The Managed Hand: The Social Construction Of Gender

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A. Miliann Kang’s ethnographic novel The Managed Hand is comprised of in-depth analyses of the intersections between class, gender, and race in the nail salon industry. Dozens of nail salons across the United States are run by Asian, primarily Korean, immigrants who run their own salons as a way of becoming financially independent in a foreign country. Class becomes a large factor when examining both those who own the salons, as well as the types of people who are customers at the salons. Additionally, the intersections between race and class are often very obvious, specifically in the nail industry. In general, the women who work at, own and operate nail salons are fairly well off in terms of yearly income. This is not to say their days are not long and grueling, because that is not the case at all, but most of the time they are not struggling to make financial ends meet. However, despite all this, their socioeconomic status is still seen as fairly low. Socioeconomic status combines wealth and income, and often takes social status into account. In …show more content…
In Judith Lorber’s essay, Night to His Day - The Social Construction of Gender, she writes that “human society depends on a predictable division of labor” (294). Historically, anything emotional, caring, or soft has been associated with femininity. This is particularly true when it comes to the job industry and how certain tasks are viewed by society. Nail salons are a perfect example of pink-collar occupations. The field is primarily occupied by women and is not generally viewed as a very skillful job; a combination which results in low wages and long hours. This ties in with what Kang says when she talks about how most women who own nail salons aren’t doing it because it’s their dream job, but rather because it’s their best option to achieve financial

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