Women in the Modern World: Their Education and Their Dilemmas

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Rowman Altamira, 2004 - Social Science - 319 pages
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In Women in the Modern World, noted feminist and sociologist Mirra Komarovsky begins with a consideration of biology. Reflecting on these now-familiar arguments that the natural biological differences between women and men dictate different social roles, Komarovsky demolishes these arguments by carefully reviewing studies that find sex differences in cognitive abilities, achievement, and psychological predispositions. In successive chapters, Komarovsky explores how differential socialization produces the differences that we think we observe between women and men, and how gender inequality disfigures the lives of women, men, and the relationships between them. One chapter examines how it plays out among college students at Barnard in the first college generation after the Second World War. Many of these bright and ambitious women feel trapped between their talents and the constraints of feminine domesticity mapped out for them by social expectations. Successive chapters examine the costs of choosing either alternative. Full-time homemakers feel, at best, overworked and undervalued, and at worst resentful and bitter. Many regret the "painful reorganization of life," and long, instead "for the relinquished occupation." It is this longing, she argues that leads so many women to "flit from one evanescent interest to another, arriving at late or middle age without anything that would given meaning or continuity to their lives."
 

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Contents

Womens Education under Fire
3
The Neoantifeminists
5
Alma Mater in Retrospect
11
Where Angels Fear to Tread
18
Do Psychological Tests Support the Case for a Feminine Curriculum?
19
Psychoanalysis and Women
31
Is Every Professional Woman a Lady in the Dark?
40
An Alternative Diagnosis
48
The Job
199
Can College Educate for Marriage and Parenthood?
208
The Old Guard and the Functionalists
212
Immunity to Culture Shock
218
Social Roots of Personal Conflicts
222
Understanding Oneself
225
Student Counseling
229
Romance and Reality
234

Under Twentyone
53
The Family Confronts the Girl with Equally Compelling but Contradictory Pressures
67
Some Traditional Stereotypes versus Current Realities
76
Ethics and the Sexes
87
What College Girls Want out of Life
92
The Homemaker and Her Problems
100
The Overworked Mother
107
Why Is the Homemaker Discontented?
115
The Careerminded Homemaker
127
The Problems of Leisure
153
Home plus a Job
166
Some Contrasting Portraits
169
A PROBLEMREDDEN MARRIAGE
173
A NEWSTYLE FEMINIST
179
Family Relationships and Home Responsibilities of Employed Homemakers
185
Problems Foreseen Are Conflicts Avoided
239
Parenthood
245
Let the Men In On It Too
250
Towards a Philosophy of Womens Education
258
Why Not a Distinctively Feminine Curriculum
259
Some Needed Educational Reforms
271
FIELD WORK AND THE CASEBOOK
274
EDUCATION FOR CITIZENSHIP
278
VOCATIONAL PREPARATION
283
Education Is Not Enough
288
Notes
301
Guide to the Case Material
313
Index
315
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About the author (2004)

Mirra Komarovsky was professor emeritus of sociology at Barnard College and Past-President of the American Sociological Associaiton. Michael S. Kimmel teaches at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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