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Lecture 4

31.01.2013 LECTURE 4.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC265H1
Professor
Bonnie Fox
Semester
Winter

Description
31.01.2013 SOC265 LECTURE 4 The Social Construction of Gender: “Doing Gender”  R.W. Connell says that what we learn through [child] socialization – we learn gender competence [as girls/boys] Problems with this theory:  Question: Are there differences between men and women (boys/girls) of the sort that would explain all the gender differences we see around us [in terms of things that are related to inequality]? o Why is it that still in this culture, its only guys who can only ask girls out on a date?  We don’t produce two different kinds of people in this society o Social inequality has other sources  If you show people [university students] something tragic (may be a picture, story, etc.), ask them to write down how they’re feeling. Results: girls are more emphatic than guys – more concerned. o Sex of the psychologist conducting the study it affects results  If it is a girl psych, makes girls more emphatic  If boy, either no change or boys more emphatic o Results if the people don’t think they are being observed (2-way mirror): no gender differences.  There’s no internal personality difference between boys and girls: conclusion.  In a situation where the girls know they’re being observed, you get differences in the direction of conformity to gender expectations (more emphatic, etc., because they’re supposed to act like this), and this is often the case in psych results.  Shift in focus is from types of people and personality to the social expectation of people – which influences their behaviour.  Girls are pressured to babysit, etc. Girls pressured to take care of their boyfriends/be more emphatic. o Argument is that perhaps we are pressuring girls as they grow up to take care of other people.  And this is not necessarily a result of childhood socialization/personality. More so a result of expectations/pressure.  We do not start out different, and this is not why we end up doing different things. Brain is different between men and women in adulthood, but not in childhood.  Boys and girls are probably not always being treated differently. (This is important).  Socialization assumes kids are passive – absorbing everything.  Kids are not passive. They are active learners – they reject messages, rebel against messages, etc. Sometimes the messages don’t fit, and they don’t always react the way parents expect them to.  Kids don’t turn out the way parents think they will a lot of the time. 31.01.2013 SOC265 LECTURE 4  Social psychology: our behaviour is influenced by our context. E.g. friends who “are” confident people; if put in certain situations, they are not at all confident. People don’t really have stable personality characteristics. o Young boys act very differently when they are with different guys, when they are at home with parents, when they are on a date. You may see a completely different person in every situation. o Professional women/trial lawyer: must be merciless. Have to be aggressive, manipulative, etc. But when back in the office/personal life can be very nice/warm people. o Problematic to think about personality traits as stable.  Sense of self not necessarily stable. o A lot of fluidity: people try on different identities. People have different identities.  Teenagers who live in immigrant families, but grew up in Canada. When they hang out with Canadian friends: I’m a Canadian. But when they are home, they may have a very strong ethnic identity.  Multiple Masculinities: this is a society that shapes people to fill masculine/feminine roles. Problem with that is that there isn’t one way to be a man or one way to be a woman in this society. o There are guys who are very successful men, who love poetry, who don’t play sports, and they got a job that paid pretty well. o Different kinds of masculinities: Masculinities by R.W. Connell.  He also came up with hegemonic masculinity: refers to the kind of idea [image/behaviour] that we associate with people who are very dominant in this society as men (president, CEOs, etc.)::::Most men don’t have those traits.  Point is: this isn’t most men. Nevertheless most men benefit from that image. There is complicit masculinity: guys who don’t fit the stereotype but still benefit from it (benefit of the doubt in interactions). Subordinated masculinity: suffer from that image – are not in that image and pay for it. Marginalized masculinities: ethnic minorities who do fine in the states in terms of gender, but in terms of other factors they suffer negative consequences.  There don’t seem to be sizeable gender differences. 31.01.2013 SOC265 LECTURE 4 o Socialization argument was that we need to stop treating [girls] differently (e.g. let them learn math, etc.). As a result of these arguments, the curriculum in Ontario schools was completely revised: got rid of gender stereotypes (they tried to). They made teachers treat them the same, encourage them, etc.  Things have gotten better due to this. There are more opportunities for girls.  But the problem with this strategy for ending social inequality is that it only addresses the issue of individuals. You can turn out a zillion very smart girls with BA’s in sciences, etc. But you haven’t touched the institutions. The biases of employers stays the same, culture in the workplace stays the same (e.g. engineers), haven’t changed the nature of those careers (work 12 hours a day and can’t take time off for e.g. maternity leave).  If you don’t change institutions, the opportunities are not the same.  Socialization is about individuals: it can change individuals, but need to look at institutions/way society is organized.  Role Theory: a theory about social organization. Larger theory was structural functionist. o They argued that roles (homemaker, mother, breadwinner) serve functions to maintain society, this is why we have them. o Institutions like e.g. family exist because of these roles.  Thought of institutions in terms of functionality o Problem was: cause and effect mixed up. Sun came out just to warm us up? o They always emphasized function, and not dysfunction. Ignored all the ways in which families can be dysfunctional.  Role of mother, role of families, full of contradictions.  Concept of role is a very benign kind of concept,  Feminists: what about the power inherent in that role? What about the conflicts attached to that role? o There was a theory of society that went along with socialization arguments, and it was functionalist, but these arguments didn’t see contradictions: as a result they couldn’t see change.  60’s and 70’s happened and things changed, role theory no longer made sense. 31.01.2013 SOC265 LECTURE 4  Doing Gender (C. West & D. Zimmerman) – article often cited  Says that gender is not a characteristic of individuals, it is something we do. Often called a social construction approach.  Notion that we literally create gender  Their argument is that gender is: “a routine accomplishment embedded in everyday interaction”: we accomplish gender in everyday interactions. o Managing your behaviour so that you are expressing your femininity or your masculinity/ or managing your behaviour so that you are somehow accountable for your behaviour of masculinity/femininity.  E.G. how we dress in the morning. High heels is doing gender, wearing a short skirt, etc. This is all a presentation that you are presenting yourself to the world as anything other than boy.  Another example: conversation. o Women will often enable conversation, whereas guys are more likely to declare/state things and not do that work in conversations. This only happens in the contexts when women are interacting with men or when women are interacting with authority figures. Doesn’t happen when women talks to brother/other women, etc. Women are acting differently than men because they are doing gender.  Another example: years ago there was a common style that came from the US; a way of talking where girls always ended their sentence in a question mark. “I like my sociology class?” o This is saying, I’m just a girl, I’m not going to say anything with any authority: therefore not going to declare anything.  Another example: flight attendants. If passenger is clearly upset about something and has to be dealt with, and there are flight attendants (guys and woman), they will send a woman to deal with the passenger: she will smile, speak reassuri
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