Sociology of Gender Review Sheet:
▪ Sex: biological characteristics that make an individual male or female
▪ Gender: social expression and interpretation of biological sex
▪ Social constructionism: our experiences of the world are put into conceptual categories, what we define as
real becomes real, it’s a historical process
▪ Biological essentialism: informed by science—gives legitimacy and authority because it’s backed up with
scientific facts, categories are fixed and unchanging (ex: black, white, male, female, etc.)
▪ Thomas theorem: what we define as real becomes real
▪ Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: the structure of language dictates perception of reality as it spears, thus influences
thought, action and belief
▪ Medical definitions of male/female: male and female
▪ Sex Binary: two categories—male and female, belief that everyone has to fit into one or the other
▪ Intersexuality: born with ambiguous genitalia, sexual realignment surgery—2.5cm or larger is penis, 1cm or
smaller is clitoris—what about the in between??
▪ David Reimer: born a male and brought up by a girl, parents went to Dr. John Money for experiment he was
doing about social construction of sex
▪ Gender identity: how someone identifies themselves, as male or female
▪ “Doing Gender”: how we dress, hobbies, expectations for behavior, work that we are supposed to do,
▪ Erving Goffman: came up with the ideas of Gender Display and Dramaturgy
▪ Gender Display: we assume there is a natural essence to men and women, displayed in masculinity and
▪ Dramaturgy: we are all actors in public, facing different audiences—front stage is where you are seen by
others out in public and back stage is where you make decisions and are alone in private.
▪ Heteronormativity: assumption that everyone is heterosexual
▪ Privilege: rights, protection, resources are given to members of certain groups that are dominant in society.
▪ Ascribed Status: the status you are born with or acquire later in life (ex: sex/gender, physical ability, race, etc.)
▪ Achieved Status: a status that you can achieve through your efforts or actions (ex: occupation, criminal
▪ Intersectionality: individuals exist at the intersection of multiple statuses; they compound and form chances
and life experiences.
▪ Standpoint Theory: an