Essay: Gender Inequality Is Socially Constructed

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Classless society gender inequality is SOCIALLY constructed

The myth of the classless society: Donna Langston's "Tired of playing monopoly"

The myth of the classless society: Donna Langston's "Tired of playing monopoly"

"In the myth of the classless society, ambition and intelligence alone are responsible for success," writes Donna Langston in her essay "Tired of playing monopoly." Yet American society is highly stratified by class markers and class assumptions, often in invisible ways that can advance or prove to be a barrier to success. People of color, single women, and other individuals who face obstacles to social mobility are characterized as being insufficiently industrious if they do not pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. To do so, says Langston, is a physical impossibility.

Class markers divide and define American society; all the while America proclaims itself a meritocracy. "As a result of the class you are born into and raised in, class is your understanding of the world and where you fit in; it's composed of ideas, behavior, attitudes, values, and language; class is how you think, feel, act, look, dress, talk, move, walk; class is what stores you shop at, restaurants you eat in; class is the schools you attend, the education you attain; class is the very jobs you will work at throughout your adult life. Class even determines when we marry and become mothers; Working class women become mothers long before middle class women receive their bachelor's degrees." If there was no class, then the clear distinction between 'shopping at Nordstrom' versus 'shopping at K-Mart' would not be obvious. These choices are seen as inherently different activities, done by different kinds of people -- the upper class have 'taste' and 'style' says Langston, while Working class people merely eat and make their purchases to survive. This is mocked, even if shopping at K-Mart is an economic necessity.

Langston characterizes her own inability to transcend class barriers not simply as economic but also a failure of vision -- class can be such a narrowing influence that the idea one could move away from home to go to college, or visit Europe, seems like impossibility. The difficulties of the poor and the reason why lower-income students flounder in college are partially due to the challenges of working full-time and attending school, yet Langston also suggests that students have a kind of fear or incomprehension of what their lives as college graduates might resemble, because such a future is so different than the lives of the students' parents. Also, the refusal of society to ignore the economic and psychological problems faced by… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Essay:

APA Format

Gender Inequality Is Socially Constructed.  (2010, September 17).  Retrieved July 24, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Gender Inequality Is Socially Constructed."  17 September 2010.  Web.  24 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Gender Inequality Is Socially Constructed."  September 17, 2010.  Accessed July 24, 2019.