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2013-10-07 Gender Inequality.docx

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Sociology 2239
Young- Hwa Hong

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October 7, 13 Gender Inequality Gender as a social construct - Sex: defined by biological traits; reproductive organs o Biological classification of an individual as male or female - Gender: socially constructed differences o Social definitions and expectations associated with being masculine or feminine - Binary sex-gender system: o Sex assignment (biological) → Gender identity (boy, girl) → gender role (perform masculine, feminine for acceptance; doing gender) → sexual orientation (geared to heterosexism to create a nuclear family)  If you don’t follow this norm, you can be sanctioned  Created hierarchal relations between people  The way we identify between sex is a socially constructed notion ex. Intersex: Clitoris has to be smaller than 0.9 cm and penis has to be bigger than 2.5 cm; XXY or XYY - Gender is o Aprocess embedded in context  Not fixed, changes over time and place between cultures  Occurs in human interactions, not a vacuum • Perform gender o Asystem of stratification  Hierarchal of relations • Ex. men paid more for same tasks o Astructure  Asystem, institutionalized in schools, media, discourses Three Levels of Challenges (Siltanen, p. 200-208) 1. The challenge of acknowledging women’s experience in class analysis - Marx: focusing on productive labour producing commodities with exchange value o Value is defined through exchange (money), not value within itself  Alienates the labourers o Money: high exchange value, not use value o Was not concerned with women’s unpaid domestic labour o Gender was subsumed/reduced in class analysis o Revolution was to solve racism and sexism according to Marx - Engels: discussing women’s roles confined within the family to ensure clear inheritance lines o Origin of private property, and family system o Agricultural: women had equal power; domestic work was done together collectively in the public sphere. Nomadic – no accumulation of private property; no division between public and private sphere. Group sexual relations – children of the community o Private property and changed mode of production Men wanted to pass their mode of production to their sons Men ensured they confined marriage to monogamy to keep their possessions in their lineage Men controlled and allocated resources - Marxist analysis of women’s contemporary experience: 1) whether/how women’s domestic labour contributes to the extraction of surplus value; Means of production + labour power (reproductive labour for the benefit of the ruling class) = Commodity Surplus value comes from human labour; it is what creates the actual object, not the means of production 2) women’s wage labour via the concept of the reserve army of labour - Marxist feminists: Eliminate private vs. public sphere; share child rearing practices and domestic labour work Reproductive Labour and Surplus Value - Reproductive labour: reproduction of labour power involving the housing, feeding and health care of workers is essential for the continuation of capitalist society - Surplus value: this is the value remaining when the worker’s daily costs of subsistence have been subtracted from the value that he or she produces ReserveArmy of Labour - The pool of unemployed and partially employed workers in capitalist society o Capitalists can manipulate the situation - Marxist feminist: “women constitute a flexible labour reserve that can be utilized by capital in times of growth when their labour is required and then sent home during lean times.” (Encyclopedia of feminist theories 2004, p. 427) o Ex. post WWII women sent out of the workforce 2. Gender as a unique and independent structure from class - Dual systems theory: synthesizes the Marxist analysis of capitalism and the radical feminist theorization of patriarchy (women relying on men due to their reproduction function creates their oppression) o Socialist feminist approach to gender analysis o Hartmann: Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism  Why incorporate the two systems th o During 19 century: men, women, and ch
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