Charlotte Perkins Gilman Gender Inequality Analysis

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Throughout the history of the United States, let alone the world, women have faced a lack of economic independence that caused them to become dependent on their fathers or husbands. According to sociologist and author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, active around the turn of the 20th century, this lack of economic independence amongst women has a direct relationship with gender inequality. As per her theory regarding this relationship, Gilman identifies three factors that help to cause gender inequality: gender socialization, sociobiology, and a Marxist emphasis. That is, girls are taught to be different from boys beginning at a young age, there biological differences between women and men, and women are prone to more submissive roles within families…show more content…
During my time in the program, I distinctly remember my two chefs adamantly encouraging the female students to go into baking and pastry arts if any of us decided to pursue a career in the food industry. Their reasoning for doing so was that culinary is a much more stressful and physically demanding field, implying that it is more suitable for men, while baking and pastry arts requires more precision and meticulous work. While this seems innocent enough, I would have run into a problem had I followed their suggestion due to the fact that baking and pastry receives much less prestige and promotional opportunities than culinary does. Ultimately, this drastic difference between levels of prestige and room for growth between the two fields results in unequal opportunities for greater economic stability, with the woman-dominated field of baking and pastry arts lacking compared to culinary arts. Had I trusted the wisdom of my instructors and pursued a career in baking and pastry arts, I would have unknowingly denied myself greater prestige and opportunities—and thus more money—by choosing the field that is more forgiving when it comes to my lack of bodily…show more content…
Within my own life, gender socialization has caused me not to pursue lucrative jobs in career fields that are “for men,” while sociobiology could have deterred me from entering the more physically demanding but rewarding field of culinary arts in favor of the less prestigious field of baking and pastry arts. As for Gilman’s Marxist emphasis, my co-worker has unfortunately lost her economic independence simply because she had to give up her job in order to give her son the attention he needs. Overall, while writing this essay, I was disheartened to discover that it was easy for me to identify the aforementioned examples, but I also realized that it is not as bad as it once was for women—it is a lot easier for women to rebel against gender inequality now. Despite these advances in freedom, however, I feel that Gilman’s theory is relevant when it comes to explaining the social world due to the fact that gender inequality still exists today, and it can still have an impact on a woman’s economic independence even though it is not as overt. With that being said, Gilman’s theory will continue to be useful because it helps to identify the roots of gender inequality that need to be eliminated if we ever want complete gender equality within our
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