Trans/Gender at Work: Addressing Inequality

by Kristen Schilt

Recently the New Republic featured a story about how the workplace experiences of transgender men and women can shed light on occupational gender equality more broadly. Jessica Nordell interviewed me for the article, and we talked extensively about the research I did for my first book, Just One of the Guys, that focuses on the work lives of transgender men in Texas and California. I argue in the book that trans men can develop what Patricia Hill Collins calls an “outsider-within” perspective from the unique experience of having worked on both sides of the gender binary. This experience can put into high relief the often-invisible social processes that produce and maintain a workplace gender gap. As many of the men I interviewed noted, bringing their appearances in line with their feeling of maleness could bring a noticeable change in their workplace treatment – a change that one man described as going from “bossy” to “take charge.” However, white and heterosexual trans men reported more positive changes in their treatment from co-workers and employers than trans men of color and gay trans men. Continue reading

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Filed under Transgender, Work & Organizations

Differing Feminine Ideals in Various Sectors of Vietnam’s Sex Industry

by Kimberly Hoang

Hoang_image1_August 2014One evening during my months of fieldwork in various strata of Ho Chi Ming City’s (HCMC) sex industry, a young woman returned to work after obtaining a rhinoplasty. With a bruised nose and along with strips of white bandages on her face, Diem’s nose became a spectacle among the male clients in the bar. Dong, a 60-year-old local Vietnamese businessman, explained to me: “When you bring in businessmen from Asia, you can say, ‘Look, this country is growing and developing so much that even the poorest village girls can afford to get plastic surgery.’ It shows them that we’re a nation that is growing very rapidly and there is a lot of potential in our market. [The women] represent Vietnam to the most important people, our investors!” Continue reading

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Filed under Body & Embodiment, Global/Transnational, Politics/State/Nationalism, Sexualities

The State Sanctioned Production and Killing of Black Masculinity

by Victor Rios

“He was shot six times because the giant wouldn’t stop or die…”

-Donor for police officer that killed Michael Brown on Go Fund Me website August 20, 2014

“I thank all police, you are the ‘thin blue line’ protecting normal Americans from aggressive and entitled primitive savages.”

-Donor for police officer that killed Michael Brown on Go Fund Me website August 20, 2014

The murder of Michael Brown by police has to be understood within the context of policing and violence against Black men and Black masculinities. Continue reading

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Filed under Adolescence/Children, Law & Social Control, Masculinities, Race/Ethnicity, Violence

Barrel Chests, Brawn and Buffoonery: Controlling Images of Masculinity in Pixar Movies

This piece was cross-posted with permission from Feminist Reflections. To view the original piece, click here. The piece was also posted on Inequality by (Interior) Design (here).
by Tristan Bridges

I just read and reviewed Shannon Wooden and Ken Gillam’s Pixar’s Boy Stories: Masculinity in a Postmodern Age. And I thought I’d build on some of a piece of their critique of a pattern in the Pixar canon to do with portrayals of masculine embodiment. In Black Feminist Thought, Patricia Hill Collins coined the term “controlling images” to analyze how cultural stereotypes surrounding specific groups ossify in the form of cultural images and symbols that work to (re)situate those groups within social hierarchies. Controlling images work in ways that produce a “truth” about that group (regardless of its actual veracity). Collins was particularly interested in the controlling images of Black women and argues that those images play a fundamental role in Black women’s continued oppression. While the concept of “controlling images” is largely applied to popular portrayals of disadvantaged groups, in this post, I’m considering how the concept applies to a consideration of the controlling images of a historically privileged group. How do controlling images of dominant groups work in ways that shore up existing relations of power and inequality when we consider portrayals of dominant groups? Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Masculinities, Media & Communications

What Do Americans Know About Abortion And Other Reproductive Health Topics?

by Danielle Bessett with Megan L. Kavanaugh, Lisa L. Littman, Caitlin Gerdts, and Alison Norris

After the abortion was complete, the young woman on the exam table – let’s call her Maria, though that is not her real name – asked the doctor, “Will I still be able to have kids?” My mouth dropped open in surprise. I had been observing at this clinic all day, and I held Maria’s hand through her procedure. Maria had told me about her two young children, how impossible it was for her to carry this pregnancy to term, how hard it had been to get time off from work for her appointment, how she hoped her fiancé would remember to pick her up at the right time. But throughout all the counseling, preparation, and intimate conversation, she had not expressed these important concerns about her future fertility. Maria appeared relieved when the doctor assured her that the abortion would not affect her chances of becoming pregnant in the future. As Maria was leaving the clinic, I asked her why she hadn’t asked whether the abortion would negatively affect her ability to have children before the procedure when she was clearly worried about the consequences. “I needed it,” Maria said simply, before she walked out to the car and back to her family. Continue reading

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Filed under Health/Medical, Reproduction

Subordination in Home Service Jobs: Comparing Providers of Home-Based Childcare, Elder Care, and Cleaning in France

by Christelle Avril and Marie Cartier

Home-based service jobs have developed considerably across Western societies. In fact, chances are high that a working-class woman in France today will, at some point in her life, be a house cleaner, home-based childcare provider, or home aide for the elderly. Political, scholarly, and everyday discourses, saturated with the double prejudices of gender and class, treat all these home service occupations, which require little prior training, the same. In our article (here), we illuminate the variability of the forms of subordination experienced by women in these occupations in France. Continue reading

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Filed under Care Work, Work & Organizations

Disney’s Frozen–A Lukewarm Attempt at Feminism

by Afshan Jafar

Jafar_blogimage_September 2014Disney’s 2013 film Frozen is now the highest grossing animated film ever and the fifth highest grossing film regardless of genre. In May 2014, the Disney store announced that it would hold drawings for people wanting to purchase Frozen costumes.  In addition to its mass popularity, Frozen has also garnered critical acclaim for its gender representation and is often hailed as the most progressive and feminist Disney movie yet. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Masculinities, Media & Communications, Sexualities, Uncategorized