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Midterm Study Guide

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Ann Mullen

SOCC38 Gender and Education Midterm Study Guide Conceptual Definitions: 1. Interplanetary theory of gender The interplanetary theory of gender assumes, whether through biology or socialization, that women act like women, no matter where they are, and that men act like men no matter where they are Although we think women and men are different and are from different planets, the observed mean differences between women and men are decisive and that they come from the fact that women and men are biologically so physically different It suggests that women and men are not from Venus and Mars, but are both from planet Earth. Were not opposite sexes, but neighboring sexeswe have far more in common with each other than we have differences The interplanetary theory of gender difference assumes that gender is a property of individuals, that is, that gender is a component of ones identity The interplanetary theory of gender different is important because the real sociological question of gender is the sociology of knowledge question that explores gender differences E.g. although men and women are different in the way we dress, behave, etc., we are alike in many ways (eat, attend school, work, etc.) 2. Biological theories of gender differences Ordained by nature Biology constructs the sexes The differences in anatomy are decisive, and provide the basis for the differences in mens and womens experiences The differences between the males and females of our species will ultimately be found in the cell arrangements and anatomy of the human brain To biologists, the source of human behavior lies in our cells Biological explanations hold a place of prominence in our explanations of both gender difference and gender inequality Biological explanations are based on objective scientific facts, which are extraordinarily persuasive E.g. people are born to either male or female, and biology determines how men and women behave differently men are biologically more aggressive than women due to higher testosterone levels that drive masculinity in men 3. Socialization theories of gender differences Nurture Explains both gender difference and gender domination Men and women are different because we are taught to be different. From the moment of birth, males and females are treated differently. Gradually we acquire the traits, behaviors, and attitudes that our culture defines as masculine or feminine. We are not necessarily born different: We become different through this process of socialization. Domination is the outcome of the different cultural valuing of mens and womens experiences The process of socialization is a process of making males and females different from each other E.g. In schools, women enrol in courses like parenting, knitting, and cooking, whereas men enrol in engineering, math, and science courses 4. Gender essentialism Dont fool with Mother Nature! Nature is inevitable Unequal social arrangements are, in the end, ordained by nature Men and women are essentially born like that on the nature side of the debate Gender differences are inherent e.g. women have a natural tendency to be nurturing while men have a natural tendency to be dominant and aggressive Men are like that, and women are like that Significance = it is how we understand gender? 5. Cultural construction of gender The origins of gender rituals lie in nonbiological places culture determines gender Definitions of masculinityfemininity varies across cultures
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