Discourses on Gender and Sexual Inequality: Volume 23

Cover of Discourses on Gender and Sexual Inequality

The Legacy of Sandra L. Bem

Subject:

Table of contents

(10 chapters)

Prelims

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Purpose

This chapter uses Sandra Bem’s scholarship to demonstrate the intersections between developmental and social psychological approaches to understanding masculinity and femininity.

Methodology/approach

To highlight Sandra Bem’s contributions, we examined masculinity and femininity, broadly defined, from a socio-developmental theoretical perspective, conceptualizing gender development as embedded within a socio-historical context.

Findings

Our review of the literature illustrates that both age and social contextual features influence femininity and masculinity and more specifically that in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, femininity and masculinity vary depending on the sex (same- vs. other-sex) of those in the social context. Along with demonstrating the current utility and extensions of Sandra Bem’s research, we also emphasize the feminist and social justice applications of her body of work.

Research limitations

Weaknesses in the existing methodology where instruments are designed based on the assumption that masculinity and femininity are stable traits rather than characteristics that vary are discussed. Limitations to research focused on either social or developmental perspectives are highlighted and suggestions for a more integrative approach are provided.

Originality/value

Similar to how Sandra Bem’s work showed that sex and gender need not be linked, research and theory on the developmental and contextual specificity of gender also demonstrate that there is freedom in the expression of gender.

Purpose

This chapter explores the influences of Vietnamese culture coupled with national policies on gender equality on academic women’s advancement into senior leadership positions.

Methodology/approach

In-depth interviews with 20 mid-level women leaders and five top-level leaders were conducted at four different higher education institutions in the Mekong Delta (MD) in southern Vietnam. In addition, document analysis and participant observations contributed to the overall analysis, which allowed for the cross-check of data from multiple sources to investigate the participants’ understanding, perception, conceptualization, and interpretation of their experiences of advancing in their careers.

Findings

Findings show that there is a large gap between the policies and gender practices. Gender equality does not exist in reality, regardless of tremendous efforts from the Vietnamese government and policy makers to ensure it in all spheres of life. Additionally, patriarchal hierarchy remains dominant in the institutional administrative system, and Vietnamese Confucian ideology continues to confine and adversely affect both men’s and women’s perceptions of women’s social roles, status, and forms of social participation. Nevertheless, academic women still develop professionally and find their own ways to advance to a few key leadership positions at their institutions.

Research limitations

The sample of this study is limited to academic women in the MD in Vietnam. Future research should include more women and universities and colleges, from not only the southern part but also other regions of Vietnam. Further, international and comparative studies should be conducted to see differences in experiences of academic women from several Southeast Asian countries as they move up their career ladder.

Originality/value

Because there have not been any empirical studies about women and leadership in academia in the MD, this study serves as a resource and foundation for improving gender policies and practices as well as future research on this topic and gender issues of colleges and universities in Vietnam.

Purpose

This qualitative study explores college students’ gender schemas. Sandra Bem’s pioneering work on sex roles and gender schemata are highlighted.

Methodology/approach

Over 600 college students at a diverse southeastern university were asked to describe the advantages and disadvantages to men’s and women’s gender. Although the question was framed broadly, students devoted significant attention to issues surrounding work and family, highlighting the importance of these roles to their understanding of gender. Over 6,800 responses were coded in The Ethnograph software.

Findings

The results showed a gendered schema among these students, with gendered views of work and family, in which men are associated with work and women largely with family. Some racial patterns are also discussed.

Social implications

This chapter ends with a discussion on how the gender schemas expressed support and maintained a separation of work and family.

Purpose

There exist a number of approaches that attempt to explain the occupational choices of youth from different perspectives. The social cognitive theory and the self-efficacy approach, to name the most influential, emphasize the centrality of cognitive abilities of individuals in making a career choice, and look at professional orientation primarily through the lenses of micro factors. This chapter extends existing approaches by accentuating the importance of cultural traditions and stereotypes for occupational choices.

Methodology/approach

This chapter uses official statistical data ranging from the rise of the USSR to the present day. These have been collected by the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) and were partly retrieved from archives.

Findings

After a review of extant theoretical frames pertinent to career choices, this chapter suggests a theory of occupational choices through the lenses of gender, thus deploying Sandra L. Bem’s (1973, 1981) framework on gender schema. Proposing a theoretical model that links micro and macro factors, the chapter then demonstrates how the approach functions in the Russian post-socialist context.

Originality/value

The novelty consists of incorporation of sociocultural aspects of occupational choices, thus allowing a scope for comparative research. Additionally, the proposed model of gendered career choices can be employed for explaining differences within sexes. Besides, the model argues that not primarily intelligence but often external factors shape career choices.

Purpose

This study aims to further investigate the relationship between perceived adherence to gender norms and binge drinking in college students. Thus, researchers examined college students’ perceptions of adherence to masculine and feminine gender norms when gender and alcohol consumption of a vignette character were manipulated.

Methodology/approach

Undergraduate participants (N = 368) were randomly assigned to one of four vignette conditions: female moderate drinker, female binge drinker, male moderate drinker, male binge drinker and then surveyed regarding perceptions of the vignette character.

Findings

The results of this study indicate that there are significant relationships between the vignette character’s alcohol consumption and perceived adherence to feminine gender norms. The character’s gender, as well as the participant’s own alcohol consumption patterns, also related to perceived adherence to feminine gender norms.

Practical implications

College students’ perceptions of binge drinkers are influenced by gender norms, which has important implications for safe consumption of alcohol. When young men (or young women) are encouraged to drink to avoid appearing too feminine, negative consequences may be more likely. In this study, perceptions of the vignette character’s safety were also found to be related to alcohol consumption of the vignette character, as well as the alcohol consumption of the participant, suggesting that a heavy drinker might not show as much concern for another’s heavy consumption.

Purpose

This chapter explores factors presented in romance novels that reify gendered assumptions of masculinity and femininity to present readers with narratives that serve as powerful agents of socialization.

Methodology/approach

We conducted directed content analyses of over 180 mass-market romance novels published by Harlequin and Silhouette over an approximate 30-year period to ascertain common themes regarding gender polarization and gender schematicity in the maintenance of family and work.

Findings

Our review of this literature illuminates the assumption of “naturalized” gender roles for men and women in the construction and maintenance of marriage and the family, calling attention to the ways in which we remain constrained to polarized gender roles in the depiction of romantic encounters.

Research limitations

This study is limited to romance novels published prior to 2006, although we see replications of gender schematic narrative in current romance narratives featuring paranormal encounters (Twilight) and erotica (Fifty Shades of Grey).

Purpose

The following ethnographic study was conducted to better understand the site-specific, qualitative impact of organizational, taken-for-granted assumptions and practices regarding gender and family life in the reproduction of on-the-ground gender inequality. More specifically, this case study considers the consequences of organizational assumptions consistent with Bem’s (1993) three “lenses of gender” – androcentrism, essentialism, and polarization – on direct service provision for homeless clients in a small, faith-based, social service provider.

Methodology/approach

Interview and participant-observation data were gathered during time spent volunteering with Integrity Intervention (pseudonym): a small liberal Methodist outreach ministry for the homeless. Data collection was guided by the following question: How do Integrity Intervention’s cultural models (or “schemas”) for gender and family life shape the ways the organization becomes a gendered social space?

Findings

I find that expectations for client behavior were deeply gendered, in a manner consistent with the “lenses of gender.” Additionally, normative expectations for subordinate masculinities were also informed and crosscut by race and class marginalization. Ultimately, my findings suggest that the “lenses of gender” may be imbued with class and race-specific interpretive meaning. I delineate forms of site-specific gendered, racialized, and classed cultural schemata for understanding poverty and homelessness, and explain how they ultimately work together to preclude inclusive and gender-equitable service provision.

Limitations

This study is limited to providers and participants in one particular nonprofit organization.

Originality/value

The conclusions of the study bear implications for understanding the various forms through which gender inequality is reproduced – particularly in settings of faith-based social service provision.

About the Authors

Pages 159-161
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Index

Pages 163-167
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Cover of Discourses on Gender and Sexual Inequality
DOI
10.1108/S1529-2126201723
Publication date
2017-09-21
Book series
Advances in Gender Research
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78743-197-3
eISBN
978-1-78743-196-6
Book series ISSN
1529-2126