasks
such as raising children and
supporting their husbands.
While sex is a given in nature, gender is a social
construction. We create a social context which
exacerbates differences between the sexes.
If that is the case, can we undo what we have
This perspective stresses the differences in classsubject position emphasized by the dominant social
Both in the workplace and in the home social status
is differentiated with the male maintaining