1/31/2013 10:17:00 PM
SOCB22 – Week 2 Lecture.
What is gender?
o Essentialist View
Sex and gender differences are due to biology
Example: “Boys will be boys”, or that women are
naturally better at parenting and keeping the home.
Socially constructed difference?
o Based on social and culture values/meanings
o Social Constructionist View
Gender differences due to social and cultural meanings
that are mapped onto bodies.
For many feminists:
Gender: Socially constructed differences
Sex: Physiological differences
The way we understand physiological differences
is also socially constructed
Simone de Beauvoir, philosopher
“one is not born, but becomes a woman” (The
Second Sex, 1949)
Enlightenment: “I think therefore I am”
Basically that you can only be a man OR
woman, not both.
Doesn’t leave room for ambiguity
Gender puts people in a hierarchy, and
overlaps with other categories.
Woman seen as slaves to their
bodies as a result from cycles,
and pregnancies. Woman naturally linked to
nature, which itself is
hierarchical. Nature is
something that is wild, and
needs to be tamed. Not as
o Public Sphere/Private Sphere
Margaret Mead, anthropologist
Gender roles differ in different societies.
Some societies were patriarchal, but in other
societies it was matriarchal or there was no
Provides solid evidence that gender is socially
o Judith Butler
Might be the most radical of all because she takes a
Foucauldian model and asserting that all identity
categories “are in fact the effects of institutions,
practices, and discourses with multiple and diffuse
points of origin”
Gender Produced Through Discourse
Discourse constructs the topic. It defines and produces the objects
of our knowledge. It governs the way that a topic can be
meaningfully talked about and reasoned about. It also influences
how ideas are put into practices and used to regulate the conduct of
Michel Foucault was interested in how