Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Beggan, James K.

Author's Keywords

Emotional labor; Funeral industry; Transgendered occupations; Gender


Sex role in the work environment; Undertakers and undertaking--Social aspects; Women white collar workers


Hochschild (1983) stated that emotional labor has unique consequences for women. However, most studies of these consequences have been situated in feminized occupations which have wage penalties and little upward mobility (see Sweet and Meiksins, 2004). This poses a problem as it may be difficult to tease apart what stressors are the result of emotional labor and which are a part of the broader issues of feminized work. The present research suggests that the funeral industry is a unique context for the study of women's emotional labor, as it is a numerically male dominated profession (BLS, 2010). Using semi-structured, in-depth interviews with thirteen female funeral directors, the present research explored how women connected work roles and societal norms. The results suggest that beliefs in gender essentialism, or beliefs in other's essentialism, may influence how women experience and perform emotional labor.