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Lecture 2

Defining Gender - Week 2 .docx

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Sociology and Anthropology
SA 335
Amie Mc Lean

Week 2 - 335 5/17/2013 4:31:00 PM Defining Gender  What is gender? o Gender is a social construction that one identifies with and is not determined by birth. Gender is fluid and can be affected by external and internal influences. o Gender is often assigned to you, opposed upon us vs. self- perceived o Power of social norms and institutions to form ideas of gender  What does it mean to have an intersectional approach to gender? o Gender cannot exist solely on its own. Intersectionality exists with class, status, race, age, religion and sexuality that weave together to impact issues of gender.  What is the relationship to gender and the body? o Association of a common, distinctive biological “body image” is misconceived as defining and understanding gender. Gender is more than a biological construction, it’s more complicated than that o Expression of gender occurs through the body Sex = Biology  Sterling (Geneticist) argued that there may be as many as 5 physically distinct sexes  Intersexual beings – medically “treated” o Until recently as social activism surfaced, intersexual people and notions of gender were challenged o 2% of the population Gender = Culture  Connell also identifies that the dichotomy is not simple; biology, the body and gender  Gender divisions may be rooted in biology due to: o Hormones that “naturally” occurred in the body o Chromosomes (x & y) o Primary and secondary sex characteristics o Physical size and strength o Reproductive differences  Culture affects body – phenotypes impact genotypes  Connell o Ideas of gender uses body as a point of reference  Body is a site where something social happens  Body is a part but doesn’t encompass everything that gender is Revisiting Gender: Butler and Sangster  Butler and Connell challenge notions of gender o Reject the idea that sex = biology and gender = culture o May be asking different questions  Judith Butler o Performativity  We perform gender; bodies are texts – we write, perform, create and act out gender  Something that constantly occurs, does not end  Gender can or cannot be accomplished  Perform gender in various ways according to context, ongoing nature of gender performativity  Gender norms are imposed upon us even though we perform gender o Gender is: “a practice of improvisation within a scene of constraint” (Butler, 1)  We are slaves to gender norms, we carry an agency but society constrains us o Book; Undoing Gender o Focuses on the institutional arrangements and their impact on body o Gender is not fixed and is always in constant flux (especially regarding self)  Gender is something that occurs not something that exists o Rejects and questions foundational categorizations such as; women  Recreate sexism by letting binaries exist o Body as discourse, de-materialize bodies  Sangster o Historian – Canadian History & Women’s studies o Need to acknowledge capitalism and material bodies o Women’s and working-class history o Colonialism a
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