Sociology is the study of human society. The sociological imagination, a term invented and defined by C. Wright Mills is the ability to connect the most basic, intimate aspects of an individual’s life to seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces (Conley, p. 4-5). This intersection of biography and history plays a huge role in everyone’s life in that the past will always influence the ways of the future. Family in the sociological imagination incorporates ones past, present and future by creating the image of family from the past generations, and comparing it to ones current family life and the future family they will have. Networks influence ones future when seen through the sociological imagination in that they shape the course of your life depending on what in-group or out-group you are in. Ones gender is incorporated in the sociological imagination from the past by making specific roles for ones future based off of their gender. One can view their own life through many different perspectives; through family, networks, and gender are only 3 of the ways, but when viewed through the sociological imagination you can see how exactly these different factors influence your future through your history and biography. A way in which one can view their life through the sociological imagination is through their gender. The gender of a person can give them numerous opportunities or hold them back from attaining all they can. Many people believe that issues of gender are a thing of the past that women have all the same rights as men and therefore have the same opportunities but this is a matter that is not as close-ended as that. Gender is the set of social arrangements that are built around ones sex (Conley, p. 450). For example, in a baby girls bedroom most parents will paint the walls pink, however in a baby boys bedroom most parents will paint the walls blue, but if they do not know the gender of the child most parents would paint the room a neutral color or yellow. This act depicts gender, in that from before a child is born their parents are giving them a specific set of sex specific characteristics (Lecture, 3/22/10). Although many people believe that issues of gender no longer exist, these issues are still extremely dominant and very much a problem. Gender stratification, or the specific structured social inequality through gender (Conley, p. 748), begins before a child is even born, not only through the above-mentioned example but also from the past, where women had different jobs, different family roles, different levels of respect, and different places in society. In schooling children are faced with gender stratification, the classroom educational system teaches young boys and girls what toys to play with, what to wear, and how to act (Conley, p. 478). In a book written by Myra and David Sadker called Failing at Fairness the conclusion is drawn up that boys are treated differently in the classroom than girls; boys get called on more often, girls get bullied easier, boys interrupt girls without getting scolded, and boys are pushed to do better than girls are (Conley, p.478-479). The same continues through the education system all throughout college, where boys often go into majors in the math and science fields, and girls find it difficult to succeed in these areas (Conley, p. 476). Even once in the actual workforce women get the “short end of the stick” in that they can get the exact same education and the exact same grades and the exact same opportunities as a man and end up only making on average 77% of what a man makes financially (Conley, p.479). The depiction of women is not always seen as in the workplace, the image that most have in their heads is the image of the bread winner male and the home maker wife, not the bread winner tag team couple, but many women choose to work instead of stay at home for many reasons. This history of women’s average earnings and their discrepancies in the workplace and also in...
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