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Soc102 Lec 6

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Sociology Lecture 6: Sexual Orientation and Victimization Ageing inequality discussion began after racial inequality -Victimization talked about much less -however, people have become more sensitized about sexual preferences -Canada more tolerant in this manner compared to US -Did a study with Canadian military -found a lot of anti-homosexual behaviour -military chose not to publish findings -had another group do a study that found results they wanted -Victimization is not too much different then other inequalities -ex: homosexuals are made to feel shame -old people made to feel ashamed of their age Nature and Nurture -biology influences our experiences -influences our expression of sexuality -expressed in our social environment -there are some biological connection with sexual preference -some evidence a person is born that way The Identification and Measurement of Differences in Sexual Orientation -social construction influences our perception of sex orientation -makes differences significant -Western Christianity: differentiates those who don't follow what is considered the norm -especially sexual behaviour -true for other religious denominations as well -extreme versions of these religions make the biggest deal But What is "Normal" Sexuality? -Normality is used as a form of social control -people don't want to be viewed to be abnormal -strive to appear normal -Many societies label -heterosexuality, married monogamy and procreative sex as norm -homosexuality, multiple partners and sex for pleasure as deviation -anything considered unfamiliar behaviour -Things are labeled unnatural because the practices are not approved by society -there is a push against homosexuals seen in most societies with high fertility -these societies do the same for monogamy and procreative sex etc. -more religious societies see more gender inequality, ethnic and racial inequality etc. People's Views of "Normal Sexuality" Vary in Time and Space -"Normal Sexuality" difficult to regulate -hard to come up with satisfying definition -Ideas of sexuality change with time -ex: ideas about masturbation -use to think it was bad practice -would lead to bad health -Today, this issue is a non-topic; no one cares -ex: ideas about female orgasm -societies have varying views about homosexuality -reaction to topic very cultural specific -true for all kinds of sexuality -some are more open than others about practices CanadiansAre MoreAccepting of Homosexuality Today Than in the Past -we feel government should not dictate other's sexual activities and preferences -this includes schools, churches and work place -most Cdn consider anti-homosexuality behaviour a social issue -Anti-homosexuality is a potential violation of hate laws -Canadian Human Rights Act -provincial human rights code -homosexuality is more of a non topic then anti-homosexuality One Reason:Alfred Kinsey Studied Sexual Behaviour in Scientific Way -20th Century: treated sexuality is binary and fixed -Alfred Kinsey:American Biologist -Sexologist -conducted research on human sexuality practices in mid-20th century -found huge gap between what ppl claimed and actual practice -people claim they were only having procreative sex, but weren't -studied more than just homosexuality -showed sexual orientation is a continuum Sexual Orientation is a Continuous Variable -1947: founded Kinsey Institute in Indiana -surveyed over 18000Americans on sexual preferences -Most important contribution: Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale -7 point continuum -complex variety of sexual tastes -made it possible for others to do research on topic where info had been suppressed Sexual Orientation May Fluctuate Over Time, Depends on How it is Measured -Kinsey: few people are pure hetero or homosexuals -most exists somewhere in between -orientations can change over time -Difficult (maybe impossible) to label someone as strictly homo or heterosexual -especially throughout entire life -therefore, pop. of homosexuals vary base on criteria -depends on the questions you ask to classify This Research Opposes Heteronormativity -researchers have rejected heteronormativity -heteronormativity: sense that heterosexuality is the norm and natural -in society, people are assumed heterosexual because of this -it is because we want to be considered normal -not about statistics or any probability -issue: many parents continue to teach heteronormativity -hope to shape children's sexuality How Do You Resist "Normality"? -within heteronormativity context children can from their parents: -freely interpret -resist -alter messages -as heterosexuality is put forward as the only "norm" -hard to resist The Continued Victimization of Homosexuals -as a group suffering from social inequality, homosexuals are unique -self-identified pop. very small -different from others -women form half the pop. -ethnic, racial, class, age groups are large -inferior size makes homosexuals vulnerable to victimization How Do We Know About Victimization -Victimology has increased use of victim survey -collect data on hidden incidence of crime -beyond reported crime data from police -surveys show victimization occurs with most disadvantaged people -victimization reflects inequality The Outdated Notion of "Homophobia" -Homophobia: fear or hatred of homosexuals -Introduced by George Weinberg in 1972 -to focus attention on anti-gay prejudice -Today: hatred of homosexuals is not a phobia -phobia = clinical pathology -is a medical or psychiatric diagnosis -more of a socially learned attitude -more about hatred, not fear -phobias to extreme can lead to harm, particularly on mental side -but it is treatable -homophobia is not -"homophobia" is a poor concept -it is not a blameless illness Sometimes Homophobia is a BacklashAgainst Demands for Equality -Homophobia comes in various forms -reflects a type of anti-homosexual subculture, a pattern of thought -it is learned, adopted and practiced -response to organized homosexual subculture -similar to sexism -response to increased demand for female equality -research shows frat boys tend to be more homophobic -it is part of their subculture Viewing Homosexuality as a Defining Feature of a Person's Character -anti-homosexual attitudes associated with essentialists beliefs about homosexuality -belief homosexuality is a defining feature of a person's character -also believe there is a world of difference between homosexual and heterosexuals -people with these views typically hostile to gay men -not as much for lesbians The 3 Bases of anAnti-Homosexual Outlook -Greogory Herek identified 3 main viewpoints in 2004 1) Sexual Stigma -tendency to hold non-heterosexual behaviours and identities in low regard -i.e. these people are perverted, evil, disgusting etc. 2) Heterosexism (heteronormativity) -belief that heterosexuality is the only norm and is natural -leads to prejudice about how people become homosexual b/c they feel it is not normal 3) Sexual Prejudice -tendency to hold negative attitudes about people base on their sexual orientation -more then just homosexuality -include gender discrimination as well WhyAre Some People Homophobic? -3 attitudes found in all homophobes -question: why are some people homophobes and others not? -4 groups of factors that influence this 1) Openness to Human Diversity -people more likely to accept human diversity likely to be less hostile to homosexuals -Authoritarian people more likely to hate -includes blacks, jews and other ethnic, racial and social minorities -Social Conservatism appears to be best predictor of anti-homosexuality Types of Unfamiliary 2) Familiarity with Sexual Diversity -variety in sexual experiences increases acceptance 3) Familiarity with Homosexuals -people who know homosexuals more accepting -see homosexuality as one type on a continuum -most common in large cities 4) Membership in an Anti-Homosexual Culture or Subculture -National Differences -83 countries where homosexuality is a punishable crime -people in these countries follow fundamentalist religions -these religions support these laws -Group Differences -homophobic subcultures tend to be macho ex: Frat Boys, military -in general males tend to be more anti-homosexual -more hostile against gays then lesbians -also see this in sports, military etc -tend to promote this type of behaviour -this behaviour don't tend to flourish in societies with more women AConnection with Sexism and Sex-Role Rigidity -Sex-Role Rigidity -belief in the essential difference between men and women -a sensed need to keep women in their place -some research suggest this is the best single predictor to anti-gay sentiment -Anti-homosexuals tend to believe homosexuals can choose their orientation
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