SOCI 1002 E
Foundations of Sociology
Week 9: Gender and Sexual Orientation
• Sociologists use ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ to distinguish biological sex identity from learned
• A person is born male or female (or some combination, i.e. hermaphrodite) but becoming
or woman is by social and cultural expectations of men’s and women’s behavior,
• Sex: born with male/female genitals and released male or female hormones to stimulate
development of your reproductive system.
• Gender: sense of being male/female and playing masculine/feminine roles that are
by culture and society.
• Transgendered: people break society’s gender norms by defying the rigid distinction
• Transsexuals: believe they were born with the “wrong” body. They identify want to live
members of the “opposite” sex.
• Essentialism: School of thought that views gender differences as reflection of biological
differences between women and men.
o Ignores historical and cultural variability of gender.
o Tends to generalize from the average, ignoring variations within gender groups. o Little or no evidence that directly supports essentialists’ major claims.
o Ignores the role of power.
• Social constructionism: Regards gender differences as constructed by social structure
o Conflict and feminist perspectives reflect social constructionism.
o Suggests natural features of life, such as gender, are sustained by social
vary both historically and culturally.
o Also is reflected in symbolic interactionism, which focuses on way people attach
meaning to things.
• Gender Identity: one’s definition of oneself as a woman/man.
o Shapes our expectations for ourselves
o Abilities and Interests
o How we interact with others
• Gender socialization: learn the expectations according to their sex.
o Parents: Physical contact, compliments, toys.
o Peers: How children play with one another.
o School: Teachers, books, class experience.
o Mass Media: How women and men are portrayed in terms of occupations and
main characters, cultural ideal of womanhood and manhood.
• Intimate Partner Violence (6% of Canadian women in 2004 through victimization survey,
down from 12% in 1993).
• Sexual Assault (85% of sexual assault of women are by men they know).
• Sexual Harassment.
• Quid pro quo (when sexual threats or bribery are made a condition of employment
• Hostile environment (involves sexual jokes, comments, and touching that interferes).
• Patriarchy: Refers to society in which men have power over women.
• Gendered Institutions: when entire institutions are patterned by gender.
o Stereotypical expectations
o Interpersonal relationships
o The division of labor along lines of gender
o The images and symbols that support these divisions
o The different placement of men and women in social, economic, and political
hierarchies of institutions.
• Earnings gap: between men and women is one of most important expressions of gender
inequality today. Women earn less than men do at every level of education.
o Overt Discrimination: Sexism – Discrimination on the basis of sex and gender.
o Gender Socialization/Gender Segregation: refers to the distribution of men and
in different jobs in the labour force.
o Second Shift: Even though many men are more involved in housework and
than has been true in the past, most of this work still falls on women.
• Feminism: the movement for social, political, and economic equality of men and women.
Public opinion polls confirm that when people are given this definition, 67 percent say they
• One indicator of progress of women is Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM).
• Is computed by United Nations and is based on the following:
o Women’s share of seats in Parliament
o Women’s share of administrative, managerial, professional, and technic