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Midterm

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Department
Women and Gender Studies
Course Code
WGS200Y5
Professor
Joan Simalchik
Study Guide
Midterm

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Lecture 1: What is Women and Gender Studies
Summary:
The study of power relationships (focused on gender) and cultural ideals
What is femininsm?
oEquality between Men and Women which requires the identification of
power, privilege, and oppression, and the critical analysis of them (power,
context, and agency). This approach can be used to critically analyze the
power relationships between any group of peoples (feminism is ?inclusive? )
oFeminist analysis:
Power: who has the control/influence?
Context: what is going on at the time that will influence things?
Agency: what action is called for and how can it be done?
Example:
Powder puff patrol (1959):
oThe depiction of women in the police force
oThe women were shown as being definite women, they were feminine
(putting on make up etc.) and wore a different uniform (skirts)
o Though they were put through the same training as men (equality), they did
not perform the same tasks once they were on the force. They were desk
workers, decoys, or they were accompanied by male police officers while
patrolling (the men were still the protectors)
oWomen as care takers and nurturers was emphasized, as was men as
protectors
Coming to Terms: Gender, Femininity, and Masculinity
Summary:
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Sex is biological, it is divided into male and female based on genes and hormones,
but the hormone levels etc are variable and it becomes almost impossible to make a
neat division between male and female (like a color spectrum)
oEg. Athletes accused on being male/female based on gender testing, when
they appear to be female/male.
oEg. Sexual reassignment surgery is done at birth for individuals who are
both/neither gender definitively. 1:1000 babies are born like this: intersex
(have both male and female sex characteristics)
Thailand and Iran have the highest rate of sexual reassignment. It is
most often done at birth and often leads to individuals feeling like
they are in the wrong body. But some are preformed after puberty
when the individuals sexual identity has arisen and they can decide
what gender they would like to be
oTheorist: Butler Gender is what you do rather than a universal who you are
Gender is socially constructed and reinforced unconsciously by our cultural
practices; it is something that we do, not something that we are.
oEg.
Girls wear pink, boys wear blue. Girls play with Barbies, boys play
with trucks
North Americans constructed two genders: man, woman, but other
cultures recognizes the existence of other genders:
Indigenous approach: existence of multiple genders including
two spirited people (transsexuals).
Some cultures have 32 different genders (based on the
individuals sexuality)
oTheorist: Lorbergender is socially constructed from birth and is done by
us/imposed on us unconsciously
oTheorist: Scott gender is a social category imposed on a sexed body’
Gender identity is not just based on being male or female, it is based on other factors
such as: race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, citizenship, age etc.
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In spite of fact that these gender differences are cultural, not biological (or inherent),
there is still sexism (oppression of women that is pervasive, invisible, and
systematic)
oEg
Women live longer than men, but in poorer areas women tend to die
earlier
Women make 70% of each dollar men make for doing the same job
Crainometrics: womens brains are smaller, therefore they must be
less intelligent (variation of age, stature, socio-economic status of the
men compared to the women not taken into account)
Patriarchy (‘institutionalized male dominance through hierarchal
bodies) in government bodies, education, laws etc.
oDiscrimination can be institutional, interpersonal, and unconscious
Lecture 3: Riding the Waves of Womens movements
Summary:
oThere were thought to be two separate spheres: private; which was
considered to be the womens sphere, it involved the home and family, and
public; which was everything outside the home and family (work, government
institutions etc). Feminists are against these separate spheres because they
are oppressive. The public sphere controls the private sphere because of the
patrilineal nature of society. Laws are created by the men of the public
sphere regulating the private sphere, controlling women. The control of the
private through the public puts the women at the mercy of the men, placing
themselves as heads of the family, thereby taking over the private sphere
again.
Eg.
Laws governing reproductive rights of women, and marriage
laws!
Manifest Domesticity: cult of domesticity, believes that a
womans place is in the home as nurturer and moral leader.
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