Salt of the Earth
Gilman talks about excessive sex distinction being those culturally magnified, socially constructed gender differences between men and women. This is applicable to the movie because you can see obvious differences in how society treats the men and the women of the mining town; the men work and are part of the union while the women stay home and take care of the family. This excessive sex distinction goes beyond the means of reproduction because although it is logical for the woman to stay home during the early years of her children’s lives to breastfeed, after that time either male or female or both would be able to be in the workforce.
Also, in the movie, the men are part of a union. Before the strike had begun women hadn’t been a part of these meetings just because of the idea that it was for the men. There isn’t any biological reason for the women not to be present at the meeting; when they did attend the meetings they were able to add key insights and even came up with the idea of taking over the picket line when the miners weren’t able to. Excessive sex distinction could have prevented this from happening and ultimately the strike would have been defeated.
As for women’s dependence on men, it has to do greatly with economics. Because of the excessive sex distinction that creates the man as the breadwinner of the family women are expected to stay at home and take care of the family which prevents them from being economically independent. This is easily seen in the film; the men are the workers in the mining town while the women are the ones that are seen hanging laundry and taking care of children while waiting for their husbands to come home from the mines and union meetings. During the strike the men weren’t getting their usual wages and because there was no work for the women the families suffered economically. Some families relied so heavily on that wage that they had to leave the community and the strike so...