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Gender and Sexuality (Lectures/Readings 1-5 brief notes)

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Oct. 19 Gender and Sexuality Will focus on the interconnections between gender and sexuality But before that can be discussed, culture needs to be analysed Berger and Luckmann 1966 1. Humans have underdeveloped instincts 2. Humans require symbolic systems to compensate for lack of instincts 3. If human sexual life is not determined by instincts, what is it determined by? - culture Culture 4. 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. 5. A society exists when people interact and share culture, generally in a geographically delimited area. 6. We have little power to SEE culture - Some parts of our culture are so basic that we find it natural and universal 7. Ex) We assume that when a baby is born, it is either male or female, however this may not be the case... Intersexed 8. A person with biological characteristics of both males and females, often consisting of some combination of male and female genitalia Transgender A person whose gender identity does not match their birth sex. Some transgender people present as either male or female, while others present as a third gender, neither male nor female. Culture can have its dark side - some people find it hard when things go against their beliefs Basic assumptions : often called ideologies Gwen; example of a male who was transgendered, was murdered by a gang Another example: Berdache or Two-Spirit - were considered both male and female In India: the Hijra - born male, but prefer to dress as female; reach full Hijra status when penis is cut off In Brazil: the Travesti: born male, but appear very female; rarely, if ever, cut off their penis (prefer to be called a third generation) Ethnocentrism - involves judging another culture exclusively by the standards of ones own Sex itself is a social construct
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