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Gender and Sexualities

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Adam Green

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Topic 5 J Gender & Sexualities (Week 5 lecture + NS Chp 4 + SIQ Chp 27) z Instincts: Animals VS humans -- Animals have stronger instincts: more instincts to eat; to protect offspring; -- Humans, however, do not have as strong instincts as animals; -- human behaviors are much more complex and socially constructed Q: If human sexual & social life is not determined by instinct, what then determines it? A: Culture. z Culture (Berger and Buckman 1966): -- humans have ^underdeveloped instincts_; ---- culture is the sum of socially transmitted ideas, practices, and material objects that people create; -- culture gives us guidelines for how to think and act; -- culture is the symbolic system to compensate our lack of instincts; -- A society exists when people interact and share culture, generally in a geographically delimited area; -- Our own culture is hard for us to see; aspects of culture that we are blind about; -- there need to be factors outside our culture to help us see our own culture. z Examples of sex 1) Adam and Eve. (universally accepted two sexes across all cultures); 2) Gwen (US) : -- born a male but presented as a female; -- killed because of the intolerance of the society; 3) BerdacheTwo-spirit (Natives): -- born male but dressed and perform female roles; -- marry men, do chores 4) Hijra (India): -- born men; but considered themselves as women; dress like women; -- remove male reproduction organs and prefer have sex with men; 5) Travesti (Brazil): -- born male but are very feminists; -- highly value their male reproduction organs (proud of being women with penis); -- considered themselves as a third gender, not women; z -- Intersexed: A person with biological characteristics of both male and females, often consisting of some combination of male and female genitalia; -- Transgender: A person whose gender identity does not match their birth sex -- Difference: sex is biological while gender is cultural; Intersexed is biological while transgender is cultural. -- Ethnocentrism: judging another culture exclusively by the standards of one[s own. Q: Back to Adam and Eve: is there only two sexes in the world? What determines sex? A: sex is socially constructed. z Sex as a social construction: -- Human sex is not strictly binary; there are other gender possibilities; -- misrecognition of Social Construction VS Nature; something universal across the society (binary sexes) may not be all from nature; -- GENDER AND SEXUALITY ARE SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED!
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