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Vanina Leschziner

1. Explain the difference between an essentialist and a social constructionist view of gender and illustrate with an example. Essentialist view of gender is based on genetics, biological and psychological differences. It really says that men and women are inevitably different in their biological and emotional makeup, and this influences how men and women feel and act. For example due to women‟s hormones and physiology, women are naturally more nurturing and gentle because they are built to breed and care for children, and men are naturally more competitive, aggressive, smart and powerful because of testosterone. It is important to note that essentialism normalizes dominant ideologies of gender. It reduces everything to binary oppositions with no possibility of change or development. Social construction of gender difference is a philosophical theory according to which gender is socially constructed. Social constructionism of gender moves awayfrom socialization as the origin of gender differences; people do not merely internalize gender roles as they grow up but they respond to changing norms in society.Children learn to categorize themselves by gender very early on in life. A part of this is learning how to display and perform gendered identities as masculine or feminine. Boys learn to manipulate their physical and social environment through physical strength or other skills, while girls learn to present themselves as objects to be viewed. Children monitor their own and others‟ gendered behavior. Gender-segregated children's activities create the appearance that gender differences in behavior reflect an essential nature of male and female behavior. For example, Before children are even born we are socialized into gender roles, by the parents painting the nursery either blue or pink, by the clothing we are told to wear, by the toys we receive and by the way we are told to behave. A constructionist would argue that it is these social pressures that primarily influence the formation of adult identity, and not the physiology or aptitudes that we are born with Simone fe Bouevoir said “ one is not born a women, but becomes a women” Judith Butler: 2.Name one type of feminism that could be considered essentialist. Explain why. One type of feminism that could be considered essentialist is radical feminist which accounts of patriarchy, the control men have over women‟s bodies is regarded as important. For example Shulamith firestone suggested in the Dialect of Sex that patriarchy exploits women‟s biological capacity to reproduce as their essential weakness and she argued that the only way to break free from this oppression was to use technological advances and break down the biological bond between mother and child and establishing commune where monogamy ant the nuclear family are tings of the past. Since essentialist view is that gender is based on genetics, biological and psychological differences. It really says that men and women are inevitably different in their biological and emotional makeup, and this influences how men and women feel and act For firestone, inequalities between women and men are biologically based, with the different reproductive capacities of women and men being especially important. 3. Identify and contrast three different sociological approaches to the study of gender? Functionalists: Funtionalists view gender inequality as a product of the traditional division in human societies. Men tend to attend to more instrumental roles (objective rewarded) such as working and wage earning and putting food on the table. And women attend to the more expressive role(subjective rewarded) tasks such as those involved in child rearing, and both types of labor are functional, for society‟s survival and the instrumental tasks looked after by men, always have been more highly rewarded than the expressive tasks looked after by women. Men and women are taught these roles that conform to their requirements. Back in the day for example it was the hunter gatherer society, and contemporary society it is men work and women are housewives. Symbolic Interactionism Theory: About micro view of gender how it‟s developed in face to face internationalism how gender identities are produced, study of communication because it deals with how we form our own self images from infancy and into old age. Symbolic interactionism assumes that children are born into a social world and their identities are developed through their interactions. Newborn babies have no sense of self. It is learned as time goes on. With each interaction, we are constantly forming images of who we are and what that mean in our culture. As people label us as smart or dumb, active or quiet, we start to form conclusions about the way we are. We basically soak up others‟ views which we then shape and categorize into meanings of ourselves. Critique to this theory is that it looks at micro perspectives and does not look at the large issues of gender. Conflict Theory/Marxist Theory or Socialization Theory: Marxist emphasized on how class struggle in the capitalist society is the defining feature of the society. And class struggle is in between the working class and the bourgeoisie the owner class. And basically this division lead to conflicts in other areas as well such as in the family struggle. Women ended up getting jobs in which they were paid less, and had less power and lower positions. And this leads to gender inequality in the sense that women do not have equal opportunities as men in society where men are able to access the higher position jobs etc., 4.)Name three different types of feminisms and how they differ in their approach to the study of gender inequality. Liberal feminism's primary goal is gender equality in the public sphere -- equal access to education, equal pay, ending job sex segregation, better working conditions, won primarily through legal changes. Private sphere issues are of concern mainly as they influence or impede equality in the public sphere. Gaining access to and being paid and promoted equally in traditionally male-dominated occupations is an important goal. Liberal feminism is all about women getting an education, to make a decent living, to provide for one's family. It was discussed in class how women must choose one path if women are working a high position they are punished if they take off time for family or if they are pregnant. Liberal feminists believe that society has these false beliefs of women in which they think that women are less capable intellectually and physically than men and therefore that has led to discrimination in the forum, marketplace and academy. And liberal feminists primary goal is to ensure that women are having equal opportunities as men, but since women do not start in the same place as men they have to take off some time for their family and childbirth which they can be punished for in the sense of being replaced at the workplace etc., so when women are given equal opportunities they have to choose one path or the other Cultural feminists: This theory believes that there is a distinctive „male culture‟ and a „female culture,‟ which are different largely due to the differing biology of men and women, and they manifest in differing social behaviors. So for e.g. cultural feminists see nurturing and caring to be more of „female culture,‟ than „male culture,‟ and this they recognize as being intrinsic to the process of being female. Cultural feminists also believe that the contributions of „female culture,‟ such as child care, domestic work etc. have been disregarded and greatly devalued in society, largely because they are unpaid. They also believe that social systems have evolved along lines of „male culture,‟ and include traits like competition and aggression, and so they tend to isolate women. The focus of cultural feminists is to have „women‟s work‟ – particularly in the domestic care and child care arena recognized as economically and socially productive. And to change the work place environment outside the domestic realm to incorporate more „female culture‟ and make it accessible to women. Not that women don’t have equal opp but the masculine is privileged. Marxist Feminists: believe that patriarchy, which arises from capitalism, is the reason of the subordination of women to men, just as capital’s subordination of labor. Patriarchy supports capitalism. How hierarchy works. We need to develop it in a way that works when thinking about gender. The sexual division of labour. How capitalism and patriarchy work in tandem. How the nuclear fam is helpful at producing the sexual div of labour. Women are doing a lot of unpaid work cooking cleaning and reproducing- creating more laborers. They see benefit capitalism. All these workers are cared for. Women are paid so poorly and they are seen as docile. Working class women are always underpaid. They draw attention to how capitalism enhances patriarchy and encourages ongoing patriarchy. 5. Identify and explain two key limitations of second wave feminism. Name one theoretical perspective that developed as a critique of the second wave. One limitation of second wave feminists was that it did not realize women are of many different colors, ethnicities, nationalities, religions and cultural backgrounds. Another limitation is that it assumed a universal female identity and over emphasized the experience of upper-middle class white women. And theoretical perspective that developed as a critique was black feminism/intersectional theory, black feminism argued that sexism, class and oppression were bound together and the way these relate to each is called insectionality. Patricia hill Collins, defined black feminisn as black feminist thought and talked about how the history of slavery in the states lead to black women as having different realities and experiences of oppression and facing slavery, and black women needed their own reality. 6. Identify two limitations with defining gender in terms of „roles‟ and illustrate with an example for each. One limitation is that roles are situated identities- assumed and relinquished as the situation demands- rather than master identities, such as sex category, that cut across situations. For example, unlike most roles, such as „nurse‟ „doctor‟ and „patient‟ or „professor‟ and „student‟, gender has no organizational context or specific site. Another limitation is that conceptualizing gender as a role makes it difficult to assess its influence on other roles and reduces its explanatory usefulness in discussions of power and inequality. For example, assuming that gendered roles of men and women in a family unit, and women having the role of housewives and mothers where they stay home and nurture their children and men as having the role of working outside the home and wage earners, and the problem with assuming this role of men and women will n
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