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Guide Literary Essays on Gender, Sexuality and the Treatment of Women

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It is important to note that people who cross-dress, or wear clothing that is traditionally assigned to opposite gender, are not necessarily transgendered. There is no single, conclusive explanation for why people are transgendered. Transgendered expressions and experiences are so diverse that it is difficult to identify their origin. Some hypotheses suggest biological factors such as genetics or prenatal hormone levels as well as social and cultural factors such as childhood and adulthood experiences.

It is known, however, that transgendered and transsexual individuals experience discrimination based on their gender identity. People who identify as transgendered are twice as likely to experience assault or discrimination as non-transgendered individuals; they are also one and a half times more likely to experience intimidation National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs These organizations hope that by educating the public about gender identity and empowering transgendered and transsexual individuals, this violence will end.

What if you had to live as the opposite sex? If you are a man, imagine that you were forced to wear frilly dresses, dainty shoes, and makeup to special occasions, and you were expected to enjoy romantic comedies and glamour reality shows. If you are a woman, imagine that you were forced to wear shapeless clothing, put only minimal effort into your personal appearance, not show emotion, and watch countless hours of sporting events and sports-related commentary.

It would be pretty uncomfortable, right? Well, maybe not. Many people enjoy participating in activities that are typically associated with the opposite sex and would not mind if some of the cultural expectations for men and women were loosened. Now, imagine that when you look at your body in the mirror, you feel disconnected. As you get older, you hate the way your body is changing, and, therefore, you hate yourself. These elements of disconnect and shame are important to understand when discussing transgendered individuals.

Fortunately, sociological studies pave the way for a deeper and more empirically grounded understanding of transgendered experience. Aggressive behaviour, when it does not inflict significant harm, is often accepted from boys and men because it is congruent with the cultural script for masculinity. Just as a playwright expects actors to adhere to a prescribed script, society expects women and men to behave according to the expectations of their respective gender role. Scripts are generally learned through a process known as socialization , which teaches people to behave according to social norms.

Children learn at a young age that there are distinct expectations for boys and girls. Cross-cultural studies reveal that children are aware of gender roles by age two or three. At four or five, most children are firmly entrenched in culturally appropriate gender roles Kane Children acquire these roles through socialization, a process in which people learn to behave in a particular way as dictated by societal values, beliefs, and attitudes. For example, society often views riding a motorcycle as a masculine activity and, therefore, considers it to be part of the male gender role.

Attitudes such as this are typically based on stereotypes, oversimplified notions about members of a group. Gender stereotyping involves overgeneralizing about the attitudes, traits, or behaviour patterns of women or men. For example, women may be thought of as too timid or weak to ride a motorcycle.

1. DEFINITIONS - WHAT IS SEX, WHAT IS GENDER, WHAT IS GENDER BLURRING ?

Gender stereotypes form the basis of sexism. Sexism refers to prejudiced beliefs that value one sex over another. Sexism varies in its level of severity. In parts of the world where women are strongly undervalued, young girls may not be given the same access to nutrition, health care, and education as boys. While illegal in Canada when practised as discrimination, unequal treatment of women continues to pervade social life. It should be noted that discrimination based on sex occurs at both the micro- and macro-levels.

Many sociologists focus on discrimination that is built into the social structure; this type of discrimination is known as institutional discrimination Pincus Gender socialization occurs through four major agents of socialization: family, education, peer groups, and mass media. Each agent reinforces gender roles by creating and maintaining normative expectations for gender-specific behaviour. Exposure also occurs through secondary agents such as religion and the workplace.

Repeated exposure to these agents over time leads men and women into a false sense that they are acting naturally rather than following a socially constructed role. Family is the first agent of socialization. There is considerable evidence that parents socialize sons and daughters differently. Generally speaking, girls are given more latitude to step outside of their prescribed gender role Coltrane and Adams ; Kimmel ; Raffaelli and Ontai However, differential socialization typically results in greater privileges afforded to boys.

They may be given fewer restrictions on appropriate clothing, dating habits, or curfew. Sons are also often free from performing domestic duties such as cleaning or cooking and other household tasks that are considered feminine. Daughters are limited by their expectation to be passive, nurturing, and generally obedient, and to assume many of the domestic responsibilities.

Even when parents set gender equality as a goal, there may be underlying indications of inequality. For example, when dividing up household chores, boys may be asked to take out the garbage or perform other tasks that require strength or toughness, while girls may be asked to fold laundry or perform duties that require neatness and care.

It has been found that fathers are firmer in their expectations for gender conformity than are mothers, and their expectations are stronger for sons than they are for daughters Kimmel This is true in many types of activities, including preference of toys, play styles, discipline, chores, and personal achievements. It should be noted that parental socialization and normative expectations vary along lines of social class, race, and ethnicity. Research in the United States has shown that African American families, for instance, are more likely than Caucasians to model an egalitarian role structure for their children Staples and Boulin Johnson The reinforcement of gender roles and stereotypes continues once a child reaches school age.

Until very recently, schools were rather explicit in their efforts to stratify boys and girls. The first step toward stratification was segregation. Girls were encouraged to take home economics or humanities courses and boys to take shop, math, and science courses. Studies suggest that gender socialization still occurs in schools today, perhaps in less obvious forms Lips Teachers may not even realize that they are acting in ways that reproduce gender-differentiated behaviour patterns.

Yet, any time they ask students to arrange their seats or line up according to gender, teachers are asserting that boys and girls should be treated differently Thorne Even in levels as low as kindergarten, schools subtly convey messages to girls indicating that they are less intelligent or less important than boys.

For example, in a study involving teacher responses to male and female students, data indicated that teachers praised male students far more than their female counterparts. Additionally, teachers interrupted girls more and gave boys more opportunities to expand on their ideas Sadker and Sadker Further, in social as well as academic situations, teachers have traditionally positioned boys and girls oppositionally—reinforcing a sense of competition rather than collaboration Thorne Boys are also permitted a greater degree of freedom regarding rule-breaking or minor acts of deviance, whereas girls are expected to follow rules carefully and to adopt an obedient posture Ready Mimicking the actions of significant others is the first step in the development of a separate sense of self Mead Like adults, children become agents who actively facilitate and apply normative gender expectations to those around them.

When children do not conform to the appropriate gender role, they may face negative sanctions such as being criticized or marginalized by their peers. Though many of these sanctions are informal, they can be quite severe. Boys, especially, are subject to intense ridicule for gender nonconformity Coltrane and Adams ; Kimmel Mass media serves as another significant agent of gender socialization.

2019 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Memorial Lecture in Gender + Sexuality Studies by Robyn Wiegman

In television and movies, women tend to have less significant roles and are often portrayed as wives or mothers. When women are given a lead role, they are often one of two extremes: a wholesome, saint-like figure or a malevolent, hypersexual figure Etaugh and Bridges Research indicates that of the top-grossing G-rated movies released between and , three out of four characters were male. Out of those movies, only seven were near being gender balanced, with a character ratio of less than 1.

Television commercials and other forms of advertising also reinforce inequality and gender-based stereotypes. Women are almost exclusively present in ads promoting cooking, cleaning, or child care—related products Davis Think about the last time you saw a man star in a dishwasher or laundry detergent commercial. In general, women are underrepresented in roles that involve leadership, intelligence, or a balanced psyche. Of particular concern is the depiction of women in ways that are dehumanizing, especially in music videos. Even in mainstream advertising, however, themes intermingling violence and sexuality are quite common Kilbourne Stratification refers to a system in which groups of people experience unequal access to basic, yet highly valuable, social resources.

Canada is characterized by gender stratification as well as stratification of race, income, occupation, and the like. Evidence of gender stratification is especially keen within the economic realm. However, as one report noted, if the gender gap in wages continues to close at the same glacial rate, women will not earn the same as men until the year McInturff Additionally, women who are in the paid labour force still do the majority of the unpaid work at home.

In women spent an average 50 hours a week looking after children compared to This double duty keeps working women in a subordinate role in the family structure Hochschild and Machung Gender stratification through the division of labour is not exclusively North American. When a pattern appears in all societies, it is called a cultural universal. While the phenomenon of assigning work by gender is universal, its specifics are not. The same task is not assigned to either men or women worldwide. There is a long history of gender stratification in Canada.

When looking to the past, it would appear that society has made great strides in terms of abolishing some of the most blatant forms of gender inequality see timeline below but underlying effects of male dominance still permeate many aspects of society. Sociological theories serve to guide the research process and offer a means for interpreting research data and explaining social phenomena.

For example, a sociologist interested in gender stratification in education may study why middle-school girls are more likely than their male counterparts to fall behind grade-level expectations in math and science. Structural functionalism provided one of the most important perspectives of sociological research in the 20th century and has been a major influence on research in the social sciences, including gender studies.

Viewing the family as the most integral component of society, assumptions about gender roles within marriage assume a prominent place in this perspective. Functionalists argue that gender roles were established well before the preindustrial era when men typically took care of responsibilities outside of the home, such as hunting, and women typically took care of the domestic responsibilities in or around the home.

These roles were considered functional because women were often limited by the physical restraints of pregnancy and nursing and unable to leave the home for long periods of time. Once established, these roles were passed on to subsequent generations since they served as an effective means of keeping the family system functioning properly.

When changes occurred in the social and economic climate of Canada during World War II, changes in the family structure also occurred. Many women had to assume the role of breadwinner or modern hunter and gatherer alongside their domestic role in order to stabilize a rapidly changing society. When the men returned from war and wanted to reclaim their jobs, society fell into a state of imbalance, as many women did not want to forfeit their wage-earning positions Hawke Talcott Parsons argued that the contradiction between occupational roles and kinship roles of men and women in North America created tension or strain on individuals as they tried to adapt to the conflicting norms or requirements.

The division of traditional middle-class gender roles within the family—the husband as breadwinner and wife as homemaker—was functional for him because the roles were complementary. They enabled a clear division of labour between spouses, which ensured that the ongoing functional needs of the family were being met. Within the North American kinship system, wives and husbands roles were equally valued according to Parsons. As a result, Parson theorized that these tensions would lead women to become expressive specialists in order to claim prestige e.

According to critical sociology, society is structured by relations of power and domination among social groups e. When sociologists examine gender from this perspective, we can view men as the dominant group and women as the subordinate group. According to critical sociology, social problems and contradictions are created when dominant groups exploit or oppress subordinate groups.

It is difficult for women to rise above men, as dominant group members create the rules for success and opportunity in society Farrington and Chertok Friedrich Engels, a German sociologist, studied family structure and gender roles. Engels suggested that the same owner-worker relationship seen in the labour force is also seen in the household, with women assuming the role of the proletariat. Women are therefore doubly exploited in capitalist society, both when they work outside the home and when they work within the home.

Contemporary critical sociologists suggest that when women become wage earners, they can gain power in the family structure and create more democratic arrangements in the home, although they may still carry the majority of the domestic burden, as noted earlier Risman and Johnson-Sumerford Feminist theory is a type of critical sociology that examines inequalities in gender-related issues. It uses the critical approach to examine the maintenance of gender roles and inequalities.

Radical feminism, in particular, considers the role of the family in perpetuating male dominance. Additionally, women often perceive a disconnect between their personal experiences and the way the world is represented by society as a whole. Dorothy Smith referred to this phenomenon as bifurcated consciousness Smith Patriarchal perspectives and arrangements, widespread and taken for granted, are built into the relations of ruling.

As a result, not only do women find it difficult to find their experiences acknowledged in the wider patriarchal culture, their viewpoints also tend to be silenced or marginalized to the point of being discredited or considered invalid. The men, however, do not experience the sense of bifurcated consciousness under this social structure that modern Canadian females encounter Sanday Symbolic interactionism aims to understand human behaviour by analyzing the critical role of symbols in human interaction.

This is certainly relevant to the discussion of masculinity and femininity. Imagine that you walk into a bank, hoping to get a small loan for school, a home, or a small business venture. If you meet with a male loan officer, you may state your case logically by listing all of the hard numbers that make you a qualified applicant as a means of appealing to the analytical characteristics associated with masculinity. If you meet with a female loan officer, you may make an emotional appeal by stating your good intentions as a means of appealing to the caring characteristics associated with femininity.

Because the meanings attached to symbols are socially created and not natural, and fluid, not static, we act and react to symbols based on the current assigned meaning. Furthermore, the word gay as it refers to a homosexual carried a somewhat negative and unfavourable meaning 50 years ago, but has since gained more neutral and even positive connotations. These shifts in symbolic meaning apply to family structure as well. In , when only Today, when a majority of women with preschool-aged children are part of the paid workforce Sociologist Charles H.

When people perform tasks or possess characteristics based on the gender role assigned to them, they are said to be doing gender. In , Broverman and Broverman conducted a groundbreaking study on the traits mental health workers ascribed to males and females. When asked to name the characteristics of a female, the list featured words such as unaggressive, gentle, emotional, tactful, less logical, not ambitious, dependent, passive, and neat.

The list of male characteristics featured words such as aggressive, rough, unemotional, blunt, logical, direct, active, and sloppy Seem and Clark Later, when asked to describe the characteristics of a healthy person not gender specific , the list was nearly identical to that of a male.

This study uncovered the general assumption that being female is associated with being somewhat unhealthy or not of sound mind. This concept seems extremely dated, but in , Seem and Clark replicated the study and found similar results. Again, the characteristics associated with a healthy male were very similar to that of a healthy genderless adult. The list of characteristics associated with being female broadened somewhat but did not show significant change from the original study Seem and Clark This interpretation of feminine characteristic may help us one day better understand gender disparities in certain illnesses, such as why one in eight women can be expected to develop clinical depression in her lifetime National Institute of Mental Health In the area of sexuality, sociologists focus their attention on sexual attitudes and practices, not on physiology or anatomy.

Studying sexual attitudes and practices is a particularly interesting field of sociology because sexual behaviour is a cultural universal. Throughout time and place, the vast majority of human beings have participated in sexual relationships Broude Each society, however, interprets sexuality and sexual activity in different ways. Many societies around the world have different attitudes about premarital sex, the age of sexual consent, homosexuality, masturbation, and other sexual behaviours that are not consistent with universally cultural norms Widmer, Treas, and Newcomb At the same time, sociologists have learned that certain norms like disapproval of incest are shared among most societies.

Likewise, societies generally have norms that reinforce their accepted social system of sexuality. Societies that value monogamy, for example, would likely oppose extramarital sex. Individuals are socialized to sexual attitudes by their family, education system, peers, media, and religion. Historically, religion has been the greatest influence on sexual behaviour in most societies, but in more recent years, peers and the media have emerged as two of the strongest influences, particularly with North American teens Potard, Courtois, and Rusch Let us take a closer look at sexual attitudes in Canada and around the world.

Cross-national research on sexual attitudes in industrialized nations reveals that normative standards differ across the world. For example, several studies have shown that Scandinavian students are more tolerant of premarital sex than are North American students Grose A study of 37 countries reported that non-Western societies—like China, Iran, and India—valued chastity highly in a potential mate, while western European countries—such as France, the Netherlands, and Sweden—placed little value on prior sexual experiences Buss Evidently, Sula's body is a gendered body. Unlike Jude, who uses Nel to complete him, and unlike Nel and Sula, who complete each other, Ajax is whole within himself.

Integrating the feminine with the masculine, able to connect yet be separate, his complex wholeness draws Sula's attraction and respect; she recognizes the gold leaf underneath the blackness of his face, and underneath that the cold alabaster, and underneath that the fertile loam. In Morrison's complicated world created to resist easy definitions of good and evil, Ajax is no more a villain for leaving Sula than Sula is a villain for having this insight: "Soon I would have torn the flesh from his face just to see if I was right about the gold and nobody would have understood that kind of curiosity.

According to Mayberry, Ajax is complete within himself and thus empowers himself to move around free of responsibility and of trouble. Nevertheless, Mayberry is oblivious of Morrison's design to have Sula speak out, right before she dies, her resentment of the male privilege over life and sexuality. When Nel tells the dying Sula that, as a black woman, Sula cannot do whatever she likes, take whatever she wants and leave whatever she does not, Sula challenges Nel: "You say I'm a woman and colored. Ain't that the same as being a man?

Sula's rhetorical question to Nel brings to the fore the social constraints, gender inequality and injustice that she, an emblem of black women, has been suffering. Moreover, Mayberry's observation fails to answer why Sula-as independent, fearless and adventuresome as Ajax-is condemned whereas Ajax, just like all the other infidel men, is not. Instead, Nel's words to the dying Sula succinctly lay bear the sexual and racial prejudice against a liberated woman like Sula: "You can't do it all.

You [are] a woman and a colored woman at that. You can't act like a man" In the same vein, Nel's admonishment about Sula's iconoclastic attitude towards gender and race lines and Sula's bitterness over male privileges also challenge Maggie Galehouse's assertion that "Morrison's point in her description of her protagonist supersedes questions of gender and race" Sula's liberated body is made flesh, evil and dangerous whereas Ajax's is seen as common, normal and acceptable simply because the former is a colored woman while the latter is a man.

In short, gender and race bias play the key roles in the black folks' judgment of Sula's mis conducts and their eventual flesh-ization of Sula as evil and dangerous. With her mind set to enjoy sex, Sula grows up not only to enjoy the pleasure of flesh but also to translate her nihilism into her sexuality and life philosophy. Two events in Sula's childhood lead Sula to develop a nihilistic philosophy toward sex and life. The first event occurs when Sula is eleven years old. Hannah once chats with her friends complaining about the difficulty of rearing a child and pronounces that "I love Sula, I just don't like her" Unfortunately, Sula overhears the remark and is much hurt by her mother's statement.

From Hannah's hurtful pronouncement, Sula learns that there is no one that she can count on. From the little black boy's death, Sula learns that there is no self to count on either:. Sula was distinctly different. Eva's arrogance and Hannah's self-indulgence merged in her and, with a twist that was all her own imagination, she lived out her days exploring her own thoughts and emotions, giving them full reign, feeling no obligation to please anybody unless their pleasure pleased her.

40 Great Ideas For Your Women and Gender Research Paper Topics

As willing to feel pain as to give pain, to feel pleasure as to give pleasure, hers was an experimental life-ever since her mother's remarks sent her flying up those stairs, ever since her one major feeling of responsibility had been exorcised on the bank of a river with a closed place in the middle. Since then, Sula leads an experimental life with no center or speck around which she can grow. Sula becomes a pariah, and she knows it. Sula translates her nihilism into her sexuality by sleeping with men as frequently as she could. However, a paradox underlies Sula's philosophy about sex and life.

Though Sula gets pleasure and joy in sex, sex is the only place where she can find what she is looking for-misery and the ability to feel deep sorrow in life. And it is by sexual pleasure that Sula tastes the nada of existence:. And there was utmost irony and outrage in lying under someone, in a position of surrender, feeling her own abiding strength and limitless power.

But the cluster did break, fall apart, and in her panic to hold it together she leaped from the edge into soundlessness and went down howling, howling in a stinging awareness of the ending of things: an eye of sorrow in the midst of all that hurricane rage of joy.

There, in the center of that silence was not eternity but the death of time and a loneliness so profound the word itself had no meaning. As a result, Sula translates her nihilism into her deliberate transgression of all moral norms and rebellion against all social mores. As a woman libertine, Sula is like "an artist with no art form" and becomes a danger to her black community In the beginning, the black folks in the Bottom call Sula a roach when she defies the traditional female role of a caretaker of the elderly and puts her grandmother Eva in a nursing home.

Ultimately, the black folks call Sula a witch when her community suffers decline and unemployment and the rumor goes around that Sula sleeps with white men. Sula further expresses her resolute disregard of the social norms and mores when she goes as far as attending a supper for an old folk's funeral without underwear.

This radical mis conduct makes the town folks believe that she is laughing at their God. The black folks therefore flesh-ize Sula's body and associate her body to mysticism and evil. Black folks' fear of Sula's mysterious evil power first manifests itself when Sula returns to the Bottom in Medallion ten years after she left her hometown for college. Coincidentally, there is a massive surge of robins dying when Sula just arrives at the Bottom:. Accompanied by a plague of robins, Sula came back to Medalllion. The little yam-breasted shuddering birds were everywhere, exciting very small children away from their usual welcome into a vicious stoning.

No body knew why or from where they had come. What they did know was that you couldn't go anywhere without stepping in their pearly shit, and it was hard to hang up clothes, pull weeds or just sit on the front porch when robins were flying and dying all around you. Moreover, Sula's social and moral mis conducts happen during the time that her black folks in the Bottom have been suffering the worst decline and unemployment as a consequence of urbanization.

Therefore, "[e]verybody remembered the plague of robins that announced her return" In addition to such name-callings as roach, bitch and witch, Sula's folks believe that Sula embodies evil and danger. The town folks attribute to Sula all the misfortunes-individual and collective-in their community. The first instance is Teapot's accident. The five-year-old boy Teapot knocks at Sula's door to ask if she has any bottles to give away.

When Sula says no and Teapot turns around to go away, the boy falls down the steps and gets hurt. Betty, Teapot's mother, goes around telling and convincing people that Sula is to blame for Teapot's fall and injury. Another personal misfortune happens to Mr. It has been Mr. Finley's habit to suck chicken bones for thirteen years. One day, Sula passes Mr. Finley, who is sitting on his porch and sucking chicken bones, when the old man looks up at Sula, chokes on a bone and dies on the spot. Again, the town folks associate Finley's death with Sula's evil force.

Moreover, Sula is nearly thirty, but she does not look her age. Sula remains young and very beautiful without developing any ring of fat on her waist or pocket at the back of her neck. The black folks attribute Sula's beauty and youth to her use of necromancy. The following quotation shall illustrate that town folks in the Bottom spin tall tales to convince each other of Sula's mysterious and evil power and thus to present Sula as an avatar of a witch:.

Among the weighty evidence piling up was the fact that Sula did not look her age. She was near thirty and, unlike them, had lost no teeth, suffered no bruises, developed no ring of fat at the waist or pocket at the back of her neck. It was rumored that she had had no childhood diseases, was never known to have chicken pox, croup or even a runny nose.

She had played rough as a child-where were the scars? Except for a funny-shaped finger and that evil birthmark, she was free of any normal signs of vulnerability. Some of the men, who as boys had dated her, remembered that on picnics neither gnats nor mosquitoes would settle on her. Patsy, Hannah's one-time friend, agreed and said not only that, but she had witnessed the fact that when Sula drank beer she never belched.

Town folks' mass hysteria toward Sula's nonconformist mis conducts reflects de facto their subconscious drive to find a cause-but ironically a scapegoat-for their misfortunes. According to Wolfgang Behringer's analysis of witch-hunts in history, people hunt witches because they hold the belief that a person conjuring or possessing evil force brings them misfortunes and harms. Behringer describes this groundless belief as follows:. There are evil forces around, and they try to cause harm.

Some people, who are essentially anti-social, either incorporate such forces involuntarily, or form alliances with these forces intentionally in order to inflict harm by mystical means, mostly on their relatives or neighbours [ In this capacity they manage to induce illness and death, to destroy livestock and crops. Moreover, people who suffer most severely the pains of displacement created by structural change tend to be drawn most readily into witch-hunts Behringer's observations are helpful in explaining the disadvantaged and disempowered black folks' collective subconsciousness and mass hysteria in attributing to Sula their ongoing communal decline and prolonged unemployment.

As a social nonconformist and sexual anarchist, Sula no doubt makes herself fall prey to the irrational witch-hunt of her town folks. Sula's folks subconsciously flesh-ize her as evil and identify her with a witch and thus as the cause of their community's illness. Therefore, the folks lay broomsticks across their doors at night and sprinkle salt on porch steps to prevent Sula's evil force from getting into their houses.

Believing their God has His way, Sula's folks do not commit "mob kill" as people in the sixteenth, seventeenth century did to an evil witch. Nevertheless, all the town folks absolutely isolate Sula as an alternative way to castigate the witch and exorcise the evil of their Bottom. Their conviction of Sula's evil changed them in accountable yet mysterious ways. Once the source of their personal misfortune was identified, they had leave to protect and love one another. They began to cherish their husbands and wives, protect their children, repair their homes and in general band together against the devil in their midst.

Accordingly, folks in the Bottom welcome Sula's death as the best news they have ever had since unemployment reached them three years before.

Literary Essays on Gender, Sexuality and the Treatment of Women

Upholding the view that their God has His mighty thumb eventually at Sula's throat, Sula's town folks look forward to having a promising prospect for their future. They take the rumor for truth that the government will hire black workers for the construction of the tunnel; yet, they have not sensed that racist bigotry keeps deterring the "official" plan and prolongs their unemployment. Without Sula's mockery at tradition, mores and norms, black folks in the Bottom relapse into their original relationship betwixt and between themselves:. A falling away, a dislocation was taking place.

Hard on the heels of the general relief that Sula's death brought a restless irritability took hold. The tension was gone and so was the reason for the effort they had made. Without her mockery, affection for others sank into flaccid disrepair. Daughters who had complained bitterly about the responsibilities of taking care of their aged mothers-in-law had altered when Sula locked Eva away, and they began cleaning those old women's spittoons without a murmur.

Now that Sula was dead and done with, they returned to a steeping resentment of the burdens of old people. Wives uncoddled their husbands; there seemed no further need to reinforce their vanity. In short, not one single positive change has happened to people's mindset and life in Sula's black community. Sula is a rebel; but her folks take her for a devil. Sula makes herself a black Byronic heroine and accordingly creates the pretext for her folks to victimize her. As a result, Sula is flesh-ized as "the bearer of pleasure and desire," to borrow Foucault's words, and is thus identified as an evil and a witch.

Morrison's remark in her talk with Robert Stepto exemplifies well how gender politics delimits the doom for Sula:. She is a masculine character in that sense. She will do the kind of things that normally only men do, which is why she's so strange. She really behaves like a man. She picks up a man, drops a man, the same way a man picks up a woman, drops a woman.

And that's her thing. She's masculine in that sense. She's adventuresome, she trusts herself, she's not scared, she really ain't scared. And she is curious and will leave and try anything. So that quality of masculinity-and I mean this in the pure sense-in a woman at that time is outrage, total outrage. She can't get away with that-unless she were in this sort of strange environment, this alien environment-for the normal-which would be the theater world, in which you realize, the people are living, even there, by laws. Apparently, androcentric gender ideology is complicit with designating different lives and identities for Sula, a token of liberated women, and for the privileged men.

In Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism , Elizabeth Grosz points out the constructive nature of the body as she asserts that the body is "a site of social, political, cultural, and geographical inscriptions, production, or constitution" and "a cultural product" Grosz's remark on the constructiveness of an individual's body finds its philosophical resonance in Foucault's observation of the flesh-ization of the body as evil and dangerous. In this sense, the body is an arena for power contestation between an individual who struggles for self-definition and a society which demands discipline and conformity.

Unfortunately, the black folks' discrimination against Sula negates her autonomy claim over her body and life. As a social nonconformist and sexual dissident, Sula's body is deemed abnormal, evil and dangerous. Accordingly, Sula is gendered and racialized as a black witch and symbolically executed.

Thus said, this paper concludes that an identification of the body with the flesh, a phallocentric gender ideology and race bias converge into the black folk's identification of Sula with an evil and a witch and their subsequent victimization of Sula as a scapegoat for all the misfortunes happening in their community. The entering of women into specific occupations suggests that less competent workers have begun to be hired or that the occupation is becoming deskilled.

Men are reluctant to enter female-dominated occupations because of this and similarly resist the entrance of women into male-dominated occupations. The gendered income disparity can also be attributed in part to occupational segregation , where groups of people are distributed across occupations according to ascribed characteristics; in this case, gender. With horizontal segregation, occupational sex segregation occurs as men and women are thought to possess different physical, emotional, and mental capabilities.

These different capabilities make the genders vary in the types of jobs they are suited for. This can be specifically viewed with the gendered division between manual and non-manual labor. As women entered the workforce in larger numbers since the s, occupations have become segregated based on the amount femininity or masculinity presupposed to be associated with each occupation. It is figured by dividing the average annual earnings for women by the average annual earnings for men. The glass ceiling effect is also considered a possible contributor to the gender wage gap or income disparity.

The term glass ceiling implies that invisible or artificial barriers exist which prevent women from advancing within their jobs or receiving promotions. These barriers exist in spite of the achievements or qualifications of the women and still exist when other characteristics that are job-relevant such as experience, education, and abilities are controlled for. The inequality effects of the glass ceiling are more prevalent within higher-powered or higher income occupations, with fewer women holding these types of occupations. The glass ceiling effect also indicates the limited chances of women for income raises and promotion or advancement to more prestigious positions or jobs.

Statistical discrimination is also cited as a cause for income disparities and gendered inequality in the workplace. Statistical discrimination indicates the likelihood of employers to deny women access to certain occupational tracks because women are more likely than men to leave their job or the labor force when they become married or pregnant.

Women are instead given positions that dead-end or jobs that have very little mobility. In Third World countries such as the Dominican Republic, female entrepreneurs are statistically more prone to failure in business. In the event of a business failure women often return to their domestic lifestyle despite the absence of income. On the other hand, men tend to search for other employment as the household is not a priority. The gendered wage gap varies in its width among different races. Whites comparatively have the greatest wage gap between the genders. There are some exceptions where women earn more than men: According to a survey on gender pay inequality by the International Trade Union Confederation , female workers in the Gulf state of Bahrain earn 40 percent more than male workers.

In , a report by the International Labor Organization ILO reveals the wage gap between Cambodian women factory workers and other male counterparts. The gender gap also appeared to narrow considerably beginning in the mids. Women are highly underrepresented on boards of directors and in senior positions in the private sector. Additionally, with reliable birth control, young men and women had more reason to delay marriage.

This meant that the marriage market available to any women who "delay[ed] marriage to pursue a career Thus the Pill could have influenced women's careers, college majors, professional degrees, and the age at marriage. Studies on sexism in science and technology fields have produced conflicting results. Corinne et al.

These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. A survey by the U. A study conducted by David R. Hekman and colleagues found that customers, who viewed videos featuring a black male, a white female, or a white male actor playing the role of an employee helping a customer, were 19 percent more satisfied with the white male employee's performance. This discrepancy with race can be found as early as , when Kenneth Clark conducted a study in which black children were asked to choose between white and black dolls.

White male dolls were the ones children preferred to play with. Although the disparities between men and women are decreasing in the medical field, [58] gender inequalities still exist as social problems. The pay discrepancy could not be explained by specialty choice, practice setting, work hours, or other characteristics.

Gender roles are heavily influenced by biology, with male-female play styles correlating with sex hormones, [62] sexual orientation, aggressive traits, [63] and pain. Gender equality in relationships has been growing over the years but for the majority of relationships, the power lies with the male. A study done by Szymanowicz and Furnham, looked at the cultural stereotypes of intelligence in men and women, showing the gender inequality in self-presentation. Men however would much more readily discuss their own intelligence with a potential partner.

Females would disclose IQ more often than men with the expectation that a real true friend would respond in a positive way. Intelligence continues to be viewed as a more masculine trait, than feminine trait. The article suggested that men might think women with a high IQ would lack traits that were desirable in a mate such as warmth, nurturance, sensitivity, or kindness. The inequality is highlighted when a couple starts to decide who is in charge of family issues and who is primarily responsible for earning income.

Despite the increase in women in the labour force since the mids, traditional gender roles are still prevalent in American society. Women may be expected to put their educational and career goals on hold in order to raise children, while their husbands work. However, women who choose to work as well as fulfill a perceived gender role of cleaning the house and taking care of the children.

Despite the fact that different households may divide chores more evenly, there is evidence that supports that women have retained the primary caregiver role within familial life despite contributions economically. This evidence suggest that women who work outside the home often put an extra 18 hours a week doing household or childcare related chores as opposed to men who average 12 minutes a day in childcare activities.

There was a study conducted at an "urban comprehensive school". They were asked questions regarding their views in sexual inequality. Many parents were for the equal pay for men and women. They also were in favor for men to help with the housework. In this study, the majority of the people who were interviewed wanted gender equality and more people wants a change in gender roles. Where men stay home, cleans, and cooks while the women can work and help support the family.

Gender roles have changed drastically over the past few decades. In the article, it says that in , there was data recorded that women spent the most time care-tending with the home and family. There was a study made with the gender roles with the males and females, The results showed that as women spend less time in the house, men have taken over the role as the mother. The article also said that women who work spend less time within the house and with their children if they have any.

Furthermore, men are taking the roles of women in the homes and its changing as time goes on. Robin A. One survey showed that men rate their technological skills in activities such as basic computer functions and online participatory communication higher than women.

Gender inequality - Wikipedia

However, this study was a self-reporting study, where men evaluate themselves on their own perceived capabilities. It thus is not data based on actual ability, but merely perceived ability, as participants' ability was not assessed. Additionally, this study is inevitably subject to the significant bias associated with self-reported data. In contrary to such findings, a carefully controlled study that analyzed data sets from 25 developing countries led to the consistent finding that the reason why fewer women access and use digital technology is a direct result of their unfavorable conditions and ongoing discrimination with respect to employment, education and income.

This turns the alleged digital gender divide into an opportunity: given women's affinity for ICT, and given that digital technologies are tools that can improve living conditions, ICT represents a concrete and tangible opportunity to tackle longstanding challenges of gender inequalities in developing countries, including access to employment, income, education and health services. Many countries have laws that give less inheritance of the ancestral property for women compared to men. Gender inequalities often stem from social structures that have institutionalized conceptions of gender differences.


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Marginalization occurs on an individual level when someone feels as if they are on the fringes or margins of their respective society. This is a social process and displays how current policies in place can affect people. For example, media advertisements display young girls with easy bake ovens promoting being a housewife as well as with dolls that they can feed and change the diaper of promoting being a mother. Cultural stereotypes, which can dictate specific roles, are engrained in both men and women and these stereotypes are a possible explanation for gender inequality and the resulting gendered wage disparity.

Women have traditionally been viewed as being caring and nurturing and are designated to occupations which require such skills. Gender Stereotypes influenced greatly by gender expectations, different expectations on gender influence how people determine their roles, appearance, behaviors, etc. Gender stereotypes limit opportunities of different gender when their performance or abilities were standardizing according to their gender-at-birth, that women and men may encounter limitations and difficulties when challenging the society through performing behaviors that their gender "not supposed" to perform.

For example, men may receive judgments when they trying to stay at home and finish housework and allow their wives to go out and work instead, as men are expected to be work outside for earning money for the family. The traditional concepts of gender stereotypes are being challenged nowadays in different societies and improvement could be observed that men could also be responsible for housework, women could also be construction worker in some societies.

It is still a long process when traditional concepts and values have deep-rooted in people's mind, that higher acceptance towards gender roles and characteristics is homely to be gradually developed. Bonnie Spanier coined the term hereditary inequality. Gender inequality can further be understood through the mechanisms of sexism.

Discrimination takes place in this manner as men and women are subject to prejudicial treatment on the basis of gender alone. Sexism occurs when men and women are framed within two dimensions of social cognition.

Discrimination also plays out with networking and in preferential treatment within the economic market. Men typically occupy positions of power within the job economy. Due to taste or preference for other men because they share similar characteristics, men in these positions of power are more likely to hire or promote other men, thus discriminating against women. Sonja B. However, the study does not purport to explain why this is the case. Starr does not believe that men are disadvantaged generally.

The New York Film Academy took a closer look at the women in Hollywood and gathered statistics from the top films from to , for their history and achievements, or lack of. There was a ratio of men to women working in films. Hollywood actresses are paid less than actors. Topping Forbes ' highest paid actors list of was Robert Downey Jr. In the Academy Awards , men were nominated for an award, but only 35 women were nominated. No woman was nominated for directing, cinematography, film editing, writing original screenplay , or original score that year.

Since the Academy Awards began in , only seven women producers have won the Best Picture category all of whom were co-producers with men , and only eight women have been nominated for Best Original Screenplay. This movement is built on the basis of men speaking out against sexual misconduct against females. The letter has been signed and supported by Friends actor David Schwimmer, shown above, among many others. As men, we have a special responsibility to prevent abuse from happening in the first place After all, the vast majority of sexual harassment, abuse and violence is perpetrated by men, whether in Hollywood or not.

This initiative was created in response to the MeToo movement. Gender inequality and discrimination are argued to cause and perpetuate poverty and vulnerability in society as a whole. Gender Equity Indices seek to provide the tools to demonstrate this feature of poverty. Poverty has many different factors, one of which is the gender wage gap. There are many difficulties in creating a comprehensive response. Gender is mentioned in MDG3 and MDG5: MDG3 measures gender parity in education, the share of women in wage employment and the proportion women in national legislatures.

Addressing gender inequality through social protection programmes designed to increase equity would be an effective way of reducing gender inequality, according to the Overseas Development Institute ODI. The ODI maintains that society limits governments' ability to act on economic incentives. NGOs tend to protect women against gender inequality and structural violence. During war, combatants primarily target men.