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Chapter 11 - SOC.docx

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University of Toronto St. George

Week 2 – Gender Stratification Prof. S. Ungar Chapter 11: Sexualities and Gender Stratification Page 265 - 295 SEX VERSUS G ENDER Is it a Boy or a Girl Intersexed = infants are babies born with ambiguous genitals because of a hormone imbalance in the womb or some other cause.  According to John Money infants w/ ambiguous genitals should be assigned a sex by surgery and hormone treatments and reared in accordance w/ their newly assigned sex o These strategies will lead to the child developing a self-identity consistent w/ its assigned sex  unfortunately was not the case Gender Identity and Gender Role Sex = Depends on whether you were born with distinct male or female genitals and a genetic program that released either male or female hormones to stimulate the development of your reproductive system. Gender = refers to the feelings, attitudes, desires, and behaviours that are associated with a particular sexual category  may or may not align w/ a person’s biological sex  Gender has 3 Components: 1. Sexuality = refers to a person`s capacity for erotic experiences and expressions. 2. Gender Identity = refers to a person’s sense of belonging to a particular sexual category (i.e. male, female, homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, etc…) 3. Gender Role = refers to a behaviour that conforms to widely shared expectations about how members of a particular sexual category are supposed to act.  Research shows that babies have a vague sense of being a boy/girl at age 1 o Develop a full blown sense of gender identity b/w ages 2 – 3  Many researchers believe if gender reassignment occurs before the age of 18 months it will usually be successful  Social learning of gender identity begins really early Heteronormativity = is the belief that sex is binary (one must be either male or female as conventionally understood) and that sex ought to be perfectly aligned with gender (one’s sexuality, gender identity, and gender role ought to be either male or female as conventionally understood). Heterosexuality = is the preference for members of the “opposite” sex as sexual partners 1 Week 2 – Gender Stratification Prof. S. Ungar THEORIES OFG ENDER Modern Essentialism: Sociology and Evolutionary Psychology Essentialism = is a school of thought that views gender differences as a reflection of biological differences b/w women and men Social Constructionism = see gender differences as a reflection of the different social positions occupied by men and women and it views gender as “constructed” by ppl living in historically specific social structures & cultures  According to sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists, all humans instinctively try to ensure that their genes are passed on to future generations o Men and women have different strategies to achieve this goal o Women have a bigger investment than men in ensuring the survival of any offspring b/c she produces a small # of eggs during her reproductive life  Therefore women need to find the best mate to fertilize her eggs with Functionalism and Essentialism  Talcott Parsons wrote women traditionally specialize in raising children & managing the household & men work in the paid labour force o each generation learns to perform these roles through gender role socialization o For boys the essence of masculinity is a series of “instrumental” traits – rationality, self- assuredness, competitiveness o For girls the essence of femininity is a series of “expressive” traits – nurturance and sensitivity to others  The functionalist’s view highly emphasizes on the learning of essential features of femininity & masculinity integrates society & allows it to function properly A Critique of Essentialism from the Conflict and Feminist Perspectives  4 Main Criticisms w/ the Essentialism View: 1. Essentialists ignore the historical and cultural variability of gender & sexuality o the level of gender inequality, rate of male violence against women, criteria used for mate selection, and other gender differences that appear universal to the essentialists vary widely today o the variation deflates the idea that there are essential & universal behavioural differences b/w men and women: i. low levels of gender inequality means women don’t stress to much in searching for male partners that food providers ii. women who are in jobs that involve competition or threat, their production hormone testosterone is stimulated causing them to act more aggressively 2 Week 2 – Gender Stratification Prof. S. Ungar iii. women are developing traits that were considered masculine – more assertive, competitive, independent 2. Tends to generalize from the average ignoring variations within gender groups o On average men & women differ on some respects 3. Little or no evidence directly supports the essentialists’ major claims 4. Essentialists’ explanations for gender differences ignore the role of power o Ignore the fact that men are usually in a state of greater power & authority than women are Social Constructionism and Symbolic Interactionism  Essentialism is the view that masculinity & femininity are inherent & universal traits of men and women, whether b/c of biological or social necessity or some combination of the two  Social Constructionism is the view that apparently natural or innate features of life such as gender, are actually sustained by social processes that vary historically and culturally Gender Socialization  From birth, infant boys or girls who are matched in length, weight, and general health are treated differently by parents – particularly fathers o Girls are identified as delicate, weak, beautiful, and cute o Boys are strong, alert, and well-coordinated  Parents encourage their sons to participate in boisterous & competitive play and daughters in cooperative, role-playing games o These diff play patterns lead to heightened development of verbal and emotional skills among girls & winning and the est of hierarchy with boys Gender Segregation and Interaction  Barrie Thorne noticed that contests, chasing games, and other activities often involved self- segregation by gender o Boundary crossing games:  When girls were skilled at sports  Activities that require cooperation  When adults organized mixed gender encounters in the classroom or physical education periods  Mixed gender interaction was more common in less public & crowded places o 2 Important Conclusions: 1. Children are actively engaged in the process of constructing gender roles 2. Schoolchildren tend to segregate themselves by gender, boundaries b/w boys & girls and sometimes fluid & sometimes rigid depending on the social circumstances  Adults have gender demands and expectations which contribute importantly to gender socialization 3 Week 2 – Gender Stratification Prof. S. Ungar  In single sexed schools, girls tend to experience faster cognitive development; higher occupational aspirations & attainment; greater self-esteem & self-confidence; and more teacher attention, respect, & encouragement in the classroom; develop more egalitarian attitudes toward the role of women in society o Why?  These school place less emphasis on academic excellence & less on physical attractiveness & heterosexual popularity  More successful same sex role models  Eliminate sex bias in teacher-student & student-student interaction Gender Ideology = is a set of interrelated ideas about what constitutes appropriate masculine and feminine roles and behaviour  1 aspect of gender ideology becomes especially important in gr 9 & 10: Adolescences’ ideas about whether as adults they will focus mainly on the home, paid work, or a combination of the 2  Tend to make course choices w/ gender ideologies in mind o Boys – base decisions w/ only their careers in mind o Girls – base decisions w/ both home responsibilities 7 careers in mind The Mass Media and Body Image  In the media, o women were seen more frequently cleaning house, taking care of children, modelling clothes, and acting as objects to male desire o men were seen in aggressive, action-oriented, and authoritative roles  meant to reinforce the normality of traditional gender roles  North & South American women were more dissatisfied w/ their bodies than woman from other regions  North & South American men viewed heavier women less desirable Male – Female Interaction  b/c of early socialization patterns, misunderstandings b/w men & women are common Glass Ceiling = is a social barrier that makes it difficult for women to rise to the top level of management  Factors that support the glass ceiling effect are due to: o Contrasting interaction styles may result in women not getting credit for competent performance o Outright discrimination o Women’s generally greater commitment to family responsibilities 4 Week 2 – Gender Stratification Prof. S. Ungar HOMOSEXUALITY Sexuality and Resistance to a Conventional Gender Roles Transgendered = people break so
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