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SOC 603- Lecture 2.docx

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SOC 603
Pamela Sugiman

SOC 603: Rethinking Sex & Gender: Trans- Identities & Experiences Two sexes: Female & Male? How do we uphold the idea of two sexes? • Fetal sex determination • Language: very difficult to talk about someone without identifying someone’s sex. When trying to be gender neutral people often use “they” • Public washrooms, locker rooms, prisons, etc. • Education: women write admission exams (1877), attend lectures (1884) • Legal rights • Women become ‘persons’ in 1929 • Voting rights (women won the right to vote in 1918, in 1948 Canadian women of Japanese orientation got the right to vote, some women didn’t get the right to vote until 1960: first nation and aboriginal women) • Employment: married women weren’t allowed to find work in a public sector job until 1955. Women had to hide wedding rings, etc. - Idea that married women should not be employed because of the idea of male breadwinner; no economic need because the husbands would take care of them. • Same sex marriage wasn’t illegal until 2005 • Sexual expression • Homosexuality illegal in 70/195 countries; homosexual activity wasn’t decriminalized in Canada until 1967 • Sports/athletics: Canada’s Olympic team accepts females in 1928 Why does this matter? • We rely on gender stereotypes (fixed sex categories) as tools to help us take mental short cues: selective processing • Examples: ~ Women’s and men’s height: study of photographs ~ Study of job title & Gender: “Katherine” & “Kenneth” Anderson Case of Caster Semenya • Young runner from South Africa • Won world 800 metre championship race in Berlin • Appearance ambiguous: muscles, short hair, facial features had many confused whether she was a male or female • She has internal testes (male sexual organs) which produce more testosterone & generate muscle mass, body hair, and deep voice Intersexual Bodies 2, 5 or more Biological Sexes? • Biologically, many gradations from male to female: a continuum • Intersexual bodies: mixture of female and male traits • Lack of “fit” among genitals, gonads, and/or chromosomes • Standard medical treatment (to a male that is intersexed): correction (often through surgery) Old Definitions of Intersexual Bodies • True hermaphrodites (“herms”): possess one testis & one ovary • Male pseudo hermaphrodites (“merms”): testes and some aspects of female genitalia but no ovaries • Female pseudo hermaphrodites (“ferms”): ovaries and some aspects of male genitalia but no testes Transgenderism & Transsexualism • Transgenderism: umbrella term that encompasses variety of identities including transsexual, cross-dresser, drag queen- individuals who do not conform to the dominant sex/ gendered system • Transsexualism: individuals with unambiguous
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