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“Alpha Wives” (What A Stupid Title)

January 26, 2010 by and tagged ,

So, this has made the rounds already:

Full report here.

Based on this report, the New York Times has a series of contributions on the topic from several women from academic experts (Stephanie Coontz) to useless hack (Barbara Dafoe Whitehead)

As always, Stephanie Coontz identifies the major trends and separate fact from nonsense:

Andrew Cherlin similarly puts things in perspective:

And Kathleen Gerson cuts to the chase:

Posted in Gender, Sociology | 2 Comments »



2 Responses to ““Alpha Wives” (What A Stupid Title)”

  1.   pat Says:

    Excellent post: exposing the doxic rubbish that prevails in the press. This topic relates to an excellent book by Edinburgh based Sociologist, Lynn Jamieson.

    “Giddens (1992) postulates a transformation of intimacy in all personal relationships with radical consequences for the gender order. Popular discourse supports the view that heterosexual couples are more equal and intimate. However, stories of everyday lives told to researchers paint a very qualified picture. Much of personal life remains structured by inequalities. Gendered struggles with the gap between cultural ideals and structural inequalities result in a range of creative identity and relationship-saving strategies. More, perhaps much more, creative energy goes into sustaining a sense of intimacy despite inequality than into a process of transformation. Moreover, the rhetoric of `the pure relationship’ may point people in the wrong direction both personally and politically. It feeds on and into a therapeutic discourse that individualises personal problems and down-grades sociological explanations. In practice, intimacy remains multi-dimensional and for the contenders for successful heterosexual equality, acts of practical love and care have been more important than a constant dynamic of mutual exploration of each other’s selves”

    Lynn Jamieson: Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies (1997)

    Reply

    •   SocProf Says:

      @pat, the thing is that couples may start as determined to be egalitarian but the social structure is gendered – and therefore unequal – so, egalitarianism takes extra work because there is no structural support for it.

      Gender inequality is the systemic default setting.

      Reply

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