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GGR327 Lec 4 Gender, the Body and Spatial Perception.pdf

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University of Toronto St. George
Deborah Leslie

Lec 4 Gender, the Body and Spatial Perception September-30-13 David Seitz office change: room 5001 11:07 AM - Looking at Body as a 'space' - Spatial perception varies by gender - Leads women to position bodies differently in space,a nd to differences in spatial capabilities - Conceptualize space differently Gendered Body Space (a blog that also show this) - Marianne Wex ○ Photographer/painter ○ She painted a lot of portraits, esp of men and women ○ Women posed for her in diff ways ○ She constructed a photo essay: "Let's Take Back Our Space": a photo essay done in 1977  She snapped candid photos of men and women  She was interested in the body language of men and women  Men and women walk and sit differently in space  Shown that women usually have their arms in front of them, their purses on their lap, and their knees are together (legs together) even their toes pointed inwards…  She argues that women takes up less space this way  Our bodily posture is involuntary and unconscious, speaks of our status in society  Patriarchal power in society, and women's body posture mirror that  Contrast men - men usually occupy more space: men tend to sit with their legs and feet spread out, their arms are extended and not in front of their bodies  Women adopt 'protective' postures (hugging legs), while men take up more space  Women take small steps, proportionate to her size  Couples - usually the male counterpart take up more space  This difference is not seen in small children, she argues that children 15- 25 is most conforming, but not seen in very young women  Media influence □ Images in the media she argues create a norm that requires people to conform to □ The media plays an important role  Age is very important □ Bodily codes relax through the life course -- such that older women tend not to conform to these norms □ Argue that - around that age 15-25, women around this age, women are more conscious of themselves they are more restricted on their bodily postures  Class □ Most conformed by middle-upper class, whereas working class women are not likely to conform to these norms □ Men who do not conform are seen as weak  Found that women can easily copy the men poses, but men find it hard to copy women's poses - From the moment of birth, a child is socialized into gender norms and schooled in bodily comportment - Wex sees a connection between the manner in which women and men occupy space and the economic and social space alotted to them - To what extent do these bodily codes still apply? ○ Men are more objectified than women ○ Women are more looked at and more aware of their body and aware of gaze than men - Manfred Bachmann, Candid photographs, in Vienna ○ More contemporary pictures of modern women that show the same ideas Wex found - Not all women and men inhabit these norms equally, and it is interesting to consider how one reads bodies that do not conform - This idea further developed by Pierre Bourdieu ○ Explores the relationship between social world and its inscription on bodies ○ Parallels with Bourdieu and Foucault ○ Argues that large scale social inequalities are established not at the level of direct institutional discrimination , but through the subtle inculcation of power relations on bodies ○ Every individual he argues is born into a habitus ○ Habitus: total ideational environment of a person  Those knowledge and ideas present a picture of how the world works and what their places is in the world,  A person's beliefs and dispositions  Store of knowledge that presents the person with a picture of the world ○ Structures internalized by a subject that organize social practices  Affects one's beliefs and dispositions they have ○ Social structures perpetuate themselves manifest in every day practices over long term ○ An array of inherited dispositions that condition thought, bodily movement, tastes, one's manner of speaking ○ People are born into a particular 'class habitus' - this shapes them, their bodies and tastes ○ Class reproduce themselves through tastes ○ e.g. France, upper class has a distinct taste for wine … compared to beer or cheap wine, or antiques, collection of art etc  Thus class is manifest in one's tastes ○ Others: gender habitus, ethnic habitus (immigrants for example)  Being brought up in a particular place can also affect choice and tastes ○ Hexis: bodily dispositions - different ways that individuals convey their bodies, present them to others  More or make space  Habitus is linked to hexis ○ e.g. bodily hexis linked to class by...such as how one dresses, fancy or expensive clothing, posture, diet and fitness, (health Lectures Page 1 ○ e.g. bodily hexis linked to class by...such as how one dresses, fancy or expensive clothing, posture, diet and fitness, (health and money links to long life), confidence, competence ○ Demonstrated in the film: "My fair Lady"  Working class woman, who wants to fit into the upper class woman  She has to learn to talk (speak like upper class)  Learn manners and how to eat dinner properly ○ Hexis also linked to gender and sexuality ○ Consequences of not conforming  Complying with gender and cohersion  Film: Boys don't cry  Do people have to suffer death because of the way they walk or the way they convey their body opposite of what society beliefs is appropriate and acceptable ○ In an essay called "La Domination Masculine", Bourdieu examines how masculine domination assumes a natural, self-evident status ○ Binaries are lived in everyday practice - e.g. through the structuring of social space ○ The living through of bodily hexis leads to doxi forms of perception which permit the re-endering of perceived sexual dualisms  We take it for granted that men and women should hold their bodies in specific ways ○ 'le sens pratique' (practical sense) - a feel for the game - a form of knowledge that is learnt by the body ○ Bodies are repository of all the ideas it has been surrounded by  The body is a mnemonic device, it remembers / habits from the past ○ Circular process:  Cultural arbitrary - cognitive effects - naturalization of social differences ○ According to Bourdieu  Acquisition of gender identity does not pass through consciousness  Its not something we can put on or take off, we are compelled  Lived as a form of practice mimesis ○ Bourdieu - habitus is a generative structure  It engenders a potentially infinite number of patterns of behavior (that although limited in their diversity can be unpredictable) ○ Idea that bodily practices inhabit the psyche, and affect movement further developed by Iris Marion Young  *Class req reading: "Throwing like a girl" by Young "Throwing like a girl" - Why does a girl throw like a girl? - A girl does not make use of lateral strength - Erwi
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