By Sandra Lipsitz Bem
During this booklet a number one theorist on intercourse and gender discusses how hidden assumptions embedded in our cultural discourses, social associations, and person psyches perpetuate male strength and oppress ladies and sexual minorities. Sandra Lipsitz Bem argues that those assumptions, which she calls the lenses of gender, form not just perceptions of social truth but in addition the extra fabric issues - like unequal pay and insufficient daycare - that represent social truth itself. Her penetrating and articulate exam of those hidden cultural lenses permits us to examine them instead of via them and to higher comprehend contemporary debates on gender and sexuality. in response to Bem, the 1st lens, androcentrism (male-centredness), defines men and male event as a typical or norm and adult females and feminine adventure as a deviation from that norm. the second one lens, gender polarization, superimposes male-female alterations on almost each element of human adventure, from modes of costume and social roles to methods of expressing emotion and sexual hope. The 3rd lens, organic essentialism, rationalizes and legitimizes the opposite lenses via treating them because the inevitable results of the intrinsic organic natures of ladies and males. After illustrating the pervasiveness of those 3 lenses in either historic and modern discourses of Western tradition, Bem offers her personal idea of the way the person both acquires cultural gender lenses and constructs a standard gender identification or resists cultural lenses and constructs that we needs to reframe the talk on sexual inequality in order that it focuses not just at the changes among women and men yet on how male-centred discourses and associations remodel male-female distinction into lady drawback.
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Additional info for The Lenses of Gender: Transforming the Debate on Sexual Inequality
She hosted a book party in New York to celebrate the publication of Helen's Campus Life (1987). A mutual friend invited us to have dinner with Friedan when she was in Northampton. Helen asked Friedan to come over to our house during Smith graduation weekend in 1992. On one occasion she offered Helen the use of her Manhattan apartment when she was away. I prevailed on Page 7 Helen's relationship with Friedan when I asked her to write a jacket blurb for my book on Packard, something she graciously agreed to do.
I soon realized that it was necessary to put aside the book chapter for a while and focus on Friedan's life, the hidden and the recently revealed. Researching and writing with a sense of excitement, I knew the story I was telling was important, one that would enrich the history of feminism and our understanding of a major figure in the postwar world. By late May I sent off a draft to American Quarterly, the scholarly publication of the American Studies Association. In the next months, I put together more pieces of the puzzle and began to connect my discoveries to what had happened in the lives of some of Friedan's contemporaries, especially the women's historians Gerda Lerner and Eleanor Flexner.
The social and personal dynamics of the Goldstein household shaped her sense of herself as a daughter, sister, Jew, intellect, and woman. The challenges she faced in school sharpened her eye, intensified her interest in books, honed her writing, and started to awaken her awareness of herself as a woman. The backdrop of her adolescencea series of events in Peoria, the nation, and Europehighlighted issues of union organizing, anti-Semitism, and anti-fascism on which she would draw later when she fully engaged with politics.