PSYC 5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Clitoral Hood, Hijab, Two-Spirit
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Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality
Perspectives on gender difference
● Rituals of gender
- Ritual segregation: Segregation of sexes through specific gender ritual.
o Circumcision: Excision of foreskin of a boy’s penis.
o Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/FGC): A number of practices from
removal of clitoral hood to infibulation (removal of most external female
o Both occur in cultures where men’s dominance is high.
● How many genders are there?
- Some societies recognize more than two genders.
- Berdaches or Two-Spirited: Members of one biological sex who adopt the gender
identity of the other sex (usually biologically male).
● Documentary: Two spirited people
- We are all special because we are both male and female.
- We aren’t less than other people, we are more than others because we have a better
- Basket and bow: Boy given the choice between the basket and the bow.
o Basket: you had both woman and man roles.
o Bow: you continued with only the man role.
- Male berdache would have to take interest in female tasks (cooking, beading, learn
- Raw and cooked: words to categorize distinctions in their world. Cooked is when you
go through initiations, live with society, etc. Raw is when you are born and when you
die, you go back to the raw stage.
- If you look at it as a gift, you find your place in the world and you value it. You see
further because you can see in both directions.
- Influence of the mother and the grandmother, by the age of 5 they usually knew so they
gave the child the appropriate education to be a berdache.
- Very open minded to the possibility of having more than two genders.
● Sexual diversity
- The percentage of homosexuals among North American Aboriginals is high.
- Boys eat men’s semen to attain their masculinity.
- Sodomy is acceptable and encouraged.
- Homosexual (adolescents) and bisexual (married adults).
- Studies of sexual variation complement gender diversity studies to argue for cultural
construction of gender and sexuality.