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ERIC Number: ED168935
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Pages: 30
Abstractor: N/A
A Materialist Theory of Women's Status.
Flax, Jane
The paper examines three factors--reproduction, production, and psychodynamics--which contribute to maintaining an inferior image of women in a capitalistic society. It also offers suggestions for changing these social structures so that they will not relegate women to inferior social status. In a capitalistic society production is based on commodities, which are defined as objects which have exchange value in the market place. Although the position of women as nurturers is highly valued socially, women do not gain the esteem and power which comes from the world of commodities. Also, the social organization of capitalism reinforces the division between nurturance (female) and authority (male). In addition, the tasks of reproduction and socialization of children also divide women and men into tasks of nurturance and authority. This duality is then reflected in the work which women do outside the home. When women display behavior inappropriate to their roles as nurturing females, they threaten the central elements of social organization. Finally, psychodynamics, the interaction of one's biological and mental life, is also gender differentiated; we do not learn that we are a person with a variety of attributes, one of which is gender, but that we are either male or female. Thus, feminist demands must go beyond equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity, and affirmative action which do not address the psychological resistance to changes in women's status. Rather, a future must be structured in which feminist values are fully integrated into social relations and institutions. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A