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SOSC 1185 9.0 - LECTURE # 2

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Social Science
SOSC 1185
Lee Wiggins

SOSC 1185 9.0 – Women and Society September 14 th Instructor: L. Wiggins Sex, gender, & social organization of power and privilege 1. Sex and Gender: - Sex: a person’s biological status – categorizes based on socially agreed upon criteria (ex. hormones, genitalia) - Should be at least 5 different biological categories – male, female, diff. variations of intersex ( indivs. That do not fit into the description) - Mid-19 century  even biological sex can change - Because of changes in medical technology, indivs. Can choose to have a sex change  does not have to continue to be your choice of sex categorization - Person can claim membership even if certain criteria are lacking - Sex categories are “natural” or “permanent’ (ex. pregnant man) - Society places importance on placing people into these categorizes - Socially seen to demonstrate membership in a sex category (ex. way we dress, hairstyles, how we behave, roles in work forces  socially required displays, ideas on how men vs. women should be like/do - Ideas on what is and is not appropriate - Gender: learned or cultural status  basis of sex , but not always - Not all societies have been able to separate biological sex from the social package - Allowance for people to move from category to category throughout their life - Masculinity and femininity  attempt to link them to biological sex - A social label and a system of classification, not a description of biology - Social categorization of indivs.  stereotypes describing the behaviours, traits that are associated with each gender  setting up our expectations of what is appropriate and what’s not - Gender activities immerge from/supports our ideas and categorizations - Possibility of multiple roles in the gender category - Gendering  dynamic, on-going process, more fluid ; based on the way society is organized / expectations - Gendering  diff. in how we perform our genders in diff. situations or diff. times of our lives  always learning/ negotiating with our genders – whether to conform - Inter-relationship between ideas about sex and gender - Two possibilities: males; masculine – females; feminine - Binary sex/gender system (paired) – often opposite from one another (ex. gender stereotype – men are supposed to be strong; female are weak) - Ex. girls feed off their beauty, do not need an education - These stereotypes set up restrictions and limitations; for men, female, intersex indiv. - Must challenge the naturalistic ideas 2. Problematizing the common-sense focus on differences between the sexes/ genders - Problematizing: work at uncovering all the ways we have socially constructed  looking up the meaning of gender  taken for granted  labeled as natural - Pay too many attention to putting people into sex/gender categories (ex. boy with long, curly hair; stranger just assumes it a girl – makes them uncomfortable) - Ex. girls – pink, boys – blue ; girls – dolls, boys – trucks - Reasons for every choice/decision - Problematizing = challenging social, political and economically  achieve justice - Simple binaries  absolutes, challenge the idea of having only one right answer, challenge idea that the world can be organized by simple binaries; challenge idea of having a right and a wrong 3. Systemic analysis of social organization – avoiding transhistoricalism and universalism - Transhistoricalism: cuts through history, ignores historical change and variation and variety  assumes that something has always been this way - Ex. women’s place is in the home, men’s in the workplace - Systemic analysis – not looking at indiv. behaviour  requires a more complication - Reasons for a particular way of organizing - Dynamic; changes as the conditions change - Why things are the way they are - Universalism: ignores geographical and cultural variations, diversity - Things are like this everywhere in the world  bias way of thinking, ignoring the probability of geographical and cultural diversity  things are different everywhere, they change, have diff. meanings o A) Importance of social categories such as sex/gender: o B) Hierarchies:  Differnet societies do diff. ways of dealing with the distribution of power, resources, etc  Best way to think of pyramid (top is hierarchy – smaller, fewe
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