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Queen's University
PHIL 452

Chapter 4 Pages (188-203) Emma Rosznak&Tanja Oswald Key Thinkers/Terms: Summarizethe major thinkers within the chapters, detailing who they are, what they did, and how it relates to the chapter topic (e.g. Ch.2 relates Work, Ch.3 relates to Social Inequality, and so on...). A good paragraph each should suffice. If you find a new term in your section and are not sure what thinker it belongs to, list the term and give its definition at the end. Gender Inequality and Feminist Sociology Simone de Beauvoir (1953) - Simone de Beauvoir authored a book called The Second Sex, which focused onwomen’ssubordination across cultures and throughout history. Within this book, she talks about women’s place in this world and addresses questions such as “what has become of women?” and “What is a woman?” Beauvoir highlights that man is seen as positive, or neutral in society, whereas women are indicative of more negative representations. In addition, Beauvoir relates to this chapter on Gender Inequality and Feminist Sociology by opening up discussion in the 1940’s and 50’s regarding the distinctions between biological sex and socially constructed gender by coining the phrase, “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” She concludes her arguments by stating that male and female, and man and woman are not binary opposites, but rather overlap each other in terms of gender and sex (where intersex individuals with ambiguous genitalia are evidence of this). Judith Butler (1990) - Drawing on Faucaults research from Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality, Volume I, she argued that the idea of sex is a form of discourse which organizes what scientists observe into biological explanations. In this sense, she states that the essential sexual constitution of males and females is indicative of a deeply embedded discourse which connects biology with social constructions. With this point, she challenges the notion that there is a particular, essential core to individuals and to humanity as a whole, and instead proposed that people see what they are led to understand through the “organizing, guiding, restricting processes of a deeply entrenched discursive formation.” In summation, her material relates to this chapter because it adds an extra dimension to feminist discourse. Betty Friedan(1962) - In the 1960’s, Betty Friedan addressed “the problem that has no name,” in her book entitled “The Feminist Mystique.” Her research was tied to white, middle-class suburban women whose identities were tied to their husbands and children. Through this process, these women could not define herself by her own actions within society. Her book changed perceptions of how identity should be constructed. Her work firstly addressed the invisibility of women within the domestic unit, and the determining factors of their social rank. She also delved into the processes behind women’s domestic labour, raising questions like—“who did it, what did it entail, why was it so drastically undervalued, and how did it relate to the paid labour force as a whole?” From this point, Betty analyzes women in terms of class and examines their placement across the stratification system. Lastly, she addresses patriarchy as a system of male oppression where power inequality was tied to biological differences between men and women. Kate Millet(1970) - Kate Millet revealed the ‘othering, oppression and obliteration of women’ in her book entitled, Sexual Politics. She analyzes how sexual relations between men and women totally subsumewomen’s desires, sensations and needs under those of the male. She draws parallels between the relations between dominance and patriarchy, where women were seen as objects. She argues that women did not appear to men as men do to one another. In her work, she reaches 2 key re-conceptualizations; 1) Millet broadened the notion of politics and used this to focus on intimate, personal experiences which became the fundamental basis from which sexual politics was derived from. These intimate relations arguably constituted the “basis to relations of patriarchal power.” 2) Millet emphasized that the “personal is political,” which consequently magnified the importance of the study of peoples individual everyday lives, within the field of sociology. Chandra Mohanty (1984) - Chandra Mohanty addressed the issue that the experiences of women in Canada had been lumped together with other women’s experiences worldwide. She distinguished the necessary separation of how women in Canada, America and Western Europe lead different lived experiences, especially apart from those in the Eastern block and those living in formerly colonized parts of the world. In her issue of Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses, she critiques the idea of “Third World Women” as a singular, homogenized subject, as referred to in some recent western feminist texts, in addition to highlighting the use of “others” as “non- western.” In this respect, she helped to refine the discourse of feminist sociology by further breaking down research into more distinct categories. In 2000, she stated that “falsely universalizing methodologies… serve the narrow interest of Western feminism.” Her last main argument was that modern societies and postmodern societies should not be analyzed cohesively in terms of research. Encyclopedia Summary: BEAUVOIR, SIMONE DE: Simone de Beauvoir was an existential philosopher, writer and social essayist from France. Two of her main focuses pertained to viewing women as the ‘Other,’ in addition to examining women’s oppressions and how they can be traced back historically to the concept of motherhood. To be defined as the ‘Other’ meant being seen as less than a man, second to man, and in existence for man’s pleasure. Her main contribution to sociology was a book she wrote called The Second Sex: The Coming of Age (La Vieillesse) which focused on the study of age. Internationally recognized for her writing, Beauvoir sought to correct androcentric biases which had been found in earlier gender neutral theoretical frameworks. Here, she examined the history of lived experiences of women in comparison to men. She used her existential philosophy to guide her understanding of herself as a woman and also in comprehending the condition of women in society. The human condition was defined as the freedom to choose, as humans are born with no fixed essence or nature, which opens up possibilities for self-creation and definition. She developed an integral argument to the sociological framework regarding feminist insight which states that “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” INTERSEXUALITY: Intersexuality is a concept which refers to the condition whereby the sexual or reproductive anatomy of an individual, does not conform to the societal expectations of what is defined as ‘normal’ for male and female anatomy. ‘Intersex’ is not a distinct category. Genital variations of intersex individuals, challenge the binary constructs regarding gender and sexuality, in addition to the ‘cultural institutional systems designed around assumptions that discrete sex categories naturally yield complimentary gender roles and heterosexuality.’ Intersex individuals entered the realm of gender and sexual politics in 1903 with the formation of the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), which demanded the end to cosmetic genital surgery to newborn infants. It is argued that medical procedures regarding ambiguous genitalia of intersex individuals should be left up to the choice of the individual, not medical protocol. FEMINISM: Feminism can be described as a system of ideas and political practices which is based on the differences in equality between women and men. There are various discourses within feminist ideology such as liberal, cultural, socialist, radical, psychoanalytic, womanist, and postmodernist discourses. Social movements regarding feminism can be split into 3 waves; the first wave of feminism took place from 1792-1920, the second wave, 1960-2008, and the third wave stemming from actions of feminists who spend a majority of their lives living in the 21 century. There were 3 main understandings which emerged from the interaction between feminism and sociology: gender as a role performance across institutions, and the idea of patriarchy which divides work into public and private spheres. Feminisms success in sociology has allowed women sociologists of each generation to form a class for itself, as people who understand and act on their common interests. FRIEDAN, BETTY: Born as Betty Naomi Goldstein in Peoria Illinois February 4th, 1921, she attended Smith College in 1938, graduated in 1942 with a degree in psychology, and went on to pursue graduate studies at the University of California. Betty is known for becoming a feminist writer and for her contributions post-world war II as an activist for over 40 years. Her most celebrated work was Feminine Mystique, written in 1963 which exposed gender roles which were imposed on women. She employed social scientific methodology and found that women were discontent with legal, political, social, economic and educational factors which had strict polarized gender roles. Her text was instrumental to the resurgence of feminism in the 1960’s, where this book suggested the secondary status of women in relation to men, during a time where women were paying more attention to their own personal experiences and relationships. Additionally, she became known as the figurehead for the second wave feminist movement, and both founder and first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966. SEXUAL POLITICS: Sexual politics refers to the contestation of power relations with respect to gender, sex, and sexuality. The concept of sexual politics originated in western society, during the 2 wave of feminism in the 1960’s. The textual origin can be traced to Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics, first published in 1970- where it centralized the concept of patriarchy and social systems as being ruled by men. The sociological definition analyses the relations between men and women as being products of society by feminists who sought to distinguish sex as being biological, from gender which was a social construct. Contemporary sexual politics addresses a broader spectrum of male and female sexual orientations, shifting away from binary foci and heteronormative ideas. With this, came the emergence of ‘queer politics’ which seeks to challenge the heteronormative and homosexual dichotomies in addition to heteronormative. PATRIARCHY: Patriarchy is a concept which is central to feminist scholarship and helps to inform discussions regarding gender in various other fields of study, such as sociology. Both sociologists and feminists pay attention to the differentiation of sex and the implications of social stratifications which surround patriarchy. Patriarchy is a concept which attempts to serve as an explanation to gender stratification as an effect of social organization rather than natural or biological facts. Originally, it was used to describe the autocratic rule of males within families, whereas now, patriarchy seeks to expand in des
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