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Lecture 2

Week 2 Lecture

Course Code
Ann Mullen

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The Gendered Society
Difference between sex and gender
Sex = biological difference with men and women
Gender = social construction
How sociological explanations for gender differ from biological and psychological explanations
Gender differences in society
No overlap between men and women
E.g. gender differences in brains
Mean differences between men and women – men have higher testosterones, men are heavier, women
may score higher in nurturing, etc.
Mean differences: scenario where there is no overlap between men and women; men and women are
completely different
Overlapping distributions – overlap between men and women
Theres more variations in most cases within genders than between genders
We tend to focus on differences than the characteristics that cross both genders
Most of the time when we do see gender differences, we tend to see whatever men have more as being
better and whatever women have more as being deficient
Its deficient if men use right brain or women use left brain
Men are deficient for having lower levels of testosterone
Deceptive distinctions = cases where we see that women are behaving differently than men, we see
that as reflecting gender differences (e.g. men/women are more aggressive, so it reflects some
different type of gender difference)
Often they look different, but we are often deceived
Engineering is geared more toward men
All of the administrative staff are women at UTSC
If we look at leadership/president at UTSC, we never had a woman president
Gender and occupations: women are much more willing to make decisions and needed to be told what
to do
Men need to have much more authority and take control/charge
These are deceptive distinctionsmen are more this way, women are more this way
Its the people in those positions that become that way, not gender
The way people communicate depends on their environment and social structure
Much of the book is presenting the challenge to biological explanationsthere are biological
differences, but much of the research starts to break down, theres much variation in men and women
Its hard to isolate biological explanations from the social
Theres no real pure test of biological explanations
The anthropological and sociological views are much more complicated than biological views
Gender varies enormously across cultures, time, societies
Biology is what determines gender roles, but anthropology and sociology will complicate the
argument in many ways
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