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Lecture 3

SOC275H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Hegemonic Masculinity, Radical Feminism, Compulsory Heterosexuality

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Hae Yeon Choo

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Lecture 3 social construction of gender: challenging the binaries
1. Social construction of gender
- Yet, we as a society produce and reinforcing binary systems: the language of the
opposite sex, or Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
o There is a great variation within gender though, and in scholarly accounts we
see a promotion of stating that men and women are so different
- The difference between men and women are not nearly as great as the differences
among women and among men
- Gail Rubin sex/gender/sexuality system
o the set of arrangements by which a society transforms biological sexuality
into products of human activity based on the assumption that all people
assigned female at birth will naturally identify as women and be attracted to
men, and vica versa
there are certain kinds of differences (biological, natural, so on), but
how much meaning do we give to that difference, and how do we want
to categories those differences
right now we categorize as male and female we use that as an
assumption and when we assign a sex at birth we assign how people
treat that child
seeing intimacy when children girls and boys are playing they say
they have a crush, but dont do that when two girls are playing, and it
makes a script of sexual and intimate attraction at such a young age
this system is there once we arrive to earth, and then we become part
of it and we can reproduce it and challenge it
doing gender is specific examples of action
o challenging the essentialist understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality
its not naturally or inherently given, but it takes a lot of making,
implicit or explicit
- Gender ideologies in institutions
o Glass ceiling: invisible discrimination against women in hiring, promotion,
and retention
o Glass escalator
Preferential hiring and promotion of male workers in female-
dominated occupations (ir, nursing, elementary education)
When men go into a female dominated work, they go up it more faster,
this would be the glass escalator cultivate these men and mentor
- Assignment 1:
o After next week start writing start thinking about your topic though
o Policing of behaviour
2. Varieties of feminism: feminism is not one thing
- Liberal feminism
- Radical feminism
- Multicultural feminism; intersectionality
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- The first and second wave of feminism
o First wave is that women want to vote
o Second wave: seen so much shift in the way the intimate life and gender order
had been organized, civil rights era
Key element is that women had made important ways into institutions
(vote and university), in the public sphere, but the type of issues that
has not be discussed was sexual autonomy and things like that they
wanted to challenge the sexual script
- Liberal feminism
o Focuses on womens integration and inclusion into the pre-existing social
institutions as equals; overcoming differences and exclusion
o Highlights equal opportunity & anti-discrimination policies, individual
o Women need to be included in institutions
o There has been liberal arguments to state that there is no reason women
SHOULD be involved they have the same qualities as men and should be
given the same opportunities
o One of the most mainstream arguments in Canada and the US
o Equal opportunity
o There shouldnt be a discrimination when its not explicitly about job criteria
o The critique is why would women want to be a part of an institution that
excluded you for so long? as a minority group you are expected to fit in
more, and change aspects of yourself so you can fit in (being more assertive,
cutting your hair, so on)
- Radical feminism
o Radical feminism focuses on the theory of patriarchy as a system of power
that reproduces male dominance
o Challenges that private and public divide
o Emphasizes distinctive womens voices and experiences and building
alternative spaces
o Focuses on women; mobilizes against violence against women
o Tension between liberal and radical politics: inclusion vs. autonomy
Marriage was first seen as an institution to belong to the man, why
would you have to get into that institution to be bound by these rules
o States that instead of fighting to fit into the institution that has been male
dominate, we could come together as women, really achieve women
autonomy, and create a new institution that fits for us better
o Built alternate institutions were they can come together is sisterhood
o One key thing is violence against women these are the ones that build
shelters (they build these spaces)
- Multicultural feminism
o Focuses on the need to integrate feminism with struggles against racism
o Attends to differences among women (which women?)
o Goes beyond recognizing the diversity of womens experiences to understand
how these differences are produces and maintained by structures of
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