Vermette Ch 12
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Vermette Ch 12



Sociology 101

Sociology 101



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  • How do female and male sexism function differently in a patriarchal society (such as ours) Women perceived as more passive, emotional, easily influenced, dependent Sexism toward women can be hostile or benevolent (women need help from men) Sexism exists toward men, too, but the consequences are different because of who has power in the society. Male sexism toward women has more social legitimacy
  • Question tag: “She’s a good professor, don’t you think?” Modifiers: sort of, kind of Also body movements and other nonverbal communication.
  • Men – expansive movements, legs crossed in a 4 with knees apart, louder voices, authoritative speech, pants Women – take up less space, cross legs at the knee or ankle with legs together, soft voices, use question tags like, “don’t you think?” wear skirts or frilly clothes more like a child
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2011) resolved close to 12,000 cases of workplace sexual harassment in 2010, but these figures obviously don’t include episodes that are never reported. According to one national poll, close to one-third of female workers reported being sexually harassed on the job (cited in Sexual Harassment Support, 2009). In 2010, the Congressional Office of Compliance reported that U.S. taxpayers fund about $1 million per year in settlements to congressional employees who have been harassed by their bosses (Lovley, 2010). Some occupations are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault. For instance, sexual affronts from male guests are an everyday safety hazard for female hotel workers (Greenhouse, 2011). It is so common, in fact, that hotel managers routinely provide their housekeeping staff with a list of safety precautions including always carry a panic button (or mace) in your pocket, always clean rooms in tandem with another housekeeper, and always prop the door open when cleaning a room (Bernstein & Ellison, 2011). Sometimes men are victimized in settings where you’d least expect it. In 2010, more than 110 male soldiers filed confidential reports of sexual assault by other men, nearly three times as many as in 2007 (cited in Ellison, 2011). As troubling as this trend is, however, women still face a far less welcoming and more dangerous environment in the military than men.
  • According to the FBI (2010), there were close to 1,500 documented cases of anti-homosexual hate crimes in 2009.
  • According to some feminist sociologists, men have also used rape and the threat of rape throughout history to exert control over women (Brownmiller, 1975). The mere existence of rape limits women’s freedom of social interaction, denies them the right of self-determination, and makes them dependent on and ultimately subordinate to men (S. Griffin, 1986). All forms of oppression—whether against ethnic Darfurians in Sudan, peasants in Bolivia, or women in the United States—employ the threat of violence to ensure compliance. The subordination of women depends on the power of men to intimidate and punish them sexually. The fear of rape goes beyond simply making life terrifying and uncomfortable for women. It also can restrict their economic opportunities. Women may avoid some neighborhoods with affordable housing because of potential danger. If a woman has a job that requires night work, she may be forced to buy a car to avoid walking at night or using public transportation. The threat of sexual assault restricts where and when she is able to work, thereby limiting her money-earning choices and perhaps keeping her financially dependent on others. In one 4-day stretch during 2010, gangs of marauding Congolese soldiers raped at least 200 women in one village, despite the fact that United Nations peacekeepers were based just up the road (Gettleman, 2010).
  • In the United States, women reporting rape must undergo more potentially humiliating tests and procedures to prove what happened In Colombia, a man can be absolved of rape charges if he offers to marry the victim In Senegal, single women who are rape victims can be killed by their families because as nonvirgins they can no longer command a high dowry In Iran, Islamic tradition forbids execution of virgins, therefore women condemned to die must be raped first In Afghanistan, women are forbidden by law from refusing to have sex with their husbands – this is no longer true in the United States, however marital rape is typically seen as less horrible than other kinds of rape Don’t Be That Guy rape prevention campaign in Canada: How does this complicate women’s sexuality? What messages do women get about sexuality that men don’t also get? What messages do men get and how do those messages also limit male sexuality?
  • Male and female bodies have a lot more overlap than difference What is considered men’s or women’s work varies by culture – sometimes being opposite from one place to another (farming, cooking, etc.) Men holding hands in the Middle East- George Bush holding hands with Saudi King What other characteristics are typically associated with masculinity and femininity? What if someone does something opposite to their sex? “ tomboys” and “sissies” Moreover, the qualities we consider naturally feminine are usually seen as less socially valuable than those considered masculine. Girls do suffer sometimes when their behavior is considered “boy like.” But a boy being accused of acting like a girl is the ultimate schoolyard insult. Even when they get older, many men can be easily whipped into aggressive responses by accusations of femininity, such as when coaches call their male players “girls” or “ladies.”
  • As things become identified with women they lose value because “feminine” qualities are still seen as less important than “masculine” qualities
  • Similarly, most bureaucracies in institutional areas such as business, politics, and the military operate according to taken-for-granted masculine principles. Successful leaders and organizations are usually portrayed as aggressive, goal oriented, competitive, and efficient—all characteristics associated with masculinity in this society. Rarely are strong governments, prosperous businesses, or efficient military units described as supportive, nurturing, cooperative, kind, and caring (Acker, 1992). This sort of bias pervades other institutions as well.
  • Normal biological events in women’s lives—menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause—have long been considered problematic conditions in need of medical intervention Women sometimes excluded from clinical trials For instance, prior to the health care reform bill signed into law in 2010, it was legal in most states for insurance companies selling individual policies—those for people who don’t have group insurance coverage through their employers—to charge women more than men for the same medical coverage. The difference in price ranged from 4% to 48%. The obvious justification was that because of all the medical procedures associated with childbirth, women used the health care system more than men. But the discrepancies exist even for policies that don’t cover maternity costs (Pear, 2008b). Moreover, non-smoking women have sometimes been charged higher health insurance premiums than men who smoke (Grady, 2010). At the time of this writing, health care reform had not yet been fully implemented, so it remains to be seen if the changes will lower the health care-related cost of being a woman. Ironically, men tend to have more health problems and a shorter life expectancy than women (Legato, 2006). They occupy more physically demanding jobs and engage in more dangerous physical activity. Hence, they’ve historically been at greater risk for various bodily injuries and stress-related ailments. According to figures from the U.S. Bureau of the Census (2011b), men also have higher rates of cancer (excluding breast, cervical, and ovarian types) than women. From a sociological perspective, it seems highly likely that women’s experiences with the “symptoms” surrounding menstruation are related to the place that menstruation occupies in the larger society. We live in a culture that, by and large, has tried either to ignore menstruation or to present it as shameful. Only relatively recently—as evidenced by the glut of commercials and advertisements for “feminine hygiene” products—has it come out of the closet. But, of course, the attention we as a culture devote to menstruation continues to be almost exclusively negative, focusing on overcoming bothersome premenstrual symptoms or camouflaging the unsightly or otherwise unappealing by-products of menstruation itself. A website called (2010) regularly posts advice for adolescent girls on the use of tampons. One recent blog, titled “Keeping it quick and quiet,” reinforced the idea that menstruation is shameful by providing advice such as, “Be discreet when you’re bringing a tampon into the girls’ room… Anyone can bring a purse to the restroom (a classic hiding spot) but try tucking it in your waistband, bra, sock, or cell phone case. No one needs to suspect a thing” and “For better hiding potential, try compact tampons.”
  • Women hold only about 3% of key decision making positions in mainstream media (The Women’s Media Center, 2011). In key behind-the-scenes roles like creators, producers, directors, writers, editors, and directors of photography, men outnumber women four to one (Media Report to Women, 2003). It wasn’t until 2009 that a woman received an Academy Award for Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow for the film The Hurt Locker ) . Such an imbalance in productive and creative control means that what we see in theaters and on television is likely to reflect men’s perspectives. Mad Men celebrates a time when women had far less equality in the home and workplace, makes it look romantic But because the blatant sexual exploitation of female television characters is frowned upon these days, networks are setting their shows in earlier period when attitudes were quite different. For instance, one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed television shows in recent years, Mad Men , chronicles the sexual escapades of men working in an early 1960s ad agency. Because the show takes place half a century ago, its male characters can unabashedly express attitudes that would not be tolerated in a more contemporary setting: “We see sexist jokes, chronic philandering, and office parties in which executives tackle secretaries in order to see what color their panties are” (Doyle, 2010, p. 1). Sensing a lucrative market for such shows, in 2011 NBC began airing The Playboy Club , a drama set in 1960s Chicago that chronicles the lives of voluptuous Playboy bunnies with names like “Bunny Janie” and “Bunny Alice.” That same year, ABC trotted out Pan Am, another 60s-era show that was advertised as “a drama full of sexy entanglements” between male pilots and their female “stewardesses.” An ad for this show said, “They do it all—and they do it at 30,000 feet.” As one columnist put it, “Jiggle TV is back” (Dowd, 2011, p. 8).
  • Unpaid work (housework, child rearing) not valued in the mainstream economy Mother at home = value of paid work about $33K per year – more than average salary of full-time male work According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010a), employed women spend over an hour a day more than employed men caring for children under the age of 6. When they have older children, these women spend over 6 hours a day on so-called “secondary care,” like shopping with children in tow, while men spend only 4 hours a day on such activities. Who does what in your house? Who grocery shops? Who cooks? Who cleans what? Who fixes what?
  • Gender and math – Girls in Asian countries perform very high in math; even American girls who excel at math are often daughters of immigrants And women earn 59% of all associate’s, bachelor’s, and advanced college degrees. Moreover, college women study more and have higher grade point averages than men. They’re also more likely to complete their bachelor’s degrees in four or five years (cited in Lewin, 2006). However, men are more likely to take rigorous courses geared for math and science majors and achieve higher grades in those courses than women (College Board, 1998). Many of the majors that lead to high-paying or high-prestige careers remain male dominated (engineering, economics, mathematics, earth sciences, etc.), whereas women are concentrated in fields such as nursing, education, and social services (Dey & Hill, 2007). Here too, however, we see cross-cultural differences. In countries that we typically view as repressive when it comes to women’s rights—such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia—women earn the majority of science degrees (Charles, 2011).
  • Women tend to have lower paying jobs even within professions U.S. women have made remarkable progress in overcoming traditional obstacles to employment. In 1950, a little over 30% of adult women were employed in the paid labor force; today, that figure is almost 60%, and it increases to 69.8% for married mothers, 72% for single mothers, and 79.2% for widowed, separated, and divorced mothers (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2011b). Over half of all U.S. workers today are female.
  • That means that over a 40-year career, the average working woman will earn $431,000 less than the average working man (Boushey, Arons, & Smith, 2010). And because they earn less when employed, women’s retirement pensions are also significantly smaller than men’s (National Women’s Law Center, 2006).
  • In U.S. metro areas, female-dominated jobs earned less than $6.95/hr and male-dominated jobs earned $11.60/hr. However, even when controlling for differences in experience, age, and education—factors that might justify discrepancies in salary—the wage gap between men and women remains (Weinberg, 2007). For instance, the average income of female workers in the United States is significantly lower than that of men with the same level of educational attainment. Men with bachelor’s degrees earn, on average, 65% more than women with bachelor’s degrees. In fact, women with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn only around $4,400 a year more than men who attended college but never earned a degree (mean annual earnings of $44,078 compared with $39,635). Similarly, women with doctoral degrees (with mean annual earnings of $70,898) earn less than men with bachelor’s degrees (with mean annual earnings of $72,868) (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2011b). 2007 – Fair Pay Act.
  • All nations except: Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau, Tonga, and the United States. Women are making significant strides in other parts of the world where they have traditionally suffered. In places like Uganda, Burundi, and Tunisia, women now account for around 30% of elected officials. For women in Rwanda, the figure is 56%--the highest in the world—up from just 17% in 2000 (Population Reference Bureau, 2011). Women in Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Liberia, are at the forefront of local and national reform movements (Foroohar, 2010).

Vermette Ch 12 Vermette Ch 12 Presentation Transcript

  • Chapter 12The Architecture ofInequality: Sex andGender(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Sexism at the PersonalLevel• Sexism: a system of beliefs that assert theinferiority of one sex and that justifydiscrimination based on gender– Feminine or masculine roles and behaviors– Attitudes and behaviors communicated ineveryday interaction• Patriarchy: society in which males havehigher prestige• Matriarchy: society in which females havehigher prestige (rarer around the world)(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Sexism and SocialInteraction• Social arrangements that benefit menare taken for granted• Objectification: social value based onlooks; turning a person into an object• Language patterns show unconsciouspersonal sexism• Women are more likely to use questiontags• Women are more likely to use modifiers(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Femininity and Masculinity• What does it mean to behave in afeminine or masculine way?• Body movements• Communication patterns• Patterns of dress, hair, physicalpresentation• How can a woman show bothauthority and femininity?(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Sexual Harassment andViolence• Can happen to both men and women,though overwhelmingly does happen towomen (sexual harassment charges by menwere 16% of all cases in 2008)– About 83% of girls have experienced sexualharassment in K–12 schooling– Nearly 66% of college women– Estimated 70% of women in the workplace• Leers, whistles, comments, requests forsexual favors, unwanted physical contact(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Sexual Orientation• Women tend to express fewer anti-gayattitudes• Heterosexual men have more negativeattitudes toward gay men than towardlesbians• Heterosexual women tend to have similarattitudes toward lesbians and gay men• Heterosexual men tend to be moreconcerned with showing traditional genderroles(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Rape• In the United States: most frequentlycommitted but least reported violentcrime• 79% of rapes: victims knew theirattacker• 3% of college women experience acompleted or attempted rapeannually: 90% knew their attacker(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Rape as a Means of SocialControl• Defined as a crime against men(when women are viewed as maleproperty)• Intimidation against wholecommunities• Fear limits women’s social movementand freedom• Blaming the victim• Women blamed for rape and expected toremain in limiting social positions(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Gender vs. Sex• Gender refers to sociocultural ideasabout what is masculine or feminine• Sex refers to biological parts that makea person male or female(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Thinking Sociologically• How do we confound sex and gender,especially when we consider sexualorientation?• Attracted to males vs. females• Attracted to sociocultural ideas aboutmasculinity or femininity• Limiting males and females to certainsociocultural masculine or femininequalities(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Gender Inequality• Institutional sexism• Part of social institutions• Perpetuates and magnifies women’sdisadvantages• Can be both sexist and gendered• Segregate, exploit, exclude based onphysical differences• Incorporate values and practices based ontraditional expectations(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Masculinized Institutions• Preference for traditionally masculinequalities• Aggression• Strength• Power• Concern over “feminizing” ofinstitutions• Some churches object to Jesus beingportrayed as gentle and patient(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • (c) 2012, SAGE Publications• Greater intrusive medical attention onwomen– Menstruation– Pregnancy– Childbirth– Menopause• Less general research on women’shealthGender Inequality in HealthCare
  • Gender Inequality in theMedia• Men control creation and productionof media images• Portrayal of women on prime-time TVremains mostly stereotypical• Double-edged stereotype in ads• Perfect wife/mother/career woman• Seductive sex object(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Gender Inequality inFamilies• Separate spheres: early 20th century• Public sphere for men• Private sphere for women• Devaluation of “women’s work”• Second shift: women still do morework at home than men even whenboth work full-time(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Gender Inequality inEducation• Girls receive less teacher attention(both positive and negative) thanboys• Girls speak up less in class• Less mention of women’scontributions in textbooks• More unwanted sexual attentiontoward girls(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Gender Inequality and theEconomy• Women have less earning power than men• Almost half of all U.S. workers are women• Work segregation still common• Women are 92% of nurses but 32.2% ofdoctors• 96.6% of dental hygienists but 30% ofdentists• Women enter traditionally male jobs butmen don’t enter traditionally female jobs• Segregation even within a profession(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • The Wage Gap• For every $1 a man earns, a womanearns 77 cents• By ages 45–64 women earn only 73%of men’s wages• Global phenomenon(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Why Does the Wage GapExist?• Jobs done by women earn less thanjobs done by men• Wage gap remains even controllingfor experience, age, and education• Men with BA degrees earn about 65%more than women with BA degrees• Pay equity: jobs of equal value shouldbe paid equally(c) 2012, SAGE Publications
  • Global Devaluation ofWomen• Women remain economically and physicallydisadvantaged in most societies– Iranian constitution values a woman’s life at halfthat of a man’s– In Kenya, if a woman’s husband dies, she losesall her land, livestock, and household property– In Kyrgyzstan, estimated that more than half ofwives were abducted by their future husbands• 184 of 192 UN member nations ratified the1979 Convention on the Elimination of AllForms of Discrimination Against Women(c) 2012, SAGE Publications