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Gender Lecture and textbook notes (chapter eight) that details sex and gender, dominany forms of masculinity and femininity, reproducing gender, gendered bodies, gender and work, and sociological approaches to gender.

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SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Gender February-09-11 7:30 PM Sex and Gender  Sex: a determination of male or female on the basis of a set of socially agreed upon biological criteria o Refers to physical bodies. o Divides human population into binary construction, mutually exclusive categories o Implies that these groups are diametrical opposites  Gender: social distinction between masculine and feminine. Socially constructed characteristics associated with girls and boys, called masculinity and femininity o Binary opposition between masculine and feminine  Biological discoveries are also laden with gender, as scientists describe the role of the egg and sperm in markedly feminine and masculine ways. o Part of contemporary feminist work is to convince biologists that their social assumptions shape scientific accounts of the natural world. Sex and gender are not distinct but intertwined  Intersexed individuals: individuals born with ambiguous genitalia. o Don't fit either category of male or female and further problematize the sex/gender distinction. o Previously referred to as hermaphrodites o Tend to have some combination of male and female genitalia and/or chromosomes  Ideas about appropriate gender vary across cultures and time o 17th century France, masculinity was wearing frilly shirts, makeup and a wig. That is not the case in today's society  Gender relations: organising principles that shape and order interactions between, as well as the relative social importance of, women and men. o In most of the world, that which is associated with masculinity and men is more highly valued than that which is associated with femininity and women.  Gender intersects with race, class and sexuality. o Experiences shaped by location in various social hierarchies. As a result, there are dominant constructions of masculinity and femininity when in reality there are multiple masculinities and femininities.  Transgender: an umbrella term for a range of people who don't fit in to normative constructions of sex and gender o People who live as the gender they identify themselves as being, with or without sexual reassignment procedures. o Include transsexuals, transvestites (including drag kings and queens), intersexed individuals and those who don't define themselves as either male or female.  Transsexualism: diagnostic term in the early 70s, meaning that it appeared as a pathology or something in need of treatment.  Transsexual: a person who undergoes sex reassignment, which may include surgeries. o More precise category o Terms post-operative, pre-operative and non operative refer to whether an individual has undergone or is waiting to undergo sex reassignment surgery o Transvestites engage in cross dressing but do not necessarily identify as another gender. o Trans studies: exploring the experiences of trans people, whether trans is part of the LGBT community, exploring existence of a range of genders, whether people who do not undergo sex surgery can be called transgender, tension between trans theory and queer theory Dominant Forms of Masculinity and Femininity February-11-11 11:28 PM Hegemonic Masculinity  Hegemonic masculinity: normative ideal of dominant masculinity  What men are supposed to strive to achieve  Most socially endorsed form of masculinity  Notion of hegemony comes from Antonio Gramsci, a western Marxist theorist. Term implies a large measure of consent, and requires participation  In North America, it is associated with traits of aggressiveness, strength, drive, ambition. Constructed as the opposite of everything that is feminine  Also associated with whiteness, heterosexuality and the middle class  Requires men to be successful, capable and reliable; a man in power, with power and of power. Helps maintain power that some men have over other men and women  Tied to heterosexuality; precursor for defining masculinity is western societies. Homophobia is a central organising principle of our cultural definition of manhood o Homophobia is more than an irrational fear of gay men. Also a fear that men will unmask other men, emasculate them and reveal to the world that they do not measure up to ideal constructs of masculinity  Fear of being unmasked leads to shame and silence. Men then become complicit in the subordination of other men and women; occurs when there is a failure to intervene in sexist or racist jokes, laughing at gay bashing jokes, ignoring a woman being harassed on the street etc. Men's fear of being discovered as "not man enough" results in perpetuation of gendered behaviour and stereotypes. Emphasised Femininity  Emphasised femininity: normative ideal of femininity, based on compliance with women's subordination to men.  Oriented to obliging men's interests and desires  Most culturally valued form of femininity  Understood as the ideal that women should try to achieve  Characterised by supportiveness, enthusiasm, sexual attractiveness Female Genital Cutting or Female Genital Mutilation  Which term you use locates your position on the matter  Genital cutting: o Generally approach the debate from a cultural standpoint o Why is it practised, benefits, consequences  Genital mutilation o Represent's violation of a woman's rights o Those who take this approach tend to be from the west, and constitutes an example of Said's Orientalism  Encouraged to take a polythetic approach to understanding genital surgeries (multiple meanings associated with it) rather than monothetic approach (seeing it as having one meaning, usually sex or control)  Practiced mostly in African countries Reproducing Gender February-12-11 12:40 AM Families  Gendered expectations begin at birth o Baby girls often get pink balloons, teddy bears, ribbons, frilly dresses etc  Parent child-rearing practices also deeply gendered o Mothers respond more quickly to cries of baby girls than boys; idea that it’s okay for girls to cry o Girls are more likely to be held rocked and kissed within the first 6 months of birth, o Idea that boys are meant to be more independent than girls o Tend to spend more time talking to little girls o Parents punish sons more often o Girls and boys generally receive toys that reinforce their stereotypical roles; girls will get dolls, kitchen toys etc and boys will get toy cars, sports equipment etc o Chores tend to reinforce gender roles as well; boys take out the trash and shovel the driveway, girls do the dishes and wash the floors (inside tasks vs. outside tasks) Education  Teachers tend to interact more with boys than girls o Boys praised more when they successfully complete tasks, girls praised for being quiet and neat. Gendered interactions may contribute to the promotion of girls' dependence and boys' independence  "chilly climate" o Represents women's experience on university campuses o Male students continue to be engaged more with o Women's issues are downplayed and trivialised Media  Gender divisions reflected and reinforced in all forms of media  TV o Female characters remain manipulative, use helplessness or seduction to get their way o Female characters are all beautiful, heterosexual and in most cases, white o Black men tend to be portrayed as frightening and scary; black women are constructed as being on welfare and aggressive  Commercials during the Superbowl o Ads for alcohol primarily construct men as losers who hang out with male friends, self mock, are ironic o Male friendships are the centre of most ads o Men in ads not in a committed relationship, always ready to engage in sexual activity with fantasy women o Women are depicted as sexualised fantasy objects or "bitches" who undermine men's freedom to enjoy male bonding o Reinforce notion that average men cannot pursue beautiful women o Non fantasy women depicted as wanting to capture men for commitment and limit their freedom  Talk shows o Usually portray lower class masculinities and femininities which are linked to being loud, crass and behaving badly according to middle class standards Gendered Bodies February-12-11 12:58 AM  How we present our bodies, efforts to shape them, how we interpret others' bodies; all accomplished socially  How we feel about our bodies and how we present adorn and present them are influenced by societal messages about a feminine or masculine body should look and feel Television  Whole networks are aimed at helping individuals achieve beauty ideals , like TLC; What not to Wear, Makeover Train, Big Medicine  Emphasise improving ones' physical appearance  Conve
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