Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology 48-101 Lecture 6: Notes on Gender and Sex

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Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology

Lecture 6 on Gender/Sex  Gender  your sense of being male or female and your playing masculine and feminine roles as defined as appropriate by your culture and society  Sex  depends on whether you were born with M/F genitals and genetic program that released male or female hormones to stimulate development of your reproductive system  Sex  Physiological differences between males and females  Gender  Specific behaviour, feeling and thinking appropriate to males and females in a culture  Gender identity  a person's identification with, or sense of belonging to, a particular sex  biologically, psychologically, and socially  Gender role  set of behaviours associated with widely shared expectations about how males or females are supposed to act  Despite sex re-assignment cases, gender is not determined solely by biology but requires social learning  Gender identity not fully developed till age two or three  Once developed, is very difficult to undo even with reconstructive surgery, hormones, and parental and professional pressure (ex. David Reimer) o The Bruce case  mother took him to have a circumcision but failed and change his gender become a Brenda, then had an artificial penis in teenage years and become David Why study gender?  Women in the labour force  Gender inequality  Role strain between sexes  Women’s movement Why did men and women become unequal?  According to social constructionists, three major socio-historical processes account for growth of gender inequality: o Long-distance warfare and conquest o Disadvantage in farming - Plow agriculture (like long-distance warfare and conquest, catered to men's strengths and so greatly enhanced male power and authority) o Separation of public and private spheres Sexual Violence  Majority of acts of aggression between men and women are committed by men against women  Men commit more frequent (and more harmful) acts of aggression against women than women commit against men  Why? The location/environment, peer pressure, drinking, unemployment  frustration Why are some men violent against women?  Norms justify male domination  Men have much more physical and social power than women do  In general men are more aggressive than women, however, there are women who are highly aggressive and men who have lower aggression Why males and females differ?  Study of animals:  if sex differences exists among animals, this may support biological causation explanation  Problems o Choice of animal? M and F Gibbons (a type of monkeys) are both aggression; male baboons are very aggressive but not female baboons  the types of animals one study can influence the interpretation of aggression o Extrapolation? Little social factor; animals and humans are not comparable  the question of culture o Comparable? Threat display/verbal aggression; measurement is not comparable (animals vs. human behaviour)  cannot be generalized as a conclusion Why males and females differ? Cont'd  Essentialist Explanation o Anatomy is destiny o Freud believed differences in male and female anatomy account for development of distinct masculine and feminine gender roles o A boy develops strong, independent masculine personality through repressing sexual desire for mother and identifying with father o In contrast, a girl begins to develop feminine personality and a sense of inferiority when she realizes she lacks a penis o Biological difference explains social differences  Anthropological studies (Marvin Harris) o Existence of cultural universals (behaviour patterns found in many cultures) may suggest biological causation (despite the gender difference, cultures might suggest that these are biological) o Women are almost always valued less than men in most societies o Female dominant socie
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