SOCB22 Midterm Review.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Konstantine Zakzanis

SOCB22 Midterm Review 1. How is gender hierarchy connected to binary thinking? Explain and illustrate your explanation with an example. The gender binary is a basic classification in human thinking and appears in human usage in every culture. That is, the masculine and the feminine are always differentiated, yet "masculine" and "feminine" have no predefined or necessary content. The two appear to be stable classifications only because they both are there, relative to one another. One doesn't exist without the other. Gender hierarchy is the distinction of men or women being stronger than their counterparts. Some societies show men to be more valued, while others value women more. In a patriarchal society, men are obviously seen as the superior gender. Essentialists would emphasize this upon biological differences, while social constructionists would emphasize sociological differences. In patriarchal societies, gender hierarchy compliments the binary thinking, which deploys a mind/body dualism. In this view, men are seen as being more rational, civilized, engaged in the public sphere, and admired for their minds. On the other hand, women are seen as being emotional, one with nature, engaged in the private sphere, and seen for their bodies. This is the reason why in tv commercials/advertisements, in which both sexes are presented, the man is always seen as more dominating. Women are presented as flexible, and emotional, while the man would have his arms around her, with a furious gaze as if to protect her from outside danger. In a sense, women are seen as property of men. Binary only looks at the two traditional genders: male, and female. Thus, any other gender deviating from these traditional ones are forced into one of the two categories. For this reason, trans-sexuals, hijras are oppressed in societies, as they deviate from the norm. Gender hierarchy connects to this because the hierarchy of gender, from the top, men, and then women show the significance and value of the genders. Any gender deviating from the two traditional ones are much lower on the hierarchy, and are of insignificant value in majority of societies. While many societies, particularly those of patriarchal values, have moved away from binary traditional sense of the gender and have accepted a gender hierarchy, little difference is seen. This is essentially because other genders are only acknowledged, yet individuals are still forced to take one gender or the other in everyday life. Gendered relations are differentially ranked and evaluated according to a standard of masculine norms and behaviour. It is an institutional medium of power, marked by immense inequality in status and rewards, with the valued attributes of science being those more ascribed to men compared to women. Example: before WWII, in the US, women with doctoral degrees in science were often unemployed, and if employed, had prospects limited to either working in a dependent position as a research associate in a laboratory controlled by the principal investigator or teaching in women’s college. Few women choose science compared to arts, humanities, etc because of: - Social constructions of what is regarded as appropriate work for women, and thus issues of social and gender identity - An educational pipeline for science fields that starts early in life and forms a tracked and ordered sequence of study - Perceived barriers for women in science - Inequitable resources and opportunities to women compared to men 2. Name, explain, and illustrate two aspects of West and Zimmerman’s theory “doing gender.”  Performing gender, gender display  Gerder categorization 3. Name three different types of feminism and how the differ in their approach to the study of gender inequality.  Liberal Feminism: - Focuses on equality - Says that women need to have rights. - Women don’t start out at the same position as men. - Argues that society holds the false belief that women are less intellectually and physically capable than men. - Emphasize the equality of men and women through political and legal reform  Cultural/Radical Feminism: - Masculine traits are privileged. - Cultures perception is not valued. - It still looks at women’s primary role as a mother. - Target males’ psychology and biology as the source of women’s oppression. - Focuses on patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex relationship based on the assertion that male supremacy oppresses women. - Critique: not all women are into child bearing, nurturing.  Marxist Feminism: - Thinks about the sexual division of labour. - Women are always available to do the lowest paid jobs. - The sexual division of labour: women are doing unpaid work and reproducing which is reproducing labour. - Traces the oppression of women to inequalities that developed in connection with the class system and private property. - Critique: they looked at women as a group but did not consider the differences between women & men. - It does not account for the factors such as race and sex. - 4. Explain the view that colonization was a patriarchal and racial project. Illustrate with an example. - Colonization was gendered through the patriarchal and racial project. The history of Canada, in large part, is the history of the colonization of Aboriginal peoples. Colonization can be defined as some form of invasion, dispossession and subjugation of peoples. The invasion need not be military; it can begin—or continue—as geographical intrusion in the form of agricultural, urban or industrial encroachments. The result of such incursion is the dispossession of vast amounts of lands from the original inhabitants. This is often legalized after the fact. The long-term result of such massive dispossession is institutionalized inequality. The colonizer/colonized relationship is by nature an unequal one that benefits the colonizer at the expense of the colonized. It is the process of conquest, or taking over land revolved around weakening Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal communities were once less patriarchal and women held respectful positions and held power within their communities. In terms of governance, a lot of this was lost. Their roles were affected by colonization. Patriarchy was used against women and Aboriginal communities as a whole. - Aboriginal women in Canada frequently experience challenges and discrimination that are not necessarily shared by non- Aboriginal women, nor are by Aboriginal men. Aboriginal women have been described as facing a “double-burden” – that for being discriminated against as a woman, and further for being Aboriginal. To begin to understand this situation, and why the circumstances of Aboriginal women deserves their own careful consideration, we must examine how both Native/non-Native relations and gender relations were developed throughout Canada’s colonial history, where these two types of relations intersect, and where they diverge. - Women were respected for their spiritual and mental strength and men were respected for their spiritual and physical strength. Women were given the responsibility in bearing children and were given the strength and power to carry that responsibility through. Men had always respected that spiritual and mental strength and women respected the men's physical strength. There was always a balance between men and women as each had their own responsibilities as a man and as a woman. - Despite the vast socio-cultural diversity amongst Canada’s hundreds of First Nations, historians and experts largely agree that a balance between women and men’s roles typically existed in pre-contact Aboriginal societies, where women and men had different, but complementary roles. Many First Nations were matrilineal, meaning that descent – wealth, power, and inheritance -- were passed down through the mother. - Women were able to hold positions of power and leadership in their community. Lisa J. Udel, for example, explains that motherhood was honored and revered as key to the thriving of the culture, and was not always strictly defined by its biological role, but was understood as a position of leadership and responsibility for caring for and nurturing others. - As settlers arrived in what is now North America, they brought with them a foreign patriarchal European value system. European settlers imposed their own frameworks of understanding onto Aboriginal social systems, which had particular ramifications for Aboriginal women. As schoalr Julia V. Emberley describes, settlers made sense of Aboriginal societies by viewing them through a European, patriarchal lens, assuming that Victorian principles represented the natural order of things. For instance, many settlers held onto Victorian beliefs that women were delicate and ill-equipped for hard labour, and thus viewed Aboriginal women who worked the land as proof that Aboriginal men treated women as inferior, for they were doing the men’s work. The power and agency of Aboriginal women were invisible to them. Some people even converted to Aboriginal ways, but for many colonizers, the ways of the Aboriginal women were seen as a threat. So they started to discourage European men to marry Aboriginal women. There were a lot of things Aboriginal women resisted, such as Christianity and a nuclear family system. The project of colonization was to attack the power of women. And for this very reason, they turned it into a patriarchy society. The imposition of patriarchy has transformed Indigenous societies by diminishing Indigenous women’s power, status and material circumstances. - 5. Explain the difference between an essentialist and a social constructionist view of gender and illustrate with an example. According to “Sex gender and the prism of difference,” essentialism is the notion that women’s and men’s attributes and indeed women and men themselves are categorically different. Male control and coercion of women produce
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