Because of Sex

Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women’s Lives at Work
by Gillian Thomas

LF 3467 .T49 2016

“Best known as a monumental achievement of the civil rights movement, the 1964 Civil Rights Act also revolutionized the lives of America’s working women. Title VII of the law made it illegal to discriminate “because of sex.” But that simple phrase didn’t mean much until ordinary women began using the law to get justice on the job – and some took their fights all the way to the Supreme Court. Among them were Ida Phillips, denied an assembly line job because she had a preschool-age child; Kim Rawlinson, who fought to become a prison guard – a “man’s job”; Mechelle Vinson, who brought a lawsuit for sexual abuse before “sexual harassment” even had a name; Ann Hopkins, denied partnership at a Big Eight accounting firm because the men in charge thought she needed “a course at charm school”; and, most recently, Peggy Young,a  UPS truck driver, forced to take an unpaid leave while pregnant because she asked for temporary reprieve from heavy lifting.

These unsung heroines’ victories, and those of the other women profiled in Because of Sex, dismantled a “Mad Men” world where women could only hope to play supporting roles; where sexual harassment was “just the way things are”; and where pregnancy meant getting a pink slip.

Through first-person accounts and a vivid narrative, Because of Sex tells the story of how one law, our highest court, and a few tenacious women changed the American workplace forever.”
– publisher description

Pixar’s Boy Stories

Pixar's Boy Stories

Pixar’s Boy Stories: Masculinity in a Postmodern Age
by Shannon R. Wooden and Ken Gillam

PN 1995.9 .M34 W66 2014

“Since Toy Story, its first feature in 1995, Pixar Animation Studios has produced a string of commercial and critical successes including Monsters, Inc.; WALL-E; Finding Nemo; The Incredibles; Cars; and Up. In nearly all of these films, male characters are predominantly featured, usually as protagonists. Despite obvious surface differences, these figures often follow similar narratives toward domestic fulfillment and civic engagement. However, they are also hypermasculine types whose paths lead to postmodern social roles more revelatory of the current “crisis” that sociologists and others have noted in boy culture.

In Pixar’s Boy Stories: Masculinity in a Postmodern Age, Shannon R. Wooden and Ken Gillam examine how boys become men and how men measure up in films produced by the animation giant. Offering counterintuitive readings of boy culture, this book describes how the films quietly but forcefully reiterate traditional masculine norms in terms of what they praise and what they condemn. Whether toys or ants, monsters or cars, Pixar’s males succeed or fail according to the “boy code,” the relentlessly policed gender standards rampant in American boyhood.

Structured thematically around major issues in contemporary boy culture, the book discusses conformity, hypermasculinity, social hierarchies, disability, bullying, and an implicit critique of postmodern parenting. Unprecedented in its focus on Pixar and boys in its films, this book offers a valuable perspective to current conversations about gender and cinema. Providing a critical discourse about masculine roles in animated features, Pixar’s Boy Stories will be of interest to scholars of film, media, and gender studies and to parents.” – publisher description

Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the 21st Century

Cable Guys

Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the 21st Century by Amanda D. Lotz

PN 1992.8 .M38 L68 2014

“From the meth-dealing but devoted family man Walter White of AMC’s Breaking Bad, to the part-time basketball coach, part-time gigolo Ray Drecker of HBO’s Hung, depictions of male characters perplexed by societal expectations of men and anxious about changing American masculinity have become standard across the television landscape. Engaging with a wide variety of shows, including The LeagueDexter, and Nip/Tuck, among many others, Amanda D. Lotz identifies the gradual incorporation of second-wave feminism into prevailing gender norms as the catalyst for the contested masculinities on display in contemporary cable dramas.

Examining the emergence of “male-centered serials,” such as The ShieldRescue Me, and Sons of Anarchy, and the challenges these characters face in negotiating modern masculinities, Lotz analyzes how these shows combine feminist approaches to fatherhood and marriage with more traditional constructions of masculine identity that emphasize men’s role as providers. She explores the dynamics of close male friendships both in groups, as in Entourage and Men of a Certain Age, wherein characters test the boundaries between the homosocial and homosexual in their relationships with each other, and in the dyadic intimacy depicted in Boston Legal and Scrubs. Cable Guys provides a much-needed look into the underconsidered subject of how constructions of masculinty continue to evolve on television.” – publisher description