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SOC265 Lecture 4

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Bonnie Fox

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JAN 31 , 2013 SOC265 Lecture 4 The Social Construction of Gender: “Doing Gender” I. Recap: Gender inequality is not product of differences between men and women Some thought on the findings: the difference between behavior as a product of personality and behavior as a response to an expectation about gender conformity - Statistical findings of differences (size of the differences were significantly small) - Society doesn’t produce opposite sexes Karen Martin’s article: observes the differences yet the differences are not noted down - Girls > Dolls - Boys > Trucks o Study of empathy: ability to take the perspective of the individuals Showing university students something tragic (picture, story), ask them to write down their feelings o Results? Girls show more empathy, the sex of the psychologist also has a impact (female, more empathy) - No major gender differences, it all depends on the experiment - No internal personality differences between boys and girls - If girls know that they are being monitor, they tend to show more empathy, conforming to society’s expectations - If girls are growing up with a number of siblings, the girls were told/pressured to do “care” work, and emotional work when it came down to relationships (pressuring girls (social pressure) to learn how to take care of others, even before they have their own kids - It all comes down to what are the contexts and what are the expectations of people. II. Problems with Socialization Arguments and Role Theory (1)Girls and boys: not always treated differently (2)Children aren’t passive in the learning process a. Punishments and rewards for certain behaviours b. Passive kids, absorbing society’s expectations and behaviours i. Instead they are active kids, rejecting messages ii. Kids don’t turn out to be what parents think they will or what them to turn out to be (programmed) (3)Stable personality characteristics? Social context matters. Identity also: not stable. a. Key findings from psychology, are personality characteristics are shaped by the social context in which they are situated in (at home, with friends, with a date) for example, women lawyers b. Out identity and subjectively are not stable c. By age 6 we grasp a sense of self, but there is a fluidity to that (teenagers living in immigrant families) (4)Multiple masculinities/femininities] a. Hegemonic behavior: dominant figures in society (men) i. White, jock/popular, smart (did not have to work for it), successful JAN 31 , 2013 career ii. Back in the 70s, we need to get rid of gender stereotypes, accomplished a lot since then (5)Evidence: few sizeable (large) gender differences (6)The need to understand social organization and social institutions, to understand gender inequality a. Are social organizations and social institutions built around men? (7)Role theory: a functionalist approach -- with a ‘teleological’ argument (merging cause and function or result); that assumes functionality and ignores dysfunctionality so fails to understand social change; and ignores power a. Structural functiona
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