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Lecture 21 Gender and Sexism.docx

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Social Work
Sandra Preston

1 Social Work 1A06: Introduction to Social Work March 11 2013 Lecture 21: Gender and Sexism Notes: - For those who took the Social Work test o Only accept 70 people o Every test is read by a team to ensure a fair score o Very competitive – so stressful o Find out results in June Gender as a Continuum - There are more than 2 categories - Even if only use the two categories of male and female, it is still a continuum o What we traditionally think of as male is at one end of the continuum, what we traditionally think of as female is at the other end  Most of us are in the middle when it comes to the aspects that we think of in terms of gender What is Gender? - Socially constructed category o Constructed from various things o How do you decide if someone is male or female?  Hair length  Guys usually have short, girls usually have long  Except some don’t  Body type  Girls usually have obvious boobs, guys usually don’t  Girls are usually shorter, guys are usually taller  Except some don’t  Voices  Girls usually have higher voices, guys usually have lower voices  Except some don’t  How they are dressed  Girls sometimes wear skirts, men usually don’t  Except some don’t  Body language  Space o Girls usually take up as little space as possible, some guys splay out and take up allll the room o Except some don’t 2  Sexual Organs  Girls usually have vaginas, boys usually have penises  Except some don’t o Basically – not clear cut  Physically or by identity  Tend to think of static categories  Things that are predetermined naturally  But really, they are on a continuum o We police those people who don’t fit into the various categories o For purposes of oppression  Gender is treated like a fact  Once you are put into a category, you are treated that way - First order physical characteristics - Second order physical characteristics - Third order physical characteristics - Hormones - Emotional and intellectual characteristics Gender in Everyday Life - How do you think your gender affects your everyday life? o - Men – how do you think our society makes it hard to be a woman? o - Women – how do you think our society makes it hard to be a man? o Sexism - Oppression based on a person’s perceived gender. Male behaviours and characteristics are generally perceived to be more valuable. Women are expected to fulfil particular roles which often disadvantage them. - Self-Esteem - Challenging or accepting gender stereotypes – how does this impact self-esteem? o Girls face sharp drop in self-esteem as they enter puberty o Boys face more rigid gender norms Voice - In mixed group – women are less likely to talk, more likely to be interrupted and less likely to start new topics 3 - In classrooms boys receive more attention and are called on more frequently - Women are less likely to write for newspapers - Women are less likely to write for influential magazines Freedom - How are women’s lives bounded by gender? o Dress and appearance o Bodily integrity o Movement and space o Violence - How are men’s lives bounded by gender? o Violence o Dress o Expression of emotion Lots of generalizations from ehre on out: traditionally, or generally: Heterosexism or women and relationships - Compulsory hetereosexuality o Heterosexism as the norm. o LGBT is deviating from the norm o Everyone is assumed to be hetero until proven otherwise - The myth of romance o If someone loves you , they can’t live without you  Abusive men are very romantic – bring you roses etc.  Real relationships take time to develop – if you can’t live without someone after a month, that’s suspicious  Not about the romantic gestures, the gestures are nice, but they are only extras o Romance used to encourage consumerism  E.g. 2 months of wages to an engagement ring - The tyranny of relationships o Everyone should be in a relationship  If you are single – there is something wrong with you!  BUT The fastest growing households in Canada are single people households – more people than ever before are choosing not to be in a relationship - Rigid definitions of family o Families can only be particular things and look particular ways  E.g. the nuclear fam: 1 man, 1 women, married with children  The reality is that all families are different configurations 4 Access to Power - Even though women make up 50% of the population: - Women hold only 16.1% of the seats on the boards of Fortune 500 compaines and made up 14.1% of the top executive officers - Women are only 5.2% of the top earners - We have only had one female prime minister - In the House of Commons o Women have always been underreprestended o Only 15% of the women who run are elected o Elected women only make up between 10-20% of the MPs  In 2011 – we elected 76 women, an all-time high of 24.7% of the MPs Attitudes towards Women and Work - Traditional Views o Being a stay-at-home mom:  Not really seen as work o Women as the homemaker, man as the breadwinner o Very traditional ideas about what kind of work women are suited for etc.  Worry about women’s ferti
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