Separate Silos: Marginalizing Men in Feminist Theory and Forgetting Females in Masculinities Studies

24 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2010

See all articles by Nancy Levit

Nancy Levit

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law

Date Written: February 8, 2010

Abstract

In society, the impulse toward sex segregation remains strong. Social separation of the sexes persists, from childhood on. Pink and blue tracking in the nursery gives way to sex segregated public schooling. In 2006 the Department of Education released new regulations expanding the opportunities for single-sex classes, schools, and extracurricular activities. These regulations fueled an explosive increase in single-sex public schools and classes. The popular media endorse separatist themes - from heralding the “boy crisis” in education to proclaiming that single-sex schools are “better for girls.” The separatism continues in labor market. Even though women comprise 47 percent of the labor force, occupational segregation by sex persists, with women accounting for 79 percent of social workers and 89 percent of healthcare support occupations, while 77 percent of protective service workers and 92 percent of construction managers are men. In sum, almost 70 percent of all workers are in occupations that are strongly dominated by one sex or the other.

This segregation in society has its parallels in legal doctrine and legal theory. The central premise of this essay is that masculinities studies and feminist legal theory occupy separate academic silos. The branches of inquiry, although drawing on selected excerpts from each other and with some cross-fertilization in recent years, have remained largely segregated - in their methodologies, scholarship, conferences, and subjects. The first part of the essay traces how those silos were built; the second part addresses whether they should be dismantled and, if so, in what ways.

Keywords: Sex segregation, Single sex classes, Boy crisis, Occupational segregation, Masculinities studies, Feminist legal theory, Silos, Single sex education, Gender differences, Gender studies, Complexity theory, legal theory, evolutionary economics

JEL Classification: I28, J11, J16, K10, K19

Suggested Citation

Levit, Nancy, Separate Silos: Marginalizing Men in Feminist Theory and Forgetting Females in Masculinities Studies (February 8, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1550365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1550365

Nancy Levit (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law ( email )

5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
United States

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