SOCA01H3 Study Guide - Nail Polish, Gender Bender, Gender Role

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Published on 4 Sep 2012
School
UTSC
Department
Sociology
Course
SOCA01H3
28) What it means to be gendered me Life on the boundaries of a dichotomous gender system
Individuals learn gender roles and gender stereotyping through socialization
Gender role socialization reinforces gender inequality
o Men and women are expected to fulfill different and opposite family and occupational
roles
o What about those who have more ambiguous genders?
betsy local uses her biography to examine social construction of gender and implications of
gender bending for gender identity and social interaction
Betsy Lucal is a woman in a man’s body
o Faces consequences of implications of “two and only two” when it comes to sex and
gender categories in society
o Uses women public restrroms
o “sir” directed at her
o Enacts a variety of practices either to minimize the need for others to know her gender
or to deal with their misattributions
The social construction of Gender
Sex and gender are distinct
o Gender is something we “do”
o “Agnes” male who wished to pass as a woman, could not take her gender for granted
and wa sin danger of failing to pass as a woman
Gender”ing” is a process
Apply gender labels because:
o An individuals gender cues out interactions with her or him
o Successful social relations require all participants to present, monitor and interpret
gender displays
o Have no “social place for a person who is neither woman nor man”
We do not know how to interact with such a person
o Gender is omnirelevant no way of addressing the person as sir or ma’am
o Important for women to know what the gender of the other person is so they can be
weary if person is a man or relax if person is a woman
Each time we encounter a new person, we make a gender attribution
Gendered traits are called attributed for a reason: people attribute traits to others. No one
possseses them. Traits are the product of evaluation
o Learn how to read people’s genders by learning which traits culturally signify each
gender enabling us to classify individuals into 2 categories (men or women)
o Because we all use the same traits and rules in presenting genders, it makes it easier for
us to attribute genders to them
o We operate under assumptions that there are rules and attributes specific to only male
or specific to only female and believe we are total opposites of each other this is not
true as there are exceptions (no attributes are true to 1 gender only)!
Feminity seen as being less desirable than masculinity, their gender blending was a product of
their shame about being a woman
o Affects our perceptions of other people and individual’s senses of their own gendered
selves
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We use social skills to attribute genders to others, but also use social skills to present our own
genders to them
Goffman’s “Gender Display”
o Gender is a performance a stylized repetition of acts
o Culturally established sets of behaviors, appearances, mannerisms and other cues we
associate with a particular gender
o Our bodies and their adornments provide us with texts for reading a person’s gender
o Without use of gendered clothing, hairstyles, jewellery and cosmetics men and women
would look more alike
Feminity: longish hair, wear makeup, skirts, jewelery, high heels, walk with a wiggle, little or no
observable body hair and being soft, rounded and sweet smelling western conceptualization
of gender
Women being mistaken for men: mannerisms, language, facial expressions, dress and a lack of
feminine adornment
Person who fails to establish a gendered appearance that corresponds to person’s gender, fces
challenges to her or his identity and status
o Gender nonconformist must find a way to construct an identity in a society that denies
her or him any legitimacy
o Deal with other people’s challenges to identity and status – how to respond and what
such reactions to appearance mean
We do gender whether we intend to or not
o Female basketball player keeps her hair long, despite her actions she is still a woman
o Man takes up more space when sitting than a woman does
Our society is clearly organized around gender, no way not to do gender
A person who does not do gender appropriately is placed not into a third category, but into one
with her or his gender display seems most closely to fit
Even if we don’t want to do gender, other people will do it for us no escape from doing one of
two genders
Risks of not being taken for the gender intended are minimal for nontransexuals is the belief
o Overlooks experience of “gender blenders” and “gender benders”
People who do not adhere to the rules risk gender misattribution and any interactional
consequences that result from misidentification
Have to be 1 gender or the other, canno be gender less or both
Bending gender rules and passing between genders does not erode but rather preserves gender
boundaries
When gender blending females refused to mark themselves by publicly displaying sufficient
femininity to be recognized as women, there were not challenging patriarchal gender
assumptions
My self as Data
Appearance and gender/sex are not congruent in eyes of people
Personal troubles gender produces in contect of a two and only two gender system
Lucal dresses manly because she is 6 ft tall and women sizes do not fit her
Consequences of Lucal’s appearance
Issues of identity and issues of interaction
Called “sir” and then “ma’am” by the same people
Using credit cards challenge
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o Asked for identity
o Proof of signature matching
o Asked if son of cardholder
Stares in public washrooms and reminded that this is the “ladies” room
Men nod at her as if she is a man
Treated more respectfully at the mechanic shed
Called onto defend herself from physical aggression from other men who felt challenged by her
(man)
Man yelled at her for parking on a free street, did not know she was a woman professor
Hit on by women when in mall with brother
Seen as huband and father when with a female friend who has a child
Dealing with it
Grew hair long down to shoulders
Grew finger nails and wore nail polish
More or less referred to as woman, but sometimes still referred to as man
Gender is irrelevant in converstions with others, but annoyed to be misidentified
When appearance is couple with name, has to do something to ensure identity doesn’t get
questioned
Avoid restrooms
o If not possible, does not wear hat, make breasts more obvious by rearranging clothing
(using secondary characteristics to make sex obvious rather than use of gender to make
sex obvious)
o Never make eye contact and get in and out ASAP
o Goes in with a woman friend who looks like she belongs there to legitimize her own
presence
o Reply with “I know” and “it’s my card” when sees faces of confusion
Buy clothes without trying them on unless change rooms are private individual stalls
Flash nail polished nails
It takes enough effort to be alert for misattributions and to decide which of them matter,
responding to each one would take more energy than it is worth
Voice is feminine, faced with apologies or reasons for it not being obvious by others in
interaction
What does it mean?
Gender is pervasive in society, cannot choose not to participate in it
Her perceived gender as male is most relevant to her soial identity and interactions with others
o Must be aware of the gender she gives off and the gender she gives (talking wise)
Nonresponse to misattribution is the more socially appropriate response because responding
would cause embrassment for others
Safer to be reas as man than some viant woman
She is the one not following the rules and will pay the price for not providing people with
appropriate cues for placing her in the gender category to which she really belongs
Harassed when people perceive her to be a woman who looks like a man with derogatory
comments “does she have a penis?”
When known to be a woman, people think shes lesbian, but more often a man because she
closely fits in that category, but does not identify herself with it
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Document Summary

28) what it means to be gendered me life on the boundaries of a dichotomous gender system. Individuals learn gender roles and gender stereotyping through socialization. Betsy local uses her biography to examine social construction of gender and implications of gender bending for gender identity and social interaction. Sex and gender are distinct: gender is something we do , agnes male who wished to pass as a woman, could not take her gender for granted and wa sin danger of failing to pass as a woman. We do not know how to interact with such a person: gender is omnirelevant no way of addressing the person as sir or ma"am. Important for women to know what the gender of the other person is so they can be weary if person is a man or relax if person is a woman. Each time we encounter a new person, we make a gender attribution.

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