Teaching family inequality: Some posts by subject

Getting started with a new semester.

As I’m preparing my undergraduate Families and Society course, I’m pulling together some short readings for discussions, including posts from this blog. Here are some you might find helpful for your own teaching, organized according to the chapters of my forthcoming textbook, The Family: Diversity, Inequality and Society Change.


  • Why don’t parents name their daughters Mary anymore? Sociology helps explain how things that seem intimate, like a baby’s name, reflect broader social patterns and trends. In the case of names, individuality is increasingly valued and traditional names suddenly seem boring.
  • Good woman child language: Basic concepts of male and female, good and bad, are linguistically related to gender and family relationships. For example, the word for “good” in Chinese is a combination of the words for “woman” and “child,” and the word for “man” is made from “field” plus “strength.”
  • Take my words for it: homogamy and heterogamy: What we call things matters. As marriage people  people of the same sex becomes legal in more and more places, does it matter how we refer to different forms of marriage?



Social class


  1. 12 minutes in segregationland. How much gender division of labor can you spot in 12 minutes at the train station? A statistical photo essay.
  2. Tangled up in Disney’s dimorphism. What does it mean when they exaggerate the differences between men’s and women’s bodies?
  3. What if women were in charge? When women get management jobs, some things change. But it hasn’t been enough to complete the push toward gender equality.


Love and romantic relationships

Cohabitation and marriage

Families and children

Divorce and remarriage

Work and families

Violence and abuse

Wow, looking back at all these posts, I feel as if I better have written a book by now. Just one more chapter to go! Your feedback is always welcome, whether you are a teacher using these posts in class or just reading.

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