Women in American Society: An Introduction to Women's Studies / Edition 4

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This interdisciplinary social science introduction to women's studies textbook (not a reader) provides a comprehensive investigation of the effects of gender on women's lives the United States. The text integrates the latest scholarship and research from a wide variety of disciplines including sociology, psychology, political science, education, history, economics, law, mass communications, and the health sciences.

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Editorial Reviews

Using large complex social institutions as the framework for analysis, the author introduces students to the broad field of women's studies. Although concentrating on the U.S., comparative looks at the international scene are included. Drawing on perspectives from anthropology, economics, history, law, political science, psychology, and sociology, a number of different theoretical models are explored, and the role of gender in the institutions of the family, education, health care, religion, media, and politics is examined. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559349352
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 6/1/1998
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 575
  • Product dimensions: 7.49 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

VIRGINIA SAPIRO is the Sophonisba P. Breckinridge Professor of Political Science and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where she has taught for more than 25 years. She has received numerous awards for her research in political psychology, gender politics, feminist theory, and women's studies, and has served on the editorial boards of many journals. She has written or edited three books in addition to this one, as well as more than 35 scholarly articles. She teaches a wide range of courses in women's studies, including Women, Social Institutions, and Social Change; Women and Leadership; Feminist Theory; and Women and Politics.

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Table of Contents

Preface xix
Scope and Approach xx
The United States in Comparative and International Perspective xx
Women’s Studies from a Social Science Perspective xxi
Methodology and the Process of Research and Interpretation xxi
Historical Understanding xxii
An Interdisciplinary Approach xxii
Diversity among Women xxiii
What Lies Ahead? xxiii
Organization: General Approach xxiii
Organization: The Flow xxiv
Revisions xxvi
Study Aids xxvii
Acknowledgments xxvii
Reflect Before You Read 2

1. Introducing Women’s Studies 3
Representing Women 3
Knowledge and the Representation of Women 6
Women’s Studies as a Field of Study 7
Understanding Gender and Gender Differences 10
When and Why Are Gender Differences Interesting? 11
What Is the Connection between Difference and Inequality 11
When Is a Difference Really a Difference? 15
Social Science Methods of Studying Women and Gender 18
Social Science as Systematic Observation 18
Methods Women’s Studies Researchers Use 19
Ethnography 19
Experiments 21
Survey Research 22
Depth Interviewing 23
Event or Institutional Case Studies 24
Archival Research 25
Content Analysis 25
Meta-Analysis 25
Summary 26
Conclusion 27
Notes 27
For Further Reading 28
Study Questions 29

2. Societal-Level Approaches to Understanding Women’s Lives 30
U.S. Women in Global Perspective 31
Literacy and Education 31
Marriage and Reproduction 35
Work and Economic Life 41
Women and the State 44
Women and Political Power 44
Policies Affecting Women 46
Cross-National Comparative Perspectives: Conclusions 49
Explaining Women’s Situation at the Societal Level: Six Theoretical Approaches 50
The Eternal Feminine: Traditional Theological Perspectives 51
Natural Woman and Man: From Traditional Science to Complex Systems 52
The Genetic Basis of Sex 53
The Role of Hormones 54
The Structure of the Brain 55
From Sex to Gender 56
Social Structures of Gender: Sex/Gender Systems 57
The Inevitable Progress of Enlightenment and Modernization 58
Foundations of Liberalism 58
Liberalism and Women 60
Natural History and Evolution 62
Foundations of Evolutionary Theory 62
Early Feminist Critiques 63
Current Views of Evolution and Sexual Differentiation 64
More Natural History: Economic and Historical-Materialist Theories 65
Marxist Foundations 65
Marxism and Women 66
Contemporary Economic and Materialist Theories 67
Power Struggles: Dominance and Self-Determination 69
Freud and the War between the Sexes 69
Societal Stress and Cultural Strain 70
Anti-Feminist Sex-War Theory 72
Evaluating Power-Struggle Theories 73
Toward Understanding Development and Change in Sex/
Gender Systems 73
Notes 74
For Further Reading 74
Study Questions 75

3. Individual-Level Approaches to Understanding Women’s Lives 77
What Difference Does a Person’s Gender Make? 78
Masculinity, Femininity, and Character 79
Cognitive Traits, Personality, Values, and Interaction Styles 82
Cognitive Traits and Skills 82
Personality 84
Attitudes and Values 85
Social Interaction and Communication Styles 86
Summary of Psychological Differences 87
Stereotypes: The Importance of Person Perception 87
Explaining Women’s Situation at the Individual Level: Five Approaches 88
The Biological Basis of Female and Male 89
Psychoanalytical Theory: The Creation of Femininity and Masculinity 90
Sex Similarity 90
The Development of Difference 91
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective 93
Cognitive-Developmental Theories 96
Becoming Girls and Boy 97
Gender and Moral Development 98
Evaluating Cognitive-Developmental Theory 100
Learning Theories 100
The Development of Difference 100
Gender Learning after Childhood 102
The Complexity of Learning 103
A Summary of Learning Theories 103
Synthesizing Cognition and Learning: Gender-Schema Theory 104
Institutional Theories and Discrimination 106
Individual Development and Social Change 109
Notes 110
For Further Reading 110
Study Questions 110

4. Commonality and Difference among Women 112
Why Not Just Gender? 113
Recognizing Difference 113
The Differential Impact of Sex/Gender Systems 115
The View from the Dominant System 116
The View from Different Groups of Women 120
Untangling Oppressions 121
The Parallel Model 122
The Distinct-Components Model 122
The Complex Model 124
Hierarchies of Oppression 124
Exemplifying Complexity: Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Violence 125
Sketches in Differences 128
Age 128
Class 130
Race and Ethnicity 131
Geography and Culture 133
Conclusion: Learning from Difference 134
Notes 135
For Further Reading 136
Study Questions 137
Reflect Before You Read 139

5. Education: Learning to Be Male and Female 141
Historical Perspectives on Women’s Education 141
Early Efforts 141
Expanding Access 143
Increasing Leadership Roles 144
Achieving Higher Education 148
Women’s Education Today 149
How Much Education? 150
What Did You Learn in School Today? 154
Segregation and Schooling 160
Women as Educators 163
Education and the Future 167
The Question of Choice 167
Education for What? 168
Education for and about Women 168
Notes 170
For Further Reading 170
Study Questions 171

6. Normal Gender: Health, Fitness, and Beauty 172
Traditional Gender-Based Norms in Defining Women’s Health 174
Anatomy and Health 174
Uterus 174
Ovaries 175
Clitoris 175
Breasts 176
Summary: More Than the Sum of the Parts 178
Reproductive Health 179
Menstruation 179
Pregnancy and Childbirth 181
Gender Norms and the Organization of Health Care Research and Practice 184
The American Health Care System 184
Sexism in Health Care 185
Clinical Trials 187
Health and the New Sex-Based Biology 188
Health in Women’s Everyday Life 189
Healthy Families? 190
Work and Health 191
Employment, the Double Burden, and Health 191
Protection against Dangerous Occupations 193
Health Implications of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment 194
Beauty, Fitness, and Health 195
The Ideal Size and Shape: Hourglass, California Girl, or Heroin Chic? 195
Weight 197
Exercise 201
Skin Color 202
Summary: What’s Wrong with Beauty? 203
Women’s Roles in Shaping Health Care 204
Healers, Doctors, and Other Health Care Professionals 205
Health Care Activists 208
Mothers and Daughters as Health Care Providers 210
The Influence of Women as Health Care Consumers 211
Broadening the Concept of Health 212
Notes 213
For Further Reading 214
Study Questions 215

7. Women and Religion 216
Some Notes on Religion in American Society 217
Religious Teachings about Women and Gender 218
God Talk: Is It Male? 219
Separate and Unequal Spheres 220
Morality, Sexuality, and Gender 225
Feminist Alternatives and the Women’s Spirituality Movement 228
Women’s Religious Activities and Influences 230
Everyday Life as Religious Activity 231
Women’s Religious Service Outside the Home 233
Women as Religious Authorities and Leaders 235
Religion and Society 239
Notes 241
For Further Reading 242
Study Questions 243

8. Gender and the Institutional Media of Communication 244
The Mass Media: Women in the News 245
Print Media 245
Early History 245
The 20th Century 248
Electronic Media 251
Radio 251
Television 252
The Internet 255
The Mass Media: Images and Impact 256
The Production of Gender in the Mass Media 256
Television 256
Magazines 260
Newspapers 263
Representations of Women in the Media: Change 266
The Impact of the Mass Media 267
The Commercial Media 268
History of Gender and Advertising 268
The Commercial Media Today: Images and Impact 268
The Cultural and Artistic Media 272
Women and the Production of Art 272
Gender and Sexuality as Subjects of Art 277
Media of Change? 281
Notes 282
For Further Reading 283
Study Questions 284

9. Law and Policy, Government, and the State 285
Gender Norms in Government, Law, and Public Policy 285
Protection of Rights 286
Founding Ideas 287
Early Judicial Interpretations 288
Legislative Changes in Women’s Rights, 1840–1960 289
The Late Twentieth Century 290
Fulfillment of Obligations 291
Taxation 291
Jury Duty 291
Military Service 292
Summary: Citizens’ Rights and Obligations 298
Women’s Policy Issues 298
Women, Crime, and Justice 301
Gender and Criminal Victimization 302
Women as Criminals 304
Prostitution 307
Homicide and Murder 308
Women in the Criminal Justice System 309
Women’s Political Participation and Influence 310
Gender in Electoral Politics 310
Mass Electoral Participation 310
Women as Candidates for Office 311
Gender, Public Opinion, and Partisanship 313
Nonelectoral Citizen Politics 315
International Politics and Policy 316
Women, Politics, and Democracy 318
Notes 318
For Further Reading 320
Study Questions 320
Reflect Before You Read 323

10. Gender, Communication, and Self-Expression 324
Some General Observations on Language and Communication 324
Referring to Women, Men, and People 325
Gender-Specific Terms 326
Gender-Neutral Terms 332
Autonomy and Control in Communication 333
Male and Female Language 333
The Right-of-Way: Gender and Status 336
Right-of-Way in Space 337
Right-of-Way in Conversation 341
The Right-of-Way: Gender and Power 342
Strategies of Power and Influence 345
Future Options 349
Notes 352
For Further Reading 352
Study Questions 353

11. Personal and Sexual Relationships in Adulthood 354
Gender and Personal Relationships 355
Of Hunting Bands and Mothers 355
Friendship and Personal Networks 356
Sexuality and Sexual Relationships 358
Defining Sexual Relationships 358
Sexual Identity 360
Sexual Orientation 362
Gender and Sexual Orientation 362
Defining Sexual Orientation and Its Sources 364
Homophobia and Heterosexual Privilege 368
Sexuality, Love, and Power 370
Marriage: Family, Property, and State 374
The Marriage Contract 374
Names and Places 375
Rights and Obligations 376
Property 377
The State’s View of Marriage 378
Marriage, Gender, and Day-to-Day Life 379
Divorce 380
The Law on “Living in Sin” 381
Politics of Personal Life 382
Notes 383
For Further Reading 383
Study Questions 384

12. Consenting Adults? Gender-based Violence and Coercion 385
What Are Gender-Based Violence and Coercion? 388
Intimate Partner Violence 389
The Prevalence and Causes of Intimate Partner Violence 389
Intervention and Response: The Health Care and Justice Systems 392
A Sexual Right-of-Way 394
Sexual Harassment 396
Public Harassment 397
Sexual Harassment and the Law 398
Causes and Dynamics of Harassment 400
Rape and Sexual Assault 401
Patterns of Sexual Assault 402
Sexual Assault and the Justice System 406
Conclusions: Gender-based Violence against Women 408
Notes 409
For Further Reading 409
Study Questions 410

13. Reproduction, Parenthood, and Child Care 412
To Be or Not to Be a Parent 414
Reproduction and Choice 415
Contraception 419
Abortion: Legal History 423
Early History: Increasing Restriction 424
The Granting of Rights: Roe v. Wade 424
Abortion Politics and the Current Situation 428
Parenthood 432
Becoming Mothers and Fathers 432
Mothering and Fathering 435
Single and Separated Parents 438
When a Marriage Breaks Up 438
Single Parenthood 440
A Case Study of African American Families 441
Parents without Children 445
Beyond the Family: Who Cares for Children? 446
Notes 450
For Further Reading 450
Study Questions 451

14. Work, Employment, and the Economics of Gender 453
Making a Living versus Making a Home: Defining Differences 455
The Rise and Fall of Homemaking 455
The Political Economy of Homemaking 458
Problems of Definition: Housework as Work 459
Economic Functions of Homemaking 460
Making a Living versus Making a Home: Choices 464
Women’s Employment: Historical and Aggregate Views 465
Women’s Work through Their Life Course 469
Childhood and Adolescence 469
Early and Middle Adulthood 470
Later Adulthood 476
Making a Living versus Making a Home: Conclusion 476
Gender Divisions of Labor in Employment 477
What Is the Difference between Women’s and Men’s Work? Horizontal Segregation 477
What Is the Difference between Women’s and Men’s Work? Vertical Segregation 483
Employment Discrimination: Patterns and Remedies 485
Income, Worth, and Poverty 491
Women’s Pay 491
Other Means of Support: Social Welfare 494
Organization of Women in the Workforce 496
Conclusion: Women’s Work 497
Notes 498
For Further Reading 499
Study Questions 499
Reflect Before You Read 501

15. Feminism and the Future 502
The Development of Feminism and Women’s Movements in the United States 504
Social-Movement Theory 504
Before the Civil War 507
Fifty Years and More: From Civil War to Suffrage 511
The Quiet Time: From Suffrage to Presidential Commissions 518
The Rebirth of Feminism: Emma Said It in 1910/ Now We’re Going to Say It Again 521
Feminism and the Women’s Movement Today 525
Current Issues 525
Toward a Multicultural and Global Feminism 527
Multicultural Feminism 527
Global Feminism 530
Opponents to Feminism 532
Feminism and the Future 535
Notes 536
For Further Reading 536
Study Questions 538

References R-1
Credits C-1
Name Index N-1
Subject Index S-1
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