The Meaning of Fatherhood

"...In Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas's analysis of 165 in-depth interviews with single mothers in the same Philadelphia and Camden communities from which we drew many of our fathers, the women had little motivation to stave off early childbearing, as young women in this environs see children as their chief source of meaning and identity,... Continue Reading →

The Elusive Traditional Family

“Whenever people propose that we go back to the traditional family, I always suggest that they pick a ballpark date for the family they have in mind. Once pinned down, they are invariably unwilling to accept the package deal that comes with their chosen model. Some people, for example, admire the discipline of colonial families,... Continue Reading →

“It was really a book about scared men who were afraid of women.”

“A decade ago, Strauss was a notorious figure: the guy who wrote that book The Game, the one about seduction, which seemed to endorse all manner of queasy notions about what it was OK for men to do on the pull. The Game promised to teach its readers how to become better “pick-up artists,” and in... Continue Reading →

Bringing Gender into the Equation of Domestic Violence

“What is missing, oddly, from these claims of gender symmetry is an analysis of gender. By this, I mean more than simply a tallying up of which biological sex is more likely to be perpetrator or victim. I mean an analysis that explicitly underscores the ways in which gender identities and gender ideologies are embodied... Continue Reading →

The Way We Wish We Were: Defining the Family Crisis

“Like most visions of a “golden age,” the “traditional family” my students describe evaporates on closer examination. It is an ahistorical amalgam of structures, values, and behaviors that never co-existed in the same time and place. The notion that traditional families fostered intense intimacy between husbands and wives while creating mothers who were totally available... Continue Reading →

Homophobia Is Still Prevalent: Evaluating the Validity of Inclusive Masculinity

“Finally, McCormack’s (2012, 61) largely unqualified disdain for Stonewall[1] aside, what larger surveys show is that there are still high rates of assault and abuse targeted at lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB)-identifying individuals, which do not paint the same optimistic picture. In 2012, a report conducted by the UK Home Office, looking specifically at hate... Continue Reading →

Neither justice nor protection

‘‘‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ is probably one of the most frequently asked questions for those who witness a woman suffering domestic violence. Implicit in this question is frustration and mystification that women are failing to ‘look after themselves’, and often their children, by remaining caught in a web of violence and abuse. This individualizing discourse places the responsibility on the... Continue Reading →

Seduction

“The patterns of intimate relationality enumerated in the seduction industry [or "pick-up artistry"], and the willingness with which many men buy into them, further evidence the production of distinctly antisocial forms of sociality and subjectivity within neoliberalism. Exacerbating this situation are postfeminist imperatives of ‘liberation’ and ‘empowerment’ which imbue women with uncompromising agency in sex... Continue Reading →

“They just don’t get it.”

“One of the ways in which these dualities affect people’s lives is through the (often unconscious) ideology, imagery, and associations that mediate our perceptions of and relations with each other. Let me provide a concrete, contemporary example here. The fall and winter of 1991-92 brought several dramatic and controversial rape and sexual-harassment cases to the... Continue Reading →

The Missing Feminist Revolution in Sociology: Functionalist Co-optation

"In the United States the sociological study of gender originated in functionalist family sociology and has been deeply shaped by the concepts developed by Talcott Parsons. [...] Early on, contemporary feminists recognized the influence and limitations of functionalism as a framework for understanding gender. Several of the founding works of the contemporary women's movement criticized Parsons... Continue Reading →

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