Womanhood—contemporary paradoxes of equality and exclusion
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The article analyses currently emerging patterns of womanhood in the socio-cultural context. The author, using the feminist discourse, attempts to answer the following questions: What positive changes (based on the idea of gender equality) had taken place in terms of how the pattern of womanhood is culturally constructed? Are there still such areas in the contemporary model of woman’s life, where we observe certain forms of discrimination, based on a stereotypical attitude (in both: biological and cultural sense) towards gender issues? The author, by adopting the gender perspective, analyses fundamental areas in women’s lives: professional career and private life, to verify the level of their social (re)construction. Her reflection is also enriched with ponderings about the place of womanhood in popular culture. Through references to numerous research findings taken from the professional literature (mostly Polish), she tries to demonstrate that there are two opposing forces that influence womanhood: the first one bases on the mechanism of stereotyping and gender discrimination (determined by the essentialistic perspective) and the second one promotes equality discourse (determined by the perspective of social constructivism). In conclusion, the author makes the assumption, that contemporary patterns of womanhood balance on the line between two worlds, in which deeply rooted tradition (conditioned by the biological determinism) coexists with modern egalitarianism. The specific discrepancy between outer and inner (self)perception of the social and professional roles women play causes many dilemmas and forces them to make difficult decisions in life.
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