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Lecture 3

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Women and Gender Studies
June Larkin

Lecture 3 October 2 , 2013 Gender Variance and Diversity Over Time The Sex/Gender Binary Performing Gender Regulating the Sex/Gender Binary System The 5 laws of a bi-polar sex/gender system Women in science backed by One Who Should Know - Transgender scientists says women denigrated - Recalls what happened when he was female - Stanford neurologist explained that the gender binary and prejudice plays a much bigger role in university campuses Doreen Kimura - Said because there was so many sex differences we should not see equal numbers of engineers because that’s the way it naturally is Why the obsession with gender differences? - … gender diversity and cross-gendered behaviours appear to be as old as humanity th - In the late 19 century in the west anxieties over gender roles (as women demanded property rights, improved working conditions and the vote) led to a renewed interest in identifying the biological bases to support a… rigid heterosexual patriarchal order o Scott-Dixon, In Trans/forming Feminisms, 2006 pg. 13 Sex – the categories or male and female and the biological characteristics of bodies placed in these categories (biological) Gender – the assignment of masculine and feminine characteristics to bodies categorized as male or female (social) Sex can also be socially constructed, through surgery for example. So even this is a flawed concept Beyond the Sex-Gender Binary - The Sex/Gender Binary o The classification of sex and gender into two distinct and biological forms of masculine and feminine o A social boundary used to prevent people from crossing or mixing gender roles o A system that society uses to divide people into male and female gender roles, identities, and attributes - Social constructionist o Tells us that gender is a fluid construct o It is not determined by our biology, but is a product of our environment, our performance, our culture, and our society o We don’t have gender – we do gender o Drag kings and drag queens embody characteristics of the opposite gender but they over exaggerate it  Drag describes the discontinuities between gender and sex or appearance and reality but refuses to allow this disfunctionality to represent dysfunction  However when we talk about the term performing we make it sound that it’s easy to try on different genders, but that’s not always the case o How is the sex/gender binary enforced? Lecture 3 October 2 , 2013 Gender Variance and Diversity Over Time  Ma Vie En Rose  A small boy cross dresses and generally acts like a girl and talks about marrying his neighbour’s son, and doesn’t understand why people are so surprised about it. But his actions lead to serious consequences from his family.  People in the neighbourhood becomes very upset, the family becomes harassed and people want them to leave the neighbourhood  The movie tells us that gender is not fixed, it is regulated, and that it matters  Gender is not fixed  South African runner’s gender test controversial, complicated o Caster Semenya o “too fast to be a woman” o Up until 1968 female Olympic athletes were asked to stand naked in front of a bunch of people to verify they were wo
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