chapter  1
20 Pages

Gender Inequality in a (Still) Binary World

WithEllen L. K. Toronto

This chapter explores the lived experience of women within patriarchy insofar as it has been historically and universally circumscribed by biology and dictated by cultural norms. It addresses the ways in which cultural and biological imperatives are woven into the issues and concerns of individual people. The chapter presents possibilities for reimagining the prescriptions of patriarchy. Barbara Rothman states "it is women's motherhood that men must control to maintain patriarchy". The cultural history of women confirms that, although they have achieved significant progress in the economic and social world, their roles as real or potential mothers and as sexual objects, partners, or wives have undergone only superficial alterations. Women's sexuality has long been regarded as a fearsome force and one that cannot be left to their individual control. Layton goes on to state that some postmodern feminists have "found it difficult to defend their deconstruction of gender identity while maintaining an allegiance to women's political struggles".