cover image The Gendered Society

The Gendered Society

Michael S. Kimmel. Oxford University Press, USA, $55 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-19-512587-0

Frustrated at the dearth of materials available for him to assign to students in his courses on the sociology of gender, Kimmel, a sociology professor at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has written an up-to-date survey of the academic literature that should serve his purposes nicely, although this book will be heavy going for anyone for whom it is not assigned reading. His secondary motivation is to counter the ""fictitious pseudoscientific claims"" of popular writers who preach that men and women are from different planets: ""We're not opposite sexes,"" writes Kimmel, ""but neighboring sexes."" In chapters that will clearly serve as units on a syllabus, Kimmel (Manhood in America; Changing Men) reviews, from a feminist-friendly perspective, current research on how gender affects biology, sexuality, the family, parenting, marriage, the workplace, the classroom and violence. His thesis that ""gender difference is the product of gender inequality, and not the other way around"" leads to the conclusion that ""the society of the third millennium will increasingly degender traits and behaviors without degendering people."" Although Kimmel's emphasis is frequently on the necessity of transforming masculinity--the unfinished second half of the gender revolution of the 20th century--he is scrupulous in maintaining balance and comprehensiveness, discussing the lives of both women and men in a variety of cultural contexts. (Mar.)