Project #95581 - Sociology

There are two parts of the assigments. First is

INSTRUCTIONS
 
  1. Read BOTH of the articles.
  2. Choose one of them to write about and answer all of the questions posed for that article.
 
DISCUSSION BOARD QUESTIONS FOR THE ARTICLE - LOVE, HONOR, CHERISH AND BUY – Answer all four of the following questions:
 
Which is due Wednesday.  Then after that is done i will add files of 3 other papaer that need 100 word discussions with word counts. Due by Friday at 7pm

CHAPTER 11 Marriage &  Families

INSTRUCTIONS
 
  1. Read BOTH of the articles.
  2. Choose one of them to write about and answer all of the questions posed for that article.
 
DISCUSSION BOARD QUESTIONS FOR THE ARTICLE - LOVE, HONOR, CHERISH AND BUY – Answer all four of the following questions:
 
  1. Each wedding consists of many parts. At the very least, there is a family component, a religious component, a legal component, and an economic component. In your opinion which of these 4 SHOULD BE the most important component? In your experience, which of them actually IS the most important for the brides and grooms that you know?
 
  1. The wedding industry quotes $ 27,000 as the cost of the “average” wedding. In what way does that figure reflect the political, economic, and value structure of our society?
 
  1. Ms. Mead is quoted as saying: “This is a consumerist society and that the marketplace intervenes in things that we like to think have nothing to do with money.” What parts of her statement do you agree or disagree with and why?
 
  1. As you think of your own wedding (real or imagined - in other words, it does not matter to me if you will never get married, for purposes of this exercise pretend that you will) how will you / how would you strike the balance between religion, family and economic ($ spending) elements and WHY? Would your choice be supported by your family and friends or would it be criticized?
 
DISCUSSION BOARD QUESTIONS FOR THE ARTICLE - GENDER ROLE CHANGES AT WORK AND AT HOME  Answer all four of the following questions:
  1. Select ONE fact or statistic from the article about labor force participation by women that surprised you the most – Describe what the one fact or statistic is and what it means to you to have learned about it.
 
  1. The article concludes that “Women got equality at work”. In your opinion – is that a good thing? Please give reasons for your conclusion.
 
  1. If you are a female student please answer: Do women in the first decade of the 21st century have MORE freedoms or less than women in the last century?” If you are a male student answer: Do men in the first decade of the 21st century have MORE freedoms or less than men in the last century? Please give specific examples from the lives of men or women that you know.
 
  1. What are the most important macro social forces that push men or women into family/career choices they do not enjoy? List two or three specific macrosocial factors and sketch how you think they will affect you personally in the years ahead?
 
May 9, 2007
NEW YORK TIMES
Love, Honor, Cherish and Buy
By PATRICIA COHEN
Gazing upon the Custom Liquid booth at the Great Bridal Expo, where the half-liter water bottles picture a bride and a groom on the label ($48 a case, plus shipping), Rebecca Mead announced, “This is a new one on me.”
 
Ms. Mead has spent three years attending bridal exhibitions, interviewing wedding planners, even visiting a wedding dress factory in China and a honeymoon factory in Aruba for her book, “One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding,” which comes out on Monday , and so finding a corner of the industry that she hadn’t already seen was worth noting.
 
“Every season there’s something new,” she said. The industry is constantly adding novelties and inventing rituals to part a bride and her money. The giant man-and-fiancé- eating wedding market is endlessly expanding — like Otto, the overfed fish in the children’s story who outgrows his bowl, a vase, a bathtub and finally the town pool.
 
Then again, so are books about weddings and brides: memoirs, essay collections, survival guides and planners for brides, grooms, mothers, mothers-in-law, Southerners, Jews, African-Americans, gays, traditionalists, hipsters and dummies — as well as cultural histories and social commentaries, the categories in which Ms. Mead, a staff writer at The New Yorker, includes herself.
 
“I’m not interested in Bridezilla, the crazy exception,” Ms. Mead said after spotting a “Don’t be a Bridezilla” sign advertising a wedding-planning Web site at a recent bridal expo in Midtown. “They’re funny, but not very illuminating. I’m interested in ordinary brides, not exaggerated monster creatures.”
 
Still, as she said later, the fact that the Bridezilla caricature has captured the popular imagination suggests a larger phenomenon. “Getting married is still a big thing, but the transition is not the traumatic thing that it used to be,” she said. “I think there is a way in which the trauma of the wedding planning is substituting for the trauma of the newlywed. People feel they have to go through some type of traumatic experience to show that they’re married, to show that there is something different about them.”
 
Nor should we forget, she added, that “this is a consumerist society” and that the marketplace “intervenes in things that we like to think have nothing to do with money.”
 
The expo is a difficult place to imagine money having nothing to do with marrying. Hundreds of brides-to-be, a few with grooms in tow, pass booths set up like stalls in a pastel-colored Turkish souk as the proprietors try to lure them in with a pitch: “Do you want to register?” “Do you want to enter to win?
 
We’re giving away a Coach bag,” “We’re giving away $1,000,” an Anolon pan, a free yearlong membership, $35 off, a four-day trip and so on.
 
Women wear purple stickers with the letters “V.I.B.”; the men’s are green with “V.I.G.,” meaning Very Important Bride and Very Important Groom, Ms. Mead explained, “so exhibitors won’t have to ask ‘who’s the bride?’ ” as they do every time the stickerless Ms. Mead pauses.
 
“Don’t fill out the cards,” she warns her soon-to-be-married publicist from Penguin Press, as if the woman had unwittingly reached for a drink with a slipped Mickey. “You’ll get dozens of wedding vendors calling you, writing you, e-mailing you. This is a very big bridal market. The whole thing is a way of getting customers.”
 
Ms. Mead got married while she was writing the book, in a small civil ceremony at a Manhattan courthouse on a Thursday afternoon. The next Sunday she and her husband, George Prochnik, held a party for 85 at their home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. She declined to specify the cost, saying only that it was “much, much, much, much less” than the $27,000-plus average the industry likes to cite.
 
With a practiced eye, she walks the expo aisles, past a 4 ½-foot tower of calla lilies ($700); a long, white buttonless tuxedo with a mandarin collar ($119 to rent); and ads for a portable toilet with oak cabinetry, marbled sinks, Oriental rugs and a black-tie attendant ($3,495 for eight hours). “You never knew a potty could be so nice,” the saleswoman says, handing out emery boards imprinted with “Bobby’s Portable Restrooms.”
 
There are lots of photographers and videographers. Competition between them is fierce, Ms. Mead said, adding that the idea both camps are pushing is that if you don’t record it, “your happiness will be lost, your memories will be lost.”
 
At the American Laser Center booth, women in white coats explain cellulite-reduction therapy and hair removal. (Both are popular now, Ms. Mead notes.) Romanta Therapy promotes the “passion party,” at which you can sample products and play games like pass-the-vibrator. (“It’s on,” the sales rep explains.)
 
A baker hands out tiny chocolate cupcakes with white frosting and sprinkles. Next door is Smart for Life, a weight-loss program. Dr. Gregory Skinner has a wedding special on teeth whitening ($399). On his table is a set of false teeth next to an oversize martini glass filled with chocolate kisses. “This is a kiss from me,” Dr. Skinner says, handing out a candy.
 
People are savvy consumers, Ms. Mead said, but a wedding is “probably the one time in her life that a bride will pay full price.”
 
And not just the brides. Jason Werner is working at the drugstore-style photo booth ($1,595 for four hours, $1,695 for five, which includes an attendant in case “grandma needs help getting into the booth,” he says). “I’m getting married August 18,” Mr. Werner says, and (of course) a photo booth will be at his Long Island wedding, as well as a band that the couple are bringing up from New Orleans. “If you really want something, this is the day to do it,” he says.
 
Advice books warn brides not to reveal that they are shopping for a wedding, if possible, Ms. Mead said; vendors know that “if it’s wedding, you’re going to spend more.” So her suspicion is immediately aroused when the woman at East Coast Limousine asks, “Is it for a wedding?” when the question of a 22-passenger excursion in a long, white stretch limousine comes up. The wedding special is $720 for 3 ½ hours and includes an aisle runner, Champagne, bar and “horns” that play a recording of “Here Comes the Bride” when the car stops. Ever the experienced shopper, Ms. Mead asks how much the regular rental would be, if there were no wedding.
 
“A four-hour minimum is $576.” So you could spend $144 less and receive a half-hour more? Why not do that instead?
 
“You can’t,” the saleswoman replies. If it’s a wedding, you must do the wedding special. “If the bride and groom are in the car, you can’t do it. We’ve pulled in, and there is a woman in a wedding dress, and they can’t do it. The car had to leave.”
 
After taking a few steps away, Ms. Mead said, “This is the kind of thing that I’m really interested in — that mentality: you’re going to get the horns whether you want them or not.”
 
She imagines the scene: “They won’t let you in,” she repeats, picturing the bride, groom and 20 other passengers stranded on a street as the limo driver slams the door and pulls away. “That’s the one you need the videographer for.”
 
And though no one wants to think of it, tucked in among the exhibitors is WedSafe, wedding insurance that protects against bad weather, death or an illness that forces a cancellation ($295 for $25,000-plus coverage). Does the insurance cover “a change of heart?” Ms. Mead asks. The saleswoman shakes her head: “That’s way too risky.”
 
 
ARTICLE: GENDER ROLE CHANGES AT WORK AND AT HOME
 
March 2, 2006 NY TIMES
Stretched to Limit, Women Stall March to Work
By EDUARDO PORTER (Links to an external site.)
For four decades, the number of women entering the workplace grew at a blistering pace, fostering a powerful cultural and economic transformation of American society. But since the mid-1990's, the growth in the percentage of adult women working outside the home has stalled, even slipping somewhat in the last five years and leaving it at a rate well below that of men.
While the change has been under way for a while, it was initially viewed by many experts as simply a pause in the longer-term movement of women into the work force. But now, social scientists are engaged in a heated debate over whether the gender revolution at work may be over.
Is this shift evidence for the popular notion that many mothers are again deciding that they prefer to stay at home and take care of their children?
Maybe, but many researchers are coming to a different conclusion: women are not choosing to stay out of the labor force because of a change in attitudes, they say. Rather, the broad reconfiguration of women's lives that allowed most of them to pursue jobs outside the home appears to be hitting some serious limits.
Since the 1960's, tens of millions of women rejiggered bits of their lives, extracting more time to accommodate jobs and careers from every nook and cranny of the day. They married later and had fewer children. They turned to labor-saving machines and paid others to help handle household work; they persuaded the men in their lives to do more chores.
At the peak in 2000, some 77 percent of women in the prime ages of 25 to 54 were in the work force.
Further changes, though, have been proving harder to achieve, stretching the daily challenge facing many mothers at nearly all income levels toward a breaking point.
"What happened on the road to gender equality?" said Suzanne M. Bianchi, a sociologist at the University of Maryland. "A lot of work happened."
Consider Cathie Watson-Short, 37, a former business development executive at high-technology companies in Silicon Valley. She pines to go back to work, but has not figured out how to mesh work with caring for her three daughters.
"Most of us thought we would work and have kids, at least that was what we were brought up thinking we would do — no problem," Ms. Watson-Short said. "But really we were kind of duped. None of us realized how hard it is."
Professor Bianchi, who studies time-use surveys done by the Census Bureau and others, has concluded that contrary to popular belief, the broad movement of women into the paid labor force did not come at the expense of their children. Not only did fathers spend more time with children, but working mothers, she found, spent an average of 12 hours a week on child care in 2003, an hour more than stay-at-home mothers did in 1975.
Instead, mothers with children at home gained the time for outside work by taking it from other parts of their day. They also worked more over all. Professor Bianchi found that employed mothers, on average, worked at home and on the job a total of 15 hours more a week and slept 3.6 fewer hours than those who were not employed.
"Perhaps time has been compressed as far as it will go," she suggested. "Kids take time, and work takes time. The conflicts didn't go away."
Indeed, the research suggests that women may have already hit a wall in the amount of work that they can pack into a week. From 1965 to 1995, Professor Bianchi found, the average time mothers spent doing paid work jumped to almost 26 hours a week from 9 hours. The time spent on housework fell commensurately, to 19 hours from 32.
Then the trend stalled. From 1995 to 2003, mothers, on average, spent about the same amount of time on household chores, but their work outside the home fell by almost four hours a week.
"Looking toward the future," said Francine D. Blau, a professor of economics at Cornell University, "one can question how much further increases in women's participation can be had without more reallocation of household work."
This is having broad repercussions for the economy. Today, about 75 percent of women 25 to 54 years old are either working or actively seeking a job, up from around 40 percent in the late 1950's. That expansion helped fuel economic growth for decades.
But the previous trend flattened in the early 1990's. And since 2000, the participation rate for women has declined somewhat; it remains far below the 90 percent rate for men in the same age range.
There is one big exception to the trend: while the rate of labor participation leveled off for most groups of women, the percentage of single mothers in the work force jumped to more than 75 percent from 63 percent. That of high school dropouts rose to 53 percent from 48 percent.
Economists say that these women were pushed into work with the help of changes in government policy: the expansion of the earned-income tax credit and the overhaul of welfare in the mid-1990's, which replaced long-term entitlements with temporary aid.
To be sure, mothers' overcrowded lives have not been the only factor limiting their roles in the work force. The decline in participation rates for most groups of women since the recession of 2001 at least partly reflects an overall slowdown in hiring, which affected men and women roughly equally.
"The main reason for women's declining labor-force participation rates over the last four years was the weakness of the labor market," said Heather Boushey, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal research institute in Washington. "Women did not opt out of the labor force because of the kids."
But even if the recent decline was driven more by economic factors, other experts note that the leveling off began well before the economic slump a few year ago. And whatever the mixture of causes, the changing pace of women's participation in the work force has recently risen to the top of the agenda among scholars and policy makers.
A report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, presented to Congress in February, contended that the slowdown in the rate of women moving into the workplace, was weighing on the nation's potential for economic growth.
"The new factor at play," the report said, "is the change in the trend in the female participation rate, which has edged down on balance since 2000 after having risen for five decades."
Claudia Goldin, an economics professor at Harvard University (Links to an external site.), said in a keynote speech to the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Boston in January that the trend across nearly all groups of women had "led many to wonder if a 'natural rate' of labor force participation has been reached."
A broad set of social and economic forces pushed women into the work force. From the 1960's onward, women flooded into higher education and began to marry later.
Professor Goldin said that a typical female college graduate born in the mid-1960's married at 26, three years later than the typical female college graduate born in the early 1950's.
This alone had large-scale implications for women's ability to work. Many families delayed the arrival of their first child. Today, only about 43 percent of women 25 to 29 have children under 6, compared with about 71 percent of women in that group in the 1960's.
Chinhui Juhn, an economics professor at the University of Houston, pointed out that women in their mid-to-late 20's accounted for most of the increase in work force participation from 1970 onward. But now, she said, "the increase in participation of women in their prime child-bearing years is largely over."
Women's participation in the labor force is being restrained by a side effect of delayed motherhood: a jump in 30-something mothers with toddlers.
"The childbirth effects are coming later," said Janice Madden, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
By 2004, about 37 percent of women ages 33 to 37 had children under 6, compared with 28 percent in 1979.
At midcareer, these women had to deal with more child care chores. "There have been a lot more household responsibilities in this group," Professor Goldin, the Harvard economist, said. "The fact that their participation rate has not declined much is what is surprising — not that there is a plateau."
Most women, even those with young children, need to work. Many more want to. Ms. Watson-Short, the former California executive who is now a mother of three, said that her stay-at-home-mom friends, like her, felt blindsided by the demands of motherhood.
"They had a totally different idea of where they would be," Ms. Watson-Short said. "They thought they would be in the workplace and have someone help them raise the kids."
But those who kept working are also torn. Catherine Stallings, 34, returned to her job in the communications department of New York University's (Links to an external site.) medical center last month because she could not afford not to. Dealing with work and her 5-month-old daughter, Riley, has been stressful for her and her husband, the marketing director of a sports magazine.
"Usually, we are so tired we pass out around 10 or so," Ms. Stallings said. "And my job is not a career-track job. If I were climbing the ladder, it would be a no-win situation."
Some economists argue that it is premature to conclude that the gender revolution in the workplace has reached its limit.
Yet for the participation rates of women to rise significantly, they agree, mothers may have to give up more of the household burden.
Professor Blau of Cornell noted that in Scandinavian countries, where laws provide for more generous parental leave and subsidize day care, women have higher rates of labor participation than in the United States (Links to an external site.).
Ms. Watson-Short, whose husband is a patent lawyer, expects to go back to some sort of paid work but sees a full-time job as well off in the future. Making the transition back into the work force, even through part-time jobs, will not be as easy as she and her contemporaries once hoped.
"We got equality at work," Ms. Watson-Short said. "We really didn't get equality at home."

 

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