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Chapter 8 Gender and Sexualities.docx

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SOC 103
Tonya Davidson

SOC103 How Society Works CHAPTER 8 Gender and Sexualities MODULE 8.1 – Sex and Gender  Sex: a determination of male or female on the basis of a set of socially agreed-upon biological criteria  Gender: social distinctions between masculinity and femininity  Definitions of sex and gender suggest two possible categories: sex is divided into male and female, while gender is divided into masculine and feminine o This form of categorization, based on two mutually exclusive and diametrically opposite groups, is known as binary construction THE BIOLOGICAL FEMALE AND MALE  Intersexed individuals: individuals born with ambiguous genitalia o Do not fit into the sex/gender distinction; referred to has hermaphrodites  Social process involved in determining who is a man and who is a woman, and how our social categories of gender render particular bodies as “unintelligible” GENDER AS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED  Gender is socially constructed because any culture or society defines what it means to be a man or a woman  Gender relations: organizing principles that shape and order interactions between, as well as the relative social importance of, women and men o Associations with masculinity and men are more highly valued than that which is associated with femininity and women  There are dominant constructions (definitions created by the dominant groups in society) of masculinity and femininity in a given society; we are shaped by characteristics such as ethnicity, social class, and sexuality TRANSGENDER AND TRANSSEXUAL  Transgender: an umbrella term for a range of people who do not fit into normative construction of sex and gender o Refers to people who live as the gender they identify themselves as being, with or without sex reassignment procedures o Includes transsexuals, transvestites (drag queens and drag kings), intersexed individuals, and those who do not identify themselves as either male of female  Transsexual: a person who undergoes sex reassignment, which may include surgeries  Transvestites engage in cross-dressing (publicly, privately, or both), buy unlike transsexuals, they do not necessarily identify as another gender DOMINANT FORMS OF MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY  Hegemonic masculinity: the normative ideal (the concept f what we consider normal and acceptable) of dominant masculinity  Associated with the traits of aggressiveness, strength, drive, and ambition; assumed to be heterosexual  Prevailing notion of manhood requires men to be successful, capable, and reliable – a man in power, with power and of power o The definition of manhood helps to maintain the power that some men have over other men and that men have over women  Emphasized femininity: the normative ideal of femininity, based on compliance with women’s subordination to men and is oriented to obliging men’s interests and desires  Associated with the traits of supportiveness, enthusiasm and sexual attractiveness SOC103 How Society Works SOCIALOGICAL APPROACHES TO GENDER  Functionalist theory maintains that human societies are composed of interrelated parts, with each part serving a function that helps maintain equilibrium in the whole o Men and women perform separate specialized, and complementary roles to maintain cohesiveness within families and in the wider society  Men play the instrumental role; women play the expressive role o Women, being responsible for rearing society’s next generation, are seen as key in producing the moral fabric of society  holds women responsible for any changes in gender relations that may disrupt the smooth functioning of family life  upsetting the supposed natural order in this may result in higher crime rates, illicit drug use, and incidents of violence  Conflict theory focus on examining gender differences in access to an control of scarce resources o Monogamous marriage has little to do with notions of romantic love, but rather ensuring paternity to determine inheritance lines  Symbolic interactionism argues gender is created through social interaction, mainly through mechanism of role- taking o “Doing gender” means that we actively create the differences between boys and girls – and that any differences we see are not natural, essential, or biological  Feminist theory argues women live under conditions of subordination and oppression, conditions that are neither natural nor inevitable o Identifies the ways in which institutionalized and internalized norms limit women’s behaviours and opportunities  Post-structuralist theory understands people as positioned within, and produced by, discourse o Gender cannot be thought of as having some essential basis, and that there is no authentic masculinity and femininity, but rather they view gender as something we do as a performance o There is no coherent or essential self behind our performance – our identities are fragmented, contradictory, and always in flux MODULE 8.2 – Reproducing Gender  Three of the most influential agents of socialization: families, education, and the media  Parent child-rearing practices are deeply gendered  Depictions of gender in the media have the capacity to create and reinforce normative constructions of femininity and masculinity o Our bodies do not sit outside social relations, rather our daily practices with regard to how we present our bodies, how we wish our bodies to look, and how we evaluate other’s bodies are embedded in social constructions of masculinity and femininity and thus embedded in relations of power SOC103 How Society Works MODULE 8.3 – Gender and Work THE GENDERED LABOUR FORCE  Glass ceiling: the notion that women can see the top of the corporate ladder but cannot reach it because a glass ceiling stops their progress  Occupational sex segregation: the ongoing concentration of women in “traditional occupations” o As of 2004, two-thirds of all women worked in four fields: teaching, nursing and health related occupations, clerical and administration, and sales and services  Child-rearing and other family responsibilities are most often cited as reasons for women’s part-time work  Impressions about one’s commitment to work, current earnings, lifetime earnings, opportunities for advancement, and future employability are all greatly influenced by interruptions in one’s career THE GENDERED WAGE GAP  Gendered wage gap has been found to exist in all occupational categories  In 2008, women working full-time in full-year employment earned on average 70.5% of what men earned o Gap is greater for university-educated women, who earned only 68% of what all men earned  Wage gap can be explained by factors such as occupational segregation (women and men being employed in different employment sectors), undervaluing of women’s work (paying women less than men for working in the same positions), restructuring of women’s work by privatization and outsourcing, and lack of affordable child care (limiting wo
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