March 7, 2013
Sex and Gender
- Sex: “The biological differences that distinguish males from females.”
(Conley 2013: 283)
- Gender: “A social position, the set of social arrangements that are
built around normative sex categories.” (Conley 2013: 283)
Masculinity and femininity
Social definition of male and female
- Gender is social and Sex is biological
The Social Construction of Gender
- Social construct: an idea or concept that has emerged from society
- Gender has come from a social construction (emerged form society)
- Gender is an idea/concept that is a product of society
- One of the ways of seeing gender as a social construction is to
recognize how it has changed over time.
Example of How Gender Has Changed
Used to be male-dominated
Considered as masculine as football
Women excluded from cheerleading
It shifted when many men who were in cheerleading were
called to go to war.
Women were required to fill many different spots when the men
left; including cheerleading
When men came back from war, there was a real battle over
Some schools even banned female cheerleaders
“Female cheerleaders often become too masculine for their own
Cheerleading = Masculine (LOL)
Never resolved and then men were called for WWII.
Women really took over cheerleading.
It changed everyone‟s perception of what made a cheerleader a
cheerleader. March 7, 2013
Women stereotyped as „cute‟ and not valiant (not very
representative of their colleges)
Cheerleading became more generalized
The ideal cheerleader was no longer a strong athlete with
Now, it‟s about happy, supportive, cheerful person.
By 1960s, men replaced by women
Cutesy chants, uniforms, smiles, no gymnastics, no challenging
routines or stunts going on.
Now, cheerleaders are quite athletic, however, cheerleading is
not very masculine (there are some male cheerleaders).
While cheerleading can be quite athletic (more stunts and
routines), it‟s also highly sexualized (routines and uniforms)
- Therefore, changes in views of masculinity and femininity.
- Notions of gender appropriate roles that we take for granted these
days are a product from the society we are in. They were probably
different a long time ago.
- Gender socialization happens through interaction
- Sociologists look at socialization and interaction
What it means to be male or female.
- We learn from our primary socializing agents (family) and our
secondary socializing agents (school).
- We also learn from factors around us (toys, tv shows, movies, etc.)
- These all tell us what is appropriate (what is male and what is female-
- Ex: Handbooks on how to be boys and girls.
Ideas seen that girls are more interested in heterosexual
Males have better/more things/interests to do
Intimacy more important to girls rather than boys
These kinds of things influence how we learn gender
These ideas are everywhere
- The more we see these ideas, the more