Gender & Society: Table Of Contents, Volume 31, No. 1

Read the current issue here.

GENDER & SOCIETY, Vol. 31 No. 1
Gender regimes are a key theoretical tool for two of the articles in this issue, a tribute to the enduring and important work of Joan Acker who died in 2016.  First, Dana Britton delves into the puzzle of the fluctuating gender relevance for women in academia, followed by  Lauren Alfrey and France Winddance Twine who apply an intersectional perspective to “geek girls” and how they fare in the predominantly white, male tech industry.  While these articles add dimension to our understanding of gender and organizations, the others in this issue advance our understandings of masculinity, motherhood and relationships. Tony Silvia  studies rural men who have sex with other men but do not define it as homosexual. Angela Frederick reveals the double bind and censure disabled / Deaf mothers face through by a “medical stare” that identifies them as outside the “normalcy project.” Cristen Dalessandro and Amy C. Wilkins illustrate how age and gender shape the ways in which we understand and relay the narratives of our relationships. And starting out the new year, we are proud to showcase the photography of Susan J. Webb on the cover.



Beyond the Chilly Climate: The Salience of Gender in Women’s Academic Careers

Gender Fluid Geek Girls: Negotiating Inequality Regimes in the Tech Industry

Bud-Sex: Constructing Normative Masculinity Among Rural Straight Men That Have Sex With Men

Risky Mothers and the Normalcy Project: Mothers with Disabilities Negotiate Scientific Motherhood

Blinded by Love: Women, Men, and Gendered Age in Relationship Stories

Book Reviews
Not Gay: Sex between Straight White Men
by Jane Ward

Work and Family in the New Economy: Research in the Sociology of Work 
Edited by Samantha K. Ammons and Erin L. Kelly

Big Pharma, Women, and the Labour of Love 
by Thea Cacchioni

Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship 
by Aimee Meredith Cox

Family-Friendly Policies and Practices in Academe 
Edited by Erin K. Anderson and Catherine Richards Solomon
Faculty Fathers: Toward a New Ideal in the Research University 
by Margaret W. Sallee

It Hurts Down There: The Bodily Imaginaries of Female Genital Pain 
by Christine Labuski

When Care Work Goes Global: Locating the Social Relations of Domestic Work 
Edited by Mary Romero, Valerie Preston and Wenona Giles

Desbordes: Translating Racial, Ethnic, Sexual, and Gender Identities across the Americas
By Maria-Amelia Viteri
Gender and International Migration: From the Slavery Era to the Global Age
by Katharine M. Donato and Donna Gabaccia

Masculinities in the Making: From the Local to the Global 
by James W. Messerschmidt


Leave a comment

Filed under Gender & Society

Gender & Society: in the media

January 6, 2017

The New York Times published an article entitled “Why Men Don’t Want the Jobs Done Mostly by Women” on January 4, 2017.

The article cites  Gender & Society  Vol. 30, 2 (April 2016) “Does the Glass EscalatorCompensate for the Devaluation of Care Work Occupations? The Careers of Men in Low- and Middle-Skill Health Care Jobs” by Janette S. Dill, Kim Price-Glynn, and Carter Rakovski.

The article also cites  Gender & Society, Vol. 28, 1  (February 2014)”Recruiting Men, Constructing Manhood How Health Care Organizations Mobilize Masculinities as Nursing Recruitment Strategy” by Marci D. Cottingham. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gender & Society

The Track and the Field, or Studying What You Love

By Amanda Draft 

This blog entry began as I was sitting in an airport en route to Montreal for roller derby; specifically, the International Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Division 1 Playoffs. As a top-level skater working as an academic studying my own subculture, the ongoing struggle of balancing these “competing devotions” (Blair-Loy 2003) is so central to my life that it has become the focus of my dissertation research. This is not the first time that I have had to use Tetris-like precision to make it work, nor will it be the last.

Modern roller derby is most likened to what Robert Stebbins refers to as “serious leisure,” an activity that often requires the same levels of devotion and resources as a professional work career without the financial benefit. No one in derby is paid to skate, but by completing my dissertation on the sport, the line between “leisure” and “work” becomes very blurry.  Furthermore, a tendency exists for academics with pre-existing ties to certain subcultures, such as music (Haenfler 2006; Wood 2006; Moore 2007) and sport (Wheaton 2000; Broad 2001), to conduct ethnographic research within their own communities, though initial immersion may be spurred by the research (Sands 2002; Wacquant 2004). Within derby, the trend is the same.

While all research is embodied to some extent, my role as a complete participant in my Master’s research on embodiment in derby made this salient and exhausting, as others studying and playing the sport have experienced (Breeze 2014). Simultaneously, I learned the roles of researcher and athlete in a sport that was still struggling to embrace the concept. Similarly to Wacquant’s account of “the craft getting pounded in (2004:91)” as he typed field notes with numb hands and throbbing body pain, I would fight mental and physical fatigue while writing my account of another bone-jarring late night practice, repeating the process up to 6 times a week during the heavy travel season. The cost was well worth the pay-off; by being a skater myself, the complaints and triumphant remarks from skaters about our bodies made more sense, as I was living these alongside them. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Qualitative Methodology

The Phenomenon of ‘Bud Sex’ Between Straight Rural Men

Tony Silva’s forthcoming article to be published in the February 31 (1) Gender & Society, “Bud-Sex: Constructing Normative Masculinity among Rural Straight Men That Have Sex With Men” was featured in of Us and can be found here. In his qualitative study, Silva explores “normative rural masculinity”.

Congratulations, Tony.

Tona Silva is a doctoral student in the department of sociology at the University of Oregon. His dissertation includes interviews with rural straight men that have sex with men to explore how they understand their identity, practices, and gender. His primary primary interests include sexualities, gender, rurality, and qualitative and quantitative methods.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gender & Society

Origins of the Gender Wage Gap: Part-Time Teenage Labor and Gender Inequality

By Yasemin Besen-Cassino

The gender wage gap is among the most persistent problems of labor markets and women’s lives and many scholars have approached this problem from different perspectives. Human capital approach focuses on individual characteristics and explains the gender wage gap through differences such as education, skills, training and job experience.  It mostly focuses on the domestic and maternal duties of women, and argues that women are more likely to take time off for childcare and parental leave, causing interruptions in their resumes resulting in less human capital. In addition, they are less likely to invest in their own human capital resulting in lower pay. Another view the occupational segregation approach, focuses on occupational differences argues that men and women are paid differently, not because of their individual characteristics, but because they work in different sectors, occupations and positions. Occupations that predominantly employ women are considered to be “women’s jobs,” and pay much less as a result. Despite the differences in perspective, nearly every study on the wage gap shares one thing in common: they focus on the adult labor force. However, almost every teenager works sometime throughout their high school years. Therefore, the work experience- and potentially the wage gap- start much before the completion of formal education and onset of full time work. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Pay Gap

Reconsidering Gendered Sexualities in a Generalized AIDS Epidemic

By Christie Sennott and Nicole Angotti

In the rural area of Mpumalanga Province, South Africa that we study, HIV is estimated to infect 1 in 5 people. Many researchers have studied the social, biological, and behavioral factors that contribute to HIV infection and the consequences of high mortality from AIDS-related diseases. Yet, less attention has been paid to how people actually living in communities affected by HIV/AIDS talk about the epidemic in everyday life—a useful way for understanding how men and women experience a significant threat to their lives and the lives of those around them.

HIV/AIDS is a unique type of threat: it is transmitted sexually, potentially fatal, and therefore has wide-reaching consequences for men and women’s sexual lives. Whereas several studies have found that individuals work to “reaffirm” or recuperate long-standing norms governing gender and sexuality when those norms are threatened, we find that HIV/AIDS – which threatens not just individual lives, but also relationships, families and communities – provokes reconsideration of gendered sexualities at the community level. We define reconsideration as the processes through which men and women debate, challenge, make sense of, and attempt to come to terms with the social norms circumscribing gendered sexual practices. Our focus on reconsideration shows the multiple voices and commentaries on HIV/AIDS that are circulating in the community, and that ideas about masculinity and femininity are complex, contradictory, and evolving in everyday conversation and interaction.

Our data are ethnographic and collected by men and women from the community. Over several months in 2012, a local team of “insider ethnographers” wrote field notes capturing conversations about HIV/AIDS that they encountered in public settings, such as large community events like village meetings, and other venues where interaction is commonplace, such as at bus depots and at church. These data are ideal for understanding local ideas about threats like HIV/AIDS because they are captured in real time and show the multiple perspectives that come to bear on the social experience of living amid an HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Health/Medical, Sexualities

Moral Dilemmas of Transnational Migration: Vietnamese Women in Taiwan

By Lan Anh Hoang

The unprecedented rise in female migration in the past decades has engendered profound social change within both host and origin societies across the world. At present, women account for 48% of the world’s migrant population and the majority of them are found in the South – North migration pathway (IOM 2013: 65). In Asia, where 75% of international migrants are from the same region, contract labour migration has made it easier than ever for women to migrate transnationally for work. Female migration, especially when it involves mothers leaving their children behind, tends to be fraught with disruptions and dilemmas. Migration and physical separation from one’s family challenge the universal ideology of womanhood and femininity with caregiving and nurturing duties at its core.

Drawing on an ethnographic study of Vietnamese migrant mothers in Taiwan, this article provides important insights into the women’s renegotiations of notions of motherhood and femininity in the context of transnational labour migration. Because care has been essentialized as a feminine vocation that makes a woman womanly, the migrant’s inability to perform care duties in the conventional manner inevitably subjects her to the social stigma of  “bad motherhood” and  “failed femininity.” West and Zimmerman have pointed out that gender is not ascribed but achieved through  “social doings” which involve not only perceptual but also  “interactional and micropolitical activities that cast particular pursuits as expressions of masculine and feminine “natures”. Migrant mothers defy the prevailing notion of an ideal woman not only by engaging in masculine pursuits of mobility and breadwinning but also by vacating what is considered central to the woman’s nature – caregiving. She is thus called to account for failing to do gender appropriately.

The study engages with and advances West and Zimmerman’s idea of accountability in gender doings. In particular, it underscores their view that social doings of gender are often designed in such a way that they would be characterized as in accord with culturally approved standards. Yet, it highlights at the same time the reflexivity and instrumentalism in such actions. In other words, seemingly compliant behaviors are not necessarily a passive enactment of social norms but may be a strategic means to other ends. What is often taken for granted as an oppressive gender regime could be exploited by those perceived as its perennial victims to further their interests. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Global/Transnational, Migration & Citizenship

Queering the Atmosphere

By George Sanders

On June 12, 2016, an armed man ended the lives of 49 people inside a gay nightclub in Orlando.

The following day, the hardcore punk band G.L.O.S.S. (an acronym for Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) self-released their second album, titled “Trans Day of Revenge.” The first track, “Give Violence a Chance” is a full-throttle rampager that clocks in under the two-minute mark. The lead vocalist, Sadie, a self-identified trans-woman, opens the song with an ear-shredding scream of “When peace is just another word for death/ It’s our turn to give violence a chance.”

Listening to G.L.O.S.S. on June 13th was less a salve than a re-figuring of the heartache from the previous day. The music provided a space for grief yield to cathartic fury.

Music effuses affect and by “affect” I mean to refer to the tenor and color underlying emotional experience. Affect is the pre-discursive feeling tone that, as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick writes, contributes to a kind of “texture [that] is not coextensive with any single sense but rather tends to be liminally registered” (2003: 15). Affects lurk viscerally and enfold themselves into our dispositions and tendencies. They are aided, intensified, or attenuated by our environments, its aural qualities, and the bodies around us among other things. Our emotional affects are generally apprehended and experienced “at the edge of the unsayable” (Anderson, 2009: 78). Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Bridgework: globalization, gender, and service labor at a luxury hotel

By Eileen M. Otis

Sociological studies of work have long ventured overseas to understand the conditions of employment and global networks that produce goods consumed in the global north. Scarce are studies that take a look at globalization and work at the other end of the supply chain: consumer services. This is important because in recent years retailers and hoteliers have traveled from the global north to the global south nearly as fast as manufactured goods have journeyed the opposite direction. This is also critical because the sociology of service work has rarely ventured beyond contexts in which customers and workers largely share in a single culture (with all its etiquettes, manners, symbols and rules), even as class, race and gender differences may be present. As a result, sociologists tend to focus on how workers use familiar habits of behavior in workplaces that require interaction with customers. For example the word “emotion work” is used to describe the psychological effort expended when workers are asked to treat strangers with the warmth they might reserve for family members or friends. Another term “aesthetic labor” describes the ways in which workers’ manner of dress, style, grooming and speech must conform to the meet the expectations of posh or hip clientele. Employers hire workers of the appropriate class backgrounds to perform such labor. Overlooked by these two terms is the effort workers make to learn new ways of expressing emotions, novel styles of presenting themselves and unfamiliar modes of interacting when their customers originate from different nations and cultures.

To remedy these limitations, my research follows the path of one of the largest hoteliers in the world, a U.S. chain, to Beijing China. I conducted an ethnography of an outlet of this hotel chain, interviewing workers and managers, part of a project that lasted over a year. In this hotel, managers hire and train young women who are native to Beijing to enact what I term “bridgework”: the acquisition of body and feeling rules dominant among customers whose national and cultural origins diverge from workers. Customers at the hotel were mostly white, male, upper class and traveled from the U.S. and other points in the global north to engage in various business ventures while lodging at the Beijing Transluxury (a pseudonym). The women hotel workers who serve them must speak English, adopt English names, and comport themselves in a manner reflective of an American middle class femininity. Managers spent countless hours training these young women workers to adopt the emotional expressions, modes of interaction and manner of comportment expected by their customers. Managers showed them how and when to smile –and when not to smile. They were taught how to greet customers using the appropriate titles and making eye contact. They were even taught how to walk.  They were not allowed to lift tables or heavy trays; they wore uniforms that limited their range of motion, preventing even occasional heavy labor. Managers sought to create a staff of young women workers who would appeal to the heterosexual and class sensibilities of their clientele. But there was a constant tug-of-war between workers’ long held sense of appropriate behavior and these new practices. A few workers resisted some of the practices; a more common response was reinterpreting the new standards of behavior to conform to workers’ long held sense of etiquette and ethics. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Body & Embodiment

Intersectionality in Real Life

By Elroi J. Windsor

What is intersectionality, and what does it look like in real life?

Sociologist Zakiya Luna explored these questions as they relate to the national coalition, SisterSong. For this collective of reproductive justice advocates, intersectional praxis was more than putting diverse groups of people in rooms together for meetings and events. Luna’s research described activists working in coalitions where “constructing identities and alliances is an iterative, never-ending process.”The participants in this women of color collective had similar experiences based on belonging to marginalized race and gender groups. Yet they also experienced challenges in their work due to intragroup differences based on ethnicity, ability, and citizenship. For SisterSong, the practice of intersectionality in real life is “ongoing” and “multidimensional.” It’s not always easy, and even woke folks have learning to do.

In the last few weeks, I’ve asked students in my Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class questions about intersectional feminist praxis. We’ve been reading Black Girl Dangerous,by black queer writer Mia McKenzie, and thinking about how intersectional politics play out in everyday life. My students and I currently live in North Carolina, a state that has made national news this past year. Our time and place is ripe for some intersectional analysis and praxis. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Intersectionality