The notion of difference among the sexes has been studied extensively in terms of cognition and brain activity. An MRI can back these claims, showing male and female brains 'lighting up' in different locations based upon different stimuli. Anyone with a close relationship to a child can attest to the fact that they were born with certain traits. Perhaps their nephew is very shy, while their niece has never met a stranger. In other words, some difference among individuals is innate, fundamental. This notion has been applied to studies in the animal world. Susan Allport, author of A Natural History of Parenting,, notes that "Males provide direct childcare in less than 5 percent of mammalian species, but in over 90 percent of bird species both male and female tend to their young." While researchers have focused on other species, they have been hesitant to apply this sort of lens to human families, largely because this sort of biological inherency does not directly align with the push for equality and equal rights that have been so important in recent history in the United States. Fundamentally, to state that biology creates difference in humans and that this sort of difference has the ability to manifest itself in divergent capabilities carries political and social risk for minority and oppressed groups.
This has been a main tenet of the argument against difference feminism, yet even some of the most socially radical women have yet to abandon the importance of difference. This paper will examine the limitations of difference feminism, applying a critical lens to the discussion both for and against, with special attention to current political implications. The devaluation of care work in the United States will figure pr...
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...es them the unique ability to directly affect the way in which their children view work and family. They may produce a new generation of "opt-in" women and an equally fair-minded generation of compatible men.
Clearly, a division among women as to whether opting-out is revolutionary or limiting means that a shared sentiment within the discussion, and most likely policy solutions, still have a long time before they can be realized. It may be that the changes to the workplace that opt-out women desire may have to wait until this next generation, or perhaps longer. In the meantime, it would be careless to imagine that women who opt-out are simply incapable of participation and success in male-dominated spheres. Belkin poignantly addresses the element of rational choice, asking, "Why don't women run the world?" and answering, "perhaps it's because they don't want to."
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