Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reproducing Gender Inequality

Sitting through the strange pre-Halloween snowstorm in New York, hoping not to lose power.

Just ran across another great post at Sociological Images. It again examines the sexist double standard between women and men in Halloween costume choices. Lisa Wade provided a nice, quick analysis with the following quote:

This pattern — women can dress like men, but men don’t dress like women — suggests that there is, in fact, something demeaning, ridiculous, or subordinating about presenting oneself to the male gaze. Most men feel stupid, gross, or vulnerable when they do it. This isn’t just about conformity to different gendered expectations. If it were just about difference women would feel equally weird dressing in men’s clothes. Instead, when women adopt masculine ways of dressing and moving, they often feel empowered.

So, when men do femininity they feel ridiculous and when women do masculinity they feel awesome. This is what gender inequality looks like.

Halloween costumes present another way that gender inequality is produced, reproduced and normalized. This past summer, I wrote a post with a similar punchline describing the covert meanings associated with frequently used curse words. Bringing such mundane examples to light contributes to making them less taken for granted and hopefully helps to break them down as well.

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