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Women and Gender Studies

DefinitionsDef1 Sex Hormones from october 27 lecture and readings in particularthe Oudshoorn articlesDefinition Sex hormones are conceptualized as chemical messengers ofmasculinity and femininity and are also considered to be the primarycausal agent of sex behavior These hormones are also taken to makesexual behavior desire identity and gender Prior to this sex wasthought to be located in the reproductive organsCritical SignificanceMethodological moves Determinism andReductionism the implication of sex hormones controlling our behavioris twofold On one hand it means that humans lack any form of agencyin how they choose to interact suggesting that our sexual behavior ishardwired On the other hand this theory is reductionistic because itreduces human action to a subhuman factorThe use of sex hormones as chemical messenger of gendered roles doesnot support polarization of the sexes This is because hormonesfluctuate and are not stable This finding gave way to organizationtheory which posits that sex is fixed prenatally This theory largelycame to be because there was fear that fluidity of sex hormones wouldgive way for many behaviours and actions that did not fit the dominantEurocentric heteronormative gender polarizing view of humans to belegitimized Claims such as homosexuality women behaving aggressivelyetc Organization theorists are neurosexists because in their genderpolarization men are said to be logicaland women are said to bepathologicalTwo Examples1The emergence of hormone therapy With sex now being located inchemical components sex became an entity that can be measuredquantified and manipulated as stated by Nelly Oudshoorn Because ofthis man intervention techniques became present Eg Male sex hormonetreatment to cub geriatric conditions that were said to be a result ofthe absence of adequate male hormonep277 green book2The film the Sexual brainviewed oct27this film is anexample of how organization theory has been taken up by scientists asthe cause of our sexual identity The film engages inheterodimorphist views that locate sex difference only in the size ofthe certain areas of the brain between men and womenSex hormonesThese are chemical messengers that dictate what makes a person masculine or feminineif you have testosterone you are male and estrogen makes you female In this model reproductive organs are not importanthormones dictate everything They are structural and permanent This is an organizational theory which gives a biological and sociobiological argument to explain sex difference The argument is that when androgens or estrogen reach the animal brain in the prenatal period that will determine an animals behaviour with respect to masculinity or femininity For example referencing the Sunday article on p 296 of the green book more androgen in rats usually means they will exhibit mounting behaviour classified as male as opposed to lordosis classified as female when they lie down and raise their rumps to indicate they are ready to be mounted This is problematic because it gives testosterone top billingit is totally privileged under this model I cant remember which article it came from but one of them suggested that if a babys brain has a testosterone bath in the womb that baby becomes male If there is a lack of testosterone nothing happens and the baby is female This is androcentricWe had a bunch of examples for this the PMS greeting cards with the dragon woman at the door the article Why We Choose this was one of the critique articles where it explains that women can only have a fulfulling sexual experience if testosterone is involved which means women cant have a fulfulling experience on their own or with other women and p 28 in the yellow book From Sin to Sickness where it explains how men must have testosterone and women must have estrogen or else they are abnormal This constructs hormones as inevitable and promotes prejudices such as homophobia or racism with respect to the fact that different racesethnic groups have different kinds of gender roles2 Brain sexThis is the idea that there are male brains and female brains andleads directly into neurosexism Neurosexism is basically the regular ol sexism we know and love now theyre just using neurology to back up sexist claims For example theres an article called Brain Blame which explains that men specifically are aggressive because their brains take over This offers no explanation as to why women are sometimes aggressiveaggressivity is entirely attributed to malenessmale brains and therefore males are aggressive female brains and females are not You see the word hardwired thrown around a lot here so this whole idea is both deterministic the biology of your brain dictates everything and reductionist it ignores environmental and social factors and reduces all explanations to how your brain is structured
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