Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Gender Lesson 7: Inequality, Work and Females

Please answer the following two questions before beginning the lesson.  Here is the Google form.

1.  Before we begin, do you think there is a difference between how much income women earn on average compared to men?  

2.   If you said yes to #1, what do you think the reasons are for this difference in pay?
If you said no to #1, why not?  What have you heard/read about women's incomes compared to men's?


Women are paid less 

Sociologists have examined the income of females compared to males and through a number of different comparisons, the females are paid less (about 80%) than what males are paid.

This public policy recommendation published by the American Sociological Association (2019) shows that 
In the last four decades, women’s educational levels and work experiences have increased dramatically. Women are over half of college graduates and nearly half the workforce, and families rely on women’s earnings. However, women are still paid less than men. More than half a century after the passage of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), a woman working fulltime, year-round in 2017 was typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man working full-time, year-round. The gender wage gap varies by race and is larger for most groups of women of color: nationally, Black women, Native women, and Latinas working full-time, year-round were typically paid just 61 cents, 58 cents, and 53 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to their non-Hispanic White male counterparts, while non-Hispanic White women were paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic White men. Asian women working full-time, year-round were typically paid 85 cents on White non-Hispanic men’s dollar, but the wage gap is substantially larger for some communities of Asian women. Gender wage gaps persist in all 50 states and in nearly every occupation. Significant wage gaps also exist for mothers compared to fathers, LGBTQ women compared with men, and women with disabilities compared to men with disabilities.
Skeptics of the wage gap contend that it is due to differences in education levels or the kinds of jobs that women choose.  But studies show that at the very beginning of a woman’s career, just one year after college graduation, women working full time were paid only 82% of what their male colleagues earned and we know that wage gaps grow over time.  For women overall, even when accounting for factors like unionization status, education, occupation, industry, work experience, region, and race, 38% of the wage gap remains unexplained.  Data make clear that discrimination— based on conscious and unconscious stereotypes—is a major cause of this unexplained gap.  A recent experiment revealed, for example, that when presented with identical resumes, one with the name John and the other with the name Jennifer, science professors offered the male applicant for a lab manager position a salary of nearly $4,000 more, additional career mentoring, and judged him to be significantly more competent and hirable.  When women lose out on earnings because of discrimination, families and the economy suffer.
3.  After reading the above excerpt, are women paid less because they typically have less education than men?

The rest of the publication is available here and the citations are here.

Women earn about 80% of what men earn and women earn less compared to men of similar education at every level.  Using census data from 2014, this is true for all levels of income and education; from women in poverty to women with professional degrees.  It is also true for women working right out of college compared to their male cohorts.   It is true for single households headed by women compared with men. (Ferris and Stein)   

The National Women's Law Center published this report showing that, 
Women who work full time, year round in the United States were paid only 82 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts in 2018. For many groups of women, the gaps are even larger. This document provides details about the wage gap measure that the Census Bureau and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) use, factors contributing to the wage gap, and how to close the gap.
4.  Are women paid a similar income to men when they get out of college, but the pay gap shows up after they have kids?

The more women that work in an industry, the lower-paid those jobs are.  Examine the graph below then answer the question.

This graph shows the higher paid occupations are more male and the lower-paid occupations are more female.

5.  Using the graphs above, out of the highest paying jobs in the U.S., which is the MOST female?

The Gender Pay Gap from the Washington Post does a terrific job of explaining the dynamics and nuances that lead to unequal pay for women.  (If the link doesn't work, see the graphics below)  The data is from 2017 and was compiled using microdata from IPUMS USA for the pay gap by occupation, for the historical change in earnings by share of women in the job, and for the breakdown by education and by workweek. We used decennial census and American Community Survey 5-year data because is the most comprehensive, despite not being the most up to date, and used people who had worked most of the year.  For the recent, general data points, we used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The graph above shows jobs by gender (women left and men right) and pay gap (up or down).  The X-axis is equal pay.  Red lines up represent males earning more than females while black lines down represent females making more than males.  Note the relatively smaller pay gap for jobs that are seen as female (left side) compared to mostly male occupations (right side).

This graph shows female jobs (purple) compared to male jobs (yellow).  The red line is the pay gap within the same job types.  Note that female jobs on the left are lower-paying (y-axis) than the male jobs on the right.
In the graphic above, the purple circles represent the number of females in a particular occupation and the yellow circles represent the number of males.  The red line represents the pay gap.  

6. How is the pay gap different between jobs that are more female versus jobs that are more male? 

These charts show that from 1960-2015, jobs that were mostly female (far left) did not grow in income nearly as much as jobs that were mostly male (far right).  And jobs that became more female (2nd to left) pay declined for men.  In other words, jobs that are perceived as being female jobs are paid less.
And the more female an industry becomes, the less money that field makes.
Although women earn more education than men, they make less money than men whether they graduate from college or not and no matter how old they are.

This graph addresses the idea that women work part-time so they make less than men.  Note that part-time women actually make more than part-time males.  However, the majority of women work full time or longer but they make less than men.

This editorial from Forbes critiques the idea that women are paid less for the same work as men in the same position, but even this editorial admits that,
Of course, none of this closes the discussion on sexism. It is important to ask, for example, why women might not be as ambitious in asking for higher salaries or larger grants and why they gravitate to, say, pediatrics over orthopedic surgery. It is possible that gender discrimination significantly contributes to all this.
For more info, see the Introduction to Sociology textbook (2019) from Open Stax, chapter 12.2:
Evidence of gender stratification is especially keen within the economic realm. Despite making up nearly half (49.8 percent) of payroll employment, men vastly outnumber women in authoritative, powerful, and, therefore, high-earning jobs (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). Even when a woman’s employment status is equal to a man’s, she will generally make only 77 cents for every dollar made by her male counterpart (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). Women in the paid labor force also still do the majority of the unpaid work at home. On an average day, 84 percent of women (compared to 67 percent of men) spend time doing household management activities (U.S. Census Bureau 2011). This double duty keeps working women in a subordinate role in the family structure (Hochschild and Machung 1989).
Salary.com has an explanation of the gender pay gap.  Their explanation includes these:
  • Earnings Increase with Age, and the Gender Pay Gap Does, Too
  • Education Does Not Combat the Gender Pay Gap
  • Location Plays a Huge Role in the Gender Pay Gap
7.  Does this provide evidence that there is a gap in how much income females ear compared to men?  What else would you like to know or is there anything you are still dubious about?

Inequality also means different treatment for females and males on the job.
  • Here is a report about the efforts to change women at Ernst and Young (2018).  
"When women speak, they shouldn’t be shrill. Clothing must flatter, but short skirts are a no-no. After all, “sexuality scrambles the mind.” Women should look healthy and fit, with a “good haircut” and “manicured nails.” 
  • These were just a few pieces of advice that around 30 female executives at Ernst & Young received at a training held in the accounting giant’s gleaming new office in Hoboken, New Jersey, in June 2018.
  • One example of the inequality affecting the attitudes of an engineer in the tech industry is a report by Kara Swisher about the engineer's manifesto (2017).
  • Harvard Business Review conducted a study that the difference in promotion rates between men and women in this company was due not to their behavior but to how they were treated.  This indicates that...Gender inequality is due to bias, not differences in behavior. 
Besides applicants self-selecting jobs based on gender, employers also select based on gender.  This research from Contexts (2019)  shows that employers hire applicants by gender, based on their perception of what the gender of the job should be.

8. Explain what the research in the Contexts article above says about jobs and gender.

Females and unpaid labor
This research from the Society Pages (2019) shows women do a majority of the work at home.   This includes not only physical and emotional work, but also cognitive labor too.

From NY Times Upshot (2019), 
Women, but Not Men, Are Judged for a Messy House 
They’re still held to a higher social standard, which explains why they’re doing so much housework, studies show.  Even in 2019, messy men are given a pass and messy women are unforgiven. Three recently published studies confirm what many women instinctively know: Housework is still considered women’s work — especially for women who are living with men. 
Women do more of such work when they live with men than when they live alone, one of the studies found. Even though men spend more time on domestic tasks than men of previous generations, they’re typically not doing traditionally feminine chores like cooking and cleaning, another showed. The third study pointed to a reason: Socially, women — but not men — are judged negatively for having a messy house and undone housework.
9.  How did this lesson affect your understanding of the effect of gender on income and work?  What specifically stood out to you?

From the PEW Research Center, (2019) Among 41 countries, only U.S. lacks paid parental leave,  
the U.S. is the only country among 41 nations that does not mandate any paid leave for new parents, according to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and current as of April 2018. The smallest amount of paid leave required in any of the other 40 nations is about two months.

From the American Journal of Sociology, this 2020 research by Allison Daminger shows how difficult breaking gender inequality may be. Full article here.  From the abstract:

This article extends prior research on barriers to equality by closely examining how couples negotiate contradictions between their egalitarian ideals and admittedly non-egalitarian practices. Data from 64 in-depth interviews with members of 32 different-sex, college-educated couples show that respondents distinguish between labor allocation processes and outcomes. When they understand the processes as gender-neutral, they can write off gendered outcomes as the incidental result of necessary compromises made among competing values. Respondents “de-gender” their allocation process, or decouple it from gender ideology and gendered social forces, by narrowing their temporal horizon to the present moment and deploying an adaptable understanding of constraint that obscures alternative paths. This de-gendering helps prevent spousal conflict, but it may also facilitate behavioral stasis by directing attention away from the inequalities that continue to shape domestic life.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Gender Lesson 6: The Effects of the Binary on Females

Just as males are at risk in certain ways because of the gender norms in the U.S., so too are females at risk, but in different ways.  Before we get to the details, please answer a few questions off the top of your head.

Here is the link to this lesson's Google Form.  Please open it in a new window and fill it out as you go along.  For starters, without looking ahead please answer these 4 questions:

1.  What does "like a girl" mean?  If someone says you do something "like a girl" what is it implying?

2.  List all the steps YOU take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted.     

3.  Do you know someone who is affected by body image issues?  Without using any names describe their situation.

4.  What does it mean for someone to be a feminist?  Please answer honestly, based on your understanding of what a "feminist" is.

How the binary puts females at risk in our culture

"Like a girl"
The denigration of women and misogyny affect both women and men.  Watch the add below from Always.  Note how both the females and the males act when they are "acting like a girl."  Then, note how they act when they are told to do the action how they really would.

The promotion of masculine traits above feminine ones leads to denigrating of all things feminine.  This binary doesn't allow for individuals to be who they really.  Instead, it pushes males and females to opposite poles with opposing traits.  And the binary's message is, if you are a male, you can't be anything considered feminine.  This means males deny their own humanity because they cannot be caring, empathetic, emotional, vulnerable or dependent - all of which are human traits.

5.  How do the people act when they are told to do something "like a girl?"  How might this affect society's view of females? 

Sexual Assault and Females - How are women at risk for sexual assault?

The objectification of women and the denigration of all things female puts women at risk physically.  Males are socialized to be aggressive and to see women as passive objects.  This puts women at risk of sexual assault and puts them on the defensive.  Men may not realize this because they do not have to think about it.  But for women, this is something that is conscious.  For number 2 at the start of this lesson, how many precautions did you list?  Usually men have very few, if any, but women can list dozens.  Read this list from Huffington Post.  How many of the actions have you taken?

What's wrong with women protecting themselves? There's nothing wrong with all of us taking precautions to be sure that we are safe.  However, the emphasis on women protecting themselves takes the onus off males to not intimidate, harass or assault women.  Not only is this victim-blaming females, but it is also degrading to males by insinuating that males are animalistic and immoral.  Watch the video below that shows a woman walking in NYC.

CatcallsofNY is an instagram feed highlights the ways people are fighting back against street harrassment.
Here is a similar video from Inside Edition in Venice Beach, CA (2015).
Here is another video from Inside Edition in NYC (2016).
Here is an Iris video that shows dads reacting to their daughters getting harassed on the street.
And here is a video produced by Cosmopolitan in NYC that aired on GMA (2015).
The cast of GMA makes an important point of distinguishing between a compliment and harassment. But the cast also shows how difficult it is to change these cultural dysfunctions.

And sexual harassment is so much a part of U.S. culture that a President of the United States could speak openly about harassing women and still be elected.  The Washington Post documents all of the instances of how Trump has demeaned women since 2015

6.  What was the most disturbing part of the video for you?

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services provides valuable information about assault, including about consent and what that means.  This important for males and females alike to understand.  Please read the info below:
Consent is a clear “yes” to sexual activity. Not saying “no” does not mean you have given consent. Sexual contact without consent is sexual assault or rape.
  • Consent is an ongoing process, not a one-time question. If you consent to sexual activity, you can change your mind and choose to stop at any time, even after sexual activity has started.
  • Past consent does not mean future consent. Giving consent in the past to sexual activity does not mean your past consent applies now or in the future.
  • Saying “yes” to a sexual activity is not consent for all types of sexual activity. If you consent to sexual activity, it is only for types of sexual activities that you are comfortable with at that time with that partner. For example, giving consent for kissing does not mean you are giving consent for someone to remove your clothes.

College freshmen women are especially at risk for assault.  Information about that is here:
  • Studies show that students are at the highest risk of sexual assault in the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.2
  • Women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, or gay are more likely to experience sexual assault on college campuses than heterosexual women.1

7. Was there anything in the above information that was helpful/eye-opening?

And this video that went viral explaining why men don't have as much to fear.

Lisa Wade is an influential sociologist who studied "hookup culture" in college.  Her research focused on the subculture on college campuses and students being sexually active with each other outside of committed relationships.  One interesting conclusion she found was that some males engaged in sexual activity that they regretted because they felt pressured by masculinity to do it.  However, it should be noted that she found the vast majority of college students were NOT engaged in this subculture of "hooking up."

Here is a review of her book from the NY Times.

Here is a review from the NPR Show Hidden Brain with a 24-minute audio interview of Dr. Wade.

Vimeo has a video explanation here.

And below is a brief explanation from Dr. Wade:

For more info, here is an hour-long talk from Dr. Wade at Elon University.

Femininity and body image - How are women socialized to think about their "self"?
For number 3 at the beginning of this post, most women can name multiple people they know who have wrestled with body image issues or eating disorders. 

This post from the Society Pages highlights how females are objectified in the media.  Please click the link and read the post.  From the post,
The damage caused by widespread female objectification in popular culture is not just theoretical.  We now have over ten years of research showing that living in an objectifying society is highly toxic for girls and women, as is described in Part 2 of this series.
8.  Which ad from the Society Pages link above stood out to you as being particularly degrading or objectifying?

Do you know Amy?

This video shows Amy not feeling like hanging out.

There are numerous studies showing that this is true for significant numbers of young women. Look at the research below and think about whether this has been true in your life. Do you know girls who struggle with self-esteem, body image and eating/dieting disorders? If you don't, can you at least see how the media is constructing a reality for girls?

Research about the effects of media socialization on females

"...after interacting with attractive peers, the women's perceptions of their own appearance changed, whereas interacting with family members did not have any bearing on their body image....Social media engagement with attractive peers increases negative state body image," explain the researchers.  2018 research — led by Jennifer Mills, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada, and Jacqueline Hogue, a Ph.D. student in the department's Clinical Program — examined the effects of social media on the self-perceived body image of young women.  Mills and Hogue published their findings in the journal Body Image.   https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323725.php

Thin Ads + Low Body Image = Stress?
Ads Showing Skinny Models Might Hurt Self-Worth In Vulnerable Young Women
 Viewing ads of super-skinny models may make young women feel worse about themselves, especially if they have body image problems, according to a new study. Researcher Gayle Bessenoff, Ph.D., reports the findings in Psychology of Women Quarterly. Bessenoff is an assistant professor in the University of Connecticut's psychology department.

What Studies Show: Links Between Media and Self Esteem in Girls Many studies conclude that there is clearly a link between young women’s self esteem and the media. *The Journal of Research on Adolesence, in a study of body image and self esteem (Daniel Clay, Vivian L. Vignoles, Helga Dittmar - 2005), imparts that the the declining self esteem that girls often experience entering into adolescence is in part due to social comparison with media models. In a 2006 study of girls' body satisfaction and self esteem from the American Psychological Association (Hayley Dohnt,, Marika Tiggemann), research also illustrates that media creates a negative influence on girls' body images and self-esteem – particularly in regard to acceptable levels of thinness.

A particularly alarming media trend is the sexualization of women at younger and younger ages. Medical News Today discusses how suggestive images of young women negatively affect girls self-esteem, playing a role in onset of depression, eating disorders, and low-self-esteem.

Sexualization Of Girls Is Linked To Common Mental Health Problems In Girls And Women Science Daily (Feb. 20, 2007) — A report of the American Psychological Association (APA) released today found evidence that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls' self-image and healthy development.

Dying to Fit In- Literally! Learning to Love Our Bodies and Ourselves By Christine Hartline, MA In the United States approximately 10% of girls and women (numbering up to 10 million) are suffering from diagnosed eating disorders. Of these at least 50,000 will die as a direct result! Recent data reported by the American Psychiatric Association suggests that of all psychiatric disorders, the greatest excess of patient mortality due to natural and unnatural causes is associated with eating disorders and substance abuse.

Teen Body Image Media images have a strong effect on people's body image, particularly for women, because the ideals the media presents for women are farther from the average woman's body. The Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) reports that in 1972, the ideal woman shown in the media (models, movie stars, etc.) weighed less than the average woman, yes, but only by 8%. By the late 90s, the difference had become 23%... In one study from Harvard University reported by (SIRC), it was found that by age 17, 7 out of 10 teens have been on a diet and as many as 80% of teens may have a negative body image...The onset of eating disorders for 86% of people is before they finish their teens.

Finally, watch the powerful video below about how people are made to think about themselves and how different that can be from reality.

9.  Is the research above and the video convincing evidence that females are at risk because of gendered expectations?  Any other questions? 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Redefining Masculinity

This is a great article from NY Magazine about how to raise boys.

A Call to Men is an organization designed for coaches, teachers and parents on how to help mentor boys to a healthier version of masculinity.

Speaking Frankly: Raising Boys, a documentary from CBS focuses on the issues with masculinity and redefining it in a way that is both realistic and healthy.

This article from the NY Times called, Teaching Men to be Emotionally Honest.  
How is boys’ performance in school related to masculinity? 
What research does social psychology provide about males at a young age (1-5yrs) and at older ages (teen years)?
How does the growing number of women on college campuses affect men?
What are some ways that colleges specifically, and society in general, can help males have a healthier self-identity?

And from Dove:

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Gender Lesson 5: masculinity and replicating Mahler's research

If you did not get to finish the reading,  here is an annotated version of the Mahler article.  Please read it now.

After reading the article, answer question 1 below.  Here is the Google Form for answering the questions this lesson.
1.  What is Mahler (and Kimmel)'s overall claim?

After understanding Mahler and Kimmel's claim and evidence,  we will attempt to replicate and update their qualitative research.   Their qualitative analysis of existing data on school shooters examined random school shootings in major print media outlets (Time, Newsweek, US News, USA Today, NY Times, LA Times). Below are two lists of school shootings to get started.

First, choose at least one of the random school shooters after 2001.
Second, after choosing a shooter to research, use major news outlets to gather data about some of the school shooters from 2001-present.
Make a note of the shooter's:
  • gender 
  • race
  • state (red or blue in 2001) 
  • community: urban, suburban, rural
  • other qualitative info about them such as music, video games, movies, parent status, mental illness, social status/teased, et al...
You may want to use the ILC newspaper search to find info about the shooters, or Google their names.  Here are a few other websites to help you find info:
Everytown research
Mass Shooting Tracker
TheTrace compiles articles and data related to shootings at thetrace.org
NRA gun law tracker

Maps for comparing red/blue states:
Results of 2000 election.

The map above shows current laws for carrying firearms.

2.  What shooter(s) did you research?

3.  What was the shooter's race?

4.  What was the shooter's gender?

5.  What community setting did the shooting occur in?

6.  Was the shooting in a red state or blue state?

7.  What other details about the shooter were revealed?

After you have entered the data above for at least one school shooter, hypothesize whether Mahler and Kimmel's research still holds up.

8.  Do you think that since 2001, Mahler and Kimmel's claim is still true about who shoots up schools and why?

9.  Answer any of the following questions about this lesson.
  • Does your data correlate with what the rest of the class found?
  • What do you think of the findings?
  • Is this data interesting/insightful?  Why/why not?
  • Can you see the connection between masculinity and violence?
  • Do you think that the average American would have trouble understanding the connection?  Why?
  • What questions do you still have?

Finally,  try to apply the research to other random shootings besides schools.  Search the websites that you used earlier.  Again, you may want to use the ILC newspaper search to find info about the shooters, or Google their names.  Here are a few other websites to help you find info:
Everytown research
Mass Shooting Tracker
TheTrace compiles articles and data related to shootings at thetrace.org
NRA gun law tracker

Find one example of a random shooting that did not occur at a school.

10.  Does Mahler and Kimmel's research apply to NON-SCHOOL random shootings?

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Tough Guise Day 2

 Today we continued watching Tough Guise about how our society socializes boys in a narrow and limited way.  

Yesterday we saw that masculinity has been portrayed in Western movies only for around the last 75 years or so.  But examining the older tropes of masculinity, it is evident that the portrayal of masculinity in movies, sports, toys and other areas have all become more extreme.

Today we will see that one reason the masculinity has become more extreme is a reaction to increasing equality for minorities - especially women and non-heterosexuals.

Begin from 37:31 A Culture in Retreat Watch Tough Guise 2 on mediacast by clicking here.
  • Along with the change of society came changes in the acceptance of women as equal and changes in gay rights.  Fear of the changes in society is filtered throughout society via politics and media.  Guns are a symptom of the fear of the changes. There is a siege mentality that promotes rugged individualism and gun ownership as a way of fighting back both literally and figuratively.  Guys today are taught that violence is the only way to be really considered a man and to hold onto their manhood. 
  • Because our construction of masculinity includes the idea that anything feminine is inherently NOT masculine, as the box of what is acceptible for women has gotten larger, the box for males has gotten smaller.  This includes denigrating anything that is female or gay.  And, this creates a dangerous anti-female attitude.
  • Finally, he ends with the idea that we can all make little changes in how we talk and act and think. We can support movies that show honest portrayals of guys and movies that help broaden the box that guys fit into.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Masculinity and the Tough Guise

HW: Please read Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence Random School Shootings, 1982-2001.  It is a qualitative study in American Behavioral Scientist about who randomly shoots up schools and why.  Students can access it here.  Publicly it is also available here.

Today we watched a video about how our society socializes boys in a narrow and limited way. That video is called "Tough Guise". In other words, the disguise to seem tough that guys put on.  Watch Tough Guise 2 on mediacast by clicking here.  Please read the article I assigned by Kimmel and Mahler related to this.

The documentary has a few important parts: 
  • First, is the idea that men are at risk because masculinity is a social construction that says violence, anger and toughness are the only okay emotions or reactions for males.  When violence occurs in society, the media and society ignore the masculine element.  They just assume that it is natural.
  • Second, as our society changed to be more urban and more equal, men have been taught to fear women and fear the changes.  These changes helped to popularize Western movies and shows that have only been around the last 75 years or so.  But examining the older tropes of masculinity, it is evident that the portrayal of masculinity in movies, sports, toys and other areas have all become more extreme.
  • Along with the change of society came changes in the acceptance of women as equal and changes in gay rights.  Fear of the changes in society is filtered throughout society via politics and media.  Guns are a symptom of the fear of the changes. There is a siege mentality that promotes rugged individualism and gun ownership as a way of fighting back both literally and figuratively.  Guys today are taught that violence is the only way to be really considered a man and to hold onto their manhood. 
  • Because our construction of masculinity includes the idea that anything feminine is inherently NOT masculine, as the box of what is acceptible for women has gotten larger, the box for males has gotten smaller.  This includes denigrating anything that is female or gay.  And, this creates a dangerous anti-female attitude.
  • Finally, he ends with the idea that we can all make little changes in how we talk and act and think. We can support movies that show honest portrayals of guys and movies that help broaden the box that guys fit into.

Below are some of the sources that are referred to in the movie.

Jackson Katz
Jackson Katz, narrator in the video has his own website.  Also, here is his book, The Macho Paradox.
Here is Katz speaking at a TED conference:

Real Boys; Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood, book by William Pollock.  Pollock documents how at a very early age boys are taught to accept traditional male gender traits of being tough and repressing their emotions.
Excerpt available here.
Based on William Pollack's groundbreaking research at Harvard Medical School over two decades, Real Boys explores why many boys are sad, lonely, and confused although they may appear tough, cheerful, and confident. Pollack challenges conventional expectations about manhood and masculinity that encourage parents to treat boys as little men, raising them through a toughening process that drives their true emotions underground. Only when we understand what boys are really like, says Pollack, can we help them develop more self-confidence and the emotional savvy they need to deal with issues such as depression, love and sexuality, drugs and alcohol, divorce, and violence.

Guyland; The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, book by Michael Kimmel.  Kimmel's research focuses on kids slightly older than those in Pollack's research.  Here is a review from the NY Times.
In mapping the troubling social world where men are now made, Kimmel offers a view into the minds and times of America's sons, brothers, and boyfriends, and he works toward redefining what it means to be a man today—and tomorrow. Only by understanding this world and this life stage can we enable young men to chart their own paths, stay true to themselves, and emerge safely from Guyland as responsible and fully formed male adults.  Here is a post from Kimmel in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.

 Dude You're A Fag, book by sociologist C.J. Pascoe.  From the amazon summary, "High school and the difficult terrain of sexuality and gender identity are brilliantly explored in this smart, incisive ethnography. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork in a racially diverse working-class high school, Dude, You're a Fag sheds new light on masculinity both as a field of meaning and as a set of social practices. C. J. Pascoe's unorthodox approach analyzes masculinity as not only a gendered process but also a sexual one. She demonstrates how the "specter of the fag" becomes a disciplinary mechanism for regulating heterosexual as well as homosexual boys and how the "fag discourse" is as much tied to gender as it is to sexuality."  Here is a video of the authors discussing their work.

Cool Pose; The Dilemmas of Black Manhood, book by Richard Majors and Janet Mancini Billson.  Here is a review from the NY Times;
While the cool pose is often misread by teachers, principals and police officers as an attitude of defiance, psychologists who have studied it say it is a way for black youths to maintain a sense of integrity and suppress rage at being blocked from usual routes to esteem and success.

Leading Men; Presidential Campaigns and the Politics of Manhood, book by Jackson Katz.
In Leading Men, Jackson Katz puts forth the original and highly provocative thesis that presidential campaigns have become the center stage of an ongoing national debate about manhood, a kind of quadrennial referendum on what type of man—or one day, woman—embodies not only our ideological beliefs, but our very identity as a nation.  Of course this debate has enormous implications for women—both as potential candidates for the presidency and as citizens.

Violence; Reflections on a National Epidemic, book by James Gilligan.  Drawing on firsthand experience as a prison psychiatrist, his own family history, and literature, Gilligan unveils the motives of men who commit horrifying crimes, men who will not only kill others but destroy themselves rather than suffer a loss of self-respect. With devastating clarity, Gilligan traces the role that shame plays in the etiology of murder and explains why our present penal system only exacerbates it. Brilliantly argued, harrowing in its portraits of the walking dead, Violence should be read by anyone concerned with this national epidemic and its widespread consequences.

Gunfighter Nation The Myth of the Frontier in 20th-Century America, a book By Richard Slotkin.  Excerpt from the NY Times;
According to the myth of the frontier, says Mr. Slotkin, "the conquest of the wilderness and the subjugation or displacement of the Native Americans who originally inhabited it have been the means to our achievement of a national identity, a democratic polity, an ever-expanding economy and a phenomenally dynamic and 'progressive' civilization." Central to this myth was the belief that "violence is an essential and necessary part of the process through which American society was established and through which its democratic values are defended and enforced."
 Terrence Real's book I Don't Want To Talk About It; Twenty years of experience treating men and their families has convinced psychotherapist Terrence Real that depression is a silent epidemic in men—that men hide their condition from family, friends, and themselves to avoid the stigma of depression’s “un-manliness.” Problems that we think of as typically male—difficulty with intimacy, workaholism, alcoholism, abusive behavior, and rage—are really attempts to escape depression. And these escape attempts only hurt the people men love and pass their condition on to their children.

Here is Katz's conclusion from the movie:

Too often, we define masculine strength by who can blow away the most people, who can flex the most muscle, who can impose their will and inflict the most damage. But this cheapens the real definition of strength and toughness.
We respect the toughness of firefighters who rush into burning buildings when others are rushing out, police officers and other first responders who put their lives on the line, and our men and women in the armed services who show courage under fire – not because they’re out to prove something, but because they steer themselves in the face of danger and face down their fears in service to others.
For the same reason, we should respect the toughness and strength of men who challenge the myth that being a real man requires putting up a false front, disrespecting others, and engaging in violent and self-destructive behavior.
We should respect all the men out there who aren’t threatened by women’s equality, who have the confidence to listen to women, learn from them, and grow in the process, who refuse to engage in homophobic abuse and bullying to prove they’re one of the guys, who show empathy for others rather than joining in or remaining silent when other guys prop themselves up at the expense of others, and who meet change and difference with a willingness to make change and a difference themselves.
Strength is about adapting to change, not about retreating from it and lashing back with violence out of fear. And it’s high time we had a definition of manhood capable of meeting that challenge.

Here is a poster from Katz that is printable with Ten Things Guys Can Do To Prevent Violence;
ten things men can do to prevent gender violence
  1. Approach gender violence as a MEN'S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers
  2. If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner -- or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general -- don't look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don't know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON'T REMAIN SILENT.
  3. Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don't be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.
  4. If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.
  5. If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.
  6. Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women's centers. Attend "Take Back the Night" rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered women's shelters. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.
  7. Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (eg. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do so).
  8. Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence.  Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.
  9. Don't fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.
  10. Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don't involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men's programs. Lead by example

Monday, May 3, 2021

Gender Lesson 4: Masculinity in the binary

Who is most often a random school shooter and why?
Please read Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence Random School Shootings, 1982-2001 It is a qualitative study in American Behavioral Scientist about who randomly shoots up schools and why.  It is also available from Scribd here.  
It is a really interesting reading.  The author looks at who shoots up high schools and why.   The article was published in 2001 which was after a few major school shootings such as Columbine high school.

How does the binary affect males (and put them at risk)?

Now that you have learned how gender is socially constructed into a binary, we will examine one pole of the binary: masculinity.    

Getting started

Before we begin, please answer the following questions.  Answer each quickly with the first words that come to mind.  Please don't worry about foul language, just write the words that come to mind:

Here is the Google form for this lesson.

QUICKLY, without thinking, brainstorm, the first three words that come to mind:

1. What are three words that describe what it means to be a man?

2.  What are three words that describe someone who is not a real man?

CJ Pascoe's research 

One of the most important gender researchers is  CJ Pascoe, a University of Oregon sociology professor.  In a 2007 ethnography called "Dude You're a Fag", Pascoe studied high school peer groups and how they sanction gender norms. An excerpt is here.  Pascoe wrote about her research in an essay in Contexts here.   And, here is CJ Pascoe's micro lecture on bullying and masculinity.  Please watch the video below.

1.  What does Pascoe's research show about masculinity?

2.  Do you think Pascoe's research applies to SHS?

Males are at risk because of masculinity norms
Recall the chart below from our lesson on the gender binary.  Use the chart to assess each of the three areas below in which males are at-risk.

Males and School
  • In school, boys are 30% more likely to flunk, 250% more likely to be suspended and 300% more likely to be diagnosed with learning and emotional disabilities.
  • Males are less likely than females to: go to college and earn a bachelor's degree, earn a master's degree or earn a PhD.
What is your hypothesis about why this is so?  How can these be related to the binary?  (Use the chart above to try and explain why traditional masculine traits might  lead to these educational outcomes.)

Males and Health Risks

Young men are much more likely to die from accidental death than women:
Males 20-24 are 3 times more likely to to die as a result of accidents,
4 times more likely to die from suicide and
6 times more likely to be murdered than women. (Ferris and Stein pg 256)


3.  What is your hypothesis about why this is so?  How can these be related to the binary?  (Again - refer to the chart above.)

Researchers Sandra Nakagawa and Chloe Hart conducted a study examining how gender identity influences eating habits.  

"...in the United States, where men have higher rates of life-threatening health conditions than women — including uncontrolled high blood pressure and heart disease — changing eating habits may be important for their health."

3b. Why do you think males have difficulty changing their eating habits?

4.  Hypothesize why traditional masculine traits might lead men to eat unhealthier.

After your hypothesis, read the explanation for the study here in Contexts.  From the link,
"This study shows that masculinity does matter for how men maintain their health. Importantly, it is not masculinity itself that is the problem here, but the high standards men feel they must meet (pun intended?)— and eat."

5.  After reading the explanation above in Contexts, assess your hypothesis.  Was it correct?

Males and violence

Males are more likely to be both the perpetrator and the victim of violence.
From the Bureau of Justice Statistics (2010),

  • 40% of teenage girls 14-17yrs say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
  • 1 of 5 college females will experience some form of dating violence from their male partner.
  • 1 in 3 High School students have been or will be in an abusive relationship.
These stats come from the Zacharias Foundation which is a local organization that will confidentially help individuals deal with sexual and domestic abuse.

6.  What is your hypothesis about why these stats might be connected to gender socialization?  How can these be related to the binary?

Males and work

Some jobs are genderized and males are limited by the sexist socialization messages about gender. 

It is ironic, but misogyny actually hurts males.  Below is evidence about how gender inequality is limiting the jobs that males will do and the feminizing whole industries.  Males don't want to take jobs that they label as feminine.  Because of this, males are passing on some of the fastest-growing industries, like home healthcare.
IGender & SocietyLatonya Trotter finds that it’s not just exclusion from men’s professions, but the inclusionary policies of women’s professions that maintain distinctly gendered fields.
  •  Here is an article in Harvard Business Review written by Janette Dill, an assistant professor in the sociology department at The University of Akron in Ohio:
The Entry-Level Health Care Jobs Men Are (and Are Not) Taking (2017)
This all signals that men, and particularly white men who are able to gain additional training, may be defining some health care occupations as more technical and masculine, preserving the conventional understandings of masculinity within the health care sector. Unfortunately, this also means that women and minority men may continue to be clustered in lower-paying direct-care occupations, where the “dirty work” remains stigmatized as “women’s work.”
And supporting professor Dill's work is this research about gendered language in job postings.
This shows both the ratio of
males to females and gendered language
for the fastest growing jobs.
One example of the gendered language in job ads.

Washington Center for Equitable Growth provides this fact sheet (2017) about occupational segregation.

The genderization of jobs includes some of the following examples (Ferris and Stein 2018, 269-71):
Many jobs still highly genderized: nurses, early education (97%), dental hygenists, secretaries (94%), paralegals, housekeepers are highly female while pilots, carpenters, mechanics (98%), and firefighters (94%) are highly male.
Besides applicants self-selecting jobs based on gender, employers also select based on gender.  This research (2019) documented in Contexts shows that employers hire applicants by gender, based on their perception of what the gender of the job should be.

The Australian Men's Health Forum breaks down the research on jobs and gender discrimination here.

7.  Do you understand how the gender binary affects the jobs that males will take?

How does the binary affect males (and put them at risk)?

The Mask You Live In is a 2013 documentary about masculinity from the makers of Miss Representation.  Here is a trailer:


Please read Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence Random School Shootings, 1982-2001 It is a qualitative study in American Behavioral Scientist about who randomly shoots up schools and why.  It is also available from Scribd here.