SOCIOL 4A03 Lecture Notes - Main Source, Heterosexuality, Machismo

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31 Jan 2013

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-transgendered people defy society’s gender norms and blur widely accepted gender roles
-some are transsexualsindividuals who want to alter their gender by changing their appearance or
resorting to medical intervention
-they identify w/ and want to live fully as members of the “opposite” sex
-homosexuals are people who prefer sexual partners of the same sex and bisexuals are people who enjoy sexual
partners of either sex
-homosexuality has existed in every society
-some such as ancient Greece have encouraged it
-more frequently, homosexual acts are forbidden
-most laws target male rather than female homosexuality
-the scientific consensus is that homosexuality “emerges for most people in early adolescence w/o any prior sexual
experience…it is not changeable”
-sociologists less interested in the origins of homosexuality than in the way it is socially constructed (way it is
expressed and repressed)
-homosexuality has become less of a stigma mainly due to 2 factors
1.Sexologists: psychologists and physicians who study sexual practices scientifically
Alfred Kinsey: among the pioneers of this field
-interviewed thousands of men and women and concluded that homosexual practices were so
widespread that homosexuality could hardly be an illness
-provided a scientific rationale for the belief in the normality of sexual diversity
2. It was the sexual minorities themselves who provided he social and political energy needed to legitimize sexual
diversity to the public
-yet opposition and antipathy to homosexuals is still strong
-research suggests that some anti-gay crimes may result from repressed homosexual urges on the part of
the aggressor
-others occur b/c males want to prove their toughness and heterosexuality, others b/c of boredom, others
believe they were defending themselves from aggressive sexual propositions, and other said they wanted
to punish them for moral transgressions
Gender Inequality
The origin of gender inequality:
3 major socio-historical processes account for the growth of gender inequality:
1. Long distance warfare and conquest
-women and men used to be about equal in status up until the point at which warring peoples invaded old
-civilizations were based on hierarchical social structure in which men were dominant and their religions
gave primacy to male warrior gods
2. Plow agriculture
-required strong adults to remain in the field all day for much of the year
-reinforced principle of private ownership of land
-men on average stronger than women (who were also restricted by pregnancy and childbirth)
-thus made men more powerful socially and owned land that would be passed on to the eldest
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