October 19 , 2010
SOC103H1F – Gender and Sexuality
Berger and Luckmann 1996
o Humans have “underdeveloped Instincts”
o Humans require symbolic systems to compensate for lack on
o Female dog has a maternal instinct –when she is fertile she will
let out an odour.
o Human behaviour on a whole is much more complex than
o If human sexual life, social life is not determined by our instincts
then what determines it?
Because humans are not hardwired, we used culture or
symbolic systems as a way of making sense of guiding
ourselves through the world.
o Culture is the sum of socially transmitted ideas, practices, and
material objects that people create.
o Culture gives us guidelines for how to think and act.
o A society exists when people interact and share culture,
generally in a geographically delimited area.
o Adam and Eve
o We assume two sexes exist wherever human beings exist –
nothing culturally specific about Adam and Eve
o A person with biological characteristics of both males and
females, often consisting of some combination of male and
o A person whose gender indentity does not match their birth sex
o Some transgender people present as either male or female, while
others present as a third gender, neither male nor female.
o Transmasculine, Transfeminine –defy binary gender system
o Human gender may not be binary across all people in all places.
Anyone that deviates from the binary gender system must be sick,
mental, deviant (depending on socializing agend)
Berdache or Two Spirit
o Native American, third gender.
o Born a man, dress as a woman and perform womanly tasks.
o They were part female, part male. o Culture made room for a third gender.
o Indian gender
o Born male, stronger identification as male. Makeup, prefer to
have sex with males.
o Castration would come at one point.
o In Brazil – born male, yet typically appear as women.
o Injest silicone into the buttocks and cheeks
o Rarely if ever cut of penis, they highly value the penis,
o Do not consider themselves female, or male.
o See themselves as a third gender.
o Like a woman, retain their penis.
o Often make a living of sex. (Have sex with males that prefer
o Involves judging another culture exclusively by the standards of
Adam and Eve
o Do they exist? Is there only male and female?
o A fact of nature?
o Human beings seem in a wider variety of sex and gender that
our society allows us.
o Around since 1959
o How do girls and boys learn to be men and women?
o Barbie stimulates many concerns with girls and womens bodies.
o Barbie as a real person would be inhumanly impossible.
o Ken – sloppy, no sets for hygiene and exercise.
o For boys there are..
o GI Joe’s – shows particular roles that a man must do.
o Buff, strong, powerful, active, aggressive, defiant.
o Mortally impossible to have the muscles that action figures have
–unless you have a shitload of steroids.
o Gender is not a set of traits that reside within individuals, but