Women's Realities, Women's Choices An Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-02-06
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


This landmark text introduces readers to the field of women's studies by analyzing the contradictions between social and cultural "givens" and the realities that women face in society. Written collectively by nine authors from various disciplines, Women's Realities, Women's Choices, Fourth
Edition, has been updated to incorporate the latest research and statistics in the field. Covering the most recent developments in politics, labor, family life, religion, and culture, the book also features extensive research on relevant social issues, such as the impact of the post-Soviet world on
women's lives, the experience of homosexuality in family life, and the effects of economic globalization on women worldwide. Examining women as individuals, as family members, and as a force in the greater social fabric, Women's Realities, Women's Choices remains the most timely, comprehensive, and
compelling introduction to the field of women's studies.

New to This Edition

* An updated conceptual organization
* A focus on transnational feminism and globalization
* An entire chapter devoted to intersectionality and differences among women
* Updates to every chapter, reflecting changes in the field and in the world

Author Biography

The Hunter College Women's Studies Collective is made up of nine authors from various disciplines, all affiliated with Hunter's Women's Studies Department. The authors are: Linda Alcoff, Jacqueline Nassy Brown, Sarah Chinn, Florence Denmark, Dorothy O. Helly, Shirley Hune, Rupal Oza, Sarah B. Pomeroy, and Carolyn Somerville.

Table of Contents

Each chapter ends with a Summary, Discussion Questions, and Recommended Readings.

Boxes and Tables
Foreword to the Fourth Edition
The Authors
Introduction: Why Women's Studies?
Adding to our Knowledge About Humans
Changing Views of Women and Men
Gender Now
History of Women's Studies
The U.S. Women's Movement: a Brief History
How This Book Presents Women's Studies

PART I: Defining Women and Gender

1. Cultural Representations of Women
Culture, Representation, and Gender
Experience, Perception, and the Construction of Reality
The Construction of Gender in Culture and in Ourselves
Language as a Cultural System
The Relationship Between Language and Culture
Changes in Language
Enduring Symbols of Women
Images of Women in Mythical and Religious Texts
Changing Representations of Women's Sexuality
The "Sexual Revolution" and its Legacies
Women's Sexuality in Recent Popular Culture
Can We Change Reality by Changing Images?
Reshaping Representation
Women's Search for Self Through Art
Historical Perspective.
Women's Search for Self Through Literature
Women as Heroes
Telling Other Stories
Writing as Political Activism
Representation in the Internet Age
Gender in Film: A Case Study

2. Ideas and Theories about Women and Gender
Why Ideas and Theories Are Important
Ancient and Early Modern Ideas about Women and Gender
Classical Liberalism and Feminism
Mill and Taylor
Contemporary Liberal Feminism
Socialism and Feminism
Marx and Engels
Contemporary Socialist Feminism
Simone de Beauvoir
Woman as "Object"
Woman as "Other"
Contemporary Feminist Debates
Radical Feminism and Cultural Feminism
Black Feminism
Postmodern Feminism
Psychoanalytic Feminism
Transnational feminism
Contemporary Feminist Philosophy
Rethinking "Knowledge" and Values of Inquiry
The Ethics of Care
The Nature of Gender

3. Intersectionality
Sexism and Racism
Sexism and Heterosexism
Historical Foundations of Intersectionality
Anna Julia Cooper
Angela Davis
Audre Lorde
Combahee River Collective
Gloria AnzaldĂșa
Intersectional Approaches to Feminist Activism
Shifting Policy Demands
Global Intersections
Intersectional Approaches to Feminist Scholarship
Intersectional Identities
Research Methods
Debates over Intersectionality

4. Learning, Making, and Doing Gender
What Is Gender?
Sex Versus Gender
Gender Expression
Traditional Explanations for Gender Differences
Anatomical and Evolutionary Differences
Psychoanalytic Theory
Neurobiological and Hormonal Explanations
Feminist Critiques of Theories of Gender
Feminist Psychoanalysis
The Importance of Culture
The Importance of Relatedness
Rethinking Biology
How Do We Learn Gender?
Cognitive-Developmental Theory
Social Learning Theory
Gender Schema Theory
Social Interactions and Gender Roles
Performativity Theory
How Gender is Enforced
Alternative Gender Arrangements
Historical Challenges to Gender
Gender Outside the Binary

5. Gender and the Politics of The Body
Feminism and the Body
Mind/Body Dualism
The Body as Natural
The Nature of Sex Differences
The Gendered Brain
The Sexed Body: Hormones, Chromosomes, and Genitalia
Gender and The Medicalization of the Body
Discourses of Sexuality
Feminist Philosophers and Anthropologists Rethink the Body
The Female Body on the World Stage: Two Case Studies
Bodies as Battlegrounds
Female Genital Cutting

PART II: Women's Relationships, Women's Selves

6. Families and Their Configurations
The Family as an Evolving Social Organization
The Nuclear and Extended Family
Conventional Marriage: Why Marry?
Whom to Marry?
The Traditional Marital Household
The Incorporated Wife
Children in the Family
Elders in the Family
Marriage and Gender Roles in the United States in a Historical Perspective
Extramarital Experiences
Alternatives to Conventional Marriage in the Past
Religious Communities
Laboring Communities
Utopian and Experimental Communities
Families in the Early Twenty-First Century
Changes in the Global South
Changes in the Global North
"New" Family Configurations
Single-Parent Families
Consensual Unions: Cohabitation, Domestic Partners
Multiracial Families
Families We Choose
Same-Sex Families
Visiting Unions, Living Apart Together
Transnational Families
Role Reversals
Choosing Not to Mother, Childless Couples
Women on Their Own

7. Mothers
Images of Mothers
Representations of Motherhood in the West
"The Happy Mother": A Western Image as Political Ideology
The Impact of Class, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States
Motherhood and the Media
Mothers Speak Out
Parental Behavior: "Instinct" and Culture
Motherhood: Ideology and Reality
The Assignment of Motherhood: Whose Interest Does It Serve?
The Cultural Shaping of Biological Events
Attitudes about Pregnancy
Childbirth: A Cultural or a Natural Event?
Breast-Feeding: Attitudes and Choices
Support Systems: Fathers, Women's Networks, and Institutionalized and Societal Support
Women's Networks, Community, and Institutionalized Support
Childrearing Experts
Choices and Control: The Politics of Motherhood
Whether, When, and How Often to Become a Mother
Control over Children
Working for Wages
"Unnatural" Mothers: Mothers Who Give Up Their Children
Women Other Than Birth Mothers Who Mother
Lesbian Co-mothers
Foster Mothers and Adoptive Mothers
8. Growing Up and Growing Older
Daughter in the Family
Female Infanticide and Neglect
The Value of Daughters
Naming the Daughter
Daughters' Work
Parental Relationships
Daughters and Mothers
Daughters and Fathers
Daughters in Varied Family Configurations
Sibling Relationships
Sisters as Opposites and Companions
Sister-Brother Relations
Sisters as Sources as Strength
Women Growing Older
The Double Standard of Aging
Life Events and Role Transitions
Midlife to Later Adulthood
Housing Transitions
Work Force Changes
The Sisterhood of Women

9. Women's Health
The Women's Health Movement
Redefining and Reframing Health
Why "Women's" Health?
Health, Gender and Human Rights
Reforming the Health-Care System
Uncovering the Gender Dynamics of Western Medicine
Woman as Deviant
Woman as "the Weaker Sex."
The Gendered Profession of Medicine
The Medicalization of Life Processes
Menstruation to Menopause
Birth Control and Sterilization
Impact of Social and Cultural Disparities on Women's Health
Health Status and Risks
Racial/Ethnic Discrimination
Occupational Health Risks
Physical Abuse
Rape and PTSD
Women and Physical Health: Some Specific Concerns
Heart Disease
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Infections including HIV/AIDS
Alzheimer's Disease
Women and Mental Health
Gendered Differences
Homophobic Bias
Women as Special-Risk/Vulnerable Populations
Refugee Women
Women with Disabilities
Older Women
Incarcerated Women

PART III: Women in Society

10. Women and Education
Women's Choices, Women's Constraints
Men as the Measure of Knowledge
The Rise of Feminist Scholarship
Women's Choices, Women's Constraints
Education as a Contested Arena: Who Should Be Taught?
Gender, Educational Participation, and Illiteracy Globally
Women's Struggles for Formal Education in the Past
European Colonization and Women's Education
Women's Struggles for Education in the Developing World Today
Broadening U.S. Educational Participation: Racial Desegregation and Title IX
Affirmative Action and Diversity in Higher Education Globally
Education as a Contested Arena: What Should Be Taught?
Women's Traditional Knowledge
Formal Knowledge Defined by Men
The Goals of Women's Education Debated
The Debate in the United States
Schools as Socializers of Gender Inequities
Elementary Schools
Secondary Schools
Higher Education
Educational Institutions as Gendered Workplaces
Educational Barriers of Girls/Women in Diverse Communities in the Global North
Gender and Cultural Assimilation
Indigenous/Native Peoples' Experiences
African American Experiences
Immigrant Experiences
Multicultural Education/Ethnic Studies as Resistance
The Contemporary Struggle for Equal Access to Knowledge
Re-entry/Adult Women
Women: The New College Majority?
Is There a Male Crisis in Educational Access?
Transforming the Curriculum
Empowering Women Learners
Educational Achievements of Women's Colleges Debated
Women's Struggles to become Scientists
Women's and Gender Studies

11. Women and Religion
Religious Beliefs
What Is Religion?
Religion and Social Reform
Established Religions
Religions in Small-Scale Societies
World Religions
The Non-Religious
Origin Myths
Females in the Supernatural World
Immortal Women: Souls, Saints, and Ghosts
The Gender of God
Religion and Social Controls
Religion and the Family
Life-Cycle Rituals.
Sexual Controls.
Protection of Women
Beyond the Family
Women as Worshipers
Syncretistic and Evangelistic Religions
Women and Religious Movements
The Piety Movement
Varieties of "Fundamentalism" and Women's Human Rights
Secular conservatism
Women as Religious Leaders
Missionaries and Martyrs
Religious Rebels
Religious Expression
The Religious Experiences of Women
Women and Possession
Women and Religion in the United States
Leadership by Women
Protestant Denominations
Jewish Denominations
Feminist Contributions to Religious Change

12. The Labor of Women
Division of Labor by Gender
Maintenance of the Domestic Unit
Women's Work in the Marketplace
The Contribution of Women to Economic Development
The Domestic Mode of Production
Food Production
Exchange and Marketing
The Capitalist Mode of Production
Urbanization and Class Distinctions
Working for Wages: Its Organizational Prerequisites
Women's Work
Globalization and the Transformation of Work
The Politics of Work: Barriers and Strategies
Sexual and Gender Harassment
Social Support for Working Women
Laws Against Sexist Job Discrimination
Equal Pay-Comparable Worth
The Impact of the Women's Movement

13. Feminism and Politics
Feminism and Politics
Political Power
What Is Power?
Power and Authority
Types of Government
Women's Political Power in the Past
Patterns of Male Dominance
Women as Political Leaders
Recent Political Gains of Women in the United States
Political Gains of Women in Office Around the Globe
Do Women in Office Make a Difference?
Right-wing Women
Obstacles Facing Women in Politics
The 2008 and 2012 US Presidential Elections
Women as Citizens
The Struggle for the Vote
Equal Rights Amendment
Women and the Law
Women's Political Participation
Women and Peace Movements
Global Feminism and Human Rights

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