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Sociology 2140

What is Gender? Gender: the personal traits and life chances that a society links to being female or male Sex: the biological distinction between females and males Biological & Social Bases for Gender Roles Gender roles: rights, responsibilities, expectations, and relationships of women and men in a society Gender Stratification& Patriarchy Gender stratification frequently takes the form of patriarchy (social patterns by which males dominate females) Sociologists see patriarchy - and the entire range of gender - as the creation of society itself Matriarchy is a social pattern in which females dominate males Explanations of Patriarchy Men’s greater body size and strength Brain power Greater aggressiveness (testosterone) Most sociologists reject the idea that any behavior is “hard-wired” into human biology The Problem of Sexism Sexism is the assertion that one sex is innately inferior to the other Sexism supports patriarchy by claiming that men are “better” than women and therefore should dominate them. Gender Stratification Inequality between men and women is reflected in differences in income and in responsibility for housework, as well as in patterns of violence and even reproductive issues Gender income inequality is the result of men holding different kinds of jobs, family life, and gender discrimination Women: A Majority-Minority Numerically, women are a slight majority of the U.S. population Women meet the test of being both a physically distinctive and disadvantaged category Women have less income, wealth, and power than men Minority Women: Intersection Theory Minority women are doubly disadvantaged They earn less than white women Minority women earn less than minority men In 2002, African American women earned 63 percent as much as white men and Hispanic women earned 51 percent as much as white men. Gender & the Family The importance of gender: many expectant parents prefer a son to a daughter (stronger for male parents). Gender & Education The influence continues in the childhood socialization process. Even before starting school, children are exposed to gender bias in children’s books. Gender & the Mass Media TV directs its advertising toward women but often ignores them in TV programming. Women often have supporting roles that reinforce traditional gender roles. Sexuality, Beauty & Reproduction Beauty is about power and inequality Social norms encourage females to wear attractive clothes and to be attentive to men Women’s reproduction has been regulated regulation of birth control restricted access to abortion clinics (especially in US) Gender & Religion Religion has traditionally been patriarchal In recent decades, more liberal denominations have moved toward greater gender equality Orthodox Judaism, Islam, and Roman Catholicism have retained traditional male leadership Gender & Work Even though more women work for pay, their range of jobs is still limited The glass ceiling addresses subtle discrimination in the top positions Contemporary Gender Inequality “Glass Ceiling” and “Glass Escalator”: Glass Ceiling: invisible barrier constructed by male management to prevent women from reaching top positions. Women do advance in the service sector Glass Escalator: upward movement of men in women’s occupations disproportionate to their numbers Sexual Harassment Sexual Harassment: unwanted comments, gestures or physical contact of a sexual nature Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment that is blatant and direct is a violation of civil rights Hostile Environment more subtle behavior Structural-Functional Analysis: Gender & Complementarity Functionalists contend that differences between men and women help build families and integrate society as a who
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