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First published 2009
by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
by Routledge
270 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10016
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor and Francis Group,
an informa business
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2008. “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.”

© 2009 Mary Holmes
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including
photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Gender and everyday life / Mary Holmes.
p. cm.— (The new sociology)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978–0–415–42348–9 (hbk)—ISBN 978–0–415–42349–6 (pbk) —ISBN 978–0–203–92938–4 (ebk) 1. Sex role. 2. Sex
differences. 3. Gender identity. I. Title.
HQ1075.H63 2008
ISBN 0-203-92938-1 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN10: 0–415–42348–1 (hbk)
ISBN10: 0–415–42349–X (pbk)
ISBN10: 0–203–92938–1 (ebk)
ISBN13: 978–0–415–42348–9 (hbk)
ISBN13: 978–0–415–42349–6 (pbk)
ISBN10: 978–203–92938–4 (ebk)

In sociologically imagining the state of gender in everyday life I have packaged it up around themes that seem important: gendered embodiment, the learning and doing of gender, gender as relation(ships), resisting gender and future gender. In this Conclusion I want to draw together insights parcelled out in each chapter to give an overview of gender that is historical, comparative and critical. I do this so that some thought can be given to where thinking about gender might go next. The last major

rethink of gender was by Judith Butler, whose first book on the topic appeared in 1990. This changed the way gender was
thought about and I want to consider whether there might be any other revolutions in store. It would be nice to imagine that this Conclusion might contain such a revolution, but I have more
humble hopes. I just hope that these last pages might leave you with a sense of why it is important to reflect on how gender is done in everyday life, how sociology can help with this, and to explore the possibility that gender could be done differently or even not at all.



Looking back at how women’s and men’s lives have changed is a crucial element in seeing how we are not simply determined by our biology. Bodies play a part in how we live and form the basis on which social divisions such as gender operate. However, bodies are not just hunks of indisputable flesh but are interpreted in changing ways. There have been different ways of thinking about human bodies and in the past women’s and men’s bodies were seen as more similar than they are now.

If gender is not simply programmed into our anatomy, then
there are bound to be variations in how women and men act.
There are patterns to these variations over time and Chapter 2 documented some of the changing ways in which femininity and masculinity have been done. Social expectations about ‘ladylike’ or ‘manly’ behaviour do shift, as you will know from sometimes hearing older folk exclaim about how what youngsters are doing or wearing would not have been acceptable ‘in their day’. Sociologists think about the patterns around gender in terms of large processes that are going on within particular societies and how they have brought us to where we are today. They may attend to the economic shifts that have...
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