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.
Organ donation and transplantation is a largely successful treatment used to replace failing organs. However, donation rates have never met the demand for transplantable organs. Biomedical researchers are exploring alternative sources from nonhuman animal donors such as pigs; improved biotechnological solutions such as total artificial hearts; and 3D printed organs developed from the recipient’s own cells. These solutions are in various stages of development, and they may or may not prove viable in terms of cost, functionality, and/or compatibility with the recipient’s body. In this chapter, I ask not about the viability of these proposed solutions, but rather, about the acceptability of the various technologies to potential recipients. Simply put: were these organ transplant alternatives to become available, would patients agree to them? Analyzing answers from focus group interviews and surveys, I use the responses to show that individuals imagine these various technologies as familiar or foreign, self or other, clean or dirty, and so on. People envisage that using different materials will certainly affect their bodies but also their subjectivities. New biotechnologies are raising questions about altering subjectivity through body modification, and the answers to these questions demonstrate ambiguity.
Cary Gabriel Costello
Perceived as natural and universal, the framing of sex and gender as binaries is in fact a cultural ideology. The empirical reality is that sex is a spectrum, manifesting in a wide array of sex variance, some of it formally categorized as intersex by scientists and doctors, and some not. This article gives an overview of how different societies have organized sex and gender into three, four, or more categories, and of the imposition of binary sex/gender as part of the European colonialist project. It then presents case histories examining four transgender and/or intersex individuals in the contemporary context, illustrating how individuals negotiate, exploit, or subvert binary sex/gender ideologies in conceptualizing physical sex variance and gender transition.
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.
Erynn Masi de Casanova
What are the most important patterns and trends in gender and work in Latin America? How does gender matter for people’s experiences of work? Drawing on evidence from recent research, this chapter addresses these questions. Women’s share of employment has increased substantially since the middle of the twentieth century, yet women workers confront several sources of inequality that limit paid employment’s potentially positive effects. Gender inequality in the labor force is maintained through occupational segregation, in which men and women are funneled into different jobs; through women’s greater probability to work in informal employment; and through the unequal share of unpaid work in the home. Tracing macro-level (regional and national) trends while also attending to experiences of workers, the chapter provides an overview of the major issues in the study of gender and work in Latin America today.
Susan Dobscha and Gry Høngsmark Knudsen
This chapter argues that marketing naively adopts gender theories from other fields that perpetuate outdated stereotypes. This is demonstrated by means of an existing example that shows how Jung’s archetypes leads to sexist advertising practices. The authors argue that a similar process will happen within consumption studies’ borrowing of evolutionary psychology. To counter this process, the authors suggest that researchers and educators need to interrupt the inertia of the wheel of marketing knowledge by applying more critical perspectives; adopting theories from other fields including the critical perspectives from these fields; publishing more studies on gender in marketing; learning from practitioners when they attempt to promote new perspectives on gender; and finally updating gender perspectives in textbooks to better educate future marketers and avoid propagation of outdated and negative stereotypes of gender.
It has been more than forty years since the first international meeting on “Women in the Migration Process” was held in Mexico City in 1974. Since then, a voluminous academic production has emerged to trace the relationship between migration and gender inequalities in Latin America and institutionalize this nascent academic field. Important contributions in this field have shed light on women in migratory processes, demystified the predominantly associational character of female migration, stressed the heterogeneity of women’s journeys, challenged the previously held consensus on migration as a mechanism of female empowering, and, finally, problematized variables such as class, ethnic, and generational distinctions in nonlinear reciprocal relations. Using a mixed-methods approach, this chapter includes a selection of the most representative work in this field, then presents more recent research on migration and gender in the region produced from 2006 to 2018.
This chapter examines the experiences of women arriving in Europe in the context of the current refugee ‘crisis.’ Based on empirical research in various sites in the European Union (including Greece, Serbia, France, and Germany), the chapter explores the various sources and types of insecurity faced by women, and also the ways in which the label of ‘vulnerability’ can be used strategically to advance migration strategies. The chapter explores ways in which national and EU level policies have impacted women’s experiences of migration, and the ways in which the crisis labeling and securitization of migration to the EU have had gendered impacts on refugees themselves.
This chapter considers the cultural and organizational expenditure of women’s labor that masculinizes beauty products, services, spaces, and experiences. Drawing from 9 months of ethnographic observations at two high-service men’s salons—Adonis and The Executive—and fifty interviews with the salons’ employees and clients, the author shows how women bear the burden of making beauty a socially enhancing practice for heterosexual men. Men sitting at the nexus of race, class, and sexual privilege are remade rather than compromised at Adonis and The Executive. The author moves the conversation away from questions focused solely on the clients’ experiences to the labor that makes their consumption possible. This helps to explain how privilege is maintained through everyday organizations, interpersonal interactions, and embodied practices; and how spaces and practices that appear to blur the gender binary may actually reinforce the status quo. The emotional labor especially women beauty workers do, the touching rules by which they are obliged to operate, and the educational work they do as experts to make men competent beauty consumers all pillar men’s access to women’s bodies, sexualities, and emotions.
Kristin Liv Rauch and Rosemary L. Hopcroft
This chapter presents an evolutionary theory of racial discrimination, human sociosexual dominance theory. This theory is built on the social dominance theory of Sidanius and colleagues, who note that sexually selected predispositions can account for the disproportionate experience of prejudice and discrimination by minority males, not minority females. This chapter goes beyond Sidanius and others by emphasizing that the operation of these evolved predispositions continues to limit mating opportunities for minority group males. The chapter also stresses how coalitions and culture are used as tools in this process. Examples pertaining to race relations in the United States in both the recent past and the present are presented to illustrate the utility of this biocultural framework.
Inga K. Thiemann
Human trafficking is considered one of the key humanitarian crises of our time. Public opinion and policymakers alike call for meaningful responses to human trafficking and modern slavery as criminal law problems, which can be remedied through tougher border controls. This chapter argues that human trafficking cannot be solved through border-focused anti-immigration measures, but needs to be approached as a gendered migration problem, which requires greater protections for vulnerable workers, particularly for female workers in private households and in the sex industry. Therefore, this chapter discusses root causes of human trafficking and migrants’ exploitability in gendered immigration and emigration policies, as well as in insufficient labor protections for vulnerable workers. In doing so, it also challenges the role of states in creating migrants’ precarious statuses through insufficient safe migration routes and labor protections in destination countries.
Cora Fernández Anderson
This chapter provides an overview of women’s movements in Latin America, from their early emergence at the turn of the twentieth century until today, as well as of the scholarly discussions that followed. The chapter identifies the similarities and differences with mobilizations of women in industrialized northern countries while also highlighting the contributions of Latin American scholars and experiences to the analysis of women’s movements. It explores the national, regional, and international contexts that influenced women’s mobilization throughout the years and discusses the internal tensions around goals and strategies among women’s organizations. It argues that Latin American women’s movements have been behind significant political and cultural transformations. Through the struggles for women’s suffrage, labor rights, human rights accountability, democratization, equal parental rights, indigenous rights, sexual and reproductive rights, and against sexual violence, women have contributed to the democratization of families, societies, and nations.