Interactions and Intersections of Gendered Bodies at Work, at Home, and at Play: Volume 14

Subject:

Table of contents

(23 chapters)
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Purpose and approach – This chapter by the editor introduces the authors, concepts, and themes that feature most prominently in the volume and relates the contributions to one another and the current state of gender research.

Research implications – The chapter demonstrates how the principles, processes, and concepts of feminist research are currently being applied in a wide range of macro and micro social settings to advance gender research in directions that have implications for social policy and change.

Value of the chapter – This chapter serves to guide the reader through the volume calling attention to key findings and methodological issues.

Purpose – The goal of my study is to investigate women's tattooing in a phenomenological way, and to go in-depth into a “handful” of cases with the purpose of discussing tattooed women's daily lives and experiences. The main purpose of this study is to contribute to the scholarly literature on the sociology of the body, and particularly to women and tattoos.

Methodology/approach – Open-ended conversational interviews and feminist phenomenological methods together shed light on the possible connection between gendered attitudes about women's bodies and tattoos and tattooed women's personal feelings of beauty and femininity.

Findings – In this particular chapter, I describe the connections between women's tattoos: (1) personal or individual beauty and (2) femininity. Findings show that although women tend to think that tattooing goes against current societal beauty norms and ideas of femininity, many women feel that their tattoos make them more beautiful.

Originality/value of chapter – This study offers important insights into the social experiences of extensively tattooed women and, therefore, contributes to a more sociological and gender-specific glimpse of women's lives and tattooing. My discussion of and findings on tattooed women's lived experiences, however partial, should promote wider conceptualizations of the tattooing phenomenon, allow a wealth of tattoo meanings and experiences to come into the spotlight, and point to new ways to study tattoos and gendered bodies in the future.

‘Soul Food

Pages 35-63
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Purpose and methodology – Many adult women struggle with serious eating problems (EPs) and obesity is increasing, yet, little is known about the origins of EPs, which often begin in childhood. Personal Narratives with 25 Israeli Jewish women in recovery from EPs explore (a) types of childhood experiences, (b) the connection between childhood experiences and subsequent EPs, and (c) why food!

Findings a.Analyses of personal narratives uncover a broad range of emotionally abusive experiences in childhood (CEA) including continuous criticism about body shape and weight, emotional neglect and abandonment, death or illness in the family in the absence of a nurturing adult, conflict and tension surrounding parental divorce or dysfunctional marriage, geographic dislocation, and aftermath of the Holocaust.b.Interviewees explicitly identified CEA as the cause of their turning to food for comfort in childhood and subsequently developing lifelong EPs.c.Why food! It was easily accessible, its sweetness took away the pain - temporarily, children replicated parents' unhealthy relationship with food, it was abundant and central in Jewish cultural, ethnic and religious traditions.

Research Implications – This research documents the critical contribution of emotionally abusive experiences in childhood to the development of EPs and confirms the need for additional research.

Practical Implications – The findings warrant a shift in policies and practices to address the role of emotional abuse in the development and maintenance of EPs. Moreover, policies focused on obesity, particularly among youth, need to recognize the contribution of CEA – in addition to poor dietary choices and lack of exercise.

Purpose – To ascertain how the institutional environment of the armed forces has differentially impacted men and women in their experiences of sexual harassment.

Methodology – Logistic regression analyses of the 1995 Armed Forces Sexual Harassment Survey and the 2002 Status of the Armed Forces Survey – Workplace and Gender Relations.

Findings – Gender does not override all other factors in determining who is most likely to be targeted for sexual harassment in the military. Gender is shown to be most informative about the likelihood of experiencing sexual harassment for women only when combined with race and rank. For men, however, it seems that race is more salient than rank in determining the likelihood of being targeted for sexual harassment.

Research limitations – One glaring omission in this analysis is the effect of same-sex sexual harassment on the work environment of the military. There simply was not sufficient time or space to cover that aspect in this analysis, but it is an important direction for further research on sexual harassment in the military to explore.

Practical implications – Policy makers in the Department of Defense must be more attuned to the interlocking effects of race and gender as they combine with rank to properly address the problem of sexual harassment in the military. It is not enough to simply provide training about sexual harassment; personnel comprising the chain of command within the hierarchical structure of the military must become more cognizant of the microlevel interactions occurring between personnel as part of the everyday work environment.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to contribute to the literature on work, gender, and globalization using an intersectional approach.

Methodology – The data for this chapter are derived from two years of qualitative fieldwork at a Mexican multinational corporation. I conducted in-depth, semistructured interviews with 86 employees at all levels of the organizational hierarchy as well as content analysis of the company magazine.

Findings – My findings suggest that globalization leads to similar benefits for women and men, with respect to autonomy and decision making in the workplace, but are framed distinctly depending on class. Globalization is gendered in that it offers an additional benefit of economic independence to women. Women at different levels of occupational prestige, however, experience the globalizing process in diverse ways. I conclude by suggesting that globalization results in a tension within the company in how to incorporate female workers in a more meaningful manner.

Originality/value of chapter – Research on globalization in the developing world primarily examines factory workers or women in certain occupations, such as domestic workers. This study focuses on an overlooked group of workers that includes female and male white-collar workers. It offers a comparative analysis of the gendered and class-based effects of globalization on workers of different ranks within the same company. Most globalization studies on Mexico center on the Maquila industry, whereas this study examines workers in a Mexican-owned international company.

Purpose and approach – This research explores gender and gender inequality in representation in state legislatures among African Americans, Hispanics, and white Americans. Using 10 states with the largest concentrations of African Americans in the population and 10 with the largest concentrations of Hispanics in 2003, a parity index was used to compare each race/sex group's share of each state's population with that group's share of seats in the state legislature. Parity ratios were also constructed for white women and white men in both sets of states.

Findings – White men dominate all the state legislatures surveyed here; white women are severely underrepresented as are Black women, Hispanic women, and Hispanic men. Black men are slightly but not greatly underrepresented in political office in these states. A consistent pattern is that the higher the representation of any group of males, the greater is the gap between women and men.

For Black and white women in both sets of states, having a high proportion of women who are college graduates, who are employed, and who work as managers or professionals and garner larger earnings increases their chances for election, but this pattern is not observed among Hispanic women.

Implications – These findings are significant because they bring together previously disparate insights from political science and sociology; highlight differences between women and men and among people from different ethnic groups; and reveal the importance of an intersectional approach for understanding the representation of diverse groups in political office.

Purpose – This research examines the effects of gender, race, human capital, work conditions, and organizational characteristics on employees’ current supervisory status at work, and their perceptions of their future promotability.

Methodology – Data are drawn from the salaried employees of The National Study of the Changing Workforce in 2002, a nationally representative sample of all U.S. workers. Employees are compared by race and gender using correlation coefficients, t-tests, and multiple regression.

Findings – In contrast to earlier research, in 2002 non-white women are as likely as white women and non-white men to have attained supervisory status at work. There also is no gender or race effect on employees’ perception of their future promotional opportunity.

Workers who are supervisors, both white and non-white, are more likely than non-supervisors to perceive that they have future promotional opportunity. Having a work context that is supportive, and having supportive coworkers and a supportive supervisor, leads to the perception of greater chances to continue to move up in one's company, as does having greater job demands and union membership. On the contrary, work/family spillover, having a supervisor of the same race, and perceiving racial discrimination at the workplace leads to perception of less chance to continue to move up.

Research limitations – Employees’ actual job titles are not known except that supervising others is a major part of their job.

Practical implications – Many of the variables shown to be related to supervisory status and promotability suggest directions for the restructuring of workplaces to provide more supportive and less biased environments.

Purpose – In this chapter, I assess women's progress in achieving greater access to management positions in United States workplaces. Although many researchers focus on segregation, women's changing representation in management is a relatively undocumented story about workplace inequality.

Methodology/approach – To increase our understanding of workplace and labor market composition and women's representation in management, I utilize data collected by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from large, private sector workplaces in the United States over time (1966–2000, N=237,934). Using these data and successive regression models, I explore the effects of supply, demand, and organizational processes on women's representation in management.

Findings – The findings indicate that women's representation in management is uneven across industries, with women holding higher shares of management in the service industries. Further, changes in the labor market supply of women and workplace segregation have much smaller effects on women's representation in management than the demand created by the tremendous growth in the service industries.

Originality/value of chapter – This chapter shows the gender revolution is far from over in United States workplaces. Women are most likely managers in industries in which women provide services. In other words, women have simply added paid work providing services to strangers to their unpaid work providing services for families. In sum, women's progress is largely the result of demand created from economic restructuring.

Purpose – This chapter examines the complex, multilevel barriers low-income women of color in a medium-sized Midwestern city face when trying to achieve economic self-sufficiency and homeownership. The aim of this study was to determine whether women attempting to achieve self-sufficiency and/or homeownership face different barriers than men as a result of multiple and intersecting social locations.

Design/methodology/approach – The study sample includes 24 low-income women of color, all of whom participated in in-depth interviews in Fall, 2008. Low-income women also completed short demographic surveys. Intersectionality represents the conceptual framework for this study, and data analysis followed phenomenological inquiry.

Findings – Some barriers low-income women of color face are unacknowledged and are gendered and racialized. Many women in this study faced personal barriers (e.g., low-income, lack of savings, poor credit, lack of mentors) and system-level barriers (e.g., banking account requirements and lenders’ downpayment requirements) to obtain economic self-sufficiency and/or homeownership simultaneously.

Research limitations – This study only examined 25 women's experiences in one location. These findings can only be generalized to low-income women of color in this study.

Originality/value – This study addresses the gaps in existing literature about low-income women's journeys toward economic self-sufficiency, and highlights that many women have goals of homeownership as well. Data analyzed here also illustrated the complex nature of barriers.

Purpose – In this chapter I unpack the public workforce system, with a gender lens, to detail and assess its ability to provide job training and education to single mothers. Based on that analysis, I suggest strategies to develop job training policy that attends to the needs of single, working, poor mothers, and can help provide them with the education and skills training to raise themselves and their families out of poverty.

Methodology – Analytical review of existing policy and research.

Findings – With 1996 welfare reform, the United States “reformed” welfare policy so that recipients would be immediately attached to the labor market, and have a specified lifetime limit to receive public assistance. As a result, millions of single mothers are now working, but still poor. A companion piece of legislation to welfare, and what is the country's federal employment and training legislation – the Workforce Investment Act – does not provide single mothers with the human capital skills to escape poverty. The United States need a job training policy that actually does provide single mothers with routes out of low-wage work and includes attention to gender in constructing and implementing that policy.

Practical implications – The chapter provides recommendations to craft workforce policy in ways that will help women attain education and training in ways that acknowledge the complexity and structural constrains in their lives.

Value of chapter – The chapter presents a new vision for workforce development policy that takes into account gender and women's lived experiences.

Purpose – Interest in work/family management among professors has lead to a plethora of research about female professors with children. Very little research exists about professors who are fathers. What does exist is comparative in nature. In this chapter, the author takes an in-depth look at such men's work/family management.

Methodology/approach – This chapter presents research from a qualitative study with 25 fathers who are untenured tenure track assistant professors at research universities.

Findings – Most men state a commitment to and valuing of family above all else. Yet the two fatherhood ideologies of breadwinning and involved fatherhood privilege these men by allowing them substantial flexibility in their day-to-day lives and an affirmation of masculinity. At the same time, many struggle to minimize their work involvement to be involved with the day-to-day care of their children.

Originality/value of chapter – This study demonstrates how prevailing ideologies about fatherhood allow men a structural double privilege when constructing their work and family lives.

Purpose – Since the 1970s, with the end of dictatorship and accession to membership of the European Union, women's status and social image have dramatically changed in Greece. The chapter investigates the extent to which a space for women's leisure has evolved in Greece in the last years. Indeed, leisure time has been widely seen as a modern social temporality where processes of individuation, cultural participation, and appropriation intersect. The purpose of the research is to investigate not only the uses and meanings of leisure by working, married women, but also their desires, aims, and attitudes regarding this social temporality.

Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative research methodology is employed involving semistructured interviews with 40 women living and working in Athens.

Findings – The findings of the study show evidence of the growing importance for Greek women of leisure time as an opportunity for more autonomy and independence in the mid of various social, economic, and familial constraints. Leisure activities, especially in the public sphere, are increasingly demanded by women as a right to “a time of one's own” distinct from family leisure. Within this framework, leisure activities become a source of transformations, especially in the familial life, as new values and lifestyles emerge from the sphere of free time forming new subjectivities. Thus, leisure time represents a base from which many Greek women fight against traditional stereotypes and roles daring to confront a male dominated society in economic, political, informational, and scientific spheres.

Research limitations/implications – The social homogeneity as well as the small size of the sample do not allow for wider generalizations.

Originality/value – The chapter discusses a largely neglected aspect of women's everyday lives in Greece. It analyses the gendered nature of leisure and offers insights on its significance for women's individuality and recognition in Greece.

Purpose – The purpose of this exploratory research study was to bring the experiences of women in contact sport to the forefront of the discussion of gender and sport. The findings that I present here focus on the unique group of six female martial artists between the ages of 40 and 44 and the similarities and differences that emerged in comparison with the younger group of female rugby players and martial artists.

Methodology – A Standpoint Feminist approach was used through in-depth interviewing in a nonprobability purposive sample. The sample consisted of 15 female rugby players and 15 female martial artists.

Findings – In many ways, women in the younger and older groups have similar perceptions about the body and femininity. However, age may produce different perceptions about femininity in terms of gendered life stages. Age also appears to influence women's perceptions about femininity being an issue for athletes. In terms of the body, several of the women in the older group did begin comparing their older body to their younger body, although all mentioned weight.

Limitations – The research concentrated on only two contact sports, future research should be expanded. In addition, only 30 participants were interviewed in Canada. Future research should include a larger number of participants in an international sporting environment. This would increase generalizability.

Originality – This research presents an opportunity to explore age differences in sporting experiences, a topic whose coverage is limited in the literature.

Purpose – This article examines the relationship between strategic sports metaphors, such as “slam dunk” and “trash talk,” and white middle-class heterosexual masculine embodiment in competitive work environments. Competitive organizations, like sports arenas are contested spaces, and in these environments employees, like athletes, work to “position” themselves to maximize their chances of winning valuable projects and clients from other employees and competing companies.

Value of chapter – Unlike previous research which finds that men's use of sports at work is primarily a feature of male networks and socializing, the argument presented here is that sports tropes are used and enacted by men to structure the production process, including intra- and inter-organizational business meetings, client projects, and committee work. Sports references are also used to construct hegemonic masculinity at work, which results in women, gays and black men being constructed as inferior.

Research implications – The issues raised in this chapter will be useful for empirical studies that examine the relationship between the importance of sports at work, and whether groups such as women, gay men and lesbians, the disabled, older, and overweight business professionals identify with sports and whether this destabilizes assumptions of embodied heterosexual able-bodied male superiority.

Approach – The data used in this analysis draw upon the my background as a Division I collegiate basketball player and 10 years of experience and observations as a marketing professional and business executive in the financial services industry in the United States.

Purpose – This chapter analyzes the ways that gender expectations shape the process of ethnic Jewish identity construction.

Methodology – I spent approximately 18 months conducting participant-observation with Shalom, an independent social group comprised of young adult (primarily secular) Jews, whose mission was to facilitate a “cohesive Jewish community.” I then conducted 25 in-depth interviews with group members.

Findings – My data suggest that Shalom's negotiation of Jewish identity was actually a negotiation of Jewish male identity and Jewish female identity, with the assumption of heterosexuality in both constructs. Often using language reflecting gender-coded anti-Semitic stereotypes, members of Shalom constructed Jewish identity in ways intimately intertwined with their perceptions of “typical” Jewish men and “typical” Jewish women.

Research limitations/implications – Further empirical studies of the gendered construction of ethnic identity in the United States (particularly among more recent “white” immigrant groups like Greeks, Eastern Europeans, and Middle Easterners) could help illuminate the ways gender concerns influence efforts to move to the cultural center by those situated at the cultural margins.

Originality/value of chapter – Published accounts of the intersectionality of identities have been either largely theoretical in nature or comprised of personal identity narratives. However, there has been little systematic, empirical study of the interactional processes that shape the identities produced through the simultaneous doing of both gender and race/ethnicity.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to analyze how young women from diverse national backgrounds adopt or resist feminist identities. This research is founded on three questions. First, what role does feminism play in the lives of young women from varying geographical and cultural locations? Second, how do media represent and shape understandings of feminism and enactments of femininity? Third, what is the interplay between the perceived relevance of feminism and focus on heterosexual partnering?

Methodology/approach – The research is based on semistructured individual interviews with 13 women. The theoretical framework is based on social movements, feminist, and postfeminist literature.

Findings – I found that the women adhered to media-fabricated stereotypes of feminists such as bra burners, and that despite their differing cultural backgrounds, they shared strikingly similar understandings of feminism. When asked questions about the film Bridget Jones's Diary, many of the women were conflicted with a simultaneous desire for independence and a yearning for traditional heterosexual relationships. The tensions surrounding tradition and modernity, coupled with the perception that feminism is the purview of lesbians resulted in many of them resisting feminist identities.

Originality/value of chapter – This chapter highlights the complexities and contradictions exhibited by young women negotiating feminist identities. It demonstrates how difficult it is for feminism to change with respect to broader shifts in social life when it is saddled with such monolithic and static stereotypes. We must strongly consider the future of feminism if young women fail to see its relevance to their lives.

Purpose – Recent theoretical analyses examining the intersection of race, class, and gender have resulted in exciting new epistemological frameworks in the social sciences. However, feminist researchers have yet to articulate concrete strategies for capturing this intersectionality empirically.

Methodology – On the basis of ethnographic research conducted in Cuba, we build on previous feminist epistemological insights and begin to develop methodological strategies that can be used to capture the intersection of race, class, and gender in the context of cross-cultural research.

Findings – The major contribution of our work is the articulation of theoretical insights into methodological guidelines that can guide research both inside the United States, the site where much of this theorizing takes place, and beyond our borders.

Research limitations – The primary limitation of our research is the lack of collaboration with Cuban researchers. Given the political rancor between the United States and Cuba, and limitations on their academic freedom, is difficult to work with Cuban scholars without compromising their security. Cuban scholars who are critical of the state are fearful of potential reprisals.

Originality – Nonetheless, our work provides a unique analysis of how to capture the intersection of race, class, and gender empirically from a cross-cultural perspective.

About the authors

Pages 381-387
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Desiré J. M. Anastasia received her PhD in sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, in September 2008. Before attaining her doctoral degree, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Sciences: Law & Society from Michigan State University in East Lansing in December 1999, and her Master of Liberal Arts in Women's Studies from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti in August 2001. Her areas of specialization include sociology of the body, body modification, gender inequality, domestic violence and sexual assault, social control, deviance, feminist theory, and feminist research methods. She has taught Women's Studies courses at both Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and San Diego State University as well as Sociology courses at both Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and the University of San Diego. In addition to her sociological and phenomenological dissertation on extensively tattooed women, her research has included an analysis of theoretical perspectives on same-sex domestic violence as well as female violence against men, a statistical analysis of survivors of domestic violence in San Diego County, and content analyses of educational television programs on tattoos.

DOI
10.1108/S1529-2126(2010)14
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Gender Research
Editor
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-84950-944-2
eISBN
978-1-84950-945-9
Book series ISSN
1529-2126