Judith Lorber's Paradoxes Of Gender

1397 Words 6 Pages
Minimum wage legislation for women and children in the District of Columbia was passed by Congress in 1918. Five years later, the wage board of Children’s Hospital in Washington D.C. cut the hours of many of the employees, who were primarily women, to counteract the extra money that they would have to pay their employees due to the legislation. Many of the employees saw that the wage board’s enforcement of the 1918 legislation was not benefitting them as intended because overall, they would each be paid less overall due to the decrease in working hours. The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Children’s Hospital and a female employee hoping to stop the enforcement of the act by Jesse C. Adkins and the wage board. The Supreme Court ruled …show more content…
Judith Lorber explains gender formation in her work, Paradoxes of Gender, as a process in which males and females are given separate identities at birth and are continuously boing molded by society to fit the gender roles of men or women. Furthermore, Lorber discusses how gender is a social construct with men at the top of the gender hierarchy when she writes, “As a social institution, gender is a process of creating distinguishable social statuses for the assignment of rights and responsibilities. As a part of a stratification system that ranks these statuses unequally,” (Lorber 95). Here, Lorber speaks about men’s and women’s societal gender roles as “distinguishable social statuses” that have different expectations and privileges. In addition, the privileges held by men have been unfairly cast onto them rather than women representationally through the behaviors of people, and structurally through lawful and economic …show more content…
New York took place, in which the question of whether men should have a maximum number of eligible work hours surfaced. One main concern of this case was the health and well-being of the workers in question, who happened to work in a bakery. It was ruled in Lochner v. New York that the employees did not need max hour legislation because they could determine how many hours that they would work under the Fifth Amendment’s freedom to contract. In the opinion of Justice Peckham, “The statute necessarily interferes with the right of contract between the employer and employees,” (74). It was understood that some men needed more hours than others to maintain a certain standard of living. However, in the 1908 case of Muller v. Oregon, maximum hours for women were found to be justified by the Supreme Court in order to maintain the women’s health. Justice David J. Brewer explains, “That woman’s physical structure and the performance of maternal functions place her at a disadvantage in the struggle for subsistence is obvious. This is especially true when the burdens of motherhood are upon her,” (83). Here, Brewer makes it clear that he believes that women are inherently inferior to men in certain industries, and he uses scientific sexism to justify his claims. He also implies that women have the burden to bring children into this world, regardless of whether they may want to or not. In his stated opinion, Brewer has voted on legislation with

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