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Lecture

SOC479H1 Lecture Notes - Grammatical Gender, Sex Segregation, Glass Ceiling


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC479H1
Professor
Dsousza

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Dr. Money had the son’s sex reassigned after electrical cauterizing needle cut off Brenda/Bruce/David’s
penis, which left him intersexed
Intersexed infants are babies born with ambiguous genitals because of a hormone inbalance in the
womb or some other cause.
Your sex depends on whether you were born with distinct male or female genitals and a genetic
program that released either male or female hormones to stimulate the development of your
reproductive system.
Your gender is your sense of being male or female and your playing of masculine and feminine roles in
ways defined as appropriate by your culture and society.
Gender identitiy is a person’s identification with, or sense of belonging to, a particular sex – biologically,
psychologically and socially.
A gender role is the set of behaviours associated with widely shared expectations about how males and
females are supposed to act.
Resaerch shows babies first develop a sense of gender identity between the ages of 2 and 3. They get a
sense of being a boy or girl at the age of 1.
Social learning of gender begins very early in life.
Heterosexuality is the preference for members of the opposite sex as sexual partners.
Essentialism is a school of thought that views gender differences as a reflection of biological differences
between women and men.
Freud offered an essentialist explanation of male-female differences. Believed that male And female
anatomy account for the development of distinct masculine and feminine gender roles.
Conflict and feminist theorists disagree sharply with the essentialist account. They have lodged 4 main
criticisms against it.
1. Essentalists ignore the historical and cultural viariability of ender and sexuality… gender role
isn’t constant, women are developing traits and becoming more competitive, independent etc
in the past few decades.
2. Tends to generalize from the average, ignoring variations within gender groups… eg,
essentialists say that men are more aggressive than woman and make it seem like it is true for
all women, but is not.
3. Little or no evidence directly supports the essentialists major claims. (haven’t collected any
experimental or survey data showing boys are more independent then girls)
4. Essentalists explanations for gender differences ignore the role of power.
Gender socialization
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Parents encourage their sons to engage in competitive play, discourage daughters from doing likewise…
parents treat male and female children differently
Gender segregation and interaction
At a school a teacher observed a grade 4 or 5 classroom… noticed a lot of ‘boundary crossing’ when boys
play stereotypically girls games, and girls playing stereotypically boys games.
Gender ideologies is a set of interrelated ideas about what constitutes appropriate masculine and
feminine roles and behaviour. Eg. An aspect of gender ideology becomes important in grade 9 & 10
when people decide whether they want to work at home or get a ob when they are older.
The mass media and body image
TV reinforces gender roles, shows males being more aggressive, & shows women working in the kitchen.
Body image women want to lose weight, care more about their stomachs more than breasts…. Men
want to lose weight but more men than women want to gain weight, men care about chest more than
stomach… people willing to take 3 years off their life to have the body image they want
Male and female interaction
Men are more likely to say I in many situations, as females say we… men want to draw attention to
personal accomplishments.
Glass ceiling is a social barrier that makes it difficult for women to rise to the top level of management.
Homosexuality
Transgendered people break society’s gender norms by defying the rigid distinction between male and
female., some are transsexuals
Transsexuals believe they were born with the ‘wrong’ body. They identify with, and want to live fully as,
members of the ‘opposite’ sex. (1 in 30000 ppl in North America)
Homosexuals are people who prefer sexual partners of the same sex (gay/lesbian)
Bisexual are people who enjoy sexual partners of both sexes.
Some scientists believe that homosexuality is genetic, others think it is chiefly hormonal, others point to
life experiences during early childhood.
Sociologists are more interestd in the way homosexuality is socially constructed than the origins of
homosexuality.
It was sexual minorities themselves who provided the social and political energy needed to legitimize
sexual diversity among an increasingly large section of the public.
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