Speaking Of Sex / Edition 1

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Overview

Speaking of Sex explores a topic that too often drops out of our discussions when we speak about sex: the persistent problem of sex-based inequality and the cultural forces that sustain it. On critical issues affecting women, most Americans deny either that gender inequality is a serious problem or that it is one that they have a personal or political responsibility to address. In tracing this "no problem" problem, Speaking of Sex examines the most fundamental causes of women's disadvantages and the inadequacy of current public policy to combat them.

Although in the past quarter-century the United States has made major progress in addressing gender discrimination, women still face substantial obstacles in their private, public, and professional lives. On every significant measure of wealth, power, status, and security, women remain less advantaged than men. Deborah Rhode reveals the ways that the culture denies, discounts, or attempts to justify those inequalities. She shows that only by making inequality more visible can we devise an adequate strategy to confront it.

Speaking of Sex examines patterns of gender inequality across a wide array of social, legal, and public policy settings. Challenging conventional biological explanations for gender differences, Rhode explores the media images and childrearing practices that reinforce traditional gender stereotypes. On policies involving employment, divorce, custody, rape, pornography, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and reproductive choice, Speaking of Sex reveals how we continually overlook the gap between legal rights and daily experience. All too often, even Americans who condemn gender inequality in principle cannot see it in practice--in their own lives, homes, and work environments. In tracing these patterns, Rhode uncovers the deeply ingrained assumptions that obscure and perpetuate women's disadvantages.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review

Deborah L. Rhode...gamely tackles a knotty issue in feminism: for many Americans, extant victories for women's rights render any discussion of remaining inequities tiresome. She has written a scrupulously researched, balanced, sobering, and sober book... Rhode makes the persuasive argument that the achievement of true equality requires that we first 'recognize the distance we have yet to travel'...[She] focus[es] on hard research rather than easy sensationalism.
— Jacqueline Boone

The Atlantic

In Speaking of Sex,Rhode sets herself two tasks: to document gender inequality—separate chapters cover child-rearing, the media, sexual violence, work, and marriage and divorce—and to understand why so many of us are 'in denial' about it. Although Rhode breaks little new ground, the sheer accumulation of data and her cogent analyses make this an excellent guide to sexism in our time. Exhaustively footnoted and sourced, it is unlike most general-interest books on any side of this debate in that it draws on a vast amount of real scholarship and ranges widely over the available literature in and out of academia...Her calm, lawyerly, methodical approach lets the material speak for itself. And it does.
— Katha Pollit

Ms. Magazine

Rhode convincingly demonstrates patterns of denial about rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, workplace inequality, and women's poverty. She also discusses some of the tools of denial—appeals to biological determinism and 'family values,' the men's movement, and media trivialization of women's issues...The book is a kind of Backlash for the mid-1990s: a wake-up call to feminists, bolstered by a copious documentation of facts. What Susan Faludi did to counter the rise of antifeminism in the 1980s, Rhode...has done for the less sensational—but equally formidable—problem of denial.
— Liza Featherstone

San Francisco Chronicle

Amid the rising tide of neofeminists bashing the women's movement, Speaking of Sex returns the focus of the debate to the question of gender inequality...With careful research and...insightful analysis, [Rhode] says the advances won by the women's movement in the past three decades have resulted in widespread and deeply engrained denial that gender inequality still exists.
— K Kaufmann

New York Times Book Review - Jacqueline Boone
Deborah L. Rhode...gamely tackles a knotty issue in feminism: for many Americans, extant victories for women's rights render any discussion of remaining inequities tiresome. She has written a scrupulously researched, balanced, sobering, and sober book... Rhode makes the persuasive argument that the achievement of true equality requires that we first 'recognize the distance we have yet to travel'...[She] focus[es] on hard research rather than easy sensationalism.
The Atlantic - Katha Pollit
In Speaking of Sex,Rhode sets herself two tasks: to document gender inequality--separate chapters cover child-rearing, the media, sexual violence, work, and marriage and divorce--and to understand why so many of us are 'in denial' about it. Although Rhode breaks little new ground, the sheer accumulation of data and her cogent analyses make this an excellent guide to sexism in our time. Exhaustively footnoted and sourced, it is unlike most general-interest books on any side of this debate in that it draws on a vast amount of real scholarship and ranges widely over the available literature in and out of academia...Her calm, lawyerly, methodical approach lets the material speak for itself. And it does.
Ms. Magazine - Liza Featherstone
Rhode convincingly demonstrates patterns of denial about rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, workplace inequality, and women's poverty. She also discusses some of the tools of denial--appeals to biological determinism and 'family values,' the men's movement, and media trivialization of women's issues...The book is a kind of Backlash for the mid-1990s: a wake-up call to feminists, bolstered by a copious documentation of facts. What Susan Faludi did to counter the rise of antifeminism in the 1980s, Rhode...has done for the less sensational--but equally formidable--problem of denial.
San Francisco Chronicle - K Kaufmann
Amid the rising tide of neofeminists bashing the women's movement, Speaking of Sex returns the focus of the debate to the question of gender inequality...With careful research and...insightful analysis, [Rhode] says the advances won by the women's movement in the past three decades have resulted in widespread and deeply engrained denial that gender inequality still exists.
Cass R. Sunstein
Deborah Rhode is one of the very finest writers on sexual equality and law; this book is a superb contribution, offering a fresh combination of empirical data, sophisticated theoretical insight, and simple good sense.
Herma Hill Kay
If you want to know why women and men are still not equal, this book will tell you. Rhode's analysis is refreshingly clear, and her conclusions are stunningly powerful.
Susan Estrich
Deborah Rhode in Speaking of Sex intelligently combines authoritative insights and elegant prose to discuss America's 'no problem' problem--the mistaken assumption that gender inequality is a problem largely solved.
San Francisco Chronicle
Amid the rising tide of neofeminists bashing the women's movement, Speaking of Sex returns the focus of the debate to the question of gender inequality...With careful research and...insightful analysis, [Rhode] says the advances won by the women's movement in the past three decades have resulted in widespread and deeply engrained denial that gender inequality still exists.
— K Kaufmann
New York Times Book Review
Deborah L. Rhode...gamely tackles a knotty issue in feminism: for many Americans, extant victories for women's rights render any discussion of remaining inequities tiresome. She has written a scrupulously researched, balanced, sobering, and sober book... Rhode makes the persuasive argument that the achievement of true equality requires that we first 'recognize the distance we have yet to travel'...[She] focus[es] on hard research rather than easy sensationalism.
— Jacqueline Boone
Ms. Magazine
Rhode convincingly demonstrates patterns of denial about rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, workplace inequality, and women's poverty. She also discusses some of the tools of denial--appeals to biological determinism and 'family values,' the men's movement, and media trivialization of women's issues...The book is a kind of Backlash for the mid-1990s: a wake-up call to feminists, bolstered by a copious documentation of facts. What Susan Faludi did to counter the rise of antifeminism in the 1980s, Rhode...has done for the less sensational--but equally formidable--problem of denial.
— Liza Featherstone
The Atlantic
In Speaking of Sex,Rhode sets herself two tasks: to document gender inequality--separate chapters cover child-rearing, the media, sexual violence, work, and marriage and divorce--and to understand why so many of us are 'in denial' about it. Although Rhode breaks little new ground, the sheer accumulation of data and her cogent analyses make this an excellent guide to sexism in our time. Exhaustively footnoted and sourced, it is unlike most general-interest books on any side of this debate in that it draws on a vast amount of real scholarship and ranges widely over the available literature in and out of academia...Her calm, lawyerly, methodical approach lets the material speak for itself. And it does.
— Katha Pollit
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674831780
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 0.73 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah L. Rhode is Professor of Law at Stanford University and former Director of Stanford's Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
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Table of Contents

1. The "No Problem" Problem

2. The Ideology and Biology of Gender Difference

3. Beginning at Birth

4. Media Images

5. Sex and Violence

6. Women's Work

7. Family Values

8. Women's Movement, Men's Movement

9. The Politics of Progress

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2001

    Be enlightened

    This book was extremely enlightening, especially for a woman like me who was raised to believe that women are the lesser sex. Rhode deals with such issues of gender inequality in homes, as well as political issues that women face everyday in our male dominant world. Rhode encompasses her readers, no matter what your status or race. If you would also like to be enlightened and encouraged, then read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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