In sociology, feminization is the shift in gender roles and sex roles in a society, group, or organization towards a focus upon the feminine. This is the opposite of a cultural focus upon masculinity.
Scholar Ann Douglas chronicled the rise of what she describes as sentimental "feminization" of American mass culture in the 19th century, in which writers of both sexes underscored popular convictions about women's weaknesses, desires, and proper place in the world. Strong male icons in American culture like Ward Cleaver and John Wayne have been replaced in recent years by strong female icons and weak male icons like Homer Simpson.
It can also mean the incorporation of women into a group or a profession that was once dominated only by men.
Potential examples of feminization in society can include:
- The feminization of education – Majority female teachers, a female majority of students in higher education and a curriculum which is better suited to the learning process of women.
- The feminization of television – Television network programming decisions.
- The feminization of poverty – Less income for females than males in the labour market, and female single-headed households seem to face poverty more severely than other women.
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