Welcome To The Bitchery

In "Things that Etiquette Lady Didn't Teach" Part Two:

I'm going to follow advice and post the parts of the discussion I think I'm missing.

Last night I asked how rude it might be to source information about topics in my Gender and Workplace sociology class. (Let me be more clear here in stating that while I'm drawing from lecture outlines, the questions I have are me doodling in the margins, "But why" like a whiny 4 year old.) So far there hasn't been much critical debate in the class, and I'm feeling frustrated. I'm very spoiled by previous professors in that they really pushed students to critique perspective from myriad standpoints. This class seems hellbent on agreeing that the sugar cookie is the best cookie of them all and, even if I agree, I want to be able to argue why it isn't (even if the rest of the class has already agreed on sugar cookies. Somewhere, someone thinks sugar cookies are the devil and wants to have a intellectual discussion on the merits of cookie! OR ANTI-COOKIE..) I feel like it is inherently wrong to only see one side of a thing. You can't truly understand something unless you explore all sides.


I feel like yelling, "One anecdote does not prove or refute a theory!" as the sociology student's version of psychology's, "Correlation does not equal causation!"

Anyway. Two books down in a list of seven: Inside Toyland by Christine Williams and Opting Out by Pamela Stone. (Did anyone else who read the latter hate it?)


  • This perspective seems like an all encompassing umbrella that is made of common sense.
  • We used the book Inside Toyland by Christine Williams
  • The professor said that Williams' analysis is both from an intersectional perspective AND says there's a lack of diversity in her book. To me those two things contradict each other. Williams studied two extremes: a specialty toy store that catered to the higher end of the class scale and a big box toy store that catered to the lower end of the scale. (The employee makeup reflected the same scale.) Is the prof trying to say that where Williams chose to do her research shows a lack of diversity? There's a lack of diversity in each specific environment, but the general research sample is diversive.
  • —-Obviously, a lack of diversity is problematic from an intersectional perspective. I can argue lack of diversity within the two environments but not when I compare them both. Am I missing other reasons that lacking diversity is problematic for this particular perspective?
  • ———For that matter is it the fact that she didn't choose to study a toy store that was as close to Point B (if we view toy store 1 as Point A and toy store 2 as Point C) the problem? I see it as a non-issue. Including it wouldn't have added anything to her findings.
  • Intersectionality's main strength is that it draws from several subsets of inequality. It's a more complete explanation of gender equality at least. Is that it's only strength? I can't really find anything else.
  • It doesn't seem to have any drawbacks either. I don't agree but can't figure out any.

Gendered Organizations:

  • Workplace structure and family structure are both organized to benefit the white male. This is known. The authors of Inside Toyland and Opting Out approach their research with this in mind. You have to have an idea of how things work to be able to start to figure out why. There are plenty examples in the books.
  • Here's where I get fuzzy: comparing the theories of gendered organization and human capital.
  • ———Human capital theory is basically the worth we as employees bring to our employers, right? Like our education, job/life experience.. Is it also say.. marital status, age, etc? (I have in my notes "drawing from economics vs. theory of gendered organizations. I have NO idea what I meant.)
  • ———So how are the two theories different? Human capital theory seems to be sort of an offshoot of gendered organization theory unless I'm wrong in including variables like marital status, age, gender, etc. We bring our gender with us to work, and our work/job brings gendered ideas to us.. so... Our gender is part of our human capital, right? I'm having a hard time distinguishing the two theories.
  • Positives and negatives in using the gendered organizations theory to explain inequality. It can't be as simple as the fact that it ignores race, class, etc.. It's got to be more.. something.

Sociological Perspective:

  • Are y'all tired of me yet? I has so many questions!
  • Okay. C. Wright Mills and personal troubles vs public issues goes here. Gotcha.
  • —-Basically our individual crap vs the larger social issues that impact how we function.
  • —-My question is: I understand that public issues (how shit is structured) influences our personal lives. I'm having a hard time seeing how the personal troubles part might influence public issue. I know I'm playing chicken and egg here.
  • So, when I use this perspective, I'm explaining workplace inequalities by saying that the structure of the workplace (public issue) affects us individually (personal troubles.) The inequalities specific to each of us are what we bring with us to the workplace and determine where we fit in that structure (insomuch that institutions have become independent of the individuals that make them up), and it's the institution that determines that structure - not us.
  • On the whole [and in spite of education (lack of or overabundance)] it seems that people are unaware of a sociological perspective on their lives. Why?
  • —-Opting Out is a glaring example of this in that Stone's research sample is the best of the best of the ladies. Every single one of these women (who chose motherhood over career) had every opportunity to sociologically perspect the hell out of their lives. Instead, when presented with the larger social forces that constrained their actual options, they relied on choice rhetoric to explain why it "really was okay" that they ended up with the lot that they did.
  • ————So, really, why were these women so unaware? Because if they looked it in the face that would suck?


Wow. It's a lot, I'm aware. I know there have been some amazing pieces on these things that are floating up in the Groupthink Cloud, but the search function is mostly unhelpful for finding them. All I'm looking for is help in fleshing out these concepts, and I hope I haven't stepped out of GT bounds.


For your troubles, here is a buffalo researching the Trampolene Perspective:

Share This Story

Get our newsletter