Anth 331- Lecture 1 9/13/2011 5:27:00 PM
What is gender?
- “The cultural meaning given to an individual’s physical sex” (Lang,
“The socially and culturally produced ideas about the differences between
females and males in a particular society” (Lees, 2009:5)
-when talking about males/females: talking about sex
-masculinity/femininity: gender- not biologically driven, not fixed
- But gender is not the same thing as sex
Gender Components: Definitions
1) Gender Identity: Reflects the persons subjectively (inner) felt
experiences of being masculine , feminine, or ambivalent.
not what society says, this is what you feel
Prescriptive Gender Stereotypes: of what it means to be M/F/A, set by
Feminine: Warm & kind, wholesome, interest in children, expresses emotion,
loyal, spiritual, sensitive
Masculine: business sense, athletic, willing to take risks, consistent
leadership ability, aggressive, self reliant
2) Gender roles: The social skills, abilities, and ways of acting thought
appropriate to members of society, depending on whether or not you are
male or female.
What do males and females actually do in society: talking about
physical exterior; your job, you performing in public world
Occupational Segregation(Division of Labor) in Canada
“Pink collar jobs”: tend to be jobs where you find more women than men,
clerical, administrative, sales & services
“Blue” collar and “White” collar jobs: male dominated, industrial ,
3) Gender Ideology: The attitudes and beliefs of society regarding the
appropriate roles, rights, and responsibilities of men and women in society.
What you “should” be doing:
o Patriarchal/Traditional Ideology: when talking about family
i.e.; male seen as breadwinner
o Egalitarian: i.e. man staying at home, shared family &
Ideas about gender are not fixed/content not fixed
o i.e. King Louis XVI of France most powerful man in 1700s’ – wore
tights ,heels, and a robe. Today- not image of most powerful men.
o Ideas of what should be masculine/feminine change
o But there is a dominant view of how it should be
9/13/2011 5:27:00 PM
2 sex/ 2 gender system in North America
But doesn’t account for everyone:
o 1) Intersex: Ambiguous/ different external genitalia in relation to
genetic sex. Maria Patino- Spanish Olympian. Genetically a male,
but looks & considers herself female.
Don’t have a gender identity issue- have always felt M or F
o 2) Transgendered: They don’t fit in gender norms of society, but
they themselves have gender identity issues. “Trapped in a body
that’s not theirs.”
i.e. Transsexuals:Thomas Beattie- American female-to-male
transsexual, who is pregnant.
o 3) 3rd Gendered: Hijra of India.
Studying Gender in Anthropology
Gender is not a codeword for women
We have a lot of assumptions about gender; many of which go
unacknowledged; many of which are contradictory
Anthropology particularly suited to the study of gender b/c of its cross-
o We will use many analytical tools: drawing on archaeological to
primatological to cultural anthro. approaches