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Lecture 5

WGST 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Erving Goffman, Sut Jhally, Femininity


Department
Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
WGST 1F90
Professor
Jenny Janke
Lecture
5

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WGST 1F90 Monday October 17th, 2016
Lecture Title: Gender, Sexuality; Challenging
Lecture Key Terms:
1. Binary/dichotomy.
2. Sex.
3. Sex category
4. Gender.
5. “Doing” gender.
6. Micro/macro reasons.
7. Repetition of gender
Introduction:
1. One of the most pervasive organizing factors in our world
2. Key component of our self-identity
3. Race, class, sexuality intersect with gender
4. The basis for many of the c/overt unequal divisions in our world; ‘justifies’ violence, wage inequality,
etc.
5. Gender is a stratifying and dividing concept; the values we assign to ‘different’ genders are troubling
6. Gendered attitudes limit us; i.e., ‘Boys will be boys’. ‘Girls can’t do math’. ‘Women are naturally
caregivers’. ‘Boys don’t cry.’
7. We experience and demonstrate a range of the qualities; to limit ourselves is damaging
8. Confusing term: multiple misconceptions about gender and sex, how ‘natural’ it is, biological basis,
etc.
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Dichotomy: Gender’s Basis:
1. Gender is structured upon binary: we are either male or a female, but not both
2. Binary: dividing an idea/concept into two distinct parts. Results: polarizing
3. Examples: instinct/reason, nature/nurture, Madonna/whore, man/woman
4. Devalue one half while overvalue the other: traits associated with the masculine are overvalued,
those associated with femininity are devalued
5. “Male” traits: independence, emotional reserve, and strength. “Female” traits: (inter) dependence,
emotional, weakness
6. Ancient mythology structured masculine codes and expectations in the west
7. To “be” a “real” man: independent, reject weakness, fear the feminine, control environment, others,
etc.
8. West is based upon masculine codes from ancient mythology.
Examples of Gender Dichotomies in the West.
1. Note how differences are exaggerated.
2. Examine how male and female ‘qualities’ could be valued/devalued.
3. Why have we assumed such differences exist?
4. Who benefits from these divisions?
Explaining Gender:
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Things are the way they are by virtue of the fact that men are men and women are women—a division per-
ceived to be natural and rooted in biology, producing in turn profound psychological, behavioural, and social
consequences. The structural arrangements of a society are presumed to be responsive to these differ-
ences” (West and Zimmerman, 1991, p. 15). Question: What are the structural arrangements of the West to
which the authors refer?
Where do we Learn Differences?
1. Family: introduction to gender; central control in gender roles
2. Parents: encourage gender conformity – particularly for boys; parents often accentuate differences
3. Peers/friends: serve as sites of regulation of gendered behaviour
4. Language: words/language used to address girls and boys emphasize differences in physical ability, etc.
5. Specific mediums: commercials, tv programs/movies, music videos and lyrics, children’s books/ tv shows
6. Education system: routinely separates/divides girls and boys. Heteronormative curriculum
7. Medical System: little room for a third gender; supports two-gender/sex model.
Key Terms: Sex, Sex Category, Gender
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