Why Do Women Support Traditional Courtship?

Most of us are familiar with the traditional, middle-class courtship script. The man asks and pays for the first date and then places the follow-up call in the next couple days to ask for a second date. After the pair starts dating regularly, he is the one who is supposed to shift the relationship from casual to committed and later, if all goes well, to propose marriage. But given that the majority of women now want egalitarian relationships and increasingly have the resources to negotiate one, male-driven courtship may seem passe and at odds with their supposed relationship desires. My research shows, however, that women remain committed to these conventions. Continue reading “Why Do Women Support Traditional Courtship?”


The Women’s Movement in Protest, Institutions and the Internet

As Jo Reger noted recently (here) the death of feminism has been regularly announced in the West, while at the same time feminism has never been so pervasive – everywhere and nowhere as she says. Our own study set out to map the trajectory of the women’s movement in Australia and to discover why death notices have been so common. Continue reading “The Women’s Movement in Protest, Institutions and the Internet”

Boy Trouble

Why do girls outperform boys in school? This is a question many people thought would never be asked. Women continue to lag behind men in pay, are far less likely to attain corporate and political positions of power, continue to perform the bulk of childcare and household chores, and are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. But despite these inequalities, over the past several years young women have made remarkable gains in education and are now surpassing young men in high school grades, achievement test scores, college enrollment, and college graduation. Even in math, a domain that once gave Barbie a panic attack, girls have made steady gains on boys (although – sorry Barbie – boys still do hold an advantage in math test scores). Continue reading “Boy Trouble”

Response to “Does a more Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?” published in the New York Times

In a recent cover story  in the New York Times Magazine (here), therapist Lori Gottlieb asked the question “does a more equal marriage mean less sex?” Her article was spurred by a recent ASR article by Kornrich, Brines, & Leupp that found couples who had a more traditional division of labor had more frequent sex (here). The argument is that as gender roles become more similar, sexual desire goes out the window. The authors of the ASR article suggest husbands and wives are more sexually active when the couple “plays out” traditional roles in the division of housework. This finding is in direct contrast to research I published with my colleague Scott Yabiku, using the same 1993 survey of over 7,000 married couples, that finds the more total housework (and paid work) performed by both husbands and wives the more sex they had (here). We suggest that a group of high-energy couples are working hard and playing hard. Other researchers report that wives who think their division of labor is fair have more sex. However, Gottlieb never mentions these other studies, but rather goes on to provide her own personal anecdotes from friends and clients (even one from her first year of training) as proof the new study is valid. Continue reading “Response to “Does a more Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?” published in the New York Times”

Hooking Up as a College Culture

This month in Slate, Jessica Grose tells us that college hookup culture is a fiction (click here), that despite a series of recent, high-profile media articles, hooking up, or casual, spontaneous sexual behavior outside of relationships, is far less prevalent than we might imagine. Research based on the Online College Social Life Survey with over 20,000 students nationwide backs this assertion. Elizabeth Armstrong and colleagues report in Contexts that, “About 80 percent of students hook up, on average, less than once per semester over the course of college” (click here). Continue reading “Hooking Up as a College Culture”

Pregnant Women on the Firing Line

Several global media outlets, including CBS News and The Guardian (click here and here) have published anecdotal accounts of pregnant women being pushed out of the workplace. Such vulnerability for pregnant workers is well known among gender inequality scholars and civil rights agencies. Data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in fact, reveals a 46% increase in pregnancy discrimination complaints from 1997 to 2011, with over half of these pertaining to firing. Even so, and despite greater efforts of civil rights agencies to draw attention to the problem in Europe, Australia, and the United States, few studies have investigated pregnant women’s experiences, let alone how and why employers engage in such conduct despite its illegality. Continue reading “Pregnant Women on the Firing Line”

Overlooking the Oppressed Minority in “Oppressed Majority”

Jafar_blogimage2The short film, “Oppressed Majority” by French director Éléonore Pourriat is a powerful video showing a reversed reality: a society where women and men have traded places and experiences.  The 10-minute film shows a day in the life of Pierre, who is a father and a husband, going about his day.  From unwanted attention, to harassment, to assault, the film details his experiences with women (who are the harassers and the attackers). The film does an excellent job of revealing the sexism, threats, and attacks that women deal with everyday, and the absurdity of the responses they have to deal with in light of such experiences.  One can see the tentativeness with which Pierre walks, the discomfort and shame he feels with the unwanted attention and harassment and the downright trauma of having been sexually assaulted.  In brief, the film is able to visually capture what it’s like for women everyday. For accomplishing that particular task, the film is worth watching and sharing. Continue reading “Overlooking the Oppressed Minority in “Oppressed Majority””