Women's Realities, Women's Choices: An Introduction to Women's Studies / Edition 3

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This landmark text introduces readers to the field of women's studies by analyzing the contradictions between social and cultural "givens" and the realities that women face in society. Written collectively by nine authors from various disciplines, Women's Realities, Women's Choices, Third Edition, has been updated to incorporate the latest research and statistics in the field. Covering the most recent developments in politics, labor, family life, religion, and culture, the book also features extensive research on relevant social issues, such as the impact of the post-Soviet world on women's lives, the experience of homosexuality in family life, and the effects of economic globalization on women worldwide.

This edition features a discussion of the cultural construction of women's bodies, the expectations of girlhood, new perspectives on women's partnering roles, and the serious health issues women face today. Boxes and pictures now contain more information on the current cultural scene, including material on popular culture and women in music. Examining women as individuals, as family members, and as a force in the greater social fabric, Women's Realities, Women's Choices remains the most timely, comprehensive, and compelling introduction to the field of women's studies.

Introduces students to current research and theories in the field, and also addresses a broad range of controversial issues.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"By far the finest text for Women's Studies I have seen. . . . A balanced, reasonable, comprehensive, and academically sound review."--M. Joanne Fisher, Loyola Marymount University

"Far superior to any of the other texts in current use for Introduction to Women's Studies courses."--Marilyn Skinner, Northern Illinois University

"Best introductory text available."--Bud Burkhard, University of Maryland

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195150353
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/3/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 552,381
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Each chapter ends with a Summary, Discussion Questions, Recommended Readings, and References.
Women's Studies in the Twenty-first Century
What is Women's Studies?
Women's Studies and Feminism
History of Women's Studies
Missing Information About Humans
Changed Views of Women and Men
Issues and Goals
Race, Class, and Other Oppressions
Women's Studies as an Academic Discipline
Women's Studies as a Source of Strength
How This Book Presents Women's Studies
I. Defining Women
1. Imagery and Symbolism in the Definition of Women
The Meaning of Imagery and Symbolism
Experience, Perception, and the Symbolic Construction of Reality
Classification and Perception
Shaping of Reality
Imagery and Symbolism in the Definition of Women
The Construction of Images and Symbols
The Use of Symbols and Their Influence
The Use of Symbols and Their Influence
Myths, Fantasies, and Imagery
Some Predominant Imagery
Frightening Females
Venerated Madonnas
Sex Objects
Earth Mothers
Women as Invisible
The Effect of thee Images on Women
Changing Reality by Changing Images
Participating in Imagery Construction:
An Example
Women Define Themselves
Women's Search for Self through Art
Historical Perspective
Contemporary Feminist Imagery
Women's Search for Self through Literature
Discovering Models in Women's Culture
The Heroine
Women's Words
Women's Identity in Utopia
The Propagation of Feminist Imagery of Women
Conclusion: Being Whole
2. Ideas and Theories about Women
Definitions and Theories
Women as "Other"
Women's "Nature"
Contemporary Efforts to Define "Woman"
Rethinking Knowledge
Feminist Diversity
Ideas about Freedom and Equality
Liberalism and Feminism
Mill and Taylor
Contemporary Liberal Feminism
Conservative Sentiments and Feminism
Alternative Contemporary Feminist Views
Socialist Feminism
Radical Feminism
Other Western Feminisms
The Ethics of Care
A Feminist Agenda
Principles in Action
3. Women's Bodies
The Body as Cultural Construct
Feminism and the Body
Mind/Body Dualism
The Body as Natural
The Nature of Sex Differences
The Gendered Brain
Sex(ing) Hormones
Genital Anatomy
The Politics of "Nature"
The Medicalization of the Body
Discourses of Sexuality
Body as Text
The Commodified Body
The Visibility Politics of the Body
The Reproductive Politics of the Body
Discussion Questions
Recommended Readings
4. Women's Personalities
Explanations for Differences between Women and Men
Nature versus Nurture
Biases in Research Studies
Is Anatomy Destiny?
Evolutionary Theories
Traditional Psychoanalytic Theory
Alternative Feminist Psychodynamic Theories
The Importance of Culture
The Importance of Relatedness
Feminism and the Lacanian Turn
Cognitive-Developmental Theory
Socialization Theories
Social Learning Theory
Gender Schema Theory
Social Interactions and Gender Roles
Research on Gender Socialization
The Gender Socialization of White Girls
The Gender Socialization of African American Girls
The Gender Socialization of Asian American Girls
The Gender Socialization of Latino Girls in the U.S.
The Impact of Gender Socialization
Is There a Lesbian Psychology?
Women and Aging
Psychology and Culture: Implications for Feminism
5. Diversity among Women: Gender, Race, and Class
Social Roles and the Individual
The Determinants of Role Assignment
Race and Class
Post-Modern Perspectives
Social Roles and Social Stereotypes
The Social Construction of Gender
Understanding Contextual Difference
Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
Rationalization and Resistance
Constraints on Choice
A New Consciousness of Choice
Commonalties of Experience
Family Roles
Alternative Roles
Society and Social Control
The "Heterosexual Prescription"
The Social Construction of Human Beings
II. Families
6. Daughters and Sisters
Daughter in the Family
Female Infanticide
The Value of Daughters
Naming the Daughter
Daughter's Work
Parental Relationships
Daughters and Mothers
Daughters and Fathers
Sibling Relationships
Sisters as Opposites and Companions
Sister-Brother Relations
The Sisterhood of Women
7. Family Configurations: Wives, Partners, Alternatives
Conventional Marriage
Why Marry?
Whom to Marry?
The Marital Household
The Incorporated Wife
Children in the Family
Western Marriage in Historical Perspective
Marriage as an Institution at the Beginning of the Twenty-first Century
Alternatives to Conventional Marriage
Religious Communities
Laboring Communities
Utopian and Experimental Communities
Alternative Families
Single Parents
Domestic Partners, Co-Habitations, Consensual Unions
Visiting Unions
Role Reversals
Families of Women
Choosing Not to Mother, Childless Couples
Women on Their Own
8. Motherhood
Images of Motherhood
Perspectives: Who Creates the Image?
"The Happy Mother": A Western Image as Political Ideology
"Ethnic Mothers" and Social Mobility
"Motherhood and the Media
Mothers Speak Out
Parental Behavior: "Instinct" and Culture
Motherhood: Ideology and Reality
The Assignment of Motherhood: Whose Interest Does it Serve?
The Cultural Shaping of Biological Events
Attitudes Toward Pregnancy
Childbirth: A Cultural or a Natural Event?
Breast-Feeding: Attitudes and Choices
Support Systems: Fathers, Women's Networks, and Institutionalized and Societal Support
Women's Networks, Community and Institutionalized Supports
Child Rearing Manuals
Choices and Control: Politics of Motherhood
Whether, When, and How Often to Become a Mother
Control over Children
Working for Wages
"Unnatural" Mothers: Mothers Who Give up Their Children
Women Other Than Birth Mothers Who Mother
Foster Mothers and Adoptive Mothers
III. Women In Society
9. Women and Religion
Religious Beliefs
What is Religion?
Religion and Social Reform
Established Religions
Religions in Small Scale Societies
World Religions
Origin Myths
Females in the Supernatural World
Immortal Women: Souls, Saints, and Ghosts
The Gender of God
Religion and Social Controls
Religion and the Family
Life-Cycle Rituals
Sexual Controls
Protection of Women
Beyond the Family
Women as Worshipers
Syncretistic and Evangelistic Religions
Women and Religious Movements
Fundamentalism and Women's Human Rights
Women as Religious Leaders
Missionaries and Martyrs
Religious Expression
The Religious Experience of Women
Women's Religious Groups and Orders
Women and Religion in the United States
Leadership by Women
Protestant Denominations
Jewish Denominations
Feminist Contributions to Religious Change
10. Women and Education
Epistemology and the Politics of Knowledge
Epistemologies as Political Systems
The Politics of Knowledge and the Rise of Feminist Scholarship
Education as a Contested Arena: Who Should be Educated?
Women's Struggles for Formal Education in the Past
European Colonization and Women's Education
Education in the Developing World Today
Affirmative Action in the United States
Diversity in Higher Education
Education as a Contested Arena: What Should Be Taught?
Women's Traditional Knowledge
Formal Knowledge Defined by Men
The Goals of Women's Education Debated
The Debate in the United States
Modern Culture Wars
The Struggle for Equal Access to Knowledge
Expansion of Access to Higher Education
Re-entry Women
Transforming the Curriculum
Schools as Socializers
Elementary Schools
Secondary Schools
Higher Education
Schools as Gendered Workplaces
Education as Assimilation
The Native American Experience
The African American Experience
Assimilation and the Immigrant Experience
Empowering Women Learners
Importance of Education
Professional Advancement and Women's Realities
Women's Studies and Critical Feminist Pedagogy
11. Women's Health
The Women's Health Movement
Redefining Health
New Approaches
Reforming the Health Care System
Uncovering the Gender Dynamics of Western Medicine
Woman as Deviant
Woman as "The Weaker Sex"
The Medicalization of Life Processes
Birth Control
The Impact of Gender, Social, and Cultural Disparities on Women's Health
Health Status and Risks
Racial/Ethnic Discrimination
Occupational Health Risks
Violence: Physical Abuse and Rape
Women and Physical Health: Some Specific Concerns
Heart Disease
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion
Women and Mental Health
Issues in Therapy
Addressing Homophobic Bias
Drug Therapy
Women as Special Risk/Vulnerable Populations
Refugee, Disabled, Elderly and Incarcerated Women
12. Women and Work
The Labor of Women
Division of Labor by Gender
Maintenance of the Domestic Unit
Women's Work in the Marketplace
The Contribution of Women to Economic Development
The Domestic Mode of Production
Food Production
Exchange and Marketing
The Capitalist Mode of Production
Urbanization and Class Distinction
Working for Wages: Its Organizational Prerequisites
Women's Work
Globalization and the Transformation of Work
Race, Ethnicity, and Work in the United States
The Politics of Work: Barriers and Strategies
Conflict and Competition Between Women and Men
Sexual and Gender Harassment
Social Support for Working Women
Laws against Sexist Job Discrimination
Equal Pay-Comparable Worth
Impact of the Women's Movement
13. Women and Political Behavior
Feminism and Politics
"The Personal is Political
Politics and the "Public" Sphere
Political Power
What is Power?
Power and Authority
Types of Government
Women's Political Power in the Past
Patterns of Male Dominance
Patterns of Male Dominance
Women as Political Leaders
Recent Political Gains of Women in the United States
Political Gains of Women in Office Around the Globe
Do Women in Office Make a Difference?
Obstacles Facing Women in Politics
Women as Citizens
Women and War
Women and the Law
Women's Voluntary Associations
Equal Rights
The Struggle for the Vote
The Modern Women's Liberation Movement
Global Feminism
The Political Climate in the New Millennium

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