Feminism & Darwinian Revival Betty Friedan



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Feminism & Darwinian Revival

Betty Friedan

  • Through decades of social activism, strategic thinking and powerful writing, Friedan is one of contemporary society's most effective leaders.

Betty Friedan

  • Born on February 14, 1921 and died on February 14,2006 (on her 85th birthday, at her home in Washington)
  • Born and grew up in Illinois
  • Felt marginalized because she was Jewish in the Mid West

Background

  • Her father worked as a button seller, and later owned a jewelry shop. Her mother quit a job as a women's page editor for a newspaper when she became pregnant with Betty in order to become a housewife. Betty realized how frustrated her mother had been as a housewife when her mother took over the family shop after Betty's father fell ill. Her mother's new life outside the home seemed to be much more satisfying.

Her Life

  • Went to Smith College, where she felt completely liberated. She was a brilliant student who graduated summa cum laude in 1942.
  • She trained as a psychologist but never pursued a career in the field. When she wrote "The Feminine Mystique," she was a suburban housewife and mother who enhanced her husband's income by writing freelance articles for women's magazines.

Her Experiences

  • She became a journalist during World War II when there were more positions available because the male journalists were off at war. As a reporter for the Workers' Press in New York, she saw that women were paid a small part of what men were paid and were then fired when the men returned from war. And, when Betty Friedan asked for maternity leave she too was fired. No wonder she felt so strongly bout these issues…

The Feminine Mystique

  • In 1963, Feminine Mystique became an immediate best-seller (over one million sold)
  • 3 years later, she founded NOW (National Organization for Women)
  • She was a member of the National Women's Political Caucus,a founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, and a key leader in the struggle for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment

The Feminine Mystique

  • “With its impassioned yet clear-eyed analysis of the issues that affected women's lives in the decades after World War II — including enforced domesticity, limited career prospects and, as chronicled in later editions, the campaign for legalized abortion-"The Feminine Mystique" is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century”

“The Problem That Has No Name”

  • “The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women,  It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States.  Each suburban wife struggled with it alone.  As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night - she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question - "Is this all?”.”

The problem that has no name…

  • The “problem that has no name”-the feeling that raising a husband, children, and home is not enough, women want more!
  • There occupation back then was HOUSEWIFE, so many women wanted careers
  • During the 1950’s and 1960’s if women felt upset or depressed they blamed it on themselves or their marriage, they went to the doctors saying I am so ashamed but I am not happy with my life.
  • The Doctors did not even have a name for this. So many women, felt like this but most were too ashamed to talk about it too each other. “For over 15 years women found this problem harder to talk about than sex!”
  • Women’s goals were to get married, have children (lots of them), and have a nice home.
  • "The problem that has no name — which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities — is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease."

Betty Friedan broke down barriers and influenced many women just by talking about these issues in her book. She was very influential!!! What are some of the ways we can tell these barriers have been broken?

  • Betty Friedan broke down barriers and influenced many women just by talking about these issues in her book. She was very influential!!! What are some of the ways we can tell these barriers have been broken?

Nancy Chodorow

Nancy Chodorow

  • Born January 20, 1944 in New York, NY
  • Nancy Chodorow is an interdisciplinary scholar that describes herself as “a self defined interpretive or even humanistic psychoanalytic sociologist and psychoanalytic feminist.”
  • She made important contributions to the study of gender relations and family.

Family

  • Her father, Marvin, was a professor of applied physics. She married Michael Reich, a professor of economics had two children with him, Rachel and Gabriel, and was separated from him in 1977

Education

  • She received her BA from Radcliffe College. She was trained by Beatrice and John W.M. Whiting in a culture and personality anthropology that, in retrospect, could be considered prefeminist, but was, at the time, gender and generation sensitive. Chodorow received her PhD from Brandeis University in 1975
  • She is widely considered the leading psychoanalytic feminist theorist and is a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association, often speaking at its Congresses.

Career

  • She spent many years as a professor in the departments of sociology and clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Influential

  • "It is difficult to imagine the shape that feminist literary criticism might have taken in the last twenty years without the enabling influence of The Reproduction of Mothering. The importance of Chodorow's work cannot be overestimated."--Marianne Hirsch, author of The Mother/Daughter Plot

Chodorow has extensively pursued the question of why women desire motherhood?

  • Chodorow has extensively pursued the question of why women desire motherhood?

What are the traits of a dad? What are the traits of a Mom?

Gender Personality and the Reproduction of Mothering

  • Girls and boys are “taught” appropriate behaviors and learn appropriate feelings, but how do women become mothers?
  • She says biologics and instinct do not justify why women become mothers.
  • Women’s mothering includes the capacities for its own reproduction.
  • Accounts of socialization and repetition help to explain the ideologies about gender roles.

Gender and Reproduction

  • “Psychoanalysts argue that personality both results from and consists in the ways a child appropriates, internalizes, and organizes early experiences in their family-…”
  • This explains why how you are raised has something to do with the way you will act, usually depending on gender.
  • There is an assumption that women’s destiny includes primary parenting, but in reality most psychoanalysts say this job is laid out for both genders.
  • But to explain why women mothers are more likely to identify with the role of primary care giver is they identify at an early age by seeing their mother as the primary care giver and see that as their role in the future.

“As a result of being parented by a woman, women are more likely than men to seek to be mothers…”

  • “As a result of being parented by a woman, women are more likely than men to seek to be mothers…”
  • The early experience and pre-Oedipal relationship differ for boys and girls.
  • Girls feel very close to their mothers during childhood and are more concerned with childhood issues in relation to their mother and a sense of self involved in these issues. But boys do not feel this way, they feel “opposite of their mother”.
  • “So the relational basis is extended in women, and inhibited in men.”

Oedipal Triangle

  • “Women’s heterosexuality is triangular and requires a third person—a child– for structural and emotional completion”
  • Men do not define themselves by relationships.
  • The Oedipus Complex pushes boys and girls in the direction of extra-familial heterosexual relationships, making a step towards the “reproduction of parenting”.

Through the relationship between man and women, contradiction is necessary so the women will not be satisfied with just her husband alone, and will seek relations to children.

  • Through the relationship between man and women, contradiction is necessary so the women will not be satisfied with just her husband alone, and will seek relations to children.
  • Men have a lack of emotional ability and women have a less-exclusive heterosexual commitment and this is used to ensure women’s mothering.

Cycle of Motherhood

  • This creates the definition of women’s mothering that just spreads the message to their daughters and the opposite message to their sons, and the cycle is repeated.
  • The fact that women are in the domestic sphere, gives males dominance.
  • Women as wives and mothers, reproduce the family as a male dominated society. This allows the men to work in non-familial jobs and not parent.
  • And women turn their energies to nurturing and caring for children.

To sum it all up…

  • “Women in their domestic role reproduce men and children physically, psychologically and emotionally. Women in their domestic role as house workers reconstitute themselves physically on a daily basis and reproduce themselves as mothers, emotionally and psychologically, in the next generation. They thus contribute to the perpetuation of their own social roles and position in the hierarchy of gender.”

Discussion Questions

  • As you read the last quote, “They thus contribute to the perpetuation of their own social roles and position in the hierarchy of gender”, can you think of ways women could still be said to do this in today’s society?

Dorothy E. Smith The Conceptual Practices of Power A Feminist Sociology of Knowledge

Dorothy E. Smith Biographical Information

  • Canadian Sociologist
  • Born 1926 in Great Britain.
  • She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics in 1955 and her doctorate from University of California, Berkeley, in 1963, she also returned to lecture there.
  • Eventually moved to North America in the late 1960s. She chose Canada over the United States because she was opposed to the Vietnam War.
  • She has had immense impacts on sociology and many other disciplines including women's studies, psychology, and educational studies. Within sociology, she has influenced feminist theory, family studies, and methodology.
  • For Smith’s brief autobiography, visit http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/mdevault/dorothy_smith.htm

Dorothy E. Smith Major Works

  • Institutional Ethnography: A Sociology for People (2005)
  • Writing the Social: Critique, Theory, and Investigations (1999)
  • The Conceptual Practices of Power: A Feminist Sociology of Knowledge (1990)
  • Texts, Facts, and Femininity: Exploring the Relations of Ruling (1990)
  • The Everyday World as Problematic: A Feminist Sociology (1987)
  • Feminism and Marxism: A Place to Begin,
  • A Way to Go (1977)

Dorothy E. Smith Feminist Standpoint Theory: a definition

  • Standpoint feminism emphasizes that feminist social science should be practiced from the standpoint of women.
  • Therefore, women's experiences exist as the point of departure, instead of men’s experiences
  • Standpoint theory retains elements of Marxist historical materialism for its central premise: knowledge develops in a complicated and contradictory way from lived experiences and social historical context.
  • From Marx she had learned not to be satisfied with treating the conceptual as a given--rather to view “concepts and categories as expressions of social relations and hence as opening up a universe for exploration that is `present' in them but not explicated.”
  • (Marie Campbell)
  • Dorothy E. Smith
  • The Conceptual Practices of Power
  • A Feminist Sociology of Knowledge

Dorothy E. Smith Problems with Sociology

  • Sociological thought has been established within the “male social universe”
  • The standpoint of women is not considered equal to the standpoint of men
  • Thus women are forced to think of the world in concepts and terms of men

Dorothy E. Smith Relations of Ruling and Objectified Knowledge

  • “There are institutions through which we [women] are ruled and through which we…participate in ruling.” (page 319)
  • Sociology as objective?
  • Hegemony of methodology

Dorothy E. Smith Women’s Exclusion from the Governing Conceptual Mode

  • “Men have functioned as subjects in the mode of governing; women have been anchored in the local and particular phase of the bifurcated world.”
  • Gendered division of labor has perpetuated women’s oppression
  • Men have enjoyed the privilege of work that requires “liberation from attending to needs in the concrete.”
  • Women have historically been assigned to these particular needs (sound familiar?)
  • Marx’s concept of alienation is relevant here

Dorothy E. Smith Knowing Society from Within

  • “Women’s standpoint…discredits sociology’s claim to constitute an objective knowledge independent of the sociologist’s situation.”
  • SOLUTION: a reorganization of the relationship of sociologists to the object of our knowledge and of our problem. Involves first placing sociologists where we are actually situated, and second, making our direct embodied experience of the everyday world the primary ground of our knowledge.

Dorothy E. Smith Sociology as Structuring Relations Between Subject and Object

  • “The constitution of an objective sociology as an authoritative version of how things are is done from a position in and as part of the practices of ruling in our kind of society.”
  • The persistence of the privilege relies upon a substructure that has already been discredited and deprived of authority to speak the voices of those who know society differently.
  • Example of the Indians outside of the train

Dorothy E. Smith A Bifurcation of Consciousness

  • “Women’s situation in sociology discloses to us a typical bifurcate structure with the abstracted, conceptual practices on the one hand and the concrete realizations…in the other.”
  • Failure of objectivity
  • Inability of sociology to acknowledge women’s world

Questions for discussion

  • Does objectivity exist?
  • Do you think sociology excludes women?

Lawrence H. Summers

  • Lawrence H. Summers
  • Remarks at NBER Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce
  • Cambridge, Mass.
  • January 14, 2005

Just a little background…

  • Born to a Jewish family in Connecticut on November 30, 1954
  • Secretary of the Treasury for the end of Clinton’s term
  • Served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001-2006
  • Created a lot of controversy and stir among environmentalists, affirmative action advocates, and feminists with his opinionated speeches which ended his term as President and shattered his once-esteemed reputation

Why are women under-represented in the Science & Engineering Workforce?

  • “high-powered job hypothesis”
  • “different availability of aptitude at the high end”
  • “different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search”

“high-powered job hypothesis”

  • High expectations set for them:
  • -single and without children
  • -around 80 hours a week in the office
  • -flexibility of schedules to respond to contingency, basically
  • putting the job as top priority
  • -expected to remain in the job for the long run
  • -mind always focused on the tasks only concerned with the job,
  • even if not physically on the job
  • It takes such a high level of commitment that a much higher percentage of married men are more prepared for the job then married women. Could this be due to Chodorow’s emphasis on women’s duty to motherhood?

The Catch-22

  • The Catch-22
  • Is the society at fault for expecting such high standards and commitment for top jobs?
  • Summer’s inquires about the unfairness in making women have to sacrifice more than men. This goes back to Chodorow’s belief that women feel compelled to mother.
  • Does the elite job itself create those high standards or are the standards and pressure from the people what make the job so prominent?
  • Whichever the case, the women who make that choice to take the job must be willing to make sacrifices and commitments.

“different availability of aptitude at the high end”

  • There is a stereotypical pattern of different human attributes working in the field of science and engineering with a lower representation of women.
  • In other words, small differences in math or science aptitude translate into a large discrepancy at the intellectual level needed to do world-class science.

“different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search”

  • These are two theories that Summer claims are prevalent, yet invalid:
  • 1. Socialization
  • 2. Discrimination
  • Summers believes there may be some socialization that is a cause: Kibbutz study
  • Then contradicts himself; nature trumps nurture:
  • “people naturally attribute things to socialization that are in fact not attributable to socialization […] and were in fact due to more intrinsic human nature.”
  • “taste differences” between men and women cannot be attributed to socialization
  • Separated twins studies
  • 1. Socialization

2. Discrimination

  • Overt discrimination:
  • open and observable prejudice that is not hidden, concealed, or secret (ex. in the Jim Crow era where racism was more socially acceptable in the south)
  • Passive discrimination:
  • stereotyping not involving visible reaction or active participation, may even be unconscious (ex. employees who tend to hire employers who think like them and are like them)

On Affirmative Action:

  • “Fallacy of composition”: not half as many qualifies scientists that are at the top ten schools like there should be
  • Theory of discrimination
  • “If it was really the case that everybody was discriminating, there would be very substantial opportunities for a limited number of people who were not prepared to discriminate to assemble remarkable departments of high quality people at relatively limited cost simply by the act of their not discriminating, because of what it would mean for the pool that was available.”

Is the conscious effort to maintain diversity justified?

  • “how many are there who have turned out to be much better than the institutional norm who wouldn’t have been found without a greater search. And how many of them are plausible compromises that aren’t unreasonable, and how many of them are what the right-wing critics of all this suppose represent clear abandonments of quality standards.”
  • Shaq metaphor in opposition

  • 1. Citation analysis
  • 2. Objective versus Subjective factors in hiring
  • 3. Search procedures dilemma
  • 4. Financial incentives and support for child care
  • 5. Detriments of career interruptions
  • Five things to consider concerning what the quality of marginal hires are when major diversity efforts are increased:

1. Citation analysis 2. Objective versus Subjective factors in hiring:

  • If objective, then the subjectivity that is consistent with discrimination and a disadvantage for minority groups will not be an issue.
  • If subjective, objectivity may “bias the comparisons away from many attributes that those who contribute to the diversity have: a greater sense of collegiality, a greater sense of institutional responsibility.”
  • Ties in with Smith’s Feminist Standpoint Theory concerning objectivity

3. Search procedures dilemma

  • Extensive searches could possibly end up finding minority group members who may have been overlooked before.
  • On the negative side, it could also make it hard to hunt down certain people coming from particular family situations that work to the disadvantage of minority group members.
  • 4. Financial incentives and support for child care
  • 5. Detriments of career interruptions

“I think the case is overwhelming for employers trying to be the [unintelligible] employer who respond’s to everybody else’s discrimination by competing effectively to locate people who others are discriminating against, or to provide different compensation packages that will attract the people who would otherwise have enormous difficulty with child care.”

  • “I think the case is overwhelming for employers trying to be the [unintelligible] employer who respond’s to everybody else’s discrimination by competing effectively to locate people who others are discriminating against, or to provide different compensation packages that will attract the people who would otherwise have enormous difficulty with child care.”

Discussion Question

  • What is an example of an institution or workplace that we can relate to that uses affirmative action? Do you think it is reasonable for an institution to take into account people’s backgrounds in order to bring in diversity or only look at the résumé objectively?

More Questions…

  • Have you ever personally experienced academic discrimination or tracking based on gender?

Statement of the American Sociological Association Council

  • Statement of the American Sociological Association Council
  • on the
  • Causes of Gender Differences in Science and Math Career Achievement:
  • Harvard’s Lawrence Summers and the Ensuing Public Debate
  • February 28, 2005

In opposition to Summer’s speech, ASA Council believes that women do have the capability of working in the field of science and engineering if they are given the chance and an accommodating environment.

  • In opposition to Summer’s speech, ASA Council believes that women do have the capability of working in the field of science and engineering if they are given the chance and an accommodating environment.
  • Bitter Professors at Harvard claimed that his remarks inhibited their attempts to enlist top women scholars.
  • Compliant with Friedan’s belief that women are inhibited from working to their maximum potential
  • ASA Strikes Back
  • When academic snobs attack
  • President's head-on-platter?

Studies have shown that because our culture pigeonholes the roles that each gender is supposed to fulfill, this causes “noticeable differences in their interests and performances.”

  • Studies have shown that because our culture pigeonholes the roles that each gender is supposed to fulfill, this causes “noticeable differences in their interests and performances.”
  • ASA against nature and biology having a part in gender differences
  • Come-back to Summers at the Conference:
  • “had people actually had different kinds of opportunities, and different opportunities for socialization, there is good evidence to indicate in fact that it would have had different outcomes.”
  • In the UK, girls’ have shown a higher level of academic versus boys due to:
  • -better access to courses
  • -support from counselors
  • -better career prospects
  • -change in role models
  • So could this be due to something in the water over in Europe, or are they just brought up and trained differently than in the US?
  • Nature versus Nurture

“Relatively fast social change and a consistent pattern of female disadvantage in converting individual ability into occupational success imply the presence of important institutional factors at work…policy changes can foster behavioral changes that would remedy this problem.”

  • “Relatively fast social change and a consistent pattern of female disadvantage in converting individual ability into occupational success imply the presence of important institutional factors at work…policy changes can foster behavioral changes that would remedy this problem.”
  • Breaking the Barrier example

“Scientific correctness” explains:

  • “Scientific correctness” explains:
  • -inequitable opportunities
  • -restrictions in their ability to have formal and informal training
  • -lack of social and domestic supports
  • -still unsure about women’s competence so there is less expectations for their ability to perform
  • -pressures to conform to stereotypical behavior and the media also is a negative influence
  • Continual Subordination

Discussion Questions

  • Do you believe that it is this “scientific correctness” which inhibits females from being able to work at their full potential or do you agree with Summer’s concept that women are inherently incapable of doing that type of work?

Fighting Back

  • February 9th of just this year a new President took the place of Harvard University following Summer’s dismissal. How ironic that a woman stepped up to the plate?

A Lesson Learned

  • “My January remarks substantially understated the impact of socialization and discrimination, including implicit attitudes - patterns of thought to which all of us are unconsciously subject. The issue of gender difference is far more complex than comes through in my comments, and my remarks about variability went beyond what the research has established. These are dynamic areas of inquiry, which will no doubt continue to engage scholars in the years ahead. For now, if any good can come out of the recent controversy, I hope the intense attention on issues of gender can provide us with an opportunity to make concrete progress in the time ahead. It is vital that we aggressively implement policies that will encourage girls and women to pursue science at the highest levels, and that we welcome and support them in our faculty ranks.”
  • -Lawrence Summers


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