Friday, August 2, 2013

Transformations: Women, Gender and Psychology 2e, Crawford

Transformations: Women, Gender and Psychology 2nd Edition by Mary Crawford presents a framework for understanding how the lives of all people are shaped by gender. Instead of presenting gender as a collection of individual traits, this book presents gender as a social system that is used to categorize people and is linked to power and status.

Mary Crawford's readable and lively style and her presentation of a balance of classic and cutting-edge research, provide an engaging overview of the psychology of women and gender. Throughout this book, women of color in the U.S. context and women around the world are presented as centrally important in feminist theory and research. This starts in Chapter 1, where Black feminist and global feminist perspectives are introduced and gender is compared to other systems of social classification such as race and ethnicity.

It continues in Chapter 2 with extended discussion of how systems of oppression are linked and mutually reinforcing, and Chapter 3, with the inclusion of racial and ethnic stereotypes and global images of women. Chapter 4, The Meanings of Difference, focuses on the social dimensions that define difference and cause some groups to be evaluated as less worthy than others. Having set the theoretical framework for integrating diversity, each chapter for the remainder of the book incorporates the experiences of women of diverse sexualities, ethnicities, social classes, (dis)abilities, nationalities, and ages.

Fortunately, there is an increasing amount of research being done with lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer people; with women and men of color; with people who have disabilities; and with international populations. Integrating these dimensions of diversity throughout the book, authors explore how they structure girls’ and women’s experiences including gender socialization, adult relationships, parenting, physical health, and psychological well-being.

Cross-cultural studies and multicultural perspectives are valuable for many reasons. First, they can help students learn that what seems natural, normal, and perhaps biologically ordained in their own culture is not universal. Second, they can foster critical thinking on women’s status and rights as a global problem. Finally, incorporating diversity into psychology textbooks means that girls and women whose voices were formerly silenced and whose presence was invisible are now seen and heard.

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