Final Paper - Gender and Society Beisel/Brewster Tossing...

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Gender and Society Beisel/Brewster Tossing Pebbles Upon A Mesa: The Building of a Gender Revolution In the last several decades, the revolution towards gender equality seems to have stalled into a plateau of sorts. This “stalled revolution”, a phrase coined by Hochschild in her book The Second Shift , is aptly captured by the current race for 2008 presidency. Although on the surface, the tight presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seems to be the very image of both racial and gender movements’ success, the actuality of Clinton’s struggles to overcome her image as a woman and assert control as commander-in-chief sadly proves otherwise. Ironically, in trying to emulate a masculine posture, she is often criticized as emotionless or robotic; For Clinton, stepping outside the bounds of her gender role is walking a slight political tightrope which has repercussions that the other candidates do not experience. The importance of her gender, then, can be seen as a measure of the lack of progress we have made towards gender equality. Today, increasing amounts of women experience his juggling of career and family within their gender roles as well, albeit in a less glamorous fashion, and the conflicts stemming from the “stalled revolution” are directly proportional. In revisiting Anne Machung’s 1985 study “Talking Career, Thinking Job: Gender Differences In Career And Family Expectations Of Berkeley Seniors”, we can find the correlation between gender and future expectations. Machung interviewed thirty graduating seniors at UC Berkeley about their future career and family ambitions. Of the thirty interviewed, seventeen were men, half had no religious affiliation,
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eighteen were liberal, progressive, or moderates, and two-thirds came from households with both parents present. The median family income of the sample surveyed was about $40,000. The purpose of Machung’s study was to explore the effect that the changing social climate towards women’s education and career had on both women and men’s future familial and career expectations. She asks, “How do these students…anticipate combining a career with raising children? What potential conflicts do they foresee between work and family?. ..What difference, if any, does gender make in their visions of the future?” (Machung 37). The findings noted that while both men and women interviewed were highly career-oriented and planned to enroll in graduate school right after or shortly after college, the men interviewed were more likely to know specifics about the exact job that they wanted or the entry-level salary. As Machung notes, many of the men interviewed were already in the process of “visualizing where they will work or how their jobs will be structured” (Machung 40). Money was cited as a primary reason for taking a job. On the other hand, the women interviewed were more likely to cite self-fulfillment or
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course SOC 216 taught by Professor Beisel during the Fall '08 term at Northwestern.

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Final Paper - Gender and Society Beisel/Brewster Tossing...

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