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SOCI 2P52 Week 10 Lecture

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Ann Duffy

March 15/13 SOCI 2P52 - Sexual Socialization - Social identity or biological necessity? Biological reductionism - Hegemonic ideology that sexuality is directly related to biological imperatives/evolution ex. Reproduction at all cost - Direct connection between biological reductionism and gender dualism Cross cultural, trans-historical research reveals that sexuality is highly malleable and diverse Meaning of sexuality: 1. Sexual bodes 2. Sexual pleasures 3. Sexual identities The Sexualized Body - Foundation constructed in primary socialization ex. Family – first connections with body and pleasure - Typically reflecting dominant cultural messages – even if they are rejected Parental/caregiver sexual socialization examples - Response to physical body ex. Shame/disgust/acceptance - Response-body as unclean - “Sexual” = secret, private, gendered knowledge - Response to sign of sexual stimulation especially young boys - Early onset that body may “betray” you - Important to learn to “discipline” the body; must be converted into an object of your scrutiny and actions ex. Self-objectification Parents/Peers - Naming of sexual parts (language/labelling) a. Definition of specific parts of sexual ex. Girls breasts – at what age? – self-definition? (consider cultural context) b. Naming of sexual parts c. Learning of slang terms for sexual parts – often associated with negativity Sexual Naming (symbolic interactionism) - Playground/peer group learning - Other terms (fewer for female) - Implied meanings/insults Naming of sexual parts and use of sexual terms in interaction reflects: - Historical change ex. “gay” – important shift in how people understand their sexuality - Ethnic/social class differences - Age and gender differences Further associated with labelling/naming - Parents/teachers’ level of emotional comfort while discussing sexual parts - Contextualizing – backstage notion that sexual parts are to be discussed in private – not public, therefore problematic, touchy subject - Underlying conceptualization of sexual organs ex. Penis=instrument, tool; vagina=receptacle All examples of indirect socialization – profoundly influencing how we experience and understand our sexual bodies - Internalization of body image – routinized Cultural Diversity and Sexual Bodies - Inuit – baby closeness; infant stimulation for soothing - Circumcision for males – normative or, increasingly today, non-normative - Circumcision of females – embedded in specific cultures – source of pride/identity Cultural Context in Global North: The Sexualization of Children’s Bodies - Film Sexy Inc. - Article on little girls clothing Sexualization - Cultural imposition, through socialization, of specific beliefs, norms, values concerning
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