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Susan Howell

Dr. Susan Howell teaches psychology at Campbellsville University, with her primary teaching interests being gender, development, and the integration of psychology and faith. In addition to teaching, Susan loves writing and presenting research findings at conferences, in class, and to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen.

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A Rose by Any Other Name…

While growing up in the 1960s, I heard women in our neighborhood complain about being called housewives. “I am not married to a house!” they would say. Of course the term typically meant that they were wives who spent their time caring for a house and those in it. But still, it offended these women […]

The Workaholic Mom?

“What pushes someone toward becoming a workaholic?” “What do we get out of spending too much time at work at the expense of our families?” These are the questions we pondered recently in a Sunday School class I attend. Answers ranged from the desire to provide for a family to employment insecurities to a desire […]

Power and the Brain

As an egalitarian I often write and speak on the importance of equality within male-female relationships. I do so because I strongly believe that power inequity prevents each partner from being all God calls him or her to be. Inequality diminishes everyone: those with power and those without. I hadn’t realized until recently, however, that […]

Right Answers, Wrong Questions

One reason that questions about men and women continue to confound us, I’m convinced, is that we’re asking the wrong questions, which tend to lead us to inadequate answers. So in an effort to un-confound things, I offer the following tweaked questions (TQ) so we can move toward answers that are more effective in addressing […]

Advantages and Disadvantages

One of my first objectives in teaching a Gender Studies course is to help my students realize that neither gender has all the advantages while the other is completely without perks. While most people have at least a vague awareness that males have it easier in many ways, women and men alike sometimes don’t consider […]

Self-Concept

Who are you? Before you read any further, stop and write down about 5 words or phrases that describe who you are. Finished?    Read on! Social psychologists tell us that (in the United States, anyway) when asked for self-descriptors, men tend to select words or phrases that show their independence from others, for instance […]

Can Girls Be Smart and Popular?

When teaching a college gender studies course, students are often surprised to learn of what researcher L. A. Bell calls the “smart versus social” dilemma, meaning that as early as elementary school, girls seem to feel that they have to choose between being smart and having relationships. Laura Roberts & Anne Petersen of Lafayette College also […]

The Wizard of Oz: A Counter-Cultural Tale

When our daughter and son were born, my husband and I tried to encourage gender equality through the books and TV programs to which they were exposed.  While it was difficult at times, I was stunned when I realized that The Wizard of Oz runs counter to all of the gendered expectations other children’s stories […]

I Have Confidence! (I Think)

“I don’t want to drive late at night in this storm,” she states. “I’ll wait until morning when it clears up.” “I’ll drive. It’s no problem,” he says. So what just happened here? Was she lacking in confidence? Or does he have a little too much? People who study gendered behavior report that in situations […]

A Move Toward Egalitarian Decision Making

When I was growing up, families came and went from our community based on where the husband found employment. I don’t know of anyone who moved because the wife had a new job or promotion. I always assumed it would be the same for me: I’d marry someone, and we would settle in the place […]

Androgyny

Whenever I talk about androgyny in class, many of my students are surprised to learn what the term encompasses. They have often seen it presented in an unattractive light, believing it to say something about a person’s lack of femininity or masculinity, kind of an elimination of anything that defines an individual as male or […]

Seeking Help

I’ve heard that men won’t ask for directions. I don’t know if this is true or merely a stereotype of the male gender. On the one hand, asking for help in general is often seen as an indicator of weakness so might be avoided in a society that holds men to a higher “toughness” standard […]