worked 15 hours more each week than the husbands! Hochschild
(1989) helps such couples avoid these unfair gender roles.
How are women coerced and/or lured into the vulnerable passive-
dependent role? Willis (1981) says (1) women are promised the
reward of security and little responsibility, (2) social pressures are
exerted on females to do what is expected of women and mothers,
and (3) women are subtly encouraged to avoid the stress of asserting
themselves and competing in an aggressive world, especially since
they aren't considered well equipped or prepared for "a man's world."
A woman may give up being self-directed because she realizes she has
been placed by others in an "inferior class," where her being strong,
decisive, successful, and a leader are discouraged. Gradually, the idea
of being independent, capable, and self-sufficient becomes scary (in
Freudian terms she is castrated) and being dependent, protected, and
compliant seems much safer and easier.
Letty Pogrebin (1980) says our current sexual stereotypes give
children two basic messages: (1) boys are better and (2) girls are
meant to be mothers. The underlying purpose is to motivate boys to
excel--"be the greatest!" However, since most boys fail to be as
successful as they had hoped, their frustration is relieved by exerting
their superiority over women. Furthermore, since women are meant to
be mothers, women cannot fulfill their roles in life without first
attracting a man; this creates enormous concern in women about sex
appeal and attractiveness. Too often the woman's self-esteem comes
from how good a man she can attract, rather than from within herself
or from her own achievements. Pogrebin believes males have sold the
boring, menial job of childrearing to women by glorifying motherhood.
On the other hand, she thinks the Women's Movement has made
careers more appealing than homemaking, at least for the middle-
class, well educated elite. Consequently, it is predicted that 25+% of
women between 25 and 29 will not be married but will have careers.
Gradually the old traditions are changing. And why not? Men aren't the
only ones capable of "bringing home the bacon." And, women aren't
the only ones capable of "taking care of the kids."
Feeling inferior and super responsible at the same time
Being considered by society to be inferior to men, some women
may simply accept being helpless and become a "Door Mat" (Namka,
1989). Other women may try to over-compensate by trying to become
everything to everybody, by feeling super responsible, by taking
charge, by loving and giving too much, by pleasing everyone, by
becoming "Superwoman." Thus, there is a spate of books about
women doing too much for others while forgetting their own needs
(Norwood, 1985; Bepko & Krestan, 1990; Leman, 1987; Braiker,
1989). Low self-esteem and shame are thought to underlie this self-
depreciatory behavior. Bepko and Krestan say there is a "Goodness
Code" for women: be attractive and sexy! be ladylike! be unselfish and
thoughtful! be sure everyone is getting along! be competent! and don't
be uppity or a bitch! These rules are so pervasive that they seem to