There is a lot of lip service paid to the idea that women and men are equal. This is clearly untrue. Part of the ideology that we exist under however can make it difficult to point this out. This is because if one was to say that woman are unequal they might take it as a personal attack. This is because of another social control, individualism. People see things such as inequality as “up to them.” So they take it as a personal issue if confronted with the idea that they are indeed unequal. This makes it difficult to deal with the idea of gender inequality.
Ever since woman entered the work force in the popular imagination woman have had to choose between a family and a career. I say in the popular imagination because of course woman were working prior to this time. This time being the World War II, when most of the men went off to fight. However, poor woman have always had to earn money in the wage economy.
Society through the media/consumerism converge to keep women worried about their looks, their age, if they’ve had too many sexual partners, too few. Again there is a false dichotomy here because women (due to this social conditioning) tend to fall into two “opposing” categories. One side is woman who are “liberated” and this further dived between women who have either “chosen” a career or they have chosen to be “wild.” The other side are woman who have “chosen” a family. These two sides are pitted against each other to keep them from fighting their true enemy.
Woman were originally subjugated under capitalism due to their important work in society (motherhood) which, more or less, cannot be commoditized. Therefore this work took on an odd paradox where it was not considered work (or it was woman’s work which was just a patronizing way of saying it wasn’t real work) and yet was sold to woman as important and their duty to society. The reason it was important that work which could not be commoditized be considered not work is that if someone could not be paid then they could not be extorted (Note: it is not only they could not be paid but that there was no monetary compensation to be profited from). Also, to maintain class structure people had to believe that the more money you made/had the more important you were. This did two things: 1. it fostered competition and kept the lower classes fighting each other. 2. It made people think that the rich were virtuous and the poor were lazy – because the rich had “succeeded” in the competition and the poor had not. This also ties into the ruling elite. Since it is “naturally” concluded that the best should govern, and having money was considered the same as being meritorious, the rich are routinely elected.
Gender and Reproductive labor.
The male and female genders have been developed to keep reproductive labor non-waged and thus not the responsibility of the private sector. This ties into the destruction of the welfare state which would redistribute the costs of reproductive labor. During the first wave of the “popular” movement of women into the labor force women-as-workers were re-gendered into male roles. This was necessary to create the re-gendering of males to female gender roles in the idea of “stay-at-home-dads.” Se we can see that women entering the work force, or the army, has not really changed anything, because we still have the two gender roles. We have merely allowed movement of the two sexes between the two roles. The real progress would be to remove the roles, or possible to allow for more than two, a lot more.
Recently with the advent of the rejection of this idea (by no means total) there has been an increase in the commodification of parts of sexual relations. Examples: dating companies, baby surrogates, domestic servants, etc.
- Core Conceptualizations of Gender: Can I just pick one? (jaimeperpich10.wordpress.com)
- I am Woman, hear me…. roar? (worldthatis.wordpress.com)
- Gender discrimination in workplace (udccivicgroup.wordpress.com)
- Women Relax, Men Mountaineer: What Backpacks Reveal about Gendered Marketing