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Lecture 6: Farming, Gender, Sexuality, and the Protestant Work Ethic TODAY Reading: C. Bye’s article : I Like to Hoe My Own Row ; another illustration of intersections between gender, sexuality, and environments – and other social institutions, such as family, religion, and state
C. Bye’s article: I Like to Hoe My Own Row; another illustration of intersections between gender, sexuality, and environments – and other social institutions, such as family, religion, and state
- Handout summarizes article; Great Depression recipes
Today, world’s economy is most often measured according to the American Stock Market – very fragile, and think of the economic situation today.
- especially since women were absent from the pages of history, which Bye considers a loss for Canadian Prairie women during the Depression. Which ideals may underpin this social fact?
Traditional gender roles were strongly internalized. Only two roles were represented as norm: female and male.
Bye’s great grandmother married at 19 and moved to McCord, Sask., near the USA border.Consider your own position as a student if those ideals about marrying young were still intact? What would all of you be doing right now?
“Rural society touted men as farmers and breadwinners in the 1930s, but often it was women who kept their families on the land.”
Why do you think this ideal was kept intact?
What was at stake if the ideal changed to call women “heads” of the farm?
Even though women did become the breadwinners of the family, through bartering household products they made and services they offered, such as cleaning, they mainly let on that men were the breadwinners. This reflected the European farm family value system of: it was “natural” that men should work the land. Consider Smith’s concept of “bifurcated consciousness” here.
Yet, people pulled together during the Depression, using gender role differences to unify the farm family. Polish tobacco farmers in the USA during the Depression; what are some distinct clues of gender roles?
This ideal was prevalent among rural farm women during the Depression, despite the fact that women and land were still considered legal properties of men.
Again - Men were the ideal-ized heads of households of the day. Even so, gender divisions of labour reflect the ones we still struggle with today, only the public sphere was “out there” in the fields – men seeded, harvested, did the work with horses and the bank while women were contained within the private sphere of the home – women generally worked in the house and did a limited amount of farming, though a more inclusive history would likely show that they did more work out than what we realize today.
However, role overlap occurred. It was considered “helping out” the other gender, and was not considered serious farming or serious housework. …ever hear this today: Dad is babysitting his own children?
Women could “divvy up the dishes” (p. 155)
Sons inherited farms and land and equipment
Do you think men had it easy on the farm in that time? Today, Canadian farmers (males) commit suicide “more than twice the national average” (http://www4.agr.gc.ca/resources/prod/doc/pol/consult/miss/pdf/c15.pdf).
pressures on male farmers (FYI video 3.5 minutes) (Australian situation) today, given that they are still the “heads of households” --- check out any phone book; listen to CTV or CBC.
- Australia (2007 report by http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s1869891.htm): every four days, a male farmer commits suicide
- Canada stats: 2000 report LINK FYINova Scotia resources LINK FYI
FYI: Alberta mental health resources for male farmers LINKFYI: India stats (note the gender implication): 2007 report LINK
So, consider how males are also oppressed and disenfranchised through the social ideals of how we are conditioned to operate with natural environments
Calvinism, an early form of Protestantism spearheaded by John Calvin, 1509-1564, was based on living in ways that reflected high standards of moral worth – the ascetic life – otherwise known as “asceticism” – frugal, humble…remember Kate Graves? She made value judgments about other women using the measuring stick (ideal) of work.
(This is another part of Weber’s well-known theses – “rationalization”) Bye’s article shows that Kate rationalized ++ and wrote her rationalization into her letters.
Humans’ relationship with the environment is always changing, depending on ideals and technologies of the day.
(Photo from Bell, 2004, p. 133)
(1) SMUO Meston, C.M. and Buss, D.M. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36 (4), 477-507.
(2) NET Bean, M. (2007). Love lessons from the wild kingdom: 5 primal ways to boost your animal magnetism. Men’s Health, 22 (4), 64-65.
Recap of themes thus far
More on the Mid-term paper