Gender and Work Roles in Society Reader

The Intersections Collection: Gender and Work Roles in Society Reader is a collection of essays put together by Amie Levesque of Northeastern University. I purchased this book in order to take a course with her at that college. I enjoyed the essays immensely; they cover a range of ideas in how gender affects our lives both at work and at home.

Some of these essays are published in many different collections. I'd read the classic "Nickel-and-Dimed: On Not Getting by in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich at least three other times before reaching this class. Other essays were new and eye opening. "Housework in Marital and Nonmarital Households" by Scott and Spitze discussed how household tasks are shared unevenly by men and women.

Some of the essays might feel a little dated. One essay looked at working-class white boys and men in the late 1980s to early 1990s. That was back when my son was born - and he's now 23 (in 2012). So one has to wonder how men's attitudes might have changed in the long time period between the 80s and the 2010s. Still, it's interesting from a historical perspective to see how things were and to ponder if they have changed substantially in the intervening quarter of a century.

Many of the essays are quite timeless. While "Boundary Lines: Labeling Sexual Harassment in Restaurants" was written in 1994, its message resonates just as strongly almost ten years later. The essay investigates how servers handle the ongoing flirtation that happens in most restaurant situations. It explores how, for example, a white woman might feel quite delighted when a while male waiter of her own age range flirts with her, but gets upset if an older Hispanic male cook makes a comment.

The essays also look into work areas that carry a burden of shame. One essay explores how young men feel who end up in the male hustler trade. Another talks with topless bar dancers, investigating how they hide their jobs from those around them and justify the way they earn a living.

All in all I enjoyed the essays immensely and each one had fascinating information to offer. I'd highly recommend the book to people looking to learn more about how being male or female makes a difference in how we are treated and how we perceive others.

I purchased this book with my own funds in order to take a college course on gender.

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