The masculinization of identity among successful career women? A case study of Polish female managers

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Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM

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One of the most fundamental principles which underpins the functioning of Western societies is the gender binary system, based on the eternal division into men and women as well as their social and biological predestination. Critiques of the binary system claim that there is an apparent lack of symmetry between the polar opposites constituting the binary system. The male‐female dichotomy appears to be asymmetrical since the binary opposition is viewed as unequal: females are dominated and controlled by males and forced to perform less significant, minor (less valued) social roles. Binarism refers to identity and social roles, as well as to physical attributes of females and males. The consequence of binarism on the realm of physicality is the view that a woman is obliged to constantly improve her attractiveness so that she could be “won over in an impressive way” by “the best possible partner.” The main aim of this article is examination of social anxiety over the effects of women’s emancipation, which is believed to give rise to the masculinization of females, particularly those who have achieved social and professional success, and aspire to (or have already acquired) a high social status, income, or professional position. The theoretical considerations are confronted with results of the qualitative research related to female managers’ identity.




masculinization, identity, career, emancipation, female managers


Journal of Gender and Power, No.1, Vol.1, 2014, pp. 25-47




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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego