In this important book a leading feminist scholar surveys and critiques gender research in a range of disciplines, showing how distinctions between the sexes are maintained by ideology and social controls.
Research on gender over the last 15 years has brought out the overwhelming similarities between women and men. Yet, as Epstein's meticulous scholarly survey decisively illuminates, male-dominated institutions and ways of thought perpetuate gender inequality by dividing the world into ``masculine'' and ``feminine'' sphereswith supposed male traits being assigned a higher value. A sociology professor at the City University of New York, Epstein ( Woman's Place ) unravels the mechanisms for keeping women subservient in the workplace, the family, politics and everyday life. Women, she insists, participate in the male conspiracy by allowing themselves to be either put on a pedestal or relegated to lower forms of enterprise. In an outstanding synthesis of feminist scholarship, she knocks proponents of fashionable theoriesfeminist psychoanalysts, brainlateralization experts and sociobiologistsas well as the male guardians of establishment thought. (Nov.)
An intelligent overview of gender research in sociology and related fields, this book goes further, presenting Epstein's own conviction that gender distinctions, and the resulting inequality of men and women, are not for the most part natural but are imposed by the social order. Epstein discusses biases as well as findings in studies of personality, biology, social structure, public policy, work, and family over two decades. Her excellent guide for students and scholars provides insight into the intellectual history of sociology. It will also fuel vigorous discussion, both in and out of the classroom, on the timely topic of gender. Mary Drake McFeely, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens