FourModels to InterpretWomen’s Gift Giving

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The focus of the four models to be presented here is on the structural

inequality in social power between women and men, their different types

of resources, and the differential social value attributed to these.Women’s

gift exchange in our Western society might be related to power in the

four following ways: asymmetrical reciprocity in favor of men, in which

men are supposed to benefit most from women’s liberality; equivalent

reciprocity, in which women and men benefit equally by their respective

giving, albeit on different domains; asymmetrical reciprocity in favor of

women, in which women themselves benefit most by their important

role in gift giving; and alternating asymmetry, in which women and

men profit alternatively from the dominant and gendered pattern of gift

giving.