Family and Fertility in Puerto Rico: A Study of the Lower Income Group

By J. Mayone Stycos | Go to book overview

II
Differential Status Ideologies of the Sexes

Men have seven senses. Women are weaker because they have only five.

A FEMALE RESPONDENT

We men know what is good and what is bad.--Don't women know?--We do, but they don't.

A MALE RESPONDENT

Every society uses sex as a means of status ascription. Along with differing sex statuses go ideologies concerning the general character and differential capacities of the sexes. Almost universally the woman is seen as inferior to the man, and a system of rationalization is typically constructed by the society to justify the belief and the accompanying dearth of privileges for the female. The beliefs and rationalizations of this type current in Puerto Rico also provide the ideological backdrops for the prevalent types of child-rearing practices, courtship, and marriage relations. These latter can better be understood if preceded by a description of the sex ideologies.


STABILITY AND STRENGTH OF THE MALE

An important part of the sex ideology holds that male and female thought processes are different. Table 4 classifies the responses to the question, "What are the most important differences between men and women in their way of thinking?"

Only one in seven feels that men and women think the same, and only one in ten that women think better than men. A good majority of the males feel that the thought processes of men are superior to

-29-

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Family and Fertility in Puerto Rico: A Study of the Lower Income Group
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Tables xiii
  • Figures xvii
  • I- Introduction 3
  • II- Differential Status Ideologies of the Sexes 29
  • III- Child-Rearing Practices 37
  • Conclusions 58
  • IV- Courtship 60
  • Conclusions 85
  • V- Early Marriage and Consensual Union 87
  • Conclusions 120
  • VI- Marital Relations 122
  • VII- Attitudes toward Fertility- The Fertility Belief System 158
  • Summary 180
  • VIII- Attitudes toward Birth Control 182
  • IX- The Dynamics of Birth-Control Use 217
  • X- Summary and Recommendations 242
  • Concluding Remarks 254
  • Appendix A- Methodology 256
  • Appendix B- Respondent Characteristics 293
  • Appendix C- The Construction of Indices 297
  • Appendix D- Interview Forms 300
  • Appendix E- Categories for File Index of Selected Quotations 315
  • List of Works Cited 316
  • Index 323
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