WOMENST 1A03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Biomedical Sciences, Intersectionality

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Jan 13, 2016

“Gender” Instead of “Woman
Feminist terminology since the 1980s; wants to be taken seriously
Sounds like social science instead of strident activism
“Gender” is objective sounding; doesn’t sound threatening
Women’s Studies Departments in the 1970s and 1980s became Gender
Studies Departments in the 1990s and beyond
Draws attention to the inability of considering “women” separately from men
oThe category “woman” exists because there is also a category “man
and the two are n relationship with one another
The social construction of the category “woman” implies the social
construction of the category “man
Neither biological sex nor gendered social roles exist in a bubble; the cultural
meanings of our bodies exists as part of a discourse of sex, gender, and power
in our society
But What About Biology?
Science is not value neutral. Biomedical science has always taken part (and
taken sides) in debates about women’s rights and abilities
One-Sex Model
oWomen are merely an inferior version of the standard-issue male
body
o…man is the measure of all things, and woman does not exist
ontologically distinct category.” (Laqueur, 62)
oDon’t jump up and down ladies…
Difference model, 18th and 19th Centuries
“The female and the male body now become conceptualized in terms of
opposite bodies with “incommensurably different organs, functions, and
feedings” (Laqueur in Oudshoorn)
o“Naturaliaztion” in femininity
Biology, Today
“Essence” model – contested
oNot located in one organ (uterus or ovaries) but in hormones
Pathology or femininity, even more than of masculinity
Key Terms
Biomedical
Discourse
Gender
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