Laura Hurd Clarke
In this chapter, the author considers some of the theoretical and methodological conundrums that she encountered in her qualitative research that has focused on later life experiences of the aging body as a site of inequality. Western culture is replete with deeply entrenched ageist stereotypes, which position old bodies as inherently asexual, dependent, frail, obsolete, senile, unproductive, and undesirable. Negative cultural constructions of old bodies are further reflected in and buttressed by masculinity and femininity ideals as well as societal assumptions concerning personal responsibility for health. Collectively, these cultural norms shape research in powerful ways as they lead to the avoidance of certain topics, taken-for-granted assumptions that are difficult to elicit or interrogate, and complex power dynamics between researchers and study participants. Reflecting on the intricacies of researching later life body image and embodiment, I offer some suggestions about how the challenges might be reframed as opportunities.
Martin Fieder and Susanne Huber
This chapter discusses, from an evolutionary standpoint, crucial factors influencing human reproduction. It emphasizes the importance of social status and homogamy on the level of the individual and raises the question how genetics and also epigenetics may contribute to explain human mate choice and fertility patterns. The chapter discusses the differential association of status with fertility for men and women, evolutionary reasons for the prevalence of homogamy along cultural traits and considers, on the level of genetics, the interplay of inbreeding and outbreeding. The role of mutations due to paternal age for human mate choice is debated. Finally, the chapter discusses the effects of early life conditions on later reproduction and also the role of epigenetics as a potential underlying mechanism. It is concluded that an evolutionary perspective helps explain reproductive patterns in modern humans and may thus make a valuable contribution in the assessment of urgent contemporary problems.
During the past century, social scientists have documented many cross-cultural sex differences in personality and behavior, quite a few of which now appear to be found in all human societies. However, contrary to most scientists’ expectations, these so-called universal sex differences have been shown to be more pronounced in Western industrial societies than in most non-Western developing societies. This chapter briefly reviews the evidence bearing on these findings and offers a biologically based theory that could help shed light on why cross-cultural sex differences exist. The following hypothesis is offered: The expression of many genes influencing sexually dimorphic traits is more likely among descendants of couples who are least closely related to one another. If so, societies in which out-marriage is normative (i.e., Western industrial countries) will exhibit a stronger expression of genes for sexually dimorphic traits compared to societies in which consanguineal marriages are common.
This chapter unpacks the multiple definitions of fashion as social process, status dynamic, practice, and industry. The chapter begins with an overview of the historical emergence and spread of fashion, mapping the changing associations of fashion from frivolity and femininity to major global industry and urban branding mechanism. To understand fashion as simultaneously a concept, behavior, and market, the chapter employs a gendered lens. Gender, as well as class, is central to understanding fashion from both lenses of consumption and production, illustrated with two cases of gendered fashion labor: women fashion models and their paradoxical wage gaps, and women workers in the garment industry.
Studies on the development of fat stigma in the United States often consider gender, but not race. This chapter adds to the literature on the significance of race in the propagation of fat phobia. I investigate representations of voluptuousness among “white” Anglo-Saxon and German women, as well as “black” Irish women between 1830 and 1890—a time period during which the value of a curvy physique was hotly contested—performing a discourse analysis of thirty-three articles from top newspapers and magazines. I found that the rounded forms of Anglo-Saxon and German women were generally praised as signs of health and beauty. The fat Irish, by contrast, were depicted as grotesque. Building on the work of Stuart Hall, I conclude that fat was a “floating signifier” of race and national belonging. That is, rather than being universally lauded or condemned, the value attached to fatness was related to the race of its possessor.
This chapter examines the relationship between the body, globalization, and the media. It discusses how the female body is subjected to being “played” in the global media and what that reveals of gender and minority–majority relationships and of global aims and fears. The cases presented in this chapter serve as samples of “sexy violence” imagery that cannot be thoroughly explained by theories of objectification, liberation, or commodification of women but, rather, are considered in reference to the socially constitutive role of globalization. Although the female body may function to discursively dissolve, enforce, or alleviate conflicts embedded in the processes and discourses of globalization, the preoccupation with “sexy violence” imagery in the global media does not necessarily offer a solution to global concerns but, rather, plays out the fears, aims, and anxieties about globalization through violence and aggression.
Valentine M. Moghadam
In highlighting the contributions that feminist scholars have made to global studies in recent decades, this chapter focuses on three prominent areas of research: the gendered nature of globalization; violence against women, armed conflict, and the interstate system; and women’s, feminist, and gendered social movements. These three areas of research are interconnected, in that “globalization-from-above” generates or exacerbates inequalities, tensions, and conflicts, whereas social movements are manifestations of “globalization-from-below.” The overview of feminist perspectives on, and critiques of, globalization and gender-based violence is accompanied by a discussion of how women’s movements, especially feminist movements, have responded to global economic and political developments and how the appropriation of feminist language for the promotion of the global neoliberal agenda has raised objections.
Janet C. Gornick and Natascia Boeri
This article examines the link between gender and poverty. It begins with a discussion of selected theoretical perspectives that have informed the study of poverty, with emphasis on economic insufficiency, capabilities deprivation, and social exclusion as well as the feminization of poverty. It then considers key contributions to the empirical literature on poverty and gender, focusing on interdisciplinary studies that define poverty based on economic resources. It also reviews selected empirical results from a group of twenty-six high- and middle-income countries, based on data from the Luxembourg Income Study Database. More specifically, it explores the likelihood that women and men live in poor households, and how that likelihood varies by family structure and the strength of their attachment to the labor market. Finally, it explains how the empirical results and the main findings from the literature review contribute to the challenge of evaluating the connection between gender and poverty.
This chapter discusses social exclusion in European migration from a gendered and historical perspective. It discusses how from this perspective the idea of a crisis in migration was repeatedly constructed. Gender is used in this chapter in a dual way: attention is paid to differences between men and women in (refugee) migration, and to differences between men and women as advocates and claim makers for migrant rights. There is a dilemma—recognized mostly for recent decades—that on the one hand refugee women can be used to generate empathy, and thus support. On the other hand, emphasis on women as victims forces them into a victimhood role and leaves them without agency. This dilemma played itself out throughout the twentieth century. It led to saving the victims, but not to solving the problem. It fortified rather than weakened the idea of a crisis.
This chapter discusses the claim that radical right parties are typically led and supported by men, and explores various aspects of gender bias as they relate to radical right parties and support for these parties. The first section considers the so-called gender gap in radical right voting, with women being significantly underrepresented among the radical right electorate compared with men. The second section examines how explanations for radical right voting behavior may differ between women and men. Whereas the majority of the research on radical right voting has taken for granted that women and men behave similarly, it shows that the limited available research does indicate some gender differences in the explanations for supporting a radical right party. The final section outlines some ideas for further research and the challenges that lie ahead for scholarship on gender and the radical right.