SOCA01H3 Study Guide - Social Constructionism, Startle Response, Symbolic Interactionism

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Published on 4 Sep 2012
School
UTSC
Department
Sociology
Course
SOCA01H3
Level of inequality, rate of male violence against women, criteria used for mate selection and other
gender differences that appear universal to essentials have variance in them themselves
Variation deflates the idea that there are essential and universal behavioural differences between men
and women
Examples
1) Societies with low gender inequality, tendency decreases for women to stress good provider
role in selecting male partners and tendency for men to stress women’s domestic skills
2) Women take on jobs such as lawyers and police officers which involve competition and threat
stimulation of the hormone testosterone causing them to act more aggressively, aggressiveness
is partly role related
3) Women in north America are developing traits that are traditionally considered masculine
Women have become more assertive, competitive, independent and analytical recently
Gender differences are not constants and are not inherent in men and women, they vary within social
conditions
Essentialism tends to generalize from the average ignoring variations within gender groups
Men are more verbally and physically aggressive than women are on average
Essentialists make it seem as if all men are inherently more aggressive than women
-scores vary widely within gender groups when rated on aggressiveness
Thus many women are more aggressive than the average man and many men are less aggressive than
the average woman
Little or no evidence directly supports the essentialists major claims
Sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists have not identified any of the genes that they claim cause
male jealousy, female nurturance, unequal division of labour between men and women
Freudians have not found evidence showing that boys are more independen than girls are because of
their emotional reactions to the discovery of their sex organs
Essentialists’ explanatiosns for gender differences ignore the role of power
Essentialists assume that existing behavior patterns help to ensure survival of species and the smooth
functioning of society
Conflictt and feminist: esentialits ignore the fact that men are in a position of greater power and
authority than women are
Engels conflict theorist
Men gained substantial power over women when preliterate societies were first able to produce more
than the amount needed for their own subsistence
Some men gained control over economic surplus 2 means to make sure offspring would inherit surplus
Imposed rule that only men could own property
By means of socialization and force they ensured women remained sexually faithful to their husbands
Industrial capitalism made men still wealthier and more powerful white it relegated women to
subordinate, domestic roles
Feminist: gender inequality is greater in agrarian than in industrial capitalist societies
Male domination is evident in socialist or communist societies
Male domination is rooted less in industrial capitalism than in patriarchal authority relations,m family
structures and patterns of socialization and culture that exist in most societies
Conflict and feminist theorists concur that behavioural differences between women and men result less
from any essential differences between them than from men being in a position to impose their
interests over the interests of women
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functionalism, sociobiology and evolutionary psychology can themselves be seen as examples of the
exercise of male power rationalizations for male domination and sexual aggression
Social constructionism and symbolic interactionism
View that apparently natural or innate features of life such as gender are sustained by social processes
that vary historically and culturally
-conflict theory, feminist and symbolic interationism can be viewed as social constructionism
What it means to be a man or a woman
Gender socialization
-how boys and girls learn masculine and feminine roles in the family and at school
Barbie trademark is worth $1billion U.S
Thought that mothers would not buy barbies with breasts for their girls
Lived dreams with Barbie as a role player
Barbie stimulates body image concerns among girls, the probability of attaining her body is 1 in
100 000 while ken’s is 1 in 50 more realistic
Identified as a symbol of stereotypical female beauty
Weight scale says she’s 110 pounds, closet is filled with outfits physical perfection is geared to
benefit of ken her boyfriend
When girls play with Barbie they want to be slim, shapely and implicitly pleasing to men
Torys r us boys world and girls world
Boys: action figures, sports collectibles, remote controlled cars, tonka trucks, boys role playing games,
and walkie talkies, gi joe
Girls: babie dolls, baby dolls, collectible horses, lay kitchens, house keeping toys, girls dress up,
jewellery, cosmetics and bath and body products
Infants are treated differently by parents and by fathers in particular
Girls identified as delicate, weak, beautiful and cute
Boys: strong, alert and well coordinated
Gender stereotyped perceptions of newborns have declines, especially among fathers, but have
not disappeared entirely
Experimental baby, said child was boy defined startle response as anger
Said child was girl defined startle response as fear
Parents, fathers encourage their sonds to engage in boisterous and competitive play and
discourage their daughters from doing likewise
Parents encourage girls to engage in cooperative, role-playing games
Different play patterns lead to heightened development of verbal and emotional skills among
girls and more concern with winning and establishment of hierarchy wmong boys
Boys are more likely than girls are to be praised for assertiveness and girls are more likely to be
rewarded for compliance
Given this early socialization, seems perfectly natural that boys toys stress aggression,
competition, spatial manipulation and outdoor activities, white girl’s toys stress nurturing,
physical attractiveness and indoor activities
What seems natural is continuously socially reinforced
Presented with a choice between playing with a dish set or tool set, boys are equally likely to
pick either, unless dish set is presented as girl’s toy and they think their fathers would view
them playing with it as bad
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Parents teachers and other authority impose their ideas of appropriate gender behavior on
children, but shildren creatively interpret, negotiate , resist and self impose these ideals all the
time
Gender is something that is done not just given
Gender segregation and interaction
Barrie thorne
Teacher asks children to choose their own desks
o With the exception of one girl, they always segregated themselves based on gender
o Teacher drew on self segregation by pitting boys against girls in spelling and math contests
o Contests were marked by cross gender antagonism and expression of within-gender
solidarity
o When children played chasing games in schoolyard, groups spontaneously crystallized
along gender lines
o Chase and kiss had sexual meanings
o Provocation, physical contact and avoidance were all sexcually charged parts of the game
o Boys and girls did play with each other and some boys played stereotypically girls games
and some girls played stereotypically boys games (boundary crossing)
o If girls showed skills in sports, boys accepted them as participants
o Activities requiring cooperation such as tv station projects, no one paid attention to gender
and they interacted without strain
o Mixed gender encounters in the classroom and physical education periods (adults
legitimized cross gender contact)
o More common in less public and crowded settings play together more rexaled in privacy
of their neighbourhoods
o In schoolyard close scrutiny of their peers, gender segregation and antagonism were
more evident
Children are actively engaged in process of constructing gender roles, not merely passive
recipients of adult demands
Schoolchildren ten d to segregate themselves by gender, boundaries between boys and girls are
sometimes gluid and sometimes rigid depending on social circumstances
Content of children’s gendered activities is by no means fixed
o Adults do have gender demands and expectations contribute to gender socialization
o School councilors expect boys to score higher in math and science and girls to score higher in
English
o Single sex schools girls experience faster cognitive development, higher occupational
aspirations, greater self esteem and self confidence more teacher attention respect and
encouragement in classrooms
o Develop more egalitarian attitudes toward role of women in society because such
schools place more emphasis on academic excellence and less on physical attractiveness
and heterosexual popularity and provide more successful same sex role models
o Elimination of sex bias in teacher student and student student interaction since there
are no boys around
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Document Summary

Level of inequality, rate of male violence against women, criteria used for mate selection and other gender differences that appear universal to essentials have variance in them themselves. Variation deflates the idea that there are essential and universal behavioural differences between men and women. Women have become more assertive, competitive, independent and analytical recently. Gender differences are not constants and are not inherent in men and women, they vary within social conditions. Essentialism tends to generalize from the average ignoring variations within gender groups. Men are more verbally and physically aggressive than women are on average. Essentialists make it seem as if all men are inherently more aggressive than women. Scores vary widely within gender groups when rated on aggressiveness. Thus many women are more aggressive than the average man and many men are less aggressive than the average woman. Little or no evidence directly supports the essentialists major claims.

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